Author Archives: Courtney Quinn

Foundation Favs

23rd May 2017

Let’s talk foundation!IMG_5672(wearing Pore PrimerHello Flawless Powder)

It’s no secret that I’m not a makeup guru – I usually apply my makeup in 5 min or less, I don’t know how to contour without looking like snookie (the old snookie) and I always wear way too much highlighter, so I end up looking like a unicorn … a fact I’m totally okay with. Despite my makeup flaws, I’m pretty confident in my foundation choices so today I’m sharing my three favorite foundations & why!
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(wearing no makeup)

Everyday makeup
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(wearing Pore PrimerHello Flawless Powder & 
Hello Flawless Foundation Oxygen Wow)

)A few months ago I was looking for a new foundation, so I walked into sephora and said “I’m looking for a new foundation” … the sales girl told me “well, Beyonce uses this one” and directed me to Benefit Cosmetics Hello Flawless collection.  I have no doubt that Beyonce does not use this foundation, but I appreciated her sales technique so I bought it anyways! A year  and a half later, it’s still my favorite powder foundation. Along the way I picked up the primer, concealer and foundation all from benefit in associating colors and they’ve become part of my daily makeup routine in various stages. Most days, I start with benefit pore primer and a little bit of moisturizer. If I have dark circles or blemishes I’ll use boi-ing full coverage concealer. Most days, I’ll skip the foundation all together and just use the boi-ing concealer in medium where I need it with a bit of moisturizer (pictured at the bottom of this post). When I’m looking for more coverage, I’ll finish with the Hello Flawless Powder (pictured at the beginning of this post) and when I really want to lay it on, I’ll use the Oxygen Wow foundation before I apply my powder (pictured above).

Benefit Pore Primer
Boi-ing Concealer in Medium
Hello Flawless Powder in Toasted Beige 
Hello Flawless Foundation Oxygen Wow in Toasted Beige 

That Dewy GlowIMG_4285
(wearing hydro boost foundation)

I’m usually a matte face girl, where I don’t want any shine. But sometimes I want more of a dewy, natural look that leaves your skin looking glowy, hydrated and fresh! In that case, neutrogena’s hydro boost in honey, is the perfect partner. It’s so light and refreshing, but leaves you with a flawless coverage without feeling thick or greasy. When I need extra coverage, I’ll pair it with the hydro boost concealer in medium. Their hydration-infused weightless water-gel tint plumps and boots skin for 24 hours without setting into fine lines. Somehow, its actually better for your skin than wearing no makeup at all, and leaves your skin feeling smoother even after you take it off. Its a great product for summer, because it gives you that natural look with makeup you can wear all day!

Neutrogena hydro boost foundation in honey
Hydro boost concealer in medium

Full CoverageFullSizeRender 3
(wearing Camouflage Color Corrector &
Hourglass foundation stick)

When I have break outs or dark spots that I want covered, I have to opt for a more heavy duty make up thats going to give me full coverage. I got a facial a few weeks ago that left me looking spotted like a lady bug due to the extractions (ps if you need a good facial gal in NYC, Elm Spa is THE BEST I’m never going anywhere else, she’s so fabulous). I had an event that weekend that I needed to speak at, so I wanted to make sure I could hide the spots until they healed. I tried my thickest foundation and concealer, to no eval – so once again I wandered into Sephora. We tried a few foundations, and landed on hourglass seamless foundation stick in golden. It did a great job of covering the spots, but still could see them through the foundation. To solve this, we added Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Camouflage Color Corrector in color 3 red/orange to hide any spots!

Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Camouflage Color Corrector
Hourglass seamless foundation stick in golden

FullSizeRender 2(wearing Primer & Boi-ing Concealer)

Shop the foundations:

Whats your go to foundation? Leave a comment and let me know! Can’t wait to read!

Who Run the World? – 2 Blogging Questions Answered

12th May 2017

IMG_9652One day, women will run the world. We’re not there yet, so I’ve dedicated my life to accelerating that process.

Last weekend I had the honor and privilege to speak at Create & Cultivate – a conference focused on inspiring, educating and empowering women in business and entrepreneurship! It was my first time speaking, and I left feeling humbled and inspired, so I wanted to talk about some of what I learned and the lessons I shared.

IMG_9648I’m perpetually passionate about inspiring women and girls to carve their own path, and walk to the beat of their own drum. It’s no secret that things are harder for women (they’re also harder for minorities, people with disabilities and people with diverse backgrounds) and it’s clear now more than ever that we can’t ignore that fact. I’ve always known my path would be longer, windier and probably more up hill than the journey of a white male, but to me that just meant I had to run faster, work harder, and find my own finish line. Instead of trying to compete with men in a “mans world” I created my own; well actually a series of worlds, the latest being a cotton candy colored one called Color Me Courtney. Many women have followed suit, creating their female owned and operating businesses resulting in more Girl Bosses than ever before – and the world is better for it, but we still have a long way to go.

Okay, okay, I’ll step down off my feminism soap box for a second to talk more about the actual conference, and building a business in the blogosphere specific to 2 topics: how to make money and what’s next for the industry. IMG_9645

Dolla Dolla Bills Y’all
“How do you make money as a blogger” something so many newbie bloggers ask me. Let me start by saying if you’re blogging to make money with the intent of making it a career, I don’t necessarily think this is the space for you. I started blogging as a resumé booster to help me step into the corporate fashion world, and as a creative outlet. Others started because they felt alone in college & wanted to express themselves, and some just stumbled upon it because they loved fashion or food or whatever – these are all reasons to blog, but money isn’t. The second you start doing it only to make money, you should reevaluate, because your content will suffer as a result. I’m not saying you can’t make money as a blogger, I make more than I ever thought I would and probably more than I would salary wise if I had stuck to my corporate career even with an MBA in my pocket, but I would still blog (obviously not full-time) even if I didn’t make a dime.

