The Dynamic Duo’s Guide to Beachin’ on a Budget

_MG_7343A trip to the beach is the quintessential summertime vacation, but it can be out of reach for a lot of people simply because of the expenses.

Hotel? Gas? Food? Drinks? And not to mention swimwear and stylish beach accessories?

It can add up very quickly. But, we managed to embark on a weekend-long beach getaway for us and our baes for a grand total of around $500.

Here’s how:_MG_7404_MG_7358

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We were lucky enough to be able to stay with one of our friends in Perdido Key, which is on the line between Florida and Alabama. We saved quite a bit of money this way, but even if you are not fortunate enough to have a friend who lives on the coast, a hotel is something you should save on. You are not going to be spending much time there anyways, so it’s really not worth it to spend $200 a night on a fancy resort. Find a place that has a bed, a shower, no frills (and no bed bugs), and only hang out there when you want to go to sleep.

 

We did splurge a little on going out to eat by treating ourselves to brunches and dinners for two days, but that’s more doable when your trip is shorter, like ours was. If we were going to be there for a week, we definitely would have stopped by the grocery store to at least grab some burgers to grill or some lunch meat for sandwiches to make some of our meals cheaper. Also, when we went out to eat, we usually all ordered waters instead of cocktails (which I can’t even order yet anyways) to make those dinners a little more affordable because a drink usually costs as much as an entrée by itself!

I unfortunately broke my only pair of sandals right before we left for this trip (unbelievable, right?), and you can’t go to the beach without sandals, so instead of buying myself a brand new pair, I borrowed my mom’s sandals for the trip. They weren’t my favorite, but I simply took them off for photos, and they got the job done!

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Right before we went on this beach trip, I was really struggling with what to buy for myself. I knew we were going to do at least one photoshoot, so I wanted a new swimsuit (or two), a beach towel, a beach bag—the whole works. Unfortunately, the more logical side of myself knew that I shouldn’t splurge on all of that, so I had to pick and choose.

I already had a new swimsuit (this amazing blush pink one!) that I bought a few months ago and hadn’t worn yet because I wanted to save its debut for the beach. So, one swimsuit down! All of my current swimsuits were solid colors, so I really wanted one that had a fun print. I did not want to spend a lot of money on it, so I turned to Amazon and found a cute one piece with a palm tree print. It was only $15, so I bought it. I actually didn’t even end up getting to wear it on this trip, but at least I’ll have it for my many days by the pool this summer.

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As for the rest of the stuff, I borrowed a beach towel from the friends we were staying with and made peace with the fact that I would not be able to get an Instagram-worthy photo with an on-trend, circular patterned beach towel because it cost $45. I repurposed a cheap, lightweight tote bag into a beach bag instead of shelling out $70+ for one of those awesome straw ones. I figured out what was most important to me, spent money on it, and saved money on the rest. You don’t have to completely deprive yourself of what you want when you’re headed on vacay; you just have to prioritize!

-S

 

What are some ways you’ve found to save money at the beach? Let us know in the comments!

_MG_7561Here are some of our favorite candid moments from the trip!

Hannah’s Wearing:

|  Forever 21 Swimsuit |  Target Cardigan (similar) | Aldo Sunglasses (similar) | Kroger Hat (similar) | Target Earrings (similar) |

 

Sabrina’s Wearing:

| Love Street Apparel One Piece Swimsuit | TJ Maxx Sunglasses (similar) | Target Earrings | Amazon Cover-Up |

What is ‘Cultural Appropriation’ Anyways?

IMG_5313IMG_5725For this post, we challenged ourselves to put together the most *American* outfits we could without doing any online research to see how much influence other cultures have on our sense of style.

In short, we failed. Miserably.

Literally none of the styles we chose originated in America. Then, we did some more research and found that the only styles that truly got their start in the United States are blue jeans and western wear.

 

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This exercise was truly eye-opening because we saw firsthand that if we hadn’t taken styles from other cultures, there essentially would be no fashion in this country.

So, that brings us back to the idea of cultural appropriation. When is it okay to take ideas from other cultures and when is it disrespectful?

