It's Summer and we know that once that H E A T hits all we want is the ease of staying cool whilst looking fabulous of course :) You all know that Mama likes to keep it simple so I've gathered a few of my favorite styles to help you stay breezy this summer.
When it comes to our bodies we all have some sort of negative self-talk that wants to chime in and make us feel that we don't deserve to wear certain things. For me, I went through a phase in my early tweens where I didn’t wear shorts. Growing up in Jamaica I went everywhere with the boys I hung out with. Climbed, slid under, jumped off shit. You know, play. So I have plenty of scars to prove it. I got over that phase because it was hotter than a mofo and I realized that I had to love on me more than anyone else. We take on that negative story and hold it as TRUTH. The real truth is that when you learn what looks great on you all of that bullshit talk will start unravel. At your own pace, step by step, slowly removing the blinders of the "bad" that you see and revealing the PLENTY of good that exists.
I'm loving on these 3 styles: These Zara high waisted pink ones are perfect for dressing up or down. They are not too fitted and offer a good drape especially if you have lovely curves. Oh and the price!! STEAL! Denim shorts tend to all look the same ( insert yawn ;) so it's fun to mix it up a bit and that's exactly what these Madewell styles bring to your style game. They're high-waisted, not too short and comes in a great wash. These lovelies from Vince are a splurge but so worth it. I ordered for a client and she's worn them everywhere! There are great options out there and you don't have to settle. Let me know if you snag any of these styles and happy Summer!!
It's a new day and that means that style is being represented in ways that are no longer tethered to a singular look. Women are defining and redefining how they show up. I see the evolution of fashion as it's own continued "burning bra" movement for women. Sneakers are no longer reserved for workouts and lengthy commutes (you know what I mean! The old switch out the uncomfortable shoe so that you can make it home commutes). Now there is a wonderful bevy of styles that can be rocked with denim, dress pants, skirts or dresses without compromising your style game. The cherry on top here is that you will also have happy feet!! Hallelujah! There’s nothing cute about being uncomfortable and hurting!
In choosing sneaker styles, I like to stick with simple looks that have a bit of play. I'm rocking these Nike blazer premium low styles that have some personality in this rich red color. The low profile style ( this means it doesn't cover my ankles) provides versatility in outfit options. The result is a more streamlined look. Think outside the box with how you wear your sneakers. Classic brands such as Vans, Converse, and Addidas do a great job of providing new looks to what used to be clunky sneakers. I'm currently loving on this and this style. They look great on anyone and can be worn with many different looks. If you have a favorite brand that you're loving on let me know. Let's share the style love!
I use to walk into a clothing store and had this overwhelming need to buy something. I've always loved fashion and for years I told myself that this insatiable urge was there to feed my passion. I thought that it was normal to constantly yearn for material things. I had a closet full of clothes and constantly wanted more. It wasn't enough. I eventually realized that my need for stuff was rooted in how I viewed my worth. Acquiring things or in my case shopping gave me temporary validation that I was enough. I had to acknowledge the bullshit I was feeding myself and it was not easy. When I launched my personal styling company www.lauratully.co almost three years ago it made me conscious of what I wanted to bring to the table for myself and the people I serve. I want style and fashion to be accessible, inclusive and serve as a vehicle for the bigger picture of what my clients are working to create.
I decided to let go of the power I gave to material things and it made room for all of me to show up as is. All the good, bad and in between is worthy. It was a daily chat with myself that triggered the alarm that believing that you are enough will allow you to choose what brings you towards your best self. I edited my negative thoughts, let go of people who didn't serve the good I wanted to build and became intentional about the things I brought into my space.
Now when I shop for myself and my clients it comes from a very happy place. It's filled with love, intention, and purpose. Like I said before, it's a process. It doesn't happen overnight. I had the chance to listen to life stories shared by men and women who were in their 90's. No one regrets not buying a pair of shoes ;) or wanting more stuff. What they shared was wanting more time to love, savior and enjoy the people who are in their lives. I've decided to choose people. The stuff that comes into my life will serve as a well-chosen addition to the big picture of whatever goodness I want to create. I hope you will do the same #worthy.
If you physically feel good in it, you'll wear it. Comfort and style can merge into a fabulous package, resulting in you looking polished and pulled together. Can I get an amen?!!f The yoga pants, tracksuits no longer get to claim "comfort" exclusively. A sweatshirt can be chic. It comes down to how you pair these varied styles together. Here are my top tips for rocking comfort wear with a hefty dose of style. Paparazzi can snap your picture because I've got you covered ;)
Say hello to my little friend denim
Trust me, a pair of great fitting denim instantly makes an outfit looks more pulled together. I'm rocking a high-waisted straight leg cropped denim from Fancy Pants. High-waisted denim will change your life. The belly button is almost covered is probably what a binky feels like to a baby: safe and comforting ;) I paired it with a simple sweatshirt from Everlane and my favorite go-to in the shoe arsenal, ankle boots.
