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Enter my $100 LOFT giveaway!

Bikini: Amazon Viottis One-Shoulder Ruffle (S) – comes in 6 colors! (love this one, similar one-piece)
Shoes: Steve Madden ‘Greece’ Slides (5.5 / run narrow) – also here, wedge option
Bag: Hat Attack ‘Provence’ (old, similar, similar)
Earrings: Baublebar ‘Mazarine’
Lips: Tarte Lip Paint in rose
Sunglasses: Karen Walker ‘Super Duper’

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First off, let’s just say that it took a bit of courage for me to post these bikini pictures.  I haven’t rocked a bikini in over 6 years and my body has gone through quite a few changes that I’m still adjusting to since then.  But, this year I shifted to focus more on taking care of myself now that we were past the baby stages of parenting and had the goal of rocking a bikini come summertime!  While I definitely still have some work to do and am not quite as lean as I would like, I’m still proud of the progress I’ve made and am working up the nerve to share these pictures with you all.  Read on for a few of my tips on how I’ve been slimming down and getting myself ready for swimsuit season (mentally and physically!).

STOP EATING AFTER DINNER

I usually eat dinner kinda early around 6:30-7pm with the kids and part of me always knew that my post-dinner sweet tooth was derailing my best efforts when it came to seeing results.  I previously had the habit of staying up late to work on the blog and would end usually find myself snacking on something after a few hours.  Honestly it was a habit leftover from my college years and something that definitely needed to change.  Since then, I’ve been getting into a routine where I’ve been going to bed earlier (usually shortly after I put the kids to sleep with the goal of being asleep by 10pm, if not earlier).  I did have to reset my body to not crave desserts and actually found the Sweet Defeat lozenges to be a huge help.

I love that Sweet Defeat lozenges are natural and just rely on 5 plant-based ingredients to legit stop sugar cravings (it’s even been clinically proven!).  The lozenge doesn’t have much more than a minty taste and it’s as easy as placing it on my tongue to let it slowly dissolve.  The main gymnema leaf extract ingredient binds to sweet taste receptors so it actually suppresses the sweet signals coming from taste buds and stops the sugar-craving cycle!  Each lozenge comes in its own pouch so I can easily carry a few in my purse and always have one on hand even if we go out to eat!

WORK IN HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT)

I don’t have hours to spend at the gym and am all about maximizing my workout when I get it in!  High-intensity interval training essentially has you work out in short intervals of all-out effort and it’s amazing for getting your heart rate up so that you keep on burning the calories even long after your workout is finished.  OrangeTheory Fitness classes are my favorite when I have the hour to spare and even on those days when my schedule is crazy, I make a point to fit in this quick 10-minute HIIT workout at home!

CUT OUT REFINED CARBS

Refined carbs include all the processed foods such as breads, crackers, bagels, pasta, and even white rice.  The processing strips away the fiber and results in blood sugar spikes.  When I do choose to eat carbs, I opt for natural foods such as sweet potatoes or my newest favorite, the Japanese purple potato (they’re available at Whole Foods, super high in antioxidants, and like a better version of the sweet potato!).  Another option would be to load up on vegetables and a favorite in our household is actually steamed frozen mixed vegetables as the kids gobble it up and I love that it’s a healthy way to fill up on nutrients!

DRINK MORE WATER

I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago who recently lost over 15 pounds and asked him what his secret was for losing the weight, and he said “drink more water.”  It was a tip that I knew but honestly I had forgotten about how important water really is when it comes to flushing out your system and keeping everything going.  While it may seem counterintuitive, drinking water actually helps fight bloating as well and even stops your body from retaining water.  While it’s not a magic bullet, I’ve found that water does temporarily make me feel fuller and I’ve been working to finish a large 64 oz jug of water that I have at my desk everyday!

GET YOUR ZZZ’S

Just as important as working out and eating right is making sure that you’re getting the rest that your body needs.  I remember personally when I was at my peak of sleep deprivation when I was waking up every 2-3 hours with Dylan as a baby and I felt like I was in survival mode.  My pregnancy weight loss stalled as a result and even worse, I found myself turning to foods that had sugar to get a quick energy boost — so bad!  Now I aim for 7-8 hours of sleep and have noticed a huge difference in my energy levels as well as seeing some of the results of my other weight loss efforts!

