I wanted to let you guys in on my new favorite hydrating lip balms by the brand Moroccan Magic. Moroccan Magic lip balms are USDA certified organic and cruelty free, checking two things off my list of desirable brand qualities.
They are super hydrating for your lips in the dry winter months. I have dry skin year round and while winter is magical time, it isn’t necessarily the easiest for beauty! I keep these in my purse or jacket pocket for work or class, and they give a moisturizing coat to my existing lip color. A tip: lip stains work really well with these balms, because they won’t smear the product.
They come in 5 scents, and the ones I’m featuring in this post is “Rose.” The others include:
Having argan oil be the main base ingredient for these balms is great, because argan oil is known worldwide for being highly conditioning, not to mention it has anti-aging properties.
I love the scents and these are perfect for keeping my lips resilient this season! You can pick them up at your local CVS, Bed Bath and Beyond, the Vitamin Shoppe or Whole Foods. I hope you love them as much as I do! Drop me a comment about your own review. Have a great week!
It’s March already, how did that happen? I was waiting for this trip to the Indian Wells BNP Paribas tennis tournament for what seemed like minutes, the way the months are flying by. I’m currently already on the plane back from Seattle, sun-kissed and craving more vacation and adventure. Time is crazy!
So I did promise blog content and possibly a Palm Springs hike vlog, but there was no hike. A trip to California without the hike? Questionable, since I used to love hiking the rolling hills when I went to college in the Bay. But things don’t always go as planned, and we spent 6 full days watching elite tennis. And I’m not complaining!
First off, the 5 takeaways from my week in the desert sun are as follows:
1. I need to take more trips. I’m currently reading a book that is all about creating the life you want and to stop making excuses to do so, and I want to adventure more. This takes planning for larger trips, but I also aim to do smaller more last minute trips, whether it’s over the border to Canada or spending the night in Whidbey Island. The possibilities don’t need to include a plane. Although many of mine do!
2. Sunscreen is a Seattleite’s (yep I used that word) best friend. If you’re spending up to 8 hours in the sun each day watching a sport, you need to reapply sunscreen. Most of the time, waterproof sunscreen only lasts up to 80 minutes. The math is very clear here. Protect your skin regardless of if you sunburn, or if you’re trying gather evidence to show your friends how you got two shades darker from white to off-white. Skin damage isn’t cute.
3. Hydrate constantly. Carry a reusable water bottle with you, because physically carrying the bottle will remind you to fill it up. Buying water bottles is often a one-time commitment. Every time we passed by water fountains we would fill up our bottles, and we would also fill them in changeovers (tennis terms, ya know). Also, room temperature water absorbs quicker through your body, so you can pass on the water taken over by ice chunks.
4. Do NOT wear sandals to an all-day sporting event. Unless you own burkenstocks or some kind of sliders, chances are your feet will blister from any kind of friction. You’re walking a lot and it’s not worth cutting up your feet trying to be fashionable. And since when would athleisure not be fashionable?
5. Event food is expensive, so try to pack snacks. My recommendations would be Good RX bars (12 g of protein and limited ingredients), peanut butter and apples, trail mix, dried fruit, etc. Relying on the quickly made, almost fast food that events often provide could make you sick if you’re used to eating healthy. Although the tournament added a new booth with Mahi Mahi salads! YES…
Those are pretty specific, let’s get on to the action. Even if you don’t watch tennis or tried to play once and thought it was a game only invented for perfectionists, you, might still enjoy some of these snapshots:
A week can be a relatively short vacation, depending on how you look at it. The trip for me flew by in real time, but slowed down because I was simply taking in the moments more. I was appreciating the sun on my face and how amazing a perfectly mixed cold brew tasted while sitting on the deck in the morning, and I was relaxed. I was so content, and not at all thinking about my obligations back home or the fact that I hadn’t studied my GRE flashcards.
