IMANI COLLECTIVE

Recently my partner and friend Melissa Meyers were invited to an event with Rachel McCord from The McCord List to support entrepreneurs, brands and charities to connect and empower women, especially those who have or are overcoming life's biggest obstacles (like homelessness, abuse, trauma, depression, anxiety or bullying) I was so touched by the Imani Collective I felt it was important to share with you. I hope you can take a minute to read about Jenny Nuccio, and her motivation to get moving and make a difference.

 My companion was handmade by Grace Keya & she sits with Buster and I

My companion was handmade by Grace Keya & she sits with Buster and I

Imani Collective is a "community of dreamers + shakers who aren’t afraid to ask “why not?” Passionately pursuing a holistic approach to empowerment, they believe that once we realize what we’re made of, we can own what we’re made for. Convinced that we aren’t just better together — we’re our best together." 

The Imani Collective was started by Jenny Nuccio, who was new to the Mtepeni Village in Kenya. was new to Mtepeni Village, Kenya. She came straight from college with a vision to create meaningful employment and opportunities for the women there, but had a hard time getting her own water and would wheelbarrow thirty pounds of water every day. The other women in the village eventually helped her and they all became good friends. Jenny taught them how to sew and sixteen women started Imani Collective and yes, it takes a village.

Now, the Imani Collective has over fifty men and women in the Mtepeni Village as well as half a dozen women stateside. 

 Melissa Meyers / Rachel McCord

Melissa Meyers / Rachel McCord

Rachel McCord is steadfast in creating her village and I'm so grateful to learn about Imani Collective and other wonderful brands who came together on this day to contribute. 

SHOP IMANI HERE:

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Thank you, Rachel, for a wonderful event and touching our hearts with your generosity and inviting us to join your village!

xo Janet


Mogul (http://mogullife.com/shop-2-2/):
Mogul Design is a retail store where modern meets decadent fashion. Located on Melrose Avenue, offering a wide selection of products and services for residential + commercial design, custom orders, home staging + photography, studio rentals, and vintage home accessories. It has a Sleek and Sexy take on classic designs. The philosophy is: “A HOME SHOULD BE WELL DRESSED, MOGUL TRULY IS HIGH FASHION FOR YOUR HOME.” THANK YOU to owners of Mogul, Thomas Piscitello and Neal Wagner. Follow us on Instagram @mogul_design.


High Heel Hero (https://miraclerelief.club/collections/high-heel-hero):
High Heel Hero stops the inflammation to stop the pinch. This pure CBD ointment is lightly scented with lavender and eucalyptus. They also sell adorable pouches for makeup and jewelry, as well as other sassy accessories! Follow us on Instagram at @high_heel_hero.


Copper + Crane (www.copperandcrane.com):
Copper + Crane is The world’s luxury spa, bath and skin care indulgence. Carefully crafted with the modern woman in mind. They have an exclusive collection of luxury bath, body and fragrance items. The vision is to create a voyage and community that brings a mesmerizing realm home to your bath sanctuary. Copper + Crane is about soothing and rejuvenating your Mind, Body, and Spirit. Follow us on Instagram at @copperandcrane.

 

Imani Collective (www.imanicollective.com):
Imani Collective ethically creates sustainable pieces for children and their moms. All of their products are handmade with no toxins. The Imani Collective is empowered to help, providing jobs for unemployed individuals living in Kenya. The company now employs over fifty Kenyan men + women in the Mtepeni Village and Mombosa, along with half a dozen women stateside. Imani Collective was developed to help and provide for its community of dreamers + shakers who aren’t afraid to ask “why not?” Follow us on Instagram at @imanicollective.



Mott and Prince (www.mottandprince.com):
Mott and Prince is a place for women to feel inspired and empowered through their style, experiences, and culture. They want to give women an amazing shopping experience, but most importantly a place for them to learn and connect with others with honest experiences and life happenings that we can all relate to. The passion behind Mott and Prince is to give women strength to feel beautiful and confident in their own skin. Mott and Prince is offering all The McCord List influencers 20% off their purchases! Use code: RachelMcCord20  to redeem your discount on www.mottandprince.com. Follow us on Instagram at @MottandPrince.

INSPIRATIONAL FEMALE INFLUENCERS

What do you look for in an influencer? Meet six women who are loving, dynamic and fearless and want to connect with you.

 Clothing: Courtesy of: Milk Boutique Photo: Betsy Newman Makeup: Melissa Mitchell

Clothing: Courtesy of: Milk Boutique Photo: Betsy Newman Makeup: Melissa Mitchell

Today we seem to find most of our information in the palm of our hand. No matter what you're searching for, whether you're on Facebook or Instagram you'll most likely find whatever you need. Social media marketing is gaining more popularity and it doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon. In fact, P.R. companies are now depending on influencers to get the authentic word out and in some cases, they outperform traditional marketing channels. The fun part is finding the influencers that you connect with, whether is fashion, nutrition, inspiration, travel, or our beloved pets. I'd like you to meet six of my favorite ageless influencers who've I've had the joy of working with over the last two years. These women have brought so much knowledge and fun to my journey and we're all very excited about future projects in 2018. 

 Meet Shalini Vadhera

Shalini has traveled the world in search of women's unique beauty secrets and strives to empower women of all ages. She is a global beauty expert with incredible knowledge in beauty and spirit. Her website is loaded with exciting content along with her YouTube channel documenting her journies and how-tos. Shalini was the first influencer I met after launching The Grateful Gardenia. We were seated across from one another at a dinner party, my husband sat beside her and right away he said, "Janet, you gotta meet Shalini" Shalini and her husband were off to Europe on the red-eye that evening, and we chatted about technology and building a brand until she and her husband left. Shalini's conversation was such an ah-ha moment for me, she unleashed a mountain of ideas, in fact, it's because of Shalini I do my walking meditation every single day, and why I regularly talk to the moon. Shalini lives here in Los Angeles with her husband and stepdaughter .

Meet Melissa Meyers

Melissa is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to beauty products, treatments and great places for working out. Not only can you read about what she's currently testing but you can watch her in action, check her Insta stories on her Instagram page and you'll experience first hand what's taking place. She offers incredible discount codes for style and wellness with detailed information on the latest spas & products. Melissa is a dedicated journalist, she's a New Yorker who began her career in the city, and moved with her husband and two kids to L.A. six years ago. When it comes to product details you can be sure you will get the facts when you read her blog and newsletter.  Melissa's all about glowing from the inside, I highly encourage you to sign up for her weekly newsletter for updates, discount codes and sales!  Melissa and I met after being seated at a luncheon for Project Angel Food. Our mutual friend purposely seated us next to one another (thank you Robert) I asked if we could meet and if she had time to educate me on how the blogging world all works. We met, and thanks to Melissa sharing her valuable information I learned how to monetize my content, and I'm still learning. Melissa and I have been working together for the last year and it's been one exciting journey. Speaking of journeys, we're excited about our first travel collaboration at the end of January. Melissa and I are also the Brand Ambassadors for Instytutum a skincare line from Switzerland, and she just launched her own organic face oil.  Olie X Melissa Meyers Rose Glow drops, in partnership with Project Angel Food

Meet Elissa Goodman

Sign up now!!  I always get so excited when I speak to anyone about Elissa. She is my go-to for nutrition and inspiration. I have learned so much from reading her newsletter and reading her book Cancer Hacks. Elissa will motivate you to take charge of your health. She is a cancer survivor and you can read about her journey and her husband who lost his battle with cancer. Elissa's story is one of courage and healing and you will learn why it's so important to listen to your gut and educate yourself on food and listen to your body. She also has a segment on Focus TV and interviews women who focus on health and who are at the top of their game. After reading her book, you will get motivated to change at least one thing in your daily life. Elissa walks the talk, and she's a woman who understands how important it is for us women to take care of ourselves!!  Following her Instagram will give you great ideas for delicious and healthy meals! Changing one thing can change your life for the better. Elissa is a mother of two daughters.

Meet Luz Avilla Kyncl

I met Luz several years back, we spent a beautiful New Year's Eve together with our families in Sun Valley with mutual friends. I didn't know much about Luz, I watched her in the kitchen prepare a fabulous meal. Little did I know the love and knowledge involved in the preparation. Luz is an author, a nutrition coach, and a wellness counselor with experience in family nutrition, weight management, and stress relief. Luz offers educational workshops to improve health in schools and organizations. In her private practice, she helps individuals and families with weight problems and self-esteem. But what Luz really is...Fearless, loving, giving and a believer. I highly recommend reading her book, it is a story of courage and change beyond belief. In November I interviewed Luz on my Focus TV Segment Fearless Females and I'm in awe of her courage. When I read stories of women like Luz, she makes me want to be connected more to the possibilities of what happens when we support others and believe in ourselves, she gives me hope on a different level.  Her book has recently been translated from Spanish into English and is available on Amazon.  Her Instagram saludconluz has beautiful reminders for daily inspiration and reminding us all our past is not our prison. Luz's book is a terrific gift!

Meet Michelle Day Gilette

 Michelle's Instagram

Michelle's Instagram

Michelle is a ray of sunshine!  She's a motivating life coach who focuses on women. Her practice Thrive & Fly will help gain you clarity, no matter what phase of life you're in. Michelle is all about identifying what's not right so you can weed that out of your life and begin to live the one you're meant to live. Michelle was my first interview for my Fearless Female Segment on Focus TV. Andy Waldman, of Focus Magazine / TV - a wonderful male influencer... who would chuckle when he reads this...suggested I meet Michelle and that she be my first guest. He said, "you'll love Michelle, just trust me"...Well, Andy was spot on, she's wonderful and full of ideas and she means business!  Michelle can be found on Focus TV with her Spotlight Series where she interviews women and men who share valuable information about life, beauty, and mental health issues. Her Instagram is heartfelt and full of reminders to LOVE. Yes...she's as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. She lives here in Los Angeles with her husband and two kids.

Meet Clara Lee

I met Clara several months ago, I fell in love with her eagerness and desire to open a new door in her life. Clara is a dentist by profession, has a passion for fashion and strongly believes you're never too late or too old to follow your passion. Originally from Korea Clara moved to Los Angeles from Chicago with her husband and three kids. Clara sold her two successful dental practices in Chicago and continues to practice a few days a week here in Los Angeles. Ready for a new adventure in her life Clara launched her Instagram Claraleestyle and found her renewed love for fashion and beauty after posting her OOTD (outfit of the day) pictures. She's loved the creative process and the fact she's connected with a group of women here in Los Angeles to begin collaborating with. If you're looking for great tips on style for work or pleasure, you'll enjoy following the fashion journey of Clara Lee.

