style

ania styles: a dress for picking flowers

April 20, 2017

dress: sold out so quick! ūüôĀ purchased at roolee

two darling white maxis here and here

as much as i love having a minimal wardrobe and shopping with intention, sometimes you just need to buy a dress that makes you want to prance through a field and pick flowers.

literally.

that’s all there is to it for this post. i don’t know about everyone else, but sometimes in the midst of feminism, i feel like it’s not cool anymore¬†to look soft or delicate. but i love that style. ¬†and i just want to say that there is a space for ALL styles¬†at the table. let’s not confuse being strong with not being soft because i think you can be both and be a boss woman all the same.

also, find friends that will take photos of you prancing through a little park field right next to a couple having a romantic easter picnic. those are the keepers.

my 20s

when you give up fear

April 18, 2017

i was at church the Sunday before Easter and the priest saying the homily literally punched me in the gut. (*okay, not literallyyyyy. my priest is the nicest man you could ever meet.) he advised us to think about something we struggle with. pride, humility, shame, anxiety, worrying, jealousy, vanity.

then he suggested we give up that emotion for Lent.

every year for Lent, i give up sweets. it’s just a thing i do because i told myself i needed a reminder in my day-to-day life and since i have a major sweet tooth, it definitely is a daily reminder.

this Lent, like usual, i tried to give up a million things and tack on a million more. even though i tried to keep it simple, it was still too much for 40 days and i could feel in my heart that i wasn’t really getting the fruit of this season because per usual, i wanted to do it all and have the BEST LENT EVER.¬†#storyofmylife

so i really started to concentrate just on giving up fear. i broke the sweets thing a couple of times randomly. it was even in a vengeful spirit — i just literally felt so detached from that resolution. i already eat very minimal sugar so it just didn’t feel like i was doing much more. i have been giving up sweets for probably 8ish years and i have really never grown from Lent. that’s embarrassing to admit because i keep doing it every year but here we are. #keepingitreal

i started to work through giving up fear and focused on trusting in Him in all the hard areas where i don’t want to give up control (future spouse, future family, future kids, future career — can you tell a theme? ūüėČ ).

i realized in a (large) moment of humility, that for the past 22 Lenten seasons, i have been leaning on sweets as my crutch to have a “good Lent.”

but the crazy part was that¬†then i started to see how this plays out all over my life.¬†a great example is exercise and nutrition. i was leaning on small improvements (no sugar, less alcohol, more raw foods) to make me feel like i was making this huge shift towards treating my body better from the inside out. those aren’t even really changes from my normal life to be honest — i already eat that way after growing up with a foreign mom who didn’t understand the concept of doritos. ūüėČ

what i really wanted to do was to exercise more. but that’s hard. like who has time or energy for that? not i. but once i started to get back into running and paying attention to the steps goal on my Fitbit, i really felt the progress i had wanted to feel all along.

wait let me clarify. not progress like “and she lost 249580 pounds overnight!”. i don’t care about that part. when i say progress, i mean that i had finally did THE hard thing that i had wanted to do all along. i stopped focusing on the food part because that was natural to me and really tackled my big fear, which was that i had lost my love of running altogether and i was scared to confront that. college ruined my perception of exercise and i was nervous that i wouldn’t ever crave it like i did in high school.

i am making this comparison because in Lent, giving up sweets was the equivalent to eating healthy. it wasn’t hard. i mean it was hard, because let’s be real i love ice cream, but i was leaning on it because i knew i could do it and it was something to check off my list. i would wake up Easter morning and eat sweets, proud that i got through 40 days without any sugar.

but you see, i had used sweets as my crutch. EVERY year, i also gave up more important things or tried a new positive change. but those fell wayside. because they were hard. and i knew that at least i could give up sweets and pat myself on the back 40 days later.

once this clicked, it was like all speed ahead. i leaned more and more into letting go of fear, reaching out to people and showing up as the most authentic version of me.

i wore a long pretty dress to mass instead of saving it for the “one day that i’ll need this dress and it’ll be perfect,” because i don’t want to wait for that day.

i shamelessly reconnected with friends, unafraid that they might judge me for not keeping in better touch throughout the years and the moves.

i¬†shared more and more on instagram about my love for style and design, even though sometimes i feel awkward doing that when most of my followers are still my friends from school. i really have no idea what i am doing as a “lifestyle blogger + photographer” but i do know that i love it.

