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A Little Piece of You

A Piece of Their Story: Milena Ciciotti

Meet Milena! A 20-year-old following her dreams to become a beauty and lifestyle youtuber. Milena's channel has recently taken off, and we cannot wait to see where life takes her! Thanks for sharing your story, Milena, we love your positivity and passion. 

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF! 
I recently moved to the Livonia, Michigan area with my husband Jordan, and our two furry babies Samson & Delilah. We’re newlyweds and loving every minute of it! We both work full and are in school full time (cringe, I know). My biggest passion is my YouTube channel. I started my YouTube channel about a year ago, but at the time I was living at my parents’ house and I didn’t have the space/time to film my videos, but since my husband and I have moved into our new home, I’ve been able to upload 2 videos a week!
WHAT ARE YOUR FOUR TRAITS AND WHY? 
SASSY: I would say I’m sassy because I have my dreams in sight, and I’m not letting anyone stop me!
ATHLETIC: I would say I’m athletic because I’m very much into fitness and health. I make it to the gym at least 5 days a week, and try my best to eat the best foods for my body and soul.
BOLD: I’m not afraid to take chances or go against what everyone else says.
FUNNY: I always try to put a smile on someone’s face so I tend to act silly and foolish more often than not.

A BOLD PERSONALITY IS ONE OF YOUR FOUR TRAITS, HOW DO YOU FEEL THIS HAS SHAPED YOU AS A PERSON TODAY?
I’ve never been afraid doing what I thought was best for myself. I didn’t care if people judged me or told me otherwise. That's helped me become who I am today because if I held back because I was afraid, I don’t know where I would be today.

SO YOU ARE SASSY, HOW DO YOU ADD A LITTLE EXTRA "SASS" IN EVERYTHING YOU DO? HOW HAS THIS HELPED YOU STAND APART FROM THE REST?
I stay true to myself, I don’t allow the world to shape me into behaving a certain way.

WHAT’S A PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WISH SOMEBODY WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU?  
“You are beautiful, for you are fearfully and wonderfully made” – Psalms 139:14
Something social media does to women is bring comparisons and glorify our outside beauty, but one thing I continuously tell myself is we are all beautiful, we were all uniquely made by our creator!

CHECK OUT MORE FROM MILENA!
INSTAGRAM | YOUTUBE | FACEBOOK   

Holiday Photoshoot: Behind the Scenes

GETTING READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS 

It's almost the most wonderful time of the year again! While it may seem a bit early to be setting up the tree and decorating our office, it was surely time for our big Holiday photoshoot as we prepare for the season! Last week was busy, to say the least! After many hours of planning, scheduling, and styling we had an incredible shoot. You're about  to get a full behind the scenes sneak peek at everything that went on during our photoshoot! So grab a cup of hot cocoa, turn on the Christmas music station, and get ready for some Christmas spirit!

THE PROCESS

As we started out the day on Wednesday, we had an exact vision of all the shots we wanted to have by the end of the day. From candy canes to tinsel, we knew all the pieces that we needed. Props, on props, on props! It is crucial to go into a photoshoot having everything planned and organized as much as possible beforehand. We are so grateful to have been able to work with an amazingly talented photographer, Hannah Ziegeler with HZ Photos. From styled product shots to group modeled pictures, we got a little bit of everything, and we couldn't be happier with the results! 

Sneak Peek!

We can't contain our excitement! As promised, here's a look at some of the pictures from the shoot. So cute, right? 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR NEXT

To thank all of you for the love and support you've given us the past year, we will be running some amazing holiday promotions that you'll want to make sure to check out! Sign up for our newsletter on our website and make sure to follow along our social media accounts to be the first to know! Our pieces make inc meaningful and thoughtful gifts for your loved ones!

BIG THANKS

We would like to thank everyone who took part in making our Holiday photoshoot come together so perfectly! We partnered with Jean Marie's, a local boutique here in Holland Michigan! Not local, no problem check out there website to snag any of the pieces you've seen in the photos! They were kind enough to allow us to use all of their ADORABLE apparel items. Also, a huge thank you to Hannah, and her assistant Mista, for being such wonderful photographers to work with! Finally, thank you to all of the beautiful models who wore our products so well. 

