Monday, February 12, 2018

10 Ways to Look More Put Together, With Little Effort

I suck at time management. I suck at mornings even more. The combination is sort of gnarly.

As a result I've come up with several hacks to get myself out the door faster, while still looking put together. 

Why not just skip even the minimal effort as far as getting ready? Because, like it or not, how we look affects how we feel. I like to set the tone for my day by looking like I care.

And, looking like I mean business.

In turn, I DO tend to care more and business tends to gets done-r :) It's a crazy correlation. Try it!

Did you know women who wear makeup are more likely to get hired or receive a promotion? I'm not saying it's right!

 This typically means more effort on a woman's part when it comes to getting ready, in order to be taken just as serious as a man in the work place. Insert major eye roll.  

I'm so down for you going against the grain and NOT wearing a drop of makeup and climbing the corporate ladder like a total all-natural boss babe. I'm also so down for you doing a photo-finish makeup look every morning! To each their own.

For somewhere in the middle, check out these tips for how to look put together with little effort:

1. Opt for a smooth bun over a messy, floppy bun. Yes, the loose strands are cute, but if you want to look more polished, go for a sleek bun that is more structured. It automatically relays that you are more structured.

2. Brows and lashes! I often do not have enough time for foundation or full coverage (usually my moisturizer is still setting as I'm running out the door with a water bottle, green juice, computer bag, lunch tote, and 5 million other things). 

Opt to fill in your brows and swipe on some mascara to accentuate your most defining features. These two aspects help shape your face (hello angles!) and go a long way in making your look more put together than a face full of foundation. 

I know for some the idea of zero coverage is a little unnerving. I used to feel the same way until I upped my skincare game. It's been a life saver. But it took me forever to get educated and get the right routine going. 

Let me know if you have any skin care questions, I'm happy to try and point you in the right direction! It's truly made a difference in my confidence level and saving time in the mornings. 

3. Glasses, fake or real. The stereotype that smart people wear glasses still holds true. And they're just super cute!

4. Heels. They mean business and dress up any outfit! The mere clickety-clack of them is empowering! 

5. Earrings, particularly studs. They immediately polish your overall look in an understated way and require 2 seconds of effort to slip in.  Better yet, throw on a watch. Watches are a timeless (no pun intended) accessory that really level up the class on any look. 

6. A moisturized face. Nothing says struggle bus more than dry, dull skin. Even a spritz of rose water applied to your face can help liven up your skin and perfect your look. 

7. Highlighter. Hello glowy goddess. A quick swipe on either cheekbone and wall-a, you're bright and beaming! I sometimes rock just highlighter, darkened brows, and mascara and I love the look.

8. Fitted clothing. I LOVE an oversized sweater, but if you want to look more put together, tailored clothing is best. If you must do baggy, try to have balance. If you wear an oversized top, don more fitted bottoms and vice versa.

If you want some cute, inexpensive clothing options, Tobi is a fave of mine.

OR try Amazon (I wrote up a blog post detailing this hidden treasure trove of cute deals)

9. Lip color. Even on an otherwise naked face, a pop of color on your lip goes a long way! One of my favorite bloggers, Officially Quigley, rocks a matte red lip with little to no makeup on. It looks so chic on her! See here. I actually just ordered her exact shade to try myself with ZERO makeup on. 

10. Lint roll that shit!! Puppies, kitties, dust bunnies! Whatever you have, they get all over your clothes. I lint roll on the daily (especially when wearing black).

If all else fails, just grab an almond latte. A girl with coffee always looks put together ;)

Are any of these your go-to remedies for a more put together look in the morning? I'd love to know if you have any other tips!


Can't stop, won't stop. 

Iron out the creases in your clothing. OK, sorry, byeeee!

Post Details:

Sweater dress linked here.

Photo edits by Miles of Color.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Valentine's Day, Sweet Looks for Less

I adore this time of year! The chill that settles onto most of the country is met with heart-shaped pastries and warm, tingly feelings as Valentine's Day draws near. 

We've all had a breather from the holidays and we're aching for some more magic. 

As a child Valentine's Day seemed SO magical. I like to keep the magic alive that I felt for things as a child. As a result, I'm always looking for a reason to celebrate and make things special. Valentine's Day is no different. 

It's a time to celebrate all forms of love and honor those who are closest in your life. I just sealed the envelope on a small valentine (yes, the old school kind with a "to" and "from" line) addressed to my parents. 

It's a tiny, tiny gesture, but will hopefully show them that they are loved. 

Beyond the warmth of this holiday comes some annoyances too. There's all the hype around having someone to spend the holiday with romantically, and of course, an outfit that's required to go along with it. 

Fancy restaurant reservations litter many of our calendars this time of year and Google searches for "little red dress" spike in number. 

There's absolutely nothing wrong with dressing up for Valentine's Day and rocking fire-engine-red lipstick or a slinky dress and heels for a date.

It's a cute look, but I've done it before. 

This year I'm looking for something a little more laid back. Something SWEET and SIMPLE for my Valentine's Day look.

I think I found some good options if you guys are interested! The best part?

