Category Archives: Tips and Things

One Foot In Front Of The Other

I used to be an avid runner. I was that girl who’d lace up and get out there in the middle of January – not because I was super into being fit, but because I needed running to release stress. And then a few years ago, I stopped. No real injuries, no real reason, I just lost the drive to get out there. And for any of you who’ve stopped a fitness regimen, you know the toll it can take on your body! Obviously there are the physical signs, like weight gain, but there are so many more mental factors like being tired all the time and just feeling down. It was a pretty miserable time in my life, not going to lie!

And then I started dating an amazing man who helped me re-ignite my passion for fitness! He’d encourage me to come to the gym with him, to do mini workouts at home… he even started doing yoga with me! It’s been over a year since I got back into the fitness swing, and it feels great. Another great invention that has helped me get back on track is Pinterest. Thank God for Pinterest! It’s like the mecca for finding amazing healthy recipes and new workouts!

Over the past year I’ve found a new passion in weight lifting (thanks to the boyfriend!). I’ll admit, I was extremely hesitant at first because I didn’t want to gain a bunch of bulky muscle – it’s just not my thing. However, he convinced me to give weight lifting a one-month trial, and if I didn’t like the results, I’d never have to lift another weight ever again. So, I agreed. And one month later I LOVED the results! Was I completely toned? No! Actually, I thought I looked pretty much the same in clothes, but I could definitely tell that my body was getting tighter, and I was on my way to having an amazing (and not at all bulky) figure.

Throughout this process, I’ve learned that when you first start lifting heavy, you still have a bunch of fat on top, underneath, and in between your muscles (which is great, because you’re muscles can use this fat to rebuild). So, if you’re trying to get that toned look, you have to rev up your cardio routine. And for me that meant to start running again! I’ve also been incorporating new cardio workouts, changing it up every week. Switching it up like this has helped my body to not get used to one specific cardio workout, and also helps keep me from getting bored! Win-Win!

If you’re at that point where you realize you need a change in your lifestyle, but are hesitant to get back out there or to start for the first time, all I can say is just do it! Give yourself that one-month trial and start making the change today. You know where you want to be, so start by putting one foot in front of the other, and get there!

XOXO,

Lauren

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Is Fashion a Feminist Issue?

“Fashion is one of the very few forms of expression in which women have more freedom than men. And I don’t think it’s an accident that it’s typically seen as shallow, trivial, and vain. It is the height of irony that women are valued for our looks, encouraged to make ourselves beautiful and ornamental… and are then derided as shallow and vain for doing so. And it’s a subtle but definite form of sexism to take one of the few forms of expression where women have more freedom, and treat it as a form of expression that’s inherently superficial and trivial. Like it or not, fashion and style are primarily a women’s art form. And I think it gets treated as trivial because women get treated as trivial.”

– Greta Christina

I know I’ve often felt that fashion is a shallow topic, and recently began to wonder why that was. Is it because it really is superficial or is it because society has told me over and over that there are greater things dedicate a passion to? I’m not sure I’ve really decided for myself yet, but its definitely an interesting idea to think about.

Stay chic.

XOXO,

Lauren

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The Emerald City

When I think of the spring season I always think pink. Or orange. Or coral (which really is just an orangey pink…). And to be honest, I’m kind of getting tired of it. And, not to be a Debbie Downer over here, but I really wasn’t looking forward to spring beauty trends because there’s only so many times that I can get excited about a shade of pink.

Every year, color authority Pantone announces the color it expects to lead the industry’s designs from beauty to home décor. These updates are usually what I look forward to most about the new year, but this time I was dreading it. I had almost decided to not even look into it this year because I couldn’t handle the disappointment of another season of matching my hot pink lip stain to my hot pink cream blush and hot pink nails. But I’m a fashion junkie and caving was inevitable, and in a moment of extreme optimism I logged into Pantone to get the update thinking that maybe, just maybe, this year’s color could be different! I’d even settle for a tinge of purple… give me fuchsia, at least!! And right when I thought it was a lost cause and I was just going to have to mentally skip over spring and head straight for summer, I got the best news ever.

