how to Archives – A Little Leopard
how to Archives – A Little Leopard

how to Archives – A Little Leopard

I love my hair stylist and my salon, but I sometimes daydream about cheating on them with Anh Co Tran. Just for one cut! Just to see what it’s like! The man basically invented perfectly imperfect, “I woke up like this” waves, except he calls it Lived-In Hair. And trademarked that phrase, thank you very much, because he’s just that good.

Tousled, beachy waves are everywhere, from Pinterest boards and Instagrams to bloggers like Aimee Song and celebrities like Emily Ratajkowski…who of course are some of Tran’s clients.

While he’s based out of LA (and his salon, Ramirez | Tran, is gorgeous), Tran does travel quite a bit. However, something tells me getting styled by Mr. King of Lived-In Hair is out of my price point right now, even if I don’t have to spring for the plane ticket. Luckily, thanks to reading a whole bunch of articles and watching a whole bunch of tutorials featuring Tran’s technique, I’ve gotten much better at styling my own hair. Buying myself a curling wand may have been the single best decision I made in 2015, followed closely by learning how to use it.

Tran uses a traditional curling iron, but I’m terrible at those. I’ve never quite figured them out…however, a nice thick wand (I think mine is 1.5″?) will do the trick just as well. Make sure you don’t wrap your ends around the wand, to avoid overly pageant-girl curls and get more of that casual, cool-girl bedhead look.

The awesome thing about Tran’s style? He claims it will work on every type and texture of hair. That’s also why he cuts dry, to see how hair falls naturally and make sure it looks good without his clients having to do anything…and looks great if they do put effort in. Mm, yeah, sounds ideal. Convinced and want to try it for yourself? Check out the video below; it’s my favorite Anh Co Tran tutorial for how to get messy waves. (Homegirl in the video has super thin hair…just create more sections if you have more hair!)

Plus, shop all the supplies and products you need to create this look. Yes, these are pricey, but if there’s one area you shouldn’t go cheap, it’s haircare, and most of these products come recommended straight from Tran himself!

featured images: Anh Co Tran

Style is an art, and learning how to be stylish does take some effort. Because, in the immortal words of Countess (former Countess? I don’t watch #RHONY anymore…) LuAnn de Lesseps, money can’t buy you style. That’s what she said, right? Style, class, whatever.

Point being: anyone with a credit card can run out and buy whatever the heck they want, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will look good. Like, at all. There are some incredibly ticky-tacky expensive things out there, actually. Budget does not dictate style. Skill and taste dictate style. Luckily, both of those things can be learned — and in a very fun, non-painful, easy way. To get started, here are five quick tips that even the laziest of lazy girls can use to up their style game.

DO A HALF TUCK

A lazy girl invented this and called a Fashion Thing, right? Or J.Crew and Jenna Lyons. Either way, I can’t remember the last time I fully tucked in a shirt. This is such an easy way to elevate the simplest of outfits. Tuck just a bit of your t-shirt into your high-waist skinny jeans and a basic ensemble becomes a “look.” Boom.

ALL IN GOOD MEASURE (OR, PROPORTIONS)

Clothes are like life in that we should strive for balance in both. In outfits, this means that if you are wearing very tight pants, it’s probably a good idea to wear something a little bit looser, boxier and/or generally less tight up top. Yes, even if you are going to Da Club. If you really want to be tight all over, that’s what Herve Leger is for.

LEAVE ONE THING UNDONE

So French, and also a great lazy girl tip. Leave your hair a little mussed, wear sneakers instead of heels, or smudge out your eyeliner. Too polished and put together is boring. This ain’t Stepford, folks.

KNOW THYSELF

If you know what works for your body type and the types of clothes that make you feel good, getting dressed becomes so much easier. Yes, I wish I had Kendall Jenner’s wardrobe, but I also wish I had her body type. No matter how much I work out, though, I will never be a 20 year old supermodel. And that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Know thyself, accept thyself, and learn thy go-to outfits. Is there a particular combo you feel absolutely fabulous wearing? Great! Keep it on standby for those mornings that are just too much.

