Inspirational Woman: August 2019, Karen

Every month on the 18th, I celebrate women. This month I sat down with Karen, entrepreneur, wife, mom and owner of one of my favorites shops, In the Mood Intimates.

We met a little over two years ago when I was shopping for a few new bras. I spent nearly two hours in her store chatting with Chelsea and Nicole who work in the shop.

What I love about Karen, she surrounds herself with these beautiful, intelligent women who genuinely want to help other women. Whether it’s fitting them properly for a bra or helping them pick out the coziest PJ’s (PJ Salvage are my personal cozy favorites). They are there to help other women. 

Meet Karen

18th Style: Where are you from?

Karen:  I am originally from Roslyn Heights, NY.  I moved up to Connecticut 20 years ago and have been living in Fairfield, CT for 15 years.

Karen, Owner, In the Mood Intimates

18th Style: Tell us a bit about your background?

Karen: Most all of my career has been based in women’s health and well-being. I started out of college in market research with A.C. Nielsen for consumer products companies marketing to women’s needs.

From there, I worked for several large consumer products companies in domestic and international marketing including Tambrands, L’Oreal, and Playtex Products. After having my daughter 14 years ago, I decided that I wanted to start my own business so I could work from home.

I started In the Mood Intimates online just before she was born. I worked while she slept and grew the business on my own schedule, always looking to expand into a brick and mortar business in Fairfield if the location was right. I found the right location three years ago in the Brick Walk and now we have the online business and the shop in town.

 

18th Style: When you first launched In the Mood Intimates, what were your goals?

Karen:  Since I just had a newborn, I really did not have any set plan. I wanted to challenge myself to growing the business yearly. I entered the intimate apparel world and the online world at just the right time. Everything was booming and Amazon was not the presence it is today so I was able to create quite a following rather quickly. I took pride in every success and learned the hard way with some big failures. I enjoy what I have built over the years and am very proud of every success and failure.

18th Style: What’s your best advice for women aspiring to create a successful business? 

Karen:  You need to have patience. Patience in growing your business, building your image, finding the right staff to represent you, and everything else that you think might be quick to develop. You need not to be hard on yourself for bad days and you need to really rejoice in the good days.

You need to surround yourself with amazing people that support you because owning a business is a roller coaster ride… a very rewarding roller coaster ride.

18th Style: Did you ever doubt yourself? If yes, how do you quiet the voice within that makes you doubt yourself?

Karen:  I doubt myself all the time. That is where the support network comes in. I bounce ideas off of them. They are not as close to the situation as I am. When someone is looking at your doubts from a distance, they can see the forest while I am focusing on the trees. They give great perspective and more important they give me confidence.

I also have a group of lingerie store owners that I talk to throughout the country that understand the business and we help each other with all types of business issues. 

18th Style: What does the future have in store for the shop?

Karen:  I have been in a brick and mortar store for about three years now. I would like the store to become a destination spot for all women’s intimate apparel and lounge-wear needs. We work on this through our online presence and social media platforms. I would also like to become an educator on bra fitting to moms and high school girls.

I want to share my experiences on what proper fitting undergarments can do to your self-esteem and body image. I would like to have bra fitting seminars for women’s groups, book clubs, etc. I have done a few of these lately and we laugh and have a great time and in the process everyone is fitted for a proper fitting garment.

18th Style: As an entrepreneur, wife and mother how and do you find time for yourself?

Karen: It’s always hard to find time for myself. I rarely ever get a large chunk of time to do anything by myself , however every morning I wake up before everyone else, make myself a cup of coffee and just sit and read for about 20 minutes before I start my day.

That is my “me” time and if I don’t get that it makes for a rough day. I need that 20 minutes and coffee, it keeps me sane.

Karen, daughter Erica and husband Michael

18th Style: Ok, let’s lighten the topic of conversation and have a little fun. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Karen: I would love to be able to teleport. I love to travel all over the world. If I was able to teleport, I could have breakfast at Disney World, Lunch in Turks and Caicos, and dinner in Italy. So much fun!

18th Style: What’s your favorite quote or saying?

