How to Master Early Morning Photo Shoots

How to Master Early Morning Photo Shoots

When I tell people I shoot all of my blog/Instagram photos in the morning before work, they generally say something along the lines of, “What?! I can’t wake up that early! HOW DO YOU DO THAT?!”

Guess what? I’m here to tell you HOW.

Waking up early isn’t fun. I’m not really a late sleeper to begin with, but something about waking up to the sound of an alarm is just dreadful. However, I’m committed to my blog and dedicated to featuring new, fresh content as often as I can. Since I do work full time in PR, I have no choice but to shoot before work (or after now that the sun sets later in the summer). However, after work, I generally want to go home, workout or attend an event, so that really only leaves the morning open to shoot most weeks.

But how do I pick a location? And how do I determine leaving myself enough time to get to work at 9am? I’ve kind of got it mastered at this point… so below, find my tips for mastering early AM photo-shoots.

1. Pick a location: I try to pick somewhere that is convenient for not only me, but my photographer as well (shout out to @photosbytifff). Since we both have to be at work by 9am, we generally stick to lower-midtown locations like Madison Square Park/Flatiron, Washington Square Park or Bryant Park. Are you wondering why I shoot in so many parks? Here’s why. Parks generally have public restrooms, so you can run in to change between looks. Parks also have greenery and character. Sometimes just doing street style photos can get monotonous, especially in the summer when there are so many natural beautiful colors from trees and flowers.

2. Plan your outfits the night before: This may sound intuitive, but make sure you lay out everything the night before, so in the morning you just need to apply your makeup/fix your hair and go. I lay out everything from my outfit, to shoes, to accessories (purse, jewelry, sunglasses).

  • Pro tip: If you really want your shoot to move seamlessly, pack each outfit with all of the matching accessories into individual baggies. This way, when you’re looking through your main bag, you can easily locate everything you need for that one look vs. digging through your suitcase or tote to find everything.
  • Pro tip #2: Since winter clothing items are bulkier, I sometimes bring a wheelie suitcase with me. To me, it’s easier to roll something around the city than having to carry it over my shoulder (it gets heavy).

(I recently bought this clothing rack so I could lay out all of my outfits the night before a shoot. Buy it HERE

3. Changing in Public: If you’re not in a park and there are no nearby restrooms, you need to get creative when it comes to changing. I’m not shy, so I generally change on the street. If this is the route you’re going to take – there’s an art to it. Follow the below steps:

  • Strategically plan your outfits so that you can easily change. For example, if you have one dress and one pant outfit, wear the dress first. When you’re done with that look, slip the pants on under the dress and wiggle your way into the top without exposing yourself.
  • Make sure the last outfit you shoot in is the one you want to wear that day. Knowing I need to go to work after my shoot, I generally save my most work appropriate outfit for last. This way, when I’m done shooting, I just run to work in whatever I’m in.
  • Too risky for you? Get a changing tent or bring a sheet. Some photographers (shout out to @LaurelCreative) bring changing tents with them, which makes for easy changing, anywhere, any time. If they don’t have one, you can either purchase your own OR just bring a sheet and have your photographer hold it up for you as you hide behind it to swap outfits.

4. Timing: Knowing I need to be at work at 9am, I generally make sure I’m shooting by 7:30am. This way, I have from around 7:30-8:30 or 8:45ish (depending on the location) to shoot. Within this time, I can generally shoot 3 looks and even sneak in a flatlay.

Any additional questions that I didn’t cover? Comment below and I’ll be sure to get back to you!

Summer Fashions for Under $50

Summer Fashions for Under $50

The summer is always the busiest part of my year, but this summer especially has been really jam packed. For starters, I generally travel on the weekends, so that leaves me to do two full-time jobs during my work week including my PR job and my blog. As such, I’m often working 12 hours days, then living out of a suitcase on the weekends. As you can imagine, things are busy-as-can-be and with that comes a lot of expenses. This is where *cheap* online shopping comes into play.

For me, there are clothing/accessory items worth splurging on and items worth saving on. Summer is the time for saving. Invest in staple items like blazers and jeans during the winter. Summery outfits are often trendy (they’re generally not in style the next season) and easily mimic-able (is that even a word)? For example, a shirt you can pay $250 for at Bloomingdales can most likely be found online for $15.

