Gut health has been all the rage this year, and for a good reason. According to Hippocrates, “all disease begins in the gut.” Research has revealed that an unhealthy gut can lead to a wide range of problems, from diabetes to depression to cancer. Yikes.

People jump straight to cutting out food groups when they experience digestive distress. But before you flee from gluten or dairy, consider all the other factors that could be influencing your gut health. Let’s discuss how lowering stress, eating mindfully, and incorporating specific foods can resolve digestive problems before creating tons of dietary restrictions.

Besides, why would you want to eliminate any foods with the holidays just around the corner? #GimmeAllTheTurkeyStuffing.

It’s time to get to the root cause of your gut issues. We’re about to get a bit science-y here, so bare with me!


 THE IMPACT OF STRESS ON GUT HEALTH


Before giving a public speech or going on a scary rollercoaster, do you ever feel like your stomach is in knots?

This feeling is a result of your gut-brain axis, which refers to the bidirectional connection between your central nervous system and enteric nervous system (often called “the second brain”). The two-way relationship between your gut and brain means that increased stress will lead to decreased GI function, and vice versa.

PARASYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM

The Autonomic Nervous System regulates digestion, and it consists of two divisions: the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS). The SNS is responsible for your “fight-or-flight” response (cue red flashing lights and screeching sirens), which puts your body in battle-preparation mode. This system is activated when you are bracing for a plane crash or running from a tiger…but it is also initiated by small stressors, like sitting in traffic, dreading a workout, or procrastinating. Either way, the SNS diverts energy from certain body functions, including digestion.

The PNS, on the other hand, is responsible for your “rest-and-digest” mode. This mode allows your body to do exactly what it sounds like — restore, rejuvenate, and digest.

The thing is, only one branch of the Autonomic Nervous System can be active at a time. I can tell you rather confidently that your “fight-or-flight” mode is probably on waaaay more than the alternative. If this is the case, your digestion may be suffering.

So, how do you activate your PNS to optimize gut health?

INCORPORATE STRESS-REDUCING PRACTICES DAILY

Stress is inevitable. We can’t run or hide from it, but we can manage it.

Turning to some simple stress-relieving practices will allow you to cope in healthy ways when you feel overwhelmed. Some of my favorite mechanisms include going on walks, taking hot yoga classes, reading my Bible, and spending time with friends and family.

BREATHE

Deep breathing is a great strategy to boost your mental health. Taking a few belly breaths whenever you feel anxious will stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Try to focus on making each exhale a few counts longer than each inhale, and pause for one count at the top of the inhales and at the bottom of the exhales. Using this breathing technique before meals will calm you down and ease digestion.


HOW TO EAT FOR OPTIMAL DIGESTION


We’ll get to the what later. For now, let’s discuss how we can eat to optimize digestion.

SPACE OUT LARGER MEALSHow To Heal Your Gut and Improve Digestion | If you think eliminating gluten and dairy will improve your gut health, think again. Before cutting things out of your diet in an effort to solve your digestive distress, let's get to the root cause of the issue. This post discusses how stress management, eating mindfully, and eating certain foods can heal your gut for good!

Somehow, our society has come to glorify the idea of consuming smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. While “grazing” may work well for some people, spacing out your meals and increasing your portion sizes could help alleviate digestive distress.

When the intestines are fasted for 90 minutes or longer, a wave called the migrating motor complex kicks in. Think of this wave as a broom that “sweeps” any leftover undigested material through the GI tract. If you tend to nibble throughout the day, there is a good chance you do not let 90 minutes pass before eating again. Giving your gut longer breaks will allow it to completely digest food.

Your portion sizes also play a role in digestive function. Snacking on a handful of almonds here and a piece of fruit there does not always signal to your body the process of moving things down. Don’t glaze over your hunger by nibbling until you feel neutral; eat solid meals that will fill you up completely. Larger meals will get things moving along and satiate you for longer periods of time.

CHEW

I am the slowest eater around. It takes me twice the amount of time to finish meals than it takes most people…apologies to my friends who have to wait for me in restaurants!

Gobbling up food without properly breaking it down will lead to incomplete digestion. Digestion begins in your mouth, and you do not want to let large particles of food end up in your stomach. Focus on thoroughly chewing to make the rest of the digestive process much easier on your body. Chewing mindfully requires practice, but eventually, it will become habitual (as it did for me).


GUT-HEALING FOODS


Like I said earlier, people often think that eliminating food groups will solve their digestive problems. What they don’t realize is that cutting things out decreases the bacterial diversity in their guts, making their stomachs even more sensitive.

With that being said, there are definitely cases when a food is truly harmful to a person, and there might not be many ways around it. However, I believe that restricting foods should be the last resort. Rather than taking things away, let’s see what we can add to our diets to heal and seal the gut.


PROBIOTICS

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that balance your gut and allow it to thrive. They reduce the harmful bacteria in the intestines, thus preventing inflammation and infection in the GI tract. While taking a daily probiotic supplement can be very beneficial, here are some foods that are naturally rich in probiotics:

  • yogurt
  • kefir
  • sauerkraut
  • kimchi
  • kombucha
  • sourdough bread
  • aged, soft cheese
  • miso
  • tempeh

PREBIOTICS

More people have started sippin’ on kombucha for extra probiotics, but the importance of prebiotics is often overlooked. The good bacteria existing in your gut must be fed with prebiotics, which are a type of non-digestible dietary fiber. Foods rich in prebiotics include:

  • garlic
  • onion
  • asparagus
  • leeks
  • apples
  • under-ripe bananas
  • jicama
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • chicory
  • dandelion root
  • honey

HEALTHY FATS

Healthy fats will coat and soothe your gut lining, leading to smoother digestion. Incorporate more of these fats into your diet:

BONE BROTH

The collagen and gelatin found in bone broth seals the gut lining, reduces intestinal inflammation, and fights food sensitivities. While making your own bone broth is ideal…ain’t nobody got time for that (and kudos to you if you do!). I love Bonafide Provisions Bone Broth, which can be found in the freezer section of health food stores. All you have to do is heat it up in a pot for a few minutes. Easy peasy!

