Inspirational Women: Q-and-A with Country Artist Edan Archer

Inspirational Women is our new feature department that connects you to modern-day women who are set to leave a mark in their chosen field, whether that's music, business, career or motherhood. This Q-and-A profile shares their stories, passion, struggles, leadership ideas, style philosophy and ways they are inspiring other women to chase after their dreams.

In this debut feature, we highlight Florida-native country artist Edan Archer, who recently released a new single entitled "Ain't That Kind of Woman" and a new EP entitled "Cruel Mother." Here, the rising singer-songwriterwho was chosen to compete in Southwest Airlines' Live@35 series and perform during a flight at 35,000 feetshares her motivations, musical influences and style lessons.  

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The Gospel of Beauty: Where did your love of country music come from?

Edan: I actually grew up listening to a lot of folk and Appalachian music—true music of the people and the human condition. We used to sing murder ballads and sea shanties as a family in Florida folk festivals so I developed a love for storytelling through music early on. 

TGOB: Who were your early musical influences?

Edan: We listened to a lot of Dolly Parton and Elvis Priestly songs when we were kids. Then as a pre-teen, I adored Taj Mahal and Bonnie Raitt, and Janis Joplin. I still won’t sing a Janis Joplin song to this day because, to me, she’s just in another universe, so I won’t even try to cover her songs.

TGOB: Can you still recall the first time you sang in public? 

Edan: I honestly don’t remember the first time I sang in public. I sang a lot in the church choir, at folk festivals and picking parties, so it was likely one of those times. I don’t remember ever being nervous. I mean, my mom was leading us, so my sisters and I just followed her lead like little ducklings. When I was older and played with my own band, we started out in college bars. I don’t remember my first show exactly, but we used to have a lot of fun playing in Gainesville, Florida. 

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TGOB: Aside from your own, which song is on replay on your iPod or MP3?

Edan: Right now, I’m listening to Jason Isbell’s new record. I’m loving all the new Americana music that’s coming out right now—there’s amazing stuff happening! 

TGOB: For many artists, there's no such thing as overnight success. How do you keep yourself motivated to keep going when you feel unrewarded and uninspired?

Edan: It is sometimes tough to keep your spirits up. But the main thing I try to remember is that it’s all a silly game, and the actual music is what matters. It’s easy to get caught up in society’s idea of success and what one has or hasn’t "achieved" as an artist, with regards to recognition and social media numbers. But what matters most is the experience of connecting with people, whoever and wherever that is, and experiencing the human condition together. 

TGOB: What's your advice to other women pursuing their dreams in music? 

Edan: To be a true artist and not just an image of an artist. I think it’s important to focus on one’s craft—learning to play, sing, and write as best as you can. Everyone has something special about them musically, just like everyone has a special beauty. 

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TGOB: What is the experience like for you as part of Southwest Airlines Live35 series?

Edan: That was a super fun experience! Playing on an airplane was one of the most fun shows that I’ve done. I’m very proud to have been chosen as one of their artists! 

TGOB: How would you describe your style philosophy? 

Edan: I dress for the theater of life! I love unique items with personal history—vintage pieces feel a bit like anthropological finds to me. I’m drawn to clothes that reflect the different sides of my personality—the dramatic, the vulnerable, and wild…

If I’m feeling happy and free, I might channel 60s hippie style, If it’s going to be a wild night, I’ll reference a bit of 70 decadence. If I’m playing a dirty honky tonk, I’ll go full trailer park! It depends on my mood that day, and if my clothes don’t match my mood, I’m not a happy camper! When they do sync up, I feel like a super hero. 

TOGB: What's your can't-live-without beauty item? 

Edan: I love a beautiful foundation. Right now I’m using MAC Studio fix fluid, it’s great for pictures because it has provides good coverage. 

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TOGB: What's the most important style lesson you've learned?

Edan: I’ve learned that not every style can work for every person. I think petite women can rock different styles than tall women like me. For example, I love the "oversized borrowing your boyfriend’s clothes" look, but it doesn’t really work on me. I’ve learned to work with my athletic shoulders and arms, and to play up the parts of my body that make me feel confident and sexy. And my main guideline is to let the clothes celebrate you, instead of the other way around. If the dress is wearing you, nix it! 

TGOB: Among the many iconic women, who inspires you the most?

Edan: I’m most inspired by women who find their individuality and really own their look. I love how Stevie Nicks is a boho goddess, but also how Alison Mosshart from The Kills uses the same simple basics all the time and makes them timeless and iconic. Kate Moss always seems so comfortable in her skin, no matter what she’s wearing, and I think that always shows. Even if you're comfortable being uncomfortable—just rock it! 