The little details matter
Casual wear should be fuss-free so I choose accessories to elevate what I'm wearing. This Clare V fanny pack is packing (tehe) so much COOL! It leaves me hands-free as I get through my day and it adds a little extra style to a simple outfit. The fishnet socks are another fun surprise. It takes little effort and makes comfy wear sassy.
High low mix
Blending casual wear with dressier styles gives the "I tried" look to an outfit. These Coach ankle boots can easily be dressed up or down. Their chic simple style lends a polished addition to my sweatshirt and jeans combo. This high low mix can be accomplished by wearing a streamlined wool coat, a lady-like bag or a dressy silk top with your distressed denim.
You are worth all the little effort that makes you look and feel damn good!
"Don't block your exits." - LT All photography by the talented Fiona Montagne
What does busy even mean anymore?! I've said that word so many times that it has completely lost its meaning and mojo. Busy had become this filler word that fed my unproductive behaviors. I had to develop systems that forced me to rescue my sanity and gain REAL productivity. A few months back I logged the number of times I deviated from a project to check FB, IG, get a snack, drink some water, check the fridge, text my sister a random meme, check the fridge again and it was an obscene amount of time wasted. It was cra!!! I noticed losing control over my time lead me to unwanted and non-productive stress. So I've developed a few strategies that have helped me to calm my mind and take back some of my precious time and I hope it can help you do the same. Side note- this is all a practice and some days I slay it and some, not so much. Give yourself the space to know that you are trying.
I write it ALL down
For me writing is important. You're probably saying that's what my notes, apps or whatever system you have developed to track your "to do's" is for. If it works for you, keep it going! If it doesn't give this a try. The act of writing down all the things I have to do helps me to see what needs to be set in the correct category. I have 3: High priority ( this includes my work, project deadlines, bill pay, Maddie cakes, hubby, family and friends); Create- these are upcoming projects that are further out, networking, reading, learning; This and that stuff- these are everyday life things that we have to get done- grocery shop, dry cleaning, clean house, laundry, etc. I then schedule each category item on my phone and paper calendar. It's not about trying to get everything done. It's about clearing your mental space so that you can focus on the meat and potatoes of your day.
Put the phone down
It might be one of the hardest things you have to do but oh my peas and carrots it will blow your mind!!!! What it does. You will find yourself actually listening fully, engaging and one of the biggest gifts, being PRESENT. The act of being present in your life allows you to savor moments in a way that helps us become our best self. Listening to my stepdaughter's 15-minute explanation of what sparks her interest in the show Stranger Things allowed me to also get the peppered information about her standing up to a friend for making a sexist remark. Tomorrow wants you but the "right now" really needs you.
I kicked "finding balance" to da curb
I thought that through sheer persistence that I would reach this space called "balance" where my "to-do's" somehow became perfectly aligned. I've noticed that this is something that doesn't exist for me and that's ok. This process is not about diminishing effort and trying. It's about embracing that today I will work on doing my damn best to take care of what is most important and tomorrow will be another day. Feeling less about your efforts because we are trying to accomplish more for the sake of "balance" strips us from the good work we are putting in. Today is yours. Go *all in* on what you can today and tomorrow will be another day.
Wearing what you love is a blissful combination of self- expression embodied with whatever kind of sass you want to deliver. It can be a full scream, a whisper or anything inbetween. What matters is that the choice is done on terms that empower you to be your best self. I've fallen prey to wearing styles that I love that didn't look so hot on me. I look back at these photos and all that jumps out is "what the hell was I thinking?" I've learned to merge the knowledge of what works on my body with styles that I love. Finding those parts of your body that you want to celebrate will reward you with a sense of freedom to choose how you show up. You feeling and being comfortable in your skin is your journey. The goal isn’t to be a replica of what you see. It’s acknowledging that today and tomorrow you will choose YOU and that’s a beautiful thing.
Jacket: Nanuska denim skirt: Grlfnd ( Fancy Pants) sweater: H&M Boots: Rag and Bone
We are sometimes made to to feel that if we wait long enough somewhere along this journey we’ll find someone or something to make us feel worthy. That the creation of our worth is outside of OUR control. I will say that nothing has taught me more about defining my own sense of value and worth than realizing that it is enough to show up just as I am. We short change ourselves by believing that when we "fill in the blank", then we'll deserve that love, admiration, respect. That only then, we will be worthy. I see worthiness as a declaration of self ownership. It's the vital space you give yourself to believe that even in the most trying moments, you matter. I'm sharing below what has helped me to write my own narrative of self worth. It's a process that unfolds each day, it's a practice.
WORDS MATTER, ESPECIALLY THE ONES YOU SAY TO YOURSELF
We've all done it. Whether it's alone in our bedroom, to a friend, a stranger or a passing thought as you glance in a mirror. The use of dismantling words that we say to ourselves or those that we've absorbed from others is destructive. So I want you to stop it!!! (Said in my sass filled Mama tone). You are in the process of creating your best self and that major dinosaur size step starts with the language you use towards yourself. Be kind, respectful and allow yourself the room to love yourself no matter what.
