Polka Dot Party

18th January 2018

I’ve always been slightly obsessed with spots! Aside from stripes, they’re the easiest print to wear and have always given me a girly vintage vibe that I just LOVE.
SHOP MY LOOK

There are so many reasons to love a good spot: They’re the flirtiest of patterns, the go to print of choice for miss Minnie Mouse and they never, ever go out of style. For those reasons (and many more) polka dot prints have always been on rotation in my wardrobe, so today I’m sharing my must have print and a few polka dot pretties you’ll want to get your paws on.

When I saw this dress, I knew I had to have it. I mean primary colors AND SPOTS? How was I excepted to resist. Sadly the dress sold out after I featured it on instagram a few weeks back, so I wasn’t going to share it on here … BUT the dress gods have smiled in our favor and restocked it AND discounted it to 50% off!!!! Even after the discount, it is still a bit of a splurge, so here are some more similar spots that won’t break the bank.

SHOP SPOT ON STEALS

Are you crazy for spots yet? If so Red polka dots especially have always been a favorite of mine, and since this month we’re all about the color red here are some darling polka dot pieces perfect for valentines day.
SHOP THESE SPOTS

SHOP MY LOOK:

Coat • $139.90
Polka Dot Mini Dress • $249.97
Over The Knee Boot • $39.98  || Also here • $49.98
Yellow Wool Beret • $19

Seeing Red

16th January 2018

Welcome back to our month of RED!

Today I’m sharing my favorite way to wear red, to go all out in head to toe monochrome!! It’s no secret that monochromatic looks are having a major moment right now, so why not use them to make a statement. I’ve come to feel much more comfortable in monochromatic looks than I do in color mixing, because it’s a lot easier to create! You don’t have to worry about what colors clash, or how to pair patterns, you just have to commit to one color! Plus, when you have a rainbow closet like I do, it can be really simple to dip yourself in all red and still look instantly chic!

So here it is, your go to guide for making the most of monochromatic.

1 – Play with texture – One of the most important methods for monochrome is to off set your color craze by mixing things up with a variety of textures. Here I’m wearing red velvet under red faux fur and even playing with both patent and matte red leathers for contrast. This helps your look still feel interesting despite wearing only one color.

2 – All or nothing –  from a color matching point of view, you either need to be all the same color of red, or a vast variety of different versions. Here I tried really hard to match my reds with a true candy version of my favorite color.

3 – Stand out – Even though your monochromatic look should be 90% one color, it’s important to have one differentiating factor. For me in this look, its the glitter boots you can see peaking out from my wide leg pants, but it can also be a statement lip, contrasting jewels, black belt of even jeans with an otherwise red outfit. I really love my yellow diamond engagement ring, because it always serves as that extra pop of color or contrast for any look.

4 – Just Own it!- This biggest tip for pulling off a monochromatic look is to own it. When you’re dripping in color, people are going to stop and stare … but most will be followed by a smile. Don’t be afraid to stand out, or fear the fact that people will look at you. If you’re brave enough to rock this all red combo, you deserve all the attention (and more) so don’t fight it, own it!

5 – Share it – Oh and if you’re looking to shoot your monochromatic look for your instagram or blog, try shooting on a contrasting colored wall for a super like-worthy pic. Red looks go really great in-front of turquoise (pictured), dark green, blush pink or any color blue! It’s also epic when shot in all white like snow or a really light background so you steal the show!

SHOP THE LOOK:

#COLORMECHALLENGE
Okay, now I dare you to pile on the red this week. Try pairing a red shirt with a red coat, a red tee with a red lip or try for a red trifecta with red pumps, red lip and a red bag! If you’re really brave, jump on the monochromatic train with a head to toe red look. No matter what you do, post your photos with #colormechallenge so I can see!

Introducing Color Me Month – Hello Red

8th January 2018

OMG HI! & welcome back. I’m so glad you’re here 🙂
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I’m super excited to introduce Color Me Month – A new monthly segment here at Color Me Courtney focused on getting you comfortable with COLOR.IMG_0815

I’m not an expert at much, but I do know color. I would like to think my years of fearlessly embracing it have made me a color pro. So once I month I’m going to be taking a deeper look at a color, and hopefully inspire you to do the same.
We’ll cover cover everything from:
Who looks best in each hue
What colors work together and why
Where to spot it in the city
When its appropriate to wear color (and how much)
Ways to introduce it in your wardrobe
& even How to use it in your home
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Plus I’ll be introducing #colormechallenge’s along the way for you to tackle and get involved in & every three months there will be a special Color Me Challenge where I push you to ditch the black and dive into color.
I hope you’re as excited about this series as I am. To keep you interested, here are a few of the Red Hot posts you’ll see popping up this month. So Stay tuned for:
– How & Why you should wear red this winter
– The biggest selection of red products to shop … like ever
– Red & Pink outfits to get you excited for valentines day
– The Red super ingredient you need in your skincare routine (and maybe even your salad?)
– Instagrammable red Locations to see, shoot and shop in NYC
– Crazy cute red nail polish combos for your #colormemani
– Red’s color besties Aka what colors work with red and why
– Monochromatic works to die for
– My favorite red lipsticks
– & more!
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Each month will focus on a specific color and a series of posts surrounding celebrating it in style. First up, We’re seeing red!
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Introducing Red, The hottest color.
For our first feature, we’re talking about Red which is definitely the hottest color of them all and in my opinion one of the easiest to wear.
Every time I wear red on instagram I get a comment saying something along the lines of “I wish I could wear red”, or “You look great in red, I could never wear it” and I’m always shocked. In my opinion (and my Grandma’s too) its the easiest color to wear, because you can do just one pop and it will change everything.
So today’s post is all about the perfect pop of red and three EASY ways to introduce it into your wardrobe.
ONE: A RED LIP
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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you’re obsessed with wearing black or crazy about cool colors you can easily spice things up with a red lip. A red lip has become a signature to my style, but it’s the easiest (and most affordable) way to completely change your look.IMG_8050IMG_9206
Are you obsessed with jeans and a white tee? Try adding a bold red lip to add an unexpected level of sass to your look.
Find yourself stuck in a black and white corporate look everyday at the office? Make things pop with a cranberry kiss.
Is your go to date night look a LBD? opt for a cherry red lip and sky high stiletto’s to really catch his (or her) eye.

Stay tuned for a break down of my favorite red lips (and why) in a future post, but if you can’t wait shop these tried and true favorites below. 

One  // Two  // Three  // Four  // Five  // Six  // Seven // Eight  // Nine 

TWO: A BOLD BAGIMG_0817

If you’re looking to invest in a new bag, why not go bold with a red one! If you’re looking for a small bag for date night out, a crossbody to wear on the weekends or a larger commuter bag, they can all work in red! Red pairs well with almost all colors, and will be a great way to brighten up any outfit!IMG_0819IMG_0818

So ready to invest in RED? If so, here are a few of my favorites:

One • $795  // Two • $685  // Three  • $890  // Four • $88  // Five • $46
Six • $228  // Seven • $1,100  // Eight • $250  // Nine • $2,350  // Ten• $298
Eleven • $1,190  // Twelve • $1,350  // Thirteen • $250  // Fourteen • $435 // Fifteen • $77
Sixteen • $345  // Seventeen • $35.40  // Eighteen • $298  // Nineteen • $89–148  // Twenty • $145 IMG_0816

THREE: A RED COATCreated using Color Lake by Ababeel - ababeel.info
My first big coat purchase was a pink one from Kate Spade, It was $350 with my employee discount and more than I had ever spent on anything at the time. My favorite part about it was the fact that when winter came, I was the only one in a colorful coat. I quickly also invested in a red thrifted one to wear when I was feeling more pink and less red. To this day, I don’t own a black coat (oops, and I just recently bought black pumps) because I always feel “prettier” in my red one. Getting ready in winter is hard enough when its 12 degrees (or less) so the thought of pulling on a big bland black coat is killer enough to make me stay inside – but I always smile when I slip into my red coat, it’s like snow battling superhero cape I never knew I needed, but not can’t live without.IMG_0001

SO If you’re in the need for a winter refresh – try investing in a red coat and see how much it makes you smile, here are some of my favs:

One • $139  // Two  $119  Three • $2,400  // Four • $149.90  // Five • $119
Six • $98  // Seven • $725  // Eight • $77.40  // Nine • $34.99  // Ten • $795
Eleven • $1,689  // Twelve • $318  // Thirteen • $225
Fourteen • $248  // Fifteen • $149.50  // Sixteen • $795 

The good thing about red is it really looks great with every other color, from pink & purple to yellow & green (red & green is my favorite color combo, but more on that later) it’s a can’t miss color. Thats why I never understand why people are so afraid of it. Red does evoke confidence, strength, and fun – its a bold LOOK AT ME color, so the Leo in me loves it – but for those of you who prefer to blend in, I really encourage you to take a step out of your color comfort zone and tip your toe into the hottest color. You’re special (because you’re here, and #colormecuties are special by nature – duh) so you deserve to stand out.
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So this week, your #colormechallenge is to play with a pop of color … specifically RED!
Try a red lip, invest in a red purse or dive in with a red coat! However you celebrate, Tweet me your color me red purchases, looks and inspiration  @colormecourtney using #colormechallenge for a retweet.
You can also share your posts on instagram with #colormechallenge and tagging & mentioning @colormecourtney so I can see them and share!
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Get ready for a month full of RED until start of your Color Me Month (and your week) right by:
& FINALLY – getting inspired with my previous red outfits at #colormered🎈
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 See you tomorrow for a tip post for all my blogger babes!

