Creating Low Carb Cocktails Using White Claw Pure Hard Seltzer

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older. #PureTwist #DrinkPure #CollectiveBias

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What’s the best part of summer? Pools, BBQ’s, and of course rooftop cocktails! Being on the keto diet means being pretty careful about drinking, especially mixed drinks. I’ve been keto for about 6 months now and the biggest challenge is staying on track while still maintaining a social life. I’ve been playing with low carb cocktail ideas that are refreshing, tasty and give me the freedom to enjoy socializing with friends while not cheating on my diet.

I had the opportunity to partner with White Claw to create a few fun and easy cocktail recipes.

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White Claw Pure Hard Seltzer is made using a blend of seltzer water, our gluten free BrewPure® alcohol, and natural flavor. Pure Hard Seltzer contains 5% alcohol, 100 calories, and 0g carbs. Check out how I put my spin on it!

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White Claw Pure Hard Seltzer Lemon-Lime Spritz

This is a classic and refreshing cocktail, like sparkling lemonade with a hint of booze. Just squeeze a quarter lemon and half a lime into a White Claw Pure Hard Seltzer over ice, and garnish with some  fresh mint. If you want to sweeten it up a bit, a few drops of liquid stevia will go a long way.

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Raspberry Lime White Claw Pure Hard Seltzer Mixer

This one looks super pretty and the berries add a hint of sweetness. If you don’t eat the berries you save on those carbs, but if you do decide to muddle them or eat them whole it’s still only a few berries so don’t stress over it! Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice and use a slice for garnish.

White Claw Pure Hard Seltzer is available most places you would shop, so pick up a case to keep on your bar. It’s also a great option to bring to a house party instead of a bottle of wine! Let me know what cocktails you mix with it. And if you are on the keto diet let me know how you keep up with it!

3 Travel Tips for Venice California!

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Venice California Blogger Photography
Venica California Instagram Walls
Venice California Historic Canals

Summer is all about packing in the beach time! Living in DTLA means planning your weekends around soaking up the sun and I’ve been trying to explore all the different beaches in my new home in LA! One of my favorite beach town so far is Venice, CA. The vibe is so unique, and reminds me a little bit of good old Coney Island in NY! Here are a few tips for spending a perfect day in Venice.

Don’t Go Too Early

Mid-day to early afternoon is the sweet spot for Venice. The area can be a little sketchy in the morning due to the large homeless population, so go a little later in the day when more beach goers and tourists are out and about. Plus the boardwalk area is pretty dead in the morning and you don’t want to miss that! Afternoons are when you’ll see street vendors, performances, and the famous bodybuilders that hang out on Muscle Beach. For prime time sightseeing, I would say don’t arrive before noon. The beach is usually far less crowded then neighboring Santa Monica, so don’t worry about not being able to get a spot if you go later. I would also say plan to leave the area before dark! I’ve never stayed out past 730/8pm, but did get the feeling that nights can be a bit creepy.

Venice California Photo Shoot

Make Time to Explore Abbot Kinney and the Canals

When you are ready to get off the beach and boardwalk, make your way over to Abbot Kinney Blvd! The strip is full of cute, hip boutiques and is made for window shopping. I say window shopping because a lot of the stores are pretty pricey, so unless you feel like splurging, shop with your eyes not your wallet! A few blocks away are the Venice Canals, a historic residential district. The neighborhood and canals were created to give California taste of Italy. Most of the canals were filled in and turned into roads as the neighborhood expanded, save for the ones left in the historic district.

Venice California Instagram Walls

Enjoy the Restaurant Scene

Venice is full of casual cool-girl restaurants, from Blue Bottle Coffee to The Butcher’s Daughter. Gjelina is also a hot spot with a great vibe, but just be aware the menu is a bit particular and they don’t make any substitutions or modifications. As in they wouldn’t even give me the lamb burger with no bun!

Let me know what you think of Venice and any other favorite places in the LA area!

Venice California Travel Tips



6 Months Keto Update: Maintainance, Set-Backs, Progress and More!

Keto Update 3 Month Progress
3 Month Keto Update and Results
Surviving the Keto Diet

My 6 Month Keto-Versary is just around the corner! I’ve been meaning to update you guys on how the diet is working for me and managing it long-term for awhile, and 6 months is the perfect milestone! I can say for sure that I’m passed the point of thinking of keto as a fad diet and more now consider it a lifestyle. I’m no longer trying to lose weight, and am happy with my results. But overall I feel like the diet works amazingly for me, let’s me eat most of the types of foods I want, and allows me the flexibility to have long-term success. Here are a few things that have changed for me after staying on keto for 6 months!

I Adjusted My Macros

I use My Fitness Pal to track macros and when I first started my goal was 20-25 grams of carbs a day. That led to the quick weight loss I experienced in the first few weeks. Since my goal has shifted to keeping my weight stable, I increased my carb intake to around 30-35 grams on average. My carbs still mostly come from vegetables and berries, but I will occasionally have a glass of wine, or a few bites of a dessert that would normally be completely off limits. Which brings me to my next point . . .

I Cheat on Keto A Lot More

When I first started I was pretty hard core and dedicated to seeing results. Now that I no longer care about losing weight, I’m more liberal about having occasional cheats. Full on cheat days are still pretty rare, but I would guess I go over my carb goal on average once a week. I say guess because I don’t necessaily count macros on things I just have a few bites of, but I am guilty of picking at a few of my boyfriend’s fries or eating something saucy which is usually a no no because sauces tend to be high in sugar. I have also fallen off the wagon HARD a few times, indulging in carb-binges that I loved in the moment but regretted the next day. After maintaining a low-carb and basically no sugar diet for so long, overindulging can shock your body and leave you feeling sick, crampy, and withdrawn as you digest. I’m not saying the occasional bowl of pasta or plate of French toast isn’t worth it, but keep in mind how you will feel after!

I Stopped Weighing Myself

I haven’t set foot on a scale since April! Instead of worrying about my weight, I think more about inches I’m losing or gaining. My workouts have shifted to be almost exclusively strength focused, with special emphasis on core conditioning because I have ALWAYS wanted better abs. My workout mix typically includes a HIIT class, Ballet Barre, hot yoga and boxing or Krav Maga. I also started doing 10 minutes of ab work 4 to 5 times a week. I’ve been doing that regularly for about a month, following YouTube videos from Chloe Ting and MadFit and I love my results! I lost an inch on my waist after about 3 weeks of dedicated ab workouts, but gained back half an inch after a carb binge in San Diego last weekend! So yes, I learned that my progress can very quickly unravel and I may need to be more disciplined as I try to get more sculpted!

