New York City Follow Your Dreams

One piece of advice for the new week ahead. Stop getting caught up in other people’s lives and just smile! You have one life to live so do whatever you can to make the most of YOURS. Write down and work on your goals, tell people how you feel, be open and honest with yourself and give more than you get. It’s hard to put yourself out there, I know it’s intimidating and scary but if you don’t live fearlessly, one day when you’re 80 years old you may regret not moving to LA and pursuing that acting job you wanted, starting that coffee shop you imagined owning, breaking free from old patterns/old friends/relationships, or texting that person that you care about right now. As I’m getting older I realize that I have so much more to do and that once you find your purpose, you will constantly be learning and growing from it. Have an awesome week everyone <3

Xoxo,

Lyss

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Spring Outfit Ideas In New York City: What To Wear

SPRING!!! 🙂 It’s officially springtime in NYC and the weather has been pretty amazing, so I’m not complaining. It was a cold and long winter, but the sun is finally shining and I am so excited to wear all of my spring outfits (finally!!!!)

One of the best parts about spring in New York is that there are so many trees blossoming everywhere in the West Village, Central Park, Brooklyn, and in all of the public parks. All the city shops are exploding with floral patterns and prints, the cafes are always crowded, people’s coffees turn from hot to iced real quick, and people are running around soaking in every first drop of sunshine 🙂

So many of you on my Instagram have been asking for the links to my spring outfits so I decided to link them all in one simple blog post 🙂 Happy shopping!

THIS MAGICAL PRINCESS DRESS…

Dress by Lovers & Friends

Spring in Central Park || Wearing Lovers & Friends

This flow-y floral maxi dress is a gorgeous pale blue color with pale pink roses. It is a stunning dress, perfect for day or night time, and I’ve already worn it 3 times in the last 2 weeks to special events and for my cherry blossom photoshoots. I am in LOVE.

SHOP THE LEAH GOWN

THIS SPRING FLORAL WORKOUT OUTFIT…

I am currently obsessed with anything floral (if you couldn’t tell by now!) and this workout set is the perfect way to kick off the spring season! I wore this to Central Park the other night for a run and I received SO many compliments. It’s not only adorable to work out in, but it’s super stretchy and comfortable for running and HIIT workouts!

SHOP THE LACE FRONT RIBBON BRA

SHOP THE LACE FRONT RIBBON LEGGINGS

THIS SUPER CHILL SPRING LOOK…

This outfit is definitely one of my favorite go-to sets when I’m just walking around the city and it’s a little bit chillier than usual! Sometimes spring nights can get cooler and this is the perfect kind of outfit to wear for that chilly breeze. It’s also SO comfy and there’s nothing better than being comfortable! Whenever I’m not shooting photos for work, I am in these kinds of sweats! 😉

SHOP THE STRIPED LEGGINGS

I couldn’t find the leggings in white on the website but they are linked in navy blue, which I also adore!

SHOP THE JEAN BUTTON DOWN

The sneakers are from Coach but they were on sale a while ago and I can’t find them anywhere online!

 

THIS SPRINGTIME JUMPSUIT…

Hands down the best purchase I’ve ever made. I’ve worn this jumpsuit twice already and it’s perfect for rain or shine.

SHOP THE JUMPSUIT

 

THIS CHERRY BLOSSOM MINI DRESS…

I bought this dress specifically to twirl around and take photos with the cherry blossoms all over New York City! I love how elegant and detailed the dress is. It’s so so cute and I will definitely be wearing it a lot more this spring 🙂

SHOP THE PINK DRESS

THIS CUTE AND CASUAL SPRING LOOK…

This is another simple go-to outfit I put together for an everyday look in the spring. Since this day was 80 degrees, I wore my fave jean shorts and a graphic print bodysuit. I love bodysuits because they’re always fitting and tuck well into shorts! I’m also wearing the most adorable baby blue beanie from Urban, but it’s unfortunately not available online (only in store!)

SHOP THE JEAN SHORTS

SHOP THE BODYSUIT

Let me know what you think of these spring outfits in the comments! I never considered myself a fashionista at ALL, but I love sharing the links and supporting brands I wear and love daily.

Xoxo,

Lyss

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12 Best Instagram Cafes in NYC For Perfect Photos

Instagram Cafes in NYC are always a MUST.

