I made this.

for one of my apparel classes, we were tasked to create something [literally anything] out of denim. I chose to deconstruct a button up and make it into a tunic–as you can see.

The denim was rather structured, so I cut off the collar, buttons, and sleeves–washed & dried to create the fray, then it was sewn back together. I found a great black stretch fabric and raw cut the hem to create the fun, flowing bottom.

get this:: faux leather leggins, Spanx // beaded clutch, vintage // booties, Cynthia Rowley // lipstick, Nars Velvet Matte in Cruella // photo credit:: Nyck Renard

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Xo, Flancake

Girl em[Power]ment – Anna E. Cottrell

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics. They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them .

[be sure to follow along on insta – @girlempowerment]

I’ve been waiting to share today’s influencer for a long time now, as she was one of the original women who inspired the series. I first met Anna in person forever ago at a fashion event, but I had been following her and her blog for much longer. Our paths finally crossed when I decided that I wanted to somehow get involved in what she was doing with Lola last year. Fast forward – she has now been my lady boss for almost a year now [insert a happy eek here!] and I’ve learned SO much under her fabulous wings. She’s taught myself and the others around her what perseverance looks like – that it you want something you’ve got to not only hustle to get it, but also put forth a positive attitude and be kind to get it. Anna is always open to new ideas [even when I think she’ll think I’m cray-cray], and even if she’s not totally into, she’ll help you to make it bigger and better. She is always looking to uplift those around her, she is always teaching myself and the other Lola gals that although perfection isn’t real – being the absolute best you can is absolutely attainable. Oh, and along with all that she’s accomplished so much in her career, and is more than happy to share advice daily.

Introducing Anna E. Cottrell, owner of Lola and Tulip Louise.
Website + Blog: ShopLola.comTulip Louise.com
Insta: @lolaboutique + @tuliplouise 

Q: What is your current job title and can you please explain your career path?
A: First off, hi flannery!  Thank you so much for having me.  My name is Anna and I am the owner of Lola.  I always knew that I wanted to be in the fashion world from a very young age– it was just in my blood.  I have vivid memories of when mom would take me ‘back to school shopping’ before the start of a new year and I would get home as quickly as I could with my new loot and a simple spiral notebook.  From there, I would work to stretch my new clothes into as many different outfits as possible, try them on [down to the accessories], and jot down every detail of my final look.  Once I wore it, I would mark it out in my little notebook.  As it turns out this is eerily similar to what I do for personal styling appointments now!  I digress.  

[Focus, Anna] Career path.  I interned at Findings Showroom in New York for my college internship, which is when I first fell in love with the pace of the city– even though I was filing, faxing, getting coffee, wheeling massive trunks to the Javits Center for market, etc… I couldn’t have been more energized x this was when I paid my dues.  First job out of college was with the e-commerce division at Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Texas.  Having zero background in .com at the time, this was a major leap of faith [on both parts!] that I accepted as a learning experience and [quite frankly] for the chance to add a powerhouse of a company to my résumé.  So small-minded. While the cubicle life didn’t turn out to be my jam, I learned endless lessons about workplace professionalism and company protocol within a corporate environment [i.e. e-mail etiquette, managing an editorial calendar, balancing workload, etc . ].   Honestly, just to be a fly on the wall and learn how the “big dogs” communicated was a major turning point for me , for instance the opportunity to sit in on calls with David Yurman about  new products that needed to be uploaded by a certain holiday deadline .  It was fun to be a point person between the buying office, graphic designers, copywriters, marketing department, and vendors– this opened my eyes to many different avenues within the fashion industry, and also the importance of everyone having a niche x working together for a bigger goal. Pretty cool now that I think about it.  

Hitting your first career stride out of college is kind of like having your first love– there’s nothing that can compare to the growth you experience, and you find yourself eternally grateful because it taught you so much about yourself. 

When I was in Dallas, I became even more interested in learning about the arts–spending weekends over wine + french film, gallery openings or the Nasher Sculpture Museum [still a favorite].  When I moved back home to Northwest Arkansas, it was to be the Web Director at a local boutique.  Note: I said “Web Director” as if there was an existing site, but there wasn’t.  However! This was an amazing opportunity to enter into a small business and try to make a big difference with an e-commerce site, by utilizing what I had learned at NM.COM— it was a fabulous time in my career.  

