Where are you from?

I live in a place where not too many people were born and raised here.

When you meet new people this question always comes up.  I find it interesting that some people get away with saying New England or the Mid-West or Southern California.  I decided that I wanted to be more general and less precise.

I remember where I was, why I was there and the reason this subject came up.  The following is the story told by me.

My husband watched the movie  “I Love You Man.”  It stars Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. They end up eating at a restaurant in Venice Beach, CA called James Beach.  We are self-proclaimed foodies.  We love to try out new places.  So we made a trip out to James Beach and enjoyed the most delicious Fish Tacos.  That’s what they were eating on the movie and it looked like they were really enjoying them.

We were the only people in the restaurant.  Weird time of day, too late for lunch and not quite dinner.  Linner.  My husband and I were wondering where our waiter was from.   We could tell that he was an aspiring actor.  My husband is pretty good at guessing location based on their accent.

Let’s back up a minute. The night before we went to the restaurant we had a conversation about my husband being from New England and the fact that I am from Virginia.  People immediately think that I am some kind of country bumpkin, when in fact I am from the suburbs of Washington DC.  It just takes too much time to get down to it.  So we thought it would be more interesting to tell people that I was from the mid-atlantic region and see if what would happen.

Back to the restaurant…  The waiter returned to the table and my husband asked him where he was from.  We had a gentleman’s bet which he always wins.  I was correct about the aspiring actor part.  The waiter asked us where we were from because he thought we were tourists.  My husband answered first.  We are living here now, but I am from New England originally and I answered that I was from the mid-atlantic region.  He just stared at me.  Trying to figure out where that was.   I held strong to see if he would ask another question, he didn’t.  When he walked away, my husband and I started giggling like little school girls.

So now when I am asked “Where are you from?” I say I am from the mid-atlantic region.  It’s up to you if you want to know more.





big bad wolf

I have stranger danger.  This heightened awareness of harm that may happen to me.  Gruesome scenarios my mind imagines.

I will never park next to a van.  Especially the ones that look like child molester vans.  You know which ones I am talking about.  Someone could just grab you as you are getting into your car.

I don’t wear my hair in a pony tail when I walk in the park or go on a hike.  The predator can just grab you by the pony tail and you have no way of defending yourself.

I keep my keys in my hand when I am walking towards my car.  Defense mode.

When I enter an elevator I stand next to the emergency call button.  Just in case someone wants to hold a knife or gun to my side.  Forethought.

I lock the door behind me as soon as I get in the car.  I don’t linger in parking lots.  Man with a gun.

I lock the door behind me when I enter my home. Home invasion.

I don’t open my door unless I am expecting a visitor or I look out and it is the mail delivery person.  Home invasion.

I am constantly looking for an escape route.  Too many crime shows.

I know that if something is going to happen, my best defense is the escape plan.  and maybe my very loud screaming voice.

I watch Criminal Minds and Law and Order SVU.  I read books about rape and murder and abduction.  I think that they have helped me instead of hurt me.

I am writing this post because the other day I was at the mall.  It was sunny and hot out so I  wanted to park in the garage.  Just like everyone else it appeared.  The only open space I found was one next to a child molester looking van.  I passed the space by twice.  It is one of my rules.  After the third time around I talked myself into parking next to it.  It took so much courage for me to open my car door and step foot on the parking lot.  Deep breaths.  In and out. When I finally did get the courage to step out, the vans sliding door opens.  I SCREAMED so loud I probably attracted every zombie within miles.  Scared to death I dropped my bags and ran to the back of my car.  Then I looked back.  Not really sure why I was still standing there but I needed my bags and my purse which were on the ground.  I stood staring at that open door for what seemed like forever.  Then this young mother peeks out and sees me.  She was breast feeding her child.  Seriously?  I almost peed in my pants.  I scared myself to death and probably scared her too!  I walked back between the cars, picked up my bags, hurriedly apologized to the young mother and swiftly walked away.  Embarrassed and still shaking.

I know you shouldn’t live your life in fear but this story could have had a very different ending.  I know that.  My heightened awareness in not crippling.  It is simply being aware of my surroundings and taking pre-cautions, thinking of an escape plan and being ready to face the scenario.



The birthstone for June is the pearl #Gemini


June Birthstone: Pearls

I am a Gemini.  Born on the cusp.  Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year.

My birthstone is the pearl and almost every year I am gifted jewelry with a pearl on it.  This was the first year that didn’t happen.  Possibly because I work for chloe + isabel.  I don’t consider myself a #pearlgirl.  But with our Luxe Links and Retro Glam collection you can be a true Gemini.  We have pearls for all types of Fashionista’s.  #rockerchic #sororitysister #ladieswholunch #pearlsforeverygirl

“Style is having fun, feeling good, and making no apologies.”

