8.24.2016

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes



Change is something I'm not great at dealing with. Yet it's something I welcome with open arms. How is that even possible?

I've long been a person of structure and routine. Yes, I will admit that. I like a plan, I like to know what I'm getting myself into and I enjoy consistency. At the same time, I love starting fresh. I enjoy a new beginning, a new opportunity and the chance to try something different. Aren't those like completely contradictory?!

Since entering my mid-20s, I've felt this constant urge for change AND stabilization.

Maybe this is the outcome of all the things I learned at 25. Checkout that recap post here. But I've felt this way for awhile. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not unhappy or dissatisfied with where I'm at in life. But I'm at this place where I feel like big changes should be occurring. Everything around me seems to stay consistent. Consistently blogging. Consistently going home to the same evening routine. Consistently single, ha. Consistently paying bills. Consistently moving apartments.

I know some people actually relish in consistency, ha! So my apologies, I'm not complaining here. Just sharing my journey.

I've just had this strong desire for something different. Yet I also want to feel more settled. UGH! Have any of y'all gone through this? Or felt this way?

Maybe I've felt this way because the past five years have pretty much been the same. If you think about it, there was always change growing up. You went from middle school to high school. High school to college. Change, change, change. Yet, post graduation you enter into this whole other realm of life where change isn't consistent. You find a job and a place to live and you're there for a lot longer than three or four years. At least this is my case. Everyone is different.

There isn't that "next step" that's insight, and maybe that is what makes it hard to feel one way or the other. I want to be settled into a city, with a boyfriend and that white picket fence fantasy. Yet at the same time, I want to know what's next. I seek change, yet want normalcy. Is that the battle of my century, or is it just plain ole growing up?

This past weekend I took my first step towards fighting this battle.

I've moved a lot over the past 4.5 years I've been in DC. Maybe this constant moving is what continues to trigger my desire for something different. So, my first big change of 26 is that I'm moving... again. But this time I'm finally signing a long term lease and with a brand new property that I'm really excited about. It's my dream apartment y'all. I'm hoping that this move will bring me that sense of permanency and teach me that change isn't always necessary.

Tell me, how do you get through the constant battle of change vs. feeling settled. Am I the only one going through this right now?

Photo via Unsplash

8.23.2016

The Blog Societies Conference in Charleston



A few weeks ago I traveled down to Charleston, South Carolina for my second blogging conference with the lovely ladies of The Blog Societies. I previewed this trip on social media, and have already shared the look I wore for the last day of our conference, as well as the look I wore for the second day. I'll be sharing the dress I wore for the welcoming party on the blog Thursday.

Today I want to focus on recapping the conference itself, as well as a few touristy things we did + where we stayed. I apologize in advance, but this post is very "photo heavy," so hopefully you don't have too much trouble loading the post.

Now, let's get into it shall we?




You may recall that I attended this conference last year, when it was known as The Southern Blog Society Conference. Since last year, the southern states combined with all the other regions to now be recognized as one entity, The Blog Societies.

I love being apart of this society! And if you're a fellow blogger who hasn't yet applied, I hope that today's post will convince you to.

The Blog Societies is made up of 400+ members from all across the United States. This year 75 of those members, including myself, traveled down to Charleston for the 4th Annual Conference. It was a weekend full of networking, learning and fellowship. The conference gives bloggers a chance to connect with other influencers and brands from around the country. I left this year with so many ideas and a notebook full of knowledge that I hope to apply to my blog soon!!





Hopefully this gives you a little bit better of an idea as to what the conference is all about, and why it's such a beneficial few days. I'll explain a little bit more further in this post about who we met with and what exactly we did during the three days we were there. But first I wanna talk about where we stayed...



Where We Stayed

Charleston is so rich in history and charm. While our conference was hosted at another property, myself and a few other friends wanted to stay somewhere a little more quaint, but still within walking distance to all of our activities and conference events.



Kings Courtyard Inn hosted myself, Lauren, Lindsay and Taylor-Rae. It's a charming little inn that is only a few blocks away from our activities, and it's situated right on King Street; where all the action is. We could easily walk to Charleston Market, all of the shops along King, and each of our nightly dinner spots. It was truly in the best location.

We stayed in a massive double-bed room, with extremely high ceilings and a newly renovated bathroom. I loved the old wooden floors, and the character of our space. Very Charleston, and very Southern. The best part about our hosting hotel, was the courtyard (hence the name, ha!). It was the most gorgeous setting for an early morning complimentary breakfast, or an evening glass of wine at the also complimentary managers reception. It also made for the perfect Instagram photo-op, with the ivy covered walls and bold black french doors that opened out onto the patio.





If yyou are looking for a place to stay that provides excellent hospitality, a great location and offers that southern, Charlestonian charm, then Kings Courtyard Inn is the place for you to stay!