Summer Outfit Ideas to Help You Transition Your Look from Day to Night 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY REALTOR BRIAN JOHNSON

Summer is rolling in fast and furious down in the lovely Sunshine State. Expectedly, this mama is embracing the summer glow and balmy evenings with a little bit of a minimalist vibe. If you have been following my previous style posts, you probably have seen a bit of a trend when it comes to my fashion choices: I tend to favor neutral hues, white especially, but with unexpected details. 

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White is the perfect summer outfit idea when you want fresh, clean aesthetics—whether you are planning a weekend beach rendezvous or simply heading out for happy hour with girl friends. Plus, white offers the perfect contrast to show off your beach-ready tan complexion!

Like its more popular sister, the Little Black Dress, the mini white dress is extremely versatile and can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. While searching for summer outfit ideas that I can easily transition from day to night, I came across two current favorites from The Lillipad Boutique, a new online shop that carries an adorable collection of on-trend fashion.

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Summer Outfit Idea 1: Daytime Bohemian

Nothing says summer than a touch of cool bohemian to a favorite summer outfit. I adore the airy silhouette of this white off-shoulder dress. It's casual enough for window-shopping but equally interesting to be paired with strappy heels for a fun dinner date. 

The off-shoulder detail adds just the right amount of sass, so it shows a little skin but still exudes an overall classiness. I absolutely love the boho-inspired stitching as it gives a lovely visual interest against an otherwise all-white dress.

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To make it appropriate for a completely chill Saturday, I paired this summer dress with a statement piece—a pair of gladiator sandals. These Roman-inspired sandals make for a killer fashion piece for summer as they can be worn with shorts, dresses or denim skirts.

To finish off this daytime boho-inspired look, I opted to accessorize with a subtle Dear Isabella necklace with Larimar gemstone in safety pin design and a Jessica Simpson white and gold weaved shoulder bag.

Summer Outfit 2: After-Hour Classic

When I saw this Temple dress by The Lillipad Boutique, I know I've found a versatile piece that I can wear with a pair of flats for a daytime coffee run or heels for a night of dancing.

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For an evening look, I kept the accessories minimal so all eyes are on the ultra-feminine lace and ribbon detail around the neckline. The lace says prim and proper but the skater silhouette suggests adventure and fun as it makes for a great swing dress. 

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Ultimately, I opted to pair this with simple strappy heels but kept the evening bag interesting which has embroidery, sequins and glass beads.

Which summer outfits are pulling double-duty for you as you transition from day to night? Which statement piece do you add to change the vibe of your dress so it may fit from beach to happy hour? Let's chat fashion, style sisters.

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Disclosure: Although this post is sponsored by The Lillipad Boutique, we always give our honest opinion as we only work with brands we love. To learn more about this new online shop, read their latest blog. Or keep up-to-date on their latest arrivals by following them on Facebook and Instagram.

Style Chat: A Mother's Take on Fashion and Wardrobe Essentials

Style Chat is a special section about fashion influences, style evolutions and wardrobe staples. In this first Style Chat feature, we highlight Leah Weber, the fashion-loving mom behind the blog, scenesfromcedarstreet.com. If you want to be on our next Style Chat seat, connect with me at thegospelofbeauty@gmail.com.


Stay-at-home mom Leah Weber favors classic comfort over trends when shopping for her style essentials.

Stay-at-home mom Leah Weber favors classic comfort over trends when shopping for her style essentials.

As a mom, Leah Weber wears many hats. She juggles her time between taking care of her 10-month-old baby girl and working alongside her husband who works for a ministry called Campus Outreach at The University of West Georgia. "I help provide counseling and lead Bible studies and Discipleship groups to college students. We live in a small town and our favorite activities are having people over to hang out, playing with our baby, and hanging out on the square in downtown Carrollton," she says.

In this Style Chat, the stay-at-home mom talks about her personal style, her fashion influences and the style essentials she can't live without. 

The Gospel of Beauty: How would you describe your fashion sense?

Leah Weber: Classic, feminine and simple.

TGOB: What's your typical mommy weekend outfit?

Weber: My favorite pair of jeans, a comfy but cute blouse, and a pair of boots, Converses, or sandals—depending on the season.

TGOB: Who would you consider to be your biggest fashion influence?

Weber: Joanna Gaines. She’s obviously known for her amazing interior design skills but I also love her fashion sense. She has impeccable taste and combines function and style well together. This is essential for any mom.

TGOB: What's the one piece of wardrobe staple you can't live without?

Weber: It’s a tie between my my black LuLaRoe leggings and my favorite pair of jeans.

TGOB: What types of apparel fill up your closet?

Weber: I’ve recently downsized my closet to include only the things I love. I have a dress for every season and occasion. Numerous neutral-colored tops and blouses, and a few fun, colorful pieces.

This pair of black LuLaRoe leggings is one of Weber's favorite items in her closet.

