#NoFilter: Law School

Read my #NoFilter blog post here:  http://tortsandatiara.blogspot.com/2014/06/a-filtered-life.html

Another much-requested post on relationships:  http://tortsandatiara.blogspot.com/2014/07/rules-for-relationships.html

Enter my makeup/jewelry giveaway:  http://tortsandatiara.blogspot.com/2014/07/nordstrom-anniversary-sale-giveaway.html

Hope you all have safe and wonderful weekends!!


Rules for Relationships

I am nearly dying to receive our high-resolution copies of our engagement photos in the mail so I can do some blog posts on them for Wedding Wednesday.  I only have the ones I screen-shotted from our website.  It has been almost three months since we did the shoot and that is a long time… I promise as soon as I get them, I'll do a Wedding Wednesday!!

But for now, I decided I would answer a question I've been getting messaged a lot… Especially on my YouTube channel.  When I was first asked for relationship advice I was taken aback; I'm not even married!!  But then I thought on it a bit and realized I have had my share of dysfunctional relationships and from those I have learned some profound life lessons.  

So I decided to combine my hard-to-learn lessons with advice from people who have been married happily for years and years… And… Here you have it, my best rules for love and relationships.

#1 - TRUST

Nearly everyone I spoke with in compiling this list cited trust as the most essential component of a happy relationship.  Having had relationships with trust and ones without, I will say that a lack of trust will slowly but surely disintegrate any love that was present in the relationship to begin with… Over time, all that's left is an empty shell.  In my experience, a healthy relationship cannot exist without trust.

My mother has always told me, "Trust until you're given a reason not to trust."  It is such sound advice… I've found that when I have trusted my heart and loved openly I've experienced such pure, genuine love.  Yes, you might get hurt… But you might also experience the love of your life.


Trust isn't just about not physically cheating on someone.  It's knowing that your love, your feelings, and your emotions are safe with your partner.  It's knowing that your partner will not compromise your values and morals.  It's knowing that your partner will not intentionally hurt your feelings for anything.  It's knowing that you are your partner's priority.

To get to this point, those certainties must be felt by both sides.  And when this happens, it creates this safe, protected bubble for your love to develop and your relationship to grow.  In my experience, this kind of atmosphere is the only kind in which I'm truly able to trust.  

And finding someone (and being someone!) who is willing to be protective of the other person is crucial to achieving the kind of safe atmosphere a relationship needs in which to grow.  Someone told me that if you sense a potential partner is insincere or dishonest with you, you should run away immediately… Those traits don't foster trust.


If someone hurts you and you choose to forgive them, truly forgive them.  This is an extremely difficult thing to do, but it can cause many problems in a relationship if it's not done. 

If you decide to move on from a problem in the relationship, allow yourself to move forward.  Don't drag the topic up in every fight or argument.  Don't rub your partner's mistake in their face.  If you want to forgive them, then do so and find a way to be at peace with your decision and your partner.


You can forgive and forgive and forgive.  But sometimes there's a point in a relationship where the realization of its end is inevitable.  If your core values, standards, and morals do not align… If you can't be protective of one another's feelings… If you can't make each other a priority… It might be time to let go.

This is never easy; I've found people I thought were pretty perfect, but something just wasn't matching up.  But you will save yourself a lot of sadness in the future if you just recognize this and deal with it sooner rather than later.  As my mother says, "A tiger can't change its stripes."  The basics of a person won't change; either love them or move on.


That spark.  That special something.  Chemistry.  Whatever you want to call it, it's that feeling that grips your stomach when you see someone and it makes you want to kiss them immediately.  Some people say it's just lust… But it's definitely not; it's something more.  Over time, lust will fade… But that special spark will last.

Take care of each other, love each other, and never forget the way your heart stopped for a second the first time they said "I love you."  I still get butterflies when I'm with John… He has my heart like nobody else does.  "Never settle for anything less than butterflies."


Another top piece of advice from those in lengthy relationships.  Communicate… But do so in a healthy, effective, mature way.  Communicate about future plans and events to reduce confusion.

