Personal: Life Update + Q&A
Hey guys! I love sharing my outfits and travels with you all but I truly think these posts are my favorite … giving y’all a little bit more of insight into what I’m juggling behind the scenes. I’d love to do these once a month or every other month, maybe! Let me know if you like them!
Well there’s no point in beating around the bush with how obvious these photos make it – the boys and I are relocating!
As you may have seen on my Insta-stories, my sweet Chips has definitely tested the waters, boundaries and my patience since I adopted him at the end of January. He has a much higher energy requirement than Fish. He gets bored easily, even after long walks and despite the fact that he has lots of toys that he loves to play with. He isn’t easy to train but, we are making progress! His previous owner did not neuter him before he turned six months so he was neutered at a year & a half, which means he’s more likely to mark even after his surgery … and he has been. The terrier in this baby has challenged me, to say the least, but when I said yes to being his Momma, I accepted that challenge and was willing to face whatever they would be head on. Over the past six months, I’ve gotten to know what he needs and how to love him better. That has meant more structure, training and buying certain toys that challenge his mind but it also meant reevaluating our living situation.
We currently live in a second floor apartment and, while it’s cozy and centrally located in my area, I have found that apartment living is less than ideal for myself and my two pups. I recently was on my way to drop off the boys at their play place when I passed a new townhouse development that was being built. I did a little more research on this development and requested more information on the units. After touring a few of the models they had available, it seemed like a much better spot for myself and the boys. It has a garage, a larger living situation, is in a small-gated community and has a fenced yard. It’s also in a less crowded area, which I think will be so nice, especially because I’ve got two barkers on my hands, hah! I would LOVE to be able to make myself a cup of coffee in the morning, go downstairs with the boys, let them do their business and play in the yard while I watch over them and maybe read a couple of chapters in a book or read my morning devotional. There’s also a dog park really close by so I’ll be signing the boys up before we move! My vet told me that Chips would really benefit from dedicated one-on-one time with me because he may be jealous of Fish – despite the fact that I give them both lots of love. So, since he would be more keen on a dog park than Fish [Fish literally sits at my feet at dog parks] … it’ll be a great place for me to work on his commands and obedience and just play with him! So, overall, this move is something I’m really excited about – for me, but mostly because of the boys!
I scheduled this announcement for today because, originally, our move was supposed to be Thursday. However, I got word yesterday that there has been a hiccup in some of the construction so, it looks like our move in date will be September 1st! Justine and I have spent the last couple of weeks prepping and packing – so I’m a little bummed BUT, better late than never! It’s an exciting change – and I’ll be filming a little video to share with y’all a week or so after I move in to show y’all around. It’ll be a cool way to show you a less-than-put-together ‘before’ view of the apartment so you can see how far it’s come when I share the put together home decor reveals. 🙂
I received such sweet responses to my recent post regarding burn out! It was really nice to not feel alone. My hope was obviously to help anyone else dealing with burn out or just to raise awareness on the importance of self-care but, I’d love to see more bloggers talking about it, as well. I believe we do have a powerful voice and we should be using it for good. The more it’s talked about, the more we can all feel empowered to take better care of ourselves so we can continue to be the badass women we are 🙂 I’ve been brainstorming what I’d like to do to not only talk about self-care but actually live it out … ‘be about it’, if you will. I’m thinking of taking a break from the blog and social media later this year or sometime early next year. Stay tuned!
Sequins & Things will be getting a major facelift right before the holiday season and I can’t wait for it!
I’ll be working on my Rome Travel Guide this week and hopefully getting that to y’all next week.
I’ll be continuing the ‘how to style’ series with a post on three outfits to give you some inspiration on how to style a utility jacket for the upcoming Fall season! I found one that comes in three colors, has a hood, slant pockets and is water-repellent! It’s seriously a steal! Shop it early HERE.
Running the blog on the backend can be a bit hectic. It’s important for myself and my team to use our greatest resource – time – as efficiently as possible. Thankfully, in our day and age, there are so many great app’s and programs that help us make that possible! In an upcoming post, I’ll be sharing those app’s and programs with you to help you live a more efficient and organized personal or professional life!
