Elle Squared

Do You Feel the Music?

Doni Landy

“Music is my religion.” –Jimi Hendrix

Have you ever felt cornered in a job or personal relationship you knew wasn’t right for you but because of your obligations – familial, financial, or both – and felt you were unable to make a move? Or maybe you were just plain afraid to give up the security you had and told yourself you’d stick it out for another six months, a year, even five years? However, deep down in your gut, you knew you knew you were supposed to be doing something different. And the place you were in your life presently wasn’t where you were meant to be, at least not forever because forever is a long time. The world may not have seen it – yet – but you already knew something the world didn’t; you march to the beat of a different drummer.

If that person was – is – you, I understand because, at one time, that person was myself. Believe me; I’m not complaining. I had, and continue to have a great life. The difference was about a year ago I finally started to embrace the music and listen to what it was saying to me.

Who hasn’t gone for a long drive alone and become lost in thought while our favorite song blasts from the speakers? Or worked out to a customized playlist, or sung in the shower because we cannot get that new song on the radio out of our head? Most obvious of all, who hasn’t been in a lousy mood and all it took was a favorite song to pull us out of it?

That’s because we identify with music. Not only with the lyrics, which, of course, can resonate with us in the same way literature and poetry can. But with the feeling music creates in us, the memories it evokes, and the inspiration it can provide us if we are open to it.

Music is my therapy. Whenever I am feeling down, I turn on the songs I love to sway my mood and lift me up. If I am ever unsure of my next step, I can depend on music to provide me with the answers. My favorite lyrics continue to help me put my life in perspective and give me strength to push forward and pursue my dreams, which is what I am now doing.

It has always been a fantasy of mine to work in music while combining it with art and fashion in a meaningful way. I expressed my passion recently, creating one-of-a-kind trucker and beach hats featuring my favorite musical lyrics.

In the past months, I have been lucky enough to work with uniquely talented artists whose music, personal style, and life stories have each affected me profoundly. Their music is about acceptance, not only of others but also of us. Their music reminds us that becoming a success means having faith in what we believe and remaining committed to our values as professionals and, most importantly, caring about others.

No matter what your art is, each of us must use our talents and passion to send a message – to share, teach, and inspire. When we do, we do more than entertain; we create magic. People often try to define music, emphasizing the value of the notes over the lyrics and vice versa. I don’t believe in such paradigms. Whatever music is for you at any moment in time or during any circumstance, let it be your therapy, sanity, and peace.

In life there will always be those situations we can do little to control, from how others perceive us to senseless tragedy, most recently the terrorist attack in Manchester, England at Ariana Grande’s concert Monday night. Our hearts, both at D&D Endeavors and Elle Squared, go out to the families who lost precious loved ones whose only crime was a desire to get closer to the music. We hope and pray that during these most trying hours you find comfort.

As we watch along with the rest of the world in horror, let us be reminded to savor the moments we can recall with a song actually while they’re happening. As I told my daughter years ago in the speech I delivered at her bat mitzvah, and remind my kids every day, remember to see the beauty, hear the music, and feel the love. Sometimes it’s the most we can do.

Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.

All We Need Is Just a Little ‘Patience’

Doni Landy

“Just be patient.”

I have said these words to others, and others have said them to me countless times during my life, all the while with Guns N’ Roses blaring in my head telling me to have “just a little patience.” To my kids: “Be patient, we will get there soon.” To my colleagues: “My vision is coming together, you will see, just be patient.” To my customers, “The bag you want was shipped yesterday, thank you for being so patient.”

Others have said the same words to me. From my mom and dad when I was a kid: “The line is moving, and in a few minutes it will be your turn to choose whatever ice cream cone you want, but first you must be patient.” From my college counselor: “You will hear from NYU soon enough, so be patient for a few more weeks.” And from a friend who I want to spend time with but cannot: “We will see each other soon, please be patient until then.”

The problem is, what if we have no patience? What if we want something or someone so badly we don’t want to wait? What do we do then?

Even if we are not a kid, when we want something and cannot have it immediately, the kid in us comes out. We become anxious. Irritated. Sad. Angry. In many ways, we revert to the child we once were, asking our mom or dad, “Are we there yet?” over and over again, or repeatedly walk into the kitchen wondering how long it will be until dinner is ready.

Our parents, if we were lucky (I was), impressed upon us how important having patience is. That there are reasons why we sometimes have to wait, reasons that are often for our own good. According to my mother, “wait” is one of the most important four-letter words. Instant gratification may feel good but, if we are not careful, may result in having second thoughts later. That is why it is necessary to, as the old proverb tells us, to look before we leap.

I will admit, throughout different times in my life I have not always done this. In my store, we laugh as I continually act impulsively, my lack of patience always just beneath the surface. My team says I run before I walk. And I say that yes, I jump without a parachute and figure it out on my way down. That is how I operate.

Becoming a mother, however, was a game changer for me. A conundrum. Mothers must have patience. When will the baby sleep? How long must I watch the ice cream drip on the floor before I can take it away and clean up? When will my kids (now teenagers) get dressed and come downstairs or call so I can pick them up when they are out with their friends? It was and is a challenge.

Having patience is something I always try to work on. Even if our schedules do not precisely align in the short-term with someone else’s — a child, a relative, or a friend — it behooves us to give that individual the space they may need to catch up to us. Going at a different pace doesn’t mean we love that person or they love us any less. In fact, it means the exact opposite. By being patient, we show others that we care about their needs as much, if not more than our own. And they show us that, sometimes, they know what is best for us even if we do not, at least right away. Having patience means that we can move forward as we should — naturally.

No one ever said having patience would be easy. After all, we want what we want — that sweater, jacket, fragrance, or person we cannot live without. So we wait a little longer. And we try to have patience.

‘Happy Days’ Will Be Here Again

Doni Landy

A couple of weeks ago, I, along with millions of others around the country, heard the sad news that Erin Moran, who played Joanie Cunningham on “Happy Days,” had passed away.

As a kid, I always looked forward to watching “Happy Days” every Monday night, not only because I loved the stories each week but also because I enjoyed seeing the clothes the actors on the show wore. Despite not growing up (or even being born!) during the 1950s when “Happy Days” took place, just seeing Fonzie wear his leather jacket or Richie and his friends’ wear their letterman sweaters, gave me a sense how empowering clothing is. Every piece we have can evoke a feeling, not only in the person wearing it, but with others who see, touch, or borrow it.

Today, and now a mom of two teenagers, whenever I see a high school student wearing a varsity jacket, I think back to my days as a teenager when it was the highest of honors to wear our boyfriend’s. It meant we were “his” girlfriend, someone special to him, and he wanted the world to know. And those of us who got to wear those varsity jackets were equally as proud.

