Challenge for Today

Challenge Accepted 

Do you know someone who complains all of the time? Do you complain all of the time? Today’s challenge is a hard one, because it takes a look at our language.

My guess is that we frequently complain out of habit. Or, we are around people who complain. That language prompts us to complain (in order to participate), and suddenly we are in a vicious cycle of negativity.

Challenge About Complaining

So, let’s take note of that language. You don’t have to share the results (unless you want to!). This is a challenge that is intended to make us stop, take a breath, and understand our approach to the day.

Thoughts? Let me know below!

Challenge for Today

Challenge Accepted

When I first started Twitter I issued a daily challenge.

I did this 5 days a week for 3 years. I missed a day here and there, but for the most part it was a dedicated part of every morning. Most of the time the challenge issued was around a subject that I was working on in my own life. It was a great introduction to Twitter because it helped me meet people quickly and got me involved in excellent conversations.

Then I got burned out.

Seriously burned out. I just didn’t have it in me anymore to think of challenges!

I’ve taken a long break, but now I want to introduce it back into my social media life. Daily challenges are a way for me to be intentional about my purpose in small, bite-sized chunks.

I haven’t decided yet if I am going to blog about the daily challenge along with posting it on Twitter. Perhaps after I ease back in I can make that call. But, for today I wanted to chat about it and share it in this manner.

Challenge of the Day

I chose this as a starting point because I think people underestimate their influence over people. You can be the best part of someone’s day, and you can do it over and over again. You have that power.

If you decide to take a challenge head on tell me about it! You can comment below, or you can tweet at me here: www.twitter.com/closetcaucus 

SkyMall Files for Bankruptcy

Retail Death Watch 2015 

In my last post I started listing the number of stores that are closing / are closed. 2014 was a rough year for retail, and we are now feeling it through store closures in the beginning weeks of 2015.

SkyMall announced last week that they are dunzo. BAH! Not SkyMall! As a nervous flyer, I could always count on the ridiculousness of SkyMall to calm me down JUST a bit. Shifting through that germ-laden catalogue made me laugh. It always made me think that I, too, could become a millionaire through some bizarre invention.

Am I saying that SkyMall was the embodiment of the American dream? You would read SkyMall while flying to another destination (i.e. Manifest Destiny) and encounter products that you could purchase (consumerism) to fix an issue you didn’t even know you had! And, someone was getting rich off the entire experience (capitalism!). So, yes, SkyMall WAS the embodiment of the American Dream.

In the immortal words of Eddie Izzard, “The American dream is to be born in the gutter and have nothing. Then to raise up and have all the money in the world, and stick it in your ears and go PLBTLBTLBTLBTLBT! That’s a pretty good dream.”

Now, let’s look at some of my favorite SkyMall moments.

SkyMall Sold a Theo Huxtable Shirt 

SkyMall Files for Bankruptcy

I’m kinda loathe to make a Cosby reference these days, but let’s stay on the brighter side of things and just talk about Theo and Denise. In the episode, “A Shirt Story,” Denise promised to make Theo an exact replica of a designer shirt that he couldn’t afford. The result looked VERY close to the above picture.

SkyMall sold Theo Huxtable shirts, ya’ll.

This product was made of 10 different types of fabrics. AND they wouldn’t tell you the color / pattern before you ordered. Why, you ask? Because it was a work of art, people. Here’s sample copy (I know because I wrote it down when I took this picture):

“Because these shirts are a piece of art, the color and pattern is not revealed until the package is opened.”

and

“All shirts are a piece of art and patterns are never repeated.”

These people thought we were as dumb as a box of rocks. But SOMEBODY out there ordered this shirt because I saw it in the catalogue on multiple flights at different times. WHO BOUGHT THESE SHIRTS? I am totally, completely not into shaming people based on clothing choices. But, if you have one of these shirts in your closet, please, Boo, just hire me. You need me. I can make your life so much easier.

SkyMall Sells Other Things You Need 

SkyMall Files for Bankruptcy

This photo originally went up on my Instagram page after a particularly rocky flight to Boston. I was a ball of nerves because a) the weather was horrible b) we had to change planes due to “mechanical problems” and c) were we REALLY going to take off with the threat of ice and sleet? (Answer: yes.)

