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  • Talia Tries: Fit and Fabulous Challenge by Courtney Bentley

    I recently began a four week fitness challenge hosted by the fabulous Courtney Bentley. I decided to take on the challenge because I wanted to build up a bit of muscle tone and also improve my consistency with working out. I always feel my absolute best when I am working out on a regular basis and eating clean, I went in to the challenge feeling extremely optimistic and excited!

    Before the Program

    Here’s a little background on my experience with fitness and eating clean, I’ve been naturally thin for the majority of my life but I gained a little weight when I moved to Florida. After gaining weight, I started doing high intensity workouts with a trainer but I never got back to being as thin as I was. Recently, I lost 25 pounds due to stress and anxiety and while my body might have looked good, I felt MISERABLE. I was constantly exhausted, stressed out and beyond anxious. I can honestly say that I was extremely unhappy and enough was enough, I needed a change!

    Working with Courtney

    Courtney and I talked about my goals, current eating habits and also about how often I worked out, from there on out she developed a comprehensive plan for me. She was extremely helpful and I felt like she supported me 100%. Trust me when I say that Courtney is not only a fitness guru, but she’s extremely kind, intelligent and an overall wonderful person. Her workouts easily fit into my schedule and the meal plans were absolutely delicious! Before I began the challenge, she sent me her Fit and Fabulous Challenge guide, this guide explained EVERYTHING that I needed to know about the program. From tips to creating (and conquering) my fitness goals to setting nutrition guidelines, Courtney’s guide was extremely thorough. After reading the guide and taking a few notes, I was beyond ready to dedicate the next month in order to get my health back on track!

    The Workouts

    I mentioned to Courtney that I loved HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts and that I would love to see a few in my program. Sure enough, she sent me SO many HIIT workouts that kicked my butt! Her leg workouts are killers, but they do wonders. She sent me about 4-5 workouts a week that lasted anywhere from 20-45 minutes and the workouts mainly targeted my legs, upper body and abs. The workouts weren’t easy but I definitely saw an improvement with my anxiety and my I lost a few inches in my waist!

    Meal Plans

    I’m not really a picky eater and I have no food allergies, but I am honestly a TERRIBLE cook. This college student is still learning how to cook a proper meal without burning everything in sight! Courtney’s meal plans are extremely easy to follow and luckily, no food was burned food in the process! I stuck to the meal guide up until I went on vacation for a few days but I was on track once I got back. The meal plans that Courtney suggests are incredibly beneficial for conquering the program (also, they’re delicious).

    Fit and Fabulous Facebook Group

    One of the perks of this challenge is the community that comes with it! Courtney has set up a Facebook group specifically for all of the girls that are apart of her program. Everyone is very nice and I loved how Courtney ran things as a Facebook group admin! She really dedicates a lot of time to answering questions, she is definitely there for each and every client.

    Final results

    By the end of the program, I most definitely noticed a change in my health, outlook on life and body. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a before and after picture but I notice a significant change in my legs and I’m noticing that I’ve developed a little definition in my bicep! Apart from physical improvements, I feel so much better and stronger. I mentioned earlier that I noticed an improvement in my anxiety levels and I’m not even joking, it’s gotten better I'm not as anxious as I was before. I cannot wait to continue my fitness journey beyond Courtney’s program, I’m so excited for what’s to come! Finally, I would like to thank Courtney for everything. I cannot recommend her program enough, she’s an inspiration and the absolute sweetest. Other fitness challenge programs simply can't compete with her and she's a top notch personal trainer!!! You can learn more about her program here and book a free 15 minute phone consultation with her at: http://bit.ly/schedulecourtney

    You can also follow Courtney on social media at:

    Courtney's Instagram Page

    Like Courtney's Facebook Page

    Free Workouts on her YouTube channel

    Courtney's Twitter: Twitter

    Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored. I participated in Courtney's program free of charge in return for a review, however this does not alter my experience with the program. All thoughts and words are my own however the images in this post belong to Courtney Bentley. If you have any questions about this disclaimer please e-mail me at diaryofmycloset.com. 

