Understanding Affiliate Programs:: What You Need to Know About and ShopStyle

“What in the world are all those crazy links I see on people’s Instagram posts?”

As a blogger, I get this question all the time!  The short version of the answer to that question is: “It’s an embedded hyperlink that allows you to shop a blogger’s look directly from your email!”  However, the short answer is sometimes just as confusing as the idea itself!  Ugh!  So, I thought I would take some time and explain what exactly they mean, and how you (as everyday fashionistas with real lives) can benefit from them!

Let’s start with the big picture.  The only thing those weird, shortened links mean is that the blogger or individual you follow has an “affiliate account” with one of two companies!  ShopStyle and are the two brand accounts that professionals often work with! 

But what is an affiliate account?  It is an online hub with several retailers participating (including Nordstrom, Free People, and Sam Edleman) that bloggers become a member of.  It’s a way for bloggers to monetize their looks and helps generate an income from people shopping their looks.  If you’ve ever wondered how bloggers make a living, this is it!  Still not sure what it is?  Here’s a breakdown:

Basically, bloggers post pictures in their clothes, snaps of decorations in their house, or create “wish lists” of their fashionable wants and they post them on social media for you to see and share!  They make money (a small commission) from you purchasing the same items they are wearing.  It’s a way for them to be a social influencer, in a sense! 

But how do you (the lover of those adorable shoes) shop the look or items?  It’s easy!  You sign up for a consumer account.  Don’t freak- you don’t have to sign your life away and all of your personal information is kept in your wallet when you enroll!  All you do is give them your Instagram handle (example: mine would be @the_novice_native) and your email address… They do the rest! 

Once signed up, when you “like” or “<3” a photo on Instagram that has an affiliate link, you are sent an email with all of the products you see in the image.  You aren’t obligated to buy them… It just makes it easy for you to keep track of items you’ve loved in one place where you can find them again, in case you wanted to wait until payday! 

If you ever wanted to see all of the items you’ve liked, all you have to do is sign into your account on their website.  Your profile would have all of the items you’ve liked in one place, making it easy to shop those looks at any time after liking them!

Another place you can see affiliate links is in a blog post… Like this one!  :) Often times, a blogger will add photos or links of the items in the post directly to the content.  They look like ads/photos, but they are actually linked to their individual accounts to keep track of referrals! 

So now that you’ve got a full understanding of the whole “affiliate world,” I know you are dying to sign up!  You have nothing to lose (and you know it’s not scary anymore)..  so let’s get started:: 

*NOTE* You will want to sign up with both sites, as bloggers often use one or the other--  Nobody likes to miss out!

All photos beautifully captured (and left unedited) by Alex Martinez of @Alex_Takes_Photos 

An Effortlessly Urban Ensemble

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I know I promised you all an in depth look at my cousin Alex’s gold career last Friday, but as it often happens at the Byron Nelson… One glass of champagne leads to one flight of champagne leads to the Grey Goose VIP lounge leads to eating pizza in a hot tub with 10.8 miles of walking under your belt… So it’s understandable that I didn’t deliver as promised!  HOWEVER— I promise that post is still coming, along with the amazing time we had at the Four Season Las Colinas! 

Instead of the “sports feature”, I thought I’d go ahead and share this fabulous look perfect for any day on the course.  It’s comfortable, sensible, and great for any activity that calls for tons of walking!

With the Byron behind us and the Colonial (another PGA golf tournament) ahead of us, finding an outfit that has some style, yet can also be described as practical is imperative! 

Let’s dig in!  This look has been self-titled “Effortlessly Urban”…. Why?  Because those are two words that come to mind with this outfit. 

The graphic tee is sleek, edgy, and casual, but can be paired with a fun skirt to create the ultimate stylish look!  The skirt choice was carefully calculated, as I needed something to draw on the edginess of the shirt, but not overwhelm the look with a dark nature.  Naturally, a feminine leather skirt was the perfect match.  It also needed to be slightly form fitting, to keep the look light and fresh.  A heavier skirt, or even a tool skirt, would have made the look “overdone” and could easily be looked at as trying too hard.

