Olive Oil | Your One-Stop Skincare Shop

by Gloria Cavallaro in ,


 
Photo by loooby/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by loooby/iStock / Getty Images

In my bathroom you won't find big tubs of body moisturizers, small jars of hand creams, or even little tubes of heavy duty face emollients. No, in my bathroom, there is just one large bottle, situated next to my sink, that tackles all of my dry skin needs (and saves me a lot of money). What miracle product is this that can moisturize body, hands, and face, protect painfully dry skin, calm eczema, reduce the redness of a breakout, and nourish skin with vitamins and antioxidants? Olive oil, people, specifically Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO).

You may have heard that Sophia Loren swore by the stuff, she'd apply it to her body, have her food cooked in it, and even add it to her baths. But do you know the science behind why olive oil is so great for you? Below are just a few of the amazing properties of EVOO and why you should add it to your daily skincare routine ASAP.

OLEIC ACID

A monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid makes EVOO a powerfully occlusive oil. What does this mean? The oleic acid in EVOO creates a barrier on the skin, preventing water loss and maintaining hydration. This is why it is most effective when applied to wet skin directly after a shower (although the skincare benefits can be seen when used at any time).

OLEOCANTHAL

This compound, found in both EVOO and over the counter ibuprofen, is an inhibitor of the enzyme cyclooxygenase which causes inflammation and pain in the body. When taken internally regularly, oleocanthal has been linked to reduced risk for heart disease and Alzheimer's. Applied topically and oleocanthal can reduce the inflammation of rashes, breakouts, and sensitive skin.

VITAMIN E

EVOO contains high amounts of the antioxidant Vitamin E, contributing to its anti-aging properties. Vitamin E neutralizes free radicals, molecules found in the environment that accelerate the aging process through cellular damage and genetic mutations that can lead to cancer. Vitamin E works to protect the skin from these environmental stressors and has been found to increase circulation, potentially decreasing wound healing time.

VITAMIN K

This fat-soluble vitamin is imperative to the blood-clotting process (without which your body would hemorrhage) and prevents calcification of the cardiovascular system by activating the matrix gamma-carboxyglutamic acid protein (MGP) which inhibits the process. When used on the skin, it can help counteract vascular conditions that cause discoloration and redness such as rosacea, broken capillaries, and undereye circles. In the same way it prevents the calcification associated with the aging of internal organs, it also reduces the calcification of skin's elastin fibers, preventing wrinkles and the loss of skin's ability to "bounce back." 


HYDROXYTYROSOL

Last, but far from least, EVOO contains hydroxytyrosol, a polyphenol with unparalleled antioxidant properties that is found in olives at its highest quantities (and subsequently, EVOO). What sets hydroxytyrosol apart from other polyphenols and antioxidants is its cancer-fighting potential. You read that correctly, hydroxytyrosol has been proven to cause mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis (or cell death by self-destruction) in colon cancer cells (study here). While this study did not research the effects of hydroxytyrosol if applied topically, we do know that the skin absorbs 60% of all product therefore the possibilities are exciting.

 

Armed with all this EVOO knowledge (and with Sophia Loren's age-defying visage as proof), what are you waiting for? Add extra virgin olive oil to your daily skincare routine and see what EVOO can do for you.

 

 

Do you have a skincare or beauty topic You'd love investigated? Leave it in the comments and Your question could be the next post!

 

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How to Be a Mindful Consumer | Interview with Fashion Data Scientist x Designer Jessica Graves

by Gloria Cavallaro in ,


 
Fashion data scientist and designer Jessica Graves.

Fashion data scientist and designer Jessica Graves.

As a stylist working in the fashion industry, I understand I am a cog in the $250 billion dollar machine that is the U.S. apparel market. I should know everything about it, right?  Sadly, until just recently, I realized I knew hardly anything at all.

Wanting to expand my knowledge on my own industry, this past summer I attended an event with a friend discussing sustainability in fashion hosted by Decoded Fashion. There was a panel on supply chain transparency including team members from Eileen Fisher and Zady, and showcases from exciting fashion startups putting sustainability and ethical sourcing at the top of their mission. The talk inspired me to delve deeper into the sources of my clothing and to be more mindful about my fashion consumption. Then the realization struck, I had no idea how to get started! Thankfully, that friend I had invited to keep me company? She ended up being one of the most amazing sources of fashion sustainability knowledge.

