Thursday, May 7, 2015

How to Love Yourself

I believe that in life, before anyone else can truly love us unconditionally, we must first love who we are and be comfortable in our own skin. Often times, women in particular, have a habit of looking for someone to love them to fill that void in their life of the love that they don't have for themselves. Perhaps they're seeking validation because of the lack of love, respect or time they received from their father growing up, parents that displayed disappointment when certain levels of achievement were not met or perhaps after having been physically, mentally or emotionally abused by a former mate at some point in time.

There are a multiplicity of reasons why we may not feel self-love which go far deeper than what I've referenced above, it's different for each individual. Without the ability to love ourselves though, we often lack confidence which in turn affects an array of areas in our life, we are also more liable to withhold the kind of love we truly want to give others as well. While I'm not a Psychiatrist by any means, I have learned certain lessons along the way in this journey called life.

There are times I'm really hard on myself as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, business owner, and just in general as a human being. One thing I've come to realize over the years though, is that no matter how much I beat myself up about something I've said or done (or didn't say or do), it never changes the past and only makes me feel worse in the present moment. It's in those instances that we can either really spiral out of control with our thoughts and regrets or get a grip and figure out how to move forward as an imperfect person. For me, I find great peace in prayer, meditation and the quiet that comes from listening for and waiting on the Lord to speak to me. I ask God to forgive my past ways and helping me to improve in the future and become the person that both I and He want me to be. When we don't feel love for ourselves in the moment, it can be hard to just snap out of it and all of a sudden feel wonderful, warm fuzzy thoughts but here are a few tips I wanted to share and I hope you'll find them useful.

As the quote above suggests, many of us may be lucky enough to have a significant other who does truly love us BUT there is no greater project in this lifetime than for us to work on ourselves. This is just one reason why gossip is so pointless, often we caught up in comparing and looking at other's faults as a means of distraction from our own. If we think of who we are as a house, building from the foundation upwards, it takes time and hard work to prepare the concrete, lay bricks and get the structure just right. What good is a home that looks gorgeous on the exterior and many are in awe of if the very foundation is crumbling and the home is so poorly built that in a short period of time it's ready to implode. We must accept the fact that becoming who we truly dream of being takes time. We need not only love the finished product (which never really arrives, because we are always a work in progress), but we must be gentle with ourselves especially during times of transition and rebuilding. Anything of quality workmanship is carefully crafted over time and we as human beings are no different.

1. Accept your Imperfections- One of the greatest paths to inner peace is to let go of trying to attain perfection. Recognize that everyone has faults and has made mistakes as well as had moments they aren't proud of. When we realize this truth, we can set ourselves free from the prison of perfection. We can inspire others most by showing them how we deal with our own imperfections and challenges we're faced with rather than living a life that looks like a glossy magazine or something out of a movie 24/7, it's just not attainable and sets us up for a lifetime of frustration and false hopes. If you struggle with comparing your life to others, I strongly recommend taking a break from social media, it's a breeding ground for feelings of envy and comparing your life to your friend's.

2. Focus on Your Strengths-The quickest way to switch gears and take yourself from a negative, down-and-out vibe to something that brings a smile to your face, is to focus on what you're really good at, think of your previous accomplishments-big and small. Over time others may have told you that you're naturally gifted in a particular area such as instructing others, that you're an articulate writer, a patient parent, a loving wife and then there are the things that you yourself realize about who you are that others may not see or know about. Perhaps you're proud for having finished a half-marathon (whether it was 6 days ago or 6 years ago, don't worry about feeling like you're living in the past, it's essential to reflect on what you excel in). It's also important to give ourselves a little lift in the physical appearance department as it pertains to our assets. Whether it's pretty eyes, glossy hair, sculpted arms, shapely calves, porcelain skin or a beautiful smile, we need to focus on our best assets and play them up whenever possible. We don't need to look like a swimsuit model to feel good in our own skin. Even they have cellulite, bad hair days, skin breakouts, puffy bloated tummy days, they're still human even if they're airbrushed and photo-shopped on magazine covers nearly 100% of the time. If you're struggling to even recognize what your strengths or assets are, ask a trusted friend. Let them know you're struggling to pinpoint what they are and ask them to tell you what they feel are things you are particularly great at.

