Taylor Swift’s Style Evolution

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Let me begin with a confession: I am a die-hard Taylor Swift fan. I nearly cried when Kanye seized her moment after receiving the award for Best Female Video at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. I’ve blasted Teardrops On My Guitar countless times… it has gotten me through many rough breakups. I even tried curling my natural, pin-straight hair to match her perfect, spiral locks. From the day I heard my first Taylor Swift song on MySpace (remember that?!) to her super-stardom in 2014, she has always been a favorite celeb of mine. Why? She’s fascinating. Swift is the lovable small-town country girl with a big dream and even bigger heart — always shown visiting hospitals and taking pictures with her fans — and I’ve watched her transform her image, before my very eyes, into a huge country star and fashionista!

2006: Taylor Swift was born on a Christmas tree farm in Reading, Pennsylvania (only an hour or so away from where I live in North Jersey!). Here she is at age 16 — the year when she released her first album, Taylor Swift.

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2007: Here she is at the Country Music Television (CMT) Music Awards. Her style and tone were more immature in ’07 (she was only seventeen, in her defense!). This isn’t my favorite of her choices but it does prove that she has a body that looks good in almost anything!

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2008: Once again, Taylor at the CMT Music Awards. This is the year she released her album, Fearless… and this outfit shows she truly is. Swift’s hair is noticeably a lot more blonde… and she opted for a sexier, little black dress option!

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2009: Swift was sporting a casual sundress in London, playing it safe with her traditional curls and floral prints. 2009 was the calm before the storm regarding her next big fashion transformation.

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2010: Her American Music Awards’ (AMA) press room outfit defined Taylor as a mature and eligible opponent in the music industry. 2010 brought the release of her albumSpeak Now. Gone are the days of cotton sundresses…. hello professional, chic business casual!

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2011: Swift attended the Roberto Cavalli Fashion Show. I’m obsessed with this look. Compared to her look in 2006 she is barely recognizable!

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2012: This year came with a change in her style of music, as well a change in fashion. She released Red, the album that had Swift-lovers scratching their heads yet still wanting more. Her outfit for the iHeartRadio Music Festival performance is significantly less country and a lot more pop.

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2013: The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in New York had Taylor in a stunning floral mini dress. Rocked with straight hair and bangs, her style became sleek and modern.

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2014: Present day, at the Academy of Country (ACM) Music Awards for yet another year, she sported her most recent, elegant and completely transformed style — short bob and all!

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Clearly, Taylor Swift has grown up since she first ventured into the public eye with her western style and cowboy boots. Her style evolution is one that I find completely admirable (and not just because I’m her number one fan!). 

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Get My Look: Mini Golf Outing

One of my favorite summertime activities is mini golfing! I had the day off from work today, and I was lucky enough to go with my siblings to a course near my house… my sister and I tied for first place (yay!). When I go out during the day in the summer I love to dress light and be comfortable — here’s what I wore today!

Mini Golf 1

Like my look today? See where I got my outfit below!

Mini Golf Collage by Taylor MurphyShirt: Old, but similar here: Forever 21 Rose Print Cami

Shorts: Hudson Jeans Cuff Denim Shorts (Hackney)

Shoes: American Eagle Slip-On Sneaker 

4 More Reasons to Order that Caramel Macchiato

starbucks(via favim.com)

Skinny, medium, hot,  iced, dark, light, sweet—if these words are a part of your regular vocabulary, you can very well guess where this blog post is going.

There are articles, statistics, studies and experiments that often try to persuade us to cease one of our favorite pleasures: coffee. And as a healthy-lifestyle enthusiast, this is one controversial topic I have a hard time choosing a stance on. But then I put it into perspective…

If you don’t have any previous heart conditions or history of/current anxiety, there is no reason to pick apart something as simple as your favorite brew in the morning. In fact, drinking that delicious, hot cup of coffee can actually be beneficial to your lifestyle.

Why?

There are four important reasons. To put it simply, caffeine

1. Improves your memory. Over 200 milligrams of caffeine, which is about one cup of coffee, improves memory 24 hours later.*

2. Stimulates you to exercise for a longer period of time by producing Adrenaline.

3. Prevents you from being tired by blocking Adenosine, the chemical that causes drowsiness.

4. Make you happier by increasing Dopamine, the chemical that makes you happy.

So whether you are a Starbucks lover or Dunkin Donuts person, don’t feel too guilty about that extra boost in the morning! It’s even better than you think.

