September 16, 2014

Fall Finds All Under $50 - Things I'm Digging Lately

Let's start by talking about what I'm really digging right now lately.  Having a kick butt workout done, salads packed for the next 3 days of lunches, drinking a glass of vino and blogging/grading papers in silence.  Well I do have Monday night football on but that is my choice.  It really is the little things right? (and a double header softball game as well).

Okay so I am on a spending clothes freeze but I have made a rule if it's under $50 then maybe it can get added to the online shopping cart.  Plus those Zara ridding leggings are back and they are the best things ever.  So there's that.

Obsessed with these black lace up sandals, they are so hot right now and only $26!  I pretty much live in Hue denim leggings especially this grey color.  They aren't the thickest out there by any means but they are perfect for layering with long sweaters and sticking inside of boots without added bulk.  Also love their faux leather leggings.

I am all about transition pieces in Florida.  I try to look for Fall dresses with a pretty print and also have sleeves.  That way I can wear them with bare legs and open toes when it's still warm or when it cools down pair them with tights and boots.  Loving this print wrap dress.  I am all about asymmetric draping.  It reminds me of Helmut Lang that I can never afford but a girl can dream right.  This grey asymmetrically draped jacket is great to pair with skinnies and some booties.  This chiffon blazer has me intrigued as well.

Zara has the best leggings.  They are thick, stretchy and suck everything in.  I have them in just about every color.  The riding leggings are my favorite.  The run for 35.90 in stores and sell out online pretty quickly.  I featured them in this post forever ago but at least you can check the style of it.  I would probably never style them with those grey sandals but hey whaevs.  Give me a soft plaid scarf any day all day.  Also have my eye on this long wrap.  Plaid shirts.....will definitely be living in these.

When the Fall finally rolls in I am switching over to my red work bag.  This dark red structured tote would be a great addition! Also may have to add this grey zipped clutch.  Finally a great pair of brown riding boots are a must.  I ended up wearing my more inexpensive ones the most last year because I didn't have to worry about drudging them through rain and bad weather.  I am obsessed with these ones but they don't count because they are $5 over the limit but they are totally in the mail as we speak. The brown ones are already sold out but it's fine I wanted the black anyways......

Alright tell me about some of your Fall essentials!  I could have made an entire collage just with quilted vests especially this Gap plaid one but I digress.  Now I just need y'all to send me some of that cooler weather down to Florida so I can actually start wearing some of these picks!  Hope you're having a fabulous day!  xoxoxo

September 15, 2014

Weekending - Orange & Blue Blogger Meet up!

Welcome back Monday.  I need a few more hours of sleep especially after the fact the Gator game started at 7:30 and then went into triple overtime.  Yes.  You read that right.  We got back in the wee hours of the morning.  I felt like the good ole days of college of getting home when it was almost starting to get light.  It was completely worth it to have seen my two favs gals. Seriously why can't we all live closer to each other?  Let's get right into this!  Linking up with my beautiful bestie B who I got to see again on Saturday.  I'm becoming spoiled seeing her on a monthly basis like this!

I got to start the weekend off by doing what everyone talks about is their favorite part of wedding planning.

Then I actually got out of my stretch pants to make it out with Mark for the night.

Saturday we headed up to Gville to watch the Gators take on Kentucky.  All I have to say is.....this is going to be a long season......

After a trek across campus in 95 degree heat with 100% humidity I finally got to see B and Pamela!

After triple overtime here

We finally made it home.  Sunday was then pretty much spent doing this.

As well as playing with these.  I mean it sings to you when it's done.  I'm in love (yes that is a Gator dust buster NBD).

Let me leave you with something fun.  Seriously isn't this the cutest video ever? When I see things like this it just makes me think about how creative people are.  Oh and it makes me want to go back to college.....just for a second.

How was your weekend?  Have you had any blogger dates lately?  Have a fabulous day! xoxoxo

September 12, 2014

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  This week flew by and I'm so excited to be seeing Biana and Pamela tomorrow at the Gator Game!

Let's get right into it!

