New Year’s Resolutions!

Champagne

Every year I set awesome goals for my new year’s resolutions, and every year I’m awful at following through with them. And then at the end of the year I’m in the same place that I was a year ago when I first thought about setting the goals. This cycle is killing me!!

And in my rant about how I’m awful at following through with my awesome goals, I remembered a little thing I learned in my undergrad marketing education about how to set goals and actually achieve them – I know some of you already know what I’m talking about, and are probably groaning thinking about all of the hypothetical companies you gave exceptional advice to by helping them achieve their goals with this ground breaking technique! But for those of you that didn’t have this (or a similar acronym) pounded into your brain for 4 years, SMART goals are:

Specific – instead of saying, “I want to do better in my classes”, you could say, “I want to finish the year with no grade below a B”.

Measurable – a great goal could be, “I want to be more altruistic this year” but without having anything to measure, how do you know you’ve succeeded? Instead, your goal could be, “I want to find one organization to volunteer at once per week”.

Attainable – becoming more altruistic is wonderful. Obviously, but does your schedule REALLY allow you time to volunteer once a week? Making sure your goals are attainable is key; otherwise you’re setting yourself up to fail.

Relevant – make sure your goal is relevant to everything else you have going on, and the other goals you’re setting, otherwise you’ll likely end up having to give up one of your goals. For example, last year one of my goals was to land a career in marketing, and another goal was to travel a lot – wellllll I couldn’t realistically travel a lot while also trying to interview and keep an entry level job. They typically like you to be able to work 5 days a week fairly consistently. SO I had to give up the goal of traveling a lot, but was able to land a pretty awesome job! So while cooking your way through Italy is a wonderful goal, making pounds and pounds of pasta probably won’t help you lose weight or get toned. Choose wisely.

Timely – unless you give yourself a date to be done by, you’ll keep pushing the deadline back until the goal dissolves altogether (trust). And THAT is how you end up at the end of 2013 reviewing your list of things realizing that most of your goals are still up in the air… ouch!

Personally, I think we need to add another “A” to this list for Accountability! By telling your friends about your goals and asking for encouragement, you’ll have more people expecting you to accomplish them, and you will be even more motivated – they might even want to join in!

I’m going to post my goals here, and give an update every month and how they’re going. Post yours here too or email them to me at Lauren.YFB@gmail.com to get added to a motivational email list, and at the end of 2013 we can all get excited about the fact that we did something awesome!

So, here are mine:

  1. Learn a new language (either French or Italian) by the end of the year – does anyone know if Rosetta Stone works?? Hopefully yes, otherwise this goal will be edited.
  2. Actually train for the Bolder Boulder 10K and beat last year’s time of an hour and 35 minutes. Even if it means skipping the slip n slides along the way.
  3. Make a real dinner (mac n cheese doesn’t count) at least once a week.
  4. Stop making excuses and go to the gym at least 4 days per week!
  5. Find a join a bible study.
  6. Make a DIY (probably from Pinterest, let’s be real) at least once a month! If anyone out there would like to join in this monthly craft day, you are obviously welcome.
  7. Climb a 14er this summer (mountain peeps, get at me!)

I have other goals, but they’re all pretty lofty and I’m not sure how to break them down yet – for example, I want to buy a house (eventually…) and have practically zero savings. Or at least not nearly enough to even make a dent in a down payment. But I figure if I want to buy a house in 5 years I should probably start figuring out how to make it happen, right?! So my goal would be to save for a house. But I have no idea what that looks like. So goal #8 can be: Figure out how to save for a house, and other big person purchases.

To kick start this fantastic year of awesome goals, my first DIY will be to write out all of these goals and hang them on my wall as a reminder! So let’s add a “P” to the list for Publish… SMARTAP goals.

So, before you poor the bubbly and toast to a new year, make sure you sit down and create a list of goals you want to achieve, then find friends who can encourage you along the way! Together, we can make 2013 absolutely fabulous.

XOXO,

Lauren 

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New Directions

OK, YF-Bers… after taking a bit of a vacay from writing – a much needed time for introspection – I’ve decided to take YF-B in a new direction. While I absolutely love encasing myself in everything fashion, it can and has become a bit… surfacey. And while What Color is the New Black, and How To Effectively Wear Stripes are valid topics, my little blog is never going to reach the sublimity of those like The Man Repeller, FashionToast or Stylelist (if this is the first you’re hearing of these blogs, please Google them now. Your life will become better).

