Wednesday, April 1, 2015

blogging tips and tricks

Blogging Tips
I'm coming up on my three year blogging anniversary, and so I have a few things lined up for this month! First up is a post I've been working on for months - blogging tips. I'm emailed quite often about what tips I have for blogging, so I'm laying it all out here. I'm obviously not the world's biggest blogger, but I do alright for myself :) So! Below are my little tips and tricks I've learned throughout the years - what has worked for me, what hasn't, and why. I'd love to hear your tips, what you've learned from blogging, and what you've done that has helped your blog grow.

participation
This is #1. You have to get out there and mingle. People aren't just going to come to you out of thin air - you have to put yourself out there. Join link ups (a few I've done for years include Bri's Third Thursday Link up, What I Wore Wednesdays, and What I Wore to Work) and visit the other bloggers. Leave real comments (not a copy and paste comment) and if you enjoy their post, follow along and keep visiting. That is how I have found SO many of my favorite blogs, and if we had just left "cute blog!" comments on each others blogs, we would still be where we started. Joining link-ups is a great way to drive traffic to your blog from bloggers who are interested in the same things as you!

Another way to get involved is participate in a challenge. I did a few back when I was able to blog every day, and they were so much fun! Sarah is currently starting a new one, so if you are looking for a place to start, this style challenge is super easy and something any blogger can do. Visit the other bloggers participating and say hi!

(and don't forget to link back to the original link up - it's the polite thing to do!)

You can also always start your own link-ups or ways to get others involved in your blog. Every month at least 50 women link-up to my budget post. I love that more and more people are sharing their budgets, and that we have our little group that comes together monthly to share. If you're doing something unique to your blog, but think it's something others would enjoy doing, try hosting a link-up. Just don't be pushy about it - people will come if they want to! And if doesn't work out, that's okay too.

make friends

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

spring denim inspiration

I thought spring had sprung here, but I woke up to three inches of snow on the ground today! That's not going to stop me from dreaming about warmer weather though. I feel denim always has a resurgence in the spring because you don't have to stuff them into boots anymore, so more colors (or lack of color!) and styles come out. Here are a few of my current spring insprirations, plus pieces that will get you the same look for under $100 at Nordstrom!

Nordstrom White Jeansone | two | three | four

White jeans are obviously huge every spring, and I'm so excited to start wearing mine (I have number three that I found at Nordstrom Rack a few summers ago). Not only do they go with every color in you closet, I think they look so chic with the neutrals (chambray is a neutral, right?)

Nordstrom Bootcut jeans
one | two | three | four

While skinny jeans are currently the denim that everyone wears, bootcut and slightly flared jeans are universally flattering. I love how they instantly elevate any look, and are a great way to still wear your booties in the spring, or break out your wedges when it's finally warm enough for open toed shoes.

Nordstrom Black Jeans
one | two | three | four

My personal favorite type of denim is black denim - it's so easy to dress up or down, and it always looks good. I've owned several different pairs over the years, and they are always my most worn pair of pants. I keep mine dark by only washing them with the Woolite Dark laundry detergent - I haven't had a pair fade since I started using it. Wear them to work with a blazer, or out for brunch with a black top and cognac accessories. 

Picture Inspiration
White Jeans (clockwise from top left): one | two | three | four
Bootcut Jeans (clockwise from top left): one | two | three | four
Black Jeans (clockwise from top  left): one | two | three | four

thank you to ShopStyle for sponsoring this post!

Monday, March 30, 2015

a boy's life

blue blouse with a black pencil skirt

For the men at my school, the dress code is very straightforward - you have to wear a shirt and tie. For the ladies, the rules are a little easier to play with - you just can't wear jeans, and you're supposed to look "professional". This leaves a ton up to interpretation, so you'll see anything from yoga pants to sundresses to the more conservative pants suit.

I felt this outfit was like the female equivalent to the mens rule - button up, black bottom, shoes and a belt that match. The feminine shape of the skirt and the gold jewelry make it all girl though ;)

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DSC08715
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Blouse: J.Crew [cute similar]
Skirt: J.Crew [exact on sale]
Belt: Gap [very similar]
Shoes: Frye [exact on sale]
Earrings: eBay [exact]
Watch: Michael Kors [save | exact]
Bracelet: c/o Rocksbox [use code franishxoxo for 1st month free]
NO. 2 PENCIL SKIRT IN DOUBLE-SERGE WOOL
P.S. If you are reading this before 10 AM, check out the current Loft flash sale - 70% off sale items means my favorite pocket blouse is less than $14!


Sunday, March 29, 2015

top three [03.29.2015]

madewell the sidewalk skimmer in leopard
leopard flats [save | exact] for all occasions: one | two | three

medicine
  • A chronic lack of niacin in one's diet can lead to a condition called pellagra. The med school mnemonic way of remembering it is that it causes the 3 D's - diarrhea, dementia, and dermatitis. The dermatitis, specifically, can be something called a casal necklace - it's a skin condition that does kind of look like a large (statement?) necklace. 
  • I'm sure we've all heard the great things that biotin supplements can do for our hair and nails (I used to take these all the time until I was sick of having to do my nails twice a week because they grew so fast).  Biotin deficiency is actually pretty rare because you don't need a ton of it, and it's in a lot of different foods, but an interesting way of having a biotin deficiency is by eating too many raw egg whites. I hope someone lets Gaston know
  • Smoking is probably one of the worst things you can do for your body - every system we have learned about (which at this point is all of them) talks about how horrible it is, and what awful disease your body will get if you smoke...except if you have ulcerative colitis. Smokers are much less likely to develop ulcerative colitis, and those who have UC have less severe forms when they are smoking. Still not a good reason to take up smoking, but it is interesting!