Top Collabs 2017

2nd January 2018

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 8.46.15 AM Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 11.28.01 AM Welcome back!

If you read yesterday’s post you learned about my high and lows from 2017, weee and some of my goals for 2018. I also promised you a spicy post for today – my brand burn book so get excited lol.

First, I wanted to introduce a new segment here on Color Me Courtney – Blogger Tip Tuesday. Its come to my attention that a large amount of my following (as high as 25 percent) are content creators themselves: bloggers, instagramers, youtubers etc. This doesn’t come as a surprise to me, infant when I first started growing my followers I specifically targeted bloggers because that is who I wanted in my community, more on that in future weeks. Anyways, because of this fact and because I am in a place where I am secure about my business / blog / etc, I wanted to take every (ehhh thats a little ambitious, lets say most) Tuesday as a chance to share a tip about the blogging business. These posts won’t be just for future/current content creators, they will also be for the non bloggers who are curious about the industry, want more insight into my day to day or just have general blogging questions. This is my way of giving back to part of my community, sharing what I’ve learned, mistakes I’ve made and success I’ve had in my career. I’m not an expert, and my following/blog is very unique and niche so my answers aren’t a one size fits all solution, but rather my opinions and experiences. I’m happy to share whatever I can to help you grow your business, and truly believe that there is enough room for all of us without a competitive aspect that so many of us in this space feel. To be honest, I’m secure enough in my business that I don’t feel threatened by new and upcoming bloggers, but rather challenged and inspired as we all should. As a result, If you have a question you want answered, leave it in the comments of this blog post and I’ll tackle it in future weeks. 
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OKAY So now that you know all about blog tip Tuesday, lets talk about todays post. Today I’m sharing my favorite projects of 2017 and rounding up the best and worst brands I worked with this year. The point of this post isn’t to call anyone out, but to really honor the brands that I had the best time working with and provide transparency behind the post. Its also a great resource for new brands, looking to work with content creators and might show some of the do’s and don’t about
Before we dive in, lets talk about branded/sponsored content. So as a blogger I make my money a few ways, one of which being sponsored content ( a topic I’ll cover more in depth in coming weeks, so if you’re confused hang with me for a second). Sponsored content occurs when a brand comes to me and asks me to promote their content in exchange for an agreed upon amount – it could be as low as a piece of clothing in exchange for a single tweet or as high as a six figure amount in exchange for multiple pieces of content, exclusivity, ambassadorship and more, all depending on the nature of the partnership. Sometimes I get full creative control, other times its a very specific ask that I have to agree to comply with or decide to pass on. Luckily, I’m in a place now where I can be extremely selective about the partnerships I take on and where sponsored content is only one part of my blog business, so I have some flexibility. As time has gone on, my brand has become more specific, more niche and extremely unique and therefore I have become more selective about the collaborations I say yes to. My following has also reached what in my opinion is the ideal size for content creators, making it again easier for me to be desirable to brands while still being affordable – not to go off on too much of a tangent, but if none of this is making sense tune in next Tuesday and I’ll go into more detail about this for you guys, so tune in.
Needless to say I am really appreciate for any sponsored content offer that comes my way. I am so thankful that brands want to use me, the community I’ve build and the brand I stand behind to promote their own. As a former product developer (I used to make handbags at Coach before blogging full-time) and MBA (I have a MBA in marketing form San Francisco State) it really means the world to me not only on a personal, but also a professional level. Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 1.17.49 PMScreen Shot 2018-01-02 at 1.19.11 PMScreen Shot 2018-01-02 at 1.27.25 PM
THE BEST – My favorite Collabs of 2017
I love being a brand ambassador, those are my favorite collabs! This year I got to kick off my ambassadorship with Herbal Essence which has been SO FUN so far because they brought me to their HQ to tour the factory and meet the awesome team of WOMEN scientists behind the brand, so cool. I’ve had an ongoing partnership with Dunkin Donuts for a few years now that includes an ambassadorship as well, a few years ago they also invited me to their HQ for an immersion day which really allowed me to see all the work that goes into their brand and products. Hopefully you’ll see more of both of these partnerships in 2018
San Pellegrino – We’re kind of obsessed with San Pelleginro in our house, so when they came to me and asked me to create a colorful walking path of my favorite instagrammable locations in NYC for their exclusive app, I was over the moon! This project was by far one of my favorites in my blogging career because they really empowered me to do what I’m best at in a new and exciting way. I can’t gush enough about this collab.
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See some of the San Pellegrino posts here // here
Lidl – Esmara by Heidi Klum – Sometimes the stars align and an idea you’ve had FOREVER gets to come true with a collab, this was true with my partnership with Esmara a new line deigned by  Heidi Klum exclusively for Lidl! I got to wear one of their pieces for fashion week 10 ways, and Idea I’ve wanted to come to life for years. It was super challenging but brought a reliability to one of fashions biggest weeks with a Color Me Courtney twist. I’m thankful that Lidl provided me with the opportunity and autonomy to bring this idea to life.
UBER – I’ve really loved working with Uber this year, because it’s a brand I rely on IRL and because of how they have structured their collaborations. If you follow me on instagram stories, you’ll frequently see me applying my makeup in an uber or even doing my nails on the way to an event, #classy. I really do live in Ubers especially in NYC. What you don’t see is that I also LOVE the subway, and actually prefer it to any other method of transportation in NYC because I get really car sick, but if I’m taking a car its usually a Uber. I used to love cabs, but since ride share organizations have taken over, the best drivers have switched and now most cab drivers are the bottom of the barrel – swerving everywhere, not knowing where they’re going and just not how I want to spend my commute, especially with my extreme carsickness. I’ve tried Lyft early on and never liked it, it always felt like I had to wait too long to get a car and I hated that. A lot of my friends prefer it or Juno to Uber, but I’ve remained loyal to Uber it’s what I’ve always used, it works best for me and I trust it.
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I could go on and on about Uber and why its the best option for me right now, but I wanted to talk about the collaborations they empowered me to create this year – two specifically. The first was for their credit card that launched this year, to celebrate they treated Paris and I to a dinner on a double decker bus in the middle of Manhattan, which was really cool. I usually say no to collaborations like this because I have a really specific and curated feed, and when I’m asked to attend an event I know nothing about and post a photo of my experience, I don’t know what I’m walking into photo wise, but because of my past experience with Uber I said yes. In my opinion this is the best way to work with influencers, and to interact with your fan base – to create experiential face time with the influencers in something really unique. The other collaboration was for NYE promoting using an uber instead of driving drunk, which is reaaaaaallllly important to me. I’m not much of a drinker, I probably have less than 5 drinks a year … and actually don’t think I had any in 2017 but I have some serious issues with drunk driving, its a big passion point for me, so I love that uber gave me a chance to rant about this and encourage people to be safe …. plus I really like the photo we created!
See the posts on instagram for Uber here & here
PowerPuff Girls – I’m a HUGE PPG fan, like I still watch the show on the reg IT’S MY JAM I even dressed up as a powderpuff girl with some of my friends for the MORP dance in highschool (prom backwards) so yeah, I love it. They recently relaunched the show and introduced a new “diversity” (aka black lol) character, so I was offered an opportunity to collaborate and create awareness with some the programs going on surrounding it – specifically a “fan art” contest that they were running. To promote the content, I created my own “powderpuff” inspired photo and I’m kind of obsessed with it. It became one of my favorite pieces of content for the year and was so fun to work on something that baby (and current) courtney love outside of the blog.
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This collaboration was through Refinery 29, I work with them quite often and they’re a huge part of my business. For those of you whoo don’t know, sponsored partnerships usually come through a few ways 1) directly through the brand (like Unique Vintage below & Nickelodeon), 2) through a PR agency where the brand pays the agency to be the middle man connecting the blogger and the brand, in this case you rarely talk to the brand and the agency usually advocates for the brand because they’re cutting the check or 3 ) through a “blogger” like agency like Shop Style, Rewardstyle or even Refinery 29 & Collectively where the relationship is pretty fifty fifty. Although I’ve been a reward style member forever, it took them a long time before they ever offered me a collaboration. The first one to do so was Refinery 29. I’ve since created great relationships with some of the girls there and they’re actually my friends IRL. They always keep it real with me and fight for their content creators, plus they know me and my brand so they always pitch things that are an actual fit.  I feel really lucky to have such a strong relationship with a organization that I’ve loved forever and get to work with almost daily now. Thank you r29 for all you do for content creators, you’re really fantastic to work with.
Unique Vintage – Another brand I worked with for the first time ever was Unique Vintage. I’ve shopped their site for years and they’ve gifted me clothes in the past but never had a sponsorship budget, to be honest a lot of brands say they don’t have a budget but they’re paying someone else, and I always notice. Plus blogger talk – but unique vintage truly didn’t have a budget for influencer marketing until this year and worked with me first and a few other girls to follow (all girls I love) so that was pretty cool. This collaboration started out rocky because of a misunderstanding (this sometimes happens when you’re only communicating on email) but we were able to patch things up and it ended up being one of my favorite collabs. I actually am really proud of the way we were able to turn things around so will probably share more about this story in the near future. This was one of my favorite partnerships because of the turning point, history and the people, it’s really awesome when you get to work with brands you’ve worn for nearly a decade, nothing can compare to that kind of history.
Nickelodeon – For the first time every this year I got to work with nickelodeon which was really exciting! They approached me with a cool idea late last year in which I would be responsible for creating content on their new nickelodeon style instagram, which was essentially created as the Nick counterpart to Disney style / Minnie style, specifically stop motion videos. The partnership didn’t end up working out for a few reasons, one because it would require I cut ties with Disney which I wasn’t willing to do, but we still were able to work together in other areas. They ended up attempting their own stop motion videos without me and cutting me out, which is kind of messed up but happens a lot. I’m not sure they know I noticed (lol they probably know now, oops) but they did end up offer me some promotional work on three occasions throughout 2017 so I’m really thankful for that opportunity.Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 1.23.27 PM
For the most part I really liked working with Nickelodeon. They were kind of new to the influencer game which sometimes makes things difficult, usually because most brands are used to a pay for play atmosphere. Most think that because they’re paying for a post they get to control the content, and if thats what you’re looking for as a brand then you don’t want an influencer, speficially an influencer like me where you will never control my content. I’ll walk away from a lot of money even after the content is created and my work is done if you want me to make major changes, or alterations that I feel go against my message and brand. I’m stubborn, but I think thats what makes Color Me Courtney strong and our following somewhat cult-like. Anyways, Nick was new to the influencer game but they learned as we went along, I’m really honest and transparent and I think brands either love or hate that about me. I don’t sugar coat, I’m sweet but I’m also direct and will always propose a solution after I share the problem. Together we were able to work together on multiple occasions this year, I have really high hopes for the new direction that the brand is going and hope to partner with them again soon.