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

Raw, organic apple cider vinegar undergoes a double fermentation process that aids in the production of healthy gut bacteria. It increases stomach acid which helps break down food if you experience indigestion. Try taking a teaspoon of ACV diluted in water when you wake up in the morning or before going to bed.


How To Heal Your Gut and Improve Digestion | If you think eliminating gluten and dairy will improve your gut health, think again. Before cutting things out of your diet in an effort to solve your digestive distress, let's get to the root cause of the issue. This post discusses how stress management, eating mindfully, and eating certain foods can heal your gut for good!


REMEMBER, YOU’RE NOT PERFECT.


You won’t always have time to make avocado toast with a fried egg and a forkful of sauerkraut for breakfast…not to mention chewing each bite 30+ times. Some days require scarfing down an Eggo on the way to school or work. The worst thing you can do is beat yourself up over it.

Thinking about how “bad” the gluten in that Eggo is can lead to more GI distress than the gluten itself (this is known as the nocebo effect— basically the placebo effect in reverse).

The point here: don’t stress about being perfect. You’re only doing your gut more harm. And have patience! The stomach aches and bloating won’t disappear overnight. Reversing damage to the gut takes time.


I hope you found this post helpful! What steps will you take to heal your gut?

I love fall and winter. My skin, on the other hand, begs to differ.

I can’t say that fall has brought changing leaves and chilly air here in SoCal, but I think we might be on the cusp of weather that sorta-kinda resembles autumn (my expectations aren’t very high).

With the cooler temps and lower humidity, this is the time of year when my skin begins cracking and flaking. One of my goals for this month was to rehydrate my dry skin, and after incorporating these 5 products into my routine, my face has felt much more soft, smooth, and supple!



  1. Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Night Cream – I find that intense night creams are one of the best solutions to repair dry skin, so I went on a search for one that wouldn’t break the bank. This product has made a huge difference ever since integrating it into my nighttime routine, and at under $20, you can’t go wrong! A little goes a long way, so you won’t run out anytime soon. The formula is thick, but it doesn’t feel heavy and it absorbs quickly. My skin is moisturized and plumped when I wake up!

  2. Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Eye Cream – Concealing dark circles looks cakey and flaky when the skin is so dry. This cream has been a lifesaver! It is gentle and lightweight, but effective for hydrating the skin around the eye area. After applying the night cream, I squeeze a few dots of this product underneath my eyes and on my lids, then pat it in softly with my fingers. No more cakey concealer!


  3. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil – I am a big fan of5 Products To Banish Dry Skin | The cool temperatures and low humidity of fall and winter brings the dreaded dry skin. These 5 products will keep your skin soft, smooth, and supple! Smashbox. Their Camera Ready BB Cream, which is one of my favorite foundation alternatives, has been a longtime staple. Although this oil is a makeup primer, it looks and feels a bit too greasy for my liking when used directly before applying face makeup. Instead, I’ll smooth a few drops onto my face before bed whenever my skin is feeling extra parched. The oil is completely absorbed in the morning and leaves a seamless base for blending makeup!

  4. Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater – This is my go-to product for a mid-day pick-me-up. Whether I am wearing makeup or not, a few spritzes is perfect for a boost of hydration. My skin always feels instantly refreshed, not to mention the scent is so soothing. This mist is versatile (it can be used as a primer, setting spray, toner, etc.) and doesn’t feel oily. Plus, you can snatch it for only $7!


  5. Coconut Oil – I couldn’t exclude coconut oil from this post! We all know that it’s not just for cooking anymore. Use it as a natural alternative to your typical store-bought moisturizers. I rub it onto my face and body after showering for nourished, radiant skin!


If your skin has been suffering from dryness, I hope you give these products a try! What are your favorite products to hydrate dry skin?

How To Be Fully Present and Live In The Moment | Time is precious and each moment should be treasured. Practice presence every day with these simple tips!


Do you ever get thoughts like,

Whoah, this week/month/year went by pretty fast…

and somehow that spirals into,

THIS TIME ON THIS DATE WILL NEVER EXIST AGAIN AND ALL OF THE TIMES AND DATES BEFORE IT ARE GONE AND NOW I ONLY HAVE THE FUTURE WHICH IS GOING TO SLIP AWAY BEFORE MY EYES AND MY LIFE IS BASICALLY BORDERING ITS END.

Yeah, me too.

I’ll remind you that I am seventeen years old, so claiming that “MY LIFE IS BASICALLY BORDERING ITS END” is a tad dramatic. Nevertheless, time flies.

I know, I know. Cue the yawn and eye roll. You’ve heard it a million times.

But time really does fly. There is no way to change its pace, so the responsibility to slow down falls on us. To truly live in the moment and embrace the present requires acting with intention rather than out of habit. The changes you make don’t need to be extravagant, though; you can practice presence in simple ways every day.



Put down your phone

How often are you on your phone?

The answer is most likely: too much.

I know I’m guilty of texting a friend to make plans while in the middle of having lunch with another, or checking people’s Snapchat stories instead of focusing on my own life. Our devices do a fantastic job of transporting us away from the present moment.

Because reaching for your phone is probably habitual, try setting a wallpaper on your lock screen that will remind you to think twice before using it. Also, prevent your phone from distracting you by turning it on “Do Not Disturb” mode. You will begin to realize how much more of the world you can appreciate when you’re not too busy staring at your screen.


Break free from routine

We live on autopilot a lot more than we realize.

You wake up to your alarm at the same time each morning, drive to the same location, eat the same soggy sandwich for lunch, sit in the same spot on the couch once you get home…

When every day is structured to be nearly identical, your routine becomes second nature. There is never a need to stop and think about what you are doing.

By altering your routine, you awaken your senses and snap yourself out of autopilot mode, thus bring full awareness to the present. Take a new route to school or work, start a conversation with a stranger, turn dinner into a picnic, make spontaneous plans with friends…anything to shake things up a bit!


