Style Night Out 2105 #local

Dress and Shoes: Lotus (15% off online with code MODA), Bracelets and Cuff: Celene Stones (15% off when you mention this blog and email Krista at CeleneStones@gmail.com. Her instagram is CeleneStones)

There is a big push (at least in rhetoric and hashtags) for people to their support communities. It's kind of the "in" thing right now. People are always talking about eating local, shopping small, dining farm to table, supporting local artists and craftsmen, going to farmer's markets, shoping at locally owned and operated businesses, getting their beer from local breweries, and supporting the "Mom and Pop" shops of the world.

There has been a big push for it over the past few years and I think it's FAN-FRIGGIN-TASTIC.

We have Small Business Saturday (the day after Black Friday) urging you to shop small, and a lot of restaurants I have been too lately have the names of the local farms, breweries, and wineries they get their meats, cheeses and produce from.  I even see a lot of hastags on social media boasting when people #shopsmall #supportlocal #eatlocal #drinklocal etc. It's kind of a "thing" right now and I hope it stays that way.

I love it.

I like the blood, sweat, and tears of it all. I like knowing that my money is going to support someone's family, their dreams, their passions and rewarding them for hard work. I appreciate the fact that I live in a city that gives us lots of options.

I moved to Charlotte when I was 23 years old. I have seen it change (and grow) tremendously in those 12 years. We have major-league sports teams and stadiums, amazing concerts, and every kind of food you could dream of. There are condos, high-rises, lakes, farms, fields, parks, and tree-lined neighborhoods. We have museums, shops, fairs, festivals, and outdoor parties. There is high-end shopping and dining and art districts with consignment and thrift shops full of treasures. Charlotte is more diverse than people give it credit for and there is SO much to DO. It kills me when people say... "UGH... Charlotte is kind of boring. I'm from ____ where there is just SO much to do." Whatonearthareyoutalkingabout??!??!?!?!?!?

The "Queen City" is a city made up largely of transplants. That is what I love most about it. So many people who live in Charlotte, NC came here from other parts of the country and other parts of the world. They came and they built their lives here. They planted. Grew roots.

That's a long, somewhat sentimental introduction for Style Night Out 2015, but it touches on what I love so much about it.

Style Night Out is (in my opinion) the BEST.NIGHT.OF.THE.YEAR in Charlotte, NC. 

SNO is a fashion show and fundraiser for Carolina Breast Friends (a local non-profit). It features Charlotte's very own models, hair stylists, make-up artists, photographers and small businesses.

It's a runway show that showcases all of the fashion from our local boutiques. It's promoted by a local promotions team, produced and directed by a local business-owner and is the one night where our entire community comes together to support one another. Plus... the proceeds from every single ticket sold goes back into the community to help women battling breast cancer.

It's an incredible night of fashion, bright lights, lots of cocktails, and great music <<spun by one of Charlotte's best DJ's, Kosta X Housiadas... NOT an ipod shuffle>>. It is grown and sexy and SO.MUCH.FUN.

Style Night Out was created by Charlotte, showcases Charlotte, and gives back to Charlotte.

If you love that our city has variety, soul, artistry, edge, diversity and a heart... get your butt to Style Night Out. Support your community with your attendance. Put your money where your mouth is. Grab your man or your girlfriend(s). Get dressed and experience the city you live in. Buy a ticket, book a sitter, call an Uber, find an outfit and go. If you love this city, go. If you are new here and don't quite love it yet.. even better. We will help you fall in love with it.

What: Style Night Out 2015
When: Thursday, October 1st
Where: Center Stage NoDa (indoor venue and free on-site parking)
Time: Doors Open at 6, show starts around 7:30-8
Tickets: www.ticketssoeasy.com 


Like a BOSS... only nicer

Shoes: Lotus, Dress: Vestique, Purse: Marshalls

 Like a BOSS
Boss Bitch
Boss Babe
Girl Boss
Boss Moves

The term "BOSS" is very "in" right now.

It's normally used to describe someone who hustles, gets things done, doesn't let fear, temporary failures, the opinions of others, or even the odds deter them from their goal. Most of the time it is used as a compliment. Especially to women from other supportive woman. You'll see lots of inspiring quotes thrown around  social media about "being a boss", acting "like a boss", describing something as a "boss move".

And I for one friggin' love it.

I like women who cut to the chase, get shit done, have dreams, goals, opinions, take leadersip positions, have something to say, somewhere to be, somewhere they want to go, vision.

