Thursday, May 28, 2015

Blog to Biz: Getting Started

Even though I've been working on my own, running my freelance social media services & workshops for over a year- I've realized how little I've actually shared about my journey from the corporate fashion world to #girlboss! I'll try to share some of my honest insights, celebrations and frustrations as well as answer some of the questions I've received from you all. For the sake of complete transparency- there are good days & bad days, and ebbs & flows, but I'm so thankful I've had this opportunity to pursue my dreams and make them a reality.
 
So, welcome to my new Blog to Biz series. If you have any questions feel free to reach out and I'll cover them in a future post! I figured there's no better place to start than the beginning so in today's post I'll share how I got started and took the plunge!
 
Blog to Biz: Getting Started
 
 How did I go from fashion merchandising to social media?
 
I think this is one of the things I get asked most often! I've always loved fashion, had dreams of opening my own boutique and never questioned for a second when I took a job in the corporate fashion world. Over time I began losing my joy for it - something I honestly never thought would happen, but I knew it was time to make a change.
 
  What boggles my mind is that when I was in college classes/majors in social media didn't even exist. What I didn't realize was that by writing and creating content at La Petite Fashionista since 2007 I was inadvertently becoming skilled in using all the social media platforms, analytics & understanding how to cultivate an audience. It was also something I loved doing and talking to people about.
 
If you want to find a job you love, identify your "sweet spot" - where your passions and strengths intersect [tweet this]. Take a few minutes to write it down. What are you great at? What do people ask for you advice about? Equally as important- what do you love doing?
 
No matter what industry you're in, if you take this approach can help ensure that you choose a path that you'll be happiest with. Does this mean there won't be roadblocks, frustrations or stress? Absolutely not, but if you're doing something you love - it's worth it. Was I terrified at leaving a career while I was only a few years out of college? Absolutely, but excitement and ambition outweighed any misgivings.  
 

Blog to Biz: Getting Started

What were the initial steps I took to starting my business?
 
Before I took the plunge to leave the comfort of a salaried job I made social media my side hustle. I worked on special projects, speaking engagements and one on one consultations. I worked on my blog and business at nights when I'd come home from work and weekends. Work-life balance was pretty nonexistent at that point, but it was enough for me to see that my idea was tangible.
 
A few weekends before I put in notice at work my sister (a fellow entrepreneur and go getter) flew up to Wisconsin to come stay with me. We found a great deal at a local hotel and made it into a sort of business planning retreat. I brainstormed, vetted ideas with her as my sounding board and wrote my business plan. It was exactly what I needed - no distractions, time to focus and be creative. It's amazing how much you can do if you allow yourself the time, space, and energy to do it.
 
As I mentioned, a business plan was one of the crucial things I did when I first started out. I used a few different references, but loved this outline for creative entrepreneurs from Amanda Genther. Writing a business plan forces you to think about the nitty gritty details right from the start. How much will your rates be/products cost? How would you define your target market? I also have a plethora of fun small businesses resources and tips on my #GirlBoss pinterest board!
;
Follow Lauren @ La Petite Fashionista's board #GirlBoss: Entrepreneurship on Pinterest.

If I can leave you with one piece of advice it's to start before you're ready. So often in life we wait for the perfect timing and everything to fall into place- but if you wait for that to happen you may miss out on some amazing opportunities.
 
Summer Social Media Strategy Chats

I'm always trying out new ways to connect with other small business owners and bloggers with my business. I also know how many questions there are and the endless google searches they can send you on. I wish I could just grab coffee & talk social media with all and I figure this is the next best thing!

Over this summer I'm launching 30 minute summer social media chats. I'll start by asking for your pressing social media questions & give you the opportunity to ask anything! Whether you want to learn the ins & outs of promoted pins, want to set up a campaign with influencers, or want to hear my instagram secrets- I'm an open book! I'd be happy to share with you everything it's taken me the last 8 years to learn while running La Petite Fashionista!

It's easy to set up a time with me- can't wait to chat! I've tried as affordable as possible because I know exactly how it is as a fellow entrepreneur! You can also save 10% (woo, happy dance!) till 6/3 using code "happysummer".

