Easy, Affordable Valentine’s Day Themed Outfits

Can you believe Valentine’s Day is next week?! I feel like January was the longest month ever and February has already been flying by. I put up all of my Valentine’s Day decorations up last weekend and have fresh roses on the counter. I love decorating for every holiday and try to make our apartment as festive as possible. I have been finding the CUTEST Valentine’s Day outfits and I want to buy all of the items I found! Even though I will be staying in for Valentine’s Day (it’s our tradition to order take out and stay in), I thought I would link a bunch of super cute Valentine’s Day outfits for those of you who will be going out or want to dress festive for the day!

All of my favorite picks are very affordable and versatile to wear for spring and summer. Shop my favorite Valentine’s Day themed picks below by simply clicking on the image where you will be redirected to a separate page to shop the item(s).

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with your loved ones! I will most likely be eating take out Thai or Chinese food, drinking rosé, and eating dark chocolate with my fiancé!

Xoxo,

Jonica

Wedding Planning Tips for A Bride-To-Be

Happy Tuesday!! I can’t believe Charlie and I have been engaged for 6 months now! We are deep into wedding planning and have been spending the past 6 months researching and booking vendors for our big day. We will be getting married in Sedona, AZ (where I grew up) on September 14, 2019. Since we have been doing this whole wedding planning thing for 6 months now, I thought I would share some wedding planning tips for those of you who just got engaged and have no clue where to start or have been engaged for awhile and just feel overwhelmed.

  1. Do your research, read reviews, and book reputable vendors. Nobody wants to put a down deposit on a vendor who doesn’t show up the day of the wedding.
  2. It is never too early to start booking your vendors. These days, weddings are a big deal and people book their vendors a year to a year and a half in advance.
  3. Budget, budget, budget! If you are paying for your wedding on your own or have parents helping you, make sure you set a budget at the beginning and stick to it. This will prevent unnecessary stress and will keep everyone on the same page.
  4. Spend the money on a quality photographer. This is SO important. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard other brides tell me that they tried to save money and now hate all of their wedding pictures. At the end of the day, all you have are your wedding pictures and memories so be very selective when choosing a wedding photographer.
  5. Ask for help. Since my schedule is overloaded, my mom so graciously offered to look at venues and meet with vendors for us. We are also getting married 45 minutes away from where we live and I didn’t have time to meet with vendors and venues during the week. If people are willing to help you, let them. Plus, everyone wants to be involved and at the end of the day, if you don’t like their idea, you can kindly tell them you have a different vision.
  6. On that same note, include others. The first time I tried on wedding gowns, I included all of my bridesmaids, my mom, Charlie’s mom, and Charlie’s aunt. I have also been sending email updates to all of my bridesmaids to keep everyone in the loop. When Charlie and I tasted all of the food and cake for our big day, we included both of our parents and it was SO fun. You only get to plan your wedding once and it is more fun to share the planning memories with others.
  7. Book a planner. I didn’t think I would need a planner, but everyone said getting a planner was the best money they ever spent. Planners are able to recommend vendors and help with the overall vision of the wedding. If you can’t/don’t want a wedding planner, I highly recommend getting a day of coordinator, especially if you are having a large wedding.
  8. Choose the wedding dress YOU want. You want the dress that is going to make you feel the most confident and the most comfortable. It is good to get other people’s opinions, but you need to choose what YOU want to wear because you will be the one wearing it on your big day.
  9. Use wedding websites such as zola.com, theknot.com, weddingwire.com. These websites have electronic wedding checklists, registry assistance, guest lists, and so much more! These websites are so helpful and keep you on track.
  10. My last tip and this is the most important tip, enjoy this time! You will only be a fiancé for a short period of time so enjoy this moment! Don’t let all of the stress of planning get in the way of the excitement that comes along with planning.

Also, a big thank you to Shop at Bash for gifting me this super cute and soft bride tee! Shop at Bash has the cutest apparel for all occasions! If you are engaged and are looking for cute tees for yourself or for your bachelorette party, Shop at Bash has you covered! By clicking on the image of the bride shirt below, you will be redirected to their site. Shop the look below:

I hope all of these tips help you during your wedding planning journey!

Xoxo,

Jonica

Sandy Toes and Salty Hair Turns 2!

Sandy Toes & Salty Hair is officially 2 years old! Holy smokes, time flies when you’re having fun! Who would have thought that my little hobby would turn into a side business and huge passion of mine. I started my blog have no clue what I was doing and thought my only readers would be my mom and boyfriend at the time for the entire existence of my blog. Everything you see on my blog is completely designed and created by me (except my logo, theme and a couple of coding details). Everything else was designed by me and I honestly had no idea what I was doing when I created it all. I watched countless YouTube videos, researched on Google, and learned from other bloggers so I am very proud of myself for creating a website on my own.

