Okay, Ladies

I’m so excited to start off the new year by inviting you to celebrate the launch of a new, female-focused business support group in Seattle next week. Business Babes Collective is a platform connecting and inspiring women in select U.S. and Canadian cities through workshops, events, and retreats where they can learn, network, and find opportunities to grow together. When they asked if I would partner with them to spread the word, I was thrilled! One of my goals for this year is to participate in more conversations that help women become more empowered and connected. And I want to share that with you.

Business Babe Balloons

Photo by @creativewifeandjoyfulworker

The launch celebration will feature refreshments, photo ops, prizes, vendors, mingling and a Q&A with Desiree Siegfried. If you’re not part of Bachelor Nation, Desiree is a bridal designer best known for meeting her husband Chris on season nine of ABC’s The Bachelorette. I actually met her last month and was excited to hear about her new wedding dress collection, which is so beautiful! Can’t wait to pick her brain on the risks she took to build her business (Desiree Hartsock Bridal) — not to mention meeting her husband on TV.

Desiree Sigfried

Photo by @katieparraphoto

I hope you’ll join me and dozens of other Seattle-area lady bosses from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m., on Thursday, Jan. 25, at Sole Repair Shop in Capitol Hill. You can buy tickets here.

-Winters


Note: Seattle Business Babes provided me a free ticket in exchange for my assistance with publicity. I’ll always be transparent when organizations provide an incentive for my work. But rest assured, my opinions and recommendations are strictly my own and if I don’t like something or believe in it, you’ll know.

2017: The Year of Doing Something

If we’re being honest, this year didn’t start off on the best note. Mason and I were on our annual New Year’s Eve getaway, this time in Friday Harbor, when after a five-course dinner our bodies betrayed us in the most embarrassing ways on the walk back to our Air BnB. It was a bonding experience we could have done without, but later re-told through tears of laughter and humiliation to our families. What a way to ring in the new year. Let’s hope tonight’s New Year’s Eve dinner settles better.

2017 was the year of doing something. It was the year of taking action, of pushing back, and holding myself and those around me to higher standards. I guess you could say it was the year I’d had enough.

King Street Walk

* Outfit Details Below * Photo by Madeleine Wilson *

There were a lot of uncomfortable, but necessary, conversations. There were protests on the streets of Seattle, financial donations to advocacy groups, and phone calls and letters to my government representatives. There was almost a fight at a music festival when a man called me a name after cutting me off from my friends. I don’t think he expected me to whirl around and confront him, cranking my neck to look up into his eyes, with such immediacy and fire. “What did you call me?” I demanded. He left quickly at the ushering of his friend.

King Street Walk

Photo by Madeleine Wilson

Not that I am one to get into fights, but it really did wear on me how badly some people treated others. From the top down, it seemed to be everywhere and all the time. And when it came to how some people treated me, and it was badly, I just wasn’t having it. There were several occasions where I had to think through how to take the high road without letting people walk all over me. In one instance I had to cut ties. I don’t need cruel people in my life and what you allow is what will continue, right?

King Street Walk

Photo by Madeleine Wilson

There was one instance where, after much hesitation, I got involved in someone else’s experience of being treated badly. It was at a social function where people were drinking and having fun, except for one couple who seemed to be having a difficult time getting along. I didn’t know them well, but I could see that he was laying into her awfully hard while she was trying to calmly reason with him. Little excerpts of their conversation floated toward me across the room and it continued to escalate until finally I couldn’t sit down any longer. “Shut your fucking mouth,” he said to her. “You’re such an over-dramatic piece of shit.”

That was it. I had to do something. I was up. Off the couch. Across the room. My hand on his shoulder. I leaned over to him, “Can I call you an Uber? ‘Cause I can’t listen to you talk to her like that for one more minute.”

Was it any of my business? Probably not. Did it cause drama? Maybe. Will it make any difference? I hope so. If nothing else, I hope she knows I have her back. And I’d have anyone’s back in a situation like that.

After a year of “doing something,” I still wonder how we can hold each other to higher standards in regard to how we treat each other. How can we speak up against abuse, cruelty, and disrespect without playing into “drama?” Is there a way to gracefully establish boundaries and enforce consequences that won’t cause irreparable rifts in important relationships? I don’t know yet but something’s gotta give.