Bikini: Amazon Viottis One-Shoulder Ruffle (S) – comes in 6 colors! (love this one, similar one-piece)
Shoes: Steve Madden ‘Greece’ Slides (5.5 / run narrow) – also here, wedge option
Bag: Hat Attack ‘Provence’ (old, similar, similar)
Earrings: Baublebar ‘Mazarine’
Lips: Tarte Lip Paint in rose
Sunglasses: Karen Walker ‘Super Duper’

And if you do choose to rock that swimsuit you’ve been eyeing this summer, remember that confidence is key!  I love my body for all that it has done for me and even though I still do have more weight-loss goals I’m working towards, I do just want to say that it’s also so important to have acceptance and self-love — and that is what ultimately is what people will notice!

Meanwhile, there’s nothing better for showing off a tan than a white swimsuit!  I’m sharing my favorite bikinis and one-pieces below:

SHOP WHITE BIKINIS

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SHOP WHITE ONE-PIECES

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SHOP SWIM ACCESSORIES
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Be sure to enter my Canon camera + iPad giveaway!


EarringsBaublebar ‘Crystalline’ Drop – use SUMMER20 / SUMMER25 / SUMMER30 to save!
JacketJ.Crew Ruffle Chino (00 / TTS) – also here
TopLOFT Coral Springs Flutter Top (XS / size up if in-between)
BottomAG ‘Legging Ankle’ (24 / TTS)
ShoesTopshop ‘Glorious’ (similar)
BagPrada ‘Cuir’ (small)
WatchFitbit ‘Versa’
Sunglasses: Karen Walker ‘Super Duper’

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EarringsBaublebar ‘Crystalline’ Drop – use SUMMER20 / SUMMER25 / SUMMER30 to save!
JacketJ.Crew Ruffle Chino (00 / TTS) – also here
TopLOFT Coral Springs Flutter Top (XS / size up if in-between)
BottomAG ‘Legging Ankle’ (24 / TTS)
ShoesTopshop ‘Glorious’ (similar)
BagPrada ‘Cuir’ (small)
WatchFitbit ‘Versa’
Sunglasses: Karen Walker ‘Super Duper’

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There’s a certain satisfaction when I get to check tasks off my todo list.  Lately as my responsibilities at work have increased, I’ve had to learn ways to be more productive.  I’m a big proponent for having work / life balance so my goal everyday is to make sure that I can maximize the time I spend working so that I can have the most time left afterwards to spend with my family.  I’ve adopted a few new techniques in the past few weeks that have really been helping me get more out of my time so I knew I had to share them here with you all!

Wake Up 1 Hour Earlier

I’m naturally a night owl but I’ve been forcing myself to go to sleep by 10pm.  I then wake up around 5am (most of the time without an alarm clock!) and I’ve found that I love having that quiet morning time to get a head start on the day.  For me, I’ve found that I’m so much more focused and efficient when it comes to working in the mornings.  I tackle the most challenging tasks on my list and I’ve found that having a fresh mind makes such a huge difference in how I approach problems.  Also having that time for myself before the craziness of mom life begins is critical for me as it gives me the space to take care of myself before my attention shifts towards my family.

Visualize

It’s about mind over matter.  Sometimes when I feel like a task can be too difficult or even if I may have too much on my plate, I spend a few moments with my eyes closed and visualize myself working through the issues.  Seeing it happen in my mind is often the most important piece is overcoming the mental hurdle that can keep me from succeeding!

Set milestones

It’s all about breaking something challenging into workable pieces.  When I have smaller goals, it’s easier to wrap my head around what needs to get done and I can get the satisfaction of completing the steps along the way!  For each milestone, I then set time limits that push myself to get it completed.

30/30

When it comes to time management, the 30/30 app has been a game changer!  The app makes completing tasks within a certain time frame more like a game, and being the naturally competitive person that I am, it motivates me to buckle down and work more efficiently!

Turn off distractions

And finally, it seems like there are distractions everywhere especially when it comes technology.  For me, when I need to get into the zone, I set my phone to Airplane Mode, put on my headphones (I listen to EDM when I need to get a good pace going and find that the beat sets a good rhythm for me), and tune out everything else.

I hope these tips help you maximize your productivity and I’d love to know what tips you have!  

++ all photos were taken by yours truly with this camera, lens, tripod, and remote. ++
edited using Barcelona Lightroom Preset (tutorial)

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Dress: Socialite Ruffle Faux Wrap Dress (XS) – similar, similar, similar
Shoes: Sam Edelman ‘Yaro’ in oatmeal (perfect nude!)
Earrings: Katie Kime ‘Gold Coast’similar, similar
Bag: Gucci Soho Disco
Sunglasses: Chelsea28 ‘Ellie’ 55mm
Hair: IrresistibleMe Hair Extensions – chocolate brown in 20″ in 200g

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I’ve seen variations of the ruffle wrap dress all over this season and seriously, it is THE TRENDY DRESS you need!  This time, the wrap detail is on the lower half, yet it still flatters your shape with it’s tied waist and the fit-and-flare silhouette is perfect for creating that hourglass figure.  I love the addition of the ruffles and it’s perfect for adding a bit of fun and whimsy to an elegant silhouette.  It’s a style that you can wear at every age and for every occasion — dress it down with sandals / sneakers (as seen here) or up with a chic pair of heels like I did here!

