February 2015 Favorites

Let’s take a look back at favorites for February

Favorite Instagram account is fieldguided. I try to only mention accounts people have never heard of, but even if half of the readers of this blog already follow, it’s worth mentioning to those that are not familiar with Anabela’s dreamy feed. I love it because there is pink, lots of cats, bath bombs, and such a magical feed. Plus Anabela is just an all around wonderful person to follow. 

Favorite music is Colleen Green. This is one of the reasons I love subscribing to Rdio- it recommends new music for me, and knows me so well. I don’t like automatically jumping to comparisons for an artist but I can’t help but think of Best Coast and the Ramones when I listen to CG. It just came out last Tuesday, but I can’t help already making it a favorite. It’s a fun, pop, mix with a little grunge. The first song reminds me of Hole but as I kept listening, I couldn’t help but tap and sing along with her catchy chorus’. 

Favorite purchase was my Inkwell Planner. After I saw Ashley TIA’s video on it, I ordered one and I love it. It changed my life seems very dramatic but I can’t leave that part out. It really has changed my quality of life. My favorite part besides the organization is the pages, pages, pages of notes. There is so much writing and so many blank pages, I’m able to do a little scrapbooking with it. I don’t want to go to much into why I love it here but I plan to blog about it in more detail. It definitely deserves it’s own highlighted post. 

Favorite (unexpected) book is Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite book of the month, but it’s my a book I didn’t think I’d like at first. I was ready to put it down after a few pages, but as a personal challenge, I decided to keep reading. Someone recommend this book to me after I told them I liked Harry Potter. It’s a book about a perfect prom queen high schooler, Harper Price, who’s life goal is Cotillion and other “southern belle” events. She ends up in a strange situation where she becomes an wizard assassin. Weird, right? I don’t want to give anything away but while the whole story seems so ridiculous, but the writer makes it work. It’s fantasy meets sci fi meets chick lit meets YA. I told you it was unexpected!

Here's to March 2015! 

Book Review; To All The Boys I've Loved Before

I had surgery a few days ago and the best thing about recovery was discovering writer Jenny Han. To All The Boys I've Loved Before is a YA book and while it has a girl on the cover that I'm assuming is a portrayal of Lara Jean, the book, to me, is about the Song family. Lara Jean's mom dies at a young age and she is left with her dad, and her sisters Margot and Kitty. Lara Jean writes anti-love letters to the crushes she's had in the past, almost like a diary and she shares her deepest feelings about them, knowing the letters won't ever be read. She keeps them in a vintage hat box her mother gave her. The book follows the teenage drama when the letters are mailed out one day. I won't share spoilers about what happens with the letters, but the way Lara Jean deals with it is both charming and annoying. I wanted to shake my fist at her for her poor choices throughout the book but at the same time I remember being a teenager once and thinking with my feelings. She's also sweet, funny and for dealing with the death of her mom, LJ has a good head on her after she catches it from spinning. The relationship between the siblings develop even though Margot is gone half the book from a trip overseas. I've read so many YA books about girls swooning over boys and this book has the same narrative but a twist. Lara Jean realizes she doesn't need any boy, but as long as she has her family, she'll be fine. It's cute, it's fun, and I loved it. You can buy the book on Amazon or go to the library and check it out for free! 

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Grief Is A Mix Playlist: Review of Love Is A Mix Tape

Ok, so I’ll admit i bought Rob Shefflield'sLove is a Mix Tape because of the cover. It wasn’t the most mature decision, but one of my best decisions when it comes to judging books by it’s cover. At the time I got this book, I was reading a ton of YA and since I thought it was a YA book about break ups, little did I realize then, it was recommended in a cluster of grief books I was also reading. This book surprised me. Not just because it’s about grief, but because it’s an awesome book about grief. Yes, awesome and grief in the same sentence. Very few times do I read a book that feels like I’m having a conversation with the author, and this time it felt like Shefflied was telling me about Renee, his wife that passed, the music they loved and shared and the music that got him through his pain. Halfway through the book it gets a little unexpectedly heavy but I loved it. I mean, it’s about a sad topic, and no matter how cool Rob is, no one can make grief cool. 

