Fashion & Beauty

As the beauty industry continues to profit off of socially constructed insecurities, the vast majority of women may feel pressured to remove their body hair. Last year one million people sought laser hair removal in the United States, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. With an image of perfectly hairless skin in mind, women are pouring resources into these types of treatments just because they feel like they have to.

One fitness blogger is trying to change that.

In a recent viral video, blogger Morgan Mikenas shared that she has not shaved her legs or armpits for a year. With more than 700,000 views and counting, Mikenas says in the video that she did this to become more comfortable with her natural self.

“I haven’t shaved my legs for over a year, and I will never go back. The purpose of this video is not to shame people who do shave,” Mikenas wrote in the video description. “I just want to speak on how it’s helped me become more comfortable within myself, and maybe inspire others to do something that makes them feel confident.”

Pop Sugar reports that Mikenas said that she was bullied in middle school for having hairy legs. She said in the video that she did not feel beautiful when she had hair on her legs.

“When I would let my leg hair grow out in the past I would feel dirty, I would feel kind of ashamed because I just didn’t feel feminine,” she said. “So, then I would feel obligated to go shave my legs so I would feel good and feel sexy, but not anymore. Honestly I frickin’ love my hair, I love my body hair, I love the hair that grows on my body. I just like being my most natural and human self.”

Mikenas isn’t alone. According to recent surveys, about 99% of American women remove some amount of hair from their bodies, and many do so every single day. Mikenas clarified in the video that she is not trying to pressure anyone to stop removing their body hair. Rather, she is aiming to encourage her followers to embrace their true selves.

“I’m not trying to make all of humanity just stop shaving their armpits and leg hair anymore,” she said. “I just want to inspire others in what works for you, what makes you feel the most comfortable.”

I share a lot of photos of my daughter. A lot. And while I do love shooting photos of her because she’s gorgeous, I promise that’s not the only reason I do it. I take hundreds of photos of her every week because she is a brand rep.

If you’re not familiar with the term, a brand rep is a person who represents your brand online by providing high-quality photos wearing or using your products and sharing them with their own followers.

If you are a business owner who is struggling to get high-quality photos of your products, keep reading.

I got Juliza started brand repping about a year ago, and it is very different from the blogging model I was used to. In my previous interactions with brands, unless we had an agreement beforehand or they contracted and paid me, there was never a guarantee that I would post about any products they sent to me. They were taking a chance in hopes that I would, like many brands and businesses do with influencers, or they’d just pay for the privilege if they wanted guaranteed exposure.

Many small businesses can’t afford to send free products to influencers in hopes of getting a social media or blog post in return, or they’re not willing to take that risk. Brand repping removes much of that risk.

How Does Brand Repping Work

Instead of randomly sending product to influencers, brand repping allows brands to form a relationship with a rep, or even a team of reps. And when a rep takes on the responsibility of working with a brand and signs on as an official part of the team, we are promising to uphold our end of the bargain:

Reps get free or steeply discounted products in exchange for high-quality photos of those products in use, and help promoting the brand.

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Before million dollar brands come here thinking that you can get free photos out of folks by employing this model, please understand that the reason this works without a lot of friction is that we are working with small brands. We want to help the small shop community succeed, which is why we are willing to exchange photos for no promise of payment.

If you can afford to pay influencers to work with you, you absolutely should reward them for their time and effort.

How to Get Started

Working with brand reps isn’t rocket science, but there is a right way to approach it. The first thing you should do is head over to Instagram. This is where the majority of the brand rep community lives, and it is the best place to find reps to work with your brand, as you can easily see from their feeds whether their photography style fits your needs.

Start by searching hashtags for reps:
#brandrep  |  #brandreppin  |  #brandrepsearch  |  #repsearch

Need a step-by-step guide?

I’ve got you covered. I took the time to write a comprehensive eBook guide for small shops and brands who are looking to work with brand reps to get amazing photos that will help you grow. And it’s a steal compared to the hundreds or even thousands of dollars you’d spend hiring a photographer.


$19.95 Add to cart

For just $19.95, you get:

  • A breakdown of all the tiers of brand repping, and why all reps are not made equal
  • A step-by-step guide to hosting a rep search, so reps will come to you
  • Details on several other ways to find reps, if you don’t want to do a search
  • Guidance on picking a team that will help you grow
  • A guide to writing a rep contract, including a sample contract

This is an introductory price that is only available for a limited time! Compare that to $100+ or even $1000+ to hire a photographer.

$19.95 Add to cart

Still need convincing?

Take another look at the photos in this blog post. I shot every single one for my daughter’s role as a brand rep. The brands represented get to use these amazing photos on their social media pages and websites to help sell their products. There are tons of other reps out there with similar or better photography skills.

A post shared by Juliza Ann (@julizaann) on

The photo above recently went viral, and as a result, the brand received tons of interest in her clothing and new conversions.