The intention behind the content you create is quite clear in what you produce, but still, girls gotta eat right? If you’re starting out, the easiest way to make money is affiliate marketing. Sign up for Reward Style or Shop Style or any other affiliate marketing program, and use that as a means to see some sort of income. For me, affiliate marketing is just a small part of my pie, mostly because I wear & sell a lot of affordable pieces that result in small commissions. I recently sold out a dress, selling close to 500 units, because of its $25 price tag with 30 cent commission payout, so it didn’t really move the needle. Instead of switching to only expensive pieces, I decided to use that metric to share with other retailers as proof of concept. I was able to go to the brands I wanted to work with and say “hey look, I sold out this dress, here are the numbers to prove it, this is why you want to work with me, and this is why I’m worth X amount of money to you”. That really resonates with brands, because then they know you’re worth your rate.

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Video & Stop Motion Content
One of the questions I get a lot from other bloggers and also got on the panel was about video. Everyone knows that video is the next frontier and its what brands are looking for in terms on content creation. In the next few years, it’s estimated that 80% of the branded content we view will be video related, so naturally it’s all we’re currently talking about. So many girls ask me “should I start doing video” – and if thats the question you’re asking me, the answer is no. You should be passionate about every aspect of your content, especially if you’re looking to explore a new avenue. There’s a difference between being strategic and being relevant, and choosing to follow the money isn’t always a great strategy.

When I decided to dabble in video, I wanted to forge my own path, because thats what I do! Instead of trying to become a youtube beauty guru (I can’t contour to save my life), I focused on what I know best – fun! And thus, stop motion videos were born. I became one of the first to do stop motion videos with magic, whimsy, education and an added element of fashion. I would use it to everything from styling one dress multiple ways to sharing infused water recipes and even cover DIY halloween costumes. These became fun, engaging and unique ways to create this kind of content with a color me twist.

And now, even as some people begin to mimc the magic we’ve made (because it was only a matter of time) I have become one of the clear pioneers here, so although their repetitive efforts are a form of homage and flattery, they aren’t really something I’m threatened by. If you find something you like that someone is doing content creation wise, it’s okay to be inspired by it – but I wouldn’t recommend copying it. I’ve watched content creators make this mistake and find that once you start, it’s hard to stop and even harder reclaim your reputation as an original.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying I won stop morion videos, I wasn’t the first and I won’t be the last – but I worked hard to build it as an integral part of my brand, so now as other fashion bloggers try and do the same, I think it’s quite transparent, but maybe that’s just me. What I am saying, is that I think your success as a content creator will always come for originality and hard work, not from impersonation.

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I’ve never been worried about competition, not because I think I’m the best blogger or video creator or dresser, but because I know I’m the best Courtney, and that no one can be a better me than me. I’ve create my brand to evolve around my personality, the positives and the negatives, so there really isn’t ever any competition. If a brand wants to work with me, there is no substitute. It does make me polarizing, either you like me or you don’t but I know that Color Me Courtney isn’t for everyone, and I never intended it to be. Instead, it’s a bright spot on the web where we cover everything from business tips, to fun food, to crazy colors, to body positivity to confidence and everything else in-between. I am my brand, and my brand is the core of my business – so everything I do has to revolve around staying true to it. IMG_9642

Shop the look:

I got a bunch of other questions about blogging, stay tuned because I’ll keep answering them for you in a series of posts!

Mom & Me & NYC – 5 things to do with your mom in the city

10th May 2017

IMG_9831Aren’t moms the best?  IMG_9743 Mine sure is and she’s not materialistic at all so shopping for her for mothers day can be a challenge. I’ve learned that she likes the simple things, her favorite flowers, hanging out with Waffles (my dog) and spending time together in one of her favorite cities – New York! So today I’m sharing 5 five things to do with your mom in NYC.IMG_9715IMG_9787

The Highline –  Since I’m a downtown girl, we visit the high line often but its still fun to take my mom here when she’s in town. The High line is a railroad turned park suspended in the sky – giving you an epic view of the city and a rich history all at once. We’ll often walk the highline for a bit and then eat at Chelsea Market, a spot with various shops and restaurants. IMG_9730

The Met –  It’s no secret that there are a lot of museums in NYC, but my favorite one to visit is the Met. My mom is obsessed with history, art, culture and interior design, so she’s always entertained at the Met! To to mention, they have an amazing rooftop this time of year with one of the best views of the city.

Historic Home Tour – Merchant’s House Museum is the cities only 19th-century family home that has been preserved intact, both inside and out. It once belonged to prosperous hardware merchant Seabury Tredwell and the furnishings, decorative objects, clothing and personal memorabilia on display are all original. We’ve yet to go, but I know this is something my mom would love as we used to tour homes (old and new) all the time growing up. Mount Vernon and Morris-Jumel Mansion are also tours I would love to check out

See the Chrysler Building – Of all the amazing buildings in the city, my mom loves the Chrysler building. I found a few rooftop bar situations that would grant us an amazing view of the building. Thinking of taking her there at sunset next time she’s in town for Sangria (for her not me) and apps (okay, that one’s for me!). Both the Upstairs at the Kimberly and the BAR will give you an awesome view of my moms favorite building.

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens – Growing up, we loved visiting the botanical gardens in Arizona, but since living in NYC I’ve yet to check out what Brooklyn has to offer in this department. In the spring, the Brooklyn Botanical gardens looks particularly beautiful, so I would love to take my mom there next time she’s in town. Another option to bring my mom closer to mother nature, is to enjoy a leash free morning in central park with Waffles!

Uber has changed the way we get around in the city. We can do so much more when she’s here because of Uber and the connivence that it provides. That’s why this year, my mom is getting a gift card to Uber and a IOU for a fun activity next time she’s in town – so we can skip the subway and jet around to one of the above five ideas in style.FullSizeRenderIMG_9814

If you’re stuck on what to give you mom, give this a try! I promise she’ll love spending time with you more than anything you can buy at the mall. Gift cards are available for purchase online at Uber.com and amazon or in-store at Best Buy and Walgreens.

