Pretty PJs that Won't Break the Bank

cute pajamas // Aerie Real
These PJs were from Aerie, but are sold out now. Quick tip: Aerie is always the first place I check for PJs & loungewear though!

This year I made an unofficial goal to up my pajama & loungewear game so that I would no longer like a bum around the house every night. Think oversized sorority t-shirts and Old Navy boxer shorts from college. Not cute. 

So, throughout the year I've been picking up an affordable pajama set or nightie here and there so that I look and feel a bit prettier when I get in bed at night, rather than feeling like a slob who's hiding in massive gray t-shirts. I'm sure Trey appreciates the bit of effort too! 

I'm not one to spend $100+ on pajamas (maybe I'll splurge on a nice silk set someday, who knows), so I gathered up some pretty PJs that won't break the bank.   

10 Foods to Eat for Healthy, Glowing Skin

10 Foods to Eat for Healthy, Glowing Skin

I’m learning more and more that health and beauty really do come from the inside out. You can apply all of the best creams in the world, but if you aren’t taking care of yourself through nutrition and drinking water, those topical products will only go so far.

Our skin is our largest organ and reflects our gut and hormone health, as well as our stress levels. After struggling with acne for 13+ years and reaching a point of desperation, I finally made changes to my diet and lifestyle. These involved eating for hormone and blood sugar balance, prioritizing a healthy gut, and reducing my stress levels. Through all of these things and more I now have the best skin I’ve had in years (it’s not perfect, but it’s much improved), and I 100% believe that good skin is a result of healthy, strategic eating and life balance.    

This is the kind of stuff I LOVE learning about and love passing along to you. If I was doing college over again I would 100% go to school for nutrition. Maybe it’s not too late - I don’t know! I just started reading the book Eat Beautiful by Wendy Rowe, which is all about nutrition for beauty (and sparked the idea for this blog post)! It’s a really enjoyable read with nutrition information, recipes, beauty tips, and beautiful imagery. While there are far more than 10 foods that are superstars for skin health, I thought I would start here and if you guys love this post then I would love to cover more in the future.  

top knot with a bandana

Leafy greens
Yeah, we’ve heard it before, but they really are an essential in your diet! They’re full of vitamins and minerals including beta carotene and vitamin E, which help to repair our skin through cellular renewal. They’re loaded with Vitamin A, which not only helps limit the production of excess sebum (attention my fellow acne sufferers), but also helps the body to eliminate toxins. Greens are such a good source of beautification by supporting new cell growth, cell repair, and detoxification of the body (skin creams can’t do all of that). I put a cup of spinach in my smoothie every single morning, and try to get at least one more serving of leafy greens each day in the form of a side salad (usually kale, romaine, or another lettuce mixture).

Red bell peppers
Red bell peppers have twice the vitamin C as other bell peppers (100% of your daily recommended amount actually), and Vitamin C helps to boost collagen production. They’re a good source of B6 and fiber too. They’re also high in carotenoids, which are great for fighting acne, as well as preventing aging and increasing blood circulation. I like to have colorful bell peppers sliced up in my fridge each week to quickly grab for snacks, salads, stir fries and sheet pans of roasted veggies.  

They’re now trendy with millennials, but they used to be shamed for being high in fat. However, we can now rest assured that they’re full of healthy fats, which are essential for bodily functions, can help you lose weight, prevent skin aging and give your skin a beautiful glow. Monosaturated fatty acids actually work to keep the skin moist and healthy, and protect the skin against UV damage. These fatty acids also soothe symptoms of inflammation. Avocados are also rich in Vitamin E (skin restoration), fiber (healthy digestion), and antioxidants (protect against skin damage). I’m not someone who absolutely loves avocados (the texture is not my favorite), but I aim to eat 3 a week. My three favorite ways to eat them are: sliced with garlic salt and hot sauce, on top of Jilz gluten free crackers as an alternative to avocado toast, or as guacamole with raw vegetables.

Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, and is one of the best sources for them beyond taking a supplement (which I also do). Omega-3 fatty acids support a healthy heart, but also are great for our skin because they lower inflammation in the body, plump the skin, and boosting collagen production and elasticity. Salmon is also a rich source of selenium, which repairs sun damage and helps control irregular pigmentation. The Vitamin D in salmon is good for steady blood sugar levels too (sugar spikes age the skin). I opt for wild-caught salmon when it’s available in order to get the most nutrients and the best taste.