A couple of years later, I decided to turn what was then a hobby of blogging x styling, into my full-time gig… Enter: Tulip Louise.  This was a life of hustle. It was creatively stimulating because I was shooting with talented photographers x makeup artists for the blog non-stop, getting endorsed / written up, started covering backstage at New York Fashion Week for Revlon every season + getting some publicity, rubbing shoulders with some of the greats, and then brands started sending me things to wear.  Before I knew it, all of my shoots were subtly endorsing things that I hadn’t hand-selected for myself, which is when blogging began to lose it’s luster for me.  I needed to take a break and press the reset button on it.  Fast forward a couple of years, and I’m living back in New York as a freelance Art Director… but on the weekends shooting blog photos eating / endorsing a new Wendy’s frosty [huh?] — I guess it paid the rent, ladies.

In 2013, I returned home to my native Northwest Arkansas as owner, buyer, and creative director of Lola.  I remember telling my now business partner that I felt that my experiences in the industry [showroom, e-commerce, marketing, blogger, stylist, business owner] had melded together to help best prepare me for this peak opportunity!  Now, only a mere two years later, Lola has a beautiful e-commerce site x will be opening the doors to a third storefront this month.  Whirlwind, but none of the growth we’ve experienced would ever have been possible without the tremendous x inspiring team we have [including you, Flannery!]

Q: Where did you go to school and what was your major?
A: I studied fashion x marketing at the University of Arkansas. 

Q: How/or do you deal with negativity towards women in the work place? 
A: You know, Flannery, there was a time in my life when I would have had time to dwell or deal with negative people x thoughts, but I just don’t anymore.  I was telling someone recently that something shifted when I turned 30– ha — unless someone [or something] is additive to my life x what happiness I’m working towards, it has to go. We only get so many days on this planet, and I have less and less tolerance for toxicity. I know it sounds harsh, but it truly just isn’t worth the energy– I’d rather spend that priceless time with people that I love, or working to build something great… instead of devoting energy to anything negative. It is a conscious effort I make every day.  If you knew me a couple of years ago, you’d know this is a new lease on life for me!

Q: Who are three of your role models or mentors, and why?
A1: My mom, Jill.  If you’ve ever met her, you’re lucky enough to know why she is a great role model. She is unbelievably kind x thoughtful x warm.  Family and  faith is everything to her, and I would be lucky to become half the woman she is.


A2: Jeannette Balleza Collins.  This woman is a powerhouse.  She is so eloquent, as business savvy as they come, and has a pure heart of gold.  Just an overall lovely human, that makes me want to be better.


A3: Jade Terminella. She is the perfect no nonsense counterpart. A woman with a strong moral compass, get sh*t done work ethic, and gentle soul.


Q: Have you ever felt unsure of yourself or felt that you weren’t “enough”?
A: Oh, of course!  Some days are harder than others, which is why we have to encourage women in our network.  Life is hard… but really beautiful.


Q: What are other things you do [hobbies, projects, interest] that you feel passionate about?
A: Photography, art, travel.  I used to be really into music — would like to get back to that.


Q: What do you do in your free time to relax?
A: When I get the chance, I honestly live for a spa moment; manicure, pedicure, facial, or massage?  Sign me up.  Totally the way to my heart.


Q: What career and/or life advice would you give to your twenty year old self?
A: 1- Always go the extra mile– it is so worth it.  2- Life can be very tricky, but keep your chin up– one day, all of those little twists x turns will make sense.  

I hope you thoroughly enjoyed Anna’s profile. She’s an incredible driven woman with such a drive for what she does! Hopefully we can all catch a bit of this spirit.
Stay tuned for Sunday’s profile – you won’t want to miss it!

Xo, Flancake

Girl em[Power]ment – Wendi Rosenblatt

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics. They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them.

[be sure to follow along on insta – @girlempowerment]

For today’s influencer, I’m so excited to introduce you all to a women I was able to get to know over the summer, but have known for a few years now. We were first introduced by my mother, who knew each other from being sorority sisters. Over the months that I got to know her, I loved her spunk and charisma, and also how her intelligence inspired me to go above and beyond.

