Monday, April 6, 2015

BLACK GIRLS ROCK! 2015: The Most Inspirational (and Stylish!) Show of the Season!

(Honorees!/Photo Credit: www.businesswire.com)

(Beverly Bond/Photo Credit: www.goodhairmag.com)

(The Smiths!/Photo Credit: www.eonline.com)

(Erykah Badu/Photo Credit: www.fashionbombdaily.com)

(Cicely Tyson/Photo Credit: www.nydailynews.com)

(Janelle Monáe/Photo Credit: www.vibe.com)

(First Lady Michelle Obama/Photo Credit: www.nydailynews.com)

(Ava DuVernay/Photo Credit: www.styleblazer.com)

Did you catch last night's BLACK GIRLS ROCKS! celebratory show on BET? I definitely did and tweeted the entire two hours.

Hosted by actresses Regina King and Tracee Ellis Ross, this was one of the most inspirational (and stylish!) shows of the season. An extension of the BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ non-profit organization, founded in 2006 by celebrity DJ and philanthropist Beverly Bond, this show is far more worthy than I believe it gets credit for. I would love to think that those who tune into a popular show, such as The Academy Awards, would also tune into this one. But the the amount of tweeting during BLACK GIRLS ROCK! is much less.

But I stay hopeful for next year!! I mean, from beautiful 'dos, awesome speeches, and amazing fashion statements, the honorees as well as the entire audience was a seriously beautiful sight to see. I felt such pride watching awards given out to both girls (Gooo Gabrielle Jordan! Young motivational speaker, author, and entrepreneur!) and and women in the field of publishing, movie-making, philanthropy, music, and acting, as all acceptance speeches dug into the concept and importance of supporting and encouraging one another. (First Lady Michelle Obama received a standing ovation as she gave a sincere speech: "Challenges and failures are necessary components of success...")

BLACK GIRLS ROCK! is the celebration of embracing who you are and pursuing your passion no matter the type of adversity you may face. And while I do acknowledge that non-black women could somehow feel marginalized simply due to the title of the show, I believe it provides empowerment for all. Lessons can be learned and inspiration can be derived from understanding that, despite the fact that racism, bigotry, and sexism still exists, there is beauty in persevering no matter what. (At least, I hope that all women would pick up on this.)

But the focus on "black girls" was developed for a reason.

According to www.blackgirlsrock.com, the non-profit's mission is pure: "BLACK GIRLS ROCK! is to change the world by empowering Black girls to lead, innovate, and serve...Committed to enriching girls through leadership, education, and positive identity development since 2006. BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ Inc. builds the self-esteem and self-worth of young women of color by changing their outlook on life, broadening their horizons and providing tools for self-empowerment and efficacy."

A big kudos to Bond, who successfully made her vision a reality! According to the website, "BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ is also a multifaceted movement dedicating to shifting the cultural paradigms of media/music messaging that often negatively impact women and girls." As Bond stood on stage in recognition of her contribution, she explained that it's important for young, black girls to watch this show and "see black girls that look like them...rocking out and calling shots."

And ohhhh how I fell in love with so many looks of the night. My favorites of the evening were worn by Ava DuVernay (director screenwriter, film marketer, and film distributor), Janelle Monáe (psychedelic soul and R&B singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer), and Erykah Badu (singer-songwriter, record producer, activist, and actress). Each look was completely unique! Duvernay's gown was full-length, form-fitting in a bright shade of coral/orange that brought out her smile and complimented her lovely locs. Monae wore a black and white-striped, two-piece set that provided a cool balance of classic and feminine. And the insanely talented Badu took boho-chic to an uncomparable level of vintage-esque, beautiful androgyny.

So as I continue to think about what BLACK GIRLS ROCK! means to me, I can proudly look at myself (a mixed, Jewish LA journalist and blogger who lives to inspire readers with fresh outlooks on fashion, entertainment, and culturally-related topics) and claim that I, too, ROCK.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

(Yeezy Season 1-Inspired) Flesh-Toned Fashion Accessories!

(Set created on www.polyvore.com)
I'm a lover of bold tones, including teal and black. But there are times when I want to incorporate something softer into my outfits...something that will add a nice touch of boho-chic sophistication.

And while I wouldn't necessarily describe Kanye's new women's fashion collection - in collabo with Adidas - as a "sophisticated" range of styles (his bodysuits and body hugging styles are risqué and leave little to anyone's imagination), I appreciate some of the flesh-toned "somber" colors he chose as well as the simplicity of his collection. When watching clips of his February 2015 showcase, held on the first day of New York Fashion Week on YouTube (didn't make it to NY this season!), I was really digging it. But I also realized that shades of cream, beige, and browns don't complement most women's bodies from head to toe - especially worn skin-tight.

That's where accessories come in! 

As you can see from the my Yeezy Season 1-inspired Polyvore set, I chose pieces that could work in nicely with nearly any color - especially white and black. As an LA blogger who strives to inspire, this is intended to get you thinking about the flesh-toned pieces you may already have in your closet and jewelry box! And if you feel you're lacking in these colors, nearly every single retail shop you come across -- from Ross and Forever 21 to Bebe and Nordstrom -- you will find some treats. Want something waaaay unique and rare? A flea market is your best bet.