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In the last few years of blogging and becoming a part-time paid influencer, I have expanded my happiness ten-fold. It's not only that I'm actually doing what I love, it's the connection I have with these women you see here and many more. You become this "team of doers" you ask "how can I help"  "what do you need" There's not a day I don't feel supported in work and friendship with these women, I have been blessed to work with all of them and they're giving it their all every single day!

My message to you, if there's something you want to do or you need a little inspiration then start following these women, you'll find goodness, happiness, and health in their content. We're all on our second and third...and fourth act. It's never too late, you're never too old to build your team of amazing women and friends. Just ask, "How can I help"  We all come to this earth with incredible gifts, yours could be seated right next to you... Just show up you never know...

Thank you to these amazing women, you've inspired me in the most graceful ways and made the journey so lovely.

xoxo Janet

Email any of us with questions you might have, we want to connect with you!

 

Resilience and Reinvention - Coping with Early Onset Alzheimer's

Meet my designer friend, my fearless female and passionate soul, Franne Golde.  Read how Franne and her husband Paul Fox are bringing hope and awareness to Alzheimer's. We still have a few days left in the month of November to make a difference by shopping Franne's website, and for those of you who already have ordered, we are so very grateful for your purchase(s) and thank you for your support. Use my discount code GG35 until tonight Monday November 27th @ midnight. Happy & Grateful Shopping.

 Franne & Paul Fox

Franne & Paul Fox

My name is Franne Golde. I'm a mother, wife, songwriter, clothing designer, author, advocate, caregiver, and founder of frannegolde.com.

I came to Los Angeles from Chicago in 1978 to pursue my career as a singer/songwriter. Within a couple of months, I wrote a song that was recorded by Diana Ross. It would turn out to be my first worldwide hit.

Since then, my songs have appeared on records that have sold over 100-million copies. I've worked with such superstars as Pat Benatar, Heart, The Pussycat Dolls, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Selena, Christina Aguilera, Faith Hill, Jody Watley and The Commodores. My song “Even If My Heart Would Break” was included on The Bodyguard, the biggest selling soundtrack of all time. 

The music business as I knew it started to change in the late ‘90s when people began downloading music for free. My earning power went down the tubes and my husband Paul, a successful record producer, was also feeling the heat. We tried to go with the flow and hoped for the best! I wrote a #1 Billboard Hit and Grammy Nominated song in 2005 for the Pussycat Dolls, but that would be my last.

At that time, my son’s school asked for my help with an upcoming fundraiser. In that and subsequent years, I contributed memorabilia from Sheryl Crow, Ringo Starr, and others, along with various concert tickets.

By my son’s senior year, I’d run out of favors, so for the annual fundraiser, I invested a thousand dollars to create a mini boutique in the school gym. I’d always loved fashion and people frequently asked me where I’d gotten my clothes. Often they were pieces I’d modified with scissors, needle, thread, ripping and knotting. I loved interacting with and styling all the moms and neighborhood drop-ins. By day’s end I had sold out.

Then I started selling clothing to friends out of my house, often designing what I couldn't find. I wasn’t trying to create a business, but I was having a blast and learning the ins and outs of finding fabric, patternmaking, samples, tweaking, cutters, sewers, marking, grading, and production. It was a whole new world and turning into an expensive hobby!

By 2011, the music business was hitting new lows and even successful songwriters were going broke. No one knew what the future held. Paul was having a difficult time finding projects as well. He wasn’t prone to depression, but he seemed anxious, forgetful, and sometimes confused, although he always had an explanation for everything. I attributed it all to the radical change in the music business and the attendant financial stress.

By late 2012 I knew something was seriously wrong with Paul. I never expected to hear what would take months to find out. In his mid-fifties, Paul was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

We have been through so much over the past five years - shock, fear, sadness, and endless tears leavened with a healthy mix of denial and hopefulness. We’ve been in support groups, visited our state capital and walked the halls of Capitol Hill, lobbying for increased research funding and improved access to care and support. We’ve done walks to raise money and awareness, served on the Board of the Alzheimer’s Association and currently sit on the Board of Music Mends Minds, a fantastic organization that brings meaning and pleasure to anyone with cognitive issues through the awesome power of music.

Paul has been able to accept this new normal with a glass-half-full mindset and hope. His yoga and spiritual practice is his salvation. He sees the beauty in everything and everyone and is a constant reminder of what’s right in the world. He has far fewer filters than ever and doesn't judge or complain. He is grateful and lives in the moment.

I struggle with tremendous grief when I allow myself to think that my future, with my best friend and the man I love, might not be as I once imagined. But mostly I follow Paul’s lead.

I knew I could no longer make a living writing music and it was hard to imagine doing anything else. It had been my life for over 35 years. Yet I had to take care of my family.

My only option was to sell my songs, the one thing that was all mine and that I’d worked so hard to nurture and protect. It was one the hardest things I’ve ever done.

The sale brought some cash, but I needed to get back to work. I couldn't just go out and get a nine-to-five job. It wouldn't begin to cover our expenses or satisfy my passion. 

I needed to reinvent myself and in a moment of revelation, I realized that I’d

already started doing just that. I had lots of samples of clothing, more significant, I had been working on what I considered to be, the perfect black pant. I made close to 100 samples till I got exactly what I was looking for.

Working became my therapy and I poured myself into it.

I launched frannegolde.com in August 2016 and was thrilled when the orders started coming in. A couple of months later I got an email that O, the Oprah Magazine expressed interest in seeing my pants. I couldn’t believe it, it was just like 1978 all over again, when Diana Ross gave me my first hit with, “Getting Ready For Love.”

My black pants were featured in the January 2017 issue of O and dubbed the “Magic Pant” by Adam Glassman, Oprah’s fashion guru and Creative Director of O magazine. This was followed by a feature on the Oprah segment of View Your Deal, on ABC. More orders poured in and my team and I were off and running.

As my business continues to grow, I still fight my grief and sadness every day -- and some days grief wins. But I know first-hand that there are silver linings. I feel them and see them regularly.

I'm grateful every day that I still have my husband and he is still able to do so many things. We treasure our time together, and though there are frustrations, we give each other unconditional love and support. I have my wonderful son, my family, and friends and I'm grateful to continue to be creative and find joy, every day. That’s really all you can ask for.

In support of Alzheimer’s Awareness month and in honor of my husband and my parents I’m donating a portion of the proceeds of my business to Music Mends Minds. While we wait for a cure…

THE FRANNE GOLDE COLLECTION

Oops! You caught me in my "Magic Pants" Are you familiar with Franne Golde Designs?  Franne Golde is fairly new on the scene and so far she's been a hit! In fact, Adam Glassman; O Magazine's Creative Director, officially dubbed them as "the magic pant, because everyone needs go-to black pants." Here you'll see a few of my favorite pieces for style, comfort, and the right price. On-the-go, traveling or everyday life, Franne's got you covered for all season's and it's made with love right here in Los Angeles.

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You will find that everything Franne makes is well thought out. Her clothes are seasonless and timeless. They are pieces you can wear as a foundation for bolder, statement pieces or as classics on their own. Nothing is clingy, boxy or baggy—just figure flattering!  Use my code GG15 for your 15% discount. In support of Alzheimer's Awareness month, a portion of sales will be donated to Music Mends Minds. Franne's husband music producer Paul Fox was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's and in 2016 she launched her brand Franne Golde. Join me and let's support Franne and others in finding a cure together.

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Cozy up in style with this Camel Swing Coat.

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I will say this Jetsetter Wrap is a must! Not only is it lightweight and so soft, it's also reversible. 

 Necklace by:  Encircle NYC  / Luggage by: Calpak / Boots:Alias Mae

Necklace by: Encircle NYC / Luggage by: Calpak / Boots:Alias Mae

Are you searching for the perfect travel wrap? Here it is!  Feel perfectly put together and cozied up in The Jetsetter. I'm wearing the Classic Crop magic pant in black / Katharine Buttondown.

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Holiday travel coming up? Pack your Magic Pants & your Jetsetter Wrap!

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I'm literally living in these Cropped Black Pants and my Katharine Buttondown. Everything about this pant works in your favor. Franne wants you to feel fabulous when you walk out the door, you'll find these simple designs will take you anywhere and you can easily mix them with your other personal favorites.

 Wonderful Gift for you or someone you love. 

Wonderful Gift for you or someone you love. 

FRANNE GOLDE -"It all started with the pants. After years of looking for the perfect black pant, I grew exhausted. If only I could combine all my favorites into one. Coming from several decades of being an award-winning songwriter and always relying on my ability to create from nothing, I decided to make them myself" You can also follow Franne on Facebook for updates on new inventories, and share your story of your favorite piece!  You can read Franne and Paul's story on her website

BRIDGING THE GAP WITH THE BOHEMIAN CROWN - STEPHANIE ABRAHAM

Welcome to Bridging The Gap - Catherine Grace Oconnell is bringing 100 millennials and midlife influencers together to blur the boundaries, put an end to labels and divisions that no longer serve us on this creative journey. Age is simply a number, it's our attitude on how we look at life and helping others that matters. Meet my millennial Stephanie Abrahams of The Bohemian Crown

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I graduated from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio majoring in Fashion and Retail Studies. I grew up in a suburb of Columbus and had a lovely childhood with very supportive parents and grandparents. My great-grandfather and grandmother came to the United States from Lebanon in 1916 where they raised seven boys and one girl. Times weren’t always easy, but with hard work and dedication, they made ends meet in a small town in Athens Ohio. After my grandfather attended The Ohio State University, he went onto to Law School and eventually opened up what is now the family law firm in Columbus, Ohio. He played a major role in my life, and I always considered him a second father to me. We lost him unexpectedly to a heart-attack when I was just 13 years old. I still get upset from time to time but I know he is always with me, and we continue to carry on beautiful traditions with his brothers (my great uncles), cousins, and the rest of our big Lebanese family. We are loud, fun and accepting of everyone so I’m sure you can only imagine our Holiday’s. 

 

 Throughout college, I interned at Nordstrom and had the opportunity to move to NYC for a bit to intern for Rampage. Those experiences, along with education have paved the way to where I am at now. They were great learning experiences, and I am grateful for every one of them.

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After styling at Saks Fifth Avenue, and buying for a local boutique, I decided to it was time to leave the retail industry. I started my blog in November of 2015 to continue my passion for styling. At the time I was working at my father’s Law Practice prepping for the LSAT, and ready to change career paths all-together, but I still knew I wanted fashion apart of my life in some way. It wasn’t until about six months ago that I realized the Law was not for me and that I had found my true passion which to no surprise was blogging about fashion among other topics. In April of this year, I went to blogging full-time and never looked back.