i just showed up as fearlessly as i could.

this part makes me emotional because it radically changes your life when you embrace it: what would happen if we,¬†especially we as women, all acted in full trust in His goodness for our lives? if we all woke up everyday, choosing to see our life through God’s eyes, full of promise, hope and crazy big dreams that are so scary to think we, just your average gal, could achieve?

it’s easy to read this on some motivational poster and think “aw, that’s so true”¬†but when you really, truly LIVE that way, it will change you. i am starting to feel this freedom i have never felt and i would say i have been, for the most part, a relatively confidant gal for most of my life. but now i just am giddy about life because i am no longer in a white knuckle grip of my life: i handed over the reigns to the One who knows me best.

God wants us to live, really live this bold, beautiful life he created for us. and how privileged we are to live in a society that lets us, for the most part, live the way we want. we have homes, food on the table, people that care about us and yet we continuously settle time and time again for the sand castles we make in the mud, convincing ourselves that we aren’t cool enough, thin enough, smart enough, talented enough, wealthy enough to do that, whatever that is for you.

well guess what: YOU ARE ENOUGH. you’re MORE than enough.

i call this way of living “terrifying & EXCITING” because it is. i talked in a mad rush about this whole idea to my best friend on the phone the other day as i paced around target. i talked her through a recent situation where i had to really just trust His plan and do my part but really trust that He would show me the truth. but i also had to show up and be present.

i kept saying “it’s terrifying” and she kept respond “AND EXCITING”. “it’s terrifying”. “AND EXCITING”. and that’s just the gosh darn truth. giving up fear made me realize how terrifying and exciting life can be. i understand now what it means to be fearful of the Lord and His mighty power. He can do BIG things in our lives. and that’s terrifying. but it’s also exciting. cheers to lives of terrifying and exciting proportions.

 

** i can’t recommend enough trying this fast of fear! just give up fear for a month, a week, whatever! this is not advice to do stupid things (please don’t make me regret this). i just want you to be bold. email that girl you admire and ask to meet for coffee. tell that boy you have a fat crush on him. plant a garden. plan a trip. call a friend you lost touch with. go on a run. pray for something that just seems too good to be true. just be fearless. (cue taylor swift)

travel

travel diary: kansas city

April 12, 2017

last weekend i visited kansas for the first time — and it was so lovely! i mean driving through kansas is nothing to speak of BUT kansas city? SO charming! i was really impressed!

 

we spent friday evening enjoying the weather and walking from thou mayest coffee shop to brewery emperial. basically we just followed the outdoor seating. all the way to First Fridays, which is a LOAD of food trucks and open art galleries. food and art and good friends? i mean, what could be better?!

we spent all day saturday exploring kansas city. we hit the river market, bought flowers, ate beignets, went to the original joe’s bbq (the fries, oh THE FRIES) and then shopped around the plaza area. that are honestly impressed me so much — it was very european and right on the river. i wish st. louis would develop our downtown to have something similar because it had such a community feel to it!

since i was visiting a good friend who goes to school in lawrence, i do have one recommendation for there since we got dinner on their main street on saturday night. we got dressed up and got apps & fancy drinks at a little restaurant there called¬†715. it is so cozy and romantic — and naturally we were three girls just giggling and having loads of fun treating ourselves and catching up. ūüôā

we ordered the papas bravas and meatballs in marinara. DROOOL. it was amazing. i could’ve eaten those papas bravas everyday for forever. it was fun to eat a spanish food since one of the best days of living abroad was a day i spent with the girl i was visiting in barcelona with her dad. we ate papas bravas, drank wine and rode our bicycles from spot to spot. it was a dream and it made me nostalgic to be back with her, eating papas bravas.

it was such a good weekend. i honestly am still riding the high from it. i just get such a thrill off of seeing new places and taking photos of new things. not to mention, i was in amazing company and it was so special to me to travel with her again. although our trips abroad might have lawrence beat for scenery… ūüėČ

enjoy the trip through my eyes!

