Coffee Date with @Tatisbonilla | On the Daily EXPRESS


Coffee Date with @Tatisbonilla

Every month I take a blogger on a virtual "coffee date" to get to know a little more about them and get some of their behind the scenes stories and tips. Last month I had a great response when I featured some Instagram-only ladies, so this month I decided to do it again with one of my current, must-follow IG favorites, Tatiana (@tatisbonilla on IG).

Every day she brightens my IG feed not only with her fabulous, affordable outfits, but also with her hilarious personality and sweet, supportive nature. As usual, I'm sharing my Q&A with her along with some of my favorite outfits of hers so you see why I never miss an #ootd! (Although I might not be using that hashtag anymore after this'll see why!)

Tell us a little about yourself. Where do you live? What do you do for a living? Do you have any kids or pets?

Tatiana: I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and I moved to Orlando, Florida with my (now) husband nine years ago. I am an electrical engineer and I love traveling, eating, shopping (duh), dancing, eating and making people laugh. Did I mention eating? We don’t have any kids yet and no pets either, just us two!

How long have you been posting on Instagram? Did you start out posting strictly outfits or did it evolve into that?

Tatiana: It definitely evolved into my “Fashion Instagram” and it was about 10 months ago when I started to actively post my outfits. Initially, this was my personal account where I would post food, travel and friends pictures with a few mirror shots of my outfits every now and then. My friends would always mention how much they liked something I was wearing or how much they liked how I styled a certain piece. At that point I was following a few fashion accounts and I got inspired to start doing the same. I liked the concept of tagging where my items were from and provide some affordable style inspiration to others. I have to admit I was a little hesitant to do it as I did not want to seem a little vain and I remember thinking, “who is going to care about what I’m wearing?” But I really enjoy the process of putting outfits together so I was like #whatevs, I’m doing it for me! I never imagined that I was going to find such an amazing group of supportive and welcoming ladies!
Evolution of her Insta-Feed!

It seems like you've come a long way and learned a lot, so do you have any tips or tricks that you can share?

Tatiana: If you browse through my photos for the first few months after I started posting, they look awful. Good pics take a lot of practice, and here are some of my top tips:
  • Clean your camera lens before every shoot. That thing gets dirty and it messes up the quality of your pic.
  • Set your phone upside down with back camera facing you. The shutter button should be more or less close to your index finger so start tapping the phone (not too hard...if the phone moves too much your pics will be blurry) until you hear the shutter so you know you took a pic. Usually the first pic is blurry, so after that first shutter sound, don't move. Wait one second and press your finger in the same place once or twice more so that you get a few pics.
  • Now, comes the part where you curse and get pissed at life. Check the pics to see if you are completely in it.  (See my reaction in bottom right photo below!)

  • I take my pics outside but out of direct sunlight. You want to be in a good bright place but kind of under a shadow. 
  • I use IG filters or VSCOcam filters. I've found 2-3 filters from each app that I like. Two things: first, play with different filters on that final pic you like. Depending on the original lighting on the pic, certain filters might look better. Second, don't overdo the filters. (I'm still totally guilty of doing this sometimes and I end up looking orange or yellow in some pics.) You want your pic to still look natural. I usually adjust the filter to 30%-40% NOT the full 100%. 
  • If your pic did not come out too clear, the sharpen tool helps some (IG has it). Again, I usually sharpen the image to 20%-30%. If you put too much, then it starts looking distorted.
  • Another thing that I implemented lately is trying not to use the super popular hashtags like #ootd, #wiwt, #wiw, etc. My pic gets drowned into the hashtag feed 1-2 minutes right after I post. Also, I don’t know if people know that Instagram recently changed how the hashtags posting works. Before if you would add your hashtags, let’s say 2 hours later after you posted your picture, your picture would appear at the top of the hashtag feed. Not anymore. If you post your hashtag 2 hours later, your picture will appear in the hashtag feed based on the time that you posted, not at the top of the feed.
Caught taking a selfie in Peru

I must say it's a relief to hearing from you, Janet and Jules how much effort goes into a good OOTD pic. It looks like should be easy (how hard can it be to take a picture of your clothes?) but for me it's usually not. I mentioned this on IG, but I was shocked that you don't use the rear-facing camera! It just goes to show how much comes down to practice and personal preference. On that note, I like to post my outfit pictures first thing in the morning because they seem to get the best response that way. What about you?

