Emotional Intelligence

Travis Bradbury, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 discusses the importance of EQ and how to improve upon it. Studies show that those with higher EQ’s are more successful than those who score lower.

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Emotional Intelligence is something I have heard about and knew enough about to seek out a test to see how I stacked up. I did this a little while ago simply because I like tests and I like to know what my “number” is in relation to others. Call it a method of self-measurement. Luckily, I score high in both IQ and EQ, so knowing my numbers means I get to stick a metaphorical feather in my cap and feel good about myself. I know, sounds terrible, but don’t lie, you do it too.

Anyways, at the TEDxUCIrvine conference I went to this past weekend, a gentleman I follow on LinkedIn was one of the speakers. Travis Bradbury quoted Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues in the beginning of his talk, “Emotions have taught mankind to reason.” He used this quote to frame his talk, so let’s analyze it.

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Emotions, well, we all know what those are. Our feelings, but are they filtered by reason? Emotions are in the base of the brain. They travel from the base of the brain and move up through the limbic system. Basically, (I am not an expert here, just relaying info as I heard it), emotions hit our brain unfettered by reason or experience. Our brain gets the raw emotion, that is then transferred to the front of our brain where reason clouds the raw emotion and creates a filtered and hopefully, appropriate response to the stimulus that caused the emotion. And all of this is subconscious.We do not play an active role in this.

Next let’s look at the word taught, simple past tense in this form. It means to impart knowledge or skill. Interesting when linked with the word emotion which definitely seems to be out of our control if our brain is processing and filtering our emotions subconsciously.

Next we have reason. Reasoning is thinking about something with the experience and knowledge to lead us to make assumptions and determinations. Again, interesting how something so far outside of our conscious control can teach us to reason. It would me more apt to say that reason is taught through the accumulation of knowledge and critical thinking.

After looking at the keywords in the quote, the meaning behind it becomes complicated. This ability to reason stems from the experiences we have throughout our lives nd the knowledge we accumulate. We can therefore benefit from emotions because they exercise our brain’s ability to apply the knowledgeand experience in order to filter the emotion adequately so our response is acceptable by societal standards. But how does this develop? And how does this relate to EQ scores?

Bradbury talked about how our EQ can be improved by managing aspects of our life such as stress, sleep hygiene, and our caffeine intake. Sleep is the most important factor, as we know, because it gives our body and brain time to reenergize and clean all the gunk out that builds up throughout the day. The more tired we are, the less likely we are to filter our emotions fully and we tend to have emotional outbursts. But there is also stress levels that affect us. Again, when we are at our wits end with stress, we tend to have emotional outbursts.

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So it makes sense that EQ is our response to emotional stimulus from people and our surroundings. The most intelligent person in the world may not be able to accurately read the emotion of their coworkers and might therefore, seem out of touch with people’s emotions and ostracize themselves. If we can understand other people’s emotions, we become more caring and compassionate human beings and are often moved to positions of leadership because we can manage people. All of this requires an openness to others and a desire to understand our fellow humans. Without this, we cannot hope to be able to understand and relate to others.

Read more about Emotional Intelligence by picking up on of Travis Bradbury’s books. More information can be found on his LinkedIn.

Resistance + Time Under Pressure = Strength

Resistance + Time Under Pressure = Strength: Lessons I learned from Lori Harder

The TEDxUCIrvine event I attended last night blew my mind. I am an avid listener to the talks but had yet to attend one myself. I was truly impressed by all the speakers and felt like I got something personally from each one. However, one really resided with me and has left me reevaluating and reassessing my current perspective on resistance/struggle.

