Social Media, For Better or For Worse?

IMG_0397Somewhere along the way, I got off track with social media. On the one hand, social media has great benefits including staying in touch across the miles, promoting your business and finding a new job. But there is a balance one should maintain, and I, during the last two years especially, was doing a terrible job of pulling back when I should.

My first social media account was on MySpace. I know I am dating myself! As everyone knows, MySpace was eclipsed by Facebook, which I joined in mid-2008, four years after it launched, hesitant to go where I thought only college students tread. Other social media formats followed, and it was not long before we were Tweeting, Pinning, Snap Chatting and Instagramming with people far and near.

I created a business page on Facebook, and I joined Twitter as a means of raising my business profile for my new career in image consulting. It worked. By late 2010, I was receiving business from Google searches. Pinterest swept me into its arms in 2011, and I built boards geared at educating clients and keeping myself on top of trends. I joined Instagram in 2013, mostly to maintain a presence to avoid looking like a dinosaur. One must keep up!IMG_9991

I spent a good amount of time building a following across these four platforms, in addition to my personal business website and my blog. The time I spent on social media was mostly reasonable, and it rarely eclipsed the day-to-day work required of a small business. By 2014, my business was on a roll. I was speaking at least once per quarter and working with a steady stream of personal clients. I give a lot of props to social media for this momentum.

Yet, after our move to Seattle in January 2015, I became depressed and I collapsed into social media as an escape. The mere idea of starting over in a new city drained me of all energy, and I spent more and more time immersed in a world of highlight reels.

My husband tried to talk to me about my social media use on a few occasions, and each time I became defensive. I was homesick, and I missed my friends. Seeing them on social media was my way of being with them. On a deeper level, I was angry at my husband for this big change, and retreating into social media was one way I could punish him. What I realize now is I was punishing myself by missing out on life with my family. I was often choosing social media over them. The happy moments occurring right under my nose were going unnoticed and unappreciated.

IMG_0127Social media, at first an innocent escape, became a robber in my life. It robbed me of time, motivation, confidence and joy. When I finally decided to pull my head out of my rear and examine my social media use, I realized my husband was right and I was wrong. He was not asking me to give up social media. He understands the benefit of it for my business. He was simply asking for more of me at the appropriate times.

The solution that worked for my husband and me is we drew up a schedule of when neither of us would be on social media at all. With a few slips here and there, we have stuck to it. The things I need to do for my brand marketing are easily condensed, and I am feeling much more engaged with my husband and my kids. Further, I am reading more, working out again, and doing other things that bring me happiness and fulfillment, like writing.

If you are struggling to pull back from your phone, here are a few tips:

  • Set a time schedule of when you will or won’t be on social media.
  • Keep a log of when you are on social media, and write down the reasons you are using it. Escaping occasionally into social media is fine. Escaping for several hours per day when there is important work to do is not okay.
  • Ask your partner how he/she feels about your social media use, and adjust where needed. It might enhance (or save) your relationship.
  • Remember your social media feed is not real life. If you feel you are missing out, you are. Look up from your phone and observe the world around you. Don’t miss it!

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New Website!

It is with great pride I announce the launch of my new website with an updated logo by New Orleans based BethanyHeadshots2015-8804Sea Level Design and photos of me by Dallas based Christina Childress. This website looks and feels like the woman I am today. Please look around and leave comments here (constructive criticism is welcomed).

For those of you familiar with my former website, you may notice I am paring down my services. Gone are the custom color analysis, the image & style evaluation and makeup lessons. When I moved to Seattle, I wanted my business here to focus on my greatest strengths and the services I most enjoyed, closets and shopping. I have rolled the style evaluation into the wardrobe consultation as it is crucial to understand the client’s style before working with their wardrobe.

I have added photography as a service. It began as an idea to do street style photography for my blog. Then a couple of people used my photos on their website, and the idea to offer this service was birthed. The photos are web-ready for use on social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.

I continue to do public speaking as the opportunities arise. I have always enjoyed speaking and educating groups of all sizes, and I would like to see this part of my business grow. Stay tuned!

