Friday, July 31, 2015

Things That Blogging Has Taught Me (So Far)

Yesterday I nearly had a heart attack. While writing my most recent post, I realized that today's would be #100. 100! What?! When I started this thing back in January I never thought I would have enough to write about in 20 posts, let alone three-digits worth. I also can't believe that it has been exactly seven months since I pressed "Publish" for the very first time. That thing about time flying? Yeah, it's true. When I look back I realize that there are so many new things that I've learned within those 100 posts. Things move so fast on the internet, and I’ve progressed in a way that I never thought possible - all at speeds that shocked me. Here are some of the things i've learned:

You don’t always need to post.
Sometimes quantity doesn't beat quality. When I first started to blog I thought that I had to post daily - I mean, others were doing it, shouldn't I be? Well, I soon came to the conclusion that the world will continue to spin if you don't add a new blog entry each day. Coming up with creative things - especially after a long day of work - is hard! Take a breather, clear your mind, and come back when you're ready. The people who enjoy your blog will be waiting (and excited to see what you have to say)

The manual setting is your BFF.
Oh my gosh, learning how to shoot in manual was the best lesson I could have ever been taught! It definitely takes more time and effort, but the reward speaks for itself. I was looking through one of my first recipe posts and was astonished by the difference:


That's like pinning Nick Jonas circa Jonas Brothers vs. Nick Jonas Calvin Klein ad. Im-prove-ment! Your camera is a nice piece of equipment, so why not learn how to use it to its fullest potential? It's totally worth it.

It’s okay, everyone is awkward doing outfit posts.
Bless my poor friend Lydia for dealing with me in my most awkward state. Let's face it, posing in clothes is weird. Even more so, posing in clothes in a busy public area is SUPER weird. People may think we're whack jobs, but the more comfortable you are and the more you embrace the #DGAF attitude the better your pictures will come out! If all else fails, usually we take our photos after Happy Hour where a few glasses of champagne are consumed. Instant confidence.

Shooting in winter is not cute.
This one is a doozy. The hardest thing is putting on cute shoes, trying to not look like a snowman, and also attempting to be cute in 30-degree weather. I remember taking these photos below and doing everything we can not to slip on the ice:
At the same time, shooting in summer can also be not cute. Sweatiness and humidity happen. 


The blogging community isn’t as tough as it seems.
As High School Musical states, we're all in this together. Troy Bolton is right there. I always thought of the blogging community to be this impenetrable field. However, everyone is so great at celebrating others' achievements and is so nice! Blogging gives the great opportunity to meet people from all around the world and to see their most creative moments. How cool is that? 

Finding your niche takes time.
The amount that I have learned about myself in the past 100 posts is crazy! It's interesting to take a seat back and look at yourself from a different perspective. Blogging gives you this great opportunity to truly embrace your creative side, step out of your comfort zone, and take chances. With that, it's a huge game of trying new things and finding your true voice. Sometimes what's "trending" isn't you, and that's okay! Find what you love, what reflects your personality, and stick with it.

You build skills you didn’t know you needed.
It's kind of insane how much blogging can be like a career. Through it i've learned how to network, how to read your viewers and learn what they like, how to use Photoshop, the difference between posting on the various social media platforms, and so much more! These are all things that I never expected to pick up by starting this thing. Now they're things that I bring into my daily life, and even my career as Marketing. It's so cool when your hobby can blend into something that is tangible.

Sometimes it’s best to just log off.
Two words: digital detox. At work I sit in front of my computer for nine hours a day, and sometimes the last thing I want to do when I get home is get back on it to write a post. Blogging can be a constant thread of checking analytics, scrolling through Instagram, reading Bloglovin, etc. Every once in a while I need to force myself to step away from all social media and get back to the real world (and no, not the one with eight strangers...).  Whenever I go on vacation, I've been completely shutting off my phone and just enjoying the time. Let's face it, a glow from the sun is so much better than a glow from your phone screen.

