Monday, May 11, 2015

Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran Book Review

Our resident book and novel expert, Ashleigh Ray, received an advance copy of Jan Moran's latest book, Scent of Triumph, which was released on March 31. After reading the book from cover to cover, find out the scoop on whether Ashleigh thinks this book from Moran's collection is worth the read.

Overall Assessment: Overall, Scent of Triumph is an enjoyable book despite a few style preferences and choices made purposefully by the author. Moran created a story that captivates the reader. However underneath a more skeptical eye, the novel’s flaws will appear. 3 out of 5 stars to anyone who enjoys dramatic romance and historical fiction.  
The plot of Scent of Triumph is engaging within the first few pages, drawing the reader in with the hint of romance in the midst of war. The events of the story take place during World War II after the Nazis invaded Poland -- strategically placing this novel under the label of historical fiction. While not usually the one to read historical fiction -- as it usually buries the reader beneath facts and dates that they could care less about, this story made us reconsider our stance against the genre. Moran made us interested in the lives of her characters. She had us rooting for their safety and for their happiness. Within the first few pages, we were ready to commit ourselves to the romance and drama of Danielle Bretancourt’s life.  

Despite much praise, beware as the style of this book may catch you off guard. 

The first line alone gave such an air of pretension that we had to put it down -- only to pick it back up to re-engage in more pretentious tones given off by the narrator. For the reader, this pretension may be derived from the overly dramatized tone and longer-than-necessary descriptions. This tone evens out as the story goes on, but the author still tends to over-describe the settings in her stories. Sometimes brevity is best. Some readers appreciate a nice balance between what the writer tells them and what they are allowed to imagine for themselves. Unfortunately, Moran dissolves the fun, leaving little to the imagination. However, we understand that this is only a matter of personal taste.

Another slight but looming issue comes from the main character. Despite Danielle’s virtues and talents, she seemed almost too perfect. She is the ideal woman living a charmed life. This is reinforced by the fact that she never really has to deal with the difficult situations in her life; instead, something convenient occurs to draw her away from the difficulty.  This is a common theme with writers. 

Whenever the author finds his or herself in a difficult plot line, he/she writes themselves out of it, rather than riding out the tension and seeing what comes of it. I think that Danielle would have been a much stronger character had she been given the chance to grow in these situations.

Other than these minor flaws, this book comes just in time for the summer -- heading the warmer weather with an enjoyable romance laced with historical fiction. We rate this novel 3 out of 5. 


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Keepin' It Soxy with Dallas Sock Brand Dead Soxy

I'm a girl who loves her socks. No really. I love my socks. From my younger days donning Easter socks in lace to my basketball knee-high striped Nike socks -- let's just say I truly adore the many ways I can express myself through this ultimate wardrobe staple.

Roberts Wesleyan College Senior Basketball Banquet
No socks here but you get the point. Roberts Wesleyan College Senior b-ball banquet 2004. Yes, fashion girl in flip-flops...gag. But..I was comfortable. ;-)
I met the owners of Dallas-based brand Dead Soxy over coffee at Ascension (of course) following a panel of mine they attended for Dallas Start-Up Week. After some sips of cappuccino and small talk, I learned that co-owners Jason Simmons and Mike Romine were both in corporate America with Mike being a chiropractor. As an entrepreneur, Jason left his corporate gig to pursue development of the Dead Soxy label full-time. After learning of their story, and being both a fashion editor and fellow entrepreneur...I was all in.

Dead Soxy Jason Simmons Mike Romine

After receipt of my Dead Soxy socks "for her", I really wanted to channel what this brand personally meant to me. Mike or Dr. Mike as he is referred to, cleverly came up with the name Dead Soxy and its corresponding hashtag for social media #StaySoxy. So naturally as I thought of socks for women, what would make them sexy? As my brain toyed with the concept and the development of a specialized photo-shoot, I thought, "I wanna have fun. Maybe a Tom Cruise Risky Business-inspired, dance in my socks, girls just wanna have fun type shoot."

Dead Soxy Leah Frazier

Well, after I actually got in the studio with my go-to Dallas photographer, Thomas Garza, the whole concept for me changed. As I draped myself in an over-sized men's business shirt, delicately put on undergarments to match the Dead Soxy grey/pink socks, I began to channel my inner sexy. But...going a step further I ditched the Risky Business concept a minute before the first camera click. It occurred to me. The light bulb goes on. 