I’ve always been terrible at keeping a journal so it’s always been a mystery to me as to how in the world I’ve been so consistent with keeping a blog up-to-date. I recently took a personality test, called the Enneagram Test, that has truly helped me understand myself so much better and why I act the way that I do. It made me feel less shame over certain aspects of my personality that I tend to be hard on myself over. I’m a 9, which is known as The Peacemaker, so the motivation behind my behavior is triggered by connection. It’s what I crave the most – connection with people. Disconnection with people can cause a really terrible turmoil in my soul. I also tend to stray from conflict, which I actually questioned. In relationships, I always strive to not put off hard conversations but, with friends, conflict is really tough for me. When I’m in periods of growth, competency and I’m taking care of myself, I present as a healthy 3, which is the Achiever. People who are characterized by this number get stuff done. When I’m in a state of stress, I present as a 6, the Loyalist, who tend to blame everyone else but themselves for whatever the issue is. Ooph. Hard to read but we all have our flaws! Anyway, there’s a lot more to say about what I learned but I won’t get into it all. I highly recommend you take the test yourself and get your friends, your parents and your spouse or significant other to take it, as well! I really believe it will help you understand and love them better!
You can read a description of each of the numbers HERE
What kind of mascara do you use?
Lately, I’ve been using THIS mascara! It’s unreal how well it accentuates your lashes! I love it. It’s nothing super new but I had other favorites I was devoted to for so long that it took me awhile to want to try anything else!
Last week, you were talking on IG stories about your travel diaries but all I could think about was how on point your eye makeup was! It was giving me all the Fall vibes! What colors did you use?
I used the Pro 3 LORAC palette. I used the color BLANC on my brow line and inner lid. I applied CLAY and DK. BROWN to my crease. I applied a little bit of MEDALLION to the inner corner of my lid, over the CLAY and the BLANC. Then, I applied JET BLACK to the outer corner of my lower lid and up into the outer crease. Careful not to overdo it with the JET BLACK. A little goes a long way and remember, with the eyes, blending is everything!!! So, blend blend blend as you apply more colors!
I am starting my blogging career and am learning I need a GOOD, trendy tote to carry all my essentials and my laptop. I really struggle with committing to one since I can’t touch and feel the options I see online, as I don’t live near any major department store with the options I like. If you could recommend one or two of your fav’s that you enjoy carrying that also function well for you to tow your laptop around as well, I sure would appreciate your advice! Do you use one with a laptop compartment or do you have a laptop case and throw that in your bag?
I’ve been married to my Louis Vuitton Neverfull for the past couple of years and, although they are quite the investment, I know first hand that you definitely get your money’s worth in quality and functionality. So, my number 1 pick would be that!
Some options that are much more affordable that also work in terms of functionality, either based on personal experience or from previous experience with the brand, are the following:
This cognac Madewell tote looks like a fantastic option and I know Madewell really values quality so it’s made of genuine leather so it will last you quite some time! I also love that you can wear it as a cross body tote or on your arm like a satchel.
This new Tory Burch tote is my latest favorite and I think it’d work if you had one of the smaller Apple laptops or if you worked from a tablet from time to time. I have a MacBook Pro and know that it wouldn’t carry it sufficiently so it may not work for you but thought I’d mention multiple options for multiple situations in case this question applies to other gals! It also comes in a pretty cognac color that you can find HERE.
THIS, THIS and THIS option are great for you as a blogger just starting your blogging career. They are great neutral color options and will compliment a lot of outfits nicely. They all also have a sturdy enough build to carry a laptop, planner, wallet and everything else you may carry for work. In terms of quality and the feel of the product, I think they also pass my personal test but I certainly can’t say that they’ll work for you. Give one of these a try and just see. The good thing about the retailer I chose them from is that you can return them free of charge if they don’t work. It’s super simple.
I have a wedding to go to in the beginning of September and I’m having trouble finding a nice dress to wear. Do I go with a more fall inspired dress with maroon colors or can I still wear something a little summery?
September is the beginning of the Fall season but I think the answer to this completely depends on the location of the wedding and what the weather will likely be like. If the wedding is in Vermont, and will definitely feel Fall-esque, I’d certainly recommend a dark, more Fall inspired color. However, if the wedding is in Siesta Key, Florida, I think you could certainly get away with any color you’d like. I haven’t been to many September weddings but, the one I have gone to in recent years was formal and I opted for black. I think medium pink color would be a great option because it’d look great with plum or maroon accessories. What do you think about that?
I hope this helps! Here are a few options that I like:
I’m planning on going to Italy next June. Is now a good time to start planning? If not, when should I start?
Now is a really great time! I wouldn’t say you necessarily need to book your flight until 4-5 months out. I never buy anything that early out but you could likely get better flight deals if you’re at least keeping an eye on your travel dates at that point. But, right now, at a little less than a year away from your trip, I’d say you’re in the research phase. I’d encourage you to start following some travel accounts that feature the locations you’re looking to travel to. So, if you’re going to Italy … I’d follow accounts like @_prettylittleitaly, @italy.vacations and @topromephoto. These accounts feature beautiful photos from fellow travelers. Something I do when I’m in this phase is bookmark places that catch my attention and build my trips’ itinerary around the places I’ve bookmarked and their proximity to the main spot I want to hit up.