Take a little time each day to sit down and talk to one another… Tell each other about your day, how you're feeling, what you're thinking.  And if you're mad/sad about something in the relationship, explain how you're feeling to your partner.  Be specific and be concise… Don't expect your loved one to guess why/what is upsetting you.


My parents were always huge on not yelling or screaming at one another; it doesn't accomplish anything and it only escalates the situation.

Finding the appropriate time and place to talk to your partner is important.  Do not fight in front of other people.  Do not berate your partner in front of others.  And do not bash your partner on social media.  I know it's hard not to vent when you're upset… But vent to a trusted, close friend or parent instead if you must.

Take a moment to yourself if you need to… Go for a walk, take a deep breath.  Know that whatever you say in the heat of the moment can sting your partner's heart for a lifetime.  


Another great piece of advice I received that I agree with 100%.  You need to have your own hobbies and interests… I can't tell you how important "alone time" is to a relationship.  John and I love spending time together, and when we're both traveling we cherish coming home and soaking up time with one another.  But we also have things we like to do separately… John will go shooting, hunting, or fishing.  I love taking long bubble baths, scrapbooking, and reading a good book.

Chances are, your hobbies and interests are what the other person was drawn to in the first place… Why would you want to let go of those??  Celebrate your differences and carve out a little time for yourself each week, even if it's only 30 minutes or so.  In the past few months, I've gotten busy and I stopped doing my face masks, bubble baths, and spray tans… I recently forced myself to spend the extra time and it has made me so much happier; I feel more like myself again.


Another good piece of advice from Mama P.  Every relationship needs a set of standards and boundaries… And the process of establishing and agreeing on these can be one of the most difficult things because most times neither person can actually articulate exactly what they want.  But it's extremely important to figure out where your "guard rails" are and stick to them as a couple.

This can be anything from calling your spouse when you're both on your way home so you can prepare a meal or make plans.  Maybe you don't feel comfortable with the other person going to Vegas without you.  Maybe your spouse prefers that you communicate with him/her before bringing people to your home.

Don't look at these as dictatorial rules… Think of them as basic expectations that you need to have a functional, healthy relationship.  Think about why you need those things, and clearly articulate that to your partner.  You do not have to justify these things to other people… Your relationship is yours, and what works for you may not work for others.  Respect your partner and the expectations you have set as a couple, and I promise your relationship will go much more smoothly.

An ex and I agreed on our boundaries; I followed them but he did not… I knew that this would continue throughout our relationship and I made sure to end it.  It made me sad, but I knew we couldn't function without respecting each other.


Kind of tied in with #10… But these aren't necessarily guidelines for your relationship.  This is listening to your partner and discovering exactly what makes them feel loved, wanted, respected.  There is a famous book written around this particular issue; it's called The Five Love Languages.

When your partner asks for something or tells you what they need; do not make them feel silly or stupid.  Everyone has very different needs in a relationship; what makes you feel loved may not work for your partner.  But if you love them, you need to embrace it and try to follow through the best you can.  I could sit here and tell you that every couple needs a date night once a week… But it's not true.  Different couples need different things.

For example, it might be totally strange, but I really love doing yard work with John as opposed to doing it by myself.  It makes me feel like we're working on our home together, and I don't hate the spiders and dirt quite so much when he's with me.  I also need date nights… They make me feel loved and special; the rest of the world just melts away and we can focus on each other.

There is nothing that makes John feel more loved than coming home to a warm meal, a clean house, and a back rub.  He doesn't like workout clothes, which took me some time to get used to, but now I always try to dress up a bit even when it's just him and me.  


There's no point in a love that doesn't make you crazy, passionate, and tingly all over.  Do whatever you can to keep that passion alive.  Kiss frequently.  Make time to shut out the world, close the door, and become absorbed in one another.  This is not about sex - it's about connecting on a very human level.

Ladies, invest in some nice perfume or pretty lingerie that makes you feel sexy and confident.  You can't pamper and spoil your partner if you don't feel strong and worthy.  Love yourself first.  I pamper myself with a post-shower ritual of my favorite body lotions and fragrance.  It makes me feel beautiful, even if I don't have my hair or makeup done.

