Favorites from 2015

December 31, 2015
Happy New Years eve my friends! I appreciate each and every one of you for being here and sharing this journey with me.

I rounded up my favorite outfits from the past year. Starting with last January on a chilly day and then we move into some of my favorite outfits where I really started to experiment with colors and pattern mixing. There was my favorite color pink throughout my spring outfits; let's not forget the all white outfit that I just loved with just a pop of color. I then headed into summer with plaids and stripes sharing some of my favorite looks from my trip to sunny southern California. August was a memorable month with the launch of The Blog Guild and our launch party. Fall came late and there was plenty of time to transition sleeveless outfits and white denim and I shared both of these looks with a few fun outfits on the plaza. With fall came my wool hat. Then came capes, and me mocking old western movies feeling like an extra on the set.

If there is one thing I can tell you that is a constant on my blog it would be the color pink, and pattern mixing. You can bet that if I can mix the patterns I am going to try the outfit. Sharing style from my perspective and helping you think outside of your wardrobe box to try new things has been my mission from my first outfit post. Trends will come and go and you not always following them is a good thing. Style will always be a quality you possess from the inside out. It's a way to say who you are without having to speak a single word.

































































Blog Planning for the New Year

December 30, 2015




If you're like me you have more than the end of the year on your mind.  There's new years eve, sale shopping, un decorating, and lets not forget blogging.  I know what you're thinking.... I can't add one more thing to my plate right now. Well now is the time to  get re-inspired, brainstorm new ideas and type of content you want to deliver to your readers in 2016. 
Today, I thought I’d share some of the items I’ve included in my new 2016 blog plan, and how you can write one of your own.

I broke it down into manageable bites to make it easier to customize it for your own blog. 

Why?  The most important question in blogging.  What is your own personal take away from blogging?  If you answered this with "I want to quit my day job and have a viable income to support myself", or " I just wanted a place to share all my fun ideas and be creative", then you have the why!  When you started blogging it may have looked drastically different than it does now for you so think carefully about what it is you want in the coming year.

Now that you hopefully have the Why...... take a look at your blog and take open notes about what you like about your blog and what you want to see change.  I'm not necessarily talking about designs either.  I'm referring to content as well.   Make a list about what you would change; maybe it's the sidebar content, or your sponsorship, whatever you see write it down. Don't stop just with the visual part either.  Your social media is very important and if you are wanting to step up your game you need to make it part of your blog plan.   Determining the look for your blog in the new year will help you see your blog plan better.



You have the Why; now lets talk abut the what.

What worked this past year for you and what didn't turn out so well? Look for any connection between the why you blog and what works for your blog.  If sponsorship is important and you want to make money then you have a direction. It worked for you!   If you tried it and it wasn't any fun because so much in involved working with brands then you cross it off.  This makes your vision for your blog much easier and you can align yourself with your goals. 

The Planning Phase

Hopefully by now you have a clearer picture of where you want your blog to go and taking it there should be much easier; now to get down to the details.


Mission.  What is the mission for your blog?  Do you have a mission statement? If not you should.  For example a part of the mission statement for The Blog Guild is to create, connect, and collaborate. You can read the entire mission statement here.  Having a mission statement will help with your blog vision.


Creating Content.  Part of your plan should include a list of your topics and categories.  Maybe you have an entire tutorial you want to share.  Break it in to sections and create a series.  Start making a list of all your topics that would be relevant to your blog brand.  Some of mine are fashion, style, beauty, and DIY.  Once you have your categories then break it down even further into sub categories. For example under beauty there could be product reviews,  beauty tips, organic products.  You get the idea.

