Color Me NYC – Lower Manhattan Guide

23rd March 2017

FullSizeRender 12FullSizeRender 7 Although I live in NYC and have for years now, there is still so much of it I’ve yet to see. Over the past year I’ve made a conscious effort to explore more neighborhoods and fun things to do in each of them so I can share them with you. To kick things off, I’m starting at the bottom and talking about lower manhattan, or the southern tip of the city – specifically financial district and battery park area.FullSizeRender 21FullSizeRender 11

If you aren’t familiar with Manhattan (which to be honest, there is so much packed in a tiny city so I can’t blame you) the city is broken up into districts or neighborhoods and areas – where areas are essentially larger groups of districts (I know, I know, this sounds like the hunger games, but stay with me). So while lower Manhattan is an “area”, it’s made up of neighborhood’s like the Financial District (also known as White Hall and Wall Street) and battery park city. If you want to get really technical, you can include anything under Soho into lower manhattan, which would include China Town, TriBeCa, Two Bridges and Civic Center – but for today we’re just focusing on FiDi (Financial District) and Battery Park City.

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WOOOO, okay now that you got all of that, let’s get started!

Five Things to do in Lower Manhattan:FullSizeRender 19FullSizeRender 6

Freedom Tower / One World Trade – One of the first things that comes to mind in Lower Manhattan is the Freedom tower, One World Trade Observatory and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. If you’re looking for more of a lengthy visit then the observatory and museum is for you, but if you just want to stop by and see the fountains at ground zero, you can do that quickly, easily and for free. Either way, if you’re down there this area is a must see.

Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island – Continuing the Touristy trend of One World Trade, you can hit up other NYC go-tos like the Statue of Liberty of Ellis Island. Most of these are guided boat tours leaving from around South Street Seaport that range in costs depending on the group size and tour description. 

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South Street Seaport – This is a historic area where Fulton street meets the East River, neighboring FiDi. It has some of the oldest and most historic architecture in the city, including former Fish Markets and renovated sailing ships that have since been converted to small shops and fun restaurants. I love walking around down here, getting seafood or just enjoying the view! If you’re looking for something a bit more organized, I suggest starting at the South Street Seaport Museum before wandering around on your own.

FullSizeRender 5Stone Street – As a big Hamilton Fan and semi history buff, I love seeing Stone Street! This was the first paved street in the city and home to a bunch of historic bars and spots that the founding fathers met at! It’s cool to see that these things are still standing, and are essentially where history was made. Stop by for a bite, drink or just to take a pic on your walk from South Street Seaport to …

Brookfield Place – If the history & walking tours aren’t for you, but great food, killer shopping and a full indoor experience is, you’ll have to hit up Brookfield Place. Located in Battery Park City, this is a fairly new shopping spot and one of Manhattan’s only Malls (and IMO the only one worth visiting). There you can eat at Hudson Eats, which has some of my favorite low-key places to eat in the city (Mighty Quinns, Dig Inn & Sprinkles, obvi) or dine in at one of our favorite restaurants, PJ Clarks.

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F- R – E – E – Who doesn’t love free stuff? If you’re looking to do lower manhattan on a budget, here are some completely free things FullSizeRender 13

Tour City Hall (must be reserved in advance)
Take the Staten Island Ferry (for a great view of the city and the Statue of Liberty)
See the Stock Exchange (after 3pm)
Take a selfie with The Bull
Do Cartwheels in Battery Park (or just walk around, that works too).

Some of the things I mentioned above in the Five Things To Do List (Stone Street, Brookfield Place, South Street Seaport) are also free but will usually require you to spend money if you eat or shop there.
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I hope you liked this mini guide to Lower Manhattan, let me know where you would like me to share next.FullSizeRender 14

Shop My Look:FullSizeRender 18FullSizeRender 16


Furla Metropolis Mini Navy Blue Leather Crossbody Bag • Furla • $298
New perfect-fit T-shirt in stripe • J.Crew • $29.50
Women’s J.crew Toothpick Jeans • J.Crew • $115
Printed Linear Scarf • Old Navy • $12
Oversized Wool Blend Coat • Halston • $278 

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Common Projects Suede Chelsea Boots • Common Projects • $525
EASTPAK Pak’r leather backpack • Eastpak • $155
Quilted Wool-Blend Jacket for Men • Old Navy • $66.99
Herschel Supply Co. Owen Baseball Cap • Herschel • $29.97
Standard fit jeans (stretch) • Gap • $49.95
Dawson Crewneck Tee • Twenty • $39
Men’s Alternative Challenger Trim Fit Hoodie • Alternative • $54

Meet your new Bra BFF

21st March 2017

FullSizeRender 7Bra’s are a girl’s best friend … well kind of.FullSizeRender 2

What’s the first thing you do when you get home? For me – it’s take off my bra.

Let’s get real. bra’s aren’t fun – they’re a necessary evil, uncomfortable and kind of awkward. This is even more true when you’re wearing a white t-shirt, something that should be easy and comfortable but can become a nightmare if you aren’t wearing the right under garments.FullSizeRender 5

EnterThirdLove, a revolutionary new way of looking at a girl’s best friends. They’re designed for the modern women with increased comfort, premium details and (most importantly) a better fit, complete with a 100% fit guarantee.

