The Curated Closet's Blog

Holiday Gift Guide 2021 (SHOP SMALL, Y'ALL!)

Holiday Gift Guide 2021 (SHOP SMALL, Y'ALL!)

Holiday Gift Guide 2021


It’s finally here...the most magical time of the year! If you are anything like me, you have been waiting for the holidays since...well...last holiday season! 


In celebration of my first Christmas as the host of Small Business Spotlight on BCTV.org, I am compiling my Holiday Gift Guide for 2021 in advance of Small Business Saturday (which falls on 11/27 this year). Below, I’ve listed some of my favorite small businesses in every category so you can shop for everyone on your list. Please note: Many businesses are in or near Berks County, PA (where I’m located), but all have dedicated websites where you can shop online for both products and gift cards. 

 

For the Fashionista:

-The Curated Closet (www.thecuratedcloset.net)

      1. Both an online boutique and a brick and mortar location within The Mercantile (444 N Main Street, Doylestown PA 18901), The Curated Closet is the perfect choice if you want to spoil someone (or yourself) with designer clothes this year...but on a budget. TCC specializes in selling designer clothes for steeply discounted prices, and also features a EuroLuxe line of high-end items (shoes! bags! Men’s clothes!) shipped straight to you from Europe. For more info, visit the website above, or visit their social media accounts: FB (https://www.facebook.com/TheCuratedCloset.net) and IG: (https://www.instagram.com/curatedcloset_/)

Photo credit: Facebook 

  • For the Shoe Lover:
-Leviticus Fashions (www.leviticusfashions.com)
      1. Want to give the shoe lover in your life the gift that they will be talking about forever? Look no further than Leviticus Fashions. A PA based company, LF specializes in creating completely customized leather boots that are sure to turn heads wherever you go (trust me, I modeled them… and never wanted to take them off!). Supremely sexy, absolutely gorgeous, and so comfortable that you can dance an Irish jig in them (true story), these aren’t to be missed. Check them out online or visit their socials: FB (https://www.facebook.com/leviticusfashions) and IG: (https://www.instagram.com/leviticuslady/)

Photo credit: Leviticus Fashions

  • Jewelry
    1. Whether you want to gift fine jewelry to a loved one, a friend, or yourself, Sincerely Ginger Jewelry has stunning pieces. Featuring one-of-a-kind handmade designs created from eco-friendly gold, diamonds, and gemstones, jewelry designer Ginger Herbein creates stunning art that will last for generations. Planning to get engaged this holiday season? Ginger will work with you every step of the way to create an engagement ring and wedding bands that will be completely customized to fit your dream design. Even better? If you know someone getting engaged and you refer them to Sincerely Ginger Jewelry, you can earn a $450 credit towards a jewelry purchase for yourself! Find out more at the website above, or on their socials: FB (https://www.facebook.com/sincerelygingerjewelry) and IG (https://www.instagram.com/sincerelygingerjewelry/). 

Photo credit: Ginger Herbein

  • For the Oeniphile: 
    1. Opened in the summer of 2021, The Bar Cart is a Pennsylvania producers tasting room and bottle shop. Featuring an ever changing cocktail menu, Pennsylvania wines, craft beer, and cider, stop in for a drink while you peruse the bottle selection to take home. If you live local to Berks County, PA, it is the best place to go for both drinks and amazingly fun educational classes and tastings. Additionally, you can find top shelf wine and spirits to build your own “bar cart” at home, all the while receiving guidance from owners Chris and Kacie Griffith as they educate you about what you about what you need! Visit them online or on their socials: FB (https://www.facebook.com/thebarcartpa) and IG: (https://www.instagram.com/thebarcart_pa/)

Photo credit: Facebook

  • For the Fine Art Lover:
    1. A truly unique gift, surprise the art lover in your life by turning THEM into a completely customized piece of art that will be handed down for generations to come! Award-winning fine art portrait photographer Jenn Gershon (Bucks County, PA), creates completely customized, highly innovative portraits that will be sure to make an excellent gift for even the most challenging person to buy for on your list. For more information, check out Ms. Gershon’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Vizzzuals) and IG: (https://www.instagram.com/vizzzualsfaces/)

Photo credit: Jennifer Gershon

  • For the Kids:
    1. A brand-new business created by a toddler mom, The Freckled Fawn boutique features stunning, cuddly, and child-safe handmade toys and play sets created with a Montesorri learn-through-play vibe. Featuring free shipping on all orders as well as play ideas for kids, this is one small business that anyone with littles (or buying presents for littles!) will definitely want to support. In addition to checking out their website, The Freckled Fawn is on FB (https://www.facebook.com/thefreckledfawnboutique/) and IG (https://www.instagram.com/thefreckledfawnboutique/)