Karen: I have two:

1) “Everything will be ok in the end. If it is not ok, then it is not the end.” – Ed Sheeran
2) “Be Strong when you are weak, Be Brave when you are scared, Be Humble when you are victorious, Be Badass everyday!” – P!nk

18th Style: Do you have any favorite fellow female entrepreneurs that you follow on Instagram? 

Karen: I like to follow all the local shop owners in town. I also get a lot of inspiration from GirlBoss

18th Style: Lastly, I love fun facts. Tell us something people wouldn’t know about you? It can be anything. 

Karen:  I am an avid crafter, cross-stitch, knitting, painting, sewing basically anything that I get to use my hands. I love to get my family together and do crafts with them. It is fun bonding time and has become a tradition in our house.



Check out In the Mood Intimates and Karen’s Blog Post, Be Patient

Here is little snipet:

We want the solution.

We want it now.

We want to change.

To be better.

To be fitter.

To be happier.

 

 


It’s a New Year, let your confidence shine!

By Renée Macisco, Southport Neighbors, January 2019

The holidays have passed, it’s 2019, and our New Year’s resolutions are front and center. What are your goals for the new year? I am sure many of you have a list of things you hope to accomplish in 2019.

Perhaps it’s starting a fitness program, enrolling in a class, or starting a new business. Before you start, take a minute and ask yourself these two questions, “Why am I doing this, and what is my ultimate goal?”

Many of us tend to have a “greatest hits” album on repeat: diet and exercise, read more, spend less time on social media. Resolving to make sweeping external changes is a daunting task, and the outward, public accountability can intimidate us into giving up before we even get started. The idea is not to abandon ship, but to change your perspective. Sure, we all like to hear ‘Have you lost weight?’ or ‘You look great!’, but those are fleeting insta-gratifications.

Superficialities are one thing, but they will never offer you the enduring satisfaction and personal growth of introspection. The greatest changes come from within! One of the most important things a person can work on is self-confidence. Is that on your list? The aforementioned are important, don’t get me wrong, but why not add “self-care/improve self-confidence” to the list? Did you know that self-confidence is linked to your happiness and almost every aspect of your life?


It’s true. Think about it.

The more confident you become, the less you tend to worry about whether you can or cannot do something. Think back to when you were in school. Whether it is setting a school record, failing a test, or closing a deal for your company, confidence is born through perseverance, failure and success.

Failure and success allow us to grow, and with each you will find that you have more confidence, drive and passion, to pursue other things in life. Things that you might not have otherwise tried. The more you fail, the more you actually succeed and build your confidence along the way.

It’s not just kids that struggle with self-confidence, adults do too. As adults, we’re expected to have it all figured out and not to care anymore. Truth is, many adults didn’t figure it out as kids, and still struggle. Selfconfidence is not something that happens overnight, but rather over a lifetime spent navigating those same successes and failures.

Keep that in mind as you consider your 2019 goals. Push yourself, try new things. By no means do I have this all figured out. I have learned that self-confidence and believing in one’s self leads us down paths we may have never otherwise ventured.

“It is confidence in our bodies, minds, and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures.” – Oprah Winfrey

The Marks Family (Melanie was 18th Style Inspirational Woman, May 2017
Written by Me 🙂

Refuel Your Soul

Life is crazy, don’t you think? We run around all week trying to get ‘it’ all done.

How often do we pause and do things that make us happy?

We’re focused on creating a comfortable life for our families and our futures, but what about today?

Planning for the future is important, don’t get me wrong, I am the queen of planning!

But what about making our hearts and minds happy?

Parents

When I was a new mom figuring things out, I pushed ‘me’ to the side a little.  My kids were and are still my priority, however, I’ve tweaked things a bit.

Over the years I have learned that I need to also put myself first. If I don’t take care of my mind, body and soul, how can I take care of my family?

Whether it’s hitting the gym, meeting friends for dinner or sitting in front my computer writing this post to help inspire other moms and parents, we need to pause.

“Sunday is the perfect day to refuel your soul and to be grateful for each and every one of your blessings.”

Enter Sunday

A perfect day to relax. Spend the day with your kids and have a great time.  Later in the day or that evening, meet friends for dinner or call a friend you have not talked to in a while.

