For some of you that have been following me for some time, you know I pioneered the chain Mask Strap holder. Having launched a collection of multi-use chains a few years ago, it’s been such an incredible journey from journalist to entrepreneur. Also for anyone looking for added inspo on how to use my mask straps:
While nothing about this time has been easy, your support has helped me in ways that I don’t think I’d otherwise be able to do all of this as a 1 woman show.
The journey has really made me appreciate the struggles of small business’ and why it’s so important we support them. Especially in today’s climate. When it comes to the Pretty Connected Shop, I’m currently my own pr, marketing person, and warehouse. I pack all of the orders, I am the web master, social media manager, advertiser, photographer, product developer and just about every other hat you can imagine. And I’m not alone, small business’ everywhere are hustling hard to get noticed, so if you love them, show them some love. Like their posts, share them to your stories, tell your friends… send them a DM with a quick note or comment about how you love them.
I’m so excited to announce I’m partnering with my friend Yazmin Ramos, Emmy nominated producer of The Wendy Williams Show and founder of Spicy Christians Clothing Brand. We’ll be collaborating to sell her “This Too Shall Pass” Face Mask with my Pretty Connected Mask Chain. 15% of all net proceeds from my site will be donated to Black Girl Ventures, which creates access to capital for black/brown women founders. Supporting small business’ is something important to both of us and as two female founders who have had to face a lot of obstacles we want to give back and create more opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Yazmin has been an amazing supporter of Pretty Connected accessories line, putting my multi-use chains on The Wendy Williams show several times. Last year, when she decided to launch her clothing line she asked if I would help mentor her on the ins and outs of starting an online store. We sat for hours going through Shopify and tips and tricks when it came to packaging, inventory and setting up a shop. She is one of the most ambitious women and quickest learners I’ve ever met.
This is not Yazmin and my first collaboration. I co-founded the non-profit, Share Your Beauty, which collects new beauty products from brands, magazines, editors, influencers and beyond and distributes them to women shelters and other organizations in need. Yazmin launched the non-profit, Polished Angels, which hosts regular beauty events at nursing homes and offers complimentary manicure, hair and beauty services to spread joy to the elderly. On several accounts, I had my program donate beauty products and raffle items for her events and have volunteered with her to paint nails for the elderly.
Finding new ways to work together and to be in a network of women who are committed to positivity, friendship and doing good in the world is probably one of my biggest joys.
Meet my friend Makeda Saggau-Sackey, or glamazondiaries.com. She’s one of the most amazing creators and photographers, and a longtime friend to me and my brand. We’ve hosted events together, done the Women’s March and countless collaborations. She was one of the first influencers to support my Pretty Connected accessories line, rocking both my chain straps and boss rings when we first launched and so graciously agreed to be one of my models for my mask chains. She has incredible style and is a great Instagram follow @glamazondiaries. She wrote this great post introducing herself.
We’ve been through a lot in our almost 10 years as friends and more so then “ally’s”, a word that is being used a lot, we’re family. Our support has always been a two way street and when I think of words like equality, that a great way to look at our friendship, as equals. We’ve created opportunities for each other, supported each other and her wins are my wins and vice versa. We are stronger together.
I love when people ask me to be on their podcasts. I’m so used to being behind the scenes and the interviewer that whenever you jump in the talent spot light it’s so exciting. Especially when the hosts are inspiring, bad a$$ women bringing so much light into the world. This month I was on 3 podcasts have 3 very different, relevant conversations that for anyone losing motivation or just needs a good distraction, join us!
