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Do you know who you are?

“Knowing others is wisdom. Knowing yourself is enlightenment!”

The older I get the more I realize that I didn’t really know myself when I was younger. I was pretty much just flying by the seat of my pants and not really thinking about it…but that’s not true anymore. I definitely focus on thoughtfulness, and paying attention to me and how I am feeling. What I have found is that the more I pay attention to me, the more I am able to not just react to situations but I am able to recognize triggers that show up for me and adjust accordingly (of course, I definitely still get it wrong sometimes).

You may be asking how it’s possible to be more thoughtful and notice things as they come up…so I’m going to let you know what I do and it works for me.

  1. I practice being present – really present wherever I am. In the past I was guilty about thinking about what was coming next, what I had to look forward to and almost wishing away my time. I have noticed that when I don’t do that, when I enjoy right where I am, I notice things more. I notice feelings that come up for me…I notice patterns and I remember them for future times when the same things show up (because they will).
  2. I don’t become so attached to my ideas that I forget about other people. I think in childhood because of our experiences we find that if we are wrong about something, if we screw up or if someone knows more than us then there is some part of us that is not right. It’s a very simple black and white concept, but not easy to spot if we are in a more reactive space like I know I have been in my life. Now I feel like even if I feel that I have to defend myself, I usually catch myself at some point (sometimes it’s right after I do it) and I allow myself to get it wrong and not beat myself up!
  3. I pay special attention to how I eat, to what I put in and on my body. I want to be around for a long time, so I pay attention to how certain foods affect me and make me feel. When I find something that makes me feel not great, I avoid it in future. I pay attention to my health and practice using as many preventative healthy ways of taking care of myself to avoid any illness or injury as much as is possible for any person to control.
  4. Just as I take my relationships with family and friends very seriously, I do the same for myself. I recognize when I need something – sometimes I need solitude so I find a way to take care of that. Sometimes I crave interaction with others, sometimes it’s as simple as needing more sleep, but whatever it is…I make sure I am taking care of me so I can be the best possible for other people.
  5. I feed off the energy of good, positive people, so I surround myself only with people that lift me up. I have worked in places in the past that did not have the best environment and now I am no longer in that space, I realize how vital it is to be careful who and what you surround yourself with.
  6. Breathing – I’m not just talking about the unconscious act that we do all day every day. I’m talking about deep, thoughtful breathing that allows you to exhale away stresses and negativity. I started doing this when I was younger and didn’t really realize what I was doing. Now I know that it has served me so well because I am paying more attention to my body and myself that I notice I visibly relax and feel less stressed when I practice my breathing. I even teach my kids to do the same and my youngest swears by this to help him relieve his stress and anxiety.

Having a relationship with yourself, and really knowing who you are is truly the only way to live. As I reflect on all of my life and realize that a lot of it was spent in reaction mode, it makes me even more determined to focus on being present and knowing what I need and how to give it to myself.

Do you have some ways that you make sure you are taking of YOU? Comment below – I would love to hear!

Summer Hair Styles

A classic French Pleat

The right hairstyle can make a plain woman beautiful, and a beautiful woman unforgettable!

Hair is the most important accessory we ALL have, so why not get creative, have fun and be different?

One of the reasons that I keep my hair mid length to long length is because of the versatility it allows me. I love that I can style it down straight, wavy, pull it back in a ponytail, use scarves, various styles of up-do’s and of course, it looks great with most hats.

I do know that a lot of people struggle with knowing how to style their hair, so that’s why I am dedicating this post to creating fun summer styles.

