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The Curated Closet's Blog

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. 

May be an image of text that says 'Mis. Reading International 2021 Emily Heaniston'

  • 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.

 

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



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

 

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. 

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

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

Image 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
May be an image of outdoors and text that says 'PennState Berks'
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

May be an image of 2 people, child, people standing and outdoors

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

May be an image of text that says 'E. F. Kenniston PROOF: Fear of Man Fear of for Resale Not for Resale Ivian Not for Resa E.F. E. Kenniston'



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
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
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
Image credit: slashfilms.com
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

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

 

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

 

3. Versatile Jeggings

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

 

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

 

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

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

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!

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.)
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

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

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

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. 

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.

 

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. 

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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Not a Hallmark Movie: To Those for Whom Christmas is Hard

Not a Hallmark Movie: To Those for Whom Christmas is Hard

For many, Christmas is "the most wonderful time of the year". 

For many others, it is exactly the opposite. 

Somehow, we always talk about the joyful parts of the holiday season--the lights, the music, the presents, the decorations, and if you are a Christian like me, the fact that Jesus came to Earth to save humanity from their sins. All you have to do is turn the TV on starting November 1 to see literally everything dedicated to all of those things depicted in big-budget Hallmark fashion.

What you never see? What's never shown? Those for whom the holidays bring much pain and sadness. 

Every single one of us has had an incredibly hard year in 2020--I think that goes without saving. For some of us, those challenges have presented themselves in such a way that they are completely affecting our typical "Christmas spirit."

I'm not going to lie to you guys--I'm one of those people. My family and I have received several pieces of devastating news over the course of 2020 (who hasn't), but we received one in particular just two days ago that felt like a punch to the gut. That news, coupled with the inability to see family tomorrow, has made me not really care much this year.

I would be lying if I said that my Christmas spirit is intact. To be brutally honest, in large part I'm faking it for my daughter. 

I decided to write a very atypical Christmas blog post tonight, as I know I'm not the only one experiencing grief (any of the stages of that lovely un-friend) this holiday season. If you've been reading anything about Christmas at all this holiday season, I'm sure it was of the Hallmark variety of smiling, beautiful people in cheerfully decorated homes, surrounded by delicious, homemade baked goods and artfully wrapped presents. 

This post isn't that. 

Me? I'm sitting on my couch with a glass full of wine and a heart full of bitterness and sadness. My presents aren't wrapped, my Christmas breakfast isn't made, and my "Holiday Spirit" is all but nonexistent. 

I decided to write honestly for this blog post because I know it is what I would need to read from someone else tonight with how I'm feeling...and I thought, just maybe, there's someone else out there who needs the solidarity, too. 

Here's the thing: Christmas can be HARD. Maybe you lost a loved one, maybe you and/or someone you love is sick, maybe you are struggling financially, or maybe you also just received some really horrible news. Whatever it is, I'm writing to let you know three things:

1. You are not alone. 

2. It's OK not to be OK. 

3. Think about what you need to do to keep going. 

Let's break that down a bit, shall we?

1. You are not alone. 

Please know that Hallmark Christmases are Hollywood. It's fake. It's not real. While I'm sure you know that, sometimes I think it's good for someone to remind you of that. If you are grieving tonight, you are in good company. You are absolutely not alone in finding this season challenging. 

2. It's OK not to be OK. 

No one can tell you how to feel about the holidays. Remember that.

3. Think about what you need to do to keep going. 

What is your self-care going to look like to get through this season? Perhaps it is booking a (masked) massage on 12/26; perhaps it's treating yourself to something special that you've been eyeing up for awhile (#treatyoself), perhaps it's a mini-vacation...figure out what it is that you can do right now to plan ahead for something that will help you get through tomorrow. I'm doing that right now currently--setting boundaries mentally to get through the next week--and, while it's certainly not fixing anything, I'm proud of myself for taking a stand for my mental health. 

Here's another thing, Friends...people love you. You are important. The world needs you in it, and you matter more than you realize. That's the whole point behind the arrival of Jesus, who is the whole reason for this entire season--you matter to God. You matter to others. And, just in case, I'm sounding preachy, please know that Christians don't have it all together. I'm grieving horribly this year too, even though I know the meaning behind the glitz and glamour of the season. 

Once again, no matter who you are, where you are in life, or what you are grieving if you are hurting this Christmas...it's OK not to be OK. 

