Lead By Example

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 2.40.49 PMI recently came across this newspaper article about my Great-Grandfather, Dr. William L. Bendel  and I wanted to share with you as I think it encompasses a few really important ideas on leading by example and volunteering. The article is from the News Star, Wednesday, January 26, 1983.

While my great-grandfather passed away years before I was born, I heard so many stories about him from my family and during our yearly trips to Monroe, LA  to visit my great-grandmother. it was apparent from these visits, that he was well known, well liked, well respected and a pillar of the community. My recollection is that everywhere we went, my great-grandmother was greeted warmly and people always wanted to share a story on how they knew my great-grandfather and how much they respected and admired him.

I was originally compelled to share this article because it is evidence that we lead by example however, something else jumped out at me as equally important.

The basis of the article is around inducting my great-grandfather into a local high school Hall of Fame in recognition of his support for the local sports teams, serving as a team doctor for local high schools.

“We couldn’t have made it without him,” said former Neville coach Bill Ruple, himself a Hall of Fame member “None of the schools in our area could afford insurance on our players, but Dr. Bendel never charged for treating them.”

My Great-Grandmother, Marie Bendel notes “Twenty-five years is a long time for people to still want to have him honored”. And that is the part that really struck me about the article, the impact we have when we help others has no expiration. 

I believe my desire to volunteer in the community is a direct result of hearing about my family’s dedication to giving back. One thing I have learned though my own volunteering is that  helping one person is just as important as assisting many, meaning you don’t have to look for an opportunity that you think will impact many people because sometimes helping one person will have a deep and meaningful impact too.

I’ve been working on a campaign to help some kids in SE DC and I am humbled by the generosity of my neighbors and friends. I was delighted to see the little girls in my neighborhood contribute some of their lemonade stand money to purchase items like backpacks, socks and jackets not only because of their generosity but in seeing how happy they were visualizing a young boy or girl getting a new coat or backpack this year. I get it! I love to visualize the smile on even one child’s face when they are presented with something needed and new that makes them feel valuable and special.

I hope this will inspire you to lead by example and find a way that you can give back to your local community and if you have kids, please incorporate them into your activity!


Fall Edit: Back to Basics & Layering

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 8.35.24 AMWhile the calendar has flipped to September, it is still in the high 80s here in DC so it is a little hard to think about bundling up in a cashmere sweater but that hasn’t stopped me from thinking about what I might like for fall.

And, truth be told, and I can’t believe I am about to write this, but I haven’t seen much so far that has impressed me so I am taking it as a sign that I should be shopping my closet.

I will say, one thing I do love is the idea of jacket layering. The only picture I could find was the red coat JCrew one above. I have a huge addiction to buying coats and jackets, however, they all seem to be about the same weight, light and not really warm so I like the idea of layering a jean jacket underneath, especially if it creates a contrast between dressy and casual.

The other idea I like this fall is investing in basics. A simple yet beautifully cut blazer like the Rag and Bone one + a statement piece like the Tiffany Bracelet or the Hermes necklace – elegant, understated and yet stunning!

So, here are a few things I found and love for various reason. Definitely get samples of the lip serum and polish next time you are at Sephora and for glowing skin, I love this new Armani mask.

Let me know what’s on the top of your must have list for fall.

Rebecca Minkoff This is a great, classic bag that will never go out of style. It is also an easy way to add velvet into your wardrobe.

Sugar Lip Polish

Sugar Lip Serum

Ouai Memory Mist If you like a hairspray that keeps its hold but doesn’t make your hair stiff, this is the product for you!

AG Demin Jacket 

JCrew Eveyday Cashmere

Hermes Necklace (Tiffany has a beaded chain that is in their recent campaigns that has a beautiful toggle clasp. It is a nice less expensive version of the Hermes piece if you like that look but want to spend less. I can’t find it on the website but the have it in the stores. I think it was $325.00)

Chanel Large Zip Shopping Bag I always need at least one bag that I can carry my notebook in.

Rag and Bone Jacket This is a great way to get the polished blazer look but with the ease and comfort of a sweater. It is lightweight and perfect for travel.

Tiffany ID Bracelet  I wore this out of the store I loved it so much!

Armani Mask


Helping Hurricane Harvey Victims

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mika_300_tx_houLike many of you, I am trying to wrap my head around the massive devastation that Hurricane Harvey has inflicted upon Texas.

With that in mind, we want to help!

For every order of our gift-wrap that features the State of Texas* (painted by me!) purchased by 9/30/17, Hampton Paper Designs will donate 30% of the profits to a local Houston Food Bank

I chose the gift-wrap for a very specific reason. Typically, in situations like this,  the event is top of mind for everyone when it happens and then as time passes, people not directly affected tend to forget about it. It is understandable. I think the gift-wrap idea will serve as a friendly reminder for all of us, long after this is no longer headline news, that help is still needed. The level of impact is well above the $1B range. These people will be recovering for years.

As for me, I tend to choose a “theme” for my holiday gift-wrap each year and I can think of no better theme than to use this paper. It is as simple way for me to remind people in a few months from now to think about the victims. Maybe you will like this idea too!

*State of Texas image is under “All Images” and “New Images.”


Thank You Texas Lifestyle Magazine

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A super big “Thank You” to Texas Lifestyle Magazine for featuring us in their Back to School gift guide!

money. money. money.

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 10.38.23 AMLately, I am all about changing my focus, being more positive, reframing how I interpret conversations and situations, trying to be more grateful and lastly understanding forgiveness. I am a work in progress.

When it comes to applying these ideas to money, I am loving Secrets of the Millionaire Mind and Unleash Your Inner Money Babe. I love the idea that minor adjustments can have a major impact.

