Thursday, December 18, 2014

Top Ten Shopping Tips (To Avoid Shopping Burnout)

Being a personal stylist and shopper, yes, I love to shop, but not all women are on board.  Clothes shopping can bring feelings of:

Anxiety... "I have no idea where to shop or even how to shop!"   

Insecurity... "My (fill in body part) is/are too (fill in big, small, wide, narrow)!"

Discouragement...  "I can never find anything I'm looking for!"   

Is this you?  Well, you can't avoid shopping for the rest of your life!  Here are My Top Ten Shopping Tips that will improve your shopping experience:

1.  Have a goal but make it simple
If you need clothes for an outing, then prepare your list.  For example, if you need an outfit for a Girls' Night Out, you may desire a trendy look.  Your list may consist of:  designer jeans, trendy top and shoes.  Don't get fixated on trying to find a certain color or an item you saw on this one gal who was at that one party from 3 months ago.  You will go crazy and never find what you think you want.  Just browse for something that catches your eye.

2.  Research stores online first
Get inspired!  See what new items are available at your favorite store. Or check out new places.  If you find a "got to have it" item, be sure to document it so  store sales associate can direct you right to it.  If you don't like anything online, skip that store (you just saved yourself a trip). 

3.  Google coupons
Who doesn't like to save money?  When I know where I'm shopping,  I collect my mailed coupons and google "discount coupon + (name of the store)".  I saved a client over $100 because I had a 40% off coupon at Express!  Woo hoo!

4.  Have a budget
Avoid buyer's remorse.  Make your tentative list and the amount you want to spend and stick with it.  If you go under, then hooray!  You can save that money for next time or splurge on something you didn't expect you could get.

5.  Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
You don't want to be hot or develop blisters on your feet.  Dress in simple layers and wear shoes that you know you can wear for hours without complaining.  Dress appropriately!

6.  Look your best
Yes, you want to be comfortable but you still need to look nice.  Do your hair, makeup and add some jewelry.  And don't forget to wear your best bra with good support (see November's "Are You Wearing the Right Bra?" post).  It will make a huge difference in the dressing room which may have bad lighting and distorted mirrors.  You shouldn't have to visualize what the outfit could be, you want to see the final result right in front of you.

7.  Go shopping at off peak hours
The best time to go shopping is during the week first thing in the morning.  You don't have to deal with other shoppers, you will get full attention from the sales associate (or most likely the manager) and you will have no problem getting a dressing room.   

8.  Bring any needed article of clothing
So let's say you want to buy a pair of boots to go with some jeans that you already own, then bring those jeans.  Also think about those trendy items that you have not been able to wear because it goes with nothing in your closet.  This will avoid second-guessing or being disappointed at home after buying something that doesn't work.

9.  Bring water and a snack
If shopping isn't your thing, then don't waste time by eating at a restaurant.  However, you also don't want to turn into a crabby patty... bring a bottle of water and a granola bar to avoid hunger pains and save time. 

10.  Don't go while PMSing!!
I tend to forget about this one.  I guarantee nothing will look good, nothing will fit right and you will hate yourself.  DON'T GO SHOPPING WHEN YOU HAVE PMS!

These tips are sure to make your shopping experience more pleasant.  Happy Shopping, my gatinhas!  Have some other shopping tips?  Add them on to the comments below this post.



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

8 Festive and Cozy Looks at Maurices

I love the combination of style and comfort!  The latest, fabulous trend is the sweatshirt with sequins, rhinestones or any other bling.  And the best place to get the look of shine with comfort this holiday season is at maurices (not a typo, the official brand is with a lowercase "m").  The variety of looks is endless!  maurices you ask??  Yes, maurices.  I am so surprised with all the misconceptions I have encountered about this awesome clothing store.  Some of the myths are:

1)  It's a store for the young
There are some stores mostly for teens or women in their 20's, but maurices is NOT one of them.  Trendy, yes.  They are on top of the trends but also have lots of basics.  And for those "young" stores, don't be intimidated by them.  You probably won't like everything in there, but you are sure to find some hidden treasures.  Get out of your comfort zone and check it out.  You CAN be a mom in your 30's, 40's and beyond and STILL have some style!  