I had a blast playing on the urban feel of the top and skirt, so I threw in some fun tennis shoes to make the look more comfortable and keep with the feel of the ensemble!  Keeping the color palette neutral through the whole look, I was able to avoid awkward contrasts, keeping these very different piece cohesive and flowing, as patterns and fabrics changed.  

The last thing I did to tie this look together, was add in some fun girlie earrings!!  If you haven’t read my review on how I made these gems, you’ll definitely want to check it out HERE.

I’ve linked a few good options for those of you who love this look, but think you’d struggle to accomplish it on your own—shop my look below!

All of these shots were captured by the one and only Noah Berg, of Noah Berg Photography!  Check out his Instagram: @NoahBergPhotograph

Dallas Bound for the Byron!

Clean, crisp and stylish.  That’s what this look has going for it!

Over the past few months, I’ve fallen in love with the simplicity of neutral looks.  The blank pallet of color, in this case my white top, are classy and easy to pair with a multitude of bottoms.  The best part? They can have details that catch attention, but do so without an overwhelming presence. 

I discovered this little ensemble when shopping for an upcoming trip.  I was having trouble planning my outfits when I stumbled into a local Denver boutique: Intrigue Boutique Denver.  I was so excited because they carried reasonably priced, adorable clothing!!  I actually found two outfits that I’ll be sporting on my little trip, but you’ll have to wait for the next look.  So where am I going?

This week, I’ll be heading to Dallas to walk with my cousin, Alex Moon, as he plays in his first ever PGA tour: The Byron Nelson.  The Byron has always been my favorite golf tournament, as it was played just minutes from our house growing up.  The warm spring weather, the fun sun hats, the Club 14 bar, and the light applause that comes in waves are all memories I’ll have forever.  The fact that Alex is getting to play in it this year is beyond exciting.

Obviously the outfit I wear is going to be important!  It has to be functional, golf appropriate, and adorable… This look was all of those!  The white top is light and loose fitting, which will help keep me cool in the Texas heat.  Meanwhile, the jeans I’ve chosen to wear are cotton based, which will breathe well, and will provide cover so my white legs don’t burn!  No joke, these are my new favorite jeans.  They feel like butter they are so soft!  The colorful necklace provides a hint of color keeping the look feeling spring-like and fun.  I’ve paired that accessory with some adorable and super comfy wedges that will be easy to walk in.

I cannot wait to get home, surrounded by family, and spend some time cheering Alex on!  Be sure to follow me on Snapchat (thenovicenative) to live the experience with me.  It’s going to be the best time!



A Date Night Outfit You Can't Pass Up!

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Today on the blog, I’m talking “date night” essentials, all captured by Noah Berg Photography (@noahbergphotography). 

With summer just around the corner… finding weather appropriate garments can be difficult if you are trying to stay a little on the modest side.  I’m going to walk you through my thought process and provide a few examples of ways to get that perfect look (demanding respect – yet calling attention!). 

This adorable dress would have been typical for a night out on the town in college, and probably alllll I would have worn, but as I have adjusted to life after the party, I’ve grown to love the comfort of not being COLD! 

Now before you go calling me “grandma,” let me explain that just because I have befriended the best girlfriend on the earth, Comfort, doesn’t mean I have to lose all feistiness to my outfit.  This look is a clear example of how classy, comfortable, and sassy can all play nicely together. 

Let’s talk base layer first… This dress, worn by itself, is super sexy.  It’s tight fitting, rather short, and has amazing lines to accentuate curves.  However, it’s not something I would feel comfortable wearing alone anymore.  Struggling with the desire to look fierce, while trying to stay within one’s comfort zone is a place I would guess many women find themselves… So I found the perfect solution à Layering it with a cute top and pairing it with the perfect accessories. 

Since I decided to add to the complexity of this look, I needed to add to the appeal.  The leopard print on the dress, topped with a basic button up was the perfect combination.  It’s conservative, but still fun and flirty.  I chose a very neutral top, but something in style… chambray.  Tying at the waist was a great way to pull attention to the small of my wait, while hiding my big bootie.