Research via Coffee lovers perk up: Caffeine may boost memory and The Perks of Coffee Drinks.

The New Generation of Business Casual

BC 1(via The Student’s Wife)

As I read my first office job’s dress code policy, I noticed that they summed it up into two little words: “business casual”. Suddenly I feared for my wardrobe, picturing cubicles filled with mundane pant suits and neutral toned pencil skirts. Being new, I didn’t want to cause any kind of controversy or issues with my co-workers or boss. Although a blazer and heels isn’t something I always wear to my college classes, I understood the need for a professional style in the workplace. But at the same time, I knew I still needed to stay true to myself, and my own style.

After an intense shopping session I had only purchased three new things, but after trying out new ideas and looks, I soon had more than five new outfits to wear! Don’t waste your time doing the math…the reasoning behind this fashion equation is simple: combinations! I mixed and matched these three items with the clothes and accessories in my closet to come up with an entire business casual wardrobe, and suddenly those two little words didn’t seem so intimidating.

My suggestion? Buy a few basic, business-appropriate must haves. I bought  a skirt, heels and blazer. With these three pieces, the combinations are endless. And the best part is, when you pair one of these up with your own accessories or article of clothing, it becomes YOUR style!

1. The Blazer

BC 2(via Pretty Designs)

Blazers can be worn in so many different ways, but this outfit was one of my biggest inspirations. The pale pink color adds softness to the contrasting dark shirt and pants. I substituted the black heels for flats, wore a pair of my dark washed jeans and accessorized with my favorite black watch!

2. The Skirt

BC 3(via Girly Girls)

Wearing polka dots (believe it or not) is not something I have always been brave enough to do, but I found the courage after seeing this polka dot sweater and blue cardigan combo. The even grey pencil skirt brings this outfit to life, really bringing it back to the serious, professional-vibe. P.S. A pencil skirt will always be timeless, flattering and sexy!

3. The Heels

BC(via Outfitted 411)

The last tweak to my new business casual wardrobe is an ode to the picture above. My office had Dress Down Fridays, in which I always broke out my slim fitting skinny jeans. I incorporated my new pair of killer heels with this outfit, and to complete the look, I wore an infinity scarf I own that matches the color of the heels!

Needless to say, I was really thrilled about finding so many different combinations I could now wear to work. My new workplace wardrobe was full of my own style, did not break my (gracious) piggy bank, and perfectly fit the business casual standard. I arrived the next day looking completely professional but stylish. So not to worry, fashionistas! Where there is a will, there’s a way—if you want to continue being fabulous and fashionable, it is possible anywhere—even at work!

Are YOU having a business attire crisis? If the answer is yes, how do you plan on keeping that great, trendy style of yours?

Five Ridiculously Easy Ways to Pull Off the Bedroom of Your Dreams

hipster(via Pinterest)

Your bedroom is your sanctuary—the place you sleep and the place you get dressed, two extremely significant and treasured activities in a girl’s everyday life. Scenario: you’ve just been scrolling through virtual boards, ideas and beautiful pictures on Pinterest, and have suddenly become inspired to replicate that dream room you’ve been longing for; you want to create a space for yourself that truly is your sanctuary, which really reflects you! After doing a little more research, sadly, you become doubtful that you will be able to pull it off.

Have no fear! This situation has a happy ending, and a beautiful, inexpensive room to show for it.

 First, think about what inspires you…what makes you tick? What makes you happy?  Choosing what inspires you can allow you to create a theme of some sort. For example, if it’s that new Aztec cardigan you’ve worn three times this week, try coming up with an Aztec-styled room. I, personally, am a huge nature-lover, so decided to decorate my room with floral prints and bold tones.Next, choose a color palette: select around three or four colors that make you happy, that can be shown throughout the bedding, curtains and décor. And finally, stick to these six ridiculously easy ways to at long last achieve the bedroom you deserve.

1. Staple piece.

I chose a canvas painting of a colorful, vibrant flower from Home Goods. I used this as my motivation, and tried to pick colors in my room that would match it.

2. String lights.

They serve as decoration and a creative alternative to a lamp. Practical and cute!

