Inspired by Design

I was date raped in high school. As I read the news of Jeffery Epstein (and thousands of other stories), I find myself wondering why I have never had the strength to talk about my experiences. I realize there have been countless times for decades that I have been a victim, but I have never had the courage to speak up.

I no longer feel powerless. As a single mother raising two boys, teaching them respect and accountability for their actions has been my top priority. The feminist writer Jessica Valenti, the author of Sex Object, has some valuable advice: “It’s important to normalize a healthy reaction to the rejection of affection.”

Thank you, Leigh Ann Barnes, for inspiring me to find my voice.

Leigh Ann Barnes

Leigh Ann is the culmination of consciousness, compassion, and collaboration. Challenged by her family to create a stylish handbag that can be taken into football stadiums {remove the outside cover and a clear bag is revealed underneath}, Barnes realized in the process, she could provide jobs for women in need in the process. The bags are made from reclaimed fabric scraps and repurposed into smaller leather goods handmade by survivors of domestic abuse. Leigh Ann Barnes - clear handbags

Leigh Ann Barnes’ business model is more than a handbag or an accessory; it’s about recognizing and embracing that we are all equally important and deserve the same opportunities. Though Leigh Ann Barnes is only one step in the journey to these women restarting their lives, it connects ideas with action, needs with purpose and ultimately unites women of all ages.

Leigh Ann Barnes handbags

From this game-changing foundation, Leigh Ann Barnes partners exclusively with accredited factories when manufacturing overseas to ensure women working abroad have a safe work environment.

In the U.S. company aspirations include growing the Survivors Cottage Manufacturing Program in Los Angeles and Athens, Georgia. The goal is to incorporate brands and manufacturers into the Program as a resource for reclaiming and repurposing their own excess materials. A duality of doing good as they support work for women in need of reclaiming and repurposing their lives.

You can purchase bags at Neiman Marcus, via her website or her pop up shops {where you can find Leigh Ann telling her story and inspiring other young women}.  Cast your vote for Leigh Ann via the Accessories Council Design Excellence Award.

Game on.

  • Bonus for all readers: Save 25% off your purchase through September 30th, 2019. Use code sostylate at check out on www.leighannbarnes.com

Leigh Ann Barnes handbags

image: @photo_flo

 

 

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Tennis Travel Heaven: Monte Carlo + San Remo

Completing a Grand Slam dream tour in 2018 was beyond my wildest dreams. This was our plan when we started this journey. We would dream about it, make visions boards – and watch them play out in real time.

We decided to design the most epic tennis retreat. We had some help customizing the itinerary around tennis in Monte Carlo and San Remo Italy {during the Monte Carlo Open of course}. Playing and watching epic tennis = the most incredible adventure.

Working alongside Harry Hamilton (we have been designing tennis retreats at Jade with Harry) we incorporated the Monte Carlo Open + playing tennis in San Remo, Italy. Home to Djokovic, Cilic, and Fognini, who have all played here as teens. This is also home to Bob Brett tennis academy. Pinch me – a dream come true.

Fun with Harry Hamilton and Laila Lazdina at a local vineyard in Provence.

The last Italian to win the Monte Carlo Open was Nicola Pietrangeli in 1968. The 85-year-old Pietrangeli, a two-time French Open winner, watched court side as history was ,made. I am dreaming of next year’s return.

 

 

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Boss Lady: Olivia Falcione

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week, we chat with Olivia Falcione, publisher of Modern Luxury Weddings Philadelphia, where the newest inspirations and top vendors debut in the season’s most gorgeous weddings. Olivia brings her vast advertising and sales experience, unwavering persistence, and love for all things Philadelphia to the luxury wedding industry.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career

First, hello! And thanks for inviting me to be on the Social Stylate blog! To take you back a bit, I am born and raised in the Philadelphia area and I went to college at Penn State University. While I studied public relations in college, the majority of my career has been in advertising sales and publishing. After graduating at PSU, I got my first start in magazine ad sales as an Account Executive at Global Traveler magazine, based in Yardley.  This is where I really learned the ins and outs of sales and I immediately knew it was for me. I then started at Modern Luxury, but in their New York City offices, where I worked solely on the NY market publications, including Manhattan magazine and Beach magazine (in the Hamptons). While I loved living and working in New York City, I was happy to come home to Philadelphia, where I ended up at Philadelphia Style magazine. I left Philly Style briefly for an opportunity at Sparks Marketing Group, where I worked in event partnerships and sales. However, it didn’t take me long to come back to the publishing world. I was thrilled to re-join the Philadelphia Style team in September of last year and to take on the Publisher position of our newly launched bridal publication Modern Luxury Weddings Philadelphia.

Outside of work at the magazine, I stay busy ( and constantly entertained) with my very active 3-year old son Gabriel. I appreciate spending time with Gabe, along with my family and friends. Other things I love? Strong coffee, red wine, exercising, traveling, trying new restaurants in the city and, of course, weddings!  