Lastly, let’s talk shoes… depending on the person, you can make your shoe selection your own, but for me, the leopard print dress is about as showy as I like to go.  For that reason, I chose a sensible, comfortable small bootie with an open toe.  The heel on this amazing pair of shoes is thick and super reliable over cobblestone walkways.  You pair the babies with a high-end beautiful purse with classic lines and structure, I mean, you’ve got yourself an age appropriate power-suit to rock your date night.

Okay… After re-reading this little overview…. I’m officially an old lady :/  oh well… guess Fitz needs a kitty friend.  #catlady



Planning a Full Day in Denver!!

Planning a Denver wedding and need something for your guest to do while in Town?  Simply visiting Denver as a tourist?  In town staying with family? Or on your way to the mountains?  Whatever your circumstance... Denver has so much to offer!  From delicious, artistic restaurants to adorable streets filled with local shops... It offers a perfect vacation for all types.  Even if you live in Denver, seeing the city from another's perspective can help you call in love with this amazing city all over again! 

So... What to do in Denver?!  I've planned a full day of food, shopping, and fun for anyone trying to explore the amazing city of Denver!!  Be sure to wear your comfy shoes, Denver's walk-able layout makes it easy to add miles without even realizing it :)


First things first:: Parking!!  

Today's activities will be easier and more enjoyable if you are walking/bike riding.  So I've found the best parking downtown for your mile-high adventure!  The Tremont Garage, located on the corner of 15th and Tremont, offers a full day of parking for only $12.  There is no in-and-out privileges, so be sure that you won't need your vehicle for the rest of the day before parking here.   Address : 400 15th Street, Denver CO 80202

8:00 am--  

Your journey begins at Denver's best coffee shop, NOVO Coffee.  This quaint little shop is located in heart of Downtown Denver.  Offering plenty of seating and free wi-fi, it's a great spot for someone wanting to check out the area!

Address: 1600 Glenarm Pl, Denver, CO 80202

8:30 am--  

Take a walk up 16th Street Mall.  This unique downtown experience is a must see for anyone visiting Denver.  Coming from NOVO (headed Northwest), you'll be able to see the Denver Pavilions, a shopping center in the heart of Downtown.  You'll also be able to slip in and our of several gift shops, if that's something on your list!  At any point along the 16th Street Mall you are tired of walking, you are free to jump on the Free Mall Ride.  The Mall Ride stops every block and and free to all patrons of the mall!

9:15 am--

After experiencing the vitality of the 16th Street Mall, I'm sure your starved!  Head over to Union Station for a delicious breakfast at Denver's very own Snooze Eatery!  It's a favorite of the locals and definitely worth the wait.  If there is a line, there's a Tattered Cover Bookstore in Union Station for your browsing pleasure!

Address: 1701 Wynkoop St #150, Denver, CO 80202

12:00 pm--  

The next part of your day is more of a personal choice, so I'm providing two great options for all types of adventurers!  (Both will require a bike rental to continue on your tour..)

A short walk from Union Station, the first option is a tour of Coors Field, home of Denver's MLB team - the Colorado Rockies.  While they aren't the best team in the league, the facility is one of the coolest places in the city.  With a rooftop bar and mountain views, it's definite must see for any sports fan!  The days tours are available vary by season, so be sure to check out the dates before you plan to attend.  All the details are available here.  After your tour, you'll want to rent a B-Cycle bike to continue to the next location... LUNCH :) You can snag one at the nearest location found at 2200 Market Street, Denver CO 80205.

The second option is a quick bike ride away to the home of REI's flagship store just across the river!  One of Denver's mobility options is B-Cycle, a bike rental program that allows you to rent a bike from a variety of locations and drop them off at others for just $9 a day.  There is a station located just outside Union Station, making your rental fast and easy.  You'll want to make your way to the REI bike drop located at 1416 Platte Street, Denver CO 80202.  REI offers a variety of sporting goods and a visit is an experience in itself!

