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Friday, July 5, 2019

Two Trimesters down and What I've learned on getting dressed


Is dressing a growing baby bump challenging? I am not going to lie to you guys and say its not because it can be at times. My body has been through more changes than it ever has in its 33 years. But even though my entire body is changing (and now my feet!) that doesn't mean I still can't incorporate my personal style during this time. I want to share with you guys a style journal from my two trimesters and how both you and I can stay true to our personal style despite the body growth changes and challenges.

Early Stages of Pregnancy (First Trimester)

I know this stage is different for everyone. I didn't even know I was pregnant until I was already 6-8 weeks in. I didn't have any morning sickness or nausea so I thought I was just experiencing a late period since I was under a lot of stress at the time. I started to show around the 3-4 month period and I still fit in a lot of my old clothes. Although I still fit in my clothes I was too tired to get dressed. Tiredness was my biggest challenge and getting dressed up was the last thing I wanted to do. I remember having to shoot some looks with my husband for the blog around this time and I was so tired afterwards that I just slept the day away. 

However when I found out that I was pregnant I instinctively wanted to purge my closet. I wanted to go through and eliminate any old trendy clothes that I had hung on to. I guess in a weird sort of way I wanted to have a fresh perspective on how I wanted to present myself as a newly pregnant woman. 



The one thing that did grow on my body was my boobs. I have for as long as I can remember been a 36B and at a rapid pace my boobs grew and were coming out of my bra giving me a more voluptuous look. Not to mention my nipples becoming un flatter ably noticeable in all my tops. Big boobs are harder to dress than I thought. I was hired to do on camera work for a private company and I had to wear a collared button up. My boobs are busting out of that blouse that I looked like I was promoting an intro to a sexy video rather than talking about health benefits! 

Before these new boobs I could basically wear anything confidently and comfortably. I wore a lot of low v tops and blouses, trendy bodysuits and casually unbuttoned blouses. My clothes had a laid back and loungy feel. But during pregnancy my basics had a suggestive feel and I felt uncomfortable. I give all my ladies with bigger busts applauses and credit because it is not easy to be busty and still manage to look chic. You ladies are the real MVP! 



During this time it was winter and where I live it is still very cold. I wore a lot of my oversized sweaters with my jeans and knee high boots. I wore a lot of blazers to cover up my bump until I was ready to tell my family and accessorized with a belt around my waist. It really worked! My parents and mother in law had no idea I was pregnant. Towards the end my high waisted mom jeans started to feel a little snug and I had to resort to leggings. I am not a leggings kind of girl. I am a jeans kind of girl. I remember having a moment of silence and disbelief when no longer any of my jeans fit me...

Second Trimester Challenges

I finally announced my pregnancy on social media when I was entering my second trimester. Things felt freeing when I was able to share it and I could now move on to the fun part, styling! My baby was growing and my bump was finally showing so I could now style around the bump as the focal point instead of hiding it. I had to get a little creative in the bottoms department. I relied on pleated skirts and body con dresses. Honestly guys before being pregnant I owed just one body con dress. I never was a fan of them but when your pregnant there's nothing more flattering than a body con dress. It hugs your baby bump in all your flattering areas. You also don't have to go up a size with body con dresses. I am still wearing a size small in some dresses. Another plus, you don't have to break the bank when purchasing a few body con dresses for your maternity wardrobe. I have found some cute basic ones on Forever 21 and ASOS. A helpful tip stick to mostly neutral colors. Its easier to keep re styling your dress.



Other Tips: 

1. Don't quickly discount your old clothes. I found that a lot of my summer dresses still fit me and accentuated my growing body perfectly. Try them on and you might be surprised what will still fit you at least throughout your first and second trimester. 

2. Bras. I think the most challenging item in my closet to figure out is my bra collection. When my boobs began to grow my skin also got sensitive and especially to certain bras. I found that my           B Temptd and Wacoal bras have both fit me nicely and hasn't irritated my breasts. Sports bra are my new best friend. They are just so comfortable and really support my breasts throughout the day.  But when in doubt and your just around the house go bra less! LOL!