Dead Soxy Leah Frazier

Nothing is more sexy to a man, than when his girl wears one of his shirts, sports it au naturale, with no make-up, hair tassled, with no effort. So that's what I did. Baring close to all for the sake of fashion, but keeping it classy, here are some shots of how I #StaySoxy. Be sure to check the detail of the socks -- such as how the upper flipped portion reads "Dead Soxy" and on the back of the socks reads "Her". I LOVE IT!

Dead Soxy Leah Frazier

Dead Soxy Leah Frazier

All images are copyrighted and may not be used without seeking permission of the owner. Credit: Thomas Garza Photography.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wearable Tech: Verizon Dishes the Hottest in Apps, Devices & Tech for Spring

The wearable accessory and tech industry is booming bigger than ever and warming up as the hottest for consumer purchases this spring. From apps to handheld devices to the more fashion savvy items in tech, the industry is channeling full speed ahead with new products and demos debuting almost weekly.

To keep us up on what's hot and new for Spring 2015, Verizon has issued its top wearable tech, accessories and must-have devices for the tech-savvy consumer. As we continue to spring forward into 2015, here's a breakdown of products that might just make your gotta-have-it list for spring.

Verizon iPlanet Bluetooth Selfie Stick

A selfie here, a selfie there...selfies everywhere! The trend isn't predicted to die down soon, so you better hop on board. Capturing those special moments with friends or solo has never been easier than with an extendable selfie stick.

Swarovski "Blinged Out" Phone Cases

Verizon Swarovski Phone Case

Face it..we're in Texas and bling is what we do. Swarovski introduces a new collection of crystal-encrusted phone cases to make sure you get some shine all spring and summer long.

Tory Burch Designs for FitBit

Verizon Tory Burch FitBit

Keeping healthy and fit has never been more haute, than with a fashion-forward Tory Burch designed FitBit. Ditch the ordinary and mundane devices and get savvy-chic with these newest in "fashion meets fitness" accessories.

These are just a few items that Verizon offers to keep its customers up to date on all of the latest in technology trends. For other iPhone accessory case #inspo (such as the Kate Spade collection) or other fitbit accessories, check out the link here.

For more on what's hot for spring, visit

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Step It Up: Warby Parker Introduces New Basso Eyewear Collection

Looking at things through a fresh set of lenses is the key to versatility -- which is why popular eye-wear brand Warby Parker continues to stay ahead of the trend. Introducing a unique twist to three of its already favored frames, the socially conscious brand released its new Basso Collection  on February 24th ultimately setting the trend for a more overlaid frame appeal in fashion.

Warby Parker Basso Collection

Inspired by low-relief sculptures, (hence the Italian phrase basso-relievo), the new Warby Parker Basso Collection features an elevated step design that results in a weightier appearance, yet still constructed with the brand's high quality standards. 

Warby Parker Basso Collection

While the process of developing these new frames can seem quite complex, the Basso Collection remains simple in overall function and is constructed specifically to "accentuate the shape of the individual frame." Available for three of Warby Parker's existing prescription frames: Duckworth, Percey, and Winston, each frame will have one of four custom color combinations from a palette of oceanic hues. Easily dressed up or down, the Basso Collection is one that will pair well with all tastes and lifestyles.

Warby Parker Basso Collection

Stay on top of your evolving eye-wear game by visiting the Dallas location of Warby Parker on Henderson to check out the Basso Collection. Trust me, there's layers to this.

As always, for every pair sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need. All images used courtesy of Warby Parker. Warby Parker in Dallas is located at 2008 N. Henderson Avenue.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Blessing Jar: Stop Putting God In a Box

Right before the start of 2015 while people were creating vision boards and getting revitalized for the New Year, a friend of mine in the blogger circuit Vanna Collins, suggested to make a Blessing Jar. The premise of the Blessing Jar is that for every blessing that God gives you throughout the year, you write it down and place it in the jar. At any point during the year, should you feel down, discouraged, or hopeless -- open the jar and receive a spiritual push by reading all of the ways that God has blessed you up until that point. At the conclusion of the year, you can also go through and read all of the ways that God has blessed you throughout the year.