Jessica Graves is a fashion data scientist and designer. She started looking into the practices of the companies whose clothing made up her closet in college after learning about the harmful implications of delocalized labor. The information she discovered caused her to commit to researching a brand before supporting them with her spending, to buy less items but higher quality ones, and to find online and brick & mortar markets that do the fishing for the customer, only carrying pieces from transparent, ethical labels. She became, what I like to call, a mindful consumer.

Money talks. In the new year, I want my dollars to speak up for those doing right by their factory workers, the earth, the farmers; the environment and people who touch a clothing item before it makes its way onto a hanger in my closet. To find out how to do that, I spoke with Jessica on how to become a mindful consumer, what to look for on clothing tags, and where to shop for cool, ethically sourced pieces. (You may want to keep a pen and paper handy 'cause this is one information-packed interview.)

 

When it comes to fashion, being a mindful consumer is...

Being a mindful consumer is complicated, because we have imperfect information about how the garments we buy are produced - some brands don't have perfect information themselves. Mindfulness in fashion is an attentive attitude toward environmental and social impact of materials, production methods, labor practices, quality, longevity, and efficiency in production and distribution.

 

What made you want to become one (a mindful consumer)?

Everyone on the planet has some kind of relationship with dress, which extends beyond apparel alone. Fashion is one of a few non-lingual forms of communication that is participated in on a massive scale, with very little ability to opt out. Fashion has a place for our oldest hand traditions and our newest biochemical innovations. It's my favorite industry, I'm at home in fashion, where so many fields intersect in fascinating ways - art, design, economics, chemistry, ecology, mathematics, data science, machine learning, computer vision, cultural criticism, writing, international development, software engineering... I've worked with top researchers using mathematics and data to create products or improve models within energy, agriculture, and ecology. Much of the same thinking applies to fashion, and I can't help but see the parallels and want to create a cleaner, diverse fashion ecosystem where both small and large brands can thrive.

 

What were the first steps you took towards being more aware of where your clothes were coming from?

I read tags! I worked on a piece for The Office for Creative Research Journal where I looked at my laundry pile and asked, where are all of these items from? What was the MSRP? What materials are associated with the low prices? What countries are associated with what materials? I wanted to know what my own closet looked like to begin with. I'd like to develop the idea of a closet data selfie even further. It's not about shaming, it's just about knowing. If we don't know what a typical closet looks like, how can we go about changing it, or measuring improvement?  

 

Where do you look for information on clothing companies' fabric sources or factories?

I’ve been picking up bits and pieces from keeping up with publications. Celine reportedly uses locally sourced leather from ethically treated animals, according to Phoebe Philo in the latest Gentlewoman. The Business of Fashion’s Seven Issues Facing the Industry print issue did an in-depth profile on Stella McCartney and Zara, which touched on how they source and measure. Eyebeam produced a great read in the Computational Fashion Report earlier this year, where a few smaller brands discussed how they source. Events from BOF, Decoded, Pioneer Mode, all offer insight from direct professionals.  Even if you don't live in a major city, there are often social media conversations you can join during live events for access to people in the field. Any media will have its biases, but you can still get some value from documentaries (The True Cost), video series, journalist coverage (Vice), news reports (Human Rights Watch).

Read the labels - notice if your favorite companies change over time. One of my favorite Made in NYC brands is suddenly producing pieces from their in-house label in China. Don’t get me wrong - I know of amazing sustainable factories in China and Hong Kong, the red flag is that this was a sudden shift from local to VERY far away production, lower quality in the seam finishing, at the same price point, without evidence that they’re simply thriving and need to meet new volumes. I’m not excited about paying the premium anymore.

A lot of knowledge is pretty closed-source and comes from working in the industry and knowing the production teams and processes.

 

Are there any unexpected indicators that let you know if a designer or brand has ethically sourced their product?

I'll check if a brand is carried by Indelust, Zady. Sometimes I'll check LinkedIn and see if they have anyone with "sustainability" in their title, especially on a production team. Thinking about sustainability in fashion production is definitely a full-time job. You can usually find a rating site or two if you search for specific brands, and they'll be open about why a company has a low or high grade in their opinion. I look for messaging and reporting about sustainability or production on their corporate website, or check for participation in events about ethical fashion and seek videos to get a deeper look. Family-owned factories that have been operating for a decades can be a positive indicator, especially for high end garments. I'm in the habit of making friends with small business owners, who are usually more and happy to talk seriously about where their items come from.

