Remember when I went to Trunk Club and bought this IRO blouse? We had styled it with a fun Kate Spade suede (button front) skirt but I wasn’t totally sold on it. After the fact, I spent quite a bit of time looking for the perfect denim (button front) skirt to pair it with and this is it! It’s so comfy + cute… and it just went on sale. I’ve been wearing it quite a bit and love that I can just throw it in the wash.
Over fashion week I attended a fun dinner with Sole Society. I was allowed to choose a pair of shoes to wear to dinner and I chose these wedge booties. I am so glad I did as they are crazy comfortable. Every Fall I buy a pair of comfy black heeled boots that I can run around the city in. As I am hard on my day to day items, they usually don’t make it until the next year, so I look for something that is under $100. These are them! I hadn’t worked or shopped with Sole Society in some time – now I have my eye on so many pretty things (namely these mules, these sandals, and this overnight bag).
What are your favorite brick and mortar stores to shop at in NYC? I’ll be there in a week and a half – I go to NY a couple times a year and generally shop at the big stores we don’t have in Portland like Zara (can you believe we don’t have one yet?!), UNIQLO, Saks, Neiman’s, etc. But I was hoping to branch out this trip and be a little more creative. Any recommendations??
That is hard because I mostly shop online! I personally really love Otte. There are several, all over the city. I also shop at Intermix quite a bit as they have great customer service and a lot of cute things. Both of those stores have a gorgeous (very curated) selection of merchandise. In Brooklyn, I love Catbird and Bird. And I know it’s a chain, but our Club Monaco (the one at 21st and Broadway) is amazing. There is a Strand Bookstore, a florist, and a Toby’s Coffee (my favorite coffee!). It’s kind of like the best of New York, all rolled into one little store.
This is personal, but have you lost weight using a personal trainer? I’m on my 3rd month of personal training and my body is finally responding.
So, I don’t actually weigh myself. I used to, and found myself getting obsessive about the scale, so I threw the scale away. That being said, we take pictures every month and after three months, my trainer finally let me see them last week (I’m also at the three month mark). I was shocked to see what an improvement I’d made. I posted the before/after to my snapchat (grace.atwood) earlier this week. When you see yourself every day it’s really hard to notice changes. My arms and legs (while always relatively skinny – it’s my torso that gains the most weight) have really toned up. I actually have arm muscles, which I’ve never had before. I’ve also lost a few inches from my waist and a little bit from my hips. I’m still not exactly where I’d like to be but I’ve made a lot of progress.
I have a longer post planned (with pictures, etc) once we hit our goals, but I will say that while personal training keeps me accountable (and has helped me become more comfortable with weights), to lose weight/inches, diet is definitely the biggest factor when it comes to weight loss. My trainer gave me a pretty strict meal plan and I get one cheat meal a week. I rarely eat carbs (my glass of wine at the end of the day is my carbs) and I don’t eat processed foods except protein powder + bars (I am obsessed with Quest Bars – cookie dough and blueberry muffin are my favorite!!). Diet and accountability are probably the most important part!
Do you use a self-tanner? If so, which one?
I use Vita Liberata’s Gradual Self Tanner a few days a week. I like that it gives me just a little bit of glow, and because it’s gradual, it’s harder to mess up. I also like that it’s non-toxic and made from organic ingredients. I don’t use self tanner on my face unless I’m going on vacation… I will usually just use Benefit Hoola, my fave bronzer.
What are your favorite blonde-safe shampoos? Do you use the purple shampoo?
I don’t use the purple shampoos. I have tried Oribe Bright Blonde and I definitely liked it, but I actually have a really dry scalp. I know, gross. I only wash my hair a couple times a week… so once a week (at least) it is with Head & Shoulders (I know, so glamorous but it WORKS. I like the lavender one as it actually smells good) and the rest of the time I use Rahua (my fave – it’s organic and smells SO good). I’m probably not the best person to ask about blonde-hair-things as I’m trying to make my hair less blonde. I have terrible roots right now and am attempting to grow it out a little bit more and then just get a few caramel highlights and lowlights for something a little more natural looking.
What camera do you use?
I use a Fujifilm X-T10! I love it. I have two lenses for it.. an 18mm and a 35mm. I actually use the 18mm the most. Fuji cameras are great for beginners.. the color balance is really good and I find that the edits I have (I use Lightroom to edit) are usually pretty minimal. I dated a photographer for a little bit last year and he swore by Fuji cameras + helped me pick it out. I’m a big fan of mirrorless cameras as the photo quality is just as good as a DSLR but they are smaller.
How do you deal with negativity you receive on the internet or via your blog?
