Breaking The Rules: White After Labor Day

Some rules are just meant to be broken... Especially if it's your first night out back in NYC after about 2 months of nonstop working and a little bit of play!

If you knew how long this outfit has actually been in my closet, you'd probably think I had some big extravagant plan for this set. But, there's always a time and a place for everything! I actually bought the tube top and wide-leg trousers over a year ago (YES I SAID A YEAR), but wanted to have the look altered to perfection. Right before my trip to Greece, I did just that.

I decided to wear this gorgeous set during my office end of NY Fashion Week party and I must say it was well worth the wait!

The awesome thing about this outfit is that the pieces although all the same shade of white, are all different textures. By mixing and matching different textures while still keeping a monochrome palette, I'm staying right on trend this season. I especially love this satin vest I bought from Naked Wardrobe.

Check out some similar options to get this look yourself.

TROUSERS | TOP | VEST (Actual)| SHOES

6 Days, 5 Adventures, 4 Friends, 3 Countries, 2 Dreams, and 1 Heck of A Time!

Being young wild and free is what should be expected in your 20’s, so when my girlfriend Sanga suggested we take an impromptu trip to Dubai I could not pass it up. As I’m suffering from jet lag on a 4am train back to NYC from DC, I thought it was only right that I give you an inside look at one of the best trips I’ve ever been on in my life. Here's a quick recap of my trip and of course my outfits.

 

DAY 1: Washington DC —> Amsterdam

I'm wearing a Naked Wardrobe 2 piece set with a Forever 21 bomber jacket and Nike Roches

I'm wearing a Naked Wardrobe 2 piece set with a Forever 21 bomber jacket and Nike Roches

Instead of doing a direct flight to Dubai, we decided to take long layovers to get a chance to explore 2 new cities we’ve never been to. The first being Amsterdam.

After a 20 minute train ride into the city center, we had breakfast at a pancake house where we ate authentic crepe style pancakes with mandarins, honey and powdered sugar. We then walked through the narrow streets and canals to the Anne Frank House. Even at 8am, the line to get into the museum was down the block, but we were lucky enough to find Anne’s actual front door before other tourists staked it out.

 

DAY 2: First Day in Dubai

After a 7.5 hour flight from Amsterdam, we arrived in Dubai at midnight but didn’t get out of the airport until close to 2am! For being such a large airport, going through customs was an absolute nightmare. It seemed as if there were thousands of people arriving at the same time and instead of having organized lines, it was a free for all. I would have taken a photo, but we heard and saw a tourist get yelled at by an airport security person dressed in the traditional dishdasha and agal for taking a picture of him. Which is an understandable reaction. I think being a westerner, we don’t really take into consideration that their garments that we may see in the media aren’t costumes but are actual staples in every day life. You wouldn’t take a picture of a New Yorker because they primarily only wear black right? Lets just say, I was not going to take a chance of photographing anything in the airport.

My girlfriends and I were lucky enough to already have connections in Dubai. We stayed with our friend Eddie who’s lived in Dubai for 2 years already. If it wasn’t for him, I think we would have been a bit all over the place when it came to choosing attractions, foods, and overall just fun amazing experiences on our trip. He for sure was the plug of a lifetime—LOVE YOU EDDIE!

 

Day 3: BRUNCH AT THE PALMS

Naked Wardrobe Head to Toe, Steve Madden heels

Knowing Eddie, we expected the turn up was going to be beyond real every day of our trip. So, it was not a surprise that our first official day would start off with the most extravagant brunch I’ve ever been to. The Saffron Brunch located at the Palms Atlantis did not disappoint. 4 hours of unlimited food and drink, plus great music made even my favorite brunch spots in NYC look like child’s play. My favorite food had to be the braised lamb (I literally think I went back for more 5 times, that’s how good it was). The alcohol choices were beyond as well. From a Jack Daniels station to an Absolute snow cone machine, there was nothing you couldn’t get if you didn’t want it. From brunch, there is a shuttle that takes you directly to Indulge, a club also at the palms. As most people where continuing their brunch turn up, the crew and I were winding down a little—the time difference is definitely a bit of a killer, but we were determined to push through. 

DINNER AND A VIEW

From Indulge, we took a pit stop for about an hour break and then headed to dinner at Reem Al Bawadi. The food and the sheesha (hookah) was great, but what made this place that more fantastic was the VIEW—I have to capitalize it because you just won’t ever understand how sublime it really was. As we ate and smoked on cushioned couches in perfect 70 degree weather with the Burj Khalifa directly behind us, I could only imagine how amazing our trip was going to be. And what took this dinner over the edge, was the $30 price tag. Yes, we spent probably a max of $30 each for dinner sitting directly next to the tallest building in the world.

