Self Confidence at Any Age!

May 24, 2017

Hello again!  So this past weekend the hubby and I shot with two of his high school students, Hailey and Evelyn.  It was a fun shoot at Untermeyer Gardens  and I was able to chat them up for some ideas for the post.  These ladies are smart, charming and going places.  But I know that they, like all of us, struggle with confidence.  I mean how could we not?  We are constantly bombarded with images and depictions of women who look nothing like any woman we have ever seen in the mirror or in real life for that matter!  The beauty/hollywood industry seems to go out of their way to send us messages that we, as we are, pores, pimples, belly rolls and all are not enough! They have products to sell so it is in their interest to make us unhappy with ourselves, that's business baby.  Well my friends, I am here to tell you, we soo ARE!  Now I will say this, I have never been afraid of aging and I actually enjoy the process, I don't enjoy the Friday night fatigue so much, lol, but aging i.e. crow's feet, laugh lines, etc is not scary to me.  Now that doesn't mean that I don't take care of my body where it is right now, for instance, working out and staying active is just a part of me.  It's part of my lifestyle and I love how I feel when I work out, its really one of the best feelings on earth.  No lie!  In my 20's I worked out to fit into a mold that I thought I should fit into, in my 30's I realized a few things.  I think we ALL suffer from lack of self confidence, men and women alike, but I would like to focus on the woman's experience just cause, for obvious reasons, I can relate.  😊 Now my take on self confidence is not the worshipping of our exterior selves, we are so much more than our vessels,  its in the nourishing  of our interior.  What does that mean?  Well, you might say I am beautiful (why thank you) but I challenge why you might think that.  What I am exuding is happiness and love, that fills my life and makes me grateful everyday.  That is coming from within.  I question our standards of beauty and what we have been taught to believe is beautiful, sorry I am just not into being spoon fed.  With that being said, I do see beauty in everything and everyone around me. Seriously I do.  I believe beauty comes from within and is shown to the world in how we interact with others.  So let's dive in, shall we?

1) Mindfulness: This is geared to the mommies out there raising little ladies.  I know we don't mean to do this, cause the reality is the process of figuring things out doesn't stop when you become a parent.  We are flawed and riddled with insecurities, even as parents (shocker).  Here is where the mindfulness comes in, our children don't know (at least not at until they are about 14, teenagers!) that we don't know everything. To them we are the most beautiful person in their small worlds.  If we are focused on our flaws and constantly, sometimes when we aren't even aware of it, putting ourselves down they absorb this tendency.  It is now their normal.  Lets try to be mindful around them, cause life is hard enough without seeing the person you love the most put herself down.  Mommies, we deserve better. :)

2) Find comfort in knowing WE ALL have insecurities:  You read that right, we ALL have insecurities.  Even the most gorgeous woman you can think of on any platform you can imagine instagram, tv, the big screen or in that glossy fashion magazine (by society's standards, cause what is beauty anyway??) she has something that she doesn't like about herself.  It's true, it's  universal and do you know why??? Cause we are human beings, not polished statues.  We age, we gain weight, we loose weight, we break out, we have bad hair days, we can't put an outfit together to save our lives.  We all have that in common, if that doesn't bring you some comfort maybe my next point will.

3) Who the hell cares anyway???:  You know I had a gala a few weeks ago and I was complimented to high heaven.  I was dressed to the nines as they say and I won't say I didn't enjoy the attention or the compliments but it got me thinking.  There is such a double standard (amongst MANY, MANY gender double standards), my boss who attended the event with me, had to rent a tuxedo and cut his hair, that was it!  I, on the other hand, had to worry about my makeup, hair, nails, dress, heels, spanx..the list went on and on. I could not wait to rip (or take off carefully since it was a rental, lol) that dress off.  The truth is I am most confident when I am being 100% myself and myself is a casual gal who likes to walk around bare foot with her hair up in a messy bun.  That is ME.   Don't misunderstand me, I love fashion, but I love it more when it is comfortable, natural, effortless and expresses how I am feeling that day.  I don't like to pancake my face with "beat", I don't like to look overdone, less has always been more in my book.  And really, when you are comfortable with yourself, you are stunning and naturally attractive to everyone.  I promise!

4) Get out of your head:  Ok this might sound a little harsh but I am going to bring it home so just hang in there.  There is so much beauty around us, I mean everywhere, the friends and family we have, the love we share with them, the nature that surrounds us, hell the planet we live on! So much to focus your attention on why waste that time focused on ourselves? It seems so small, doesn't it?  No one wants that small of a space to live in, so get out of there.  Enjoy the life you have, go be beautiful and confident in what you have to offer to this world.  Haven't figured that out?  Well, thats what you should focus on, "what do I have to offer this world? How can I shine some light in the corner that I occupy?".  Do that instead of beating yourself down about your weight, your lifeless hair, or your chubby ankles and I promise good things will happen.  I have lived long enough to know that the days I feel the most confident and beautiful are when I am helping out a student, or doing something for my family, or even taking my dog out for a longer than usual walk.  Service to others is a great confidence booster and THAT is what you should focus on!