But what those jocks probably didn’t realize is that there was another reason why we loved wearing their jacket — it smelled just like they did. Clothes involve so much more than only our sense of sight. In a basic sense, clothes cover and protect us from the elements. However, the faint scent of the guy we loved on the inside collar of that good ol’ varsity jacket was what made us go gaga. Clothes also implicate our sense of touch, and we can recall even decades later how the coarse wool, smooth leather sleeves, and silky quilted lining of that jacket felt beneath our fingertips each time we run our hands over similar fabrics.

Nowadays, varsity jackets have lost some of their allure and have been replaced in meaning by the hoodie. Guys giving girls their hoodies, and even girls taking those hoodies for themselves from the guy they like or love, has become so commonplace that there is a movement and, naturally, a hashtag (#TakeHerHoodie) to accompany it. Guys can now seek revenge (wink, wink) on the ladies in their lives who have walked off with their most prized possessions!

What our guys don’t “get” is that we want their stuff — their hoodies, sweatpants, and hats — because those things remind us of them, particularly if we cannot be with them when and as much as we want to. That hoodie is a temporary substitute for feeling their arms and warmth around us, those sweatpants a symbol of how relaxed and comfortable we feel in their presence, and the hat a reminder of how totally down to earth they are and willing to focus their attention on us. Our guys’ clothes make us feel safe because they love us and, more importantly, because we love them. Sharing ourselves with others is what gives us strength.

Clothes connect us to the ones we love — our boyfriends, husbands, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, and friends. Whether we are wearing a crisp button-down shirt, hoodie, hat, vintage or contemporary style jewelry like a friendship bracelet, we are no doubt moving one step closer to a place of peacefulness and contentment, especially when time and distance keep us apart from the people we want to be with most. So this Mother’s Day, wrap yourself or someone you love up in the clothing and accessories you adore, knowing “Happy Days” will be here again soon.

Check out our favorite finds just in time for Mother’s Day!

How to Stop Denying Yourself the Future You Have Been Searching For

Doni Landy

I was recently speaking to a friend who had broken ties with a guy she had been casually dating. Even though the relationship was not long (only a few months), she nonetheless still found herself struggling with how to move on – yet again.

“I’m tired of this,” she complained to me a few evenings ago when we spoke. “I would like to meet someone, but I don’t think I can go on this way anymore. The sadness I feel every time a relationship doesn’t work out is just too overwhelming. I think I’m done.”

I listened to her and empathised with the intense emotions she was obviously experiencing. Then I asked her this: “If you could go back in time knowing what you know now, would you still choose to date him?”

My friend hesitated. “Yes,” she said after a few minutes.

“Now tell me why” I pressed.

Again, my friend went silent until, finally, she said, “Because I had fun.”

Her answer was simple yet meaningful. I let the words sit for a moment before applying their relevance to this latest disappointment and the message she unknowingly communicated to me.

“Life,” I reminded my friend, “is not about winning and losing. And what we often expect to gain from a social interaction, any social interaction, does not usually turn out to be what we walk away with from it in the end. However, if we look hard enough, guaranteed, there always exists a reason why we crossed paths with a particular person in the first place or found ourselves at a certain location.”

And that is how I see my life.

I do not believe in random occurrences. Instead, I recognize the confluence of forces converging at strategic junctures in my life. Like last summer. That same friend I mentioned and I decided last minute to meet for dinner at a neighborhood restaurant. Both of us were feeling down and less optimistic than normal about our respective futures and needed a night out to unwind. We also knew we wanted to work together but had not yet figured out how. At first, I did not want to go but, looking back, I am so glad I did.

While there, we caught the last few minutes of a segment on TV about a woman who, embracing her entrepreneurial spirit and going against the odds, created a line of accessories that has now become a mainstay in the closets of women worldwide. I had always dreamed of doing the same, but always hemmed and hawed that the timing was not right and let life keep getting in the way. On this night, I took my seeing that clip as a sign and, shortly afterward, set the ball in motion, even amidst the obstacles I faced at the time.

Guess what? I am so happy I did because Elle Squared and its merchandise, including the hottest items from my new private label, was featured on the Today Show for a second time last week. I credit simply changing my scenery and going for a girls’ night out on that hot summer night to the change I ultimately made in my life. As it turned out, a blah night became a great one.

Not long after, my friend and I also began working together on a series of projects that cross my many endeavors, further evidencing that we were each meant to be at dinner that night many months ago. Though the significance of the evening for each of us varied, and the intention for us when we first walked in the door was simply to have fun, the universe had other plans. Which is why I am also pretty sure that had we gone out to work or network we may have never had the experience we did. The reward only came because, after years of life experience, I have learned to keep my mind open to the fluid nature of relationships, especially how they begin, end, or, as the case may be, evolve. My friend and I are still buddies, but we also collaborate creatively now, too.

Without a doubt, it is commendable to plan and set goals, whether personally or professionally. Likewise, there is nothing to be ashamed of for setting expectations or maintaining hope that you will derive a certain benefit from an interaction, friendship or otherwise, brief or long lasting. The key is to recognize that a positive outcome is always present, even if on the surface it does not immediately appear so. Sometimes we have to discover it for ourselves.

My friend’s latest dating efforts may not have ended the way she intended. Still, once she took the relationship for what it was, gave it the significance it deserved, she realized she had not wasted time. Having fun, enjoying oneself, is as worthwhile a pastime as any, especially when we cut ourselves some much-needed slack given our busy schedules and endless obligations.

So take a trip. Indulge in that glass of cabernet with dinner and an espresso with dessert. Put aside your work for the evening and eat dinner with a friend. Make time for a hike or a lazy morning in bed reading the Sunday paper. Indulge yourself with an unexpected addition to your closet or collection of jewels. Give to yourself and, most importantly, enjoy the moment. “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.” – Alice Earle

Photo credit: Martin_Heigan The Andromeda Galaxy (M31) via photopin (license)

Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.

Elle Squared Spring Style Guide: Embracing Our ‘Ability to Accessorize’

Doni Landy

“The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.” – Clairee Belcher, Steel Magnolias

With snow on the ground and likely more still on the way, it is hard to believe that spring is just around the corner. But it is! That is why I have put together the first ever “Elle Squared Spring Style Guide” to highlight the latest styles for the coming season.

Given my renewed promise to you, my savvy and loyal clientele, who have made Elle Squared the presence it is as a neighborhood fashion forward boutique, we remain committed to bringing you our latest finds at the same affordable prices you have always expected.

Apply our coupon for even greater value, and come on in to shop, chitchat, and play! Our knowledgeable sales team is ready to complete your look with the most cutting edge trends in accessory fashion.

Here are 10 of my personal favorites.

1. Statement earrings. Do you want to make a statement? Depending on what you are trying to say, incorporate beads, long strands of gold, or silver to top off a maxi dress or liven up a tee and jeans, giving the look an expected punch.