Tatiana: For my weekday posts, I take my pictures before leaving for work and I usually like to post between 8:00-8:30 AM Eastern. People usually look at their feed when they wake up or right before getting into work (at least I do). When I have an extra photo to post, like an arm party for example, I usually post it between 6:30-7:00 PM. I’ve experimented with different times and these seem to work well for me.
Arm party posted right on time!

Besides your great photos, another thing I love about your IG feed is that you are an expert bargain shopper. I have seen you make pieces from K Mart look like a million bucks. Do you have any tips for shopping and looking great on a budget? 

Tatiana: Bargain shopper is a title that makes me proud! The best tip that I can share (and it’s one of the main things I try to convey through my posts) is that brands mean nothing to me as far as fashion is concerned. I buy what I like and what looks good on me whether it’s from Walmart (where I’ve found fabulous pieces, by the way) or another higher brand (which I probably can’t afford! My advice is to not limit yourself from shopping in certain stores just because they’re not “cool.” You never know what gems you might find.
K Mart Blouse!

Bargain or not, what's one of your favorite recent purchases? 

Tatiana: I am obsessed, I repeat, obsessed with my Purple Peridot Fringe Necklace. Pictures don’t do it justice, it is stunning!

As your following grows on Instagram, I bet you are going to get a lot of questions along the lines of: “Why don’t you have a blog? When are you going to start a blog?” What’s your answer to that? 

Tatiana: The answer is simple: I AM SO LAZY! My husband has been really encouraging about me starting a blog. He keeps saying, “Come on, it’s not that hard.” He even built a blog layout for me on a website already. I’m just like, “Ugh. But blogging is so much work though!” The other thing is that I’m really clueless about the blogging world too. Does having a blog means I need to go out and get full body professional flawless shots of my outfits? Um, I really don’t have time to do that. Another detail is that I wear pieces that I can’t necessarily refer my readers to online because they’re either old or they come from stores like Marshalls and simply can’t be bought online.  Just thinking of all the work and time that I would need to put into the blog is overwhelming.
Blog-worthy outfits!

Not that you asked, but I think you both have good points. Blogging is kind of like a good OOTD selfie. It takes more time than it looks like it should, and nearly every blogger I interview says the same thing: "I had no idea it could take this much time!"  So it's "work," but the fun kind of work, not exactly hard labor! And really, there are no "rules" in blogging. You get to make your own! I manage to have a blog without professional photos, lots of thrifters have blogs and can't refer people to a retailer, so I'm siding with your husband on "what's stopping you?!" Besides, your Instagram feed has shown me just how adventurous you are in other aspects of your life so this should be a piece of cake!

Tatiana: I do absolutely love adventures. I have done Class 3-4 white water rafting, ziplined thousands of feet in the air next to a volcano and rappelled down a 200-foot waterfall, all in Costa Rica. Not to mention the crazy hike we did in PerĂº two months ago!

Last but not least, you mentioned that you are Turbo Kick Instructor! Can you give us a good fitness tip to get motivated for bikini season?

As far as fitness tips, the best one I can give you is the one that got me into exercising in the first place: find the movement that you LOVE. You’ll have a better chance of sticking to your fitness routine because you will enjoy it. I hate running and bootcamp style workouts. I tried them for years and always fell off the wagon because I did not enjoy it. But let me tell you, the eating/nutrition is the hardest part and is actually the KEY to everything.

You won't get any argument from me on either of those points! I shared my fitness and nutrition tips in this post, and I fully agree that there's no One Size Fits All solution!

* * *
I was so excited when Tatiana agreed to let me interview her for this post because I just knew she would be funny and entertaining! But what really impressed me was how thorough and informative she was with her selfie tips! All of the pictures in this post came from her Instagram feed, so make sure you follow her there for all of her outfit details plus her daily dose of positive energy!

