SPOTLIGHT: Anne Castillo


Age: 21

Job: Nail Technician

Contact:, IG @nails_by_anne54, FB Nails by Anne



What is your background with nail art?

I got into nail art when I was 13. I was bored one day and went online to a website called that brings you to different web pages at random, and I stumbled across a tutorial for nail art. I started practicing on myself almost everyday (I went through a lot of nail polish!) Eventually people started noticing and they kept telling me I should use my skills on other people, so I decided to go to beauty school and get my license. 


What do you love most about it?

I love getting to use my creativity for a living. What started as a hobby has turned into a job, which I think is pretty amazing. Sometimes clients tell me what they want and it’s up to me to execute it. It’s pretty fun to use my imagination to create fun new designs.


Are there other areas in your life where you exercise creativity?

Nail art is the best outlet I have for my creativity, but I also like to get creative in the kitchen. I know it’s a different kind of creativity, but I like to experiment with baking and cooking new recipes. 





What to Wear

Do you get in a rut with your wardrobe? Do you box yourself in with wearing the same combos, like always this shirt with that cardigan and always those earrings with that dress? Do you have mornings where you stare at your closet much like the fridge, hoping an outfit will just magically present itself?

I have been feeling this a lot lately mainly because I’m pregnant and the bump is out there and I’m adjusting to my new body. But I have felt this occasionally whether I had a baby bump or not (major post-pardom-body dilemma too!) So lately I’ve taken some time to play in my closet and experiment with new outfit combos. I tried to approach my wardrobe with fresh eyes and physically move my clothing around. Then I snapped some photos of my new outfits to reference on those days when I have no imagination. It has been so helpful!

Here are some tips:

  • Set aside 20-30 mins to work (make it extra fun by having a friend over to bounce ideas off of!)
  • Take one top (shirt, tank, blouse, etc) at a time and see how many different bottoms (jeans, skirts, shorts, etc) and/or outer garments (cardigans, vests, jackets, etc) you can pair it with.
  • Hang/layer garments together on one hanger as you would wear them
  • Bonus: add a necklace or a scarf to the outfit by hanging it on the hanger too
  • Hang outfit up on a door jam or empty closet rack and take a picture
  • Keep all your outfit pictures in an album on your phone to reference each day
  • Branch out and take risks! Even if you’re not sure, try it anyway. If you don’t like it, delete the pic. But you may be surprised what does work and you do end up liking!


SPOTLIGHT: Diana Gabriel


Business: consignment boutique Change of A Dress in San Luis Obispo

785 Marsh Street Suite B, SLO, CA 93401

(805) 544-8288


IG: @slochangeofadress

FB: Change of A Dress Resale and Consignment Boutique 

What is the story of your shop and what do you love most about running it?

Change of A Dress was started by Suzanna Clover and myself in the fall 2008. We were neighbors, were moms, and we knew each other because of our kids and husbands. We became closer through the ending of both of our marriages which happened around the same time. We had been staying home to care for our children. At the time I was also losing my jewelry business which I had successfully launched 10 years earlier, but due to the recession my sales plummeted.

What could two newly single moms do? How could we make money, be there for our kids, be near to home, and be fashion forward on small budgets? Change of A Dress was born. We opened the store with beautiful wardrobes we were no longer wearing. The store was an instant success with the community coming in with their items that were too nice to donate. The store was constantly growing. 

When Suzanne decided to retire in 2014, I took over the shop. I relocated to a space on Marsh Street in San Luis Obispo. With more floor space, I could bring in housewares, more clothing, and expand the clientele to all ages with all budgets. I love what the store has become over the years. We have clients that have been with us from the beginning. I have seen young ladies become women and have children of their own. I never tire of seeing the beautiful clothes, shoes, and accessories that women bring into the store to consign with us. It’s a great feeling to know we provide a service to the community to both our consigners and shoppers.

How do you use creativity in being a shop owner?