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For me, fashion is a way of expressing myself, and I truly feel there aren’t rules. I find it refreshing when I see someone wearing something that may not be the hottest, trendiest thing on the scene. It allows people to tell a story and is a form of art. My Biggest goal is to inspire others to dress how they want to rather than tell them how they should dress. Style has no rules in my world.

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My style is a mix of luxury, and boho chic, although most days you will find me wearing comfy yoga pants and an oversized tee or sweater. It depends on the day and how I am feeling. I love dressing up and accessorizing over the top pieces, but some days I love throwing on a pair of denim, a tee and a pair of vintage booties I got from a consignment shop. That is the beauty of fashion; you don’t always have to be just one style.

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I recently just got engaged to my fiancé in September during NYFW! I have to say he did a wonderful job and we are over the moon excited for our wedding next year. We have 3 fur babies that keep us on our toes and bring so much joy to our house. Kenny and I have been together for about four years and have been through more than most couples have that have been married for 38 years. Kenny received his third open heart surgery in June of 2015, which went exceptionally well. There was a little bump in the road as we like to say where there was a complication not caused by the surgery itself. After going into cardiac arrest, the doctors weren’t sure if he would make it; therefore, we all had to say our goodbyes a few times throughout a period of a couple weeks, and that is something unexplainable. I never left his side, and with lots of prayers and family surrounding him, he recovered even stronger and healthier. That experience made me realize a whole lot about life and changed me. I thank God every day that Kenny is here with us and we both get to continue our life journey together. 

Kenny and I are very laid back and enjoy spending time with each other and our families as much as possible. We also enjoy exploring new restaurants and up and coming areas of our city. Friday nights though are dedicated to Dateline, ha! When I am not working, I enjoy a good book, relaxing with my pups or working out.

As far as things I can’t tolerate. Any type of bullying or putting people down. Gossiping and drama are the worst and gets you nowhere, so when I hear people starting to do this, I politely remove myself from that situation. It’s not the type of genuine, uplifting individuals that I always surround myself with. I like to have a good time and get to know all kinds of people who enjoy good, genuine friendships that support one another. My goal is to bring people together and be positive in anything that I do. We only live once, and I go throughout my life living it to the fullest with passion, love, and tons of humor!!

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 When I first began my blogging journey two years ago there were four millennials who taught me so much. I love their savvy tech knowledge and combining that with a little ageless wisdom we can become a powerful team. It's an ever-changing business in the influencer world and sharing our experiences with one another only opens more doors for us all. Here's to Bridging the Gap and yes...we are absolutely Stroger Together!  xo Janet

Congratulations Stephanie on your upcoming wedding! I know you will be a beautiful, and no doubt a stylish bride.   Thank you, Catherine, for including me!

MEET LIFESTYLE BLOGGER JESICA RYZENBERG

 

 One sunny "la la" afternoon I went to a friend's design shop, filled with fun, hip, and savvy girls where Jesica was working at the time, and we were chatting about style, decor, travel and my friend informed me that Jesica wrote a lifestyle blog. I was about a month away from launching The Grateful Gardenia and Jesica offered to help out if I needed it, I instantly said yes! I would love it, so we exchanged numbers and the following week we sat down together and she took me from A to Z on tips for starting out.  I was so grateful for her incredible advice, Jesica literally walked me through everything!  We continued to meet on the weekends for a few months and I said: "One day we'll figure out some way to collaborate, we'll figure out a way to have some fun"  This May it will be two years since I published my first blog post and just as I'd hoped we are now creating content together.  Say hello to Jes.

 LEONA

LEONA

Hey there everyone! I am delighted to be a contributor for the Grateful Gardenia and look forward to giving you my perspective on all things fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and of course -- wellness. Though I have my own lifestyle blog, www.ryzenbergon.com, I am honored to be part of this fantastic online destination. 

So let me share a little bit about myself -- I was born and raised in Lima, Peru before my family moved to Florida in the early 1990s. After college (Syracuse University – go Orange!) I landed a job as a segment producer in Miami and three years later, with many lifestyle stories under my belt, the Golden State came calling. A decade, two big cities, and one fiancé later, I’m still here and there is never a dull moment!

 Machu Picchu, Peru 

Machu Picchu, Peru 

I am currently based in Los Angeles, after seven magnificent years in San Francisco and enjoy pretty much everything this city has to offer. The beaches are awesome, the skies are blue almost every day, the hiking is second to none, and there is always something new to discover — whether it’s a cool neighborhood or a newly opened cafe!

 Cafe Gratitude in Venice

Cafe Gratitude in Venice

When it comes to style, I am definitely a boyfriend jeans and tee kind of gal and have a penchant for stripes. I also have a soft spot for dresses and high heels, so it all depends on my mood! I guess it’s really what makes you feel your best. 

A self-proclaimed travel junkie, collecting passport stamps is one of my hobbies! Some my favorite destinations include the beaches of Croatia, Vancouver, and the Swiss Alps. Some places on my bucket list include Cartagena, Colombia, Japan, and the English Countryside — but I hope not to stop just there.

 Isle De Burano, Venice

Isle De Burano, Venice

One thing that I forgot to mention is that I am five months from tying the knot, so I am in full-speed wedding planning mode. I look forward to sharing all of my pre-nuptial adventures, as it’s quite an experience to fully navigate this bridal bliss (or blizzard)!

I am forever grateful to have found Janet — an empowering and incredibly inspiring woman who no matter how difficult the situation or how big the challenge, always has a way to lift my spirits. Thank you, my friend!  Can’t wait to share more adventures with you!!!!!

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 I'm thrilled to collaborate with Jes, she's fun, innovative and I love her passion for creating content. Exploring ideas & opportunities have been exciting since day one. Growing The Grateful Gardenia just got a little greener & a little more grateful.

CREATE + COLLABORATE  =  YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE THE JOURNEY TAKES YOU

Linda Rendleman - Women Like Us

Meet Beautiful Linda Rendleman CEO and President of Women Like Us.

I was honored to meet with Linda Rendleman and in awe of her work and most of all the passion in LInda's heart. I am so grateful for women like Linda who tirelessly do the work and lift women just like us up no matter where they are in the world.

Linda was born in the Midwest at a time when women wore white gloves and hats, and for the most part, a woman’s place was in the home, In the 50’s. She grew up appreciating June Cleaver…and Donna Reed. She thought somehow, wearing pearls and high heels around the house with an apron trimmed in lace, and having a family would make her dream complete. When she was a teenager and ready for college, she was told it was best to become a teacher or a nurse. Linda had a voice inside that kept saying "let's go to New York, let's do a little more"  Linda felt she had a different mission, she wanted to see the world and be a bigger part of it.

 

By the time Linda was married at 19, and a mom by age 21…She held onto the dream of the white picket fence and all that came with it, but circumstances can be life’s teacher.  She quickly realized it was time to dig deep, ask the real questions and move on.

 She had a dream of a foundation to support and help women to exercise their own power, Linda wore many hats along the way, then she was delayed by unexpected news of cancer and placed that dream on hold. Linda envisioned a healthy body would be waiting for her, and soon she would continue her mission. 

And she did! Stronger than ever Linda began to meet the right partners along her journey, and today she is here healthy and cancer free.  Linda is championing women who have the heart, soul, and fortitude to see the work that needs to be done in the world and together they are making that happen. When women work together there are no limits, there are no walls, there is action. You can hear Linda's story on the video with Focus Magazine below.

Linda's motto: I not only want to live the length of my life, I want to live the width of it.

Find out how donating $10.00 can change a life. Join with me in making a difference!  https://secure.squarespace.com/commerce/donate?donatePageId=5696aebbb204d5c21fad0fe

Link to Linda's Book https://www.amazon.com/Women-Like-Us-Illuminating-World/dp/1468555804/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1485974143&sr=8-3&keywords=women+like+us+linda+rendleman

Thank you, Linda, and Women Like Us  to every woman who strives to make a difference and who reaches out to one another.

Please email me for any questions. Women Helping Women

KÁT RUDU

Meet Beautiful Celebrity Skin Care Expert - Kát Rudu.  Every day we are introduced to more information about organic skin care lines and the flower power of plants. Kát Rudu's line is pure-biotic, vegan, and cruelty-free. I've been using Kát's products for three months and my skin feels fresh, radiant, and what's not to love about the aroma of the botanical world? Here's a look into Káts love and passion behind her brand and how she creates alongside nature.

I first Met Kát at an event I attended in October. Of course the minute you meet Kát you say....Uhhhhh I'd like my skin to look just like that! I was thrilled to walk away with her incredible products and yes... I do see a difference. Kát's products not only smell delicious but feel amazing on and I've not had one breakout. Kát is passionate about women feeling their best and when you're in her presence the excitment is contagious!  Let's take a look at the passion behind her products and what they deliver.  

From left to right -

1-Hydra-Cell Bright Moisturizer; A natural brightening and oxygenating formula that fades sunspots lightens hyperpigmentation and restores brilliance with Kojic Acid and Licorice Root. Vegan Peptides, Hyaluronic Acid and Plant Stem Cells deliver protein to the skin at the cellular level. 2- Liquid Lift Silk Amino Acid Serum; A potent concentrated supplement, the Silk Protein Amino Acid blend improves suppleness, radiance and overall condition resulting in skin that is instantly lifted, plumped and tightened 3- CoCo Honey Papaya Enzymes Cleanser; Blended from regenerative Wild Geranium, pure Aloe Vera and antibacterial Honey, this silky gel purifies, tones and deeply hydrates the skin to reveal a super clean complexion that is not stripped or irritated. 4- Hydra-Cell Vitamin C Serum; A high concentration of botanical Vitamin C and vegan Hyaluronic Acid brightens hyperpigmentation, while it feeds and plumps the skin. 5- Cooling Cucumber Eye Bright Gel; This cooling revitalizing treatment delivers Silk Protein Amino Acids to the delicate eye area, with vegan protein to make it elastic and impervious to fine lines. 

Dewy Botanical Flower Mist - Jewel Oil Serum - Jet Secret Cream (Jet Cream available on website)

This Valentine's Day, we can look forward to two new products from Kát. Her Botanical Flower Mist  (love) and her Jewel Oil Serum.(truly a jewel). The Jet Secret Cream is Fantastic!!  My skin is on the dry side and the Jet Secret Cream leaves you looking refreshed and moisturized. I was lucky enough to try the Botanical Mist and the Jewel Oil Serum before Valentine's Day! The Jewel Oil Serum is made with Tamanu Oil, a remarkable healing agent used in South Asia, Avocado Oil and botanical retinol, Jewel Oil Serum gives a natural, brightening luminous glow.  You can use both day and night, and a few drops go a long way.

