How To Use Design & Decluttering To Make Your Home Your Sanctuary

Not to brag or anything, but every single time I walk into my apartment I’m fucking STOKED. It’s my sanctuary. It feels like a haven specifically designed to make me happy and, well, it is. And it does.

This didn’t happen by accident and it def didn’t happen overnight; I designed my living space intentionally and methodically and it took a lot of time and work and love and care. I spent the first three months in my apartment living in an unfurnished space. I slept on a (mostly deflated) air mattress for a while, and my bed only arrived last week (the black velvet upholstery and brass modern legs were well worth the wait tho.)

brains over blonde home design

I may be a flower child trapped in an entrepreneur’s body, but living like a drifter in my own apartment wasn’t the dream. It was, however, the plan.

Sometimes even I have to remind myself that just FOUR SHORT MONTHS AGO I was engaged, living with my fiancé, and anticipating my wedding like a ticking time bomb. When I called off my wedding at the end of June, my entire life as I knew it exploded in my face. I was grieving, in shock, disoriented, and alone. Oh, and homeless.

It was SO tempting to move into the first apartment I saw and furnish it overnight so that my glass of rosé could be a LITTLE less full, but I knew that waiting to find the right place would set me up for success during an incredibly trying time. So instead of signing the first lease I laid hands on (for a studio in West Hollywood that was totally not me), I moved into a stranger’s guest room. I slept on a couch next to a life-sized Barbie doll and went to apartment viewings every day for a month. It was uncomfortable and exhausting. It would have been a huge relief to cross “have somewhere to live” off the list asap, but my apartment wasn’t something I was willing to settle on, because it’s my home. And how you feel in your home really matters.

How you feel in your home really matters

If you’re currently shopping around for a new place, be patient. Don’t force it. I stayed patient because I believed I had the power to walk into a place and just KNOW that it was “the one,” and that’s exactly what happened. The moment I walked through the front door of my now home, it was game over. This is so cheesy, but I literally twirled around and thought, “this is where I’m going to build my EMPIRE!” After I signed the lease I sat on the floor Facetiming family and friends for 2hrs bc I didn’t want to leave. It just felt RIGHT. Issa vibe, ya know?

brains over blonde home

This apartment had everything I was looking for on paper, but it also had an energy that felt perfect for me at this time in my life. Every space has an energy, and it’s essential that the vibe feels right to you.

If you’re already living in a place where the energy doesn’t feel quite right, don’t panic. You can shift the vibe of your place by making it your own with design and decluttering (but you’re also gonna wanna get some cleansing sage and crystals OBVIOUSLY.)

Donate before you decorate

Before you buy ANYTHING, it’s time to get rid of stuff. I hate excess and LOOOVE getting rid of things, so I can be pretty ruthless about this, but I guarantee cleaning out stuff you don’t need will IMMEDIATELY improve your life. In my experience, once you choose to get rid of something, you don’t miss it.

Here are my 3 tips for decluttering your nest:

  1. Take inventory every 3-6 months. I used to have a rule that every six months I’d get rid of anything I hadn’t used in the past six months. Now that I live in LA and the weather basically never changes, I get rid of anything I haven’t used in the past THREE months. I don’t worry about things I might need “one day.” I don’t hold onto ANYTHING that doesn’t fit. If I ever end up needing blue glitter again, I’ll just buy some.
  2. Let go of the past. When I called off my wedding, I left my old apartment (including all the furniture that I bought only a year ago) to my fiancé. I did this partly because it’s what he wanted, but mostly because I knew holding onto the past would only hold me back. I was evolving, and I wasn’t trying to replicate my old home; my home needed to evolve too. It’s time to get rid of anything you associate with negative past experiences or people. You are moving FORWARD.
  3. Less is more. We’re busy so stuff piles up everywhere, which stresses us out and makes us even busier. If you hold onto clutter, your life will FEEL cluttered. Every unnecessary possession is an unnecessary burden for you to bare. Give yourself FREEDOM from the things you don’t actually need. It feels good to be light and lean. Simplicity gives you space to BREATHE.

When we clear the excess from our lives, we literally make space for new beginnings. So pick a day, pick a time, put it on your calendar, and TASK BATCH THE SHIT out of decluttering your space. Personally, I prefer the big black trash bag method. I label bags “TRASH,” “SELL,” or “DONATE,” and never look back. Trust me, it will feel so good to unload and LET IT GO. You’ll not only make space for something new, but you’ll also make space for YOU.

brains over blonde home decor

Why does home decor even matter?

Because this is your H-O-M-E. It’s the place where you live, eat, sleep, bathe, cry, decompress, work, entertain, dream… basically some of the most important things you will ever do in life will be within those walls. Do you want to walk into them and feel dull and uninspired? Or do you want to feel happy and at home?

A well-designed home demonstrates care, well-being, personality, and ownership. The design process itself helps you discover and develop your own tastes. If you do it right, there will be no space better suited for you than your own home.

When I first stepped foot in my new apartment, it was like a blank canvas. I saw the story of my future, of my business, and of my life, just WAITING to be painted. And I got to be the artist (which was fantastic, bc I’m obviously OBSESSED w expressing myself…lol.)

