AFFIRMATION | Lessons From Kenya

Posted by krystamasciale on September 10, 2012  |   No Comments »

I think a lot of us spend time playing small and making excuses for why we don’t invest our time into things we feel would have a real impact on humanity.

After returning from a business development trip in Honduras nearly 5 years ago, I felt completely paralyzed.

A part of me was energized by the opportunities that micro-finance was bringing to people around the globe (particularly the people we were working with in Tegucigalpa), while another part of me felt like the problem was just too big. I didn’t see how I could be a part of the solution and I’ve been left making excuses ever since about why I don’t actively engage in helping people in developing nations build small businesses. Here were my excuses pre-Kenya:

–> I need to spend time developing a bigger network so I can have more resources to work with.

–> I need more experience as a business owner myself. Hell, as a business owner AT ALL in order to bring legitimacy and relevance to the people in need.

–> I need to make more money.

–> Why would I try and start a micro-finance program when there are so many established  organizations (and people) who have been doing it longer with greater resources and experience?

Armed with all of those excuses, it’s no wonder I’ve made ZERO impact in an area that makes my heart skip a beat anytime I read, hear or talk about it. Pretty lame if you ask me.

While I was in Kenya, I was able to host a seminar about micro-finance and branding with Opportunity Kenya. The men and women who came to the seminar were looking for suggestions on how to grow existing businesses and stay competitive. Much like entrepreneurs in the states, they were in similar battles of supply and demand, work/life balance, over-saturation in their markets and not working with their ideal customers.

As I sat there and observed the dialog, I realized the foundational work we do at B!G DEAL BRANDING (particularly Brand Therapy) is exactly what these people needed  in order to think differently about their role as a business owner. I jumped in and started talking about their values, strengths, partnering with people who have complimentary skills, and what it would look like if they were able to attract the ideal customer. The conversation was electrifying and I found myself so excited about their goals and dreams for both their lives and their businesses. I listened as women talked about their ideas for the next phase of their business that would not only allow their children to continue going to school, but would also employee multiple women in their neighborhood who were out of work. The motivation for these business owners was to give as many people in their sphere of influence a chance at a better life. And suddenly I felt like my experience and passions were aligning perfectly with a real need in this community.

I realized that, despite the number of people invested in micro-finance around the world, there is still room for me to contribute. I have the passion, resources and experience necessary to be a part of the conversation. And I’m not trying to change the world. I’m just trying to make the lives of a dozen business owners better with a few ideas, some tangible solutions and doing what I can to connect them to people on the ground who can be more accessible. None of the excuses I had before are valid anymore and the affirmation that one person can actually serve a part in making this world a little better was so encouraging.

I know there are a lot of issues to tackle out there and a lot of people in real pain who need our help. And I used to be as cynical as the next about how one person can make a real difference in this world. But when you get to know real people, hear their stories and be in a place to offer them real solutions … there’s no denying that every.single.person.matters. The craziest thing is that to make a difference, you don’t have to know how to build houses, start businesses or be a teacher. You just have to show up and let people know you are FOR them. I love that. No hiding behind excuses anymore … we all need to do our part.

Read more about how you can get involved with helping small business owners here.

 

CONTROL | Lessons From Kenya

Posted by krystamasciale on August 30, 2012  |   1 Comment »

I’m a control freak. A by-the-book Type A personality. I come packaged with a sense of urgency, impatience, aggressiveness, competitiveness, achievement-orientation and chronic facial tension. This is a MASSIVE understatement to anyone who knows me. (Serious. All-day-every-day.)

One of my reasons for going on the trip was to learn how to be a better follower. Yes. FOLLOW. How many times do you hear someone like me say that?

It seemed like a good opportunity to test that out. There were a good handful of people on the team who had been to this exact camp multiple times and are well traveled. I have never run a kid’s camp in my life and hadn’t been to Africa, so I had already deferred any major decision-making to others on the team.

