Florals for Spring? Groundbreaking!

Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly said it best! I totally get the irony of her statement. There is no surprise that floral prints are always expected to be the norm for the Spring Collection. Truly, there is simply nothing more liberating than wearing a light, flowy floral dress after a long and very cold winter in which we were subjected to wear pants at all times!

The 2018 Spring /Summer wardrobe is no exception to the rule. Having had the front row and the opportunity to work backstage in many shows during London Fashion Week, I can attest that florals are in fact mandatory this Spring along with shoes and accessories in bold colors.  

To make your life a little easier, I have created a list of MUST HAVE items to help you create a fantastic spring/summer wardrobe. 

Let’s start with the most important of all items; shoes! If you tend to wear dark or plain clothing, adding a bright pair of shoes is a fantastic way to introduce some colors into your wardrobe. Yellow shoes were all the rave at London Fashion Week and they are my number 1 MUST HAVE item on my list.

Now let’s move on to the number 2 MUST HAVE and probably one of most important items you must have this Spring/Summer; the perfect handbag. Whether you chose to go for the practicality of a  belt bag or a crossover bag that allows you to carry the essentials, phone, credit cards, and a lipstick or a bag that allows you to carry that extra pair of shoes, your umbrella and your computer, chose one ( or two!) that will work with most of your outfits as well as your body type.

 

Number 3 MUST HAVE item season? Bold accessories! I am a huge fun of having bold accessories. I believe that they are not only a great way to compliment your outfits, they also say a lot about who we are and how much risks are we willing to take in life. Do keep in mind that wearing one big accessory may be all you need so choose the one you think you will wear most and/or switch them depending on your outfits and mood. 

Number 4 MUST HAVE on my list is of course, a flowery item for your wardrobe.  Whether you choose to go for that much anticipated spring floral dress, or if you prefer to limit your love for florals to only one item, choosing either one of these pieces will add the right amount of florals and colors to your wardrobe and with enough creativity you can wear them into the fall. 

And my number 5 in my MUST HAVE Spring list, is of course; a floral fragrance. I am one avid perfume collector and I feel I posses an array of fragrances that best represent my personality and temperament. Amber, musk, jasmine, vanilla and sandalwood are some of my favorite notes. Some of these notes can be a bit much in the warm, hot and sticky months so last spring I decided to look for that perfect fragrance to add to my collection. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved some of the floral fragrances and how well they work on my skin, not to mention, my mood. 

How my name ended up in the swag bag of every 2018 Oscar Nominee!

How my name ended up in the swag bag of every 2018 Oscar Nominee!

I have been so eager to publish this post. I wanted to publish it on a special day, and what better than the day we celebrate women everywhere.

In December 2017 I had the most wonderful time of my life in the town of Hungerford, England in the company of Esther Fairfax, the daughter of Lotte Berk, the woman whom we owe the invention of what we call Barre.

Read More

Beer Yoga. To drink or not to drink?

Beer Yoga; to drink or not to drink?

 

I have gotten some funny looks and some negative comments in response to my upcoming Beer Yoga event at District Hall this coming Saturday. I get it. It’s definitely not for everyone. In fact, at some point, I did not think it was for me either.

 

Beer Yoga, a concept born in Germany and made popular in London, is a fun way to incorporate enjoying a beer into a Yoga practice. Most people who are drawn to these classes are new yogis who are curious about the practice and who ordinarily would not participate in a Yoga class because they fear that they are not flexible enough or because they are too shy to participate in such a group activity. However, Beer Yoga allows them to experience Yoga in a relaxed and non-threatening environment, making that first experience an extraordinary introduction to a practice that they otherwise would not have tried. It is also a great place for experienced Yogis to engage all of their senses in a completely different and fun practice.

 

If you have attended any of my classes, you know that I am not your typical Yoga Instructor. Just the fact that I prepare each class with the same thoroughness as I plan the outfit to teach the class in (and the makeup & shoes to go with it of course –yes, the shoes come off right before stepping onto he mat-) is an indication of what sets me apart from other instructors. I have never been shy about combining or expressing my love for fashion with my love for Yoga, or fitness in general, while at the same time highlighting my passion for music and social interaction. I don’t believe that this makes me better or worse than other instructors out there. I simply believe that it just makes me different and perhaps a bit quirky. And I am totally ok with that.

 

Yoga has evolved from being a forbidden practice, especially for women in particular who were not allowed to participate in the practice, to a female dominated field and one that allows each and every one of us to express our true selves. Each Yoga Instructor decides what’s important to share with their students. And for me, it’s about creating a unique experience each and every class. Whether I focus on building strength or flexibility –or both- I believe that it is important to add a bit of fun to a practice that is otherwise considered rather serious and intimidating while creating an atmosphere of comradery and while of course, respecting and following the main principles of the practice, including guided meditation.

