Love YOU this Valentine’s Day

26-DSC_3403 (1)

A few years ago, I wrote Be Nice to Yourself here on MFBS. Even though I work hard at not being so hard on myself (ha!), I know many of my mommy friends feel the same way. We just need little reminders to see the big picture! We quickly see the negatives instead of focusing on the true blessings in our lives.

There are so many ways of stopping for a few minutes to be thankful and really just focus on yourself. February is the perfect month to start showing yourself a little gratitude. All those hearts you see hanging everywhere and the poems your kids are writing at school should remind you to be gentle and kind…to yourself.

Need a little splurge too? A little daily indulgence? I’ve got cute stuff and little symbolic reminders for you that say, “I Love Me” all over:

1. A cute mug with a positive message. Isn’t it a great feeling to have your first cup of coffee of the day in a super cool and bright mug? The line of Valentine Target stonewear mugs has been quite the hit this year! I love the “You are Tweet” mug for this social media lover. My sister bought another popular design for herself and it made quite the statement.

2. Get Gorgeous Tea: I always say that I’m not a regular tea drinker (I can’t let go of my coffee!) but I just found the perfect one…it’s “organic, rooibos-based, naturally caffeine-free tea blend brimming with antioxidants – your skin’s best friend.”

3. Chocolate: This Valentine’s Day, have a little dark treat with your tea or coffee.  Milk chocolate? Heart shaped?  Any kind. Any shape. It doesn’t matter. Guilt-free joy!

4. The color of the year on your lips: Earlier this month, Pantone announced that Marsala is the official 2015 color of the year. Pantone has described the color as, “a naturally robust and earthy wine red.” You can eat your chocolate (and cake too!) and keep your lipstick intact with Urban Decay’s Revolution Lipstick in Manic. Not only is the color absolutely gorgeous, creamy and lasting, but the gunmetal case looks great on your vanity.

5. A bottle of wine:  Don’t know much about wine? And there is no need to stress and pretend you know what’s good? It’s all about you today? Pick a bottle with the coolest label on the shelf. Something that makes you smile or something that looks like artwork that needs to be appreciated. You won’t be disappointed!

6. Wear the reminder to Love Yourself.  This Love Yourself movement from a fellow mommy blogger is really impressive.  She understands the push moms need to go out and find something for themselves, to continue their life goals with a little encouragement. You can now wear these little reminders to Love Yourself anytime you need it.

Enjoy this day month with your loved ones, but most importantly, celebrate YOU! Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

For 2015: What’s in Your Closet

11-DSC_3493

14-DSC_3501

09-DSC_3490

This post is over at Tri-State Ford Voces today! Thank you for supporting my freelance posts that help support My Friend Betty Says! You guys rock!

I do have the outfit details for you here…

Chiffon Two Pocket Shirt (on sale!)
Cardigan (similar HERE)
CAbi faux leather leggings
Booties
Clutch (amazing eye candy HERE)
JCrew Ring (gift)
Ann Taylor bracelet (gift)
Lip shade in Wonder
Images: CR Photography

New Friends: Chloe + Isabel

chloe-isabel-mfbs1

I’m making a lot of cool discoveries lately! You might have already heard of Chloe + Isabel, the fashion jewelry brand dedicated to empower the next generation of business owners through social retail. But if you haven’t heard, your friend Betty is gonna show you! They are a brand and an opportunity…something that means so much more for the woman of today, her fashion sense and her lifestyle.

chloe-isabel-mfbs2

The pieces are affordable, super chic, fresh and sold exclusively through Merchandisers. Featured in Vogue, Glamour and InStyle, this young company knows what the fashionistas want, love and how to work. Chloe +  Isabel takes great joy in designing gorgeous, delicate, and statement pieces for the stylish woman of today. The jewelry has a lifetime guarantee, is hypoallergenic, nickel-free and lead safe.

