August 08, 2018

Introducing our August Muse of the Month - blogger Karen Leano of @parisandalatte. Karen is proof that you truly can do it all - in addition to being the ultimate #momboss, she's also an in-demand influencer and entrepreneur, and has most recently added 'jewelry designer' to her resume. Armed with a background in retail and passion for style and design, her multi-faceted career includes co-founding her own jewelry and accessories company, managing her popular lifestyle blog Paris and a Latte, and hosting a fashion-focused digital series on Yahoo! Style. We caught up with Karen to chat about how she stays inspired, her advice for maintaining work-life balance and her top tips for experimenting with style.

I hope you enjoy learning more about Karen, and be sure to follow along on her adventures! XO, Crista

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An Interview with Criscara Muse, Karen Leano

Styling turquoise jewelry

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Tell us what you do and how you got to where you are.

First and foremost I am a #momboss with many hats. I am a content creator for my blog, Paris and a Latte and I am a co-founder of the accessories brand Cayetano Legacy Collection. This is a handmade statement jewelry and accessory line I started with my family 7 years ago. Every piece is handmade in the Philippines and we take pride in creating training programs for women there to not only help train them in making the jewelry but also in teaching them business skills that they can carry forth with them in the future. We've sold our pieces at various retailers such as Bloomingdales, Henri Bendel, and more, as well as our website. I've always loved jewelry - which is why I fell in love with Criscara. Fashion has always been my love so right after college I applied to every fashion company I could and it led me down the production path to various companies such as The Children's Place and Tommy Hilfiger. Coincidentally, I was in the accessories department for both those companies. I followed my entrepreneurial and creative calling and started making my own jewelry. I remember walking into local boutiques lugging my huge bag of my creations showing the owners my work, wondering if they would love it as much as I did. It was scary, exhilarating, nerve-wracking, and exciting all at the same time. But I learned so much. I then started my family business with my sisters and now I help promote our pieces through my own personal outlet, Paris and a Latte.

Paris and a Latte

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You cover it all – fashion, fitness, travel, family. Out of everything, do you have a favorite topic to blog about?

Travel will always be my favorite topic. I know everyone's Instagram feed is bursting with beautiful pictures but I've always loved travel even before the hashtag #wanderlust existed. There's so much beauty in different parts of the world and if I could share that with people I would. Even before my kids were walking we would take them to see the world. We've been to Spain, Greece, France, Italy, Amsterdam, Japan, the Philippines and so many great domestic locations too. I truly think kids get the best education through travel. They learn about new places, they learn about different cultures and new foods, they learn to acclimate into new situations.

How to Style Silver Jewelry

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You frequently feature your family on your feed. Any tips for parents on juggling it all and maintaining work/life balance?

Schedule your "me time" into your calendar. It’s not selfish or self centered. If you are not 100% you won't be able to be there 100% for your family, work, and anything else that needs your attention. Schedule those workouts into your calendar, or those girls nights out, or date nights with the hubby, or even just time to read a book or do a face mask. Those small bouts of time to yourself does wonders for your energy.

"Schedule your "me time" into your calendar ... Those small bouts of time to yourself does wonders for your energy."

Jewelry Photoshoot

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Any fun facts we should know about you?!

My little sister and I share the same exact birthday but we're 5 years apart. When I was twelve, I tried out for the Mickey Mouse Club the same season as Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. I was cut in the second round - lol!

Karen Leano

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You’re super active on many social channels – Instagram, Yahoo! style contributor, and your blog, to name a few. How do you come up with the inspiration for your content?

My inspiration honestly comes from my everyday life. As a family, we travel every two months at least so that's a big chunk of my content. I love meeting people and connecting people together. I'm a huge connector so I love hosting and going to events where other #girlboss's and #momboss's can meet and feed off each other's energy. I think those contribute to my content. A lot of influencers plan out their content months in advance, which is amazing. I wish I could say I do that but I truly like posting what my heart feels that day, so if I post a quote it's really relevant in my life at that very moment. I feel like that's what makes my posts authentic and relatable.

"I truly like posting what my heart feels that day ... I feel like that's what makes my posts authentic and relatable."

How to be an Influencer

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How would you describe your personal style?

Lately I've been living in athleisurewear because I've really been trying to focus on my fitness. When I do dress up, I'd describe my look as everyday luxe. I'm big on jeans with a focus on a pretty feminine top. I love anything lacy, anything with ruffles, pretty appliques, and just something extra on it to make it stand out a bit. Of course, accessories are a must so I have way more shoes than I care to admit. I love a good bag, and jewelry always adds the perfect finishing touch - especially my Criscara jewelry.

Lake Photoshoot

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What advice do you have for someone who wants to change up or experiment with their style?

Spend your money on a staple wardrobe - a classic white button up, a good pair of well-fitting jeans, a good trench coat and a comfortable nude pair of heels. And save your accessories for your experimentation. If red is the "in" color for the season, get a red purse to add a pop of red to your outfit. If grommets or studs are in, get a belt with these details. This way you don't have to invest in so many trendy clothes that will be out of style after a few seasons.

Mom Blogger

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What are your favorite pieces of Criscara jewelry?

I have so many favorites. My go-to is my gold Dakota Cuff, I literally wear it everywhere and it pairs well with all of my arm stacks. The Farrah line definitely catches my eye. I love the Y necklaces - I just think they are so elongating and sexy. And my daughter's middle name is Luna which means moon in Spanish so of course I'm in love with all the moon pieces.

How To Style Jewelry

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Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that you live by?

This quote always hits home - "Your life is your message to the world, make sure it's inspiring." And I don't mean just make it inspiring on social media, but make it inspiring in real life. I want to show my kids that you really can do and accomplish anything you want in life. If you love fashion, you can make a living doing something with fashion. If you love to connect people, create networking events for people to meet. If you love making jewelry, make jewelry and sell your creations to the world. Follow your passion.

"I want to show my kids that you really can do and accomplish anything you want in life"

How to Start a Blog

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 So, what’s coming up next for you that you’re most excited about?

Just finished up an amazing trip to Ireland with my family. I am still in awe at the beauty of that country! I didn't want to come back but I do have some fun things coming down the pipeline including an amazing collaboration with one of my favorite brands, Madewell! I'm hosting a fun-filled event complete with an icecream food truck for all our guests to celebrate Madewell's anniversary.  I love events because I live for connecting people. I love bringing people together. 

Styling Boho Jewelry

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Where can people learn more about you and follow along?

People can find me at:

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Photo Credit: Karen Leano


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