Motivational Monday: How Small Gestures Make a Big Impact

Have you ever had a REALLY bad day, and someone recognized it and did something nice for you unexpectedly? Or have you walked into work and there was a nice note left for you written by a coworker and friend? Or have you received a text from a loved one that says, Have a great day!

It’s those unexpected small gestures that make a big impact on us. Even if a bad experience happened there are always ways to get through them. So, remember what those people who care for you, have done on a bad day or wanted to start your morning with a smile. Pass this on by doing the same for someone else. Send an I Love You text, especially to someone who is going through a rough time right now. Send a card in the mail to your friend who lives far away that says you’re thinking of them.

Remember, to do the same for yourself too, buy pretty flowers to keep in your home and put them where you’ll see them every morning before work, write yourself a note on pretty paper, keep notes from loved ones and hang them on a board where you can see them daily. Any of these will keep you remembering you are loved, happy and that you can make it through the week.

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 Have a Positive Experience in the Fitting Room

While working in clothing retail stores, I’ve found some clients to be fearful of trying on clothes simply because they’ve had a negative experience in the fitting room. I wanted to provide tips to take with you on your next shopping trip so that you can have a positive experience in the fitting room. My biggest lesson and takeaway I have for you is to keep trying on clothes until you find pieces you LOVE. Keep an open and positive mind-the more clothes you try on is when you’ll find what fits, items you love, gain your own personal style and confidence within yourself!
Try on 2 sizes-Whenever I shop at LOFT, I normally fit in a size small in shirts, however, depending on the shirts style-length of sleeves, width of top/neckline or bulk of fabric I may try on a small petite too. The difference between a regular and petite in clothing is that a petite is shorter-the sleeve length on a size regular shirt will be longer than on a petite shirt. Also, I always take in two sizes when it comes to jeans, only because all jeans fit differently.

Ask for Assistance-If you’re really having a hard time deciding if a piece flatters your figure, just ask a sales associate! They may be able to point you in the direction of another item, size or use an accessory (like a belt on a dress) to help complete the look. Asking for another size is better than getting dressed, finding the item in the store, just to go back into the fitting room to try on again.

Be Confident-Go out of the dressing room to walk around and look in the 3 way mirror (most stores have them) and decide if the piece fits properly. Do this especially with coats and dresses as you’ll want to see every angle of yourself.

Try on as many items as you can-Remember pieces look different on a hanger than on the human body, so if you like something a little bit, try it on! Stores will always have a variety of trendy pieces like belle sleeves, off the shoulder, so try them on to see if you’ll like it. Try on a new color-I LOVE anything blue but tried on a $3 pink top from Forever21 and fell in love (and received compliments on the color/style). Trying on new colors will also change your perspective on what colors compliment your skin tone.

Tip: Try on a piece you wouldn’t normally-it can be a fun way to see what styles you like.

Take your time & try on more than once-If something doesn’t fit properly hang it up on the rack in the fitting room and try on the next piece. This is why I suggested trying on as many items as you can because you can’t know how something looks/fits until it’s been tried on. If there’s a piece you’re skeptical about put it in a maybe pile, try on everything else then come back to it.
Ask yourself: What would I wear this with? How often would I wear this piece? Does the shirt fit me properly? Is the material going to last or will it pill easily after washing a few times?

With these tips, I hope you can have a more positive experience in the fitting room ❤
Do you have any fitting room rules for yourself?

How I Stock My Kitchen

When I go grocery shopping each week, I normally have a list of items to buy, but what I’ve come to realize is that I can add value to my shopping trip and stock my kitchen if I buy at least one extra item from the list below. This is helpful in case there were ever a time when I couldn’t run to the grocery store like getting sick or having a busy week.

Below are lists of items I stock up on:
Freezer-Organic chicken and beef and turkey burgers, pizza, vegetables (you can get bags of these for under a dollar at certain stores), fruits-strawberries and mixed berries, vegetable rice/quinoa and Greek yogurt pops.
Fridge-Water, Almond milk, yogurt, eggs
Pantry-Cereal, peanut butter, soup, pasta, tuna, cereal bars, rolled oats.
Other-Apples, oranges, avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers

Stocking up on these items means I will always have a full kitchen. It also means I’ll never run out of ideas on what to cook. While I might buy something one week, it means I can eat it when I’m in the mood for it later on. None of these items listed costs more than $10 total, so it won’t break my budget. For more information on budgeting read: How to Stick to a Weekly Food Budget When you give and take on your budget it all comes out the same-stock up on one expensive item one week-like organic chicken-then next week stock up on frozen vegetables.

