Obsessed with start-ups, coffee, and online marketing.

That about sums me up.
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Mar 11

The Value of Stiletto Networks

I was wandering the web the other day and stumbled upon a post on Entrepreneur.com about the Rise of Stiletto Networks, and I have to admit – I was caught a bit off guard. What is this new trend regarding women in business that I have yet to hear about?

A stiletto network is loosely defined as “a group of power women that meet often and support each other” and apparently it’s like a thing. There is even a book on it {that I admittedly just ordered}.

Honest moment…something about the name rubs me the wrong way. Which is strange because I love both confident women and beautiful stilettos. Hell you all know how much I love shoes. Like a lot. But it feels like a name that goes against the nature of the cause. Like it somehow suggests you have to be wearing stilettos to be powerful, or maybe that you have to be a stereotypical type of beautiful to be powerful. Neither of which is true, obviously. Powerful, confident, world-changing women wear all sort of shoes. They come in all sorts of sizes, styles, and types.

On the flip side…a stiletto is a very powerful shoe. It’s synonymous with bold, beautiful, power. All of those words are exactly how I view the women I know that are leading the way. They are bold, beautiful, and powerful.

It’s what I aspire to be daily…bold, beautiful, and to have an impact on the brands I build, consumers I reach, and technology world in general.

I’m a fan of camraderie between women in business, especially women in tech. In fact, I’m more than a fan. I’ve spent the last few years of my career very much focused on investing in other women entrepreneurs, marketers, and technologists (this focus of mine has come with it’s own challenges, which I plan on writing about at some point). I mentor two women myself, and take any chance I can to get in front of women and remind them how exciting technology is and how perfect a place it is for their unique skills.

My mentor is a woman. My professional coach is a woman. My closest industry liasons are women. Without even knowing it I have created and joined a number of “stiletto networks.” In fact, right now I am actually, intentionally, working with a fellow fashion blogger on building one focused on fashion and tech. We just didn’t know that it was called that. So meta. I find it very interesting, that without having been exposed to the idea, or learning about it’s value, I was actually creating and participating in so many of these.

The value of these networks (call them whatever you want) are so amazing. From them we get professional guidance, personal support, connections, advice, and what I believe to be an “innate understanding” that somehow helps me silence my inner critics, and be my boldest, best self.

I feel very fortunate to have found myself surrounded by so many women I adore and admire professionally. If you are a woman in tech and you find yourself without a group like this, I encourage you to go create one. It can start with just two of you, and see where it takes you. Invite in those with other skills, and similar ambitions and before you know it…you’ll be rocking a Stiletto Network yourself.

And if you really can’t find that second person, ping me. No I mean it. We’ll figure something out. #thepoweroftwo for women in tech can be a very powerful beginning. So go get started already.

Dec 25

My 2014 Style Resolutions

Dear 2013, you were one hell of a year. Full of emerald greens, leather accents, and personal mountains…I must say…just wow.

I am quite excited about the year ahead. Choosing to take the reins more, go after what really makes me happy, care less what others think, and put my time just where I want it to go. Call it my early thirties, being single for the first time in three years, or just good ole fashioned New Year mojo – but I’m ready for you 2014.

I thought I’d throw together a fresh list of my style resolutions. Rather than commit to more work/life balance (meh, no thanks), or to cook more (I’m way ahead of you 2014!) or finally get back to dancing (which I really do want to do) – I decided to come up with resolutions at they relate to fashion, style, makeup, and more.

Last year I challenged myself to learn more about the fashion industry, committed to blogging more, got up my ISITaYES site/blog, and finished up my fashion app (ready to launch soon). So what is the next chapter for me in this stylish ride? I’m not entirely sure, but I think these style resolutions are a good place to start.

1. Wear more dresses. I’ve been drawn to them lately. Maybe because I miss being feminine, or maybe because I feel more free flowing than previous years. But this year I vow to wear more dresses. Long ones, short ones, cinched at the waist, and layered. I went on a date not to long ago and the man picked me up and twirled me and I kept thinking – man I wish I had on a beautiful maxi dress right now, so the wind could catch and this moment could last longer. [Yes I think those things. That's totally normal, right? right?]

