Fashion Fixer Upper

Fashion Fixer Upper

Some people like to spend their days watching people flip homes on TV, I like to spend mine by shopping and flipping clothes. Just give me my own TV show and call it The Fashion Fixer Upper. I love a good bargain, but also enjoy having unique clothing pieces. I haven’t always been a huge fan of online shopping, but when I learned about Shoptiques, a website that sells clothing from different boutiques around the world, I had to give it a try!

I came across a very interesting denim patchwork dress for only $3.00 (see below)! There was something about this piece that really intrigued me. I wanted to purchase it so I could fix it up and style it to be more flattering to me and my body. This is something I’ve always done since I was a little girl. I would by the fashion pieces that were left over on the sale rack and would challenge myself to style and bring them to life in a new way. Something about this has always been fun to me. 
In the next few pictures you will see how I styled and personalized this piece to make it more flattering to my body shape and personal style. 
Before:
(Image via Shoptiques)
After:
The first thing I did when I received this dress was cut the three hanging fabric/ribbon pieces off on the side. Since this dress is one size fits all, it’s more of a looser fit (as seen in the original photo). I paired it with a belt and rolled up the sleeves to make it hug my figure more. I left the first few buttons undone and added my go-to favorite necklaces, a fun clutch, and velvet booties (of course).
This dress is my new favorite “fun” addition to my closet. I can’t wait to wear it again! 
I encourage everyone to switch up their day-to-day fashion pieces by styling them differently or pairing with new accessories. You will see just how new you can make your clothes look! Maybe challenge yourself to hit the sale rack or a thrift store and see if you can “fix up” something to make it your own. Rock your new masterpiece and send me your pictures 🙂 
XOXO,
Gina

Dress: Shoptiques. Find here
Shoes: Steve Madden. Find here
Necklaces: Pink Jules Boutique
Clutch: Diane Von Furstenberg 
Belt: Macy’s
Location: Catalyst Ranch
Your Ego Is Not Your Amigo

Your Ego Is Not Your Amigo

If yoga has taught me anything, it’s that sometimes you need to let go of your ego. Once you can detach from your ego, your practice (and life) will begin to change and you will gain a new perspective. Your ego is that person in your head telling you that you should look a certain way and compares you to others. Your ego is also the voice in your head that says, “Wow I look so great compared to everyone else in class, I am rocking this pose” and then reality hits you with some humbleness and you fall right out of the posture. 
The other day in class I slipped on my own sweat (gotta love hot yoga!) and totally fell out of my headstand right onto my butt. It was probably the best thing that has happened to me in awhile. It reminded me that I am not perfect. I continually come to my yoga mat to learn from myself as well as the teacher and fellow students. 
I’ve had many instances where people have told me that they don’t want to try yoga because they are intimidated. They see everyone in these crazy yoga poses on Instagram and they can’t even touch their toes. Once you are able to take your ego out of the picture, you would be surprised what your body is capable of. One of my favorite quotes that I have shared with my yoga class is, “Yoga is not about touching your toes, it’s about what you learn on the way down.” 
Nailing crow pose and being able to hold my first headstand were very rewarding feelings, but falling on my butt in class actually brought a huge smile to my face. When I got up, I was laughing so hard and it made the man next to me laugh too (once he realized I was okay). Realizing that we are all in life together and finding a little comfort in knowing that you are human is important. Everyone is on their own journey. There is no need to compare yourself to others whether that be on or off your yoga mat. 
No matter what your level of yoga is, take time to recognize your ego and the way you speak to yourself and others. How can you quiet your ego to find more contentment and humbleness with yourself? 
XOXO,
Gina
Shirt: Spiritual Gangster. Find here
Denim Jacket: Ci Sono. Find similar here 
Yoga Pants: T.J. Maxx. Find similar here
Shoes: H&M. Find similar here
The True Meaning of Namaste and Empathy