If nothing else, my hope for 2018 is that if we cannot be kind, we be quiet.

Happy New Years, loves.

-Winters

Outfit details below:

Steve Madden Pointur Pointed Toe Suede Heels. • Steve Madden • 

Saint Laurent Women’s Plaid Wool-Blend Scarf • Saint Laurent • (similar)

Hudson Barbara High Waisted Skinny Jeans • Hudson • 

Club Monaco Julie Turtleneck Sweater • Club Monaco • 

Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Large Crossbody Clutch Bag • MICHAEL Michael Kors • 

An evening at the symphony

You know you’re an adult when your idea of a fun double date is going to see the symphony. When my friend and her husband invited us to join them at Ensign Symphony’s “Hosannah” at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle, we loved the idea. Getting dressed up to listen to an orchestra play the Christmas classics I grew up singing in church? Yes. Also, I’ve only ever heard how lovely Benaroya Hall is and I was eager to check it out.

A night at the symphony

No, the guys didn’t coordinate their outfits — they just tend to show up wearing the same thing.

The performance was enjoyable albeit slow. Sitting in the auditorium listening to the symphony play and the chorus sing, I realized it was a very strange feeling to not be “doing” anything. No computer, no cell phone, nothing to look at but a bunch of people on stage singing and playing instruments. I felt fidgety for a while but settled into the calm. It’s so needed this time of year.

A night at the symphony

The Ensign Symphony and Chorus

There were a few funny moments: When the chorus sang a rousing rendition of “Betelehemu” one of the women in the front got off beat with her side to side movements and ended up getting jostled around between two others for a moment. I admit I giggled.

During the intermission, or “half-time” as my friend’s husband called it, we went out to the lobby to enjoy the decorations and take pictures. My favorite part about this time of year is all the pretty decorations.

A night at the symphony

The twinkling lights were beautiful — though a little dominating in this photo.

A night at the symphony

Our symphony uniform: Dress, tights, heels.

Thank you, Jo and Robbie, for a great date night!

Like our symphony outfits? Shop our looks below.

-Winters

My outfit (similar):

Jo’s outfit (similar):

My favorite seasonal goodies from FabFitFun

Here’s what I’m loving from the Winter 2017 FabFitFun box and how you can save $10 on one for you — or for someone on your gift list.

A year ago, after watching my friend Allison open box after box of amazing seasonal goodies from FabFitFun on her Snapchat, I decided to cancel my other subscriptions and use her discount code to sign up. SO glad I did!

The Winter 2017 Box

Unlike some subscription boxes I tried, the products in FabFitFun boxes are full size, relevant, and always useful and fun. Because they ship four times a year, I look forward to getting exactly what I want and need for the coming season. Example: Fuzzy socks for winter, knit beanie for fall, facial sunscreen for summer, etc. Also, the value is incredible ($225+ in retail value at a cost of $49.99 per box) and it always contains a great mix of fitness, fashion, beauty and wellness products.

In this box, I’m especially excited for the energizing eye masks, moisturizing hand cream, and the gorgeous eyeshadow palette. The total retail value of my Winter 2017 box is a whopping $388 and contains:

  • A warm, gray phoncho by BB Dakota
  • AHAVA mineral hand cream (I always need SO much hand cream in the winter)
  • A cute mug created by Homemade by Ayesha Curry
  • Cozy socks that are infused with aloe by Pointe Studio
  • ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment by Kate Somerville (this alone is worth $75!)
  • Deep Sleep pillow spray by This Works (smells surprisingly earthy in a good way)
  • DOUCCE Freematic Eyeshadow Pro Palette
  • The “Nine Lives” choker by 8 Other Reasons
  • An 8-pack of Grace & Stella anti-wrinkle + energizing eye masks

If you’re thinking this would be a great gift for someone — or yourself — I agree. Even better, I can save you money when you sign up! Click here and use code SOCOLD for $10 off.

-Winters

 

*Note: Because I am a FabFitFun Partner, this post contains affiliate links which allow me to earn a small commission if you click through and decide you want in on this goodness.

