Friday, August 29, 2014

The Best Labor Day Sales


Happy Friday! To celebrate Labor Day weekend, we've got a ton of sales on the radar. From what I can tell, the two best sales are Tory Burch and Nordstrom. I've rounded up my favorite items from each retailer below… for a full list of sales, scroll down to the end!



(click directly on the item above to shop that particular product)

Tory Burch is offering 20% off when you spend $300, 25% off when you spend $500, and 30% off when you spend $750 with the code LABORDAY14. This is a big deal because Tory hardly ever goes on sale, and this sale includes EVERYTHING online. Last year I purchased my Tory Burch riding boots during the Labor Day sale because you get more than $100 off… you won't find a better deal on them for the rest of the season! They have a lot of brand new styles that are worth checking out.


(click directly on the item above to shop that particular product)

I picked the Nordstrom Labor Day Sale as the second best sale for a few reasons… remember their huge anniversary sale last month? Well they've marked down those same designer products to even less than the anniversary sale price. The sheer volume is also notable… there are 100 pages of markdowns. Also - these faux-leather leggings I wore in a post earlier this week are now 50% off!

Here's a full list of the sales going on this weekend:

Baublebar: Select jewelry starting at 50% off
C.Wonder: 30% off full-priced items
GiGi New York: Free personalization and free shipping
J.Crew: 40% off final sale, free shipping on all orders over $100
J.Crew Factory: 40-60% off everything 
Kendra Scott: 15% off & free shipping with code 2014LDW
Nasty Gal: 60% off select styles
Old Navy: 40% off everything in stores and online
Sephora: Up to 75% off summer makeup favorites
Sole Society: Select shoes up to 70% off

What are everyone's plans for the weekend?! Hopefully something fun since it's a long one!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gaga for GiGi


Striped dress with a pop of color
Camo shirt with leather skirt
Love this GiGi New York magenta clutch
Mom and daughter
GiGi New York crossbody bag in stone
Camouflage top outfit idea
GiGi New York clutches
Love the clutch - pop of color!

On me:
Camouflage button-down shirt (25% off with code ALMOSTFALL) // Trouve faux leather skirt
YSL lipstick in "le fuchsia" // Celine sunglasses, similar here
On my mom:
GiGi New York crossbody bag in "magenta" c/o // leopard loafers (old), similar here, here & here

Today, my mom and I have teamed up with GiGi New York to style their gorgeous crossbody bags. We love this bag for several reasons… for starters, it has a zipper on the outside which is the perfect size for a phone and credit cards, and it also comes with a removable strap so you can wear it as a crossbody (as I'm showing) or as a clutch (as my mom is showing). When my mom first got hers, she couldn't believe that there was leather inside the bag as well. I love GiGi in general because the bags are exquisitely made and will last for years to come. This particular bag will be coming with me to all tailgating and football games this fall… I can't stand lugging a big purse around with me, and this one is the perfect size! My mom is excited too, because she is constantly on-the-go and wanted an easy bag to run errands with.

Today's post was so much fun to shoot. If you can't tell from the photos, when my mom and I are together we act like complete goofballs and will laugh at anything! Usually she is behind the camera (yes, she's the one that takes the blog photos!) so it was fun to have her on the other side with me. She truly is my best friend... Thank you momma for agreeing to be in this post with me!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thursday!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How To Take a Good Instagram Photo

Blog post on how to take a good instagram photo

Today's post is a little, err, different, but it deals with something you probably use every day and (if you are like me) are obsessed with: Instagram! Surprisingly, a lot of the emails I receive from readers have to do with photography on my blog or Instagram, so today I'm sharing my tips and tricks for taking awesome Instagram photos. Let me preface this post by saying that almost every photo I post on Instagram is taken with my iPhone (unless it is from a blog post), so you do not have to be a professional photographer to take great Instagram photos, and you do not have to own a nice camera. Let's start with the most important topic…


1. NATURAL LIGHTING

Good natural lighting is the single most important part of taking a good Instagram photo. Natural lighting is light that comes from the sun, whereas artificial light is created from lamps and other man-made light sources. While artificial lighting often casts shadows and a dull, yellow light, natural light is, well, natural. If you are taking a photo indoors, make sure that the room has a lot of windows or that there is adequate sunlight in the room. I try to never, ever use artificial light or my camera flash for photos. Another tip when taking photos indoors is to use a light reflector to bounce light back on the subject to brighten the subject even more (see the above photo for an example of what it looks like!). Light reflectors can help eliminate pesky shadows in your photo.

2. EDITING

There are all kinds of apps out there for editing your photos. There are apps that will add filters, brighten, saturate, add sparkles and much more. My favorite editing app is actually Instagram itself, now that they have added the tools function. Below is the unedited version of my photo. It already looks pretty good, because I took it in a room with a lot of natural light and used the light reflector to eliminate most of the shadows. 


In the Instagram app, I use the "tools" section to increase both the saturation and the brightness. Here's the finished result, slightly brighter and more vibrant than the original pic. (Fun fact: I actually don't ever use Instagram filters on my photos. I usually just increase the brightness and saturation in Instagram, and then post it!)


When you aren't able to get good lighting in a photo, editing can make all the difference in the world. In these photos, Chris and I were having trouble getting adequate lighting. Our photo was too dark in the shade, but in the direct sunlight we had terrible shadows on our faces.


Using Snapseed, I was able to edit the above left photo to look somewhat decent by increasing the saturation, brightness and ambiance. Snapseed is a cool app because you can choose specific parts of the photo you want to edit. It's my favorite editing app and its's free! (Thank you to Krista for showing it to me.)


I also like the Picfx app, which is a great app for adding sparkles to your photos (see below).


