Hey friends,

This post is a bit sassier than normal, but it is definitely needed. When I sat down to write this, I realized what a vital piece of the puzzle Instagram has been to my success as a blogger, but that also means that I have seen and experienced things that resulted in a rant…errr, list.

Ahhh Instagram. My favorite social media platform without a doubt, Instagram has become an incredible channel for influencers, bloggers, and brands alike. Some people really kill the Insta game and others…not so much. There are times when people really annoy me on Instagram. Here are 5 of my cardinal rules when it comes to Instagram. Do you follow/break any of mine?

  • Do: Enjoy the Community. 
    • I have met some really incredible people all simply by the fact that they reached out on Instagram. When I was studying abroad in Spain or living in Guatemala, I met up with some lovely friends who I had only known previously through Instagram. It’s a great place to meet other creative people, and I love and really want to exemplify the phrase “community over competition”. 
  • Don’t: Buy followers. 
    • This is kind of an obvious one, but one that is worth mentioning. I’m constantly surprised by friends who I’ve found out have bought followers. With the new algorithm for Instagram, engagement is key. This means that regardless of if you have 100k or 1k followers, it’s more about the likes and comments and consistency of your followers rather than the numbers.
  • Do: Stay positive. 
    • Really, people?! I am always surprised when I get on Instagram to find people ranting. What?! That’s really what you are going to do with your lives on social media. This really speaks to all platforms, but I especially don’t get it when people rant on Instagram. For me, I exclusively follow accounts that provide something for me. I’ll follow you for your fashion tips, DIYs, encouragement, etc. but there’s no way I’ll follow you if you’re spewing negativity all over the place.
  • Don’t: Ask Me For a Follow For Follow. 
    • Ok, children, are we 12? Because that’s what my brother did when he was that age. If you want to come across sad and desperate, please, continue posting “F4F?” comments on my pictures, but otherwise I’m going to need you to slam on the brakes real fast for that one. Not only does it get old, but I won’t suddenly decide that this comment is cute and endearing and decide to follow you.
  • Do: Set Goals.
    • Sometimes I do this weekly and other times I do this monthly. Regardless of the time constraints that you place on yourself, goals are vital for your success at the Instagram game. Usually, I give myself a weekly number of followers that I would like to get to. Some of the ways that I reach this goal are…having high engagement with other Instagrammers, getting reposted by brands that I tag in my photos, or even simply tagging locations in my Instagram stories, because then I appear on that location’s story as well! 

All that being said, let’s connect on Instagram! I’m always excited to meet anyone who reads my blog! Follow me at @oliviableeker and leave me a comment letting me know that you saw this post! I can’t wait to get to know you! If you have any other tips and tricks for the IG game, drop them below! 

Much love, 

Olivia

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Hey friends,

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about complacency and how it can impact our lives. Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines complacency as “a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements”. For me, it can be so easy to get in this place where I’m happy with things and not really trying to set my expectations too high.

But, I’ve realized that when I get in this mindset, I tend to fall into a more complacent state of mind. I wasn’t made for this way of life, and neither were you. But when things are crazy busy and there’s really no time at all to add anything to the schedule for the day, it’s so simple to want to fall back into bed and give up. 

But, the good news is setting the bar high for yourself can incredibly boost your productivity and truly allow for the ability to grow and be the best you can be.

I have been so thankful for the goals that I have set, the lists I have made, and the accountability that others have provided me in sticking to those things. It’s truly been so great to have others who know the things I am pursuing who can hold me to them when I feel like throwing in the towel and giving up. 

For this reason, I made my 30 Before 30 List in 2012. Not only has it kept me in the mindset to always stay adventuring and to never give up on some of the things that I’ve always wanted to do during my life. I keep a copy of this taped on 

It also reminds me of my goals on a continual basis, so that I always have something I’m striving for. Maybe you don’t want such “fun goals” for yourself. But, for me, I figured that if I set fun goals, this would also ensure that I was working hard in all aspects of life, because otherwise I couldn’t make these goals happen. If I didn’t work hard with my grades or at my jobs, I would never have the money or the ability to travel or do some of the things on this list. This urges me every single day to fight the temptation of complacency. 

So many people lately have asked me about this list, and if I would be able to share it so that they would have an idea of how to make theirs, so finally, I decided to share! Here it is! 

