Wellness Challenge #3: Make the Most of Your Time

October 30, 2017

tweed skirt

Is anyone else in shock that Halloween is tomorrow? So insane! I’m sad that October is over, but at least the weather is finally cool. It actually feels like fall. I am taking full advantage of the rest of fall. I’m even working on an end-of-fall bucket list that I’ll share with you guys later this week. As for now, it’s time for another wellness challenge! This time, I want to focus on cutting back on my Netflix binging habits. 

I love a great weekend where I order seamless and binge a few shows (aka Riverdale). But I’ve noticed that I’ve been having these binge watching sessions on the weekdays too. And although it was a ton of fun blowing off my responsibilities this past week, I ended up being so anxious about everything I’ve been avoiding and feeing too overwhelmed to do anything... not healthy Nia. So for the next two weeks, I’m gonna schedule in my “do nothing time”.

I think everyone needs to rest and just not do anything every now and then, but since I’m working on multiple goals (ie. improving my health and fitness, making more money, running this blog after my day job, dating in the city, trying to network in my field, stepping up my style and beauty game and making more friends), I can’t afford to check out every single night after work, but if I block off one or two hours a day to unwind will help me relax without feeling guilty. Call me an optimist, but I'm pretty confident that scheduling these “I’m not doing anything right now” sessions is going to make a huge difference. 

I believe penciling in this time will encourage anyone to take advantage of their downtime AND their productivity time! It’s definitely going to take a lot of discipline, but it will be worth it. Plus, you can always create a reward for yourself to help you stay motivated. I have my eye on a beautiful velvet jacket, so if I stay on track, I’m treating myself to it.

So now I want to hear from you! Maybe you haven’t been making the most of your time, but you have goals you want to achieve and things you want to do. It’s never too late to make a change. We are totally going to have everything we want, but like I’ve said before, it’s not just going to fall in our laps. I hope you take on this challenge with me, and I can’t wait to hear from you guys in the comment section below. Cheers to a happy and productive Fall! 

Instagram Roundup - Budget Friendly Fall Outfits

October 24, 2017

I'm a huge believer that having great style has absolutely nothing to do with how how much you spend on your wardrobe. I really started to develop and understand my personal style in college... the years when I had the least amount of money. And although I graduated almost a year and a half ago from undergrad, those bargain hunting skills I mastered during college are still (and will always be) ingrained in me. I have noticed that I'm starting to drift more towards quality clothing, but I rarely pay full price for high-quality items, and neither should you! 99% of the time, I search for the best compared price, store sales, coupons or a previously-owned piece to maximize my savings.  Forever 21 and H&M still have a pretty large place in my life, but I'm starting to realize that I can have high quality items too and not drain my bank account to get them. I've rounded up a few of my recent Instagram posts so you can shop my budget-friendly and quality pieces. Don't forget to take a picture and tag me or DM me so I can see how you style any of these pieces (or similar pieces)! I'm excited to see what you guys put together. I love how easy it is to share fashion and connect through it. So seriously, feel free to share! 

Oh, and disclaimer, this post contains affiliate links. So... if you do decide to shop from it, I'll love you forever for supporting my blog. If you don't shop from it, I'll still love you just for reading my post. 

   I can't believe I'm admitting this, but I've been finding a lot of cute, affordable items at Abercrombie and Fitch. This satin lace-trimmed cami is from there... and it was on sale for $12. I have a feeling it's going back on sale very soon. grabbed this trendy lace-up black denim skirt on sale at Forever 21.  

This mesh shop is a dream, and it was only $6. My favorite way to style mesh, see-through items is with a  lacy item underneath. My favorite thing about this top is the pop of red; I typically see mesh tops in black. Throwing on a mesh top in an unexpected color is an easy way to add a twist to a basic nighttime outfit. I got these beautiful shoes on sale for $20 dollars at express! They pretty much always have sales, so check out your local store on the reg. Plus these shoes have a chunky heel and and a closed toe, meaning you have extra support and can tape your toes to minimize pain.   

I’ve been obsessed with graphic tees lately and really wanted a simple one with a French saying... but I wasn’t willing to pay a crap ton for one. Then, I found this baby on Boohoo, and it was only $17. Jesus clearly wanted me to be happy that day. I love this tee so much and it’s pretty opaque so your bra doesn't show through too much. And of course, to make this look less basic, I paired it with my favorite pleather mini skirt from Guess. I randomly found this skirt at Macy’s, and it was on sale for about $50!!! I’ve worn this to happy hours, nights out, dates, random daytime activities and even in the office (perks of working in fashion). I honestly would pay 3xs the price for a skirt like this. It’s a staple in my wardrobe. 
Now these earrings were on the pricier side for what I usually buy, but I’m focusing on transitioning my jewelry collection to a more sophisticated style. That means investing in quality pieces. These are from bauble bar and I love them, so I don’t care that they were over $30. You can also get a percent off your first bauble bar purchase! Just look in the top right-hand corner of the site and enter your email to receive your discount. 

