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STYLE

Elevate your casual style

June 4, 2018
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Of course you can just throw on jeans and t-shirt, and voila: it’s casual style. But is it ordinary? Or is it jeans and a tee taken to the next level? Elevated if you will.
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I’m just sayin’: Inject something fun into the everyday.
We’re only guaranteed the ordinary-ness of today so we might as well dress life up with some dangles, and sparkles, and dots.
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Also a reminder: Don’t be afraid to be you!
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Plus: Might as well go ahead and be as bold as possible with it!
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Quotes to inspire a little elevation:
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.
-Maya Angelou

Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.
– Jean Cocteau

I dress myself, not to impress, but for comfort and for style.
– Lindsey Wixson

Style is whatever you want to do, if you can do it with confidence.
– George Clinton
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My style motto is pretty classic: you give off a positive energy when you wear what you’re most comfortable in.
– Petra Collins

Hair stories STYLE

Let’s talk bold haircuts

May 23, 2018
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I’ve always wanted to try a bold short pixie haircut (a tall order for curly hair), so I dared myself and went super pixie short. I went short last year, but this time it’s so short, my curls got a fade! Now going in, I thought, “why not look like Halle?”…right? So when the hair dresser spun me around to face the mirror…ahem…turns out my hair is not like Halle’s, and SHOCKINGLY, neither is my face! Note to self: Realize this BEFORE the cut!
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Anyhoo, when going über short a few things happen (well, they happened to me):

  • Your face is out OUT there. (You can up the makeup game for more fun and drama)
  • So are you ears!
  • You may potentially think you look like a boy, because short hair is mostly associated with males. And because it’s strange to see yourself like this at first.
  • You could potentially look like you’re about to make your coming out of the closet announcement…depending on the cut/how you wear it. My sister and I giggled at this for the first few days of my cut. I loved it!

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If you’re a mom:
Your son MAY look at you shocked and remark, “You’re not my mom! I don’t know you! My mom has long hair!” Then he may proceed to call you “stranger” for at least an hour. Or…maybe that’s just my son.
However, bizarrely some kids form a “mommies have long hair” mindset very early. But they get over their hang ups eventually.
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Everyday acquaintances may remark: “Ohhh, you cut your hair.”
You’ll say: Yes
They’ll say:
That’s right. Nothing! They just thought they’d be loudly observant. You’ll then give them a side eye and keep moving.
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On the BRAVE and awesome side:
1) You’ll have done what you’ve always wanted to! My cut took a bit of getting used to, but I LAH-OVE it!
2) You won’t care what people think! Because:

  • Don’t they have their own follicles to focus on?
  • You only make time to defy the rules of convention and expectations

3) Your kids will see that mommies can do whatever they want with their hair, and they’ll STILL be mommies.
4)Your natural platinum highlights/silvers/greys will shine prominently!
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Semi-finally, let me address the “but Mandy, you don’t understannndddd…your curls are not like mmiinnneee…but your texture….blah, blah, blah!” For the love of all that an eye roll can offer! Go forth and get the best, most chic, brave, haircut/style for YOU possible.  Take the bold plunge and “Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart”…and with your hair!
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Lastly, even if, in fact, especially if, you get the “we don’t wear our hair like that here”, or some other garbage, I’m encouraging outright rebellion.  The rules don’t apply to you.  Short, long, natural, pink, whatever…do your own hair thing! Your confidence sky rockets when you care about what you like the best.

p.s. I’ll be featuring more diverse hair stories of women who took risks with their hair and gained confidence when they wore it how they wanted to. So come again for those stories!

