Saturday, October 11, 2014

3 Best Reasons to Get up at 5AM, and More Insights on Building a Great Morning Ritual

Dear Bed - it's not you, it's me. You are comfy, cozy, and available any time. You are extra warm, and as the weather turns colder leading to crisp mornings, that toasty warmness means a lot to me. But it's just not working anymore. You, hands down, were the gateway drug to mediocrity that has nearly destroyed all my new years resolutions. I thought I knew how to handle our relationship, getting up at 7 or 7:30 am every day, but then I started snoozing, then finding myself rushing around just to get to work on time, leaving me frazzled instead of focused and prepared. But there's still 3 months left of this year. It's time for a change. I need a little more "me" time, and I think we should spend less time together.

5am club
So, what is the solution...

Maybe you, like me, are considering joining the "5am Club". Leadership and productivity expert, Robin Sharma touts membership in the 5'oclock club as a key feature of top achievers. I, for one, want to win the battle of the bed! Put mind over mattress! Starting first thing tomorrow morning (I like the idea of starting on Sunday, a day earlier than expected) I will be changing my habits and work to develop a better brain, and a better life.

I have tried it before, and failed. But I made it all about working out, and it wasn't a big enough motivator for me. What I've learned since then is that preparation for your day ahead gives you a psychological edge and a "primary win", mental confidence that sets you apart from the masses.

I'm currently waking up at 7:30am, but there are so many reasons why I want to wake up at 5. If you normally get up at 7, and now get up at 5 just Monday-Friday, you gain an extra 40 hours of self-improvement per month - approx 480 hours per year, or 20 days! A tiny adjustment for a massive reward.  Here are my top three, along with tips for how you can join the "club" too.

1. No-Excuses Time for what Really Matters - Finding time for what matters is a huge challenge, and usually by the end of a workday the best I can handle is cooking. By setting aside time for things thta matter first thing in the morning, I'm able to create a clear path for success. My favorite online workout is Blogilates wth Cassie Ho, which is totally free- so fun, intense and uplifting! Getting fit is so important for success - to get the energy and stamina you need to really be of use. Also, I love my slow-cooker, it's a great way to eat healthy and you come home to a delicious smelling home.

2. Establishing and Keeping a Holy Hour to Consciously Leave the Herd - Most of what we do in life is the result of our sub-conscious minds running on auto-pilot. To have true change, you need to interrupt and gain control of your thoughts. One hour in the morning to feed your mind and nourish your soul puts you in good company with great writers, thinkers, throughout the centuries and helps your behavior and thinking reach a new level of creativity and greatness.

3. Build Willpower and Grit - The #1 factor of success is GRIT. It means you have ridiculous levels of persistence. You may have a vision, but it will be diluted by challenge unless you develop grit. When you go to your limits, your limits expand. Change is hard in the beginning, messy in the middle, and gorgeous in the end. Being able to get up at 5am will make other (much harder) things easier, because you've overcome one of the #1 things that holds people back from greatness - getting out of bed.

Need more convincing or a boost? Here is a video by Robin Sharma that convinced me!



 Robin says that it takes 66 days for something to become a true habit. Not eating or using a digital device after 8pm will help you get better sleep. If your loved one doesn't share your desire to wake up at 5am, try using a vibrating alarm clock!

5:00 am Morning Ritual (20-20-20 Rule)

5:00 am - 5:20 am - Jump out of bed. Splash your face with cold water. Then- get exercise of some kind, even if it's just skipping in place with a jumping rope. This is just to jump-start the metabolic rate, and release endorphins.

5:20 am - 5:40 am - Review your goals and purpose, not just for your day but for your life! Make sure you are focused on service to others. Focus on excellence and mastery. Write down some things you're grateful for.