12 Most Instagram Worthy Cafes in NYC

PHOTO: EFFORTLYSS

New York City is one of the most beautiful places to take photos for Instagram in general. One of the best parts about this magical city is that there are hundreds of gorgeous cafes sprawling on every corner, and the photo opportunities are endless. There are tons of cute spots to help you unwind during a work lunch break, answer emails, eat a croissant, or most importantly, grab those photogenic lattes and snap some photos for your Instagram feed. Let’s just say I’ve been to almost…all of them. 😉

Here are some of my favorite aesthetically pleasing spots that are worth the visit.

 

CHA CHA MATCHA

PHOTO: CHA CHA MATCHA

This place is always packed with city-goers, so make sure you get here to grab some photos early if that’s on your agenda. This awesome cafe serves bright green matcha lattes, with pretty matcha powder palm trees sprinkled on top. The cafe decor is neon pink and green to match your perfect drink, so it’s one of my favorite instagram-worthy spots in Manhattan. There’s also tons of matcha filled pastries, cool retro paintings, and tropical couches to make every photo pop! My go-to order: the Almond Milk Matcha Latte.

 

LA PECORA BIANCA

PHOTO: LA PECORA BIANCA

La Pecora Bianca is a cafe / restaurant with some of the best coffee around. This cafe is decked out in stunning white marble, pastel greens, and classic gold tones to make any Instagram photo stand out. The cafe has an airy, European vibe to it that I’ve fallen madly in love with and it’s been a go-to brunch spot for me ever since.

 

PIETRO NOLITA

PHOTO: ANA JOHNSON

This cute Italian restaurant has the most adorable pink aesthetic ever. Decked out in graphic pink and white tones, this is the perfect place to snap a shot of your pink fashion statement, pink nails, pink coffee cup, whatever it is that screams pink to you. There’s also a heart graffiti wall outside of this place. ALL the good vibes.

 

TOBY’S ESTATE COFFEE

PHOTO: TOBY’S ESTATE

This bright, airy cafe is perfect for you if you’re looking for that dreamy white-tone shot. Toby’s Estate is super cozy, and serves everything from coffee to vegan chocolate chip cookies. There’s usually a crowd of people here during the day time, but it’s always exciting to see the rush. The 5th ave location in New York is attached to a library with some cozy sofas to read and relax. Perfection.

 

LUDLOW COFFEE SUPPLY

PHOTO: ORBITZ

This is one of the coolest coffee hang out spots I’ve ever been to. Tucked away inside the Ludlow Hotel, this coffee “garden” per-say, is decked out in beautiful vines and rustic vibes. I recently discovered this place and was blown away by how private and cozy it was. Since it is a part of the hotel, this place is more low-key and perfect to kick back and work for several hours at a time. Or you know, take some epic photos for your feed, as usual! 😉

 

WHILE WE WERE YOUNG

PHOTO: WHILE WE WERE YOUNG

This cafe’s marble tables, plush pastel sofas and floral vibes is all you need to grab the perfect IG shot. This cafe is super tiny, but if you grab a seat early and are lucky enough to catch it empty, it’s totally worth the visit. This popular brunch spot serves some amazing avocado toast and lots of drinks, in case you need a pick me up after your photoshoot.

 

CITIZENS OF CHELSEA

PHOTO: CITIZENS OF CHELSEA

This Australian-inspired restaurant is one of the most beautiful brunch spots I’ve ever been to. Tucked away on 9th ave, it boasts a very modern, clean and “instagrammable” opportunity. If you do visit, be sure to order brunch as everything on the menu is absolutely divine.

 

JACK’S WIFE FREDA 

PHOTO: TARAMILKTEA

This restaurant is not only the ideal brunch spot on the weekends, but it’s one of the cutest places to go with a bunch of your closest friends. The cafe has this dreamy, pastel vibe that makes any photo look bomb. Plus, the flatlays of the food are always a must. Try the avocado toast.

 

BREAD NOLITA

PHOTO: YELP

This restaurant / cafe is one of the most popular cafes in Nolita to grab some coffee, and more importantly, Nutella toast. The cafe is decked out in cool red and white tones for an epic photoshoot. It’s also attached to a hotel with a cool modern vibe for some extra photos if necessary.

 

NOMO KITCHEN

PHOTO: NOMO SOHO

This restaurant is located inside the NOMO Hotel in Soho, and features the most beautiful graffiti art, rustic tables, and all around gorgeous modern vibes. Grab a quick bite with friends here, snap some photos, and take a stroll through the vine-enclosed entrance of the hotel once you’re done! 🙂

 

TACOMBI

PHOTO: TACOMBI

This cute Mexican-style restaurant is known for it’s amazing drinks, but more importantly, it’s bold and colorful vibes. The big letters, the blue floors, and the vibrant atmosphere makes this place an instagram dream. Stop by for drinks with your friends, take some pics with your drinks, and soak in the fun of NYC.

