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

Summer Sales to Shop Now

Right now is a magical time. And by magical time – I mean this is the perfect time to shop your favorite styles and start squirreling away for the fall season. 

With that said, I mean it when I say – do not fall into the temptation of the beautiful Fall collections you’re about to see drop. Have you seen Zara’s yet?! If you haven’t, stay awaaaayyy. Gah. My team and I took a peek…uh…for inspiration of course (gulp) and I can tell you that the vibrant autumn colors, the shapes, the dresses, the boots are bound to make you melt – not of heat – but of envy. Which can quickly turn into “Hell! I’m just gonna buy it!”.... and then you see the waiting lists, oy.

I tell you – it’s madness out there and you don’t have to participate in it…yet. Hear me out.
 
Summer sales are happening pretty much everywhere (I’m sure your inbox is being bombarded right now as we speak which can be quite overwhelming), so my shopping advice is simple:
 
Look for items that you can wear for the rest of the summer and that will easily transition into the fall season. For instance, if you see a dress or a jumpsuit that fancies your little heart, can you envision it with boots and a cool leather jacket/blazer, or could you wear it over a button-down blouse or a light turtleneck sweater. And if your wallet allows it, stock up on closet essentials like plain tees, shirts and jeans.  
 
Also a lot of these online shops still have a sales section for last year’s inventory – as a matter of fact, that category may just be final sales because they are looking to rid off these items. 

Never let the Outerwear/Knitwear/Boots sale sections go unbrowsed…it’s a gold mine! Just make sure you feel good about the sizing and that you do love what you’re buying and actually plan to wear it, because final sale is…well…final. 
 
So I thought we’d give you a head start - Check out the links to these amazing sales below and start building that Fall wardrobe with intention, darling!

1. Striped Apron Dress:  Thomas Mason for J. Crew  2. Pom Pom Hem Straight Leg Jeans:  Topshop  3. Satin Mules:  Sam Edelman  4. Zipped Biker Jacket:  Mango  5. Infinity Crystal Earrings:  Anthropologie  6. Knot Tie Slinky Midi Dress:  Topshop  7. Ruffle Jumpsuit:  Need Supply   Also check out these other amazing sales going on now:    Need Supply  - up to 70% off  Loft  - Extra 50% off sale items  Zara  - Starting at 50% off  Anthropologie  - Extra 40% off sale items  J. Crew  - Extra 40% off sale items ; 50% off final sale items  Ann Taylor  - Semi Annual Sale;  up to 70% off  Mango  - from 50 - 70% off everything  Topshop  - 50% off  Aldo Shoes  - 50% off shoes and hand bags  GAP  - up to 50% off everything

1. Striped Apron Dress: Thomas Mason for J. Crew
2. Pom Pom Hem Straight Leg Jeans: Topshop
3. Satin Mules: Sam Edelman
4. Zipped Biker Jacket: Mango
5. Infinity Crystal Earrings: Anthropologie
6. Knot Tie Slinky Midi Dress: Topshop
7. Ruffle Jumpsuit: Need Supply

Also check out these other amazing sales going on now: 

Need Supply - up to 70% off
Loft - Extra 50% off sale items
Zara - Starting at 50% off
Anthropologie - Extra 40% off sale items
J. Crew - Extra 40% off sale items ; 50% off final sale items
Ann Taylor - Semi Annual Sale;  up to 70% off
Mango - from 50 - 70% off everything
Topshop - 50% off
Aldo Shoes - 50% off shoes and hand bags
GAP - up to 50% off everything

Fashion Shoot in Middletown, RI

LOCATION: Newport Aviation 

TEAM: Photography: Peoneemoull Pech | Model: Hailey Carlson | Hair Stylist: Tara Siani | MUA: Joanna Vongphoumy | Wardrobe Stylist: Olivia Rodrigues, Assistant: Ashley Holmes

Brands details are below! 

Look # 1: Button-down Shirt by CK Bradley, available at Dorothy Williams RI | Pants by La Marque, available at Dorothy Williams RI | Handbag by Daniella Lehavi, available at Dorothy Williams RI, Earrings + sunglasses from Queen of Hearts & Modern Love

Look #2: Silk Dress by Elizabeth and James, available at Dorothy Williams | Faux Fur Jacket, available at Maison DNA | Earrings by Loren Hope, available at Loren Hope.

Look #3: Sweater Dress by Frame, available at Dorothy Williams RI | Vintage Belt from Neiman Marcus | Earrings + sunglasses from Queen of Hearts & Modern Love

Look #4: Dress available at Maison DNA | Earrings available at Queen of Hearts & Modern Love

The Lady Project 2017 Summer Gift Guide

The Lady Project 2017 Summer Gift Guide is out and I am happy to be able to finally share photos from the editorial photoshoot. 

The Lady Project is an economic development non profit and membership organization that connects, inspires and showcases awesome women doing amazing things through membership, events and community engagement. The organization publishes an online gift guide twice a year, that features a wide variety of products and articles submitted by its very own members. 

This is my fourth year contributing to the guide as the editorial stylist; working alongside photographer and LP staff member Brittanny Taylor

Credits for this photoshoot go to Brittanny Taylor (Photography), Simony Resende (Hair and Makeup), Anthropologie Rhode Island (retail partner), and our models, Mia Rose Andreoli, Stephanie Gonzalez, Catherine Kwolek and Colleen Rossignol.

