Beth

Beth

Beth Livesay resides in Laguna Hills, California. She works as a Senior Editor for Nails Magazine. Her work as an editor has been acknowledged by The Los Angeles Times and The Storque (the official blog of Etsy).  In addition to Beth’s work as an editor, she has contributed to several web and print publications including Romantic Homes, Altered Couture, Where Women Create, and Brides Television.com. You can learn more about her through her blog, Couture Over Coffee.

Website URL: http://coutureovercoffee.blogspot.com

Wednesday, 08 April 2015 07:20

Beauty | Best Nail Looks For Spring

Beauty // April 8, 2015

Forget cleaning! Spring is all about color. Sunny up your look with a manicure (or pedicure) meant for warmer weather. An an editor for Nails Magazine, I see a lot of eye-catching mani ideas come across my desk. Click through to see the nail looks I am loving for spring:

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Festival

Just in time for festival season, wear colorful mash-ups of chevrons, prints, and other geometric details.




Matte

While we usually think of high-shine when we think nails, the latest trend is actually to remove that glossy finish. Opt for a single color or nail art, then don’t be afraid to add a matte top coat for effect.

Japanese

Nail art aficionados have been looking to Japan for inspiration for a while. Embrace wearable and whimsical works of art by opting for embellishments, oval shapes, and shorter lengths. http://www.nailsmag.com/article/107599/10-japanese-nail-trends-to-watch


 


Linear

There were lots of linear styles at New York Fashion Week. Sometimes a simple line is all it takes to add that extra something. Go minimal with a side part or maximize it with a grid or lattice look. Spring/ Summer 2015. 



Graffiti

This urban-inspired look of drips, splatters, and a plethora of color add the perfect edge to a spring manicure. Get a tutorial for this look here.

Negative Space

Showing a little skin is definitely popular in the spring and summer months. If you feel like you still need to work on your waistline a bit, you can take the skin-baring trend to your nails instead by leaving clear space in the design. This peek-a-boo effect is known as negative space.

  

Toes

Try a French, solid color, nail art or a little bling -- but whatever you do, make sure you’re maintaining your feet. After months of being stuffed in socks it’s time to break out the open-toed shoes, so schedule a pedicure.


What trends do you want to try out on your nails this spring? Let us know in the comments below!


Dating // November 3, 2014

Whether you’re a high-heel shoe collector like myself, or an all sneakers all the time kind of Made Woman, you know that footwear can make an outfit. It may be difficult to determine what shoes to wear out on a date, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing for the date --- but don’t worry! I’ve planned many an ensemble around my shoes and when it comes to finding the perfect pair for a potentially perfect mate, here are my suggestions for what to wear:


Dinner Date 

Ah, yes. Nothing is better than getting wined and dined. Depending on where you’re going for dinner, your shoes can vary in fanciness. I’d go with something that has a medium to high heel since you won’t be walking a lot.

I suggest this Steve Madden animal print heel. The heel is 4 inches, but the design will go with everything, especially that little black dress (or red, or cobalt blue) you should be wearing to dinner. For just $85 you will definitely be getting your money’s worth, because these are shoes you can wear over and over again.

Movie Date

While you are sitting for two plus hours in a movie, keep in mind that you sometimes have to climb rows upon rows and step over people in the dark. Therefore, I recommend a not so high heel for a trip to the cinema.

Right now, menswear-inspired shoes are having a moment. Stay on-trend with these buckled beauties from Sam Edelman for $180. Pair them with cuffed jeans or a short skirt for an edgier look that you can still walk in.


Mini Golf

Take advantage of sneakers being in style for a fun and active date activity such as mini golf or an amusement park. I’m especially liking the Converse by Missoni collection. For just $100 you get a high-end designer look that is casually cool.



Local Dive Bar

Never the place for an extravagant shoe, I recommend a tough look that is chic yet wearable or a trendy high-top. These bad boys are only $19, so don’t feel guilty wearing them to walk across peanut shelled floors.

Coffee Date

The best thing about grabbing a coffee together (aside from the fact that you don’t have to worry about getting too drunk and making an ass of yourself) is that you can wear whatever shoe you want.

Because you are sitting down, heels would definitely work. Since some coffee stops can be funky and full of art, this pair from Zara is especially cool at $35.99.

If a pair of flats suits you better for casual caffeine consumption, try these sequined beauties for $59 .


Dancing

If you’re going out to get down and dance the night away, I recommend you stay away from platforms. Lower your heel height by a few inches and maximize your ability to stay out later.

This cage-type shoe has a medium heel and keeps the foot from slipping out. It’s only $100 and you get a few color options

Concert

When it comes to rocking a shoe, there’s no one I trust more than rockstar Gwen Stefani. This piece from her fashion label L.A.M.B. are sleek and hip enough for any show. Since booties are definitely in, I recommend this bold, artistic one as an investment piece for the entire fall/winter season.


Formal Occasions

I think almost every occasion can be formalized by your footwear choice. That being said, there is a time and a place where you need to bust out the big guns (designer shoes). Maybe it’s a wedding, a swanky restaurant, or a black tie event, either way, make sure your shoes have you dressed to the nines.