You can also find K by Kát Rudu - her sister line for under $30.00 - products at Erewhon Natural Markets - Amazon - Knockout.Beauty  - Is located in New Yor & the Hamptons Ron Robinson - Fred Segal Boutiques. Kát has worked at Vera's in Bel Air, Ole Henriksen & for Dr. Lancer before opening her own studio in Venice, California

  Treatments: JET SET FACIAL - RED LIGHT PHOTO REJUVENATION - BLUE LIGHT TREATMENT CLEAR SKIN TREATMENT - REJUVENATION PEELS - PORE RENOVATION - DERMAROLLER TREATMENT WITH HYALURONIC ACID AND VITAMIN C

If you want to "Light up the room" when you walk in...Book an appointment with Kát. info@katrudu.com. Thank you so much Kát for your gift of beauty! My skin is happy, glowing and grateful. 

Here's a peek into Kát's world for my Fearless Female Segment with Focus TV. You can hear about the power of silk amino acids, and other ingredients on our video. Plants are the most amazing chemists and engineers, It’s really exciting to understand how powerful plants are and from the beginning of time, women have uncovered beauty secrets from around the world with their discoveries from nature.

                  When you grow up doing what you love, what you love grows you....me

                       "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.”

My father and mother owned a beauty salon in Bucharest, Romania. My mom was a hairstylist and also a skin specialist. My father was a barber. They worked together, side by side, for many years. As a little girl, I would sometimes go to the salon with them. At six years old I was already talking to clients as I watched my parents perform their art. Remember, in Europe, to become a cosmetologist is like becoming a nurse here. The years of schooling to become a skin expert or a hair stylist in Europe is equivalent to going to a four or five-year college.

The beauty of my mother and her salon is she always had handpicked flowers. She loved sunflowers! They were so fresh from the country fields I would try to sneak and eat some of the seeds. My mom would also have parsley and herbs around that she would preserve in jars filled with water. What I remember most about them working is; clients loved them. It was more like a family than a client relationship, and that is what I strive to bring to my work. So many of clients have become my dearest friends, as one became my made of honor. My mom always said, "Treat every face like it’s your last face." My husband told me one face at a time you will succeed. My right hand Stacey told me to always act with grace. I believe with this combination I can’t lose. 

 I came to the US on my own.  As I became an adult, I considered and even pursued various professions to make my own mark – something different than my background.  I became a SAG actress and a certified Pilates instructor.  But even while I was attempting to make these other dreams come true, my true passion always came back to the skin.

  Kát's motto - Your beauty is my life...

Thank you Kát for your generosity and your friendship...xoxo

 

 

FEELING FREE & DRY AS A DOVE

Let's talk about feeling carefree and dry. I was recently introduced to Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant by Simply Stylist and I can honestly say I'm a fan. I'm a mom and blogger on-the-go from sun-up to sundown. We're out the door to school at 7am, walk the family dog, off to workout, headed to events, end the day waiting in the carpool line, then rush home to prepare dinner, so you betcha I need to feel fresh and stay dry all day! Sometimes I am changing clothes 3 -4 times a day. I've tried the gels, the roll-ons and not until now, have I finally found a deodorant that works all day, and for two days! Yes... for 48 hours I no longer think about embarrassing sweat stains on my clothing.  I live in Sunny Los Angeles, yes we love the sunshine, but along with the sun comes the heat, and the need to stay dry all day long. Take a journey with me as I discover a little hidden gem in Culver City called "The Platform".

No matter what you do, whether you're hanging around on or off the job no woman wants to feel sweaty and have an odor. When you're in your 50's you don't want to worry about sweat stains! Going through hot flashes was enough, of course, we feel it, but you don't want it to show on your clothing too! I finally found a deodorant that keeps my armpits dry and odor-free, no matter what's going on around me.

Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant can is so light weight, I also love the design and it's super light-weight.  You have several scents to choose from Soothing Chamomile, Cool Essentials, Nourished Beauty, Original Clean, Sensitive Skin and Beauty Finish

 

You don't have to wait a second for your deodorant to dry after you spray it on because it goes on instantly dry  and there is absolutely no residue.  You have a choice of six different fragrances: Nourished Beauty, Cool Essentials, Revive, Beauty Finish, Revive, Skin Renew and Sensitive. Dove.com provides answers to all of our questions along with incredible information and stories of inspiring women doing extraordinary things.

It's so easy to use:

Shake it well. Hold the can 6” away from your underarm and spray. No need to wait for your deodorant to dry...you're ready to go, it goes on instantly dry!  One spray can will last up to 8 weeks. Dove Dry Spray contains 1/4 moisturizers so you get a little TLC for your underarms too

It's worth a try!  We're out there living busy lives, and there's no reason to worry about wet underarms anymore. Shake, Spray and Go.

The mist instantly dries on your skin and doesn’t leave you feeling wet or sticky. You simply shake it twice, spray it on your underarms, get dressed without worrying about white streaks on your clothing. The New Year is right around the corner, why not introduce Dove Deodorant Dry Spray into your daily routine. I'm constantly dashing to meetings and of course, you want to feel fresh when meeting people for the first time. I no longer have any worries about sweating or odor thanks to Dove Dry Deodorant Spray.

Being a #DovePartner is perfect for me because I can remember my grandmother and my Mother using Dove Soap when I was younger, now, three generations later... I'm continuing the tradition for that beautiful feminine feeling...along with beautiful memories.

I love discovering new people, places, and products and I'm excited to have found Dove Deodorant Spray to add to my Hidden gems.

 

It really is the perfect option for women on-the-go, At the end of the day I never have to worry about feeling fresh or dry, and I know tomorrow I can begin feeling ready to take on the day!

Let's start this day off the right way...Dove Deodorant Dry Antiperspirant Spray. I'm thrilled to call myself a "Dove Woman" Be your best self...with Dove and remember to #ShakeSprayGo.

• Up to 48-hour antiperspirant protection

• Contains ¼ moisturizers for great underarm care

• Goes on instantly dry

• 0% alcohol formula is kind on underarms

• Soothing chamomile fragrance

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Dove and Simply Stylist. Dove is committed to helping inspire women everywhere. #DovePartner #ShakeSprayGo

MEET STERLING & GET YOUR LIFE NOW

I'd like you to meet beautiful and magical Sterling, creator of AOM The Art Of Manifestation; Get Your Life Now. Sterling has over twenty years of experience in the fields of life coaching, psychology, spiritualism, and Laws Of Attraction. Throughout her illustrious career, Sterling has taught her methods to countless students through workshops and partnerships with esteemed clients such as Google, the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Hyatt, and Hilton. In addition, her unique skills have landed her in the pages of People magazine, and afforded her the opportunity to work one-on-one with many celebrity clients. Though Sterling insists, the method works the same way for everyone--if they are willing to put in the work. Whether you're familiar with The Laws Of Attraction, or you're new to the teachings, Sterling is passionate about teaching you how to create your life and attract the blessings that await you every day. If you knew you could actually live the life you dream of, wouldn't it be worth a try? (I can assure you, the answer is YES!!)

I first met Sterling here in Los Angeles through (who else?) our dogs. After chatting a bit we, of course, realized we had a lot in common and were both attracted to the magic this world offers. After Sterling shared with me what she did, I couldn't wait to learn about her unique program that guides her clients through the necessary steps to create an incredible life. I have been studying Law Of Attraction for many years, and after meeting with Sterling and following the steps listed in her program materials, I can honestly say I felt a big shift after the first twenty-four hours.  In your first session, you will meet with Sterling and receive a booklet that guides you through your daily exercises...that you create. You will continue to follow-up on the phone, online, or Skype. Once you see changes begin to happen exciting feelings begin to occur. You will become motivated and amazed at the joy you begin to feel. Your attitude changes, your focus, and true excitement flows in. 

When reading Sterling's website, it is overflowing with helpful information.  I found the article she wrote; Tips for Getting your Dream Job was incredibly helpful -  Sterling lists five steps in creating a transformation... here's a great piece of advice: Be sure to choose your own adventure. Don't allow your family and friends to influence your choices with their wildly varied perceptions. Discover your true calling by clarifying who you are - on the most fundamental level. Sterling is helpful in guiding you in the direction of finding your true self and having an honest relationship with who you truly are, and there you will find authentic happiness and honestly enjoy what you're doing!  Here are just a few of many of Sterling's clients who are living their dream jobs. Contact Sterling 

 Sterling with actress  Kimberly Elise

Sterling with actress Kimberly Elise

 Sterling with  Lauren Lapkus  of Orange Is The New Black

Sterling with Lauren Lapkus of Orange Is The New Black

Sterling zeros into the root of whatever your concern is, and quick. You will have clarity and find yourself no longer getting stuck in these old familiar patterns we all collect along the way.  Most of all you can use these tools forever, everyday, wherever you are. You will begin to get excited about waking up and watching life unfold because you are creating it to do so. Having wonderful teachers and coaches in life is a blessing. If you read about some of the most successful and happy people you will find they all have teachers or coaches... or both. It's invaluable when we can learn to "get out of our own way" Sterling's coaching gives you a kick-start to jump into your life right now and when you begin to see results you will appreciate the momentum that begins to take place in your beautiful life...you were meant to live. 

Thank you, Sterling, for being passionate about life, your clients and opening doors for personal growth.  Be sure to check out Sterlings blog @ - www.getyourlifenow.com/blog

1) How were you first introduced to The Law Of Attraction? 

It was really through experience. One of the first things I remember manifesting was a steady boyfriend at the age of 18. I had declared to myself that I was ready for a real boyfriend to share my life with. Within 2 weeks I had begun a serious relationship with a handsome, fun, sweet man which lasted several years. We've remained friends since then. It was a great experience. The other extraordinary time was when I had manifested award-winning actor Gary Oldman in my studio apartment when I first moved to L.A. to pursue acting. I truly desired to have an opportunity to talk with him about the acting process and voila, like magic, he solely comes to my apartment and we had a wonderful day talking about the craft. He even said he couldn't believe he was there with me for this was something he never could imagine himself doing, yet he felt compelled to oblige my request. Right then I knew that there was a certain combination of "things" that had to come together to produce a miraculous result such as this and I set out to figure out what has to come together to master manifesting in life. If I could discover that "secret recipe," a step-by-step process to manifest in life one could have access to manifesting at will, anytime and all the time.

2) What was the first book you read on the subject of manifestation and the law of attraction and who was your first teacher? 

