December 15, 2017

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

This post is sponsored by PetSmartAll content and opinions are my own. 

By far one of the greatest gifts to ever come into my life was the introduction of my two pets, Lily and Frankie. I never had pets growing up but always loved animals and knew they would be a big part of my life. Now, as an adult, and BFF to Lily (who is very camera shy) and Frankie for over a decade, I honestly can't imagine a day in my life without the love and companionship of animals.

There's a lot to be said about the emotional and mental health benefits of having pets. And let's be honest: 2017 has been one long, tough, painful year for almost everyone I know. There has been so much turmoil and devastation and upheaval in all corners of the world, my own little corner included, and I can't imagine having gotten through this year and all it's stresses without Frankie and Lily. [

If you follow me at all on instagram, you have an idea of what a big role Frankie plays in my life - but she really, truly is my best friend. 

PetSmart is where I shop for lots of accessories and care products for my pets (Frankie loves anything with squeakers and Lily is a freak for catnip), and this holiday season they have a selection of items that are focused on giving back 

Gifts for Fur Babies (And Their Humans)

I love a faux fur blanket in general, but so do both my animals. This one is chic and understated without overwhelmingly evoking this-is-a-thing-for-pets. It goes with my home decor while also being washable and pet-proof. And the best part: 10% of each sale goes back to PetSmart Charities to help save homeless pets. Oh, and it's under $15.

2. Wait -- Ellen Degeneres Has a Collection for Animals?!
Yep - and this Cat Bed is purr-fect
Okay, I've long known Ellen is a huge animal lover and advocate - but I didn't actually know she has a pet collection. Last time I went in the store, I fell in love with this super stylish cat basket. Yes, I know it's for cats - and Lily loves it, but it's perfect for small dogs, too.

I couldn't resist picking up a couple of the toys from Ellen's collection, too!
This one is so adorable and Frankie grabbed it to play with immediately. 

Another gift that gives back, these $5 plush toys with squeakers also benefit the PetSmart charities. Because Frankie loves cats and this one won't hiss at her, I got her Lucky the cat.

5. And The Essentials Give Back, Too
I truthfully spoil the heck out of Frankie, but if I'm being honest with myself (and you) the only things she ever really wants are food and my attention. One of PetSmart's on-going programs for 2017 has been "Buy a Bag, Give a Meal" which provides a meal for every bag of pet food purchased in their stores. 

November 21, 2017

{STYLE} Kira Kira Through the Holidays

It's no surprise to anyone who knows me or has read my blog for a while that I've always been attracted to the super sparkly things in life. I love glitz and glamour and the way they reflect light. I've always been a magpie - so as soon as the holiday season rolls, I really revel in the opportunity to glitter from morning to night. This year has been particularly special cause it's the first time I also get to design my dream holiday pieces (coming soon!), but in the meantime, I've been loving all the sparkle happening elsewhere. One of my UK high street faves, River Island, had this shimmery velvet, gold-foil polka dot dress, and I knew I had to have it. It's a perfect dress for a night out and is so. damn. comfortable. It catches the light on its own without Kira Kira, but I can't wait to dance through the night and celebrate the season with my friends while wearing this! This has been such a challenging year with major career milestones - and it's high time to take a little break and celebrate.

This post is sponsored by River Island.

All content and opinions are my own. 

November 7, 2017

To Those Who Believed in Me, And to Those Who Didn't

This post was developed in collaboration with P&G as part of their Love Over Bias campaign.
All content and opinions are my own.

Even with all the privilege I have in navigating the world (my middle eastern heritage is hidden behind my pale skin, my queer identity is often invisible, and I'm of able body), I've been challenged by the external limitations imposed onto me. Whether it was in my pursuit of sports as a child and teenager, when I really excelled at swimming and water polo but was discouraged from "bulking up" because it wasn't "ladylike," or in wanting to pursue the arts for my higher education but being discouraged because it wasn't a traditional, "safe" path, or wanting to work in fashion but being told, quite literally, that I'd have to lose weight to be taken seriously in the industry - I've been told "no" so many times. What if I wasn't socialized to believe that being gay, or jewish, or middle eastern, or a first generation American, or fat - were all somehow barriers to my success? What if the intersection of my identities were celebrated and seen as unique assets rather than something I should try to obscure?