Goal: Twirl more.

2. Find the perfect pair of nude heels. I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t own nude pumps. Yup. I said it. I know they are the staple, the thing to own. But damn they are hard to find. If I have to dedicate multiple weekends to this adventure, I will [cough] [cough] [willingly] put in the time. Suggestions welcome, as are shopping buddies. I must find them to help me tackle #6, and to also figure out that whole “make your legs look so damn long” thing. With all the dresses I’ll be wearing, it’s a must.

Goal: Find the confidence to show off more leg.

3. Discover orchid accents. Pantone…I adore you. Last year it was emerald and this year orchid. I appreciate you keeping us on our toes. Purple is such a rich, and soulful color. It reminds me of being young and carefree. I’d wear head to toe purple, and bounce around. So this year I will embrace this feminine accent in fun new ways – maybe menswear, maybe jewelry, maybe a pair of kicks if I can find them.

Goal: Lace into my life the softer side of bold.

4. Finally figure out boyfriend jeans and pumps. You might be thinking this trend is “over.” Oh that’s right…I don’t care. I am 5 foot nothing, and I dig boyfriend jeans. High heels and jeans. I’ve been trying to understand the boyfriend jeans and pumps phenomenon for the last two years but with little success. This is the year. I must figure out the right length, drape of the jean, height of the heel, so on and so forth.

Goal: Show up at a happy hour in said outfit, order martini, look fabulous. Repeat.

5. Explore hairstyles & find a signature. Confession: I have absolutely no idea what to do with my hair. I’ve been a blond, a brunette. I’ve cut it short, grown it out, permed it, straightened it. I’ve done bangs, no bangs, back to bangs, back to no bangs. Hell I’ve tried it all. Alas…I am no closer to really understanding how to do my hair. Most days it’s a high bun, or a low ponytail. There has to be more. Tis the time to figure this out.

Goal: Stop pretending a messy bun looks great [caveat: everyday for every occasion].

6. 31 year old professional me…figure that out. I’m 31. I’m 31. Holy snap. I’m 31. I want to start dressing like what 31-year-old Joanna should dress like. What is that you ask? Don’t panic - I have a pinterest board for just this occasion…uhmmm and a Wanelo collection. [Don't judge me!] Clean lines, polished, sexy, bold colors, and layers. Leather, chic, with the occasional “favorite piece.” Oh…and once a while there is a casual -  ripped jeans, meets soft t-shirt, with bulky sweater and chunky necklace look. Anyway. I’ve got a magnet pulling me this direction, so it’s time to get after it already.

Goal: Stop throwing on jeans and a black sweater. For the love of all the others things in my closet – start taking chances. Continue reading →

Apr 07

Why I Believe in the Power of Neon

Something has happened friends. We are in the middle of a neon revolution (you know…like the eighth one in the history of revolutions). We are seeing it everywhere. I personally couldn’t be more happy. I believe in the power of neon. yellow sheer shirt

What the hell does neon mean? Some things that might come to mind: Kelly Kapowski, lava lamps, leg warmers, and drugs. All of which do very much have their roots in neon. But then again so do I. When I was younger my sister and I were told we could pick the color of our bedroom. Like most young ladies our age we did the most obvious thing — we picked a different neon color for each wall. We also wrote in pen across our current walls in big letters what color each wall should be.

My mom and dad were not amused.

Neon has something. It’s electric and I adore that. It’s unmistakable, impossible to ignore, and larger than life. Much like all things should be if you ask me. So why do I believe in the power of neon? Because I believe that life is short, and color matters. I believe that how we visually shock this world should reflect the impact we hope to have in it. I believe that neon colors could very well change the course of any day.

neon wall art

And drape myself in it I will. I’ve bought shoes, nail polishes, shirts, and phone covers. I’ve embraced Neon so much I am wearing it as makeup. Hell to the yes. I’ve talked about the power of a color before, and I do very much think Neon has the same possibilities. Why not be bolder? Why the hell not.