The first book I read on the subject of manifestation was Maxwell Maltz's "Psycho-Cybernetics." It was given to me at the age of 15 by my Aunt. I was inspired by the reading and got the message that one could live a life where anything was possible. The stories shared in the book really struck a chord with me but I couldn't ascertain how to apply it to my life personally. I knew there was truth in what Dr. Maltz was sharing with the world so I continued my search, reading everything I could, to understand this fascinating phenomena. 

3) What made you decide to be a Life Coach and create your personal format - The Art Of Manifestation?

Life coaching was not something I set out to do as a profession. I had studied, like a scientist, the manifestation process for many years keeping logs, experimenting, using my life as the subject to determine the fastest, clearest, easiest way to master the process of manifestation. From there, I shared it with friends, family and even put together a group called Lexicon of Dreams Fulfilled comprised of 15 friends to explore my unique manifestation process. It was a huge success! At the end of 12 months, participants experienced 90% completion of everything they wanted to manifest for that year and let me tell you, these people played big. If you had read what their intentions were for that year it would look like most people's life long list of achievements.

4) How long have you been a student of this work?

27 years to date.

5) What are you trying to achieve with your students through your teaching?  

I am 110% committed to my participants of the AOM system mastering the manifestation process easily, quickly and powerfully. I stand for people reaching beyond what their perceived limitations, constrictions or restrictions are redefining who they know themselves to be, their relationships and the world they live in. The results are absolutely outstanding and incredible beyond belief! It works for everyone and every time. 

6) Why do you use these particular teaching strategies as opposed to others that are usually suggested within the Law of Attraction?

I have found that there are an enormous number of books, teachers, seminars on the subject of manifestation, or as others call it Law of Attraction, but surprisingly there are some very crucial elements that are missing that limit the accessibility to truly gain access to one's personal power and abilities. Without these crucial pieces to the puzzle, one's ability to access true power is limited, at best. There are solid answers as to why people who study these phenomena fail at their greatest efforts

7) Describe the best teaching experience you have had as a leader in the field of the manifestation process/Law of Attraction?

All of my experiences as a leader have been incredibly profound! All of the people I have worked with have incredible breakthroughs and transformations in all areas of their lives in just 30 days! Nearly everything they have invented for themselves have manifested anywhere between 30 days and 3 months. That is incredible yet true! I just spoke to one of my participants today who has received unexpected bonuses at work, started her own company, moved into her dream home at the price she wanted to pay, strengthened her relationships and expanded them too, she also bought a brand new BMW, found the love of her life and has just been cleared of an incurable disease by her doctor all within 2 months, yet her story is not unique amongst my clients. They all have fascinating and similar stories to share. It is truly remarkable!

8) How long have you been teaching?

Although I have been studying the manifestation process all of my adult life I would say sharing it with others publicly was in 2002 with the group mentioned before, Lexicon of Dreams Fulfilled. 

9) What is the best part about your job?

Being a part of transforming people's lives! There is nothing more joyous to me than giving people their lives through the Art of Manifestation system. It is a thrill beyond belief hearing from my client's about their breakthrough's, shifts and total transformations.

10) Might we see a book from you in the near future?

I am working on a book at the moment. The working title is "The Art of Manifestation: Living a Life of Magic and Miracles". It is an expansion of the booklet that all my clients receive when they work with me as a life coach. I am very excited to expand onto the next level and share this incredible work with the world. Everyone, no matter what can live the life they dream of and what's more they can access it easily, quickly and enjoy every minute of the process with total fulfillment. Really... what could be better.

                                                 “If not now, when?”     Steve Backley

REYNA ICAZA

 Luxe crocodile handbag designer Reyna Icaza wants to put an explanation point on your outfit. The stylish Nicaraguan-born beauty says her bespoke line of custom purses, clutches, and shoulder bags is distinguished, yet practical enough for everyday living, and can help women punctuate their own unique stories with classic "aspirational, yet attainable" elegance

A childhood spent steeped in the rich natural and cultural wonders of her Central American homeland developed Icaza's eye for refined detail. These early days of creative inspiration would prove more short-lived and impactful on the young designer-in-the-making than anyone could have predicted. In Late December of 1972, while Reyna and her family were visiting relatives in Los Angeles, a magnitude 6.2 Earthquake devasted their hometown of Managua. "Our home, my school: everything crumbled," she recalls, "My parents made the decision for us to stay in Los Angeles since there was nothing to go back to."  Our entire family had to start our new lives in L.A. I had to learn English, enroll in school, adapt to a new country and proudly became a citizen of the U.S. - my new country -which I love"  Fortunately for the fashion world, Reyna's sartorial - centric upbringing in Nicaragua led to an early career working with product development for luxury brands such as Ralph Lauren and William-Sonoma. 

Thirty-five years later Reyna returned to Managua, the cit's landscape had changed dramatically. I discovered a new city that I didn't even recognize, after returning I decided I wanted a change from the corporate world and I wanted to dive into something that would afford me more personal contact with both my creations and my clients. In Re-exploring my native country, I discovered that Nicaragua had access to incredibly beautiful crocodile skins. That planted a seed in my mind. I could source both the crocodile skins and manufacturing in Nicaragua. 

Reyna has a great eye for developing those perfect jewel tones. 

The process of building her business has been a family affair. Acquiring the sustainable crocodile skins and working with local craftspeople were just two of the challenges she said were greatly simplified by having roots there. Reyna's mother was very instrumental in helping her network and makes her dust-bags. Her first year in Nicaragua was spent learning about the skins, working with the craftsmen, and establishing her standards." Her husband Dane was vital in designing her logo and website, which were both major steps to launching practical operations. 

Look who else is part of the family business. Matisse oversees all of Reyna's packing for her travels...mostly figuring out how to go with her... 

Reyna enjoys doing trunk shows in her friend's homes. She enjoys the creative process and taking her time while working one-on-one. 

Classy Snake Skin Clutch Bags.

 You can also choose cuff bracelets, belts, wallets and passport covers... a great gift idea for men.

I love working with my clients, In many cases they come up with stunning ideas and color combos. Seen here with Kelly Preston.

 

These one-of-a-kind pieces give any look instant "WOW"  I absolutely love my red bag. The red is a perfect red. It's nice to be hands-free. This bag is great for traveling, and for evenings you can remove the strap for a dressier look. Cuff bracelet.

Reyna has found one of the most multi-faceted obstacles of being a handbag maven is to understand the ever-changing landscape of social media and to strategize how to leverage it to help build her brand. "It's a whole new way of doing business, so I'm pushing myself to get out of my comfort zone and embrace it."  Reyna is right where she belongs; thoughtfully stitching together pieces of the two countries she calls home. "I love facing every new day," she says. "Since it's just me running my business, I get to wear many different hats. Depending on the time of year, I may be developing and designing new handbags, sourcing, and buying hardware, preparing for a trunk show, or boxing and shipping handbag. I do spend a lot of time following up on production and talking with my team in Nicaragua. It's amazing how you can run a business with an IPhone."...  We're so grateful she does.

  Reyna is available for trunk shows. Her information is on her website or you can email me, or write in the comment box here on the blog with any questions. It was an absolute pleasure spending the day with Reyna and having lovely women enjoying a little shopping and sharing a few laughs.

   

      Money doesn't buy elegance. You can take an inexpensive sheath, add a pretty scarf, gray              shoes, and a wonderful bag, and it will always be elegant. Carolina Herrera

Grateful Gardenia: As a businesswoman, what are some challenges you have faced in the beginning stages, and how did you overcome them?  

Reyna: The beginning stages of my business were actually very exciting. The first challenge was to find the right factory to work with in Nicaragua that could make my handbags. Being from Nicaragua and having family there made the process a little easier. My mother was very instrumental in helping me network. I spent a lot of time in Nicaragua my first year learning about the skins, working with the craftsmen, and establishing my standards. The other challenge was developing my brand and setting up my business.  My husband Dane, designed my logo, helped me set up everything operationally, and most importantly developed my initial my website. I was amazed how my identity, brand logo set the tone for my vision. After that, I was on my way.  Most challenging for me was understanding the never changing landscape of social media, and how to leverage it to help build my business.  It’s a whole new way of doing business, so I’m pushing myself to get out of my comfort zone and embrace it. Thanks to your help too, I’m on my way.

Grateful Gardenia:  Briefly describes a day in your life as an entrepreneur. From the time you wake up -

Reyna: I wake up with lots of love: hugs and kisses from Matisse - our mini dachshund - every morning (sorry honey).  I love facing every new day. Since it’s just I running my business, I get to wear many different hats. Depending on the time of year, I may be developing and designing new handbags, sourcing, and buying hardware, following up on production, preparing for a trunk show, and boxing and shipping handbags.  I do spend a lot of time talking with Nicaragua since all my production is done there. It’s amazing how you can run a business with an iPhone.

Grateful Gardenia: What motivates you in your job and your personal life?

Reyna: Oh wow, so many things…In life I think “love and faith” are the key ingredients, that seem to make everything fall into place. It feels so good to love!! I love my husband, my family, Matisse, my friends, and my home. I also love food, eating and cooking, mixed with travel and exploration. Having family in New York, California and Nicaragua pretty much ensures that I’m always exposed to a lot of amazing places, people, and ideas. It’s easy to be motivated when you have positive energy and know how to be happy in life. I feel very blessed. I’m doing business with my native country, in my native tongue.  I never dreamed that I would return to my roots and start a business. The support of my husband, family and friends keep me going. In my job, I receive enormous motivation and encouragement from all the women I meet, from fellow entrepreneurs to my customers.  Women truly motivate and help one another, and want other women to succeed.  I spent many years in the corporate world, and I can tell you that it’s very different dealing with women outside the corporate world. There are so many entrepreneurial women doing great things and succeeding. This inspires me. It’s also amazing that in the short time that I’ve been in business, I’ve developed a very loyal clientele. I receive dozens of handwritten cards from my clients, telling me how much they love their handbags. These notes come from the heart and they are priceless to me. It’s such a wonderful feeling; I can’t help but stay motivated. Thank you to all the women that are reading this, you know who you are, and I’m so appreciative for all your support.

Grateful Gardenia: What are your three favorite beauty or clothing products you simply can’t live without?

Reyna:  Hmmm…Yoga is essential, and no red meat.  I’m scared of the “new” beauty treatments.  In clothing, I have a fetish for white blouses and black dresses for every occasion. I love combining navy and black. White jeans are essential for summer, and of course handbags, preferably a Reyna Icaza handbag. :)

Grateful Gardenia:  How do the ideas to consistently grow your business come to you?