I have a background in merchandising and marketing, so I felt very comfortable in decorating the store myself. I love making montages of interesting objects, and plants with personal effects. I love layers and textures and light. I try to decorate the store like I do my own home, something that I look forward to everyday, and imagine how someone else might use it in their environment. Putting outfits together can be challenging at times, mostly because everything has to fit and women are all varieties of shapes and sizes. 

What is your personal connection with fashion, apparel, and accessories?

I was a jewelry designer in the community for over 10 years. I sold to many local boutiques in San Luis and across the country. I still make pieces for the shop with broken vintage jewelry and also have a line of pieces going to all my original stores in San Luis this coming summer. 

Lovelies to Be Seen

A lot of creativity can go into how you dress, but also how you organize and keep all your dressings. One of the biggest challenges I always face is how I store my jewelry and accessories. I’ve had shoe bins and racks, purse bins and racks, jewelry boxes and pegs. Through the years, I’ve learned a few things that have been helpful:

  • If I see it, I’ll wear it
  • If I can easily get to it, I’ll wear it
  • If it looks pleasing, I’ll wear it

So following these truths, I’ve come up with some fun, inexpensive, and effective ways to store and display my jewelry and accessories.

img_1847For my stud earrings and small dangly ones, I made a little display frame. I bought a cheap frame and removed the glass and backing. Then I bought some lace. I went with black because it creates a contrast to my earrings and showcases them better. I stretched the lace over the frame and hot-glued it in place on the sides. This little display is easy to  get to and allows me to see all my studs.




I love little dishes! I always come across cute ones at TJ Maxx and Home Goods, but I never knew what to do with them. So I put them to good use holding and displaying my rings and chunkier bracelets. These are set on a mid-height shelf in my closet.




img_1846A majority of my jewelry is kept and displayed in this great jewelry organizer. It hangs on a high rod at eye level. Each piece is clearly seen, and protected from dust. I keep a charcoal tab in each pocket to ward off tarnishing. This is especially important for my Noonday pieces. My sentimental jewelry, heirloom pieces, and holiday jewelry are kept in antique stationary boxes from my grandmother that I turned into jewelry boxes.



For years I kept my purses in bins. But I used them less frequently because I would forget about them. I also found they got smashed and warped. So I tried something new. I now hang my purses on hangers on a rod where I can see them all and they maintain their shape. (One of the reasons I have empty rod space is because of my Seasonal ‘capsule’ wardrobe method. See Feb 11 post).

Seasonal Wardrobe

Apparently I have been doing a version of a capsule wardrobe for years and never knew it. Ever since I was in college, I organized my wardrobe by season. I lived in a climate that had hot summers, cold winters, and mild climates in between. I also had a very small closet that couldn’t house all my clothes at once. So I changed out my wardrobe every season, packing away the off-season clothes in bins or other closets in the house.

I continued to do this even when I moved to the Central Coast where the weather is more mild and the climate more constant. My seasonal wardrobe wasn’t always marked by the extremes (wool coat vs. tank tops), but was more marked by colors and patterns reflective of the season. Even though I have an embarrassingly-large closet now, I still practice this sort of capsule wardrobe. Here’s why:

  • Fewer choices make getting dressed quicker
  • Unused items are preserved better packed away with care than sagging on the hanger or crammed in a drawer
  • Swapping out wardrobes every few months keeps things fresh and exciting! I tend to shop less out of boredom.

So here’s how I go about organizing my wardrobe by season:

  • I keep staples out all year long: jeans, camis, leggings, lounge-wear, active-wear,  graphic tees, and a few light-weight cardigans
  • My winter and summer wardrobes are the most diverse. For winter (comes out after Thanksgiving and stays until late Feb): sweaters, Christmas leggings, sweater dresses, tights, holiday apparel, heavy cardigans, and knit scarves. For summer (comes out in June and stays until Sep): shorts, tank tops, short skirts, and breezy dresses.
  • My spring and fall wardrobes are smaller, and usually overlap and mix a bit with summer and winter. For spring (comes out March to May): light-weight scarves, blouses, and any clothing with florals or pastel colors (this could be blouses, cardigans, light sweaters, etc). For fall (comes out Oct till after Thanksgiving): clothing with autumn colors like my orange sweater, brown cardigan, jewel-tone skirts, etc.
  • Special wardrobe: maternity and post-pardom clothes. I keep these stored in bins.

