Creating A Capsule Wardrobe On A Budget

Hello Lovelies!!

Feels like a minute since we have done a style-focused blog post here! I have shared both how to build a capsule wardrobe and how to shop smarter with both sales and sustainable shopping, but today let’s chat how you can start your capsule wardrobe exclusively with budget-friendly pieces!

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All About Basics

Jeans and Tees! These are pieces for everyday wear that can also be dressed up anytime! My top denim under $100 is Levi’s, and you can find discounted jeans either second-hand or by shopping outlet! For tees I find that in-house brands do well to compete with luxury brands. One example is BP at Nordstrom with basic tees, bodysuits, etc anywhere from $12 to $20 or so.

Staple Pieces

These are a few things I recommend for any wardrobe, and they just make life interesting! Some of these are perfect to mix and match and others are great to stand alone! My recommendations include a slip dress, a work appropriate dress, non-denim pants, a silk, crepe, or chiffon blouse, and anything else that can mix and match into the color palette!

Outerwear

As a plus size person this can be a challenging clothing category to find something that zips or buttons, but here are a few recommendations at a variety of sizes! I highly recommend including a trench coat first and then a pea coat followed by other basics like jackets and parkas!

Shoes

This one is fun! Start with sneakers and booties, and then graduate to heels or whatever your heart desires!

And that is how you can start your capsule wardrobe on a budget with pieces that will last at a variety of price points! Stay tuned for more style content including fun sweater styles and size inclusive outerwear!

Xx,

A

Going Full Time

Hello Lovelies!

I have been officially blogging full time for 2 months now! So I thought I could share with you what lead to this moment and how I plan to position my business for the future!

Developing Your Brand

SO MUCH led up to the moment I decided to work for myself, and the archives of this blog paint that picture. I started my brand back in 2018 while still in college, writing lifestyle content, shooting outfit photos, and sharing my life from school to adulthood, dating, faith, marriage, and now motherhood! If you have been here the whole time you know there is A LOT going on here.

From the beginning I wanted to share my story, especially my struggles with body image and food. Through fashion and styling I have been able to focus my message on one important thing: your body and how you have been treated doesn’t prevent you from feeling beautiful and being the best version of yourself.

About 6 months into writing I named my blog She Laughs! This phrase is based on Proverbs 31:25 and to me, She Laughs embodies the idea that life should be lived without fear and rather joy. You are a gift; today is a gift, and I hope you enjoy it!

Evaluating Finances

The finances are probably the biggest factor in deciding to be your own boss. For me, I first considered going full time back in March this year when I had one month of blog income that surpassed the income I had with my day job. I quickly ignored that thought in my head because while I was reaching some smaller goals with my business, those “good months” as I call them were still too sporadic. At the time the idea of holding onto predictable income seemed like the smart thing to do.

And then I didn’t have to make the leap! In July I was laid off from that corporate job and within a minute I knew this was the sign I needed to go full time. I had hoped to have a more stable financial picture, but the past few months of planning and strategizing campaigns and other projects has me significantly more hopeful for our future!

So that is the full tea on how this happened! Yes this is what I wanted, but I really do not know if I would have felt “ready” without that push!

Making It Official

Beyond generating sufficient income, so much more goes into building a business. Two big things I am currently working on include setting up my taxes and creating an LLC. Taxes can be daunting to diy but for a lot of bloggers it is “easy” (obviously not actually easy) to go the same route as any freelancer! Personally I am starting quarterly taxes once all the details are set up, and stay tuned for that official LLC!

Finding Help For The Long Haul

One big goal I have is to develop a team or create connections in order to grow in various areas of my business. It is so cool to see content creators with either management, assistants, or editors and I am really excited to grow to a point where I can expand the work I offer!

So all that is to say, this took a long time, did not happen how I expected, and stay tuned for all the new fun here!

Xx,

A

Personal Styling 201: Incorporating Unique Pieces Into Your Capsule Wardrobe

Hello Lovelies!!

With the fall season quickly approaching, now is a great time to reevaluate your wardrobe! In previous blog posts, I have shared how you can develop a capsule wardrobe, but today is all about how you can take that a step further, adding in pieces that are unique to you.