1:30 pm--

Lunch is a relative term when you arrive at Denver's hip{est} restaurant: Linger.  Offering tapas style plates, you wont have to worry about spoiling dinner!  Linger has a unique history, artistic and delicious food, and an atmosphere you can't find anywhere else!  Be sure to ask your server the history of the building and mosey up to the rooftop patio for a scenic view of the city!  Note: B-Cycle parking is located at 1615 Boulder Street, Denver CO 80211 and a short walk up the hill, you will find Linger on your left hand side (behind Little Man Ice Cream).

3:00 pm--

After a full morning of sightseeing, I'm sure everyone in the party could use a break for a little R&R.  What better way to spend some time relaxing than a little shopping on a quaint Denver street!?  Denver's Highlands District hosts a unique vibe when it comes to boutiques.  From high end fronts carrying well known labels, to small locally owned shops with popular looks, you'll find them all.  Intrigue Boutique has quickly become my favorite boutique, as it offers the best of both worlds!  The clothes are absolutely adorable, they carry lines that fit true to size, and they are locally owned by two of the sweetest ladies this city has ever seen... What could be better?  The prices!!  They are so affordable that no one in Denver has an excuse not to look fabulous... it's 100% guilt free shopping!  

So grab your bike and head over to 2436 W 44th Ave, Denver CO 80211 for a little "you" time!  PS ::  The outfit I'm sporting in this post is from their shop.  Adorbs, huh?

4:30 pm--

Let's continue your relaxing afternoon and head to Avanti Food and Beverage for some hand-shaken drinks and a rooftop patio perfect for lounging!  There's a B-Cycle deposit right outside of the venue (3200 Pecos Street, Denver CO 80211) - whoop.  One of the coolest aspects of Denver is there are several "hubs" (as I like to call them), as in a building that houses multiple business in one place, sort of like a mini mall.  This location is so neat because it is home to several local restaurants and breweries!  It's a must see for any Denver newbie.

6:30 pm--

Dinner!!  We are headed back downtown as we finish off our eventful day of sightseeing like locals.  Take a short bike ride back to the Denver Pavilions where you will find, yet another, B-Cycle station, conveniently located just outside of 5280 Burger Bar (it's what's for dinner!).  It happens to be my favorite restaurant in all of Denver.  The wings are absolutely to die for and the burgers are individually craft made!  Featuring comical names, this place will be an exciting end to your day.  If your up for it, delight in one of their adult martinis!! NOM.  My favorite is the S'mores, while Andrew would kill for the Mint Chocolate Chip!  

Address: 500 16th Street, Denver CO 80202

After dinner, you're just a short walk away from your car!  How about that for a day of exercise?  I hope you've loved getting to know my city a little better!  I'd love to hear how you enjoyed your day.



A Girly Get-Together - Denver Brunch!

Last week, I had the privilege of attending one of Denver's most adorable blogger brunches hosted a Coohills Denver (OMG best food ever- you have to try the sliders)!  Our very own Abby Miller owner of Denver Darling (IG: @denver.darling) and the sweet girls at Denver Swoozies teamed up to show us all of the adorable products they are carrying this spring!  

Needless to say..... Holy Kate Spade! :)) Swoozies is currently carrying the MOST ADORABLE summer additions ever!  Everything from Kate Spade patio table settings to insulated-monogrammed cups were present just to name a few!  

Throughout this whole brunch, I couldn't help but think how perfect their personalized goodies would be for brides-to-be.  The monogrammed hats are perfect for the upcoming wedding season.  I mean it's summer and what bride wouldn't drool over a new sun hat to sport her new initials?  I know I'm loving every second of having a new name!

A little off topic, but definitely something I'm feeling like sharing is how happy I am right now... This brunch made me realize what a great time I'm having in life to be able to socialize with like minded, beautiful friends!!  One of my favorite things about being a Denver Blogger is the community of Denver itself.  Denver has the coolest blogging scene!  As you can see, we aren't a group of girls competing, we are a group of friends with a love for fashion and life.  The girly party decorations and the champagne may have made me a little sappy, but I just want to you all to see a taste of my experiences!  Don't forget to click thru the carousel below to get the full event gallery, captured by Corey Anthony Photography.  

Love my look?  Shop it now: