Life According to my iPhone + IFB Links

Happy Monday, all!

Or if you’re like me it’s more like “happy-don’t-fall-asleep-get-work-done” day.

Either way, I hope it’s happy.

Thought I’d share some of my life photos since my phone is littered with all the random pictures I like to take.

collage april 21

1. Awesome vintage photograph I found of my Grandma from when I was home a couple weeks ago (she’s the one on the right)

2. I can’t resist taking pictures of beautiful spring flowers. It’s a problem

3. Been feeling kinda off the past week or so. The solution? Take a day off school, drink tea and watch House of Cards (omg, anyone else watch it? Soooo good)

4. Since I’ve now finished House of Cards, I can’t stop watching Gossip Girl (clearly my taste in TV is very random and wide ranging)

5. More pathetic “I’m sick. I’m tired” pics. Seriously, though, I have the energy levels of my 15 year old dog…

6. Most delicious (vegan!) cupcake from a little cafe by my house. Plus it looks like a flower so you know I like it

7. Easter cookies! So bad but so good

8. After all that sugar, I came back to Toronto realizing I needed to go on a serious health kick. (Like I promised, I’ll be sharing some of these healthy recipes in the near future. Stay tuned!)

9. Then my blender broke and now my healthy hopes are slightly dampened (very ironic the blender broke right after I wrote my post on smoothie making tips)

My Post on Blogging Detox was featured on IFB last week. Here are some other lovely articles that you should check out!

Links à la Mode: April 17th

Smoothie Making Tips!

So these past couple weeks I’ve been on a serious smoothie kick. It’s been my breakfast pretty much every morning. Well except this morning when eating Ben and Jerry’s ice cream seemed like a great idea…Good choices, Andrea.

So in honour of my smoothie craze, I thought I’d share some smoothie making tips. It’s always the really simple things that will take your smoothie from average to a delicious (healthy!) treat.

smoothie making tips

  • Using frozen fruit is going to make your smoothie much smoother and creamier. You can either freeze fresh fruit or buy frozen (I just buy frozen fruits because it’s easier for me). I do freeze my bananas though because there is nothing better than blended up frozen bananas (It has the consistency of ice cream! yum). For a sweeter taste, don’t freeze your bananas until they are starting to turn brown. I peel and cut them first, then freeze for convenience (cutting and peeling a frozen bananas is not easy)
  • Low glycemic fruit is best so you can avoid spikes in blood sugar that lead to crashes (I am infamous for these). Some low GI fruit include pears, grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, strawberries and plums. Medium GI fruit include bananas, mango, papaya, and pineapple.
  • Smoothies tend to blend easier when you put items in this way: (1) liquids go in first, (2) solids in the middle, (3) frozen items on top
  • Adding chia, flax and hemp give SO much extra nutrition to your already healthy smoothie! I always feel so great after having any of these superfoods. You can’t even really taste them, but the health benefits are enough for it to be the perfect addition . I also always notice my skin looks brighter when I add chia
  • If you want a green smoothie my favourite addition is kale. You can barely taste it, but it adds extra nutrients, especially if you’re having difficulty getting in all your greens in your diet (like me). Oh! Please don’t be like me and add arugula to your smoothie (gross! way too bitter), but spinach is a great choice for extra greens if you’re not into kale!
  • If you find your smoothie is watery, add ice!
  • I also love to add coconut water to my smoothie instead of juice. There’s a lot less sugar that way
  • I like using vanilla greek yogurt because greek yogurt is thicker than regular, plus I just like vanilla. But really, you can use any yogurt!
  • And to end, if you follow me on twitter or instagram you will recognize my new fav way to get rid of a dessert craving. Blend together frozen bananas, almond butter, chocolate almond milk, and add seeds if you want. It is SO good. Basically just like chocolate ice cream. You will thank me.

These are my favourites for smoothies. What are yours?

smoothie recipe

 

And because I always like to keep things fashionable, here’s some cute pieces so you can make your delicious fruit smoothies in style!

tropical inspiration

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

After all that I think it’s time for me to make a smoothie. I’m thinking yogurt, kiwi, pineapple, strawberry, mango, coconut water, chia and hemp. Yum!