 

THE BUTCHER’S DAUGHTER SOHO

 

PHOTO: THE ADVENTUROUS MAZ

This amazing little spot is usually always packed, and for a good reason. The warm and rustic atmosphere engulfs the vibe of Soho, and has tons of delicious food to brunch with your friends. This cafe is definitely one of the most beautiful in the Soho area.

 

 

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A Few Of My Favorite Things

So I know this post is totally late after the holidays but I’ve been getting a lot of messages regarding what products I love and use. I decided to make a quick list of all my favorites things I think are worth the buy! 🙂

UNDER $150

Clarisonic Brush – I LOVE my Clarisonic and I would highly recommend it to anyone, especially those of you who love wearing makeup on a daily basis like me. I’m a makeup junkie, but foundation tends to clog my pores if I don’t wash my face really well, so I bought a Clarisonic a few months ago. The brush’s bristles gently remove all dirt, oil, and makeup residue from your skin. I use a makeup remover pad to wipe away the top layer of my makeup, and then I use the Clarisonic brush paired with a facial cleanser to scrub away the excess dirt and oil still stuck in my pores.

Click here to check out the Clarisonic.

 

Chunky Knit Blanket – Fun fact about me, I LOVE my throw blankets and I think they make any apartment or home extra cozy. I own about 10 of them, and drape my couch and bed with them. They add such a comfy feeling to any room, and this brand is one of my favorites.

Click here to check out the blanket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tommy Hilfger Boots– I recently bought myself a pair of these and I’m in LOVE. They are super comfortable, warm, and so cute. I’ve been wearing them a lot with black sweaters and leggings and they add just a pop of color. They’re also really good to style in fall or winter season, which is important living in NYC 🙂

Click here to check out the boots.

 

 

 

 

UNDER $100

Sephora Perfume Sampler – I personally love switching up my perfume every week and I don’t want to spend hundreds on individual fragrance bottles, so this set is perfect. It gives you a great range of “test” perfumes that each last about a week, and they’re so cute and tiny that you can fit them into your purse easily. My fave scent from this collection is the one by Elizabeth & James Nirvana. It smells bold but not too sweet.

Click here to check out the perfume set.

 

 

FujiFilm Instax Mini Camera – I carried this camera around with me this year and took the most adorable, spontaneous shots! This is the perfect camera for those of you who love printed “vintage” photos in an instant. I love being able to just snap a photo and have it print a second later. I pinned all of the little pictures to my bedroom wall and I made a collage out of them. This also makes a great gift for anyone who loves photography and doesn’t have an “instant” camera yet 🙂

Click here to check out the camera.

 

 

 

Let It Glow Beauty Box – This box is filled with amazing high-quality goodies. It is worth the splurge in my opinion. I love beauty boxes that honest bloggers have curated because it makes it that much easier to know what’s good out there! I love Marianna’s choices and this box makes a perfect gift for yourself or for a friend.

Click here to check out the beauty box.

 

Ale by Alessandra Bodysuit –

I am in love with cute bodysuits because they can go with so many different outfits! I also think they are super comfortable. Typically, I’d wear a black or white bodysuit with denim jeans, or with a mini skirt. I just ordered this one from Revolve, I think it’s adorable and I’ll wear it with a lot of different things. It’s still available in all sizes so get it while you can! 🙂

Click here to check out the bodysuit.

 

 

 

 

 

UNDER $75

 

 

Anthropologie Candle Set – If you didn’t know this about me, I am OBSESSED with candles. I own about 20 different brands from Anthropologie and I love making my apartment smell like a cozy heaven. That’s why these candles are amazing! They come in 4 different scents and smell so so good.

Click here to check out the candles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation – I have a ton of you asking me about my skin and what I use for my foundation. I love medium coverage (not too light, not too heavy) and I have been loving this foundation recently to do just that. It’s a soft matte foundation that covers up everything super well and it has a really nice finish.

Click here to check out the foundation.

 

Classic Denim Shorts – I own about 30 pairs of different jean shorts. They go with everything!!! These are perfect for everyday basics if you are lucky enough to live somewhere warm. I typically pair my jean shorts with a cute bodysuit and high-top sneakers or comfy wedges.

