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DECEMBER 2017 WOMAN OF THE MONTH – RHONDA RONCONE

Faith WOMAN OF THE MONTH

Growing up, I went to Highpoint Church located in Southeast Aurora. Rhonda and Gene have always been people I’ve looked up to, and I remember that I was always very fond of Mrs. Rhonda Roncone. She’s a pastors wife, mother, worship leader, business leader, the list goes on and on! Knowing how many things she is/does, I knew that she was someone that I wanted to interview because if she’s inspired me, she definitely inspires others to walk in their faith! In this interview she speaks on advice for worship leaders, for keeping faith in times of crises, dating advice, and how to juggle so many things while making time for Jesus!

Without further ado, I introduce to you Mrs. Rhonda Roncone!

VL: Mrs. Rhonda, you’ve been leading worship for how many years?

RR: I started when she was 15 years old and have been doing this for 35 years.

 

VL: How long have you been singing and playing the piano?

RR: I’ve been playing piano since I was 5 and singing at 7. I am now 50 years.

 

VL: How long have you lived in Colorado?

RR: I was born in Desmois IA, then moved to San Jose when I was 7, and grew up in California, then I moved to Colorado in October 2002.

 

VL: When was it that you realized you were called to lead worship?

RR: It was when I was a junior in high school. At around 16/17 years old I was leading for my youth group. I was always involved in music, but more involved with singing than playing.

Combining the two (singing and piano) did not happen until 1990 when I had to for the first church that Gene and I pastored.

 

VL: How did you know you you were coming to Colorado?

RR: We had a restlessness for Colorado, then we came out to Colorado and explored. Gene had preached once and then we had come out to Colorado on our own time and Gene preached again. We were voted in, and it was confirmation in our hearts as they walked through and there was a peace about it. God gave us discernment about it. We had tested out another church and knew that is was not a good fit.

 

VL: Worship is such an important part of our faith, can you explain why you think worship is so important?

RR: 2 parts

1. God gave me gifts for music, therefore it made me more open to God.

2. Music ministers to me, when I do not have the energy to read the Bible, it is the way that God speaks to me.

 

VL: For those times when you’re so busy with life (Being that you’re a wife, mother, worship leader, running a church etc.) how do/did you continue to find quiet time with Jesus?

RR: When the kids were little, I’d find time while I was vacuuming, or exercising, we all find a way of making time for what is important.

I am a night person so that is when I do my quiet time. You have to make the time and let go of other things.

 

VL: Being a pastors wife, you do so many things! How important is it to be in the word and have such a grounded faith?

RR: It is everything. Even being in the ministry, whether you’re in ministry or not, losing Geno (their son), my faith has let me have what it takes to get through things. When you have something so devastating happen, it can be life changing. If you’re not grounded and have that faith, you will crumble. There are times with Geno when gets so emotionally complicated, you have to be grounded. It is like an investment in your spiritual being. Every time I question why God? I go back to the scriptures. How He can bring remembrance to us when we do not even know them. You can apply God to anything in your life, whether it is crisis, stress, anxiety, or anything else.

I have learned that it is like a crash course collision with your faith, when crises happen. It makes you actually realize and question yourself, “do I truly believe and trust in what I have been saying and preaching to others when things do not go my way.”

 

VL: The devil loves to tempt us all throughout our lives, and especially worship teams and members of staff. How do you use the armor of God to resist the Devil?

RR: We’ve been fortunate to not have a lot of drama within worship, when I have been in charge of it. When you’re a musician it is easy to be prideful and to obtain a large ego. It is important to keep your team accountable in the word, and attending church, reminding them every week, why we do what we do. The minute that the devil tries to come in, you have to deal with it quickly and swiftly. It comes down to the heart, and you have to be in the word daily and keep yourselves accountable. There’s the pressure of feeling like a cheerleader. You can’t go off of the emotional drive of people. I went to a seminar once and someone asked “what do you do when you’re leading a service and no one is entering in?” We are there to lead people into the presence. We are not up there to cheerlead or create this energy and hype. There is a lot of pressure around creating that certain energy and hype but you have to focus on the real reason you’re up there. People can walk in thinking that worship leaders are supposed to entertain, now of course you want things to be excellent, but when it becomes more for entertainment than for true worship you lose the genuine experience of worship. It becomes more emotional hype than of being in God’s presence. Worship is meant to usher us into God’s presence to prepare our hearts to receive the word.

 

VL: What advice can you give to worship teams and worship leaders?

RR:

For Worship Leaders: Follow the vision of your senior pastor, he is the shepherd and the leader of the church. It is important for you to be aligned with your pastor so that

Team members: Stay humble, continue to grow yourself musically, and spiritually, be open to new things and constantly learn.

For both: the heart of worship is more important than your musical abilities.

 

VL: What advice can you give to other moms out there who are having a hard time juggling so many things at once?

RR: I would say, be intentional on your priorities, know what they are, stick to them, and don’t add things to your plate that don’t need to be there. I think this will be different for everyone. A lot of things that we are juggling are things that we think we need to do, when in reality we do not.

 

VL: Going off of that then, what are your priorities?

RR: For me, God, family, and church are the top 3 things. Those are first priority, and they should not be jeopardized by other things. Do not let other people set your priorities, cause they will and we let them, but don’t.

 

VL: What advice can you give to other women growing in their faith?