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  • Exciting Changes

    Surprise, I'm back! A LOT has changed since I wrote my last blog post. I changed my major from PR to Social Work, I've decided that I want my blog to move in a different direction and my birthday is in a week! YAY! I'm so excited about this new and unknown chapter of my life and this upcoming birthday is a BIG milestone for me. In all honesty, all of the changes that I've decided to make are for the absolute best. 

    The scariest change that I've decided to make has to be switching my major and career path. I love PR, I love the field, I loved working as a social media manager and I really took a lot of pride in balancing this blog, my social media management job and being a full-time college student. It just wasn't something that I felt like I could do in the long term, I wasn't as passionate about it as I was when I first declared my major. It just didn't feel like a good fit anymore. I'm going to be blunt with you, these past few months have been difficult for me. I'm going through something personal and that definitely encouraged me to make all of the changes that I am making. Social work is an entirely different path, but it is a path that I am choosing 120%, I'm all in. My goal is to finish up my degree with a B.S.W (Bachelors in Social Work) and go on to complete my M.S.W (Masters in Social Work) in order to be on the path to eventually become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. It really is like I'm starting things all over again, but I cannot wait to begin my fall semester. 

    When I told my guidance adviser at school that I wanted to change my major, she wasn't that shocked, she actually told me from the very beginning of my college career that social work would be a great fit for me. My parents and best friend on the other hand repeatedly asked me if I was sure that I wanted to pursue it. They didn't really know what to say!

    My choice to change my entire career path is a personal one, I am a little apprehensive about how it will all work out, but I am also excited to see what the future has to offer. As far as this blog is concerned, I'm considering creating an entirely new blog. Diary of my Closet has run its' course, it has been a great 3 years but I feel like I've outgrown the name (keep in mind that I was nearly 17 when I started this blog, I'm nearly 20 now). A lot has changed in 3 years to say the least! Until I come up with a new blog name that I like, I will keep this website up and running! I plan to talk about the reason for this change in a future post. I'm so sorry for the rant but for the first time in my life, I feel alright with not having everything planned out to the very last detail. I'm really looking forward to all of the ups that I'll experience and I'm also (somewhat) prepared for all of the challenges that I'll face. Here's to everything that is to come! I can't wait to share all of it with you! 

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  • A Chat with: The Founders of Onnix London

    Today, I’m sharing a fun interview that I had with the founders of the Onnix London bag (I have a feeling that you guys are going to love this brand!!). I first came across the bag in a Facebook group for bloggers and I was so impressed with the quality and versatility that this bag offered, it was truly unlike anything that I have ever seen! The first thing that drew me to the bag was how stylish and functional the Onnix bag is.

     I greatly admire Lizz and Ha for everything that they have achieved and I cannot wait to see the both of them reach their goals. I hope that you enjoy learning more about them and please stay tuned for part two of this feature! 


    Part One: Ha Do

    Hello, Ha! Can you tell me about your background?

    HD: My name is Ha, I consider myself a feminist and an international citizen. I grew up in Vietnam, moved to Finland for university studies and worked for a Finnish book publishing company overseeing its projects and customers in 35 countries. I am obsessed with innovation and making everyday things better, even just a little bit at a time.

     

    Why did you and Lizz pick the name Onnix?

    HD: Onni is Finnish for luck and happiness. After searching within the Company House and seeing that OnnixLondon.com as well as Onnixbags.com was available we believed it was our luck. It's quite rare to find availability with good names. Onni x London. Onni x Bags. It has a nice ring and message to it!

     

    Why did you decide to start Onnix Bags?

    HD: I have always believed that less is more. Thus I started my first venture making high quality minimal black socks. After ohmysock, which was mostly for men I wanted to create something useful for women, including myself. I used to buy a lot of bags that would either go out of style or break within a few months and I wanted to change this. When I met Lizz at a cafe and told her about my idea of the perfect travel handbag, she told me she had tried to do backpack before along the same theme: functional, stylish, luxurious and affordable. Onnix started not long after that.

