Follow Her Friday: Rachel Hollis

This week we’re inspired by the courageous, career-driven, body-loving blogger, Rachel Hollis! Her proud bikini photo received tons of media buzz and we couldn’t help but want to learn more about this beautiful, mother of three.

Aerie: We love your body positive message – what inspired you to share this photo with your readers?

Rachel: So many reporters asked me this and the answer is kind of silly. I theme my Instagram every month to a color and that month’s color was orange… the exact shade of my cute new bikini top. We were in Cancun and I thought it would be a cute picture and so I had hubs snap a bunch. I am no kind of model and being in a swimsuit feels especially awkward so the one I chose is the one where I’m laughing at how silly I felt. When I saw it I noticed my stretch marks right away but I figured plenty of my followers are moms and have them too so I just decided to post it anyway. I couldn’t have anticipated what would happen with that picture, it still blows my mind.

Aerie Follow Her Friday: Rachel Hollis - Body Positive message

Aerie: How did you get started with The Chic Site?

Rachel: I was an event planner for ten years in Los Angeles and initially I started The Chic Site as a virtual way to house all my ideas. At the time I thought people would want to see pictures from fancy parties but what I quickly learned was that they were much more interested in recipes and parties from my own real life. When I started to focus on my personal style (down home with a little fancy thrown in) that’s when the site really started to gain a following.

Aerie: What’s your favorite part about running a lifestyle website?

Rachel: There are a lot of things to love. I’m my own boss, which is a great feeling. And I work with an incredibly talented group of people that I got to hand pick. In the words of Confucius, “Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Also, I truly love the idea that we’re being helpful to women who read our site. Whether it’s a recipe, a makeup tip or a tutorial on how to decorate your bedroom I want our readers to come away feeling inspired and encouraged.

Aerie: Do you have any advice you would give to girls interested in starting their own blog or business?

Rachel: Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. Seriously, there are so many businesses and blogs out there and the only way you’re going to make a splash is with a genuine message that is authentically you. Also, if you want to start a business you can’t treat it as a hobby. A lot of new bloggers decide to throw up a post here or there without structure behind it. Build an editorial calendar, collaborate with people smarter than you, take yourself seriously and others will to.

Aerie: Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?

Rachel: There is no such thing as luck, there is only preparation meeting opportunity at a moment in time.

Aerie: What’s your favorite Aerie product?

Rachel: I love a great t-shirt but I am such a sucker for a summer sweater! Haha, only in LA would someone consider the term summer sweater but it’s a real thing! You know the kind with a loose weave or the ones that are so light it’s like wearing cotton? I love them! It’s a way to feel cozy even if the weather is warm.

Follow Her Friday: Rachel Hollis

Aerie: What does being #AerieREAL mean to you?

Rachel: #AerieREAL is the idea of not just being comfortable with but grateful for who you are today. I love the idea of wanting to better your self, to become a better person inside and out. But that doesn’t mean that who you are right now (at this exact weight, with that exact hair, with your nose and your smile) isn’t awesome. Celebrate where you are, the real you because the real you is fabulous!

 Thank you, Rachel! Be sure to check out The Chic Site and follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

xoxo,

Aerie

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Real Talk With Sun Bum

We can’t get enough of Sun Bum, suncare made from the best ingredients under the sun. Our team had a chance to sit down with Bryan W., one of the coolest guys from the Sun Bum team to learn a bit more about the newest collection now at Aerie, the need-to-know facts about skincare and most importantly, the story behind their funky logo.

SunBum

Aerie: Tell us a little bit about yourself! How did you get started working with Sun Bum?

Bryan: It was 2011 and I was at a trade show in Florida. I happened to walk by the Sun Bum booth. It was full of action, tons of people were crowding around to see what this new brand was all about. I made my way through the crowd and was Instantly drawn in by the Ape and all the wood grain bottles. I asked the guy working the booth what’s Sun Bum he replied Sun Care.  It was like nothing I’d ever seen before.  I knew sun care to be a medicine looking bottle like the one my parents forced on me as a child but this was the total opposite.  I knew at that moment this was a company I wanted to be a part of.

Aerie: We love your logo! What’s the story behind the monkey?

Bryan: We got lucky with the logo, people love it. No meaning, we just wanted a big, strong but relaxed character to represent the brand.

sunbum

Aerie: What is a common misconception about sunscreen?