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I remember people getting upset about things like the name, “The Washington Redskins,” or even more recently, not liking that Kendall and Kylie put their faces on t-shirts with the names of Tupac and other African American artists, but I didn’t realize there was a name for it: cultural appropriation. The definition of cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of the elements of one culture by members of another culture.

As someone who is half Puerto Rican, I do understand this on a personal level. Particularly when people use bits and pieces of Spanish without really knowing what they mean, like adding “el” before certain words and “o” after them , like “el car-o” to be funny and make those words sound Hispanic.

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It’s not that big of a deal to me because I know most people who do this are just trying to be funny and aren’t trying to be disrespectful, but I understand why it is offensive to some people. Taking some aspects of a language and using them improperly is not respectful to that language and the people who speak it.

-S

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IMG_5555As we all know, America is a melting pot of different cultures. With so many different types of people coming to the States, cultures and lifestyles are bound to mix and take on aspects of other traditions. There are definitely reasons to tread cautiously when it comes to clothes, art, or anything from other cultures, but without this amazing conglomeration of people and ideas, we would not have things like Chicago-style pizza or New York Fashion Week.

I was researching cultural appropriation for this post because I actually didn’t even know what it was before Sabrina brought it up to me. I found this incredible article on how to approach cultural appropriation in a positive way, and I could not have put it any better myself:

“In the 21st century, cultural appropriation—like globalization—isn’t just inevitable; it’s potentially positive. We have to stop guarding cultures and subcultures in efforts to preserve them. It’s naïve, paternalistic, and counterproductive. Plus, it’s just not how culture or creativity work. The exchange of ideas, styles, and traditions is one of the tenets and joys of a modern, multicultural society. So how do we move past the finger pointing, and co-exist in a way that’s both creatively open and culturally sensitive? In a word, carefully.”

-The Atlantic, “The Dos and Don’ts of Cultural Appropriation

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If we limited ourselves to just ‘American’ culture and didn’t share with others, we would not have much at all. Blending cultures and lifestyles is what makes America, America.

So, if you like good music, good food, and good fashion, we should probably keep mixing cultures (respectfully).

-H

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To be completely honest, I did not understand why people got upset about cultural appropriation until fairly recently. I thought that people should be happy and feel honored if another culture borrowed one of their ideas and showcased it. (Boy was I wrong.)

I finally understood why people got upset about it when girls started wearing shirts and toting coffee mugs with the phrase, “Nama’stay in Bed,” emblazoned on them. Namaste is a Hindi greeting, and one time when I asked a girl wearing one of those shirts if she knew what “Namaste” meant or even what language it came from, she had no clue. As someone who is half Indian, that’s when I got a little offended and realized that there’s a right way and a wrong way to borrow from other cultures.

It is acceptable to borrow another culture’s idea if you know the meaning behind it and you treat it respectfully. Such as, if a clothing company used tribal print on one of their artisan-crafted handbags and also told a story about creator of the bag and the origin of the print in the description, this would be acceptable. On the other hand, if a company put a Native American headdress on one of their Caucasian, underwear-clad models for a runway show, that is not okay (ahem, Victoria’s Secret).

-S

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Sharing between cultures is something that is unavoidable–and honestly desirable–if we want to bring cultures closer together. But, there is a right way to do it by honoring the history of the cultural idea and the people who came up with it, and a wrong way to do it, which is ignoring everything except the aesthetic value of the idea.

Learn before you wear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos by: H+L Creations

Savvy’s Wearing:

| Forever 21 Satin Shirtdress | Marc Fisher Ankle Boots (similar) | Amazon Earrings | H&M Hair Piece | Fossil Purse (similar) | Plato’s Closet Watch (similar) | TJ Maxx Sunglasses (similar) |

 

Hannah’s Wearing:

| Forever 21 Slip Dress (similar) | Target Button Down Shirt (similar) | Amazon Heeled Sandals | Target Earrings (similar) | Aldo Sunglasses (similar) | BCBG Purse (similar) |

 

Sabrina’s Wearing:

| Amazon Crop Top (similar) | Forever 21 Pants (similar) | Zara PurseH&M Sunglasses | Forever 21 Mules | Amazon Earrings | Plato’s Closet Watch (similar) | Amazon Rings |

