Thursday, May 30, 2013

Life Lately (& Living with a Boy!)

A quick little update on life lately. It's been pretty crazy busy! Last week my lovely mom helped me pack up my apartment for yet another move! This time, to my boyfriend's home for the summer while my new apartment is being finished.

I am trying to be a a good roomie and learn the ropes of this whole living with a boy thing (I'm not too worried though)!  He has been a great sport about sharing his space with me. The La Petite Fashionista Magazine team & I are also hard at work on issue #4 (due out by mid-june!).

I'm so excited for the many summer adventures to come! 


Life lately.. 

1. Kyle actually upgraded his closet to have extra shelving for my move in. He was sweet enough to give up half his closet. I amazingly was disciplined enough to minimize my wardrobe to fit inside. The colorful fabric bins are a huge organizational help too!

2. Kyle + I for his graduation dinner (woohoo!). Next week we are jetting off to a surprise graduation trip to Florida for him. I've kept our itinerary a secret and have been leaving a clue every few days!

3. The fresh & fragrant lilacs that are blossoming in the yard. They look oh-so-pretty in a mason jar

4. One of the perks of living with him is being able to do some grocery shopping and meal planning together. We're trying to eat healthy and tried out the Lightened Up Chicken Francese (& garlic mashed cauliflower) for dinner tonight and it was unbelievably delicious!

So lovely readers for those of you that live with the men in your life-- Do share your tips for living in harmony together!

xoxo, lauren

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Affordable Beach Getaways

When it comes to traveling, I'm all about experiencing things like a local. When I studied abroad, I found bed  & breakfasts and rented homes to stay in. Usually at a much more affordable rate than a hotel, you're given access to a local's insights and often unbelievable locations (i.e. when I stayed in Rome we were literally a block away from the magnificent Vatican). The experiences are almost always more memorable!

I recently stumbled upon airbnb which offers listings for shared rooms or rented homes all around the world. It shows reviews from previous travelers, verified pictures of the homes, and you can really get a great feel for if the place will be a good fit for you! 

I was perusing today for some affordable beachy getaways- from Hawaii to California, to Florida. They vary from offering incredible hospitality (i.e. welcome drinks upon arrival and bikes to borrow) to incredible locations (i.e. steps from the beach or in the heart of a trendy area). 


Ready to get away to one of these beachy locales?  (starting from top left corner):
  1. Kealakekua Bay Bali Cottage, - Captain Cook, Hawaii - from $125 per night- This home is a minute and a half walk on the beach, this cottage is decorated with vintage teak panels & beachy outdoor shower.
  2. Charming, Colorful, Close to Beach- San Diego, California - from $79 per night-  This studio rental looks like it stepped off the pages of an Anthropologie catalog, use the free bikes to explore Pacific Beach.
  3. Need Some Rest? Come to Key West - Key West, Florida- from $95 per night- Relax on the hammocks, enjoy fresh coconut every morning & take a sailing lesson with the owner of this rental room.
  4. Beachy Chic South Beach Studio Apartment- Miami Beach, Florida- from $99 per night-This colorful and modern studio apartment is in the heart of the art-deco district, walk to Miami's hottest restaurants, bars & beaches.
  5. "Hale Moana" Small but Special- Maui, Hawaii - from $95 per night- This private studio offers ocean views, fruit trees in the yard, surfboards to use, and Hawaiian hospitality.
  6. Cozy Laguna Beach Artist Cottage - Laguna Beach, California - from $100 per night-  This comfy and colorful cottage would be great for a group with its breakfast nook, outdoor area,  and walking distance to world class surfing beaches
  7. Malibu Zen Retreat on Organic Farm- Malibu, California- from $75 a night- This airy room with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean is also situated on the host couple's organic farm. For a small extra fee have a home cooked meal using ingredients from the orchard & farm you're staying at
  8. Venice Beach, Canals, Abbot Kinney - Venice, California, from $125 a night- This new apartment was designed by a local interior designer featuring vintage meets modern decor and a killer location by the Venice boardwalk and one of the city's trendiest shopping / dining areas
  9. Historic Santa Monica Home by Beach - from $100 a night- Stay at a private room in this beautiful Santa Monica home where you will be walking distance to beaches and able to enjoy the California lifestyle at their beautiful outdoor entertaining area
Reading all the reviews of people's visits to the different airbnb locations makes me reminisce about my travels! It makes a world of a difference staying somewhere other than a hotel chain and truly getting to experience an area.