For far too long women have had to choose between drive, motivation, education, careers and traditional attractiveness, partnership, or being judged as "too much". Some women feel that they are "too much" of one thing so they have to be less of another.

If you're "too" attractive you have to play that shit down because people will assume you are too attractive to also be smart, opinionated, funny, or driven. And... if you aren't traditionally "sexy", well then you're probably really intelligent, dedicated, humble and wholesome. If you're "too aggressive" people will get turned off, "too direct" well then you're a bitch. But if you're "too quiet" "too shy" "too meek" then you'll get steamrolled over in life. If you get financially supported by a man, then you're a gold digger, a leach, not self-motivated. If you don't, that's okay... but don't make more money that that man because that's emasculating. I'm generalizing of course, but there is a scene in the first Sex and the City movie that sums it up perfectly...

Carrie and Miranda are in a drugstore looking at Halloween costumes lamenting about how  the only choices for women are the "Sexy Nurse" or the "Ugly Witch". They start to laugh it off and then pause for a moment and comment on how that scenario is pretty much an analogy for the proverbial boxes women are put in by society. Pick one, you're either a sexy slut, or an ugly bitch. Those are your choices.

You may be thinking.... Geez-US... who pissed, Melissa, off today? Well, if you know me personally you know that this soliloquy  is not actually out of character. I wear the badge of feminist quite proudly. However, some shit did go down today.

I had a mid-year review today at work. I was told that I am..."incredibly skilled, valued, intelligent, and a strong leader with exceptional communication skills". In the next breath however I was also "suggested" that I be "mindful of my tone, not be quite as direct, and be careful of how aggressive I can come across... oh, and double check to be sure I am not short with people when I am communicating".

You see, I work in a corporate setting. This corporate job requires me to be clear, consice, direct, strong, influential, to work in the midst of a lot of change, oh... and to deal with mostly men who are older than me, educated in an entirely different field then me and to negotiate with them about money. Lots of it.

When I first had the review I was a little "put off" but when I got off of the phone call I kept thinking a bout it and I got full fledged pissed off. The skills I need in order to survive and thrive in my job are the same ones I am being warned about. I'm told to influence, to not be a pushover, to get a lot of information communicated in minimal time and to get things done in an environment that is ever-changing... but today's conversation made me feel that I should do it with a smile, not forget to leave out the pleasantries, and make other people feel warm and fuzzy. Don't be a "bully" (yes... that word was used). I couldn't help but wonder if the guys on my team, who are also great at their job, are ever lectured about being a bit more "soft, kind", and friendly"? Hmmmmm... probably not.

I care about people. A lot. I show gratitude for my team members, co-workers, family, and community pretty often. I get excellent reviews from my business partners and take the time to train  my teammates to grow and thrive. However, I also get shit done. I talk fast, move fast, don't avoid conflict, give my opinion, and am not overly concerned with winning Miss Congeniality. Being nice is great but it is not enough, you also have to get the damn job done.

I'm pissed that in a conversation today I was told "you're great at your job, but you don't want to come off as short or bullish do you"? Well.. you know what?

Maybe I do.

Maybe being "bullish" has served me pretty damn well so far.

I wonder if the soft, kind, sweet, conversational women on my team were given a bonus last year simply for being nice? I doubt they were. I'm sure they were told to lead, be more aggressive, less of a pushover, influence more, to be stronger.

I hate thatyou have to straddle the line... never being "too much".

We can be both.

We can be good at our jobs, we can get shit done, wear short skirts, do our hair, take care of our bodies, read Russian literature, care about politics, go to church, be stay at home moms, choose to go to get our doctorates or stop after high school to make babies and be around to raise them. We can be a bit loud, opinionated, smart, sassy, and take the lead without being made to feel like we are bitches. We can be single, married, work outside of the house or inside of it. We can be soft-spoken or not. You don't have to choose pretty versus intelligent. Soft versus strong. Saintly versus heathen. Materialistic and superficial versus deep.

You can be whatever you want.

All of it.

**And a special shout-out to my manfried who listened to be vent, sent me a supportive text, is proud of himself AND proud of me, respects himself AND respects me and isn't the least bit turned off about how "too much" I am. BIG props to you.**



Romper: Lotus (15% off online with code MODA at checkout), Shoes: Nordstrom, Turquoise Cuff: Celene Stones (15% off when you mention this blog. Email Krista at CeleneStones@gmail.com or find her on Instagram at CeleneStones), Other Bracelet: Stella & Dot, Ring: Levian (Jared Jewelers)

Friendship is so weird... you just pick a human you've met and you're like "yep, I like this one" and you just do stuff with them.