Introducing Wendi Rosenblatt, of Hearst Television 

Q: What is your current job title, and can you please briefly explain your career path?
A: I am the Senior Director of Financial Planning & Analysis for Hearst Television. We own 30 local TV stations and two radio stations spread across the US. I started with the company over 10 years ago back in Kansas City, MO at our TV station there and moved to NYC in September of 2008 to advance my career with our Corporate team. In a nutshell, I make sure we make money!

Q: Where did you go to school and what was your major?
A: I graduated from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville with a degree in Business Administration. My major was Accounting.

Q: How do you deal with negativity towards women in the workplace, if at all?
A: I have been in the workplace for over 25 years and I have seen or felt negativity from time to time, although it is generally more indirect than direct. Indirect negativity takes the form of not enough women in high profile roles in certain companies I have worked at. It is also interesting to me that I find myself the only woman in a meeting with five men (or more) occasionally. I always try to see if there is a way I can improve that ratio by nurturing other women and working to include them in the discussion.

Q: Who are your role models or mentors that you look up to?
A: My Mom was my first major influencer and besides being a great person she showed me at an early age that women can and should be accepted in the workplace and that we can accomplish anything. She was the bookkeeper for our family business when I was young and I think that is where my interest in and aptitude for accounting and finance began. Hillary Clinton was my UofA commencement speaker and I always recall how eloquent she was that day and it sparked my desire to use my degree to the best of my ability while also giving back to the greater community. My Dad has also been an important mentor to me. He has always been very proud of my achievements and supportive of my life and career choices. He reminds me that it is OK to be proud of what you have done, enjoy life and never forget your family is there for you along the way. He has always been in my corner and encouraged me to “go big”.

Q: Have you ever felt unsure of yourself or felt that you weren’t “enough”, and how did you overcome that?
A: I have felt the need to prove myself from time to time during my career, most importantly when I am starting a new job or large project. I have also had some times when I wasn’t sure I could live up to expectations I set for myself or others had of me. In those times, I remind myself to start with the small things and once I have a few victories, move on to the larger tasks.

Q: What are other things you do [hobbies, projects, interest] that you feel passionate about?
A: I love to sing [my extrovert side, although I still get major stage fright], read [my introvert side, especially autobiographies of strong women] and of course, I watch a lot of television [come on, it’s my industry!].

Q: What career and/or life advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self?
A: Honestly, don’t work so hard! I have sacrificed a lot to advance in my career and I continue to work on finding a good work/life balance.

Q: What does Girl em[Power]ment mean to you?
A: I’ve been fortunate to always live in a world where I never felt excluded as a woman or that there was anything that could hold me back from achieving my goals and dreams. I encourage all women to live their lives with that feeling as a starting point. Believe in yourself and great things will happen!

I hope you enjoyed hearing from Wendi – I love her honesty when discussing not working as hard, but rather to find a balance.

Xo, Flancake

Girl em[Power]ment – Sandra Johnson MD, FAAD

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics. They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them.

[be sure to follow along on insta – @girlempowerment]

I’m so excited to introduce to you a women that has quite literally changed my life, who I’m so honored agreed to participate in the Girl em[Power]ment series. But first, a quick story about myself [warning: it’s about to get real].

Usually middle school is a terrible time for teens – they must endure all kind of weird hormones, it’s a terribly awkward time with boys and mean girls, oh – and on top of that, acne is usually a huge problem. With all that said, I honestly did not have it that bad in middle school. High school is when the acne came. Thankfully I really never had problems with self-confidence because of my skin [I know several people that have…], but I still wanted to express myself through makeup and fashion, which was hard with my pimply skin. I would’t dare let it show, but I was so embarrassed about my skin. All my friends had already had their awkward faze, so I couldn’t understand why it was just happening to me.
Enter Dr. Johnson, whom my mother had been going to see for a long time. Since my skin wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been, first we tried laser treatment. This procedure was reserved mostly for events – like prom and homecoming, as it would cause your skin to “swell up” and be virtually perfect the day after treatment. This worked – for a while. Next were the pills. I’ve taken almost every kind of acne treatment drug out there. They all worked – for a while, but then my pimples would eventually come back. They were always there, not in full force – but still there.
Finally, during my freshman year of college, I walked in one day and Dr. Johnson sat down with mom and I to talk about Accutane [I won’t go into detail about that experience – but it was ultimately SO worth it]. We decided this was what I needed to do to once and for all get rid of the lingering acne. It was a 6 month long process that was rather intensive, but the results honestly were life changing. Throughout the whole experience, Dr. Johnson was by my side making sure everything was how it should be and to make sure my mental state was in check as well. After the Accutane, I didn’t really have the boost of the “self-confidence factor” like some people did, but I was so much happier with my overall image. Dr. Johnson really helped me get to where I knew I wasn’t perfect, but happy with the skin I am in.

