Nurturing Beauty Style Secrets Blog: Personal style Archives

Learn to Add Beautiful Prints to Your Wardrobe and Stop Relying Solely on Solid Colors

If you’re like many women, you have a mortal fear of prints.  You look in your closet and what greets you?  A sea of solid colors.  There’s not a print in sight except for the striped button down you bought (but rarely wear) and an old animal print/floral/plaid/geometric sweater you’ve had since the 1990’s.

It’s not because you only love solids.  It’s more that buying a print seems like a good idea at the time, but weeks, months and even years go by and it rarely, if ever, makes it out of your closet.  You like the idea of wearing a print, but every time you put one on you feel out of sorts, overwhelmed or too obvious.  Animal prints feel too trendy.  Geometrics feel hard, and florals remind you of your third grade teacher.

So, with a sigh, it’s back to basics and solid colors.

But…and it’s a big but…you feel like you’re missing out.  Your wardrobe feels predictable and limited.  You know there has to be a perfect print for you, but finding it has proven to be a very expensive enterprise—too many items sit unworn in your closet.

Let me put your mind at ease.  It’s not your imagination that choosing a print involves a bit of sifting and sorting—there are plenty of wacky prints out there.  Last season I decided that designers had run out of ideas when they introduced patchwork animal print as a trend.  Yikes!  Really?  I’ve always been a fan of animal print, but as soon as you put it in a garment with florals and plaids, it’s downright scary!

Prints can be your friend.  They immediately add visual interest and spice up an otherwise mundane look.  But…

It’s all about finding the right prints for you.

So get ready, because you’re about to learn how to choose a print that makes your heart sing and looks great on you!

2 Steps to Choosing the Perfect Print for You:

The two most important components to consider when choosing a print are color and personality:

  1. Color – the predominant color (at least) needs to be one of your best.  If the print you are considering has orange, olive green and a speck of purple, but you look terrible (or just so-so) in orange and olive green while the purple is your best color, don’t buy it!  That little speck of color cannot overcome the bad vibes of the orange and olive green.
  2. Personality – This element is arguably the most important.  In the photos below I will share the women’s inner beauty words (the words that describe who they are deep down to their soul).  Paying attention to who you are is a critical component in selecting a print (and your wardrobe, in general).

I could talk until I’m blue in the face about how if you have this color hair, this body shape and these personality traits, this print might look good on you, but it’s just talk.  Seeing is believing and this conversation needs to be highly visual, so let’s keep going…

Jackie Before Cropped-Aws

While the colors in this print are technically black and white, because the design is so small and delicate they actually look more like gray.  As a result, the color seems washed out, too cool and simply blah in comparison to Jackie’s beautiful warm skin tone and rich colored hair.

Three of Jackie’s inner beauty words/phrases are ‘richly expressive,’ ‘playfully fun’ and ‘bound and determined.’  Look at the print she’s wearing.  None of those is expressed in this print so it does nothing to support her natural beauty.

Jackie no earrings print headshot-ws
Here we have Jackie in black and white again, but this time more obvious distinction between the colors.  In fact, the garment is repeating some of her natural colors – black of her hair, white of her teeth and red of her lips and cheeks.  The overall design has more oomph (bound and determined!) and is richly expressive and the color combination and swirls of the design are playfully fun.  (She also has great earrings to compliment the outfit, but I wanted you to see the print unadorned so you could see it has beauty all on its own.)

Jan before_6982
This pattern has the opposite problem from the one Jackie was wearing in her ‘before’ picture.  While Jackie’s underwhelmed her, Jan’s completely overwhelms her with its frenetic bursts of color.  Jan is ‘open-hearted’ and ‘grounded’—neither of which is reflected in this print.  Add to that the fact that Jan’s coloring is relatively warm with her golden hair and peaches and cream skin and the predominantly cool colors of this print conflict with her natural coloring.

Jan after_Casual
Ahhhh, here’s the open-hearted, grounded feel we want!  The print is a soft floral as opposed to huge bursts of color.  Even though the pattern of the flowers and leaves is fairly large, the colors are soft.  The rich periwinkle of the background brings out her eyes and the warmth of the green leaves and soft turquoise flowers reflects Jan’s ‘snazzily creative’ nature.

