Back on the [Green] Scene (Feat. FashionMia + Phipps Conservatory)

Hello, everyone! It sure has been awhile hasn't it? Though I had yet another unplanned hiatus (I don't know why but they always seem to happen in early spring, what's up with that?), however, I'm thrilled to say that this most recent 2018 hiatus was for a much brighter reason than last years. This time, and there will be more on this below, my hiatus had a HUGE focus on self-care and as a result has left me feeling happier, healthier, and more motivated than ever to get back on to the blogging scene!

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And of course, aside from being happy to be back to writing and styling (which are just a few of my favorite things), I am also thrilled to be back because I also have some very exciting collaborations coming up this summer and will also be working with some really awesome people. But most of all, I am excited to be back because I have missed all of you, which as always I am forever appreciative of all of your on going support! Now, let's get to the good stuff, plus my brand new #OOTD.

Life/Blog Updates + What I've Been Up To

So, I am sure many of you are wondering why I have been away (especially without warning) for so long. The short answer to this is back in late February, I unfortunately caught that nasty flu and bronchitis that had been going around this year, and was in and out of the hospital for weeks. That in itself was rough, however, what made it worse was due to being ill I fell behind in my classes at Point Park University. The latter was originally the main reason for my hiatus because I take my schooling very seriously (good news is, though I'm not thrilled my GPA didn't stay at a 4.0, I did come out of this semester with a 3.6 all things considered), I also started focusing on getting healthier and taking better care of myself.

In order to do this, I began making time to do things that I enjoy again. These activities include yoga, running, ballet, singing, and of course photography. I also made strides in my personal health by making sure I made time for myself (because like many of us do, I occasionally forget that I am in fact important too) to relax and do things that I love, in order to keep my mental health in tip-top shape. I also have been eating better and have been sure to avoid pulling all-nighters at all costs, considering I know my sleep habits were an issue.

As for updates on the blog front, for one, my blogiversary was back on March 20, 2018, and Stark Raving Chic turned three years old! And though I didn’t get a proper post done about it, I’m still so happy to have had this success over three years. I was also thrilled to find that I haven't only not lost any followers, but I gained a significant amount, and actually hit 25K on Instagram! So along with some more exciting interviews (similar to the kick-ass one with Terra McBride back in February), as well as awesome upcoming collaborations with a few major companies, I will also be hosting a 25K giveaway sometime this summer, so be sure to stay tuned!

New Photography Work

As mentioned above, along with practicing self-care through being sure to make time for myself, I also really got back to my artistic roots and began photographing nature again. Though my focus was in photojournalism, and I love fashion photography, another thing I always loved focusing my lens on was nature, and honestly hadn't shot anything new until recently. However, it was so uplifting and I am so excited about the photos that I have decided I might have found a new passion in nature macro photography. If you head to my "Portfolio, Nature: 2018" section you can see all the photos I've been working on, but I picked a few of my favorites to show here (also note, all photographs can be printed and framed for purchase, pricing is available upon request via email):

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Gorgeous Greenery 

Last but not least, though this portion won't be as extensive as my other "Outfit of the Day" posts, I did want to share one of my new favorite early spring dresses from my affiliate and sponsor, FashionMia, along with some gorgeous jewelry from my favorite South Side boutique, Terry Jolo.

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The reason I love this dress is due to its lush green color, which in my opinion, is absolutely gorgeous for spring. It reflects the new greenery we get this time of year as well as everything coming into bloom. I also like this dress’ flowy, a-line, cut, which gives this dress a soft and feminine appearance—adding to the soft look, and touch, of the velvet. 

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To style this look, I chose to keep it classic with some gorgeous gold jewelry from Terry Jolo. The reason this necklace and earring (see below) duo work so well for this look is due to the fact that they make a a statement without overwhelming the dress. 

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Lastly, to complete this soft and feminine look, I chose to keep it simple with my makeup and opted for bareMinerals BarePro in Aspen, Maybelline’s Bronze Rooftops City Minis pallet for my eyes, Dior’s My Rose Blush, and Kat Von D’s Studded Kiss lipstick in Lovecraft. 