You know, it’s all relative. There is a lot of negativity out there and I don’t get it nearly as badly as a lot of my fellow bloggers. Here’s the thing. I get to make a living from doing what I truly love every day. I’m really, really lucky and I never forget that. So, if a few people have some not so nice things to say from time to time, that is fine. I also think you can learn a lot from the so-called-jealous-haters… sometimes, criticism is warranted. Listening to it has made me push myself to be a better writer, to keep things as real as possible here, and to make my content the best it possibly can be. Actually, here’s a funny/embarrassing example: once in a forum, someone pointed out that it was really annoying that I started every blog post with… “Annnnd <<day of week.>>” I read that, and was like… “holy crap, I actually DO do that… in every.single.post… it is annoying!” Oops! So I stopped doing that. Listening to criticism with a constructive ear can be helpful… it might make you see annoying things you are doing without realizing it. Of course you have to stay objective and be professional about it. If you look at it as criticism of your business as opposed to criticism of yourself as a person, it gets a little easier.
But like I said, I have it pretty good, all things considered. People might hate my outfits, question my spending habits, get mad about sponsored posts, or critique my writing… that’s fine. I think the harder part is when someone’s character goes under fire, which has not happened for me me.
I’m starting to ramble so I will just say… of course, criticism is hard to take… and it will probably always sting (like getting a bad review or criticism from your boss), but at the end of the day I think a little negativity here and there is part of running a successful blog. All you can do is learn from it (where applicable) and do your best to stay positive and work the hardest you can to create great content.
When you take outfit photos, do you shoot more than one outfit per day? Do you have a contract with your photographer?
We will usually shoot three looks at a time. While I wish that we shot more “in the moment,” that is just not realistic. I book Lydia’s time by the hour, so it doesn’t make much sense to shoot the looks every single day/as I am actually wearing them. Also, when I am out with friends, someone I’m dating, etc. I don’t want to ask them to take my photos. It’s annoying to my friends and also disruptive to whatever we are doing. I mean, of course, if we are on vacation or on a trip, I can usually get a pal to snap a quick pic, but I HATE asking. So it’s easier for me to just meet Lydia once or twice a week and shoot whatever it is that I wore that week. This is, in all honesty, one of those times where I wish I had one of those ubiquitous photographer boyfriends… it would be really nice to capture more things in the moment (especially for Instagram), but if I were in a relationship, I think I’d still like to keep the blog separate from our relationship. I admire all of the bloggers who get those great shots while doing things together with their significant other, but I actually really like keeping my blog a little separate from my personal life.
Lydia and I don’t have a contract but I know some bloggers do… we’ve been working together for over four years now and are very close friends… there doesn’t seem to be a reason for one! I work with two other photographers (Trent + Tonhya) and I don’t have contracts with them, either. That being said, if I were to work with someone I didn’t know, maybe I would get one. One of my friend/s photographers sold her image to a brand and her likeness ended up being used for a feminine hygiene ad. Seriously! I was horrified to learn that, and if I were to bring in a new photographer that I weren’t already close with I would definitely have them sign some sort of contract. That being said, I am pretty private and a little bit fussy about who I will work with. It’s hard to find someone I feel comfortable shooting with, so I tend to work with the same photographers over and over and over again!
Do you have any products you use after you work out but before you can get home to totally wash your face?
Haha, I don’t. Hopefully not’s that gross. But I have dry skin and don’t really break out, so I haven’t really seen a need. None of my workouts are more than a twenty minute walk home. I always wash my face/shower as soon as I get home. Although… I came across this interview this week and the CEO of Outdoor Voices shares some good beauty products for after the gym… maybe I’ll give them a try!
If you could only wear one type of jewelry, what would it be?
Hmmm… probably my diamond studs. Besides being a favorite, I am convinced that having a tiny bit of sparkle around your face makes you look prettier.
This might be nosy or rude but I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about blogger friendships. Are they real? I mean, I would assume they are but this is just something that fascinates me… especially around fashion week when I see you guys all over each other’s snapchats. How did you meet them? Also, who are your blogger friends?
Haha. The questions I get asked here are always so interesting. The short answer is that my blogger friends are definitely real friends. A lot of my closest “blogger friends” don’t live in New York, but they are indeed real friends. Of course there have been bad experiences (I’ve had bloggers stop being my friends as their sites grew, and I’ve also made “friends” that clearly weren’t actually my friends – they just wanted something…). That being said, that’s the exception, not the rule. Blogger friendships are the same as regular ones, you become friends with them because you feel a kindred spirit, have similar interests, etc. At first, these friendships were more about work. It was nice to have people who understand what I do all day and bounce ideas around with (most of my close non-blogger friends don’t really get it and tease me a lot about what I do for a living!). Over time though, it’s now at a point where we rarely talk about blogging or work projects. After almost seven years of doing this, I will say that I have made a lot of great friends.
