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Favorite Outfits of 2015 // OOTD

Thursday, December 31, 2015

So long! Farewell! Auf wiedersehen! Goodbye 2015! It's almost the end of the year & it's time to reflect on some of my favorite outfits from 2015. Looking back I can see that I absolutely had a favorite pair of shoes — my black velvet combat boots. I enjoyed pairing leggings with skirts, dresses, shorts to stay warm during the cooler seasons. I didn't play around too much with my hair nor did I experiment a lot with makeup. I'm a big fan of tropical print. All in all, it's funky but fun to browse back at yourself & your style. Let's take a look at my outfits of the day from 2015.

california fashion blogger

Winter & the New Year // January 4, 2015

This is one of my all time favorite outfits because it mixes a variety of things that I adore — velvet boots, fluffy socks, faux fur coat, leggings, & this awesome thrifted dress. It's got a wintery feel with a somewhat classic Christmas tartan design.

california fashion blogger

Get a Clue // January 25, 2015

I remember this day very well. It was an extraordinarily fun time playing board games with friends. The mix of patterns in this look works well with a toned down color palette. I like the element of whimsy & the memories from the day itself.

california fashion blogger

Gloomy Day // April 27, 2015

As the title states, it was a cold, gloomy day in Southern California. This outfit best reflects what I would wear on a day with rain, wind, & chilly temperatures. I have a growing collection of beanies but don't get much chance to wear them here.

california fashion blogger

Apple Blossoms & Florals // June 9, 2015

The funky combination of patterns here always make me smile. I remember one of my friends commenting "only you could get away with wearing such clashing prints." It's fun & reflects my personality well. I'm also sporting my Nana's shoes so it's a tribute to her!

california fashion blogger

Summer Tropics // September 12, 2015

 I purchased this tropical dress from a little shop in Amsterdam, so it will always be a reminder of my journeys. The dress has fun details for the straps & an overall loose fit. It's truly the perfect San Diego outfit because it's easy-going but pretty. This is an example of a look that conjures positive memories.

california fashion blogger

KAABOO Del Mar // October 1, 2015

This is another outfit that utilizes something from my grandma's wardrobe; the rad tropical maxi skirt was hers & I wore it with pride as a member of the press for KAABOO Del Mar. Also highlighted here are my fuzzy socks which I genuinely wear year round. I have no shame!

california fashion blogger

Work in Progress // October 26, 2015

I really like this outfit because I finally invested in some new, versatile pieces that I can style in a myriad of ways. The Guess boots & sheer button up tunic are favorites in my wardrobe as I reach for them often. It's always nice to have useful pieces rather than something you bought on a whim & never utilize. This outfit made me feel powerful, sexy, stylish & that's always a good thing.

Which outfit from 2015 do you like best? Do you have any plans for the New Year? What kind of style posts & posts in general would you like to see on my blog :]

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Social Media Tips & Tricks: A Roundup

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How is your social media game? Are you confident about your blog, brand, & business strategy? If you feel like you need some help, I rounded up my series of social media tips & tricks (so far). There is more to come! For right now, don't be afraid to ask questions. This post is open for quick questions & answers. If anything requires more information, I can always create a post about it! :]

social media basics for bloggers


Let's get back to basics! Sometimes the essentials are the hardest to grasp. This post is starting guide with quick tips for social media. These are the basics. Like the bare bones of social media. We are going to start simple. In fact, these are things I learned the hard way, after much work. Don't be me. Learn now.

social media basics, losing followers


Blogging isn't easy, but there may be some obvious reasons why you're losing readers & followers. Take a little looksee at these these 10 reasons why you're losing followers on your blog & social media platforms. You can identify whatever applies to you & make the necessary changes. Your readers will thank you.

blog comments


One of the most wonderful parts of blogging is the ability to communicate with like-minded people to create a sense of community. Leaving comments is a fantastic way to stay engaged with readers & other bloggers. As a social media coordinator, I've seen some genuine comments & I've seen some generic sludge. Read these do's & dont's of leaving blog comments to enhance your communication skills.

facebook boost post


Facebook is one of the social media sites almost everyone is on. Your grandmother uses Facebook, your cousin uses Facebook, & even your boss uses Facebook. Facebook is a fantastic way to garner more exposure & engagement for your brand, business, & blog. Use this guide on how to run a Facebook boost post to get a wider reach. You can boost links, photos, & even your status! 

