Age Is Just A Number: #BridgingTheGap With Lee Woodruff

When my dear friend Catherine asked me if I wanted to join her #BridgingTheGap campaign, I was intrigued. You seemy birthday is coming up really soon and even though for me age is a non-issue, I realize that for a lot of women and brands, it is.

This is something that I had the pleasure of talking about with Lee Woodruff, a journalist whose wise words I could listen to all day. Lee is the co-founder of Bob Woodruff Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting injured men and women in service. The idea for the foundation emerged after her husband, television journalist Bob Woodruff, sustained a brain injury while covering a war in Iraq.

Lee is my partner for #BridgingTheGap  – and I am delighted to feature her on TheAmbitionista.com.

Clearly, she has seen and been through a lot. Still, she demonstrates an easy confidence that would never have made you guess her back story.

On top of that, Lee is a New York Times bestselling author of three books. Three! I need lessons from this incredible lady!


Source: News OK


As someone who’s got a very keen sense of herself, Lee doesn’t like to be put in a box at all. Then again, when you’re someone who plays multiple roles: writer, speaker, media trainer, co-founder, mother, and wife, it is hard to sum yourself up in one number or inaccurate stereotype.

Lee Woodruff

Personally, I’m in awe of all that Lee has accomplished. How does she do it all? I mean, I’m right here, trying to put my life together, running off to appointments and events, but also stalking cats on Instagram in between…!

LeeWoodruff

Lee likes to joke about her sartorial choices. Her outfits are pretty much what she would have worn a decade ago, except now, she wears more tailored and classy versions. But to tell you the truth, I think she’s more comfortable in her own skin than anyone else I’ve ever met. And style is always about what feels cozy and true to your tastes—not necessarily what’s on trend.

Which brings us to Lee’s favorite wardrobe pieces: denim and long sleeves. Being in her fierce 50’s, she claims that “her arms are not as toned no matter how hard she works out”, so longer sleeves are preferred. I know a lot of women share this sentiment, and frankly speaking, it’s not just women in midlife. I come from a more conservative background and in a lot of situations, more coverage is needed. So designers—pretty please design more gorgeous clothes with sleeves!

Finding common ground like this is exactly what made Lee and I realize how designers have sort of boxed us into rigid categories, age, size, and ethnicity included. But just because women are past the age of 40 doesn’t really mean they’re not as fashion-conscious anymore.

Everyone has style—it’s just a matter of providing more options.

PS: If you want to see who else is part of #BridgingTheGap – head over to Catherine’s blog

Fall Trends To Watch For


This is a guest blog post by Katie William


Summer is finally drawing to a close. It’s about time for what many consider to be the year’s coziest and most inviting season – when the weather cools off but creature comforts emerge, and we all settle into a sort of pre-holiday season contentment. Or at least, that’s how I think of it! I also always love to see the fall styles emerging in look books and on internet blogs. There’s just a little more that can be done with styles for the cooler seasons, so it’s nice to see what’s new with each coming year.

I could never get to tall the exciting looks we’re seeing for 2017, but here are a few trends to watch for.

Fringe

Fringe is the kind of trend that circles back around now and then. Indeed, it was just a few years ago that during the spring one style site noted that celebrities were binging on fringe– and perhaps that’s what’s brought this fun little clothing quirk back around for the fall of 2017. Sometimes it takes a little time for a celebrity or runway style to truly trickle down to more mainstream stores and outlets. At any rate, on dresses, jackets, skirts, and most anything else you’d like, fringe is in this season. It’s always a nice way to strike a carefree look without losing any sense of elegance.

Heidi Nazarudin wears Fringe

 

Pajamas

This might be my favorite trend in five years. Unfortunately it’s a little bit difficult to discuss because it appears to cover a huge range of looks, but suffice it to say bedroom-inspired fashion (at least, the appropriate kind) is making its way to the streets this autumn. That can mean silky-looking, matching top-and-bottom sets, open blouses tied by sashes, and even robe-like coats for cooler days. Pajamas basically exist to keep us comfortable, and using pajama inspiration for everyday looks extends that comfort to entire days out of the house.

Pantsuits

That’s right! We may expect to revisit 2016, when a certain politician named Hillary Clinton popularized the pantsuit in ways we never really could have predicted. Let us not forget, Clinton was once thought of as such a shoe-in for the presidency that bookmakers announced her as the next Commander-in-Chief, and many of her followers delighted in imitating her signature fashion sense. Now, several fashion blogs and even Marie Claire have highlighted the possible emergence of pantsuits during the fall season – though we’re mostly seeing slightly more stylish and less businesslike versions of the attire.