REVIEWS

My current favorite book & orange lipstick

March 21, 2018
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“I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femininity. And I want to be respected in all my femaleness. Because I deserve to be. I like politics and history and am happiest when having a good argument about ideas. I am girly. I am happily girly. I like high heels and trying on lipsticks. It’s nice to be complimented by both men and women (although I have to be honest and say that I prefer the compliments of stylish women), but I often wear clothes that men don’t like or don’t ‘understand’. I wear them because I like them and because I feel good in them. The ‘male gaze’, as a shaper of my life’s choices, is largely incidental.”
– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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If you haven’t read ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ yet, you need to get on it! ‘We Should All be Feminists’ explains all those times you knew something was off with people’s ‘it’s because you’re a girl/woman’ insinuations but couldn’t quite pinpoint why it didn’t feel right; comments from both genders incidentally. The book is a quick 20-30 minute poignant read and makes you think, and rethink, and think!
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I’ll definitely let my sons read it in a few years. Although to be fair to the offspring, my older son is already a feminist in his own weird, very boy way. He doesn’t think that boys should have to hold doors for girls because they can do it themselves…insert my “frowny, why can’t you just hold the door and not have an opinion” face here. BUT, weirdly this has empowered my niece (whom he was instructed to hold the door for) to get the door for herself. I told her that if a guy holds the door for her in the future just know he’s going out of his way to be a little extra gentleman-y. She nodded and doesn’t wait for the boys anymore. If you have daughters from the tween years up, they should definitely read this book!
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A snippet from the book on raising your girls:
“We spend too much time teaching girls to worry about what boys think of them. But the reverse is not the case. We don’t teach boys to care about being likable. We spend too much time telling girls that they cannot be angry or aggressive or tough, which is bad enough, but then we turn around and either praise or excuse men for the same reasons. All over the world, there are so many magazine articles and books telling women what to do, how to be and not to be, in order to attract or please men. There are far fewer guides for men about pleasing women.”
READ. THIS. BOOK.
And have your husband and brothers and male friends read it too. It’s food for thought (and change) for everyone.
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My current favorite lipstick is coincidentally called LADY BALLS. If that’s not the perfect sassy combo I don’t know what is! Lady Balls has been my second lips for the past few months. I wear her everywhere and with everything!
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Lady Balls adds instant pow to your face and outfits, and keeps your feminist mojo kicking!
Brand: Too Faced Melted matte LADY BALLS!
Lip pencils (to line your lips): NYX Red Tape or Rimmel Red Diva – both work well.
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LET'S TALK STYLE

3 ways to style a ruffled shirt & stop comparing yourself

March 20, 2018
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So today my friend was busy (and kindly) appreciating another friend’s goddess like body, and during my friend’s appreciation rave, she did a quick comparison of her body and goddess friend’s body, and my friend momentarily deflated her own statuesque form. I quickly told her to stop being ridiculous and speedily spouted out all my friend’s traits that she ought to refocus on and be grateful for. Of course she knows but…”oh my God, that goddess friend’s body is…hot!”

All I’m saying is this: In the moment you’re tempted to compare yourself to someone else, loudly whisper to yourself:
“Stop the madness! You’re too old for this nonsense! Yes, Goddess body girl is hot, but that’s HER hotness. Her hotness has nothing to do with me. It’s HERS! Stop it!” Now continue complimenting her, and appreciating her, and move on.

The next day you can be extra and intentional about your self appreciation reinforcement. Like the many ways this blue ruffled shirt can be worn, just so you can maximize the bejesus out of your best qualities. Go ahead and highlight your hotness to yourself. Go ahead and laugh at your self and with yourself (another great quality about you). Go ahead and find 3 different qualities that you love about yourself, and use them up at the 3 different places you go next – just like the 3 different blue ruffled shirt outfits that are for 3 different occasions. (Won’t want you to miss my direct “comparisons”!)

And remember what the people said…well the people being Roosevelt – “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Comparison to better yourself or push yourself is acceptable, but comparison that deflates your self wonderfulness is…uncool and unnecessary.

Let me throw in a piece of the Desiderata for good measure:
“…If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”

And we will NOT do vain or bitter!
We will compliment and appreciate others, and we will realize that their good stuff has nothing to do with our good stuff; and we will focus on our good stuff and not compare it to anyone else’s good stuff, because our good qualities are different (like these 3 outfits), and great for our individual selves.
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A going out on the town/lunch/brunch outfit:
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Something different for work outfit – obviously a cool place that approves denim!
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My “if I were a detective on Law and Order” outfit!:):)
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p.s. You’re already amazing! You can’t be someone else and they can’t be you. No way, no how, no day #justsayin’

STYLE

Are you working on your movie star role?

