The Style Brunch

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Winter to Spring New Items!


Blazer: H&M (click here) / T-shirt: H&M (click here) /
Bag: H&M (click here) / Beret: H&M (click here


As you can see in my photos trying to transition into spring fashion is challenging where I live! The winters are long and the temperature is still below 40 degrees. However I am ready for brighter colors and fun pieces so I can been online shopping for new spring pieces. I recently shopped online on H&M and found some cute pieces for spring! 

I have an obsession with blazers. I really think blazers are a necessary staple item in your closet. This blazer has fun plaid colors in light blue, orange and white. The spring colors on this blazer makes it a great piece for spring outfits. I also love wearing fun youthful graphic t-shirts with my blazers. So when I saw this throwback Friends shirt I had to grab it! The two paired together dresses down the look and makes it perfect for a casual outing. Due to the snow I had to wear a hat so I really like this white wool beret. I have never worn a beret before so let me be honest and tell you that it toke 20 minutes plus a youtube tutorial to figure out how to wear it! LOL!

Spring/summer handbags are my favorite seasonal bags! They are small, structured and gorgeous fun designs. I really like this round shaped gold handle light brown bag from H&M. Its functional and stylish. The light color is perfect color for many spring outfits. It will look good with boho chic outfits and summer vacations. 

This is one of many outfits I look forward to bringing you guys this year on the blog! If you want to see what other pieces I purchased from H&M you can check out my Youtube channel. I did an unboxing and try on haul! Video will be posted down below!








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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

How to Use Light Room Presets to Edit your Instagram Photos | Presets I use!



If you don't have Adobe Pro software don't run away because the good news is there is a mobile version called ADOBE Lightroom CC.  Lightroom CC allows you to edit your photos like a pro on your mobile device. This is what I use. 

Before presets I used the amazing app VSCO, which I still use but I am leaving loving the opportunity to use some of the option of presets available now. 
Now this market was started by a chosen few and like everything in life it quickly toke sight by many and now everyone and their grandmother is selling presets. 

As a tip I suggest doing your research before purchasing presets because most of them don't give refunds. 

In this post I am sharing the presets that I have purchased and loved and others that have received great reviews!

LightRoom Presets are a one click copy and paste away from transforming your photos. I don't have time at the moment to learn ADOBE Lightroom on the desktop so right now LightRoom mobile is perfect! It is a quick and user friendly way to bring life to your photos. 

Presets are offered in different packages. Some can be purchased individually and some come in a collection pack. The collection pack come with a few different filters that allow you to create and maintain a cohesive feed. 

There is a combination of presets being sold by photographers and popular instagrammers. Some Instragrammers have maintained a consistent look to their feed are have now packaged it into a collection of presets. I have purchased presets from both photographer and instagrammers. 

How to get started?

First make sure to download the ADOBE LightRoom CC app. 



Create a folder in LightRoom titled Presets.




Once you have purchased your first preset you will download the file. Open it and AirDrop it to your mobile phone. Make sure to accept the AirDrop file into your photo album. 

Then open LightRoom app and go into the Presets folder. You want to import the Preset photo and press okay. 


To use the preset open the photo and on the top right hand corner will be a circle with three dots. Click that and click "copy settings" and then click ok. 



Now you have the preset settings to copy and paste onto your photo. Once you upload a photo onto your LightRoom app --> click the three dots again found in the top right corner and click paste settings. 


The presets are now applied to your photo. More than likely you will have to make some tweaks to the photo. So play around with the Light, Color, Effects and Detail until you get the look that you want. 


Now you have a beautifully edited photo to add to your feed or blog posts. If you want to see how the photo will look on your feed before posting, an organizing app like Planoly can help you manage the look of your feed. 

The Lightroom presets that I use are:

1.)  Chasing Denisse Presets
Denise is a photographer who has established a distinct look and mood to her photos. Not mention if your not following her on IG you should because of her charm and wit. I have purchased almost all her presets and for the exampled photo used for this post I used "in the know" preset. 



(Mercer preset for this photo)


2.) Tezza App
Tezza is one of the hottest Instagrammers at the moment. However if you follow her story she was actually a photographer. She has a beautifully curated feed along with some of the most creative high fashion photos on the gram. She launched an app for a small monthly fee and has about 16 presets available along with templates for Insta-story.


3.) Emily V Presets
Emily Vartanian is an Instagrammer who incorporates an array of warm and cool tone colors into her feed. It changes but mood board has a story or theme and I really like her look. She created several different mobile preset packs all themed to a look that you are going for. 



Learning how to use presets can really take your Instagram to the next level. You can attract new followers, get the attention of brands, establish a particular look that can set you apart, and improve your editing skills! I found that through presets I have really loved the editing process and found a new passion for it. 

I know there are so many presets out there and if you have a favorite please share it below! 


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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Chasing Your Dream in Secret | How to Pursue your Dream Free of the Opinions of Others


How many of you are people pleasers? 




I will raise both my hands with you guys because for as long as my memory allows I have always been a people pleaser. It wasn't until I pursued my online business that I realized this was something that I needed to work on. 

Being a people pleaser = worrying about other people's opinions!

When my husband and I were living in Rhode Island we both worked. For the last three years of living there I was making way more money than he was. We were living comfortably and our families were proud of us but inside I was anxious. I was anxious because I was pursuing what I loved on the side and the only person that got it was my husband. 
People at work how no idea what I did on the side. No one knew besides my husband, a few people and my online community. It was like I was living a double life for so long and the room felt smaller and smaller. I quickly started to develop anxiety because I wanted to share so bad what I was doing and what I loved but I worried about what other people would think about me. 

When we worry about what other people's opinions are about us what we are actually looking is to get their approval or acceptance. But and with a BIG BUT... if we look for the approval from others then we will be looking infinitely because people will always be negative and will let you down. There will always be a negative person that is waiting around the corner to peek their head out to throw shade or give their unwanted opinion. But realize that 99% of the time their opinion carries no weight because they have no knowledge or background on what it is that you are trying to build! 

Now let's unpack this because there are two kinds of opinions:

1. The made up ones (hypotheticals) 
These opinions are the ones that we make up in our own heads. We are in our own heads gassing our selves up on what we assume others are saying about us. You see a post on social media and you make it about you. You visit your family member and you assume that they are talking about you because you all of a sudden, can read their energy. 
Don't feel alone girl if you do this,  because I am notorious for doing this! But let's look at this realistically and ask yourself: has someone actually came up to your face and said something negative about your business or dream?? 
More than likely the answer is no. If this was a court case we would have nothing to present to the jury besides our conspiracy theories because there are no facts/evidence and/or proof that people were talking about us. 

2. Actual opinions
These opinions are real! Proof exists here. You have read comments/dm(s). You had a jealous Tia (aka Aunt in english) that made a snarky comment about your blog. Whoever it was in your life, someone actually said something negative. 
 When this happens shift your mind and just pray for these people and move on boo! 
We can not let their energy make space in our mind and/or heart. 

So the question to ask yourself is: what are we going to do when this happens?

1. STOP! 
Stop looking at these comments/dm(s) and listening to your Tia! I have seen some mean comments under my Youtube videos. I have read criticism on my appearance, the shape of my head, how I speak, my teeth, I talk dumb or I have no idea on how to apply makeup etc etc etc...

Now in the past I used to get desperate when I read these comments. I was obsessed with replying to them and replying with something nice so that they could like me because I dread when people don't like me! It bothers me to my core. I would make excuses for these people and say things like "well maybe they are just having a bad day" or "she must of misinterpreted what I was trying to say."  
This was not healthy for me and it will not be healthy for you as well! 
So let's STOP looking at these comments!

2. Build your tribe
Surround yourself with good people. It's so important for your mental health to surround yourself with people that going to build you up. People that support you and want to see you succeed. You need this kind of energy around you. 

3. Reach out to like minded people
When no one around you understands what it is you are trying to build the dream can feel very lonely. Reach out to people in your community or online that are in the same profession/industry as you. You will discover that more than likely they feel the same way you do!

I hope this post was helpful because let me tell you just typing it was so therapeutic for me. 

Let me leave you with this: We can not measure our worth by someone's else opinion. You were made by God to create because He is the ultimate Creator! 

GO OUT THERE LADIES AND DONT BE ASHAMED OR EMBARRASSED OF YOUR DREAMS!!!! 


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Friday, February 8, 2019

What happened after watching Marie Kondo Tidying Up


What sparks you joy? 

I have to admit I have picked up and put back down Marie Kondo's books many times in Target. Japanese author, Marie Kondo has been everywhere with not only her best selling book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up but also with her new Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.
The series is only 8 episodes but as soon as I watched it I binged the entire series. 

In the series she feels like a reality tv modern day Mary Poppins driving up to each home in a black Dodge caravan with her translator.  She is petite, sweet and easily brings a smile to your face. She enters every home judgement free, humble and a desire to bring joy back in each person's home. 

I instantly looked around my bedroom and so desperately wanted to feel what she was serving. Her method is called the "Konmari Method"and it's more than just a technical step by step method, it has a kind of magic to it. 

The method is less about just tossing out all your things but more about what sparks you joy and a cleansing of the heart per say. It brings awareness to some of our deep hidden insecurities, grief, and unknown inadequacies. 

What I found most interesting about her method is her meditation time to greet someone's home. It's a level of respect that the Japanese culture has that I find endearing and refreshing. 

