This collection was inspired by the look recently sported by Taylor Swift as she headed to Fred Segal in California. However, because I wasn't a big fan of the plaid skirt that (or quite possibly shorts - it wasn't obvious) she had styled the outfit with, I traded it for this high-waist vintage skirt instead. Though the skirt and tote bag give off a classy vibe, I find that the graphic tank adds some spunk to the look, allowing it to be worn during the day with a pair of brogues, or at night with a pair of statement heels. Finally, to tie it all together, I would throw on a distressed leather jacket and rock a bold, red lip. 

michael kors

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When it comes to shopping, I rarely splurge unless I'm purchasing a staple item that I know will last me for many fashion (or weather) seasons to come or, if I've simply been saving for a specific piece. Like anything in life, you get what you pay for so even shopping becomes an investment. I like to believe that owning a handful of versatile bits can allow you the freedom to create different looks that are effortless and minimal, rather than hoarding a wardrobe full of unworn clothing. I've dreamed of owning a leather jacket for months now and I've been so iffy about forking out an arm and a leg just to get a decent priced, good quality item. Thanks to Boxing Day sales and ZARA, I finally added this leather piece to my closet. 
Today for my church outfit, I paired these pink, fitted trousers with a white, chunky three-quarter sweater for a very feminine touch. To tone down the look and add a bit of character, I accessorized with all black pieces, including the aforementioned leather jacket. This look was inspired by the movie Grease - Pink Ladies meets Greasers. 

Jacket: ZARA / Trousers, Brogues, Sweater: New Look / Purse, Watch: Michael Kors / Glasses: Rayban 

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Religiously, as each year ends, mankind begins to comprise massive lists of the things we want to do/see/change/feel/think/etc. in order to make ourselves feel better about the not-so-great year that has recently passed, and give us something to look forward to in the coming year. So in the spirit of reinvention and the over-abused "new year, new me" conundrum, I've created a much more exciting version of the coveted New Year practice. As of late, I've been working extremely hard and dedicating a lot of time into blogging and creating a space I can be proud of, though I am still nowhere close to where I want to be. I've learned the hard way that blogging is not an easy hobby (or career for that matter) and I'm prepared to put in the time to get the results. It's not to say that once I've reached the end of my list, I will sit on my lazy behind and watch the readers pour in and allow PR inquiries to flood my inbox. Instead, this is an effort to re-brand myself as well as my blog so that it may attract the right crowd, so to speak, and have a voice of it's own that will demand attention and respect. 

So, without further adieu, here is my current blog resolution list.

Photography. I like to believe that though the words on a blog draw readers to continue returning, the pictures are the initial bait. I am beyond obsessed with quality photographs and I envy those who can produce jaw dropping images that look effortless to the untrained eye. I recently graduated from my good ol' iPhone 5 camera to some big kid equipment known to the tech savvy kids as the Canon Rebel XSI.

Commitment. In my opinion, one of the hardest things for a new blogger to accomplish is adapting to the idea of creating, organizing, and executing content rich posts on a regular basis (if not daily). This is an area that I am certainly guilty of - it's much easier to put it off for a "few more days" until you find the right time in which you'll rush a post and slap on a sub par picture and call it a day. It's time for me to make use of that blank notebook that I have sitting at bottom of the black hole I call a purse, collecting mounds of dust. 

Social Media. I have to admit, I am very reluctant to share my posts on the social world to people that I know, as strange as that sounds. We live in the decade of judgment and scrutiny and I don't think I'm quite ready to be the subject of ridicule amongst my peers - BUT like all fears, it must be faced sooner or later (though I'm quite content with the latter). 
Being active on social networks allows for a handful, if not more, of readers that can become the foundation of your growing fan base. I suppose that my social circle contains more supporters than critics, and it will be very beneficial for my growth to take advantage of those that know me best. 

Narrowing my Niche. Again, another area that I strive to perfect. It seems rather simple to create a purposeless archive of posts that vary in topics and have no relation to one another and I find this to be a common trend in the blogging world. However, quality over quantity always reigns. Always. Limiting the subject focus on my blog will allow me to give more detail and attention to the things I am most passionate about and in turn, creating pieces that are ample and full of leverage. 

What are your 2015 resolutions?

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My style for accessories and a number of my most recent looks are inspired by 90s fashion; high waist mom jeans, oversized blazers, Chelsea boots, denim on denim (or anything Levi's for that matter), and my absolute favorite -  the grunge inspired combat boots, plaid shirts, leather jackets, beanies, knee high socks, and dark lipstick combinations. My selections in regards to watches are equally inspired by throwback fashion that is making it's way back into store windows and high end fashion magazines. 