 

next stop: new york! do you have any suggestions for me?! i am overwhelmed with everything i want to do in three days! what are the absolute must do’s?!

beauty

up your ‘do: my hair routine

April 6, 2017

i am so excited about this post!!! i feel like my hair is truly different since using these products and tricks for the last 9ish months. err — my ‘do is different. ūüėČ

we’re going to dive right in. after a tale…

when i was living in france, i got my hair trimmed by this super darling lady. the first time i went in, my hair was in a bun and was a gross mess. you know how it is when you go in to get it cut. who cares at that point, right? anyways, she told me this metaphor for hair that i always think about now: hair is like a plant. it needs water, sun and nutrients. that’s why our hair doesn’t grow as much in the winter – we eat worse, it’s cloudy and we aren’t playing in the pool or in the ocean. we also usually drink less water. if you treat your hair like it’s a living thing, which it kind of is, you’ll treat it differently.

so here we go.

i am going to run through my whole hair routine with you starting with…

lifestyle changes //

yes, LIFESTYLE changes. i have a couple of blog posts in the queue about how some of these changes have also helped my acne, energy and wacko + really painful periods, but hang tight for those!

  1. drink water. drink literal gallons of water. no more “i drink a lot of water” and downing one nalgene and thinking you’re through. download the “my water” app, set a goal and meet it every single day. this has made an enormous difference in my eating habits, hair, skin and energy. i feel more clear headed and have almost no headaches. WATER. the first medicine of the people, as my dad would say. i also use these true lemon packets (naturally flavored – woohoo!) to help me get to my goal. just a nalgene, water and some flavor.
  2. sleep more. this is obvious but the more/better you sleep, the better you will feel and the healthier your hair will be. bada bing bada boom.
  3. relieve¬†stress.¬†this is a bit much to get into now in this post about hair but i definitely notice that i lose more hair (i used shed like a dog in college) when i am under stress and not taking care of myself. tips on that in a future post! it’s definitely going to affect your body in so many physical ways. in a VERY short version, getting physically active everyday, realizing that i can only change me¬†and reading more has helped me manage anxiety. that’s about as brief as brief gets. ūüėČ
  4. shower less.¬†i just mean wash your hair less. PLEASE BATHE. i wash my hair once or twice a week thanks to dry shampoo and caring less. seriously.¬†when i lived in california this summer, i decided i was going to train my hair (that’s not a thing but also a thing) to be less greasy. so i washed my hair like once a week and just did lots of little braids and up do’s and changing my part. and the funny thing is that no one cares about¬†your hair as much as you think they do unless it’s straight up dripping in grease. so just push yourself to shower less for a couple months and i PROMISE you’ll see a difference. this is coming from a girl who used to think she would have to shower everyday. success story right here. commit to it – so easy with summer around the corner and being able to pull off updo’s because of the heat.
  5. eat raw.¬†what you eat will affect your skin and hair. fact. i am living proof. my hair is stronger and grows more quickly since i stopped eating loads of sugary, empty carb foods and started having balanced meals, including proteins and greens, and eating more raw foods, less processed ones. these changes were a consequence of severe allergies but has also helped me realize how many times i was putting something in my mouth that i couldn’t even read the ingredients list. i have a rule that since i am reading the allergens list already, i have to make sure i know every ingredient. really can’t stress this nutrition bit enough!! i think it’s why when you see photos of girls who live in hawaii, their hair is so lush. there’s so much produce and they eat so well and their hair reflects that! and they take showers by swimming in the ocean so there’s another reason. just a little hypothesis of mine.
  6. get frequent trims. just do it. i know it’s annoying money spent but the longer you wait in-between, the more they will have to cut off.

tools //

some random blow dryer that needs to be replaced (source: costco? kohls? france? who knows. not fancy is the bottom line. anyone have one they love?)

sedu revolution styling iron¬†(use these irons ’til they die and then i buy another.)

a random brush (this is something i haven’t changed but also should probably look into what brushes are best to use…but i don’t use anything special currently!)

products //

so here’s the whooooole run through of a shower by moi

brush hair out

wet hair, wash with this l’oreal shampoo that i love, rinse

wash with the twin l’oreal clay conditioner*, wash body/stand there like i am in a fancy spa when i am not, rinse conditioner

*DO NOT IMMEDIATELY RINSE YOUR CONDITIONER. all caps because i am being very serious. it is essential that when you condition, you leave it in for a couple of minutes so do something else in the meantime! shave your legs, do a dance, belt out some tunes – you know the drill.