I have very specific tastes so living alone for the first time and getting to design a space SPECIFICALLY FOR ME was the DREAM. I am a CONTROL. FREAK. (can u tell?) The idea of relinquishing even the slightest bit of control to a professional designer made me feel woozy (or maybe just drunk from all that rosé.) Then I realized, maybe an interior designer could take a couple sips of the rosé for me….

Interior design is more accessible than you think

I met Havenly‘s co-founder Emily Motayed in a Wharton class while I was deciding between business schools. We hit it off and she generously invited me to tag along to her entrepreneurship club meeting, where I learned all about her interior design startup, Havenly. Sitting on my living room floor surrounded by unpacked boxes (torture for my OCD), I decided to reach out to Emily.

Not gonna lie, I was skeptical that online interior design was any good, but I was desperate and drunk off rosé so I decided to give this Havenly thing a whirl. I was convinced whatever designer got stuck was me was going to HATE me. I’m picky and opinionated af. I browsed through Havenly’s stylist profiles (organized by aesthetic) and found an intriguing potential victim designer: COURTNEY.

brains over blonde havenly

Havenly is offering B/B readers 20% off design packages with code BRAINSOVERBLONDE!

I pulled up her profile, browsed her portfolio, and fully STALKED her Pinterest and Insta (duh). I thought, “HOLY SHIT, is this girl READING MY MIND?” She’d posted the EXACT same images I had on my Pinterest board. She had a serious aversion to color. And like me, it appeared she’d list “marble” as one of her sexual preferences. Maybe this could actually work.

I planned on releasing VERY LITTLE control to Courtney, obviously. I know what I like and she was there to assist with idk… measurements and budget tracking and stuff. Duh. I started filling out Havenly’s “My Room Profile” for my living room:

“BLACK&WHITE, neutrals, & metallics. I LOVE MARBLE. & hides, fur, leather. feminist, strong, neutrals, edgy, modern. Kardashian vibes but not too girly. I like modern, Scandinavian, & a hint of glam. Everything from CB2 is very much my vibe. I also live on the beach & like tropical plants.”

Obvi I included an excessive number of Pinterest boards, layouts, and details in my profile. I then spent hours making a wishlist of every single product I already knew I wanted, complete with my personal commentary on each one. God, I’m a psycho.

Courtney presented me with three initial designs, and I gave my (over-the-top explicit) feedback. She didn’t hate me after (at least she hid it well.) From that point on we were totally on the same page. Courtney just… got it. She got ME. She wasn’t there to impose her own preferences on me, she was there to help me bring my vision to life. Which wasn’t easy, by the way, bc I didn’t just want my place to look pretty* (*and by pretty obvi I mean my exact combination of masculine and feminine), it also had to have something to SAY. About me, about my mission, about my perspective on the world. (I don’t ask for much.)

We joked that I was one of the more “involved” clients that she’s ever had, but Courtney didn’t miss a beat. She picked up what I was putting down, and before long it was as if someone implanted a little nugget of my brain into Courtney’s. We’d be working on something, like picking out my living room rug, and literally both link to the SAME RUG AT THE SAME TIME. INCEPTION!!!

Anyway, I started to realize I could *gasp* trust Courtney with the creative aspects of bringing my vision to life. Again, THIS IS V HARD FOR ME. LIKE V V V HARD. But Courtney kept surprising me. Like when she found these Z Gallerie OMBRE. MONGOLIAN. PILLOWS. LIKE ARE U JOKING I HAD TO HAVE THEM OBVI. And if it weren’t for Courtney, the Fy star-eyed print above my Article leather couch would totes by in the middle instead of on the right (and like how boring would that have been?!)

One my fave things about Havenly is that you can chat with your designer all day every day AIM-style. Of course, it wasn’t long before Courtney and I were texting and calling each other like we’d been bffs for lyfe. Courtney was even in my dream one night (not a stalker I promise), and we’re actual IRL friends now. We’re working together beyond just my living room (she even helped me think through my tattoo placement!)

So ya, online interior design 100% exceeded my expectations. I’m THRILLED I used Havenly to help design my sanctuary. The design package costs are a DROP IN THE BUCKET (& they’re offering 20% to B/B readers with code BRAINSOVERBLONDE) – and the results speak for themselves. Courtney has the eye. Well, she has a similar eye as I do, which I obviously like. Or maybe she’s just really great at adopting the eye of all of her clients and I’m not special at all (TELL ME IT’S NOT TRUE COURTNEY!)

It’s been three months since I moved into a new apartment, and I can finally say I’m settled and it feels like home. It makes me feel motivated, energized, calm, and happy. The atmosphere sets the exact mood that I want at this time in my life. Sounds awesome, right? NOT GONNA LIE, IT IS. If you’re more of a DIY kinda gal, here are my 5 steps for designing your dream space.

Here are my 5 steps for designing your dream space:

1. Create a vision board

I’m obsessed with using Pinterest for creative brainstorming. (You can even use the Pinterest Chrome extension to pin any image on the Internet!) I gather everything that inspires me around a certain idea – be that images, graphics, quotes, whatevs – and pin it to a board. Then I started tightening it up until I have ~30 pins that really represent what I’m going for. Here’s my Pinterest board for my new apartment. I didn’t purchase any of these exact items, but the mood and atmosphere are represented perfectly. Of course, magazine cutouts and poster boards are fun too!