WHEN IN DOUBT, WEAR ALL BLACK

Because duh.

Shop stylish essentials:

Last week, my wonderful friend Lauren finally launched her blog, The June Twenty Blog. We’ve been friends since college and bonded over our love of lifestyle blogs and websites – we’d always talk about launching our own, so I’m thrilled she’s finally taken the plunge!

I love having blogging friends, and a few other people have told me they want to start a blog, too. Now, I’m by no means claiming to be a massive blogging success – my numbers aren’t anything to write home about, and sometimes I certainly get life/work/etc get in the way of blogging. But for me, it’s an immensely rewarding hobby, and it’s fun to see my work and thoughts and ideas out in the world. It’s even more fun when people who aren’t just your mom and dad start to read it, too (love you guys, though! Appreciate the support!)

So, without further ado, here are some of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up in my first almost-year of blogging:

Just do it!

I am 100% stealing Nike’s slogan right now, but that’s because it totally applies. Honestly, if you think blogging might be something you might want to do – just start! Yes, there is a lot of work that goes into a blog, but you can get a free or relatively inexpensive website and just start posting. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect – but you can’t practice if you don’t do it. Start writing, see if it clicks, and you can learn and build as you go along. In fact, that’s basically what I’ve been doing with A Little Leopard – I got the name, the domain, the host, and I’m figuring out the rest on the way.

Host it yourself

I do highly recommend beginning with WordPress.org, if you’re serious about blogging and think you may want to make money from your blog eventually. Sure, many bloggers started on Blogger or the free WordPress.com or even Squarespace, and they worked in the beginning. When they wanted to take their blogs to the next level, however, they needed to migrate to WordPress.org – and apparently it was a huge ordeal. Signing up for WordPress.org from the get-go, with a good, reliable host like Bluehost, saves that trouble – and to me, it’s worth it.

However, If you’re strictly a hobby blogger and/or just really don’t want to pay for hosting right away, I think Blogger is one of the better free services. I’ve had Blogger blogs in the past, and even heavyweights like Atlantic-Pacific have .blogspot domain names. Plus, there are plenty of designers who make gorgeous themes for Blogger as well – including 17th Avenue Designs, who made my theme! Themes are far cheaper than a full hosting package, letting you further customize your blog without worrying about sacrificing professionalism on a free platform.

Be consistent, but patient

Posting regularly is important. You don’t have to post every day, but if you want to attract and keep readers (which I’m assuming you do!), then make sure they know what to expect from you. Deserting your blog for an extended period of time – which I am totally guilty of doing – looks unreliable. However, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were most blogs. Blogging takes time and hard work! Cut yourself slack, know that it’s a journey, and celebrate the successes along the way.

Gather your resources

No one expects you to know everything from the beginning – or even in the middle. There are lots of bloggers, designers and others who have come before you and are more than willing to share their knowledge. Even before I started A Little Leopard, I was reading and saving articles on all different aspects of blogging. Below are some of my favorite resources, and for more, visit my blogs + design Pinterest board:

  • Independent Fashion Bloggers was one of the first sites I read regularly for blogging tips and tricks, and it is still a treasure trove of resources and information.
  • By Regina is one of my absolute favorite “infopreneurs,” and has amazing posts and resources for both creative entrepreneurs and bloggers. She covers everything from editorial calendars to business plans in approachable, actionable ways.
  • I just love White Oak Creative’s design, aesthetic, and practical blogging advice. Whether you need a complete site overhaul, are looking for gorgeous moodboard to get inspired, or need to figure out more about how SEO works, Lindsay is your girl.
  • The Golden Girl is one of my favorite Chicago bloggers, and a couple of months ago Jess started an “Ask Jess” column all about blogging. I look forward to her videos in my inbox every week – you can access the full archive when you sign up!
  • I also have a few favorite resources for blogging goods and services (some of which I already mentioned above!):
    • My theme is by 17th Avenue Design – they offer amazing pre-made templates at great prices for both Blogger and WordPress
    • For hosting and domain names, I’ve been incredibly happy with Bluehost
    • Need a name for your blog still? You can always use this generator for a good laugh – or perhaps a legitimate idea!
    • If you don’t take your own photos or know a photographer, sourcing good imagery can get tricky. Death to the Stock Photo sends a monthly bundle of 100% free stock photos that don’t look like, well, stock photos – including every image in this post!
    • Want to get lost in pages and pages of gorgeous typefaces, templates and more? Creative Market is your answer.