So, say you’re interested in visiting Positano … these accounts could open your eyes to spend a few nights there but then venture over to Capri for a couple of days, book a private boat for a day to take you to Ischia and Procida, then spend your last few days back along the Amalfi Coast in Ravello and taking day trips to Atrani or Amalfi. Sometimes I think that we only see main touristy cities as the ones worth seeing, but if we do a little more research and dig around a little bit … we can find some even more mind-blowing and amazing places to visit!
Here’s a good timeline to go by:
6-12 months out >> RESEARCH PLACES, HOTELS, EXPERIENCES, TRAVEL GUIDES VIA PINTEREST, ETC.
4-5 months out >> SELECT ROUNDTRIP FLIGHT DATES + SET PRICE ALERTS [I typically try to fly in and out of the same airport if at all possible, and then work other travel within those dates and plan to be back at the original spot by the departure date; so, my trip in April, my roundtrip flight was in and out of London then Victoria and I ventured to France, Italy and Greece within the time I was in ‘London’ then I made it back to London a couple days before heading home]
3 months out >> BOOK ROUNDTRIP FLIGHT THEN BUILD OUT ITINERARY WITHIN THOSE DATES; RESEARCH BEST TRANSPORTATION OPTION BETWEEN CITIES ON ITINERARY
2 months out >> BOOK ACCOMMODATIONS [You can do this whenever you’ve solidified your travel schedule between places so can be earlier than 2 months out but I’d definitely be a little more vigilant about it if you’re going during high season
I hope this helps!
Can you update us on your fitness routine? Also, what are your cooking habits? Do you do meal prep or mostly eat out?
Okay, I’m going to be really honest here … I haven’t worked out with Troy since before my trip to Italy in May. I do want to get back into my workouts with him but he wanted me to focus a little more about being consistent with my diet and trying to incorporate more protein into it. I’ve struggled in this department. I get a bit scatterbrained when I juggling a lot of things and I really haven’t put as much focus on that as I should. I eat enough calories, so don’t worry about that, but I know he wants to see me hit my macros more frequently. I promised myself that once I am done with this move and settled that I will get back to my workouts because I really do enjoy feeling strong and healthy! So, anyway, stay tuned! I think we all know how hard it is to get back in the gym so … PRAY FOR ME lol
What percentage do you save for taxes when you get paid for a post?
Owning and running my own business has taught me so many valuable lessons. One of the most important is to delegate out tasks that are not your strength. The beauty in our differences is that they exist so we can all come together to fill in the gaps that exist within us. My accountant is one of those people for me. She is a badass with numbers and has some pretty impressive experience. I asked her this question because I honestly wasn’t sure of the answer. She said it absolutely depends on the personal circumstances going on within my business finances. It’s not always going to be the same answer because I don’t get paid the same for every post, which means the IRS will require me to pay a different amount.
I know this question likely stems from wanting to know what you should do. I can tell you’re wanting to make sure you’re doing what you should be with your finances so you’re prepared, and you absolutely should! I love that you’re concerned enough to ask. So, my advice would be to put more than you’re comfortable putting away in a savings account and start searching for an accountant to go on this journey with you. Your business needs to have its own bank account. You need to be paying yourself from the business. You should have a business savings account that you should be making deposits into for emergencies, taxes and unexpected changes in the market. I was so naive to the business finance aspect of what I do for the longest time and I wish I had gotten on board with an accountant earlier than I did. It has lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders and I am confident it’ll do the same for you!
I have a birthday coming up! Do you had any ideas on where to buy cute party supplies? Also, do you have any tips on throwing an artsy party dinner?
Oh goodness! I’m not sure I’m the best person to ask for this as I haven’t planned a party for myself or anyone else in quite a long time. My first thought would be Etsy. There are so many little shops run by talented DIY-er’s that could likely make you anything you needed or supply you with anything you needed for your party! From invitations to favors, I know they’ll have you covered!
And, I wish I could help with tips on throwing an artsy party dinner. If you asked this question, maybe elaborate a little more on what you mean by ‘artsy’ dinner. I’d love to help but I’m not sure I know exactly what that means. xo.
What are some good everyday lip colors and glosses that you love?
I love this question. I am all about everyday colors! I feel like in the last couple of years I have ventured farther and farther away from the head turning shades and opted for more neutral tones. They’re easier and more appropriate for every day and I also just feel like they look better on me than bold colors.