get out of the shower, GENTLY towel dry hair (i should really use an old t shirt instead – this is a good reminder for me!) and then the products begin…

first i put a dime-sized amount of this john frieda serum in my hair, starting by running it through the tips of my hair to heal those split ends with the majority of the product and then work my way up to my roots so that i have the least on my palms when i get to the part of my hair i see and touch the most. this is how i put any hair product in my hair and i never have that greasy, product-thick effect – works like a charm!

next up is the giovanni 2chic avocado and olive oil magic that i LOOOVE. it’s tiny in my photo because my mom got like 8274 samples of it so i am currently milking those but this is so worth the money. i work it through just like the above serum. note: a tiny bit goes a long way with this. giovanni anything is so so so good.

then there’s the aveda damage remedy which is PRAISE HANDS. my hair dresser recommended it to me and i was literally like no. not paying that money. and then she explained that by strengthening my hair, i could get it cut less (less money there) and it would grow faster (hallelujah there). i LOVE this product. it’s lightweight, my hair feels healthier and i have noticed that it doesn’t look as frayed and it’s been almost two months since my last trim. also, the bottle doesn’t even feel like i’ve used any because you use so little so it’ll probably last me … i am going to say 6 months? stay tuned on that.

i finish it off with a couple spritzes of the suave weightless blow dry spray. (yes, my hair is still wet. it’s a routine.) to be honest, i am not sure that this step even does anything but it also isn’t hurting so i am just going to use this bottle up and see if it did make such a difference. i’ll keep you posted on my IG stories if i repurchase it!

then i brush my hair, shake my head like a dog to get off the excess water and blow dry it if i want. i use my hot iron every so often to straighten it but i am trying more and more to pin it up in the classic ania braid updo that i invented this summer or attempting to curl it a bit. the slick straight look just isn’t really my vibe but my hair is also SUPER curly so i look approximately 5 years old if i don’t do anything. working on that situation. ūüėČ

i also spray my hair with this biosilk shine on spray¬†after blowing my hair out that my mom was addicted to this summer and then i stole and also became addicted to. oh. my. lanta. i have never used a product that claims to help your hair shine and it actually works. THIS STUFF DOES. my hair gets that glowy look that is usually ruined by blow drying and straightening thus making it look more natural and healthy. but it does not make it greasy. i have a back-up for this already because that’s how much i like it. and it smells SO GOOD. people used to stop me in retail and ask me what my perfume was but it was just this spray. such a good product.

after i blow dry it (if i don’t straighten it), i put it in a bun at the nape of my neck and fasten it there with a fancy neon orange scrunchie circa homecoming 2k10. #glam. that way, i don’t have a kink¬†in some weird place on my head because of a top knot AND i encourage my tight curls to mimic the big curl of the bun, making it easier for me to curl later. or i’ll braid it loosely and pin it up! i used to immediately want to straighten the fro but i have found that if i give it time to naturally settle, i can apply less heat tools which is my goal!

oh, and if i need some hold for a style, i use my trusty nexxus comb thru finishing spray¬†(medium hold). my roommate got me hooked on this stuff when i had to borrow hers. i LOVE nexxus shampoo and conditioner so i knew i’d love everything else they touch. and i do. it’s a great product and it’s going to last me months, i can tell already. it’s light, doesn’t make my hair stick or stiff and is just a really great hair spray. no complaints here.

then to make it last, i use my favorite ever dry shampoo by r + co – the death valley! as you know, i am trying to find a new, less expensive one so i’ll keep you posted on those results!

PHEW. that was long. if you were to take three things from that, i would…

remember that your hair will reflect the food and water you digest. be intentional! take your vitamins! eat some¬†salmon! it’s a plant. ūüôā¬†

buy the john frieda and/or giovanni serum. my fav products. been using the john frieda one since high school. 

take a couple months to be intentional about only washing your hair once/twice a week to give your hair a chance to reset.

i hope this helps anyone who is trying to make their hair healthy and long — especially with summer just around the corner! i am not a hair expert but between my mom, sister and i plus all of our wise hairdressers, we try a LOT of products. and i’ll keep you all in that fun loop! ūüôā

now go up that ‘do.