  1. Participate in the Color Run or similar event
  2. Learn how to do a different dance (hip hop, breakdance, etc.)
  3. Kiss someone in the rain.
  4. Get married
  5. Study abroad
  6. Do something different to my hair
  7. Fly an airplane
  8. Go to New York Fashion Week
  9. Travel to Guatemala
  10. Travel to at least three countries in Europe
  11. Graduate from college with a degree that I’m proud of
  12. Learn to love myself for being white and pasty (don’t keep spray tanning)
  13. Meet either Lauren Conrad or Elsie Larson
  14. Crochet a blanket
  15. Write a letter to myself and open in 10 years
  16. Take surfing lessons
  17. Take a road trip with friends
  18. Throw a party just because
  19. Grow closer to the Lord
  20. Read 15 books that will help my life in some way
  21. Make on of my clothing designs come to life
  22. Buy or ride on a Vespa
  23. Sponsor a child
  24. Reconnect with a friend from high school
  25. Go skydiving
  26. Take a hot air balloon ride
  27. Ride a camel
  28. Sleep in a teepee
  29. Be a bridesmaid in someone’s wedding
  30. See the Northern Lights

Well, there you have it. There is the long-awaited 30 Before 30 List! I’m actively trying to work on a few of these right now and some of them are ones that are ongoing (such as my relationship with God and reading 15 books that will positively impact my life). Also, I wrote the letter to myself last May so I’m just waiting 10 years to open it. 🙂 

I hope you enjoy learning a little bit more about what kinds of things I’m passionate about and are inspired to create your own 30 Before 30 List, or even your own 20 Before 100 List! 😉 Let’s fight against complacency together, friends! 

Much Love, 

Olivia

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How My Perception of Self Care was Completely Changed

Recently, I was involved in a speaking symposium where a student from each of the six departments within my University’s College of Human Environmental Sciences gave a presentation on a topic derived from their field of study. My presentation was called “Hacking Fast Fashion – Making Quality Purchases in an Age of Cheap Clothing”. That is something that I’ll speak to soon and I have another post in the works for. As you may know if you’ve been reading the blog for a while, I am very passionate about sustainability within the fashion industry and have a lot to share on the topic. However, that’s not what I’m going to be sharing this afternoon with you. Another speaker was from the School of Social Work and gave a presentation that really stood out to me. 

Her topic was on the importance of self care. Throughout the presentation, she outlined different reasons people typically give for not putting an emphasis on self care. Whether it was the fact that we often feel “too busy”, we don’t feel we need to be proactive, or a variety of other reasons, there are always excuses. However, she mentioned how self care can be done through things we normally do, simply with just a change of mindset. As I learned in one of my classes recently, we are part of the “always on” generation. We are always on our phones, signing up for more responsibilities, going out and about, and running ourselves thin. There is something about taking time out of our day for self care that for me in the past, always made me tell myself “I literally have no time for that”.

When we are going about simple tasks, if we change our motivation and look towards this action as intentionally setting this time aside as dedicated to self care, we will feel so much better. This really opened my eyes to how easy this could really be. Now, believe me, I’ve read my fair share of self help books and listened to oodles of podcasts on meditation, intention, and taking care of yourself. All of those resources have attempted to show me how I need to recreate my life and do everything different. But after listening to this presentation on simply going into the normal things with a bit more intention, I wanted to give it a go.

For me, creating a nightly routine of self care has been a game changer. Let me be the first to tell you, I am the worst morning person you’ll ever meet in your life. While so many people are all about self care in the mornings to start the day off right, I don’t know if I’ll be one of those girls anytime soon. Instead, I created a nightly ritual that I go into intentionally just for me.

Even after a few weeks of doing this, I feel exponentially less stressed out, even as finals week looms around the corner and I go through one of the busiest and most hectic times of the semester. Some of the things I do during this nightly routine are things I’ve been doing for years. But, they are so much more meaningful when I go into them with the intention that this is a time for me. 

What My New Self Care Routine Looks Like

For starters, I take a shower. How simple is that, right? I mean, we all have to bathe and stay hygienic individuals, so of course this is something we all do. But, instead of simply going through the motions and thinking about how I can take the fastest shower so I can get more homework accomplished, I prepare for my shower with the thought that I am going to give myself the next 10 minutes or so completely to relax and not stress out about all that I have going on. That in itself has completely changed the way that I take a shower. I listen to relaxing music, I take my time as I wash my hair, and I sometimes even have a candle in the bathroom. 

After I get out of the shower, I take off the remaining makeup that didn’t come off in the shower and cleanse my face with the Nip + Fab Glycolic Night Pads. Then, I put on the Glycolic Fix Radiance Shot, which I leave on until the morning. When I wake up, my face is so bright and moisturized as a result. I’ve never been one for any kind of nightly or morning routines in the past, but honestly it makes me feel so pulled together with my life when I take a bit of intentional time to do something that is good for me.

 

While I’m doing all of this, I am sure to be listening to lots of music that I love. While I do love a good rap playlist myself, this time is all about staying relaxed and getting rejuvenated, so I tend to stick with my more calm and classic faves like The Avett Brothers, Rend Collective, and First Aid Kit. 

