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I recently added a new post to my Instagram going over my mantra: dress well, be kind and make the world a better place. My purpose as a blogger is not just to show off my favorite fashions but to also provide a platform of positivity and encouragement for both myself and my readers. In the middle of 2017, I decided to take a positive turn to be more authentic on my blog. Being an optimist doesn’t mean that we never face moments of sadness, depression or anxiety. Rather, being an optimist simply means being a person that seeks for light even in the darkest of times.

2017 has been a rough year for me personally and I know that many feel the same way. As bloggers, we have this perception that we have everything figured out behind the scenes. But that is not always true. It is certainly not true for me! While I have been able to create amazing content all year long, I found myself getting burnt out. We as humans need to find balance between work and our personal lives. Often, one takes over the other. Too often, it is work that takes precedence.

This holiday season I made this mistake. Between working extra hours at my full time job and creating 2-3 holiday posts on my blog, I completely forgot about the most important holiday to me: Christmas! I generally start planning for Christmas in June – starting with my Christmas budget plan to creating ideas on what to get for my loved ones. This year, I did not plan for Christmas once. I found myself scrambling to get gifts, create content on my blog and work full time all at once. In the end, I got burnt out and had no choice but to take a mental break from my blog to focus on my personal life.

There have been so many valuable lessons I have learned in 2017 including the importance of planning, balancing work/life and taking time to take a vacation as needed. I never quite understood the importance of unplugging until this year. Being a blogger, I also learned the importance of building and sustaining relationships. I knew that blogging as a side hustle could lead to monetization. I never imagined that I would be meeting new people who would eventually become dear friends even though we have yet to meet in person!

My dear friend and inspiration Christine from Rescue in Style recently wrote a powerful blog posts of the importance of having New Years intentions rather than resolutions. In 2018, I have a goal to be a better planner with both my professional and social life. Whatever dreams you want to achieve, start making plans so that they can come true. I never imagined having my own blog let alone be featured in InStyle magazine twice in one year! If I can do the impossible, you can too.

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Photos by Belkin Images

Coat: J.Crew // Scarf: LC Lauren Conrad // Hat: LC Lauren Conrad // Boots: BP. ; similar pair from H&M here // Gloves: Kohls

 

 

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Hi loves! There are only two more weeks before Christmas (and I am totally panicking..just a little ha). If you are ordering gifts online I strongly recommend that you order them this week to ensure they arrive on time. During a recent trip to my local Ulta store, I got inspired to help you find the perfect gift for your favorite beauty lover. Because let’s face it, Ulta has something for every gift on your list!

Highlighter palettes

These are the brands that are a little more expensive but do not compromise on quality. The items that I have selected below are some of my personal favorites or ones that I already own. You can help her glow with a highlighter palette like this one from Anastasia Beverly Hills or this one from Urban Decay.

Lipsticks & Glosses

I love lipglosses from Buxom! Ulta currently has a Buxom lipgloss/mascara gift set for $12! My personal favorite is a mauve color called “Dolly“. When it comes to lipsticks, the brands that I shop from most are Anastasia Beverly Hills, Revlon, Rimmel, Maybelline, LORAC, NYX Cosmetics, Stila and LOREAL. Some of these brands offer products that are under $5!

Facial products

I love Derma-e because their products provide quality and are made ethically. When you purchase a product from them, you don’t have to worry about any of their products being tested on animals, having parabens or GMOs. In fact, Derma-e’s products are 100% vegan. So you can enjoy great skin care that is sustainable and responsible. Below are some of the products that I personally use on a daily basis. The Yes To brand is also my go at home facial masks.

Perfumes and Lotions

When it comes to perfumes everyone is different. Boys, if you want to be romantic, pick out a sent that reminds your most of your special lady. She is bound to love it! My go-scent is Gardenia and Pacifica offers it as a roller or full size bottle. You can also check out some other perfume and lotion ideas below.