     

    What has been the biggest challenge?

    HD: For me, the biggest challenge is to make a bag with great quality and craftsmanship without breaking the bank. We want to ensure fair wage to our craftsmen and women, make the bags out the highest quality hardware and leather which to our finding is from Switzerland and Italy respectively. We also source leather from sustainable tannery that treats their water consciously before releasing to the rivers. It is a real challenge to do all that while keeping our price around GBP 350 for Kickstarter and around GBP 650 for retail.

     

    Our production partner has been making bags for luxury brands including Burberry, Mulberry and Aspinal of London. The other day he was shocked to hear that we are selling the bags for such amount. In his words “You are giving it away, aren’t you?” My answer was: “It’s what Kickstarter is about, people trust you and give you money many months in advance to build your dream. Even if the campaign is fully funded we’ll break”.

     

    What inspired you both to make Onnix Bags sustainable?

    HD: To be completely honest, sustainability has been more of a side effect than a goal in itself for me, I hope to create a bag that lasts, not only its functionality but also its look. I guess if you can use a handful of Onnix bags to fit with all the clothing in your wardrobe for decades, my goal is accomplished.

    Of course we do pay more for factories with REACH and ISO for wastewater and chemical management, that is to make sure our leather is good quality and the chemical is safe, we really don't want toxic chemical anywhere near your bag. Likewise, we don't want harmful chemical in our own water system either. In China there have been more than a few incident of "cancer village" because of toxic chemicals, and as a Vietnamese I am too well aware of this.

     

    The bag is incredibly stunning, does it usually register to people that it is both a clutch and a handbag?

    HD: I have not shown it to many, at first glance you can’t tell that it is a 2-in-1 bag. On the occasions when I go out with it, people do stare at it on the tube. They stare at the bag especially when I use a pop colour clutch on the black bag, I don’t think anyone has seen many bags quite like this.

     Has anyone ever approached you in public about it?

    Not really, people in London don’t usually approach others in public. On one occasion, I sat right next to 2 ladies, one had a Prada bag and the other had a Burberry. They stared at my bag for so long that I blushed! See, the thing is that this bag is going to be made in the same place where they make Burberry bags. The quality is the exact same but the price will be a lot cheaper.

     

     I can tell that the bags are very high quality and they really stand out. But what do you guys need in order for you both to make the Onnix bags a reality? What can everyone do to help?

    HD: We need about 40 more people to buy the bag within the next 2 and a half weeks. At the moment, we are selling the bag at factory price, so those who purchase now automatically get a 50% discount. You can purchase your own Onnix bag here:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/onnix/onnix-bags-redefining-handbags-for-modern-women-on?utm_source=Talia%20blog&utm_medium=Talia%20Blog&utm_campaign=Talia%20blog

     Part Two: Lizz Choi

    Hi Lizz! Can you tell me a little about your background?

    LC:  A daughter of missionaries I’m Korean, but grew up in the Dominican Republic, moved to New York after school and now living in London with my husband and toddler girl.

    I started out as an intern in TV and broadcast journalism during my university studies. After Uni I went onto Wall Street, NYC hedge funds operations, before leaving to join the “startup world”. I went back to intern for a female entrepreneur, then I worked at an adTech company before moving to London to pursue my entrepreneurial journey.

    Ha and I met throughout the entrepreneur journey through a connection and like she mentioned we realized how much we had in common in terms of wanting to create something new, innovative and exciting. We have very different skillsets, backgrounds and interests but the important thing is that we respect each other and our differences and admire the other person. It truly is like a marriage.

     

    I know that Ha has already answered this, but why did you both decide on the name ‘Onnix’?

    LC: In addition to what Ha mention which is quite methodical. We’re feminists and believe in empowering women. Women have ownership of their happiness and luck. #CreateYourOnni

     

    Why did you decide to start Onnix Bags?

