Monday, March 30, 2015

DIY Spring Brunch Table + Entertaining Tips

I like giving our table an update each season, but I don't like spending a ton of money on any cheesy seasonal décor. Over the past few years I've started to collect some go-to entertaining pieces from thrift stores and antique stores and on sale at places like Marshalls and Home Goods and Target. I knew I wanted to pull together a springy "garden party" table for an impromptu brunch with some coffee, tea, mimosas & pastries!
The only thing I had to buy was some spring blooms (super inexpensive from Trader Joes) & some juice & pastries to snack on. I used a rustic chic herb gardening box to hold the mimosa essentials - like the OJ in an old fashioned glass milk jug. I got out my vintage cake plate & ombre glasses and arranged fresh flowers in mason jars leftover from canning season. The gingham napkins I've had for a few years, and I love the preppy, country chic feel they have.
 I love any occasion to celebrate- so the "Happy" gold sparkle banner I picked up for my office from Joann's and it makes me feel exactly that. I can't believe Easter is next week already! Here's some inspiration for creating a festive and simple spring tablescape.
La Petite Fashionista: DIY Spring Brunch Table + Entertaining Tips

La Petite Fashionista: DIY Spring Brunch Table + Entertaining Tips
La Petite Fashionista: DIY Spring Brunch Table + Entertaining Tips  
La Petite Fashionista: DIY Spring Brunch Table + Entertaining Tips
La Petite Fashionista: DIY Spring Brunch Table + Entertaining Tips

I love how our spring table turned out for brunch! I think it's a great example that you don't need to go out and buy all new pieces and décor when you're entertaining! You can save a ton of money, just by getting a little creative and using pieces you already have around the house. My bestie Jocelyn's vintage kitchen bridal brunch was a fun example of this!

I also have a few tips for simple DIY entertaining:
  • Build your collection of serving pieces! I love picking up vintage cake plates, statement making cocktail glasses & milk glass vases from thrift stores and antique stores.
  • It's great if you can make everything from scratch, but don't feel guilty "cheating" and buying from the grocery store bakery!
  • DIY floral arrangements can be a less expensive route than pre-made bouquets- use some filler florals like baby's breath and carnations to keep the cost of your arrangements down.
  • Always be sure to have a non-alcoholic drink option in addition to mimosas or punch
  • Want to pick up a few seasonal décor items? Buy on the cheap when they get discounted post-holidays and save it so you can break out the next year.
I think putting in a little extra effort to dress up your table for brunch makes for one happy table! I'm also a sucker for fresh blooms, which brighten up any brunch.

What are your entertaining secrets?

xoxo, lauren

Saturday, March 28, 2015

How to Take Better Instagram Pictures

Instagram is one of the quickest growing social media platforms & I admit it's my favorite. I love the visual aspect and being able to share inspiration throughout the week. If you've ever wondered how people create styled photos for their Instagram accounts, it doesn't happen as effortlessly as it may look! I'm sharing a few of my blogger secrets in a video below. 

This fun how-to video is just a tiny peek of what type of content and learning we touch on in the Social Media With Style Workshop! We're kicking things off on April 3rd and cover everything from taking better Instagram pictures to understanding your social media analytics to defining your branding. For the first time ever I have two separate sections- one for business owners and one for bloggers. Don't miss out on all of the fun as I share everything I've learned in my last 8 years of blogging! 

Be sure to subscribe to my channel on Youtube, I'm going to be making a lot more videos! I made a fun video about how to style 5 key spring trends earlier this week, be sure to check out that too.

How to Take Better Instagram Pictures Video Tutorial

I've been tracking my social media stats on a weekly basis, and Instagram definitely has had the most exponential growth since putting some of my own strategies to use! I think what's really key for Instagram is having images that reflect your personal brand/business. I like to try to include my brand colors (pink & turquoise) into my images, and when you're scrolling through the gallery it definitely makes them feel more cohesive (and colorful)! 

I've also found it an awesome way to connect with like minded ladies & fashion brands. Did you see my shoutout to our Social Media With Style alum today? I love being a cheerleader for every person that comes through the workshop and seeing their blogs and businesses grow!

Register here for our upcoming Social Media With Style workshop & let me know if you have any questions! 