Read.

Write in a journal.

I know it’s difficult to find 10 minutes alone when you have kids, especially younger kiddos.

Perhaps you need to wake up 10 minutes early OR sneak in to your bedroom after the kids are asleep and savour the silence.

In life we have to make ourselves a priority. I know it’s not easy. I really do.

All I ask of you, is to try.

Have a great week!

XO

Inspirational Woman: July 2018, Charlotte

Every month on the 18th, I celebrate the strong, intelligent and kind women in my life.

This month, meet Charlotte, entrepreneur (founder of @charlotteshouse), wife, mom of five children (ages eight to one), and friend of mine.

We met 7 1/2 years ago, when our daughters, now BFF’s, started pre-school. I have watched her family and business grow over the years and in awe of all she has accomplished. She works her butt off, pays it forward and truly inspires me everyday!

Charlotte

18th Style: Where are you from?

Charlotte: Born in Charlottesville, VA. Grew up right outside Washington DC in Alexandria, VA and currently live in Southport, CT.

18th Style: You lived in New York City, what did you love most and what do you miss most?

Charlotte: I LOVED living in the city and still miss it desperately. I loved the fundamental diversity of experiences that are so omnipresent in the city.

I loved getting on a subway with people from all backgrounds, cultures and life experiences. I loved that camaraderie of the city despite the thousands of people crashing into each other on a daily basis. I loved the it is completely unapologetic, un-pristine and just VIBRANT.

I also just loved being able to find anything at anytime anywhere.

18th Style: Tell us about your background.

Charlotte: Growing up, I loved sports and the arts and pursued both throughout high school and college. I suspect they gave me very different things, but a sense of creativity, teamwork and self-motivation was probably the overarching traits of these two disciplines.

After college, I fell into elementary school teaching and loved it. I taught 1st grade for 4 years and then decided to move to NYC and try my hand at the corporate world on the off hand chance I might still love my job AND make a more impressive salary.

Didn’t take me long to realize corporate life was not for me, so I went back to school to get a psychology degree in order to work as a school counselor.

I spent 5 years as a guidance counselor at PS165 in NYC and then we made the difficult decision to leave NYC to live full time in Connecticut, where my husband grew up.

Our third child was a newborn, so the city was growing increasingly difficult to navigate, but I was still the only member of the family not convinced that suburban living was my jam. 🙂 When we moved to CT, I started a DIY blog on a complete whim and with ZERO understanding of what that entailed.

I’ve had two more children since we moved, have parlayed my blog into TV appearances and continue to build upon my brand, At Charlotte’s House.

18th Style: What’s At Charlotte’s House and where do you see it going in the future?

Charlotte: My website has become a place for me to share creative colorful ideas and to champion the idea that ANYONE can have a house that reflects their personality and style.

It doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Home should be a place you love regardless of budget or experience.

18th Style: You’re raising five beautiful children. How do you balance motherhood, work and life?

Charlotte: Lots of HELP!

We have some to help with the logistics of kids every morning. I would never be able to get it all done so she’s essential for me getting any work done.

My husband is incredibly supportive and doesn’t consider his contribution to raising the kids any different than mine. I.e. if he has to make dinner for the kids every night, so be it! I also admit to being fairly low on the micro-management scale.

I let my kids entertain themselves and they’re pretty independent as a result. As I sit here typing, one child is drawing next to me, the other is doing puzzles in the other room, two are making ‘poor’ decisions, and one is helping get dinner ready.

18th Style: How do you spend your free time (and do you have any)? 😉

Charlotte: Very little free time.

Honestly I LOVE what I do so if I had a night to spend alone in a hotel, I’d bring my laptop and my computer and
would edit photographs with the Housewives playing in the background and a glass of Prosecco next to me.

18th Style: Who or what inspires you?

Charlotte:  My fellow bloggers and designers are incredible. They are the most multi-talented group of people I know and their ability to create and run a business and manage social media is incredible.

18th Style: How would you describe your style? What are your favorite brands?

Charlotte:  My style is colorful and eclectic.

I love mixing and matching and bringing a sense of the unexpected into my design.