Most herbs are good for skin and health in general, and since it’s green that means it’s packed with nutrients. Cilantro is a blood sugar stabilizer, which is helpful since blood sugar spikes can often lead to acne and other inflammation. Cilantro helps your body to produce digestive enzymes, which help healthy digestion and prevent gas and nausea that come from bad digestion. Why is this related to skin? A healthy gut = a healthy complexion. Cilantro also supports liver detoxification, and when our livers are working optimally to detox the body, those toxins won’t make their way to the skin.

smoothie bowl // foods to eat for healthy, glowing skin

Eggs are a daily staple in my diet! I love that there are so many ways to cook them, and that they’re a complete source of protein in that they contain all 9 essential amino acids (the ones we can’t produce). Egg yolk is packed with vitamins A and D, which help with cell turnover in the skin, and egg whites repair and brighten the skin too. I buy organic or free range eggs as much as possible because they taste better, have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids (good for skin!), don’t have creepy chemical additives, and come from happier, more ethically raised chickens.   

I’ve been eating a lot of cucumbers this summer, and love how hydrating they are with a water content of 95%. Cucumbers reduce inflammation, eliminate toxins, and can help with digestive issues. According to Eat Beautiful, cucumbers “ to flush the system like an internal cleanser, creating a less acidic environment in the gut.” They also have many skin-feeding vitamins and antioxidants, and are one of the best sources of silica, a mineral involved in collagen production. I love to eat cucumber slices with tuna salad, and also include them in a variety of salads.

Berries are a rich source of Vitamin C and antioxidants, which help your skin to fight the free radicals that age skin and destroy collagen. They’re high in vitamins, anti-inflammatory, and have a good amount of fiber, which aids the digestion and detoxification processes. Healthy digestion helps to clear the body of toxins, meaning they’ll leave the body before they show up in your skin! Just be sure to keep your serving sizes small because they do contain natural sugar (which is still processed by the body as...sugar, natural or not). I’ll either put cup of mixed berries in my morning smoothie, or eat cup at another time of the day, but try to limit to that in order to keep my blood sugar steady.

Not only is garlic a delicious way to add flavor to your cooking, but it also has a number of health benefits, which all lead to better skin health. Garlic kills off harmful bacteria and viruses in the body, including Candida overgrowth in the gut (caused by overuse of antibiotics, poor diet or stress). These bad bacteria, fungi, etc. can cause a variety of health problems, including acne and other skin conditions. Garlic is rich in vitamin C, which supports the immune system and boosts circulation. It’s also rich in sulphur, which is essential for skin structure (it partners with collagen). I love to cook with fresh garlic cloves as much as possible and often saute my veggies in it, use it as part of pasta sauce, or make it part of a marinade for fish. 

Dark chocolate
High quality, low sugar dark chocolate of at least 85% cocoa is packed with antioxidants, which help protect your skin from UV damage, and also repair your complexion. Dark chocolate is anti-inflammatory, and also prompts your body to release dopamine (your happiness and satisfaction hormone). I love to have a square or two most evenings after dinner and it neutralizes any sweets cravings. 

My Priorities Are Shifting...

how my priorities are shifting...

I've always known my priorities would shift as I got older and matured, but it's so interesting to sense it happening! Since it's something that's on my mind a lot lately, I thought I would share about it here...

I used to obsess over clothes, accessories, and all kinds of STUFF. I dreamed of owning a Chanel bag one day, I bought little trinkets at Target all the time, and poured all of my extra spending money into online shopping. 

However, my priorities are definitely shifting in life. The older I get the more I want to spend less and experience more. I want to see the world. I want financial stability and savings. I’m prioritizing health and experiences and quality time with Trey more than ever. I feel gross when I get focused on materialistic things.

* Now don't panic... You're not going to stop seeing outfits on here and on my Instagram! Style has always been a big part of me and I still absolutely love the thrill of finding the perfect item or styling a killer outfit. I think it's something I'll always love. I'm just going to be more intentional about what I spend my money on from here on out. *    

loose maxi dress with a straw tote
Tuscany vibes // burnt orange/brown loose dress

What I'm prioritizing more and more...

I know, not the most original, but there has been such a spark lit inside me (within the last couple of weeks) to travel as much as possible these next 2-3 years. I've always absolutely loved travel and by the time I was 17 I had been to eight foreign countries, however I haven't left the US since then. I had an epiphany the other day that we could absolutely afford to travel more if we just prioritize it. If we put our money where our dreams are and plan wisely around work schedules, we can be the ones traveling, not the ones watching from the couch. I want to travel with Trey, with friends, and for photography jobs. I'm putting that intention out into the world! In these few more years before we start a family, I want to see as much as possible and experience allllll the things with Trey while it's still the two of us.