social media basics, spam comments


Receiving a blog comment is like receiving a little gift. For bloggers, comments are heartwarming because it shows people read your blog & have something to say about it. However, there may be spam comments lurking in there which negatively affects your blog ranking. This post focuses on how to identify spam comments & why you shouldn't publish them on your blog.

social media basics


It's vital to be transparent, open, & honest when it comes to blogging to ensure your readers trust you enough to come back. In the U.S., it's required by law to disclose if a post is sponsored or if you receive money or free items in exchange for posting. Read more about why you need to be transparent when blogging.

social media basics


Balancing social media & blogging can be difficult. Add styling an outfit, doing a photo shoot, choosing & editing photos, on top of writing the post itself & you're in for quite a task. Consider these social media basics on what not to do when it comes to fashion blogging. Some of these are extremely easy fixes.

Here's hoping that 2016 is happy & successful for all of us! Prior to going into the new year take a look at these social media tips & tricks to ensure you're blogging effectively. Maximize your reach, your skills, & your social media game with these refresher courses. What are your social media goals for 2016? Did you find any of these social media basics useful? :]

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Favorite Beauty Products: December

Saturday, December 26, 2015

2016 is quietly lurking around the corner. Can you believe it? As a kid, the days went by slower than a snail on a sloth. I remember feeling as if each class & year & subsequent summer would last forever. Then high school came, then college, then life after university. Now we're here. It's December 2015. I don't really know how it happens.

As I age, my beauty routine changes. Since I'm in my mid 20s I've come to focus on funky lip colors, SPF, & perfumes. Some of my December favorites include the drop in temperature, the occasional gloomy day, & these beauty products. Let's take a look, shall we?

california beauty blogger

I have oily skin but my face is oddly dry this season. The Rose Geranium Face Moisturizer (similar) from HollyBeth Organics is incredibly rich & works wonders for my skin. I talked about it in my HollyBeth Organics Review from last year. The moisturizer is so thick I believe even those with the driest of skin can get some use out of it.

The Modere Antioxidant Gel (similar) is such a delight. It primes my skin, making it feel as smooth as a baby's butt. The gel comes as part of a beauty box but you can always purchase it separately. I reviewed the Modere Beauty Box last year. Packed with vitamin C, the antioxidant gel smells like a piece of citrus heaven. 

CC Creams are new to me so I took the leap & bought the Alba Botanica Even Advanced CC Cream with SPF 15. I mentioned it a couple months ago in my New Face Products I'm Excited About post. This just in: I'm still excited about it! After blending into my skin, I can immediately notice my complexion is brighter & more even.

california beauty blogger
Left to right:  Rose Geranium Face Moisturizer,  White Winter Fresh Roll On Perfume,  Antioxidant Gel,  Dusty Rose Lip Liner, CC Cream

The subtle glitter & the invigorating scent of the Winter White Fresh Roll On Perfume from Bath & Body Works tie in well with the holiday season. Admittedly, this shimmer roll-on is several years old; I found it in the back of the cabinet one day. Oops. It still smells lovely so I decided to use it. I don't think it exists anymore but this one is somewhat similar

Autumn is all about those moody, dark lip colors but I adore the Italia Deluxe Lip Liner in Dusty Rose. I bought 12 shades for under $10!!! I'm still impressed at the bargain. Dusty Rose is a soft, pretty shade of pink. Check out the other colors I purchased in my review.

california beauty blogger

My autumn beauty routine involves a lot more moisturizer than normal simply because my face gets so dry. I always moisturize but the past couple months I needed to moisturize in multiple layers. Is your face dry this season? Have you tried any of these products? What are some of your favorite items for December? :]

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Amsterdam in Black & White

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities because it's teeming with life & opportunity. The city is known for its canals, the Red Light District, the abundance of marijuana cafés, its friendly citizens, & so much more. If you have the opportunity to visit the Netherlands & Amsterdam, I would absolutely recommend it. There is so much to do there, so much fun to be had with not enough time to do it.

