"I enjoy checking out the Style Maniac blog--'live laugh learn listen read decorate dress entertain ... with style.' Addictive!"

- Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project


Dress Like You're Going To Jimi Hendrix's Funeral

Who would have imagined Harry Winston and Jimi Hendrix inspiring the same fashion advice?  
When I spied this quote on one of my favorite blogs, Honey & Fizz, I thought: how sly, how subversive, how brilliant. Because you for sure wouldn't go in anything boring, basic or black.  The outfit would have to have flair,  flamboyance, energy.  And why save that for a mythic occasion? Why not strut with peacock feathers and spangles and shaggy neon fur coats and sunglasses too big and sleeves too long and heels too chunky and colors nearly clashing and whatever it is that you feel and want and desire.  After all, what are you waiting for? 
Life is short.  Add something colorful and unexpected to your every day.

Image courtesy Honey & Fizz  Thank you for sharing your photo, Simone.


CAPTURING WEDDING MAGIC: Brae Howard Photography

Creative.  Classic.  Adept at capturing both the grand and the small moments of the big day.  
Brae Howard loves wedding photography and it shows in every shot she takes.
Looking through the Brae Howard Photography portfolio, you notice that all the traditional shots are covered (couple, bridal party, table setting, family), yet are approached in such a special way
that each and every photo tells a beautiful story.
Portraits have an easy, uncontrived style and take advantage of beautiful natural light at different times throughout the event to produce timeless photos that capture each couple's unique love.
Having worked with Brae on the #mystylemaniac editorial project, I know she has a knack for putting people at ease, and for letting each individual's beauty and personality shine through whether alone or in a group shot.  Relaxed and efficient, she made my shoot a pleasure.
As these reviews attest, she has made many a bride and groom happy ever after as well.

To book your portrait or wedding, contact Brae at (215) 510-8713 or  braehowardphoto@gmail.com All photos courtesy Brae Howard Photography

SPECIAL OFFER: This month Brae is offering 15% off of portrait sessions, including engagement, couples, individual, family, and maternity.  Portrait sessions include up to 1 hour of shooting at her Philadelphia studio or the location of your choice. (Outside Philly, call for traveling rates.)  Within a week of the shoot she'll deliver at least 50 retouched images on a USB drive along with 25 professional prints.


People Will Stare. Make It Worth Their While.

As you get older, get bolder. After all, what are you waiting for?  
People will stare.  Make it worth their while.

Graphic created by Doreen Creede using Word Swag. Quote spied on Skinny Mom via Pinterest.


GIVEAWAY: Signed Copy of "Dear Carolina" by Kristy Woodson Harvey

What better way to celebrate Mother's Day than with a special Signed Book Giveaway of Dear Carolina, the beautiful debut novel by Kristy Woodson Harvey that explores the many facets of a mother's love and proves that families aren't born, but made.  Set in North Carolina, the book is like sweet tea and bbq: a delicious mix of sugar and sass that hooks you immediately and leaves you craving for more.  I'll be buying copies for all the strong and loving women in my life.

Here's a chance for you to win a personalized copy signed by the author:

TO ENTER  Style Maniac's "Dear Carolina" by Kristy Woodson Harvey  
Signed Book Giveaway: 
  • Leave a comment below
  • Enter by midnight EST on Monday, May 18, 2015 
UPDATE: due to technical difficulties with Blogger, Giveaway extended to 5/20/15 If you were unable to post a comment, please email me at thestylemaniac@gmail.com and you'll be entered to win. 

FOR EXTRA ENTRIES, leave an EXTRA comment for any of the following  
(current fans add for all that apply):

Giveaway valid in the U.S. only.  Winner will be chosen at random and announced in May.  If your online profile does not link to an email address, be sure to include it in the entry. Good luck!


INTERVIEW: Kristy Woodson Harvey on Moms, Agents, Design Chic & her debut novel Dear Carolina

Kristy Woodson Harvey, co-founder of the popular Design Chic blog, and her debut novel Dear Carolina.
From the moment I discovered Design Chic I felt an instant affinity with Beth & Kristy, the mother/daughter duo behind the blog's gorgeous images, smart commentary and warm voice. Over the years we have become friends, and it is with such great pleasure that I share with all of you Kristy Woodson Harvey's debut novel, Dear Carolina In her story about mothers, daughters, families and love, Kristy brings a gracious Southern touch to universal  hopes and fears, and brings to life a cast of characters that will be with us for a long time.  Already, I am hoping for a sequel, and musing on who might play each character in a movie ... because someone in Hollywood needs to snatch this story up now!  