The price point is everyyything AND it's a look that can easily go from day to night. So if your coffee date lingers into happy hour, you're SO good to go! 

Speaking of which, do you have a date for V-Day? I'm curious, if you're meeting someone for the first time are you more likely to suggest coffee or jump straight to libations?

For those in long term-relationships, how are you keeping things VA VA VOOM this Valentine's Day? (everyone says spicy, so I went for va va voom lol).

My fiancé and I are doing a bit of a mix.

We've booked this adorable cabin Airbnb in Idyllwild, CA for the weekend. Think stone fireplace, string light patio, nestled in the mountains vibes. After reviewing our finances, I'm cancelling our dinner reservations we had for the weekend AFTER at this super cool spot in downtown San Diego.

I'm a little sad, but we will be able to enjoy a rustic weekend in the mountains, opt for a less expensive dinner, and I can rock one of these cute outfits. 

This look felt so urban, understated, and cozy. I want to wear this sweater everywhere; on planes, to work, shopping, dinner, post-workout. lol you get the picture. It's versatile. 

This MIGHT be one of my favorite crop tops of all time. And I'm a crop top connoisseur (mom, aren't you proud?), so that's saying something. Belle sleeves are my weakness, blush is so fem and so V-Day, and the black belt/ripped jeans offer such a cool contrast. 

It's like I'm sweet, but I'm not that sweet. haha.

Also, the elastic off-the-shoulder on this top is great, you can situate it as low or as high as you like.

Back to our cancelled schmancy dinner reservations. It's all about balance, right? 

And if I'm being totally honest here, I'm a tad relieved. There's so much expectation in throwing on a dress, ubering downtown, and forking out $100+ on a schmancy dinner. Like, sure hope it's a good meal!

So. much. fuss.

I challenge you to try for an understated V-day look that's sweet an simple. Hold off on the dress and try for a slouchy sweater and over-the-knee-boots. I felt super sexy in this outfit, with just the tops of my thighs peeking out and everything else warm, cozy, and covered. 

The cropped belle sleeve felt so cool and hippie and the belt gave it western vibes that toned down the look even more.  

Who knew casual could be so cool.

Who knows, it may set the tone for a surprisingly magical Valentines :)

Cheers to love!

Post Details: 

Cropped rose belle sleeve top can be found here. I ordered a small. 

Oversized, holy sweater linked here. I ordered a small and it was super roomy and I wanted to stay in it all day!

Shop more V-day looks for less at Tobi OR try my Cute Clothing Amazon Finds post

Photos by Danielle McBrayer.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Why I Gave Up Instagram After 8pm

I love a perfectly placed coffee cup and croissant or burning sunset picture as much as the next girl. In fact, I may like them more than most. 

There's something enchanting about being given an inside look into someone's life or current viewpoint from anywhere in the world. I lay on my robin's-egg-blue comforter and thumb through a sea of images. My pupils widen as I take in the filters, the hashtags, and the emotional responses those photos evoke within me.

And all the while I'm lying there, stone still save for my right thumb-- the poor guy is feeling pretty overworked at this point. Just one more swipe further down the feed, further down the rabbit hole and maybe I'll find what it is I'm looking for. 

What exactly is it I'm looking for?

Somehow I managed to pick up on having a generally downcast mood upon finally clicking the off button on my phone at night. While visually I had taken a vast journey alongside National Geographic cameramen on ocean floors and trotted after style bloggers in adorable red pumps through winding European streets, I hadn't actually done a thing. 

Was the downcast mood a result of comparing my own quiet evening to that of others' wild photo-broadcasted adventures? Was it some chemical reaction in my brain to the excessive ambient light and warm rectangle in my hand? Either way, eventually I got fed up. And so I decided that I would give up Instagram after 8PM for one week. 

Here are my findings:

Day One:

Hurry, scroll, scroll! It's 7:55PM and I'm furiously tearing down my Instagram feed in an effort to catch up on today's posts. 

Would I miss For Love and Lemons' latest photo? Wait, there it was. OMG that new spring top is amazing. Double tap. OK, keep scrolling. I wonder if Brittney posted anything, I really miss her

Eventually 5 minutes expire and I reluctantly swipe out of the app.

10 minutes later I re-open and immediately close. Damn it! Have some resolve, woman! 

Left with Netflix and a messy room as my only visual stimulation, I turn to tidying up. Tidying up turned to taking a walk down memory lane. 

I not only organized all of my important paperwork (hurray adulthood) but I also spent a good half hour pouring over old cards and letters. The walk down memory lane resulted in my writing a witty letter to my little sister who was away at college, complete with a horrific doodle of her on campus. 

10:45PM, Lights out.

Day Three:

Hopping in my car after a sweaty beach workout, I check the time. A half hour until 8PM. Naturally, I whip out my phone and catch up on the day's Instagram feed before putting my aged Toyota in drive and heading home.

Evening festivities include a long awaited phone conversation with my out-of-state mother, washing the dishes from the past err...few days (okay week!), excessive hair brushing, and converting an empty plastic food bin into a panty overflow storage unit. Hey, I have a lot of panties.