Intermittent Fasting Suddenly Got Really Hard

When I started keto I also regularly practiced Intermittent Fasting, usually eating between the hours of 12-8. I rarely got hungry before noon, and was sometimes easily able to go as late as 1:30 without even noticing. The only time I would eat past 8 is when socal obligations required me to, and usually when that happened I could easily start eating later in the day since I wouldn’t be hungry. But something happened after my move to LA! Maybe it was the sudden change in my normal schedule or adjusting to my new lifestyle, but for some reason keeping my fasting schedule has become such a challenge. I always think it’s more important to listen to your body than it is to follow arbitrary timing, so when my body tells me it’s time to eat I listen. However I have noticed that I start feeling ravenous around 10-10:30am, which is way earlier than I used to eat when I first started keto. I’m not sure what if any difference it’s making so I’m just keeping an eye on it and listening to my body.

I’m Taking More Supplements

When I first started, the only supplements I added to my routine was magnesium. I typically take a multi-vitamin, Omega 3, Collagen and Biotin anyway, so magnesium was just to make sure my electrolytes stayed balanced. However because of my increased carb intake and more frequent cheating, I figure adding in more keto focused supplements could help me stay on track. They can be expensive, so I will let you know if they are worth it in my next update, because right now it’s too early to say. But when I first started the keto diet I didn’t take any of the most commonly used supplements, like MCT Oil and ketone bases. My results were great, but your body does plateau, so I’m switching things up a bit to make sure it keeps working for me!

I Still Don’t Like Keto Desserts

I’ve found a few keto recipes that work for me, like zucchini lasagna, almond flour pancakes and cauliflower rice stir fry. However the dessert recipes are always disappointing! The textures and taste are just never good enough to really be satisfying. When I’m craving sweets, I’m more likely to just eat a bowl of berries and cream or a piece of Lily’s Chocolate. That usually comes in around 7 to 10 grams of carbs and is way more worth it than a cardboardy keto cupcake with 4 grams of carbs!

Let me know any burning questions about keto in the comments or on Instagram! And shop my look and some of my keto faves below!

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Keto Diet Long Term Tips

LA Art Scene: All the Summer Exhibits You Can't Miss

Urban Lights at LACMA Museum Los Angeles
LA Art Museums
Urban Lights LACMA
LACMA Museum Los Angeles

Exploring art museums and galleries is one of my favorite ways to pass time. NYC is full of options, but since I moved to LA I needed to spend sometime getting to explore the art scene here. At first I wanted to spend as much time outside as possible, but since the weather has suddenly gotten crazy hot it’s time for more fun in the AC. Here are a few of the exhibits on my list to check out this summer, everywhere from Santa Monica to DTLA!

Soul of a Nation at the Broad

This exhibit will be on view until September and explores contributions of Black artists from the civil rights movement through the 80’s. LA based artists will also be specifically highlighted for their often overlooked role in the art and history of the civil rights movement. Get tickets here!

40 for LA at MOCA

MOCA, LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art is celebrating their 40 year anniversary with a multimedia exhibition features archives from the museum’s vault, including rare photographs and lithographs, limited-edition objects and a special homage to all of the artists to whom the museum is indebted. This is your chance to understand some of the key elements that defined the museum and made it what it is today. Tickets and visiting information here!

Take Me Out to the Ball Game at The Grammy Museum

The Grammy Museum is unique with it’s focus on the cultural impact of music throughout generations. Take Me Out to the Ball Game highlights how the rise of baseball and baseball music ushered in a new era of American music in the early 1900s and the eventual impact it had on modern, popular music genres from pop to R&B. And while you are there, don’t miss the Backstreet Boys experience if you want to relive some of your favorite 90’s jams. Visitor’s info here!

The Liberator at California African-American Museum

The Liberator was an early 20th-century newspaper that documented the emerging African American population in Los Angeles. Founded in 1900 by Jefferson Lewis Edmonds, a former slave who advocated for improved social and economic conditions for African-Americans the publication reported on local, national, and international news and portrayed Los Angeles as a city of hope for African Americans and an escape from the violence and hardship they experienced in the South. This exhibit sheds light on paper’s contributions to city’s rapidly increasing black population and its challenges in a post-Reconstruction era. Details here!

Anything at LACMA

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) isn’t just a hot spot for Instagram pics! It’s the largest art museum in the western United States and has a whole host of unique seasonal exhibitions and an impressive core collection. Considering it’s size, give yourself plenty of time to try to take it all in.

Fearless Fashion at the Skirbal Center

Obviously this fashionista wouldn’t miss an exhibit dedicated to style! Fearless Fashion explores the visionary and progressive ensembles by LA based designer Rudi Gernreich. Rudi introduced the monokini, thongs, unisex caftans, pantsuits for women that transcended rigid social expectations and championed authenticity above all. Check out the retrospective on his work through September 1st.

Contact High at the Annenberg Space for Photography

If you are a hip-hop head, don’t miss this one! This exhibit chronicles the work of hip-hop photographers that played a role in bringing the music genre’s visual culture to the global stage. Get an intimate look at contact sheets from portrait sessions with hip-hop legends like Biggie Smalls, Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar. Rare videos, memorabilia, and music are also on display.

LA Can't Miss Art Exhibits

Let me know which ones you check out and what you think!

Entertaining Made Easy with Basic Invite

This post is sponsored by Basic Invite. All opinions are my own

Basic Invite Custom Invitations

There is still something so special about a printed card or invitation. It’s rare that I get one (or send one to be honest), but it still stands out when one arrives in the mail. It’s nice to get something beautiful and special just for you, amidst the weekly pile of bills and coupons you never asked for right? I’ve been thinking about planning more parties and stepping up my entertaining game since I moved to a new apartment and one surefire way to make your party invite stand out is to print them beautifully and send them out old school style. Obviously the cost for that can add up, and be a logistical nightmare to handle. But in researching companies, Basic Invite stood out for having a ton of stylish options, affordable pricing, and ease of use! Here are just a few reasons why they are the perfect vendor if you are looking for a printing service!

Custom Invitations Basic Invite

Almost Unlimited Colors and Instant Previews

Most websites are pretty restricted in the colors they offer, or the ability to generate an instant preview. Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Just select a design and play with over 180 different color options! And it doesn’t stop there. They also have over 40 Different Colors of envelopes and a nice assortment of envelope liners to make your invitations really pop. Plus all of our envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed.

Summer Party Invitations

 Easy Customization and No Guess Work

 Most websites let you order a generic sample if you want to check out print quality or paper. But Basic Invite takes it up a notch, letting you order a custom printed sample with your text! Samples are around $10 depending on the colors and whether or not you print in foil, but they are worth it. The service is perfect if you are planning a wedding, sending holiday cards for business or any very important event that requires perfection with your printing.

Invitation Options from Basic Invite

Address Capturing Service 

Basic Invite makes getting address a breeze! They offer an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends and family’s addresses. These address are then stored in your account and can then be selected during the design process. And there is no extra cost for recipient address printing on all card orders!

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If you are shopping for a vendor for printing anything from personalized holiday cards to wedding save the dates check out Basic Invite! Right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51. Even though Christmas seems far away, it’s actually only 6 months out! Since July is becoming an unofficial shopping season, why not checkout some  online Christmas cards to get ahead of the season? You’ll thank me later when you are already set before the season goes into high gear!





