I have heard the expression, “When one door closes, God opens another door,” several times in my life, but these words have never rung as true for me as they do now.

It’s been a while since I made the time to sit down and write. Writing it my favorite creative outlet because the process allows me to share my experience… my hope is that you can relate to some of it and in turn, we all feel less alone.

For my team and me, 2023 started off with a bang! GAL celebrated our 7-year anniversary, and it’s hard to believe it’s been that long already. Several opportunities have come my way, from being offered a division of my own clothing line (a Bucket List goal!), to a couple major events and non-profit collaborations. While my team hummed along in early 2023, I was surprised with this curve ball: I lost two of my staff in the span of as many weeks; the unexpected exits happened abruptly and right before important events (hello, anniversary party and a market trip to NYC!).

To be honest – and at the risk of being really vulnerable – the sudden stressors coupled with all of the plates I was attempting to spin at once left me really rattled. For the first time in a long time, I was on the verge of a relapse. These seemingly minor setbacks left me feeling defeated and demoralized, questioning everything.

But through the work I have invested in my recovery over the past two years, I have come to believe that we always have choices. In this case, I had two options: To give up; or to accept my reality, learn from it, and grow. After about three weeks of soul-searching, I committed to the latter and leaned into my source, God. I reminded myself that I am not the director of my movie, rather, I’m living the role God has created for me, so I chose to let go and let God do His thing.

As I loosened my grip, the next opportunity came quickly: the chance to open a second GAL location on the Eastside! For 30 days, we will offer an Il Mercato pop-up experience, a curated marketplace offering hand-selected merchandise not usually available at GAL. The asthetic is rich, inspired by Gucci Gardens. Save the date for April 7th through April 30th, location to be announced here soon.

While the season started off with some epic highs and lows, things feel like their finally beginning to stablilize. I was able to attend NYC Market and find all new beautiful things for 2023. I also hired lots of fashion interns at GAL Fashion to help out with the new store.

Just as Spring has sprung, so have new beginnings and new adventures at GAL.

As we continue to grow and evolve, I am making the time to reflect and remind you, dear reader, that we are not alone. Whatever your challenges, don’t give up. I am so grateful to God for giving me the strentgth and courage to perservere and move forward with this amazing venture, and I thank you for your support along the way!



There are a few things more exciting in a fashion enthusiast’s life than spending time in New York City in September, during Fashion Week and Fall fabulousness. So I was particularly thrilled to be able to spend 72 hours in the Big Apple earlier this month for Market – touching garments and feeling fabrics – after years of virtual “visits” during Covid.

When I choose items for a collection to sell at GAL Fashion, I consider many factors: What will my customer where this with? Who am I buying it for? How many pieces and in what sizes should I purchase? How will this work alongside other items I’ve purchased?

On the first day of Market, we visited Coterie, a fashion marketplace where hundreds of brands and designers from all over the world show their collections for three days. Later we hit the showrooms, which offer private one-on-ones with the brand and sometimes the designer. Sometimes showrooms will allow buyers to choose customized and preferences according to what will be the best fit for the individual store. This trip, we saw Cinq a Sept, Ramy Brook, Delfi and other brands that our clients love.

Among my favorite finds on the trip: B-low the Belt, designer inspired handbags and Amanda Uprichard, and an up-and-coming international brand from a hidden market that will launch exclusively at IL Mercato on October. 7th.

What’s IL Mercato, you ask? IL Mercato is a project that I’m thrilled to share will be a series of pop-up shops inspired by market travel and buys. The retail experience will feature one-of-a-kind brands not sold in department stores, online or event at GAL Fashion. IL Mercato is for the true fashionista who will discover treasure pieces in a real market setting! The pop-up will be replete with mini showrooms, brand reps, models, and even local bites in the lounge (market shopping can be exhausting!). IL Mercato will be appointment-only, affording shoppers quality time with the brands, seeing the clothing on the models, and the opportunity to ask questions and feel the items.

Generally, markets are extremely costly because you have to buy full collections, not just one or two pieces. But to me and my fellow fashion fanatics, it’s a worthwhile opportunity to discover things you will probably never find again.