Target! For this first time this year I got to work with Target multiple times! This was also through refinery 29 and has been a dream brand of mine to work with for ever!!!! I loved all the content we created for them and hop I get to work with them again soon!Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 1.14.00 PM

See some target posts here: one // two // three

Cath Kidston – Another favorite partnership of mine was the Cath Kidston one I did throughout  Q4. Anytime a brand has the trust and budget to be able to to invest in multiple posts its a win for me, this is because I feel like I can really introduce them to my followers through a collective series of posts instead of just one flash ad. I’m even pickier about these collaborations, and will only do them with brands I really resonate with. I also usually like to do them with brands I haven’t really worked with in the past, because if I’m doing a series of ads for a brand I already wear / promote monthly it gets to be a little much. Anyways CK trusted me enough to purchase multiple blog posts, instagram ads and a stop motion video surrounding their holiday collection and Disney launch – My organic obsession with Disney has brought me so much business because so many of your are Disney obsessed and love all things Mickey just like me – so thank you guys for being so awesome!!. Anyways, this ended up being one of my favorite collaborations so I worked overtime for it, I think I was required to do maybe 4 instagram posts, I did close to 8, 1 required blog post turned to 2 (I think?)  and I did so many extra instagram story posts just because I LOVED the content we created and wanted to over share it. When brands empower me to create content with full autonomy, you get something super special and I end up over promoting it. In the end, they get double the amount of posts from me … so yes, I’m giving away work for free but its because its some of my best work that I really want you to see, so I”m okay with that. I was super honored and humbled to work with a great and classic brand with Cath Kidston and hope I get to do it again soon. When I get to share a brand with a story and heritage behind it it always means so much more to me. Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 1.26.14 PMScreen Shot 2018-01-02 at 1.28.26 PM
Studio DIY – I’ve been a big fan of Kelly’s for like EVER and so excited when she launched new Cant Clutch This collection this year! To sweeten the deal, she asked ME to be the first blogger she collaborated with to promote the collection, which I was honored to do! I love being able to work with other bloggers with a similar colorful outlook and vision, so working with Kelly was a major moment for me. Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 11.27.22 AM
Google – I’ve been lucky enough to work with Google a few times this year both through Refinery 29 to promote the “Okay Google” google assistant and through events. One of the best events I attended this year was a murder mystery party where we were given the new Pixel 2 powered by google and asked to use it to solve a mystery – this was a great way to celebrate halloween and the cell phone launch. I’m not sure if the credit should go to Google or Team Epiphany, the unparceled agency who put on the event and other amazing ones I attended this year, but either way bravo.
Sally Hansen – As a mentioned before, its amazing when the stars align and I’m empowered to share a story or product I’ve been using for years. This can be true of Sally Hansen insta dry polish! They asked me to try the product and share my experience, not knowing it was something I had been using for 3 or 4 years and a staple in my handbag. Those projects are the easiest for me, because I’m so familiar with the brand and product, and usually you guys are too. Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 1.26.58 PM
Seventeen Magazine – I don’t read many magazines, mostly teen vogue, cosmo and seventeen. No, I’m not seventeen, but I like how the magazine is organized and the youthful vibe. I’ve been reading it since I was fifteen and have no intention of stopping anytime soon, maybe I’ll quit when I’m thirty? Anyways I had the honor of working with seventeen on three occasions this year and both were really exciting for me. The first was a VS pink collab on instagram. The second was a big full prom editorial complete with seven looks and a full day photoshoot. Although photoshoots like this are really fun, they’re really challenging for me because I have to give up control and thats not easy. Nevertheless the photos turned out fine and I loved working with the seventeen team. The second time I worked with them was a video shoot, which is also really scary to do when someone else is pulling the strings – but it turned out great and again I loved the content we created. Most importantly, they gave me a platform to talk about skin insecurities, something I still face and share my own acne story, so I really loved that. Now that they know how old I am (Spoiler Alert, I’m not 17) I’m not sure they’re hire me again but I hope they do. Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 1.20.11 PMScreen Shot 2018-01-02 at 1.22.51 PMScreen Shot 2018-01-02 at 1.20.31 PM
JetBlue – I’ve had some not so successful partnerships with airlines in the past, but this years collaboration with Jet Blue was quite the opposite. They sent me and my brother to Jamaica for a service trip with Jetblue customers turned contents winners. I was able to hep rebuild a community center for kids in need, and it was one of the most memorable projects of the year.
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SIX:02 – Once again, another brand that empowered me to create multiple pieces of content and had a good message tied to it! Here I was able to create 4 unique pieces of instagram content as well as a stop motion video that ended up being one of my favorite videos, top 5 at least!
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I also wanted to give honorable mentions to Chase who took me to the US open for the first time and I really LOVED working with and other must name brands like brands like YesTo, Disney, Soap and Glory, Pocky, DSW, Topshop, Nordstrom, Modcloth and Chobani who I have continued to love working with. Our partnerships are usually simple and straight forward, but that doesn’t mean they’re not special.
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Not all partnerships are created equal. Some don’t turn out the way I want them to, and in those cases I usually walk away, from the money, from everything because I would always rather take a loss than to put my brand in jeopardy. Thats probably a bad business man of me, and one of my blogger friends always gives me crap for it, but if I can’t stand by my brand I don’t know what I stand for.
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I did a bunch of stop motion videos this year which can be really successful or really not. With photos, a brand can ask you to reshoot something and that SUCKS especially if you loved the content, but its not the end of the world. When someone asks me to change or reshoot a stop motion video, its 100 times more work. Lets say each photo takes a total of 5 hours from concept development, to prep time to the actual shoot and editing, well a stop motion video takes about 30. Asking me to reshoot a stop motion video basically makes me break even, especially if I had top hire someone to help with it … and its really heart breaking if I LOVE the video. This happened twice, this year once with Limerita & again with Oreo.
I love working with food brands, but they’re a lot pickier than fashion ones which can be tough. I created a really cool video for Oreo, but they rejected it because they felt I used too many Oreos, and they only wanted me to feature 3 at a time (but like who eats only 3 Oreos?) anyways they needed me to reshoot it or crop out half the video. So I did, we reshot the video at 3 am one night making that my 3rd all nighter of the week, the worst part is I felt the first video was way better. Going into. reshoot sucks, because you feel like your original content that you loved somehow wasn’t good enough – and that kind of messes with you. To this day I hate the Oreo video we posted because I felt like I created something better that you didn’t get to see. After that, I vowed I wouldn’t be in this situation again and if I needed to I would just walk away instead of have that sour feeling I did when I posed that Oreo video. I’ll share the never before seen Oreo video tomorrow so stay tuned
Oh Limerita. So like I said I’m not a big drinker, but I get a lot of alcohol partnership opportunities. I probably say no to one a week, no lie, and I think I have only taken on one ever, and that was for Chandon. Alcohol usually has big budgets, but I just don’t really drink a lot so its not organic for me, I usually recommend a friend who’s a better fit and hope they can work things out. Anyways Limerita came to me last spring about a collab, I said no and passed it on to a friend who was a better fit. After that they asked 2 other times, “no thank you”, “no thank you”. Until they came to me in summer and asked for a stop motion video, I instantly had a great idea for how a fun video so I agreed. I was really busy and lets say the content was due by Wednesday EOD. I spent Wednesday creating the comet (4 instagram shots and 1 stop motion video) and ran around all day, so I was out of office, off email. Around noon that day they send me new requirements for the content, that I of course didn’t see until I went to send through the content I had worked so hard to create. Anyways they’re new details stated they needed really close up phots of the product with limited background “distractions” – so basically a very simple and colorful photo / video with just the limerita can. I said no, because this wasn’t what I agreed to and not content I was comfortable creating. We went back and forth a bit, I offered to replace two of my pieces of content with what they wanted if I could keep 3 of the pieces (including the video) I made. They said no, it was all or nothing, so I choose nothing and walked away from the thousands of dollars. It wasn’t worth it to me to compromise. The worst part about a collaboration falling apart like this is that it was one with a PR company in the middle – so the brand will never know my side of the story, they probably think I’m a flake when really I was trying to compromise. Oh well, maybe I’ll share the content anyways someday because it was pretty cute.
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I was lucky enough to partner with Old Navy this year, its a brand I’ve loved working with forever. They’ve been a big supporter of my stop motion videos, buying on average one a month for most of 2017. However in Q4 they stopped asking for videos and coincidentally they started creating their own “stop motion” like videos instead, which is their right to do but it kind of rubbed me the wrong way, especially because they didn’t give me any warning and I passed up on a really large collab that quarter with someone I felt was a “competitor”. A lot of my agreements don’t have competitor agreements, but I grant exclusivity anyways. For instance, if I do a watch partnership, you won’t see me wear another watch for probably 3 months, there are always exceptions but I like to spread things up to keep things fare to the brand and most importantly, my readers. I shouldn’t have assumed that they would have continued to do what they had been doing for the past 9 months and took the competitive agreement instead so I didn’t miss out, but I didn’t and thats on me. It just kind of sucks to feel like you were slighted by one brand you are trying to be loyal too and then missed out on another opportunity as well. Anyways, I wouldn’t call this a bad partnership, just a luke warm one. I would work with Old Navy again in a heartbeat if they asked, but might just adjust my expectations for something long term. To be fair I haven’t told them how upset I was, so they never were given the chance to rectify it. And all of my contact was through an outside agency, and the content creation of the gif like videos was done by Old Navy in house, so they probably didn’t ever see the connection of that when my videos stopped theirs began, it really could be just a coincidence.  In my real life relationships, I feel that if you have a problem you should say something, otherwise you got to swallow it and move on – and I didn’t take my same advice here, so I really have no right to complain. I still continue to buy and wear their pieces on my blog because they’re one of my favorite places to shop at, but when you feel like you’ve given your all to a brand and maybe didn’t get the same in return it can hurt. Maybe I’m being too sensitive, probably. But my business is personal, so I take things personally.
Last year (2016) I partnered with Fossil and created a video I LOVED based on an agreed upon story board and they hated it. They wanted me to reshoot it in an impossible 12 hour turn around a few days before Christmas, I pushed back and said no – take the video as is or wait till after Christmas. This isn’t work for them, so I walked away from the check. Luckily, I was able to find another awesome partner (Amazon, who I love working with) to purchase the video at a discounted rate and shared it anyways. This year, in early 2017 I got invited to a fossil dinner, most attendees were payed to attend, but not me – which is totally okay. Then I came face to face with the fossil team who I felt had burned me before, but played nice. Fossil promised that everyone in attendance would get sponsored content opportunities for 2017. I watched as every gal and guy at that dinner did a Fossil ad through this year and I was never asked, I followed up with the team a few times and they failed to respond to my emails. I’m not bitter that they didn’t want to work together, but just prefer honesty and transparency instead of false promises and unanswered emails.
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I have one other potentially problematic partnership I’m finalizing right now – In this case they came to me asking for a stop motion video. I made a mistake with my scheduling / travel plans so the post timeline changed on my end – my bad. In an effort to save the partnership I offered to do an extra post still instagram post for no additional charge. They agreed, I posted it on my channel (can you guess what post it is). After a lot fo back and forth they kept not approving my stop motion concept, after a few rounds I told them I was now unable to meet their new content deadline because we were still not aligned on a concept – this upset them and they decided to cancel the project… but decided they would not pay me for the content I originally created, the “free post”. I told them they could walk away if they wanted, but needed to pay me for the content I already created… they refused to respond. We’ll see if they end up doing the right thing but I’m doubtful, nevertheless I’ll wait to expose them until its resolved.
In 2017 year I was lucky enough to create over 200 sponsored pieces of content, some collaborations turned out better than others, but for the most part I really enjoyed all of the work I was able to do. For every collab, good bad or ugly I learned something – how to protect myself better or be a better partner. In business you won’t like everyone you work with, and this can be tough for a personal brand like mine because my face is always tied to it. A marketing agent or PR person can hide behind their company, but I’m expected to fight for myself, represent myself, promote myself and do it with a smile on my face – I can do It, I’m not complaining but I think its sometimes helpful for new bloggers and brands to see both sides of it. For me, it’s not just business, it is personal, because I am my brand – thats why I am so stern on the content I produce, thats why I fight so hard for my brand and thats why I take it so hard when a collaboration doesn’t work out.
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Thanks again for following along in 2017 – sponsored content is only something I am able to participate in because of you and your support so I am extremely appreciative.
Oh and if you missed it, be sure to read all about last year here.

Bye 2017 – Highs and lows from last year

2nd January 2018

IMG_0584BYE 2017!