A mindset that really helped me fully dive into a vacation was the grind-and-then-relax mode. I’m on that grind 24/7 back home in Seattle, working to save money and building my blog as well as a fashion company’s blog. I’m building my photography portfolio and scheduling shoots. But this wasn’t in Palm Desert. So a pro tip: don’t bring your work with you. If you need to a do a few things to stay on track, that’s great, but postpone anything that can be postponed.
If you’re a fellow blogger, don’t obsess over a promise you made on your Instagram story to produce a vlog or a set of photos of every outfit you sported on vacation. If it doesn’t happen it doesn’t happen, create the content you can make time for and ENJOY YOURSELF.
I had ideas for the trip that weren’t executed, but it’s all good in the blogging hood.
The best advice I can say is to just try to live in the moment and forget the rest. I left my 50 mm canon lens at home and only brought my wide angle lens, which was a mistake for getting pristine action shots. I used my iPhone. It was actually a fun challenge for me to work harder to get the quality! And I’m happy with the results, and just enjoyed seeing the most elite tennis ever!
You make the most out of short vacations just like you make the most out of life.
Fitness has unlimited benefits to an individual’s lifestyle. Not only is it essential for cardiovascular health and disease prevention, it also improves mental health and body positivity.
It can be difficult to believe that fitness and body positivity can coexist, with the heavy influence around us every day. We see ‘fitspo’ imagery on social platforms, phrases like “beach body’ and articles on how to constantly cut food cravings. Following these phrases and trends can be confusing and skew the purpose of fitness.
Essentially, these phrases and terms that are thrown around through media are body-shaming readers. Fitness ‘gurus’ have workouts even called ‘beach body workouts’ or tips on how to be bikini body ready in (insert time period here). Which body type are you trying to promote? It can’t be a universal one, because that would be impossible, wouldn’t it? Genetics are a slight obstacle with that one…
Let’s skip the awkward labels and cut to the chase here. You should workout for you. Year round happiness over seasonal happiness is key as well. Summer is great, but it offers a lot more than your showing of how many pounds you shed with that at home pilates YouTube streak. You are more than your size, babes.
Hitting the weights or making it to your favorite Zumba class can improve your confidence in your body, by being active and learning to love the progress you make. Fitness can be an amazing release, not a chore to get closer to an ‘ideal’ body that is unattainable. Embrace your body, and workout because you want to be healthier. Have your fitness goal be happiness, whichever exercises bring you that. If you’re bored, mix it up.
Don’t workout to earn food, or obsess over a particular waist measurement. Discovering a true balance of focusing on how you feel rather than just how you look is an important step towards body positivity and the power of confidence.
I’m not saying I don’t succumb to body critiques. I just don’t let them run my life, or my relationship with fitness.
When was the last time you told yourself what you’re grateful for with your body? What makes your body ‘yours’? Because you are one of a kind, don’t forget that. Use fitness to start finding the positives, such as increasing your energy or strengthening your immune system.
Set your own standards. There is no finish line, because fitness isn’t a race. You don’t need to make comparisons to another’s body when it’s not a competition. Give yourself encouragement and set goals that will make you truly happier, and ensure that those goals are for you and you alone.
Make 2018 about body positivity. Go with friends to workouts or enjoy hikes outside. Take a new group class you’ve always wanted to try. Make challenging yourself a passion as opposed to a hurdle. Learn to love what you were born with, and use it as your source of inspiration, not as a subject of critique.
Why? Because you deserve that confidence. Self-compassion and acceptance is not always easy, and is a practice that is often overlooked. Step off the scale and push aside the numbers. Choose a starting point and go from there. And enjoy the process.
How are you going to become more body positive? Let me know in the comments. xx
This week I’m sharing my tips and idea’s for how to start a blog. A beginner’s guide, if you will. I’ve had my blog for about a year and a half, and I have to say, it’s my favorite activity. I love to write and share info and education on topics I love. If you’re wanting to do the same, then read on! ❤
1 . There are a few more technical steps to setting up your blog, but the one decision I’ll give my input on is the platform. I prefer WordPress and have been loving it since I started. There are approximately 82 million WordPress users, so your engagement possibilities are great here. I find the platform user friendly and straightforward for uploading content and images.