Before you start pinning, ask yourself:

  • How do you want the space to make you feel? (In terms of vibe, mood, & style.)
  • How do you want the space to function? (What’s the purpose of this room? What will you use it for? How will you spend time in it?)
  • What are you trying to express? (Your home design should represent who you are. It will communicate your personality and what matters to you to others too!)

2. Measure your space

I can’t emphasize the importance of measurement enough, especially if you’re ordering pieces online. Just because you love a piece doesn’t mean it will fit well in your space. In my opinion, the worst thing you can do is overcrowd your space.

Measure EVERYTHING (floors, windows, ceiling heights, counters, etc.) and decide on a layout for how you want the space to function. Then select pieces that fit your space physically (always read the dimensions when ordering online!)

I used the free app Plan My Room to get a cursory feel for spacing. Then, I marked the dimensions of big furniture pieces on my floors with blue tape and walked around to get a sense for the feel and flow. And speaking of big pieces, you’ll want to pick those first.

3. Pick the big pieces first

The first two furniture pieces I picked were from Article. If you haven’t heard of Article before, it’s like the Glossier of furniture. Basically, Article cuts out all the middlewomen (wholesaler, retail, salespeople) and sells directly to the consumer, meaning you get a much lower price. I love efficiency so much.

I drool over Article’s leather pieces (and prices), so I obv had to have this charcoal leather couch. I mean.

OMGGGG that couch is so buttery & delicious like omg. I sink into it a lot. Like a lot. And it’s only going to get better w age. So that was settled.

The second piece I picked out was that dope floor lamp (also from Article) for a few (obvious) reasons: 1. it makes a statement 2. it’s my happy color 3. IT HAS A MARBLE BASE. Duh.

Article’s delivery is super fast and convenient (they deliver everything personally, and even assembled my lamp for me!) It couldn’t have been easier. For a while, I only had those two pieces. I started to envision the smaller pieces around them. My couch and lamp were black and pop beautifully against lighter colors – so everything around is white and blush (omg, I’m such a color deviant). Everything from the coffee table to the art print sizes was selected in reference to the size of the couch.

4. Set your focal points

Where does your eye drawn when you enter the room? That’s the main focal point. If you put your big pieces there (for me it was my couch and art prints), it will anchor the room and create balance.

But great design is entertaining enough that your eye never settles in just one place! I like to have focal points EVERYWHERE – and a lot of that is in the details.

brains over blonde home decor details

5. Add the details

It’s SO tempting to go walk into CB2 (my fave) and just go wild picking out every single accessory before your place is ready. DON’T DO IT!!! Accessories are accents that draw the eye where you want it to go – and they should be the LAST thing you pick out.

Like with furniture, it’s essential that your accessories be the right proportion. Don’t over-accessorize (we hate clutter); choose a few quality pieces over quantity. Not everything has to “match” (combine & layer textures, colors, etc. Have fun with it!)


Even the smallest details in this space were selected with great love and care. There’s literally not a single item in here that I don’t LOVE. If I don’t love it, I got rid of it. This is my sanctuary, and I don’t have space for anything I don’t love. I keep my life finely edited.

Having my place just the way I like it makes my life easier, better, happier. You know what doesn’t make your life easier? A randomly designed home (or even worse, a cluttered home.) You spend a lot of time at home, design it FOR YOU. I’ll leave you with one of my fave quotes:

“Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love.”

-Nate Berkus

(Oh & BTW, this is just my living room area 😉 – there’s a lot more to come… stay tuned!)

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  • BrookeNovember 13, 2018 - 1:01 pm

    I’ve really been wanting to try out one of the (many) online interior design companies out there but I had no idea which one to choose! I’m definitely going to try Havenly now. Hopefully I get paired with someone I love as much as you love courtney!ReplyCancel

This is 29: Six Things I Learned In the Past 365 Days

brains over blonde 29 bday

🦂Explains a lot, right? ♏️ [Product details at the end of this post!]

Tomorrow’s my 29th birthday, so I reread the post I wrote a year ago when I turned 28 entitled “The Wisdom of your Late 20s.” Lol. Little 28yo wise ass me had NO IDEA how much I would learn and grow and change in a year. If I could sum up this year in one sentence it would be: “Welp, that didn’t fucking go as planned.” I can’t believe I had the audacity to preach late 20s “wisdom” on my 28th birthday.

I cringe as I read that post, but I’ll never take it down. Just like I’ll never take down my post about planning the wedding that never happened or my post on Forever 21 bodysuits from back when I was still defining my brand and apparently thought I was a pseudo fashion blogger (again, lol.) My parents love to remind me that “THE INTERNET LASTS FOREVER,” so why wouldn’t I take down these posts that no longer represent who I am? Because they tell the story of where I’ve been and remind me how far I’ve come.

I’m imperfect. I’m constantly growing and evolving and I may make mistakes and change my mind as I learn and grow. And growth is beautiful. So I’m not going to erase the traces of where I came from (and what made me, me.)

So this birthday I’m not going to pretend I’m a 29yo shaman that knows everything about the “late 20s.” But I am going to take the opportunity to reflect on everything I personally have learned in the past 365 days of my life (& I encourage you to do the same!)

