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community building

Celebration of Sisterhood!

About two months ago I decided to gather a few local ladies and have a professional  photo shoot.  My desire was to showcase women of different age groups, body types and sizes wearing varying styles of LuLaRoe.   Our photographer was the beautiful Kristen Kirkland of Ada-Lynn Photography, and I couldn’t be happier with how the photos turned out.

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I wanted this gathering to be about more than just taking photos and playing dress up.  I wanted it to have a deeper meaning.  Kristen Kirkland did a wonderful job at capturing  the intimate connections and friendships that can be formed through something as simple as clothes.  It was truly a gathering of friends.

There was much laughter and sharing about our lives, work, our children, etc.  We got to see each other in such an intimate way that is often missing in cyberspace (Facebook).  Each one of us felt supported, encouraged and celebrated.    AedIMG_4269

One of my favorite moments of our gathering was when we were all in my Lula room and I was demonstrating how to style the Maxi skirt as a dress.  Kristen has an uncanny ability to capture the energy of any given moment with her lens. The images shown below are so beautiful to me, as they remind me of the ritual between a bride and her maid of honors, as they help her prepare for walking down the aisle. It was just such a powerful moment!  AedIMG_4357
AedIMG_4359The day turned out to be absolutely gorgeous and we were able to get some beautiful shots outside on our farm.

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Even the chickens made an appearance!

They are all insanely gorgeous.  However, what makes these women even more beautiful, is their warm spirit;  their inner beauty just shines! I am so blessed to now be able to call each one of them my friend.  AedIMG_4161AedIMG_4441AedIMG_4272I hope you enjoyed these photos.

A wise person once said:  “Each time women gather in circles with each other, the world heals a little more.”  I believe we need more of this!  So we are already planning our second sisterhood gathering for this coming fall.  I will share more information as we get closer to narrowing down a date.

I can’t wait to meet up with these beauties again, and I hope you consider joining us for the next one, if you are local to me!

I ♥  you!

Ari

 

Recipes

Hibiscus Lemonade (aka Liquid Crack)!

I am still on cloud nine from our Celebration of Sisterhood  photo shoot yesterday!  I feel so blessed to have been able to spend my afternoon with a group of beautiful souls that I now call sisters and friends.

As if playing dress up in my LuLa room and being photographed by an amazing photographer wasn’t enough, there was so much laughter, girl talk, encouragement and of course food!  The day was just perfect and beautiful, but man it was hot as Hades!  So it was a good thing that I had a few jars of my Hibiscus lemonade on the ready.  The girls loved it so much (they couldn’t stop drinking it), that they have dubbed it “liquid crack’!  And  modesty aside… yes, it’s THAT good!

So good in fact, that one of the girls mentioned how she believes it helped her arthritic hand.  She noticed how the swelling was completely gone by the time she reached home and how she was able to move her pinky finger.  If you don’t know the health benefits of the Hibiscus flower, I encourage you to look it up.  There are many!

A little known fact about me is that I am an herbalist.  I came up with this recipe several years ago when I was writing my herbal book.  After experimenting with different combinations, I settled upon this one,  because I feel the combination of citrus juices balance the delicate flavors of the hibiscus tea perfectly.

I’ve had to so many requests for this recipe over the years, that I think it’s finally time to share it for everyone to enjoy!

Recipe Ingredients:

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2 quarts of spring or filtered water

1/2 cup dried Hibiscus flowers (organic if possible)

1 cup of pure cane sugar (or add to taste)

Juice of one lemon

Juice of one lime

Juice of one navel orange

1 tablespoon of quality vanilla (I use homemade or organic Madagascar Vanilla)

Instructions:

First we are going to make the Hibiscus tea by adding the flowers to a pot with water. Turn flame on high and let it almost reach boiling point.  Once the water starts to want to boil, turn flame off , cover pot and let it sit until it is at room temperature.  This will allow the flower’s healing properties and flavor to infuse the water. (**The longer you let the flowers sit in the water before straining, the stronger the tea and the more pronounced the flavor of your lemonade will be).

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Add Hibiscus flowers to water, place on med-high heat 

Next, squeeze the juice of the lime, orange and lemon.  If you do not like pulp in your lemonade, you should strain the juice from the pulp at this point.  Now you can go ahead and add the sugar and vanilla to the juice.  Stir so that the sugar is dissolved. Combine your Hibiscus tea with the citrus juice in a glass mason jar and you are done!