Kate Spade loves glitter and bling almost as much as I do. Say yes to the Lilo pump and keep them for special occasions for years to come ($350). 

Don’t ever feel like you have to pay an absurd amount of money for a good pair of shoes. Outlet stores, theoutnet.com, and eBay are all great places to get quality footwear and still have money left over to complete your date night look.

Happy shopping!


Thursday, 26 June 2014 06:50

Business | The Commuter's Survival Guide

Business // June 6th, 2014

If you live or work in Los Angeles or the surrounding area, then you know that life is a trade-off. Yes, you get to deal with sunshine and near-perfect temperatures almost daily, but there is a price to be paid (and I’m not talking about the cost of living). It’s the traffic. This one word is part of a Southern Californian’s daily vocabulary, yet it drives fear into the hearts of all who hear it. According to a May 2013 article from USA Today Los Angeles is the worst U.S. city for traffic. I am hardly surprised considering 84% of the population drives to work and there are 2,646 people per square mile. In fact, I think I see all these people on my daily commute. As someone who willingly and knowingly took a job that entailed commuting and has been doing it for over a year now, I have come up with a few helpful tips to survive being stuck in traffic.

1. Download and Join Audible 

Remember that list of books you have that you vow to read when “you get time?” You’ll think of commuting as a blessing rather than a curse when you download the audible app. Buy a subscription (prices start at $14.95 a month) and choose from more than 100,000 books to download. Use your car’s Bluetooth capabilities to listen to your book through the stereo. Trust me, it makes the drive go by so much faster and I am crossing a lot of books off of my someday list. Tip: If you don’t want to subscribe to Audible, your local library also probably has some books on CD you can check out and listen too as well.

2. Stay Hydrated

You might think “This is only a 40 minute drive, I can make it home without craving any food or water,” only to find out that there is an accident on the freeway and all lanes are closed. When your commute suddenly doubles in time, be prepared, and keep a bottle of water in the car. Water not only keeps you hydrated, but it can quell hunger pains. Since most of us are stuck in traffic while on our way home to dinner, it is important to stay refreshed and not be blinded by hunger, especially on those hot summer days. Tip: You might think coffee would be a better beverage of choice, but think again. While coffee can keep you awake during a commute, it can also dehydrate you. Supplemented waters like Vitamin Water have vitamin B in them which can help restore your energy and keep you hydrated.

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3. Bring a Snack

Sometimes you just have to eat. If getting off the freeway is a near impossibility or you just don’t want to go through a drive thru, keep a snack handy that you can eat on the road while driving safely. I recommend a protein bar or shake, or a pack of carrots. These items are all healthy for you and can be ingested slowly, throughout your drive with minimal interference. Tip: Snacking in the car means not being as hungry when coming home to dinner, so you can consume less calories for your evening meal. I also like snacking healthy in the car because then I am able to head straight to the gym when I get home instead of worrying about not having the energy.

4. Bring Your Gym Clothes With You

I can’t tell you how many times I had every intention of working out, but after being in stuck in two hours of traffic I went home and just poured a glass of wine and sat on the couch instead. If your health is important to you (and it should be if you are sitting for eight hours a day at a desk and another two on the road), pack your workout clothes the night before and leave them in your car in the morning. This way, there is no excuse for why you can’t drive straight to the gym and squeeze in even a tiny workout.

5. Bring a Change of Shoes

We Made Women tend to wear high-heels to work and maybe even platform wedges out for after-work events. While sky-high heels might look sophisticated in an office or out on the town, they are not practical for driving in, let alone walking in. Think of your shoes like your tires: it is always good to have a spare. You don’t want to risk getting your heel caught in your pedals or slipping if they aren’t broken in. You also don’t want to have your driving impaired because your feet hurt. Whether it’s tennis shoes, flip-flops, or ballet flats, be safe, be comfy, and keep an extra pair handy.

6. Leave a Charger in the Car

Just as potentially dangerous as not having your phone, is having one that has no charge to it. Leave a power cable or charger in your car at all times and plug your phone in. If you have a decent commute then the entire drive should fully charge your battery. You don’t want to risk getting in an accident or missing your exit and not being able to call for help or look at a map. Tip: Although you are a busy Made Woman, remember it’s never that important. Don’t text and drive!

7. Carpool

Even if it’s only for a couple days a week, there’s not better way to save money and stay awake than by having someone else in the car who knows the hell of commuting all too well. Use the drive to keep each other company and hold yourselves accountable for waking up on time and not being late to work. Plus, it’s good for the environment. Tip: It doesn’t have to be your best friend in the office but… Carpool with a colleague you can stand. Find someone who you can get along with who lives in your general vicinity. You can even carpool with a close friend or significant other if they work near by, giving you extra quality time together.

8. Download the Waze App

This super social GPS app can help you join forces with other drivers to outsmart traffic. Waze also helps you find the cheapest gas prices in your area and automatically re-routes you when conditions change. The best part is: it’s free.

Remember, you are the only one who knows your limits and goals. While commuting shouldn’t stand in the way of you and your dream job, it can definitely affect your quality of life. It is up to you to draw the line and know when to start looking for another job closer to home. Commuting isn’t meant to be fun, but it is doable. So long as you are alert and focused, you too can survive. Good luck out there!