Pantsuit

Moody Florals

This isn’t my term, but it’s a hard trend to describe in a way, so I’m borrowing it from Glamour’s rundown of six fall fashion trends to shop. The idea is basically to present an autumn-inspired version of the light and playful floral patterns we so often see in the spring. This means darker tones and, as they put it, a “moody” overall look, though you don’t want to go so far as to be glum. Some of the looks there, including dresses with dimmer coloring and little bright spots of blossoms, display the idea perfectly.

Heidi Nazarudin wears floral dress

 

Plaid

I’ll finish up with a trend that sounds a little bit bland on the surface. Even the name itself is dull: plaid. But plaids in autumn tones are always comforting in their own way, and the pattern can go on most any article of clothing you like. Plaid tops, skirts, and sweaters in particular have been on display in fall look books, and you might also consider combining this look with the aforementioned PJ trend. Does it get much cozier-looking than that?

How to Get Glowing Skin in 2017

There are always better and brighter ways out there to get glowing skin.  Whether you have lost your glow in recent years, or are trying to give your skin that extra luster, here are some solutions to get your skin glowing in 2017.

1. Avoid Excess Sugar.

Any food containing a high glycemic index, such as sugary sweets and carbs like bread, will increase cortisol, which will cause the sugars to weaken collagen. We need collagen to keep our skin firm and supple so skip the donuts and eat some veggies instead.

2. Exercise.

Exercise is important for many things, including strength, reduced inflammation, your heart, and your lungs.  However, not everyone knows that exercise can work wonders for your skin.  Exercise increases circulation in the body, which brings blood to the cells that carry valuable nutrients to the surface of the skin and helps carry away toxins.

3. Drink Green Tea.

Green tea is known to be highly effective at helping people with different ailments, not least of which is to create healthier skin.  Green tea can help fight signs of aging by fighting free radicals.  It is also known to reduce inflammation and improve your skin’s elasticity.

4. Eat Tomatoes.

Do you like tomatoes? These fantastic fruits are said to pack a punch when it comes to skin health. Instead of eating them, turn them into a do it yourself face mask. Mix a tablespoon of tomato juice and a few drops of lime juice and apply it to the skin with a cotton ball. To create a glowing complexion, mix honey and tomato juice until the mixture becomes a thick paste.

5. Addressing Pimples.

Unfortunately, acne isn’t a skin condition that everyone grows out of. Many adults still deal with painful pimples and other acne lesions, and the battle for clear skin can be tough. Learning what type of acne you have is a good first step, but maintaining a regular skin cleansing regimen is essential. Every morning and every night, be sure to give your skin a gentle scrub, and always make sure to wash your face before and after a workout. Consistency is truly the key to clear skin, and being diligent with your facial cleansing routine will help clear those pimples.

6. Eat Omega-3 Fatty Acid Rich Foods.

Foods such as salmon, walnuts, and olive oil contain healthy fats that help the skin build collagen. Many first-time vegetarians make the mistake of not supplementing their diets with adequate Omega-3s found in meat, which can lead to worsened breakouts.  If you are a vegetarian, find alternatives that pack the right amount of Omega-3s to keep your skin looking healthy.

7. Get More Sleep.

Sleep is one of the most important factors to maintaining your youthful glow.  Get your necessary seven to eight hours of sleep in order to allow your body enough time to rebuild damaged skin and produce collagen to keep your skin firm.  Avoid sleepless nights by putting your phone on “do not disturb” mode before bed.  Decrease the negative effects of the blue light on your phone by turning on your phone’s nighttime setting.  Finally, avoid technology about an hour before bed so that you can settle in.

8. Relax More.

It’s easier said than done, but reduced stress is critical to keeping skin youthful and glowing.  If you have preexisting conditions such as severe acne, rosacea, or psoriasis, you can lessen their effects or avoid them all together by reducing stress.  If you have a busy schedule, there are a few ways to help reduce it.  For example, take some time to yourself to take a meditation class, read a book, or cook yourself a healthy meal.  Take some alone time to refocus your thoughts.  Look away from your e-mail, and put in some headphones.  Maintaining healthy habits like this will help reduce your stress and make your skin glow again.