First, Identify Your Style

Find keywords to describe what you wear, or what you want to wear. For me, I like to describe my style as both extra and versatile. Extra, meaning I love statement pieces (ruffles, feathers, even sequins – the kinds of items that become the whole focus of an outfit) and Versatile, meaning I like pieces that have multiple purposes and can be comfy while dressed up or casual while refined.

Identify your keywords, then the next time you shop look for pieces that fit that description!

Next, Find Items That Speak To Your Story

Shopping unconfidently can create a bad habit for buying clothes you don’t fully like – from jeans you hope to squeeze into to a dress you never bothered to alter. Instead of seeing shopping as either a chore or an opportunity to spend, remind yourself that now that your capsule wardrobe is complete, you don’t need anything unless it truly speaks to you. Be ruthless with your criteria and only bring home something that captures the style and narrative you want.

Put It All Together!

As you begin to collect different pieces, this will add more color to your capsule wardrobe and give you a new picture to your total personal style. Now that I have both capsule and non-capsule pieces, I am able to see what fabrics, silhouettes, colors, etc I gravitate towards, and work with that to find what feels the most me!

Xx,

A

The Skincare Routine That Calmed My Rosacea

Hello Lovelies!

I have always had rosy cheeks and would avoid normal blush while applying all the color corrector, but since this spring, I have been working to actually heal my rosacea acne rather than ignore it and cover it up. I am not completely certain what caused my most recent flare up, though a likely culprit is finally going off of birth control. In April, I had a skin reaction that was SO BAD my skin refused to take any moisturizer or makeup – it’s hard to explain but my skin got so raw and sensitive that nothing worked.

Any time you are in a skin crisis, evaluate EVERYTHING you are using – which is what I did at the time, removing every step of my routine and replacing them with sensitive-safe ingredients to calm my skin. So, let’s get into my 10 current favorite products and how I use them!

1. Best Skin Ever – Sea Buckthorn

This one is probably the simplest to use which is why I make it my entire morning 1 step routine! It is a cleaner/moisturizer, but simply it is Jojoba oil (great for redness) and other oily goodness I use to rinse my face in the morning. This is like a super gentle cleanse that maintains skin’s natural moisture, and I love how it won’t irritate my skin prior to makeup application. It truly is that simple!

2. Tower28 SOS Spray

I have this one on me all day! I originally started using to prevent maskne during long days with a mask on, but now it is my favorite toner for during my skincare routine and when I need a refresh throughout the day!

3. Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask

Holy grail!! I have used this since their launch in 2018, and I love it for so many uses from eye cream to overnight mask to after-sun cream. It is packed with niacinamide which I prefer over hyaluronic acid .

4. Biossance Gentle Squalene Cleanser

I have heard good things about squalene for rosacea, and with sensitive skin I want a cleanser that will not strip the natural barrier I have on my skin. This product I have only been trying for a few weeks but so far so good!

5. YTTP Vitamin C + Caffeine Serum

Vitamin C is tricky with rosacea as it is a chemical exfoliant. When I use this sparingly its like an instant glow, but I will only use it once or twice a week to avoid irritation from overuse.

6. The Ordinary Lactic Acid Serum

This is a new product for me but I am adding it to the list as it is amazing in combination with azelaic acid below – a power couple for rosacea because the lactic acid will gently exfoliate and the azelaic acid works to dry out acne and get to the source of redness.

7. The Ordinary AHA BHA Peeling Solution

Made popular on TikTok, this mask is a relatively gentle form of AHA for me. I only use it for 5 min maybe once a week and it neutralizes little bumps and uneven texture without making my skin red!

8. The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Moisturizer

As mentioned above, I am honestly seeing the most significant results with this product. The only thing I have to look out for is it does dry your skin so I typically follow up with Jet Lag Mask or Jojoba oil

9. Farmacy Beauty Honey Mask

Moisture and antioxidants! I love this one for instant hydration and cleansing before an important event – and the honey has so many good natural benefits for your skin for free radicals and dryness.

10. Dr Jart Cicapair Overnight Mask

Love the Cicapair line but my current obsession is the overnight mask! This is perfect for slugging but with added ingredients to soothe inflamed skin.

And that is everything that has worked so far! I am still a few weeks into my rosacea journey so hoping my skin still cooperates with this products for the rest of the summer. Thank you for reading!

