What stress?

I have to admit the closer we get to the holidays the more stressed out I become, especially now more than ever since the year is coming to an end. There is just so much to do! Last minute holiday shopping, cleaning and decorating the home, cooking for family and friends. How can I find time to do all of this and manage my store, The Bridge Boutique?

Well, I decided to ask some of my friends for tips on how they handle stress during this time of year. Most of my friends had the same advice to give – “Carolyn, breathe and try to relax when you get home”, “meditate” – and some just plain out didn’t have any advice to give. I then decided to turn to my other “friends” – my trusty magazines and blog sites that I read in situations like this.

I decided to read O online (since I couldn’t remember where I placed my magazine), and almost as if Oprah was reading my mind, the first article on their homepage was “Get through the holidays… Stress-Free!” The first thing that popped out to me was this line: “If I have time, I’ll do this and that. If not, I’ll only do that.” A lightbulb went off in my head. I decided to come up with a plan of action. I also wanted to share my tips with all my readers who may be going through the same stressful situations.

First, I wrote down everything that needed to get done right away and things that I could span out until New Year’s. Once I knew everything that needed to get done, I started to plan things around my spare time.

To tackle my list I began with (what I thought was) the simplest task on my to-do list: last minute holiday shopping. I made a list of all the people I still needed to get presents for, what sort of gift they might like, and a budget to abide by. I decided to avoid the stores. This time of the year, stores tend be crowded and lines seem to go on forever! I decided to place orders online, as many online retailers are offering free shipping to ensure orders will be there before Christmas. If you absolutely have to go to the store, call ahead, and ask to see if they have your item in stock; then find out if they may be able to hold it aside for you. This will cut your trip to the store in half and you wont be left searching for an item that may not even be at the store.

Holiday shopping – check!

Next, cleaning and decorating the home. Instead of cleaning and putting everything all up at once, I decided to break things up. For cleaning, I broke up each section of the house and focused on one room at a time. For decorations I did the same except I broke it up by type. Ex: Day 1: Clean kitchen and put up the lights. Day 2: Clean living room and put up the tree. Day 3: Clean bathroom and decorate tree, etc.

Cleaning and decorating the house – check!

Then there’s the cooking. Cooking, I took out my cookbook and looked for easy recipes that didn’t require too much prep or cooking time and bookmarked them. Since I knew family and friends were coming over, I asked them to each bring a small dish. This would cut my cooking time in half and would be great to try a new dish!

Cooking – check!

Next up, events and outfit planning. It may be easy to forget a friend’s party or office event, so I wrote down every event I would be attending, including dates and times. To save me extra time the day of, I planned the outfits I would be wearing to each event and taped the list next to my closet. So all I have to do is look at my list, pull out my outfit and just worry on what lipstick to put on.

Events and outfit planning – check!

These are just a few things on my list and it may be different from yours. We all have different kinds of situations that stress us out. One thing to keep in mind – it’s the holidays! Even though you may not get through your list, know that we all can’t be Wonder Woman or Superman, but we can all make the holidays a little more special by spending it with those that are closest to us.

Have any stress-free tips? Share them below.

Click here to read O’s “Get through the holidays… Stress-Free!

-Carolyn

P.S. - It’s better to give than to receive! Ming Wang has partnered with NewDay Services for Children & Families to make the holidays special for children and families everywhere. Best of all, Ming Wang is making it super easy to help out – gather all your friends and have them “Like” Ming Wang on Facebook. For every new fan, Ming Wang will donate $1 from now until January 15.

DIY Gifts for the holidays

Running out of ideas for holiday gifts?

A homemade gift holds bigger sentiment than a purchased gift. These DIY gifts can also be combined with a Ming Wang jacket for an extra special touch.

Ming Wang Wrap Bracelet
You will need:
Beads or pearls (various sizes)
Twine String in black (or any color that matches the Ming Wang jacket)
Toggle clasp

Get started by measuring the twine string around your wrist about 3-4 times; make sure you add about 5 extra inches to the length. Arrange your pearls in the order and pattern that you want them in. We arranged ours by playing with the different sizes and colors. Take your twine string and tie it securely on one side of the toggle clasp, we like to use at least 3 knots to secure it. Now you’re ready to start your bracelet!