When I used to blog on Live Journal and use MySpace, they were riddled with music lyrics. Most of the time terrible, vague, passive aggressive (oh to be emotionally immature again), and angry. Just like it helped me in those times, music helped me outrageously in my grief and Love is a Mix Tape reminded me of this. I found myself highlighting so much of the book. 

"You lose a certain kind of innocence when you experience this type of kindness. You lose your right to be a jaded cynic. You can no longer go back through the looking glass and pretend not to know what you know about kindness. It’s a defeat, in a way."- Rob Sheffield

When Max died, I felt so unworthy of people’s kindness. I still do. I felt undeserving of even a text, tweet, an email. My mind can’t process this many people being kind, and after so long, it is defeat. I stopped denying myself of this type of love, even if it’s from a complete stranger. My heart opened, it allowed me to heal, and even to this day, not one single comment, in any form of medium shared, goes unnoticed. It goes straight to the heart. 

“When we die, we will turn into songs, and we will hear each other and remember each other."- Rob Sheffield

 When I think of old friends, I think of songs we listened to for hours in our rooms, driving, going to shows, and even when those songs annoyed me, those songs represent a moment with that person. I always wonder what song I’ll have with someone, but when i think about Max, I thought of Oceans- it was the first song that played when we turned on the car to head home after we left the hospital. We were in disbelief and out of habit, I plugged my phone in and Rdio played. I also remember the drive to the hospital. We played Lorde’s Heroine album, on repeat. It just came out a few days before and I remember we were so excited to meet our baby. I also remember my labor playlist. It took me months before I could listen to Birdy and Jonsi. These artists are complete strangers, but I felt like they delivered a baby with me (creepy but there's sentiment to it). Allison Weiss and Young and Free got me through 2014 and I’ll never forget the moments I felt OKAY for the first time while listening to them. 

This book is therapeutic, just like music itself. Music has the power to heal, lift and drag your spirit and there is a certain power I found in myself in choosing what to listen to. It’s only a click away but it can enhance my mood, break my heart, or feed or deplete my energy levels. 

“Every mix tape tells a story. Put them together, and they add up to the story of a life.”- Rob Sheffeild

Introduction: Allison Lehman of Death to Stock Photo

I use stock photos on the blog regularly. I don't have the means (time, money, equipment) to go out and shoot as much as I'd like. The problem I had was lifestyle stock photography was generic and it didn't fit my aesthetic. I need just one photo to represent what I'm writing, and even then it was hard to find ONE. Until a year ago. Allie Lehman, a fellow blogger, launched Death To Stock Photo with David Sherry. They're both successful in what they do- designers, writers, photographers and now business partners. They had the genius idea to share their elegant photography with comrades in the design industry. They're fastidious with the photos they choose, and it's one of the fastest (and most beautiful) growing companies I've seen this year. Allie is a boss lady and I wanted to pick her brain on DTSP. 

+ Why did you and David want to start DTSP?

We both love to collaborate and we always have a million ideas (hint: we're even thinking of starting a second business together). We had a lot of extra photos sitting around in our Dropbox and figured we could start distributing these photos to our friends who design, develop and blog. It grew from there!

+ What are the benefits of having a premium account over the free account?

The premium account costs $10/month. You have access to all our old photo packs that were emailed out since we first launched. Right now, if you sign up for the free photo subscription, we email 10 free photos at the beginning of each month but you wouldn't get access to past packs.

We also include an extra pack of 20 photos if you're a premium member. A percentage of your membership fee also goes towards funding an artist/photographer of our choice. It's our way of giving back...and letting you give back!

+ What is your most popular download?