Education.    So let's say you want to add beauty to your blog in the coming year but you don't feel like you are 100% on your tutorial.  Better educate yourself on the topic.  Watch you tubes, make appointments at cosmetic counters; you can pick up some great tips from the ladies at the counters!! Practice.  Before you know it you will be ready to start sharing.  Make that part of your blog plan to set a deadline for when you will integrate the new topic on your blog.  We will talk more about your blog plan with your editorial calendar later. Take a photography class. Sign up for a workshop, or maybe there is a conference convenient you can attend.  Use the tools you have available to up your game.  Did you sign up for The Blog Guild workshop?  It's the perfect way to start off your new year and learn all about pretty images to share on your social media and flat lays. And Since we are speaking of social media that brings me to our next topic. Take a photography class. 

Social Media.  There are so many ways of sharing and how and what you share is equally important.  Engagement is critical.  Being available to your followers is important.  Try to answer questions and thank someone when they ask a question or comment.  Let them know you appreciate them.  Decide what you want to post during the week and have all your pics edited and ready to go on Sunday evening.  I had a plan this past year to grow my instagram following; watching the followers grow was exciting.  Increase how often you post.  If you are not posting every day then start.  If you can aim to post 2-3 times a day, but if you're not even posting daily then shot for once a day to start with! Engagement is critical for your current followers as well as potential new followers.  Brands like to see you engage and are always checking so if you are planning to, or currently monetizing then keep this in mind. That brings me to the next topic. 

Monetizing.  Pay attention to this one, its tricky.  If you are already monetizing that's great.  If it's working good then see what you can do to step it up.  (See previous paragraph regarding social media and posting regularly) If you want to start this year monetizing there are platforms like Reward Styles for your blog and Like to Know it with instagram, there is also ShopSense but I don't work with them so I am not familiar with them but know several bloggers who are successful with them.  You can reach out to brand and pitch an idea to work together. Be precise with your pitch and what you expect from the brand and what you will deliver.  Get it in writing is always important. I recommend you research the legal aspects to income streams via blogging and make sure you adhere to the disclosure laws.  If you do choose to work with brands this is something you would add to your blog plan with your financial expectations and show how much you would like to make each quarter and how you will make it. 

New plans.  Ok, so we have pretty much covered everything bit growth.  Your plan is great and it sustains you for the year but you have to add new projects for growth.  There are several ways to increase your audience. Do you currently have a newsletter?  Entice your followers to sign up by letting them know you are sharing things different than what they find on the blog.  Again, attend a workshop to learn a new skill.  I can't tell you how much I value the investment to attend a I Heart Blog Shop class.  I learned how to really use photo shop and it increased not only my skill level but my confidence in my layouts.  Did you sign up for The Blog Guild workshop yet?  You can find out more about it here. 

So are you ready to start planning?  You can write it out however you want. I am a paper kinda gal but Paper, word, Google docs, whatever works for you.  Don't worry, your plan will look different from everyone else's.  It should be unique to you!  There are other elements you may incorporate into your planning.  Traffic, networking and creating connections to only name a few. 


Taking the next step.  Research the class you would like to take; signup!  Block some time and explore with your camera and learn all about what you can really do with it.  Look in your community for other local bloggers.  We have a fantastic network locally we all connect with; The Blog Guild. 

Reflecting on Blog Goals

December 28, 2015

It's hard to believe that 2016 is just around the corner.  With every one's calendar full with holiday parties and festivities sometimes we forget to take a look at our blog goals.  This is the opportunity to take a look at your blog goals and assess what worked and what didn't.  Having a blog business plan is important and if you did write one at the beginning of the year now is when you should re-visit it.  If you don't have a blog plan well that's okay too, next week I am going to show you how to create your blog plan.

  • What goals did you set?
  • Which goals did you meet?
  • What didn't work out and why?
  • Is your vision still in alignment with your goals?
 