Bryan: Once you put it on your covered all day. No matter what your doing it’s super important to reapply regularly.

Aerie: We really want a tan this summer…is that a big no-no?

Bryan: Hey we like being tan too, but you just gotta take is slow. Use an SPF 15 or higher, you’ll still get color but without the burn.

Aerie: What’s the difference between SPF 15, SPF 30, and SPF 50? Which is a girl to use?

Bryan: SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. Below is the approximate percentage of UVB rays blocked depending on SPF rating. The difference is surprisingly small. A higher SPF helps if you are fair skinned or have history of skin cancer. Remember, no sunscreen blocks 100% of UV rays.

SPF 15 = 93% Coverage

SPF 30 = 97% Coverage

SPF 50 = 98% Coverage

SPF 70 = 98.5% Coverage

SPF 100 = 99% Coverage

The main thing that affects protection level is applying it correctly. Dermatologists recommend using 3 tablespoons of sunscreen to protect your whole body. SPF ratings are significantly decreased if you don’t apply enough. Most people only apply 1/3 of the sunscreen they need. Make sure you use enough and don’t neglect hard to reach and easily forgotten places like your ears, feet and upper back.

Aerie: When is the best time to apply sunscreen?

Bryan: Anytime your out in the sun is a good time to apply sunscreen, but again, don’t forget to reapply every few hours.

Shop the Sun Bum collection now at Aerie and at Aerie.com!

Aerie: Why is using SPF lip balm important?

Bryan: Your lips get burn in the same way your skin gets burnt. So why wouldn’t you want to protect your kisser

Aerie: Which Sun Bum product is your favorite?

Bryan: I love my SPF 30 Face Stick. It’s easy to use goes on clear and is travel friendly.

 Thanks for the inside scoop, Bryan!

Be sure to pick up and pack this surf-ready SPF
so you can keep the fun going all day long!

xo,

Aerie

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Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

We’re inspired each day by the stories you share that show how you’re #AerieREAL. This week we’re sharing the story of 17-year-old Olivia McMillan, an extremely talented and determined young woman who stands for body image, beauty, and more as she breaks the pageantry mold as Miss America’s Outstanding Teen (the little sister to Miss America).

A high school student currently residing in Warner Robins, Georgia. Olivia spends each day balancing her studies, practicing her singing (she’s an unbelievable opera singer), representing young women, volunteering, and applying to colleges. Despite her successes, Olivia faced many challenges growing up and it’s the way she faced them that inspires us today.  Read on below to learn more about Olivia and to follow her journey!

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Olivia sporting her #AerieREAL tee at school.

Aerie: Hi, Olivia! We’re so excited to talk with you. Can you tell us a little bit more about your background? 

Olivia: Like many of you, I’ve faced various challenges in my life. As a biracial baby, I was adopted by white parents in Georgia, and so was my brother. At one point I turned to emotional eating to help me cope with the special needs of my brother and the challenges it posed to my family. Singing became my refuge. I joined a local university’s children’s choir, sang with the youth from my church, and began taking classical voice lessons with a private instructor. I also discovered pageants as a wonderful opportunity to showcase my talent and develop poise and stage presence…and I was fortunate to be awarded $25,500 in scholarship money for my college education by Miss America’s Outstanding Teen!

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Olivia, Miss America’s Oustanding Teen and and Kira Kazantsev, Miss America. – Photo by Allen Dye

Aerie: What does #AerieReal mean to you?
Olivia: I believe #AerieReal is necessary and relevant for teens all over the world, and it’s something I’ve been waiting for, for a long time. As a 5’10” biracial girl who has struggled with weight her entire life, it was hard for me to look at magazines with seemingly perfect models on the covers. I told myself that that is the way I was supposed to look, as if that form of perfection was the goal. But for me and so many others, that “goal” is unattainable. The #AerieReal campaign features beautiful and confident women who are comfortable in their own skin and refuse to be retouched to live up to society’s ideal of perfection. It is inspiring to finally be able to look at models and feel like I can relate to them. Teens everywhere can now say, “Oh, that model kind of looks like me.” They are perfect in their imperfections, giving girls everywhere the confidence to be themselves and to embrace their bodies. That is beautiful.