The fact that she has helped SO many men and women realize their full potential is remarkable. She has not only taught me to really wear sunscreen every day, but to also embrace my creative side. Every time I get to visit with her she’s always genuinely interested in what I’ve got going on – making her an incredible Girl em[Power]ment influencer that I’m so excited to share with you all.
Oh, and she has over 50 publications, has written a book, has two patents, and has been in numerous magazine write ups. So yeah, she’s got it going on.

Introducing Dr. Sandy Johnson, MD, FAAD, of Johnson Dermatology 
Website – JohnsonDermatology.com
Facebook – Johnson Dermatology

Q: What is your current job title, and can you please briefly explain your career path?
A: I am a board certified Dermatologist and co-business owner of Johnson Dermatology [with my husband who is also a board certified Dermatologist]. I knew from at least the age of 5 that I wanted to be a doctor. I went to Our Lady of Mt Carmel from preschool until 8th grade. I went to Niles McKinley High School for 9th through 12th grades. These are both in Niles Ohio. I then entered a combined 6 year college and medical school program at Youngstown State University and Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, NEOUCOM. I graduated in 1996 then moved to Little Rock Arkansas for Dermatology residency at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, UAMS. After completing training, I stayed on faculty at UAMS specializing in cosmetic dermatology and clinical trials for 4 more years. I then moved back to Ohio for my husband Brad to complete a 2 year Dermatologic surgery fellowship. We moved to our permanent home and his childhood home in Greenwood/Fort Smith Arkansas in 2006 to open Johnson Dermatology. I am thoroughly enjoying this journey.

Q: How do you deal with negativity towards women in the work place [if at all]?
A: I choose to see only the positive whenever possible. If and when a negative thought is encountered, I try to think of at least 3 positive thoughts. Currently those are:
1. As Bryan Adams says: “Ain’t no use complaining when you got a job to do”. So I try to keep doing my job.
2. As [my husband] Brad says “quality always and eventually wins”. So I try to always do the right thing and give my best.
3. As Taylor Swift says “haters gonna hate”. So I try to shake it off. I really enjoy running and dancing.

Q: Who are your role models or mentors that you look up to?
A: My parents: They taught me the value of hard work. They taught me to love God and family. I still rely on them for so much in life. They moved from Ohio to our backyard in Arkansas to help us with our children. I am forever indebted to them.
Dr. Bob Brodell is why I chose Dermatology. He has inspired me in so many ways. His love for the skin is contagious. He exudes positive energy.
My mother in law. She is a testament to the fact that if you work hard, dreams will come true. She also taught me how to be a woman in the workplace. She also still can do more push-ups and pull-ups than I can.

Q: Have you ever felt unsure of yourself or felt that you weren’t “enough”, and how did you overcome that?
A: The first experience that comes to mind was when I was college chemistry and the professor made a comment about how women struggle with the concepts.  I had some self-doubt but was determined to give my best.  A few years later, his wife was sick in the hospital.  It was a big ego booster when I was a student in a team of all women doctors and nurses caring for her. 

Q: What are other things you do [hobbies, projects, interest] that you feel passionate about?
A: I love my family which I why I chose a picture of us for this blog.  The best decision I ever made in my life was to marry Brad Johnson.  He makes me a better person.  I love him and his family [trust me: you not only marry the person but you also marry their family].  He is a wonderful business and life partner. 

