The Curated Closet's Blog

Red, White, and YOU--Creative Ideas for a Fun, Funky Fourth

Red, White, and YOU--Creative Ideas for a Fun, Funky Fourth

For the first time since I started writing this blog, back in the thick of the pandemic, I'm creating a post about looks you can wear...

To a party. An actual party. 

With actual, real-live people (cue "For the First Time in Forever" from Frozen).

Image credit: www.fanpop.com

Actual footage of Anna hoofing it from Arendelle to The Curated Closet to score some major Fourth of July deals so she can change into something more summer weather-friendly than that gown...

 

My last few posts about holiday gathering/wardrobe ideas were strictly of the "let's call some friends and have a Zoom party" variety. I can't fully express how thrilling it is to finally be able to write a post about looks that people will actually SEE now that many are fully vaccinated, and the world is starting to open up again.

So, without further ado...here are my favorite funky looks for an absolutely smashing Fourth of July 2021!

 

Looks I Love:

Makeup

Image credit: www.pinterest.com.uk

What better way to show off your patriotic spirit than by going all-out with your eye makeup? Bring the fireworks to your face with a combination of red, white, blue, and sparkly silver eyeshadow, like the example above. 

Pro tips: Both Stila and E.L.F. Cosmetics make fabulous glitter eye shadows in easy-to-apply tubes. 

Image credit: www.superdrug.com

Pictured: ELF Cosmetics Glitter Melt Liquid Eyeshadow in "Disco Queen"

Additionally, you may find it much easier to use a blue waterproof pencil instead of blue eyeshadow, since this look involves using the blue to line above and below your lashes. I'd highly recommend investing in a waterproof eye pencil to create this look (bonus if it's a sparkly blue one).

Image credit: www.scrangie.com

You can't go wrong with Stila!

As a final tip to make this look last...DON'T FORGET eyeshadow primer! You don't want to do all of this incredible work on your eyes only for it to smudge and crease...lock this look down with some primer before you even start!

 

Hair

Image credit: modernfashionblog.com 

Add some patriotic pizazz to your 'do with a red, white, and blue headband or bow (I love the vintage vibes of the hair style above!). Want to really get creative? Add some red, white, and blue wash-out dye to your hair, or simply run a search on "Fourth of July hairstyles"...you won't believe the amazingly creative things people do with their hair!

 

Wardrobe

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In my opinion, the Fourth of July is about the EASIEST holiday to dress for--it's almost ridiculously simple to put together a festive outfit that both looks good AND is ridiculously comfortable (make sure to check out our Stars and Stripes Bodysuit by Sweet Claire on the TCC Website!). 

Easiest option? Denim shorts, red top, white earrings/sneakers. 

Want to go more festive? Red or blue shorts, white blouse, red or blue earrings, and red sandals/pumps/wedges. 

Tomorrow, since it will be (beautifully) cool, I plan on rocking my favorite jeans, a blue satin cowl neck sleeveless blouse, my favorite cropped white blazer, and sky-high red stilettos (picture to follow, obvs!). 

Feeling inspired? Good "Fourth of July food and drinks" for some seriously awesome ideas that will keep you busy in the kitchen from now until Sunday!

Image credit: diyprojects.com 

Image credit: www.wbir.com

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There you have it, folks! I hope you have a safe, fun, and festive Fourth of July with those you love the most--and I hope you are actually able to give them a hug this year. 

**Side note: Fireworks are gorgeous--no one is going to debate that! This is just a loving and friendly reminder to be mindful of veterans and animals who might have a tough time struggling through the noise fireworks make. Please be conscious of those for whom this holiday can induce loads of stress, and please be willing to accommodate them accordingly.**

Til then, stay sparkly!

-Em <3

 

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Beat the Heat--How to Make Your Favorite Beauty Looks Survive Summer!

Beat the Heat--How to Make Your Favorite Beauty Looks Survive Summer!

Ok ladies...we've all been there.

The temperatures start soaring, and next thing you know, your carefully applied makeup is sliding down your face like a downhill skier trying to win a gold medal. 

So, how does a glamour girl keep her cool when the weather is anything but?

Below, find my favorite tips, tricks, and products to help you beat the heat in style :)

Less is more

Image credit: mzmahoganychic.com

The absolute LAST thing you want to do in the summer is layer--from clothes to makeup products, less is absolutely more. In the same way you leave your sweaters, jackets, and long pants at home once the temperatures start to soar, you should be doing the same with your cool-weather makeup products such as heavier foundations, thick lipsticks, and creamy eyeshadows. 

Biggest summer beauty tip? Invest in a solid skin care routine (it's totally OK if you don't know what that is! Try looking for a professional aesthetician in your area!). The skin is the largest organ in your body, so make sure that you are taking care of it as much as possible...please, don't put makeup on your face until you've taken care of your skin first with a skin care routine that is tailored to the specific needs of your skin. If your skin looks good, you naturally need less makeup, and NOBODY (I mean nobody) wants a cake face on a hot summer day!

For your face: Try switching out your heavy winter foundation for a BB or CC creme with SPF to smooth out your complexion, or simply dab on concealer where needed and top off the look with a dusting of a sheer sunscreen powder. Also, consider investing in a sunless tanner for your face and body--not only will it give you a (safe) summer glow, the tan will cover imperfections and allow you to get away with less makeup on your face! 