photography

newborn session: teresa guadalupe

April 4, 2017

last week i was invited to capture photos of sweet teresa guadalupe just a mere 24 hours after she was born. it was way more emotional for me than i was anticipating. i felt so honored and privileged to be among her family, basically as a stranger to most of them, to try to bottle up these first hours of her life in photos. it was a learning curve for me as i navigated a hospital room and it’s artificial light and i loved the challenge. also i love babies more than almost anything so it was a win-win. ūüôā

the second i left, i sat in my car and just was so overwhelmed with the miracle of life. to be there in that intimate setting was so special to me and i hope i am able to do it again for another family.

here are my favorites from the shoot. i am so unbelievably happy for the new family of five as they start this new chapter with three babes. welcome to the world, teresa! you are so loved already.

beauty

best of the best: dry shampoo

April 3, 2017

i started a new series on IG stories this week. basically what will happen is this: i will ask for what your favorite ________ is. fill in the blank with whatever your heart dreams of knowing the champion of: dry shampoo, yogurt brand (noosa won that before it started), mattress company, mascara, swim suit store. then anyone and everyone can DM me on instagram with their favorites. a couple days later, i’ll compile them in a neat little post like this! this way EVERYONE benefits, i don’t have to try to do the impossible in trying to hunt down every single one and also we can be a tiny community helping each other through the hard stuff like which freaking deodorant to buy. ya know?

this week: dry shampoo. i splurged and bought the r + co death valley a couple months ago¬†because i had heard SO much about it and just had to see for myself. IT’S AMAZING. it doesn’t turn your hair white (or any color for that matter) and i was able to go sometime FIVE DAYS to WORK with my hair loaded with THIS MAGIC SOLUTION. SO MANY CAPITAL LETTERS. also their packaging sings sweet things to my soul so that’s definitely in their favor.

the only problem? it’s a leeeeeetle pricey. but i pay like $8 for shampoo and conditioner at walgreens right now so i am honestly open to splurging again if i can’t find something i like as much. more on that $8 combo later this week…

so i took to you all to poll favs! these were the favorites and i am going to try a lot of new ones before slinking back to this golden dust i’ve been using because i would love to find something less expensive.

batiste dry shampoo: GREAT price point and recommended by all. so i bought it. trial 1. i hated it. HAHAH. i am the worst, you guys. but really – it turned my hair grayish/white and yes, absorbed the grease but I CAN’T AGE MYSELF 50 YEARS everytime i use dry shampoo. it’s headed back to target tomorrow and i am going to try….

dove refresh + care

straight up baby powder

TRESemmé fresh start

nexxus refreshing mist (i love their hair spray – more to come on that on Thursday!)

herbal essences naked dry shampoo

 

stay tuned on my instagram stories for which one wins my heart!

my 20s

book club: winter reads

March 31, 2017

winter is over and so is my worst ever reading record. between moving back to st. louis, getting settled in my new job and falling into bed every night, i read an all time low of two books. buuuuuut in my defense, i also crawled through one of them because it was so good and required being reread over and over.

but anywho, spring will be better. so without further ado…my winter reads!

“rising strong” by brene brown¬†: this book. oooohhhh this book will rock¬†you and make you really think about what it means to rise after falling. but also what it means to dare enough to fall. brene is one of my all time favorite authors. she has a way of combining her personal stories, research and a conversational tone that makes you really understand, reread every page and feel an urge to change. this book is an anthem to everyone who is showing up vulnerable and getting back up time and time again. every book i read by her is amazing.

“present over perfect” by shauna niequist¬†: this book was an affirmation of so much that i believe. we have this present moment, of that we are sure of. but it’s so easy to get caught up in the instagram “reality” or looking forward. shauna bares her heart and talks about her own struggles with accepting the present along with learning to say no.¬†it was a quick read and would also double as a great gift to a friend.

 

i am about to start “lean in” by cheryl sandberg and from there, i’m off to the races! spending more time this season with my nose buried in a book.