And on my sort of sabbatical from blogging, I had one of those “a-hah” moments where I realized that this whole time I’ve been trying so hard to write like them and become fashionably relevant when really I should have just been me. A girl who tries, fails often, dreams up new life goals weekly, and has insight into some pretty cool things (like fashion, beauty, health, love, and God).

I’d still like to be able to offer thoughts on upcoming trends and awesome DIY’s that don’t take a miracle to pull off… and I feel like I also have more that I can offer the cyber world. So, I would like to take this time to formally invite each of you to join me in going beyond the Brocade and deeper than DVF. To start figuring out what our lives should look like, setting goals, being healthy, not settling for average all while looking and feeling utterly fabulous. There’s no red or blue pill, no list you need to sign, just a simple “I’m in” will do.

If you have anything you’d like to know more about, ideas for what you’d like to see here on YF-B, or just general thoughts or comments, please feel free to shoot me an email at Lauren.Zeinstra@gmail.com.

Stay fabulous.

XOXO,

Lauren

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Keep Calm and Color Block

Color Blocking was a major Spring 2012 trend, and it’s back for Fall 2012, with a few updates. Typically, this trend would take on rectangle and horizontal shapes, often making for an unflattering figure. This season, however, we see designers taking this trend and morphing into something wearable by every woman. Keep in mind that while I’m typically all about online shopping, this trend is not for the short of stature and can make for some interesting silhouettes… to avoid the purchase and return cycle, head to a department store and try on a few color block options before making a final purchase.

Hands down, my favorite color block inspiration is designer Max Azria, who uses bright berry colors, alternating horizontal stripes, and interesting shapes, making this trend wearable by many different body shapes. If you’re looking for a head turning take on this trend, this Aubree Relaxed jacket on top of the Aliza Color Block Dress will definitely give you the reaction you’re looking for. Pair the jacket with these Slim Flared trousers for a wear-to-work ensemble.

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For those who maybe aren’t 5’8” and still want to integrate this trend in a show-stopping way, all is not lost! Look for pieces with vertical stripes, as this allows the eye to have fluid movement from head to toe, giving the impression of a longer silhouette. This Ark & Co. maxi skirt, paired with heeled booties for fall, will transition perfectly into spring paired with Grecian sandals. For a work-wear option, this Maggy London dress is totally chic! Add a chunky necklace and fun heels to a desk to dinner look. Another great “everyday” option is this Ella Moss dress – add a sweater, light grey tights, and booties, and you’ve created a wonderful color block fall outfit.

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Ark & Co.

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Maggy London

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Ella Moss

Is a new BCBG ensemble not quite in your budget? Please continue to buy groceries. You have options. Forever 21, H&M, even the sale section at Dillard’s and Nordstrom offer great pieces at completely affordable prices. This ensemble, for example, from Forever 21 is a wearable take on the color block trend – while this whole outfit costs $75, I’ll bet you already have a blouse that would look perfect paired with the bright jacket. Another budget-perfecting tip: buy in separates! This way when you spend $75 on an outfit, you can mix and match all of the pieces to create more on trend combinations.

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For an outfit more suitable for work, that also suits your credit card limit, check out this outfit from H&M. I love how the jacket and matching shoes can be broken up by the contrasting trousers. I also LOVE their “dressing room” feature, so you can see your outfit before making a purchase… genius!

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So… you’re on a “ramen noodles, beans and rice” budget? Totally get it – I think we’ve all been there. Try out color block nails! Grab three of your favorite nail polish colors in contrasting shades. Paint your entire nail with the lightest color, applying two coats, allowing the paint to completely dry in between coats. With tape, create a diagonal line across your nail. Paint the uncovered area with two coats of the next shade, allowing time to dry in between. Create another diagonal line with tape, and paint the uncovered area with the two coats of the final color. Allowing enough time to completely dry, seal the design with a clear topcoat, and voila! A color block trend without spending a dime!

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The best part of this trend is that you can mix and match with bright colors to create something completely unique and show off your personality. So have fun, be bold, and live fabulously.