Emerald. EMERALD!!!

“Lively. Radiant. Lush… A color of elegance and beauty

that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony.”

I’m officially ecstatic. Move over Honeysuckle and Tangerine, Emerald is in the house!

For ideas on how to integrate more of this enchanting color into your beauty routine, closet, and home, check out my Pinterest board!

Click to View Board

Click to View Board

My favorite way to wear this trend right now is with eyeliner. I love using Urban Decay (can be found at Sephora) because the colors are vibrant and the eyeliner always goes on smooth and stays soft for about 30 seconds for blending and then dries for a long-lasting finish.

Shenae's Emerald Liner Look

Shenae’s Emerald Liner Look

For a wide-eyed effect, like Shenae Grimes’ look, line both lashes with your favorite black liner and follow with a swipe of emerald liner to both lash lines.

Happy trending!

XOXO,

 

Lauren

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Budget Shopping

I love clothes. Mostly shoes. I think that’s fairly obvious to anyone who reads this blog. The problem is that I also like to eat. And pay rent and things like that.

My obsession with trendy styles has the potential to become a horrible habit… fortunately, I also have this insane ability to find things {really, really cute things} on the cheap! And since I know I’m not the only one out there who loves dressing on trend while still being able to afford 3 meals a day, here are a few of the shopping tips I’ve learned along the way.

1.    Save Money on Socks and Underwear!

I don’t know if you know this, but there are socks out there that cost $30 a pair! Which, unless you’re Mr. Moneybags, is completely unnecessary. Go to TJ Maxx or Ross and get a giant bag of basic cotton socks.  They also have a “home” section with huge candles for less than $5. I’m just sayin.

2.    Don’t Skimp on Laundry Detergent

Paying a few extra bucks for a better detergent can prolong the life of your clothes! If you’re going to wash delicates at home, always use a detergent specifically designed for delicates.  I always wash my clothes on cold and hang dry basically everything! Warm water and the heat in the dryer {even on the “Air Dry” setting} can cause the fibers in your clothes to tighten {aka, shrink} and the colors to fade {aka, your cute black skinny jeans are now your charcoal grey skinny jeans}.

3.    Plan Ahead for Basics

There are a few things that you should definitely consider paying full price for, because you can wear them for years! A good winter coat, nice boots, basic black and navy blazers… however, if you plan ahead, you can get all of these things on sale! For example, 2 years ago I planned ahead for Black Friday and had my eye on a grey, soft wool, Andrew Marc pea coat and a navy blazer from Express {which had I purchased both pieces a week earlier, I would have been set back quite a few pretty pennies}. BUT on Black Friday I got half off. Boom.

4.    Sign Up for Email Lists

I know, I know, email lists are probably the most annoying things since door-to-door sales people. But I’m telling you, it’s worth it. Create a new email account so you don’t clog up your regular inbox, and sign up for the emails at all of your favorite stores. White House Black Market will send out coupons for 50% off your total purchase! Nordstrom will send a reminder email for upcoming sales! Just do it.

5.    Check the Sales Rack Often

You know those trips you take to the mall when you’re on a mission for one specific thing and don’t want to get side tracked? Well, it’s time to start side tracking. Items get marked down weekly, and other shoppers return things daily! You never know what could be calling to you from the sale rack.

6.    Get Your Trends Cheaper

Instead of getting the newest trend from the Savvy section at Nordstrom, go to places like H&M, RiverIsland.com, or UrbanOG.com. You can find similar pieces for MUCH less!

7.    Save For Sprees

Create a second (or third…) savings account and add a small portion of each paycheck. The next time you need a new pair of jeans, or just feel like shopping, you’ll already have money saved up!

Good luck, and happy shopping!