Beauty // June 2, 2014

As someone who deals with nail polish daily as the editor of Nails Magazine, it takes a lot for a lacquer to impress me.

But when in need of a quick nail pick me up, I am always open to trying new nail products. I decided to polish my nails mid-week with the chrome-like Charismatic color from Poshinality. I was instantly impressed with the application of the polish. The liquid silver slid on smoothly and covered my nail nicely with a thick coat. It dried quickly and the second coat went on just as nicely. Ladies love a good quick drying polish! I liked that this silvery color isn’t too sheer either. It has the ideal opacity to be worn alone or topped off with nail art.



The product line is a marriage of two words: polish + personality. Each color in the collection is named for a personality trait or fashion style. There is “Hipster”, “Adventure Seeker” and “The Quiet Type” along with “Outspoken”, “Go Getter” and “Open Minded.” Poshinality encourages it’s fans to not only pick a color, but to express who they are. Since I am all about self-expression and I work in an industry that supports having your own sense of style, I admire this brand for encouraging women to be confident in their own skin. Nail polish is more than something “pretty”, it’s a tool you can use to express your creativity.

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Poshinality also supports the beauty of giving: raising awareness for issues like domestic violence, sex trafficking, and even clean water initiatives. They donate a portion of their revenue to social causes and campaigns that seek long-term change. If you’re going to stock up on polish, you might as well choose one that supports a good cause! After reading up on the brand, I discovered that I like this polish even more than I thought.  I love that the majority of colors are “five-free” (free of DBP, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and camphor), and I feel like it’s rare to see a nail polish brand that gives back to so many social causes and does not test its products on animals.

For other nail insights, please visit my blog or Poshinality’s Blog Log.


Happy painting!

Style // December 30, 2013

If you’re reading this, odds are you are part of a very fortunate bunch. You obviously have access to a computer, the Internet, have a few leisurely moments, and are blessed with eyesight. I think many Made Women (myself included) can sometimes take for granted all the good fortune we experience day-to-day.

I was truly inspired when I spoke with a woman whose mission is to change the fortune of those who need it most. Azie Tesfai has traveled the world and sourced the most precious materials to raise awareness and share the stories of those in other cultures. Her company, Fortuned Culture, sells beautiful jewelry and allocates a percentage of the proceeds to charity. Her specialty is highlighting the tales of those who have had terrible experiences and turned them around into life-changing forces.

Made Woman Magazine: Tell me about your background and growing up, and how that led to Fortuned Culture.

Azie Tesfai: What shaped me the most was growing up in L.A. and going back and forth to visit family in Eritrea and Ethiopia. It was an extreme perspective. I knew I was lucky to be raised in the U.S. and that I needed to use that good fortune to help those where I am from. So when an opportunity came to fundraise, I took it. Traveling all over Europe, Africa and the U.S. was the perfect storm of culture, creative passion and good fortune growing up. It exposed me to several precious elements that could be used to help raise funds. These precious metals and stones were important to the culture they came from and I wanted to use them to give back to those people.

MWM: How does the media negatively portray the place your parents were raised in? Conversely, how can the media help causes like yours?

AT: My parents are Eritrean (the country to the North of Ethiopa that gained its independence in the 1990s). Growing up, I would get stereotyped as one of those African children you see on infomercials. But really, these parts of Africa are so beautiful. I didn’t stand up for myself and explain the natural resources and beauty of my homeland. When I got into photography, I got into showing how happy people were with a lot less. I would take pictures when I returned to Africa for a visit. I would see fifteen children with one run-down soccer ball, and you’d never see happier children. The things they valued were family, love, basic goodness and morals. 

Amazing companies are starting to give back, and media is helping those companies. Ryot offers news plus a solution, which is a really cool concept. We always hear about death and negative headline-grabbing stories that don’t have any resolve. I like presenting the news in a way that is effective. I grew up watching the BBC News. The local news just scares you. But everything is changing. Twitter allows for a means to rally and come together; the younger generation will change the way the media sees people. You can’t falsely advertise countries and people through skewed angles in the paper. People will have to tell the truth more.

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MWM: Why jewelry?

AT: In Ethiopian or most African cultures, jewelry has deep meaning. Ethiopian gold has been passed down throughout many generations. It’s extremely personal and possesses great meaning. I like to wear one piece very simply instead of wearing a ton of jewelry. I’ve always made jewelry, especially for events and weddings. Around the time friends asked for jewelry I came to know the Fregenet Foundation, whose meal program got cut. People who are hungry can’t learn. Slowly I realized that I could sell jewelry and add the cost of a meal. Lots of my friends were into quotes and affirmations via social media, so I decided to incorporate these into my jewelry. The “Health” bracelet, for example, is really personal to what they are giving. They know they are giving help to someone else in need and it ended up selling well. So I did a “Love” one benefiting teachers and a “Wisdom” one as well. I wanted there to be meaning for something lacking and a connection between the person buying and the donation. I wanted to make each piece with materials that highlighted the beauty of that culture.


MWM: Tell us about the work you’re doing in Mexico.

