July 2016 / Carmen Varner // Lifestyle Blogger & Social Media + Blogging Coach


5 Things I'm Loving Right Now ♥

Friday, July 29, 2016

Aloha & happy Friday everyone! This week was a bit different than usual because Fred went on a solo mini road trip to San Luis Obispo. He left on Tuesday & will be back Saturday, so we can attend the San Diego Beer & Music Festival. He's been sending me some snaps from his hikes overlooking the ocean or browsing Bubblegum Alley. Anyhoo, here are five things I'm loving right now.

supergirl pro

Supergirl Pro

Managing social media for hotels is a part of my daily life, so I enjoyed the opportunity to attend the Supergirl Pro event in Oceanside, California. Although it was an exceedingly hot day, the ocean breeze & free mini açaí bowl helped tremendously.



Last weekend, Fred & I spent an afternoon exploring museums at Balboa Park. We found ourselves at the San Diego Museum of Man & this exhibit was such a blast to walk through. I especially loved looking at the ancient growlers — a prehistoric beer jug.

home spa day, california lifestyle blogger
Mask: Derma E // Dress: Cotton On (similar)

Home Spa Day

An at home spa day is the ideal way to unwind. That may include anything from clipping & filing your nails, giving yourself a pedicure, putting on a mask, or whatever your heart desires. My home spa days almost always include a soothing face mask.



Isn't nature magnificent? Sometimes all you can really do is sit back & witness its glory without question. 



A snack subscription box is totally cool, right? Because I'm really digging MunchPak right now. They give you little munchies & snacks from all over the world. This box had snacks from India, Turkey, Mexico,  & more.

What are you loving right now? :]

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Summer Layers // OOTD + A Skincare Giveaway!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Breezy dresses are a necessity for summers in Southern California. As the temperatures rise, you can feel as each bead of sweat trickles down your face. The merciless heat of the sun makes your skin sticky from perspiration. Although those form fitting, body hugging outfits are gorgeous, they won't do you any favors in the peak of summer. They're suffocating. 

california lifestyle blogger
Top: Rue 21 // (similar)
Dress: Thrifted // (similar)
Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger // (exact)
Purse: Unknown // (similar)
Nail Polish: China Glaze // (similar)
Hair Clips: Scunci // (similar)

That's why I live in dresses during the summer, particularly loose ones. I've come to enjoy the array of styles fashion has graced us with, whether it's relaxed, baggy, oversized, or cropped. It's all about finding garments that works well for your body, not what critics or influencers deem "in."

california lifestyle blogger

california lifestyle blogger

This is black dress with petite yellow flowers is one of my favorite dresses. I picked it up at the thrift store several years back & have worn it too many times to count. My boyfriend, bless his heart, shrunk it recently when he put it in the wash.

california lifestyle blogger
Top: Rue 21 // (similar)
Dress: Thrifted // (similar)
Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger // (exact)
Purse: Unknown // (similar)
Nail Polish: China Glaze (similar)
Hair Clips: Scunci (similar)

It's a bit too short to wear as a dress & I couldn't bear the thought of giving it away, so I've come to use it as a layering piece. For this look, I pulled it down & used it as a flowing skirt. Voila! I love revamping old clothes into something funky fresh.

california lifestyle blogger

What's your summer staple? :]

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Enter to win an amazing skincare kit with cleanser, toner, & moisturizer from OSEA Malibu. You get to choose which set best suits your skin type. By entering you agree to the Terms & Conditions. Open to U.S. residents only! Giveaway ends August 10, 2016. View my latest post with OSEA here.

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Makeup & Home: New Products I'm Excited About

Monday, July 25, 2016

Fa la la la la. New products! I'm super happy to chat about new additions to my home & makeup collection. Fred & I casually browsed some stores with nothing particular in mind & we ended up leaving with some good loot. Last time I was excited about perfume & candles & also candles & makeup. I'm looking forward to trying out my new stuff!

california lifestyle blogger

california lifestyle blogger

Crate & Barrel Folding Tray (similar)

I can't wait to give these a go. I'm especially glad to have found some oil control products because sunscreen & oily skin doesn't look very sexy. I get noticeably oilier in the summer, so I like to have a range of items to help combat that.

 I can see myself wearing the Peach Passion lipstick all throughout the spring & summertime. It'll be a staple for the rest of the season at the very least. Let me know if you want a full review on any these products. Simply say so in the comments! 