Start stringing the pearls in the order that you arranged it. At the end of your pattern, tie a knot to keep the pearls from sliding around. Measure about an inch of twine string and make a knot, then string your pattern again. Repeat this until you get to the end of the twine string. Wrap the bracelet around your wrist again and measure where the end will be. Tie that end to the other toggle clasp, and you’re done!

Now you have a matching bracelet to go with the Ming Wang jacket, or make one for yourself for your favorite jacket! Added bonus: this can also double as a necklace.

Ming Wang Ribbon Necklace
You will need:
Chain necklace
Ribbons of different colors (or any color that matches the Ming Wang jacket)
Scissors

Repurpose an old chain necklace you’re not using anymore with this easy trick. Depending on how big the loops of your chains are, you can use 2-3 different color ribbons.

Start by measuring each of the ribbon colors to the length of the chain and then double that length. Gather your ribbons and tie a knot on one end. Now you can begin braiding. Don’t tie a not yet; loop the untied end onto your necklace starting from the first loop next to the closures. Then start looping the braid into every other chain loop till you get to the other end of the necklace. Tie a knot to secure it from falling out and cut off any excess ribbon. Now you have a brand new necklace that you can give as a gift (or keep for yourself)! You can also try this project on a bracelet.

Note: Images for this project had bad lighting so will add images as soon as I re-take them. Here is an image of the finished necklace.

Now the only thing you need is to decide whether or not you want to give them as gifts or keep them for yourself!

I’d love to see what you made, so share your images with me!

-Carolyn

Traveling, Changing Shoes, and Ming Wang!

Guest Blogger: Tina Sloan                             

[Tina Sloan enjoyed a three and a half decade-long career as a soap actress playing Lillian Raines on Guiding Light. Tina is also a speaker, author, playwright, and theatrical actress. She can be seen in Black Swan with Natalie Portman. Tina’s newest incarnation is as co-author and star of her one-woman show, Changing Shoes, which she is currently touring across the United States.

Through her own stories of struggle, courage, and transformation and using her unique self-deprecating wit and charm, Tina inspires women to become the individuals they’ve always wanted to be, making her an instant confidant, sounding board, and sage.

Recently, she visited the Ming Wang showroom looking for some pieces to wear on her tour of Changing Shoes. We’re not sure how she felt about Ming Wang when she first saw the collection, but we were glad when she picked out a couple outfits to take with her. Tina shared with us how her first Ming Wang traveling experience went.]

I have been traveling around the country doing my play CHANGING SHOES (even had a former President in the audience) and book parties for my book CHANGING SHOES.  This had meant IRONING all my clothes whenever I landed, and it was more than tiresome.  I started looking for comfy, chic clothes to no avail and then I met Ming Wang clothes.  They are not only gorgeous, as you can see from these photos, but they don’t wrinkle either, so that is all I ever wear now. I can go on a 6AM TV show, as I did in Denver recently, having arrived late the night before and KNOW I will look great and be comfy as well.  I tell every woman I meet that finally I have found the answer.

Here are some photos of me in Ming Wang clothes heading to the airport – and now I only need one small suitcase! I do wear flats with the clothes as they look good and I used to need heels to look good.

Been having a great time touring the US and about to do my play in January in Palm Beach, FL.

Go to www.changingshoes.com to see about the book, play and the latest on my ever-evolving life. And of course visit www.mingwangknits.com to purchase all the clothes seen on me in these images.

Soft elegance

If there is one coat you must have this season, this is it!  Looks and feels amazing and looks great on everyone! The black-on-black pattern is just the right OMG touch! It is on the dressier side no matter how you spin it, and looks fantastic with any bottom you pair it with. I suggest wearing the jacket as a coat.  In order to wear another jacket under the coat, just go up one size. The style goes very well with some of the long sleeve shells available this season. I personally try not to take off my jacket unless my arms are covered.  The MS16 ¾-sleeve scoop neck gives you the option to keep it on or take it off without sacrificing comfort or style. Or for a fun festive look, wear a bright colored dress underneath it.