There are so many ways you can enjoy this awesome lemonade.  Add some fresh fruit or some sparkling water to make it an effervescent treat.  You can also mix it with your favorite adult beverage like wine or hard liquor.

I hope you give this recipe a try.  I know your kids/family will love it!  It is a simple drink that makes for a healthier alternative to sugary and caffeinated drinks.

(PS) I have added a link for where I get my Hibiscus flowers in the ingredients section above.

I ♥ you!

Ari

fashion trends

Top 5 Summer Fashion Trends

When it comes to fashion, there is nothing new under the sun.  As expected, many of this summer’s biggest trends are repeats from last year, but some are new, at least to us.

As with anything, some of these styles may not be for everyone.  One thing is certain however; this year’s trends will make dressing up just a bit more fun!  These summer trends might even push you outside of your fashion comfort zone a bit.

HERE ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITES:

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Obi Belt

 

1.  OBI BELT (waist cincher) –  Cinched waist belts are very popular right now! Psst… remember my May 4th post about belts?!  In that post I swooned over the gorgeous OBI BELT.  This Japanese inspired style was introduced during fashion week and has been a favorite of mine because it flatters most shapes and instantly defines your waistline.  You can wear an Obi belt with a Classic T, an Ana dress, a blouse or even over a Joy.

 

2. STRIPES – The fashion world gathered inspiration from the banker’s wardrobe and came out with what will likely be the biggest trend this year.

Many women are afraid of stripes, but when balanced properly, they can be flattering and so much fun! Blue with white is the most common.  However, black and white or any other color combination works.  Small stripes or big and bold stripes (vertical and horizontal) are my absolute favorite for pattern mixing.

3.  LAYERING COVER – This is one of my favorite trends and one that I think will stay around for a while.  There is something so feminine and elegant about finishing off an outfit with a layering cover.

LLR offers many layering covers.  The Joy is a favorite of many LuLa lovers, because it is extremely effective at visually elongating the female frame – think of it like shapewear that is worn on the outside.  Our LLR layering covers are also very versatile.  You can wear them as is, wear a cinching Obi belt over them, or tie the sides.  You can even wear the Monroe as a sexy and stylish bathing suit cover. Because  they are so lightweight, our layering covers are ideal for hot summer days and also transition nicely into the fall and colder months.

4.  LACE MIDI SKIRT –   It is no surprise that this particular skirt style was a hit during fashion week in Paris.  It is so feminine and alluring.

If you are a fan of this lace midi skirt, then you will find the LLR Lola to be a dream!  Try pairing a lace Lola skirt with a Classic T, over a coordinating Julia, or pair it with your own graphic Tee to instantly balance and tone down the dressiness of the skirt.  It is such a playful and fun look!

5. YELLOW – I absolutely love this bright happy color and it often goes unnoticed when compared to other colors.  Many designers chose this color for their spring/summer collection, and it is really no surprise.  Yellow always manages to make an appearance every spring, so expect to see it in every hue.

So there you have it ladies! There were of course many more trends to speak of – such as miniature pocket books and artsy prints – but the above are just a few of my personal favorites.  And even if you don’t see yourself adopting any of these trends, you have to admit, the fashion world always keeps things interesting and entertaining.

I think it’s pretty awesome that LuLaRoe strives to be a company that continues to keep up with – and in some instances stays ahead of – the ever-changing fashion trends, don’t you?

I  ♥ you!

Ari

 

 

clothing, customer service, Uncategorized

Don’t Worry … Be Happy!

Have you heard about LuLaRoe’s new Happiness Policy?!  We are pretty excited about it!

If you are my regular customer, then you already know that I value your happiness.  If for any reason your purchase does not meet your expectations, I am committed to finding a solution that will keep you happy and maintain the confidence you have in me as an independent retailer of the LuLaRoe brand. 18386856_10212713823270167_717030862_n

LuLaRoe has now established a return policy that reinforces the fact that they stand behind their product and their independent fashion retailers. Here’s LuLaRoe’s new policy broken down into three parts:

Make Good Program

You will now be able to receive reimbursement from defective purchases that haven’t already been replaced or refunded by an independent retailer.

“The ‘MAKE GOOD Program’ entitles Consumers to a product replacement, LuLaRoe Gift Card, or refund for products containing a defect in materials or workmanship purchased between January 1, 2016 and April 24, 2017 from an authorized Independent Fashion Retailer. If you have received a defective product, we want to make things right.”

You can find more info and details HERE. Bear in mind that this offer is limited and is meant to help make things right in regards to any past issues. So if you are one of the unfortunate few that purchased a damaged pair of leggings or other item from a retailer that did not help you resolve the issue, you should click on the link for details. 18387331_10212713822870157_1029274446_n

Happiness Policy

LuLaRoe now has a return/exchange/refund policy in place, that will become it’s standard.  This is no different than what my customers are already accustomed to.  In fact, my customers know that when they shop with me they will always get the royal treatment. That includes if and when things don’t go 100% as expected and they are unhappy with their purchase due to a defect.  Because of LuLaRoe’s new Happiness Policy standard, customers can be assured that every retailer will honor this policy.

The LuLaRoe Happiness Policy   states that “If at any time during the first 30 days you are not completely satisfied or happy with your purchase, please contact the Independent Fashion Retailer who sold you the product and provide your original purchase receipt to receive a full refund, credit or *exchange.”

One word of advice!  Save your LuLa purchase receipts, as you will need to present proof of purchase, should you decide to take advantage of this Happiness Policy in the future!  A simple “LuLaRoe” folder in your email box should suffice.  LuLaRoe’s Happiness Policy also states “If at any time in the first 90 days you are not completely satisfied or happy with your purchase, please contact any Independent Fashion Retailer and provide your original purchase receipt to receive a credit or *exchange.”  Be sure to read it all HERE.18447873_10212713822990160_47615340_n

Limited Warranty

This Limited Warranty policy is separate from the Happiness Policy, so you will have to determine which policy your LuLaRoe piece falls under. Again, this DOES NOT cover any damage from ordinary wear and tear or accidents.  If you open your package and the item is damaged, it would fall under this category.  Or, if you put your brand new leggings on and you experience a tear or hole, then that would fall under this Limited Warranty.  You can read the full details HERE.

By implementing this Happiness Policy, LuLaRoe has just standardized excellent customer service, which should be every Independent Fashion Retailer’s goal to begin with.  If you are not my customer and for some reason you are not able to connect with your Independent Fashion Retailer (or your Independent Fashion retailer is no longer active), a Fashion retailer near you can process your return.  You also have the option of contacting LuLaRoe’s  Consumer Services T.E.A.M by going to ww.lularoe.com/happinesspolicy.

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.

I ♥ you!

Ari

clothing

Fashion Tip – Choosing the right belt for your shape!

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It is my humble opinion that belts are truly the hero accessory!  A simple and boring outfit can instantly become amazing with a belt.  Belts add nuance and allow you to look more polished 18336658_10212646549988377_215307048_n.jpgand like you put a little more effort into your outfit.  However, not everyone is fond of belts.  I have spoken to women who have expressed that they do not feel they could,  or should EVER wear belts – because of their body type.

If you are in this category, keep reading, because you might just change your mind.  Between colors, shapes, styles and sizes, there are certainly enough options to make anyone say… ‘forget about it!”  Hopefully this information will help you narrow it down to a few basics, so that you are better able to choose a belt style and size that will perfectly accentuate your body type, and compliment that gorgeous outfit sitting in your wardrobe.

So the important question should be “how do I know which belt is right for my body type?”  In order to know what is most flattering when it comes to clothing and accessories, you need to know your body type.  Actually, this is something every woman should know. Bear in mind however, that no two body types are identical; there are many variables such as bust size, vertical proportions, etc.  So this should only serve as a general guideline:

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Here is a quick breakdown of the basic shapes depicted above:

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A contrast color belt will draw attention to & define your waist

Hour Glass Shape – You are widest at your bust and hips.  The measurements are bigger than your waist, and you are visually broader in the shoulders.

Pear Shape  – You tend to have narrow shoulders, a smaller bust, well defined waist, full hips and thighs, and a rounded bum.

Apple Shapes – You are fullest in the middle, and your waist measurement is larger than your bust and hip measurement.

Column Shape & Rectangle Shapes – Your bust, waistline, hips and shoulders are visually around the same size and your bust, waist and hip measurements are similar.