*Please note: You should ALWAYS use some type of SPF on your face, not just in summer! Please, please, please make sure that you keep your skin healthy and protected! If you tend to have oily skin, you may want to consider also topping your look with a spritz of a mattifying makeup setting spray*

Beat the Heat--How to Make Your Favorite Beauty Looks

Image credit: www.elfcosmetics.co.uk

 

Beat the Heat--How to Make Your Favorite Beauty Looks

Image credit: skinpharm.co

For your eyes: Skip the eyeshadow and focus on lashes--long, thick, lush lashes will make your gorgeous eyes pop without any need for any other eye makeup. 

Stick to waterproof mascaras in the summer--no one wants the humidity (or a quick dive in the pool) to result in a look that is less casual glam, more "I was up crying at rom coms all night"! If you REALLY want to go all-out glam, you can pop a strip of falsies on with a strong adhesive (or even better--support a local small business and get lash extensions!), but again...less is more in the summer. A really great mascara with a lengthening and thickening formula will be all you need most days.

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Image credit: MU8 by Patrice LLC

*Note: Patrice Williams, an incredible traveling makeup artist in PA (mu8bypatrice.com), also does incredible lash extensions at Salon Settore in Pottstown, PA. This photo is from one of her clients!*

For an excellent mascara that won't break the bank, grab Essence's Lash Princess Waterproof mascara at your local Ulta or pharmacy (it's just under $5, and delivers the same drama as much pricier options!)

Beat the Heat--How to Make Your Favorite Beauty Looks

Image credit: essencemakeup.com

For your lips: You won't want a heavy, creamy lipstick in the summer--instead, focus on finding a long-lasting lip stain, then top that with a tinted lip balm with SPF for a natural lip look that will beat the heat!

Beat the Heat--How to Make Your Favorite Beauty Looks

Image credit: www.ebay.com

 

Beat the Heat--How to Make Your Favorite Beauty Looks

Image credit: www.pinterest.fr

 

Consider a portable cooling device

Sponsored Ad - TORRAS Bladeless Neck Fan, Ultra Light Portable 360° Cooling Hanging Necklace Fan, Hands Free Rechargeable ...

Image credit: amazon.com

If you REALLY want to make sure you stay cool and that your makeup doesn't melt away (and if you want something that will definitely add to your glam, extra-ness as a person), try investing in a portable cooling device of some kind. There are many different ones on the market, such as handheld fans, but the hands-free device above (just check out the Amazon reviews for the TORRAS Bladeless Neck Fan) will ensure that your makeup stays on point on even the hottest and most humid of summer days...and still leave your hands free to hold a cool drink!

 

Never, ever, EVER leave your makeup in the car!

Image credit: lastnightslook.com 

A couple weeks ago, during one of our most recent heat waves, I made a rookie mistake--I left a Burt's Bees chapstick in my car. As I was on my way somewhere, I grabbed it to moisturize my lips...only to have them coated with a blob of warm wax instead of a slick of hydrating balm. Silly me, I forgot one of the cardinal rules of summer beauty...

Never leave your makeup products in the car!

Unless you have a burning desire to have your pricey products melt into oblivion, never leave your makeup bag (or any makeup or skincare products you carry with you in your purse!) in a hot car. Not only will they not work well for you anymore, you risk having the products melt all over your purse, car upholstery...and your hands when you go to grab the products without realizing that they have melted (it's a BLEAH situation, I assure you!). 

 

There you have it, friends. A few tips (and a few of my favorite products) for natural Summer beauty that will outlast the heat and humidity! Pair your look with any of TCC's gorgeous summer tanks, shorts, or dresses, and you can be sure that you will have a look that will take you anywhere in style and comfort!

 

Until next time, stay cool!

 

-Em <3

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Mother's Day Must-Haves

Mother's Day Must-Haves

Hi Everyone!

April was a crazy, CRAZY month around here, so it's wonderful to finally be getting back to the blog. 

To recap quickly, I was so honored and blessed to compete for the title of Mrs. Pennsylvania International 2021 on April 10. I was going to do a TCC IG takeover (see last blog post), but ended up not doing that (not invading other contestants' space while they were prepping!) and instead posted a grand reveal of my evening gown (which was from TCC, of course!). I was incredibly, amazingly honored to place Third Runner Up to Mrs. Pennsylvania International 2021!

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So, now that April is officially behind us and today marks the first glorious day of beautiful May (insert Justin Timberlake meme here), we can all officially turn our attention to...

Mother's Day!

Looking to spoil some amazing ladies in your life (or possibly yourself)? Look no further than these amazing gift ideas, assembled here by moi. 

*Side note--I recognize that Mother's Day can be extremely triggering for many. Please read to the end of this post for a special acknowledgement of that fact*

Mother's Day 2021 Gift Guide

  • New Designer Clothes

Would this really be the TCC blog if I didn't shamelessly plug our gorgeous new arrivals and incredible Euroluxe line?! Don't forget--we also do gift cards, and you can shop for items in-person at The Mercantile in Doylestown!

This sweet lace-trimmed cami would be so easy to dress up or down, and can pair perfectly with your mom's favorite jeans or skirts (search "Swiss Dot & Lace Camisole" on thecuratecloset.net!)

  • Mother’s Day Must-Haves

And of course, you can never go wrong with selections from our Euroluxe line, which include these AMAZING Armani Exchange shoes for an under $100 (found under the Euroluxe shoes tabs on the website):

  • Mother’s Day Must-Haves

 

  • Flowers
  • Mother’s Day Must-Haves
Image credit: thewowstyle.com

Flowers are ALWAYS a great choice for the moms in your life--though, this year, consider switching it up and supporting a small business rather than having them sent via 1-800-Flowers or the like. There are many independently owned florists who create gorgeous bouquets and--if you want something really unique that will last forever--try choosing a sustainable bouquet featuring wood flowers (a trend I've been seeing lately in wedding shoots that I LOVE). Search "sustainable florals" on Etsy for some great options!