Whether you've explored this majestic city or not, I have some photos from my journey to share with you. I hope you can enjoy Amsterdam in black & white. These are just a few brief moments I happened to capture on film. 

red light district, amsterdam
The Red Light District after a Night Rain

Rijksmuseum
Shadows of the Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum
Onlookers at the Rijksmuseum

Vondelpark Wildlife
Vondelpark Wildlife

gay pride parade, amsterdam
Gay Pride Parade Supporters

koninklijk
Take Me to Church

When I close my eyes I can still picture Amsterdam vividly in my brain. I had croquettes every night upon arrival back at the Airbnb. I enjoyed the Rijksmuseum filled with Dutch art & history from the Middle Ages to the present day. I gasped at the plethora of unique works to gander at. I felt an overwhelming wave of emotions at the Anne Frank House -- a must-see. 

Every time I get home after traveling I feel unexcited to be back to reality, my day-to-day life, work, the same sights to see. I chose to highlight these photographs in black & white to honor the somber feeling of no longer being there. I am no longer in Amsterdam to witness the rainbow of colors at the gay pride parade or the green grass at Vondelpark.

Long live Amsterdam. The city remains on the top of my "must visit again" list. There were so many places to visit, so much to view, new foods to try, canals to walk by, that I really believe I didn't experience it wholly. Amsterdam I'm ready for you. Are you ready for me?



Have you been to Amsterdam? Which photo is your favorite? Do you have any recommendations on what to do there? :]
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Initial Thoughts on True Brown K from Lip Kit By Kylie

Monday, December 21, 2015

Everyone knows the drama that ensued after Kylie Jenner released her infamous lip kit: everything sold out within 30 seconds of its debut. Now that's pretty gnarly. Like thousands out there, I attempted to access the website exactly at 9 am, even a few minutes earlier.

I managed to add the True Brown K lip kit to my cart but that was about it. The website crashed & so did my hopes & dreams. Well, not really but you get the drift. I called my boyfriend to see if he had better luck of accessing the site. He did. He was able to purchase True Brown K for me. What a sweetie, no? You can read his blog here.

true brown k, lip kit by kylie

Price:

The price of the kit itself is quite acceptable. The matte liquid lipstick & lip liner set retails at $29, but when you add in shipping, handling, & tax you have a ridiculous price of nearly $40. Pure insanity when you're thinking it's $29. I was absolutely not interested in the other colors from her line, Candy K & Dolce K; I figured it was better to save myself $60 (the price of the two additional kits) & just pay the shipping for one lip kit.

true brown k, lip kit by kylie

Color:

True Brown K is a gorgeous, rich, dark brown. This particular hue is not for everyone but it suits me for sure. It's deep & moody & definitely makes me feel some type of way. "Bold. Confident. Earthy." That's how my boyfriend describes the shade. The swatch in person rings true to what it looks like online. No surprises there.

true brown k, lip kit by kylie

Quality:

During my first experience,  I added the lip liner & the matte lipstick. So pretty, but within half an hour it started to get chunky & patchy & I wiped it off entirely. I consider this part of the learning curve because when I applied it all again, it lasted for hours. True Brown K stayed on after some drinking water, eating french fries, & some kissing. Yes, for the sake of journalism I made out with my boyfriend to really test out how long the lipstick stayed.

true brown k, lip kit by kylie

True Brown K from Lip Kit By Kylie is a stunning color with a good formula. I recommend testing it out a couple times to see how the formula works on your lips. I've gotten some great compliments about the color.


true brown k, lip kit by kylie

What do you think? Which color would you choose? Do you think the hype is worth it? :]

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5 Things I'm Loving Right Now ♥

Friday, December 18, 2015

Life is full of the unknown. You can never guess what's going to happen or when or even why. There's always something to throw you off balance & keep you on your toes. That's just how life works. This time of year is hectic but festive. It makes the time pass rapidly but there's always a moment to look forward to -- binge watching holiday movies, scraping off ice from your windshield in the brisk early morning, snacking on slightly chewy but still soft gingerbread cookies. I love this time of year; I also love these five things... :]

holiday festivities

Holiday Festivities - There is a cookie bake off at the office. There are giant Christmas trees set up everywhere you go. There's a frigid air in the mornings. It's just a jolly time of year & I love it.  I've always enjoyed this time of year & I'm just glad it's here. I have to soak up every moment while I can.