What I didn’t realize I’d learn was that my need to be in control of every aspect of my life was a complete illusion. After three weeks of being completely out of control, I stepped back into the reality I had created for myself and realized this whole control freak thing wasn’t working for me anymore. [DISCLAIMER: No, I have not lost any of the characteristics above. I’m just a TAD more reserved than I was before and find myself turning off my computer much earlier to watch episodes of Friends. Let’s be real, this shit takes time …]

1. Receiving help. I know I said asking for help was going to be hard in my posts leading up to our trip. I just didn’t consider how hard RECEIVING it would be. Yikes. When the hubs got sick in Kenya, one of our team members came in and cleaned our bathroom. Cleaned. Our. Bathroom. I still can’t get over that. There will never be anything I can do to ever come close to repaying her for that. When the hubs went back into the hospital when we landed in L.A., we had another friend from the trip bring us lunch and a handful of team members checking into ways to help us pay for the bill. We even had people send us money from out of town to pay for dinners while he was recovering. The kids we were trying to serve in Kenya who don’t even have 1% of what we have said they were praying for us every day we saw them. I can’t repay any of these people and they don’t expect it. That was hard for me to swallow. My need to be and appear in control over-shadowed other people’s desire to participate in our lives up until this point. When we had no other choice, I got to see what real community looked like: me getting over myself and letting other people participate in our life and us in theirs.

2. Business Failure. How will my business look when I return after 2 weeks of being unavailable? Yes. I’m THAT narcissistic. As I was prepping my clients/team for my leave, I realized that I controlled way more than I probably should. I’m almost certain it made me feel more important or more needed. The point is, there wasn’t room for anyone else because I was fine … I had it under control. When I returned, the business was totally fine. No big surprise because my partners and clients are kick ass. The world kept spinning and I realized not everything I made important was actually important. I’m now working on a plan to let new, talented, fully-capable people into my little piece of our B!G DEAL pie. Why? Because people aren’t as incompetent as I’d like to think they are (although that theory totally makes me feel better about myself).

3. Following is awesome.  Well, following is awesome if you’re a leader. Here’s what I learned about being a follower: you have to take ownership of the leader’s vision and execute as best as you can with what you have. It’s that simple. Was it simple for me? No. Was I a shining star? No. But a lot of people on my team were and it was a really great incubator for me to learn. Our leaders were amazing because they empowered us to own our responsibilities and do what needed to be done without having to ask for permission. The team was amazing because they did just that: they owned their responsibilities and were resourceful.

I’ll continue to be achievement-oriented, have a value for time and scrunch my face a lot. But I’ll be striving to be less adamant about controlling every detail of my life. Because the truth is, I’m not as in control as I’d like to think I am and it’s really freaking exhausting. Funny how it takes a few weeks in unfamiliar territory to remind you Who’s boss.

“Make the goal big enough, and you will have to ask others for help.” Jason Jaggard, Spark.

PERSPECTIVE | Lessons From Kenya

Posted by krystamasciale on August 27, 2012  |   No Comments »

You have a chance to get out of the past.

That’s a direct quote from my Executive Coach, Adrian Koehler. A week before my trip to Kenya I gave him some reasons why I was a little nervous about how this trip was going to change me. He laughed, said I was full of shit and suggested perhaps I get a new story.

In effort to maintain full disclosure here, you should know I’ve been living off the momentum of my past which has been operating on fumes for years now. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been highly motivated by being the underdog. Whether it was in my family, church, school … really anywhere people didn’t believe in me. I excelled in proving them wrong (even if they weren’t looking). It was my story. For the last year, however, that story just hasn’t fit as well as it used to. Because I feel comfortable doing things I’m good at, I did everything I could to be the underdog. I would created a racket in my brain that would either rehash irrelevant BS from my past OR create new baggage unnecessarily just so I felt like I had something to fight against so that I could move forward.

Hey, I was never great at math.

The problem is that I needed a new story. I needed something to motivate me that didn’t start or end with destructive behavior. 