  • Customized Sweets

Mother’s Day Must-HavesImage credit: www.pinterest.com.mx

Chocolates for mom are always a delicious choice--but why not surprise your mom with custom-made cookies?! You can make them yourself, or purchase them from a local small business that makes them (thesweetrollingpin.net is a FANTASTIC choice--their custom made sugar cookies are absolutely heavenly). 

  • Jewelry

Why not splurge a bit and show mom that you love her in style?

These awesome picks are all SOLID gold (no gold-plated for you, Mom!), and are designed to stand the test of time. Below, see some awesome choices that are all under $300 (many thanks to an article by Kat Collings on whowhatwear.com about affordable solid gold jewelry for leading me to these ideas)

  • Mother’s Day Must-Haves

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The Tacori ID Bracelet, fully customizable for $290

Mother’s Day Must-Haves

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From Mejuri, this beautiful stacking band features SOLID 14K white gold and genuine diamonds...for only $245! Also available in 14K yellow gold, this is the kind of versatile piece of everyday fine jewelry that mom is sure to treasure forever

 

  • Candles/Soaps/Scented AwesomenessNo photo description available.

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Image credit: Copperhead Hill Farms Facebook

If you haven't been able to tell by now--obviously I'm going to encourage you to shop small whenever you can! 

If your mamma loves wonderful smelling candles and soaps, you simply can't go wrong ordering from Copperhead Hill Farms, LLC. A small business operating out of Hastings, Michigan, CHF is a veteran-owned business run entirely by husband and wife team Michael and Carolyn Cronk. In addition to both being Marine Corps veterans, the Cronks are homesteaders who operate a farmstand that sells everything from fresh eggs to meats. They also are homeschooling parents, and the proud owners of an amazing menagerie of animals. The best part? Carrie and I are actually childhood friends--we go back literal decades--and it is so incredible to be able to share her business here. 

To order soaps and candles that are sure to put a smile on your mom's face (all while supporting a small business!), visit www.etsy.com/shop/copperheadhillMI, or email directly at copperheadhillmi@gmail.com 

Mother’s Day Must-Haves

Image credit: www.istockphoto.com

 

It's a classic, but another great way to spoil mom--treat her to a spa day! Whether you get her a gift certificate for a relaxing massage or splurge and treat her to a day of beauty, rest assured that she will be super grateful...and super relaxed.

 

There you have it, Folks! My top picks for Mother's Day 2021...but before I go, I want to leave you all with this thought. 

I'd like to end this blog post with the gentle and loving encouragement to think outside of the box this Mother's Day. This is a day that, while celebrated by many, causes incomparable pain to many other women around the world. By all means, celebrate the mothers in your life (and yourself if you are a mom!). But, please, look around you in this next week leading up to Mother's Day and think of ways to bless those around you on what might be a very challenging day. Validate them. Love them. Do whatever you can to bless them and make them feel seen:

-The woman who struggles, often silently, with infertility; who grieves Mother's Days each year because it reminds her of what she doesn't have. 

-The woman who has lost a child, sometimes so early on that no one knew she was even expecting

-The person who has lost their mother...or maybe never really had one

-The single father struggling to be both mom and dad, every single day

-The mother suffering through PPD/PPA, who feels likes she doesn't deserve this day

-The single woman who wants nothing more than to find her Prince Charming and start a family with him...but for whatever reason, it just hasn't happened

-The single mom who is spending every cent to make ends meet, and has nothing left for herself

-To any woman who feels unworthy, exhausted, and forgotten--please, find a way to lift her up. 

From me to all of you with lots of love, have a beautiful week. 

-Em <3

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TCC Pageant Takeover!

TCC Pageant Takeover!

Hey all!

So the weekend that I've been waiting for all year long is FINALLY here...PAGEANT WEEKEND 2021!

And this year, since my evening gown is straight from TCC (and let me tell you something...it's even more gorgeous than my wedding dress!), I'll be hosting a TCC behind-the-scenes takeover on our IG stories--make sure that you are following us at @curatedcloset_ on Instagram so you don't miss any of the fun!

Have you always been curious about what a real pageant is like backstage, beyond the stage lights and the cameras? Has anything you know about pageants in general come straight from Miss Congeniality? If so, read on for some fun behind-the-scenes info from yours truly. 

  • Pageants (especially pageant contestants!) are nothing like what I expected. 

I think that the biggest misconception about pageantry--especially the women that compete in pageants!--is that everyone is pretty shallow, pretty fake, and pretty self-absorbed. I have found these misconceptions to be entirely inaccurate. I can honestly say that I've met nastier women at schools where I worked when I was a teacher (the stories I could tell...) than I have through pageantry. The women I have met through the International Pageant system are most certainly beautiful, but I can say that each and every one of them possess an inner beauty that rivals their appearance. I've never met a group of such consistently intelligent, ethical, and amazingly kind women in one place in my life. Everyone helps everyone else out (need to borrow earrings/makeup/etc? They got you. Need help lacing the corset of your dress? No problem), and is just there for everyone else in general throughout the year (that's the beauty of it; most of us get to know one another online prior to the actual pageant). 