Do you have any favorite Instagram tips & tricks? Leave your username below so I can be sure to follow you. See my fashion filled feed at @lapetitefashionista

xoxo, lauren

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What I'm Reading

I think you can tell a lot about a person by what's on their bookshelf! Perhaps that's "judging a book by it's cover" but sometimes it's true.  I seem to always be reading a ton of things at one time- usually it's a mix of  fashion & design, business and travel books... which is pretty much exactly mirrors what's happening in my life right now! 

 I wanted to share a few things I'm reading right now & how it relates back to what's happening in my life! I'd love to hear your recommended reads too.

What I'm Reading 

Here's what I'm reading right now:
  • "Make It Happen"- Lara Casey: I'm a huge fan of Lara Casey's blog & Southern Weddings brand. Her book  has a ton of great exercises to help you identify anything that's holding you back in life & overcome it. It's incredibly empowering!m 
  • "Thrive"- Arianna Huffington:  Arianna challenges the traditional indicators of success "money and power" and stresses the importance of redefining success with a third metric- our well being, wisdom and wonder. I absolutely share the same philosophy!
  • "Launch"- Jeff Walker: I just joined an entrepreneurship book club and it's been awesome to network and connect with other business owners and discuss this book by Jeff Walker. It's all about launching  a business online, which is right up my alley!
  • "I Brake For Yard Sales"- Lara Spencer: I've had HGTV on repeat lately. I love Lara Spencer's knack for finding diamonds and the rough and decorating with thrifted and antique finds. It's such an awesome feeling to bring new life into an old furniture or decor piece.
  • "36 Hours in the Midwest"- Taschen: Now that the weather's warming up, I'm getting major wanderlust. I'm excited to take some mini Midwest road trips with Kyle this summer. This book has tons of ideas for places to stay and things to see, many of them off the beaten path!
Now I just need some laid back summer fiction to read! I'd love to hear what you've been reading!

xoxo, lauren

P.S. Our next Social Media With Style Workshop kicks off on 4/3, don't miss out! I'd love to help you grow your blog or business with social media during our 4 week online course!

Monday, March 23, 2015

5 Must Have Trends For Spring Video

I made it one of my goals this year to incorporate more video on La Petite Fashionista. It's such a fun form of media to consume. I follow a ton of you-tubers. Video's a great way to approach blog posts that could be potentially wordy or need more of a visual- like styling tips! 

 Please subscribe so you'll know whenever there's a new video to watch & be sure to shoot me a tweet or email if there are any fashion questions you'd like answered in a future video! 

Today's video features 5 Must Have Trends for Spring and my styling tips to help you incorporate them into your wardrobe. Check out the links below the video to get the look for yourself!

(P.S.  Change the quality to HD in the settings for best viewing quality)! 

Loving these spring trends from the video?
Check out this round up of stylish pieces to help you get the look!

5 Must Have Trends for Spring: Video + Styling Tips

Get the Look: 5 Trends for Spring

Get all my styling tips for wearing coordinated separates, kimono jackets, gingham, fringe & beach shorts in the video above! Which trend are you loving most?

Get all my styling tips for wearing coordinated separates, kimono jackets, gingham, fringe & beach shorts in the video above! Which trend are you loving most?

xoxo, lauren

P.S. Don't forget to register for the Social Media With Style Workshop by 4/3! We also just opened up two sections for bloggers & small business owners! I share everything I've learned in my 8 years of blogging including how to utilize & optimize your social media analytics to grow your audience, style & shoot your instagram pictures like a pro and create collaborations.

Social Media With Style Workshop

Saturday, March 21, 2015

UW Badgers March Madness Style + Recipes

This weekend has been absolute madness.. March Madness! Kyle is a HUGE basketball fan so we've been watching the games non stop and rooting on the Badgers (of course!). I can completely understand, because I'm totally the same way when it comes to FSU football - no matter where we are or what we're doing when it's game time we're watching)!

We filled out our brackets last Sunday and it's been fun & friendly competition watching it all play out (I'm currently in 2nd for our group). My friend Sophia had extra tickets to a Badger game a couple of weeks ago at the Kohl Center & Kyle and I had a blast watching them play Michigan State.

I picked up this vintage kids basketball jersey at a thrift store a couple of years ago & paired it with a long sleeve tee with sequin accents & bright red lips!