How To Be Fully Present and Live In The Moment | Time is precious and each moment should be treasured. Practice presence every day with these simple tips!

One thing at a time

Everyone thinks they are a good multi-tasker, although in reality, they aren’t. I hate to break it to you, but you’re probably no exception. Neither am I (…even though I sometimes pretend like I am).

When you try to do too many things at once, your attention becomes divided. Not only does this slow you down, but it also takes away from your ability to enjoy each task in its entirety. If you are eating a meal while drafting an essay while watching TV…you will never be able to wholly appreciate the flavors of the dish, finish the essay in a reasonable amount of time, or fully unwind to your favorite TV show.

I am the queen of accompanying my dinners with Grey’s Anatomy and bouncing back and forth between a zillion tabs on my computer, so know that I ain’t perfect either, folks. But I definitely think that making the effort to focus on one thing at a time is a change for the better!


Quiet the noise

In a world that is so fast-paced and cluttered with noise, a moment of silence is rare. And when that moment does come, we often choose to fill the gap with more noise.

I play music while driving, watch Youtube videos while getting ready, and listen to podcasts while taking walks. These are all opportunities to immerse myself in silence, but silence can be…boring. Uncomfortable. Maybe even scary.

Noise is numbing; it distracts us from certain emotions that we might not want to deal with. Truly feeling your feelings is difficult if you have the tendency to criticize them. But instead of constantly suppressing your emotions, allow them to surface and observe them without judgment.

Welcome more silence into your life. Lower the volume and give yourself a chance to ponder, explore your imagination, and simply breathe.


Listen without thinking ahead

When you converse with someone, how much do you actually listen?

Instead of devoting our full attention to what another person is saying, our own thoughts can easily distract us. You may have a story that you’re just dying to tell, so you become restless as they speak. Or maybe you get anxious that there will be a lull in the conversation, so you constantly plan out what to say next.

Approach conversations with interest rather than anticipation. Learning to listen without letting your mind wander into the future will allow you to fully embrace the present moment.


Develop Mindfulness triggers

It’s impossible to be 100% present all the time. However, setting some type of reminder to do so can reel you back into the moment when you begin to stray away from it.

Choose a certain action to associate with bringing your mind into the present. For example, walking through a door could be your mindfulness trigger. Whenever you touch a doorknob, be reminded to detach from your routine and focus on the moment you are in.

You can also choose an object as a trigger, like a ring. Anytime you see the ring on your finger, take a few minutes to tune into your senses. Observe your view, notice the sounds around you, identify any scents, and recognize how your body is feeling.


How To Be Fully Present and Live In The Moment | Time is precious and each moment should be treasured. Practice presence every day with these simple tips!


I hope you enjoyed this post and found these tips helpful! How do you live in the moment and practice presence?

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October Goals | Very Much Mia


I know that September 22 technically marked the beginning of fall, but the start of October is when I feel like autumn truly takes over. A new season means new goals! Setting goals for myself is essential to ensure that I am constantly growing and working towards a life I love. We’re already a few days into October, but better late than never, right? Here is what I hope to achieve this month…


1. Balance out my hormones. I’ve been in and out of the doctor’s office more this past month than I have in the last few years combined. Without giving TMI, my hormones have been all outta whack. Obviously, the way to balance out hormones will differ from person to person depending on which levels are too high and which are too low (that is, if you need adjusting in the first place). For me, balancing my hormones means:

  • Eating more.
  • Exercising less.
  • Lowering stress.

I know that the idea of more food and less movement goes against everything we are taught in our culture, but in my case, this is what needs to happen. Refraining from working out will be tough because I truly enjoy exercise. I’ll still be incorporating gentle movement like walking and yoga, though! Lowering stress is something that is a bit harder to have control over, but these 10 ways to relieve stress will help to keep my cortisol levels at bay.


2. Complete early action college applications. For those of you who don’t know, I am a senior in high school. The college application process has definitely been overwhelming. Life lately has been a blur of writing essays and answering supplemental questions and filling out personal info…all that jazz. Anyways, the early action application deadline for some of the colleges that I am applying to is November 1st, so I’ll be knocking ’em out this month!


October Goals | Very Much Mia

3. Finish decorating my bedroom…or at least get pretty darn close. My bedroom has been a work in progress for quite some time now, and I’m ready to be DONE! I’ve got the furniture covered, so now it’s just a matter of adding the final touches. Check out my bedroom Pinterest board to see what has inspired the look of my room…think lots of white and grey with touches of mauve and gold, plus plenty of faux-fur accents! I’m on the hunt for artwork to hang above my bed, so let me know if you have any suggestions for affordable places to purchase prints!


4. Read the Bible every day. For a while, I was really good about devoting time to God daily…until life got in the way. I became extremely busy and put my relationship with Him on hold. Recently, I’ve realized that being overly occupied has distracted me from what is most important. I’ve re-evaluated my priorities and am now carving out time to read my Bible on a daily basis. This is definitely a practice I want to uphold! Currently, I’m reading through the book of Proverbs. I can’t wait to continue gaining wisdom and growing in my faith!


5. Rehydrate my skinThis is the time of the year when my skin gets dry. I mean dryyyyyyyyy. Like, my hands are scary looking from cracking so much (…I guess they go with the ghoulish vibes of Halloween?). My skin definitely needs an extra boost of hydration, so I plan on incorporating more heavy-duty skincare products and upping my H20!


6. Get into the fall spirit. I don’t know how I feel about snuggling under blankets with a cup of cocoa while it’s still 80 degrees here in SoCal. But the weather won’t stop me from at least attempting to get into somewhat of the autumnal spirit! A trip to the pumpkin patch and trying out a new fall recipe (or creating my own) are two things on my to-do list.


7. Lights out by 10 p.mMy nights can go a little something like this:

*Me at 10:00 p.m.* I should probably go to bed now. Lemme just take a quick scroll through Insta…

*Me at 10:20 p.m.* Okay, time to sleep FO REALZ. But watching this Youtube video first might help me to unwind a bit…

*Me at 10:40 p.m.* OOO! Just got an idea for a new blog post (…or something or another)! Gotta write while the inspo is fresh and flowing!