Happy Hunting!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Original Victoria's Secret Model Kimberly Friedmutter Gives 'Narsie' and Nice Style Tips! (Take Notes)

(The lovely, poised Kimberly Friedmutter!)

Kimberly Friedmutter is more than a beauty! She's an internationally-acclaimed life management expert, celebrity hypnotist, goddess of greatest gadgets, and reality television star (TLC's "Sin City Rules"). Also one of the original Victoria's Secret models, Friedmutter is an innovative, trendsetting Las Vegas-based star that coined the hilariously-clever term "Narsie." (Keep reading...you'll get it!) And she's here on Good Girl Gone Shopping, providing both practical and creative tips regarding shopping, style, and home decor. Insight to celebrity and our universal social media addiction included. Enjoy! 

The term you coined – “Narsie” – is so clever! I especially appreciate your philosophy regarding these types of photos (“selfies” that are posted on a public social forum) as healthy. What would you say to those who abhor this social media photo trend? 

I’d say ‘grow up!’ Change is rarely fun, especially if it’s irritating change. The beauty with Narsies is that you don’t have to participate in social media if you’re not feeling social! It’s an easy thing to avoid unless you're ‘in on the trend’...but try looking at the positive side of Narsies! A Narsie-holic is likely to over-share, so try to enjoy them by finding the humor in it.


(Friedmutter: Bombshell of today!)
For those who are still trying to perfect the art of taking a great Narsie (including myself!), what tips would you give? 

It’s a funny thing because normally, you want a photo shot from very low so the body is elongated, lean and tall, but with a Narsie, the best angle is the opposite, the higher the better. However, the real key is LIGHTING! No amount of editing can look as great as starting with good key light (main light source) so do your best to find light and Narsie on!

Thoughts on Kim Kardashian’s new book, “Selfish”…? 

It’s the perfect title, perfect subject, perfectly hilarious! You can’t make this stuff up! It’s perfect for her, her personality, it’s what we love about her and also what makes us uncomfortable, too. Very few women can pull this off but for Kim, it’s pretty much what we would expect, right?

Social media is so prevalent in our lives…Hard to imagine life without it! What social networks do you find most beneficial to you and your work? 

I like Twitter the most because of the give and take. Not only is it easy to post but other twitter accounts are really interesting. I like to look at other people’s Twitter to see how they are doing . . . to check in. You can tell so much from daily posts! I do feel bad for people when they accidentally post private messages or don’t think ahead about repercussions. People just really love to be known and social media reveals a lot -- good and bad.

What do you find most fascinating about celebrity living in the age of social media? 

It used to be that you just monitor what you say. Now it seems most people say what they want and then post really damaging things. Personally, I think social media is great but it’s become the new survival of the fittest. If you carelessly post inappropriate things, chances are it’ll catch up to you.


(Friedmutter: Victoria's Secret blast-from-the-past!)
From being one of the original Victoria’s Secret models, called the ‘Most Famous Hand Model in the World’ by CNN’s correspondent Tony Clark, to an internationally-acclaimed Life Management Expert, Celebrity Hypnotist, Goddess of Greatest Gadgets, Trendsetter, Magazine Contributor, and Reality TV star, you have a unique range of experience and specialties. How do you stay balanced? 

It’s interesting because I spent the first part of my life modeling, a lot of which was lingerie catalog modeling. The goal, at the time was to not look ‘too sexy’ for the garments and catalog; no overt sexy looks or poses, rather more moderate and mainstream. Now, it’s the exact opposite. It wasn’t too long ago, lingerie ads couldn’t air on television, restricted by network ethics departments. I’m so happy to see beautiful lingerie, especially for VS, because the catalogs launched an iconic business for sensual beauty and the freedom to bare it. I love the brand and I LOVE what VS has become. At the same time, I was recognized for my hands of all things! CNN approached me to do a special on my success, interviewing clients and documenting my photo shoots, etc… The network found my success to be a unique human interest story, of course Seinfeld publicly had episodic fun with the notion of ‘hand modeling’. I segued into film, screenwriting, talk radio, then private practice Hypnosis and television. I pretty much follow my interests and they seemingly charted toward more cerebral industries. However, I REALLY love gorgeous lingerie [laughs]!

I absolutely love your OK Magazine summer video called: “Clean Our Your Closet And Create aBeautiful Flower Arrangement At The Same Time.” The common woman often gets frustrated and stressed out when merely considering the idea of cleaning out her closet, but you offer hope! Was there a particular situation or experience that inspired the idea of turning shoes into vases? 