 

2. Beach bags. Are you structured or flexible? Get ready to break out of your routine and feel the sand between your toes with the latest designs in beach bags. Choose from lightweight totes, straw, and mesh carryalls, each with matching accessories to keep all of your odds and ends at your fingertips from sunup to sundown.

 

3. Spring totes. Are you classic or edgy? Practical or filled with whimsy? Whichever you are, on whatever day, we have the look for you. City, beach, and somewhere in between, our totes will complete any look while keeping all of a girl’s best goodies right at her side.

 

4. Water bottles. Do you want to be fun or share the fun? A savvy lady always has a water bottle by her side in her bag or tote. Our new “Not Vodka” bottles, which come in a variety of bright colors and patterns, are more than a bottle. They are a statement. So make one today, for yourself and girlfriends and gift one or three today while supplies last.

 

5. Long beaded necklace. Are you mono or multi? Pastel or primary? Our newest beaded necklaces from our very own Neo-Gypsy and Cheryl DeFoe will take any look from ordinary to extraordinary, and from day to night in seconds. Wrap yourself in one-of-a-kind strands from far away lands, and become the conversation starter at your next get-together.

 

6. Wraps and ponchos. Do you want to show it off or cover it up? With our newest ponchos, you can do both at once – complete your style with a new twist on a classic style. For an update on this classic look, check out our tie-dyed patterns from Missoni in vibrant spring colors. These trendy finds will make welcome additions to any wardrobe.

 

7. Hats. Are you “Holy,” an “American Girl?” or “Grateful”? Then we have a trucker hat that is just right for you. Shout out your mantra to the world. Choose from your favorite sayings and “Believe” you will make a statement when you do.

 

8. Scarves. Lightweight and colorful, scarves enhance any ensemble. Spring into action with pom-pom hand-dyed scarves or more traditional ones and add a little of the unexpected to the expected.

 

9. Handbags. No, it is not your mother’s purse but feminine is in again. Whether you choose a structured handbag reminiscent of Hollywood’s most iconic leading ladies, a more modern cross-body style, or wristlet (great for a night out on the town, festival, or concert), it is time to reconnect with your inner star.

 

10. Anklets. After you decorate your wrists, remember your ankles. Crafted metals intertwined with beads from around the world will enhance any look, from a ship’s deck to a rooftop one.

 

ARE YOU READY FOR SPRING?

 

Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.

Why ‘I Love This Town’

Doni Landy

Any mom of teenagers knows how stressful life can get. Balancing kids’ obligations with our own can take its toll no matter how much we love what we do. I can sense when it all starts becoming too much. I start to feel disconnected – from the people I love and the things I love to do, including work. That is why over winter break I decided to mix work and play and grab my 16-year-old, S, for our first mother-daughter buying trip and a mini vacation to Vegas, after which we planned to meet up with O in L.A. where he would be spending time with his dad.

No question about it, I love Vegas. The lights. The shopping. The ENERGY! After a few days there, I was already feeling energized myself. Though we played, S and I also worked – together. We went to shows and picked out new merchandise for the store, all of which I will be rolling out over the next few weeks at affordable price points. That is my commitment to you, my customers, who are always so gracious, letting me know what you want and granting me the privilege of sourcing those items especially for you.

You told me, and I listened. You like a small town feel, a boutique where you can go and meet one-on-one with knowledgeable sales staff that you can depend on week after week and whose opinion you value. You want to shop in a place where you feel comfortable, right in your neighborhood, and can drop in to just say hi and tell us how much you loved your latest Elle Squared find. We love hearing your stories – about the wedding you recently attended, the baby shower, the graduation, and how you took us right along with you through the accessories you wore.

Everyone has a voice that matters, which is why I brought S with me on this trip. I want her to know that, even as a teenager, I listen to what she says. What she thinks is important to me, whether she is talking about her life or offering input about the new bags, accessories, and clothing I am bringing into the store during the coming weeks. What she says is important.

It is a critical lesson and one I am adamant about teaching my children. When we take time out to listen to those around us, whether our children, parents, a teacher, neighbor, or client, whomever, and show them that we care what they say, those people will, I believe, learn to listen to others as well. I have.

Everyone we meet offers us a different perspective, one that can potentially alter how we think and feel for the better, even if we do not agree with everything they say. It is the dialogue that matters, the interaction between the individuals we come into contact with and us, and how we not only listen but also communicate back to them.

I am fortunate that my staff at Elle Squared has embraced this philosophy. We are a team, a family, and they are my – and your – home away from home.

When the plane touched down after our week away, I was happy to be back. Yes, I needed the break, but I also missed home. I missed the store. I missed my family, my work one included. Although I am a relatively new resident to Livingston, both personally and as a result of my purchase last year of Elle Squared, I know I have finally found my place. And that is in large part because of you – my customers – today, my neighbors and also my friends. You are all of those people to me, and the very reason why I love this town. Thank you for welcoming me home.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT HOME?

Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.

What Happens in Vegas…Comes Back to Elle Squared

Doni Landy
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I’m stressed.

Yeah, I admit it. I know you’re probably thinking, “You? But you always seem so Zen.”

Not always.

For the past few weeks, no matter what I’ve tried, I can’t seem to get my To-do lists done. Not my errands with the kids, not my paperwork, not my pro bono legal work, and, most nagging to me, the thank you notes from O’s bar mitzvah back in November. I don’t care what Emily Post said. Twelve months to send our thank you cards is too long. But I digress.

That’s why I’m headed on a trip this week. Just me and my girl, S. We’re headed to Vegas to do some buying for the store. And while there, have some girl bonding time. Then we’re off to L.A. to meet up with O who will be there with his dad for some guy bonding.

I need this trip. S needs it. And, despite my ever-growing list of obligations, I’m insistent that we both take a break.

Breaks are necessary. We’ve all been in that situation where for weeks, sometimes months, we’re in constant motion. We don’t stop for a moment, not to breathe let alone enjoy the simplicity of our surroundings and, more importantly, the people around us. We stop listening, and all we hear is the noise. Before we realize it, we’re in a rut.

Changing your scenery is one of the best ways to improve your mood and get the energy boost you need, even if you’re combining work and play as I am during this trip. For me, there’s no distinction, and I find melding the two is the best way. I don’t know about you, but I find it difficult to check out completely from my day-to-day life, which is why I’ve stopped trying and, instead, recently decided to embrace the whirlwind. What more perfect place to start than Vegas?

I’ve always loved the saying, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” To a large extent that will hold true for my daughter and me during our trip. Anyone who’s a mother to teenagers knows how important this time is to catch up and see what’s going on in our kids’ lives, and the conversations we will share will belong only to us.

Where I turn that saying on its head is the way going to Vegas, or wherever I’m traveling, even if it’s somewhere much closer and only for a few hours, means returning home recharged and reinvigorated. As soon as I do, I’m always better able to tackle the challenges that seemed insurmountable before I left.