9. Be Gentle with Your Skin.

You should never get into the habit of scrubbing your face until it is raw.  In fact, even when you remove makeup you should use only the gentlest cleanser and gently wipe your makeup off.  If you can’t get all of your mascara off in one try, for example, dab a Q-tip in baby oil to get the access mascara right off.

Getting that glowing skin you’ve always admired isn’t impossible. Incorporate these tips into your daily regimen and have beautiful, radiant skin in no time.

Office Appropriate Gifts for Your Employees

Every good employer understands the importance of showing hardworking employees gratitude. Highlighting your appreciation for consistent loyalty and continued results can be done through a variety of ways. More often than not, employers emphasize client gifts without taking a moment to consider the people who really deserve a token of appreciation—your company roster. Consider one of these office-appropriate gifts and show your employees how much you value their dedication.

An Updated Office:

 

Think about how much time your employees spend in the office each week. For most, the answer is 40-plus hours, but some companies see their employees working 60-plus hours a week. Make sure that your employees are in a beneficial environment that keeps them comfortable and productive by providing important office updates. This could mean buying new, ergonomic chairs for everyone on the company roster, or investing in standing desks to help employees get up and moving throughout the day. Perhaps your office kitchen has seen better days. You’d be surprised at the morale boost that comes along with a few new energy efficient appliances. A new fridge free of mystery stains is sure to put you on your employees’ good lists.

ciel-spa-review

Don’t be afraid to add a few entertainment features to the office. Everyone needs a break every once in a while; in fact, science says it improves productivity . Adding a ping pong table, new television in the break room or an outdoor corn hole set can give your employees the perfect break from their daily toil. They’ll be happier and more productive because of it.

A Cumulative Gift

Often, it’s better to buy all of your employees one singular shared gift rather than finding something for each individual person. Make it easy on yourself by purchasing a group present that the majority of the office will enjoy. In many cases, it’s ideal to book some type of bonding activity. This not only serves as a great treat but provides a chance for employees to build upon inter-office camaraderie. Check out Excitations to find an experiential gift that will serve as a great day out of the office and a fantastic memory that employees will look back on fondly. Whether it’s a group horseback ride through local mountains, a kayaking adventure at a nearby lake, or a trip up in a hot air balloon, your employees are sure to be grateful for these special experiences. Looking to stay on a tight budget? Consider checking out a local Escape Room. You and your employees must band together and work through clues to find your way out of a locked room—sure to get your heart pumping and teamwork flowing.

Weekday Deliveries

Even the boss (especially the boss) has to admit that the days can drag, but it’s easy to break up those doldrums with some fun surprise treats. Sometimes the smallest gifts can have the biggest effect. One week it might be a delivery of fresh flowers to keep the office looking and feeling bright. Another week it could be a free surprise lunch on Wednesday to celebrate hump day. Even just a simple delivery of fresh baked cookies from The Cravory could see your employees grinning from ear to ear.

Paid Vacations:


Nothing like a vacation .. which is paid for.


Ask any employee what they want most and nine times out of 10 you’ll hear a singular answer: more PTO. Paid vacation time is hard to come by, but one of the most desired aspects of a job. Giving your employees a paid day off can be a great way to reward them for hard work. This can help busy individuals achieve a better work/life balance, and encourage them to keep up the hard work in the future for such a great incentive. If your production schedule can handle it, paid vacations can be an easy and well-loved gift that employees are sure to remember.

Individual Gifts:

If you’re looking to hand out gifts to individuals that have gone above and beyond, err on the side of caution. A bottle of personalized wine is a common office offering that can come in a variety of styles and work for a variety of budgets. The quintessential gold watch is still an employer gift staple for a job well done; check out MVMT watches and find designer bands for the stellar employees on your roster. Something to keep in mind: if you’re giving out individual gifts, offer them in private, and don’t make a big show of it, especially if not everyone in the office is receiving a token of appreciation.

Finding office-appropriate gifts doesn’t need to be headache inducing. Consider the ways you can reward your employees on any type of budget.

Everything You Need to Know About Opening Your Own Restaurant

Opening a restaurant seems easy on the surface: hire a great chef, come up with a fantastic menu, decorate the place, and voila—culinary success. Unfortunately, the realities of the business aren’t nearly as pretty. One out of three restaurants fails within its first three years, and making it in this industry is often more stressful and demanding than investors realize. If you’re truly serious about opening your own restaurant, consider these facets of the business.

