Size Inclusive Summer Dresses: Get Ready For Under $150

 Photo by Heather Houston Photography

Photo by Heather Houston Photography

Spring is finally here! I've been getting a bunch of requests for casual & special event dresses so I decided to do a little round up of my favorite dresses. As always, you can shop the looks by clicking on the images or links directly! Be sure to check out my IG story today for a few additional looks that are on major sale. 

Everyday Casual

A few weeks ago I did a try on haul from my latest Old Navy finds! I live in these dresses all summer long. They are so easy to throw on- dress up or dress down for a perfect everyday look.

Daytime Chic

These are a few of my favorite dresses that are perfect for a daytime affair: showers, graduations, parties, etc! 

Fancier Affairs

Fun fact: did you know that black tie affairs don't necessarily mean you need to wear a floor length gown? A dress that hits at or just below the knee can still be formal! It really all depends on the style and fabric, in my opinion. Accessories can also really help! 

All White Everything

As a bride to be, I definitely have an addition to LWD's this season but I feel like they are just such a classic look! I will definitely be re-wearing post-wedding (but definitely not to other people's weddings!)

As you may see, I've only selected a few brands here. I find myself staying loyal to brands when I find my perfect fit. When it comes to sizing, I get a bunch of questions so I thought I would let you know what I am in hopes of helping you find your fit! I love these brands because they are extremely consistent in their sizing- so I can always count on things fitting true to size.

Old Navy: Large
Eliza J: Size 14
Maggy London: Size 14
David's Bridal: Size 14

What are you shopping for this season? Do you think any of these dresses would work for you? Leave a comment below! 

Saturday Swimsuit Finds: Splurges & Steals

Happy Weekend, everybody! This week on my IG stories you voted that you're shopping for swimsuits. In case you missed it, I recently posted a collaboration with SwimSpot, highlighting their fantastic swim collection and fit specialist program for every body type. Be sure to check that out here!

When it comes to swimwear, I like to invest. I'd rather buy 1-2 high quality suits a year that will last me a few years rather than buying inexpensively that will only last you one season. As a full busted, curvy lady I need support and fabric that holds me in. If you've never "splurged" on a swimsuit before, now is your time! To me, it makes a huge difference especially with the bra situation. I like to only wear bra sized two pieces. When it comes to one pieces, I like to make sure the fabric quality is on par. I'm pretty picky and loyal to my favorite swimwear brands: Panache Swim, Elomi Swim, La Blanca, SwimSpot and Kenneth Cole

The most important thing about wearing a swimsuit is having confidence! For me, it's taken time to develop that but once you find a suit that makes you feel good- it makes all of the difference. I've rounded up my favorite swimsuits under $100, I hope you find a suit for you. As always, feel free to leave me any comments or DM me on Instagram with any questions!

You can shop these suits by clicking directly on the images and it will take you right to the website!  

LBS (little black suits):

If you're new to wearing trendier swimsuits, these little black suits will be your perfect gateway to pushing yourself out of your comfort zone in a flattering way. 

Bra Sized Tops:

Once I discovered my actual bra size (36FF), bra sized swimwear has been a complete game changer for me. Here are a few of my favorite tops that you can mix & match with different color bottoms!

For my fellow bride tribe:

Or anyone who loves white swimwear, there's something so classic and cute about white swimsuits. 

Just a few more I either have or am crushing on...

As I said before, all images are shoppable, so you can click directly on the image you like and it will take you right to the page! Quite a few of these are on sale this weekend so now is a great time to buy. Be sure to leave a comment or message me on IG with any questions! 

Friday Favorites: Stepping into Spring Style

Happy Friday, everybody! I seriously cannot believe we're almost through February- time is just flying by but this only means we're one month closer to warmer temps! Unless you live somewhere warm year round, if that's the case I envy you. This week on my Instagram Story, you voted that you'd like to see a spring style round up. I've decided to link some pieces that I've bought and some pieces that I'm really considering buying! This spring, I'm all about the florals (groundbreaking, I know), trying out shorts for the first time in 2006 (bermuda shorts, amirite?), and building my wardrobe with investment pieces that will carry me from season to season. As always, the images and font in bold is clickable/shoppable- so you can shop directly from this post! There are also some amazing sales happening this weekend!

What's Spring without Spring Dresses?

Easy Basics:

I like to shop pretty inexpensively when it comes to basics. They go with everything, you can wear them over and over

Jackets!

I love spring jackets because they can easily take you into other seasons as transitional pieces!

Wedding Wednesday: The Perfect LWD with David's Bridal!

As I’ve been deep in the wedding planning process,  I’ve been on the hunt for EVERYTHING LWD (Little White Dress) for pre-wedding festivities. I’ve searched high and low and I haven’t been able to find many options that were high quality, unique, affordable and SIZE INCLUSIVE! This is why I’m so excited to partner up with David’s Bridal to share the little white dresses they have to offer for events surrounding the wedding. Not to mention, I am into their accessories too. They were kind enough to send my favorite dress from their collection to see how I’d style it for my upcoming wedding events.

