7 Tips On How To Make Every Moment Count

ALL WOMEN STALK

 

Routine, although comfortable, sometimes makes us content and makes us take certain things for granted. However, when it comes to family, fashion, career, hobbies and fitness, there is no single formula to getting it all done. We each have our unique touch that makes certain key moments special.

To celebrate these key moments, T.J. Maxx partnered with editors and bloggers to show just how varied these can be. I was lucky to be part of this project, choosing getting ready in my closet as my key moment. I met with life coach and author Christine Hassler who discussed with me how to take an authentic approach to every aspect of my life. We discovered that fashion, my passion and hobby, kept popping up in my daily routine, making my day-to-day special. Another component of the project was a photoshoot to capture my unique moment. Danielle Guenther managed to capture that exact moment where I get lost with the pieces in my closet, whether it be looking for clothes to wear, to sell on my Instagram account @alescloset or just an inspiration for my next blog post.

What I learned was that whether it be your daily exercise routine, your commute to work or cooking a meal, we should make every effort to make each moment count. Here’s how.

1. Be mindful of the present

Remember life is happening right now. Many times we put things “off until tomorrow” but we never know what tomorrow holds. Keep in mind that right now, whether you like your circumstances or not, your life is happening. Learn from your mistakes, savor your accomplishments – big and small -, and grow from your experiences, regardless of whether they made you laugh or cry.

Christine Hassler proved to me just how hard it is to absorb the present moment. Want to give it a try? Have a look around the room you’re in for everything that’s white. Ready? Now close your eyes. Go on! …… Now tell me what’s red in the room. Pretty hard when you’re focused on something else, right?

2. Relax

Many people think that by keeping themselves busy all the time, they are maximizing their life. Slow down. Sometimes the simple moments in life are what matter most. A stroll through the park, sharing a home-cooked meal with a loved one, etc.

58 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 65 reported they make time for the things that matter most on a daily basis, which includes spending time with loved ones and family (56%), quiet time alone (20%), and fitness (11%). This pays off when they do, with 93 percent reporting a positive result, including feeling happy, balanced and relaxed.

3. Keep a bucket list and tick it off

By keeping a bucket list, you are holding yourself accountable to your dreams and the life you have always wanted. Make sure to review it constantly and tick off each item as you accomplish each. Enjoy the sheer satisfaction of crossing out YOUR life’s to-do’s.

4. Be grateful for your experiences rather than let-down by your expectations

Sometimes our expectations can get the better of us. Something that excites us or scares us can get our minds to over-think situations and fill our heads with an abundance of “what if’s”. Avoid this by practicing gratitude for what you experienced in the past and what you are going through.

5. Focus on making time, not money

Often times, we are focused on progressing in our careers and earning more and more money. It is unfortunate how sometimes a drastic event like a close friend’s terminal illness makes us stop and realize time is actually more important. Time with loved ones, time doing what you’re truly passionate about, time giving your happiness a chance.

6. Explore hobbies

Sometimes, making that moment count is through activities that you establish as hobbies. If you’re passionate about it, you will find that elements of this new hobby trickling into your day-to-day routine, making each day special!

7. Don’t lose that personal touch

In today’s modern world, with ever-growing personal interactions being replaced by technology, it is easy to get carried away with spending your time on the Internet and social media. Surround yourself with people you love, value those people around you and make every effort to meet up with them regularly. And when you do, don’t let your phone get in the way. A trick to step back from today’s technology-filled days is to have Sundays be your social media-free day. Try it and you’ll see what a difference it makes!

No size fits all when it comes to making each moment count. All of us have something that makes our heart beat faster. My recommendation is to follow those special moments to avoid fitting in a pre-established mold.

The Kendra Thornton Fashion Challenge

The lovely Kendra Thornton got in touch with me to help her organize a few looks for her getaway trip to Miami. Scroll down to see some stylish inspirations for her upcoming trip!

“With some time on our hands, my husband and I started planning a getaway just for us to Miami! We love this city because of its history, beaches and natural parks. There are so many things to love about this area of Florida, but I’m also excited because I’ll be able to just let loose for a while. I’m looking forward to this trip, but I do have one problem. I’m in need of some fashion salvation. Your ensembles have always inspired me to dress up and pick just the right accessories to go with whatever I’m wearing.