Yes, definitely! I’m a ‘grab whatcha’ got’ kind of girl. I use pillowcases for dining place mats (it’s true!) I use candleholders for glasses, draperies for tablecloths, rugs for blankets and boots for vases! I get a little bored with traditional things and LOVE the unexpected! I entertained the other night and guests loved that I used books as chargers under the dinner plates. I recommend looking around at what you have instead of what you want, you might already have it, in another form or purpose . . . that’s the payoff for cleaning closets; keep an open mind so treasures can reveal themselves.


(A "BoHo-Rock" Friedmutter!)


In speaking of fashion, how would you describe your own personal style? 

It’s fun for fashion to follow your feelings! My most comfy fashion is what I call BoHo-Rock. I love a good blingy cowboy boot with jeans, a white T-shirt and DIAMONDS! Combine b-l-i-n-g with b-a-r-n (either jeans or flannel shirt) and the combo gets a lot of attention. It’s effortless but not ignored; looking like the perfect combination of ‘easy’ but polished.

Scenario: You RSVP’d just a few hours before an important event and don’t have time to buy anything new nor contact a designer to borrow a piece. So you’re stuck with putting everything together in a short period of time on your own. What type of look is the safest to turn to at this point, while still being attention-getting? 

Tops and bottoms of the same color are easiest and fastest to throw on last minute. Let your accessories be your assets! It’s easy to have a neutral, sparkly shoe, bag, bracelet and necklace ‘at the ready’ to look pulled together. My best advice is to merchandise your closet! I do this on any given weekend and it’s MY BEST TIP EVER! Hang your clothing as outfits. Start with your favorite jacket, hanging it next to pants, tops and skirts that go with that jacket. You now have many mix-and-matched outfits. Do this with all of your favorite key pieces. Then separate closet into categories: work, play, travel, beach, winter, dinners, gym, etc . . . (categories to suit your needs) Remember to include a section I call ‘fat’ simply for days you can’t find comfort in tight clothing. Now, when the phone rings with a last-minute travel plan or invite, you can reach for the section and choose your outfit. I think my 'closet trick' is one of the best tips ever! 


"Go where the spirit of clothing leads you!" - Friedmutter)

Best place to travel to for unique as well as affordable fashion? 

Any place away from where you live! We tend to dress for our geography -- it’s a subconscious form of survival to look like those we are in contact with. In order to expose yourself to global fashion, explore boutiques, street markets or malls when you travel for best variety. Obviously, the internet opens your closet sense to the world, however, it’s a lot of fun to allow other women to inspire you to try different styles. When I travel to Costa Rica, I find myself wearing tighter pants with my suits as opposed to Indonesia, where I enjoy looser but less clothing. Go where the spirit of clothing leads you!

Connect with Kimberly Friedmutter by visiting her website and following her on Twitter

Photo Credits: All courtesy of Kimberly Friedmutter 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

gx by Gwen Stefani Now on Shelves at Nordstrom (Naturally!)

(Photo Credit: gx by Gwen Stefani's Twitter page!)
In March 2014, I reported on the gx by Gwen Stefani collabo with ShoeDazzle! And now...just a year later, mind you...her unique and affordable line of yummy heels are available at Nordstrom! Yessss.

The cute and colorful range of styles are available both online and in the store. In fact, I just got off the phone with a Nordy associate to make sure they are on the shelves. YES, it's confirmed -- the BP shoe department at The Grove in LA received its first shipment this month. You're welcome! 

**Ain't no stopping Gwen -- and I love to be all over it! Check out some of my previous articles featuring this music, fashion, and business mogul's brand launches and collabos: Spark the Fire' with Gwen Stefani and Mastercard! (Pricesless) (2014), OPI + Gwen Stefani: An Insane Blast of New Nail Color! (2014, and Delivering Cuteness to Target: 'Harajuku Mini' in Time for the Holidays! (2011)

Rock Black on the Boardwalk During Hot Summer Evenings!

(Visual created on www.polyvore.com)

I loooove color. I mean, like really. But in my book, black is a universal tone that looks great on everyone and can embody different personalities. Most chic, edgy, sophisticated, mod, über industrial, and sexy looks are often developed with black pieces.

So, with summer inching closer (hurry up!!), I'm looking forward to investing in a few black bikini tops and halter styles that can take me from day to night. In other words, items that I can lay out in and then dress up for a nighttime stroll on the boardwalk with my BF. As you can see with this visual, I included a pair of grunge-y jeans (Rag & Bone Women's Boyfriend Jean - Rebel Wash) to offset the sexiness of the tops and heels. I'm all about comfort and still maintaining a casual toughness to an evening look!

Basically, what I'm pretty much saying is this: I'm so ready to kick off sandy flip-flops as the sun sets before throwing on a pair of jeans and heels to accompany my skin-baring top (yummy earrings already on!).

What about you? Think you'll rock black on the boardwalk during summer evenings? 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Philly-to-Hollywood Beauty Stylist Neicy Small is the Illest!