Love you mom!
Happy Mothers day :)
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Thanks to Uber for Sponsoring this Post

Coach Bought Kate Spade – but it’s Okay

10th May 2017

FullSizeRender 2Coach just bought kate spade – but don’t freak out, read this instead.

As some of you may know, I had a career working in corporate fashion before Color Me Courtney became my full-time gig. My latest role was producing handbags in product development at Coach. Before that I had various roles working merchandising, production, store operations and on a retail level at a variety of brands – including kate spade. As a result, I now have a unique insight into the industry and specifically on this current situation that I wanted to share – hope you enjoy!

Oh and before I go any further, I wanted to say that I am not speaking as a representative for kate spade or Coach, I’m just sharing my opinions based on research, experience and observation. 

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Breaking News – If you keep up the fashion side of the business world, you probably heard that Coach bought kate spade yesterday for 2.4 billion dollars! If you’re a tried and true ksny fan, you might be upset. Learning that your favorite brand has been bought is a scary thing, you might feel betrayed, unsure of the future or terrified that your go-to shop just disappeared. I’ll be honest, my first reaction was surprise with a bit of panic, so if you felt this way you’re not alone!

It’s no secret that kate spade is one of my favorite brands, I wear their stuff all the time – where you hardly ever see me wearing Coach. I respect both brands immensely, it’s just one is more my style than the other.

Before I tell you why you should not stress over this purchase, I’ll give you a little background on kate spade.

SHOP KATE SPADE
for under $100

The History of kate spade – SO ksny was founded by you guessed it, Kate (Noel Frances Valentine Brosnahan) Spade in 1993 – yep thats her full name. She who set out to design “the perfect handbag”. Since I was 3 at the time, my first memories of kate spade came in middle school, when I remember my mom wanting a bag and later in high school when Charlotte complains of not being able to fit a tampon in her kate spade purse on Sex and the City.

In 1996 the first store opened, and later Neiman Marcus Group purchased 56% of the Kate Spade brand in 1999, they would go on to acquired the remaining 44% in 2006. So before you get scared that kate spade wont be the same without the actual Kate Spade, know that that ship sailed long ago and the brand you know and love know isn’t necessarily run by someone named Kate.

In 2006, Neiman Marcus sold the brand to Liz Claiborne Inc for $124 million, and it was later renamed to Fifth & Pacific. At the time they owned Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand Jeans and Jack Spade as well. This is where I found and fell in love with the brand – I would stalk kate spade online from my Arizona bedroom, and all of our NYC (and San Fran trips) were surrounded around visiting a store (or two). FullSizeRender 6

In 2007, Deborah Lloyd (previously at Banana Republic and Burberry) became president and chief creative officer of kate spade, bringing an added sense of fearless sophistication. Deborah, and later CEO Craig Leavitt (2014), launched clothing and jewelry collections, quickly followed by the introduction of bedding, legwear and fragrance. This more closely resembles the Kate Spade you now know and love … and once again, the creator Kate Spade wasn’t driving the ship.

I started working for Kate Spade at the store level around 2012 while I was in grad school getting my MBA, in a charming San Francisco store. There I made life long friends, including my current bestie Emily who started working for the brand almost 4 years earlier. She really saw the introduction of clothing and early growth of the brand, and had clothes form some of the original collection – since we were both OBSESSED she shared all of these stories with me.

Around this time (2007-2014) the ksny you’re now obsessed with started to take off – and this kate spade was really Deborah’s vision. Deborah Lloyd has a really impressive resume in the fashion space, she’s done some incredible things for brands along the way, but I think she found her home at kate spade. Having met Deborah three times, and low-key cyber stalking her during my ksny days – I can share that she’s poised, graceful, feminine, chic and strong – all things that I see in the evolved kate spade today. Kate herself, however is a little quirky, curious and fun – also great qualities I see in the brand. Deborah really did a fantastic job of taking that whimsical heritage, staying true to Kate and driving the brand into the future to become what we see now.

SHOP CUTE KATE SHOES

Let’s talk about Coach – So although kate spade is a brand that truly will always have my heart, Coach has a piece of it because of our history together. I had the pleasure of working at Coach during a brand transformation, something I’m really very thankful for.

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Brand Transformation – A few years back, Coach really pivoted, changing its product structure, target market, price point, value and total brand identity. It was a really challenging and unique time in the organizations history, and SO COOL that I got to be at the center of it – developing handbags that would ultimately help shift this organizations perception.

Aside from evolving Coach’s own brand, they company never wants to find itself in the financial lull that it did a few years back – so part of thier new brand strategy is to diversify their portfolio. This is crazy smart! No fashion brand is going to be on top all the time, even epic houses like Prada and Gucci go through peaks and valleys (Gucci is totally having a peak right now) – but these brands can survive for a variety of reasons – with diversification being one of the driving factors.

Take LVMH, which owns Celine, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and more along with houses outside of the fashion sector. So Celine has a lull, maybe Givenchy is hot resulting in an equilibrium balance – smart right. Coach is aiming to create something similar as they become a global powerhouse in that affordable luxury and luxury market. To achieve this, step one was to rebrand Coach and step two was to grow and expand.

SHOP COACH FAVS

In 2015 Coach paid $574 million to purchase Stuart Weitzman, at the time I was still working in product development at Coach so I became very interested in the change. We all wondered how would this affect us at a corporate level, and the answer is it kind of didn’t. We got a Stuart Weitzman employee  (yay) and kept our jobs. At the time, we were told that this acquisition would be mutually beneficial, resulting in shared core copentenczies (Coach was outsourcing our shoes, and with SW we could potentially move to make them in house, while SW was struggling in the handbag department that Coach excels in) but companies would be kept seperate. And this rang to be true, the biggest change we saw in house on my level is two higher ups moved over to Stuart Weiztman time including one of the handbag designers resulting in a slight reorganization of teams that kind of had something to do with me me – but to be honest, we reorganized so much internally as a result of our ever changing brand transformation, so this was nothing new at Coach.