It’s a new year, can you believe it? Well before we leave 2017 in the dust I wanted to recap some of the major moments and things that went down.
Looking back on year can be kind of overwhelming, I’m always pretty grateful for instagram and this blog because it has helped me catalog some of the highlights without even knowing it. If you missed any milestone, you can find them recapped for you here along with the highs and lows – so let’s dive in.
So here it is, my year in a nutshell, to start lets talk about what went well.
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We’re Engaged!!!
SO probably the biggest thing that happened in 2017 is Paris and I got engaged, yay! I still owe you guys a little more info about it, but for the most part we’re going to keep it kind of private. I share so much of my life and in turn his life too, it’s not really something he signed up for – he’s just been supportive and helpful along the way, but when I have a chance to keep things just between us I like to take it for his and my sake too.
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A Family Business
I felt like this was a really great year for me family wise. My mom recently started working for the airline (well in 2016) but this year she made my brother her flight companion so he was able to fly for free all through 2017. After I lost my ColorMeEmployee (more on that below) my family really stepped up helping me when they could. My younger brother owns his own business and has a lot more free time than the average 20 something year old, so on multiple occasions (maybe 4?) he came out to NYC to help me with work. Paris’s work schedule was bananas this year (more on that below) so there were times when I found myself so overwhelmed and behind, in those cases my brother or mom would come out for a few days and help me. They would do everything from unboxing to filming stop motion videos, and helped me through some tough times. My mom also saw I was overwhelmed managing some of then back end business of Color Me Courtney (like finances) so she helped me out a bit there and really kept me organized. When things get crazy with me work wise, I always drop the ball on the dollar signs, which is not what I should do – my mom stepped in to look back at all the companies who stiffed me on work and was able to find about 75 thousand dollars in outstanding payables for work I had already completed. She tracked down those business and made them pay me what was due, without her I think I never would have seen that money.
Things got really fun when my mother, brother and I went on a family trip. No significant others, just the three of us on a Disney cruise for days!!!! It was really fun and I felt like a kid again. I think my brother hated me by the end of it, but it was fun to have those memories together. My relationship with my dad also improved, him and Paris became closer than ever and that was really important to me. My dad is kind of intimidating, would always squeeze the hands on my guy friends to kind of show them who’s boss growing up, but Paris never really stepped down. This year when we would go to dinner when he was in town, Paris and him would talk about business, sports and other guy things but on a almost friendship level. My dad and I got to spend some personal time together in London which was amazing for me because I don’t see him as much as I would like (if you think I’m a workaholic you should meet my dad, he works harder than me and rarely sleeps … wonder where I get it). Finally,my mom, dad, brother, Paris, grandma, waffles and my brothers girlfriend all got to spend time together in a cabin in Colorado for Christmas, which was like a cherry on top for me on 2017.
Stop Motion Magic
At the end of 2015, I created a magic stop motion video with the help of my high school friend turned videographer Rique. You guys loved it, so throughout 2016 we made it a part of my business, creating videos whenever a client wanted them or we had time to do so. At the end of 2016, Rique moved away from New York and I wasn’t sure I would be able to film them without her behind the camera, especially with the his and hers ones starring Paris – but we figured it out. My friends and family stepped up and helped film them, but most importantly PARIS came through and really commited himself to these projects. What you may not know is that although these videos rely on major planning (done by me) intense choreography (also me) and actual performance while shooting (me again), so much of them also rely on the person behind the camera and their ability to line things up and capture every movement. I’ve never had to do this, but I can’t imagine it’s easy and my brother, friend Kristin, mom and Paris all stepped up to the plate on this in 2017. I’m not sure I would have been able to do the same. About half way through the year I decided I wanted to publish one video weekly (I know crazy right) so that meant once a week we were filming these videos and often turning them around in 24 hours or less. They became a even bigger part of my business that I’m really proud of, but I wouldn’t have been able to execute them without the help of Rique, My brother, My mom, Lex (Lexicon of Style), Kristin and especially Paris. They all helped on at least one occasion and really allowed me to bring these magic videos to life.
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Friendships
I’ve always been very reluctant to form blogger friendships, to be honest I just don’t trust most of them. I’ve watched girls that I’ve been friends with for years and had what I thought were “real offline relationships” straight up steal my content ideas, without consulting me on more than one occasion. I’ve listened to girls talk bad behind others back and had so many judge me for not fitting into the standard “fashion blogger” scene – I can’t tell you how many pretend to forget who I am even though I’ve met them 10-15 times. It’s fine, I’m not the average fashion blogger, I actually don’t even consider myself one anymore, I claim to be a colorful content creator, so judge me, I don’t care. Anyways, this year I let my guard down a bit and formed a few new friendships and took some of my older ones to the next level. Olivia of Olivia Jeanette used to say “We’re not blog friends, we’re real friends” and now I can say the same is true for so many of my “blog” friends. Specifically Lex of Lexicon of Style and I have really took our friendship to the next level because we started to create content together and that was SO FUN! We were able to collaborate on each others projects, share ideas and improve each others business. Most of my blog friends have their husbands or boyfriends working for them, so they’re less likely to want to get together and shoot – but since Lex and I pretty much ride solo we are able to meet up sometimes daily and shoot each other, and it’s really great!
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It’s now gotten to a point that I really only have “blog” friends in NYC, so next year I’m going to focus on making more meaningful friendships outside of the bloggerpshere too. Making friends as an adult can be really tough, especially in a city like New York so far from where you grew up. In 2016 and 17 I really focused on cutting out some of the toxic people in my life or friendships I’ve outgrown, Paris made fun of me for being kind of ruthless about it and maybe I am, but I’m busy and I have spent all of my life putting my friends first, even when the relationship was really one sided. I’m not great at much, but I’m a really good friend. I’ll do anything for even some of my newest friendships, but usually get slighted in return – so I cut those people out (byeeee) it was tough, but was the right thing to do. Now I can say I have probably 5 really good, authentic friendships with people who would do anything for me, who I trust whole heartedly and who I wouldn’t trade for anything. Looking to form a few more of those connections in 2018.
My Best Friends Wedding 
Speaking of friendships, my bestie Sheree got married. Sheree and I have been friends since high school, and had two major fallouts in our friendships which in hindsight were possibly due to the meddling of a now former friend of mine. Since then, we’ve been closer than ever. Sheree also lived in NYC for a few years but moved away last year (tear) which was really hard for me. Some of my favorite memories in NYC were surrounded around Sheree and I still miss her so much in the city because it’s not the same without her. Her and Paris are really good friends even without me, so thats kind of cool that we can all hang out as friends and its not like a third wheel thing. I can’t tell you how much I miss having her here, I would do anything to have her back in the city. Anyways, despite my selfishness surrounding her move, she relocated to be with the love of her life who she married this Spring. I’ve never been a maid of honor (legit my dream in life but ITS FINE) but I did get to plan so much of Sheree’s wedding and bachelorette nonsense so I was a happy camper. I got to plan her bachelorette party in the spring and help with a lot of wedding craziness on the big day. It was kind of weird for me, because it was with a group of girls who I went to high school with but don’t have a relationship now. Also 80% of the wedding party excluding me had been in a wedding together the year before so they were all so close and I was just like kind of left out like heyyyyyy. But it didn’t really matter, I was there for Sheree and really happy I could be a part of her big day.
