BootayBag: The Ultimate Subscription

Lately I’ve been looking into different ways to interact with my community and give back to the world, even if it’s by doing something small. There’s so many worthy causes, that I sometimes get overwhelmed by where to turn. I know, I know, #FirstWorldProbs, right?

I kept seeing BootayBag posts allll over the place on Instagram. Literally, in any given insta sesh, I’d come across at least 5 posts with a photo that included cute undies and the “Hey Babe” bag. V cute. Not gonna lie, that’s initially what caught my eye. So I clicked on someone’s bio link to learn more about it, and ended up really liking what I saw.

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For $12 a month (+ free shipping!) you get two new parents of underwear- you choose the style – sent to you. That’s actually the same as Victoria’s Secret but without the annoying salespeople and Angel posters where you see Adriana and Gigi silently judging you! Anyways, for the $12, you get 2 pair of cute undies, and you end up giving back!

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Per their website: “BootayBag is a philanthropic based company through our subscribers support! Whenever someone posts a picture with the hashtag #undermatters on social media, BootayBag donates $1 to the Melanoma Foundation! We want to raise awareness that everyone has their own battle, but that does not mean you have to fight alone!”

So there it is ladies- look good + feel good. What could be better? Click here to order your first pair now! BootayBag Subscription – don’t forget to post a selfie and hashtag #undermatters !

Do you have any other services that you use that also give back? Let me know! I’d love to check them out and possibly feature them 🙂

xo, AJ

How to Become #HairGoals AF

Considering my handle is The Laughing Blonde, it really comes as no surprise that I’m a fan of my hair, right? I’ve written about my struggs with my hair in a previous post. In case you’re lazy and don’t wanna read it, here’s a quick recap: I have pretty long hair that I’ve been color-treating for at about a decade, and up until recently I was freaking out because I thought it was falling out at an alarming rate and I was f*cking terrified I’d wake up one day with a giant patch missing. I asked both my doctor and my hair stylist if she was concerned and after giving me the shadiest eye roll ever (stylist, not doctor), she said that I was being dramatic and that my hair was actually just breaking, not falling out (p.s., uhm yeah that didn’t comfort me that much more, because now I’ll just have random spikes all over my head??

So I’ve been on this hair care regimen the last few months to do whatever I can to keep my hair as healthy as possible. Within reason, of course, because there’s now way in hell I’m giving up these blonde locks any time soon, that’s for sure. I can be all, “help me, I’m poor!” but still manage to find $225 to shell out for the ride color mix and toner, ya feel me ladies? #Priorities.

I would be remiss to not point out that although I’m forreal confident that the products I’m talking about in this post actually do positively impact my hair, the best thing I did for it was get it cut. I was shedding like a dog in August at one point. Once I remembered that it had been like 11 months since my last trim and that my split ends were practically crying to be hacked up, I made an appointment, got a cut, and my hair immediately looked + felt healthier. That said, here are my current favorite hair products that I use on a daily (or weekly) basis:

  1. Serum

The winner is: Kerastase Initialiste: Advanced Scalp and Hair Concentrates — I can’t lie to you guys, this is not cheap. Nothing Kerastase produces ever is. I know that they say, “the best things in life are free.” Well that might be true, but the best hair products typically freaking expensive. HOWEVER. You need to know that it actually works. When I was in tears with my stylist telling her that about my balding fears, she told me that this would fix it right up. She was SO right! After I take a shower and comb out my hair, I put 4-6 drops of this on my scalp and massage it in.Just remember that it only really works if you use it every time you wash your hair. You’ll start seeing results in about two months!

Kerastase Advanced Scalp and Hair Concentrates: Amazon, $44

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2. Dry Shampoo

Who remember LC from Laguna and The Hills? I mean, who could forget the intro set to Hilary Duff’s “Come Clean” when LC licked whipped cream off on Stephen’s nose?! Iconic. Anyways, LC grew up and is now Lauren Conrad: Insanely Talented/ World Renowned Lady Boss. WELL. Her personal hair guru came out with a product line at Target with all these fantastic hair products that everybody in my office was dying over, so naturally I had to order because lol what’s a savings account?? TFG for my lack of self control, because I finally found my favorite dry shampoo EVER! This one just actually makes my hair look clean instead of looking like I sprayed some random sh*t in it. How many days is too many days to substitute actual shampoo for dry shampoo? The limit does not exist, amirite?