I’m not sure I could pick a favorite brand because I’m always thrifting and pulling pieces from all over… I love Serena and Lily although I don’t have much of their stuff in my home. I love Anthropologie.

18th Style: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Charlotte: I’d love to time travel! Having a few more hours in the day would be REALLY useful. That or flying.

18th Style: What’s your favorite quote or saying?

Charlotte: I love “No one can make you feel inferior without your own consent.”

18th Style: Lastly, I love fun facts. Tell us something people wouldn’t know about you? Can be anything.

Charlotte:  I used to sell tie-dye t-shirts on the corner when I was a kid. Also… I’ve run 8 marathons and played division 1 lacrosse.


You can follow Charlotte, At Charlotte House on Instagram, Facebook and You Tube

Loving London

My first visit to London was a last-minute trip. I was about to turn 30 and my lifelong goal of traveling abroad before this milestone birthday was quickly evaporating. On a Thanksgiving bargain — roundtrip airfare for only $230! — I quickly jumped at the chance to fly to Heathrow and to uncover things to do in London with friends.

We did all things touristy during the trip. We stayed in the posh neighborhood of Kensington at an intimate hotel on Crowell Road called the Adelphi. Our prerequisites: rooms with private baths, a location close to the Tube (in this case Gloucester Road) and an in-house pub for late hours. The Adelphi Hotel was just fine for the deal we were getting, but the room was so small that in order to get to my side of the bed, I had to rub along the wall — obviously not the only one to do so as the wallpaper had been pretty much rubbed off at butt level.

ARCHIVE: Routemaster bus on Westminster Bridge with Big Ben, 1990s, London, England, UK. *Archive image available on request*

We spent our first jet-lagged day getting acquainted with the city by riding a double-decker bus. I highly recommend this activity for a first-time visitors, as you can see all the sites, learn your way around and not move a muscle.

We visited Westminster Abbey, the Cabinet War Rooms, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Kensington and Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London. We watched the changing of the guard and the horse parade. We enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner at a lovely Indian restaurant in Kensington, partook of many types of ale in local pubs and walked in the rain for a Jack the Ripper nighttime tour (very frightening neighborhoods still!).

Hampton Court Palace, Richmond

On a break from my friends who decided to go shopping, I headed outside of the city to visit Hampton Court, a palace of King Henry VIII designed by Christopher Wren (who also designed St. Paul’s, among other London landmarks). I enjoyed a typical Sunday brunch in a local pub, and then rode the Tube to the town of Wimbledon. As a tennis junkie, I walked through the quaint streets to find the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club and then spent an hour in the gift shop and adjoining museum. Although all the places we visited could be named as a top destination on my list, the day outside the city was what clinched my deep like for London.

Minding the Gap, Again

In a completely unparalleled universe, my second flight to London began what my friend and I nicknamed “the Good Karma Tour.” As I was boarding the plane, the ticket agent called our names. The flight was overbooked and passengers were being told they would have to wait until the next day. We thought we were doomed. Instead, we were told they had to rearrange our seats and that we had been moved closer to the front.

When we board, I literally stopped in my tracks (causing my friend to slam into me) as I realized “closer to the front” meant business class. The unfortunate passengers around us had to deal with two adult 30-something women acting like schoolgirls who had just been asked to the prom as we played with our flying reclining seats and gorged on delightful meals, complete with an ice cream sundae cart with fresh fruit toppings.

Bond Street, London, England, UK

During this second stay, we decided to forgo the cheap-yet-comfy hotel experience and choose the name-brand comfort of the Marriott in the Marble Arch district. The location was key for our purpose of traveling up and down Bond and Oxford Streets to shop. Our hotel was near Hyde Park, and a quick stroll through the park found us in the West End and the upscale shopping in Kensington and King’s Cross.

Once we arrived and settled into our hotel, we meandered through the city and stopped for a quick visit to the National Gallery. More benefits of a repeat visit: Knowing my way around made it feasible to simply pop in (it’s free) and just visit some of some of my favorite Impressionist pieces in the East Wing.

At the end of the day, we called a friend we had met during our first visit and met his family in Notting Hill for dinner. To further ease into our first night, we enjoyed the hotel’s indoor pool and hot tub, and easily soaked away our jet lag.