These beachy destinations will not disappoint for a little summer beach getaway!

xoxo, lauren

Friday, May 24, 2013

Perfect Pairings: Dip Dye Denim & Eyelet

I've been loving the look of denim tops for summer, but even with the sleeves rolled up, chambray button downs are a little bit too hot for me. I loved this sleeveless dip-dye variation I found at Forever 21 last weekend- especially paired back to an always summery white eyelet skirt & colorful arm party!

Perfect Pairings: Dip Dye Denim + Eyelet

get the look: ombre chambray shirt // white eyelet skirt // tan wedges (similar) // pink bracelet // turquoise bracelet (similar) // elastic hair tie (similar)

Perfect Pairings: Dip Dye Denim + Eyelet + Arm Party

I can hardly believe it's Memorial Day Weekend already- it sort of marks the unofficial start of summer! As much as I'd like to be lounging by the pool or grilling out- I'll be in the process of moving out of my apartment & on to new summer adventures!

What are your memorial day weekend plans?

xoxo, lauren

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Domestic Goddess (in Training!)

I am seriously in love with this shopbop "Domestic Goddess" accessories editorial- and I think it's because it reminds me of me so much. Always completely overdressed in the kitchen with accessories galore (which is a terrible idea given my accident proneness). 

I am pretty proud of my journey to becoming a domestic goddess- though I'm nowhere near an expert in the kitchen, I thankfully have learned my way around (giving much credit to having my blog which has inspired me to cook + bake more often!). I really enjoy how gratifying a home cooked meal is!

Shopbop.com Domestic Goddess Accessories Editorial

Shopbop.com Domestic Goddess Accessories Editorial

Shopbop.com Domestic Goddess Accessories Editorial

Shopbop.com Domestic Goddess Accessories Editorial

One of the things I've enjoyed most in learning how to cook is finding cute kitchen accessories- from colorful measuring spoons to aprons to keep clothes clean and decorative pot holders! These simple pieces make me want to be in my kitchen even more!

Fashion Meets Function: Chic Kitchen Essentials


I had a heck of a time trying to pick out a Julia Child quote for this post. I didn't realize she was so quotable! Another one of my favorite quotes of hers- perfect for newbies in the kitchen like me is;

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” 
― Julia ChildMy Life in France

What's your favorite meal/ baked good to whip up in the kitchen? (I'm a fan of some good southern comfort food- reminds me of home!)

xoxo, lauren

Monday, May 20, 2013

Chambray + Stripes

Today over on the Midwest Style Bloggers page, me and three other lovely ladies are sharing one look, four ways with our trusty chambray shirts! I seriously love mine whether sporting it open as a jacket, knotted over a dress, or buttoned up over a pair of colorful pants. 

My mom is here visiting for the week and helping me pack up my apartment, so I feel pretty darn lucky to have a live-in  outfit post photographer while she's here! She was able to snap this picture about 30 seconds before a huge summer storm rolled in.

La Petite Fashionista: Chambray + Stripes

get the look: striped tank dress  (similar) // chambray shirt (similar) // turquoise bubble necklace (similar) // brown leather wedges (similar

La Petite Fashionista: Arm Party + Stripes


one look 4 ways : katelyn // maya // me // samantha

I picked up this striped knit dress on a whim this weekend and am pretty in love with it- I'm a sucker for any dress with pockets! I wore it celebrating my boyfriend's graduation at our favorite Madison spot- the Memorial Union terrace splitting a pitcher with our families and enjoying some live music!

xoxo, lauren

Friday, May 17, 2013

5 Tips Every Blogger Should Know

I seriously can't believe I've been blogging at La Petite Fashionista for over six years, it never ceases to blow my mind! I'm thankful for all the readers who have followed me and supported  over the years and those who are brand new to my blog!

I've been getting a few questions lately on starting a blog/ driving traffic/ any helpful hints so I wanted 
to share a few of the helpful hints I've learned over the years! I feel like because I've watched the blogging world unfold over the years I learned everything the hard way- so I just hope these tips can benefit anyone!

5 Tips Every Blogger Should Know: helpful hints for new & old bloggers!

Here are five helpful hints whether you're considering starting a blog or a blogging veteran!

1.Starting a Blog: Choosing a name & niche for your blog is the most important step. Something that is easy to remember &  relates to you / the content is key. La Petite Fashionista specializes in affordable and inspiring fashion, design & DIY! Sign up with either blogger or wordpress for a free blog site, and register your domain on Go Daddy to stake your claim as your blog grows!
  • fun tip!: A great blog design keeps people checking out your blog for longer and more likely to save you to their bookmarks. Check out Pugly Pixel & Code It Pretty for DIY tutorials or hire a designer who understands your aesthetic and fits into your pricepoint- like Christine at Great Oak Circle!