If you’re unsure about which platform you want to use, research always helps. What kind of content will you be uploading? For instance, an image dominated blog may apt to go for a platform like Squarespace, for that modern clean look. I, however, love to include a bunch of text in my blog pieces, and compliment it with photography.
WordPress allows me to post aesthetic posts with my writing and one of my new found loves, photography:
2 . Consider investment. If you aren’t willing to invest some money into your platform, it’s better to know at the beginning stage. A few investments instantly make your blog more professional. The two that I invested in were a domain and a template.
A personalized domain is much more personal to you, as opposed to having the platform name be in the domain. And people respect and appreciate a blog that has gone the extra mile.
WordPress, for instance, offers a variety of templates free of charge, however, my advice would be to look through the free ones and paid ones without focusing on the money factor. Which template stands out to you? Which properly displays the type of content you’ll be posting? After that, it’s up to you. You could always go with a free template to start out and switch later.
3. Think about cross-promotion. By that I mean promoting your blog content on multiple social media platforms to gain more exposure. Currently, my top priority of cross-promotion is Instagram. I feel like I can really show my photography on there and draw my followers to my blog site. I always put my recent blog post in my Instagram bio for easy access.
4. Time commitment/management. Posting regularly on a blog does take time. I aim to post once a week, mostly on a Wednesday or a Thursday according to my posting statistics. Some bloggers aim to post twice a week, and some manage every two weeks. The key is finding what schedule works for you, and sticking to it.
If you’re adding a blog to a current full schedule, blocking out time in your week to write posts and take photos is essential. Sometimes I’ll arrange 5 flatlays in the same sitting and save them so I have them for upcoming posts on Instagram and on my blog. It helps to think ahead! Some examples of flatlays I plan out (when the winter light allows):
5. Lastly and most importantly, you need a niche. When trying to figure out what your blog will be about, ask yourself these questions:
What do I know? (You don’t need to be an “expert”, but go for your strengths)
What am I passionate about?
What content would I like to read?
Your niche should be something that flows more naturally. If you have always loved keeping up with the latest fashion trends, fashion blogging would be great for you. If you just love photography and taking photos and want to show them to an audience, a photography blog would be great. If you’re passionate about health and wellness, design a blog that covers those topics. Go for your strengths and write what you know.
I consider this point the most important because it ensures authenticity in your writing. I myself strayed from my passions for a few months posting more style and fashion, and my excitement for it faded. Writing about health and wellness and fitness are always on my mind and in my lifestyle, so I found my way back to what I consider to be my strengths.
Be yourself. Let it come through your blog and through your writing. You’ll be amazed at the feeling of people responding positively to it.
I hope this guide was helpful! For any further inquiries about starting a blog, feel free to drop a comment below or email me. x
As you may know, one of my jobs is being the lead blogger and freelance photographer for a Seattle based fashion company, Fashion for Conservation. I’m sharing my thoughts on the fashion industry, because I’ve been working in it for about a year now.
I’ve always loved having my own personal style, however, I was skeptical of getting involved in an industry that is driven by mass consumerism.
I love certain aspects of fashion, but I haven’t been fully on board until I was introduced to the idea of sustainable fashion. Why are we not focusing on driving a massive industry towards sustainable practices? Why can’t our clothes be the best of both worlds; sustainable and fashionable?
Fashion for Conservation aims to combine conservation and fashion, best of both coexisting worlds. That’s what drew me in.
The tough thing is, it is completely possible, it’s just a matter of creating a shift in thinking from big brands and the audience that keep those brands afloat and relevant. People love their stuff, their clothes, their possessions. They love the fabrics that made it all happen, the precious fibers that hold their statement pieces together.