5:40 am - 6:00 am - As you learn more, you achieve more. So during this 20 min stretch, learn something new by reading, listen to an audio book, or watching a video. Here is a great quote from Robin on this: "Education is inoculation from disruption"

6:00 am - 8:30 am Morning Ritual

I am working on developing the rest of my morning ritual for something that really works. But here is what I know for sure! At first, I thought "what am I going to do with all this extra time?" - then as I began to piece all the things I need to accomplish in the morning together I realized... maybe I need to get up at 4am!

6:00 am - 7:00 am - Full Blogilates Workout, according to the Blogilates calendar

7:00 am - 7:30 am - Prepare dinner with slow cooker, Prayer and Reading

7:30 am - 8:15 am - Shower, Dressed

8:15 am - 8:30 am - Make Healthy Breakfast, Coffee, and a Shake, hop in the car and go!

---
I will be up at 5am EST daily with my Twitter handle @NowItsLaura and the hashtag #5amclub and #66 day challenge if you'd like to join me. There are only 15 people worldwide doing this on Twitter right now from what I can see, so get to it! Follow me and hashtag, I'd love to see if you're taking on this challenge too.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Le Tote for Larger Sizes

Hi loves! I have personally been loving Le Tote, (see my post on that here: LeTote Review) but if you're looking for an option for sizes 10+, I think you need to know what my mom discovered a few months ago!

It's called Gwynnie Bee, and it is a great answer for women who are looking to expand their fashion/business wardrobe quickly, but don't necessarily have the cash to buy it all at once!

Exchanges are unlimited, the discoveries are fabulous. Gwynnie Bee Sizes 10-32. Get started for $10.
Click the image above to learn more!

LeTote costs around $50 up front, but Gwynnie Bee is only $10 to try, so now's the time to check it out! No strings attached, don't you love it?

In the next few days, I'll be unveiling her full review complete with pictures and tips right here on my blog. Stay tuned!

~Never stop learning, growing, and reaching.~
Laura

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A TRUE True&Co Review: How True&Co is a Major Win for All Women -Including YOU

I have read many True&Co reviews, and decided to make you this one ultimate review that covers it all. I have already covered True&Co as one of the "3 Best" bra solutions for women, but this one gets into the nitty gritty.

Not only is mine a glowing review, but my love is so much more than skin deep! This company is truly revolutionizing the way women purchase bras up to size 38F, and is doing so with an uncanny balance of style, rebellion, and grace.

Now, I'm not a lingerie expert, and I never hope to be. But I am a very busy professional woman, a feminist, and someone who needs to hold her breath when inside Victoria's Secret.

The main thing I've seen against True&Co is that they don't carry enough sizes. This is something they've announced they're working on, and have already made some improvements on, so I'm expecting a lot more women to be able to experience the fit box fun soon.

For a moment I'd like to highlight a key difference in the marketing of Victoria's Secret vs True&Co bras.

True&Co V.S. Victoria's Secret

True&Co marketing (left), Victoria's Secret marketing (right)
In case you missed the difference the image above, the one on the right is hyper-sexualized, while the other isn't. One uses unreal photoshopping and the other shows real bodies. One depicts freedom, comfort, and naturalness, and the other feels voyeuristic. Guess who is who?

The difference is night and day.

And same thing goes for Adore Me, another up and coming online bra brand I recently reviewed, who has larger sizes and a selling model that includes its own twist on the quiz...

True&Co V.S. Adore Me
Adore Me sexualization in marketing images and "quiz"
What... no skip button??? And... May I ask YOU a question, Mr. Quiz? Do you always have to clutch a wall or the side of the bed to look good in these bras on a date? Just wondering!

So all of this is to further illustrate what I love about True&Co that all the other brands aimed at women in my size range seem to miss.

Yes, we want to feel sexy. But our bra's aren't for other people to gawk at, they are for us. 

Where True&Co succeeds (that the naysayers don't seem to grasp) is in the emphasis of real women in real postures in their marketing *and no, "real" does not mean over 140 lbs, it just means not photoshopped to oblivion*.

I get the sense that we put our guard up at the wrong things. We miss the obvious, we take things out of context, and we fail to recognize the subtle ways women are being marginalized, and therefore fail to celebrate the women and the brands that are part of the solution, winning the good fight.