Yes, technically I’ll be working during our trip, sourcing new lines for the store, finding unique accessories to complement my customer’s wardrobes in a way that allows them to express their individual style. My goal is to bring these items home to them. But more than that, what I hope to return with, what I know I will, is a fresh perspective. The only way to do that is to break out of my routine every so often.

If you don’t have the time or money to get on a plane or drive somewhere for a day, turn on the music. Light the candles. Pour some herbal tea or aromatic coffee. Wrap yourself in that favorite sweater you’ve been saving but haven’t yet had the occasion to wear, and open the book you started that’s now collecting dust on your nightstand. Plan your trip – to Vegas, Bali, or Tahiti, whether in reality or your mind, living room, bedroom, or bath because what happens there comes home with you.

And what happens in Vegas comes home with me. See you all soon.

WHERE ARE YOU HEADED NEXT?

 

Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.

Back to the Gypsy That I Was

Doni Landy

 

[On being a gypsy] “The clothes I wear… that doesn’t change. I love long dresses. I love velvet. I love high boots. I never change. I love the same eye make-up. I’m not a fad person. I still have everything I had then. That’s one part of me… that’s where my songs come from. There’s a song on the new Fleetwood Mac album [Mirage] that says, ‘Going back to the velvet underground/back to the floor that I love,’ because I always put my bed on the floor. ‘To a room with some lace and paper flowers/back to the gypsy that I was.’ And that’s San Francisco. That’s the Velvet Underground. Those are the things that I can’t give up.”

–Stevie Nicks, The Record, February 1982

Change. We fear it. We embrace it. Sometimes it works out. Sometimes it does not. No matter what, though, we change. So do the people around us, and not always for the better, or the good, or our good.

Still, we have our rules and do our best to live by them. Be a good mother. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Wife. Girlfriend. Businesswoman.

But what happens when others don’t live by our rules, by our code of love and loyalty?

We ask how it can be. After all, we know who we are. We look the same. I look the same, abiding by my rules, from the inside out, from being a good friend, loyal, and loving, to wearing denim, leather, and fur. I always wear one, each of them personifications of the strength that underlies my softness. My clothes are a cause to remember how resilient I am.

As I do, I can’t help but also think of the Fleetwood Mac song, Gypsy, in which Stevie Nicks goes back to a place of familiarity. She writes:

So I’m back to the velvet underground
Back to the floor that I love
To a room with some lace and paper flowers
Back to the gypsy that I was, to the gypsy that I was

I think about the fabrics I wear and the spirit they capture – my spirit. I am a gypsy and, like Stevie Nicks, “I have no fear/I have only love.” Which is how we must be guided to make choices – especially the hard ones.

We all have that gypsy within us, even if we lose sight of her for a time. I did. That is why I am now celebrating the reacquaintance with my inner gypsy by sharing the latest line from one of my favorite designers, Neo-Gypsy, with you.

Style reflects who we are. As in life, sometimes we only need to repair, repurpose, and re-love, which is what this collection is all about. Every piece is handmade by Neo-Gypsy creator, Jessica Steb, who sources the world for old and vintage materials and findings. No two are ever the same, leaving you with a one-of-a-kind original to add to your collection of treasured pieces.

In keeping with her philosophy, we invite our clients to bring in their old jewels for Jessica to repair and repurpose so that you may love them again. And see what fabulous and innovative pieces she has created for her spring collection.

Rules. We live by them. And break them. But, eventually, we all come back to the gypsy.

I am back.

How about you?

ARE YOU A GYPSY?

Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.

Read “The Dawning of a New Age…and Style”

I’m Gonna Make It After All

Doni Landy

Anyone who has ever started a business, taken over an existing one, or changed jobs knows how tough it is. No matter how prepared we are, how much “homework” we do, or how confident we feel that the move we are making is the right one, we cannot help but wonder, “What if?” What if things don’t work out? What if I am not making the right choice? What if, what if, what if?

These same feelings of uncertainty apply to relationships, friendships, partnerships, or whatever interaction or endeavor we are involved with at the time that shakes up our life, stirring it until our head feels like its spinning. In a way it is. The feeling is similar to the one I used to get as a child when I’d spin around and around in a circle until I was dizzy. After stopping, I would then try and walk in a straight line, wobbling for the first few steps but gradually regaining my balance.

I have felt this same sensation at different times in my life, which, looking back, occurred during periods of change for me. Whether I was starting school, a new career, beginning a romance, ending one, or going back to a former one, I felt the same – a little afraid, but still determined to make a change. I have to say, I am fortunate. Though I recognize how scary the unknown can be, I have always been able to summon my strength and, with confidence, push ahead.

For me, reinventing myself is like fuel. I feel empowered whenever I delve into a different part of myself – a talent that I haven’t tapped into in a while, creativity that I haven’t yet cultivated, or some interest that I never knew I had. Whenever I learn something new about myself, I feel strong, despite those “what ifs” never being too far from the surface. And when they do begin to poke through, I push them back, opting to take a chance – on me and my future.

Last week we lost a television icon and, even more so, a part of American popular culture – Mary Tyler Moore. Anyone who has ever made a change in their life, particularly a woman, whether to move to a new city for a job or alter their existence in any way, can see herself in Mary. I can, and it was her death that inspired me to look back at the many instances in my life when I took a chance and wondered to myself if I was going to make it.

The past six months have been challenging. But I have been savoring every moment, embracing the puzzle that I have in front of me, the one I laid out, figuring out how all the pieces will fit together. The good news is, they are beginning to. That’s because I understand how my vision of style pervades every aspect of our lives. Through fashion, we can show the world the person we are and, more importantly, use our clothes to call upon the woman we are each meant to be.

This week, as I began carefully laying out the items I am displaying for Valentine’s Day, I did so with Mary in mind. Mary valued herself and her friendships. She valued her career and the life she was building – for her. Valentine’s Day is about so much more than romance. It is a holiday about love, the love we have for those we care for and who care for us, and, most notably, the love we have for ourselves. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of each and every one of us, regardless of who is doing the celebrating.

So go ahead and celebrate – alone, partnered, scared, or empowered – knowing you, and I, are gonna make it after all.

 

Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.

The Dawning of a New Age…and Style

Doni Landy

I recently came across notes I had taken during a session with an astrologer last winter. Regardless of whether or not you believe our paths are “written in the stars,” an astrological reading can be exactly the inspiration needed to reflect on the day-to-day monotony and, hopefully, find meaning in it. That’s what an astrological reading is for me. But like any other source of learning, its value turns on how well we interpret and apply the signs we receive. The trouble is, sometimes that application isn’t immediately obvious.

Last winter, I was at a crossroad. I had a clear vision for my career and had made a lot of progress toward that end. I was on the cusp of something big. Still, I felt off. I was not the person I aspired to be. I was not living the life I wanted.