We are staying at a Miami hotel called the Biltmore Estate. The scene here is quite luxurious and tropical but with an American twist. It’s one of the oldest hotels in Florida and was built in the 1920s. The history here is quite incredible, but so are the amenities. We found the Biltmore on gogobot, which provides photos of the championship golf course, yoga studio, beautiful gardens and lavish swimming pools. I can’t wait to just relax and spend some time exploring the grounds of this beautiful hotel. A casual and posh look would be wonderful to relax at the cafe or put around with my husband on the green. We are also exploring some culinary arts while at the Biltmore. One of our romantic dates is a cooking class at the new Culinary Academy at the Biltmore. I would love for a comfortable yet sexier look that really makes my husband feel as lucky as he is. I know that you have some incredible ideas for heels and dresses that would work just for this look. Miami is a place full of life, and we will definitely be getting lively. We plan on checking out some of the nightlife on South Beach and possibly taking a boat out to the bay. If you have any more suggestions for evening looks and swimwear, I would greatly appreciate it! I can’t wait to see what you come up with for my fabulous Miami getaway!”

– Kendra Thornton

Casual Look

Beach Wear

 

This outfit is perfect for a stroll along the streets of South Beach or to relax whilst exploring the grounds of the beautiful Biltimore Estate.

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A show-stopping bikini, this outfit radiates chicness with a bold splash of color.

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This gorgeous and classy outfit would be perfect for Kendra’s cooking class date. The dress’ colorful patterns are a great match to the Miami scene

A romantic 48-hour getaway in St Ives, Cornwall

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This past weekend I had the pleasure of going on a quick getaway to Cornwall, England. We rented a car and drove four and a half hours west of London.

Here are some tips for a quaint English trip.

For accommodation, we booked a room at the Boskerris boutique hotel in Carbis Bay. It was perfect: Large living room area, an outdoor terrace facing the ocean, a cute bar and excellent service from its personnel. It was also voted as one of the top romantic hotels in St Ives.

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Food recommendations

– The Shack: A stand where you can get burgers next to the beach in Carbis Bay. An informal place with good atmosphere.

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– Porthminster Cafe: An award winning restaurant ideal for lunch or dinner in St Ives. Try their fish and chips as well as their oven baked hake. Their outdoor deck overseeing the ocean makes its views incomparable and unmissable.

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– Caffe Pasta: A nice restaurant next to the harbor, offering a variety of pizza and pasta – from the traditional ones to those with seafood. Try the crab linguini for a warm summer day’s lunch.

To get around, we used the train for one stop as well as the car to get around St Ives. There are also 1-mile treks you can follow for great views of the beach and access to different bays. Lelant, Carbis Bay and St Ives are highly recommended.

Other activities include going on a boat trip to Seal Island, where you have the opportunity to see some seals and if you’re lucky, dolphins!

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Strolling around the cobbled streets of St Ives and its harbor is also a must.

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St Ives is a great destination for a quiet and quaint retreat. Enjoy!

Ivy is Resting in Heaven

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Ivy, my beautiful black lab, passed away today. Her throat tumor got the best of her but I hope, wherever she is, she’s relieved from pain.

Amidst my painful tears and feelings of loneliness, I can’t help but relive all those special moments we shared together.

I remember when I got her. Little Ives and her puppy siblings were running around the yard where they were born. I loved them all and it was impossible to choose one. I sat down, legs crossed and little did I know, Ivy would end up choosing me. A tiny puppy came to me and rested her head on my crossed legs and fell asleep. I knew then, we had chosen each other.

I remember when I took her home, took care of her as she struggled with the feeling of separation from her family, until we were lucky enough to eventually be called her family.

I remember her sleeping in my bed. She used to take most of the space for herself, sleep belly up and tongue out. What wouldn’t I give to fight for my space in bed with her one last time.

I remember my first heartbreak. And all the subsequent ones where I would close myself off to the world in my bathroom and cry my heart out. I would eventually hear her sniffing outside asking me to please open up the door to let her in. She was the only one I’d let in. I hugged her and she licked my tears away. I always wondered how dogs, or her, seem to have a sixth sense.

I remember her mischievousness. Like any good lab, she ate everything and anything. Sometimes it was the leftovers, other times the food I managed to sneak out for her. One time it was a plastic bag. I remember her pooping that out! How she made me laugh. She had no limits, apparently.

I remember her first and only litter of puppies. We had built a special bed for her to deliver her pups. The night before they were born she hesitated but made sure to let me know they were coming. In the middle of the night she gave birth to 11 gorgeous puppies. I remember one being born without breathing. I had prepared myself for the birth and was lucky to save her. I still remember Ivy’s concerned yet relieved expression as if it was yesterday.

Over the years, I regret to admit we began to drift apart. My walks of life took me abroad for the better part of the last 9 years. However, I still remember her reaction and welcome every time I came home. It’s as if I had just left for a few hours to run errands. I could tell she missed me terribly.

I remember everything about her. Her loyalty, her wagging tail, her soft tummy, her kind eyes and her sense of humor. What I regret is I will not be able to remember her last minutes on earth. Being away from home, Ivy died alone without me next to her, holding her paw and caressing her soft cheek as I’m sure it would have been, had I been there.

Despite my suffering, despite my disbelief of the situation, I know heaven has gained another angel today.

