Friday, September 4, 2015

Life Chats

Today's "Life Chats" post is a little bit different as this time it is geared more towards blogging.  I've been getting a lot of questions lately about how I got into it, ways to be successful, how to stand out amongst the rest, etc. so I thought that it might be a good idea to address some of these questions in today's post. 

Although I have been blogging for almost 4 years, I still do not consider myself to be an expert or anything like that.  It's really been one huge learning process and I am still figuring things out on a daily basis. If you have been reading my blog for a while, then you have probably already heard about my own personal blogging journey, but I will touch on this a little bit again right now.  I started my blog a year after losing my father and losing my job.  As I've mentioned before, I was just very lost in life for a long time.  I was transitioning out of music slowly and needed something that in some way could fill the voids that I had.  For as long as I can remember, I have had a love and connection to fashion.  I have also been extremely passionate about writing since grammar school.  Blogging about my own personal style became a way that I could combine the two together.   It started out as my new creative outlet and a way to connect with other people.  I truthfully did not have much else going on in my life at that time, so I put 100% of myself into my blog.  I never had any intentions of it actually going anywhere.  I didn't think that anyone would even care to read my posts each day, but first and foremost I did this for myself and organically over time it transitioned into something full-time.  I think that is extremely important.  There are so many reasons for starting up a blog, but I personally feel that the number one reason should be that you are doing it for you because you have a love for it and you have something that you want to say.  It's also important to be consistent with the message that you want to get across to your readers, whatever that may be.  

My blog was only geared towards fashion in the beginning and initially, that is how I started to grow my following on social media.  After awhile though, it was not enough for me.  I didn't only want to talk about the clothes that I was wearing.  I really wanted to show more of who I am as a person.  This is very important to me.  So, I slowly started to incorporate some lifestyle and travel posts into the rotation.  Then finally, I decided to create this Life Chats series.  Every one is different though and don't feel pressured to share personal things about your life if you are not ready.  It definitely took me some time to begin to fully open up with you all, but it was one of the best decisions that I made.  Another reason for me doing this was because I wanted to make sure that as I evolved more as a person over the years, that my blog would evolve with me.  I am in such a different place in my life then I was when I first started A Love Affair With Fashion so it only felt right and natural for me to make these changes on the blog. 

A lot of this journey has been trial and error.  Sometimes things work and other times they don't.  Either way it is important to just put yourself out there and try.  When it comes to working with brands, I think that in the beginning it is very easy to get caught up in that.  It's so new and exciting and you might want to work with literally every brand that contacts you.  What I have learned though is that above anything else, stay true to who you are.  If something doesn't feel right, trust your instincts.  If a brand reaches out and they don't really match your style, voice and aesthetic, it is OK to say NO.  Actually, it's extremely important to say no at times.  Like I said, I have learned a lot through trial and error.  For me, when it comes to building partnerships and doing sponsored posts, I only want to work on things that truly feel organic and authentic to me.  If it's a brand that I love, use, believe in, want to learn more about, etc. then it makes sense to me.  If I hesitate even the slightest about it, then I know it is not for me.  Just don't lose yourself.  Always remember that. 

This brings me to my next point: social media followings.  While this industry is number driven, I still believe that you should not let numbers define you.  I touched on this in a previous Life Chats post.  You might have hundreds of thousands or millions of followers and that is amazing, but don't forget who you are and how you started in the midst of that number.  You might work just as hard, but your follower count is extremely low.  Do not let that number make you feel like you aren't good enough.  Just stick with it!  I've been on instagram since 2011, but didn't start using it for my blog until 2012.  I think that for me, I got on during a time when not every single blogger was on it yet.  2012-2013 were amazing instagram years for me.  I was growing a following pretty quickly and my engagement was very high.  Then, slowly that started to change and it became a bit more of a struggle.  I definitely felt at times that I was not good enough or that my content "sucked." It's so easy to fall into this trap on social media, especially when you constantly see what everyone else is doing. It's important to just keep focusing on you.  If something is not working anymore, then it's time to switch it up. In terms of my instagram feed, I decided that I wanted to post a good balance of my outfits along with other aspects of my life.  I wanted to make sure that I was putting more of my personality into my posts whether that is through the actual photo or the caption.  Not every single thing does amazing, but I find that posting this way makes me much more happy! :) 