I like to imagine a world where everyone is encouraged to pursue their dreams; yes, doses of reality are important and it can be even more damaging to set people up to fail, but being supported and cheerlead is so vital to promoting self-confidence and helping people actualize their goals and dreams. I like to imagine a world where we don't have to push doors open, because there are no doors - and people have the agency to move in and out of spaces freely and equally, a world where we all approach opportunities on a leveled playing field, a world where we're all recognized and celebrated for our individual beauty, our power, our talent.

In anticipation of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, P&G is celebrating all the people who ever said "yes, you can do this" - especially the moms and maternal figures in our lives. The "Love over Bias" spot brought me to tears -- and I think is a lived truth relatable to anyone with a marginalized identity or experience. While I don't think the emotional labor of encouraging and supporting should be left only on the shoulders of women, I know how often that work is left to mothers alone - and how important it is to recognize and appreciate. The support I've had from my mom has been invaluable. She's been one of my biggest sources of inspiration my entire life, and now, as an adult and entrepreneur, she's my biggest fan and advocate. She has taught me that women should feel empowered to be more.

I know, for certain, that I wouldn't be where I am today without having heard "no, you can't" so many times - and working so hard to defy and prove those "no's" wrong. I also can't imagine how much further I might possibly be, or what else I might have pursued or accomplished, if I heard more "yesses," and if I was encouraged at more points along my journey to pursue my dreams.

This post was developed in collaboration with P&G as part of their Love Over Bias campaign.
All content and opinions are my own.

October 5, 2017

{STYLE} Black Tie, Optional

This is a fact: ever since I first started writing at Marie Claire, back in 2011, I would get emails from people asking where to shop for a plus size gown or evening dress, and no matter where they were in the country - I knew there was likely a David's Bridal near them. It may seem like an unlikely place to shop, but for as long as I can remember, they've carried plus-size gowns (and even prom dresses), and it was a reliable recommendation considering they have brick and mortar stores almost everywhere in the US. There are certainly more evening wear options now for bodies above a size-12, but few are available in person. The size ranges vary by style and designer (sadly, those gorgeous Truly by Zac Posen dresses cut off at a 14), they carry pieces in sizes 0-30, (the dress I'm wearing is available in sizes 0-26). 

Whether I'm going to a wedding or a gala (okay, the latter is rare - but it has happened!), dressing for formal occasions can definitely be a little anxiety-producing. There are so many rules, but for me, I always prefer to err on the side of overdressed versus under dressed, and for occasions or venues where my tattoos may be deemed 'inappropriate', the addition of a chic jacket or shawl does the trick. I knew I liked this dress immediately when I saw it, but I didn't expect to fall in love with it quite as much as I did once I put it on. It's comfortable, elegant, and the mesh at the cowl neckline and at the back of the dress add just enough intrigue for me to elevate this otherwise simple gown. I always get questions about what kind of bra works with a strapless or off-shoulder situation, too - so in anticipation of that, this is my favorite. 

With fall formal events and holiday parties on the horizon, what are you all looking to wear? I'm excited to put this one into immediate rotation. 

October 3, 2017

{STYLE} Travel Essentials

As the unlikely boss of a baby start-up, I've spent much of the last couple of years traveling back and forth between coasts to make magic happen. I know, all that ~bicoastal living~ I've been doing came without much explanation, but keeping our business plans under wraps while we were in development was so necessary. My almost-weekly flights have definitely come at the cost of feeling thoroughly rested, but I've learned some tricks to flying as comfortably as possible. While I'm not really a sweatpants or pajamas on the plane kind of girl, I'm also definitely no longer the dress-for-the-runway while traveling kind of girl, anymore, either. Also, with my 20's definitely in the past, so too are cross-country red-eye flights. These days - comfort is key.

I picked up these Lysse leggings from Bloomingdale's, (they have lots of styles in both plus and straight sizes). The faux-leather legging makes me feel like I'm in something a little more put-together than athletic gear, while being ultra comfortable. They feel like they're fleece lined, too, so they're extremely soft and cozy. 

My other probably-common-sense travel tips? Drink water. Don't wear makeup on the plane. Moisturize lots. Sanitize the arm rests & tray tables. Walk around the cabin. Be kind to your fellow passengers. Be comfy! 


This post is sponsored by Bloomingdales. 
All content and opinions are my own.