Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Interview with Kobe Ellis

Since I'm not a reporter, nor a journalist, it's not every day that I get to interview amazing and inspiring people. But for this post I was lucky enough to interview Kobe Ellis. Below: Just to be clear, my 'questions' are in black courier text, and Kobe's responses are in purple text. Hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as I did reading her responses. I would like to take a moment to thank Kobe for participating in this interview. I really had fun with it!

Name: Kobe Ellis
Occupation: Freelance MUA and Groomer, Paramedical Aesthetician, Salon & Demi Spa Owner
Company /Salon: EBK Beauty LifeSTYLE Salon & Demi Spa
Slogan (if applicable): “ We’re not just a salon.”
Contact Info: Twitter: @KobeEllis & www.ebkbeauty.com

1.Tell us about yourself.
I am easy going, fun, love to laugh, love to network & meet new people, don’t take myself too seriously (at least try not to), can’t drink enough sweet iced tea, long for rainy days - nothing on the schedule - & a good book, can’t resist holding a baby, would rather someone else cook, still love playing dress-up (thus my career choice!), feel daily joy at helping others see beauty in themselves, favorite role in life: Mom
2. What is a typical day like for you?  
"Wow, a typical day?  A typical day for me is never the same and I expect it to be that way a month, and six months from now.  I have many irons in the fire right now, a new salon opening and a freelance makeup career I am trying to expand and grow.  So, what is going on now will be quite different from a few months once the salon is open.  I spend time of course serving clients, but I also spend a considerable amount of time working on my skills and trying to stay up to date and current on new products and their use. It is easy to just get settled, or comfortable and I don't want to do that, I want to stay in a mode of learning and offering the best skills and products that I can to my clients.  I am also a single mom of two children and I try to make time for them and have a life outside of work.  That is a struggle in itself, but I think it shows them that hard work has rewards and you have to make time for those you care about. Then there is the social media, paperwork, etc.  as an entrepreneur and owner of a business that is never ending and I try to limit my time in those areas while still giving the attention needed.  So, all in all, a typical day for me is different from the one before, challenging, and busy, but I love it that way and feel blessed I have the opportunities that I do to work at what I love."

3.What drew you to this industry?   One evening, while in my final year of college, I prayed for guidance as to how I could do what needed to be done for me to provide for my family.  One day, my sister, mother and I traveled from West Palm Beach, Fl. to Miami to get eyelash extensions. They were terribly uncomfortable so we removed them just hours after getting.  As a result of that experience, my sister and I developed a technique for placing eyelash extensions so that they were “Barely There.” I felt the answer to my prayer had come: I would Introduce Eyelash Extensions to the city of Jacksonville, Florida. Before long, my business became a niche market. From there, my business grew and my services expanded; first brows and skin care then I learned hair replacements when my mother became ill with Breast Cancer. I found that I really enjoy providing services that help people with self image.

4.How long have you been in the business?
I have been in the beauty business for almost 10 years. I initially started my business, Eyes By Kobe LLC, with the primary intent to introduce Eyelash Extensions to Jacksonville, Florida I added other services as I found a demand, which included eyebrow shaping. Eyebrow shaping is actually one of my specialties.  I was taught how to do Threading when I was about 12 years old.  So, you could say I have had a “few’ years to hone my technique!  
5.What’s your favorite beauty line/product and why?
The beauty industry is forever changing. Every day, it seems, there is a new beauty product on the market designed to give better coverage, reverse the signs of aging, last longer and so on.  I do my best to keep up with the industry by constantly studying. For the most part, I am interested in products that are healthy for the skin. Products that contain the least amounts of toxins capture my attention the most.  I am not actually brand loyal, but rather purpose and quality loyal.
6.What’s your go-to outfit “recipe”?
 When it comes to work, my go-to-outfit is anything fashionable for the season with pockets, comfortable, black with a splash of color, a nice hat (sometimes) and manicured nails, since I work with my hands.  My shoes are always lightweight and comfortable.  I have to dress comfortable and be ready for a long day on my feet.

7.  When do you feel the most confident?   
After church for sure, and then when I have a customer who truly feels renewed by my efforts for them.

8.What makes a person beautiful?
What makes a person beautiful? A positive attitude, inner peace and a great makeup artist who can add to all of that!