I am happiest when my physical, spiritual, emotional and mental aspects are all in harmony.  It is important to me to take time to thank a higher power for my gifts [for me that is God] as well as to get some physical activity on a regular basis. 

Q: Is there anyone you think that is making a difference in women empowerment that you think we should all know about?
A: I really enjoyed the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.  I enjoy following Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls on Facebook.  I try to surround myself with strong beautiful women.  Our Dermatopathologist Dr. Amy Hudson recently shared a quote with our team at Johnson Dermatology that is poignant:  girls compete with each other; women empower each other. 

I am very thankful for all of the teachers that empowered me when I was in school.  Most notably, Mrs Rathburn who was my high school biology teacher who encouraged me to follow my dreams and apply to medical school.  I would also like to thank my mom and the other moms in my hometown who coached the first all-girls soccer team in our town.  Playing youth sports was a very important motivator and confidence builder for me.  I would like to thank every teacher, coach, counselor, educator and friend to our youth. 

Q: What do you do in your free time to relax?
A: I relax and recharge by spending time with family and friends, running [I have run 8 marathons], and praying.  I also really enjoy travelling. 

Q: What career and/or life advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self?
A: Follow your heart.  I love what I do and don’t feel like this is work.  I am blessed that I am paid to do what I love. Enjoy the journey but be careful—I am thankful the internet was not around when I was 20 years old. Enjoy dating but take your marriage partner seriously.  My life is so much better after meeting and marrying Brad Johnson. One of my life mottos is “Your life is God’s gift to you.  What you do with it is your gift to God.” 

Q: What does Girl em[Power]ment mean to you?
A: It means exceeding the wishes that my mom had for me while being the person I would like my daughter to emulate.  It means climbing the ladder while bringing up others with me and even pushing them to rise past me.  It means always giving your best and giving it with a smile.  Our unpublished mission at Johnson Dermatology is to do everything with the 3 E’s:  Effective [do it right], Efficient [do it right the first time] and Empathic [do it with caring].   I am thinking we may need to add a fourth E: Empower. 

Girl em[Power]ment – Sabrina

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics. They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them.

[don’t miss a post–follow along on insta @girlempowerment]

For this week’s influencer’s [Sun + Mon], I’ll be featuring lady doctors that both have their own establishments. These women have done incredible things and have accomplished so much, so I’m ecstatic to share them with you.

Our next influencer is someone I’ve known for a while, as she’s one of my mother’s good childhood friends. When I first met Sabrina, the first thing I noticed was her awesome style and then how intelligent she was–which I really admired. She also is hilarious with dry humor that only some people get, but that’s the great thing about knowing her. Oh, and she was recently named one of the best plastic surgeons in America–I’m so excited for you all to learn about and hear from Sabrina.

Introducing Sabrina Lahiri , of Lahiri Plastic Surgery
Website – Lahiri Plastic Surgery 

Q: What is your current job title, and can you please briefly explain your career path?
A: I have been a Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon since 2002. I own my solo practice which includes a full service facility. During my years in private practice, I developed and built a facility which houses my practice, full service medical spa, overnight stay hotel, certified and licensed surgery center. My career path started at a young age. I knew early that I wanted to become a doctor. I attended University of California, Berkeley receiving a bachelor’s degree in Bioresource Science. I then attended University of Arkansas Medical School, followed by 5 years of General Surgery training at University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio and 2 years of Plastic Surgery training at University of Miami.

After all of this training, I opened my private practice in 2002 – It has been a busy whirlwind since.

Q: How do you deal with negativity towards women in the work place [if at all]?
A: Negativity toward me specifically as a woman has been apparent during my schooling, training, and private practice. Women are still expected to maintain very traditional roles. These expectations are difficult to change in our modern society. Because many ambitious women balance family and career they are perceived as not serious about success. Because many women are accomplished without a family they are perceived as unusual.

I handled negativity with the best attitude that I could. It is important to perceive negativity as the other person’s problem/issue not yours. You can’t let it affect you personally, have to learn to process it mentally and move forward. It is important for women to prove themselves with their intelligence, drive, and insight and not get caught up negativity.