    LC: What Ha said. We have different backgrounds and interests but both are passionate about innovation and functionality. I had worked on two bag ideas before, one a functional backpack about 4-5 years ago and then again last year as a nappy clutch ;) So the idea of a functional carry has been haunting me.

     

    What has been the biggest challenge?

    LC: In my case, it's prioritizing all our to dos aside from production. From all the different social channels, thinking of retail, partnership conversations to HR / hiring interns, managing time and making sure that we are making traction so that our brand is recognized "enough" to get a push on Kickstarter. You need 30-40% of your project "funded" before you launch. As in you should know who these backers will be before you launch so that you'll have a successful campaign. Kickstarter is a 0 or all game, so if our campaign is 90% funded we will be producing NO bags.

     

    Why make Onnix Bags Sustainable?

    LC: Sustainability is a by-product of what we care about. We believe in fair working conditions, fair wages and a minimalistic lifestyle. That said, I love fashion and believe it to be an artistic form, a way of self-expression. So, I wanted to break the mold that sustainability is boring and ugly. We also care about the long-term effects on the environment, in my case, especially since having become a mum and the future of the generation to come.

    If Onnix were a person with her own unique identity, how would you best describe her?

    LC: She’s a free spirit, she is strong, she is curious and she loves to travel. She knows that it’s a tough world, but that she is empowered to create her luck and happiness. She works in a male dominated field yet confidently shows her style. She is a bad­ass hard-core woman and may keep her femininity hidden at times, but she embraces and loves it. She is always learning, growing and wants to leave a lasting legacy. Onni means happiness and luck in Finnish, once again our hashtag: #CreateYourOnni.


    Onnix London Social Media Links:

    Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/onnix/onnix-bags-redefining-handbags-for-modern-women

    Website: http://www.onnixbags.com/

    Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/onnixcreate/

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/OnnixBags?lang=en

    Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/OnnixBags/?fref=nf

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/onnixbags/


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  • Tuesday Details!

    Tuesday Details!

    For the past month, final exams have kept me busier (and more coffee fueled) than ever! I'm finally finished with all of my exams and I can relax for a few days until my summer semester begins. I'm very happy to be back and I'm excited to share what I wore today! I know that I rarely share my outfits with you guys, but I wanted to post something a little different from my usual posts. I didn't have the time for an outfit shoot, so I opted for a quick layout instead. 

    Here's the details: 

    Knit Sweater: J.Crew (I bought this a few years ago and I can't find a similar style, I'll keep my eye out!) 

    Jeans: Habitual (can't find the exact pair but I've attached a similar wash and fit here). 

    Bracelet: Marley Lilly (once again, I bought this a few years ago and it is no longer available. Similar bracelet here)

    Backpack: Herschel (available here

    Until next time, 

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  • Temporary Leave!

    Hey there! 

    Things my end have been a bit hectic, but everything is fine! I'm currently focusing on showing final exams who's boss! I'm studying hard, knocking out term papers & working like crazy (no complaints, I know that all of this hard work will pay off eventually). I'll be back to my regular posting schedule very soon! Have a fabulous Monday!

    All the best, 

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  • Monday Details

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  • 5 Off-the-Shoulder Tops I Love!

    Hey everyone and Happy Friday! Here are 5 off-the-shoulder tops that I love. 

    $68


    $60


    $89


    $118


    $248


    I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend! 

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  • Love it or Leave it: Espadrille Edition

    Espadrilles are popping up everywhere this season, but does that mean that you should buy them? Today on Diary of my Closet, I'm introducing a new segment called: Love it or Leave it! In this weeks series I've selected a few espadrilles (ranging from all price points).