(Neicy Small/ Photo Credit: www.neicysmall.com)
No stranger to set life and transforming the looks of pop stars, video vixens, models, actors, rappers, and entertainers, Philly-bred beauty stylist Neicy Small has been taking on Hollywood for more than a decade. With a roster of celebrity clients that includes both males and females (think levels like: Jasmine Villegas and Tyrese Gibson), Neicy is known to turn a simple look into a sensational, jaw-dropping hit. Because I love shedding light on industry professionals that I believe could give you that dose of style inspiration you may (so desperately) need, I'm proud to feature this humble and innovative mogul on Good Girl Gone Shopping.

Unfortunately, not everyone recognizes their innate talents and hits the the road to reach their goals. In fact, it's easy for many people to get discouraged and quit before their journey even begins.

But for Neicy, the in-demand beauty stylist who is known to "beat" faces and whip hair with the best of them (arguably, the best in Los Angeles), her itch for styling developed after a significantly memorable moment as a young girl. "I went to a salon to get my hair done...my hair was down to my waist. I was so young! I didn't know the lady would end up cutting all my hair to the point where I couldn't even make a pony [laughs]," recalls Neicy. "I was traumatized and wanted no one to touch my hair, so I went to hair school."

(Jasmine Villegas/ Photo Credit: Courtesy of Neicy Small)

Although it wasn't necessarily her initial dream ("I used to rap and make music, but that didn't work out so hair and makeup it was."), Neicy knew that LA was the place to pursue her career in the beauty industry. And while the pressure that comes with making a name for oneself in Hollywood can feel daunting and discouraging to most, Neicy's strength and faith drove her to eventually leave Philly and head to the west coast.

"I come from a city where there is not much opportunity, and being a mixed child, I grew up in a competitive hood where I always had to prove myself," says Neicy. "Pressure doesn't bust my pipes...it just makes me go harder."

(Ester Dean/ Photo Credit: Courtesy of Neicy Small)

And she is doing just that. Currently, Neicy is prepping for a new, upcoming travel experience that she welcomes with open arms. Scheduled to accompany acclaimed American pop singer/songwriter, rapper, actress, and record producer Ester Dean on "The Pinkprint Tour" in Europe (headlined by Nicki Minaj), Neicy has come quite a long way since getting her long locks, unknowingly axed.

Excited to be on board for this 1-month, overseas tour with Ester (who has contributed to some of Nicki's hottest hits, including "All Things Go" and "Super Bass"), Neicy is also excited about spending time in a spot she's never been. "I'm looking forward to the different culture and places outside of what I see each day," she says. "Everyday people, art, fashion, lifestyle, nature...pretty much anything can inspire me."

(Tyrese Gibson/ Photo Credit: www.neicysmall.com)

As for Neicy's renowned skills in hair, makeup, nails, and male grooming, her "east coast flava" definitely adds a unique touch to her work on the west coast. "I use technique with style and grace when I touch a client's hair or face. I like to call myself a lifestyle hair and makeup artist," she says. 

Famous for providing her clients with "good vibes and laughs," Neicy reveals who she would absolutely love to makeover. "I would love to make over a regular girl maybe from a small town. I've worked with a lot of celebrities, but I would love to give someone a makeover who doesn't know about fashion and style...someone who doesn't even watch TV like that," says Neicy, who has proudly worked with Jasmine Villegas for five years, the American pop and R&B singer featured in Kendrick Lamar's "That's Me Right There."

In speaking of the "regular girl" or even the girl who is clueless about how to attain a fresh-looking face, what simple makeup tips would my favorite lifestyle hair and makeup artist give? "My simple tips would be to always clean and moisturize your face first, before applying makeup. Use an everyday foundation of your choice. If you have oily skin, use non-oil foundation. If you have dry skin, then use a moisturizing foundation...and little mascara and lip gloss for a clean, everyday look!"

To see more of Neicy's amazing work, please visit her website and follow her on Instagram

Sunday, March 1, 2015

5 Lessons to Take From the Giuliana Rancic-Zendaya Fiasco!

(L-R: Giuliana Rancic, Zendaya/ Photo Credit: www.accesshollywood.com)
There was a time when I couldn't stand "Fashion Police" on E!. The performance of industry folks sitting around to basically judge a celebrity's style -- following an award show or while dissecting Hollywood trends in segments like "Bitch Stole My Look" -- turned me off for a bit. Because my passion for fashion roots in creativity and in the beauty of diversity, I didn't always feel comfortable laughing at what comedian Joan Rivers said (even if it was hilarious!). It was so very "Mean Girls" to me.

But then I hopped back on the E! train a couple of years ago or so, becoming a regular viewer of the show. I decided to really listen and learn from the intellectual perspectives of the stylists, including topics surrounding the distinct signature styles of designers, why particular cuts don't work well with certain body shapes and sizes, and how this color combo or that type of print can make or break an outfit. From George Kotsiopoulos bringing me to a new level of understanding to the cleverly coined phrases and excitement of the fabulous Brad Goreski (who now sits in Kotsiopoulos' seat), their presence on the show helped to balance out the rest of the nonsense.