2)  It's a store for the old 
How do we go from one side of the spectrum to the other?  Let's just say it's a store for women who like to look fashionable; it's for everyone.

3)  It's a plus size only store
Yes, they have plus sizes but also regular sizes; now that's a bonus for us all!

maurices is a place for women.  They carry name brand jeans, (like Silver, Vigoss, Hydaulic and maurices' own line of denim) festive tops, ruched tanks, statement jewelry, jackets, shoes and other accessories.

My photographer, Carol, and I took a trip to our local maurices and created...

Look 1:  Sequin sweatshirt with jeans.  Be sure to add a necklace (elf hat is optional).

Sweatshirt with Sequins / Ellie Straight Fit Jeans / Necklace (my own)

Look 2:  Super soft, light sweatshirt with sequins with flattering leggings!  If you are really looking for comfort, then this is the cute and comfy outfit for you.

Sequin Shoulder Sweatshirt / Smart Pocket Leggings

Look 3:  Sequin sweatshirt with the same leggings and ankle boots.  And take notice of those detailed clutches in the background.  Any of them will flare up your look.

Sequin Sleeve Sweatshirt / Smart Pocket Leggings / Ankle Boots (my own)

Look 4:  Ok, I couldn't resist this top.  It doesn't really qualify as a comfy look but it's so awesome!  I ended up buying it and will be packing it for my trip to Brazil.  It also looks great layered with a moto jacket or fitted blazer.

Sequin Bead Tank / Ellie Straight Fit Jeans / Moto Jacket

Look 5:  A plain, black layering tee WITH the sparkly, infinity scarf.  I wanted to show you how a basic, comfy long-sleeve can work as long as you add accessories.  Add some bangles and drop earrings for more interest.

Layering Tee Only (boring!)
Layering Tee with Sparkly Infinity Scarf

Look 6:  Ruched top with jeans and a statement necklace.  The top and jeans (with fading) creates a slimming look. 

3/4 Sleeve Ruched Top / maurices Jeans / statement necklace

Look 7:  Blue, sequin sweater with jeans.  The blue compliments Carol's copper-colored hair perfectly- so pretty!

Blue Sequin Sweater / maurices Jeans / Ankle Boots

Look 8:  Cranberry and Black.  I love how the sparkly scarf creates the composition of the colors.  The pants are so awesome and flattering- they are like leggings but flared instead of tapered. 

Now that I have established the awesomeness of maurices, when will you be visiting?  I only showed you 8 looks, but I could have probably shown you 100!  

Can't wait to see what all you ChaChas will be wearing for the holidays!  Post pictures on my ChaCha Flare Facebook Page or email me here!

* Visit maurices online at

* Photos by Carol O'Rourke 



Monday, December 8, 2014

How To Pack A Hat

For all you vacationers out there...  this is a useful tip on how to pack a sunhat, fedora, or other hats that you don't want smooshed in your suitcase.  Check it out below and don't forget to subscribe to my channel so you don't miss any future postings!

**Filmed by my husband, John.  See if you notice his big, fat thumb getting in the way of some shots.  



Thursday, December 4, 2014

ChaCha Flare Got Quoted!

Hey ChaChas!  

I'm famous!!  Haha!  Not really, but I was quoted on Launch Grow Joy, a mom entrepreneur website.  Pretty cool, eh?

Check out how I contributed with a work-life balance tip for mom entrepreneurs via Launch Grow Joy!  Lots of great information out there for all of us mom entrepreneurs/multi-taskers.



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Find Your Inner Style

GUESS jacket / leopard top Forever 21 / Michael Kors bag

You aren't born with style.  Style is evolved through inspiration, mood, creativity and time.  Some get it at the young age of 8, while others still don't know what they're doing at 42.  You may not have a sense of fashion as early as some women, but it's there. Or maybe you wore all the latest trends in high school and then lost it somewhere between climbing the professional ladder and creating some offspring.   Whatever the case, I believe that every woman has style- you just have to find it (or find it again).   