One Last Look

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What have you been up too for the past three months, and what are some of your favorite ways to practice self-care? Let’s chat about them in the comments below or you can tweet me at @StarkRavingChic! Have any fabulous photography or spring looks that you have just been dying to show off? I’d love to see them, so feel free to tag me in you Instagram Story at @StarkRavingChic. Later, babes!

Xx, Bree

P.S. Psssst! just in case you haven't heard, I am now a proud member of rewardStyle and LIKEtoKNOW.it! Meaning you can shop straight from my Instagram feed when you click here or here. Don't know what LIKEtoKNOW.it is all about? Learn more, here!

Welcome Back! (Feat. Life Updates, New Blogging Schedule, and Clothing by Make Me Chic)

Hi, everybody! It's been awhile hasn't it? First off, I would like to apologize for taking a much longer than anticipated hiatus, however if you read my last post, I'm sure many of you have assumed that I simply needed some extra time to heal and focus on myself, which you would be correct in assuming. But now I am back, feeling rejuvenated, and more ambitious than ever! I suppose the old saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" holds true to me, even if in this case it's in regards to my blog. 

With that being said (and I'm sure you've guessed by the title), I do have some life updates for you all which means I will also be on a new blogging schedule. But first, let's dive into today's outfit of the day, featuring a comfy, yet chic maxi dress from my sponsor, Make Me Chic.

Underestimated Earth Tones

Firstly, I just have to say, though I've been gone the past few months, I was surprised and grateful for the outpouring of kindness and support that I still continued to receive. (I promise I will answer all of your comments everyone, and thanks again!!) But though I will answer your comments individually, I know a lot of you lovely people have been wondering what exactly I've been up too, as well as if I've been alright.

As I stated earlier, I am doing much better than the last time you guys heard from me. And though my life did change rather abruptly, it was totally for the better. Though at the time I did not see it as a positive change, now looking back on the situation with a new set of eyes and a whole lot of clarity, it was most definitely more toxic than I would like to admit. But on the bright side, I most definitely grew from the experience and I'm excited to start this new chapter in my life.  

So, what have I been up too? Well, for starters, I have been spending gobs of time with my family and friends, and have even made some new ones along the way. I have also been extremely busy in order to return to my classes at Point Park University this fall, which is actually why I am implementing a new blogging schedule, but more on that later. I am also happy to say that I am back to my sarcastic, but cheery, self and have been enjoying styling some of my favorite trends this summer (though, I still need to desperately detox my wardrobe--I guess that'll come in due time). So on that last note, lets talk about this cool, casual maxi dress from my sponsor Make Me Chic.

As my long time readers know, one thing I am an absolute sucker for is maxi dresses. The reason I love them so much is because not only do they flatter my tall frame, they are also incredibly comfortable and generally have a nice bohemian vibe. This dress is no different, which it was why my first pick to wear on a nice summer stroll through Sewickley, and to stop and poke around the local flower shop.

The first thing I noticed about this dress wasn't just the fun tie-dyed pattern, but the fact that it was made up of earth tones, which are admittedly some of my favorites to wear. I just absolutely loved that though this dress is whimsical, it is also practical in its colors meaning its perfect for many different summer activities. This dress is also incredibly soft and just feels like you're wearing an oversized tee, meaning it isn't too hot for some of those 90 degree days we will be having in our near future.

Makeup: Face, BareMinerals Original Foundation and Blush. Eyes, City Minis Palette by Maybelline, Plumpify Mascara by Covergirl. Lips, Kat Von D Everlasting Lip Liner and Covergirl Oh Sugar Lipstick.  ** All eye and lip makeup for this post was provided by  Influenster  .

Makeup: Face, BareMinerals Original Foundation and Blush. Eyes, City Minis Palette by Maybelline, Plumpify Mascara by Covergirl. Lips, Kat Von D Everlasting Lip Liner and Covergirl Oh Sugar Lipstick.