1.Eat Live Love Indulge with Kathy Wakile Podcast
Kathy Wakile (@kathywakile) is a woman that needs no introduction. The Italian-American former reality star and author of the cookbook, Eat Live Love Indulge took her love of cooking and bring people together around the table into a podcast on radio.com, where she interviews various guests. I’m so honored to be on this weeks episode talking about my experience in the beauty world and ultimately the expansion of Pretty Connected and how I grew the brand over 10+ years. We talk partnerships, thinking outside the box and how right now a lot of us are pivoting, much as I have over the decade I’ve been in the business. What are my thoughts on the influencer world and advice for anyone starting out? Have a listen: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/eat-live-love-indulge-with-kathy-wakile/id1478131634
2. The City Confessions, Mariann Yip’s Podcast
Mariann Yip (@Mariann_Yip) is a native New Yorker and influencer, and started The City Confessions to interview various individuals living in New York. For this podcast we dive into the timeline of my career from starting in Marketing at Nars to being an accidental blogger that ultimately landed me several major consulting roles, on-air appearances, starting a non-profit, and my accessories line. I also talk about standing out, building your community, anxiety, and something I notice a lot of women do incorrectly, which is not believe in themselves. Or make excuses why they can’t do it, and how I used to be like that until I got over it and started taking control over my life. Take a listen: https://open.spotify.com/episode/2SEqJOpFitzQdAzk7RFkMG?si=1SaiU2sTQOGpFEk0vyEknw
Full discloser, Jennifer (@jenniferscamera) and I recorded this episode before quarantine, back when NYC was fair game. We talk my favorite places, career and get a bit more personal on this episode. She highlighted a quote I say often and one of the most beautiful parts about living in NY… “1 person in New York Can Change Your Life.” It’s my version of nothing good happens from staying in. Nothing beats the social life of NY. It’s so easy to strike up a conversation with someone or meet a friend through a friend that can change your life is something that truly makes my city so special and unique. Cheers to the good old days and may we see them again soon: Take a listen at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/nyc-local-guides/id1497140823?i=1000468945876
Blue light glasses are the new sunblock for our eyes. And Drew Barrymore just launched a chic line of blue light-blocking glasses as part of her ever growing Flower empire, welcome Flower Eyewear. Exclusive to Walmart, the pairs are under $20. And since we’re all on lock down glued to our phones, computers, TV’s… and other blue light omitting devices this might be a good time to invest. It’s hard to believe I took this photo less than 3 weeks ago at her launch party, back when we were allowed to workout together, hug… time really is a funny thing. Check them out at Walmart.com.
And we’re live! Kicking off my debut on Macy’s “Makeover at Macy’s” series that’s available on Macy’s Youtube and IGTV featuring the lovely Ciara and me! Talking about Macy’s 4 Step Skincare Routine! Their pillar skincare categories are: Cleanse, Prep, Nourish and Protect! Take a look at the products we’re loving in each category and why you need them in your life!
Also I share my 3 cardinal rules of skincare! 1) Don’t sleep with your makeup on, 2) Invest in a good moisturizer (and use it), 3) Wear an SPF 30-50.
It’s time for the Space NK Fall Beauty Edit 2019, which means you get an epic gift with purchase. This season SpaceNK is offering everything photographed above, 30 deluxe beauty treats from some of their bestselling and new brands including Oribe, Dr. Barbara Sturm, Briogeo, Rodial, Eve Lom, Hourglass and more. FREE with any $285 Space NK purchase! The bag is valued at over $500 worth of product so if you’re thinking about splurging on some must haves, now is the time! (See the full list of what’s in the bag HERE).
The event is happening in store and online through November 3rd, while supplies last, so get on it! Learn more and shop at spacenk.com
You know how when you love something and you talk about for years, tag them all the time and then the company recognizes your obsession and puts you in their 2+million person newsletter? Right, that doesn’t actually ever happen, except with Rent the Runway.
After being an Unlimited Member since forever, it’s really an honor to be recognized and an ambassador for Rent the Runway. The majority of my TV, events, weddings, hosting, panels, and everyday outfits are from them. I have so much pride and appreciation for how much this membership saved my bank account and changed my life.
Over the years so many of you had questions about how Rent the Runway works and how to maximize your account. Below are all my hack!
First the facts… on the average I borrow $6,228 in designer brands a month using their Unlimited 4 items/month plan. It’s a $159/month plan (which includes all the dry cleaning and shipping costs). That might seem impossible but just look at the designers from the newsletter: I wore outfits from brands including Marni, Tonya Taylor, Badgley Michka and more! (I’m literally wearing a $1200 romper from Christian Siriano to an award ceremony!), it’s insane the value a membership like this can offer. It gives me the Carrie Bradshaw wardrobe to match the lifestyle.