That was a quote from Bill Murray and when I read it I thought.. "Man, that is spot on... and kind of strange now that I think about it."

Friendship as a kid is easy. You live on the same street, go to the same school, are on the same teams, in the same clubs. It just kind of happens. As an adult it's a little different. Everyone's lives are crazy; you don't have all of the opportunities you used to as a kid, teenager, or young adult to just "hang out".  You have to find time and make it for meaningful friendships. Which, isn't always the easiest thing to do when there are what seem like a million other things competing for any free hour you may have.

When my girls and I get on a group text to try to figure out when we can all get together it sounds like this:

Hey! I miss you guys.
Let's nail down a date we can get together.
Ohhh... this month is bad, but the month after next I am wide open.
Weekends are tough.
Weekends are the only time I am free.
Okay. My husband is out of town then, so that won't work.
Really? Shit. It's literally the only weekend I have open.
Okay, okay...
It's set..
9 weeks from now, on Friday night we are doing it.
We are getting together.
No bailing.
Remind so and so... tell her to write it down.
Now, are we hanging at someone's house in yoga pants or are we getting showered and dressed? Dressed.
HOW dressed are we talking?
Are we just doing dinner or are we going out?
Like on a patio, for dinner, at a club?
Fk you.
I am not going to a club.
Let's get a table at a club.
Are we too old for that?
Shit. I don't know.
I don't go out.
I don't have anything to wear.
I do. I have a closet full of shit I buy but I never go anywhere to wear it.
This mom needs a drink.
Lots of drinks. 
Let's get fking DRESSED. Like... DUUHHH-RESSED.
Ahhh man. I hate getting dressed.  
Now I'm stressed out.
I'm not.
I'm already picking out what I am going to wear.
This bitch....

*Then an entire other string of messages ensues to figure out what we are doing in our allotted time and to what level of "dressed" we may or may not be.*

Now, that may be more dramatic and drawn out than your conversations with your girl friends but I think you can probably relate to trying to find free time, coordinating with other busy adults, and working out the logistics.

But somehow... even if months go by in between we always seem to make it work. Be it for lunch, an hour on someone's couch, dinner out, a double date, an impromtu breakdown session filled with more tears and hugs than words... whatever it is, somehow my bonds with these women are maintained.

I am a REALLY low maintenence friend. Some of the people I love the most in this world I go months without talking to. But, they know and I know that they are my people... MY TRIBE.

Your tribe are the people you choose.

Sometimes they include your relatives, much of the time however they don't. They are your friends. New friends, old friends. Friends who live close, those you only see on social media or once every 15 years. They are people who know you. They may not know the daily workings of your every day life, but they know who you are. They were with you when shit went down, when you needed support, when your heart was broken, they had your back, were your cheerleader. They comforted you. Made you feel not quite so alone in this world. They made you laugh. You fought. Made up. They know your secrets. Your good shit. Your bad shit. You have known them for 25 years, or maybe only just met them but clicked so fking hard you had a feeling you had just spent your first 2 hours with a friend you are going to have for life.

Your People.
Your Homies.
Your Bitches.
Your Aces.
Your Pack.
Your Ride-or-Dies.

However you slice it, whatever you call it. Whether it's same sex or co-ed (two of my best friends, Ali and Court are men and I most CERTAINLY include my love, my dude, my ace, my Manfriend in my tribe). Find your people. Make time for them. Whatever that means. An hour lunch once every fiscal quarter, a text message every other week, a shout-out on social media, or spending every weekend with them... whatever works.

You're tribe are the people who get you through this life. They should represent you, reflect you, but not be clones.

In my tribe we look different, grew up differently. We are from different parts of the world. We speak different languages, are different races and ethnicities. We are married, single, separated, divorced. We are 25 years old and over 40. We are mothers, step-fathers, childless by choice or otherwise. We vote differently. We are white-collar and blue collar. We are struggling to make ends meat. Hustling. Soaring. Some of us believe in God. Some aren't sure. We could not be more different, or more the same.

Your tribe does not have to be big, but it must be strong. Don't take them for granted. If you are thinking about them, tell them. If you miss them, say so. If you need them to make time for you, ask them. Life is hard, we all need our people.

I have been working on making time for my people lately. New friends and old. When I see them and talk to them I always leave happy, energized, cleansed, rejuvenate, inspired, relieved. I have new perspective. My cup is full.