                Even though blogging is a huge passion of mine, it hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns every day. I’m not going to lie to you, I thought about quitting numerous times, but I am so happy that I stuck it out during the difficult times. With changing Instagram algorithms and brands demanding numbers, I have felt frustrated and defeated many days. I had to teach myself that I’m not blogging for likes and I’m not even blogging for an income, I simply blog because I love doing it. And yes, it is nice getting paid and I am so thankful for all of the collaborations I have had the past two years, but just like any other job, you can’t only focus on the numbers and the money. If you genuinely don’t enjoy doing something (including blogging), it won’t be sustainable or enjoyable. Blogging takes a lot of time, energy, creativity, and perseverance. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone home on my lunch break to jump on a conference call with a brand, shoot looks, and post on my stories to ensure I am posting on time and pursuing new collaborations.

Since I constantly get asked and I love all of your questions, I thought I would share some blogging tips for those of you who are thinking about starting a blog, just started a blog, or have been blogging for a while. I try to be as transparent as possible with all of you and I know I greatly appreciate when other bloggers share tips and advice with me. I’m all about community over competition and if I can help just one person feel confident in the blogging world, then I will feel more fulfilled.

1.            Be you and be authentic

I know it’s so cliche and everyone says it, but be authentic. There’s only one you so don’t be afraid to share your personality. You might be struggling with something that someone else is also struggling with and you might be the one thing to help them through their struggles. If you try to be like every other blogger out there, you’re going to miss so many opportunities. Plus, it’s exhausting trying to be like everyone else.

2.            Numbers aren’t everything, don’t stress

Even though every collaboration I have done has relied on numbers, don’t get caught in the trap. If you only base your worth on the number of likes, comments, and followers you have, you’ll constantly feel defeated. I used to obsess over my numbers, but now I know that if a brand truly wants to work with me, they will see how hard I work and how engaged my community is. I also know that I work full time, am going to grad school, planning a wedding, and have a social life with my friends and family. I don’t beat myself up for not having hundreds of thousands of followers. I am thankful for the community I have and wouldn’t have it any other way.

3.            Work with brands and companies that align with your brand

This is a huge lesson I learned when I first started blogging. I used to say yes to everything because I thought that is how I would grow. I was very wrong. I felt exhausted doing this and said yes to collaborations that I knew didn’t align with my brand, but I thought that was what I was supposed to do. This past year, I got really picky with collaborations and only chose to collaborate with brands that align with my brand, the mission of my blog, and my values as a person. Save yourself the exhaustion and just say no if it doesn’t align with you, no matter how much the brand is willing to pay.

4.            Create a cohesive feed

You don’t need to go buy a $500+ camera to have a cohesive feed. I used to only use a DSLR and realized how impractical it was. First of all, you have to lug it around, learn how to use all of the settings, and transfer the photos to your computer. I still use my DSLR for some campaigns, but 95% of my pictures are taken on an iPhone now. My followers have told me that I feel more relatable when I share iPhone pictures and it is easier to recreate my looks. I’m definitely not saying don’t use a DSLR, do what is most comfortable for you and what aligns with your brand the most. I also recommend using a preset, it makes editing so much easier and helps your feed look more cohesive. I use the @dreamypresets Millennial Pink and absolutely love how easy it is to use!

5.            Find your niche

I know it’s really hard to find just one thing to blog about and I am living proof of that because I call myself a fashion, lifestyle, and travel blogger. Even though I try to mainly focus on three categories, I sometimes blog about beauty products and fitness. Even though I blog about numerous things, I have a very specific style and try to use my style as my niche. If you are wanting to mainly focus on beauty or fitness, you will have a very specific niche with specific content. This means you will have a community full of members wanting to know more about that specific topic and will help you grow more. I’m honestly still trying to narrow down my niche, but I feel like I’m getting there. Like I tell myself, be consistent and stick with it.

I hope you all enjoyed my blogging tips and found value in this post. Cheers to two years of Sandy Toes & Salty Hair and here’s to many more!

Xoxo,

Jonica

Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale 2019

Where are all of my Lilly Pulitzer fans at?! In case you didn’t hear, the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale is currently happening and it is only taking place for 2 days! Lilly Pulitzer only does two sales a year so if you are wanting some Lilly clothing or accessories, now is the time! This sale is the perfect time to buy Lilly apparel and accessories before spring and summer or if you have a tropical vacation planned. I have rounded up all of my favorite picks of the sale and am sharing them below. Simply click on the image and you will be redirected to the Lilly Pulitzer website to view/purchase the item.

Happy Shopping!

Xoxo,

Jonica

Happy New Year!