This pair of black LuLaRoe leggings is one of Weber's favorite items in her closet.

TGOB: Where are a few of your go-to shops for your fashion essentials?

Weber: We live in a small town so shopping for clothes can be difficult sometimes. I like our local small boutiques as well as jane.com. When I do have the chance to go to a mall, my favorite stores are Anthropologie, Madewell and The Loft.

TGOB: Who are some of the fashion icons who inspire you?

Weber: Audrey Hepburn, Kate Middleton and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. 

TGOB: What's the best fashion tip you've ever received?

Weber: Trends come and go. Wear clothes that you love and feel comfortable in.

TGOB: Looking back at how your fashion style has evolved, what's the one fashion item you swore yourself you'll never be caught wearing again?

Weber: I hated skinny jeans when they first came back into style. I thought I would never wear them. Now, I wear them almost every day!

TGOB: How do you share your love of fashion to your little one?

Weber: My baby girl is only 10-months-old so I haven’t been able to share my love for fashion with her yet but when she’s older, I want to teach her not to be defined or consumed by the latest fashion trend or whatever everyone else is wearing. I want her to be confident in who she is and not let fashion define her. I want her to be a trend setter, not a trend follower.

TGOB: What's your advice to other mothers to help them elevate their personal style?

Weber: When you become a mom, it’s easy to neglect yourself in a lot of different areas of your life because you are completely consumed by taking care of your baby. I would encourage you to take time for yourself and your style. Re-evaluate your wardrobe. Go through your closet and get rid of clothes you don’t like and slowly replace your wardrobe with pieces you love. Don’t feel like you have to keep up with the latest trends. Just buy what is comfortable, practical for your lifestyle, and makes you feel beautiful.

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Treasures and Gems: Style Lessons from Mother to Daughter

LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER.  Dear Isabella necklaces in safety pin design make for the perfect mother-and-me heirloom that can be passed on from one generation to another.  PHOTOGRAPHY BY Realtor Brian Johnson .

LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER. Dear Isabella necklaces in safety pin design make for the perfect mother-and-me heirloom that can be passed on from one generation to another. PHOTOGRAPHY BY Realtor Brian Johnson.

When it comes to style influences, no one has probably influenced us more, especially during our young and transformative lives, than our very own mothers. After all, didn't we all once sashay in our mother's oversized heels while we pretended to walk down imaginary runways? Was it not that the first lipstick we played with belong to our mothers? Didn't we once dig through their treasure box of accessories so we could wear one precious item to match our own Sunday's best dress?

SAFETY FIRST.  Dear Isabella's safety pin necklace is the perfect symbolism of a mother's love and protective care.

SAFETY FIRST. Dear Isabella's safety pin necklace is the perfect symbolism of a mother's love and protective care.

I have my mother to thank for exposing me to the possibilities of mixing and matching style pieces. A firm believer of self-care, she would never be caught looking anything less than put together. Her trademark bold red lipstick spoke of unmistakable confidence, a trait I continue to emulate now that I've become a mother myself. 

MOTHERLY LOVE.  She's always put your wants first. Return the favor this Mother's Day and surprise mom with something she would want: a stunning piece of jewelry.

MOTHERLY LOVE. She's always put your wants first. Return the favor this Mother's Day and surprise mom with something she would want: a stunning piece of jewelry.

As it comes full circle now that I have become my daughter's first style influence, I look back—in a timely manner as Mother's Day is just around the corner—of the gems of style lessons my own mother imparted upon me: 

1. Look for soulful details.

This is especially true in jewelry. There are some pieces that simply speak to you, one that evokes good energy. When I first saw this necklace by Dear Isabella Larimar Jewelry Company in an adorable safety pin design, it called my name.

Perhaps it is because the brand itself is founded by a mother inspired by her own daughter so I felt a kindling connection with the brand's story. Dear Isabella, eponymously named after the owner's daughter, is one mother's way to celebrate her daughter, aside from honoring the treasures of her birth home, the Dominican Republic. The brand's classic collection pays homage to the unmistakable bond between mother and daughter and each fine piece honors this lifetime love and connection.  

MOMMY AND ME.  When twinning with mommy is in order, accessorize with a piece of jewelry that your daughter could treasure for a lifetime.

MOMMY AND ME. When twinning with mommy is in order, accessorize with a piece of jewelry that your daughter could treasure for a lifetime.

2. Find timeless pieces.

Whether it's shopping for clothes or shoes, I tend to favor classic items that can last through multiple fashion seasons. This is also true in my choice of accessories. My mom, always the practical woman, taught me to invest in pieces that never go out of style, such as black dresses, white tops and precious gemstones.

CARIBBEAN GEM.  Larimar, the Caribbean gemstone, ranges from subtle green to deep blue in color.

