I am so excited to be nominated by the lovely Kellie of Conscious Kitten for the Sunshine Blogger Awards! The Sunshine Blogger Awards focuses on bloggers who promote happy and creative lives.

Kellie’s chic minimalist style, her passion for conscious fashion (and animals, hence her blog’s name!), as well as her dedication are qualities we should all admire. Be sure to check out her Q & A here, and scroll through her IG (@kelliehayden) for some serious inspo (you’ll want to add her wedding photos to your Pinterest board immediately)!

Before I get into the Q & A portion of this post, I want to share with you my 11 nominees; bloggers who inspire me every day to be a more dedicated and creative version of myself.

And they are:

  1. Beauty By Kelsey
  2. NYC Bambi
  3. Amelia Says
  4. Pepperpout
  5. IMLVH
  6. Rohini Elyse
  7. Her Wearabouts
  8. Keller Rose
  9. Kind Of Luxe
  10. Damselflavored
  11. Simplest Of Things

My questions for you:

  1. Why did you decide to start blogging?
  2. What inspires you the most?
  3. What’s the best book you’ve ever read? Why is it your fav?
  4. What’s the blog post you’re most proud of?
  5. One beauty product you couldn’t live without?
  6. What makes you feel the most confident/like your best self?
  7. Describe your dream vacation.
  8. What are your hobbies besides blogging?
  9. What is a cause that’s close to your heart? Why?
  10. What is your favorite piece of clothing you own? Why?
  11. One piece of advice you wish you could give your younger self?

My Q & A:

Huge thank-you to Kellie for these great questions! I had so much fun answering them.

Why did you decide to start blogging?

I decided to start blogging so I could have a platform to share my work (I studied journalism in college). But it quickly became a place for me to express my creativity, as well as my personal style and other interests.

What are your tips for promoting your blog?

  1. Be genuine! I listed this one first because it’s the most important in my opinion! And I think it comes from having respect for your readers, as well as other bloggers. It’s obviously really disrespectful to copy another blogger’s hard work, but a lot of bloggers (or aspiring bloggers) fail to realize being genuine is a form of respect towards your readers or potential readers, as well. Most readers are smart enough to realize when a blogger is promoting something just for money or for clout. So in that way it is pretty insulting for the blogger to be out there promoting things and expecting their readers to believe they genuinely love it. Don’t promote anything you don’t truly love. Be picky with the brands with whom you choose to work.
  2. Work hard & invest time in your blog! If blogging were easy, everyone who tried it would be successful! But, there are so many aspiring bloggers who gave up on their work when they found out firsthand how difficult and time-consuming it can be. I believe it’s worth the struggle and the time, so invest your effort in taking quality photos/videos, writing, proofreading and editing, as well as posting consistently. Don’t forget to promote your posts on social media once they go live, and take the time to support your fellow bloggers, too! Which brings me to my third point…
  3. Engage! Show your support for the bloggers and brands *you* love by commenting on their posts and telling them what you love about them! Remember that it’s so important to be genuine here, too; I can’t stand when someone–especially someone who doesn’t even follow me or engage with me regularly–comments a generic “great!” or “cool!” on my posts. It’s even worse when they add a “check out my blog” or “check out my page” to it. I delete those right away. Always, always, always be sure that by engaging with others, you’re adding something meaningful to the conversation. Don’t be selfish. Also, hashtags!

What is your favorite piece of clothing that you own/have owned? Why?

This one is so tough! I would have to say the old pair of Levi’s cut-offs that were my mom’s. They’re always the first pair of shorts I gravitate towards when spring comes around because they’re so comfortable and look great with everything.

What is your favorite book and why?

My favorite book is actually one I just finished called Startup. It’s relatable, funny and smart. Learn more by checking out my post here!

What is a cause that’s important to you?

I’ve always loved Feeding America, a non-profit that provides healthy groceries to those in need in the U.S. I also come from a strong military family; my grandpa was in the Navy and my great-grandpa was in the Army, so of course, supporting our troops and veterans is a cause close to my heart.