We met at blogger events, or from following each on social media and talking back + forth or commenting on each other’s blogs. And a few, I met when I was at BaubleBar.
Here in New York, the friends I see and hang out with the most are probably Christine, Julia, Kat, Taylor, Meghan, Krystal, Hitha, Carly, and Blair. There are a lot of other blogger pals who I will see at events in NYC and give them a big hug + be excited to catch up with, but those are the girls I have dinner with, take a workout class with, hang out with away from blogging. Meghan was my first blogger friend – we met years ago when I had first started at BaubleBar, and she connected me with a lot of our other mutual friends.
Victoria was my other first blogger friend. At the time, we both had baby blogs and day jobs. We would have these monthly Facetime sessions (this was maybe four our five years ago?) where we would bounce around ideas for posts, talk about how we were earning money, and so on and so forth. I remember when she invited me (and my boyfriend at the time) to her wedding. It was hilarious as we had never even met in real life, but it really did feel as though we were life long buddies. My bf was so confused at how I’d been invited to an “Internet friend’s” wedding. I ended up not being able to go because of Hurricane Sandy, but we remain very close friends. She was responsible for my rebrand last year – I wouldn’t have dreamed of entrusting anyone else with that job!!!
In Charleston, there is Chassity. Chassity is one of the sweetest friends I have, inside or outside of blogging. We met ages ago and I always really loved her. I thought her style was so cute when I was at BaubleBar, and so we would send her things. Over time we finally met during a fashion week (hitting it off over severallll cocktails), and then she invited me on that Charleston press trip (the one that began my Charleston obsession!) and that’s what really cemented our friendship. We see each other so frequently (I’m going to see her 3 times this month which is more than I see a lot of my friends!) whenever each one of us goes to the other’s city… and my sister featured her home in her book! Liz is another really close friend. She’s one of the most genuine and down to earth people I know… and she’s such a good mom! I love her and I fantasize that someday Liz, Chassity, and I will all live in Charleston together. That would be the actual best thing in the world.
Molly is another very close friend. We have calls to talk about blogging and share the same manager. She taught me how to use Lightroom, and in a pinch has edited photos for me when I didn’t have anyone to do it. But more importantly, all of the blogging stuff aside, we are close friends. We’ve cried to each other about silly boys and are definitely kindred spirits I’ve visited her in Dallas and last year she came and stayed with me for two nights and we had an absolute ball, running wild in the city.
Merritt is someone I see every time she visits New York, but I really wish we lived closer. We’re very similar in that we’re both dating and trying to figure out that whole thing, and love a lot of the same stuff (especially travel… but also food + working out, which go hand in hand in my book).
Okay, this is getting VERY long.. sorry! There is Jess in Newport, RI. In Chicago I also adore Jess, and Hallie – wish they didn’t have to leave New York. And in Texas, Caroline, Mackenzie, and Amy. And Fran, in Ohio. In San Francisco there is Alicia, + also Erica from Honestly WTF (she was a mentor to me in the early days and has taught me SO MUCH). And Nicolette, Mara, + Alyssa, in LA!
And overseas, there is one of my favorite people ever. Briony has the most gorgeous blog and is one of the smartest, kindest, most genuine people around. I see her more than you would think, but we’ve actually managed to see each other quite a bit this year.
I am probably leaving someone off here, and I was very nervous to even answer this question as I hate listing off friends… I know I will probably either a) embarrass myself for gushing about how much I love these people or b) leave someone important off (sorry if you are reading this and we are friends and I excluded you – def not intentional)! If you take one thing away, yes, blogger friends are real friends. The best part of blogging (for me) is the friendships that I’ve made. There are so many incredible women I’ve met… it’s really pretty amazing!
How do we deal w/ adult acne? I’ve had clear skin until about 3 weeks ago. I know you have great skin but maybe some tips?
Oh man. I’m sorry to hear that happened, that really sucks! I really don’t know – I rarely break out but if your skin used to be clear, I would think about what has changed in the past month. Did you change your diet? Exercise routine? Your skincare routine? Did you switch your water? It sounds like there is some external factor that is causing these changes in your skin… but I am not a dermatologist. I would definitely go see a derm, pronto. In the meantime, drink lots of water, avoid dairy, and maybe do a good charcoal mask to sop up excess oil. I’m sorry that I can’t be more helpful – good luck! Also, I just remembered my friend Krystal’s post. Might be helpful?
photography by Trent Bailey.