What It’s Like Being A Full Time Blogger

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What It’s Like Being A Full Time Blogger…

Well… it definitely has it’s pros and cons. I love being completely transparent with all of you guys because that’s just the kind of person I am in real life – duh. I thought I’d share the good, the bad and the ugly side of blogging, and what it really looks like.

From an outsider looking in, it seems so glamorous and perfect, free clothes all day everyday, fun trips, fancy brunches… seems like a full time vacation, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for all the opportunities and beyond blessed to be where I am today with my blog. I am not complaining nor am I asking for a pity party. What I am saying is that as a blogger (I’ll speaker myself), I will only share positive content on my social media channels – whether it’d be fashion, beauty, lifestyle, travel related topics to anything that I love sharing, and occasional personal posts. At the end of the day, my job requires me to be on my phone 24/7. It’s a business I’m trying to run, and I need to keep it very professional but authentic as much as possible. So before anyone makes assumptions that our lives are so “picture perfect”, you should really think before assuming because you never know what someone is going through. We’re humans. As much as our social media shows otherwise, it’s not as pretty as you think. It is only natural to think that we live the most amazing and glamorous lives, because no one wants to share anything negative, I mean why would you? I know I don’t. I hate being around negative people.

“Must be nice to be traveling.” “Oh, must be nice eating brunch in the middle of the week.” You’re so lucky.” “Ugh, I wish I had your life. ” 

Must be nice? Yeah it actually is. It’s nice being able to treat myself for working hard. It’s the perks you get for hustling. Lucky? perhaps. Lucky I get to wake up and work hard to do what I love.

Just a few comments I get on social media. I don’t understand why people think that I was handed everything to me. That’s not the reason why I’m doing what I’m doing and get to do what I love to do as a job. I work extremely hard to get to where I am today. You want it so badly? Then go get it. MAKE IT HAPPEN. HUSTLE. You want to start your own business? Then get up and do it. Figure it out. I did. There is no 9-5 for me. I wake up and get on the computer, and start working. And sometimes don’t end my day until past midnight, but guess what? I love it. I love what I do so it doesn’t seem like work to me.

The Good…

Free clothes, meeting new people, attending events, getting paid to do what you love, share your work with your followers… I can keep going on all the good from blogging. I am so thankful for all of my followers/readers who show me nothing but love and support on this platform and social media. You guys are seriously the best!

The Bad…

People think it’s so easy being a blogger. It’s not, you guys. It’s a lot of work. From shooting all day multiple outfits a day, changing in your car (yup that’s normal), trying to have a real life outside of blogging. You never clock out. There’s no off-button. Sacrifices are made constantly.

The Ugly…

Expect people to continuously dismiss your work as a real job. Some companies – even family and friends don’t take you seriously. I think it’s because they don’t get it. They don’t understand what you are trying to build. You’re constantly having to prove yourself and educate people to understand your business and what blogging and social media has evolved to today. It’s a constant battle between being so passionate about something you strongly believe in and often questioning yourself “What am I doing with my life?” – quite possibly start believing “they” who don’t believe in your work, which leads to shutting down.

The struggle is real sometimes.

At the end of the day though, I would not trade anything in the world. I do not miss my 9-5 corporate job. I am forever grateful and blessed to be able to blog full time and share my life and love with you guys. You all mean the world to me, seriously.

I really hope this shed some light to anyone reading, and possibly educate anyone out there that is new to the blogging world or didn’t quite understand it before. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or DM on instagram @melrodstyle.

xo

How I Started My Blog + Blog Tips

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I cannot believe my blog is turning 7 this year (insert clapping hands emoji here).

I decided to share how I started MelRodStyle in today’s post, plus share a few blog tips.

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HOW I STARTED MY BLOG:

I always knew I wanted to do something with fashion.  I went to FIDM and worked in the fashion industry. I remember working in a showroom, and how much clothing I would be gifted. I seriously played dress-up all day and put looks together. Ugh, I loved it, but there was no way of me showing these outfits, other than to George or Boo Boo Kitty (true story). There had to be some way I could share my outfits with my friends – I thought. Mind you, social media didn’t really exist.

Then one day, I was sitting in my car looking over a FIDM newsletter I received in the mail, and came across a blogger. It immediately caught my attention, and went online to find out more about this whole blogger thing. That’s when I stumbled upon a few other bloggers, like Cupcakes and Cashmere, Fashion Toast, Sincerely Jules, The Blonde Salad. I knew right then and there that this was it. This was the platform I needed to be on. I could share my outfits. It was perfect. I was so excited, you have no idea!