Q: Have you ever felt unsure of yourself or felt that you weren’t “enough”, and how did you overcome that?
A: I think everyone has insecurities about themselves at times, but that is normal human nature. Successful women learn that life will have up and downs, successes and failures. We learn important lessons from all of these. It is important to maintain confidence in your talents and passion.

Q: Who are your role models or mentors that you look up to?
A: My mom and dad.

Q: What are other things you do [hobbies, projects, interest] that you feel passionate about?
A: I have had many interests and hobbies outside of work, it is important to maintain balance in your life. I love horseback riding. I have a passion for attending any sporting event, collecting artwork, and fashion.

Q: What do you do in your free time to relax?
A: Exercise, watching sports, reading, studying fashion.

Q: What career and/or life advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self?
A: Follow your heart and passion in life and work. If you don’t have a true passion for your career choice, it will be difficult to enjoy work on a daily basis. Enjoy every day to its fullest. Be confident. I am lucky to have found a career that is my passion.

Q: What does Girl em[Power]ment mean to you?
A: Girl em[Power]ment means that women and girls can achieve anything a man can. Women influence the world everyday and in countless ways.

There you have it. I think it’s so important to remember that women and girls really can achieve anything a man can. Stay tuned for Wednesdays post, featuring another [awesome] lady Dr.
Xo, Flannery

all grey please.

sometimes I’m just really in the mood for one solid color palette. grey happened to be it today, so it seems.
monochramatic looks have always resonated well with me, especially when paired with stripes [what doesn’t look good with stripes really].

get this look:: grey tshirt, Target // bralette, For Love and Lemons // sweatshirt around waist, Target // skirt, Walmart // booties, Dolce Vita // photo credit:: Nyck Renard

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For those interested, I almost had a [kind of kidding kind of not] panic attack when getting to the top of the watch tower while on location. NOT for the faint at heart, or fear of heights kind of people. Great pictures and funny story though I guess…

Xo, Flancake

Girl em[Power]ment – Natalie Navis

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics. They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them.

[be sure to follow along on insta – @girlempowerment]

Our next influencer is someone I’ve been so honored to get to know through Lola, who really taught me several things not only about the creative world, but in life in general. Natalie Navis has had an unconventional career path, but never the less it’s so inspiring. She is one of the most giving humans I know, always putting others before herself [sometimes when she shouldn’t!]. She is also so positive, her contagious energy is like wildfire. When I started this series, she was on my list of women who really inspired it as a whole.

Introducing Natalie Navis, of NatalieNavis.com
Insta – @natalienavis
Blog – NatalieNavis.com/blog
Website – NatalieNavis.com

Q: What is your current job title, and can you please briefly explain your career path?
A: Self-employed style blogger + wardrobe stylist + brand consultant, former attorney, and probably something else [TBD!]

I currently run my style blog and wardrobe styling business, which I’ve been working on in addition to my day jobs for four years now. I’m so excited to say that i’ve recently added freelance brand consultant to the mix! I’ve been assisting small businesses, particularly in the boutique beauty and retail industries, with brand development and an assortment of strategies that go along with that, including social media strategy and management, e-commerce development, creative direction of photoshoots, event production, merchandise planning, and more. It’s been so rewarding to help other girl bosses grow their businesses. My career path to this point has been anything but traditional! Prior to working in the fashion sales industry, I was an attorney. I attended law school right out of college, graduated, passed the bar exam, and worked for about four years as a research attorney for judges at the trial and appellate court levels. While the career was extremely rewarding intellectually, I felt that the introverted nature of my position did not fit my personality. I will always be grateful for my legal education and experience for giving me confidence in all business endeavors— and my strong backbone! When the judge I was working for during my fourth year retired, I knew the time was right to take a leap of faith into the fashion industry— something i’ve always wanted to do. I started working as a key holder/senior sales specialist for standard style [standardstyle.com] in Kansas City. I jumped in head-first, wore as many hats as possible, and learned so much during this first year. The company has had huge success growing their in-house line, Baldwin [baldwin.co], and it’s a privilege to say that I got my start there. Next, I moved to Lola [shoplola.com] in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to be the retail director and flagship manager. Again, I learned so much about the industry and about myself during this time, and I will always be grateful for the experience I gained and relationships I built. While living in Fayetteville, I became a certified Barre3 instructor [barre3.com], and that role remains extremely important to me. Although it was very difficult, I recently relocated back to my hometown so that I could embark on the next phase of my journey. My motto lately has been this quote: “every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better.” It takes courage, but I believe that you have to let your path reveal itself to you— even if that means going through some transitional phases in life.

