The Shine Project

 

With Spring inching closer we’re leaving our warm coats behind us, but dainty jewelry is here to stay. I have never been a huge statement jewelry type of person, small and simple is the way to my heart. Especially if there is a little pink in it…I found an amazing company that not only makes gorgeous simple jewelry like the necklace I’m wearing, but they do it with a purpose.

 

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The Shine Project is a nonprofit started to give college scholarships to inner-city youth in Phoenix. Shortly after starting it, Ashley the founder, discovered the harsh living conditions of some of her students and decided to do something about it. Ashley taught herself to make bracelets and bought a bunch of jewelry supplies. She then employed some of the people she gave scholarships to so they could earn money while still going to school.

Now the students who are given scholarships are then given jobs making bracelets and handle everything from customer service and sales, to jewelry design and events. Currently 11 students are employed at the company and all donations made through the non-profit are given directly to the students! How awesome is that?!

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Outfit Details:

Badgley Mischka Blush Coat // J. Crew Button Up // Edie Smoking Silver Flats ( Thanks to my sister!) // Kate Spade Purse

It’s so easy to buy from big brands that we know and love but step out of your comfort zone and check out The Shine Project. Their amazing jewelry and story just might surprise you!
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Be Mine

Just because I don’t have a date this Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean I can’t dress up for it! And when I say dress up I mean dress down because this casual look is everything to me right now.

ILY Couture not only makes adorable graphic tees and sweatshirts for every holiday, but they also make the most comfortable clothes ever. This tee is so soft I’ve worn it more days in a row than I care to admit. I’m also hoping the more I wear it, the more guys I’ll get asking me to be their Valentine. Just kidding about that last part…kind of.

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So whether you’ve got a hot date this Valentine’s Day or you’re just lounging on your couch eating a whole box of chocolates alone…you won’t regret getting one of these soft and adorable shirts from ILYCouture! Trust me on this one.

You guys can shop my look here:

Top Shop Jeans

Kiss Kiss Tee Shirt

Heart on Sleeve Sweatshirt

Heart Sweatshirt

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No Turning Back

2017 has already been a huge year for me. Even though I was only in LA for less than a year, this past weekend, I packed up my apartment in Santa Monica and drove the U-haul back to the Bay Area. Sadly yes, that means no more Alfred coffee or tea… 😦

When I first moved to LA and people would ask me why, I would say I needed a change. But after living there for a few months I realized it wasn’t the place that needed to change, it was me. Ya see, I have learned that I have a tendency to self sabotage. Whether it was when I was in school or recently with my career. Heck I even do it with some of my relationships.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with what it means to self sabotage. I’ll give you the simplest explanation. I am constantly getting in the way of my own success. And as much as I hate to admit it, this most likely stems from fear. Fear of failing. Fear of being unhappy. Fear of disappointing the people I love. Whatever the reason, I’m sick of living in this la la land and I’m finally going to do something about it. I refuse to let fear control my life.

I may be moving back home but I couldn’t be happier. A place can’t determine my happiness and success, only I can. And in 2017, I’m going all in. In all aspects of my life, whether it’s with my career or falling in love, I am choosing to succeed. I am choosing to be happy.

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What are you guys doing to better yourselves this year? I’d love to hear!

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Like my outfit? Find it here:

Fringe Sweater

J. Brand Jeans

Steve Madden Booties

Kate Spade Purse

 

The Perfect Valentine’s Skirt

I LOVE Valentine’s Day! I may be super single, but Valentine’s Day, to me, is so much more than celebrating with a significant other. It’s about appreciating ALL of your loved ones whether that be your boyfriend, friends, your family, or even just yourself!  I spoiled myself a little with this skirt. It’s definitely not something I would wear everyday but for Valentine’s day it’s perfect! id3a5287id3a5293

It is super comfortable, has a lot of movement, and it’s adorable! I paired it with a cozy J.Crew sweater but it would look super cute with a blouse or tank top as well. It’s perfect for your Galentine’s day or date night needs 🙂

You can find my outfit details here:

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My sister got me this Mantraband bracelet not too long ago and while it is very cute, it’s the message that I love the most about it. It says to enjoy the journey, something that we so often forget to do. It’s easy to get stuck in a routine or constantly worry about your next move and forget to just appreciate what you have right now. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back, look around and say, “Hey I’m here, I’m breathing, and I have a lot to be thankful for.” This bracelet serves as a reminder to enjoy my journey each and every day and maybe it can do the same for you!

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What are some of your favorite “Mantras”? I’d love to hear!

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Plaid on Plaid

Plaid has become a hugely popular pattern and it’s definitely a staple in my wardrobe. I’ve always considered plaid to be mostly a winter/ holiday pattern and after reading an article on the smithsonianmag.com, there is actually an interesting correlation.

Apparently plaid goes back at least 3,000 years to when it was first called “tartan.” It was used to describe the different patterned clothes of the Scottish clans. They mainly wore the same colors but “plaids” were the heavy coats worn to survive the unbearable Scottish winters. They then became popular when the American and British started recreating the fabric of tartans in all kinds of clothing items.