And that’s where Kenya comes in.

This trip gave me a new reason to be motivated AND some positive memories to replace the painful ones I’ve held onto for no good reason. My outdated perspective was the most obvious thing to change as a result … especially in my approach to God, humanity and myself.

Let’s start with God. For about six years now, I’ve had a hard time reading the Bible and sitting through a lengthy prayer without fidgeting a little (a lot). I initially chalked that up to being the worst Christian ever and then realized I didn’t necessarily lose faith in God, I just had a lot of baggage with how Scripture had been abused in my life and prayers had been over dramatized and impersonal. When we got to Kenya I was met with daily team devotionals and prayers from some of the most fervent Kenyans. And the weirdest thing … it didn’t make me all nauseous. God became real again through the Bible and prayer … which blew my freaking mind and changed my perspective a tad bit on humanity.

Which brings me to point numero dos. There are a lot of people who call themselves Christians that make Jesus seem ridiculous. I’ve been just as jaded as anyone else by the interactions I’ve had with Christians. Some of that cynicism has come straight from the church through my involvement in leadership on worship teams and even from going overseas for ‘missions trips.’ I expected the Kenyans to be just as cynical as I am about the great white Americans coming in to “save the day” and snap a few photos with some cute little African kids for their Christmas newsletter. Quite the opposite actually. The church we now attend has spent 7 years working diligently all year round with these teams in Nairobi and Kibera. As a church, we have deeply rooted relationships with these people that breeds collaboration and love, not distrust. The gratitude our Kenyan leaders showed our team was incredibly humbling and so healing for someone like me who has been so angry at people (particularly Christians) who exploit people in other countries for their own benefit.

I was also asked to be on the music team that performed at two different churches during our time in Kenya. Holy Moses. I stopped leading worship a little over 3 years after a 7-year stint (which is also about the time I stopped singing in my car, shower or in the audience on Sundays). Music — especially worship music — had so many painful memories attached that I was a little nervous to even be on the team. Our last ‘performance’ was at a larger church in Nairobi. After their extremely energetic time of singing (and dancing), the hubs looked over and said, “Are you nervous?” I wasn’t, but I could tell he was. These people took their worship seriously. I’m talking a full choir of at least 100 people, a lead singer and a good half a dozen other ‘front men’ with the most gorgeous voices I’ve heard in a long time. The congregation was in it to win it and a group of white people from Hollywood were about to grace them with our presence on stage. Perfect.

We did our lovely little English tune and then went straight into one of their native Swahili songs. Oh. Em. Gee. With the first syllable of that song, I felt this weird breeze from behind me and saw the congregation of about 1,700 jump to the feet and start dancing. I realized the choir had instantly chimed in behind us and the congregation was so loud I couldn’t hear a hint of our team in the monitors. And in that moment I remembered what it was like to have music in my life again. I remembered all the stuff about leading worship that I really loved. And in one moment, the story I had been holding onto for three years was replaced with a new story that is far more joyful. And seriously … joy is something Kenyans could blow us out of the water with. I’m so glad that image is burned in my brain forever.

As for myself … well, I adopted the stories of some of the kids to give me fuel for the fire. There were a lot of little underdogs at that camp that were destined to be super heroes and I feel a personal responsibility to make sure their stories didn’t stop in Kibera or fall on deaf ears. I didn’t need to create my own drama in order to feel motivated. That doesn’t do anyone any good. What I needed was a story I could believe in that was relevant and tangible. I needed to see a new way of channeling my energy and doing something better in this world without being confined to the events of my past. Kenya opened that opportunity for me and what I saw is irreversible.

“We see only what we’ve always seen. This makes seeing new possibilities nearly impossible. It keeps us getting what we’ve always gotten out of life, for better or worse.” Jason Jaggard from Spark.

UNITY | Lessons From Kenya

Posted by krystamasciale on August 23, 2012  |   1 Comment »

So we’re back. And just like I will never be the same because of this trip, L.A. will never be the same because of the people we went with.

