high five for friday

1. i could eat fresh berries at every meal.
2. i put together a little makeshift vanity with some things i had around that weren't being used.
3. casual updo for a night out with my roommate.
4. sleeping cats are the best.
5. i often make to do lists just so i can cross things off of them.

how has your week been? link up below and tell me about it!
(please only link up if you write your own h54f post!)

you can find the H54F button here. oh, and tweet me @lauren_fmgd!

instagram DIY

i've never really been one to have a lot of pictures around. i don't know what it is, but, before i did this DIY, i had one photo in my entire apartment. ONE. (some of you are probably disgusted with me. i know...i'm inhuman.) but, when i came across prinstagram, i knew i had to have some of my instagram photos printed so i could do a little project with them.

i chose to get 24 of the squares printed. then, with some baker's twine and mini clothespins*, i hung them on my wall. and that was it. and now i can't remember a life before having photos of my favorite people around. 

note: i thought about just printing photos of my cats, but i restrained myself. sometimes, i have to draw the line. 

*these things can be found at just about any craft store, and probably online

summer, where are you?

the weather is finally warming up around here, which i couldn't be happier about. living in the south the past 2.5 years has made me soft. honestly, 40 degrees feels absolutely miserable to me now, which is funny considering i lived in the midwest for 21 years of my life and didn't complain about it too much.

i'll be honest, i've never been much of a summer girl. i pretty much hate being hot, and summers in the south are just that. but, i've gotten used to them a little bit and am actually looking forward to it this year. mostly i want to wear shorts and skirts and stop wearing the same jeans i've worn for the past 6 months. ya feel me?

sweatshirt: H&M (similar)
skirt: Madewell
shoes: Converse
bag: Dooney & Bourke Outlet
ring: Kate Spade

GIVEAWAY // Monorail Studio

today's giveaway comes from the fabulous Monorail Studio, who just so happens to make that tee i'm wearing in those photos. i love a good graphic tee, and this one is just there. super soft, fits perfectly, and is a neutral color...you all know how i feel about neutrals.

Monorail Studio is giving one lucky reader a tee and a 9x12 print of their choosing! head on over to their website and look through their items, they have lots of good things over there. then use the giveaway tool below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
top: c/o Monorail Studio via Brika
skirt: Target
shoes: Converse

hair FAQ's

i've received quite a few emails over the course of the past year asking me pretty much the same questions about my hair, so i'm going to answer all of them for you here!

1. how would you describe your hair texture? is it thick?
my sister always tells me that i have thin hair, but a lot of it. my ponytails are pretty much tiny, but my hair isn't limp or thin-looking. i have pretty soft hair, generally, so i use some texturing products to give it a little more grit and help it to hold for the whole day.

2. how would you describe your hair cut?
i have long hair with quite a few layers. the longest part of my hair goes to the middle of my bust, while my shortest layers hit around my collar bone. i'm also in the process of growing out my bangs, which are about to the bottom of my ears now.

3. what products do you use in your hair before and after you blow dry?
before i blowdry, i use Aquage uplifting foam. after i've styled my hair, i spray some aerosol dry shampoo in it to give it the texture of "dirty hair", which helps it to hold my style the whole day. i finish with Kenra 25 hairspray, which i've been using for years.

4. when you curl your hair, what size curling iron do you use?
i typically use a 1 1/4 inch or a 1 inch iron. the 1 inch gives a bit of a tighter curl, while the 1 1/4 inch is softer looking.
5. when you curl your hair, how many sections do you split it into?
i usually do 3 sections. i do the bottom section, starting from the bottom of my ear and going back. then i do the section from about my temples down. and then i do the top. 

6. how do you blow dry your hair?
i blow dry upside down, and finish with a cool shot before flipping my head back over. 

7. how often do you wash your hair?
usually, everyday. if i need to, i can go a day without washing, but never longer than that. 

8. what shampoo and conditioner do you use?
i use Pureology Pure Volume shampoo & conditioner, thanks to my sister's suggestion! 

9. what dry shampoo do you use?
i wanted to just try some out, so i picked up TRESemmé's Fresh Start dry shampoo and like it, so far. there's plenty of brands out there, so you should't be able to go wrong!

have more questions? leave them in the comments and i'll add them!

GIVEAWAY // crave jewels

today's giveaway comes from the fabulous Erin of Crave Jewels. her shop is full of beautiful jewelry. some of my current favorites are:

mint julep and gold

neon, mint, and gold
want to enter to win a $25 shop credit? use the giveaway tool below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


today's giveaway comes from Zinio, the world's largest newsstand. they offer thousands of magazines for customers to subscribe to or download single issues. they can be read on iPhones, iPads, Kindle's, Android phones and tablets, and laptops/desktops.