What other small business topics would you like me to cover in the series? Feel free to leave a comment or tweet!

xoxo, lauren

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Instagram #OOTD Roundup & $50 Shopbop Giveaway

Need some help with checking things off your summer wishlist? I'm giving away $50 to Shopbop to one lucky reader to help them start summer off on the right note! It's super easy to enter (just leave a comment on this post & enter via the rafflecopter widget).
 
I've even selected a few of my faves under $50 from the site, in case you needed any help choosing what to buy.. though I never seem to have that problem!
 
But first, details from some of my latest Instagram #ootd posts that haven't made it on the blog!

La Petite Fashionista: Ikat Tunic + Pink Pants

I love pairing extra bright hues together in the summertime & this outfit just makes me happy! I paired these with gold flats, but they'd also look fab with some dressy neutral wedges.

#OOTD Details: Ikat Tunic: Francescas (similar) | Pink Pants: Boden | Turquoise Bracelet: J.Crew (similar) | Gold Flats: H&M (similar)

La Petite Fashionista: Black Crop Top + Fedora

I borrowed this fedora from my sister while I was home in Florida. It's perfect for bad hair days but would be equally as cute with a one piece white swimsuit - (I have my eyes on these)!

#OOTD Details: Black Crop Top: Kohl's (only $8!) | Black Lace Shorts: Kohl's | Fedora: (similar) | Sunset Bag: Samudra (the look for less) | Pink Necklace: Loft (similar)

La Petite Fashionista: Coffee + Pink Printed Dress

These tan wedge sandals are pretty much my go-to right now. I think I'm even going to wear them to a friend's upcoming nuptials. I love the idea of wedges for wedding shoes - so many pretty options here.

#OOTD Details: Pink Printed Dress: Roxy (similar) | Sandals: Splendid (similar)
Pink Bracelet: (similar) | Turquoise Bangle: (similar)

 Now, I have my faves under $50- be sure to enter to win a Shopbop gift card below!
 
La Petite Fashonista: Faves Under $50!
 
Faves Under $50 from Shopbop:
1. Pink Water Bottle: S'well | 2. Tie Dye Frame: Gift Boutique | 3. Gold Ring: Madewell |  4. "Only Positive Vibes": Happiness | 5. Beach Paddles: SunnyLife  | 6. Peace Sign Cork: Jonathan Adler  |
 7. Turquoise Studs: Kate Spade New York  | 8. Floral Phone Case: Monika Strigel
9. "Will Work For Shoes" Bag: Dogeared  | 10. Cupcakes and Cashmere at Home: Books With Style
 
 Enter to win $50 to Shopbop right here (don't forget you have to leave a comment to be entered to win)!
 
Good luck y'all!
 
xoxo, lauren

Monday, May 25, 2015

6 Beat the Heat Summer Hairstyles

It's going to be a long hot summer and there's only so many times you can rock a messy bun or ponytail without getting tired of it. I'm here with some hair inspiration to help you switch it up and keep your cool all summer long. Right now we're seeing casual chignons, head scarves, braids & half up top knots trending.
 
I don't know about you all but Amber at Barefoot Blonde is my ultimate hair inspiration, I swear she never has a bad hair day and has renewed my love for braids.
 
 
 6 Beat The Heat Summer Hairstyles
 
I seriously need to up my braiding game this summer. I'm anxious to try this fishbraid tutorial video from Meghan & this adorable diy dutch halo braid from Beautyosaurus Lex! Like I said, the best part about all of these styles is that it'll help keep you feel (& look) a little bit cooler this summer.
 
I've also rounded some of my favorite (under $10) hair accessories to help add a little something extra to your braids & updos.
 


 
The hairstyle I've been trying out most lately is the half up top knot:
 
La Petite Fashionista: Half Up Topknot
 
The half up top knot works perfectly with my thick hair. It's carefree and a little bit messy which is exactly how I like my summer hair. Now if only the weather would get a little bit more summery (it's been raining all weekend)!
 
Which beat the heat hairstyle is your favorite?
 
xoxo, lauren

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Black Maxi + Sunset Clutch

Not so long ago I thought I'd never be able to rock the maxi dress trend because of my petite stature. I was worried that as a 5'0 fashionista this is one look I wouldn't be able to try! Thankfully, I just had to choose the right silhouette. This hi-low hem is perfect because it helps elongate my figure and also shows off my fun pink high heels. It also has a sort of empire waist, making it even more flattering.
 