I’ll definitely be thanking the Scottish every time I throw on my favorite plaid scarf or curl up next to the fire with my cozy plaid blanket!

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Like my outfit?! You can find my outfit here: J. Crew Top, Madewell Beanie, Plaid Scarf, Rag & Bone Jeans, Dolce Vita Ankle Boots

While we may not need a tartan to keep us warm in Los Angeles, there are quite a few people that need help staying warm this winter. One Warm Coat is an organization that provides anyone in need with a coat. Donate any of your old coats or check out onewarmcoat.org to figure out other ways to can keep someone warm today!

What’s your favorite winter apparel?! I’d love to hear 🙂

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Gingerbread Donuts

Christmas may be over but I still haven’t taken off my furry reindeer slippers! I have really been loving spending time with my family curled up in sweatpants, drinking endless cups of coffee in Cleveland. I hope everyone has been enjoying family time during this holiday as well! Along with all the coffee drinking, I haven’t stopped baking all of my favorite Christmas treats!

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{You can find my comfy pjs here: J. Crew PJs, Mistletoe Sweatshirt, SlippersChristmas Santa Claus Mug 

Also check out my gorgeous dainty rings at https://www.agildedleaf.com. It’s a fair trade jewelry company that prides itself on being socially, environmentally, and ethically responsible. }

You how people feel about pumpkin spice during fall? Well that’s me with gingerbread. I’m actually not the biggest fan of pumpkin in general but gingerbread has me hooked. It all started with my great Grandma Estelle’s gingerbread man recipe which is a secret 😉 but these gingerbread donuts come pretty darn close.

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Not only are these gingerbread donuts delicious but they’re pretty easy to make. Below is the recipe…try them out for yourself!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 c . all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp . ground ginger
  • 1 tsp . ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp . baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp . baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp . salt
  • 1/4 c . coconut oil melted
  • 1/2 c . brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 c . molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 c . milk low-fat ok
  • 1/3 c . fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 c . granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp . ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp . ground ginger

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 2 6-count donut pans.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together coconut oil and brown sugar.

4. Whisk in molasses.

5. Add egg, and whisk to combine.

6. Add milk and yogurt; whisk until well-combined.

7. Add flour mixture, and whisk until just combined.

8. Scoop into donut pans and bake for about 14-18 minutes.

9. In a wide, shallow dish, stir together the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Dip the tops and bottoms of warm donuts into the mixture.

What gingerbread treats do you guys like?

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DOGgone Good Cause

The night before Thanksgiving, my sisters and I had just picked-up dinner and were driving back home on a dark and busy street. Cars were braking and my sister yelled, “oh my god, there’s a puppy in the road!” We both got out of the car to grab the dog, I finally was able to chase her down. She was not a puppy, but a very old dachshund. We pulled our car over and went house to house in the area for an hour.  Then we called shelters, animal control, the sheriff, and anyone we could think of to help, however, being the night before Thanksgiving, everything was closed.  We gave up and took the dog back to our house. The whole night the poor pup was making this terrible noise.  It was like she was telling us how badly she wanted to go home.

The next morning we thought to text the woman who walks our pug – thinking she might recognize the dog or could at least provide some guidance.  Guess what??  It was a Thanksgiving miracle… she knew the dog!  Her name was Moo Moo and her parents were out of town for the weekend.

What surprised us the most was that no one had stopped to help the dog. I couldn’t help but think what could’ve happened to this sweet girl had someone not stopped to get her. She could’ve been hit by a car, eaten by an animal, or taken to an animal shelter. Luckily though she’s home safe and sound with her family.

This kind of parallels the story of Blue, the pup pictured below. This cute little guy belongs to my sister and brother-in-law. They rescued him from a kill shelter in Rancho Cucamonga a few years ago. He has been such a big part of our family ever since. But before then his life wasn’t so easy. Animal Control found him wandering the streets malnourished with scabs all over his body.  He was a mess with parasites, kennel cough, an eye infection and seizures when they first adopted him.  It’s crazy to see how he’s transformed from a sick and timid dog into such a loving and adorable part of our family.

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Blue is a great example of why everyone should adopt! There are so many dogs in shelters that could really use a happy home. I know that a lot of people are unable to adopt but there are other ways to help those animals in need!

I got this shirt from a company called Treat Dreams. They have adorable shirts, mugs, as well as gourmet baked treats for your pets! I love this company not only for providing me with this hilarious shirt, but for what they stand for: 10% of their proceeds from every purchase goes to a different Canine Rescue Group each month. Check them out here and see more of their amazing products: https://treatdreamsthedogbakery.com

Treekisser is a similar company that donates 10% of its sales to animal rescue and advocacy organizations! You can purchase one of these shirts by clicking on the images below:

     

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5 Gifts that Give Back

The holidays are coming up fast!  What better gift to give someone than the gift of helping others. For the family and friends you struggle to buy for every year, I found your solution. I put together a list of my favorite companies that not only sell great items people will love, but stand for something much greater than any physical gift you could receive.

