March Instagram Recap

This month was incredibly busy but I managed to take some time to capture some outfits and special moments on Instagram.  Here are a few I thought you would enjoy:

1.  New purchases

I found this beautiful, blush pink kimono at Forever 21 last month.  Less than $18 too!  Perfect for spring outfits.  Similar ones found here and here.

I paired it with this Cayetano Legacy statement jewelry which speaks to my love for pastels. ❤  Necklace found here and similar ring found here.  Use code CIA to get 20% off your Cayetano Legacy purchase.

And here, paired with some 7 for all mankind skinny jeans (here and in plus size, here) from Fabrik Boutique and a studded Michael Kors bag from a year or two ago (similar here).

I also recently discovered sans-UV light gel polishes!!  BEST.POLISH.EVER.  No lie.  No chips for up to a week (after a week I usually decide to change color), and is easily removed with normal nail polish remover.  #thebest

Same polish, different color.  Same amazingness. By the way, yours truly made the bracelets in the picture below.  Stay tuned for an upcoming DIY!

Okay, so I may be a bit fringe-obsessed.  I now own two fringe bags, 1 pair of fringe booties, and most recently, became the owner of this lovely fringe backpack.  It’s perfect for toting a toddler and a almost-six-year-old-going-on-18-year-old boy on the weekends.  It enables me to maintain some sense of style, all while being a busy mom.  Bag found here.

And this beauty, well, let’s just all say it out loud at once: “AH-maze-ING!”  Seriously, it’s a stunner.  In photos and in person.  Also, not heavy and surprisingly not obnoxious when worn, so I managed to wear it into work.  Of course, I would never pair this with a serious suit, but could easily give it a nod of approval on less serious days when I’m holed up in my office but want to look stylish while workin’ away. 🙂

Okay, so the spiked bracelet below was definitely a score.  Stella and Dot sells a similar bracelet, but for more than a Jackson ( you know, a $20 bill…).  Sira and Mara on the other hand, sells these for $13 a piece AND they ship for free anywhere in the US!  I’m no financial expert, but that sounds like a good deal to me.  It also sounds like I made money in that transaction.  Two please!

Haha, I wasn’t kidding above!  I did buy two. 😀

2.  Upcoming posts

Once upon a time there was a young Mexican girl (that’s me in case you were wondering), who had her nose buried so deep in her books that she never learned to properly apply her make up.  She also grew up in the pre-YouTube age, so there were no videos to be watched of make-up gurus demonstrating how to apply said make up in slow motion and extreme detail.  So, I would apply stuff to my face that sometime in my late 20’s began to look semi-decent, but never perfect.

Cue Sephora circa a few weeks ago:  The beauty experts at my local store held a blogger-only event to share with use tips for contouring our faces.  They taught us what brushes to use, matched make up hues to our skin tones, and gave us step-by-step directions for applying our make up and ultimately learning how to contour our faces! It was pretty great.  Incredibly enlightening.  So, hopefully in the next month our so, I will debut my very first YouTube video and make a fool of myself while showing you what I learned.  You’re welcome…for the laughs and hopefully useful information. 😀

The jewelry DIY.  These beaded bracelets are all the rage lately.  And I wanted some, and wanted them now.  So, one weekend last summer, I ran to Michael’s and purchased some materials, which aided in creating all 4 bracelets seen below!

Since then, I have learned to make variations of the ones above, including these ones I made for a friend.  So, stay tuned.  In the next month or so, I will post a DIY so you too can make some to add to your arm party!

Close up of other bracelets I made.  Pretty cute, right?!  And, they only take 5 minutes to make!

3.  Coffee cups and tumblers, oh my!

Coffee became my best friend the minute I stopped breastfeeding and had to go back to work.  I then became interested in prettying up my coffee containers and the following tumblers have been added to my collection since.  This one here was sent to me by Rosie Posie Designs on Etsy!  You can find other tumblers from her collection here.

This lovely tuxedo/tutu tumbler was part of the Alice and Olivia for Starbucks collection two years ago.  It has since sold out and only available on eBay for the price of an arm, leg, and maybe a kidney.  Of course, if you MUST have it, here’s a link where you can find some.

4.  Outfits

Apparently this month, I was feeling a bit casual.  No suits, but I did manage to don some blazers with my outfits like the crisp, white blazer below!  One of my favorites for spring and summer. Details: Blazer, similar here and here; dress, similar here.

