APPS TO Streamline Your Life

Some of us may be thinking, “Oh no, I don’t need another reason to be on my phone,” and we hear you. We do. But hear us out. Where things can be complex, tech has tried its darndest to make it simple. There’s always an app for that. Here are some of our favorite apps for work, play, finances, self-improvement, and more so we can function like modern adults, but more optimally.

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Citizen

This app is excellent for safety, especially for those of us who live in a big city. Users get location-based safety alerts that can help us evade stumbling upon risky situations and know when to stay home if something dangerous is occurring in our ‘hood. 

We can access ongoing reports, leave comments and advice, and even share live videos. Their website touts “COVID-19 contact tracing, access to real-time 911 alerts, instant help from crisis responders, and safety tracking for friends and families.” If we’ve learned anything in 2020, it’s that we need more access to pro-safety apps like this.

Handy

We know what it’s like to let something broken in our home go a little too long without attention. Showering ankle-deep? Unacceptable. But easy to forget the second you step out, or block from your memory (seriously, ew). Streamline the arduous process of getting anything repaired or upgraded with the Handy app by comparing prices and hiring local contractors in your area. Services cover everything from home cleaning to a kitchen remodel, so no task is too small. 

Slack

2020 also brought us the great work-from-home era. It’s all fun and games and sweatpants until we call out to our work-wife and oh … right. Crickets. Or maybe our SO, or child. Still not what we were looking for. Save texting for fun convos and emails for attachments. Slack is the best workspace messaging app to streamline on-the-fly communication between team members. Create channels, set availability alerts, send reminders, attach files, comment, and organize all in one, without overloading your Google Drive.

Done

This app is not only great for productivity but straight-up self-improvement. It’s no secret here at BeautyLeeBar that we love optimizing for our best, healthiest selves, inside and out. Done helps us craft healthy routines by setting goals, tracking progress, and sending motivational alerts. Drop bad habits and carve out good ones by setting tangible daily, weekly, or monthly goals, and let Done be your gentle drill sergeant to hammer in the details so you can hold yourself accountable, and watch a digital paper trail of your progress. We’ll let you decide how you want to reward yourself.

Acorns

If any sort of financial jargon makes you instantly glaze over, then consider us a Krispy Kreme. It may not be our lingo, but we want in. Acorns automatically invest your chump change when you opt-in (think $1-$5) regularly, watching your portfolio for automatic balancing. But it’s not just investing in stocks. You can automatically save for retirement with recurring contributions based on your goals, employment, and income. It’s personalized and all laid out for you. You just fill in the blanks.

OfferUp

Not all our crap is total crap. Some of it is kinda worth something! Skip the pesky Craigslist ad and upload pics of your unwanted goods to the Offerup app to name your price, haggle, and get rid of things taking up space in your life, all from your phone on the couch. It’s also a great way to find amazing deals on used furniture, appliances, even cars! There is no limit to the goods you can find and sell on OfferUp.

If This Then That

The ultimate streamliner, If This Then That (IFTT) lets you connect all your services (which is what they call productivity apps like Google Assistant, Evernote, Fitbit, Twitter, Dropbox, etc.) so that you never lose track of a task, event, or goal via what they deem an “Applet.” Their example: “an Applet can sync your Amazon Alexa to-dos with your Google Calendar. Or create events in your iPhone Calendar, via Google Assistant.” If you’ve ever wished your productivity tools could talk to each other so you don’t need another app to remind you to check your apps, IFTT does that.

Headspace

After all this talk of productivity, who has time to meditate? You do. We do. Because of Headspace! What has seemed daunting in the past is now totally digestible thanks to founder Andy Puddicombe’s quest to bring his pivotal Buddhist monk experience into the daily lives of us all. We don’t have to quit our day jobs and shave our heads and take a silent retreat to embrace mindfulness and learn the major benefits of meditation first-hand. Guided meditations of all kinds and lengths can be found on the app to get us started and keep us going. 

