The Style Collective Conference

Joining the Sisterhood of Style Collective has been one of the best decisions I’ve made since starting my blog. Read more HERE on why I joined Style Collective. As soon as I found out Annie, the owner of SC was holding a conference during New York Fashion Week I knew I had to go!

Style Collective has the best community! Right away after joining I met bloggers who I follow, support and talk to weekly. This attributed to wanting to go to the conference because I knew I’d meet more like them and even met a few during conference! It was amazing to be in a room full of women who all have the same likeminded values and goals for their blogs. Meeting the women from SC who I’ve been following on social media was a big deal because these women were exactly who they portray themselves to be online. They were friendly, nice and I got to know them on a personal level.

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Being able to hear from speakers who are in the industry is an incredible bonus! Annie had a variety of women speak from influencers, life coaches and an author. These people are here for you to learn from and ask advice. None of the speakers held back on the truth about the blogging industry, they shared the ups and downs. One of the speakers I was dying to meet was Cara Alwill. She’s the author of Like She Owns the Place and has written seven other books, plus has a podcast-Style Your Mind. I’m a huge fan of hers because she’s honest and authentic.

I received a shout out during the opening of the conference from Annie which transferred onto her podcast, The Becoming Fearless podcast. This shows just how close Annie and I were before meeting in person. Annie is amazing in the way she connects with everyone in SC because she truly cares about you and your blog/business.

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There was a contest during the conference for posting pictures from the day and I won a beautiful blue Mon Amie watch! I love the color, the diamonds and that it’s iridescent. Also, we were provided an amazing swag bag of goodies!! We received everything from jewelry, makeup and skincare products from various vendors.

We received a workbook to write in during the conference. Inside were lined pages to write notes in and a quiz to help you determine the purpose behind your blog. I had written about five pages of notes, jotting down things that I wanted to remember that the speakers said, quotes and important websites to reference.

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Throughout the day we were able to get our hair and makeup done by Be Glammed. They also gave everyone a gift certificate to use at their stores.

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At the end of the conference, VIP members were to write a letter to themselves that Annie would mail to us. I literally sat in my chair frozen because I was so emotional. I thought to myself, I NEVER WANT TO FORGET THIS MOMENT. This moment of being happy and doing something for myself that was completely out of my comfort zone-planning a trip to NYC and navigating the city, meeting new bloggers (some I’d been following online for a few months and it was surreal to meet them in person, like they actually exist!), meeting Annie and the speakers and overall having a wonderful NEW experience. I learned in that moment that it feels AMAZING to allow yourself to be apart of new experiences. Yes, it can be scary to put yourself out there, but I met incredible women because I went to conference, so you see the outcome outweighs the stress of going. It can be so easy to freak yourself out by telling yourself all the reasons you shouldn’t do something, but if you just do it I guarantee it will be worth it in the end.

Will you be joining the SC Sisterhood ? I hope to see you at the next conference! Follow me online @stylestomakeyousmile & let me know if you’re an SC Sister and I’ll connect with you 😊

Say YES to Treating Yourself

Self-love is one of the best feelings in the world. Why? Because it means you’re making time for yourself. What you put out into the world matters, so if you are feeling like you need some alone time to rejuvenate yourself, you should. Your gut will always tell you when you need a break. I think we’ve all been there, when we’re so stressed out and frustrated with everything going on around us that we just need time away to focus and bring positivity back. When we treat ourselves, it means that we can be our best selves to everyone in our lives.

Some of the ways I’ve said yes to myself this year are: scheduling a weekly workout routine, planning dinners, fueling the body with the food it needs to function properly (I’ve done this by trial and error and I always know when my body is needing something different), sleeping on a normal schedule, waking up early and blogging before going into work, communicating with likeminded women online and taking myself on vacation.

Have you tried any of these as self-care? Have they worked for you?

Say YES to yourself every single day, whether that is by doing one of the things listed above or reading a book or laying in a bath while listening to a podcast or taking a walk. When we take time to drown out what everyone around us is doing and listen to ourselves, you will be able to hear yourself speak about the things you REALLY want to pursue. Once you begin to hear yourself think, GO DO IT. I promise you won’t regret it. Once you unleash your ideas your mind will be focused on how you can create what’s been in your mind all along.

Happy Monday! ❤

Motivational Monday: Be Fearless

Yesterday, I sat outside and watched two young girls walk up to the top of a waterfall. One climbed to the top of the waterfall quickly, and then fled down waiting for the other girl. The other girl took her time getting to the top, moving carefully, when she got to the top she felt the water and then slowly made her way down and ran to catch up with the other girl.