So, my fellow petite ladies, don't give up on maxi dresses and skirts, just try on a few different styles to find one that works best for you. The particular maxi dress I'm rocking is the Tulip Hem Maxi Dress from a fabulous, newly launched store, Perch Boutique- I can tell it's going to be on heavy rotation this summer. I'm even wearing it as my LBD for a bachelorette party tonight!
 
La petite Fashionista: Black Maxi + Sunset Clutch
 
What I'm Wearing:
 Black Maxi Dress: Perch Boutique | Pink Heels: 6pm.com (similar) | Sunset Clutch: Samudra(similar) | Tassel Earrings: Lisi Lerch

La petite Fashionista: Black Maxi + Sunset Clutch

La petite Fashionista: Black Maxi + Sunset Clutch

La petite Fashionista: Black Maxi + Sunset Clutch

La Petite Fashionista: Black Maxi + Sunset Clutch
 
As always I love bright colors, so I love pairing summery accessories with the black maxi dress for a fun pop! The sunset clutch & turquoise tassel earrings make such a statement that they work well with this easy breezy maxi.
 
The weather looks like it's going to be beautiful this weekend. I'm so looking forward to spending my time soaking up some sun, grilling out & taking advantage of some Memorial Day weekend sales! If you're looking for more summer outdoor entertaining ideas be sure to check out my Hawaiian Happy Hour post!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Vacay Every Day: Hawaiian Happy Hour




In the summer time, I'm always looking for any excuse to throw a party. There's no way I'm staying indoors when the weather is this beautiful. As a born & raised FL girl I love bringing the tropics to Wisconsin. Whether it's a weekend cookout or "we're halfway to Friday" weeknight happy hour you don't need a reason to get together with girlfriends!

You also don't need to spend a ton of money on decorations to evoke a mood for your get together. There's no need for fuss for a casual party, just have fun! For this beachy spirits & sweets happy hour all I had to do was repurpose a few decor pieces I had around the house to set the mood. Be sure to check out my tips for easy entertaining at the bottom of the post! 

The tablescape for my Hawaiian Happy Hour was inspired by Palm Breeze, our drink of choice- a  sparkling alcoholic spritz! It's a flavored malt base that has the perfect balance of sweetness and carbonated bubbles. As I mentioned, I didn't need to stress about the party decor, so all I needed to worry about when prepping for my outdoor soiree was the alcohol (and cupcakes)! I chose the Pineapple Mandarin Orange which was quite tasty with tangy citrus tones. It perfectly set the tropical mood for happy hour- now I want to try the other flavor, Ruby Red Citrus.

Get inspired for your next Hawaiian Happy Hour! 

La Petite Fashionista: Hawaiian Happy Hour

La Petite Fashionista: Hawaiian Happy Hour

La Petite Fashionista: Hawaiian Happy Hour



La Petite Fashionista: Hawaiian Happy Hour

La Petite Fashionista: Hawaiian Happy Hour 

La Petite Fashionista: Hawaiian Happy Hour

The Palm Breeze drinks were tasty, refreshing and perfect for putting us in a vacation state of mind- even on a week night! The colorful neon straws & drink umbrellas we're the perfect tropical touch. 

I used pieces from around the house I rounded up for simple, colorful decor to set the mood for our tropical themed happy hour. I also had a fun little ukulele playlist for tunes. 
  •  A pink pashmina doubled as a tassel trimmed table runner & pop of color on the table.
  • A white tray we use to round up remotes in the living room was perfect for serving drinks. 
  • Colorful statement necklaces draped over a pineapple give it extra pizazz.
  • A sunburst mirror we use as wall decor added a fun element to the tablescape
  • Faux florals & succulents are perfect for last minute entertaining because you never have to worry about running out (& spending a lot) for fresh blooms 
  • Assorted candles from around the house smell great & add additional lighting as the sun starts to set
If you love tasty tropical drinks & getting pampered be sure to check out the amazing Palm Breeze/ Blo Bar events happening in Austin & Dallas! Check out Palm Breeze for your next get together with the girls- it's available at most grocery stores.