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Nothing beats brunch having brunch with friends and family. I am always looks to find a new place to enjoy some great food and a mimosa while I am at it. So when Karen from Paris and Latte hosted a blogger brunch at Halcyon Brasserie, I could not wait! The event was filled with incredible food, amazing goodies and a chance to connect with some amazing bloggers.

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Not let’s take a moment to talk about the food. Everything was absolutely scrumptious! I literally could not say no to anything that was put in front of me. How tasty do all these appetizers look? Not only were they so tasty but also pretty and Instagramable.

Karen and I have been friends on Instagram for a few months now. We had a chance to meet at Style Collective’s NYFW event but did not get a chance to sit down and talk. Additionally, I got a chance to connect with other local tri-state bloggers as well as some local Montclair business women

We got a chance to meet Jessica from Aris Couture Boutique. Her boutique offers luxurious, feminine pieces at an affordable price! We got a chance to hear how she started her business and as well as got to see some of her pieces in person. What a boss babe!

We got to end the event by literally stuffing out goodie bags with luxurious makeup from Measurable Difference, bracelets from Cayteno Legacy and tons of other freebies. I was an amazing way to start a new work week. If you are ever in Montclair, I encourage you to go to Halcyon Brasserie. You will not be disappointed!

A special thanks to Davin from Davin Tes Photography to taking all these amazing images for us.

 

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Hi loves! I hope you had an amazing week. Red is the go-to color for the holidays but sometimes a girl needs to switch up her color palette! That is why this festive plaid dress is perfect for the holidays. It’s perfect for holiday parties and even to wear at work. I am wearing the dress in a size 2 (it also comes in petite sizing). The best part? This dress has pockets!

The velvet bow that I have featured is from J.Crew and is currently sold out but I have linked similar option in black here. Velvet is trending this holiday season. If you are hesitant to wear velvet, hair bows are the best way to ease your way into the trend. If you are not a fan of the trend, consider a flirty headband.What do you think of this classic, holiday look?

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Dress: J.Crew //// Bow Hair tie in black here

 

 

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Hi loves! We had a chance to enjoy some amazing deals yesterday and now it’s time to each of us to make a difference on Giving Tuesday.  Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. It is a day to remind us that giving back to our community, nation, and overseas is easier that we might think. I did a blog post earlier in the year about charitable gifts that you can give.

Here are some ideas on how you can give back:

Volunteer your time

Time is money and that is a phrase I am coming to appreciate more and more over the years. Consider giving up a day in the next week weekends to help out a organization in need. If you are passionate about animals, see if you can volunteer at a local animal shelter. Fellow fashion lovers, consider donating some old clothes from your closets to organizations like Dress to Success.

Give gifts that give back

TOMS

As I mentioned earlier, you can give gifts while making a difference at the same time. TOMS is a company that I admire. Every product they sell provides someone in need with a better life. For every pair of shoes sold, another is given away to others overseas. Sunglasses sold give the gift of sight by providing medical professionals and eye surgery to restore eye sight. Additionally, every back pack that is sold provides funding for anti-bullying initiatives here in the United States.

ALEX AND ANI

Alex and Ani is well known for their unique jewelry pieces. Did you also know that they also have specific bangles that give back to the UNICEF, March of Dimes,Toys for Tots, Alex’s Lemonade Stand  and more? Purchasing these bands will not only make great gifts but also help to make a difference to the charity that is dearest to your heart. If you are low on funds, not to worry. Alex and Ani will give back for you interact with them for their Giving Tuesday posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Starting retweeting and commenting away. For every comment, Alex and Ani are donating $1 to the Make A Wish Foundation!

Donate 

This holiday season is always one of the most charitable one. That being said, there are a lot of opportunities to donate old coats, shoes and clothes to come who can really use them. In fact, your old Amazon boxes can be put to good use. Simply use an old Amazon box and fill it with items you want to donate. Then go to GiveBackBox.com to print out your free label. Let your box out for UPS or USPS to deliver your box to charity!

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Jacket: Nordstrom // Sweater: J.Crew // Skirt: OLD; similar at Express // Boots: Nordstrom

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