London Packing List

I'm off to London tonight for a week! I'm visiting my brother who lives there and I also have a few meetings and a shoot planned. I always start thinking about what I'm going to pack wayyy too early (cue the stickies on Mac with lists that get refined as the trip gets closer). I thought I would share with you what I decided to pack (personally, I think it would be way easier if I just followed someone else's list). This is perfect for a place thats cool (but not snowing) and a 7 day trip. In addition to the following I included this turtleneck and these jeans from yesterday's post, a few blouses for at night (like this one and this one), toiletries, makeup, hair brush and curling iron, electronics (and converter) and my carry on with all my goodies for the plane. 

1. Sweatpants // 2. Booties // 3. Dark jeans // 4. Purse // 5. Pajamas // 6. Camera // 7. Second pajama set // 8. Choker // 9. Black sweater // 10. White tee // 11. Leather jacket // 12. Grey sweater // 13. Boyfriend jeans // 14. Sparkly sneakers // 15. Puffer // 16. Pumps // 17. Black tee // 18. Grey tee // 19. Sunglasses // 20. White sneakers // 21. Black jeans

Two Pieces You Need For Winter

This look is definitely coming with me on my trip. Any guesses where I'm going? I asked on Insta and no one guessed it. LONDON! So excited! I leave on Friday for a week. Tonight I'm finally going to pack and tomorrow I will share with you my packing list.

It's always exciting getting to style two of my favorite pieces in the same look. Let's start with this turtleneck. You've probably seen it on your Insta feed before. When I saw it I knew I had to have it. Firstly, it looked beyond cozy. Secondly, I love styling a heavy white knit in winter. Here I decided to go for a daytime look. I paired it with boyfriend jeans and nude heels, but you could easily wear it with white sneakers (like this pair).

The jeans are my absolute favorite. It's so hard to find a flattering pair of boyfriend jeans. Not only do these look good, they are so comfortable. If you watch my Instagram stories you've definitely seen me wearing them every weekend (schlepping Ray to Home Goods, Ikea...oh boy). I usually pair them with a simple t-shirt, tucked in, and sneakers (like this pair) or gucci loafers (like this).

She Went West Turns 1!

I truly can’t believe it’s been a year since I officially launched She Went West. For those of you who are relatively new to the blog, I’ll give you some background. For years and years I would compare my life to bloggers and complain to Ray that I wish I had pursued a creative outlet like they did. The idea that I could work with brands I love and admire, create content that’s all my own, share my life with people that wanted to follow, get free stuff at a constant (one of the best perks, I’m not going to lie), and interact every day with likeminded, creative and positive people seemed like a dream to me. So one day, three years ago, I decided that I should stop complaining and do something about it. We had recently moved to LA and I had just written the California bar. I started a blog, hired a photographer and did two shoots (with eight looks). I was ready to go! Finally! And then I landed a full-time job. Somehow I convinced myself I couldn’t do both, so I gave up the blog idea. And I can’t tell you how much I regretted it. Every so often I would say to Ray, “imagine I had started the blog x months ago, where it could be now!” And he would always tell me it’s not too late. So finally, two years later (and now a year ago), I launched She Went West.  I am so grateful that I get to say “I can’t believe what has happened in a year” rather than “imagine where the blog could have been if I launched last year.”

People ask me what took so long to get the courage to launch the blog. For one, I was really nervous what people would think of me. If you ask my photographer, I was sooo nervous shooting at the beginning. You inevitable get the stares, eye rolls and people thinking another basic b. For some reason, I cared. Something switched in my late 20s and I no longer cared what others were going to think. If they were going to judge me, that’s on them, not on me. Secondly, I thought I couldn’t be a lawyer and a blogger. To this day I try and keep those two worlds separate. But the fear wasn’t enough to stop me from launching She Went West. The real reason I finally launched was because I was so sick of hearing myself complain and not doing anything about it. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who complain and don’t take any steps to try and make it better. After all, no one was stopping me from starting a blog. I figured I might as well try.

 Overall I’m so happy with how the first year went. I collaborated with some awesome companies, like Nordstrom, Saks, Sephora and the Four Seasons. I’ve met an amazing community of girls online. And I constantly feel joy when I’m working on the brand, whether it be pitching ideas, writing posts, styling looks, editing outfits, etc.

I thought I would share 10 things I learned in my first year as a blogger (scroll down!)

1.   People will judge and then they will get over it – As I mentioned above, at first I was so nervous about people’s reactions. And it’s true; people will likely judge you at the beginning. But when you stay true to yourself, work hard and show value to your work, people’s perceptions will change (or not, and that’s there loss!). 

2.   Patience is key- I’m still learning this. Some weeks are great while others aren’t. Some days my posts will do amazing and others will fall flat. Some weeks I’ll get tons of emails for collaborations and others I won’t get any. It’s all about patience (which, truthfully, is the hardest part). I want the brand to get bigger and bigger overnight, but I know that’s not how it works. Patience and dedication is necessary to grow a successful brand.