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Aerie: What makes you #AerieReal?
Olivia: There are many stereotypes attached to the “pageant girl” image and because of them, I thought I could never be successful in pageants. After winning my local pageant as a size 16, many thought that I was too large to compete on the state level. I was even told I was “fat.” At 16 years old, this was really hard to hear. It made me take a good look at myself, and I realized that I wasn’t fat, but I wasn’t healthy either. I made the decision to work hard to get fit and become healthy for myself. I lost 50 pounds over the last year, and competed in my state pageant as a size 8-10. I was honored to win Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen, and then I went on to win the national pageant competing against 52 other young women. I refused to let anyone tell me who I should be or how I should look. I took control of my health and my body, and was able to break the pageant stereotype. I was myself through and through, and to me that is what #AerieReal is all about!

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Olivia and her girlfriends, Laura, Kayla and Hannah hanging out on spring break.

Aerie: Where do you see yourself in three years?
Olivia: In three years, I see myself in college being a normal student. I have had a pageant title all four years of high school. It has been a blessing, but also a lot of hard work and a great deal of responsibility. It will be nice to relax and focus on school and friends. I plan to be a vocal performance major in college so it will also be pretty amazing getting to do what I love every day!

Aerie: What is your life motto?
Olivia: My life motto is “Beeee yourself.” This is a quote from the genie in Disney’s “Aladdin,” and my Dad has been saying this to me since I was a little kid. It’s definitely helped me in my experience with pageants. I used to try to be what I thought everyone else wanted. That didn’t work for me. I am a biracial girl who is adopted, has a brother with special needs, and has lost 50 pounds. I used to try to cover up my story because it made me different, but I soon realized it made me special. I learned that if I was going to be successful in pageants or life in general, I needed to be myself because everyone else is already taken!

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Olivia and her BFF McKenzie at the Grand Canyon.

Aerie: What is your biggest accomplishment thus far?
Olivia: My biggest accomplishment is definitely winning Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. The organization is committed to helping communities, and each titleholder has a personal platform. Mine is the Sibling Support Project, which helps the brothers and sisters of children with special needs. I’m also a National Teen Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. I’ve had the chance to meet many incredible people, perform, speak on behalf of the MAOTeen organization and support so many important causes.
It was a long journey, but I’m so happy that I could pave the way for other girls who felt like they couldn’t succeed in pageants. I got an e-mail from a girl shortly after I won and she told me that she had never competed in pageants because she struggled with her weight. She told me that she saw me win and it inspired her to compete in her very first local pageant. I am so humbled and honored to be able to inspire others to follow their dreams. I am proud that I broke the mold of what people have always said a pageant winner should be. I am even more proud that this has given other girls the confidence to go out there and do the same!

Aerie: Do you have a role model? If so who is he/she and why does he/she inspire you?
Olivia: My role model is Kate Winslet. Not only is she an incredible actress, but she has remained so humble and grounded even in the face of huge success and stardom. She encourages women everywhere to love themselves and to love their bodies. She struggled with weight in her youth and is now a healthy weight for her. She says that she will never change who she is to fit other people’s expectations. That is so inspiring to me. I applaud her realness and her promotion of self-love. In a society where size 2 is expected, it is so beautiful to see a woman in Hollywood preaching about the importance of being healthy for your own body. She is amazing.

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Aerie: Do you have a favorite Aerie item?
Olivia: I LOVE Aerie Sweatpants! I am a very laid back kind of girl, and when I am not making pageant appearances my style is usually pretty relaxed. Comfort is key for me, and Aerie sweatpants are so soft. They are definitely a “must have” for me!

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Olivia with two of her best friends since childhood after winning Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen.

Aerie: What are your three things you always have with you?
Olivia: Lip balm, my best friends, and hand sanitizer (I’m kind of a germaphobe!)

Aerie: What’s your favorite song to sing?
Olivia: I am classically trained, so I love to sing classical songs when I perform, like “Nessun Dorma” or “O Mio Babbino Caro.” But when I’m just jamming in my car with friends, I love to sing/scream out “All About that Bass” whenever it comes on the radio.

Aerie:  If you could pick any song to be your own theme song, what would it be?
Olivia: My theme song would be “Just Fine” by Mary J. Blige. When my brother was diagnosed with Autism and bipolar disorder, my parents brought in a family therapist who introduced us to this song. It is all about loving yourself and loving your life no matter the cards you are dealt. “See I wouldn’t change my life, my life’s just fine.”