SHOP RUFFLE WRAP TRENDY DRESS

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—-

Now for this week’s On Trend Tuesdays linkup!  Sandy and I are excited to feature Rachel from A Blonde’s Moment this week.  Her blue shift dress is absolutely gorgeous!

Now it’s your turn to share a recent outfit with the rest of our community for a chance to be featured!  Just link up a recent outfit and remember to include either the button below or link to both me and Sandy in your post.  We’d love if you could comment on 5 other bloggers too as this is a community where we can all get to know and support each other!  Tag us on social media too to join the conversation with #OnTrendTuesdaysLinkUp!




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Hello!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and I’m so excited to kick off the week with a post on accessorizing.  And accessorizing with statement earrings, in this case!  For the past couple of years, I finish off almost every outfit with a pair of statement earrings and in my opinion, there’s no easier way to look put together!

Baublebar is actually running an amazing sale sitewide — 20% off 1 with SUMMER20, 25% off 2 with SUMMER25, and 30% off 3+ with SUMMER30.  I’d say a good 90% off my jewelry is from Baublebar so I had to share a few of my favorite picks as well as dish my tried-and-true secrets on how I pair statement earrings!

Lobe Wonder patches – amazing for supporting statement earrings!
Baublebar ‘Gabriela’use SUMMER20 / SUMMER25 / SUMMER30 to save!

One quick tip before we jump in, I did want to share a note about these Lobe Wonder patches as they are amazing for minimizing the weight that big earrings can sometimes have on your ear.  They’re just little oval stickers that go on the back of your ear and make a huge difference so that earrings won’t tug or stretch your ear!  A package comes with 60 stickers and even though they’re marked as single-use, I actually reuse mine 2-3 times before they stop sticking!

HOW TO WEAR STATEMENT EARRINGS TIP 1:  Start with something similar to your hair color

Earrings: Baublebar Clarabel Dropsuse SUMMER20 / SUMMER25 / SUMMER30 to save!
Dress: Nordstrom – not online yet (top in same print, similar)
Shoes: SARTO Wedge Espadrilles
Lips: Urban Decay ‘Rapture’ Lip Gloss

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Earrings: Baublebar ‘Tango’ Ball Dropssimilar, similar
use SUMMER20 / SUMMER25 / SUMMER30 to save!
Top: J.Crew Sequin Top (old, similar)
Bottom: old (similarsimilar)
Shoes: similar red strappy sandals – love the scallops!

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If you’re just getting used to wearing larger statement earrings, I would definitely recommend choosing a style in a color that is a close match to your hair color.  It makes the transition more gradual and allows you to slowly adjust to seeing that accessory pop on the sides of your face.  Statement earrings seriously come in almost every color these days (and brunettes have the option of going with tortoise-shell styles — in love with this one!).

HOW TO WEAR STATEMENT EARRINGS TIP 2:  Pair color with a solid (preferably white)

Earrings: Baublebar ‘Mazarine’ Drops – use SUMMER20 / SUMMER25 / SUMMER30 to save!
Dress: Express Ruffle Sleeve Dress (0P) – (also in petites, similar)

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Earrings: Baublebar ‘Miyana’ Hoopsuse SUMMER20 / SUMMER25 / SUMMER30 to save!
Top: LOFT Eyelet Sweater Tank (XS)
Bottom: BlankNYC Distressed Jeans (24)
Stand: World Market Marble Gold Table

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EarringsBaublebar ‘Marietta’ Fringe Drop – comes in 3 colors!
use SUMMER20 / SUMMER25 / SUMMER30 to save!
Blazer
Express Drape Boyfriend Blazer (XS) – (similarsimilar)
TopLOFT Flowerbed Flare Sleeve Blouse (XSP) – (similar
BottomBanana Republic Stain Resistant Ankle Jean (24 / size down) – (similartrouser option)
BeltGucci Double G (75)
ShoesTopshop ‘Glorious’ (size down – exact color soldout but love the beige!) – (similar)
WatchGarmin ‘Vivomove’ HR
LipsTarte Liquid Lipstick in rose

Once you do get comfortable with larger statement earrings, it’s time to add in some color!  Even if you’re not someone who wears a lot of color, earrings are a great way to throw in that colorful pop!  I often prefer to let the earrings do all the talking when it comes to color and opt for solid tops to balance it out.  White is always one of my favorites for a crisp clean palette and it just seems so summery too when paired with a colorful statement earring!