I also made a friend! Tiffany (pictured below!) is a NYC Merchandiser and she is featuring MY FRIEND BETTY picks on her site! Please visit and take a little peek at what’s on my wish list.  The spring line was just released and it is stunning! I’m also still obsessing over some winter pieces. Tiffany has been generous to share so much with me and to even host an upcoming Chloe + Isabel giveaway for a lucky MFBS reader!  Stay tuned!

tiffany-chloe-isabel-mfbs3

My Latest Obsession: BeautyCounter

beauty-counter-products

A few weeks ago, I was complaining about my crazy dry skin (I was offering tips too!). While I was waiting for my usual skin products to arrive in the mail, I got an invitation to attend a BeautyCounter demostración from my friend Maggie. I called her immediately. I wanted to try these products before she hosted a party. I was desperate for relief and couldn’t wait another day.

Maggie showed up with her bag of goodies right away! She explained to me the philosophy behind BeautyCounter, and I was impressed that the very first thing she said was that BeautyCounter’s goal is to get safe products into the hands of everyone.  Then she left me with this whole kit for me to play with!

Here’s what I tried:

20-DSC_3441

I tried (and LOVED) the Nourishing Cleansing Balm on the eczema blotches I have on one ear and on my nose. TMI? LOL! The cleansing balm? Yes! It doubles as an overnight face mask. BeautyCounter states, “100% of women showed a significant increase in skin hydration after 8 hours, with an average increase of 25%.” I have to ditch my harsh Rx I use for these very small areas of severe dryness on my face. I can also share with Jordi! The poor little guy has dry, dry skin too.

For the rest of my face I used the Restorative Night Cream and I was pleased to read that, “Restorative Night Cream is formulated without butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), a toxic ingredient commonly found in anti-aging products, that is linked to cancer. BHT is a toluene-based ingredient that is used in everything from nail polish to paint thinner. Scary stuff.

Which led me to have my kids try the KidsCounter Squeaky Clean Body Wash. I am very aware of harmful ingredients used in hair care, skin care and makeup, but have made more  successful product changes for my kids.  Now that I know there are more options for them, I can shop intelligently by comparing prices and ingredient labels. Plus, they noticed the new product in the bath tub and pointed out that it “smells yummy!”

Influencers are starting to notice as well. ELLE has named BeautyCounter one of three game-changing beauty brands to watch out for this year. They have fallen for the beauty line, and so have I. I can’t wait for one lucky MFBS reader to win some of it in an upcoming giveaway! Hint: Wait til you see the lip line!

You guys, don’t wait. Read all about BeautyCounter’s mission HERE and follow Maggie’s FB page for the latest BeautyCounter news! Gracias!

Book Review: Everything I Never Told You

IMG_2149

Here’s my book club’s latest read! “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng was heartbreaking, breathtaking, interesting, and at times…unbelievable. Unbelievable, but yes, what you see with the Lee family, really does happen…and their stories need to be told.

The book starts off with the family’s teenage daughter, Lydia, is declared dead. From the beginning, Ng is clear with everyone’s theories of what could have happened to Lydia. We also find out Lydia’s own story, and what led to her disappearance and death. Although a painful page-turner, the novel moves slowly to the final, devastating conclusion. The date and place are important as our breaking news society and popular social media would have made this a completely different story. Their culture, heritage and place in society are also crucial. But for who?

A heartfelt story of a Chinese American family living in Ohio in the 70s will be felt by anyone who has ever felt out of place. They struggle to fit in without ever communicating their fears to each other. Five family members living their lives to break stereotypes and have others recognize them, don’t recognize each other after Lydia is gone.

I loved “Everything I Never Told You” and had to hide my tears as I decided to read it on 2 flights! Let me know if you pick it up!

Plaid Through Winter

DSC_3082

DSC_3092

DSC_3095

While in Chicago, I raided my sister’s closet and found an array of plaid shirts in there! Seriously, about seven of them. I was inspired by one of Lily’s posts and considered adding one to my closet. But honestly, I felt I would look super grunge (where’s my Nirvana CD??) and just didn’t bother to own one since the late 80s/early 90s. My free spirit sister is also 12 years younger, far more trendy and luckily… she has no recollection of that sad, yet comfortable,  grungy stage in our lives.  She has a fresh outlook and pairs her plaid shirts in a super feminine way.