XOXO,

 

Lauren

 

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NYE Chic!

It’s midnight; you and your girls are at a swanky spot downtown, you have a glass of champagne in one hand and your Smartphone in the other to make sure you are fully documenting your night as you ring in the New Year! You’re looking fly.

Unfortunately, tomorrow as you go through the pics you realize that “fly” was really more of a “flop” as your hair isn’t as coiffed as it was when you left for dinner and your red lip stain went from matte perfection to straight up mess

Don’t worry. Here are some chic trending up-do’s that will keep you looking fabulous from primp to midnight!

Simple (if you only have 5 minutes)

Topknot: tie an elastic band around your hair creating a super high ponytail at the crown of your head. Next, loosely wrap your hair around the elastic, pinning it down as you go. Spray on some hairspray and you’re ready to hit the town!

Low Pony: Pull your hair back into a low pony and secure at the base of the crown of your head. Pull a ½ inch section from the bottom of the ponytail and wrap around the elastic. Pin the ends down and sprits on hairspray for hold.

Less Simple (if you have more time, like 15 minutes)

Braided Topknot: tie an elastic band around your hair creating a super high ponytail at the crown of your head. Pull out a 1-inch section and hold aside. With the rest of your hair, wrap around the elastic creating a bun, pinning it down along the way. Braid the 1-inch section, and wrap it around the base of the bun, pinning it down. Sprits with hairspray.

This chic up-do from Lauren Conrad:

LC 1

Even Less Simple (if you have tons of time, or you simply rock at doing hair)

This awesome up-do that I’ve been dying to try!

updo 2

A modern take on the 1920’s flapper hairstyle, also courtesy of LC (click image for instructions)

lauren-conrad-halloween

Now that you’re coiffed, here are some tips to make sure your makeup lasts till dawn!

  1. First, make sure that your skin is exfoliated and hydrated! You should always exfoliate and wear moisturizer, but especially if you’re planning on wearing more makeup than usual.
  2. After you’ve exfoliated and cleansed your skin, prep your skin with a silicone-based moisturizing primer (this gives your makeup an even canvas, for a flawless finish) – I use Revlon Beyond Natural Smoothing Primer.
  3. Avoid using a heavy foundation – there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re wearing a ton of makeup! Plus, in a dimly lit club, you really won’t need it. Instead, apply concealer under the eyes, and to cover any blemishes. Maybelline Superstay 24HR Concealer won’t wear off, and still gives a natural finish. Also apply to your eyelids to help keep your eye makeup from migrating down your face.
  4. During the day I always opt for a cream blush, but for a night event, a matte powder blush will stay put longer and will also help alleviate shine.
  5. For a red lip that lasts all night ALWAYS start with lip liner! It may seem old school, but it works overtime to keep your lipstick from running while you chat up a potential New Year’s kiss. Follow up with a light application of lip stain, and finish with a gloss for a knockout look.

You never know what’s going to happen throughout the night – someone could spill their drink all over you, it could be snowing and your hair might get flat, you might start reminiscing with your girls and suddenly wish you had worn water proof mascara… here’s a list of items that you’re going to want to have with you throughout the night. And, even if you don’t use them, you’ll probably become besties with every girl you encounter in the ladies room.

  1. Mascara – a quick coat of mascara instantly freshens your face!
  2. Lipstick – stay looking bright all night with chic, glossy lips
  3. Bobby pins – to tame flyaway’s that pop up throughout the night
  4. Tampons – it can ruin your night if you’re not prepared.
  5. Tic Tacs – for right before midnight!
  6. Band aids – in case your new stilettos aren’t quite broken in yet.
  7. CASH! NYE is the busiest night out of the year! Don’t get stuck trying to close out your tab at the end of the night – pay with cash and you can leave whenever your party is ready. This can also keep you from overspending.

Now go out, look chic, and be fabulous.