2. Describe your current position at Modern Luxury and how you got to where you are today.

In my current role at Modern Luxury, I am the Publisher of our bridal publication Modern Luxury Weddings Philadelphia. Focused on the sales side of the magazine, I work alongside our team to ensure that we are building partnerships with the top luxury brands in the wedding industry here in Philadelphia. We create advertising programs for brands that include print, digital, social media, and event exposure. I feel grateful to work in the bridal category, as Philadelphia is made up of some of the most talented and passionate professionals in the entire wedding industry. In addition to weddings, I also am involved in the advertising and sales for our sister lifestyle publication Philadelphia Style magazine. I have been working in publishing & advertising sales for almost 10 years now, with a strong focus in the luxury market. I have learned to understand the needs and expectations of clients and the audience in the luxury publishing space. I believe my experience & knowledge in this industry has brought me to where I am today. Also, learning that persistence is key and that if you don’t ask for it, the answer will always be no.

3. How has media convergence impacted the creation of advertising campaigns for Modern Luxury?

I think when industries and trends change, you have no choice but to change with them! With the shift towards digital and social media, we of course, had to adapt to ensure that we could offer our partners integrative programs that allow for them to connect to our audience across all platforms.  While our print publications continue to be a big focus for us, we can accommodate the needs of our clients with our exceptional digital capabilities and strong social media networks. But might I say that I still personally believe that there is nothing better than the touch and feel of a magazine versus a swipe on a screen!

4. Were you able to experience luxury travel during your time with Global Traveler Magazine? If so, describe your adventure.

Yes, I was! I was able to travel quite a bit and stay in multiple luxury hotel properties in the US and abroad. I would say my trips to the United Arab Emirates are most memorable. It was my first experience flying international business class, which I’d fly everyday if I could!  I was very impressed by Dubai and would love to return for leisure.

5. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?

As a mom and role model to Gabriel, he is really my inspiration and motivation. I am inspired by him daily to set a good example and to show that as long as you’re willing to put in the work, you can achieve whatever you set your mind to!

In terms of my creativity, I am fueled by fashion, music, traveling, and art – particularly photography. I am also inspired by our own magazines, by learning what’s new and exciting with the people and brands of our own city. Lastly, I am a sucker for Pinterest. I could make vision boards all day!

6. Why did you decide to take the position of Director of Strategic Partnerships at Sparks for Big City Moms? What was your most memorable moment from that experience?

As I had been in publishing for the majority of my career, I was excited to take on a new challenge in the events and sponsorship space. Also, as a mom myself, I could really relate to the audience of Big City Moms and understand their needs and expectations. My most memorable experience would be seeing the final product of our work with our Biggest Baby Shower Ever events, which are held in multiple cities across the country. The events had such a great energy and were really enjoyable to be a part of.

7. Who is a boss lady who inspires you and why?

While she may not be your typical ‘boss lady,’ I really admire Jennifer Lopez. She is extremely successful and always seems to be taking on new challenges in her career. I think in any industry, in order to grow, you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. She seems to have that down! She also stands out to me as someone who stays current with the changing times, but still true to herself. I think being able to adapt to change, while still owning ‘your brand’ plays a big part in the longevity of your career and/or business.  She also still manages to balance life as a mom, stay in amazing shape and somehow, never ages! #teamjlo

Just For Fun

Favorite kind of coffee beans: While I love coffee, I can’t say that I know too much about beans!  I can say that I love a strong, dark roast with just splash of milk, one in the morning and then a pick-me-up cup around 3pm.

A perfect night at home includes: a funny movie, a glass of wine, cheese, sweatpants, and Gabriel

If I could learn a new skill, it would be: Calligraphy! I have been really wanting to take a calligraphy class recently

Best movie involving a wedding: I’d say it’s a tie between My Best Friend’s Wedding and Wedding Crashers

My favorite place to vacation is: Italy and Spain are two of my favorites.

   

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BOSS LADY INTERVIEWS

 

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Creative Retreat: Journey to Discover

Surfers Journey at Jade Retreat

I don’t surf. I play tennis and run religiously. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love the ocean. I dream dream of endless summer days full of waves and sunsets.

Two years ago my life changed forever after a trip to Jade Retreat in Nosara, Costa Rica. Created by architect Donald Loria Prendas, the five free standing master suites are arranged around the covered Yoga pavilion and large swimming pool which also serves as a soothing water feature.

I have not started surfing (yet…). This past week we designed a creative retreat at Jade with Dr. Don Kennedy author of the Surfers Journey. What an incredible week of discovery.

The Surfer’s Journey is a personalized symbolic book melding the sport of surfing, Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey, and Bass and Burn’s principles of transformational leadership into a mythological story that teaches readers, students, educators, and leaders how to become and develop others into transformational heroes; individuals who are cause-driven, who inspire followers to achieve beyond their present capacity, and whose life purpose is to improve the human condition.

We were lucky enough to wake up and play tennis every morning on the red clay courts, just a few minutes down the jungle path from Jade.

One of the highlights for me was the art therapy session with Belle. The principle of the Surfers Journey addresses the need for mentors, those that see who we are before we do.

Working out while I am away from home is always a priority. Our custom itinerary was complete with daily workouts and wellness in mind. Long walks at sunset, foundational training, tennis and pilates, fresh coconuts courtside, tumeric tea, plus private chefs.

As they say in meditation, when the thoughts & distractions come in, begin again. “Changing places, changing time, changing thoughts, changing future.” -Peggy Guggenheim

Here is to a new beginning…

For more information on how to design a creative retreat email info@jaderetreat.com

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