I wanted to make sure I could pull off this fall trend well into our current winter. When I got back to New Jersey, I stopped at one of my favorite local boutiques, Bungalow, and guess what? They were carrying so many plaid shirts! A nice plaid rainbow of them too. As always, they helped me style a simple warm shirt with very contemporary details…and I LOVED the results.

Visit Bungalow for your daily needs or for your dress up ones. They still have lots of items on sale! Happy shopping!

Plaid Shirt (Skies Are Blue)
Moscow Suede Skinny Pants (Greylin)
Lava Swarovski Beaded Bracelet (Deux Amies)
Triple Wrap Bracelet - In navy (Deux Amies)
Liselotte C Vintage Leather Bag - New Stone (Liebeskind)
Booties (Ivanka Trump)

CR Photography

Weekend Within

FullSizeRender (4) I have been an emotional mess this weekend. In a good way! I had the opportunity to reinstate meditation in my life with the help of all the lovely people at The Chopra Center in Carlsbad, California. My comadre, Vanessa, and I wanted a little weekend getaway and because she remembered my experience working for The Chopra Center years ago, she threw the idea my way. Of course, after several big moves and 3 little boys later, I thought, “Brilliant!” I was ready to read some of Deepak’s books again and to try meditation in my life as well.

Because we live in a non-stop, always connected, and very stressful environments, Weekend Within was such a great reminder for us to dig deep and ask ourselves hard questions in order to connect with ourselves again. It’s important to become more aware and well balanced. The program served as a refresher course for my meditation and yoga practice.  We had the honor to listen to Deepak Chopra and Bhava Ram speak about amazing examples of the power of meditation. We learned to let go, we were encouraged to live in the present, and most importantly–we learned that when we are connected to ourselves, there is no burden.

So why so emotional when it sounds like we had a fantastic time? Because when I stop to see what I have, what I am so grateful for…it fills me with so much joy…I burst! When someone tells me that there is still room for improvement, that I have potential, that I can change situations around me by personally changing ME…it makes me want to be more patient, more nurturing, more loving. It just moves me. Kindness moves me. Gentle, self-less, spiritual people just move me. It was an unforgettable experience. So worth it.

If you have dabbled with a little mediation but can’t seem to get the hang of it, I truly recommend a Weekend Within course. People (including Vanessa) said that the way that The Chopra Center teaches meditation, makes so much sense. I completely agree. And there are so many other programs you can try! Check it out!

Here are your weekend links! Please notice that the links were picked especially for this post. ;-)

Curvy Latinas can do yoga. Thank you, Helena.

Reading next: The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents

34 Ingenious Ways to De-Clutter Your Entire Life

Awesome. Just awesome. Give Me Gratitude or Give Me Debt!

Raising The Screen Generation. Thank you, Hubby.

For more pictures of my Weekend Within, follow me on Instagram!

Have a great week!

Inspiration: Gina Rodriguez

Gina-Rodriguez_-2015-Golden-Globe-Awards--01-662x998

I’m jumping on the bandwagon. I knew of Chicago-native, Gina Rodriguez and Jane the Virgin, but I didn’t know about her real star-like ability to inspire. When I heard her speech, I cried. At that moment, my Twitter feed went wild! There was genuine happiness for the actress and when I heard the speech again yesterday while watching Access Hollywood’s recap of the Golden Globes, I cried again! I had to share what she said…just in case you missed it

“Thank you to my mom and my dad for telling me to dream big and to never stop dreaming. To my siblings, to my sisters Evelise and Rebecca for being the biggest role models in my life. This award is so much more than myself. It represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes. My father used to tell me to say every morning, ‘Today’s going to be a great day. I can and I will.’ Well, Dad, today’s going to be a great day. I can and I did.”

I have learned through the years of teaching and writing that when you have a platform and when you stand in front of others with the opportunity to say something…use it to inspire. Gina took her Golden Globes Best Actress in a Comedy Series award to the next level.

Let’s talk about her subtle, classic, elegant look too! Her Badgley Mischka strapless was perfect and I love how she kept her jewelry and makeup simple while still making a statement. I have Gina’s step-by-step makeup by Jenna Anton for you. Jenna was inspired to bring out the essence of Gina’s personality, as she describe as, “fun, flirty and comfortable in her own skin.” Gina’s skin naturally glows, so she created a warm matte sunset look for the eyes.