Three Definitions of What It Means to Dress “Professionally”

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When I stand in front of my closet in the morning trying to decide what to wear, I’m often confused on how to represent myself professionally, but still incorporate my sense of style into my look. As a student, fashion blogger, entrepreneur, and social media manager, I need to wear clothes that I can easily transition from business meetings to photoshoots to classes (it’s a struggle sometimes!).
I love these professional, straight leg trousers I snatched from Old Navy because they work for almost any occasion. I paired them with a chic orange top with a few cutouts to show my sophisticated, feminine style, and I added some metallic loafers to give my look a fashion forward edge. With this look, I can easily jump from place to place without breaking my personal aesthetic.

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I used to work at a clothing store (which I’ll leave nameless), where I would initially wear what was true to my style when I went into work. But as soon as I walked in, I could feel the pressure as other girls stared at me, looked me up and down, and judged me for not dressing like them. I started to cave and began dressing similarly, but I wasn’t happy because when I looked in the mirror each morning and asked myself, “Am I dressing for me or am I dressing for them?”, the answer was them.

I eventually left that job, but my time there taught me a valuable lesson. I was beginning to lose who I was because I let someone else’s opinion define me. I think when we get into a level of professionalism, we want to change who we are to please our boss or others around us. Never let anyone change who you are, whether it’s for a job, or anything else.

I will dress professionally, but you can always count on me to add my own flair to it and most importantly, express myself.

-H

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As a photographer, it can be challenging to find clothes I can move around in to get that perfect shot and are still professional enough to meet clients for a consultation. My favorite part of the job is getting to know my customers and listening to their stories so I can reflect their beauty through my lens. I need them to be comfortable and open with me, and meeting them with a smile and a professional appearance is the most effective way to let my models know that they have nothing to worry about.

When I’m taking pictures, I have to be comfortable and flexible, so I can catch that perfect angle at any given second. Especially because I frequently work with families and children, I need to be able to move quickly and keep up with hyper little ones! To enable me to do this, I turn to clothes that are more loose and flexible, like jogger pants, loose tops, and leggings.

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I would honestly prefer to simply wear leggings and t-shirts 24/7, but I realize that as a business owner, I need to put a little more effort into my appearance. So, I dress up my athleisure-style outfits by adding some simple jewelry that doesn’t get in my way, like rings and earrings, and by incorporating some fun patterns into my looks. When it comes to shoes, I will wear more stylish flats or sandals for my consultations, but when I’m actually shooting, it has to be tennis shoes all the way. Fortunately, I have a pair of vintage high-top converse, which work with just about any outfit!
-B

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Geometric Black and White Romper

Even just a couple years ago, I thought dressing ‘professionally’ meant wearing dress pants, a button-down shirt, and heels. That was the standard ‘professional uniform’ in my head. So, that’s almost exclusively what I wore on the rare occasion that I attended an event with a business casual dress code. Whenever I put on my ill-fitting, probably-flared dress pants and a boxy button-down, I never felt like myself because I didn’t think there was any room for creativity and personal expression in the ‘professional world.’

It’s taken me until now to really start branching out from what most people wear to meetings and networking events, but I’m so happy I did because when I feel more like myself in my outfit, I act more like myself. I’m more comfortable talking to people and sharing my ideas, and I think people respond to me better because they can see exactly who I am before I even open my mouth.

Black and White Romper and Sunglasses

I love to toe the line and wear things like rompers because the last thing I want is to blend in with everybody else. As a fashion blogger and a soon-to-be fashion business owner, I set higher expectations for myself when I’m getting ready for an event or a meeting. I think that if you’re going into fashion, you have to try that much harder on a daily basis so that people trust you and eventually buy what you’re selling.
-S

Street Style Stars

Photos by: Rainwater Reflections Photography

Brooke’s Wearing:

| Goodwill Top (similar) | Nordstrom Pants (similar) | Goodwill Flats (similar) | Aldo Sunglasses (similar) |

Sabrina’s Wearing:

| Asos Romper | Amazon Heels | Express Earrings | Goodwill Purse (similar) | TJ Maxx Sunglasses (similar) |