Last, but certainly not least, my new website features a new blog! I will be adding an e-mail subscription to that blog soon, and once it is complete I will let you know so you can follow me there. Thank you for your support and encouragement. Here’s to the next chapter!—Bethany

Street Style – Two Style Lessons

IMG_3886Here are a few more snaps from our evening at Casco Antiguo earlier this week. Style Lesson #1: If your top is long (longer than where your leg breaks when you lift it), you must wear a heel to create a longer leg. Otherwise, your body is cut in half (50% torso; 50% leg), which makes you look short regardless of your true height. Our lovely, leggy model Amanda here asked me about cuffing her jeans. If she had been wearing a top with a hem around her hip bone, I would have told her to go for it as she has plenty of leg to sacrifice. However, because her top is longer than the leg break, I advised her to keep her jeans un-cuffed. If you can visualize her in flats with a cuffed hem, she would have appeared overlong on her top half and, thus, out of proportion.

IMG_3903Style Lesson #2: The more leg you show, the more of your top half should be covered. I do wish I had a tan for this lesson – ha! Wearing shorts that hit at mid-thigh or shorter calls for a top that is either a half sleeve, 3/4-length or a long sleeve as I am wearing. Short shorts and a tank top is provocative and not very classy. Leave a little to the imagination, and keep it classy, ladies. It is what men prefer, actually.

IMG_3902Lastly, if you have silver and/or turquoise jewelry, now is the time to wear it. The cool tones of the silver has an overall cooling effect on your look, which is just right during our warmest season. Ditto for turquoise. The light, soft green/blue goes with all your spring/summer clothing without having to think about it. Don’t worry if you have none of this color in your outfit. Adding a new color to your look via accessories is totally okay and encouraged, actually. Happy Weekend!—Bethany

Seattle Street Style – “Fun” Neutrals

Whoever said neutrals are boring didn’t know this lovely gal. Meet Niusha, new to Seattle from Dallas, TX, who was kind enough to allow me to snap her today on the street in Bellevue Square.  She has a great love of fashion and style, and she also happens to be a brilliant MBA with a background in advertising and supply chain. Seattle is lucky to have her!

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I love how she mixed a variety of neutrals in her outfit, and they all work beautifully together.  Plus, the bright white at the top of her sweater brings the focus up to her gorgeous face. With the addition of the zippered handbag and stylish sunglasses (plus her radiant smile!), she’s totally pulled together and quite a head-turner. Thanks, Niusha!

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Stay tuned for more Seattle street style!

2016 – What’s New with You?

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I honestly have been avoiding the “New Year” topic for several weeks to give you an opportunity to recover from the barrage of “New Year New You” e-mails and product endorsements.  I find it very tiresome.  It is the same story each year.  What will I do differently this year?  What improvements will I make?  And more importantly, though cynically, how long can I keep these promises before abandoning them altogether?  We have the best of intentions.

I do not make New Year’s resolutions.  Rather, I like to take a personal inventory.  I like to look at how I improved (or did not improve) over the past year.  And then I like to look forward, both personally and professionally.  What are some things I would like to learn this year and what are the steps I can take to do that?  How can I positively impact the lives of others?  What do I love to do and how can I make time for those things?

Rather than making resolutions, just take a little time to plan for good things for yourself in the New Year.  What did you find yourself missing last year?  Maybe you wished for more time to yourself.  If so, sit down and plan a few outings for yourself or for yourself and a few friends.  If you do not plan it, it will not happen.  Maybe you would like to feel better.  If so, visit your doctor, a dietitian and a personal trainer who can give you a plan of action.  You get the idea.  Planning is the key.  With no plan, there is no change.

Do not sit there and wait for whatever life will throw at you.  And believe me, it will.  Make a few plans and steer the ship for yourself.  Of course your plans may sometimes be thwarted.  That’s life.  But if you do not have a plan to thwart, isn’t that worse?

Make a few new things happen this year.  Happy 2016, everyone!

Siggins in Seattle

FamilyPhotoHi, everyone.  My apologies for not keeping up with my blog, newsletters, etc.  The move from Dallas to Seattle on January 23, 2015 was harder on my body, my mind and my soul than I had anticipated.  But here I am, still standing (better than I ever did – to copy a phrase from Elton John).

As most of you have likely learned by now, John (my husband) took a job in executive recruiting for Amazon Web Services which necessitated a move to Seattle.  It was a very difficult decision for us as we weighed many pros and cons for moving to Seattle versus staying in Dallas.  Ultimately, we had to look at the much bigger picture.  This job would provide John with a great career challenge and opportunity, which benefits our family.  So, here we are!

We had not been told before the move how difficult it is to buy a home in Seattle (low supply, high demand).  Despite the odds, I trekked out almost daily to see homes all over the city and on the east side as they call it here.  Many people were praying for us, and it showed.  God was in control.  In 30 days’ time (miraculous by Seattle standards), we had a contract on a home in West Seattle.  We took the above family photo on the back deck of our home in April.  At least John and I appear happy about it!

We moved into our lovely blue craftsman home Easter weekend.  We love West Seattle, which has a gritty, urban feel mixed with a friendly, small-town vibe.  In addition, we live 1-1/2 miles from Alki Beach, which is where many Seattlites congregate in the warm sunny days of summer.  So, along with being new residents of the Pacific northwest, it looks as though we are also going to be “beach” people!  Who would have thought?

In the coming days, weeks and months, I would like to introduce you to some of the places I’m visiting in Seattle and in West Seattle, and keep you in the loop on the things I am doing here.  I hope you will enjoy the posts.  Thank you for reading!  I miss you, Dallas! xo

Fall Trends 2014

OrangeDoorAt the end of each summer I produce a card of fall trends, a reference of the biggest trends of the season, in anticipation of fall fashions which begin hitting the stores at about that time.  I simply love fall fashion, the rich colors, the textured fabrics and the beautiful leather goods.  To me, fall fashion is worthy of investment.  Trends come and go, but if you purchase wisely (read: not too trendy) and you take care of your things (yes, pay attention to care instructions), your investments will last you several years (at the least!). 

If you love something but cannot afford it, look for the best version of the knock off or scour vintage stores for something similar.  As you know in fashion, everything old is new again, so it is quite possible what you love has been done before in a previous decade.  One fall I really wanted a moto jacket, but I did not have the budget for a leather jacket.  So, I purchased a pleather version and wore the heck out of it.  A few years later, I got the real thing.

My fall 2014 trends card does not cover all the trends, so below is an extensive list .  If you would like a trends card and a couple of extras for friends, message me.  I would be delighted to send them to you!

Colors:  cobalt, steel, dark red, moss green, pastels, orange and jewel tones

To see a list of the Pantone fall 2014, click here.

Fabrics: shearling, leather, tweed, knits, fur, metallic and velvet

Prints/Patterns: plaid, abstract, color blocking, patchwork and diagonal lines

Oversized: coats, collars on coats, dresses, sweaters (including turtlenecks) and pants

Office:  midi skirts, pant suits, sharp blazers, pin stripes, menswear and neck tie blouses

Details: feathers, accordion pleats, fringe, sequins, western and puffy sleeves

Top layer: ponchos, capes, varsity jackets, bombers, blanket coats and fur-trimmed parkas

Bags: bucket, totes, jeweled clutches and fur top-handle handbags

Shoes: sneakers, flats, ankle boots, brogues and ankle-strap heels

Beauty: ponytails, braids, oversized buns, colorful cat eyes, nude and berry lips and nude and Bordeaux nails

Whew, I probably missed a few, but not many.  If you need assistance finding what suits you, call me.  I love making the shopping experience quick and easy.  I especially enjoy helping people find pieces they would have never considered if they had shopped on their own!  Happy Shopping!

Amp Up Your Career Style

womanstrongmakeupI was recently asked by Polish Dallas, an organization that connects young professional women to discuss career and faith, to write a blog post.  Since my subscribers may not have seen it, I wanted to share the post with you here on my blog.  Enjoy!