XOXO,

 

Lauren

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Fashionably Caffeinated

Tuesday Morning

6:30 am – wake up and slip into an acceptable work outfit.

6:45 am – ESPRESSO MACHINE!! 4 shots of espresso, milk, vanilla, coffee tumbler with a flimsy lid (pick up on the foreshadowing??).

7:00 am – in my car, backing out of the driveway.

7:40 am – notice woman driving in traffic definitely shaving her legs! Slightly impressed, also find it weird. Realize I’m staring, and decide to focus on driving and drinking my delicious coffee.

8:00 am – arrive at work, excited to start the day sipping my delicious coffee when the previously mentioned flimsy lid leaks, resulting in delicious coffee all over me and the office floor. Bummer.

8:15 am – realize I should probably combine my two favorite things (coffee and fashion) into a blog post! Snap an Instagram pic, and the rest is completely Young (not so) Fabulous and (definitely) Baroque…

bummer.

There are a few things I have learned over the years as it relates to drinking coffee, and still looking chic.

  1. Only use coffee tumblers with a snapping lid! The ones that don’t have a snap cover over the holes in the lid tend to cause the most problems, and are best if just avoided in general.
  2. Always carry an extra white ribbed tank or tee in your car as a back-up that will still look adorable with pretty much everything. My favorite is a white v-neck tee.
  3. Tide To-Go pens! I’m serious, these things are GENIOUS! Purchase a couple of them to keep in every hand bag, and you’ll never have to worry about coffee spots, or really any spots, ever.
  4. Carry your coffee and your cell phone in different hands. If they are both in your right hand, you get a text, and unthinkingly go to view the text, guess where your delicious coffee is going to end up?! NOT in the cup.
  5. Drink iced coffee in a Contigo water bottle instead! For the Nalgene impaired, I like using one with a straw 🙂

While there are other great caffeine alternatives that have a very low risk of being problematic, I’m too in love with my morning java to ever make the switch. So here’s to a future filled with coffee breaks in stilettos… cheers!

XOXO,

Lauren

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The Purge Before The Splurge

I love summer as much as the next girl, but I must admit that I’ve been yearning to layer chunky sweaters over skinny jeans with my Steven Madden riding boots! And so, my weekend was spent with hours filtering through Pinterest and the pre-fall look books of my favorite designers, and daydreaming of how perfect the new Burberry line would look in my closet. And then I looked at my closet, and noticed the tank I have been holding onto all summer because there might be a time when it would look perfect, and the dress that I definitely remember wearing to a BBQ when I was in high school, then there are the brown wedges circa 2009 that were a questionable impulse purchase at the time and definitely have no room in my fashion future. It’s time to purge – and I know I’m not alone.

Knowing myself, and my strange attachment to clothing, I’ve decided to take charge with this new desire to minimize and have given myself a tight timeline to go through my closet (and my shoe racks!!) by the end of the week, putting everything into separate piles: Keep, Sell, Donate, Trash.

Here are my thoughts on when you know it’s time to pitch an item: If it hasn’t been worn in over a year; If it has an Abercrombie or Hollister tag and you’re over the age of 19; If it’s been through the wash so many times that you can no longer read the care instructions; If you’ve ever thought “I can sew that back on” and still haven’t. I promise that there is an upside to downsizing!

After you’ve gone through your wardrobe and have everything out of your room that you no longer want or need, decide what is OK to sell and what is OK to donate. If you’re unsure whether something holds value to resell, take it to your local consignment shop and ask! If you don’t have a preferred non-profit to donate clothing to, check out Buffalo Exchange! They have a network of amazing local non-profits, and can donate anything they are unable to purchase from you.

Here’s the fun part… give yourself a goal and a reward for all of your hard work! My goal is to sell enough to be able to reward myself with a pair of Steve Madden boots – something practical for fall, and exciting enough to actually WANT to go through my closet. It’s ground breaking.

Have fun and GET AT IT!!

XOXO,

Lauren

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