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Waffles
As some of you know, my French bulldog Waffles was paralyzed in 2016 due to a genetic spine disease. He had to go through surgery and weekly therapy, lost the use of his legs and control of his bladder. It was really tough at the time, but my spring 2017 we hand things under control. Now we have a pretty good routine, and although he still can’t walk on 4 legs he gets around well on two and is both happy and healthy. I’m really thankful we’ve been able to make this work and love our unconventional family.
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My Business
In 2017 my business boomed! Collabs, partnerships and earnings grew about 50% which is kind of crazy. I never expected to earn or do as much as I did this year. I’ve always been self managed, and pretty much a one man band at Color Me Courtney. Paris’ obviously helps a lot behind the camera and sometimes with creative ideas too, but I run the business mostly on my own. I expanded a lot f my business in early 2017 and took on employee to help, but when that didn’t work out I found myself with double the work load and half then hands. I’m lucky enough that I can turn down a lot of collaborations that don’t align with my brand, but even after turning down over 80% of the collaborations that came my way I found myself drowning. I was missing or cutting deadlines crazy close, pulling frequent all-nighters and never having a day off. I’m not complaining, I love working at Color Me Courtney and would do anything for my business but it took a lot out of me and I felt like I was always behind, always playing catch up and always apologizing for it. Overall, I just grew so much so fast and I wasn’t expecting it – its a good problem to have but left me a little overwhelmed. I’m hoping to have things a little more together in 2018 and will probably even take on less Color Me Courtney projects, because I have a few other things up my sleeve.
So yes, those were some of the things that really went my way in 2017, but success is kind of boring – so lets talk about the fails!
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Color Me Loft
The year started when Paris and I moved into a Loft which I was really excited and optimistic about – but we’ve been less than successful getting it organized and livable. We kind of underestimated the work it would take to create a work / living space that worked for us as a couple and my business. After about a year of trial and error, I am not looking into renting a separate studio space because I’ve kind of out grown our live in home studio. We’re still working out the kinks in our place, but once we do I promise we’ll do a major home tour for you, it’s been on the list.
Color Me Employee
I also started the year by hiring my high school best friend as my employee, I really needed someone I could spend time with, trust and create content with. For the most part, it went really well. Actually thinking back to it, having her here and working with me was probably some of the highlights of my blog career – it was cool to have created something that grew to a size big enough that I could hire the people closest to me to share it with. She was the perfect fit for what I needed, fun to be around and a hard worker. Sadly a few months in she decided to return to her old job of being Minnie Mouse on a cruise ship. I probably should have known she was going to do this even though she had said she was done with that chapter, but I think I wanted to believe she would stay. This was tough because I felt like we had finally gotten to a good place and was relying on her for a lot. When she left, I got kind of jaded. I interviewed a few people but was only willing to hire someone who would commit to staying on for a year because I didn’t want to go through that again. Also my expectations we’re too high, because I couldn’t meet anyone who would fill the shoes of my best friend. It messed me up for a while, and has still kind of prevented me from hiring anyone else because now I have major trust issues about it – In a perfect world, I would hire Paris’s sister who’s a PR wizard in LA and one of my favorite people – but I really need someone here in NYC. I’ve made other arrangements for 2018 instead of hiring someone under me I’lll be exploring a different route and can’t wait to tell you all about it.
Work Life Balance, or lack there of
I worked a lot in 2017 and so did P. He’s one of two on a PR team at his company, and the other member was out most of the year on pregency and maternity leave. On average, the was gone one weekend a month (sometimes more) on work trips. Most days he worked from 8-930 shooting me, 10-7 (it was usually more like 9) at his job and often came home again working late until the night. Where I pulled about 3 all nighters a week, he pulled about 1 as well. We would shoot all weekend (both Saturday and Sunday) and then usually spend the evenings on our laptops working more. Looking back I’m not sure how he did it, because he never had a day off. I mean I didn’t either, but once again Color Me Courtney is a choice I made that I am super tied to, he didn’t ask for this he just fell in love with me and the blog comes along with it. Luckily he’s the most supportive person ever and never complains, but the amount of work we did definitely put a strain on our relationship. We had less date nights, less time together and almost no “work free” days. All of our vacations were blog related and it was hard for us to find time just the two of us. Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt us as a couple. We fought less this year, and didn’t really take the stress out on each other – which I think are all signs of our relationship maturing. We fought the most when Paris would force me to come to bed after being awake for 50 hours straight, when I wanted to keep working – I actually can’t think of many fights that didn’t start out that way, so he was really just trying to take care of me. Truthfully, we were both overworked and overwhelmed and some how came out the other end of it okay. I’m making some major changes in the coming year so we can hopefully get back on track with a better work / life balance and be able to spend more time together that doesn’t include him being behind the camera.
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In 2017 I really worked to expand my content creation, moving into youtube, weekly stop motion videos and more. Most days I created 3-4 unique pieces of content for instagram alone, not to mention weekly instagram lives and unique story content. I became focused on showing you guys a lot of what goes on behind the scenes even when its not so cute all in an effort to keep it real. As I mentioned before, I’m only one person so my daily blog posts on colormecourtney.com became 1-2 weekly posts, and the unique content I used to create for twitter, facebook and Pinterest ceased to exist. Most bloggers I know don’t actually blog, they have people working for them that write their blog content – so me as a one man band had no chance of getting it all done. I don’t think you can do it all, so I focused on those other channels and thats okay, but I do have a lot to say outside of instagram so I want to get back into daily post on the blog where I write more.
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2017, like 2016 was one of those years where I think a lot of people were kind of over it. It just feels like its been one bad thing after another from hurricanes to shootings and other crazy things in-between. I feel like I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even want to read/listen to the news daily because there’s always something new and dark going on. If you felt like this, I want you to know you’re not alone – and despite the positivity I like to push here at Color Me Courtney, I have down days too. All we can do is keep going, find happiness in the things we do control and surround ourselves with sources of hope and positivity. I hope Color Me Courtney was one of those light sources for you last year and can continue to be in 2018 no matter how dark things get. You always have an internet friend in me, and I’m just one click a way.
Thanks again for following along and for all the magic you bring to me on a daily basis. I’m forever grateful.
Tune in tomorrow as I share my favorite projects of the year and write my brand burn book (ooooohhh juicy) including sharing the best and worst brands I worked with this year. It will be spicy, you won’t want to miss it! 😉
Thanks again!

