February in New York

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It’s no secret that I have a small obsession with New York City. Ever since my first short day trip there 4 years ago, I’ve dreamed of being able to spend more time in the bustling city. There’s something about walking out your door to new faces, new adventures and an endless list of places to see. I’m not sure I could ever call NYC home, but I sure do love calling it a home away from home.

I’ve been blessed to make some pretty amazing friends in New York. Even more reason to hop on a plane every now and then and make a stop in the Big Apple.

This February, my mom and I took a girls trip for a week. We were going to check out a job opportunity, and to explore the wintery version of NYC. It’s gorgeous, by the way. (But VERY cold!)

We stayed in the most adorable apartment in Chelsea, and did a lot of walking, eating and exploring. I even got to be ON the Meredith Vieira Show!!! It was so fun getting to go backstage and meet the staff. Everyone there is so nice! Plus it was awesome getting to pretend like a I was a host for a day ;)

Here are a few highlights from the trip!

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My Idea of the Perfect Weekend

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Last weekend was a magical one. I say this because I got to spend the whole weekend doing all of the things I love most. I started Saturday morning off with a little yoga, then made a delicious breakfast + strong coffee and wrote in my journal. After that, I spent the rest of my day at church practicing the music for that weekend’s services. It was my first time leading worship, and my heart was so happy! After church was over on Sunday, Spencer and I took a picnic to SMU + played with Roo all afternoon. To top the perfect weekend off, we hopped in the car, drove home to change into tennis shoes, and walked on the Katy Trail to get a summer beer. Life is good. :)

This has quickly become one of my favorite new spring outfits! Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Chantilly Embroidered Jean Shorts (ON SALE, $20)

Pink Tank from TJMaxx (Get one like it at Nordstrom, $24)

Fedora Summer Hat, Found on the Streets of Venice Beach (Get one like it at Forever 21, $12.90)

My Trusty Birkenstock Sandals (My well-worth-it-splurge, $125)

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Live Life Wild + Free 🌼 

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For new adventures, toes in the sand, meeting new people, sharing a smile, yoga every damn day, singing in the shower, loving unconditionally & sharing God’s love.

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Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 3.31.01 PM From negativity, pressure, naysayers, self-doubt, holding back, being “comfortable”, fear of leaping into the unknown & being anything less than all you were created to be.

April Beauty Picks

EOS Lip Balm

I never really used to think of myself as knowing much about beauty. I mean, sure I knew how to do my makeup before a big event and how to take care of my skin, but that was about the extent of my knowledge in high school + college. But little by little, I started to find myself reading articles on how to create a smoky eye or the best way to shape your eyebrows and I wanted to learn more!

As a digital marketer, I’ve had the privilege of working with clients in the skincare + beauty industry, which has even further expanded my knowledge and interest in this area. So, I’ve decided to share my little bits of information with you, in hopes that you might be inspired to go do some beauty experimenting yourself!

Today, I’m listing my top April beauty picks! I love finding new beauty products and trying them out. If you have any suggestions on what I should try next, comment below!

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1. Lavender EO is an absolute staple in my beauty routine. Lavendar naturally heals dry or chapped skin + lips! I mix a few drops of this stuff in with my regular daily moisturizer to give my face an extra boost of moisture.

5 2. IMAGE Skincare Prevention+ SPF 30 is my moisturizer + sunscreen of choice this month. I love how smooth + easy it is to apply and how quickly it’s absorbed into my skin. As an added benefit, this stuff smells amazing!!! Trust me – you won’t even know you are wearing sunscreen. (P.S. If you haven’t checked out IMAGE Skincare’s product line, you are missing out. They are the next big thing in skincare + beauty… and I don’t say that lightly.)

4 3. Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge For Lips + Cheeks is a fairly new find. I used to swear against all creme blushes, because of my oily skin, but I have been embracing my natural glow lately and this is the perfect compliment to a light makeup day. Dab a little of this on your cheeks for a quick boost in color and don’t forget to touch up your lips while you’re at it! Small enough to fit in a purse and it comes in every color for all skin types.

34. EOS Lip Balm … I could go on and on about this stuff. I started using this before it was literally EVERYWHERE, and I still love it. All of the flavor smell great, and whatever they use to make this, keeps my lips moisturized all day. The only thing that bothers me about this lip balm though, is the awkward shape for carrying in a small purse or putting in your pocket… It’s super cute and original… but impractical for a girl who likes to carry very little. Still a GREAT product though.

Getting Started With An At-Home Yoga Practice

If you had asked me a year ago if I thought I would even be capable of practicing yoga anywhere other than a supervised yoga studio, I would have told you no way! Something about letting loose and finding my own flow scared me. I just assumed I wasn’t “good enough” or that I would do it wrong. I’d lay my mat out and just stand there, over-thinking it, not sure where to start.

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Before I let myself do this, I had to get past that idea that yoga was a “serious” + technical practice; That I had to do everything exactly like my yoga instructors. Once I let go, I was addicted. Here’s how you, too, can start your at-home yoga practice.

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Find a quiet place that’s all your own. I have a little space in between my living room and kitchen that is the perfect spot for a yoga mat. (It’s also really the ONLY space in my little apartment to practice. If you’re like me and have limited space, all you really need is enough floor space for your mat + a little wiggle room.