Like me, I know my followers love a steal, so I’ve included some of my favorite AND affordable summer fashions below.  

Under $50 Clothing Finds:

Under $25 Accessory Finds:

 

 

 

Travel Diary: How to see Charleston in 72 Hours

Travel Diary: How to see Charleston in 72 Hours

When my BFF packed up and moved to Charleston, South Carolina a few months back, I was naturally upset, but knew it just meant I had another place to visit and cross off my travel bucket list.

I’ve been to both North and South Carolina a few times, but never made it to Charleston – until now! First of all, I totally see the appeal. The city is the perfect mix of classy, beautiful and beachy. The old school architecture combined with the leafy palm trees paint the most picturesque backdrop.  Plus, the killer food and amazing bars are just an added bonus.

Below, find my guide to seeing the city in just 72 hours. I think you’ll find it’s the perfect mix of fun and cultured.

Shop this jumper before it sells out:

WHERE TO STAY

Honestly, there were so many beautiful boutique-style hotels, but my friends and I decided to stay in an Air BnB on Spring St. and couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out!

HISTORIAL TOURS

Charleston Carriage Works: I highly recommend taking a horse carriage tour because it’s a great way to learn about the rich history of the city. You can relax while discovering quaint cobbled streets and the picturesque architecture that give the city its unique charm. Also, what I really liked was that the tour was straight and to the point, which made it easy to do any time of day. This isn’t something you need to revolve your entire day around. It takes about an hour tops.

Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens: The Boone Hall Plantation is a must-see while in town. If you’re not into history, at least go for the sole purpose that “The Notebook” was filmed there! Remember Allie and Noah’s epic breakup scene in front of her parents’ house? Yup, happened there. Also, remember reading about Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds wedding? Yup, happened there, too. This place is beautiful, historic and picturesque. A must see.

RESTAURANTS

Husk: Everyone that visits or lives in Charleston will tell you the same thing – “go to Husk.” The restaurant is centrally located in historic downtown Charleston and is the newest offering from James Beard Award-winning Chef Sean Brock. If you want a gourmet southern meal, look no further.           

5Church: This posh New American dining destination & cocktail bar is located in a former church with dramatic décor and delicious bites. If you’re an adventurous eater, go for the beef carpaccio and oysters as starters.

Obstinate daughter: The perfect brunch spot. This eclectic spot boasts New American fare, plus a raw bar and pizza & pasta served in an elegant, country-style space. One thing is better than the next, but definitely order a “Old Danger” pizza for the table (pancetta, mozzarella, white sauce, farm egg, scallion, black pepper, parmesan).

Me and my best friends! Most of us have known each other since preschool.

BARS

Market Pavilion: The Pavilion Bar is a rooftop oasis, complete with views of historic Charleston, a cascading pool, signature cocktails, eclectic cuisine offerings and the city’s most spectacular sunsets. This bar maintains a sophisticated and stylish atmosphere for its guests. If you want a bite, get the tuna tar tar tower – it was unreal.

Blind Tiger: I spotted a Southern Charm star while at Blind Tiger. Head here to enjoy upscale bar food in an alehouse dating back to 1803, featuring a charming, brick-walled courtyard. This place is perfect for after dinner drinks and mingling.

Home Team, Sullivan’s Island: If you’re in the mood for some day drinking and killer BBQ nachos, look no further. Hit the nearby beach, and then head to Home Team to get your afternoon started with their signature poison – The Game Changer.

Trio: If you’re going to town for a Bachelorette party or just want to get rowdy, Trio is the place to go for a good time. Touted as the Southeast’s “most refined new private dance club,” you’ll be sure to go home sweaty from a night of dancing.

Red’s Ice House: If you want a low-key spot with a dive atmosphere and awesome views of the water, head to Red’s in Shem Creek in Mt. Pleasant during the daytime or sunset. Here’s you’ll enjoy live music, fresh local seafood and a laid back setting. Be sure to check out the upper deck.

Well, that’s all I got for you folks! We did go to a few other places, so do let me know of any questions you may have in the comments below.