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Shop some of these looks:

Christmas Mornings with Keurig®

20th December 2017

IMG_8598In this post, I am compensated by Keurig® for sharing my view; all opinions remain 100% my own. Happy holidays to everyone!

How’s your holiday shopping going? Have you been checking things off the list?! Hope so!

Today we’re sharing another great gift for pretty much anyone on your list, and our Christmas morning traditions at our house.

If your home doesn’t have a Keurig® coffee maker yet, get on it! It’s the best (and in my opinion only) way to brew your coffee at home! In our house, we use the Keurig K-Select™ coffee maker which is perfect for coffee lovers that enjoy a bold brew. It’s also what I’m gifting my mom this year so she can finally get on Team Keurig.IMG_8601

In our house we open presents on Christmas Eve. As kids, we would stay up playing with gifts and then go to bed and wake up to see what Santa brought. The adults would sip on coffee, and we would devour hot cocoa and cinnamon rolls. As we’ve gotten older, the gift exchanging still happened in the evening, and mornings became more about coffee and conversation. Having a Keurig® coffee maker in the house for moments like these is great, because everyone can have their own custom brew just the way they like it. They also make great gifts! Here are a few ways you can gift a Keurig® coffee maker this year.IMG_7906

For Mom:

My mom likes to keep things simple and she loves black & white everything. So this year I bought her something for one of her vintage collections & I’m gifting her the Keurig® K-Select™ coffee maker. This gift is just under $100 so  it’s a great price point for mom.  If you’re sneaky, wake up early Christmas morning and plant the coffee maker in the kitchen with a big red bow! You’ll save time on gift wrap and it will be the perfect Christmas morning surprise for mom!

For your BFF:

I’m always trying to introduce more color to my friends’ worlds so the Keurig® K-Select™ coffee maker in this pretty vintage red hue makes the perfect gift! I love The Original Donut Shop® Holiday Buzz and Peppermint Bark coffee K-Cup® Pods. You could also bring over a box of donuts for your bestie to include in the gift and share over a cup of coffee!

For the Coffee Snob:

For your coffee obsessed friend or family member give the Keurig®  K-Select™ coffee experience bundle! This will allow them to try out 40 different pods and 3 Keurig® accessories! Then go out and get some cute coffee-obsessed accessories like cute mugs or a “no talkie before coffee” sleep tee to include in your gift. 

For the Entertainer:

I love cute and colorful coffee cup sets, I have them in my kitchen and they make the perfect gift for someone who loves to entertain. If you have that one person in your world who is always throwing a party, give the Keurig® K-Select™ coffee experience bundle and pair it with one of these sets, it will make a great addition to an already amazing gift. IMG_8602

OH and what if you’re gifting to someone who already owns a Keurig® coffee maker? Well just purchase a few of their favorite K-Cup® pods as well as some new ones to try, pair them with some cute mugs or cozy accessories and you have a great and thoughtful gift that they’ll actually use! The great part about giving a Keurig® brewer is you will never have to think about gifting again, you can always go back and give more K-Cup® pods for future Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, hostess, birthday or Christmas gifts! Plus it’s a gift that the whole family can enjoy and be thankful for!Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 11.06.02 AMIMG_8603

SHOP!

What do you guys do on Christmas morning? Leave a comment and let me know!

Gifting with a Twist

15th December 2017

IMG_7568 2Gifting gifting gifting – it’s what’s on everyone’s mind, including mine.

A fun-ish fact about me is I’m not really into receiving (I have enough stuff) but I LOVE giving, especially when I can do something unexpected to make a gift reaalllly good, which has sort of become a tradition for me.

Last year, my brother said, “I don’t want anything for Christmas, just socks and underwear ….” So, I bought him 365 pairs of socks and underwear, one for each day of 2017! It’s something simple and unexpected like that that can really take a gift from good to great!

Today I’m sharing three awesome gift group ideas all with goodies from Cath Kidston, also talking about WHY they make such great gifts, here we go!Snapseed Snapseed-2 FullSizeRender-3

Push someone outside of the (gift) box!
I love gifts that challenge someone, like giving your most fashionable friend a color she doesn’t normally wear, or your less fashionable sister something that will require her to step up her style game! This first gift set will push your girl outside of her comfort zone and help her try something new in the style department!

If you have a bestie who loves polka dots, give her a gift set of pieces that can be worn together or apart like this one below, it’s a sure-fire way to get her excited about trying something new!