Pretty much any photo of coffee gets downloaded and used more than anything else.

+ You just launched a new program to sponsor photographers for DTSP. Tell me about that.

Yes that's my favorite part! We were already doing this well before we made it official. We love helping out others and removing those creative barriers. We would meet photographers who wanted to take that dream trip or buy a camera to help grow their business and we could financially support them. In February, we decided to announce it officially. Now it all goes full circle so if you're a premium member...you get photos from those you're supporting.

+ Lots of bloggers and companies use DTSP. When did you know you were getting big? What’s been the biggest company that used your work? 

I think the moment I finally felt like we were growing was when I saw that Pinterest and Mediafire were using our photography in their emails and on their homepage. Donald Miller has used one of our funded photographers' photos on a book cover. Fast Company, Medium and Entrepreneur use them too. It's fun to see business or professional email accounts signing up for our services.


When Allie isn't busy running Death to Stock Photo with David, she runs a design company, The Wonder Jam, with her husband Adam. Read her blog, her tweets and follow her insta's. Thanks for your time, Allie! 

Undone

I know I'm the epitome of what a fashion blogger shouldn't be in this post- chubby, with undone messy hair, but mostly recycling the same accessories over and over. If it works for multiple wears, I'm more likely to purchase it. When I don't feel well, I've learned it takes just as long to put on a t shirt and leggings as it does a cute dress. It sets the tone for my day and I instantly feel better. You don't have to go get your hair done, buy an expensive outfit, just put on what you love, but go a little out of your comfort zone. I've been trying this for a few weeks and while sometimes it's a task, at the end of the day, I never regret getting myself ready. 

The usual suspects- Dress, Lucie Lu from Gwynnie Bee, J.crew calf flats secondhand, Bon Look glasses, and Harvey's Bow bag

Gadchick Do It Yourself: Self-Publishing

So…here you are. You’ve taken that big step. You’ve written a book. We’ll assume at this point you’ve done all the necessary celebrating: you recorded your webcast of viciously marking through that line on your bucket list, poured out a bottle of champagne (or at least sparkling white wine) with your loved ones and kissed your dog for the first time since you started working on that monstrosity.

So…now what?

Many people think that the writing is the hardest part, but that is often not the case. Think of all the books you’ve ever hated and let it sink in: those are published pieces. Those made it through editors, agents, printers, just to name a few sets of eyes that looked over them. And despite how terrible they may have been, thanks to the work of design and marketing, they made their way into thousands of homes, hands and bookshelves.

Turning water into wine is easy. Getting everyone to drink it? That’s the hard part.

Now, there are a few questions you should ask yourself: 

·      Do I want an agent? Do I want someone to tell me what’s wrong with my book and take a cut of my profits once they start rolling in?

·      Am I in a place financially where I am looking for one large income (the fabled, glorious advance, whispered about in shadowy corners) rather than small royalties over time?

·      Should I look for someone else to do the nasty work of publicizing and marketing for me so I can focus on my Craft?

·      Do I find the rags-to-riches stories of Stephen King, JK Rowling and John Grisham appealing?

If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes,” there’s nothing wrong with that. You want to do traditional publishing, so go ahead and stop reading here. Grab a copy of the Writer’s Market off Amazon and get cracking.

But if, instead, you are interested in maintaining creative and financial control of your work, making more money per copy and starting a personal, involved campaign of your own…self-publishing may be right for you.

Now, my goal in this article is not to lie to you. Self-publishing is hard work. Even though there’s no one there to tell you to change your piece because of this or that, there’s also…well, there’s no one there to tell you to change your piece because of this or that. There’s also no one there to hold your hand or lay it all out for you. That’s why the core of self-publishing is going with your gut and making educated, thoughtful decisions on what you’re doing.

Here are a few how-to tips to help you get started.