There is something simple yet very appealing about a men's time piece that I've been drawn to recently. I love the big face, subtle detail, and solid strap that combined, add a polished finish to any look. They are neither dainty nor feminine, rather they are bold and dynamic. Men's fashion is making it's way into the closets of women all around the world, who are embracing their individuality by customizing common trends. Back are the times of expression through style! Watch out gentlemen, sister's are no longer the only ones who need to worry about sharing clothes anymore! The four pieces that I have chosen below are all from ASOS. 

asos men's watches

(via ASOS)

1. Vintage Style Boyfriend Strap 

2. Monochrome Round Dial 

3. Casio A168WG-9EF Gold Plated Digital 

4. UNKNOWN Navy Leather Strap 

What are you favorite male fashion accessories? 

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No, this is not a how-to for scoring with the cute guy sitting across from you on the subway. Get it together, lady.
From time to time, we all get hit with the blues so hard that we don't want to fathom getting out of bed and starting the day. It happens to the best of us - it's hard to stay positive all the time, as much as we make the conscious effort to do so everyday. Below are a list of my favorite things to do when I'm feeling really down and in desperate need of a pick-me-up!

O1. Guilty Pleasures 

There is nothing that brings me more joy that snuggling up on the couch in my favorite holiday pajamas (no matter the time of year), sipping green tea, stuffing my face, and having a movie marathon. My go to line up of movies falls somewhere between classic Disney movies (The Prince of Egypt is a sure winner!), musicals, and the obvious chick flicks - Pretty Woman is a no brainer. I get lost within the singalongs and within minutes, I'm humming and belting off key. This remedy allows me to forget my troubles for a few hours and I suddenly feel 100x better! 

O2. Look good, feel good.

I don't know about you but when I look good on the outside, I can hardly find it within me to be a grouch. I love getting dolled up with my favorite beauty products and holy grail items, even if I have no where to go! I snap a selfie or two (or 20 because let's be honest, who takes 2 selfies?!) and post on Instagram (or your favorite social network) and I automatically feel that much better. The purpose of make up is to enhance a women's natural beauty and it is indeed the perfect accessory for gloomy days. 

Untitled #6
O3. Celebrate your accomplishments 

Too often we get caught up in the whirlwind of life that we forget how far we have come and all the great things that we have had the opportunity to be apart of. We spend far too much time comparing ourselves to others and judging our goals based on others' successes which in turn leaves us feeling useless. What I find helps me a lot is making a list of all the wonderful things I've done - small or big! It could be anything from helping an elderly person cross the street and packing their groceries into their car or graduating from university with honors! There is no limit to the things that can be categorized as accomplishments, so long as they are positive and make you feel amazing. Count your blessings! 

O4. Dance Party for One!

How can one go wrong with music?! I love blasting my favorite playlist from my iTunes library or hitting shuffle on Shazam, my favorite music app on my iPhone. I like to believe that listening to your favorite music and having a solo dance party in your room (or around the whole house) helps your body to release natural endorphins that reduce stress and put you at ease. Imagine that, stress relief that doesn't require a doctor visit and an expensive prescription! 

O5. Phone a Friend (or Sibling)

Being a middle child, I love the company of other people. I always feel good when I'm in the presence of the human beings that I love, especially those that make me laugh. Whenever I'm feeling glum, I surround myself with people that bring out the best in me, that being my family (mom, brother, sister) or my close friends. These are the people that always know just what to say (or know not to say anything at all) to bring my spirits up. I'm eternally grateful for having such an amazing support circle. 

What are your favorite pick-me-up activities? 

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The 21st century is a tough time to be a woman, and I'm sure that I'm not the first to address this rather obvious statement. And no, this is not another cliche rant about loving your body and accepting yourself for the way the good Lord created you because you are beautiful. (Though these statements are all no brainers and you should love yourself unconditionally!)
Day after day we are bombarded with advertisements for pills/vitamins that offer false promises for achieving a "great body in 30 days", Jenny Craig testimonials with unrealistic time lapses and photo-shopped results, and the odd infomercial that promises that you too, can achieve the body of a seasoned body builder in 15 days by exercising religiously with some crazy contraption. 

Once I upon a time I too, was caught up on the whirlwind of weight loss secrets and tips causing me to obsess over the last freshman 15 that I just couldn't seem to shed off in time for the summer break. The funny thing was that I was the only one who noticed this imaginary baggage that I carried in my back pocket. I eventually came to terms with the fact that it was virtually impossible (okay maybe it is, but it sure isn't healthy) to maintain my 16 year old me weight in my 20s because with age comes change. Take a walk, choose the stairs instead of the elevator. Rome wasn't built in day! Baby steps, baby steps. With each passing year, gravity becomes one step closer to betting against your odds and sending all the wrong parts of your beloved body heading south... for good. Keeping that thought in mind, I comprised a few tips to ease the stress when it comes to eating and keeping that body youthful.

Do not deprive yourself of the things you love. Treats, fast food, and guilty pleasures are all things must be taken in moderation, this too includes clean eating. Allow yourself the privilege of indulging every so often and do not dedicate a specific day to indulge mainly because whenever I've tried to do so, I find that I end up over consuming the yucky stuff. Instead, curb those craving and feed the monkey on sight and you'll later find that you are less likely to have such cravings on a regular basis. 

