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30 Before 30: Personal Style, a day of fashion at #PghStyleSummit by @WePropelle

My 30 Before 30 goal to “Develop an Identifiable ‘Personal Style'” is poorly stated. Personal style is a continuing adventure, not a stand-alone destination. The ladies of Propelle got me well on my way at this weekend’s Style Summit. The Style Summit brought together fashion bloggers, photographers, stylists, beauticians, and all kinds of other stylish people for an afternoon of trading tips and ideas.

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I was excited to have a chat with Terra McBride of Stylish White Female. I’ve been reading her blog for quite a while, and she always creates such unexpected and gorgeous combinations. We talked about how she finds inspiration for her color, texture, and fabric combinations. We also chatted about how she finds energy to put herself together so nicely, when just chasing around a little one takes SO MUCH energy. As with anything that is important, you just up and do it. Fashion is important to her, so she prioritizes it.

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Mandy Fierens of The Curvy Blogger wows the crowd

I really enjoyed listening to to the talks by personal stylist Rachel Valozzi. I’ve heard of personal styling services, but I didn’t know there was anyone in Pittsburgh who offers them! I’ve been working hard to lose the my-kid-isn’t-a-baby-anymore weight. As part of this, I’m hoping that I’ll need a wardrobe overhaul. I’ve promised myself that if I hit my goal weight (and yes, it may take a while), I’m setting up some quality time with a personal stylist to get my look in order.

I also had a hairstyle consultation and a chair massage with the ladies of Tula Organic Salon. They are MAGIC! The chair massage was amazingly relaxing and much too short. Tula is an Aveda Salon, but it’s prices are extremely reasonable. I’ve already got an appointment set for Sunday, yippee!

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Julie O’Boyle of Orchid Grey shares her insight

Kiya Tomlin also addressed the crowd as a special guest.  She talked about her custom dress business, and gave styling tips specific to looking polished and professional (my favorite adjectives when it comes to clothing choices!).  It was nice to hear that some of the more fashion-conservative principles I value about workplace attire aren’t entirely outmoded.

Propelle did a phenomenal job of putting together this exceptional event. It was really fun to talk to the bloggers I’ve been reading online, and to see the creative way people assemble their outfits. I’m so risk averse. My general fashion approach is an all-black outfit with some piece of a stand-out color. Sometimes I’ll throw a pattern in there, or sometimes I’ll go with brown instead of black. But when it comes to mixing together colors or patterns or whatever, I feel lost and terrified mixing things together. The women at Style Summit inspired me to experiment a little and mix things up. After all, it’s just fashion! What’s the worst that could happen? I look funny for a day. And that’s a livable consequence.

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Weekend ahoy!

You know those weekends where it seems like every organization and entity has something going on, and you want to attend EVERYTHING!  I have those a lot.  This weekend is especially nutty.  I’m looking at my weekend plans, and I’m kind of tired already.  But these are all GREAT things I will be doing, so it will be a busy weekend but a fun one!

This afternoon kicks off with the announcement of BAR EXAM RESULTS! I am so nervous and excited for all my friends who took the PA bar exam this year! Here’s to hoping that you’ll spend the afternoon sipping champagne in joy (and if not, at least tip a few back in sorrow).

This evening is the Alumni Reception for my 5 year law school reunion! 5 years! Can you believe it! Where did the time go?

HAIL TO PITT!

Tomorrow brings the much anticipated Propelle Style Summit

I’m a little nervous about picking out an outfit…what in my closet could possibly be cool enough to wear to a gathering of fashionistas?

Saturday also brings the Annual Meeting for the East End Food Co-Op.  If you’re a Co-Op member, please be sure to attend! Election results for the Board of Directors will be announced (you can vote at the meeting, if you haven’t voted yet), and they’ll be giving updates on the state of the Co-op and its plans for the upcoming year.

On Sunday, Mr. Beez and I will be venturing to the Pittsburgh Opera for Rigoletto.  Although I’m a bit of an opera nut, I’ve never seen Rigoletto before.  It has gotten rave reviews, so I’m excited for an afternoon of music and drama!

What does your weekend have in store?


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Pennsylvania Conference for Women Recap #PennWomen .@PennWomen

The Pennsylvania Conference for Women was exactly the shot in the arm of motivation and inspiration that I needed.  At PennWomen, amazing, powerful and INSPIRATIONAL women shared their insight for making the most out of your career and your life. This conference was all CONTENT CONTENT CONTENT. It was quite a lot to be packed into one day, and far too much for me to recap effectively in a blog post.