Kristin Ess Style Reviving Dry Shampoo: Target, $14

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3. Shampoo/ Conditioner

This right here is a dead tie. Blondies, you’ll understand the struggle. Initially, my favorite shampoo/conditioner combo is Function of Beauty. I wrote an entire post about it last month – this company let’s you customize your own products based on your #HairGoals. You can even choose the color and scent you’d like! It’s amazing, and I still firmly believe that it has changed my hair for the better. If you have any color hair besides blonde, I will recommend this stuff until the day I die (or until some research scientist comes out and tells me that it’s ruining my hair, then I’m suing for $10MM, minimum. Girl’s gotta pay bills, ya feel?). BTW, they use a referral program. I highly recommend that you read my whole post on this stuff and if you like it and order it through my link, you’ll get $5 off your order. You’re welcome!

Ok so now onto the struggle for me. I recently started using BLNDN, which is a company that caters exclusively to blondes. You know me, send me a product that highlights my highlights (see what I did there 😉 ) and I’m all for it! Anybody who has color treated blonde hair knows that Purple Shampoo is what you should be using. I’m not a chemist, but it has something to do with the way the purple reacts with your hair to make sure it doesn’t get brassy and gross. The first thing you should know is that I noticed immediate results after the first time I used the shampoo. My blonde was a little brighter than it had been before, noticeably so. After weeks of using this now, I’m still insanely happy with the product. So what I’ve been doing is using the Function of Beauty conditioner each wash, and alternating between the BLNDN and Function of Beauty shampoos. My hair has never looked so good! PS- For $15 off your order, use the code “laughingblonde” at checkout!

Function of Beauty, $25          BLNDN Brightening Shampoo, $28

 

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4. Smoothing Cream

Once again, we have a tie.My typical hair style is using a curling wand on my hair, brushing it out so it’s more natural looking, and then using a smoothing cream on it to tame the frizz and make it look like #IWokeUpLikeThis ya know? For years, I’ve been using Garnier Fructis Anti-Humidity Smoothing Milk. It. Is. Incredible. I use a drop the size of a quarter on my dry hair after I’ve brushed it out, and it always looks good! And I love the smell, too! This is one of those products that if someone said, “you’re trapped on a dessert island and you can only bring one hair product, what do you choose?” I would say this stuff. It’s a drugstore product and it works, so there’s really very little downside there.

I’ve just started switching in the BLNDN Balancing Leave-In Cream into my hair care routine. I just feel like ok, if I’m willing to pay $200+ every few months to get the right shade of blonde, then I should probably forgo a few of those late-night burritos that I DON’T NEED to spend the money on something I do need, which are products designed for blonde hair. The BLNDN cream is just as good as the Garnier one, and it’s meant to protect + preserve the color that I want, which is why I’ve recently made the switch. If your’re trying to squeeze an extra few weeks between appointments, this is def the way to go. Use code “laughingblonde” for $15 off your order!

Garnier Fructis Anti-Humidity Smoothing Milk: Target, $3.42            BLNDN Balancing Leave-In Cream, $19

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5. Brush.

Trick question, because I use a comb! I have done a disturbing amount of damage to my hair with brushes. I was so pumped when the Wet Brush came out a couple of years ago, because it seemed like it cut right through all the knots + tangles that seemed to magically appear. TBH, sometimes my hair feels like earphones. You know how when you put your earphones in your bag and there’s no knots but when you take them out, you’re like WTF did you do in there for 3 minutes?? That’s how i feel about my hair. If I have it down while I’m working all day, I’ll still go home at the end of the day and have a giant clump of knots near the base of my neck. Using a big wide-toothed comb the last few months has drastically minimized the amount of breakage I get from brushing out my hair because it forces me to brush from tip to root, instead of the other way around (which is what causes more knots + eventually more breakage.) Added bonus: You can get one at your CVS for $2.