I will link all of my outfit details in this post so you can shop directly from this page by clicking the text in bold or the product images!

 Click to shop the   dress ,    purse   and   earrings  ! 

Click to shop the dress, purse and earrings

David’s Bridal is an incredible destination for casual, on trend styles at an affordable price! I was pleasantly surprised to see the variety of styles and sizes for all the events surrounding the wedding: whether it’s for an engagement party or photos, bachelorette party, bridal shower, rehearsal, honeymoon, celebrating your first anniversary - David’s Bridal offers so many options at an incredible value for every body type.

Whether you’re a bride to be or not, white dresses will always be timeless! I know I'll be wearing my LWD's long after my wedding. Switch up your accessories to keep the look fresh. You can throw on a leather or denim jacket and re-wear this dress over and over!

Here are a few other LWD’s I’m loving:

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Another reason I’m loving David’s Bridal are their accessories! They’re on trend and extremely affordable. Here is the necklace I’m wearing above as well as a few extra that I’m loving:

For anyone looking for little white dresses, definitely check out David’s Bridal for all of your bridal needs and beyond. To find a store in your area, click here. I was really impressed by their latest offerings and I think you will be too! They're affordable, great quality and size inclusive- three things that go a long way around here.   

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All photos by Ryan Kell

This post is sponsored by David’s Bridal but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday Favorites: Surviving Winter In Style

It's been a busy week of work and travel over here, which is why I haven't been as active this week online! But that's alright, real life happens and we gotta roll with it. I wanted to round up my favorite looks that have been helping me survive this awfully cold winter we're having and some looks I'm really looking forward to wearing in the spring. I'll be showcasing a few of these items on my Instagram story today, so be sure to check that out! Not sure if you've had a chance to check out my new Highlights on my profile, but I've saved a number of my most popular stories on there. Here are a few brands that I've been loving lately and are keeping me on point (does anyone say 'on point' anymore?) throughout these winter months:
As always, the images and font in bold are clickable- which means you can shop directly from this post! 

Boden: Coats

Okay, I'll admit it. My MOM told me about Boden and it's safe to say I'm OBSESSED! She wore a coat over to my house one day and I tried to steal it... They're a UK based company founded on the principle of stylish clothes that look great and never stint on quality. I typically don't splurge on items like this but I was incredibly impressed with their quality and 365 day return policy... and they've been having a serious sale, items are 40-70% off! So I just had to try them out and I've been blown away with what I got! I've ordered quite a few things and I am in love, I consider these items investment pieces- knowing that I will have them for a long time. For reference, I think they run pretty TTS (true to size) I've been ordering my usual 14 and everything has fit perfectly! 

Eliza J: Spring Dresses

Eliza J is my GIRRRRRL! I'm not sure if she actually exists, but I am seriously in LOVE with this brand. You've seen me in their dresses quite a few times now, I cannot get enough! I also love how on trend and current they are. Another reason why I love the brand is because they are size inclusive, they are always offering styles from sizes 0 to 24! Here are a few dresses that I just got and cannot wait to wear! A few of them are on sale so swipe them up before they're gone!

Bauble Bar: Earrings

I think my Bauble Bar earrings have become my signature thing. You know what's the funny part? I love to throw on a pair of fun BB earrings out of pure laziness because I'm not very good at accessorizing so it's just an easy way to pump up any look! I get asked all of the time where my earrings are from and 99.9% of the time, they're from Bauble Bar! These are a few pairs that I splurged on lately that I am loving! They're having a major sale this weekend, including an extra 15% off of sale so if you're looking for a refresh in your jewelry game, be sure to check them out! 

CO2 Lift Facial

A few weekends ago, I did a full Instagram story about my CO2 Lift mask experience. In case you missed it, I saved it as a highlight on my profile titled "CO2 Lift." They agreed to let me do a monthly review of their famous mask, which is INCREDIBLE by the way. This weekend only, they're offering $20 OFF if you use the code "CARALYN20" - which NEVER happens (it's usually only $10!) so if you've been thinking about trying it out, now is the time!  

As a member of their auto-ship "Glowing Skin" programevery month you will enjoy the comfort of having your CO2Lift delivered straight to your door for just $59.95.  That’s 30% off their regular price for their most devoted customers!

If that wasn’t enough, as a gift, they will send you a “starter pack” which includes an additional CO2Lift treatment and a bottle of our hyaluronic serum. That’s two CO2Lift masks and one bottle of hyaluronic serum for $95.00! ($229.95 worth of product)
Then for $59.95 per month, a single pack of CO2Lift will be delivered straight to your door.

Their single pack with one mask is usually $85.00 so at $59.95 is a real savings! But if you just want to try it, the $20.00 off would make the starter pack $75.00 for 2 masks and a hyaluronic serum!


I hope you enjoyed what I've been loving lately, would love to hear in the comments which items you're most interested in trying! Wishing you a fabulous weekend and happy shopping! Many of these sales end soon so be sure to check them out.