AT: My goal is to have a huge row of countries to click on for each charity on our website. I really want to advertise with the best charities, the ones who are giving the highest percentage. I met with the founder of an orphanage in Mexico before, and she is an orphan herself. There are over 800 children now she takes care of, so they have basic needs for things like diapers and books. She is just one person, but I fell in love with her story. Before I design I go down and see the place our jewelry will benefit. I spend my days seeing orphanages. Most have children who just want to be held. I created a necklace inspired by one girl in particular named Lupita. There’s a handwritten note from her inside the necklace. This young girl is so positive and optimistic about life. She and her brother were abandoned by their mother at the orphanage without any papers, so they didn’t know anything about themselves and couldn’t get medical treatment or go to school. The orphanage got them papers and Lupita got to pick out her birthday. She got to create her life and her own destiny as well as that of her brother’s. She looks at the situation in such a better light. She just wants to do well in school and help her brother. So the necklace says “Rebirth” in Spanish on it with a prayer inside. Lupita was so excited to help be part of this necklace’s creation.

MWM: What’s your advice to other women looking to start a similar organization?

AT: Go with your passion. Anything done right will take a lot of work. Helping anyone in a dire situation requires passion. I don’t know how people have companies that don’t give back.

MWM: Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry?

AT: I like the Ethiopian cross because I grew up seeing it. They are modern but have an old tradition. The rebirth necklace for Lupita in Mexcio is a little piece of art.

MWM: How can others help?

AT: On our website, there’s a link to the charities we work with, so you can always volunteer. Volunteering is so gratifying. Each piece of jewelry we make does something good for someone else, so buy some for the holidays. Wear these pieces proudly, because each one is a representation of the kids they help.

MWM: Tell us about your partnership with Tom’s.

AT: We are excited to be on the new Tom’s marketplace, opened November 5, 2013. It’s been so inspiring and has caused many people to intern and want to help. Fortuned Culture was even the first item to sell on the Marketplace. We talked about Fortuned Culture to Toms employees. Toms is the biggest socially-conscious brand, so we wanted to incorporate its logo in the Toms blue bracelet, which helps children to go to school. The collaboration was a long process that involved exchanging information back and forth about our company and work ethics. We were so happy Toms approached us. We can now make cooler pieces because we have a buyer and a larger audience. New pieces will be added throughout the year, too. The marketplace has been a really amazing and inspiring experience that has pushed us to do more on another level and reminds us that we aren’t doing this alone. There have been billboards in New York, commercials and lots of magazine features resulting from the Marketplace. Jessica Alba even selected one of our bracelets for her holiday picks. We will probably even have some Black Friday deals. This is bigger than us, and will hopefully change how we shop.

If you’d like to change how you shop, while changing the world, visit Fortuned Culture and make a difference this holiday season.






Thursday, 12 December 2013 23:08

Fashion | 5 Fabulous Fashion Bloggers

Fashion // December 15, 2013

Remember the old days when you would pick up your favorite glossy magazine and flip through the pages to see the fashion editorials? Or when you would head to the mall to see new items on the shelves and perhaps glean some fashion inspiration from the displays and mannequins? It seems nowadays bloggers have changed the styling game … maybe even for good. With one click you can see the new season’s looks modeled on your favorite fashion editor/blogger, styled with accessories to boot, get an honest review, and shop the look. I openly admit, I have purchased quite a few items because my favorite fashion blogger wore them. If you’re looking for a daily dose of glamour, outfit ideas for the week, or if you are curious how the latest trends will look on, bookmark these fashion bloggers.

1. Atlantic-Pacific

Who/What: Blair Eadie fits my definition of a lady. Her style is classic and elegant, a mix of East Coast refinery and West Coast relaxation (which is why her blog is called Atlantic Pacific). She is not afraid to wear tulle with flannel, layer her rings and bracelets, nor does she shy away from full skirts in bright colors. Eadie blogs almost daily and also makes mention of her red lipstick choices, nail color, and sometimes produces multiple outfit snaps in one post. There is no text save for the shopping links. This blog is pure fashion heaven.

Where You’ve Seen Her: Eadie has partnered with the BaubleBar, done styling for Target’s lookbook, works for Tory Burch, has done shoots for Shopbop, BHLDN, and Tibi, and is a Who What Wear blogger.

Favorite Looks:















2. This is Glamorous

Who/What: This is Glamorous has a little bit of everything from food to décor and travel, but their fashion posts are definitely what drew me to the blog. This site is especially great for curated posts on fashion icons, runway coverage, and introducing you to new designers. The tone of this blog is definitely romantic, and you are sure to fall in love daily with every post.

Where You’ve Seen it: Named as one of the 50 greatest design blogs in the world by the London Times, there is hardly a magazine that hasn’t profiled this site.

Favorite Posts:

http://www.thisisglamorous.com/2012/01/places-backatage-at-elie-saab.html

http://www.thisisglamorous.com/2011/03/ribbons-ruffles-and.html

http://www.thisisglamorous.com/2012/10/great-love-story-20-wallis-simpson.html

http://www.thisisglamorous.com/2012/05/love-stories-06-audrey-hepburn-robert.html

3. Sea of Shoes

Who/What: Blogger Jane Aldridge is young, and already she has been a media darling since she started her blog at 15. One of the original fashion bloggers, Aldridge made her domain popular due to her love of vintage and footwear. I love this redhead’s eclectic mix of thrift store finds including couture and oodles of vintage jewelry. This Texan is a fashion risk taker who is sure to have a voice in fashion for years to come.