3.   Don’t be afraid of rejection. I pitch a lot of brands. If I love something, I reach out. I’m not afraid of rejection. I get tons of no’s and tons of yes’. You never know what the outcome might be and as cliché as it sounds, you will never know unless you try. What’s the worst that they will say? Something like, “thank you for reaching out. At this time we do not have any room for collaborations.” Okay, that’s not so bad. No one will judge you for trying.

4.   It’s okay to figure it out- what does that mean exactly? Your first year is all about learning. What’s your voice like in blog posts? What’s your tone in your captions on Instagram? What does your feed like? What about home décor? Personally, my style and taste has evolved a lot over the past year. Even this week, I am making tons of changes (new blog, new editing for my feed etc.) I think it is okay to take time, figure it out and evolve. From home décor (I used to be obsessed with shabby chic and now I’m so over it), to editing (my feed used to be very bright and now I’m shifting to a more moody tone), style and taste will evolve and change.

5.   You will gain a lot of followers and lose a lot of followers- This could not be more true. And you can’t take it personally.

6.   Eventually you will shift from a hobby to something more serious- This is where I am at right now. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I still really felt like She Went West was a fun hobby. Something changed recently and I have completely shifted my vision. For one, I have started to invest in necessary equipment (using money from collaborations so I don’t have to be out of pocket). I bought a camera, lighting, tripods and I’m building a home office. It feels good to take it to the next level.

7.   Don’t compare yourself to others- OH MY GOD, this one is hard. Brutal. Scrolling through Instagram on a daily basis (it’s your job!) can make it almost impossible not to compare yourself to others. There are bloggers that seemed to have gained popularity overnight, that have such exciting collaborations, that go to such great events and that travel all the time for work. It can be extremely hard not to compare yourself and feel down about where you are. You just need to remember that nobody else is you. There may be a million bloggers out there but everyone is different and your following chooses to follow you for a reason. Just like I mentioned above, patience is key. I remember there was a week where I had amazing collaborations with brands I could have only dreamed of working with a year ago, and yet I was complaining to Ray about something regarding comparing myself to other bloggers. I had to stop myself and realize what was happening. A year ago I would have dreamed to be where I am right now. And I’m sure I’ll say the same thing this time next year.

8.   You need to invest to grow- You need to be willing to invest money to grow the brand. My tip would be to pick and choose what you invest your money in. For me, good quality photographs were key. So, at the beginning, I would just shoot clothes I’ve had for a while but spend my money on a photographer. It is only recently I’ve invested in equipment I’ve wanted for a while. Make a plan and decide what your priorities are.

9.   Some people won’t understand you- Since blogging is relatively new in the grand scheme of things, some people just won’t understand how scrolling through Instagram, commenting on people’s pictures, writing blogs and taking pictures is work. But, boy is it. It takes tons of time, hard work, creativity, patience etc. They’ll understand when they see your paychecks ;)

10. Remember why you started in the first places- On days when it’s not going so well (no collaborations, posts don’t do well, you lose followers etc.), remember why you started the blog in the first place. This always makes me feel better. Because, even if on that day the brand isn’t doing as well as I would like, I think about how far I’ve come. I would way prefer to have an off day than to have no day thinking about She Went West.

Photography by Felicia Lasala

The Four Skincare Product Must Haves

Deciding what skincare products to use can be overwhelming. Period. Do you use a retinol cream? What about serums? There are so many variations, where should you even start? About a year ago I decided to get really serious about my skin (this happens to be right around the time I found my first grey hair and experienced the worst breakouts). I won't lie, I always thought I had a lot more time before I had to worry about anti-aging creams, retinol creams etc. I mean, I definitely thought I had until at least 35. Nope, I was completely wrong. The earlier you start a good skincare regime, the better your skin will be. Especially living in California, where your skin is exposed to strong sun almost year round.

I did a post on my skincare regime here, and to be honest, not much has changed. As a blogger I'm lucky that I get to try a lot of products, but I always go back to a certain few. If I'm totally obsessed with a product, then I'll incorporate it into my every day routine. But this is a pretty high standard. When I posted my skincare routine I got a lot of DMs asking if people could only buy one product, which one should it be. It's really hard to narrow it down to one, but I thought I would highlight four products I think you should definitely own. They all serve different purposes, so if you are only looking to buy one right now, I suggest deciding on what your top priorities are. 

1. A good facial cleanser

This step is absolutely key. I usually use the IS Clinical Complex Cleanser, Cetaphil or SkinMedica Foam cleanser. Cetaphil is very gentle on the skin, so I use it when my skin is feeling more sensitive. SkinMedica is good when you are breaking out, as it has Salicylic Acid. I was recently introduced to the Facile cleanser and I love it. For one, the smell is amazing. Further, it has the perfect amount of foam to make your face feel clean without being too harsh. Lastly, it has helped keep my skin pretty clear over the past few weeks.

