Our first feature on the Glam Girls Collective comes from the sweet Shawna Leeann Rivera from Shawna Leeann. This San Diego beauty features beautiful photography on her blog and keeps it real about investing in quality clothing over fast-fashion. She’s also a barre instructor–one of my favorite workouts! Check out our interview below.
Tell us about your blog and how you got started! What inspires you?
I first started blogging in 2010 as an online diary of sorts to keep track of miscellaneous musings –most notably my (abysmal) dating life. In 2012, through the counsel and assistance of a tech-savvy friend, I purchased my own domain and Shawna Leeann was born. For the next three years, I continued to use the space primarily as a place to hold my personal essays, while also occasionally incorporating my love for fashion and personal style. On a whim, I began posting my “daily outfit,” which at the time was nothing more than an iPhone photo shot in my closet door’s full-length mirror, but to my surprise, it was well-received. I was shocked as anyone to learn that my readers actually wanted to know what I was wearing each day! It wasn’t until October of 2015 that I made the decision to transition Shawna Leeann from a space for my personal musings to a fashion and lifestyle blog focusing on my love for finding and celebrating one’s personal style. Thankfully, my dear husband jumped right on board with the endeavor and has become my personal photographer. He’s the mastermind behind all of my photographs!
One thing I am continually inspired by is the concept of a capsule wardrobe. For a time they got very trendy but I think it takes so much discipline and creativity to cultivate one well. While I’m not certain I could subscribe to the capsule philosophy in its purest form, I have recently tried to employ many of its principles to my shopping practices. Other than denim (which I’m not able to wear at my office), I do my best to purchase items I know I can remix in both my professional and weekend wardrobes. For its versatility, I tend to stick to a neutral color palette and before I purchase any item, I mentally pair it with at least three things in my current closet. This practice helps me avoid buying things just to buy them –or worse yet, just because they’re on sale. Now that I’m in my 30’s, I am starting to find myself willing to spend a little bit more money on a better made item that I know I’ll get a ton of wear out of rather than a piece of disposable clothing that may only last one cycle in the washing machine.
Ultimately my goal in sharing my personal style is to make others realize that it doesn’t take a celebrity-sized closet to look stylish –only a little ingenuity, a little creativity, and a commitment to remixing your pieces for every aspect of your busy life.
Who are your role models and those you look up to?
My mom is and always will be my hero. She is my best friend and the most generous person I know. She has been my biggest cheerleader in every endeavor I’ve pursued and constantly inspires me to challenge myself by chasing new goals. Aside from my mother, I’d have to say Shauna Niequist, author of one of my favorite books, Bittersweet, is also someone I really admire. Aside from her clear literary talent, I love her entire outlook on life. She made me realize that there is beauty in being your most authentic self –flaws and all. One of my favorite quotes of hers inspires me to find the best in every situation –““When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”
As far as bloggers go, I really look up to Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glam. I have been following her blog for years, back when it was just a hobby as she finished up college. Now she has over a million followers on Instagram! What she and her husband have accomplished in such a short time period is truly inspiring. You can tell they work extremely hard at creating content that is not only informative but visually stimulating. Their photography is hands down the best in the business. While I love Julia’s girlie girl style, I also love following her and Thomas’ trips around the world. My husband and I joke that we’d like to be them when we grow up.
What does women empowering women mean to you and how do you want to do your part?
When I started blogging, I had no idea what I was doing. Now seven years later, I still feel that way, just on a slightly lesser scale. Everything I have learned has been through trial and error, at the hands of Google, or most importantly, from the sweet advice of a blogger friend who most-likely once made the same mistake. Despite the clichés that girl-dominated fields are filled with cattiness, I have found quite the opposite to be true. There’s an undercurrent of “paying it forward” that I find in working with fellow bloggers. Most ladies remember what it was like when they first started out and how hard or discouraging the hustle could be. It has been so refreshing to find ladies with much larger blog and social media followings happily collaborate with me in the sole interest of having me succeed. I only hope on continuing to pay it forward when the opportunity arises for me.
How has beauty or personal style had an impact on your life, and what does it mean to you?
I wore a uniform for most of my adolescence so I feel like I didn’t really start the journey of finding my personal style until college. And even then, it was mostly just a rotating system of comfortable t-shirts and jeans. When I got my first real job at the age of 20, I knew I didn’t want to be another suit-wearing professional. I wanted to find a work style that still allowed for my personality to shine through. This may or may not have resulted in a few questionable years of sporting oversized flower pins (a la Miss Carrie Bradshaw) and unexpected color combinations but I look back on those times with fondness (and a good ol’ chuckle) because they allowed for me to experiment with clothes until I ultimately found a style that suits me best.
At the end of the day, I subscribe to the mantra that “life’s too short to wear boring clothes” and I truly believe that. It takes just as much effort to throw on an outfit that makes you feel meh about yourself as it does to slip into something that makes you feel like a million bucks. There’s no reason that you can’t feel like a supermodel every time you get dressed. The key is about finding clothes that fit and flatter your body just as it is (because what it is is amazing!). Like many girls, I’ve struggled with distorted body image in my past. One way I’ve been able to overcome those feelings of self-doubt is by honing in on a personal style that celebrates what I like to think are the best parts of me. And for the record, that style is comprised mostly of frilled-sleeve blouses, wide-leg pants, midi-length skirts, and a palette of black, grey, white, and blue.
What are your “desert island” must have beauty products?
Having battled acne throughout my teens and young adult life, I feel like my beauty routine has evolved over the years. One staple that has not wavered in my makeup bag, however, is my L’oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara in Carbon Black. I have used it since high school and it is still the best mascara I’ve ever found. Like half of America, I’m a huge fan of Glossier’s Boy Brow brow gel (I use the brown shade) and am happiest in a simple baby pink lip gloss, like Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Baby Doll. My make-up artist for my wedding turned me onto Tata Harper products and while they’re a splurge, the Resurfacing Mask is a GAME. CHANGER. Since my skin is so sensitive, I try to use all-natural products and I’ve found the Acure line (sold at Sprouts and Target!) is great at keeping my skin nourished and happy. I also believe that there isn’t anything coconut oil can’t resolve.
Find Shawna here