E!'s popular correspondent Giuliana Rancic usually added tasteful support (or tasteful opposition) to what some of the other hosts would say. And with her chic flavor and friendly personality, I maintained a certain level of respect for Rancic. I also gained a respect for Kelly Osbourne over the years, as she has proven to the world that she is her own person with her own opinion. The bubbly Brit (and daughter of the "Prince of Darkness") brought an edgy look, as well as a knowledgeable and unbiased commentary about a star's look (whether she was friends with him/her or not!).


(Kelly, you'll be missed! Photo Credit: www.VH1.com)

But now, due to poor judgment and for the sake of "comedy," everything has changed.

Here's what happened: Actress/singer/dancer Zendaya flaunted gorgeous faux dreadlocks at The Oscars. In analyzing her look on "Fashion Police," Rancic said: "I feel like she smells like pachouli oil" while another unidentified voice chimed in with "Or weed!" Zendaya then tweeted about being insulted in regards to the comment, prompting an uproar from the social media world, which included accusations that Rancic's comment was "racist." Rancic made a public apology to Zendaya on E!, and Zendaya acknowledged the apology. Then Osbourne quits the show, after making it clear that she is friends with the star and that she was not happy with how any of it went down. According to US Weekly, Osbourne was against the Zendaya comments during filming and didn't want to go along with it.

My big questions: Why was Rancic the designated host to make the comment? Because she's not a comedian, wouldn't it make more sense if Kathy Griffin (who took Rivers' position) to say that? Did Rancic try to object or was it her idea? 

While a new season of "Fashion Police" is set to begin in a few weeks, I have decided to stop taking part in it. Simply being a viewer, in my mind, is saying being a Mean Girl is acceptable...and it's not. It has not been said yet who will take over Osbourne's position and whether or not Rancic even continues with the show (be it her choice or E!'s). Until then, I'd like to shower this story with some positivity. There are many lessons that we can take from this ordeal. Here are my top 5:


(Loyalty reigns!/ Photo Credit: Huffington Post)
1) Words DO hurt. Celebrities are people too, and yes critics can take things too far even if they didn't have an evil intention.

2) Know your lane. Rancic is not a professional comedian. Period. Stick to interviews, girl! That's what you're great at.

3) Public personalities must be aware that they make a difference (good or bad). Social media may not always feel like your friend when something goes wrong. Just means you need to remember that there is power in the people, as well as power in the tool that allows us to voice our opinions.

4) Glamour is not a cookie-cutter image. Who says that a couture gown cannot be accompanied with natural hair or a statement-making hairstyle? Coming from someone who loves her locs and loves her Bond No. 9 perfume (I hate pachouli oil!), I say eff yes - you can create your own version of glam.

5) Have boundaries. It's been reported that Osbourne has been unhappy on the show since Rivers passed. But whether that is true or not, the time obviously came when Osbourne had to make a decision that was best for her. She knew her boundaries.

Where do you stand now with "Fashion Police"...? Will you continue to watch the show?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Top 3 Movies That 'The Oscars' Got Me Hyped to Watch!

(Actress Emma Stone going off on her Pops, played by Michael Keaton, in "Birdman.")

Yes, I love award season for the fashion. I mean, it's a time when Hollywood's gorgeous of the gorgeous is wearing the gorgeous-of-the-gorgeous gowns! But, of course, I look forward to amazing acceptance speeches and seeing snippets of talented actors and actresses doing their thing on the big screen.

And last night was no exception! The 87th Academy Awards featured some amazing films that have now made it to my "must watch" list. While I have become more of a "Let's stay in and rent a movie!" kind of chick, these dramas are made for the big screen for a reason. So I will say that, yes, I'm willing to overspend on tickets and snacks (and even allow my ears to suffer during the grossly loud previews in the theater!) in order to truly learn why these films have become such a talk of the town.

In no particular order, here are the flicks that I'm ready to check out (including Oscar moments that were enough to make me wanna watch all three): 

(1) Boyhood: Patricia Arquette's speech on women's equality after winning for 'Best Supporting Actress' got Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez on the edge of their seat with applause and cheers. I need to learn if that particular topic holds relevance to the actual film.

(2) Birdman (Winner of "Best Picture"): The brief scene that showed a heated Emma Stone going off on Michael Keaton (who plays her father) was way intense. Looking forward to the build-up and why she thinks "Birdman" became a loser.

(3) Selma: I can't stop thinking about the horrid-yet-kinda-cool brick red suit worn by British actor David Oyelowo (who plays Martin Luther King, Jr.). That, and sensing the emotions behind his eyes when he teared up during John Legend and Common's "Glory" performance (total moxie status!) told me that this dude ain't scared of showing his dramatic personality. Was obviously casted for a reason!

Which movie do you think I should see first? I'm all ears!!

Photo Credit: www.betcheslovethis.com

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Save 45% Off Luxury, Grecian-Inspired Sandals from the 'Corinna Saias Collection' (You're Welcome!)

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Corinna Saias Collection)

The first day of spring is gonna arrive before we know it! And for fashionistas who are preparing their wardrobe for the warmer, more sunshine-y days even before March 20th hits (official start of the new season), you're in luck.