3. Remember Who Your Creator Is- We were created in God's image & He is love so not loving who we are would in fact be rejecting Him. You may not have thought about it that way, but He made us perfect, it is us that allows media, others and negative thoughts to creep in and make us feel less than. One great remedy for learning to love who we are more is to study what God says about us and who He says we were created to be in His word and reflect on that. When we do, we realize just how much love He has for us-it's liberating, it's reassuring and it's a big hug when we need it the most. Beginning each day in bed reading the bible for 10-15 mins is a great way to live, it allows us to become centered before we go out into the chaotic world we live in that often makes us feel as though we aren't enough in a multiplicity of roles.

4. Exercise in Front of a Mirror- Sweating and moving our body is key to feeling better not just because it has the ability to shed pounds but because we feel stronger, more capable, more flexible and have greater endurance than when we don't exercise, it should be a part of our daily routine if for just 30 minutes. For someone who may have poor body self image, it may seem counter-intuitive to work out and focus on their reflection but no matter what stage in the game you're at when it comes to staying in shape, there is a sense of accomplishment and pride in your new found strength. Doing bicep curls in front of a mirror allows you to see the targeted muscle group you're working and over the weeks and months, progress is easily seen and felt as the need for heavier weight and repetitions of each set increases. Getting to the gym (or to the track, into the pool, etc.) is usually the hardest part. Over time, exercising won't be enough, when time is spent burning calories and changing the shape of one's body, there is a natural inclination to eat cleaner and make it a priority, all of these things point to loving one's self and treating our bodies as a temple.

5. Learn to Forgive Yourself- Sometimes it's not that we don't love ourselves, it's that we can't see beyond our past mistakes and letdowns. The past will weight you down like a backpack full of rocks if you let it. While nobody likes poking at an open wound, I highly encourage you to take each area of your past that brings you pain and dig deeper. Look for the meaning, look for how an experience caused you to grow, focus on what you learned or are still in the process of learning. Sometimes it's not always so obvious, talking with a trusted counselor or friend may help you uncover what's been holding you back from living the life you've dreamed of and loving yourself completely. I went through a few really rough time a decade ago. I would have benefited from seeing a Psychologist or Counselor to help me sort things through (and I worked for a great company who gave us an allowance for it) but I played the tough gal who didn't need outside help and continued on, pressing through a variety of emotions only sharing with my closest friends. Looking back now, I can honestly see clearly 10 years later how it would have been really beneficial to my overall well being. Things have a way of rearing their ugly head if they aren't resolved during times we wouldn't expect. Being married and having children will definitely reveal certain areas to you that you may have been able to keep hidden for a while.

It's also imperative to spend time with others who value us, love us and speak lovingly to us. When we love who we are we won't tolerate being disrespected nor treated in a poor fashion which means we will only invite others into our life who bring positive energy and love into it. At the end of the day, others can enhance our life and bring us joy but the most important relationship we will ever have is the one with ourselves.

Have you ever struggled with feeling like you weren't enough or lacked self-love? What techniques did you use to get back on track?

Thanks for Reading!


Monday, May 4, 2015

Classy Woman Fashion Favorites for April

It's always so much fun to share my favorite fashion pieces for the month with you. Sometimes, before I know it, the month is nearly over and I realize that I forgot to share them! That has been the case both this month and last however all the pieces I've selected are suitable for the upcoming months. For May it's my goal to get my favorites out for this warmer weather within the next week.  I get so many requests for fashion-specific posts and posting a gallery is a great way for me to link directly to pieces that I know you'll love too. It's my hope that it makes your shopping (or at least your browsing and narrowing down process) a bit easier as you target new seasonal items for your wardrobe. I love dresses all year, they're easy breezy. I also love nude heels and the tassel trend (that I've always gravitated towards) which is clear in my accessory choices.

Below are current sales happening right now just in time for Mother's Day! It's a great time to save some money while shopping for mom or maybe do a little dress shopping for yourself as you head to brunch on Sunday.