Our Home
Owning a home, especially a cosmetic fixer-upper, can be tedious to say the least. I imagined all of our projects being done by now, but I am happy that we've taken things slowly and only taken them on when we've had the cash saved up. We still have a lot to do in our house, but it's absolutely doable when you break it down. If we just make the effort to intentionally save for different projects, instead of letting the months and years slip by, we can keep checking off our to-do list and continue to create a beautiful home (and increase our home value). While I'm not going to stop buying decor altogether because I find it essential in creating a beautiful, peaceful space, I am going to be mindful about what I buy and will always have a plan for what I'm buying. I'm not allowing myself any more Target black-outs where I come home with all kinds of random trinkets. Everything purchased will be for a reason!  

Our Health
Health and wellness have become huge passions of mine as you know. The more I learn about nutrition, the more I want to keep learning and to help others around me. It's amazing how much of your life can be affected through good nutrition and a clean, holistic lifestyle! While clean eating, supplements, essential oils, etc. can be a bit more of an investment than ramen and canned corn and run-of-the-mill frozen chicken, I truly can't think of a better investment than our health. Our bodies are the vehicles taking us through life. I'll hopefully get to be a mom someday and then live to know my grandchildren and to see more of the world, so why wouldn't I want to treat my body well? Ever since I've started a very intentional game plan with my diet and health, I've been seeing big changes and want that momentum to continue...  

I'll be the first to admit that finance stuff does not come easily to me. It's always overwhelmed me and I've now spent years with little-to-no game plan just living paycheck to paycheck and doing fine, but not doing anything particularly wise with our money. Up until now I haven't even had any regular, monthly savings in place and I've finally reached the point where that's not going to cut it anymore! I want to do more with my life and to be financially stable, regardless of what our incomes are. So, right now I'm working to set up automatic savings out of my paycheck each month, I'm going to work on being more mindful and minimal with spending, I'm going to set up an IRA for photography income, and I'm going to hustle extra hard at my side gigs so that I have more in savings to put toward our other priorities. Even though this is a scary transition and our monthly budgets will be a bit tighter, I have peace knowing that we'll be setting ourselves up for more travel, a higher home value, and more financial stability in the future.   

garden walks / low-back maxi dress
photoshoot in a nursery
dress: sold out Zara, similar here, here & here  |  earrings  |  similar sandals  |  similar bags here & here
Have you noticed your priorities changing as you get older and wiser? Let me know your experience!

Cool side note on these photos... Jo and I and our friend Divina were doing a photoshoot around Austin, and this darling nursery was across the street from one of our locations. While they were shooting I walked over to peek over the fences since it was closed. The owner's son happened to be there and invited us in to take photos! We actually came in by hopping the fence! 

Also, don't forget to enter this giveaway for a $600 Nordstrom gift card just in time for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!

$600 Nordstrom Gift Card Giveaway
Just in time for this Summer's Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I’ve teamed up with a group of bloggers to give you a chance to win a $600 Nordstrom Gift CardTo enter: complete the steps in the rafflecopter below. The more steps you complete, the more entries you receive, and the better your chance at winning! This giveaway runs until end-of-day 7/20 at 12AM EST. Winner will be announced here. Good Luck! *this giveaway is in no way sponsored by Nordstrom.

4 Great Swimsuit Brands that Won't Break the Bank

4 Great Swimsuit Brands that Won't Break the Bank // affordable swimsuits

Believe it or not, but the past few summers I've only had 1 or 2 swimsuits and haven't really gotten into shopping for them. I just never wanted to spend much money on them, and thought the only swimsuits I liked were over $100. However, this year I've discovered a few swimsuit lines that are very affordable but are still high quality, so I've found myself with several really cute and well fitting swimsuits in my lineup this summer! I thought I would share these brands with you!

Barton Springs in Austin, Texas
straw visor + a mint green ribbed bikini

I discovered this brand at Pacsun this year and have been so excited about them! I now have four of their suits and am so impressed with the quality and styles (also worn here & here). They always seem to be on sale online, and I believe their next collection drops any day now!

2. Aerie
I know I talk about Aerie all the time, but I really can't get enough of this brand! Their products are great and their brand message is completely amazing. They have free shipping and returns on swim, so I love that you can try on multiple suits and sizes in the comfort of your own home. They also seem to release new swim collections every few weeks, so I like to check back often! Also, don't forget to check out Aerie's clearance section for an entirely different selection of swimwear and clothes.  

3. Rhythm
I found this brand through Instagram, and while I don't have any of their suits yet, I've heard great things and am obsessed with so many of their designs! They have some really cute prints and color options, and lots of mix and match options as well, which I'm always a fan of with swimwear! 

4. Zara
It's hit and miss regarding how much selection they have, but Zara has some crazy chic swimsuits! I bought a one-piece from there earlier this summer and the quality, price point and uniqueness factors got an A+.  

mint green bikini // la hearts bikini
straw visor
bikini top (c/0)  |  bikini bottoms (c/o)  |  visor  |  earrings

June Loves + a $600 Nordstrom Giveaway

Clean skincare products
pictured: sunglasses (on sale for $29), earrings, eye gel, face oil 1 & 2

I'm in shock that June has come and gone, but time flies when you're having fun! Without further ado, here are all of my favorite things from June...