Not yet.

To outsiders, my life looked not only as if it was falling into place but also easy. I had a promising and challenging new job, a new home within walking distance to that job, a closet in that home filled with beautiful clothes, bags, and jewels that I loved, and two beautiful teens whom I loved even more. With all that, I felt there was room for more, which is why I scheduled a reading for that cold, gray winter day.

What the astrologer said made no sense. She told me I was to experience a shift and that I was going to find another position closer to home. “Closer to home?” I thought. I couldn’t get much closer than I already was, and assumed she meant that I would be working from home. When the meeting ended, I thanked her for her guidance, placed my notes in a folder, and didn’t think about them again.

Until now.

Nearly six months has passed since I received the call, the call asking if I would be interested in buying Elle Squared. I was. And I did. Today, I am not quite working at my kitchen table, but pretty close to it, even closer than I was at my office job down the street.

The universe had a plan for me, Elle Squared an integral part of it. I always wanted to own a boutique. More than that, I always wanted to create a space where strong, smart, and sophisticated women could come and see their vision become reality. Such is the power of style. Clothes are not only what we wear, either to adorn us or, on a very basic level, protect us from the elements. Clothes reflect who we are as women and as human beings.

Each and every one of us has a vision for ourselves, for how we want the world to see us, and for the life we aspire to lead. We may not always be willing to share that vision with others, if at all, for fear that we will be judged or fail. Still, that vision lives in all of us, no matter how much we try to quiet it or are not sure, as I was, how to translate it into something meaningful.

Fortunately, style is another way for us to express that vision. It is a way for us to be artistic even if we are not an artist in the traditional sense – a painter, a musician, or a writer, meaning that everyone has the potential to create. Fashion pioneer and icon, Gloria Vanderbilt, characterized it best when she said, “All art, from the paintings on the walls of cave dwellers to art created today, is autobiographical because it comes from the secret place in the soul where imagination resides.”

Fashion is no exception. When we dress and accessorize ourselves, we can change our life, beginning by living up to the style we create. For the first time in my life, I am living up to mine, just as the astrologer predicted. The question remains, are you ready to live up to yours?

 

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ON THE CUSP OF SOMETHING BIG?

Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.

Read “Where Everything Old Is New Again”

Elle Squared: Where Everything Old Is New Again

Doni Landy

Fashion designer, Rachel Zoe, once said, “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”

For more than 13 years, Elle Squared has been committed to providing our smart and stylish customers “Classic Accessories….with an edge!™,” whether for themselves or as a gift, all curated by our savvy staff to enable them to complete their own unique look with our most recent findings from around the world.

Elle Squared became a name that clients could depend on, a place where they could go and instantaneously be directed to the exact pieces they envisioned and, shortly after, walk out wearing. The best part was, this required little direction from clients.

That was the legacy of founder, Louise Webber, a gift she passed on to her staff through diligent hands-on training and creative collaboration, and the reason why they remain committed to Elle Squared so many years later. They are the familiar faces you have come to know and trust: Lauren Klein, Jane Silverstein, Susan Schlisserman, Jessica Steb, and Maya Statmore.

When I purchased Elle Squared in August of 2016, its staff welcomed my buyer, Jessica Panes, and I with open arms, immediately making us feel like a part of their close-knit family. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Still, finding my footing took time. After all, I had some big shoes to fill. What resulted were a lot of hits. But, admittedly, a few misses, too.

It is for this reason I have chosen to make 2017 all about returning to our roots, about revisiting what first made Elle Squared the tried and true recipe for style that it was, and is destined to be once again. We at Elle Squared are committed to bringing back the brands you love and the designers you know, but, most importantly, the individualized customer service that has kept you coming back to us year after year.

You deserve that.

No matter what the venture or the idea is, it is always important to try your best, to give it all you have got. That said, it is equally as important to know when it is time to shift gears, whether by moving in a new direction or backtracking to reestablish your foundation. Only then can we flourish in the way we are meant to.

Exploration is about growth. It is about trying something you have never tried before – a food, a fragrance, a look. It is about finding out what you like and what you do not, what works and what does not. Chances are there will be more times when you say nay as opposed to yay. But that is how we learn.

Since buying Elle Squared almost six months ago, I have learned – a lot. Not only about the store I am committed to leading into the future, but also about the clients who have welcomed Elle Squared into their closets, and their lives. Your faith in the Elle Squared name is what gave us the privilege of traveling with you to locations near and far, public and private. Beaches. Cities. Birthdays. Graduations. Weddings. Anniversaries. An evening at home with the ones you love.

We want to be there with you again. To see you in the designs we personally source with each of you specifically in mind. And to help make that special occasion a little more memorable because you loved the way you looked – and felt – as a result.

Join us and rediscover the magic of Elle Squared where everything old is new again.

HAVE YOU EVER GONE BACK TO SQUARE ONE? 

Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.

Read “Do You Approach Life With Love or Fear?”

What Kind of World Do You Want?

Doni Landy

Have you ever thought about someone and then received a call from that person moments later?

Did you ever dream about an old friend you hadn’t seen in years only to meet them on a crowded city street days later?

Have you ever had a vision and knew immediately that’s what your destiny is?

Do you see the big picture for yourself and others?

Are you able to trust that you are headed in the right direction?

Do you have confidence in your abilities?

Do you believe that people come into your life for a reason?

If you do, then you understand we are all connected. There are no accidents. And the decisions we make, the road we travel, the relationships we develop each fit together like a puzzle leading us to where we are supposed to be.

Appreciating connectivity means breaking down barriers, starting with the ones we have created in our own lives that we believe, falsely, keep us safe. Too often we don’t trust ourselves. Our talents. And how we can share them with the world. We see the creativity in our minds, can practically touch it, but struggle how to harness and share it at the right time with the right audience.

Knowing we possess talent, whether in music, film, television, or sports, is only part of the puzzle. Having faith in ourselves another. Sharing those talents with professionals who possess the foresight, knowledge, connections, and vision to see them to their fruition the essential piece.

Individual style cannot be authentic unless there is substance to support it. When clients come to me seeking business guidance, styling, or advice about how to brand and perfect their image, I listen. I ask questions. Style, I tell them, is part of their image and their image a part of their style. What they wear, what their lifestyle is, where they work, what talents they possess are all moving parts waiting for direction. And direction, management, is what I offer.

Launching in 2017 is D&D Endeavors, LLC, co-founded with my partner, David Nathan, a well-known and respected veteran in the entertainment industry. With more than two decades of combined experience in professional management and organizing deals, and a private contact list comprised of some of the most elite and sought after names in the music, film, television, and sports industries, we at D&D can secure the contracts you want and, more importantly, deserve.

