Based out of New York City and Canada, Cinny is the mommy to JR and Baby Pom. When not working or studying full time, she can be found working on Whirlwind of Surprises or cuddling with her hubby and playing with her dogs. She shines in the warm company of friends and family and enjoys playing with her 3 little nephews.
Brr…it is getting chilly out and darker out so much faster. Now that the days feel longer and it seems like I’m always at work, I think I may be starting to feel burnt out. To recoup, I do my best, to sleep in whenever possible. Part of that depends on my morning prep time- so to cut that down, you’ll frequently see me wearing Karina dresses. No joke, with them, I can be ready within 5 minutes.
I really combat burn out though with a secret weapon. The power of puppy love! When I manage to crawl home. I’m a total mess. My hair’s a mess, I’m a mess and I could care less what the world thinks. What re-energizes me though is when the pups come running. Their tails wag, their excitement fills the air and is infectious. I feel incredibly loved and welcomed. JR will follow me around and jump at me until I acknowledge her. BabyPom will jump at me until I pick him up. They then proceed to place slobber all over my face…or plant loving kisses all over me. My heart just melts. They’ll do this for probably a good five minutes until they feel like they’re done.
Of course I’m still wearing dresses even in this chillier weather. We’ve even been getting snow flurries, have you? I’m enjoying my Clara style in a wine color- it’s in a heavier, ponte knit fabric. Ponte makes the dress warmer, however, it also makes it less stretchy. The dress fitted more snugly around my waist than some of my other dresses. If you’re usually in between sizes, I’d recommend sizing up. My favorite part of the Clara though, is the slouchy neckline and the tapered waist. It flatters and enhances and I feel great. I think my pups agree, what do you think?
‘Young professional by day and culinary adventurer by night, Alicia loves to share hospitality and homecooked meals with friends. She writes Jaybird, a blog about finding home and happiness wherever life takes you. Say hi on Facebook or Twitter, and check out her recipe collections on Pinterest!
Tis the season of generous giving…and the season of sweet treats! Every year at the beginning of the holiday season, I get bit by the baking bug. It begins innocently, with something like making pancakes on a Sunday morning. All the sudden, I realize the day has flown by as I bake cookies for friends and prepare Christmas pudding for the coming holiday. A stack of plastic containers threatens to overtake the counter as I divvy up sweets for sharing and snacking.
Today’s recipe for Cake Batter and Dark Chocolate Bark is one of the easiest, most colorful treats you could make. There’s no actual baking required, and you can customize your bark with festive sprinkles. Asking your friends or your little ones to join you in the kitchen makes preparing for the winter holidays even more fun. The two layers of melted chocolate need to be frozen separately, so you can spend your down time catching up, writing a holiday letter or having a dance party in the kitchen.
I found this creative twist on peppermint bark when I worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer in a high school. My students came from all different backgrounds, and I wanted to offer everyone a special winter treat that wasn’t specific to any one holiday. I made each of my students a decorated bag full of Snowdrops (my family’s favorite- chocolate chip meringues), chocolate chip cookies and Cake Batter and Dark Chocolate bark. Their joy as they received their bags of treats was a heartwarming reminder of the meaning of the season: showing love and generosity to one another. Thankfully love of cake batter seems to be universal.
Recipe: Cake Batter & Dark Chocolate Bark
6 ounces dark chocolate
12 ounces white chocolate
3 teaspoons Funfetti or white cake mix
Rainbow sprinkles or other festive toppings
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt dark chocolate in the microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring in between. When chocolate has liquefied, pour it onto the parchment paper and smooth it over the sheet with a spatula. Freeze for 10 minutes. Melt white chocolate, again in 20 second intervals. Don’t be hasty–white chocolate burns easily. When white chocolate has liquefied, stir in cake mix until smooth and let sit for three minutes. Remove the baking sheet with frozen chocolate from freezer and pour white chocolate mixture on top. Smooth with a spatula and immediately cover with sprinkles. Freeze for 20 more minutes.
Remove sheet from the freezer and break bark into chunks. Try not to eat it all at once! Keep refrigerated or in a cool place until ready to serve.