1. The Home T

This company makes apparel and home decor from each state.  Their items super cute and for those who like comfort – their shirts are insanely soft. The best part about this company though, is that 10% of their proceeds go to multiple sclerosis research, a disease that affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide. Click on the image below to get this shirt from amazon or head to their website to learn more: https://www.thehomet.com

2. Bloom & Give

This company sells adorable clutches and scarves while donating 50% of their profits to support girl’s education programs in India. No that wasn’t a typo, I said 50%!! This company is making strides in one of the world’s most impoverished countries. You can get your friend a cute bag and help support India’s gender equality in education at the same time. Who wouldn’t love to get that gift during the holidays?! Shop their bag selection here: https://www.bloomandgive.com/collections/bags

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Taken from bloomandgive.com

3. Bird + Stone

This jewelry company gives opportunities to widowed Kenyan women who aspire to be independent.   This opportunity helps to bring these women out of poverty.  You can learn more about it and purchase this cuff here: https://shop.birdandstone.com/bracelets/dreambuilder-cuff

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Image from birdandstone.com

4. Toms

I’m sure most of you have already heard of Toms, but did you know they make super cute wedges and booties now?! I’m serious – they have some shoes that I mistook for Steve Maddens the other day. Toms has always had the motto One for One. For every pair of shoes purchased they give a pair to kids in need. For every pair of glasses sold, a person in need receives an eye exam and treatment. For each bag of Toms coffee sold, 140 liters of safe water is provided to a person in need. Toms is doing some really amazing things, so why not join in this holiday. You can purchase a pair of Toms booties by clicking on the image below or head to http://www.toms.com to see what other goodies they have in stock!

5. Alex and Ani

Charity by Design is a segment of this jewelry company that gives back to organizations that mean the most to you! This bracelet in particular is of a Lotus Blossom which symbolizes beauty, strength, and grace. 20% of the purchase price for every one of these bracelets sold goes to Women & Infants Hospital, one of the best hospitals for women and newborns. You can purchase this bracelet by clicking on the image below or go to their website and see what other charities/bracelets someone would love to get this holiday season: http://www.alexandani.com/collections/charity-by-design.html

What our some of your favorite companies that give back?

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California Donuts

When I was little, I used to wake up really early on the weekends.  I would wake up early for one incredibly special reason – so my dad could take me to get donuts for our family. I remember feeling so special for two reasons: 1) I got to pick out everyone’s donuts, and 2) I got to do it with my dad. Carrying that big pink box home gave me this huge feeling of satisfaction; a feeling that I still get to this day. Since moving to LA I’ve been trying to find a donut shop that brings me as much joy as my favorite shop from home. I’ve tried quite a few donut shops, let me tell ya, but none of them compare. I have, however, fallen in love with California Donuts.

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While California Donuts may not give you that big pink box, you always leave with a smile. Their donuts are so cute and colorful making it almost impossible to eat… almost. They range from your average glazed donuts to donuts with lucky charms on them! My personal favorite was the little panda face donut. It took me about an hour to finally take a bite, but it tasted just as good as it looked.

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It’s easy to forget how lucky I am that I am even able to eat doughnuts. So many people are not as fortunate. 1 in 5 kids in the U.S. don’t get the food they need every day. Help end childhood hunger and visit nokidhungry.org. With our support, this organization is working to ensure that every kid in America has access to healthy food!

What is your favorite donut to get from California Donuts?

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-2-05-16-pmLike my outfit, find it below:

X-Boyfriend Tee, J Brand Jeans, Tory Burch Flats

Camo, fringe, and lace. It’s all commonplace.

While these three styles may be repeated too often they’re still on the top of my list for my fall wardrobe. This is such an easy outfit but it’s also a head turner (Just ask my mom, Katherine Heigl did a double take). I love throwing on this camo jacket to dress an outfit down a bit. I used it to give a more casual vibe to my Monday date night outfit!

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Luckily in Santa Monica it’s easy to get away with wearing tank tops in the fall but it doesn’t hurt to have a light jacket for those windy nights by the ocean.

You can find similar jacket options and my tank top here:


There are also some great inexpensive Camo options on Amazon. When shopping on Amazon make sure to go through Amazon Smiles. This way some of the proceeds from your purchase are donated to your favorite charity. When shopping for Camo why not select the Wounded Warrior Foundation.


My favorite part about this outfit though is definitely my boots. I will never have enough shoes. They are my weakness and always will be. This pair of Dolce Vita boots in particular are one of my go to’s for fall and winter. They go with almost everything and the fringe makes for fun and flashy walks down Ocean Ave (with my eyes closed of course).

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Here are a couple of options for fall fringe boots:

Saint Laurant or Sam Edelman

What are some of your favorite fall combinations? And how do guys wear your camo? 🙂screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-2-05-16-pm