I’ve since left Coach, but watched both brands from afar to see if this has continued to be true, and it has – both brands operate as diverse organizations with supplemental income streams. Most importantly Stuart Weitzman hasn’t changed much at all.

So what does this mean for kate spade? – I’m not sure if the plan for kate spade is different than the Stuart Weitzman one, since I left over a year ago to blog full time but Coach has stated that intend for kate spade to maintain their brand identity.

I will share this, when I worked at Coach although we would review sales numbers of Kate Spade, the merchandizing teams would continually claim that kate spade wasn’t a competitor – they didn’t see them that way because they believe they have different customers. And hey, I see that – I shop at kate spade monthly and love 90% of the things the make, I shop at Coach maybe quarterly and love 10% of the things the make. Most bloggers and celebrities that Coach hires don’t wear any ksny, and vise versa – and thats okay, they’re different brands.

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So many people think brands merge when they’re bought and that is usually never the case. If I had to guess, ksny will continue to operate as a seperate organization, with some shared competencies. Having worked for both brands, I can share that they both operate differently with similar yet unique structures – and I don’t see any reason for them to merge.

One Change we might see has to do with focus. Coach is a deeply rooted leather house founded in 1941 with some of the highest quality standards in the industry. Although kate spade also excels at creating leather products, they were founded as a nylon brand in the 90’s and therefore have a different history and understanding. As a result, if anything we might see a slight increase or change in leather standards at kate spade, but I doubt the aesthetic will change much.

So if you feel like you lost your best friend in kate spade, don’t stress – she’s not going anywhere I firmly believe this brand (and the magic associated wit it) is here to stay.

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SHOP THE LOOK

S/o to my friend Brittani Hon, she posted that she was sad about this purchase on Facebook, and ultimately inspired this post. 

Mansur Gavriel Pop Up!

8th May 2017

FullSizeRender 10Recently I’ve become totally obsessed with all things Mansur Gavriel, and I mean, how could I not!FullSizeRender 9Incase you don’t know who or what I’m talking about, let me drop some science real quick 😉 Founded in 2012 by two sassy chicks, Mansur Gavriel is a beyond darling fashion house that makes a serious (and often saturated) statement with simplistic silhouettes — woa say that 5 times fast. You know how they say “less is more”, well that’s a saying I’ve never subscribed too – but some how MG has made it work, and passed in the “less is more” category with flying colors … literally! FullSizeRender 13

I first noticed them a few years ago when all the big bloggers were rocking their signature bucket bag (specifically, Kat of With Love From Kat) – that was so sold out at the time. I had just started working at Coach, and we were chatting about it from a competitive point of view and I remember thinking “that bag looks so expensive, it has to be 2K dollars” only to find out it wasn’t, it was in that $600 range. Not to say a $600 bag is affordable, but for the high quality Italian made bag we were looking at, with a chic design and buzz worthy nature, I was expecting a much higher price tag. FullSizeRender 18

I didn’t buy a bucket bag, and I still don’t own one. I’ve been temped, but TBH I don’t love having something that everyone else has so I passed (also I didn’t have $600 to spend on a handbag at a time, most of my salary was going to paying my rent and feeding my chipotle addiction). Somewhere along the line, the brand expanded into shoes and more styles, pretty enough to make your heart burst in the best way!FullSizeRender 12

Recently, I made my first Mansur Gavriel purchase, the pink circle purse you’ve probably seen me feature like crazy on my blog. I’ll be honest, I first saw it on a blogger (Blaire of Atlantic Pacific) and bought it instantly! Soon after it started selling out and then more and more people were featuring it – this kind of hurt my soul but I loved the bag so much I didn’t care.FullSizeRender 16

Shop the look & the Look for less below:

My circle purse is a total splurge, and kind of an irrational decision, but it is my favorite purse I own now … the close second has to be my mini sun bag. I knew Mansur Gavriel had a pop up in SoHo but I had been deliberately avoiding it in an attempt to save my bank account. A bunch of bloggers had posted photos of it, but when I saw Aimee Song of Song of Style post it on Instagram on a day when I was heading down there anyway, I decided to stop by. At the time, the whole place was PINK and I was so obsessed! I mean – who doesn’t love a totally pink store, and more importantly – why don’t more stores do this! FullSizeRender 17

At this pink palace, many bags were on display in the pink, red, white and blush family – but then I saw someone bring out a yellow one from the back and I realized THEY HAVE MORE COLORS IN THE BACK. So at the pop up, what you see is not what you get, you can ask for more colors of a specific style and they’ll magically pull them out from the back and make all your rainbow dreams come true – the best part? you can only get these colors at the pop up! I picked up my mini sun bag in yellow after asking for a “small yellow cross body?” and felt like I was walking on sunshine. As I was checking out, the store girls (who were dressed in cute outfits that gave me black mirror vibes – which I totally mean as a compliment) told me that they’ll be closing the store down to paint it (Wait for it) YELLOW! And I think I shrieked. FullSizeRender 14

A few weeks later, I came back to explore the now yellow color explosion. Just in time for Easter the previously pink, valentine-esque store now felt like you were on the inside of a very stylish egg! The walls and shelves were covered in candy, opposed to the floral features that were previously there. On this trip I picked up pink loafers and fell in love with the brand all over again. I really don’t think I’m equipped with the poetic genius to give this store justice, so instead I’ll just show you.