Mint

So we’ve talked about investing, but what about just organization? Mint helps you create budgets, track spending, monitor credit and reach savings goals in one super-secure app. If you’re never sure where all your money goes by the end of the month, or want to get better at saving, or simply want to be in touch with your finances on an intimate level, this is the app that will get you there. Money can be a touchy topic that we tend to avoid, but Mint melts away that anxiety with clear-cut organization, goal setting, and encouraging clarity.

Up next, shop the newest items from the BeautyLeeBar Shop here.

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8 “In-Betweener” Influencers to Follow For Mid-Size Fashion Inspiration

We know we’re not alone when we say our relationship with fashion is more of a love-hate situation. For example, we love keeping up with the trend and putting outfits together. We hate when brands don’t make our size, or make it but only show their clothes on one body type letting the rest of us guess what a garment might look like on someone like us. The lack of representation of different body types has been an issue for a long time, and a slightly less discussed group that’s often left out are folks who might identify as in-betweeners.

RELATED: WILL IT FIT? STRADDLING BETWEEN STANDARD AND PLUS-SIZE

For some reason, those who fall somewhere in the middle of the clothing-size spectrum — maybe they wear mediums and larges or hit the far end of straight sizing without fitting into “plus” — tend to get looked over. How often do we browse a site and see clothing on someone who’s a size 8 or 10? Or spot a mid-size model on the runway? It’s rare, and yes, it’s weird, especially since a good amount of people fall into this category.

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Thankfully, there are plenty of influencers out there who don’t mind picking up the slack. They express their style, share shopping recommendations and fashion hacks, and provide plenty of outfit ideas for anyone else who falls in between those elusive model body types of “sample” and “curve.” So, if you’ve ever wondered “but, what will that look like on me?!” while checking out the latest designs, here are eight mid-size women you should follow, ASAP.

Noelle Downing

Why You Should Follow Her:

Downing isn’t afraid to be honest, talking openly about self-love and body positivity. She always has cute and budget-friendly clothing recommendations, too, whether you’re in search of some classic denim, a flattering swimsuit, or a matching loungewear set.

Courtney Quinn

Why You Should Follow Her:

Color! Puff sleeves! Tulle! There’s so much whimsy going on in Quinn’s wardrobe, and she makes the most outrageous designs seem completely wearable. She clearly has fun putting together her outfits, and her combinations are so creative, they almost qualify as works of art.

RELATED: FLOSS BIKINIS ARE A THING, AND THEY’RE EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE THINKING

Holly Ah-Thion

Why You Should Follow Her:

Not only does UK-based Ah-Thion highlight that she’s mid-size in her bio, but she’s also petite, which presents its own set of struggles when it comes to finding clothes that fit (ugh, long pants). Still, she completely nails every ’90s- and ’00s-inspired trend, and is ahead of the game on new ones, showing us how to pull off everything from pully tops to big collars.

Kristle Lauren

Why You Should Follow Her:

Sometimes, influencers pose in pieces that feel a bit too extreme and over-the-top for everyday wear, but that’s where Kristle comes in. She knows how to make the most of simple basics, creating completely wearable yet fashion-forward outfits that’ll work for whatever you have planned. Not only does Texas-based Kristle Lauren highlight that she’s mid-size in her bio but she highlights all her fits and where you can get them on her blog. So thank you ♡

Abi Nunn

Why You Should Follow Her:

Do you love prints? And color? And want fashion formulas that are quick and easy but not boring? Then you might find yourself captivated by all the cool, vibrant outfits on Nunn’s IG. She’ll show you simple swaps that’ll fully transform your ensembles, such as trading black leggings for a shiny pink pair and doesn’t shy away from embracing nostalgic trends, whether it’s a cardigan set or a baguette bag.

RELATED: SHOPPING FOR SHAPEWEAR IS HARD, BUT TARGET IS HERE FOR THE RESCUE

Lois Opoku

Why You Should Follow Her:

So much of what Opoku wears can be described with one word: versatility. While she has a set style, full of structured items, prints, and bits of leather, many of her outfits would work for a variety of scenarios, whether it’s a dressy date night or a day at the office.

Charlotte Emily Price

Why You Should Follow Her:

Price has found that sweet spot between cute and comfortable, often finding ways to elevate your average oversized shirt and pair of sweats. But, on top of sharing her top-notch outfit ideas (along with sexy lingerie picks!), she’s also spoken out about toxic positivity, reminding people it’s impossible to feel confident and great about our looks 24/7 while suggesting a goal of body neutrality instead.