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The morning kicked off with Charlotte Beers, advertising executive powerhouse and former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. She shared the story of her ascent to success, and explained that in the business world, women need to focus not on acting “womanly” but instead focus on being “leaderly.” That, yes, there are differences in how women and men perceive and do things, but for career success, a woman should approach challenges from a perspective of leadership and fearlessness. I know a number of the keynote speakers were recorded, and I really hope that Charlotte’s talk is shared on the website, because it was phenomenally inspirational.

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Cheryl Strayed sharing her amazing story, explored more fully in her memoir “Wild”

I also loved the panel discussion between Alexis Sclamberg, Trenesa Danuser, Brenda Dennis and Lauren Berger about defining “success” for yourself. They discussed how success is a personalized definition, and steps that they have taken to reach their career goals. Trenesa, an executive with Estee Lauder, gave some phenomenal insight into how to balance family with a high-powered position that requires frequent international travel. My biggest takeaway from that panel was when Alexis shared that she has attended numerous conferences full of super-power executive women, and even they, at the highest rungs of business, don’t feel like they have made it to success. Those words made me realize how success can’t be an end goal, it has to be a process or a state of being.

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Cathie Black and Emily Bennington’s discussion on “Executive Presence” was also amazing. Cathie emphasized the importance of appearance– that you must look the way you want to be treated. If you want to be treated like a professional, you must dress like a professional. This is an issue I’ve been working on lately. I have a terrible habit of picking out my outfits in the morning when I am exhausted, and the only thing I want to wear is yoga pants and a hoodie. Although I manage to pick out passable attire, it’s not nearly as polished as the presence I would like to project. I’m making a habit of keeping my nails polished, and I need to pick out my outfits before I go to bed at night, when my energy is (marginally) higher. Cathie emphasized that when things get tough, put on some lipstick, because that’s when people are going to be watching. She also pointed out that women have a “gratitude problem.” I know that I am completely guilty of this. Women who ascend to a new position or meet a goal get wrapped up in being so grateful for getting there that they stunt their forward progress. Men, however, tend to meet that goal and immediately ask “ok, what’s next?” As women, we need to work on always looking forward, and not letting ourselves fall behind by getting so wrapped up in reaching the previous goal.

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Tory Johnson and Barbara Bradley Baekgaard chat about Baekgaard’s founding of the Vera Bradley company.

I felt like I had so much more in common with the women at this conference than the women at BlogHer. PennWomen is a career focused conference, and I’m definitely a career focused person. I definitely will attend next year (and the year after and the year after). The only downside I saw to the conference was that there was so much amazing content, it was hard to find the time to really get to talk with people. I think this conference would really benefit by a short speed networking session in the morning, where we can all have an opportunity to quickly meet people and exchange cards. The short period before the opening keynotes was intended for networking, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds it remarkably intimidating to go into a room full of literally thousands of people and just start chatting it up. Speed networking would be awesome.

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This conference is an amazing experience, and it would be equally beneficial for men as for women. It is a jam-packed day, but it will motivate and inspire you like nothing else. On my drive home, I was full of energy and ready to go! I was ready to TAKE OVER THE WORLD!! Of course when my alarm went off the following morning, the energy had faded, but a number of the meaningful takeaways continue to bounce around in my head.

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Pennsylvania Conference for Women

I just got back home from the Pennsylvania Conference for Women– what an AMAZING experience!  I’ll have more to say once I’ve had a few minutes to collect my thoughts, but for now suffice it to say that in comparison to the BlogHer conference when I felt like I didn’t quite “fit in,” the women at the Penn Women conference are exactly the kind of women I seek to surround myself with.  These women are intelligent, ambitious and driven.  They take their careers seriously, and strive to be leaders and mentors. What an inspiration!

The biggest treat of the day was Sonia Sanchez sharing her poetry.  Her poetry stars as a story, then the words surround you, and you see every word she speaks.  Her art is so beautiful.

These are the gems of wisdom I collected today:

  • You sell yourself first, your company second, and your product third.
  • Your failures may be precisely what you need in order for everything else to go right.
  • Failure is the stepping stone to success.
  • Make the best first impression, you do not have an opportunity to make a good second impression.
  • Carry yourself like you know where you’re going.
  • Guard your reputation, it is your life.
  • One of the gifts of a bad economy is that we are forced to be really creative.
  • What happens to our best work in the world really isn’t up to us.
  • You have that moment where you have a weight to lift that is unbearable. And in that moment, you have two decisions: You either lift it, or you don’t.
  • Learn to speak clearly, memorably, and persuasively.
  • Leadership is having the quality of persuading others to follow you.
  • You are not the same person at work as you are at home. Accept that and be liberated.