About these looks, I wanted a simple denim look 😃 so I asked the ladies to style an outfit around a denim jacket.  Evelyn decided to pair her denim jacket with a black body con tie-up dress from Garage.  Hailey and I showed up with floral print both from Forever21.  My romper is about 2 years old, sorry guys, but I have linked similar version here, and a cute short version here.  Lastly my current go-to, favorite pink suede mules that I scored for an incredibly- low- price- and-come-in-a-million-colors-but -you- have- to- click- to- find- out -how- low-and-how-many-colors, can only be found here . K, I am out of breath.

Love you guys.  Thanks for reading and for supporting my dreams!  Like, for real.

Until next time, XOXO

by LifestyledbyErica

Rent the Runway Review

May 4, 2017

Hi guys! Last week my boss invited me to one of the biggest events at our University, the President's Gala.  It is a black tie event so I knew a gown was what I needed! I almost panicked cause I literally had a week's notice (thanks boss, 😒).  So me and my bestie brainstormed and decided to try out Rent the Runway, have you ever heard of it?  So the concept is easy, you rent a designer dress for a fraction of what it would cost to own it and in this age of social media how often do you wear a gown twice??   We first looked around on the website to see what the options and price points were and then decided to book an appointment to meet with a stylist and try on some looks, you know, the fun part!  So you can schedule a visit in advance, I believe walk ins are an option but there is a wait.  For $30, you get thirty minutes with a stylist to discuss the event and what looks you are interested in, the fun part I think is having them select a few looks you might not have considered for yourself.

First impressions, the bestie and I headed to RTR flagship location at 30 W. 15th Street in the Flatiron district, the store is GAWGEOUS! I mean you know you are about to have a "pretty woman" moment, lol.  You sign in with the front desk and can walk around while you wait for your stylist to call your name.  My stylist was awesome,  she asked me to describe the event and the industry I work in and our ideas of looks.  She asked my size and whether or not we wanted a glass of Presecco, we said YES, of course, then she headed to her dress vault while we lingered around the accessories case.  She had several style options for me, most were very good options but the last one really took the cake!  I took these "dressing room selfies" with my phone, the quality is awful and I had to crop the hell out of the pics to remove the disarray the dressing room was in, I know I am a terrible blogger. Love me anyway? 😘
Option 1.  I absolutely loved this red strapless dress, but I thought strapless (and red) might be a bit much for a higher education work event.  I would definitely pick this dress to wear to a special event I would attend with my hubby, but nah not for this one..
Option 2.  So my friend thought this silhouette would work on me and insisted I try it on, so I did.  I didn't hate it, and I definitely think the A-line, princess gown made my waist look teeny, tiny, which I liked.  Also, and probably most importantly, it had POCKETS!!! I know, dream come true.  I passed on this dress because the cleavage was a bit too plunged for this event.
Option 3 (and the winner) I mean, look at my bestie's face?? Need I say more.  The color popped against my skin and dark hair, the dress hugged my curves but was loose and forgiving, a plus for a girl who loves her appetizers.  I just loved it!  We styled it with a navy resin foldover clutch by Sondra Roberts and Cobalt Bacall Earrings by Elizabeth Cole pictured below.

You obviously don't go home with the dress you are trying on at the store, they check availability and have it delivered to the store for pick up or they will deliver to any location in Manhattan.  I opted for pick up at the store, the evening before the event.  I received an email and text (optional) alerting me the dress was ready for pick up.  My friend and I piled into the car to pick it up.  When I arrived at the store, I gave my name and was given an easy to carry garment bag which included two dresses (for length options), my accessories, a return label and a garment bag seal tie.  EASY!   

Look at me looking all put together. :)

Returning was a breeze, you could drop it off at the store or replace the label with the return label included in the garment bag and drop it off to any UPS location within two days of pick up.  I believe they have longer rental options at an additional cost. I opted to pack it up the next day and scheduled a UPS pick up from my office. Again, EASY!

 I have included the total cost breakdown below.

Initial Consultation: $30
Dress Rental: $79
Earrings: $40
Clutch: $35
Return Shipment: Included
Dry Cleaning: Included
First time used discount: -$25
Total: $159.00

Would I do it again? SURE! I would probably have had the dress delivered to my office in Manhattan rather than picking it up at the store, a rookie's mistake, but other than that I enjoyed my experience and when the next formal event hits, RTR has my business!  They seem to be expanding their business plan to include all types of rentals, day to day work looks or more casual styles up for rent.  Not really my thing, I am not into wearing designer duds on a daily basis, especially not at that cost, but hey to each their own!

 I hope this was helpful especially with wedding season upon us.  ❤️💋

Thanks for reading!

by LifestyledbyErica

Latest Instagrams

© LifeStyledbyErica . Design by FCD.