Reyna: I’ve been in the fashion industry my whole life.  In my early years I spent many years in product development, merchandising and design, and later in retail management at Ralph Lauren. The interesting part is that what I’m doing now is totally new to me. I’ve been introduced to private trunk shows, and I’m enjoying them so much.  Direct contact with all my customers is priceless; I’m constantly listening to feedback and growing. I’ve been in the fashion industry my whole life.  In my early years I spent many years in product development, merchandising and design, and later in retail management at Ralph Lauren. The interesting part is that what I’m doing now is totally new to me. I’ve been introduced to private trunk shows, and I’m enjoying them so much.  Direct contact with all my customers is priceless; I’m constantly listening to feedback and growing.

 

VIRGINIA ROBINSON GARDENS - DE COLORES 28th ANNUAL GARDEN TOUR

Welcome to the Virginia Robinson Gardens 28th Annual Garden Tour. This year's event  De Colores is a perfect fit for the Robinson Estate.  The Virginia Robinson Gardens was the first luxury estate built in Beverly Hills and was the opulent private residence of retail moguls Virginia and Harry Robinson—of Robinsons Department Store fame. Constructed in 1911 by Virginia’s father, architect Nathaniel Dryden, the palatial estate and gardens once played host to lavish Hollywood parties that courted the legendary likes of Fred Astaire, Charlie Chaplin, and Sophia Loren. While feted for her hostessing prowess, Mrs. Robinson was equally renowned for her philanthropic endeavors. The Hollywood Bowl was a purported particular favorite, and in her role as Benefactress, Mrs. Robinson frequently hosted the orchestra on the estate’s Great Lawn.

 

Dana Reston Lyons’ roots with the Virginia Robinson Gardens run deep. The Co-Chair of this year’s 28th Annual Garden Tour says her passion for the unique blend of horticulture, art, and design that the historic estate in Beverly Hills offers began with her childhood visits to the botanical wonderland. This photo says it all...when you enter the property, you can't help but feel the desire to surround yourself in a field of flowers. Join us this Saturday, May 14th - tickets are available on-line.  Dana is wearing a top from Etro / jeans J.Crew /Necklace VanClef & Arpel /

 

Envision yourself on six acres of what life might be like in the countryside of Italy, but in the heart of Beverly Hils...just two blocks North of the Beverly Hills Hotel. Behind the gates, you will find an orchestra of flowers and an oasis of beauty.  Open for tours only by appointment a few hours a week, It is worth the visit to see the history and feel the magic.

“My parents always took me on excursions to see beautiful gardens, grand estates and great art on our weekend outings and family vacations,” says Reston Lyons, whose mother, Felice, volunteered with the Friends of Virginia Robinson Gardens in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Her mother’s example planted the seeds for Reston Lyons’ passion for the organization that has raised millions of dollars toward the restoration and preservation of the uniquely historic Robinson Estate. Final touches for the entryway are in progress before the doors open this Saturday, May 14th.

 

This years Annual Garden Tour will take place Saturday, May 14th and it's not too late to purchase tickets. May 14th marks the only day of the year the Virginia Robinson Mansion is open to the public, and also serves as the primary benefit fundraiser to preserve this well-manicured piece of Angeleno cultural history for generations to come. 

Virginia and Harry Robinson / Robinson Estate 1911

Harry and Virginia met in Los Angeles when they were children. Their parents were friends and in the same social circle. Harry's family sent him to Europe when he was fifteen years old to further his education in culture and fashion. When he returned to the states, he reconnected with Virginia and shared their love for gardening and fashion. Over time, Virginia fell in love with fashion and eventually had a full-time seamstress living on the property. All the top designers from Europe would send over their latest patterns, to assure Virginia would continue to be the true fashionista.  One afternoon Harry visited a pet store in downtown Los Angeles, and he noticed these monkeys in a cage, it was incredibly hot, and Harry felt they deserved a better environment than a pet store, so that day he left with the primates, and three generations later the rescued monkeys continued to enjoy the Robinson grounds.  Harry graduated from Throop College...now know as Cal Tech. He passed away in 1932. After his passing Virginia opened Robinson Department store in Beverly Hills...Robinsons, in the heart of the city. She was known as the first lady of Beverly Hills. In 1977, Virginia passed away at 100 years old. Harry and Virgina left behind an incredible legacy and gift to the city and it continues to keep on giving. 

Dana & her mom Felice in Queen Elizabeth Park Vancouver Canada 1969 / Dana & Felice at a garden party 1968.  

Photo: Robinson Gardens

 Photo: Robinson Gardens

Photo: Robinson Gardens

The floral affair will offer attendees fresh glimpses of themed landscapes, cocktails and lunch on the tented Great Lawn, an IRO Paris fashion show, and a bountiful boutique featuring Jo Malone’s latest line of herbal and floral scents, as well as offerings from Sugarfina, Ted Baker, Lorna Jane, Michael Stars, and many more.    Photo: Robinson Gardens

Gorgeous centerpiece.   Photo: Robinson Gardens

 Photo: Robinson Gardens

Photo: Robinson Gardens

Floral dress designed by: Angira Patel of Beverly Flower Gallery

 Photo: Robinson Gardens

Photo: Robinson Gardens

 Photo: Robinson Gardens

Photo: Robinson Gardens

Dress comfortably with walking shoes when visiting the gardens. Enjoy a beautiful lunch catered by The Kitchen For Exploring Foods

 Photo: Robinson Gardens

Photo: Robinson Gardens

Interior bathroom of Robinson Estate

 Jo Malone /  The Herb Garden

Jo Malone /  The Herb Garden

Jo Malone's newest collection: The Herb Garden -  Inspired scents from London's breath-taking gardens.  From London to Beverly Hills... A perfect collection for this year's event.

Surrounded by  beautiful roses,  Dana appreciates the history of the Robinson Estate. Dana is wearing / J.Crew Jeans / IRO Jacket / Gucci Tian Princetown Slipper / Van Clef & Arpel Alhambra Necklace

Gucci's new floral designs make a perfect fit for this years De Colores theme. Gucci Tote / Gucci Moccasin 

 

The greenhouse filled with elegant orchids is an extension of the Robinson home. Appreciate nature, be in the moment and enjoy your experience being surrounded in the orchid blooms J.Crew Jeans / Etro Top / Jimmy Choo Sneakers

In addition to maintaining the gardens, the Friends of Robinson Gardens also sponsor a very active outreach program with volunteers hosting an annual spring tour and science education program for underserved youth in Southern California. The Children’s Programs educate participants about organic farming, sustainability, and healthy eating. Students also interact with plants growing in a vegetable garden, and they get to explore gigantic King Palm trees that tower 60 feet above them. Student field trips are led by trained docents who strive to keep the kids curious and engaged. The session lasts about two hours and ends with a souvenir of their own King Palm seedling so they can plant and observe it's growth over time.  Virginia Robinson Gardens is listed as an approved field trip for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

For Reston Lyons, this aspect of her Co-Chair position represents the fruit of her volunteer efforts, "I love growing flowers, vegetables, and herbs in my own garden. Imagine being from the inner city and never having been able to run around in a garden." This years Co- Chairs / Kathy Choi - Dana Reston Lyons - Nicole Antoine - Diane Jenkins 

 Virginia Robinson Garden Tours can continue to live on because of passionate people like Dana who want to preserve the history for generations to come.

After fourteen years of friendship, I am so proud of Dana. She continues to give of her time and resources and is incredibly passionate about the city she grew up in. She believes in educating us on the history of those who paved the way and shared their dreams....Thank you, Dana, for your vibrant contagious spirit and your graciousness. You too are a part of this city's history.  I am looking forward to this Saturday, strolling the gardens, enjoying the food, the fashion show and of course the shopping. I am wearing J.Crew Cropped pant / Cyn Jun Top /  Superga Sneakers /  

   Virginia Robinson Garden Tour is this SATURDAY, May 14th from 10-4.  Tickets can be purchased online at: www.RobinsonGardens.org or by phone from 9-4 M-F at 310-550-550-2068 .  They accept all major credit cards.  It's not too late to purchase your ticket.

     MISSION STATEMENT: The purpose of the Virginia Robinson Gardens is to preserve and promote the historically significant first estate of Beverly Hills for the education and enjoyment of the general public.

 Welcome to the  Virginia Robinson Garden Estate  / Please Join us this Saturday, May 14th for a day of true beauty, an organic experience and an education of Virginia and Harry whose vision was to make the world a better place.    Photo: Robinson Gardens           *A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches        industry and thrift; above all, it teaches entire trust. Gertrude Jekyll

Welcome to the Virginia Robinson Garden Estate / Please Join us this Saturday, May 14th for a day of true beauty, an organic experience and an education of Virginia and Harry whose vision was to make the world a better place.    Photo: Robinson Gardens

         *A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches        industry and thrift; above all, it teaches entire trust. Gertrude Jekyll

THE HUNTED FOX - MOANA DIXON

A few years ago I would pop into my favorite dance class with my favorite teacher...Samantha Rabon, and I'd workout with my favorite group of women. I became friends with Moana Dixon, and over time, we'd follow Samantha wherever she taught. One morning after Sam's class the three of us were chatting about life, dreams, our goals and I discovered Moana had a company called The Hunted Fox. She invited me over to her studio, and it was overflowing with the most beautiful pillows, rugs, and throws... I instantly went to pillow heaven.  I needed personal Thank You gift for an editor here in town, and she informed me of a special bee-spoke touch she likes to add. She engraves the name on a piece of leather that is placed on the back, then you write out your personalized message and her laser printer displays it on a thin sheet of wood. It looks incredible. When I delivered my Thank You gift it was a big hit. You can read more about Moana in the May issue of C Magazine. Take a peek at the beautiful Moana and her dreamy designs. Mother's Day is around the corner so if you're looking for a special gift to add a little comfort and beauty in someone's life... or yourself, check out The Hunted Fox - located right here in Los Angeles.

Photo Credit: Miranda North

The beautiful, down-to-earth and talented Moana Dixon.

Feel like you're away at your favorite resort in your own home with this vibe.

California is the perfect place for outdoor living. These throws look fabulous amongst our sunshie.

The kitchen seems to be the favorite spot in the house and why wouldn't it be with this cozy rug.

Catch all of your beautiful dreams with The Hunted Fox Dream Catchers.

Instantly relax and escape while resting on these tropical blue pillows while dreaming about your favorite vacation.  Photo credit: Miranda North

Bring any room in the house alive with these multicolored pillows.

Moana is always reaching to be her best. She's passionate about design, color and would love to help you create your own personal Oasis.  Photo Credit: The Hunted Fox

Beautiful Shearling Throw

Moana made this supportive Lumbar Pillow for a thank you gift, along with a personalized card.