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Tearing up the dance floor with some amazing friends in June 2020

Image credit: Richard Krauss

 

  • A. LOT. goes into pageant prep...and it all adds up QUICKLY

And, I'll be VERY honest...I don't do/can't afford to do most of it. From pageant coaching leading up to the pageant, to wardrobe, to personal prep (makeup, hair, nails, etc.), not to mention the hotel stay and registration fees, it's absolutely an investment. However, I look at it this way: for me, this is my type of competition, and that makes it worth investing in (even if I'm rocking an Irish tan instead of a spray tan this year). 

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Selfie last year from after interviews, but prior to rehearsal and the pageant itself--definitely relieved to have the interview portion of the morning done!

  • Every pageant system is different

I had no idea until I started to compete in pageantry that there were SO many different systems! I love being a part of the International pageant system--as previously mentioned, the women are empowering and kind, the directors are awesome, and I love the fact that instead of a swimsuit competition, this pageant system features a fitness wear portion. 

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  • It's some of the most fun I've ever had in my life

I still remember the first time that I wanted to compete in a pageant--I was 17, and my family had just moved to PA. We received a brochure for a Miss Pennsylvania competition, and I just KNEW it was something that I needed to try someday. For me, it's not about winning--it's about enjoying the experience to the fullest, blessing others, and meeting some incredible friends. 

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Image: Richard Krauss

 

Well folks, got to dash--we leave tomorrow and there is still SO much to do to get ready. Wish me luck this weekend, and remember to stay tuned for our IG LIVE TCC Pageant Takeover special!

-Em

 

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My Favorite Spring Beauty 2021 Trends

My Favorite Spring Beauty 2021 Trends

Spring has FINALLY sprung (buh-bye, Winter!), and I'm sure I'm not the only person out here delighted to FINALLY be able to break out my favorite Spring clothes (hellooooooo, skirts, blouses, and open-toe shoes!!). It's a magical season of beautiful temperatures (I love Fall and Spring the best because of the gorgeous mix of not-too-hot and not-too-cold weather), glorious flowers, and a general feeling of rebirth.

My Favorite Spring Beauty 2021 Trends My Favorite Spring Beauty 2021 Trends

However, there's something that I love even more than gorgeous Spring clothes...and that is SPRING BEAUTY. 

While cold-weather beauty tends to revolve around brighter colors (silver eyeshadow and a red lip for Holiday parties anyone?) and more layers of hydrating base makeup, once the weather finally gets warmer, you are freed about to let your beautiful natural skin shine through and focus on a more natural beauty look. 

Keep reading to see some of my favorite tips, trends, and products for a glorious, natural Spring glow:

1. Skincare

I'm a firm believer that the single most important thing that you can do for your beauty routine is to focus on good skincare. EVERYONE'S skin is so drastically different, so I highly recommend visiting a dermatologist to determine your skin's needs, and (if you can afford it), a great aesthetician for regular facials (full disclosure: I can't afford this, but it's on my bucket list. I have a friend who regularly visits her aesthetician for facials. Let's just say that she has a 20 year old daughter, and they look like sisters, not mother and daughter). Always remember that, while makeup is awesome, it only looks as good as the skin you put it on! I personally love Dermalogica products (I use the Age Bright Clearing system regularly, along with a Neutrogena grapefruit cleanser). 

And remember--NEVER got to bed with your makeup on!

2. Base



My Favorite Spring Beauty 2021 Trends

Image credit: prevention.com

Leave your heavy foundation behind with Winter's chill. Once your skin is cleaned and prepped, let it shine as much as possible with a natural base! I personally apply a bit of concealer where needed (and to be honest, most days, that is is), but if I want to go all out, I like adding a translucent sunscreen powder to mattify my face and blend everything together. BB or CC creams with SPF (look for 30 or more!) are also good options to let your natural beauty shine through

3. Glow

 

My Favorite Spring Beauty 2021 Trends

Image credit: glamourbrands.com.pk

Warm-weather beauty is all about natural, glowing skin. What better way to enhance your gorgeous natural glow than add a pop of contoured color to enhance your cheekbones? I love NARS blush in the universally flattering shade "Orgasm" (see above on different skin tones). I also love adding a bit of warmth underneath my cheekbones and a pearlescent highlighter on the very tops of them to add dimension to my cheeks. 

My Favorite Spring Beauty 2021 Trends

Please ignore how absolutely and utterly ridiculous I look in this photo! This is a great example of how I sculpt my cheeks to create a glow (this look using Temptu airbrush contour, blush, and highlighter)

4. Lips

My Favorite Spring Beauty 2021 Trends

Image credit: revlon.com

Anyone else realllllllly enjoy wearing lip gloss...you know, until we had to wear masks everywhere? What's the solution for hydrated lips that are also bursting with color that won't fade?

Why, a Balm Stain of course (like this gorgeous and affordable option from Revlon). A balm stain packs a one-two punch: your lips stay soft and hydrated, while you get a saturated color that won't quit (and won't rub off all over your mask). 

5. Eyes

My Favorite Spring Beauty 2021 TrendsImage credit: cloud10beauty.com

When you are focused on a natural glow everywhere else, my absolute favorite way to add some fun drama is...glitter! Maybe it's the former preschool teacher and current pageant girl in me, but I'm firmly of the mindset that everything is better with glitter. A pop of glitter eyeshadow is all you need to boost your look up a couple of levels, without even having to use much at all. 