on the internet
  • I am not really a Lilly girl, but even I'm excited for the new Lilly x Target collection to come out. There are some real gems in there, including cute eyelet shorts and home goods. Many true Lilly girls are claiming this is watering down the brand - thoughts? 
  • Fran Lebowitz and I share the same name and the same amount of sass (kidding, she's much sassier than I ever could be). Her recent interview with Elle was hilarious - what I wouldn't give to hear her say all this in real life!
  • How precious are these pictures of Nicole? She's just so darn cute, and I love how her outfit matches the background!
  • P.S. Thank you to Jen for including me in her list of 9 bloggers she loves -we go way back to the when both of our blogs were just started :)

spotted

on franish

notable sales

personal
  • I purchased a pack of emoji stickers earlier this week, and they have been the best thing about board studying. I've been entertaining myself by finding appropriate places for them in First Aid ("the bible" for board studying). 
  • I'm a very visual learner, and it's something that I wish I sometimes could turn off at night. Whenever I'm doing something that's hard for me, and something where I spend a lot of time staring at notes, I start to dream about it. All. Night. Long. So in college during organic chemistry, I used to dream about synthesizing new chemical structures. During anatomy last year, I used to dream about muscle attachments. I'm now officially in the practice question part of board studying, so every night after doing hours and hours of questions while conscious, my brain doesn't turn it off while unconscious, and I still do "practice questions" while I sleep. It's horrible. Any tips for turning your brain off at night? 
  • Not horrible? A sushi date with Caitlin where drinks, so much sushi, and many laughs were had. So thankful for that girl!

Friday, March 27, 2015

march budget

Loft bow blouse [seen here]: originally $55 + 40% = $33
Loft pocket blouse [seen here]: originally $50 + 40% = $30

March Budget = $70

Quarter budget: $89 in February + $70 in March = $341 left 

Between late nights this week in the library and early morning class/shelf exams, I'm a little burned out right now, so this post, like my spending, is going to be short and sweet. While I purchased quite a few things this month, most (as always) didn't really work out, but I'm very pleased with the three that did.

Forever 21's clothes don't fit me very well, but I've always been pleasantly surprised with their jewelry. I've been eyeing several more expensive options for tassel necklaces, but you really can't beat one for seven bucks. This one is also the perfect length - I've noticed that some are rather long, but I wanted one that hit me ~mid chest, and this one does. If you aren't near a store, I've noticed that F21 has been running more free shipping on all orders recently, so it may be worth waiting a few days if you don't want to add anything else to your order (since you can only return items for store credit). 

I got both the Loft blouses at 40% off - Loft is currently running the same promotion where everything is 40% off (excluding Lou & Grey). I suggest signing up for the emails before putting in an order, because they will send you a 25% off order coupon and you can use that on top of the already 40% off (thank you to Cat for pointing out this great little trick!). Like I mentioned a few posts ago, I've had my eye on the chambray blazer, so I ordered that, as well as a few other items including these great tweed straight pants and an eyelet tee. I'll of course let you guys know how it all works out, and include them in my budget post next month if they work out.

In addition to the Loft order I put in yesterday, I also finally ordered the J.Crew Field jacket after admiring it on my friend Caitlin for over the past year. It's currently on sale with an additional 30% off (code: happyspring), which brings it down to $77 (basically half price). If you've been looking for a spring jacket, I've heard nothing but great things! I ordered the black version in a tall large.

So that's it for me! How did you do this month? Please link to your post below, and as always, please link back to this one so your readers can find other budgeting inspiration!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

on wednesdays we wear pink

bow blouse and leopard flats

I think I fell into a bit of a neutrals hole this past year - looking back at past budget posts, I almost exclusively purchased black, white, grey, or tan. I feel more comfortable in these colors as I find it easier to mix and match items, but sometimes you need a pink shirt just to mix it up a little bit. 

On a different note, Jessica featured me yesterday in her first installment of blogger style files - you can read our little mad lib here!
loft bow-neck-blouse
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Blouse: Loft [exact]
Pants: The Limited [exact]
Belt: Gap [similar]
Shoes: Madewell [exact]
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Loft's newest arrivals are so pretty - it really has become my favorite store! Here are a few I have my eye on currently - I'm definitely ordering the chambray blazer during the next great sale, and I may order the coral dress to see if it's a possibility for one of the FIVE weddings I'm going to this summer. Luckily there isn't a lot of overlap between guests, so I can wear one dress to several weddings. 
one | two three 

Monday, March 23, 2015

how a cute bag can save a life

In school, we spend a lot of time learning how our bodies develop, and how in less than a year, a few cells turn into a human being. There are literally a million different things that can go wrong in this developmental process, but I've always found that the most traumatizing of these to be right at the end, during the birthing process. Infections and certain trauma can be managed or eliminated with the appropriate medical care, but that is something that  40 million women every year don't have access to.  More than 800 women a day die during the birthing process, which is completely heartbreaking.

TOMS's newest One for One program is looking to provide a safer birthing experience for women all over the world. With the purchase of one of the new TOMS bags, TOMS will be provide birthing kits and training to birth attendants in developing countries. I think this is such a wonderful initiative, and was honored to be asked to help spread the word. I think their new line of bags is not only beautiful, but you can't help but feel good about the fact that it also makes such a difference in another woman's life. Below are a few of my favorites, and how they can be incorporated into your daily routines. 
TOMS farmers market TOMS bags: one | two | three | four

toms to the library

TOMS travel bags: one | two | three | four
[dress | denim jacket | scarf | sunglasses | passport cover | sandals]

Thank you to popsugar and TOMS for sponsoring this post