RR:  Surround yourself with other women that would encourage you to be better, and that would encourage you in the right ways. Connect with women that will bring out the best in you not the worst. A hard time is when you’re out of high school, it really tests your faith. It is harder as you get older so find a good support base. Those are harder to find. Find people that you really enjoy being with, but realize that you have to make that effort and put yourself out there. You always desire those friendships but they are harder to find and manage the older you get.

 

VL: This question is pretty broad, haha! What is it like being a pastors wife? So many of us have no idea how you do that! We do not realize how much work goes into it!

RR: It is a profession that nobody teaches you how to do. There are a lot of expectations put on you that you did not know about or even ask for. However, I feel that a pastors wife is a role that is a calling, just as much as it is for a pastor.

 I feel God intends the pastors wife to have a role. You minister to women in ways their husbands or men can’t.

It does feel as though you’re in a fish bowl beacuse people are always watching. You feel like your lives are on display for everyone so it can be difficult. It is 24/7 job. You can get a call in the middle of the night and have to be at the hospital. But it can be very rewarding because you can find so much joy and satisfaction in what you do!

 

VL: What was one time growing up that you really had to rely on your faith and trust in Jesus?

RR: My parents were so amazing. I grew up as a pastors daughter, and they made pastoring so appealing to me that I did not see all of what it is now. I had so many things growing up that I was so fortunate. When I was young, I was really worried about making a mistake. My concern was finding God’s will. You kind of want God to tell you audibly, but He lets us have a journey, and He teaches us those things. Learn how to use those difficult times when you’re young so that you can handle the bigger decisions down the road.

 

VL: What dating advice can you give to those of us who are in the dating stages of life?

RR: Make a list of characteristics you want your husband to have, and don’t bother going out with anyone who doesn’t have them, because you’re going to get emotionally attached.

Don’t compromise on anything on that list and don’t change the criteria either.

Don’t date anyone you cannot see yourself marrying.

Be picky and don’t settle.

 

Wow! Mrs. Rhonda comes with loads of advice and this is only a snippet into her life!

 

Is there a woman that inspires you or others within their community? Would you like to see them as a Woman of the Month? Send an email to vanessalandlt@gmail.com! You or your inspiration could be the next Woman of the Month!

Photo: Courtesy of Rhonda Roncone

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NOVEMBER 2017 Woman of the Month – Fashion Designer Crystal Lee

Fashion WOMAN OF THE MONTH

Hello friends!

You may have noticed quite a gap with new blog posts. This is due to the fact that I’ve been working to get some interviews of some of the most influential women I’ve met. Whether it be in fashion or the community. These women are courageous, chasing after their dreams, and women that are inspiring the world for the better.

My first feature for this Woman of the Month is Crystal Lee, a Denver fashion designer, mother and fierce boss lady, accomplishing her dreams!

1. Give us a little background into your life. Are you a Colorado native?

I’m from San Marcos California and I played softball at junior college. A majority of my life was playing sports. I went to Oklahoma State on full ride softball scholarship and my roommate lived in Denver and so when she moved back to Denver that was when I moved too.

2. When did you realize that you wanted to become a fashion designer? What motivated you to want to design clothing?

The light bulb moment for me was that I am not your “sample size” and about 5-6 years ago I was not finding clothing for for myself so it was out of necessity that I started making my own clothes and friends would ask me “where did you get that?”

I went back to school (the Art Institute in Denver) around 2006-2007 for fashion and just did that!

3. What is your actual process?

Every designer has their own process. Obviously, you have to know how to sew and what not. I’m very picky about the fabrics that I use. I love fabric with lots of movement! I love the silk section!  When I get fabric, I’ll take it out of the roll and see how the fabric moves and let the fabric speak to me what it wants to be. Sometimes I can sketch, but it can be limiting to me because then I feel like I need to stick to it, so i drape it and cut and just move as I see fit. Sometimes a song can inspire me and I will think, “what kind of outfit would I like to wear if this song was playing?”

The first thing I ask myself is what I want to be when I show up? Whether it’s the cool girl, the laid back woman,  the classic girl, etc.  I also ask my clients the same thing.

4. What does C.R. stand for in C.R. Lee Designs?

Crystal Renee Lee Designs 

5. You recently did your first show at NYFW, CONGRATS! How was that?

From beginning to end; from planning to the actual show day, it was one of the hardest things besides having my son. I had some very labor some from fabrics that I need to pre-order and then to the day of the show. There is so much planning and detail involved. My plan is to grow into retail, so I wanted pieces to be ready-to-wear. I also try to show as much detail as possible whether it is for just for down the street, or NYFW, I want people to see a good show. It was everything I thought it would be.  It was very seamless and so surreal. 

6. What inspires your designs? Specifically your Date Night piece (which is clearly popular since it is sold out!), Halleigh, and Myia.

Date Night and Halleigh went right off the runway. The inspiration from this whole line came from straightjackets but with a softness. As women we live up to the “ideas and labels” that society gives us so I wanted to take a perception and twist it. So on the Halleigh the lines like in an insane asylum. The Halleigh also is denim and has all these different parts to it but is still a gorgeous piece. My message towards women is to be whatever you want to be and that not everything has to be perfect and polished to be pretty. There can be some destruction, some unexpected and it is still pretty. Life is beautiful with the imperfections. 

The Jackie Jacket is in perriwinkle blue inspired by a strait jacket but you would never guess so it is all about how you make it appear. 

The Myia is inspired by that silk and the flowy movement.