Bed Time: 10:00PM

General feelings: Optimistic and accomplished!

Day Seven:

This is getting easier. I have an oddly hopeful outlook on my evenings now. Instead of the usual crawl through doorway with all manner of possessions and collapse on to bed for mindless Instagram thumbing routine that usually transpires after my work day, I've begun to ponder other outlets for evening recreation. 

And with much geekish excitement, I might add.

There's way less of an incentive to end my workouts early. Knowing I can't retreat to my illuminated square of flawlessly filtered images, I don't put quite so much pep in my step as I head back to the car. 

And as a result, I catch the sunset. Or the sunset catches me. And I'm having a real life Instagram moment. 

Yes, I desperately want to whip out my phone and snap a picture of this oh-so-perfect San Diego sunset, but I muster the strength to let my eyes do the capturing and enjoy the moment. And it feels good and raw and authentic, despite not telling the world through an upload.

A week spent giving up Instagram after 8PM proved to have far more exciting results than I had imagined. As corny as it sounds, I fell in love with my evenings again. 

While I wasn't admiring poised yogis posing in Bali or drooling over pastel macarons held up next to the Eiffel tower, my own world seemed a lot larger. 

(Cozy tall socks linked here)

The possibilities for what I could do with my time now stood infinite before me. 

I'm not saying the use of Instagram is ever a bad thing. Many times I feel inspired and energized by what I see on my feed. The fact that I can tailor my feed to showcase the exact content I desire is powerful! 

But like most things in life, there is room for balance. And while I may not stick to the no Instagram after 8PM rule religiously, I certainly will keep it as a guideline for making the most of my evenings as a twenty-something.

Happy Gramming :)

(Similar phone cover here.)

This article was previously published in the June, 2016 issue of Belong Magazine

Hair and Makeup by Fashion Ili.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

5 Cute Clothing Amazon Finds (that your bank account will love!)

Living in San Diego, I'm always working to be creative when it comes to living my lavish dream life while also paying the bills. Sometimes my dreams are a little ahead of what's in my bank account. It's part of who I am, always pushing to do and experience more, no matter the road blocks.

The same can be said when it comes to clothing. I'm a lifestyle blogger who adores fashion, so clothing is essential for many of my blog posts. But, it can get PRICEY having new threads to shoot in. Recently Amazon has been my savior when it comes to last minute finds.

Sometimes my blog shoots are sandwiched between a million other projects and to-dos. In a life filled to the brim with appointments, meetings, and PAUSE, did you drink enough water today kind of goals to hit, I sometimes scramble to manage my blog as well :)

I'm sure you can relate with your own crazy schedules. It's part of life!

This is where Amazon comes in. They have a gazillion products, reviews to give you the real scoop on each item, and PRIME! Anyone else obsessed with Amazon Prime? This feature enables me to order last minute items for a shoot and receive in 1-2 days at no charge. Yep, free shipping. Of course there is an annual fee you pay for this service. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe it's $100 for a yearly Amazon Prime membership. 

The kicker is the PRICES. Who doesn't love an inexpensive clothing find that actually looks good! I always, always read the reviews and check for photos people post wearing the items. This has been a game changer. 

I've stumbled upon something dirt cheap, but with questionable photos (the model is sort of awkward, lighting is poor, or they only feature ONE photo so you have no idea what the back of the clothing item looks like). The photos uploaded by real people allow you to see the item on all sorts of body types and in a variety of lighting scenarios. 

I love it. 

I hope you enjoy the items I've linked here! They ended up photographing beautifully, and most importantly, without breaking the bank. 

Let me know if you are interested in me posting about my other favorite Amazon items. 

 This dusty blue tulle skirt has so much volume and fabric to it! The quality is amazing for the price and the little matching sash was icing on the cake to a great find. It also comes in a bajillion colors! Buy it here.

This is probably my MOST favorite Amazon find to date. I read through a ton of reviews to ensure I got the right size and to feel confident in how it would photograph. It ended up being the star of my engagement photos. I don't think I've ever felt so elegant!  This dress also comes in different colors, like sultry red.

Update: It looks like they increased the price slightly since I purchased, but it's still an amazing deal for a formal gown.

  This top totally turned me off at first, because the model in the photos was going for a way sexier look than I wanted for my shoot. Thankfully I read reviews and it was a beautiful compliment to the tulle dress for my surprise engagement shoot. (Read about my styled shoot turned surprise engagement here!)

I knew I wanted to rock a one piece for my birthday last year! We rented a gorgeous Spanish-style Airbnb in La Jolla, CA that overlooked the ocean with a hot tub. This black swimsuit was the perfect choice! The cut is ideal (lower beneath the arms and high at the the hips). It was super fun to frolic around in the day of my birthday. And the price? Everyyyything.

I may have hit my quota as far as lace clothing. I just love how feminine and light it looks! Priced less than a meal for two at In-n-Out Burger, this lace top was an excellent buy for my engagement party outfit!

I hope you enjoyed these finds! I think they are total steals! While some items are more fitting for special occasions, many can be paired with jeans or a skirt for a date night. Happy shopping!