Are you a Chloe or an Isabel?  Chloe is always in search of the season’s hottest trends and Isabel appreciates the timeless nature of a beautifully crafted piece.  If you are a Gemini there is no reason to choose.  You can be both!

check out more #pearls @ valeriesoule.chloeandisabel.com


Gratitude Journal

I was looking for a needle and thread the other day and I came across 6 of my old gratitude journals.  I decided to pull them out and read a few of my entries.  Two hours later I was done.  6 years of my life.  I could decipher where I was in my life by the things I was grateful for.  Some days were a real challenge.  So different from my journals of today.       I don’t stop at just 5 anymore.  I fill the page.  I even added a “simple pleasure” line.  I think I may have found the secret to happiness.

I celebrate my milestones.  I always have an event to look forward to in the future.  I take a moment to breathe before moving on to the next thing.  I savor moments.  I do one lovely thing for myself daily.

I really enjoyed taking a look at my past.  I realize now how far I have come.  I know that these journals have helped me through some rough spots in my life and made me really look inside myself to find joy in daily events.

I walk through life with a smile on.  Life can be difficult sometimes.  It gets bumpy, what with family and work or lack of work and things not going exactly like you had planned.  But I say that is what makes it interesting.  That is where the depth comes in.

“Everyone has a story and there is something to be learned from every experience.” Oprah

“It takes practice to hear your true desires.  Your passion will often come as a whisper or a serendipitous event that reminds you of what is important and what makes you happy.” Eckhart Tolle

“Happiness is a perfume that you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on your self.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Happiness is essentially a state of going somewhere whole heartedly, one-directionally, without regret or reservation.”  W.H. Sheldon

entry from 4/20/2004 I am grateful for the color pink, sunny days and books

entry from 4/18/2010 Grateful for coffee.  The first cup warms my soul.  Parenthood (my new favorite show) Time- for catching up with my magazine reading.  Dance Parties with a great playlist made by Jamey with love.

entry from 7/16/2011 Hiking with Villa, lounging by the pool, Harry Potter 6, spending quality time with Jamey

entry from 7/17/2011 grateful for soft tissues that dry my tears.  Grateful for a comfy couch, grateful for a sunny day, grateful for only having to take care of my self.

entry from 4/21/2012  We are wireless!  Jazzercise. Call from Amy. My new awesomeness maker.  Life according to J and V.

Direct Selling @ chloe + isabel

Direct selling is the marketing and selling of products directly to consumers away from a fixed retail location. Peddling is the oldest form of direct selling. Modern direct selling includes sales made through Trunk Shows, one-on-one demonstrations, and other personal contact arrangements as well as internet sales.  A textbook definition is: “The direct personal presentation, demonstration, and sale of products and services to consumers, usually in their homes or at their jobs.” #wikipedia

In October I started working for this fabulous new start-up, Chloe + Isabel.  Chloe + Isabel is a dynamic and socially innovative jewelry brand designed to connect women through a modern-day social-shopping experience. A destination for fashion-loving, creative and confident women, Chloe + Isabel believes that today’s women deserve jewelry as exceptional as they are. In addition to providing customers with one-stop-shop for gorgeous jewelry, Chloe + Isabel is positioned to become the driving force behind developing highly motivated women of “Generation Net” into the world’s next great entrepreneurs. C+I Merchandisers receive a personalized online dashboard to create their own boutique shopping experience and earn commission on all of their sales.

I had been laid off for 6 months when I accepted this opportunity.  The buy-in was minimal and I loved the jewelry.  I also liked the Sales Development Manager.  I felt like I could really excel in this business.  I had a great group of fashionable friends and I knew that they would want me to succeed.  I booked my first Trunk Show right away.  And then several more after that.  I was ranking Top 5 in the company with sales from my online boutique and my shows.  I liked the fact that I could see my friends at their home and in the process meet more fashionable women.  The jewelry was the reason for the “get” but for me it was more.  It was a way to stay connected without spending money.  I was actually making money while I was hanging out.  After a few months my friends started canceling their shows.  Or they never set a date.  Or they postponed so many times I just stopped following up.  I think they felt like the only reason I was keeping in touch was to get them to host a show.  Not the truth.  We are still friends.  I am on a limited budget and that only means that going out to lunch and dinner and to the movies is outside of monthly budget.  My income is based on commissions.  If I don’t have shows, I don’t have income.  I have been looking for full-time employ and have not received an offer that is mutually beneficial.  So I take this job very seriously.  Posting on FB, Twitter and Pinterest daily.  I wear the jewelry and hand out business cards to anyone who gives me a compliment.  I strike up conversations with complete strangers.   In this business it means that you are social savvy.  A Socialista!  No need to apply if you are an introvert.