Thank you Moana for making me this Lumbar Pillow. When I work on my blog I always have this as my inspirational support. I do believe it brings me good luck, and it's soooo pretty. I love supporting my women friends. When you meet people who are passionate about life and out there making their dreams and desires come true, you want to get the word out and spread the love. Thank you Moana for making the world a prettier place...and my pillow.

                         * When women support each other, incredible things happen.    

BEAUTIFUL PATRICIA MORISON

Meet the glamours Patricia Morison (born March 19, 1915) is an American stage and film actress, and a mezzo-soprano singer. She made her feature film debut in 1939 after several years on the stage. She was well-known as a beauty with large eyes and extremely long, dark hair. During this period of her career, she was often cast as the femme fatale or  the "other woman". It was only when she returned to the Broadway stage that she achieved her greatest success as the lead in the original production of Cole Porter's - Kiss Me Kate

A few months ago I was visiting a friend for an upcoming event she will be charing for Robinson's Gardens. While touring the grounds I met Juan Bastos, a portrait artist (a rare find) from Venezuela, now living in Los Angeles. After chatting with Juan for awhile, he told me about all of these incredible women he has painted who are over 60 years old... still out and about in the world, and living life to its fullest. He said "you must meet Patricia Morison", she is one hundred years old, I know you will adore her" Well, of course I said yes, that would be amazing, I don't know anyone who is 100 years old, (and about to turn 101 on March 19th) I would be honored. Less then a month later, Juan and I paid Patricia Morison a visit. 

I can't tell you how excited I was to meet Patricia, I had to bring her a little gift, every girl loves flowers, no matter how old you are. I was truly excited to meet her...I felt like a young kid on my way to meet Patricia.

Patricia's birth name is Eileen Patricia August Fraser Morison, and Hollywood had nicknamed her - The Fire and Ice Girl. She was known to be lovely and exotic, and for her long hair. On a few occasions she was asked to cut her long locks, but she refused. Patricia studied at the Art Students League and proceeded to take acting classes at the Neighborhood Playhouse, while also studying dance with the renowned Martha Graham. She earned a steady check as a dress shop designer while studying acting. At twenty one years old Patricia made the move to Hollywood.

Still today Patricia enjoys looking through the fashion magazines, mostly Vogue and Vanity fair. She will be watching the Oscars but claims, it's not quiet as exciting and glamorous as it once was. Patricia attended several Oscars, one of her favorites was The Wizard of Oz.

Dressed to Kill - 1946- Sherlock Holmes sets out to discover why a trio of murderous villains, including a dangerously attractive female, are desperate to obtain three unassuming and inexpensive little music boxes. 

Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Patricia Morison - Her Dressed to Kill co-stars.

Patricia and Yul Brynner in The King and I on Broadway. She was very fond of Yul. in the beginning of rehearsals she knocked on his dressing room door... he said "come in."  There he was sitting naked...he said that he needed to stay in character. She replied "alright, that's fine with me" and that was the beginning of their friendship. There was no love affair during the production, Yul was dating Marlena Detrich at the time of their Broadway run. 

Patricia was very close to her family, her parents, who she claims were both quiet feisty, were born in the west of Ireland. Her mother worked for the British Intelligence after WW1, and was the first women to speak in the House of Commons- her father was fighting in France. After her parents made their way to New York, Patricia was born in 1915. She wanted to be an artist and devoted herself to painting. She ended up winning a scholarship that would take her to Paris, but she decided to stay in NYC and follow her love for the stage.

Look at this beauty... Are Husbands Necessary? - 1942 

 Patricia with Ray Milland from Untamed in 1940 - He was Patricia's favorite cinema actor.

Patricia with Ray Milland from Untamed in 1940 - He was Patricia's favorite cinema actor.

 Kiss Me Kate 1948- Opened first in Philadelphia 

Kiss Me Kate 1948- Opened first in Philadelphia 

Kiss Me Kate was Cole Porter's first show he wrote in which the music and lyrics were firmly connected to the script, and it prove to be his biggest hit and the only one of his shows to run for more that 1,000 performances on Broadway. In 1949 it won the first Tony Award presented for Best Musical. No one thought it would make it, and it received rave reviews. Only after the show opened, Hollywood took notice that Patricia was an incredible singer. Patricia lost her brother to a fatal auto accident while performing on stage in Kiss Me Kate. Production offered her days off, but she declined. She knew she could morn in the evening after the shows, she felt for the people who would be out of a job in that time if she were to take time off.

Patricia with Cole Porter -  Accompanied by her agent, she was asked to come to Cole Porters home in Brentwood one evening, after hearing her sing, he knew she was exactly what the show needed.

 Patricia with Johnny Weismuller in Tarzan and the Huntress - 1947

Patricia with Johnny Weismuller in Tarzan and the Huntress - 1947

"Johnny was beautiful to watch, whether just standing or swimming. I didn't socialize with him much, he was busy with a new love affair." 

Patricia being honored in New York at 100 years old.

Out on the town with Patricia. Being honored at Pasadena Playhouse for her 100th Birthday.  Q&A with Patricia. 

Me: What were you most know for in Hollywood?

Patricia: My long hair, blue eyes, and I was the femme fatale. I was also a great singer, but I wasn't known for that

Me: Did the studios ever ask you to cut your hair?

Patricia: Oh yes, on many occasions

Me: What is one of your favorite Hollywood stories?

Patricia: Oh..there are so many, but Louis B. Mayer had a Hollywood Crush on me. One evening I attended a dinner and movie at his home. He invited me back to a room and showed me a large box of beautiful jewelry, he said "you know...I own all of those." I said, "that's wonderful, they're lovely."  On another occasion my mother was in town and Mr. Mayer invited us both to a private lunch. He told my mother, "you know...I am very healthy, and the box of jewels I showed Patricia could all be hers... If she will be mine. I declined, and on another occasion, he walked me to my car after a party, and as I was getting in he said, " I'll give you all of Metro"

Me: You weren't interested in marrying Louis B Mayer or Metro? (they ended up being very good friends)

Patricia: Oh honey, no... I wanted neither of the two. He would often show up at my performances for Kiss Me Kate and sit in the balcony, but he would never come say hello.

Me: I know you didn't marry, but did you have a favorite leading man you dated?

Patricia: Yes... Sterling Hayden, he was so handsome and manly, and Preston Foster was such a gentleman 

Me: Did you have an actress you admired?

Patricia: Yes...Greta Garbo, and at one point I moved back to NYC, and I rented her apartment, and I was thrilled to meet her.

Me: Do you watch any television programs today?

Patricia: Yes, I love the TNT network, sometimes I will wake up at 3am and turn on the old classics.

Me: Did you only sing on stage?

Patricia: Yes, never in films, but I sang at the Hollywood Bowl several times.

Me: Do you have any advice for young actresses today? 

Patricia: If you love the theater then study the classics, live in New York or London and do it because you absolutely love it. 

Me: Do you have a favorite perfume and a favorite flower?

Patricia: Yes, I love Arpege Perfume and Roses are so beautiful.

Me: You and I have something in common, we both entertained for the U.S.O.

Patricia: Really? How old are you?

Me: 54, and If I am as fortunate as you Patricia, I'll be sitting on my couch at 100 years ohealthy and graceful as you. 

Patricia: Oh honey, don't tell anyone how old you are!  (we both have a good chuckle)   I'm a very fortunate woman, and I've done what I wanted with my life and worked with some wonderful people along the way.

Me: You know what, I've been very fortunate too Patricia, I've had a great life.

I will always remember this time spent with Patricia. Throughout our two hours she would say, "I'm just so fortunate. I'm pretty sure this has been her mantra for many years. Patricia is beautiful... her eyes are so crystal clear, they are almost see-through. She was so kind, witty, and had a perfect speaking voice. We looked through her scrap books, as she told stories of her days in Hollywood. It was truly the closest I will ever come to truly feeling the history of that era. The day I met Juan was my lucky day. I've always envisioned myself living to be 100 and healthy, smiling and sharing stories of my own fortunate path with loved ones. Being with Patricia was like looking into a crystal ball...if there was such a thing. Patricia gave me the vision of what it looks and feels like to be fortunate and full of gratitude, and Juan presented me with that opportunity. You never know when and why people come into our lives. Our job is to say "Yes". When we stay open we can begin to live in the joy of the unknown. And even become fortunate like Patricia.

I hope you have the chance to know or meet someone who is much older than you. Take the time to listen and laugh with them, be silent with them and hold their hand. They will cherish their time with you, but it will be your gift forever.

Dear Juan - Thank you so much for your generous heart and your time.  You are a kind soul, and I am so happy we met.

        *Age does not protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age.                                                                                                                            Jeanne Moreau

 

 

 

 

JILL ROBERTS - CALIFORNIA BEAUTY & STYLE

If you're enjoying a day of shopping in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica or Studio City, and spot a stylish, chic and carefree woman strolling along...chances are they shop at Jill Roberts. Meet the lovely, and enthusiastic Jill Roberts. In 1995 Jill opened her first store on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, Ca., followed by two other locations in Beverly Hills and Studio City. Jill is a native California girl who was born with that “cool factor.” She has a very relaxed, and effortless style. Her store is bursting with beautiful colors, and she carries the softest, prettiest scarves! Girl after my own heart... She never misses a beat when it comes to a flair for surf & sand merchandising...Chic yet casual, playful and sophisticated, you will fall in love with her dresses, hats, jackets, and when you meet Jill...you’ll fall in love with her.

 Not only is she an inspiration as an entrepreneur, she’s a world traveler, wife, and a mom to three handsome guys, 20, 17 & 14. 

 Jill has a great selection of all the latest jeans, active wear and lingerie. Jill Roberts Boutique located here in Beverly Hills - 423 North Bedford

Muamua Dolls / Clutch /

Jill and her guys... The Roberts family were "sneaker heads" way before everyone got on board with the sneaker craze. 

Golden Goose Deluxe Brand Sneakers - A Guarantee of Uniqueness / Claire Vivier Clutch 

Frank & Eileen Top / Enshallah Large Fringe Bag / Mother Denim / Great fit on the Frank & Eileen tops, I find them sexy and slimming.

Jill Roberts in Santa Monica - 920 Montana Ave. 

Jill Roberts in Studio City - 12053 Ventura Place (Right next to Joan's on 3rd

Jill displays both clothing and accessories so you can instantly visualize your wardrobe, and and lends a hand in simplify your packing . If you're headed on a dream vacation or a fun weekend in your own town, Jill has the perfect solution for the ensembles you'll need.

It's the little things...