I have always been a big fan of the New Year because it is a time to reflect on the past year and brainstorm for the new year. I know a lot of people complain that you shouldn’t only use the New Year to better yourself and set goals for yourself and that you should be doing that throughout the year. While I do agree that you should strive to better yourself throughout the year, I also think it is more than okay to set goals and resolutions for the New Year. I also think you should set attainable resolutions and mini goals in order to reach your bigger goals.

What I learned from 2018: 

  • Stop saying yes to everything and everyone

I think this was the biggest and hardest lesson of 2018. While it might seem really small and not of importance, this lesson really impacted both my mental and physical health this past year. As most of you know, I started my masters in public health at the University of Arizona, continued working full time, continued blogging, and started planning a wedding. Crazy, I know. While taking all of this on, I still had a hard time saying no when I was asked to go places and do things with friends and family. I was at a place in life where I was saying yes to EVERYTHING and EVERYONE, had a full calendar seven days a week for months at a time and eventually burned myself out and started having panic attacks because I was unable to manage my already full schedule. Once I started strategically planning my weeks out and started saying no to events and outings I didn’t absolutely need to attend, it significantly improved my overall health and now I feel like I’m back to where I need to be.

  • Take risks and take chances

This is another major lesson I learned in 2018. I’m usually one of those people who just plays it safe and doesn’t take too many risks or chances. This year I decided to get uncomfortable and did a few things that scared me. In October of 2017, I began talking to an advisor about grad school and started praying about it. Before I even graduated from undergrad, I knew I wanted to go to grad school and made it a goal of mine. I was really scared and nervous to apply because I didn’t know if my GRE scores would be good enough or if I would get into the program, but I decided to just go for it. I then thought about how difficult it would be to balance working full time, going to grad school, and blogging, but again, I just trusted God’s plan and went for it. I got into the program and then started school in May! I’m not going to lie, it’s been really difficult at times, but I’ve stuck it out thus far and it’s been really rewarding. I’m eight months into the program and can’t wait to continue learning and work towards another goal of mine, getting my MPH.

  • Be present

This was another tough lesson I had to learn throughout 2018. With how much I am balancing on a day to day basis, I am constantly on my computer or phone. 90% of my day job is on the computer, I go to school online, and blog online, which means I spend allllll of my time connected to a device. This made it really difficult to be present with friends and family and I would regret going places and just being glued to my phone 24/7. I then realized I needed to set aside time in the morning and at night to be on my computer and phone (unless we didn’t have plans for the day) so that I could be present with my loved ones. I now plan my posts for the following week on the weekends so that I am not overwhelmed during the week trying to plan posts, do homework, and go to work. Being present is SO important, especially when you’re with your loved ones because you will never get that time back and every minute is so precious. Make a conscious decision to be present and put down your devices.

Highlights of 2018:

  • Rang in the new year in Vail, CO
  • Sandy Toes and Salty Hair turned one
  • I attended my first Mayo Clinic Infectious Disease Conference
  • Spent the weekend in LA and went to California Adventure
  • We got our puppy, Ella
  • Spent Easter in Anthem, AZ with my family
  • Went to Country Thunder for the first time
  • Went on a cruise with Charlie and my family to St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, and Haiti for my mom’s 55th birthday
  • Started my MPH at the University of Arizona
  • Went to Tucson, AZ with Charlie’s family to watch some U of A baseball games
  • Went to LA again for the weekend to visit Charlie’s family and brought Ella for the first time
  • Went to Dana Point with my dad for a quick weekend trip
  • Went to Lake Powell for Charlie’s 26th birthday and the fourth of July
  • Spent the weekend in Scottsdale for a weekend getaway
  • CHARLIE PROPOSED in Flagstaff, AZ
  • Went to LA for a weekend getaway to visit Charlie’s family and attend our friend’s wedding in Pasadena, CA
  • Spent my 24th birthday in Scottsdale with my best friend and Charlie
  • Had our engagement party with our closest friends and family at our wedding venue
  • Moved to our townhome
  • Went to Carlsbad, CA to visit my best friend before she moved to Italy
  • I said yes to the dress
  • Went to Orlando, FL for a work conference and Charlie and I went to Disney World
  • Spent Thanksgiving in Sedona, AZ with my family
  • Went to Disneyland and spent Christmas in LA with Charlie’s family
  • Partnered with amazing brands and companies throughout the year

I accomplished and did so much during 2018 and can’t wait to see what 2019 brings! I have a feeling 2019 is going to the best year yet and I have some big goals for the New Year. Here are a few of my goals:

I know these goals might not sound attainable, but I’m confident that I will be able to complete my goals for 2019. I made it a goal to completely cut out soda for 2018 and I stuck to my goal throughout the year. I am hopeful that I can at least complete three of my five goals for 2019 and hope I can complete all five of my goals! I hope you all use this first week of 2019 to reflect on 2018 and set goals for the new year.

Xoxo,

Jonica