 

The ultimate gift exchange game for large groups

Lying awake the night before a big event is sometimes when I get my best ideas. Last Wednesday night, for example, I was pondering how to facilitate a fun, interactive gift exchange game that would encourage people to get to know each other (Seattle freeze be damned) but not interrupt the natural flow of the event.

The beautiful bedroom in the penthouse of Hotel Theodore in Seattle.

As part of my job as public relations manager at my company, I had 30 guests coming to a decked-out penthouse in downtown Seattle for a holiday gifting event. Everything was in place but how we would run the gift exchange, which featured gifts provided by my company. Then, it came to me: A holiday-themed word game where you have to find the person who has the other word. I know that sounds confusing. Stay with me.

The perfect spot for a holiday event.

Here is how it worked:

  • Upon arrival, each guest drew a piece of paper with a word on it out of a shiny copper bowl.
  • The word they drew was half of a two-word holiday phrase. Example: Jingle (missing word “Bells”) or Holly (missing word “Jolly”)
  • Throughout the night, they needed to find the person who had the word that would complete the holiday phrase.
  • When they found their partner, they would bring it to my attention and I would excitedly ring jingle bells and announce that we had a match. This part was hilariously awkward and fun for me.
  • We would gather at the tree and both people would pick a present.
  • They would then exchange the present (tricky, right?) and open it up.

The happy hostess — me 😊

It worked! Guests interacted with people they didn’t already know, had fun figuring out what phrase they had, and of course they loved getting a present. I was so happy to get positive feedback on my 11th-hour gift exchange game idea and see it unfold with such success.

Want to try this at your own holiday party? Here are the phrases:

  • Jingle bells
  • Holly jolly
  • Christmas tree
  • Figgy pudding
  • Wish list
  • Happy holidays
  • Seasons greetings
  • Gingerbread house
  • Candy cane
  • Santa Claus
  • North Pole
  • Naughty nice
  • Merry bright
  • Winter wonderland
  • Sleigh ride

Happy holidays!

Winters

My secret to free magazines

Every month, they come. And they stack up on my countertop and drive my fiancé crazy. Real Simple, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, People StyleWatch, Cosmopolitan (ugh, I know), Redbook, and more. Why do I get so many magazines that sometimes I can’t keep up with them? Because they’re free, they’re relevant to my industry and important for my job. And because they’re free. Scroll down to read how I scored this.

Free magazines for your industry

The first place to check out is Mercury Magazines. By filling out your basic contact and professional information, it will find free, relevant, and interesting magazines that you can sign up to receive. Of course, there’s always the risk of receiving junk mail but that hasn’t been a problem for me.

My second spot is RewardSurvey. This system works by awarding you points based on surveys you take about everything from parades to household products to cars. You can use the points to subscribe to magazines like Elle, Glamour, Real Simple, and more. The more points you earn, the better the selection.

Happy reading!

-Winters

How to pack for the holidays

Three days away from home and 45 minutes to pack. That’s what I was faced with this morning.

You see, today, we are taking a ferry and driving to my hometown to spend the first part of Thanksgiving with my family. Tomorrow afternoon, once we have polished off my dad’s amazing stuffing and eaten a piece of crack pie, we will get back on the road and take another ferry to go to a second Thanksgiving with my fiancé’s family. We will get back to our apartment in Seattle at some point on Friday night. So I needed to pack enough clothes, makeup, hair product, and charging cables to last until then.

Disclaimer: I am the worst at packing. I hate it and I always put it off til the last minute.

Because of that, though, I have some packing hacks that I hope will help you out as you pack for holidays away from home.

Tip 1: Start with socks and underwear. Stick with the basics at first cause if you forget them, good luck. Socks, underwear, charging cables, and deodorant are the first things to go in my bag.

Tip 2: Think about what will get you the furthest. This is where you want get strategic. If you pack clothing and accessories that are complementary in color you can mix and match and get more use out of the pieces you bring. More use out of what you bring = less things that need to be brought. For this trip, I’m going with blacks, grays, and gemstone tones.

Tip 3: Plan ahead for a long lasting hair style. Along the same lines as above, pack hair product that can help keep your hair looking great for a couple days. This eliminates the need to pack hair dryers, curling irons, hair straighteners, etc. My go-to products are from Living Proof and I can’t recommend them enough.