3. CONTENT & COMPOSITION

Now that we have the lighting and editing taken care of, it's time to discuss content and composition. As far as content goes, I like to take photos of bright, colorful items, whether it is my outfit of the day or a scene from my desk. I also like for the picture to be in focus. Let's say I want the focal point of the picture to be my shoes. When my iPhone is in camera mode, I will tap on my shoes on the screen to bring that particular part of the photo into focus.

As far as composition, I always take photos in the square mode when I know I'm going to upload one to Instagram. Otherwise, you may end up cropping something out that you wanted in the photo! Another good rule of composition is to fill the frame. Below are two of my recent instagram photos. You'll notice that I have taken up the entire square with my subject matter. In the first picture, I placed my feet in the corner of the square in order to fill the frame.


4. SELFIES

Of course we need a whole section dedicated to selflies! Honestly, I am not the best selfie taker, but I have learned a few tricks to make the most out of them. The number one tip I have is to make sure your face is towards the light, rather than having the light come from behind. In the below photo, a large window is five feet away from me, casting natural light directly onto my face. This eliminates any awkward shadows (like a nose shadow or under-eye shadows!) and creates a "glowing" effect on my skin. Another great place to take selfies? Your car (the lighting is usually great).


5. TAKE A LOT OF PHOTOS

Last but not least, take a LOT of photos! Whenever I am trying to take a photo for Instagram, I will take at least 10 or 15, all from different angles or with the items positioned in a slightly different way. That way I can look back at them, determine which ones I like best, and edit only the best ones. I usually end up deleting the ones I don't like. The only way to truly get better at Instagram is to practice. Practice taking photos in natural light, practice editing your photos, and practice with different filters and apps. 

Well, that sums up my tips on how to take a good Instagram photo! I hope this was helpful, and if you have any other questions please leave them in the comments. If you don't follow me on Instagram yet, you can find me here. Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Feelin' Edgy...

Flannel shirt, leather leggings and flats for fall
GiGi New York all in one clutch
Cute look for fall, love the plaid shirt!
Plaid shirt paired with leather leggings
Leather leggings paired with Tory Burch flats
Plaid shirt outfit idea
Love the shoulders of this plaid shirt
Cute fall look!
GiGi New York all in one clutch // Kendra Scott earrings via The Jeweler's Wife

Have you ever noticed how certain clothes can make you feel a certain way? A sexy dress can make you feel empowered… a new pair of heels can make you feel like you're ready to conquer the world. There's something about this outfit that makes me feel different, too. It's edgier than my usual style, but I like it. I feel bold when I'm wearing it!

Let's start with this plaid shirt… the sleeves can zip up for less exposure (and to look more like a normal plaid shirt!). How cute would it be with skinny jeans?! The faux leather leggings were more of an experiment than anything. I have never owned a pair of leather leggings or pants and I wanted to try them out! I love these… the patterns in the leather add a whole other element to the outfit. I will definitely only wear longer tops with them though because after all they are still leggings! (For a size reference, I am wearing the XS in the leggings, I usually wear a size 25 in jeans.)

Enter to win these Kendra Scott earrings and GiGi New York clutch!

And that's not all, folks! You know I have a love for both Kendra Scott and GiGi New York, and today the Jeweler's Wife is teaming up with GiGi to give away the black elle earrings and the black all in one clutch (pictured above) to TWO lucky winners. They are both essential pieces that will last you well into the fall and winter months.
To enter the giveaway, click here.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Back to the Basics

Perfect fall look from Nordstrom
White blouse, fur vest and black skinnies
Love these Celine sunglasses!
Cute fall look with leopard heels
Love these leopard heels from Nordstrom
Love this textured vest
Perfect fall outfit!
Fall look with distressed black denim
Steve Madden leopard pumps // Rebecca Minkoff crossbody bag (sold out in that color), similar here
David Yurman ring // earrings // similar link bracelet // Celine sunglasses (these look similar but are $12!)

Happy Monday Pumpkin Spice Latte Day!! (Yes that's right… the PSL is back at Starbucks today.) If that doesn't signal the official start of fall, I don't know what does! That's why I'm bringing you my favorite fall basics today… the items that are the building blocks for essentially every fall outfit you can imagine. 

First, we have the perfect white blouse: great for layering with vests, blazers, cardigans, or worn by itself. This one is PERFECT because it's nice and flowy, but still fits in all the right places (I'm wearing an XS!). The next fall basic is a pair of distressed black denim like the pair I'm wearing from Rag & Bone. They are not too ripped, just a little bit at the knees, which is exactly what I was looking for. Let me also say that these are THE most comfortable pants I've ever put on my body! When I say obsessed, I really am obsessed. These are going to be really "in" this fall, mark my words! Last but not least, a good fur vest is a must-have for any woman's fall wardrobe. I love this textured vest because it's so unique (and it's really soft). In the above photos I'm showing the same look with and without the vest (so you can get a better look at the blouse). 

All three of these basic pieces can be found in the Americana collection at Nordstrom… so be sure to check there for even more fall basics! 

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*Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Perfect Leopard Scarf…


Let me warn you… it is not the last time you will see this leopard scarf on my blog this fall! (But you better get it now - it's 25% off today only with the code SHOPNOW.) When I first saw it in the store I was smitten and immediately began to dream of all the different ways to wear it… with a navy puffer vest, a sweater, a grey dress, or even a white tee and boyfriend jeans (hence today's look). Boyfriend jeans are my go-to when I want to feel comfortable, so you can imagine just how comfy this whole outfit was! I wore it on a long car trip one day last week. Speaking of boyfriend jeans, I really love this pair. It looks kind of weird on the model, but they are very flattering on and fit a petite frame!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend so far! I have been catching up on sleep and it has been ah-mazing.

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