 

xo,

ae

style

ania styles: dainty white blouses

March 28, 2017

top: old free people / pants: black jeans / shoes: lucky flats

i have a growing collection of¬†little white blouses. short sleeve, florals, tanks, striped – i’ll take any variation honestly.

there’s something about the color white¬†that i find so flattering and feminine, especially with summer coming soon and warm tans on the horizon. i am eyeing this swimmie with a white top and i love love love white dresses like this one. but we’re not quite there yet with this weather. #eyerollemoji

in march and april, all you reaaaaally want is a little summer sun but we are handed spring showers.¬†so lately as i wait for true dress weather, i’ve been wearing white blouses with skirts, jeans, black pants and everything in-between! it makes me feel like the weather is warmer than the rain outside is currently proving.

although my collection is good as is, i thought i’d gather a couple of my favs on the web for you all. i have this floral h&m one and have given the link to so many girls because the trendy shoulder ruffles¬†but at a good price point. below i linked a couple more in a variety of price points and styles – happy white blouse shopping!

lace short sleeve | eyelet tunic | floral bell-sleeve top | tie front bell sleeve top | wrap around embroidered top | v-neck bell sleeve top

style

ania styles: an ode to a target dress

March 23, 2017

 

dress: target ‘chiffon maxi dress cream floral’

here’s the honest to goodness truth: i haven’t purchased a piece of clothing from target since soffe¬†shorts for track in high school. i just don’t fit into their clothing very well being 5′ 9″ and having…curves. #manifeellikeawoman

so you can imagine my surprise when i walked into target the other day and saw this dress as i strolled through the store on my way to grab some cotton rounds (my life is thrilling, i understand).

my first thought: “wait, that’s cute.”

my second thought: “but there’s no way they’ll have my size or if they do, that it’ll fit well.”

(fun fact: the target i live by is the busiest in its’ district. i just order a lot of things to the store because the selection goes down so, so fast!)

then i did something i haven’t done in a LOOOONG time at target and i tried on the dress. i had the time and i have been prioritizing building the dresses portion of my closet so i figured this could be a great first step.

and it fit! it even runs large which is better for my boho vibes and anti-tight clothing style. i usually don’t love the short in the front, long in the back look — but this one proved me wrong! it’s so flowy and multi-length at the bottom that it doesn’t look as extreme as the online photos make it seem. oh and ps, it does have a comfy slip so you don’t have to worry purchasing that separately. i don’t have money to go around buying slips for every dress i own – i need to buy important things like cotton rounds.

this is a great dress to wear to SO many occasions from Easter celebrations and summer weddings, date nights and¬†backyard bbq’s. and for the price point of under $29.99? dress dreams come true around the world.

i am trying to get better at snapping photos of clothing right after i buy them because i can’t tell you how many times i’ve purchased something, waited a month to take a photo and it’s already sold out! and ALSO, dresses are buy one, get one 50% off right now at target with free shipping at $25 sooooooooo…i’m sorry if this was the week to stick to your budget. ūüėČ

happy spring to all! i hope you have some sunshine in the forecast soon.

 

xo,

ae

style

march style picks

March 21, 2017

last weekend i spent some time making a blog calendar for this little spot on the web and it felt so good! i had such clarity about where i want this blog to go and what i feel is most relevant to you all.

the reason for the monthly style picks is for you all to see what i’m eyeing. so often with bloggers, they’ll comment back to me that they got a top on major discount and in a way, i wish i had known to stalk that top too. that way i would’ve snagged it on sale as well!

with these monthly posts, which will start happening the first week of every month, you’ll get an inside glance into my shopping brain and be able to see what i’m stalking until i can afford it. that’s the biggest tip i can give for shopping: put an item in your online bag and then just wait. be patient. wait some more.

here’s a great example: this free people sweater has been on my radar since september. SEPTEMBER, PEOPLE. even with my employee discount, i still felt like it was a bit overpriced so i put it in my free people and macy’s online shopping bags and would check in every so often. then, last week, i was able to score it on macy’s by downloading their app, getting 25% my first app order and applying a discount code that was running last weekend. this might sound completely absurd and sometimes it is, but that’s the way i shop! i can’t afford to spend $130 on a sweater at this point in my life so i have trained myself to be patient. sometimes it results in me missing out. but that’s fine by me because it helps me reroot in the fact that if i don’t end up getting it, that should not be the end of my world.;)

now that i’ve explained this new series better, here are my march picks! these are items i am considering buying or just really wish a magical fairy would drop on my doorstep. each image is hyperlinked to its’ source so if you also love any, feel free to shop via each photo!

do you have any items you’re eyeing? should i add something to my list? comment below if you have something you’re just obsessing over til that price drops. ūüėČ