Click here to check out the shorts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNDER $50 things I LOVE

Constellation Layered Necklace – soooo cute and a subtle statement piece.

Click here.

 

Cute Plaid Scarf – perfect to compliment any basic outfit and it’s on sale!

Click here.

 

Mini Chain Backpack – perfect for carrying the essentials (phone, wallet, makeup). I bought this on sale a week ago and I LOVE it! It’s adorable and good quality for the price.

Click here.

 

Elizabeth & James Dry Shampoo – this dry shampoo is my FAVORITE and I can’t buy any other brand after using this. It smells like delicious floral perfume so I don’t even need to wear actual perfume.

Click here.

 

I hope you all enjoyed this post! These are just a few of MANY things I love. I also love the ability to support other brands, bloggers and companies. Let me know what other “things” you’d love to see – more fashion, beauty, fitness, etc. in the comments! 🙂

Xo,

Lyss

 

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All Of Your Questions Answered

Hey everyone!

So I decided it would be easiest to have a permanent blog post thoroughly answering all of the repetitive questions I get asked. That way, you can bookmark this and come back whenever you have a question that someone may have asked me before 🙂 I try to respond to as many of you as my fingers will allow me to over instagram but it gets super overwhelming, messy, and often glitchy within the app itself.

I hope you enjoy this and feel free to ask any additional questions in the comments if you have any!

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

  1. What filter and applications do you use for your pictures on instagram?

I use Lightroom to edit all of my photos, and then I add small touches with the in-app instagram photo editing tools. I use my own custom filter I created with Lightroom for my photos. When I first began posting on instagram, I used apps like AfterLight and VSCO, which are amazing apps to start out with. VSCO is free and you can purchase all of their filters in the app, and AfterLight is $1.99. If you are on a tight budget and just starting out, I recommend using one of these apps to gain experience working with editing tools and filters. If you are looking for a more advanced way of editing to match my exact type of feed aesthetic, Lightroom would be the best choice for you. It costs about $120 to purchase for your computer so it’s definitely an investment if you want to become a blogger, photographer, content creator or just to improve your work significantly. You can learn how to use it through Youtube, which is probably the quickest way to pick up on it and start editing with it.

2. What camera do you use to take your pictures?

My first camera was a Canon 70D. I know a lot of you are just starting out, and so I always tell people I use this camera because I still do! It’s my backup, but it’s still an amazing camera and it’s fairly lighter than the one we shoot with now. A year ago I upgraded to the Canon 1DX which is quite large, heavy and intense. I love it, but it’s best if you’re a pro looking to do more video content. I think the Canon 70D is perfect for starting out!

3. How do you grow your instagram following?

My 10 best tips to grow your instagram following can be found here on this blog post.

4. How do I reach out to brands?

Reaching out to brands has become easier than ever nowadays, especially because most brands have their own instagram pages. I simply send them a direct message and ask for their email so we can discuss collaborating. A lot of pages feature a contact button that you can directly email the brands as well. If you are writing an introductory email to a brand, be sure to link your page in the email you are sending and always offer them something of value. For example, if you are just starting your page and would love to try a product for free, offer them an instagram post in exchange.

5. How many followers do I need to work with brands and get paid?

This all depends on who you are, what your content is like, your engagement, and your type of audience. The amazing thing is, brands want to work with influencers of all sizes, big and small. Some brands actually prefer smaller influencers (5,000 followers-50k followers) because they often have a higher engagement and connection to their audience, and they also charge less for a post! Don’t be afraid to reach out and make an effort to work with brands just because you are not as “big” as other people are.

Also – I would focus on creating good content before reaching out to brands. Brands like to see that you are putting in a little effort into your page to make it look pretty and to make your audience active. Once you have built up a solid foundation of content, start reaching out to brands for free products. The key is to give a little before you get paid for anything. I didn’t get paid for the first 2 years I was working on my instagram.

6. Where do you live?

I live in New York City. I was born on Long Island which is about an hour train ride outside of the city.

7. Is it expensive to live in New York? Why did you choose to live there?

It is very expensive to live here, but it helps if you have roommates of course. You are paying for the location and the experience. It is amazing to have restaurants and little bodegas on every corner open 24 hours. There are hundreds of coffee shops, cute boutiques, markets, and parks to hang on every few blocks you walk. The city just feels so vibrant and energetic at all times and I feel like it has helped shape who I am a lot. You have to get used to it for sure, but I love it!