So, I kept myself busy with the SkyMall catalogue. What is this stuff, you ask? It’s gold, friends. You are looking at gold. Starting at the top:

1. Stuffed squirrel. Nothing says “welcome home” like seeing a squirrel on a wall!

2. Two words: BURRITO BABY

3. Now I know what love is animal gravestone.

4. Pierogi Christmas tree decoration.

5. Armadillo beer can holder. When you get too tired of holding your beer, let the armadillo do it!!

It’s just the end of an era, guys.

So, SkyMall goes on the Retail Death Headstone.

Retail Death Watch 2015

Fashion News!

Pop Fashion News

Here are a few big fashion news stories from last week! (Want to listen? Just push play!)

 

Pop Fashion Podcast PhotoFashion Hot Topics 

Nasty Gal’s Founder Stepped Down as CEO. This story seriously surprised me. Lisa brought it to my attention right before we recorded. I remember yelling, “WHAT????!!” And, again I say, WHAT? Sophia Amoruso stepped down? We have done multiple stories on Amoruso and I totally bought her line that the company was doing well (even with layoffs). I didn’t see this one coming. Did you?

Uniqulo is hiding some deep S%*$. Literally and figuratively. Undercover researchers found that employees for two Uniqlo suppliers in China are underpaid and overworked. And working in places that are covered in sewage.

Wet Seal closed over 300 stores and fired 3,700 employees. Those employees did not to go gentle into that good night and instead decided to rage, rage against the dying of the light by posting protest signs up in store windows. (Yeah, I know Dylan Thomas.) In related news….

Every store you grew up with is closing. Here’s the current tally:

Macy’s – closing 14 stores

J.C.Penney – closing 39 stores

Sears – closing 235 stores

C.Wonder – closed all stores

Wet Seal – closed 338 stores

RadioShack – closed 175 stores

Aeropostale – closed 75 stores during the holiday season; expects to close an additional 50-75 stores

Target announced a collaboration with Lilly Pulitzer. They pulled archived prints for the diffusion line, but not everyone is happy with the partnership.

Main Topic

Our main topic was about toxic people. Dealing with toxic people is incredibly difficult! One of my favorite resources on the subject is a book called Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry by Albert J. Bernstein, Ph.D. 

Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry

I wish I would have owned this book when I was 22. It would have saved me a lot of heartache!

Some other resources on this topic:

Are You an Emotional Vampire? This article by Mark Manson comes with a mini quiz to distinguish if you are the toxic person in the room.

10 Toxic People You Should Avoid Like the Plague. Article from Inc that breaks things down into personal characteristics.

How Successful People Handle Toxic People. Another article from Inc that Lisa brought to the table. Best tip that I’ve never considered? Don’t drink coffee.

Toxic Friendships. An article from WebMD that breaks down the toxic basics.

15 Ways to Spot a Toxic Person. eHarmony article that includes warning signs that a person might be toxic. Don’t let the fact that it comes from eHarmony throw you – it’s worth the read.

Fashion News!

Pop Fashion News for Jan. 9, 2015

I do so much fashion news research for the podcast (Pop Fashion) that I decided to chat about it here every now and then. The fashion industry never ceases to amaze me. It’s hilarious, interesting, complex…it’s a giant soap opera that happens to involve billions upon billions of dollars.

Below are the big fashion news stories from this past week. (Want to listen? Just push play!)

Podcast Promo Shot 1.9.15

Our promo shot for this week. Can you tell it’s cold in DC?

Mercedes-Benz pulled out of Fashion Week. We found out this news about 10 minutes before we started to record. Up until this story it had been a slow fashion news week (rarely happens). When Lisa came across this headline we couldn’t believe it. Mercedes-Benz has been such a huge part of fashion week…well, it has been called Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week for years.

We can now sue Target.  Remember that time Target misplaced 40 million credit card numbers? A judge says that consumers can sue the company.

If you sell digital products you might have to pay taxes to the EU. Maybe. Or maybe not depending on where you live. Or what can be enforced. It’s a confusing mess. If you sell downloadable classes / PDF’s on Etsy keep an eye out on this story.