*Me at midnight* …whelp.

So, yeah. Actually getting to sleep by 10 p.m. is the goal.


I hope you enjoyed reading my October goals! What are your goals for the month?

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Ah, stress…I’ve become all too familiar with it.

Unfortunately, I know I’m not the only one. Everyone appears to be stressed these days, and it is often worn as a badge of honor. It seems as though stress equals busyness which equals success. But this is not something to flaunt; it puts both our physical and mental health at risk.

I’ve felt more overwhelmed than ever these past few months. Being a senior in high school has meant that it’s time for me to apply to colleges…and the application process has added a lot of weight to my load of pre-existing worries. Let’s just say I had a slight mental breakdown a few weeks ago, and it definitely was not my prettiest of moments. However, this episode made me realize how much I had been neglecting self-care and the importance of prioritizing my mental state.

We all have to face the pressures that come with this deadline and that drama and alllllll of life’s other troubles, but how we handle it is what will determine our overall wellbeing. I’ve compiled a list of 10 ways I cope with stress, ranging from movement to pampering to venting!


Move


10 Simple Ways To Relieve Stress | Everyone experiences stress, but how you handle it is what determines your overall wellbeing. Here are 10 simple ways to unwind and destress!

1. Take a walk. Movement and nature do wonders for boosting mental health. Taking evening walks around my neighborhood while watching the sun set is the perfect reminder to slow down and appreciate the little things! I love listening to podcasts while I walk; my favorites are health and wellness-related, but a guilty pleasure of mine are Bachelor Nation podcasts (the Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous podcast is my top pick!).

2. Sweat it out. There’s no doubt that intense exercise (like running and HIIT) can be beneficial, but limiting strenuous workouts may be best in order to avoid increasing your cortisol levels even further. Nothing leaves me drenched in sweat like a hot yoga class does, and it’s one of the best forms of exercise for stress-relief in my opinion. An hour of hot yoga challenges my strength and willpower, but also relaxes me with the deep stretching and focus on breathing. I always leave feeling physically and mentally detoxified.

The most important thing is to enjoy the exercise you are doing. Don’t add to your stress by forcing yourself to work out in ways that you dread!

3. Stretch your body. If doing chaturangas in a 100 degree room doesn’t quite appeal to you, then simply try taking a few minutes to perform some basic stretches. When stress builds up, your muscles contract, and devoting 5-10 minutes to stretching your body will help to ease the tension and improve circulation. You’ll feel much more relaxed and revitalized!

 


Pamper


10 Simple Ways To Relieve Stress | Everyone experiences stress, but how you handle it is what determines your overall wellbeing. Here are 10 simple ways to unwind and de-stress!

4. Get clean and cozy. When life is piling high with one trouble after another, a long, hot shower may be just what you need to feel sane again. Although we all take showers anyways (at least that’s what I would hope…), try making the experience a bit more luxurious. Play music and take your time lathering up in a scented shower gel, then  smooth on some body butter and slip on your favorite pair of pajamas (brownie points for fuzzy socks).

5. Spoil yourself with a massage or facial. I’m typically not one to spend money on getting pampered- I’ve only gotten a massage and facial once in my life. But, hey, no shame in treating yo’self from time to time. If you are on a budget, applying a face mask at home is a great way to show yourself some self-care.

6. Freshen up your manicure. There’s something about perfectly painted nails that makes me feel so majestic…anyone else? Go get a manicure at a salon or give yourself a fresh coat of polish (I suck at painting my own nails, so I tend to prefer the former).

7. Escape through entertainment. Binge-watching Netflix won’t erase all your problems, but sometimes, you just need a distraction to take your mind off your worries. Indulging in a good book, TV show or movie is one of my favorite ways to check out. All I need to unwind is 20 minutes of New Girl or an episode of Grey’s Anatomy (speaking of which…who else watched the season premier of Grey’s on Thursday?).

 


Vent


10 Simple Ways To Relieve Stress | Everyone experiences stress, but how you handle it is what determines your overall wellbeing. Here are 10 simple ways to unwind and destress!

8. Talk to someone. It’s far too easy to bottle up your issues, but this will only cause your stress to build overtime. Instead, reach out to a close friend or family member and talk through whatever may be overwhelming you. Even if they don’t have much advice to offer, having someone supportive to vent to can be extremely beneficial!

9. Turn to God. When life gets busy, I tend to put Jesus on the back burner. Recently, I have recommitted to deepening my relationship with God by spending time in His Word each day and being more purposeful with my prayers. When my faith is strong, the problems in my life have no power over me. I encourage you to pray for guidance through times of struggle and cast your anxieties on the Lord (Psalm 55:22). He does not want us to be worried, and there’s no reason to be! You can rest in knowing that God has your life under control.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6 NIV).

10. Journal. If there’s one thing I’m constantly recommending, it’s journaling. The benefits are endless; I talked about how journaling improves mental health here. Not only will it cleanse your mind by moving all your brain-clutter onto paper, but journaling will also allow you to put things into perspective. You may be surprised by the insignificance of certain issues once you’ve written them down. Setting aside time to flush out your thoughts is a therapeutic practice that you should definitely incorporate into your life!


These 10 coping mechanisms have helped me to manage my stress, and I hope you’ll turn to some of them the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed. What is your favorite strategy to relieve stress?

10 Simple Ways To Relieve Stress | Everyone experiences stress, but how you handle it is what determines your overall wellbeing. Here are 10 simple ways to unwind and destress!10 Simple Ways To Relieve Stress | Everyone experiences stress, but how you handle it is what determines your overall wellbeing. Here are 10 simple ways to unwind and destress!

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Almond Coconut Protein Balls | These balls are packed with protein and healthy fats that will keep you full and fueled all day! They're made with wholesome ingredients and take only minutes to whip up. Read this post for the recipe!