**All eye and lip makeup for this post was provided by Influenster.

Finally, to style this dress, I chose to pair it with a basic, straw hat, these Gorjana, Ryder Ear Climbers, along with this darling beaded necklace by Nakamol and my SLATE Moonlight Daydream cuff. The reason I chose these pieces is because I felt each of them complemented this dress' whimsical nature nicely, without being too over the top, which would take away from this dress' down to earth vibe. 

New Blogging Schedule

Now that I got the fun stuff out of the way, here is some important information regarding my posts in the upcoming future! As I stated above, I have been incredibly busy getting ready to head back to school this fall and will be caring a full course load. Meaning, I won't have as much time to dedicate to my blog as I did in years past. However, don't worry, I'm not quitting altogether! 

Though the next few months maybe trial and error of getting my schedule down pat (mainly so I'm not a stressed out mess between studying, homework, and this) I am first going to start off with doing biweekly posts. These posts will go live sometime during the first week of each month, and the third week of each month. That way it gives me more time to write worthwhile articles (as I'm sure you can recall me addressing a few months back) as well as keeping up on my schooling! And though I'm sure you are already aware, I will still be posting within my main categories (and come September there will even be a new travel post!) so though I'm scaling back on my posts, I am not scaling back on the variety that you guys find here. So everyone wins right?!

One Last Look

What are some of your favorite trends you've been styling this summer? And to my fellow college bloggers, what's your strategy to keep your sanity while juggling school work and your blog? Let's chat about both these topics in the comments below, or you can tweet me at @StarkRavingChic! Have a cute summer look you'd just love to show off? Feel free to tag me on your Instagram story at  @StarkRavingChic. Later, babes!

Xx, Bree

P.S. I just want to say thank you again to the out pouring of support that I received from all of you while I was feeling so down. It's truly ever so kind of all of you and I am so thankful for all of you and your kind words. ❤️

 

P.P.S. Psssssst! If you love the jewelry I styled in this post as much as I do, you can try Rocksbox for a whole month 100% FREE when you sign up using my promo code "starkravingchicxoxo". Don't know what Rocksbox is or how it works? You can learn more here!

Also, In case you haven't heard, I am now a proud member of rewardStyle and LIKEtoKNOW.it! Meaning you can shop straight from my Instagram feed when you click here or here. Don't know what LIKEtoKNOW.it is all about? Learn more, here!

Blogging Hiatus: 2017

Hi everybody! Though I really was not planning on taking a hiatus this year (And don't worry, I won't be gone for months on end like my last hiatus, I'll just be away for 10 days!)  but due to some recent emotional trauma, I feel that it is best to take a short break and regroup. Though this is a hard time for me, I assure you all that I will be okay, and am trying to remain positive though I am currently devastated and heartbroken. I just need sometime to heal and get my head back in the game. So I'll see you all in a little over a week. Later babes, I can't wait to get back on track!

Xx, Bree

Soufeel Jewelry: A Review

As you all know from past posts, I absolutely love jewelry. From my partnerships with Rocksbox and Boho Tribe Collection, to my beautiful collaboration with Ritani, I think it is safe to say I am all about things that sparkle. However, for those of you that has been reading my musings for sometime now (I'm talking clear back to the "Wish-list Wednesday" days.) I'm sure you can recall that my jewelry box was lacking in one department, and that was in bracelets. Sure, I have a few trusty cuffs that I can wear to more elaborate occasions, but I honestly did not have many, well really any, bracelets that I could wear for everyday life. That was up until now, at least, after John and I had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with my newest sponsor Soufeel!

Soufeel Jewelry

For those of you who have not heard of the online jewelry retailer, Soufeel, I'm just going to take a moment to tell you a little about the company and their products. To start off, Soufeel is a jewelry store that specializes in sterling silver jewelry ranging in products from necklaces, earrings, and bangles, but what Soufeel is most recognized for is their absolutely gorgeous charm bracelets. As i am sure many of you have noticed, Soufeel's bracelets look quite similar to the ever popular (but pricey) brand, Pandora, but that's what makes Soufeel so great is that you are getting the same quality jewelry (925 sterling silver) for about 2/3 of the cost, along with a year long, money back guarantee, warranty! And though Soufeel's bracelets are not exactly the same as Pandora's, they definitely hold their own against the jewelry giant, and in my opinion, their products are every bit as dazzling. 