Corinna Saias, founder of the Grecian-inspired, luxury sandal brand Corinna Saias Collection, recently reached out to me with an exciting sales promotion: an exclusive 45% off discount for GGGS readers on ALL online merchandise! Considering spring is right around the corner, marking the beginning of international travels, resort stays, skin-baring fashion trends, and cutesy-pie pedicures, tons of you are looking into practical (and sexy!) footwear to accent your fierce ensembles. Yup - myself included.

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Corinna Saias Collection)

As you browse the brand's site, you'll notice a detail that's pretty special: Each sandal is stamped with the name of exemplary women who have left their "stamp" on Greek history. According to Saias, "The designs are inspired from ancient Greece, but the classic silhouettes are reworked with ultra-luxe and glamorous touches for the modern woman." Regarding the beauty of each genuine leather sandal, which are handmade in Greece, she continues, "Swarovski crystals are used to embellish the sandals and to revive the du jour, jet-set lifestyle led by Jackie Onassis in Capri and Princess Grace of Monaco."

Although the price point may not easily fit into the common budget-conscious shopper -- regularly priced from $150 - $288 -- I love being able to offer you an exclusive 45% off discount. Here are the details: Merchandise coupon is valid from today, Sunday, February 22nd, through Wednesday, March 4th. Use coupon code "goodgirl" during checkout on www.corinnasaias.com, which can be used on an unlimited basis within this period.

....Happy Shopping! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

The 'Himalayan' Sneaker: An Iconic Collabo Between Camper and Bernhard Willhelm!

(Photo Credit: www.fashionmodeldirectory.com)
Four weeks ago, I welcomed a great, new sneaker to my shoe collection.

Wait - that's such an understatement. The real truth is this: Four weeks ago, my shoe game reached a new height of coolness, creativity, and comfort with the addition of an artistic "sneaker."

Thanks to being introduced to this Mediterranean brand by my boyfriend ("Babe, there is this line of cool sneaks I want us to both try!"), I couldn't imagine my wardrobe without my Camper Himalayan kicks now! And as a journalist by nature (and degree), I immediately knew that I had to get the ins about this awesome brand firsthand.

Turned out the original pair my boyfriend chose for me were a bit snug on my wide 'ol feet (and the line runs slightly small), so my visit to the Camper store at The Grove in LA was the perfect opportunity to chat with one of its team members. And to my delight, Dachelle Boehm (retail area manager for the west coast of the US and Canada) was there to give me the goods!

"Romain Kremer just became our creative director, and the styles are shifting and becoming more fashion-forward, which is really cool," said Boehm. "We're known for having comfortable, quality walking shoes. So everything is meant to be very comfortable and look very premium."

(Capturing the beauty of the "Himalayan" shoe...)
Not only did I also learn that Camper is a family-owned company based in Majorca, Spain and began making shoes 130 years ago (!!!), I learned that my particular shoe is a product of the creative collabo between Camper and innovative German designer Bernhard Willhelm.

Per Boehm, "The Bernhard Willhelm's have a huge cult following."

Nope - not surprised in the least. As you can see, the unusual features of this shoe are waaaay fashion-forward, epitomizing the designer's unique and edgy style. Willhelm's career in fashion is one that is internationally notable (launched his first women's collection during Paris Fashion Week in 1999, just after college, and designed his first menswear outfits in 2000).

Eventually, upon receiving accolades, becoming the creative director for Roberto Capucci fashion house (2002-2004), and opening his first boutique in Japan in 2006 (his women's line is licensed under the Japanese company, Bus Stop), Willhelm joined forces with Camper seven years ago, according to the designer's website. The "Bernhard Willhelm-Camper-Together" special lines of shoes began in 2008, providing both men and women interesting options in footwear.

(His and hers!)
I loooove that my Himalayan shoes turn heads anywhere I go. From the grocery store to the mall, it's now odd not to hear, "Hey girl, cool shoes!" Often pairing them with all black or a black-and-white ensemble, I let my Himalayans take center stage with each outfit.

While the cost of the Himalayan shoe costs sorta an arm and a leg for the common fashion lover, the details are worth the purchase ($275 regular price).

Awesome features of this shoe: padded tongue, thick laces that wrap around the entire shoe, anatomic insole that gives extra comfort on the heel (and a little bounce!), rubber layer for a good grip, and striking contrasts of color.

If you're in the LA area, I suggest stopping by The Grove to inhale the artistry of the "Together with Camper" line. I also just noticed that Willhelm is currently presenting a solo exhibition at MOCO Pacific Design Center in LA, which will last through May 17, 2015 ("When Fashion Shows the Danger Then Fashion is the Danger"). That's definitely on my radar and making its way to my calendar as we speak.

So what else can I say about my favorite new shoe? Just that I'm officially one "Happy Camper."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

So You Received Great Customer Service...Now What? My 5 Tips Get You Started!