HOW TO WEAR STATEMENT EARRINGS TIP 3:  Add some whimsy with tassels

EarringsLisi Lerch Turquoise Tassels (similarsimilar, similar)
TopBanana Republic (old, similar)
BottomJ.Crew Tie-Waist Pencil Skirt (similar)
Shoes: similar yellow sandals
BagCult Gaia ‘Ark’ Bag (small)
WatchCitizen Crystal Silhouette c/o
SunglassesKaren Walker ‘Super Duper’

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EarringsBaublebar ‘Gabriela’use SUMMER20 / SUMMER25 / SUMMER30 to save!
Blazer
Faux Fur Trim Blazer (XS) (highly recommend detangler brush to smooth out fur!)
Top: Banana Republic (old, similar)
BottomAG Step-Hem Jeans – run TTS / wearing 25 (similar, similar)
ShoesHalogen ‘Corbin’ (almost exact dupesimilar)
BagMinkoff Chevron Quilted ‘Love’ Crossbody
SunglassesGucci Oversized Square Sunglasses 54mm

Earrings: Express Ball Top Tassel (also love these!)
ma
Shoes
: Topshop ‘Glorious Setback’ Pumps (5 / size down) – (similar)
Bag
: Katie Kime Lucite Clutch (love this one too)
Watch
: Anne Klein Rose Gold 
Bracelet
: Sole Society Pave Cuff (old, similar)
Perfume: Tory Burch Rollerball 
Wallet: Kate Spade ‘Cameron Street’ (love this floral one! similar – on sale!)
Lips: Tarte Lip Paint in ‘Rose’

EarringsBaublebar ‘Melina’ Pom Pom Hoopuse SUMMER20 / SUMMER25 / SUMMER30 to save!
Blazer
Express Drape Boyfriend Blazer (XXS)
TopJ.Crew ‘Paris’ Tee (XS) – on sale!
BottomExpress Embroidered Jeans (00P / runs big) – (regular sizelove these)
Shoes: JustFab White Pumps (old, similar)
BagAmazon Black Velvet Crossbody (similarsimilar)
SunglassesGucci Oversized Square 54mm (dupe)

Tassels are always a good idea and honestly I’ve found that they go with just about every outfit!  They have a way of elevating an outfit while still keeping it casual and fun.  From long tassel earrings to shorter styles paired with pom poms or hoops, they’re all a win in my book!

HOW TO WEAR STATEMENT EARRINGS TIP 4:  Coordinate with your belt / shoes

Earrings: Baublebar ‘Crystalline’ Dropuse SUMMER20 / SUMMER25 / SUMMER30 to save!
Jacket: J.Crew Ruffle Chino (00) – also here
Top: LOFT Coral Springs Flutter Top (XS)
Bottom: AG ‘Legging Ankle’ (24)
Shoes: Topshop ‘Glorious’ (similar)
Bag: Prada ‘Cuir’
Watch: Fitbit ‘Versa’

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Earrings: J.Crew Love Knot Chandelier – on sale! (more)
Top: Endless Rose Lace Tee (XS) – (similarsimilar)
Bottom: 7 For All Mankind..

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Dress: Socialite Ruffle Faux Wrap Dress (XS) – similar, similar, similar
Shoes: Sam Edelman ‘Yaro’ in oatmeal (perfect nude!)
Earrings: Katie Kime ‘Gold Coast’similar, similar
Bag: Gucci Soho Disco
Sunglasses: Chelsea28 ‘Ellie’ 55mm
Hair: IrresistibleMe Hair Extensions – chocolate brown in 20″ in 200g

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I’ve seen variations of the ruffle wrap dress all over this season and seriously, it is THE DRESS you need!  This time, the wrap detail is on the lower half, yet it still flatters your shape with it’s tied waist and the fit-and-flare silhouette is perfect for creating that hourglass figure.  I love the addition of the ruffles and it’s perfect for adding a bit of fun and whimsy to an elegant silhouette.  It’s a style that you can wear at every age and for every occasion — dress it down with sandals / sneakers (as seen here) or up with a chic pair of heels like I did here!

SHOP RUFFLE WRAP DRESSES

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—-

Now for this week’s On Trend Tuesdays linkup!  Sandy and I are excited to feature Rachel from A Blonde’s Moment this week.  Her blue shift dress is absolutely gorgeous!