My parents worked really hard to give us the life that we had but we didn't have luxury or an over abundance of things. We had the little that we needed. I realized in this journey that I have a history of buying and holding on to things for sack of quantity not the quality. These items were not sparking me joy but rather anxiety. 


The KonMari Method encourages tidying up in categories, not location beginning with:

  1.  Clothes
2.  Books
3.  Paper
                                         4.  Komono (miscellaneous things
                    5.  Sentimental items

Here's my quick overview of the KonMari method:

Be committed.  When I did my bedroom it toke me about 3-4 hours. Carve some time out of your day to commit to this. 

Do it in the instructed order. 

Hold each piece and ask yourself, "does this spark joy?" If the answer is no, then express gratitude to your clothing item and let it go. 

Create separate piles.  When doing your closet make three piles: keep, donate and throw out. It helps when your done that you immediately put the clothes in boxes or the trash bin. It creates a clean new space to begin hanging and folding only the clothes you plan on keeping. It brings a calming feeling to your space. 

               
                      (clothes folded KonMari way)                                           (Clothes color coordinated)

(my donation pile

The process was so therapeutic for me. I let go of a lot of older items that I was simply just holding on to and some items that I was convinced I would need for a future event or make believe day. I only held on to items that really sparked me joy and some that were necessary such as a couple sweaters and basics. A lot of items that are in great condition I posted onto my Poshmark account. 

Besides the tidying up part, there were other ways that the KonMari method energized my life:

1. I love folding laundry now.  Before this method I dreaded folding laundry but now I love it because I love the way my clothes look in the drawers and closet. It brings a space of calm and peace in my bedroom and I look forward to picking out my clothing in the morning. 

2. I know where everything is.  I realized when you love all the items in your home then you know where it all is. No more time spent looking for a blouse, or a specific pair of socks. I know where each and every item of clothing is because of the folding method. Everything is folded upright in the dresser that I can see exactly what it is. 

3. I am exercising practicality.  I am a very indecisive person since I was a little girl. By taking this journey I have tapped into what sparks joy to me. I am not interested in buying every single trendy beauty or fashion items posted on social media. I want investment pieces that really catch my eye and make me smile. I like to plan ahead now and do research while I am online shopping. I am no longer a retail hoarder! 

4. I tapped into more gratitude.  One of the most emotional parts of the method is telling the items that you are going to toss, thank you. This process toke me down memory lane with some certain pieces. I was truly thankful to God for some pieces that I owned and how there are millions of people out there that have nothing compared to me. It felt humility and gratitude in these moments. 

5. I know how I want to spend my time.  Before doing this I wasted a lot of time in la la land. I tend to space out a lot especially in moments when I feel overwhelmed and I have a lot to do. When I see my clean space now I feel purposeful. I plan my days on a strict schedule, make time to nurture relationships in my personal life and focus on pursuing my passion. 


I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR IF ANY OF YOU HAVE BEEN MAGICALLY TOUCHED BY MARIE KONDO KONMARI METHOD. LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW AND SHARE IN HWAT WAYS THE KONMARI METHOD CHANGE YOUR LIFE! 




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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Warmest Winter Boots!!


Hello winter weather

It is literally just 1 degrees out today! Just ONE! Since I can't beat the cold, I will try to survive it! My husband and I went shopping a couple weeks ago and these UGG boots caught my eye. I actually never worn a pair of winter weather appropriate boots. 

When I tried them on my feet felt so cozy! The wool lining on the inside keep my toesies nice and cozy during cold winter temperatures. The outsole are amazing for stability and traction in the snow and icy streets. I feel like I can battle the cold with these boots. This post is not sponsored by UGG at all (but I would love to work with UGG in the future!) I just wanted to share this shopping find with you guys! 

What are your favorite winter boots? Let me know below I would love to check out other brands because I am obsessed with winter boots now! 

💛


Boots: UGG (click here) | Coat: Boohoo |
Coffee: Starbucks Cinnamon Shortbread Latte 








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Monday, January 21, 2019

WHAT NO ONE TELLS YOU WHEN STARTING A SIDE HUSTLE..




What's the definition of a side hustle?

Let's start with what is a side hustle. A side hustle is any type of employment in addition to one's full time job that a person is passionate about. According to a Bankrate.com report 4 in 10 Americans have a side hustle and more than 50% of millennials have a side hustle. There are many different reasons a person has a side hustle. 

For me it is to attain a dream.

 I moved from Rochester, NY to Providence, Rhode Island 8 years ago and needed a creative outlet. I acquired a state job while living in our new state but everyday I felt unfulfilled professionally and creatively. The only thing I would have to look forward to was to write for my blog, record tutorials for youtube and shoot fashion content with my then fiance on the weekends. 