The True Meaning of Namaste and Empathy

I haven’t been teaching yoga very long, but what I have learned is that there is something therapeutic about speaking and explaining your intention to the class. If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, usually the teacher will offer or invite you to set an intention for your practice (a mantra, quote, poem, etc.). Both as a teacher and a student, I like to center my intentions around something I am working on/towards or a lesson I’ve learned. The word that keeps coming up for me lately is empathy.
I don’t often share these intentions with the world, but I feel this one is important. In yoga, we say Namaste when we conclude our practice. But what does Namaste actually mean? My soul honors your soul. Sounds great, now can we start saying this to everyone and not just to our fellow yogis? Let’s end our meetings by saying Namaste. Tell the cashier at the grocery store Namaste. The guy at the deli who fixed you a sub, Namaste to him. You catch my drift. This word has been so glamorized on social media (I am also guilty of it) that I feel it’s lost its true meaning. Namastay in bed, Namastay at home, Namastay on the couch. We are “namastaying” everything and everywhere.
I came across this quote on Pinterest, “See the light in each other. Be the light for each other.” It made me think of the true meaning of Namaste. Honoring one’s self as well as your neighbor. We are all going through our own difficult battles so why not come together and be there for one another? You don’t need to be best friends with everyone, but showing empathy is a great place to start. In a world where there are some people who aren’t very nice, be kind. It doesn’t mean you are weak, it means you are strong and true to yourself for showing kindness and love to people that test you. 
I attended a restorative yoga class last year and the instructor had us spend a few moments in a seated meditation. She had us think about someone that is very difficult to get along with (all I could think of is that this is not going to be very meditative). Then, she instructed us to send love and positive thoughts to that person even though it might be very difficult to do so. Let go of the anger and negativity you are holding on towards that person and counteract those emotions with kindness. This is something that will stick with me forever. We are all human. When faced with difficult situations and people, we react a certain way. We can’t go back in time and change the way we reacted or the emotions that came up, but we can change the future. We can send kindness and love to those people that test us. It might sound crazy, but once you let go, you create space for really great things to come into your life. 
Shirt: Vibrate Higher. Find here and use code “gina” for 15% off your order.
Pants: Lululemon
Hat: Relephant Matters. Find here
Shoes: Converse
Viva La Brunch!

Viva La Brunch!

Ways to make me happy:
1. Take me to brunch
2. Make me brunch
3. Be brunch
Pretty simple right? After all, I didn’t think I was that complicated 😉
But seriously, why do I like brunch so much? I have no idea.. maybe it’s the idea of bottomless mimosas, delicious food and spending quality time with your family/friends. If you’re from a place that brunches hardcore, then chances are you know what I’m talking about. In Chicago, I would say we are pro brunchers. We have so many delicious brunch spots there’s just too many to name (and too many to try!). 
So what is the most important thing about prepping for brunch? Picking out the perfect brunch outfit (after you’ve picked the most Instagram-able brunch spot, of course). 
For me, the perfect outfit depends on a few deciding factors: the plans I had the previous night, the location of the brunch spot, who I am brunching with, and the time. 
A graphic Tee with a cute (brunch) quote is usually the winner for me, and yes, I have multiple shirts with brunch quotes. Weather depending, I will throw on a jacket because I am ALWAYS chilled in restaurants, until the mimosas start flowing. A pair of yoga pants is usually the go-to if I am going more of the sporty look route (which is usually what ends up happening), BUT this time, I chose to wear my SUPER comfy jeggings- which are basically leggings that look like jeans, so it’s actually perfect. Top the look off with a cute hairstyle or if you are feeling a little lazy/don’t want to add any more dry shampoo to your hair, a baseball cap or floppy hat will do the trick!
Then you are ready to brunch.. now just be sure to warn your fellow brunchers that you need to capture the perfect Instagram photo before they can touch their food!
Comment below with your favorite spot to brunch at 🙂 
Gina’s favorite brunch spots in Chicago:
Beatrix
Bub City
Kanela Breakfast Club
Meli Cafe
Yolk
Hub 51
Siena Tavern
LYFE Kitchen (great healthy choice!)
Troquet
Pinstripes
The Hampton Social
Mahalo
Rockit 
Blue Door Kitchen & Garden
Carnivale
Lou Mitchel’s
Shirt: Old Navy. Find similar here
Jacket: Pacsun. Find similar here
Jeans: T.J. Maxx 
Purse: From a street vendor at a fest
Hat: Icing (sold out online) Find similar here
Yoga Pants Every.Damn.Day