What are your favourite additions to smoothies? I’d love to hear some new ones!

My Experience with Oil Pulling

oil pulling

{via}

Oil Pulling.

Ever heard of it?

Me neither, until I came across the concept during  my perusal of random things on the internet.

Oil puling is an old folk remedy that requires you to put a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for 20 minutes and swish it around. Random, right? But apparently some people have a really great experience with it and report health benefits!

Some Reported Benefits of Oil Pulling:

  • Good for Oral Health/ Teeth Whitening
  • Reduces Headaches/Migraines
  • Helps Clear Acne
  • Removes harmful bacteria from your teeth, gums, and throat
  • Corrects Hormone Imbalance
  • Reduces Pain/Inflammation
  • Reduces the Affects of a Hangover
  • Reduces Insomnia
  • And much more (supposed) benefits!

So how does this work? Well, supposedly, keeping the oil in your mouth for those 20 minutes allows the lipids in the oil to absorb and draw out different toxins from your body. (there’s probably more to it but I’m not scientific enough to try and explain it)

To oil pull, simply select an oil of your choice. I’ve read different articles on what oils work best, but the consensus seems to be in support of coconut oil because of its antibacterial properties. Sesame oil was also highly recommended. If you don’t have either and would like to try oil pulling, you can use sunflower, olive, or really any vegetable-based oil! I used sunflower. Once you have your oil, simply pop a tablespoon into your mouth and swish it around for 20 minutes. Trust me, those 20 minutes are probably going to seem like forever, but if you do it while you’re occupied by something else, it should go by fairly fast (I showered and got ready for my day while oil pulling). Make sure not to swallow any of the oil, because then you’re basically swallowing a big lump of toxins (gross!).  When you’re done, spit the oil into the garbage can (excessive oil can clog up the pipes in your home).

Okay, so what did I think of the experience? To be honest, I was underwhelmed. The main reason I wanted to oil pull was for teeth whitening. I have a weird enamel to my teeth and strips don’t work for me. I can’t afford fancy whitening so I thought oil pulling would be a good alternative. Also, I’m down for anything that’s going to naturally remove toxins from my body!

The results? Well, there might have been some improvement in my teeth, but I also might have been seeing results only because I wanted it to work. The only thing I did notice was my mouth felt cleaner after the process, but the sensation didn’t last overly long.

Despite this, I’d still recommend oil pulling for anybody who is interested. I believe that those 20 minutes each day probably did remove some toxins from my body, and I’m not going to complain about that! It didn’t turn out to be a miracle solution for a multitude of problems (the day somebody finds something that clears acne, whitens teeth and cures a headache will be a a beautiful day), but I think there are definitely some merits to it that are worth exploring for yourself. Everybody’s body is different and reacts differently to new experiences.

Has anybody tried oil pulling? What was your experiences? I’m dying to know! I think I’m going to give it another try (note: I only did oil pulling for one week).

Do You Ever Get Tired of Fashion Blogging?

 

blogging detoxThat’s a pretty bold question to ask, coming from a fashion blog, written by a girl going to fashion school.

But it’s true, I do.

Sometimes, I do get tired of fashion blogging. Not because I’m not passionate about it. I am. Obviously. But, on occasion, I find it can be discouraging and somewhat limiting to be a “fashion blogger.” (note: I don’t mean any disrespect by saying all this; it’s just a personal experience based off my own feelings. I have tremendous respect for bloggers of all kinds, and as somebody who studies fashion and writes about fashion, I am not trying to insult something I truly love).

I’ve decided for the next week or so I’m going to try and remove myself from the blogging world as best as I can.

Why?

Because I feel like I often get caught up in the fashion blogging world and forget about the “real” world. I forget that what goes on a blog is usually a “glammed up” version of real life. This doesn’t mean that blogs are inauthentic. It just means that many fashion bloggers work hard to provide the highest quality content. As they should! And their hard work should be appreciated for all the beauty that it inspires, but I think we can all agree that this can be exhausting to keep up with at times.