This long vest is amazing!! I work in fashion PR and had been eyeing this item in our PR closet for weeks! It’s from Talbots, and if you check online, talbots usually has a sale! As for the LBD layered underneath, I bought this dress over 3 years ago from Ross. It’s held up pretty well and is a lot thicker (and better quality) than a similar black dress I have from forever 21. The great thing is they were the same price. 

My shoes are by Chinese Landry. I was watching a YouTube clothing haul a year ago and they were featured in someone’s video. I fell in love with them and bought them 3 days later. I paid about $80 for them, but I like investing in my shoes and these have held up pretty well. Plus, I found a discount code for them, which made the hit to my wallet hurt a lot less. 

 I wish I had tried these overalls on in the store. I have a very large chest, so the suspenders don't fit well. They either smoosh my boobs or slide off to the side. Since these overalls have buttons in the back, I’m planning to unbotton them and sew the suspenders into the perfect position. This is more effort than I’d like to do, but hey, these overalls were less than $25! (I got them on sale at F21) So in my mind, it’s worth it. There’s a lot a mediocre needle and thread job can fix.

This adorable bell-sleeve, off the shoulder red top is from Forever 21. I got it during a holiday sale so it was under $20. It’s really thick and is pretty decent quality. I am obsessed with it. If you can’t tell, I have a thing for red. It’s a universally flattering color, so if you want to add some color to your wardrobe, try on a few different shades of red until you find one that flatters your skin tone. 

I paired this top with a basic dark wash denim skirt and my favorite embroidered mules by Kenneth Cole. These shoes were a gift from my boss because she’s amazing and super generous, but this outfit will look great with any type of shoe. This would be a really cute outfit to wear with white sneakers. Wearing a skirt with trainers is my go-to uniform when I want to look cute but plan on walking a lot. 

So those are some of my recent finds. I've been wearing the items above on repeat. Let me know what items you've been wearing non stop this month, and thanks for reading and supporting my blog! Lots of love!!!

Weekly Brief No. 3: Weekend Reads

October 20, 2017

Congrats! We made it through another week! I'm currently working on this post while drinking coffee in my living room. Jazz music is playing in the background and the Netflix fireplace "film' is crackling across from me. It's crazy how these three little things are making me insanely happy right now. This is a much needed reminder that I need to take time to do the little things that I love. We can experience happiness from the simplest things! So if you're week has been a little rough, take this weekend to relax and do the simple things you love. I know I am! Fingers crossed this will do the trick and help me feel re-centered. Happy weekend and happy reading! 

P.S. Let me know what your favorite part about this post is. I'd love to hear your input, and if there're other topics you want me to share in these weekly round-ups, put it in the comments or email me! I'd love to start including them!

How to Help- ideas to give back or stand up for a cause this week: If you live in NYC, there's an app that you can download for cool volunteer projects.

Shop til you Drop: the best sales this week 

Career: Read this if you're feeling stuck in you job!

Menu: Protein = power! 5 Ways to Get More Protein in Your Diet

Get Fit: I've been having a lot of knee pain lately. If you've been having this issue too, these exercises to relieve knee pain are for you. 

Smart Money Tip of the Week (Because you’re too good to stay a broke bitch): Face that credit card debt! I am! It kind of sucks, but it will feel so great when you're totally free. 

Currently loving: If you read my current wellness challenge post, you already know how I'm focusing on building more confidence. Well after reading this incredible article on GirlBoss.com, I realized that what I've really been struggling with is self-esteem! If you do anything today, please take 5 minutes to read this piece. You are amazing, but it's easy to forget that in today's society. You’ve Been Conditioned Into Low Self-Esteem: Here’s How To Get It Back

Date Night/We Need to Talk: Do you know your S.O.'s love language? Do you know your own? Find out here

Trick or treat: The 13 Nights of Halloween are back on ABC/Freeform!!! Here's the schedule. You're welcome.

Food for the Soul: Ah!!! I can't wait to buy the new Kate Spade book SHE! I glanced through it in a book store last weekend. It celebrates a collection of famous women (fictional and real) who continue to be iconic muses.

Decorate: If I had a bar cart, I would decorate it just like One Small Blonde did for Halloween! I want one so freaking badly!!!!!!

