You may have heard that the best accessory a girl can wear is her smile.  Well, I find that to be totally true.  If the smile is genuine, a lot more can come along with this kind gesture.  Sometimes, we hold back on sharing this expression of kindness, because of how we think it may be perceived.  What if they don’t smile back? What if they read it wrong? What if they think I’m completely weird?  These are the questions that used to fill my head right before I smiled at someone in passing.  This usually resulted in an awkward smile.  At least, I felt it came off that way.  But, what I’ve learned is that smiles are gifts and like anything you “give”, you do it without anything in return.  You know, “give to give”.   Know this, and the sincerity of your smile will come more naturally and it just may end up making someone’s day.

Victoria’s smile is like a warm hug and brighter than the sun.  You know, when someone smiles at you and you suddenly feel uplifted?  Here’s to all the happy girls all over the world, right from deep in the heart of Texas.

 

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I felt the sun beaming on my shoulders as I read her pre-shoot questionnaire and her smile was jumping off the page.  There was no doubt that were headed for the beach.  I mean, how could we not?  Granted, the beach was nearly three hours from San Antonio, I didn’t even have to bribe my family to go with me.  The boogie boards were packed in the car before our bags were, a day before we even made the trip.

“Could we really do that?”, she asked.

“If you really want to, heck yeah,” I replied.

“Really?”, she said.

I heard the excitement in her voice and who was I to rob a girl of her excitement?

“I’m so down”, I reassured.

As soon as we hung up, I started receiving her outfit lineup by text.  I took that as a solid confirmation.  Casey’s shoot was at the very end of Summer and even though it was extra work on both our parts, we knew that it would be so worth it.  Casey and her family spend a lot of their summer time at their beach house and it made PERFECT sense to shoot with the sand in our toes.  Literally.  Then we chatted as the sunset. (Sigh)

 

 

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So you know those times where you have tons of clothes in your closet? And on your corner chair, and on your bed, and um…..hopefully not your floor. But sometimes. And you ALWAYS feel like you can’t find anything to wear? I have a really strong feeling that I am not the only one.   I actually didn’t have tons of clothes in high school, so I had to get creative with what I wore. My mom had a friend that was my size and she handed some really cool stuff down to me. I am so grateful that I can actually afford a decent wardrobe now, but those days still keep me from over splurging. I wasn’t awarded BEST DRESSED then, but I had my fair share of compliments on my outfits that I pulled together. As soon as I turned 16, I got a jobie job fast and I was able to save up for pieces that screamed my style. So, I want to help you actually re-gain some confidence in your outfits again, regardless of the size of your budget!

One little experiment that I did, after I cleaned, purged and organized, was style my own closet. I visited my boards on Pinterest and pinned new things that I had liked. If you have never browsed Pinterest, it is a perfect time to tell you to browse with caution! Keep an open mind with the inspiration and ALWAYS keep your spin on it. Before I headed out to shop, I shopped my own closet. If it hadn’t been worn in a year, I donated it. This is essential in making room for new things. I even did this with jewelry, accessories and shoes.

As I pinned new outfits, I kept my eyes peeled for things that had basics. Basics are solids and things you either have or could pick up anywhere, like tees, tanks, socks and cardigans. This also helps, because if you pick things that can be used with several outfits, then you get the most out of your purchase. For example, a neutral or gray chunky knit cardigan like the one in the Boho outfit below. (American Eagle Outfitters).

I recently teamed up with Lisa Tello, Stylist and owner of Refined Mode, and we brainstormed five different looks for five of the 2014 Twelfth Element Senior Models. It was important to us to make the sure that the looks could be worn everyday, but more bold choices of that of a girl in NYC. Also, Lisa styled the day of making sure that even though the looks were “styled”, that each girl still felt like themselves. The looks included a Boho, Varsity, Classic, Modern, and Urban inspired looks.  Makeup by Lucy Gonzalez and Cynthia Cuellar.

I can’t tell you how much fun we have doing this and the girls look AH-MAZ-ING! I was so inspired by these looks and they really have trained my eye when I am piecing outfits together. I hope they inspire you too!

Also, if you are Class of 2016, there is a little bitty secret waiting down at the bottom. You hear it FIRST, before everyone else! For now, take a look at the type of shoot you could expect as a Twelfth Element Senior SpokesModel.

Styling Tip* Having clean laundry and PLANNING your outfits at least the day before, will not only save you time while getting dressed, but you will also wear your outfit more confidently. I’ve been that girl trying to find my favorite shirt only to discover it is at the bottom of the bin! Oy!

