Je Ne Sais Quoi: What Is Style?

Style is simply having a sense of who you are.  I’ve had style since the womb. Quite literally.  I realize not everyone gets so lucky, but it’s a state of mind, an art form. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin, a logo to your personality and a trademark to your soul.

When I was little I would prance around the house singing to Dolly Parton in my Mum and Nan’s highest of heels.  The world was my stage and the hair spray bottle was my microphone. Needless to say, I’m still working on my voice.  But to my surprise when I was  accepted to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles and told by the Director that I had one of the best portfolios that they had viewed in years, it was one of the best days of my life.  I knew that it was a part of who I was.  The thing is, style, oh yes, style is something that I do for myself. I dress to please myself and myself alone.  Without which I would feel simply dull.  I’m not saying it’s the clothes that make the person, but you may as well have a little fun with it.

To have that certain je ne sais quoi, you must emphasize a life of passion.  This can come in many forms.  For me it shines through in ways of leisurely pastimes, charm and cultivation of life’s simple pleasures.  One might think you need extra zeros on your paycheck to manifest this type of lifestyle however it comes from within, it comes from happiness and from happiness comes the best style.

As Donna Karen once said, “It’s when the woman, her individuality and spirit comes through, she uses clothes to express who she is and how she feels.”

Investing in pieces that are both couture as well as thrifty is a high all on its own.  A sensational form of art and a vision that even Picasso would fail to uphold to the likes of the fashion canvas.  However, the beauty of style can be anything to anyone and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as the magic and experience within the rules of fashion is that they are made to be broken.  Obey your gut, do what you like best and know that trends are momentary, be faithful to your own taste because what YOU truly like will never go out of style.

Love,

Britt x

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Dior: Made Her Fall to the Floor

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Imagine a personality ten times larger than life.  We met at my best friend Crystal’s 20th Birthday and her friend from college came to the shindig we were throwing at Crystal’s parents house.  Our meeting is another hilarious story for yet a completely differet post.  Pardon me, once again I veered off track.  I met the one and only Innesa, a Russian born, Jewish and Brunette version of Marilyn Monroe.   A force to be reckoned with and sharp as a tack.  Needless to say we were attracted to one another as friends immediately.  It was though we had known one another for lifetimes, eons, centuries.  

Wild is an understatement to describe her, but not negatively or with an irresponsible connotation.  I mean ballsy, bold, badass.  Our stars aligned during a very pivotal time for the both of us — right around the time we turned 21.  My 21st was beyond mental and I don’t recall it clearly enough to regurgitate it (get it).  I make myself laugh. Opps, sorry. Focus. Yet, for Innesa’s Birthday I remember ever detail.

I should probably back up and tell you where all this is coming from.  We have a fancy built in closet and the rack on the wooden wardrobe fell down completely.  It looked like a tornado snuck into our closet. After being that way for over a week, I couldn’t look at it like that for a moment longer and I was united.  To my despair, as I was reunited with my precious Nan today, as she returned from her holiday to Aruba and once again organized my closet.

Whist handing her things as she’s standing on a mid-level ladder, I came across a Dior bag that was dusty and placed at the very back of my wardrobe and fell amongst the collapse of the rest of the wardrobe.  When I say bag, I don’t mean purse, I mean, shopping bag.  A Dior one.

 A  month or so ago I re-organized most of my everyday shoes and a friend of mine suggested that I blog about all of my different shoes I have as I posted as comment on how many memories each pair of shoe brings back and all of the places around the world they have been.  If only shoes can talk.  Then I figured they can’t, but I can write about it and she was right. There is a deep love affair with all of my shoes because they all tell a story.

 As I was handing off the Dior bag which contains a pair of white Dior sandal heels, still in the box and probably worn twice.  The box was dusty and I saw a hotel tag on the strap of the bag with a guy’s name on it.  I’ll respect his anonymity — so let’s call him BJ Einns and I was instantly transported back to Las Vegas circa 2007.

At the time I was working for American Express and was in sales and making more money than I knew what to do with.  My bills were being paid, I was a spender and didn’t have any remorse when swiping that debit card.  Zavy on the other hand was the complete opposite, she liked a good negotiation and that is putting it delicately.

It was our second to last day and we weren’t leaving until that night and decided to go for brunch at the delicious but disgustingly expensive buffet at The Wynn and then we were going to browse around the shops inside ritzy hotel and casino on the famous strip.  Following our gluttony and mimosa session at the buffet we wobbled to the shops like Chanel, Louie, McQueen — all my faves.  Then we stumbled into Dior and at the time I just j’adored Dior.  I’ll be classy and won’t drop the price, but let’s just say that Zavy nearly fainted and needed to sit down immediately…

TO BE CONTINUED…

State of Mind: The Truth Behind This 90’s Look

Getting out of bed, showering and putting your face on can be a task in and of itself. Depending on the day, I become a martyr to my disease and slapping on a little maroon lippie can be an EVENT. But, what I have realized through my experience with cancer is that looking decent can have a perceptual affect on your state of mind. It’s all really a state of mind, isn’t it? Life, style, beauty. Everything.