Beauty Loves
This was the first face oil I tried starting back in the spring, and after months of using it, I truly believe in its magic. Crazily enough, my previously oily skin is so much more balanced now, and this oil helps to heal acne and redness as well. I also apply what's leftover on my hands onto my neck, and the texture of my skin has completely changed. Bonus points: Herbivore is a clean skincare brand, and this product is clean and cruelty free. I alternate it at night with the Acure oil below and also add a couple of drops to my morning moisturizer.
I discovered this skincare line through Thrive Market and couldn't be more obsessed. All of their products are squeaky clean - cruelty free, vegan, and free from parabens, sulfates, phthalate,  mineral oil and more. I'll be sharing my updated skincare routines soon, but definitely check out Acure in the meantime! I love using this $10 face oil as the last step in my nighttime routine for locking in tons of moisture. Also: argan and rosehip oils are non-comedgenic - meaning they won't clog your pores!
I ordered a sample of this eye gel from Biossance, and am loving it so far! It's also lasted me weeks already because a little goes a long way. I'm definitely noticing brighter undereyes, and love that it's lightweight, easy to blend, and perfect for wearing under makeup.
My friend Jo told me to get this $4 lip pencil, and I legitimately haven't used another lip liner or lipstick since! I use it to line then fill in my lips, then simply top with some lip balm. It's a beautiful nude color that makes your lips look plumper with a finished, yet natural look! As long as I top with a little lip balm it's not drying whatsoever either. 

printed hair scarf with a ponytail
Accessory Obsessions
You've probably noticed that I'm fully embracing the hair scarf trend, and I love that they dress up your hair just a bit. I've never had great hair for wearing "up" but hair scarves help to elevate the look. I love these Free People ones because they have a built-in scrunchie that makes them really easy to wear (and they stay put!). You can wear them with a ponytail like above, or wrap them around a top knot. So cute!
I was so nervous to wear bigger hoop earrings, but these $10 hoops from the BaubleBar for Target collection have completely converted me! They've easily been my most-worn earrings this summer and I love that they're lightweight (they seriously don't hurt my ears at all). They also come in silver and rose gold!

Aerie Real workout outfits // Mount Bonnell in Austin
Aerie ribbed henley bikini // Aerie REAL

June Highlights
Traveling to Austin with my Best Friend
Hopefully you followed along with Jo's and my roadtrip to Texas, but we loved Austin so much! It quickly became one of my favorite US cities, and I can't wait to go with Trey sometime. You can find my Austin travel guide here. We got to explore, stock up on tons of photo content, eat some amazing food, and plan the future of our blogs and goals beyond that. I highly suggest going on a road trip with your best friend sometime!

Partnering with Aerie on an Unretouched Swim Photo to Benefit NEDA
Not only was partnering with one of my very favorite brands exciting in the first place, but this particular campaign hit home for me because NEDA (the National Eating Disorders Association) is a non-profit that helps those with eating disorders. You can read more of my story here.

June Reads
6 nutrient-dense foods that fight disease
In pursuit of career happiness: how to switch gears on your career
5 unexpected causes of food cravings
Jo is not only my best friend (see above) and a crazy talented wedding photographer, but she’s also ridiculously business and finance-savvy and has started a website for future or current small business owners and entrepreneurs. This stuff goes straight over my head and overwhelms me, so to have a resource who breaks down these topics in a relatable, digestible way is invaluable. I’ve already learned so much from her and her site, and can’t wait to see what else she shares!

What I'm Listening to
"Falling Water" by Maggie Rogers
Maggie is my favorite new artist and I've been listening to her latest release daily!

The Goal Digger Podcast by Jenna Kutcher
Can you tell I have small business/entrepreneurship on my mind?? Jo introduced me to Jenna's podcast and it has so much practical + inspiring content for creatives, content creators/influencers, and small business owners. In listening to just a few episodes I've come away with strategies to apply both here and to my photography business.

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AND....a Nordstrom Giveaway!
The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is coming up (I cannot wait to stock up on my favorite leggings!!), so I partnered with some fellow bloggers to give a $600 Nordstrom gift card to one of you! 

$600 Nordstrom Gift Card Giveaway
To enter: complete the steps in the rafflecopter below. The more steps you complete, the more entries you receive, and the better your chance at winning! This giveaway runs until end-of-day 7/12 at 12AM EST.Winner will be announced here. Good Luck! *this giveaway is in no way sponsored by Nordstrom.