From celebrity endorsements to high-profile engagements and bookings, D&D can elevate your career at every stage of your development. Whether you are seeking first-time representation or are looking to move your career in a new direction, we welcome and look forward to guiding you to where you are meant to be.

Our lives are dynamic. And fluid. We are in constant motion, with each of us possessing the potential to become a part of an existence larger than our own. So connect with each other. Connect with me. And connect with D&D where trust and vision meet to create a world of talent.

DO YOU BELIEVE?

Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.

Here Comes the Sun… and the Suitcases

Doni Landy

Sooo close. But so far away! That’s how I feel about packing for my upcoming trip to Florida this Friday. I cannot wait to get on the plane. However, as we all know, there is so much to do between now and then, between breathing that sigh of relief as we take off and checking in the bags at the airport.

I don’t know many people who like to pack. Having to decide among which of your favorite jewelry, clothes, and shoes will join you on your next vacay is almost as bad as choosing which destination to visit and where to stay. That’s because if we choose wrong or forget those oh so perfect sandals that match perfectly with that oh so cute top we’ve been saving for exactly this occasion, our night may feel a little less bright.

I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Get a grip.” But, secretly, you know there’s truth in my words. If we are not feeling so confident on the inside, what we wear can change our mood and attitude for the better. And if we are already feeling fabulous, not looking the way we want can, unfortunately, take us down a peg. The key is to achieve that healthy balance between the way we look on the outside and the way we feel on the inside, meaning what I put in my suitcase matters.

Once we understand and acknowledge that balance, we must face the delicate task of filling our fabulous bags, with choosing from among our favorite things, and deciding what to take with us and what to leave behind. Packing, you see, is like life. Our closets are a part of our history. And though the clothes we wear serve a utilitarian purpose – to keep us protected from the elements, for example – they also tell a story.

As I walk through my closet picking and choosing the pieces to pack, I immediately spot that black dress I wore to a cocktail party in the city a few years back and that jacket I wore to the grand re-opening of my store this fall. That blouse I wore to the holiday dinner I hosted in my home five years ago and the clutch I brought with me to a most memorable dinner with a special friend.

Packing means giving a special nod to the past. But it can also mean agreeing to create new memories and start fresh, which is what I will be doing with those pieces that are just waiting for me to cut the tags off of them. “Take me with you,” they call. That SPIbelt, a Loeffler Randall clutch for evening, a pile of Trunk tees, a Karma scarf, and not one but three Salvage Sacs.  And then there are those threadbare pieces to which I must say goodbye. My favorite wrap sweater that I bought for S’s first birthday that then became my sleeping sweater, now pilled from wear. It was a devoted friend, keeping me warm on cold nights and one I associate with specific memories and my mood during those times.

Editing our closets is never easy, even if it’s only temporary as when we are packing our bags. Saying farewell, even if only for a short while, is heart wrenching. But our closets, like life in general, remind us that letting go of the past and moving on is inevitable. Though we might at first be afraid or reluctant to do so, the upside can never be quantified or underestimated. New experiences await all of us, including me. And the airy cover up that will protect me from the damaging rays of the sun is the same cover up that will welcome the warmth.

WHAT WILL BE COMING WITH YOU ON YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE?

 

Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.

Read “On New Year’s Eve: Embracing the Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes”

On New Year’s Eve: Embracing the Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

Doni Landy

A few years ago one of my closest friends moved away – a plane ride away. And even though we talk and text all the time, and so do our daughters, often it is not enough. In a sense I know we are lucky, always being able to catch a glimpse of each other’s daily happenings on social media. But maintaining tradition when times change is a challenge.

For years my best friend and I often spent holidays together with our families. It was easy, and a given. Now that we live over a thousand miles apart making such plans requires a lot more foresight and effort. So far we have been good about it because we take those extra steps, especially during special occasions like O’s bar mitzvah this past Thanksgiving Day when she was right there next to me during the service and at the reception afterward. I would be there for her, and she knows that, which is what has enabled our friendship to endure for so long.

Next week, in fact, we will see each other again when I fly with my children to where she lives for winter break, only a few weeks after we saw each other last. And then again when she is in New Jersey. Not bad given the miles between us. I am not surprised, however, because this has become our new tradition – seeing each other whenever time allows and whether or not there is a family function like a bar mitzvah or holiday on the calendar. And to what do I attribute the success of our friendship? We are each committed to maintaining our tradition even when situations have changed.

True, my best friend is no longer around the block. True, we cannot meet for lunch or dinner at a moment’s notice or disappear for a few hours on one of our famous shopping trips. But what we can do is enjoy the same pastimes, the same food, and the same celebrations we always have together in a new place, wherever that place may be – my home, her home, or an entirely new destination altogether.

Lifestyles change – for everyone. No one is immune. Whether we switch jobs necessitating a move, marry, divorce, lose our spouse, scale down, or decide that it is time for a change of scenery we are continuously recreating and reinventing ourselves. The question is, how do we maintain the status quo in a manner that suits us best and makes us most comfortable?

The answer lies in our immediate surroundings, even if we find ourselves clear across the world in an environment that is at first unfamiliar to us, a new city or town a plane or long car ride away, or in a different house only minutes away from our old one. The food we eat, the music we listen to, the clothes we wear, the accessories we adorn and furnish our home with, and the fragrances we use in our hair and on our body, each contribute to our mindset and mood. Not to mention the mindset and mood of others when we share these gifts with them.

Even though we might fear change initially or feel uncomfortable in new surroundings or the same surroundings but a new social situation, we can overcome that uneasiness by reconnecting with our favorite traditions, either by subtracting or adding to our surroundings or changing our wardrobe, making the unfamiliar familiar once again.

And that is what I will be doing this coming New Year’s Eve. I will be on a plane, returning home to the new home I moved to this past summer, with all of my comforts, old and new, there to welcome and celebrate my life when I do.

HOW DO YOU EMBRACE CHANGE?

 Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.

Read “Do Clothes Make the Woman?”

Do You Approach Life With Love or Fear?

Doni Landy

There are two types of people in the world – those who approach life with love and those who approach it with fear.

For the past few months, I have been working into the wee hours of the morning transforming Elle Squared into the destination shopping experience it was always meant to be, an eclectic boutique where every client receives the personalized and undivided attention she deserves.

It’s easy to say that Elle Squared is enjoying the success it is because of the unique accessories we source from all around the world, including a selection of imported handbags. But that’s only part of it. We all know there are shops everywhere providing beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces to their customers. I shop at some of them myself. Many of my finds grace my closet and have served as the inspiration for me taking the last leap of faith I did this past summer to become an entrepreneur and visionary.

What distinguishes Elle Squared from all the others is that I approach my clients from a place of love, not fear. I don’t worry about selling to them, though my accountant might take issue with that. Like Dicky Fox said to his protégé Jerry in the now iconic movie, Jerry Maguire, “The key to this business is personal relationships.” I take that advice one step further and say personal relationships are the key to any business and life in general.

