A Peek at My (Secret) Wedding Inspiration

posted on: Monday, January 30, 2017

It's a funny thing: I'm truthfully not a girl who's dreamt of her wedding since she was little. I will say, however, when Kevin and I began dating: I did imagine our future together and what our special day might feel like. Pretty details aside, I basically want the celebration to feel warm, inviting and FUN. To help gather inspiration, I'm turning to places like Pinterest, Style Me Pretty and even Instagram. While I want to keep surprise to the day, I will be sharing a handful of wedding related posts here on the blog. (I hope you'll enjoy them!) I'm excited to be working with Modern Luxury Weddings and invite you to an Evening of Bridal Luxury on February 19th, that will include gorgeous gowns by Vera Wang, jewels by Harry Winston and decor inspiration by HMR Designs. Details below!

Images via: Alice in Ivory
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How I Edit Photos for Instagram

posted on: Friday, January 27, 2017

Every so often, I'm asked how I edit photos for Instagram. Most everything I post on the app is shot with my iPhone and edited with just a few simple steps, so I thought I'd reveal my process — plus some helpful tricks I've picked up over the years. First, let me just say: Instagram is meant to be creative and reflective of each user, so experiment with what styles and overall feel you like best! And for those of you not on Instagram: These tips apply to take better pictures on-the-go in general ;)

Before beginning to shoot and edit, it's good to understand what photo style you're drawn to. Do you love vibrant colors with lots of contrast, or muted tones that are vintage-inspired, or clean and classic black & white shots? I personally like my photos to appear light and bright, so I follow a basic 3-step editing process:

(1). Turn up the brightness/exposure.
(2). Turn down the temperature.
(3). Apply a photo filter.

It's always best to shoot when natural light is present. And even when there's natural light, I'll still turn up the brightness or "exposure" a bit. Don't go overboard, though — you should still be able to see contrast and detail! A simple fix to retain detail after increasing brightness is to decrease "shadow" and bump up "sharpness."

Next, I'll turn down the temperature. Overhead lighting or low-light conditions can make your photos appear too warm, full of shadows, or grainy. Again, this is personal preference — I almost always prefer to turn the "temperature" down for my iPhone pictures. I feel they look more crisp and clean this way. Another edit I typically make is to apply more purple than green tones, which is something you experiment with in most editing apps under "tint."

There are dozens of amazing apps dedicated to mobile photography. My favorites are VSCO, A Color Story, and Snapseed. Within each app, you can easily adjust brightness, color, detail, cropping, filtering and more. VSCO is user-friendly and offers a range of elegant, professional-looking filters. (I commonly use S1, F2 and A5  VSCO presets). I also love using A Color Story, which allows you to make fine edits and apply different filters and effects. (I'm obsessed with the 'Flashes of Delight' collection.) Snapseed is a powerful editing tool that gives you the ability to isolate areas of a photo and apply custom edits. (For landscape shots, I usually increase the "drama" function in Snapseed.) The goal of adding a filter isn't to drastically change a photo, but just to tweak it, and so your photos generally keep a cohesive atheistic.

Lastly: Have fun! Not every photo will turn out "picture perfect" (pun intended). Experiment to see what works best and most importantly — what you like! On the flip side, I always want to know how others take beautiful shots, too. If you have any favorite apps or tips of your own, I'd love to hear. Feel free to leave a link to your Instagram, portfolio, or blog below, too! (p.s. I've been hearing a lot about Planoly lately, to visually plan and manage Instagram. Have any of you tried it?)


posted on: Wednesday, January 25, 2017

It’s hard to believe today is my 29th birthday! This year went by so fast and was filled with some pretty incredible trips, blossoming friendships, and fun projects. And of course, a major milestone personally — our engagement! Birthdays always mark a time for reflection, so I must say: Thank you (from the bottom of my heart) for visiting and offering your comments, 'likes' and shares. 28 was great, but I'm certain 29 will be even better. Here's to a bright new year ahead!

xx, Laura

Get in Gear

posted on: Monday, January 23, 2017

Along with the New Year comes a common resolution for many of us... to get moving! Beyond shaping up or dropping a few extra pounds: being active is about a healthy mind, too. I'm committing to a better fitness routine this year and finding more ways to get out the door and keep moving, despite these colder winter months. A few pieces of new activewear always help motivate, right? Here's a round-up of favorite pieces, from spots like lululemon, Target, Old Navy and more...