Shop my outfit from the photo at the top here:  

My Health Journey: 2018

This year I'm feeling more motivated than ever to move my body and find more of a balance. I've tried numerous diets & workout plans and they've all worked for awhile... but then I get bored or fall far off the bandwagon, it seems impossible to jump back on. Earlier this week on my Instagram Story, I hesitantly posted that I completed four days of a couch to 5K program. I don't think I totally got my message across because I got an overwhelming amount of responses asking how I completed a 5K in four days! 😂 After clearing it up, many of you requested a post about it!

I recently became inspired by my beautiful, foxy, 57-year-old mother during a conversation we had a few weeks ago. We were talking about running and how she's completed one full marathon, four half-marathons and dozens of 5-8K races. She also mentioned how she'd like to do another marathon before she turns 60, describing the "runner's high" as one of the best feelings she's ever had. 

 My mother (center)  bribing my sister & I to run 😂  we picked up the pace when we saw the cameras! 

My mother (center)  bribing my sister & I to run 😂  we picked up the pace when we saw the cameras! 

Exercise Goals: Move your body 4-5x a week and run a 5K

Now, let me break it down for you: I was NEVER a runner, I'm still not. I played sports in high school but that's as far as I went. I loath running- or at least I did. But I kept thinking about my mom's "runner's high" and wondering if I'd ever be able to feel that. I secretly challenged myself to a "couch to 5K" program- when you go from a couch potato to running a 5K within 6-8 weeks, depending on how frequently you want to train. I found the 5K Runner App seemed to work the best for me (this is not sponsored at all, by the way)! It's a free for the first 5 training sessions, then it has an in app purchase if you want the whole thing... I didn't realize that part but I was already committed to it so I bought it. Here's what the app I'm using as well as a few others recommended by you to use!

The whole point of using the app is to gradually build your endurance so it gradually helps you build your ability to run. The app I use eases you into the program with 1 minute of running, 1 minute and 30 seconds of power walking. I found this WAY more achievable than I ever thought!

Healthy Eating Goal: Be more aware of what I'm eating

When it comes to establishing better habits, I am choosing to use the Weight Watchers app to track and become more aware of my eating habits (again, not sponsored in any way). It's just incredibly helpful for me to be healthy when I am aware of what I'm putting in my mouth. A free version of this tracking concept is "Lose It." For whatever reason, I'm more likely to commit to something when I pay for it. But it works very similarly if you're looking for something like that! Or you could simply use a journal and write everything down if you prefer. I am trying not to get caught up on counting calories or the number on the scale. Instead, I'm focusing on portion control and eating higher quality, less processed foods. I've only been doing it for 7 days now and I simply feel better and less bloated. 

Self Care/ Mental Health Goals:

As I've discussed before, self-love is a journey- NOT a destination. It's something I work on every single day. One of my goals for 2018 is to be kinder to myself, especially when I speak about or to myself. I'd also like to learn more about meditation and try it for five minutes a day. It may not sound like much but smaller goals are more attainable, so I'd like to start there. I am also working on trying to be more present by limiting my screen time every day and having phone-free zones at night. 

Sports Bra Recommendations (by popular demand):


Let's talk about sports bras for a full bust! I consider myself a bra expert because I've worked in the lingerie industry for four years which has allowed me to understand the science/ technology behind them. If that doesn't persuade you, I wear one every day. There was a time in my life when I was wearing two to three sports bras when I worked out because I couldn't find one with enough support & modesty. Lo and behold, I've found you FOUR, yes FOUR different sports bras that I wear on rotation, instead of on top of one another. 🙌🏼 I was just beside myself to go from zero that could handle high impact to FOUR different options! I personally cannot wear a racerback bra, it's too much pressure on my neck but all of these give you an option to hook them into a racerback if you prefer that look!
All of the pictures are clickable, which means you can shop them directly from this post. 😍

Be sure to check out my Instagram story today for an exclusive break down of all four of these bras. I love and wear all of them. You might not need four, but hopefully I can help you decide which one is best for you! Please feel free to leave any questions / concerns that you may have. Some people may be scared away by the price however, you need to invest in your bras. This is something you're wearing EVERY DAY and you deserve to feel supported- literally. 

HOT Deals for In Between Christmas & The New Year

Hey everybody! I don't know about you, but it takes me a few days to recover from Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE IT! But this time between Christmas & the new year makes me extra lazy! Which causes me to online shop... Which is why I asked you in my Instagram Poll if you're still shopping too and 60% of you said yes! I've rounded up my favorite deals happening right now!

Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale:
Up to 50% off all categories until January 2nd.

There are so many good sales in all categories: men, women, home & baby! Be sure to check out these sales here!

Eloquii (Sizes 12+) Up to 80% off styles!

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Caralyn & Martha: A New Friendship Breaking Boundaries

If you haven't already heard, I've had the privilege of partnering up with Martha Stewart Weddings to share my wedding journey! It's been a few weeks since the first Martha Stewart Weddings post has gone live but it's extremely important for me to talk to you, my people, about why this partnership is so important to not only me, but the plus size community.