Favorite Song

My life has been a little hectic right now and trying to get in for a class when I'm not teaching has been a little hard to schedule so I'm really trying to get back into my running especially since the weather may hopefully be cooling down (maybe??) sometime soon!  Putting together some running playlists.  I was toying around with some Saturday running playlist blog posts if anyone was interested?  This was my favorite spin song.....I pretty much ended as many classes as I could with.  It is the best sprinting interval song when that beat drops at the 1:20 mark time to take off.  Sebastian Ingrosso, Tommy Trash, John Martin "Reload".

Favorite Recipe

After reading Lauren's story with her run in with her mandolin (warning I work in healthcare and I still cringed) I think I'll stick to my vegetable spiralizer.  It's a little temperamental but less deadly.  I absolutely love this Zucchini Noodles with Cilantro Lime Chicken recipe.  I add a little more lime and a red pepper for color and taste.  I even got Mark to eat it as a side...

Favorite Workout

This girl is one of the popsugar trainers I can actually deal with......she's not overly peppy.  Those planks walk with hip drop, total insanity but great bang for your buck move.  Try it!  Only 10 minutes but a burner!

Favorite Purchase

I made one exception to my spending freeze because they don't take up a lot of room......good rationale right?  I am always on the hunt for good fitting faux leather leggings and naturally Hue stepped up to the plate at a fairly reasonable price.  Can't wait to tuck these into booties with a chunky sweater when it actually get's cool here.

Favorite Funnies

Every single day of my life....

Times by how many cute kid patients I see in a day

Pretty much how all arguments should end.....

The truth.....what was even harder was when I had to part with that 20lbs zippered book

When I hear a song on the radio break that I played in my spin class well over a year ago....

Pretty much me after our cake testing yesterday

Which makes me now want to do this (I guarantee she's listening to Beyonce)

Or this.....

but let's be honest we know how that would end up for me

I will leave you all with this......what is our world coming to?  I wish I was joking......

Alright now it's your turn!  Tell me your favorites from this week!  Who is your team playing this weekend?  Hope you have a fabulous one xoxoxoxo

September 11, 2014

The Butterfly Effect-The What Ifs Of Life

Alright y'all I have had this post sitting in my drafts for some time I have been scared waiting to drop it.  However after reading Helene's post the other day about her thoughts on life's occurrences, it really gave me the final push and confidence to go ahead and finally hit that publish button.  I have always turned to Helene when it comes to all things blogging and she has been the sweetest go to person for me!  I absolutely recommend her and did you know she is a blogger consultant now? She is always that next step ahead which is why you should totally check her out.

So this post is one of those where you have the idea in your head and you sit down and in a manic driven fury 20 minutes later you have an entire post of words and you don't even remember writing them. You know I try to keep things pretty light and funny around these parts but I was driving home from work the other day and this question popped into my mind.  It happens once and a while and it all stems from that movie you might have seen it called the Butterfly Effect.  The movie is based upon the chaos theory which proposes how small initial differences might lead to significant unforeseen consequences over time.  Ashton Kutcher is in it.....he's not that fantastic in my book but the whole concept of small life events that can have significant life altering effects has always stayed with me.

Loosely associated but on the same track as the fact I use to read those books growing up Choose Your Own Adventure.  You come to a fork in the road do you go left or right?  Opps left......sorry you didn't make it.  Then you would have to go back and choose right. Honestly between these books and R. L Stine what did we read growing up right?

With all this said I am not a person at all to live in the past.  I am confident in all my decisions.  I am not one to live the glory days of High School.  I mean I may reminisce about the good ole days of college where sleeping till noon was acceptable as well as eating Moo Moo Mr. Cows from Moe's were a staple of my diet.  I love looking forward and believe with each passing year I am getting wiser and more confident.  So this is in no way a reflection of the what ifs in a sorrowful way but more out of curiosity to ask if I had made that other decision where would I be now?