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5 Things I'm Loving Right Now ♥

Friday, July 22, 2016

Hello all! It was a whirlwind of a week & I'm grateful for the weekend. If you didn't read it, browse my post on What a Social Media Manager Does in a Day. Fred & I plan on heading to Balboa Park tomorrow to explore some museums. It should be fun & if anything, educational. Now let's get right to it, here's what I'm loving it right now!

california lifestyle blogger
Sandals: Rue 21  // Dress: Thrifted

Life's Little Details

We live in a massive world with so much going on, so I love to find the joy in the little things. I couldn't help but notice the way the fence created this patterned shadow. Of course, I had to capture to the moment with a photo.

ballast point
Beer: Victory at Sea by Ballast Point Brewing Company

Afternoon Delight

Okay, I know that beer & salad doesn't necessarily even out, but it could be worse! I could've had beer & pizza. Or beer, pizza, & chips. Or beer, pizza, chips, & ice cream! But I didn't! I'm just going to go ahead & give myself a pat on the back for that.



Fred's mum made this Mexican delicacy recently. If you Google it, tons of weird stuff comes up. Essentially it's diseased corn. Sounds lovely right? It just tasted like corn but with a slightly mushy texture. Very good! It's definitely worth trying!

lethal weapon

Movie Nights

Aside from our usual Netflix binges, Fred & I have been watching more movies lately. We're pretty excited about catching up on newer films as well as the classics. Our latest watches include Interstellar & Lethal Weapon.


Celery Progress 

I posted a picture almost two months ago about my little celery buddy & I'm proud to show him off once more. He's slowly growing but I haven't been able to eat any celery from him yet. Patience is a virtue.

Let me know in the comments: 
What was the last movie you watched? 
What was the highlight of your week?

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What a Social Media Manager Does in a Day

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ever wonder what a social media manager does in a day? Here's what a full day managing the social media profiles & online presence for a resort & hotel brand with properties in California & Hawaii looks like.

california lifestyle blogger
Custom laptop skin: CaseApp* // Bedding: similar

7:30 a.m - 7:45 a.m. - Check email. Mark as read. Reply as necessary. 

7:45 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. - Share user-generated content from Facebook. Find posts where users check-in to a location & share it on the applicable property page. If there are no new check-ins for a particular property, share relevant content from an official city page.

8:30 a.m - 8:50 a.m. - Go through all property Twitter accounts to check for notifications. If positive, favorite & retweet tweets the hotels are mentioned in. We had a couple negative tweets, so I forwarded the information to the right person to get answers & then tweeted back as necessary.

8:50 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. - Answer TripAdvisor, Yelp, Expedia, & Booking reviews that came in since yesterday. Get in touch with general managers or contacts as needed to better my review responses.

10:00 a.m - 10:20 a.m - Go to stand up meeting where everyone discusses their workload for the day & what they aim to accomplish.

10:20 a.m. - 10:55 a.m - Continue answering reviews. Send emails to managers to get context into the issues that transpired. Today's example: One person negatively reviewed a property, complaining about rude service & charges placed on their card. I contacted the manager to get clarification on what happened & why it happened, then tailored my response with those answers in mind.

10:55 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - Contact the four winners of giveaway contest to let them know they won a prize. Get their shipping address & create a Word document with the information gathered.

social media manager, california lifestyle blogger

11:10 a.m. - 11:20 a.m. - Call one of my contacts about a negative review. Get incident details & any updates that happened after person reviewed the property. Today's example: Someone claimed they were getting charges for their timeshare & couldn't stop the charges or get in touch with anybody from the hotel. I got details on the situation & answered the review with contact details, so they could have their queries answered by the correct person.

11:20 a.m. - 11: 30 a.m. - Check email. Answer emails.

11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. -  Out to lunch.

12:00 p.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Check Facebook notifications. Answer any comments, messages, questions or get in touch with someone who can help me answer property specific questions. Today's example: Someone commented on one of the hotel user generated photos I shared, "It was a great stay! Our first time there and we loved it! Such a beautiful resort!!!" I responded: "We're so glad to hear that. We can't wait until your next visit."

12:15 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Create & schedule content for one of the brands. Three posts per week, for two weeks.

social media manager, california lifestyle blogger

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Meeting with influencer marketing automation service geared toward brands & agencies. Discuss with the team if the service is worth it for the company at this time.

2:00 p.m. - 2:10 p.m. - Check email. Respond to email.