Meryl after_Dress
Meryl’s natural coloring has more high contrast than Jan.  Her medium light skin and dark hair mean she can wear more striking contrast in her prints as well.  But that alone would not be enough if Meryl was someone who was, for example, ‘dreamy’ and ‘quietly gracious.’  In contrast, however, two of Meryl’s inner beauty words are ‘powerful’ and ‘quick.’  This print has that feel.  While it’s still a floral, the sharper distinction between the colors and vibrant outlines of the pattern give it a very lively intense feeling without overwhelming Meryl’s petite frame.  And, the simple, elegant design of the dress speaks to the ‘graciously classic’ part of her nature.

What about you?  Do you need a softer print like Jan or more intensity like Jackie and Meryl.  What about color?  When you exam prints already in your closet or what you see in the stores, are you choosing colors that suit your natural coloring?  If you are unsure, you will find more information about four easy-to-wear colors in this blog post.

What prints naturally appeal to you?  If you are genuinely joyful and fun, polka dots might appeal to you.  Have a little fire or feistiness in your personality?  Animal prints or zigzags might be the answer.  Quiet and luminous?  Your prints will reflect that – maybe soft tone-on-tone paisley or watercolor florals.

There is no end to the combinations that can work, but it can also be overwhelming to walk around a store surrounded by prints with no clue as to how to approach them.  With these two guides you will be surprised by how much more success you have!

[Need some help?  Set up a free 20-minute call with Ginger to find out how she can support you either through one of her private programs or in her virtual coaching program.]

Note: All garments pictured here are vegan-friendly (made from fabrics that did not harm any animals).

Photo credits: Meri Bond Photography and Johnson Photography

Are You White Pant Phobic? Let Me Share My Secrets…

Every spring, as the temperatures rise, the question of white pants comes up.  Either you live in them all summer or you are intimidated by them and keep them firmly at bay.

If you have banished white pants from your summer wardrobe you are missing a great opportunity to lighten up your wardrobe and add a summer feel.  Sure, there are pitfalls to overcome before you welcome them into your closet, but I promise these pitfalls are not so overwhelming that you have to exorcise white pants altogether.

I am going to help you bust through the typical misconceptions about wearing white pants so you will feel confident and excited to wear them. Continue reading…

Do You Dread Shopping?

It’s spring and summer is right around the corner.  You can’t wait to get out of your winter clothes and you realize you need a few new things to add to last year’s warm weather wardrobe.  So you build up your resolve, push down your chronic dread of shopping and head out to the stores.  Despite your past shopping experiences, you try to remain hopeful, but when you arrive home after hours perusing the racks and more time trying things on in the dressing room, all you have to show for it is more ‘stuff.’ Continue reading…

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Every Time You Get Dressed

Every time you look in the mirror to get dressed you wonder who the woman is staring back. You shake your head in disbelief. When did you let your wardrobe dwindle to a handful of outfits that are easy and safe—none of which makes you feel fabulous? You sadly acknowledge that you have learned to settle for passable!

Sure, you can get out the door each morning in a jiffy, but it does absolutely nothing to help you feel good about yourself. It can even go so far as to undermine your self-confidence and take up space in your head as you push back the concerns about who might notice that your pants are a tad too short or that you’ve worn the same tired jacket three times this week. You feel aggravated as you tug at the waistband of your pants or keep checking to make sure your bra isn’t peeking out of the neckline. It’s exhausting, but you’ve gotten used to it.

Phew! Take a breath. It does not have to be that way forever and I’m going to show you how to get unstuck. Continue reading…

Do You Fill Your Closet With Black Because It’s Easy?

Black, black, black and more black. That’s what you have in your closet. Admit it (I promise you are not alone), you wear black out of habit. It’s easy, it’s slimming, there’s tons of it out there and it has a reputation of being chic and versatile. Phew! With that much going for it, who wouldn’t want an entire wardrobe in black?

The problem is that while black is certainly all of those things, I don’t see anything there that says anything about it looking fabulous on you!