The Boho Girl

 

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Britta is a Varsity Soccer Player at Clark High School and her long hair and California girl look was perfect for the boho girl. The best part about watching these girls be styled is that I could SEE the confidence they had wearing the outfits.

The most expensive piece worn here is the Urban outfitters dress at $60. The Hat is also from Urban Outfitters as well as the knee high textured socks. The look was completed with a chunky knit cardigan, belted with a skinny belt and a long boho necklace from Forever 21. Brown ankle boots with a short chunky heel were also worn.

The Cardigan and accessories can easily be worn again and again with another outfit.

The Varsity Girl

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Varsity is just the trendier name for “Sporty”.  Kaelin is the bubbly, yet VERY subtly sexy personality for this look. I say VERY subtly sexy, because we can all feel our inner sexy kitten begin to grow her whiskers, but in order to keep the girl next door quality, you want to not flaunt EVERYTHING you got. You Know? If you don’t, now you know.

The Johnson Jags have the beautiful brunette cheering every week at the football games and she doesn’t need a cheer uniform, when she can sport this adorably glam, yet casual look. The Victoria Secret PINK tank is what totally makes this outfit and the Converse shoes are a must. Simply tie a basic tee around your waist to have handy for chilly nights.

Style Tip* Girl next door makeup is key for the Varsity look. Balance the top and bottom to make sure that if you show more skin on top, you aim to be more modest on the bottom and vice versa.

Add an animal print bra like this one from Victoria Secret PINK.

 

The Classic Girl

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Where all things are pretty and refined. The Classic girl keeps it just that, CLASSIC, yet still bold in her own way. She is a girly girl, who flirts with the edgier side of “clean lines”. Ciara from Clark High School proves over and over to be this girl. She is determined to meet goals and to make the world a better place, all while looking her best.

The crop top from BCBGeneration is what makes this classic outfit more bold and the statement necklace from Forever 21 is definitely making statement.

The skirt is also from BCBGeneration. Black ankle boots with a short chunky heel were worn with this outfit.

 

The Modern Girl

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If there is a girl who lives in the present, making a list of ways that she is going to change the world in the future, it’s this girl. This is Victoria’s SPIRIT. She was actually the most worried about how this outfit would look on her, but she wore it with the MOST confidence. Sometimes, it takes trying things on for size to see if it is a fit.

This oh so cool dress is from H&M. The thumbholes are perfect for holding warm mugs filled to the rim with a foamy latte. The tights are from H&M as well and the chandelier earrings are from Forever 21. The vintage jacket, is a COVER jacket that I actually modeled for a high end boutique 10 years ago.

I think what helped Victoria feel confident and own this look, was we allowed her to be herself in it. WE even used her long locks of hair as an accessory. She couldn’t help, but to let the outfit pull something out of her that she didn’t know she had as well. Sometimes your “spirit” dresses in different attire. Especially if it is bold, daring, and craves being the difference maker.

Style Tip* When trying a new look, keep something still you. Whether it be your hair, your shoes, or accessories. If you make sure everything else is flowing, you can keep one thing still YOU.

 

The Urban Girl

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The Urban girl doesn’t just know how to mix a mix-tape, but she knows how to mix patterns as well.
Rachael is another girl whose ‘spirit’ speaks loudly. She is caring and bold. She holds family and her roots really close to her heart.

The Urban girl LIVES for being herself and loves mixing a little bit of grunge to her girly-ness, but always keeping it still refined.

Striped dress is from H&M and only $13! Fatigued Utility Vest is from Old Navy and the flannel is from Target. Lace up boots worn are from DSW.

So my super stylish friends, or soon to be, I hope you were inspired by these five looks. Just watch, you too will be looking at clothes with a whole new perspective this fall!

But, just like all things authentically you, your style comes from that very same place so as you play around with the trends, remember to keep it still a little bit YOU.

AND NOW, Class of 2016! The Application for the 2016 Senior Model Program is HERE! If you want to have early access being the first to submitting yours as well as ALWAYS have an inside look at Twelfth Element, be sure to sign up for the VIP list here —–> VIP LIST.
So what look are you most inspired by?  Let me know in the comments below!  Your feedback is worth it’s weight in gold!

Until next time,

Sandra

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You have seen it everywhere about now. Fall is here! Today is the last official day of Summer, so what can we expect to see tomorrow? Sweaters and layers? Well, not quite yet. Or at least not here in Texas. We all often pray here for a cool front, just to break out the booties and scarves. Oh you know you do, and to complete the look, a trip to the nearest coffee shop for a pumpkin something. Oh Fall, it’s like the starting line for the holiday season. Kind of like the warm up before the big race.

