Traveling to The Ivory Coast (La Côte d'Ivoire)

I am going back home. In exactly three days, I will be hopping on a plane with my sister Laurinda and will be headed to Abidjan, Ivory Coast - my birth place. This trip has been long overdue. But they say, everything has its timing and I believe it to be unequivocally true. For years, I kept telling myself to wait until things would align correctly { business, lifestyle, finances etc…} - it’s as if I was waiting to have all these things figured out to give myself permission. It’s safe to say that some things I’ve figured out in my 20s + early 30s. And those things weren’t even on the list of things to figure out - and yet they’ve brought me here to this point. And where I stand now, it has never been more clear that the choice I am making today might just expand my world in ways I cannot even begin to comprehend.

When I am asked if this is a vacation, I feel a pang in my heart because going back home shouldn’t be considered a vacation nor a luxury, it should be the norm. I want it to be the norm for me. I want it to be the norm for my family. How can something be the norm or a way of life if a concerted effort or choice to make it be that way isn’t acted on? Same goes with a dream idea - nothing will move in that direction if small formative steps aren’t taken to make it flourish.

Does this all make sense? It made sense to me. Most importantly it made sense to my loving husband + partner. His support of the vision (since day one) and perspectives on success and the long game have served as daily reminders and propellers for adapting a risk-taking attitude with patience. I couldn’t be more proud and thankful for the life he and I are slowly building together for our family. Lastly, this made sense to my support system, my tribe + The Branding Edit team.

 So as I travel to re-acquaint with and ground parts of myself, revive old friendships and create new + meaningful connections, I hope to share my experiences in a visual format that is thoughtful and in alignment with my truth, my story and my creativity, while taking in account the truths and stories of the people I will be with as well. This might be a #StyleStop #globaledition in the making…It’s an exciting time and I sincerely hope that you stick around (If you're new to my blog/website (first off, welcome!), you can follow me on Instagram and see what I'm up to). 

Cheers! 

~ Olivia

My 2017 Fall Trend Favorites

Can you feel Fall in the air? 

Are you as excited as we are about Fall style? 

Eh, maybe you are, maybe you aren't. I don't blame you. It's not an easy task letting go of warm weather and longer days. I am a real nostalgic when it comes to summer - always have been. 

But what if, rather than focusing on what we are losing, we focused on all the new memories we are about to create, moments we are about to experience, and things we are about to gain with the new season?

To me, a new season brings its own set of trends and tendencies, so I like to open myself wide for new inspiration and new work to come and sweep me off my feet. I also know that it's time to make the last months of the year count. 

Giving new life to last year's coats/jackets/boots and adding new seasonal items to my wardrobe is my way of embracing the new season with purpose, intention and fierceness. It's also my way of inviting all the awesome things the Universe has in store for me. When I feel great, I act on my goals more easily and more decisively. 

I invite you to find inspiration in places you've never looked before. Be creative. Be thoughtful. Let your intuition + feelings be your driver. Seek those feel-good moments + experiences that entice your inner being to be greater than what you tell yourself. Give your authentic-self the opportunity to inspire + be inspired.

With that said, here are the trends of Fall 2017 I am looking forward to the most!

1. 70s Plaid {  J. Crew  }  2. Wide Belts {  Topshop  } 3. Fiery Red {  Farrow  } 4. Statement Earrings {  SHASHI  } 5. Fishnet {  Topshop  } 6. Mid-length Skirts {  Farrow  } 7. Everything Velvet {  Alice + Olivia  } 8. Chocolate Brown {  MAC  in Film Noir } 9. Victorian Collar Shirts {  Citizens of Humanity  } 10. Vintage Florals {  Farrow  } 11. Sleek Backpacks {  Skagen  } 12. Sock Boots {  Topshop  } 13. Vintage Fur {  Miss Selfridge } 

1. 70s Plaid { J. Crew } 
2. Wide Belts { Topshop }
3. Fiery Red { Farrow }
4. Statement Earrings { SHASHI }
5. Fishnet { Topshop }
6. Mid-length Skirts { Farrow }
7. Everything Velvet { Alice + Olivia }
8. Chocolate Brown { MAC in Film Noir }
9. Victorian Collar Shirts { Citizens of Humanity }
10. Vintage Florals { Farrow }
11. Sleek Backpacks { Skagen }
12. Sock Boots { Topshop }
13. Vintage Fur { Miss Selfridge

Experiencing PVD Fest 2017 in Style

Last Saturday, I had the amazing opportunity to share my experience of the PVD Festival on The Dean Hotel's Instagram, along with talented creatives. 