Also--don't forget your lashes! I often will wear only concealer and mascara (or add lashes), but investing in an awesome mascara to lengthen and thicken your lashes (I love Lash Princess by Essence...for only about $5, it far outperforms even the most expensive mascaras I've used previously). I also highly recommend supporting a local small business in your area by investing in lash extensions or a lash lift and tint--extensions are the most amazing way to make sure that your beauty routine is as low maintenance as it can be. I plan on getting a set next week prior to the pageant, and am so excited to be able to not worry about wearing mascara for awhile!

 

What are some of your favorite warm-weather beauty trends, tips and products? Comment below!

 

Have a gorgeous week, friends, and see you next time, 

 

--Em <3

 

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Countdown to the Crown 2021!

Countdown to the Crown 2021!

Welcome back, everyone!

I'm so excited that I'm now officially less than 30 days away from competing for Mrs. Pennsylvania International! Perhaps the most exciting thing is that, for competition weekend, I'll be doing a LIVE IG TAKEOVER on TCC's Instagram! You'll get to go behind the scenes during what a pageant weekend actually looks like, meet contestants, and see all the glamour!

I started competing in pageants in 2019, and I found out what I probably should have been doing for the last decade plus of my life (yes, I consider it my "competitive sport", haha). For me, it's not about winning as much as it is about enjoying being on stage, giving back with my title, and--most importantly--the incredible, supportive friendships I've made along the way. 

On my official pageant social media, I've been doing a 30 day "Countdown to the Crown", a few snippets of which I'm excited to share here. Just like last year--my GORGEOUS gown is from TCC!

 

Emily Kenniston, Mrs. Reading International: Official Countdown to the Crown 2021!

 

  • My Headshot
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This beautiful headshot, taken by Lindsey Hart Photography and featuring makeup by Patrice Williams, is going to be featured on the official Pennsylvania International Pageant Banner in Altoona during pageant weekend!

  • Hometown
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So, to be honest, I was born in NJ. I lived there off and on (excepting one disastrous year in Minnesota) until I was 17, and I genuinely loved it. However, Pennsylvania has always felt like "my hometown" from the start, way back when my parents moved us here in 2005. Pictured below is the famous Pagoda building in Reading, which lights up at night so you can see it for miles!
Fun fact: It was shortly after we left NJ for PA that I discovered I wanted to try pageantry. A flyer for a Miss PA pageant ended up in our new-to-us mailbox, and I remember thinking...I have to do this someday. To say competing for Mrs. Pennsylvania International is a dream come true is a total understatement!
  • School/job
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Image Credit: Ken Volpe
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Photo credit: Greg Wallace (featuring Lindsey Hart of Lindsey Hart Photography)
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Image credit: Lindsey Hart Photography
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I'm a  graduate--I'll always consider this campus "home" for many reasons, one of the biggest (and by far the most important!) because it's where I met my husband!
When it comes to jobs, the running joke is that I've had about a million of them. I have a teaching degree, and taught everything from Preschool to 5th grade prior to leaving teaching to become a full-time homemaker once my daughter was born. I consider being wife to Dillon and "Ba" to Brielle to be, by far, my true vocation. In addition, however, I have a ton of jobs (partly why I created my own website, emilykenniston.portfoliobox.net, to try and keep track of them all in one place!). I'm an agency represented commercial, print, and lifestyle model (lately specializing in bridal), an author (I blog for  and am editing my debut psychological thriller, Fear of Man), a journalist (I report for Berks Weekly), a volunteer princess (The Pennsylvania Princess Project/Princess for a Day (my official pageant platform), and I'm the creator, host, and producer of "Small Business Spotlight", an original show on BCTV.org designed to support and promote small business owners.
  • Platform

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In 2015, I started a volunteer group with several friends called The Pennsylvania Princess Project (no affiliation with Disney). We traveled around PA appearing in character as princesses at hospitals, parties, and events as a way to spread God's love to children and to give back to our communities.
In 2017, I performed as part of the surprise entertainment for an AMAZING organization called Princess For A Day, and an unbelievable partnership was formed. PFAD is an empowerment program for girls that targets bullying, promotes lifelong friendship through a series of social functions and fun guest speakers, and teaches poise and etiquette. The program culminates with a red carpet event where every girl walks a red carpet and gets crowned by local pageant winners.
It is one of the highest honors of my life to represent Princess for a Day as my pageant platform-both as Mrs. Reading International and as the program's own personal "Ice Queen".

 

  • Family

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Image credit: Lindsey Hart Photography (peep my TCC faux leather jacket!)

My husband, Dillon , and I have been together for 13 years! We were college sweethearts that were lucky enough to get married. Our daughter, Brielle, is 3 years old and just started preschool (which she absolutely adores).

  • Hobbies

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My hobbies are sort of all over the place!
I'm very much an "indoor girl" who has a deep and abiding love for the creative arts. I've been a trained opera singer since my teen years, and while I can't speak another language, I can sing in many of them. I've also enjoyed performing in various genres for community theaters, including musicals, comedies, and even Shakespeare (my true love when it comes to acting).
I've also been a model since 2009, which started very much as the crowning dream of my hobbies since I was encouraged to start by various friends (and even my favorite professor). At this point, I consider modeling both a hobby and a career!
Finally, in addition to being a reporter and writing articles for a local news source, I'm an author. In 2019, I completed work on a 400+ page manuscript of an original psychological thriller (my very favorite genre) entitled "Fear of Man"--it's a pretty wild ride, and I'm working through edits to get ready to officially start pitching the novel to potential publishers!