Recipe: How Sweet It Is via Sweetapolita
Author, speaker, and teacher, Rosie Molinary, empowers women to embrace their authentic selves so they can live their passion and purpose and give their gifts to the world. The author of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self Acceptance and Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina, she teaches body image at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and facilitates transformative workshops and retreats for women. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
“What is self-acceptance?” I often ask towards the beginning of my 10 Truths for Your Self-Acceptance Journey talk.
“Self-love!” People often shout back.
And while self-love might be one’s expression of her self-acceptance, I think of self-acceptance as a little different from self-love.
Imagine for a moment a line: a continuum from self-hate to self-love if you will. With self-hate being the furthest point to the left and self-love being the furthest point to the right (for this example). I like to think of self-acceptance as neatly residing between them—a position of neutrality about the self—a place where one understands that she has worth and power and dignity simply because she exists.
For some people, the concept of self-love is terribly uncomfortable for a litany of reasons: upbringing, faith, temperament, ideas around language, etc. What they imagine it to be makes them uncomfortable. So having self-love be the ideal destination feels too uncomfortable and, thus, they avoid it, choosing over and over again a relationship with the self that looks like the opposite of self-love, lest anyone think they are self-impressed or arrogant or anything else.
“I don’t want to be a narcissist,” people have said to me.
But I would argue that narcissism is not the polar opposite of self-hate but just a reinterpretation of it. Now, imagine the continuum of how we feel about ourselves is no longer a line but a circle. If self-hate is just north of due west on a compass, then narcissism, I believe, is just south of due west. Narcissism is the result of someone trying to reconcile her self-hate but using the wrong tools and truths to get herself there. We might think that what she has is self-love run amok but what she actually has is the other side of the self-hate coin.
Let me be clear that I do not think that practicing and embracing self-love is being self-impressed or arrogant. But I do understand that sometimes semantics can keep us away from a practice that might be good for us and so I yearn for a way to make a positive, healthy relationship with the self-accessible to everyone so that we all might be able to embrace a healthier way of relating to the self. Given that, I focus my energy on encouraging self-acceptance.
Imagine self-acceptance as operating from a position of neutrality. Those who practice self-acceptance understand that their worth is not earned. They are not bad or ruined, they are not perfect or faultless. They are not fundamentally wrong because of their history or talents or physical body. In fact, they are fundamentally right because they exist, because they, just like every other person, was put here on purpose. Ultimately, they chose to recognize their humanity just as they recognize and respect the humanity of others. They live in honor of the whole self. Difficult experiences aren’t mistakes or screw ups, they are just information that provide an opportunity for growth.
Once, after the local newspaper covered all natural day in my class, a reader sent a letter to the Editor to protest that such a class was being taught and funded by tax dollars. We’re creating narcissistic young people who have no marketable skills with dumb classes like this, the writer basically said.
I’ve had a varied career, doing work that I felt really mattered, and this body image work is some of the most important work I’ve ever done. But it is not important because my students can look in the mirror at the end of the semester and like what they see. Contrary to what some might believe, the accomplishment at the end of the semester isn’t that a smattering of young people get such inflated egos from feeling so much better about themselves that they lose all perspective. The real accomplishment at the end of the semester is that my students leave the class no longer paralyzed about how they feel about themselves, with a sense of empowerment about what they have to offer, and with an invigorated perspective so that they can go out and do work that they feel really matters to them and the world. That it is not our bodies that we have to offer, but our souls (yet, treating our bodies in a way that allows us to live our mission is imperative) is the most essential self-acceptance lesson I teach.
I believe that we are here on purpose. That we are each part of a solution that this world needs. If we are consumed by our bodies, then we are taking valuable time away from the work we are meant to be doing in this world and the gifts we are meant to be giving to this world, from our purpose.
Yes, I think every one of us has not just the right but the responsibility to respect the vessel that carries us through life. Yes, I think that other people’s standards- whether we are talking about our mom or the media- should not factor into our awareness of our worth. Yes, I think that how we see ourselves fundamentally needs to change. But I do not think these things because what we see in the mirror is important. I think these things because too much else is important and we have over-prioritized our reflection.
What if you nothing you did was fundamentally bad? That doesn’t mean there is nothing to learn from or no room for growth, just that you do not deserve berating for things turning out differently than what you had hoped. You deserve to pay attention and to gather the information that will help you grow. What if you could look at the things that turn out the way you had hoped with a sense of satisfaction and an eye towards what growth they, too, offer you? Self-acceptance is waiting for you.
