Ten Things you need at IKEA: Summer 2017

It has been quite some time since my last IKEA visit.  Past visits included  purchases for Office Projects, Kitchen Projects, Guest Room Projects, Custom Closets, and of course the general need for Storage Space!! I am no stranger to the arrow pointing on the floor to move in the right direction or head to the Marketplace.

This particular visit was to “just look” and get ideas for client’s as well as my own  future projects.  I had so much fun checking everything out and getting ideas for all of us!

Below are ten things I think are awesome at IKEA right now !

1.Mirrors– They have a wide assortment and of course great price points.  These two were my favorite.

(Ikornnes Collection)

(Stockholm Collection)

2.Light Fixtures- I have always wanted the Huge Flower Snow Ball forever and it was still here to tease me.

There were new ones to adorn too!

3.Office Chairs-These were very comfortable  and with color options!

4.Bedding Inspiration- IKEA always have fun fabrics and textiles- New Bed Linens and Duvets add a lot of bang for a little buck when you need a change.

5.Storage Carts that look cool!

6.Timeout Circus Tent!  I am not going to explain

7.Book Shelves – IKEA has got this one down, no need to shop around

(Billy Collection)

8.Case Goods– Functional, Sleek, and  beautiful.  I love the new Stockholm collection

9.Plants and Flowers.  Both real and fake they are beautiful! $2.00-$10.00

10.Barware– I got very excited when I saw these glasses!  I just came back from NY and at the Bergdorf Goodman’s restaurant they had very similar water glasses!!!  Thank you IKEA for bringing Bergdorfs to me at a price I can afford! $2.99 each


A fiery red orange velvet couch!  Jonathan Adler would agree!!! Take me Home!!!

A Tea Infuser pot! $9.99

And that concludes the Summer List Wants and Needs at IKEA!


Personal Branding: Invest in Yourself thru Pictures


This is the age of photos and pictures.   We see them all day and night on Facebook, Instagram, Emails, Blogs, Twitter, etc…  We are hooked to our phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.  It’s hard to escape the incoming all day long.  ( I am glad I grew up in the 80’s!)

Our photos are our calling card, and a visual image of who we want to be.  We can use pictures to our advantage if taken well.  If we have a bad shot it can actually hurt our image or slow down the path in which we want to succeed.

Whether it is for a Dating Site, Linked In, FB profile, or business profiles photos of yourself need to look great not just good. We have larger audiences with social media .  There is no excuse and if you want to get noticed and stand out,  having a great picture of yourself is a smart tool in your success toolbox.

It is statistically proven we are sized up in 30 seconds based on how we look so let’s learn how to present our best image forward!

I am a stylist, makeup artist and photographer living in Tucson.  The following pictures I took, and styled the “afters”


9 Tips on representing yourself through pictures


Have 3-5 pictures of yourself.   A good picture will help you stand out from the rest of the crowd! This includes a full body shot, face shot, action shot, and professional shot

1A: Full Body Shot                                                                           No bother hiding, you need to be truthful and show yourself from head to toe.



1B: Face Shot – Up close and Personal






1C: Action Shot – No friends, no pets, no children, no exceptions!






2.   Add a Professional Shot to your portfolio.   Friendly and completely pulled together!



3.    Use a photographer who knows how to take a good “casual” picture


4.  Solo Shot:  No one else in the picture


5.  Your Photo must be current, it needs to look like you right now!






6. The right clothes, hair and makeup are essential for a photo to represent you.   This picture does not represent her at all!  The picture also adds 10 years to her.


After makeup application –  WOW Factor!!!


Before Makeup Application



7.  You need to be the center of attention with your picture and pay attention to what is also in the picture.

I would edit the brick wall out, so we see more of her. Too much distraction in this picture.



Nice background  backdrop!  Not to distracting.  We see her first!


Notice the surroundings?? Not good for a photo to represent yourself and your house.