Honestly, I am more excited about what I bought for IL Mercato during my visit than I am or Spring 2023! The items are so limited and precious, I am curious about the response to the appointments that will be set; I am eager for my customers’ perspectives and points of view on the international luxuries we found. Will they love them? Will they hate them? Will we sell out? Will they want more? The suspense is killing me…

Finally, back to NYC:

We went from place to place to find the best and we did. Here are a few trends to look forward to for Spring 2023:

  1. Emilio Pucci Print: The classic swirls
  2. Dolce and Gabbana Florals: Amalfi and Positano-inspired
  3. Prada 90s vibe with day dresses and all 90s
  4. Techno fabric, a huge trend in the 2000s
  5. Pastels: An Easter must have

The 90s and 2000s continue their dominant comeback, so dig out the looks from Prada, Pucci, Miu Miu if they’re still hanging in your closet and call it vintage! Headbands and hair clips, low rise jeans and tie-back halters… they’re all hitting, Baby, one more time.

Other notable moments from the Big Apple: Taking an elevator with Nick and Kevin Jonas; I was oblivious meanwhile my Gen-Z stylist, Pablo, freaked out silently. Later, a slice of delicious NY-style pizza rounded things out – the perfect way to end 72-hours of fashion.

As I reflect on this trip, I’m reminded how blessed I am to be able to do what I love for a living. I know I always this say this, but it’s true. During my morning prayers, I thank God daily for giving me the opportunity to work in an industry I absolutely love.

Thank you for joining me on my journey, and I hope to see you at IL Mercato!


I knew exactly what I was going to wear. After all, it was my first MSGM fashion show. I wanted to go for Dolce & Gabbana meets Wednesday Adams. I had this whole Euro princess - Victoria Beckham attitude and look in my head. Little did I know this was a total American ideology, but I will get to that later. As I said, I had my whole OOTD entirely planned out. I even made a trip to Sephora to find the perfect Wednesday Adams Chanel lip color. If you Google ‘Dolce & Gabbana 2016’ you see the Marina Forsetti headbands with the shade of Chanel lipstick I purchased. I just added a cute white collar dress to marry the two and ta-da! I was ready to hit the runway.

I ordered an Uber. A black Mercedes van pulled up to the curb and a gorgeous handsome looking driver got down to get the doors for us. Mama mia! *was I in love. I expected nothing less at this point. *La Milanese way of life was completely my thing.

We are at the MSGM fashion show. Holy moly, was I underdressed! I thought I was looking a little extra and fly, but no. Was I wrong. I had forgotten we were in the fashion capital of the world where the futuristic trend was ‘in.’ I was not dressed up to par at all. There was nothing I could do at this point but own it. This was a once in a lifetime kind of thing and there was nothing I could do but live and enjoy the moment. We were standing outside the show and it was completely packed. Paparazzi all over the place. Fashion icons, bloggers, journalists, models, fashionistas, buyers, owners, and even famous Instagram dogs. All fashion people UNITE. Everyone was so extra. I love it. Neon, print on print, gender-neutral, everyone’s outfits were on point – Milan was the fashion world.

Marilyn started pressuring me to go inside and take our seats. We were registered buyers. Keyword: buyers. That means we had first priority. Wait, we are actually US buyers, that means even more VIP. Dang Marilyn. You go Glen Coco! I am not going to lie and act like I always have my act together or that I am as confident as I appear to be. The truth is that at the end of the day, I am human. I have the insecurities of a rookie even with 11 years of hard work and experience under my belt. . The room was dark and comfortably crowded with all sorts of media and journalists. Over 1000 chairs filled the pink carpet floor. We were immediately greeted with warmth and importance as they asked us who we were. I was living in the moment. I had been to tons and tons of fashion shows, as well as having hosted my own, but this was a whole different league. Nothing I had ever experienced before was anything like this. This was the real deal. We were seated in the front row among celebrities, famous bloggers, and influencers. It was awesome. However, I seem to know none of them. Oops! Thank God I have Marilyn for that. She is a genius, my right arm, and the brains of GAL. She whispers, “omg, the twins.” Of course, I am oblivious and have absolutely no freaking idea who they were. Apparently, they are the most famous fashion runway show attendees of our generation. You learn something new everyday.

All the chairs are full and the room is packed with beautiful people. All of a sudden we hear a loud ‘SHH!’ and the lights are off. BAM! The DJ hits off beats to the rhythm of flashing lights. Creepy music remixed with soft rock begins to play. Like everything, it was quite bizarre and futuristic but kind of cool. It’s unexplainable.

Less than 10 minutes later the lights were back on. People start clapping, the show was over. What, that was it? The runway show was less than 10 minutes long! It all happened way too fast. I didn’t even get to focus on the looks and the designs that much because it was like super-fast. There were 10 to 15 models tops wearing bright oversized clothes down the runway. Everything happened so fast. All of this hype and adrenaline for only 10 minutes? I don’t know what the point of a show is if it is going to be that fast, but OK. Again, this was a once in a lifetime kind of deal so I was determined to enjoy every single second of it.