To caveat, patience is a serious struggle for me. I prefer my game and life to move quickly. I am constantly trying to remind myself that good things come with time. I try and recall every instance I lost something great because I pushed too much to move it along (and by gawd there are many instances like this in my life). One of these things, a big thing, is my weight. I have always been larger, in elementary school I was basically full-grown in all ways by fourth grade. Which, of course, meant I was teased and so my self-esteem suffered. In junior high I went to Academy by the Sea, a summer camp/school on the beach in Carlsbad. I spent so much time swimming, walking, in the ocean, the pool and other activities. And the food was not great. So I lost a bunch of weight. Honestly, I didn’t really notice. The next summer I went to Europe with People to People and I realized I was cute. But, my self-esteem issues were still prevalent. So, I threw myself into sports. I played soccer and softball in junior high and then softball, golf, waterpolo and swim in high school.

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Me in sr. yr. of high school

In high school I was about a size 8. I had a butt and thighs and was broad across my back and I had larger arms. I was convinced I was huge. I had terrible self-esteem and I ate terribly in response. I ate fast food most days or cup of noodles with chips and sugary teas. My weight would fluctuate based on my workouts but I didn’t worry about it because I felt like I just always failed at being thin no matter how hard I worked. And, again, I was not patient at all. I thought if I didn’t look how I wanted to look in a month or two, it was a wasted effort. Now, looking at this picture I realize how much weight I have gained. Which is difficult because I am a master at not realizing what I look like. I feel a certain way inside and then when I look in a mirror I realize what other people see. Luckily my self-esteem has risen exponentially since high school. I understand I am overweight, but I now know that I am attractive and smart and unique. Things I didn’t see in high school.

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Lori Harder (go to her site)

To bring this back to the TED talk yesterday, Lori Harder was one of the speakers. If you don’t know of her, she is a fitness/healthy living guru. I was not aware of her until yesterday and today, I want to make sure that anyone I can tell about her, knows about her. I follow many fitness people on Instagram and I read Shape magazine and I do my research, but I really just loved what she had to say. I titled this blog with one of her main messages: “Resistance + Time Under Pressure = Strength.” She related this to life by sharing her life story and explaining how the tribulations you face in life are resistance. Failures and unhappiness is all a part of what will make you stronger if you just learn to harness the energy supplied by these resistances. As in physical strength training, the more resistance/weight you add, the more benefit your body gets out of it. Heavy weights tear the muscles when you work them and then they repair themselves and come back stronger. She says you need to see trials and tribulations in life like this, spend that time under tension, through the hard times, harnessing that pain and using it to fuel you. Build yourself back up and you will be stronger than you were prior.

Lovely right? Beautiful woman, beautiful message. Sounds so simple! HA! If you are like me you are getting all pumped up right now ready to remedy your life right this instance. And so you do, for a week, maybe a month, and your dreams don’t come true, you don’t look like Britney Spears and you still can’t afford that purse you want. So you quit, you fall back into your old ways, and you undo all the good you accomplished in that month (but don’t realize) in like 5 days and 2 Del Taco binges.

But, I feel differently about Lori’s message. I am extremely competitive, I hate to lose, and I hate to look weak. And you know what? I am losing the health battle right now. Yes, I am still a perfectly healthy 24 year old. I don’t have any issues, but! I may not be the same in the next 5-10 years if I keep going the way I currently am. Lori says that the resistance and tribulation is “not happening to you, it is happening FOR YOU.” Yes, that is purposefully in all caps. And underlined. And bolded. It is important. Self-respect means you care about yourself enough to want to make sure you remain the best you. You exercise good decision making and you honor your body. And, for me, it is easy to see all the resistance I face as attacks on the fortress that is my mind and body, but Lori encourages us to see it differently. Some super heroes absorb bullets and they are stronger because of it. They are more assured and determined to conquer their foes, to succeed. Now, if we did this in our everyday lives, could you image how strong we would be? I would be Iron Woman, no doubt!

The most important part of this though, if you think one hurdle is going to do the trick, you’re misguided. A track hurdle runner doesn’t leap over one hurdle and win the race. There are several hurdles. They have to continue to leap one after another and sometimes they stumble. But, they get up and they power through. They get stronger after each leap. Year after year they train, they leap and they run. And someday they might win the Olympics, some don’t. But they all become strong, determined and successful individuals. I don’t know about you, but I see strength as power. And I want all the power I can get. I want to be in control of my life and my destiny and I want to have the tools to conquer.

