How to Ball on a Budget

If you’re anything like me, you may be suffering from a minor post-grad depression. Nothing major, just missing all of your friends, your much nicer apartment, your parents money, cheaper alcohol, etc. Lucky for you, I’m here to give you my top tips on how to ball on a budget while still enjoying the finer things in life.

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  1. Makeup- This is one of my favorite tricks, considering I’m a major Sephora junkie. If you’re anything like me, you may be a bit of a snob when it comes to your makeup collection. My favorite thing to do when it comes to makeup is to get all of the free samples I can! When I go to Sephora I ask for any free samples of foundation, concealer, mascara, etc. that I can get my hands on. I also LOVE getting free skincare samples, especially of the really expensive stuff that the Kardashians use that I could never actually afford IRL. This Lancer Skincare that I have gotten samples of I actually loved enough to purchase. I know, I’m insane.
  2. Drinks- TBH this is actually terrible but I have pulled this a few times. Do you have an old/current fling, bumble or tinder guy that you would be willing to stick out a conversation or two for some free drank? Was your paycheck slacking this week, but you’d like to be able to drink more than the one cheap beer you can afford? Well, you better believe I’ll be messaging a few matches to see who’s willing to buy this girl a marg. (Side note: I’ll be posting a Story Time: Bumble Edition blog post if you love a good & hilarious bad date story).
  3. Food- This is really, really sad, but the food in New York is frick frackin’ expensive. My go-to has been to eat at home/pack most of my meals. I have also been doing almost all of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, with my total being $50-$75 for 1-2 weeks worth of food, which is awesome! I also freeze a lot of my meat (mostly hot dogs and chicken lol) and then just pull it out and defrost it the night before I want it. This helps me to not waste food, which I am usually totally guilty of. I will also sometimes get fruit from the fruit carts outside of my apartment, where you can actually negotiate prices from time to time (I once got a bunch of bananas for $1!) But TBH food is of utmost importance, so if you have more advice on how to get some good cheap food in NYC, then let a girl know in the comments below.
  4. The Living Situation- In this blog post I talked about apartment hunting in New York City and the process I went through. The one thing that I absolutely love about the apartment that I am currently living in is the fact that we have so many free amenities! I have a doorman, concierge, rooftop, lounge, movie theater, gym, and classes all available in my building, free of charge for residents. Take advantage of the amenities that your living situation provides you! My favorite part of my building is the gym. I save so much money not having to pay for a gym membership, and we also have free classes in our gym! But if you don’t have access to a gym or classes, I would highly recommend this Kayla Itsines BBG workout program. You may be able to find this program on Pinterest for free I’ve heard… but the best part about it is that you can do these workouts anywhere. I’ve done these workouts at the gym, in my bedroom, living room, backyard, etc. Also take advantage of YouTube! There are so many free workouts available on there that you can most definitely find something that will work for you.
  5. Travel– Between going to school in South Carolina and moving to New York but being from Ohio, I have traveled quite a bit over the last few years, and have really learned a thing or two about how to save money on flights! Lately I have been booking Frontier flights since they are the cheapest I can find. I will generally book two separate one way trips instead of a round trip (almost always cheaper in my opinion) and then I’ll only bring a personal item (Frontier charges you for a carry on) but I can usually fit a few outfits into a backpack or large purse and I have clothes I keep at home as well! As for traveling abroad, my best friend and I went on a Europe trip through Costco, which I personally think saved us so much time and money! I would highly recommend checking out Costco vacation packages here.

And those were my top ways to ball on a budget! Do you have any other tips on how to get cheap and free things? Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

it’s time!


It is officially time to start my blogging journey! For the past 5+ years I have wanted to start a blog, but have never had the motivation, time, support, resources, etc. Well, guess what? I currently have all of the above, and I am out of excuses! I just graduated from college, am currently unemployed (so I have time), my parents are helping me in whatever path I choose to take (I have support), and I have a computer and the internet (resources). The only factor that I was missing to start this blog was the motivation part. Then I read THIS BOOK.

This book has not only inspired me to write this post and start a blog, but it has inspired me to have a completely different outlook on life. Today, I have made the decision to live my absolute best life possible. And there are a few ways that I am going to do this.

  1. Dream the Dream- As the CEO of my life, I have made the executive decision to dream a little bigger and set some freakin goals for myself already. Blogging has been a goal of mine for so long, and guess what? It takes about 5 minutes to start a blog. So here we go. Some other goals of mine include moving to New York, working in fashion and beauty in some way, bringing out my inner creative, and eventually becoming an entrepreneur and starting up my own thing. I don’t know what that “thing” is yet, and that’s ok. Let’s start small and see where things take us.
  2. Positivity- I have decided to start looking at life a little bit brighter and happier. My favorite quote from the book was this: “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” Damn Lao Tzu, givin me the feels tonight !! I love this quote because it reminds me that I don’t have to focus on anything but the here and now, and that’s pretty cool.
  3. Connecting with Inner Me- No, this isn’t what you think it is, get your mind out of the gutter. “Inner me” refers to my higher self, or my subconscious mind. We don’t have to get all hippy dippy here, but when I meditate and listen to my inner self and higher being, I get some pretty solid answers that seem to make more sense than all of the blabber that is usually running through my brain.

So that’s all I’ve got for now! If you want to connect on wordpress or follow my journey, I would love to stay in touch. If you have any life advice, let’s connect. Or if you want to bask in our unknowingness together, that works for me too. Let’s do this.