A cause that’s gotten my attention more recently is educating women and girls and preparing them for careers in STEM, business and law. I really love Girls Who Code, and wish something like that existed when I was growing up. Helping women find their places in the economy and find fulfillment through their work and their careers. 

What is something you’ve dreamed about doing, but have yet to do?

I would *loove* to spend a year in Australia, and while I’m on that side of the world, would also love to see other places like Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

What do you like the most about yourself?

I like that I am a quiet person. I can’t stand being around people who are loud for no reason.

What are your hobbies, besides blogging?

Exercising (my favs are cycling, hiking, pilates and barre), cooking and trying new foods, reading and traveling!

What is the best thing that happened to you in the past week?

I can’t say what it is quite yet, but stay tuned!

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Follow your heart, but take your head with you.

What do you want to be remembered for?

Originality!


The Sunshine Blogger guidelines:

Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.

Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.

Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.

List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

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From left to right: MAC Lady Danger, Diva and Ruby Wood, NYX Cherry Pie, NARS Cruella and Glossier Balm Dotcom in Cherry

Head-to-toe red has been such a hot look for a few months now, and I have been all about it.

Whether it’s an all-red outfit, or red paired with pink (à la a bottle of Glossier You) or neutrals, I cannot get enough of this classic color.

For this editorial-style look, I paired a mesh bodysuit with vegan leather lace-up pants–both in a bright, classic red.

The bodysuit has a high mock neck and extra long sleeves, while the pants are adorned with a zipper at each hip, featuring silver hardware. I added a black lace bra underneath for some coverage and contrast.

I am super into plaid miniskirts and other uniform- or office-inspired pieces this season. I’ve always loved the tailored look, and now that style back in full-force for 2018 after a few years of relaxed “athleisure” looks being the norm.

So, I also styled the bodysuit with a plaid mini I thrifted earlier this month. Ever since Reformation debuted a gorgeous range of school girl-inspired plaid miniskirts a while back, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect one for my petite frame at a more affordable price.

Though I love wearing heels, without them I’m 5’3″ and about 110 pounds, so miniskirts tend to be both too long on me and too baggy at the waist (even with shoes). So, shopping for them is extremely hit-or-miss. Not to mention, there are so many plaids out there, finding the right color combo in my size is tough.

I finally found this one, and it fit like I glove! The muted brown tones were just what I was looking for in terms of color, and the thin, brick red stripes accent it perfectly; I can’t get enough!

It is still freezing where I like in northern New Jersey, so I paired the bodysuit and miniskirt with an oversized vegan leather jacket and thick brown stockings for a streamlined look. I also added my go-to black booties for a little height, which tied in with the black lace bra and vegan leather jacket perfectly.

Going along with the tailored theme, I decided to bring my absolute favorite shorts into the mix. I bought this pair about six or seven (maybe eight?) years ago from American Apparel’s California Select line, and have been so in love ever since. There are endless ways to style them, and they’re just such a classic. The color, the cut, everything about them is fabulous.

To make them look a little more laid-back, I paired them with a floral cropped top from Rat & Boa. This boho-inspired piece is absolutely gorgeous; the color palette couldn’t be better, the material is amazing, aaand it even has ultra-femme bell sleeves (which I love). Plus, the tie front makes it ideal for showing off all my fav bralettes.

I completed the look with a pair of lace stockings and, once again, my black booties and black bra from the previous two looks–and I am so happy with how it turned out. Mixing prints and textures is the best way to spice up old and tired pieces, and it’s a great way to bringing boho looks into the colder months.

Shop my look:

Bodysuit, Danielle Guizio NY

Pants, I.Am.Gia, no longer available

Lace bra, Free People

Plaid skirt, thrifted

Leather jacket, thrifted

Floral blouse, Rat & Boa, no longer available (but the coordinating Cerretti dress is)

Shorts, California Select by American Apparel, one-of-a-kind

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A cropped halter isn’t typically winter-wear, but since when have I cared about playing by fashion’s rules?