Every single person I meet enhances my life. A client who is searching for that perfect gift for someone special in his or her life or for herself. A colleague, a close friend, family member, acquaintance at my children’s school, or someone I had never met before but struck up a conversation with while at the hair salon or in the waiting room at a doctor’s office. I talk to people and, more importantly than that, I listen. What they have to say is important, and I want them to know it.

All of us, whether we realize it or not, are working together. Too often, we fall into that trap of becoming possessive. Proprietary. Secretive. We want to hoard and keep our piece of the pie all to ourselves. We do that because we are afraid. We are fearful of losing what we already have instead of sharing our gifts with others. And yes, we each have gifts, even though we may sometimes lose sight of what they are.

When we approach the world with love instead of fear, even if someone is not initially showing us that same sentiment, we remain open to receiving, even from a person who is closed off from us initially. If we just open ourselves to others, if we share our knowledge and a little piece of ourselves, we can break down walls and connect with the world around us. Some call that networking. I call it thinking smartly. Putting ourselves out there takes guts. Following our dreams takes courage. And I’ll be the first one to tell you it isn’t easy. But that’s how we grow.

I am growing. My business is growing. And since the holiday season is upon us, in the spirit of sharing I want to let you all in on a little secret. Elle Squared is launching its new private label, featuring my personal line of jewels, beauty products, and accessories for the body and home – everything I love, from me to you because you matter.

When Jerry Maguire summoned the courage and walked out of his office to implement his mission statement, follow his passion, and build a company for his clients based on personal relationships like his mentor Dicky Fox described, he asked one pointed question which today I ask of you: “Who’s coming with me?”

ARE YOU OPEN WITH OTHERS? HOW DO YOU CONNECT WITH THE WORLD AROUND YOU?

Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.

READ “DONI DEFINED.”

When It Comes to Holiday Gifts Is It Only the Thought That Counts?

Doni Landy

Anyone who knows me knows I love to shop in eclectic boutiques. Every time I am about to walk into one of my favorite haunts I feel excited, anticipating what treasures I will find – a bracelet, a clutch, a jacket. My closet is a one of a kind, as it should be, a reflection of my lifestyle and life. So is my home filled with scented candles, home accessories from around the world, gourmet coffee, fine wine, and books, all of which provide a pleasing aesthetic in some way.

What I love even more than buying for myself is buying for others. Whether I am shopping for a close friend or family member or someone I am just getting to know, I revel in the challenge of picking the perfect present, sharing one of my favorite finds, and anticipating that they will love the gift as much as I do. You may be thinking that is easier said than done, especially if you are buying for an acquaintance. But therein lies the beauty.

When we buy for others, regardless of our relationship with them, we have the power to give someone else happiness. Not only for the few moments when that person is receiving the gift, but also for years afterward. That is the art to gift giving, which is sometimes overlooked especially during holiday time as we struggle to fulfill our lists, crossing people off after we find the not-so-perfect gift for them, rationalizing that they can return it if they don’t like it.

At that point, the gift is no longer a gift but, instead, an obligation. We have all been in the situation, myself included, where time is short, money is tight, and we just want to get through the holidays unscathed and as quickly as we can, incurring as little “collateral damage” along the way to our schedule and wallets.

The truth is, gift giving never has to be this way. We have all said at one time or another, “It’s the thought that counts” and “It’s better to give than receive.” That’s because these expressions ring true, but only if we deliberately and unselfishly put ourselves in that mindset.

The best way to become a successful gift-giver is to focus on how we give and not what we give. The gifts we give to someone – perfume, a winter scarf, a home accessory, or a ring – is secondary to the moments we spend thinking about the relationship we have with that person and how we would like to show them our appreciation.

I have many people in my life that I would like to thank, from my family to my friends to the people who offer their services to me all year long. These individuals touch my life in significant ways, enabling me to enjoy the life I do. Though we are always free to thank them every day and hopefully do, the holidays are a reminder that we sometimes need to stop, slow down, and remember how we got to where we are today.

By thinking about gifts in this way, by recalling and acknowledging what a particular person brings into our life despite how well we know them personally, the act of finding a gift becomes part of the gift itself. And the once dreaded shopping trip to procure that gift suddenly becomes easier and more enjoyable. Even better is if we invite a friend to share our time with while still being productive.

Of course, we can never be certain that the recipient of our gift will love it as much as we do or want to keep it, though chances are if we are excited about the gift they will be, too. Inevitably, if we have given of ourselves in the process, what the recipient will recognize is that we gave our gift with thoughtfulness, care, and thanks. And it will be them, not us, who says, “It’s the thought that counts.” Because it does.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT GIVING GIFTS?

Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.

Read “Do Clothes Make the Woman?”

Do Clothes Make the Woman?

Doni Landy

I looked at the contract in front of me. This was it. The moment I had been waiting for and, finally, it was here. I had read the documents over and over again during the previous weeks, making sure I dotted every “i” and crossed every “t.” I researched. I weighed my options. I considered the pros and, of course, the cons. And, after a few sleepless nights, I made a decision: I would buy Elle Squared.

I scanned the crisp white paper in front of me one more time for good measure and picked up my pen. With a deliberateness I never knew before but always existed inside me, I watched my signature sprawl out before me in black ink, my hand pushing my fear to the side as I looked on with excitement.

The next day, I placed my first order for fall. Earlier that morning, I scanned my closet, looking for the perfect ensemble. I ran my hands through the shirts that hung in front of me and decided on a piece from Love Sam. Moving my eyes to the stack of jeans folded neatly on a shelf, a pair of distressed Joe’s jeans instantly demanded my attention, as if personally calling my name and letting me know, “Hey, I’m here for you.”

They were.

Only hours ago, all I had was a vision. Now suddenly, I had become a visionary. But, even at that moment, I was still humble enough to know that as much as clothes shape a woman, a woman shapes her clothes. What a woman wears affects much more than how the world sees her. What she wears affects how she sees herself.

When I signed the contract to purchase Elle Squared, I was home, at my dining table, dressed in sweatpants and a tee. I was comfortable, not only because I was wearing what I was but also because I was in the comfort of my home where I feel protected.

Dressing as the owner of Elle Squared and preparing for the first of many buying trips to New York City’s designer showrooms, I knew that the outfit I picked that morning would be as much a reflection of the clothing as it was of me. The pieces I chose needed to do double duty – they needed to show my individual sense of style to the world but more than that, needed to reflect how I was feeling inside. And, no matter how put together I was, if I didn’t feel confident first, no piece of clothing could convey that for me. As my grandma always said, “Wear your clothes. Don’t let your clothes wear you.”