Crystal Hammon is a vintage fashion enthusiast who blogs at Dressed Her Days Vintage. When she isn’t working as a writer, she teaches yoga, plays golf, sews and reads. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Diana Vreeland wore white on the day of her husband’s funeral. For a woman whose daily uniform was a pair of black trousers and a black cashmere sweater, you have to marvel at the way she switched things up. When black would have been the obvious choice, she surprised everyone by wearing a color that celebrated their life together. Besides her wild imagination and colorful language, Vreeland was known for taking hours to get ready. Every detail was perfect. Her nails were always perfectly manicured and she was passionate about accessories.
Here are five inspirations you can take from one of the most iconic fashion editors of all time, Diana Vreeland.
- Find your most unique personal trait and play it to the hilt. From the time she was a girl, Vreeland was told she was homely. She took all of that and turned it on its ear, accentuating the very features that defined her as such. She did the same thing with models, looking for the interesting and unconventional. Are your eyes set too close? Is your nose crooked? Display it prominently! That goes for your personality, too.
- Have standards. Vreeland didn’t suffer fools gladly. Nevertheless, people ended up loving her despite her uncompromising attitude. She was absolutely committed to her vision of a fantastic world. Readers were drawn to that fantasy. Creating that vision was part of her mission in life and she had standards that corresponded with it. What’s your mission? Write it down and live it like no one else can.
- Don’t try to fit in. Be different. Even Vreeland’s children said they often wished for a mother who was like everyone else’s. If she felt like expressing something, she spoke her mind. She didn’t stifle herself just to placate others. When other magazines were teaching women how to bake cakes, Vreeland veered in a direction that was more interesting to her. Women joined her. Not everyone is born with the same gifts. You have a right to be exactly who you are, regardless of who likes it and who doesn’t. That principle applies to everything from style to thought.
- Never let ‘em see you sweat. Whenever her emotions got the best of her, for the most part, Vreeland kept them to herself. Only a few people ever saw her cry. That put a hefty veil of armor between her and the rest of the world. It gave her plenty of protection from people who wanted to unseat her. As far as the rest of the world knows, you should be fearless.
- Always give the man in your life your very best. Vreeland said that she was always a little shy of her husband. After decades of marriage, her pulse quickened when she heard his footsteps on the stair. (After seeing photographs of him, I can see why.) No doubt her shyness created a layer of mystique between the two of them during their long marriage. There’s nothing wrong with intimacy, but if your mate knows everything about you, it’s possible you’re over-sharing. Remember the beginnings of your relationship? You may have wondered if you were quite good enough to attract his interest. Have a striving mentality that drives your relationship and your appearance every day.
Speaking of white… I love wearing white in the winter. Here are three of my favorite winter whites. 1) A vintage beaded sweater from the 1950s 2) My wedding shoes. I still wear ‘em! 3) A sweater my husband’s grandmother made. My mother-in-law gave it to me as a gift. 4) Her personalized tag inside the sweater.
What’s your favorite way to wear white during the winter months? What’s your best resource for planning a personal mission statement?
It’s all about YOUsday!
You’re pretty special and there should be day that’s all about You!
So from this day forward, we are declaring every Tuesday as YOUsday.
YOUsday’s will feature fabulous One Day Only sales, so stay tuned for all the YOUsday fun.
And don’t feel guilty…there’s 6 other days in the week for everyone else
What brushes off a bad case of wintery blues better than a spicy, holiday red?
Fashion writer, vintage lover, and Karina Dresses enthusiast, Crystal Hammon, shows off her holiday spirit in her 3/4 sleeve Marisa in a seasonally warming hue of holly berry.
Contemporary yes, but a Karina dress mixes so well with vintage elements. Says Crystal: “This crimson Marisa was a wonderful match for a double-breasted, vintage jacket I’ve had forever. The sparkly buttons add jazz in just the right places. I like vintage jackets because they are usually made of substantial fabrics that last. And I love the way my Marissa enhances my figure. I’ve never found a dress that made me look like I had more on top.”
Well, we think the cherry on top is her gorgeous smile, the perfect accessory for any style of Karina!