Being blessed with the opportunity to carry your baby is a gift. I hope you guys enjoy this post and I look forward to sharing more pregnancy type journey posts as this one.  




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Monday, July 1, 2019

How to Wear a Slip Dress this Summer



Are you guys loving any specific trends this summer? 

If your like me, I don't like to break my bank splurging on trend pieces. However I really am loving the slip dress. The easiness and luxury look of a slip dress makes for both a fun or sexy summer look. 

This look is so nineties and I love that I get a chance to wear them! I was too young at the time to wear a slip dress when model icons like Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss were photographed wearing them at Hollywood parties. Now trendy retailers like TopShop and ASOS are selling slip dresses and if look around IG trendy fashion bloggers are wearing them everywhere. 

Dress: ASOS (click here) | Shoes: ALDO (click here) |
Bag: CULT GAIA (click here

Can you wear the slip dress during the day? YES GIRL! This dress can be worn with your favorite low top casual sneakers and a pop of color either with accessories or a fun lip color. Another cool way to wear your slip dress casually is wearing it with a tee underneath either basic or a logo tee (think champion, fila or adidas).

At night I would change for a pair of heeled sandals and add a belt to accessorize the look. If your a nineties fan go for the grunge look. Pair your dress with chunky boots and layered necklaces for a cool girl look! 


Check out below for some affordable and different styles of slip dresses! 







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Thursday, June 20, 2019

My First Baby Registry Experience with buybuy BABY



This post is in collaboration with Buy Buy Baby. However all opinions and my experience are 100% my own and honest. 

I can't believe that I am just two months away from my baby shower! My pregnancy is just flying by! There is so many things to do but one thing I was putting off was a baby registry. Before I even thought to email buybuy BABY to collaborate I went on a Saturday with my baby sister with the intention to start my registry. We didn't book an appointment in the store and within 15 minutes in the feeding section I was overwhelmed and ready to walk out. I didn't even end up starting a registry and just walked around with my sister and she shopped for her baby boy. 

I don't know how many of you as a first time mom experienced the same thing walking into a baby store but I knew that it was something I needed to plan and experience with a store representative. I am so thankful that buybuy BABY gave me the opportunity to bring to you guys my experience and tips I received from baby registry consultant, the wonderful Lauren! Lauren made my experience easy, fun and relaxing. We had so much fun together that I didn't even notice we had spent 5 hours together! 

Tip: If you can I would recommend scheduling your appointment on a weekday. Weekends are incredibly busy for them and if you are first time mom it might be better to have this one on one experience during a quieter time. 

Click here for more information on scheduling your free appointment with Buy Buy Baby.



The day of your appointment with buybuy BABY, you must look for the Baby Registry section to check in and get paired with a registry consultant.

There you will create your registry (if you haven't done one online) and receive your registry guide.

This book includes a handy checklist that help you select items that are right for you and your family.





Since I have never been into a buybuy BABY before (surprisingly there wasn't one in Rhode Island) Lauren explained to me all of their store perks:


  • Free shipping: when your registry reaches $1500 (mine surpassed that!)
  • Price Match Promise (visit buybuybaby.com/pricematch)
  • Hassel-Free Returns
  • Free Registry Announcement Cards (see mine below) (I was so excited!)
  • Referral Rewards: $25 off of a $100 in-store purchase for every friend who registers with them



Birthing / Feeding Section


Sadly I actually needed a quick tutorial on how to use the scanner! LOL After that I was so excited to scan! Quick note: Lauren suggested I scan everything that peaked my interest in store because once I am home I can edit my registry any time online.


We spent the most time in the nursing/feeding section. It is the most informative section in my opinion and as a new mom the one that I really wanted to listen and get a lot of expert advice from Lauren. Since I plan on breast feeding my baby boy I wanted to learn about all the different breast pumps. Lauren is a mom of two so she had not only in store expertise but personal advice to share with me.