There have been probably a handful of instances in my life that I can honestly remember very clearly that if I had many the choice or decision or if the circumstance presented a different way, I feel like my current life situation would be drastically different.  I'm not going to get into religion but I do honestly believe in the cliche expression everything happens for a reason.  I do believe that there is a higher being watching out for me to help guide the path that has brought me to where I am today. Now don't come at me with the dropping the cliche line there I do think we make conscious everyday decisions but there are those fate/stars aligned kind of things that do make you wonder if there is more to it all.  Anyways, here are a few situations that I often think about some seem quite trivial when you write them but they did have huge impacts on my present day life.

I grew up right outside of Boston and the majority of kids I graduated High School with were going to stay local and attend colleges close by.  The majority were going to Boston University, Boston College or NorthEastern all of which I had gotten into. Instead of staying in my comfort zone and going off to school with them I decided to move down south 1500 miles away and attend the University of Florida.  I didn't know a single soul there.  I packed my car and never looked back.  I did go back up north for Grad school but when a job presented back in Florida I leapt at the chance.  Now I am solidly grounded in this state and have no plans of moving back north. But what if I had stayed up there for college?  Would I be living in the city still with my High School friends like I see on Facebook?  Or would I have moved to New York and live in a 500 sf ft apartment with them? Where would I be right now if I had stayed in Boston for college?

Moving along.  This sounds so cheesy but it had a big effect.  I came to Florida early to rush.  Now in Massachusetts the Greek life was non-existent but when I came down for preview the Greek life was everywhere.  So I was there that week before to rush.  I met my roommate the day of rush and she was amazing.  We were instant best friends.  She wasn't rushing and kinda down played the whole greek life.  I didn't know anything different so I didn't rush.  I look back and think what if I had rushed that year? I was able to really study hard and get straight A's my freshman year which opened the door to so many academic opportunities and landed me a highly coveted research job.  If I had rushed I probably would have lived in the house and wouldn't have focused on my academics as much.  I also would have had a completely different group of friends and who knows where my life would have taken me with that?  I ended up rushing my Sophomore year which was a completely different experience because I was a year wiser and already knew what house I wanted to be in.  But what if I had rushed my freshman year?  Would my grades had been as good as they were to get accepted into UPenn for Grad school?  What a question.

This one is even more random.  I was dating a boy I met the first night out at one of the Fraternity "late night parties".  We were dating my entire first semester there as a freshman.  Well then wouldn't you know I did something that was typical of an immature 18 year old and he promptly never talked to me again.  He ended up dating someone else pretty soon there after and they are married with two kids.  But what if I hadn't done that immature thing?  Would I have stayed in Florida and never gone to Penn because I didn't want to leave that relationship?  Or maybe it would have ended shortly there after and it wouldn't even have mattered.

Along the same line as making decisions that involve men (why??? do they get so much focus right?)  When I was at Penn I met a really great guy around the same time I took the amazing job opportunity in Florida.  I knew I couldn't pass up the job so I left but I was really torn.  In the end I absolutely love my job and have been working at the same practice ever since I left Grad school.  If I stayed there I probably wouldn't have met Mark who I'm going to marry in a little over 5 months!!

The other night I was driving back from Barre in the dark and it was raining.  I was looking forward at a green light and out of the corner of my eye I noticed someone on a bike trying to race in front of my car in the middle of the road.  I was able to slam on my brakes and avoid him but if I hadn't had that glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye I would have hit the person on the bike who was illegally crossing.  Luckily I was able to see them and avoid a potentially very scary situation.  I knew at that exact moment someone had been watching out for me.  But what if there had been that second delay and I hadn't had the opportunity to swerve?  What if something on my phone beeped and I looked down for a second?

There are times that I take to reflect on moments like these and think about the butterfly effect.  The slightest change in your life could have dramatically different outcomes.  What are your thoughts on this?  Do you think we have a pre-determined destiny that we are going to arrive at no matter what?  Do you have any what ifs thoughts in your life?  I can honestly say that I am completely blessed and at this moment in my life the happiest I have ever been.  All of those life occurrences has lead me down a path that brings me to my current situation where I have met the love of my life, have a strong and loving family.  As well as a job that I love that challenges me every day.