YOUR TRIBE MATTERS
It's simple. The company you keep should reinforce your worth ( You're amazing!); Motivate you to grow and be challenged ( Get it and you got this!!); Call you out on your bullshit ( Get it together); know when to drop it low and have fun ( Insert dance groove here). Ok the last one isn't necessary but it's certainly recommended ;) Every person that comes into your life adds an element to who you are or what you're becoming. I remember making exhausting efforts to alter what I thought others wanted me to be. It happens. I learned. Now the influence and its effect occurs on my own terms.
SHOW OTHERS THAT THEY ARE WORTHY
A kind word or action can have this transformative experience. No matter the size, it can impact how someone is feeling that day, that moment. I don't take for granted what others might be going through. This is what makes our co existing together so powerful. It grants us the permission to affect each other in the most positive way.
So I'm saying to you that you are wonderful, necessary and full of worth. Go share this with someone else.
“The moment you accept responsibility for EVERYTHING in your life is the moment you tap into your power to change ANYTHING in your life” Hal Elrod
I don't really know when it happens. That moment you get in good with who you are and stop the hater talk. For me it's a gradual process that unfolds when you start DOING stuff aka living your life. This means showing up for all the parts of life that comes your way, especially the really hard and challenging shit. I've learned the most about myself by diving into things that really scared me. It reveals these characteristics about who you are and piece by piece, through your experiences, you build a foundation that's all YOU. It's a on going, fo' life journey. Which I might add is pretty cool. You will always have the opportunity to learn something new about who you are and what you choose to become.
It's easy to get sucked into what you think everyone wants you to be. Your gesture of figuring out YOU can be a loud statement or a small whisper. Either way, do it on your own terms. Stop trying to figure out who you are by standing still. Start walking, listening, trying and filtering shit that doesn’t fill whatever goodness you’re trying to create. Being yourself is showing up without the need to edit parts of who you are. You are creating this WHOLE you and that means leaning in to the ebbs and flows of this big beautiful, chaotic, purpose driven thing called life. It wants all of you. I want ALL of you.
Stop trying to be a hero and put on a coat that'll keep you warm!! Ok seriously y'all, old man Winter will be here and I just want my babes to be stylishly ready. After experiencing snowmageddon 2016-2017, ughhhhh, I'm leaving no awesome/practical Winter wear stones unturned. This green puffy goodness was a saaweet find at Old Navy. It's under $50 on sale ( yah, you heard me) fleece lined, comes in this yummy color and its CUTE! We can nix looking frumpy in our cozy wears and step out looking fly! Insert any Beyonce song right here and imagine your hair being blown slow motion style in the wind ;)
Old Navy: Coat, vest and stripe tee
So a few tips to consider when shopping for that coat. Proportions matter. If you're petite, consider a cropped puffer or see if the style comes in petite so that it doesn't overwhelm your frame. If you're curvy, look for a flat quilt ( no bulky coat), nylon or wool style that has a simple and sleek silhouette. I'm currently loving this and this style. Let me know if you snag any of these styles! Stay warm my peeps!
When I told my family and friends that I was leaving NJ and moving to Boise Idaho to be with the man I love, most of them freaked out. Laura, you can't be serious? Do you really know this guy? I can't believe you're moving to Iowa ( yep, I got that one a lot ;) These phrases were repeated by a few well meaning friends and family members. I was also reminded on several occasion that I would be moving to a state where, well, there was very little black folks. That was 12 years ago. I've since married my mountain man ( 10 years and counting), developed a major love crush on Idaho, became a business owner and formed some of the most meaningful relationships that's helped shaped me as a person.
Y'all all of this scared me! Fear was showing up, putting it's dirty ass feet on my coffee table and getting comfy. UGH!!! I had to DECIDE if the want was bigger than the fear. The want has to be big and I don't mean "I want those ankle boots" big. I mean, I want to marry this man, own this company, move out of the country and start a new business because I LOVE this BIG! Love, passion, GOALS will push through fear but that shit has got to be real. Why? Because the moment it becomes hard or suck ( life gets that way sometimes) you'll want to quit and get back to comfort zone.
So I had to ask myself, how badly do I want it?! I wanted this so badly that I was willing to look beyond the what ifs and see what WE could be if I moved to Idaho. I wanted to see who I could become with this move. The process was hard, easy and everything in between. It took time for me to truly find my place and develop meaningful relationships. It's helped me to foster a mindset that I have to try and push through the fear because lessons need to be learned and that's how we feed growth. So I work it like a muscle. I know that fear will always be there to remind me that what I'm about to experience is an opportunity outside my comfort zone. So I take a breath, prepare myself also know as work and get comfy with being uncomfortable. Fear will always creep up when you dare to move beyond where you stand. Recognize it and stifle its powers with your BIG vision, die hard action and passion driven LOVE!