I couldn't believe how many different style of pacifiers and bottle nipples there are! LOL! Boy this section was a wake up call for me!
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Oh my goodness I feel in love with this giraffe pacifier! I had to scan it but Im thinking of just buying sooner than the baby shower!

This was my face for every cute thing that Lauren showed me! HA! Which was basically everything!


Like I said this was the longest section on our store tour and when we crossed everything off  the nursing/feeding section we celebrated! LOL. I graduated nursing/feeding school guys! 


Bath/ Diapering/ Health & Safety Section 



Okay I have to admit I fan girled when I saw Jessica Alba's Honest products in store! I am so excited to try her products. Not only are the design of the products especially the diapers so cute but they are organic. Have you guys tried her products before? What are your favorites?




Baby Gear & Travel Section


The stroller section was my husband's favorite! This section is massive and the amount of different types of strollers was enough to make my big eyes open bigger. This is the perfect section for a registry expert. Lauren taught us so much about all the different brand of strollers and what makes each one unique. I am looking for a compact stroller with good wheels and simple fold ability. I don't want a stroller that is going to take me five minutes to fold up and put away. 



Of all the strollers shown to us and we tried out, I fell in love with the UppaBaby Cruz stroller. The top handle adjusts for a longer reach and the light grey colored areas show you where you need to press to fold up the stroller! The movability is as smooth as can be and I love how compact it is while still having a lot of space in the under basket for storage. 






Once I chose the stroller Lauren was so great to demonstrate for us how the Uppa Baby car seat works. I even liked how it wasn't overwhelming heavy without a baby in it. Some of them were so heavy I couldn't imagine how much heavier they would have been with a 20 pound baby in there! 


Nursery / Decor & Clothing Section


My eyes got so big when Lauren told me that you could custom create your recliner chair and they ship it! LOL!


There were so many swatches to chose from for each specific recliner. I liked the Swivel glider recliner by Best Chairs. It reclined, felt so soft and comfortable and at that point I could of toke a nap if they let me! LOL! I just imagine myself sitting in this chair while nursing my sweet baby and my heart just bursts with emotion.

Did you guys have a recliner chair in your nursery? What are your thoughts? Worth the splurge? 







 I had so much fun creating my registry that I didn't want it to end! I feel like I got a five hour crash course on first year motherhood thanks to Lauren! I was so impressed by how innovative some of these baby products are. I can't believe a little human being gets to have such cool gadgets!

Here are some of the benefits when creating your registry with Buy Buy Baby: 

  • A free goody Bag: When you register you can get free goody bag filled with free samples and coupons. 
  • Printed out registry announcement cards: Put these cards right into your baby shower invitations!
  • 15% Completion Discount: These exclusive coupons make it easier to buy any left over registry items 
Check out more baby registry information and their amazing benefits here.




                                




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Monday, June 10, 2019

Tips on How to Plan a Babymoon


What's a baby moon you might be asking yourself?

According to my definition of the word, a baby moon is a romantic getaway for expectant (usually first time) parents. Since this is my first child I am looking forward to squeezing in as many baby like moons I can! LOL

I wanted to take a trip to somewhere warm and relaxing. Since the CDC still warns against places like  Puerto Rico, staying in the United States was safer. I have only been to Florida once and that was in the Disney theme park area so I had to do a little bit of research on suggested places. 


My husband and I ended up choosing Sarasota, Florida. It is a perfect baby moon place; relaxing, low tourism, good food and plenty of beautiful beaches. If your interested I shared a glimpse into our baby moon here for my youtube channel.

I wanted to make a post for all you soon to be Mom's out here on my top baby moon tips:



1. Timing is Everything (second trimester)

My first trimester I was exhausted all the time! Some of you are probably experiencing nausea and vomiting. I suggest planning to go on your baby moon when your in your second trimester. Your energy is coming back, nausea usually goes away and your medically safe to fly in this trimester!

2. Research pregnancy safe places

Make sure to check out the CDC website for travel advisories and safe places to book a flight/stay. Plan out for those area's months of high temperature and mosquito season. Mosquitos can carry diseases such as Zika and you want to make sure you are safe from contracting any of these carrying diseases. 