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 4.11.26 PM Do whatever it is you need to do to get your mind + body into a relaxed state with no distractions. You can start by turning off your phone. I practice early in the morning, when the world is still quiet and my mind hasn’t had the chance to stress about a single thing. If the sun is already up, I’ll shut my blinds enough to create a dim lighting and I always have my diffuser on with peppermint and lavender essential oils.

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I don’t know about you, but music is an absolute necessary part of my yoga practice, whether I’m on my own, or in a studio. Trust me, I’ve been to a few classes where there was no music… and quickly realized how much I crave music to keep me going and give me a direction. I just love that it melds two of my biggest passions together – music + yoga.

If you’re a music person too, I recommend either finding a Spotify playlist with songs you won’t want to “skip” or creating your own yoga playlist. Depending on the day, I’ll play some acoustic singer-songwriter music or my personal favorite, contemporary christian. Listening to a contemporary christian music first thing in the morning allows me to get my practice in and spend some time with God all in one. Yoga has actually depend my relationship with God over the past two years. I find that the more I open my heart and make myself vulnerable on the mat, the more I’m open to hearing Him and relying on him to tell me where to go. It’s given me a greater appreciation for the body + life God has blessed me with.

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 4.12.13 PMSo you’ve got everything set up + ready to go! Now for the scary part… Actually practicing yoga. First, I want you to know you don’t have to consider yourself a “yogi” to do your own thing. Even if you are a beginner, you can find your own flow and do what feels good.

If you are just getting started, I would recommend looking up some online yoga classes. This will get you comfortable in your own skin and allow you to practice with some direction.

Eventually, you’ll find you don’t want to follow the instructor on your computer anymore.  You’ll want to do what feels right to your body and find ways to move to the music + stretch your body where it needs it most.

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My biggest piece of advice is, listen to your body. If you are new to an at-home practice, go slowly, and don’t push yourself too far. It’s better to go a little lighter than you are used to in class, than to injure yourself in the process of trying to get a better workout in. Soon, you’ll start to feel comfortable with your own routine and you’ll find new ways to push your body in a safe way. If you are going to do any inversions (head or hand stands), do them up against a wall. You’ll be glad you did if you accidentally loose your balance.

Beat The Bloat

Swimsuit season is quickly approaching, and although I truly believe in loving every inch of your body (curves and all!), I also know what it feels like to want to look and feel your very best when stepping out in a swimsuit. Here’s what I like to do to beat the bloat before a beach day.

*Extra Challenge – Try to stay consistent with a few of these tips throughout the year, to maintain your bloat-fighting powers ;) 

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It almost seems counterintuitive to drink more water when your body is retaining water, but it’s exactly what your body needs. More water. When you eat food high in salt or sugar, your body reacts with extra bloat. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated + healthy.

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It seems the yogurt of choice these days is greek. And I have to say, I’m pretty happy about it. Not only is greek yogurt higher in protein, it’s got all kinds of belly bloat-fighting probiotics and live active cultures in it to get your belly swimsuit ready. Just be sure to choose 0% plain, with no added sugars. (Opt for a little drizzle of local honey instead)

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Artificial sweeteners contain chemical properties that are hard for our stomachs to digest. Diet sodas are a double threat, because the carbonation literally fills your stomach with air bubbles that cause major bloat Stay away!

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Bananas contain a lot of potassium, which works to literally flush the water out of your system! Eat one of these babies first thing in the morning and it’ll fight the bloat for you before lunch.

Your turn! Are there any tricks you use to beat the bloat during swimsuit season?

Spring Looks Wish List

I recently took on the task of re-organizing my closet + switching out my looks from winter to spring! One of my favorite things about the changing seasons is getting to “shop” through my clothes from last spring + summer that have been hiding away for 6 months. It’s like getting a whole new wardrobe all over again! Win. That being said, I’m still dreaming about new looks I’ve got on my wish list for this spring. Here are some of my faves:

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Classic-Spring I originally stumbled across this look on Lauren Conrad’s blog, and quickly followed this look to Lemon Stripes.

The Look: Chelsea28 Jacket ($108) Michael Kors Satchel ($298)  Rag & Bone jeans ($295)

The Look For Less: Nordstrom Drapey Zip Blazer ($32.40) | Betsy Johnson Mini-Satchel ($49) Nordstrom Boyfriend Jeans ($98)

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Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 1.21.43 PM I love this dress! I used to cringe at the idea of wear floral prints, and now I can’t get enough of them. This dress would be the perfect addition to my Sunday spring looks.

The Look: Nordstrom Floral Print Fit + Flare Dress ($138)

The Look For Less: Ruche Classic Floral Dress ($48.99)

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54bc23ec309f5_-_hbz-overalls-6-street-style-nyfw-ss2015-day1-09 Who else used to wear these babies to school? They were all the rage in 2nd grade. Can’t wait to buy a pair this spring. Long or short, they are the best thing to happen in 2015. (Photo above from Bazzar)

The Look (Similar): Madewell ‘Adirondack’ Short Overalls ($118)

The Look For Less: Nordstrom Cuffed Short Overalls ($44)

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Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 1.22.31 PM I immediately fell in love with this dress from Forever 21. The color. The shape. The simplicity. This is the perfect spring dress to dress up or dress down. I’ll definitely be adding this to my wardrobe. Honestly, at that price, I’ll probably be purchasing multiple colors, because why not?

The Look: Forever 21 Classic Stretch-Knit Midi Dress ($12.90) 

The Look For Less: Really don’t think that’s possible…

What’s on your Spring Looks Wish List?