The photos (below) were taken by my best friend and photographer Brittanny Taylor, in The Dean Hotel's lot, where locals and visitors got to enjoy sounds of music, art installations by Kelly C. Knapp, pop-up shops by local sellers and designers such as Wanderluxe, and most importantly food + drinks stations! 

To celebrate the festivities, I wore this gorgeous kimono from The Vault Collective RI, over a pair of white jeans from Calico and a black bodysuit, with earrings from Queen of Hearts & Modern Love

I wanted my look to feel vibrant and cool without losing the comfort factor and this look did that and so much more. It added sweet movement to my very tight/skinny jeans, and not only did I end up walking a lot that day, I also danced all night long. 

Our City of Providence is such a gem! It was a true privilege to take part in the experience through the Dean Hotel's platform. Without wanting to rush time or anything, I am really looking forward to PVD Fest 2018 and to meeting old and new friends, neighbors and strangers who all make this gigantic event extra special. 

You may check out the PVD Fest FB page here to view more photos by Brittanny Taylor. 

Style Stop with Loren Hope - Interview Recap

Before Designer Loren Barham and I were introduced during the Bloggers' RI jewelry tours last spring, I was a fan of her jewelry company Loren Hope and had been watching from afar. What had instantly drawn me to her work was her vibrant 2016 Spring/Summer collection, which had been beautifully styled and photographed in Hawaii.

Each of LH designs makes a statement without intimidating or being pretentious, and because of these characteristics, they are versatile and can be worn for all sorts of occasions, from casual brunch with the in-laws to cocktail hour with the girlfriends. 

Credits: Loren Hope

Credits: Loren Hope

Credits: Loren Hope

Credits: Loren Hope

Truly, I found it impossible not to fall in love with Loren Barham's designs, including how her love story with jewelry began and how it is influencing her business approach. 

From letting her creativity go wild as a child by reassembling old baubles in her grandmother's thrift shop, to her strong desire to reignite Providence's long forgotten title of "Jewelry Capital of the World", it is clear that Loren Barham is on to something precious. Parts used for Loren Hope's luxury level costume jewelry originate 100% from local partnerships. Truly - it does not get any better than this, especially for the Shop Small Shop Local, fashion-inclined fans - like me. 

When asked about her inspiration behind a collection and where it comes from, Loren Barham said to have always been drawn to nature, art, and architecture from the art deco period. 

Loren Hope has been featured in ELLE, Vogue, InStyle, Real Simple, The Zoe Report, Glitter Guide, Lucky Magazine, Southern Living, Redbook, Refinery 29...the list goes on.  To add one achievement on top of another, LH's biggest highlight in 2016 was their new partnership with giant retailer Nordstrom, which now carries their pieces both in stores and online. 

I invite you to watch our full interview to get better acquainted with this North-Carolinian-turned-Rhode-Islander designer, who is making waves in our little state and beyond!  Pieces featured in the video can be found below.

Aya Lariat in Crystal

Aya Lariat in Crystal

Style Stops with OR are FB live video series, where we interview designers and shop owners in their studios/boutiques, showcase their work and their designs, and get to talk style and their most coveted pieces. Follow our Style Stops on Facebook!

 

 

She So Stylish: Patsy Culp, Founder & Experience Designer of And Celebrate

A few weeks ago I wrote a mini-post, a.k.a long caption, on my Instagram feed to accompany a photo of friend and client, Patsy Culp, and it read...

"One of my favorite times to work with clients is when they're in the middle of a branding/re-branding phase. There is excitement;  positive emotions are running high {They have nailed down their color palettes for their website and marketing with the graphic designer...Everything is in motion etc}. Often all of that preliminary work leads clients to ask themselves an even greater, deeper question: "How does my personal style represent my business brand and new direction?" Which makes total sense, right! Because authenticity, alignment, and cohesiveness do matter across all the various parts of this phase. What's even more fun is clients generally have a pretty good idea of what they are leaving behind, and are fully ready to refine the role of best brand ambassador for their business. I mean...that is who they are at the end of the day. It is a transformative phase and I get to play a teeny tiny role in making sure that the vision materializes as a whole. Projects such as this one with friend + client Patsy Culp, and @brittanny made me feel excited about @andcelebrate's next chapter. This shot is one of my favorites from our photoshoot back in August. It conveys how I want to wake up and feel every morning, and every day...Laughing and celebrating like Ms. Patsy Culp."