Triangle Shape – Your hips are wider than your bust and waist, while your shoulders are visually narrower.  Your hips have the widest measurement.

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Example of “high contrast” belt
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Example of “low contrast” belt

Once you’ve determined where you fall in the body type spectrum, you can begin to explore which belt suits your shape best.  There are seven belt styles that I want to share with you, which may help you decide:

1. Stretchy Band Belt – Stretchy wide belts benefit apple shapes and rectangle shapes.  If you’re any one of these shapes, you may find that these types of belts will be your lifesaver!  For apple shapes, wear them right below the bust line to accentuate your curves.

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Stretch band belts cinch you in and  help give your waist definition

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2.Kimono (aka Obi) Belt – If you’ve never experimented with this belt you are seriously missing out!  This belt is absolute perfection! Not only does it add an exotic flair to an otherwise plain outfit, but it does wonders for your midsection.  It perfectly shows off your natural curves and cinches you in, and accentuates your waistline.

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Obi belts are pure perfection!

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Plus size figures can look amazing in Obi belts too!

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3. Chain Belt – This is one of those times when going back to basics really pays off. When used on the right styles, chain belts can really make an outfit look much more stylish and classy.  Choose a decorative belt to make your outfit come together and look more stylish or pick a chain belt that is more dainty for a softer and more feminine look.  Chain belts can be worn by hour glass and pear shapes right at the natural waist line, or by rectangle/column shapes, low at the hip to create the illusion of a waist.

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Chain belts are timeless and so classy

4. Rope Belt –  These are simple and flattering to almost any body type and will add a touch of whimsy to your outfit.

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Simplicity in form and function

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5.  Skinny Belts – I want ALL the skinny belts!  One could never have too many.  I want them in every color of the rainbow!  If you have a long torso and wear a skinny belt that contrasts the color of your top, it will accentuate your waist.   On the other hand, if you have a short torso, choose a skinny belt that blends in or coordinates with your top so that it gives the illusion of a longer torso.

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Skinny belts in contrasting colors accentuate the waistline

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As a general rule, narrow skinny belts flatter short waists.

Hour glass shapes benefit from skinny/slim belts, as they will accentuate your figure. The belt should be placed on level with your belly button.  Hour glass shapes also look great with stretchy wide belts, unless you have a really short torso, in which case you should opt for a medium wide belt or a skinny belt.

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6. If you are a rectangle shape, a closet essential for you would be a dark colored skinny belt and a medium wide stretchy belt.  Rectangle shapes must avoid belts that are too bright or that have lots of horizontal details, as they will make your waist look bigger.  Instead, aim for for belts with vertical interest that draw the eye up and down.  (Also see chain belt and rope belt above).

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7.  Hip Belt – Inverted triangle, column and rectangle shapes will be most flattered by medium sized dark colored belts that sit right above the hipbone.  This will add shape to your body.  Choose dark bold colors.  You basically want to blend the color of the belt (low contrast) with your top garment.  If you choose a high contrast color belt, consider wearing a jacket over your belted top, which will further create the illusion of  a defined waist.

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If you are thinking “Great Ari! Now I have to go out and spend a fortune on new belts” –  you are wrong!  I have scored my best belts at the local thrift stores.  I have found skinny belts in almost every color, chain belts, a super cute rope belt, and several stretchy belts – all for under $2.  The only belts that I have paid retail for were the Obi belts that I sourced from Amazon (2 for $11.99)!  So there you go!

And if after reading this, you still can’t decide what belt style would work best for you, just wear what makes you feel beautiful!  Because in all honesty, confidence is the best accessory you could ever wear!

I ♥ you!

Ari

clothing

Garment Pilling – Why does it happen and how do I stop it?!

If you’ve witnessed those annoying tiny balls on the surface of one of your LULA treasures, you my friend have been a victim of fabric pilling!  If you are one of the few that has never witnessed this unsightly event, and are wondering… ‘Ari, what are you talking about?”, let me explain.  Fabric pilling is basically the formation of small, fuzzy balls on the surface of a fabric. It does not necessarily affect usage, but depending on where the pilling occurs, it totally detracts from the appearance of the fabric, making it look old and worn.  And if ignored, it is often quite difficult to restore a garment to its original condition.  So before you decide to retire your favorite garment because of unsightly pilling, I am going to share with you some quick fixes that might change your life! Ok… that was a bit dramatic… but you will thank me for sure!