1.     Know Your Stuff: nowadays, self-publishing is a new, popular way for artists to share their work with the world. People have done it well, others have done it poorly. Look at as many examples as you can of both worlds. Do what works. Avoid what doesn’t. Also, learn all those words of the trade: copyright, ISBN, retail price. Get comfortable with understanding what these mean.

2.     Avengers, Assemble: get a group of five people whose opinions you value and who will be honest with you no matter what. Offer to buy them dinner or babysit their kids or make them a mixtape. In return? Ask them to read your manuscript. Give them a realistic amount of time. Then, compile their notes on everything and go through your manuscript five times. Then again, reading it out loud. Doubt it’s perfect? Do it again. This step is a must; you will never catch everything on your own. Trust me.

3.     Weigh the Options: there are many services available for self-publishing your book, including Lightning Source, Createspace, Lulu, and other, smaller publishers. The ones I’ve named are print-on-demand services, which are the least costly and most convenient way of selling your book and getting convenient payment for earnings. If interested, you can find countless independent publishers who can be paid for a run of copies, but these are usually quite expensive and end up with you getting 1,000 copies of a book. Do you have space for that? Because I don’t. Read the agreements and compare the services that each company can provide. Which leads to the next point…

4.     Avoid Packages with Publishers: it sounds nice, right? “Pay x amount and we’ll do all the work you didn’t want someone else to do.” By figuring out a budget and putting out feelers for other creative-types, you can do anything that these packages can for a fraction of the price. Book covers don’t have to look brilliant, but if you want a really great one, find a graphic designer and offer to reformat their resume. You can write, they can design… it’s Let’s Make a Deal, indie-style.

5.     Social Media – It’s What’s For Dinner: Twitter, Google+, Facebook, GoodReads, Tumblr…it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the immense yogibogeybox that is Internet communication with would-be fans. Determine early on what you are comfortable using and which you think would speak more to your audience. Going for the geeks? Twitter and Wordpress. YA crowd? Tumblr. Friends, family and writers you’ve connected with personally? Facebook. 

6.     Time Management – It’s a Good Thing: planning book tours, creating ads, putting together press releases for local papers…it is so damn easy to find yourself only doing these things forever (author’s note: you will be doing these things yourself, you know). Because you’ve got to make that book sell, right? Well, right, but you also need to keep writing. Put together a calendar and commit to it. Allow yourself only a certain percentage of your day (no more than 50% total, I recommend) for marketing. The rest of it? Work on that sequel or prequel or not-at-all-quel. Because once all those people read your book, do you know what their next question will be?

“When is the next one coming out?”


Katie Pugh is a writer and a contributor to Gadchick. Her book Cape and Dagger is available on Amazon and her new book Pickled Miracles is out now. She also blogs on Bomehian on Rye and tweets. Thank you, Katie! 

Delicate

I could wear head to toe lace but it takes away from my favorite part of the outfit- the details. This black shift from Taylor Dresses has that stretchy flattering "scuba" fabric. Dressed down with lace sneakers, it's one of my favorite outfits and I'll be adding this to my closet queue again. 

+ dress, shoes, and glasses. Bandaid courtesy of a cortisone shot :P 

Candelles for Valentine's Day + a special discount for readers!

Actually, you don't need Candelle's  just for Valentine's Day- you need it all year long. They are releasing their Spring line FRIDAY, and I was lucky to try out two of their Spring line scents- African Gardenia and Mint Nectarine. I've written about Candelles before but to refresh your memory they are a USA brand, made by partners Kelley and CJ. They hand make their candles with soy, and even the cotton wick. I love their branding, the people behind it and after using them for a year, it's a brand I'm happy to support long term. They also added white caps to their re-usable mason jars, I love the look of it. 

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African Gardenia is one of the beautiful new scents coming out. It instantly takes me back years ago when I desperately wanted the original Marc Jacobs perfume. When I lit it, Scott was asked if I had done anything different- did we get anything new? Did I change the sheets? Did I buy a new dress? The power of scent blows my mind and this was a great example. 

