Monday, January 31, 2011

What to Wear: Shoes You Can Live In


Do you have a pair of shoes that you could just live in? You know, the comfy ones that you could wear out long before you're ready to part with them and move onto a new style? When it comes to shoes, I'm a huge believer of quality over quantity. I love leather and suede and much prefer it to man made materials. I like to stretch my purchases by making a single pair work with multiple outfits.

However, before investing in a pair of shoes I like to try them on a couple times, walk in them a bit at the store and when I bring them home I wear them in the house for a little while to make sure they are comfortable before I ever wear them outside. I've bought uncomfortable shoes in the past and it's a painful (and sometimes costly) mistake that I'm not willing to repeat.

Although I generally have the best luck with shoes that I spend a little more money on, sometimes I'm lucky enough to stumble upon a pair that are not only trendy and comfortable but very inexpensive too.





A few months ago, I was shopping in Target and happened upon a cute pair of Merona Meaghan ruffled ballet flats. Ironically, you might remember me mentioning in this post, how my parents almost named me 'Meaghan'. The color options were black or pewter, which is a pinkish-gold color (they offer 3 other colors on their website). Since most of their ballet flats are completely stiff and uncomfortable for me, I wasn't expecting much. So, I was so thrilled to discover how comfortable these ones were but stylish too! I adore the soft ruffle detail. They have a light padded insole and the soles of the shoes bend and are really flexible.

While these are not leather, they are so comfortable and cute that you wouldn't even know it. They look far better in person than the photos above and actually look as though they could be leather. They have now become an everyday shoe for me as we transition from cooler to warmer weather. I love a good ballet flat, I own several pairs and these are by far the most comfortable. I liked them so much I bought both colors at just $19.99 a pair!



A great pair of flats are a classy staple in any wardrobe, they are so versatile and so much better for your back and posture than heels. You can wear them nearly all year round too. If you're looking for a playful, flat, comfortable shoe to pair with shorts or a casual skirt, dress up your favorite jeans or even jazz up yoga pants and a zip up jacket for running errands around town or after a workout, this is a great option!

*I am not compensated by Target in any way for sharing my opinion, nor is this a formal review.

It's rare that I like something so much that I want to rave about it and share here but after wearing the pewter pair for 8 hours yesterday while walking around an art festival and not a single blister or rub on my toes, they definitely passed the comfort test. Oh, and I got several compliments on them too! ;)

Now, I want to know- what are YOU loving right now? What is the favorite item you couldn't live without? Maybe it's a favorite scarf, flattering pair of jeans or the perfect tee? Do tell!

Have a lovely day!

~Karla


*images (1)(2)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Confidence is Classy


I swore I wouldn't let myself get sucked into this season of the Bachelor.... and then it happened. Anyone else with me?  I'm always fascinated to observe how each of the women not only act around the Bachelor himself but also towards the other women in the house. Even more interesting is to see their reaction at the end of the show as they exit,  if they are not chosen.

The one glaring observation is that, sadly, several of the women lack self-confidence. Whenever I've watched the show in the past, my favorite ladies were always those who were so confident (but not over bearing), and regardless of how other women revealed the intimate details of their date or flaunted themselves in front of the guy, they knew not only who they were but also what they had with him, and were secure within it.
They didn't need to tell all the ladies how confident they were about their relationship with the bachelor only to later chase the guy around and ask him endless questions to feel secure about their relationship or sabotage his time with another girl to steal the spotlight. They weren't frantically asking the other women what they thought or recalling every last detail of everything he's ever said all in an effort to decode it and decide what it could mean for their future.  These same women are usually the ones that speak poorly of the Bachelor and the other women if they are sent home or whine about how they are always rejected in life and how they don't know if they'll ever find love.



On the contrary, the confident women choose to make the most of their time-both with the bachelor in question as well as with the other women, often goofing off and having fun along the way. They see it as an opportunity to not only meet the man of their dreams but to also get to know some of the other ladies and enjoy what each new day brings in terms of dates and activities. They also generally choose not to kiss and tell. All the while, they smile and keep a positive attitude even when they aren't sure what the future will bring for them or if they'll even get the next rose.