I don’t say this because I think blogging should be easy, or that hard work shouldn’t be rewarded. But there are times where I just want to write for the sake of writing. As somebody who loves both the written word and fashion, I often struggle with knowing how to provide content that people want to read just because I’ve shared something that truly interests them.

As bloggers, I’m sure we all feel like this sometimes: that we put ourselves out there to get “followers,” but question whether people are only following us because we follow them. Are people only commenting because we’re commenting on their blog? Are people even reading the words we’re writing?

Maybe they are.

But maybe they’re not.

That’s why I’ve made the choice to go on a blogging detox, as I like to call it. I want to fully and authentically focus on my blog, without outside influence. I of course love the fashion blogging community, and I think everyone in it is wonderful and lovely. I appreciate every single comment and page view that I get, but just for a week or so I want to create content in the most authentic way that I can. I want to share, write, and make my images look pretty just because it’s what I like and not because I saw another blog that made me think “that’s so cool! I want to do that.”

I’ll keep you updated on how this little blogging detox goes, but even just the idea seems really refreshing for me right now. Maybe try it out for yourself? Even if it’s just for a couple days. See how it feels.

Does anyone else understand what I mean by all this? Or ever feel that they’d like to try something like a blogging detox? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Finding Your Personal Style: {Interior Decor}

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with home decor.

Well, actually, I’ve always been a little obsessed. As a kid my favourite show was Trading Spaces, and even now, whenever I can watch TV it’s most likely on some type of home decorating show (The Property Brothers, Love It Or List, Leave it to Bryan, House Hunters…I love them all!). I also tried to convince my parents to let me redesign certain rooms in our house (it never happened but I still liked to plan it) and went through a phase where I seriously thought  I was going to make curtains for a living. Even just a couple days ago I was saying I should have went into interior design.

For me, the appeal comes from seeing how things are brought together visually to create something that is specific to someone’s personal style. So I thought I’d share some gorgeous images I found that really reflect my style.

purple and pink interior design

blue interior designI might go for a different colour palette here (I think beige and that eggshell blue is kind of overdone, but that’s obviously a personal style thing.  I love how clean and elegant it looks, though!)

interior design

interior deisgn 2I think the above image (and the one previous to it) really show what I’m liking lately: white with unexpected accents and patterns. I’m not sure I like the kitchen in the above image, but I’m in love with all the wall art and pillows. It’s just so interesting and different from what I’m used to seeing, but still clean and visually appealing. I don’t like when things are too simple. I like to keep it unique and fresh.

interior deisgn 3Adding flowers to any room automatically makes it look better, in my opinion.

interior design 4

Loving the rustic feel with all the pretty items here. I’m definitely more of a rustic girl when it comes to interior decor. I like character and personality in design. When things are too modern it just doesn’t catch my eye. Again, totally a personal style thing!

(all images via Pinterest. You can follow me on pinterest here, if you’d like)

What’s your personal taste when it comes to interior decor? Simple, rustic, bold? I’d love to know!

Hope everyone’s week is off to a good start. I’ll be back with more soon (hint: I”m on a super health kick right now, so I’ll be sharing some of my favourite healthy recipes. Can’t wait!)

oh p.s. still looking for guest bloggers if anyone is interested! For more info, read this post

Has blogging become a public journal?

bye bloggingDid you have a journal/diary while growing up? I did. I had at least four that I can remember. There’s one that really sticks out in my mind, though.

It was blue and green, with three flowers on the front. I wrote in that thing a lot, and a lot of what I wrote, well, it’s kind of embarrassing.

I was 13 and the biggest goodie-goodie you ever met. My priorities were with school and grades, and there are probably a lot of people who could attest to that. Even though 10 years have passed since then, I still often cringe when I think of that 13 year old girl. I’m just not sure I particularly liked her, and I have a hard time recognizing her. She’s so different from the person I am today.

But doesn’t that seem really flawed? To not like yourself because you’re different from the person you are today?

