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Have you ever found yourself at a cross roads wondering if you are where you are supposed to be in life? Being in my twenties, I find myself questioning where I am in life and my abilities. Last year, I have been spending a lot of time growing as a blogger. I wanted to find ways to make my blog a side hustle and perhaps even monetize here on my blog.

Needless to say, I became consumed with growing here on my blog that I did not take the time for truly enjoy the holidays when it arrived. My first and most important priority has always been my family and dearest friends. I love this blog. I love everything that I have created and all the accomplishments I have achieved. But I have understood, now more than ever, the importance of balance.

I have not been shy admitting that I have battled with depressed and anxiety in the past. While I am positive in everything I do, pretending that I have a life that is always perfect is a lie. And the last thing I want to do is lie about who I am as a person. Depression is not a fight. It’s a battle – one that I face every day. And thankfully, I know I am not alone.

So when I realized that I basically let my favorite holiday go by so quickly, my depression  started to win a battle or two. I felt so un-fullfied and disappointed in myself that I let one part of my life overshadow the other. But this year, this are going to be different. This year, I am going to be making some changes.

I have decided first and foremost to make my happiness my top priority. This is something I started last year and I encourage you to do the same. Last year, I made a choice to put my happiness first by stepping away from people who are unsupportive of me. That is one of the secrets to staying positive. Have you ever heard the phrase your tribe attracts your vibe? Guess what: this phrase is true. Who you surround yourself with in the next 5 years will determine the type of person you will become. We are social creatures and as such, are influenced by the people who choose to spend our time with. Choose wisely. 

Lately, I have been wearing beret a lot. And I have come to realize it is because I have a travel bug that needs to see the world (perhaps France..?). Growing up in a poorer middle class, I have only had the chance to travel a few times. Now that I am older and am establishing my career, I hope this year is filled with new adventures. Traveling offers humility and a sense of gratitude. I do hope this year is a year when I get to meet new people as well as see new places. Anytime I do get the chance to travel, I feel fulfilled in a way that nothing else can.

Lastly, I have two promises. A promise to myself and a promise to all of you. Last year, I did not spend my time wisely. If someone asked me to do a blog post for free brand awareness without any pay, I did it. I felt that because my follower account was low (and that I needed some brand awareness myself) I would take deals with brands that would cost me hundreds in time and effort. Not anymore. I recognize my worth as a blogger as well as the value of what I can put on to the table for brands. That is why I have decided that I will ONLY work with brands that I truly trust or believe in. I love that you all come to me in confidence and I do not want that to change. There are so many things in this industry that are fake. The last thing I want to do is be fake with any of you. My promise to you: to stay authentic.

My promise to myself is to work on creating balance in my life. Psalm 46:10 is a very that I carry with me on a day to day basis. The first line of it is be still. A great trait that I have is that I love to hustle. I like to stay productive as often as I can. There is nothing wrong with being a go-getter. But our minds and bodies do need to take a break from work and our endeavors every now and then. I have a hard time being still but I recognize for my own mental health, I need to be better at it. My mission this year is to better my best version of myself. I hope that this year you also chose to do the same.

Thank you all for your continuous support and love. Most importantly, thank you for allowing me to voice my honesty with you all.

Thank you Katie Vee Photography for this amazing photographs!

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Jacket: OLD ; similar from ASOS here // Beret: H&M ; similar here & here // Boots: H&M // Pants: OLD ; similar at Nordstrom here

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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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