LA Life Update! 4 Things I Learned Since I Moved

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It’s been about 2 months since I moved to LA and so far I love my new city. The weather has been amazing - cool in the mornings then comfortably hot by afternoon with none of the gross NY humidity. People here are way more relaxed than I’m used to and the scenery is just so pretty! As an NYC transplant there has been an adjustment period and a few things I’ve had to learn and get used to. Here is a snapshot about how I’ve adjusted what I’m still working on!

Tips for New Yorkers in LA


Public Transportation in LA is Way Better than Expected

Driving is not my strong suit, as in I can barely do it. I was dreading having to drive in LA, especially on the freeways! I’ve been living in LA for 2 months getting around through a combo of the Metro and Lyft and it’s been perfect. Since I’m in downtown LA there are lots of buses than connect my neighborhood to most other parts of the city and they run timely and efficiently. I usually do buses by day and Lyft by night or if I’m rushing and I don’t wish I had a car AT ALL.

The Weather in LA is Hit or Miss

I moved here fully expecting beach days and temps in the high 80’s every day! However, when I visited in Feb and again in April, it rained damn near every day. And May and June were pretty much grey and cloudy every day for most of the day! I had never heard of the May Grey or June Gloom until I lived in it! Sometimes the clouds would break by late afternoon, but for the most part the weather was pretty disappointing.

The Food is Awesome - And Not all Health Conscious

I expected the foodie scene here to be way healthier, and it is for sure! But things are way more balanced than expected. I’m still on keto and ordering out is a dream. There are always plenty of low carb options or subtitutes available. Plus there is a plethora of options on the more decadent side. Living in LA really is a foodie haven, from the abundance of fresh, organic produce and restaurants that strike the balance between healthy and yummy. Do yourself a favor and do plenty of dining out when in town! I’ve been relying on Infatuation’s guides for restaurant suggestions, so check out reviews on their site if you are planning a trip.

I also noticed that if you walk into a trendy hotspot style restaurant without a reservation, the wait is usually just 15 to 20. In NY it’s not uncommon to hear 45 minutes to an hour! Makes things way more convenient if you are winging it one night.

People Are a Little Bit Flakier

Ok the stereotype is true! I was warned that LA people can be pretty flaky, much more so than New Yorkers. I think the main cause is the insane traffic. There have been a few times people changed plans last minute based on traffic, which I have heard is horrendous. As I said earlier, I don’t drive so am less affected, but considering how bad it can get, I kind of understand.

Have you guys visited LA, are a local, or thinking about moving? Let me know your thoughts about life or travel here and any tips for someone who is new in town!

4 Things to Know About Living in LA

All the Trends to Rock this Summer!

Ethical Fashion Design Trend

The best season of the year is in full swing! Summer is full of long sunny days and nights that require easy, breezy fun pieces that keep you stylish and comfy. This summer I’ve been really into bold prints and patterns and easy footwear that gets me through morning noon and night. I try to avoid spending a lot on summer clothes, since I’m generally not a huge shopper, but I do like to refresh my look a bit to make things more fun. Here are a few of the trends I love this season and how I’m rocking them!

Palm Tree Pants OOTD

Printed Separates and Crop Tops

I can’t resist a bold print, and when it comes on a pair of billowy pants even better! The palm tree pattern is perfect for my new home here in LA! Plus since I’ve been trying to step up my workouts and diet I feel much more confident stepping out in a tiny crop top. This tie-front version bares a good amount of skin but still feels elegant, so you can def dress it up or down, but I suggest keeping the bottom high-waisted so you have a bit more coverage.

How to Rock Red for Summer

The Summer Power Dress

When I think power dress, what usually comes to mind is a structured silhouette in a bold color, probably paired with some killer heels. To get that vibe in a more relaxed, summery feel I prefer a statement making maxi dress. Options with a more classic silhouette like a wrap dress or with a more structured hem work nicely for the office or an evening out. And they go great with pretty much any shoe in your wardobe, from sandals, heels to dad sneakers!

Midi Dress Trend

The Granny Chic Sundress

It’s a guilty pleasure, but I love a hint of something granny-esque in my #OOTDs! I love dresses like this ditzy floral midi dress since it’s comfy and casual enough for brunch and rooftop hopping, with just a bit of old school elegance. The slightly boxy fit makes it effortless and cool, not sexy like a more body-skimming style. Plus it’s light and airy enough for even a scorching summer day!

Shop these looks and some of my other favorite pieces for the season below!

Summer Trends Under $100

Personal Shopping Made Easy with Stylust

Asos Yellow Blazer

Keeping my wardrobe updated is essential, but shopping really isn’t my thing. I avoid it as much as possible, finding new ways to style old favorites and finding ways to get new goodies without the pain of spending hours going in and out of stores. So when the Stylust team reached out to me for a partnership I was so excited to try it! Stylust is a service that puts a personal shopper in your pocket. It’s free to use and super easy! Say you are scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest and see something you want. Just text them the picture and they will source the item for you! You can also tag them in your Instagram pics if you see something in your feed and instantly want it.

Parisian Outfit Inspiration
Summer Dressing in Paris
Asos Yellow Blazer
What to Wear in Paris

They can find the exact item in minutes, let you know the price and if you approve it, place the order for you. Pretty sweet right? If the item turns out to be out of stock or out of budget, they can also find similar alternatives for you.

The first thing I knew I wanted was a chic yellow blazer, but I had no time to look in stores or browse the whole internet looking. I found an inspo pic on Instagram, and texted them a screenshot, and moments later I had options! I didn’t love the first round, so asked for other options, and eventually went with this mustard yellow double breasted baby from Asos. It arrived at my place a few days later, and it was simple as that.

Plus it doesn’t stop at clothing! Stylust also sourced a gorgeous burgundy storage ottoman for my new apartment. It took a little bit of back and forth before I found one in my price range that also had storage, but the final one could not be more perfect.


When Did Influencers Become Public Enemy Number One?

Paris Photography

Being a digital influencer is one of the most talked about new career paths of the past few years. As social media exploded and brands began directing significant portions of their budgets towards influencer marketing, more and more people began entering the industry with hopes of becoming Insta-famous. The market is so saturated and there is so much competition, not unlike other highly in-demand fields. However it seems that no other legitimate profession is met with such vitriol.