 

I have never laughed so much preparing a class as I have since I started practicing my Beer Yoga class. I have had some laugh out loud moments that I wish I could have captured and share with all of you. And that is my goal for this coming Saturday. To see each and every participant getting a bit lose on the mat. While I will cue the participants to engage all of their senses during the practice, smell, touch and even taste. Much like any other practice, this is truly a personal experience. It is up to each individual to assess how they feel during each stage of the class and to decide whether they want to take a sip while holding Tree Pose, or whether they want to wait until after Savasana to enjoy their drink.

 

Cheers!

Beer Yoga; to drink or not to drink?.JPG

 

 

Is your wardrobe a reflection of your self-esteem?

I recently attended the New York City Fashion & Design conference which focused on the meaning and importance of the color white. It was one of the best conferences I have attended in a long time with panelists such as Jason Wu & Zac Posen. Each of these designers shared powerful messages. More importantly, both of them were such kind individuals. They shared with us incredible information about their background, how they got to where they are, their vision and goals for the future. It was truly an inspirational weekend filled with great opportunities for learning, professional development and of course amazing networking.

However, there was something that worried me quite a bit. So much so that I had to re-write this post a few times. I was supposed to be writing about the iconic white shirt but instead I’ll focus on an issue that I take very seriously and personally; self-confidence and how it can impact what we wear and ultimately, how others perceive us.

Many of the women participating in the panels were seasoned and well established professionals in their fields. Yet, most of them expressed a lack of confidence about wearing white or wearing colors in general. Some said that they only wore it very infrequently and only on days when they wanted or needed to be noticed. And most of them said that they preferred to wear black most of the time because they wanted to hide away from others. One panelist even said, “which for me is almost every day; I do not want to be seen.”  

This resonated well with me because that was me so many years ago.  I did not want to be noticed. I did not want to be seen. So I used to hide in my black clothes. It made me so sad to hear so many women say that, because I know how they feel. Today, I wear black from time to time because I want to, not because I have to, and understanding the difference between those two things is what finally set me free.

As I interview clients in order to help them create a new wardrobe, I often hear similar concerns. Most share with me that when wearing black they feel safe. Some also say that  wearing black allows them to hide and to avoid having any attention directed towards them. So I also wonder, what else is black hiding them from? For me, it was keeping me from moving forward from a very painful upbringing in which I could not wear colors because being the result of a bi-racial marriage, my mother was afraid that my sisters and I would look “too Black” in a community where they were no other kids who looked like us.

I truly wish I would have had an opportunity to speak with each and every woman that day who expressed so much fear over wearing white, or truly about wearing colors in general.

White is not only the color associated with purity, it also signifies, hope, light and cleanliness among other things. Who wouldn’t want to send a message of hope through their clothes? I know that I do!

I would have loved to do a color assessment with each and every one of them in order to empower them into wearing their true colors. They already have such unbelievable careers that wearing the colors to reflect their personalities and lifestyles would have been an incredible and powerful boost of cofidence. When we wear our true colors, we stand taller and prouder; we have more confidence. Confidence is not something we tell people we have, even without speaking, people can tell whether we have it or not.

And while I understand that wearing striking bright white next to the face is quite hard to do (it has the same effects as black; it ages you) there are other colors in the white family, such as cream & beige, that would beautifully complement most skin tones. 

So if you are reading this and any of this information resonates with you, take a moment to assess your wardrobe and see if you prefer wearing black or even gray over other colors that you like. Go through your wardrobe and determine the colors that you wear the most. Think about that one color that you know you love and look for it in your wardrobe. Don’t be surprised if is not in there, it happens quite often. Instead of dwelling on that, I encourage to buy at least one item in that color. Whether is an item that you wear close to your face, like a shirt, a camisole, a scarf or a jacket, or something that no one else can see like underwear. Wear it as much as you can and take notice of how you feel. Chances are you will feel more confident, powerful and just plain happier.

Have questions/comments or concerns? Email me at wellness@themonicamethod.com

 

Be healthy, be happy, be fabulous!

 

Monica

Jason Wu.jpg
Zac Posen.JPG

5 Easy tips to start your Meditation practice

We all know that stress is probably one the biggest silent killers out there. To manage it, we exercise, socialize and from time to time, just plain ignore it or even worse; we learn to live with it.

Meditation is a FREE tool, available to all of us, and unlike any form of common coping mechanism, it can be done pretty much anytime, almost everywhere and just about by everybody.

Meditation, does for your mind what physical exercise does for your body; it transforms it. But just like physical exercise, Meditation is something that you need to practice as often as possible and understand that just like physical exercise, it will take some time for your mind to get used to taking some time just to try and relax the tension away.