It's important to keep a critical eye on anything you read or watch. I find the conversation gets  muddled because there is an imprecise understanding of the economic implications of blacklisting an entire country because some of its factories have a bad reputation. Refusing to buy items produced in a certain country might not be as ethical as we want, even though it reduces some of the complexity when making buying decisions.

 

What fabrics should consumers steer clear of and why? Additionally, what fabrics should consumers look for more and why?

Materials are great for establishing "what's the worst that can happen by contributing to large scale use of this material?" if you have no other information. But, it depends on where it comes from and how it is produced, which is harder to understand. An exception that jumps out is sandblasted denim, there does not seem to be a justifiable way to have people sandblast denim. Stella McCartney points out that sequins are simply not an option for her line, PVC is extremely damaging. Leather is difficult to decouple from the massive environmental problems of the cattle industry, and treated skins aren't really all that biodegradable. Chrome-tanned has a much more negative impact than vegetable-tanned leather.

Fur seems MUCH less likely to be sourced in a way that’s remotely ethical, and faux fur is growing in sophistication. But it's intimately linked to where skins comes from - for example Titania Inglis only uses waste fur from a small tribe in Iceland. It’s not so clear to condemn this case.

I'm excited for recycled materials from Evrnu, and about silk from Bolt Threads and leather from Modern Meadow, which bypass many of the animal-centric problems, and grow silk / leather from genetically modified cell cultures in the lab. These cells are sometimes grown on GMO sugar. So, we arrive at a paradox, the ethical consumer who wears small-scale organic cotton on the one hand, and lab-grown silk produced by industrial-scale monocropped corn on the other.

 

Fast fashion is so alluring because it is so cheap. What would you say to the interested consumer who is afraid slow fashion is too expensive?

Learn to sew. No one who has ever sewn a dress themselves, or seen the work of industrial seamstresses, can reasonably expect that a $5 item was ethically produced.

Measure your cost per wear and replacement costs. I've bought, from mass retailers, $50 jeans where the threads came loose within 2 wears, and a $60 sweater that literally ripped apart within a week of normal use. I was shocked. I thought fast fashion was supposed to be easier?

I've also bought a $250 sweater that's lasted 4 years so far, parties, fashion weeks, internships, corporate jobs, hand washing, machine washing, without so much as a thread coming loose. I'll probably have it for the rest of my life. Think about the story you want to tell! I take heritage pretty seriously, and want to see the industry move forward with respect to the decades of hand crafted labor that went into some of these systems.

I've heard of friends buying $20 pants, $30 blazers for work and having those items fail on them in the middle of their workday. If you need to replace new pants every month, why not buy one pair that'll last you years instead -- and perhaps actually fit you well? Did you buy the cutest $10 top ever, so cute but it just pulls a little weird, so you just have to find a cropped blazer to go over it for $25, but it doesn’t work with the jeans you have at home so you buy a new high waist pair for $40? Why not spend $75 on a top that works with everything you have?

Also: hang tight - no one actually thinks the price point of ethical fashion is accessible en masse, and very often these options don’t exist at scale just yet. When industrial-grade fashion manufacturing software catches up with the open source culture common in the tech industry, it will be possible to produce at a small scale for less money. It’s not that nobody wants to produce ethically sourced fashion at a mass market price point.

 

Name your three favorite places, online or brick and mortar, to reliably find stylish, ethically-made items?

I’m thinking of launching a better aggregator, there’s really not much out there. I’m super excited for Uniforme (unifor.me)! The quality is brilliant, the manufacturing is local, the textiles are extremely carefully sourced. Zady is really stringent about who they carry, so I like when I see the same brands (Won Hundred, Alice D., etc) at OAK NYC as well (who also carries The Squad). For accessories, La Portegna is my favorite, and they know all of their artisans by name.

However, you can look within your favorite brands and dig for items produced in countries with decent labor track records, buy vegetable tanned instead of chrome tanned, support collaboration pieces with smaller open brands. Consider that buying less, with higher quality is also important when we can’t evaluate supply chain - even if every company was perfect, our consumption levels are unsustainably high.

 

Shoes. Shoes can be tough. Where do you go for shoes?

Trippen. Love Is Mighty. Brothers Vellies. For quality reasons, my Ann Demeulemeester, Vince and Frye shoes last me a long time, and are structured well for repairs when they do wear down.