The Conference and Workshops

The conference kicked off Thursday night with a Welcome Party in The Belmond - Charleston Place hotel. The party was hosted by Vera Bradley!



Since the weather was a little iffy, they hosted us in one of their restaurants. We sipped on wine while meeting and greeting all of the conference attendees, and thanking our lovely conference hosts and Blog Societies founders, Cathy (of Poor Little It Girl) and Jessica (of My Style Vita).



Friday we began the "learning" portion of the conference with presentations by Lindsay Humes of White Oak Creative, Sarah from rewardStyle, Amy Flurry on pitching press and gaining press, and finding your voice with the InStyle Collection. All of these speakers offered a plethora of knowledge that would help us grow our blogs, as well as our overall brands.

We then moved into the networking suite, where we met with 15+ brands. Everyone from Kendra Scott, to Moon and Lola, Swoozies, Wayfair and The Container Store, to L'Oreal and more. There were so many of my favorite brands all in one room!





We took home so many goodies from each of these brands, and I can't wait to share more of what we received with y'all soon. Everything from new beauty products, to home decor and more!

Saturday was our last full-day of the conference and our last day in Charleston. So sad!



We started the day off with a delicious breakfast hosted by Kendra Scott.



We then headed to a morning of workshops. All of the bloggers were broken down into smaller groups, that rotated from one workshop to the next. This gave us the opportunity to really learn, ask questions and get more one-on-one time with brand reps and other influencers.

I started off with a photography workshop (clearly I'm focusing very hard in the photo below, ha!), where I finally learned how to properly use my Samsung NX300M camera!



I've had that dang thing for months, but could never quite figure out how to change the settings. Thankfully I now know how to focus and change the white balance, along with all the other features this amazing camera has. Wahhooo!

Next up I went to the LIKEtoKNOW.it workshop hosted by rewardStyle. For those of you who haven't heard of rewardStyle, it's an affiliate network I'm apart of that helps connect brands to consumers (you) through influencers like me. I do make commission through this network, but all the money I make goes back into this blog and activities that benefit my brand. LIKEtoKNOW.it is one such way I make that commission. I broke it down a little bit here, but basically those links you see on some of my Instagram photos, they are there to help you shop what you see. By signing up for this service and then liking my Instagram, you'll get an email sent straight to your inbox with all of my outfit info. How cool is that?! Like I said, you can learn more about this here.

My last workshop was with the founders of The Blog Societies, Cathy and Jessica.



They gave us some great advice and tips for growing our following, maximizing our time, best practices for working with brands, how to properly pitch a brand an idea, and how to not sell ourselves short when it comes to talking about payment. A lot of the other bloggers in the room had some great tips and tricks to share that worked for them as well. So it was a really great session where we bounced a lot of ideas off one another. This was probably my most beneficial hour of the entire conference!

We then finished up the day and conference with a brunch hosted by Cosmedix. It was such a delicious meal, with a beautifully decorated table and wonderful company with bloggers I hadn't really had the chance to talk to yet.



It was really sad to leave this year! But I left with so much knowledge, ideas and inspo. I'm still trying to figure out the best way(s) to implement it all on here. But that's another post for another day, ha!

Where We Ate

Our weekend in Charleston wasn't all about work and blogging, we certainly did enough eating and drinking of rosé.



We ate at Pearlz Oyster Bar (really great appetizers and of course, oysters), 167 Raw (a hidden gem in Charleston, with some really gorgeous men who man the bar… worth the visit to hangout with them alone, ha!), The Darling Oyster (some of the best scallops I've ever had and across the street from Leon's), and Poogan's Porch (great place to share small plates. I highly recommend the pimento cheese fritters… the most amazing thing I've ever tasted. And Poogan's is next-door to Husk, another popular Charleston spot).



We also did a little sightseeing before we left town Saturday afternoon, and toured around Rainbow Row. You can see my photo diary from our afternoon exploring around town, here







This was another amazing conference and weekend in Charleston! I'm excited to see where 2017's conference will be, and which brands will be in attendance. This is a wonderful and beneficial conference and if you have the opportunity to attend next year, I highly, highly recommend it. Let me know if you have any specific questions about the conference or Charleston in general, below!

A special thanks to all the brands who attended the conference! And a BIG thanks to Cathy and Jessica for planning such an amazing weekend. These ladies are truly an inspiration!! And another big thank you to Kings Courtyard Inn for hosting us during our visit. 

Professional Conference Photos by Kim Graham Photography
All other photos are my own



8.21.2016

Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale



One of the best sales of the year starts tomorrow, and it's sure to be another great roundup of pieces on MAJOR sale! Of course I'm talking about the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale!! This is the sale to snag some of your favorite prints and styles for a huge discount. So here is what you need to know:

  • The sale starts at 8:00 a.m. EST.
  • Get online early, because they typically do a "virtual waiting room" to allow customers onto the site in shifts. This cuts down on overwhelming the site and ultimately crashing the party.
  • If you see something you just have to have, BUY IT! Things will sell out, and rather quickly. You can place as many orders as you want, and they'll batch ship things. So no need to worry with being that girl who places 10 orders, ha!

