My Favorite Lifestyle and Beauty Instagram Influencers

After opening up my WordPress account for my blog last year, my second action was to create an Instagram account separate from my personal. I started following publications like Cosmopolitan, Elle, Pop Sugar, Marie Claire, etc. I also followed my favorite stores like Forever 21, J Crew, Windsor, and Target, of course. Because of these selections, Instagram suggested I follow certain bloggers, YouTubers and models. This is how I became familiar with most of the influencers I have highlighted in this post. They are all amazing, affordably stylish (which is key for me when looking for inspo) and they each have different qualities that inspire me.

Get to know my favorite Instagram influencers.

Audrie Storme

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Audrie started in 2014 just sharing her personal style on Instagram which has since gained popularity, having over 91k followers. This reach then carried over to her YouTube channel, with over 62k subscribers and over two million views. Her husband, Raleigh Wilson, doubles as her photographer and videographer (same, girl)! Content they’ve created together has been featured by brands like Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, Converse, Google and many editorial sites.

Now that you have her Insta backstory, what I love about Aurdrie are her positive vibes and California style. I’ve only visited California once when I was really little but I have always gravitated toward Cali fashion and vibes. I love her fluid, floral and back detailed looks. You can find her in affordable outfits by Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, pacsun and many other attainable brands if you’re on a budget. She also is a good example for me as I am not very comfortable in front of the camera and you’ll see that a lot of her photos picture her looking away from the camera. This helps me see how I can provide content on my Instagram and blogs without staring right into the lens.

She also mentioned in a Q & A video that her biggest pet peeve is when people try to manipulate other people, which is also my biggest pet peeve! I watch her videos a lot because I eventually want to expand to YouTube and again, she’s a great example to learn from.

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I actually bought this Forever 21 bodysuit because of this photo πŸ™‚

Alba Ramos

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I’ve known about Alba for a few years. I think my friend Annarica sent me her Instagram account to influence me to rock my natural curls. I have yet to make a permanent crossover to the curly lifestyle but Alba makes it look tempting. She is closer to my age and is also living the married mommy life. She promotes healthy lifestyles using “organic beauty and non-toxic everything,” as she states in her Insta bio. From diet, exercise, skin and hair, Alba has us covered!

Alba has over 907k YouTube subscribers and over 371k Instagram followers. You’ll often see her partnering up with brands like Shea Moisture. If you’re looking to revamp your products and routines in a more natural and healthy direction, start with Alba.

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New Darlings

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What’s unique about New Darlings is that they are a husband and wife blogging duo. Robert and Christina married in 2013 and began their joint blog in 2015 to share their newlywed lives in their new home of Phoenix, Arizona. They are both originally from New York. With 403k Instagram followers, the couple shares their style, home decor and travel experiences. Their looks are very J Crew and Madewell, which I love, and Christina can be seen almost always with a top knot, which I love even more! Being a newlywed, myself, it’s refreshing to see influencers that represent the fun side of marriage.

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Alexis Kaiser

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Alexis is both a wife and mom, like me, so it’s definitely nice to have someone like her to relate to. Her blog, Alternative Indigo, started much like Audrie’s by just simply sharing her amazing, personal style on Instagram and grew much larger into a Fashion and Lifestyle Journal. With over 103k followers, Alexis shares her everyday style and personal stories. She even beautifully documented her birthing story on YouTube and Instgram this past summer.

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Sofia Jamora

img_6690I don’t follow many models because I like to follow models who’s body types are similar to mine as it’s pointless, in my opinion, to see clothes on a different body type. I just really get my hopes up when I’m inspired by look that doesn’t fit my figure, which is a smaller waist with larger hips, thighs and bottom. I’m not identical to Sofia’s modelesque bod, 24″ waist and 36″ hips, but she does have that slim thick look that is closer to mine. I’ve seen Sofia’s work while shopping online with two of my favorite stores, Forever 21 and Windsor, and I see that she is now modeling for Fashion Nova and Kylie Comestics. I don’t shop Fashion Nova or Kylie’s line but they are huge brands right now so Sofia’s modeling career is clearly on the up and up!Β Sofia is signed to both Freedom Models LA and Next Miami. She has over one million followersΒ on Instagram, making her one of the more popular influencers on my list.

