Slay Your Single Holidays

Whewwwww Chile! This has been a year. Like straight hellish in so many ways. Amongst other things, I am freshly single and not so ready to mingle. Summer was cute since friends are always down to hang. Fall was okay because there were so many activities on my calendar. But as we move towards Thanksgiving and Christmas, ya girl is feeling down. This is the first time in a LONG time that I don’t have anyone to snuggle with when it’s snowing outside and I know for a fact Christmas is going to be rough unless I’m with my family. That being said, I have a plan because left to my own devices I’ll be drowning in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, a bottle of spiked Egg Nog, and listening to Miss You Most by Mariah Carey on repeat. BTW, it’s not that deep (except for when it is) , I’m just dramatic AF.

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Always Be Cute

I’m pretty sure ABC is the technique salespeople use but we’re remixing here to Always Be Cute. Now I’m not talking about looking nice to attract the male gaze (or female if that’s how you roll) because boys have cooties, I’m talking about looking cute for YOU. Depending on what kind of chick you are, this could mean a full beat face just to go to Walmart to pick up a Patti Pie or just a cute sweater with jeans and Starbucks cup while running errands, I’m a firm believer that looking nice (by your standards, no one else’s) improves your mood.

Treat Yourself

So here’s the deal, you don’t have a boo to shower you with lavish gifts the Christmas/Kwanzaa so you have to treat yourself. That thing that you’ve been eyeing but can’t quite bring yourself to buy? Get it. Boom. Done. Now Enjoy Yourself.

Hang With Your Friends

So you know all that stuff you didn’t do with your friends because you were boo’d up? Go ahead and do it now! Plan a Secret Santa party, have a onesie sleepover, go get some drinks. Fill your time that you would spend being lonely with people you love.

Will the holidays be tough for me? Prolly. Am I gonna cry? Absolutely (again, I’m dramatic). But hopefully I can still make some sweet single memories.

How to Take Fire Pictures for Your Blog

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with starting as a team of one.

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Dress | Jacket (similar) | Shoes

I wish I hadn’t spent the last few years thinking I NEEDED someone to take my blog pictures for me. I swear, I would have gotten so much more shit done and I would be further along in this blogging game. Alas, I learned this lesson so you wouldn’t have to and now I can give you all the tea on being your own photographer.

What You’ll Need:

Yourself (duh)

Decent Camera (doesn’t have to be fancy), I use an old Canon T3

Smart Phone, if you don’t have a camera. iPhones take some dope pictures.

Smart Phone Attachment for tripod

Tripod

Any object that will help you focus

Natural Lighting

Absolutely NO SHAME

The first thing I like to do when taking blog pictures is scout a bomb location. I find a lot of them in my city via Instagram (make sure you follow your local creative tribe for inspiration) and some by just driving around. I normally have a look that will work for any given location that will match the vibe.

Next, I schedule my shooting days. Now this can be more difficult. Why? Well because I live in the grayest city ever and it has been raining for the last few months. This means that I have to take advantage of almost any hour of sunlight. I try not to shoot with flash because it washes me out something serious. Instead I position my camera so that the light source is behind the lens or to the side of the subject (That would be me. I’m the subject).

My set up is pretty simple. I use a light stand to focus my lens and set a self timer. Now this is where things can get weird. If you’re in a public place, people might be looking at you wondering what the hell you’re doing. This is when you have to decide that you don’t care. You’re out here working on something and if people aren’t helping you, then their opinion doesn’t much matter. Get over the awkwardness and move, pose, take tons of pictures. One benefit of doing things on your own is that you’re on your own time. This means you can almost always get the shot that you want. If your location isn’t giving you life, pack your things and go somewhere else. Try different angles until you get what you want.

I promise this is easier than it seems. I’ve been taking my own pictures for about a month now and I can honestly say this is the most I’ve enjoyed blogging over the years because I love having creative control.

Let me know, have you ever not created content because you didn’t have a photographer? Would you feel comfortable taking your own pictures in the future?

A Wearable Wardrobe: An Introduction

This is for all my girls with a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear.

This post was made possible by PrettyLittleThing who was kind enough to send me a few items show you all.

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Shirt | Pants (similar) | Vintage Hat

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Shirt | Skirt | Duster | Boots

Hi, My name is Marra and I’m a blogger who re-wears her clothes and outfits. Why? because my style is dope and I actually like what’s in my closet. Okay, I know that sounded super cocky but seriously, why have a closet full of clothing that you don’t love?

This is where the concept of the Wearable Wardrobe comes into play. This isn’t a capsule collection. This isn’t minimalism. This is shopping and dressing with a specific style in mind so that you will always (and I do mean always have something to wear). When you have a Wearable Wardrobe, you spend less, enjoy getting dressed more, and never cry in your closet about not having the right outfit.

Unlike a capsule wardrobe, a wearable wardrobe is directed by your personal sense of style and isn’t limited to a certain number. The focus here is quality, fit, feel, and versatility. Sure this is cute, but can I make at least three other outfits with it? Can I wear it throughout the year. Will I be able to wear it next year?