6 Lessons from my 29th year on this planet

1. There’s so much I don’t know

There’s so much I don’t fucking know. My god, I sounded like such a know-it-all last year. Lately, I’ve come to realize that there aren’t many things we humans actually KNOW. Last year, I “knew” I was going to marry my ex and buy a home next year and have babies a few years later. Welp, we all know how that turned out.

Wanna know a rly good way to find out what you don’t know? Share your entire life on social media and put your opinions on display for people to analyze and judge and critique. The B/B fam isn’t a bunch of average Jills. You guys are smart af. I learn something from you literally every. single. day. In order to do that, though, I have to be open to different perspectives. I have to be willing to change my opinion when I get new information. I have to accept and acknowledge when I’m wrong. If you’re anywhere close to as stubborn and opinionated as I am, that’s not always an easy thing to do. But if you don’t, how will you grow?

So be a curious cat. Ask questions. Don’t just be open to other perspectives, SEEK THEM OUT. Don’t get too tied to any one belief and always be prepared to let go of what you once thought you knew.

2. Trust yourself

My friends who have known me the longest always joke that I’m a “little bit psychic.” Sounds nuts I know BUT I MEAN HONESTLY I HAVE THE TRACK RECORD TO BACK IT UP. Except that what we once jokingly labeled my “psychic ability” I now realize is just my intuition (lol). It’s that little voice inside that we all have, but too often don’t listen to. We let the voice get muffled by outside influences and expectations. This year I learned to silence the noise and really, really listen to my inner self. Even when it was fucking hard. So hard that it nearly broke me. It shattered my worldviews and the life I had planned for myself. But once I finally listened to my inner voice, I grew more in a few months than I had in years. I was happier, even if it was harder. Now, I trust myself and take time every day to meditate* and tune into that inner voice. In fact, “trust yourself” has become my new mantra. *I’m ALL about the Headspace app btw.

3. You are only responsible for yourself

If you were a fly on the wall in my therapy sessions, you’d know “you are only responsible for yourself” is the lesson my therapist is drilling into my head over, and over, and over again. I haven’t mastered it yet, but I’m working on it.

All my life, I’ve taken on other people’s happiness as my responsibility. Lots of women do this. When I called off my wedding, my biggest concerns were 1. my ex’s feelings 2. my friends/family’s feelings. WHAT ABOUT MY FUCKING FEELINGS? The idea that I would go forward with a wedding I was unsure about because I was worried about OTHER PEOPLE’S FEELINGS is ludicrous (btw, I just tried to spell that as “Ludacris” like the rapper, lolol.) But I couldn’t see that, because I felt responsible for other people’s happiness.

By taking responsibility for other people’s feelings and happiness, I was actually doing them a disservice. My ex deserves to marry someone who is 100% sure.

You and your needs are valid. Your feelings are valid. And they should be your top priority. Btw, no one else is responsible for you either. So be responsible for your own happiness first.* (*Although I’m sure maybe when I have kids I’ll say the opposite – always put them first. Who KNOWS all the ways I’ll learn and grow after that life change! But I digress….)

4. Take care of your skin

brains over blonde skincare no makeup


I used to think skincare was something I’d worry about when I “got older.” I mean, I guess I am older now, but whatever. This year I got kinda obsessed w taking care of my skin; it’s the most important part of my beauty routine. I’m not shitting you, I see a HUGE difference. I look younger than I did last year, and it’s not just the Botox.

Your skin is a living breathing organ (your body’s largest organ, in fact), and it absorbs every little thing you put on it. So, like, maybe u shouldn’t slather toxic chemicals on your face and rub aluminum deodorant* on your armpits (RIGHT OVER YOUR LYMPH NODES). *I highly recommend Kopari’s delicious coconut deo instead!

Start w the basics: TAKE OFF YOUR MAKEUP* & wash your face morning & night w toxin-free face wash (that means NO BAD STUFF aka 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, gluten-free, fragrance-free… yes I sound a lil psycho but I’m 100% serious.) *Patchology Clean AF wipes are my fave for makeup removal. For face wash, I’m obsessed w the 3-step routine from Bioclarity, but you guys know this. I also exfoliate with a Clarisonic face brush.

But if u rly wanna be a skin #overachiever (or psycho) like I am, you gotta invest a good 20min in your skincare every day. Trust me, it’ll be worth it. And time is no excuse bc 1. u can multi-task while u face mask* (duh) and 2. when u take care of your skin, you don’t need to spend so much time on makeup. In fact, I almost never wear makeup anymore bc I love my natural glowing skin so much! Bare, healthy skin is so beautiful. *My absolute fave mask is La Mer’s hydrating mask (and ya, it’s expensive af so trust me I wouldn’t recommend it unless it was THAT GOOD. Plus, I tell myself I’m saving that money by never buying makeup.) I also LIVE for Patchology eye and lip gels (I keep these in the fridge for a cool lil treat) & Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench for hydration. I use Benefit’s Porefessional primer to mask my pores so when I DO wear makeup, I don’t have to wear much.