But there’s a bigger picture here. As the earth warms and animals are in a panic trying to migrate from their beloved habitats, are we still going to care more about how exactly our clothes are made? If we have to switch to sustainably made clothes and accessories, is this going to drastically change our lives? No. But it could for the creatures we should be aiming to protect.
In 2017, I attended London Fashion Week with Fashion for Conservation, viewing designers’ work from all over the world. Yet as I attended the shows, I started to observe the people attending, as opposed to the designs. Why? I started to ask myself if they were there for the art and fashion design, or for the entitlement.
Why can’t beautiful designs be both sustainable and a representation of art and talent?
I have an entirely new view of fashion from working with Fashion for Conservation. There are multiple aspects of the industry I don’t care for, but collaborating with sustainable brands and designers, or featuring animal rights activists and wildlife photographers, is what makes it worth it for me. I feel like I’m playing a part in this bigger initiative, to make fashion and conservation work together for a brighter future.
As a blogger, I aim to work with sustainable brands, or cruelty-free makeup and skincare lines. It feels better ethically to be using products that don’t support animal testing, because I love animals. I refuse to wear them and I don’t believe in fashion sacrificing them for a trend.
I see zoos differently, and tourism. I now know what elephants, the majestic and beautiful creatures that they are, have to endure in order for a tourist to ride them. I know the history of what circuses did to their animals to get them to jump through rings of fire or behave absurdly for human amusement. I’m not trying to impose guilt with these words, I’m trying to share the progress we’ve already made and how much farther we still have to go.
In reality, we could learn from Animals. Fashion for Conservation’s Elephantasia campaign celebrated the elephant. How could they not be a priority?
I love personal style, finding new skincare products that work for me, and products here and there that compliment my everyday life. But they don’t have to come with the expense of an animal’s life. Animals aren’t here for our amusement or utility. We can all aim higher with our contribution to conservation efforts, and as long as I hold this position within Fashion for Conservation, I will keep doing so and inspire other individuals to do the same.
I consider this piece from a reporter’s perspective, given my realization London. I’m also thinking of starting a series of ethical and sustainable fashion trends. Thoughts?
How are you being sustainably fashionable? Let me know in the comments. xx
I created this how-to guide on deciphering quality and affordable activewear. Because, in the current financial climate, we can’t afford to keep winging it and ending up with disappointment. Ripped seams, questionable fit, undesirable price tags… we’ve all been there. We want performance quality clothes for the gym, that also look awesome on. It really is possible. And it’s a beautiful thing.
The two brands I’m featuring in this post are 90 Degree by Reflex and GapFit. Both have exceeded my expectations on style, fit, and durability. I received all of these items on discount (GapFit) or at a very reasonable base price (90 Degree).
When you’re buying activewear, you are constantly debating price versus performance. Do you buy the Old Navy leggings in a pinch or splurge on the high grade $100 ones from (insert high price point brand here)? Tricky question, I know.
You can have both. The lower price point and the performance. My tips:
❄ When you buy matters a lot here. Taking advantage of sales and holidays really bring down price points. For instance, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which is when I purchased all of the GAP clothing pictured in this post.
I received 8 items from GAP on cyber Monday for a grand total of $195, as opposed to the original price of $355. I’m currently loving my modal sleep joggers while I type these words of wisdom.
❄ Always read reviews. From actual customers, not the website. If multiple people are complaining of ripped seams or unforgiving fabric regarding the same brand of leggings, you want to take that into account. My advice: go to YouTube. Customers there are brutally honest, and you can find many videos actually comparing affordable versus high-end brands.
❄ Beware of social media influencers advertising activewear. I myself almost purchased GymShark leggings based on the promotional reviews of their top influencers, but once I went to YouTube, I found horrible reviews. I am not in any way judging this brand, I’m just using them as an example of oversaturated social media advertising.
Instagram lovers, I get you, but just know that these individuals are compensated to claim the quality of the activewear they represent. What fits one girl’s body shape might not fit yours. And 15 reviews of a ripped seam WHILE in the middle of a gym routine? I cringed. Definitely do your research.