STEP 1: For the eyes, Jenna applied a warm matte yellow shade from the lash line to brow.

Tip: Jenna always starts off with the eyes and ends with skin.

STEP 2: Jenna lined the lash line with L’Oréal Paris The Super Slim by Infallible Eyeliner ($8.95) starting with a thin line from the inner corner of the eye and then gradually thickening it with a small wing at the end.

STEP 3: For the lashes, she applied a few individual lashes at the outer end of the eye to elongate the lashes, then applied L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Butterfly Intenza Mascara ($8.99).

STEP 4: Jenna used a combination of L’Oréal Paris Infallible Eyeshadow Crayon in Enduring Rose and Everlasting Gold ($7.99) and blended in the inner corner of the eyes.

STEP 5: She went for a full and fluffy fresh brow using L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Plumper ($7.99).

Tip: Use a color that is lighter than your natural hair so the brows won’t be so dark.

STEP 6: Jenna used a combination of L’Oréal Paris Youth Code Pore Vanisher and L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Miracle Blur to prep Gina’s skin for a smooth finish.

STEP 7: She then applied L’Oréal Paris Visible Lift Blur Blush ($12.99) on the apple of her cheeks and layered on L’Oréal Paris True Match Blush ($10.95) over the crème blush.

Tip: When applying blush create a backwards ‘C’ starting from the ear and moving towards the apple of the cheek and back.

STEP 8: Jenna used L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Lipcolor Permanent Blush  ($12.99) on the lips.

STEP 9: To keep Gina’s look on all night, Jenna sprayed L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray ($16.99).

Gina_Rodriguez_LOreal_makeup_MFBS

Here at home, we can’t wait to start watching more of Gina and of course, Jane the Virgin! Will you?

Staying Warm and Stylish

DSC_3057

DSC_3055 (1)

DSC_3070

DSC_3050

Are you staying warm? It’s been so hard to do a photo shoot in this incredibly harsh weather. I was so happy to be styled by Bungalow on this particular day because the leather, tights and the coziest of all sweaters kept me nice and warm. They have plenty of items to help you stay toasty and stylish for the next few months!

I fell in love with this leather skirt the second I saw it. Pairing it up with a soft, feminine and oversized sweater was my goal and this knitted beauty did not disappoint. We kept the blouse light and breezy so it wouldn’t interfere with the thickness. My Tory Burch booties were dedicated to this ensemble and honestly, I can’t stop wearing them because they are super comfortable. I also took the skirt to Chicago last month and wore it twice!

Bungalow continues to be my favorite place to discover new jewelry. I couldn’t part with these Ewelina Pas rings. There are so many affordable pieces and like this Splendid clutch…it all makes this winter outfit complete.

New Jersey friends, got cabin fever? Head over to Bungalow today (there is still a major sale going on) and treat yourself to something nice. If you are not in the area and see something you like, give Erika or Eve a call to place your order. They’re sweet like that!

Chunky Knit Cocoon Sweater (Olivacious)
Notch Collar V-Neck Blouse (1. State)
Eloy Leather Skirt (BB Dakota)
Pyrite Choker w/ Lotus Disc (Deux Amies)
Coronado Clutch (Splendid)
Wide Band Single Druzy Ring (Ewelina Pas)
Double Druzy Ring (Ewelina Pas)
Tory Burch Booties (I found them! And on SALE!!)

Images: CR Photography

blah blah blah

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Liliana . The opinions and text are all mine.

Interview: Joya Dass of LadyDrinks

Joya-Dass_MFBS

By day, she’s telling us about top lines and bottom lines. By evening, she’s helping other South Asian female professionals to mind theirs. I am excited to be chatting with the co-founder of LadyDrinks. Joya Dass is being featured as one of MFBS’ inspiring women. In this interview she tells us how she went from business news anchor to helming a women’s movement.  And why drinking Riojas is in her near distant future…

Betty: Joya, you wear several hats. Can you tell MFBS readers about how you went from interviewing CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to founding a women’s movement?