 Photo by Jenny Fu

Photo by Jenny Fu

When I first started working on this back in October, it didn't feel real. I couldn't believe that they agreed to have me on board as a monthly contributor! I still have a hard time processing that I'm getting married, it just all feels so surreal sometimes. It's almost like an out-of-body experience– like I'm watching someone else's life unfold! Nonetheless, I do not take this opportunity lightly. Not only is it a chance to share my wedding journey, but it's a chance for a plus-size/ curvy / full-figured / whatever you want to call me, woman to bridge the gap. My question to you: when's the last time you saw a curvy bride publicized in any sort of mainstream media? To be honest, I can count on two fingers over the last 5 years. 

My dream for this project is to be a plus size bridal warrior, connecting the gap between the straight (smaller) size and plus size bridal industry. When I first signed on with them, I selfishly wanted to create content that was strictly for the plus size bride- because as a new bride-to-be, none of the content out there was aimed at me. However, I quickly learned as I began writing that the trials and tribulations of being a bride are not exclusive to a size or body type. Sure, we may have different issues on different sides of the spectrum but I think we can all agree that we're not immune to being self-conscious about our bodies. I also don't think being exclusive ever really gets you ahead, so that's why I've decided to focus on SIZE INCLUSIVITY. 

As a full size 14, I'm placed right in the middle when it comes to women's sizing. I represent the AVERAGE size woman in America. I'm just at the beginning of the plus size range, which can be a challenge since it's hard to find clothing at plus size stores that fit me and hard to find clothes in straight size stores. But what doesn't hurt you, only makes you stronger, and I think this gives me a great perspective when it comes to discussing size inclusivity. I've felt the good and bad from both sides.  And for this reason, I'm excited to continue this journey with Martha Stewart Weddings and serve as the ambassador for all women out there who have dealt with shopping  for wedding dresses! I appreciate all of the support during this exciting time!

Special thanks to my wedding planner, Karina Lopez from KC You There for making this possible. And shout out to my future groom for not only making me a future bride but also believing in this process of documenting our wedding journey! 

 Photo by Jenny Fu

Photo by Jenny Fu

To shop my and Karina's outfit, shop above by clicking on the image!

Thanks to Jenny Fu for all of the photos! 

Friday Favorites: Size Inclusive Holiday Style

Happy Friday! Ready or not, the holiday season is here. I cannot believe it is December 1st! I am always excited for the holiday's, but this year especially! Last night on my Instagram Stories, I asked and you voted that you wanted to see some holiday style! It was a 50/50 split between holiday party looks and holiday date night looks so I thought I'd show you a little bit of both! It is very important to me to highlight brands that are SIZE INCLUSIVE- meaning they have a wide range of sizes for EVERY body!

The Dress Shop: Eliza J

If you are looking for a fabulous holiday party dress, you have to check out Eliza J dresses. I've selected a few of my favorites! I love how inclusive their sizing is- ranging from 0 to 16 and then plus sizes! I have quite a few of these dresses and I'm always so impressed with the quality and fit. You will not be disappointed. 

Get Your Party Pants On: Old Navy

Old Navy has been my go-to lately for all things! Their pants are also incredible. I love their fit and often times I even have to size down in their pants- which NEVER happens! Major props to Old Navy for no separating their regular & plus sizing. They offer 00 to 20 on the same product page! Another bonus: most of them are under $30! 

Cozy Coats: Asos

I am proud to say that I've inherited my love for coats from my mother- she has closets full of beautiful coats. ASOS has been an incredible retailer supporting a large range of sizes, check out these gorgeous coats. BEST PART: some of these are up to 30% off, no code needed!

Sparkle & Shine: BaubleBar

If you haven't already heard of BaubleBar- I'm about to change your life! I am constantly amazed by their fun, trendy, yet timeless pieces. What's a holiday season without a little holiday sparkle? These are a few of my favorite pieces right now! They make fabulous gifts too! BEST PART: Everything on their site is 25% until December 8th using code GIFT25

Cutie with a Bootie: DSW

I've been shopping at DSW since as long as I can remember! It is one of the only places that I can find size 11 shoes. They also carry wide width and wide calf styles. Cute boots are a must-have this season, especially with all of your holiday looks!  These are a few of my favorite styles this season.

The Final Touch: Lips from Sephora

Wrapping up this list with an essential- lip color! I always forget to put lip color on until I'm in the car and scrambling through my purse to find something. Lips complete the look and make me feel put together. Here are a few of my favorites this season! BEST PART: some lipsticks are up to 50% off this weekend, no code needed!

What are your favorites from this list? Would you like to see more of these round ups? Your feedback means everything to me! Hope this helps.