The truth is that men don't enjoy the company of women who lack confidence. They don't want to spend all their time reassuring someone of their feelings or what they have together, that can be exhausting. They don't want to be an emotional crutch, they want to be your equal. They want to enjoy the ride and see where things will lead. Likewise, friends; employers, colleagues and family members also like to be around someone who is happy and expects the best out of life, no matter what their current circumstances are.

Whether you're interviewing for a job, going on your first date with someone new or simply attending a party, it's important to remember that confidence is elegant and powerful. Whether you realize it or not, your own confidence actually puts other people at ease and make them feel comfortable around you. Good posture and a big smile can go a long way even when you are feeling less confident on the inside than ever. We've all experienced situations that make us feel a little weak, but it's in those moments that we need to pull ourselves together and give it all we've got, it's not the time to fall to pieces. As they say, never let them see you sweat.



I can remember a few interviews where I was one of five or six people for a coveted Sales Executive position and almost every time I was the only female there. It was nerve wracking not knowing how things would go but the very fact that I was the only woman in the lobby gave me even greater confidence to draw upon. At the end of the day all I could do was go into the situation being myself, presenting myself in a confident and professional manner with a firm handshake and a warm smile.

Sometimes we win and sometimes it's just not meant to be but that's not an indication that we are a failure or we were 'rejected'. It just means that something else, maybe something even better is waiting around the corner. A missed opportunity can actually be a blessing sometimes. If I had married the first guy I dated seriously, I would have missed out on the fantastic husband I have today, who is perfect for me. When you're given an opportunity, spend a few mintues and think about how you got there to begin with, not how things didn't play out in your favor. It's also wise to dig deep and see what you've learned about yourself from the experience.

It's also good to get into the habit of asking yourself this question:

"What's the worst thing that could happen?"

If your relationship doesn't work out with a person you've spent years with, you don't get the dream job you've been hoping for or you don't get into the prestigious school you've worked so hard to apply to, your life is not over. It may feel that way for a little while, but it truly is not.  I think when we play out those scenarios and try to visualize what the end result could be and recognize that it's actually not the end of the world if it doesn't go according to plan, confidence can shine through.

While some naturally posses more of it than others, it is something that everyone must work on. Sometimes confidence will also come as a result of knowledge. Let's face it, there are some situations where if you aren't prepared, you just won't feel ready and it will show. So, it's also wise to invest in yourself so you can be your personal best.

What times in your life did you need to dig deep and draw upon confidence to get through something challenging?

Warmly,
~Karla


*images: (1), (2), (3)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ready for a Change


I have some news to share with you. Classy & Fabulous is finally getting a makeover! After two years of the same design (give or take a few tweaks) and months of comparing blog designers and their portfolios I've called upon the help of a lovely blog designer to transform and update my blog.

For the past two years, like many of you, I've learned the ins and outs of html, played around with free blog backgrounds and gadgets, created my own blog buttons and added various features that fit within my budget at the time-{free}. While I'm happy with what I was able to create on my own, and still love the cream and aqua script with scroll detail, I'm ready for something new and fresh.

As I write this I'm anxiously awaiting my first design proof and I just know that she will create something that will have the polished and professional look that I'm after. The new design should be up within the week! :)

Warmly,
Karla

*image source

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Eye Candy & Weekend Plans


I mentioned the other day that I was really excited for the weekend. No, I don't have a calendar full of parties and fun outings to attend but I do have a date with my washer and dryer to catch up on some laundry and another one with my food processor and oven so I can make some fresh cranberry-orange-walnut muffins..YUM.

Actually, my mind has been fixated on organizing lately, which is perfect since my warm weekend weather dreams have all but disappeared. The high will be 60 degrees which is forcing me to stay inside and go into an early spring cleaning mode. I have to capitalize when the mood strikes me because these past few months I have not felt like organizing at all which is so unlike me but I don't know when I'll get the urge again once the pefect warm and breezy temps returns.