XOXO,

Lauren

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Heels Over Head… for fall footwear

It’s time for some true confessions. If you haven’t noticed, I love shoes.  So much so that I am arguably a shoe addict. Don’t get me wrong, I love jackets and dresses and accessories, and go gaga over an amazing find no matter the item, but there is something about shoes that really pulls on my heartstrings.  I think it’s a combination of how amazing they look on my shoe rack, and how fantastic I feel when I pair an ensemble with a killer new pair of kicks.

Whatever the reason, this fondness for footwear will be a lifelong love affair, and my wallet often disagrees with my intentions. So while my heart tells me that my closet absolutely needs every pair of Manolos’, Jimmy’s and Louboutin’s, my bank account leans more towards an occasional Steve Madden with a sprinkling of fantastic look-a-likes. So my general rule of thumb is to splurge on the basics, like some knee high signature Steve Maddens that will last through seasons of sauntering through snow that are definitely worth the couple hundo’s you’re going to drop. Unlike this season’s fringe booties that will be out by the time New Years Eve rolls around, which can be found at much more reasonable prices.

Spiked Lita’s

Let’s start with this killer pair of spiked Lita’s by Jeffrey Campbell priced at $195 – super edgy, definitely attention grabbing, but let’s be real… you’ll probably only have 2 outfits to wear them with. Not really worth the price. But, I have some good news for you! The other day I was walking past Charlotte Russe and decided to venture inside – which is an action I do not take lightly. After maneuvering through racks of crunchy faux fur and shiny pleather, I FINALLY made it to the shoe wall, and much to my surprise, I found an incredible pair of spiked Lita’s that look an awful lot like Jeffrey’s! Now, these heels are currently priced at $50 (pretty steep for Charlotte Russe), but if you were looking for an addition to your nightlife wardrobe, I’d definitely give these a try!

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Jeffrey Campbell
Spiked Lita

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Charlotte Russe
Spiked Lita

Animal Print

I’ve always been a sucker for animal print, and I’m loving how designers are choosing to use them this season – like Michael Kors mixing leopard prints! For an inexpensive way to add a leopard print shoe to your wardrobe, check out these booties from Forever 21. Or, if you’re ready to take the plunge on a printed investment, these printed booties from Michael Kors are both sexy and classy. A good rule of thumb when investing in a pair of printed booties: animal print is already considered a risk, so tone down the “risqué” by opting for a shorter heel.

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MK Leopard

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F21 Leopard

Over The Knee Boot

I love the basic knee-high boot that we all wear season after season, but I must say, I love this over-the-knee trend that has mixing up the runways. From Altuzarra to UGG, this style is taking off as one of the fall/winter 2012 must wear trends! Vince Camuto has a chic and durable version that is sure to last years, but if you’re not ready to invest $250, this version from Urbanog.com is chic and trendy and is only $36.20!

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Vince Camuto

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Urbanog

Stay tuned for some street chic editions for inspiration on how to rock these great styles. In the meantime, play around with how to integrate these fabulous trends into your everyday runway.

XOXO

 

Lauren 

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Falling in Love with Fall/Winter 2012

Warm sweaters, boots and tailored outerwear, layering scarves on top of leather jackets… In my world, all seasons are not created equal, with a clear preference towards Fall/Winter, and this year my favorite designers definitely did not disappoint. From the chic and forward thinking looks at Chanel to the unconventional genius at Alexander McQueen, the trends of the upcoming season are raising the bar for influential trend setters and admiring followers everywhere. After sufficiently stalking the F/W look books, I’ve come up with a personal list of “must have” trends, a designer wardrobe that my millionaire self would own, and look-a-likes that I can reasonably afford, to make sure that my transition to winter is as fabulous as possible.

Layering, a favorite aspect of the fall season, takes on a whole new meaning when the designers start playing with different textures. From Alexander McQueen creating a floor length feathery gown, to Jason Wu presenting a leather military jacket with fur sleeves, or the Chanel Ready-To-Wear line pairing a fur jacket with metallic lace-like trousers, this season is definitely the time to take chances with layering textures. For a wearable take on this trends, try this jacquard skirt from Target paired with this faux fur jacket from Delia’s (now on sale!!), with these sheer houndstooth tights from Express (currently buy one get one free!).  Complete the look with some black booties and funky accessories and you’re ready to rock your runway.