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Turn your gift into an experience!
Go old school and include an “IOU” coupon with your gift! Give her pajamas, fuzzy socks & a mug + an IOU for a cozy movie marathon. Or a cute backpack & scarf combo and the promise to go ice skating in January. If you decide to give a wallet or a purse, print up a cute coupon and slide it inside, you can even give her a clause and say she can’t wear her new goodies until you guys make good on your new plans!

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Make her a print pro
Patterns can be scary. If you have that friend/sister who doesn’t love anything printed, ease her in with one go-to pattern! Cath Kidston makes the cutest Button Spot and floral designs, which are easy starter prints, so create a super matchy-matchy gift set with solid pieces & a few patterned players to really introduce her to how fun (and quirky) patterns can be.Screen Shot 2017-12-12 at 6.42.12 AM

If you’re looking for something vintage, girly, modern, fun, classic, whimsical or anything in between – you can find it all at Cath Kidston! The best part? Given the brand is based in London, it will give your gift a “one of a kind” feel and make it extra special with a modern vintage twist!

Shop the look:


Coat || Sweatshirt || Flats || Jeans
Shop what you see:
Velvet Flats || Glitter Bauble || Glitter Bauble
Velvet Backpack || Twinkle Jumper

Photos taken at Bryant Park Winter Village
Thanks to Cath Kidston for sponsoring this post!

Health History

15th December 2017

IMG_7503IMG_7504 Let’s talk about all my health issues, sounds fun right lol?

I’m a pretty positive person. I like to keep things happy and smiley, because it usually makes things better for everyone around 🙂 But just because my outfits are candy colored, doesn’t mean I’m all sunshine and rainbows, I have my dark days too … but hey thats okay!

Today I wanted to take a kind of serious turn from the holiday spirit a talk a little bit about health (or lack there of sometimes) and how it can affect me during this time of year in partnership with Oscar – so here we go!

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The Laundry List

So lets do this! Here are some of the struggles I face now or have faced in the past and how I deal. I have so many it always feels like Im lying when I list them out this way lol but don’t laugh guys, you know I wouldn’t lie to you … well maybe someday, lik about my age but hey that’s where I draw the line, and we’re not even there yet!

Currently – Here are the things I’m facing today, yesterday and probably tomorrow too!

Mini Migraines – My mom and Paris both are big time migraine sufferers (our poor future children) so I’ve been around them for as long as I can remember. As a child I have memories my mom laying in her bed for what felt like days (it was probably 3 hours, I’m so clingy) with all the lights off just in pain. I’ve also seen Paris be out for days in highschool because of one, and don’t feel like what my doctor has diagnosed as migraines compare to theirs. Mine are usually in one spot and they sting, like I’m being stung by a bee in my brain, sounds like a blast hu? After about a year of doctors & specialists and my paranoia that I probably had a brain tumor (or 3) the docs decided I had migraines. They occur when I’m stressed, when I don’t eat and when I don’t get enough rest, so needless to say they’ve been hot and heavy since October. Eating, sleeping and calming down are the best ways to get rid of them …. oh and working out helps a lot too. I don’t always have the luxury of time to make all (okay any) of those happen. I’ve been prescribed the hardcore meds by doctors, but I’m really sensitive to medication in general  – half a children’s Benadryl will knock me out for 30 hours – but my pup waffles weighing in at 25 pounds takes two on a plane and is awake in an hour LIKE HOW … PS don’t drug your dog without consulting their doctor. Anyways, because of my drug issues, I stick to Excedrin. I’ve found the liquid capsules work loads faster and can really be a life saver. Occasionally I’ll get sensitivity to light and sound and take after my mom & shut everything off, but usually I just fight through, really compare to what my mom and P gets I think I’m super lucky.

CrossEyed – If you have constant head aches and are unable to find relief try your eye doctor, this was a big factor for me when I first started getting headaches. After that year hopping from specialist to specialist I described above, we decided to try the eye doctor. They were able to determine that I’m near sided in one eye, far sided in the other and my eye axis is off, meaning my eyes naturally cross and my brain corrects them to be straight on, so like no wonder my head always aches. This can only be corrected by glasses that I don’t always wear, but when I do I feel a ton better.

The great tailbone tragedy of 2017 – So this year I had a really epic roller-skating accident resulting in a bruised tailbone but maybe more … and lucky you, you can see it all on youtube!!! It happened in August and its still pretty painful, I just think thats tied to my fibro.

Fibro lyfe – As some of you know because I have shared before, I have Fibromyalgia. I’ll talk about it more later because that’s the biggest issue I face on the reg. IMG_4311IMG_4302

….

Once upon A Time here are some of my health issues that little baby/teen/last year Courtney had to deal with but aren’t big issues for me anymore.

My Tumor – First lets talk about my high school BFF, you know just your average a lemon sized tumor that had to have removed from my breast at 16, sounds fun right? So yeah when I was 16ish we found a tumor in my breast, it was benign (aka no cancer, yay) so it wasn’t that big of a deal but they decided to remove it. This was the first and only time I’ve had surgery, I remember going to Tucson to do it because they had the best plastic surgeon. Not to get too graphic but they had to cut along the nipple, about half of it in order to getting there and get my little lemon sized babe out. After surgery my mom got me my favorite ranch fries that you can only get in Tucson, and I rested up for a few days watching TV and paying video games.

Be Aggressive – One of my favorite cheer injuries was my first cheer injury that happened in 7th grade.  Awh middle school, the good ole days of head gear and Osiris skater shoes (did anyone else have those or just me). I was bowling with some friends, coincidently it was the day after I got my period for the first time (tmi?) and I was wearing these denim shorts from pac sun with a little tight coming out of the pocket, sassayyyy! Anyways, I’ve always had chubby short little sausage fingers, but I wanted to use the smaller balls with smaller holes (not my brightest idea) because they are lighter I picked up that 8 pounder, stuffed my sausages in side and let her rip… The ball went, and my hand with it, completely hyper exiting three of my fingers inside two weeks before our first (and only) cheer competition. So I had THREE yep three finger casts on my middle three fingers all taped together, but cheered anyways. Picture little brace face me having to clap and hit a high V with those 3 taped fingers, needless to say I was instantly the most popular girl in school because after that week’s assembly, everyone was talking about me! Oh and if you didn’t catch that, yeah I had headgear, its okay to be jealous. To this day, I don’t put my fingers in the holes.

Be Be Aggressive – Sophmore year of high school I was practicing for cheer tryouts in my tile bathroom (for the mirror) while wearing socks. I slipped, hit my ribs on the tile counter and fell on the floor. My brother found me 15 min later and laughed before helping me up, because that’s what brothers are for! I completed try outs anyways with a cute and not necessary ace bandage and bruised ribs. I made JV where I ended up being a flyer (aka the girl in the air)…. which turned out great and I never ever got hurt, JK read on.

Too aggressive – Throughout my high school cheer career, I suffered two possible concussions (there was this really great year where we had no good flyers so I got to make a fool of myself in the air, living the dream guys). In my four years, I got hit in the head with the basketball 5 times, mostly during games because I was having my own personal dance party, and often by the female basketball players who did not like us, especially me. But the injury that’s lasted me the longest was brought on by Miss Britney Fallabella, during cheer camp. Cheer camp is a real thing guys, so are spirit sticks and something called the TOP BANANA that you will do ANYTHING to get while there. Anyways at Cheer camp, Britney was my flyer and set to do a back handspring into my arms before i lifted her in the air. Well we we’re lined up right and her back handspring went a little side ways – she kicked me in the eye and BAM there went my peripheral vision. To this day I don’t have it, and over time I started to loose it in the other eye too – I guess to make it even? It’s on my right side mainly, so when I would drive my brother in high school he would do crazy dance moves or make faces at me, and I had no idea – hilarious. As my hair has gotten bigger and more full of secrets, the blind spot has increased so if you sneak up aside me, don’t be alarmed when I try to attack you – I mean I am a slightly blind black belt so a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. It’s also important to note I HATED cheer camp, they cheered for everything for no reason, I was allergic to everything and it fell on my birthday every year, including this one.

I’ve also been diagnosed with costochondritis (an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the sternum that might mimic that of a heart attack or other heart conditions), Carpal tunnel (syndrome that causes numbness, tingling and other symptoms in the hand and arm, its caused compressed nerve in the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist) and shin splints (pain along the shin bone/tibia common in runners, dancers and military recruits) – but after my fibro diagnosis I’ve always wondered if these were just different phases of fibro coming through

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Fibromyalgia

What is it – According to the Mayo Clinic “Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.”

