The End is Here…for 2015

Another year is coming to a close. I’m  usually big on reflection all throughout the year, but the last week of December I get especially ruminative. I make yearly goal lists and I’m proud to say that 2015 I checked off most of mine, including things like visiting a new state, visiting a new country, trying foods I don’t normally like, cooking at home more, and reading more.
2015 in Review

2015 was AMAZING. I can’t stress that enough. It started by ringing in the New Year with my boyfriend and one of my best friends. We embraced snowstorms galore, traveled to not one but two new countries (the UK and South Africa!). I saw the wild animals of Africa and pet a leopard, I fed a bear in Maine. I hiked abroad and at home. I started a new job that has embraced me and given me so many more opportunities. We started to run an AirBnB out of our spare room. I tried out new beauty products, and even managed to get a face regimen down (finally). We tested cars, we bought a new car. I contributed guest posts to other blogs and websites. I finally joined SnapChat. I spent a few months volunteering my time with cats. We adopted a kitten of our own. I visited a new state, Louisiana, just in the nick of time. And while it doesn’t seem like much, 2015 was by far the best year of my life as of yet.

2015 in Review

 

and 2016 is already looking promising…

We’re headed to Marfa, Texas in 3 weeks (kicking off with my New State early!)

Our big annual trip is in the works for March

I’m planning some minor changes to the blog…want to help curate them? Fill out this reader survey and help make 2016 the best year YET for QSS!

Have a wonderful New Year, my dear followers, and I’ll see you in 2016!

XO Sahra

Experience: Loft 523 in New Orleans

Loft 523 Boutique Hotel in New Orleans NOLA
For our birthdays this year Z and I decided to treat ourselves to a little trip south. We thought December would be chilly in DC so we chose New Orleans; a city and state we have never been to together and one known for imbibing and dining; which was just how we wanted to spend our birthdays!
Loft 523 Boutique Hotel in New Orleans NOLA
While you wait for the whole travel diary I wanted to show you guys our wonderful hotel. We stayed at Loft 523, an International House boutique hotel located in New Orleans’ CBD district, just two blocks from the infamous French Quarter. Loft 523 is a little hard to find due to minimal signage, but also gives to that feeling of exclusivity. Upon arrival we checked in and were immediately upgraded to the Penthouse; talk about a great birthday surprise! We made our way to the top floor of the building, bags in tow, ready to check this place out.
Loft 523 Boutique Hotel in New Orleans NOLA
Loft 523 Boutique Hotel in New Orleans NOLA
Loft 523 Boutique Hotel in New Orleans NOLA
Loft 523 Boutique Hotel in New Orleans NOLA
The room was gorgeous; set up like a studio loft with high ceilings and expansive walls this place was roomy with fresh air to spare. The furnishings were modern-rustic with wood pallet tables, iron metals, and a neutral color palette. Perfect for our styles, as opposed to any quintessential French décor you expect in the former Franco-colony. Being the penthouse our room came with a private deck overlooking the city center which made this former NYer feel right at home. We spent our nights between meals and bars on this balcony sipping from our to-go cups and listening to the barges along the Mississippi River float by.
Loft 523 Boutique Hotel in New Orleans NOLA

For the best part (to me): the bathroom. The porcelain stand-alone tub called to me as soon as we checked into the hotel (don’t worry, I let it down easy and whispered “later”). The open shower is also a great perk and something I generally love about fancier hotels. Plenty of plush white towels and an assortment of Aveda products made for quite the luxurious semi-drunk bathing experience.

Interested in seeing more? Check out their InstaGram and see my “takeover” of their handle to share some more fun things to do at the hotel and nearby!
Loft 523 Boutique Hotel in New Orleans NOLA
Loft 523 Boutique Hotel in New Orleans NOLA

We had such a wonderful time in New Orleans and I think most of that is thanks to Loft 523. It was so great to be slightly removed from the hubbub of fun but still within walking distance and the cozy bed and bath were perfect for those quintessential New Orleans hangovers. Even better when the concierge can bring anything you like to your room, including OJ and Advil. If you’re headed to New Orleans I definitely recommend the stay.

Be sure to stay tuned for more from my trip to New Orleans….and an upcoming trip somewhere special next month!

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This post is sponsored by Loft 523.

Holiday Glitz

Glam holiday dressing with DC Blogger Que Sera Sahra
Christmas is upon us! While the weather outside hasn’t gotten the memo it seems everyone else has. It’s so exciting seeing everyone get into the gifting and giving spirit, everyone happy and smiling and wishing everyone well.