If you are struggling to get sales for your small brand because your photos are less than stellar, building a team of brand reps is a great way to get amazing images for a low cost. What are you waiting for?

Buy the guide for just $19.95 and save hundreds!

$19.95 Add to cart

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is next week, and we’re just a few short weeks away from Christmas. This is my favorite time of year for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that I get to dress up myself and my kids in fun, stylish clothes for holiday photo ops. We love everything from Christmas PJs to fancy dresses for our yearly family Christmas card.

At Carter’s, I know I’ll be able to find fabulous outfits for my toddler at a great price for every occasion. Whether you’re looking for traditional holiday staples or a more modern, trendy looks, there’s something to fit every taste. And more importantly, I know I can trust Carter’s clothes to be comfortable and high-quality — both incredibly important when dressing a picky toddler.

Here are the three amazing looks I found:

Look 1: Christmas PJs

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My family loves Christmas pajamas. I get a kick out of picking out a pair that each member of my family will love to open on Christmas eve. Juliza loves tutus. So when I spotted this set, I knew it was perfect for my princess.

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She is in love with them, as expected. Carter’s has a ton of different styles of girl pajamas to choose from, including some made of cozy fleece. My tutu-loving child got a set that is absolutely perfect for her.

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Look 2: Holiday Outing

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We spend a lot of time on the go this time of year. There’s always shopping to be done or family to visit, and some days, we just want to get out of the house. This look is perfect for any of those.

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These fabulous plaid leggings are fleece lined, so they’ll still work even when the weather in Georgia turns from cool to straight up cold. And this vest is one of Juliza’s current favorite pieces. She wants to wear it All. The. Time.

There are a million ways to wear each of these pieces, so I can’t wait to mix and match them for maximum wear throughout fall and winter.

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Look 3: Family Christmas Card

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Somehow, year after miraculous year, I manage to successfully talk my family into posing for a photo, which I use to make our yearly Christmas card. Not only that — I manage to get them into outfits that coordinate with the color palette we’ve chosen for our decor. This year, we chose silver and gold (in lieu of gray and yellow to match our living room. Christmas decor in those colors is all but nonexistent).

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When I found this gorgeous two-piece set, I scooped it up immediately because I knew it would be perfect for our family photo. The fabric looks and feels luxurious, cream with a gold embroidered pattern. Juliza also chose an adorable beaded bracelet set to go with her “princess dress”, as she called it. I dare say the girl has great taste.

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The hardest part of shopping at Carter’s is choosing what to buy, because there are so many stylish options. If you’re obsessed like I am, you don’t want to miss their upcoming Black Friday deals. They’re offering a “Dash In to Win” sweepstakes, where the first 100 people to arrive at your local Carter’s or OshKosh store will win promo cards. The Dash In to Win Sweepstakes will be held on Thanksgiving or Black Friday (11/24 – 11/25) – depending on whether your local store is open on Thanksgiving. Be sure to check www.carters.com/store to find out which date the sweepstakes will be held at your store.

And because I love you, here’s an awesome coupon that you can use to make the great deals you find even better.

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You can use the coupon in store or at carters.com. You’re welcome 🙂

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Boden as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

Back-to-school time is an exciting time in our house. I’ll admit — most of that excitement is probably mine. After spending a whole summer cooped up with the kids, I will fully disclose that I do look forward to getting at least one of them out of the house with stuff to do for most of the day. But besides that, my daughter and I love shopping for school supplies and — more importantly — new school clothes.

OK. We can argue about which is more important another time. We just like shopping for clothes, and going back to school is the perfect excuse to do so. So finding a new place to shop is a bit like hitting the lottery around here. Finding Boden and their Mini Boden line feels like a jackpot.

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Boden is an amazing clothing retailer in the UK, and their Mini Boden line makes it really easy to outfit your kids in on-trend, stylish clothes that can be mixed, matched and styled in a variety of ways. And if you click this link to their site, you have a chance to get 25% off your order. The Back to School collection will have your kids headed to class dressed to the nines in clothes that will last. Because let’s be honest — as fun as it is to shop for the first few weeks, there’s no point in buying clothes that won’t last beyond that. Mini Boden offers fashion that is great to look at, but also made of durable, quality fabrics and materials. That much become clear when my daughter and I received the two outfits we picked from the collection.

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This dress is the stuff my daughter’s dreams are made of. She loves the low fit-and-flare silhouette, and the sequins make her feel fancy. And one of her favorite feelings is definitely fancy. Even better: It meets the school dress code. It’s just long enough (fingertip length is the requirement), and there are no spaghetti straps to contend with. Plus, paired with a sweater or jacket and some leggings, she can still wear it when the weather starts to turn cooler.

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The sneakers are another amazing find. Who doesn’t love gold glitter, amirite?