(Photo Credit: www.huffingtonpost.com) 

Bad customer service is my number one pet peeve. I can't stand when a sales associate doesn't greet me when I walk in the door, doesn't ask me if I need assistance, and simply forgets about me when I'm in the fitting room or waiting on a size. And every other poor behavior in between! 

A Los Angeles fashion blogger who has worked in retail for 6 years (from the tail-end of high school throughout college), I know what goes into making customers satisfied and what can really piss a shopper off. That said, I know how easy it truly is to be a kind retail employee and treat everyone with the same level of service. It's really all about the "Golden Rule" - treat people how you would want to be treated. 

Unfortunately, I often experience poor customer service for reasons I know exist, but I hate to accept (race? the way I'm dressed on a particular off day?). So when I do receive extraordinary help from an associate, I feel it's important to bring that person and his/her personality to light. What about you? While you may have tons of stories to tell your friends and loved ones regarding bad customer service...do you make an effort to spread the word about great customers service? If you've never taken an extra step to do so, I suggest that you take a few minutes to get that rollin'. Positive feedback can go a long way, and it honestly says a lot about your character as well! The term "giving back" can be interpreted in many ways, and I think giving praise to where praise is due is one significant aspect to this term.

Here are some ways you can give kudos to your favorite sales associate: 

(1) Write a review on Yelp or Facebook. These days it's all about social media, right? Yup - pretty much. So turning to sites such as Yelp or Facebook to rate a certain store and write a review means the world to a company. Be sure to include the associate's name, store number, and the details regarding your visit!

(2) Promote the brand/store/associates on Social Media. Do not underestimate the power of word-of-mouth, and again, social media is a fabulous place to spread your positive experience with friends, family, and contacts! Facebook and Instagram provide great space for tons of interaction with your connections, which gives you a chance to answer specific questions that others may post. In addition, if you tag that particular brand/store, it could take notice and likely get involved with the convo and possibly even share on its corporate page. Also, if you tag that sales associate's social media page, he/she may also get involved and share or repost on his/her personal page!

(Photo Credit: www.luxurysociety.com)

(3) Ask to speak to the manager. The next time you can't stop smiling after making your purchase, simply because you treated with a lil' (or a lot of!) TLC, ask to speak directly to the manager. Communicating your experience first-hand regarding a particular associate will, in turn, make the manager smile. Your feedback will be appreciated, and you never know, your kindness may be the cherry on top for someone. Your new favorite helper may now get that raise!

(4) Email Corporate. Sometimes, you need to process the entire experience during you drive home before you reach out and share your experience with a company's corporate office. OR, you may have already utilized social media and spoke to a manager about an associate's professionalism....but still want to make that extra effort. Either way, you can typically find contact info to a store/brand's corporate office directly on its website if you wish to reach out and send a 'thank you' message.

(5) Remain a Loyal Customer (And Make Yourself a VIP!). Remember, if you really enjoyed your experience with an associate, it's likely that he/she did too! Day in and day out, these people have to deal with rude customers and challenging situations, so if they continue to see your friendly face on a regular basis, you can count on being treated with R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  Beware: His/her happiness may be contagious; don't be surprised if other associates step in to help you as well. Oh, and wanna be notified when upcoming sales or promotions are coming? Just be your sweet self, abide by The Golden Rule...and welcome the special VIP treatment with open arms!

If you liked this article, you might also like "Shopping for the Right Jeans: 3 Tips to Help Save Your Sanity!"

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Want Boss-Style Inspiration? 'Cookie' Shows You How It's Done in Animal Print!






For many fashionistas and fashion critics, animal-print clothing has had its day. It's often associated with tacky New Joisey fashion or cheap street style. Then, for others, incorporating bits and pieces of a leopard or snake-print look in your wardrobe can add a sexy-like sassiness.

While I tend to sway back and forth with my interest in animal-print clothing (I've had a few leopard-print heels in my life!), I do find that the single common trait among those who dare to wear such a trend is: CONFIDENCE. And boy, oh boy, does my new favorite character on TV these days exude just that. I'm talking about the one and only "Cookie," played by the awesome Taraji P. Henson, in the new (semi-controversial) Fox Television hit "Empire." 

Despite being a Reality TV junkie, I'm always down for a good drama! Think: hip-hop, record label politics, prison time, ex-loves working together, murder, a gay son clearly not accepted by his dying music mogul father (played by Terrance Howard ), unexpected celebrity cameos, and multi-layered perspectives on race, culture, entertainment, and health. Yup - the show has definitely gotten my attention. And if you've yet to tune in at 9 p.m./pac time on Wednesdays (tonight!), I suggest that you give it a try.

I mean, even if this drama sounds a bit too erratic for you, Cookie's style will make you re-think animal-print style. Shoot, she may even make you re-evaluate your wardrobe altogether! From stepping out of the limo to storming in on board meetings, this Boss is definitely making a fashion statement...even after spending over a decade in prison! (Like I said...you gotta tune in.)

Photo Credits: Google Images


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Interview with Katie Maloney of 'Vanderpump Rules': "It's been a wild ride to say the least!"