8.  Be Camera Ready wearing a nice outfit, makeup, and a good night’s sleep for bright eyes!




9. Have a Stylist help select your outfits for your photoshoot.  It is worth it!


10. When Smiling don’t overdue it.  Your eyes will appear squinty and closed

Too Squinty!.  Soften your Smile

img_3766 over

No Squinting here, Lovely shot of her!


Another lovely shot


Too Squinty again, and bad lighting


I hope this was of value to you and if your living in the Tucson area and need some assistance, I am happy to help!


Thru the Summer months  I am offering special promotions for the Personal Branding Service. Contact me for further information.

Also stay tuned for Wardrobing with Comfortable Shoes.  I will share great outfits with the emphasis of pulling it together with flat, low, comfortable shoes!












The pictures you won’t see in the June Issue of Tucson Life Style Magazine Buzzing Around Bisbee!

This photo story  was about two girls on a road trip to Bisbee.

Bisbee is a great little getaway only 1.5 hours from Tucson with fun shops, interesting architecture and sites, music, and a cool laid back vibe for enjoying yourself without a lot of expectations.  

We started at 6am and didn’t stop till 6pm!  The entire day was great because of the team I was working with!

Scott Barker, Editor of Tucson Lifestyle Magazine102Tom Spitz, Photographer047 Matthew Kauffman , Art Director Tucson Lifestyle Magazine048 Joseph Boldt, Photo Assistant104  The models:  Vanessa Baird, and Paige McGiffen. 079 OUCH!!!054 Bisbee is always a fun visit and the opportunity to do a photo shoot made the day quite an adventure!

The last shoot of the day was at the  Shady Dell Airstream Park.   I couldn’t help but reminisce  when I stayed there 18 years ago when it was $45.00 a night! I was booked in the  Spartan  Airstream004

To prepare for the success of the photo shoot I need to always visualize the outfits that will compliment the different “scenes”.  My job was also to create multiple looks using one base such as the dresses I chose and switch out accessories, add a jacket etc.  They worked out beautifully.IMG_1108 (1) Vintage Luggage that I had as props in my Store in California a zillion years ago!!!074

Flippin excited that Paige wore my Elvis dress!!!

IMG_1107 My instinct as a Stylist is to try on all the outfits the models will be wearing.  If I know it looks good on me I know it will look good on them.  IMG_1102The wardrobe and most props for the shoot were exclusively from my private collection. Having owned a Vintage Consignment Store Timeless in Palo Alto California  I have managed to hold on to quite a collection!FullSizeRender

008It was a great day as I expected.   The shoot ran smoothly and on time which doesn’t always happen.  We started out by the Fairgrounds to do the “car shoot”.  Notice the bangles Paige is wearing !!!099

You gotta love a guy who smiles while shlepping!

083Vanessa striking a pose! Vanessa wearing Vintage  Circa 80’s Ralph Lauren Jacket103Getting psyched for Bisbee!!107Wayne’s Toys AKA  Tucson Auto Museum  provided the choice automobile. I enjoyed meeting the owners, they were a lovely couple.

090Once the car shoot was completed we all jumped in our cars and caravanned to Bisbee to finish the story.

Here is a look at my  behind the scenes shots :

First Bisbee stop:  Bisbee Breakfast Club where we all enjoyed lunch together too!112

110.JPGJoseph and Tom prepping

113The Beginning of the 1000 Step Stair Climb!  In front of the Copper Queen Hotel

134I  achieved completing these steps a few years ago.  Here with my friend Susan Firth.037_edited-1When walking the stairs you get to see so many  intricate, funky exteriors of little houses, bizarro stuff,  arts and crafts,   etc while you climb.014 080054_edited-1

Shopping Antiques at Acacia Art and Antiques


124I love this store and of course I found something perfect to add to my white pottery collection.  I have a beautiful friend  in Boston who collects white pottery and I started a little collection of my own so everytime I look at it I think of her!006

Stock Exchange Saloon and Grill

Hustling is the name of the Game


137Walking down  Main Street


I trekked on the opposite side of the street for this shot!  I love it!!!


