How to Beat the Winter Blues With Citizen Watches & Verilux

For most of January, I’ve just wanted to curl up in the fetal position and hibernate until pitchers and catchers report.

When I received an invitation to attend the Citizen “Beat Blue Monday & Get the Most Out of Light” event, I saw it as an opportunity to emerge from my funk and move towards the light. Literally.

Apparently, the third Monday of January is designated as “BLUE MONDAY” and is supposedly the most depressing day of the year. Some of the reasons behind this particular day being so bleak are that, well, for starters, it’s Monday. It’s January. It’s cold. The holidays are over and you’re faced with paying off debt from all that Christmas travel and gift-giving. Oh, and you’re three weeks into bailing on most of those New Year’s resolutions.

But one of the biggest causes for depression in January is that the nights are longer and we’re exposed to less sunlight. It’s dark when we get up and it’s dark when we leave work. Welcome to the Dark Days of Winter.

Given my blatantly blah state of being, I was quite grateful to see that the fabulous folks at Citizen had put together a presentation on how to survive – and even thrive – during this bleak time of the year. And it was all about seeing the LIGHT!

The lovely Tori Mellott of Traditional Home magazine kicked things off with tips on how to lighten up your living space. Some of her suggestions included:

  1. Incorporate more white into your decor – with pillows, throw blankets, accessories and more.
  2. Use mirrors to enhance any natural light in living spaces such as bedrooms and living rooms.
  3. Add metallic accessories, including picture frames, mirrors and candle holders.
  4. Infuse your space with pops of color. This could be done with either light pastels or bold primary colors.
  5. Create a wall gallery. Use white matting for photos to create a cohesive look.
  6. Consider bold stripes…be it wallpaper or painting, the contrasting patterns (especially if it’s black and white) can really make an area stand out.

Tori Mellott of Traditional Home discussing how to create a gallery wall.

Next up, Psychologist Dr. Susan Carroll Berck talked about things we can all do each day in order to help stave off the winter blues. Things such as:

  1. Eat smarter: pay attention to what you are eating, and especially, what you are drinking. Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol can help prevent mood swings.
  2. Exercise! Getting your body up and active releases powerful endorphins that can instantly boost your morale (and your metabolism!)
  3. Start a project. This could be a home repair or remodel or something like learning a new skill. Give yourself something to focus on and take time each day to move your project forward.
  4. Stay social. Not just online, mind you. Make plans with friends and family and actually get out of the house.
  5. Consider using light boxes (such as this HappyLight by Verilux that was given to all of us at the event.) Exposure to a light box for as little as 30 minutes a day can really make a difference in your overall demeanor and outlook.

After Dr. Berck’s presentation, Ellen Seckler of Citizen talked about the brand’s connection to light. For decades now, Citizen Watches have never needed batteries or winding because they are powered by light. As she was speaking, I thought about my “watch drawer,” which contains several watches I haven’t worn in years because they all need new batteries. Which is exactly why I’ve been wearing my Citizen Silhouette Model EW9990-54E almost exclusively now (because it’s always working.)

One of my favorite parts of the event was this video, which shows exactly how Citizen uses the power of light to keep its watches fully charged and ready to go.

And that’s exactly how I felt after attending the “Get the Most Out of Light” event. Fully charged and ready to go. I’ve emerged from my winter depression and I am prepped to tackle the rest of the year. Whatever it may continue to throw at me.

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5 Steps to Great Style

“I wish I had your sense of style.”

When people say that to me, I always advise them to develop their own sense of style by wearing what makes them feel most confident.  It’s a proven fact that when you look good, you feel good. And you don’t need an unlimited budget to have great style.

Here are 5 of my best tips to help you unleash your inner fashionista.

1. Organize your closet.

Nothing makes you feel like you’ve got your life together like having an immaculately organized closet. Spending a few hours (or even an entire day) getting your closet arranged precisely the way you want it will pay off on a daily basis. For me, having everything in my closet completely visible and easily accessible is very important. I like to display belts, scarves and jewelry on peg boards. I hang all of my clothes on velvet hangers and arrange them according to sleeve length. Cleaning out your closet is also a good time to get rid of clothes you no longer wear and donate or sell them.

Here are a few closet-organizing items to get you started:

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2. Plan and prep your outfits the night before.

It’s hard enough to get motivated every morning without the added stress of standing in front of your closet for ten minutes saying “What am I going to wear?” Not only are you apt to throw a half-assed outfit together that doesn’t make you feel fabulous, but you’re also likely to make yourself late, which is never a fun way to start out the day.

Every night before you go to bed, you should check the weather for the next day and plan your outfit accordingly. Then you can hit the ground running and start your day with a perfect outfit that makes you feel confident and happy. I also make sure to have my purse packed and ready to go with everything I need for the day (keys, Metro card, etc.)

Trust me – anything you can do the night before to make your morning run smoother will be well worth the effort.

Add these titles to your fashion closet library help you plan your outfits:

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 3. Wear high heels (at least occasionally.)

Okay, even I – the stiletto-loving shoe queen – have had to mix up my shoe wardrobe recently because my feet (and back) were hurting so bad. I work from home most of the time, but on the days I’m in Manhattan, I choose a comfortable chunky-heeled shoe, as single-soled stilettos, while sexy and beautiful, are just not practical for all the walking I do in the city.

However, I do make it a point to wear stilettos when going out to dinner or girl’s nights out, simply because they make me feel fabulous. There’s just something about slipping on a gorgeous pair of high heels that infuses me with an extra dose of confidence.