So, I highly recommend you look into Lori and her website. I linked it under her picture. You will not be disappointed with her and if you follow her advice, you won’t be disappointed in yourself either.

What a Novel Idea

Change can open your eyes to the time you have wasted being unhappy. But, if you realize it, you can change it and follow your heart.

I have always dreamed of writing a novel. And making the decision to be serious about this blog and follow my love of writing to where it can lead me is apart of that. That being said, I have been dreaming of a story and have seen it all play out in my mind and today I took the first step. I began putting it on paper.

I busted out several pages and am going to continue to build this book. I am also working on my blogging skills and knowledge. I am very excited for this journey and I hope you all will continue to follow and join me as I continue to build myself.

And I also want to say, it took me leaving a job I disliked to realize that I was a heart shaped person fueled by love and curiosity trying to fit myself into a square space. However, I wasn’t willing to minimize my abilities and my desire to learn and be successful in order to fit into the square they wanted me to be.  And you shouldn’t either. I am happy to be dedicating myself to my blog, and now my book, while I look for a position that allows me to use my creativity and my love of words. You should also not be afraid to follow your heart and do what you love to do. It is never too late to change direction and try something different.

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Tee Be or Not Tee Be?

The perfect tee may be an illusion but with these tees you can get real close!

The perfect t-shirt. Sounds simple enough, until you recall that perfection is not actually possible. Simply trying to get as near perfection as we can is all we can do. However, that need not be quite as depressing as it sounds. Yes, I have spent years (like most of my teen and early adult years) searching for that t-shirt that stands out from the hordes, distinguishes itself by drape, length, material, cut, neckline, sheer-ness, and value. I have also purchased many t-shirts from Walmart, Target, Abercrombie, Ann Taylor LOFT, Madewell, Free People, James Perse, Rag & Bone, and other brands – too many to count. There are so many t-shirts out in the world it can be difficult to determine which ones are really going to be what you want. So, I am going to share my t-shirt favorites, a couple I dislike for comparison sake and t-shirts other style gurus suggest as well. Because, face it, this isn’t the first t-shirt blog ever written. Or even the one thousandth. But, I know I can always use additional opinions, so I am supplying my own!

The Criteria:

The aspects of the t-shirt that truly make the difference are material composition, cut, sleeve length, and the value (price vs. quality). The four of these together comprise the most perfect t-shirt you can find. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what the cost is, if the t-shirt isn’t something you feel amazing in, (or delicious, depending on what look you’re going for), then it is too much.

Material Composition:

It is important to take into consideration the fabric content of the t-shirt. This will affect the value of the tee as well as the drape and the sheer-ness of it. Depending on the style you desire, the fabric can give a boxy look, drapey, or fitted. The strength of the fabric determines the way it fades as it is washed – or even if it can be washed.

Cut:

Depending on the style of the t-shirt that you are looking for, cut is key! If you are looking for boxy, you would want the tee to a be shorter length, fitted tees should hit the top of the hip, while a drapey tee should be longer in length to achieve optimum drape. If you are like me, round butt and curvy hips, the length is even more important. The best t-shirts can go bad when they are the wrong length whether it results in the constant tup down, out, or getting stuck under your butt or hips.

Sleeve Length:

Sleeve length can make a boxy tee look very boxy or a slouchy tee look oversized. Some t-shirts have elbow sleeves. This can be cute rolled or long if you have thin arms. If your arms are larger, then a sleeve mid arm length is best.

Value:

Quality vs. Price. Very important! It doesn’t matter how affordable the t-shirt is if you have to buy 20 of them for every one at a higher price.

The Contenders:

Banana Republic – The Supima Cotton Crew $29.50

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This tee is 100% cotton but still washes well. It doesn’t shrink or fade, nor is it thin. I love the sleeve length, just long enough to cover the largest part of the arm but not tight. It is fitted as well, with a feminine shape but not too narrow. The length is also ideal – not too long, hitting at the upper hip.