Not everything is macarons + designer fashion (it’s hard).
Blogging takes time, effort, and constant creativity. Usually I end my day of work and have to go home and write a new post. My weekends are now filled with planning blog shoots, coming up with new ideas, and learning how to market myself. The reality is that no one's going to hand you designer clothes and fancy makeup until you work for it. And even then, it may never happen. 

IT’S FUN!
Out of everything I've taken from this experience thus far, this one is definitely the best. Through blogging I've met so many new (and great) people, explored new places and spots within the city, grew talents with my best friend, and have a sort of 'diary' that covers part of my life. To me, that's so exciting. Regardless of if this lasts for another day, year, or if it never does, at least I can always check this one off of the list.


What have you crossed off of your resolution list so far? If you blog, what's the biggest lesson you've learned?

Here's to 100 more.



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

#FOTD: Summer Glow


Ah, Summer makeup. As much as I love the vampy lip of fall/winter, the Summer trends are always the best: minimal, glowy, and light. Lately the humidity in DC has been absurd.- I'm talkin' sweating off everything before I even get to work at 8 a.m. Pretty picture, right?

Lately I've been gravitating to these simple products as my go-to. They're my staples and things that I know I can carry into the cooler months...

Urban Decay Naked3 Palette UD palettes are a makeup lover's staple. These particular 12 shades are great for the summer months as they work with rosy skin. "Trick" (a light metallic pinky-copper) is the perfect complement when applied wet. I also love "Liar" (a medium metallic mauve shimmer) when I want something a bit more dramatic at nighttime. 

TheBalm Mary Lou Manizer with Twinbeauty Pro Bronzer Brush This highlighter has to be my #1 purchase lately. I've raved about it in previous posts, but it's the best shimmer, highlighter, and eyeshadow. I ordered the product with the Twinbeauty brush and it's the perfect pairing for a light application on the cheek bones.

Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation I had stopped using this foundation for a while and recently picked up, and wondered why it took a back seat. It definitely is a little heavier of a coverage but the finish delivers a natural soft matte look that is great for oil control.

Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade This was one of my favorites for last summer and is again for this summer (as well as throughout the year). Even better is that I've had the same container through all of the year - this stuff lasts! And speaking of lasting, one application holds tight through the warm days. Even if everything is melting off of my face, my brows are always still in place.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Sin This is another one of those products that has lasted me forever, and has become an everyday product. I love this particular shade since it is so nice to wear on its own but it also complements any of the glossy shades I've been wearing. It looks like UD has changed the product lately - and although I haven't tried it - it makes me want to cherish this bottle so much more!


What are you loving lately?



Strawberry + Blueberry Smoothie Bowl

One of my favorite summer treats definitely has to be smoothies. I mean, close your eyes and they're basically ice cream (kinda). I find that by taking the basic smoothie and placing it in a bowl, it makes the experience more of a "meal" and you feel like you're eating more. Plus you can add on fresh fruit and granola for a little extra crunch! 

When making the bowl version I usually tend to make the mixture a bit thicker, so that it's a creamier texture. I also like adding in little touches of sweetness. For this recipe, that came with mini chocolate chips and a dash of cinnamon. These simple changes add some flavor depth to this summery combination!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup frozen strawberries
A splash of almond milk
A few dark chocolate chips
A dash of cinnamon

For the Toppings:
Sliced fresh strawberries
Sliced fresh blueberries
Granola


Directions:

In a blender, add the greek yogurt, frozen fruits, almond milk, chocolate chips, and cinnamon - in that order. Blend on low speed until the mixture is thick and creamy. You may need to add some more almond milk to get it to mix evenly, but keep it pretty thick if you want to eat it out of a bowl!
To serve, top with fresh fruit and granola. Enjoy immediately.



Check out some of my other favorites:




Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Weekly Favorites: Week of 7.26.15.


(l to r) 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10

My week in one word: whirlwind! The office has been uber busy lately, and reminds me of how hard it can be to balance things sometimes. In order to keep my sanity things have been a little quiet on the blog front. Basically as I get into bed at night I think: re-watch Gossip Girl for the fifth time? Or write up a blog entry? That Serena Van Der Woodsen wins every damn time.