2. IS Clinical Active Serum

This Active Serum is pure magic. I was introduced to it (and most of the products I use) by Shani Darden. When you apply it you get a slight tingling sensation that dissipates after a few seconds. It is said to decrease fine line and wrinkles and even out skin tone. What I think it is used best for is reducing and eliminating acne. It truly works. I apply it after my cleanser and before moisturizer. I alternate every other night with my retinol cream below.

3. Shani Darden's Retinol Reform

I can't say enough good things about this product. I was so scared to use a retinol cream as I had heard that they can be really harsh on the skin and lead to tons of peeling. This product is the opposite. While you are supposed to gradually build up using the product, I think it is gentle enough to use every other night. It helps to even out skin tone and give this incredible glow to your skin. It's expensive but you just need a tiny amount. Just like the active serum, I apply it after I cleanse my skin and before a moisturizer.

4. Dr. Dennis Gross Peel Pads

If you are like me and wear a decent amount of makeup every day, you need these peel pads. It exfoliates the skin in a gentle way, eliminating all the dirt that lives on the surface of your skin. It keeps your pores clean and helps to reduce acne. You apply step 1 (it's like a cotton pad soaked in the product) and leave it on for a couple of minutes. Then you apply step 2 (which feels like step 1). Normally my skin is a bit red after so I will apply a cooling serum (like the IS Clinical hydracool serum) and then a light moisturizer. I use it once a week.

The summer that never ends

I thought this would be my last summer fashion post for a few months but now I'm not so sure (especially because I have a pool day lined up for this weekend). I swear it is hotter than ever in LA. When I first wake up and go for an early morning run the air feels crisp and cool. By the time lunch rolls around it feels like the peak of summer where all you want to wear is loose tops and jean shorts. Anyway it feels totally appropriate to post this beautiful maxi dress.

Photography by Felicia Lasala

Maxi Dresses in Fall

I know that a lot of you are already deep into fall season, with all of your summer clothes put away and your knits and scarves ready to wear. I won't lie, I get jealous at the sight of those cozy sweaters and cute beanies on Instagram. It'll happen in LA soon enough. Until then it still feels like summer here. Last night Ray, Luca and I went for a two hour walk and it truly felt like a summer night. Anyway, if it's too cold to wear a maxi dress like this then hopefully it serves as inspo for an upcoming vacation. 

On our walk last night we passed by the newly renovated Westfield Century City Mall. WOW. It's so beautiful and has so many good new stores. We also picked up a Pressed Freeze. If you haven't tried it yet, it's a must. 

Photography by Felicia Lasala

Why I Started Drinking Turmeric Ginger Lemon Tea

When I got back from Napa I realized I needed to take a step back and focus my attention on my mind and body. For one, I had trouble sleeping in Napa. While I was on such a wonderful trip, I couldn't help but feel really anxious. I would wake up at 6:00 am with this dooming feeling, like something was going to happen or I forgot to do something important. But there was nothing. If you've been following me then you know that I have generalized anxiety. But I rarely feel this type of anxiety without something (even if it's something small) at the root of it. Moreover my skin was a mess! This lead to me feeling discouraged and exhausted. So for the past week I have taken steps to help both my mind and body. I started going back to hot yoga and hot yoga barre. I started eating primarily vegetables and protein (limiting sugar and carbs- aka no more chocolate in the house). I started drinking tons of water (infused with lemon, ginger and mint). I started taking probiotics again (Bio K is my favorite). And I started drinking turmeric ginger lemon tea at night. 

Turmeric Ginger Lemon Tea has so many health benefits. Here are a few:

  • It's a powerful anti-inflammatory (which consequently helps with joint pain, stomach aches, bloating and skin inflammation, to name a few) 
  • It's a powerful antioxidant
  • Helps reduce nausea
  • Helps with digestion
  • Reduces muscle pain and soreness
  • Helps reduce menstrual pain
  • Good for your immune system
  • Good source of potassium
  • Helps with digestion
  • Antioxidants help clear your skin  
  • Reduces inflammation
Are you sold yet? If you're like me and have a sensitive stomach, this drink is amazing to have after dinner. And it's so easy to make. There are several variations on how to make it. You could use fresh ginger and turmeric or powder.  Here is my recipe:

Makes 2 cups since 1 isn't usually enough :)
  1. Boil 2 cups of water with 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and 1 tsp of fresh ginger (cut into pieces)
  2. Once it reaches a boil, turn off heat and cover for 5 minutes (I sometimes stir in some cinnamon at this point)
  3. Drain the liquid 
  4. Add 1/2 tsp of honey and 1-2 thin slices of lemon
  5. Enjoy!