Arm parties were also big for me this month.  Likely because my outfits were so casual.  Here, I paired a couple bracelets (see purchases above for links), with my new favorite plaid shirt and super comfy camo jeans (similar here and here). These pink here were only $15 at the Nine West outlet last year (similar here).

I loved putting this outfit together.  I searched high and low for this jacket, but couldn’t find anything in stores now that came close to it, so I eventually took to eBay to continue my search.  That’s where I found it for a mere $13!  Done and done.  Here’s one I found on eBay (linked here and a similar one here), and links for a similar top and skirt here and here.

Another super comfy outfit for the office.  This top is from H&M and one of the most comfortable tops I own.  I love it because it disguises my upper arm fat – ugh, don’t get me started – fits loose around the belly area and is long enough to cover my badonkadonk.  If you’re not convinced that you need this top yet, let me add that it was only $10.  Done deal, right?!  I would say so.  You’re welcome. Linked here. Paired with skinny jeans (here) and leopard pumps for a pop of print (here and here, respectively).  The necklace is super old, but a similar one is linked here.

I felt like I was wearing pajamas in the outfit pictured below.  SO comfy to wear!!  The top is my all-time favorite top.  I purchased it when pregnant with my first and it carried me through all phases of my prego/post-prego body.  It’s from nordstrom rack and run about $34.  I have it in black and white and have been actively searching to find it in other prints.  It’s THAT fantastic!! Linked here.  The pants are from AngL clothing in LA, but similar ones can be found here.  The bag is also currently one of my faves.  I’m all about the fringe at the moment.  I just love fringe everything.  I’ll get over it one day, but for now, I’m enjoying the trend.  This bag in particular is sold out at most H&M stores, but I’ve linked a similar one here.  The bracelets were made by yours truly and the necklace is from one of my favorite small-business jewelry companies, Cayetano Legacy. I linked a similar one here, and use code CIA for a 20% discount on your total purchase.

Call me crazy, but I loved this outfit.  My favorite blazer, paired with a graphic tee, the second comfiest jeans I own (the first are my 7 for all mankind skinnies linked above), a blingy statement necklace, and a pink heels for a pop of color.  Just a super fun outfit and all very on trend.  Links:  Blazer, similar here // Graphic tee, here // Camo skinny jeans, similar here and here// Pink heels, similar here // Statement necklace, similar here.

I love the look of white on white.  I don’t own a white pencil skirt  – yet – but that was the original plan.  Next closest item in my closet was this black and white striped skirt (here).  I paired it with my Cayetano Legacy pendant necklace (I linked a similar one here, and use code CIA for a 20% discount on your total purchase) and floral print peep-toed heels.  Can you believe I once purchased these heels for $5 at Nordstrom Rack?!  Amazing.  It’s been a while since I’ve scored another deal like I did with these. Find similar ones here. Blazer, similar here and here.  White tee, here.

Another favorite fashion trend of mine at the moment is the tuxedo vest.  I made one a while back (read the post here if you missed it previously), but I’d been on the hunt for a blush pink or a khaki one.  I finally found one at Forever 21 (link here).  I paired it with a lace top (here), my skinny jeans (here), and nude heels.  The necklace is old from Target, but a similar one is tagged here.

And finally, this adorable dress I wore for the Gap fashion show at my local shopping mall recently.  I paired it with a navy blazer and a yellow belt for a pop of color.  Perfect for spring, don’t you think? Links: Dress, here // Blazer, here // Belt, here.

5.  Fitness and food

So, I recently tried a FitBit.  Let me tell ya.  It was a wake up call.  During the week, my FitBit thinks I’m dead, except for when I’m around my kids.  Then there is a hint of a histogram on my tracking app.  Otherwise, flatline.  Yup, I’m a koala.  Just sittin’ all day long.  Seriously though.  On the weekends, though, when I am with my kids ALL DAY LONG, I get 10K steps in!  It’s called the “mother of two under 5” workout.  You may know what I’m talking about. 😉  Anyhow, I thought it was a pretty neat little device and highly recommend it if you want to get a sense of your daily activity.  In all honesty, I carried it two days and then decided I didn’t want to wear clothes that matched it perfectly every single day, so I stopped wearing it.  It was also taunting me and constantly reminding me that I was an inactive mass and needed to get to the gym.  I don’t do well with non-positive reinforcement, so I did away with it! J/K.  I had to give it back, haha.

