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 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?

FINALLY – Runway Looks We Can Wear To The Office

Looks From The Banana Republic NYFW 2016 presentation:

Form should always follow function and Banana Republic holds true to this mantra by presenting us with perfectly tailored ready to wear pieces during New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2016. From sleek trousers to cashmere sweaters, tailored coats, bright blazers and textured turtlenecks, their array of colorful clothes paired with bold patterns and textures definitely leave more than just a lasting impression– it is the must-have RTW collection of the season!

Here’s my favorite looks that would be perfect outfits for work from Banana Republic’s NYFW Fall/Winter 2016 Collection :

1. This chic yet comfortable turtleneck poncho layered onto a black and white striped long-sleeved top and paired with cigarette pants is perfect for the smart contemporary office. A classic striped clutch and black heels completes the look. Saunter into work on  Monday looking like this and its a work-week slam dunk.


2. For a classic yet modern office look I love the blues in this outfit. The deep sapphire blue blazer looks amazing with other shades of blue here, or with other neutrals you would likely have in your closet. And if you can wear it with almost anything else in your wardrobe, isn’t that an investment?


3. Feeling a little femme fatale-ish? 50 Shades of Grey is not exactly office appropriate but wearing different shades of this classic neutral is always a good idea. Banana Republic gives us ample options  from the deepest charcoals to the lightest smokey shades. I especially love the fact that because of grey’s muted tones here, The fur cardigan, leather gloves and pointed clogs in black gives the look just enough edge.


4. Almost the weekend, but you’re filled with meetings? Well secretly enjoy making an entrance to your appointments with chic ensembles like the ones below. The best thing is they look modern, yet still classically tailored that they would last you a few seasons. That is if Banana Republic doesn’t come up with yet more gorgeous coats for their next FW season.


5. Casual Fridays is finally here! Add some color to celebrate – I LOVE the mustard yellow blazer and distressed boyfriend jeans and lets not even talk about that brown leather jacket in the background.


So the question is – should I switch my king-size bed for a twin bed in my bedroom so
I can have more space for all this fabulousness?

PS: Thank you Gina Doost for attending the NYFW Banana Republic FW16 show for me.

Success in Stilettos : Shirley Yang

The Ambitionista is proud to feature Shirley Yang, Vice President of Social Strategy at StyleHaul​ Founder of SOFFICI, a fashion for philanthropy brand among our #SuccessInStilettos Series. Get some insights on a day in the life of a certified girl boss, pursuing her passions with her new line of luxury bag accessories while running strategy for one of the leading Style networks.

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What Is Your Work Wear Go To?

“I like to wear dresses, a form fitting dress, preferably black. The material is key. Winter time I add a fur vest, summer time I wear a light blazer outside of the dress.”

How do you stay sane and on top of it? 

“Deep breaths and good bedtime reading.”

Which women do you admire in your life? 

“Too many. I admire women who are brave, kind, and authentic.”

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What ​are​ your Everyday Favorite Beauty Products?

“My regular routine is good moisturizer. I also LOVE jojoba oil for good hair.”

What do you splurge on? 

“Good shoes and good food.”

What did you want to do when you grow up? 

“Inspire as many people as I can. Leave the world a better place – that’s the Millennial in me talking.”

What was the biggest obstacle you have faced that in the end helped you?

“I’ve had people try to put me down in the past, it definitely made me stronger. It is very true what they say, I want to look back and thank them.”

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What does success mean to you?

Success means balancing the Science of Achievement and the Art of Fulfilment. It’s when I do things larger than self and and inspire others to also be successful.”

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

“Don’t worry so much, get more sleep.”

What Is One Activity That You do Everyday without fail?

“Hug and kiss my little chihuahua.” 

What Is Your Favorite Quote?

“Chance favors the prepared mind, the more you practice, the luckier you become”

– Richard Branson

The Art of Business at Conrad NYC

In the old days, the phrase “business hotel” brings to most people images of sterile marble lobbies, of businessmen trying to impress each over hotel breakfast, and of frequent-flyers efficiently going in and out of hotel elevators, one hand firmly on their TSA approved wheelies while the other holds on a smartphone, thumbs dancing across the screen.


Not the Conrad hotel. While still a business hotel,they know that nowadays, most executives and businesspeople are so busy that they don’t separate work and play. From anecdotal observation, I notice that successful, workaholic A-types like me who travel for business try to integrate some non-work activities when traveling for business meetings and the Conrad is savvy on this trend.