UW Badger Basketball Style

Kyle & I-  super excited to be watching Wisconsin Basketball!

UW Badger Basketball - Kohl Center

A snapshot of the Badger game in action! 

UW Badger Basketball Style

I made Kyle snap an outfit picture on my phone, so it's a bit grainy! My jersey is vintage & it's paired with my black Rebecca Minkoff crossbody bag & distressed denim.

For anyone who's also caught up in the excitement of watching the March Madness I've rounded up some of my favorite game day recipes. I love playing hostess and making something yummy to snack on while we're watching basketball.

Game Day Eats for March Madness:

I'm obsessing over Hera Sport's March Madness pinterest board & Game Day Gourmet recipe board all of these yummy treats are from there. There's tons of inspiration for my fellow sports fans!

Did you make a March Madness bracket? Who are you rooting for?

xoxo, lauren

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Stock The Spring Bar Cart

With warm spring & summer weather comes lots of party hosting & entertaining. It's the perfect time to add some color & fresh cocktail ingredients to your bar cart or bar area. I'm also going to share a few of my favorite fresh ingredients that we always have on hand as well. This year it's my goal to keep a little herb garden alive purely for the purpose of cocktail making & cooking!

There's nothing I love more than sitting outside with some great tunes & a cold drink! Kyle is an awesome bartender and he loves trying new handcrafted cocktail combinations. I'll be sharing a few of our favorites all summer long during a Friday "Happy Hour" series on the blog!
With my colorful picks, your bar cart and entertaining will get a fun summery update! Side note, I'm pretty sure any drink instantly feels more festive with a drink umbrella in it.. just saying!
Stock the Spring Bar Cart!
{Stock the Bar Cart:} Spring & Summer Essentials
I snapped this picture getting ready for a Friday happy hour with my guy. Written by a fellow blogger, Mrs. Lilien's Cocktail Swatchbook is pretty much a must-have for any bar cart or for anyone who loves to entertain1  It's colorful, visual & has some darn tasty recipes in it for every occasion! P.S. How fabulous are those Lisi Lerch earrings?!
La Petite Fashionista: Spring Bar Cart Essentials
As far as what I like to have on hand when we're making cocktails, these ingredients are some of my favorites for fresh handcrafted drinks:
  • Herbs: Mint, Basil, Rosemary
  • Mixers: Club Soda, Sprite, Pineapple Juice, Grapefruit Juice, IZZE Natural Sodas
  • Fruit: Limes, Lemons, Strawberries
  • Sweeteners: Simple Syrup, Grenadine
  • Alcohol: Tequila, Vodka, Rum, Prosecco
My advice is to light some citronella candles, put on a summery playlist & take your drinks outside! We just got a little fire pit for Christmas and I can envision many summer evenings doing exactly that. Cheers y'all!
What's your go-to cocktail?
xoxo, lauren
P.S. Want more summer entertaining inspiration? Check out my  pinterest board for more fun & festive ideas for decor & cocktail recipes!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Preppy Gingham & Florals

One of the trends I'm obsessed with for spring is gingham print! When I did my recap of the SS15 Runway shows I saw gingham everywhere from the runways of Michael Kors to Diane von Furstenberg to Oscar de la Renta. Gingham print has a slightly retro & classic preppy feel to it.

What's great about this trend is it's really easy to interpret the looks on the runways for your on wardrobe. I love gingham patterns in pieces like tops, A-line skirts & accessories. In today's outfit post I'm wearing a pink gingham crop top I scored for less than $20 at Nordstrom Rack last summer. I paired it with my new Lisi Lerch tassel earrings, lace skirt & a knotted chambray shirt. The florals in the picture are ones my parents sent me for my birthday- so thoughtful!
La Petite Fashionista: Preppy Gingham
What I'm Wearing: Gingham
Chambray Shirt: Target (similar) | Lace Skirt: H&M (similar) | Tassel Earrings: Lisi Lerch
Gingham Crop Top: Topshop via Nordstrom Rack (similar) | "It" by Alexa Chung Book
La Petite Fashionista: Preppy Gingham
La Petite Fashionista: Preppy Gingham
La Petite Fashionista: Preppy Gingham