One negative review about True&Co from last year still gets a lot of attention from people - I know anything from a year ago is a bit outdated these days but Google thinks that old article is still the most relevant. In fact, the reviewer's screenshots of True&Co.com are almost unrecognizable from what the website looks now. The reviewer didn't claim to even receive a shipment, or hold one of the bras in her hand. But she did claim the bras wouldn't fit people, and the company was profiting off ignorance. Based on my happy buying experience, something in that review doesn't really add up to me.

But you know how it is when people just want to complain - the comments keep it fresh. And all those comments basically tell one of two things: Either inventory was low or unavailable in their size, or they were frustrated that it wasn't the quick fix they were looking for. And box after beautiful free box of bras to try on still weren't meeting these commenter's perfect fit expectations.

One person even commented that they were angry they couldn't return a thong after trying it on. Lady -- I'm so very GLAD you weren't able to return the thong! (yeesh!) And others generally missed that "no returns" message on the more sensitive articles and the purpose behind it.

Negative reviews and comments are normal for any brand and what cannot be UN-true is that True and Co is not for everyone! We already know the size limitations, yes. True&Co caters to those they can in a way that's fun, sophisticated and straightforward. Some of us don't want strangers measuring our breasts! Some of us are not as free spirited as to go on a bra fitting extravaganza in retail stores. Some of us don't curate lingerie for a living, and some of us are just on the search for that one good bra and don't have the time and patience to make searching part of their lifestyle.

In short, the True & Co model is the closest most of us can come to total, undeniable bra fitting bliss.

If you're thinking about buying from True&Co I hope you love it. I have a promo I can share but didn't want to do it here. So if you're interested, check out my post on True&Co promo codes. You may even see an ad on my sidebar from True&Co, which I have allowed there along with some ads that are targeted to you based on your browsing activity. But (perhaps surprisingly) I was not paid to write this... I just happen to love the brand that much, and really wanted to offer my viewpoint since the quiz worked perfectly for me.

Enjoy! I hope this post shed some light on the touchy subject, and I look forward to hearing more of your *true* experience with True&Co.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Get the truth: Real-Life Stitch Fix Review

Take the short quiz at the end to see if Stitch Fix is right for you!

Years of college didn't do much for my style, and now that I've transitioned into an upscale office environment, I am forever grateful for Stitch Fix.

They actually listened to me yabber on about my needs,
"I like colors that have bright undertones instead of dark undertones. I have short curly hair so my hairstyle is on the edgy side. I like to dress feminine and sophisticated- my pinterest board tells all! Thank you :)"
And they continually amaze me with what they send. It's so right on, again and again that I always must buy something.

But the truth is, Stitch Fix isn't for everyone. Not only does it cater to smaller sizes, (click here check out a great plus-size alternative to Stitch Fix) it puts you in the hands of someone who is totally going off what you say about yourself. This means, if you're not at least semi-clear about your personal style, Stitch Fix might not be right for you.

Thankfully, they ask a LOT of questions, starting from your age, giving you some visual cues, and going all the way to what patterns you like to avoid. Overall, they are the absolute best I have seen at style profiling.

Here is the inside scoop.

My first fix contained the following:
My first Fix
I felt they had heard me out on the colors that I like- but I don't think the patterned tops (Carolyn Floral and Koma Tribal Tank) were a good match for a petite woman like me. The Carolyn was way too long to be a top, too short to be a dress (awkward!) and the Koma was made of a fabric that really couldn't be dressed up enough for work. The Nada Pencil Skirt threw me off- way too see-through and really- who wears white skirts?

However, the Doreen French Terry Blazer and the Lyla Striped Cardigan were both big hits for me.

The stylist's choice of the Doreen definitely showed she had taken a good look at my Pinterest.

It's now a part of my regular wardrobe and I like pairing it against black. I especially like the way it looks with bright pink nails.