lip kit by kylie

Lip Kit By Kylie - Just like many other people out there I tried to get on Kylie's website at 9 am -- the launch time. I managed to add one of the lip kits to my cart but then the site wouldn't load. I texted my boyfriend & he magically got an order through! I am thrilled to try out True Brown K. By the swatch from my hand, the color appears dark, rich, & intense. Still have to try it out.

artichokes

Artichokes - I've eaten artichoke hearts on pizza but never dealt with cooking an entire artichoke before. I was at the supermarket & they were a wonderful deal so I made artichoke for the very first time. I have to admit it wasn't very good. Was it me? Was it the artichoke? I'm not so sure.

unexpected beauty

Unexpected beauty - My car desperately needed a wash so I took it in for a wee bit of cleaning. As it was going through the wash, I spotted this gorgeous rainbow of pastel soap spuds on the ground. It was just so unexpected & beautiful.

coffee

Coffee - Since I have to get up early to get to work, hot coffee has been my best friend. It slightly eases the painful dread I get every time the alarm goes off. It gently protects me from the whiplash of the arctic chill of 7 am. Overall, coffee has been getting me through some tough times. Thanks for that, Coffee!

What are you loving right now? :]

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Feed Me: Trying Food from Around the World

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I have many passions in life & food ranks high on the list. One of my favorite things about traveling is trying dishes from around the world. I decided to switch gears a little bit & let you in to a different part of my life: delectable foreign cuisine. I went grocery shopping with my boyfriend at an international market & wanted to share with you some of my purchases. Always explore. Try new things. Stay full. 

international foods



international foods

What it is: Yard Long Beans, Long Green Beans or Chinese Long Beans
Imported from: China

I've actually never tried nor seen these long beans before so I chose to give them a go. They looked like an interesting & unique alternative to your run-of-the-mill green beans, although they were more expensive. They pretty much taste identical to regular green beans, but they are considerably more fun.

international foods


What it is: Gingerbread cookies
Imported from: Moldova (between Romania & Ukraine)

I looooove gingerbread cookies & since it's the festive season of gingerbread men, gingerbread lattes, & basically all things ginger, I opted to get these. They aren't as gingery as I'd like; the flavor is delicate but tasty. These cookies are quite hard & would make a great treat to dunk into your coffee or tea. 

international foods


What it is: Doogh
Imported from: USA (but it's a traditional drink from Iran)

Doogh is an Iranian staple. As a child, I remember going to Persian restaurants with my family & my mom would always order doogh; I hated it back then. Doogh is a carbonated, tart, liquidy yogurt drink. Some varieties add mint. This particular one wasn't carbonated so it didn't have that kick I was looking for. My boyfriend still doesn't like doogh, but considering it took me 20 years to finally enjoy the stuff I think there's hope for him.

international foods


What it is: Halva
Imported from: Lebanon

Halva has multiple spellings (haleweh, helva, halwa, chalva, etc.) & multiple points of origin. This particular one is imported from Lebanon. The packaging describes halva as plain sesame candy. It's basically tahini (sesame seeds), sugar, & vanilla. It's incredibly sweet, has a slightly nutty flavor, & a melt in your mouth texture. It's usually served for breakfast or dessert; you can add it on toasted bread or just eat it by the spoonful, which is what I did as a kid. As an Iranian I grew up on halva.

international foods




My favorite item from this batch of food from around the world would absolutely be the halva. It tastes great & you can't go wrong with the flavor. Even my boyfriend appreciates it. The yard long beans are great as well since they taste like green beans. They are pricier but worth trying at least once.