Although it is summer in Australia and winter here in the U.S., that definitely is not stopping me from wearing Aussie cult label I.Am.Gia’s warm weather pieces here in the Northern Hemisphere–including the new pink polaris set.

On this snowy day, I paired the Clueless-inspired top-and-pants combo with my very worn-in Doc Martens.

I’m typically the girl in a pullover sweater and athletic pants as soon as temperatures drop below freezing, so this look was slightly out of my comfort zone. But, I’ve been dying to wear this set ever since it came out, and I am *not* about to let it collect dust in my closet until the weather decides to warm up. It’s just too cute.

I.Am.Gia first made waves with polaris when mega-babe Emily Ratajkowski–aka Em Rata–sported the original orange set in September. (Is there anything she can’t pull off?!)

It was an instant hit for me. And a lot of others, too, apparently, because it sold out so quickly. But, the planets aligned: the day the pink polaris set made its debut I had store credit, so I scooped it up ASAP. (There is also a lime green set that’s giving me major heart eyes…)

Polaris is just as gorgeous IRL as it is online, although, I am no Em Rata in it. I am really impressed with the fabric; it’s thick, stretchy and comfortable. The colors are stunning, too. I love the Glossier pink base, and the soft gray plaid pattern is far from harsh or masculine. It’s Cher Horowitz for the new millennium–without looking like you tried too hard to be a Clueless clone (we’ve seen that too many times).

This set is smooth- and seamless-looking (though it isn’t technically seamless), but it does have a few little details; the most obvious being the zipper detail front and center on the pants. The top also has two ties for closure, one at the neck and another at the lower back.

I didn’t feel the need to accessorize at all because this set is statement-making enough on its own–it’s an instant outfit! Just add a coat and shoes, and you’re good to go.

Now that I’ve gotten my polaris fix for the winter, I’ll most likely be putting this set away until temps warm up and I can wear it without layering a coat on top and heavy boots underneath. Though if I swapped the Doc Martens for a pair of heeled booties and added a faux fur coat, I could definitely see this look working for a night out. Drinks, anyone?

Shop my look:

Top, I.Am.Gia

Pants, I.Am.Gia

Boots, Doc Martens, similar here

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I really cannot get enough of Aussie cult label I.Am.Gia! Thankfully I had a store credit when they launched a new collection a few weeks back.

The Cobain overalls are so on-trend right now; checks are popping up everywhere, and so is this relaxed silhouette. Still, the color palette is neutral enough that this piece doesn’t come off as over-the-top trendy or tacky. (At least not in my opinion!)

Flow-y legs are a nice change of pace from typical tapered overalls; they really help the look appear effortless. And the slate gray base really makes the black and white pattern pop.

For this casual look I paired them with a sporty cropped sweatshirt in a similar gray color. I’ve been loving cropped sweatshirts lately, and I’ve been seeing them a ton, too! Despite “athleisure” styles slowly fading out in 2018, I think pieces like this one are going to be really popular this year.

And to play up the grunge vibes the overalls give off, I added my worn-in Doc Martens.

Speaking of grunge, I wanted to quickly touch on a couple trends for the upcoming season. My forecast for 2018 includes grunge-luxe by day (think: faded, relaxed denim with minimal tears, plain white t’s, satin camisoles, lacy lingerie, plaid miniskirts, slinky maxi dresses and mixed metals) and a modern take on classic tailored pieces by night (think: fun separates, sexy blazer dresses, pinstripes, bold color combos like red/pink or black/denim, oxblood, shiny fabrics such as vinyl, PVC and satin, platform sneakers and glossy makeup).

These overalls definitely don’t skimp on details, so I kept accessories to the bare minimum. I love the bold buckle details on the back of the straps, as well as the oversized grommet-clasp combo that makes up the closure on the front.