Zinio is offering NINE lucky readers a free magazine subscription (either 6 or 12 months, depending on the mag you choose!). use the giveaway tool below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

want to take advantage of Zinio? they've got some great offers right now:

click here

click here - ends April 2

AND, Zinio is currently offering 5 titles for just $5 each:
Eating Well, Every Day with Rachel Ray, Midwest Living, FamilyFun, and Siempre Mujer

check them out on facebook, twitter, pinterest, and tumblr

in the spirit of full disclosure, Zinio is compensating me with a free subscription to a magazine of my choice, too.

high five for friday

1. i had a weird craving for York Peppermint Patties this week. this one is not to be explained. mostly because i don't have an explanation for you.
2. i received this email from my school's "safety" alert system. someone please explain this to me. not only does this seem like something that doesn't really warrant being reported in the first place, but also...probably doesn't require a safety alert email.
3. these spoons. i tell ya, they're perfect.
4. my new favorite nail polish. this collection happened within one week. good thing they only have limited colors.
5. i was feeling especially sick of being in a long-distance relationship this past weekend. so, i decided to cure my heart with some magazines and a fresh polish. it did the job pretty well.

how has your week been? link up and tell me about it!

you can find the H54F button HERE. oh, and tweet me @lauren_fmgd!

getting perspective

prepare yourself for deep thoughts. well, not really that deep.

so, i was at the mall the other day. at Gap, specifically, using the Friends & Family coupon that a lovely reader sent me (thank you, Melanie! i put it to good use!). i was standing in line, waiting to check out when someone approached me and asked if i had a blog. she had seen me in the store earlier and recognized me, but couldn't figure out how she knew me. eventually, she put two and two together and realized that she reads my and my sister's blog. we talked for a minute before i went to check out and she was so kind.

as i was walking out of the mall, i was thinking about how crazy it is that a total stranger would recognize me because of my blog. obviously, i know that people from all over the place have seen my blog and/or read it (which is amazing!), but i don't think it hit me until i was recognized, completely unaware that someone who reads this blog would be in the same place as me.

if you're a blogger, too, you can probably appreciate this. it's easy to forget that people you'll probably never meet read about your life daily. (i'm realizing now that these are the opposite of deep thoughts. of course people read about your life daily when you have a blog...that's what a blog is for.)

i guess it just reminded me of how cool this whole blogging thing is. that people enjoy reading what i have to say. it reminded me that i have a unique position to share who i am, what inspires me, what i love with people that i may never meet. and that i may inspire some people to do the same. it put everything in perspective for me.

so, to the woman in Gap who told me she reads my blog, thank you! you reminded me why i love doing this so much.

top: Francesca's
pants: Madewell (similar)
shoes: UO
necklace: c/o Maya Brenner
 --- check her out on facebook, twitter, and instagram!

custom icon (kind of) tutorial

guys, my day was made yesterday. see that little FMGD icon down there? i made it! 

my cousin sent me a link to a fantastic tutorial for how to create your own icon for your website/blog. honestly, it couldn't be easier. so, you should probably do it.

are you a follower of FMGD and want to get this icon on your phone or iPad, too?

here's what to do:
1. open FMGD in safari
2. click on the icon at the bottom of safari (in the blue area) with the arrow
3. click on "add to home screen" in the middle.
4. well, that's it. there isn't a step four, but i typed it so i figured i'd finish it.

also, rumor has it that this works on android and possibly other smart phones.

a colorless love affair

i revealed the other day that,  until a few months ago, i was never one for wearing black. for most of my life, i had very blonde hair. and skin. (note: i'm going to start calling my skin "blonde" instead of "pale". much more flattering, don't you think?). the combination of blonde allover and black was too harsh to me. so, i steered clear of black in every situation and never questioned it.

until a few months ago. when i bought my first black top (similar to the one in the photos) and never looked back. i don't know if it was the darker hair or just the retail gods of black that wanted me to start spending all my money on anything and everything black, but it worked. i will say, it's not great having two orange tabbies that shed like they're about to go to the vet every single day (if you don't know anything about cats, they shed when they're nervous...and, let's just say, a trip to the vet for a cat is probably equivalent to giving a speech in front of a thousand strangers with no notecards for a human. you'd probably start shedding, too.)

all this to say, i wish i hadn't been so averse to black for so long. although it doesn't exactly contribute positively to my chromophobia...it kind of increases the problem.

to all you out there that have it dead set in your mind that there's a certain color, style, texture, or silhouette that you absolutely cannot wear, i'm about to challenge you...try it* it could be the beginning of a beautiful, and somewhat unhealthy, relationship. and if you're still not sure if it works, feel free to send me a photo and i'll let you know. i'm usually pretty honest when people ask my opinion...just ask my mom and sister.

top: H&M (similar)
pants: Madewell (similar)
shoes: UO
earrings: LOFT Outlet
ring: Kate Spade
chain bracelet: c/o MASSI
 -- check them out on facebook, twitter, and instagram!