Portraits in Paris Photography Session
Sunset in Paris Photo Shoot
Sunset Photo Shoot in Paris

It seems like every day there is another negative news story about influencers. In the past week you may have seen headlines about “influencers” taking inappropriate photos at Chernobyl, but when you read the articles and click on the photos in question, it’s obvious the photos were taken by normal tourists, not influencers. When Payless had a marketing stint pretending to be a high-end boutique “Palessi,” so many headlines focused on how influencers were duped into wasting money on cheap shoes. There was almost no mention of the fact that influencers in attendance were invited and in some cases paid by the brand for their participation! They were just independent contractors doing a job they had been hired for, yet the mass media ran with the negative coverage. Instead of focusing on the brilliant event that Payless threw, it became all about how silly and shallow influencers are. And not to mention Marissa Fuchs’s “surprise” proposal, which went viral for all the wrong reasons. In my opinion, she came up with a brilliant way to create some fresh content that hadn’t already been done to death, and professionally pitched the business opportunity to brands. I find it hard to imagine a world in which marketing professionals would publicly share and make fun of a pitch deck that had been sent to them confidentially by a media agency or other brand. Why should an influencer (especially one with legitimate reach and a highly professional pitch and marketing strategy) be treated differently?

One of the biggest examples of influencer hate came out around the Fyre Festival scandal, and resurfaced with the Netflix and Hulu documentaries this year. So much focus was on how influencers promoted the event and convinced their followers to attend, but none of the drama was their fault! They were presented with a paid opportunity that many of their colleagues were also involved in. All of the influencers that posted were managed by big, experienced teams that would vet any potential partnership. The only mistake made in many cases was that some of the influencers failed to disclose that they were paid for the promotion.

However, the Fyre Festival case really only proves that influencer marketing works! The goal of tapping talent in a coordinated effort was to sell tickets, and that is exactly what they did. A consultant or independent contractor wouldn’t necessarily have access to the logistics and details of the event, and their obligation ended with them posting when asked.

I’m not a full-time influencer and don’t aspire to be, but I can’t help but notice the amount of hate and criticism directed at people that are essentially entrepreneurs building their own personal brand. Yes, there are a lot of influencers with loose ethics that are dishonest with their audience and brand partners, but is there any industry that is completely free from corruption?

Why Does Everyone Hate Influencers

If you are someone that loves to hate on influencers, I would LOVE to know why that is! And if you are an influencer and feel like you get a lot of unfair criticism and hatred, let me know why you think that is and how you handle it!

I Moved to LA for Love. This is What It's Really Like

Beverly Hills Hotel

I’ve been in my new home in LA for a few weeks and it’s been great! The stress of a cross-country move has settled down and I’m finally starting to get out and explore the city. I’ve been sharing some of my favorite pics of LA and my new apartment, but haven’t yet shared the reason behind the big move yet.

Traveling in Los Angeles
Summer Beauty
Exploring Los Angeles

After spending 2 years in a long-distance relationship, we finally had the chance to move in together, but that meant moving to LA for his next job opportunity. We both had our hearts set on him moving back to NYC since that was home for both of us. But life had other plans. I knew I loved LA and had visited several times, but I never imagined myself quitting my job and giving up everything for a boy. I had built my career and close friendships all around New York, and I felt judged at every turn for my decision. I had already made a big global move for grad school, but moving for a relationship was different. We’ve all heard stories about the silly girl that gave up everything to follow a boy that ended up breaking her heart, and my friends and family worried I’d end up like that.

However I’ve learned how to drown out other people’s voices so I can listen to my own. My voice and my heart were telling me this was the right decision, the only decision. Making a big life decision is never easy, but it’s especially harder when so much of that decision is wrapped up in another person. If you’ve moved for a relationship or are thinking about it, know that it can be equally joyous and overwhelming, fun and frightening. If your partner is worth it (which they better be if you are moving for them!) they will recognize and appreciate the sacrifice you are making for them. Remember that no one’s opinions or thoughts matter as much as your own. If you ever feel like you are a bad feminist for the choice you make, remember that feminism is all about a women’s right to make her own choices.

And make sure wherever you go for whatever reason, you find a way to make it your own!

Everything You Need to Know About Moving for Love

#NYCStories: What Life in NYC Has Taught Me

New York City Glam

I started posting a series on Instagram sharing some of my favorite NYC Stories. Growing up in this city has shaped me in ways I’m slowly becoming more and more aware of as I get older and travel more. If you don’t live in NY, living here is like no place else. If you are planning a move or even a trip, here are some things you need to know to make the most of your experience!

Advenures in NYC
The Plaza Hotel NYC
The Plaza Hotel NYC
The Plaza NYC

NYC Life & Travel are Expensive

If you’ve never been here before, the prices wil be shocking! Growing up in the city made me a little more used to seeing extreme prices at every turn. That skill comes in really handy when traveling because I rarely get sticker shock (except for in Switzerland, where the combination of pricing and exchange rate is insane). Save up and prepare yourself and your wallet for outlandish rent, overpriced restaurants, $15 cocktails, and a view that can bring tears to your eyes.

You’ll Make a Lot of Friends But Only Have a Few Friends

Living here means you are constantly surrounded by people. The opportunities to socialize are endless and you’ll be able to meet new people at every turn. However I’ve learned that true friendships and authentic bonds are few and far between. In retrospect I wish I had devoted more time to those relationships, but it seemed we often took for granted that we could see each other any time. Have all the fun you can with all the right people, but make sure you find ways to prioritize the relationships that really count.

Street Food Is Always a Good Idea

From the halal stands to the gyro carts, NY street food is legendary. If you are germophobic or nervous about eating off a truck, start working on that before you land in the Big Apple! Of course the city is known for it’s concentration of incredible high-end restaurants, but considering the need to respect your wallet as discussed above, make sure you explore the low-cost options that can be just as delicious!

The Options Are Endless and the Familiar is Comforting

The city that never sleeps is also the city of endless options. There is so much amazing everything - restaurants, museums, lounges, and the list goes on. Anything your heart desires, you will find and it will be good! Even though we are spoiled for choice, you’ll see that New Yorkers often frequent the same spots! You might think we bounce around to a new place every night, but the fact is we all have our neighborhood bar or go to restaurant that we hit up a few times a week. If you visit NYC or make it your home, find the balance between visiting your faves on a regular basis and exploring something new when you can.

tips for living in nyc

If you are planning to move or visit NYC, let me know your questions in the comments!

Not the Met Gala but Still Fun! Black Tie Galas You Can Actually Get into

Met Gala Red Carpet Fashion

Today is a national fashion holiday – the Met Gala! Every fashionista is ready to pull up a chair and stay glued to their phones and social media for a first look at what everyone will be wearing on the red carpet. I’ve never been huge on awards shows, but I love the Met Gala! The looks are always so much more creative and inspiring than your typical red carpet, and I love seeing how celebs interpret the theme each year. This year’s theme is Camp: Notes on Fashion, so I’m expecting to see a whole lot of TOO MUCH on the red carpet tonight and I’m hoping my favorite celebs take risks and have fun. 

 Obviously, I’m not attending the Met Gala tonight, but I do love going to the occasional gala or black-tie function. It’s always great to get uber glam and go out to show support of a cause, but the ticket prices can be astronomical! Because I’m all about living your most glam, but affordable life, I scoured the internet for the best galas with tickets you can actually afford! They are still not cheap tickets, but some start as low as $100, which is just a little bit more than dinner/drinks out in the city or a new Zara dress. Check out the list below and save this post for future reference! 