I think it all started on our 16-hour flight to Dubai. I’ve made that trip before, in coach … alone. I thought I would hate every hour of it just the same this time around. As it turns out, traveling with 21 people has its advantages, like mile high happy hour and story time.

Once we landed in Nairobi, I already felt like I had made more friends and couldn’t wait to meet the kids and get to know more of my team members better.

What we didn’t anticipate was a first week that was wrought with so much emotional, physical and mental exhaustion that we’d be forced into a situation that would turn our group of strangers into family overnight. Literally.

After our second day of camp, our team gathered in the living room to debrief and go over details for the next day. The hubs leaned over with a goofy look on his face and asked if we had Tums. Who does he think I am? We brought EVERYTHING, remember? (total bonus points if you can find the TUMS).

Anywho, I told him yes and he headed to our room while the rest of us pow-wowed. For the rest of the night I was up with a husband who was rapidly making his way to the seventh layer of hell. From the sound of it, so were a few of our other team members. For security reasons, we couldn’t leave the house in the middle of the night to get anyone to the hospital so they waited it out until 5 a.m. The first batch of hospitalized team members totaled 3 from a bug believed to have come from our lunch that day. A few hours later, 6 more made their way to the hospital (including our two leaders). Those of us remaining still had to run a camp for 250 kids. Well, most of us. I spent most of the day trying to sleep since sleeping wasn’t an option in my room that night.

When I made my way out to the camp, I saw half of our team willingly carrying the weight of those who couldn’t be there that day. One of our team members had even scrubbed our bathroom when the hubs was taken to the hospital with rubbing alcohol to make sure it was sanitized in case whatever bug he had was contagious. Who does that? And that’s when I saw it … the most unified group of people I’ve ever had the privilege of working with in my life.

I saw Kenyan leaders picking up the slack and helping our team make sure the kids didn’t feel abandoned or cheated by the lack of hands on deck. I saw people praying with such an honest faith for our sick team members (children included), that it made me feel like we were all fighting for something bigger than just health. We were fighting against an attempt to steal joy, hope and unity from this experience. And our team wasn’t having it.

The next day, ill team members were moving slowly but surely around camp while new members fell ill. On Friday, we gathered in the living room after breakfast and realized our team was back at capacity. Just as we were celebrating, we got news that another team member was very ill. I freaking lost my marbles. All week this team had been beat up and spit out … one person at a time. Just when we thought we were in the clear, another blow … and this time it hit me straight in the heart. I went up to our room, face-planted on the bed and sobbed. The hubs came in, flipped me over and said, “Don’t let this thing win. Get yourself together and let’s go run this camp.”

Such a jerk.

Until I realized … Masciales don’t lose. And it appeared that neither did this team.

We ended that day wrecked with good byes from our first batch of kids and the weight of a week we weren’t prepared for. But as we sat at dinner that night, I looked around the room and realized: this could have been a disaster. Twenty-one people from 21 different backgrounds with 21 different opinions could have led to division, clicks, petty arguments. And, yet, we were all celebrating together that we did it. We survived our first week and all of us knew we couldn’t have done it without every person there.

That unified spirit never left us in Kenya and the beauty is that we brought it home with us. This experience and these people taught me how to ask for help and receive it without feeling guilty or indebted. They taught me that people show up without you having to ask. And they taught me that unity can exist when some of the most dysfunctional people come together to do something bigger than themselves for people who can’t repay them.

u·ni·ty [yoo-ni-tee]: a whole or totality as combining all its parts into one

 

Building Community in Big Cities

Posted by krystamasciale on July 23, 2012  |   2 Comments »

For the first time since I moved to L.A. (six years ago), I feel like I have a solid community here in this city. For those of you who have ever lived in a major city (particularly L.A. or NYC), you know how difficult it is to build consistent community. For Angelinos, there is always an excuse — traffic, distance, traffic or traffic. Everyone you know is typically spread out enough to where getting from here to there is such a nightmare unless you leave at 6 a.m. or 9 p.m. It doesn’t bode well for building relationships and feeling connected on a regular basis. This month has been an extreme exception.