Cyber Monday: Best Clothing Deals

Best Clothing Deals for Women & Men:

It has been so fun for me to use the polls on Instagram Stories feature to see what type of content you'd like me to create! This year I decided to take part in the Black Friday/Cyber Monday fun. You voted and you want to see the best deals on clothing! The reason why I chose these brands are because they are size inclusive- some of the brands run up to a size 18, some brands are exclusively plus sizes. I can assure you -there is something in here for everyone. Here's what I've found, happy shopping! All of the store names are clickable, click on them and it will take you to their website!

Ann Taylor

Free shipping & 50% off everything using code BESTMONDAY

ASOS

30% off everything! This is a great deal - I also love how size inclusive their brand is. If you haven't checked out this site, now is your chance! Use code EPIC30

Banana Republic 

50% off everything and no minimum for free shipping. Very exciting because I rarely see BR more than 40% off!

Bare Necessities

Up to 50% off, extra 15% off today and everything ships free!

BaubleBar

Had to sneak this one in, too good of a deal to pass up! 35% off everything using code CYBER25

Bergdorf Goodman

Save up to 40% high end designer goods

Eloquii

50% off your entire purchase, $100 towards your next purchase, free shipping

Express

50% off everything and free shipping!

Gap

50% off everything with code CYBER plus an extra 10% off with code TREAT

H&M

30% off EVERYTHING- yes, EVERYTHING! Women's, Men, Children and Home!
In stores and online! 

J Crew

40% off + an additional 10% off but hurry!!! Offer expires noon Monday. Use code SHOPFAST

Lane Bryant

40% off site wide, free shipping over $50! This is a major deal for my curvy ladies! Use code BLACKFRIDAY

LOFT

50% off everything and free shipping! Women's, petites and maternity. They also have really adorable jewelry & accessories! Use code CLICK

Macy's

extra 20% off sale items until Wednesday 11/29, this is including ALL SALE- clothing and other items! Use code CYBER

Madewell

25% off your entire order using code DONTSTRESS

Nordstrom

Extra 25% off sale items! Free shipping & returns too!

Old Navy

50% off everything - no exclusions! If you haven't checked out Old Navy lately, now is your chance! They've really stepped it up and they're offering really trendy items at AMAZING prices.

Target

extra 15% off EVERYTHING! 

Torrid

BOGO 50% or 30% off everything and free shipping!


Do you like these sort of round-up lists? I enjoy making them! Please let me know in the comments if you'd like to see more of them!

Cyber Monday: Gift Guide

Happy Cyber Monday, everybody! The best Monday of the year - am I right? I've never done a Cyber Monday roundup before, so this post is extra exciting for me! This weekend on Insta Stories I asked you all if you were interested in seeing a roundup of holiday gifts that happen to be on sale today, and based on the amazing feedback it was a no-brainer that I had to create this gift guide for you all!  So without further adieu, happy shopping! Don't forget to treat yourself - or in my case, I need to not treat myself too much!  All of the store names are clickable, if you click the font in bold will bring you right to the site!


GIFT GUIDE UNDER $50

  1.  BaubleBar Earrings - you can't go wrong with this one, every time I wear BaubleBar jewelry - people always ask me where they're from. Perfect for a stylish mom, sister or friend! Their entire website is also 35% off right now with code CYBER35

2. Women's Gemma Velvet Driving Slippers - Mossimo Supply Co. Gray 9 - slippers are an absolute must! I'm embarrassed to say that I have over five pairs. These are my favorite pick because they're inexpensive but still great quality. I love them because you can wear them outdoors since they have such a great grip on the bottom. Target is also having an additional 15% off for Cyber Monday! Women's Gemma Velvet Driving Slippers - Mossimo Supply Co

3. For the whiskey drinker, I've found this Godinger Barware, Dublin Whiskey DecanterAnd it's only $16!  I used to always see these containers when I was little and wonder what they were because they looked so fancy!  This one is great because it looks expensive but it's not! Definitely getting this for Brian- don't tell him!

4. Capri Blue candles - In Mississippi, the artisans of Capri Blue honor the traditions of candle-makers from generations past by hand-pouring their signature soy wax blends into recycled glass vessels. Each clean-burning formula absorbs more fragrance oil than any other natural wax candle—and lasts twice as long.  They are perfect for the candle lover in your life or a fabulous hostess gift! They're also 20% off at Anthropologie today!

5. For all of my fellow pet lovers out there, Petco is having a major Cyber Monday sale! Not a store you'd think of right? But I got all of my furry friends' gifts from the Cyber Monday sale at Petco last year. Up to 65% off! 

6. Rae Dunn Coffee Mug -  I have a few of these and I just love the minimalistic design and functionality of it! Fits ALL the coffee and looks cute in the cupboard.

7. Gift set from The Body Shop - everything is 50% off online today!! This special edition Coconut Premium Collection of bath and body treats will soften, smooth, and moisturize the skin, leaving it with a delightfully tropical scent. This gift box also contains a word search – so get ready to have some fun this holiday season!

8. Give the gift of style through Rent The Runway! Or rent your holiday party dress. 30% off all rentals - even you first month of unlimited rentals through Rent The Runway. Use code HAPPYDAY30 at checkout. 