Now it’s your turn to share a recent outfit with the rest of our community for a chance to be featured!  Just link up a recent outfit and remember to include either the button below or link to both me and Sandy in your post.  We’d love if you could comment on 5 other bloggers too as this is a community where we can all get to know and support each other!  Tag us on social media too to join the conversation with #OnTrendTuesdaysLinkUp!




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Jacket: Nordstrom Ruffle Bomber (XS) – 40% off!
Top: Express Downtown Cami (XSP) – also in regular
Bottom: 7 For All Mankind Jeans (24 / size down) – 25% off!
Shoes: Ann Taylor ‘Odette’ (5 / size down) – on sale!  similar, similar
Necklace: Sugarfix for Baublebar Mixed Media Tassel Necklace
Sunglasses: Chelsea 28 ‘Ellie’
Watch: Garmin Vivomove HR
Bag: Chloe ‘Nile’ dupe

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I originally wanted to share a post today talking all about Nordstrom’s Triple Points sale, but after editing these pictures from a photoshoot I did on these “Happy” steps (all the letters come together to say happy!), I decided to incorporate a more important topic that I’ve been thinking about lately.  I attended a parent talk a few weeks ago at my son’s school and they talked about students’ happiness.  The Head of the School gave an opening speech and brought up some points that really made me think.  Yale University offered a new course this year on How To Be Happy and it has become their most popular class.  EVER.  It’s something that made me think about happiness, how it’s evolved in my own life, and how something so fundamental may not actually be that easy to attain.

I haven’t talked about this much but I started having anxiety issues about 3 years ago.  It was confusing for me given that I’m a naturally happy person, never had issues in the past related to anxiety or mental health, and wasn’t even sure what it was I was dealing with at the time.  And while I am still learning to deal with my anxiety (and hope to share more in a coming post), I wanted to share a few ways to be more optimistic that I think can help anyone become happier version of themselves!

Jacket: Nordstrom Ruffle Bomber (XS) – 40% off!
Top: Express Downtown Cami (XSP) – also in regular
Bottom: 7 For All Mankind Jeans (24 / size down) – 25% off!
Shoes: Ann Taylor ‘Odette’ (5 / size down) – on sale!  similar, similar
Necklace: Sugarfix for Baublebar Mixed Media Tassel Necklace
Sunglasses: Chelsea 28 ‘Ellie’
Watch: Garmin Vivomove HR
Bag: Chloe ‘Nile’ dupe

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5 Ways to be More Optimistic Gratitude

I mentioned this in my previous Lessons I Learned From One Of My Worst Days post but practicing gratitude every day is so important.  I find that sometimes I tend to focus too much on disappointments or shortcomings that I don’t realize all that I have.  I have the 5 Minute Journal downloaded on my phone and I spend a few minutes every night filling it out.  I love that it shifts my mindset to find the good that happened that day and I’ve realized that having gratitude and being thankful really make a big difference in my happiness.  I’ve mentioned also that I have a nightly ritual with my kids where I ask them what their favorite part of the day was and it’s also an easy way for them to get into the habit of finding the good.

Workout and Get The Endorphins Flowing

This is one I didn’t realize was so important until I had a couple weeks where I just didn’t get a chance to workout.  I had prioritized work and just didn’t get my butt moving at all or work up a sweat.  I’ve since realized the importance of working out, getting a sweat in, and getting the endorphins going in my body.  Endorphins are your body’s natural way of fighting pain / stress and are released when you exercise.  I’ve since realized just how much I need these endorphins in my body and so I make exercise a huge priority in my life!  You can see more about workouts I’m loving in this latest post.

Smile

It actually takes less effort to smile than it does to frown, and even though it’s the last thing you’ll want to do when you’re unhappy, just thinking a happy thought will get a smile creeping on your face.  I have photos saved on my phone from moments that made me happy and sometimes seeing those is all I need to get in a better mood!  Smiling is also contagious so being a happier person yourself will attract those that are happy to be around you.

Have Reminders of Successful Moments

We all have times when we deal with disappointments either at work or in our personal lives, but there are also successes that we need to remind ourselves of!  I find that it’s helpful to write down big accomplishments or even just thoughtful messages people left for me to later look back on whenever I need to get myself out of a funk.  It’s always good to reflect on the past to see your accomplishments and it’s also a good way to see just how far you’ve come!

Help Someone Else

When all else fails, help out another person and you’d be amazed at how good it makes you feel!  It can be as easy as picking up the tab for someone at Starbucks, letting someone have your seat on the bus / subway, or just giving someone a compliment.  Making someone else happy is a surprisingly a great way to make yourself feel better and it just helps spread the happiness all around!