This season and for our annual holiday cards we did something a little different. After a photo shoot with photographer Mark Chen in an abandoned mansion we decided to don some festive wear and get some shots in. The end result is here! I’m in love with the photos; unexpected and cool. I chose the dress because it was slightly festive with shimmering green, but also because it reminds me so much of the omnipresent AW Gucci ads’ green pleated skirt.

Glam holiday dressing with DC Blogger Que Sera Sahra
Glam holiday dressing with DC Blogger Que Sera Sahra
Glam holiday dressing with DC Blogger Que Sera Sahra
TopShop dress (get it here)
Aldo Rise x Misha NoNoo heels (get them here for under $80!)
Derek Lam Sunglasses via Ditto
Glam holiday dressing with DC Blogger Que Sera Sahra

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday full of family and joy! <3

XO Sahra

No Ties No Fear We’re Livin’ in the Minute

Fall Style with Cashmere and Snakeskin on DC Blogger Que Sera Sahra

Levi’s Curve ID jeans
J.Crew sweater (similar for under $100 here)
Aldo Booties (sold out)(similar here)(and here)
Derek Lam Sunglasses (on sale here for less than $60!)

I can’t believe it’s halfway through December already guys! Cuh-Razy. Lucky for me it’s been a pretty mild fall here in DC; temps hover in the 50s and 60s save for a few fretful days a la this one and there hasn’t been any snow sightings yet! I’ve been loving it, and totally relishing in the fact that I can wear more than corduroys and turtlenecks still. I’ve been living in lightweight cashmeres and little booties with subtle leather accents; perfect for fall transitions.

I’ve been so busy lately with travel and the holidays that I haven’t posted much but don’t worry; I am working on editing some images from my birthday trip to New Orleans and should have those to share soon! ah-it was amazing !
Fall Style with Cashmere and Snakeskin on DC Blogger Que Sera Sahra
Fall Style with Cashmere and Snakeskin on DC Blogger Que Sera Sahra

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday week!

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Lessons on Blogging #5: Be FEARLESS

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(original post)

Being a blogger comes with a great deal of perks. From personal invitations to events and travel, taking photos in all the cool locations… But have you ever wondered how to do it; how do you get to be there?

Answer: You become fearless.

When I first started blogging I was an outgoing and bubbly college girl; a model turned fashion student who had sartorial stars in her eyes and an already vast experience in front of a camera lens. I asked photographers I knew if they’d shoot my outfits. If I wanted to work with someone; a company or brand or photographer or other blogger I simply out right asked them. Sometimes I’d be met with a little let down, but most of the time people were excited to collaborate. Especially since this was in the beginning days of blogging when not literally everyone and their mom had a blog. They knew I had reputable photography sources and that I knew how to appropriately pose. I was different; aesthetically and stylistically that made me unique. I liked to take charge in planning everything, which also probably went down to my slight OCD nature. I shot in Central Park, I shot in the streets of NYC and on the Brooklyn Bridge. I was loving my life!

As I grew older I became slightly more introverted. I was no longer in school with fellow fashion inclined students who understood the growing world of blogging. I felt sheepish to ask my coworkers for a quick photo sesh, and was apprehensive/fearful of rejection when reaching out to brands and event hosts, especially in a new city where few knew my name. I had moved around, losing my close-knit group of  blogging friends and was thrown into a whole new clique of people. It was terrifying. I grew reclusive. If I was finally invited to an event I’d either freak out and decide not to go or I’d get there alone and proceed to drink until I felt like I could talk to these strange girls who all knew each other. My boyfriend, who I convinced for a while to be my photographer, was sheepish to shoot in public settings, which in turn made me afraid to be under the scrutinous, curious eye of strangers. My blog fumbled as I struggled to regain composure amidst so much new and unfamiliar territory, while also staying true to myself, which is brave-ness in itself.

After reading about how one of the bloggers I’ve been following for years gets her shots it put a whole new spin into my plans. Andy Torres of Style Scrapbook always seems to be alone; she lives alone, travels alone, listens to music alone, explores new cities alone. She doesn’t have a full team a la Chiara Ferragni to follow her around and ensure the omni-present perfection of her life.

So how does Andy get her perfect outfit snaps while traveling? As she recently shared on her Snapchat and Instagram-She fearlessly asks strangers on the street.