A few reasons I feel our social calendar has been exponentially busier this month:

1. Family. The hubs and I both have family in SoCal. My brother and sister-in-law are kind-of a big deal, so we haven’t been able to see them as much over the past year due to their insane schedules. We always love the chance to meet up for a quick brunch or dinner together. The hubs’ family is always up for a reason to get together and celebrate SOMETHING each month. This month it was 4th of July white trash style. They hosted their annual 4th of July pool party with plenty of food and booze for all 30+ guests. Despite the fact that they’re in Orange County, a good handful of L.A. friends make the trek to enjoy one of the most epic parties of the year:

 

2. Special Occasions. This obviously requires that you have a few aquaintances/friends to start with. If you do, make it a point to go to events that they create for you to enjoy yourself and meet new people. This month, we had a few bday parties, an engagement party and an opportunity to support our friend’s band at a new venue.

3. Organized Sports. We recently joined a DodgeBall team in Hollywood. It’s probably the activity the hubs and I look forward to most every week. On Monday nights, our team plays in a league of 5 other teams and battles to our deaths for the championship (it feels that serious when you’re playing). Everyone in the league walks to a local bar after each game and hangs out the rest of the evening together. It’s such a fun way to meet people you would have never become friends with otherwise!

4. Church. We had gone to the same church for about 4 years and made some of our closest friends in the city from that community. When we left to start fresh elsewhere, we felt a little out of sorts and had a hard time connecting with people (mainly because we weren’t involved and didn’t give people a chance to get to know us). We decided to join volunteer teams that meet once a month for a few hours on Sunday mornings and were then chosen to be on the Kenya team. Most of our social interaction this month has been with some of the members from our Kenya team because of the amount of prep time we’ve spent with one another. We’ve had so much fun getting to know these people and we haven’t even left yet!

5. Work. This is probably obvious to most people. For those of you who work from home (like the hubs and I do), it’s not super obvious. For me, most of my clients live outside of SoCal. In fact, most of them live in different time zones and our relationship is limited to texting and Skype calls. Because the process we take our clients through is a bit more intense than your average client experience, I have been privileged to become friends with a good handful of them in the last year. We recently hosted four clients-turned-friends for a week this month as they came through L.A. on vacation. When you have the opportunity to build a company around your core values and passions, you attract people with similar hopes for the trajectories of their lives. Nothing is more exciting than building friendships that encourage risk and continued dreaming!

What are your secrets for meeting new people in your city?

WonderWoman Has Issues [Independence]

Posted by krystamasciale on July 18, 2012  |   6 Comments »

Here’s a little secret for you:

I like it when the hubs takes care of me.

Sure, I’m obsessed with being in control and border-line addicted to being self-sufficient. But, I’ve found that being taken care of feels really freaking nice. I like not having to stress about bills and money. I like it when things are planned out for me and all I have to do is show up. I’ve totally come to terms with the fact that I’ll be that 80-year-old lady who can’t write a check or balance my online bank account.

Being taken care of is awesome. What’s not awesome is that I find myself going back and forth with whether or not I’m comfortable with the amount of vulnerability and submission it requires. I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that strange pull between wanting to be self-sufficient and wanting to be taken care of. And I’m not sure it’s so much of a choice between one or the other. In fact, quite the opposite. I find myself wanting both. Yep, I want it all. And I want the hubs to know when I want to be dominant and when I feel like being a good little house wife. Husbands are supposed to read minds right? Pretty sure that was in the agreement.

Simply put, I think the modern woman suffers this battle of wanting to be provided for and wanting to contribute at the same time. It looks different for all of us and manifests itself in different areas. I wonder sometimes if it’s something we grow out of … this need to be so dominant. Or if we find ourselves at some point completely exhausted from trying so damn hard and give in to being loved and adored by our men. Either way, I think I’m reaching the point where there’s a healthy dose of both. Where, in my home, the hubs can rule and I can relax and in my business I can get all the control freak twitches out of my system. I think it suits me (and others) well if I have both. It makes me stronger and more compassionate. It may even take a bit of the edge off.