Q: Where did you go to school and what was your major?
A: I graduated from the University of Nebraska College of Law with my J.D. in 2009. Prior to that, I attended Creighton University and Graduated with my Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 2006. I was a total literature nerd in college— fitzgerald is still my favorite. Creighton is a liberal arts college and I was exposed to so many different paths while there, but when I graduated I was unsure about what I wanted to do. At my dad’s suggestion, I figured “why not go to law school?” I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the “why not?” attitude for everyone when it comes to law school. Generally, it’s a means to an end [practicing law]. But if you are a lover of learning, then law school is an incomparable education in how to think, read, write and communicate. While I’m not currently practicing law, I use my legal education daily in my approach to communication and all business matters that arise in life— and there are a lot! I feel more confident in my career because of my law degree, and that’s invaluable, particularly when you’re an entrepreneur.

Q: How do you deal with negativity towards women in the work place [if at all]?
A: More often than “negativity” towards women in the work place, I see “inequality” towards women in the work place— and obviously inequality is a negative. I’m a believer that women have a long way to go in our society. The reality that we have never had a female president, that there are very few women CEO’s in Fortune 500 companies, and that females on business panels aren’t being asked the same questions as their male counterparts [see here— posted by flancake on facebook!], makes it clear that we have not achieved equality. inequality towards women in the work place is highly dependent on the industry you work in. for example, I saw much more evidence of inequalities in the legal field [a male dominated profession] than in fashion [a female dominated profession], but that’s part of the problem. In the midwest, law is often seen as a more respectable, high-powered career than fashion, and therefore more suited to women— regardless of the huge amount of capital generated by the fashion and apparel industry in our country. I believe all industries should be gender neutral, and that women and men should be equals in any industry, from law to fashion. Unfortunately, I have dealt with a fair amount of comments from male superiors during my career that I qualify as sexist. My best advice? Stand up for yourself and call out those comments. Don’t ignore them or [ever] laugh.

Q: Who are your mentors or role models, and why?
A: My babcia [“grandmother” in polish]: She’s a WWII labor camp survivor and immigrant to the US, and is still independent at age 90. She made a life for herself in america, learned to speak broken english, and raised three successful children while an uneducated, poor immigrant. Seeing life through her eyes gives immigration a whole new meaning to me. She exemplifies survival, independence, and determination. I know my strength comes from her— and probably my [sometimes] feisty nature too!

My mom: she’s been an educator for 25 years at the college level. She believes in teaching her students how to think, not what to think. The other day, she was commenting that the test given by her department had been “dumbed down” to the point where it would be easy for the students to pass it, just so that the instructors could say they were successful in teaching. My mom wouldn’t give that test, or at the least wouldn’t let it count for much of her students’ grades. She won’t lower the bar for anyone and sees potential in everyone, no matter their race, gender, or background. She has taught me how to approach everyone I meet in life with the same level of respect and that we are all capable of so much more than we think.

Megan hurley: owner of barre3 fayetteville and my former employer. This woman is a champion for all women [and men], has a heart of gold, and is the definition of “real.” She balances owning her successful business with being a full-time mom to two boys, and does it with such grace. no matter what, she makes the time for others. She has created the most nourishing community where all clients come to feel their best, physically and mentally. If you’re in the fayetteville area, you have to attend one of her life-changing classes. She is the one who asked me to become a Barre3 instructor [not once, but twice!], had faith in me when i didn’t have it in myself, and mentored me as a grew. Because of her, I became invested in Barre3, a company that helps its clients lead a balanced life through fitness, nutrition, and mental wellbeing, while fighting for real beauty. You can see Barre3 founder Sadie Lincoln’s words on that topic here.