Met Gala Red Carpet Style
Met Museum NYC
Ready for the Met Gala

 Black Tie Events Coming Up This Month

 

Harlem Nights 2019 - Harlem Rotary & Active Plus Gala

May 10, Tickets for $100-$130

 The Rotary Club of Harlem is one of 35,000+ clubs that work together to promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, save mothers and children, support education and grow local economies.Their annual gala is inspired by the classic film, Harlem Nights so get ready to bring your 1920’s glam! Get tickets here

 Navigating the Future: City Living NY's Annual Fundraiser

May 14, Tickets for $100

CITY LIVING NY’s mission is to empower youth aging out of foster care to successfully transition into adulthood by providing concrete resources, tools, and support services. This gala honors the work of those who made their missions possible and raises funds for their 2019-2020 service year. Get your tickets here. 

Tomorrow's Smile Today Gala 

May 16, Tickets for $100

 Tomorrow's Smile Today is a registered non-profit organization founded to provide education, information, and treatment to under-served populations worldwide and here in the United States. This year’s gala will focus on their recent work in Kenya and will provide supporters with more information about their Summer 2019 missions. Get your tickets here.

 

Galas and Events to Save for Next Year

 

These are events I’ve been to myself, but the dates have passed. Pin the graphic below and reference this post when it’s time to buy tickets!

 The Guggenheim Museum Young Collectors Party

The art museums flagship event is a blast! The YCC is a group of young professionals who enjoy private programs led by curators, a dedicated calendar of events, and invitations to parties and opening receptions. This is their annual formal event and tickets usually run between $200-250. Check out the Guggenheim’s Instagram for scenes from this year’s event and follow their social or website to find out about 2019 tickets! 

The Museum of the City of New York Harlem Whiskey Renaissance

The Museum of the City of New York is one of my favorites. It’s all about celebrating the history and culture of NY. They have several galas and events through the year, but one not to miss is the Harlem Whiskey RenaissanceGala. The party has a lighter tone than some ofhte more traditional benefits and fundraisers, as it celebrates whiskey and its storied past as the drink of choice for artisans and intellectuals during the Harlem Renaissance. Plus I see a discount on Pulsd for this event every year, giving you about half off the already affordable tickets! 

Let me know what summer events you can’t wait to attend, and of course your favorite looks on the Met Gala red carpet! 

getting into a gala

 

 

Everything to Do in NY This Spring!!

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Spring has officially been here for a few weeks, but it’s finally starting to feel like it! The weather is warming up and the days are getting longer, so it’s time to get out and start enjoying the new season. NYC is beautiful this time of year and the energy is so refreshing after what felt like a winter that would never end! Spring is a pretty short-lived season, so get out and make the most of it while you can! 

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Check out the Cherry Blossoms and all the Spring Blooms

Cherry blossoms are blooming everywhere right now! The ones in Central Park are full and fluffy, and the blooms at New York Botanical Garden and Brooklyn Botanical Garden are nearing peak bloom. Some people consider Sakura Matsuri the can’t miss cherry blossom moment of the season, but it’s insanely crowded. I prefer to visit on an off day when I can really take my time wandering the garden and enjoying the view, without the hundreds of people. 

NYBG is also home to stunning fields of daffodils and azaleas that are about halfway to peak bloom right now. Keep your eyes on their bloom tracker to best time your visit. And definitely don’t miss the Orchid Show, that is running until April 28th! 

 

Get Reservations at all the Rooftops and Gardens

Dining al fresco is so necessary but getting coveted tables for you and the squad can be tricky! I usually start booking reservations a few weeks in advance, then making plans with friends as I go. Waiting until the last-minute means missing out on prime outdoor seating during the most popular hours. A lot of places do take walk-ins, but I prefer not to be at the mercy of a wait list that can easily be an hour long! Plan a head or pick less popular times to make sure you can have the perfect Spring dining experience while the season lasts. My favorites are Lauduree, Public Kitchen, Jimmy for drinks and Serra at Eataly

 

Visit New Exhibits at all the City’s Museums

A museum day is one of my favorite things to do, especially on days where the weather is not quite nice enough to be outside. The iconic Costume Institute at the Met Museum opens May 9th and Brooklyn Museum has an incredible Frida Kahlo exhibit on now through May 12th. That one requires timed entry passes and they are selling out fast, so make sure you sign up asap! And on May 3rdthey open Nobody Promised You Tomorrow, a collection of work from 22 LGBTQ artists 50 years after Stonewall. 

 

Update Your Wardobe with Some Spring Shopping

Let your closet get a little taste of fresh air with some affordable fashion finds! Check out all your favorite retailers for Spring sales not to miss. You will need some new sundresses, flirty tops, comfy sandals, and standout accessories to get through the season! 

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4 Ways to Save on Summer Travel!

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Spring is the perfect time to plan a trip or take a last-minute getaway! Its early enough to catch a deal for a summer trip and the weather has warmed up in a lot of places so you'll have plenty of options. Here are my tips for planning a bucket list worthy trip on a budget!

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Be flexible on location

If you aren’t set on a specific destination you can easily find deals because you'll have so many options. You can look for flight deals or hotel specials and end up somewhere amazing for a bargain. It’s especially easy to save when you are going to a destination in the off season, which may be even more fun because it will be less flooded with tourists! You may have had your heart set on Paris in the summer but may be able to get that Parisian feel in another European destination. 

 

Look for deals in unexpected places 

If you are a seasoned traveler, you already are on the most popular deals and steals email lists. If you are looking for even more discounts or ways to sweeten the deal before buying, check out cash back sites like Ebates. Yes, you can earn cash back on your travel purchases! I’m also a big fan of browsing Amex Offers and members only deals in their travel section. They may not be big discounts, but you can often find things like free room upgrades or perks that will make your stay a special one. 

 

Plan based on a favorable currency exchange

Make your money go even farther by picking a destination with a favorable currency exchange! I recently went to Toronto for work and stayed at the super stylish Bisha Hotel, a boutique hotel with incredible ambiance. The exchange rate worked in my favor, saving on everything from the hotel, to meals, transportation and even shopping! If you really want to stretch your dollar, think about destinations in South America, Africa, or even Asia, and avoid Europe, especially Switzerland!

 

Go with a group

As much as I enjoy solo travel, costs can add up pretty quickly when you don’t have anyone to split things with. If you can round up 3 or 4 friends, you will save a ton sharing costs for accommodations, which is usually the biggest expense.  When I went to Colombia with a group of 8 we were able to get an incredible luxury villa that ended up costing around $100 a night each! Plus there were plenty of less fancy options for a fraction of that cost. Round up your squad and get to searching! 

 

Let me know what vacation destinations you have in mind this year! And follow me on Instagram to stay tuned to all my summer travel! 

 

4 Ways to Save on Summer Travel

How to Beat the Instagram Algorithm in 2019!

