While I’m on vacation I thought it would be a great opportunity to share some of my favorite & most popular posts with you. If you've been following SMT from the beginning (huge thank you btw) then you probably recall these but if not hopefully these will keep entertained and informed until I'm back. You can follow my vacation adventures on Instagram & InstaStories (username: @stylemetactical).
At the beginning of the year, I started my Coffee Date series as another means to connect with you. I was getting questions about things seen on the blog & social media so I thought that maybe besides the person asking the questions, the rest of you might be interested in some of them. So I decided to start a monthly coffee date series where you submit questions and I'll answer them. It's probably one of my most favorite series on the blog.
I figured since I'm on vacation, why not recap all the questions that I've answered in this series so far. So grab your cup of coffee and let's get this date started.
What lipstick are you wearing in this post (3rd photo)? The brand is Nars and the color is Dragon Girl. I got it in their Steven Klein holiday collection. However, they sell it on it's own. Also, I hear its one of Taylor Swift's go to reds.
What platform do you use for you blog? I use Squarespace. It's super user friendly while also allowing for extra development if needed.
When did you first get involved with shooting? About two/three years when the husband became interested. You can read more about my gun journey here.
Do you blog full time? No, I have a full-time job in IT. I work on SMT in my free time.
What's you're favorite store to shop? Nordstrom. I call it 'The Mothership' - it really is the best. So many departments with classic & trend pieces. Plus, you can't be their customer service
What size coat are you wearing (in this post)? How's the fit? The coat I'm wearing is a small. Due to it's oversized fit, I sized down from my normal medium coat size.
Where is the neck scarf from that you are wearing in this IG post? I'm wearing the Coach Foulard scarf. The black & white version I'm wearing is currently sold out but the multi-colored one is still available and on sale.
What ear protection do you wear at the range? I currently use the double ear protection method which means I use in-ear foam ear plugs along with a pair Howard Leight Leightning L0F slim earmuffs. For me, I love the double ear protection because it helps to really combat some of the sharp & loud shots from my neighboring shooters.
Where do you get your rings from? Most of my rings are from a combination of places...Ellie Vail, Rue Gembon, and Ragen Jewels. The ones you see a lot of are my bar rings from Ellie Vail. I love those. You can get 15% off by using code SMT15 at checkout.
What lipliner do you use with your lipsticks? You're lipstick always looks so neatly applied. Thank you. I don't really use alip liner, well one that matches my lipsticks. I do have a couple of lipliners that match a few of my lipsticks but I usually use aanti-feather liner and a lip brush. The lip brush is key to achieve that perfect outline of the lips.
How often do you go to the range? Right now not very often. I'm trying to go at least twice a month but it's a lot more challenging because I don't own a car and depending on the range I go to it's either 25 or 45 minutes away. I'd love to be going weekly.
Which boots are these? I couldn't find them on the site of the brand you mentioned. They are the Chelsea Handler Boot by Modern Vice. You can find them here. I love love love this brand, they make the best boots.
What did you put in your morning detox water? So this one came from snapchat, I snapped a photo of my morning "water" detox and ended up getting a few questions about it. My morning water is lemon, apple cider vinegar, tumeric and cayenne.
What books were you reading while you were in Cancun? I brought the following three books with me:
Everything That Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists: This book is about the benefits of how removing excess stuff from your life helps to make room for more meaningful things. I love that they provide a how and why minimalism is a good practice but don't confine you to a set a rules. You can take what they say and tailor it to your life however you see fit. I listen to their podcasts every day and this book repeats a lot of their message but it's been nice to see in writing. While I don't completely agree with every little thing they say, I have found many take aways from their perspective which I can apply to my own life.
Clean Gut by Alejandro Junger: I have always been interested in health/wellness, how food interacts with our bodies and how the food industry is changing on all levels. So I like to read a lot of books those subjects. The Clean Gut talks about how your gut is basically your second brain and how it is a major organ in the body that is an underlying cause to so many illnesses. Some of this information wasn't that new to me but a lot of it was and it really interesting & informative. So much so that I'm planning on doing the 21-day gut cleanse. Wish me luck.
Mastering Your Mean Girl by Melissa Ambrosini: I had seen a IG post about this author and this book. I wasn't sure if I was going to get it before we left but it arrived the day before. I think the title throws people off but the mean girl she speaks of is that voice inside your head/your ego that holds you back, causes self-doubt, and insecurities. It's about how to master her so you can be the rockstar that you are. There are little exercises throughout the book that are helpful as well. There were some sections for parents (I skimmed #notaparent) & relationships that I wasn't expecting but she had some good advice. I got a little bit more than half-way through it so I still have a bit more to read.
What jewelry were you wearing on the beach? Yes, I'm one of those girls that likes to wear jewelry on the beach. Nothing fancy though - I don't wear my wedding rings on the beach. It's mostly a few pieces that I picked from local beach sellers. They are super cheap so I don't care about getting them wet or dirty or even lost. I also was wearing a sh*t ton of flash tattoos. I was basically changing them everyday. I love those things.