This is Favorite Sweater scent. It's just like it sounds- cozy and comforting. Light it with your favorite book and it'll be a part of one of your favorite moments. 

This is Favorite Sweater scent. It's just like it sounds- cozy and comforting. Light it with your favorite book and it'll be a part of one of your favorite moments. 

Mint Nectarine I've used when getting ready for bed. I got the small size, it doesn't take up space on my bathroom counter and it adds some comfort to my already mundane routine. Add a little music and putting on moisturizer is a little...sexy? Weird but true. It has a clean crisp scent of mint, like the kind picked from an herb garden, not the kind that smells like mouthwash. The nectarine scents adds a sweetness to it and it makes me wonder when nectarines will be in season again. I wish laundry smelled like this. 

Kelley and CJ are offering ourcitylights readers a special code DIANA10 for 10% off! The new line comes out Friday, or you can get favorites like Long Stem Roses and Hot Fudge for now. Follow Candelles on Instagram, and shop here

Firmoo Glasses

I've worked with Firmoo in the past, and I really enjoy their product, I loved the opportunity of working with them again. I was asked to pick out a pair of glasses from a limited amount of choices specifically for bloggers. The actual website has tons of choices, but I decided to go with something that I've never owned- a pair of grey glasses. I love the shape, but I'm still getting used to the color for my skin tone and the usual makeup I used. I'm still trying to find a red lipstick but I love how the nude lips bring out the color in the glasses. I loved how I could match my glasses to my scarf, but overall, I loved the shape over the grey. I know now to stick with classic black but it's fun to live it up now and then. 

The Art of Discomfort

“Discomforts are only discomforting when they’re an unexpected inconvenience, an unusual annoyance, an unplanned-for irritant. Discomforts are only discomforting when we aren’t used to them. But when we deal with the same discomforts every day, they become expected and part of the routine, and we are no longer afflicted with them the way we were. We forget to think about them like the daily disturbances of going to the bathroom, or brushing our teeth, or listening to noisy street traffic. Give your body the chance to harden, your blood to thicken, and your skin to toughen, and you’ll find that the human body carries with it a weightless wardrobe. When we’re hardy in mind and body, we can select from an array of outfits to comfortably bear most any climate.”- Ken Ilgunas 

Ok, so quote was about living in a van without the comforts of a home but I loved it. I thought of all my discomforts. I stared at my plate of broccoli and reminded myself how uncomfortable it was to eat healthy. All the prepping, all the veggies I had to force myself to eat when eating something sugary or packaged was easier. I thought of my grief, the thorn in my side. It reminds me nothing lasts forever, to keep it real and to never take anything for granted. For the rest of my life I wake up with a sadness and the choice is up to me to decide how to honor that sadness. I live in such a comfortable world and I'm grateful- I have a warm bed, AC, food in my fridge and the discomforts of the body and the heart discipline me and I'm grateful for those too. 

Overall, I really liked Ken Ilugans book, Walden on Wheels. He choose to not live in the comforts of living the typical 9-5 life to pay off debt like the rest of his classmates. What attracts to me to minimalist lifestyle is the freedom of STUFF. He wrote about living in a van, but the first half of the book he writes about his adventure living in the mountains, and what drove him to live like Thoreau. I loved his writing and while he chose this way of living, he also recognized living in poverty was a choice, unlike some of the people he met on his journey.  He wasn't boastful, he was humble, and he recognized this. I would never do anything like he did, but it takes me a step closer to live with less. 

January 2015 Favorites

Let's take a look back at favorites for January 2015

Favorite Instagram feed is greenlaundry. I’ve known Melly for years but just like any seasoned blogger, Instagram is a used outlet more than our blogs. Her cats, her love for food, and her travels are what made her blog my favorite and she shares sneak peaks of it on Instagram. 

