Motivational Monday

After months of blog silence- I’m bringing the blog back with a ‘Motivational Monday’ post. Let’s get right to it. This post is inspired by Pink’s ‘Glitter in the Air’ song- circa 2010- but like a quality leather handbag, a good song is timeless. I was listening to it the other day and some of the lyrics (well the whole song, but specifically a few) really hit home.

“Have you ever hated yourself for staring at the phone?

You’re whole life waiting on the ring to prove you’re not alone.”

I feel like for many women, this phrase is so relevant and can be applied to so many different scenarios. Switch out ‘phone’ for ‘social media feed’ and suddenly this song lyric is about most women who beat themselves up and compare themselves to their friends’ Facebook or Instagram. This really hits home for me since I feel like in the past year everything in my feed has been about how fantastic this person looks after baby, or  how amazing their kids’ first birthday was, or how together they always are, or how exotic their vacation was.

The fact is ladies, NONE OF US have it all together ALL THE TIME. PERIOD.

Why do we look at our ‘friends’ feeds and take it for the WHOLE truth and compare ourselves? Most people only post the ‘amazing’ things in their life, OR worse yet, the things that appear amazing, so why do we feel like our lives don’t measure up? The truth is, a lot of work probably went into that post- for what?

I truly believe that social media was created to connect with friends and family and bring joy, but sometimes it does just the opposite! This Monday, I want to motive you all to #getreal with your posts. Life isn’t all roses and Starbucks pink drinks. Life is hard. Motherhood is stressful. Marriage is challenging. If you don’t what to share your struggles, don’t post a façade. If we stopped comparing ourselves to others don’t you think we wouldn’t feel the need to create the most Insta-worthy setting?

With my first Motivational Monday, I hoped to motivate my followers this week to #getreal. Post something motivational! Or something that makes you happy or better yet, something that you struggle with that we can all relate to! Lets support each other, not criticize! And remember, life shouldn’t be measured by a number of ‘likes’.

This week show me your ‘real’ posts and use the hashtag #getreal and tag @SchaferImageConsulting!

Fall Back into Place

With Fall now in full swing, I figured it was time to reconnect with all of my followers and come back to my blog. Things have been a little different over here lately! I wanted to provide all of you a little insight to the last few months as I know I have been completely M.I.A (#radiosilence).

I took a look back and the last post I published was in March! That seems almost like an eternity ago! In April, my husband and I moved into a new home. Convenient timing right? Yes, I moved at 7 months pregnant. Finding time to nap and pack took a serious toll on me and my blog got kicked to the back seat. Remember my pregnancy post about staying sexy and wearing heels? Well, April was right about the time my feet swelled to the point where even my Converse were a tight fit, let alone heels.

In May, my nesting phase began. We had a new home that we were trying to make our own, combined with the fact that I had two baby showers. Talk about baby stuff overload! I should also clarify, that I had two showers but only attended one. In May, I was also hospitalized for a stomach virus which can be very dangerous while you are pregnant.  So along with recovering from that, all month I was pretty much getting the nursery together, unpacking, and napping.

In June my bundle of amazingness entered the world! Tessa Clare was born June 10th and was a whopping 5 lbs and 13oz. Not at all what the doctors were expecting considering my husband and I are both tall. Tiny and perfect and she has taken my life by storm. I made the decision to take a break from everything work this summer and just focus my efforts on getting to know this beauty and being a mom. I won’t bore you all with the mushy comments of how amazing motherhood is, but I will say that I definitely do not regret that decision.

Now that we’re all up to speed on what happened the last few months, we can look to the upcoming new season together! So what should you expect from Schafer Image Consulting in the future? You tell me! Is there something you would like me to blog about? A question you would like answered? Let me know if so! You can certainly expect to get a regularly produced blog again. I can’t guarantee it will be the most timely every week as I am still working on juggling a baby, a blog and my clients, but I will do my best! Thank you all for being patient during my time off!

Bikini Babe or Beached Whale?

A ‘Babymoon’ has become a regular occurrence for many during their pregnancy. For those of you new to the term, babymoon: vacation while pregnant typically scheduled right before the onset of the third trimester; a last chance for relaxation before baby.  I am fortunate enough to have gone on a 6 day vacation to Tampa, Florida. Escaping New Jersey’s dreary 45 degree days, I have been basking in the sun enjoying Central Florida’s mid 80’s, warm sunshine and refreshing breezes. If it sounds like I am in no rush to come home, I’m not. But with a baby beach vacation comes another decision… to bikini or not?