Much like the label’s bestselling Cobain pants, the new Cobain overalls have an edgy chain detail on the hip. They also have three front pockets (including one with an exposed zipper), additional black straps at the waist for a customized fit and an open back for a sexy, feminine touch.

The only finishing touch I added were my everyday hoop earrings to avoid looking too busy.

Enjoy the two mood boards I created for 2018 via Polyvore below, and be sure to let me know what trends you’re looking forward to rocking this year! And for those of you who want to shop this look, scroll all the way down.

Daytime [source: Polyvore]

Evening [source: Polyvore]

What I’m wearing:

Sweatshirt, Free People (gray is no longer available, but black is still in stock–and on sale!)

Overalls, I.Am.Gia

Shoes, Doc Martens (not pictured), similar here

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This year I celebrated New Year’s Eve in LA at Unici Casa. I attended a Day Of The Dead event at this venue in November, and was so happy to be invited back by the EC twins, two of my favorite DJs.

I’ve never done anything besides lie on my couch for NYE–after all, the East Coast is freezing this time of year, so I’m never really in the mood to go out. After an invite from the EC twins, I decided to book a flight to LA for a few days; I couldn’t resist getting out of the cold.

Unici Casa is a super glam spot, and it has a fun red carpet entrance, so I love playing up whatever theme the hosts pick.

Sunday night’s theme was Casino Royale (i.e., black ties and Bond girls). Like I said, I’ve never gone full-glam for NYE before, so I went all-out in a hot pink mini dress with sequins and a bronze smoky eye.

I accessorized with a faux fur coat, sheer black stockings and velvety black heels. My favorite thing about fall/winter dressing is getting to mix different prints and textures, and the sequin-faux fur combo felt extra luxe. For a little more sparkle, I wore my nameplate earrings from The M.

Because I can’t get enough of this hot pink glitter lipstick from MAC Cosmetics, I went for neutral eyeshadow. The bronze smoky look I created gave my eyes just the right amount of drama to balance the bold lip, and I’m so happy with how it came out.

What I wore:

Coat, Free People, similar here

Dress, Free People

Shoes, by the way., purchased from Revolve

Bag, Pop & Suki

Earrings, The M Jewelers

Of course I also had to do some exploring while in town. Thanks to a two-week free trial from Class Pass, I got to visit a few exercise studios in the LA area. My fav was a cycling class at FlyWheel’s Santa Monica location, but I also tried barre and pilates, which were great, too.

It’s not a trip to LaLa land without a hike! LA is home to some of the best hiking in the world, so I always try to squeeze one (or two!) in while I’m here. Thanks to the holiday, I had a little extra time, so I met up with a friend and we decided to take a trip to Malibu’s Point Dume for a sunset hike.

Because you access the trails directly from the beach, this spot combines the best of both worlds: bluffs with gorgeous views that are perfect for hiking, as well as miles of Malibu’s famous shoreline. The pictures hardly do Point Dume any justice; I can’t wait to visit during the spring and summer when it’s beach weather.

Before heading home, I hit up some new and old favs on Melrose. I stopped at Wasteland, one of LA’s best vintage retailers, for the first time, as well as Reformation Vintage and House Of Intuition.

And I had to stop by Little Tokyo in DTLA to stock up on some of my must-have beauty essentials at Make Asobi. I discovered this gem filled with sheet masks and other unique skincare items while visiting LA in June, so I always make it a priority to stop by and pick up some things not easily available on the East Coast. I leave plenty of extra room in my suitcase 😉

I hope 2018 is treating everyone well so far! I cannot thank my readers enough for your support throughout 2017 and into this new year. Although party season may be over, I very much look forward to continuing to create a ton of quality content for you guys in 2018. I also hope to interact with everyone more, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below, or get in touch with me on any of my social media platforms (links to the right if you’re on a desktop, or down below if you’re on a mobile device).

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