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

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.

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 

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

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