Delia’s Faux Fur Coat

Target Jacquard Skirt

Express Houndstooth Tights

Another must wear for every woman is the peplum trend that’s been seen on the runways of Zac Posen, Lanvin, Carolina Herrera, and The Row – just to name a few. Pair a peplum top with skinny jeans or a pencil skirt to accentuate your waist, finish the look with pointed toed stilettos to elongate your legs and finish this classy and fashion forward look. Aren’t ready to drop the funds on a designer peplum look? Check out these affordable and adorable options, all for less than $35.

F21 Yellow Puplum

F21 Black Peplum

H&M Black Peplum

H&M Pink Peplum

You can now officially wear white after Labor Day, according to designers Elie Saab, Versace, Valentino and Alexander McQueen who all sent numerous all white ensembles down their runways. The “No White” rule still applies to white linen pants and white shoes, which should remain off limits until spring, so if you’re going to rock this winter white look, stick with wool, cotton, satin and silk. To add a little definition to your ensemble, try mixing a little metallic silver, like Elie Saab and Alexander McQueen. Try a silver leather jacket like this one from Target! I can also personally attest to seeing a silver Calvin Klein leather jacket at TJ Maxx last week. It was gorg.

Target Leather Blazer

H&M Bow Tee

F21 White Skirt

Instead of going with a traditional LBD at your next outing, take a cue from designers YSL, Jil Sander, Dior and Valentino and dress in a head-to-toe jumpsuit. Keep it classic with a silhouette that gives you an hourglass figure by cinching in at the waist, and length that grazes the floor. For a more daring look, find an interesting neckline like the keyhole theme from Jil Sander, or opt for a bold color like the vibrant red from Valentino. Or make a chic statement with a muted pastel and a high neckline similar to the jumpsuit that graced Dior’s runway. Check out these affordable styles to add this trend to your wardrobe!

F21 Red Jumpsuit

Dillard’s Vince Camuto

Macy’s Black Sheer

Macy’s Printed Jumpsuit

Macy’s Navy Jumpsuit

This season, burgundy is definitely the new black; so don’t be afraid to switch it up with this head to toe hue. Also, leather is no longer reserved for jackets! Try a leather skirt or top to switch it up. And most importantly, pick trends that make you feel beautiful and fit your personal style, because “fashions fade; style is eternal” – Yves Saint Laurent.

XOXO 

Lauren


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The Great Shoe Resurrection, a DIY

As I was cleaning out my shoe collection (as part of my Purge Before the Splurge), I found a pair of simple yellow pumps that I’d purchased at the beginning of the summer. They’re cute, but they were nothing special so I put them in the “donate” pile. It wasn’t until I was packing up my donation boxes that it hit me – I could resurrect my cute yellow pumps into something totally this season. And so began the process of me trying to create a cap toe on my bright yellow pumps.

Attempt 1:

Up on the top shelf of my bathroom closet I keep things that are rarely used – ace bandages, my sewing kit (let’s just get this out of the way… I LOVE to DIY – I HATE to sew.), a humidifier, like 50 replacement light bulbs, an old shower caddy… you know, typical house hold items. Among these things is a basket with shoe polish in every single color. I had my heart set on a cream cap toe, and was so excited when I found a cream colored shoe polish hidden away in my bathroom closet! So, I taped off the area that I wanted the cap to end, and started to dab on the shoe polish. It didn’t work. Now that I think about it, it’s meant to polish shoes, not paint over the scuffs, so I’m not sure why I thought shoe polish would work in the first place. I digress. So I went on to plan #2.

Attempt 2:

I figured fabric paint was the way to go, so I went to Michael’s and spent way too long perusing the aisles before I finally came to the paint section. As I was looking for fabric paint, I found the Martha Stewart section and realized I needed to look no further. In case you were wondering, I think Martha’s pretty great. I also found a small bottle of her MULTI-SURFACE acrylic craft paint – and it was 50% off. I found a winner. After going through the steps, and giving it 2 coats, it worked. And I love them again. So please, if you have a pair of pumps that you’re considering getting rid of, consider giving them new life in your shoe closet, even if only for one season.

What you’ll need:

A pair of shoes (heels or flats)

Scotch tape

Fabric paint – I used Martha Stewart Multi-Surface Acrylic Craft Paint with a pearl finish.

