10 year flashback: fulfilling a dream


10 years ago, I had an idea. I'd finished my Master's Degree in 2006 and was itching to do some more formal learning - but had no interest in pursuing a PHD. I'd always had a dream to live in New York City. Happy with my teaching job and life in Vancouver, I knew that was no longer a reality. But, dreams can take all forms, not always the way we initially imagine.


Being a teacher gives the gift of a LONG summer break. My idea: what if I rented an apartment and spent the Summer in New York? It seemed a tad indulgent, however, I was nearing 40 and was having a seize the day moment. I decided it would feel less extravagant if I added a little education into the equation. I'd always had an interest in clothing and and fashion and I was increasingly intrigued by the idea of "personal style" and styling - influenced heavily by the TV show "What Not To Wear". My friends always say I am an excellent researcher (a skill I learned from my mum), so I got to work and researched Image Consulting and Styling programs.


A comprehensive course offered in the Summer taught by two instructors who ran the Image Consulting program at FIT, jumped out immediately. After some back and forth correspondence and further details - I was sold. This decision turned out to be one of the best and most exciting of my life.


Next on the agenda - find an apartment. My vision also included sharing this experience with friends and family. If I could find the right spot, my hope was people would come and visit.



I was so fortunate to find the most incredible building on Central Park West. Not only is it beautiful, historic and incredibly well-located; the people who work there were so welcoming to me and all of my guests - whenever I visit, (and in the past 10 years I've been back to this particular spot at least 5 times), I truly feel I'm at a home away from home.


I can't put into words how special that summer was. In my program, I was introduced to inspiring aspiring stylists from all over the globe. One of my instructors, Carol Davidson, continues to be such a mentor and inspiration. I've remained in contact and have taken subsequent courses from her - no secret, I LOVE learning. And, I was filled with a love of styling which would continue to grow, evolve and become another aspect of my life that I hold dear - and am keen to share with others!


I am sure you may be able to relate to this. There have been times in my life that when I was living them, in that moment, I knew they would be some of the most treasured. This Summer was that and more. I took in and appreciated every moment. Over the 6 weeks I spent in the city, I only had one night on my own. Throughout the stay, the apartment welcomed visits from my parents, both my brothers and their wives (plus my adorable young niece), my uncle, and a whole cast of dear friends who shared along in this adventure with me. When I wasn't in class, they explored the streets of the city with me, took in Broadway shows, walked in the park, checked out museums and so much more. And, when I was in class - they would fill me in later, over drinks, what adventures they got up to during the day. I was honoured that they supported my dream and made the effort to join me for a short time which made the entire experience that much more meaningful - and fun!


Just a sampling of a few people that visited me the summer of 2011 in NYC. I realize how far technology has come in 10 years as I have limited photos on my iphone from that time...



It's hard to believe 10 years have passed since I took the first step toward my styling journey and to fulfilling my NYC dream. Sometimes we second guess whether or not we should do something - I am here to tell you to go for it. Even if a dream or goal needs to take a different form. You won't regret it.


Over the upcoming weeks, I'm excited to share the hi-lights of my journey that led to the creation of Stylesmarts, which is always evolving as I learn and grow as a stylist.








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2021 • LORI THOMAS • STYLESMARTS • VANCOUVER BC