It's not my birthday (yet), but there is a week left until the big day! I'll save face and leave out how old I'll be and just say I'll still be a twenty-something (at least for a few more years). I normally have no idea what I want for my birthday so I'm a bit surprised this list even exists. I don't expect too much for my birthday since Valentine's Day is right around the corner, but if I had to pick a gift then these items would be on the list for sure!
One of my goals for 2016 was to explore one new place in Richmond a month. This month's location is the Canal Walk in the downtown area. It's super close to Belle Isle, which I love, so I couldn't believe I hadn't poked around this area before. It was nice to just take my time walking and reading all of the interesting signs all over the place. I would love to revisit the area when it's a little warmer outside and walk around a bit more.I took quite a few pictures to document the trip which you can find on my Flickr. If you're more interested in what I wore to keep warm on this freezing trip then keep reading!
I don't know exactly when the studded pumps/sandals/flats trended started, but I'm sure glad it did! I had a pair of studded flats years ago and they were my very favorite pair of shoes (that weren't sneakers). I would love to find another pair of shoes like those, but I'll settle for a pair of classy yet edgy pumps instead. When it comes to studded pumps you can either go big or go small, but just as amazing. The "big" version is from Valentino and it's called the Rockstud pointy toe pump. These shoes are gorgeous, but they do carry a pretty hefty price tag! The "small" version (for this comparison) is from Sole Society and their version is called the Tiia. Keep reading to see how they stack up and who I declared the winner!
Link ups are a great way to drive traffic to your blog. When I first started blogging my biggest traffic source was link ups and I wrote about how they increase my pageviews as a Truly My Way topic. If you want tips on how to use them please check that post out here! Keep reading to check out my current favorite link ups.
If you've been reading my blog since the beginning (or lurking around my outfits tag) you'll know how much I love this Topshop scallop hem miniskirt. I first saw it on A Southern Drawl and I was instantly hooked. I've already styled it for summer here and fall here, so I knew I wanted to style it for winter too. I haven't come up with any ideas on how to style it for spring just yet, but I'll come up with something when the time comes. I'm so glad I bought this skirt when I did as it's become one of the most versatile pieces in my closet; I honestly feel like it works for any occasion and all seasons so I'm definitely getting my money's worth!
I'm not a huge fan of books in the autobiography/self-help/business genre. Give me Gone Girl or any book in the Harry Potter series and I'm good to go. With that being said, this was the best book I've read in awhile. Sophia's story is nothing like my own, but I can relate to her on so many levels. I think that's why this book is such a success. Amoruso writes to every girl and let's her know it's okay to be yourself, break the rules (when it's appropriate), and make your own path. There's so many lessons that can be learned from reading this book and I don't want to spoil too much of it for you. Keep reading to see what I loved about this book and my biggest takeaway.
I still can't believe winter is finally here. The Winter Heat Wave of 2015 is hopefully long gone, but you never know. I'm really praying for snow sometime before spring hits. This wintry outfit was the perfect opportunity to show off my latest Rocksbox pieces from Loren Hope and Gorjana. It's supposed to snow today, so I'm hoping to put this outfit in snowball fight action soon! The super thick knit keeps me warm no matter how cold it is outside. A chunky sweater is a great starting point if you're putting together an outfit featuring duck boots!
I first discovered bentonite clay masks on YouTube. Two of my favorite natural hair vloggers had posted their recipes for homemade bentonite clay masks on their channels. Ever since then I was hooked. I knew I had to try this out for myself and see if it really worked for cleansing and making my natural curls look amazing. Most people have never thought about using this product in their hair, but I'm here to tell you that you should try it! My hair loves this stuff and with my 2016 goal of using more natural products in my beauty routine, this will be a staple for a long time. If you're curious about the benefits of bentonite clay masks for hair, keep reading!
The leopard foldover clutch: everybody has one and if you don't, then you're on the hunt for one. I remember the first time I saw this gorgeous bag featured in another blogger's outfit post. I thought it was the most amazing bag I'd ever seen in my entire life and I HAD TO HAVE IT. I quickly clicked on the link, like most people, and was taken aback at the price. The most popular leopard clutch is from Clare V and retails for a lofty $275! As I do with most items I searched for a cheaper, but still stylish, alternative. Luckily, I stumbled across this printed leopard foldover clutch from Sole Society. Continue reading to see the pros and cons of both bags and decide if you'll save or splurge!