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Where You’ve Seen Her: Aldridge has made several in-store appearances, partnered with ShoeMint, Urban Outfitters, and her blog has caught the attention of Kanye West and Karl Lagerfeld who are fans.

Favorite Posts:

http://www.seaofshoes.com/sea_of_shoes/2010/03/taro-gomi-coloring-books.html

http://www.bloglovin.com/frame?post=1694555523&group=0&frame_type=a&blog=4635937&link=aHR0cDovL3d3dy5zZWFvZnNob2VzLmNvbS9zZWFfb2Zfc2hvZXMvMjAxMy8xMC81MHMtdGFmZmV0YS5odG1s&frame=1&click=0&user=1723131

4. Paper Fashion

Who/What: The greatest fashion designs begin with a sketch. Illustrator Katie Rodgers sketches and paints her renditions of bloggers, runway shows, and beautiful looks on her blog that is as much about art as it is about fashion. She makes several of her images come to life with GIFs and glitter; it’s a fashion blog all on paper.

Where You’ve Seen Her: Rodgers has created a calendar and has been commissioned by Kate Spade, Valentino, Coach, Alicia Keys, and Stuart Weitzman.

Favorite Posts:

http://paperfashion.net/2013/09/03/dreaming-in-gowns/

http://paperfashion.net/2013/09/29/christian-louboutin-dreams/

http://paperfashion.net/2013/09/27/in-the-sketchbook-7/

http://paperfashion.net/2013/09/25/perfect-flats/

http://paperfashion.net/2013/09/24/paint-puddles/

5. Glitter N Glue

Who/What: Kristen Turner is one of the most creative fashionistas out there. She has an eye for sophisticated style and uses that to DIY her way into couture-looking creations. Glitter ‘N Glue proves that you don’t need a big budget to rock the latest looks.

Where You’ve Seen Her: She’s the style contributor for the Today Show online,  partnered with Tom’s, Sperry Top-Sider, and has contributed her DIYs to E! and the Zoe Report (Rachel Zoe’s newsletter).

Favorite Posts:

http://glitternglue.com/2013/05/14/diy-jeweled-clutch/

http://glitternglue.com/2011/06/30/cherrystatementnecklace/

http://glitternglue.com/2012/06/15/happy-hour-diy-rhinestone-encrusted-pumps/

Add the above to your blogroll, and take a few minutes a day to relax and enjoy their posts like you would a good fashion article. Browsing a blog is free and the voices behind the posts can be more relatable than a supermodel in a fashion spread. For fashion with a personal touch, tune in to the ladies above.

Who are your favorite fashion bloggers? Tell us in the comments below.



Tuesday, 26 November 2013 09:20

MW Behind the Scenes | Beth Livesay


Name: Beth Livesay
Occupation: Senior Editor at NAILS Magazine; MWM Contributor; Freelance Writer; Blogger
Location: Laguna Hills, CA
Twitter handle: @shmeth
What was the most interesting trip you have ever taken? Going to England changed my life. I had dreamt of going there since I was in the second grade. It's where my family came from, and I got to see where my favorite writers lived and worked.

I wanted to write professionally my entire life. I always loved reading magazines, but working on them has made me treasure storytelling and the editorial process even more. My magazine work has ranged from DIY and fashion to jewelry-making and home decor. I switched gears a year ago to work in trade publishing for the beauty industry, and I am so happy I did. I work alongside professionals for professionals, ensuring that women everywhere look and feel beautiful. It doesn't get much better than that!

My duties at NAILS include focusing on style, nail art, nail trends, and lots of blogging. I blog about the non-professional side of the beauty industry daily at salonfanatic.com. And while I have become quite fanatical about nails, I am still passionate about writing. So much so that I have my own personal blog (coutureovercoffee.blogspot.com) and continue to contribute to The Huffington Post, Hello Giggles, and Romantic Homes magazine in addition to MWM.

Being a workaholic writer has taught me a lot. Here are my tips for you:

Write What You Feel, When You Feel It

It's hard to fake emotion. A story won't come together at the 11th hour and be Pullitzer-worthy if you just don't care. Keep your writing genuine and passionate by committing a thought or phrase to paper/screen as you feel it or think it -- even if it's a month ahead of deadline. You will thank yourself later.

Really, Truly, The Secret To Being Successful Is Managing Your Time

Stay organized by using your calendar and reminders on your Smartphone. Always ask for deadlines and when planning a deadline of your own, pad it. I work better with a rigid schedule. It might seem crazy to only take a half-hour lunch, plan which night I will be doing my nails, and wake up at 4:30 in the morning every day, but that's how I have sufficient time to get stuff done. You can't multitask everything. I've never had a magazine ship late, because there's no room for procrastination. And there's always coffee.