Mark 5:19 ~ ..."Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you."~

I was completely head over heels in love with this idea and immediately went to Hobby Lobby to get supplies. I called up my sister for an impromptu girl's night of dinner, wine, and decorating our 2015 Blessing Jars!

Blessing Jar

As we got done laughing and totally acting like we were in grade school hot glue gunning our jars, we were totally ready to see what God was going to do. As 2015 kicked into full gear and I was putting in blessing after blessing into the jar -- I took note that while on days where there may not have been something relevant for me to put something in the jar, there were days where I was putting in 3 or 4 separate pieces of paper.

After a month of putting my blessings into the jar, I realized that there was an even greater lesson to learn in all of this -- and frankly I was a bit embarrassed. When I first started this project and I was looking for jars, I went for the medium sized Mason Jar, truly thinking that this was going to be big enough to have all of my blessings for 2015 fill it to the brim.

Blessing Jar
Me and my sister's completed 2015 Blessing Jars

Little did I know, was that by Mid-February, my blessing jar was more than halfway full. The lesson to be learned is that often we internally humanize God -- we put him in a box. We don't often give Him credit and we surely can't grasp the magnitude of who He is. After seeing and having a tangible way of visualizing His presence in my life, I realize that I probably should have decorated a trash can, rather than a jar, because my God is capable of filling up so much more than a jar.

Blessing Jar
Blessing Jar as of February 15, 2015

Now that little revelation, was truly a blessing.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Play the Print Game: ShoeDazzle Pops with Bold 2015 Collection

This upcoming spring and summer will be all about prints -- and how well you are able to master mixing and matching them is entirely up to you. If you fare on the side of the conservative, then maybe your shoes will be the only prints donned in your wardrobe. However, if you're like many of the daring and trendy darlings, then not only will your shoes pop with prints, but your accessories and apparel will as well. (Click here to read my article on 2015 spring trends)

For a little "mix me, match me" #inspo, check out the latest in ShoeDazzle's 2015 collection. From reptile prints to splashes of floral to chevron waves, one thing is clear -- everyone's "going to print." Here are some of my favorites that I can't wait to pair:

ShoeDazzle 2015 Collection
Zelda by Scene VIP Price $39.95

ShoeDazzle 2015 Collection
Keely by Madison VIP Price $39.95

ShoeDazzle 2015 Collection
Estelle by Paper Fox VIP Price $49.95

I really suggest checking out Shoedazzle when you can. I've mentioned it to you guys before, but it really is one of my go-to sources for not just shoes that are on trend and of quality, but also available at an affordable price. Headed up by chief stylist and my ultimate style icon Rachel Zoe, "Shoedazzle brings you a personal stylist experience by curating major trends, in shoes and more, and showing you what works for your style..." Check it out today and get a fix for your shoe addiction at

Images provided courtesy of Shoedazzle.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dallas Frosty Fashion: Featuring Allison Mitchell, Kissue, & FM Fashion Music

The weather here in Dallas has finally dropped, so I headed out to Addison Circle to take some pics of how I layer, yet stay fashion-forward in the frostier weather. I always tell my personal shopping clients that layering is key for the cooler weather seasons. While it may appear that this concept is simple, it really could be a cinch if done correctly. The art to great layering is still having a consistent, fluid look as each piece is removed off of each other.

FM Fashion Music Freedom Tee

For this look, I took a basic black fashion FREEDOM tee from FM Fashion Music (pictured above) and layered it with a shearling vest from Kissue.  This ensemble by itself is perfect indoors.  As I stepped outside, I completed this already layered look with a leather jacket. I chose one of my shorter leather jackets to let the flaps from my Kissue vests hang out -- creating an assymetrical, yet warm appearance. Add in a great pair of slouch boots and how could I forget -- a fabulous Allison Mitchell foldover clutch for a pop of color and now I'm good to go!

Leah Frazier Dallas Fashion Blogger Addison Circle Winter Fashion
Allison Mitchell Clutch
Allison Mitchell Clutch
Allison Mitchell Clutch
All images from Addison Circle credit: Cameron Pate