    Here are my espadrille picks:

    Steve Madden Sandals
    zulily.com

    First up on the love it or leave it list are these taupe Steve Madden suede espadrilles! They retail for $45.00 and I would pair them with a pair of bright colored shorts and a chambray top, but there are so many other options as to how you can style these! These shoes are fun, versatile and affordable, and for that reason, I say:



    Soludos slip-on shoes

    nordstromrack.com

    Next on the list are these Soludos slip-ons. They're $25.00 and they come in multiple colors and while I love the price, I have shoes that are very similar to this pair. So, in that case my verdict is:



    Valentino Rockstud Espadrilles: Harrods

    Harrods.com

    If you're looking to invest in a pair of espadrille's, I highly reccomend these! Valentino offers them in a multitude of colors and they also have the option of purchasing them as wedges. Personally, these shoes aren't exactly practical primarily because of the price (hello, I'm a college student you guys!). My heart says "love it" but my wallet says:


    Joie Lace Up Sandals

    Bloomingdales.com

    These are so perfect for 4th of July or for summer parties! But hold on, let's get back to reality here- these are $295.00 and you can find several other lace up espadrilles at a lower price (check out Banana Republic!)


    Loeffler Randall Ballet Espadrilles

    http://www.loefflerrandall.com/mara-hc-chth-1.html

    Out of all of my espadrille picks, these shoes are my absolute favorite! I can definitley see myself wearing these almost everywhere & Loeffler Randall is also one of my favorite new brands. Pair these with distressed jeans and a black v-neck with a pendant necklace and you'll be set!


    This concludes todays post! Don't forget to tune into tomorrow's post on Diary of my Closet because it's going to be a fun one!

    All the best,

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  • 4 Lessons From: Diana Vreeland

    I recently watched a documentary about the life of the formidable fashion columnist and former Editor in Chief for Vogue: Diana Vreeland. I was amazed by her contributions to the fashion industry and I came up with the idea to start up a segment on Diary of my Closet called: "4 Lessons From". This segment will conclusively highlight the notable individuals that I admire and it will additionally pinpoint important lessons that we can learn from them. After watching 'Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel', I am amazed by her eccentric personality, classic style, and utter talent and I have a newfound appreciation for everything that Diana accomplished throughout her career.

    Here are the 4 lessons that we can all learn from Diana Vreeland:

    1.) Avoid dwelling on your flaws.

    Diana discusses her childhood in the beginning of the documentary and she mentions her upbringing in Paris. While she had a very fortunate childhood, Diana's mother was very critical of her looks and she was constantly put down by her. At one point in the documentary, she says that her mother once told her: "It's too bad that you have such a beautiful sister and that you are so terribly ugly." (I can't imagine how she felt when her mother said that. What a terrible thing to tell your child!). Diana could have let her mothers criticism bring her down, but she kept her head held up high! There are things about ourselves that we can't change, but we need to make an effort to focus on everything that we are wonderful at! Whether it's our intelligence, talent, or kindness: we all deserve to feel confident about ourselves. Diana knew that she wasn't wildly attractive, but she focused on her strengths and became an extremely admired and accomplished woman.

    "You don't have to be pretty. You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't owe it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying the marked "female".

    -Diana Vreeland

    2.) Chase the life you want

    The documentary really emphasizes what an interesting & fabulous life Diana lived. She traveled often, she socialized with fascinating people, she worked rigorously and she loved the life she lived. Diana took risks, she dared to be different and she lived her life without any apologies. Step out of your comfort zone! Wear something you wouldn't usually wear, live spontaneously, and enjoy the life you live!

    3. Think outside the box

    To say that Diana was a trendsetter is a true understatement, she set the bar for fashion. She knew what people wanted before they wanted it & Diana didn't filter herself. Her writing was original and imaginative, Diana didn't think like other people and that was exactly what set her apart. She gave energy and pep to everything she did and she was a true creative. You can apply this lesson to your life by making an effort to find your own voice in whatever you do! Think outside the box because life is way too short to live like everyone else!