By far my favorite t-shirt. The fit gives me that “Dang I look good!” feeling and dare I say, feel sexy with how it hugs the right places. But, as you can see in the picture, is not clingy or too tight on the torso.

 

Madewell – Whisper Cotton Crewneck Tee $24.50

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By far one of my favorite non-boxy, boxy tees. It features a drop shoulder and a straight cut with room for a curvy shape. The sleeves roll beautifully yet remain an excellent length to cover the largest part of the arm without being tight. It is made of a light slub cotton. Is not thin enough to be sheer and doesn’t need a layer.

The length is perfect for this fit of t-shirt. Looks great tucked or left out. Has a slight shirt tail cut to the back of the tee with side cuts that remain modest. The only downfall, it says it is machine washable but they hold up best if hand washed.

 

Free People – We The Free Free Fallin Tee $58

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One of the best purchases I have ever made! Certainly the tee is THIN. Anything you wear underneath will be a tad visible. Which makes this perfect for a racerback bralette (FP has a Galloon racerback that is perfect, I will link it).

The top is long all around and runs large. I would suggest sizing down at least one, maybe two sizes. It is perfect with leggings or knotted to the side. It is a drapey fit in a polyester, cotton, and rayon blend. It is a longer short sleeve with a sewn fold. Perfect drapey, lived in look.

 

 

J Jill – Pure Jill Scoop- Neck Elliptical Tee

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The best part of this t-shirt is the cut. The Elliptical tee is a longer length in the back, (comes in petite as well), so it is perfect with leggings. The seam along the back just below the natural waist gives definition to the tee so it doesn’t look so blousy in the back. The front of the tee lies flat and just above the hip joint. Super soft cotton that doesn’t fade or shrink makes it a favorite!

This tee is perfect for lazy days with a long pendant necklace. I love it on the days when I am feeling bloated because the cut is so flattering and slimming. It has a built in shape but is cut generously to allow for a long, lean look.

The Unmentionables:

Abercrombie & Fitch – Relaxed V-Neck Tee $18

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Looks super cute on the model, I agree. And, if you are her size, the tee will look great. However, if you are any larger than a size 6, the tee shirt is small, tight and sheer. In addition, the neckline is very low, especially if you have a chest. The sides are also cut rather high. I generally like their items, and yes the tee is soft, but it is not a great fit.

I also don’t care for the sleeve length because it is so short and tight fitting. Also, this tee does not hold up well in the wash. It needs to be hand washed and it still frays, pills and looks dingy after a few wears.

 

Ann Taylor LOFT – Vintage Soft Pocket Tee $24.50

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This LOFT tee is my least favorite. While I worked for the company, I tried many times to like this t-shirt. I probably purchased ten trying to find one I liked but I never did. For one, the cut is short. On the model it looks fine, but in real life, the longest part barely comes to the top of the hip. In addition, the tee is cut wide with small sleeves. The tee is bulky on the shoulder because of this and if both arms are forward, the tee bunches in the chest. In addition, the shirt shrinks and the seams twist when washed. My least recommended t-shirt.

 

Let me know if you like these tees or if you have your own favorites I should try!

5 Best Nude Sandals for Summer!

A nude sandal is a must have, especially during the warm months. They create the illusion of long lean legs and can lighten up any look.

The benefits of nude color shoes are numerous. While they can be worn with any color you might wear, they are also masters of misdirection! Wearing a nude shoe can make short legs (like mine) appear longer and therefore, leaner, and long legs appear even longer. Of course a good heel can also help a girl out by lifting the tush, creating longer, leaner legs, and giving us some inches so we are taller. So my favorite nude shoes for summer are all of various heel heights, (even some barely a heel for those who don’t like heels). While I do not own all five, I am only selecting ones I have tried and really liked and that felt comfortable, (and where to buy them). Because, after all, it doesn’t matter how beautiful the shoe is if we can’t last an hour in them!