CARIBBEAN GEM. Larimar, the Caribbean gemstone, ranges from subtle green to deep blue in color.

The part that has drawn me most to Dear Isabella's collections is that it is made with a unique gemstone called Larimar. A rare blue variety of the silicate mineral pectolite, Larimar is only found in one place: in a little paradise island in the Caribbean called the Dominican Republic.

According to historians, when the gemstone was discovered in 1974 by Miguel Mendez and Norman Rilling on a beach at the foot of the Baroruco Mountain Range, Mendez named it Larimar after his daughter's name (Larissa) and the Spanish word for the sea (mar). Rightfully so, it is also known as the "Caribbean gemstone" for its color evokes the aqua blue Caribbean waters, although it could generally range from subtle green to deep blue in color.

Like many gemstones believed to exude positive energy, Larimar is thought to provide peace and clarity, radiating healing and love energy.

LESS IS MORE.  Let an intricate jewelry shine by pairing it with a simple top.

LESS IS MORE. Let an intricate jewelry shine by pairing it with a simple top.

3. Embrace the anomalies in design.

In design, there's always that one beautiful imperfection that makes an item perfect. This is something my mom had shown me through her style choices, whether she was buying a local pottery or a piece of jewelry. 

You often get a little of that design anomaly in handmade creations, as no two items can exactly be alike when crafted by hand. When I look carefully to inspect Dear Isabella's necklaces, I can see how each piece is carefully handcrafted, giving every piece a unique craftsmanship that's fitting to become a treasured family heirloom a few years down the road. It is easy to tell there's much effort made in selecting the best possible gemstone. When it comes to Larimar, the general rule of thumb is this: The more blue the color, the higher the quality. 

SMALL BOXES, BIG SURPRISES.  The best things in life truly comes in small boxes. Delight mom with a thoughtful gift enclosed in a lovely blue box.

SMALL BOXES, BIG SURPRISES. The best things in life truly comes in small boxes. Delight mom with a thoughtful gift enclosed in a lovely blue box.

4. Live in style, but make it look easy.

In a nutshell, this was my mom's style mantra: Live in style, but make it look easy. She always made it looked effortless to dress up appropriately, put on makeup and fix her hair like it's nobody's business. I try to live in her example by taking the time for genuine self-care and putting comfort as high as looking chic. 

To do this, I try to dress up with the mindset that less is more. If the print design is screaming, tone it down by wearing a simple jewelry. Unless you are the iconic fashionista Iris Apfel, it is difficult to get away with wearing layers and layers of chunky necklaces against a psychedelic print. 

BIG HEARTS.  Nothing says "I love you, mom" more than a fine jewelry with a rare gemstone. 

BIG HEARTS. Nothing says "I love you, mom" more than a fine jewelry with a rare gemstone. 

As for this style shoot, the spotlight was on the stunning Dear Isabella jewelry, so I opted to showcase it with a bare neck and a simple black corset top. It can't get any more effortless than that.

Mother's Day or not, how do you plan to surprise the most important woman in your life? What style lessons have you learned from her? Let's share thoughtful ideas in the comment box below.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Dear Isabella Larimar Jewelry Co. All opinions are my own. To learn more about their latest launches, including on their upcoming bridal collection in June, follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Dear Isabella ships free within the U.S. and internationally for orders more than $75. Browse their collections today to find the perfect Mother's Day gift!

Old World Charm: 5 Ways to Wear a Bohemian Chic White Dress

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Realtor Brian Johnson | LOCATION: Ybor City | KID's OUTFIT and HAIR ACCESSORY: The Hair Bow Company

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Think of your little white dress as LBD's free-spirited little sister: less formal, casually easy like Sunday morning, hopelessly romantic like a hippie wild child yet equally classic at the same time.

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With the change in season and warmer weather creeping in, the little white dress is the perfect wardrobe essential for a lovely spring and summer affair. Oh, did we mention it's also versatile to wear? There are a million ways to style your little white dress, but this mommy-and-daughter duo's favorite is wearing it with a touch of vintage bohemian.

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To channel our inner boho spirit, we stepped into Ybor City, Tampa's historic district, which once thrived as a cigar industry town prior to the Great Depression. The place was named after Vicente Martinez Ybor, a prominent Spanish cigar entrepreneur who relocated his cigar-making business from Cuba and Key West to Tampa in the late 1880s.

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Today, Ybor City is named National Historical Landmark District and recognized as one of the "10 Great Streets in America." It continues to have a diverse blend of cultures, thanks to its first immigrant settlers primarily of Cuban, Spanish and Italian descents who brought with them their own unique food and traditions. 

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Ybor City has since been transformed as a favorite local spot among foodies, party night owls and art lovers, as evident by its unique fusion of international-themed restaurants, cafes, bars, theaters and street art.