And I meant every word, especially the last sentence!  This entrepreneur talks the talk and walks the walk. Her business And Celebrate helps entrepreneurs create meaning and impact through extraordinary event experiences. Patsy also encourages daily celebrations of family + friends, big milestones, as well as small accomplishments (such as devoting time for self-care/wellness or hobby)! And because i've known Patsy for a few years now, i can tell you that the latter is always the hardest thing to recognize and celebrate, because it forces me to be in the present, and not only to be okay with the Now, but celebrate what Now is currently offering.

I mean...What a gem of an entrepreneur, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with her on her personal style and be part of her re-branding process. 

And Celebrate's website re-launch will happen very soon...In the meantime, check out some of my favorite pictures from Patsy's photoshoot with photographer Brittanny Taylor.

Celebrating Mother's Day

My sisters and I adore our mother! We are each other's support system; and couldn't imagine our lives without her. She is a wonderful grand-mother; and because of her motherly love and fierce dedication, my business gets to thrive as well. 

Joyeuse Fête des Mères! Happy Mother's Day, Mom! We love you!

Thanks to my darling friend, photographer Brittanny Taylor, for capturing our essence and closeness! When we're together, it's always a party filled with laughter, and never without playful sibling rivalry. 

Photography: Brittanny Taylor

Shoe Crush Tuesday: Ivanka Trump Dalinda Canvas Wedge Sandals

Bringing you one of Neiman Marcus' s last calls! These denim color block babies, originally priced at $110, are now $53.40! I KNOW!  

Highly compatible with weekend brunch or dinner al fresco, these wedges are simply a non-fussy, summer classic, and will pair well with practically everything

Find them here.

What to Wear to a Fourth of July Cookout

My experience with going to a family outdoor party with my family has taught me a few things:

1. To pack one or two set (s) of clothes, shoes, and wipes because there will be a LOT of spilling happening with our toddler. We also like to pack a few extra balls and toys that E. can play with, just in case. 

2. To keep 1 or 2 beach chair (s) and an outdoor blanket in the trunk of my car. Often the party hosts will advise guests to do so, or sometimes they simply run out of chairs. My philosophy regardless is that it is summer after all and who knows when spontaneity will strike for a last minute visit to the beach or park with the family.

3. As vegetarians, our eating lifestyle is mostly comprised of seafood, veggies, fruits, and dairy. Therefore we have to assume the grill will be populated with everything meat except vegan burgers, so we prep our own little grill box. It consists of large portabella mushroom (to be grilled) or avocados to serve as delicious toppings for our WF veggie patties, with slices of tomatoes and lettuce. Sometimes when we feel creative, we'll prep a few veggie shish kabobs as a side dish. Everything to make our time as enjoyable as possible! 

4. You knew this was coming…and it's putting the chic back into comfortable and laid-back! With the fourth of July theme-infused selections below, we are opting for basics with a fun denim mix. How amazing is the denim playsuit!

5. Most importantly to remember to splash on some SPF sunscreen for protection and pack a kid-friendly mosquito repellent before you and your family head out! 

Happy Independence Day! 

Necklace: BaubleBar

Basic white tee: Uniqlo

Denim Shorts: Madewell

Gladiators: Aldo

American Flag Scarf: Forever 21

Aviators: Tory Burch

Striped Tee: Theory

Denim Skirt: J. Crew

Romper: Topshop

Jersey Dress: H&M

Leather Sandals: H&M

Collar Necklace: White House Black Market

Sunglasses: Ray Ban

Sneakers: Converse

Fringe Bag: Steve Madden

 

Client Spotlight

Danielle Thompson

Real Estate Agent

What prompted the desire to secure service?

I had been introduced to you (Olivia) through the Lady Project and I was looking for updated professional pictures. I felt that I didn't want to spend all this money on photos and then not look the way that I would want to present myself. Shopping is also quite overwhelming to me when you need something specific. It was wonderful for someone to know what works for your body and to know the stores and know what to get what you need.