Guys, do little things for your lady to let her know how much you love her.  Household chores, leave little notes, bring her coffee in the morning.  These things add up and get her thinking about you in a positive way all day long.  I promise it pays off!!

A little tip… Keep the television and computers out of the bedroom.  It's not good for sleep and it's not good for connecting as a couple, so save the Netflix marathons for your couch.  Your bedroom should be your sanctuary, even if you live alone - light your favorite candles, hang photos of you and your loved one (no family photos in here!), and invest in some super-soft sheets.


Try new things.  Visit new places.  Being adventurous with your partner is not only exhilarating, it gives you a powerful us-against-the-world vibe.  I think every couple should create a "bucket list" of places they want to go, things they want to do.  Then work on getting it done!!

Couples don't have to grow apart; you can change and grow together.  Someone gave me the advice that your roles and responsibilities will change throughout a marriage… If you're used to experiencing new things with one another, you'll transition a bit more easily.


There is nothing more unattractive than an obsessively jealous person.  Knowing that you're wanted and adored??  Yes.  Crazily hunting through someone's phone and computer??  No.

Be a confident person.  If a person really wants to cheat, they will do it anytime and anywhere.  I have personally witnessed a married person walking out of a bathroom with a person of the opposite sex and joining their spouse at a table!!  You just have to know that if someone chooses to hurt you… It wasn't meant to be.  It's not you; in fact, most cheating stems from issues with the cheater.  So… Get that "I'm going to catch him!" mentality out of your mind.  Trust your instincts, don't be naive, and set standards for your relationship.  Take it from me, if it happens, the worst thing you can do is allow it to hurt your future relationships… Move on and give your love to someone that deserves it.

Now… Back to jealousy.  Don't use other men or women to make your partner jealous.  If you really want to do it right, make others jealous of the way you treat and love your partner.  My mom taught me this lesson from a young age.  People envy a relationship based on devotion, love, and loyalty!!

I've been with men always on the lookout for other women and it makes you feel awful.  I can't tell you how beautiful and sexy it makes a woman feel when her partner's eyes and attention are on her.  The whole time.

My girlfriend and I were having dinner next to Seal (yes, that Seal) and he executed this perfectly… He was with a beautiful brunette in a simple t-shirt, but it's Los Angeles… There were beautiful women everywhere!!  His attention was totally focused on her - he was leaning in, hand on her knee, and completely absorbed in whatever she was saying.  I can tell you that every woman in that restaurant was jealous of the devoted attention he was lavishing on her!!

I would love to hear your relationship advice below!!  And let me know if you have any other requested posts, topics, or videos!! 


Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Giveaway

My favorite sale of the year is now open to the public, not just Nordies cardholders… But hurry, because the sale ends August 4th!!  You can check out my blog post on my favorite bargains from the sale for inspiration.

So… In honor of my favorite sale, I picked out a few goodies and am hosting a giveaway!!  Keep reading for giveaway rules and how to enter.  But first… The goodies.

$119 value, on sale for $49.50
A great-quality brush set with travel-sized handles and a sleek palette to carry them all in.  A foundation/concealer brush.  A bronzer/blush/contour brush.  And two fabulous eye shadow brushes.  

$72 value, on sale for $39.50 (SOLD OUT!!)
I am so glad I snapped this set up… It was the last set at my local Nordstrom and the sets are currently sold out online.  A beautiful neutral gold, sage, and charcoal eye shadow trio.  Nude lipstick in "Soft Savour".  Shimmering pink gloss in "Feeling Fine".  And smoky black eyeliner in "Graphblack". 

$38 value, on sale for $24.90
These stunning little earrings have been at the top of my list from the beginning of this sale.  I think they're at a great price point, and the shape is simple yet chic.

The handy little tool below will help show you how to enter.  There are lots of ways to rack up entries!!  Please enter with your email address… It will make it much easier for me to contact you if you win!!

Contest ends at midnight next Sunday night/Monday.  I will announce the winner on this blog and my Instagram and Twitter accounts on Monday morning!!  Stay tuned!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Summer Maxi

Maxi dresses are easily my favorite Summer outfit staple… They can go from errands to shopping to date night to a wedding.  Light, breezy, flattering, and chic; they scream Summer to me.  I love playing with the accessories and jewelry to take a maxi from casual to formal.