I learned when I was much younger how to do a french braid, french pleat, and various other styles and I would practice. Some nights when I am bored, instead of checking out and watching TV I go into my bathroom, pull out all my fun hair accessories, pull out the mirrors so I can see the back of my hair, and I set to work. I find styles that I have seen on others, experiment with my own way of styling my hair, and I have fun. In fact, when I lived with my cousin after first moving to the US, she used to wake me up in the morning to help her put her hair up for work. I had fun playing around with her hair and creating classy, business styles for her…

First things first, how do you find a style that will work for your hair? You can definitely find inspiration in all places, from friends, from people we see at work, in a store, or even on TV…but I have found that the best source of inspiration for me is definitely Pinterest. I have my own board, where I pin ideas, things I have tried, and things I want to try…(you can see my board by clicking here)

Secondly, how do you recreate a look you see? This one can be a little more tricky because it’s easier for some than others. If you haven’t been one to try different things with your hair or experimented, then it’s going to take a little more practice. I have found that for me it is best to try out a style I have found when I have a little extra time. As I am waiting for my bath at night I will pull out my phone and work on some of the styles I have pinned. I practice, play around to make it work for me, so that when I am getting ready in the morning and don’t have as much time, I can still manage to pull it together!

Thirdly, choose a style that works for what you are doing and is right for the weather. I do realize that not everyone has long hair, and I definitely do love some shorter styles and even pixie cuts, especially if you are are really making them sassy…but for me, I love the versatility that mid to longer length hair gives me. I love the up-do and I love being able to be flexible every day on what I create with my hair, but also having the option to make sure I stay cool. I tend to wear my hair up a lot more in the warmer months just because it’s more practical because it means that my neck is not sweating like crazy.

A simple chignon bun looks classy, is easy to do and is honestly my “go to” style because I know I can create it in less than 5 minutes because I have done it so many times! I had a friend tell me that she will often sit behind me at church and try to figure out how I created my up-do. All I can tell you is that I have found simple things that cut my time down and I use every shortcut possible. My biggest secret is that all I do is put my hair in a ponytail making sure I have all the hair framing my face that I want, and then I take one of those really small clear elastics, wrap my hair into a bun shape and put that around the shape to hold it in place. I then add some bobby pins strategically to hold it in place.

Because I realize that so many of us are visual people, I will be creating a “how to” video for my simple “go to” up do, and I will be sending that out in my newsletter…so if you haven’t signed up, click here to do that so you don’t miss it!

The Right Sunglasses

Style is an expression of individualism mixed with charisma!

Are you anything like me where you LOVE to have a wide variety of sunnies, for different outfits, occasions or moods?

Are you a little more conservative and stick to the same style all the time?

Or, are you not sure what style of sunglasses works for you so you just buy a pair and hope for the best?

No matter which of these categories you fall into, there’s something to be learned about sunnies, where to shop them, how to wear them or which ones will work for the shape of your face…so READ ON!

First, let me start by saying that I don’t believe that there is only one style of sunglasses that will work for any one person, in fact, with all the different styles, shapes and colors, we all have the ability to create a wide variety of looks…

I have a strong, square jaw…and an oval face which means I can wear larger frames. I love sunglasses that cover a lot of my face, I like to really stand out…but what works for you? The first thing I would say is don’t wear something that doesn’t make you feel great. But, if you want to explore sunglasses shapes and styles, here are a few ideas:

  1. I have found that Sunglasses Hut actually allows you to shop by the shape of your fact (just click here) – this is a great way to find out what you’re looking for before you go out and try on EVERY SINGLE PAIR 😉 – just click here
  2. I always check out Nordstrom Rack for Designer sale sunglasses (they seem to have new ones all the time and a big selection most times of the year) – that way I can get an amazing pair without having to pay full price (unless of course you want to pay full price).
  3. Even though I love larger shapes, there are definitely some that are TOO LARGE for me. A good rule of thumb is that if they are wider than your face, then they’re definitely too big.
  4. Create a contrast with the sunglasses for your face shape. If you have a round face, steer away from round sunglasses, and so on.
  5. Aviators work with most shapes of faces…and bonus – I have never known a time when you can’t buy a pair of Aviators because they are always “in”.
  6. Not sure what shape of face you have? That’s OK…take a friend with you to give feedback as you try on various pairs.

There are a few styles and shapes that I love to have, but that doesn’t mean I am not willing to try new ones when I see them in stores. I buy a wide range of expensive designer ones (which I like to find at a bargain) and then some cheaper pairs that usually end up getting hammered because I just throw them around…it’s perfect for those that you know you will get bored of, or they will go out of style.

