She So Stylish Feature: Romina Ramos Doing Meaningful Work Abroad In Style

There are many, many women out there doing important work in various places of the world, and most of the time they're out of the spotlight because 1. They prefer to remain free of outside validation of their purpose and their life choices, and 2. Capturing every second of their lives on social media (to show how amazing their lives are) isn't simply their thing. The fact that they alone know it to be true is the only authenticity they want/need.  

These women are freelancers, advocates, ambassadors...they are underground leaders making environmental impact one healthy turtle at a time, and are doing all of that while creating their own narratives. I mean...how inspirational, right! 

Last December I had a wonderful time working with one of these smart + driven women, Romina, as her personal shopper + stylist. If you're a frequent visitor of my blog, you may have noticed that sharing my client's stories is one of my favorite things to do. And this one is definitely worth reading...

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Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your work with turtles and the organization?

I work with endangered leatherback sea turtles in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. This year marks my third season with the project team at Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge. I patrol a beautiful beach from evening to sunrise to collect scientific data from nesting female turtles. The work is intensive and fun if you like wildlife and aesthetic views. 

Q: What prompted your desire to work abroad? 

Since middle school, I've had an obsession with maps. My favorite class was geography and I told myself that I would discover other countries one day, because I wanted to see how different cultures live day by day. Being American and growing up in a Cabo-Verdean household, I'm naturally drawn to the island life, natural foods, sleepy towns, and beaches.

Q: When you came to me, you were very intentional and decisive about where your personal style was going, can you talk about your style evolution and why this was important to you?

In St. Croix, I travel and work outdoors so a lot of my clothes are basic jeans, shorts and tees with a few nice pieces for outings. Because I'm active, I look younger than my actual age. I was particular about upgrading my wardrobe because I wanted to learn how to dress for my age and body type. There's a different response you get from people when you are and look 26 as opposed to when you look 18. I'm at a time in my life where I'm building on my ideas and networking, so investing in a fresh, new wardrobe seemed right. 

The right outfit for me has to say outgoing and authentic because I'm very grounded to my roots. I'm surrounded by tropical plants, fruit trees, farm animals, and the ocean, very similar to Cabo-Verde (where my family is from). I realized that's where I'm the most happy. For my style evolution, I wanted to play with ocean and desert colors because I'm very attracted to those environments where I live and work in. It's amazing how adding a few essentials such as dressy pants, cute blouses, simple and elegant dresses and jumpsuits can really transform how you feel and carry yourself. 

When I returned to the U.S. for the holidays, I had a budget in mind and knew I needed to stock up on basics and invest in pieces to last me all year long. It made sense to work with you because 1. I needed styling expertise, and 2. My one-week stay was going to be limiting and it was crucial for me to spend most of this precious time with my Rhode Island family, rather than in stores.

Q: What do you like about your wardrobe now? 

It's speaks feminine and maturity! 

Q: What is your favorite thing to do in StCroix on your off time? Your favorite food?

My favorite thing to do in St. Croix is to snorkel with my GoPro Hero4. My favorite food on the island are mangoes. I live on a lush property surrounded by the best mango trees in the west side of the island. 

Q. Do you have any advice for the nomad life seeker out there on where to begin? How to make the leap?

Always be kind to yourself and to others in all situations. Being kind and respectful pays off (especially if you are traveling). You learn to appreciate more and you will receive more. I made the leap when I quit my job, applied abroad again, and traveled on a tight budget for 8 months before I returned to St. Croix. I didn't know where I was headed, but that was okay for me because I felt confident, and I attracted this life that I am living now.  I've gone through so many challenges that I know myself a lot better now and I love that. Be fearless or else you will limit yourself.

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.

How to Nail Your Next Professional Headshot

When Business Coach, Personal Stylist, and Creator of the popular “How to Double Your Instagram Following” webinar, Hilary Rushford complimented me on my IG profile pic for its hard-to-miss pops of color (seen below), I knew I had found my formula.

{This shot was taken outside against a bright wall, which provided the perfect setting and the most appropriate backdrop color for my yellow mustard jacket, given that spring had just begun.} 

As a stylist and an entrepreneur, I want to make a powerful first impression, and it’s essential for my business and my brand that my professional headshot reflects my individual creativity and expertise in the art of styling.  Therefore the traditional approach to professional headshots doesn’t work for me because of the industry I am in. 