Prior to this vacation I got a few ‘You’re going to wear a bikini? With your belly out?’ Ummm, isn’t that what a bikini is?! I also got, ‘Oh, I’m sure you can just buy a bigger bathing suit like a tankini and you should be fine with that’. When I responded with ‘I’m wearing a bikini’ crickets chirped. Now I can’t say all of the comments were negative, I did get a few, ‘Oh you’re going on a babymoon? Rock that bikini girl!’. I won’t name any names, but needless to say, I wasn’t sure how my decision to wear a bikini at 6 months pregnant would go over on Florida’s beaches. Clearly people have seen pregnant women before, but was this going to set off a social controversy as breast feeding in public has?

With my vacation coming to a conclusion and having worn 2 different bikinis I can report… it is Bikini Babe. I was surprised I didn’t get any looks, no double takes or any remarks. Since being pregnant I have received a slew of comments I wouldn’t dare think of, let alone say, so I figured a comment or two was bound to happen with me baring it all. But no, no looks and no comments. I did see other women probably also on their babymoons… and one in a tankini. I wanted to encourage her to swap that top out for a fabulous triangle top because I felt it was a liberating feeling to feel confident in a bikini with a bump.

Bikini or not, it is important to embrace your changing body and wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident. This honestly goes for all women, pregnant or not. Confidence truly is the sexiest thing you could wear… now I’m off to the beach in another bikini!

Why Even You Need a Closet Audit

I know it has been entirely too long since I last posted and I thank you for your patience! The recent events in my life are to blame for my lack of posting, as well as my inspiration for this blog post! My husband, baby Schaf and Beagle pup Marley are moving next month! In anticipation of the move, we have had to get our house ready to put on the market with home renovations and an excessive amount of decluttering- all while managing my fantastic clients! For me, decluttering meant taking a hard look at my closet.

closet audit

I can honestly say that the Closet Audit might just be my favorite service. It is a time when we can go through your existing wardrobe and really understand what challenges you are facing with your image, what mistakes you have been making, understand what your personal style really is, and pinpoint what shapes and styles flatter you the most. It is truly an eye opening experience. The majority of my clients are hesitant to embark on a closet audit- having a stranger come into your home and closet for 4 hours and critique your wardrobe? I get it… on the surface it may sound scary, but to be honest, every single client I have had ends the audit with a hug and a thank you and a new perspective. Each and every one of them feel as if a huge weight has been lifted off their shoulders.

It is not just this feeling that makes me say everyone needs a closet audit. While that could be a valid reason its own, here are a few others…

1. Every woman can use an outside perspective. My job as an image consultant is to ask you thought provoking questions during the audit- getting to the root of why you are making the decisions you are while shopping and how you feel when you wear certain items. In addition, an outside perspective helps to eliminate the voice in the back of your head that says ‘Well… I might wear it.’ I believe it is this voice that causes women to hold on to items.

2. Every woman struggles with their image and wardrobe. Even the most style savvy of them all, even myself, struggle with their wardrobe. I have days where I can stand in front of my closet looking puzzled just like everyone else. It may happen less often (or more often now that I am 6 months prego- ha) but it still happens. A Closet Audit helps you to eliminate items that just don’t work- maybe because of fit or style, but it helps you to eliminate pieces that don’t make you feel like your best self. How many times have you gone into your closet and saw that beautiful embellished top and have planned their outfit around it just to get dressed and remember why you haven’t worn it in months and are left feeling frustrated? It happens to all of us. A closet audit leaves you with items that not only look amazing on you but makes you feel amazing.

3. Every woman buys duplicates. I see it over and over again, we buy something to replace the sub-par version already housed within your closet. The closet audit makes room for fabulous items in your closet. It is difficult to get dressed in the morning when ill fitting items are cluttering your closet. At the end of the closet audit, we make a list of items that support your desired image and fill in the gaps of your wardrobe.

With Spring approaching (hopefully sooner than later!) why not invest in a closet audit! Lets get your wardrobe ready for the new season and reflective of your desired image!

A Leg up on Leggings

Somewhere in between stirrup pants and snap chat the legging made its debut into the fashion world and soon became the cash cow of retail establishments across America. At first, the legging was something pregnant women wore to aid their changing figures. The trend soon morphed into something worn by not just pregnant women but by all women and their daughters. Society has accepted the legging because of its comfort and its acceptance of all women in all shapes and sizes so why is it that employers and schools are now banning them?