❄ Even if you love that celebrity’s music, you might not want to invest in their activewear. Carrie Underwood’s activewear line was all over Dick’s Sporting Goods, and I know how I feel about it. Kate Hudson’s Fabletics has gotten a lot of hype and a lot of hate for the quality of clothing and the strange membership requirements.
❄ Stick to brands you know. Whether you’re a Nike or Under Armour enthusiast, these brands (and many more) are designed for athletes and active people with performance needs. Buying activewear from brands that specialize in activewear is crucial.
I know it’s tempting to get the deal at Victoria’s Secret Pink for their leggings for the holidays, but for real, I’m not going down that rabbit hole again. Every brand out there is trying to make activewear, but what’s the common drawback? You buying the brand not the quality, and the clothes lacking performance. Sad, sad tale.
❄ If you love Nike, for instance, but don’t want to mourn your bank account, don’t go to the actual Nike store. Nordstrom Rack and Dick’s Sporting Goods, to name two, always carry discounted items from brands like Nike. And if you really want to be a pro, I would recommend TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. Target carries Champion, and Costco often has brands like Columbia and outdoor active brands.
What I’m saying here is, I can’t remember the last time I paid full price for clothes.
❄ Fabric matters. If I can’t sit down, squat, lunge, or do a cartwheel in a pair of leggings, chances are I won’t purchase them. I only buy online if I know the brand or the fabric of the item, because I am so picky on fabric.
Why I love these two brands:
These 90 degreeby reflex leggings are available on Amazon for an average cost of $22.99, and they are so comfortable. I bought them in charcoal grey and black to start out with the neutrals. The material is wicking, so they are great for cardio as well as weight sessions. I can kick high and squat low in these babes (they did pass the squat test).
These are the high waist leggings, full length, and I can’t tell you how important a compression waist is for me. Nothing bothers me more than a slipping waistband. My hips to waist proportions give me a very hourglass figure, making it difficult to keep pants up without the high waist. These even have a hidden pocket in the front waistband! I love them, and three washes in, they haven’t lost any shape.
GapFit has been a longtime success for me. I feel like the regular prices are more reasonable than high end activewear, and I still get the same quality. I love high waisted leggings, and there are always multiple styles online and in store. I stick with the gFast high rise sculpt revolution line, because I like the fit and waistband, so I actually purchased two capris in addition to the purple leggings photographed above.
Gap has sales all the time, so I would highly recommend trying one of their leggings or workout tops. No pilling after washes, either.
I hope you guys liked this hybrid post of product review and how-to guide. Have an amazing rest of your Wednesday! Any questions on the above purchases, just drop a comment below.
Under Armour basketball shoes for $74.99 as opposed to $94.99 (although I purchased them during a sale for $54.99)
Cocktails for Conservation, and event held by Fashion for Conservation (FFC), wason the 28th and had a great turn out! I wanted to introduce the non-profit benefitted at the event, Hoja Nueva, which is based out of the remote Piedras region of Madre De Dios, Peru. Samantha Zwicker, the executive director of Hoja Nueva, spoke at the event as well. Samantha also happens to be my sister, and I’m planning to visit her eco-lodge at some point this year to possibly do a health project.
Samantha is a PhD student and current global health scholar most days, and other days she is trekking through the Peruvian Amazon camera trapping jaguars, treating dogs, or working in the sustainable development of remote, impoverished communities. Her work with Hoja Nueva is very diverse and covers a wide range of health and environmental topics. When Samantha is home you can find her off exploring with her dog Copper in the Pacific Northwest, or spending time with her family.