It has been my experience that you approach life with more courage, more zest, more energy and less fear when you know you have an army of your own choosing behind you.


Back to Reality...

Tank: Marshalls, Shorts: Versona, Shoes: Lotus (15% off online with coupon code: MODA), Bracelet: CeleneStones (15% off any order when you mention this blog- email Krista at CeleneStones@gmail.com or Instagram: CeleneStones)

 I never used to think of myself a creature of habit, but man... I found out over the last few weeks that I am a VERY scheduled person. 
When I don’t have a schedule I don’t get SHIT done. 
Zip, zero, zilch.
Late July/August has been cray-cray and I've been thrown way off course. 
Three weekends ago and into the next week I had family in town visiting from NY. Two weekends ago we were out of town visiting the manfriend’s family in Georgia. Last week and weekend I was off on vacation. 
I have not held Pilates or PiYo classes in over a week. 
I have barely gone to Pure Barre. 
I ran out of clean socks because I hadn't done laundry in so long.
The rug in our living room was covered in dog hair.
The only food we had in our fridge were Brussel sprouts and pickles. 
I didn't notice a damn thing. 
I mean... I wore outfits like this for gawds sake. Tiny shorts with ridiculous shoes. Who cares? I didn't have to go into work. 
I was living a life of leisure, man. I couldn't be bothered with common things like exercise, laundry, grocery shopping, house work or sensible footwear. 
I was too busy doing important things... like deciding which bathing suit top to wear with which bottom.
I was so out of the swing of things that it took me 3 attempts to  remember my password when I logged into my work computer this morning. I could not for the life of me remember it. I used every curse word I could think of in one run-on sentence while I was trying to recall it (because that always helps).
I actually woke up today shocked as shit that I had to shower and put on heels to go into the office. My mind was all like… “Uhhhh wait a DAMN minute... we don’t work anymore”. 
Then the voice of my bank account chimed in and snapped me right back into reality. That bitch.
I know that my job is the only reason I can afford to take a vacation and that I should be grateful for it, but I was not at that zen place this morning filled with gratitude and perspective. This morning I was an ungrateful asshole who much preferred the life of leisure I enjoyed all of last week.
My time off was amazing though. My mom and I road tripped down to the beach, we hung out at the pool and ocean all day, we walked around historical Charleston, ate good food, went on a ghost tour and came back to Charlotte where we spent the rest of the trip with my brother, SIL and my manfriend. It was awesome. No emails, no calendar reminders, no meetings, no classes, no deadlines, no alarm clocks. <<<Thank you for that, Mom. I love you so much and I am insanely grateful for you.>>>
But a quick break from my schedule was enough. 
I'm ready to be back to my regularly scheduled program. 
I really like getting shit done. Except laundry. 
I fking hate laundry.  


Self Made or Never Made

Blazer: H&M (last year), Shirt: Marshalls, Skirt: Target, Shoes: Dillards, Jewelry: Custom Celene Stones (email Krista for yours or follow her on Instagram at CeleneStones ** celenestones@gmail.com- Tell her you saw her stuff on this blog and get 15% off)

I was up late the other night and I posted on FB/Instagram this picture that said... "Shout out to all the wonderwomen up late working on their goals." I was up working on my Rodan + Fields business (reading about products and brainstorming ideas around events and such) and I got super excited about the future.

I have worked (like many people I know) since I was 15 years old.

I worked the last few years of high school, summers, all through college, and for the last 13 years since I graduated. I've done pretty well for myself, and when shit happens... things get tough and money gets really tight (as it does for all of us) I have NO problem juggling a few jobs or working some side hustles to take care of myself.

In 2009 I was working in sales/recruiting and although it was a great job, if you have ever been in sales you know it is feast or famine. Some unexpected things happened in my life all at once and I found myself flat effing broke. I had paid my mortgage, but still had all of my house bills to pay, car insurance, cell phone, and I had a quarter of a tank of gas. I knew a few things were coming out of my account in the next few days but I didn't realize how bad it had gotten until I got a phone call. It was from a women from the branch at my bank. She and I had built up a friendly relationship over the years, but I was still surprised to hear from her at 10am on a Tuesday. She called and said... "Honey... there is a draft coming out of your account for $32.00 and you only have $8.00 in there. Is there a way you can make a deposit today? From a savings account, maybe?