Hannah’s Wearing:

| Old Navy Pants | Forever 21 Loafers | Rue21 Sunglasses (similar) | Amazon Earrings |

Trend Tips: The Graphic Tee

DSC_9462The graphic tee: everyone knows it, everyone loves it, but not everyone knows how to style it. To keep your look from venturing into middle school/Hollister tee territory, stay up to date with these easy outfit tips:

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The graphic tee is one of the biggest trends of the summer, but (ironically) because this piece is so versatile, it can be difficult to style it in a way that feels fresh. I paired this graphic tee from Natural Statement with a side-split maxi skirt to make it feel a little more feminine and make me feel as though I could be walking along a beach somewhere. 

 

 

 

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I found these chic, black loafers AND this woven purse at Goodwill the other day (score!), so I thought they would be the perfect additions to keep this look easy and casual. If you are going to try out a maxi skirt this summer, go for one that doesn’t feel basic (so 2015). Try out various, ankle skimming lengths, or find one with some sexy slits in it (or create the slits yourself, like I did!).

-S

 

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As much as I love chic, summer colors–vibrant yellow, classic red, and everything in between–there is something fashion forward about going monochromatic when putting together a summer outfit. Everyone owns and wears graphic tees on a regular basis, so I didn’t want this look to feel as though I just threw it together on my way to class.

 

 

I pulled out the block heel booties I usually reserve for fall and tucked in that graphic tee to accentuate these high-waisted shorts and add a street style feel to this ensemble. I added a denim jacket to throw in a littttllllleeeee bit of color (but not much), so I wouldn’t be mistaken for gothic, and so I could swing it around when I wanted to and feel like a runway model.

-H

Sabrina’s Wearing:

| Natural Statement Tee | Revitalized Kohl’s Maxi Skirt (similar) | Goodwill Loafers (similar) | Goodwill Purse (similar) | Aldo Sunglasses | Charming Charlie Earrings (similar) |

Hannah’s Wearing:

| Natural Statement Tee | Revitalized H&M Shorts | Marc Fisher Ankle Boots (similar) | TJ Maxx Denim Jacket | TJ Maxx Sunglasses (similar) | Etsy Necklace | Earthbound Trading Co. Earrings (similar) |

Photos by: Rainwater Reflections Photography

What to Wear When You Hate Summer Fashion

If you are anything like us, you probably cringe when someone tells you that summer is their favorite season.

Sunburns, scalding car seats, and spiders galore? No friggin’ thank you.

We would prefer to go into hibernation for the three most soul-crushing months of the year (which are only going to get hotter and hotter), but they unfortunately haven’t perfected that process yet. So, until then, we’ve had to make do.

 

IMG_4382I have always been a sweater-obsessed, booties-loving, fall fashion guru, so when the Arkansas summer heat hits, I’m filled with dread when I’m trying to figure out what to wear. (Not to mention, having to shave your legs like everyday is such a pain.) With the humidity in Arkansas, staying fashionable in the summer is nearly impossible. But instead of staying snuggled in my bed watching Netflix and counting down the days until the air turns crisp (which would be my first choice), I’ve turned to mesh tops, backless dresses, and flowy fabrics to get me through the summer fever so I don’t have to stay holed up in my room until September.

 

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Being only about 5’3 and having legs as white as the sandy beaches of Destin, I’ve always found it uncomfortable to wear shorts because it’s difficult to find a pair that is flattering on me. But, I decided it was time to free the thighs and get over my irrational fear of my white legs seeing the sun because how else are my legs going to get any darker if I keep them covered up all the time?IMG_4229

I love these shorts because they are high-waisted, which elongates my torso, and they pair well with my favorite, all-season embroidered booties, which magically make any outfit look chic. The vertical stripes of these shorts slim my waist while giving me the nautical, summery vibe I’m going for, and I love how they contrast with this peachy mesh top (whose main purpose is preventing me from melting like the Wicked Witch of the West). 

I still cannot wait until it’s sweater weather again, but I think I can survive until then with pieces like these in rotation. (But then again, it’s only June and we still have the two hottest months of the year to go, so we’ll see!)