Have you tried any of these items before? Which of these looks like something you'd like to try? What's a foreign food you love to eat? :]

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Christmas Gift Ideas for Her

Monday, December 14, 2015

Tis the season to be jolly! Fa la la la la! It's safe to say that Christmas is nearly here. If you're struggling to purchase a gift for your wife, your mom, your best friend, your aunt, or whoever she is, fret no more. I have the essential guide on Christmas gift ideas for her. There's something for everyone!

christmas gift ideas for her

We have a variety of items here that you can tailor to the needs & wants of the women in your life. All of these gift ideas are quite affordable so you can mix & match a couple items to create a lovely & personalized gift. Let's get started because Christmas is coming!

crystal lake arrowhead necklace

Crystal Lake Arrowhead Necklace* - How gorgeous is this necklace from The Sun & Moon Co.? I'm pretty much drooling. This handmade necklace is made to order, so you can customize the size, the length, etc. This is the perfect Christmas gift idea for women who love style & want a bit of glam in their life. She'll get loads of compliments.

serenity pure light candle

Serenity Pure Light Candle* - You'll see candles on nearly every Christmas gift guide because they are always the right choice! The organic aromatherapy candles from Pure Light have such powerful scents. Serenity is a soothing mixture of lavender & vanilla. The best part is that you can also use the wax as a moisturizer!

velvet throw blanket

Velvet Throw Blanket -  Chilly temperatures follow as winter approaches. Don't let your lady friend go cold this season. A blanket is the perfect Christmas gift idea for her because there is something so cozy, comfortable, & warm about a velvet throw. She can use it anytime of the year if the weather permits.

oontz portable speaker

Portable Speaker - For the most part, portable speakers are relatively inexpensive. They are functional, easy to use, & lightweight. I've used mine a countless amount of times because it's genuinely useful. Take it camping. Bring it along on a picnic. Don't forget it during girl's night. It's the ideal travel companion!

pint glass, barrel harbor

Beer/Wine Glass - Get her something she can use over & over again. I love advocating for local breweries by purchasing a pint glass so I can sip & support from home. Buy a beer glass, wine glass, scotch glass, apple juice glass or whatever glass suits her drink of choice. You can back a local restaurant or company or you can find something that matches her taste online.

Finding the perfect Christmas gift for her doesn't have to be difficult. You can use this gift guide to pick out the ideal stocking stuffer or you can mix & match at least a couple items as a wonderful Christmas gift. Keep her personality & mentality in mind. Which of these looks good to you? What are you getting the ladies in your life? What gift would YOU want? :]

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* Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links & PR Samples. All opinions in this post are 100% mine aka Carmen's. Learn more about my disclosure here. :]

Basically Winter // OOTD

Friday, December 11, 2015

It's basically the middle of December & winter is creeping upon us. Winter calls for frigid blizzards, snow days galore, viewing our breath in the air as the jingle, jingle, jangle of Christmas music can be heard out of nowhere. These are the moments to come. These are all signs of winter.

california lifestyle blogger

california lifestyle blogger

Southern California, however, did not get the memo. Southern California has a mind of her own. She doesn't give a damn about winter or your preconceived notions about it. She doesn't like snow, rain or cold weather of any kind. There's no way you can change her mind. Over the course of autumn, she blessed us with a couple days of rain sprinkled here & there. She decided to give my car a gentle wash to remove the dirt of weeks gone by. 

california lifestyle blogger

california lifestyle blogger

california lifestyle blogger

Living in Southern California affects my style. Because it's fall I decided to take advantage of the miraculous weather. My boyfriend & I trekked to a local park to find a secluded area to take some outfit photos. We ended up finding a cool spot near a little stream. The sun was setting, slowly hiding as the shadows engulfed us. That's when I noticed the mosquitoes. Pesky little buggers literally sucking the blood & life out of its victims. How fashionable would it be if I wore a mosquito net at all times?

california lifestyle blogger

california lifestyle blogger

california lifestyle blogger

As Fred & I ran to the car, we wildly flailed our arms & legs in order to avoid allowing the miniature vampires to land on us. Regardless, I was hit. I kindly received two mosquito bites, just in time to be deemed a Christmas present. Mosquitoes; I shake my fist at you! My lesson to you is this: don't take photos by a stream at dusk. 

california lifestyle blogger

california lifestyle blogger
Tank: H&M (similar) // Shorts: Forever 21 (similar) // Velvet Boots: H&M (similar // Scrunchie: Ross (similar // Necklaces: Versailles, Rue 21 (similar, similar) // Purse: Ted Baker (similar
San Diego & I have relatively parallel ideas on seasons. Since Southern California decided that autumn should be a balmy 70° Fahrenheit, I decided to go with an easy-going shorts & tank top look. What do you think of this fall outfit for California? How's the weather where you are? :]


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