The designer was super young. He was probably around his early 40’s. He walked around the room after the show wearing sneakers, a sweater, and jeans. He was super chill and ready for the press. I took a picture on the red carpet and we were on our way out. It was barely 12:30 PM and there was nothing else on the schedule for the rest of the day. I guess It was time for an Aperitivo.

We had a whole day ahead of ourselves and our trip was soon coming to an end. Thus, we decided to spend the rest of the day sightseeing and enjoying Milan. I wanted to see what this city was all about, other than the amazing fashion and its beautiful people. I wanted to visit Arco Della Pace, the city gate of Milan and a quite famous Instagram worthy location. To do so, I needed to change my outfit. We quickly headed to the apartment and slipped into a cocktail pale-pink glitter dress by RTA that I had purchased in NYC the week before Valentine’s Day. The dress was cute and a bit futuristic, as it seems to be the trend of this year. We headed to the arc and took some Instagram worthy photos. As we were strolling the streets of Milan, a waiter said, ‘Hey Bella, why don’t you come inside for an aperitivo’. Wait, what is he talking about and why is everyone around us having an orange drink? It was then that I came to discover the famous Aperol Spritz among the beautiful people of Milan. Whoah. Were my taste buds in for a refreshing ride! If you have never had one before, Aperol is an Italian liquor made out of rhubarb and oranges. When mixed with Italian Prosecco, soda and orange slices, you get the famous aperitivo Aperol Spritz.

If you have been following me or visited GAL after my trip, you know that the famous Aperol Spritz is what we serve at GAL Fashion. I have now hooked a lot of people on this cocktail. You are welcome.

After the most enjoyable evening and a couple of rounds of refreshing and delicious Aperol Spritz, we were ready for dinner. How does lobster sound? Yum! As we were walking down Via Gesu, I told Marilyn that I had been doing a little research of my own and saw that anything that is made in Italy is a lot cheaper than what you pay for in the US. This could only mean one thing: danger.

To be continued…


The White Show - All work and all play

Finally, the day was here. It was time for The White Show – the event, the holy grail of markets and the whole purpose of my trip to Italy. I had a million butterflies in my stomach and the adrenaline that was rushing through my veins kept me sleepless throughout the night. As always, I had to look flawless. However, after owning a blow-dry bar and being the glam girl that I am, doing my own hair and makeup for a special occasion is not something that I am quite used to. After a couple of hours and some hairspray, I managed to figure it out all on my own. Big hair and great brows. I was ready to roll.

It was day 3 of the Italian Fashion Market. Now, initially, I thought Micam and Mipel were the Disneyland of the fashion industry. Boy, was I wrong! The White Show was Disneyland on steroids. Imagine an entire street devoted to very elaborate and over the top showrooms. Hundreds, if not thousands, of different markets all in one place. An impeccable white carpet covered the cement road and stunning models and security guards greeted you at every entrance. I felt trapped in a maze. An insane and over-the-top maze that took you from one extravagant showroom to another one. Feeling overwhelmed, my blood pressure began to rise.

You know that moment when you feel the adrenaline starts rushing through your body and you get butterflies in your stomach because you have a strong sensation of happiness, euphoria, and curiosity all at once? Some may feel this when they fall in love, others may feel it on the dance floor. For me, it was walking into the White Show. People may not necessarily understand my passion and infatuation for fashion. I realize that and that is ok. However, no matter what, I hope that one day everyone experiences something that makes their heart skip a beat just like mine did at the White Show.

The very first brand that I see out of about roughly 10,000 brands was a vintage, Navajo inspired, luxury sleepwear brand. Think tribal fashion meets vintage velvet luxury. Luxury robes and sleepwear that you would possibly buy at a Taos ski resort to wear at Burning Man. Bizarre. Weird yet alluring. The pieces and the designs were so up-and-coming, again almost futuristic. They were so strange yet the coolest thing I have ever seen. It was way out of this world. I fail to find words that properly describe the experience because it just wouldn’t make sense. It was finding unique beauty in something that seemed so bizarre and eccentric. I was loving it.

Immediately, I started taking pictures and videos of absolutely everything because I wanted to document every instance of this experience. “Stop!” I was told. What I learned a few minutes later was that you are not allowed to take photos of anything. It’s highly understandable. They despise people knocking off original designs and get very ‘cray cray’ when they see you taking pictures. Unfortunately, a lot of the immaculate beauty and stunning pieces I was exposed to on this day will only remain a photographic memory in my head never to be shared with anyone. It’s quite sad but at the same time kind of amazing. It is like my very own little secret that I honestly wish I could share with you. ( Top secret: I may have secret video footage of everything.)