Don't forget. This is just a sale. Don't freak out and start calling customer service 5 minutes after the sale begins. Just give it time, and be patient. Happy shopping and enjoy one of the best sales of the year!

8.17.2016

Discover New Wines by the Glass with Vinebox



A few months ago one of my coworkers was talking to me about this new wine service she had signed up for. She loves wine, as do I, and has tried out quite a few services and monthly wine clubs. To be honest, I've never really thought about joining one because I didn't think that I could afford it. But my coworker introduced me to this new service that sends you three wines to try by the glass! I was instantly intrigued. I had never heard of that before!

I previewed today's post on Snapchat (kroyster815) last week, and y'all went nuts! I've never had that many responses to a Snapchat in my life. In a good way of course!



As a twenty something on a tight budget, wine services and clubs have always seemed out of reach and affordability. Until now.

VINEBOX is a monthly wine club that curates three wines for you to try at home. Each box is delivered straight to your doorstep and cuts out the middle man. But what makes VINEBOX so special and unique, is that it isn't by the bottle, but by the glass.

I love this!

Why, do you ask? Well for starters, the membership is cheaper, yet you're still getting the white glove service. Boxes are around $30 a month depending on the level of membership you choose, and shipping is included!



You also have the option to try it for a month, and then cancel if it isn't for you. Where as a lot of the clubs require you to commit to three or more months before ever trying the service! No bueno.

I'm also picky about my wine. So I would rather try one glass, before opening an entire bottle. No wine going to waste, and no drinking an entire bottle if you don't love it. Also, if you open an entire bottle, sometimes they go bad before you can even finish it. I mean, I've never had that problem (ha!), but I am sure some of you have had that happen before.



On the flip side, VINEBOX is a great service for those of you wishing to increase your wine palette. If you've long been someone who just consumes wine for fun, but are looking to widen your wine spectrum, then this service is a great place for you to begin doing so. By trying out new wines by the glass, you can take a few months to figure out if you're more of a Chardonnay or Pinot Noir kind of person.

VINEBOX also tries to mix humor and fun into your monthly box. No more endless pages of facts about the wine, you or I cannot understand. Each wine comes with a card that features where the wine is from, what type of food to pair it with, and details on how you can purchase full bottles. There's always a humorous quote on the back of each card as well. See... catering to us young millennials! This isn't your parents wine club y'all!!





They're currently looking for new members to receive September's box! You can signup here, and learn more over on their FAQ page as well. Hope y'all love VINEBOX as much as I do!

This post is in partnership with VINEBOX. All opinions and photos are my own.





8.15.2016

Hello 26 + 5 things I Learned at 25

"It's my birthday and I can cry if I want to, cry if I want to..."



Dress: Violet Boutique (local to DC) | Clutch: Kate Spade NY (old) | Wedges: ShopBop
Photos by Lauren

Actually, there's no crying here!! Honestly,  I know some people dread getting older. Especially once you hit mid-20's. You just want time to slow down. While I agree with that sentiment somewhat (especially once I start nearing my 30's), this year I'm actually glad to be leaving 25 in the dust. This past year has been a doozy.

If you've followed me over the past twelve months, then you probably know or have heard me mention that 25 has been a big learning year for me. It has also been a year of a lot of firsts. My first heartbreak, and then my second. I lost my first grandparent back in October. My first time living on my own. My first time creating a budget and really having to stick to it. My first time having to actually pick and choose what I spend my money on. Oh, and having to finally signup for healthcare (only downside to turning 26!).



While some of these aren't necessarily bad things, it's just a lot to face in one year. There were some other things as well, but all these things combined really left me with a year of learning. I'm serious. I think I learned more about myself in the past year, than I have in all my previous years. When it comes to birthdays, I usually never feel "older" or any "different." But this year, this year is different. I feel older. I feel more aware of life and its challenges.

And as I reflect on some of those lessons, there were 5 that really stood out. So I wanted to share those with you. Not just to share for those who are the same age as me, or those approaching their mid-20's. But also for me to really reflect on what this past year really taught me! Like I've said before, I love birthdays. Not just for celebrating with friends, but also to use them as a new beginning. An opportunity to take what I've learned, and move on to a new year!



5. When it comes to dating in your mid-20's, it's okay to ask some of the hard questions early on. 

Dating definitely evolves as you get older. In college, you're majorly dating for fun. There's no pressure of time or need to have serious discussions in the beginning. But as you get older, time is something you don't want to waste. Now I'm not saying that I have a timeline or looking to rush into anything, but at this point in my life I don't want to spend three months with someone and then wake up one morning and realize our morals or goals for the future are the complete opposite.