Xx,

A

Add Character To Your Home On A Budget

Hello Lovelies!

Now that we are (almost) fully settled in our new home, let’s do a little tour of some of our home favs! Since a lot of our home style is functional, budget based, we are going to focus on how you can make a space look fun and unique for way less!

First off, right when you enter, we want a spot that would be easy to leave items but also aesthetically pleasing for guest! This is where you can touch up your lipstick and drop your keys!

Both the table and the mirror were online finds at Amazon and Target!

Our bedroom! The main thing I still may change is the bed frame – it is sturdy and tall but we may want something with more character. The main things I love in this room that are budget friendly are: the Home Goods lamps, the Urban Outfitters sheets (that remind me of my wedding dress!!), and the Amazon clothing rack to make selecting outfits way easier!

Getting their own spotlight is our beautiful custom dressers! These were vintage finds hand painted the perfect color: Lichen. We were able to do the whole project through Dresser Up Vintage across the river in Kentucky but if you are not in the area I also found similar companies that ship on Etsy!

In the office we have this collage that brings the room to life! The whole set is by Tezza and she has many more vibes to choose from for collage kits!

And lastly, our little bar cart situation has me so excited! We didn’t know what to do with this corner and now it makes so much sense! This cart was a Facebook marketplace find but it is also at Target! I had wanted another one that was over 700 but I am glad I went with this guy and the size is perfect!

Thank you for taking the time to check out our home with us, and stay tuned for more regular content from She Laughs!

Xx,

A

Friendship Breakups: The Real Heartbreak

Hello Lovelies,

It has been a while since I have consistently written here, and the main reason why is I keep contemplating this article. Several months ago a friendship I thought would last into old age crumbled.

Losing a friendship, like a best friend, honestly hurts more than losing a partner or significant other. They probably aren’t the person you thought to marry or raise children with, but they were the person who played “wedding” with you when you were five. They were the person who dialed prank calls to your crush for you, or who put together your 21st birthday party. This friend is the one who was on your wedding party list and who you envisioned seeing for multigenerational play dates, and hopefully, the person you would play Bridge with in your final years.

When a foundation like that, that seems so sturdy having lasted through various seasons and built on your favorite memories, is simply no longer there, you are also broken.

Growing up I was always the type of person to have no more than one or two good friends at a time. Groups were rarely my thing, friendships usually took their time to grow, but I like to say I always mated for life. When I moved for college, I set out on a mission to have a well rounded social life with friends corresponding to whatever group or activity I liked. I have mentioned this in previous blog posts but long story short the desire to do everything and meet everyone led me to stretch myself way too thin and it ultimately affected my overall experience.

So back to the whole “mating for life” thing: I got that phrase from an episode of Greys Anatomy describing Cristina Yang, and for anyone who knows Sandra Oh’s character, that is how I am as a close friend. I do not need many friends, I serve a more supporting role, and I show respect by simply being there. (Or so I think.)

Maybe this is why friendship breakups hit me the way that they do. I am the type of person who takes relationships seriously and is very deliberate in expressing my energy and when that is not matched I feel lost.

Years ago, the first time I saw a friendship end, this person cut contact with me and many other people they knew citing “toxicity” as their only reason. At first I was deeply offended to be considered “toxic” but later I realized that “toxicity” in a friendship does not necessarily one or both parties is “bad,” it can simply mean the relationship is not beneficial to at least one of them. So, with that in mind, I went on a mini journey last year to detox my life and that led me to the breakup I think about now.

There were elements of the relationship I knew were hurting me, but I struggled to address them with myself and within the relationship. Before the end I wondered if boundaries would help what I was feeling, or maybe I could accept the relationship as a friendship only meant to last a certain season, and that would be ok. We all have those kinds of friendships, that did not end negatively, where you simply live different lives but still care about each other from afar. So that is what hurt the most: the fact that I saw this friendship developing into Christmas Cards and Facebook likes rather than pretending to be strangers.

If you got anything out of this article, cherish your friends, accept when a relationship only lasts a season or two, do not ghost, and stay tuned for an upcoming article on healthy friendships!