Falling short of your goals doesn't translate into failure.   I think people give in to feeling like a failure for not obtaining the goal.   Maybe you just need to tweak a few things and put that goal onto your new years goals.   I am going to share one of my goals from this past year and yes, I did not reach it.  I set a goal to have 1K instagram followers by the end of the year.  Seemed simple enough right?  Yeah... that didn't' happen. I currently have 905.  Close, but not there.  Life happened and I got busy at work and then forgot to post what was going on... etc, etc.  When November rolled around and I could see that the possibilities of having a 115 sincere followers didn't seem obtainable so I took a look at what I could do differently to help my goal.  Reaching my goal wasn't as important as what I learned along the way.  I took a look at what I was doing and made a few changes and started noticing my following engagement not only changed but grew.  (If you don't follow me and feel so inclined to, you can right here)  Maybe halfway through the year you decided you wanted to work with brands and take your fun blog to the business level only to find out you really didn't want to after all.  That's okay.   But what I did learn was that this is my blog/biz and I will and can tweak the plan along the way as I see fit.  Being able to look at written goals helps you keep track with where you want to be in 12 months. The race isn't the run, it's in the journey. 

Take a break during the end of year hustle and bustle and spend a quite moment with your blog plan and your goals from both the last year and the upcoming year.  But let's also applaud you if you did reach all your goals!  Pop some corks and celebrate, you deserve it!   




Pin this for later and refer to it as a reference once you have time to really spend some time reflecting.

Merry Christmas

December 26, 2015

As I look back over the past year I can't help but be joyous with where I am today.  Re branding was something I have wanted to do for a while but needed to really define what I wanted my brand to stand for.  I think we accomplished it beautifully.   It stands for everything I love and inspire to share with you.  Clean, simple, and always a splash of pink and a pop of leopard!  It's about the beauty you want to share with the world.  Embracing your flaws and imperfections because lets face it, we all have them and we only begin to truly shine when we don't let it hold us back; rather help us grow.  I appreciate every one of you for supporting me, encouraging me, and making me want to share everyday with you the best I have to give.  Blogging is a lot of work and takes a lot of time to curate and create great content.  Working full time and blogging almost full time has been challenging sometimes; but I would change a thing.  I love my little blog and hope you will continue to ride the ride with me as we head into the new year.  Merry Christmas and I can't wait for an even better 2016!  



Stock Photo Workshop

December 22, 2015
DIY
Can you believe we are in the final countdown to 2016?  This year has gone by so fast.  So many great and exciting things happened this year.  I shared how to use the color wheel here, and the perfect pattern mixing guide here, and the biggest thing to happen this year; the launch of The Blog Guild.  You can read about our launch party here and learn more about who we are and what we do here.  You will see we added our first affiliate city already too.  St. Louis has now launched their own The Blog Guild St. Louis and if you are local to that area you should contact them and join.  I know they have something planned for early next year too.  Speaking of plans.... we have our first workshop of 2016 already planned and we couldn't be more excited.  You don't have to be a member, or even a blogger to benefit from this workshop; you just have to want to make pretty images.   Tickets are already selling fast and we want to make sure you get yours.  Add this to your Christmas list or tuck it in your stocking for yourself.  You won't want to miss this I promise!

The-Blog-Guild-Styling-Workshop


It's been in the works for awhile now, and now we're so excited to share our very first workshop as The Blog Guild with you. Shoot + Style: Stock Photography Workshop is the title, and we're partnering with some amazing peeps including, The Bloom Academy, and River Market Event Place just to name a few. 
This will be an in depth event with tips on curating, styling, and shooting your own original stock photo flat lays, as well as hands on work time to create your own images. You'll be leaving with some great knowledge, and actual photos you can start using right away for your blog or social media. We hope you guys will join us for what will be the first of many amazing workshops with The Blog Guild! Find out more and get tickets here: http://www.theblogguild.com/#!workshops/c1cv8

Fresh Winter Wreaths

December 21, 2015
Happy Monday!  Notice anything different around here?  I am beyond excited to finally be sharing my brand new shiny blog design and logo.(Insert happy dance) Ashley and I have been working for months on this and I love how it all came together.  One of the biggest changes beside the logo is I corrected the spelling of my blog name.  Now don't worry if you think this change will affect you if you follow by email. You can still search for the old spelling and it will redirect you here.   Everything including emails will all switch over until you get use to the new spelling.  We are still tweaking a few minor things but that should all be done this week.  So what do you think?  Leave me some feedback in the comments and share what you think.   So on to what else I have been up to..... 