I’ll let you know if I ever figure this whole independent woman meets housewife thing. Until then, anyone else out there have the same struggle? Or am I the only one?

Explore Downtown L.A. Rooftop

Posted by krystamasciale on July 9, 2012  |   No Comments »

Since my last post on “Never Stop Exploring” I’ve taken a few excursions around L.A. and thought I’d share the latest.

The hubs and I went downtown yesterday for an afternoon rooftop/pool/cocktail/live music adventure. I mean, how much more awesome could that combination get?

Our good friend Jason Joseph and his band were bringing the funk while we sipped ice cold adult beverages and basked in the sun on top of the J.W. Marriott.  If you guys are available, he’ll be playing there every Sunday from 1-5 in August and again in two weeks. No cover. Here are some Instagram pics:

Anyone out there have a good story about their latest adventures around town?

Personal Style | Channeling Audrey

Posted by krystamasciale on July 6, 2012  |   No Comments »

A few months ago, I met Hilary Rushford through Twitter. I think it was after I published my Personal Style | Personal Brand post, where she undoubtedly assumed I was a fellow fashion blogger. Boy was she in for a treat.

Her monthly Instagram challenges have caused me to be more intentional about my personal style. Last month she added a virtual book club to the mix and all of the photo challenges were based on quotes from the book. How brilliant is that? Serious kudos Hilary.

I’m sure most of the women participating saw this as a fun excuse to show the world how creative they are with their wardrobe. For me, it was much more of a foundational lesson in building a personal style. It provided just enough structure for me to remain disciplined and thoughtful when getting ready in the morning, and a perfect blend of learning and creativity to explore options and think for myself.

The book she chose was Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson which was such a fun read and perfect for a fashion challenge. The book is centered around the making of Breakfast At Tiffany’s and the cultural impact it had as well as the impact Audrey had on fashion from that point forward. If you’re at all interested in fashion, old Hollywood or film, you’ll love this book. I’ll give you a few snippets that were game changers for me:

“She dressed up for her husband.” 

[This was one of the more poignant lines from the book that made me fell like a total ass. I think this line is burned in my brain forever. I feel it’s something that was lost in the transition out of the 60s. What a terrible thing to lose.]

“Of the color black — their darkness acts as a kind of camouflage, masculine by contrast, and allows them to watch without being watched. It’s a choice of someone who needs not to attract. Someone self-sufficient. Someone more distant, less knowable and ultimately mysterious. Powerful.” 

[This line made me feel as though my desire to wear black all day every day was justified. I may frame  it for the next conversation I have with stylist friends who tell me to stop buying black and navy blue. It was also a line I connect with as I feel less inclined to attract these days. Is that what happens when you leave your 20s?]

“Chic was no longer this far away thing only for the wealthy.”

[I get that now. It was a lovely excuse when I was too lazy to dress myself, but really chic is so accessible if you’re creative and know what you’re looking for.]

“Givenchy (the designer of Audrey’s little black dress) was about showing off the body as it was, not reshaping or idealizing it. He felt you didn’t need to use a lot of accessories or embellishment and based dresses on the shape of the women as they were, not as he or the culture wanted them to be.”

[Do I hear a collective sigh from women around the first world?]

“Pure understatement radiates confidence — individual personality as opposed to a pre fab femininity.”  

[How I read this … stop trying so hard.]

“I don’t need to embellish to be commanding. I don’t need a fashion megaphone to make myself heard. I just need to be me.”

[Preach it.]

“Having been a studio head myself, I can only say that I think you’re often inclined, instinctively, to comment even when you don’t have anything to say.” 

[It’s not just about the clothes. It’s about the way you carry yourself. The whole package. Consistency.]