And just like that, on June 15, 2010, my blog was born. Not a clue in the world as to what I was doing. I was just going with it. My blog was mainly focused on OOTDs and DIYs. Also, my blog was once called Modanista Junkie. Moda is Fashion in Spanish. I thought I was being clever by making up a word (sigh… don’t ask). That quickly changed. Thought MelRodStyle was more fitting, since everyone called me Mel or MelRod anyway.

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BLOG TIPS:

How to start a blog? Just start.

If you’re new to this blogging world, then guess what, you’re already ahead of the game because any fashion/beauty blogger that began their blog around or before 2007-2010 will  agree with me that they had no clue what they were doing and didn’t realize that blogging would be what it is today. All you newbies out there get to see all our trials and errors.

Don’t try to perfect every little detail on your website. Just buy the domain, and start creating amazing content. Make sure you have good quality images though. It’s all about the lens.

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BRAND COLLABORATIONS:

Advice to brands: Send straight-to-the-point emails. Make it short and sweet.

Make sure you know the blogger you are reaching out to. I cannot tell you how many emails I receive that read: “Dear Melanie, we’ve been huge fans of your blog for several years now”…. Well if that was the case, then you’d know my name is not Melanie. Also, don’t send out “Dear Blogger” emails (insert eye rolling emoji here).

I created my blog as a hobby. Never in a million years did I think it would be what it is today. I thought I would have my blog as a hobby and continue to work a 9-5 job until I was able to pursue my own business (shoe line and open my own store). Things are so different now. I get to be my own boss. I get to make what I thought was just a hobby a career. Is this real life?

There has been several times where Brands don’t feel that they should pay influencers. My favorite is when they reach out to me to offer content to share on my blog, and provide a list of requirements, and tell me they do not have a budget for this collaboration. Now what do I get out of this? Nothing. What do they get out of it? Free advertisement. Brand exposure.

I think it’s very important for companies to know that some of us bloggers make a living out of this. And although it’s nice to receive free gifts, gifts are not going to pay the bills, unfortunately. Bloggers provide a service just like any other company does, like a spa, a hair salon, the list goes on.

I work with many PR agencies that loan me styles to shoot, however; there is always a mutual agreement of some sort, plus I have amazing relationships with most of these companies.

Is it ok to promote brands for product in trade? Sure, why not. Is it rude to say no? Absolutely not. It is up to you how you wish to proceed with every partnership. Whether it’s kindly declining or agreeing to their terms. I do both gifting terms and paid, depending on the collaboration.

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photos: Stefanie M Mariee

BUT BLOGGING IS EASY… WHAT? LIKE IT’S HARD?!

Insert laughing emoji here, here and HERE!!! What people do not understand is that blogging isn’t that simple. There’s a lot that goes into creating content. You don’t just grab a camera, point and shoot. You have to pay attention to your surroundings, your backgrounds, the lighting, the angles, and most importantly that your outfits are on point (or whatever you’re shooting is amazing). There is so much work that is put into creating content.

DO I LOVE BLOGGING?

OMG, yes! It’s so much fun. I love what I do. I love creating content, meeting new people, making new friends, and of course having your support.

You have no idea how blessed and thankful I am for having you all by my side on this crazy-fun journey of mine. Somebody pinch me.

 

xo

SHOP THE LOOK:

 

Rebecca Minkoff x GE Lighting

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A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Rebecca Minkoff runway show debuting her Spring 2017 collection, on behalf of GE Lighting, to celebrate the launch of the RMxGE Glow selfie case. It was so much fun. The best part was that it was a see-now-buy-now show, which meant that the audience was able to view the collection off the runway and shop the entire collection right after.

The collection was a mix of floral prints, flirty and whimsical silhouettes, along with statement handbags.

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Ok, now for the best part!

GIVEAWAY ALERT!!!

Because I love you all, I will be hosting a giveaway. So be sure to keep an eye out for the image above on my Instagram to find out how you can win a Rebecca Minkoff x GE Lighting Glow selfie phone case.

xo

 

How I Edit My Instagram Photos

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“How do you edit your Instagram photos?” “Love your photos?” “What filters do you use?” The most popular questions I’ve gotten. Well, you asked, I answered.

If you scroll a few months down my feed, you’ll notice that my photos use to be very blown out, I would whiten every single background, even moody (love a good moody shot). I used to be very particular with my feed and how every single photo looked. I was OCD with the editing and filter usage. I kept my filters to a minimum (two I think), and it HAD to look perfect. “Now wait a minute… but my life isn’t perfect so why am I trying so hard?!”  Yeah, I know. Pretty silly right?… LAUGHING OUT LOUD.