8. Where are your favorite places to take pictures in NYC?

Some of my favorite places to take photos are:

  1. St. Cloud Rooftop in the Knickerbocker hotel
  2. The Press Lounge at ink48 hotel
  3. The Roof at Public Hotel
  4. FlatIron and Madison Square Park area
  5. Times Square at night (the lights are amazing)
  6. Grand Central
  7. Jimmy at the James hotel rooftop
  8. Nomo Soho and surrounding area
  9. Top of the Rock and Bar 365
  10. Bryant Park

9. What are you passionate about other than being an influencer?

I love to sing. It’s been something I’ve doing since I’m 5 years old. I love performing and even though I get nervous in front of crowds, I’ve gotten a lot better at speaking and showing who I am in front of people as I’ve gotten older. I also love to write. I think writing and expressing yourself is such a powerful, beautiful thing.

10. What is your job? What do you do, how do you make money, etc.?

You can read all about my job and what I do on this blog post here.

11. Did you go to college? What did you study?

I graduated from Binghamton University in 2015 with an English degree and minor in Global Studies.

12. Did you know you were going to become an influencer?

I honestly had no idea what was in store for me when I began my social media career. I used instagram as an outlet during college. I didn’t go out too much, and I liked to do my own thing. I was always low key and simple, so when I started my account, the only people who knew about it were a few of my closest friends. Then, as it grew, my college wrote an article about me in their newspaper and suddenly everyone knew me on campus as the instagram girl. It was pretty crazy, and strange because people started to make fun of me. Back then, instagram wasn’t as popular yet and everyone was just like, what is this girl all about?

13. How do you stay on track to achieve your goals without giving up?

I wouldn’t want to look back in 30 years and regret not pursuing my dreams. I know in order to be happy with my life, I need to at least try to pursue what I love. Failure isn’t an option anymore in my head. Anything is possible with the right skills, mindset and attitude. If you remind this to yourself daily, you’ll realize that it’s the truth! This is the truth I live by and it helps me push forward even when I fail.

14. What’s the worst failure you’ve ever experienced and how did you learn from it?

I lost a lot of money at a time in my life when I was careless. I felt like a failure. I had gotten scammed essentially, from someone that I don’t know online, and I felt so pathetic in that moment. I cried a lot that day to say the least. It’s okay to feel upset or disappointed, but don’t let those feelings stop you from bouncing back and starting over. Take a lesson learned out of your failures and use those failures to teach you how to succeed. I see everything as an important lesson, whether it’s a big or small mistake, it always helps to view it from that perspective.

15. What are the best places to eat in New York?

Some of my favorite spots include:

  1. Joe’s Pizza for pizza
  2. Cafeteria for lunch and American eats
  3. The Smith for continental food
  4. Momoya for sushi
  5. La Pecora Bianca for coffee and small breakfast bites
  6. Two Hands for brunch
  7. By Chloe for vegan eats

16. Where is your favorite destination spot?

My top favorite is Greece (Mykonos and Santorini)! I went this year for the first time and it was so insanely beautiful. I can’t wait to go back.

17. What advice would you give to someone who wants to become an influencer?

The top 3 tips I always give to people who want to become an influencer is:

  1. Understand what you want to be known for. This was something I had a lot of trouble figuring out throughout my career as a social media personality. I started out with fitness, and then transitioned over time into more travel, lifestyle and just being myself. I think if you stick to what you’re good at, you’ll succeed.
  2. Invest your time into your content. Content is key to growing a fan base and making people want to keep following your journey. I used to wonder why my engagement was so “low” and no one would comment on my photos. It was honestly because they sucked and I had no idea, hahaha. I had to dig through people’s accounts and research what worked for them. I had to research how to improve my photography skills and how to edit properly. It takes time.
  3. Be active and engaged with other influencers. There’s no better way to start than by being active in the community you want to be a part of. Instagram makes this easy. Leave unique and supportive comments on your favorite influencer’s photos. Send a hundred DM’s until you get a reply. Some influencers will read, respond, and even message you back. I know that I do! 😉

18. How old are you?

I am 24 years old, and my birthday is in less than a month! I always thought 25 was SO old, and now I’m like, wait…I’m just getting started with my life! It’s okay to set your own timing and path. A few of my friends are getting married already, and my brother’s both have kids! I know those things will come for me at a later time, but for now, I just want to feel free, and pursue my dreams. I’m much more career focused than relationship & “settling down” focused right now, which is not a bad thing. I think 25 is YOUNG. With social media, I can relate to the younger generation, and I can be a role model for them. It’s all about perspective 🙂

19. What are your goals for the future?

My future goals is to be an even more successful influencer by reaching more people and connecting with them, and showing people that it’s possible to achieve any dream you set your mind to. I also want to be a successful singer and go to the Grammys. I have a feeling 2019 will be the year. 19 is truly my lucky number! <3

I’m going to end this post on number 19. If you have any other questions for me, feel free to write them in the comments!