  • ANN TAYLOR: 60% off sale styles w/ code: EXTRA60.
  • BANANA REPUBLIC: 35% off your purchase + free 2 day shipping w/ code: LOVE
  • GAP: Spring sale up to 75% off!
  • J.CREW Save 30% off spring sale styles w/ code YAYMAY
  • LOFT: Save 40% off dresses, skirts and accessories. 
  • LORD & TAYLOR: 20% off regular priced + sale items w/ code: STYLE

I'd love to hear which classics and trends you're loving for spring!

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Gift a Feast Mother's Day Review & Giveaway!

Mother's Day is just around the corner and I've partnered with a wonderful company, Gift a Feast, to not only share with you some wonderful Mother's Day gift ideas (or another special women in your life) but one lucky reader will also win a package of goodies to keep or to give as a gift! The giveaway image below can be pinned directly to your Pinterest page. We'd love for you to share with friends!

I love providing gifts that offer an experience and Gift a Feast does just that. Gift a Feast is a gift service featuring the best handcrafted treats from San Francisco Bay Area (one of my very favorite cities!), wrapping into gorgeous packages, and including a handwritten note card. They aspire to make the long traditions of gift-giving easy for busy people. They provide a wonderful assortment of taste experiences and they do all the hard work for you. You simply select from one of their carefully curated collections of local artisans which cater to both savory fans and the sweet tooth alike. Then choose from their beautiful wrapping paper selection and they'll not only wrap up a tower of edible goodness but they'll also provide a personalized handwritten card for your recipient too and ship it directly to them. With warmer temps in mind, they do an awesome job of insulating it with ice packs too. This is the perfect solution if you're looking for a unique gift with a personal touch but are too busy and don't have the time to pull it all together. They also take the guess work out of pairing complementary delightful treats.

In order to share my first hand experience as a gift recipient, Gift a Feast sent me 'A Feast of Sweets for Mom' since I love chocolate and desserts. After sharing my choice of feast along with my favorite wrapping paper choices for them to surprise me with, I received an e-mail confirmation of the ship date quickly thereafter which included a photo of my wrapped gift. This is a really wonderful aspect of the service that I appreciated. I've sent items in the past through other companies and had no idea what it would look like upon arrival, this way I got to see it first hand. When my package arrived, knowing they were shipping to hot, humid Florida, I noticed they included ice packs to keep everything from melting since much of my gift contained chocolate and truffles. Everything arrived in perfect condition! I was delighted to open up a handwritten card that the owner wrote to me as if it had come from my 19-month old baby girl Lily (courtesy of them) which was such a thoughtful touch. In addition, there were informational cards on each vendor, a mini story of each company in which the contents of my packages was procured from. Everything about this gift felt warm and fuzzy and that was before I had even had a chance to curl up with a chai latte and sample all of the yumminess inside!

My gourmet 'Feast of Sweets for Mom' contains: a wonderfully addictive classic hard toffee with almonds from Toffee Talk, delectable Kalamansi Lime as well as Lychee Rose Green Tea dark chocolate truffles from Jade Chocolates which melt in your mouth and are a taste adventure, A signature box of assorted chocolate truffles from Neo Cocoa including such flavors as zested lime (my fav), toasted coconut, almond butter + smoked sea salt, crushed cacao nib and mocha cinnamon to name their amazing combinations, and last but not least a generous tin of candied organic Ruby Red grapefruit peel from June Taylor which was the perfect mix of sweet and tart. I found everything to be fresh, packaged beautifully and a taste explosion for your mouth in a delicate and artful manner.

I had such a lovely experience (and as you can see above, my sweet girl was equally as excited about opening the package!). ;) I highly recommend exploring the Gift a Feast page to see the many other options available, the perfect grouping for your own mom. For a limited time from today 04/27- 05/27, Gift a Feast wants to give The Classy Woman readers 30% OFF any feast collection with code: THECLASSYWOMAN at checkout.

ENTER below for your chance to win a Gift a Feast package of your own! ***Please be sure to complete the first two mandatory entries which includes leaving a comment on this post, or your entry won't be valid. One lucky winner will receive their choice of feast mailed to either them or their mom in time for Mother's Day. This giveaway is open to U.S. Residents only. The gift will ship to your U.S. address of choice. Ends 05/02 and winner will randomly be selected via Rafflecopter and announced on 05/03 her as well as my social media pages.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for reading and a big thank you to our generous sponsor Gift a feast! Good luck to all those entering!