Now, for the fun stuff.  I love to eat.  A LOT.  I just enjoy food.  It’s a downfall, particiuarly when I don’t exercise, but to compensate, I try eating relatively healthy.  My co-worker has been really great about eating salads every day, so she inspired me to eat salads as well.  Here’s one I made with a greens mix from Costco, canned chick peas, grilled chicken (made at home the night before, served cold on the salad), avocado – obvi, tomatoes, and corn.  Dressing was a mix of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Super filling and so healthy!

The next day I had a lunch/working meeting at Urban Cookhouse, where I always get the Pepper Patch.  It’s amazingly delish.  It also happens to come with a delicious orange-sweet bun.  I couldn’t say no. I did have a salad for lunch after all!

Packing salads for lunch can be quite tricky, especially if you happen to eat lunch late in the day and risk having soggy lettuce or greens by the time you are ready to eat.  Cue: The Bentgo Kids bento box.  I received this bento box to try for the kids’ lunches, but I decided it would best for me, so I borrowed it and used it to pack my salad ingredients.  It worked really well!!  The middle circular compartment works well for the dressing (balsamic vinegar here), and whatever other sides you want in the others.  I loved it and will likely steal it permanently from the kiddies. 😀  Link to bento box here.

For the salad below, I was craving cheese, tomatoes, and bread cubes.  So, I came up with this. 😉  Don’t judge.  It was a Friday when I ate this, haha.  Done and done!

That’s all for now, folks!  Feel free to leave a comment below if there is anything I happened to have missed or anything I didn’t link.  Perhaps you have suggestions for finding items elsewhere, so also leave those in the comments section should you have them.  Finally, all of these pics came from my Instagram feed, so feel free to follow along if you are interested! Instagram: Chic in Academia.

Until next time!  Stay ‘Chic’!

All photos taken by Chic in Academia

(Camera:  Verizon, LG G3)

5 Ways to Grow Your Instagram Following

This past weekend, I had the privilege of speaking at the See Jane Write “Pin, Gram, Post: A Social Media Workshop”.  I’ve had the fortune of experiencing fast growth on Instagram (IG) this past year and a half (from ~200 in August 2013 to a little over 14,000 in March 2015), which has in turn, helped to grow my other social media platforms as well!

5 Ways to Grow Your Instagram Following,

So, Heather Brown of My Life Well-Loved, and I accepted Javacia’s invitation to speak about the things that helped us grow our social media following at the workshop. Javacia is the founder of See Jane Write and if you haven’t checked her out yet, make sure you do as soon as you’re done reading this post!! Those in attendance got the first-hand account and of course, also were able to participate in a live Q&A; but as with anything social media-related, 1.5 hrs is often not enough to cover absolutely everything there is to discuss.  So, we now take to our blogs to provide a synopsis of the material covered in the workshop, as well as a few other tips we weren’t able to share with everyone that day!

Here are my 5 tips for growing your following on Instagram:

  1. Hashtags – Some may disagree, but I have found the use of hashtags on my posts to be extremely effective.  As of late, I have included 3-5 hashtags within my caption, but later will add 1-27 additional hashtags in the comments section.  Why a maximum 27 additional hashtags?  Instagram only allows you to add 30 hashtags per post at one time. Hashtags expose your post to people who may not necessarily be following you already.  My favorite app for creating hashtags is Tags for Likes.  You can download it on your phone and simply copy and paste pre-curated hashtags for whatever topic your post is on!  Tip:  Change your hashtags every 4 hours to help expand your audience.
  2. Links – Instagram gives you the option to link each post to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, and Flickr.  Use them to your advantage!  You can either post to all of those platforms simultaneously, or if you are like me, will share later and change the caption so that it is customized for each platform you are sharing to.  Be particularly aware that Twitter will only allow 140 characters per post, so be succinct when sharing your Instagram post on Twitter.
  3. Blog – Your blog can be a very useful tool for growing your Instagram following, especially if you already have a nicely sized following.  Two tips for using your blog to grow your insta:
    1. Embed Instagram posts within your blog posts.  You can do this by 1) accessing Instagram from your computer; 2) clicking on the image/post you want to embed; 3) click on the three little gray dots at the bottom of the post; 4) copy and past the code to embed in your post.  This will also make it easier to link everything when you pin your posts to Pinterest!
    2. Add a widget to your blog that will allow you to display at least one photo from your IG.  This will allow people to see your most recent post and link them straight to your IG where they might decide to follow you!  Your blog statistics can help you determine how many people are clicking on your embedded photos, or your Instagram gallery widget.  Iconosquare is also another great place to get statistics on your Instagram posts!
  4. Engage – Like and comment on other people’s posts.  Part of your success on IG will come from getting to know other people and letting them get to know you.  Help them understand how amazing and interesting you are and help convince them that they should hire or follow you because of your wit and talent!  As you engage with others, you will also start to figure out when people are most active on Instagram.  This will also help guide what days of the week and what times of the day your posts are most likely to get the most engagement.  For me, mornings and evenings around dinner time work best.  Sunday evenings are also prime time for many.  Start with those times and days and see if you notice a difference in engagement!  Don’t forget, you can use scheduling apps like Latergram to schedule your posts the day before so that it doesn’t interrupt your workflow during the day (this is what I do, so that I can focus on work during the day, but also manage to keep up with posts that need to go out).  If you’re willing to pay a little for some help, virtual assistants are also a great way to manage your social media posts and engagement!
  5. Network – Connect directly with brands, influencers (people with large social media followings), and/or other bloggers/instagrammers in your niche.  Working with other people helps to get your name out, thereby increasing the odds of growing your following, your brand, and exposure!  One way I have connected with a large number of bloggers lately is by participating in Loop Giveaways and Follow Fridays.  In fact, a group of bloggers and I are hosting a loop giveaway as we speak!  Be sure to check it out!