Shady Dell RV Park!!! Vanessa wearing Betsy Johnson, J Crew Shoes.  Paige wearing Anthropologie, Lucky Sandals

image (4)

Vanessa, pull yourself together!

image Paige looks like a 1940’s glamour movie star!!  PJ’s:  Natori and Anthropologie


The only phone booth left in America!!!


Matthew said I was saluting at the end of the day with a smile!!   I enjoyed the day in Bisbee indeed!bisbee

I love the fantasy of a photo shoot.  They are a lot of work but also a lot of fun and the pics in the end are amazing that are selected for the magazine spread.  Thanks Tom Spitz for your amazing photos!

June Issue of Tucson LifeStyle — Check it out and  go cool off in Bisbee during the summer!!!


I just discovered the best place to stay in Downtown Phoenix, plus extracurricular activities!!!

Thanks to Hotels.com  the Clarendon popped up as I was searching for a hotel in Phoenix.   My visit specifically was  to see the Gianfranco Ferre Exhibit at the Phoenix Museum of Art.FullSizeRender (12)

The Clarendon surpassed my expectations!!!! IMG_0099

At the special rate of $85.00 per night I decided to book it . The vibe was swank with a comfortable casual feel.  I have stayed at “Swank” in Palm Springs, LA , Chicago and New York, but the Clarendon had a friendly stylish vibe and for a first impression that says “welcome” to me.

As I was handed my key and headed to my room, I was asked if I needed any snacks complimentary – whatever I wanted– What? are you kidding me?  Twix and Cheetos were on the list, Woo hoo!!!  Yes please!  Why not I am on Vacation!!!

Perk #1003My room was spacious, quiet, and the decor was pleasantly modern.  Comfortable, clean and functional. Classical music was dialed in as I entered- NiceIMG_0097

The property had a heated pool convenient  if you visit in the winter , and a huge hot tub. Lots of properties have pools and hot tubs but the design, layout and coolness of the Clarendon’s is what separates them from the average norm! Perk #2007

Perk #3  Rooftop Garden and Bar.FullSizeRender (13)  Great view, Great lounge pads and on Thurs, Fri Jazz complimentary.  I didn’t even have to leave my hotel to listen to good music- Awesome.

Perk #4  Complimentary Wine from 5-6 nightly.  Unfortunately I did not make it in time for “Happy Hour” but I did find a spot at their comfy hotel bar later on and enjoyed a Martini while talking to Falyn, the lovely bartender.  She was not only pleasant to talk to but was a wealth of information on the cool spots to go to.falyn

Falyn’s pics which I will check out next visit : Phoenix Flea Market on Saturdays, Crescent Ballroom, Valley Bar, Hanny’s ( Martini Bar)

I did visit her suggestion Lux CafeFullSizeRender (7)

Lux Cafe was a perfect spot for my 4pm Espresso and I did cave at the temptation of baked goodies.  Great for people watching as well as delicious coffee and treats.

Ready for Jazz!!  The trio was great and to have this little luxury at the push of 4 flights up in the elevator you couldn’t ask for anything better-FullSizeRender (10)

Perk #5  The Clarendon has an awesome restaurant with gourmet food!!   I am so particular  where I eat and what I eat.   Again a luxury I didn’t have to step out of the property to obtain my high standards of dining.  Plus I can’t reiterate the casual vibe and comfort level overall.  I had the Shrimp Sofrito with Garlic Manchego Bread and it was absolutely delicious!shrimp sofritos

Perk #6  If you are a dog lover like me, it is so nice to see dogs welcome at your hotel. Indeed I did!FullSizeRender (9)

Perk #7 Breakfast complimentary in the dining room, and made to order off the menu.   I am sure we have all had the complimentary breakfast at Quality Suites and it passes but at the Clarendon you are enjoying Lux Coffee (local coffee) to start your morning followed by whatever you choose of the menu.  Local ingredients, organic ingredients  result in a great food.  I had Chilaquiles with over easy eggs and it was yummy!  I couldn’t wait till the next  morning!!