Recently, they’ve launched the New Nakeds, a variety of “nude” shades for diverse skin tones. Growing up biracial, I’ve always struggled with finding the perfect “nude” bra – everything I found was always a light beige, that didn’t compliment my caramel complexion. As a result, when I would wear a light white tee, you could see the bra or the outline of the bra, prevent it from being truly nude.FullSizeRender
Perfect nude pushups:


I love that the ThirdLove The New Nakeds collection creates a variety of colors for every skin type, so we can all be comfortable and confidence in a great bra and a white tee, or any other look that needs a nude. FullSizeRender 9
Tried and true t-shirt bras:


The best part? that even if it’s not your exact skin shade, all five of these hues are beautiful colors you’ll want in your wardrobe. For example, I picked up Nude 2 and Nude 3 for a variety of options, depending on my outfit.FullSizeRender 3

OH HEY GUESS WHAT – Now you can find your perfect fit in a shade that complements your skin tone AND try it for free for 30 days, WOO! Color Me Courtney readers can try the New Nakeds free for 30 days — just head here and check it out

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Thanks to R.style and ThirdLove for partnering on this post – per usual all opinions are my own. 

Spring in my Step

17th March 2017

IMG_1913Spring has sprung! … Or has it?!   IMG_1977IMG_1935Someday (hopefully soon), we’ll be in full blown spring, complete with flowers blooming, perfect weather and days spent wandering the west village. My goto spring wardrobe is a pretty dress, fun color pallet and comfortable walking shows, like these Samantha style from Naturalizer.IMG_1945

When winter finally melts away, I like to spend as much time as possible alfresco. From eating to shopping to location scouting, somedays I’ll spend hours on end in the great out doors walking around. As a result, on a day like this – comfort is key.IMG_1963IMG_1934 (1)

I found these cute pointed toe flats from Naturalizer and thought they would fit perfectly in my closet. I love that they’re a light mint green color they also come in other neutrals) because they go with so many looks without being too much of a statement color. Most importantly, they’re a great walking shoe! Something you can take with you on a vacay or wear all day when you’re wondering the cobble stone streets of the West Village in the big apple. Their chic enough to wear with something fashion forward, conservative enough to take to work and work great with a flirty wrap dress (pictured), white skinny jeans, or a flirty skirt. IMG_1963

Whether you’re off to a meeting, flower run, or brunch with your girls, the Samantha can take you there in comfort and style. I can’t wait to pack these with me as I head to a few fun walking destinations and locations this season – I have Mexico City and Bahamas on the book, right now but am looking forward to more fun locations as well!IMG_1938

So here’s to spring! I hope she comes out to play, so we can do the same. Till then, you can shop the Samantha at naturalizer.com

SHOP THE LOOK:


Thanks to Naturalizer for sponsoring this post, as always all opinions are my own

Cadet Kelly!

6th March 2017

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At Ease Solider. What’s cute & girly yet tough and strong? This look (obvi) but also Cadet Kelly!

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If you have no idea what or who Cadet Kelly is: 1 – thanks for making me feel old, 2 – I’m pretty sure you can (and should) watch it on Netflix (P.S. we didn’t have Netflix as a kid you youngsters –  we had to wait till shows came on live… I know, THE HORROR!!!) and 3 – I’ll explain more below.

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Every girl needs a go-to utility jacket in their closet. I bought an oversized army one from Goodwill years ago, and still wear it as a layering piece or belted over a dress. It’s a timeless trend that is forever being reinvented and recreated with fun new ways to wear it.

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I recently picked up this lace embroidered one – it was love at first sight and I knew I had to have it! What drew me to it, was the unique flirty twist on a classic style and how it works effortlessly with dressy or casual pieces.

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Featured Piece:
It’s a splurge, but worth every penny – here are a few places you can pick one up
For reference I’m wearing a size 2!


Veronica Beard • $695  // Veronica Beard • $695  // Veronica Beard • $695

Look for Less Options:
While I’m all about a good investment piece, I also appreciate a less expensive option – here are a few examples

In case you haven’t noticed, I kind of sort of love color – so a muted army green color doesn’t really fit in my rainbow closet… until now. Here are a few tried and true color combinations for wearing army green, but still staying true to your unicorn candy colored soul.

SHOP COLOR COMBOS


Sunglasses • $320 // Dress • $194 // Shoes • $425
Dress • $34.99 // Bag • $1,650 // Sneakers • $95
Dress • $748 // Sunnies • $300 // Dress • $44.97 // T-Shirt • $9.98


Blouse • $65 // Bag • $39 // Flats • $129.95
Sunglasses• $175 // Blouse • $78 // Earrings • $65
Dress • $129 // Dress • $57.50 // Pumps • $575 // Pumps • $595


Dress • $21.50 // Earrings • $32 // Heels • $245
Mules • $98 // Hair Clip • $9.99 // Bag • $64.97 // Dress • $138.60


Top • $39.99 // Wristlet • $125 // Loafer • $120
Skirt • $110 // Heel Sandal •  $120 // Top • $40 // Dress • $440

ICYMI – I previewed this look on instagram a few days ago talking all about Cadet Kelly,FullSizeRender 39

I loved reading all your comments about some of your favorite DCOM (Disney Channel Original Movies) or ZOOG Movies on the post, took me back to my childhood. Awhhh, the good ol’ days. I often feel bad for kids growing up today, I meannnn how are you supposed to learn any of life’s important lessons while having a good laugh without valuable shows and movies like Lizzie McGuire, Even Stevens, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, Smart House and more? Is the next generation screwed because we took all of the best shows & movies? Yes, probably, because that my friends, is the determining fact of a success of a generation … obviously. Alright, alright, I’m kind of kidding – they’ll probably be fine despite developing without Halloweentown .. IDK, maybe.

