Design Your Life: The Stories

We love how much you’ve been loving our fall campaign, Design Your Life! We reached out to some your favorite ladies to learn about a time that they decided to design their own lives, and we can’t wait for you to read their stories. Keep scrolling to see what they had to say!

Keep checking back during the week as we add more stories to our #DesignYourLife Diary. Wan to see your #DesignYourLife moment here? Leave a comment below telling us about a special moment that made you, you!

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"It was the summer of 2014. An idea sparkled through my brain: I'd like to teach fitness to inspire others to lead their best lives. That Fall, started my Barre teacher training with @exhalespa — I was accepted into their full program + decided to leave my full-time job to pursue fitness. Chi Chi Life was born! A beautiful blend of my passions: fitness, events + fundraising, corporate wellness + cancer advocacy — the best is yet to come!"

- Lauren Chiarello, @chichilifenyc

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Meet Jena Booher and her daughter Siena! In addition to being an amazing mother, Jena is on a mission to transform places of work everywhere.

“Four years ago I left my Wall Street job to pursue a PhD in Psychology to make the workplace a spot where people can thrive.”

- Jena Booher, @jena.booher

I completely changed my life around 10 years ago. Met the man of my dreams, went after a career...traveled more, wrote my first book...but nothing had more impact than becoming a minimalist. It’s why I love ML ... the dresses travel well and go day to night. No need for different wardrobes.
— Sonja, commented on the Design Your Life blog post


“For me designing my life means living my life on my own terms. The life I designed for myself is to do something that I love, something that makes me money, and something that helps my community...the challenge wasn’t designing a life for myself, but not comparing my design to anyone else’s once I realized that the possibilities seem endless.”

- Beverly Beal, @lifeinbeverlyheels

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“It’s been 7 years since I left my corporate job as a magazine editor at Hearst to venture out on my own and build my own food & lifestyle business. One thing I’ve learned since then is that every day we get both the opportunity AND the responsibility to design our lives. 

Being my own boss means not having to wait for someone to give me approval or permission to do the things I want to do, but it also means there’s nobody but myself to push me to achieve those dreams. Some days are exhausting, frustrating, and can leave me feeling defeated, but then there are the moments when things are so incredible it makes the hard days more than worth it. 

While I learned this working for myself, the truth is these same rules apply for all of us in every aspect of our lives. Whatever that thing you want is, it’s up to you go for it and  design your life.”

- Alejandra Ramos, @alwaysalejandra

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“Four years ago I made a choice to redesign my life. After being a top performer in corporate, high-stress environments year over year and having two small children, I found myself at a tipping point. I was totally burnt out and I knew I had to make a change.

I started by acknowledging that the only way to take care of my kids was to take care of myself first. Nothing was going to change unless I did. I started by breaking old habits and creating new ones.

Earlier this year I launched my coaching and consulting company, InFirst LLC. Today professionals in high stress corporate roles hire me to design programs to help them redesign their life, change their habits, and shift their mindset to prevent stress, anxiety and burnout.
The best investment you will ever make is in yourself. I coach clients on how to thrive from the inside out.”

- Jaime Diglio, @find.your.positive

Last year I made a decision that I was going to work NYFW..... pestered the right people and somehow turned it into a job as a stage manager! I think putting your mind towards a goal and dream is the special magic and luck that gets you from point A to B. Still working towards the bigger picture, but making baby steps along the way, loving every moment!
— Hannah, commented on Instagram
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“I am a big advocate for taking a pause for yourself to just ‘be,’ as opposed to ‘do’ or ‘act.’ It’s not the easiest thing to accomplish when ‘what’s next’ is your middle name. Now that I am in between gigs and a myriad of thoughts, options and scenarios are running through my head, I make a conscious choice to check in with myself every day to make sure I am breathing before anything else — something we were designed to do but often forget. Intuitively, because I’ve started pausing, I’ve been able to open space for family and friends, say ‘no’ to things that don’t sound right and say ‘yes’ to things that resonate with my heart. I hope I can encourage other people to do the same.”

- Galina Ozgur, @galinaozgur



“I spent many years waiting for my body, my external appearance and other conditions in my life to look "perfect" by society's standards before I really started living. I felt like I was constantly waiting for my life to start but it was actually already happening! When I finally realized that nothing outside of me can define my self worth or capabilities, I began to open up opportunities for myself that I never thought possible. I became certified as a Health Coach, quit my corporate job and began supporting people in living their lives unconditionally and unapologetically in the bodies they are in today.”

- Holly Toronto, @loveyourbody_hc

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“I used to be a ballerina. I have always been a very creative person and ballet was my outlet and passion. I have a condition called scoliosis that was left untreated as a kid and over time that completely warped my body and affected dancing to the point I had to stop training. As an adult, I became the director and owner of a ballet school and have taught children ballet (which I love). As the years went on, my scoliosis got so severe that I needed spine surgery after my last child was born. I turned to blogging to help me cope with the anxiety and frustration of that surgery. Long story short, I ended up with 2 titanium rods and 26 screws in my spine, along with a spinal cord injury paralyzing my left leg and an emergency bowel resection 4 days afterward. It was a complete nightmare and it has been a struggle to this very day. Depressed about not being able to teach as much as I used to, I began my fashion blog to fulfill that creative passion I have always had. If you would like to read more about my story, check the link in my profile.”

- April Wagner, @apriljwagner

I quit my corporate job for culinary school!
— Sarah, commented on Instagram


“A few ways I have designed my own life was when I decided to take a leap of faith n relocate here to Atlanta then start my own tv show! Later, I transitioned over to creating my award-winning blog!”

- Tami Reed, @talkingwithtami



“When I was 17 years old, I decided to move to New York for college. After several people telling me that I was crazy and that New York would chew me up and spit me out, I decided that I would show those people, and myself, what I’m made of. I moved to New York not knowing anyone, gave the city everything I had, experienced once in a lifetime things and grew as a human being. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had listened to the nay-sayers. I’m so thankful I didn’t!”

- Tessa Alana Port, @honestdarling



“How I designed my life? One day I was walking in the streets of Rio de Janeiro and saw this beautiful gray suitcase, one that I could afford. I bought it, took it home, filled it with my dreams and came to New York!”

- Beatriz Greiff, @bgreiff

Every time I recognize I want to achieve something I will go for it. The only thing that gets in our way is the decision not to try.
— Maria, commented on Instagram
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“I truly believe in the power to design your own life. 7 years ago I took the leap of faith and started my own accessories line with my sisters. It was exhilarating, scary, and exciting all at the same time. But in doing it we were able to create a legacy, help provide training programs for women in a 3rd world country, and help spread our love for fashion.”

- Karen Leano, @parisandalatte



“I’m so happy with the life I’ve designed for myself. I love my job and am inspired by the work I do for Her Campus every day. I get to work from home when I’m not on the road and eat lunch with my sweet girls almost every day. I know that many are not so lucky and I’m incredibly proud of the company that I’ve built and the lifestyle that it affords every member of my team. We recognize that family comes first and that by treating our employees like complete human beings with families and obligations outside of work, we enable them to bring their best selves to work every day. I encourage everyone to work hard to design a life that they love.”

- Windsor Hanger Western, @windsorwestern

After my youngest daughter passed, I was in a dark time. But since I have other children, I had to remain strong. I picked up, left NYC and headed south. Picked up in my career and started over.
— Elaine, commented on Instagram

Want to see all of our fall dresses? Take a peek at our The Fall Shop!