My favorite everyday lipsticks are Melted Matte Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Child Star. I always line my lips when I wear this with either MAC ‘Stripdown’ or NYX ‘Nude’. If you want something a little lighter, I like Bobbi Browns’ ‘Beige’. It’s backordered on a lot of sites but finally found it in stock HERE. Other everyday lip colors I like are MAC ‘Creme d’Nude’, BUXOM ‘Marrakech‘ and Nudestix ‘Blossom’.
How do you not compare yourself to others? Do you have any tips on getting out of the comparison trap, especially as a blogger?
I don’t think it’s possible for any of us NOT to become subject to comparison these days. Personally, I think my faith and knowledge, understanding and acceptance of my true value has helped me not become overwhelmed by insecurities that I may have when compared to other people. I also think boundaries are important. If someone on social media has a negative effect on your thoughts and feelings, unfollow them! It doesn’t mean you don’t like them. It’s just a necessary boundary you have to put in place to ensure a healthier mindset. So, that’s personally what has helped me. I think that our minds are stronger than we give them credit for. If we become more consciously aware of how powerful our voice when we talk to ourselves, we wouldn’t let that comparison or those questions we ask ourselves when looking at someones social media … we wouldn’t let it bother us AS much. But, please never think I am immune to those feelings but I definitely get down from time to time. I wonder how some girls get SO much freaking stuff done in a day and how they’re constantly inspired and seemingly always connected to all the right people, etc. I wonder why some girls can wear the same makeup products as I do yet their makeup always looks way better. I wonder why some girls can post a photo of themselves with their friends or family and just as many people like that photo as they would any other. It’s best that we ask less questions and just realize that we may not always get all of the answers and, if we did, we might be surprised in a bad way. Maybe it’s best we don’t know it all about everyone. Maybe what’s best is that we can only do what’s right for ourselves. I can only do me. You can only do you. And we have to remember that that’s enough.
I’m having the hardest time losing weight gained after having my baby. Do you have any tips on staying so lean and tone?
These questions always make me a little uncomfortable because I know so many people won’t like my answer. But, like you and everyone else, I have to live my truth and my truth is that I’m a naturally very thin. My mom was really tiny with a fast metabolism up until she had children then, she said, it slowed down. So, I think one day I’ll totally be wondering the same thing you are! I feel bad but I just don’t feel like I’m the best person to give you that advice you’re looking for because aside from working out twice a week for the first half of the year, I don’t do anything in particular to stay lean. I would talk to some friends who may have a recommendation for a good personal trainer in your area who could formulate a workout plan that works for your goals and your body type. Everyone is different so I would never want to tell you the wrong thing!
Do you have any financial goals you’re working towards? Also, what’s your plan? Do you save a certain amount a month? Do you have a specific goal in mind for retirement (age, amount saved, etc) and how are you working towards that?
I’ve shared this before [in this post] that, for a time, I was really struggling with credit card debt. It ruined for credit score and, because of that, I carried around a lot of shame. I learned the hard way that it’s SO important to exercise smart financial practices. It’s important to save and don’t spend what you don’t have. So, I’m always working toward financial goals but one thing to know about goals – at least for me – is that they take awhile to achieve. It took diligence and intentionality to get myself out of credit card debt and I think maintaining that financial responsibility requires that, as well. So, one of my recent financial goals was to hire someone to help keep me organized. As a business owner, I have a lot more to manage and some of what I have to manage takes a lot of time and knowledge that I personally don’t have. So, last year, I hired an accountant to not only do my taxes but to do all of my bookkeeping. She got my butt in gear in regard to getting all of my accounts separated and organized. She lit a fire under my butt about only using certain cards for certain purchases so everything stays organized and streamlined. She manages my quarterly IRS payments, makes sure that my personal and business taxes are filed on time and does my payroll. One of my monthly goals is to transfer a certain percentage of my pay into savings. My next financial goal is to finally decide on and open a retirement accounts and investments. It’s been on my list of things to get done this year – but so was everything else I just mentioned so I’m making progress! 🙂 It’s always a little unnerving to talk with y’all about finances but I’m open to it if it can maybe inspire just one person to take financial responsibility seriously! It’s so important! And there’s no shame! Just admit it to yourself and maybe someone who can help you come up with a plan & hold you accountable! You can turn it around. It just takes time 🙂
Alright, and that’s it! I think there might have been a few other questions but I misplaced them and, for that, I apologize if I didn’t get to yours. Submit it in the comments below and I can’t get back to it tonight when I’m home with the boys 🙂 Now … I’m off to get my annual eye exam! Fun fun 😉 xo.
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