There’s always an exception to every rule. Like I said, I’ve done away with the brushes… except for when my hair is dry and I’m on the go. Then I use my Milk + Sass Macaron brush, which is this cute little compact brush that fits in any purse (or desk drawer, which is wear I keep mine at work). I still feel like it’s gentle on my hair and the design of it actually prevents me from ripping through the knots and ultimately destroying my head. Bonus points that it comes in a ton of really cute colors!

Milk + Sass Macaron for Hair: $15

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6. Hair Ties

Until last summer, I lived in ignorant bliss of the damage that my hair ties were doing. It wasn’t until my little sister said that she stopped putting her hair in pony tails because the hair ties were causing her breakage and giving her lil ugly baby hairs that I even thought about it. As soon as she said it, I put my hair in the position in a pony tail position and ran my hand against my hair in the opposite direction so I could separate the pony from the hairs that had broken off around the hair tie. OMFG IT WAS TRAGIC AF. there was SO MANY, I wanted to cry! Damn you, elastic bands, for doing this to me! For basically all of fall + winter, I suffered through workouts with my hair down because I didn’t want to put the bands in my hair and ruin it any more than I already had. The sweating this caused was gnarly and disgusting and I can’t even talk about it. Ew. That’s all I have to say.

The only hair ties I use now are the Milk + Sass Sugar Twists. They look kinda like the bracelet things you put your keys on which was weird at first, but I’ve moved on from the appearance because I’ve fallen in love with the performance. They never pull my hair out, they fit securely around my pony tail, AND they don’t leave an indent mark in my hair.#Winning.

Milk + Sass Sugar Twists in Caramel Toffee: Milk + Sass, $7.99

Well, that’s all I have for today, friends. Now you know why my hair is so big. You know all the secrets its filled with..

xo, AJ


Where To Buy:

Kerastase: Advanced Scalp and Hair Concentrates: Amazon, $44

Kristin Ess Style Reviving Dry Shampoo: Target, $14

Function of Beauty Shampoo + Conditoner: $25 or $50

BLNDN Brightening Purple Shampoo: BLNDN, $28

BLNDN Balancing Leave-In Cream: BLNDN, $19

Garnier Fructis Anti-Humidity Smoothing Milk: Target, $3.42

Milk + Sass Macaron for Hair: Milk + Sass, $15

Milk + Sass Sugar Twists in Caramel Toffee: Milk + Sass, $7.99

5 Secrets to a Great Night’s Sleep

I’m about to let you in on a little secret. I’m not necessarily proud of it, but it’s my reality, and I’m all about trying to be real with you guys, so here it is. There’s literally not been one weekday morning where I wake up and don’t lay in bed for 5 minutes thinking about calling in sick.

Ok, so that’s not that big of a secret because tbh, I know you all do it too. You can lie and shake your head no and be like, “omg me? I could never do that!!” But we all know you’re lying, so save it, sister. Just accept it and own it and know you’re not alone.

It’s not that I don’t like my job – I do! And honestly, the only reason I never actually do it is because I’m too terrified of the workload that would pile up for the day that I’m out. Not to pat myself on the back or say I’m special or anything, but the place would fall apart without me  (lol kidding, mostly.) I just really am terrified of coming back into the office with 193 unread emails. You know the classic dad joke, “I need a vacation from this vacation”? That’d be me – I’d need a legit sick day from taking a “sick” day.

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Part of this stems from the fact that I’m 24 and I still sometimes sit there and think, “lol ok guys, we get it, adults have jobs and bills and stuff but like, I’ve proved I can do it so when can I stop now??” But most of this stems from the fact that there’s no way in hell that I get enough sleep. And it’s not because I’m soo0o0 busy. Nope, it’s because I plan to go to bed around 10pm, and then I whisper to Netflix, “just one more episode.” Before I know it, I’m three episodes deep, I’ve re-painted my nails, organized my closet and started creeping my little brother’s ex-girlfriends new boyfriend on insta (I’m not impressed by him at all, if you’re curious). It’s sad how little willpower that I have. Also, This Is US on NBC controls my life now, and my schedule revolves around watching that show whenever I feel like I’m ready to cry. (Pro tip: If you’re not watching This Is US, you’re doing life wrong, and you should re-think your choices.)