9. Nordstrom At Home Copper Monogram Bottle Stopper - Perfect hostess gift or for your favorite wine-o. A copper letter gleams atop a polished steel stopper that adds a personal touch while keeping wine drinkable. Letters available: a, b, c, d, g, h, j, k, l, m, r, s, w. 

10. Faux Fur Pompom Beanie - A matching faux fur pompom is the fuzzy cherry on top of this cute and cozy knit beanie. Comes in grey and navy. This gift is perfect for all ages- it looks adorable on everyone- cannot believe this is only $15!

Do you like these gift guides? Would you like to see more of them? Please let me know in the comments below!

The Ultimate Girl Power Friday: Glamour Women Of The Year Summit

I had the privilege of attending Glamour Magazine's Women Of The Year Summit. This invitation-only full-day summit, created by the editors of Glamour put me in the room with the most amazing female trailblazers and newsmakers—the women breaking down barriers and making headlines all across the world.

The day was filled with compelling conversations, moving dialogue, action plans, and breakout sessions covering the issues that matter most to women, which is why I wanted to share the day with you all! The event took place at Brooklyn Museum for an epic day chock-full of inspiring, hilarious, thought-provoking, community-building content and awesome immersive experiences. 

It is my mission to inspire my audience! I want to support and show you all that I know about boss women. In case you missed my Snapchat (@caralynm) or Instagram Story (@CaralynMirand), here are my top five favorite moments from the day:

Cameron Russell Speaking Out About Sexual Harassment in the Modeling Industry.

Model, writer, and activist Cameron Russell gave an incredible speech about the sexual harassment experiences she's dealt with through the years. "At its best, modeling is a creative partnership," she says. But at its worst, the industry allows for opportunities where gatekeepers can abuse their power. "I didn't consent to any of this," she explains. "I think the correct word is tolerate...without tolerating these things, I couldn't have worked as a model."

Ashley Graham and Mattel presenting the first Hijab-Wearing Barbie for US Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad

Ashely was the perfect person to present this because she received her very own custom Barbie last year with NO thigh gap! As a young girl, Ibtihaj used to sew tiny hijabs onto her dolls. Now, she hopes this will inspire little girls across the country to embrace what makes themselves unique. "This is such a big moment for little girls everywhere," she says. 

 Photo Credit: Craig Barritt - Getty Images for Glamour

Photo Credit: Craig Barritt - Getty Images for Glamour

SURPRISE GUEST Dr. Jill Biden and Joe Biden talking about finding purpose in work, relationships and each other.

These two surprised EVERYONE when they were announced by Glamour Editor-In-Chief Cynthia Leive. They discussed the former Vice President's new memoir about their late son, Beau that passed. The conversation flowed freely from everything to their relationship with the Obama's to sexual assault. Joe says that his father always told him, "The greatest sin a person can commit is the abuse of power." It's time to change the culture, he says. "Women hold up half the sky, and it's time this ends," he continues. "Don't let this slow up. This is the time to fundamentally change the culture of how women are treated in American society."

The Biden's also discussed their admirable relationship. "Everybody knows I love her more than she loves me," Joe jokes. They have built a marriage based on respect and kindness. Jill similtaniously made the audience go "aww" when she described that she was having a rough day, and she discovered a bouquet of yellow flowers in her car that Joe had left for her. "He knew how I was feeling," she says. "I thought that was so kind." #GOALS.

 Photo Credit: Craig Barritt - Getty Images for Glamour

Photo Credit: Craig Barritt - Getty Images for Glamour

Lunch with DVF (casual)

At a power lunch hosted by PepsiCo, Ruchi Bhowmik, senior vice president of public policy and government affairs for North America at PepsiCo, introduced a conversation between artist and poet Cleo Wade and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. The women started the discussion by talking about beauty. "Beauty is perfect in it’s imperfection," Diane says. "If you have a big nose, that actually may be your biggest asset. It’s all about the character. When I work with models, I always tell them, 'Don’t be a model, be a woman. Just focus on being on the woman you want to be, and then own it.'"

 Photo: Ilya S. Savenok, Getty Images

Photo: Ilya S. Savenok, Getty Images

 Photo: Caralyn Mirand

Photo: Caralyn Mirand

Epic speech from Naomi Campbell about getting what you want

Model, actress, and activist Naomi Campbell gave an incredible monologue on how to stand up for yourself. "I always encourage people to ask for what you want," she says. "When you’re told no, you should ask for feedback so you can get better." She shared how she worked hard to get her first cover of French Vogue, after initially being told no. That experience then gave her the confidence to try for the American Vogue cover. For her, it was more than getting a cover. "Those pictures weren’t just victories for me," she says. "They were victories for women of color around the world."