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That being said, it served as the perfect backdrop for a vintage-bohemian fashion shoot. It's easy to be adventurous when wearing a little white dress, so let your inner child run wild and play with a few fun details. Here are five ways to rock the bohemian rhapsody style:

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1. When it comes to frills, poufs and laces, go big or go home.  

When shopping for your little girl's white dress, choose a baby doll silhouette like this flouncy dress by The Hair Bow Company. The pouf at the bottom makes twirling hard to resist and the silhouette gives the dress an ultra-fun and girly vibe. A touch of lace around the neckline is always a good idea as it makes the overall look romantic but mostly, whimsical.

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2. Wear white with gold.

Add an interesting element to take away the "blah" in basic white. For instance, gold adds a touch of elegance to white. A word of caution: Keep the gold element subtle, you don't want to look like you've just been cursed by Midas' touch. A gold belt or hair accessory should do the trick.

For this photo shoot, I opted to give my overall look with a metallic touch by wearing The Hair Bow Company's gold leaf headband.

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3. Pair it with a romantic head dress.

When it comes to a white dress in satin and lace, a little accessory goes a long way. Jazz up your little one's look with some floral and lace head dress, like the one shown on top and sold at The Hair Bow Company. It's not only a great way to pull the hair away from your little one's face and keep her day look neat, but it's a style piece that could effortlessly tie in the overall old-world, bohemian look.

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4. Have fun with a pair of gladiator sandals.

As far as vintage style goes, wearing the right pair of footwear matters. It's really amazing how shoes can single-handedly take an overall look from day to night. For instance, a gold pair of stilettos could make this white dress by Forever 21 "happy hour ready," while a classic pair of nude pumps could make it work-appropriate. For this style shoot, I slipped on a pair of gladiator sandals to complete the boho chic look. Hello, is that you, ancient Rome, calling?

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5. Keep the look organic by sticking to neutral colors.

Think of woodsy colors like forest green or caramel brown. These colors go well with a simple white dress in creating a very "chill" and Woodstock-inspired style. Let your individuality shine with your style choices, whether that means adding a mocha fringe messenger bag, a pair of feather earrings or some oversized bows. Ultimately, it's about embracing your free-spirited inner child!

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The Hair Bow Company. All opinions are my own. Follow them on Facebook or sign up to their newsletter to enjoy a five percent discount on your order.

Tights Season: Style Tips on How to Rock Them!

I've been in your shoesdesperately looking for the right opaque tights or fishnets to keep me warm as the season transitions, but still fashionable enough beyond wearing those good ol' boring black stockings. While there's no denying that black tights make the most versatile choice (especially if your closet is full of colors and patterns), choosing one with a little design may go a long way in creating a style statement. 

So how exactly should you wear tights this season? Two words: Own them!  

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1. If you must wear black, pick a designed fishnet.

Wearing fishnets is a proven-and-tested way to keep your look stylish and edgy. However, because there is a fine line between sexy and sleazy when it comes to wearing fishnets, tread lightly. To stay in the chic zone, avoid tight skirts with short hemlines or body-hugging dresses. Instead, opt for silhouettes like A-line or pleated skirts as well as slightly loose dresses. I prefer to wear fishnets with a leather A-line skirt that comfortably grazes above my knee and pair this with a crisp white shirt. The final look is often polished or preppy, but with a slight style edge. 

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2. Choose colors that are bound to stop traffic.

That's right, when it comes to your choice of the season's staple, take risks! While this is likely not a fashion tip for the weak of heart, selecting tights with fun colors make a great way to jazz up one's look, especially if you tend to pick neutral and basic colors for most of your clothes. Pair complementary colorsand as you may have already guessed by the look I've put together above, my favorite combo is purple and yellow! Because these winter essentials are both versatile and functional, it's certainly a great way to breathe new life to non-seasonal choices. For instance, because the Sunshine State's winter is far more forgiving compared to other places, wearing a pair of summer shorts is no longer a crazy idea as long as it's worn with trusty tights to keep the bare legs warm. 

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3. Have fun with prints and patterns.

While they undeniably serve a utilitarian purpose, wearing tights is also about having fun! If you must choose a solid color, choose one with a little pattern. I adore tights with polka dot printsthey're classic and easy to match with tweed skirts, but also look like an invitation to have fun with one's ensemble. 

There is no doubt that, when it comes to wearing tights, the right pair of shoes, sneakers or boots can make or break the overall lookso pay attention to every little detail and never feel stuck in a winter wardrobe rut ever again! 