Fun fact, we went to the top of the Burj on Day 5! It's definitely gorgeous up there. Just knowing how many thousands of people worked on this beautiful building really puts yourself into perspective. Even the model display was taller than me!

If you plan on going to the Burj, plan to go ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP! Yes it's a bit steep in price, but the view, the experience and freedom is well worth it. By going to "The Top," you get to go on an observation deck without the huge crowds, a longer visiting time, AND macaroons! And who can say no to macaroons and fresh cucumber drinks while literally standing at the top of the world?

 

DAY 3: In the Dunes

I have to say Day 3 was the best day of my entire trip. We took a trip to the desert and had the time of our lives. We got picked up from Eddie's in a 4x4 and traveled about 45 minutes into the desert. After making a "10 minute" pitstop, our driver let out a little air from our tires (I know it freaked me out to) and we started our wild adventure through the desert. This ride was absolutely exilherating. Even though half of the time I thought I was going to pass out and die, (especially when the car was driving completely on its side!) this ride was better than any rollercoaster I've ever been on. We ended with a picturesque view in the middle of the desert. AND I finally got to ride a camel! This is probably the one event I will never forget.

 

360°

Even though we were exhausted, we ended our third night at 360°. Located in the middle of the ocean, we relaxed, smoked hookah and enjoyed each others company. The view was so spectacular as we were between  the Wave and the Sail of Jumeirah.

I wore a fitted midi dress from H&M that had thumb cutouts and cognac Steve Madden heels. This dress was perfect for 360 as it was pretty windy.

DAY 4: Abu Dhabi

Day 5, we traveled to the capital city Abu Dhabi and visited the Grand Mosque. This marble place of worship was absolutely breathtaking.

DAY 5: Last Day in Dubai

Our last day in Dubai took us to the Gold Souks. My girlfriend had gone to Dubai a few weeks prior and told me she found great deals in the Souks. Although I decided against purchasing anything, I thought it was interesting getting too look somewhat into Dubai's past. 

DAY 6: Bonjour Paris

AAAAAAHHHHH!!! I finally made it to Paris! This has literally been one on my dream destinations since I could remember. Although we only had enough time to visit the Eiffel Tower, it was definitely worth while. 

Reflecting

Reflecting on this adventure that I was so blessed to take with 2 of my best friends and sisters, I can say that moments like these really put into perspective of what is important in life. I'm grateful I got to experience this with great people and really disconnect for a while. And as I'm now sitting at my desk, all I can think about is where I'm going next.

Short Hair Don't Care: It's Been One Year!

It's officially been ONE YEAR since I went in for the big chop and I'm still loving it! The last 365 days have been some of the most scary and liberating days of my life. Who would have thought I would have lasted this long with a bob? Not me! But in all reality, my bob has been the easiest to maintain and the most flexible hairstyle I've ever had. Here are a few of my pros and cons when it comes to my new yet old 'do.

felicia-garay-stanton-sittinginthegray-short-hair

THE PROS

EASY MAINTENANCE: The fact that U can go through washing, drying and styling my hair in under than 90 minutes is nothing but amazing. When I cut my I cut down everything associated with length. Less time, less products, and fewer worries! I use 5 key products in my hair: Suave Shea Butter and Almond Shampoo and Conditioner, Bamboo Heat Protectant, Living Proof Dry Shampoo and Hairspray, and last but not least, Oscar Blandi finishing cream.

HEALTHIER: Once I got my cut, my hair is 100 times healthier. I constantly had to flat iron and would over blow dry my hair when I was too lazy to roller set it. My hair not only feels healthier, it has an overall healthier look. From the volume to my ends, all I can say is my good hair days outweigh my bad by ten thousand.

VERSATILITY: This may be surprising, but I feel like I've been able to change up my hairstyle more now that I have shorter hair. When I had my hair long, I stuck to simple hair flips, wand curls and a ponytail here or there. Now that I have my hair short, I switch my look around with the snap of my fingers. From barrel curls to pin straight and even a slicked back pony, I love how different my hair looks day to day. 

THE CONS

WASH WASH WASH: I went from washing my hair once a week to washing it every 3 days. So, even though I cut my maintenance time down, I have to do the process twice as much. I also have made it my mission to roller set my hair only. Meaning, I don't wait for it to air dry and I don't blow dry. I feel like if I didn't stick to this regimen my hair would be brittle and dry, and I'd be thinking about cutting it even shorter. YIKES!