In this Style Maniac interview, Kristy shares her long road to getting published , what it's like to work with your mom, tips on finding an agent and her favorite places to write.  Read to the end, where you'll find info on entering her $1000 Shop Design Chic Giveaway (ends 5/10/15) and then stop back on Sunday for a special Mother's Day Dear Carolina signed book giveaway here on Style Maniac.

DOREEN CREEDE/ STYLE MANIAC: What prompted you to write Dear Carolina
KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY: I randomly decided to write a novel. Then I wrote another. Then I wrote another! That third one was the first one I really pursued, and I signed with an agent for it. But, in the meantime, I had written Dear Carolina, and it won a writing contest that my now-editor was a final judge for. But I had this moment, right after my son was born, where I couldn't imagine how strong and brave and selfless a woman would have to be to give away this person that she loved so much. And the idea came to me in that moment!

Design Chic duo mom Beth & daughter Kristy
You write the popular blog Design Chic with your mom, and your novel centers around a mother and daughter.  Any correlation?
None of the mother/daughter relationships in this book parallel my relationship with my mom, but I think I've always found that dynamic very intriguing.

What's the best thing about working with your mom? 
Since we live a few hours apart the blog really keeps up connected.

What's the hardest thing about working with family? 
We don't take it too seriously or really think of it as "work," so, so far, so good! We always said when it wasn't fun anymore we wouldn't do it anymore, but, five years later, we're still loving it!

Did the success of Design Chic help in attracting a publisher? 
Honestly, I don't think so. For non-fiction, I think a successful blog is almost mandatory, but they told me over and over again that, for fiction, all they cared about is the writing. In my heart, I think it gave me an edge. But who knows!

Being a blogger has helped with promotion. Really, truly, my blog friends have been so sweet and supportive. I don't know what people do when they don't have friends in high places!

As both Design Chic and Dear Carolina feature beautiful living spaces, I imagine your own office is very special.  What does it look like? How do your surroundings help put you in the mood to write?
This is my desk at the beach, in the corner of our bedroom. The sun streams in a bay window and it has the most beautiful water view. It's a lovely place to write, but, I'll be totally honest: I can write anywhere. I always have been able to, since I was young. Quiet, noisy, crowded, alone ... it doesn't matter! I love getting the words on the page and I do that anywhere and any time I can!

Kristy can write anywhere but loves this desk at the beach.

Years in the making: the launch of Dear Carolina
Any advice for struggling writers? 
You have to be so absurdly patient and you have to keep believing it's going to happen. But, at the same time, sometimes when it isn't happening it's because you aren't ready yet. Keep working on your craft. Get feedback from qualified people wherever you can. Enter writing contests with critiques. But always stay true to yourself too. It's all a balancing act and it can take forever, but, I think the ones who keep their heads down and stick it out make it in the end!

Any tips on getting an agent?
There was no magic to finding my agent. I had no connections, didn't know anyone in publishing.  I just had a good query letter and worked hard on each letter. Make sure it's personal and that you know the reason why you want that agent and tell them so. I had never been to a writing conference before I got my book deal, but I go them now and they are invaluable. Get out there and meet people! I say it's about being at the right place at the right time, but you have to be in a lot of places sometimes!

What's the best thing so far about publishing your first novel? 

The relationships I've built with readers. I didn't expect people to connect with this novel on such a deep level or reach out to me and share this book in such an amazing way. There's truly nothing better!

Enter the $1,000 Shop Design Chic Shopping Spree  
To celebrate the launch of her novel, Kristy is offering a $1,000 Shop Design Chic Shopping Spree to one lucky winner. To enter: Send proof of purchase of Dear Carolina (photos are fine!) to readdearcarolina@gmail by May 10, 2015.  Every book = extra entry.  Book buyers also receive a free e-copy of the Dear Carolina Companion Cookbook, full of favorite Southern recipes from renowned bloggers and family members, and Dear Carolina printable quotes just for entering.
NEXT POST:  Win a signed copy of Dear Carolina in a special Style Maniac Giveaway.


If The Shoe Fits, Read It ... our "Art & Sole" Giveaway Winner

Thank you to all who entered the Art & Sole signed book giveaway and wrote sweet emails about my interview with Jane Weitzman.  And the winner is ... entry #2: Janice, who commented, "I personally WEAR my STUARTY WEITZMAN SHOES and BOOTS! From evening shoes, to simple sandals. COMFORTABLE, great fit, and always appropriate."  Enjoy your Stuart Wetizman collection, both real and fantasy, Janice!


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