What it is like for me – The best way I can describe fibro is termite shin splits in your arms, legs, ribs, cheek bones, hip bones, back bones, neck bones, eye sockets, fingers, toes and sternum. To me it feels like there are termites eating / dancing and having a party between my bones and muscles. Its the most specific feeling I’ve ever had. When I first started showing signs as a teen (which is really young for this) I would tell my mom my bones hurt my bones hurt, the doctors never believed me usually because I have such a laundry list of issues most think I’m a hypochondriac, but I actually have an extremely high pain tolerance, so my mom knew if I was complaining there was a reason.

When is it the worse – There are a variety of things that make my fibro worse, like: lack of sleep, poor eating habits, unhealthy eating habits, gluten, stress, being unhealthy physically, cold weather, shoes and more. Flats are really bad for me, thats why you’ll rarely see me in a ballet flat, usually heels feel better than even most sneakers for me.

More triggers – My pain is also tied to the weather (the winter is 100 times worse than any other month). I am also Karen from mean girls and can tell a day in advance if its going to rain, no lie. Rain or snow means 3 bad days or more, instantly. I’ll often wear tight compression socks and boots which helps me feel a bit better or makes me loose feeling. Traveling is another biggie, overtime I’m on a plane I’m in so much pain

So what helps – Aside from diet (see below) working out is your best bet. You know how an object in motion stays in motion? well its so true. Walking on a treadmill for 30 min a day makes me feel crappy that day, and the next and the next but by day four I’ll fell better, especially if I keep it up on day 2 & 3 too. Like I said above compression socks especially with copper help, and my heating pad is my buff. I use it every night, and every trip but make sure you get one that turns off automatically. Pain meds of any kind don’t help. I’ve been prescribed muscle relaxers but I can’t take them without being out for about 40 hours, and thats based on 1/4 of a dose. I also don’t like taking drugs in general because they all really mess me up, so I just fight through.

BYE GLUTIN – It got really bad for me when I moved to Cali, so thats when I started making changes. I was living alone then, and the first year in NYC so I was gluten free (I have a medium gluten (the doctors say high-extreme but I don’t believe them). I’m one of those who believes everyone has this allergy, but can develop a tolerance, and my carbaloding lifestyle has done me well. When I eat pasta or something high in gluten, my stomach will swell out and be rock hard. I look 6 months pregnant with Edward Cullen’s vamp child, it’s pretty cute. The best part is I have good oblique muscles, and those still show so I just have this awkward ripped oblique and a giant prego rock belly. Always, when I was living alone I cut out gluten and it changed my life, made me feel tons better – right now I travel so much and live with Paris who has no interest in being gluten free. After last year (my worst year yet where I spent a month in bed, my birthday month woo) I was up for trying to get back on the GF train but I’ve yet to punch my return ticket.

Average Day – My average day is like a 5 on my pain scale, I hurt from fibro every single day in my arms and legs. I can’t really remember a day where my arms and legs didn’t hurt, I know I used to run, play soccer and dance but I can’t now – I can’t “bounce” for more than 5 min without my sternum pain flaring up and that fibro pain is some of the worst, oh and when that happens if I breathe too hard it will pop and crack like if you were popping your back, its like a stinging ray of pain that I can’t describe and have even passed out from.

On My Bad days – You usually won’t really hear from me. If I disappear off the face of the earth and don’t insta story or respond to emails, I’m having a high pain day. Here I’ll feel it in 5 or more places at once, in the past year I started feeling it in my face and back more which is really painful. Overall, you feel hopeless, like you can’t get out a bed and even breathing is excruciating. I know I sound dramatic, but being in an endless cycle of pain is crippling. I usually can’t sleep because I’m in too much pain, and I’ll literally fantasize about cutting off my limbs to stop the pain. I know, it sounds crazy, but I’ll think of all the ways I would remove my arms. Pressure helps so I’ll ask Paris to squeeze / hold my arms for 15 min periods to get a bit of relief, or hold my arms / legs above my head until they go numb (usually takes 30 min) for a bit of relief. I’m not going to lie, it sucks. And last year, I had one of those days weekly, where I couldn’t do a thing, I laid there imagining life without limbs for hours and stayed up night after night in pain. This year the amount of days are about the same, but I just do my best to push through – mostly because I have to.I can’t afford to lie in pain one day a week, I have to get on email or at least the phone with a client. I just do it, because I have to. Waffles and his paralysis has helped a lot, because he depends on me now. So if I don’t get up he can’t go to the bathroom, so I have to get my life together. On multiple “bad day” occasions I’ve crawled to him to help because I literally couldn’t walk, but at least I got up.

Sing, dance, be merry – Honestly when I’m stressed, tired, in pain I’ll sing. Sometimes it feels like the WORST thing you could do, but it usually helps. It’s hard to be sad when you sing, and hey if you’re sad and you want to be sad get in the shower put on something sappy and cry sing – its really therapeutic. I’ll force myself to smile or dance a little, it will help take my mind off the pain and pull me through. You know how in the morning you feel like you can’t wake up, but then you do because you’re going to be late to work and get fired? Its kind of the same thing, you feel like you can’t … but you do so you can, because the only thing you can’t do is stop trying…. oh my super cheesy brother is probably loving this blog post lol.

Order up – So there are meds for Fibro, you’ve probably seen the commercials – I’ve tried most of them but the side effects are too big and meds just don’t work for me. I also just don’t like drugs or alcohol really because I think I have an addictive personality, so I’ve always stayed clear of putting anything drug-related (aside from a few over the counter options) in my body, as a personal choice.

Are you covered? – Health care (or lack there of) plays a roll in all of our lives and things happen that you never planned, so its so important to get covered. I’m thankful for my coverage everyday, but as a self employed business owner when I left Coach I really didn’t want to get covered. It’s pricey and the process is overwhelming to do alone if you’ve only been with an employer or parent’s plan. If you’re looking for new coverage or just trying to understand this scary process, Oscar can help. They’ve created resources that help break down the complex health terminology to make health plans and getting covered easier to understand. Head to howtogetcovered.com for more information and to get started. I also wish I covered Waffles early on, it would have saved me close to 50 grand over the past two years.

So before I go, I wanted to end by saying how important you guys are to my health. Truthfully having a blog helps me fight every day because I have to put my best foot forward for all of you! If I told you I was in pain everyday, that would just bring everyone down. So I put on a good face and push through, I try not to think about it and I do what I can to keep it under control. Really having a positive outlook on it has been the best way I’ve healed and managed it. I don’t want to complain to Paris every night or have him always wake up to hear me crying from pain, so I don’t. I don’t want all the convos with my mom to be about my pain level, so they’re not and I don’t want every blog post to be about fibro. This has taken enough of my time, energy and health, I won’t let it run my life. It’s a part of me, but not who I am.

I think if anyone with a disease can remember that it will do them a lot of good. In any case you’re much more than your diagnosis, so treat yourself like you are.22051202_1486849581392614_7380973440591955142_ogetcoveredin2018

Please know I am not a doctor or a medical professional, I’m just sharing my experience with you. Please consult a medical professional before making any changes or conclusions.7516807696_IMG_3823IMG_7502

Big thanks to Oscar for empowering me to share my stor

Let’s get ugly

14th December 2017

Let’s get ugly?!


This christmas ugly is the new black? or red? or whatever you would normally wear … oh gosh, you get it!

I’m always trying to convince Paris to sweater TWIN with me and today is the lucky day! We’re all dressed up in the cutest ugly sweaters found at Amazon Fashion! I shop almost exclusively at amazon for everything from shoes to party dresses and now UGLY SWEATERS. I love Amazon because of their fast and usually free shipping, plus they have an amazing selection.

SHOP THE LOOKS:


SHOP THE LOOKS:
Blizzard Bay Women’s L/s Crew Neck Tinsel Tree Tunic, Christmas Red
Ugly Christmas Sweater Men’s Tangled Lights Reindeer, White Heather, Medium
Disney Women’s Santa Mickey Christmas Sweater, Green, S
Disney Men’s Mickey Sweater RD Sweater, Red, Medium
Hybrid Apparel Women’s Happy Velcro Holiday Sweater, n, M
Ugly Christmas Sweater Men’s Ginger Vest, Emerald, Small
Blizzard Bay Women’s L/s Nutcracker Tunic, Red, M
Blizzard Bay Men’s T-Rex Party Crew Neck Ugly Xmas, Green Combo, LBlizzard Bay Men’s Three Clever Girls Ugly Christmas Sweater, Red/Green, X-LargeBlizzard Bay Women’s L/s Marilyn Neck Ms. Claus Dress, Christmas Red, MUgly Christmas Sweater Men’s Santa Vest, Cayenne, Medium