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Those Thighs Though! 😍

Sarah Angius

img_6692Sarah is my hair guru! I’ve always straightened my hair with only a flat iron. I never thought I’d be able to blow dry my own hair. Sarah proved me wrong with her blow dry tutorial that has saved my life! My hair is voluminous, healthy and growing much faster because of this new routine and frequent trims.

Sarah is a hairstylist with over 7 years experience. She started doing hair tutorials on Instagram just for fun in 2015. These tutorials blew up so much, with over three million followers on Instagram and 437k followers on YouTube, she was able to quit her job and make a career for herself on social media. Jealous!

If you don’t already, follow one, some or all of these amazing accounts on Insta and/or YouTube, I have hyperlinked their accounts throughout this blog!

-D.O. ❀

Life Is Hectic! Get Organized!

If your life is anything like mine, you have a TON of things to pencil into your weekly calendar. This can get super stressful and exhausting, resulting in a total meltdown. My best advice is to stop stressing and complaining, be optimistic and add more organization into your life. Here’s my new method of balancing all of my many responsibilities and obligations.


Work

This one is easy because I have a set schedule and there’s no room for negotiation. I work 8:30am – 5:30pm, Monday through Friday. My position does not require me to take work home or be connected through email or company cell phone so no organization of my schedule is needed, I just need to stay on top of my workload during the day.

Economics Class

As some of my readers may know, I recently started a Microeconomics course which is needed as a prerequisite for the Master’s program I’ll be applying to soon. Now, because my work schedule is non-negotiable, I opted to take this course online as there were no classes available after my work shift or on weekends. Because I am taking the class online, I have to schedule time myself for studying and watching the course videos. This, in my opinion, is more difficult than attending a scheduled class because there’s a higher level of autonomy. I time out how many weeks I have until the next exam and divide that by the amount of chapters covered in that exam. That is how much I’ll read each week and I watch the videos whenever I have a moment. I even listen to them on my headphones at work as opposed to listening to music. I have to watch them again at home but the lessons sound familiar to me because I’ve heard them before. This method clearly works for me since I got nearly a perfect score on my first Econ exam *dusts shoulders off* πŸ™‚ You don’t have to use my method but any organized schedule should work.

Family Time

I have a husband and child at home so I have to make sure I spend quality time with them. My husband is not my son’s biological father so my son spends a couple of days a week with his father. While, of course, I miss my little man, this actually helps me fit in time for studying, chores and working out. This also frees up some time to have date nights with my very busy husband. On the flip side, since I don’t have my son everyday, I make sure that we do something fun together every other weekend when he’s with me and in the evenings, I set aside time to look over his homework and make sure he’s organized for school, bathed and fed. We live in a bungalow so almost all of the rooms are on one floor so we are always in close proximity with one another and I love it for the sole purpose that I have my loves close to me at all times ❀


Working Out

I just started a gym schedule this week because summer is sneaking up on me pretty quickly. I’m really trying to live in a crop top all summer so gym time is essential :-p So this week, I woke up at 5:45am and hit the gym before work on Monday. My gym has classes so Tuesday, I went to Zumba in the evening. I took Wednesday off and went back to the gym on Thursday evening. I’m taking Friday off and going back for a class on Saturday. My schedule wont always look like this as I have to accommodate when I have someone to babysit for me. My plan is to know by Sunday what days I’ll be working out that week and actually writing it down in my planner. I luckily have my husband who will cook dinner for me when I go to the gym in the evenings so that is a HUGE help.

Housework

This has to be my least favorite because I hate cleaning!! But, I make sure that I thoroughly clean the house and do laundry either every Saturday or Sunday.Since I’m off work on those days, I have hours to dedicate to this project. Throughout the week, my husband and I alternate doing the dishes and straightening up. Nothing makes me happier than coming home from work and seeing that my husband already did this! I literally want to hug him immediately and worship him at his feet. This means I only have to shower and then go straight to studying! Score! It pays to have a partner.