ITS SHORT!: OH MY GOSH! Those are the first words I said when I heard the shears snip for the first time. Shed a tear for "Long Hair Don't Care". I never thought I'd have short hair. I've always been the girl with hair down my back, but that all changed a year ago. After the first three months of having my short 'do, I went to the salon for a "trim" and came out with a naked neck and tears running down my face. (Let's just say I was not looking pretty.) Since then, I've let it grow back out to it's original "short length" and get regular real trims every 4 months. 

Overall, My pros definitely outweigh the cons, so I'm definitely keeping my hair short! Sorry mami, tias and even my boo, the bob is hear to stay for a little while longer! Here's to year 1 of being short and sassy!  

felicia-garay-stanton-shorthair-dontcare

A New Look: JOVANI & MASLAVI for the Modern Woman

Most of the time when someone asks me about JOVANI the first thing they say is, "oh yeah, the prom brand." What most people don't realize is that the evening wear brand goes beyond just the prom market and is actually a staple in markets ranging from bridal, party-cocktail, evening-gala, and my favorite contemporary collection, MASLAVI.

MASLAVI has become my go-to for gorgeous fits without going over the top. Just look at how sexy the jumpsuit above is! Can you say A-MA-ZING! The mix of simple silhouettes, unique fabrics and overall beyond trend styles makes this collection a hidden gem. Check out my new youtube video showcasing 3 of my favorite pieces. 

The one thing that I love about this collection is the styles are versatile enough to fit any event. From going out to dinner to a night out on the town, even a pageant interview, this collection just works. The striped midi dress and jumpsuits are exactly what I go for when I want to "dress up." The racerback and plunging neckline styles are great for my frame. I love the midi dress striped dress because the neckline and overall covered look isn't showing too much but emphasizing my hourglass shape. The jumpsuits, all though they are showing a lot more cleavage, it is overall a classic shape that shows my shape without being overly out there.

Which MASLAVI picks do you like?

The 1, 2, 3's of Passport Photos

I've been lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel all around the world since I was young (thank you military parents). I've officially had 4 passports since I was just a few months old, which is pretty cool when you  think about people who have never even stepped foot outside of the US. But the time has come for me to renew my passport and even more importantly to update the photo that will travel with me for the next 10 years.

When you think of a passport photo, you're either thinking total drab or glamorized Kim K status. For me personally, I'd love to be more on the glam side of the table rather than the Cousin It side, so I decided to try out taking my own passport photo. Yes, you can actually snap a photo at home rather than at Walgreens or the Post Office, and it's not as hard as you think. Here's how I got my new shots:

1. Choosing an outfit: You may think this isn't that important, but you should really think about what neckline you'll have in your photos. You don't want to do something too distracting, so keep your look simple and neat. Just remember minimal jewelry is always better. 

2. Beat your face: But as natural as possible! If you weren't born with double stacked Lilly Ghalichi lashes, you don't need them. Mascara will work just fine, but remember this photo is supposed to look as much like you as possible. Dramatics aren't necessary.

3. The Camera & the photographer: Thankfully I have my Canon DSLR and of course my Katie to take great photos. Trying to get a "glamy" shot, it'll definitely take a few tries. So it will be better to have someone who's willing to click away until you get the right shot.--Love you Katie

4. Lighting and Space: White walls and bright lights are requirements to get a great passport photo. Find a clear wall with bright/clear lighting to prevent any shadows. I also turned the brightness up on my camera to make sure I got the brightest light possible without distorting my look.

5. Strike a Pose: No you're not vogueing, but make sure to portray yourself as natural as possible. You can either do a neutral pose and give a slight smile, but don't go too dramatic with your facial expressions. Once you get the face you want! You've got the shot!

6. Size it up: Once you've got the shot, it's time for sizing. Passport photos must be 2"x2". To prevent myself from making a risky mistake, I used the official sizer provided on the travel.state.gov website. You just upload your photo and size it based on the facial outline provided. The cool thing about this system is that it catches you before you make a mistake in cropping (gotta love technology right).

7. Print it: After you've got your cropped image, there are 2 separate ways you can go forward with to get your photo printed. The first, you can upload your photo directly to Targetphoto.com's passport portal. They will print, cut and size perfectly 2 passport ready photos for $9.99. Fair enough right? OR you can print 6 passport ready photos for $0.29 at Walgreens and cut them yourself. I went for the later since I couldn't decide between 2 photos. I processed my photos through a website called makepassportphoto.com. They take your cropped passport image and fit 6 evenly on a 4x6 print. From there, I uploaded them to Walgreen's photo center and picked them up the next morning at my local Duane Reade for less the $0.60. 

Overall, the most difficult part of this whole process was choosing which photo I wanted to use. I'm definitely happy with how they turned out, and can't wait to get my new passport so I can start filling it up with all of the stamps I'll be getting this year. Stay tuned to see where I go!