 

  • Fun Fact

I was always HORRIBLE with languages in school--but, ironically, I can memorize just about anything quite quickly. While I can't speak any other language besides English, I have performed songs in MANY different languages over the years--Italian (mostly--it comes easily to me as a singer), French, Spanish, and I believe I even sang in Hebrew and German once upon a time. In addition, I can fake European accents with relative ease, enough that I have convinced people before that I actually came to PA from England!

  • Workout

I'm really grateful to live in a great walking neighbor, with TWO parks for my little girl within walking distance from our home. When the weather is nice, we do that almost every day! I also LOVE Youtube workout videos by online fitness instructor Rebecca Louise. Her workouts are HARD, but she focuses on brief workouts with very clear timers (so you aren't overwhelmed) that REALLY pack a punch in a short amount of time. 

  • Me Time
Countdown to the Crown 2021!
Image credit: www.opptrends.com
My favorite "Me time" activities (which trust me, you don't get much of as a mom of a toddler) involve a face mask, a cozy TCC lounge set, and a glass of a robust red blend. Bliss!
  • Favorite Beauty Products
Countdown to the Crown 2021!
Image credit: www.ebay.com
For skincare, I LOVE Dermalogica products (I adore their "Age Bright" line: it keeps your skin clear, fights fine lines, and I personally find it plenty moisturizing without adding another moisturizer on top (though the directions say to do that, I think it would make my skin wayyyy too oily). In terms of a great once-in-awhile peeling mask, I love the red peeling solution by The Ordinary, and I also exfoliate fairly often with baking soda combined with my trusty Neutrogena grapefruit cleanser. I also use an eye cream often, and I use a retinol on parts of my face to fight lines. 
I don't wear much makeup, but pageantry has transformed me into a lash addict! I love (translation: can only apply them) adhesive eyeliners. The felt-tip one from Silly George (available in clear and black) is wonderful, and a cheaper option that also works great (and, in my opinion, anchors the lashes better for longer) is the liquid adhesive eyeliner from Duo. I pair these with Ardell lashes (the "Invisiband" technology works the best for seamless application in my opinion). Usually that's it, with a touch of mascara (Essense "Lash Princess") to blend everything, and concealer (I love the BareMinerals blemish fighting concealer, and will add a touch of undereye concealer for special occasions). If I need an SPF, I use a translucent powder one that comes in a brush applicator, and for blush you can't beat the classic: Nars Orgasm. I hate foundation, but if I have to wear it, the only ones I don't totally hate are Temptu airbrush foundations (THE best), and Bare Minerals powder ones aren't awful either
  • Fave Movie/TV Show
Countdown to the Crown 2021!
Image credit: slashfilms.com
Countdown to the Crown 2021!
Image credit: www.syfy.com
 
I've been OBSESSED with The Lord of the Rings trilogy since I was a young teen (yes...I learned how to sing in Elvish. Yes, I've read The Silmarillion. Yes, it was amazing.). In terms of TV shows, I absolutely adore AMC's The Walking Dead; I've been a fan since the premiere in 2010. 
There you have it, folks--a taste of my "Countdown to the Crown" I've been doing. 
Make sure to stay tuned April 9-10 as I do a large-scale TCC IG takeover, taking you behind the scenes of a real live pageant--make sure that you are following us @curatedcloset_ 
Til next time...stay sparkly!
-Em <3
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Trends I'm Loving for Spring 2021

Trends I'm Loving for Spring 2021

Who's ready for SPRING!?!?!?!?!

After a loooooooooooong winter (did I put enough o's in there?), it looks like the temperature is finally going to be warming up this week!

Given that this coming Sunday heralds an extra hour of daylight for the next several months (HURRAY!), the fact that I noticed yesterday that my local Rita's is open for the season (HUZZAH!), and the knowledge that the first official day of spring is merely days away, this blog post will be dedicated to trends that I'm stoked to see for Spring 2021. All of these amazing items can be found under the "Spring Preview" tab on our site!

1. Flowy, lacy, silky tops

Trends I’m Loving for Spring 2021

Trends I’m Loving for Spring 2021

Trends I’m Loving for Spring 2021

I ADORE silky, flowy tops as the weather heats up. Not only are they effortlessly stylish, they breathe as the temps get warm, and they pair with literally everything from great skinny jeans (yes, Gen Z, skinny jeans are still IN!), to flowy skirts!

 

2. Flowy skirts

Trends I’m Loving for Spring 2021

 

Trends I’m Loving for Spring 2021

The ultimate classical feminine staple, flowing skirts can take you anywhere from the office to date night in comfortable style.

 

3. Versatile Jeggings

Trends I’m Loving for Spring 2021

Jeggings are the best of all worlds--they fit like a legging, but they LOOK like chic pants! This incredible ocean-blue pair would pair perfectly with a cute blazer or one of our fabulous TCC vegan leather jackets for the office. 

 

4. Comfy Dresses

Trends I’m Loving for Spring 2021

 

Trends I’m Loving for Spring 2021

Trends I’m Loving for Spring 2021

These incredible dresses are some of my favorite picks for this season (peep the first one, available in TWO lengths, that is a dead ringer for a Free People dress!). Pairing effortlessly with your favorite wedge sandals, these dresses create a comfy, yet completely chic look for any occasion. 

There you have it, folks! The best part of Spring fashion is that it transitions so beautifully to summer wear--just pair your top/dress with a cardigan or fabulous jacket from TCC when the weather is a bit chillier, then ditch the coverups once it gets too warm. 

