What I learned as a speaker at Style Summit

There are only two things I would change about this month’s Style Summit at W Bellevue: First, I would not lose my voice, and second, it would last at least two days. That’s how much value I got out of the Sunday event bringing together women (and a few men) from the blogging, creative, fashion and entrepreneurial spaces in Seattle. And I have to share a taste of it with you.

Fashion essentials panel

Photo by Vivian Hsu Photography

The summit had 150 people in attendance and I was there because Sydney Mintle, the powerhouse behind Gossip & Glamour, invited me to speak on the “Fashion Essentials” panel. Since I established the influencer marketing program at my company and have years of experience with events, outreach and cultivating relationships, I shared some inside knowledge on what brands are looking for when it comes to collaborating with influencers. While I got great feedback from what I shared on the panel, I want to talk about what I learned from the other incredible women speaking at the event.

Sydney

Photo by Vivian Hsu Photography

Sydney, pictured above, hosted the summit as part of the #WhatSheSaid series with W Hotels. If anyone understands the importance of listening to female voices and empowering them, it’s her. We first met years ago when I first started blogging (different blog, different lifetime). I’m always in awe at how she can connect people and activate a room for a common purpose. Participating in this event with Sydney taught me the importance of putting myself out there to help others and to also be willing to listen to the help others can offer me.

Panel 2

Photo by Vivian Hsu Photography

Let me introduce you to Brittany Hicks (pictured above). Not only is she a buyer at Amazon Fashion (talk about #careergoals) but she is also passionate about bringing more women into the tech/fashion space. The founder of Girls in Fashion and Tech, Brittany understands the business of fashion as much as she understands the human element of it. Learning about the stories (aka the women) behind the intersection of tech and fashion is key to increasing the representation of women in companies that sell goods and services to the largest purchasing demographic– women. She made a great point about how few women are in senior leadership positions in the very businesses that constantly try to market to and optimize for women consumers. Check out her website and you’ll likely find yourself nodding in agreement with her.

Steve Madden

Photo by Vivian Hsu Photography

During our breakout sessions, we were connected with other people in our niche (mine was e-commerce) and talk about our experiences, share ideas and brainstorm solutions to any problems. Through that session, I learned from Bhawna Gupta, the founder of Tema Athletics, that pop-ups aren’t necessarily the optimal way for online brands to increase sales (though that’s actually how I first met her). The group came together with some great ideas on how we each could leverage different channels to reach our goals. I can’t wait to see some of them go into action!

Kacy Om

Photo by Vivian Hsu Photography

There were also, of course, some fun brand activations including special access to the new handbag line by Kacy Yom, the spring shoe collection from Steve Madden and some delicious and healthy drinks from Pressed Juicery.

Pressed

Photo by Vivian Hsu Photography

The good news for those of you who couldn’t attend Style Summit is Sydney posted some incredible recap content on the Gossip & Glamour blog. There’s even a FB live video where you can hear me use my poor little voice to talk about brand communications marketing and the influencer space — until the recording cuts off suddenly cause the phone dies. Sometimes, the universe tells you to stop talking. When I did, I could feel the inspiration and fulfillment of the day really sink in. I walked away from the event full of ideas and next steps and insight I knew I could build on for work and for Call Me Winters. Everyone else I asked about Style Summit said the same.

So, who wants to build it out to two days for next year?

-Winters

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 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!

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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