My feed has changed since. Now, I just look at what looks best, which has lead me to use multiple filters. I love more natural backgrounds, still with moody/contrast tones as before. I just love that feel, ya know? I just post whatever looks and feels right to my liking… does that make sense? It’s not that I don’t care about what my feed looks like anymore, it’s more about liking how each individual photo looks rather than stressing if my feed looks consistent or if this photo looks ok next to the previous edited photo. I still think that my feed is cohesive and still remains somewhat of a consistency, however; in a more “go-with-the-flow” kind of way. I guess you can say that. I don’t know, it’s really difficult to explain it but you get the gist of it, right?!..

Anyways, moving on. I listed the apps and a quick rundown of the filters I use.

VSCO:

Want to know my secret? Ok, are you ready? I use EVERYTHING! Lol, just kidding – but I kinda do.

A6: Aaahhh good ol’ A6 – probably the most famous & most used filter bloggers have used or still do. I’ve notice I use this every once in awhile. Not as often as I use to but still great, especially for photos you absolutely think are trash. This filter has saved a lot of my photos that almost never made it to the gram.

C1-C3 & E1-E4: I always play around with these to get the right tones. I can’t really narrow it down because while one will work for one photo, it may not necessarily work for another… Does that make sense?! I hope so… moving on.

J1, J2, J5 & J6: These have been some of my favorites for sure. If you’re like me, and like moody, these are great.

SNAPSEED:

I use this app to control the brightness and exposure of my photos. You can also tap a specific area of the photo to change the tone, which is ah-mazing!

FACETUNE:

This is what I use to use to whiten out the backgrounds of my photos. I still use it from time to time when necessary. It’s great to smooth out any blemishes. I also use it to remove certain things, people, stains, etc. that are photo bombing my photo… yeah, this app can do that.

LIGHTROOM:

I just recently started using this app even though I’ve (for some odd reason) have had this app on my phone for years. It’s great for selfies. 😉

So there you have it ladies & gents. I hope this helped you out, and as always if you have any questions, just leave me a comment below or feel free to email or DM me on Instagram. 🙂

xo

What To Wear For New Years Eve

Happy almost New Years everyone! For all you last-minute shoppers, I put together a few outfit ideas to ring in the new year with.

If you want to get all dolled up and look extra, then these dresses are totally right up your alley. Here are a few insta-worthy dresses you can wear to say “bye Felicia” to 2016.

Don’t feel like wearing a dress? Don’t worry boo. I gotchu.

Here are a few jumpsuits that will have you slaying all day errrday.

Not planning to turn up or get ratchet for the last night of 2016? Still gotchu boo.

This list of festive-not-thottie-casual-but-oh-so-YAAASSS-worthy looks are perf!

xo

Holiday Gift Guide For Him Under $100

 

Not sure what to get the mister for Christmas this year? Didn’t realize Christmas was around the corner and need a last minute gift? Don’t worry. I gotchu boo. Get your special someone something special (obvi) but that’s also affordable.

I’ve created a holiday gift guide for him that’s under $100. I hope this is helpful for anyone that is not done shopping for their boo’s.

xo

Entree Biggie Smalls Dad Cap by: Forever 21

Men Faux Leather Gloves by: Forever 21 

MEN Faux Leather Low-Tops by: Forever 21 

Dock Peacoat by: Nordstrom

The 4 Elements of the Perfect Shave Sandalwood Kit by: Nordstrom

Mr. Burberry Set by: Nordstrom

‘Cooke’ Slipper by: Nordstrom

Cashmere Beanie by: Nordstrom

Men Faux Leather Baseball Cap by: Forever 21

Men Canvas Matte Watch by: Forever 21 

Wide-Brim Wool Fedora by: Forever 21

Men Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses by: Forever 21

Snow Days Bundle by: Forever 21

Faux Leather Moto Jacket by: Forever 21

Moto Drawstring Pants by: Forever 21

Men Plaid Flannel Scarf by: Forever 21

SHOP NOW:

What To Wear For The Holidays Under 100

 

The time has come. Holidays are here, and the real important question is what do I wear for…?

Whether you’re attending a fancy holiday party/event, or going to a company party, Christmas dinner, or anything holiday related, I’ve got you covered boo. I decided to put together a few holiday items that are all under $100 – duh. Because why would you spend more than that?

