How I'm De-stressing Lately

floral Moon River sundress
red floral sundress
I've been a stresser for as long as I can remember, and to put it frankly, it succckkkksss. I hate when stress seems to take over me and I can feel my head pounding or heart anxiously beating.

 One of my big goals for 2017 was to get better at de-stressing and calming my anxiety, and I really do feel like I've made some progress. I don't think it's something I'll ever completely beat, but I feel like my mind is definitely quieter these last few months. So I wanted to share a few smallish things that have been helping both my mind and body to be less stressed...

Paper + Pen Organization
A couple of years ago I made the transition to using only a Google calendar, since that's what we use at my office. It's definitely efficient and convenient, but I realized recently that I really miss having a physical planner. There is something so soothing to me about writing out what I need to do with pen and paper. It helps me feel more organized, and soothes my mind when I can write things out versus having my to-do list floating around in my head. I ordered a planner and it's absolutely perfect! I've been staying organized between work deadlines, blog tasks, and just real life to-dos as well. 

I know, I know... so cliche. But getting back into yoga has helped me so incredibly much. I finally found an amazing yoga instructor where we live, and I leave each class feeling both stronger and calmer. I love that I can shut off my mind for an entire hour and just focus on connecting with my body. After owning my previous Target yoga mat for 10 years (seriously!) I treated myself to one of these mats, but also want to try this one.

More Water
I recently started drinking over 100oz of water a day, for reasons completely aside from stress, but by accident I've found that I feel better than ever and that it's helped my anxiety so much! I feel like by better hydrating myself, my mind and body feel so much more calm and healthy. As a result, I've also been drinking hardly any caffeine, which has also reduced my anxiety. I find I drink so much more water when I use one of my Corkcicle tumblers + these straws!     

ruffled floral sundress
Moon River floral sundress
red floral sundress
Dress (c/o)  |  Sunglasses  |  Sandals  |  Choker

When Lulu's sent me this dress, I was so so excited because I love red floral prints, and because I love anything by Moon River! Over the past year, Moon River has easily become one of my favorite brands for beautiful and unique pieces (i.e. the to-die-for ruffles on this dress)! Hands down my favorite places to shop for Moon River are Lulus and Shopbop

5 Podcasts I Can't Get Enough of + My $23 Bodysuit

bodysuit + cutoffs
stripe bodysuit with cutoff shorts

So I'm fairly new to the podcast world, but seriously can't get enough! I'm seriously such a podcast junky all of a sudden! I listen to them while I drive, while I shower, while I do my hair and makeup, and even when I cook and clean the kitchen. I used to get so bored and sleepy on a longer drive, but now I just download some podcasts and go! I love keeping my mind engaged or even just getting in a good laugh while I do otherwise mundane tasks of life. 

While I now listen to a lot of podcasts and have a huge list on my phone of more pods I want to try, read on for 5 I can't get enough of right now!

stripe off-the-shoulder bodysuit with cutoffs
cute summer casual outfit
ASOS stripe bodysuit, $23

1 | The Ladygang
I had to include this because it's the first podcast I really got into and listened to weekly (beyond Serial season 1)! It's basically fun + hilarious girl chat with 3 LA ladies (Becca Tobin, Jac Vanek, and Keltie Knight), and they interview various celebs and experts. Over a year later, I still look forward to listening every Tuesday when a new episode comes out. It's so fun to listen to, and over a year in I feel like they're my friends!

2 | How I Built This
How I Built This is a new-to-me pod (from NPR) that interviews successful entrepreneurs about their now huge businesses, and of course... how they built them. I've never been the most business-minded, but am truly so intrigued and inspired by these stories! This podcast launched last September, so fortunately I have a lot of episodes I'm going back and listening to, but so far my favorites have been Kendra Scott, Dermalogica, and Kate Spade. Thank you to my friend Mary-Katherine for recommending this one to me!