Sunday, April 26, 2015

5 Spring Accessories Your Wardrobe Needs!

Kate Spade Bag  (8% cash back at Nordstrom + price matching)      
Burberry Sandals (3% back at Bloomingdales + $25 off every $100 spent) Ends: 04/26   
Aviator Sunglasses  (6% back at Saks Fifth Avenue + 30% off w/ code: FRNFAM Ends: 04/27  
Gold Cuff  (3% back at J.Crew + up to 30% off full-price items & up to 50% off sale items)  
 iPhone Case ( 2% cash back at Lord & Taylor + 25% off their friends & family sale)               

Today I'm teaming up with, an online coupon and cash back site that partners with thousands of online retailers and more than 60 million members to deliver savings and rewards, to share with you my 5 spring accessory must-haves that your wardrobe needs.

A crossbody bag is so versatile and this Kate Spade bag above in the blush tone is a spring staple! Blush is the new neutral this season and this bag can be worn crossbody style, on one shoulder or you could tuck the strap in and use it like a clutch, it's 3 in 1. These Burberry sandals are so elegant and a nude tone goes with so much that they are worth the investment as they are well made and a classic style that you'll have for years to come. Beyond black, brown and white, it's nice to have other options for eye wear. I love these blue/green RayBans with gold frame to add a pop of color and a more casual vibe-perfect for the beach or a laid back weekend look. Gold tones mixed with warmer weather just work together and cuffs have a big impact, this simple design is anything but boring, it can be paired with so many outfits and it's really affordable. Lastly, it's fun to switch up the look of our iPhones from time to time with a new case. Mine has recently been destroyed by my sweet baby girl so I've been on the look out for a new one and this Tres Tres Belle is the perfect lighthearted message and color for the season.

You know what's better than finding the perfect pieces for your wardrobe? Getting them on sale and making money on what you buy in the process! allows you to purchase all the items you normally would and shares with you the best deals happening at each retailer AND gives you a % in cash back of your purchases that you get in the form of a check just for shopping! Let's use the Kate Spade bag above as an example, if you visited the site and saw the sale taking place at Nordstom and chose them as your retailer of choice for the Kate Spade Crossbody bag, you'd see Nordstrom is currently offering a price matching sale which takes the bag from $198 to $148.50 + when you sign up for the rewards you'll earn 8% cash back on this purchase (essentially $7.42 in the bank for just using their link), you've just saved yourself a total of $42.08 compared with the original price or over 20% OFF.  That's only one item! They partner with home decor retailers, beauty sites, flower delivery companies and so much more. Can you imagine the serious savings to be had if you began purchasing most of your items this way? You could use it towards a weekend getaway, paying down bills faster or to continue adding more classy pieces to your wardrobe. It's a win-win. What I love, is that it's super easy to use once to take a moment to create an account. Happy Saving!

Thanks for stopping by!


*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with which contains affiliate links. I may make a small commission if you click on the item links.  All items selected, thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ann Taylor 50% Off Semi-Annual Sale Favorites!

One of the things I love most about spring when freshening up my wardrobe is all of the amazing sales that take place! I have a number of retailers that are my go-to for classic pieces (since that is what I build my wardrobe on) and today one of my favorite shops, Ann Taylor, is having their fabulous semi-annual spring sale offering 50% OFF of EVERYTHING and they're even providing free shipping! It ends tonight though so definitely take advantage. What's great is that they have almost every size stocked in every style still! They offer everything from regular sizes and petite to tall sizing for us taller gals!

What I love most is the versatility in their pieces and that they range from polished professional pieces for the workplace to refined yet cozy weekend wear. Their style is always current and spot on, never over the top, you can truly build a great closet filled with essentials that you'll have for many years to come and yet their price point makes it an affordable way to create a wardrobe of pieces that you'll love and are easy to co-ordinate with one another.

Today I'm sharing my favorite pieces from the sale, you can click on any of the images and it will take you straight to the item on their website. Be sure to use the code: CYBER50 at checkout!

I've been meaning to add some new white denim to my closet as well as some ankle length pants so these white modern skinny ankle jeans are the perfect solution. This caftan style top will go perfectly with them too! What essentials are you hoping to add to your wardrobe this Spring?

Happy Shopping!


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