Xo,

Alyssa

 

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Getting Over My Ex and Finding Love Again

As personal as this topic may be to a lot of people, I actually love opening up about my relationships because they helped shape me into the person I am today. Throughout middle school and high school, I was that friend who always loved giving advice about anything relationship-related and I felt it was liberating for me to share my love life.

What most of you probably don’t know about me is that I was in an on-and-off 8-year relationship before I met my current boyfriend. I never mentioned this previous relationship publicly because I’ve moved so forward past it, but it had definitely played such an important role in shaping my teenage years and helping me figure out what I wanted in my future relationships. I hope sharing this story will connect with some of your own stories and feel relatable to some of you.

I’m not going to mention his name out of respect for him and his privacy. I met my ex-boyfriend when I was 14. I was a freshman in high school and I had went through a ton of middle school “crushes”, but I had never dated anyone seriously before him. I met him at a birthday dinner for one of my friend’s, and we sat across from each other. We immediately clicked and ended up spending the entire duration of dinner talking and getting to know each other. I remember feeling like we were instantly best friends. I think that’s always been a key factor in my relationships — feeling like your significant other is also your best friend is so important. I wasn’t nervous or closed off to be my true self from the beginning, and that’s something truly special.

To make a very long 8 years short, we dated all throughout high school and broke up quite a few times, but always ended up getting back together. At that time of my life, I was super emotionally attached to him because he was my first love. We did everything together. I spent almost every day at his house after school, we had a core group of best friends that would all hang out, and we could spend hours upon hours together just doing nothing and still having the best time. This relationship taught me that I could be loved by someone with all of my flaws, my crazy mood swings, my weird sense of humor, etc.

 Although I can remember so many amazing times with him, our relationship also taught me how to pick myself up off the ground and piece myself back together after my heart was broken. There is no feeling worse than a broken heart and although I wouldn’t wish this gut-wrenching feeling upon anyone, I think it was so important for me to experience it. I spent nearly a month crying in my bed the summer that we broke up for the first time, and it felt like half of me was completely missing. I felt so hurt and so lost, and I struggled to find the good in this feeling—all I could see or feel was pain. I had a job at Carvel at the time, and I would take breaks in between customers to cry in the bathroom and eat ice cream (totally kidding about the ice cream part, but now that I think about it, that was probably the best job to have for a broken-hearted teenage girl). Now every time I pass by a Carvel, it brings me back to those memories of my broken heart, and I smile because it’s so bittersweet. I remember my mom hugging me so tightly and telling me that “time heals everything”, and although it didn’t feel that way at the time, she was right. Time does heal everything—including a broken heart.

My ex and I ended up going to the same college, but we had established our separate lives there so our relationship was super on-and-off, but mostly off. Being away at college had given my mind such a different perspective that I had never experienced before. I found a new group of friends that supported me, I was always busy with reading for classes, writing papers, and studying for exams, that those things started becoming more of a priority than my love life. I was growing and changing so much during my college years, and truly took that time to figure myself out. I had started my instagram account, and I was working so often on that as well, that I barely had time for a relationship. I dated a few different guys in non-serious relationships, and some of the stories are so funny thinking about it now.

Some of the past guys I dated in college:

  1. The Player — had a girlfriend who went to the same college as us, and I had no idea whatsoever. I didn’t know her personally (there are over 20,000 students who went to my university) but she knew who I was. Once I found out about her, I confronted the guy and he lied and said he had no idea what I was talking about. As you can guess, this relationship fizzled out quite rapidly.
  2. The Manipulator — made me feel super special for about a week until I found out he was talking to a bunch of other girls the same exact way. It was basically like he copied and pasted his cute texts and sent them out to any girl he found attractive.
  3. The Narcissist — a guy that was super good-looking and that every girl was obsessed with at my school, but he was also so into himself that it was a bit extreme. He only saw his point of view and if anyone challenged him, he would freak out. It was very unattractive to me, but a shame because he was hot.