Whew! This post is by no means comprehensive, but it’s a start. Have you ever thought about starting a blog – or do you already have one? Would you like to see more of this kind of content on A Little Leopard? Let me know in the comments; I’d love to hear from you!

Hear me out on this: Pinterest doesn’t always have to be a spiraling time-suck. I mean, it can (look at all the pretty pictures!), but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, I’m here to argue that you can actually use Pinterest to be more efficient, not less. Harder, better, faster, stronger, if you will.

So, here are five ways to use Pinterest for productivity, and excuse some of those hours “wasted” on the site.

1. Plan your outfits – This one is first because it might be my favorite. Pinterest is a seemingly endless source of sartorial inspiration. Create a board of outfits you’d like to recreate, and try to include ones with pieces similar to things you already own. I’m a huge fan of secret boards for stuff like this: I have my public “wear” board for inspiration, and a secret “outfit planning” board with weather-appropriate outfit options that I can recreate for the week. Because who doesn’t love a good Sunday night Pin-sesh?

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2. Plan your meals – I try to make it a rule to only pin recipes I might actually cook and eat, similar to pinning outfits that feature stuff already in my closet. Before you head to the grocery store, pin a few recipes and use those to start your shopping list. Bonus: if the source of the recipe has “rich pins” enabled, you may not even need to leave Pinterest for the directions!

3. Get in shape – Be your own gym and curate a collection of home workouts and fitness tips on Pinterest. I can’t help you with the motivation to actually do them consistently (in fact if anyone has tips there, I’d greatly appreciate them), but I can certainly help you get started with some choice fitness pins.

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4. Prioritize purchases – Another great way to use secret boards! Sure, I’ve got a public “wishes + wants” board, but that’s more for generous-feeling friends and relatives. I also have a secret board called “things to buy” with things I’d like to purchase myself at some point, whether it’s for my apartment, closet, or something else. Seeing all these wishes in one spot helps me budget and figure out what I really want/need first, instead of running out and spending money on whatever shiny things happen to catch my eye at the moment.

5. Plan a trip, or create a local bucket list – Going on vacation with some friends? Create a collaborative board so you can all plan together! Map-boards are also great for this, whether you’re exploring locally (like my “hometown love” board – please don’t judge the fact that it’s currently mostly bars and coffeeshops…) or internationally.

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Do you use Pinterest to help organize your life? What are some of your favorite productivity hacks?

I don’t know about you, but it’s super hard for me to be mad, sad or stressed when leaving the office and it’s still warm and sunny outside. Spring is a time of new beginnings, optimism and inspiration – and I, for one, am inspired to deep clean my apartment. And my closet. And lots of other things.

So, with the help of some of my favorite sites and Pinned tips, I’ve assembled a handy dandy little guide to spring cleaning your living areas and closet (because, let’s be honest, spring cleaning your digital life/health/wellness/whatever can be a whole different story…)

  • The lazy person’s guide to spring cleaning? Yes, please. Tips for nearly every item in your house.
  • Once your place is in good shape, check out this infographic with info on what to do every day, week, season, etc. to keep your home clean.
  • Bathrooms can be the worst to tackle – but if you’ve got 15 minutes, you’ve got enough time.
  • Even making the bed can wake a place up and make it seem brighter and cleaner (especially a studio). This video has a quick and easy way to make a beautiful bed.
  • Clothes looking a little worse for the wear? These hacks will help you keep them in top shape.
  • And while you’re cleaning your clothes, you’ll probably be inspired to organize them – check out three easy ways to streamline your wardrobe.

Do you have any spring cleaning hacks to share? Let me know in the comments!