Jacket: Nordstrom Ruffle Bomber (XS) – 40% off!
Top: Express Downtown Cami (XSP) – also in regular
Bottom: 7 For All Mankind Jeans (24 / size down) – 25% off!
Shoes: Ann Taylor ‘Odette’ (5 / size down) – on sale!  similar, similar
Necklace: Sugarfix for Baublebar Mixed Media Tassel Necklace
Sunglasses: Chelsea 28 ‘Ellie’
Watch: Garmin Vivomove HR
Bag: Chloe ‘Nile’ dupe

Happiness is a choice.  Sometimes even the happiest of people need a reminder that they have a choice to choose their outlook on life.  Cultivating optimism goes hand in hand with happiness and it can really change the way you interact with people and deal with struggles.  I’d love to know your thoughts and tips on how to be optimistic!

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Jacket: Nordstrom Ruffle Bomber (XS) – 40% off!
Top: Express Downtown Cami (XSP) – also in regular
Bottom: 7 For All Mankind Jeans (24 / size down) – 25% off!
Shoes: Ann Taylor ‘Odette’ (5 / size down) – on sale!  similar, similar
Necklace: Sugarfix for Baublebar Mixed Media Tassel Necklace
Sunglasses: Chelsea 28 ‘Ellie’
Watch: Garmin Vivomove HR
Bag: Chloe ‘Nile’ dupe

Turn on your JavaScript to view content

I originally wanted to share a post today talking all about Nordstrom’s Triple Points sale, but after editing these pictures from a photoshoot I did on these “Happy” steps (all the letters come together to say happy!), I decided to incorporate a more important topic that I’ve been thinking about lately.  I attended a parent talk a few weeks ago at my son’s school and they talked about students’ happiness.  The Head of the School gave an opening speech and brought up some points that really made me think.  Yale University offered a new course this year on How To Be Happy and it has become their most popular class.  EVER.  It’s something that made me think about happiness, how it’s evolved in my own life, and how something so fundamental may not actually be that easy to attain.

I haven’t talked about this much but I started having anxiety issues about 3 years ago.  It was confusing for me given that I’m a naturally happy person, never had issues in the past related to anxiety or mental health, and wasn’t even sure what it was I was dealing with at the time.  And while I am still learning to deal with my anxiety (and hope to share more in a coming post), I wanted to share a few things have I think can help anyone become a more optimistic, happier version of themselves!

Jacket: Nordstrom Ruffle Bomber (XS) – 40% off!
Top: Express Downtown Cami (XSP) – also in regular
Bottom: 7 For All Mankind Jeans (24 / size down) – 25% off!
Shoes: Ann Taylor ‘Odette’ (5 / size down) – on sale!  similar, similar
Necklace: Sugarfix for Baublebar Mixed Media Tassel Necklace
Sunglasses: Chelsea 28 ‘Ellie’
Watch: Garmin Vivomove HR
Bag: Chloe ‘Nile’ dupe

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Gratitude

I mentioned this in my previous Lessons I Learned From One Of My Worst Days post but practicing gratitude every day is so important.  I find that sometimes I tend to focus too much on disappointments or shortcomings that I don’t realize all that I have.  I have the 5 Minute Journal downloaded on my phone and I spend a few minutes every night filling it out.  I love that it shifts my mindset to find the good that happened that day and I’ve realized that having gratitude and being thankful really make a big difference in my happiness.  I’ve mentioned also that I have a nightly ritual with my kids where I ask them what their favorite part of the day was and it’s also an easy way for them to get into the habit of finding the good.

Workout and Get The Endorphins Flowing

This is one I didn’t realize was so important until I had a couple weeks where I just didn’t get a chance to workout.  I had prioritized work and just didn’t get my butt moving at all or work up a sweat.  I’ve since realized the importance of working out, getting a sweat in, and getting the endorphins going in my body.  Endorphins are your body’s natural way of fighting pain / stress and are released when you exercise.  I’ve since realized just how much I need these endorphins in my body and so I make exercise a huge priority in my life!  You can see more about workouts I’m loving in this latest post.

Smile

It actually takes less effort to smile than it does to frown, and even though it’s the last thing you’ll want to do when you’re unhappy, just thinking a happy thought will get a smile creeping on your face.  I have photos saved on my phone from moments that made me happy and sometimes seeing those is all I need to get in a better mood!  Smiling is also contagious so being a happier person yourself will attract those that are happy to be around you.

Have Reminders of Successful Moments

We all have times when we deal with disappointments either at work or in our personal lives, but there are also successes that we need to remind ourselves of!  I find that it’s helpful to write down big accomplishments or even just thoughtful messages people left for me to later look back on whenever I need to get myself out of a funk.  It’s always good to reflect on the past to see your accomplishments and it’s also a good way to see just how far you’ve come!