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Style Trend Alert: Pink Will Reign Supreme

Spring may be months away, but the style trend is evident: Pink will reign supreme. In fact, at the Paris Fashion Week which previewed spring 2017, collections on the runway were apparently heavy with femininity and shades of sweetness. PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN JOHNSON | LOCATION: HYDE PARK, TAMPA

Ariana's style:  Ballerina pink and gold dress by  Jenna & Jessie  and pink  Hello Kitty  ballet flats by  H&M .

Ariana's style: Ballerina pink and gold dress by Jenna & Jessie and pink Hello Kitty ballet flats by H&M.

Fashion powerhouse Balenciaga, for instance, featured a watermelon-pink turtleneck dress while the style house of Valentino showcased a knee-length cape hybrid dress in stunning Schiaparelli pink. Givenchy, on the one hand, featured a long-sleeved dress with coordinating fringes in muted blush. 

Mommy's Style:  White heart-shaped top with pleat sleeves and fringe skirt in blushing pink by  Express . Nude pumps by  Nine West .

Mommy's Style: White heart-shaped top with pleat sleeves and fringe skirt in blushing pink by Express. Nude pumps by Nine West.

So what's all this fascination with pink? Haven't critics of the bubblegum color said enough about its "too saccharine" quality? The recent obsession with pink, it appears, can be partly blamed by the fact that one of Pantone's colors of the year is Rose Quartz. Ah, that explains it. Move aside vegan Greenery.

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The other part of it may simply be that the fashion gods want to rethink pink to slightly strip it of its "Barbie color" reputation. Thus, the runway was painted with shades that were deemed less sweet to the fashion taste. For a modern take, stylists have paired pink with edgier colors like sulphuric yellow and minty lime to slightly tone down its feminine appeal. 

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It appears the love of pink has spilled beyond the runway and into the red carpet as celebrities were spotted wearing various shades of pink in recent award shows. At the 2017 Golden Globes Award, Carrie Underwood wore a pink and ruffled Iris Serban gown, so did Felicity Jones and Zoe Saldana who both wore the feminine color to the award show.

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But what if pink is not in your list of favorite colors? Can you still look stylishly on-trend with spring's shade of choice? Our advice: Do it in small doses. Add a pink scarf, a fashionable criss-cross bag or a pair of pink pumps.

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If baby pink is too girly for you, consider a different shade of pink. A good rule of thumb is to find a shade that fits your hair color and skin tone. A blushing pink may wash you out if you have a fair complexion. Instead, opt for a hot pink dress to amp up your overall look. 

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Wear pink in combo. To give pink an edgier appeal, don't be afraid to shake it up. Limes and bright yellows have a jarring but pleasant appeal to pink. 

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Ultimately, whatever shade of pink speaks to you, remember the number one fashion tip: Keep it fun! For Ariana and I, when it comes to being playful with color choices, we say: "Yes, pretty, pretty pink please!"

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The Chill Effect: Dressing Up for Winter

A few weeks back, temperatures in the Sunshine State dipped and forced us to take out a few winter fashion essentials which, since we've moved here from the Bluegrass State, had been safely stowed away in a tote box in our closets. Don't get me wrong, we are not complaining. In fact, Ariana and I rather welcomed the brief change of temperature as we finally had our excuse to wear knits, vests and adorable leggingsminus the dreaded prospect of a two-foot snow.

How did we survive Florida's winter? Fashionably, of course. Here are a few fun tips to help you shop and level up your kid's winter style.

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1. Invest in a good knit dress that you can easily pair with a nice legging and a pair of adorable boots. I tend to keep my choices neutral as far as color and prints are concerned so I may have the option to jazz up Ariana's look with adorable leggings, many of which come in bright colors and prints.

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2. Shop wisely. Buy your kid's winter essentials close to the end of the winter season. This often means shops are getting ready for spring and are eager to get rid of their old inventory by offering deep discounts. Shop one age size in advance, I can't tell you how much savings I've had by simply shopping in advance in anticipation of the next season.

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3. Accessorize with stylish vests. This is the season to layer, so next time your are in the kid's section of your favorite children's boutique, don't ignore the vests. It's a great way to stylishly layer without wearing bulky winter jackets and pea coats all the time.

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4. Play around with leggings. In fact, mix it up with bright pinks, limes and purples. Don't shy away from prints which are adorable on your little ones but also invest in basic colors. They make the perfect pair with winter dresses that may be too glittery, adorned with too much sequins or simply too busy with holiday-themed prints. What has been your favorite winter look for your little one? Let's chat, share your comments below.

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Glitter & Gold: Ring in 2017 in Style

Hello 2017, we're all glammed up to welcome you! The New Year is every fashionista's excuse to wear glitter and gold, so Ariana and Mommy are not apologizing for bringing on the sparkle. Although head-to-toe glitz and glamour are more than welcomed this party season, this mommy-and-daughter duo opts to keep the golden touches subtle.