How do you stock your kitchen? Let me know in the comments below or on social media @stylestomakeyousmile

Motivational Monday: Staying True to Your Values

Values are what you hold true in your life. As you mature, your values make you into who you are and you’ll put the energy from those values into everything you do-at work, in your relationships and within yourself. When you stay true to your values it shows outwardly who you are as a person. The things you value in life show other’s what is important to you. It is good to find people who value the same things as you.
Below are some of my values in life:

Spending time with loved ones.
Being appreciative and respectful toward others.
Staying positive in any situation.
What are your values in life and what do they mean to you?

Motivational Monday: Celebrate Life

People all want the same things in life which are to be happy, overcome struggles, find themselves, and be surrounded by people who love and support you and have great times turn into great memories.
For anyone who celebrates birthdays, always remember to treat every day as good as a birthday. You should celebrate being alive today. There is always something good in every day whether it’s something you did for someone or something someone said to you or something you did for yourself. Treating yourself as good as you treat others is can make a difference in your own happiness. Think of what you would say to a friend in a time of need and repeat that to yourself.

Wake up each morning to decide that today will be worth it. Any struggles you’re facing can always be worked through. As long as you don’t let your struggles diminish you, you can get to a point where the struggles you face today, won’t be your struggles for tomorrow.

There will always be a balance of struggle and celebration in life. If you can recognize the work you’re doing to win against the struggles than that in itself is a celebration of life. ❤

The Art of Browsing Clothing Stores

Whenever you’re feeling the urge to go shopping but don’t want to spend money, you can browse your favorite stores. In my lifetime I’ve worked in two malls. I often found myself shopping after work and since I would shop in my favorite stores consistently, I would see when the stores would have the best sales. I also got to see how long it would take an item to go on markdown.
*In the picture I’m wearing a beautiful dress from LOFT that I just LOVE! I’m waiting for it to go on sale so I can wear it all summer!

Here are my tips for browsing clothing stores:

Shop full priced items when the new product hits the floor. This is the perfect time to try on your size. Most stores will have at least 3 or more clothing items of your size available when the item is brand new. Trying on the items now allows you to see what items you like and what fits properly. By browsing the store and trying on clothes it really gives you the opportunity to think about what you’ll wear the item with, how it fits into your wardrobe and how often you’ll wear it. Want more tips? LINK TO SHOPPING TIPS.

My three favorite sales are 1. The ones where an item is on markdown AND it’s 40% or more off. 2. Final Sale Items because this is the lowest prices you’ll find in the store. I’ve found some great final sale items for $9! 3. Buy one, get one free! With all three sales you can find some really amazing deals and it won’t cost a fortune to update your wardrobe. In order to purchase from these sales it may take some waiting but that’s okay because if you’ve done your browsing ahead of time then by the time these sales hit you’ll be able to purchase from them.

Watch the merchandise’s cycle. New merchandise is always set up in the front of stores. This means it has a while before it will go on markdown. However, it will go on a percentage off sale at some point, so if you don’t want to wait for markdown, wait for it go on sale or until you receive a coupon in the mail. If the item is in the back of the store that means it’s been in the store for a while and it will go on markdown soon.

Another great reason for browsing is if you know you’ll be getting a coupon in the mail soon-whether it’s a birthday coupon, store cash or you have a coupon already but it can’t be used for another week/month. So, if you don’t want to wait until the day the coupon is active, start browsing now and you won’t have to wonder what you’ll buy when the time comes.
My ONLY exception to browsing, is if you LOVE IT, BUY IT. If you really can’t wait for the item to go on sale then buy it!

Do you browse stores often? What are your tips for browsing? What are your favorite stores to shop? Please let me know in the comments below or on social media! IG: Stylestomakeyousmile FB Page: Stylestomakeyousmile