I've rounded up a few of my favorite gingham pieces for Spring so you can try this trend too!
Spring Trends: Gingham
Spring Trends: Gingham
1. Gingham Dress- ASOS | 2. Gingham Wedges- Lands' End | 3. Turquoise Gingham - J.Crew 
 4. Faded Gingham- Forever 21 | 5. Gingham Belt- Brooks Brothers  
 6. Pink Gingham Shirt- Vineyard Vines | 7. Navy Gingham Clutch: Tory Burch
8. Pink Gingham Headband- L. Erickson | 9. Pink Gingham Skirt- Modcloth
When wearing gingham think about pairing it with other slightly preppy fabrications like chambray & eyelet. It always looks great when worn in a classic way- a tucked in oxford button down, cuffed denim & leather ballet flats.
xoxo, lauren

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pink Palm Tree Print

My birthday weekend left me feeling very thankful. It was spent with my guy and lots of cupcakes, brunch, Badger basketball watching & enjoying the sunshine! The weather in the 60's this weekend was amazing- it felt like Wisconsin's birthday gift to me! I've been waiting SO long to wear dresses and sandals again!

  I was searching high and low for a birthday dress & this palm tree print cutout dress instantly caught my eye. I'm obsessed with both of these trends right now and was totally perfect for my inner surfer girl. Tropical prints were all over the SS15 runway collections, and this pink palm tree sunset print is such a fun color combination. The peekaboo cutout is the perfect feminine touch. Now I just need to get my summer glow back.

La Petite Fashionista: Pink Palm Tree Print

What I'm Wearing: 
Palm Print Dress: Kohls | Black Purse: Rebecca Minkoff
Black Platform Sandals: 6pm (similar)  Pink Earrings: Nordstrom Rack (similar)

La Petite Fashionista: Pink Palm Tree Print

La Petite Fashionista: Pink Palm Tree Print 

La Petite Fashionista: Pink Palm Tree Print

The best part? I scored this dress at Kohls on sale for less than $20! The cutout/keyhole trend is big for spring. It's less expected than a plunging v-neck and adds a fun element to the look!
What are you most excited to wear this spring?

xoxo, lauren

P.S. We've officially opened up registration for our next Social Media With Style Workshop (kicking off on April 3rd)! We have two sections- one for bloggers & one for business owners! Let me know if you have any questions, I'd love for you to join us! xoxo

Social Media With Style

Friday, March 13, 2015

Happy 8th Birthday LPF!

Holy cow, La Petite Fashionista is turning EIGHT & I turn 26 tomorrow! I'm not sure where the time goes, but I'm thankful that every year seems to get better and better. I started LPF back in high school, having my dad take pictures of my daily outfits. They were a mix of bargain buys, thrift stores finds with my own signature stamp on them. My style has evolved as my blog's followed me from high schooler to college life to post-grad living. 

Cheers to another wonderful year & to many more in the future and thank you to everyone who has supported me through and through! 

Happy Birthday!

Don't forget, if you were thinking about signing up for our next Social Media With Style Workshop (and you should!), if you sign up by 3/15 you can save $20 AND score a bonus 20 minute social media strategy session with me! We're kicking things off on April 3rd- and for the first time ever I have two sections-: one for bloggers & one for business owners! In our online workshop I'll teach you everything it's taken me the last 8 years to learn during our 4 week course!

Happy Weekend and thank you for celebrating right along with me and your endless support and kind words- I can't tell you how much it means to me!

xoxo, lauren

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Feeling Confident with the Skinny Confidential

The snow is melting, the sun is shining and it's time to come out of hibernation! It's so easy to indulge in comfort food all winter long, but with the change of season I totally need a change in diet and attitude! I've been following Lauryn, of  The Skinny Confidential blog forever. I love that her focus is about eating well & feeling amazing vs. trying to live a lifestyle that you can't maintain or reach a goal weight. She keeps it real on her blog sharing her occasional indulgences and favorite fashion finds and carries that same point of view in her book.
I was so excited to read & review her new book, "The Skinny Confidential: A Babe's Sexy, Sassy Fitness & Lifestyle Guide". The book is filled with a mix of healthy clean eating recipes & cocktails, step by step workouts & even beauty and fashion tips to help you feel your best.
I made the "sex kitten salad" for breakfast and it did not disappoint! I never thought about adding pumpkin pie spice & chia seeds to my normal fruit salad & greek yogurt mix. It was amazing, super healthy and pretty on my plate!
Healthy Breakfast Fruit Salad w/ Chia Seed - he Skinny Confidential Book
A Sex Kitten’s Salad
1 handful of strawberries, sliced
1 handful of blueberries
4 hefty pineapple wedges, chopped
1 kiwi, skinned and diced
4 tbsp.  Greek yogurt
2 tbsp chia seeds
Cinnamon, to taste
Pumpkin pie spice, to taste
Nutmeg, to taste
Optional: fresh mint leaves
 Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss lightly. Add extra spices on top. Garnish with mint (optional).