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Rather than wear gold all throughout, Ariana prefers to keep it minimal with a flowing pink dress with subtle glittery sequins on top. The dress is ultra-sweet and feminine, which suits this little girl's personality. To help teach her self-confidence, I allow her to make shopping decisions with me and guides her through style choices so she understands how to properly dress herself up. 

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By any definition, it was love at first sight the moment Ariana laid eyes on this princess dress on the racks of H&M. It's easy to understand why, I myself adore the tiny floral detail on topwhile the gold sequins add a regal and subtle sparkle.

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To ensure that her dress is the focal point, we kept the rest of Ariana's look clean and simple. She pairs this lovely dress with Hello Kitty ballet flats and the only accessory we added is an oversized white bow as an accent to her simple ponytail.

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For Mommy's New Year party look, sticking to the classic black and gold tandem is always a good idea. To add an edgier appeal to the basic black top, go for a sexier detail, like this season's hot style trend: cut-off shoulders. 

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A basic black top is a great way to tone down Midas' touch, but it also makes for the perfect contrast against any glitter or gold. For instance, this The Limited gold midi skirt shines brighter against H&M's long-sleeved top. To finish strong, pick a pair of edgy stilettosthey always scream for attention.

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If you must wear gold or sequins since it's after all New Year, don't be afraid to go all out. The trick to an "all or nothing" look is to keep it monochromatic so that, even if you are sparkling from top to bottom, it still looks stylishly coordinated and fashionably intentional.

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Another style tip is to boldly steer away from the expected black, white and gold color combination all together. Instead, be unconventional and surprise your party guests or hosts with an unexpected choice like bright yellows or punchy blues. Layer with a statement necklace to add a festive vibe to your overall look. 

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Gasp, while we are excited, we still can't believe we are about to say "sayonara" to 2016! Are you ready to ring in 2017 in style? Let us know in the comment box below how you are planning to make a style statement. Cheers to more sparkling style moments!

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Cheers and Sparkles: Shopping for the Perfect Little Holiday Dress

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Oh, there's nothing more adorable than to dress up your little one for the holidays! I absolutely love the sparkly, sequined and velvety little dresses that adorn most of the shopping racks around this time of the year. I must admit, I get a little guilty spending a whole lot on children's apparel, but a lovely holiday dress is a once-a-year splurge so it can be justified even for a bargain-hunter mommy like me.  

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In shopping for Ariana's dresses, I tend to keep returning back to proven-and-tested shops I know I can rely on for adorable dresses. Two of my favorite mall destinations are H&M and Gap Kids. They can be on the pricey side, but if you know when to shop, you can get really cute but deeply discounted dresses. I suggest getting on the mailing list of your favorite children's shops so you'll be the first to get seasonal sale alerts.

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For this photo shoot, Ariana is wearing a sparkly Gap Kids dress in lime color. Although it's common to see holiday dresses with full skirts (Ariana adores them as they are perfect for a princess twirl), I love the minimalist look and structured silhouette of this dress. It's simple enough for weekend dressing, but elegant enough for a holiday party.

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Do not rule out online shopping. Many online stores carry a varied line of kids clothing. Even if I don't often shop online, I like to browse what's out there, so I sometimes stalk online shops like Thumbeline, Fawnshoppe, Sweet William and Shan and Toad

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Finally, to complete your little one's holiday look, make sure to add a few lovely accessories. Because we opted for a minimalist holiday dress, it was easy to add bead bracelets in holiday colors and a metallic multi-band headpiece to finish off Ariana's holiday look. The best accessory of all? A joyful face. Spread the holiday cheer by always leaving a trail of sparkle. From our family to yours, happy shopping and Merry Christmas to all!

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Black and White: In Perfect Harmony

There's power in black and whitethe contrast of dark and light, the energy force of yin and yang and the minimalist appeal that speaks of unmistakable chic. Like moth to fire, I often find myself drawn to black and white separates when shopping, simply because I treat them like an artist's blank canvas, you can be as creative as you want when pairing them with the right pieces.

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While I can't resist the adorable prints and colors when shopping for Ariana's clothes, I try to also invest in neutral-colored items like clean white shirts or basic black leggings because they are easier to pair with everything else adorable in her closet. A good style tip, however, is to resist the urge to keep it too basic. For instance, for this photo shoot, Ariana is wearing a white Gap Kids top designed with an adorable Peter Pan collar, giving it just the right amount of fun.

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I keep the same style rule when shopping for my own clothes. I like white tops that generally have a little fun surprise, like a tiny accent ribbon or an asymmetrical collar. Or, instead of a solid black skirt, I'd choose a lace skirt so it creates a polished yet slightly girly look.

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Because a black-and-white combo often says "safe," wear it with something edgy to take the "blah" off "basic." In other words: Don't be afraid to pull out those pair of high boots to add a punch to your overall look. 