Some of you may be familiar with my love for anything nut-related (ahem…my triple-threat nut butter is a must-try!), so naturally, I tend to gravitate towards creating nut-based recipes. These almond coconut protein balls are the perfect grab-and-go snack, pre or post-workout fuel, or addition to your breakfast! They’re packed with healthy fats and protein, so they’ll keep you satisfied for a long time.


Almond Coconut Protein Balls | These balls are packed with protein and healthy fats that will keep you full and fueled all day! They're made with wholesome ingredients and take only minutes to whip up. Read this post for the recipe!


Sure, you can buy a bar or energy bites from the store, but many are filled with crappy ingredients even if they’re deceptively labeled as “healthy”. These protein balls are made with wholesome, natural foods- we’re talking about nothing but real stuff!


Almond Coconut Protein Balls | These balls are packed with protein and healthy fats that will keep you full and fueled all day! They're made with wholesome ingredients and take only minutes to whip up. Read this post for the recipe!


They only take a few minutes to whip up, and it’s simply a matter of chucking the ingredients into a food processor. Doesn’t get much easier than that! Store these protein balls in the fridge and you’ll be stocked up for the week!


Almond Coconut Protein Balls

Yield: approximately 8-10 balls

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup almonds, raw
  • 4 medjool dates
  • 25g protein powder (I used the Nuzest Clean Lean Protein in Smooth Vanilla )
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut + extra for rolling
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, pulse the almonds and dates until roughly chopped.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients except for the almond milk and process until well-combined.
  3. Add the almond milk and process until well-combined.
  4. Form the mixture into balls and roll in shredded coconut.
  5. Store protein balls in a tupperware in the fridge.
https://www.verymuchmia.com/2017/09/18/almond-coconut-protein-balls/

Almond Coconut Protein Balls | These balls are packed with protein and healthy fats that will keep you full and fueled all day! They're made with wholesome ingredients and take only minutes to whip up. Read this post for the recipe!

Almond Coconut Protein Balls | These balls are packed with protein and healthy fats that will keep you full and fueled all day! They're made with wholesome ingredients and take only minutes to while up. Read this post for the recipe!

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Very Much Mia | One-Shoulder Top with Black Lace-Up Skirt

Shirt: Urban Outfitters (similar here, here and here) | Skirt: LF (similar here, here and here) | Sneakers: Adidas | Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters | Choker: Urban Outfitters


I’ve found the transition between summer and fall to be a bit awkward in terms of fashion. It’s definitely difficult to get into the autumnal spirit while it’s still 80 degrees here in San Diego. I guess that’s just part of living in SoCal…not that I’m complaining about the year-round beautiful beach weather!

The sunny skies would explain why the outfit I’m sharing today is more tailored to warmer weather. The heat hasn’t allowed for knits and layers just yet! Whatever the temperature is like where you’re at, I hope you can gather some inspiration from this look!



The Shirt

You may know that I’ve had quite the obsession with bardot tops, and you won’t see me ditching ’em anytime soon! But if you happen to be sick of the off-the-shoulder trend, one-shoulder tops are a refreshing alternative. They still allow you to bare a bit of shoulder and collarbone, but the asymmetrical twist will have people doing a double-take! I purchased mine on sale at Urban Outfitters; some similar ones are linked here, here and here.



The Skirt

A black miniskirt is a great transition piece as we head into the fall. While summer style tends to be light in color and airy in fabric, a black corduroy or velvet skirt can be worn for a slightly edgy look on a sunny day. On the other hand, pairing it with a cropped sweater, tights and booties is perfect for the cooler months! Some skirts similar to the one I’m wearing are linked here, here and here.


Very Much Mia | White Adidas Superstar Sneakers


 The Sneakers

I think it goes without saying, but everyone needs a pair of white sneakers in their closet. I’ve been wearing my Adidas on repeat for obvious reasons- they’re versatile, comfortable and go with just about anything!


Very Much Mia | One-Shoulder Top with Rounded Cat-Eye Sunglasses


The Sunglasses

These rounded cat-eye sunglasses have been my go-to pair of sunnies lately. I love the glamorous shape and the mosaic print; plus, the blues and purples tied in nicely with the lilac color of my top! It also didn’t hurt that they were under $20 (on sale for $10 now!)…Urban Outfitters is definitely my top pick for affordable and trendy sunglasses.


The Choker

If you see me wearing jewelry, there’s a 99% chance that it’s gold and dainty. This gold choker is one of my favorites! Because of its simplicity, this necklace looks great layered with others, but I decided to let it stand on its own this time.


I hope you all enjoyed this post and I’m wishing you a lovely week ahead! To those being affected by Hurricane Irma, you are in my thoughts and prayers!

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3 Foundation Alternatives To Lighten Up Your Makeup Routine | Some days, you don't want the heavy feeling of foundation caked on your face. This post reveals 3 of the BEST lightweight foundation alternatives that will still help you achieve a flawless face!


The summertime was all about sporting the no-makeup makeup look by ditching foundation and turning to sheer base products. Summer may be coming to a close (check out 3 changes I made over the summer here), but it sure doesn’t feel like it in Southern California. It’s been 90 degrees and not letting up! Plus, if you wanna get technical…September 22 marks the end of summer, so we’ve still got three weeks to kill, people!

Anyways, summer or not, I tend to reach towards lighter-weight makeup options all year round. I mean…why cake on the heavy stuff when you can achieve radiant, even skin with products that are a bit more breathable?

Today, I’m sharing 3 of my favorite foundation alternatives!


3 Foundation Alternatives To Lighten Up Your Makeup Routine | This post reveals 3 of the BEST foundation alternatives for those days that you want a lightweight base while still looking flawless!


1. BB Cream

3 Foundation Alternatives To Lighten Up Your Makeup Routine | This post reveals 3 of the BEST foundation alternatives for those days that you want a lightweight base while still looking flawless!

This Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream and I…we go way back. 5 years to be exact. This is my go-to product for everyday base makeup as it evens out my complexion with a sheer finish. However, this BB cream can definitely be layered to reach your desired level of coverage. I usually apply a pea-sized amount to my skin using my fingers, then pat it in with a Beauty Blender and add more product as needed. It blends smoothly and maintains the skin’s moisture without looking greasy. Plus, there’s built-in primer and SPF 35! Whoop whoop!


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2. Tinted Sunscreen

3 Foundation Alternatives To Lighten Up Your Makeup Routine | Some days, you don't want the heavy feeling of foundation caked on your face. This post reveals 3 of the BEST lightweight foundation alternatives that will still help you achieve a flawless face!

I discovered the Tizo 3 Tinted Facial Mineral Sunscreen a few months ago and immediately fell in love. SPF should not be forgotten as we head into the cooler seasons (I suck when it comes to consistent sun protection, so this is definitely a self-reminder), and this tinted sunscreen has SPF 40. It’s also water resistant for 80 minutes, so you don’t have to worry if you’re sweating or swimming! The formula has a whipped texture and the consistency is so silky-smooth. I go straight in with my hands- no need for a Beauty Blender with this one!

The tint provides a hint of color; if you’re looking for something with medium-to-full coverage, this product is not for you. I like the light coverage, though, and the matte-finish is unbeatable! The one downside is that it only only comes in one shade, which is best suited for medium skin tones. However, because the coverage is minimal, I believe this shade would work for many people.


3. Concealer

3 Foundation Alternatives To Lighten Up Your Makeup Routine | This post reveals 3 of the BEST foundation alternatives for those days that you want a lightweight base while still looking flawless!

Rather than masking your entire face, why not lighten up your makeup by only covering certain imperfections? That’s been my method lately- a few dabs of concealer here and there, a sweep of powder and I’m good to go! The Benefit Boi-ing Airbrush Concealer has become my absolute favorite! It blurs and color-corrects dark circles, redness and minor blemishes flawlessly. Out of the sheer-to-medium coverage concealers I’ve tried, this one seems to be the longest lasting. There’s no caking and little creasing with this concealer, and it blends like a dream!


I hope you give some of these products a try! This was my first beauty/makeup-related blog post, so let me know if you’d like to see more in the future. What is your favorite foundation alternative?


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As summer reaches its end (cue tear rolling down cheek), I’ve started to reflect on all the memories that have been made over the past few months. From doing lots of traveling (these photos are from my vacation in the Exumas, Bahamas), to moving into a new house that I love, to beach days and Bachelor in Paradise parties with friends…I’m so grateful that this summer has been nothing but positive!

Besides all of that, I have taken it upon myself to make certain changes that have led me to a happier and more fulfilling life. Today, I’m sharing 3 of them with you!


3 Ways I've Improved My Life Lately | I have recently made changes that have lead me to feel happier and more fulfilled. Read this post to find out what I did to improve my life!

Striped two-piece maxi dress from Lulus | 3 Ways I've Improved My Life Lately


1. Discovering A New Passion

For a while, I’ve been lacking that thing that makes me tick. Having played competitive volleyball for most of my life, I faced a slight identity crisis once I quit. If it wasn’t volleyball…what the heck was I passionate about?

I’ve enjoyed writing since I learned the alphabet, and photography became a hobby of mine early on as well. I’m a creative person constantly longing to connect with others who share similar interests, so, if you haven’t already guessed…that’s what lead me to the creation of my blog (wow, I feel like I just copy-and-pasted a snippet of my About page…but I didn’t, I swear)!

Building and launching my blog was much harder than I originally thought it’d be, lemme tell ya. There’s been lots of self-teaching involved and plenty of challenges to overcome. I’ve also learned a thing or two about myself along the way; for instance, my perfectionism hinders me BIG TIME. My first post on Mental Health literally took me months to write.

Despite my doubts and frustrations and setbacks…starting a blog was the best decision I could have made for myself! I’m still new to this whole thing, but I absolutely love it and am so willing to put in the hard work it will take to grow my blog!



2. Being Intentional With My Time

This past year more than ever, I’ve felt like there are never enough hours in the day. From keeping up with my academics to preparing for college to squeezing in exercise to maintaining a social life to devoting time to God to packing up to move houses to building up this blog to simply resting….life gets overwhelming. And time doesn’t always seem to be on my side!

After realizing how valuable time is, I’ve definitely become more mindful with how I spend it. This has meant less binge-watching Netflix and mindlessly scrolling through social media and more of the stuff that actually matters.

I’ve made plans to do things that bring me joy rather than waiting for plans to make themselves. I’ve learned how to stop procrastinating so that I can get things done and achieve my goals. If I’m watching or listening to some form of media, I try to look for something that will teach me instead of just entertain me. These adjustments have allowed me to make the most out of my time!



 3. Bettering Family Relationships

Without diving too deep here…let’s just say that my family dynamic has always been somewhat dysfunctional. No family is perfect, and mine is far from it. Having a strained relationship with my Dad has been one of the biggest stresses in my life. I had come to accept that change was nearly impossible as the walls between my Dad and me had been built up so high over the years.

It’s taken a lot of forgiveness, patience and prayer, but my family has made the effort these past few months to mend our relationships with one another. Though challenging and uncomfortable at times, working towards being a more cohesive unit has been a change for the better!



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Before I sign off, let’s talk about the outfit, shall we? I absolutely loved wrap skirts and dresses this summer; they’re so feminine and effortless! This two-piece maxi dress set was perfect for vacationing in the Bahamas. Both the tube top and wrap skirt are from Lulus. Fun fact: I accidentally wore the top upside down in these photos…anyone notice?

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed reading about 3 of the changes that have improved my life since the beginning of summer. I definitely plan on upholding them! How have you improved your life lately?

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The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | Turquoise waters, white-sand beaches...and swimming pigs? That's the Exumas, Bahamas for you! This ultimate travel guide will give you the run-down on what to do, what to eat and where to stay if you're planning a trip to the beautiful Exumas, Bahamas!