If you are someone who does mainly high energy sports or have a tendency to avoid sitting still, Meditation may not come easy to you. When I first started practicing Yoga daily, as a result of a long distance running injury that kept me from running and other high energy work outs, I used to get up and leave right after the physical part of the class and before the Meditation. The idea of sitting still was not appealing for me at all. One day, my Yoga Instructor, David Magone, and the person who many years later trained me to become a Yoga Instructor, asked me why I did not participate in the Meditation portion of the class. I was completely honest and explained that sitting still felt like “a waste of time”.  I cannot believe that those words came out of me!

He then asked me to take one of his most advanced classes, I followed his recommendation and I was shocked to see that just like that, after just one session of an invigorating & challenging practice, my body was too tired to move and I allowed myself the opportunity to rest.

At first, that’s was it, giving myself 10-15 minutes after a transformative class to allow my body to rest. But with time, I started to pay attention to his instructions and to follow them closely. I felt great after each class, not only for the physical challenge that I put my body through, but also because I gave my mind a break from its busy chatter.

And that is exactly what Meditation does for you; it gives your mind an opportunity to take a break from the daily chatter that goes on in your mind. And while Meditation brings many health benefits into your life, I also believe that is widely misinterpreted and that is extremely hard to practice. However, the below 5 tips should help you to get familiarized with the practice and the concept of sitting still. I hope that soon, you’ll start to enjoy the benefits of a quiet and clear mind.  


1. Find a comfortable place to sit. While sitting on a Meditative pose (cross legged) on a Yoga mat or on a Mediation pillow or on a Yoga block is ideal, that is not always very practical, so know that you can sit on any chair that you have at your disposal or that is comfortable enough for you.

 

2.     Find a quiet place practice. I highly recommend staying away from any area that has too many distractions, like the TV. If that is all the space you have, then make sure that the TV is turned off before you begin your practice.

 

3.    Sit down and try and find your most comfortable seated position. Place your right hand over the left, palms facing up, and thumbs lightly touching. Let your shoulders relax away from your ears and bring your chin towards your chest.

 

4.    Close your eyes

 

5.    Breath. At first, all your thoughts will fly to your mind so try and not engage with them, rather, redirect your attention to the sound of your breath. It will not be as easy at first, but if you want to experiment the benefits of a Meditation practice, you must invest the time to do it a few times a day, a few minutes each time, until your mind accepts the challenge.

 

So there you have it; comfortable place to sit, quiet space, sit, close your eyes and breath. Try and create a routine and come to this space as often as possible with the goal to Meditate until it becomes a daily habit.

 

Happy Practice friends!

 

 

IMG_3591.JPG

The best 3 things about London Fashion Week!

It has taken me some time after my return from London to write this post. I came home to a packed schedule and with a nasty cold which in time turned into an infection that forced me to rest, something that I don’t often do.

 

In the past few days, once the antibiotics did their work, I finally started to feel back to normal and I could not wait to finally finish this post. I felt like the whole time I was participating in London Fashion Week I was in a dream. If did not have all those pictures and videos on my phone, I would still be pinching myself.

 

Let me start with the location, London. One of the most vibrant cities in the world.  With an abundance of beauty, fashion, classic elegance, wealth, history, diversity, an incredible gastronomy and most importantly; beautiful parks. My personal favorite is Hyde Park; a heaven for runners. This place provided me with an opportunity to reconnect with an activity I thought long lost given all my hip surgeries. No matter what brings me to London, running through Hyde Park is always a must. To all of you runners out there, I could not recommend this place enough!

 

Then of course we have the most important thing; the fashion! I am absolutely and madly in love with just about every piece I saw on the runway. From the seasoned Paul Costelloe, whose collection is the perfect combination of romance, innocence, exquisite textures, and classic elegance, to new comers like John Herrera, whose edgy, yet feminine line was full of dark and muted tones and well strategically placed pops of red throughout the show. The dramatic makeup on the models under veils along with the powerful music made his show one unforgettable moment. The collection by Mark Fast; a designer who pushes the boundaries of knitwear technology, was absolutely spectacular! And then there was the moment when Miss Fame came out with a dress so magical that the whole audience was silent in complete awe.  I was mesmerized! Rocky StarHouse of Mea and Zeynep Kartal's collections were filled with vibrant & colorful pieces along with intricate designs that reflected the heritage and culture of the designers. I truly wish I could list every moment and every design but these are the ones I can't stop obsessing about and need to have in my wardrobe. 