This ChaCha took a while to find her inner style.  Yes, me.  A fashion blogger and personal stylist/shopper who years ago had no sense of style!  I wasn't always as stylish as my clients see me now.  At one point, between the years of 1996 and 2001, I had an unpolished look.  I felt like I couldn't put it all together.  My "go to" outfit was a shapeless T-shirt, khakis and brown sketcher shoes (for boys).   I could have easily passed for a Target employee (good thing my husband saw my inner beauty).  When I would go out, I felt under-dressed.  

The picture below is me with my husband on our honeymoon BEFORE I found my inner style.  I can find at least 5 things wrong with my look.  1) Pastel top with khaki colored contrast.  2)  The cut of my shirt- it's hitting me at my hips (not good for a pear shape).  That combined with the color makes me look heavier then I actually was.  3)  Scoop neck.  I would have looked better in a V-neck.  Scoop necks are better for the well-endowed.  4)  No jewelry.  If I had some earrings and bracelets on, I would have maybe made it all look better.  5)  Those shoes are awful, but that was the style (I think) in 1998.  My husband, John, looks handsome though, don't you think? :)

Me and my husband before I found my inner style- YIKES!

A new client recently said to me, "I look at some women and think how she's got it all together; she's so stylish. It makes me realize I'm not as fashionable as I thought I was."  That is exactly how I used to think about myself until I had a turning point.  

As I have mentioned about myself before, I am a Brazilian (see About Me).  In my teens/twenties I had gone 12 years with no visits to Brazil (the critical years of when a lot of women acquire their sense of style).  I think I needed more Brazil exposure because like I said, I was a frumpy, twenty-something with no fashion-sense.  So at 27, I went back and brought my husband with me.  Brazil is a sexy country full of beauty and style not only with the people but also the awestruck beaches, nature, music and art.  I was finally inspired!  I started adding more jewelry to my wardrobe.  I realized that just because I look good in red, doesn't mean I should settle on a red shirt with no texture or shape.  Heels, purses and fashion risks took over me.  A ChaCha was born!

I'm not saying you have to take a trip to Brazil to get your style on, but you can follow some simple guidelines.  I'm finding that a lot of women (especially if they are super busy with their careers or children) aren't happy with their wardrobe and/or styling abilities, but it's not too late.  

It's Time To Find YOUR Inner Style!

1)  Know your body type and know what looks good on you.  

If you have broad shoulders, you should not be wearing puffy sleeves that will only make you look broader.  On the flip side, if you have wide hips, you CAN wear puffy sleeves to balance everything out.  And for the love of God, if you have short legs, DO NOT wear will make your legs look even shorter.  Try to think about your problematic areas and then figure out what conceals it the best.  Also look at your assets and accentuate it!  If you haven't figured out what works and doesn't work for you, you may need personal styling help.  Go to 9 Signs You Need a Stylist or let me know your specific problem and I can write about it on the blog (comment below this post).

2)  Accessories!  

You can make a plain, tan shirt look spectacular with a statement necklace or a colorful scarf.  Heck, you can make a sweatshirt look awesome if you jazz it up with earrings, cute boots and fancy jeans!  It's all about the details... jewelry, belts, scarves, shoes, even purses!

3)  Layering

A collared shirt with a sweater.  A plain black, tank with a waterfall cardigan.  A blazer with a dress.  Always think about layering an outfit- it will give you that "put together look" you envy. 

4)  Get inspired

Do you like a jacket that your girlfriend wore the other day?  Ask her where she bought it and get it for yourself.  It's not copying, it's a super compliment to your stylish friend.  Try visiting a new clothing store or a local boutique.  You will be surprised how a different store interprets fashion.  Who is your favorite celebrity?  Do you like her style?  If so, let her guide you to a similar (but not the same) look.  Really look at the details of that "stylish woman" you aspire to be! 

These simple steps can lead you into the right styling direction.  If a girl like me can be fashionable then so CAN YOU!

I will be traveling to Brazil this holiday season and plan to inspire you more!  Be sure to sign up for my latest blog posts (upper right part of my blog) so you don't miss anything!

Beijos (kisses),