Erin and I had the pleasure of attending a hands on Bloom Academy wreath class taught by Emily, another founder of The Blog Guild.  It was an evening filled with a wonderland of greenery and luscious scents of fir and Christmas in the air.  There may have been some laughter as well. 

Winter-Flower-Wreaths


The evening began with light bites and pretty drinks.  We mingled with the other ladies and took in all the pretty florals we were about to dive into.  I shared my experience with working with Emily and The Bloom Academy here, but this class was new to me. I have had the pleasure of enjoying gorgeous floral arrangements by The Bloom Academy at several events I have attended.

Floral-wreaths

The-Bloom-Academy

Wniter-Greenery-Wreaths

Freash-Greenery-and-Flowers


Once she finished her presentation and tutorial she set us loose to create our one of a kind designs. 


Workshop-Supplys


If you love fresh flowers as much as I do then trust me when I say.... you need to sign up for one of her classes.  She guides you step by step through the process and invites your individual flare and taste to help you create your one of a kind arrangement.  Her tips and tricks to a successful arrangement are easy to understand and I would share them with you...... but them you wouldn't get the same experience I had at my class.  Watch her website for her list of classes and sign up.  They fill up pretty fast so keep an eye out.   Here are some images from our wonderful evening.


Fresh-Winter-Wreaths


The-Bloom-Academy-Workshop


That's me on the left and Erin on the right! We both loved how our wreaths turned out! 

Fresh-Greenery-Wreaths


Photos 2, 3, 4, 5, and 10 all courtesy of the talented Morgan Miller Photography.  All other images mine. 



Gifts Under 25

December 18, 2015
We are in the final stretch of Christmas! Can you believe it's one week away? Are you ready? I have a few items left to pick up and I am done. Next week is a short work week for most and I bet a lot of you will be traveling home for the holiday. The temperature has finally dropped into the 20's here in Kansas making it feel more like the holiday season. It fun to see everyones tree from their front window and the houses lit up on my drive home from work. This time next week I bet all the pretty wrapping, the perfectly placed packages under the tree, the fluffy bows and tissue will be in one big heap in the floor and your care for each gift you gave will be told. Finding something for everyone and staying within your budget can be tricky. If you are still in need a few items then this is a perfect roundup. With all these gifts under 25 you can pick up all those last minute items and still have time to enjoy your decorated home, a nice cozy evening by the fire and your favorite holiday shows.



1  /  2  / 3 /  4 /  5  / 6  

5 Golden Rings

December 15, 2015





1 /  2  /  3  4  /  5  

Christmas is right around the corner and I am ready.  Are you?  The prettiest little rings for your pretty little fingers.  My favorite is #4.  Drop one or two of these in stockings this year and make someone on your list a happy girl.  



Christmas Eve PJ's

December 10, 2015
I remember growing up and opening presents on Christmas morning was always a joy.  What isn't always a joy is looking through photos of you as a kid on Christmas morning and looking like a hot mess.  When I had kids I started the tradition of letting them open one gift Christmas eve.  It was always the same..... new PJ's for the morning.  Ha, I got away with them thinking it was something awesome for a few years; then they caught on to me.  I still carried that tradition on until my boys moved away and started their own families.  What warms my heart is they have now started the tradition with their boys.   

So today's post is about looking great for old Saint Nick on Christmas Morning!  Because lets face it..... we all want the instagram life right?! 