RIP Ivy Suriano
25 October 2002 – 31 May 2014

“Those we love don’t go away
They walk beside us every day
Unseen, unheard but always near
Still loved, still missed and very dear”
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Use Fashion To Express Your Best Self – Advice from Jamie Chung

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Ever wonder what your clothes and what you wear say about you? I had the opportunity to interview Jamie Chung, mostly known for her acting in the Hangover II and Sucker Punch, amongst other films. Jamie is also a fashion enthusiast like myself, and together we want to give you tips on how to use fashion to express your best self!

1. Be creative: Did you know most of us use 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time? Be inventive in how you use your wardrobe. Roam around for that patterned item you bought a few months (years?) ago and dare to wear it out! Also, fashion is fun so have fun with it: “Don’t be afraid to try new trends and styles – you never know until you try it!”, Jamie recommends.

2. Be yourself: Fashion is about personal expression, thus it is important to be yourself. Add your personal touch whether that be wearing your favorite garment and dressing it up or down depending on the occasion.

3. Make it comfortable: Whatever you wear, you need to be comfortable with it. Your assertiveness and personality will shine through when you truly own your outfit!

4. Go for quality: As Jamie suggests, it is worth investing in quality and versatile pieces such as that perfect Italian leather handbag or those form-fitting designer jeans. These are basic staples in your wardrobe that can be used in the many facets of your life. “Places like T.J.Maxx carry quality pieces at incredible prices so you don’t have to break the bank to look like a million bucks” says Jamie.

5. Make it transformational: Feeling dreary? Bad weather outside? Use bold colors and pieces to transform your day from dreary to fabulous! A white plain t-shirt and jeans can be transformed into a great outfit by adding heels and a bold, colorful blazer! You can also tie up a maxi jersey dress at the bottom on one of the sides to add some edge to one of this spring’s must-have items!

6. Use accessories and shoes: Statement necklaces and bold, bright colored shoes can change a simple outfit to make it your own, letting your best self shine through. Jamie agrees, “Polished and classy with a little bit of spice!”. Not a fan of large jewelry and colorful shoes? You can keep it classy by adding a subtle necklace and classic and clean-styled shoes.

7. Follow your favorite brands for inspiration: Finding and following a handful of favorite brands allows you to stay on top of fashion trends that allow you to express your own personal style. This is especially true if you don’t necessarily follow fashion. Your choice of favorite brands will change as your style evolves. For Jamie, she had a period where she was even inspired by the tomboy look (ok, who hasn’t been through that stage?!) and now she’s in love with Isabel Marant, Cameo the Label, Rebecca Minkoff, Chanel, Stuart Weitzman, For Love and Lemons, Lovers and Friends, etc. “Isabel Marant and Chanel because they make my staple investment pieces. I love the other labels because they make the best of top trends. But they always add a unique personal touch. They all have a laid back California vibe, and that’s my thing.”

Whether you are a newbie to fashion and follow brands for inspiration or are a serious fashionista and prefer edgier ensembles, how you dress reflects a lot about you and your personality. So remember to apply these tips and use fashion to reveal your best self.

Anthropologie Breakfast

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La Moda Viaggia collaborated with Anthropologie to host a group of ladies with a morning full of pampering fun!

The event took off at 9am with a delicious breakfast with champagne and mimosas to start the day off with a bang. Bagels, (chocolate) croissants, fruits, coffee and a variety of juices were the perfect combination for the ladies to mingle and connect.

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We were then delighted with a collection of personal stylist picks, which featured the latest in Spring 2014 fashion. Tribal prints, multi-colored rompers and matching cropped shirt and pencil skirt were some of the featured pieces – which we all absolutely loved!

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The morning continued with a surprise raffle, where 3 lucky guests won prizes. The rest of us were not left empty handed as Anthropologie was very kind to give us all amazing goodie bags!

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We were then on a shopping spree (with the Soho store closed only for us!) where the amazing personal stylist Griselda Fernandez gave us fashion tips and advice on what clothes fit us best.

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The morning was full of fun, laughter and pampering!

A BIG thank you and shout out to the Anthropologie Soho store – in particular Gris, James, Olivia, Heather, Crist, Lara, Megan and Alanna!

 

Here are a few more photos of the event:

 

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Surviving Long Distance Relationships – Gifts for Him

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Whilst I’m not a lover of long distance, when you find the right person, there’s no doubt I would do it. And that’s what I’ve happily gotten myself into in the past months since I moved to New York.

My boyfriend has an exam in June, therefore we have said we will not meet up until then. Literally one day after he’s done, we’ll be together. Until then, how do you beat long distance?

I want to ignore the obvious (Skype, phone calls, Whatsapp and so on) and suggest a way to keep it interesting!