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SHOP THE LOOK:


Utility Jacket • $695 // Lace Tunic Dress • $465 // Sunglasses • $250
Pumps • $120 // Dress • $98 // Army Jacket • $75
Lace Mini Dress • $475 // Pumps • $525 // Sunglasses • $280
Bucket Bag • $895 // Body Bag • $298  // Utility Jacket • $99.90

FullSizeRender 34For more ways to wear a military jacket, check out this awesome article on Not Jess Fashion

Blogging Outside the Lines

3rd March 2017

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I get so many questions about how to grow on Instagram or become a full time blogger and to be honest, I don’t answer them. I don’t do this to be mean or to keep secrets but because “how to grow on Instagram” isn’t a question I can answer… but, if you’re interested in building a brand – and finding your own place in the industry – then I can help you … here’s my story.

Today we’re traveling back in time as I share some of my history and growth over the past few years. I’ll start at the beginning, share my story, and include some tips and tricks along the way. Most Importantly, this post is about embracing your uniqueness and daring to be different (because as you know, perfect is so boring). So, get ready to expect the unexpected and learn a little bit more about me – PLUS to say THANK YOU there’s a giveaway at the bottom of this post – yay!

2014

Ribbet collage 2014

I had about 1K followers on Instagram – consisting mostly of people I had gone to high school with. I had just attended my first Fashion Week and started my first day at Coach, when I decided to turn my blog into a business (before then, I had only used it as a resume boosting tool to show potential employers that, despite having degrees in business and an MBA, I had a real interest in fashion).

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When I decided to turn Color Me Courtney into a business and a brand, influencer marketing wasn’t anything like it is now. To be honest, I didn’t really think I could have a full time job as a blogger – I thought I would always have both, a full-time job and CMC.

I went into it as I do most things – by studying. I found and followed big bloggers then started mimicking their outfits, Instagram aesthetic, and photography. I bought the sunglasses they wore, attempted to re-create outfits that emulated their style and tried (and failed) at perfecting their poses … I was miserable, and not at all me.

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After about two weeks I was exhausted. I was putting all of my energy into working from 9-5 and keeping up this blogger charade in my free time. I quickly realized that if I wanted to be successful, there were a lot of unknowns, but I was sure of one thing – if I was going to spend my nights, mornings, lunch breaks and weekends working on Color Me Courtney, the brand I was going to build had to be 100% unapologetically me.

It didn’t happen over night but I gradually started to shed the sunnies, show my face (and personality), and dress outside the lines. I stopped stalking other bloggers and started looking for inspiration within. Although I still struggled with shooting sans sunglasses, I did my best to get good shots despite loosing this security blanket. I strayed from typical methods of growing (basically every method you could read about on the internet at the time) and developed my own ways of building a community and following. I went to every event I could. I constantly reached out to brands, publications, and pr firms; and spent all of my time blogging to the beat of my own drum.

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Summer 2014
Although I was doing my own thing, I still felt alone in the blogger community. I didn’t have any blogger friends and that was really hard on me (I’m a people person). In an attempt to meet some gals, I hosted a blogger party at my apartment and invited all my favorite girls – this also helped me grow on Instagram by about 1K. I remember hearing the girls (with about 50K on IG at the time) talk about getting ready to leave their full times job to blog and not understanding how they were making that kind of money … I’ll share how much I made off the blog in 2014 a few comments below, but it wasn’t nearly enough to pay my rent!

For the blogger event I threw #Macaronsandmimosas, I reached out to a million PR contacts and asked them to gift goodies for the gift bags. Most of them said no, but it helped me build relationships with those who said yes. It also demonstrated that I can create my own collabs and opportunities while exercising my party planning skills. Most importantly, I got to meet a bunch of bloggers. After that, we started exchanging invites and I just continued to meet more and more girls while becoming more established in the community IRL (instead of just online).

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Fun fact! I’ve since learned that a few of the bloggers I reached out to and invited to this event made fun of me behind my back because of it. Laughing at me for doing something different, or making a fool out of myself because I was a “nobody”. The funniest part is those girls don’t even know I know they said those things, lol well maybe they do now – but they’ve always been nice to my face despite what was said behind my back.

Here’s one thing I’ll share about the blogger community – it’s clique-y and filled with drama. If you’re new, find a good group of girls who you can trust and be very careful before opening up to those outside of it. This was really hard for me and I got burned a few times by former blogger friends before learning who my true crew was/is. It really shook my trust because I had never experienced drama like this, not even in high school, so I had NO CLUE how to deal. The only advice I can give you, is to not compare yourself to others and always trust your gut.

Fall 2014
Equipped with new blogger friends, I went to NYFW and had a blast. In September 2014 I was up to 10K on IG and my blog had increased about 25% in traffic since March. I became friends will Lex and Elena (of @lexiconofstyle and @anewyorkloveaffair) at a racing event, and we went to SO MANY events together. At one of these events I met Olivia of @oliviajeanette_ (formerly Corporate Catwalk) through Naty of @natymichele.