‘Oh I’ll just wear leggings.’ I’ve heard that before. If the legging has become such a permanent fixture our lives and the fashion world, why is it that women disregard the importance to style them correctly? Here are a few points to consider when shopping and styling leggings:

1. Size. Just because leggings are stretchy doesn’t mean that they are one size fits all. When overstretched they lose their elasticity and can even become see through. Look for a legging that is a heavier ponte material instead of just a thin cotton. When trying on leggings, do a quick ‘backside check’… Bend over in the mirror… If they are see through you should not be wearing them.

2. Details matter. Leggings with seams down the front, leather tuxedo stripes, leather inlays, quilted patches, or even zippers look far more presentable than the yoga pant style. Choosing a pair like these does not compromise comfort but elevates style.

3. Put some effort into effortless. Yes wearing leggings is effortless but the rest of your outfit should be given some thought. Be sure to make sure your top is an appropriate length. When wearing tight items on the bottom be sure to offset it with a flowy top.

4.  Rips, stains and tears, no thank you! Leggings are rather inexpensive so if yours are worn out, stained, or fading, it is time to replace them.

5. Crops are for the gym. Cropped leggings should be saved for the gym. The length is not flattering on any shape as it cuts your figure in half. Leggings look best full length and tucked into a boot or bootie to create a long seamless line.

Next time leggings are your article of choice, give some consideration to the image your outfit as a whole projects. If you are choosing to wear leggings, the rest of your outfit shouldn’t look like an afterthought or as if you are choosing comfort and disregarding appearance and your image. It is possible to be comfortable and stylish at the same time!

Still Sexy

At this point, if you know me, follow me on Facebook, or follow me on Instagram you know that I am 19 weeks pregnant. And if you don’t, well here is your announcement! Baby Schaf coming in June! At 19 weeks I have had a chance experience all sorts of different emotions and to say it hasn’t been a slight emotional rollercoaster would be a complete lie.

sexy and pregnant

I’ve gone from feeling nauseous all day and not interested in any food, to feeling great and sometimes forgetting I’m even pregnant. I’ve gone from being totally overwhelmed about all these life changes to being completely excited about this next chapter! But probably one of the hardest things for me to accept is my diminishing waistline. There is no right or wrong answer for how your body changes when you become pregnant. It changes on its own time schedule, in its own way. From someone who has always been into working out and eating healthy, not feeling well enough to work out and only being able to stomach carbs was tough for me. Accepting the fact that your body is changing wasn’t something that was easy for me, but I can confidently say I have moved out of that stage! Here are a few things that helped me still feel sexy…

1. Sweat (a little… and within you heart rate range). I thought to myself, when was a great time in your life and I thought back to the year before my wedding. Granted, this question has a lot of different answers, but I remember loving working out with a trainer and getting my endorphins flowing. Fortunately, my gym gives monthly free personal training sessions. I am now on a preggo friendly workout regimen of baby friendly exercises that will not only help me maintain my pre-pregnancy figure but will also assist in delivery. My doctors were super excited when they heard I was working out still. I was even told that they are now encouraging people who don’t work out to start if they are pregnant because delivery goes smoother! (I’ll report back on that in June!)

2. Shop. The realization that you no longer have any pants that fit can be discouraging. Not to mention the selection of maternity clothes! #ugly #cheapquality #reallythosearemyoptions? As an image consultant, wardrobe is something I build for my clients, so having a nice one of my own is kind of a requirement. Fortunately after a few trips to the mall, I have found things that work for me. (stay tuned for a maternity fashion blog… or two :) ) I also found that following some pregnant fashion bloggers and some maternity stores on Instagram have helped as well. I used to get inspiration from fashion magazines before baby Schaf, why not get some inspiration from some maternity publications?!

3. Shoes. A girl can get lost in leggings. What I mean is, 9 months of leggings is enough to bring any girl’s spirits down. And I know, some of you reading this are probably thinking- ‘I would love to wear leggings every day!’ When it becomes the only thing left in your closet that fits, and you have exhausted all cute long shirt options, you may feel otherwise. So for me, shoes have been huge for me in making me still feel sexy. Any opportunity you get to wear killer heels while pregnant, I encourage you to seize this moment! Hopefully my feet don’t swell during the second half of my pregnancy, but for now, wearing some of my sexier heels helps me feel great!