IMG_0128 (1)

As my tummy was happy and quite content I ventured off to the Phoenix Museum to view the GianFranco Ferre Exhibit ” The White Shirt According to me”.  This exhibit was extraordinary.  Phoenix being the only museum in North America to show this, how lucky was I, only 1.5 hours  from Tucson where I live.  The Installation was the exact installation as in Milan and Florence the only two locations to show the exhibit.FullSizeRender (2)Gianfranco Ferre was an Architect before Designer and was hugely popular in the 80’s.  The 24 White shirts exhibited all had a story behind them and were just eye candy by themselves.FullSizeRender (5)FullSizeRender (4)FullSizeRender (3)  The museum also presented  a small collection of his Couture pieces.  My Favorite was the black dress with red roses!FullSizeRender (6)

An interesting current exhibit   was the Zodiac collection . Renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei (b. 1957) took as his inspiration for his twelve Chinese zodiac bronze sculptures from those that once graced the Qing dynasty fountain, in an eighteenth-century imperial retreat outside Beijing. Like other ornate objects, the original pieces were looted by the British and French troops in the Second Opium War in 1860. Viewed as a symbol of “cultural theft”, Weiwei re-created the gold-plated sculptures in 2010 as a subversive commentary on the nature of looting and repatriation.FullSizeRender (8)

Back at the Hotel!  Breakfast # 2 consisted of flapjacks and eggs with local sausage and roasted potatoes.  A sophisticated version of the Grand Slam breakfast we all know at Denny’s!  The flapjacks were the best pancakes I have ever tasted.IMG_0194

Needing a little exercise to burn off my sinful breakfast, I hopped on a cool bike that was complimentary Perk #8012clarendon For two hours I had fun exploring the neighborhoods specifically the Willo and Encanto districts.  Beautiful homes, bungalows, landscaping and the retro mid century era all was visible to me on a quiet Sunday morning.IMG_0210 (1)

IMG_0218IMG_0222I really felt free, peaceful and totally happy!!! Perk #9 that wasn’t in the brochure.

It is amazing what a little get away can do for your spirits and well being.  The Clarendon and Phoenix museum did just that for me!!!














Fashion Shoots

I am fortunate to know  many young talented ladies who are photographers, hairstylists, makeup artists, and models here in Tucson and Phoenix.  We get together from time to time with enthusiasm, energy, creativity  and hope that this photo shoot will be the one!  You know…………………….. the Italian Vogue spread.

Stephanie Lew- Photographer036

Brittney Christie- Photographer109

Mayra Gomez- Makeup Artist014

Khara Williams- Makeup Artist027

Steve Negri- Assistant082

I am the stylist most of the time, I have also been the make up artist , and my favorite photo shoots are shot at our house.  I like to provide a warm home when everyone comes together- healthy food, and snacks, beverages and espresso.  We all need espresso for these long days- Usually 6-8 hours of shooting.  Let’s also add in 2-3 hours of cleaning the house, and backyard prior to the shoot.   My husband is always kind to help out with all the cleaning and backyard .  I  also spend 2-3 hours pulling clothes and props  from my private collection to create the “look” of the shoot.  I love doing this kind of work, it keeps my creative juices flowing.


Below are some of my favorite photo shoots that were shot at our house .