The looks my stylist suggested were nice, but I think the blue on green would be too much color for me, and the striped dress would be too fancy for work.

The blazer was so "me" that it inspired a whirlwind of selfies- I love that boost of confidence from a new piece of clothing you love!

Me in one of the beautiful alcoves where I work - wearing my Stitch Fix blazer!

Stitch Fix Styling Tip:

My work environment is challenging to dress for because although it's a Victorian castle, my position at work is web/online. Sometimes its tricky dressing to fit in with my surroundings but also look the part. To that end, if you're using Stitch Fix to expand your work wardrobe, then definitely give them some details on what kind of environment it is and what your position is. It isn't enough to say, "I work in a cubicle" or "I need to dress for an office environment" or "I work in marketing". You have the opportunity to guide them so why not be specific?


So friends- that's it. My first big Stitch Fix review. Here are my main takeaways in a quiz format to help you make your final choice.

Is Stitch Fix Right For You?

Consider the following before getting Stitch Fix. If you answer YES to two or more of these, then Stitch Fix is totally right for you!
  1. Do you have a semi-developed style? i.e. you generally know what colors and patterns look best on you... You could look at a top and say "yuck!" knowing it would look bad before even trying it on.
  2. Are you a size 10 or under? (If not, I highly recommend you consider this alternative!)
  3. You have a specific "hole" in your wardrobe you're trying to fill- like a special event, or work clothes like me. Stitch Fix makes it easy to time shipments so you can get something right before a big event.
  4. You are open and willing to share your needs and tastes. Some people don't really like the idea of sharing their Pinterest board with a stranger. But Stitch Fix thrives on knowing what you like and matching up a look to your tastes, so Pinterest is their perfect partner in crime.
Did you answer "Yes" to at least 2 of the 4 quiz questions? Then...






Friday, August 29, 2014

My Adore Me Review: A True and Co for Larger Sizes

We've all been seeing amazing ads for True and Co and loving their concept. I'm a huge True and Co fan myself and have done a couple reviews with promo codes. However, they only serve up to cup size C.

But now, for better endowed ladies, there is a great option I want to introduce you to if you're up to a size G cup. (And yes, this one still serves smaller sizes too!)

Adore Me creates a  personalized showroom of great bras and ships them to you no strings attached. If you choose to buy, your first set will only cost $25!


I am loving everything about it. The beautiful boxes, the selection, and the curated showroom.

You get the box from $39.95, (your first box is only $25 through this link) every 6th boxed set is 100% free.You don’t need to shop every month, all you need to do is visit your showroom before the fifth and either shop or skip.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rent the Runway Unlimited Coupon

It's a good day when all forces converge to make your closet totally runway worthy. It's time to embrace it!

Rent the Runway has answered my fashion prayers with the release of their Rent the Runway Unlimited program- it's an upscale clothing rental service that sends you 3 items in a box and lets you swap them out over and over.

Get $20 off through my exclusive link: Rent the Runway Unlimited Coupon 

I found out about Rent the Runway Unlimited through their recent Facebook Ad:

This may be Rent The Runway's response to the visible growing popularity of box clothing rental sites Le Tote and Gwynnie Bee, which I've written about in past blog posts.

I think Rent The Runway may need to add more items per box, but I'm trying it out and look forward to giving you my full Rent The Runway Unlimited review soon!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Le Tote Promo Code

Get $10 off plus a $10 credit your first month Scroll on down!  Here to share the good news, I have scored a Le Tote coupon code for you, and I can't wait to share it.

I have been seriously in LOVE with Le Tote- it has done so much for my personal style over the past few months and I'm a bit addicted. I think you will be too!


SIGN UP FOR LE TOTE thru this link to show some love, 

Any of my links you take will get you a $10 purchase credit PLUS enter one of the following:
USE PROMO CODE TWICETHESTYLE for $20 off! - Yes, that gets you $20 off your Le Tote box!
If both above expired, try FB10 for $10 off

They are pushing the some promos through their recent Facebook ads:

I'm not sure how long the promotion will last but I've been seeing this ad for the past few days or so.