 

What advice do you have for the mindful consumer just getting started?

Take a data selfie of the brands, prices, and manufacturing origins of your clothing. How often do you shop? How much do you spend? Get a sense of your own data! Read about the history of manufacturing. The fashion industry has much, much deeper impact than how we’ll look today.

 

 

Resources:

- Project Just. This online platform shares detailed narratives of the practices behind big and small brands including supply chain transparency, labor conditions, environmental impact, and management summaries. It currently has backgrounds on 40 businesses with plans to add more through crowd-sourced, fact-checked submissions.

$11.19

- Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline.
Cline's exploration into the world of fast fashion, its development and far-reaching negative impacts, will have you taking data selfies and picking up a sewing kit in no time.

 

- The True Cost | A Documentary Film.
Now available on Netflix, this documentary is a must-see. If you want a good look into the many layers that must be considered to produce ethical, sustainable fashion, and how this broken fast fashion system came to be, spend an afternoon seeing what goes on at the other end of the supply chain.

 

- Gloria Cavallaro

 

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Start Me Up | Networking: The Art of the Coffee Date

by Gloria Cavallaro in


A photo posted by @the_blvd on

Networking events are a mainstay of any industry. Affairs that bring together professionals for a talk, panel, or presentation to learn something and meet people in their field are invaluable. I've found, with every networking event I go to, I leave with at least one promising contact and I've maintained a habit of attending a few a month.

But how do you progress the initial meeting you've had with those promising contacts? What happens after the event? What about networking outside of events? How do you establish good footing with a contact you met maybe through a friend? That, my freelancing friend, is when you add caffeine (or tea, or a green juice, or a scone... whatever you feel like ordering). 

The professional coffee date. It's the simple colliding of two hardworking souls (and their phones) over a brewed drink. Both parties should come ready to talk and ready to listen. Here are the steps to planning and practicing a great coffee date.

 

1. Get It on the Calendar.

You have the email of someone you would like to get to know better professionally. Now what do you do? Reach out, dang it! Send that first it-was-great-to-meet-you email and ask what dates in the next two weeks they are available to grab coffee. If they are busy (and we all are), nail down the earliest date you are both free. Many potential meetings never occur because both people do not follow-up with a specific day and time. Moral: nail down a date, time, and place.

2. Research and Prepare.

Research this professional. What did they study in school? Is it very different from where they are now? Look at their Instagram. What are their interests? What does the company they work for do? And, most importantly, how can you help them? Think of ways that you two can collaborate or connect and come prepared with ideas. During the coffee date, as you get to know the person more, you can come up with ideas together.

3. Attend Coffee Date.

Obviously show up.

4. Learn, Learn, Learn.

The nice thing about coffee dates is they are more informal and therefore encourage more personal conversation than, say, the professional lunch or pre-conference cocktail hour. You can really get to know someone over a cup of coffee. Ask a lot of questions and feel free to take notes. I love picking the brains of other professionals. From the apps that increase their productivity to how they handled a recent tricky situation in their business, some of the best advice I've been given has been offhand over some java.

5. Leave with Takeaways.

Yes, this was a casual meeting of professionals at a cafe but it should be productive (that's the point, guysss). I try to approach my coffee dates with an intention to give and collaborate. Once you two have shared your current projects, struggles, and epiphanies, ask the question: "How can I help you?" This is where you can share the ideas you prepared or present the new ones you came up with over the course of the conversation. Is there someone you can connect them to that would move along their side hustle, can you two collaborate on a project because you have the skills they need to complete it, is there a book or program you can recommend that they would learn a lot from, or a service you can share that would save them time or expedite their work processes? Leave with a little to-do list of things you are going to do after the coffee date, an article you're going to share, a person you're going to introduce them to, or a project you want to flesh out together. At the end, you should leave with a list of reasons why the two of you will connect again.

So why come with the intention to give? Focusing on giving helps to move the relationship along past the-two-strangers-with-business-cards point and, once you do provide them with the connections, contributions, and recommendations that grow and influence their work, they will become a contact that trusts and values you, and they will seek to positively influence and grow your work.

 

HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP OR HOW TO BEGIN A FREELANCE CAREER? 
EMAIL ME AT GLORIA@THE-BLVD.COM AND I’LL ANSWER THEM IN A FUTURE BLOG POST!