When You Look Your Best, You Feel Your Best

I don't invest in stocks or bonds; I invest in myself. That means paying for a haircut every other month, getting my nails done (or at least using quality products to do my own nails), buying Italian-made shoes, and clothes that I know will make me feel comfy, confident, and professional. In short, I buy things that will make getting ready at 5 in the morning fun. It might seem silly to invest in shoes instead of the stock market, but it all comes down to this: you dress for the job you want; you present the version of yourself you believe to be true. If I am going to be telling people what nails are the most stylish, I had better have good nails. If I want a future in publishing, I had better dress like someone who commands attention, respect, and looks like a style authority. More often than not, you are in control of how people perceive you. Present your best self to the world and watch your confidence skyrocket.

Always proofread

Before hitting "send" ask yourself, is it "your" or "you're"? Is it "that" or "who"? Did you write out "at" or did you just type the @ symbol? Even if you are posting on Facebook or texting, proofread your work. It takes a second, and if you are going to be sharing something with the world, at least make sure you are coming off as an educated human being and not as a flippant, hurried, over-sharer. Nothing makes me lose respect for someone more than when I see a degree holder use the wrong version of "your" on their Facebook post. Social media is great, but it shouldn't negate the English language.

I love meeting other writers and look forward to connecting with you! E-mail me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or find me on Twitter and Instagram (@shmeth) to talk style or writing/editing/publishing.

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Monday, 18 November 2013 01:01

Style | Start-Up Spotlight: Fortuned Culture

Style // November 18, 2013

If you’re reading this, odds are you are part of a very fortunate bunch. You obviously have access to a computer, the Internet, have a few leisurely moments, and are blessed with eyesight. I think many Made Women (myself included) can sometimes take for granted all the good fortune we experience day-to-day.

I was truly inspired when I spoke with a woman whose mission is to change the fortune of those who need it most. Azie Tesfai has traveled the world and sourced the most precious materials to raise awareness and share the stories of those in other cultures. Her company, Fortuned Culture, sells beautiful jewelry and allocates a percentage of the proceeds to charity. Her specialty is highlighting the tales of those who have had terrible experiences and turned them around into life-changing forces.

Made Woman Magazine: Tell me about your background and growing up, and how that led to Fortuned Culture.

Azie Tesfai: What shaped me the most was growing up in L.A. and going back and forth to visit family in Eritrea and Ethiopia. It was an extreme perspective. I knew I was lucky to be raised in the U.S. and that I needed to use that good fortune to help those where I am from. So when an opportunity came to fundraise, I took it. Traveling all over Europe, Africa and the U.S. was the perfect storm of culture, creative passion and good fortune growing up. It exposed me to several precious elements that could be used to help raise funds. These precious metals and stones were important to the culture they came from and I wanted to use them to give back to those people.

MWM: How does the media negatively portray the place your parents were raised in? Conversely, how can the media help causes like yours?

AT: My parents are Eritrean (the country to the North of Ethiopa that gained its independence in the 1990s). Growing up, I would get stereotyped as one of those African children you see on infomercials. But really, these parts of Africa are so beautiful. I didn’t stand up for myself and explain the natural resources and beauty of my homeland. When I got into photography, I got into showing how happy people were with a lot less. I would take pictures when I returned to Africa for a visit. I would see fifteen children with one run-down soccer ball, and you’d never see happier children. The things they valued were family, love, basic goodness and morals. 

Amazing companies are starting to give back, and media is helping those companies. Ryot offers news plus a solution, which is a really cool concept. We always hear about death and negative headline-grabbing stories that don’t have any resolve. I like presenting the news in a way that is effective. I grew up watching the BBC News. The local news just scares you. But everything is changing. Twitter allows for a means to rally and come together; the younger generation will change the way the media sees people. You can’t falsely advertise countries and people through skewed angles in the paper. People will have to tell the truth more.

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MWM: Why jewelry?

AT: In Ethiopian or most African cultures, jewelry has deep meaning. Ethiopian gold has been passed down throughout many generations. It’s extremely personal and possesses great meaning. I like to wear one piece very simply instead of wearing a ton of jewelry. I’ve always made jewelry, especially for events and weddings. Around the time friends asked for jewelry I came to know the Fregenet Foundation, whose meal program got cut. People who are hungry can’t learn. Slowly I realized that I could sell jewelry and add the cost of a meal. Lots of my friends were into quotes and affirmations via social media, so I decided to incorporate these into my jewelry. The “Health” bracelet, for example, is really personal to what they are giving. They know they are giving help to someone else in need and it ended up selling well. So I did a “Love” one benefiting teachers and a “Wisdom” one as well. I wanted there to be meaning for something lacking and a connection between the person buying and the donation. I wanted to make each piece with materials that highlighted the beauty of that culture.


MWM: Tell us about the work you’re doing in Mexico.

