I Have a Confession

Point of this post: I am my own worst enemy.

Similar to the past three years I have had the same new years goals when it comes to social media. I wanted to become a social media blogger. I had never really had a plan after that statement. I just wanted to cultivate beautiful photography while getting paid. I watched other juggernaut bloggers post unboxing after unboxing, ad sponsorships every couple of days, dream vacations 4x’s a year, these perfect lives with unending money while buying and buying and buying. I HAD to keep up. I mean they have a social media TEAM! People writing, answering emails, and posting for them. Heck, if a photographer is necessary for success I was going to employ one.

In 2018 I employed three; none produced the kind of photos I was looking for, some didn’t even complete the contract, one lied about their abilities which left me doing a majority of the work and wasting valuable energy tracking people down.

I bought and bought and bought. I was swimming in clothing that didn’t fit the climate I lived in, let alone my body or fashion style. So many things with tags just sat in my home taking up valuable space, a luxury you can’t waste living in a european home. But alas, If a bamboo clutch was what I needed I was going to carry that wooden bag to every beach vacation, even if I thought it was UGLY, USELESS, and POOR QUALITY.

Frustrated I made excuses.

… without a photographer my instagram is useless.
… I’m too fat.
… I work too much to commit.
… I am writing about things I really don’t care about for views.
… I can’t produce content in this messy, overstuffed, office.
… my skin, hair, nails, etc. isn’t perfect.
… my credit cards hate me.
… my life is boring.
… I can’t figure out what editing app/tool people are using.
… my background/scenery isn’t WOW!
… I don’t have this chloe bag or those Mother jeans.

If Brittany the Blogger and Iris the Instagramer were adopting the raw soup stand on your head diet, I was too.

I. WAS. MISERABLE.

The more miserable I felt the less I wanted to post. The less I wanted to share. The joy disappeared.

So I didn’t.

I even surrounded myself with someone who put me down to my face and behind my back, used me financially, and I let her. I hated myself for allowing that to happen.

But you know what?
The internet is big enough for all of us. I just needed to find my place to shine. Right?

I needed to be BRAVE. Easy right?

NOPE. I was TOO SCARED.

So this year was another round of new years goals. Wanting to hit 1,000 subscribers in 12 months. Having 10,000 subscribers so I could adopt the Instagram swipe feature (which would make my life SO much easier). I was the fitness quitter of social media and I was setting myself up to quit again.

Side note: I believe in divine intervention. God just shows you what you need at just the right time. Last night I was half listening to instastories and the typical “I am not getting likes/views on my posts” videos started to play from BIG named Instagram accounts. One in particular stood out because she was asking for a solution. misschrisycharms polled her audience and asked what they wanted to see in 2019, then she was EVEN COOLER to share the responses with the rest of us. (I could kiss your face in thanks misschrisycharms)

What did people want?

REAL LIFE.

Messy homes, messy houses, everyday life.

They were over the over edited washed out photos with the unattainable fashion hauls to Chanel or Gucci, Ad driven sponsorship where opinions were paid for, and lifestyles full of nothing but travel (hello! I have a J-O-B)

THIS. IS. ME!

My blog is the “Dad-bod” of the internet and this is my time to SHINE! THIS is what everyone wants, getting back to our roots.

I don’t live a perfect life, but we are comfortable. I can’t travel everyday in a porsche driving the German country side. The driving and small parking space situation is awful here, I drive an old Honda – #sorrynotsorry, they can hit that. I rock a 4 year old Burberry bag with $10 Amazon sunglasses. I’m not even going to have a branding team, ever, while living here.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not dimming the light of someone else to justify my shortcomings, I follow big accounts and blogs all day long, but that insta life isn’t me. Not yet.

There is a quote from Rachel Hollis’ new book “Girl, Stop Apologizing”:

“FRIEND, IF YOU CAN’T GET OVER YOUR FEAR OF NOT DOING IT AS WELL AS THEY DO, YOU’LL NEVER HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE A TRAILBLAZER FOR SOMEONE ELSE.”

*Mind blown*

First step: Telling you the truth about my social media self esteem, why I quit blogging after three months. Ghost you and reappear around January 1 of every year.

So let’s try this again, and hopefully for the last time.

Welcome to my blog…

2019’s fierce word is: TRAILBLAZER.

Now lets see if I can be brave enough to be one.