It has probably happened to you on countless mornings. You drag yourself to your closet, and you stare blankly into the abyss of clothes, uninspired and uncertain what to wear. Chances are when you started your career, you purchased the basic work wardrobe required for your job. The trouble is, that basic wardrobe does nothing to excite you, and it most certainly does not communicate your personal style.

There is hope!  Here are my top 5 tips for adding pizzazz to your hum-drum work look.

(1) Start with color. Admit it, your wardrobe is a sea of black, brown, navy and gray, isn’t it? Make a concerted effort to look for colorful tops to wear under jackets. A raspberry heel, a cobalt blue handbag or a turquoise necklace would also do the trick. Wearing something colorful to work brings a smile to your face and it makes those around you happy, as well.

(2 Look for pattern. This one goes hand-in-hand with color. An outfit that lacks pattern is a real snooze. Stop playing it safe by purchasing only solid colored pieces for your closet. Patterned tops and shells look outstanding under basic work jackets and cardigans.

(3) Add eye-catching “third” pieces. A third piece is my word for blazers, jackets and cardigans. No work look is complete without one. You may not wear it all day, but at least you have it on hand for meetings, luncheons and events where you wish to look smart and credible. When buying a blazer, steer clear of the banker look. Look for shapely cuts, an intriguing texture or creative details.

(4) Seek out interesting shapes and details. In other words, look for classic pieces that go beyond the classic formula: pick a leopard pump over a basic black pump, try a printed sheath dress if all of your work dresses are solid colors, or experiment with a-line skirts if you principally own pencil shapes.

(5) Let your accessories do the talking. Accessories are the “soul” of your outfit, and they tell your story. This is where your creativity and personal style is best expressed at work. Even if your closet is full of wardrobe basics, your image takes on new life with fabulous shoes, handbags and jewelry. So even if you would rather play it safe with your clothing selections, you can still look like a woman with a strong sense of her own style with the right accessories.

So, get out there and start sprucing up your wardrobe.  If you need help, call me. I would love to assist you!

Bad Combos? Pink & Green and Orange & Black

One of my wonderful readers said he dislikes pink and green in combination and orange and black. I agree, those are difficult color pairings which are best avoided in most cases. However, since I’m not one to say “never” in most cases, I set out to create two Polyvore sets with these colors together. What do you think? Are they a hit or a miss?

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To be fair, I think the pink & green he was referring to was petal pink with apple green. That does sort of take me back to being five again.  In this outfit, the pink is just about purple and the green is sea foam.  It is quite a lovely color pairing to my eyes.  What about yours?  The orange and black outfit works because the jeans are charcoal rather than jet black, and the orange of the blouse is sheer and it is broken up by a plethora of white polka dots.

Throw another forbidden color combo at me, and I’ll see if I can crack it.  Thanks for reading, and thank you for your comments and shares!  Have a happy Wednesday!

Alternative “Neutral” Colors

girlplaidI suppose one definition for a neutral color would be a color that pairs well with most other colors.  When we think of neutrals, our minds generally go to cream, black, white, gray, taupe and so on.  But what about mustard, periwinkle and royal blue as neutrals?  Hmmm…  Once you start to think about it, there are a wide variety of colors one could pair with the colors I just mentioned.

The problem is, most of our wardrobes lack color which makes it difficult to test-drive our theory of using colors as neutrals.  Frankly, well-designed pieces in dark and light neutrals are easier to find.  However, as we enter spring when well-designed colorful pieces are a bit easier to find, let’s make an effort to bring much-needed color to our mostly neutral wardrobes.

As I show you here, colorful pieces are not as difficult to work with as you may initially imagine.  I am using both forest green in the first set (created on Polyvore) and dark red in the second set to show you how they act as “neutral” and pair well with a variety of other colors.

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So, look at your wardrobe a bit differently in the coming weeks.  Mix colors together, in ways you have not previously.  When you start to do this, you have a much greater variety of combinations in your closet, saving you lots of time and money.  If you need help seeing the possibilities, call me.  I’d be delighted to spend and hour or two in your closet showing you new combinations.  Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!