When I first saw the pictures of adorable pigs swimming blissfully in turquoise waters pop up in my Instagram and Pinterest feeds, two thoughts came into my head…

  1. Pigs on a beach?? What the heck??
  2. …I’VE GOT TO GO THERE.

And that, my friends, is how I discovered the Exumas, Bahamas.


The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | If swimming with pigs in the turquoise waters of the Bahamas is on your bucket list, the Exumas, Bahamas should be where you book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the beautiful Exumas, Bahamas, including (but NOT limited to) swimming with the pigs!


My family and I spent one week vacationing on Great Exuma during mid-July, and it was truly paradise. If you’ve never heard of the Exumas, it is a collection of 365 cays in the Bahamas, the largest cay being Great Exuma. The white sand beaches, neon-blue waters and unique animal encounters are what makes this destination so memorable.

I’ve compiled a list of things to do, restaurants to eat at, and where to stay while in the Exumas so that you can make the most out of your time there!


WHAT TO DO


TAKE A BOAT TOUR:

I’m typically not one for guided tours and excursions; I prefer to explore on my own and try to avoid feeling too “tourist-y”. However, taking a boat tour in the Exumas is an absolute must! A full-day excursion by boat is the best way to see several of the Exuma Cays and check off tons of activities while you’re there.

There are many companies to choose from when scheduling a boat tour, but my family went with Turtle Divers. We knew we wanted to be in a smaller group for our tour (30+ people fighting over selfies with the pigs didn’t sound too appealing). Keeping this in mind, we spoke to our hotel’s concierge and she set us up with another family to do our excursion with, totaling at 8 people. Although he specializes in diving trips, Garvin Turtle from Turtle Divers was able to take us all on a 9 a.m.-6 p.m. boat tour that covered everything we wanted to do!

This was by far my favorite day of our whole trip. It was a long and tiring one, but every minute was tons of fun. One of the best parts was that Garvin strategically stopped at each location after other tour groups had left, so we got most places all to ourselves!

Here are the things we did on our tour, and the things you should do, too:


Chill with the Iguanas on Allen’s Cay

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | Chilling with iguanas by the turquoise waters of the Bahamas? Sounds good to me! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if you're planning a vacation to the Exumas, Bahamas! And if you don't plan on visiting, read this post and you'll change your mind!

One thing you’ll learn quickly in the Exumas is that nearly all of the animals you encounter are very social. The iguanas are no exception! Allen’s Cay has heaps of iguanas, and while you can definitely bring lettuce or grapes to feed them, food is not necessary to get up close and personal. They have no problem with being pet!


See a Sandbar

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From mile-long sandbars to swimming pigs to lounging on white-sand beaches...the Exumas is where you should book your next flight for a fun and relaxing vacation! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!
The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From mile-long sandbars to swimming pigs to lounging on white-sand beaches...the Exumas is where you should book your next flight for a fun and relaxing vacation! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

There are several sandbars scattered throughout the Exumas. Make sure you see one of them! The wide stretch of ivory sand surrounded by crystal-clear water is a sight that you wouldn’t want to miss.


Snorkel at Thunderball Grotto

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From mile-long sandbars to swimming pigs to lounging on white-sand beaches...the Exumas is where you should book your next flight for a fun and relaxing vacation! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

Known for its appearance in two James Bond movies, Thunderball Grotto was one of the best snorkeling locations I’ve been to. It was probably my favorite stop of the tour! This underwater cave is abundant with colorful fish and coral, all lit up by sunlight seeping through holes in the ceiling and walls. You’ll definitely want to bring an underwater camera to capture all of the beauty, along with some fins (these were provided on our tour) as the current is pretty strong.


Feed the Swimming Pigs

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | The Exumas has much to offer including turquoise waters, white-sand beaches...and the FAMOUS SWIMMING PIGS of course! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | The Exumas has much to offer including turquoise waters, white-sand beaches...and the FAMOUS SWIMMING PIGS of course! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

Now for the famous swimming pigs! Not gonna lie, feeding the pigs looks a bit more glamorous on social media than it is in reality. Let’s just say these pigs can get pretty aggressive…they won’t hesitate to knock you over for some bread, and one nipped my knee! Nevertheless, it was a fun and unique experience that I was happy to check off my bucket list!


Swim with Sea Turtles at Little Farmer’s Cay

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From sea turtles to stingrays to the famous swimming pigs...the Exumas offers the most unique and exciting animal encounters! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

Our final stop of the tour was Little Farmer’s Cay, where we were snorkeled with sea turtles, but it didn’t end there! The cutest pufferfish came to greet me multiple times, stingrays were gliding along, a nurse shark was spotted…once again, we were not disappointed by how social the animals were!


BESIDES THE BOAT TOUR:

Hunt for Sand Dollars on Coco Plum Beach

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounter...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight for a fun and relaxing vacation! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounter...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight for a fun and relaxing vacation! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

Coco Plum Beach was one of the most gorgeous beaches I’ve ever seen. The water is warm, shallow and clear…it’s like relaxing in a bathtub! Dotted along the water are wooden swings (ahem…the perfect picture-taking opportunity!) and enormous sandbars that emerge at low tide. Speaking of low tide, this is the best time to scavenge for sand dollars. We collected over 30!


Visit Tropic of Cancer Beach

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounters...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounters...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

The peaceful, turquoise water and white-powder sand trend continues at Tropic of Cancer Beach. Located on Little Exuma, this beach is uncrowded and a beautiful location for a few hours of sunbathing.


Swim With Stingrays on Stocking Island

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From stingrays to iguanas to swimming pigs...the Exumas offers the most unique and exciting animal encounters! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

 

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From stingrays to iguanas to swimming pigs...the Exumas offers the most unique and exciting animal encounters! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

If you’re in Georgetown, Stocking Island is a 10-minute water taxi ride away. This island is best known for their Chat ‘N’ Chill restaurant and bar (which we’ll get into shortly) and of course, the stingrays! Lounge in the water and you’ll immediately be greeted by plenty of these guys. They coast from person to person and are not shy at all!