Chloe Pavlou

Why You Should Follow Her:

A quick scroll through Pavlou’s pictures and you’ll find she excels at styling one piece in particular: The classic graphic tee. Her best outfits prove this piece can be layered in multiple ways, paired with almost any bottom, and amped up with accessories. You’ll start to see your collection in a whole new light.

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Floss Bikinis Are a Thing, and They’re Exactly What You’re Thinking

Summer is shaping up to feel 10 times more normal than last year, which means treating ourselves to trendy new bikinis is a must. The particular trend I want to talk about today is one I originally spotted on both swimwear and clothing. I defined the trend as “any article of clothing that slinkily ties and wraps around a bare midriff,” but as I did more research, I realized this isn’t just a clothing micro-trend. It’s a major bikini trend as well. For the sake of journalism, I’m naming them “floss bikinis.”

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Floss bikinis are the summertime 2021 version of last year’s ever-popular floss heels, and yes, these swimsuits are exactly what you’re thinking—tiny strings wrapping around various parts of the body, crisscrossing here and there and, well, everywhere.

The wraparound bikini — also referred to as the floss bikini — is making waves on the beach right now. It’s making a splash everywhere because as some celebs have proven, this swimwear trend doesn’t solely go with poolside margaritas. It works just as well with your favorite blazer and rooftop cocktails. Looking at you, Emily Ratajkowski.

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But let’s rewind a few before we get into the how and address the what. The wraparound (or floss) swimwear trend is exactly what you think it is: a bikini top (or bottom) with long ties that you wrap around your waist for an eye-catching, laced-up look. It’s confusing! It’s fun! It’s sexy! It creates the illusion of a more snatched waist if that’s what you’re after. And while, sure, the tan lines may turn out funky, this trend is 100 percent worth a try, even if it’s just for a quick picture for the ‘gram. 

Most of the ties are attached to the tops, but I managed to find some unique versions of the trend featuring multiple strings on bikini bottoms, too. From neutral colors to striking patterns, take time to check out all the various ways one can don the floss-bikini trend this summer, wherever you may be.

Pictured: Inamorata Las Olas Top ($75) and Las Olas Bottom ($75)

Emily Ratajkowski is a longtime supporter of this bikini trend—so much so that one of the best-selling bikinis from her swimwear brand, Inamorata, just so happens to be adorned with a tied-up midsection. 

Shop the matching and Las Olas Bottom ($75).

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Barbie Feet: The Photogenic Pose That’s Become an Instagram Sensation

There’s a reason we love wearing high heels—and it’s not that they’re especially comfortable. It’s that they’re hands down the most flattering footwear. But take a scroll through Instagram, and you’ll find the funny fact that models and bloggers have a trick for occasions when heels aren’t an option, what we’ll now refer to as “Barbie feet.” While Barbie’s plastic feet are permanently molded into a pointed position, Instagram pros are whipping out the pose when they want to elongate their legs in photographs.

To master this pose, there’s only one requirement: Act like you’re wearing an invisible pair of high heels, even though there’s nothing but air under your arches. From the front, it can be hard to tell you’re doing anything at all, but from the side, you can see that you’re balanced solely on the balls of your feet. Read on and you’ll find a breakdown of exactly how to nail this photogenic trick. Now, you’re all set to try it out for your next photo op.

Tip 1: Stand on the balls of your feel to lengthen your legs.

Tip 2: Bend one leg to the side, with the other leg back and behind.

Tip 3: Stand with your legs apart, at more than hip distance.

Tip 4: For extra support, try out a sitting pose.

Tip 5: Try crossing your legs and leaning against a background.

Tip 6: While this pose is great straight-on, also try it out from the side.

Tip 7: It never hurts to add a big smile.

Tip 8: Separate your legs on two stairs for extra dimension.

Tip 9: Hold on to another object like a tree or chair for balance.

IS THIS AN INSTAGRAM HACK THAT FASCINATE YOU OR YOU ON TO THE NEXT ONE?