First of all, it is important to bear in mind that while certain types of fibers and weaves are more prone to fabric pilling than others, pilling IS a normal part of ‘wear and tear’, and it is not an indication of the quality of the garment per se.  In fact, it is not something exclusive to garments.  Pilling can occur to rugs and even furniture! But understanding WHY it happens is an important first step in learning how to mitigate this annoying occurrence.

WHAT AFFECTS PILLING?

I am sure there are more factors, but I have found that there are generally two things to consider:

A. Type of fabric:

The tendency for a “natural” fabric (i.e., linen, wool, cotton, etc.) to pill is generally less or virtually non-existent, given the fact that when pills form on natural fabric, they fall off by themselves – unlike with synthetic fabrics. Pilling is more of an inherent issue with synthetic fabrics, because the anchor fibers are very strong in synthetic fabrics, and the pills do not fall off on their own. They actually must be removed manually, either by shaving or plucking –  which is quite annoying!  So again, natural fabrics like linen, cotton and wool, pill much less and the pills fall off; whereas synthetic fabrics made from fibers like polyester and nylon, tend to pill more.

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To explain it further, when you look at compact fabrics like denim, you will notice that they are less prone to pilling because compact fabrics have no gaps between their fibers, so there is no path for them to migrate to the surface.  But loose clothes like shawls, sweaters, etc., undergo a lot of pilling, because of the loose fibers and gaps in the fabric, causing them to migrate to the surface.

B.Improper care/ laundering:

Many of us are used to just throwing our clothes in the washing machine without reading labels, because let’s admit it… it’s less time consuming.  However, when we wash synthetic fabrics on a long wash cycle –  with towels, jeans, etc., it seriously compromises the integrity of the garment. The agitating action of the washing machine alone, causes the gaps between the fibers to loosen and tear, and this causes the pilling to migrate to the surface.  So combining our LuLa treasures with towels, jeans, work clothes etc., is a no-no!

HOW CAN I PREVENT OR LESSEN PILLING?

Here are some easy to implement suggestions:

  1. Hand wash your LuLa treasures (and anything you love) if at all possible. If time does not permit this and you must machine wash, then turn garment inside out and wash on a delicate short cycle!18155637_10212592160508674_1384011306_n
  2. Properly separate clothes before laundering.
  3. Consider the type of fabric detergent you are choosing!
  4. Get a fabric shaver or sweater pumice stone (found on Amazon) to curb the amount of pilling. I have personally used a brand new shaving razor successfully!  A razor is easy enough on your skin so if done gently and slowly it is easy enough on your clothes.  Just pull affected area taut with fingers and gently shave against the grain of the fabric.  Use a lint roller to pull off shaven balls.

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5.  Do not overload your machine when washing your LuLa or other garments you love!

6.  Do not machine dry your LuLa or it will shrink & you’ll be VERY sad. Always hang dry!

Contrary to popular belief, pilling in a garment is not an indication of poor quality.  In fact, you will find as much pilling in a $35 garment, as you will  in a garment that cost $150 – when the common denominator is that they are both made with synthetic fabrics.

There are some compromises to reduce pilling, but as one  would expect, they come at the cost of other factors being compromised.  If we do not want any pilling AT ALL, the types of fabrics we choose in our clothing will have to be considered.  For one, we would have to stick with only natural fabrics.  Additionally, synthetic fabric blends are typically used because they are relatively inexpensive, softer, much more comfortable and very user friendly.  To put this in perspective, just think back to the days when we had to dry clean only or iron our nicer clothes!

If a clothing manufacturer were to seek out creating a piece of clothing that did not experience any pilling, the fabric would have to be made more compact and the comfort factor would definitely be compromised.  Choosing fabrics that have a bit more of a spandex feel to them also helps to ensure that you experience less pilling. So for you LuLa lovers, this might mean sticking with styles that are known to be constructed with that slinky wrinkle-free material known as  D.T.Y.  Maxis, leggings, Azures, some Irmas, some Classics and Perfects are made with this slinky material.  See what I did there?  I’ve just given you a perfectly valid  reason as to why you need more LuLa in your life.  You can thank me later!  When you are ready to put those annoying pilling issues behind you, and you want to load up on these pill-free styles, I am your girl!  🙂  You know where to find me!

I  ♥ you!

Arianna