Pink Tulle Dress

Ever since Instagram implemented the algorithm, there have been countless posts about how to beat it. From quick and easy hacks to complicated, time consuming strategies, everyone is trying to find a way to beat Instagram at its own game. As an influencer, part of your success depends on your reach and the engagement you get on your posts so performance is critical. I’m far from an Instagram expert, but I have learned a few things on my journey as a microinfluencer, so I’m sharing some of my tips for how I’ve managed to maintain my account, get decent engagement, and keep the algorithm from making me crazy!

Pink Tulle Dress
NYC Photo Shoot Locations
Fashion Photo Shoot Styling

Focus on Instagram Engagement

Engagement is everything! You can’t control who sees your posts anymore, and you definitely can’t control who likes or comments on them. Since this post focuses only on things you can control, when I speak of engagement I mean how you are active and engaging on the platform. You can’t just post once a day, disappear, then expect your account to get traction. I spend about an hour a day on Instagram, engaging with new accounts and people that follow me. Yes, I go through my followers list and like, comment, watch and Insta-story or something to let my followers know I pay attention to them! If you are engaging with their accounts they are also more likely to see your posts in their feed and engage on yours!

Create Compelling, High Quality Content

There are so many influencers and brands posting on Instagram these days it’s impossible to stand out if your content isn’t up to par. Focus on creating content that is in line with your aesthetic, is eye-catching enough to make someone pause on your pic not just scroll past, and has an interesting caption. I admit I am not the best at captioning! I typically schedule my images so the visual flow makes sense, but I don’t caption in advance so I usually end up posting on the fly. I’m challenging myself to work on better captions because I firmly believe they help with boosting engagement and beating the Instagram algorithm.

Collaborate with Other Bloggers in Your Niche

Collaborating with other influencers isn’t just for fun! It can help organically expose you to a new audience and help you create new types of content that engage and excite your followers! I had a blast shooting with some of the Exclusively Social babes around NYFW and I hope to do more partnerships with other bloggers to have fun and help each other grow!

Have Fun and Remember Why You Started

I started my influencer journey to have a creative outlet when my corporate job felt stifling. It became my personal passion project, a place for me to challenge my creativity, make new connections, and post about things that excited and inspired me. So whether I’m posting from far-flung destination or frolicking in a tulle dress in a Brooklyn studio that rivals a Victorian mansion, this is my place to create what I want. Think about what you want, and how you can find other people that want to see what you create!

Instagram can always change their algorithm, and probably has by the time you read this post! By remembering the things that motivate you, inspire you, and challenge you as an influencer will make the journey all worthwhile.

Tips to Beat the Algorithm

Let me know how you are surviving Instagram and your life as an influencer!

Curing the Winter Blues with Biore & John Frieda!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BioreFreeYourPores #RAWellnessBeauty #ForHairThatDemandsAttention #CollectiveBias

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I know I’m not the only one who is completely over winter! It’s been pretty freezing the past few weeks in NY and the weather is really putting a damper on my social life. I’ve been trying to make the most of spending more time indoors waiting until winter passes, so that means lots of Netflix and Hulu, a few new good reads, and of course, my at home beauty treatments. Relaxation time is so important, especially after the hectic holiday season. After all of those weeks taking care of everyone else, it’s time to turn your focus back to yourself. If you want to indulge in a little self-care when it’s too cold to be out doing anything else, here is my routine for a quick and easy cozy spa night at home.

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I start by cleansing my skin and doing a treatment mask. Biore® Charcoal Cleansing Micellar Water is a great way to take off makeup and deep cleanse your skin before you apply the mask. It’s an all-in-one cleanser and makeup remover, so there is no need for rinsing or rubbing. It removes even heavy make-up while refreshing and balancing your pores, and the charcoal formula is great for oily skin.
Biore Charcoal Mask
Once all my makeup is removed, I apply the Biore® Charcoal Self Heating One Minute Mask. A thermal mask is perfect for a night where you need to warm up and melt away your stress. It’s infused with natural charcoal, and opens pores and draws out dirt, then finishes with a cooling sensation for tingly-smooth skin in just one minute. I follow with my favorite moisturizer and eye cream, and then move onto hair!
John Freida Frizz Ease Serum
My curls can get insanely dry and frizzy, so keeping them strong and hydrated is essential. I’ve been loving the John Frieda® Frizz Ease® Extra Strength 6 Effects™+ Serum. This tiny bottle packs a powerhouse serum that eliminates frizz, prevents damage from heat styling, repels humidity, smooths strands, hydrates parched hair, and tames flyaways. I like to add a few drops to my hair after washing and deep conditioning to create a foundation for frizz free styling all week. You can also use a small amount of product on the ends of dry hair to refresh your look and help smooth away any frizz.

Now just grab a cozy knit throw blanket and turn on a movie for the perfect way to end a night of pampering. After nights like these I feel completely rejuvenated.

At Home Spa Tips
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If you are looking for the place to stock up on beauty and wellness items that are affordable and easy to find, check out your local Rite Aid. They make it easy to make smart choices while shopping so you can look great, feel great, and save! Make sure you try the above products or anything from Bior®e or John Frieda® with the discounts below! 

  • Starting 1/27 and 2/10, save 25% off any one Biore® item

  • Starting 2/10, look for BOGO 50% on John Frieda® products

  • From 1/27-3/2, save up to $11 with coupons via printed brochure in select stores and Load2Card coupons on riteaid.com


Let me know how you guys are surviving the rest of winter!

Budget Beauty Products

What to Do in Savannah (If you DGAF About Plantations & Trolleys)

Savannah Shopping Tips

I went on my second trip to Savannah a while ago and was once again enchanted by the beautiful city! If you have never been you seriously need to add it to your list! It’s full of charm, history, and fantastic food. A lot of the activities revolve around historic trolley rides, ghost tours and visiting plantations. I’ve heard great feedback about that kind of stuff, but it just isn’t how I’d like to spend my vacation. If you are thinking about going to Savannah but have no idea what to, here are a few ideas for how to spend a weekend, without once setting foot on a plantation! 

Savannah Nightlife Guide

Must-See Shopping in Savannah 

Savannah has some amazing shopping! There are so many cute boutiques for everything from fashion and accessories to honey. Check out Satchel, and if you are staying at the Perry Lane Hotel take advantage of the VIP experience. Hotel guests can have the concierge set up a meet and greet with the boutique’s owner and the chance to design your own leather bag or wallet. Also, be sure to stop in City Market, an open-air shopping center with boutiques, restaurants and art galleries. I also love The Paris Market for charming French goodies and the Savannah Bee Company for honey and honey infused beauty products. 

Explore the Tree-Lined Streets of Savannah 

The city is full of charm and is perfect to explore on foot. Wander aimlessly down River Street for scenic views and don’t miss Jones Street, which was voted one of the most beautiful streets in North America! 