*some exceptions do apply. like almost any neon color, snakeskin, and those diaper pants that people wear around. you know what i'm talking about? 


today's giveaway comes from BRIKA. a $50 gift card is on the line and you don't want to miss the chance to win it. trust me, BRIKA offers some awesome products that i'm swooning over right now. like this, this, and this.

while you're at it, check out my feature as this week's tastemaker!

also, if you join BRIKA for the first time, you'll get $15 off your first purchase!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAY // For Lauren & Lauren

today's giveaway comes from the lovely Katie of For Lauren & Lauren. she's giving away a knit infinity scarf in black and white, similar to the one pictured below:

use the giveaway tool below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

high five for friday

1. impromptu dinner date with my roommate last night. we had a coupon to use. (yep, we're those people.)
2. i found out an interesting fact about my boyfriend last weekend: he's very competitive when playing games with me. (actual games, not emotional ones). he refuses to let me win, and doesn't feel bad taking 10+ minutes trying to make a word while playing Scrabble. my mom and i quickly implemented a time limit for him.
3. one of the best things about going on vacation is how excited the cats are when i get home. they pretty much haven't left my side the past few days.
4. fresh grapefruit. that is all.
5. my relatively recent discovery of my love for black is still very much alive.

how has your week been? link up below to tell me about it!

looking for the H54F button to share in your post? click HERE.

as always, tweet your post at me @lauren_fmgd!

to the people in my life

to my sister: thank you for being the best sister a girl could ever ask for. seriously. you're not just my sister, but also my guide, my biggest encourager, and my truest friend. you will probably never know just how much of an impact you've had on me, since i was a young girl and wanted to be just like you. i can say with absolute certainty that i would not be the person that i am today without your influence and example. 

to my parents: thank you for all that you have given to me. for teaching me to be independent, honest, and generous. for trusting me to be responsible and make good choices. thank you for setting a great example for me of what good parenting looks like and for loving each other the way that you do.

to my brother: thank you for being the oldest child and setting an example for me. although your life may not have gone as you planned, you showed me what path not to take, which i will always be grateful for. thank you for being loving, protective, and hilarious. 

to my brother-in-law: thank you for being my brother, and for loving me as if i was your younger sister by blood. thank you for caring about my life and decisions, and for wanting the best for me. for not being afraid to ask the tough questions and for being a friend and someone that i can trust to tell me the truth, always. 

to my boyfriend: you have made me happier over the past six months than i've ever been. thank you for caring for me the way that you do, for always making me feel beautiful and loved. thank you for encouraging me to follow my dreams, no matter where they may take me. thank you, mostly, for being the things that i wish i could be more of: patient, optimistic, and never sweating the small stuff. 

to my closest friend: thank you for being my most trusted confidant. for sticking by my side through heartbreaks and happy times. thank you for being honest, and for always being willing to listen. your friendship means more to me than you know. 

scenes from florida

pardon the absolute lack of anything interesting in today's post. i spent all day yesterday traveling, unpacking, and trying to get my life back together...so, you get photos today.

at least the beach is pretty, right?

back from vacation

i'm back from vacation. usually, i'm ready to get home after i've been gone for a few days. i'm ready for a schedule again. this time, i could have stayed on vacation forever. well, maybe not forever, but definitely longer.

i went to marco island, FL with my mom for about 4 days, and then headed home to chicago for a couple days to spend some time with my boyfriend. florida was so great. although a bit chilly for laying out by the pool, my mom and i did plenty of shopping, spending time outside walking and biking, and good eating. the last day we were there was perfect for being by the pool, and we both ended up with a little more sun than expected. let's just say sleeping that night was a little painful.

we got back to chicago just in time for the 50 degree weather, which helped ease me back into being in the cold! my parents, me and mike went up to our lakehouse in wisconsin for the night, after stopping by my cousin's to see their new puppy. who, by the way, is so cute i could barely handle it. we spent the night playing some games and watching the duke vs. carolina game (go duke!). sunday morning, we went to my cousin's volleyball tournament to see her play. i can't believe how fast she's grown up. i remember being young and hating it when my older relatives would tell me to stop growing (mostly because i always wanted to be older) and now i do it to them. oh well. i guess that's only natural.

so, that's what i was doing for the past week. it was pretty nice and i'm going to miss being on vacation. but i also missed my cats and blogging, so i'm kinda happy to get back to north carolina.

top: Target (similar)
pants: Loft
shoes: Converse
scarf: World Market (similar)
bag: Fossil (old)

high five for friday

i'm on vacation, kitty cats. which means that you'll just have to follow me on instagram to see what my five favorite things from this week are.

In other news, my sister posted this hilarious photo of her photo-shopped self "in florida". Man she's a crack up.

but, i still want to hear about your week! so, link up below and tell me about it :)

*tag me on twitter @lauren_fmgd and use #H54F

**p.s. Kate here. Published this for Lauren this morning. May or may not have added the pic of myself, and the comment above. Again, may or may not have. 

Spring Trends

as many of you know, i'm studying fashion management and branding in my undergrad right now. so, it's only natural that i'm interested in fashion trends and usually stay up-to-date on what's going on in the fashion world. i mean, it's kind of required given my major.

anyway, i'm pretty happy with the trends for spring. here's what i'm looking forward to most:

1. stripes
2. black & white
3. florals
4. small prints
5. soft colors

what about you? what are you liking for spring?