I’m not here to be your mom and tell you to go to bed early so you can get 8 hours of sleep. That would make me a huge hypocrite. Instead, I’m here with 5 ways to work with the amount of sleep you’re currently getting and adding in a few tips + tricks to optimize the energy you have!

1) Make sure that your bedroom is set up as comfortably as possible.

I need my room practically pitch black and cool when I’m trying to sleep. I will never understand the people who can sleep in sweatshirts with 3 different blankets on top of them. That’s Satan’s way, IMHO, and I’m sorta judging you. Also, I’m about to hit you with some science. Your body temperature rises up to 2 degrees Fahrenheit while you’re sleeping, which is why if you do fall asleep with a sweatshirt on for some ungodly reason, you usually wake up at 2am sweating like a whore in church. I did a bunch of Googling for this (v. reliable info), and found that the ideal temperature for your room while you’re sleeping is between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. Some other lil fun tips to throw in there – I keep a large standing fan on all night. The white noise is good for blocking out the obnoxious sounds my neighbors make when they decide to smoke up on a random Tuesday at 2am (it’s a work night, damnit!). I also love having my room as dark as possible. I’ve started putting wearing a sleep mask at night so it blocks out all the light that comes in through my curtains and it’s been a freaking game-changer. Phina’s Place has a few different ones on sale, but I’m obsessed with this one here, because it’s so freaking chic and glam. This lady looks like a boss!

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2) Get some protein in you, ASAP.

I know that we’ve been told our whole lives that breakfast is the most important meal of the time, and I don’t disagree. But the breakfasts that I’ve been having the last 24 years aren’t cutting it. Protein is actually the best thing you can eat in the morning, because it gives you tons of energy and keeps your body moving + alert. If you’re a chef then by all means, whip up something super fancy for yourself. If you’re like me and you legitimately haven’t cooked yourself a meal since 2013, then either suck it up and snack on a couple pieces of deli-sliced turkey, or splurge on a protein pack from Starbucks. I really like those (yaaas give me all the snacks), but they’re not that cheap and if you’re buying them on the daily, it adds up. The takeaway here: protein is your friend. Eat it , often.

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3) Get some sort of exercise during the day.

You know how parents with little kids always talk about how much they love when their mini terror runs around all day with energy that you could never dream of? The reason they love it so much is because of what every single one of them follows up with: “they’re going to sleep like a pro tonight!” Truer words have never been spoken, friends. Think about every time where you have a really active day – you go home and pass tf out into a sleep so deep, you’re actually worried you wouldn’t wake up for a fire alarm. That’s because your body is soaking up the time it has to replenish. Even if you can’t exercise every day, make a point to get up and move around once an hour. I read that somewhere once and in the interest of full disclosure, I have no idea if that works or not. But it can’t hurt, ya know? PS.. If you need some motivation, check out my 3 Ways to Get Motivated for the Gym post, or my Best Cardio Playlist Ever post!

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4) Don’t you dare hit that snooze button.

You, me, Beyonce and the pope are all guilty of hitting the snooze button once in a while. Apparently that’s like, a really bad thing to do. I’m v. interested in why the world hates me enough to try and take away the one thing I value in the morning, so I did some research. Thankfully, the nice people at Brown University summed it up pretty well.

“The body needs some time to get you ready to wake up. When you let yourself go back to sleep, your body thinks, “False alarm! I guess I didn’t need to do anything, because we’re not getting up after all,” and settles in. When that buzzer goes off a second time, Pelayo says that your body and brain are taken by surprise, resulting in that The body needs some time to get you ready to wake up. When you let yourself go bagroggy, fuzzy-headed feeling called sleep inertia. The more you snooze, the more confused your body and brain get (“So are we going back to sleep or not?!”), so you’ll probably feel more out of it even though you actually spent extra time in bed.”