Black is: Continue reading…

Hello Beautiful! 7 Styling Tools to Enhance Your Natural Beauty

You are beautiful no matter what your size or shape. Yes, I know, society wants to dictate a particular standard of beauty and that’s what you see day in and day out in the media. It is also what you use to compare your body to see if it measures up. Perhaps you’ve already noticed that this only makes you feel frustrated and deflated. Very few women, if any, actually achieve and maintain this standard. Instead, why not embrace your natural beauty and use a few styling tools for creating balance and harmony.

Beauty is not about looking like every other woman out there – how boring is that! It’s about celebrating who you are and creating a look you love. The key is to choose clothes and accessories strategically to give your body an uninterrupted line and draw the eye where you want it to go. It’s easier than you think! Continue reading…

Want to Look Great Every Day? Create a Daily Uniform!

Every morning when you get dressed and stand for what seems like an hour in front of your closet trying to find something to wear, you dream of being able to grab a uniform and go. Your mind goes to a fantasy of reaching into your closet while still half asleep and pulling on something fabulous without having to try on ten or twenty things.  Then, your mind snaps back to reality and you think, “Sure, I already have a ‘uniform’ and it’s so boring I can hardly stand it!”

While your mind is intrigued at the thought of wearing a uniform, your heart says no because it sounds so dull and limiting and holds out for something more exciting.

Before you give up on the idea altogether, let’s rethink the concept of a uniform.  It can run from firefighters’ and police officers’ mode of dress to your Catholic school outfit or what you and every other girl in your girl scout troop wore.  In these cases it identifies you with a particular group.  The problem is that none of those is appropriate to your every day dress now.  While that’s true, you don’t have to give up entirely.  You can create your own group uniform with a membership of one: you. Continue reading…

3 Style Tricks to Look Taller, Elongate Your Legs and Hide Your Tummy

Ginger's Style Tips & Tricks

You are quick to jump to conclusions that certain styles don’t look good on you. Time and again you try things on and instead of feeling beautiful you feel inadequate or worse yet, frumpy! BUT, there are 3 simple style tricks you can use immediately to make an outfit work for you and feel great wearing it.

Do you have a model’s body? Probably not. I know I don’t. In fact I wouldn’t be writing this if I did because I wouldn’t understand the issues you deal with every day when you get dressed. But, I do understand because I have many of the same concerns. The difference is that I know how to create the illusion that I have a well-balanced body.

Now, if you’re thinking, “But I’ve seen you and you always look terrific!,” that’s great and I appreciate your kind words. It means these style tricks work because, like you, I can (without hesitation) list 10 things about my body that I would change if I could wave a magic wand. I used to cringe and bemoan the fact that my body wasn’t perfect starting with the fact that I’m knock-kneed, have narrow shoulders and wider hips and I’ve always had a tummy. I always felt like everyone was staring at the parts of my body that embarrassed me and I felt so conspicuous and insecure. It took me years to make peace with my body, but I did because I learned how to hide what I don’t want someone to see and accentuate what I do. I feel so much better and you can, too. I am going to show you how to do the same thing for your body and your wardrobe!

You have to remember that the styles that are out there are designed for a model who is 5’10″, 120 pounds, broad shoulders and no where near busty. She is in the minority, not you! Very few of us, myself included, fall into that category. Clothes that are meant to look great on a 5’10″ model don’t necessarily translate easily to someone who isn’t, i.e., the rest of us. So, before you start getting down on your body and how it isn’t a super model’s, let’s look at things you can do to look taller, slimmer, and more balanced and give your body a fighting chance with some of these crazy styles that are out there right now.

Feeling good about how you look in an outfit has everything to do with understanding how to balance your body with the clothing choices you make. If you find yourself scratching your head wondering what that means, don’t worry. You are not alone. The problem in the fashion world today is that designers are ignoring the rules or worse, suggesting that they don’t matter. But, they do! Of course, if you are 5′ 11″, 125 pounds and have legs that go on forever, you can probably wear a paper bag and look stunning. But, since most of us aren’t super models, the rules do matter. In fact, they matter a lot if you want to feel good about how you look!