 

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Quick and Easy: Better Breakfast Hacks

by Lauren Durden in , , ,


I am decidedly not a morning person. Hence why this post about breakfast hacks is going up in the afternoon... 

Breakfast is one of those meals that I usually fit in if I've thought about it ahead of time. Sure, it's touted as the 'most important meal of the day,' but most mornings I'm frantically trying to find an outfit I like and a pair of shoes that won't kill me on the walk to the subway. In the midst of that mayhem, breakfast usually gets a lost in the shuffle. My best bet for eating a healthy, filling breakfast is make it ahead of time and make it portable. That way, I can eat it on the walk to the train or, more likely, take it with me to wherever I'll be working that day. As a freelancer, I'm often working from shared workspaces and cafes. I've found that eating breakfast and lunch out of my home office can really rack up the charges, and honestly I don't think I should have to pay $10 for a chia seed bowl. So, I've figured out some hacks for those of us who'd rather hit the snooze button and like something a little more flavorful and on-the-go in the AM. 

modern-oats-oatmeal-superfood-breakfast.jpg

Oatmeal I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I'm going to tell you to make overnight oats the night before you have work or that big meeting, but I'm not. Mostly because after experimenting with overnight oats on many-a-morning I've found that, even without having to cook anything, they can still be a be too involved for me. The night before an early morning I'm usually finishing up a proposal, sending out a million pitches or queueing up posts for the next day. Modern Oats is my sweet answer to early morning breakfast woes. The little cups of oats and superfood ingredients do all of the prep work for me and are super portable - perfect for eating while running to catch the subway train in the morning. All you have to do is boil water (PRAISE kettles for making this a super quick step), pour the hot water over the oats and additional non-GMO goodies, then wait three minutes. Served hot, my favorites are the Goji Blueberry and Mango Blackberry. If I'm feeling a little more awake, I'll open a cup of the Cherry and Chocolate oats, throw it over a cup of Greek yogurt and head out the door. On weekends, when I get to sleep in a bit, I'll even tackle some of their more involved recipes.


$$$ Breakdown: Best part, at $3.50 a pop they're cheap and healthy.

Boiled Eggs  Hear me out! These guys are super versatile and the one of the easiest breakfasts to make. I'm not talking about your over cooked, grey-yolk boiled eggs, either. I love a great, six minute egg. The whites are completely set and the yolk is mostly cooked and only a little runny. I'll make a big batch early on in the week, peel them right away and pop them in the fridge to take a few with me each morning. As someone who can wake up craving salty foods, my favorite way to eat them is with a splash of sweet or mushroom soy, cilantro and crispy shallots, a play on the Thai-style fried eggs my mom used to make for breakfast.

$$$ Breakdown: Eggs are as cheap as they come, and herbs aren't pricey either. This is a protein packed breakfast for seriously small change. 

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Green Smoothie Pops I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I love my green smoothies. But when it's a sweltering 95 degrees by 8:30 AM, I need a green smoothie that won't be lukewarm by the time I'm one block away from my apartment. Green smoothie popsicles can be made the weekend before a busy week and kept frozen in my freezer pretty much forever. And they're the epitome of grab and go. Get the full recipe for my green smoothie pops here.

$$$ Breakdown: About $1.00 a pop. 

Now go forth, and breakfast - but still get your beauty sleep. 

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The Lust List | Bralet Fever

by Gloria Cavallaro in ,


This past weekend I celebrated my birthday in style, i.e. bowling with friends during Family Saturday at Brooklyn Bowl to the mixings of a man calling himself DJ Uncle Mike (obviously appropriate for a 25th). To this shindig, I was determined to debut one of the three bralets I had picked up for summer but had yet to wear. The winner? A creme Ronny Kobo knit number with cutouts.

In case you're wondering; yes, technically bralets are crop tops but, no, not all crop tops are bralets. Bralets are structured, designed to give support, and, while crop tops are mainly tops... just cropped, bralets look more like, well, bras.

Ahhhh, you might be thinking, I can't leave the house in a glorified undergarment! Yes, you can missy and YOU WILL. Bralets are widely flattering, giving the girls extra oomph (lift and separate!) and tapering in at the waist, highlighting the smallest part of your body.

For the love of Susan B. Anthony, don't be a lily-liver and just try one.

 

STYLIST TIP:

To tone down the sexiness of a lingerie-inspired piece, pair your bralet with a high-waisted skirt and flats. This will up the casual/cool factor and lend an effortless air to an otherwise body-conscious item.