“My love for animals and nature is what guides me,” says Samantha, “and continuing to provide a voice for the people and animals that go unheard.” Samantha aim to be a sort of global leader, inspiring others to make a difference and help much needed communities around the world. This drive to help created the idea of Hoja Nueva, a U.S 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Samantha began working in the lower Peruvian Amazon almost five years ago, drawn to the frontier forests within the controversial region of Madre De Dios, known globally for illegal mining and logging operations. The interoceanic highway was the last straw – a vast expanse of concrete stretching from the ports of Peru to the ports of Brazil brought an influx of people to corners of the Amazon that have never been reached before. Like other areas of the world opened up by roads, the interoceanic highway led to the creation of thousands of more roads for logging, agriculture, and settlement. For migrants in search of free land and a better future for their children, the unprotected forests of Las Piedras, albeit viewed as untamed jungle, were a blessing. The deforestation and habitat destruction incurred over the past six years however, has been detrimental for the future survival of wildlife and rainforest.
“We started Hoja Nueva as a grassroots organization,” Samantha says, “to raise standards of living in impoverished communities while maintaining healthy rainforest habitat.” Samantha and the Hoja Nueva team aim to effects change at a local scale, for the lives of people in both migrant and native communities. What is so commonly misunderstood is that these people are vital to rainforest conservation, therefore they must be constantly prioritized in research and conservation projects.
Sustainability projects have become very important to Hoja Nueva’s recent initiatives, or in other words, guiding Peruvian communities to thrive and develop in a sustainable way. Some of these projects include native communities gaining legal rights to their lands, and creating microfinance programs and alternative income opportunities.
Developing waste management and water quality projects, linking sustainable cocoa producers with buyers in the U.S., and bringing students and experts from around the world to educate support in the ways that they can, are very clear goals for Hoja Nueva. To reach their conservation and research goals, Hoja Nueva raised $60,000 in 2015 and 2016 to build a research station and eco-lodge, as well as buy 150-acre plot of land within one of the largest destructive agricultural communities in the Piedras region.
Although Hoja Nueva has made great leaps since its founding, Samantha recognizes that are always limitations and obstacles when working in a nonprofit. “We find ourselves consistently faced with issues – big and small – that we want to confront and work on but we do not have the funds,” she claims, “One of the most difficult parts about running a nonprofit that is needs-based is not always being able to help.”
Hoja Nueva goes through periods of getting significant donations and funds to aid projects, and then there are also equal periods of time when Hoja Nueva struggles to make ends meet. It takes a lot of well though out distribution of funds and saving to keep the projects going, as Samantha has already experienced in her dedication to Hoja Nueva so far. “It is not always easy, but in the end it is always worth it,” she says.
Local events, such as Cocktails for Conservation, spread awareness in a very effective way, through networking and creative stimulus of additions such as eco-fashion.
This brings in Hoja Nueva’s partnership with Fashion For Conservation (FFC), one Samantha is very proud to continue. Hosting events with FFC spreads awareness of Hoja Nueva’s efforts to a consumer crowd, which is crucial and hard to reach solely with Hoja Nueva’s media efforts. “The fashion industry is the third most destructive on Earth, ” Samantha claims, “especially as it relates to dies, cotton, and an uncanny amount of waste.”
The truth of the matter is, millions of people tune or attend events such as London or New York Fashion Week. Addressing this audience with issues that have erupted in the tropics and the world in general can make a monumental impact for Hoja Nueva’s cause. Not to mention that partnerships like these are a statement for future conservation efforts.
By living part of the year in both Peru and Seattle, Samantha stresses the importance of connecting with people and building networking for conservation projects. The topics of climate change, loss of biodiversity and wildlife species may have a new chance to gain awareness in the world of fashion, with the help of volunteers and those willing to put in a helping hand with education and promotion.
I’ve gotten involved with FFC because fashion really can have a sustainable base. We can make a significant difference, with the causes we choose to donate our money. There are individuals, like Samantha, who are working abroad to build a better future for the coexistence of nature and humans. We can do our part here at our home base.
When I do visit Peru with Hoja Nueva, I fully plan to photograph and document my experience. I’ve never been to South America.
I hope you enjoyed this FFC feature; a dive into my work with a fashion company that could make a big difference. Stay tuned for my next post, that will be up by Thursday evening. xx