I hope these three tips will help you as you pack for Thanksgiving weekend. Happy Turkey Day!

Winters

My shopping rule of thumb

In April 2007, I visited the Puma store at the Seattle Premium Outlets and found a super cute white windbreaker. It was a good price but I was a broke college student. I didn’t buy it and spent my money on a nice dinner out instead. Because people need to eat, right?

Such regret.

I never forgot about the windbreaker. I went back several months later but it was gone and I haven’t seen one like it since. My chance to have it passed. When I saw the price tag, I should have calculated how many times I would wear the jacket (a lot) vs. how many dinners out I needed (um, none).

Puma Windbreaker 2007. #neverforget

Can anyone else relate?

After that, my shopping rule of thumb became: If you can’t stop thinking about it, buy it. Within reason, of course. Because bills. But seriously, if you can’t stop thinking about a piece you see at the store that probably means you’ll wear the heck out of it, which will make it worth every penny.

IMG_9972

Photo by Madeleine Wilson Photography

My most recent obsession was a pink velvet dress by Chelsea28 at Nordstrom Rack. It wasn’t pricey but I was there to buy a dress for a Kentucky Derby party and it just wasn’t the right look. Nonetheless, I thought about the pink velvet dress often: The way it fanned out when I twirled and how the straps were adjustable for maximum modesty — or not — when it came to the plunging overlapping v-cut in front.

IMG_0003

Photo by Madeleine Wilson Photography

The next time I went to Nordstrom Rack, I checked the clearance rack and would you believe it the dress was there! Not only could I still purchase it, but I could purchase it at half the cost. That, my friends, is Shopping Fate.

I bought it, of course, and have worn it twice. Now that it’s cold and rainy, I’ll be looking for ways to style it in a more weather-appropriate way. Suggestions are welcome. 😉

-Winters


Shop this look:

Olyvia halo ankle strap pump • Sole Society • (similar)

Women’s Nsr Velvet Midi Slipdress • NSR • (similar)

Why you need a blarf

My friend hates this word. “Blarf.” But I haven’t found a better way to describe the giant, square scarf that doubles as a blanket.

I got my first blanket scarf in my Fall 2016 FabFitFun box and it quickly became one of my favorite pieces. It’s black and white plaid from Modcloth and as cozy as it is versatile.

Ways to wear:

1. Drape – Fold it in half and drape it over your shoulders. Perfect for fall days when the sun is still peaking through and providing warmth. (see below)

Amanda Winters Blogger Shoot-175

Photo by Madeleine Wilson Photography

2. Cape – For a chic, French look, fold it in half and wrap it around your body so the fold is directly over one arm while standing at your side. Then, secure it with a brooch on top of the other shoulder. (see below)

Amanda Winters Blogger Shoot-124

Photo by Madeleine Wilson Photography

3. Bandana – This is simple, quick, and one of the most common ways to wear a blanket scarf. Fold it into a triangle, wrap it around your neck with the point facing down your front side, then pull the ends back to the front. (see below)

Amanda Winters Blogger Shoot-199

Photo by Madeleine Wilson Photography

These are just three ways to wear a blanket scarf but there are many more! Including, as a legit blanket at the movie theater, over your head when it starts raining on your way to the bus stop, and tied around your purse when you walk inside a warm building from the outside cold.

Like this look? Shop it by clicking the links below.

-Winters

Amanda Winters Blogger Shoot-153

Photo by Madeleine Wilson Photography

Women’s Hudson Jeans ‘Nico’ Ankle Skinny Jeans • Hudson • (similar)

Women’s Halogen Long Sleeve Turtleneck • Halogen • (exact)

Express textured blanket scarf • Express •  (similar)

Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Large Convertible Leather Crossbody • Michael Kors • (exact)

Welcome to my blog!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Oh look! It’s another middle-class white woman posting pretty outfit photos.

Well, yes and no.

Of course there will be outfit photos — I love clothes and know other women like me will be interested in getting style tips and hearing commentary on trends. But there will also be how-tos on negotiating a raise, conducting a background check, and finding the best places to eat, drink, and explore on a craft beer budget.

Welcome to Call Me Winters. I hope I’m able to help you elevate your life just a little no matter where in life you are.

-Winters