Paying Bills

I swear all my bills are due on all random days. It’s so frustrating and hard to keep up with so I only pay bills on pay days. I pay whatever bill is due closest to each pay day. I even write the hard to remember ones in my planner. Bills are my least favorite part of pay days because I can’t get too excited about it when I know I’m also using that money to pay bills. Such a downer! Then I go to Target and cheer myself up with at least one thing! πŸ™‚

Grocery Shopping

I try to shop on Sundays but I get a case of the lazies on Sundays so often times shop after work on Mondays. We don’t eat frozen foods, really, so we do have to shop weekly since fresher foods expire quickly. I need to push myself to shop on Sundays more so I can go straight home from work during the week but that’s easier said than done. 😦

Social Life

I don’t schedule social events because I think it’s fun when social outings are more spontaneous and plans don’t tend to work out the way you plan them for some reason anyway. I really only schedule birthday outings and weekly TGIT viewing parties with two of my best friends. If someone asks me to go somewhere or I have the urge to hit the town, I gauge what I have going on at the time, measure my level of tiredness and just make a decision to go or not. Whatever you do, make sure you pencil some fun into your weekly schedule or you’ll go nuts! I love date nights and girls nights!

It’s good to be busy but without organization, there’s room for error and a cause for going insane. Don’t be afraid to pick up extra hobbies, don’t talk yourself out of that degree you want to earn and don’t set aside family time for work. Simply come up with a plan and try your best to stick with it. Life is entirely too short to be stressed all the time! Happy scheduling, loves!

-D.O. ❀

15 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Turn Your Back On The Media

There’s a few reasons why you may be questioning if you should trust the media or not. It’s possible that you’ve read few misleading articles. Maybe the news, in general, stresses you out and I certainly can’t fault you on those feelings. I get a little overwhelmed myself. Our president has even gone as far as saying that the media is the enemy of the American people. I, respectfully, disagree and not only because I have always been obsessed with magazines and have looked up to journalists my entire life. I respect the craft of journalism and I appreciate and understand their purpose in society.

If you’re thinking about calling it quits with the media, I urge you to reconsider your breakup. Here’s 15 reasons to work it out!

  1. They have inside sources that give them information we could never find ourselves.
  2. It’s their job to investigate questions a majority of us have and they’ll do it a heck of a lot better than regular civilians would.
  3. They have a press pass that gives them access to events, speaking engagements, press conferences and even crime investigations. Without them, we’d have no idea what’s going on in the White House, award shows, red carpets, protests, sporting events, etc.
  4. They get you up-to-speed in the political world so you’ll know who your votes will go to every two and four years.
  5. Even competitors band together like family when their character, profession and craft are attacked.
  6. When networking and interviewing for jobs, it’s always a good idea to be informed on a few current events just in case the subject comes up.
  7. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to the fate of the country, safety issues in your neighborhood or even something like product recalls. The media makes it a point to learn about these issues and pass that knowledge onto their readers.
  8. Not all journalists are scummy. While you may have the stereotype that journalists will do anything to get the story out first, regardless of truth, or can be a little pushy and heartless, a lot of them really seem to care about their audience.
  9. The news never sleeps so journalists are literally busting their asses sometimes all night to get the information to the people. Last week, I was up late studying economics and just so happened to open twitter. I caught Ezra Klein, Editor-in-Chief of Vox, tweeting around 12:30am about Michael Flynn’s resignation as National Security Advisor. I see Ezra posting on social media all hours of the day and night. That kind of dedication is common in the journalism world and it’s very admirable.
  10. The media bases their material on what their target audience wants to read about. With this in mind, you can find a media outlet that talks about things you want to know. There’s outlets for every demographic. Teen Vogue is my favorite example because they talk fashion, sex, relationships, celebrities, music and even politics in a way that teenagers can understand. There’s always going to be an publication that fits your needs and interests.
  11. The media’s work ethic and perfectionism is unmatched. Journalist go through each story with a fine tooth comb. Articles need to have sources and the fact checks need to be fact checked. It’s serious business!
  12. Β Who else is going to correct the lies told to us by public figures and politicians?
  13. Guess who doesn’t have tickets to Fashion Week? Us! Guess who does? THE MEDIA! Without them, we don’t get to see any of it! 😦
  14. Did anyone else wonder what lipstick shades Dakota Johnson was wearing in Fifty Shades Darker? I was dying to know and guess who had our backs? The media! πŸ™‚ana
  15. They have more secrets than Gretchen Wieners and they crack faster that she does. Yes, they do it to make money and a name for themselves, but they also do it so that we’re in on the secrets and not left in the dark.gretchen

I am begging you to please give the media a chance. Without them, we wouldn’t know a large percentage of the information we have. After all, hearsay isn’t trustworthy and textbooks are selective and outdated. Facts are facts and a majority of these facts were first told to us by a journalist, in one way or another. Find a publication that speaks to you, take the time to fact check and put your trust in the media. Don’t let a few bad bloggers and salty politicians deter you from getting informed πŸ™‚

-D.O. ❀

 

Carbs, I Do Adore

I’m pretty sure that when you’re looking to slim down, limiting carbs is essential. Easy peasy, right? In the words of our new president, “WRONG”! It’s hard because they’re SO delicious!