3. Bedding.

If you’re anything like me, your bed is one of the comfiest, safest and coziest places in your universe, so what you put on it matters a lot! I bought a black reversible quilt with orange, pink and purple flowers.

4. Pictures.

Worth a thousand words and saves a thousand bucks (okay, maybe not a thousand). Pictures are an inexpensive and simple way to decorate your room! Get crafty and make a collage, or hang a few up in cute frames.

5. Candles.

They are cheap and timeless accessories, whether it is being lit for its delicious scent or used aesthetically.  I put tea light candles in my hanging candle holder!

So go-getters, as you go on to design and create your own dream bedrooms, ask yourself once again: What inspires you? What makes you tick? Once you figure that out, creating the room of your dreams will be that much easier to pull off!

What Every Twenty-Something Should Know About Being Beautiful

barbie(via Art of Apex High School)

Two years ago, plastic surgery dramatically increased in the United States: 14.6 million people received cosmetic procedures in 2012, according to CNN.com.

What made those 14.6 million people feel that they are not already beautiful?

 In a world where publicizing our every move is popular—whether it is “checking yourself in” at a new bar, or posting a picture of yourself on Instagram with the filter that makes you look the most flawless—we find ourselves prisoners of our own society. Society’s idea of beauty is now becoming our idea of beauty, and media influences this the most. New television shows like E! Network’s “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills” portrays 20 to 30-something’s as obsessed with self-image…the driving forces behind their actions are what they look like, what others think of what they look like and how they can strive to look better.

As overly dramatized as RKOBH is, this epidemic of beauty as perfection is not too far off from the rest of the young generation’s point of view (not all, but most). And this is because society has been making us believe it is the norm to compare ourselves to one another, obsess over who looks better, who looks worse, what angle is best, which hair color is in style…the list goes on and on. It is this reason why those 14.6 million felt the need to get plastic surgery: society has influenced their perception of how they see themselves,  making them believe that they are not living up to the beautiful, “perfect” standard.

We cannot let society and media tell us how to think, especially about ourselves. Newsflash: Beauty isn’t flawless. It’s isn’t perfect. And in present day 2014, I invite you to ask yourselves, What is perfect? Is it the models that are featured in the runway shows? The men who have chiseled bodies of Gods? The women with the “ideal” body, a combination of the “perfect” features—large breasts, small waist, long hair?

No.

We must know the difference between society’s version of beauty, and what being beautiful really is. Beauty can be found in every day. Beauty is a feeling. Beauty is being confident in who you are, beauty is embracing who you are. Beauty is kindness, understanding, love. Beauty is the way we look when we wake up. Beauty is not overt. Beauty is within. Beauty is natural. Beauty is awe-inspiring. Beauty is friendship, romance, a relationship. Beauty is nature. Beauty is within us.  And lastly, beauty is not defined by the media or society. We are all entitled to our own beauty, our own beautiful lives.

And so, as we continue to witness a constant streaming of images containing what others want us to believe are beautiful, glorified in magazines, television sitcoms, reality television programs, Hollywood films, pornography and  social media sites, I ask you to keep this in mind: this is merely what we have been told is beautiful.  If you want to find beauty, look within yourself…not the influences around you.

Valentine’s Day: A New Perspective

When I think of Valentine’s Day, I usually think of The Notebook type of romance.  I think of a boy who is hopelessly in love with a girl, who would do anything just to be with her. I think of a dozen long-stem roses. I think of beautifully written cards. I think of poems, and happy endings and a big box of chocolates.

However, as I looked out my window this morning and saw my little brother shoveling the driveway for my mom, it occurred to me that there is a little more to Valentine’s Day than the romance and the flowers. Valentine’s Day is about love of all kinds, and can be shown through sending someone a box of chocolates or doing something kind for them, whether it is big or small.

My brother is 18, and not a man of many words. But I knew when he was outside shoveling in the freezing cold at 6 A.M., when he didn’t need to be awake for another three hours, that that was his way of expressing that he loves and appreciates our mom. When she woke up to a shoveled driveway, happily surprised, I noticed that he couldn’t help but smile.

So what’s the moral of this short story? If you’re single, or even if you do have someone to spend a romantic Valentine’s Day with, it’s important to remember that you don’t need a special or fancy date to celebrate.  This Valentine’s Day, I encourage you to show everyone who you care about in your life just how much they mean to you.