FullSizeRender 15Shop the look & look for less version below:

Before I skipped off into the sunset, the girls told me they were closing down again to turn pink.. again! Plus they shared there is so much in store for the brand like clothing SO if you’re thinking of making a trip, I suggest calling the store first to make sure they’re open, or following the brand on instragram for updates. FullSizeRender 11

Shop my Mansur Gavriel Favorites below:

Since I like to pass the blogging torch at the end of each post, wanted to invite you to check out or re-check out Kat’s style & blog. She’s a less is more gal, and has such a simple-chic style that really elevates everything she touches. Plus she’s gorgeous! I had the honor of chatting with her over dinner a few nights ago at the Create & Cultivate speaker panel. Early on, I watched her blog from afar and learned about so many great brands, and even blogging tips from her elegance and grace both off and online. Because of her, I wear Laura Mercier translucent powder and always send gifts to brands after working together on something special. Thanks Kat, you taught me so much more than you’ll ever know.

Check her out – With Love From Kat

The Best Sports Bra … Like Ever

3rd May 2017

IMG_3837Sports Bras suck!LuluLemonJayGunningEnlite-64LuluLemonJayGunningEnlite-97

Seriously they’re no fun, they squish and pinch and push and hurt! 99% of sports bra’s give me an instant head ache minutes after putting them on (most head bands do this too), the few that don’t, don’t work. This is such a problem for me, I usually find myself wearing a light weight real bra with a tight/spandex tank to the gym – I know, crazy right? LuluLemonJayGunningEnlite-156LuluLemonJayGunningEnlite-88

It’s safe to say I’ve never been happy with my sports bra situation … until now!LuluLemonJayGunningEnlite-81LuluLemonJayGunningEnlite-94

Enter the Lululemon Enlite bra! A revolutionary new bra that doesn’t squish, pinch, pull, push or hurt … yay! The Enlite bra encapsulates your girls instead of squishing them down, but also keeps you totally comfortable and in control throughout your work out!LuluLemonJayGunningEnlite-62LuluLemonJayGunningEnlite-80LuluLemonJayGunningEnlite-34

The Luluemon experts spent years (over 2 of them) developing this unique and necessary bra that totally changes the work out game. It comes in real bra sizes to find you a perfect fit and also unhooks in the back – this is great because after a sweaty work out you don’t have to pull it over your face and head, which for me is always the worst part – yuck! LuluLemonJayGunningEnlite-61LuluLemonJayGunningEnlite-18

Last week I put the bra to the test with Luluemon at a fun cardio dance class at their Hub location.LuluLemonJayGunningEnlite-54

The Hub at the flatiron store is a cool basement space that almost gives you like a gym meets dance club feel. It has exposed brick, tons of space and a really cool light up dance floor to take your work out to the next level!LuluLemonJayGunningEnlite-113LuluLemonJayGunningEnlite-107These photos are from that night and the first time I rocked that bra at a movement based work out, instead of just a little treadmill or weight lighting action. The Enlite didn’t disappoint! I actually didn’t think about my girls once,  which I think is the best sign because I felt comfortable, confident and in control enough to break it down on the dance floor … there adjectives that I don’t think I could also apply to the way I looked on the dance floor lol. LuluLemonJayGunningEnlite-64

You can find your perfect fit online or in stores at Lululemon.com & put your own new bra BFF to the work out test!

CINCO DE WAFFLES – Waffles 5th Birthday

2nd May 2017

IMG_3619Cinco De Waffles!!

My cute pup Waffles turned 5 on April 22nd, so naturally we had to have a party! Since he was turning 5 and we’re so close to Cinco De Mayo, we decided to do a fun CINCO DE WAFFLES theme. Waffles best friend Batman (dogson of my bestie Olivia) came over and we had a FIESTA!!!

So what are you waiting for, join the party!


PRESS PLAY

This was a last minute party decision, so here’s how you can plan a Cinco De Mayo (or a Cinco De DOGNAMEHERE party for your pet) in 24 hours or less.FullSizeRender 3

The first stop is Party City! You can shop online or in stores, but this is where you’ll get everything you need for your Cinco De _____ Fiesta!FullSizeRender

I invested in Piñatas (lots of Piñatas), table cloths, decor, props, costumes & eating supplies. Since this is a dog party, the main focus was the pups & photo ops – so I always created a DIY backdrop using the table cloths & decor.

I pined two table cloths up with pushpins, to create a photo back drop for the booth! Since puppies were involved, I added a third table cloth and extended it onto the floor. To cover up the top, I expanded these bold tissue paper decals (assemble required here) and added them with push pins over the rough edge. 

Since I ordered sombreros, panchos (for both people and pups), photo booth props, maracas and more – I hung these on the wall for easy access and to make it clear to our guests that you can use them for awesome photos (or boomerangs)FullSizeRender 2

The best part about shopping at Party City is that its a one stop shop for all of your Cinco De Mayo needs, I was able to get nearly everything in one trip making really easy!

For food, we kept it simple. Ordered a bunch of tacos from tacombi and picked up chips and guac! Super easy and better than any food I could make!FullSizeRender 5

SHOP THE LOOK:

Off Shoulder Ruffle Crop Top • $45  //  High Low Prom Skirt • $23  // Suede Sandal • $120

& shop decor at Party City

BBTS – Blogging Behind the Scenes; Instagram Edition

27th April 2017

IMG_7127Every since I shared how I grew on instagram in this post: Blogging Outside The Lines, you guys have been asking for more behind the scenes blogging posts about tips, tricks and my process!

So today’s post is a little bit different, instead of fashion, I’m super excited to today to talk to you about photography, styling, and branding. Additionally I’m going to take you through the BTS of my photoshoots and what goes into every photo we create and share on instagram (not blog posts, we’ll chat about that later in another post).IMG_7067

For your reference, these photos are unedited (I usually boost the color for my feed & blog) and some are even zoomed out so you can really see what we were working with on this shoot.

As you guys know, my job is to create original content that centers around color, vibrance and positivity. Color to me isn’t just in the pantone and primary sense, it also a way of life, an energy and an element of fun that I infuse into everything I do – hopefully today you’ll be able to take a little of that away along with some fun tips and tricks.