Oh, and remember that Baz Luhrmann song “Wear Sunscreen?” Turns out that advice was legit. I always hated the oily consistency of sunscreen (plus I’m allergic to most kinds), but Supergoop sunscreen is invisible & changed my LIFE. Ugh, I sound like my mom right now, but she was right.

We invest our money, we invest in our careers, but not enough ppl invest in their skin. Treat it right so your true beauty can shine through. Your future self will thank you.

5. Don’t make assumptions

You never fucking know what’s really going on in other people’s lives. My guess is only 1 or 2 people in your life know what’s really, really going on with you (if that). So don’t pretend you know what’s going on with other people.

After I told my parents I was thinking of calling off my wedding, I took an excruciatingly emotional drive from Palo Alto back down to LA. I cried the whole way. The cat was out of the bag and I was smack dab in the middle of one of the lowest lows of my life. I pulled off on the grapevine to get gas, and there was a long convoluted line at the single gas station. A woman cut me off, pulled in front of me, and then rolled down her window, leaned out, and yelled “YOU FUCKING BITCH!” It’s kinda funny now that I think about it, but in that moment it was devastating. I pulled to the side of the road and started bawling my eyes out. I’M NOT A FUCKING BITCH. HOW DARE SHE. IF SHE ONLY KNEW WHAT I WAS GOING THROUGH RN. HOW COULD SHE BE SO MEAN?!

Then I realized, I don’t know her either. I mean honestly who the fuck knows what was going on in her life that day. I of all people should have understood that. So I let it go. Instead of assuming SHE was the bitch, I assumed she was having a terrible fucking day too. It wasn’t personal. It wasn’t about me at all.

I’ve taken this lesson with me when trolls leave mean comments/DMs on my Insta. I have no clue what they’re going through or what their life circumstances are. Remember that. It’s probably not about you. It’s not personal, so don’t take it personally.

We assume so much about other people based on tiny little glimpses that we get into their lives. Rather than giving people the benefit of the doubt, we extrapolate and project what we THINK WE KNOW onto who they are as people. Those assumptions can get us in a lot of trouble. They cause us to misjudge people. Don’t make assumptions. The only assumption you should make is that you have no idea.


If you follow me on IG, you know that I say “do you” and “bring the realness,” like, a lot. Here’s why. When you put yourself out there, the REAL you, the universe rewards you.

First of all, you’ll be happier. Faking it is exhausting. We all have enough going on already, we don’t need to add pretending to be something we’re not to the list.

Second, being real will attract the right people into your life. You never know who will love and connect with who you REALLY ARE until you show them who you really are. This means you also have to KNOW and ACCEPT who you really are. Own it. Yes, this makes you vulnerable. But vulnerability is what makes you human, and it’s the central part of human connection. Vulnerability allows other people to relate to you emotionally, and emotional connection is how you build relationships.

This year Brains over Blonde has given me the opportunity to be me and do me at a much larger scale. Putting myself out there is scary (especially on the hard days, and trust me, there have been some rly hard days this year), but the juice is worth the squeeze bc it’s allowed me to bond and connect with all of you. It’s allowed me to build new relationships all over the world. So take the risk, do you, and GO THERE with people.

This year B/B will be all about being real.

My birthday post from only 365 days ago reads so cheesily to me now. I thought I was sooo self-aware and real, but I wasn’t taking a lot of risks. At least, I wasn’t being real to the extent I am today. And I will never ever ever stop being real. My realness is the reason I’ve learned SO MUCH in the past year. I’m so much wiser than I was even five months ago. I’ve learned to trust myself, to ask for help, to change, to put myself first, to live my LIFE. And to live it MY way.

I plan on learning and evolving every single day until the day I die. That’s part of the reason I love getting older; because I get just a little bit wiser. People often joke that women stop celebrating birthdays at 29 and lie about being 29 for as long as they can pull off. But that’s a load of crap; DON’T BUY INTO IT. I can’t WAIT to see what “wisdom” my 30th year brings.

Obviously, I don’t have it all figured out. I would LOVE to learn from all of you (& for all of us to learn from each other!) WHAT HAVE U LEARNED IN THE PAST YEAR? Plz share your wisdom below!

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    When It Comes To Live Experience, Has Instagram Become The Event Itself?

    So I went to the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic this weekend and by far THE MOST INTERESTING thing about it to me was that it was 90% about Instagram (and like 2% about polo). Everything (I mean EVERYTHING) was Instagrammable. The Veuve champagne carrying cases, the chic orange bags, the displays and Instagram stations that ppl were waiting in line in for HOURS to take IG photos in front of. Even our giant Jenga tower got knocked over by an Instagrammer trying to pose with one of our perfectly millennial pink blocks.


    [Outfit deets below]

    Now, obvi I love Instagram. It’s a huge part of my business. Plus, it’s great for forming and maintaining relationships… & it’s just fun. But any of my friends will tell you I NEVER have my phone out while we’re hanging out. I’m present and in the moment (that’s why I’m so slow with texts too SRY PPL). I thought the Veuve event would be all about socializing with friends, but it was essentially a circus of perfectly curated photo opps. It’s genius for Veuve’s brand – they’re getting BEAUTIFUL free user-generated advertising content (just check out the hashtag #veuveclicquotpoloclassic) – it gets them thousands of influential people boasting the Veuve brand to anyone with a phone… for free.


    I refused to wait in any lines for any of the “official” Instagram experiences, but the Veuve brand was brilliantly part of every backdrop, so any photo you post – ppl would never have to guess whose event it was. Trust me, I can appreciate a well-styled IG pic (it’s part of my biz after all… & I just had to get a pic with these well-clad lads above I mean they fit my aesthetic perfectly). But this pic took 30sec and then I put my phone away. Bc I wanted to enjoy and experience and my friends and the EVENT.

    And then I realized… taking photos WAS the event.

    I wondered what the girl awkwardly gazing at her own shoulder swaying her hair back and forth for 10min in front of a halo of Veuve orange Hawaiian flowers thought she was doing at the event. When her friends texted her and asked what was she was up to that day did she say, “I’m at the Veuve Polo Classic” or “I’m Instagramming?” Is there a difference?

    Instagram is becoming the event itself

    It’s apparent that live events (sports, music, festivals) are less about the EXPERIENCE than they once were, & more about the shareable engagements. So much so that entire businesses are popping up (like The Museum of Ice Cream, Color Factory, and 29 Rooms) for the explicit purpose of creating the ideal shareable moment in a dream-like room w optimal lighting. Events are a business like everything else, and consumer-generated content is fantastic for brand-building. I expect the future of events to look a lot more like The Museum of Ice Cream.

    How much do we want this “made-for-Instagram” culture experience to dominate our world? Do you see the ideal IG backdrop as advertising, or as art? (Btw, top artists are paid big money to design these branded selfie experiences for you!) I see it as art, but not as mutually exclusive, and potentially detrimental to how we experience things IRL.

    How does social media affect your event experience (pos or neg)? Is the event itself still the experience? Or is the experience the filtered image you post to your followers?


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      How Does Plastic Surgery Fit Into The Body Positivity Movement?

      brains over blonde boob job body positivity

      Givin’ ya’ll the birds eye view so u can see what I keep seeing.👀 Literally 983427 times a day I look down & I’m like OH SHIT where tf did THOSE🍊🍊come from!?! It’s weird af u guys srsly.🤣P.S. All the product details (including a HUGE designer discount) are at the end of this post!

      After I got my boob job I was called a “fake feminist” and accused of not supporting body positivity. SO I wanted to take a sec to define what body positivity is all about. 🙃

      Women (& all genders, but especially women) are conditioned to aspire to unrealistic levels of perfection and beauty. As young girls, we’re brainwashed to believe that flawless = beautiful, so we learn to beautify ourselves so we can look as immaculate as possible. The kicker is that perfection & beauty alone is not enough; we’re ALSO expected to be “natural” & “effortless”… as if TRYING to be beautiful somehow negates our beauty. The second someone “catches” us putting in a little effort (w/ Spanx, push-up bras, hair extensions, Botox, plastic surgery, whatevs), we’re considered CHEATERS. And cheating isn’t “pretty.” That’s why so many women lie about how long it really takes them to get ready, or their natural hair color, or their supposed “broken nose” that could only be fixed by changing the entire aesthetic.

      🚨ATTN: LADIES🚨

      The ENTIRE POINT of body positivity is to celebrate ALL bodies (that includes bodies that are fat, disabled, amputated, SURGICALLY ENHANCED… u name it). Part of calling yourself “body positive” means that you love & accept ALL bodies (including your own!) & NEVER diminish or shame someone’s beauty simply bc they chose to surgically enhance it. The goal is SELF-LOVE PPL. Everyone, including YOU, deserves to love their appearance. It literally does not matter whether or not you’ve made any physical alterations. WHO THE FUCK CARES.


      So ya, I have fake tits, but I’m not a fake feminist. Body positivity is something I work on daily. The irony is that between my breast reduction, weight gain and loss, & my boob job… I’ve pretty much had every size boob u can imagine (starting from when I awkwardly started puberty at the age of SEVEN 😳). I get that this will sound funny to some ppl, but whatever:

      Getting a boob job was a huge personal growth step for me bc I used to HATE boobs… especially my own. And now I can officially say I LOVE THEM!!! 😍

      Btw, don’t worry about the mean comments; they don’t phase me bc my boob job was NEVER about receiving outside validation. What I choose to do with my body is up to me & will never be dictated by anyone other than my fucking self. IS THE SAME TRUE FOR U? If you’re 75 years old & want your tits lifted, fucking DO U, FLEX YOUR FEMALE, & LOVE URSELF!!!!! 👵🏻👵🏼👵🏽👵🏾👵🏿

      ❤️❤️❤️💪🏽💪🏽💪🏽 #flexyourfemale

      Kay so now you tell me… how do U think about self-love & body positivity? Have your views changed? Why & how? Comment below!

      P.S. u can see a lil sneak peak of my new apartment starting to come together! Do u liiiike??? 🤩

      P.P.S. Scroll down to see some of my fave new picks as I nest into my new apartment! Purchase them below & we can be twinsies. PLUS U CAN GET 20% A DESIGNER PACKAGE AT HAVENLY BY USING PROMO CODE BRAINSOVERBLONDE! (I hiiiiiighly recommend this… I’ve had SO MUCH FUN working w/ Havenly throughout my design process!)

      brainsoverblonde body positivity boob job

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      • KKOctober 4, 2018 - 12:59 am

        Anna, there’s something about you. Every single blog post you write keeps getting better and better and better. I can hear your voice and see you and I feel like I know you well as a friend. That sounds creepy but who cares!!!! Thank you for your transparency, realness, motivation, empowerment, education, and all the stuff you do for the B/B tribe! xoxo KKReplyCancel

      Why I’m Getting A Boob Job 10 Years After My Breast Reduction (& Why I’m Sharing It With You)

      brainsoverblonde boob job

      Just making myself at home during my boob job pre-op consult with Dr. Jay Calvert

      Exactly 10 years ago, when I was 18, I made the life-changing decision to get a breast reduction. I did it because I hated my colossal-sized breasts. The physical pain in my back and shoulders was bad, but the emotional pain was unrivaled. People would stare (sometimes touch) and my skin would crawl. Gossip flew and wild rumors spread because a teenager with double Fs must be a slut. First I tried hiding my boobs under three sports bras and a sweatshirt (in California heat), and eventually, I disguised them with weight gain instead. I was uncomfortable and disgusted by my own body, so I decided to take control and make a change.

      I grew up hating my boobs, and my breast reduction taught me to love them again. In fact, it taught me to love my entire body inside and out and treat it better than ever before. Year by year I lost more and more weight, got in better and better shape, and reached higher and higher levels of confidence. For the first time ever, I loved my body. Never in a million years did I think that would be possible for me. (You can read my full breast reduction story here.) 

      If you told my 18-year-old self that one day I would get breast implants, I would have said you were certifiably insane. I know supposedly women are supposed to get their boob jobs redone every 10 years but I never wanted big boobs to begin with… that was the whole point.

      So, why am I getting a boob job?

      I want boobs. Point blank PERIOD. That’s all that should matter. Feel free to stop reading now.

      But you know me, I have a lot more to say about it :). So if you’re interested, keep reading.

      I’ve worked really hard for my body. I’ve lost weight, gotten in shape, and with that comes loose skin. Combine that with the inevitable effects of age and gravity, and my boobs are practically two sacks of skin (picture two deflated balloons). So I’m getting little implants to fill out the deflated balloon latex.

      I’m not getting a boob job because I hate myself or hate my body. I’m doing it because I LOVE my body. I’ve worked hard for it, and I want to enjoy it. I want to reward myself. I’m doing this for me, and I’m fucking excited. It’s empowering to make a decision about my own body and know that it’s ALL MINE.

      Be honest… are you judging me?

      A few people reading this might think I’m having a post-calling-off-my-wedding insecurity crisis. Some might think I’ve become vapid and vain after building an audience on social media. Or just that I’m fake af. (Were you thinking it? It’s ok if you were; I’m not judging you ;). )

      The other day I was blabbing to a friend about how gorgeous our mutual friend is. Her response was, “ya, but she had a nose job.” It was as if her surgery was supposed to negate her beauty or make me look down on her or something. Ladies, we have to stop doing this to each other. You sound bitter, her body her choice, and it’s none of your business anyway.

      Every individual person gets to choose what to do with his/her/their body. Full stop. Plastic surgery isn’t an invitation for people to tell you what to do with your body. (Neither is abortion btw.)

      If you’re still thinking “no, don’t do it, you’re pretty the way you are, etc. etc.” — you’ve missed the point. I’m not getting a boob job to make you think I’m pretty. I’m getting a boob job because I love myself and I want one. If that’s not body positivity, I don’t know what is.

      I believe my boob job is feminist af

      brainsoverblonde boob job

      feelin out some diff sizes

      I think treating myself to a boob job is one of the most feminist things I’ve done. Hear me out.

      All my life, I’ve been judged for my outward appearance (as all women are). You’re too fat, you’re too skinny, you’re too blonde, your boobs are enormous, you’re too pretty, you’re too girly, you’re not girly enough, you care too much about fashion, you’re too white, you wear too much makeup, you’re too tall for heels, you have to wear heels, you WEAR CROP TOPS EVERY DAY.

      I’ve always felt pressure to choose between femininity and success. Many people have advised me to suppress certain parts of myself in order to be seen as smart and capable. I REFUSE to do so because there’s nothing more important to me than being true to myself.

      When I wrote my honors thesis at UC Berkeley on Making diversity in the workplace a strategic advantage, I got lots of eye rolls for being the “white blonde girl” who thinks she knows about diversity. When I facilitated the Unconscious Bias diversity training course while working at Google, people told me they’d “never expect someone like me to be so knowledgeable and passionate.” When I was in business school at Stanford, I actually had a career counselor tell me I needed to pull my hair back, stop smiling, and wear glasses in interviews in order to be taken seriously. It was comments like these that inspired me to create Brains over Blonde.

      These days, I get hundreds of messages a day from all genders all over the world who tell me I’m not what they expected me to be. When I first saw you I hated you, you’re so woke, you’re way smarter than I thought you’d be, you’re so aware of your privilege, you’re funnier/wiser/cooler than I expected, I thought you were just another fashion blogger. Let’s be real I mean I LOVE defying stereotypes and proving people wrong. But I’d rather help create a world where we can see people for who they really are, regardless of what they look like on the outside.