So many of the ideas apply to more than just money. T. Harv Eker notes three levels of “wanting”

1. Wanting “I want to be rich.” which is different form

2.Choosing ” I choose to be rich.” which is different from

3. Committing.  “I commit to being rich”

The definition of committing is “to devote oneself unreservedly”

So interesting, right? The slighted change in your wording can adjust your outcome.

Unleash Your Inner Money Babe is a workbook and I must admit I learned so much already about slight changes in my thinking. First, I must be grateful for what I already have and that caused me to rethink my understanding of grateful.

Let me know what you think!


The Universe Has Your Back

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 8.09.48 AMIn the event you are a big fan of The Secret or are just looking for a new ( and more positive) way to frame situations & events then you may enjoy Gabrielle Bernsteins’ new book, The Universe Has Your Back. Bottom line, ask yourself if you are looking at events and situations through a lens of “love” or “fear”.  It is an interesting thing to think about!

The part I loved the most was the idea of how by predetermining how a certain situation “should” turn out, we are limiting our possibilities. For example, it pitching our new notebooks to magazine editors my “should” is that they will be featured in their upcoming gift guide. Then I applied Gabrielle’s approach and now can see that getting into a gift guide is a limiting goal. What wouldn’t my goal to be a feature on the company or something larger? Cool, right?

Beach Reads Part 2

Just a quick blog before the holiday to wish you all a wonderful 4th of July! In the event you plan to be poolside or at the beach and are looking for a great thriller that you will not be able to put down then I suggest I Let You Go.  This book includes a number of twists you won’t see coming

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Here’s what else is on my weekend reading list.

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All available on Amazon.


Attention List Makers!

Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 11.49.17 AMI am a list maker at heart. Every single day starts with a check list of things to do. Sometimes they are just general tasks but for the most part they are activities tied to larger goals. I always carry a notebook (current option with blue crabs)  with me in my bag (I have to constantly track my progress and truth be told I need a friendly reminder from time to time of what I am suppose to be doing!) Our spiral notebooks are easily my favorite product to date I am super excited to share you can now add personalization.

Our notebooks can help you stay organized and are a beautiful and stylish way to capture lists, big ideas, things to do, memories, travel experiences, goals or gardening notes.

You can choose an image reflective of your personal style and interests or one reflective of your recipients.  The notebooks can be personalized with a name, inspiring phrase, location or zip code as shown below. Endless possibilities.

They retail for $26.00 and for those of you who are always thinking ahead for hostess gifts, birthday gifts or the holidays, this is one of those gifts you can buy for everyone!

Here are a few ideas for your consideration.

PS. Did you know you “become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis.” See article here in the Huffington Post.

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Ordering is easy…

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4th of July Party Prep

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 8.03.09 AMIf you are planning your 4th of July celebration, here are a few ideas to help make your party extraordinary.

I totally love the idea of our personalized Hershey bar wrappers for S’mores. So fun!



Coffee Mug

Large Acrylic Tray

Place Cards 

Candy Bar Wrapper

Small Round Sticker

Wine Tags

“Where have you been?”

My late grandmother used to call me and say “Krissy, where have you been?” Mind you I may have spoken to her the day before but I guess unconditional love comes with limitless worry. I must admit it used to drive me crazy but now it is one of the things I miss the most.

Anyway, I know it has been a few weeks. So, in addition to counting down the days still school ends (say, what? I know, my kids are still in school) here is what I have been up to.

I have been reading a bunch of amazing books. I recommend them all!

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May ended with another candle on the cake (more on that later) and a quick trip to Boston. No much to report on that trip other than dinner with my roommate from college, Gretchen. You have to love when you are such good friends with someone that it feels like you saw them yesterday instead of months ago.

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After Boston, I headed to New York for a few days. Even on a rainy chilly day, the ocean looks beautiful.

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I had lobster at Oaklands and Star Boggs. I also found this new yoga studio that just opened and is owned by a mother /daughter duo. I have had “Barre” on my list of things to try so I can finally check that off my list. I loved it. I “ran into” a few of my fav stores, Gloria Jewel, Calypso and Imrie. I also had a chance to go to my fav restaurant, Tutto il Giorno.


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Here are a few things I picked up during my travels or was gifted.

Current Elliott The Fleet Admiral Jacket ( I got this at Imrie but avail at Saks and on sale)

Hermes Belt White 

JCrew Button Front Ruffle Top

JCrew Smocked Square Neck Top (this neck line is so flattering)

JCrew Strapless Cross Front Top (my fav)

Rodin and Fields Intensive Brightening Toner My virtual best friend sent me this plus a few other goodies for my birthday. I am sure it comes as no surprise that my VBF is a make-up and product junkie too.  This toner is incredible.

CP Shades White Gauze Button Down (this is one of my fav brands). I got this at Imrie too.

Theory Cashmere Sweater It was freezing in Boston and I had packed my “Summertime Barbie” wardrobe so I picked up this pretty lightweight cashmere sweater. You know I love a gray cashmere sweater and white pants.

Rahani Slim Button Down Shirt ( also love the Army Green color)

Fresh Petal Lipstick This also from my VBF. I would describe it as heavenly.

Replica Beach Walk I cannot get enough of this fragrance that perfectly captures leisurely summer days on the beach. Keep in mind, I am wearing to work. Sigh…

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I know I am not a model but I don’t think the pics above do some of these “must-have” pieces justice. I love an all white outfit. It is a no brainer. Looks so polished and classy.

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Next up – Chicago. Here is the view from my fav hotel, The Park Hyatt. So pretty, right?

I hope your summer has gotten off to a great start.