Ultimately, I think you could sum up this blog post with the theme of ‘business as usual’. I think for me, it was reverting back to the things that make me happy in order for me to still feel like myself while my body is going through this amazing change really has helped me. Sure, there are a lot of things you shouldn’t do when pregnant, drink red wine every night and eat turkey sandwiches just to name a few… haha. But just because your are pregnant doesn’t mean you have to give up some of the things you love and observe from the sidelines. Good luck to my other mommies to be out there…

Golden Girls 2015

By now you have probably flipped through all of the slideshows on People.com or MSN entertainment recapping the fashions of the Golden Globes. So what am I going to tell you that is different? Probably not much. But what I will tell you is why certain styles worked and why some… well, just failed. Its crazy to think that last year’s 2014 Golden Globe awards was my first blog post ever! Last year we saw the break out Lupita N’yungo stunning the crowd in her red cape dress. My post about the power of choosing bold fashion items to make a lasting statement held true- all year long Lupita was recognized not just for being a breakout actress, but also as a fashion icon with designers grappling at her feet to get her to wear their designs.

This year’s Golden Globes was all about metallics and red! I’ve always thought what would you wear if on the red carpet? And this year… two words. J. Lo. Her hair was a little Grammy’s worthy, but that didn’t change the fact that she stunned in that Zuhair Murad caped silver beaded gown! There were so many dazzling dresses this year! Here are my favorite metallic and red gowns of the evening!

metalic golden globe

redhot golden globe

So what about them worked? For starters, I say it to all of my clients and I will continue to say it… FIT. A well fitted black dress (hmmm, please not with white leather gloves though) is stunning and more memorable than an ill fitting dazzling detailed gown. Fortunately for these ladies, they hit both fit and dazzle. The accessories paired were also spot on. Its for this reason that I didn’t love Naomi Watts this year in a strapless yellow Gucci gown. Sure, she looked beautiful. But I wouldn’t have kept that brooch on the dress if I was wearing such a predominant serpent necklace. I found the two of them to be distracting together.

So who were my favorites you say? I thought you’d never ask.

fav golden globe

I already told you I loved Jo.Lo, but Katherine Heigel stunned in Zac Posen and Kate Hudson looked jaw droppingly hot in Versace. There is no denying how gorgeous all of these women looked, but what they all had in common is that they stood out from the sea of gowns with their perfectly tailored gowns all paired with the right shoes and accessories.

So who failed? Or rather who should have just fired their stylist? Well, I think there were the obvious misses like Kiera Knightley in a rather nightly gown… aka a MooMoo nightgown. I have a had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that this came out of Chanel. But Keira’s not alone.

golden glove fail

So why did they fail? Katie Holmes looks like a bridesmaid. Her dress was too long and she was just underwhelming. Sure, all bridesmaids would hope they look that good in a bridesmaid dress or that their dresses were that pretty… but never should you strive to look like a bridesmaid outside of a wedding. Claire Danes and Lana Del Rey have fit issues. Both dresses are gaping around the boob area.  Tina Fey just mad a bad decision. That dress would look terrible on anyone with its awkward construction. Lastly, Jennifer, it kills me to put you on my list but that dress looks like something out of my high school prom. The halter, the cheap looking sequins and did you borrow Justin’s cumber bun?

Award season has officially began and I can’t wait to see what fashions the season brings!

Building a Closet Off Clearance

The hustle and bustle of the holidays is over and it’s time to put away all of the decorations and return to reality. But with the conclusion of the holiday season comes an opportunity to capitalize on all of the holiday inventory that retailers are desperately trying to offload. Here are some things to consider when building your closet off the clearance rack.

Fabulous at full price. Ask yourself ‘If it were full price would I want it?’  I say ‘want it’ verses ‘buy it’ because you may not be tempted by its original pricey ticket. This is a key thing to ask yourself. It is easy to get caught up in all of the red stickers and slashing prices, so try to think of the item and not its price (for a minute at least!). If the answer to this question is yes, than the item it is probably a fabulous not a frivolous find. does it fit?  A sale is not a good sale if you can’t get a lot of wear out of it. If the item does not fit properly, you most likely won’t wear it. Unless you are willing to invest in a tailor to create the perfect fit, don’t be blinded by the sale and purchase items only that best complement your figure to make you look and feel your absolute best.

Opt for ‘stylish’ not ‘trendy’.  Don’t be blinded by the season’s hottest trends. Pretty soon the weather is going to change and you will not be able to wear this item. If it’s too trendy, most likely you won’t want to wear it next year either, which is a key sign of an impulse purchase. Stick to styles that are classic and well-tailored, they always stay in style. Items like blazers, riding boots, outerwear, bathing suits, wool sweaters and accessories are all great sale purchases because they are items that don’t change much from year to year and are deeply discounted at the end of the season. Stay away from bold prints as they can be faddish.