Recipe courtesy of The Skinny Confidential
Healthy Breakfast Fruit Salad w/ Chia Seed - he Skinny Confidential Book
"Confidence Is Key" Quote via Lauryn of The Skinny Confidential
This quote from Lauryn is one of my favorites in the book--  I couldn't agree more. Confidence is everything when it comes to feeling your best. Losing weight won't make you happy. If you can feel more confident, happy & energetic by adding some more fitness and healthy recipes into your life.. that's when it all comes together!

The Skinny Confidential Book Review
I'd love to approach healthy living with Lauryn's attitude! As she talks about in her book and blog, she believes in eating more real fresh foods to help you feel and look better. Forget calorie counting, worry more about portion sizes and moderation. Don't stress over an occasional splurge, it's okay to treat yourself! If you can think about health as a lifestyle rather than deprivation and dieting you can accomplish whatever you want!
On a side note, I can totally relate to her whole chapter on "Love Chub",  the weight you sometimes gain when you're in love! I can totally relate to this, as it's so much easier to splurge if you're not doing it alone. Whenever Kyle & I are both committed to eating healthier or staying fit,  it makes life so much easier! We also love cooking together so if we have some healthy meals planned out for the week it's much less likely it will come to that "oh-my-gosh-we-have-nothing-in-the-fridge-let's-just-go-to-chick-fil-a" type moments.
Be sure to check out The Skinny Confidential book & blog!
What's your attitude about  fitness and healthy eating?
xoxo, lauren

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Lovely Little Birthday Wishlist

With my birthday on Saturday I thought I'd share a few of the pieces on my wish list. Though these are my latest lusts, it could just as easily be a spring break packing list. Living in Florida my whole life, Spring Break was a big deal. I had a whole drawer dedicated to bikinis. Flash forward to 2015, living in Wisconsin haven't had a spring break in years .. oh how the tides have changed!

Other pieces on my wish list? A summery fragrance, pale pink mules, gingham printed kitchen utensils & statement accessories with a pop of color. I may be turning 26, but my personal style has always been feminine, bright & full of patterns- some things never change!

Lovely Little Spring Wishlist

My Lovely Little [Birthday ] Wishlist:

I'm looking forward to all that 26 will bring. Hoping for a happy, healthy, fun & of course stylish year. 25 will definitely be hard to top, it's been a wonderful year!

For even more of my ongoing favorites be sure to check out my Latest Lusts Under $50 section of the site., I'm always updating it with my favorite finds for anyone else who loves a good deal!

xoxo, lauren

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Boho Blue Blouse

Sometimes you just need a weekend with your mama. I got to spend some nice quality time with my mom and nana this weekend, drinking coffee, cozy on the couch and listening to nana's stories. We celebrated with an early birthday dinner and our traditional carrot cake. I also went to grab coffee with my cousin who's getting ready to set off to college to impart some advice and reflect on good memories. She was sweet enough to snap some photos for me at our favorite neighborhood coffee shop.

Is it sad that when it hit the 40's today in felt like Spring?! It was the perfect excuse to break out my new pom pom fringe blouse (a recent impulse buy at Target). Also, these Lisi Lerch turquoise tassel  earrings which I seriously can't stop wearing.