8 Beauty Products I'll Restock in 2017

posted on: Wednesday, January 18, 2017

One of the fun perks of blogging — or simply browsing any Sephora store, really — is sampling a range of beauty products. I'm open to trying (nearly) anything, but there are a handful of items that really work for me and that I'd buy repeatedly. Here's a look at favorite products I tried last year and will restock for 2017. 

MARIO BADESCU DRYING LOTION  |  Where has this been all my life?! This stuff is a life saver. If I feel a breakout coming on, this spot treatment zaps blemishes overnight. It's $17 a bottle and will last you forever. Just apply with a cotton swab, let it dry and work its magic.

CLARISONIC BRUSH  |  The Clarisonic has done wonders for my skin this past year. The brush does an amazing job exfoliating, and leaves my face feeling fresh and clean. The Clarisonic collection features a variety of tools and replacement brushes to fit all skincare needs — including for guys, too.

NEULASH SERUM  |  I admit: I was a little skeptical how this would work, but after 2 weeks of use, I could definitely tell my lashes looked longer and fuller. (Others noticed, too!) It's a little pricey, but it totally works. (And less scary and time-intensive than lash extensions, in my opinion.) One 0.2 oz tube has lasted me nearly six months, applying 4-5 times per week. If you want longer and fuller lashes, I can't recommend this serum enough!

FRESH SUGAR LIP TINT  |  I've been a fan of these lip balms for some time, but I really became hooked on the shade 'Tulip' last year. It's a perfect color to me — one that looks subtle, but still adds enough tint, and is less fussy than applying lipstick.

SALLY HANSEN GEL TOPCOAT  |  I usually save trips to the nail salon for special occasions or time with girlfriends, because this polish is just so good. I use this top coat over any ol' polish, as it locks in the finish and shine for over a week. It's under $10 at the drugstore and worth a try.

IT COSMETICS CONCEALER  |  This is easily the best concealer I've ever used. It's full coverage, yet blendable... a little goes a long way. I use a tiny dab of this concealer under my eyes and spots where needed. It's waterproof and doesn't crease, lasting day to night.

DPHUE PURPLE SHAMPOO  |  I originally tried this shampoo as a sample, and was pleasantly surprised! It turns down any yellow brassiness and revives that fresh 'cool' blonde tone. The shampoo also lathers well and smells great, tiding me over between highlight appointments at Civello.

BOBBI BROWN BLUSH  |  At first, this blush looks bright — but all you need is a little swipe of color to the cheeks. This formula is perfectly pigmented and lightweight. I love the shades 'Pale Pink' and 'Coral Sugar.' Both give a youthful and healthy, pretty glow.

Have you tried any of these? What are your favorite beauty products of late?


posted on: Tuesday, January 17, 2017

{thinking spring...!}

{talking about a fresh start to the new year}

{pulling together an inspiration board}

{lots of warm-weather styles on my mind}

{engagement celebrations continue with our friends!}

{it's been a wonderful first month since this day}

{hiding away from winter for a coffee date at RH}

{a simple recipe for a St. Germain Champagne Cocktail}

Resort Wear

posted on: Thursday, January 12, 2017

About this time mid-January, I realllly begin craving some sunshine. (Anyone else?) Bring on the sandals and suits! I'm looking forward to visiting sunny Scottsdale in March, but until then: I'm browsing these warm-weather styles. Do you have any favorites, or upcoming travel plans in the works?


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