One of the things I’ve been doing is sending him a gift each week we’re apart. This can be something simple, from a card, to something more elaborate. Below are a couple of ideas and things I’ve sent him so far:

Customized Wood Wall Art

Shutterfly or MyPublisher offer different projects you can personalize. I opted for a customized wood wall art, below, which captured some of the special moments we had when we were together.

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Pillows with Quotes

Etsy offers great shops for custom made goodies. I found these two pillows which I absolutely loved and had to send to him. His reaction? Loved them!

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Mr Bump Mug

Once, he was sick and I sent him a Mr Bump mug from the Mr Men & Little Miss collection. Not only were these characters part of my childhood, but also his!mr bump

Beer Crate

And because this post (and my gifts) was (were) getting too cheesy, I sent him a “Best of British Beer” crate that Funky Hampers sells. The best of this gift? When he opened the package after a 12-hour work day, the first thing he saw was “You deserve a BEER” – and my (hopefully funny) note which read “Here’s something to celebrate (or relieve the pain) of studying for the CFA!”. Ladies, this is the perfect gift for your significant other!

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Swimwear

One of the things that keeps long distance relationships going is having dates when you will see each other next. For us one of them is a trip to St Lucia in the summer. I bought a Saint-Tropez brand Vilebrequin swimsuit for him to look forward to St Lucia (as if London’s gloomy weather wasn’t enough motivation already!)

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So as you can see, we haven’t been apart much yet and still have a few gifts to go. Any good ideas out there?

My boyfriend is the sweetest, he has also surprised me multiple times so gents, keep an eye out for a post on gift ideas to pamper her!

INVITE: Anthropologie and La Moda Viaggia Breakfast

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Are any ladies in New York this weekend?

Anthropologie and my blog are offering a complimentary breakfast where we will be pampered in their exclusive Soho store, which will be closed only for us! The event includes complimentary breakfast with mimosas, personal stylists advising us on upcoming fashion trends, meeting new people (we’re already about 30 gals!) and goodie bags!

The event takes place this Saturday 26 April at 9:00am.

If you want an invite please email me at stylingbyale@gmail.com with your full name.

Keep an eye out for pictures and a post about the event in the coming week!

Girl Gone International in NYC

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Women’s expat group Girl Gone International (GGI) approached me to publish a week in my life in New York on Instagram! Follow @girlgoneinternational on Instagram to get tips on the Big Apple and get a peek into my life!

About GGI
GGI is an online magazine and global community of 10,000+ group of young women living, loving, working and studying abroad.

7 Spring Getaway Wardrobe Essentials

Whether you’re planning a weekend trip to a beach town in Delaware, a lake resort in New York State, a mountaintop retreat in New Hampshire or a lobster hot spot in Maine, this article will outline 7 wardrobe essentials for your perfect spring getaway away from the cold! Both Marshalls and TJ Maxx carry a high-quality designer Spring 2014 collection at an affordable price! 
 
I had the opportunity to interview Style and Beauty Expert Carmen Ordonez, who has been featured in The New York Times, People StyleWatch, NBC, Fox, CNN en Espanol, Cosmopolitan for Latinas, amongst others – encouraging and empowering women through fashion. Read on for some great spring fashion tips!
 
1. Beaded Silk Top (Marshalls)
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The tribal beaded pattern on this top is great for dressing up or down. Chilly? Layer it with a simple button down cardigan or a solid blazer.
2. Cross Body Fringe Bag (TJ Maxx)
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This is the perfect bag to carry your travel essentials. Its neutral color makes it an easy-to-combine accessory.
3. Scalloped Cream Shorts (TJ Maxx)
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Particularly good for a proper spring day, Style Expert Carmen Ordonez recommends wearing them with a bright cerulean or seafoam green top to add a pop of color.
4. Designer Tan Dress (Marshalls)
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Classic style and form-fitting dress, perfect for a dinner date. The contrasting pop of bright yellow adds personality to this chic item!
5. Watercolor Pants (TJ Maxx)
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Wide legged pants have been spotted in all the Fashion Weeks around the world! TJ Maxx’s watercolor pants are a fantastic add to your spring collection! Carmen loves them with a crop top, a proportion that works well for every height.
6. Cropped Green Moto Jacket (TJ Maxx)
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While transitioning from winter to spring, this bright-colored moto jacket is perfect for layering. Cropped tops have been trending in runways, making this a must-have item for spring!
7. Black and White Soft Pants (Marshalls)
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On the top of Carmen’s list of spring items are printed pants. And why wouldn’t they be, they are great for dressing up or down! Carmen suggests pairing these with a blazer and pointed toe pumps for a night out or dressing them down with a t-shirt and sneakers, giving a cool-girl vibe.
Check out marshallsonline.com and tjmaxx.com for store locations and grab your spring essentials now!