From all of us at Pieces of Me, may we be the first to wish you Happy Holidays! 

Pieces of Me Cuff Bracelets & Necklaces

Photographer: HZ Photos

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK

Apparel Items & Accessories: Jean Maries

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK 

 

A Piece of Stephanie's Story

Meet Stephanie! A 25-year-old from Hollywood Florida. She lives every day in hopes for adventure and making others laugh. Thanks for sharing your story with us, Stephanie. You are amazing!

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF! 
Currently cooking up a meal for my hubby and wondering what color I should paint the exterior of my house next. I'm a full-time sales and marketing coordinator and slowly but surely blossoming into a fashion and lifestyle blogger! My husband Alfredo and I tied the knot over a year ago but started our love story back in 2009 - We are both Cuban and inherited the Cuban culture from our parents as well as the same last name but I promise you, we are not related! How can I forget my dog, Juli. She's a 6-year-old Shitzu and the light of our home. We're making the best out of our youth and so far traveled to multiple places these last few years and continuing to do so. 

WHAT ARE YOUR FOUR TRAITS AND WHY? 
CREATIVE: The Pisces in me is fully equipped when it comes to creativity. I'm constantly imagining things and planning beforehand. I had such an amazing experience coordinating my own wedding, it was so much fun seeing my visions brought to life. The pinks, the golds, the sparkles! My husband is definitely a trooper for putting up with my ideas. 

ADVENTUROUSThis world has so many places to see and one is stuck doing the same routine over and over again! I like to break that system from time to time and wander off every chance I can get! 

FUNNY: My husband says I'm a box of surprises. Spontaneously funny and constantly cracking a joke about anything that comes to mind. I'm also that great friend who will console you over the phone while you're constipated in the bathroom. Sorry, Blair.

DREAMER: My imagination runs wild every time I think about my future. I picture it first, multiple times in my head of course, and then find ways to achieve it. 99.9% of all my aspirations have been accomplished. Even if it's something bizarre like riding a unicorn. I will DIY a cute unicorn horn find a local white horse off Craigslist and call it a day. This is where my humor kicks in. 

YOU ARE ADVENTUROUS, HOW DO YOU ATTEMPT TO ACHIEVE THIS IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE?
My husband and I try to eliminate expenses by replacing the items we want with the things we actually need. If you have a goal, whether it's to travel somewhere abroad or buying your first home, budget yourself. Set aside that money you were looking to spend on a pair of jeans. Doing that regularly will help you save money for that dream vacation you've always desired. It's not easy at first, but once you're closer to that goal it will only motivate you more to succeed.  

SO YOU ARE A DREAMER, WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM YOU HOPE TO SOMEDAY FULFILL?
If you fulfill everything you desire in life then what's next? I only wish to continue the path I am living today and aspire for the greater good in everything. 

WHAT'S ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU LIVE BY, OR HAVE GIVEN TO OTHERS?

To treat others the way you want to be treated. If people followed this concept, the world would be a much better place. 

CHECK OUT MORE FROM STEPHANIE BELOW!

A Piece of Your Story: Meagan Ayres

Meet Meagan, a 28 year old who lives in Vancouver! Her positive outlook on life and desire to empower women inspires us. Not only does Meagan work in retail buying/management, she has also put her passion into action by founding a woman empowerment group called Project YOU. You rock Meagan! 

WHAT ARE YOU UP TO RIGHT NOW? TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!

What Boss Lady doesn’t want to answer this with 1 Million things? How can I describe myself in only a few words? If you didn’t know me and someone had to share how I am, they are most likely to say “Go-getter, Energetic, Adorable and Positive”.

I have always had a positive outlook on life to create as much as possible and be, do and have anything you want! As a child, I was referred to as a “social butterfly” and it seems not much has changed. You can always find me party planning, attending local events, or finding out what is the next trend to focus on.

I am a lover of anything creative, aesthetically pleasing (you can throw sparkly in there too) and has to do with Women Empowerment!

Right now, I work full-time for Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel as a Retail Buyer/Manager for their beautiful gift and spa boutique. It’s a perfect job for me! I love to pick out the best products with a unique brand story that will put a smile on someone’s face when they receive it... or your own….you have it have it because it is SO CUTE!