 Photo by Craig Barritt, Getty Images

Photo by Craig Barritt, Getty Images

Overall it was an incredible day that left me feeling so inspired and motivated to continue on with my own journey. I left the day with a huge smile on my face. In addition to an incredible swag bag, I felt that I was leaving with SO much stuff to think about.  There was so much girl power in one room- it left me wanting to join the women on that stage one day. 

Descriptions of the event credit to Glamour Magazine Blog.

To view the full schedule and streaming from the day, check it out here!
Major thank you to Glamour Magazine for the invitation, I hope to be included in this powerful day next year!

How To Ace A Model Test

In order to be a successful model, you must 'test' or shoot with different photographers to keep your portfolio fresh. From Ashley Graham to Heidi Klum, all models do this! These shoots are typically paid for by the model- unless you're incredibly sought after. However, when you're starting out most models have to pay. Think of them as an investment in yourselves, these pictures are an opportunity for agencies & clients to see you in a new way. In order to have a successful test, there a few different factors that you need to consider:

  • Choose your photographer wisely. Make sure that you have done your research on desired photographer; checking out their website, Instagram or have talked to other models about working with them. It's important that their photography style aligns with the look that you are going for. 
  • Know what you're getting. Be sure to ask the photographer what is included in their rates. Some photographers have different packages to select from. It's important to know how many different looks/outfits are you shooting, if hair and makeup is included, how long they take to get the pictures back to you and how many final retouched images you get back from them. 
 Photo, hair and makeup by Nicole LeBris Creative, styling by Maxey Greene

Photo, hair and makeup by Nicole LeBris Creative, styling by Maxey Greene

  • Styling matters! In most cases, models are expected to style their own shoots. This means you are required to bring your own clothes, shoes and jewelry. It is always helpful for me to go on to Pinterest and search ideas that I have to get inspiration. This way, the photographer and hair/makeup artist know what your vision is. If you don't feel comfortable styling your own shoot, hire a clothing stylist. Jenesee Utley, Heather Dinneen and Maxey Greene are a few of my favorites. I have hired them all for my test shoots and highly recommend all of them! 
  • Hair and makeup matters! This can make or break the shoot. In my experience, it's always best to start with light and simple hair and makeup for the first couple of looks for the shoot. Clients want to see what you really look like! From there, you can add a little more dramatic makeup to enhance your beauty, not distract from it.
 Photo by Matt Licari, Hair & Makeup by Rosa Barney

Photo by Matt Licari, Hair & Makeup by Rosa Barney

  • Know what you want. Test shoots are an opportunity for the model to express herself in a new way that hasn't been seen before. It's important to have a good grasp on the art direction that you'd like to go in. You are in charge of where things go- it's extra helpful to have pictures of inspiration to show the hair and makeup direction. 
  • Be a part of the selection process. You are your best advocate in the modeling industry! AND you are paying for these! Therefore, you need to be a part of selecting your final images to be retouched. Once I make my first round of selects, I pass the images off to my agency to look through and pick their favorites. If you don't have an agency yet, work with the photographer to select the images that make you seem the most marketable. 
 Photo by Matt Licari, Hair & Makeup by Rosa Barney

Photo by Matt Licari, Hair & Makeup by Rosa Barney

  • Use your images wisely. Once you have your final images, now it's time to share them! Your agency should update their website and create a new comp card for you to market your new pictures to new clients! Hopefully with these new images, you will gain some new clients. Also, feel free to share your new photos on your social media platforms! Just be sure not to post them all at once! Use them as an opportunity to show your followers what you've been up to!
  • Do it all again. I try to test every 4-6 months, averaging to 2-3 times a year. This is to keep my portfolio updated and looking fresh! You never know what picture will make a client say "I want to book her!" Testing frequently is also great way to have content to post on social media. 

I hope this helps you! I've been testing with different photographers for about eight years now, not every shoot has been a success. Don't get discouraged.  It's important to keep trying new things to see what works! You never know until you try. Nonetheless, test shoots are excellent practice for aspiring or younger models. After all, it is our job to be comfortable in front of the camera!

Take A Trip to 'B Kind City'

Happy #GirlPowerFriday, everybody! 2017 has been so special for me, especially due to the incredible people I've met and connected with. Cue Katie Monacelli, creator of bkindcity- BKC for short. She's a bright light with contagious energy that makes you want to hug a stranger. 

Katie describes her company as east coast streetwear meets west coast unisex apparel company with a feel good/ feels good vibe.  Bkindcity is a group of inspired individuals, looking to affect the perspective of commercial society with a culture of creative positivity and kindness.  Through the avenue of an apparel company, they have found a way to bring our vibe to the masses. The best part is? Katie always gives back. For every softest crew sweatshirt bought, she donates a meal to the Buffalo City Mission

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OK, so let's talk about these softest crew sweatshirts! You know that sweatshirt you can't take off? The one you wore to bed last night. The one you threw on this morning to go grab coffee? The one you wore to practice (and maybe the bar?) This is the softest thing you’ll ever put on your body.  Trust me- I NEVER take it off.  Not even kidding, I am sitting here typing this blog post in my black one now. Proud owner of a grey one too! Another reason I love this sweatshirt is it embodies Buffalo, or as we all it here the "Queen City" and "City of Good Neighbors". The sweatshirt even has our area code on the front! Honestly, not sure how this sweatshirt could get any better. 