What happens if you ignore these rules? You start blaming your body. When was the last time you looked in the mirror and thought, “Why aren’t my hips/tummy/thighs smaller?” Or, “If only my legs were longer, ankles slimmer or bustline bigger.” Yesterday?  Five minutes ago? Maybe even ten times in the past hour?

Give your body a break. Keep it as healthy and strong as possible and then use fashion as your secret weapon! Style is all about illusion and understanding how to balance your body to give the impression of longer legs, broader shoulders or a slimmer tummy gives you an edge. It is all part of the experience, so why not use it to your advantage?

Before you get discouraged and give up on your wardrobe (and your body!), check out these three common culprits. Here are three of my favorite body balancing tips:

  1. Change Your Shoes. This doesn’t mean you have to wear spike heels to look taller and thinner (in fact, stilettos are not always the most slimming choice anyway because the heel is so thin that it can make your ankles and legs look heavy in comparison). Elongating your legs has less to do with the heel height and more to do with the vamp (the part of the shoe that goes across the top part of your foot). The higher the vamp (the closer it comes to your ankle), the more it shortens your legs and body. The lower the vamp, the more it elongates your legs and body.  It’s that simple.Don’t expect the fashion designers or trendy celebrity TV shows to help you with this. They’ve all gone wacky and have women wearing clunky shoes or black cage heels or ankle boots with skirts. If your legs go on forever, fine. Otherwise, think twice before adopting that trend.Notice in this picture how your eye stops at the top of the boot making her legs appear like they stop there, too.

    Don't wear this!

    If you really, really feel compelled to wear cage heels or ankle boots with a dress, the color must match either your skin or your tights to keep an uninterrupted leg line and make your legs look long.

    Wear This!

    Or, the next time you put on a dress or a pair of skinny jeans and think you can’t wear it, switch to a pair of shoes with a low vamp like this and you will be surprised at the difference it makes.

  2. Keep Your Armholes Slim. Dolman sleeves (a.k.a., batwings) have been popular for a couple of seasons. They are comfortable to wear, but they can also make you appear broader and more stout — especially someone who is short waisted and/or large busted. Look at the difference between these two armholes. The width of the dolman sleeve interrupts the vertical line of her body making her appear wider and heavier. Of course, since she’s a tall, slim model, a little width doesn’t matter as much. The top with the higher armhole makes the model look taller and slimmer. The next time you are feeling heavy and frumpy, however, check your armhole and see if it is making you look wider than you are. 

    See the Difference?

     

     

  3. Wear the Right Bra. At least two-thirds of all the women I have worked with have been wearing the wrong size bra. Or, maybe you are wearing the right size, but you have worn the same bras for so long that they have no lift or elasticity left in them. When you’re twenty and small busted that might be okay, but as you get older, a little support is helpful if you want your clothes to fit you properly. If your bust is several inches lower than it should be or your bra is too big or too small, darts won’t hit you in the right place, you will look like you are slumping and your tummy will look fuller. Yes, the right size bra can fix all of that and more! (Hint: you need to have at least 5 bras that you rotate regularly and even then, you should plan to replace them at least every 18 months.)

    Don't Let This Happen to You!

    And, never, ever go shopping in a sports bra. It’s not worth your time. You will never be able to tell if something looks great on you. You’ll feel dowdy and leave frustrated and discouraged. A quick bra change can save the day! And if you need a bra-fitting my favorite place is Intimacy. There’s one in Copley Place if you live in the Boston area (ask for Maria!) and if you don’t, check out their website at www.myintimacy.com for other locations.

If you want to look taller and slimmer or just not shorter and wider, then use these three guides the next time you get dressed or shop, especially if you are questioning an outfit and really wonder if it is flattering. Your clothing choices can make body parts look bigger, smaller, wider or longer — use that to your advantage! These three style tricks will get you started.

SPECIAL NOTE: If you like these tips and find them helpful, please comment below.  If I get enough comments I’ll be happy to share three more body balancing tips!

Are You Dressing for Yourself or Someone Else?

Are You Dressing for Yourself or Someone Else?

When you don’t know what your personal style is and you don’t feel confident about choosing clothes you love, it is tempting to let someone else dictate your style for you.  But, don’t do it!  You will never feel completely satisfied with how you look as long as you are dressing by someone else’s rules!  It is never too late to explore what makes you happy when you get dressed.