A Tribute to my “Gay Bestie” During Pride Week

A Tribute to my “Gay Bestie” During Pride Week

I’ll be the first to admit it. I grew up as a privileged white female in an equally as white and privileged community. It wasn’t until college and life in New York City that I really started to befriend people of diverse backgrounds. I’ve always considered myself accepting and open, but my surroundings never allowed for certain situations until later in life.

However, like most girls, I always joked that I wanted a “gay bestie” because the thought of having one sounded fun and glamorous. All the girls in the movies that had a gay BFF always had the best time bonding over their likes of boys and lattes. Yet, when I was least expecting it, my wish actually came true in a way that I wasn’t anticipating.

Enter, Nick Gilyard.

About two years out of college I was working in Public Relations in New York City (still am) when I was introduced to my new coworker, Nick. Instantly I noticed that he was the most impeccably dressed, beautiful black man with a grin that lit up the room. You see, the thing is that on the outside Nick isn’t your stereotypical gay male that you would find in a chick flick. He’s often clothed in a pristine fitting suit or a head-to-toe Zara look. He’s well spoken, charismatic, smart as hell and opinionated, but in the best ways possible.

Pretty instantly we started to bond (along with some other amazing coworkers). What started as lunch dates in the communal kitchen area quickly turned to nights out to deep and meaningful conversations about love/relationships, family, life, politics and much more. With time, I finally started to know what it truly meant to have a “gay bestie.”

Nick is much more than someone who I can bond over fashion and Beyoncé with (don’t get me wrong, we still do that), but he’s someone who has opened my eyes to another side of the world. A side that can often be hateful, judgmental and cruel. He’s educated me on the pressures that black men, especially homosexual black men in America face from society. He’s answered all of my weird and sometimes even inappropriate questions with a smile. He’s slept on my couch when he was between apartments (but that’s another story).

On the surface, you’d never know the struggles that Nick has endured because he always takes the high road. I personally have witnessed a cruel comment he received on Facebook and immediately felt my blood boiling and fingers typing something snarky back. Unlike me (whoops), Nick refuses to engage with negativity. If he receives a hateful comment on one of his posts, he believes responding will only set a poor example for others whom might fall victim to cyberbullying. Instead, he stay quiet and lives by the rule of “fighting love with love.” And we can all learn something from him.

Now that’s the gay bestie I always wanted.

In two weeks, I’ll be in Miami to celebrate his marriage and beautiful relationship with his partner Dominic (who is equally as amazing). I couldn’t be more proud to be friends with such inspiring people who are the definition of LOVE. It’s no wonder their love story recently went viral. I promise you, this isn’t the last you’ll be seeing or hearing of these two.

Hair Tips from one of NYC’s Top Stylists: Going from Brunette to Balayage

Hair Tips from one of NYC’s Top Stylists: Going from Brunette to Balayage

Summer is here and with that comes major hair changes! I’ve been lightening my locks for a few years now and this year was no exception, especially when summer rolled around. While I now love the color of my hair, it took me some time to get to this point. I’ve had some dye-fails, as well as a long journey to be “bronde” aka brown-blonde.

Since I get so many questions about my hair, I decided to do a little Q&A with my God-sent colorist, Tre Wyrosdick from Marie Lou & D in SoHo, NYC. Ps: If you say I sent you, you can get 15% off your first service, which is a damn good deal! But before I get into it with Tre, let me tell you a bit about the evolution of my hair.

When I graduated college the “ombre” trend was really taking off. Having very dark brown hair my whole life, I was eager and inspired by stars like Jessica Biel, Rachel Bilson and Eva Mendes, whom like me, had really dark hair yet managed to pull off the lighter-lock trend flawlessly. After much research of “celebrity” stylists, I decided to take the plunge. Since, I’ve never looked back! In fact, I keep wanting to go lighter!

Yet, I definitely had some orange moments throughout the years and it took me some time to find a colorist that I really loved. Enter, Tre. He’s been coloring my hair for just over a year and I swear by his skill. I’ve never met with a stylist whom is so educated in his craft and constantly training to learn new tips & tricks. That said, I wanted to share his knowledge with all of you!

If you’re a brunette who is looking to go light or even just try to new stylist, I think you’ll find the below interview helpful and educational. Any questions? Comment below and I’ll get back to your personally. 
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