La Petite Fashionista: Boho Blue Blouse + Turquoise Tassel Earrings 

What I'm Wearing: 
Navy Pom Pom Trim Blosue: Target | Aviator Sunglasses: Tory Burch
Zip Crossbody Bag: Rebecca Minkoff  | Tassel Earrings: Lisi Lerch
Jeans: American Eagle (similar) | Tan Ankle Boots: Splendid (similar)

La Petite Fashionista: Boho Blue Blouse + Turquoise Tassel Earrings 

La Petite Fashionista: Boho Blue Blouse + Turquoise Tassel Earrings

La Petite Fashionista: Boho Blue Blouse + Turquoise Tassel Earrings 

La Petite Fashionista: Boho Blue Blouse + Turquoise Tassel Earrings '

I'm so thankful to have such supportive family. When I typically spend a weekend working on my blog and business, it's been so wonderful to unplug and spend some quality time with loved ones. I think 26 just may be the best year yet!

xoxo, lauren

Friday, March 6, 2015

March Inspiration Board

March is one of my favorite months! It's the month of my birthday and my blog and business anniversary. There's just so much to celebrate that it has me in extra high spirits the entire month! This month's inspiration board has peeks of spring fashion (finally!), colorful cakes and celebration, and daydreams of beachy vacations. I'm off to Milwaukee this weekend to spend some quality time with my Nana and Mom. Three generations of girls, oh boy!

Here's what is inspiring me this month:

March Inspiration Board

March Inspiration Board:
1. Crop top & skater skirts at Paris Fashion Week- that color combo!  
2. I'll happily take this pastel cake for the big 2-6 (March 14th).
3. This quote is so uplifting- I'm a believe in surrounding yourself with positive energy.
4. Beautiful florals have truly been keeping me going in these last few weeks of winter!
5. This colorful flamingo print just makes me oh-so-happy!
6. A pair of pink heels are the perfect spring touch.
7. If this picture doesn't make you want to take a trip to Hawaii I don't know what will!
8. This one too.. I obviously need a vacation from the snow!
9. The half bun is the new topknot, excited to try this hair style out!

Wondering what's on my shopping wish list this month? I added an LPF Shop to the site that has all of my favorite buys under $50- because I LOVE a good deal!

xoxo, lauren

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Game Night Date Night: Trivial Pursuit Live

As the winter drags on,  my boyfriend and I are officially burned out on binge watching movies. On the other hand it's so cold it's hard to leave the comfort of our warm and cozy house. This makes for the perfect circumstances for game night date night! We got to test out Trivial Pusuit Live on the XBOX One and we're obsessed! We've been playing a few times a week, and it usually ends up with me teasing Kyle about his lack of "Entertainment" knowledge or him trying to stump me with the "Sports & Leisure category. I created these candy skewer cocktails (that I'll be sharing the recipe for!) that mimic the colorful categories in the game!

What you might not know about me is I'm a bit of a trivia junkie. While I may not be able to tell you what I ate for lunch yesterday, I can recall random facts and pop culture tidbits like no one's business! I totally recommend that you download this game for your next game night with your significant other, friends, or family. I'll share more about the game later in the post.

Cheers to game night, check out our colorful Trivial Pursuit Game Night Cocktail, a grown up version of the Shirley Temple (that can easily be made non-alcoholic) with a tasty candy skewer stirrer.

La Petite Fashionista: Candy Coated Game Night Cocktail

Game Night Cocktail:
1 Can Sprite (12 oz/1.5 cups)
1 Shot of Vodka
1 tsp Grenadine

Add Ice & Mix well, skip the vodka for a non-alcoholic version & don't forget the candy skewer stirrers! 

La Petite Fashionista: Candy Skewer Stirrer for Cocktails

Candy Skewer Stirrers
Choose a variety of gummy & soft candies and pierce them on a wood skewer.  My personal favorites are licorice, gummy bears and anything sour! Put them in a tasty and colorful arrangement- really, you can't go wrong. I also coated the glass rim in icing & coated it with nerds for a fun element!

 photo Trivial Pursuit_Image_2_XBO_1424176618_zpsqhi9rx0w.jpg

The awesome thing about the Trivial Pursuit Live game is that it can be downloaded right to your gaming console (XBOX or Playstation)! Just like the traditional Trivial Pursuit board game it has trivia questions for categories ranging from Sports & Leisure to Arts & Literature, but with new twists. It keeps each game exciting and competitive! If you don't have a team of four you can even have the system pair you with actual people in a "party'!

Each round varies in the style that participants can answer questions and the trivia questions are modern and up to date (for example, I was SO excited when I got a question about who won the 2013 National Championship.. my beloved FSU Seminoles, of course)! Another nice thing about the game is that it even if you're the underdog the whole game, you can make up your points in the final round- so it's anyone's game!