Who do you see when you look in your closet?  Is your mother’s face smiling back at you from that ruffled shirt you’ve never worn?  Or is your best friend’s favorite dress hanging out in there taunting you?

In response to the question, “Who do you see when you look in your closet,” I most often hear:

  • My mother
  • My sister
  • My best friend
  • Myself, pre-children
  • Myself, pre-thirty extra pounds
  • Myself, pre-menopause
  • My favorite celebrity
  • Whoever was working at the store the day I went shopping
  • The store window mannequin
  • All of the above!

Guess what?  When you look in your closet you want to see YOU — just you.  You want to see items that make you smile and that you associate with fun times and delicious moments.  Maybe the memories are of pushing your daughter on a swing, lunch with girlfriends, a successful business presentation, or a precious date with your sweetie. These are the simple pleasures that make up life.  And you want these feelings to be reflected in every aspect of your wardrobe — down to your nightgown and slippers!

So evict the strangers and weed out those garments that make you roll your eyes or cringeThey have absolutely no place in your wardrobe.  This exercise will help you make your closet all about you!

  1. Remove one item from your closet that feels more like someone else than you.  If you are near your closet, go there right now and do this (if not, write down the first thing that comes into your mind so you will remember to remove it later).  Do it even if you don’t know why it isn’t you or what to put in to replace it.  The very first step is to get it out of there.
    As long as something that is not you is taking up space in your sacred closet (yes, it is sacred because this is where your essence is expressed every day), you will feel overburdened, frustrated, annoyed or discouraged — or resigned to all of those feelings — every time you get dressed, and none of those is good.  It is also very likely that you are not wearing this garment anyway.  It is more like a security blanket, but the security is a sham.
     
  2. Identify one garment or outfit that makes you smile the second you put it on your body.  It can be a dress, pair of pants, a pair of shoes or a scarf.  No item is too small or insignificant.
  3. Lay the stranger and the item you love side by side, and get a piece of paper or a notebook.
  4. For the item that is not you, write down everything you do not like about it.  Be as picky as you can.  Maybe it’s the way the fabric feels.  Perhaps the buttons seem overwhelming, or there are just too many of them.  It could be that you dislike the pattern or the way it clings.  Or perhaps it has a belt, and you do not like belts.  Write down everything!  If there are a few things you like about it, write those in a separate column.  Maybe the color is pretty, but it can’t make up for the fact that the style is so shapeless.
  5. Write down everything you like about the item you love:  color, texture, fit, shape, ornamental details, the way it feels or anything else about it that comes to mind.  Maybe it makes you feel sophisticated, down-to-earth, spunky or pretty.  Whatever it is, write it down.
  6. Use these lists when you go shopping to help you stay focused.  They are your lifelines!  The next time you try on an item, run down both lists and see how the garment compares.  It is so easy to get distracted by all the choices, the lighting or the helpful “advice” from sales women or your shopping buddies.  Keep this shopping mantra in mind: Only buy or wear something if you love it.

 

This is an excerpt from my book, That’s So You! Create a Look You Love with Beauty, Style and Grace. It’s a big topic and the foundation of creating a personal style you love.  If you are not sure how to tell what makes you happy when you wear it and you need more support, get a copy of my book here: www.createalookyoulove.com  And, if you want even more personal support check out my “Who Taught You How to Dress?” virtual coaching program or my upcoming “Your Style, Your Way” workshop. The most important thing is that you take step forward to get yourself unstuck.

What Do You Wear When No One Else Sees You?

Understanding your personal style can change your life by turning the dread of wearing something you don’t like into the power your style can give you as you go about your business each morning.

If you work out of your home or have a day you spend running errands, what are your go-to outfits?  Do you dress in a way that makes you smile and stand a little taller or do you throw on whatever is handy and try to avoid looking in the mirror?

Dianna Huff’s experience speaks directly to this common issue.  Her story is something that not only makes me proud but inspires me every day. She is a talented marketing consultant who works with small industrial companies and ghostwrites books for CEOs.  Here is a chance to let her story inspire you, too!