Aerie: Do you have a secret talent, skill or quirk? Do tell!
Olivia: I love to do impersonations or accents. My favorite one to do is an Australian accent. I even convinced a classmate that I was a foreign exchange student from Australia!

Thank you, Olivia! Inspired by Olivia’s story too? Follow her on Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date on her adventures!

xoxo,

Aerie

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Wear America x Wit & Whistle

WearAmerica_Header_Wit&Whistle

Please introduce yourself, your business name, and where you’re from.
I’m Amanda Wright, the girl behind Wit & Whistle. I design and illustrate witty greeting cards and whistle-worthy paper goods. My husband and I live in a quirky 1970s A-frame house in Cary, North Carolina with two dogs, three chickens, and an absurd quantity of houseplants.

witandwhistle_atwork

You have been painting since you were a child, what sparked this interest at such a young age?
I’ve been at it so long that I can’t even remember what first motivated me to start creating. I believe my urge to create is a God-given gift, so it was natural for me to start making art as early as I could. I’m sure I was hooked from the moment I experienced the intoxicating aroma of my first box of crayons.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I’m inspired by my love of drawing and my desire to indulge in light-hearted creativity. My goal for Wit & Whistle has always been to create a line of products that are both funny and beautiful. I leave plenty of room for frivolity in my designs, because creating is so much more enjoyable if you don’t take yourself too seriously. I want my work to feel like play!

What does the day in the life of Amanda Wright entail?
After breakfast I make a cup of tea and head to my studio. I have a short commute, just a walk down the stairs to the basement. In the morning I ship orders, reply to emails, send invoices, and reorder supplies—all the necessary but boring stuff. I try to reserve my afternoons and evenings for creative things like working on new designs, taking photos, brainstorming, and writing blog posts.

What was the first product you started selling?
I first tried to sell sets of block-printed snowflake cards around the holidays back in 2008. I painstakingly hand-printed each card in metallic silver ink. They were lovely, but no one bought a single one! So, I went back to my sketchbook and came up with a few witty Valentine’s Day cards. I had more success (and much more fun) when I started incorporating my sense of humor into my work.

Educate us on your design process and making methods, what it’s like and why do you love it?
My design process involves spending a lot of quality time with my sketchbook. I usually curl up on the couch with my dogs while I draw. Once I finish a pen and ink illustration for a new product, I scan it into my computer to make layout adjustments and add color. I love all the little imperfections in my work that make it obvious each one of my designs was drawn by hand.

witandwhistle_process1Amanda’s sketches coming to life! Jotter above and Spiral Notebook below.

witandwhistle_process3

If you had one product to describe as your signature item, which would it be and why?
My “uterus” birthday card is my signature item. Slightly inappropriate greeting cards have always been my best sellers, and that particular card has been around almost since Wit & Whistle began. I think it’s the perfect blend of funny and awkward while still being pretty—just the way I like it.

We love your humorous approach on your cards and prints, do you consider yourself a ‘jokester’?
I don’t think of myself as a jokester, I just have a strange sense of humor. In the real world my “humorous approach” is usually just me saying weird things and getting strange looks from my friends, hah.

Describe your decorating style inside your home.
I like calming, neutral colors with interesting textures like metallic gold, exposed brick, and rustic wood. I prefer bright spaces with lots of natural light and a mix of old vintage finds with newer pieces. I have a weakness for anything mid-century modern. Above all, a house isn’t a home unless it’s brimming with houseplants. If I could live in a greenhouse I would be happy!

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
My coffee table is my favorite handmade possession. My dad, mom, sister and I spent a day piecing together the herringbone tabletop from reclaimed barn wood. We finished it off with hairpin legs and carved our names on the bottom. It’s gorgeous, and whenever I look at it reminds me of how awesome my family is. I even wrote a blog post about it!

Tell us something surprising about you that no one would guess!
Running Wit & Whistle is my dream job, but if I had to change careers I’d love to own a small zoo. For now I’ll just have to focus my zoo-keeping energy on my dogs and chickens.

What is the best advice you would give to designers starting their own business?
Whether you feel ready or not, just jump in. If I waited to start my business until I had everything figured out, Wit & Whistle wouldn’t exist. The most important (and most difficult) thing is to take that first step and get going. Just worry about one day at a time, and figure out the rest as you go along. Baby steps!