AT: My goal is to have a huge row of countries to click on for each charity on our website. I really want to advertise with the best charities, the ones who are giving the highest percentage. I met with the founder of an orphanage in Mexico before, and she is an orphan herself. There are over 800 children now she takes care of, so they have basic needs for things like diapers and books. She is just one person, but I fell in love with her story. Before I design I go down and see the place our jewelry will benefit. I spend my days seeing orphanages. Most have children who just want to be held. I created a necklace inspired by one girl in particular named Lupita. There’s a handwritten note from her inside the necklace. This young girl is so positive and optimistic about life. She and her brother were abandoned by their mother at the orphanage without any papers, so they didn’t know anything about themselves and couldn’t get medical treatment or go to school. The orphanage got them papers and Lupita got to pick out her birthday. She got to create her life and her own destiny as well as that of her brother’s. She looks at the situation in such a better light. She just wants to do well in school and help her brother. So the necklace says “Rebirth” in Spanish on it with a prayer inside. Lupita was so excited to help be part of this necklace’s creation.

MWM: What’s your advice to other women looking to start a similar organization?

AT: Go with your passion. Anything done right will take a lot of work. Helping anyone in a dire situation requires passion. I don’t know how people have companies that don’t give back.

MWM: Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry?

AT: I like the Ethiopian cross because I grew up seeing it. They are modern but have an old tradition. The rebirth necklace for Lupita in Mexcio is a little piece of art.

MWM: How can others help?

AT: On our website, there’s a link to the charities we work with, so you can always volunteer. Volunteering is so gratifying. Each piece of jewelry we make does something good for someone else, so buy some for the holidays. Wear these pieces proudly, because each one is a representation of the kids they help.

MWM: Tell us about your partnership with Tom’s.

AT: We are excited to be on the new Tom’s marketplace, opened November 5, 2013. It’s been so inspiring and has caused many people to intern and want to help. Fortuned Culture was even the first item to sell on the Marketplace. We talked about Fortuned Culture to Toms employees. Toms is the biggest socially-conscious brand, so we wanted to incorporate its logo in the Toms blue bracelet, which helps children to go to school. The collaboration was a long process that involved exchanging information back and forth about our company and work ethics. We were so happy Toms approached us. We can now make cooler pieces because we have a buyer and a larger audience. New pieces will be added throughout the year, too. The marketplace has been a really amazing and inspiring experience that has pushed us to do more on another level and reminds us that we aren’t doing this alone. There have been billboards in New York, commercials and lots of magazine features resulting from the Marketplace. Jessica Alba even selected one of our bracelets for her holiday picks. We will probably even have some Black Friday deals. This is bigger than us, and will hopefully change how we shop.

If you’d like to change how you shop, while changing the world, visit Fortuned Culture and make a difference this holiday season.






Wednesday, 15 May 2013 18:55

Movie Review | The Great Gatsby

Movie Review // May 15, 2013

To say I have been waiting for this movie to come out is an understatement. When I heard it was delayed from December to May the stakes became even higher.  I was one of the first to buy tickets to see The Great Gatsby in 3D when it finally premiered, and it was a lot like attending one of Jay Gatsby’s famous parties: loud, glittering and in your face.

Director Baz Luhrmann’s earlier work, such as Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet, is known for being over the top.  The Great Gatsby is no different.  Luhrmann paints for us the image of a whirlwind era where great men are striking against a sky lit up by fireworks, and women are coated in crystal dresses and Tiffany & Co. jewelry. But beneath all the pomp and the Jay-Z soundtrack, there is a haunting story. It is one many of us know from the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, but probably haven’t heard in a while. Luhrmann’s films all seem to be about tragic romances that are doomed from the start, and Gatsby is no exception. Despite this being a familiar tale, Luhrmann is able to reintroduce this story to us and even catch us off guard a time or two.

Luhrmann got a lot of things right with this film, which he and his wife spent two years researching. His casting choices are spot-on.  It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, or Carey Mulligan as “golden girl,” Daisy.  Both light up the screen. Everything about them is rich, from their clothing (which I am sure costume designer Catherine Martin will be getting an Oscar for) to their passion for each other in this forbidden love story. Tobey Maguire is the perfect Nick Carraway, and he successfully carries the narration throughout the film, a task that many other Fitzgerald adaptations struggled with.

The authenticity of the era is greatly appreciated. Everything from the Art Deco design and architecture to the clothing, cars, and social mannerisms have been reconstructed to a tee.  It’s obvious that Luhrmann is meticulous and that several scholars were consulted for the film. But I delight in the fact that he mixes in slight anachronisms to make the film relevant to modern day audiences. Luhrmann weaves Jay-Z, Lana Del Rey, Jack White and Beyonce into the background music, reminding you that this tale is not the Jazz Age’s alone, but a timeless one; one that could even take place today.

As someone who has studied literature, Fitzgerald, and this period, I feel that Luhrmann’s Gatsby accurately sums up the 1920’s: a big party that is ruined by a great crash. Leaving the theater was like leaving Gatsby’s house after a long weekend. While Luhrmann dazzles us with effects he is also telling us a deep story, a sad story, one that if told differently would perhaps eat at our core. It is my hope that audiences are able to recognize the depth of Carraway’s words and the portrayal of this period among the champagne soaked parties. I recommend seeing the movie in 3-D (how Luhrmann intended it), buying the soundtrack, and re-reading the book. The memories of Gatsby linger long after it ends, and any story that stays with you is a story worth examining.