3. Notify your doctor

Talk to your doctor either via a scheduled appointment or on the phone to discuss your plans on traveling. It's important to keep your OBGYN in the loop and make sure to have their phone numher handy in case of an emergency.

4. Pick a low key travel destination

Many stages of pregancy are stressful and there will be way more ahead once the baby comes so I suggest you plan for a stress free vacation. I just wanted beach and relaxation for our baby moon. Check out low tourist seasons and comfortable temperatures. 

Also make your flight comfortable. For this trip I packed plenty of snacks for the plane ride and made sure to book a window seat. I prefer to sit by the window but being pregnant an aisle seat will be a great choice as well. 


5. Know the medical centers in the area

God forbid something happens and in the frenzy of the situation no one knows where the nearest urgent care is. Mark out the local pharmacies and urgent/hospital care for your knowledge. 

You could also bring a copy of your  birth certificate with you in a sealed envelope for extra identification purposes. It is also a good idea to try to get your flu vaccine before your trip. 

6. Check out the local eats

This was a big one for me! One thing you can not have is seafood and not only do I LOVE seafood but also every restaurant area had a seafood dominant menu! Make sure while checking out local restaurants that you also read the reviews. I always use Yelp when I travel and like always it was a great resource. 

In addition to seafood you also have to be mindful of deli meats and lightly cooked eggs. It was hard for me at least in Florida to find restaurants but I managed to find some chicken on the menus! I also avoided drinking any tap water from restaurants. Just simply inform your server you are pregnant and prefer bottle water. 

Check out our VLOG for the restaurants I went to that had pregnancy friendly food items! 

7. Connect with your partner

This is what the baby moon is all about. Make this trip about the two of you and not just you! Compromise on things that he may want to do. Look into your hotel or near by spas for a romantic couples package or plan out places for romantic dinners. 

Parenting is about two people and making sure you are in a healthy relationship is important when raising your baby together. Also take advantage of as much romance time as you can before the baby comes and its limited!



I hope you guys enjoyed this post! If you have any questions please let me know below!  





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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

HOW TO GET NOTICED BY BRANDS AS A MICROINFLUENCER




On April 21, 2011 I published my first post on this platform. Its been a long journey and I have learned a lot of lessons along the way. I remember the first time a brand reached out to me. It was so exciting because for three years I was just creating for me. I had just moved out of state and away from my family with my then boyfriend and creating content was my therapy. So when a clothing brand emailed me and started asking me for my size and mailing address I was beyond excited! I thought I made it ya'll! 

Back in 2014 blogging was a phenomena that had no manual. I never looked beyond the present. I was just living in the moment and for me this wasn't a business. It was just what I loved to do. 
I look back and I see where I made plenty of mistakes and failed to value my worth (plus add tax). After I toke the chance this year to make my blog my full time job (finally), I had it in my heart to share my tips and advice for some of you that are either interested in blogging or have just started out. 

When you are first starting out and a brand notices you it is so hard to not want to receive free gifts or get paid a small fee for sponsored content. But as your friend, guys take your time and do your research. I can humbly and honestly say that there are so many brands I said yes to that are so far from my brand or style and the pay was too little for the amount of love and work I put into my post(s).

But as I have grown personally and professionally I have learned how to get brands that you really love to notice you and open up a line of communication with them. 

In today's post I am so excited to share with you guys my opinion and advice on how I have gotten brands to notice me. I'm going to share what has worked for me and advice for new influencers today.

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Before I go into the tips I want you to take a look at your blog/social media platforms and reflect on the following:

- Are your followers engaged with you and you with them
- Are you posting on a regular basis/ Is your platform active
- Does your profile have a clear mission statement
- Your blog is established, created and your posting at least once a week

If you are good on all these topics then let's get right into my tips:

Tip #1: Be a fan of the brand

I was just listening to episode 106 on the Influencer Podcast by Julie Solomon where she had on Kopari's Senior Brand Communications Manager Amanda Mueller. Julie asked her something around the lines of how does she find girls to partner/collaborate with and Amanda said she looks for girls that genuinely use their products and talk about it organically with their followers/readers. 
Brands love it when you are already a consumer of their product because it means that a partnership will be authentic with your audience. 