After reading this book, I felt more inclined to channel my inner Audrey by asking a few simple questions: What works for me? What do I feel confident in that also compliments my own figure (not hides it or accentuates the parts that are culturally desirable)? Here are two pieces I came up with while on vacation.

I learned that head scarves may be my thing. They’re fun, keep my hair in place and cover my roots when they’re coming in (come on, that’s fair). I also learned that I LOVE giant sunglasses. It’s the best way to feel mysterious without trying too hard. And I’ve gotta say, I’m becoming obsessed with my jean shorts and wedges. The last time I purchased a pair of shorts was in undergrad. I know, I’m lame. I realized my legs aren’t awful and I should own that. The wedges make me stand up straight and spruce up the outfit so I don’t feel like a total slob.

I highly recommend the book … AND … I recommend checking in with Hilary to see what her next Instagram challenge is. There’s nothing better than a little guidance and accountability to get you on the right track with building your personal style.

Personal Style [Brand New Woman]

Posted by krystamasciale on June 29, 2012  |   5 Comments »

You may or may not remember a post I did in January about needing to focus more on how my personal style (or lack thereof) has a direct impact on my personal brand. If you don’t want to read the whole post … here’s the gist: I made a lot of excuses about why personal style wasn’t important. Those excuses communicated something about me that I didn’t feel was entirely accurate. So I committed that 2012 was going to be the year where my wardrobe wouldn’t be a distraction from the message I was trying to communicate about who I am and where I’m going.

For those of you who haven’t grown up reading Vogue and spending your allowance on clothes, I’m going to give you some tips. That said, I claim by no means to be an expert on fashion or style. What I do claim, however, is to now feel much more confident that the way I ‘package’ myself is much more indicative of how I feel inside.

First things first. Hair.Despite how high-maintanance it is, I’ve committed to red being my color again AND I got bangs. That little double feature forces me to keep tabs on the locks of love. As for the rest of my head, I make sure to curl my eyelashes and wear red lipstick as often as I can. It forces me to bring the sass while feeling elegant at the same time. Here’s an example of how this has been going down so far:

 

I also committed to shopping. I’ve never been much of a shopper. I LOVE my Target runs, but thrifting, malls or any other trendy clothing oriented activity stress me out. Then I met Pinterest. I was able to find looks that I felt were “me” and began pinning them onto my “2012 New Look” board. I’ve gotta say, it gave me just enough knowledge of what I like to find consistencies in the combinations that served as great foundational pieces to add to my wardrobe. Here’s a taste of my board since you last saw it:

As you can see, I tend to gravitate towards black, love business casual and have no qualms wearing a pointy black pair of pumps every day. I find most of my inspiration comes from the life of a New Yorker, which is where I’ve come into quite the predicament in the last 6 years. Since I moved to L.A., I wasn’t quite sure how to dress (ok, fine. You win. I’ve never known, humor me.). First of all it’s warmer here, so some of the pieces I love so much (jackets, pants, boots) don’t get as much attention here. And since I don’t connect with the super west-coast hipster vibe, I found myself at a bit of a loss. Until recently. I pretty much said, “Suck it L.A” and made the decision to bring an east coast flair to the sunny and oh-so-beachy city of angels. Here’s a look at some combinations I mustered together this month on my little experiment to find a personal style.

 

 

 

 

The first half is obviously more formal, the second half is definitely more west coast casual. I’m hoping there’s a flair of the Hampton’s in there that keeps it from being too predictably L.A.

So. First step, hair/makeup. Second, figure out what words you want people to associate with you. Third, build a style board that you feel represents who you are and what you’re about. Fourth, identify stores you feel can help you get the look you’re going for. For me, it’s H&M. I may graduate some day to thrifting, but that makes me nauseous just thinking about it right now. Gotta ease into this whole style thing.

I’ll be posting a few more tips I’ve picked up so far this year. Until then, anyone have suggestions/comments/questions about how to figure out what you’re trying to communicate with your style? Hit me up!