2.  Utilize Social Media to Drive Traffic: Build social media sites under your blog name on twitter, pinterest, and facebook. Pinterest is one of the biggest ways people find my blog, so be sure to add a "pin it button" to your blog!
  • (fun tip!: before publishing a post right click on the image while in the "compose" mode and select properties. In the pop up screen you will see an area for "alt text". Fill in this box whatever you would want the text to read when someone pins it on pinterest, i.e. this image when pinned will say "5 Tips Every Blogger Should Know".

3. Engage With Readers & Other Bloggers: A lot of people start a blog and just expect the readers to come- but reading and commenting on other blogs, tweeting with other bloggers and brands and connecting with people is really what blogging is all about! You can also join a local blogging network (Midwesterners- be sure to join our newly launch Midwest Style Bloggers network!
  • (fun tip!: Join twitter chats/parties as an opportunity to "network" with other bloggers. One of my favorites is the Independent Fashion Bloggers weekly #StyleChat utilize the hashtag within your tweets to be a part of the conversation!)

4. Sign up for Goggle Analytics Account: This sounds super dorky, but  you have to sign up for a free google analytics account for tracking blog traffic I LOVE analyzing my traffic- where it's coming from/unique visitors/most popular content. You can use this information to know what readers are loving the most  to help guide what you write your posts about as well as how people are finding your happy little blog!
  • (fun tip!: One of the best parts about having google analytics is the ability to export information. You can use these key findings like "unique visitors" & "average monthly page views" to give insight to PR companies / brands that may want to advertise with you). 

5. Use Free Sites for Photo Editing & Graphic Design: I think one of the biggest misconceptions about blogging is that you have to have a professional DSLR camera, photoshop and a ton of graphic design skills to have a beautiful blog. In reality there are some great free services that allow you to edit photos, create collages of product and images - I love PicMonkey for photo editing & Polyvore.com for photo collages
  • (fun tip!: A tip I do have to make blog pages feel more consistent and professional are to keep all images the same size and maintain the resolution. It will depend on the size of your layout, but, once you start an image size try to keep consistency within posts). 

Sorry for the longest blog post EVER- don't hesitate to ask me any questions in the comments or shoot me an email- and please share your insights as well!

xoxo, lauren

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Easy Meals for Busy Girls: Baked Greek Chicken & Greek Salad

I am always looking for simple meals I can prepare during the work week when I'm feeling unmotivated but still want to be semi-healthy. I had a some organic chicken breasts I needed to use as well as a romaine lettuce mix so my wheels started turning.

I remembered the article that Jocelyn wrote for the latest issue of LPF Mag featuring diy salad dressings and I knew it was the perfect excuse to make her Greek Salad Vinaigrette and a perfectly paired baked chicken with all of the same great Greek flavor. It turned out to literally be a new favorite that will be on rotation for many weeks to come. 

LPF Cooks: Healthy Baked Greek Chicken + Greek Salad

Baked Greek Chicken
Serves 2;  Prep Time: 10 Min / Cook Time: 45 Min

Ingredients:
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/2 Lemon (juice) & 1/2 slices
2 tbsp Greek Oregano 
1 Finally Minced Garlic Clove
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 Tsp Ground Black Pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven at 400 degrees.
2.  Start by lining a deep baking dish with tin foil 
3. Slice lemon in half, squeeze juice of half lemon & save for later
4. Cut the leftover lemon half into small slices and place on baking sheet under neath chicken breasts
5.. Grease the tin foil & chicken breasts with olive oil
6.. Sprinkle garlic, oregano, salt & pepper on chicken breasts
7.  Drizzle juice from half lemon over chicken
8. Bake at 400 degrees for 43 minutes and set on broil for final 2 minutes

The salad was incredibly easy- I just chopped up onions (you can throw in tomatoes and olives as well!) & some feta cheese and mixed up this homemade Greek salad Vinaigrette. Get the recipe (& more Greek deliciousness) on Jocelyn's blog post at Saucy Jocey's Kitchen- I swear I've never enjoyed a salad so much!

What are your go-to dinners that never disappoint?

xoxo, lauren

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Try this Trend: Crochet & Neon

The neon trend is not going anywhere and I love this fresh interpretation by pairing crochet & neon together. The trick to trying this trend is the small bright pops of color paired back to neutral crochet/ lace. If a neon apparel piece is a little too loud for you- try it with a neon bracelet or nail polish.

These are a few of my favorite ways to wear this  fun, summer look- from crochet shorts & neon tees to a fluorescent yellow statement necklace perfect for pairing over a white lace top. 

