Monthly Archives: February 2014

Life Advice: Starting Your Own Club

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.


Classical Music

Ep32_main2Ep32_sub3       Dress: Lulu’s  |  Belt: Ami Clubwear – Similar here  |  Heels: City Classified, Lulu’s                 Bag: ModCloth – Similar here

The complete opposite of my intense and passionate comeback is Harriet’s steady and consistent growth.  If I’m a blazing fire, Harriet is a warm spring day.  So when she heals and comes into her own it’s with all the dignity and calm of the beautiful music she loves to listen to and play.  I am so thrilled she’s found her way back to performing, or at least practicing.  She’s very talented and has so much potential.  I remember saying the same thing when we first met, but back then I was talking about her wardrobe.  And I was so right!  Just look at this graceful high collar, sleeveless, bright green dress.  Cutouts along the neckline make it modern and keep it from be stuffy, while the fabric simply flows along her figure, and the the shade is so full of life.  Add even more color with a vibrant orange belt with a bow shaped buckle, a dark blue studded and structured purse, and two toned strappy sandals.  The overall look is neat, organized, dignified and fun.   In other words, very Harriet.

Rock & Roll

ep32_main (3)ep32_sub (2) Cardigan: McGinn  |  Blouse: Tildon  |  Shorts: McGinn – Similar here  |  Clutch: Lulu’s            Heels: Chase & Chloe, Lulu’s   

The term rock and roll used to mean being a musician and playing rock music, but it’s completely evolved.  Now we say rock and roll when we are ready to go for it, and we call someone a rock star whenever they’re bold and at their best.  So after a hectic and emotional couple of weeks, I definitely feel like a rock star today and dressed accordingly!  This draped white blouse might be elegant and office appropriate, but the amber sweater has some serious punk rock style. It’s completely covered with stud embellishments, with a concentration on the shoulders and down the arms, so every move you make draws attention.  Next up, tailored black shorts with a leather waistband.  The cut of these shorts manages to be dignified but still show some serious leg.  That leads all the attention down to the shoes so you better make sure they are stare-worthy!   I went with woven black and white strappy heels and a matching black and white woven clutch to bring the whole look together.  Today, I’m ready to take life by storm.  Let’s rock and roll!

Career Advice: Getting Unstuck

Choice on the Road

I’m a big believer in goals and plans. If you want to succeed, you need to identify where you want to be and then come up with a way to get there. But sometimes while you’re following that plan, things change and you must decide whether you’re going to stay the course or chart a new direction.

Often plans change because of external events that are beyond your control. As my business partner would say, life sometimes throws you a curveball. You lose your job. A family member passes away. Your closest friend moves to a new city. When things like this happen, how you react to the situation informs your next leg of the journey. You can let external forces defeat you, or after taking the time you need to emotionally deal with the situation, you can take a deep breath, tap into that deep well of inner strength, and figure out what’s next.

Sometimes the need for change is internally generated, when either you realize that you’ve strayed from the course you initially set for yourself or determine that you’re ready for something new.  I think this type of change is often more difficult to deal with. It’s not forced upon you, so you can just ignore it. The only problem is that shutting your eyes to your own unhappiness doesn’t make you happier. Continue reading

Suit of Armor

ep31_main (1)ep31_sub Blazer: Eliza J  |  Top: Aryn K - Similar here  |  Pants: Flying Monkey  |  Pumps: BCBGeneration   Bag: Katherine Kwei - Similar here 

Sometimes walking out the door and facing what awaits you is hard.  We all have methods of coping, and fashion is a common one.  We wear red to feel brave, sweats to disappear, and suits to gain a sense of control.  And even though I maintain my usual fierce fashion sense even under the toughest conditions, there are subtle ways I prepare for harsh, emotional winds.  Starting with this gauzy, army green blouse.  It may be translucent and soft, but it’s defiant copper beaded placket down the front adds edge.  Then, I layer it with a sophisticated, single button, black blazer. When there are things to fix, be prepared to roll up your sleeves. And if your sleeves are ruched, you’re one step ahead.  Next, I pull both pieces together with a pair of sleek black trousers accented with gold zippers at each ankle and black platform pumps sporting a metallic toe.  Last, I accessorize with a large, structured bag that combines black and gold panels in equal measure.  The more coordinated my outfit (in color, texture, and tone), the more I believe everything will work itself out for the best.

Ask Knightley: Passion in the Workplace

fun button

Thanks to everyone who sent in questions. As always, these answers are just my opinion – they are not necessarily Emma Approved – but hopefully some of you will find an alternate point of view to be helpful. Several of you asked questions about reconciling your interests with your careers, so I thought I’d focus on that today.

Continue reading

Dreaming of Summer Vacation

ep30_main (3)ep30_sub (1)Dress: Darling – Similar here  |  Purse: Modcloth  |  Pumps; Charles by Charles David

Spring is right around the corner and for various reasons I’ve had summer, travel, and fabulous vacations on my mind.  My recent holiday in Italy did me a world of good, and all around people are starting to plan their summer getaways.  So I couldn’t help but play the part in a bright, white sundress with a full and flirty skirt.  As delectable as spumoni and as light as rainbow sherbet, the coral and mint color-blocked panels add to the holiday feel and the little kid enthusiasm this outfit inspires in me.  Add a matching pastel purse that resembles luggage, comfortable and complimentary pumps, and I’m more than ready for a weekend away.