Why not make it a resolution to try it at least once a week? That’s 52 times a year you’re guaranteed to stand taller. And sometimes the extra height gives you extra might!

Why not add these gorgeous (and totally affordable) stilettos to your newly organized closet?


4. Invest in a great handbag.

Think about it…you carry a purse every single day. You may as well make it one that you love and one that looks great with all your outfits. Whether you prefer a large roomy tote or a small cross-body, do your online shopping research and find a nice designer bag in a classic style and color.

I’m a sucker for the Michael Kors Hamilton tote and Zac Posen’s Americana duffle bags. Both styles are big enough to carry everything I need for those days I work in the city, including an extra pair of shoes, my Macbook Air, my iPad, iPhone and wallet. Find your dream bag and buy it. It’s an investment you’ll never regret.

Check out these classic bag styles:

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5. Get inspired by street style.

I’m not just talking about Instagram, blogs or editorials in your favorite fashion magazine, which are all great resources. But actually take note of people around you whose style you admire. When you see a woman wearing an outfit that you like, ask her about it. She’ll appreciate the compliment!

Create a “street style” inspiration board on Pinterest and update it on a regular basis. Soon, YOU’LL be the one being stopped on the street and asked “who are you wearing?”

Once you get your fashion life organized, the rest of your life becomes a little easier. Plus, you’ll have the added bonus of a sudden increase in confidence because you know you look your best every day. And nothing is sexier or more stylish than a confident woman!


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Better Starts Now With Citizen Watches


I was recently invited to attend the Citizen Watch “Make Time For Love” blogger event at the company’s flagship store in Times Square.

Citizen put together a morning presentation that included relationship, finance, fashion and beauty experts, all reminding us that whatever we’re currently doing, be it planning a wedding, taking a trip, or launching  a new business, we need to remember to make time for love.


Even before attending this event, I had a special connection to Citizen watches. Back in 2004, my husband Carlos bought me a beautiful Citizen watch on our honeymoon cruise to Bermuda. It was my favorite watch ever. Unfortunately, I lost it a few years ago. I was devastated. That particular style had been discontinued and I was unable to replace it.

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 8.22.12 AMI was thrilled to find a similar model at the Times Square store. I ended up purchasing this classic Silhouette model that features a bangle style bracelet and Swarovski® crystals.

As soon as I put it on, it reminded me of my honeymoon. It reminded me that I’ve been married for over 10 years. It reminded me of how far we’ve come, and how rare it is these days that a marriage even makes it to the 10 year mark.

Isn’t it funny how something like a watch or a piece of jewelry can instantly take you back to a certain time and memory and make you think about how far you’ve come? The official hashtag for Citizen’s “Make Time For Love” campaign is #BetterStartsNow. And I think that should be a general hashtag for life. Every day when you wake up in the morning, #BetterStartsNow.

FullSizeRender (1)Last night around 11 pm, I told Carlos I wanted to take a photo of us with me wearing the new watch so I could include it in the blog post. He didn’t want to take the photo, said he was too tired from work, his hair was messed up, etc. But I insisted. It was spontaneous. And now this photo of us is one of my favorites. (He even admitted that he liked it too.)

Before we were married, 11 pm on a Wednesday night would probably find us at our favorite bar on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Nowadays, a weeknight finds us snuggled in bed watching Seinfeld reruns with two cats and a large German Shepherd.

Yes, our life now looks much different now. Different, but better.



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10 Ways to Wear Florals

Flower power is a trend that seems to have popped up (or “bloomed”) during every fashion season for the past decade. And the look isn’t limited to just spring and summer dressing. It can be worn year-round. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have a few floral pieces as wardrobe staples in your closet.

Here are 10 ways to incorporate florals into your fashion landscape.



Adorn your neck with a floral scarf. HorizontalSpacerInsert              



Get maximum flower power in a maxi-dress.





Jump right into the floral trend in a classic jumpsuit.




Button up in a bouquet.





Wrap yourself in flowers.




Wear your floral heart on your sleeve.





Brave the elements in a floral coat.





Carry a bouquet with you every day.





Tiptoe through the tulips.





Let the showers bring you flowers.





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The Original Style Icon – Mom

Editor’s note: This was the very first blog post I ever wrote when I launched Stylaphile. My mom passed away in October of 2016. This post will always remain as a tribute to the woman who not only influenced my style, but also taught me to be an independent strong woman and to pursue my dreams with passion.

This photo of my Mom was taken in the 1950s when people actually dressed up to go to church. Wasn’t she a looker? Check out the fantastic A-line number and how it accentuates her tiny waist. I would never be tiny enough to wear that dress, but damn I wish she had kept that straw handle bag and passed it down to me!

Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was to clean out and organize my Mom’s closet. I especially loved to organize her shoes and bags. Mom was quite the collector when it came to beautiful shoes. So I guess my obsession with shoes was somehow coded into my DNA. My seemingly meaningless childhood activity of playing in my Mom’s closet led to this, my modern day “shoe closet.”
Yes, I know it’s extravagant. To take an entire guest room and convert it into a showcase for your obsession. But hey, I don’t have kids (not the human kind anyway) and could care less about expensive “toys.” (I still drive a 1993 Geo Tracker.) This is where I like to spend my disposable income. To quote Carrie Bradshaw, “I like my money where I can see it. Hanging in my closet.”
Last year when I was home visiting my Mom, I organized her closet again. She doesn’t have nearly as many shoes as she used to, and she prefers flats to heels now, but it was such a wonderful experience to be able to spend that time with her doing what we loved to do when I was a child. So, thanks Mom, for letting me play in your closet all those years ago. I’m still playing in mine.

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