Try this Trend: Crochet & Neon

Get the Look:
1. Neon ID Bracelet- Bauble Bar // 2. Neon a Roll Dress  - ModCloth // 3. Crochet Crop Top - Topshop // 4. Fuchsia Flash Lipstick- Maybelline // 5. 3"  Shocking Pink Chino Shorts- J.Crew // 6.  Anne- Julep Nail Vernis // 7. Foldover Clutch- Clare Vivier // 8.  Pave Embellished Neon Stud Earrings - Express // 9. Neon Lace Top- Madewell // 10. Vachetta Neon Navajo Sandals - Jack Rogers // 11. Crochet Shorts - Vintage Havana // 12. Crystal and Neon Chevron Necklace - J.Crew

I think my favorite part about neon is the instant-tan you get when you're wearing anything that brightly colored. I also seem to gravitate towards anything with lace or crochet- so the two of these trends paired together are a match made in fashion heaven!

What's your favorite way to wear the neon trend- or have you been waiting to try it out?

xoxo, lauren

Friday, May 10, 2013

Let Me Style You- for Free!

I think I am that girl that just loves to be busy! Despite a crazy schedule, I found out about personal styling service Keaton Row and knew it was something I wanted to be involved with! I've always loved giving friends fashion advice. Just ask Jocelyn- I love being the go-to for "which dress should I wear to my friend's wedding?" girl!

Keaton Row is a free online styling service- you fill out your questionnaire of body type/ personal style preferences/ budget/ wardrobe composition / special event you need a look for- if that's the case. Then, within a week you'll get a personalized lookbook & outfit recommendations from me! It's basically the online version of taking me shopping with you :)

Let Me Style You- For Free!

You can check out my profile here as well as some fun Q&A, outfit ideas and inspiration ( anyone else a fan of monograms, peonies, crystal chandeliers arm parties, & coffee? I feel like these describe me in a nutshell!)

LPF's inspirations

It doesn't matter what your age/body type/ personal style is- I will find you something you love.. promise! I'm really excited for this fun opportunity to do more of what I love so give it a shot or refer me to someone else you know that would like some professional shopping advice! With no pressure to purchase anything!

I'm looking forward to applying my love of great affordable style, background in fashion merchandising, and trend savvy blogging to picking out fun & flattering pieces!


xoxo, lauren

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

LPF Book Club: "The Power of Style" by Bobbie Thomas

I was really excited to review a copy of Today Show Style Editor, Bobbie Thomas' new book, "The Power of Style" because I've followed Bobbies's fashion insight since I was an *NSYNC obsessed tween J-14 reader. I sincerely loved this book, because it was unlike any other fashion book I've ever read. It actually is quite empowering and is equally about loving yourself as it is about loving clothes. 

"The Power of Style" - Bobbie Thomas

"Power of Style" is part fashion book/ part self help guide) has two parts: "Change Starts Within" and "Bringing the Inside Out".

In "Change Starts Within", Bobbie talks about getting to the core of what confidence really is, learning how to love and accept yourself and your body, mastering your image and what other people see. I think this is so relevant! One of the things that bothered me most as a fashion student in college was when students would come to class in yoga pants while we had professional recruiters from major retailers come speak to us. What kind of impression does for a person in HR if that is how you're putting your best foot forward?

"The Power of Style"- Bobbie Thomas

The second section, "Bringing the Inside Out" features styling tips for your body type, finding the colors that make you look your best (& how to rock the ones that typically wouldn't be), defining your personal style, and organizing your closet. I think the great thing about this book is that it doesn't take a one size fits all approach to fashion- it's about empowering you to make the decisions that make you feel confident, beautiful and stylish.

I highly recommend this book for anyone that wants both style AND substance in a book. One of the fun features is the interactive sections that have you jot down notes while you read (i.e.  a list of your favorite pieces in your close)

So, in the spirit of embracing & loving yourself readers-- what is your favorite thing about yourself (physical feature or personality quality -it's okay, brag!)

For me it's that my petite stature (5'0!") lets me wear the highest heels I want without towering over my boyfriend ;)

xoxo, lauren

I'm a Verizon Voices Style Blogger!

I have very exciting news for LPF! I am so excited to announce that I've been selected as a Verizon Voices Style Blogger! This past weekend I took the train down to Chicago to meet the team of bloggers participating get trained in how to use my new device, and of course have a little bit of fun in the Windy City!

We were given the new Samsung Galaxy Camera to test out for the next 6 months! So you'll be seeing some blog posts talking about it throughout the year. It's pretty much a fashion blogger's dream, because it's sort of a hybrid camera phone / DSLR. It offers the clarity of a high end camera with the ability to edit, use apps &  send photos to social media channels right from your camera's wireless connection! I'm looking forward to taking it with me to all my summer activities.