I hope you have a fun game night & cocktails date night or get together with friends. It's such a fun way to spend time and connect!

What are your favorite date night at home ideas?

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.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

5 Things I Learned in My First Year of Business

I literally cannot believe it. It's been exactly a year since I mustered up the courage to put in my two weeks notice at my corporate fashion job and started my own social media business. I'm pretty sure people both thought I was crazy or just planning on supporting myself from blogging (neither which are true, I assure you)! It's been a crazy year of ups and downs and so much learning. I want to share with you the things I've learned, wished I'd known and am still working on. Progress, not perfection my friends!
I'm going to spend another post answering your questions (feel free to tweet me or email me any that you have!), but wanted to start by telling a little bit of my story.
5 Things I Learned My First Year in Business  
As many of my longtime readers know I started La Petite Fashionista in 2007 and have been blogging and celebrating my way through outfits and navigating my future ever since! I went to school for fashion merchandising at Florida State (go Noles!) & had big dreams of working in the fashion world. I couldn't have been more thrilled to land my dream job with a major retailer (which brought me to Wisconsin)! I learned so much, honed my strategy building and business skills and was able to get creative as well.
Even though I enjoyed my job, it felt like something was missing. I would come home from my 8-5 and spend every free moment working on my blog and side hustle doing social media and working on freelance projects. My parents are entrepreneurs and I've been entrepreneurial since birth, always starting businesses and making things to sell and save money for my "Hawaii fund"! I came to the realization that somewhere along the way I had gotten in my own way. I had given myself a million reasons why I shouldn't pursue my own dream. I took what I thought was the responsible path, going into the corporate world, but my heart and passion weren't there. I decided now was as better time than any to finally launch my social media business.
Now a year later, I've learned SO much and couldn't have done it without the support of family, friends and clients! Over the past year I've launched the Social Media With Style Workshop and Strategy Sessions and it's been my proudest moment ever!
Now, I bring you 5 things I learned my first year in business!
5 Things I Learned My First Year in Business
1. Start With A Plan
When I first "took the leap" I made sure I had a business plan in place. My very inspiring & entrepreneurial sister came to visit me in Wisconsin while she was also working on a small biz project. My parents got us a hotel room for the weekend (thanks guys!) and we spent the entire time nibbling on room service, drinking coffee and working on our business plans.
 We scribbled down all of our ideas on printable worksheets and thought about everything from budgeting and finances to ideal customer to marketing. Many things have changed since that original business plan was created, but I can't imagine starting down this path without giving everything serious detail and thought.
2. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
One of the things that becomes clearest when you are a solopreneur is your strengths and weaknesses. From there you have to learn how to maximize your strengths and continue improving on your weaknesses!
For example, I know that one of my strengths is my passion and dedication to projects and clients. I'm a total perfectionist when it comes to my work, so my clients and workshop participants always know that I'll be giving them 110%. On the contrary, my weakness is taking on too much at one time. Sometimes you have to know when to say no, or extend deadlines. There are only so many hours in the day and I'm working on learning how to better balance and manage each one of them!
3. Value Your Time and Know Your Worth
The most difficult thing about being a business owner AND blogger is balancing my day to day activities and income streams. Coming from the corporate world where I had a set salary has totally changed. I'm solely responsible for making  sure I have enough income coming in. This can sometimes result in making some difficult decisions like saying no to fun things to ensure I have enough time to finish up and prioritize my business responsibilities. It's so crucial to build some structure to your work week to ensure that you're balancing your work & passion projects!
There can also be some perks to having a flexible schedule and working for yourself. You have to figure out how you value your time. For me, even though a coffee date with a fellow blogger or entrepreneur may take an hour of work time away, nothing makes me happier than talking to and connecting with fellow bloggers and business owners. Having a stressful week? Sometimes breaking at lunch to take a yoga class can benefit you 10 times more than working through your lunch.
4. Build a Support System
I know for me, personally having family, friends and blog readers who believe in what I'm doing has made the biggest difference in the world. I think it' also important to note that you don't want to exhaust those relationships either - you don't want to stress out your support system! Having a group of peers that can help you celebrate successes & you can bounce ideas off of is invaluable.
I recently joined With Grace and Gold's Facebook support group for women small business owners and it's awesome having others to talk to that know what you're going through. I also started attending a mastermind group at Madison's local Dream Bank. A mastermind group is a group of small business owners that share any obstacles they're having with their business and gain insights and action plans as a result of your meeting! It's a pretty inspiring group.
5. Continue Growing & Educating Yourself
As I mentioned, I've been attending lots of free sessions at the Dream Bank, listening to lectures and attending sessions on everything from sales to social media. At first I was nervous to step out of my comfort zone and attend events but it's allowed me to connect with so many awesome people! I love networking in person and try to schedule a coffee date a week. I also love attending workshops and events like Go Blog Social.
When I'm working I LOVE listening to podcasts (see my favorites here)! I also am always looking to read new business books (my favorite books for the #girlboss here) in my free time. Some may say I don't do a great job unplugging (who meee? never!), but I'd argue that when you love what you're doing -and it makes you happy- it's okay to surround yourself with it!
Sorry for the novel everyone! For anyone wondering I'll be offering my next Social Media With Style Workshop on April 3rd and in celebration of our one year anniversary I'm offering a pre-register special of $20 off! I have availability this month for one-on-one Strategy Sessions).
Next, I'd love to know- Do you have any questions about starting a business? I'll be answering your questions in another post this week! Feel free to tweet me or email me!
xoxo, lauren