7. What else is in store for CR Lee this year and next?

I am going to take a vacation and reflect, I have some opportunities that I am hoping come to fruition. I need to go somewhere with a beach. I’ve got Massif Fashion Week, November 2nd. I am also pushing for retail. I still have my full time job and so I need to do more retail to get this to be a full time so that people can start enjoying it more and faster. 

8. When I last spoke with you, you were working on some new pieces, can you describe them to us? (if it is a surprise, I totally get it)

People want to see some black pieces. so there is more black, personally I hate a whole black collection, I love color, I am expanding on the whole inspiration. There are some pieces inspired by the Rorschach test.

9. What would be your advice for someone else who wants to accomplish their dreams just like you have?

I always say the same thing. Just start. There is no formula  for accomplishing your dreams, what I do may not work for you. You just have to believe in yourself and start!

10. What advice to you give your son?

Never be afraid. Fear is that one thing that keep people from trying and doing. If it doesn’t kill you, if it doesn’t bodily harm you or others around you. Just try and see what happens. 

11. I saw your favorites from your SS17 collection. What are your favorites from your SS18 collection?

You know, it is funny. These pieces are like my children, so I do not really have a favorite and each piece serves a new purpose. For example, with this interview I had the other day, I wore the Janelle jumpsuit. For the Janet Jackson concert I am going to, I feel like the mood would be the jumpsuit. I do not have a favorite because they all represent a mood. The Myia is the one I get the most energy from. 

12. Where can people go to find you on social media/ website?

twitter: @crleedesigns 

Instagram: @cre8tivelee

Facebook: CR Lee Designs 

Snapchat: CR Lee Designs

Photo: Kevin Mock
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The Wonderful World of the Influencer!

Lifestyle Uncategorized
Hello my fabulous people! Welcome, welcome welcome! I am so stoked for y’all to read this blog because it is going to be so helpful for those of you who have recently started blogging, have been doing it a while, or want to start.
This post is discussing exactly that! HAHA!!
Recently, I recorded a podcast with @myhautesociety (online) speaking about staying true and authentic to yourself as an Influencer. You can listen to the podcast hereBelow I elaborate a little more!
There are so many of us bloggers out there and recently I have actually been satisfied and happy with blogging! However, I did not always feel this way.
When I started blogging, I honestly had no idea what on earth I was doing. I had no direction, and was just sort of going with what other bloggers were doing. Then I started to realize that blogging is a lot like life. You have your own life to live and each persons life is different. Some people have stages in life that they reach earlier than you. Others have stages in life that they reach after you. The cool thing about YOUR life is that it is not a comparison race. Regardless of what society states, your pace is your pace. God gave you this life and things will happen for you in HIS timing. His timing is the timing that will work the best for you.
In blogging, there have been so many times when the comparison game had gotten the best of me. From wishing that I had grown faster like them, to wondering why I did not get that certain collaboration and they did. That comparison made a negative attitude affiliate with blogging. That comparison led to jealousy, that jealousy led to me basing my self- worth in something artificial and unfulfilling……numbers.
Numbers. Those arbitrary things that we have set, which in the blogging world are supposed to determine our happiness, purpose and validate our belonging. Numbers are what get us approved to the “elite blogging community” instead of the depth of the actual people who make up those “numbers.”
One day earlier this year, I was thinking to myself. I only have 3787 (insert your # here) followers?! Ugh! Then I stepped back and caught myself. WOW I HAVE 3787 (insert your # here) followers! And to be honest, it freaked me out. That could fill a small stadium. That many individuals CHOSE to look into my life. They were PEOPLE. Not numbers. Each and every one of those people were following me to see my page and liked what they saw! WHAT! While extremely cool, also daunting because it felt kind of creepy. At any moment those people could just take a look into my life. That made me realize. Wow we are all Influencers in our own ways. Whether we have 12 people following us, 50 people following us, 500k people following us or 15 million people following us. It’s not just numbers. They. Are. PEOPLE! Imagine being in a room with all of the people who follow you, and you’re standing on a podium and whatever you throw on your social or blog is what they will see! Crazy right! Perspective is literally everything! These people are being influenced by us and we are influenced by them. Now, whenever I get discouraged by the “numbers” I try to put things into perspective and remember the PEOPLE.
When I would compare myself, I’d try to make myself like them. When I made myself like them, I was neglecting the reason, and the person who started blogging in the first place. Me.
That was when I had to do some self-evaluation. I started not taking it so seriously. SCREW THE NUMBERS! SCREW THE COMPARISON! SCREW THE JEALOUSY! I made a pact to myself that I was not going to do anything on here that was not me.  Whether that meant not liking and commenting on someones picture because I was “supposed to”, to not posting in a month (gasp!), to saying no to a brand that just wasn’t my vibe. THAT my friends, was when I started to figure out who I was and reminded me of why I love being an Influencer. I mean come on! How are we supposed to be positive influences if we are not constantly feeding ourselves with inspiration? (Now that I think of it, that’s a lot like a relationship with Jesus!)  Now of course, there are things that are so important when it comes to blogging. The problem arises when those things become more important than your REAL life…. oh NO HONEY! Take a step back, step into the real world, get inspired, and then come back. That is how you stay true to yourself and be the Influencer that you want to be!
Podcast for My Haute Society: Here
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LEGS FOR DAYSSSS: The VL Leg Workout

Uncategorized

Many of you asked and so here it is! My leg workout!

Now before we actually dive in, I must say that I am a former track, swimming, and rugby athlete so sometimes my workout can be rigorous. I am NOT A professional or certified physical trainer. If you do attempt to do this workout and it is too much for you. Please stop and rest. This workout is at your own risk.

I would advise starting out slow and with less repetitions (reps) and then work your way up to my workout. If you’re more advanced, of course add more reps or more weight!

Here it is! My leg workout! Now I do this once a week (the other days are designated for other areas of the body!)

I do my work outs in the morning so if I am running short on time, I split it up between the days.

There are a couple downloadable videos within the post just in case you’re wondering how some of it is done.

 

 

  1. CARDIO
    1. 15 minute run or 10 minutes on the stair master
  2. SQUATS
    1. 3 sets of 10 reps at 90 lbs
    2. 3 sets of 10 reps at 115 lbs
    3. 3 sets of 10 reps at 135 lbs IMG_1539
  3. LEG PRESS
    1. 3 sets of 10 reps at 90 lbs
    2. 2 sets of 10 reps at 90 lbs left leg and then right leg (keep the other leg up as support, just in case it is too heavy)IMG_1533
  4. CALF RAISES
    1. 3 sets of 15 reps at 30lbs
  5. LUNGES
    1. 3 sets of 10 reps with weights or without weights depending on how I feel. I normally use 15-20 lbs dumbbell weights. Sometimes if I am really inspired, I will use the bar which equates to 45 lbs. IMG_1540
  6. STRETCH!!! This is SO important because you want to relieve muscle tension and loosen up. This also helps to prevent injuries.

That is all! If you try this workout, please let me know how this workout works out for you (ha! Get it?)! You can email me at vanessalandlt@gmail.com. If there is anything else that you would like to see please let me know!

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Utilizing your “AND’s”

Fashion Lifestyle Shop My Looks Uncategorized

How many of you have certain things or hobbies that peak your interests or are your passions?

Have you thought of those things? Keep that in the back of your mind.

We are all gifted in different areas with certain talents. These talents are unique to each and every one of us.

Growing up I had two main passions:

First was a curiosity for how things worked! As a little girl sitting on my bunkbed watching my father turn off the lights before going to sleep, I was always curious as to how the light was able to turn on and off.

How the television was able to display a picture. How the refrigerator kept things cold. How donuts were made, etc etc.

Did you ever wonder that? No… ok well moving on.

My Second passion was style and fashion. This is because I saw the way that personal style could transform a person. When a person was wearing their favorite outfit, their attitude shifted and you could see positive confidence radiating from them!

Throughout adolescence and into early adulthood, I learned very much about how things worked especially through engineering school.

During those years however, I was still neglecting one side of me, and that was the fashion and style side. I would look it up on the weekends, study different body shapes and always put outfits together but still that portion was not being fulfilled.

2011-2012 was when I really started to see social media platforms transform lives. From @mankofit who had about 4k followers at the time, to @thepatriciabright and her YouTube videos, I saw them doing what they loved and turning them into their passions. This was also when blogs were fairly new and my sister had one

It honestly didn’t hit me until I graduated college and thought “that’s it, I need to hop on this fashion train!” So I Googled literally every fashion show/event in my area and made it a thing to reach out to as many people as possible to try to get into the industry.

As I did that my “fashion network” began to grow and my passions were being fulfilled and I was starting to combing engineering with fashion and fashion with engineering. I like to bring my “Fashionista” to the office and with an office full of engineers….. let’s just say it is easy to stand out.

But see that is where the true problem lies. I love both, so why can’t I be both? At all times. Society has its way of keeping things separate. You can be this or that, not both.

Well society, FORGET YOU! Cause I am defying all odds and combining my passions.

When we combine our passions, these passions are our ANDS, as told by my dear friend Liz. When we utilize and combine our AND’s that is when those societal norms and barriers are broken. This is when we learn that it is ok to be many things and that being many things and utilizing many things makes us stronger.

So to you! Remember you’re talented, you’ve got gifts! Utilize your AND’s to tear down the societal walls!

Outfit Details:

Top @chicwish

Skirt @chicwish

Shoes: Angels in Flat Irons Mall

Bag: Urban Southern Use code VANESSA15 for 15% off your order!

Jewelry: Nordstrom

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What’s the big deal with The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale?

Fashion Shop My Looks

If you’ve been scrolling through your social media feeds these past few days, you might notice that every person and their mama raving about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

So, what is the big deal?

For those of you who have been questioning this “Nordstrom Sale”, here’s the big idea!

Top Brands on Sale!

Nordstrom is one of the largest retailers for mid-tier and high-end tier clothing.  For many of us, we cannot just afford to spend $200 on a nice blouse! That is where the Nordstrom Sale comes in! Every year they do their Anniversary Sale where they have deeper discounts on their products. This way, you’re getting the top of the line clothing and products without breaking the bank!

When is the sale?

Early Access: (For Nordstrom Card Holders) – July 13- July 20th

Public Access: July 21- August 6th

Why would I want early access?

By signing up with the Nordstrom card, you can have early access to those deals before they become public! There are tons of great items in high demand, so they may sell out quickly. Sometimes, even before they’re open to the public, so by getting early access, that cute blouse that you’ve been eyeing, has a better chance of getting to you!

How do I get early access?

You can gain early access by applying for the Nordstrom credit card OR signing up for a Nordstrom debit card! Can I get an AMEN for the debit card option?! Amen!

What is shipping like?

Free! Oh that words rings like wedding church bells!

I can shop the #NSALE, now what?

It is time to be strategic about the Nordstrom Sale, although they have a great return policy, (free returns!), we still need to be intentional about shopping the sale! Here are a few things to keep in mind for your future wardrobe when shopping the #NSALE.

– Fall/Winter clothing (sweaters, hats, coats, boots, dresses, etc)

– Vacation: For any trips coming up soon that you want to look great for!

– Beauty and skin care Products: Been wanting to try out La Mer products? Here’s your chance! Also, is a great time to invest in a very good moisturizer!

Nordstrom plus* You can also do curbside pickup or in-store pick up!

Ok. Now that you know why the sale is a big deal! Let’s get into the fun part! SHOPPING!!! Below I have a list of some sale items!

 

Dresses and Clothing

1.2. 3. 4. 

5.6.7.8.

9. 10. 11. 12. 

13. 14. 15. 16. 

17. 18. 19. 

20. 21. 

1. Satin Wrap Up Dress   2. Lizzie Bell Sleeve Sheath Dress  3. Vince Camuto Artwork Body-Con Dress

4. Eliza J Print Bell Sleeve Wrap Dress 5. Eliza J Ruffle Sleeve Crepe Jumpsuit 6. Velvet Wrap Dress

7. Natalie Stretch Bootleg Jeans 8. Ruffle Fit & Flare Dress 9. Open Back Ruffle Dress 10. Velvet Band Jacket

11. Betsey Johnson Asymmetrical Dress 12. Sheer Dot Blouse 13. Choker Lace Shift Dress

14. Ponte Sheath Dress 15. Pink Stretch Crepe Shift Dress 16. OTS Bell Sleeve Romper

17. Ruffle Hem Military Jacket 18. TOPSHOP Spot Jumpsuit 19. SWING top (M & L Only Left)

20. Patagoina Parka (xs and small left) 21. Ruffle Sleeve T-Shirt Dress

 

 Shoes

1. 2. 3. 4.

5. 6. 7.

8.9. 10. 11. 

12. 13.14.15.

1. Lailey Block Heel Mule  2. Ellison Block Heel Sandal 3. Weatherproof Tall Boot  4. Weatherproof Bootie

5. Cavell Loafer Mule 6. Steve Madden Pearl Embellished Mule 7. MAXX Pointy Toe Pump

8. Dolce Vita Sand Heel 9. Steve Madden Grand Bootie 10. VINCE Madolee OTK Boot 11. Shearling UGG Boot

12. Sam Edelman Pointy Toe Ballet Flat 13. TORY BURCH Adeline Boot 14. Stuart Weitzman Notazzie Bootie

15. Red Tale 2 Slide

Accessories and Misc!

1. 2.3.4.

5.6. 7.

8.9.10.

11.12. 13.

14.15.

1. Evian Facial Spray 2. Sole Society Leather Backpack 3. Revita Brow 4. Revita Lash 5. Kiehl’s Favorites

6. Velvet and Chain Clutch 7. Rebecca Minkoff Crossbody 8. BP Faux Leather Tote 9. Sole Society Tote

10. BaubleBar Crispin Drop Earrings 11. Strisa Butterfly Print Clutch 12. Loren Hope Glen Fringe Earrings

13. Madewell Tiger’s- Eye Drop Earrings 14. Cigar Band Ring 15. NADRI Ear Crawlers

 

 

*All Photos From Nordstrom Site*
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LiketoKNOW.It

Fashion Shop My Looks

Have you ever seen a piece of clothing in a picture or on someone and you thought “wow, that would be perfect for this/that!”? You try to Google the item, then search for it on Pinterest, but STILL can’t find it? Yes! That is why LiketoKNOW.it  is the perfect solution to this problem. Please see below for how it works!

LiketoKNOW.it is very simple. It allows you shop your favorite Instagrammers simply by “liking” their picture, or taking a “screenshot.” When you do that, you get an email sent to you containing all of the outfit details and information. It gives you links to shop the products that you liked.  It is that easy! In order to get started you can sign up for LiketoKNOW.it  or download the app! You can also see the LiketoKNOW.it  video below.

 

 

When you sign up for LiketoKNOW.it, it will ask you for your Instagram login, that way you can authorize LiketoKNOW.it! Now not to fear, I don’t like plenty of emails so you can choose how many times you’d like to receive that email, whether it is once a day, week, or month!

Happy Shopping!

T-Shirt Shift Dress: From Missguided but similar here, here, here, and here.

Gold Metallic Belt: Herehere, here, and here.

Rose Gold Sunglasses: Here, here, here, spectacles.

Beige Sandals: Similar here, here, herehere, here, and here.

Michael Kors Tote: Here, here, here, and here.

Michael Kors Rose Gold Watch: Here, here, and here.

Earrings: Pearls, here, and here.

Makeup: NARS Luminous Weightless, NARS Dual Identity Blush, Colourpop Lips, Ardell Lashes

Styled by: VANESSALAND

Photos by: Paige Forden Photo

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Busy vs. Productive

Lifestyle

How many of you are good with time management? If you are, please help a girl out because moving further away from work has made me realize that I am not as great with time management as I had thought. Now that there are days spent 10 hrs away from home, with 2 of those hours in the car each day, it is vital that my time is not squandered. I don’t know about you, but when time slips away from me and nothing gets done, it leaves me feeling stressed and like a failure in some sense. In addition to working, there is blogging, events, friends and the normal demands of life that come in the way. Below, I’ve created a list of 10 things that can improve how my time is spent.

  1. Plan Outfits: You know those mornings when you don’t have an outfit planned and then you’re rushing around like a crazy person, trying on outfits and still cannot find anything to wear despite a full closet? Yeah, that was me every day last week.
  2. Plan Posts: I am pretty much the worst when it comes to scheduling blog and social media posts. Mainly, because my creativity is peaked at random moments, but I plan to get better at this!
  3. Limit/plan the time spent on Social Media. This is a bit difficult being a blogger and constantly being on social media. That does not mean it isn’t possible. There are so many apps that track your social media time and how often you open your phone.
  4. Have down time. Kind of strange when we’re talking about spending time wisely. Hear me out. A break from life allows you to reset, your brain to be free from distractions, ultimately letting those creative and innovative juices flow.
  5. Meal Prep. I am so bad at this but, I am working on it! If you have quick, healthy, recipes let me know!
  6. Plan out workouts for the week. The app that I use is Nike Training Club and they have tons of workouts and you can even set up a customizable plan.
  7. Have a calendar with events. Whether it is your phone or another planner, be sure to plan out events so that you know what you have coming up.
  8. Use travel time to learn: Podcasts, NPR, and audiobooks are life! As nerdy as they sound, they are life savers for people who have long commutes!
  9. Beautify yourself! If your skin is just feeling terrible but you’ve got so much to do, that means, it’s MASK TIME. Wearing a mask while doing laundry or housework kills two birds with one stone!
  10. Live in the moment! Be aware of your surroundings and continue to journey along!

Let me know if you try any of these tips and tricks for maximizing your time!

Dress: Chicwish

Bag: Kate Spade

Boots: Missguided

Sunglasses: NORA NYC

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Women Empowerment: Love a Human Project

Fashion Lifestyle

In many cultures all throughout history, women were in competition with each other. They were in competition with each other for getting a man. This is because they did not have the opportunities we have today to be contributors of society. Their main roles were to produce children. Sometimes the only way to “move up” was to marry wealthy. Some women were taught to stay quiet for having ideas was frowned upon. In many cultures, women were to solely take care of household items.

Now more than ever, women have the ability to do and be whatever they’d like to be. While we still have a long way to go, and not all countries are at the same point, it is important for us to learn to lift each other up. Now there is healthy competition and unhealthy competition. When we get jealous of others or gossip about one another, it brings the entire gender of women down. Instead, we should lift one another up by supporting each other and helping one another within the struggles of life. When we get to know others without judgement, we learn more about the world, our surroundings, and can relate with people on a deeper level, connecting us in ways that we could never imagine! For my entire life, I always had friends that were different from me. Whether it was race, religion, style, background, class etc. However, I loved having so many friends from different “cliques.” Having so many friends from different groups made it difficult during adolescence because people naturally segregated themselves into groups. (continued below)

Left to Right: Shanell, Katie, Ashley, Vanessa, Sarah

Left to Right: Allison, Crystal, Vanessa

 

I wanted to start a project called the #LoveAHuman project. I got many of my friends together, some knew each other and some did not. I wanted to see what it was like to have people from contrastive lives and backgrounds come together. Needless to say, these women are all incredible and they PROVED that you can have unique upbringings and lifestyles, yet still learn to love someone different from you! My challenge to you is to get to know someone you may not typically hang out with or get to know! You never know what happens when you #LoveAHuman

For the wonderful photographer and women in this shoot, see below.

Photography: Paige Forden Photo

Each and every one of these women is absolutely incredible! Below are all their Instagram links!

From Left to Right: Yulia, Katie, Allison, Hannah, BK, Ansu, Shanell, Me (Vanessa), Ashley, Raeann, Sarah, Whitney, Crystal

Left to Right: Ansu, Sarah, Whitney, Me

Crystal and BK

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BARHOOM BRANDS: A New Way of Shopping

Fashion

How many of you hate shopping, or simply just do not have the time? You want to look great, but do not know where to begin? You want to stay modest, but that means trading in fashion.

If you relate with any of these, I get it! YOU GUYS! This is why I’m SO EXCITED for this post!

Let me introduce you to BARHOOM BRANDS!

Barhoom Brands is a clothing company started by two women who wanted to dress modest and trendy. They realized that people do not have time for themselves. Whether you’re a student, mother, career woman, wife etc. it’s important to have a comfortable wardrobe that is conducive for your day to day life, and Barhoom Brands does just that.

It is a monthly subscription styling service and below is how it works!

First, you’ll take a questionnaire to help the stylists figure out your preferences when it comes to patterns, styles, colors, and fit.

Then, a stylist team will start to work on your bag picking items to compliment your lifestyle and style. The $10 upfront is for the styling service. For your first styling, I’ve got the coupon code of VANESSA10

The bag is shipped to you. You can try on the clothing, keep what you like, and send back the rest! After 30 days you’ll be charged for the clothing you keep!

When I did the questionnaire, I specified that I like prints, bold colors and tops that are more loose. Below were the items in my Barhoom Bag.

 

Top and skirt are from Barhoom Brands.

 

This dress is so comfortable you all! I styled it with a purse and belt that are my own.

This Barhoom Brands skirt is easy to pair with anything!

This Barhoom Brands top is so fun that it can be worn by itself or with a bag and a vest.

Barhoom Brands is such a great service and if you would like to get styled for free, use code VANESSA10

I cannot wait to see what you all get in your Barhoom Box! Tag me and Barhoom Brands in your photos on Instagram so that we can see your style!

Photography by @paigefordenphoto and by @zoeygracephotography

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My Story is HIStory: How My Life was Wrecked and Made New

Faith

 

Hello everyone,

Today’s blog post is a little different from the norm. This is me, fully opening up about what my secret struggles were the past 1.5- 2 years of my life. I promised God that I would consecrate this blog to Him, (That will be explained in a later post) setting aside all my fears and putting all my faith and trust in Him. His will be done. So, here it is, my story and how it is a part of HIStory.

Pornography. Nonchalantly embedded into our society as though we were talking Friday night dinner plans.

Well, here is my story about how pornography and the spirit of perversion turned me into a walking grave.

I grew up in a Christian home with loving parents and the best family you could ask for. I always went to church with my family, and “gave” my life to Christ when I was 4 years old. Since I can remember, I was a pretty jolly kid with a love for fashion, singing/music, electricity, and math. I would always wonder how the TV turned on, or the lights. I stole my sisters karaoke machine that she got for Christmas and would always use it to jam out to Stacie Orrico. My favorite music has always been worship music! I also created little magazines and my own fashion illustrations.

Fast forward and I am an adult. Specifically, 23 years old. My lifestyle is just like any normal 23 year old just out of college. Learning how to adult/figure out who I am/my purpose in life. If I am being completely honest, I do not remember exactly when or how I started watching porn, I’m pretty sure it was just out of curiosity wondering what could be the hype? If it is so common in society, it obviously cannot be that bad. I mean, I remember it being discussed in episodes of some of my favorite TV shows that I watched, so clearly it was NBD. Although, I do not remember the exact date/time/”first porno” etc. I do remember having a continuous weird ache in my pit and heavy shoulders.

Life continues, and I remember watching it about once a month, a few times a month, to weekly, to almost daily, to the point where sometimes I had to watch it in order to fall asleep. The spirit of perversion had come upon my life and tormented me in every aspect of my life. It consumed many hours. I kept thinking that my sole purpose in life was to be a slave. A slave to porn. A slave to this spirit. I viewed myself as a sex slave, and started to accept it. The weirdest thing is, I could hear, physically hear whispers, of the spirit say to me things like “you’re a sex slave”, “you must find someone to please”, “you were made solely for the pleasure of men, that is what you are worth.” It was so audible and clear, that I had given up things I really wanted in life to porn. These lies manifested themselves into every.single.aspect of my life. I would try to open my computer to blog and the demon would say “you cannot be a blogger.”  “You really think people are going to listen to you?” “You can’t be a leader.” “What person wants a leader full of secretive filth?” “You’re addicted to porn, so you need to fix that first.” The list goes on and on. I would try distracting myself by working out, or going out to eat, shopping, therapy, reading, literally everything. I tried it. I did. I kept going to the doctor because there was a pain in me. Every time I would try to worship, I would just go into tears. That spirit would tell me, “why are you trying to worship? You’re not worthy of that.” So I stopped listening to worship music. I then, became very depressed, cynical, jealous, and evil. I was jolly in public, and around my family, but when I came home to the solitude of my apartment, the thoughts would continue to germinate, crumbling my mind, soul and spirit. Then, the unbelievable happened. My brother’s best friend passed away due to cancer. I. Was. Pissed! I cursed God. And I cursed Him a lot. That friend was a good person. A man after God’s heart, and I was not. Really God? You couldn’t take me instead? I was the worthless one. That was the last straw, and I rebelled even more down the path of self destruction, continuing to be happy on the outside, but completely lifeless on the inside. I was a walking grave, thinking I was fooling the world, as my soul was withering away. Sin and the grave were boasting at how they had taken over my heart. This pit demon had its cloud of darkness suffocating me.

Winter break for my siblings rolls around, and everyone is home. I’ve missed my siblings and family. They were the only reason I kept going at this point. We were all sitting in the family room one afternoon and one of my sisters kept talking about this Recess thing. Recess this! Recess that! I love Jesus! blah blah blah. SU. Literally, she would not shut up about it. All winter break, all I heard was Recess Recess Recess.

Winter break ends, and my siblings all return back to their lives. As I am scrolling through Instagram, my sister mentions something with that Recess thing. I go to their Instagram page and realize the next “Recess” gathering is coming up. I realize that all of the spots are full so I email the coordinator asking if any spots open up. She says they are all full. I am not surprised. Of course this is just another disappointment.

I kid you not, about 10 minutes later the director emails me saying a spot opened up. I sign up right away and wonder what on earth I just signed up for.