For this summer, here are some styles I am wearing…you can click the link below each picture to shop:

Casual doesn’t mean not dressing up!

When you don’t dress like everyone else, you don’t have to think like everyone else!

I am still learning this concept. For the longest time I had the notion that in order to dress casual it meant that I couldn’t dress up. And since I LOVE to dress up, I would very often have a hard time styling my casual outfits!

I am learning more and more every day, in fact, I would say that I am even starting top feel comfortable dressing down a little more than I ever have. I think for me the biggest challenge was that in corporate America I had to dress for business every day, and even on Friday’s it was a rule that we couldn’t wear jeans. That doesn’t mean I didn’t break the rule and wear different colors of jeans, jackets & skirts, but it definitely limited my creativity. Now I don’t have the same restrictions so I am starting to grow and have even more fun with my casual style.

Denim is such a versatile fabric, but I think it had a bad reputation for so long. I used to argue with my bosses that I would spend more money on my jeans than my business clothes, but somehow it didn’t change anything. I think the reason was that for most people, wearing jeans meant that they were in their “scruffs” and they would REALLY dress down the outfit to the point of just looking sloppy. Of course that wasn’t the norm, but it was what everyone seemed to remember unfortunately!

Hence, today’s post about denim…about how versatile, classy and professional it can still be!

Of course, I am not saying that anyone should not follow the guidelines of where they work, but what I mean is that if you have any leeway or any other times you can put together some denim outfits, then why not have fun with it 😉

Denim

Chambray – this is probably one of my favorite fabrics right now. It’s denim, but much softer. It is also not typical and could probably allow you to sneak by undetected in a company that has a rule of no jeans. It is feminine, it flows, and most importantly, it is cool for summer days whereas regular denim really isn’t!


Denim jacket – everyone needs one! Whether you are wearing it just to carry for those nights when you’re not quite sure how the weather will be, or you’re looking to dress down a more formal look…a denim jacket is such a versatile piece that I always recommend everyone has at least one (and I say at least one, because there are so many styles, that I would feel a little unprepared if I didn’t have a few different ones 😉 )

Denim skirt – especially one with a sexy slit is something that can be worn, look classy as well as a little sassy. I love a fitted denim skirt but there are so many styles out there, that there is one that will suit your body type and confidence level! Choose the style that best fits your unique style and dress it up with a nice blouse and some heels, or go for a more casual look with some summer wedge sandals and a T shirt!

I did a little research and found some great denim styles and I have linked them to shop below – just click the links…

Summer Colors

“Enjoy being bold, and if that is scary at first, marvel at your ability to walk through fear!”

I don’t know about where you are, but here in Utah the weather is now starting to get warmer and warmer so much so that I feel summer knocking on the door.  The thing that I love the most about summer is that the evenings are longer, brighter, and I seem to have so much more energy and want to be outside more. My dog is happier because he gets walked more, and I take so much more pleasure in taking care of my yard and having a great space to be outside and enjoy the warmer nights!

 

 

I have also noticed that as the weather becomes warmer I also seem to be drawn more to bold, bright colors and patterns and stand out.  I guess I feel like a flower…summer makes me feel like blooming (corny I know, but definitely true).

This past weekend my 2 younger boys and my husband went to stay in Midway (a small town in Utah), and the weather was a little dreary and cooler than it has been.  I found myself starting to feel a little less energetic, so I decided to go and exercise and then we took the boys on a little shopping spree to the outlets and Nike (and this time it wasn’t about me 😉 ) Later that evening we took the boys to see the movie “I can only imagine”.  If you haven’t seen the movie, you should really check it out.  It has some sad parts (both my boys cried) but the message is amazing, especially because it’s a true story!  What it did is totally reset my whole gratitude vibe…it made me appreciate the things that I have and all the things that my family does for me.  And then with Mother’s Day yesterday I was truly spoiled…

 

Are you drawn to certain colors?  What colors speak to you and do you wear them?  When I ask a lot of people what their favorite color is I am always surprised to find that they very rarely wear clothes that are that color.  Getting stuck in a rut of wearing the same colors over and over is very common, BUT, and here’s the best part…it’s easy to get UNSTUCK!  The easiest way to start is to stick to a color that is one you already love, and add a top, scarf, shoes or if you are really reluctant, add some accessories in that color.  I would bet that if you do this, you will more than likely find that you wish you would have done it sooner.