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Holiday 14
Right around Christmas, and about a year of juggling Coach and Color Me Courtney, I grew to 25K on Instagram. In the first week of December I was featured on the LiketoKNOW.it Instagram for the first time (gaining 900 followers) and we saw another 30% increase in blog traffic.

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By then, I had developed a signature style (my go to red lipstick, bold patterns, fun color combos) and began getting offered a few collaborations. Paris was living in the city and working just as hard as I was to build CMC all while trying to find his own way in New York.  To build off momentum, I hosted my first #colormecookie party and invited my current blogger crew…. including Olivia. I grew another 2Kish from the party and generated some buzz in the smaller blogger bubble in NYC.

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Fun Fact – this was my first time really hanging out with Olivia! She came into my apartment and met Waffles my frenchie… and that was it. She didn’t talk to anyone or make one cookie the whole party, just snuggled with Waffles. As she left, she said “I‘m texting my husband, we’re getting one” … TBH I thought she was full of it, but 4 days later she sent me a photo of her new frenchie and I knew we were destined to be besties.

I’m not 100% positive, but in 2014 I probably made between $5-7K on my blog, this is a combination of small collabs ($100- $200 price points) and affiliate commisions. I remember when I got one collab that included a series of posts for a total of $1,200 – I was at a makeup event with Lex when I got the email and I remember freaking out! Throughout the year, I probably spent around $5-6K on blog related activities (new equipment, clothing, props, etc) so I’ll estimate I netted $1K for the year (but once again just a guess!). Also, in December of 2014 I was in RedBook magazine (my first magazine feature, along side my Idol Brad Goreski … side note, he’s not as awesome as you think he would be – he’s BETTER and still remembers me every time I see him, HE’S THE SWEETEST!!!! ). I remember crying when Paris brought one home for me and feeling like I was maybe, kind-of, doing something right.

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2015 (weee!)

Ribbet collage 2015

In 2015 I hit the ground running and started coming into my own as a blogger and really enjoyed standing out from the crowd. Brands started to notice too! I started working with Refinery 29 (my favorite publication at the time), got invited on press trips and even designed a shoe for my favorite shoe brand at the time – Keds.

There weren’t always highs tho – at one activation I met YouTubers straight out of high school who were not only kind of mean but also had 10X as many followers as me which totally shook my confidence … BUT I did meet some cool girls (like the Sugar & Spice girls) too. I started getting more collabs (but wasn’t charging nearly enough for them) and had to turn down many opportunities because I was still working at Coach and couldn’t afford to take the time off. I was working overtime but only growing half as much as I wanted to.

Summer 2015
Although I would sometimes steer off course, I worked really hard at creating consistent and colorful content that kept me in my own lane. I also had to continually remind myself to be true to myself – despite the lack of sleep and feeling that I was always running on empty.

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That summer I took over the LikeToKnow.it Instagram, which totally helped me grow and become more well known in both the brand and blogosphere. Most importantly, it helped boost my confidence in this new direction I was headed (also Paris’ constant support didn’t hurt at all… looking back I realize more than ever that I couldn’t have done any of this without him. Paris, if you’re reading this, thank you isn’t a strong enough phrase … I am everything I am now because of you ( #courtneyandparis).

Ribbet collage Paris

Fall 2015
Fall was really good to me. Now at 70K on Instagram with blog traffic double what it was the year before, I had finally felt really confident in what I was doing. Dunkin’ Donuts (another dream brand of mine) took me out to dinner one night where we began working together, Style Watch Magazine featured me in their denim issue, Disney (OMG OMG) reached out and I got to do something really cool with Marc Jacobs, and the list goes on.

I met my good photographer friends The Hons, became really close with Olivia and started working with my friend Rique on stop motion videos (#colormevideo).

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I was really proud of the work we were doing, but felt like I was slipping at Coach. I LOVED having a double life (#HannahMontana), but was pulling on average 2 all nighters a week and spending every second of the weekend shooting. Paris was working full time too (he still is) so we couldn’t spend any time together as Paris & Courtney, only as photographer and blogger. My health started to go and we were working around the clock. Reluctantly, I made the decision to leave Coach and put in my notice – my final day would be Dec 20th 2015.

2016
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Like clockwork, I hit 100K right before the new year. Now exclusively blogging,  I went full force – pitching myself for collaborations, creating consistent content, launching a YouTube channel and working around the clock to succeed… I grew to 125K in the first month!

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My goal for 2016 was to make 50K off my blog for the year, just enough to live and eat without having to borrow money from my parents. I didn’t know if it would last, or if I would be crawling back to Coach hoping to pick up where I left off.

Throughout the year, I traveled the globe, and worked on some of the coolest things I have ever created in my career. I had some long term collaborations with brands I’ve worn or loved for years (Sephora, Old Navy, Dunkin Donuts) and started designing my second product launch with birch box – Color Me Confident lip color. I was in three magazines, created 30 stop motion videos, learned to ride a bike and was on the Today Show!

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I also decided to re-brand in Spring 2016 and become even brighter and bolder on social media. I made videos a key part of my content and became and expert in the space. I started shooting at more solid and graphic backgrounds that really resonated in the feed, and tried my best to create a constantly colorful experience.