A few weeks later, is the night of the conference. The first night, we spoke about wells and how we need to dive deep into what God has for us. Everything from that night was powerful, yet I was still broken. The next day of the conference, our group goes to Chick-Fil-A with some of the Houston girls. I see a girl across the way and in my mind I say “If that girl realizes what I am going through, then I will discuss it.” That night we continued to talk about our wells and how to seek Jesus. I went home sad because this secret was still with me. The last night of the conference, I have no idea what is in store for me. We learn about the different ways Satan enters our lives and what repentance really means. Then, we are told to break into groups. I see the girl from Chick-Fil-A going to the back. I stay in my seat. I’m not trying to be with that girl. Next thing you know, she starts moving to the front group. I get up, keep my head down, and walk to the back group. Then, of course, the girl from Chick-Fil-A turns around and sees me in the back group and comes to the back group. Fan-tastic! So we start praying, we pray for one girl and as we start praying for her I start sobbing, uncontrollably. When you’re in prayer circles you typically reach out a hand towards the person being prayed for. I felt so unworthy to pray for her in that moment. My hand wanted to reach out to pray for her, but I kept pulling it back. I did not want this evil to consume her too. We finish praying for her. There is a slight pause in the midst of my snorting weeping. The girl I was trying to avoid, says, “I am sensing the spirit of perversion over here.” She is sitting next to me and I raise my hand and continue to weep. I stammer about my past few years and how this spirit has consumed me. The group all lay their hands on me and start to pray for me. Then the girl prays something along the lines of “in the name of Jesus, spirit of perversion, you leave this child of God.” I open my eyes and say “in the name of Jesus, spirit of perversion, you leave me in the the name of Jesus.” As soon as I say that, I feel, literally feel the pit lift out of my stomach to the top of my head and out of my body. The pit is no longer there, and that huge weight is gone. I feel new, and the other girls in my group (if you ever meet them) say I looked new.

Now I’m a walking garden. Full of life, full of joy, full of light, all through the powerful name of Jesus Christ.  The blog has relaunched, and this worship song “What A Beautiful Name” by Hillsong Worship is my current JAM!

Bridge Lyrics for “What A Beautiful Name” by Hillsong Worship

Death could not hold You, the veil torn before You
You silenced the boast, of sin and grave
The heavens are roaring, the praise of Your glory
For You are raised to life again

You have no rival, You have no equal
Now and forever, Our God reigns
Yours is the Kingdom, Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name, above all names

What a powerful Name it is
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King

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Welcome to VANESSALAND

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What’s up y’all (yes I say y’all. A lot)?

Welcome to VANESSALAND where we do Life Together (LT).

This is the first official blog post and boy am I excited for the content to come! Considering that the focus of this blog was to create a community of people lifting one another up through what life throws at us, I figured that y’all should know a little bit about me right?

I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado but my family is from a tiny island in the Caribbean called Grenada.

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do! I’ve been all over the U.S., Europe, and the Caribbean.

My degree is in Electrical Engineering, and it was one of the most mentally challenging things I’ve ever done in my life.

My passions are style, fashion, women empowerment, and lively discussions.

I was tormented by a spirit for a couple years, and my life was made new when I turned to Jesus Christ.

Food. I am pretty sure this is my love language, and there is always time for it. #AMIRIGHT?

Mermaids do exist. Do not try to tell me otherwise.

As we get to know one another, we will dive more in to the details of each of our aspects of life.

Well ENOUGH, about me. What are some things you want people to know about YOU?

If you’ve got a Facebook page, website, or social media handle you’d like for me to check out, list it below and let’s get connected!

Photos by Paige Forden Photo and Corey Anthony Lifestyle

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Casual Dresses

Fashion Shop My Looks

This one is for the girls who want a more casual setting!

Check out the other blogs (below) for party dresses depending on how dressy the party is!

Sweater Dresses

Sequin Holiday Dresses

Non-Sequin Holiday Dresses

Holiday Shoes

Shop Casual Dresses below!

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Sweater Dresses

Fashion Shop My Looks

Sweater dresses, because it’s winter.

Below, I’ve got nice sweater dresses, and ugly ones, for those ugly sweater parties!

Not looking for a sweater dress? Check out the other dress blogs below!

Casual Dresses

Sequin Holiday Dresses

Non-Sequin Holiday Dresses

Holiday Shoes

Shop pretty, and ugly sweater dresses below!

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Non-Sequin Holiday Dresses

Fashion Shop My Looks

You’re the beauty that doesn’t need sparkle to get noticed! Good for you! Below, I’ve got a bunch of gorgeous dresses for the woman who isn’t really into the glitter!

I also have other blogs for party dress depending on how dressy the party is that you’re attending. Those are below:

Casual Dresses

Sweater Dresses

Holiday Shoes

Sequin Holiday Dresses

Check out the Non-Sequin Holiday Dresses below!

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SEQUIN HOLIDAY DRESSES

Fashion Shop My Looks

Hello stylish beauties! We are officially among the holidays which means PARTAAYYYYS! I do NOT want to look good at any holiday parties (SAID NO ONE EVER!)  Below, I’ve picked out some of my favorite sequin dresses that I would wear for the holiday party season!

I also have other blogs for party dress depending on how dressy the party is that you’re attending. Those are below:

Non-Sequin Holiday Dresses

Casual Dresses

Sweater Dresses

Holiday Shoes

SHOP THE SEQUIN LOOKS HERE – Scroll through the tabs to see what you like!

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Holiday Shoes!!!

Fashion Shop My Looks

You’ve got the dress, now what? ACCESSORIES! Sometimes that is all you need to make an outfit go from bleh to BAM! Below, I’ve got some links to shoes and bags that will amp up your look this holiday season! If you haven’t gotten your dress yet, see the links below to my other holiday dress guides!

Casual Dresses

Sweater Dresses

Sequin Holiday Dresses

Non-Sequin Holiday Dresses

SHOP HOLIDAY SHOES HERE – Scroll through the tabs to see what you like!

 

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