1. Collaborate with another blogger - I would love to work with another blogger and learn all I can from them. Whether that blogger is big or small, there's always something else I can learn from another person. It would also be great to offer different content or perspective on the blog as well. If you'd like to collaborate drop me a line at email@example.com!
2. Increase email subscribers - In 2015 I watched all my social media follower counts go up, but my email subscriber count pretty much stayed the same. As I put more effort in my blog and (possibly) a newsletter I hope that number also rises. If you're not a subscriber make sure you sign up and get your free printables! You can do so using the subscription box on the sidebar.
3. Use link- ups on a consistent basis - Link-ups are great for growing traffic and discovering new blogs. Most of the blogs I frequent now are ones that I've discovered from bouncing around and using different link-ups. Using these more in 2016 can only be a good thing. If you would like a list of the link-ups I use and love let me know in the comments below!
4. Send a biweekly/monthly newsletter - I love newsletters that pop into your inbox on a consistent basis and I would love to provide that same feeling to my followers. I feel like newsletters are a good way to direct followers back to your blog just in case they've missed a post.
5. Develop a consistent posting schedule - As I get ready to go back to work I'll need to develop a posting schedule that works around my varied hours. Now I post whenever I feel like it, but I would like to schedule content in advance so I can enjoy my free time and not worry too much about my blog.
What are your blogging goals for January? Let me know below!
It's the first Wednesday of 2016 and of the month which means it's time for the Currently link-up with Gold & Bloom and Anne in Residence! I love this link-up because it's all about self-reflection - the "feelings" about each prompt are different for each person who participates. If you're thinking about joining, please do! Continue reading to see what I'm currently resolving, reading, organizing, loving, and craving!
resolving -- to follow through with my list of 16 goals for 2016. If you haven't read that post, you can do so here. Wish me luck!
reading -- nothing yet! I desperately need to find a new book or series to read ASAP!
organizing -- my second bedroom. There's so much junk in here that needs to be thrown away. I'm ready to start spring cleaning and it's only January.
loving -- complete series on Netflix. I'm currently watching Sons of Anarchy and I can't wait to get started on The Vampire Diaries or Scandal.
craving -- hot fudge sundaes! My favorites are from McDonald's and I'm not sure why I'm so obsessed with them. I normally dislike ice cream in January because it's too cold!
What are you resolving, reading, organizing, loving, and craving? Let me know in the comments below!
On Christmas Eve, my stepmother got the family tickets to Busch Gardens' Christmas Town. I was so excited and thankful because I've been wanting to go for the past couple of years now. It was such a fun, festive atmosphere and the only thing that could have made it better was the weather; it was almost 70 degrees during our visit! Despite the heat, I had a great time with my family and I can't wait to visit again. Keep reading to see all the (unedited) photos I took!
When I decided to return to natural hair it was all based on the amount of chemicals I was putting in my hair each time I relaxed or colored it. In my 16 for 2016 post I vowed to take better care of my hair and myself by using more natural products. December marked the first month where I used mainly natural ingredients in my self-care regimen!
Dr. Bronner's Lavender Castile Soap // Aztec Secret Bentonite Clay // OGX Sea Mineral Moisture Conditioner // Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Juice
Dr. Bronner's Lavender Castile Soap - I bought this product only because I wanted free shipping when ordering my bentonite clay. It was one of the best purchases I've made all year! This organic soap has multiple uses, but I like to dilute it with water and use it as a body wash. It gets me squeaky clean, but doesn't dry out my skin.
Aztec Secret Bentonite Clay - I discovered this product on YouTube after watching a couple people use it as a detoxifying mask on their natural hair. I followed their recipes, but ended up making my own (I'll it share on the blog so stay tuned!) that does exactly what I needed it to do. My hair is always so soft and shiny after using this a couple times a month.
OGX Sea Mineral Moisture Conditioner - If I'm not washing my hair with my bentonite clay mask, then I'm co-washing with this bottle of amazing-ness. It leaves my super soft and easy to manager and it has amazing slip - which is great for detangling! I'm already on my second (large) bottle and I know I'll be repurchasing it soon. OGX products are great if you want a shampoo or conditioner that has no sulfates or harsh ingredients.
Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Juice - This was another purchase based on a video I saw on YouTube that has really been worth the purchase. I use aloe vera juice as a leave-in on my hair after washing and I've also tried it in my bentonite clay hair mask. It leaves my hair soft and well moisturized and a little goes a long way. It can leave my hair a little hard if I use too much so I dilute it with water in a spray bottle. I have a huge jug in my fridge that I'll be using for months to come!
What's your favorite beauty product from the past month? Let me know in the comments below!