With the plan I’m able to stretch about 12-20+ outfits/month
depending on how diligent I am and how much I’m traveling.
Here are my tips to maximize your Unlimited account. PS my promo code ($100 off 2 months of Unlimited with code: RTRLARA):
When you order your first 4 items, immediately try them on to see what you like whatever doesn’t make the cut, mail back or drop off to the store same day.
It’s 4 pieces at a time, they don’t need to all be rented/returned at the same time. I like to have 2 at home and 2 in transit at all time. This way it’s a constant flow.
Return immediately after you wear. Don’t wait to return everything together. When you’re done with 1-2 items send it back so you can open new spots. And thus, reorder new things. If you want to do all 4 at the same time you lose time since you have to wait a few days for them to get back to the warehouse and for the spots to open up on your app.
Order to the store (you just change the shipping address from your apt/work to the store address). This is especially good if you’re in NYC. Not every city has a store but with NYC’s it gets me my items same day if I order in the AM or do so the night before for a guaranteed next day pick up. If I use my apartment address it takes 2-3 days and also there is room for delays and errors. With the store I like to order the night before and then pick it up the next day. Another perk of ordering to the store is you can try it on there and return anything that doesn’t fit instantly and then either replace them with items in the store or start ordering new things on the site.
You might wonder why not just always shop in store. I like to order pieces to the store instead of assuming I’ll find something because the assortment online is far greater. Also I find they are limited in sizing so the store makes a great backup or place to look when I’m not shopping for a specific look/occasion. I sometimes get lucky and find 4 amazing pieces in the store, and other times just 1. Putting in a pre-order online just gives me more options since I’m heading there anyways to rent.
If you travel a lot here are 3 tips: 1) have the clothes sent to your destination so you don’t have to carry it and/or return it from your destination in the bag (or ask them for an envelope), this way you don’t have to pack it and save luggage space. NOTE: ship times can take longer depending on which city you return from. Lastly, know your stores. I’m based in NY but I’ve returned/swapped out clothes in DC and LA for trips there. When a city has a store it means I need to pack less since I can swap out my outfits for new ones.
If this is your first time signing up for Unlimited, never pay full price your first month! I have the code LARA50, which offers $100 off your first two months, and I also encourage you to check their promo page since they are always changing the promotions – currently they have one for $80 off your first two months so you’re better off with my promo, but always check before spending full price!
Nervous about signing up? Wait until a big month, like when you have a wedding and a graduation and need multiple outfits. That’s always a great way to kick off and use the discount. If you find it doesn’t work for you, cancel. At least you got a discount and outfits for your big events.
It’s no secret, I’m a HUGE New Beauty fan! And I’m so honored to share one of my new favorite products in the latest Beauty Report issue. New Beauty introduced me to Definage a few years ago and I finally started using them at the beginning of the year. It’s a 4 step (mask, cleanser, moisturizer, serum) turned 5 step system with the addition of a new DefenAge 3D Eye Radiance Cream.
Spring cleaning is here and I’m also currently moving offices so I’ve been decluttering, donating and reorganizing my beauty closet like a mad woman. I had two amazing features this month, one with Elle Decor, the other with Spotlyte all focused around tips for storing/organizing your beauty products. I was also featured in an awesome article in Self last year that goes super in depth with their recommendations.
In the 10+ years of blogging and 15 years in the beauty industry, I’ve literally tried it all. And for me the Ikea Alex Drawers — both sizes, ALEX™ Drawer ($89) and ALEX Drawer Unit ($129) are the holy grail. For the latter I remove the casters and I stacked two on top of each other.
Most of the suggestions I read in these articles by other contributors are good for smaller beauty stashes (I definitely recommend reading them all for inspiration) but I’m highlighting a few that inspired me from each article. Check them out below but between all of these articles you should have what you need to get organized!
Elle Decor 7 Brilliant Ways to Organize and Store Your Makeup
Highlights: Mugs and candles to hold brushes (I do this too) and it’s a common hack but definitely noteworthy.
Acrylic Organizers in Drawers, amazon to container store have a lot of options but containers for inside your shelves is so necessary.
Spotlyte Tips For Spring Cleaning Your Beauty Stash — Straight from Editors and Influencers.