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Click, Flash 
Okay so for photos, we shoot almost every day at all times of the day here in New York and beyond – we do everything from iPhone photography and simple snap/insta story uploads, to high quality videos, digital DSLR photos, stop motion vides made from a serious of raw photos, and everything else in-between. Between me and my boyfriend Paris (@parisims) we create about 95% percent of the content you see. Sometimes, I’ll do a professional photo or video shoot with a camera or crew for a specific product, for example I just did one with maybe line and seventeen magazine thats been running on social all this week (#colormeseventeen) and over the holidays we shot a really fun video with Nordrstom Rack. On rare occasions when Paris isn’t with me, my mom, brother, friends or even my Uber driver will take my photo. No lie, in my early blogging days when I was living in NYC and had no friends, I had a homeless guy take my photo in exchange for McDonalds lol – but thats a story for another day!

The best part about photography right now is that cameras are so advance and user friendly, that actually pressing click and capturing the picture might be the easiest part. We shoot most of our photos on a Cannon 80D with Sigma 18-35 mm Lens, or lately, we’ve been using the google pixel phone because it has an amazing camera in some cases the photos turn out better! Because these cameras are super easy to use, I spend the most of my time with the curation process such as choosing the location, picking the theme, finding the outfit and more!

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The Feed  @colormecourtney

If you look at my instagram feed @colormecourtney (shameless plug) you’ll see its very bright, very colorful and also curated. I don’t post two pink background photos back to back but you see lots of pink in the feed, I actually try and make them land in fun patterns because I’m OCD like that. I have a lot of other rules I try to follow, like not posting the same outfit on top, or right next to each other in the feed, not featuring paris or waffles my french bulldog back to back, not doubling up on flatlays, the same location, same brand or even the same face to make sure the feed brings variety at all times. I also don’t like “white” photos because I want things to always be bright and colorful. All of this is easier said than done and takes more work than you would think. I sometimes wish I had a non curated “post anything” kind of feed, it would be a lot easier on my end – but instead I work really hard to bring a unique experience to my feed and save my “post anything” non curated pics for other platforms like stories or twitter – which you can also follow me on @colormecourtney another shameless plug 😉 

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The Process

SO here’s the process I go through before I create each photo, and the questions I ask myself before publishing

“What’s the Point”
As in why am I creating this post, the answer could be to promote xyz product, to share my #ootd, to ask my readers a question or all of the above. The photos we’re using here are for a sponsored collaboration with Papyrus, where I was hired by a third party to help promote the launch of their Taylor Swift collection, you can see the ad published here.

“What’s the story”
I like to make up a story behind every post, some are really straight forward and clear and others are elaborate things I’ve created in my head that probably don’t ever translate but just are used for inspiration. So for each post I try and figure out a fun & creative way to portray that point, whatever it maybe. Sometimes it’s pairing things with a preexisting idea I already had, and now have the platform to portray it. For the example we’re sharing, I had been dying to do a monochromatic post with balloons, and this gave me a great opportunity to do so!

“But what will I wear”
(ten points if you read that in the Grinch voice)

On to outfit – this is one of the most important parts for me because iIm first and foremost a life and style brand! For the example post we’re reviewing here, I knew wanted a pink dress to match the product. So I went to my closet (which is organized by color bc I have a problem) and looked at my pink dresses! Luckily I had this one that I wanted to shoot and share anyways, so I decided to use it! Plus, it matched the card more perfectly then I could have imagined! Sometimes I don’t have the perfect piece in my closet, so I’ll go shop searching for what I want. // shop this look at the bottom of the post. 

“Location, Location, Location”

After the outfit is nailed down, I’ll start to focus on background, specifically – what will compliment the look & tell the story? Do I want to do something monochromatic or contrasting? Do I want it to be graphic or “New Yorky?” Do I want it to be self explanatory or evoke intrigue – all important questions. For the pink example, I essentially wanted to recreate the card, so I wanted it AS PINK AS POSSIBLE! But I also wanted it to say “hey, i’m happy & I like to party” instead of being super posed in front of a totally pink solid wall. By opting for a pink restaurant, I think the walk-in down the street on my way to my besties birthday party thing totally comes though here, plus it feels like a sweeter, sex & the city moment so I’m totally on board with that!

“What Else…”

This next one is optional, but I more is more I usually say yes! Here I’ll ask, Do I want a prop? Usually, I opt to prop because I think its more fun and exciting, all parts of the color me brand! If you want strictly outfit photos, the photos on my blog usually do that – but since on instagram, I have to tell a whole story with one shot (and I usually have ALOT to say) I want to make sure each photo has something extra – like a BIG GIANT balloon (or three) to make the card come to life.

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After I have the photo idea, location, outfit and all of these important details nailed down, I have to take a step back and make sure what i’m going to create fits my brand.

So many bloggers ask me questions like..

  • how do you take on sponsored collaborations and stay authentic?
  • how do you build a consistent blog and brand?
  • how do you evoke a clear message to your followers?

The answer to all of the above questions, lies in the next step. I have 5 key “things” or courtney-isms if you will that make me, me. Everything I publish on Color Me Courtney has to check 4 of those 5 boxes, otherwise its not worth sharing. My 5 things are – color, confidence, fun, dress outside the lines & unapologetic.

Color – This doesn’t have to be literal. It could refer to a colorful personality, place or feeling.

Confidence – I want everything I post to evoke confidence & positivity in one way or another. The post itself could be about body positivity or overcoming an insecurity, or maybe just has that overall vibe. It doesn’t mean I’m a 100% confident all the time, but when I’m not, I talk about it and help inspire others to become a little bit more confident. 

FUN – sometimes i post about sad stuff, like when my dog got paralyzed, but i always end on a positive glass half full kind of note because this is a place for positivity even in darkness.

Dress Outside The Lines – This is my blog tagline, and at the center of almost everything I do. I like the content I publish to be unique, different and a bit outside the box.