Favorite Quote: "What we dwell on is who we become-as a woman thinks, so she is. - Oprah

Wellness Challenge #2: How to tackle anxiety

October 16, 2017

Photo by Alisa Anton 

Guess who’s back with another wellness challenge! Raise your your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by your own anxiety. If you haven’t, I envy you deeply. Anxiety has been a part of my life ever since I can remember. Sometimes I appreciate it because it pushes me to do the things I’ve been avoiding, but usually, it cripples me. There are a lot of studies about the negative impacts anxiety has on our minds and bodies. If you are severely struggling with it, it might be a great idea to consult a professional and get their advice. Hell, finding an amazing therapist is at the top of my list right now. I even started a savings account last week devoted solely to my mental health wellness. I know seeing a mental health professional can be VERY costly. So until that account is large enough for me to book an appointment at an office that I feel is the right fit for me, I’m challenging myself (and you) to do 3 tiny things every time we feel anxious for the next two weeks.

1. Count forwards and backwards to the number 5, five times while deeply inhaling and exhaling. 
I learned this trick from the amazing Mel Robbins. Honestly, you can really calm yourself down if you just take a few seconds to breath and recenter yourself. This is one of my favorite tricked because you can do it anytime, anywhere and no one will notice! When you do this, you realize that you can handle whatever is causing you anxiety. You’re strong enough and smart enough to get through this. You might not think that you are, but trust me; you are, and I’m always right. So there! Now you have no excuse but to believe that you are strong and smart enough to handle this obstacle. 

2. Write down what's bothering us, why it’s bothering us, and actions we can take to solve or move past the broken down problem. 
This step helps me because it's a reminder that no matter the outcome, I’ll always have myself once this is over, ensuring that I’ll be ok. Then I also brainstorm everything I can do to fix this problem. For example, one of the MANY things I was anxious as hell about this weekend is my love life. I was telling myself all of these toxic lies such as “I’m not pretty enough to get the type of man I want to commit to me,” “don’t smile at that cute guy on the train because he wants someone who looks like her, not like you Nia,” or “you’re not successful enough yet to be with the type of guy you want.” 

These are all terrible, untrue things, and why was I even telling myself this story? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Attraction isn’t a universal truth. It’s subjective, not objective and I’m not a freaking mind reader, so that cute guy in front of me at startbucks might think I’m an angel sent from above or he might not. 

Number two, if someone only cares about my physical appearance, they aren't the person for me. Yes,having enough self-respect to present yourself in a way that makes you feel confident is very important, but looks should never be the foundation of a healthy relationship. Guess what the real catch is... it doesn’t matter what that stranger thinks of me at all. Yes, I truly believe that love is the most important thing to experience in life, but I should be practicing self-love on a daily basis instead of putting my self-worth  in the hands of other people. I'd be lying if I said this is an easy mindset to fix, but I know I should never depend on anyone else to feel fulfilled. 

Some of the actionable steps I can take to fix my irrational fear of being single for all eternity are: 
1.) I can devote more time to taking care of my physical and emotional state so I look, but most importantly, feel my best. 
2.) I can repeat a positive quote to myself whenever I don’t feel confident. This will boost my energy and change my mindset. Confident people are attracted to other confident people, so in this case, taking a break from dating and focusing on boosting that self confidence is essential. 

3.) I can push myself to be more active and social so I meet more people. Go to that hiking meet up event. Take up that happy hour invitation and talk to at least 3 new people! I won't die from being a little social. Netflix can wait. 

I use this list exercise for just about every aspect of my life: my career, apartment hunting, expanding my social circle, making more money... literally everything. Once I have my problems down on paper and brainstorm small things I can do to fix them; I feel like I can breathe again and put down the pint of ice cream I've been binge eating to distract myself. 

3. Freaking cry 

Sometimes you really just need to cry to get all of the pressure and anxiety out of your system. There’s nothing wrong with crying every now and then. It’s great for your facial tissue. I do believe there’s such a thing as too much crying though (ie. me every single morning my second semester of senior year of college (2016) when I stretched myself too thin in order to avoid dealing with my father’s death). So if you find yourself crying multiple times a week, I don’t think it hurts to explore seeking help from a professional. Believe me, no one should feel tortured by their thoughts 24/7. Life is meant to be beautiful, and I refuse to let us be held hostage by our own minds.

 What do you do to help battle anxiety? I can't wait to hear from you guys, and if you need someone to talk to, feel free to email me. Also, here's a cute puppy gif if you need something to help you smile today.