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How about you? Do you adore black and white clothes as well? Or are you "allergic" to anything basic? If you love the minimalist look, how do you keep black and white chic?

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Mommy's Style: Kenar Long-Sleeved Zip-Up Shirt | The Limited Lace Pencil Skirt | Nine West High Boots

Ariana's Style: Gap Kids White Shirt with Peter Pan Collar | H&M Black Leggings | Cynthia Rowley Mary Janes

Location: Hyde Park and Downtown Tampa | Photography: Brian Johnson

SHOP BLACK & WHITE INSPIRATIONS BELOW:

Winter Wonderland: Adorable Coats to Get Your Little One Ready for Snow

Ariana, nearly two years of age, was all bundled up while enjoying her first snow.

Ariana, nearly two years of age, was all bundled up while enjoying her first snow.

Now that we've relocated to a city with warmer climate, we no longer have to deal with snow and frigid temperatures. Expectedly, Mommy, who's built for sunshine, is happy. Daddy, whose idea of a happy place involves sunsets and tiki bars on the beach, is living his slice of paradise. But the little one, who once had a taste of the joys of playing in the snow, has forever protested at the idea of moving to a place without snowflakes or Frosty the snowman.

While I recalled how glorious it was to first experience snow and marvel at its beauty when branches were covered with fluffy flakes, I personally do not miss the shivering cold and the morning routine of defrosting the car windows before heading out to work. But if there's one thing I miss, it's the chance to wear the always-luxurious winter fashion. I miss the lovely winter coats, adorable scarves and pretty pair of boots, most especially on Ariana whose lambie winter hat and furry coat way back when were too adorable for words. 

So even when it's no longer required, I still browse through the winter essentials for kids to remind us of what we're missing and that winter, if only for its fashion, is not that bad after all.

 

Clockwise: Gray Hooded Cape | Pink Knit Coat | Long fleecy bomber jacket | photos and jackets by  Zara

Clockwise: Gray Hooded Cape | Pink Knit Coat | Long fleecy bomber jacket | photos and jackets by Zara

clockwise: Nautical button 3/4 length coat | furry hooded coat | colorful faux fur jacket |  photos and jackets by  Zara

clockwise: Nautical button 3/4 length coat | furry hooded coat | colorful faux fur jacket |  photos and jackets by Zara

Pretty in Prints

Prints are easy like Sunday morning. The right prints can add a pop of color to your work style and make it playful enough for weekend dressing. Although my aesthetics tend to be more clean and minimalist (I love to horde white shirts as well as pairs of nude cropped pants and black slacks), I also enjoy the occasional surprise of a lovely printed pencil skirt or a floral A-line dress. 

When shopping for Ariana's clothes, I tend to do the samefavoring neutrals for the most part, but snatching adorable finds with prints on several occasions. What's the best way to wear prints? Let me count the ways:

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Fashion Choice #1: If you tend to be a little apprehensive about committing a style misstep when it comes to prints, stay on the safe side: Wear a patterned skirt, for instance, with something plain or neutral. I kept this weekend look easy by pairing my printed Anthropologie skirt with a plain tee but in a bright lime color to add just the right amount of pop.

ARIANA'S STYLE:  H&M  STRIPE SHIRT AND H&M FLORAL PRINTED JEANS | MOMMY'S STYLE:  THE LIMITED  SHIRT AND  ANTHROPOLOGIE  SKIRT

ARIANA'S STYLE: H&M STRIPE SHIRT AND H&M FLORAL PRINTED JEANS | MOMMY'S STYLE: THE LIMITED SHIRT AND ANTHROPOLOGIE SKIRT

Fashion Choice #2: With the right kind of shape and design, stripes may go very well with prints. For her weekend look, Ariana kept it playful and casual by matching a pair of floral jeans with a stripe shirt. To create a cohesive look despite the mismatched prints, we picked a shirt with the same color as the floral design on her pants.

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Fashion Choice #3: Pair prints with patterns. There, I said it. Don't be scared to wear patterns with prints. It's bold, unexpected and refreshing. If you're worried that you may end up looking like a walking shower curtain, choose a sophisticated silhouette to create a more polished look.

Have you seen some lust-worthy prints in one of your shopping trips lately? Here are a few of our favorites: 

Clockwise:  Berlin Midi Skirt | Garden Party Skirt | Harvest Bloom Skirt | Pilato Maxi Skirt | PHOTOS BY  ANTHROPOLOGIE

Clockwise: Berlin Midi Skirt | Garden Party Skirt | Harvest Bloom Skirt | Pilato Maxi Skirt | PHOTOS BY ANTHROPOLOGIE

PHOTOS BY  KIDS H&M

PHOTOS BY KIDS H&M