I also understand that not everyone is a fashion blogger, and generally, most professional headshots happen inside a studio or a small booth.  So fear not! You too can find your formula.  Here's a list of things you can do to ensure that your new headshots reflect the professional rockstar that you are.

Focus on what has always worked well for you

Your professional headshot is your opportunity to stand out and simply be you. Please do not tone it down.  That being said, it’s also wise not to try something extremely new or trendy.

Yes, it’s essential that you look professional. And yes, you want your LinkedIn profile to look flawless and be an attention-grabber to potential clients/employers, absolutely – two more very good reasons why it’s important to let your personal style radiate.

  • If you’ve always loved how red, or purple, or prints look on you – why the hell not! Do it by pairing your bold piece with a neutral color piece for good balance.
  • If statement necklaces make your heart go boom – yes, yes, yes! (Always keep in mind that balance is your friend; meaning one statement piece at a time will go a long way). 
  • Are you a vintage curator? You have an amazing pair of funky glasses that showcase your authentic personality? Darling, go for it.
  • Or … Are black, white, and grey practically your wardrobe mantra? Opting for a sleek, minimalist outfit works fine too! Perhaps you can add your favorite watch for added elegance and/or apply a soft pop of color on the lips.

Really the key is to focus on details, and not necessarily big items.  Also, remember that your top half will be the main focus because … well, your gorgeous face is what the photographer is looking to capture!

However, just because the camera focus is on your top half doesn’t mean that bottom half will get zero attention.

Your entire look should be cohesive from your hair to your shoes, because 1.) Your bottom piece or some part of it will most likely get captured at some point during close-ups, so you want to make sure it is a piece that complements the overall vibe you’re going for. 2.) Your photographer might have props on hand for full shots.

Let’s imagine for instance that you are wearing a blazer over a tunic blouse, and opted for black leggings and very comfortable pair of flats you like to wear everywhere. During your session, the photographer pulls a high chair for you to sit down (as props often help expand the options for poses and shots), so you sitting on the high chair could add elements of elegance, fierceness, and approachability. Unfortunately the leggings and super, extra comfy shoes you wore do just the opposite and might even appear a little too laid back.

Seriously … You want to love these photos and feel great when you upload them into your social media profiles, and feature them on your About page.  So give it your all and play big!

Selfie yourself up to find your unique angle(s)

Selfies have sort of gotten a bad rep, but if it weren’t for selfies, I wouldn’t have realized that the way my hair was parted would determine the angle to position myself in for a good shot. Although most of my work as a wardrobe stylist happens behind the camera, as a blogger, the lens gets turned back on me many times. And because the goddesses didn’t bless me with Kate Moss’ heavenly symmetrical face, I practiced within the (thankfully) private walls of my home quite a few times … shamelessly.

Here’s my rationale: if I am going to pay for professional photos, it matters to me that I learn my unique angles and beautiful imperfections. That way the latter will get minimum to zero camera attention.  

I can tell you that once you’ve practiced how to position your face, and which direction to move your chin towards, your posture and stand will be more assertive and will emanate an air of confidence. You won’t have to worry about how you look or all the crazy, self-doubt things we constantly tell ourselves about our bodies.

Inquire about the backdrop and color options with the photographer beforehand

This step won’t hurt your PH preparation at all. In fact you will get a better idea knowing exactly what your outfits are up against.  For example, a stark white backdrop can backfire when you show up wearing an off-white top or a pretty little white dress. Blending in is certainly not what we’re going for.

Finding out those details is certainly easier if you’ve secured the service directly with the photographer and the shoot is happening in their studio.  However, if you are going to a conference and there will be a booth for attendees to have their professional headshots taken, you may simply email them and inquire about that.

You never know; your questions might not be something they thought of, and if they want their conference guests to have an amazing experience, they might share that info including a few great tips on “How to nail your professional headshot at (Insert Name) Conference” in a mass email weeks before the big event. 

What to avoid ( because they tend to conceal or downplay rather than enhance the look) :

  • Scarves
  • Hats
  • Jean Jackets/cargo jackets { Better alternative: fitted blazer, cardigan }
  • Turtlenecks
  • Low necklines
  • Oversized sweaters
  • Tank tops
  • Neon and pastel colors can distract or look harsh
  • Clothes that appear wrinkled

And one final thought and this one’s the most important … Remember to relax and have fun! 

Photography credit: Brittanny Taylor 

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