I am looking forward to wearing some fun, bright colors this summer…if you want to see some of my current top picks, you can click the links below…

 

Feminine Curls

“Being feminine in the way you dress doesn’t have to compromise who you are as a Woman or your career!”

I don’t always wear my hair curly, so when the stylist for this shoot gave me these loose waves it was a nice change, especially since I didn’t have to do it.  I don’t know about you but I can never seem to make my waves with a flat iron as good as when a stylist does it…perhaps I need a little more practice 🙂

The makeup that included some great lashes (so I didn’t have to spend ages trying to get the left and right eyes to match), the great Pink lipstick from MAC that I showed you the other day, some neutral colors, and just a little concealer.  I really enjoy feeling feminine, even when I’m wearing casual clothes, so this blouse that is simple paired with the striped, distressed jeans just added that feminine touch to the holy jeans…

The bracelet added a pop of color and the Mule shoes, just a little sass.

If you’re looking for a casual, feminine look, adding a blouse like this is a great and easy way to do that.  You are not taking away from anything, just adding a little more depth.  I like to combine styles like this – wearing something a little more edgy with something flowing or feminine to keep people guessing 🙂

You can shop some similar pieces to those I am wearing by clicking the links below…

I hope your Sunday is going as well as mine – Brandon just got back in town with Canyon (my 16 year old) – my family is complete again ♥

 

Why Stylequeenie?

 

“Being a leader is like being a lady.  If you have to go around telling people you’re one, you aren’t!”

By now you should already know who I am.  I am Michelle Barber, also known as Stylequeenie, SQ or just the Queen to a few of my funny friends…and I used to hate taking pictures of myself, and even worse, hearing myself speak.

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching about why I started Stylequeenie, so I thought I would share what I have come up with:

  1. I love, love, love style and fashion and wanted to be able to help others find their unique style, by just a few tips and example.
  2. I believe that hard work, tenacity, and most of all being the right person at the right time.  Now, that sounds a little vague, so here’s what I mean…I wear many different hats.  I am a wife, I am a mum, I am a Sales Woman, I am a friend, I am a daughter, I am a sister, I am a niece – the list goes on, but you get the idea.  So, when I am each of those things I have to perform differently – that doesn’t mean I am not myself, it just means that each one requires a different percentage of something I already have within me.  To be a mother you need to have much more empathy and patience that I need when I am in a Sales environment.  So, when I am at work, I wear my work hat and I make sure I wear it really well.  I don’t believe in sacrificing one hat for another 🙂
  3. I wanted to show other women that they too can juggle, be strong and succeed.  I don’t know everything and there are still a lot of things I can learn, but I have some things that work for me…
  4. I believe that the only obstacle that prevents us from getting the life that we want is US!

I haven’t really known how I could do that, so I have tried giving tips, but I really don’t even know if anyone has learned anything or if that is what you, my loyal readers, want…

So, I am putting it out there – how can I help you?  I promise that if you are open and honest with me, I will make sure that I respond!

I look forward to my inbox blowing up…ready, GO!!

Summer Wedges

“You don’t get the same moment twice in life…so don’t miss it!”

Monday is here and I am back to reality after my amazingly relaxing and fun week away river rafting.  While I had little access to Wifi (the kids seemed to hijack that) and very limited cell service, as much as I hate to admit it, I am glad to be reconnected again.  I am not someone that is constantly on my phone, but I am definitely someone who likes to have it available WHENEVER I need it – haha!

