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Morning Coffee In Red Suede and Knee-High Boots

So much goodness happened in 2017, but so much of that goodness was met with challenges. I ended the year with a really delicious cooking segment on FOX 5, showing you how to make really heart-warming soups out of one of my beloved pressure cookers. I was immediately called back with my friends on FOX 5 to sit on a political panel segment where I got to share my thoughts on predictions for 2018. You can see both those segments here and here. Though those two appearances were truly hurrah moments, I was extremely eager to get 2018 rolling. So much of what I had put in place to execute in 2017 didn’t come to fruition. Not so much because I din’t committed to it as much as it was a real lack of support and a ride or die squad. I made it a point — a very laser-focused, intentional, fervorous point — to change that January 1.

{re}FOCUS

And I did just that. I started with my girl and brand unicorn, as I like to call her, Vicky, who came down from NY and spent three days the first week of the year with me to reset this grand thing called personal branding. Our goal was to spend a few days of intense and purposeful revaluation of what our respective brands are going to look like in 2018. Ultimately, what are our brands going to do for you? How will they benefit you and your lives?

I’m going to expand on this next week in a thorough post. I know you’ll find it exciting and useful.

BUT FIRST, COFFEE

In order for all the creative juices to flow efficiently and effectively, it was unquestionably necessary we started our day with a proper dose of caffeine. Because caffeine really does make the world go round.

Vicky loves quaint cafés, I love great espresso. We ended up at The DC Coffee Bar and what ensued for the next hour was a lovely morning session of ideas, hugged by streams of light and pockets of shadow.

{MAKE: THE PERFECT CUBAN ESPRESSO}

I sipped a light but decadent cardamom latte, giving my friend a good excuse to capture my morning routine. What our conversation evolved into — while I sat in quietude a few times here and there,  — were obvious themes to her but requiring a but more tug and pull from me.

MY STYLE

This is my style. This is my daily vibe. I get dressed for meetings, running errands, visiting family, day work trips, etc. Why not share it {again}. I used to back in the days of running in Atlanta. I loved doing that fashion blogging thing that attracted so many lovely people. It even landed me a solid styling gig for about two years. I breathed and emoted style and fashion through my ensembles. It wan’t work. It just was. Slowly and over time, I let the street style arm of my brand evaporate. My fans missed it. I missed it, too.

And so here I am. Having allowed Vicky to convince me that it’s fair game to share with you what inspires my style and fashion, in and out of the kitchen, TV studio, home office, etc…It’s an organic and almost effortless process. Just share it, she suggested.

WINTER VIBES

This is what a typical winters day looks like for me. Perhaps a bit more on the festive side for the holidays and New Year, but a true statement to my fashion philosophy: a hat, fabulous shoes and statement accessories go a long way.

A SIMPLE HOW TO

Mix and match textures, proportions and colors, but stay with a theme.

Don’t overthink it. Sometimes, less really is more.

Don’t be afraid to contrast.

Pull out old(er) pieces and reinvent them. 

I’ve had that red skirt for 18 years. I paid $4 for it at Old Navy. I fold it inside out and keep it wrapped in a silk dust bag. That helps keep it in great form and saturated.

Own your look.

And always wear a smile.

WEARING 

Custom-made beaver hat 

Ralph Lauren silk top

Vintage suede mini skirt via Old Navy

Banana Republic rose stockings 

Max Azria Collection boots

Kenzie Canada Goose

Cashmere scarf via Nordstrom

Crystal chandelier earrings via TJ Maxx; Lucky Brand garnet cocktail ring; vintage gold twist cuff

Photography c/o @VickyAyala on Instgram

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Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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Don't forget to check out my debut cookbook!

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