I don't want to turn this into a novel, so I will stop here.  If you want me to do more posts on this topic in the near future of if you have any questions, please let me know!  I hope this was helpful in some way or gave you a bit more insight into my own blogging journey.  Hope you all have an amazing weekend! 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Back To School Style

I’m going back to school!  Ok, not really, but I did have a lot of fun with today’s post!  I know that it has been years since I walked the high school halls and hung out on a college campus.  This actually brought back so many memories and it definitely gave me a nostalgic feeling.  I secretly miss school and have often contemplated on going back.  I’ve realized that some of my readers are still in school though and I’ve had some questions before about outfits to wear for the first day back or trendy casual looks to wear for classes.  I thought that this collaboration with Kohl’s would be the perfect opportunity to do something a little bit different and address those questions!

My favorite part about heading back to school was obviously shopping for new clothes.   I mean, am I right?  I remember my mom would always take me on a shopping spree and my dad would take me to buy a new coat.  It was literally the best end to my summers.  My school style varied quite often, but I definitely always loved to be both comfortable and stay on top of the latest trends.   I was brought back to those memories this past weekend as Kohl’s challenged me to create a compete outfit by shopping the pieces in their Juniors department.   I admit that I had no idea what to expect and initially I had no outfit ideas in my mind, but once I hit the store it all came together perfectly!

Jeans: Mudd | Tank: Mudd | Plaid Jacket: About A Girl 
 Backpack: Juicy Couture | Sneakers: Keds

I instantly gravitated towards the denim section and fell in love with this pair.  I love the holes in the knees because for me, the more rips the better.  Denim like this becomes more of a statement piece for your look.  It’s casual, but edgy.  Mudd had a ton of different styles, but these were my top pick.  There were so many cardigans and tops, but as soon as I saw this plaid open front jacket from About A Girl, I had to have it.  I think it’s such a fun twist on the traditional plaid button down shirt.  There were a few other color options too.  You honestly cannot go wrong with paid, especially for school. I also ended up getting a regular plaid button down from SO that I will wear separately.  It was extremely soft!  I paired a loose fitted black tank underneath the open front jacket.  I definitely prefer tanks with a looser and more relaxed fit. 

I knew that I needed a fun statement backpack and thought this one from Juicy Couture was the perfect way to compete this outfit.  Backpacks have become such a fashion trend even separate from school.  When it came to the shoes, I initially though of booties, but I decided to go with these black Keds instead.  They are so comfortable and perfect for a day full of classes. I think they worked really well with this whole outfit. 

 So, how’d I do?! Would you wear something like this to head back to school? There’s seriously a great selection at Kohl’s for you to choose from and the best part is that everything is affordable.  Hope you enjoyed this post! 

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Kohls.  All opinions expressed are my own.  This was not edited by any third parties.  Thank you for supporting the brands that support A Love Affair With Fashion! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Holding On To Summer

Holding on to the last bit of warm weather over the next few weeks until fall officially hits.  I promise to start posting some transitional looks soon.  This time of year I am always torn between wanting the warmth to stay and wanting to dress for the fall.  Ahh! 

Shorts: Nordstrom Rack [similar] | Top: Dynamite [old, similar
Sandals: Prima Donna [sold out, similar style] | Sunglasses: Old Navy | Bag: Call It Spring
This is a cute and casual outfit that I wore last week and I just wanted to share.  You might remember these shorts from the first time that I wore them towards the beginning of summer.  I paired it with a blazer and heels, so this time I just wanted something more simple for the day.  You guys know I love to remix my pieces!  Last year I got this neon top on clearance towards the end of the season and completely forgot about it. It paired perfectly!  It looks more orange here in the photos, but in person it's much more neon.  I hate that the color doesn't pick up well on camera.  I decide to wear my gold slip-on sandals, which are honestly one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes that I own.  I have been wearing them so frequently, I wish that I would have gotten them sooner.  You all know how much I love my heels, but I have noticed that I have been gravitating more towards flats and sneakers lately.  I think mixing it up is always a good idea. 

In terms of my hair, lately I have not really felt like doing much to do it.  With a TON of bobby pins, I have been able to just throw it up into a bun.  This one is much smaller than the bun from my post earlier this week because I did it with straight hair.  See how much of a difference it makes when your hair is curly?! 

Thanks for checking out this post, have a fab Wednesday!