Photo credit: Facebook

  • For the Man in Your Life:
    1. This amazing small business (located at 608 Penn Avenue in West Reading, PA) has a little bit of everything: handmade soaps, lotions, bath bombs, children’s products, etc. I highlight them here for the men in your life, however, because of their own line of all-natural men’s products: soaps, beard oil, shave oil and lotion, and more! Did I mention that everything is vegan friendly and all natural? For more information, visit their socials: FB (https://www.facebook.com/muddycreeksoap) and IG (https://www.instagram.com/muddycreeksoap/)
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  • For Someone who Needs Pampering:
    1. The perfect gift for anyone on your list, a gift certificate to a service at a local spa run by a small business owner is a foolproof choice. Being a Berks County local, I LOVE European Medical Massage and Spa, located in Shillington, PA. Your giftee can choose from an incredible spa menu--facials, massages, reflexology, and so much more--and they are guaranteed to enjoy working with such a warm and inviting staff. Check out their FB (https://www.facebook.com/euromedspashillington) and IG (https://www.instagram.com/euromedspashillington/)


10 Other Small Business Gift Ideas you can Purchase No Matter Where you Live:


  1.  Purchase a gift certificate for a family member from a photographer who is local to them so that they can have professional family pictures taken. 
  2. Go to your nearest small town and browse the eclectic boutiques you find--you will be sure to find something for someone on your list!
  3. Get a gift certificate to a local restaurant (non-chain)
  4. Pamper the ladies you love with a day of beauty--purchase a gift card from a local makeup artist so that they can get their makeup done for a special event!
  5. Find a local craft fair (there are usually tons around the holidays), and purchase some fun, handmade items for the people on your list. 
  6. Pre-pay a babysitter who is local to a loved one so that they can have a night out.
  7. Purchase a class run by a small business owner (wine tasting or wine making, painting, dance classes etc.) to give as a gift. 
  8. Create a gift basket full of lovely things from local boutiques/stores/farmers markets to showcase many of the amazing things your area has to offer.
  9. Purchase an advertisement for your loved one’s business in a local publication.

...and finally…


  1. Look and see what those on your list really need. Babysitting...home cooked meals...house cleaning...tutoring for their kids...if you are in a financial position, help with bills...you name it. Look within yourself and your skill set to see what you can bless others with this holiday season. 

Sending lots of love...and happy shopping!


-Emily

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Halloween 2021: 4 EASY DIY Costume Ideas you can Make it in a Snap!

Halloween 2021: 4 EASY DIY Costume Ideas you can Make it in a Snap!
Image credit: www.tripsaavy.com 
It's incredibly hard for me to believe that there is only a week left of my absolute favorite month of the year. October always comes so slowly and goes so quickly for me!
Over the next week I'm going to be very busy making my daughter's Halloween costume (she wants to be ice cream this year...haha). For this blog post, I'm going to share some of my favorite ideas for simple, DIY Halloween costumes that you can make yourself with items you most likely have lying around your home! Side note: these are actual costumes that I have done in the past :)
Bridesmaid
Image credit: www.landress.co.uk--so disappointed I couldn't find the actual photo I had of myself rocking this costume!
 
So...honest question...who DOESN'T have a closet full of bridesmaid dresses just hanging around? One of my very favorite (and super easy costumes) was taking an old bridesmaid dress, a garter, and a bouquet of fake flowers, and creating an entire costume out of the whole "bridesmaid who caught the bouquet" trope. People thought it was hilarious--as one person said, "That moment when your life becomes a Halloween costume". Bonus? If you actually don't have a bridesmaid dress hanging in your closet, you can almost definitely always find one at Goodwill for a few bucks, OR you can use an old prom dress!
80s Workout Girl
Photos courtesy of my daughter's adorableness and my ridiculous duck lips
The EASIEST costume you will ever DIY? 80s workout chic (I mean, chick!). All you need is a pair of leggings, a leotard (or one piece swimsuit), a loose-fitting sweatshirt (bonus if it is cropped!), sneakers, and leg warmers. Don't own any legwarmers? Simple--cut the toes off a pair of socks, and pull them up over your leggings, then tuck the cut-off ends into the tops of your sneakers (which is exactly what I did for my adorable toddler daughter's costume above). Don't forget to tease your hair like crazy and add some super colorful eye makeup--then tie your hair up in a side pony, pop on a sweatband a la' Olivia Newton John in the original Physical video, and party on!
Pageant Winner
This classic photo of me epically pulling off this costume back in college (notice that the sash says 2008!) featuring my friend Megan Reigner, and my natural hair color
Welcome to yet another fabulously easy costume--pageant winner! Grab any formal dress you have (old prom dress? Awesome. Bridesmaid dress hanging in your closet? Score. Goodwill haul? Amazing), create a sash out of a wide ribbon, and add a party store tiara to complete the look. Don't forget some epic makeup (eyelashes are a must!), and a cheesy acceptance speech to really pull the costume off!
Millennial 
One of my favorite DIY Halloween costumes to date. Fun fact--I was pregnant with my daughter here! Also, this was a Walking Dead themed party--hence why my husband is dressed as Negan with his infamous bat, Lucille. 
Get ready for the comfiest, easy, and most entitled costume you will ever create. Welcome to the Millennial, a costume near and dear to my heart. Pair faux leather leggings with an oversized tunic and OTK boots, then accessorize with large sunnies, a hat, a huge shopping bag, and of course a camera for selfies. Bonus points if you include a Starbucks cup as part of the costume. Get ready to irritate Boomers every time you say "Hashtag #Halloween2021!"
There you have it, friends! Four of my favorite DIY Halloween costumes I've done over the years. Funny story, one of my favorite costumes was one I called "Breakfast at Tiffany's"--I put my hair in a bun and wore a fancy black dress, then carried a Tiffany bag in one hand and a big box of breakfast cereal in the other. I thought I was mad clever, but few people got it. Pride goes before a fall I guess, haha! 
Do you have any favorite costumes you have created over the years? Comment below!
I hope that you all have a safe, wonderful, and Happy Halloween, and talk to you soon!
-Em <3
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Fall-le-lu-jah!