These are the questions I ask myself to avoid closet clutter and last minute meltdowns. I’ll be showing you all how I create my wearable wardrobe in the coming posts and I promise it will change your style life.

Be sure to check out Pretty Little Thing for all of your fashion needs! They will keep you cute and on budget (my two favorite things).

The Perfect Pantsuit

Join the the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pant(suit)

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Let’s chat about this closet staple: a hot pink pant suit. Seriously though, It has been my dream for years to have a brightly colored pant suit that was extra af for absolutely no reason. So here we are. Now these are two pieces that I bought separately that just so happened to be the same shade of flaming hot flamingo but if you’re looking for more pantsuit inso, I’ve got some options for you!




Hey Girl, Your Phone Is Draining Your Battery

I’m addicted to my device, and it’s killing my mental health.

My phone gives me serious anxiety. When I’m on it and scrolling through social media I feel like I’m not good enough. All of these amazingly dope people I follow are out here killing it with their amazing style, loving husbands, and frequent sponsorships and here I am being average. Every time I get a news alert I heart sinks as I read about politicians in this country who continue to put their personal interests before the well being of their constituents, Even my damn health tracker makes me feel inadequate by reminding my that I have not taken the recommended ten thousand steps that will help me reach my goal weight. It’s exhausting. It’s draining.

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If I’m being completely honest, I spend several hours per day on my phone and the actual value that it adds to my life is zero to none. In an effort to get my life together and feel better I’ve set some ground rules for screen time. Here are my tips to live your best life and treat your phone more like a resource and less like a necessity.

Choose Who You Follow Wisely

I recently cleaned my social media feed and I feel so much better for it. If a person’s posts and content doesn’t inspire me, make me laugh, or make me think, I hit unfollow. If a person’s posts make me feel bad about myself, I unfollow. If a person’s posts bully or demean others, then I probably wasn’t following in the first place. It’s simple. Social media is meant to connect people so we often think of the people we follow as friends but if is a friendship is toxic it’s best to end that relationship.

Designated Phone Free Times

The first half an hour after I wake up and the last half an hour before I go to bed are not for checking social media. This makes for a more peaceful morning and an easier and more restful sleep. I also place my phone face down when interacting with friends and stay off of it while at the movies. Actually enjoying the time spent with the people in front of me has made me realize that I need to be present in my day to day interactions with others.

Check Your Intent

This one is for the influencers and bloggers! Social media is a tool that we all use to promote ourselves and our message. We have all gotten caught in the numbers game. We wonder why we don’t have the followers that would reflect the quality of our content and it can be crippling. It stifles creativity and the content that we make is curated to gain more followers instead of engage the people who are already interested in what we put out there. At this point, you should ask yourself, why am I here? Am i serving a purpose or just playing the numbers game? If you’re only interested in numbers then continue on but if you’re looking to grow organically, stop stressing about it! Keep putting out quality with consistency and stop looking at what everyone else is doing with their feeds. Focusing more on me and what I’m trying to do has relieved so much stress.

Am I a perfect example of how to unplug? Absolutely not. I’m still guilty of getting on my phone to look up something on Google and then find myself scrolling down Instagram’s explore page an hour later but I’m working on it and feel much better for it.

Do you need to unplug? What are your best practices for taking a break from social media?




Investing In You

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"I'm just going to take a leap of faith and go for it". I wish I could tell you all how many times I've said those words when applying for a job, pitching myself or services, or looking to spend money in order to better myself instead of on shoes. It's always a leap of faith.

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Which is dumb. Faith is what you have when you can't see, it's for the unknown. But I know my damn self, I see myself every damn day, and I damn sure know what I'm capable of doing. So why am I so hesitant to invest in that? It's a sure thing!

Since the beginning of my blog, I depended on a significant other for my images and they were fine (some of my pictures were actually great) but they never had that pop that I wanted. My artistic vision was never quite realized. Not to mention the fact that you can't necessarily tell a loved one that you hate the pictures that they took the time to do for you without starting a huge argument. When that relationship ended I panicked for a number of reasons: I didn't want to be alone, that one income life is rough, I didn't know if anyone else would want me and blah blah blah. I also thought about this space. I thought about who was going to take my pictures. Crazy selfish, right? But it was a reality.

Then I started to see the opportunity in this moment. Like, wait! This is the moment that I needed to be pushed to, this is the moment where I stop accepting less than what I envisioned and pay someone for this shit. Someone I can say "Nah this it ain't it" to without it being an issue or "This is my vision" to and it's their actual job to help me make that happen. This was the moment where I could invest in myself and passion to get the things that I wanted out of it. This wasn't a leap of faith, this was me going for it.

You are so much more than a leap of faith. Spending your hard earned money or free time on the betterment of yourself isn't faith. That class you're taking, the money you're saving for that piece of equipment you need, the coach you just hired, that's not a leap of faith. That's you saying I'm going after I want, that shit is mine.

Dress | Shoes

Slow Is Beautiful

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I really wish I could express my contempt for fast fashion. It's deep. And it's real. As a student of product development (an expensive way of saying fashion design), I hated listening to professors list of the social, economic, and environmental ramifications of cheaply produced, on trend clothing because who are you to tell me that my latest Forever 21 shopping spree is terrible on every level? To a broke college student, there was no better feeling than being able to buy an entire night out look for less than fifty dollars week after week.

