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‚Äôt 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

Use Fashion To Express Your Best Self – Advice from Jamie Chung

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‚Äôt be afraid to try new trends and styles ‚Äď 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‚Äôt 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‚Äôs 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

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 Рwhich 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

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

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

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.

A glimpse of El Salvador, Part I

I will be featuring my country, El Salvador, in a few of my next posts. When travelers go to the region, they tend to skip El Salvador. Known as the “pinkie” of Central America, my country is full of natural beauty and culture.

This post features the popular “Ruta de las Flores”, a collection of five scenic towns known for its mountains, flowering coffee plants and unique arts and crafts. The towns are located a few kilometres from each other and can be easily accessed from the main highway.

1. Nahuizalco

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An indigenous town, Nahuizalco is known for its unique handicrafts. Explore the night market, where stalls are lit by candle only.

2. Salcoatitan

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This village housed El Salvador’s first coffee plantations back in 1860. If you enjoy outdoor activities, Salcoatitan is a great town offering mountain biking trails. Click here for trail recommendations between the Ruta de las Flores towns.

Park and Restaurant La Colina

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La Colina was founded in 1996, offering its guests food, recreation and cabins for accommodation.  You will find some of the most typical Salvadoran dishes in a cozy atmosphere and natural surroundings.

3. Juayua

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Also known as the City of the Red Orchids due to the abundant number of this flower in the mountains, Juayua has a rich historical background.

One of the tours which is impossible to miss is the route of the 7 waterfalls, which takes approximately 5 hours to complete. The tourist office can offer you further information and can lend you rappel equipment for the waterfalls.

4. Apaneca

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If you want a picturesque view of the coffee plantations, take the Apaneca Canopy tour. ¬†Don’t miss out on the beautiful lagoons, particularly Laguna Verde and Laguna de Ninfas.

5. Concepcion de Ataco

Known for the peacefulness of its mountains and vivid colors, a couple of days are ideal to wander through the market and walk the pebbled roads. Ataco houses some of El Salvador’s most unique art.

Casa San Antonio

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This beautiful two-floored house in the heart of Ataco is a good accommodation option for 12 guests.

Attack Oh Burgers!

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This new burger joint was opened in 2013 and is already the talk of town. Offering artisanal burgers, chef Oscar Pena has applied his knowledge gained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris to bring to El Salvador an exquisite food venture.

 

7 Lessons I Learned About Style While Living Abroad

Having lived in 6 countries in the past 8 years, I have developed a knack for style influenced by where I was at the time. My fashion sense has oscillated over time, but at the moment my style is best described as eclectic chic, representing a mixture of my various international experiences. 
 
Here are the key fashion lessons I’ve learned so far, they will be useful to you when traveling abroad – Enjoy! ¬†
 
1. Browse local stores
 
Local stores (both chains and independent boutiques) have great finds that you would normally not find back home. Boutiques tend to have unique pieces that have not been mass-produced and therefore it’s unlikely you will run into someone wearing the same outfit. For example, I got a beautiful floral dress from a Chinese boutique that is admired by everyone wherever I go!
 

2. Set a budget 

Whenever you go shopping, set a budget before you leave home. Money tends to go fairly quickly, especially abroad. It may sound like a boring task but if you buy within your budget, you will avoid the post-buyers remorse that usually ruins that otherwise great shopping trip.

 
3. Fit is key
 
Fit is everything, especially as people’s general builds are different in each country. I was in Japan once and their coat sleeves run slightly shorter because of Japanese women’s arm length. I loved one of the coats¬†so I ended up buying it anyways and it looks great when I wear it with long-sleeved shirts!¬†
Have you ever found yourself sizing up or down because they don’t have your size? I must admit I’m guilty of this as well¬†but it’s best to avoid it. If you’re unsure how it fits, ask a¬†friend to take a photo¬†of you to see yourself objectively. Another good alternative is to get¬†those pieces you absolutely love slightly tailored. Bear in mind some items will be easier to tailor, i.e. hems but taking a blazer in, for example, will be slightly trickier.
 
