I’m a firm believer that when it comes to styling an outfit, jewelry plays a big part in completing the entire look, giving it the final touches it needs for a well polished outfit. I always tend to go towards golds and rose golds – not only because it compliments my skin tone better, but because it goes with more of what I have in my closet.
I’m so excited to have partnered with Michael Hill Jeweller to share a few pieces that I can’t seem to stop wearing these days. I mean, can you blame me? These rose gold stud earrings and ring are the perfect shape and size – not too dainty and not too bulky. I love how they are still very delicate pieces, yet still make such a strong statement alone. These two pieces are incredibly versatile, which I absolutely love. I can go from day to night to casual to formal, and these earrings and ring would still create a different look each time for any occasion.
If you are not familiar with Michael Hill, they are a jewelry online store that offer a wide assortment of beautiful jewelry pieces. Anywhere from engagement rings to every jewelry category to watches to even men’s accessories. They are the go-to online store for any upcoming special occasion you may have. Michael Hill is perfect for holiday gifting as well, and with the holidays right around the corner, it’s perfect timing to start that wishlist!
You guys! A little birdie told me that Shopbop is having a MAJOR sale right now until this Friday 9/29. And not just any ordinary sale – I’m talking sitewide discounts! Everything on their website is on sale…. I know, I can’t handle it either. This is the perfect opportunity to shop items that normally sit in my shopping cart that I never check out. Also, the perfect opp to shop key items, like coats, bags and shoes – items I would wear over and over again that will actually get good wear out of throughout the year that will never go out of style.
I wrote a blogpost on how I started my blog and included a few blog tips back in February. Since I’m constantly receiving questions and advice on how to start a blog, I decided to blog about it and share some more helpful tips. I’m always learning something new about blogging everyday – even after having 7 blogging years under my belt. And because I never had someone to give me advice when I first started, I want to help those who are just starting out.
Here are a few helpful tips and advice for anyone wanting to start a blog:
START. You don’t have to have all your ducks in a row and have a direct plan on how you would like to execute your blog. The best thing to do is just to start. Have a presence online, and begin creating content. The rest will fall into place accordingly. My blog is far from perfect, but that doesn’t stop me from creating content and publishing posts. If you don’t have a professional camera, that’s ok. Reach out to photographers on Instagram and see if they are willing to work for trade. There’s a lot of photographers out there who are trying to build their portfolio. Message them. It’s all about how you edit your photos. Use photoshop or light room. Most of my Instagram photos are taken with my iPhone 7 if I’m not shooting with my photographer or George. I wrote a blogpost on how I edit my Instagram photos and the apps I use. Most likely if you’re just starting out, chances are you’re not receiving gifted product, and again that’s ok. Do what I did when I first started my blog, go to Forever 21 or Nordstrom, and buy a few items and start taking photos. It’s all about building content. What a lot of influencers do or have done that no one really talks about is purchase product, shoot it for the blog with the tags still on, and then return or exchange. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do. WHAT ABOUT BEAUTY BRANDS? Sign up on https://www.octoly.com. Obviously you cannot return used makeup and skin care products, so sign up to Octoly to receive free product to feature. This is a great way to begin, especially if you cannot afford to purchase beauty products on a regular like me. https://www.ipsy.com is another great way to receive product. It’s $10 a month. And once you have a decent amount of blogposts on your blog, then make sure to look into SEO (search engine optimization). Very important. This helps drive traffic to your blog.
CONSISTENCY IS KEY. Blog regularly. Stay active. You have to have enough content on your blog if you want to work with brands. You need to have something to show these brands before pitching them. Make sure you link back to the brands you are featuring on your blog and social media, then shoot them an email or DM letting them know so that they can go check it out. Tagging brands on your Instagram posts helps tremendously. See what fashion accounts other bloggers are tagging in their posts, such as @world.fashion.bloggers and @streetstyleluxe, and start tagging them. The same goes with hashtags.
GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND. Honestly, I wish I had someone who could guide me in the right direction when I first started my blog. Unfortunately, I didn’t. I had to learn and find everything on my own for myself. I googled everything and anything, even if it didn’t make sense when I googled it. And guess what? I figured it out. My motto in life has always been MAKE IT HAPPEN. that phrase has stuck with me since my early years of working in the fashion industry. It just speaks to me in so many different ways on so many levels. Make It Happen. However I had to, or whatever I needed to do, I had to figure it out and make it happen. And I did.
COLLABORATE INSTEAD OF COMPETING. There is room for everyone. You just need to figure out your niche – what you are good at and what you can bring that makes you stand out. Support one another. Reach out to other bloggers and plan brunch dates. This is one of the easiest and best ways to network. If you don’t have a photographer – that’s ok. Reach out to other bloggers and meet up to take each other’s photos. I do it all the time. Have a friend, your mom, boyfriend, girlfriend, niece (I sometimes have my god-daughter take my photos, and she’s 9). Give them direction on how you want your photos taken. Show them inspiration photos.