 

 

 

 

In Art We Trust

Photo Credit: thewordly_weekender

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Vacation t-shirts have never really been my thing. Usually they are cheesy or hard to style. Last month we spent spring break in Amsterdam and had a blast! While walking to the IAMSTERDAM sign I noticed an exhibit for one of my favorite street artists, Banksy, at a house turned museum called MOCO. I was completely excited, especially since the last piece of Banksy art I saw was in New York City, where the crowd made it difficult to see.

After asking C and J we all decided to add the MOCO to our list of “must do’s” for the next day. We arrived at opening and I spent the next two hours soaking in each piece of Banksy art. I was so overwhelmed by the political messages and current events that I completely bypassed the gift shop in favor of talking to the guys about what we just saw.


The last day we were in Amsterdam J asked if there was anything we couldn’t leave the city without, besides taking home some vinyl records from vintage shops and a few bags of fresh stroopwafles, I had decided I wanted to see how much a piece of reprinted Banksy art would cost me at the gift shop.

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My favorite piece of Banksy art, reprinted, 18,000 Euro

The art had an 18,000 euro price tag (ouch and yet so ironic for the message displayed), so I settled on a t-shirt / coffee mug combo from the Banksy exhibit. It wasn’t until I approached the cashier that a lady was wearing a t-shirt simply saying ‘in art we trust’. 15 minutes later and I was the proud owner of 2 t-shirts and a coffee mug. Probably one of my favorite Amsterdam purchases.

I had big plans for this MOCO shirt… pairing it with black blazers, leather jackets, long wool coats, thick gray blanket scarves, different color jeans, dress pants, pencil skirts, and all the nude or black shoes I have in my closet. I had visions of boyfriend cardigans with jeans and white sneakers. ‘In art we trust’ has been a fun reminder of one of my favorite art exhibits in a beloved city.

 
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MOCO T-Shirt (Not for sale online) | Old Navy Rockstar Skinny Jeans | Tory Burch Quilt Bag (similar)| Halogen Wedge (similar) | Evereve Varsity Jacket (similar) | Quay Australia Odin Sunnies from Lennox + Lane

 

Spring Daytime Skincare Routine

Photo Credit: Radical Rainah
*This is NOT a sponsored post. All products and opinions are my own.*
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With all the beautiful weather in our future one thing is for certain, skin care needs a look over and adjustment. In my 20’s I only committed half way to any kind of skincare but turning 36 means a skincare regiment is a must thanks to things like sun damage. My mom, who is a wealth of skincare knowledge, imparted one little piece of wisdom on me; “you can’t completely erase wrinkles once you have them” and “falling asleep with make up on ages you”. So she preaches preventative care because, who wants to look like a wrinkled handbag at 40?

Nobody. That’s who.

I have finally figured out what my extra dry skin needs this summer to look it’s best, daily. Here’s my RX on how I apply my products (in order):

1. Make-Up Remover
2. Cleanse Skin
3. Moisturizer
4. Sunscreen
5. Vitamins + H2O

Weekly: *Mask

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Cleanser:

Your face is like a canvas so step one is always clean skin. My everyday face cleanser is  Cetaphil All-Skin, easily found in drug or big box stores in the states. When I need to scrub off dead skin without aggravating the next layer I turn to St. Ives Blackhead Clearing Green Tea Scrub once a week or whenever needed.

Moisturizer:

Since moving to Germany I have had to double up my daytime moisturizer. This is a combination of genetics, very cold weather, and the local German water being very heavy in minerals like calcium, which can damage hair and strip skin. My first layer is Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream because of its super light, moisturizing feel. It is unscented and perfect for my sensitive skin. I, then, apply my second layer of Origins GinZing once the Neutrogena layer is mostly dried, usually after drying and styling my hair. Last step is a little Aquaphor dabbed under my eyes.

We know overexposure to sun ages skin and brings on cancer so I self tan using Jergens Natural Glow. Doesn’t stain your face, smooth application, and it leaves a light, sun kissed color. Natural Glow has never left me with breakouts or upset my skin.