5. Louise et Cie – Karisa Ankle Strap Sandal $100

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This beautiful sandal features a higher ankle strap balanced out by the open toe. The strap over the toes is nice and wide so your toes remain secure, (no weird pinky toe sticking out in the wrong places!) And the strap shape allows for comfort, no cutting into your toes and it shows of your pretty pedicure! It is about a 2.5 inch, wrapped stacked heel for maximum comfort. The best part about this shoe is that is comes in the matte (shown) and a nude patent as well! So super cute, and at $100, I loved this sandal, even the ankle strap, but if you have large ankles or no ankle, I have some better options!

4. Splendid – Justin T-Strap Thong Demi Wedge Sandal $78

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Who doesn’t love the everyday comfort of a cushy t-strap sandal? This one is a great brand at a great price. Splendid is known for its comfortable pieces made if great materials that really hold up. This shoe is no exception. It is super comfortable and the slight wedge heel (1.75 in) and minimal straps means legs will look long and lean whether your ankles are slim or not. These sandals will look excellent with a little sun dress or paired with wide leg crops. The ankle strap has a bit of elastic for added comfort. I highly recommend these!

 

 

3. Vince Camuto – Fauna Sandal $119

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I personally love a tie up sandal! This is a style that I have really loved. Free People has been doing tie up shoes for years now and I was thrilled when it became a popular style. This particular pair is, of course, comfortable, featuring a 2.25 in heel. The tie is light and thin enough that it doesn’t dig into the skin, (like some shoelace ones do), but also textured so that they aren’t loosening up all day as well as finished at the end so the string doesn’t fray. They are a higher rise on the ankle but have a large opening for the heel and minimum constriction. Great buy from Vince Camuto!

 

2. Ann Taylor LOFT – Cutout Wedge Sandal $90

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Nothing says summer quite like a perforated shoe. This particular shoe was love at first sight. I love the perforated detail, but not too big that the leather will suffer or weaken. The round buckle perfectly compliments the feminine beauty of this shoe. The wedge is 3 inches high to give a nice lift. But since it is a wedge, the shoe remains comfortable and easy to walk in. This shoe would look wonderful with anything you would wear, especially a feminine sundress. But the feminine details of the shoe would also bring femininity to a basic shift dress or slip dress.

 

1. Free People – Under Wraps Sandal $68

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This sandal is not so much a light nude color. it does come in a white gold which is a very neutral color, but I am so in love with these sandals I needed to feature them. They do come from one of my favorite brands so I know I will be fully satisfied with them. But I also love how unique they are. T-strap on the foot makes for an interesting line that goes into the ankle strap. But the front of the ankle is left exposed to allow for a clean line down the foot making the legs appear longer despite the lack of a heel on these. They are also an excellent price for a nice pair of leather sandals. They have a bit of elastic that allows them to be easily pulled on and comfortable.

 

All five of these sandals are comfortable and totally on trend for the season. Nude shoes are one of the essentials every woman should have in her closet. The five I picked or amongst my favorites of all I have seen available at a reasonable price. There are many many more that I love that are more that $150… If you want those recommendations I would be happy to supply them! But for an everyday shoe, these are my favorite five that will hold up and be comfortable.

Questioning “Enough”

Just the other day I was driving in my car listening to the radio and The Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden” came on. I have grown up hearing this song and am very familiar with it and the lyrics. But for some reason, this time I heard it the lyrics really spoke to me. Much of the song is questioning “Am I rich enough? Am I strong enough? Am I rough enough?” He asks questions like this several times and it was really making me think.

So, not to launch into some rant about self-esteem and ‘everybody is equal and wonderful,’ I did want to comment on this. Many songs, books, poems, and pictures are focused on whether or not one has reached this threshold of “enough.” What is enough anyways? And how has this term come to be how we judge and base ourselves? Why are we constantly wondering if we are enough?