Carolyn’s pick:

  • MS19 long sleeve shell, paired with MP01 Mocha pant.
  • MS25 pencil skirt, paired with a Mocha tank.
  • MS16 ¾-sleeve shell, jeans
  • J. Crew red dress, shimmer sheer tights, black pumps, BCBG statement necklace

How would you wear this jacket?

-Carolyn

Recap: Texas Conference for Women

Last month, I had a chance to participate in the Texas Conference for Women; showcasing some new Spring 2012 Ming Wang pieces and our classic Little Black Dress, as part of the MORE Magazine exhibit. The conference brought women together to share and gain wisdom on a wide array of both personal and professional topics. Our main mission was to saturate the women of the conference with knowledge about our brand and style them.

Above is a peek of what our booth looked like, along with the mannequins that I styled for the event. Six LBDs styled six different ways! (How do you style yours?)

I also showed up in my very own LBD, which I bought back in 2003(!) styled with a black jacket from this year. It was an excellent example of how Ming Wang’s blacks can be worn season after season and never fade!

Two of the conference’s key speakers were also caught wearing Ming Wang at the event, including “Great Day Houston” host, Deborah Duncan, and Financial Expert, Glinda Bridgforth.

A diversity of women attended the event, from different backgrounds, different ages (20’s-60’s), and different sizes. Both new and old customers stopped by our booth, and we heard many positive comments! Everyone seems to love the range of sizes we offer (XS – 3X), the wrinkle resistance, and the travel friendly qualities. Not to mention, they loved our hosts as well ;)

Conference attendees were also given the rare opportunity to purchase Ming Wang pieces directly from us! Several Spring 2012 styles were on sale, as were several of our most popular black basics.

As if that wasn’t enough, people who stopped by our booth and Liked Ming Wang’s Facebook page were entered into a contest to win a basket full of goodies: the LBD, a Ming Wang wallet, scarf, and accessories. Congratulations to Christine Kiss, the lucky winner of the day!

Be sure to check out more photos from the event on our Facebook page, along with all the positive vibes we received from attendees! Also check out these professional photos on behalf of Jaxon Entertainment & Productions.

We were proud to be a part of this wonderful event and look forward to future events with MORE Magazine!

More about the Texas Conference for Women here.

Did you attend the conference? Share your images with us!

-Carolyn

Get cozy

This month is the perfect time to experiment with fur and what better way to start than with a vest. Overnight, the vest became a must have for a woman’s wardrobe. So, Ming Wang did not disappoint, we designed a vest that is comfortable, washable, fashionable, and most importantly, wearable. This vest is a fantastic piece to easily turn an everyday basic to a fashionista. The animal print is brown, tan, and black, so you can play with your choice of a colorful shell (for example, a cherry red). I especially love the mock neck dress this season; it makes so much sense for the cooler weather that is to come, and it looks effortless and chic when combined with the vest, or you can play with texture, try a sweater dress for a cozier look. Don’t worry about feeling constricted; a lot of thought was put into the design of the vest and was created so that it can be worn with light or heavy shells.

Important note:  The slimming black trim down the center of the jacket was important to add so the chest area would not look too wide when worn closed. Yes, Ming Wang did think of everything!

Carolyn’s pick:

  • MD12 mock dress
  • MS16 scoop tank – paired with the MP03 trouser pants
  • Red shell, with skinny jeans
  • Theory sweater wool dress, shimmer sheer tights, Gravitypope boots

How else will you style this vest?

 -Carolyn

December is here!

Can’t believe the year is coming to an end – we’re already in December!

This month is sure to be all about the holiday spirit. Last minute shopping trips, decorating the home, and getting ready for the New Year! Be sure to check out Ming Wang’s Facebook page for some fun posts and giveaways throughout the month. Not to mention, make sure you enter to win a Ming Wang jacket for the New Year and with the help of 100 friends you can win Ming Wang’s most popular “Little Black Dress” for the holidays!

As the year is almost coming to an end, this is a great time to reflect and either catch up or get back on track on the goals we made at the beginning of the year.

So what are you looking forward to this month?

-Carolyn