Scratch that. I’ll speak for myself. I don’t like spending a lot on clothing or accessories because I don’t think you have to in order to look ahmazing!

Velvet Bardot Top – TopShop

Velvet Pleat Midi Skirt – TopShop

ASOS Tulle Prom Skirt with Multi Layer and Trim – Asos

Semelle Pendant – BaubleBar

Black Velvet Seduction Bodysuit – Windsor

Burgundy Intimate Velvet Dress – Windsor

Gold 12 Row Rhinestone Choker – Windsor

Natural Faux Fur Scarf – Windsor

Katie Black Full Sequin Formal Dress – Windsor

Black Pretty Young Thing Blazer – Windsor

Navy Longing Velvet Mini – Windsor

Cressida Natural Sparkling Goddess Dress – Windsor

Black Ombre Sequin Pants – Windsor

Black Star Dust Glitter Romper – Windsor

Rose Gold Holiday Cheer Jumpsuit – Windsor

Black Slit Life Living Midi – Windsor

Burgundy Puppy Love Jacket – Windsor

Gray Velvet Renaissance Booties – Windsor

Natural Buckle Down Heels – Windsor

Black Faux Fur Clutch – Windsor

Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping!

xo

SHOP THE LOOK

The 90’s Look

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Who doesn’t love the ’90s? Many of us grew up in the grunge-soaked decade filled with boy bands, epic sitcoms, and the introduction of mainstream internet. It’s hard for anyone that grew up back then to think of any specific low points or note anything they would look back on and frown.

Just kidding. As with any generation looking back on their youth, some of our fashion choices are enough to make us cringe.

Of course this doesn’t mean all of the decades styles. Some of the trends from the ’90s have come back in full force this year, but there are definitely still some that everyone would like to keep in the past for good. If you want to recreate a successful ’90s look, here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind.

Don’t Wear Tie-Dye Tops; Do Wear Flannel
Unless you’re starring in an episode of Clarissa Explains It All, tie-dye shirts should probably remain exclusively as night shirts/pajama wear, and maybe as a workout shirt if you’re feeling bold.

Instead, if you want a ’90s top, go with flannel. Not only is it an iconic pattern/fabric from the decade, now that the fall weather has arrived, it’s also a comfy shirt for the season. According to this article from Hollywire, the look is great with a pair of classic denim jeans as well as when paired underneath a cardigan and used as an accent piece. You can also tie the bottom of the shirt around your waist for some extra ’90s flair, which brings us right back to Clarissa

Don’t Wear Yin-Yang or Peace Necklaces; Do Wear Chokers
Who among us didn’t have a slew of yin-yang and peace symbol jewelry? Pair one of them with a mood ring and the odd toe ring or ankle bracelet, and your jewelry was on point in the ’90s.

The bad news is that you still probably won’t get much use out of that jewelry. The good news is that if you had a collection of chokers, you can feel proud showing them off again.

Even better, if you already ditched your old chokers, you can achieve the same look with a shoelace. As one post from Elite Daily explains, one girl posted a photo of herself on twitter wearing a shoelace wrapped around her neck in a bow, and everyone went nuts over it. Find a thick, black shoe lace, and you can easily achieve the same romantic look on a shoe string budget…Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Don’t Wear Jellies; Do Wear Dr. Martens
Who thought these shoes were a good idea? They’re not comfortable, fashionable, or practical in the slightest. They’re stiff, sweaty, and downright ugly, and that’s speaking as someone who actually wore them back in the nineties! When preteens saw these shoes in a video from the Scene, they looked at them puzzled, asking nothing more than “why?” I wish I could answer them, but I can’t. Chalk it up to poor shoe judgement.

The same kids, however, gave a nod of approval to Dr. Martens. One girl even went on describing how much she loved the multiple pairs she owned. They’re definitely back, and they’re much more comfortable than a pair of jellies. Pair them with a skirt, dress, or tights, or any top and pair of black leggings.

The ’90s might have come and gone but their fashion will live on forever, for better or worse. Whenever possible, let’s try and make it for the better and skip the embarrassing styles best left in the past.

Stress-Free Packing Tips for a Weekend Getaway

Who doesn’t love a quick weekend getaway? I know I do! But sometimes when you’re faced with the task of packing for just a few days it can seem a bit like a chore. Lucky for you, this post will explore what I find to be some of the best pieces to bring so that you don’t spend a lot of time packing or unpacking for your trip. In the spirit of summer, we’ll be imaging that this mini vacay will take place somewhere warm and by the sea.