Festive Fall and Halloween Decor on a Budget

October 14, 2017

Photo: Nia Washington 

Um.... we are already halfway through October. That's insane. I definitely want to slow down and take more time to enjoy this month. I tend to focus on my next goal and zone out anything else, but that causes me to miss out on the small, beautiful moments life throws at us. Whether it's walking through the park with a warm drink, smelling the crisp air and watching the leaves turn a bright orange color, or walking through a neighborhood instead of riding the subway and trying to spot townhouses decked out in seasonal decor. These are simple, but enjoyable moments that I've been skipping over because I'm "too busy" to take a break.

Well, life has a way of forcing you to take a break if you don't do it willingly. Each year, I decorate for Halloween and Fall, but this year, I've been slacking. Don't worry! This Sunday, I'm getting my freak on with all the festive decor...at a reasonable price, and you should too. Below are a few tips I've used for years to turn my humble abode into a festive retreat, and all on a dirt cheap budget. Check out my Pinterest decor board for even more inspiration.

Tips and Tricks

1. Hit up your local dollar store.
For those of you lucky enough to live close to a Dollar Tree, freaking run there! I've gotten so many amazing halloween and fall decor pieces from there, and they are all one dollar! You can find leaf banners, door signs, little figurines, festive tableware and more. Unfortunately, my holiday decor box with those cute items is somewhere in my childhood home back in Georgia. My mom has searched for it, but I'll have to fly home if I really want to find it. Luckily, there's a dollar tree only 30 minutes from me via the PATH (the jersey city and hoboken version on the subway), so we know where I'm going this weekend. I'll be sure to share the items I find with you guys!

Some of my favorite things to pick up at Dollar Tree:
  • flowers 
  • place mats 
  • seasonal plates 
  • random finds like seasonal garland 

2. Find a digital coupon.
If you're going to the holy lands (aka Hobby Lobby or Michael's), use the online coupons! I refuse to buy anything at these craft stores without a digital coupon. Pull it up on your phone at checkout! Hobby Lobby always has a "40% off one item" coupon. Michaels doesn't have them as frequently, but both stores have pretty awesome clearance sections or sales 24/7. If I'm really not here to play games, I'll take a friend with me to one of these stores and give them money to pay for an item so I can beat the system and use two coupons instead of one! Or, you can find the items you like, pay for one, and then come back in a few minutes to check out with a different cashier. This is time consuming, so I only do this for more expensive purchases. Here's the link to the Hobby Lobby coupon! You can search for coupons at your local Michael's here.

3. The Target dollar section is your best friend.
I'm warning you now: you will want to buy everything! But can you really go home without that "Give Thanks" wood cutout for your bookshelf or those "Trick or Treat" coasters for your coffee table... yeah, I didn't think so. This is my favorite part of Target, but also the most dangerous. Go in with a limit to how many items from this section you're allowed to buy, and stick to it! I usually limit myself to 5-7 pieces max!

4. Use Retailmenot.com or Honey to score discounts online.
Don't want to leave your house to go shopping? No problem! Use retailmenot.com to find online coupons for sites or get the honey plugin and it will find discounts/better prices for you!! I've found some cute and affordable decor pieces down below. The section below does include affiliate links, which means if you shop from it, I receive a small compensation. Whether you shop some of the links below or you find great deals on your own, send me a picture of your new decked out space on Instagram! I'm excited to see what you guys find and create! Thanks for reading and supporting my blog!

October Mood Board

October 13, 2017

Photos: Ganapathy KumarBernd Schulz , Corey BlazBrigitte Tohm , Autumn Mott

I’ve never been one to take my horoscope too seriously, but man, my October horoscope was dead on. It said I should expect upsets in my personal life and boy did I. Luckily, I truly believe that the negative events (which I already wrote about but haven’t decided when to share with you guys) are behind me. I’ve been working really hard to get out of my recent negative and victim-like mindset because let’s get real... life is pretty great regardless of any setbacks and feeling sorry for myself doesn’t move me closer to my goals at all! So cheers to a mid-month reset! There’s so much I’m excited for this month. October is my favorite month because of all the fall activities and Halloween. I hope you enjoy my moodboard. I am focusing on bringing more love, seasonal fun, positivity and productivity into my life this month. What are you focusing on? 

Want more October inspiration? Check out my Pinterest October Mood Board

P.S. This post contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase through one of these links, I receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting my blog!  