Linking up with:
 Tara / Jill & Carly / Alice /  Dawn Lucy /
 ErikaAndrea and Narci / Fashion Friday/



  1. loved getting to know her, she sounds so fun. She gets a follow from me :)


  2. This was great. Now I'm going to be practicing the upside-down back camera selfie for the next few days...weeks.

    1. I have no idea how she does that! I always use the rear-facing camera (even though the sun is always in my eyes and I can't see what I'm doing anyway) but I need to try her method just out of curiosity!

  3. I love these virtual coffee dates! It's so great learning about new IGers or bloggers, and Tatiana is so interesting and beautiful! I'll have to check out her insta now :)

  4. I can always count on you to find me new fashionistas to follow. I love Tatiana's style and her tips for outfit selfies were really great!

  5. I learned a new selfie trick thanks to you and Tatiana!! Love how well travelled she is...such an inspiration..thanks for sharing Gina..

  6. I need to take some tips from her for my selfie outfit pictures!

    Eleventh & Sixteenth

  7. I love your coffee date posts! She sounds like such a fun person! I'm definitely going to follow her on IG!

    Doused In Pink

  8. She is clearly really fun. Thanks for the introduction!

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  9. That reaction photo is too funny! Totally been me before!!

  10. I really enjoyed getting to know Tatiana! She sounds like a lot of fun and I am hysterical over her selfie pics, so been there for before haha! Great coffee date, Gina!

    xo, Erica
    Casually Styled

  11. I always enjoy your interviews - and the IG tips! I love the engineering tee - I work with engineers and can totally relate.

    Daily Style Finds

  12. well you had me at bargain shopper!!
    Love this interview Gina, so fun meeting new people :)

  13. this is such a cute idea for a post!!

    Sandy a la Mode

  14. I've never seen her IG before but she's so cute! I loved the tips for taking the ootd selfie shots since I'm terrible at them. Hopefully now I can get some successful shots :) Thanks for the tips, Tatiana!


  15. k this is awesome! I love that you do these interviews and then I get to learn about some cool people I might not have found otherwise :) she is so cute and affordable outfits are my JAM. defff checking her out stat
    xo, Candace | Lovely Little Rants

  16. Such a cute and fun post. This make even more restless and wanted to travel. I also thinking I need a go pro now? haha...

    Kreyola Jounerys | Instagram

  17. She's so cute! Her outfits look very similar to yours! It's always nice to find someone you can really relate to style wise. I will follow :)

  18. Tatiana is by far one of my favorites! She's so engaging and her outfit photos are always interesting to look at! I too was amazed when I found out she doesn't use the front facing camera! I tried her method today. I should send you the photos, I was LOLing. :)
    Carylee | more pieces of me

  19. I just recently found on IG, she's got great style!


    Hope to see you Thursday for TBT Fashion link up.

  20. Tatiana is so cute! Loved getting to know her a bit better. Love these coffee dates, Gina!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  21. Totally following her now! Love her style!!!! Thanks for these know I'm new to IG and need to learn whatever I can-ha!!! XO

  22. Lovely post, such lovely pictures and that fringe necklace is real very pretty.

  23. What a lovely post to read, she sounds great and has great style too! Some fab tips as well :)


  24. She's so adorable and has a great sense of style! She also provided some great tips! Thanks for sharing her with us Gina!

  25. Always love meeting new bloggers! Thanks for sharing :)

    By the way, I have a new post and giveaway on my blog. I'd love for you to swing by:

    Abby of Life in the Fash Lane

  26. I am catching up on your blog and going backwards anyway I am so glad I read this. So many great tips about cellphone selfie pics I knew nothing about. I barely take any cell selfies though. I love that she is a bargain shopper like me and that brands mean nothing to her - like me. Her KMart blouse looks like the piped Portofino ones from Express and that fringe necklace is a stunner.


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! I sincerely appreciate each and every one and always do my best to answer questions promptly!