The Long Walk, Windsor Great Park, with Windsor Castle in the distance

Day two, our Good Karma tour continued with sunny, 60-degree weather and a taste of royalty. We decided to be a bit touristy and headed to Windsor Castle. As we walked up the winding road past Eton, the band paraded by. When we entered the main gate of the castle, the changing of the guards had just begun. We left the castle for lunch and sat at an outdoor cafe on a cobblestone street.

The cafe had two plaques: one stating the first floor housed an apartment belonging to William Shakespeare, while the other was signed by a handful of courtiers declaring the king was under arrest for not paying taxes. Meanwhile, our view was of the castle, where the Queen herself was in residence. Here we were, sitting on a street of kings, queens and Shakespeare, and I couldn’t think of a better day.

We returned to the hotel that night and quickly changed to head out for our first night of theatre at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

A view of the interior of The London Coliseum in St. Martin’s Lane., Trafalgar Square, London, London, England. Additional Credit: Society of London Theatre

Our tour continued with shopping in Kensington at Burberry and Harrods, and following a fellow London-obsessed woman’s advice to head to King’s Crossing, where we came across couture shops filled with beautiful clothes — perfect for window shopping. I also discovered a Burberry factory outlet that could be found in Hackney, which required a bit of exploration and many wrong turns to find what was then a hole in the wall with fantastic steals.

Dining in many of the city’s best restaurants before each night’s theatre, we also had good karma on our side when we attempted to visit a Gordon Ramsey restaurant before a show. Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed and we wouldn’t have time to eat once they officially opened, and we were disheartened. Until Gordon Ramsey himself overheard our dismay and invited us in for a pre-theatre appetizer that he would whip up for us! What luck!

Feels Like Home

I’ve returned to London so many times since my first two trips, it feels like home. I have friends in the city I can call to meet me when I pop into town, which I love, as they can show me places near and dear to them versus what is written in guidebooks.

I’ve visited to attend a 40th birthday party at the top of Tower Bridge and to enjoy a champagne flight around the London Eye while dressed in black tie. For such a special event, I chose to stay at the Lanesborough, a St. Regis property. My, what a difference in accommodations a decade can make!

Black-tie champagne flight on the London Eye. Courtesy of Lissa Poirot.

My last trip, just last summer, I splurged and stayed at the Rosewood Hotel near Covent Garden. This is the creme of the crop in terms of luxury, and while I was beyond satisfied with my room, a chance meeting at an event with the hotel manager resulted in a knock at my door the next day to upgrade me into a suite so large that I could not use every part of its amenities and space in the one day I had left in the city.

Even with numerous trips beneath my belt, when I met a friend for dinner in St. Christopher’s Place, I discovered a charming pedestrian shopping and dining area I had never-before visited.

It’s why I truly love London. It surprises me, it immerses me in history, it can be done on a budget or high-end splurges, there is culture at every turn, the dining can be superb (yes, really!), and the people are so friendly you will find them awaiting you on your next return.

–Lissa Poirot

 

About

I am an experienced and award-winning editor and writer with 20 years working in travel media. Not only have I served as editor-in-chief of a TripAdvisor website for nearly a decade, my writing has been published in travel magazines and online, and I have been quoted as a travel expert online, in print, on radio and on television.

I have spent my life moving around the U.S. — the Midwest, Florida, Atlanta, Boston and now Northeast — and growing up, my history-loving father tried to show me every detail of American history through day trips and weekenders. Without realizing it, he set up the kindling for my eventual wanderlust. After finding a $240 round-trip flight to London, I got my first passport, hopped a flight, and was forever in love with traveling outside of the country. London ignited my wanderlust and ever since, I travel as often as I can. If I’m not traveling by plane, I’m in a car, exploring my town, county, state… I never stop moving.

My favorite thing about the work I do is helping others plan their perfect vacations, which is why I founded Anywhere World Travel, a travel concierge company. I’m not a travel agent; I am an experienced traveler who can save you time by using my knowledge and background to help you plan your trip. Visit Anywhere World Travel for more information.


You can follow Lissa, Anywhere World Travel on Instagram, Facbeook and Twitter

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