Anyways, this week is SO EXCITING! Yes, you guessed it, me and Faith are heading to Pittsburgh this weekend to explore and to reunite with our future husbands. If you haven't caught on within the past six months, we have a special place in our hearts for the boys of One Direction. Guilty pleasure, I admit.

The weekend trip will be the perfect little getaway from the city and is long overdue. We're looking for a good coffee shop, ice cream store, and shopping (of course) if anyone has any suggestions! 

In the meantime, I'll be gazing longingly at my Pinterest board and dreaming of cocktails under string lights (how cute is that margarita garden party above, anyway?!)

What are you looking forward to this week? Do you have any suggestions for our Pittsburgh trip? Love to hear your thoughts!


Friday, July 24, 2015

It's Break Time with Chobani | #BreakYouMake


Chobani Flip is challenging everyone to recognize and shine the spotlight on someone in your life who deserves a break with their newest campaign: the #BreakYouMake. The entire concept is based around the idea that life is busy, people are busy. However, even the busiest people deserve to press pause and celebrate small moments of enjoyment each day. When I started thinking about the person I knew who deserves to take a break the most I knew it was my Mom.

Not only has she recently gotten a promotion at her job in the ICU - which is stressful to begin with - she also has simultaneously started towards her lifelong goal of getting her Masters degree. Mind you, she's doing all of this just because it's something she always wanted to do. While all of this is going on, she also took a huge turn in her health. She has recently lost some weight and is following a healthier lifestyle.

Multitasking to the highest level? Yup. She truly is a wonder woman and it's remarkable how she does it all.

One of the ways my Mom loves to unwind, even if it's just for a few minutes, is by relaxing in the sun with a good book. I have definitely followed suit with loving this little moment of peace. With living in a busy city, it's hard sometimes to escape. Between working a full-time job, running this little corner of my mind, and keeping up with the normalcies of my life, it can become very stressful.

When I do have some time to unwind I love to lay down a blanket in the park for some reading and snacking. When I stumbled upon the new Chobani Flips I knew they were the perfect counterpart for my favorite escape in the city. My favorite flavor is definitely the Key Lime Crumble - with key lime flavored yogurt, with graham cracker crumbs and white chocolate chips (it also happens to be one of my mom's favorite flavors!) Chocolate Haze Craze is also the perfect substitution for a run to Pinkberry - instead you can grab it and go! Somehow between the pages of a good book, and the serene feel of the green around you, it's easy to step away for a few moments. 

Although I can't be with my mom to enjoy these times together, it's still nice to indulge in the small things that relax us both.

Who deserves the Chobani #BreakYouMake in your life? What do you do to indulge in the little moments? 










Weekend Update


For all of you not in the DC area, this weather has been may-jah. After a few weeks of super humid air - which really, is good for no one - it has finally mild out here; bringing on lots of lunchtime reads in the park, long walks, and happy hours al fresco. 

As this weekend is supposed to continue on this trend I'm looking forward to more outdoor time. Add in this summer playlist, and it's the combo to a great weekend...


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Birchbox Unboxed | July



Well, this is one of those posts that was set to go live on Monday. Then Tuesday. Now finally, I've had the time to write it out. Phew - busy times! Throughout the seemingly never-ending task list that is my life, I've been trying to find little ways to treat myself. (I wish there was a cooler way to do the opposite of yo' self. Mo' self?) Birchbox is one of those brands I've had my eye on for a while, but never made the splurge on. I know, $10 a month - bank breaker. But when you're trying to cut back it's one of those things that's seemingly easy to get rid of.

Then I had that moment when I was in Sephora stuffing my basket with all of the little samples near the register. You know exactly what they are: they're the precious mini-sized versions of your favorite 'got to try' brands, and are usually all under $10. Easily enough, they're right on the way to the register so you end up plopping one or two into your purchase and before you know it - bam! They've got you, and you've got them in your arsenal. 

At that moment I realized how much I enjoy those little samples and how exciting they are to try. You get the perfect amount to do a trial run with, and if you truly like it you can pick up the real deal! If you don't like it, then bye bye unruly product. Birchbox is the perfect combo for this. The best part is that all of the products are curated for my specific beauty needs. So lets just say, I made the investment.