Oh So Charming

As I mentioned earlier, I received the gorgeous charm bracelet above complimentary from Soufeel, however I also mentioned that John actually designed it. I'm sure many of you are wondering how we pulled that off, and simply put, we were able to because the Soufeel rep I have been working with, Walker, was kind enough to let me pass along the budget ($150) to John, so he could make me this gorgeous piece! And I have to say John did a fabulous job of capturing the little things that have to do with our relationship, and I can't wait to to add charms to this bracelet in the years to come. (And perhaps even adding an additional bracelet!)

Needless to say, aside from John being a good sport and helping me design this pretty piece, (Which worked out that it was just in time for my birthday that is coming up in a few days, pretty nifty timing right?) I am overjoyed with the quality and craftsmanship of Soufeel's jewelry. To kick off this review, I wanted to first talk about the bracelet itself. The first thing I want to say about the bracelet is, is that the latch is very sturdy--so sturdy that at first I wasn't quite sure how to unlatch it due to the fact I never owned a charm bracelet before! However, once I got used to its design (which is admittedly tricky at first) I now can take it on and off with ease as well as not having to worry about it coming unhooked and my charms falling everywhere! The other thing I loved about this bracelet, is its rose gold latch. Though I would have been happy with a plain silver one, I just feel that the rose gold adds a nice contrast to the bracelet over all.

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Like I said earlier, I personally feel that Soufeel's jewelry is very comparable to Pandora's (and for my readers who already have Pandora sets or beads, the Soufeel charms and bracelets are compatible with Pandora too!), but for a fraction of the cost, so basically with Soufeel, you are getting more bang for your buck! But, I know many people feel things like this are too good to be true, and just to show that in this case it is not, I just wanted to show you that each of Soufeel's charms (as well as their other jewelry) are 100% sterling silver, and are each stamped with Soufeel's logo along with the sterling silver seal "S 925".

Wooh! Now that I've gotten all of the formal information out of the way, I'm sure you want to see the charms that John picked out for my bracelet!

The first charm on my bracelet, is this adorable little "heartbeat charm". The reason why I love this charm is due to its subtle detailing and its quaint design. I also love the color of this charm, due to its monochromatic reds, which gives the charm a nice contrast.

Next is this "locked heart charm". The first thing that I noticed about this sweet little charm is its excellent craftsmanship. As you can see, though this charm is dainty, it is incredibly detailed and crafted with outstanding precision.

My next bead is this "red lantern charm". The reason I love this charm is because it adds a whimsical flare to my bracelet, and it also reminds me not to sweat the small stuff, and as my long time readers know, John is forever my voice of reason when it comes to panicking over minute things.

Next, is this adorable "vintage camera charm". As I'm sure many of you know from my "portfolio" section on here, not only am I a writer, but I am also a photographer, and that is something that John loves about me. So, it only seemed natural to add this bead to the bunch! This is the bead that I was actually the most pleased with, and that is because of this design's attention to detail. I loved that this charm included all the little knobs found on a film camera (shutter, aperture, the release button, even the film winder!), and that is important to me because photography was after all my first love within the arts.

Last but not least, is this "infinite love bead". Though this bead isn't as showy as the others, it holds a special place in my heart because it reminds me that even though the distance between John and I is testing at times, eventually it will all work out, and we will always have each other. The reason I liked this simple bead, is due to its light and feminine details, and rich ruby red color.

Final Thoughts

After my rave review, I'm sure many of you have already figured out that I will most definitely recommend doing business with Soufeel! I felt that the rep I spoke with, Walker, Was highly professional and easy to talk too, and obviously, I feel that my product is outstanding. 

Have you ever shopped with Soufeel and love their jewelry as much as I do? Let's chat about it in the comments below, or you can tweet me at @StarkRavingChic! Have a Soufeel piece that you would just love to show off? Feel free to snap a picture and tag me in a post of on you Instagram story at @StarkRavingChic. Later, dolls!

Xx, Bree