And now I’m going to tell you one of my favorite stories now leading up to my current relationship and how I met my amazing boyfriend Meir.

Flash Forward to my Senior Year of College:

This guy was apparently in love with me since my freshman year of college but never had the courage to really do anything about it. All of his friends told me he was super interested in me, and would do anything to take me to his senior formal. I was not by any means interested in dating this guy. He wasn’t my type at all, but I was open-minded and after a lot of convincing from my friends and his, I decided to take a chance and hang out with him. After a few weeks of hanging around this guy, he seemed super genuine, so sweet, really funny, and just an all-around nice guy. My roommates and I would joke about how he was too nice and that there had to be a catch. So I was like, “hmmm, maybe I do like him after all”. Usually, I know right away when I like someone, but since this was a gradual feeling, it was enticing me to pursue it and see what could happen.

Well, there was a catch. So this guy’s formal comes around and he invites me to go with him, and then out of nowhere he stops answering my texts. In my gut I immediately knew something was off, but I didn’t say anything. I quickly found out he was getting back together with his ex-girlfriend and then he uninvited me to his formal. Ouch.

I was upset for about 20 minutes, and then I decided to make it my ultimate mission to never look at another guy again (LOL).

Over the remaining couple of weeks of college, I chose not to be sad. I chose to be positive, strong, and happy to finish off the last year of university right. I knew I would never get that year back, and I wasn’t about to let a frat boy ruin it for me. I spent the remaining time working on myself, going to the gym, creating content for my instagram, finishing the last of my schoolwork, and just surrounding myself with good friends. 

The last few days of school were a whirlwind. I ended up going out to this day party that my university was hosting on campus, and I was the designated driver. I pulled up my car, parked, and my friends and I got out and were walking towards the party when all of a sudden, I heard a group of guys calling us over. I looked to my left and there were a bunch of guys that looked unfamiliar. I knew right away they didn’t go to our university. We ended up walking over to them and that’s when I locked eyes with this tall Swedish-looking guy with the most insane blue eyes I’ve ever seen. I thought he was going to have a European accent before he spoke. He, to my disappointment, did not have an accent, and wasn’t European at all. But…I guess the look was enough 🙂 He told me his name was Meir and that he was visiting a friend at our college for the weekend. We exchanged numbers for some odd reason. I remember clearly thinking in my head, “Do not talk to another guy.”

I ended up going home from the day party and passing out because I had been up since 5 AM that day and was exhausted. At midnight, I woke up to a thread of texts from Meir, asking me where I was. I didn’t respond for 2 reasons: one of them being that I really wasn’t interested in meeting another guy to potentially hurt me, and two was that it was already midnight and I had slept through the first half of the night. All of my roommates were out and had left me sleeping in my apartment. On any other night, I usually would have just stayed home, but for some reason I got a burst of energy to go and find my friends. I quickly got dressed and walked over to the strip of bars that was next to my apartment building.

I ended up bumping into Meir, who was flirting with another girl when I saw him. Needless to say, I was super jealous and I ended up talking to him for the rest of the night. We kept in touch after that night, and continued to see each other back in New York City when I graduated a week later. We spent the entire summer together, and although it was definitely a long process until we started seriously dating, here we are. We didn’t establish a stable, healthy relationship for about 6 months. There was a lot of work to be done and trust to be built throughout our relationship, and that’s what I want people to know the most.

People see us as this “perfect” couple on instagram, but that is so far from it. We are definitely happy together and we love each other, but we have our ups and downs as a couple just like any others do. We still fight (although not as much as we used to), and we continue to work towards our goals together on a daily basis. There are times when we definitely need space from each other, but for the most part, I see it as a blessing to be able to work with my boyfriend everyday. It’s so much fun. We help each other grow and become better people, and that’s what the key to a successful and strong relationship is. There have been times when we’ve almost given up on each other, but we’ve always managed to fight through those struggles in order to stay together and continue to be a team.

I hope this post can show you that relationships are never perfect and that there is always work involved to keep it going. And that some relationships that don’t work out will always lead to something better for you in the long run. When my first relationship ended, I thought there would be no one else better for me than him. But life doesn’t work that way. When you are ready for it, the right person will come into your path and you will learn to love again, if you’ve been broken before. Just focus on yourself and being true to who you are, and you will not only succeed in love, but in life! 