As I get older, I've realized the importance of taking it slow and how there is beauty in that. I used to walk everywhere fast, talk fast, eat as if someone was going to still my food (actually I still do that), and get annoyed at anyone who didn't move at my neck breaking pace. How dare they move at a reasonable pace? Don't they understand that life is short? Now, I find myself wanting to appreciate every moment, even the small ones. I've been loving boredom lately: taking the time to breathe and think and feel has become a hobby. I used to love the instant gratification of fast: fast fashion, fast relationships, fast food. Now, more and more, I realize that slow is beautiful.

Dress | Coat | Shoes | Earrings

Cheap, Chic, + Cheerful

I enjoy long romantic walks through the clearance section and to the bank.

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It seems like everyday I read an article or blog post about how millennials are financially doomed. Let's face it, costs of living are going up, wages are stagnant, and we're all essentially screwed, Honestly, most people my age are struggling and buying the most luxury fashions is not on the top of most people's priority list.

That being said I refuse to give up on being cute. Lately, I've been focusing on building a staple wardrobe with pieces that can be worn time and again without drawing attention and adding very few "statements" or conversation pieces. A huge help to adding fun and trendy items has been Rent the Runway Unlimited. I initially was put off by the price of the service but I have found it to be really helpful in enhancing my style and honestly it's well worth the cost and much cheaper than buying individual pieces. 

Overall, this look was less than $100 when you factor in the cost of the unlimited service and each piece can be worn in separate looks.

*all items wer bought on super clearance, in store

Coat | Sweater (similar) | Pants | Shoes 

Sporty Spice

Tired of playing dress up.

  heels just weren't cutting it.

heels just weren't cutting it.

  I can't remember the last time I dressed up sneakers.

I can't remember the last time I dressed up sneakers.

 Channeling my second favorite member of my second favorite 90s girl group.

Channeling my second favorite member of my second favorite 90s girl group.

First of all, I didn't realize how damn white this look was until looking at the pictures. Ya girl was out here shining bright like a diamond. Secondly, I really can't tell you how good it felt to be cute AND comfortable. My feet didn't hurt for one second and I wasn't worried about my shapewear showing AND I still looked dressed to go somewhere. This was an all-around win and I'm already trying to figure out when I can wear it again.

Dress | Shoes

 

When I Was Insecure, I was Tasha...

Why you bother me when you know you don't want me? In loving memory of Tasha, the girl I used to be.

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The popularity of Insecure, especially amongst black Millennials, comes as no surprise to this (old) black millennial. The HBO show is relatable on almost every level and much like Sex and the City it provides a character for every woman to claim as "her". In each episode I see myself. I've been Molly struggling to express myself in therapy, I've been Issa unhappy and unfulfilled at a thankless job, I've been the bougie friend who thinks she's better than everyone because she's in a seemingly successful relationship, and as much as I hate to admit it, when I was REALLY insecure, I was Tasha.

We all know a Tasha. And if we're being completely honest with ourselves most of us have been a Tasha. She's the girl who's too cute to deal with the mess that she does, she's too nice in not so nice situations, and she's agreeable in every way because she's been told to be agreeable. Everything is cool with her. He didn't call when he said he would? Cool. Forgot about that date y'all scheduled? Cool. He can never hang out in the light of day? Cool. She's cool because cool girls don't stress dudes out and cool girls get chose. Except for when they don't. Because despite being cool with all the ridiculousness she's also desperately extra. Taking selfies on first dates to post on Instagram and constantly trying to have the "what are we?" conversation without actually having it are hardly the way to anyone's heart. And yet Tasha perseveres. She tricks herself into believing that the dude giving her the goods Friday through Sunday is "The One" worthy of her time and attention and over looks all of the fuck boy qualities because he's a nice guy meaning that he's not the most egregious asshole she's ever met because Tasha's standards are dumb low. 

If you're up in your feelings right about now it's probably because you've been a Tasha. If I could recoup the hours that I spent chasing dudes that were clearly not interested in me or only interested in certain parts of me I probably wouldn't know what to do with myself. I would waste so much time and energy projecting my ideas of what a man should be onto every guy I met to the point that I just knew that we were meant to be. Cute, check. Job, check. Car, check. He has a pulse, check. Well, if he fills out all of those boxes, then he'd obviously be great in a relationship and he's clearly meant for me. What I didn't realize was that I was looking for validation from outside sources instead of finding it in myself. I didn't feel worthy of my own love so I sought it from others who weren't willing to give it to me but pretended that they were. They were emotionally available to the point that I felt a connection but not enough for me to get comfortable in which ultimately left me feeling empty and dumb as hell.

I wish I could tell you the exact moment that I decided to stop letting fuck boys live in my mental space but I can't. I just got tired of being tricked by myself and by them. That's when I stopped running to the phone every time it rang and accepting every invitation to chill. It was freeing. It was about as satisfying as Tasha informing Lawrence that he's been wearing the "good guy" costume this whole time.