Xx,

A

Cincy Spotlight: Creative Indoor Content With The Neat Suites

This blog post is sponsored by The Neat Suites. Thank you to their team for hosting me!

Hello Lovelies!

With the unpredictable late winter/early spring weather, I have been looking for new creative ways to shoot outfit content without needing to venture out into the cold. So, This past weekend Con and I got to do a mini staycation at The Neat Suites where I batch-shot a ton of content for upcoming campaigns!

Unique Indoor Photo Locations

We stayed at the Pickle Factory Hotel, the cutest small getaway with a variety of unique and interesting themed rooms, perfect for any aesthetic!

This is the perfect way to combine the popular staycation idea with a fun solution for many content creators. You can start your stay with indoor shoots, utilizing every picturesque corner, and then end the night with some relaxation! With a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living area, you can get almost all the lifestyle content you need all inside. When we stayed at the Neon room in the Pickle Factory Hotel, it actually started to downpour right when we got in – so you could say that is perfect timing!

The Kitchen

Possibly my favorite space with all the cute detail! And even in a small, Skandanavian-inspired space there are still plenty of features and necessities for your stay.

Living Area

All the neon light dreams here! Con and I cozied up on the couch to catch up on our favorite shows from the week for the perfect night in – not pictured: all the fun snacks!

Bedroom and Bathroom

I especially loved the adorable bathroom setup, perfect for skincare flatlays and other beauty content. Also the whole studio was set up with the best indoor lighting!

And the Pickle Factory is not the only space perfect for a staycation photo shoot! So, if you are looking for Cincy lodging, a staycation destination, or a killer photoshoot location, book with The Neat Suites here!

xx,

A

December Bucket List

Hello Lovelies!!

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend! For Con and I, this is our first Thanksgiving as a married couple so we decided to create some of our own traditions in Cincy! We even tried out a new restaurant that hosted a turkey dinner, but then they ran out of turkey! With plenty of food and plenty to be thankful for, we spent much of the weekend practicing gratitude and remembering all the good that has happened in 2021.

Now that it is officially December, we have one more month to make this an amazing year and soon it will be winter (my favorite season btw)!! So, if you are looking for fun activities to get into the holiday/winter spirit, here are a few ideas! I’m titling this the “bucket list” because I hope Con and I experience each of these together this year!

Send Out Christmas Cards

This year we actually didn’t have time to put a typical card together, but we are sending our close friends notes in the mail for the season! Whether you are the type to go out and take portraits for a card to send out or not, I highly recommend finding a way to let your loved ones know you are thinking of them this season!

Get Creative With Handmade Presents

This is one of my favorite things! Rather than hit the mall for the people on my list, I like to get more personal and pick out gifts that fit their personalities – like buying gift card for experiences like spas or skydiving, arranging a basket of their favorite things, or whatever they love that isn’t normally at a department store!

Go Ice Skating

Ok I had to put something basic in here! One of my favorite date ideas is skating during the season, so if you are looking for something new or keeping up the tradition, get on the ice!

Spend A Day Focused On Gratitude

Yes, we just had Thanksgiving, but a new tradition for Con and I is setting aside time to thank people in our lives with cards or messages! This could also be a good time for simple reflection on the year focusing on just good things!

Go To A Local Holiday Event

See your town light up the local tree or find an open mic on a cozy night! The holiday season is the perfect time for local events especially for groups!

Find Easy Ways To Decorate Your Space

Living in a small apartment it can be hard to put up/store excessive decor, so this year we decided to put ornaments on our plants! Kind of a weird idea but if you want low-maintenance ways of getting festive try small trees or recyclable/storable decor like paper snowflakes!

Start A New Tradition

This may be a challenge but whether you are single, in a relationship, or have a family of your own – a great way to make this season special for you is to find things that make you happy and help you get in the spirit! A number of traditions I started for myself before meeting Con I still include today – like certain parties, baking specific dishes, or watching the same movies! Whether you are young or old, anytime is a good time to start a new tradition, especially if it gets you into that positive spirit!

Donate!

This is my favorite part of this season. As you know from previous posts, I love recycling and clearing out my closet regularly so the holidays is a great time to get a donation collection together. If not personal items you can also participate in canned food drives or volunteer to facilitate all the many donations going on in your area!