We are always looking for fashion-loving, socially savvy, dynamic, modern women. Our mission is to give you the tools and training to discover and grow the empowered, entrepreneurial you – ready for anything, prepared for a brilliant future!

Chloe + Isabel gives you the opportunity as a Merchandiser to create your own online and in-person fashion boutique business. We give you everything you need to get started – including the beautiful hand-crafted jewelry, and YOU create the experience.

It’s as easy as designing your customized e-boutique, curating a collection of your favorite jewelry, and hanging out with your friends online and at trunk show parties!

This month (March) Chloe + Isabel is offering $100 in FREE jewelry if you become a Merchandiser.  It is a great time to join, as the new collection arrives April 11th and you will want some of these pieces in your display.  You can read more about the opportunity here: http://valeriesoule.chloeandisabel.com

Or maybe you just want to make a purchase or book a Trunk Show.

Feel free to follow me on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/soulestyle/

or like my Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Valeries-Chloe-Isabel-Boutique/

Be creative. Be confident. Be you.



I can count how many BFF’s I have had on one hand.  Forever isn’t as long as we think it is.  You change, I change or life just gets in the way.

I had a childhood best friend, a college best friend and 30something best friend.    My best friend of late just stopped calling.  I can actually remember the last thing he said to me.  “I am at work, can I call you back?”  He never did.

The last time I saw him he was planning on moving to CA from FL.  We spent most of his visit looking for places to live.  He liked a place so much that he told me he put a deposit down on it.  But the move-in day came and went.  I don’t feel as if I pressured him to move.  Of course I wanted him to live closer.  I heard his voice almost everyday for 9 years.  Either in person, on the phone or in a voice mail.   And then there was silence. He stopped returning my calls, texts, FB messages and letters.  I received no explanation for the silence.

It has been over 6 months and I still want to pick up the phone and call him.  I want to get his opinion on everything just like before.  I want to hear all about his day and what he wore, what he ate and who annoyed him.  I want him to come for a visit so we can go to the mall and drink iced tea and eat a salad and take self portraits.

I want to just give him a hug and tell him I am sorry even though I don’t even know what I did or if I did anything.

My heart hurts.  Everyday.  His memory haunts me.  Everyday.

Best Friends Forever, forever is not long enough…



Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

My husband and I ventured out after dark last week to see a friend of his perform stand-up at a local bar.  I perused the menu before going as we were to arrive just when my stomach starts to growl.

When we were paying at the door the emcee mentioned that the food was fantastic.  Bar food, really?

I ordered an iced tea once we were sat and I asked our server if it was fresh brewed.  I am a snob when it comes to iced tea.  She assured me it was.  Thumbs up.

As we were waiting for our friends set we had the opportunity to see several funny acts.  A common thread between all of the acts was a bit about drugs.  I am not sure why this stood out to me but I actually said it to my husbands friend.  He said at least you’re laughing and I want to hear you really laugh when I get up.   I am not just saying this because he is a friend, but he had the most laughs. Those laugh out loud, snorting laughs.  You know the ones where you miss the next joke and wish you had a rewind button.  He was by far the funniest.  Check him out, his name is Luke Hanbury.

Now I am beyond hungry.  I review the menu and there isn’t a lot of healthy options for me.  So I just say to heck with it and order whatever sounds good.  SO. Fried Fancy Chicken ~ free range chicken, sweet potato mash, braised kale, shallot bechamel.  Ok it has kale.  The superfood.  Sweet Potato Mash offers a lot of nutrients including vitamins A, C, iron and calcium.  So far so good.

I was the only one who ordered food at our table of 5.  It didn’t take long for the food to arrive.  When the waitress set the plate in front of me my mouth began to salivate.  I was too hungry.  I took a sip of my iced tea and then I took my first bite combining all of the ingredients from the plate.  My taste buds were going crazy.  The combination of flavors was a shock to my system.  I can honestly say that I didn’t come up for air.  I devoured the entire plate and if my husband wouldn’t have stopped me I would have picked the plate up and licked it clean.  I am not joking.  It was not lady-like in any form of the word.  The best version of fried chicken I have had in a very long time.

I actually can’t stop thinking about it.  I will need to go back to the www.thefederalbar.com and try it again, soon.

It was a great night out!  Great food, great friends and great comedy!