For those of you reading this who ARE ok this holiday season...check on those in your life who might not be (I've got to send a huge shoutout to Anna, my parents, Kim, Tanya, Nikki, Lindsey, and of course my husband for speaking words of life into my heart when I literally couldn't function this week as I thought through hard next steps. You guys are gifts from God). You absolutely never know how much something only you can say can speak into someone's life in a unique way (special thank you here to Tanya). 

The bottom line of all of this, Folks, is that it can be SO hard to feel anything other than bitterness when everyone around you is not only celebrating, but expecting you to celebrate and be OK too--and the holidays are prime time for that. 

If that's where you are tonight, I raise my glass to you. I love you. I look forward to (God-willing) a brighter 2021 with you. My personal email is emilykenniston@gmail.com, and I'm ALWAYS here if anyone wants to drop me a personal line and vent. Please know that if you feel alone, a shoulder to vent upon is a click away. 

And, from the bottom of my heart, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you.

Let's stand strong together. 

With love, 

-Em <3

 

 

 

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The OFFICIAL 2020 TCC Gift Guide!

The OFFICIAL 2020 TCC Gift Guide!

Marni's (Much Anticipated) Gift Guide

Hi all!

Since the holidays are here, I want to share my favorite gifts from The Curated Closet. I've put together a list (and checked it twice) of my personal favorites. Don't worry if you're not seeing what you're looking for, we have plenty more to look at, as we have over 1000 items in inventory in sizes XS to 2X!

For a limited time, get $5 off your order with code: JOY5

(*EuroLuxe not included in the discount offer. Offer cannot be combined with our discount offers.)

Looking for something a little “extra”? Check out our EuroLuxe Collection, where you’ll find watches, sunglasses, bags, wallets and clothing by Versace, Dolce & Gabanna, Armani and many more! This special collection is shipped from Milan! Shipping is $12 from Europe to your doorstep, and takes about 5-7 business days.
*If you have any questions about sizing, or just need some help picking a gift, please contact us. (info@thecuratedcloset.net)
Still not sure what to get? Let the recipient shop for themselves with a gift certificate!

Now let's get into the good stuff...

Our CC Beanie hats, gloves, and headbands are always great small gifts and/or stocking stuffers at around $20 or less

Dressy Blouses:

Dressy/Holiday Sweaters & Tops:

Comfy and/or Cozy tops and sweaters:

Trending Sweaters:

Trending Tops:

Hoodies:

Cardigans:

Lounge Sets:

Lounge Sets

Bottoms:

For a limited time, get $5 off your order with code: JOY5

Some EuroLuxe Picks: (reminder, these items incur a $12 shipping fee, and ship from Europe)

Men’s Diesel Thommer jeans Retail $155, just $65
Red Armani handbag, Retail $256, just $185
White Balmain sunglasses, Retail $216, just $69
Women’s Made in Italia “Angelica” pump, Retail $99, just $35
Love Moschino red back pack, Retail $245, just $145
Laura Biagiotti gray ankle boot, Retail $143, just $45
Men’s Made in Italia “Romano” ankle boot, Retail $88, just $30
Men’s Emporio Armani sneakers, Retail $199, just $71

Happy Holidays!
With much appreciation for your support-
Marni (TCC's Boss Lady) 
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What I Would be Wearing to Holiday 2020 Parties this Year....You Know, if Covid Wasn't a Thing....

What I Would be Wearing to Holiday 2020 Parties this Year....You Know, if Covid Wasn't a Thing....

Well, y'all...I guess I probably should have titled this blog post "What I'll be Wearing for Holiday 2021 Parties"...since Holiday parties this year definitely aren't going to happen. 

Oh well...c'est la vie. 

However, just because you'll be stuck at home this year due to Covid doesn't mean that you can't still look FABULOUS, whether you are rocking a #livingroomchic look just for yourself, OR you have a Zoom Happy Hour with friends to celebrate the season! Either way, here are a few of my favorite things this holiday season (and, since no one is going to see them this year, they can do double duty for 2021!). 

 

Holiday 2020 (and 2021...Hopefully) Looks that Slay

 

Clothing

  • Faux Leather
This season, it's all about faux leather--leggings, pants, and jackets! You can find some amazing faux leather jackets at TCC (search #8751, #8753, and #8754 on thecuratedcloset.net for some of my FAVORITES currently in stock), and Express.com has some incredible faux leather leggings and pants for great deals (pro tip: find an Express outlet for prices that are unbelievably reduced)
Just be careful not to pull a Ross Gellar with your faux leather pants!
 