Five Ways to Style A Bomber Jacket

My newest Youtube video featured the floral bomber jacket from the Who What Wear Collection, and jewelry from Above/Below

Video production by Brittanny Taylor

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.

Touring Rhode Island Jewelry Landscape

A few months ago I joined my friends Brittanny Taylor of Brittanny Taylor Photography, Patsy Culp of AndCelebrate, and other bloggers to meet and talk with jewelry designers working right here in the state of Rhode Island.

The #RIJewels tour was part of an initiative led by Visit Rhode Island to connect influencers and bloggers to industry leaders and experts to broaden the visibility and exposure of the talent within our little state.

The tour kicked off with a coffee + pastries breakfast meet & greet with three designers: Meghan Devinat of Duo & Duet, Loren Barham of Loren Hope, and Nicole Romano of Nicole Romano. 

Duo & Duet

Duo & Duet was born out of a couple's mutual passion for designing and creating. Made from ultrasuede (which is often described as an artificial substitute for suede leather), their pieces are delicate and whimsical, and push the traditional belief of what accessorizing means in this day and age, particularly for the ready-to-wear art lover and/or fashion aficionado! 

I, for one, appreciate thoughtfully-made accessories because i know the quality will be up to par. Amidst all the pretty shapes and ruffles, my eyes were set on the red wing-shaped earrings (below), and I couldn't help myself but visualize pairing them with a LWD. How ever you choose to wear your Duo & Duet item, my advice would be to let it be the statement piece it is meant to be by opting for a minimalist outfit. If you'd rather stick to your glitzy side, commit to making your Duo & Duet piece proud by going in 100% from head to toe!

Loren Hope

Aaaah the joy of finally meeting in person Loren Barham, Founder and Designer of Loren Hope! Her business is one of Rhode Island hidden gems from my perspective. I adore the way she injects visual flavor and vibrancy into her pieces --- I mean... see for yourself

There is a piece for every taste, and every style. If you prefer your necklaces to have that WOW factor, opt for something like the one below. Or...

You may select a more subtle piece like the Eden Y Necklace or one of her popular Sarra cuffs (as seen below). 

Nicole Romano

Recently I was at a partner shop, pulling pieces for a client's upcoming branding photoshoot. As I was making my jewelry selections and placing the earrings, bracelets, and necklaces on the counter, the boutique owner began to log the items on a sheet of paper.  Then she turned to me and said: "All great selections! You know all of these are from designer Nicole Romano, right?" And my reply: "Ha! I had not idea but I am not surprised at all! I love her stuff so it's natural attraction."

Nicole Romano's pieces are not conversation starters; they are conversation dominators. They are bold and fierce, and one thing's for sure...they are not for the timid-don't-want-to-be-noticed type. I dream of wearing these pieces with a sweet body-con dress and a killer leather jacket. That's how much of an impact they've made on me. 

Kiel James Patrick Factory

I remember the collective "OOOOHHH" and "AAAAHHH" from the tour group as we entered the offices of Kiel James Patrick (also known as KJP). If you are familiar with the brand, the nautical ambiance and feel of the interior design will then come as no surprise! The New England ocean-inspired vibes are strong and yet feel breezy...relaxed even. As a lover of RI waters myself, I am in awe at the commitment, passion, and thoughtfulness that the company and brand exude.

Our group's conversation with KJP and his team was intimate. He spoke genuinely and openly about how it all began; the influence of social media in terms of global connections; and shared moving anecdotes. His fiancée, Sarah Vickers of the popular blog, Classy Girls Wear Pearls, also made an appearance as she was wrapping up an interview in the next room. It was nearly impossible to leave the factory without feeling inspired! 

Jessica Ricci Jewelry

I have told myself that in my next life, I will be a jewelry designer and travel to beautiful places all around the world, in search of gorgeous, unique stones and beads, just like Designer Jessica Ricci. Seriously. 

Every piece made by Jessica Ricci has a story. And it's personal and meaningful; and you will find yourself connecting to those human emotions. I, for one, could relate to the free-spirit element reflected in her pieces as I am in constant search for experiences that bring personal fulfillment, cater to my desire of creative freedom, and nurture my love for cultures. Jessica Ricci's pieces are inspired by her travels to various corners of the world - such as Mumbai, Nepal, Paris. Just the thought of me walking into a bazaar in one of those places make my stylish heart melt. I am not kidding - I will melt! 

Definitely check out her pieces, and when you do pick out a little treasure for you, know that you will have my stylist approval - 100 percent! 

Providence Jewelry Museum

The Providence Jewelry Museum was our last stop and brought everything full circle. I appreciated this visit immensely because it provided historical context to the jewelry industry in Rhode Island, and emphasized the crucial role it played in past years (and still plays now).

The good news is anyone can tour the museum. The staff is welcoming and encourages everyone to call and inquire about scheduling a visit. It is certainly a great way to get to know a part of Rhode Island history - you will not be disappointed

And then there was...the goodie bag with pieces from Kiel James Patrick and Lemon & Line

As always, thank you for visiting our blog! 

~Olivia