Rooftop Parties in Savannah

Have a Beach Day

Tybee Island is just 20 minutes away and has a gorgeous coast and fresh seafood. If you’ve got time and are up for a longer drive, head down to Saint Simon Island, a gorgeous strip of beach about an hour South. There are also beaches on Hilton Head Island, if you aren’t up for the longer trek. 

Eat the Best Southern Food in Savannah 

Savannah is a great foodie destination! For fancy dinners check out the  Olde Pink House. Five Oaks Taproom or 700 Drayton. Don’t miss Café M or Two Cracked Eggs for a casual fun and yummy breakfast or lunch. And be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth with a visit to Leopold’s Ice Cream or Savannah Candy Kitchen!  

Get the VIP Experience with a Professional Photo Shoot

Commemorate your trip with a pro photo shoot! Destiny Creations Photography is an amazing husband and wife team that will get you unforgettable photos from your trip! If you want to take the experience up a notch, bring in Charisse Styles, a fantastic stylist that works with the team! I worked with them on my last trip and she did a great job putting together these fun looks so I could get great pics without overpacking. It’s definitely worth it if you want to make the trip extra special!

Where to Eat in Savannah
Savannah Travel Guide

Let me know if you guys have been to Savannah and your favorite ways to pass the time there! 

Secure the Bag! How to Make Money as a Small Blogger

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So this has been a highly requested post that I was saving for the end of the year! I am going over all my invoices and making sure my accounting dashboard is up to date, but so far it looks like it’s been a pretty good year for the blog! If you are a new blogger or have been struggling to monetize your blog here is what has worked for me as I’ve established myself. I’m still working on it, so please take all of this as inspiration or my personal tips. You should definitely develop your own strategies and test them as you go on your blogging journey.

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Have a professional media kit and rate card

Before you can start making money, you have to look legit! Make sure you have analytics for your blog set up, and all of your social networks are Business Accounts so you can get insights. Then design a stellar media kit and rate card. I use Canva since the templates are so easy to work with. You should also do your research on what is a reasonable rate for you to charge based on your following/blog traffic.

Join Every Blogger Agency/Network

There are dozens of influencer networks/agencies that you can opt into. Most of them require you to make a profile and connect/authenticate your social profiles. Then you will either be in their database so they can include you in lists when their brand clients request influencers for a campaign, and some even show you a list of sponsorship opportunities you can apply to. It makes getting your profile and pitch in front of brands so much easier, and they are usually clear about the deliverables and guidelines, so you know what will be expected and when.

Here are a few that I have signed up for:

Social Fabric

Activate

Hashtag Paid

Fohr

Collectively

Clever

StyleHaul

Some have different requirements to join so check out each website and get to applying! The beauty of these programs is they connect you to brands that are their clients, and are super streamlined and easy to work with. There are several brands and retailers that I’ve worked with through these platforms on multiple occasions, so it gives you a library of content that you can use to pitch the brand directly! I do a good amount of my business through Social Fabric and Clever and they are super easy to work with. There are some tips and tricks you’ll need for a successful application in these networks, so stay tuned for a follow up post on that!

Use Affiliate Networks to Drive Sales

 Affiliate networks are a great way to generate revenue from your blog. Companies like RewardStyle, ShopStyle and Amazon all have influencer affiliate networks. The process is pretty simple – once you join the network you can create trackable links to use for products you post about. If someone clicks the link and makes a purchase, you get a small commission on it. If the customer returns the item within a certain window, usually 30 days, your commission goes away. The commission you get on each sale is pretty small, around 3-15%, but the awesome thing is you get commission of their entire order, not just if they buy the one item you had in the post! So if you start out clicking on an eyeshadow palette I had in a Sephora beauty post, but end up buying $500 worth of skincare, I get commission on the $500 total! So when you have good traffic , spendy followers, and post regularly in can start to add up.

For example, here is a shopping gallery where you can see the items I’m wearing in the images above. When an item is sold out or no longer available, like the Manolo sandals I’m wearing, I link to something similar.

If you click the slip and go shop on Savage x Fenty, I will NOT get a commission because that brand is not in the affiliate network. But I still included it because I love the brand and think you guys should check it out! However the jacket and shoes are from in network retailers so I will get a commission. This is not a very big stream of income for me just because the payouts are quite low and I never link to things I don’t actually like. 

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Not Every #Ad is a Paid One, and That’s ok!

The fact is not every partnership is going to be a paid one, but free stuff is fun too! The fact is a lot of brands do not have influencer budgets, or only spend on bigger influencers or celebrities. However some companies do very generous gifting or products and experiences! I’ve gotten amazing skin care and beauty sets, clothing, complimentary salon and spa treatments, access to exclusive events, and even free travel! If you are new to brand partnerships, working in exchange for product is a great way to get experience creating branded content. It also really helps to offset the amount you spend on things you will use anyway. Plus there is always pressure on a blogger to have new items to post about or review, so having connections to brands that will gift will enrich your content and expand your reach and experience. If you are still struggling with pitching, here are some networks that specialize in getting you freebies!

Influenster

Octoly 

Bzz Agent

6 ways to make money blogging


Pitch Brands Yourself 

Once you have your banging media kit and successful examples of brand work from agencies or free collaborations you may feel ready to start hitting brands up yourself! The art of the pitch is really something that deserves its own post, so more to come. However, the best way to negotiate your projects and payment on your terms is to work with the brand directly. Typically when you get a gig through an agency, the brand went to that agency with a total campaign budget that also included agency fees. If a third-party isn’t taking a cut, you can definitely get a higher rate! I usually send an introductory email with my stats attached and a description of the project or concept and ask if they would like to work together. I usually pitch about 4 to 6 weeks out, so started holiday in October, Valentine’s Day right after New Year’s and am now working on ideas for Spring Fashion in March. The timing gives me time to get my pitch list and concepts organized and ready to go. Plus, you need to get in front of brands before budgets are allocated! Most brands have an influencer marketing budget that they break up seasonally, so you should get on their radar before plans are locked-up and other influencers cast. 

 Create a Product You Can Sell

A lot of bloggers and influencers also earn money selling products. The most common ones I’ve seen are presets for photo editing or e-courses. Some also do merch like mugs, t-shirts, etc. If you feel like you have a service to offer that your audience would be interested in think about selling it on your blog. I’m personally debating putting together an e-course, so let me know in the comments if you’d be interested! 

And Remember - It’s ok to Say No!

Just because you are new to the game and trying to secure more partnerships does not mean every opportunity is right for you. It could be a question of timing, deliverables, the pay being really low, or it not being a brand you vibe with. Personally, I say no to a lot of projects if the I feel what the brand is asking is taking advantage. Because of my background in marketing and my experience in campaign production, I can easily call bullshit when a brand asks for certain terms. I have said no to brands asking for an unfair exclusivity term, image usage rights I was uncomfortable with, and when they ask me to not disclose our partnership. Every influencer and brand knows the FTC requires disclosure so it’s a dishonest practice that will get you fined for not obliging. Evaluate every offer carefully, and do some research in blogger groups or influencer platforms to get a better idea of what is and is not standard to ask in a partnership.