Yoga Pants Every.Damn.Day

I come home from work and immediately put on a pair of yoga pants. Then, I eat dinner, run errands and go to a yoga class. When I come home, I shower and change into a pair of my “sleeping” yoga pants. I wake up and do the same thing over again. The weekend comes and I spend pretty much every day in yoga pants. Hence the title of this post, yoga pants every damn day! The amount of yoga pants that I have is insane and probably a little excessive. My justification for purchasing another pair of yoga pants is that I literally wear a pair every damn day. 
I’ve realized, that everyone spends money on their guilty pleasure, mind just so happens to be shopping for a new pair of yoga pants. Since I love fashion and yoga, it works itself out 😉 
Now, I may have an excessive amount of yoga pants, BUT they are mostly from stores such as Burlington, T.J. Maxx, Ross, Target and other discount retailers. I highly suggest checking out these retailers as they often carry name brands such as Under Armour, Nike, Adidas, etc. 

Moral of the story, buy more yoga pants! Haha, kidding. BUT, if you were looking for a sign, this is it 🙂
Shirt: Spiritual Gangster. Find here
Denim Jacket: Ci Sono. Find similar here 
Yoga Pants: T.J. Maxx. Find similar here
Shoes: H&M. Find similar here
A Berry Good (Easy To Make) Smoothie Bowl!

A Berry Good (Easy To Make) Smoothie Bowl!

Are you into the smoothie bowl craze as much as I am? Smoothie bowls are my FAVE, yet I don’t always want to go out to eat them. There are so many places that sell them, which is great when you’re on the go, but what happens when you wake up before those shops open or you’re craving a smoothie bowl when they close? I turned to my favorite store, Trader Joe’s to search for some ingredients to make my own smoothie bowl at home (and I was pleasantly surprised with what I found).
I had every intention of making my own base for the smoothie bowl until I found these Açaí Purée Packets. These packets make the whole smoothie bowl making process pretty seamless. You can defrost the packet and use it by itself, or you can mix it in a blender with fruits, yogurt, kefir, or whatever your preferred smoothie ingredients are.
I love chocolate anything, so adding cacao powder to smoothie bowls is a must for me. Check out the Fair Trade Cacao Powder from Trader Joe’s or you can find cacao powder at most other grocery stores. 
The Toasted Coconut Granola is my new favorite find from Trader Joe’s and I put it on everything, including my smoothie bowls. This stuff is well worth the money (I even add it on top of the dairy-free Chocolate Coconut Milk ice cream)! 
Top your smoothie bowl with your favorite fruits and voilà, it’s that easy! 
Happy Eating!!

Weekend Attire

Weekend Attire

The weekends call for sleeping in and dressing comfy or cute (depending on what your plans are). Here are my favorite weekend outfits for all occasions. 

Meeting a friend for coffee:

Pair a chambray shirt with a blanket scarf and slip on shoe.  

Scarf: Pink Jules Boutique

Shoes: Steve Madden
Running errands:
Throw a leather jacket or cardigan over a graphic tee or tank and add a scarf. Pair with your favorite sneakers. 
Shirt: Veruca Salt 
Scarf: Claire’s 
Girls night or date night:
A leather jacket is always a good idea for a date night or girls night out, as it can easily make any outfit edgy. 
Scarf: Express
Leather jacket: Forever 21 
Shirt: Old from Macy’s 
Camo leggings: Veruca Salt 
Sunday dinner with the family:

If you guys are going out for dinner you can dress it up by changing the shoes but my Sunday’s are usually a little more causal so I like to do a comfier shoe (and I usually end up running some errands before). 

Necklace: New York & Company

Sweater: Banana Republic
Shoes: Steve Madden 

Happy Weekend!
Xoxo,
Gina