Now, to share some of my favorite moments from my trip to Chicago!

*disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Style Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange, but all opinions and views about the product are my own!

I'm a Verizon Voices Style Blogger! #vzwvoices

So official right?! To the right is my geeking out over phone technology face! 

#armparty & samsung galaxy cam

The obligatory #armparty shot with my new camera!

Fashion Show Runway
Art Institute Of Chicago Fashion Show

We were lucky enough to have front row seats to attend the Art Institute of Chicago's fashion show! It was SO much fun for the former fashion student in me.The students are so talented and truly the future of the industry. I was dying over this mermaid inspired look, fifties style knits & metallic sneaker wedges!

chevron dress & white statement necklace

My look for the day (it ended up being SO cold, so this was covered in a down coat for a lot of the trip!)
Dress / Necklace/ Bracelet: Francesca's 

Tapas Dinner at Mercat a La Planxa
Chi-Town Love

We had one of the best meals of my life at Spanish, Tapas Restaurant, Mercat a la Planxa! The historic hotel it was in was beautiful (loving that chandelier & gorgeous celings) and food amazing. I loved that the menu was set so I could take some chances trying tapas that I wouldn't normally try.

 I had so much fun meeting all of the sweet & stylish bloggers in the program -Sandy, Teena,  Sarah, Lindsey & more! So much fun bonding with other ladies who don't look at you funny if you ask them to take an outfit picture or need to stop to instagram your dinner ;) Thank you to Verizon for a fun weekend & an amazing new camera to document it!

xoxo, lauren

    

Monday, May 6, 2013

Midwest Style Bloggers is Launching Today!

Happy M

The Midwest Style Bloggers page is officially launching today! Come meet the team that has been pulling everything together over on our page (we have some get-to-know-us Cosmo inspired quizzes coming out throughout the week!), our updated blog with events, members and more. 

Check out the blog here as well as our Twitter and Facebook! And of course - feel free to fill out an application and join.  We are also looking for guest blog post writers for the site to share travel guides to your city, highlight local boutiques, and your Midwest style!

I also spent a fun weekend in Chicago with some stylish Midwest bloggers, but more on that later!

xoxo, lauren

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Inspired by: the Great Gatsby

My inner literature nerd is absolutely geeking out over the new Great Gatsby film. I'm pretty sure it's the perfect combination of two of my favorite things- opulent twenties fashion & one of the most noted novels of all time. I even wrote a research paper in AP History about how fashion revolutionized the 1920's for women (say goodbye to corsets + hello to speakeasies and sassy drop waist dresses). 

I've found a few of my favorite pieces inspired by the F. Scott Fitzgerald book & new Baz Lurhmann production! I have a feeling the fashion will not disappoint in the new film.

Inspired by: The Great Gatsby


1920's fashion is known for art deco elements, drop waist dresses, fringe & beaded details and crystal jewelry. Wear these elements on their own to keep from feeling too flapper costume-y.

The costumes for the film look beautiful & the soundtrack in true Baz Lurhmann style should perfectly set the scene! Are you Planning on checking out the movie?

xoxo, lauren

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Latest Lust: Fun Favors

One of my favorite entertaining ideas right now are fun favors! They can be inexpensive & diy'd, but add such a personal and memorable touch to any party, wedding, or event. These are some of my favorite ideas I've seen- so creative, but many are very simple too!

Latest Lust: Fun Favors

  • Succulent Plant: Even for guests who don't have a green thumb, a trendy succulent plan is a fun gift
  • Tissue Wrapped Candies: Any roll of cnady gets an upgrade when wrapped in tissue & tied up with string
  • Strawberry Jam:  One of the things I'm super excited about this summer is making my own strawberry jam- how perfect is it as a parting gift!?
  • Seed Kit Favors: For this gift all you need is packets of seeds + plant marker
  • Bubbles: So much fun for a summer cookout, I think I'd have to hand these out before the party was over for added fun
  • S'more Kit: Any bonfire needs a sweet s'more kit as a souvenir
  • Champagne Can: Sofia Coppola makes these adorable cans of champagne, pair with bakers twine + fun straw for an insta-favor
  • Mix CD: This could be used for everything from a country hits at a bbq to a couples favorite songs at as a wedding favor- a fun graphic design for the CD sleeve is a must!
I'm promising myself I will go the extra mile with a favor at a party this summer!
Do you have any fun party favor ideas?

xoxo, lauren





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