 

Dianna BeforeOne of the things I’ve learned, working with Ginger, is that her fashion advice is always spot on – especially her advice that it doesn’t take any effort to dress “up” each day if you buy clothes in your color palette that make your heart sing.

When I first contacted Ginger about five years ago, I was a stressed work-at-home mom with a young son. To save time, I wore standard-issue mom clothes that I could order in bulk online: “mom jeans” from L.L. Bean, khaki shorts and pants, and polo shirts. I felt depressed much of the time; I knew I didn’t look my best but didn’t know how to change. Like many of the women Ginger works with, I would get completely overwhelmed in a department store, so I avoided them altogether.

As Ginger helped me with colors, style, fit and makeup, I began to fill my closet with bright, colorful, beautiful clothes — what I call my “happy” clothes — clothes that make me feel good and look good on me. Because Ginger is all about working with you and your personal style, I now have clothes that I can wear anywhere, whether to a client meeting or out to dinner with a friend.

Dianna HuffAnd, I do wear them, every single day, even though some days I’m the only person who sees me in them.

Getting “dressed” each day has changed my life.

I had read somewhere years ago that our environments impact how we feel. If you live in a cluttered house, for example, your cluttered surroundings can impact your thinking and your energy. It works the same for your clothes. Before Ginger, I would throw on my old shorts and polos — or worse, my smelly gym clothes. (I’d put them on in the morning as reminder that I’d needed to go to the gym – and then never make it.)

Due to working with Ginger, I was now wearing clothes that I loved. I felt happier, confident, and more energetic — and it showed, because more and more people began telling me I was “glowing,” “beautiful” and “stunning.” (And trust me, no one had ever used those words before to describe me.)

Dianna in RedWhen I ventured out to Staples one day, a woman asked if I had bought my dress in New York as the style was “so sophisticated.” “No,” I replied, “Lord & Taylor in Burlington, Mass.” When I had my picture taken in front of Niagara Falls earlier this year, my friend said, “Dianna! Look at you! Look at that red coat and matching scarf. You look fantastic!” Just today the woman at the pharmacy said, in reference to the purple top I was wearing, “Oh my gosh! That purple – it’s gorgeous. It looks so good on you! And I love the necklace, too!”  Thank you, darling. :-)

Another benefit of getting dressed each day is that it changed my perspective on my work and my business. Slowly, over time, I stopped viewing myself as a “freelancer” and began viewing myself as a CEO. In fact, I found myself saying on a regular basis, “I am the CEO of DH Communications, Inc.” By looking and feeling like the CEO of my company, I began changing things inside my business that I had wanted to change for years. Today I’m doing work I love – which shows on the bottom line.

Dianna HuffThe most important thing I’ve learned, however, is that getting “dressed” each day doesn’t take any more effort than putting on those old khaki shorts and shirts I used to wear. All this summer, for example, I wore the colorful skirts and tops Ginger and I picked out at the beginning of the season — plus the bright sundresses we had found a couple of seasons ago. Putting on a skirt, a top, a necklace and some earrings takes as much time as pulling on a pair of ho-hum shorts and a t-shirt. Only now, I look and feel fabulous. When I look in the mirror, I find myself saying, “Darling, you look marvelous!” And that to me is priceless.

***

Dianna Huff is a marketing consultant who lives and works in Plaistow, NH. She enjoys walking her neighborhood with her two dogs in her fabulous wardrobe.  You can learn more about Dianna at www.diannahuff.com

jackie-after
Jackie: Before
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Jackie: After
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Diane: Before
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Diane: After
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Amanda: Before
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Amanda: After
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Donna: Before
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Donna: After
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Jan: Before
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Jan: After
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Sara: Before
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Sara: After
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Marianne: Before
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Marianne: After
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Annie: Before
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Annie: After
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Meryl: Before
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Meryl: After

Excellent program at Andover Bank. As the Sales Officer, I always like to make a presence at training sessions so that I hear the information first hand. Your class had just the right amount of information as well as comfort level with all the members of the group. Your suggestions were terrific, and the before and after excerpts were full of impact. In my travels throughout the bank branches, I hear individuals remarking on how great it was. 
Brenda Tecce Sales Officer, Andover Bank