Italians are heavy advocates and true believers of ‘unisex’ pieces. I found this interesting and quite cool, to be honest. It’s a thing. Every single piece of clothing was unisex. What was even more interesting was that the unisex pieces were so gender-neutral. I can honestly say that it was not ‘too feminine’ or ‘too masculine’ either. It was perfectly balanced on a 50/50 scale. I loved it. How fabulous to have an item for him that also works perfectly for her! Isn’t that just brilliant? At this point, I was barely at my second booth. I started to feel anxiety again. I needed to get myself together, put my feet on the ground and continue to the game plan. I had absolutely no time to waste.

Aisle after aisle. Showroom after showroom. The day was passing by. Everything I saw and touched was special and original. Nothing like you have ever seen before I can promise you that. Tribal pieces seemed like a repeated trend. Fur, crocodile boots, avant-garde graphics, and prints. Everything was insane. Mink, cashmere, leather, fine merino wool, silk, and gold. Is this real life? I kept asking vendors if they sold to the US, but they didn’t. At least not yet.

Honestly, I was experiencing the best products with the highest quality. A lot of what I saw were pieces that are manufactured and produced in the very same places where designer Italian Brands like Gucci and Prada are produced, using the very same quality and materials only with a different price tag. I had found my pot of gold. I don’t want to follow trends. I want to set them.

I continued to walk the streets from building to building. It was just too much and my mind can only take so much in one day. I have probably seen over 300 vendors by now. It just kept getting better and better, vendor after vendor. I needed my break. I felt exhausted. I still have 4 days left in Milan, I could always come back. As Marylin and I started to walk home you would not guess who we saw. Spotted, Gigi Hadid leaving the Fendi showroom. Yep, it was definitely her.

Once we were home, I started to go through my photos. I felt like my Duomo pictures were just not good enough. If it is not perfect, then it is not worth it. So Marylin and I made a pit stop at the Duomo once again before we headed to dinner for some spaghetti.

I was dressed head to toe in a rose-colored L’agence python slip dress with a brocade blazer in the same print. I was 100% glam because If I was going to retake a photo at the Duomo it had to be on point. No exceptions. When we arrive, as we are getting dropped off by another handsome Uber driver, the sun begins to set and the lighting couldn’t be more perfect. In the car, I had said a little prayer asking God to help me get the perfect shot. Well, my prayers got answered as things got insane real fast. A video producer from NYC immediately approached me and asked if I was a blogger. He wanted to take a video of me. At first, I thought it was a scam. A video producer from NYC wanted to do a fancy video of my walking through the streets of Milan striking poses. Can you believe this? I said YOLO. This doesn’t happen every day. So I went for it. If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw the videos. Pretty cool, right? Everyone that saw me strutting through the streets probably thought I was someone famous as I had lighting and videographers following me around the streets. It felt pretty cool. As an ordinary girl who lives and breathes for fashion, this moment was surreal. On top of that, I managed to get the perfect magical shot. I felt special. I felt empowered.

As the day came to an end and we headed to dinner to have some delicious spaghetti, I started to contemplate what an amazing day it had been. I had heard from one of my clients that Como,Italy was only a train ride away (yes, you Norma Barrio). We decided to take the next day off. I needed to recharge and loved the idea of spending the day in Como, Italy. However, I would first need to buy a silk scarf. You can’t go to Como without a scarf.


Day two

The jet lag was real. Being on the other side of the world with a completely different time zone meant no sleep. Honestly, I didn’t care much about sleep since they have siesta in Italy. Everything closes and taxis even take a break. Talk about culture shock. Whenever we did have time to eat or take a breather it coincided with the siesta. Bummer.

I started the day off with a fresh americano and I was ready to hit the streets. I requested an Uber and to my surprise, I got picked up by another well dressed and very handsome Italian driver in a fancy Mercedes SUV. At this point, I was definitely head over heels. What’s not to love about Italy?

We decided to head to Duomo the Milano, Milan’s very famous cathedral and architectural landmark which took almost 600 years to be completed, and Piazza Duomo. We had an appointment to visit one of the vendors later during the day on “Via Gesu,” the Rodeo Drive of Milan, so we had to make the most out of our time. The streets were overflowing with fashionistas and trendy fashion boutiques. Trust me when I tell you fashion is part of the culture in Milan. People live and breathe fashion. Everyone was so nice, fit, happy and not to mention well dressed. After interviewing several individuals I found out why, but we’ll get to that later.