Sunscreen:

Before I recommend this particular product I have to give a little back story as to why I have step 4 of this system but not the other 3 steps. Rodan + Fields doesn’t work for me. The soothe line left my skin angry, red, and burning. This does not mean R+F doesn’t work for others, it just doesn’t work for me. However, I love the sunscreen. Rodan + Fields Soothe Mineral Sunscreen (step 4) isn’t greasy or heavy. If you want a bottle of your own you’ll have to find an R+F distributor. I highly recommend my friend, Meredith at pineapple.and.prosecco.

Make-Up Remover:

I don’t always use make-up type remover in the morning but I’ll swipe a cotton pad with a little L’Oreal Micellar Cleansing Water quickly over my face, especially when I have worn make-up the day before. This definitely gives me one more opportunity to clean up anything I missed the night before. If you choose to use this method, add it at the very beginning of your daily routine before cleaning and moisturizing your skin.

Mask:

Everyone needs to apply a great face mask every week. It’s like hitting refresh on your skin (#treatyoself). In the warmer months I get a few more clogged pores so the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask helps me combat bumpy, extra dry, red skin. Plus, that spa skin care feeling is definitely on my living your best life list.

Vitamins + Water:

Don’t underestimate the power of being properly hydrated or the importance of a good vitamin. For water the rule is to drink half of your body weight in ounces as a minimum goal. I sometimes add in citrus, mint, or cucumber to jazz up plain old water. Grab a reusable bottle to go that holds a days worth of water so you never go thirsty. My favorite vitamins for skin are from Halo Beauty and  Olly Flawless Complexion. As another alternative I also add in Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides as well as coconut oil to my coffee and I make a shot with Glow Advanced Inner Beauty Powder for gut health.

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Summer’s ‘It’ Earrings

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All Photo Credit: Radical Rainah

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All my ladies who love warm weather put your hands up! This is it, warm weather is here in Germany! Flowers are blooming, the landscape is green, and the farmers have started harvesting these terrible fields of yellow flowers called ‘rapeseed’ which is causing me to reach for Claritin every morning before coffee happens.

Knowing that our sun shine filled days are limited, back patios are set up with outdoor furniture and the German people are embracing colorful warm weather clothes. Dinners are enjoyed and laughter over beer is expected with visitors, everyone is just more social. More bikes are on the road than cars and people are walking everywhere. Germans are welcoming spring and summer with open arms after long days of gray skies and heavy coat wearing. It’s like Europe in Technicolor!

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This change in seasons also means embracing some color in our clothes and accessories. Being a true belle of the south I am a sucker for color so embracing the popular trend of bright colorful tassels was a smooth transition. They are so easy to find and more affordable because tassels are on everything; bags, clothes, shoes, and jewelry.

This spring/summer season I started my colorful tassel collection with the new Kendra Scott Justyne in Blue. No photos give this ear candy justice and I highly recommend if you walk away only owning one tassel item these earrings should be it!

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These versatile earrings can easily go from day to-night. Below I have linked my outfit for a fun spring time day look but if you want to take these earrings into night I suggest a little black jumpsuit, black sheer shirt with black slacks, or dress with a pair of fun wedges or classic pumps. With so many options to wear them you’ll be seeing the Justyne by Kendra Scott in my outfit of the day posts more often.

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Jean Jacket | Slub Tee (similar) | Earrings 
Tassel | White Jeans | Straw Bag
Belt | Shoes

Favorite Summer Pajamas

Photo Credit: Radical Rainah
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I have a confession to make, I would live in pajamas if society would let me. On an unrelated note I would also wear my wedding dress grocery shopping if people wouldn’t cut crazy eyes at me while I pushed my Target buggy with one hand and sipped on a Starbucks with another, but that’s too much info that I seem to willingly share lately. However, if you see a lady wearing a Vera Wang in aisle 6 it’s probably me and you’ve been fairly warned.

Besides the obligatory matching Christmas family plaid jammies, summer runs a close second to my favorite pajama season. Fun patterns of palm leaves, cactus, and flamingos. Love stripes, gingham, and polka dots? Yup this season is for you too (and might I add you have excellent taste). Navy blue, bright pink, and all the shades of green, just about every color of the rainbow is used. There are no rules when it comes to sleep. Think you can’t pull off navy blue sequin sleep shorts, well your wrong. This is your season of color and comfort and you are going to rock them. Raise your coffee mugs and toast to living your best life!