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To purchase one of these sweatshirts, you can purchase them for $58 at Modern Nostalgia on Hertel Avenue in Buffalo. You can also contact Katie directly and she will ship worldwide to you! She also sells beanies, tanks, tees and many other sweatshirts. Most styles are shown on her Instagram!

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This post is NOT AT ALL SPONSORED. All opinions are my own and you know that I only share things that I love with you! However, if you'd like to purchase something from Katie- be sure to mention "Caralyn Mirand's post" to get 10% off! I can't wait for you to fall in love with this sweatshirt as much as I have!

Be sure to follow Katie @katiemonacelli and @bkindcity. Her positivity and kindness makes my feed so much brighter! 

Wedding Wednesday: Why Weddings Are More Than Dresses

Ever since I was a little girl, I loved going to weddings. As a three-time flower girl, I considered myself a professional. I'd often repurpose my flower girl dresses into halloween costumes because I loved them so much. The romantic in me has always gotten caught up in the magic of the day, seeing the love that the couple shares. Weddings are special because they're all different. Each one is an opportunity to get to know the couple better and for the couple to express themselves.

Last weekend, I had the honor of attending one of my best college friend's wedding. Courtney and Allen had their wedding ceremony at the top of Gunstock Mountain Resort, a perfect location for these adventurous souls. Since they have a passion for the great outdoors, I couldn't imagine a better location for them to exchange their vows! To get to the ceremony we had to take a twenty minute chair lift ride- a first for me. Fun fact: I've never been skiing! The ride up was beautiful.

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Brian and I rode up with my college friend, Kristin and her fiance, Sean. The shoe lover in me had to take a shoe shot on the way up!

Another reason why I love weddings is because it's a time for the guests to express themselves too. As this wedding was full of new experiences (going to a ski resort, taking a chairlift....) I took this as an opportunity to step out of my fashion comfort zone and try something I've never worn before, a jumpsuit!

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Okay, this is a major shout out to any ladies out there who have been interested in trying the jumpsuit trend. I was a little unsure if it was going to look good on me. The key to finding the perfect jumpsuit is fit and fabric. This Vince Camuto jumpsuit was perfect because it hit my waist at the right spot and it had a lot of stretch.  It felt like I was wearing sweatpants- sophisticated sweatpants. This came in clutch on the dance floor!

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Weddings are especially fun for Brian and I, now that we're in the thick of planning one ourselves. Although I don't think we need to match when we attend weddings, I think it's fun to coordinate. My red shoes (only $40) & red lip coordinated well with Brian's red tie. I also received endless compliments on my BaubleBar necklace

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What is your favorite part about weddings? Would you every try this jumpsuit trend? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Leave them in the comments below!

Activities in Buffalo You Must Do This Fall

Is it just me, or is fall one of the best seasons?! Thinking about the endless clothing options, the crisp fall air and outdoor activities are enough to put a smile on my face!  

One of my favorite things to do in the fall is go apple picking. It is one of my favorite memories as a kid and something that I continue to love to do as an adult! For me, it's less about the actual picking of apples and more about the experience of being there (and of course dressing for fall and throwing apples at each other). For four years now, Brian and I have been going with his brother, Brandon and his wife, Mallory. I recently bought a new camera that I hadn't had a chance to test out. I took this as the perfect opportunity to Hoping to get better as I learn more about it. Keep scrolling for the best picture I've taken so far. Spoiler: It's of a donut. 

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Where we went:

Our favorite places to go is Becker Farms & Vizcarra Vineyards, perfect for adults and kids! We love stopping at the bar, indulging on hard cider and donuts before getting on the tractor, as the ride out to the apple orchard is hard to beat. Once you're out there, picture taking, collecting apples and OF COURSE throwing a few at each other is a must! ;)

Step Out Buffalo put a great list together of other orchards to check out! See them here.

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Outfit inspo:

I have been really trying to push myself out of my comfort zone when it comes to my style! So, when Brian and I decided to go apple picking last weekend I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do so! Pro tip: I've been searching clothing items on Pinterest for inspiration. For example, for this outfit I searched "blue gingham shirt outfits" and that's how I found inspiration to style this look. This outfit is perfect for apple picking because it's cute and comfortable! Usually, I'd wear boots but the ground wasn't muddy so I was able to get away with flats! 

Shop this look:

Other fall activities I look forward to:

  1. Decorating the inside and outside of my home with pumpkins, gourds and cornstalks
  2. Making soups and chili, two of my favorite recipes here and there
  3. Carving pumpkins and roasting the pumpkin seeds, recipe here
  4. Dressing Walter (our pup) up in his fall coats/ sweaters (shown below)
  5. Football Sunday's- Go Bills! 

What are your favorite fall activities? Leave them in the comments below!

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