Thank you for reading! Stay tuned on the blog for fun upcoming content including size inclusivity with winter sports, gift guides, New Years goals, and more!

xx,

A

Wedding Registry Must-Haves For Minimalist Brides

images by Shea (@photo_ish)

Hello Lovelies!!

One of the most difficult parts of our wedding journey was actually the registry! Since Con and I decided to elope in such a short time frame we had no time to prepare a wedding website or anything before the big day, so in very covid fashion, we post-nuptially celebrated online with close friends and family! I remember during the wedding week everyone was asking us what to get and at the time I could not think of ANYTHING – we had already set up our apartment and since we had both been independent adults before getting married it felt like we had all the essentials.

When I finally had the time to sit down and compile a list of things that would make our new home feel complete, I realized what worked for us was sticking to functional items. We are not big on china or copper cookware. We live in a small space and wanted our friends to celebrate with us in minimal ways. So, in case you are looking for inspiration for your registry or home, here are my top must-haves!

1. The Dyson Vacuum

This is a bit of a given since I feel like this is on every registry EVER, but this was our top gift because we literally had no space to store a vacuum larger than this, so there you go!

2. All Clad Pans

There is a lot you can do with just two pans, so we decided to go with a high end brand for pieces we can use every day! For us these can function for anything from eggs to stir fry to pasta and everything we have learned so far!

3. Espresso Machine

This one has been life-changing!

4. Anything Yamazaki

Again, since we live in a small space we needed a few small space solutions so we added a few inexpensive items to mainly maximize storage without clutter. We found a lot of our pieces both with Crate and Barrel and Amazon!

5. Bowls That Can Also Function As Plates

These Anthropologie bowls are a perfect in-between for dishes served either in a bowl or plate, so you do not have too many pieces in your cabinets!

Bonus! Add in small inexpensive items throughout your registry – think of the items you would buy yourself but haven’t gotten around to – some of my favorite extras include cheese boards and honey pots!

This list may seem short but that is the beauty of minimalism, and I hope this inspired you for your future wedding!

xx,

A

7 (Not Basic) Fun Fall Activities

Hello Lovelies!!

This year something about fall just feels extra special. Maybe it’s the fact that it has not quite snowed yet, or maybe it is the promise of good food, good company, and cozy everything! So in honor of the season, here are some fun things to do that aren’t super basic but will get you in the spirit! Let’s get to it!

1. Make your own fall flower arrangement

In my recent exploration of the city I have been lucky enough to discover some new (to me) local flower shops where you can pick out your own stems and diy an arrangement! To make it extra fall I love using seasonal colors with dahlias, add something easy to dry like pampas grass, and make it smell amazing with a little eucalyptus!

2. Date Night At Home Using Farmers Market Finds

Ever since getting married Con and I both love experimenting in the kitchen for date night, and with all the harvest finds at our local market it is easy to get festive! One of my favorite new dishes is a nice filet with sweet potatoes and a fall salad!

3. Do A Fun Photoshoot!

This is my favorite!! Go to your fav coffee shop or find some leaves and just take some cute pics! Sure you can be basic but one thing I love is using fall staple colors like brown and creating something amazing with trendy outfits or capturing sweet moments.

4. Rainy Day Movie Marathon

We all have movies reserved for rainy days. Mine is definitely The Parent Trap, but this season could call for a change of pace, or something fitting like a Harry Potter marathon or your favorite scary thrillers! Break out the fuzzy socks and cinnamon lattes, it’s time for a cozy movie sesh!

5. Drive Through A Park

This is one of my favorites! If it’s chilly but you want to see the leaves change, hop in the car, play your favorite nostalgic songs, and look at the beauty around you!

6. Make Candy Baskets For Friends

This can be similar to a “boo-gram” but if you want to do something nice for your friends or neighbors in a contact-free way, try leaving them a basket of goodies! Maybe even make it an easy project by getting all your supplies at one store!

7. Bake Fall-Themed Cookies

Ok this one is a liiitle basic, but I had to! Con and I are currently eating some fall leaf-inspired sugar cookies and wow! It really is more fun having sweets around when you actually bake them yourself!

Thank you for checking out this list and I hope it inspires you to make the most out of your fall season!!

xx,

A