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Latest Lust: Sherbet Shades

need some spring in my life. Right now I'm drawn to sherbet shades- mint, coral, pale pinks & turquoise- all trending colors for SS15. I love the look of these hues, especially paired with tropical florals & classic preppy stripes and polka dots.

My birthday is next week AND Shopbop's "The Big Event" sale is on (now through March 7th) ..coincidence? I think not! I'm sharing the promo code & details at the bottom of the post. Right now my top picks are floaty sundresses, beachy accessories & statement naking bags!

Check out my favorite picks from the Shopbop Sale (in my go-to sherbet shades). If the weather doesn't feel springy you might as well make your wardrobe sunny and bright!

Latest Lust: Sherbet Shades

Get the Look: Sherbet Shades

PALE PINK: Espadrilles: Soludos | Lace Sun Dress: Love Sadie | Stone Cuff: Tai 
Palm Tree Clutch: Kayu  | Pale Pink Maxi Dress: Soft Joie

MINT/TURQUOISE:  Beach Maxi: 9Seed | Braided Sandals: Dolce Vita | Charm Necklace: Alissa Michelle Designs | Envelope Bag: Kate Spade New York | Crop Top & Skirt: re:named

CORAL: Sunglasses: Wildfox | Off the Shoulder Dress: TBags | Sandals: Havaianas
Crossbody Bag: Rebecca Minkoff | Tunic Dress: Splendid

Here's the details of The Big Event sale, just enter code: BIGEVENT15 at checkout!

What colors/pieces are you wanting to fill your closet with this spring?

xoxo, lauren

Monday, March 2, 2015

Building My Empire

Happy Monday my loves! I'm so excited to partner today with fellow #girlboss, The Trendy Sparrow on the launch of her new line of t-shirts! You've probably seen her cheeky mugs all over you instagram feed. Like me, owner Lindzi, has a penchant for Gossip Girl, coffee & Paris & polka dots. In celebration of the launch I'm wearing the "Building My Empire" Tee available in her gorgeous shop!

Believe it or not La Petite Fashionista's EIGHT year anniversary is next week (what?!). When I first started writing this little blog back in 2007 I absolutely never envisioned myself to be where I am today. I am so proud of what I've built and the business I've created that's allowed me to pursue my entrepreneurship dreams. I may not be an overnight success, but I'm happily celebrating each small victory along the way. I think anyone who's ever had big dreams can appreciate that. 

So here's to The Trendy Sparrow and her new launch and to all of the fellow dreamers, makers, and doers out there building their empires- big or small as it may be! 

 La Petite Fashionista: Building My Empire Tee

 La Petite Fashionista: Building My Empire Tee

La Petite Fashionista: Building My Empire Tee

La Petite Fashionista: Building My Empire Tee

La Petite Fashionista: Building My Empire Tee

To celebrate the launch of the new t-shirt line at The Trendy Sparrow (today only!) get 10% off with code: SPARROWTEES10!

Do you have big dreams you're trying to achieve? Share them with me!

xoxo, lauren
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