The Conrad NYC is located in the Financial Business District and has the most dramatic entrance to a lobby I’ve seen in the city. Walking towards the entrance of the modern glass and steel-structure, you are greeted by a sea of beautifully chaotic jade-green marble. And as you walk up the stairs ( or take the lift or elevator) floating geometric steel clouds surrounded by a gigantic wall-to-wall blue mural ( Loopy Doopy by Sol DeWitt) visually arrest your senses. If that’s not enough, the most gorgeous fragrance, piped-into the hotel’s conditioning ducts, start to make their presence known to your olfactory senses.

conrad-new-york-city-atriumAnd that’s how you win over a tired business traveller at hello.

The hotel has over 2000 original pieces of modern art work (all curated with the help of New York’s Public Art Fund), some of over-the-top proportions and some of such modest size you would have missed it if you did not look at the hotel’s Art Guide, available in all their guest rooms and suites.

I was in NYC for a 5 day blog conference in midtown as well as meetings with clients all over the city but managed to sneak in a photoshoot or two (lol) as well as explore the hotel throughly.

Here’s what I really love about this hotel (and why you should stay here when you visit NYC):

The artwork! I’m very visual by nature so this in itself is such a feast. No matter how tired I was from dealing with manic New York types the whole day, every time I go up the escalator into the soothing blue heaven of a lobby I feel rejuvenated.


The second thing I really like about the hotel is its award-winning Conrad Concierge app ( available for iPhones, iPads and Androids here.). From simple requests like wake-up calls to in-room service to transportation or even access to a real concierge, this app does it all. So why is this so much better than calling a person directly? Because you can now schedule turn-down service  (while waiting for your client who is 20 minutes late) or have room service waiting for you when you get back (because said client ordered some weird avant-garde gourmet concoction that tastes like expensive bubblewrap). Also I just prefer apps rather over calling someone on the phone. I’m milennial that way.


The Loopy Doopy rooftop bar is a wonderful social spot. Named after the gigantic blue mural by Sol DeWitt in the lobby, its main attraction is its sweeping view of the Hudson river, and its iced prosecco pops. It gets crowded on Friday and Saturday nights but guests have priority access, so the wait is bearable at 15 minutes on crowded nights. If you’re not into standing-in-line, late weekday afternoons are your best bets. You’ll also avoid giggling 21 year olds Instagramming countless photo after photo of their prosecco pops. There is nothing wrong with this at all, except by the time you got your prosecco pop, Instagramming it feels lame.


At it’s heart its still business hotel. Beneath the polished veneer, the hotel is all about making travel efficient and effective for its discerning guests. Fast complimentary wi-fi throughout the property, a top notch 24 hour business center , multiple gorgeous gift stores in and around the hotel  and for the men – a traditional barber service, it’s all taken care of.

And here’s the kicker – the hotel has a secret movie theatre. Okay it’s not secret but rather, it’s a bit out of the way, tucked 5 floors up from escalators all the way at the back of the hotel. I didn’t get to watch a movie there this time around but I just like the idea that if I could not get to sleep one night because of jetlag I can just go down and watch a movie on the big screen.


The rooms are NYC-chic beautiful, with views of either the Hudson river or the downtown LA, and the sheets felt like silky liquid sleep. All rooms come with a separate sleeping and living area – a 3 seater sofa and large coffee table so you can bring people up for quick informal chats or work meetings.

So in summary I LOVE this hotel and would stay here again and again, but should you? Here are some considerations:

Check your itinerary. If most of your activities are uptown/midtown, you have a tight schedule and you don’t like subways, this hotel’s location can be inconvenient at times. NYC peak-hour traffic is a beast and Iv’e experienced 2 hour rides for what should take 20 minutes.

There are tourists (non-hotel guests) and school children in the hotel lobby. First of all, please remember that the hotel lobby is VAST. There is a lot of people around, yet it never feels crowded or too noisy. But relatively speaking (when compared to let’s say, another hotel that does not have world-class art on its premises) there are slightly more people. I actually like the fact that the hotel has public-accessible art.

You like bath tubs. The standard guest room in this all-suite hotel does not have a bathtub. Yes, the bathroom and shower areas are large, but there is no bathtub. However this is the second luxury hotel in the city that does not have bathtubs standard.



What: The Conrad New York hotel is part of the Hilton group of hotels, and is a 5 star luxury hotel with a stunning 16 story lobby featuring a gorgeous mural by the artist Sol De Witt.

Where: The hotel is at 102 North End Ave., near Vesey and Murray Station. Go to for more information.

Verdict: Perfect for the business-minded bon vivant.