What does style mean in your every day life?

Style for me is an extension of your personality. Although I am not a super "trendy" person I like people to get to know me through what I am wearing. It sometimes means me in work out clothes because I love to be active OR my own version of business casual.

How has your style evolved?

Oh my goodness, we may not even have enough room on your blog for this question. I struggled with dressing for work/professionally for years because I hated business casual. I felt comfortable on both extreme spectrums of super casual and really dressy but not in the middle. I would buy the outfits because I thought that was what I was supposed to wear and I always felt uncomfortable and awkward. Now I have learned to wear what makes me feel comfortable and how to express myself. I have learned that I would rather buyer fewer things that have better quality, than many things that are less expensive.  I also learned that you can plan out your wardrobe and that there really are different clothes that look different on different body types. I think that this didn't seem to make sense to me for a long time. although it may seem obvious to others.

What do you love most about you, your career, and your life?

I love that I am  genuine and honest. Most people tell me that they appreciate that about me and I feel that I have this wonderful opportunity to connect with people on a deeper level. What I love most about my career is being able to help people everyday. I get to help educate and get to move people forward in their lives whatever that may look like. Maybe they are downsizing and need to sell their home because their kids left for college, maybe they are buying a home for the first time, maybe they are moving for a new job or a have a new baby.

It is a very personal thing that I get to be a part of. From the business aspect, every transaction is different and I get to problem solve every day and help people reach their goals. I love going down to DC to lobby for issues that may affect homeownership. In fact I am going to DC next week! It has taken me awhile but I finally love my hourglass shape. I remember my grandmother always telling me that when I get older I will love it. She was right!

Gosh, I am so lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful people in personal and professional life. It makes you feel like you can do anything!

Do you have a style icon? If yes, who and why?

I would say right now Kate Middleton. I love her clean contemporary style. Very timeless. I like the timeless look.

Photography by Brittanny Taylor Photography

2015 Lady Project Summit Office Suits Workshop {Part 1}

April was a month chock-full of meetings, networking, presenting, writing, and of course styling! I was one of the lucky workshop leaders at the 2015 Lady Project Summit, which is a one-day conference of professional workshops and networking opportunities right in the heart of Providence, Rhode Island. 

Great fun facts about the LP Summit:

1. It has been featured in Lucky Magazine, EntrepreneurBUST MagazineRI Monthly, Providence Business NewsProvidence JournalThe Rhode Show and more

2. Past speakers have included Meredith Walker (co-founder of Amy Poehler's Smart Girls), Debbie Stoller (Editor-in-Chief of BUST Magazine), Tammy Tibbetts (president of She's the First) and Olympian Michelle Kwan. 

This year's Lady Project Summit brought in over 250 women from all over the country including Lady Project chapters in ProvidenceBostonNew HavenNashuaNew York CityWashington DC and Seattle. As a first-time presenter, I was honored to be there and share my love for styling with this inspiring group of women professionals, entrepreneurs, and go-getters. 

My "Office Suit 2.0" workshop was designed to do away with the boredom of traditional suits, and to embrace the modern styles of blazers while incorporating bold colors and fun prints in accord with various body shapes. Of course, a mini-fashion show was de rigueur! (For details on the outfits, please scroll to bottom of post.)

Jack + Cookie, one of my workshop sponsors, provided beautifully hand made handbags. Check out their amazing inventory here!

Jewelry sponsors were: Domain Designs and Luniac Glamour

Outfit deets, from left to right:

1. Emma (Athletic shape) is wearing a tangerine suit: ZARA long vest & matching pants.

2. Marlene (Apple shape) is wearing an Ann Taylor navy blazer, chambray shirttweed pencil skirt (similar). 

3. Leni (Hourglass shape) is wearing a ZARA red crepe jacket, Ann Taylor polka dot blouse, ZARA checked trousers

4. Keri (Rectangle shape) is wearing a ZARA belted peplum blazer, an Ann Taylor tee in mint & floral eyelet pencil skirt

5. Rocio (Diamond shape) is wearing a Nine West black and white with pink trim jacket, and a Fashion to Figure green flutter sleeve dress (similar).

Makeup artist for the day was Angelica Andujar.

Stay tuned…In my next post, I share and answer burning questions that were posed throughout the workshop in regards to style, shape, and comfort.