Favorite purchase was my new Fitbit band. I found my Fitbit and I’m finally able to use it, even if I’m limited.  I don’t want to obsess over it like I used to, it takes the fun out of goals. This time it’ll be different and just see what I can do but with an injury, I can’t push myself too hard.

Favorite book is Walden on Wheels. Ken is a young college graduate with debt but with a passion for adventure. How is he able to combine the unconventional way of earning money to work his debt off plus doing what he loves? I’m halfway through this and I love it. I don’t think I can ever get rid of everything I own and live minimally, but I am obsessed with people who have that ambition. 

Favorite meal was roasted butternut squash, beets, broccoli, potatoes, and carrots with pumpkin oil. A little goes a long way and I'm not even halfway since getting this last year. It’s not much of a recipe but it’s easy to prep, and 400 degrees and 45 minutes later, it’s all gone in 3 minutes. 

Here's to February 2015!

Skincare, Aging and Hormones (part 2!)

Part one is here!  I have to note it’s not just the products used here have made my skin better. Since I began elimination dieting, I don’t have flare ups and my skin has calmed down with inflammation. While these products do help and prolong the plumpness of my skin, I will recommend a dermatologist to help your skin care needs and clean food to help heal from the inside. 

The last time I shared my skincare routine, I was very pregnant and my skin has completely changed. Postpartum recovery, the grief that once took over my life, the trauma to my nerves on my injured foot, and eating poorly really showed on my skin for a few months. I have psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema and if I’m not taking care of myself from the inside, all three combined show themselves on the outside causing dermatitis. It’s gross, painful and makes me self concious. 

I use a lot of Kiehl’s products because my dermatologist recommended it. They use high quality ingredients, they’re great for sensitive skin and since I began using them, along with eating better, I rarely have flareups. In the morning I don’t wash my face. I know it seems dirty but the night before I already washed, moisturized my skin and I think clean oily skin is a good thing. After working on women on all ages with all kinds of skin in cosmetology school, one thing was proven universal- you are going to want that clean oil when you’re older. I’m not talking about the oil that builds up after going to bed with your old makeup on, but the clean natural oil skin produces overnight. I keep it in the morning and don't wash it off. 

I use Kieh’s Skin Rescuer to hydrate the skin to start the day. It’s not a moisturizer- it’s a hydrator. Wait, what?? Moisturizer works topically, a hydrator gets deeper in the skin. Hormones, not drinking enough water, weather, and stress make skin lose hydration and years of just covering it up with a moisturizer doesn’t get to the core of it. When I use a hydrator, my moisturizer works better, my makeup lasts longer, my natural redness disapears on first application, my moisturizer isn’t as slick, and my skin just feels better. I still apply my vitamin c and sunscreen but I’ve added an eye cream from Supergoop! that has a sunscreen in it. It doesn't make my eyes water like most! 

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At night I remove my makeup with Korres Yoghurt 3 in 1. It’s gentle, soothing, and not as much of a shock like putting real greek yogurt (yep, I tried that). I wash my face with Laura Mercier cleansing oil and use the Mia 3. i did have the Mia 2 but after 6 years of using it every night, it finally went out on me. And yes, I still use the delicate brush. I use the Rosa Arctica moisturizer to calm down redness, and I dab it on places I’d normally get a flare up like my hands and feet. 

These are the things that work for me and I'm so excited to see the changes in my temperamental and sensitive skin I hope it helps someone dealing with the same. 

Handmade Valentine's Gift Round Up

I've been introduced to a lot of great independent shops and bonus they are run by women. Here are some I've met and they are perfect for Valentine's Day. From shirts, prints, cards and even the perfect nail polish to make your Valentine's Day (or what I love to call it- my favorite shopping time of the year because HEARTS ON EVERYTHING), I got you covered. Treat yourself! Order early to get yours in time! 

1. Baci Shirt from Studio Mucci- known for making tassel garlands, Studio Mucci now makes t shirts as adorable and colorful as the rest of their shop. 