Yours Truly (with hubby and daughter) in my favorite Comme Faux Leather Jacket from TCC (#8751, in a cranberry shade that's PERFECT for the holidays...and only $40!), and my favorite faux leather pants from Express
  • Sequins

From masks to tops to pants, sequins are IN this season! Just make sure that you find an item that has a soft lining...nothing worse than sequins scratching your skin!

Search "sequins" at thecuratedcloset.net for some seriously fierce looks, including everything from sequin face masks to sequin-decorated hoodies! Some of my favorites are below:

 

French connection sequin top, #7479

Nanette Lepore sequin dress, #8302

TCC Boutique Sequin Face Mask, available in blush (#8949 - sold out), gold (#8951), silver (#8948), black (#8947), and rose pink (#8963)

 

  • Velvet
Pairing beautifully with the faux leather pants/leggings above, or standing easily on it's own as a dress, velvet is a festive, classic, and oh-so-chic choice for your holiday looks! We have a huge selection of velvet blouses and dresses available at TCC, and once again, Express rarely disappoints with their options as well!
Ro & De Velvet Cold Shoulder top, #8171 at thecuratedcloset.net
  • Satin/Silk
I'm a sucker for a classic, silky satin blouse--whether you wear it on it's own or peeking from under a blazer for a sultry understatement, you just can't go wrong. Lately, some of my favorite pieces that really stand out come from bostonproper.com:
"Marilyn" Blouse, available in multiple colors
Makeup
  • Eyes
All right, guys, when it comes to holiday makeup, it's ALL about an intense, glittery smokey eye with long, thick, intense lashes. For glittery eyes, I LOVE Stila's Glitter and Glow line, which is available in many shades (though, FYI, E.L.F Cosmetics has a super affordable dupe as well--their liquid glitter eye shadow is just as amazing looking as the Stila product, and ELF's version is only $5!). For lashes, I love Ardell's Naked Strip Lashes in #422, and I use Silly George's adhesive felt tip liner...literally the ONLY false lash product that has EVER worked for me!
Pro Tip: Make sure to use a great eyeshadow primer to lock your look in place all day!
Some of the Stila shades, available all over at prestige makeup stores (including Sephora and Ulta)
ELF's Liquid Glitter Eyeshadow
What makes these lashes awesome to work with is the Invisiband, the clear band at the base of the lashes. When used with the Silly George adhesive felt tip liner, it makes these puppies blend beautifully into your natural lash line. They are also easy to find at drugstores, or sallybeautysupply.com
Silly George's LinerBond felt tip adhesive liner--which legit just applies like a felt tip eyeliner, then holds your lashes in place like hard-to-apply glue without the mess!--is a MUST for false lash wearers! Available at sillygeorge.com. 
  • Lips

What do you pair with a fantastic, smokey, glittery eye? Why, a matte red lip, of course!

Make sure you find what red best suits your skin tone (for me, it's a deep red with blue undertones), and then find a long-lasting lipstick in that magical shade. Pro tip: After applying, blot lips with a tissue repeatedly, then re-apply and do the same one or two more times to create a stain that lasts for hours!

Maybelline SuperStay Ink Crayon Lipstick--my perfect shade is "Own Your Empire"

My ideal holiday makeup look!!!

Shoes
  • Heels

For a fierce holiday look, you need the fiercest shoes! For me, that always includes either over-the-knee stiletto boots, or platform heels! Some great platform heel choices are available on Amazon, like the pair below by DREAM PAIRS:

  • Boots

I'm absolutely obsessed with these gorgeous boots from Chinese Laundry--they are gorgeous, super high while still being pretty comfy, and they ACTUALLY. STAY. UP...my OTK boot-wearing ladies know what I'm talking about! Available in two colors from chineselaundry.com--black and burgundy--they are priced affordably enough to get both colors!

 

I have these exact boots and they go with every look! I hope to get the burgundy soon too!

Wondering what jewelry to pair your incredible look with? See my earlier blog post, "Accessorize Me"!

There you have it, my lovelies! My picks for a fierce, feminine, and sexy look this holiday season. Whether you rock your fabulousness in your living room or over Zoom, I hope you have a glorious holiday. 

In two weeks, I'll be sharing "A Very TCC Holiday" with the TCC team reflecting on their favorite Christmas memories and traditions. Until then, stay safe, stay sane, and stay fabulous!

 

Love, 

 

-Em

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