March 10, 2018
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I imagine that you are an international woman of the world, and as an international woman of the world, I imagine you must be in the process of perfecting the fine art of being yourself. A long time ago I wanted to be an actress and take over the world telling other women’s stories, but now I’ve got to consider who’s going to play ME when they make the movie about my life!:):) Ok, I kid, I kid.
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But if you examine life from those lens, are you being everything you can be while playing yourself in this “one wild and precious life” we have? Are you being you amazingly enough, stylishly enough, flamboyantly enough, courageously enough in your current real life movie?
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You must be yourself to the max dahling! Everyone will probably not like you, but I can guarantee that your kinda people will be attracted to you. And that’s all we really need. Friends that share YOUR/my brand of beautiful, spunky, brave, panache, and sarcastic humor (maybe those are only my people).
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Power through the everyday struggles with your grit and flare, and don’t give into being anyone else/less. Because one day, a movie star is going to need a role, and you’ve got to make her part challenging, complex, glamorous, and exclusively you.
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There is only one Frida Kahlo, one Maya Angelou, one Oprah, one Michelle Obama, one J.K. Rowling, one Ruth Bader Ginsberg (her movie’s coming out soon and she’s STILL doing herself at 84), one you, one me.
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A movie star needs us, so don’t disappoint and waste time being boring. Stars (like you and me) have never been described as boring and dull. NEVER! Only bright!
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p.s. Happy International women’s day every day!
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mom life STYLE

Tummy style

March 3, 2018
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I was almost going to be a hypocrite and not post these photos because all I can see is Angie, my tummy (newly monikered), enjoying her moment in the spotlight. However, right before I almost descended into the pits of hypocrisy I realized 2 things.
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Firstly, I would never tell my niece that her tummy looks crazy/fat/pudgy in that/any outfit. I will always tell her she’s perfect, all bumps included. One should not dispense truisms one does not truly believe, or at least attempt to practice.
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Secondly, and most outstandingly, that sweet and salty Angie’s popcorn (plus all her sibling bags that I went through to verify that sweet and salty was indeed the best one), has not been devouring itself daily for the past month. And that sweet and salty popcorn has also not been hiding itself away from the kids at the VERY back of the pantry, so it can annihilate itself…alone.
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And that sweet and salty popcorn did not tear the latest bag open in utter desperation and practically lick every last tiny kernel from the bottom of the bag. AND, that sweet and salty popcorn did not whisper sweetly to itself – YOLO (you only live once) – every time it disappeared into the abyss of one’s (maybe mine) tummy.
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So in summary, you can rock this outfit and any outfit, with your tummy (if you have one), and still be stylish. Plus, fabric makes a big difference in keeping the Angie’s of the world…in. Also, angles. Angles in photos can reveal less. But meh…
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Also, in second summary, I actually have to work out to maintain the shapely roundness of this tummy.
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In third summary, my sons use Angie as a pillow and rub their faces in her, and find her very warm and comfy. So that’s an upside right? Angie’s there for the kids!
And really and truly, in the big picture of life, it’s NOT that serious! Plus that popcorn is not gonna eat itself!
p.s. you get how my tummy got its new name right?!
mandy on duty style blog, mom style, style blog washington dc, style blog, lifestyle blog for moms, senior style, older woman style, mandy talks, mom interviews, mom talks, chic mom style, women with style, how to be stylish, effortless mom style, how to find your style, finding your personal style, mandy on duty fashion mom

INTERVIEWS

What’s amazing about you?

February 22, 2018

I think you already know what’s great about you. From the interviews I’ve done so far, I’d say that you/we know what we like about ourselves already. We just don’t know if other people see it in us as much as we do, and (or) we don’t know how to express our wonderfulness in our everyday lives when things get gritty or overwhelming. But take heart, your wonderfulness is always there. Dust off the daily derailment/negative self talk and you’ll find your amazingness sitting right in you.

Focus intently on all the little, sweet, cool, weird things about you.

Remember all the things your best friend would say about you.

Love your body more. Appreciate every itty bitty thing. Find the squishy parts and squeeze them with love!

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