Tag Archives: magazine

Mary Stackhouse of Laylon

February 4, 2015

 

Mary Stackhouse

Mary sat down in front of me at Starbucks for Sunday afternoon coffee. I asked her to meet with me after being introduced by a mutual friend. I’ll admit that I had been following her fashion blog long before we met in person. I warned her that I would be in workout clothes, seeing it was my day to relax and gather my thoughts for the week.

She came in casual attire as well- jeans, tennis shoes and a plaid scarf (I was dying to know where she bought it). Somehow, though, she looked more pulled together than most do in a cocktail dress.

I was struck by her grace and poise. It’s the kind that can’t be taught even by the best of etiquette coaches. She’s the type many envy for her exterior beauty and impeccable style. Yet,  it’s her authenticity and no-apology-attitude that I was impressed with the most. The juxtaposition of the two is quite breathtaking.

Many may know her as a fashion blogger behind Laylon. This new year, she gave her site a fresh look and purpose, with a focus more on lifestyle content. Don’t worry. She’s still sharing her fashion finds and outfit inspirations.

I was eager to introduce you to Mary, and in what better setting than her home? I’m glad she obliged.

Mary Stackhouse BnW (34 of 50)-2

What are your favorite places in Birmingham for a night out? What’s an
ideal Saturday look like to you?

For a night out, I love going to dinner with friends. Pretty simple, but I can have a good time doing just about anything with great company. I like Chez Fon Fon, Dram, Five, El Barrio, and Slice. I love trying new places! An ideal Saturday would involve a coffee date with a friend earlier in the day, a good workout in the afternoon, and a fun dinner that night.

What is your day job? How do you balance your lifestyle blog and work?

I’m an account executive for Martin Advertising, where I’m responsible for managing the Allstate and Scholarship for Kids accounts. I find balance by waking up every morning and setting aside an hour to spend in prayer and devotion. Ever since I started doing this, I’ve had so much clarity, and I’ve found that I can accomplish more in less time. It also helps guard me against becoming a slave to work and ambition, which is no life at all.

Mary Stackhouse

What quality is most beautiful in a woman? How do you define beauty
for yourself?

I think dignity is the most beautiful quality in a woman. A woman with dignity is strong because she has self-control. She isn’t ruled by her emotions. Instead, she is solid in her convictions. She is marked with self-respect, and thus, others respect her. It’s an honorable, worthy quality that people are drawn to. It makes me sad when women don’t respect themselves. It’s important to take a look at where in life you are seeking your worth. My strength and confidence comes from Christ, and from that, I believe dignity and strength will naturally follow.

I also think a woman is beautiful when she can build up other women. Gossip tears people down, and it stems from insecurity. Having an uplifting spirit is an amazing quality! You can be such a blessing to others. Several months ago, I was touched by a girlfriend who shared a success about me on her Facebook page. We were new in our friendship, so I was still getting to know her, but I loved that she could celebrate in my achievement… and publicly for that matter! I immediately knew she had confidence in herself. A confident woman is free to build others up because she isn’t hindered by insecurity.

Mary Stackhouse BnW (44 of 50) (1)

Mary Stackhouse BnW (32 of 50)

With the pressures of the media bombarding women to look a certain way, how do you keep a healthy balance?

Healthy balance is very important. I think it’s a good idea to limit your intake of the messages the media and pop culture bombard us with. I don’t watch TV for this reason. So much of it is trash. I don’t want that in my head. I’m not saying there aren’t good shows and movies out there, but it’s good to be conscious so that you don’t base your reality on what you’re taking in.

What is your advice for young professionals in the dating world?

If you don’t like being alone, learn to like it. Don’t date until you reach that place. I’ve made the decision not to date this year. I want to see how God will use my singleness as a positive thing for His kingdom work on earth. I’m excited about it! Some people look at me like I’m nuts when I tell them I’m not dating this year, but is it really that hard to follow through with? I don’t think so. I practiced abstinence before I got married. I’m divorced now, and I still practice it and will continue to unless I get married again. It’s not that hard. You don’t have to do what you think everyone else is doing. Who cares what other people think! Love yourself, look to the Lord for strength, and be strong in your convictions. When you are a strong person, you will stand out, and people will be attracted to that. Trust me on that one!

Mary Stackhouse

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What’s in your purse? 

My purse is a bottomless pit! I’m amazed by what I pull out of it sometimes. Going through it now, here is what I’ve found: two pairs of sunglasses, my makeup bag, random jewelry, three cell phones, a lock, business card holder, mail, nail polish, and a duck call!

What are your favorite, can’t-live-without beauty products?

Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo! The dry powder formula. I usually buy it in bulk. Keeps hair fresh and adds volume in between washes. White teeth are a priority, so I use Crest Advanced Whitening Toothpaste and Whitening Rinse multiple times a day. Can’t live without the mouthwash! As for makeup, Kismet Cosmetics lipstick and nail polish every day. Long lasting, and I love the shades. I was blogging about it so much that the creator of Kismet asked me to be the Birmingham sales rep, so now I sell it!

Photography: Birmingham based photographer Devanshu Kaushik

Article by Brittany Windle

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Have You Been Catfished?

October 24, 2014

online-dating-e1405898035178-600x300With new dating apps like Tinder, it is becoming more and more common to meet first online. Whenever I have had conversations about online dating with my guy friends, they confess of a having a fear of being “catfished.”

According to the ever-so reliable source, Urban Dictionary, it states, “A Catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.”

Now, I’m not about to go into detail of how I’ve gotten “catfished.” No offense, but who spends months or years speaking to someone they’ve never seen or at least have sure proof this person exist? And God forbid, plan a life with a stranger. It’s beyond me!

I have a hard enough time getting to know a real guy who is sitting right in front of me, much less some weirdo in another state or better yet, a con-artist in an internet cafe in Africa.

But I’ll be honest. I think I’ve been catfished (just not via Facebook or some other site). I’m pretty sure I’ve been the victim of others creating a false identity. Thank God, I’ve never found out some man I was dating was married with five children.

I often find it extremely difficult to meet men and women alike who are transparent, honest people. Those who know me know that I am very honest and upfront. This is a blessing and a curse. I often ask people sincere questions. Sometimes I get an answer but often times, the answers are vague and elusive like a child inquiring why Zebras have stripes.

False identities can be created in many different ways. I’ve dated guys who claim to be religious because they know my spirituality means a great deal to me. I’ve met people who hide bad habits like smoking or drinking, to later find out it was an issue. I’ve also met others who claim to have the same values as I do in order to get a so called “good girl.” Thankfully, I’m pretty intuitive. But only because I’ve been fooled before.

When it comes to cultivating relationships, honesty is the only way success can be achieved. Sometimes honesty hurts. Sometimes it means an end to a relationship. Sometimes it means taking a risk, and it scaring you senseless.

Thankfully, I still have time and am not remotely worried about meeting my match. I know it will happen. But as I continue with the exhausting dating process, I find myself weary with facades, lack of transparency and the ability in others to be honest.

I see it all the time, especially with men who will not be honest with their feelings or intentions. If you’re a guy reading this, I’m sure you have experienced this with women.

I was thinking today, “Why is it that often times when I ask a straight forward question, I cannot get a straightforward response?” It dawned on me.

If a person cannot be honest with me, then he probably is not being honest with himself.

I wonder how many catfish are swimming around?

Article by Brittany Windle

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Mental Junk Food

March 12, 2014

keeping-up-with-the-kardashians_2Image via

I have a serious problem, a confession, if you will: I watch reality television, specifically the Real Housewives franchise and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. There is so much irony in this.

First, I advocate women empowerment. Heck, I have a blog dedicated to it. Second, I fervently encourage women to accept their bodies, flaws and all. (I’m preaching to the choir here). Third, I believe in cultivating an enriching life that will inspire others.

Reality tv does not promote any of the things true to my heart, yet I almost daily feed my mind with junk food. What’s the big deal? I mean, I only spend an hour or so a night watching it. I even criticize as I watch. (That should count for something, right?)

Let’s go back to my core values:

First, I advocate women empowerment. How does reality television empower women on any level? None of the women get along. They teach other women to be competitive, aggressive, and argumentative. They display bizarre animosity toward one another. Sisterhood is what we should strive for, having female friends to support, encourage and cultivate intellectual conversation.

Much of the behavior and values they project actually set women back. Instead of being recognized for achievements and goodwill, they are recognized for their material gains and outward appearance.

Second, I fervently encourage women to accept their bodies, flaws and all. Apparently, lion is the new look because every time I view the housewives, there is a woman flaunting a newly constructed face, remarkably similar to the face of a feline. Aging does not exist in “reality tv land.”  There appears to be little acceptance of their outward appearance, and extreme measures are taken to achieve whatever ideal they’ve conjured up in their heads.

Third, I believe in cultivating an enriching life that will inspire others. In the lives of these reality tv stars, little is to be seen when it comes to an enriching life. Passion, ideas and intellectual conversation are not paramount of these shows.