Antonia Kastilahn:  She was the very first photo shoot I was part of.  Stephanie Lew was the amazing photographer, Khara Williams was the MUA, Mayra Gomez the HairStylist. I was the Stylist .antonia 4

antona 3

antonia 6

Katie Reed:  Super fun day with Katie, same crew as above.076



Mr. and Mrs. Negri:  Yes that’s us! We hadn’t had any professional pics of us since we were married so we thought it was about time .  Brittney Christie was the Photographer and I styled myself and Steve.107



Tristin Crenshaw:  Great model for never modelling before. What a natural! Stephanie Lew and Monica Negri Photographers, Makeup and Styling :Monica Negri




Michelle Meyer Nuriddin: Another great model for never modelling before. Same credits as above




CaShawnna Evans  and Chelsea Chun:  Both lovely models with very different looks.  Brittney Christie and Monica Negri : Photographers, Mayra Gomez: Makeup and Hair, Stylist: Monica Negri


Ten Outfits with Ten Variations of Summer Sandals


This gallery contains 21 photos.

Summer is in full swing and sandals should be too.  Brown toned sandals, Neutrals and metallics are my favorite in summer because they are flattering and  more versatile than a  black sandal.  In the summertime our clothes are light and … Continue reading

3 Pairs of Gucci’s

  1. Gucci Loafers from my Consignment Store obtained in 1996
  2. Custom made Gucci Thongs made by moi  in 2011
  3. Gucci Label Kitten Mule Heels obtained in 2011

I can’t explain why , but I love Gucci’s green and red stripes, along with all the status that goes behind the name.  I don’t consider myself a label whore and try to avoid advertising a company’s brand , but somehow Gucci slipped thru the cracks with my fashion ethic code. The Gucci  History is fascinating, so many family squabbles, greed, disloyalty , betrayal and death, it is no wonder the brand came crashing down and almost became obsolete.

It wasn’t until someone brought in a pair of Gucci Loafers to  my consignment store Timeless, in Palo Alto California that I even recognized or cared about Gucci.  I looked at these shoes and it was love at first sight. The loafers were so solid, the brown leather  shiny and rich, along with the iconic horse bit to top it off. Image

It was 1994 and no one seemed to care about Gucci anymore.  Gucci had lost its status as a giant from the 1960’s. Not only were loafers being brought into my store but also Gucci bags, belts, and  scarves that women just wanted to dump . I saw the value in these items and bought them to of course “save them”  The Gucci loafer is  the only shoe displayed in the New York Modern Museum of Art to this day.  It was in 1995 that Tom  Ford became the creative director of Gucci and resurrected the brand from going bankrupt to a 4.5 billion dollar empire all around the world.  I remember watching the Grammy’s and seeing Madonna present an award in a fitted navy silk blouse , navy velvet pants and satin navy pointyheels.  Wow!!!!!!!!!   That’s “Gucci”.

Model Amber Valleta in 1995 Gucci Ad created by Tom Ford


As my desire to own more Gucci prevailed, on a trip to Italy in 2003 an opportunity arose to buy some Gucci on the street literally and to buy fast, as the merchant would be moving his loot in about 5 minutes before the polizia came to bust up the illegal selling of fake merchandise.  I couldn’t resist and bought two Gucci bags, a belt and a Hat all for $85.00. It was an adrenaline rush. I brought home the loot, and it sat around until one day when I looked at those green and red stripes on the belt, took a look at my old Reef flip flops and decided to perform surgery to give the flip flops a Gucci lift.  I carefully sewed on the “stripes “and before my eyes I now  was the proud owner of  “Gucci flip flops that retail for $250.00  I save these flip flops for special occasions- smart outfits, clean lines so that the stripes always stand out.  Never compete with Gucci!


Last year, Steve and I traveled to New York for the Holiday Season. The Holiday Windows are breathtaking, eye candy everywhere- on the streets, in the restaurants I could go on and on we all know New York City is a sensory overload and I love every minute  of being overloaded”!  We trekked to Soho one day and after having a fabulous lunch at Grammercy Tavern we ventured to Buffalo Exchange to see what kind of trouble we could get into.   I always shop shoes first and to my delight their they were waiting for me .  Gucci Kitten Heel Mules for $40.00!  I also scooped up a Jil  Sander top, Italian Riding Boots oh and some Manolos.  SCORE!!


So to date I own three pairs of Gucci’s, lets see what the future holds and I will keep you posted——