I know this was a deep one but had to get this out of my head and onto this creative outlet space of mine.  Let me know what you think!

*Disclaimer*  Everyone has their own beliefs and values please respect everyones comments xoxoxoxo

September 10, 2014

The #1 Reason Why You Can't Grow Your Blog With Facebook

Let me start this post off by saying I am no means the expert when it comes to all things blogging. Actually I don't believe I have really dived into how to grow a blog type of post before because really don't they all just say the same thing?  Be consistent, engage your followers etc etc.  I wanted to fill everyone in on my latest social experiment because as you all know how much I love researching everything beyond normal means.

So a little while back I made a Facebook page for Mark's law practice.  Whenever he would share the latest DUI checkpoint of the weekend or his biggest viral post was when the ban on texting came into effect in Florida (for some reason you can still talk on the phone but you can't text....why can't we ban both, the drivers are terrible enough????) but I digress.....Anyways so when he posted that it was September of 2013, (I also don't know about big brother Facebook so I will just show you this).

Seems simple enough right?  You share a post, people see it, like it, share it and then it goes viral.

Then Facebook comes along and changes it's algorithm which they claim is more beneficial to you because it helps filter the content from all your friends and just shows in your feed the people you engage with more frequently.

That is not the case.

What it means is that organic posts or posts you don't pay to promote will essentially get capped and will barely reach your audience.  For example.  One of my most popular posts is whenever I share anything Barre related because usually the Barre studios pick it up and it gets shared with their community and pre-algorithm it should then go "viral".  Once again wrong.  Even though it get's shared it was capped and only reached around 400 views even though 7 different studios shared it.

I have been getting frustrated by the lack of consistency with my posts and people reached.  I post at the same time and get a large variety of people reached.  So I kept on getting this little reminder from Facebook to "boost my post" and I wanted to see what would happen.  If I "threw some money at the problem" where would this go.

Well wouldn't you know.  If you pay for your posts magically people are able to see them.

Now tell me how ridiculous that is?  You're telling me I won't be able to reach my target audience.....the 500 people that have liked my page without me paying for it to happen?  I was left with the worst taste in my mouth about Facebook and it's complete Big Brother you only show me what you think I want to see in my feed and with that the majority will be from people that buy the ability to be there?

I naturally don't like taking that and saying well that's life and let's move on.  I began to study my posts to see why some reached more on some days versus other days.  I was able to come up with these few hacks.  Now naturally Facebook will probably change this but for now this seems to help.

#1 Add Your Own Picture.

Instead of just letting your picture embed upload a picture with each post.  Usually the more visually appealing the better.  That way when people see the picture and click on the link, that shows the algorithm this post is engaging and therefore allows it to show up in more feeds.  People loved the Engagement pictures.

You know what people apparently don't care about?  Rompers.....

Or Circuit training workouts....

Encourage Your Friends & Followers to Comment

It seems when your friends comment more on your posts they seem to reach more people.  When they reach more people then people "like" the post more and therefore it tends to spread out a little more.

See When Your Peeps Are Online

I use to upload my post first thing in the morning and realized it wasn't jiving well with my followers.

I now usually wait until later on in the evening to post and that seems to help increase the reach views.  

What It All Boils Down To.....

If you aren't going to fork over the cash (like who would?) you are not going to be able to organically (aka not pay) reach all your followers without this "boosting" ability from Facebook.  The days of viral posts with just good content and shares is long gone.  

My blogging community challenge now to you is to start following each others pages and to comment more frequently and share amongst our own Blog's FB pages.  See if that helps with increasing your number and people reached.  What it looks like are the biggest factors are actual post clicks, comments and likes.  Let's try it over the next few weeks and see if it makes a difference.   If you have a Facebook page for your blog please feel free to leave the link to it in the comments (how to make a hyperlink).

Shameless plug and grand finale you can follow my Meet @ the Barre Facebook page here.