By watching these shows, I am advocating the very things I detest. I am supporting women who sell manufactured sex appeal and unnecessary discord with those they should support.

Although it’s a little late to be making a new year’s resolution, I think it’s time for me to reassess and give up my mental junk food. Yes, I’d rather zone out in the evenings, but should I be filling my mind with fruitless material?

Here I am. I confess to being a junkie to reality tv. What are your confessions? Do you think it’s important to self-evaluate often?

Brittany Windle

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A Real Reality Check

February 3, 2014

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills - Season 4

America: the land of the free and overnight reality stars. Anyone can be a star these days from the Housewives of Wherever to Amish Mafia. What are most of these people famous? Yet, millions of Americans tune in to soak in the latest drama that is the farthest from reality. I admit; I’m one of them.

What impression does this really give to people? Even shows like American Idol, which I do find entertaining, are portraying that success is quick, cheap, and easy. When was the last time you heard of someone working hard to gain the credibility that they have?

You’ve done it before. You’ll get really excited about something, try, and when it doesn’t happen fast, you give up. Can I blame you? I’ve done it, too, a thousand times! Unfortunately, it is a trend of our culture.

You may be thinking, “Great… This is another ‘Follow Your Dreams’ speech!” No, but what I am saying is find your dream, your goal, your cause, and COMMIT.

I recently watched a young man on the Bonnie Hunt show tell his story of how he became a successful actor. He knew what he wanted to do, so he decided to surround himself with people who were committed to the same thing. The closest he got to acting at the time was working at a gift shop on a film set. How did folding clothes and doing inventory get him in the movies?

He eventually tried out for a part. Because of his acting skills and networking with the people he encountered, he landed a role along side of Denzel Washinginton.

How long did he work at the gift shop? I don’t know. What did he do before that? I don’t know that either. I do know that he said something that was key. He surrounded himself with people who were committed to the same thing he was committed to and stuck with it (even if that meant serving the people that he hoped he would become like one day).

If you want to be a writer for a major magazine or even start your own, the closest thing you may get to doing that at first is being an intern. Making coffee and filing may not be glamorous, but it’s one step closer to where you want to be.

Most people who are successful have put in the hard work that is necessary. They probably didn’t start at the top of their game, but what they did do is commit!

Now think about that one thing that you really want to see happen. Whatever it is, keep that dream. Now, throw away the mentality of microwave success. Next, surround yourself with people who want the same thing, even if it’s starting at the bottom. Commit to it, and see what happens. I dare you!

Brittany Windle

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Midnight Dress Rehearsal

January 2, 2014

the coulisses

I heard some of the best advice given to me the other day: “Don’t let someone’s decisions change your character.” When I heard that one sentence I was shocked that someone would have such wisdom. You see, this past year, my parents after thirty years decided to separate and divorce.

If you have ever experienced parents divorcing, you know that there is a lot of pain, confusion, and heartache. I don’t think it matters your age; it always hurts. A picture perfect family that you envisioned will soon be two families (even when you always knew it wasn’t perfect). Fun-filled holidays won’t be the same, but rather a tug of war to go to not just one parent’s house but now two.

Eventually you learn (or I hear that you learn) to move on, heal, and do what’s best for you. During the healing process, I have become calloused but then vulnerable, sad and then sometimes furious. There is a roller coaster of emotions that encompasses a divided family. I have gotten mad at individuals and have stood firm and unwavering on my decision to never speak with them, but then realized that was not realistic and not a healthy way to live. Unforgiveness smothers your happiness and will deteriorate your joy.

It is a process. At times, I’m able to live without it crossing my mind. Then sometimes I’m hurt all over again and mad at certain individuals. I have spent countless nights lying in bed rehearsing a speech that I would love to give to those who have hurt me. The words are choice, the phrases are timely, and sharp as a two-edged sword.

Recently, I had decided that the speech would become a reality. I would march up to that person’s door, knock furiously, and invite myself in, completely unannounced, of course.

But I was stopped in my tracks when a mentor of mine said that one tiny but powerful sentence: “Don’t let someone’s decisions change your character.”  I realized that no matter the decisions of a person, I couldn’t let it alter who I was.  Even if someone has been unquestionably wrong, that person’s actions do not give me the right to do something that for 1. is out of character and 2. possibly damaging as well.

So I’ve decided to keep my character intact. No more “dress rehearsals” at midnight with me killing someone with my words. I won’t change on account of someone else’s decisions.

When will I heal completely? Who knows? But as I continue to forgive…sometimes daily, the pain is slowly melting away, and my joy is being revived.

Brittany Windle

Follow Britt on Twitter.