Outside of my 9-5 I have a side hustle, a year ago I founded Project YOU - a women's empowerment group that helps women to honor themselves.

TELL US ABOUT I AM PROJECT YOU! HOW DID THAT START?

Project YOU started when I felt empowered to make an impact on women in my Community.

Myself, like many other women have dealt with Body Image Issues, Heartbreak, Loss, Lack of Confidence, Infidelity….the list goes on. I felt there wasn’t an outlet to come together as women and have a look for ourselves on how we could learn to show up differently, find our power and excel in all areas of our lives.I knew I wanted Project YOU to be focused on exploration in the areas of Mental, Physical and Spiritual well-being.

I decided to create this amazing movement to help women honor themselves - to be honest with what they need and to wake up every day knowing their truth - what is really true for them and not for anyone else. This to me is so important for living a fulfilled life.

We currently host monthly workshops where we invite Inspirational/Influential Women to be speakers at the event and share their tips and tools with the audience.

One key thing about our events is the interaction and implementation of the work through the Breakout Exercises. The ladies at the event leave knowing they have something to wake up to the next day that will fuel their fire for self transformation.

What I love about Project YOU most is that the space is so welcoming and inviting and the women are there to uplift you and help you achieve your goals and dreams - not put you down. That is truly beautiful and this is how we can create a better future.

WHAT ARE YOUR FOUR TRAITS AND WHY?

1. HONEST: Honesty to me is so important, to be honest with others but also honest with yourself. If I am not living ethically or responsibly I don’t feel good about myself or anything that surrounds me whether that is business, relationships etc. In the end, it all comes out in the long run - being honest will allow you to move forward so much faster in anything you want to do!

2. CREATIVE: I love this one because I love to create. When I am not creating its an instant sign that I am out of alignment somewhere. For me being creative has always been an outlet and an area where I feel most myself.

3. CONFIDENT: I love this word - it took me a while and a lot of self exploration to feel this way about myself. Sometimes feeling confident can be hard when there is so much going on in society to make you feel otherwise, or people who have hurt you in the past. What I realized lately was that when I connected back to my own truth or who I am and what I love to do within that I found confidence. I never want to forget this word. Each day I need to remember to wake up and choose to put on my confidence hat for the day, it is really ever changing as I take on more responsibility!

 HARD-WORKING: This one for me describes me to a tee. I have always been hard working and I am proud of my dedication to it. I know that it will make a difference for myself and others so to me this trait is a personal tribute to a part of me that I never want to lose.

YOU ARE CONFIDENT, WHERE DO YOU THINK YOUR INNER CONFIDENCE COMES FROM? 

I feel confidence is something that we all have and it lives within us, I have chosen to work to connect back and discover it! For me, I feel it comes from my inner knowingness of who I AM and what my personal beliefs are. When I am living from this place, making decisions from this place and I am fully present I am able to show up confidently. When I am fully aligned there is no room for judgement, anger, jealousy or pain there is only freedom and complete confidence in myself.

SO YOU ARE CREATIVE, WHAT IS ONE WAY YOU FEEL LIKE YOU EXPRESS THIS?QUALITY?

For me I express creativity through our Project YOU events. Each event is an opportunity to create a different experience for the event topic. One of my favorite was that I do this is by working with my team to come up with an amazing décor that suits our theme or through our activations. You may be wondering what is an activation exactly? At each event we welcome our guests with a beautiful activity that guests them warmed up to the event topic. For example in the past we have designed flower walls where we have women write on a leaf what they are grateful for and then pin it to the backdrop. This made a stunning wall of leaves of gratitude – what an intentional way to start off Project Gratitude.

 

WHAT’S ONE PIECE OF ADVICE THAT YOU LIVE BY, OR THAT YOU HAVE GIVEN TO OTHERS? 

Trust your intuition, you know yourself best. I know this saying is often overused but it is 100% true. Others will tell you different, or you may go searching for who you ought to be but the best advice I can give is to take a moment, be still and connect to your truth. Sometimes this even means slowing down or pausing to reflect on the things that make you feel good or not good and how does this show up in your body. For me, if I have goosebumps it usually means I am on the right track!