9.You’re opening a salon soon.  That is such an amazing accomplishment.  What’s that experience been like for you?
Opening my own Salon & Demi Spa has been quite an educational experience. I have learned more about the construction industry than ever expected. I am now well versed on city codes, inspections, paint, refurbishing, making the best use of space, money and time.  I have learned how to make the best of what I have, how to seize opportunities when they arise and pay ONLY when the job is complete! I have kept very extensive notes along the way and I would love to help others who are thinking of undergoing the process of starting a salon.  I may write a short what to do and what not to do eBook someday!
10. What have you learned along the way that sticks with you every day?  
Muy importante: You don’t have to do everything yourself.  Hire professionals who are skilled in areas I am not.  I’ve learned to “stay in my own lane” and let others do their jobs without me putting in my 2 cents.  Above all, I have learned to “Be still” allow things to happen as they should, in natural order and time.
 11.Giving back is important. What’s your favorite non-profit organization?
Giving back and paying it forward are two things I was taught from a young age and have been practicing for as long as I can remember.  From the very day that I conceived the idea of my business, I knew I wanted to incorporate some type of community service activities.  I have had the honor to work with many non-profit organizations. Two of my favorites are The Pink Ribbon Symposium which is a non profit organization organized in 2008. It is dedicated to educating the Northeast Florida community on recent advances and related topics in the detection, treatment and survivorship of breast cancer patients as well as the understanding of the importance of healthy lifestyle choices. Another is Soles for Souls, organized in 2005, they facilitate the donations of shoes, which are used to aid the hurting worldwide regardless of race, religion, class or any other criteria. Shoe companies, retailers, and individuals can donate footwear (both new and used). My new location will have art pieces from several local and distant artists. I do not take a commission from the sales, instead I only ask the artists to donate a percentage of their sales to The Pink Ribbon Symposium. I have set up for my salon to be a drop point in Jacksonville to collect shoes from the community for Soles for Souls.  I am also hoping to get more involved with Dress for Success at some point.
12.What's your favorite inspirational quote?
As an English Major, I have read many through the years but there are actually two poems that inspire me often. So much so that I have taught them to my sons. They are “It Couldn’t Be Done” by Edgar Albert Guest and “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. 

13. Add anything else here.
I’ve been learning how important and advantageous it can be to network.  One thing I am aiming to do is further network in my community.  I am hoping to network with more people in my area of all ages, ethnic background, male and female for modeling my freelance makeup skills in photo test shoots.  So anyone interested is welcome to contact me.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pink & Navy Color Inspiration

I absolutely love navy. I also absolutely love pink. I'd say pink is my happy color, and navy is my go-to-color. Navy is classy, sophisticated and chic. And pink is fun, need I say more? Put the two colors together for something a little wild, a little tame and perfectly inspiring... say for a wedding.

Hope you enjoy the following Photos of Inspiration.

Garters by Kristi on Etsy.com
 This garter set has already been sold, but this vendor has a great assortment.

 Inspiration Board from Groom Sold Separately

 Ring Pillow and Flower Basket by Luly612 on Etsy.com

Invitation by The Purple Mermaid

 Invitation by Blush Paperie

Disclaimer: I want to give credit where credit is due and want to share with all of you what I find to be inspirational photos. I do not own any of these photos. If your photo is here and you'd like me to take it down, please just let me know. Thanks.

Have a fabulous day every day! :) 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shop Smarter, Not Harder

What's in your closet? Seriously, what does your wardrobe look like? How do you feel about it as a whole? How do you feel about the clothes individually? How often do you wear every item you own? Do you have a quality, functional wardrobe or one where "I have nothing to wear..." is a daily saying? These are important questions to ask yourself and to honestly answer as you evaluate your wardrobe.

Prioritizing "quality over quantity" definitely should apply to your wardrobe. If you own many pieces that you don't wear, it's time to re-evaluate what's in your closet. If you don't wear what you own, then why is it still in your wardrobe? Try each item on and be honest with yourself. Do you like it? Does it fit and flatter your figure? Any unworn and/or unflattering items just clutter what could be a fabulous boutique-like closet (that is, if it doesn't already look like that, of course).

We want options so we may buy a large quantity of clothing, but how much of it actually fits and flatters? How many of those clothes are actually worn once purchased? It's time to "shop smarter, not harder." Changing it up is important so it's extremely important to shop smart and with a plan. If your wardrobe contains QUALITY pieces that fit and flatter AND mix and match and coordinate, then you will have many more outfit options with fewer items. I'm not saying not to fill your closet. I'm just saying to have more options and less of the "I-Have-Nothing-To-Wear" syndrome, it takes strategy and effort.

Basic wardrobe staples and accents, including trendy items, should be tracked so when shopping you know what's missing from your wardrobe and what will work well in and with your current wardrobe.

Below are some outfit "switch-ups" to illustrate how you can transform an outfit by simply switching up the accent pieces.

Day Look 1
Imagine: Lunch with the Mother-in-Law
Main Staple: Calvin Klein dress  
Accents: NY&Co. earrings, bracelets, belt and bag, Bakers heels, For Love headband
 Evening Look 1
Imagine: Cocktails with coworkers
Main Staple: Calvin Klein dress  
Accents: NY&Co. belt, Express earrings and clutch, Charlotte Russe heels
Day Look 2
Imagine: Shopping about town
Main Staples: Max Studio dress, Forever 21 coverlet
Accents: Jessica Simpson bag, For Love earrings, Target flats
Evening Look 2
Imagine: Dinner with old friends
Main Staples: Max Studio dress, Forever 21 coverlet
Accents: Express clutch, Express earrings, Target heels
For even more of a switch-up here, 
I could have left off the coverlet for day or chosen a black cropped coverlet instead for evening. 
This dress could also look more casual and just as charming with a cute denim jacket. 
Add flats or wedges and voila, perfect fall weather carnival date outfit!
Of course, any switch-up has MANY options if you're creative. :) I just want to drive the point home that quality staples and switching up the accents are important in any functional wardrobe.
It's fun to take pieces and dress them up or down, for whatever the occasion calls. 
Styling outfits, just like applying makeup, is an art form because dressing often relies on your emotions/mood of the day. How do you feel today? Translate that into your outfit and see what happens.
Day Look 3
Imagine: Brunch with girlfriends
Main Staple: Scarlett dress
Accents: Miztique bag, Bakers heels, For Love earrings, Belt (n/a)
Evening Look 3
Imagine: At a winery
Main Staple: Scarlett dress
Accents: Steve Madden booties, Tommy Hilfiger wallet as clutch, For Love earrings
You may have noticed that:
I used the turquoise Bakers peep-toe heels in 2 of the above outfits. I also used the smoke and pewter For Love earrings in 2 of the above outfits. Additionally, I used the black Express clutch and the Express earrings twice in the above outfits. The strategy of choosing outfits early and being able to mix/match and coordinate also makes packing for travel much easier and maybe even fun instead of stressful.