 

The Conception of a Concept

heidi nazarudin pelican beach resort

One of the best meals I had was at The Pelican Beach Resort.

Restaurants aren’t only about food. In such a competitive industry, it’s important to determine the ways you can make your business a standout. Looking to attract customers? You’re going to need more than a spatula and stove. It’s important to come up with a solid concept for your restaurant.

Are you looking to become a classy destination for couples on date night and business professionals for client appointments? You’ll need to invest in elegant furniture and designer art that will fit the vibe. Perhaps you’re hoping to attract a down-home crowd looking for great grub and a good laugh. You’ll want to encapsulate that homey feel with cozy chairs, warm décor, and a relaxed setting.


Decor is very important to a lot of people when choosing a restaurant.


Understanding what you hope to make out of your restaurant will help you plan out all the important details, from budgetary concerns to marketing techniques. Take a look at restaurants in your area. What can you offer that they don’t provide? What can you expand upon? It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and positioning your restaurant for success means learning from your competitors.

Creating a Business Plan

 

Regardless of industry, an airtight business plan is essential. As with any financial venture, you need to provide proof of business acumen in order to manage your business and improve your bottom line—and attract investors. Make sure you’re well-versed on the various aspects of the business before breaking ground on your restaurant. Attend restaurant seminars, speak with local restaurant owners, or pursue a degree or certification in a related field. Any extra effort will put you that much further ahead in an already competitive industry.

Finding the Funding


I work in the kitchen a lot.


Starting a restaurant is an expensive venture, and if you don’t have the personal capital to invest, it’s important to consider the ways you’ll acquire the money you need to get your idea up and running. Consider the upfront costs for starters: you’ll need to find the venue, restaurant furniture, kitchen equipment, and plan for paying a staff. You’ll also like need to buy a liquor license; these permits can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. License Locators, Inc. provides information about the actual cost of various types of permits in your area, so be sure to consider what you can expect to pay.

The costs will continue to pop up long after you’ve got your restaurant up and running. There are many ways to fund such a venture, but it’s important to find the route that’s best suited for your aspirations. You may apply for a grant from the SBA, or you may find it’s necessary to approach private lenders. Because the restaurant business is so enticing, you may find it somewhat simple to find a restaurant investor. Be sure your business plan is as detailed as possible before approaching an investor, and ensure you’ve crossed your “T”s and dotted your “I”s.

Hiring the Right Staff

Getting the best team on your roster should be priority number one. A restaurant is only as good as its service, and your hosts and waiters will essentially be the face of your business. In most cases, it’s best to avoid hiring family members and friends. It can lend itself to problems that wouldn’t be present with the normal hiring process. Money and business tend to affect relationships, so consider long and hard before offering jobs to your mom’s friend’s cousin’s daughter.

The restaurant business isn’t an easy industry to break into, but with the right concept, capital, and team, it can turn into a promising investment of your time and money. If you’re considering opening a restaurant, keep these facets in mind and make the best go of your attempt to take a solid idea to fruition.

Capturing Your Personal Style Within Your Office Décor

Sick of your boring, uninspired work setting? Follow these tips to capture your personal style in your office.

Work-From-Home

Whether you work from home or not, chances are you spend a lot of time in your office. It’s called “adult-ing”. If you do work from home, that’s all the more reason to not let your special space resemble a prison cell, especially if you work long hours. Go above and beyond the necessities to create your own little man or woman cave. Follow these tips to create your personal style within your office décor. It’s simple and, dare we say, fun!

Behold! The Power of Your Desk

Gold Work Accents

We all know that moment during an interview when that person across from you takes their spot at the desk. It’s intimidating, right? Even if you’re ready to nail the interview, the desk can come across as a thing of power. All this means that, if you spent about two minutes at Ikea or trolling garage sales for yours, you’re doing it wrong. Allow it to be the powerful thing that it can be.

Gold Office Desk Accessories and Fashion Collage

Choose mahogany for a classic statement, and trim everything in gold possible for an Oscar-worthy desk. Make it so that every time you sit down behind you feel as though you’re in the driver’s seat and going about 90 MPH towards success. Make sure to keep it uncluttered to maximize productivity.