(Katie Maloney/Photo Credit: Brooke Mason)
"Vanderpump Rules" -- the drama-packed Reality TV show built on British restaurateur and Beverly Hills Housewife, Lisa Vanderpump -- has grown to be one of my fave guilty pleasures on Bravo. The show basically gives viewers a taste of what occurs among the servers, bartenders, and hostesses at West Hollywood's SUR (one of Lisa's restaurants). But really, this show is a heavy meal of friendship and relationship woes, wins, and WTFs. 

And this season, a lot of the outspokenness (which has entailed tears as well as kind-hearted forgiveness) comes from Katie Maloney. As compared to the first two seasons of Vanderpump Rules, we're getting to know more of the Reality TV star's personality. She is much more than just Stassi's friend and the chick who got criticized for dyeing her hair "orange." In our recent interview, Katie not only talks about her experience on Vanderpump Rules and Reality TV as a whole; co-founder of Pucker & Pout, a beauty and style website designed to inspire, gives insight to her view on healthy relationships, her "neo goth" personal style, and just why a statement jacket is a must-have. Oh, and did I mention that she's a Gwen-lover as well?  Yup...Katie my kind of girl! 

What has been your experience on Vanderpump Rules been like thus far? 
It's been a wild ride to say the least. It's been really fun and always really taxing both mentally and emotionally. This was an experience I couldn’t prepare myself for, but I feel like I have taken everything in stride and really grown through all my experiences on the show.
The show is so interwoven with relationship “drama.” Has becoming a Reality TV star altered your perception on the concept of a healthy relationship?
I was nervous about putting my relationship out there. It's obviously something sacred to me and I want to protect it. I feel like Tom and I have really grown closer and stronger through this all. We might not have a perfect, drama-free relationship but we definitely have a strong one and contrary to what people might think based on what they’ve seen, we do have a healthy relationship. Of course we have had bumps and messed up along the way but what remains is our bond. What goes on with us behind closed doors is important and should not be overlooked.


(Katie Maloney/Photo Credit: Brooke Mason)
It’s been said that not only could Reality TV harm a real relationship, but that social media has the potential to damage one. What are your thoughts on that?
I don't think anything besides the two people in the relationship could damage it. Of course the show and social media can strain the relationship. However the only two people accountable for the relationship and its integrity are the ones involved. Tom and I have a healthy perspective on social media and the show so we don't let the negativity infiltrate what we have. 
I understand that you balanced theater and cheerleading in high school while working with a local agency to book commercial shoots and hosting work at an early age. Did you ever envision yourself as a regular on one of Bravo TV’s hit shows?
I never dreamed of ever doing a reality show. Reality TV has changed so much over the recent years and I feel like it was a twist of fate getting my job at SUR 5 years ago and I regret nothing.
How much is the line blurred between your real life and Reality TV? Or, do you consider these entirely separate entities?
The line is very-much-so blurred. After all, these are my real friends and I really work at SUR and all the drama that occurs is organic. There's no pretending. When we aren't filming, we still carry on the same way. Obviously sometimes, thanks to editing, some things are sensationalized and they put heavy focus on certain topics for dramatic purposes but that doesn't mean it didn't happen or that it wasn't real.
What do you love most about being on Vanderpump Rules?
It's a surreal thing living your life out in front of the cameras. We have had so much fun on our trips and also had some shitty times too. I'm happy to share these moments with the people I'm closest too. I feel extremely lucky to be a part of this show.
What do you like the least?
It's more difficult than I can describe what it is like to experience heart break and personal intimate moments while filming. It's not like "real life" where if something traumatic happens (i.e., your boyfriend admitting he has cheated on you) you can retreat and take personal time. You have to share every moment, talking about how you feel and share what's going on inside your head. These are the times that it really takes a toll on you.


(Katie Maloney/Photo Credit: Brooke Mason)
Pucker & Pout is such a great resource for women who could use some tips in a variety of areas. When did you realize, “It’s time for a website!”…?
Pucker & Pout embodies so much of who I am. I have always shared the products I love or little tips and tricks with my girlfriends, and the response has always been great. Obviously I have accumulated a strong following on my social media so I thought to myself what an amazing idea to create a space where I share my beauty knowledge. It's been such a fun and inspirational experience and the response has been incredible. 
How would you describe your own personal style?
I guess it could be described as slightly "neo goth." I tend to gravitate towards darker clothes and edgier pieces but I still have trendy elements. I would rather wear kicks or boots than heels. I love androgynous with a feminine twist style. I'm a lipstick-with-shades and a leather jacket kind of chick. Gwen Stefani is definitely my fave style icon! 
Scenario: A woman is on a budget with $50 bucks and needs to update her style. What items do you think she should focus on first?
I would say hone in on one piece that is versatile. A statement jacket that can be worn with a pair of jeans and kicks but could as be thrown over a LBD. Or a slick pair of pants or pencil skirt. Focus on something that suits you and what's already in your closet that you can mix, match and layer with!

Katie rules! To keep up the Reality TV star, be sure to follow her on Twitter and Instagram