Q: Have you ever felt unsure of yourself or felt that you weren’t “enough”, and how did you overcome that?
A: All the time, every day at least once. I have battled depression and anxiety for much of my life, and while I’m sure I would experience feelings of uncertainty and inadequacy regardless, these feelings can be even more amplified and often. It does help to know that I’m not alone and that we all, as humans, feel uncertain of ourselves at times. My faith is a large part of me being able to get through times when my feelings of uncertainty and inadequacy are the most severe. My other grandmother, who passed away this past Spring, taught me about the importance of faith, and the peace that can be found in turning my worries, doubts, and fears over to God. I also have extremely supportive family members and friends who encourage me when I doubt myself. My ability to overcome feelings inadequacy is due in part to their unconditional love. The real relationships I’ve built throughout my life mean the world to me, and it’s these relationships that I come back to during times of self-doubt. That and turning off all social media for a while, because “comparison is the thief of joy” and we all need to remember that social media is a place where people create their perfect lives [probably not the best place to go when you’re feeling down about your own].

Q: What are other things you do [hobbies, projects, interest] that you feel passionate about?
A: I have always been passionate about the arts. I grew up playing piano [and later teaching piano lessons at a local arts and music studio] and dancing [classical ballet and modern]. I was a member of a local modern dance company all the way up until moving to KC in 2013. Barre3 has been my substitute for dance since then, and I’ve become very passionate about a living a balanced life through fitness, nutrition, and mental health. It goes without saying that fashion is a major interest of mine— I guess obsession might be a more accurate term. For me, my love for fashion goes beyond an appreciation of it as the main form of creative self-expression. To me, fashion is empowerment. It’s dressing yourself in a way that makes you stand taller, walk more boldly, and take on life with confidence and enthusiasm. Fashion has so much transformative power, it just has to be harnessed. I also have a heart for a serious cause facing our society today: mental healthcare. My legal career opened my eyes to the gravity of this issue, and I’m committed to making a difference and working on behalf of this cause. One thing I think we can all do is be gentle with each other. This quote is so true: “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”— and most of the time, you have no concept of how great that battle may be.

Q: Is there anyone you think that is making a difference in women empowerment that you think we should all know about?
[Natalie is too kind, I tell you.]
A: How about you, miss flannery wilson?! You, my dear, are making a difference in women empowerment by creating this series! I am so inspired when I see young women in your generation who realize the significant platform that you have in being a blogger and woman in the fashion industry, and using this platform to work for a greater cause than self-advancement. Don’t get me wrong, i’m all for girl bosses advancing themselves and showing the world how powerful women can be, but when a woman uses that audience to advance a greater cause, that’s what’s truly inspiring. You’re a perfect example of a woman who has a heart for making a true difference for others. This women empowerment series demonstrates that you are going to do big things in this life that really matter, and I’m so excited to see your future unfold!

Q: What do you do in your free time to relax?
A: Relax? What’s that? [just kidding.] I’m working on getting better at this. I love to go to barre, yoga, and dance classes, go for long walks outside [preferably with my family dog, but I’ll borrow pretty much anyone’s pup as long as he or she walks on a leash], read blogs, read books, and be a social butterfly. Ok fine…. and drink wine and watch netflix and eat nutella out of the jar [there, I said it].

Q: What career and/or life advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self?
A: Well, I have the benefit of having a brother who is 22 years old, so I give him the same advice that I would give myself at his age: it’s ok to have a plan for your life or a roadmap or a path that you think your life is going to take, but you have to recognize that life quite possibly won’t go according to that plan, and that’s going to be fine— you will survive. Don’t try to control everything or you’ll go insane. Embrace the journey and let life take it’s course. Even though it’s really hard, try not to let the detours or barriers dampen your spirit. Keep persevering on, and try to enjoy the moments along the way. Life really is a crazy ride.

Q: What does Girl em[Power]ment mean to you?
A: Girl em[Power]ment means both self-empowerment and helping to empower other women. While I love to read style blogs and I so admire the greats in the fashion industry, the women I truly respect are the ones who are making a difference for other women. I’ll be the first to admit that style and creativity are very admirable traits, but it’s ultimately what you do with those gifts that makes you great. Girl em[Power]ment is about using your talents, gifts, and skills to do something great for yourself AND for other women— working for a cause, standing for a marginalized population, bringing attention to a significant social issue, etc. I say, while you’re building that empire, why not empower other women along the way?