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Summertime is great. I love long breaks from college to travel, work and just slow down for while. However, I have never been a fan of summer fashion. Living in Arkansas, I dread going outside into the sticky heat where sweating is inevitable. Picking out an outfit becomes a game where you have to consider so many factors before you even leave the house. What’s the temp out? Will I freeze in the AC when I go inside? Will this show sweat? Am I going to get a weird sunburn in this? (I say burn rather than tan because I’m only one shade of porcelain all year round). I am probably in the minority of people who would gladly trade scorching sunny days for cooler cloudy ones, and I get by in the summer by wearing light layers both for versatility and as a means to use some of my staple pieces from other seasons. And no one does layers and cloudy days quite like England, from which I draw most of my style inspiration.

In 2015, I spent the best semester of my college career studying abroad in London. For several sweet months, I drank in the culture around me as I fell in love with the accents, the food, the history, the mannerisms, and most of all, the fashion. 

 

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I brought quite a lot home with me after that semester; a few great pieces of clothing, but mostly ideas for my wardrobe. When studying there, I found that balance and stability are themes that permeate almost every facet of British culture, and they definitely extend to fashion. Londoners were not overly done-up nor were they slouchy or frumpy.

This look has infiltrated much of my own wardrobe and the pieces I buy. I strive for that balance between the high-end pieces like you could find in London’s West End shops and vintage finds like you might pick up in the East End.

IMG_4296I aspire to find that androgynous balance for me that looks powerful and bold, yet still chic and soft. I am always seeking that balance that says, “I put in some effort with this look, but not too much.” Because at the end of the day, I want that beautifully unique look too. I don’t want someone to compliment my outfit or my makeup as much as I would like them to compliment how I look. I want my summer wardrobe to be flexible and still me even if it’s not my favorite season of the year and even if I’m suffering through Arkansas weather instead of London’s. And if I can achieve that, I promise you can too.

-S

 

IMG_4341I love the color black.

I wear it year-round, so my fellow Arkansans must think I’ve lost my mind around this time of year.

But, I hate typical summer fashion with its frou-frou ruffles and bright colors, so I had to find a way to stay true to my sense of style without literally having a heat stroke.

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I wore this all-black outfit when it was at least eighty degrees outside, and you know what? I was actually pretty comfortable! If you like dark colors, the key is wearing pieces that allow you to breathe in the summertime. This shirt is mesh, so I could feel that wonderful breeze on my skin all day long, and these flowy, satin wide-leg pants didn’t cling to my skin at all or make me sweat. 

It’s honestly really difficult for me to find the motivation to get dressed up in the summertime because I am very hot-natured and I sweat a lot (ladylike, I know). I don’t want to wear cute clothes or spend time on my hair and makeup because I know as soon as I step outside, I’m instantly going to sweat through whatever I’m wearing and my hair is going to frizz up because of the humidity.

 

Before we started this blog, I essentially only wore various, boring combinations of tank tops and shorts whenever I went out somewhere because I didn’t think it was worth it to put in the energy. Now, I’m a little more obligated to put in some real effort instead of giving summer a pass and being content with looking like a hungover college kid dragging their feet to their 8 am class (messy bun, dark circles and all). It’s a good thing, though, because I feel better about myself when I try, and with breezy fabrics, makeup primer, and plenty of hairspray, I think I can make it until fall.

-S

 

“I figure if I’m gonna be a mess, I might as well be a hot mess.” -Mindy Kaling

IMG_4469Hannah’s Outfit Details:

Mesh Top: Forever 21

Shorts: Forever 21

Embroidered Booties: Target

Earrings: Amazon

Sunglasses: Aldo- similar here

Sarah’s Outfit Details:

Crop Top: Kohl’s- similar here

Satin Top: Goodwill- similar here

Pants: Forever 21

Heels: Forever 21

Sunglasses: Rue 21- similar here

Sabrina’s Outfit Details:

Mesh Top: Zara- similar here

Bralette: Aerie

Satin Pants: Goodwill (revitalized by Awaken Atelier)- similar here 

Velvet Sneakers: Target

Earrings: Amazon

Sunglasses: TJ Maxx- similar here

Watch: Plato’s Closet- similar here