Here's to every day feeling like vacay this summer. Cheers!

xoxo, lauren


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Salt in the Air, Sand in My Hair

If there was one experience and scent I could bottle it would be the mixture of salty air and sand from a sunny day at the beach (though this Bobbi Brown fragrance comes close)! This post-pool outfit encompasses exactly that happy go lucky feeling. The cheeky graphic tee, bright tropical hues and my trust tote filled with beach reads. As you saw in my last post... nothing screams summer more than bright, happy colors!

Side note .. my parents may or may not have just told me that they're planning a family trip to Hawaii (AHH!)!So needless to say.. I'm in a beachy state of mind. I feel like you can almost see the excitement on my face! Life is good.

La Petite Fashionista: Salt in the Air, Sand In My Hair

What I'm Wearing:  
Salt in the Air, Sand in My Hair Tee: Kohl's (on sale for $15!) | Sunglasses: Tory Burch
 Turquoise Monogram Tote: Lands' End  | Lime Chino Shorts: J.Crew (similar)
Pink Lip Color: Bare Minerals "Moxie" | Bracelets: DIY (see details below!)

La Petite Fashionista: Salt in the Air, Sand In My Hair

La Petite Fashionista: Salt in the Air, Sand In My Hair

La Petite Fashionista: Salt in the Air, Sand In My Hair

La Petite Fashionista: Salt in the Air, Sand In My Hair

As I mentioned in my outfit details, my bracelets are DIY'd! I've been on a big bracelet making kick. It's been a great way to get a little bit creative at night. If you follow LPF at all you know I love my arm parties, so it's great to be able to switch them up with some colorful handmade tassel bracelets.

I've been trying out different combos using "stretch magic" elastic cord, colorful beads & DIY tassels using embroidery thread (great tutorial here)! Once you cut your elastic thread to size just knot the end and start threading each bead on. Be sure to lay out your pattern ahead of time and add fun details like tassels and charms!

These are a few of my favorite jewelry making supplies to help you get started:


What summer DIY projects are on your radar?

xoxo, lauren

Monday, May 18, 2015

Colorful Summer Style Inspiration

After spending my Sunday afternoon pinning some major summer style inspiration I noticed that, not surprisingly, I've been loving lots of bright colors and prints - and also that Julia from Gal Meets Glam is pretty much my style icon. I've curated some bright, summer looks from my favorite fashion bloggers. I've also rounded up some of my must have colorful summer picks (for under $60) to help you get the look.
 
I'll also share a few summer style style tips to help you recreate the looks for yourself. Bring on the colorful sundresses, oversized sunglasses & statement making accessories!
 
Colorful Summer Style Inspiration
 
 Get the Look: Colorful Summer Style
 
A few of my styling tips for this summer:
 1 A trusty pair of white skinny jeans (paired with a white embellished top) is always chic.
2. When it comes to accessories go for color and statement making pieces- tassel earrings, beaded necklaces & colorful leather bags.
3. Choose a roomy tote that can take you from beach to brunch.
4. Trending prints include: palm & Hawaiian florals, pineapples,  & jungle animals.
5.  Tying hair in a topknot, fishtail braid or accessorizing with a straw hat is the perfect way to combat humidity and frizz.
 
Now, for a few of my favorite colorful summer pieces (under $60)!
 
Colorful Summer Style
 
Get the Look: Colorful Summer Style (Under $60!)
1. Turquoise Drop Earrings - Bauble Bar (my go to accessory) | 2. Pink Cami Dress - Forever 21  | 3. Neon Sandals- Old Navy ($12!) | 4.  Sunglasses- Le Specs  | 5. Bracelet Shashi 
6.  Turban Headband (perfect for beach days)- Narmata Joshipura| 7.  Yellow Scalloped Top - Marley Lilly || 8. Pineapple Sandals (all pineapple everything!)-  Nordstrom | 9. White Skinny Jeans - White House Black Market || 10. Pink Earrings - Kendra Scott | 11. Geometric Print Tote (doubles as a beach bag) - Swell | 12. Straw Hat- J.Crew
 
What is your favorite color to wear for summer? I've been gravitating towards neon pink and bright yellow!
 
xoxo, lauren

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dressy Casual in Turquoise Earrings

If there's one summery combo that has become my go-to it's white & turquoise. Whether a little white dress or ruffled one shoulder top, nothing pops more than a pair of turquoise statement earrings and stack of bracelets. I'm obsessed with this pair of tassel earrings from Lisi Lerch that never fail to brighten up an outfit. I borrowed this top from my sister while I was back home in Florida (thanks Allie!). . The asymmetrical silhouette adds a little bit of extra sass!
 