Then, in true Olivia form, I read a book with either a cup of coffee or some tea. I’ve been drinking a lot of tea ever since I got back from studying abroad and I don’t see my love for it dying down anytime soon! I also love to scroll through Pinterest while listening to a few of my favorite podcasts. You can check out a few of my favorites here! However, I tend not to look at Pinterest too much before bed because I’ve been making a conscious effort to limit my screen time right before bed, because I truly believe it is what’s helping me feel so relaxed right before bed and able to sleep well. 

Like I said towards the beginning of the post though, the key factor of self care is all about intention. When you go into anything you do with the intention as treating it like self care, it can be, and it honestly changes your mindset so much! 

I hope you are able to find the things that work best for you as part of a self care routine and can begin something perfect for you soon! 

Happy Friday! 

Olivia

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Hi friends!

I have been blessed with the opportunity to do a lot of incredible things lately. With last year’s study abroad experience, my adventures at New York Fashion Week, and still even more adventures approaching, it has been a wild ride. However, all of these experiences made a huge impact on my budget and I’ve had to completely reevaluate how I am spending my money. 

All that being said, I am constantly inspired by the space around me and ever since I was in high school, I have been constantly changing my decor in my bedroom so that it’s always fresh and updated. My room at school has pretty much been decorated the same for a year and a half.

While that seemingly hasn’t been too long, I’ve been so ready to give it a small refresh. As you might remember, last September, I gave you a Campus Bedroom Tour , so if you’ve forgotten how my room looked last semester, you can take a peek at that post. 

Since I am on a budget now, these are a few of things that I’ve had to keep in mind in order to reorganize my room for a low cost. 

  • Make a Big Change for Less Money. When I hosted a party in collaboration with TeenVogue last semester, they sent me a lot of clothes for my guests to wear that I wanted to showcase for the party. I ventured to Walmart and found a garment rack for $9. That clothing rack has become one of my favorite parts of my bedroom now, since I incorporated it into my room decor after the party was over. So maybe you don’t need a garment rack. Whatever your “garment rack” is, get it! If you’re not blowing a lot of money on something that will completely change the look of your space, I say go for it. It may turn out to be some of the best $10 you’ve ever spent. 

  • Shop Your House. This was one of my favorite things when it came to reorganizing my bedroom this time around. I was able to go back home over Christmas break and find some really great picture frames and other decor items just sitting around my bedroom at my mom’s house. I swapped these items out with other items I didn’t want anymore in my bedroom here at school and I was good to go. Many of the items on my new little gallery wall came from other places in my apartment or mom’s house, so it feels great that I didn’t have to buy anything. 
  • Deep Clean. One of the other things that I did recently to completely update my bedroom was simply by starting with a deep clean. I’m serious when I say that I don’t think my bedroom has been this clean in the almost two years that I’ve lived in this house, so it was definitely needed. After the deep clean, I had enough of all of the clutter I had to clear off my desk, dresser, etc. to actually clean it. By doing this deep clean, I realized how much excess I had piling up and was able to take two trash bags to Plato’s Closet and three trash bags to the dumpster. Success! Once all of that was out of my room, it already was quite different looking! 

  • Have Some Hometown Pride. I absolutely love being able to represent my hometown of St. Louis through my Modern Map Art print of the city! It looks perfect mixed into my gallery wall of all the things that matter to me so much! I am absolutely obsessed with this map and think it is so cute. There are also all kinds of different colors on the website as well to chose from. To me, there’s nothing like sharing the love of your favorite city whether you’re happily living that city or missing your hometown a bit! Even by simply spicing up my gallery wall, it felt like just the change that I needed! 

And with those tips in mind, I hope you are able to hit the ground running to create a different space with the space you already have. With a bit of thinking outside the box, you can absolutely transform your space, even if, like me, you’re ballin’ on a budget. 

Thanks for reading along and I wish you the best week! 

Olivia

 

Thank you so much to Modern Map Art for gifting me this beautiful STL map for free. All opinions are my own. 

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Yesterday was my birthday. I woke up this morning and it really sunk in. I’m 21. Twenty – one trips around the sun and a life of adventures that have been packed into those years that I now have under my belt. Throughout all of those years, I’ve learned a bit about important life lessons. So today I just wanted to share some of those with you, but let’s be real here, I’m pretty sure this is more a letter to myself than trying to teach you all anything. 