My mind was slightly blown when I learned that, but it made sense. If you’re a blogger without a personal team you need to be able to ask for help, even from strangers or other bloggers. I also started paying attention to what some of my favorite bloggers’ photos looked like. It’s no secret that “action” street style shots are a major trend right now; gone are the days of standing blankly in front of a wall and posing. Hello to the days of friendly collaborations with both peers and strangers. Now is the time to email those brands you love and say ‘Hi’. Now is the time to tell that other blogger that you love her style and want to meet up sometime.

Andy gave me the jolt of courage to start being fearless again. I asked strangers on the street, or random coworkers in my office, for a quick photo of my #OOTD. I’d give them subtle direction and, if they offered a compliment on my style, mentioned that I was a blogger and gave them a card. I started doing more shoots in public settings; crossing busy streets amidst neighborly stares and managing to be okay with it. The attention means more people are seeing my style, and if they like what I’m styling it’s an excuse to hand off a card and hopefully welcome another reader and follower to the pack.

Halloween as Carrie Bradshaw #satc #manolos

The Lesson: Being a good blogger doesn’t always require a team of professionals to take your photos and help you out, sometimes it just takes being fearless among strangers, and with yourself.

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DIY: Lettered Beanie

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After seeing lettered beanies everywhere from the punk tween bloggers to the edgier sides of fashion week, I knew they were a cold-weather style hit. Perusing online led to finding that these beanies, with any given saying from “vogue” to “boss”, even the kitschy “meow”, ranged in price from $24 all the way up to $50. I thought to myself, “for a beanie!?” Then I thought I could make that, for cheaper. Yea, it’s not breaking the bank, but I can’t resist getting a tad hands on with a DIY!

I bought a beanie and iron-on letters off of Amazon for less than $5. I don’t have an iron, but found I could use a hair straightener in the same way (ghetto-fab-rigged). You will also need a basic cotton tee shirt, even if using a real iron. hair beanie 120131129-185856.jpg

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Cut your letters out and arrange them on your beanie as you’d like them to look. Be sure not to cut your cat’s tale no matter how in the way he puts it. Put your tee shirt around the inside and top of the beanie and iron each letter about 1 minute, let cool and peel off. Do this for each letter, then let cool before wearing.

Could this BE any easier!? It’s chic, quick, and budget saving. _MG_6866_post _MG_6870_post _MG_6885_postWhat do you think of this DIY? Would you make your own lettered beanie!? What would yours say!?

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Holiday Gifting with Framebridge

Custom Holiday Gifts with Framebridge
The Turkey (or Tofurkey) is eaten, along with the mashed potatoes, corn and cranberry sauce. As we settle into our holiday bods it’s officially time to start thinking gifts. This year I’ve teamed up with Framebridge to talk about super easy custom gifts to get for your loved ones!

Framebridge has recently launched and opened up a flagship in Washington, DC set to bring you the easiest way to custom frame anything and everything. You can either go to their website or their store with an image, pick out from a plethora of great frames, and wait for it to be custom built right in Maryland and then shipped to your door. The best part- you can frame straight from your InstaGram account! This includes images you’re tagged in or people you follow-how great is that!?

I love that you can browse frames by your personal style, whether that’s eclectic, classic, or clean. Normally I’d go eclectic, but my home décor has enough craziness so I tried to opt for classically clean.

Custom Holiday Gifts with Framebridge

I chose photos from my favorite trips of the year to print and surprise Z with. One of us from Chicago in Millenium Park, which is one of my favorites of the two of us. Due to the light colors in this I chose the Irvine white frame to house this photo. The other image I had printed from my InstaGram is of two elephants, trunks entwined, that I took during our trip to South Africa. I chose the Newport, an antiqued silver frame to go with the naturalness of the photo but with a little glam ofcourse. Two amazing photos commemorating some great times in my life; all easily printed and framed with a few clicks thanks to Framebridge!Custom Holiday Gifts with FramebridgeGoing in step with their whole “easy as that pumpkin pie you devoured” Framebridge includes everything you need to hang your new art or print! Each frame comes with a “care” card and nail specific to the size of your piece. All YOU have to do is grab a hammer or a stiletto, nail it in and hang it. SO EASY.Custom Holiday Gifts with Framebridge

Now, the fun part. Framebridge is offering Que Sera Sahra readers a special discount of 10% off their holiday order with code “QueSeraSahraFYF“. What are you waiting for!? Time to get framing those memories for your loved ones to gift away!