SELF PROMOTION. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You are your own brand, and if you don’t have an agent or manager, you need to represent yourself. Reach out to brands you want to work with or other influencers you want to collaborate with. DM them. Email them. Text your friends, family, baby momma, cousin when you publish a new blog post. I’m not kidding either! Spread the word. It’s free. Take advantage. Some people don’t understand the value of self promotion, and how beneficial self promoting truly is. When I first started my blog, my mom was and still is my biggest cheerleader. She always shares my blogposts and social media with her coworkers (bless her heart) and amongst her friends. I ain’t made about it. So what if people think you’re being “thirsty”. You have to go full force in promoting yourself before anyone starts promoting your work. You have to believe you are who you are before anyone else does. SOCIAL MEDIA IS EVERYTHING. It really is. Especially Instagram. Use this platform to cross-promote your content on your blog or any other channel.
KEEP GOING. Even when the going gets tough (sounds like a quote from Pinterest, but it’s so true). Don’t feel discourage. I know it’s easier said than done. We’re only humans. We feel what we feel when we’re feeling it. LIFE. It happens to all of us. You’re going to get a lot of no’s before you get any yes’s. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to throw in the towel and say f*** it, I’m just going to go back to school. To be honest, what keeps me going is the fact that I never want to sit behind a desk all day. I’m not saying 9-5 jobs are bad. It’s just not for me. To each their own. If i’m going to be working a 9-5, then it’s going to be for myself or what I am hard-core passionate about. I just knew I was missing something in my career life, and a 9-5 corporate job was not one of them. Something that is very important, and should keep in mind is that many people do not realize that blogging is a lot of work. It’s not as easy as it looks, but if you’re passionate and it’s what you want to do as a full-time career, then you can do it. Leaving my 9-5 corporate job wasn’t easy, and being a full-time blogger is twice as hard because you are now your own boss, but I absolutely LOVE IT.
PAY ATTENTION. Be very observant. If there’s a brand working with another influencer that you have been wanting to work with, DM that brand. If an influencer doesn’t share within the caption the outfit details or product they’re sharing, tap the photo and see if the brands were tagged, or message them – leave a comment and ask. Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed. At the end of the day, this is business and you have to be in a business state of mind.
NETWORK in real life and online. Attend events, pass out your business cards, and ask for theirs. After the event, send them a thank you email. Stay on their radar. Support other bloggers by commenting on their blogs and/or social media. Most likely the people who follow that blogger will notice you and chances are they might start following you, too. Reach out to https://www.thecollectiveaffair.com and https://www.gpsradar.com, and stay updated on upcoming events and collaboration opportunities.
PITCH BRANDS. It’s important to let them know the following: who you are, what you do, what you can offer them, and how they would benefit from this. Again, you may or may not get a respond, and you’re going to get a lot of no’s before you get a lot of yes’s. Trust me. I still get no’s, but the same brands who said no to me once upon a time, have reached out to me later to collaborate. And just because they don’t respond doesn’t mean they don’t want to work with you. Make sure to follow up. Even if it’s more than once. If you’re trying to pitch PR companies, but don’t know where to even begin, google or research on Instagram and find out who is representing these brands. This is exactly what I would do. Check what accounts these brands are following or see who is tagging them. Once you find them, shoot them an email introducing yourself and request to be on their influencer contact list for future events and collaboration opportunities.
BE A NICE HUMAN. BE HUMBLE. BE YOU. No matter what, be nice to others. This industry is smaller than you think. Stay authentic and be real. My personality has remained the same since day 1. I’ve grown so much as a person and as an influencer because you never stop learning. I’m always learning something new about this whole blogging world we live in today. It’s crazy, good – and fun. Don’t try to change yourself because you think that you don’t “fit” the brand’s desire or requirements. If they don’t want to work with you, don’t take it personally. Maybe THEY weren’t a right fit for YOUR aesthetic and brand. Accept it and move on and keep doing you, boo. There are many brands out there who will love you and your work. Authenticity definitely shows, and brands appreciate it more than you think. I’m 100% grateful for every opportunity that has come my way, and have remain true to myself. I think this shows… or at least I hope so. 😉
I hope these tips and my advice are helpful for anyone reading. If I missed any questions you may have or want to find out more information about blogging, please feel free to comment below or send me a message on Instagram. I am more than happy to help out anyone. I love hearing from you guys. 🙂
By now, the malls are probably the craziest and most hectic, especially because of the most anticipated sale of the year – the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. The only time I wish I had a sugar daddy (no offense Horhey). It’s the most dangerous sale, but most exciting because a lot of the brands that are normally super expensive get dropped to a more reasonable price that cannot be passed up, I meannnn. Lucky for us there’s online shipping so we don’t have to wait in ridiculous lines. We can simply shop form the comfort of our home.
