MW of the Month // April 8, 2015

If you follow Made Woman Magazine on any of our social channels you know we <3 nails! Nail art allows you to show off your personality in your otherwise buttoned up work look. I know that when I look down at my fresh mani, I feel polished (pardon the pun) and like I have my sh%t together. Cuteness aside, we rarely think about the huge billion dollar industry around nail art and nail care. Beyond just polish there are nail artists, models, bloggers, and magazines that cover the hot trends in nail art. One such publication, NAILS Magazine, keeps up with all things nails and claims Beth Livesay as a Senior Editor.

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Beth is a dear friend of mine, whom I’ve know since our freshman year of high school. I’ve watched as Beth has taken her talent as a writer and turned it into a very successful career. Aside from being a writer and editor for Made Woman Mag and NAILS, she has been published on the Huffington Post, Hello Giggles and was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times for her contributions to Apronology Magazine.

Now that we are grown women, I wanted to get Beth’s insight on what it takes to build a career in digital publishing and how she stays creative in such a deadline driven world.

Serena Watson: As a writer, how do you stay creative and get past writing blocks?

Beth Livesay: To be honest, I feel like I have blocks often. That's the main reason I started my personal blog (www.coutureovercoffee.blogspot.com), so that I could write about the things that interest me outside of nails. It's been a great outlet for me to find myself again creatively and to challenge myself to maintain the habit of blogging.

SW: What traits or skills help you be successful at what you do?

BL: Self-discipline is key. I work in a deadline driven environment, so there are days where I can't let myself take a break or leave if something's not done. You have to be able to self-motivate to succeed. Honesty is also vital. Communicate honestly with your colleagues and superiors so that you can manage the tasks at hand in a timely and professional manner. But also be honest with yourself. I've learned the hard way about biting off more than I can chew. There has to be a time where you are willing and able to say "no.” 

SW: What is a typical day like as a Senior Editor for a beauty magazine?

BL: My day is jam-packed, which is why I really like my job (I hate being bored). I oversee social media, so I open up Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram right away. We have a daily nail art blog, which is where I start Pinning from, then I try to Tweet and post to FB immediately before reading through notifications we have received overnight. Once I am caught up on that I try to get in a daily dose of reading, if there is time. I love Women's Wear Daily, Buzzfeed, and Style.com (if it's Fashion Week). I have my editorial run-ups with the due dates right next to me, as well as my own personal to-do list. Almost everything on my to do list involves writing an article, creating web content such as blog posts or photo galleries, social media tasks, or putting together our digital magazine. If a cool product comes across my desk or something fun happens in the office like a photoshoot, then I will stop my work flow to Instagram it, but otherwise I am buckled down to my set list of deadlines and to-dos. 

SW: As part of your job you get to attend fashion shows to check out the new trends in nails. You recently traveled to New York Fashion Week to see the Spring/Summer collections. What was that experience like?

BL: New York was overwhelming. I don't know if there's a way to really prepare yourself for Fashion Week. It's crazy because nail companies don't always have their schedules finalized until the last minute, and things change constantly, so I went with a loose schedule that ended up changing as I was in New York. Backstage at Fashion Week is insanity! Everyone is scrambling around frantically and the spaces are usually very tight. You have models having someone work on their hair, makeup, and nails at the same time. I saw Libertine, Opening Ceremony, Alice + Olivia, the Blonds, and Raul Penaranda, all amazing shows in their own right. There is nothing like being that close to exquisite clothing! I also was in the same room as women whose work I admire so much. I was too starstruck to talk to them. I just admired them from afar. [Laughs]



SW: It seems nail trends have gone global. We've seen influential designs from Europe and Japan but what do you think will be the next big thing in nail art?

BL: Nail competitor Chris Mans told me recently that he predicts Eastern Europe will be the next big place to look to. It makes sense to me, with so many influencers in fashion coming from places like Russia. When the rest of the industry craves something different, I think they're going to look at the shapes, lengths, and artistry from that part of the world and become very interested.

SW: You were a Creative Writing major at Pitzer College. How did that shape your writing career and prepare you to succeed in your field?

BL: Pitzer was my top choice for college because of their Creative Writing program. I loved my time at Pitzer; it was a top rate education. However, since I studied writing there, I don’t think I can say that my college career aptly prepared me for the particular job I have now. The business side of the Creative Writing major is to learn about publishing, agents, and continued education, because that’s what most writing students go on to pursue. The majority of my classes focused on writing, reading, and getting feedback, which is what I wanted and what I miss about my time in school. I work with a lot of people now who studied journalism, and that might be a better route to take if you know you want to be a magazine editor. I actually didn’t know that’s what I would end up becoming when I went to college. I just wanted to write, plain and simple. I knew it was a tough career choice, but there wasn’t any other option for me. I think if you love something, you have to have the mindset that it’s do or die. Anything else will fill you with regret. I am so blessed in that I stumbled upon this amazing career that encourages creativity, and where I get to use my love of language. No, it’s not the type of writing I was trained to execute in school, but I learned from my many experiences as a freelance writer how to editorialize and now I always have my training as a creative writer for when I write for myself. I work with artists on a daily basis, so my education has really helped me appreciate everyone’s artistic ability and empathize with the passion they have toward their craft, whether it’s making nail art or making magazines.

SW: What is the most challenging part of what you do?