Here are grungy truths behind this circa 1990’s look:


-HAIR-

The truth is, I am about five weeks late. December and January proved to be some of the fullest months and keeping up with my Marilyn bomb blonde has been a tragedy. Fret not, my friends — all you have to do is step up your braid game and all of your hair procrastinations will come to a hault. Taking a page from the 90’s look, I utilized my exaggerated roots to my advantage and pinned a few small braids back. Perfect for a day or night look, but most importantly this adds a bit of edge to the chaos that is often my unkempt hair.

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-FACE-

Moody makeup is essential for the grunge-era style, primarily being brown, black and maroon tones. NYX Lip Crème was the perfect go-to for a dark pout. The thing about this particular look is that it allows for both a dark lip and eye. To stick with the mood, I used the same NYX Lip Crème in Knockout on my lids and under my eyes. It’s the maroon version of “pink eye”. Sullen, shadowy cheek contouring, thick layers of mascara on the upper and lower lashes and a mad dash of eyeliner and the face is sealed.

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OUTFIT-

What made the scruffy 90’s so amazing is that you were able to take random pieces and wear them all together. Expending a queue from that particular fashion or anti-fashion, if you will, is what I live for. Getting away with a dead comfortable outfit, in addition to looking like one bad 90’s bitch,is a combo I will always appreciate. Each piece was already in my closet. Here’s the drop on some truths behind the look:

Sweater: Venice Beach Baja Sweater from a dive  kiosk — $10.00

Skirt: Black camisole, used as mini-max skirt

Tights + Shoes: Maroon H&M tights that have a ton of holes in them, but, who care because the black, lace up, combat boot covered all of the holes in my tights. Old boots $20.00.

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Whether my tights had holes in them, I was wearing old boots and a baja sweater, I felt on point and 90’s vibing simply because of my disposition.

Style is YOUR state of mind.

Love,

Britt x

SIX THINGS: Holiday MAGIC + DIY

Holiday decor for the timely challenged, like myself, has recently left me feeling blah about getting in the spirit of all things merry and bright.  With surgery being two weeks ago, I had every intention of decorating prior to my operation.  But lets be real, that did not happen.   We realized that our tree, sparkly things and fancy disco DIY garlands made from previous years, were in our storage unit, along with our hoards of vintage furniture. And so it goes and here we are. No big deal, you might say. But, in typical Steve and Britt fashion, we lost the key to the unit.

So, from personal experience — it is possible to spread a little holiday magic dust around your house, by using non-traditional item.

We did just that.

SIX THINGS:  Holiday MAGIC + DIY


ONE:

Candles

I’m a sucker for collecting interesting candle holders — particularly the ones from local shops where the glass is recycled, reused and repurposed.  Once the original candle is dead over alive, I simply put ice in it, set it in the freezer for the day, remove in from the freezer, flip it upside down, leaving the remnants fall right out.  From there the glass holders can be a versatile piece of decor around your home.  For the holidays, I placed two sparkly, red candles in some of my favorite recycled holders.  With the S. Pellegrino as a green backdrop and the red candles gives in their new homes, our house has a little holiday representation on our bar cabinet.


TWO:

Holiday Wreath

What can I say?  I’m also a sucker for some succulents and decided to turn  an “every day occasion” wall decoration into a beautiful, silver and gold door “wreath”.  Once the holidays have come and gone, I will be able to continue to use the succulent hanging by simply removing the poinsettias and ornaments.  Dingdong!   HOLIDAYDIY + SUCCULENTS + COST EFFICIENCY.  Sounds like a year round embellishment knocking on the door.


THREE:

Zoila Christmas Dress

Dress up your pup.  I would have never imagined in a squillion years I’d be that lady.  You know, the ones who dress up their dogs. And in Christmas costumes at that.  BUT, I surrender.  I’m officially that girl and I have accepted it.  How could I not?  Red sequins, a white fur collar — all on an adorable, seventeen week, mini-sausage dog.  She would make even the Grinch feel a sense of holly jolly.

Although, Zoi hates me and this dress.  FACT.


FOUR:

Plamtree Lights

In our home, we are all about having bits of greenery year round.  We live behind a beautiful Japanese garden and get an amazing amount of sunshine through the glass doors and terrace of our condo.  Since living here, we have had many indoor plants to give our space an indoor/outdoor vibe.  Throwing a string of lights on one of your larger,sturdier plants that you already own will give that instant glow  and charm of Christmas.  Thus giving you all the holiday feels. A bonus is that you can save a tree, time, money and energy all in the name of a winter celebratory decor.