Thanks to bold colors, versatile shoes, and a few basics, you’ll have everything you need to grab your bag and go without having to pack everything but the kitchen sink.

Maxi Dress

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A maxi dress is a great versatile packing piece. With the right shoes and accessories, it will seamlessly take you from day to night. When the sun is up, pair one of these with flat, lace-up sandals and hit the shops, head to lunch, or use it as a swimsuit coverup. And when the sun goes down, throw on a pair of heels and statement earrings, as you head out the door for dinner, drinks, and dancing.

Lightweight Jacket

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Even though it’s summer, early mornings and evenings can still get chilly, so sometimes a lightweight jacket can come in handy. Add a different texture to your getaway wardrobe by choosing a denim piece that you can throw on over all of the tops and dresses you brought along for the trip. You can roll up the sleeves for an even more chill beach vibe.

Swimsuit

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When your beautifully printed one piece can double as a top, it will make packing for your weekend getaway less hectic. Choose something like the gorgeous swimsuit above and pair it with shorts and those neutral lace-up sandals you packed. If you get chilly, utilize the lightweight denim jacket mentioned earlier.

Stylish Shorts

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White, high-waisted denim shorts are a great packing piece for a weekend jaunt. The neutral color works well with the tops you decide to bring along—not too many, though! And like I said previously, these also look just as great over your one-piece swimsuit, creating a stylish look that won’t require packing a lot of unnecessary tanks and tees.

Strappy Sandals

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Let’s face it, more than two pairs of shoes for a weekend getaway seems like a bit much, so let’s exercise some restraint here by choosing the right ones. A pair of trendy, flat, lace-up sandals will work with everything seen on this list—maxi dress, shorts, swimsuit, and more. They’re comfy and perfect for day wear.

Statement Heels

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Short trips mean your evenings out are limited to maybe one or two at the most, so bringing more than one pair of heels would be a bit much. Choose a single pair that will match everything you brought, like your maxi dress, and opt for something comfortable as well as fashionable, like the trendy block heel.

Aside from undergarments and the rogue accessory, following just a few simple suggestions will make a world of difference when preparing for your trip. And now that you’ve gotten a few pointers on packing easily and efficiently for a weekend getaway, you’ll be able to concentrate more on sipping daiquiris by the bay, than wrestling with an overstuffed suitcase.

This is a guest post by Lauren Williams, a fashion writer hailing from Orlando but currently living in Charleston, South Carolina.

David’s Bridal Bridesmaid Dresses

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Reality just hit!!! I’m getting married in less than 4 months! Ahhh!

With my wedding quickly approaching, it was time to get serious and find the perfect dress for my bridesmaids.  From the beginning, I knew I wanted each of my girls to wear something different because they are all unique, so expressing this through their dresses was a no brainer for me.

From pinning like a mad woman to following tons of wedding inspiration accounts on social media, I was in love with texture and delicate details. I knew I wanted to incorporate lace, metallics and some beading details.

Since David’s Bridal is known for amazing value for quality and price, it was a natural choice for me to begin my search there. With so many new styles added each season, over 100 styles, 50+ colors available (some under $250), it was extremely difficult to narrow down my selection because the dresses were all so beautiful. From lace to plenty of mix and match options with coordinating fabrics, colors and silhouettes to metallic details to convertible dresses, which allows each bridesmaid to customize her look by tying the straps to her preference, to prints. David’s Bridal has an extensive selection of gowns and dresses in a variety of silhouettes and styles.

The most important thing for me during this process, was for each of my girls to be 100% happy with their dress. I wanted them to feel just as happy as I was when I found my dress, which is why I wanted them in different styles within the same color palette. When you have 5 girls all with different styles and personalities, choosing the right dress can get tricky, which is why I wanted my girls to find the perfect silhouette for their body type and personality.

Luckily, with the help of David’s Bridal and their amazing staff, I was able to curate a selection of dresses and get ideas of what I liked for each of my bridesmaids. One thing I learned during my appointment was that David’s Bridal has a new Bridesmaid Style Finder Tool, which quizzes brides or bridesmaids to help them find the perfect bridesmaid dress style.

If you are a bride-to-be, a bridesmaid or simply looking for a gown for a special event, I highly recommend to visit David’s Bridal. They have over 300 stores located in the US, Canada, UK and Puerto Rico. www.davidsbridal.com.

For all things #MandGtobe, please follow along on instagram @melrodstyle. I am so excited to share so much more, so be sure to stay connected!

xo