My first box came this month and OMG is it perfect! Literally, the outside of the box is perfect. I was so impressed with the packaging of this box that i'm currently using it as a keep-holder for random toiletries in my bathroom. Bright, colorful, and patterned. Win, win, win! (Cue DJ Khaled)


My box came with a card explaining the box, a Benefits coupon, and six samples:

Stila Look at Me Liquid Lipstick in 'Venezia'
This mini in bright color is that perfect POP! for summer. The color reminds me of 'Heat Wave', but with an extra kick. I love the doe shaped applicator, and the slight chocolatey scent of the formula. It can be a bit drying, and unfortunately doesn't last as long as anticipated, so I've been using it more as a stain and applying with my fingers on top of chapstick.

Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream SPF 35+ I'll start out by saying that I'm not a huge fan of BB, CC, DD, EE, (or whatever else is out there) creams. I prefer a more full cover - or if I want a lighter look, I usually won't wear any foundation at all. It's definitely a bit thicker than most creams I've tried though, so I've been using it under my powder foundation. It definitely gets high points in blend-ability!

Kerastase Resistance Ciment Thermique I swear that the hair gods were looking down on me when they sent this product. My mane has definitely been a bit dry lately, so this was the perfect pick-me-up. I did find it to be a bit greasy - as I do with most hair products - so I used it on a night that I was staying in, and rinsed it out the next day. I still prefer my Moroccan Oil product but this definitely has great potential.

MDSolarSciences Mineral Creme SPF 50 Sunscreen I usually rely on my makeup to provide protection from the sun when it comes to my face. However, this cream would be great to have on hand for a beach trip or anytime I'm going bare faced. I was surprised at how thick the cream was, but it left a powdery finish when applied. Best part is that it's never tested on animals, so poor Fido can sleep easily.

clariSEA Rapid Detox Charcoal Exfoliant: Face This is a great product to mix in with my face wash. I was surprised at how un-gritty it was and how it easily melted into my wash. It is a nice bonus in how you can add it to washing your face, without an extra step that scrubs usually require. I've heard that results usually take a week or so, so I'm excited to continue!

Juliette Has a Gun Not a Perfume SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST! This, is magic. I've been going back and forth on perfumes lately and have fallen in love with this minimalistic scent. As most perfumes contain tons of notes, this has one: Cetalox. It's a super elegant and pure smell that doesn't overpower. I've been spraying it daily and don't feel like I need to open a window to air out before I head to the public - especially on the metro. Although the full bottle is $90, it may be one of those investment products for the future.



It's been so fun playing around with these and I can't wait to share all of the other boxes that come my way.

Are you on the Birchbox bandwagon? If not, are you on a different beauty subscription? Let me know in the comments below! I'd love to hear what's out there.

 






Friday, July 17, 2015

Pineapple Tee



Let me be honest: writing this post all I can hear in my head is the theme song from Spongebob Squarepants. The square dude got it right: pineapples are officially this summer's most loved fruit. While browsing H&M in Old Town last weekend me and Lydia stumbled across this tee and I knew I had to have it. Soft cotton, sequins, and bright colors? Checkmate. 

This shirt is the perfect choice for remaining comfy, yet still having a little pop. I paired it with my overly-loved - once black - jeans that I got from Kohls years ago. These babies have been to war and back with me, and I love them for it. Even though my laundry skills have turned them into a lovely gray color they are still the softest material for running around town. 

My lipstick pink Kate Spade bag and some chunky heels were the perfect accessories for sharing this outfit over margaritas with friends last night. 

Sidenote: there's just something about the streets during summer that makes Arlington so beautiful. If you can overcome the extreme humidity, the blooming flowers and people all about make for the best kind of evenings.










Cue hair flip...



Pineapple T-Shirt: H&M
Black Jeans: Kohls
Heels: Marshalls | Similar | Love These!
Bag: Kate Spade | Similar
Bracelet: Kate Spade

Photos c/o Lydia Schwoebel-Taylor

Check out some of my other favorite pineapple pieces

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