2:10 p.m. - 2:20 p.m. - Post photo to Instagram. Use best practices: include enticing caption, add hashtags to maximize reach, link to resort, & check-in at resort.

2:20 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. - Begin pulling results for the recently finished campaign for a three day vacation giveaway. Obtain average reach, reactions, page likes, link clicks, & cost per lead for both campaigns.

2:30 p.m. - 2:40 p.m. - Go for a quick walk to rejuvenate the mind & body.

2:40 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Answer more resort reviews that have come in.

3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. - Attend a meeting to discuss standard operating procedure for acquiring after hours & weekend help for social media & review responses.

3:30 p.m. - 4:10 p.m. - Research & reach out to social media platforms for a demonstration of their platform.

4:10 p.m. - 4:20 p.m. - Check Facebook notifications prior to finishing for the day.

Nothing unusual or out of the ordinary happened. This is all in a day's work. Is it what you expected? Stay updated for more day in the life of a social media manager posts. Each day is different with some similarities. :]

Get 20% off your own CaseApp laptop skin or phone case when you use this discount code: ITSCARMEN20

What did you think? Is this what you anticipated a social media manager did in a day? :]

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* Disclaimer: I received the custom laptop skin from CaseApp. All opinions are 100% mine aka Carmen's. Learn more about my disclosure here. :]

Why You Should Go To KAABOO Del Mar

Monday, July 18, 2016

KAABOO Del Mar is the new music & arts festival to watch out for. Every music festival has to start somewhere & KAABOO* made its 2015 inaugural showing with a bang. The thing about KAABOO is that it's not just a music festival; it's multifaceted with many layers, opportunities, & experiences. 

kaaboo del mar

KAABOO festival 2016 is scheduled for Friday, September 16 through Sunday, September 18. Last year's festival took place September 18 - 20. Although it was met with a variety of noise complaints from neighbors, according to The San Diego Union Tribune, it was an overall success. If you're contemplating whether or not to attend, here are some reasons why you should go to KAABOO Del Mar music & arts festival this year.

kaaboo del mar

The Live Art

As each day passed, I got to witness the art take life & transform before my very eyes. What began as a mere sketch on day one turned into a full-blown mural by day three. It's basically like going to an art gallery & being able to see the progress.

gwen stefani

The Excellent Music

Obviously the largest selling point of a music festival is the music. During its inaugural year, KAABOO festival featured performances from No Doubt, The Killers, Zac Brown Band, Snoop Dogg, & more. Aerosmith, Fall Out Boy, Jack Johnson, Lenny Kravitz, Ludacris, & Steve Aoki are some of the artists slated to play at KAABOO 2016.

kettle salt and vinegar

The Free Stuff

I'm not sure if it was just because it was its first year in existence but KAABOO killed it with all the free stuff they gave out. There were Lara Bars, free screen printed tote bags, samples of Starbucks drinks, Kettle brand chips, & more. It was utterly glorious, especially for those trying to save money on snacks.

anthony jeselnik

The Comedians

Laughing is good. Laughing is great. Laughing is beneficial for your soul. Comedians add dimension to the festival experience. Anthony Jeselnik & Joel McCale were some of the headliners for 2015. This year, however, KAABOO is upping their comedic ante with stars like Janeane Garofalo, Dana Carvey, Doug Benson, David Cross, & Darrell Hammond. Yes, please!


The Food

Sometimes festivals have the most horrible food in existence, but that's not the case here. KAABOO Del Mar has genuinely gourmet options for any type of person — vegan, gluten-free, etc. There's a delectable choice for everyone with live demonstrations from chefs. You can't get any more gourmet than that.

kaaboo del mar

The Crowd

The average age of the KAABOO crowd is about 10 years older than the average Coachella patron. If you've been to enough shows, concerts, & festivals, you'll understand the value of a nice crowd. The daily average was about 15,000 to 16,000 people, according to The San Diego Union Tribune. That's a huge difference compared to Coachella, which hosts about 99,000 people per day, according to the LA Times.

The Fashion

As with any other festival, it's exciting to see what people choose to wear. Seeing as 2015 was its debut, I didn't see a particular style. I did notice that the majority of people were dressed for comfort, which was refreshing. I didn't get that "I'm only here to get my pictures taken" kind of vibe. We'll have to see what KAABOO 2016 brings.