Consider your existing wardrobe. Do you already own something like this? Will the item fit seamlessly in your existing wardrobe? Use a sale to take advantage of expanding your wardrobe to include pieces you do not already own, or wouldn’t want to pay full price to invest in. Similarly, consider your existing wardrobe and determine if you have the necessary pieces to make this item wearable. The longer an item sits in your closet unworn, the less likely you will be to wear it.

Quality, not quantity. Utilize a good sale as an opportunity to purchase high quality items that you may not normally splurge on. Seeking out items like this will round out your wardrobe and make it appear as if you paid full price! When investing in quality pieces, pay attention to the details such as the fabric, stitching and buttons to ensure the item is well made. A quality piece will get more mileage in your wardrobe and you will be able to style it over and over again.

Think ahead to next year. Are you planning to get pregnant in the upcoming year? Planning on moving to a different climate? If this is the case, you may want to use the clearance rack to invest in items that would be relevant for that life change. Maternity clothes can be expensive, and so can changing out your wardrobe to accommodate a different climate. Why not grab a few pieces to jumpstart the change while they are on sale!

How to look stylish on NYE

NYE is just a day away and I know so many of you out there are probably asking yourselves, ‘What should I wear?’ or asking your friends, ‘What are you wearing?’ Both said in a concerned fashionista voice. Well its not too late! Here are my style solutions for this year’s celebration, wherever the night takes you!

NYE stylish pic

1. The tailored short. A tailored short with tights and blouse is a fun and unconventional approach to NYE fashion. Shorts are a perfect style solution for a night out with your man or your ladies, or even for a house party! They are more dressy than wearing denim, but are still just as comfortable! Texture is a huge trend for this New Year, choose a pair in a tweed or even leather! Love this pair and the price!

2. The Jumpsuit. Do I sound like a broken record? Probably. I love jumpsuits and wish more people would wear them! Remember my post about them? Oh wait, I wrote 2 posts about them. Love this one! The gold polka dot detail adds shine and makes it very festive while the shape makes it easy to wear! The jumpsuit is appropriate for cocktails, but can also be perfect for a black tie affair!

3. A Statement Coat. Planning on walking around the city for a First Night celebration? Your coat is just as important as your outfit it is. I encourage all of my clients to invest in a statement coat as it is the first item people see you in, but for situations as First Night, a killer coat is imperative to staying stylish as you are sipping your bubbly. What makes a statement coat? Luxe details and saturated unexpected colors! I love the bright colored of this style!

4. Shine bright like a diamond. Shine is always on trend for NYE. If I’m going out dancing then that shine is probably on my face, but that’s not what were talking about here ladies. Whether you are donning diva like accessories or sporting sequins, add a little shine to your NYE outfit. Remember keeping a good balance is always important, so if you are wearing a sequin dress you can downplay your accessories a little. As I have mentioned before, accessories are the easiest and cheapest way to transform any outfit. So if you aren’t looking to invest in a new outfit for NYE, opt for new accessories to glitter your way into 2015. I think if NYE were a necklace it would look something like this :)

In case you didn’t hear, Schafer Image Consulting was featured in South Jersey’s Courier Post on NYE fashion! Read the entire article here.

Happy New Year! Be safe!

Dressing for your work holiday party

Its the week before Christmas and you know what that means… no I’m not talking about all the rushing around you’ll be doing to get your gifts in order or cookies baked, I’m talking about all of the holiday parties you are about to attend. Most likely if your job hosts a holiday party it will be this week, and when dressing for your holiday party I have a few tips and guidelines you should consider…

office holiday party

1. Consider your company’s dress code. When dressing for your work party, treat it as an extension of work. By all means, indulge in sparkle and shine, but remember to not to stray too far from the daily dress code. This means, don’t show too much leg, keep the cleavage to a minimum and keep your accessories tasteful. It is understood that your attire should be a little more ‘party’ but don’t use this as you opportunity to début your new crop top.

2. Present a more polished ‘you’. Remember when going to your company’s party you still want to look like yourself. So if you typically wear light makeup to work, try amping it up slightly with a shimmery eye or a red lip. Don’t go overboard with your hair or makeup as this can throw off your co-workers. You want them to tell you how fabulous you look, not how ‘different’ you look.

3. Shine on! Just because its your work holiday party doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a little sparkle! When choosing your glitter, follow this rule ‘one and done’. Opt for a sparkly top or a statement necklace… not both. If your dress is the star of your outfit, keep your accessories minimal.

Beyond what your wearing, remember you are celebrating the holidays with your boss. Keep the drinking to a minimum as you don’t want to be the talk of the office the next day. Make sure to make conversation with your boss and have your co-workers introduce you to new people. Happy Holidays!