I went on quite a few dates this past year. Some relationships grew past the first date, and some didn't. Some lasted for a few weeks or even a few months. One thing I learned from all of these relationships was that I was constantly overthinking each one. "Where was this going?" "What is he looking for?" "Does he go to Church?" I kept asking these questions in my head, but why wasn't I just asking him?! Duhhh Kristyn!

It's okay to avoid some of these questions on the first, and even the second date. But at this point in my life, I am totally okay with asking some of the hard stuff sooner rather than later. The way I look at it, the right guy will respect you for knowing what you want, and what you wont compromise on. It's better to know up front that he "doesn't want a relationship anytime soon" or that he unfortunately has some of your non-negotiables. It's okay! Just means you're getting on the same page before feelings develop, because once that happens you'll be making excuses for them, rather than realizing he just isn't the one!



4. Starting this blog has been the best thing I've ever done.

Not all lessons are negative!

I started this blog a little over 2.5 years ago. It has brought so many amazing memories, collaborations, opportunities and opened so many doors that I never knew were possible. Like attending Fashion Week and sitting front row at my very first show.

But the biggest thing this blog has given me is a great group of friends!

I've had a lot of friends over the years. Some I'm still close to, and others unfortunately we've grown apart. I have always searched though for a like minded group, of hardworking and talented women. And I found that because of blogging. I am so thankful that blogging brought me these ladies and their friendships. I've learned from them, grown with them and y'all, they aren't just my "blogging friends." They're my actual, ride or die, best friends. I know if I were to quit blogging tomorrow, I'd still have each of these ladies in my life. And I'm so so thankful for that!




3. Never apologize for telling someone how you feel!

If you know me, you know I'm never lacking in saying or showing how I feel. I'm still working on the whole poker face thing, ha! When I say something, I say it. I don't feel guilty, because I mean what I say. But, sometimes I have a hard time finding the courage to say what I actually feel. Mostly because I'm worried about the outcome. It's something I'm working on, especially within relationships. This past year I told someone exactly how I felt about them. I was so excited, and had never been that happy in my life. Well, the reaction to what I said was the worst possible reaction you could imagine. I was devastated, embarrassed and at that moment I wanted so badly to take it back.

What I learned over the months to follow, was that I shouldn't have felt that way. I said what I said because I meant it. I felt it. While the outcome wasn't what I had hoped for, I wouldn't take back what I said. If you feel something, you should express it. Because it's how YOU feel. Now there are some exceptions to this. You don't want to purposefully hurt someone's feelings, but I think you know what I mean here.



2. Throw your "plans" out the window. 

Growing up I always had a plan. I consistently knew what the next step for me would be. I went to high school, knew I wanted to go to Tennessee for college. Went there. Knew I wanted to be in a sorority. Did that. Knew I wanted to grow into a leadership role. Got there. Knew I wanted a career in journalism. Wait, that didn't happen. Moved to DC and got a job. Now what?!

I've always been able to envision my future quite easily. I had all these plans of what I wanted life to look like. Yet the majority of those post college plans didn't happen. Which is okay. Because, so many more amazing things have happened in my plan's place.

I learned that while you can plan for some things, like setting money aside for your future or booking travel for an upcoming trip, there are many things you can't. Like major life occurrences. You just have to know that while you think your plan is amazing, there's an even bigger and better one that awaits you!



1. You'll never get where you want to go without Faith. 

Since this is my birthday after all, I wanted to end this post on a POSITIVE outcome from a lesson I learned!

Through all of these "lessons" and "challenges," I realized the biggest lesson of them all. There had been something, and Someone who had been missing in my life for the past few years. And that was my relationship with the Lord. Now I don't want to get too preachy on y'all, and I can share a more in depth post on this in the future if y'all want, but I want to share this because it was my most important lesson.

I had tried to walk through life on my own. I'm an independent Leo after all, ha!

But that's just it. I'm not walking alone! The most important lesson I learned this past year, was that I can't and shouldn't do life by myself. I have an amazing Father who loves me, and He has this ridiculously exciting plan for me. But I wasn't ready or deserving to receive that plan, because I had shut Him out. I suppose I needed to go through all of these lessons and hardships in order to get back on the right path.

So whether you believe in Him, or just have a strong relationship with faith, it's important to realize and remember that you're not alone. And I'm excited and thankful that THIS was the outcome of many of the lessons I learned at 25.

Twenty-six is going to be an amazing year. I just know it. And I hope y'all will continue on this journey of life with me. Thanks so much for all the support, encouragement, for reading and being there for me. I'm so thankful for each and every one of you. Now, let's celebrate this amazing day!!