3 | The Skinny Confidential Him & Her Podcast
I've read The Skinny Confidential and followed Lauryn for years, and now love her podcast that she does with her husband Michael! They're hilarious, and no topic is off limits. They have lots of guests, and discuss a great mixture of advice for business, relationships, entrepreneurship, beauty and health. It's reallentertaining, but educational too!

4 | Almost 30
I'm new to this podcast as well and am currently binge-listening to a million past episodes! looooove the hosts Krista and Lindsey. I swear I'm interested in all the same things they are (and am a bit of a hippie at heart), and just enjoy hearing about their lives, as well as the unique and inspiring guests they bring on. These girls are funny and real and chill.👌  

5 | The Bachelor/Bachelorette Party
This podcast is part of the Channel 33 podcast network (started by my favorite sports writer Bill Simmons), and is seriously so fun if you watch any of The Bachelor franchise! The host, Juliet Litman is funny and insightful, and really dives into each episode with different guests each episode (including Ben Higgins and Nick Viall). Trey and I love watching the franchise for the entertainment value, and this podcast is really entertaining as well! The only downside is that you have to subscribe to all of the Channel 33 pods (at least I haven't figured out a work-around), so I just delete the other podcasts I don't want to listen to.

off-the-shoulder bodysuit
off-the-shoulder + cutoffs
Shorts (also love this brand)  |  Bodysuit (under $25!)  |  Slide Sandals  |  Sunglasses  |  Necklaces  |  Similar Bags

What are some podcasts you can't get enough of lately?? I seriously listen to quite the lengthy list, so I'll have to do another post soon of other podcasts I love! 

I also can't wrap up this post without talking about my new favorite bodysuit, which is under $25! It's so stinkin cute + perfect for the summer heat. Bodysuits are so so easy paired with some denim cutoffs (my favorite brands here & here), and this was the perfect outfit for a day of fun sightseeing / drinking around Nashville last week!

On a totally different note... Trey and I are headed up to Chicago today for a quick overnight anniversary/concert trip! We're seeing J.Cole (our 3rd time!) and Anderson Paak tonight (so. damn. excited.), and also squeezing in some sightseeing! Our wedding anniversary is Wednesday, so I'm glad we get to sneak away just the two of us, even if it's just for a night :)

5 Drugstore Makeup Products I Love

drugstore makeup favorites
After trying a bunch of new products the last few months, I'm back with 5 more drugstore makeup products I love! You can see some of my other drugstore favorites here (makeup) and here (hair products).

I've been trying different drugstore foundations in an attempt to fill in for my beloved but pricey Estee Lauder Double Wear. I personally like more of a full coverage foundation, and one that is very long-wearing. Working full-time in PR I often have long work days that extend into the evenings, and often shoot blog photos after work, so I need a foundation that's going to last. This one is definitely my favorite drugstore foundation find so far! It applies smoothly, has great coverage, and lasts far longer than the average foundation. I also like that they sell a version for normal/dry skin and one for combo/oily skin (me!), and have a good range of colors for both. This seems like a small thing, but I love the built-in pump. It makes application really easy and I like that I can easily control how much product I'm using (without wasting). Most days I only need a pump and a half because it applies and blends easily, and is very buildable. I wouldn't say I love it 100% as much as Estee Lauder Double Wear, but it's a pretty darn good dupe and I've already repurchased it! If you try it out or have used it in the past definitely let me know what you think!

Shoutout to my friend Brianna for giving me this to try a few months ago because I love love love this product! I've always been a fan of highlighting pens for some quick and easy highlighting/brightening. This one is 100% as good as more expensive versions I've tried (MAC, Bare Minerals, Mary Kay). I use a little bit of this after my under-eye concealer for a bit of extra brightening (I have really really dark circles), as well as down the bridge of my nose, just under my brows, and to highlight my cupid's bow. I blend it out with my damp blending sponge, and it's the prettiest subtle highlight!

I've been using this lipliner as a dupe for the MAC "whirl" or "velvet teddy" liner and love it! I would say it doesn't last quite as long, but at a price point under $3.50, I'm really happy with it. I also have this liner in the color "all natural," which is a great darker nude.