My blog (AlanaMarieStyle at the time),  filled my creative tank. I would feel a great sense of pride when it was time to push out new content and I would immerse myself into researching new ways to make my blog look better. Recently I've taken more chances in my blog writing and sharing intimate posts with my readers. When I was younger english was one of my favorite subjects. My elementary school had a very small library and I wouldn't want to leave. I have always had a love for books and writing. I told myself that even if just one person reads it, the process feels so good and therapeutic to put my thoughts and feelings into a post. 

This year is the first time in 8 years that I am working on my blog full time. I have side hustled for so long and have failed, struggled and learned many lessons throughout my journey. But don't feel alone because on the bright side we are in good company. So many start up companies started with a dream that consisted of long weekday hours after work, working all weekend and failing (hello Steve Jobs for example!).

________________________________________________________________________________

For those of you who have a dream and a passion,  here are some tips that you need to know before starting your side hustle:

1. Figure out what is it that you want to do
Ask yourself why do I want to do this? Is it to make extra money? Is it your passion? Do you want to pursue this dream full time? How do you want to service others? Figure these questions out and create your mission statement and vision. Having a clear vision will help you plan out how to approach things tactically. 

2. Expect the long game and a lot of hard work
This is something that I honestly didn't prepare myself for when I first started my blog. I naively thought that after a short amount of time I would be attending lavish NYFW shows and running a media company in a Pinterest worthy office. What no one prepared me for was the long hours and many years of feeling stuck and working hard on researching and teaching myself tech, web hosting, marketing, strategizing and so many other areas that are necessary to grow your side hustle or business. 

Be patient and realistic on how long it will take to get from point A to point Z. Expect rejections and failures along the way and countless hours feeling like it won't pay off. But remember it will! Appreciate the journey! 

3. Sacrifices must be made
Whether you are pursuing a side hustle while still maintaining a full time job or pursuing your business full time, sacrifices have to be made. For so many years all of my weekends with my husband were spent shooting looks, writing content and strategizing my content calendar. 

Time for yourself, going out with friends and your family will take a hit. You will feel guilt and probably isolate yourself without even realizing it. However learn it from me burn out will not help you or your business. Yes make sacrifices but try to find a happy balance in the chaos. 

Create a schedule and boundaries for yourself. I love to have planners and calendars and add in your day time to eat lunch, take a break, call your friend or family member. These little things will help you provide much needed healthy balance in your day to day hustle. 

5. Research your investments
There is so much information out there on the web on how and where you should start investing your money into your business. All this information is great but do what works for you. Research things that are going to give you a return on your investment. 

Task: Write down the things that are not getting down. Is it sending out newsletters? Is it updating your website? Getting those blog posts out? Advertising? Once you write all these things down you can see where things are falling through the cracks and narrow down the kind of help or product service(s) that you need. 

Also ask others. Don't be afraid to ask other business owners, bloggers, friends, family or social media connects for advice and/or suggestions. 

6. What does the bigger picture look like
Do you envision this side hustle into something bigger one day? What is all this hard work and hustling working towards? It can be very scary to switch careers. But big dreams are naturally scary. If you have big dreams for your side hustle you should have a clear plan on how to get there. 

Tip: Figure out how much you have to make from your side hustle in order to make it full time. Write down all your monthly bills and how much you have to make monthly to avoid debt and set backs. While your working your full time job use that money to invest in your business. 

It is also a good idea to save money while your working a full time job. This extra money can help you in the beginning of your full time journey to invest in areas needed or provide a cushion to pay your bills and avoid stress and anxiety. 

_______________________________________________________________________________

I could go on and on but I feel these 6 main tips are a great start on helping you guys get the right mind frame on starting your side hustle. Instagram can glamorize things but I want to be transparent and give you guys the real real! I have almost quit so so so many times on this dream but I am always reminded that I have come so far so why stop now! Plus my dad would kill me because he always taught us to never quit! 

Thank you babes for your support and I look forward to this journey with you guys! God bless!



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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Shopping Guide: Stylish Winter Coats



In the cold winter months the one item you can't leave your house without is a winter coat! Up here in upstate NY where the temperature can drop below zero a warm heavy winter coat is required. However that doesn't mean that it can't be stylish. I used to get so upset because I would have the cutest outfit underneath but because of the frigid temperatures all anyone sees is my unflattering coat. So I made a conscience effort to shop for functional but stylish coats. 

Also lets be honest when the weather is cold the one piece that is important to your entire wardrobe is a coat. There are so many options on the retail market and I wanted to shop some pieces for you guys.
Below are you will find some warm but also stylish coats that will amplify your look this winter.  


Coat: Chicwish (click here) | Hat: Urban Outfitters 






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