FIVE:

Holiday Cookies

I’d vote that I’m the least domestic person in the world.  I don’t cook, bake and I am sure that if I did, people would be running for the hills.  Not that I can blame them, but there is something about Christmas cookies. Perhaps it’s the everlasting memories of  my Mum making her famous sugar cookies’; the cookies that I look forward to all year.  Although the cookies above are not my Mum’s, or mine for that matter, I purchased a cheap dozen of grocery store cookies and placed them on a cake stand and on display on the counter.  The visual of something that is season relevant can bring an inexpensive, cheery and dare I say delicious touch.


SIX:

Take little ornaments and place them on some of your every day home accessories.  Above I found the Christmas ornaments we received as our first year as Mr. and Mrs. Ochoa.  Sentimental value holds no bounds and warms you to the core when thinking back on fond memories of Christmases past.


Cheers,

Britt x

2013: Year in Review ♡

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2013, the year of twerking, Government shutdowns, Grumpy Cat, The Boston Marathon Bombing, the finale of Dexter and the death of a revered pioneer, Nelson Mandela.  Those are just some of the lighthearted and heavyhearted events that took place.  A year that for me was like no other, despite the breaking news of pop culture, politics and world news.

The year 2k13 began with a bang.  I rang in the New Year with my nearest and dearest and resolved as the clock struck midnight, that this year would be unlike any other.  It was an innate premonition that the Near Year would bring forth a cloudy wake, with unfamiliarity as to what the next 12 months would encompass.  Little did I know that mid-way through the year my life would forever be changed and the person that I was when the clock struck midnight on January 1st, 2013, would be a stranger when we were met with the middle of the year.  2013 has definitely proved to be one for the books.  Here are some of the highlights of my year…

January: 

Rang in the New Year with the best of company.

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February: 

✔ Advised that our Loft was being sold by the owner, forcing us to look for a new loft/condo in the Downtown Phoenix Area.

OLD PLACE:

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NEW PLACE:

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March: 

✔ Unsuccessful pregnancy…but it all makes sense now.

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April: 

A rejuvenating road trip with my love to Silver Lake, CA; where we fell in love with the village-esque town and had the time of our life, as well as Salvation Mountain.

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May: 

Launched my Interior Design Business, Impact Interiors, PHX

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June: 

Celebrated my beloved Nan’s 71st Birthday.  

✔ The start of my health problems

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July: 

Found out I had Stage IV  Colon Cancer.  Underwent two major surgeries within the same day, spent ungodly amounts of time in the Hospital and accepted that my life would never be the same.

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August: 

Chopped off all of my hair

✔ Began IVF to preserve our family (epic fail). 

✔ Port Surgery  

Began Chemo

✔ Attended my best friend’s wedding.

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September:  

✔  Purchased my Vespa!

Got a new tattoo

✔  (((Blur)))  Chemo…

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October: 

Had some humiliating times, whilst in public due to chemo side effects…(((ahem))) Halloween.

Moved into our new condo at Portland Place

Became a Published picture taker in the book “Saturday’s in Silverlake”

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November:

Turned 28 and enjoyed every second of the idea of growing older, wiser and being alive. 

Attended the Undy 5000 for Colon Cancer and was joined by my family and friends.

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December: 

Realized it’s been a hell of a year, but blessed with family and friends and lucky to be alive to see 2014…

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Synopsis:  Times have been tough, but through the experience of going through cancer, I have grown as a person.  There have been some losses along the way, friends, family members, supporters.  Some things taken away, such as normalcy, the idea that I may not be able to have a baby, the notion that I am not invincible and cancer/chemotherapy will forever be a part of my life and most of all the loss of feeling carefree, young and exempt from the evils of illness.  With all of the hardship has also birthed many blessings, I’ve gained some friends along the way, grew closer to my family, adopted the rational that life is not perfect and ultimately everything happens the way it was meant to happen.  The blue print of my life included getting cancer, I may not know the reason why, but through this journey and what a journey it has been, I have realized the person I was meant to be, the person I want to be and the biggest marvel of it all is that I have a voice; a platform to share my journey with so many people.

After a year like 2013, I truly believe that anything is capable of happening.  Never in a million years would I have expected to conclude 2013 in such a way.  My wish for this New Year, 2014 is to begin it with smiles on our faces, approach the year with the belief of a fresh start and new beginnings.  Just like any other year, there will be bumps along the way, but possess the bumps with stride and remember that this too shall pass.  Relish in the small victories and don’t sweat the tiny trifling’s.  Love with all you have and treat each day as a gift to which you contribute all you have to give.  Spread cheer with the spirit of giving and most of all, I wish you a happy, healthy 2014, along with ample reasons to celebrate your life and being alive.  Cheers to 2014, my friends!

Love,

Britt x