Each time I switch out my wardrobe for the season, I also take inventory and sort through it all. It’s a good time to ditch clothing I’m tired of or that is in shabby condition. I do most of my shopping at thrift stores where I can add to my wardrobe at low cost, and don’t feel guilty for getting rid of clothing when I get bored because I didn’t spend much money to begin with!

I anticipate the changing season for many reasons, but one reason that excites me is the prospect of a new wardrobe to wear!

A Flourishing World


Noonday Collection is a company that designs and sells an inspired collection of jewelry and accessories made by Artisans across the globe. Noonday partners with Artisan Businesses that share their passion for building a flourishing world. They develop these businesses through fair trade, empowering them to grow sustainably and to create dignified jobs for people who need them.

Noonday also supports the following:

  • They empower women to become stylists, storytellers and social entrepreneurs called Ambassadors.
  • They love to celebrate and support adoption and family preservation. (The first Noonday Trunk Show was a fundraiser for Founder Jessica Honegger’s adoption from Rwanda.)

 “Together we are building a flourishing world where children are cherished, women are empowered, people have jobs and we are connected.”

Read more about Noonday and shop their Look Book at and follow them @noondaycollection



Balance of Beauty

IMG_1942I was raised by a mom who wore no makeup, used zero hair products (except shampoo), and wore a basic wardrobe. (She did like her jewelry, surprisingly). She viewed her no-fuss approach to her appearance as a virtue; but later I came to recognize deep-rooted insecurities she harbored about her outward and inward make-up. Rather than take risks and exercise creativity with her appearance, she played it safe and used scriptures like Proverbs 31 to justify her insecurity as virtue.

Now, there were some pros to being raised by a mom who was not vain. My sister and I were told we were pretty just the way God made us. We didn’t get caught up by superficial pursuits of beauty in our teenage years.

But for awhile I wrestled with fashion and beauty in general. I had an innate interest in all things pretty, but I felt these areas were taboo. I feared that if I started wearing mascara or got a curling iron or splurged on an outfit, I would be in danger of vanity, pride, addiction–namely, sin. If it took me more than 15 minutes to get ready in the morning then surely I was too obsessed with my looks.

So for awhile I went the ‘tom-boy’ route. The funny thing about that is I put just as much thought and effort into dressing ‘simple’ as I would have into dressing feminine. I was IMG_1943still uncomfortable and insecure because I wasn’t fully expressing my true self. Everyone has to dress ever day, and whether intentionally or unintentionally, our outward appearance reflects our inward state of being. Once I made this connection, I realized there was nothing wrong about using my outward appearance to exercise my inward creativity and joy and preferences.

As I grew into womanhood, I slowly found freedom from this legalistic view on femininity. And of course the more I grew into myself and learned about my likes and dislikes, my fashion point of view evolved. I embraced the fun of trying a new lip color. I exercised creativity in putting outfits together. I invested in some good skin and hair products–not in vanity but to take care of my body in the same way I exercise and eat healthy things.

Interestingly, there was a correlation between my outward and inward appearance. As I stepped out of my comfort zone by wearing statement earrings or heels or trying an A-line bob haircut, I became more confident in who I was as a woman. And as I solidified my identity, I was more game for changing up my look.

IMG_1944There is a constant check not to let my outward identity be the only validation for my inward identity. There is a balance between taking pride in how I put myself together and not letting fashion and the pursuit of outward beauty consume me. There is a fascinating tension there. But there is that tension in every aspect of life. And within that middle tension is found something life-giving: freedom.