WHERE TO EAT


To be honest, I wasn’t particularly wowed by the food in the Exumas. The choices of restaurants were relatively limited, and most of the dishes I ordered were nothing special. Some may disagree, but this is just my personal opinion.

However, out of the places we tried, here is where I recommend grabbing a bite:


Chat ‘N’ Chill’s Sunday Pig Roast

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From roasted pulled pork to conch salad to fried fish tacos...get a taste of the Exumas with this ultimate travel guide! If you're planning a trip to the Exumas, Bahamas, this post covers what to do, what to eat and where to stay so that you make the most out of your time!

Every Sunday, the Chat ‘N’ Chill on Stocking Island has their weekly pig roast. To avoid any confusion, there’s no actual whole pig being roasted. Bahamian-style roasted pulled pork with all the fix-ins (including peas ‘n’ rice, mac ‘n’ cheese, cole slaw, glazed carrots and pig skin) are served in generous portions. It was a super flavorful lunch and a fun place to meet locals and other tourists!


Chat ‘N’ Chill’s Conch Bar

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounters...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

Conch is a big thing in the Bahamas, and the best way I tried it was in a conch salad from the Chat ‘N’ Chill’s conch bar. The salad is made right in front of you and served pico-de-gallo-style with chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper and lime juice. It’s so fresh and tasty!


Shoreline Beach Club

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounters...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

After trying a few restaurants and being unimpressed, we were very happy to come across Shoreline Beach Club! The fish tacos and fried plantains were delicious, and my brother thoroughly enjoyed his cracked conch. Violet, the manager, was extremely warm and welcoming.


Shirley’s at the Fish Fry

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From roasted pulled pork to conch salad to fried fish tacos...get a taste of the Exumas with this ultimate travel guide! If you're planning a trip to the Exumas, Bahamas, this post covers what to do, what to eat and where to stay so that you make the most out of your time!

If you’re craving something fried, Shirley’s is the place to go. Although I wouldn’t say the food was extraordinary, it’s a good local option to share some fried appetizers. This restaurant has a great view of the water featuring a cool shipwreck!


The Palapa Grill

We ate at our resort’s restaurant, The Palapa Grill, at least once a day during our stay at the Grand Isle (more on this resort in a bit). Whether we wanted breakfast with a view, lunch served pool-side, or an upscale dinner, The Palapa Grill became our go-to choice. All of the meals I ordered were excellent; I don’t think you could go wrong with anything on the menu! Along with the items from the fixed menu, there were different dinner specials offered most nights so we always had new dishes to choose from. My only complaint about this restaurant is that the service was sloooowww…but at the same time, the leisurely pace of the Bahamas as a whole is something you learn to appreciate.


WHERE TO STAY


Grand Isle Resort and Spa

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounters...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

My family stayed at the Grand Isle Resort and Spa, which is located on the beach of Emerald Bay on Great Exuma. Our two bedroom villa was clean and spacious with two stories that included two bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen and an oceanfront view!

Golfing at the Emerald Reef Golf Club is a popular activity for those staying at the resort. If you feel like treatin’ yo-self, the Seastar Spa will fulfill all your pampering desires. A spa treatment wasn’t necessary for me, though…lounging by the pool with a good read satisfied my relaxation needs!

This resort is family-friendly and for the most part, the staff are very kind and attentive. Overall, I would definitely recommend the Grand Isle if you are planning a trip to Great Exuma!

Some other options include:


And there you have it! I hope you found this travel guide helpful if you’re planning a trip to the Exumas, or simply enjoyed reading about my own experiences there! If you’ve visited the Exumas before, what was your favorite part? If not, would you want to go after reading this guide?


The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounters...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

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Summer has been moving a biiiiiit too quick for my liking. I can’t believe that fall is already beginning to creep up on us! Not gonna lie…chunky knits, cozy layers, suede booties and all the other fashion trends that embody autumn make me a little less sad that summer will soon be reaching its end…

…but I’m getting ahead of myself, here. It’s still summertime, and I’m loving every second of it!

Now onto the outfit…


Summer outfit featuring striped bardot top, belted denim shorts and a bandana.

Striped bardot off the shoulder crop top from Zara.


THE TOP

Off-the-shoulder or bardot tops are one of my favorite trends for the warmer weather. They’re the perfect way to show off your sun-kissed shoulders and collarbones in the summer! I find the cut to be so flattering and they add a feminine touch to any outfit. This striped one from Zara is only $10!


Summer fashion featuring striped off the shoulder top, denim shorts and a bandana.Distressed dark wash denim shorts with brown leather belt.


THE SHORTS

There’s no doubt that a pair of distressed denim shorts are a staple for summer. I typically gravitate towards light-wash denim shorts, but this dark-wash pair has been on repeat for me lately. Pairing these with the bardot top makes for an effortlessly cute and casual summer outfit.


THE BELT

Bottoms (especially high-waisted shorts) can be a pain to buy. They tend to be fitted around my hips but far too loose around my waist, which is why this “Medium Perfect Leather Belt” has saved my life. I had been hunting for a high quality leather belt, and this one lives up to its name- it truly is perfect! This belt is timeless and great for everyday wear. If you plan on strapping it around your waist rather than hips, make sure to size down.


Daytime summer outfit featuring striped bardot top, belted denim shorts and a bandana.


THE BANDANA

Bandanas have been huge lately. I’ve seen them knotted around the neck, wrapped around the wrist, tied on tote bags…and definitely wrapped around the head, which is my favorite way to style bandanas. I love this one from Madewell, especially when I want to hide a bad hair day!


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Summer outfit by the beach featuring off the shoulder top and a bandana.


THE SANDALS

If I had to pick one shoe for the summer, it would be a pair of camel cross-strap sandals. They’re easy to slip on and go with just about everything. Mine are by Dolce Vita; some similar pairs are linked here and here.


I hope you’re enjoying your August! I’ll be back soon with a new post!

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