Moral of the story? Stop being a bum and get up and get going.

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5) Cave in to the caffeine.

Science is nice or whatever, but you’re not able to tell me I shouldn’t be having caffeine. I don’t care if it stunts my growth or causes an addiction. Whatever keeps me from falling asleep in a meeting with my boss and getting fired is OK by me. Weirdly enough, I actually hate coffee so I need to get my caffeine fix elsewhere. (Pro tip: Go to Starbucks and order a Dirty Chai. It’s a Chai Tea Latte that they pour a couple of espresso shots into. You can’t taste it, but you still get the caffeine jolt coursing in those veins. Ahhh, Starbs. My first love <3.)

Also, get yourself a cute mug, one that’ll make alllll the other mugs jealous. Mine is perfect and you can get it from Phina’s Place.

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Do you have any other tips + tricks to handle insufficient sleep? Let me know about them!

xo, AJ


Where To Buy:

Sequin Eye Mask: Phina’s Place, $24

Eyelashes + Lips Mug: Phina’s Place, $14

The Best Cardio Playlist You’ll Ever Download

Happy Monday! This post will be short, sweet and too the point because uhm, it’s Monday, and I know you need all the time you can get to answer the emails you ignored Friday when you left the office and little earlier than you should’ve… I won’t tell.

One thing you should know about me is that when I commit, I commit. Therefore, I have gifted you with a freaking fabulous cardio workout playlist that will get you movin’ and groovin’ those weekend brunch calories right off! I’m no slacker, and I have a self-proclaimed fantastic taste in music (despite what my mother thinks). This 60-song list is packed with upbeat popular classics, with a few throwbacks to the middle-school days, and a few throw-WAY-backs to your mom’s middle school days.

Pro tip: Even if you don’t think you’ll make it to the gym today, throw this playlist on anyway. If your third cup of coffee just isn’t cutting it, these songs will get you feeling energized and ready to take on the day!

3 Ways to Get Motivated for the Gym- Without Actually Going to the Gym

Can I get really real with you guys for a sec? I honestly don’t like working out. Not in the traditional sense at least. Big shock, I know, since I’m soOoOo tiny and whatnot!!! But forreal, there’s very little about that act of exercising that appeals to me. Yeah, I know it keeps you from having clogged arteries at the age of 37 or whatever, but I just really don’t love the idea of sweating profusely and barely being able to breathe for an hour and a half if nobody is chasing after me with a knife, ya feel? I’m just saying, I’d prefer to live in a world where I can simultaneously never go for a run again in my life, while also being able to consume 3,000 calories a day and also looking like Kate Upton.

Sadly, scientists have yet to discover a pill that eliminates the destruction that the calories in my blueberry muffin from Starbucks causes (side note: it’s 380 for that f*cking “reduced fat” muffin, never ordering one again.. ), so here I am. Planning yet another workout plan for me to drop the next 10lbs. To be completely honest + transparent with you guys, I have always had self-esteem and body issues. It wasn’t until August 2015 that I decided to start getting healthier and actually sticking to it. The thing you should know about me is that I can never diet + exercise for longer than a few months at a time. I’m more of a lose, then maintain, then lose more kinda girl. From August-October 2015, I lost 30lbs. I put probably 10 or so back or during the winter and then started a new job. This job freaking KILLED me man. I literally didn’t eat lunch for 3 months and was running around like a crazy person, so those 10lbs came off by themselves, along with an extra 5 or so. And I maintained for a while. And then my office decided they would create a weight watchers group and pay for it if we went to 9 out of 12 sessions. So I joined. From August- October of 2016, I lost another 30lbs. And the compliments came pouring it- people couldn’t say enough nice things to me. It’s addicting, let me tell you! Motivating for sure. I was going to the gym almost every single day, being super careful about what I was eating, and I was happy.