4. Dress to impress…
 
… Yourself! Is your outfit too daring? Too boring? You can never please everyone so dress in what makes you feel amazing. Living abroad you most likely will have a different style than that of locals. Adopt what you like and mix it with your own sense of style. Living in Argentina, I used to wear my favorite LBD from London to go out in the evening. It is a¬†one shoulder dress with a fan-like detail on the other shoulder. Very Lady Gaga – but less¬†risk√©¬†(by about¬†10x!). I feel GREAT in it! I turned heads (in a good way) by being true to my sense of style.¬†
   
5. Don’t be afraid to experiment¬†
 
Fashion is like art, undefined. Don’t be afraid to use different patterns, materials and layers in one outfit. I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my inspirations mix leopard print with polka dots. Fashion rules are there to be broken!¬†
 
6. Style can be learned
 
Use celebrities, Instagram and¬†Pinterest for inspiration on style. Check out @alescloset on Instagram for inspiration on how to style your everyday favorites and buy gently worn clothes from all over the world. Alternatively, hire a personal stylist to help you re-vamp your wardrobe! Costly, you say? Check out¬†www.facebook.com/stylingbyale1¬†for an affordable personal stylist service. Style and creativity can be exercised every day – it’s never too late to start!
 
7. Fashion is fun!
 
All in all, fashion should be fun! Experiment, explore and be true to yourself! 
 
My next move is to New York City Рthe fashion capital of the world. Stay tuned! What fashion lessons have you learned so far?
 

Pop-Ups Around The World

Pop-ups, whether it be restaurants, bars, stores or events, have become a worldwide trend in the past years. The concept is that these utilize unused spaces for special events that last a few hours, weeks or some even become permanent establishments due to their popularity.

Read on to discover my current pop-up recommendations!

1. Diner en Blanc

http://dinerenblanc.info

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This invite-only elegant picnic event founded in Paris is held in 25 cities around the world, aiming to “recall the elegance and glamour of court society”. It is usually held at a secret yet popular city landmark which is revealed on the night of the event. All dressed in white, diners are treated to an unforgettable experience, where each brings their own table and a 3 course meal.

The night is full of good food, great company, live music and sparkles. The event only happens once a year in each city, so keep checking their website for when it’s coming to yours! For invites please contact me.

2. Clubhouse Jose Ignacio

http://oasiscollections.com/clubs/clubhouse-jose-ignacio

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Punta del Este in Uruguay is often referred to the St Tropez of South America, becoming one of the chicest places to vacation in the southern-hemisphere summer.

Oasis, a luxury rental company, launched the members-only Clubhouse Jose Ignacio in December 2013 and is open select dates through to April. Reserve one of their guest rooms to enjoy sunset drinks, daily pool parties, guest DJs and an exclusive beach front.

3. The Marc Jacobs Tweet Shop

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This year’s New York Fashion Week will welcome a Marc Jacobs pop up shop where customers will not be able to pay in dollars but rather with their use of the hashtag #MJDaisyChain across social media.

The shop will open February 7 to 9 in Soho, New York. Visit to enjoy a comfortable lounge with food, drinks and accessory giveaways throughout the day.

4. The Pop-Up Hotel

http://thepopuphotel.com

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Pop-ups are not limited to restaurants or events. The Pop-Up Hotel tours Britain, following the most popular festivals, retreats and events. It’s best described as glamorous camping, offering services which you may expect in boutique hotels.

For those of you attending the Glastonbury festival in June, be sure to consider this hotel as an accommodation option!

5. Yoshi Bar

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Students in Seian University of Art and Design in Japan have created a space out of reed grass for them to meet up in the campus. It’s abstract design is such that it is highly portable and recyclable, and was put together in only two days.

Pop-ups appear and disappear quickly so keep yourself updated on what’s going on in sites like http://popuprepublic.com or your city’s Time Out magazine. Have you been to any pop-ups?