As I started this week and was thinking about what to post and how I could start the week of well, I decided to post about these amazing sandals (they are a pair I have had for a couple of years), but you can find similar by clicking here.  The reason I wanted to post about these sandals was because they make a statement and sometimes you absolutely need a pair of shoes that is going to make a statement.  Whether it’s for a wedding, social event, work, a date or just because, everyone needs at least one pair of shoes that make people notice them.  I know, I know, I like to make a statement all the time, so I have lots of pairs of shoes, but for those of you who can exercise a little more restraint, you should at least have one pair 🙂

I hope as you start off your week, you start it off on the right foot.  It’s always hard coming back from vacation, but honestly if we didn’t ever come home and back to work after a vacation, then it wouldn’t be a vacation!

I have something really interesting planned for tomorrow, so please stay tuned and bookmark the blog for tomorrow so you don’t miss it!

 

 

 

4th July Colors

“Independence isn’t doing your own thing, it’s doing the right thing on your own!”

As you know I am originally from England, but after being here for almost 20 years continuously now, I have definitely adopted a lot of the fun Holidays and traditions from over here, because it is now my home.  I was born in England, lived there for 20+ years, and even though I consider myself English to the core, I am definitely part of this whole Independence and I am proud to be an American Citizen!

In honor of the 4th July, I usually wear the colors of the Flag (especially since they are the same colors as the Union Jack 🙂 ), so today’s post shows a great outfit I put together, that could only be improved for the 4th by adding a little Blue in a Denim jacket or something like that.

I have posted some outfits with Gingham recently, and I have seen lots of this pattern in stores, on other blogs, in magazines, and just on the streets, so it is definitely a trend that is here for now and something that can be enjoyed.  I wore this skirt for work one day and someone told me I looked like a tablecloth, so I just responded “It’s a versatile outfit, I’m going on a picnic later”…The person who said it was just having fun with me, so I decided to have a little fun back…because the bottom line is that when I wear something I am wearing it for me and it is always something that I like.

I don’t think it’s important to please other people with your outfit (because let’s face it, there will always be someone who doesn’t like what we wear), but rather to make sure you are dressed appropriately for the occasion.  I have seen Gingham mini skirts, and I love the style, but it wouldn’t have been appropriate for me to wear that to work…

The Wedge sandals add even a little more funk to the outfit…you tell me, is it something that catches your eye?  Is it something you could find yourself wearing, or is it just one of those that really isn’t your style.  Either way, it’s fine…remember, dressing for yourself is a very important thing to do.

I remember when I was first married and pregnant, I wore a top that had big and small circles all over it, my husband thought it was the most awful thing he had ever seen – i’m not sure if he didn’t like it just because my stomach was huge and probably made the circles larger, but no matter the reason, although I liked the top, I didn’t continue to wear it because he really didn’t like it.  Now you have to understand, he had never done anything like that before and he has never done anything like that since…so I know it was a pretty genuine reaction and there are definitely going to be times when something doesn’t look quite right on you, and you have to listen to feedback (if you can find someone to actually give you honest feedback!)

Whatever your plans for this Holiday, I hope that you keep safe and have fun.  We are going river rafting, so I am sure I am going to have some great pictures to post!

The Full Dress

“Courage is not having the strength to go on, it is going on when you don’t have the strength!”

I posted a glimpse of this dress this week, but I wanted to show the full effect.  I had a few people say they loved the blouse, but as you can see, it is a shift style dress, and very feminine.

It is one of the dresses that I took on the cruise – I always like to dress up a little while I am on vacation, especially if we are going out to dinner, and this dress definitely made me feel like I was dressed up!  I used some simple Silver accents with the small purse and the mule shoes…

A shift dress is one that is perfect for most figures, especially those that have problem areas around the hips or stomach because it is not fitted at all and it hides those areas.  I do like to wear fitted clothes quite often, but there are definitely times when I love wearing this style of dress because I don’t have to worry about how much I eat – and I will have to be honest, on the cruise at dinner I pretty much ate whatever I wanted (which sometimes included trying multiple courses and extra desserts LOL).

The embroidery detail really adds another dimension to an otherwise ordinary and simple style.  If you don’t have any embroidered pieces in your closet, now’s the time to change that.  You can shop the post by clicking the links below…