Back to the Duomo of Milano, a huge cathedral right in the middle of fashion square taken straight out of a fairy tale. I was completely in love with what I saw. People sipping on espressos, aperols, and walking around in the crisp daylight enjoying life. You could see numerous famous bloggers taking photos in literally every corner. Well, of course! It was Fashion Week in Milan. Why wouldn’t Ricky Thompson, Ayaxxamiya (the twins) and Brittany Xavier all be making tik toks at the most epic Instagramable site worthy fashion utopia? To be honest, I didn’t even recognize any of the bloggers I saw taking photos all over Italy. Luckily I had Marilyn to fill me in. You would think I follow all of the bloggers, right? Well, I don’t.

For fun, I fed the pigeons kettle corn. They felt like hard little hands on my soft skin. I laughed and smiled as I was so present at that moment, a memorable candid moment that I will always remember.

As we entered Piazza Duomo, I felt like I was walking into heaven. Fashion heaven that is. Everything was golden under the warm sun light, so surreal. It almost looked like a church. An elegant, celestial church that is home to every European designer that has walked on this earth. Louis Vuitton, Prada, Versace, you name it. We walked inside and made our way to “Via Gesu”. Yes, “Gesu” is part of my name which means Jesus in Italian. My name is the feminine version of Jesus. My staff actually calls me “Gesu” as a nickname. Ironically, in Milan, there is a well-recognized street called “Via Gesu” and it is home to the most high-end stores in Milan. Kind of a strange coincidence yet an interesting and precise comparison.

We get there and make it to Marina Forsetti. Now, Marina is a brand that I picked up from my previous blog at the Dallas Market. Do the Italian headbands that sold out in one day ring a bell? Well, here I was at the showroom. The only store where I could see them all in person. We walked in and all-around admiring beautiful headpieces with quite a resemblance to the headbands from the Dolce and Gabanna show. I was amazed by the fashion jewelry, large costume pieces, hairpins, unique and gorgeous one of kind pieces that were on display.

Pulling, picking and trying on piece by piece, I decided to get everything I liked and just take it with me to bring back to the store ASAP. Who knows when I’ll be back?

We hopped into an Uber and off we went to visit another showroom. Gosh, what is it with the handsome Uber drivers and fancy luxury cars? I am not complaining. On the contrary, I am enjoying it. Please, keep them coming! The designer we were visiting we had previously met at Mipel market the day before. Her studio was full of rooms and rooms of beads and wires, gold and silver, among other tools. Boxes on top of boxes and drawers full of beads and glass, some dating all the way back to the 1900s. Others, from several parts around the world. Indeed, it was a collection of time and culture. She was a multi-generational jewelry maker dating back to her grandmother. She said her grandmother was a genius who specialized her skill in artisan and ancient jewelry, which she later continued. She even creates special custom made pieces for other European designers such as Dolce and Gabanna. We looked at everything and to a point, it felt a bit overwhelming. I was just so amazed at how long it takes to construct some of the pieces we admired. Sometimes, it may even take up to several months just to make one piece. The level of detailing is so impeccable that it takes so much time, dedication and energy. Sometimes when we see an item and think it is overpriced or expensive, we don’t often realize the level of work and effort that actually goes into creating each piece. We are so accustomed to everything being fast and easily accessible that we tend to forget that, luckily, there are still things that are made with such love and care that take time to produce. I will never look at one of a kind jewelry the same way again. Think of all the royalty that wore custom-made fabulous jewelry. Imagine how long that took to design and create. I am not a designer, so I began to feel flustered and pressured. I didn’t know what I wanted, less to pick, choose and design. I had anxiety. The jewelry was amazing, but the process of buying custom-made jewelry was nuts. “Marilyn we have to go, Get us a hot uber and we are out.” The thought of it all was just too much. We hopped into our Uber and went straight to dinner.

By this time it was now 7:00pm. Siesta is over and everyone comes out of the woodworks by 8:00 PM. We arrive to the pizzeria at 7:00 PM and it is dead. Crickets, not even a sound. To my luck, even the waiters are gorgeous. I am starting to think it’s a qualification to be Milanese; Must be beautiful to live in Milan. Just kidding, but I’m not. At 8:00 pm a flood of people swarmed the place. I was so intrigued. I ordered the BEST pizza I have ever tasted to this day, Sardinian pizza, that’s where my family is from. Made with artichoke cream, sun-dried tomato, pesto, and fresh parmesan cheese. Mmm bellissimo! The day is finally over. Time to sleep but I can’t sleep. I’m too happy to sleep… Day 3..