I've been rebuying this for over a year and it really does make such a difference in the volume of your lashes! I coat the front and back, and then do a second coat on the front.

I just bought my third tube of this mascara because it's so good! Once it's on, it seriously stays put (no weird smudges on your eyelid!), it keeps the lashes from clumping, and the curved wand definitely helps to curl your lashes. It's under $10, so definitely worth giving a try! 

Fashion That Empowers Women

maxi skirt handmade by women in India
summer maxi skirt
beautiful summer maxi skirt handmade by women employed by nonprofit By Grace

I recently reconnected with one of my sorority sisters (we were Chi Omegas at Mizzou!), who started an incredible nonprofit after college called By Grace. By Grace makes beautiful clothing and accessories by empowering and ethically employing 88 women in India and 12 in Ghana (so 100 total!) who create their beautiful designs. Every item purchased directly impacts these women by helping them out of extreme poverty and often rescuing them from abusive situations (domestic abuse, human trafficking, etc.). In India, they partner with Daughters of Hope to be able to offer a free daily lunch, free childcare, education on savings, etc. (so incredible 🙏). They are also fair trade and locally source all of their materials so that they can uplift an entire community.

The more I learned about this organization, the more I fell in love with it. When I received my beautiful sari skirt, it had a handwritten note, as well as a handwritten tag saying it was made with love by Esther 💜 My heart absolutely swelled!

fashion that gives back and empowers women | By Grace wrap maxi skirt
By Grace wrap skirt, handmade by women in India
By Grace wrap skirt - empowers women in India

The older and wiser I become, the more of an impact I want to have on both my local community and the world. There are so many ways to do this - by volunteering locally, by purchasing from empowering companies and organizations like By Grace, by donating here and there as you can, and of course countless other ways. Every little bit makes a difference!

wrap maxi skirt
summer maxi skirt with a simple tank
Skirt (c/o)  |  Similar Tanks here + here  |  Sunglasses  |  Slide Sandals (similar here)

I absolutely adore this beautiful wrap maxi skirt. I think this fabric is so beautiful! I am truly so impressed by the quality of this skirt, and can't wait to purchase a clutch from By Grace.

I decided to style this skirt more casually (although you can absolutely dress it up too!) and I think it's perfect for any kind of summer hangout, heading to lunch or dinner, or even a morning at the farmer's market or shopping locally. The skirt makes such a beautiful statement on its own that I kept everything else simple - a tied up tank and slide sandals - easy and effortless.

Thank you so much for reading! Please check out By Grace because they're truly an amazing organization, and I'm so proud of Emily for making a difference!

 We leave Sunday for Nashville with a group of friends, so I'm sure I'll have lots to share on Instagram next week and will hopefully get some fresh + fun blog content for you too! xx

Favorite Slide Sandals [under $100]

white leather slide sandalsI'm sure by now you've noticed how obsessed I am with slide sandals! I have this white pair ^^ and a black pair that I basically rotate all week, and then a brown pair on their way to me right now 😍 I love how effortless and minimal they feel! Like you just breezed out the door looking all chic without any thought or effort at all (not true whatsoever, but I like to give off that vibe 😜).

I also find them to be so comfortable. Kind of like a glorified [and much chicer] flip flop!

I rounded up several of my favorite finds from around the web if you're in the market! They're all under $100, but many are significantly cheaper. Fortunately this time of year sandals start going on sale, so hopefully you can find what you're looking for and get a great deal! 

Also, I'm sure you've heard (haha) that the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale kicked off to cardholders this morning, but there's also a sneak peek for those of us who don't have a Nordstrom card 🙋 I'm not going to do a sale roundup post until next Friday when the sale opens to the public since I honestly think the sale gets SO overhyped, but if you can shop it now, I'll include just a few links today since there are some really good finds + deals. I plan to order my 3rd pair of these workout leggings, I'm obsessed with the sleeves and colors of this sweater, and am really feelin' these ankle boots for fall & winter.