Fall-le-lu-jah!

Well Folks, it's finally here...

The most magical season of all...

Where the weather isn't too hot or too cold, it's just perfect...

When the bugs die...

When the crisp nights lend themselves spectacularly to bonfires, twinkling lights, and time with loved ones...

It's finally FALL!

Image credit: wallup.net

Anyone who knows me knows that I literally wait all year long for this season (specifically the month of October). I hate being hot, I don't love being cold...but being a bit chilly? Well, in the words of Goldilocks..."That's just right". 

One of the things that I love the most about this magical season? The clothes, of course! We have some amazing pieces at TCC right now (available both online and at The Mercantile in Doylestown), so read on to see some of my favorite picks for this year. 

Emily's Fall 2021 TCC Clothing Guide
This stunning top is the ultimate Fall piece--somehow both glam and cozy-chic, try pairing this lacy sweater with your favorite jeans and boots for an understated, brunch-ready Fall ensemble. 
How incredible are these fun jeans? From the trendy fit and cropped length, to the cute buffalo plaid patches peeking through, these holiday-perfect jeans will take you from the pumpkin patch to the Christmas tree farm with ease. 
I'm absolutely crazy about this dress--it's sexy, flirty, and so feminine at the same time. I envision this paired with tights or leggings, over the knee stiletto boots, and some fabulous earrings--possibly a fedora for some added pizzaz! This dress is definitely the ultimate Fall date-night choice. 
Looking to update your work wardrobe this Fall? This awesome blouse is the perfect choice! Try pairing with your favorite work slacks or skirt from TCC. 
If you need the ultimate sexy-chic layering piece to take you from Fall to Christmas, this stunning cami is the one for you! The velvety red color and lacy trim will look flirty peeking from underneath your favorite sweaters and jackets no matter the occasion. 
I'm absolutely in love with this sweater--the trendy hi-lo hem and the fun asymmetrical buttons will compliment all of your favorite bottoms. Try pairing with your favorite faux leather leggings and boots for a look that will be both comfortable and stunning!
Who doesn't love a good lounge set (#quarantinechic)? This sexy leopard print lounge set is sure to be a new favorite--grab one for yourself this Fall, and snag a few extra to give as holiday gifts for your loved ones!
My FAVORITE part of my Fall wardrobe? Faux leather jackets, baby. I have a red one from TCC last Fall that I just adore, and this funky mustard colored one in this year's collection just screams AUTUMN LEAVES to me. 
While we have quite a few waffle knit tops at TCC, I have a soft spot for the ones we carry with thumbholes! My hands are always so cold in the Fall/Winter that they often crack and bleed, so tops that also keep my hands warm? Sold!
There you have it, everyone! Some of my favorite finds for your wardrobe from TCC this Fall. 
To end this month's blog post, I just wanted to remind everyone to consider shopping small as you search for gifts for everyone on your list this year. Small businesses have struggled so much over the last (almost) two years due to the pandemic, so please try to support small business owners when you can. 
Sending lots of love for a glorious Fall--and Happy Halloween to all!
-Em
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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).

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

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

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

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).

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: www.fancyashley.com

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!

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

Image credit: diyprojects.com 

Image credit: www.wbir.com

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

Image credit: www.uniqueideas.site

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!

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

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!

May be an image of 12 people, people standing and indoor

May be an image of 1 person, standing and indoor

May be an image of 1 person, standing and indoor

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

Image credit: tacori.com/llb100/

The Tacori ID Bracelet, fully customizable for $290

Mother’s Day Must-Haves

Image credit: mejuri.com/shop/products/diamonds-line-ring-white

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.

No photo description available.

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). 

May be an image of 10 people, including Danielle M Bonura, Heather Clough, Gretchen Connor and Linda O'Boyle Zaneski

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. 

May be an image of 3 people, including Marihelen Shemeley Valentino

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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