CHECK OUT MORE FROM MEAGAN 
INSTAGRAM | WEBSITE | FACEBOOK  

A Piece of M.J.'s Story

Meet M.J., an inspiration to all... From starting her career at the age of 19 to being diagnosed with a very serious disorder, M.J. will not let anything affect her success and happiness. Thank you for being such an inspiration to us and for being so genuine. We wish you all the best and look forward to seeing what the future has in store for you!

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF! 
I’m a Lifestyle blogger based in Toronto, Canada and I also provide branding and communications freelance work. I’m engaged to my partner of 6 years Peter and we have 2 dogs, our Pomeranian Dolce and Italian Greyhound Tisci (@DolceAndTisci on Instagram).

I worked at the executive level as an Executive Assistant for leaders at some of Canada’s top organizations. I really stumbled upon where I’m at in life with my career (literally) after an injury turned health condition changed my career path in late 2014. Unable to work but not wanting to lose myself, I began creating visual content on social media when I could as a way to keep me stimulated. 

By Mid-2016 I knew that I wanted to create more than just visual content. I started to get questions on brands I was posting, beauty routines and more. I began blogging by the Fall of that year to share more content with my friends and followers. I write about a range Lifestyle topics from style to food & drink to life advice, anything I feel my friends and followers would be into.

It wasn't long before the brands and small businesses I built relationships with began asking for me for brand consulting and freelance communications work. Transitioning into branding and communications consulting was a natural progression and a new venture I'm very excited about and continuing to build. 

I also write for Style Nine to Five’s blog, a retail recruiting agency based in Vancouver serving companies in Canada and New York City, I focus on style picks, latest trends, and career advice. 

Working freelance is something that was a natural step for me in my career journey. Being officially diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2015, I’ve had to find ways to continue doing what I love on a schedule that works for my day to day uncertainties of the condition.

WHAT ARE YOUR FOUR TRAITS AND WHY? 
WITTY: I love pairing humor with cleverness, I can make someone laugh while impressing them with my brains, I’ve done my job. I probably got it from being an only child and mostly interacting with older kids/adults as I grew up. My entire family is pretty quick-witted though.

DRIVEN: I’ve always been someone who no matter what, always wants to achieve more and do the best I can. Living with Fibromyalgia for over 2 years has enhanced my drive even more, with me wanting to prove to myself that I can still accomplish what I once could, and more!

CREATIVE: I’m an Aquarius, a textbook Aquarius so creativity is second nature to me. Ever since I was a kid I was always drawing, painting and being encouraged to express my creativity. I’ve never been musically inclined or particularly good at drawing but have always enjoyed it. It wasn’t until later in life that I realized that my sense of visual presentation (wardrobe styling, photography, creative direction) was my creative gift.

STRONG: I was a tomboy probably until the age of 13, and deep down inside I still am, having to keep up with the boys kept me strong physically. My inner strength comes from my parents who always encouraged me to be my best and pushed me to never give up. Starting a career at a young age also taught me strength in my sense of self mainly from having to stand strong and prove my worth amongst my older peers, and learning how to take criticism.

YOU ARE WITTY, HOW DO YOU FEEL THIS HAS MADE YOU WHO YOU ARE TODAY?
My wittiness has to be one of the top things I am known for by my friends and family. They can always count on me to deliver that perfect punchline or sassy comment to any situation. It helps brighten peoples moods during sad times and made for some hilarious memories.

SO YOU ARE DRIVEN, WHAT IS ONE GOAL YOU ARE TRYING TO ACHIEVE AT THE MOMENT?
My biggest goal right now is just to continue to stabilize my new normal and rebuild the life and career I once had prior to my diagnosis. I’ve come a long way in the last 2 years but I know there is still plenty more adjusting, growing and improving to be done.

WHAT’S A PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WISH SOMEBODY WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU?  
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” It’s an Eleanor Roosevelt quote that I have tattooed on my inner right bicep. You are your own worst enemy and at the end of it all, you are the only person that can truly hold yourself back. Start by lifting yourself up and believing that you can achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself, and I promise you that you’ll make it happen.

CHECK OUT MORE FROM M.J. BELOW!