I'm wearing a few of my favorite Summer accessories in this look.  This Kate Spade cross body bag is the most perfect Tiffany blue and it brightens up all of my Summer outfits.  I just ran across these nude strappy heels at Nordstrom… They're cute and they are so comfortable to walk in.  

When I was visiting my mom, she introduced me to Waxing Poetic - a line of totally customizable jewelry.  I created a necklace with the letter "J" and a little bottle of love potion.  Everything is well made, and I love the look of mixed metals.

You can click on any of the photos below to shop this look.  Also… Make sure you're following @ShopTortsandaTiara on Instagram as I'll be posting a few items for sale!!


Nordstrom Early Access

When I moved to Denver I was introduced to the ins-and-outs of Nordstrom by two fellow bloggers.  They told me about the points you can rack up when you have a Nordstrom debit or credit card.  These points will be used to issue you "Nordstrom Notes" which is like cash toward your Nordstrom purchases.  There are things like Triple Points days or Bonus Points... These are events when your purchases will gain you more points than usual, which turns into more cash in your pocket!!

There are also "levels" of Nordstrom shoppers.  Yes, ladies, you are awarded for your bad behavior!!  Depending on what level you're at, you can get perks like free tailoring, early access to sales, and even free spa days at Nordstrom Spas.

It's surprisingly easy to pile up points... Shoes, clothes, jewelry, gifts, men's clothes and basics, home goods, fragrance, beauty.  I do most of my shopping for us, gifts, and our home at Nordstrom and when I'm strategic about doing it on Points Events it really adds up.  

So… If you don't have one, you all need the Nordstrom Debit or Credit card, and then you can shop the Early Access sale.  Major savings on Fall items that haven't even been released yet!!  New, next-season items that you can get on sale right now.  It's like Christmas.

If you don't have a Nordies card yet, you can shop the sale July 18th - August 4th.  Many pieces sell out, so keep your eye on your favorites and then make sure you get online or hustle over to your local Nordies first thing on July 18th to get what you want.

Example of Early Access Sale Heaven: these gorgeous Vince Camuto suede boots are priced at $164.90 but after the sale they'll shoot up to their regular price of $248.95

I've posted my favorite picks from the sale because it can be a bit overwhelming.  I've divided the categories below into: Women's Clothing, Women's Shoes & Accessories, and Men's.  I've also included little blurbs about why I picked each item.  Simply click on the photos below to shop!!

Did you shop the sale??  Any items I'm missing??

Enjoy.  Happy Shopping. 



South Dakota

I have been living in these Free People tanks lately... They are incredibly flattering and comfortable.  At $20 a pop, I bought them in several colors and I love pairing them with my favorite lacy cami-bras underneath.  I add a long tassel necklace and my outfit is complete.

These Citizen of Humanity Ava jeans are my favorite distressed pants.  I've had them for over a year now and they just keep getting better and better... The holes and tears separate a little more and get more stringy and vintage-looking.  

We went to my family's ranch in South Dakota for the Fourth... We really enjoyed the nice long weekend and spending some time in the great outdoors!!  After a long walk and new blisters our first morning there, I was thanking my lucky stars for my Birkenstocks!!  So many people hate them, but I have to say... My feet are thanking me.  My best Summer purchase.

We visited the wildlife park, Bear Country and it's more slithering neighbor, Reptile Gardens.  We went to all the little boutiques and shops in Hill City and Custer.  We went on crisp morning walks and got covered in dust racing the ATV through the dirt roads and forest.  We flew J's plane for a bird's-eye view of the Black Hills.  And we saw a musical at the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park.   

I never want to leave the sunshine and the tranquility of the Hills...


Fireworks and Sparklers

While you're waving flags and noshing on hot dogs and deviled eggs, you might as well add a little sparkle to the mix.  BaubleBar is holding a sale until July 6th (so hurry!!)

Receive $10 off orders of $30 or more when you use the code JULYRS

I'll be shopping too... We're all in this together, ladies.   Click on the photos below to shop the items.