Introduction: My Own Success Story
My approach to style and beauty is really similar to how Rachael Ray works with food. We both take everyday ingredients and put them together in an easy recipe that guarantees success. You probably have a lot of clothes, makeup, and hair “ingredients” at home now, but here’s the catch: Some of them are stale, can’t satisfy your style cravings, and don’t provide a reliable menu of options for your multitasking, 24/7 lifestyle.
I’m not going to preach unrealistic rules. You don’t need to wear a size two, have a lot of money or a perfect body, be able to afford a designer wardrobe, be a certain age, go to fancy salons and spas, or live in New York, Paris, or Milan to be a Successful Girl with Style.
FYI, like most of you I’m no longer a “girl.” But all women keep that girl spirit no matter what our true age. It’s what keeps us up, sexy, and fun with an adventurous attitude and willingness to keep growing, evolving, and learning. Style and the Successful Girl is every girl’s fashion and beauty blueprint to navigating the ups and downs of our lifestyles, jobs, age, body changes, and relationships. You’ll discover the successful strategies and techniques I’ve developed and continue to use as a stylist on my clients—both real women and celebs.
Let’s start with my story. You may have a similar one or recognize some of my situations as I’ve-been-there-too moments. Raised in Boston by divorced parents, including a mom with serious medical issues, I had no siblings to bond with and certainly no fashion pedigree. Basically, I was a tomboy-meets-wanna-be-princess. My life changed when I discovered fashion magazines after school at the library. By eighth grade, I was living with my aunt Kathy, and life became a tutorial in how to wear false lashes, perfume, jewelry, and fabulous clothes. She became my first style guru and role model. Aunt Kathy was the first successful working woman in my family who was financially independent and stylish. Aside from her strong work ethic, my aunt had a strategy for taking care of her looks. My friends’ moms didn’t do aerobics, get facials, take vitamins, or know everything about accessorizing, but Aunt Kathy opened a door to a world that instantly felt like home.
My best friend, Brenda, was a young Heather Locklear–type. After a day window-shopping at the mall, we’d return home to experiment with our own jeans, hair, and makeup. Sometimes our DIY projects were home runs, and sometimes they were disasters—like my orange Sun-In hair and crispy perm. I loved all of it anyway and caught a serious fashion bug. By age seventeen, I was enrolled at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in NYC as a fashion design student. I spent evenings sewing labels on garments to support myself. Sometimes I worked as a gofer for a hair and makeup artist on magazine shoots. Mainly my job was getting coffee and cleaning her brushes. One day she asked me to step in and get hair and makeup started on some of the models. Beauty became my new focus. I left NYC and returned to Boston to attend cosmetology/hairdressing school at night while working as a counter makeup artist during the day. In class I met “Nicole,” who became a friend and eventually my business partner. At the age of twenty-four, I opened my own salon; at twenty-six, I added a spa; and by thirty-one, I had started my first high-end fashion boutique. Ten years from my starting date, I owned a salon/spa/retail empire that exceeded ten million dollars. Running multiple businesses simultaneously taught me to multitask, and I incorporate this philosophy into every area of my life—including my fashion and beauty strategy. Now, as a style expert and businesswoman with a family life and son, Kai Rei, looking good 24/7 is my only option!
Not bad for a kid who started out with nothing but imagination and guts. I continued to grow, and as a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Owner/President/Management program I had more than a decade of retail and management experience under my Prada belt.
Going to the runway shows in New York, Paris, and Milan gives me a chance to get the inside scoop on trends and people-watch at the same time. But what makes me happiest is helping real, everyday women turn their stuck-in-a-rut stories into success. As a style expert on Every Day with Rachael Ray and other shows—I cohosted the second season of Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style on Bravo and have been a contributor on Live With Kelly and Michael, The View, Good Morning America, and Today—I get to do exactly that. My own multitasking lifestyle keeps me on my toes, and my tips work because I live them!
Together we can make this year your most successful! Can’t wait to get started!