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The second outfit can only be described as cute (+ heart eyes emoji, like 6 times). This adorable corduroy pinafore skirt feels like back-to-school perfection, and we paired it with a basic striped tee in a coordinating color. Except that the shirt is anything but basic. The fabric is actually pretty heavy, and it will be an amazing transitional piece when fall starts approaching winter.

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Overall, the Mini Boden collection did not disappoint. Between the abundance of colors and patterns, and the variety of styles, from whimsical to sophisticated, it is a great place to outfit your kids as they head back to class.

And this is what you get when you mix a silly kid with cute clothes:

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Win a Boden Gift Card

#BacktoSchoolwithBoden Giveaway

I-C will randomly select 3 winners from all program entries and will handle fulfillment of the winning prizes.

I decided to grow out my naturally curly hair way back in 2009, and I have never regretted that decision. I have never felt more like myself than I do with natural hair. But one of the biggest adjustments was learning how to care for it, and that there is a difference between what I do and the products I use in the winter and what I do during the summer. So when Walmart asked me to share some summer beauty tips, my hair was my first thought. If you’re struggling to care for your hair in the heat of the summer, here are some of my favorite tips for keeping it beautiful and manageable.

Moisturize, then moisturize again

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Once upon a time, I thought my hair needed oil for moisture. Once I went natural, I quickly learned that what my hair needs instead is water. A lot of water. In the summer, when there is no worry of getting sick from walking out the door with a head full of wet hair, I like to spray it with either straight water, or a water-based spray like Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Refresher Spray (available at Walmart) at least once or twice a day, preferably at night before retwisting. This is especially true for my youngest daughter, whose hair is very prone to dryness. A quick spray and retwist leaves her hair well moisturized and glossy the next day.

Add oil after water

When I wash my hair in the summer, I like adding a light penetrating oil throughout my strands to help seal in the moisture from the water. My hair tends to prefer olive or avocado oil, but coconut oil works for a lot of naturals as well. After washing, simply squeeze out excess water, pull the oil through your hair from root to tip, then condition as you normally would. This process leaves my hair soft and well-moisturized, exactly how I like it.

Lose the Split Ends

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I admit that I have a hard time with this one myself. I am not a fan of cutting my hair. But in my experience, holding on to my broken, uneven ends just makes my hair prone to tangles and make it difficult to retain length. This becomes even more true in the summer when I’m more likely to become lazy with my hair and ignore an issue like this. I’m in need of a trim right now, in fact.

Deep Wash After Swimming

For the most part, I co-wash my hair, meaning I wash primarily with conditioner. But during the summer, when we’re more likely to go swimming in chlorine or salt water, it is important to wash it out thoroughly and deep condition your hair. My favorite clarifying shampoo is Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo, and I love using their Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner for deep treating my strands.

What other tips do you have for naturalistas who are trying to care for their hair in the scorching summer? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

Outfit: Summer Dressing

Can I be honest for a second? Summers in Georgia are generally too damn hot to be worried about getting dressed up. Most days, stepping outside feels a lot like turning on a blow dryer in my face at full force, and I just want to wear effortless outfits that don’t require much thought. So when Walmart asked me to shop for a dress, I couldn’t wait to share what I found — because it just might be the perfect summer dress.

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I’m actually proud of myself for this one, because I typically stay away from strapless dresses because large boobies. But thanks to an awesome strapless bra, I can enjoy all the fabulous that is this dress.

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This strapless floral maxi from No Boundaries is the kind of dress that you I can wear for a day spent chilling with my family, but easily rock it for a date night with the hubby or a more dressy occasion. Even better? It cost me less than $15!

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There were a ton of other great maxi and cocktail length summer dresses to choose from as well, including a super cute halter scarf dress that I couldn’t find in my size. But this one? I am genuinely in love, and I’m going to be wearing it every chance I get.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

Memorial Day is regarded as the “official” start of summer, and lots of families take advantage of the occasion with cookouts or trips to the beach or pool. Our Memorial Day celebration is a bit different: Every year (except last year, because toddler), we spend the whole weekend celebrating Atlanta’s Caribbean Carnival. There are parades, concerts, picnics and parties, and there is usually a nonstop rush of stuff to do.

As such, our Memorial Day outfit planning has to account for the fact that we want to be cute, but need to be comfortable. This is especially true for Juliza. We’ll spend pretty much all day Saturday and Sunday outdoors, so anything she wears needs to be cool. And though we’ll have both a stroller and my favorite structured baby carrier on hand, I know she’ll spend a lot of time running around, so her clothes need to be comfortable enough to allow that.

When Walmart challenged me to find some Memorial Day outfits for her, I headed to my local store with these things in mind. And we managed to walk away with two outfits that are both super cute and comfy enough for a hot, busy weekend.