If I think back to six months ago, I’m probably different today then I was then. How could I not be? I’ve grown, learned more about myself, and definitely gained independence that I didn’t have then. Do I look back at myself six months ago and dislike that person? I guess there are certain aspects I would like to change, but if I changed that person wouldn’t it change the present me?

My 13 year old self might have thoughts that make me cringe and think “who are you,” but who I was then lead me to who I am today. And I’m sure I’ll look at myself in six months and think “why did you think that way.” But that’s the awesome thing about life, we can change and we will change (my journals have taught me that).

So why is having a blog such a scary thing? Because the change we all go through is documented for everyone to see. Even scarier, that change is documented for me to see and I know it’s public. I can look at posts  that I wrote a year ago and it makes my stomach twist because I don’t recognize my voice (or even scarier, a picture of myself that just doesn’t look like me).

Having our thoughts be public is incredibly nerve racking, and yet we do it all the time with seemingly little thought (some people more than others). Even just a facebook status is a written reflection of our thoughts at the time that we document publically. I look at my facebook from 2011 and I literally squint at it because my eyes don’t even want to acknowledge the person I was then.

 Who are you?

Well, I’m a person. A person composed of a lot of different life stages. Some stages that I look at fondly and some that I just don’t recognize. But going through those unrecognizable stages are what help shape us into the people we actually want to be. We take those awkward/uncomfortable/unrecognizable stages and realize what we want to change in order to be a better version of ourselves.

So while having a blog essentially means my “journal” has become public, and that often terrifies me, it’s also nice to know people might actually read this and relate to it. And if nobody reads it, then oh well, it’s just like all my other journals: just for my eyes so that in a year I can read this and ask myself, who are you?

Any other bloggers ever feel slightly anxious having such public thoughts? How do you deal?

On a completely different note:

guest blogger 

What It Means To Be Truly Unique: {Modcloth’s Uniquely You Campaign}

 

uniquely youThis week Modcloth asked me to participate in their Uniquely You campaign, and let’s just say, as an already Modcloth obsessed customer, I was delighted!

I was asked to create a storyboard, using one Modcloth product that was picked for me. This week’s chosen item was The Beach Blanket Bingo Two Piece in Soft Black. Immediately, when I saw the polka dots and the cut of the bikini, I pictured pops of red and retro sunglasses. I browsed through Modcloth’s beautifully curated selection of accessories, home decor and clothing, looking for that perfect retro flair, but none of the items were speaking to me. That’s when I realized I was entirely missing the point behind the campaign.

I was picking items based off a preconceived notion of what I thought others would expect to go with a polka dot bikini. I had erased the idea of ‘unqiue’ from my head, and sadly, along with that ignored my own sense of style. As somebody who has a fairly good sense of what I like, that’s quite a wasted opportunity to create something unique. And when I say unique, I mean something entirely me. Something entirely Andrea. Something that uses style as a vehicle to express inner personality.

Trying to fit myself into a motif that doesn’t speak to me is like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole; it doesn’t make sense.  It’s typical of human nature to do the expected. We’re all guilty of it in some form or another (I know I am more times than I can count). But for me, the words style and typical should never be associated with each other. Instead, style should always be about you. It’s an element of life in which you can be unapologetically selfish—where you can wear your bright red rain boots, blue bag, and purple tights, and just rock it because you love it, because that, my friends, is what makes you stylish and not typical at all.

Based off that little revelation, this is what I came up with: something unique and something 100 percent Andrea.

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS (1)

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8

And because I constantly have an inner dialogue with myself of random stories floating around my head (seriously, it’s weird), it only seems right if I share the little story I came up with to go with my board.

So meet Jessica!

Yes, I named the girl wearing the bikini…

This summer Jessica purchased her first home, and in celebration, she has decided to host a house-warming party. With sweet sun rays gracing her little oasis of a backyard, she thought it would only be appropriate to make use of her new swimming pool and host a pool party! To prepare she made sure to have lots of lemonade on hand, with cute cups for her guests to enjoy their sweet treat. And to match Jessica’s sunny disposition, she wore her favourite bright yellow sundress over her cute polka-dot bikini. She added pops of sherbet pink in her sandals and watch (with chocolate chip cookies in the oven, it’s important for Jessica to keep her eye on the time), and retro sunglasses to protect her eyes. To top her outfit off, she added a floral crown, because after all, this is her house warming party, and while she may be a gracious hostess, Jessica gets to be a floral princess for the day.

And because I can’t resist, these are some of my favourite bathing suits from Modcloth: heavenly anemone swimsuit, sail to the chief swimsuit, mallorca meet-up swimsuit

Floral Inspiration (the best kind of inspiration)

fawning over floralsI don’t think it’s any secret that I really enjoy flowers and floral prints.

Sometimes I can’t even handle how happy flowers actually make me.

Do I sound completely insane? Yeah, it’s actually weird.

If I could wear a floral dress everyday, I would. If I could just sit in a field of flowers for hours, I would. If I had the money to buy a dozen bouquets everyday, I would.

There’s just something magical about flowers for me.

I’m not even going to pretend that I have a lot of knowledge on the topic. I can tell you what a rose is but my naming of different types of flowers pretty much ends there. For me, it’s the visual appeal, the colour and the way they can be arranged to create something beautiful that really just catches my attention. A flower blooming is just sort of magical and quite a delightful treat for my eyes. So today, during my daily perusal of all things pretty on the Internet, I decided to share some of the ridiculously pretty floral arrangements that I came across.

I hope looking at these beautiful images is as pleasing for you as it is for me. Happy Sunday all!

flower inspiration 1

1.  // 2. // 3. // 4.

Some days I love over-the-top things, but there are other days where I prefer simplicity. Like the images above. Just a simple vase and a couple flowers arranged almost haphazardly? There’s something pretty cool about that. They just seem more natural and organic this way. Pretty, pretty, pretty!

And because it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t share some lovely flower related items that you could add to your wardrobe, here you go!

floral outfits

 

1. // 2. // 3. // 4. // 5. // 6.

What Makes Your Blog Great

great blog I think anyone who blogs probably has a slight blog obsession.

I know I do.

And I know my obsession often has me travelling all over the Internet to find new blogs, rediscover ones I had forgotten, and of course visit my favourites (and I have a lot of them).

Lately, though, I’ve been having an interesting inner dialogue with myself about what makes a blog great. Is a blog’s value dependent on great content? Amazing design? Beautiful pictures? Or is it the stylish ladies with great outfit posts that have people coming back for more?

I’ve been trying to come up with that perfect ingredient list to put my blog up there with all the elite blogs that I envy, but I think I’ve realized, no such ingredient list exists.

Sure, having great photography can help your blog, or posting pictures of yourself in beautiful outfits might get reader’s attention, but really, when it comes down to it, I think blogging is more about knowing what strengths your blog does have and focusing on them.

For WearItBetter, I tried outfit posts, and it worked for a while but I realized I’m not really an outfit post kind of girl. It’s just not my blog’s primary appeal. And that’s fine! (which has been difficult for me to accept). Since I began blogging, I always had it in my head that the successful blogs are the ones that have high quality photos of amazingly styled outfits. Not always true. Yes, some of those blogs are super successful, but there are also blogs that don’t feature outfit posts that have success too! With so many different niches and fits in this digital age of blogging, with work, time and dedication, there’s a spot for every blog, no matter how small. It’s all about looking at this big blogging puzzle and fitting perfectly into the picture in your own unique way.

Do any other bloggers ever feel like this? How do you deal with blog envy? And do you think there’s a place for blogs out there that don’t focus on outfit posts, or do you think outfit posts are the main appeal of a fashion blog?

Wear It Better: Under Construction

under_construction_pink_hat

If you happen to stop by WearItBetter, you may notice random little changes going on with the layout. I’m trying to do a re-design, but not being a whiz with computers, it’s taking some playing around with the CSS.  If you randomly find that the menu bar is suddenly gone or a post’s text is impossible to read, bear with me, guys. I hope with some YouTube videos and intense googling I should be able to figure this out!

Has anyone else tried to redesign their blog’s layout? Help a girl out. What did you use?