I got a bit distracted  from work this afternoon and all caught up in a whirlwind of dreamy and beautiful images I found online. With the cold, snowy and gray days of winter, I thought I'd share some HAPPY with you so you can get a little pick-me-up for the weekend too! Let's dream together, shall we, of everything cheery, cozy, colorful, lovely and pretty.....



















































Make a wish!

What lovely things do you have planned? I hope your weekend wishes come true!

XO
~Karla


*Source for all images.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Valentine's Day Giveaway Winner!


I hope everyone has had a wonderful week so far. I don't know about you but I'm ready for the weekend to get here already! The weather here has been 75-80 degrees during the past few days and it  feels so freeing to take off a few layers and wear sandals again a fter many long weeks of frigid temps.

I really enjoyed reading all of your favorite Valentine's Day dates and ideas, thank you for sharing. I would love for all of you to get a set of these cute cards, but there can one be one. With the help of Random.org, here is the winner of the Pear Tree Greetings Kids Valentine's Cards:



Congratulations to Nikki of Ladybug Momma who was lucky No.8! I'll be in touch with you shortly so you can order your cards well in time for Valentine's Day!



Thank you all for participating as always. Many of you, as first time readers or new followers, left sweet comments about my blog-I read every one and truly appreciate your kindness!

Pear Tree is offering FREE shipping on any Valentine's order, just use the code VDAYSHIP10 upon checkout. More details {here}.

There will be one more giveaway this month and much more content, so please come visit often! :)

Warmly,
Karla

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Inspiration: Kindness


“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” ~Mother Teresa



"Words can be beautiful or hurtful because they reveal someone's true heart. We must really think about both what we say and how we say or write things to others." ~Karla M. Davis

Now more than ever, with what seems like an overwhelming amount of desperate acts and those that are the result of cruelty, maliciousness, hatred, fear and anger flooding the news, we must remember to be kind to one another. Regardless of our personal opinions, viewpoints, beliefs or goals in life, we are all part of the greater picture and are all worthy of love, kindness and compassion.

Have a blessed day!

~Karla

*images: (1), (2)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Reader Request: Asking if She's Pregnant


Sharon from Wisconsin would like to know:

When is it okay to ask a woman if she's pregnant?

Sharon, thank you for writing in. This is a great question! It may be difficult if someone you know starts turning away alcohol or making more trips to the lady's room, but no matter how curious any of us are about a friend, family member, neighbor or colleague, it is always best to wait until the mom-to-be has shared her news with the world. If she is with child and wants you to know, she'll share it when she is ready.

There may be some underlying reasons why she isn't so keen to share the news just yet. On the flip side, she may in fact just be experiencing health problems or gained weight from a prescription medication or even from the very love of food instead of being say 4 months pregnant, so it's best not to put anyone on the spot by asking. If you are wrong in your assumption, it could be completely awkward for you both moving forward.

I'll never forget the day while I was working in a health food store many years ago and the franchise owner (who stopped in monthly and was generally very personable with the customers), asked one of our regular female customers how far along she was. She wasn't pregnant! You could tell she was mortified. I was so embarrassed for both of them, I couldn't believe that he had asked her that. Case in point- never ask!

I know of a couple women personally, who although married for several years, the baby came as a surprise that they were not planning on, and those ladies took a little longer to tell everyone than those who had been 'trying' for months and couldn't wait to announce it to the world and post it on facebook the second they found out or hit the 12-week mark. Everyone has their own personal reasons for keeping quiet and we must respect  them.

A very close girlfriend of mine stayed tight-lipped with the news altogether because she was in the process of applying for a higher position within her company and didn't want anything to hold her back. Because she had friends and coworkers as friends on facebook and news travels fast, none of her closest friends even found out until she was 5 months along with her second baby (including myself) which is when she finally received the decision regarding the promotion, after which time she told her colleagues who were starting to gossip amongst themselves about her recent weight gain.

What are your thoughts? For those that are mothers- how and when did you decide to share your baby news?

~Karla

*image (1)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2-Year Blogiversary & Valentine's Day Giveaway!



Aren't these cards just the cutest? Who else loves cupcakes and pink owls? I thought hosting a giveaway would be a great way to celebrate my 2-year Blogiversary with all of you!

