(Randall Porter/Contributed)

“Don’t be eye candy. Be soul food. You don’t have to be defined by one dream or one job title for your entire life. Get out of any job or relationship that makes you feel small. Instead, position yourself for growth by surrounding yourself with the people and the spaces that encourage it. Identify what your passion is, then figure out what your mission is, and do it.” – Elanie Welteroth 

Eye candy is surface-level and short-lived. Soul food is the good stuff. Soul food is made up of amazing conversation and connection that comes from being vulnerable and open and real. Around this time of the year, we all will be spending a lot of time at home with our families for holidays. And with the New Year looming, I am here to offer up a quick thought on self worth and philanthropy—and it all begins with style. 

“Fashion you can buy, but style you possess. The key to style is learning who you are, which takes years. There’s no how-to road map to style. It’s about self expression and, above all, attitude.” —Iris Apfel

Soul food is an expression—it tells your story through clothing, offers creative meaning, and most importantly shares insight to the “soul” of who you are. For so long, I thought it mattered more about what your clothes said about you. When in reality, it matters more about what your clothes are saying to you. How do they make you feel? That is the energy you are putting into the world. Everything we do in our lives, we should start with ourselves. So here is your lesson: When you feel good, you do good. When you look good (inside and outside), you can change the world.

“Holiday but make it ethical” – basic. 

What do your clothes say to you—are you eye candy or soul food? You can look at shopping behaviors, even putting together outfits, and people think of it as fluff. But any behavior is rooted in something deeper. What does dressing for yourself really mean to you? How will your style choices feed your soul this holiday season? You can get dressed to get dressed, of course, but how about you do that to make an impact.

Here are some of my favorite local brands and companies that you can make an impact with this holiday season:



Do Good Shop 

Alabama Chanin 

YellowHammer Creative 

Stone Hollow Farmstead 

Verde Lusso Clean Beauty Shop 

Elidia the Label 

Club Duquette 


MK Quinlan