Check out Wit & Whistle on ae.com, and tell us which jotter or notebook is your favorite in the comments below!

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Follow Her Friday: Ali Mitton

Cue the cold nights, the cozy knits, and snowball fights! This Holiday we partnered with a new photographer, who just so happens to be our first Aerie REAL girl photographer, to help us prepare for one of our favorite gifting seasons. Aerie girls, meet Ali Mitton. This Gold Coast Australian native added just the touch of magic, simplicity, and elegance to make our favorite cozy products come to life. Read on below to learn more about Ali, her favorite parts of the shoot, and her thoughts about 100% not retouching.

Follow Her Friday: Ali Mitton

Aerie: What does #AerieREAL mean to you?

AM: It means honesty and confidence!

Aerie: What’s your favorite Holiday recipe?

AM: Christmas in Australia is summer! So I love barbecue seafood and fresh salads. :)

Follow Her Friday: Ali Mitton

Follow Her Friday: Ali Mitton

Aerie: What’s your favorite Holiday tradition?

AM: If I’m in Australia its swimming and eating all day, and running around on the beach. If I’m in America its making cookies with my boyfriend’s family and sitting by the fireplace.

Aerie: Did you have a favorite Aerie item from the Holiday line?

AM: I love all the fabulous Christmas print socks. :)

Follow Her Friday: Ali Mitton

Aerie: Cute! We love those, especially with winter boots! What was your favorite scene to shoot?

AM: All our snow scenes were super fun!

Follow Her Friday: Ali Mitton

Aerie: How do you feel not retouching the girls? 

AM: I love not retouching the girls. They don’t need it. No girls actually do. It’s just an industry expectation, a bad habit I love breaking. These girls look amazing without any retouching.

Follow Her Friday: Ali Mitton

 Aerie: What is your favorite camera to shoot with?

AM: A 5D MK III.

Follow Her Friday: Ali Mitton

Aerie: What do you believe not retouching means to young women?

AM: I think retouching has made us place unrealistic expectations on ourselves. We are all trying to live up to something that is not real. Retouching is standard in my line of work, its sad but true. I’m really excited to work with Aerie who is breaking that rule.

Aerie: How would you describe your personal style?  

AM: Relaxed, comfortable, and minimal. :)

Follow Her Friday: Ali Mitton

See more from Ali on Aerie’s Instagram, in your local Aerie store, and at Aerie.com!

Also, don’t forget to follow Ali now on Instagram.

xoxo,

Aerie

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How To: Style Your Leggings 3 Ways

It’s no secret that we’re obsessed with our leggings. Why? Because not only are they ultra comfortable, but also super versatile. We asked Allexis, the blogger behind Life of a Coy Fish, to show us how she styles our Printed Legging and the results couldn’t be cuter.

Meet Allexis: 
Hi, I’m Allexis, an adventurous, book-loving, running addict, fashion obsessed, 22 year-old and the blogger behind Life of a Coy Fish. The inspiration behind the three looks I styled with Aerie’s fab Printed Legging was simple. I wanted to create three easy looks to fit all different kinds of occasions to show that leggings don’t just have to be a lounge wear item!

How To: Style Your Leggings 3 Ways

How To: Style Your Leggings 3 Ways

What inspired Allexis’ looks:
The first look is all about a stylish yet casual way to wear leggings for a night out exploring the town! The key is to add more dressed up details like a leather jacket while adding color & texture with a denim top and bright accessories like these gold slip-ons and pink beanie!

How To: Style Your Leggings 3 Ways

How To: Style Your Leggings 3 Ways

The next look is all about those lazy days off spent running errands or for those days when we’re rushing. The key to this look is simplicity and really allowing the cute print of the leggings to do all of the work! Just add a soft colored sweater, minimal accessories, cute/simple crossbody, and some glittery slip-ons and you’re good to go!

How To: Style Your Leggings 3 Ways

How To: Style Your Leggings 3 Ways

For the final look I wanted to stay true to the purpose of leggings and do a stylized yoga look. When it comes to cute yoga outfits, it’s all about the prints. The crazier the better, so these leggings were spot on. Not to mention, that they’re so easy to move through postures in!

Need more style inspiration? Check out our Trend Tuesday: The Romantic Lace Bralette post now! xo

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