When I was the girls age (around 10-12), I remember being like the first girl who climbed the waterfall quickly, who had no fear. Around this age my cousin instilled fearlessness in me as he told me he’d only ride roller coasters with me if I were to ride in the front seat. I didn’t want to say no, so I did it and from then on rode the front seat of every. single. rollercoaster. Before I was the girls age, I was very shy. But growing up in the country made me want to explore everything and be fearless.

So, as I sat there yesterday watching the girls I thought, when did I lose that fearlessness? When did I let growing up in this world change my perception from fearless to fearful? The answer: it’s because of all the negative experiences I’ve had personally or have seen happen to others that have made me fearful.

To combat fear, we must change our mindset to know that not every bad experience will replay in our lives. We need to have people in our lives who’ll tell us not to be afraid or we will never be free.

To those young girls, I hope they continue to walk this world fearless even if one is timid than the other-she still followed the fearless girl, which means she can be fearless on her own ❤

Happy Monday!

Motivational Monday: Reality & Dreams

I spent the other night looking at photos from the past 5 years and found myself comparing my life then to what it is now. When looking back those years feel like a dream because my life is so different than before.

I thought to myself, what if someone new came into my life and looked through photos of my past? While I realized they’d know more about my past without any explanation from me, I also realized what happened then doesn’t define who I am now.

Every experience and challenge has shaped me into who I am today. This is the same for anyone, we are not who we are yesterday if we choose. But that’s the key, we have to choose who we want to be-that’s our reality. Defined by our experiences and left to dwell on the past? Or take the lessons from the past and move on, keep going and stay positive.

So, what days will you choose to have?

How to Resist Foods-And Why I’m Giving Up Chocolate for the Month of June

Here’s why I decided to take on this challenge-I want personal growth of not relying on chocolate to be the only satisfying food in my life. Immediately after dinner I’ll want chocolate and it doesn’t matter if I’m full from dinner or not, I just want it, so I’ll eat it regardless. However, I’ve realized that the foods you don’t have in your home means you can’t eat them. It’s been YEARS since I’ve walked down the cookie and soda aisle to pick up a box of cookies or bottle of soda. I realize now I can incorporate this same method into buying healthier items instead of something chocolatey for after dinner-like ice cream, chocolate ice cream sandwiches, etc. Last year, I realized that every time I bought a regular size tub of ice cream I’d devour it in a LESS THAN A WEEK. Once I caught on to doing this, I stopped buying it, again, I didn’t walk down the ice cream aisle.
I’m not saying I’m never going to buy or eat chocolate again. I’m doing this experiment to see how much will power I have to go without chocolate for one month and to make myself eat healthier options after dinner and on the weekends as a snack.
Here are my tips when it comes to self-resistance of chocolate or any food you’re trying to avoid while shopping at the grocery store:
1. Have a positive mindset-Tell yourself that you’re taking on this challenge for a good reason. Decide what you want to substitute chocolate (or any food) for. For me, this is fruit-raspberries, grapes, blackberries or blueberries. While I know fresh fruit can be pricey, it’s also substituting for the chocolate I’m not buying, which ultimately costs the same price.

2. Do not walk down the grocery aisle that the food you need to avoid is in-This is simpler than it sounds. If you’re trying to avoid eating cookies, don’t walk down the cookie aisle. IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE FOOD IN YOUR HOME, YOU CAN’T EAT IT. This is why it’s important to make substitutions instead of going cold turkey. Because I’m use to eating chocolate after dinner, my rule is to either make dinner portions big enough so I’m full or subbing chocolate for fruit.
**If for some reason you have to walk down this particular aisle, be mindful by telling yourself not to stare at the items and keep walking.

3. Give yourself a timeline-Make this sustainable-not too long or too short. You want to give yourself enough time to really explore how you feel about the challenge. Do you have cravings or is the fruit you’re eating keeping you satisfied?

4. Think about the benefits of why you’re making this change-Mine is for health and mindfulness reasons. After graduating college, I received my first cavity. I was convinced it was from two things, becoming older and years of eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. During college I drank lemonade (hello, sugar overload!) like it was my job. Once I got that cavity filled, I only drank water. I switched my mindset of allowing myself to ONLY drink water. I also want to be more mindful of what I’m putting in my body and knowing when to stop after being full from dinner. I started a workout routine and since then I’ve noticed my body tells me when it’s time to stop eating. Also, the healthier foods you put in, the more energized your body will be!