The Location

Take a look around & you'll see the true beauty that is Del Mar, California — palm trees, sunny skies, & the rolling blue ocean nearby. KAABOO is held on the Del Mar Fairgrounds so it's somewhat nostalgic to have a music festival there as well. It's an iconic venue that has been part of many families' traditions for years.

The Afterparty

Not ready to go home after the headliner's act finishes? You don't have to. Go to the after party with the late-night DJs at the Encore, which is open until 2:30 a.m. If you feel like staying late, there's no need to go home.

How does the fest sound to you? Will you attend KAABOO Del Mar? :]

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*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ticket from KAABOO Del Mar in 2015. All opinions are 100% mine aka Carmen's. Learn more about my disclosure here. :]

5 Things I'm Loving Right Now ♥

Friday, July 15, 2016

Happy aloha Friday! I hope you had a productive & joyful week. What a remarkable day. From where I stand, the sky is a blanket of blue. There's not a cloud in sight, completely spotless. The palm fronds delicately sway back & forth with the moderate breeze. It's a harmonious balance of warm sunshine & refreshing air. Aside from this magnificent weather, here's what I'm loving right now.

morning hike

Morning Hikes 

I don't hike very often so it was a pleasant but exhausting experience when I did it earlier this week. I was out of breath, my heart was racing, & I was sweating profusely. It looked a mess, but the view was worth it!

double earrings

Double Earrings

Give your average earrings a bit of oomph by putting two earrings in the same piercing. It looks pretty cool. I saw my friend rocking the double earring & had to take a photo to share. I need to experiment with this.

banana egg pancakes

Banana Egg Pancakes 

I've been doing my best to eat mostly to eat more consciously & I was looking for a simple breakfast that wouldn't be too heavy. These banana egg pancakes only have two ingredients. They taste ridiculously good; they're almost like crêpes.

pokemon go

Pokémon Go 

I have no shame in admitting that I have absolutely succumbed to the Pokémon Go trend. Boyfriend & I downloaded it last weekend & have been playing it every day since. I used to watch Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Cardcaptor Sakura, & all those card collecting shows, so this games reminds me of my youth.

la croix

La Croix

Yes. I have officially fallen victim to this delightful carbonated water beverage. I stocked up on three different flavors (grapefruit, apricot, & mango) & love them. It feels like an indulgence even though it's not. Yum.

What are you loving right now? :]

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5 Things I'm Loving Right Now ♥

Friday, July 08, 2016

Hello hello hello! Wishing you a very happy Friday & an even happier weekend. Summer is in full effect. I can tell because I've acquired a foot tan from my casual 10 minute walks outside. Although I'm digging the semi tan, my toes are still pasty white. Color blocking is cool, but not on my feet. However, here's what I'm loving right now.



I always make time to admire a beautiful bloom. I spotted these remarkable coral charm peonies in the market & was immediately drawn to them. They're a unique delight compared to most flowers you see at the store.

franklin the turtle


I had the opportunity to meet Franklin, this adorable baby tortoise. Shout out to those of you who remember Franklin, a show from the 90s about a turtle. Yes, that's how tortoise Franklin got his name. He's adorable & tiny. His little body can fit in the palm of your hand. 

coconut chips

Coconut Chips

Coconut is a blessing on earth. Not only is it incredibly delicious but it's also quite versatile. I love all forms of coconut (coconut water, coconut oil, whole coconut, etc.). These coconut chips were so delicious, I had trouble putting them down.

aura cacia, lavender essential oil

Lavender Essential Oil

Essential oil is my jam! I use my collection religiously. At the moment, I'm digging the aromatherapy qualities of lavender. I add a few drops of lavender essential oil into my diffuser before bedtime to calm down my busy mind.

maui brewing

Girl's Night

Life can get busy at times & months pass on by before you even notice they're gone. I've been making more of a habit to reach out to friends to get together more often. Gotta keep that friendship alive. I enjoyed happy hour & appetizers with my girlfriend for a few hours. It was much needed.

What are you loving right now? Do you have any weekend plans? :]

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The Best Espadrilles to Wear This Summer

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Why are espadrilles so awesome? I remember my first pair of espadrilles; they were a cream-colored slingback wedge. I bought them from a secondhand store in college. They were my first every day heel. I wore them all the time — with jeans, with dresses, with shorts. They were so comfortable & I eventually wore them completely out. I never owned another pair until now. I'm on the prowl for a really wonderful pair of espadrilles that'll last me for years to come. These are some of the ones on my radar.

best espadrilles

I love the fun pop of color with these Michael Kors espadrilles, making it the ideal choice to jazz up any look. This chic summer sandal is accented with gold tone hardware at the ankle strap, a cute little knot detail, & a fabulous platform wedge.  