10 Life Lessons I’ve Learned to Love.

  • Be Spontaneous. In my life, I absolutely would much rather have every. little. detail. planned out down to the smallest little thing. But, after a semester studying abroad, I realized that some of the best moments can happen when you say “YES!” to something last minute or unexpected. Whether it was airplane tickets I would purchase about 8 hours before the flight was scheduled, or even deciding to go hang out with friends last minute when I’d planned to stay in and watch a movie, so many of my best memories coming from spontaneous decisions that I’ve made. I might change my crazy ultra-planner self after all.
  • Don’t Compare. It can be so incredibly easy to look through Instagram or Facebook and see these incredible people (for me, it’s women who are in college and killing it as bloggers). The comparison game is so real, you guys. I actually have an incredible amount of self confidence but still fall prey to these feelings all the time. I’ll be scrolling through social media wistfully looking at a “perfect” account and wondering how I can get mine to look just like it. I feel like especially in any creative industry, this is an especially prevalent feeling. If you’re looking for an inspirational account to help you combat some of these feelings, try The Rising Tide Society. This account has been one that helps me stay grounded, especially with their tagline being, “community over competition”. 
  • Friends Take Effort. There have been enough friendships that I haven’t put enough effort into, and plenty of people who haven’t put enough effort into me either. Because of this, those friendships have either suffered or simply slowly dissolved. When you find a good friend, let them know. Show them how much they matter to you. Don’t ignore their texts, do something spontaneously kind for them, and pour into them like you’d want to be.
  • You Don’t Have to Be Friends with Everyone. I felt like this was appropriate coming after that last point. As a people pleaser, I get really bent out of shape if I find out that there is someone out there who doesn’t like me. But, what I’ve learned is, that’s inevitable. There will be plenty of people out there who you’ll get along with and be friends with, so it really, truly is okay when there are a few that don’t fit into that category, either. This one is an especially hard one for me to get through to myself on even still because I want 100% of the people I meet to like me! 
  • Don’t Give Up. If there’s something that almost five years of blogging has taught me, it is surely to never give up. This truly has manifested itself into one of my biggest mottos, no matter how cliche or overused it may be. As I wrote posts for so long on this blog as a senior in high school, nothing really ever came of it and I didn’t honestly see it going anywhere. But to have the platform that I now have and the opportunities that I have now, it really speaks volumes to the concept of not giving up. 
  • Internet Validation Doesn’t Matter (That Much). So this is an interesting one for me. While I am 110% grateful for each and every one of my followers, readers, subscribers, etc., what I have come to realize that it’s the people in my real, everyday life who are invaluable. This sounds a little harsh but let me explain. Those comments and likes used to give me so much validation, and that’s where a lot of my confidence and self worth would come from. But, then I realized that there is simply so much more to life than that. If my blog suddenly got shut down or one of my social media accounts get suspended or some other crazy thing like that, I need to be able to be completely fine and happy regardless. Learning this lesson, I reached out more to people in my everyday life and put more value in those friendships! This doesn’t mean that my blog/Instagram friends aren’t important to me…because you all are seriously the greatest! 
  • It’s Okay to Change Your Mind. Whether this means on your political views, values, etc….it is okay to change and sometimes I need to remind myself of this. As we grow, we are constantly evolving into (hopefully) the best version of ourselves, so it’s completely okay to realize that maybe those viewpoints from when we were younger aren’t how we feel now. Sometimes this is hard for me because I’m afraid of what other people are going to think if I’m not just like them or different from who they originally met or befriended. But, I’m doing myself a major disservice if I try to hide who I’m becoming from those who love and respect me. 
  • Self Care is SO Important. Whenever I tell other people this, they think I mean this in a really floofy way, as if I’m telling people to meditate 24/7 or something. That’s not my intention but hey, if you want to take up meditation to be your best self, go for it. Subscribe to podcasts, read good books, get some sleep. Whatever it means for you personally to be your best self and grow, go for it. Everybody has different things that are important to them as far as self care goes, so if that means watching some Netflix and eating popcorn in bed to you, go ahead.
  • Choose Your Involvement Wisely. Whether you’re entering college and thinking about what clubs to join, or you’re a small business owner/mom/contemplating joining PTA, this is for you. My heavy campus involvement has simultaneously been the best and worst thing. It has brought countless friends, great experience, and so much community, but it has also brought me so much stress. After I quit everything second semester of sophomore year to study abroad, I was much more choosy about my involvement when I came back to my campus junior year. I chose to get involved in the things that really mattered and that I enjoyed, rather than the things that I felt were simply “resume fillers”. 
  • It’s Okay to Ask. So, I have always felt the need to do everything myself. I’m pretty sure it’s a major pride issue, but I’ve never been one to ask for advice or help. But, if there’s one thing that the last year or so has taught me is to ask for advice. Don’t always assume you can do a job the best alone, or know the best answers. People in my life are incredibly supportive and helpful, and I’m sure you might find they are like that in yours, too. 

These are some of the lessons that have helped me so much in college, and simply through life. I hope they strike a chord with you as well! Have the best week. 

Olivia

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