I LOVE Texas Roadhouse solely because of their unlimited rolls and cinnamon butter. Literally heaven in a basket! Olive Garden also has endless bread, bread sticks, to be exact, and they are garlic-y and addicting AF. I can’t even go there anymore because I’ll eat too many of those and then eat all of my pasta. Carb overload!

When someone walks into the office with donuts for everyone, I get an overwhelming feeling of joy. I’m not sure if America actually runs on Dunkin but I know I do! Donuts are life and have you heard of donuts’ tastier distant relatives, beingets?Β They’re deep-fried dough in the shape of a fluffy pillow, covered in powdered sugar. I ate beignets every day of my trip to New Orleans. EVERY DAY! If we had a Cafe Du Monde here in Cleveland, I would be done for.

Mexican food is another weakness of mine and what’s a Mexican meal without nacho chips and tortilla shells? That’s basically a salad! 😦 And let’sΒ  not even go into too much detail about PIZZA. Pizza is both convenient and yummy! You cannot do a carb-less pizza! That’s just not even right.

So, how can we cut back on the carbs? I can only offer a few tips because I’m struggling with my own carb demons but hopefully these will help;

  1. Burgers without buns are still delicious.
  2. Β Mixed vegetables are a great replacement side dish for french fries.
  3. Whole grain bread, noodles and tortillas are a little healthier than the regular stuff.
  4. Chipotle has brown rice…and it’s not bad!
  5. Just don’t even go to Texas Roadhouse or Olive Garden. Pretend they don’t even exist because you will not pass up the bread. It’s physically impossible.
  6. Eat pizza in moderation (Maybe throw some veggies on it so at least feel healthy. πŸ˜‰ )
  7. Don’t visit New Orleans πŸ˜‰
  8. And if someone walks into the office with donuts….I’m not sure what to tell you. I’d love to tell you to just say no but I’d be a total hypocrite. I have yet to resist the urge to eat at least one.

If you guys have any other tips or tasty carb replacements, PLEASE leave them in the comments. (preferably a donut replacement because I’d love to kick that habit πŸ˜‰ )

-D.O. ❀

 

 

“Why you call it Late Registration? Cause we takin these muh’f*ckers back to school”

Kudos to those who get my Kanye reference! ❀

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Me in Clark Kent Mode

Anyway, I’m going back to school! Attaining a Master’s Degree is something that has always been a goal of mine but I was never sure of what my concentration would be. I thought about Journalism or English. I definitely have a passion for writing but didn’t really see the value as my undergrad is enough to pursue a career in those areas. An MBA has much value but my heart isn’t in the subject of just strictly Business. I knew I wouldn’t perform well. I hit a road block. Without knowing what my concentration would be, there was no way to move forward.

It finally hit me after this very confusing election, Political Science!

Now, this does not mean that I’m knowledgeable in the subject but I find myself wanting to know and understand more. We had a huge problem this election year with propaganda which led to misinformation and ignorance in American voters. As awful and confusing as this was, it inspired me. I want to be a resource to people who are looking for facts.

I want to do that in a couple of different ways;

  • Freelance Writing. I never thought Political Journalism would be something I’d want to do. I always thought I’d focus on fashion, beauty and entertainment. I’ll still write about these subjects on my personal blog, of course, but I’m definitely striving to also be a contributor for a political publication.
  • Teach Poli Sci courses. I’d like to teach students while they’re young, high school age to freshmen/sophomores in college. They’re either about to hit voting age or between 18 and 19. I want to influence young voters to think for themselves and research facts prior to casting their votes. I’ll need my PhD to become a professor and a teaching license to teach a high school class so, more and more school is on the road ahead.