5. Don’t give up-If you’re going to commit to a challenge for a certain timeframe, make sure to stick to it! Tell your loved ones too, so they won’t tempt you with the foods you’re trying to avoid.
Any of these tips can be useful for changing your lifestyle in many different ways. Create goals and timeframes to accomplish what you’ve set out to do and they’ll become a positive way of life.
What food would you give up for an entire month? Have you ever used any of these tips to accomplish your goals? Please let me know in the comments below!

Motivational Monday: Replace the Words, “I don’t have time” with “I’ll make time”

There is always something that we wish we could do more of but people will tell you they don’t have time to do so. So, how you make time to do the things you love?
Replacing the words, “I don’t have time” to “I’ll make time” can help anyone get in the right mindset of making positive choices for their life today. The things you put off because you don’t have time, try to put into perspective, how long is the thing you don’t have time for really going to take? Fifteen minutes? A half hour? An hour? Once you’ve recognized how long it will take, figure out a time frame that fits into your day.

Decide today that tomorrow you will wake up and do whatever it is you claim you don’t have time for. Whether that means you need to wake up earlier, take a break from the TV or social media, do whatever it takes to get it done.

Today, you can write what it is you want to get done in your calendar for tomorrow which will hold you accountable because you’ve written it down-this is all about visualizing that what you’ve planned for tomorrow IS GOING TO HAPPEN. Visualization is a key component to realizing your goals.
Lastly, hold yourself to your promise that you will spend the time it takes do what you’ve written down. Making time for yourself is so important because it shapes who you are and who you want to become. You then go from a vision of saying this is what I keep claiming I don’t have time for, to I’m making the time to do it, and look what I just accomplished! Keep writing down things you want to get done in your calendar so you can achieve more of your goals.

What are some things you need to make time for? Please let me know in the comments!

How To Organize Your Closet-Part One

When I was growing up I would organize my closet twice a year, once at the end of each summer to get ready for new fall/winter clothes and at the beginning of the spring for summer clothes. Before going shopping, I would go through everything from last year’s previous season styles and put away the opposites seasons clothes.

Here’s a checklist of how to organize your closet:

Go through your closet-Really look at the pieces in your closet. Figure out what it is you are and are not wearing and why. Once you do this, you’ll realize what you have in your closet and what you need to buy. Do you need more cardigans, pants, or shoes? Knowing what you have and need are half the battle when it comes to shopping.

Try It On-Just like you would try on clothes in a store, try on anything you are unsure of fitting. This is key for any pieces you have not worn in a while. Once you have it on, ask yourself if the item still fits, if so, are you still going to wear it this season? If the answer is yes, great! If no, make a donate pile and if it’s a maybe, then keep until after you’re done shopping. Remember those “maybe” items while shopping, so you can fit them into your new wardrobe.

Make Piles-Once you’re done trying on clothes, make three piles, yes, donate, maybe. Of course, throw away any items with holes, stains, rips, dirty underwear or socks. Put any donate items in a bag or bin. Also, since the seasons are changing, store the previous season’s clothes into a large bin. Inside the bin, store like items together. This will create ease when the seasons change and you have to take everything out again. This cuts down on closet clutter, out of sight out of mind. If you have room in your closet or another closet available, put any larger seasonable items, such as winter jackets, to the back of your closet or in another room. This will lessen the space for this season’s wardrobe.

Donate-Anything I grew out of as a child I donated. When my cousins were younger, a lot of my clothes went to them, which was a great way to keep cute outfits in the family! Today, I offer my friends and family clothes I no longer wear and they do the same with theirs. My friends and I even make it fun by bringing the items we want to give away to a girl’s night and show the clothes after dinner. I also donate to charities such as the Rescue Mission and Salvation Army. Back home we had a store called The Pink Door, which is where a majority of my items went. Donating clothes as a child was a great lesson to give back to others and it’s still something I continue to do and would encourage anyone to do the same. My rule for donating-if you haven’t worn it in two years, donate it!

Overall, the main point of organizing your closet is for you to keep track of what you have and what you need. Go through your closet twice a year and be honest with yourself about what you want to stay vs. donate. If you feel like you are stock piling items you never wear, donate them. If you’re struggling with buying too many clothes, try reading this article on The Art of Browsing Clothing Stores I hope these tips help to reduce clutter in your closet and helps you have a more organized closet in the future ❤

Stay tuned for Part Two of How to Organize Your Closet where I’ll share the ultimate way to organize inside your closet. It’s a fool proof way that I’ve used for over two years and I can’t wait to share with you all!

What are your tips for organizing your closet? How do you keep it fresh every season?