Enjoy!

And if you're curious if Le Tote is worth it, see my recent blog post where I totally dish: Is Le Tote Worth It

Laura

Fab Fit Fun Box

$10 off plus free water bottle! Wowwiee - It's Birchbox on steroids! I just saw a Facebook ad for a new-ish box service called Fab Fit Fun and am considering trying it out, but will probably have to choose between this and Le Tote / Stitch Fix which I've become pretty attached to! (see my post about Le Tote and Stitch Fix here)

I cancelled my Birchbox subscription this month after receiving too many pitifully small product samples. I just remember saying to myself, "I could walk around the cosmetics section of my local Macy's and get better samples than this!" 


  • Full-size, premium products delivered 4x per year.


  • Over $200 in Beauty, Wellness, Fitness and Fashion Finds for only $49.99 per season!

  • FabFitFun Promo Code:
    USE PROMO CODE TRYFFF for $10 off!
    Also: Add FRUITWATER for Free Fruit Infuser Water Bottle

    So, I found Fab Fit Fun through a Facebook ad, and although significantly more expensive, I think this could be the answer to the lame-jane smallies issue that had me fed up with Birchbox.


    Instead of samples, you get big, beautiful full size items with a value of over $200, for less than half the price- sounds pretty luxe to me.

    Take a look at the variety I found just from a simple Google search:

    Fab Fit Fun has dubbed itself the "Queen Bee of Subscription Boxes"

    What do you think?

    Check out Fab Fit Fun Now!

    I just had to add a screenshot of their latest ad. Looks like they get it!:

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

    True and Co Review and Promo Codes

    $25 off coupon codes! True&Co made me a big promise when I went to their site... to match me with the perfect bra for free! They did it, and I do so many of these box things I'm about to send you on a promo-code spree for the best possible savings.

    Image above: "Across The Universe" bra in black, Bag of Tricks
    I wear a lot of business semi-formal clothes and I pretty much wore the same bra every day and hated that. When I went with True&Co, I was very pleased with the selection of bras for my unusual 32C size. They give you 5 free bras a try with no strings attached. It was so much nicer to try on in the privacy of my own home. Aside from great True and Co promo codes, There are a few things I need to share with you before you try True&Co for yourself!

    See the items in bold for promos you can stack up! I know it gets confusing so at the end I've done a step by step for you so that you can get all the discounts. Hurry because promo codes can go bad!

    So, without further ado and as always, here are my 3 best tips for using True&Co

    1) You can get $25 PROMO off your first purchase thru my True&Co link - something I wish I had when I signed up! (EXPIRES OCT 26)

    2) Be careful with the "free extras" they offer you in the last round. I accidentally plopped two items into my bag that are "final sale" and therefore non-refundable. Expensive mistake!

    3) It's comforting to answer their survey, but don't expect miraculous results. You may find yourself needing to order multiple boxes until you find the perfect bra. But it's free to try, and the $25 First Timer Promo you get through my link will be there for you when you DO find the right one. I found one I loved (pictured) on the very first try.

    If it's not your first time buying from True&Co, I'm keeping the bottom half of this post updated with all promos that I can find online for you.

    I told you I'd help you stack some discounts on True&Co so here's what I've got.


    TO GET THE BIGGEST TRUE & CO SCORE, DO THIS:
    •  Sign up for True&Co for $25 credit THRU THIS LINK ($25 off only works for your first purchase. Look below for promos that work even after that - more good stuff to come I will keep updated for you right here on this post!) EXPIRES OCT 26
    • Get 15% off your total purchase order with the PROMO CODE BRALLOWEEN EXPIRES OCT 23
    • Free Panty With Purchase use PROMO CODE PANTY EXPIRES DAY AFTER YOU SIGN UP
    • For being a True&Co member, you get FREE BIRCHBOX MERCH sign up for Birchbox THRU THIS LINK with PROMO CODE BBTRUE100 for 100 points which equals an instant $10 store credit just for being a True & Co customer
    • FREE TRUE&CO BRA: Make sure to hashtag TrueBoxLove ( #trueboxlove ) because if you're their favorite pic of the month you get a free bra.
    • FREE TRUE&CO PANTY: After you receive your first box - Share a pic of your box to Twitter: @trueandcompany and/or their facebook page and message them to score!
    • TRUE AND CO CREDIT: When you're ready to buy even more lovely lingerie, don't forget to get.. 10% off with PROMO CODE AWARENESS. (expires Oct. 10)