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This post is sponsored by Framebridge.
All images and opinions expressed are my own.

Hump Day Dupe

Hey guys, welcome to another Hump Day Dupe! I’m thinking of bringing this series back, as it’s been awhile since I did one and I think they’re pretttty great. But really, Let me know what YOU think in the comments and let me know if you want to see more posts like this!birkinThe Birkin; the iconic Hermes bag that exudes subtle elegance, and wealth. A basic Birkin costs a couple thousand at least, but adding colors and unique rare leathers can bring a bag over $40,000. Yes, that’s for reals. While even some quality knock offs can cost $1,500 there are plenty of other options around, I like this $22.50 option from Ami Clubwear.

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Gift Guide: 13 Books for The Blogger on Your Lists

https://i0.wp.com/lovagemagazine.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/must-have-fashion-books.jpg

Bloggers are fans of wishlists, this I know. With the holidays just around the corner, I wanted to do a series of wishlists, all non-apparel. This week is the first, and I’m going to discuss the best books in the business for anyone in your life interested in fashion! Many of these I already own, and are ones I highly recommend. The 3 I do not own are on my own wishlist, as I’ve heard great review!book wishlist1: The Boss of You
I own this book; it’s highlighted, underlined, crammed with notebook pages of my own notes. It’s full of exercises and steps to get you where you want to be in your business, whether it’s owning your own store, or the business of blogging, or anything!

2. A to Zoe
I love this book for many reasons; it’s a great coffee table book, it’s by an intelligent and iconic stylist, and goes over anything and everything you could need to know about dressing for various events and curating the perfect wardrobe.

3. Writing for the Fashion Business
This book was recquired reading for my college degree, yet it’s something I go back to time and time again and definitely suggest to anyone who takes writing for their blog seriously, or has aspirations of becoming a fashion writer.

4. Alexa Chung’s IT
This book is SO NEW to the market, yet has come with some great reviews. A collection of photos, blurbs, and stories about the iconic “it” girl is inspiration enough for any blogger coveting the “it” factor.

5. Fashion of the 20th Century
Another great coffee table book, this one is for the blogger who is visually stimulated, as it covers 100+ apparel ads spanning the history of fashion.

6. Man Repeller: Seeking Love, Finding Overalls
As a long time follower of the musings of Leandra behind Man Repeller, I was super stoked when she wrote a book. One of my favorite things about her blog was her way with words; her whitty rhetoric, her uncanny ability to perfectly use SAT level verbs to describe fashion, and her effortless analogies. While I have yet to pick this baby up, I need to. And so does every blogger you know!

7. The TeenVogue Handbook
This book is perfect for the fashionista in your life who has yet figured out her niche, or where she wants to go within the industry. I bought this book in college when I was at that level, and the in depth descriptions of the positions and jobs within the fashion industry helped give me a better overall view of the business, as well as helping me hone in on my favorite aspects.

8. The Fashion Book
Dictionary-like, this mini-book offers basic information about iconic designers and fashion terminology alphabetically. The cover and size also makes it a great reference book to keep on your desk or night stand! There’s also a heftier, larger version available perfect for the coffee table!

9. Fifty Dresses that Changed the World
If your blogger wants to run the world with the air of sartorial intelligence, knowledge of the iconic fashions is necessary. This book will show what it takes to make a stand out piece and to be inspired by the greats.

10. Lauren Conrad’s Style
Another celebrity penned book, this one talks about style basics, proportion, and how to dress for both the ‘burbs and the city life. Probably my all time favorite celeb book.

11. Lauren Conrad’s Beauty
LC can do no wrong; she always looks flawless, which is why she’s been on our radar for so long. I mean, do I really  need to be the one to tell you how long its been since Laguna Beach was on the airwaves? Instead, read this book and take beauty tips from the gorgeous star.

12. Born to Blog
Not yet in my position, but a book I’ve skimmed through before and love. It’s great for those just beginning to ponder blogging for fun or to make it a business. Born to Blog offers easy steps with thorough explaining to help you get off on the right foot.

13. Vogue The Covers
Last but not least, every blogger would love this iconic book of inspiration. Whether for their bookshelf, desk, or coffee table this book showcases over 120 years worth of fashion history, beginning from the days when Vogue was merely sketches and Sears ads.

Do you own any of these books? What do you think of my picks for your blogger this season!?

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