Enough – the English dictionary defines it first as a determiner and pronoun with the definition, “as much or as many as required.” In my opinion, there are several issues with using this word as a self determiner with this definition. First, this definition implies that there are indeed “requirements.” That is fine if you are discussing whether you have enough units to graduate this semester. But when applying it as a self determiner, you are saying that there is a requirement for how thin, rich, strong, rough, etc. you are. While there are guidelines, there is no such requirement for these.

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So, enough, we use it thoughtlessly to self determine value, appeal and worth. But I think this is a problem. This constant struggle to be something we aren’t currently leads me to question whether using terms like “enough” so thoughtlessly is to blame. With social media, (I have talked about my feelings about this in past posts), we are constantly bombarded by pictures of people who we have chosen to look up to, idolize, or become obsessed with. I follow several fitstagram people and I will admit that sometimes I judge myself with their bodies as the standard. This can also happen with feeling someone on social media has more shoes, a better social calendar, goes to more concerts, or travels more. We look at ourselves in relation to this person and use that self determining word “enough” to decide whether we are worst, just as good or better than the other person.

In the process of judging ourselves we are also judging the person we are comparing ourselves to. And then we do this over and over and over again. So much so that we begin to break down your self-esteem and feel insignificant. Because, regardless of who you are, there is always somebody who has more of something that you do. You may hold 100% of Apple’s shares and will never have to work or consider money again, but there is likely someone out there who has more of something that you desire than you do.

This process of determining our enough-ness breaks down our self-esteem and any ability we have to truly be appreciative. It also hard wires us to constantly be comparing ourselves and others and then making determinations and judgements based on those comparisons, regardless of whether they are fair or equal. 

What should be done about this? Well, I would call for the elimination of enough from self determining vocabulary. I will not wonder if I am enough in anyway, instead I will view myself (perferably objectively) and ask myself if I am happy with how I am  and if not, how I can work on improving myself so that I can be happy with how I am. Removing enough from our vocabulary may lead to less harsh judgements on ourselves and the feeling like we can’t measure up so we can lead happier lives. 

Met Gala Fashion Review

I am sure you have heard that the Met Gala was on May 1st, the first Monday of May. It has been the talk of fashion magazines around the world in the few days since the event as pictures are published online and through social media. From very demure gowns to outrageous fashion statements, the Gala brings them all out in celebration of fashion. 

The Met Gala is something I have always admired and would like to attend. Hopefully, someday I will have the opportunity. I don’t think I would go bold with my choices though, mostly because I am not that bold with my choices in general… but there is a point to be fashionable and flawless at the Gala. Since I didn’t have the pleasure of attending, I thought it would be fun to discuss some of the looks we saw this year from our favorite designers and celebrities.

My absolute favorite look is a sheer black custom Thai Nguyen Atelier gown worn by La La Anthony. The gown features what appears as a expanding cracked design done in delicate bead work. According to interviews and her Instagram, the dress served to make a statement about her strength in light of her recent breakup with basketball star Carmelo Anthony. She captioned her photo on Instagram with “Unbreakable” fitting with her recent breakup and the cracked look of the dress itself. The gown perfectly showed off her amazing figure. Anthony complimented her look with nude lipstick and a subtle smokey eye. Certainly a powerful look.

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La La Anthony in custom Thai Nguyen Atelier
If you were unaware, every year the Met Gala has a theme that the guests are encouraged to dress within highlighting the exhibit that will be launched. This year, the Gala celebrated the opening of the Costume Institute’s exhibition, “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between.” This is the first exhibit that the Met has featured a living artist since the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit in 1983.

Rihanna stole the show with her three dimensional floral ensemble by Comme des Garçons. Of course she is known for her unique fashion choices and she regularly garners attention for her outfits… but I wasn’t a fan of this personally. However, I understand that this is the keynote designer and she is showcasing her new jewelry line with Chopard.

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Rihanna in Comme des Garcons, Rihanna Loves Chopard jewelry and desquared2 shoes
There are a few more pictures of my favorite looks at the Met Gala. Which ones were your favorites?

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All photos pulled from Vogue online slideshow.