I wore mine with a sporty, high-waisted mini and nude oxfords. The look was standout enough to befit the birthday girl at her party (no heels necessary) and kept its interest even when my funky oxfords were swapped out for the most loathed clothing item of all time... the bowling shoe. 

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Start Me Up | Determining Rates for Freelance Work

by Gloria Cavallaro in


 
On a recent project where I did the hair, makeup, and photographed website images for a fellow entrepreneur.

On a recent project where I did the hair, makeup, and photographed website images for a fellow entrepreneur.

Everything is almost set for your first freelance job. You found a client (or a client found you), they like your work, they like your ideas. Now, they want to know, "What's your rate?"

Of course, you respond with, "*INSERT DOLLAR FIGURE YOU ARE TOTALLY WORTH HERE.*"

Don't know what you're worth? Not sure how to measure how much your work per project and off-salary should cost? Fear not, I got your back fellow #entrepreneur (yes, the hashtag IS necessary).

A freelance project can look like just about anything. It could be in-office, remote, it could take a few hours, it could take a few months. Therefore, say goodbye to the simple days of a bi-monthly check with a reliable figure on it. In the freelance world, pay is ever changing.

How long will the project take? Hours, like a short article? Or months, like a social media marketing makeover? Will you be in-office for a pre-determined length of time or working solely from home? These things all matter when figuring out how to charge for your work. Below are the most common ways to breakdown freelance work rates.

 

HOURLY RATE

In my work, I charge hourly for projects that will take an easily calculable amount of time, like photography. Shooting and photo editing are included in those hours. Similarly, I charge hourly for copy. I sum up the time spent researching the topic, the actual time spent writing, and edits into my rate. For hourly projects, I present the client with a quote for the number of hours I think the project will take me with a ceiling on the figure the project cannot exceed so the client is never surprised with my invoice.

Remember to cushion every rate to include time that is spent getting and organizing the work with that client. That means everything from email communication, in-person/phone meetings, and any other time spent on the project. Your time is money and, being an off-salary employee, all the time you would typically be paid for in an office (like communicating with clients), you should still be paid for. 

DAY RATE

Some freelance work has a very clear beginning and end, days that will be dedicated exclusively to that project. For that kind of work, I charge a day rate. For example, when I'm styling look books, the photo shoot will take up the whole day wherein I will be on location or on a set. I charge a day rate for the shoot days and a day rate for prep days. The project has a defined schedule. Generally, day rates, when divided by hour, tend to yield a smaller per hour figure but the commitment of full days of work for longer periods of time is reliable and, in the end, will pay you more than a short per hour gig.  

For comparison, if I were, say, styling a personal client and met them in-store or at their home, I would charge a higher hourly rate for the time I was with them because it is a short burst of work.

PER PROJECT RATE

A per project rate can be tough to navigate. It is a set rate that is agreed upon at the start so you must consider that when naming your rate. If the project requires much more of your time than expected, have you included a cushion in your quote so that it will still end up being worth your time?  Per project rates are good for work that will be amorphous in its execution. For a social media management project, I charged a project based rate because figuring out the amount of time I spent on the work (when all of it was done remotely, including researching, composing content, posting daily, and being included on many emails chains/phone meetings) was going to be too difficult. A project rate made sure all my work was well compensated and I could divide my time in any way I wanted in order to make sure the project was completed successfully.

Another way to determine a project rate is to find out how much money your client has to play with. Do they have a budget for how much they want to spend redecorating their home or putting on an event? Calculate your rate based on a percentage of that budget (obviously a reasonable one).

 

RESEARCH THE HECK OUT OF IT

Above all else, do your due diligence. Search online for what other professionals with your level of experience are charging. Check out forums and boards where freelancers discuss fees. Ask those more established in your line of work what they charged at your stage in their careers (adjusted for inflation). 

BE FLEXIBLE

I've spoken about this before but I'm going to repeat myself because this is very important. Sometimes, especially when you're starting out, freelance work doesn't pay so impressively in dollars. Don't immediately turn down an opportunity to show your stuff just because that big opportunity comes with a tiny budget. Consider taking the project anyway, you could likely be compensated in things that are more important than dollars, like experience, contacts, and portfolio material. Just be sure to weigh the benefits so you don't end up simply working for free.

HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP OR HOW TO BEGIN A FREELANCE CAREER? 
EMAIL ME AT GLORIA@THE-BLVD.COM AND I’LL ANSWER THEM IN A FUTURE BLOG POST!

 

 

 

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Lust List | 4 Items Under $30 to Light You Up

by Lauren Durden in , , ,


Today's date, April 20th, also known as 4/20, is pretty infamous. And while others may be lighting up a certain semi-legalized herb, over on the BLVD we're showing you four ways to light up your home and beauty routine - literally. 

The items above will help bring a warm glow, or perfect highlights to your apartment and your cheekbones. The Diptyque candle is one of my favorite scents, and the Benefit Watt's Up Highlighter is perfect under eyebrows, in your cupid's bow and across the tops of your cheekbones.

The Lilly Pulitzer string lights just came out yesterday at Target stores across the US, but you may be hard pressed to find them, since almost everything has sold out. eBay is probably your best bet for finding a string of 'em. And if you can't, the Firefly Lights from Urban Outfitters cast the prettiest, warmest glow I've seen from string lights, and are attached to pretty copper wire that can be wrapped around almost anything. 

So go on - get your glow on. 

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Just a note: it seems that Polyvore is reporting the wrong pricing for most of the items above. To see correct pricing, click on the links in the paragraph above and shop away! 

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the BLVD beauty | 3 Products for Longwearing Music Festival Makeup

by Gloria Cavallaro in ,


Music festival season is upon us. That means fringe bags, oversized glasses, temporary tattoos (or permanent ones), and swimsuits as daywear.

What is also means is long days in the sun, close quarters with sticky bodies, and boob sweat. My first question is: how do you make sure your boho-mystic-faerie queen beauty look doesn’t budge from sun-up to inebriated sundown?  The answer: primer, powder, and waterproof errthang.

 

For stay-put beauty, these three products will keep you Instagram ready all day.

 

1.    Powder foundation


Yes, we know primer is king, but a longwearing powder foundation is top notch on a sweaty day. The powder absorbs moisture to keep you matte for longer than a liquid formula. When you’re feeling especially “dewy,” pat your face with a rice paper blotter to wick away excess oils and shine.

Stila’s Illuminating Powder Foundation is a dream. Compact, with impressive coverage and SPF 12, it’s a great option for humid days.

2.    Waterproof eye crayon


This multi-purpose product will be your go-to item during the day when you have a tiny bag and only so many things you can stuff into it. A jumbo crayon with some metallic hints will cover all your eye-makeup needs when running around a festival. Subtly line your eyes for an eye-enhancing day look and cover the lid, smudging with your finger, for a smoky nighttime look. Apply some waterproof mascara and you can dance all day and still look like a normal human afterwards.

Makeup Forever’s waterproof eye shadow crayons live up to their name, they stay on forever. If you’re serious about longwearing products that can keep up with your active lifestyle, pick up a few shades to take with you on all your warm weather adventures.

3.    Lip stain


A statement pink lip for spring is lovely but looks overdone in a field (amiright or amiright?). For a pretty kisser without the upkeep of gloss or the precision of liner, go for a stain that delivers a perfectly pink pout.

The Balm’s Stainiac is a cult item for good reason. It stays on through everything, can be layered for a more opaque look, and creates the most natural looking, flushed lip look I’ve seen. It’s the “my lips but better” look every time, all the time.

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The Lust List | Festival-Approved, Round, Retro Spring Sunnies

by Lauren Durden in , , ,


This past weekend our feeds and front pages were flooded with images of our friends and celebs hanging out at Coachella. Sadly, while we weren't gifted with all access passes (we should work on that for next year...) we got some major style inspiration from the looks we were scrolling past all weekend. One takeaway - necessary accessory numero uno was a nice pair of sunnies. 

This spring season it's all about throwing it back to the 1970's, with flared pants on Chanel's S/S RTW runway, long flowing dress strutting down Chloe's runways and Canadian tuxedos all over the place, it's no wonder the Woodstock-esque, round sunglasses of the 70's are also back en vouge. Seen on everyone at Coachella from Jourdan Dunn to Behati Prinsloo, the rounded, retro shades are an easy, low cost way to incorporate the 70's trends from the runway to your closet, without looking like you've stepped out of a time machine. 