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But as always, life gets in the way, and you adjust. So for the past 5 months or so, I’ve just been working on maintaining + not gaining anything back. Work has been stressful, I’ve put in more effort to spend time with friends, and I have a boyfriend who I need to make time for too. Some of my personal needs get lost in the shuffle. So I ask you – Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by other people’s schedules!! Errrrbody should be putting their hands up on that one. Now put your hands way the f*ck down, because we’re done making excuses. From this point forward, you and me, we’re going to make the time + effort for ourselves that we deserve! As much as I freaking despise the thought of it, I actually don’t hate the gym so much once I’m actually there. I typically make peace with it by the time I’m 5-10 minutes into my hour-long cardio workout. Actually, it’s kinda nice being able to catch up on all the Bravo! drama – those housewives are like crack to me. Side note- comment below with your favorite show to watch during your cardio workouts! I’m in the market for a new series 🙂

Here are my top 3 tips to getting motivated:

1) Get a good night’s sleep

Yeah I know, you’ve been hearing since the dawn of time that you should be getting 8 hours of sleep a night. I can practically see your eyeballs rolling to the back of your head as you read that. But it’s actually doable. I used to go to bed at no earlier than like, 12:30 am bc tbh, prime Bumble trolling doesn’t start until at LEAST 11:00pm. Then I started dating my boyfriend who is like a 95 year old man and goes to bed at 9:30 the latest most nights, and I got super bored watching the 8th season of friends for the 23rd time, so I started going to bed around 10:30 or 11:00. It actually makes a difference, I swear!! I started waking up before my alarm. The first few times it happened, I immediately bolted out of my bed and tripped over one of my 35 throw pillows I threw on the ground because I thought I was running late. NAY. I was ahead of schedule. Since then, it’s been a whole lot easier to make some time to go to the gym in the AM. I actually kinda like it. The only downside is that for some reason, I’m super emotional in the morning so this one time I was on the treadmill and a commercial for a lacrosse team in Harlem for underprivileged kids came on and I actually started crying. Sorry I’m not sorry that I have feelings, bye.

2) Stay hydrated

I am the WORST at this. I can legit sit at my desk all day and not eat or drink anything for 8 hours because I’m so zoned in (side note: why am I not like 110 lbs LOL fml). And I love water! I just need to force myself to remember because it I don’t, I wind up feeling sluggish and having a headache and make excuses for not working out. NO MORE. TriCoastal designs sent me this super cute water bottle that I carry with me legit everywhere. It’s adorable and inspiring (stop judging me), and I make a point to drink three full bottles of water from it a day. It keeps my mind working right and I end up feeling a lot better and ready to sweat when I’m not depriving myself of the most basic necessity my body needs to function.

 

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3) Pick out cute workout clothes

There’s never been a day in the history of my life when I’ve turned down the opportunity to shop, and shopping for workout clothes is no exception. It’s a huge motivator for me because helloooo, look good/feel good, ya know? You don’t have to shop at crazy-expensive brand name stores to get the cute stuff either. Some of my favorite pieces are from Target and Forever 21 bc let’s be real, I’m 24 and I work in an industry where I’m on a Natty-light type of budget, even when I’d rather be on one that supports a champagne lifestyle #goals. (Side note: Forever 21 did NOT sponsor this post. I actually just really like their workout attire. You can find links to all items pictures at the bottom of this page.)

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So, my friends, here we are. I’ve imparted my wisdom unto you, and you must now get your lazy butt up from the couch and slide on into your bed and get some sleep bc RULE #1 = GET SLEEP, DUH. While you’re at it, go chug a cold glass of H2O, and also order some cute new sports bras. Do yourself a favor and spring for the 2-day shipping so you don’t lose your motivation while you wait for UPS to take its sweet time getting you your package. And stay tuned because I have a gym motivation playlist coming your way in the next few days that’s going to rock your world harder than the moment you found out Ben + Jen were calling it quits (still sad about it). TTYL!


Where to Buy:

Black Forever 21 Sports Bra – $14.90

Pink + White Forever 21 Tank – $17.90

Forever 21 Mesh Panel Leggings – $22.90