We have all been in situations where we just had that “on” day, where we looked together, even if the dress we were wearing was old, or the sweater we were wearing was pilled. And then those days when we wore that designer dress and heels but couldn’t quite pull it off. Though we would like to blame the clothing, deep down we knew we couldn’t fully place the blame there.

Fear lives in everyone, including me. What defines us, what sets us apart, is our ability to overcome fear and push forward in spite of it. Doing so may require a lot of forethought or it may mean jumping in with our eyes closed, taking a chance. It may mean faking it until we make it – wearing a dress, a pair of pants, and a bag to show the world and ourselves how we want to feel and who we aspire to be. The best part is the world doesn’t have to know that we are not quite there yet. We must only believe that we will get there.

I slipped on a pair of booties, grabbed my Larettamia bag, put a spray of Lavish in my hair, and gave myself a last look in the mirror. I smiled, knowing I wore it well.

“I can do this,” I thought. “I am doing this.” And I headed to the city, leaving my fears behind me.

“She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.” – Proverbs 31:25

ARE YOU EVER AFRAID? HOW DO YOU OVERCOME FEAR?

Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.

READ “5 REASONS WHY I AM ESPECIALLY GRATEFUL THIS THANKSGIVING”

5 Reasons Why I am Especially Grateful This Thanksgiving

Doni Landy

While driving in my car yesterday with Florida Georgia Line playing on the radio, rushing as I always am from my legal position to Elle Squared and then to my children’s after school activities, I couldn’t help but notice the colorful piles of fall leaves that had already accumulated on the streets. Vibrant oranges, brilliant magentas, and golden yellows.

It seemed like only yesterday it was summer, and the weather outside was warm. That was when I was excitedly preparing to open my doors and finally realize my dream of owning a destination boutique where women could come to expand their closet, socialize, and embrace a lifestyle they only once aspired to enjoy. Years ago, that woman was me. I had an image in my mind, but in those days struggled to personify it.

Not anymore.

After years of hard work, contemplation, and care, I have mastered the art of how to curate a unique style of eclectic, edgy clothing that can take even the most discriminating, perhaps even skeptical, shopper to a place of high style, self-acceptance, and bliss. I have a philosophy: that fur and denim can exist on one form, harmonious and timeless. My store is my closet, which I open to smart, successful, stylish women that are eager to reflect their individuality through the unique pieces they wear.

But I didn’t get to this place alone. Many forces inspired me along the way. So, I thought, “What better time than during the month of November to pay respect to the five influences in my life for which I am the most grateful.” Here they are.

  1. Friends. Everyone needs a support system. I am fortunate to have friends in my life, from all different stages of my life, who are there for the highs, the lows, and all that comes between them. They know I am there for them, too. The best part about good friends is the honesty they bring, which I depend on especially now as I embrace my entrepreneurial spirit. My store manager, also my buyer, is one of my close friends and we look forward to seeing Elle Squared into a new era. We work well together and with the entire Elle Squared staff, speaking our minds freely but without judgment. Our respect for one other in the store and outside of it reminds me that good friends are the family we choose, which is why Elle Squared is the welcoming environment it is.
  2. Strangers. Sometimes all it takes is an exchange with someone we don’t know to change our view of the world. That is why I love going to work each day. Every time a new customer visits Elle Squared, I learn. One of the best parts about spending time in the store is meeting people I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to know. I am always fascinated to speak with the strong, confident women I do. Their accomplishments, whether at home or the office, inspire me to do better and try harder to please not only them but also myself. I value their feedback as well and am as interested in a compliment as I am a criticism or, better yet, a request. Let me know how I can source what you want or lead you to it!
  3. Kids. I am so thankful for my children. Their strength and support have empowered me, and I learn from them every day. Children have a remarkable way of distilling the simplicity from the most complicated, convoluted situations. The wisdom children lend to us if we just take a moment to listen can provide exactly the guidance we have been craving. Each of us has an inner child inside us, including me. I remind my clientele of that whimsy through an extensive array of accessories, including retro-patterned Salvage Sacs, which span the decades. And, of course, there is always something 80’s around the store whether it is splatter paint or neon. Hey, you can take the girl out of the 80s, but you can’t take the 80s out the girl (hard as many have tried).
  4. Family. I hold my family in the highest regard, whether we are related by blood or by the other ties that bind – love, loyalty, and laughter. My family gave me roots. My family gave me wings. They gave me the support to figure out who I am and what I want to do. This is a gift for which I am grateful. Since I have taken the helm at Elle Squared and was so warmly welcomed by the staff that predated me there, I am proud to say I now have a second family to call my own. With their collaboration and teamwork, collectively we will carry Elle Squared into the New Year and beyond.
  5. The senses. Self-awareness comes with experience. In my life, I wear many hats, and not only our fall pom-pom hats recently featured on the Today Show with Jill Martin! Most days, I wear them well. But when I don’t, I slow down. I pause. I listen to the music, feel the fabrics that surround me, and breathe in – perfume, comfort food, or aromatic coffee.
  6. On the day we were born, the lucky ones among us received the precious gifts of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Enjoying them is how we give our thanks.

WHO OR WHAT ARE YOU MOST GRATEFUL FOR IN YOUR LIFE? HOW DO YOU SAY THANK YOU AND SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION?

Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.

Read “Doni Defined”

Press Release

Doni Landy

LIVINGSTON, NEW JERSEY – Livingston Township resident, Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq., purchased Elle Squared, the fashion forward boutique located in Livingston Town Center, June 14.

Elle Squared, which was founded by Louise Webber, first opened its doors in 2003 and has been providing loyal customers with high-end but affordable accessories for more than 13 years.

Doni Feinberg Landy, who is a practicing matrimonial and real estate attorney with a flair for current style and trends, combines her legal, business, and fashion sense to create a unique shopping experience that Elle Squared’s customers will find both unique and appealing.

Of her new venture, Doni says, “It is a dream come true to continue the legacy that Louise built and have the opportunity to share the latest and greatest with customers and friends.”

Heading her team, which is comprised of Elle Squared’s talented, knowledgeable, and dedicated staff that regular clientele has already come to know, love, and trust and new clients will find welcoming and eager to assist, is longtime Livingston resident, Jessica Panes.

As general store manager and buyer for the store, Jessica brings more than 20 years of wholesale and retail experience to provide her clientele with a fresh, invigorating, and edgy approach to accessorizing for any occasion – whether for work or play, day or night.

“Our vision,” says Jessica, “is to maintain the integrity of Elle Squared and share our personal love and passion for all things fabulous and fun!”

The pair, who met while Jessica was managing a retail clothing establishment Doni frequented, became instantaneous friends, bonding over a mutual interest in fashion and a desire to share their creativity and individual sense of style with others.

Elle Squared is located at 1130 Town Center Way. Hours of operation are Monday thru Friday, 10 am to 6 pm and Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm. For more information, visit Elle Squared at www.ellesquared.com or call (973) 533-1111.