The Weekly Brief #2: I'm Falling For Fall

October 8, 2017

Photo by John Mccann 

I was so excited last weekend because it finally felt like fall in the city and it was glorious! Now the weather is playing games again... it's back to 80+ degrees, but I'm going to pretend like it's still sweater weather. This week flew by but dragged on at the same time. I have a lot on my October bucket list and I don't want to miss a moment of my favorite month. Anyway, here are some things from around the web I found this week. I hope your weekend has been filled with magic and happiness!

Emotional pick-me-up: With the tragic mass shooting last Monday, I think everyone needs a nice reminder that there is still more love in the world than evil. The Ellen Show created this awesome video compilation to remind us all of that.

How to help-ways to give back or stand up for a cause today: text to stop gun violence. I signed up for this little program and was able to text a message to my senators. I also opted to be alerted via text for more opportunities to contribute to the gun control conversation. No matter what your views are, you have the right to speak your mind,  and you have the right to be heard by your representatives. But regardless, I think our nation agrees as a whole that gun violence has to stop. If you want to get involved, text ACT to 64433.

Shop til you drop-the best sales this week (this section contains affiliate links, but don't worry, I'm buying pretty much everything below too. Thanks for supporting my blog!)

  • Old Navy: The Colossal Fall Sale – Up to 50% off sitewide, valid through 10/10. 

  • OFF 5th: The Cold Weather Event – Take an extra 30% off cashmere, outerwear, fur, and accessories, valid through 10/10. 

  •  Nordstrom Rack: Take an additional 25% off clearance for total savings of over 75% off from 10/6 – 10/9. 

 Menu: I really want to make these gluten free, no-bake brownies the next time I visit one of my gluten-free best friends.

 Get fit: I love following along with this video when I want a quick burst of endorphins but don't have time to go to the gym. Plus, this video is only 10 minutes long and you don't even have to get out of bed to do it!

Smart Money tip of the week (Because you’re too good to be a broke bitch): @momoneymoprogress  is one of my  favorite finance accounts on IG. It's pretty entertaining, informative and inspiring.

I’ve got the music in me: I’ve been listening to Come Clean by Hilary duff on repeat this weekend. I have no shame. That song takes me back to the simple days.

Drink up: Apple Cider Mimosas! Dear lord I cannot wait to try this fall spin on my favorite drink

Pop quiz: I took this buzzed quiz to see what I need in a man... buzzed knows me better than I know myself, and I don't know how they always do it!

Favorite quote: “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.”

Dear Diary: How To Become The Person You Want To Be

October 5, 2017

Today, I wanted to share something a little more personal. Ever since I decided to commit to building my blog, I've felt reconnected to myself, but I have been struggling with being productive lately. I constantly find myself wanting to accomplish so much (in all aspects of my life), but finding myself drained or too overwhelmed to take action. And I am so freaking sick of it. I’m sick of holding myself back, so today, I’m sharing a little exercise I did for myself. I wrote down a set of self-affirmations to tell myself that I'm already the person I want to be. All I know is no one is going to magically come in and push me towards my goals. I have to push myself, and so do you. We can do this, but we have to work for it. I was inspired to do this exercise by Tom Bilyeu of impact theory. And I can honestly say, taking 5 minutes out of my workday to write these statements down pulled me out of an approaching anxiety attack. If we want to be the best version of ourselves, we won't get there by wishing for things to happen. We get there by taking small, repetitive actions, and one of those actions is telling ourselves " I'm the type of person who (insert your goal)." Here's what i wrote down today.

I’m the type of person who doesn't work on my blog while lying down. (I always fall asleep when I do, and I'm over it.)

I’m the type of person who pushes through her feelings to tackle the things I really want in life. i.e.) I might feel like binge watching It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia instead of meal prepping or eating that slice of pizza after the gym, but I'm not going to self sabotage anymore.

I’m the type of person who always finds a way to solve my problems because everything is #figureoutable – thanks Marie Forleo!

I’m the type of person who shows up 100% at my job, in my workout and dance classes, when socializing and when working on my side hustles. If I’m going to half-ass something, there’s no point in doing it at all. Of course, I make resting a priority because I never want to deal with burn-out again, but when I'm not resting, I'm giving it my all.
What are you pushing yourself towards or being pulled by?

Do you want that job promotion? Are you running your own business?

Are you trying to ace this school semester? Do you want to take your relationships to the next level or just find your perfect life-partner?

Well, the only way to get there is to push yourself and PRIORITIZE. It’s the hard truth, but we ARE ready for this, even if we don’t feel like we are (and trust, I don't feel ready but I'm gonna do it anyway).


What type of person do you plan to become? Leave a comment down below! And let me know if you want to see a post about how I’ve been learning to prioritize my time! It’s definitely a work in progress, but I know that stepping stones lead to success.

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