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Most of my growth in 2016 came from perfecting my signature style in combination with continued exposure through these channels. I also dabbled in partnering with other bloggers, cross promotion from brands (if you’re trying to grow, I suggest asking every brand you work with to cross promote you on the social channel of your choice, and would even make them add it to a contract) and traveling. Traveling to new location, geo tagging those locations and partnering with local bloggers in the area can help you grow tremendously in new markets!

I also had one of the hardest years of my life – Waffles became paralyzed, the gas line blew in my apartment, I was in the worst condition health wise and we lost two family members. It often felt like we were taking one step forward and two steps back. And although I was blogging full time, I was still pulling 2-3 all nighters a week.

Although things were tough, the good vastly out weights the bad. I’m really grateful I got to grow and travel while creating unique content. Most importantly, I was able to be successful and support myself doing what I loved. Though I won’t share financial details, I will say that I surpassed all of my financial and professional expectations for 2016.

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Now it’s 2017 (can you believe it’s March?) … and what’s changed?
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While I’m still writing this post from my laptop in my underwear at 3AM as I have with so many posts before hand… things are different.

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I’ve hired an employee, hit 200K on Instagram and so far this year I’ve signed three of the biggest deals of my career. I’m redesigning my website, rebranding my content and have so many exciting things happening that I can’t WAIT to share.

I feel lucky to be where I am, but also determined to aim higher and do better from here on out. Most importantly, I feel grateful for all of you – so to celebrate I’ll be giving back ALL. MONTH. LONG.

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GIVEAWAY!!!!!!
Welcome to Color Me March Madness, where I’ll be giving away goodies, running giveaways and randomly contacting loyal followers all month long. Basically, I’m Oprah this month and you’re all in the running to win some serious prizes.

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HOW TO WIN:
Check my Instagram & Instagram stories daily for new ways to win (also you can follow along on twitter @colormecourtney) and be active! We’ll have some loop giveaways, some structured giveaways, and some random giveaways where I pick out people who are always commenting or sending me DM’s and surprising them with prizes!

Today’s post, was my first gift (sharing my story and ways to grow on Instagram) but I’m also running a few fun giveaways on Instagram. Keep checking the #colormemarchmadness hashtag regular for more giveaway opportunities.

OKAY HERE IT IS
So in summary – when people ask me “how do i grow” I really don’t have an answer other than, do you! I wish there was a super secret special sauce I could share, but you already have that within! Be true to yourself and you’ll always find a way to succeed!

I would recommend that you find your lane and blog to the beat of your own drum. Don’t be afraid to be different, shake things up, rock the boat! Create your signature style, thing, or niche that is unapologetically you – and stick to it. Become an expert in whatever it is (magic videos, red lipstick, crazy color combos) and make sure everyone knows you’re the queen of that castle. BYOB – build your own brand so that you can become your own boss, but don’t ever conform to someone else’s expectations to do so. If I hadn’t broken free, I would still be blogging behind my sunglasses and probably be 1/10 my current size.

Now more than ever the industry is so saturated, so find what makes you special and brand yourself around it. I’m so glad I made the decision 3 years ago to remove my sunglasses (both metaphorically and physically) because it helped me find my signature style and pushed me to dress, live, and blog outside the lines!

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SHOPBOP SALE! BUY NOW, WEAR LATER (…or wear now)

1st March 2017

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With the craziness of the weather, it seems impossible to know how to dress each day. I mean one day it’s sunny and spring and then the next minute there’s a forecast full of winter! HOW DO WE PREPARE?! Lucky for you (and me too!) SHOPBOP is having a sale to help us prepare and save for the season ahead! And guess what?! The MORE you BUY, the MORE you SAVE! So whether you’re looking for something to wear tomorrow, or next month I’ve rounded up some of my favorite items on sale NOW! Use code: GOBIG17 and SHOP SHOP SHOP!!!

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SPRING SHOES
Sneakers, mules, sandals – they’re all back in fun prints and bright colors  – what more could you want?!

FLIRTY DRESSES
Stripes, Florals, Lace… I LOVE IT ALL!!

MIRRORED SUNGLASSES
These have been on trend for a quite awhile, but Spring 17 offers even more colors and styles to take your outfit to the next level… or hide your face when you don’t feel like wearing make-up.

EMBROIDERED ENSEMBLE
Major trend alert for spring! Loving the daintiness but also elevated touch this trend brings to any outfit.

Here are some of the items in my cart, what’s in yours?!

My Week with NikeWomen

24th February 2017

FullSizeRender 3I’m all about versatility – so over the last week I partnered with NikeWomen to take on a unique challenge: 5 ways to wear the Nike Zonal Strength Training Tights
(please note, this post was sponsored by NikeWomen but all opinions and views are my own).  IMG_6968IMG_6978         

My clothes have to work overtime, and take me from the many aspects of my world: work, workouts, weekends, dressed up, dressed down and everything in-between. I hate investing in one-sided pieces that you can only wear to a meeting or out on the town, I want everything in my closet to have a (not so) secret alter ego – because it gives me double the outfit options.

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My jeans, booties, heels, flats and sweaters can usually check this versatility box – but my activewear doesn’t always fulfill this. To change that, I’m challenging myself to put my new Nike Zonal Strength Training Tights to the ultimate test! I’ll spend a week in these comfortable compression tights and style them accordingly – from meetings to manicures, I’ll wear them in new and innovative ways, in hopes of inspiring you to do the same.

Look #1 – To the gymIMG_6963The obvious way to wear Nike Zonal Strength Training Tights is to the gym with a Nike training tank, sports bra and Air Zoom Fearless Flyknit sflyknits!IMG_6974

Wearing: Nike Air Zoom Fearless Flyknit Shoes: // Nike Dry Training Tank:  // Nike Grip Lightweight No-Show Socks:  // Nike Pro Hyperclassic Bra // Nike Zonal Strength Training Tights:

Look #2 – Date nightIMG_6983

Stepping out in a pretty maxi, but keeping warm with my Nike Zonal Strength Training Tights hidden underneath.

These Nike Zonal Strength Training Tights make the perfect pair – especially for me. As some of you know, I struggle from fibromyalgia, a disease that generates overactive nerves and creates the stimulation of widespread pain. Essentially I live in pain every single day, especially in my limbs. When the weather is cold outside, the pain gets worse – and winter is especially a challenging time for me. One thing that really helps to alleviate the pain is a compression sock, or even boot. On my high pain days, I’ll wear compression socks with a tight jegging tucked into over the knee boots to eliminate some of the associated agony, but my new Nike Zonal Strength Training Tights offer a stylish alternative! The innovative and comfortable compression technology does the work of my previous methods, while keeping me relaxed and ready all day long.

Look #3 – In the city!IMG_6966

Meeting my friends for lunch before cleaning out my inbox back at the office. I try to get things done so I can enjoy the evening!

Look #4 – Shopping in SohoIMG_8428IMG_6975

Back downtown, shopping for looks for upcoming shoots! Keeping warm and comfortable in an oversized sweater and Nike Zonal Strength Training Tights!

Look #5 – Flower run      IMG_8460

Quick flower run! Picking up photo props, pulling looks and running errands around downtown is usually how my week goes. It can be stressful, but it’s a lot easier with my Nike Zonal Strength Training Tights!

Overall, my week in my Nike Zonal Strength Training Tights left me feeling happier, healthier and more comfortable than I have felt in a long time. I loved the ease of being able to wear them daily and was surprised by the versatility I found in styling around them for different events! During my work out, the compression zones targeted sports-specific muscle groups to keep them engaged for a more efficient workout all while keeping me mobile, but outside of the gym they worked overtime to keep me feeling good and looking great all while lowering my pain level – yay!

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WEARING:
Nike Air Zoom Fearless Flyknit:
Nike Dry Training Tank  (I also love this Nike Pro Classic Bra)
Nike Dry Training Tank Crop:  (I also love this Nike one)
Nike Grip Lightweight No-Show Socks:
Nike Zonal Strength Training Tights:  

Pink at NYFW

22nd February 2017

Excited to share what I wore to the Cynthia Rowley presentation – as one of my favorite looks at NYFW! I love pink, but I actually don’t find myself wearing it as much as I would like. It’s a fun girly color that makes you feel instantly feminine when wearing it! This rings even more true when you pair it with a flirty ruffled skirt like this one!

It was pouring all day when I took this outfit for a twirl, so I paired it with faux suede over the knee boots, a light pink coat and a cute striped umbrella. For whatever reason, this looks give me serious gossip girl vibes. Maybe it’s the over the knee boots and a short skirt (very Serena) or the matchy-matchy pink and black (oh so Blair) or just the combo of the two. Growing up on GG, I remember googling and pinning Blair outfits on the reg, but now I think my style walks the line between these two on again off again BFFs, because I totally see elements of both in my wardrobe.

Gossip Girl is actually one of the reasons I continue to invest in bubble umbrellas (like my striped one). I bought my first bubble umbrella after watching Blair battle the rain with one – I was living in Arizona at the time where it hardly ever rained and when it did, we were never walking around in it, but since moving to NYC it’s become my bestie. A bubble umbrella is key to keeping your hair & look out of the elements while you wander around the city, so much so I had three different kinds hanging in my hall closet!

SHOP THE LOOK

Manu Atelier – Pristine Mini Leather Shoulder Bag – Green • $495
Criss Cross Ruffle Skirt • Cynthia Rowley • $295
Women’s Kate Spade New York Scallop Twill Coat • Kate Spade • $698
Embroidered Silk Mini Ruffle Blouse • Cynthia Rowley • $295
‘Emotions’ Stretch Over The Knee Boot • Steve Madden • $59.96
kate spade new york “Rain Check?” Umbrella • Kate Spade • $38

President’s Day Weekend Sale Round Up!

17th February 2017

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Happy President’s Day Weekend! This time of year isn’t only a time to reflect on the past while celebrating the birth of our founding fathers, but it also allows us to review those items our banks begged us not to break them for over the past season. That’s right! President’s Day weekend is a time for some of our favorite stores to slash the prices on last season’s line-up in order to make room for what’s ahead. Whether it’s a piece you’ve been eyeing for months, or you just need something to brighten up your wardrobe for spring, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite items on sale this weekend!

Sale Roundup

ANTHROPOLOGIE SALE
This weekend only, Anthro is offering an additional 40% off select sale styles. Shop some of my favorites on sale here:

KATE SPADE SALE
Until Monday, Kate Spade is offering an additional 25% off with the code: BUBBLY! Everything from bags to dresses to shoes available at incredible price points!

LORD & TAYLOR SALE
All weekend long trusty Lord & Taylor is honoring 20% off with the code: SALE. So many great brands with incredible pieces available, right now! HURRY HURRY!

OLD NAVY SALE
When ordering online, make sure to use the code: ENJOY to save 30% off on select items. Hurry though, because this offer is only good through tomorrow!

TOPSHOP SALE
Today and tomorrow ONLY, Topshop is giving you an extra 20% off! They’ve got a great selection of sweaters and lightweight jackets that are perfect for this transition to spring!

AND SO MUCH MORE…
In case you were looking for even more great sales, here’s a list of stores and the awesome deals they’re offering this weekend!

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Fashion Week Fail

16th February 2017

FullSizeRender 25New York Fashion Week has always been (and will continue to be) one of the most exciting weeks of the year for our industry. However, in the past 5 or so years, it’s really evolved in large part due to the influx of bloggers in attendance. Every year these girls (myself included) dress to the nines, and strut their stuff between shows. As a result, your feed is flooded with runway shots & fun group photos of girls having a blast with their fashion besties at some of the most exclusive events of the year.

I’m not saying that these girls are lying to you or that these photos are fake – because they’re probably not. I bet a bunch of these girls love every second of fashion week, from back to back shows, to long days without lunch to event after event after event. I think I’m the odd one here because I’ll be really honest – I’m not obsessed with Fashion Week.FullSizeRender 21

Today I’m going to share an uncensored side of my recent NYFW experience, including the good, the bad & the ugly. 

Before we get started, I want to say I’m not complaining – at all. I feel so incredibly honored and humbled to attend FW for the past few years. Even though I always wanted to (and planned on) working in fashion, I never thought my career would take me to a place that allowed me to attend, so 12, 16 and even 20 year old Courtney is still freaking out every time I get an invite. So please keep in mind that throughout this, I’m not at all complaining about the week.FullSizeRender 19

The Good

There are some really good and even great parts about Fashion Week that I look forward to year after year, truthfully there may even be too many good parts to count. Out of all the highlights, my favorite part has to be the people. So many bloggers come from across the country (and globe) to see the shows and essentially network within our industry. I love getting to catch up with other bloggers or meet some in person for the first time. I have only a handful of blogger friends in general, and most of them don’t live in New York City, so FW is some of the only times I get to reconnect with them. Most of this happens at events (Like the ShopStyle social house) because there isn’t that much time to chat during the shows. I’m always so flattered (and surprised) when someone comes up to me to tell me they read my blog, it makes me feel less alone in this industry and proud of what I do.

Aside from the people, connecting with brands and giving a behind the scene looks to my readers has to be one of the reasons I really love NYFW. Honestly, anyone can stream shows online or follow a brand’s snap chat for an instant look at their collection. Or at the very least, you could read a roundup from your favorite magazine that tells you everything you need to know about the shows – this goes live as quickly as hours after the models strut their stuff. Since brands and websites are doing the job of reporting what went down on the runway, I think a bloggers job is to give a review with their own twist. I share the pieces I would wear with insight on how I would style them now, or later.

I’m never going to be the most high fashion girl out there, and I’m okay with that. I mix high & low pieces and see no shame in rewearing some of my favorites. As a result, fashion week isn’t ever going to be the perfect place for me, so I have to make it my own. This year I tried to bring a realistic side by attending shows that featured real women (instead of only models) of all shapes and sizes like the WWW show and the Macy’s Red Dress show, and skipping those with extremely expensive and exclusive pieces that my followers might not ever wear. FullSizeRender 18

The Bad

One thing I really dislike about NYFW is the false perception associated with it. When scrolling through instagram, every post looks like it’s pure perfection as if everyone’s day is going off seamlessly. For some people, this might be the case but for me it usually couldn’t be further from the truth – especially during Feb Fashion Week when it’s raining or snowing or a dang blizzard outside. FullSizeRender 17

Less people travel during Feb because of the weather so my favorite fashion girls usually don’t come (sad face) making it a little harder to bare. The weather is one thing, but some days it feels like everything is just off. The best example of this is my Sunday fail from last weekend. I shared the story on Instagram, but incase you missed it here it is:

I got out of bed despite a bad case of food poisoning & freezing rain for the bloglovin’ event where I ran into @scoutfashion before heading to @emilymen‘s event. Then I skipped off to the Tracy Reese show (one of the only women of color designers at fw so I always go support). stared at 2, got there at 2:03 & waited in a mob outside in the freezing rain. At 2:20 half of the group was in (& 30 people had cut me – I get it, it’s cold but I was bare legged and didn’t cut a soul). I’m next, when I get cut off at the door – they say they’re at capacity and no one else can get in rn! Thinking, “cool I’ll be in in 5 min” I smile, wait, & think of AZ summers to fight through the fact that I can’t feel my toes. After 30 min of watching “VIPs” cut ahead of me, & listen to those behind me complain that they have “special invites”, are “Press”, or (believe it or not) are actually Tracy Reese LOL and need to get in RIGHT NOW, I left. It was 250 and I had a 3 show. I really wanted to share @tracy_reese with you (I love supporting black women and businesses) but I’m not “more important” than anyone else standing in line & wasn’t going to fight, lie or cut my way in. THEN I ran into @sassyredlipstick @wannabefashionblogger & a few other sf bloggers – they were a total ray of sunshine in the freezing rain.  As I gained the feeling back in my legs, I met my bestie / assistant @kristinroa to snap this pic before running to @leannemarshallofficial. Last year, I sat front row. I’ve watched @projectrunway since season 1 (including hers) so supporting PR designers is so important to me! I also usually get my “runway shot” there and save it as the 1 photo I share on my Insta feed. Plus it’s the only show @kristinroa cared about and she’s been SAVING ME all week I so I really wanted her to see it! We got there at 305 (shows never start on time) but my seated ticket wouldn’t print, apparently someone had already printed it ? After trying to sort it out, they gave me a standing seat and set me to the back of the line, cool no big, I don’t mind waiting …  20ish min, a few shoves and some new line friends later, they cut us off – shows at capacity and we can’t get In. Cool lol! I had to shoot a few things before our next one so we did that, in the rain! Then ran into  @danchiz @brightonkeller (so nice to meet you) & @natymichelle on the street before we decided to opt out of for the next shows. Fashion week can sure make you feel like you’re nothing. Between that and some of the sideways glances I’ve gotten from bloggers this year cause I’m not dripping in designers, it’s enough to make you want to call it quits! But instead of getting sad, we got pie so to me that’s winning ! Anyways, sharing this message, because perfection is just a false perception – and bad days don’t have to end bad, then can instead end with a meal with your best friend … and pie a la mode.

Sometimes a show list is perfectly curate stocked full VIPs and sometimes it’s just a big game of first come first serve. Having bloggers at fashion week has changed the game, for both the better and the worst and sometimes you get the short end of the stick (like I did), but other days you come out on top. This week can be a big mind game, that makes you never want to come out for it again. Literally, I would go to bed every night thankful for the opportunity to attend, but also kind of shaken from the ups and downs for the day. Each night I had the same thought – I don’t want to do this again tomorrow.FullSizeRender 23

The Ugly

I’m not really in this industry for the parties, so staying out all night at the most exclusive after after party, or drinking at events isn’t really my thing. I also don’t look like, talk like or even dress like your average fashion blogger, so I think that works against me. Maybe all together I seem less “fun” because I’m there to work, but I try my best to have a blast and make new friends through out the process. As a result, I sometimes get treated less than at these events. Bloggers who I know, who I text and who I have considered friends will pretend they don’t know me or act differently around me when they’re with their “bigger blogger friends”. This year, a girl who has been to my house before, turned away and ignored me when I waived at her at an event (no joke) and I wish I could say that was the first time. I don’t know, it’s really weird to me, and the only word to use here is ugly. I never thought the blogging world would be full of whatever that is, but like everything else it exists. There were mean girls in high school, and at my corporate job, so naturally it exists in the blogging community too. FullSizeRender 20

The Solution

There isn’t one right answer to surviving fashion week, or getting through without feeling like crap about yourself but here are a few things that have worked for me.

Find real friends in the industry, friends that if you quit blogging tomorrow you would still have something to chat about. At the top of my list has always been Olivia, but she’s a mom now so naturally she had other priorities. Hanging out with gals like Lisadnyc, Lexiconofstyle and Cait of Howdoyouwearthat helped keep me smiling throughout the week despite the sideways glances I got from other gals. I also love what I call my “southern girls” CarrieBradshawLied, MyStyleDiaries, APinchofLovely & HauteOffTheRack who come for September FW. 

Don’t wait for an invite! So many gals send me emails each year saying that they hope they’ll get invited to fashion week next year, and I always say that they have to be bold enough to ask! About 80% of my invites are for shows I request access to, not the other way around – and there’s no shame in that. I also get a lot of standing room tickets, which usually result in a seat as well. FullSizeRender 24

If you can, BYOB – Bring your own bestie. For the second year in a row, my best friend turned employee Kristin has been able to come with me to Fashion Week. Not only does she eliminate an enormous amount of stress from me (and Paris) she also keeps me smiling. When things go bad, she’s there to help me laugh it off and when they go great, she’s there to experience it with me so ultimately it can do wonders for the week in general. Kristin won’t be with my in September (tear) and I already can’t imagine this week without her. 

Toughen up and smile through it! Every year, I find myself feeling lucky I have a thick skin, and don’t really care what people think, otherwise FW might be really hard on me. Sure it’s exhausting, but it’s also fun. Even on the dark days, when friends turn out to be phony or nothing goes your way. If you’ve fallen victim to FW I hope this note reaches you, and you feel less alone. I really can’t speak for everyone, but I doubt I’m the only one who feels this way, so please remember you’re not alone. If you can remember how lucky you are to be there, and how many people would kill for your spot, you might be able to find a way to smile through the bad and find the silver lining. It’s never going to be perfect, but if you can find the bright spots, make some friends and find a way to do your job the best you can – you might come out the other side feeling a little bit better.  

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I hope you loved this uncensored side of NYFW. I’ll be back tomorrow with everything I wore throughout the week.

SHOP THE LOOK

MSGM Knit Striped Bomber Jacket, Black •
alice + olivia ‘Stace Face’ glitter leather crossbody wallet 
Wide leather belt with pearl Double G 
Suede pump 
Women’s Cece Bow Tie Blouse
Gucci – Faux Pearl-embellished Leather Belt – Black 
Gucci Marmont Fringe Suede 55mm Loafer, Red