 

In addition to all the glamour and high-end fashion, the highlight of his wonderful experience, was the people I got to work with. When I decided to obtain my Personal Styling Diploma at the London College of Style, I did not know how much my life would change. As I was going through the training, I found myself surrounded by people who like me had such fascination for fashion and for helping others look their very best. I felt like I belonged there; something that I did not experience very often in my previous career (s).

 

I got to work with the amazing Fleur McCrone and Charlotte Broadbent. The 3 of us went through the training together and while we live thousands of miles away, we have stayed in touch. We support, encourage and help each other out all the time. I was also lucky to meet and work with Claire Mcnestrty during LFW. She is another graduate of the LCS and someone I immediately felt a great connection to. The 4 of us spent those 4 days working hard behind the scenes, reporting live from the shows and talking all things fashion. Most importantly we were in constant communication helping each other decide what to wear for such amazing shows. I truly loved every moment of it. Even the days when I hardly got any sleep because we had to report to the Head Stylist by 6:45 am dressed in black and wearing absolutely no makeup ( see pics below), I felt like I was in a beautiful dream. 

 

With LFW a few weeks behind me, I am still savoring and remembering every moment with such delight. The first time I walked on a runway I was 17 years old. I experienced something then that I never knew existed; total and complete elation. I knew that being in the fashion industry is what I wanted to do. Somehow I lost my sense of self once I moved to the United States and the circumstances of my life forced me into completely different fields. I am grateful that I made a change because Fashion has brought into my life more than beautiful clothes. It has brought me a new business filled with grateful and happy clients. It also brought me incredible support, mentorship opportunities not the mention the ability to work at fashion shows of such magnitude. But most importantly, it has brought me the most wonderful, amazing & terrific friends! 

All About That Base Wardrobe

We define style as the particular way or manner in which we choose to do something, a methodology or a process. Style can also be defined as approved fashion, elegance and even smartness. A favorite part of my job is to help clients find a style that best reflects their personality taking into consideration many factors that influence their lifestyle. Such factors include what they do and where they work, age, height, weight, body type, medical conditions and even the weather to name a few. Generally, I find that there is often a lack of confidence in wearing a specific item and the fear that others might not like your choices as well.

I advise most of my clients who want to find or enhance their current style to start from scratch. Begin by assessing what you currently have in your closet. Often times I find that the more items we have, the more we struggle with finding the right thing to wear on a particular day or occasion. The key is to have a few items in different categories of high quality that can be paired with others and serve multiple purposes. I find that investing in key pieces helps us to streamline our wardrobes and it prevents us from having to spend too much time in front of the mirror trying to decide whether something looks good or not.

Here's some general recommendations for creating your own base wardrobe across 6 different categories - having these items in your wardrobe will make it a lot easier to get dressed in the morning.

1. Outerwear

  • A black tailored jacket
  • A blazer
  • A white or beige jacket for the warmer seasons
  • 1 Down jacket or winter coat
  • 1 Wool coat
  • 1 Spring Jacket/Coat

2.  Dresses

  • 2 black dresses
  • 1 cocktail dress (not black)
  • 2 day time dresses

3. Tops

  • A white button-down shirt, preferably one that hits at the hips, in other words, avoid a button-down shirt that fits right at the belly button. And while they can be fitted, a tight button-down top can create that awful gaping at the chest. If you see such gaping just trying it on at the store, size up or try a different designer/fabric.
  • 2 silk blouses (at least). Depending on your skin tone, one can be cream or white and black or navy blue.
  • Depending on fabric, length and style, sweaters can be worn as tops. So I recommend having several Sweaters in various lengths, colors, styles and & fabrics. They can also be worn as outerwear if you live in a warmer climate.
  • Several cotton tops in varying colors and length (chose according to skin complexion, body type and item being worn at the bottom, for instance, a short top should be worn with a long skirt, and a long top with fitted pants/leggings)

4. Bottoms

  • 2 pairs of leggings. They must be of a thick material preventing any sight of your skin and your underwear. Leggings should be paired with a long silk blouse, tunic and a long sweater or a Jacket. It’s completely ok if the shirt/top is longer than the sweater or Jacket.
  • 1 pair of dark jeans
  • 1 pair of white jeans
  • 2 pencil skirts
  • 2 pairs of pants (not leggings or jeans). Length and color must be selected carefully based on height, size & shoes to be worn with them

5. Shoes

  • 1 pair of black pumps
  • 1 pair of booties
  • 2 pair of knee high boots
  • 1 winter boots
  • 1 pair of flats
  • 2 pairs of Low heels (Black & Skin tone)
  • Rain boots

6. Accessories

  • 1 big hand bag ( black or brown)
  • 1 colorful bag ( blue, red, yellow)
  • 1 clutch
  • 2 statements necklaces
  • Several scarves