Unapologetic – I’m me, to a tee, I keep it real because thats all I know how to do and i don’t apologize for it … because you shouldn’t have to for being yourself.  I want to make sure that comes through in every post!

After I know what we’re going to create is on message, we move on to the actual shoot. During the photoshoot, I share my ideas with Paris but I also like to hear from him, sometimes he’ll have a new idea we try on the spot which is always fun! Some of our best ides come from being flexible and thinking on our feet, so although we like to be very prepared, we like to be open minded as well.IMG_7215

Say Cheese!

On set, I dance, sing, and have fun – people stare, laugh and sometimes take photos but I play along. Hopefully my photos look like I’m having a good time because 90% of the time I am! Even when its cold or raining or miserable, I try to smile through it! When we’re shooting Paris and I will fight, play fight, or crack jokes the whole time – we try to stay in a good mood because when we aren’t it shows lol.

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In this photo, we were trying a bunch of things to get as much pink in the background. I sat, I stood, I went to the other side of the building all to get the balloons, my look and the pink background all into play, while still showing off the card (since that’s what the pst was for). In the end, we got the money shot where Paris balanced on a the concrete ledge of a light pole to get the perfect angle, THANKS PAIR!IMG_7084IMG_7274

Once we’ve captured the photo, I review it once again as we narrow down to make sure the pics align with 4 out of 5 of my courtneyisms. We review these on our phones or on the camera, once we snap something I don’t like to reshoot under any circumstances and try my best to avoid a do-over. 

It’s not always a science like this, or this order sometimes I plan my look based on the location – like the flaming photo where I dressed (you guessed it) like a flaming … although its important to note that Paris was wearing flamingo shirt as well and he did not plan it! Sometimes a situation just aires, like the this trolley photo, here a trolley pulled up and we ran over, we had like 60 seconds to snap the a pic before the Opportunity ended. This photo is not perfect, I have a serious pooch and upon further examination I missed a button on my jeans hahahaha but HEY I like it. Curated does not mean fake, it just means thought out, well organized and professional; and since my blog is my business, and these photos are things that brands pay for – I hope people appreciate how much work goes into the content we create and how seriously we take it … all while having a lot of fun along the way. IMG_7194

Edit and Organize!

So now the photo is taken, boom! Next I edit it in snapseed and or color story, then I upload to planoly and move things around until I know where I want it to be in my feed. I try to plan this 24 hours in advance but that doesn’t always work out. Sometimes I’ll take a post a photo on the spot – but I’m never flying blind I always know what I’m looking for  — “like I need a blue backdrop”, “I need a Courtney & Paris lifestyle shot” or I want a shoefie with my #colormemani in it!

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Caption This

Then I craft a caption! This often comes to me mid edit or sometimes even mid shoot and I have to stop and jot things down real quick. Other times I’ll think of something in the early phases and write it down in my phone – you guys should see my notes section it’s bananas! After It’s written, I’ll add emojis to make it more me and get ready to publish!

Publish

Before I actually publish, I’ll link my photo with Liketoknow.it or through ShopStyle at colormecourtney.com/shop so my look becomes shoppable. If I’m going to use hashtags, I’ll prepare them in a note as well. If I’m going to use hashtags, I want to publish them in the first comment right after I publish the photo – so I’ll add the photo, tag, geo tag (this is very important and can really improve your engagement), go back and copy the hashtag, share the photo and then paste the tags into the first comment, woooo that sounds like a lot, but it’s not that bad I promise!

After the photo is live I try and respond to all of the comments, this takes a bunch of time but is  a great way to connect with my followers, so for me its worth it! Plus is boots your engagement for a post and helps it get seen by more eyes – so if you find yourself struggling to get seen, give it a try!

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SHOP THE LOOK


Shoes • $160–228  (Look for less • $43 )
Dress • $229  (Look for less here •  Here •  or here )
Bag • $366.81  (Look for less  • $98 )

Little Red Dress 2 Ways

27th April 2017

FullSizeRender-6Little black dresses are so practical, but also pretty boring, and little white dresses are soooooooo last year – so today we’re talking about red hot dresses sure to knock anyone’s socks right off, and styling my current fav two ways!      

I found this dress online during a shop bop sale and immediately added it to cart because its CA-UTE! But .. when I got it on it gave me no shape and did nothing for this body-ody-ody. UGH! SO I turned to my go to trick, a big black belt!

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Shop little red dresses at every price point


GOEN.J Ruffle Sleeve Dress • $340
City Streets Short Sleeve Shift Dress • $16
Black Halo Penelope Mini Dress • $207
Women’s Karen Kane Asymmetrical Shift Dress • $139
Fame and Partners Sasha Dress • $249
Women’s Adelyn Rae Fit & Flare Midi Dress • $128
Caroline Constas Lena Dress • $695
Black Halo Brooklyn Dress • $345
Black Halo Sanibel 2 Piece Mini Dress • $325
Diane von Furstenberg Tailored shift dress • $419
boohoo Kyra Frill Detail Midi Bodycon Midi Dress • $35
Petite Women’s Halogen Ruffle Sleeve Shift Dress • $69
Women’s Leith Racerback Shift Dress • $49
Women’s Leith Stretch Knit Midi Dress • $69
Susana Monaco Off Shoulder Dress • $206–216
Women’s Lulus Cutout Back Tea Length High/low Dress • $82
Missguided Scuba Bow Detail Bodycon Dress • $38

A statement belt can save 70% of shapeless dresses, sometimes it won’t wok but for the most part you can get away with unflattering silhouettes with a bit of a nip & a tuck. This isn’t the first time a bold belt has come to my rescue, I shared how it saved me in the denim department last week on the blog (click here to read the post). 