    4.) Don't take everything so seriously

    Diana was serious when it was necessary but she had an amazing sense of humor! She didn't take herself too seriously & she was incredibly witty. I was amazed by how lively and full of life she was, she treated her life like an absolute adventure. She took risks, dared to be different and lived with great vitality. I hope that you enjoy your life as much as Diana Vreeland enjoyed hers! I know that it's easy to get caught up in our hectic lives, but it is very important that we let loose once in a while!

    This concludes my "4 Lessons From Diana Vreeland" post! To learn more about Diana Vreeland, you can watch the documentary: "Diana Vreeland: The Eye has to Travel" on Amazon.com. I hope that you enjoyed this post because we can all learn a few invaluable lessons from Diana!

    Who would you like me to feature next on my 4 Lessons From series?

    Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

    https://twitter.com/diaryofmycloset

    All the best, 

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  • The Girl Behind the Blog: Get to Know Me!

    I've always believed that it's very important for readers to get to know the person behind the blog! So todays post is going to be a fun 'Get to Know Me' questionnaire! The questions from this post were found in a 'get to know me' tag, so in true circa 2007 fashion, here's a few things about myself:

    1.) How old are you?

    20-ish

    2.) How tall are you?

    5'9

    3.) What nationality are you?

    American. As far as what nationality my descendents are, they were Scottish & English.

    4.) What's your favorite color?

    Baby blue

    5.) Where do you shop?

    H&M, Zara, J.Crew & a few local boutiques

    6.) Favorite make-up brand?

    Laura Mercier

    7.) Favorite shows?

    House of Cards or Scandal for when I want to watch something serious

    Arrested Development, The Office or An Idiot Abroad for when I want to laugh

    House Hunters for when I can't fall asleep

    8.) What is your greatest strength & your greatest weakness?

    Greatest weakness: I'm very self critical

    Greatest strength: I'm very driven

    9.) What books are you reading?

    Yes Please by: Amy Poehler

    Bridget Jones Diary by: Helen Fielding

    So You've Been Publicly Shamed by: Jon Ronson (highly recommend this book for other PR majors & for everyone in general)

    10.) What are you majoring in?

    I'm majoring in Public Relations & Organizational Communications

    11.) What is your personality like?

    I've always been a bit reserved, but I'm much more outgoing now.

    12.) What do you do when you aren't blogging?

    I'm usually checking my phone, responding to e-mails, going to class or working on school work! I don't have a lot of free time these days.

    13.) Why did your last relationship end?

    Well, I'm not going to get into specifics because that's a bit private but he is a wonderful guy and we are good friends. I genuinely wish him the best.

    14.) What do you get anxious about?

    I'm a bit of an anxious person. I get nervous about driving & I also have really bad test anxiety!

    15.) Do you speak more than one language?

    Yes, I speak english, spanish and a little bit of french.

    16.) If you just won a million dollars, would you quit school?

    Absolutley not. I'm very passionate about pursuing my education and I love my major. Winning a million dollars wouldn't alter how I live my day-to-day life.

    17.) What did you want to be when you were younger?

    If I wasn't majoring in PR, I would undoubtedly be majoring in Elementary Education. I've always wanted to be a teacher mainly because I was lucky enough to have had such an incredible amount of support from my teachers throughout my childhood. There are certain teachers and professors that have encouraged me to challenge myself in all aspects of life and I can't thank them enough for everything that they have done for me. I would love to be able to hold such a positive influence on our future generations through the power of education! As far as switching my major is concerned, I'm going to stick to majoring in PR. 

    18.) What are your parents like?

    My parents are wonderful, they are the most genuine people that I know. They're just very fun people to be around & there is never a dull moment when I'm with them! My mom is very kind, a little strict at times but she is very sweet and has my best interest. My dad and I are very similar, we have the same sense of humor and we're always laughing when we're together.

    19.) What role do you play in your friend group?

    My best friend has always called me the mom of our friend group (she actually calls me mom sometimes!), I'm very protective of my friends!

    Now that you guys have gotten to know a little about me, I would love to get to know more about my readers! Tell me a little about yourself in the comments below!

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