In Bloom With Banana Republic

Floral Suit By Banana Republic

Like many women, I juggle a number of lives every day.  I can go from a corporate business meeting to a casual lunch to running errands and then a dressy event in the evening. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the clothing budget to have a different ensemble for every facet of my life.

This is where having a split personality comes in handy.  I look for pieces that can play as many roles in my wardrobe as I have to in my life.  And that doesn’t just mean a pair of black pants or navy blazer that goes with everything.

Floral_Blazer
Floral Print Suit By Banana Republic
White Strappy Heels

This year floral is in fashion.  And I live in drought-ridden California where only the fake-grass is still green.  So I’ll take flowers wherever I can get them.  Which is why I gravitated to this amazing print at Banana Republic.  Look how versatile it actually is.

Here I paired the blazer with the pants but added their monotone (but with a great silver sheen) sweater. The button-up collared shirt underneath really pulls the outfit together as a formal suit.

Later I removed the blazer and shirt, leaving just the sweater and crop pants. It’s casual, sporty and fun.

Banana Republic Floral Pants
Floral Slacks
White Leather Tote

I wore the same earrings with both outfits (“cat’s eye” stones!  Need I say more?  They had me at “cat.”)  Changing up my hairstyle took the looks from reserved to relaxed.

Banana Republic Cat Eye Earrings

I find it ironic that the store is called “Banana Republic” which was a phrased originally used to refer to a country that relies on only one exported crop to survive.  The actual Banana Republic store has such a wide range of attire and their pieces can be used in so many different ways. That’s not one crop – that’s the entire produce department!

OK, maybe I don’t technically have a split personality, but I am starting to sound bananas…

Heidi Nazarudin for Banana Republic

Shot on location at the beautiful Culver Hotel Los Angeles
Photographer Sabrina Hill.
Makeup and Hair by the talented team at StyleBee 
What’s your favorite Banana Republic piece?


#ShareYourHero with Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz said “I didn’t want to let women down” and with her new traveling exhibition Women:  New Portraits (which launched in London in January of 2016 and will make it’s way to ten cities around the globe) she most certainly holds up her end of the bargain.  I’ve always been a fan of Ms. Leibovitz’s art and apparently the international bank UBS has too because they partnered with her to exhibit her photos and to remind all of us that we are surrounded by everyday heroes.

Which made me think about my everyday heroes.  One of whom is my friend Kathy Patalsky. And it’s not just because she is obsessed with cute kittens as I am. Kathy’s love and dedication to animals took her on the journey that has made her a leading vegan recipe cookbook author and blogger extraordinaire.  Not only has she devoted her life to healthy eating (while honoring animals), she also extends her gracious nature to the rest of us and I’m so happy to call her a friend.

Kathy Patalsky x UBS Share Your Story featuring Annie Leibovitz

Not every hero has to slay a dragon. (In fact Kathy would be very against that). This hero of mine makes the world a better place with small, but powerful, gestures of kindness and caring for all creatures while managing a successful blogging and cookbook career.  We should all aspire to such compassion and achievement.

Come to think of it, it could be said that Annie Leibovitz has accomplished the same two goals.
So, who are your everyday female heroes and what goals do you think they’ve achieved?  Not only will thinking about this inspire you, but it could also enable you to win a trip for two to NYC


To see the WOMEN:  New Portraits exhibit.  Here’s how:  post a photo of your hero on Instagram and add the hashtag #ShareYourHero and tag @UBS.  Every month between March – October there will be one winner.


Success in Stilettos: Bianca Torres Wong

Attorney Bianca Shoot-3

The Ambitionista is proud to feature Bianca Torres Wong, Assistant Vice President and Legal Executive at Nestle Philippines by Day, Vinyasa Yoga Teacher at Bliss Yoga Manila by Night.

Know what it’s like to pursue your passion and career simultaneously through Bianca’s life as a corporate lawyer and a certified yoga teacher.

Attorney Bianca Shoot-8

Describe who you are and what you do in 1- 2 sentences

“I’m half a corporate lawyer and half a wandering yogini. 🙂 I worked full time as a corporate lawyer for around 5 years before deciding I needed to do something more with my life, so I took time off and signed up for a 200 hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training. Now I happily get to practice both law (for the leading nutrition, health and wellness company in the world, Nestle) and yoga in my soul space, Bliss Yoga Manila.”

Attorney Bianca Shoot-31 - - The Ambitionista

What do you do when you first wake up?

“I reach over to look for my husband. 🙂 I just recently got married, so it’s still a bit surreal.”

What’s one activity that you do everyday without fail?

“I try to meditate a few minutes everyday. Sitting at my desk, or in traffic, or walking to work – sneaking in a few seconds of mindfulness always lifts my mood.”

Attorney Bianca Shoot-13

If you are not working you would be … ?

“Practicing more yoga. I absolutely love that deliriously happy post-yoga high. I’m always in a good mood after I practice.”