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Shop statement belts for every budget


Wide leather belt with pearl Double G • $1,100
W. Kleinberg Leather Belt • $150
Linea Pelle Vintage Crosshatch Hip Belt • $87–124
Lovers + Friends x REVOLVE Chloe Belt • $98
Dolce & Gabbana Polka-Dot Belt • $445
Wide leather belt with Double G • $990
Pebbled Leather Belt • $49.50
Salvatore Ferragamo Gancini Small Reversible Saffiano Leather Belt • $365
Gucci – Leather Belt – Beige • $420
Origami O Ring Belt • $178
Women’s Hinge Scallop Laser Cut Leather Belt • $49
Leather belt with pearl Double G • $650
B-Low The Belt Bri Bri Belt • $148
Women’s Another Line Skinny Western Belt • $48

This dress was an investment, so I had to make sure I could get my moneys worth! Using the same belt, I was able to take it from day to night by switching up the accessories. I went from platform sneakers & a pop of color, to a interesting color combo and a girly vibe with one quick switch!

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Shop The look (& look for less options under $100)


GOEN.J Ruffle Sleeve Dress • $340
Wide leather belt with pearl Double G • $1,100
Sam Edelman – Hazel Women’s Shoes • $85–120
Kate Spade New York Hayes Street Small Isobel Leather Satchel – Black • $328
MM6 Maison Margiela Women’s Women’s Platform Sneakers • $395
boohoo Rhia Ruffle Sleeve Shift Dress • $35
Mansur Gavriel – Circle Leather Tote – Red • $1,095
Women’s Tahari Ruffle A-Line Dress • $76.80
Mansur Gavriel Calf Mini Mini Sun Bag • $545
Women’s Marc Fisher Ltd Emmy Platform Sneaker • $97.46
Opening Ceremony William Ruffle Sleeve Dress • $190
Rachel Ruffle Shift Dress • $9.99
Christian Louboutin So Kate 120 pink suede pump • $675
Cold Shoulder Ruffle Sleeve Dress • $22
Dune Aiyana suede courts • $79
Wide leather belt with Double G • $990
ASOS Pearl Double Buckle Waist And Hip Belt • $22
Mansur Gavriel Red Leather Circle Bag • $1,095
MANSUR GAVRIEL Mini Sun leather tote • $1,095
Gucci pearl logo belt • $650
Mansur Gavriel Leather Crossbody Bag w/ Tags • $575
Sam Edelman Mini Chiara Faux Leather Satchel – Blue • $88.80
Mansur Gavriel Orange Mini Mini Sun Tote • $545
Matt & Nat Obe Circle Crossbody • $130
Mansur Gavriel Handbags Vegetable-Tanned Leather Circle Bag, Rosa • $1,095

P.S. if you wanna see someone who is always killing it in the shit dress the department (without a belt) check out Carrie C of Wear Where Well

Rainbow Roundup – Colored Sunglasses

25th April 2017

Untitled 8dHello Sunshine!

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I’m not a big sunglass wearer, mostly because I like to show my face in photos. (Once upon a time I was all about shooting on sunnies, I touch on that story here in Blogging Outside The Lines) It’s definitely harder to shoot without sunglasses, I have to take about 3X as many photos and 75% of them are unusable (hence why I sometimes share the bloopers on @colormecourtney instagram stories) but I think it helps set me apart from other bloggers so I do it.Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 6.34.24 PM

Anyways, sunglasses are sometimes necessary, even if don’t want to shoot in them, you might want to wear them to complete a look or, you know, like protect you from the sun. When I’m shopping for sunnies, I like to pick colorful, bold pairs that can be a finishing touch on a rainbow sherbet look. I’ve been all about pink right now, so a pink pair of sunnies has been on serious rotation in my wardrobe. The other day, I found myself shopping for a yellow pair to add to my collection and realized that I know own pink, red, green and blue – so essentially I’m building a rainbow like I have done with shoes, bags and so many other styles.

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So if you’re into buying a pair of colored glasses or building a rainbow empire like me, I’m rounding up glasses in every color at every budget for you, ready go!

There are LOTS of product linked here in this post, you can click on any of the product pictures and the shopping link will open for you in a new tab, same with the actual links. If you find something you like, give it a click and keep reading, when you’re done you can look back at your tabs before deciding which products need a place in your closet. 

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Reddy for me to rock your world – Shop these red hot smokin’ frames.

One• $59  //  Two • $225 / Three • $195  // Four • $150
Five • $176  // Six • $79 // Seven • $250

Walking on Sunshine –  It takes a certain kind of girl to rock a bold yellow (or orange frame) if you’re that girl, these sunnies are for you.

One • $85  // Two • $270  // Three • $359  // Four • $175  // Five • $39
Six • $395  // Seven • $395  // Eight • $60  // Nine • $119  // Ten • $225
Eleven • $175  Twelve • $365  // Thirteen • $325  // Fourteen • $120  // Fifteen • $585

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Seeing Green? – If not, you will be with these bold sunnies, sure you turn you green with accessory envy.
One • $630  // Two• $69  // Three • $155  // Four • $45
Five • $190  // Six• $59  // Seven • $149  // Eight• $150
Nine • $225  // Ten • $176  // Eleven • $270

Got the Blues (or purples) –  If you’re a “cool girl” these tones will be perfect for your cotton candy colored collection


One • $80–128  // Two • $177  // Three • $190  // Four • $175  // Five • $24
Six • $60  // Seven • $175  // Eight • $420  // Nine • $177  // Ten • $140–165
Eleven • $60  // Twelve • $75  // Thirteen • $585  // Fourteen • $560  // Fifteen • $175

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Think Pink
  Want to see the world through rose colored? these pretty pink sunnies are for you!

One • $270  // Two  • $320  // Three • $375
Four • $155 // Five • $280  // Six • $55  // Seven • $585

See something you love but don’t like the price?
Don’t fret – HEY BUDGET BABES I GOTCHU!Untitled 9
Here are some seriously saturated sunnies all under $100, say whaaa
Click on the photo of the sunnies you like to shop, they’ll open in a new tab