Lucky has bloggers on its cover. First ever for a U.S. magazine.

Jourdan Dunn is the 1st black, solo model on the cover of British Vogue in 12 years. Twelve years. Really – twelve years.

For our main topic we talked about self care. It’s so important! It came out of my New Year’s resolution, and I’m trying my best to get better at it every day.

Want to listen to past podcast episodes or subscribe? Here’s how:

  • You can subscribe for free on iTunes – go to the iTunes Store, search for “Pop Fashion” and click our logo.
  • You can check out our podcast page on iTunes. From there you can just push play next to the name of any title that interests you, or click on “Open in iTunes” and subscribe.
  • You can subscribe through a podcast app if you want it on your phone by searching for “Pop Fashion.”
  • Or, you can go directly to our Libsyn feed here: http://popfashion.libsysn.com (RSS feed here:http://popfashion.libsyn.com/rss)

New Year, New You 2015

Not Your Typical New Years Article

I was recently approached by the website Reimagine to write a “New Year, New You” article for their online magazine. Reimagine is a company that offers support classes to people who are undergoing cancer treatments.

I was thrilled, but also a bit confused, as to why they wanted a fashion consultant to write for their publication. One of their lovely editors explained that she heard me speak about positive body image, and wanted me to expand on that in the context of New Year’s resolutions.

So. Cool.

Jeans in a Row

Photo via Reimagine/Steve Maher/Flickr

The result is the following article. I hope you enjoy it, because it truly comes from the heart. I feel very privileged that Reimagine let me write a “New Year, New You” article in my own way. That is to say, to write an article that has to do with joy, body-positivity, and community, versus an article that pushes people to get back into the gym.

The world doesn’t need another “get back to the gym” article.

Click here to read 3 Ways to Feel Great About Your Body in 2015

Your Wild & Precious Life

Beautiful Quote for Today

Each time I come across this quote it takes my breath away.

Wild and Precious Life Quote

It sums up the central yearning question of my life. It also puts things into perspective so succinctly – we only have one go at this thing. So, what is it that we plan to do with this gift? How are we going to use our time? Our talents?

I took the quote’s background photo this past Christmas. I happened to be riding a bike near the water at the perfect time of day where the sun was just thinking about setting. The result was this sweet picture of a small moment.

So, no pressure or anything. But, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? :)

 

Internship for Winter 2015

Closet Caucus is Looking for an Intern for Winter 2015 

Fashion consulting company Closet Caucus is looking for an intern for the Winter 2015 season. Here’s the scoop:

Closet Caucus Wardrobe Consulting Company

*Work will be 3.5 hours once a week.

*Work must take place during business hours. I’m a little flexible with start time, but it has to take place on a weekday during business hours.

*Applicant must be willing to travel to Adams Morgan / NW DC.

*Internship starts mid-January and ends mid-April.

*What we will be working on – social media & fashiony type projects! Think: taking street style photos, brainstorming ideas, creating personal outfits for increased social media presence, merchandising concepts, etc.

*A background in fashion or photography is awesome, but I’m much more interested in someone who is crafty, a big thinker, and has a solid understanding of color theory.

*This internship is NOT styling / buying for clients or working on wardrobes. I’ve got that stuff down, so that will not be our focus.

*Great internship for someone who has creative flair and is open to work on diverse projects. Also a solid internship for someone who wants to insert some creative fun into their weekly schedule.

*Even though this work will be fun, I’m VERY serious about my business. I expect people to be on time, to follow through, to be self-starters, etc.

*Unpaid, but I always make or buy the coffee. A small monthly stipend will be given to help with transportation costs.

Think you are the right fit? Email your info (including resume and any relevant links) to: info@closetcaucus.com with subject line Internship Winter 2015.

Please no calls! If I’m interested I will contact you, I promise!

Thanks so much!

Christmas DIY Decoration

Fun Budget Friendly Christmas Tree! (Or A Christmas Tree Alternative!) 

I’m in the middle of taking down holiday decorations. I can’t decide if the taking-down-of-things is sad, or if it is a breath of fresh air, symbolizing a new chapter. Perhaps it is a bit of each.