2. Open Heart Ring from Moorea Seal- I'm a big fan of the nickel-free, allergy friendly pieces by Fresh Tangerine. 

3. Palate Polish in Sugar Cookie- Pink is a neutral, right? This is a staple. 

4. Long Stem Roses by Candelles- Candelles never fails to come up with amazing scents you can't find elsewhere. If you want the scent of long stemmed roses to last forever, they make it in a candle form! 

5. Sweet As Pie Card by Odd Daughter - The pie loving Danielle would love this card! 

6. You + Me from BubbyAndBean- I've received one of Melissa's cards in the mail and always so impressed by her quality! This one is adorable, not just for Valentine's but just to say I love you.

7. Vegan Cuticle Oil by Pepper Pot- prep that manicure with this oil.

8. You're a Catch Card by XO LP- Cheeky and adorable. I always love a good pun. So punny :P 

9. Jane Austen quote by Rebecca Caridad- I love Jane Austen and I'll admit I want this print for my home. How beautiful would it be on a bookshelf or even a nursery. 

10. Concrete Heart Necklace by LittleEli- this is one of the coolest things I've seen. It's a combination of tough and sweet. 

 

 

I Love You, Palate Polish

I would never imagine to put nail polish and food together but Ainsley does it and it’s one of my favorite beauty products. Palate Polish is the hybrid of Ainsley’s love for food, and getting her nails done. With names like Beet Juice, Avocado, and Black Coffee, Palate Polish has cheeky names to match your Instagram foodie pics. Plus It's 5-free (no toluene, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde resin and camphor). PP is vegan, never tested on animals, made in the US. I remember when Ainsley began working on the project months ago and she took the time to choose the bottles, design her logo, and as a regular customer of PP, I can say it was worth the wait. I’m supporting a friend, a business growing in the US, and I love the product. My favorite color is Gold Gumdrop, I can add a couple coats for a subtle look or layer it to make it look like glitter grows on me instead of nails. 

She is offering ourcitylights readers a free polish just in time for Valentine’s Day- buy two get one FREE polish of your choice with code weloveyou. Offer good until Valentine’s Day. 

Palate Polish shop, and Instagram 

Heart Eyes for You

We went to the Orange Circle, walked for five minutes and I said "My foot hurts, let's go back". By the time I got the car, I felt fine again, so I said "I'm fine, let's walk back". This kept happening every few steps and I realized my foot has this phantom pain. As soon as I was away from my "safe" area (like home or the car), it began to get sore. I don't want to discredit the real pain I feel, but there's this underlying fear of falling, or just the pain I used to feel. It still hurts but it's bearable. I know there's something metaphorical there- I'm so used to pain and fear, it's scary to let myself go and feel anything else because that's all I knew. It feels good to keep walking forward. The worst happened, I fell, I survived and I'm okay. I keep walking forward. 

Details- GB Dress, bow ballet flats (so so comfy, and the shoe stretches comfortably when my foot is swollen), denim jacket, emoji pin

Celebrating Minnie Mouse

January 22 was National Polka Dot day, and Harvey's gave a great tribute to the iconic polka dot lover herself, Minnie Mouse, with their release of their latest bag release. It's Disney approved and everything I personally love- pink, polka dots and Minnie. Get the Disney line here.  

Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a collection of things I find darling. 

- photos from Fox 

+ I discovered The Mindy Project has a store and they sell Annette's Kitten Dreamland shirt along with all the cute stuff Mindy has in her apartment, and even the fake Chanel bags

+ My Life in Cosmetics: The Beauty Products That Were There For Me And Remain In My Memories

+ Let's Just Have A Therapy Sesh About It- the rise and fall of the creativity of a blogger

+ Ironic and awesome- the tattoos inspired by A Clockwork Orange and the history behind the design. 

+ Reinventing Plus Size Fashion

+ Friday night pizza night

Have a great weekend! 