    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

    Is LeTote Worth It? Ask yourself these 3 questions...

    Not long after I shared about my experience with the women's clothing rental service Le Tote, I noticed there is a little backlash on the price out there. Sure, dropping 50 isn't something most of us do without a little research! Now that I've had a good length of experience as their customer, I am happy to share the "Real Deal". Here are my thoughts on the good, the bad, and the ugly about Le Tote!

    If you read and think Le Tote is right for you, please sign up here!
    USE PROMO CODE TWICETHESTYLE for $20 off!
    If that's expired, use Promo Code FB10 for $10 off!


    For the one monthly price, I was able to comfortably receive and enjoy 4 total shipments, so that works out to 12 clothing items and 8 pieces of jewelry. (Each box contains 3 clothing items and 2 pieces of jewelry).

    All the items could be mixed and matched. By using these as supplements to the clothes I already have, each box gave me 3 great outfits, which basically gets a girl through the week.

    There was one shipment I didn't like. In one particular box I received, one of the necklaces was just way too over sized (unfortunately their pic didn't give a sense of scale), and for some reason they sent me all black clothing items despite the many colorful things I had placed a heart on. So, brace yourself you might get a few disappointments. But everything always fit, and was worth at least testing out.

    If you fall in love with something, you have a $10 purchase credit- which is as of yet unused on my part. But I can always go back and buy things since they are still available online to buy, so I was hanging onto it.
     Is Le Tote WORTH IT? Ask yourself these three questions.

    1. LeTote is a designer clothing rental service. Will you be all dressed up with no place to go?

    I am signed up for LeTote because I'm a young professional with a small work wardrobe, who can't really afford to expand it quickly enough. LeTote has an amazing selection of chic work-appropriate attire for women in my 20-something age group. My workplace is not entirely formal, and because I work in marketing I am able to be a little creative. In short, it is the perfect fit for my lifestyle and daily needs. 

    2. Is your style set in stone, or are you willing to try new things?

    I would say my style is about midway developed. I don't need total hand-holding but I lack a full core office wardrobe, and can't afford to make big purchase mistakes. LeTote allows me to try new things with no worries. I can experiment, if it's not wonderful I can shrug it off and send it back. LeTote is perfect for someone at my stage.
    My home-run box: I LOVED everything here from LeTote!

    If your style isn't developed, I highly recommend Stitch Fix for you as a cheaper way to experiment with clothes, however it isn't a rental service. It's a wonderfully styled box of items just for you based on your Pinterest account or the profile you set up, and you can use the "styling fee" toward anything in the box you want to buy. They even pair outfits on cute little cards for you. Seriously!

    If your style is fully developed, I think LeTote might not be for you. If you know exactly what you like, you could be using that money toward... getting exactly what you like!

    3. What is your discretionary income?

    This one seems obvious but honestly ask yourself. Do you have $50 per month to spend on something fun for you? That's about $12 per week. Can you do that comfortably on a whim? If not, a service like this isn't right for you at this moment! You could probably afford their jewelry only option though, which is cheaper.


    If you've answered the above questions and feel like LeTote is right for you, then please accept my invitation! I'm happy to have helped and am glad to have you in on this awesome little secret of a service: Get LeTote Now! 
    SIGN UP FOR LE TOTE, USE PROMO CODE TWICETHESTYLE for $20 off! And if that's expired, try FB10 for $10 off!



    Keep looking good- and good luck!