Help Someone Else

When all else fails, help out another person and you’d be amazed at how good it makes you feel!  It can be as easy as picking up the tab for someone at Starbucks, letting someone have your seat on the bus / subway, or just giving someone a compliment.  Making someone else happy is a surprisingly a great way to make yourself feel better and it just helps spread the happiness all around!

Jacket: Nordstrom Ruffle Bomber (XS) – 40% off!
Top: Express Downtown Cami (XSP) – also in regular
Bottom: 7 For All Mankind Jeans (24 / size down) – 25% off!
Shoes: Ann Taylor ‘Odette’ (5 / size down) – on sale!  similar, similar
Necklace: Sugarfix for Baublebar Mixed Media Tassel Necklace
Sunglasses: Chelsea 28 ‘Ellie’
Watch: Garmin Vivomove HR
Bag: Chloe ‘Nile’ dupe

Happiness is a choice.  Sometimes even the happiest of people need a reminder that they have a choice to choose their outlook on life.  Cultivating optimism goes hand in hand with happiness and it can really change the way you interact with people and deal with struggles.  I’d love to know your thoughts and tips on how to be optimistic!

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Enter my 2 giveaways:  Nordstrom gift card, Gucci handbag (my dream bag!)

on me
Dress: Target Striped Seersucker Dress (XS) – (similar, similar, similar, similar)
Shoes: Steve Madden ‘Carrson’ (go up 1/2 size) – (more sizes here)
Earrings: Baublebar ‘Maraca’ – on sale! (similar)
Bag: Chloe ‘Nile’ dupe

on Mei
Dress: Carters Poplin Dress (also here, here, similar)
ShoesCarter’s Glitter Mary Janes

on Dylan
Top: J.Crew Chambray Shirt
Bottom
: Tucker + Tate Pull-On Jeans
Shoes: similar – on sale!

on Adrian
Top: J.Crew Pima Cotton Polo
Bottom: RVCA ‘Americana’ Shorts
Shoes: Nike ‘Killshot 3’

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Last weekend I had one of those days where it seemed like everything was going wrong.  I’m naturally a pretty positive person and it didn’t even really come to me until I was sitting down at dinner, but that day it seemed like anything that could go wrong, did go wrong.  Honestly, it’s taken me a couple days to recover from that day and I’ve had time to reflect on how I could have done things differently as well as some takeaways for myself.  I figured especially with the popularity of Instagram these days, it can be hard to see the struggles that everybody goes through, so I wanted to share some of mine here today.

A Downhill Rollercoaster Of A Day

As much as I don’t want to, let me share a bit of my day that seemed to go wrong with you.  It started with my laptop crashing.  Not just once, but continuously.  Less than 10 minutes after my computer was up, everything would freeze, I would love any unsaved work that I had, and I would have to do a hard reboot.  At the same time, Dylan was also wanting to play piano and was working to learn a new line in his “cuckoo” song.  I had showed him three new notes to play yet he was struggling with the first two and I could feel my frustration beginning to rise.  I was getting exasperated with my laptop while trying to help Dylan and ended up getting to the point where I yelled at him (something I’m extremely unproud of doing and even writing it out is difficult).

Later that afternoon I met with a new friend who I’m working with to produce video content and we had plans to shoot our pilot.  Unfortunately about 20 minutes into our session, the microphone stopped connecting to the recorder and we couldn’t figure out how to get it to work again.  What was originally planned as a 1-hour session ended up taking over 2 hours and still, we weren’t able to get the audio to work.  I felt defeated and disappointed at the time taken away from my family as we’d need to end up finding additional time to re-shoot our video.

As my afternoon plans were then pushed back, I then scrambled to get a photoshoot in for a collaboration I was working on and due in a couple days for draft review.  While it seemed like the pictures were turning out well and I was later sharing the details with Adrian, he pointed out a fact that made me realize my photos were potentially not going to meet all the post requirements and again, I felt like I had ended up wasting my time.

At that point, I was also running late to meet another blogger friend (Karen Lao if you guys know her — she’s awesome!) who wanted to catch up over coffee.  I got caught in traffic, ended up taking a side road as the highway exit was blocked off, only to then make the mistake of getting on the HOV entrance as I was trying to get back onto the highway.  Unfortunately the HOV lane has limited exits and I ended up getting shot out about 3 miles past where I needed to be to meet Karen.  Needless to say, I felt super guilty about being 20 minutes late.