Clock In With Style

Of course, we all know that most people don’t even wear watches anymore, as the vast majority of us use our smart phones to keep time. However, if you pass over the opportunity to decorate your office with a clock, you’re missing out on an opportunity to really show off your personal style. Try a whimsical, modern clock from Touch of Modern for a conversation piece. Unless you require an alarm, a digital clock has no place in your office (or anywhere for that matter).

Office Desk Decors

Add a stylish timepiece to your office . Try this Poplar Pendulum Wall Clock from Touch of Modern (on right)


Floor ‘Em

What lies under your very feet can be one of the most exciting ways to reflect your personal style. Of course, hardwood floor is a very classic way to go in an office, but have you seen the tile that looks like hardwood? The gray color is particularly soothing and stylish and, with the durability of porcelain, this can often be the way to go. An area rug is another excellent way to let your style shine through or feel free to go with a fun shag or even a faux bear rug for a retro bit of cheeky fun.

Heidi-Office-Décor-hardwood-rug

Vamp up a boring grey carpet with these greyish tiles resembling hardwood from BuildDirect.com


Oh, Paintings, Where Are Thou

Office Inspiration

Paintings and art, in general, are a great way to reflect your personality in any room, and the office is no exception. You don’t have to pay thousands of dollars at your local gallery either, although more power to you if you have the money to dedicate and support your local artists to boot.

Colorful-Office-Pegs-Girl-Boss-Artsy-office-desk

Pick a scene from your favorite beach or park nearby to set just the right mood. From canvas to dimension and framed art and beyond, Z Gallerie offers a huge selection and, at reasonable prices, you won’t break the bank. A panoramic view of your favorite city is also one of our favorite ideas for an office setting.

Accessorize to the Moon and Back

Chic-Books-Flatlay-and-Fashion-Womans-Desk

From a colorful throw blanket over that ultra-chic chaise lounge to a collection of pillar candles set up just so in front of the fireplace, accessories are an ideal way to give your office some oomph. If you’re prone to stress while working in your office, opt for a lavender candle for its aromatherapy benefits. A chic table lamp on your desk can reflect your sense of style in lighting, or two matching wall sconces can set the right amount of ambience. Vases, drapes, and photo frames are another way to take your office from ho-hum to va-va-voom.

Chic-Office-Decor

Z Gallerie offers a huge selection and, at reasonable prices, you won’t break the bank.


Revlon Nails It With Gel-Envy

This post is sponsored by Revlon through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write about Revlon, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Fashionable Businesswoman
Loeffler Randal Bag
Stylish Fashionable Businesswoman

Any time someone suggests diamonds, I’m listening. Which is why I was more than happy to try Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy™ 2-step process when I heard that Step 2 involves their new ColorStay Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat™. So, if Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy™ Longwear Nail Enamel could do all it claimed, it was indeed as rare a find as a genuine diamond. I was excited to try it.

The two steps include 1) A base + color combination polish and 2) Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat™. That seemed doable. The question was – would it pass the test of my applying it in the morning (when I’m not at my best) and then last during a hectic work-day.

New Revlon Gel Envy

I started my morning early, and after doing my hair and makeup, for the first time in years I applied my own nail polish. I started with a two thin coats of Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy™ Longwear Nail Enamel in Roulette Rush #620. I waited 5 minutes then I brushed on the ColorStay Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat™. I let this dry for about 10 minutes before getting dressed. I might not have had to wait that long but I was busy answering emails and we all know how time can pass quickly when trying to keep up on correspondence (and smiling at the cute kitten photos your friends know to send you.)

Fashionable Businesswoman in Meeting
Taking notes
Working while having breakfast

My day was pretty standard – I spent it going to a couple of meetings, writing, typing, texting, getting in and out of cabs, and more typing. I threw caution to the wind and even popped open two cans of soda over the course of the day. By the time I was ready to turn in for the night, I inspected my nails and they still looked gorgeous and chip-free!

Work Break
Opening a can of soda
Popping a can open

My favorite things about the Gel Envy duo are:

Business Breakfast Meeting

The only down-side to their chip-resistance is that I don’t have to change my nail polish very often and there are over 30 colors of Gel Envy that I want to try! Ah well. They say patience is a virtue.

They also say diamonds are a girl’s best friend. In my case, the Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy™ Longwear Nail Enamel and ColorStay Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat™ definitely are!

Fashionable Woman Taking Taxi


PS: Revlon is giving a satisfaction guarantee for all ColorStay Gel Envy products – so go ahead and try it yourself! See Revlon.com for more details. Limit 1 per HH.