      As feminists, we should revere women who are confident and empowered in their bodies. Whenever I see a powerful woman (with or without a boob job) feelin herself and just strutting it out, I think it’s awesome. She’s just doin’ her, so good for her. That’s self-love.

      Society has trouble seeing women as multi-faceted

      I said this before in my Botox article, but it’s v imp so I’ll say it again: Society has trouble seeing women as multi-faceted. So if a woman’s had plastic surgery or Botox, she’s vain, and she can’t possibly ALSO be smart/driven/etc. Men don’t face the same dichotomy. Quite the opposite in fact; people associate male attractiveness with competence and success.

      We can’t fix this dichotomy by putting our hair up and wearing glasses to work. Nope. The only way to fix it is by changing the norm.

      Many of you write to me about hiding your beauty in order to be taken seriously in the corporate world. All that does is help you fit into a man’s world and implicitly comply with the patriarchal standards of most workplaces. I encourage you to bring your full feminine self to work (whatever that means to you). The more women do this, the more feminine power will become the norm, and the more it will be accepted. So flex your fucking female, ladies.

      If you’re still not convinced, ask yourself this. How is a boob job any different than getting braces? Do people who’ve had braces have fake teeth? Does that make them less competent? Less beautiful? Less feminist?

      Why it’s important to me to document my boob job for the world to see

      Oh and btw, my entire boob job and recovery will be documented on my blog and on my socials. (Duh.) Here I go again, baring my soul to thousands of strangers.

      Why is it important to me to share this story with all of you? Because plastic surgery is more common than ever. (Here are some stats if u wanna nerd out.) But it’s also super hush-hush.

      Nearly every celeb has had a lil something “tweaked.” Aside from a bold few, most outright deny the slightest rumor of plastic surgery. I refuse to call anyone out by name bc it’s none of my business and it doesn’t matter.

      And then there are the digital creators (aka social media “influencers”) who we adore for sharing their “real life” outfits and homes (most of which are professionally shot and styled during day-long photoshoots). Rest assured the three BIGGEST beauty blogger “secrets” are Botox, fillers, and laser… but most of them will tell u that it’s Nars. (Sidenote: you’ll NEVER see me promoting bullshit products like Flat Tummy Tea. I only recommend and partner with brands I’ve tried, tested, and LOVE. I take this responsibility v v v srsly.)

      ANYWAY, the problem with all of this is that consciously or not, we compare ourselves to these celebrities and digital creators. We idolize their lifestyle and emulate their actual style. We worship faces and applaud their wanderlust. We gaze at their abs with both envy and resentment. We marvel at their collection of YSL bags and Jonathan Adler furniture.

      All of this comparison makes us feel inadequate. Especially because we’re not seeing the full picture. Most of those perfect faces are Facetuned and/or surgically-enhanced. Those round-the-world trips? They’re paid for by airline and hotel companies. Many bloggers can’t actually afford their collection of designer handbags. (… which is why I don’t own a YSL bag. One day when u see me post one it’ll be bc I worked my ass off for it.) And the data proves it: social media makes us unhappy. The people and lives we see on social media are edited versions of reality. Keep that in mind when you’re comparing your unedited, REAL life.

      brainsoverblonde boob job

      I believe that a lot of this could be fixed with a little social media REALNESS, which is why I ALWAYS keep it real with you, even in my most vulnerable moments.

      That’s why I’m sharing my boobilicious journey with you, starting with my surgery on Tuesday September 25th (starring my brilliant surgeon Dr. Jay Calvert). So if you ever compare your boobs to mine, rest assured that mine are full of silicone.

      I used to hate my boobs; I hid them. Now, I want to show them off. HOW AWESOME IS THAT? See you next Tuesday. 😉

      What questions do you have about boob jobs? What are your thoughts on plastic surgery? Have you tried it? Do you want to? Share below!

      If you enjoyed this post, check out my posts on Botox, my breast reduction, and self-breast exams.

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      • SadieSeptember 19, 2018 - 5:21 pm

        Anna… do you know that you’re my literal hero????ReplyCancel

      • StefaniSeptember 20, 2018 - 9:39 am

        Everything you write I think “Wow!” You are so brave and have already inspired me to be much more honest and open in my life and maybe the next step is with cosmetic procedures. Thank you for being youReplyCancel

      • SarahSeptember 26, 2018 - 6:54 pm

        I’ve been following you on Insta for a while but this is the first blog post I’ve read and I just want to say keep it up, girl. It’s refreshing and thoughtful and I will keep reading. I’ve had tiny boobs my whole life and judged people who got boob jobs because I did see it as fake and since I don’t have the desire to get one, it made it easy. But you’re totally right – if you’re doing it for you and only you, there’s nothing to judge. We all strive to be happy and proud of ourselves. Hope your recovery is smooth and you are thrilled with the finished product!ReplyCancel

      • YournumberonefanNovember 7, 2018 - 8:14 am

        Where can we see the result?ReplyCancel

      • DNovember 14, 2018 - 2:09 pm

        I’ve always wanted boobs. Always. How did you decide on your surgeon?ReplyCancel


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