I am so inspired by photographer Erik Johansson’s manipulated photography. From commercial to artistic photos, he truly captures not only moments, but how he sees the world from his own perspective. His photos also have a sort of fantastical, out-of-this world element to them that I haven’t seen in a photographer’s work before. He is so creative is his work that he turns a photograph into a sort of work of art that I’ve never seen before. I would love to do more research on how he manipulates his photos in this way…he must be a photoshop genius! I know this doesn’t pertain much to the photography we do in class, but I would love to get into photography like this and learn how to manipulate photographs in such a way! Definitely a new photography goal of mine.

final food series

Today I wanted to talk a little about my final food series! I feel like I am doing okay in terms of how my series is coming along, but I am still a little worried about cohesion among the different pictures. I need to go out and buy some more fabrics and figure out what other foods I really want to photograph. One challenge I am having is actually getting beautiful food. As of right now I have gotten it from the most random places including Public and Ihop…but I really still want to get a beautiful plate of food photographed in here! Some of my inspiration has stemmed from Instagrams including Buzzfeed food, FoodNetwork Magazine, and of course Garden and Gun. I am hoping the final series comes together okay but I am stressing a little bit about how it is all going to come together in the end! Just wanted to talk it out a little and figure out some of my challenges!

Photo series by Olivia Lagaly taken at the University of South Carolina photo studio in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. This series was taken using an overhead butterfly lighting setup on a studio product table. This is part two of a series taken for multiple covers for Garden and Gun magazine.
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Photo series by Olivia Lagaly taken at the University of South Carolina photo studio in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. This series was taken using an overhead butterfly lighting setup on a studio product table. This is part one of a series taken for multiple covers for Garden and Gun magazine.


Today I had an interview for a photography internship with a beauty company that I’m a huge fan of! This got me looking into inspirational beauty photographers, and I stumbled upon Jamie Nelson once again. Not only does she create photos, but she enhances them by combining multiple shots and making mini moving videos out of a burst of photos. I love it! Her portfolio is also awesome and definitely something that I would strive for. She has worked with Vogue, Maybelline, Cosmo, Allure and many others. Some tips I read from an article by her are that lighting is absolutely key in presenting makeup in the way that the company wants to portray it. It needs to look super pigmented and really stand out. I love the way she also combines different textures and filter-like looks to her photographs. She has a lot of old-fashioned looking photographs and it really intrigues me as to how she gets them to look like that! Here is the link to her portfolio- I want to be her!



garden & gun


I am starting to think ahead to my garden & gun shoot for next week. I want to do a “breakfast in bed” themed shoot and am really inspired by a lot of the french toast and fruit photo set up I’ve been seeing. One thing I really like about the blueberry photo is the syrup dripping down onto the food, I would LOVE to get an action shot like this for one of my photographs.

bed I am also thinking of bringing my comforter to the studio and creating a “breakfast in bed” sort of vibe to the set up itself. I absolutely love styling and setting up shoots so I think that this will be a really fun one. Some challenges I perceive are not being able to focus on all of the food (since I always have focusing issues) and my white comforter possibly looking too white or blown out in the studio. We shall see how this shoot turns out! I’m very excited about it.

studio work


This post is for the week of March 27th (I am working ahead because I am going to be out of town!) Today I took studio portraits of Margo. First of all, she is a great model. She knew exactly what poses to do, what angles made her look good, etc. She made my job so easy! Secondly, she is awesome to photograph. Her hair showed up looking so cool on camera, and I loved how she wore a shirt to match her hair! Also, she does archery (how cool?) So I think for the career portraits this really will make her stand out among the others in the class. The only issue that I really had with this project was that the lights showed up well on camera and the lighting looked good, but once I uploaded them onto my computer things started looking a little duller. I guess I’m still learning the balance between overexposure and underexposure.


This post is for the week of March 27th (I am getting these done awhile since I will be out of town!) Today I am really inspired by this beauty photography by photographer Jamie Nelson. I have often dreamed about photographing for a fashion or beauty magazine, so when I stumbled upon her work I was really inspired and in love! First of all, her lighting is impeccable. For some reason I can never get the lighting in the studio at the J school to look up to par with lighting like this. I get that it’s probably mostly user error and I’m still learning, but it is sometimes frustrating when I want to get a really good picture and they don’t turn out half as good as beautiful, glowing pictures like these. Anyways, besides that I just really like the way she styles her photographs. They are a little quirky and a little edgy, but they have beautiful lighting and really cool messages as well. I’m very impressed!

new beginnings

I recently created a new portfolio of just my work that I have done in my two photo classes this year. It amazes me how far I’ve come in terms of photography from just last semester to this semester! I had never even shot on manual before this semester, and now I am taking photographs almost everyday. I am considering starting my own small photography business. Right now, I do free graduation pictures for friends on campus, but I am thinking of making business cards and a logo, and actually starting to charge a little bit. I come from a very entrepreneurial family so I have always wanted to start my own business anyway! I can picture myself doing graduation pictures and wedding photos. Since I graduate in a year, I will have some time to start up my business! We will see where I end up, it will sure be an interesting journey!

local shoots

Today I did a photoshoot for a local boutique. I was so proud of these particular pictures that I took. The lighting looks absolutely beautiful, it was actually perfect (and all natural lighting!) It was around 6 o’clock and for some reason this particular lighting looked so beautiful, I want to shoot in lighting like this more often! I read that the best time to shoot is supposedly at sunrise or sunset? I’m not sure, but I am super proud of these photographs. For 499 I am struggling figuring out what I want to do for my final project since the photos didn’t really work out, so I am thinking of maybe doing a fashion shoot instead, since that seems to be more my forte. We shall see!