Pairing a fancier top with denim is a simple way to mix dressy and casual. This outfit makes for the perfect summer date night look- just add strappy wedges & a simple clutch and off you go. Speaking of summer date nights, be on the lookout sharing my favorite date ideas- coming soon!
 
La Petite Fashionista: Dressy Casual + Turquoise Earrings
 
What I'm Wearing:
One Shoulder Ruffle Top: Banana Republic (similar) | Turquoise Earring: Lisi Lerch (similar)
 
La Petite Fashionista: Dressy Casual + Turquoise Earrings

La Petite Fashionista: Dressy Casual + Turquoise Earrings
 
What's your favorite way to mix dressy and casual?
 
xoxo, lauren

Sunday, May 10, 2015

5 Ways to Keep Calm + Combat Stress

I have a lot of strengths that I'm grateful for- creativity, compassion & friendship. Unfortunately, calmness is not one of them. Though I've gotten much better over the years, I'm a worrier to my core. I lay in bed at night making mental to-do lists, stressing out at work over deadlines and presentations and have trouble "turning off" my brain.
 
Thankfully, I've also figured out some ways that help you keep your cool, put things back in perspective, and unwind. I know I can't be the only one who can use a little more relaxation in their life- so, I'm sharing 5 ways to keep calm and combat stress.
 
5 Ways to Keep Calm + Combat Stress
 
5 Ways to Keep Calm:

1. Mindfulness App - I just downloaded The Mindfulness app this week and it's resulted in best night's sleep I've had in a long time. It allows you to select guided meditation's for varying durations of time. I'm not going to lie, meditation always sounded pretty hippie dippie to me, but, it's really just a technique to help you turn off your brain and focus on your breathing. You can even do it in the middle of the day at your desk to help you press reset when you're getting stressed.

2. Light a Candle- If you follow me on Instagram you'll see that I always love lighting candles while I work, which makes it feel more spa-like than office-like. Choose a scent that instantly puts you in a happy state of mind, for me, it's Capri Blue's tropical scents that if you close your eyes, almost make you feel like you're on a beach in Hawaii instead of at a desk.

3. Learn to Love Lavender: My mom made me a purple sachets with dried lavender that I keep by my bedside. This herb is known for its relaxing effects. You can also get a lavender linen spray to put on your sheets for a calm and sleepy bed time.

4. Read a Book: Instead of binge watching Netflix before bed (guilty!), unplug your electronics and pick up a book. I prefer a fiction read to let yourself get lost in the characters! I'm a sucker for Nicholas Sparks (reading The Longest Ride right now after picking it up at the airport), but love looking to my friend and avid reader, Joyce for reccomendations.

5. Listen to Music: Listening to music that's either in another language or instrumental to is one of the quickest ways to help you focus and calm your mind. The words can't distract you if you can't sing along which is especially helpful while studying or working. I like music in a foreign language (like Spanish guitar crooning), classical music, or opera when I need to feel instantly chill.
 
 
These are just a few simple fixes to help you keep calm & combat stress but I'm also a fan of aromatherapy massages, yoga classes and quiet afternoons in nature. Gabby Bernstein's book, "Miracles Now" also offers a ton of great tactic for relaxation and fighting stress!
 
What are your favorite was to de-stress and relax?
 
xoxo, lauren

Thursday, May 7, 2015

LPF Travel Guide to: Park City

I'm still in a vacation state of mind after getting back from our trip to Utah with my family and Kyle. We traveled a bit all over while we were there but spent the majority of the time at a lodge in Park City, Utah. It's off-season for skiing so the mountains were quiet, the snow had melted and the city had much more of a local's vibe. It was the perfect opportunity for some rest and relaxation.