Tip #2: Tag the Brand on Instagram

In addition to being a fan you should also be engaging with them on social media. Make sure you are following their social media pages, commenting/liking their posts and engaging in their Instagram stories. When you tag a brand, the brand gets notified and the person who is running their social media account is searching the platform for new influencers to work with. 
Also if the brand has a hashtag use it under your photo. This not only helps you get noticed by the brand but also by similar like minded customers who can potentially turn into new followers. 

Tip #3: Create high quality content

Now I don't want you guys to go out and buy a new Canon or Nikon camera but make sure your photos clearly show the brand's item. If needed use a editing app to increase the exposure to your photo or add saturation to add more color. If you want to know what editing apps I use for my photos see my previous post here
Your blog/instagram is your online portfolio and its free! Use these platforms to demonstrate to brand's your professionalism and creativity. 



Tip #4: Interact and Collaborate with other like minded influencers

I have gotten emails from PR firms based on a friendship I formed with another influencer who referred me to that agency and vice versa. Build a sister hood with other influencers. Don't be shy to reach out to them via social media or an email. Genuinely comment on their posts and support one another. This space is HUGE and there is room at the table for everyone!




Tip #5: Don't accept too many sponsored posts

Brands want influencers who are appear genuinely authentic and not promotional. This can cause you to lose out on brand partnerships and lose trust in your readers/followers. This space is already overly saturated with ads and sponsored posts and audiences are looking for someone they can trust and don't appear like a walking billboard. 

Tip #6: Apply or sign up to influencer platforms

When I landed my first sponsored post it was with Latina Bloggers Connect. My first post was with Neutrogena and I was so excited! While your reaching out to brands yourself, influencer marketing platforms can also give you an opportunity to work with a brand that you love. Here are some of my favorite platforms that I am signed up with:

1.) We All Grow Latina (formerly known as Latina Bloggers Connect) 
I haven't worked with them recently but this was one of the first platforms that believed and supported me. I have worked on some great campaigns with them. 

2.) Collectively
One of my biggest paid collaborations was through Collectively. I have been with them for several years now and the everyone that works there is so lovely to work with! They work with reputable and great brands. 

3.) Fohr Co
I just started working with Fohr Co on some brand collaborations and I have really liked the experience. Their employees are kind and supportive. The campaigns are informative and the deliverables are well detailed. 

4.) AspireIQ
I literally just started communicating with a brand via this platform because when I reached out to them in order to move forward I had to sign up with AspireIQ. Honestly I never heard of them before this conversation with this particular brand. I don't have much to say on it since my experience is new but I will say that the platform is easy friendly. Communicating with brands on here is simple and straight to the point. 


Tip #7: Attend events/conferences

If your in a big city or are able to travel then I highly suggest attending a brand event or conference. At these events you get an opportunity to introduce yourself to brand representatives and hand them your business card. If you attend a conference many times brands have booths set up and you may also get an opportunity to introduce yourself and engage in a quick but meaningful conversation. 
If you want to be invited to a brand event find out who is the PR company representing them and send them a quick email. If you guys want more specifics on this topic let me know and I can create a dedicated post on this.




Bonus Tip: Do this for the right reasons

There is such an influx of influencers out here doing it for fame and money and have created an inauthenticity and drama in this community. Start a blog or a social media platform with the intention of sharing with others what you genuinely love in hopes to inspire and encourage others. Both brands and followers can smell  copy cat or a fake real quick and once you are labeled that it is hard to reverse it.  Post and talk about what you love and if you begin with this intent it will pay off and get you far!

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WOW! That was a lot! I hope this post provided some insight and guidance for you! These are some of the things that I have learned over the past 8 years of blogging and I can't wait to dive deeper into this industry and share more! 

What tips do you guys have to get noticed by brands?



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