How do you pack your beach hats? I pack them in my suitcase as the first item. I stuff the center of the hat with socks, leggings, sleepwear, etc. things I don't mind being bunched up. Then I lay the hat down as the first thing in my suitcase and I pack around it. The top part of the hat will get a bit squished during travel but typically it bounces right back after it's unpacked and worn once. Also, my beach hats are pretty inexpensive so I don't care too much if they take a little damage. Some brands are also making beach hats that are foldable and packable like this one by Madewell and this one by Tommy Bahama. If I was bringing a more expensive hat, like this Rag and Bone hat, I would more than likely just carry it on.
Do you wear makeup on the beach? Not really. At the minimum, I'll wear a tinted lip balm and sometimes a gel cheek blush for some color but that's about it. I always always wear sunscreen. I do wear makeup when going out at night but it's a paired down version of my daily makeup routine. No foundation just some eye makeup and lip gloss.
What nail polish did you wear? I was actually wearing three...Chanel Pink Tonic on my thumb, pinky, & ring fingers, Chanel Nouvelle Vague on my middle fingers, and OPI Glitter on my index fingers. Also, Chanel Pink Tonic on my toes. I would link to the Chanel polishes but they recently just changed their formula and you can no longer get these colors online unless you try eBay or check your local dept stores.
I'm looking for cute white sandal options for summer that don't break the bank, do you have any suggestions? White sandals for summer are so stylish and definitely get you into that summer spirit. Here are few options under $50: Halogen, Arturo Chiang, BCBGeneration, & Joe's. And a few options between $50 - $100: J. Crew (my fav), Sam Edelman, Dolce Vita, & Soludos.
What apps do you use to edit your Instagram photos? I mainly use VSCO & Priime. Both have a ton of editing options such as adjusting brightness, temperature, saturation, etc. and lots of great filters that range from subtle to dramatic. I like Priime because it suggests filters based on interpreting the colors & light of the photo. I sometimes also use PS Express to soften/reduce noise on a photo. I use this mostly if my photo shows a lot more skin like on my legs as it helps to smooth out the skin. No one wants to see razor bumps. #AmIRight
Do you only shoot your HK VP9 at the range or do you shoot with any other firearm? Right now I'm only shooting my VP9. I've shot some of the husbands handguns but I'm really trying to get comfortable and skilled with my own handgun. I thinks it's important to know all the intricacies of your own gun, how it shoots, and how it behaves.
Where are your Nike shoes you were wearing from snapchat? They are the Nike Flyknit Racers. These are only available in men sizes so I bought a 7.5 mens. My normal women's size is an 8.5.
How often have you had to use the emergency kit you carry in your purse? Luckily very rarely and that is a good thing. I've used a couple of band-aids here & there but that's about it. I haven't had a need for some of the other items. Just because the items don't get used daily, weekly, or monthly doesn't mean I'm going to stop carry them. After all it's for emergencies and the point of the kit is if you some essentials for when you need them.
Where do you buy your beauty products? Do you stick to a department store or beauty retailer like Sephora? It really depends on what it is I'm buying & who stocks the brands I use. The majority of my beauty products come from Sephora. However, if Nordstrom is having one of their double/triple point events then I'll purchase from the store/online. Gotta get those Nordstrom Notes #chaching. Also, some of my green/natural beauty product brands I like aren't sold in normal retailers so I buy them online at Epic Beauty Bar or Eco Diva Beauty.
I can't find the camo backup you posted on IG, where is it from? That backpack is made by Billabong. It's their 'Hand Over Love' style. Hershel Supplymakes a great backpacks & I found this camo one. Billabong also has this alternative that has some camo acccents.
I get terrible blisters when I first wear new shoes (heels or flats). Do you have any tips on how to prevent blisters? Do you get them? Yes, I do get blisters especially in new shoes. It's the worst but I love me some shoes. I do two main things to help with blisters. First, break in new shoes at home with and without socks. I always wear new shoes around my house for a few days to start breaking them in. All shoes need to be broken in. Usually I can tell if any part of the shoe is going to cause me some blisters by doing this. When I go to wear them out for the first time, I always rub blister block or body glide on the areas on my foot that I'm usually prone to blisters (toes and heels). However, if I know a particular shoe might cutting into my heel, I use Compeed blister cushions. I carry these everywhere. They are a lifesaver. I sometimes use the Band-Aid brand but the Compeeds stay put better. I'm thinking I might do an entire post on this.
Who takes your blog photos and what camera is used? The husband takes all my outfit photos while I take all the flat lay type photos or non-outfit photos you see. Most of my outfit photos are taken with a Canon Rebel T4i with a 50 mm f/1.4 lens and I also use a Sony A6300 with a 35 mm f/1.8 lens.