T.V. Shows We Love At Our Casa

Posted by krystamasciale on June 27, 2012  |   3 Comments »

Thanks to Netlifx, the beginning of summer and the season finales of popular shows on T.V., I’ve seen a hike on Facebook and Twitter of this question: “What are your favorite TV shows?”

I’m no expert. Trust me. But I DO live with a filmmaker who insists we watch at least a half-dozen shows at a time. Because of this, I’m at least in the know and feel more confident than I normally would recommending the following shows for your eyeball consumption:

[AMC.]

Breaking Bad — Oh Walt. Who doesn’t like a good story about a high school chemistry teach turned meth maker/dealer because of a cancer scare? The dynamic between Walt and Jesse is fascinating.

Hell on Wheels — Ladies. Maybe the hottest man on television right now stars in this Western centered around the making of the Pacific Union RailRoad. Watch it. You’re welcome.

Mad Men — My obsession because of the time period, incredible style, dapper Don Draper and quotable advertising tidbits.

The Killing — Holy Moses. Gripping. And incredibly impressive that it took two seasons to solve ONE murder. Much like Breaking Bad, the partnership between the two leads simply glues me. Oh, and the leading role (detective Holder) is played by a brilliant female lead. LOVE. HER.

The hubs watches all of those and adds The Walking Dead, which is when I vacate the room because I hate zombies.

[HBO.]

Boardwalk Empire — I find this show fascinating because of the historical references. Set in Atlantic City in the 20s/30s during the prohibition leaves room for beautiful costume design, interesting dialogue and plenty-o-gangster action.

Game of Thrones — I don’t watch this show. In fact, I call it the screaming torture show. BUT. The hubs REALLY loves it and the scuttlebutt around town is that it’s damn good. If you can handle gory sound effects and some guts, I’m sure it’ll be one of your faves.

True Blood — Used to watch this but then got bored with vampires, fairies and crazy people. I wouldn’t recommend it.

VEEP — Probably one of my favorite new shows. Love the Tony Hale/Julia Louis-Dreyfus dynamic. The girl from My Girl is in it too! If you’re into SUPER crass female dialogue, this is for you. If not, don’t watch it. You WILL be offended.

[SHOWTIME.]

Dexter — LOVED this show until the end of Season 4. Then I was too afraid to take a bath and the show lost some of its umph. Totally worth watching up until then though! How they made me root for a serial killer is beyond me.

Homeland — Best new show on T.V. No joke. Claire Danes is absolutely brilliant in this show and the content is riveting. Think CIA agent who suspects war hero of terrorism. Mind numbingly good.

[CBS.] 

Big Bang Theory — So funny. So smart. So refreshing. Watch it.

[ABC.]

Modern Family — Funny. Hilarious and relevant family dynamics. There’s nothing earth shattering here, just good humor and totally fun to veg out to.

[NETFLIX.]

Friday Night Lights — Uh-MAZING. Watch the whole series. And lady friends … you’re welcome for introducing you to Tim Riggins if this is the first time you’ve considered watching this gem. Texas accents, high school football and a marriage we all crave (thanks coach T and Tammy Taylor!).

Downton Abbey — This is a period piece that I personally find interesting because I like castles and British accents. It’s slow but good dialogue and hits on some interesting historic moments.

Parenthood — SO GOOD. This is a win for everyone. Not offensive, good family show with some meaty content. Definitely the more ‘real’ version of family dynamics that tackles hard issues with a good mix of humor.

New Girl — I watch this on and off, but every time I do I chalk it up to a nice little guilty pleasure. It’s not rocket science, just good old fashioned girly fun. And who doesn’t love Zooey?

Friends — I’ve been watching this on the ‘off seasons’ of all these show being on hiatus. The hubs bought me the box set for my bday and I’ve LOVED watching it from the very beginning since I wasn’t into it when it was on the air. Good stuff.

Lost of good stuff to see out there on the tube ladies and gents. Did I miss anything?