Look 1: Garanimals Separates

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If I’m 100% honest, I usually stay away from the Garanimals table. I’m usually not a fan of the colors, prints and patterns available, and sometimes, the fit can be off. But on this trip, these polka dot shorts caught my eye on the separate table. For one thing, they were only $4.88, but I’m also a sucker for monochromatic black and white outfits for Juliza, because it’s always easy to complete the outfit with shoes and accessories she already owns. I found a great lace tank top to go with it, also for $4.88, and decided I’d actually take the chance and let her wear a white shirt. Pray for us.

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I got these gladiator sandals from Zulily a few weeks ago, and they’ve become fast favorites for both of us. She loves shoes, and she can run around in these comfortably, but I can always switch them out for sneakers if she starts to complain. We added a fabulous handmade, reversible headwrap that just happened to have polka dots on one side, and the look was complete.

Seriously, I’m starting to get jealous of the fact that her wardrobe and shoe game are SO much better than mine!

Look 2: Healthtex Outfit

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For the second look, I headed to the racks to find a pre-coordinated outfit. In this case, we were able to get the top, shorts AND flip flops for just $8.98 (and it’s just $7.50 at Walmart.com). It’s highly unlikely I’ll let her wear the flip flops while we’re out and about away from home, but she loves wearing them when we go play outside, and I so appreciate the fact that they come with straps, so they actually stay on her feet.

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The slippers from the last Healthtex outfit we got at Walmart have already gotten a ton of use, and I know these will get lots of use too. The outfit is almost worth the price for that alone. But the colors and patterns are fabulous too.

I wish I could say that my own Memorial Day outfits are planned and ready to go, but that’s not the case. But that’s OK. At least Juliza is taken care of, and I know she’ll be fly.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

Lately, life hasn’t given me many reasons to feel like dressing up. Of course, once upon a time (not that long ago, really), I didn’t need a reason to get dressed. I just did it because it made me feel good. Well, I’m trying to get back in the habit of doing that. And I couldn’t think of a better way to do that than by sharing the new spring/summer collection from LNBF.

You may recall from the last time I wrote about them at LNBF, with stands for “Leave Nothing But Footprints”, is a company dedicated to making beautiful, fashionable clothes that are also eco-friendly. They use fabrics like bamboo, organic cotton and Tencel, and they are among the few companies making sustainable clothing in sizes up to XXL.

Their new collection is amazing — so much so that some of my favorite pieces were already sold out in my size (hello, Vivian Tunic!). But there is so much to choose from that I couldn’t wait to play dress up. Keep reading. There’s a chance for you to do the same at the end of the post.

Look 1

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The Katie Tunic Dress is going to the front of my closet for the rest of spring and summer. I’ve been funny about dresses lately, because I haven’t been in the mood to wear anything clingy, and dresses rarely have pockets, which I usually need. (Side note: Who the heck told dress and skirt makers we don’t need pockets? They were wrong!) The Katie dress is silky soft and smooth, so it wears like a dream. It feels like wearing pajamas, but about a million times more stylish. And the pockets sealed the deal. Katie and I go together now. Somebody should tell my husband.

This dress is available in colors in sizes up to XXL.

Look 2

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Can we talk about how perfect the Heidi Chiffon Tunic is? The bodice made of super soft bamboo. The bottom of the tunic is made of chiffon that is just barely translucent. It’s the kind of top that can really make an outfit, and I’m already planning a bunch of ways I can wear it. I’ll definitely pair it with some distressed denim shorts when the weather gets inevitably hotter. For spring though, I added my favorite straw hat white denim. It’s available in midnight blue, or black with floral chiffon.

Look 3

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I don’t know if you can tell, but I feel super cute in the Ellie Dress. Some people say plus size women shouldn’t wear horizontal stripes. Well, I’ve never been the type of pay much attention to fashion rules. I prefer to wear what makes me feel good, and this dress? Makes me feel amazing. It is soft and flouncy and chic. I can wear with with a denim jacket or chambray shirt, or bare my arms when it gets too hot to cover them up. Ellie is also available in four colors.

Look 4

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Last, but most certainly not least, is the Alexa Tunic Dress. This dress is a bit heavier than the rest, so I’ll likely wear it on cooler days. But I LOVE the mesh detail at the top. It makes the whole look feel less casual and more dressed up. It’s the kind of dress you could easily wear to work, then switch shoes and accessories for a night out. Get it in black or midnight blue.

Giveaway

Now are you ready? It’s your turn to get fancy. LNBF wants to bless one of you with a $100 gift card so you can try out their spring & summer collection! Enter via the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bonus! Coupon Code

If you want to start shopping now (or get the most out of your gift card, if you’re the winner) get 20% off! That’s right! LNBF is offering Green & Gorgeous readers 20% off with coupon code GREENLOVE20.

Disclosure: I received clothing for review from LNBF. All opinions stated here are my own and completely accurate.