As I was wrapping up my meeting with Karen, Adrian ended up calling me as he was trying to find a receipt so that we could return a few Ikea items that didn’t work out.  I had cleaned up my desk area earlier that day for our video shoot and while I thought I knew where the receipt had been stowed, it wasn’t the right one and I started to panic thinking that we’d be unable to return 2 large furniture pieces costing almost $200 that we had purchased just the previous day.  Even more so, we had borrowed my parents’ truck to transport the furniture home and left Adrian’s nice car out on the driveway at my parents’ house.  I felt bad that he had spent so much time looking for this receipt that it was now dinner time and he wouldn’t have a chance to return the truck or pick his car back up.

I ended up picking up poke bowls for the family as our dinner since it was pretty obvious that I wouldn’t have time to do any cooking.  As I came back home and pulled into the driveway, Mei and D both came running out to greet me.  Mei was wearing her Princess Anna Frozen costume (she loves playing dress up!) but ended up tripping and skinning both knees.  Dylan had opened the door to my car and was wanting to grab his poke bowl from the to-go bag.  In trying to move Adrian’s bowl out of the way, the lid came off and we had a huge pile of rice, edamame, and corn bits all spilled onto the garage floor.


Dress: Target Striped Seersucker Dress (XS) – (similar, similar, similar, similar)
Shoes: Steve Madden ‘Carrson’ (go up 1/2 size) – (more sizes here)
Earrings: Baublebar ‘Maraca’ – on sale! (similar)
Bag: Chloe ‘Nile’ dupe

Lessons Learned Have Gratitude

As the day ended, I was feeling pretty bummed and was honestly just ready to go to sleep.  I was tucking my kids into bed and Dylan asked me, “mom, what was the favorite part of your day?”  I had started a ritual from when Dylan was about 2 years old where we could both share our favorite part of the day before going to bed.  In the blur of everything that had gone wrong earlier that day, the question actually took me a bit by surprise.  I had to take a minute and re-shift my mindset to find the good that came out of that day — I shared how the warm welcome I received when both he and Mei came running out to greet me as I came home made me happy.  Dylan’s question reminded me the importance of gratitude and even when it seems like so much is going against you, to focus on the positive and to find even the sliver of good that came out of that day.

Don’t Multitask

I’m guilty of always trying to do too many things at once and as a mom, I feel like sometimes we have to be good multitaskers.  But, that day reminded me also that my kids need my attention 100%.  I need to put away the technology, get my head out of whatever obligations may be stressing me out at the moment, and focus on my kids who need me more than anything.  For me, there are times when I need to put down my work even if I’m in the middle of something and give my kids my complete attention.  For me, I had ended up putting my crashing laptop aside and all it took was 10 minutes of sitting down next to Dylan to help him before he was able to figure out his new piano notes.

Have A Mindful Moment

When it seems like so much that’s going wrong is out of my control, I need to remind myself to pause and breathe.  I’ve often told my kids about having “mindful moments” when they need to calm themselves down, and it’s such a good reminder that even we as adults need.  I’ve shared my tips on being a more mindful parent here before (the Spire Stone really does help as it vibrates to remind you to take a break when your heart rate and stress levels go up).  Having a moment when I close my eyes, focus on my breathing, and mentally reset has really helped me to not let a series of bad luck get the best of me.

Communicate

When you’re falling behind or not meeting expectations, it’s always good to communicate with the other side.  I was running late to my meeting with Karen but ended up texting her beforehand to let her know the situation.  People are almost always understanding if you give them a heads up on what’s going on and even as a manager myself at work, it’s something that I appreciate as it helps me plan and know expectations as well.

Own It And Move On

Similar to communicating when you’re falling short, it’s also important to own your mistakes and move on.  Apologies go a long way to reconciling relationships and I’ve learned never to have too much pride not to admit your own shortcomings.  In the case of kids, it’s also good for parents to set the example of apologizing and taking responsibility for their behavior.  I had made the mistake of getting frustrated with Dylan and as a result apologized to him, explaining my actions and what I should have done instead.  We all make mistakes and, even as parents, need to apologize to kids sometimes.

Look For The Lessons

And lastly, every failure is an opportunity to learn.  Even though bad days are never fun, they are opportunities to learn about yourself and grow as a person.  Take a moment to reflect, to think about how things could have been done differently, and learn the lessons from every mistake!

These pictures were taken a couple weeks ago at the Dallas Arboretum and it was such a great time that we had running around and just having fun as a family.  It’s a good reminder that we all have days that don’t go as planned but that there are so many other days that exceed our expectations!  As it can be hard to always see the highlight reel that is Instagram, I think it’s also good for us to share our struggles.  Even the worst day can provide lessons that we can take away and I hope this post gives you a little insight into mine!

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