Lifestyle // March 25, 2013 

It’s been 10 years since you have seen your high school classmates. It seems like another lifetime ago. You may find yourself curious every now and again about ex-boyfriends and the “popular” crowd, but is that enough to motivate you to revisit the high school days? Plus, the five social networks you actively use have made it impossible to lose touch with anyone since 2004. I admit, I am a bit torn about attending my own high school reunion. So I did what any other 28-year-old professional woman would do and made a list:

1. The Facebook Factor

Con:

One of the main arguments I’ve heard for not attending these reunions is that you can already catch up with those you care about (and some you don’t) via Facebook. The pictures, status updates and timelines already clue us in as to whether or not our ex is fat and lonely and if the “it” couple ever got married. And when you are looking on Facebook, it saves you the awkwardness of those face to face encounters (you know you don’t remember the names of half your graduating class).

Pro:

While social media does allow us to connect and share, the experiences we have connecting in the real world far outweigh that virtual high. While most of the people I do want to be reunited with are my Facebook friends, I still would like to see them in person, give them a hug and meet their spouses. I would like to hear about their travels firsthand rather than just browse a photo album. Plus, Facebook is a great tool for warming up for a reunion. If you are looking to make business connections or are struggling to remember a face, use “the book” to look it up pre-event and save yourself time and potential embarrassment.

2. Romy & Michelle in Real Life

Con:

We all think of Romy and Michelle pretending to invent Post-Its and we laugh, but the truth is, we can relate. The thing about these reunions is that they can drive us to examine ourselves under a harsh microscope. We can begin to compare ourselves to other people who we feel have accomplished more. It also forces us to be harder on ourselves in terms of getting our butts into gear for starting that business, leaving that job, or writing that book. Not being where you thought you’d be professionally is a lot more depressing when you find out that the guy voted least likely to succeed is making $100k a year.

Pro:

While it is always tempting to compare ourselves to others, we should definitely refrain. Use this gathering as an opportunity to be proud of what you have done in the 10 years since you donned that cap and gown. I guarantee that when you compare yourself to how you were at 18 you will definitely feel like you have come a long way. This can also be an excellent eye-opening experience. Maybe a conversation will inspire you to move forward. This reunion might be the extra motivation you need, and you may find that your high school buddies are still some of your biggest cheerleaders. Remember, success is defined differently by everyone. You may have all been competing for the same guy, top spot in the class or prom queen, but you all know now that life is about so much more than all that.

3. Bad Memories

Con:

You don’t want to drudge up past drama. Let’s admit it: high school is full of as many feuds, fails and awkward moments as it is fun times.  There will always be those people you just don’t want to see and those things you just don’t want to remember... like your sophomore yearbook picture.

Pro:

True, there will always be that time you fell and ate it bad outside of French class (true story) or the girl who made fun of you for what you wore, but are these things worth missing one of life’s milestones? No matter how hard it is to be the bigger person or come back from an absolute embarrassment, it is always worse to not show up at all. Besides, everyone probably forgot about your fall (here’s hoping), and that girl who made your life miserable may want to apologize. Let’s all remember, there have been way more trying times since high school (college, anyone?), and those are great equalizers.

4. Serving Your Interests

Con:

Reunions can be costly. I’ve heard of some that seem like prom (formal dress, exotic venue) 10 years later.

Pro:

If money is a factor for you, and you truly can’t justify a steep cost (especially if you have to travel to get back to your hometown) then don’t go. However, if you have advance notice and can find some other classmates who are willing to go with you and maybe carpool (think those who rode in and helped pay for the prom limo) then try and make it work. A great way to find out how much this will cost you and offer suggestions for savings would be to track down members of the organizing committee on Facebook and inquire. Ask them if they’ve planned yet and what they are thinking about doing so you can get an idea.

5. Show Off

OK, I’m just gonna say it. A really great reason to go to your reunion is to flaunt what you’ve got. I was never the valedictorian or the homecoming queen or a star athlete, but at least I have some great clothes, a great job and a wonderful man to take as my date. I am really looking forward to showing all that off at the reunion. I don’t mean that to be snobby, I really want my high school mates to meet my guy and for everyone to know that if you work your ass off, you can have everything you want. That’s a message I love sharing with everyone.  If you have three kids, go to your reunion with their pictures to show off proudly. If you have a blog, go with business cards ready to show off your space. Brag about those things that make you, you. And of course, network galore.

6. Missing Persons

The last reason I have for going back to school is one of pure hope. There is always that one person who has gotten away. They don’t seem to be on Facebook and no one has heard from them. Sure, there is always a chance they won’t show, but if they were truly your friend years ago, you go in hopes that they do.

You don’t have to take my advice on all this. I am considering this as someone who has never been to a reunion before and still keeps in touch with a lot of the people I was friends with back then (case in point, Made Woman Editor-in-Chief, Serena Watson). Do I need a reunion with everyone? No, not necessarily. I could just as easily set up coffee dates and lunches via Facebook or send emails. But if my school is going to go through the trouble, I figure, why not? While we can’t go back and change the past, we can stare it in the face with new found confidence and relive those moments that made us the person we are today. The decision is yours, but whatever it is, make sure you are making it based on who you are today and not who you think you were then. Bring someone you know you will have a good time with and devote your evening to speaking with those who you truly miss or would like to reconnect with.

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