Jill and her husband Mark are constantly brain-storming together. They are truly a team, and he loves motivating her every step of the way.  When you walk into the boutiques you instantly see a true reflection of her travels, zest for life, and love for the beach.  I love this photo of Jill and Mark on their vespa -zipping around Bev. Hills getting a little inspiration.

Jill wearing just one of her many hats on Manini' Beach - Kona, Hawaii /  If you’re thinking about bikini season, she has a great eye for classy, chic, and sexy swimwear. You’ll want to get in shape quick when you lay eyes on her swimwear.

On a Paris buying trip. Jill followed her passion for clothing, design and travel...and now her lifestyle incorporates it all. 

Stylish in her  Golden Goose Sneakers - 

On Capri, making her way to one of her favorite spots - Fontelina Beach - Jills's tote is custom made in Florence, Italy and coming soon to JR stores! 

Taking a little down time to appreciate, recharge and working on endless creative ideas. Jill has the right idea; incorporate your joy of life, family, your work & create your dream job.

I found a cool pair of Closed jeans. She also has a nice selection ofUlla Johnson tops and dresses, so pretty and feminine.  I love my new jeans! 

       “Define success in your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” — Anne Sweeney

Me: As a businesswoman, what are some challenges you have faced in the beginning stages, and how did you overcome them?

Jill: It’s been so long since I started my business and it was so different back then. I actually think there are more challenges now - 20 years ago I was welcomed with open arms into a fashion community that begged for new, small scale retailers.  The department store business was dying and I was part of a new group of personalized retailers who created the “Contemporary Market.” Now there are so many of us and its a challenge to survive every day with discounts from big box stores and online shopping taking over “old school-touch it, try it on” in store.

 Me: Briefly describe a day in your life as an entrepreneur. From the time you wake up - 

Jill: My kids are older now: 20, 17 & 14 so I am not needed so much in the early AM - I take this time to chill and enjoy my morning coffee before I get out of bed - a double latte with whole milk! If I am not deep in the middle of my buying seasons,  I will work a little from home and then head to Maha Yoga for my Happy Yoga practice. From there I wash my face in the car and head to my office sweaty! Most days I am wearing workout clothes all day long in line of some cute JR combination. I will work at my desk until I pick up my son from practice at 5:30. Work usually consists of answering emails, researching new brands, monitoring inventory, budgeting buying seasons, creating new marketing ideas for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, choosing outfits to shoot for our website, writing orders, creating designs for my private label cashmeres…Then I head home to cook dinner for all my men - usually some sort of animal protein with lots of veggies and salad. A glass or two of Rosé is imperative at this point as well! We tend to eat late and sit at dinner chatting with the boys until we all realize that its a school night and homework must be completed. Netflix usually calls my name and I am out by 11pm. 

Me: What motivates you in your job and your personal life?

I have several motivators in my life: My husband, Travel, my kids, my BFFs…They are all an inspiration to me - My husband is the ultimate entrepreneur who is always coming up with new ideas for businesses, stores, clothing lines, accessories etc.  He pushes me to keep moving forward and thinks I am Wonder Woman. When I travel I always find something new for the stores or come up with a new business plan or creative marketing idea.  When Mark and I are together on vacation we are always working, creating, thinking, taking pictures of people, products, landscapes etc. The girls in our office hate when we go away because it means more emails and projects for them!  My kids are super cool and have great fashion sense - we are all sneaker freaks and they keep me on top of the latest trends and brands that speak to them! And my BFFs are ever present in my life as inspirations: they are beautiful inside and out, open and honest about showing me how I can be a better woman, mother, friend, businesswoman…

Me: What are your 3 favorite beauty or clothing products you simply can’t live without?

Jill: This is too limiting so here are my choices ;) An Eres Bikini, an Alaia Dress and a cashmere sweater with jeans. K. Jacques Sandals & Golden Goose SneakersDavines Love Shampoo, Annemarie Borlind Eye Creme, Nuxe Sunblock, Nars Orgasm Lip Gloss, YSL Touche Eclat Concealer and Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint.

ME: How do the ideas to consistently grow your business come to you? 

Jill: Shopping other stores while traveling, surfing the web and brainstorming with Mark and my right arm Vicki in my office!

https://www.instagram.com/jillrobertsboutique/

 

MAUD'S

Meet Fearless Female Victoria O'Brien. Entrepreneur, mother of three, wife and an Irish beauty who is making her dreams come true. Victoria opened Maud's in June of 2015. Located in Beverly Hills next to West Hollywood on Doheny, you will find a welcomed and much needed boutique that provides you with Luxurious Lashes, Waxing and Manicures. If you're lusting after long lashes, make your appointment at Maud's and treat yourself to a little glam.

Born and raised in Northern Ireland, Victoria left for London at 20 years old. She then headed to England, Australia, Dubai, London and last stop was Qatar. Fulfilling her love for travel, all along she never lost sight of where she wanted to live and begin her business. For 23 years, Victoria’ would say, “I want to live and work in Los Angeles by the time I am forty years old”. Well, guess who landed in Los Angeles with her husband, three kids and began her business by forty…  A mantra that surly paid off. Inspired and genuinely motivated by her glamours grandmother Maud, Victoria was on a mission, and nothing was going to stop her. She also wanted to create a work environment that allowed her to be available for her family and be the ‘mum’ she wanted to be for her three young kids. Victoria had a vision, a dream, and a desire. Having that strong of will allowed Victoria to travel, marry, start a family and in perfect time, those dreams turned into reality.  Everyday Victoria can walk through the door of her salon, glance up, and give thanks to the inspiration behind the dream.. Her grandmother Maud.

 

Victoria and her family in Los Angeles.  Her motivational team...

 Before smart phones and social media, we went to the salon to relax and enjoy our beauty treatments. When you enter Maud's front door you're instantly brought back to when life was quite and simple. Lashes, Nails, Eyebrows...Its a lovely setting to pamper yourself and give your device a rest.

Treatment rooms are restful and comforting. It was nice to sneak in a little nap while Jennifer applied my lashes. 

 Why not book your treatment for perfectly manicured nails and enjoy a cup of coffee or a spot of tea.

Relax, and unwind in a quiet bungalow setting while Jennifer works her magic. You can also have your brows perfectly sculpted. 

Maud's uses Xtreme Lashes. Each Xtreme Eyelash Extension is individually applied to a single eyelash, resulting in a gorgeous, natural appearance.

With routine touchups every two to four weeks, you can have amazing eyelashes indefinitely. I have a small face and petit features, so Jennifer trimmed my lashes after the final application. 

I do love the look of more lashes. When I wake up I don’t look as tired, I’m a little more bright eyed. I throw on my tinted moisturizer, a little blush, gloss and go. If I’m going out for dinner I add liner and shadow. You can go for length or density, or both. You don’t have to live a big lash life to have lashes.  Thank you Jennifer! 

If you live locally be sure and take a moment to check out Maud's. Located at 624 North Doheny Drive, Los Angeles / 310-777-8813. I really love the feeling of Maud's, It's so refreshing to be in an environment that makes you feel at home.

While walking my dog last year, I noticed there was a new business going in. I watched the construction on Maud’s for several months and wondered what was about to open in our neighborhood. I popped my head in the door and was told an eyelash & manicure salon was about to open. I was thrilled! It looked quaint, sweet and within walking distance...Fantastic! When Maud’s opened, I went and introduced myself to Victoria and welcomed her to the neighborhood. After our chat, I admired her story and knew she would be an inspiration to any female who wanted to move here or anywhere and begin her own business, and who was also turning 40. Lucky me that she is right in my hood, and serves delicious tea and coffee, with a beautiful Irish accent. I’m grateful that I have connected with Victoria. Fearless…Yes,  Inspirational… Yes…Victorious…Yes…That’s Victoria.

Me: As an entrepreneur, what are some challenges you have faced in the beginning stages, and how did you overcome them?

Victoria: One of the challenges for me at the beginning was managing the creation of the Maud's brand, the salon remodel and the grand opening of the salon all while juggling the school commitments and after school activities for my three children. They were all under seven years old and my husband was still working in the Middle East, so it was pretty insane!!

 Me: Briefly describe a day in your life as an entrepreneur. From the time you wake up - 

Victoria: I think I fit into fearless female better than an entrepreneur. Not too much scares me which scares a lot of people around me haha, mainly my husband and my parents!  My day starts at 6 am with a strong cup of English breakfast tea. I've recently begun to set aside Ten minutes in the morning to pray / meditate. I'm then straight into mum mode; preparing schools lunches, breakfast and getting everyone's clothes laid out and ready for the day. At 8 am it's off to school we go and after drop off I try and squeeze in a workout. Occasionally I will have an early meeting, but I like to schedule them mid morning. I'm a nicer person when I can workout! I workout at Happy Hour Gym which is next door to Maud's so I shower there and go straight to work. I'm usually at the salon until noon, and when I pick my son up mummy kicks in again. I'm not an esthetician, so the salon doesn't need me every minute of the day and it works out great. My behind the scenes work happens from my home office. On busy days, I will arrange Childcare and make sure I am at the salon all day. We have an excellent client base already, and I love being there for them and seeing their 'before and after' transformations. I'm also told I make great coffee. It's Nespresso, so I'm not sure I can take the credit!

Me: What or who motivates you in your job and your personal life?

Victoria: A lot of things motivate me in different areas of my life. LA motivates me. Just being here, waking up to it every day. I have wanted to live and breath LA for 23 years and I'm thankful for every minute. My children motivate me to make my business a success. I want them to see what you can do if you want it badly enough. My grandmother Maud motivates me. She loves what I have created here, and she gets such a thrill to see her name up there on the awning. The irony of it all is that she disliked her name. She preferred to be called Maureen, she did not like the sound of Maud. I was then given Maud as one of my middle names and I too disliked it. She and I have both come full circle, and we love it! There was never a doubt in my mind that the salon would be called Maud's. No other name entered into the equation. 

Me: What are your three favorite beauty or clothing products you just can’t live without?

Victoria: Easy - my Xtreme lash extensions, my eyeliner (which is also the Xtreme brand) and my Nikes!

Me: How do you continue to come up with ideas for growing your business? 

Victoria: The concept of Maud's is deliberately simple. We are not trying to be everything to everyone. Instead, we focus on three lines; eyelashes/brows, waxing and nails and we do it very well. Regarding growth, the strategy is simple - establish -perform and grow. We are in the performing stage with growth bubbling under the surface now. Like any successful business, it's about getting every fine detail perfect first rather than trying to grow too fast and risk mistakes. Maud's is a long term business, so we bide out time …A valuable lesson from my grandmother.... 

     * The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.    Audrey Hepburn