This week's Life Chats is a little different. Two days ago I did a Q&A on snapchat for the first time and it went really well! I do apologize though that I created the longest snap story of life, but seriously appreciate all those who watched the entire thing and sent me sweet messages. It really means a lot and your support never goes unnoticed. I decided to expand a bit on some of my answers and since stories on snapchat disappear after 24 hours, I wanted to make my responses more permanent by sharing them on the bog. I was hoping to share the whole video clip on here, but for some reason when I saved my story my audio wouldn't match up with me talking. So strange. I did share a tiny snippet on Instagram though, so in case you missed it you can watch it at the end of this post! I seriously enjoyed doing this and in some way it became an extension of this Life Chats series in video form, which who knows, maybe that's something for me to think about doing in the near future.
- WHY AND HOW DID YOU START BLOGGING?
I started the blog a year after losing my father and after losing my job. I was at a very low point in my life and just felt so lost. I had no idea what direction I was going in or what it was that I wanted. I wasn't pursuing music anymore so I really needed a new creative outlet. I always had a love for fashion and would share my outfits with friends by posting selfies on Facebook and Instagram before I started the blog. People would aways ask me what I was wearing and ask for style tips so I think because of that a few friends recommended that I start a blog. I didn't really know of any bloggers at that time or how to even do a blog, but one random night after a baby shower I came home and just said Ok I am going to do this. I came up with A Love Affair With Fashion because I felt like I was cheating on music with fashion and it all started with one selfie, literally! I didn't know what I was doing, but I started it and I think that was the most important thing. I never started the blog with any intention for it to go anywhere. I didn't think that now 4 1/2 years later I would be doing this full time, so everything really happened very organically over time.
- HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO MAINTAIN THE BLOG AND STAY CONSISTENT WITH IT?
I think when I first started I didn't really have much going on in my life at the time so I put 110% into it. At first it was just this fun hobby and creative outlet and initially the only people checking out my posts every day were the people that I already knew. Once I started promoting the blog on social media, I was giving myself more of an online presence and started to grow a following. I saw that people were actually going to my blog every day so it just pushed me and made me want to do it more. Every day I just learned and tried to evolve so that I could keep getting better at it. Once I started receiving opportunities and saw that this could actually become something, I put even more of myself into it. It definitely took up a lot of my time and still does, but I'm the type of person that once I commit to something, then I will fully commit and give it my all.
- HOW DID YOU GROW A FOLLOWING ON INSTAGRAM?
I've been on Instagram since 2011 and things were so different when I first got on than the way that they are now. There weren't a whole lot of bloggers using it yet, so I think that I got on at a really good time because it gave me a little bit of a boost and recognition. I used to hashtag everything and the tags actually worked, I would get some shout outs from brands and some of the bigger fashion pages and I even did a few shout out for shout out with some other users. I think all of these things combined definitely helped a lot. After that it was really just about posting better quality photos and now I do my best to keep a cohesive aesthetic to my feed. I'm at almost 80K, but I've been on Instagram for 4 1/2 years so it's taken me awhile to get to this point. Don't focus so much on the number though. If your following is not where you want it to be just yet, don't get discouraged just keep producing great content and keep being you. Things have changed so much on IG, so if it makes you feel any better my engagement cut in half and even my growth is not at the fast pace that it was 2 years ago. Regardless of this, I just keep doing what I love!
- WHAT DID YOU MAJOR IN COLLEGE AND WHAT WAS YOUR JOB BEFORE THE BLOG?
In college, I majored in Communications specializing in journalism, specifically broadcast journalism. I actually had a radio show with another girl and even sang the jingle for it! Ha! I also minored in English so writing has just always played a huge role in my life. Before the blog, I worked in finance at Wells Fargo Financial when they still had their financial division, which is complete opposite end of the spectrum from what I am doing now. I sold mortgages! I hated it so much and tried to quit, but instead they gave me a different role where I became a processor working out of 3 different branches. I basically closed everyone's loans. Crazy right? Things really do come around full circle though. So I went to school for media and journalism, ended up in finance for 4 years because I couldn't get a job that I actually wanted and now I am working for myself doing what I truly love! I think this is proof that things happen exactly how and when they are supposed to, so if for whatever reason you aren't doing what you love right now, that doesn't mean it won't happen.
- ANY TIPS FOR NEW BLOGGERS?