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Look #1: Sequin Sleep Shorts | Dinner Jacket Robe | White Tank | Bra 

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Look #2: H&M Blue Stripe PJ Set

Star Shorts | Stripe Robe | White Tank | Stripe Shorts


Wishlist Pajamas


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1. TANK + SHORT | 2. | 3. | 4. | 5. | 6. | 7. TANK + SHORT

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

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Photo Credit: Radical Rainah 

Shout Out to all my Mother’s! It’s May and this is your month! Breakfast in bed, sleeping in, coupon books drawn in crayon offering hugs and kisses, lots of opportunities to enjoy a mimosa (without having to use the excuse it’s 5 o’clock somewhere). Yup, May 13th is so going to be an awesome day.

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However, Mother’s Day leaves lots of us scratching our heads on what exactly to buy or even ask for (#momguilt). But you won’t be, not this year because we are living our best life and I’ve gotcha covered.

The fashion, practical, home design, beauty, sentimental, funny, fitness lover, and foodie mama is represented below. Check out what I am giving all the heart eyes to!


Gift Guide


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Gal Meets Glam Hillary Dress | O-Venture Key Chain Bracelet
Banana Republic Blazer | A Slice of England Coffee Table Book w/Home Beads
Magnolia Table Cookbook | Susan Woodard Watercolors w/ Framebridge Framing
Tom Ford Soleil Blanc | Welcome to Shit Show Wine Tumbler
Aviate Hat | Apple Airpods | Herbivore Coco Rose
Steve Madden Greece Sandal | Insta Pot
Go-Pro Hero | Yumi Kim Floral Robe | H&M Pajamas

From Gym to Street

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Photo Credit: Jonathan Smith

If I walk away with one thing that living in Europe has taught me, hands down its fashion. Everything is acceptable within reason, even your gym wardrobe. Yes, those who live across the ocean do wear activewear from time to time but there are concrete rules to this style of dress.

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Photo Credit: Jonathan Smith

One |  It’s never okay to wear yoga pants, unless you are just coming from yoga and if you are, remember you are only there to pick up milk not shop. Activewear is not an all day outfit choice.

Two |  Take pride in how you look. Invest in some basic pieces. Want a more edited closet? Look for items in neutral colors. You’ll never see a European woman in ratty sweatpants, an old bra with no support, dirty sneakers, and an ill fitting washed out top. Think sleek, functional, and transitional. Try items on before you buy and return what doesn’t fit.

Three | What you rock doesn’t have to be expensive, European women can teach you how to stretch a euro. Need a great workout outfit? H&M and Zara to the rescue! There are Puma and Adidas outlets + concept stores galore (because both brands are German), don’t get me started on the great Under Armor deals and TKMaxx too (It’s the American TJMaxx incognito)! It’s all about the deals without sacrificing quality, with the occasional splurge.


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Photo Credit: Jonathan Smith

Below I’ve listed some options for creating a Gym to Street look worthy of European streets. Think layers; A strappy bra, basic white tee, cropped black sweatshirt, black mesh yoga pants, and a slim NorthFace puffer jacket. Grab a pair of printed bright sneakers or classic black Nikes and you have the perfect look.


Tops


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Athleta Serenity Criss Cross Sweatshirt | Nike Dry Ribbed Hoodie
Lululemon Sweat Date Singlet | Victorias Secret Sport Mesh Tee
Athleta Power Up Easy Tee | Koral Active Venus Tank


Bottoms


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Alo Ultimate High Waist Leggings | Wunder Under HI-Rise Tight Mix & Mesh
Nike Power Epic Lux Flash Running Tight | gFast High Rise Sculpt Revolution Leggings
Zella Covet High Waist Midi Leggings | SPANX Faux Leather Moto Leggings


Bras, Panties, + Socks


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Balega Hidden Comfort Running Socks | Nike Reflective Running Socks
Nike pro Indy Cooling Light Support Sports Bra | Ivy Park Logo Bra
Zella Covet Sports Bra | Victorias Secret Angel Max Sport Bra
UA Pure Stretch Sheer Bikini | Athleta Triple Dare Bra
Gap Fit Medium Impact Strappy Sports Bra | Camel No Tracy Cheeky


Shoes


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Nike Free Run Flyknit 2 Running Shoe | Nike Presto Fly Sneaker
Nike Free TR7 Amp Training Shoe | Adidas NMD XR1 Athletic Shoe
Adidas ‘UltraBoost’ Running Shoe | Nike Free TR7