So without further ado, here are my top picks from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale that are currently sitting in my shopping cart, because it is frowned upon to be in a store with no bra, sweatpants and a glass a wine.
My Thoughts on Loop Giveaways and Like / Comment Pods
I miss the days when Instagram was easy, stress-free, and not having to worry about how to go around the “new algorithm changes” (literally rolling my eyes as I type this). Remember when you could get 600 likes with less than 10k followers? Or when your feed wasn’t controlled by Instagram’s new formula? Nowadays, you can have 100k followers with only 600 likes, if that (smh).
With the new changes, one must find ways to stay relevant in the blogger world. In other words desperate times calls for desperate measures… I’m talking about Loop Giveaways that have been all over your feed (guilty), and Like/Comment Pods (keep scrolling to read).
As much as it’s annoying to see nothing but loop giveaways on my Instagram feed, I think it is appropriate to do one or two, not three in a day or in a week. Spread them to throughout the months. I made the mistake of doing two within two weeks only because I didn’t realize how close the giveaways were going to be (my bad). I won’t be doing that again.
Although a lot of people have their own thoughts and opinions about loop giveaways and are not fans of them, I am here to say that I see both sides. Some may think it’s like buying followers, but I have to disagree because someone actually ends up winning an amazing gift, while buying followers will only get you fake/ghost followers. These loop giveaways have their pros and cons.
Pros: Influencers who participate in these giveaways have a chance to gain more exposure from a wider audience, which means more followers. This is a pro, especially on a brand’s perspective since, unfortunately a lot of brands care more about quantity versus quality.
Cons: After the giveaway is over, you lose followers (not all but most), which is pretty standard and expected.
It really depends on how you look at it. The way I see them is that it definitely helps your blog/Instagram get recognition. The new followers might not have even known about your blog or Instagram, which can help in your advantage if they like your feed and stick around. OR, perhaps these accounts who are entering these giveaways are just in it for the free stuff (also pretty normal), and are only following for a chance to win, period. It’s really difficult to gage these loop giveaways, but I suggest every influencer who is trying to build their account to try a giveaway to see how they like it. If it didn’t matter about the number of followers you have on Instagram, then none of the above would be relevant. Unfortunately, as a full time blogger (I’ll speak for myself) we have to make sure our numbers keep growing and our engagement is high, which leads me to Like/Comment Pods…
Would I do another loop giveaway? Yeah, maybe. Maybe not. I don’t think the loop giveaways helped my account at all. If anything I gained a ridiculous amount of followers during the last loop giveaway I participated in, and am still losing followers (most likely followers who were just looking to win something and not necessarily like my account) now – but I can’t stress about it. I know why I’m losing, and it’s because of the other accounts who participated in this same loop giveaway. If I learned anything about these giveaways, it’s that you need to make sure that the other accounts are similar to yours or relevant. You can’t have an account who is promoting cleaning supplies be in the same giveaway as someone who focuses on fashion, beauty, etc… Also, a lot of these accounts that were a part of the same loop giveaway as I was were international, which means the majority of their followers only spoke Spanish or a different language, and since I speak mainly English, of course they would not stick around. It didn’t make sense. I understand that 100%. Again, my bad. I’m definitely going to try to host more giveaways on my own and see how that works out. Not only for exposure but for my followers because I luv ya. 😉
LIKE / COMMENT PODS
For those of you who are not familiar with these pods, they are DM groups through Instagram or through the Telegram app (I’m sure there are others) with different bloggers who share their Instagram posts for the group to like and or comment on each other’s posts. It’s another way to support one another. I briefly mentioned my thoughts about it on my 5 Instagram Pet Peeves blog post. Very similar to my thoughts on loop giveaways – I’m not against them. My only issue is when other bloggers do not catch up, meaning like or comment on your posts. The way it works is that you must be caught up with whoever is involved in the group by liking and or commenting before sharing your posts with the group. Some follow rules, while most do not… this is based off my experience by the way. I had to leave a few groups because I felt like I was abiding by the rules while others were using lame excuses like “sorry no wifi, will catch up later” yet still share their post. This topic is silly, really. And I’m sure more for those who are reading this who are not bloggers, but this is the blogging world we live in.
Anywho, these are my thoughts on loop giveaways and like/comment pods based off my experience. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments.
Last year, we were introduced to the basket bag. Today, still the most wanted, high in demand bag this season is none other than the rattan basket bag or what most people call – the picnic basket bag… You might’ve seen this bag flooding your Instagram feed – whether it’s an influencers wearing it or your favorite celebrity. This bag is all the rage.
I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite basket bags (all under $100) that I found on Etsy. Begin slideshow by clicking left arrow above.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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!
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.
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. 🙂