So what do you wear? How do you get your closet in Fall shape? One main thing that I learned while shopping with stylist Lisa Tello of Refined Mode, was to have some basic essentials on hand. These serve a layering purpose that can be used in every outfit as well as taking your look to the next level, or how she simply puts it, “refining” your style. This can include, hats, textured tights and socks, textured cardigans, a great chambray shirt or flannels and even basic tees.

How many times do you find yourself standing in front of your closet at the hangers and hangers of clothes and still say, “I have NOTHING to wear”? I do it every single day. My husband even gets so tired of me saying that, that he begs me to shop long and hard so I never say it again. Poor soul, doesn’t he know to be careful what you wish for?

So you can imagine my excitement after I had shopped with Lisa. I felt like I had a fresh pair of eyes, when it came to picking out clothes to wear. She made it so simple, when I was over complicating it. It was all about finding things that were my style, but keeping it simple and polished. I thought this was PERFECT for the every day girl. Especially, the everyday girls who mentally travel in their minds. You know, when you are walking the streets of NYC, with your latte in hand…in your mind.

Doesn’t it just feel so good to be wearing something that just works? Sometimes the difference maker in an outfit was just the added accessory, a belt to pull it together, or even the right tights or hat. Although, I can say that I have a pretty good idea of what my style is, it is so fun having someone else put their spin on it! This is where we brought in Lisa to style five different looks on five different girls. She styled for the Classic, the Sporty, the Boho Chic, the Modern, and the Urban girl. All of these looks serve as inspiration for when you are picking out fall clothes. So go have FUN with getting your closet ready for Fall! This is your chance to put some pep in your step with a look that is all yours, but a little refined.

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Let us know what some of your favorite fall trends are in the comments below!  Want to continue to receive free styling and beauty tips? Don’t miss a thing by subscribing to the Twelfth Element VIP list HERE!  It’s all about taking who you are on the inside and FEELING it.  When you FEEL it, you LIVE it, and when you LIVE it, you can create great vibes.  The kind of vibes that people want to be around, because they are so good!  Ahhh! Doesn’t it just want to make you flip your hair to the side and say, “look out world, I am all here and I am bringing EVERYTHING I got”?  And, if not yet, you’ll get there.  Just keep on keeping on.   Because, it is when you are in that very state of mind where you feel like you are owning every bit of who you are.  When you let go of what’s expected and you know, just be you.  When you are in your element.  xo, Sandra

Makeup by Lucy Gonzalez // @lolalavern

Makeup by Cynthia Rodriguez // @misscyn7

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When I began brainstorming this post featuring Madi’s shoot, I was hit hard in the head with writer’s block. I was looking at these beautiful photos of an incredibly gorgeous eighteen year old girl and I couldn’t think of a headline. I was over thinking what I would write to share with readers and how Madi’s photos would help illustrate what I was trying to say. One large Venti Cinnamon Dolce Latte, a few failed selfless, and a random web browsing on Albert Einstein later, it hit me. It is what it is. Or as Aristotle put it, “the what it is”. I have no clue why I have gone all philosophical on this post, but it made me remember that one time I had a 101 average in my philosophy class in college. I know, that was random, but so true.

Madi wanted her senior photos to say, “this is me”. She wanted them to encompass who she is, show her sense of style and to have an artistic edge. She invited me to help her nail down her outfits for the shoot based on some looks she had gathered and I was a bit confused, because her usual boho chic that I saw from our initial meeting and by stalking her instagram…Yes, I said stalk the…um…it’s research guys! The looks she had picked were more “chic”. She is killer on the piano though guys, so I am not surprised that she is also refined.

 

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This changed EVERYTHING. Well, so I thought. We opted of her beautiful and lush back yard over the over grown open fields and saved half an hour of drive time. Everything that I had envisioned and planned, based on this young and free, boho chic style was different now. So, I thought. Then something happened. We allowed for the change to happen and went with the flow. We talked, laughed a little bit at ourselves and each other. She laughed at herself, because she realized the swing idea was harder than it looked and I laughed at myself, because I along side her tried to make it happen. And amidst of it all, I kept photographing her. She was free spirited, down for anything-adventurous, and although she wasn’t dressed as the stereotypical boho-hippy to show it, her essence exuded it. So, I like to think that years down the road when she is working in her career, wearing a polished outfit or even further when she has her own family, her heart will still beat to the drum of her free spirit.

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As you may have guessed, the post isn’t solely for Madi, but to every girl. Your essence is the basic nature of who you are, and I hope to capture that for you too.

xo,

Sandra

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