I need these Castañer espadrilles in my life immediately. Denim shoes? Yes please. No summer shoe would be complete without a pair of denim shoes. They're simple but make a statement on their own. Imagine all the ways that you could wear them.

Not quite ready for spring to be over? Why not try these beautiful floral Cole Haan espadrilles? They're the perfect slip on shoes to add to your daily edit. They look delicate but sturdy, an intriguing juxtaposition.

best espadrilles

I love a nude shoe with some sexy embellishment. The metallic design on these flats could pull your entire look together. Elevate your outfit without having to give up comfort. These espadrilles are fancy without the hefty price tag. 

The Soludos lace-up espadrille sandals are the epitome of summer. I could see myself wearing them as I enjoy gelato in Rome or walk around Vondelpark in Amsterdam. The wraparound tie closure gives the illusion of a carefree summer look. 

Now these Forever 21 faux suede espadrilles remind me of the ones I had back in the day. They could go with practically any outfit you. They could be your new every day heels, not just for the summer season.

Which of these summer espadrilles is your favorite? :]

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June: My Month from A - Z

Friday, July 01, 2016

Like dust disappearing in the wind, another month has come & gone. June was filled with exploring bits of San Diego, attending webinars, as well as delightful fair food & fun. All you have to do is read my June from A to Z!

Alias - I always have a show to binge watch. Most recently it was The X-Files, then Gilmore Girls, then Breaking Bad, & now it's Alias. Created by J.J. Abrams, the mastermind behind Lost, this spy drama with a kick-ass female lead has me biting my nails with every cliff hanger.

Bullet Journal - I'm barely getting into the bullet journal trend & have much to learn. Right now mine is basically a messy to do list. I have much to learn.

Candles - Carmen the candle fiend got more candles?! Why yes, it's true. Four new ones!

donut peach

Donut Peach - Because doughnut peaches are healthier for you than donuts. How cute are these?

Excitement - There is much to be grateful for & excited for. Take a moment to identify with that is. I'm excited for the future & where I'll be a month from now!

Flowers - Spring is over, but I wouldn't know it. I've been buying flowers like nobody's business.


Goats - Goats are cute, yo. Such an underrated animal. I went to the San Diego County Fair & gushed over the cuteness of the goats.

How I Met Your Mother - I've watched this show several times through. I just finished the entire series once again & still hate the finale. Ugh! 

Imagination - Keep your mind open & your imagination active.

Jewelry - I found the most perfect little choker necklace. It's simple & classy. I already know it's going to be a well worn favorite.

karma's a beach

Karma's a Beach - We got this shirt on sale after Christmas. I loved the design & couldn't pass it up. Fred wears it all the time. He claims he doesn't like the graphic & only wears it because it's a perfect fit.

Lavender - I love lavender. Enough said.

Macarons - Fred surprised me with a couple of macarons: one was Earl Grey & the other was coconut  two of my favorite flavors. They were incredible.

No - Don't forget the value of saying no. I rejected several offers for partnership, sponsored posts, & collaborations simply because it didn't wholly fit my blog or brand. Don't be afraid to say no. You don't need to accept everything that comes your way.

Outfits - I've been taking outfit photos more often to have regular outfit of the day posts. Yay!

purple basil

Purple Basil - I've had regular basil & Thai basil, which can occasionally be purple, but this purple basil was something else. It's beautiful.

Roosters - Although they're not the friendliest creatures, roosters are quite pretty. 

Stationary - I love opening up new stationary. My pen hovers over the first page, never quite sure where to begin.

Tommy Hilfiger - I got the most perfect pair of platform wedge sandals for summer. The only thing missing is a pedicure.

california lifestyle blogger

University - I graduated from university just over four years ago. I can't even believe it's been that long & I often wonder where the time went, if I'm where I thought I'd be at this point.

Veins - Well, it's summer. That means we're bound for hot hot heat & bulging veins. If you didn't know, your veins pop out in the heat in an effort to cool your body off.

Work Views - If you're going to be working you might as well have a good view. I've been traveling more for my social media work & got to frequent some beach side cities like a San Clemente & Coronado.

How was your June? :]

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