It's not about how many items you have... it's about the quality of each item and your confidence to style each outfit with the pieces that work for you. As always, have fun and have a fabulous day every day!

<3 Catherine

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lime Lemonade

Summer is bright and so are many of my outfits. :) I love color, and I also love neutrals so the pairing makes me swoon.

When life gives me lemons, I make a lemon-inspired outfit.  :)  Since I LOVE lemons, I use them for everything- cooking, cleaning and decorating. I am easily inspired by just about anything. I think it's clear that my love of lemons inspired this very outfit.

The Outfit: 
Talk about lemon-lime or Lime Lemonade!

Yellow Cropped Sweater- Express, Yellow Lace-edged Cami- Bozzolo, White Sunglasses- (cheap kiosk knockoff), Ruffled Green Top/Earrings/Necklace/White Purse- NY&Co., Jeans- Seven7, Orange & Lime Nail Polish (free gift at Foot Locker), Buckle Flats- Soda via http://www.cutesygirl.com, Yellow Clutch used as wallet- For Love

What inspires you?

Monday, July 18, 2011

The StyleLife Invitation

Dear readers, followers and casual on-lookers (Wish I knew your names so this would be more personal.),

I don't know anything about you yet, but I hope to learn as we make this journey together.

My StyleLife Philosophy is about the journey to being the best we can be and being stylish all at once in everything we do.  It's about taking the time to pamper ourselves.  It's about being a good person- being good to others, to ourselves, to animals and to the earth. It's about realizing that we are all beautiful. Ultimately, it's about living the stylish, compassionate, beautiful, honest life. Thus, the term "StyleLife" seems appropriate. I invite you to join me in this journey of living the StyleLife.

Although I have high hopes of changing the world and making a positive impact, I do also realize that I may not reach everyone, and I may even unintentionally offend or annoy a few people along the way. I may often bring up controversial topics and state my opinions very bluntly, which you may or may not agree with. I will always be honest, I will listen to/look at your feedback, and I will try to be positive in all that I share. I hope you can see what I'm doing here is aimed at being a positive, uplifting and inspiring. I am aware that my opinions are strong as I am very passionate. I am open-minded, and I love to bring up topics that many people deem inappropriate for casual conversations, like politics, religion and other topics like the term "plus-size" vs. "straight-size". Since this is a blog, you have the option to close the page or to contribute at any time. I hope you enjoy what should be a very interesting journey.

My goal is to prove that it's beautiful to be stylish, strong, stunning and smart all at once. Never apologize for your beauty or your confidence. And as always, try to give back and make a positive difference. How will you make a difference today? Mission: Confidence and Compassion engaged.

Love the StyleLife Philosopher,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Office Decorating Recess

Okay, so I have high hopes for My StyleLife Philosophy.  My goal was to complete my office FIRST before I dive into such a big project as this new blog.  Unfortunately, I am at a temporary standstill in decorating and organizing so I will try to get up a few posts during my 'recess' and will return at full speed when the office is finished. My hope for the office is for it to be inspiring, fun, feminine and relaxing simultaneously. As you can see from the 2 DIY projects that I've already posted, there will be a little, okay, a lot, of pink involved in the transformation.

If you would like to share any of your decorating tips, photos or DIY projects, I would love to hear about/see what you've done with your office space. Inspiration is always welcome.  :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

DIY Pretty with Pink Inspirational Wall Art

I LOVE  inspirational quotes, don't you? I thought this one was perfect for my StyleLife office. What are your favorite quotes? This is an easy and rewarding DIY project that can be done with any quote. Let your mind wander... Take it to the next level and create your own inspirational quotes.

Simply paint any size canvas with paint (acrylic works well), let dry, then add your quote of choice using another color of paint/paint pen. Once dry, add embellishments if desired (like ribbon, flowers, beading, framing, crystals, etc.). Stamping/embossing might work as well.

I used a flat, frameless canvas board, rolled on pink acrylic paint for the background and used a black Sharpie Paint Pen for the writing. My finishing touch was a strategically placed piece of pink ribbon tied into a bow. Simple yet inspiring! :)

Hope you were inspired. :) Have fun creating! I'd love to see photos of your projects also.