BL: Unplugging. I am so used to being wrapped up in social media for work and for reading the news that it’s sometimes difficult to back away after work or on the weekends, but I believe that you have to step away for your sanity. Another challenge we face daily is not getting too caught up in competition. Sometimes it can be motivating to aim to do better than your opponent, but other times over-competitiveness can be your own downfall.

SW: What advice would you give to others who hope to turn their passion for writing into a career?

BL: Keep writing. It’s the cardinal rule. Not everything will be published and not everything you write will be good, but just keep working at it. If you love writing it won’t matter what job you have, because you can always write in your spare time. Don’t be afraid to share that writing via blogging or freelance work. Eventually clips add up. Build a portfolio and use that to get the position you want. I started out freelancing right after college while I held a tutoring job. Had I not had a substantial amount of freelance experience, I don’t know that I would have been offered my first editorial job. You have to start somewhere.

 A true Made Woman, Beth does double duty as a writer and editor for multiple publications. You can keep up with her by following her on Twitter or Instagram


Published in Business
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:

Like what you’re reading? Join Made Woman Mag’s mailing list for updates, special promotions and more. Click here!

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!


Published in Beauty

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!


Published in Dating

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!

Published in Beauty

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.

Like what you’re reading? Join Made Woman Mag’s mailing list for updates, special promotions and more. Click here!

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.






Published in Style
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.

Like what you’re reading? Join Made Woman Mag’s mailing list for updates, special promotions and more. Click here!

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.



Published in Fashion
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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Published in Current
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.






Published in Style
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.

Published in Current

Business // April 22, 2013 

The first day of work is like the first day of school. Both usually involve new clothes and lots of nerves. Take it from someone who just landed a new job a year after hardcore searching, first impressions mean everything. I worked my ass off to hunt for jobs, prepare a cover letter, research the company and complete a few interviews. After lots of intense waiting, one company made me an offer that was oh-so-sweet. I couldn’t refuse, and my first day was quickly upon me. Here are my tips for getting through the big first day with grace and a bit of style:

Early Bird Catches The Boss’ Eye

When my big day came, I woke up bright and early at 6:00 a.m, well-rested from my week-and-a-half break between jobs. On your first day it is more important than ever to get enough sleep and show up on time. Especially if you are driving somewhere new or through traffic, make sure you leave enough cushion to arrive a few minutes early and show up looking perky.

Dress for Success

On my first day I spent a little extra time on clothes and makeup. I even made sure I got a haircut. I skipped buying new business formal clothes as my new employer had a more casual dress code. Despite this, I wanted to look professional on my first day. I needed to prove to these people that they hired the right woman for the job.

Make sure you know the dress code of your new place of employment and plan ahead the day before. Once at work, take notice of what everyone else is wearing to get ideas of what is acceptable for future outfit planning and buying. Although my company does allow us to wear jeans every day if we so desire, I noticed that those higher up in the business dress formally. And you should always dress for the job you want, not the one you have.

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The first day is often filled with information, orientation and tours. I am glad I chose the basic heels to wear, as some of my 3-4 inch high wedges wouldn’t have cut it with all the walking. When selecting a bag, you might want to consider a large tote for carting around all your first day items.

Brown Bag or Box It

There are a few essentials you should arm yourself with on the first day. If you don’t have time or are too nervous for a first day breakfast, you can always bring a smoothie to drink on the road or pack a protein bar in your purse. I made sure to bring a Skinny Water with me because I didn’t eat breakfast, and didn’t want my stomach grumbling while meeting people.

Luckily, my boss not only graciously offered to take me to lunch on the first day, but she also showed me around town. I used this rare one-on-one time with her to try and get to know her better. When your boss asks you about your old job, remember to take the high road in answering those questions. As much as I would have loved to share all the horror stories about my previous boss and co-workers over rounds of chips and salsa, I didn’t want to give off the wrong impression. I’m not a complainer. I’m not a gossip. And lunch is only an hour long. Answer as diplomatically as you can and save those stories for later. Like maybe the Christmas party … in three years.

Setting Up Shop

It’s always a happy surprise to see your name already on your cubicle/desk area (bonus points if it’s spelled correctly, too.) If you don’t know the size of your desk area in advance, I would recommend leaving the box of decor and office supplies in your trunk. You don’t want to be lugging a large box around while looking for your cubicle and have it mess up that outfit you worked so hard to iron out.

Meeting People

I don’t think anyone remembers the names of everyone they meet on a first day. Especially in a big company. It is really important to try and nail down your teammates, supervisors, and cubicle mates names first. Try and look at the details of people’s outfits, hair, or offices when meeting them to help them stand out in your mind. And always remember your H.R. person’s name and location. They will be your biggest ally in getting settled in. Give a firm handshake and try to ask questions that will help you make a connection. A smile and eye contact go a long way. You needn’t bombard your boss with questions either. Asking your coworkers questions too will not only help you figure things out, but it will help you break the ice with them as well.

Enjoy Yourself

It is a brave endeavor to start the job cycle all over again. Giving up your place high on the totem pole and no longer having a list of trusty contacts who can help at a moment’s need can be scary. Back at my desk all that awaited me was a computer screen with no saved mail folder keeping all the good work related jokes; no familiar screen saver. For a second I missed the familiar comforts of my old office. But then I realized that this was the blank canvas I had been dreaming of for a year. Try not to dwell on the comforts you left behind at your former job. Look forward with enthusiasm at what is waiting for you.


Published in Career
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