Meet Marilyn.

My name is Marilyn Castro. I was born and raised in New Jersey and ended up moving to Miami at age 19. Ever since I could remember, I was never a skinny girl but it really wasn’t an issue until I hit my late 20’s. I was 40 lbs. from hitting the 300 mark and my health was also starting to slowly deteriorate. I ended up getting a bariatric sleeve surgery and lost 100 lbs. It’s an opportunity that I’m extremely thankful for because for me it was a second chance to have a better diet and exercise regimen that I intend to stick to on a daily basis. As someone who is in their “thriving 30’s” being healthy is so important, besides having my daily 9 to 5, I’m an upcoming hair and makeup artist and serve in the band at my local church. Therefore feeling well balanced, fit and staying fabulous through it all is a must since life is pretty busy and for the most part I tend to be in a local public eye.

This journey is a continuous one, a personal one, one that I hoped for and know that will only get better with time. As long as I give my best, I know I will feel my best. If there’s anything that I can take from these last four years is that life is always changing and WE are always changing. We’re all different and we all have our own burdens to carry, but there’s beauty in everything that we go through. We can be our greatest enemy or our greatest investment in this imperfect world. I still don’t see myself as that “skinny girl” that the media or even society around us sometimes puts on a pedestal but I know that I am beautiful and only I can work on bringing that beauty out for others to see. If anyone reading this right now is struggling with their weight and how they may feel about themselves, I encourage you to put the numbers that you see on the scale to the side and see what first steps you can take to actually live a better, healthier life. There is no set diet, workout plan or even surgery that will work exactly the same for everyone but everyone that wants to really live a healthy-balanced fit life can achieve it, if they work for it. So take some time for yourself, focus on your needs, research your options set some practical goals and keep in mind that you are responsible for the body you were given. Beauty is being the best possible version of yourself, inside and out. -Audrey Hepburn

Before we get to the details of this look, we just wanted to take the time to thank Marilyn for boldly sharing her heart and her story with us. Your message of empowerment, beauty, and self-love is inspiring to not only us but our readers as well. So, thank you for your transparency and for giving us a glimpse in your beautiful heart, mind, and convictions. Keep inspiring women everywhere Marilyn because you are a force to be reckoned with.

This week we're going to keep it short, sweet and simple for you so let's get started. Last week, we discussed summer looks, so it's only appropriate to feature this look because yesterday was officially the last day of summer. With that being said, we're going to discuss kimonos, safety pins, nude heels, and red lips. Here's our goodbye to summer 2017!

K I M O N O S & S A F E T Y P I N S

If you've been with us since the beginning, then you know we're huge fans of those essential pieces that we all need to have in our closets that give us the platform to get creative with our outfits. For example, little black dress, black strappy heels, denim jacket, black leather jacket, ripped jeans, etc. these are just a few example of what we mean by essential pieces. Give ten different people in a room a denim jacket and they will all style it in a different manner, they will all have a different aesthetic, and each person will communicate a different message that they want to share to the world. We believe that a kimono should be be in every woman's closet.

A kimono is a traditional Japanese garment that is defined by its straight seams, "T" shape, and intense decorative details. In the book Kimono, which dives deep into the history of these robes, the author described the limo as a "three dimensional work of art, a vibrant canvas draped over the wearer that is as integral to her persona as her own physical attributes." Anna Jackson writes, "A woman would not be judged by her physical appearance, but by her dress as it evident in paintings and prints, where it is the detailed depiction of the kimono, not the face, that gives the viewer a sense of personality." So, this is a testament that fashion has always been seen as an extension of a one's personality and freedom of expression.

(source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/a-brief-and-stunning-visual-history-of-the-kimono_us_5702abbce4b0daf53af03e8b)

Kimonos are great because there really is no wrong strategy when incorporating them into an outfit. It's super easy: you can wear kimonos on top of a crop top & high wasted shorts; skinny jeans & a basic tee; a turtleneck & a pair of trousers; or a mini skirt & bralette. The good thing about kimonos is that they come in a variety of different lengths and patterns and footwear wise you can pair it with a pair of kicks, sandals, slides, slippers, and even heels. With Marilyn's outfit, we converted this kimono into a shirt by using a simple device: s a f e t y p i n s! Again, we love safety pins and they're our bffs when we need a little touch to transform a simple outfit to an outfit that makes a statement. Tuck away, pin away, and even change the way a piece fits your body with the simple use of a safety pin. Make use of those little guys!


A pair of nude heels are simple yet so effective in any outfit. Nude heels or neutral colored heels that blend well with your skin tone will add a couple of inches of height to those legs! But wait, it doesn't stop there. Nude heels will also have your legs looking leaner and thinner! Now, it's up to you if you want to purchase a pair of nude heels that match with your skin tone, but we think that the most important thing when finding those nude heels, is to find the right nude undertone. So ideally, you want the nude color to match the undertone of your skin tone. There are a variety of different "nudes" so it can be somewhat overwhelming, but just like any color, there are the "warm" and "cool" tones. So, keep this in mind while you're on the hunt for those nude heels because you don't want your legs to look too pasty.

(source: http://www.thechicfashionista.com/spring-fashion-trends-2010-2.html)


The red lip will forever be a classic for the reason that it created a glammed-up appearance in just one swipe and is universally flattering. This shade has been seen on fashion icons throughout the years: Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Etta James, Gwen Stefani, JLo, and Taylor Swift. We talked about the red lip with Niki, but remember that red is a color that communicates confidence, elegance, sexiness, and boldness. Red will always be a classy go-to color that can be worn year round and that will empower any woman who's ready to conquer the world.

"Red lipstick is symbolic of symbols. It’s what you put on when you want to make a statement. Foundation, tinted moisturizer and nude eyeshadow pretend not to be there, but red lipstick is gloriously confrontational. It’s enhanced reality — a power move and a power color, the choice of femmes fatales and vampires. It can be wintry and festive or iconic and glamorous. Red lipstick is Viola Davis collecting her Emmy. It’s Uma Thurman in ‘‘Pulp Fiction’’ and a diabolical Gene Tierney rowing on the lake at the end of ‘‘Leave Her to Heaven.’’ It’s Ursula the Sea Witch.​" -Christine Smallwood

Challenge: Marilyn is just like you so this week we challenge you to rock a kimono, strut in a pair of nude heels, and go bold with a red lip! Be inspired and share your creativity with us by using the hashtag #andieandaj on Instagram or Facebook!

Till next week,

Andie & AJ

Find the look:

Kimono (Urban Outfitters)

Shorts (Target)

Heels (Forever 21)

Earrings (Peru)

Arm Cuff (Forever 21)

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© 2021 A.J. Dunlap