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

“The Philippines is known for its notoriously beautiful beaches so I would still have to choose Boracay, because it’s also where I met my hubby. 🙂 “

Attorney Bianca Shoot-30 - The Ambitionista

If you really want to dress to impress, what do you do?

“The combination of a classic DVF wrap dress with a good pair of heels has always worked well for me in power meetings. It’s pretty quick to put together too, vs. a full suit and less high-maintenance. If it’s a more formal event, I’d complete the look with a sharp blazer and some accessories.”

What’s your favorite everyday beauty brands/products?

“MAC Mineralize SkinFinish and MAC Velvet Teddy Matte Lipstick, I just recently discovered this and I used up an entire stick in 2 months 🙂 “

Do you exercice? If yes, what type and how often?

“I like to mix it up. I make sure I practice yoga regularly but I try to sneak in a few Barre3 classes and some cardio at the Gym.”

Attorney Bianca - Office- The Ambitionista

How do you stay sane and on top of it?

“I surround myself with good and positive energy. Years of yoga practice have taught me that energy is contagious. You can always choose the space around you, the people you surround yourself with and the battles you need to face. I now know I can take a step back, to extract myself from anything or anyone that doesn’t serve me. In this way, I guard my peace and I don’t drain myself. I devote my time tending to situations and engaging with people in my life who are worth it.”

Attorney Bianca Shoot-19

What do you splurge on? Fashion / Beauty / Travel :

“I’m a guilty shopaholic with a bad case of wanderlust. Shopping is so much more fun when you’re on vacation! I love travelling to different places, or visiting a few favourite places over and over again.”

Which women do you admire in your life?

“I’ve always gravitated towards strong and independent women. Feminine strength is subtle and sexy.”

If you could meet a younger you from 10 years ago, what would you have told her?

“Trust the universe. Be patient. Everything beautiful unfolds in God’s good time.”

Attorney Bianca Shoot-17

Favorite Quote: Dream like a Bohemian, Work like a Boss.
Photos c/o Kip Aguirre


Go green this St. Patrick’s Day

Fashionable Lady in Green Dress on Venice Beach Boardwalk

Going green this St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t just mean making sure to recycle any beer bottles you see lying around after a party. Because I love any excuse for dressing up, naturally an excuse to rock green on St.Patty’s appeal to me. But there is no reason why I can’t still look amazing while doing so.

By the way – Tradition has it that wearing green made one invisible to leprechauns who might pinch you. Just be careful picking the green that looks good with your coloring. And though Ireland may be the Emerald Isle, but there are other green gemstones.  Which are you?

Model profile glamour shot on venice beach

Let Ireland keep their Blarney Stone while you opt for a more precious one.  Green is thought to attract growth in all areas including wealth, health and happiness.  Those strike me as better reasons to wear green than trying to avoid those nipping leprechauns.


I Look to Her

Today (March 8th) is International Women’s Day ( PS: Personally I think every day is a good day to honor women) and so when FTD.com reached out to me and asked me to collaborate with them to write this post for their #ilooktoher campaign and to mention one woman whom I think has inspired me in some way it was a no-brainer – yes of course I would say yes.

Long before female journalist Zoe Barns showed up on House of Cards, Murphy Brown (on the show of the same name) blazed onto the small screen in my house in the late 1980s.  I was mesmerized by the character’s strength, take-no-prisoners attitude and ability to strive in a typically male dominated field.  Every week I would watch Murphy as she strode into the office, shoulder pads squared and hair styled to perfection, her appearance immaculate. Furthermore, she was more than her looks and stylish attire. Smart, sassy and intelligent, she epitomizes the hashtag #likeaboss, even before such a thing existes. And so with such an inspiration I suppose I never doubted that women should make waves in the corporate sector or in business, doting boyfriend/husband completely optional.

murphy-brown-1-600x450

Not only did Murphy Brown stride into the office in stylish slacks and blazers – defying the usual, boring and overly-girly attire seen on television back then – but she was on a par with any man in her professional realm.  I wanted to be that character.  Down to the neck-scarves and sassy retorts such as “And why do you guys need a movement in the first place?  Tired of getting higher pay for the same jobs?”  She was a beautiful, tough woman who refused to play by the boys-school rules.
At the same time, Murphy Brown treated her colleagues and friends as equals and with the sort of respect and warmth beneath her gruff exterior, that caused them to rally around her through thick or thin.  What more could a young girl aspire to?

MURPHY BROWN, Candice Bergen, Grant Shaud, 1988-98, (c)Warner Bros. Television/courtesy Everett Collection

As we celebrate International Women’s Day today, I hope that you too will reflect on the women who influenced you, motivated you, and encouraged you.  Do better than just reflect on them – if you can, tell them.  Show them.  Send them some flowers to say “thank you for helping me blossom into the person I am today.”  If I could send them to Murphy Brown, I would.  What kind of flowers do you think she’d like?  I’m guessing some sort of orchid – blessed with a long-life and much  stronger than its outward beauty implies.

ftdflowers

Thank you FTD.com for sponsoring this post.
To follow the campaign on Instagram, search for #ILookToHer or follow me on Instagram here