If you are a new blogger or influencer reading this and are hoping to start cashing in, I hope these tips helped! I’ll be continuing this series with posts like the below: 

 

  • Contract Negotiations with Brands so you can get the most out of all the sponsorships that will be rolling in!

  •  Tax Tips You Need to Know for Your Blog

  •  Content Creation Strategy

  •  Double Duty – Managing a Blog and a Full Time Job

Making Money as an Influencer

 

 

2019 Travel Bucket List - 4 Can't Miss Destinations

2019 Travel Destinations
travel tips for 2019

Something highly unusual is happening for me right now. It’s almost the end of December, and I seriously have ZERO 2019 trips planned at this point. This time last year I had 4 trips planned between February and May, so this is definitely not my style! Granted, I did say I was going to prioritize my savings in an aggressive way, so cutting back on leisure travel is a big part of it. But I’m still completely itching to hop on a plane to somewhere for a few days! Hopefully I’ll drum up some business that takes me somewhere exciting, but in the meantime I’m fantasizing about a few places that are hot on my list this year.  Fingers crossed I make it to a few of these!

 

Bordeaux, France Wine Country

I love spending time in Europe in Spring and summer, and have been lucky enough to explore a lot of the continent since I lived in Italy. Yup, did you guys know I speak Italian? I’ve been to several cities in France, from Paris to the South, but have always skipped over wine country. I’ve been pretty inspired to go since one of my old friends bought a GORGEOUS villa there! It’s the Domaine de Montvert by Sitawi-Bottone in Saint Emilion Bordeaux wine country. It’s unbelievably charming and big enough for a family or group of friends. Bordeaux is supposed to be one of the most stunning regions in France, and since I already have the perfect place to stay in mind, I need to start planning a trip However, for the first trip on my 2019 Travel Bucket List, I'm considering a visit to my friends at JP Linguistics (www.jplinguistics.com) to help me brush up on my French before I go! They offer really fun language classes in French, Italian & Spanish in SOHO, NYC and it might be just the right time to pay them a visit as I prep for the first trip on my bucket list!. France can be a pretty tough country to travel if you don’t speak any French, so taking a few lessons will come in handy!

 Sri Lanka Beaches

 

Another region that has been on my radar all year is Sri Lanka. It’s quite a trip, but the scenery looks so stunning and it’s supposed to be pretty affordable once you are on the ground. 

 

All Over California

 

In 2018 I said I wanted to do more domestic travel, and I’ve had a blast in several new cities in the US. I went to Cali a few times this year, mostly for business, and every time I went I wished I had more time there. So in 2019 I owe myself a true California vacation experience – no work, just beaches, scenery and exploring!

 

Zanzibar, Tanzania

I’ve been ready for another trip to Africa since my incredible journey to South Africa a few years ago. Zanzibar has been calling me loud and clear, so WHEN I can afford that long-haul sure to be pricey flight I will be on my way. 

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Let me know what is on your travel bucket list for next year any beyond, and shop this story below!

 

 

 

 

6 Ways to Practice Self-Care During the Holidays

Cozy At Home Holiday Season

Is anyone else starting to feel the holiday stress? I’ve had a CRAZY couple of weeks between travel, my day job, wrapping up holiday campaigns, securing new business for Q1, and my social life, which these days includes catching up with friends and prepping to host this Christmas. I have a post planned for managing it all without losing it, so look out for that next month, because I’m seriously trying to figure it out! November and December are pretty much the time where we are all going out more, spending more, eating more (and usually less healthy stuff) and sleeping less.

My friends always say I am pretty good about taking care of myself, and being selfish when need be, so I’m trying to remind myself of how I do that. Self-care is pretty buzzy these days, but it’s crucial to stay balanced and centered. When it feels like the world is pulling you a hundred different directions, you need to find time to take care of yourself. I’m not sure about “having it all” but here are a few ways I practice self-care during the holiday season.

Self Care Guide

 

Stay on top of your daily routine

We all have little things we do to start and end our day, but when schedules get crazy it’s hard to let that fall to the wayside. But don’t! When you get out of your flow that only makes things more intense, and it’s harder to get back into it once you’ve been off for awhile. 

 

Know when to say no

Yes there are holiday parties every night, or friends or loved ones who want to catch up for dinner, or trips you could go, etc. It’s hard to RSVP no, but sometimes you just have to take care of yourself. Sleep in instead of going to brunch, catch a workout you love instead of a boozy night out, or just lay around in your coziest PJs as long as you need to. I have had days where getting out of bed was physically not an option, so I cancelled my day and took the time needed to rest. The next day I was infinitely better, and ready to get back on track. When you need to hit pause, just do it! Your loved ones will understand. 

 

Don’t give into FOMO

Millennials are plagued by FOMO! However I’ve realized that when you need to skip social plans to take care of yourself or prioritize your to-do list, the fear of missing out can easily fade away. Just remember that you chose to be exactly where you are for reasons that were important to you. Plus, if you were out doing whatever it was that’s in the back of your mind you’d be having FOMO about missing your couch! 

 

Take time for your health

Sometimes self-care means laying at home, taking a hot bath or indulging in some of your favorite comfort foods and a glass (or half-a bottle) of wine. Other times it means putting in work to get reenergized and ready to take on the challenges. One of the main ways I stay sane is my regular workouts. I get in at least 3, but usually 4 or 5 a week! No matter how busy I am or how gross the weather is, because I know that workout time is an investment in myself, my health, and my body. Of course there are days where dragging myself to the gym is the last thing I want to do, but when I get there I never regret it. But if I skip a workout I always have regret the next day. So whether it’s fitness, meditation, or just some gentle stretching while YouTube is on in the background, find something that will be your thing and make time for it on a regular basis. 

 

Respect your budget 

November and December are also times where there is increased pressure to spend, on shopping, gifts, and socializing. By October I pretty much know how much I’m going to spend between holiday shopping, stuff for myself, entertaining costs, and socializing. Then I FIRMLY stick to those numbers, and am never shy about saying I need to prioritize my budget when saying no to things. Keeping up with the Joneses needs to be a thing of the past and anyone in your life who cares about you would not pressure you to spend frivolously.  There should be absolutely no stigma about living within your means!

 

Protect Your Sleep

I can’t stress this enough! Protect your sleep as vigorously as you may need to, It is paramount to your overall health and well-being. I always make an effort to be in bed unwinding about 30 minutes before I need to actually be falling asleep. That means the alarm is set, phone silenced, and I’m reading a good book and finishing my nightcap (usually a bourbon neat – I’m not a tea person). If you can’t stand the thought of fully silencing your phone, at least dim your screen and turn on the blue-light fliter, which is easier on the eyes before you go to bed. 

 

Let me know how you guys practice self-care through the craziness this time of year!