I think the most important thing is to find your voice and just be true to you. I know that is so cliché, but authenticity is everything. Be creative, be consistent, get inspired, network, put yourself out there and really step out of your comfort zone. Don't feel like you have to do what everyone else is doing. It's better when you create your own lane. Also, don't get so caught up comparing you and your numbers and your success to everyone else's. Just focus on you and your path. Things happen differently for everyone and everything happens in its own time. I know this industry can be very competitive, but just be you. When you do what you love and are passionate about and you're authentic, that will shine through so much and people will really appreciate that about you. Honestly that's one of the main reasons why I created this Life Chats series. Everyone always shows their outfits and their beauty products, but what goes on beneath all of that? That's what I really wanted to bring to the surface. So find what works for you and stick to that. Don't be afraid to expand on your content a little more because you don't have to always post the same things. Show a little more of you and your personality. Also, never buy followers and never buy likes, no matter how long it takes you to grow. Don't ever base the foundation of what you do on something that isn't genuine.
-WHY DID YOU STOP PURSING SINGING?
In a nutshell, I've been singing since grammar school and started recording music when I was 16 and in high school. I pretty much pursued it all my life until a year after my father died and right before I started the blog. One reason was financially. I spent so much money investing in this as a career for myself between vocal classes, studio sessions, and dance classes. It was a lot and I wasn't getting as much from it as I hoped. It's a very cut throat industry and it takes a lot of time. I didn't want to be in my 30s and 40s still being a struggling artist because that happens. It's definitely a struggle! Music will always be apart of me though and I will always sing. When my father first died, singing was very therapeutic for me. I wrote a song about his death and it really helped me get through it, but it was also so hard not having him here because he was such a huge supporter. He would be getting chemo and telling the nurses about my music and to go to my website to listen to it. I mean he was fighting for his life and promoting me. I will never forget that. It was a very tough decision because this is something that I was working so hard for. When I worked at Wells Fargo I would be in the studio till 4am, sleep for a few hours and then head to work. I was so dedicated and it was definitely hard to let it go. I have to admit that I do miss it, a lot. Not sure what the future holds for me, but I would love to get back in the studio from time to time, even if just for fun.
- ANY TIPS FOR SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT HAVE A PHOTOGRAPHER?
I know a lot of people who have used tripods. It's not the easiest thing at first, but it's worth looking into if you don't have any other options. You can also ask family members or friends to take your photos. It may not be ideal, but at least it can get you started. I mean again, I started with taking selfies! If you are in a position financially where you can hire a photographer that is something you can do, or look for someone who is "up and coming." You can work together where they don't charge you and you pretty much help promote them and their work via your blog and social channels. I know people who have done this before as well. Ask around with friends and put some feelers out on your social media to see if you can find someone!
- HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO BECOME SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR BLOG?
It took time for things to start happening. As I mentioned before the whole process was just very organic in the way that its happened. At first I was doing everything on my own, then brands started reaching out to send me free product, then I started getting paid for sponsored posts and then I began booking bigger campaigns and longer partnerships. It literally all happened in that order. It was a lot of hard work, trying to get better, a lot of consistency, staying creative and expanding on my content. Also keeping great relationships with all of you, my readers. It's always been important for me to connect and interact with all of you. The same goes for keeping great relationships with brands and networking. Networking has played such a huge role for me. I would force myself to come out of my shell and go to fashion events by myself so that I could meet more people. You never know who you are going to meet because it can turn into something. Truthfully I feel like half of the opportunities that I have received up until this point have come from networking, putting myself out there and meeting new people because that usually leads to something else. It wasn't until last August when I signed to an agency to have management, which has definitely been a great support system in helping me get to the next level, but before that I did it all by myself. This industry has changed so much from when I first started. I think that there are so many more opportunities now for bloggers to work with brands and to be successful, so don't ever feel discouraged and let things happen naturally. Also keep in mind that being successful isn't just about your paycheck or how many brands you've worked with or how many followers you have. It's a state of mind and if you love what you're doing then you are being successful!
- WHAT MOTIVATES YOU EVERY DAY?
l think just life in general and the struggles that I have been through. The loss of my dad really changed me and my perspective and outlook on life. It's made me push myself, believe in myself more and face my fears so that I could full force chase after my dreams and make them a reality. I don't want to look back on my life and think about all of the things that I should have done that I didn't do and all of the time that maybe I wasted on insignificant things that weren't important. I was in a very dark place emotionally for a very long time and not everyone knew about it. I kept it all to myself. So through out this whole journey these past 4 1/2 years of doing the blog, with all of the highs and lows and the ups and the downs, I just finally got to a really good place with myself. I'm just all about having a positive mentality and putting out positive energy and vibes because what you put out is what you attract and life is too short to be negative all the time. This kind of goes into the next question which is dealing with negativity that comes with blogging. Negativity and haters or whatever you want to call them, it's just noise and you don't have to listen to it. There's always going to be that one person or many people who try to take you off the path that you are on. It's up to you to either stay on or get off, so don't get off!
This concludes my first ever Q&A. Thanks so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know if you would ever like me to do this again. Happy Memorial Day Weekend loves!