What are your thoughts on Facebook stifling your organic reach?  Would you pay to boost a post?  Did you know about this algorithm change?  Can you honestly believe that by spending $20 I was able to reach over 4500 people?  Make sure to follow everyones FB blog pages in the comments!  xoxoxoxo

September 9, 2014

Things I'm Digging Lately-Hair Edition

I'm putting myself on a clothes spending freeze right now because pretty much everything that I buy will have to be packed up and moved in a few months so I really don't want to add more work to my overly stressed out thoughts about moving anyways. So pretty much I have shifted my focus to beauty and hair products because they take up less room and are fun to play with am I right?  I have also been shopping in my own closet and I really have some fabulous things tucked away that have been hidden by man suits.....literally why do their clothes take up so much room?  Okay so let's get into some of the products I'm digging this week!

This BBB hair conditioner

My amazing hair dresser picks up products that she thinks I will love and this one was in my latest care package.  I have pretty thin hair so I don't like heavy conditioners but I sprayed it on in the shower and let it sit while I did all my time consuming things like shave my legs and then rinsed it out.  For deeper conditioning you can spray it on and leave it in (probably more like your ends I'm assuming).  It is seriously the best detangler ever and my ends looks shiny and bouncy.  I haven't seen bouncy ends since I was like 7 and didn't dye my hair.  I highly recommend it.  It does come in a smaller size if you want to try it before committing to the big guns.

This hair wand

It took me forever to take the plunge to get one of these bad boys.....and then about an hour of working with it on not plugged in so I didn't singe my face off or like accidentally drop it and scald myself when it was cranked up to full heat.  It comes with a is probably smart if you use it I just haven't.....I mean that's like an additional step and apparently I like playing Russian roulette.  Anyways, it gives great beachy looking waves that hold the curl really nice.  Plus I think it looks more naturally when you leave the ends out.  I'm thinking of doing a short how to use tutorial video.  If I can bribe my camera man it will be coming your way if anyone is interested?  See pretty waves!

How to get that bumpit look without actually using a bumpit

Oh my......seriously did y'all ever get fooled into buying these plastic death traps?  I think my favorite was the bumpit for the bangs.  Like that would ever be attractive.  My hair was always too thin and the bumpit would show.......not the look I was shooting for.  Then I would spray the heck out of my hair.  It was always a joy after the fact to get those plastics claws out of my hair......let's just say getting the sensor out of my hair was an easier process. 

oh that was like me with Victoria Secret pushup bras in cringeworthy stuff now

Anyways this product is amazing.  Sprinkle some at the crown of your roots....give it a good ole teasing (love this teasing brush) and you will be rocking that higher the hair closer to heaven look.

This headband

A few of you asked me about this studded headband that I had on in this picture
It is actually a double wrap leather studded bracelet that I used as a headband.  I snapped it in the back and held it in place with a mini hair clip.  Some hairspray and you are good to go!  This one is old but similar here and here.

This perfume

Now I am always partial to my Guerlain L'Instant but I was introduced to this new scent and I can't get enough!  Now granted all perfumes smell different when sprayed on yourself but this one has a soft powder but a little heavier staying power.  Try to grab some samples when you swing by Sephora or Nordstrom next time.  I am using mine on ration until it runs out and then may need to bite the bullet at add it to the list.

This concealer brush

I've already professed my love to this before but I've been using it daily for the past few months and I am singing its praises!  First of all it has a sweet little snap case that guards the top of the brush.  Nothing worse than traveling with brushes that get all smashed in your makeup case.  Not going to happen with this one.  It blends flawlessly and doesn't tug at your delicate under eye skin.  Highly recommend!

Alright one shopping lust!

This rose gold wrap is absolutely on my lust list......perhaps adding to the Christmas wish list?

Oh and this vest!  Every since I got the J. Crew Herringbone Vest I am pretty much obsessed with slim fitting quilted vests.  This navy vest is a fraction of the J. Crew one and has the exact same fit.

Alright those are some of the products that have been on my radar lately!  What hair products have you been digging lately? Make sure to check back tomorrow as I give my full review on my thoughts about trying to grow your blog with Facebook.....or the lack there of with their new algorithm.  Hope you are having a fabulous start to your week!  xoxoxo