Selling My Closet!

Well, it's not every piece in my closet. And I'm not the one selling it directly. I'm selling some of my items through ThredUp. I've never had a bad experience with them when I've shopped there and I trust them with selling my items. Instead of going through Instagram and shipping them myself, I shipped the items to ThredUp and they take care of everything for me. 

I've sold a couple items but the ones still available are a Splendid cardigan in XL, a pair of ASOS faux leather leggings in size 22 (I bought them after I saw them on Tanesha but I ended up getting another size and I never got around to returning), Ann Taylor cardigan in XL, and J.crew cardigan in XL. If you use this link and you've never signed up, you get $10 off your purchase! If these items sell, then it'll push me to sell more things on ThredUp. Thanks for virtual shopping my (mini) closet! 

Gadchick: Organize Your Instagram Photos with Instaport

There are thousands of photos on my phone but my favorite ones make it to Instagram. I usually end up digging through those thousands just to find the one I edited or email it to myself, save it, and even then it sits on my desktop for weeks before I organize it. I discovered Instaport last year and on the last day of every month, iCal reminds me to take a few minutes from browsing Pinterest and do something productive- save and organize my photos from Instagram. 

I use Google Drive, but this will work with any storage. I trust Google with my email, why wouldn't I trust them with my photos? Plus with Drive you can buy more storage if needed. I made a folder specifically for Instaport. I made mine for each month and individually titled the folders by year. I remember when things happen in seasons and it's easier for me to go back to. Do whatever you want! Instaport will download photos with specific hashtags, photos by date, videos, all of your photos. This comes in handy when deleting an Instagram account but still save your photos. 

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Once the folder downloads to your computer (find it in desktop or under downloads), drag and drop it to the folder you want. That's it! You've saved yourself time and a headache and hopefully storage space from your computer and phone. I'm not working with Instaport, I just really love their service! 

Whole30 Update: Why It's No Longer Just 30 Days

I'm in a Whole30 Facebook group and the question is Whole30 a yo-yo diet was brought up. I remember when I began seeing changes in my body at day 15, I had so much anxiety on going back to old diet. It's like the 30 days would cap the only chance I had to change my way of eating and that is another mind game to deal with along with your body telling you sugar is what you need instead of spinach. As soon as I began introducing sugar and gluten in my body, I was shocked at how quickly it wanted to change back. I started up another Whole30, but this time instead of calling it that, I just want to call it "EATING". If I put a number on what I limit myself to eat, at day 31, I'm going back to the donuts and whatever else I think I want. This is the second round of elimination dieting (for those that are curious what Whole30 is, check it out here). The first time was harder, more emotional, and I saw the effects of food on my body, my spirit, and my all well being. Now when I have a bad day, instead of leaning on food to make it better, I deal with it. I never ran away from problems but I sweetened it with pan dulce, or other sweets. Now I'm feeling like a real adult when I deal with my issues. Yes, it sucks but the emotional resolution I have is worth giving up the donuts for. I feel stable, I don't cry as much, I just feel fine

I've been posting my meals on MyFitnessPal if you'd like to follow along

I've been posting my meals on MyFitnessPal if you'd like to follow along

If you do whole30, Eat to Live, or any elimination diet, the only thing I can say is yes it's life changing but you can't unlearn bad habits, emotional hurdles, and food issues in 30 days. The majority of friends who have done this for 30 days kept going and made big changes in their lifestyle. This is why yo-yo dieting happens. I chose to eat healthy those 30 days and I'm going to keep choosing to eat healthy. A part of me whines about prepping food, and eating more salads than usual but I don't want to complain about stomach pains, swelling in my joints, hair loss, and inflammation. I also don't want to go through my blog archives and see myself go up and down in weight. It's getting old. You may see the occasional donut now and then but I know I'll be able to enjoy that donut, and not lean on it when I've had a bad day. That's my biggest non-scale victory.