Remember--Spring beauty is all about natural, glowing skin. Now is the time to chill out with a face mask, or maybe book a facial to exfoliate your dry winter skin...warm-weather beauty is all about letting your beautiful, natural skin glow. You don't need anything more than some concealer/tinted moisturizer, a translucent powder with SPF, some shimmery blush, tinted lip balm, and mascara to look naturally gorgeous. 

Til next time, friends, stay gorgeous and strut your runway!

 

<3 Em

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Small Business Spotlight

Small Business Spotlight

Hey everyone!

A shorter blog post today--but one that I'm very excited to share with you all. 

So, about a month ago, I was a guest on BCTV.org's original TV show, F.I.T. for Women TV, hosted by Coach Adrean Turner. I got a chance to share a bit about my pageant platform and journey, which was definitely a special treat! You can watch the whole interview here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3hGmjWJN_4&t=230s

I ended up having such a great time on the show that I decided to pitch my own show idea to the network...and, by the grace of God, the program committee liked my idea, and asked me to film a pilot episode (which I did this past Friday, 2/12). 

So...what was my original show about?

Glad you asked. 

I have had a huge passion for small businesses and small business owners for ages, which I can say was inspired in large part by our own fearless leader, Marni. When I started working at TCC 3 years ago, I had an up-close-and-personal look into what it took to create and sustain a small business--and it is definitely not for the faint of heart. I am always looking for ways to give back to small business owners who provide such a huge part of the lifeblood of our economy. So...I pitched a show called Small Business Spotlight to BCTV. 

Small Business Spotlight, or SBS as I call it, is designed to be a program that focuses entirely on giving small business owners a chance to promote their businesses--with no agenda or hidden costs. When I asked myself how I could give back more, especially as Mrs. Reading International, it hit me--free promotional opportunities!

On each show, I plan on interviewing three different small business owners. They will get a chance to share who they are and what they sell with the community, as well as giving them a chance to share their contact info and social media accounts with viewers. My hope is that, once Covid safety precautions are somewhat mitigated, I will be able to conduct live interviews in-studio rather than via Zoom, but I'm grateful that BCTV has brilliantly been able to figure out how to do both right now. 

You can watch my pilot episode here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?fbclid=IwAR0YJZ8ASN7Tu3uGKMxFISHqeiGLYx-EE2xfiH6J4Aimhewp9qK3pYlFB4s&v=NpcGFRsoA3o&feature=youtu.be

Full disclosure--I was so nervous during my opening monologue that I referred to myself "Mrs. Pennsylvania" instead of Mrs. Reading (insert facepalm emoji). Just for the record I'm NOT Mrs. Pennsylvania International--not yet anyways!--but will be competing for that title in April. 

It is such an honor to be giving back, in some small way, to the small business owners in our beautiful state. I hope to find out this week if my pilot is picked up...and if it is, I look forward to hearing from all of YOU which business owners you would like to see on the show!

Thanks, as always, for reading, and HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY to you all <3

Love,

-Em <3

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Glorious Galentine's Day!

Glorious Galentine's Day!

What do you think of when the month of February finally starts to crest over the horizon of a bleak, cold, and seemingly endless January? 

Perhaps flowers, chocolates, champagne, jewelry, and all sizes of pink and red hearts start to fill your vision as you anticipate Valentine's Day rolling around once again. 

What's even BETTER than Valentine's Day you ask?

Why...Galentine's Day, of course!

Galentine's Day, a term coined by the character Leslie Knope in the ever popular show Parks and Recreation has become something of a cultural phenomenon in the last few years. Traditionally celebrated on February 13, Galentine's Day is the perfect day to celebrate the wonderful women in your life. 

Who needs a man when you have your girlfriends? (Sorry husband). 

Of course, as with everything else this year, Galentine's Day is bound to look a bit different. However, whether you decide to bundle up and celebrate with your ladies outdoors in a socially distanced fashion, or do a Zoom Happy Hour together, here are some great ideas for spoiling the ladies in your life this year!

 

How to Spoil Your Girlfriends for Galentine's Day

  • Send Flowers

 Glorious Galentine’s Day!

Image credit: giftjaipur.com

It's a classic of course, but why not send your bestie some flowers? EVERYONE loves receiving them! Pro tip: order ahead of time, not the day before (even if they say "same day delivery") to ensure they get there in time!

  • Surprise them with a piece of keepsake jewelry

Glorious Galentine’s Day!

Image credit: sincerelygingerjewelry.com

Jewelry is my love language, as I think I've mentioned before. Why not surprise your bestie with a keepsake piece of handmade jewelry, thereby making her feel like a million bucks, AND supporting a small business? This adorable purple topaz stacking ring from Philly jewelry Sincerely Ginger Jewelry (also comes in blue topaz, yellow topaz, and green topaz) is under $200. Why not get one for BOTH you and your friend so that you can have matching friendship rings...but, like, the adult version with REAL 14 K gold and gemstones!

  • Send them a surprise from The Curated Closet--like a StitchFix box, but better

Glorious Galentine’s Day!

Image Credit: Lindsey Hart Photography

At TCC, we have some INCREDIBLY gorgeous clothes for INSANELY low prices! This wine-colored vegan leather jacket is one of my FAVORITE pieces we have ever had, and the color makes it the perfect choice to rock for Galentine's Day

  • Leave a specially tailored gift basket on their doorstep, then ring and run!
Glorious Galentine’s Day!