Portion control. Whether you are eating a bag of chips or a plate of grilled chicken and steamed vegetables, it's all about controlling the amount that you're eating versus what you're actually putting into your body. This is not to say that you can live on chocolate bars and popcorn for all of eternity so long as you eat a tiny amount per sitting because that is simply absurd. The idea behind this is that the more you consume smaller meal portions throughout the day, you train your metabolism to speed up while shrinking your stomach simultaneously. Over time, your body will develop a trigger that let's you know when you are "full' because your stomach no longer has any room left to hold food. 

Water is your best friend. And so are those lemons that make your face cringe. Boredom, stress, and late nights are my biggest demons. It is a natural reflex for me to grab a bite to eat to fulfill a boredom void or when I've become hungry because I've stayed up way too late and my wakened stomach nudges me, wondering why it hasn't been fed in 4+ hours. I find that water revitalizes my system and gives me the boost of energy I need when I'm day dreaming about stuffing my face just minutes post meal. The citric acid found in lemons has a detoxifying affect and aids in cleansing the body from the inside out. Throwing a few lemons slices into your glass of water throughout the day can aid in curbing your cravings as well as the maintenance of this complex machine we call the human body. 

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Music has always been a big part of my life and I've taken it upon myself to explore different genres and music styles outside of my comfort zone. Growing up, I was never well coordinated and comprehensive enough to master the art of playing an instrument (nor could I play sports for the life of me, but that's another story all in its own), so I have an abundance of admiration for those who have perfected the art and inspire those less creative like myself, to allow music to push them past their niche's. 

These lists usually last a few weeks before every radio station in the country overdoes is it with back to back plays, and I can no longer stand the thought of the beats alone. This is pretty much the life cycle of my favorites. Sometimes if they're lucky, songs that are dear to me or simply fuel my pre-party vibes, receive a little mouth-to-mouth and find their way back to the top of my playlists. 
In the spirit of music appreciation, here are the songs that I am currently obsessing over:

1. Take Me To Church - Hoizer
2. Make It To Me - Sam Smith
3. Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran
4. New Flame - Chris Brown ft. Usher & Rick Ross
5. Let Your Hair Down - MAG!C
6. Stay High - Tove Lo
7. I Choose You - Sara Bareilles
8. Waves (Acoustic)  - Mr. Probz 
9. Recognize - PND ft. Drake 
10. Only Love - Ben Howard

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For my wishlist this year, I've resorted to more practical and functional gifts in the hopes of not hoarding endless amounts of tidbits that I won't use past the end of the year (with my short attention span, this is very likely). Okay, who am I kidding. There is nothing practical about this idea at all. I suppose they call is a wish list for a reason. Below are a few of my favorite things that I don't yet own. With the convenience of online shopping, there is a likely chance that I would have purchased each of these items by the time I finish writing this post. 

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Winter has officially arrived and if you live in the arctic country of Canada like I do, you'll know this statement to be true! We've learned to welcome the crazy cold and mounds of snow with smiles and open arms. Ok, who am I kidding... we still run at the sight of flurries falling, but nonetheless, I felt that this post was very appropriate as the brisk days of fall are leaving and the colder days are following closely behind to make a dreaded appearance.  

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fall fashion

Heading into the lovely season of dark colors, layers, and bundling up, I thought I would share my favorite jeans for the fall months. The good Lord blessed me with a curvy figure that sometimes makes it a tad difficult to shop for the right pair of jeans that fit oh-so-snug. I find myself having to choose between jeans that will fit my legs and thighs but drown my waist requiring me to singe them taut with a belt and creating that bulging effect in the back that we all hate, or, simply going for the pair that fits my waist right but leaves my thighs glued together, giving me the inability to climb stairs or even walk for that matter. So, you can imagine my joy when I finally decided that it was time to put this jean misery to rest!

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What have I done to put myself out there? As an aspiring writer, I surely cannot expect to depend on my words alone to get me the audience and attention I need to become successful and known to the world, amongst a plethora of amazing writers, authors, and editors. You could be the world's greatest writer, photographer, DIY-er, but if your ideas are not put out onto public platforms to be seen, then what good is your craft? Over the years I have dedicated so much time into creating a blog that represents me as a person, writer, and self proclaimed creative genius but I never quite got the following I was hoping for. I posted regular basis, took pictures, created an engaging layout for my blog, and still couldn't get any traffic. Other than family members and friends that visited and read my blog out of pity, I didn't have a real audience. I realized that my real problem was that I was my own worst enemy. I didn't share my ideas and hobby with the world mainly because I was afraid of being shut down or looked down upon for even thinking that my blog could come anywhere close to being anything more that a pipe dream. So, in the spirit of becoming a better business woman and building a brand for myself, I comprised a list of three key things that new bloggers and creatives should consider. 

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Unless otherwise stated, all images and content featured on A Dose of Jo belong to me, thus requiring permission and credit to be used. If you have any questions or general inquiries, please direct them to joannchizanga@gmail.com
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