If you don't feel like going full-on throwback, you can change up the basic round sunnies with a camo edge, embellishments, some violet polarized lens or a chunky, modern frame.  These riffs on a classic make them an easy choice for your everyday wardrobe, whether you're channeling music festivals of the past, or just catching up with friends over #bottomelessbrunch. 

Click on the sunglasses above to learn more about their pricing and where you can snag a pair. 

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START ME UP | Income Taxes as a Freelancer

by Gloria Cavallaro in


An accountant and a freelancer walk into a bar…

And immediately the freelancer begins berating the accountant with questions about her taxes. (Anticlimactic, I know).

You never knew an accountant was so intriguing until income tax season rolls around.

If you’re interested in doing freelance work, your taxes are going to be bit more complicated than the average person’s because your clients will most likely not be taking taxes out of your checks. That part is up to YOU at the end of the year and, believe me, you do not want to leave all the work of organizing your taxes and figuring out how much you owe for the days leading up to April 15th.

Instead, organize yourself throughout the year and when tax season comes, you’ll be sitting pretty because all your 1099 ducks are in a row. How can you do this? Follow these simple tips that will help you keep track of your income, your write-offs, and keep you aware of what you owe the government so you don’t forget that they get cut of all your lovely checks.


1.    Keep spreadsheets, lots of them.

Google Drive is my best friend. I keep in there a sheet for everything I need to keep my work in order. Here are some spreadsheets you should be making:

-       A spreadsheet for each client documenting your hours AS YOU COMPLETE THEM. 
Does a client send you a quick project to look over during the day that takes you 2 hrs? When you’re done, immediately input that into that client’s sheet. You want to know all the hours you’ve worked for a client and on what project.

Include in the spreadsheet the date the work was done, the hours it took you to complete (including edits, email correspondence, and phone/Skype meetings), and a short description of what work those hours correspond to. Now, if a client forgets all the assignments they had you complete, you can accurately remind them (and get your money!).

-       A spreadsheet of income and invoices.
Invoices, oooohhh, invoices. As a freelancer it’s on YOU to make sure you get paid for your work. That means sending invoices to your clients in a timely manner. Keep a spreadsheet that documents all the invoices you sent out, including columns for the invoice number, the client’s name, description of what work the invoice is for, the date the work was completed, the amount due, whether the invoice was sent, whether it was received, and then the check number when they do send you your pay.

Not only is this a great way to keep track of all the money you have coming in and the invoices you are waiting on or need to follow-up with, but it is also a great way to track your growth. How does this month’s income compare to last month’s? How does this month’s income compare to what you made this month last year? What are you doing differently that could account for this? These are all good things for you to know so you can track your growth and improve your business.

-       A spreadsheet for business expenses.
As a freelancer, errrthang’s a write-off (as long as it pertains to your work). You purchased a new office chair? Write-off. You took a cab to a client meeting? Write-off. You had lunch at a fancy restaurant to impress that client? Write-off.

Keep track of all of your business expenses and KEEP ALL OF THE RECEIPTS. I’m all about saving paper but I like having the physical receipt in case I need to verify something with my records. I keep an envelope dedicated to storing the receipts of all my business expenses for that year. If you want to be even MORE organized, get a credit card that is exclusively for your business use, therefore you know all charges on that card are a write-off. I do a lot of online shopping for equipment or other things for my business. Charging those items on my business card and charging my own personal shopping on my other credit card helps me to separate those bills and easily keep track of everything Uncle Same is going to learn about at the end of the year (and give you money back on!).


2.    Take your taxes out before Uncle Sam does.

To save myself the worry at the end of the year that I’ll be unpleasantly surprised by the amount of taxes I owe, I take 30% out of my checks and put it away in a separate account that I do not touch. That is tax money. Come tax time, I eFile my taxes and, boop, cut a check for the amount necessary which is already at-hand.

I put aside more than what I actually need to (after write-offs and what not), but then I just end up with extra savings. I learn to live on less, am not stressed about potentially not having enough to cover my income taxes, and usually end up with more than I need. Win-win-win.


3.    600 is your new lucky number,

Ideally, you’re doing projects that amount to greater than $600 for repeat clients because that’s just nice, steady money. But, if you work on something for a one-off client and the amount due does not exceed $600, there’s an upside. BOO DOESN’T HAVE TO DECLARE IT. That’s just money in your pocket. You don’t have to declare it, they don’t have to send you a 1099 Form, it’s all good.

Remember, this goes for $600 per employer, per year. If you did a $600 project for John Doe