Piped Silk Nightshirt  /  Print Joggers  /  Lake PJS /  Heart Print PJ bottom /  Printed Flannel pants /  Thermal Pajamas

Cozy and Nice

December 07, 2015
When you think of Christmas you think red and green.  Well today I am sharing my favorite roundup of gifts in a non traditional color; my favorite of course.  This entire wish list can show up under my tree and I wouldn't miss the red or green at all




Flamingo Ornament  / 2 Sheer Lip Gloss / 3 Polish  / 4 Brezza Flats  / 5 Checkered Robe / 6 Blush Tote / 7 Phone Case  / 8 Bath Bombs / 9 Scallop Pink Blouse ( On Sale) / 10 Lounge pants / 11 Drawstring bag  / 12 Mug Toppers 


Stylish Women over 50

December 01, 2015
I recently read a great article by Who What Wear on older woman and fashion (you can read it here) and it got me thinking. . . so I decided to share a few facts and misconceptions about style and age. 

"Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak." Rachel Zoe


Confidence is sexy as hell.  Yup, that's right.  A confident woman isn't into game playing or needing a man to pay attention to her to have fun. She will pick up her own bar tab and might even refuse to let you get hers.  Why? Confidence.  She will walk into a room smiling and full of energy; she will have great posture and will walk with intent.  Often, 20 something gals will often walk in somewhat sheepishly with eyes searching for someone they know.  I would tell her to "fake it till ya make it, sista"!  Confidence comes from within and by the time you are in your 40's you have had enough life experiences and lessons to walk the walk!  What else happens with a confident woman?  You will be hit on by every Tom, Dick, and Harry. That's right girls.... the men are attracted to your beauty more in your late 30's to 50's then they ever were in your 20's.

Eye Cream is a Must.  If I have said it once here, I have said it a thousand times..... you are never too young to wear eye cream.  Trust me on this and go get yourself some. Your 40 something self will thank you.

The Twisted Road of Life.  You plan and you plan..... but inevitably, life happens.  There will be happy moments and unforeseen tragedies that will mess up the plan you have.  Stop trying to plan out your whole life.  You have heard the mile marker goals many times.... when to buy a house, start a family, move away, etc.   Whatever is in your plan, throw it out the window and start enjoying life.  Focus on the here and the now.  The journey is the true reward, not the plan. 

Life Long Friends.  I remember meeting so many new people when I was in my 20's – new friends were everywhere.  As you grow older, you realize you really didn't have anything in common with those people other than killing time together.  Then, you realize something even more profound, having a wide circle of friends isn't near as important or meaningful as having a small, close knit circle of friends.  Now, I'm not saying go out and dump everyone you know who isn't a close friend.  Those people are acquaintances and they play an important role in your circle too.  Trust your instincts and put effort and faith into the people who are worth having deep, meaningful friendships with beyond the surface; people that you can go months without speaking to or seeing and pick right back up with where you left off.  These relationships do exist, cherish them.




Buy Quality.  Whether we are talking household items or wardrobe items, this one is important.  If you want to be a grown-up then you gotta play the part.  It's easy to pick up items at Target and Ikea and trust me, we love them.  But there comes a time you need to truly be patient and save; invest in quality.  Mismatched, hand me down furniture has a time and place and generally it's college or your first apartment.  It’s great to outfit your closet and home with trendy and chic items, but it they are "cheap stuff" you will regret it in about two years if not sooner.  Pressed board, particle board, and veneers are all euphemisms for "It's not real wood.”  Bottom line here..... buy right, buy once.  Quality over quantity and it will last a lifetime.

You have a voice... know when to use it.  You have seen people that speak their mind and have, ultimately, tripped over their own words.  Having a voice and not having a filter are close cousins but not the same.  Speak up for what you think and believe in regardless of others’ opinions but do have a filter when it comes to how you say it and to whom you say it.  People deserve to see and hear the real you.  Scary? Yes.  Iinvigorating? Yes.  Don't fake it till ya make it when it comes to your voice and don't try to be someone else.  That just plain sucks.  Be heard for who you are!


If only I could go back in time and talk to my 20 something year old self.  What life lessons would you tell your 20 year old self? Are my life lessons the same as yours? Leave a comment and let me know.

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