If you weren't a Classy & Fabulous reader then, here's a flashback to my first year Blogiversary (and 100th post). Like last year, I have a lot of new and big plans for this blog and fun posts coming your way. I also have a few new fun series' ideas up my sleeve too so I hope you'll join me for those. :)

I also wanted to take a moment to sincerely thank each and every one of you for stopping by to read my posts, leaving me a comment, sending me a personal e-mail, or asking a thought-provoking question. I have met so many kind and generous ladies through blogging and have now made some awesome friendships here too! I love the blogging community and am continually amazed by your stories, your creativity and your insight. While I have a great passion for sharing the classy woman message with the women of the world, it is you ladies who make it so much more fun. Thank you for being You!

My good friends at Pear Tree Greetings want to give one lucky mama a set of 24 kids Valentine cards with shipping to one lucky reader. I received a sample packet of some of what they offer and I fell in love with so many of their cards. While I'm drawn to all the girly, pink and sweet cards there are a bunch of cute robot, monster and dinosaur cards for the little boy in your life too! Can't decide on just one design? Pear Tree has Valentine variety packs too like the one shown at the top of this post or you can choose 3 individual designs with 8 per pack.

To enter, just leave a comment with your dream Valentine's date or maybe you've already experienced it, and are willing to share with us! :) For a second entry: leave another comment letting me know that you are a follower of Classy & Fabulous.That's it! Easy, peasy. Random.org will select the winner.

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED***

GIVEAWAY CLOSES: January.19th @ 11pm EST
NUMBER OF WINNERS: One
PRIZE: Set of 24 kidsValentine cards
RULES: Winner announced on 01/20
OPEN TO: U.S. addresses ONLY for this giveaway. Sorry. :(

Good Luck to Everyone!

XO
~Karla

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When We Know Better


Oprah Winfrey has a famous quote she's mentioned on several occasions that she borrowed from one of her beloved friends, Maya Angelou:

"When we know better, we do better."

Isn't that the truth! It is such a simple yet powerful statement. This year, of all the personal and business goals I have set for myself, the most important one is to do better with the knowledge I have. Better than what you might ask? Better than the last year, the last week, the last time, better than before. I want to ask even more questions and research deeper for answers when the  need arises, I want to save more money this year than I did last year because the economy is always uncertain and investing in my family's future instead of the 'here and now' will never be a wrong choice.

I want to exercise harder, eat even healthier because I know what great benefits doing so has upon my life. I want to be an even better friend this year than I have in the past to those that I call my friends. This means listening more, speaking less and arranging more catch up phone dates with long-distance friends.

I know better when it comes to procrastination and as I mentioned in this postprocrastination isn't pretty and it's one of my weaknesses. While I do get a lot done in the average day there are also things I put on the back burner that get pushed aside over and over again (usually because they are things I don't enjoy doing like taxes) and eventually turn into something much bigger or more expensive than they once started out.

With all of this will come more self-discipline, less entertainment time, more writing time, more work and marketing of my business, better planning as well as smarter time management and prioritization.

I believe one of the most important discoveries in life is that of personal growth. The truth is that there are so many times that we all do KNOW better but we don't use that information to DO better almost out of habit. This happens whenever we choose the french fries over the salad, working during the weekend vs. spending time with our spouse and/or kids, watching TV vs. working towards a goal,  or buying a new pair of shoes instead of investing it into our savings account.

Now, obviously this doesn't mean that I'm aiming for perfection or going to completely deprive myself for the next year or forever, nor should anyone, but it does mean I'm going to start challenging myself to make better decisions with the powerful knowledge and resources that I have (and that we all have). Because, at the end of the day the most disappointment in my own life comes from not making the best choices that I could have and from frittering away time on things that are less important than other bigger goals and dreams. Procrastinating on a Sunday night by watching a movie or pulling out my scrapbook supplies is fun and has a place but in the grand scheme of things it isn't really helping me achieve my life goals.