Before everything goes into storage, though, I wanted to show you the Christmas tree I made this year! It’s made of paint chips!

Paint Chip Christmas Tree!

Paint Chip Christmas Tree!

These paint chips belonged to my parents and were used to decide the color scheme of their new home. My Dad wrote notes on the back of a number of the colors. I love that his handwriting and their home was part of our holiday celebration.

Paint Chip Christmas Tree

Paint Chips!

This Christmas tree turned out to be a budget-friendly, space-friendly way to decorate our apartment. I live in the middle of DC, and I am so in love with our home. But, city living = small spaces! We are continuously weighing what we should bring in to our home because space is at a premium. A tree that could go on a wall was the perfect solution!

Even better – I loved that simple paint chips were upcycled into a decoration that was a daily joy during the season.

So, I’m a bit melancholy today as I take the paint chip tree down. But, with that twinge of sadness comes excitement about the future and the year ahead.

Did you decorate for the holidays? Come up with any cool DIY / upcycle ideas? If so, tell me about them below!!

Fashion Consulting in DC for 7 Years!

Closet Caucus Turns Seven 

This Saturday, November 1st, marks the 7th year of my fashion consulting company, Closet Caucus.

When I first started this company I didn’t exactly know what the future had in store. All I wanted to do was work with individuals on clothing as a way to talk about positive body image. That’s it. It was an insane idea and I didn’t know how long I could keep it going. I’m completely blown away that I’ve been able to do this job for this long.

DC Fashion Consulting Company Closet CaucusAnd, it really is a dream job.

Many people think it is glamorous, but the day in and day out of fashion consulting isn’t glam. There is the technical part of putting an outfit together, of color theory, of shopping for body type and within budget. And, all of that can be taught and learned. But, a lot of my job is just listening and asking questions. I get to hear people’s stories – where they are from, what they like and dislike…and all of that digs down into a person’s history, which is essential to self expression through clothing.

I get to listen to people’s stories of who they are. Then we work on self-love using the medium of clothing. And, that’s what makes my job amazing.

What I’ve also learned – no man is an island when it comes to business. Keeping this thing going has been a gigantic effort, and it has stretched me in ways that have been amazing (and sometimes made me want to curl into a little ball on the floor). There’s no way I would have made it to 7 years without the help, encouragement, and love from these people:

-Gary and Taunya – for continued prayer, for holding your breath as I took this leap of faith, and for understanding that people can be called – even into a field as crazy and unexpected as fashion

-Carey and Sean – for listening ears and a solid no-nonsense approach to business. Bouncing ideas off of you two has made all the difference in setting my sails on course

-Stephanie B – for being a listening ear, a continual support system, and a beyond-loyal friend

-Christine B – for all-encompassing, all supporting enthusiasm that never wavers

-Kristen K – you pointed me in the direction of a freelance job when I was trying to get Closet Caucus off the ground. That job gave me breathing room so I could put down a business foundation. Your friendship and guidance was an answer to prayer.

-Carmel P – for loving prayers, support, and a sense of humor that has carried me through

-Lisa R – you would totally be the leader of the fashion gang. Couldn’t ask for a better partner in crime.

-McLean R – you wrote the first article about Closet Caucus and it completely changed my business. You may not realize it, but you were the catalyst that solidified my relationship with the press.

-Joel M – for being such an unexpected cheerleader! I’m so blessed by our friendship.

-Ben M – for giving me the idea for the podcast. It only took me 6 years to get it going. Also, for being game to listen to me chat about fashion news. Cause, I know it isn’t exactly your thing – that is friendship, dude.

-Stacey V – for the gorgeous pictures that got my website going. Your talent continually knocks me out.

-Shari W – for teaching me about branding, marketing, and emotional intelligence with co-workers. Those lessons still play a (big!) part in my daily life. Also, thanks for being a guinea pig when I was working out my styling system.

Last but not least -

To Navin, who was my best buddy before becoming my boyfriend and then my husband. You believed in Closet Caucus from the moment I said the idea out loud. I seriously wouldn’t be here without you – you literally and figuratively picked me up when I thought I couldn’t do this anymore because it was too hard. You are my rock, my technology guru, my cheerleader in a suit. Thank you for believing in me.