Joya: Hi Betty. Thank you for having me. Yea, this is a common question.  I’ve been a business news anchor in New York for the last 15 years. I’ve logged time with Bloomberg, CNN, and ABC. These days, you can see me reporting from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for NY1. Business news works with my no bullshit personality I think. The markets are either up or down. Oil is either higher or lower. I also enjoy the math and science that goes into explaining why business news is important.  About five years ago, I had been on a tough morning news schedule, where I was up every morning by 2:30, into work by 3:30 and on the air by five. I logged those hours for 4 years, and decided that this brand of journalism just wasn’t feeding me anymore. I went freelance and launched my production company. But I remained on the air part time. In order to mind the massive projects I was on, I took a partner. She had great success founding LadyDrinks in Toronto, in response to the Recession. We began the New York iteration July 2012.

Betty: How does LadyDrinks work?

Joya:  As we turn three years old next July, the business model remains the same. We host an event on the first Thursday of each month. Each month’s event is different. For example, one month, we had five LinkedIn experts come in and attendees signed up for 20 minute slots with each to revise their profiles. The sixth station was a hair, makeup, and photography station to generate a new LinkedIn Profile picture. Our October event was a panel discussion on “How to Get Clients?” We had a doctor, lawyer, a real estate developer and someone from the beauty industry on it. And so on.

Betty: Where do you host your events?

Joya: All over New York City. Generally at a boutique or store owned by a female business owner. We like to be able to support them too. Catering of food and drinks will also work to support other small business owners. The pendulum has also swung the opposite direction where we’ve also hosted at Henri Bendel and DeBeers on Fifth Avenue.

Betty:  In 2015, LadyDrinks turns 3. What new events or programs are you introducing?

Joya: We will continue with our monthly events, including a panel on “How to Network Better” and a “Pitch the Media” event in March. We are introducing a film and theater series to galvanize women on, say a Saturday night, to enjoy another way to meet.  I am thrilled to announce that this April I will be leading my second five-day women’s retreat.

The retreat will start on April 14th and end on April 19th and be held in Basque Country, Spain.  The idea being that I eject you WAY out of your comfort zone to some place beautiful. And we take dedicated time to investigate how fear is keeping us from being more confident and fearless in our lives. And have conversations about our hurdles as professional women. Conversations we’re not having with our spouses, parents, or friends…because there is no time. Last year’s retreat in Florence was life changing for the five women who attended. Zankhna Parekh made the biggest breakthrough in launching her bespoke and custom tailored business.  There will be guided meditation sessions to kick off each morning, and lots of time to share meals and evening Riojas while bonding with like-minded professional women.

The retreat will take place at a chateau called Irarte Jauregia, nestled deep in the north of Spain, just outside of San Sebastian. The facility has a gourmet chef, spas, and a forest for hiking. I am anticipating seven to ten women on this year’s retreat.  I am so excited about this retreat that I wish it could start even sooner than April!

Betty: Ooh, I might come! How do ladies sign up?

Joya: Deposits are due by January 20th. You can sign up at www.lady-drinks.com.

Betty. I’ve seen you in action. You make it seem so seamless and effortless when you’re on camera. Do you have any pre camera rituals?

Joya: I have the uncanny ability to block out everything around when talking to camera. This probably comes from years of reporting on the testosterone-filled floor of the stock exchange —-smack in the middle of the daily melee. I have to drone out all the ambient screaming and yelling around me in order to do my job.

I do yoga at least once a week.   I can tell the days that I haven’t gone. My focus is different when I turn to face the camera.

Betty: Do you consider yourself a role model?

When we started LadyDrinks in July 2012 and much to my surprise, some 300 South Asian women were showing up to my events. I realized that I had something here. So I began curate the programming and introduce panels, workshops, lectures, events, and speakers, whom I had access to because of my journalism career.  My nose is always down on the grindstone, trying to find new and exciting ways to engage women in the membership. I should look up more often I guess.

Betty: What else should we know about Miss Joya?

Joya: I love big bold red wines. I love peaty mossy Scotches. And I would be bereft without a life of travel. Nothing makes me happier than experience new lands and new cultures. I go to at least two international destinations a year.

Thank you, Joya!

RETREATGRAPHIC4

Top Image: Jinsey Dauk