Foam applicators – I used Martha Sewart Foam Pouncers

Start with your shoes, clean and dry.

Tape of the section that you’d like to add a cap toe.

Apply two coats of the fabric paint with the foam applicator, allowing to dry between coats. Once the final layer is dry, carefully remove the tape to reveal a new pair of shoes!

If you want to try something on trend for Fall, go for a metallic gold or silver! Let me know how yours turn out!

XOXO

Lauren


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Dresser Facelift

I recently gave an old dresser of mine an amazing facelift – taking it from old and slightly drab to completely shabby chic! And it was surprisingly simple.

Unfortunately, I lost the “before” photos, so you’re just going to have to trust my description. This piece is the perfect size, but had been painted with a deep red half paint/half stain technique that, at the time it was painted was all the rage. It has some amazing details so I didn’t want to just replace it with a mass produced version from IKEA, and so I decided to make it into a DIY project!
Step 1: Go thrifting and find an amazing piece with tons of character and potential.

Step 2: Go to Home Depot and talk to the people in the paint section – they’ll help you pick out the right supplies! I decided to go with a heavy duty paint stripper because both paint and stain had been previously used.

Step 3: Gather supplies! Picking out the paint colors is probably my favorite part. I decided on a cream white, and a light blue for an accent color. Because I was covering a dark dresser with a light paint, I went with a paint+primer all in one… such a time saver. You’ll also need a small scraper to get all of the paint off when using the stripper. Other essential include: a paint brush (or two if you can enlist the help of some friends!), a couple wash clothes and a tray that you can throw away, painters tape (for adding details like stripes), and music. You’ll definitely need music. I also changed the handles on my dresser with nobs from Hobby Lobby to give it a completely updated look.

Step 3.5: Head home and turn on the music.

Step 4: In the direction of the wood grain, paint on the stripper. Wait 30 minutes (you’ll notice the paint bubbling up) and then begin to scrape off. Repeat this paint and scrape process until all of the paint has been scraped off.

Step 5: With a damp wash cloth, scrub and wipe off all of the excess paint and stripper until the surface of the dresser is smooth.

Step 6: Paint the entire surface of the dresser with two coats, allowing to dry in between applications. When painting the drawers, be careful not too paint too thick, otherwise they might stick when you try to open and close them.

Step 7: If you want to add stripes, wait until the first color is completely dry, and then tape out the pattern you want, like so…

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Step 8: Paint over the tape with two coats, allowing to dry in between applications. Once the second coat is dry, remove the tape, add the new handles and VOILA!! A brand new dresser!

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If you think you might want to resell this dresser, ever, be sure to keep the original handles – it can increase the value 🙂

 

XOXO,

LAUREN

 

 

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The Real “It” Factor

It’s Monday night (or Tuesday morning?) and I just had a revelation about the “it” thing that everyone keeps talking about. You know, the “it” factor, the “it” girl on the scene. Well, I have some news for you – the REAL “it” isn’t about the latest handbag, or conveniently utilizing your summer favorites as your fall staple pieces. No, there has to be something more behind the real “it” factor – something that can never be “so last season”, or “only appropriate in your 20s”.  There HAS to be something that we’ve all been missing.

And then it hit me.

“It” isn’t about how you drape and accessorize for an outward appearance, or how well you recreate looks from your favorite runway shows. It’s about the words and the thoughts that you feed your soul. Not the words of the great philosophers or the thoughts that make us feel warm and fuzzy – I’m talking about REAL WORDS and REAL THOUGHTS that make us reconsider our life choices, and feel compassion for those that have wronged us, and feel joy even in the midst of the most trying situations.

“The good works that God had in mind when He thought of you were so glorious that He declared across the ages that you were His very own masterpiece. God has had His eye on you since the beginning of time to do something so extraordinary through your life that even angels would stand back in wonder and long to do what you were created to do!”

“So here’s what I want you to do. God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well adjusted to our culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix our attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” – Romans 12:1-2

All this being said, I still completely support a solid Steve Madden purchase (I’d be crazy if I didn’t), and I’m going to continue to scour the outlets searching for the best deals on designer swag; however, it’s vitally important to remember that the real “it” factor lies in our Savior, and we are nothing without His love, grace, and strength.

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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