Alex Knightley answers some of your questions in his new Q&A video.
A new day and a new client means it’s “all hands on deck” around the offices and time to “batten down the hatches”. Hey, you try not to make sailing references when your assistant comes in wearing this adorable navy, printed dress covered in miniature anchors. With an elastic cinched waist and pocketed skirt it’ll definitely keep you comfortable, but I love how Harriet dresses it up with a slim green belt and sweet but upscale accessories. These dark blue wedges with crisscrossing straps are a fresh take on the classic Mary Jane, and this folk-inspired caramel bag with floral cutouts has a vintage feel. Put it all together and what do you get? Timeless, wholesome and plenty of kitschy fun. In other words, you get Harriet.
Sometimes being successful in business calls for subtlety. A casual lunch can be the perfect time to pitch a new idea, and a cocktail party is an opportunity to network with executives you would never meet otherwise. So when it comes to helping someone without letting them know you’re doing it, make sure your ensemble is simple and approachable. I try to limit myself to one bold piece, like this lively peach and navy blouse. Then, to tone it down, I match it with a soft white envelope skirt, pale pink leather flats with a delicate ankle strap, and a mint green, briefcase inspired handbag. This look is refreshingly relaxed and looks can be deceiving!
P.S. The only sign of what I’m really thinking is my ring. It’s shaped like a tiger which is my way of saying that I may look sweet, but inside I’m always fierce. Especially when it comes to getting the job done.
As you know, it is my mission to make people’s lives better! While this may sound altruistic, in truth, I get far more in return from helping people than they do from me. Some people are adrenaline junkies; I get a similar rush from seeing someone incorporate positive changes and start living up to their potential.
Sometimes helping people can be tricky, though. Someone may not realize they have a problem or that a behavior pattern is getting in the way of their success. Admitting that you have flaws (word change) can be very scary. And even if someone does realize that they need to make some changes, pride may keep them from reaching out to others for assistance. Here are a few tips on helping someone help him or herself.
Starting a music club and writing new songs has really lifted Harriet’s spirits! She’s started humming around the office, and her outfit today was so bright and cheerful it was like staring into the sun. Happiness definitely looks good on her, and her mood was perfectly captured with this full skirted sun dress decorated in an abundance of abstract blooms and colors that seriously pop. I also have the sneaking suspicion she’s picked up my habit of color coordinating with these navy-blue wedges with eye-catching teardrop cutouts. They match not only in shade but also in theme and are perfectly paired with a matching dark blue, boxy bag. Add to that her sun-kissed blonde hair and just looking at her can instantly lift your spirits. Then just wait until you hear her sing!
Some of the many upsides to working at a small, independent, boutique business is the intimacy and laid back atmosphere. Still, you should never allow yourself to be too comfortable. We are professionals after all! That’s why my personal style at the office is usually a balanced mix of classic conservative and California casual. Today’s outfit is the perfect example. This beautiful mint blouse is silky and simple, with a scooped neckline that performs well underneath a blazer. But once the jacket comes off the elbow length ruffled sleeves are fun and frilly, and when untucked the high low waistline adds a bit of flirtiness as well. Paired with white skinny jeans and you are instantly ready for lunch on the beach. Until then, I dress it up with a collarless tweed jacket that is not only tailored but has contrasting side panels that are extra slimming. Even better the zipper front, faux leather trim, and studded hardware embellishments at the shoulders add a bit of attitude perfect for an evening out after work. Black, thick strapped, buckled sandals and a sleek, black handbag with zippers along the sides serve to bring the look together. Trust me, when you live in Southern California the last thing you want to do is drive home to change clothes, so versatility is key!
Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about relationships. Specifically, I’ve been trying to figure out how to have more balance in all my relationships. Because even when you think everything is fine, you may find out that people you care about or work with (or both) feel otherwise. You never know how your actions are being perceived. For example, you may think that you’re helping someone you care about by giving advice, but they may feel that you talk more than you listen. Or they may think that by trying to make decisions without discussing them first, you aren’t being considerate, when you assumed you were just saving them time and trouble.
Balance can be a tricky thing, and every relationship has a unique dynamic. Timing can also be a factor. Sometimes a relationship is temporarily unbalanced because there is a change: one person now makes more money, has less time, is going through a particularly difficult situation or is in a place of authority. During these times, you must adjust accordingly and make up for the imbalance in other ways or at a later date. But there are a few basic rules that apply to everyone at anytime whether it’s family, friends, romance or coworkers. Here are a few tips on achieving and maintaining a balanced relationship.
I’m a huge fan of inspirational quotes, and two of my favorites are from George Bernard Shaw. The first is, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” The second is, “The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”
Empowering, aren’t they? The idea is simple. Life is about creation, whether it’s starting a company, a family, making a piece of art or organizing a party. Life truly is what we make of it and nothing is sadder than when someone feels they have no control over their own happiness. Yes, circumstances happen. Yes, other people can let us down. But if you never give up and think outside the box, then there is always a chance that everything will work out as you dreamed. Remember, you are the hero or heroine of your own story! So never stop rewriting.
One great example is my friend and assistant Harriet. After weeks of searching for a new hobby or a club to join she simply couldn’t find the perfect fit. Instead of giving up, she thought long and hard about what she loved to do with her spare time. The answer? Playing the ukulele and singing. She could not find a musical group or venue that was in need of her particular talents, but instead of losing heart and giving up, she turned her attention to moving forward and started her own club! Since she didn’t personally know enough musicians to populate it, she decided to look for them using the Internet, that way anyone could join. How awesome is that?
Starting today, Harriet will be using my YouTube channel to launch her own music club. She plans to write her own original songs and record herself performing them. Once they’re released, the sheet music will be made available and hopefully others will join by recording their own covers and sending them in. The more the merrier. If you want to join too, tweet your song to @TheHarrietSmith and use #HarrietSongs.
I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with. There’s nothing like a new endeavor to inspire us all. I could not be prouder of my talented, determined and passionate friend. Wishing her luck to her, as well as to any of you who decide to take charge of your lives and write your own story.