Now that I’ve decided on a concentration and possible career paths, a few things need to happen before I even start;

  1. I have to take both Microeconomics and Macroeconomics as they’re prerequisites for the Master of Arts in Global Interactions (MAGI) program at my college of choice. MAGI is their version of Political Science. (I took both economics courses in my undergrad but we’re not even going to talk about what grades I received lol. I was more of a Communications course type of gal!) So, this will be round two for me. I just enrolled in Micro and will start January 17th!
  2. Cross reference the classes I took in my undergrad to make sure I have all other prerequisites. Literally crossing my fingers that I do or else I’ll have more classes to take before I start.
  3. Take the GRE and score in 50th percentile or above. I just got my Kaplan study guide and will be cracking that puppy open very shortly. It’s huge and overwhelming but I’m ready for the challenge.

I’m so excited to get going on this very big goal. I’m nervous as well but I know all of the hard work and stress will be worth it. There are quite a few female politicians right now along with Hillary Clinton, of course, that are so inspiring to me. Politics is male dominated and not to mention, lacking diversity. As a minority woman, I’m excited to add to that diversity. You might not see me running for any political office but hopefully you’ll see my words published and my name on a class schedule πŸ™‚

My experience in deciding to go back to school is proof that it’s never too late. I graduated college in 2009 and here I am stepping back into the classroom setting. If you’ve been wanting to go back to school and aren’t so sure or may feel discouraged, please do not hold yourself back or stand in your own way. You can definitely do it! “Better late than never, it’s orien-tation!” (More Kanye πŸ™‚ )

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please do not hesitate to contact me (My customer service attitude is showing there πŸ˜‰ ) Or, If you want to share your back-to-school story and/or any advice, I’d love to hear from you.

-D.O. ❀

 

 

25 Reason Why I Love The Holiday Season

 

Yas! It’s December and we are simply haaaaving a wonderful Christmas time! Well, I am at least. Here’s 25 reasons why I am enjoying the holidays this yearpsl-lights

  1. It’s an amazing distraction from the worst Presidential elections in my lifetime.
  2. Every store is decorated
  3. Retail sales! $8.50 3-wick candles, don’t mind if I do!
  4. Local radio stations that play only Christmas music all day long
  5. Christmas shopping for my son (I stood in the GameStop Black Friday line from 3am-5am and I’ve never been more proud of myself)
  6. Visiting my mom’s house and seeing literally every room decorated for Christmas (even the bathroom)
  7. Having a Christmas tree in the living room for a month
  8. Thinking of creative gifts that my family will love
  9. You can wear sequins and glitter without getting questioned
  10. Everyone seems friendlier
  11. Snow is bearable because the holidays just don’t make sense without snow
  12. Holiday rom coms on the Hallmark Channel
  13. The Santa display in the middle of the mall
  14. Christmas music playing in every store and restaurant
  15. Starbuck’s Holiday drinks (including pumpkin spice latte
  16. Holiday themed episodes of my favorite shows
  17. Great Lakes Christmas Ale (A Cleveland brewery)
  18. Holiday parties
  19. Food!
  20. Hanging out with family
  21. Vacation time from work
  22. The “Santa Clause is watching” lie works on your kids when they’re misbehaving
  23. You have an excuse to watch Elf, although, you’ve actually been watching it all year
  24. My son’s Christmas concert. I love watching him and his class sing πŸ™‚
  25. Christmas lights, duh!

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Happy Holidays, Loves!

-D.O. ❀

11 Pictures That Prove Hillary Clinton Is Cool AF

The election didn’t go the way that I, along with 59,814,017 other Americans, had hoped but I still admire Hillary Clinton tremendously. She worked hard, ran a tough campaign that was free of hate and her intelligence is inspiring. Hell, she won the popular vote! You go girl!

She makes me want to know more…to do more. Hillary proved that women can do anything they want to do as long as they put their minds to it and make the effort. #GirlPower

As a Life + Style blogger, I typically try to not speak politics but many who know me are aware of my feelings as I am an open book. Regardless of the outcome, #ImStillWithHer.

Now let’s look at some cool ass flicks of Nasty-Woman-in-Chief, HRC!

Dats Bae

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To The Windows! To The Wall!

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Oh, put your freakum dress on!

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Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of.

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New Phone. Who Dis?

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Ladies Is Pimps Too, Gon’ Brush Your Shoulders Off!

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Girl, Bye.

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Hey, Girl, Hey!

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Ponytail on Fleek

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Big Baller, Shot Caller…

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Uh-oh, running out of breath, but I
Oh, I, I got stamina ❀

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“Don’t give up, I won’t give up.”-Sia

-D.O. ❀