I love being in nature, but haven't done much hiking. Kyle, on the other is incredibly outdoorsy. He even "convinced" me to do an 8 mile hike and I'm so glad I did- it was the highlight of my trip! It's definitely added some Wisconsin hiking trails to my summer to-do list now. Newbie tip, if you're a fashionista like me and the drab colors of women's hiking shoes aren't your things.. check the kids section. I ended up buying a pair of kids North Face hiking shoes at REI before our trip!

I'm going to highlight a few of my favorite moments our trip and a roundup of my favorite shopping, restaurants and things to do! 

Travel Guide to: Park City, Utah

Travel Guide to: Park City, Utah | Hiking Trails

Our first hike of the trip, in the Wasatch mountains in Park City. The peak of the mountain on our trail offered gorgeous sweeping views, you can see the ski paths in the background!

Travel Guide to: Park City, Utah | Publik Coffee

We tried to grab a cup of coffee at a different spot each morning, but by far our favorite was Publik. It shares a spot with a local art gallery and has tons of  gourmet coffees (my go to was a brown sugar latte) & pour over style. They also have a limited menu of gourmet toasts (amazing!).

But First, Coffee!

This t-shirt was a Kohls score (on sale right now for $13!), and is pretty perfect for me I'd say!

Travel Guide to: Park City, Utah | Main St. 

Main St. Park City is filled with restaurants, shops & entertainment. During ski season there's even a ski lift that goes right through the center of town.

'Travel Guide to: Park City, Utah

My sister & I posing with "Franz" the bear, one of the "mascots" of Park City.

Travel Guide to: Park City, Utah | Sundance Resort

We took a little drive to Robert Redford's Sundance resort, it was SO idyllic!

Travel Guide to: Park City, Utah | Namaste

This was at the top of the 8 mile hike we took at Jordanelle Resevoir. The hike was worth every step just for the amazing view and solitude. Kyle was a great motivator at keeping me moving as we climbed and climbed.

Travel Guide to: Park City, Utah | Bridal Veil Falls

We took a drive to Provo for the afternoon and stopped to hike up Bridal Veil Falls on the way. It was a short, but intense hike, but seeing the waterfall up was amazing!

As for my top travel picks in Park City. Here they are! I'm not even going to attempt to name restaurants because so many of the "best" ones were closed for the off-season while we were there. 

Park City Shopping:

Root'd: This home & interior design store was filled with home goods with an apres ski twist. They offered pieces with a rustic but elegant style.

Mary Jane's: An affordable fashion boutique featuring trendy apparel &  pieces from many local, independent designers.

Mountain Body: This store features tons of natural and handmade herbal skin and bath products. They even gave us a complimentary hand scrub & moisturizing treatment! They also have an on site spa, which I definitely want to try next time. 

Cake Boutique; A higher end clothing boutique with labels like Splendid, Elizabeth and James, and See by Chloe. The boutique space is light & airy with a west coast feel.


Park City Coffee Shops:

Publik: As I mentioned this was my favorite of all the coffee shops. It has an industrial modern feel, specializing in pour over coffees & pared down espresso drinks like brown sugar lattes with a large offering of non-dairy milks and gourmet toasts like avocado & sriracha or rhubarb jam. 

Park City Coffee Roasters: This coffee place has a friendly, local feel with great tasting coffee, roasted on site. Take home some coffee beans for a Park City souvenir!

Atticus Coffee: This coffee & tea house shares a space with a book store, so grabbing a cup instantly makes you want to curl up with a good read and good cup of joe.


Park City Bars/Nightlife:

One thing we didn't realize before coming out to Park City is that all tap beer is a maximum of 4% by volume, meaning that it's a bit weaker than most craft beers that we're used to in Wisconsin. If you want the full strength, be sure to order bottles instead!

The Cabin: Their mascot is the elkupine"- need I say more! This was a fun bar serving lots of local brews. Lots of the skiing & snowboarding crowd were there.

No Name Saloon: They're famous for their buffalo burgers and fun atmosphere. This place was packed to the brim off season on a weeknight!

Squatters Pub: They brew their own beer here & also serve local Wasatch Brewery beers. There's a great view of the mountains and fun opportunity to try some Utah beers.

High West Distillery: Admittedly, this micro distillery was closed while were there, BUT we did sample some of their whiskey at the airport bar. They have a really cool saloon right on Main St.

Now, that I have the travel bug.. where should I take my next trip?

xoxo, lauren
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