5 Ways to Grow your Instagram Following,

What are some tips you have tried/used that you have found useful??  Leave a comment below and let me know what you have tried and liked or not liked.  Also, check out Heather’s post for tips on growing your Facebook following.  Finally, don’t forget to stop by my Instagram to enter this week’s $400 Nordstrom giveaway!!

Until next time!  Stay Chic!

My Insta Moments Recap

I realize that not many of you are on Instagram, and perhaps only keep up with my sartorial activities via this blog, so I decided to share some of my Instagram moments here! Here are a few I thought you might find worthwhile:

Chic in Academia,

Details for one of my ootd’s (aka outfit of the day).  Links:  Pendant necklace by Cayetano Legacy, here // Watch by Guess, similar here // Bracelet by Banana Republic, similar here.

Chic in Academia,

A $3 tweed jacket I found on eBay.  Very Chanel-like, don’t you think?  Links: Jacket by Target, similar here // Sequin hanger by Pastels and Pastries, here.

Chic in Academia,

We’re all a little into fashion in my household.  Here’s my little one’s ootd from a week or two ago.  Don’t you just love him?!  Links: Shirt by Gap Kids, similar here // Pants by Old Navy, here // Sneakers by Nike, similar here.

Chic in Academia,

My Valentine’s Day outfit, complete with my new Gigi New York Uber clutch, which I scored on major clearance!  Links: Top by Lotus Boutiques, similar here, herehere, and here // Skirt and belt by Target, similar here and here // Bracelet by Henri Bendel, similar here // Clutch by Gigi New York, here.

Chic in Academia,

I recently found these espadrilles at Target for $25.  Target recently ran a promo where each pair was $20, so keep your eyes out for additional deals and discounts if they strike your fancy!  They are pretty comfy and in my opinion, pretty perfect for spring and summer!  Here, paired with a vintage Chanel bag that I scored on eBay for next to nothing – relative to full-priced Chanel bags, of course. 😉  Links: Espadrilles by Target, here // Chanel bag, similar here.

Chic in Academia,

Did you know that you get a free birthday gift from Sephora if you sign up for their free Beauty Insider Reward program??  Yes!! This month they are giving away a free Nars lipstick duo!  I made a quick stop by the mall to pick mine up this weekend.  I also picked up my favorite mascara while toting my newest bag obsession from Forever 21!  Links:  Bag by Forever 21, similar here // Nars lipstick duo, here // My favorite mascara by Dior, here.

Chic in Academia,

And finally, my birthday dinner outfit!  It was my birthday this week, so we went out for a quick dinner after the kiddies went to bed.  I literally had 5 minutes to throw this on, but liked the way the outfit turned out!  Links:  Top by Lotus Boutique, original is sold out, but a similar is linked here // Skirt by Altazurra for Target, here // Heels by Shopbop, here // Bag by Francescas, similar here.

Hope you enjoyed my Instagram update!  If you want to follow along on Instagram, follow me here.  Otherwise, I’ll try to post a recap every now and again to keep you updated.  Hope you all have a fantastic week!

Until next time!  Stay ‘Chic’!