Do you use a teeth whitener because you drink lots of coffee? I don't use any type of teeth whiteners. I do drink mostly black coffee during week and save my latte's for the weekend. When I drink black coffee I use this straw. It helps to cut down on the staining & it fits in all coffee to-go lids. I brush my teeth with an all natural toothpaste that has natural whiteners & alkalizers. Although, now I'm wondering if maybe I should whiten my teeth.
You snapped a bunch shoes you were selling a few weeks back. Where do you sell your used clothing and/or do you have any places online you like to use? Depending on what I'm getting rid off I'll either donate my clothes/shoes to Goodwill or sell them on Poshmark. I've also used ThreadUp but they only accept certain designers and items. However, the do make selling/donating so easy because they send you a bag to put it all in & cover shipping. I haven't tried any other online/apps to sell my clothing/shoes except for Poshmark. I like that they provide a shipping label. I find a lot of people that use Poshmark always want to trade which I'm not interested in doing. You can see what I'm selling in my Poshmark closet here. If there's something you're interested in send me an email or let me know.
Do you have a favorite perfume/scent that you wear? I'm pretty sensitive to heavy fragrances. Most scents I like are pretty basic and have vanilla undertones. My all time favorite scent is Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille. It's a got this beautiful vanillla woodsy scent. I could eat it right up . However, it's a pretty pricey perfume so I haven't actually bought a bottle yet. I just stop and ask for samples hehe. My "lower end" alternative to Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black. It's has vanilla undertones as well and I love it. It's what i wear on the weekends as I don't really wear perfume during the week. I also have their dry shampoo that is pretty awesome too.
How do the Miu Miu slip-ons fit and are they comfortable? I have a love/hate relationship with these slip-ons. I truly love their style but breaking them in has been a bitch to say the least. I bought them in my normal flat size which is a 9 and they fit great. They are a little snug around the top of the foot but broke in just fine. After two years though, I'm still having issues in the heels - sometime I have no issues and other times they rub like crazy causing blisters. When I don't have issues with the heel, they are super comfy. They come is so many textures and patterns, I really want another pair but I'm so hesitant.
I really loved the Clare Vivier animal print clutch you have. Can you recommend any other more affordable dupes? A leopord clutch is such a great accessory to jazz up any outfit. The one I have is from Clare Vivier and personnally I think it's worth the price. The quality is top-notch, it feels luxurious, and you can't beat how perfect the print is. I found a couple of similar options here, here, and here.
What bag do you use at the range? Is the one you posted your normal range bag? I don't use a traditional range bag. I've looked at literally a million range bags and don't like any of them. The bag I'm using is the Lululemon Live Free Tote. It's a gym bag with lots of compartments to organize all my range gear. I'm planning on doing a full post on it so stay tuned.
You always make distressed skinny jeans look good. All the ones I find are always too ripped. Do you have any recommendations for a pair that are similar to the ones you wear and are under $100? There's definitely a point when distressed jeans can look a bit trashy. I prefer ones that have a lot of frayed markings and smaller holes. My latest ones that I love are from Blank NYC and are only $88 (worn here and here). They are super comfy and the distressing on the knee comes patched so you know it will always look like that. Blank NYC makes a few pairs of distressed jeans all under $100. Keep in mind that I've have found that I need go down a size in their jeans. Here are a few more options that I like for under $100: Blank NYC $88, Vigoss $64, Lucky Brand $99 on sale for $60, and this cute black pair by Articles of Society $59.
How did you find your shooting instructor? I've only used one shooting instructor during my Girl Meets Gun series. He was actually the instructor for the NRA First Steps pistol class I had to take in order to own a firearm in DC. That class included live fire range time. So when I was looking into instructors I reached out to him first to see if he offered lessons. If you're looking for an instructor check with your local shooting range. Most of them can recommend someone or even have someone at the range that offers lessons.
Are you still on Snapchat? I haven't seen you post in awhile? Hmmm....sort of. I've been sticking to using InstaStories but let me say that I don't post that often. So you aren't missing a whole lot. Call me lazy and not wanting to open another app but InstaStories is just a lot more convenient to use. I could post to both InstaStories and Snapchat but I don't want to duplicate content mainly because I know most of you follow me on both. And personally, I follow people on both and have started unfollowing people on Snapchat because they are posting the same thing to their InstaStories.
I couldn't find these sandals linked on your shop page or LTK. You always wear them and I love them. Where did you get them? I always get questions about these sandals. What's funny is that when I wear them and think about posting my outfit to IG, I always question it because they are so old and are a bit beat up looking. I got these about six years ago in Athens, Greece. I had them handmade from a sandal guy. They are comfy and the leather just keeps getting darker with wear. However, there are a lot of brands that make this style sandal. Try these and these (under $36).
Where do you get the bandana's you use on your tote bags? The bandana's on my tote bags are the standard print pattern and I get them from Amazon. Nothing fancy and they're pretty inexpensive. The ones I wear around my neck I get at Free People, Urban Outfitters, or Nordstrom. I've used some of those on my bags/totes as well but like using the cheaper ones for every day use.