FWIW I think the current Neon phase might just become the norm. I don’t think we will see this one fade. Much like we saw with chunky gold watches, and studded boots, I think we may just find that Neon is setting up shop in our 2013 world. I, for one, hope so.

Looking for more Neon inspiration? I’m pinning the hell out of it right now.

Jan 24

Fashion, Tech Ladies, and Cocktails – Join Me at the Poshmark Winter Essentials Party!

For those of you following my rambles about ISITaYES, it probably comes at no surprise that I love fashion apps. I’m constantly bouncing between them, downloading new ones, and trying them out. I came across Poshmark not too long ago and was impressed. It’s like a virtual closet swap – hello fun! Next week they are throwing a little party here in Seattle (see details below), and I’d love to invite my fellow fashion lovers to join me.

A few ladies from around town (including the always fashionable @mollieinseattle & @jessestrada) and I will be co-hosting a get together where us style-obsessed women can get together and catch up. I know I am newer to this world than most of the other ladies, but I can’t think of anything I’d rather do then get all gussied up and talk fashion with brilliant tech ladies. Continue reading →

Jan 03

Emerald Green, Me & 2013

It’s the year of emerald green you know. Or so *they* say. Whoever that is. Pantone apparently. The last few days I’ve found myself bringing this up in conversation way more than what seems normal. I am compelled for some reason to talk about colors a great deal lately. Maybe it’s the hours spent on Pinterest, or the gray skies of Seattle, but the bottomline is my mind is wandering to color time and time again.

Color statements are a strange thing. Our minds instantly think of fashion and favorite colors…favorite shirts…favorite dresses. For me color has always been a way to show up for the day. Is it a yellow day? Is it a coral day? Am I going to drift through these 24 hours in neutral shades. I’ve always had a strong attachment to color and used it, for lack of a better phrase, as a mood ring of sorts.emerald green room

So emerald. Here we are. 2013 and you and me. I wonder what we will experience together? When I think of you I admit I don’t have too many images come to mind.

Continue reading →

Nov 04

The Power of a Sequin

Sequins. Glitz. Glamour. Girlyness. I’ve always loved it all. When I was a child I remember practicing how to walk in heels on the road in front of my house…I was like 12. Thankfully for me the heels were only half an inch or so, and we lived on a deadend street. Years later our neighbor mentioned that she couldn’t stop laughing that day when she looked out and I was walking back in forth in my white heels (there were part of my Confirmation outfit…irony at its finest) and my dress, with a white purse swinging back and forth. What a hilarious, girly mess I was.

Or am rather.

Believe it or not being a girl has not always come easy to me. YouTube tutorials, texts to friends, MAC counter lessons…I’ve done it all. And still I just recently mastered a smokey eye. #thatshitishard

With that said, over the years I’ve grown to love my “far from model perfect” sex appeal. I’ve found a laid back style that still dazzles my boyfriend, makes me strut {albeit more of an awkward walk}, and I’ve found a vibe I feel comfortable in. I’ve learned to embrace my version of glitz. Continue reading →

Aug 15

Fashion – A New Chapter for Me

Sometimes you need to say something out loud to make it real. You know? It’s like the first time I said “I love you” to Peter, my amazing boyfriend, even though I had been feeling it for months. Or it’s like when you make a tough career decision and say out loud for the first time “honestly, I’m not so sure what to do.” There is a promise in saying something out loud…a duty if you will.

Yesterday I met with a brilliant friend of mine – Michelle Goldberg. She took two hours of her time to walk through my career path, my branding, my ideas, and more. She offered her experience (of which is truly priceless) as a successful, strong, smart, funny, and fashionable woman in tech. Leaving our chat I was high on life.

It was the sort of high us “seekers of self” rarely get. Maybe it happens after we create a new Pinterest board that perfectly sums us up, or maybe it happens after a life-long friend stuns you with a truth about yourself that is hard to grasp any other way.

Either way I walked out of that meeting with a clearer sense of who I am and what I want. For reals. Crazy I know. She reminded me that I have more dimensions to myself than just startups and marketing. She pointed out examples of my softer side, and my edgier side. She pointed out that I have a lot of room to grow in knowing who I am. Well smack. Ain’t that the truth?! Continue reading →