Savings??? She was joking, right. I didn't have a savings. I mean, I damn sure should have had one at 29 but as I mentioned, things were rough at the moment so there was zero savings. $8.00. $8.00????? in my account??? It was THAT bad? FUK. I didn't get paid for another few days. I had no way of getting ANY money into that account in the next few hours. No cash under the proverbial mattress. No stash anywhere. So... cried my eyes out in the bathroom of my job, worked a few hours then left "for lunch". I went home and started pulling clothes from my closet. Lots of them. Suits, coats, shoes, shirts, dresses, jean, work pants, everything that I could do without and I drove my ass to a consignment shop and sold them. I didn't make much at all, but it was enough to cover my draft and between that and babysitting that entire weekend I got by until payday. It wasn't fun. I was sweating driving to my house, sweating as I threw shit into a laundry basket to take across town, sweating as I was handed the cash for the stuff they would take, and about to bawl as I deposited that cash into my account via the ATM (I couldn't go into the bank and look at that sweet teller... I was too embarrassed).

That day will forever be locked into my memory.

I'm not trying to be overly dramatic, I mean, I wasn't scrambling to feed the mouths of my starving children or anything, but that day stayed with me. I felt really desperate and helpless. I could have asked my mom or my dad and stepmom for help and I am sure they would have thrown me $100, but I had not taken money from my parents in my adult life so I sure as shit wasn't going to start then. (I also was not with my boyfriend at that time. He would give me the shirt of his back. Thank God for that man. I mean that. I thank God for him.) So there I was... broke.

I had a house and a car and my lights stayed on, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been, but I didn't have the freedom that money gives you. Freedom to be at peace knowing your bills are at least paid. I hate that feeling. There is an old saying that says "Money isn't everything." and while that is true, there is a song lyric that says "Having money isn't everything, not having it is." Meaning... when you don't have it, shit gets real. You don't have the luxury of saying it isn't everything. Not having it becomes everything. A life without money corners you. (Don't give me any bullshit here about love and family being free... I agree with you, but if you have ever been broke you know what I am trying to say.)

So... anyway, money matters (to me). It gives you freedom to live with a little less stress, it affords you the opportunity to help people, to experience travel, go on a vacation, it gives you more choices. If you have your own money, you can leave a bad relationship, rent or buy a place, put gas in a car, insure yourself, buy yourself food, pay your own bills. You can pay for your child to go to private school, lend your brother money to pay their bills, surprise someone you love with something special. You don't have to ask anyone to give you some of their money.

Anyway... that is why I was up late the other night. Excited. Excited about Rodan + Fields.

Starting my own business through Rodan + Fields cost me money. About $700 to be precise.  I invested in it. In myself. In an opportunity. I've been getting a lot of questions lately about R+F. People seem excited about it, and then I tell them that it costs money to start. Then, in some cases, they act almost offended. (Even when I tell them that I more than covered my investment in my first month of working the business.) As if any other opportunity in life is free? You have to spend money to make money. It is true. Always.

I have a great corporate job, but I'll be honest, I don't want to have to work it until I am 65 years old. I also teach Pilates, but I do it for $5 a person. I like to make and keep it available to people who can't afford to go to traditional Pilates studios.

I stepped back and looked at my life and I was working my corporate job to pay bills and teaching Pilates for the joy it brings me and others. These things get me by, but I wanted something to get me ahead. Working Rodan + Fields is fun. I truly believe in the products, I LOVE helping people feel better about themselves, and I get compensated for my time and effort.

Joining Rodan + Fields is one of the single best financial decisions I have ever made for myself. If you are interested in learning more, don't be shy, reach out to me. I will send you information to read (that I wrote in uncomplicated language). You can read it and ignore it or read it and follow up with me. This post isn't a plug for R+F though... more like a tap on the shoulder. A nudge. An urging for you to find something extra. Something that will help you take your life from ordinary to extraordinary. If you already have that, money-making or not, good for you. Most of us don't though.

Most of us are just getting by, not ahead.

How are you going to accomplish what you want out of life? Do you want to travel more, see your kids more often, take a financial burden off of your spouse?  The things we are taught and told to do are great, but they set us up for life on a hamster wheel. Finish school, find a job and work it until you are no longer physically or mentally capable of doing so. If you're lucky you go on vacation once or twice a year. If you're not, you do all that and still have more bills than funds. It can turn into a vicious cycle and it SUCKS. This is just a tap on the shoulder, maybe one that you've been wanting/needing. A nudge to find something that lights a spark in you. A push to make a plan for yourself.

Life doesn't just happen. It's created by what you do every single day.

Find your fire and go the extra mile for the life you want to make. You may fail, but shit... you may not.