Image credit: wallpapers9.org
Want to really surprise your best friend this year? Fill up a basket with all of their favorite things--wine, coffee, tea, chocolates, etc.--then leave it in front of their door with a cute card, ring the doorbell, run, then watch their face as they open their amazing surprise! Just in case anyone was wondering, I'm a size large bottle of Pino Noir, and I can also fit white gold with any kind of gemstones in a pinch--you know, just in case you wanted to put together a basket for me :)
  • Sign them up for a special subscription (Ipsy, wine, etc.)
Glorious Galentine’s Day!
Image credit: hellosubscription.com
What's better than one Galentine's Day gift? One that keeps on giving every month, of course! For under $20/month, you can surprise that special friend in your life with an amazing subscription box of treats tailored just for her every month. There are so many different options too, depending on what she likes! Cosmetics, clothing, wine, etc., all have monthly subscription boxes for that special friend in your life. 

  • Send an e-gift card

All you need is her email address, your credit card, and voila--a pick me up delivered straight to your Galentine's inbox!

*Hint: We offer gift cards at thecuratedcloset.net too!

  • Socially distanced celebration--or, Zoom Happy Hour

Glorious Galentine’s Day!

Image credit: www.zazzle.co.uk

We all know the drill by now--we have to stay safe to get through this pandemic. However, there are still several ways that you can celebrate Galentine's Day WITH your Galentine(s)--just be careful, and be creative! Whether you have a Zoom mimosa party, bundle up and grab lattes outdoors, or don TCC's sparkly face masks and do an event, like painting ceramics, close enough to chat but sitting at different tables, try to think of it NOT as a bummer, but as a way to exercise your creative side to see your ladies!

  • Spend a time planning a girl's weekend--you know, for once all this pandemic stuff is finally over

Glorious Galentine’s Day!

Let's face it: I think we are ALL planning "once this is all over" trips, either for real or just in our heads. Why not spend some time this Galentine's Day chatting with your friends and planning together to make this dream a reality? I, personally, am looking forward to an AirBnB in the Adirondacks, with a huge lake and towering pine trees, and where it's so cool even in the dead of summer that we can sit around a bonfire outside at night. 

 

  • Make a memory book or box

Glorious Galentine’s Day!

Image credit: sheknows.com

 

One of the most amazing gifts I ever received came from my friend Lindsey Hart (fun fact: our friendship celebrates it's 15 year anniversary this Fall. Lindz was the first friend I ever made my freshman year of college!). When I got married, Lindsey found this awesome box shaped like a book, and filled the whole thing with photos of us from all of our years of friendship. It's something I treasure, and my whole family loves looking through it. 

Why not create something like this to really move your friends? Create a memory box/book or scrapbook with pictures of all of your time together, along with handwritten funny memories/moments. Trust me, she will love it!

 

There you have it guys, TCC's official guide to an awesome Galentine's Day 2021! We've all needed our girlfriends to get through this last year, so why not take this opportunity to celebrate her as much as possible. 

 

Sending lots of love and happy Galentine's Day wishes from my heart to yours, 

 

-Em <3

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Self-Care is NOT Selfish: New Year, New Goals, Same (Amazing) You!

Self-Care is NOT Selfish: New Year, New Goals, Same (Amazing) You!

Hi Everyone!

It's been a minute, but I'm so glad to be back!

I hope that everyone had a truly wonderful holiday season, and that everyone is (so far) enjoying their new year. Let's be real: I don't think any of us were sad to see 2020 go, am I right?

With each new year comes the almost inevitable setting of a series of new goals. We've all done it I'm sure: the ball drops, confetti flies, and as champagne bubbles cascade down our throats we cheer, "This year, I'm going to ______". Whatever your ______ happens to be, it's most likely something that is wildly important to you. 

Self-Care is NOT Selfish: New Year, New Goals, Same Image credit: vectorstock.com

So...my question is...how come these goals we set rarely seem to last longer than it takes that big, shiny ball in NYC to drop?

My theory, and I'm sure it's not original, is simply this: we set goals that are too stringent (often after a holiday season full of overindulgence--it's so much easier to push off willpower to the next month) to actually go through with successfully.

 

Self-Care is NOT Selfish: New Year, New Goals, Same Image credit: learning.linkedin.com

 

Personally, I set several goals for myself last year. Guess how many I actually achieved?

Zero. 

Want to know why?

Well, when I set those goals, I hadn't accounted for several things that were absolutely out of my control. I certainly didn't think the news reports I was hearing about some new virus was going to turn into a full-blown global pandemic, and I certainly didn't see some upsetting family news coming either. Let's just say, I adjusted my goals as I saw fit to the get through the year. 

You want to know something? I'm OK with that. 

What I want to share with you is something I learned prominently over the last few years, both as a mother and just as a person in general. 

It's OK if your biggest goal of the year is simply summed up in two words: 

Self. Care. 

Self-Care is NOT Selfish: New Year, New Goals, Same Image credit: rubyfremon.com

Self care is actually the opposite of selfish. See, here's the thing: you can't actually follow through with new goals--much less serve others around you--if you are trying to do so from an empty tank. Much like you need to put your own oxygen mask on before putting one on another person if you are on a plane that's going down, you have to make sure to take care of yourself enough that you can help others. 

 

So, my challenge to you is this as we launch into, God-willing, a brighter year. 

Don't set resolutions that you can't keep, and therefore set yourself up for failure and depression. Instead, set a goal to take care of yourself--mentally, physically, and spiritually--and then, stand back and watch the other goals follow. 

Sending lots of love for a happy and healthy New Year!

Love,

 

-Em

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