So, no more sticking to a long list of what I'd like to accomplish and then reflecting on it Dec.31st only to realize that I've missed the mark and get frustrated as a result. My yard stick for success and growth this year will be doing better with the toolbox I have and although mistakes will still be made along the way, I'm looking forward to the journey.

How about YOU? What are you planning to change or do differently this year than you did the last? What is your ultimate goal this year?

~Karla

*images (1),(2)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday Inspiration


During this past week I kept feeling these words leaping in my heart-THE BEST IS YET TO COME! With these words inevitably to mind came the ever-so-popular Frank Sinatra song. Oh, how I enjoy Sinatra. :) Even the very first line of the song makes me smile: "Out of the tree of life, I just picked me a plum" later followed by "Wait till you see that sunshine day, you ain't seen nothing yet!"


Some days my heart is just so overwhelmed by and full of anticipation and joy as I close my eyes and envision my wildest and craziest dreams becoming a reality. It's exhilarating and sometimes sobering when I realize that with some I still have a long way to go but, by putting one foot in front of the other every single day, I (and you) will eventually achieve each one!



While we are all hard at work turning our dreams into reality, it is important to remember that when we've given all that we can give and have done all that we know to do and our abilities end, that is when God's abilities begin and can really shine. Even if we've tried and failed or given up at times, He can finish whatever we've started and turn even the biggest messes in our life into a message of hope and a blessing to both ourselves and  others. I believe this because I've seen it happen so many times in my own life and the lives of friends and family.

He is able to do "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" ~Ephesians 3:20

Have a blessed day and expect THE BEST this year!

~Karla

*images (1), (2)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Achieving Fitness Goals with the Help of a Friend



Back in early December I started thinking about some of my personal goals that I wanted to work towards in the new year. After sitting down and really put some thought into what was most important to me at this point in my life, I also started thinking about some of the tools and resources that I would need in order to achieve them too.

Every year one of my top goals is to maintain/stive towards optimal health and while I feel as though I'm in great health right now, as with everything in life there is always room for improvement. This year has been a challenging one and while I started off 2010 with very high expectations for myself in many areas, especially as it pertained to fitness, I let myself down. Between work, picking up a part time job to put extra money into my savings account and caring for the house solely while hubby pursues school out of state,  it would be easy to say that I really didn't have a whole lot of extra time. The truth though, is that I didn't make the time.



One positive thing about Paul being in NYC is that time we would have spent together I can now dedicate to exercise. This year there are no if's and's or but's. I have no excuses, having left my part time job to spend more time with my Interior Design clients, I DO have the time in the early mornings and evenings and am making it a priority! I don't want to let another year to go by where I feel guilty when I honestly think back at time I wasted, when if I had just planned right, I could have accomplished my goals.

This is where the help of a friend comes in. The timing couldn't have been more perfect when CSN Stores recently wrote to me again asking if, as one of their preferred bloggers, I wanted to do another review for them. As if I had to think about it, my answer of course was yes. They are ever so generously providing me with a whopping $130 to spend any way I want in exchange for a review of the item(s) I select. A big thank you to my friends at CSN stores, what a blessing! Let me just say that with over 200 stores, it was no easy task to narrow down my choices.

While I've been a fan of their website for a while, I can usually be found hunting down deals for both myself and my design clients for things like modern duvet covers, lighting, home decor such as gorgeous and unique accent pillows and great wall art finds. This time, however, my focus will be a little different. Since fitness is my mission, below are the fitness equipment items that I picked out which will help me achieve my goals of optimal health in 2011.



{Mini Trampoline for Detoxing, Strength & Balance}



{Balance Ball for Core Strength & Stretching}



{Weight lifting gloves to keep my hands looking ladylike. *wink*}



{Set of 2 Yoga Blocks for Stretching & Lengthening}


{Enamel Colander for straining & washing produce and because I've always wanted one}


So that's the line-up of goodies that I'll be ordering from CSN stores and once I've used each one I can't wait to share all the details with you. In my upcoming review post I'll provide product names, prices and of course my experience with each item, so stay tuned...

How about you? What's on your list to help you better acheive all of YOUR goals this year?

Wishing you a Happy Friday!

Warmly,
Karla

*images: (1), (2-6)
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