Xo,

Lyss

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10 TIPS TO GAIN INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS

MY TOP 10 TIPS TO GAIN INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS QUICKLY

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This is by far one of the most frequent questions I get asked, so I decided to make a detailed blog post about it. Here are my top 10 tips on how to grow your instagram account. The overall key is to STAND OUT amongst the rest. Instagram is my full time job, and it requires a ton of time invested, hard work, and commitment to create the content each day. I spend hours a day working on my content, so if you are ready to make this commitment, you will have a much higher change of great success! 😉

  1. Find your purpose. Set a goal for yourself of exactly how you want to brand yourself. I struggled with this idea for awhile and it made it a lot harder to grow and to get people to WANT to follow me. Do you want be known for your photography, your recipes, your workouts, your makeup tips, your music, etc.? Once you figure this out, it’ll be easier to strategize an actual plan for your future and it will establish a clear path for you to follow.
  2. Create a list of what type of content you want to put forth, and how you are going to add value to other peoples lives. I highly recommend putting out both photos AND video. These are both amazing ways to engage your audience with your content, but as video is becoming more of an engaging platform, I would invest time into making short video clips to allow your audience to get to see you on a more personal level. Video tends to bring higher engagement simply because it shows the real you and people will spend more time watching you then looking at your static image.
  3. Write thoughtful captions to engage your readers and the people who see your content. I always see the same repetitive captions on everyone’s photos over and over again and it gets old really fast. Put your thoughts into each photo or video you are sharing and be real. Be authentic to yourself and don’t copy others words, and more importantly…
  4. DON’T REPLICATE PEOPLE’S WORK. This is a problem I see occurring a lot and people wonder why it’s so difficult to grow. Stop copying other bloggers and influencers, and think of your own creative twist. It’s so amazing to get inspired by others work but ultimately the goal is to be someone new, refreshing and unique on the platform where there are so many replicas. Think of how you can create similar (not the same!!) content but with your own unique twist so you are standing out and offering people something new and different. The more creative you get with your content, the more likely people will follow you and define you as your own special self 😉
  5. Invest in your content. It is all about the small details. Dress up with accessories and find a spot that no one has photographed before to shoot at. Spend time planning your outfits, your hair, your location, your captions, whatever it may be. Find props that will accentuate the photo and bring out the colors, for example, a cozy red sweater and a red cup to match the fall colors in Central Park. Also, invest in your equipment. If you are shooting on a mobile device, that is an amazing start – but make sure the lighting is nice so you are able to edit and play with the colors in different photo apps or even better, Lightroom / Photoshop.
  6. Follow, like and comment on other people’s work who you admire. I think engaging with people who you aspire to be like is also an amazing way to grow because their followers may see your comment, and check out your page. If your pages are similar, they may choose to follow you. Sometimes different comments that have a personal feel to them really stand out to me and I’ll check the person’s page out when I read it.
  7. Don’t be afraid to collaborate. Send a direct message to someone who you feel would be an amazing person to work with and collaborate with. It’s always worth a shot. Also, using instagram stories to mention other accounts that you love, and do a “share” exchange of accounts is always great exposure and can attract a mutual exchange of followers to both of your accounts. Find people in your niche and reach out!!!
  8. Tag bigger accounts that repost other people’s work. There are hundreds of accounts that tag and repost other’s content to support their growth, so do your research. For example, there is a huge fashion page with over 8 million followers called American Style that reposts some of my work and I grow from her because she is so big, but she also benefits because she loves my content and receives a ton of engagement on her own page by reposting me. If your content is good enough and fits well with these bigger account’s pages, they may repost you and send their followers to your page.
  9. Use the appropriate hashtags and geotags. I am always researching different spots and tags wherever I am, especially when I travel, and I get to discover new accounts this way ALL the time. Don’t overdo it on the hashtags, but be relevant and use them in an efficient way to categorize yourself. For example, if your feed is all about travel, use the hashtag #travel and #adventure on some of your photos that correlate.
  10. BE YOU!! People can sense when you’re not being genuine, and true to yourself. Don’t force something that isn’t you. If you’re a fashionista, dive into fashion content. I forced myself trying to wear luxury clothes and designs 24/7, and I really don’t have a passion for that, so I started focusing on what I LOVED, traveling and creating scenic photos, and the results were so much better for me. 

I hope some of this tips will help you as you begin posting your content and building your instagram brand! Let me know in the comments if these are posts you would like to see more of, more tips, advice, tricks etc.! 

Xoxo,

Lyss <3

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