Stuck in a Rut

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Stuck in a Rut

I have been so busy lately (fortunately), that I have had no inspiration (ZERO, NADA, NONE) to create content or do anything in general. I’ve been stuck in a true rut, people. The lack of inspiration is so real right now. The same questions have been playing in my head on repeat: “what do I do?” “how do I get out of this weird ‘funk’ I’m feeling?” – le sigh.

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photos: Stefanie M Mariee

 

I decided to change my morning routine and try a few new things in hopes that it would help change my mood, pick my spirit up, and bring some inspiration into my life. Here’s what I’ve been doing:

  1. Meditation: I purchased a mediation singing bowl  with absolutely no clue how to even use it. I am still trying to figure out how to meditate. It’s not as easy as it looks or sounds, that’s for sure, but I’m giving it a try.
  2. Read Self-Help and Motivational Books. Currently re-reading You Are A Badass book, because every time I read a few lines I’ve already highlighted, it definitely changes my mood and gives me some inspiration I kind of lost.
  3. Workout. Insert eye-rolling emoji here. As much as I am not a fan of working out, I do believe it helps release all the yucky vibes and bring back all the good ones. Speaking of, if you are looking to update your workout attire, then look no further and check out Wear It To Heart. They have some of the best high waisted black leggings.
  4. Get out of the house. Even if it’s just to walk around the neighborhood. Weirdly enough, fresh air actually has been helping.
  5. Family & Friends. Spending time with family and close friends has been helpful and nice. Did a lot of that this week.
  6. Setting New Goals. Jotted down a few new goals I’d like to achieve this week. It helps when you actually write them down on a piece of paper as oppose to putting it in my phone. Seeing them on paper is oddly more motivating than having them on my phone.

What are some ways you stay inspired and motivated? I would love to hear your tips and suggestions, and what works for you.

Hope you all have a wonderful day, and will see you all soon on the gram (@melrodstyle).

xo

WHAT I’M WEARING:

Outfit from Amaro

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What it’s Really Like on Blogger Trips

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What it’s Really Like on Blogger Trips

Before I get into this topic, I wanted to start off by saying how very thankful and blessed I am to be a part of this blogging community that once didn’t exist nor was considered to be a real job. I meaaaan, is this real life?! I am very fortunate and grateful that I have turned a hobby into my career. And all of this would not be possible at all whatsoever if it weren’t for the continuous support of my blog and social media friends – YOU! Thank you.

Now where were we…? Oh yes!

 

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Social media is really funny. While no one most do not like to share anything negative on social media (speaking for myself as an influencer), it’s really easy to judge someone based off what they choose to share on social media. This goes without saying, don’t believe everything you see on social media – DON’T! Especially when you see all these amazing trips bloggers go on. Wait – let me rephrase that. Blogger trips ARE indeed fun and am forever grateful for every opportunity I have had as a blogger, however; it isn’t always what it seems to be.

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photos: Ryan Chua

Allow me to break it down for you.

Here’s what really happens behind the scenes on these blogger trips that we don’t talk about…

Before blogger trips:

  • Work on media kit and proposal letters. Outreach to brands to partner with me during my trips. Whether this is for complimentary stays in hotels, accommodations, or sponsored post collaborations. I love a free trip just as much as the next person, however, free doesn’t pay my bills. At the end of the day, I gotta eat.
  • Style my outfits beforehand. Taking photos of each look will help and make your life easier when shooting back-to-back photos.
  • Have inspiration photos to make sure I capture the content I and/or the brand is asking for.
  • Pack the essentials: camera (very important), chargers (very very important), the product I am shooting, etc…
  • Scout the location and area I am traveling to: hotel, outside of hotel, restaurants, shopping centers, etc. for outfit photos. Backgrounds are key.

During blogger trips:

  • Start documenting EVERYTHING on SnapChat, Insta-stories (because if you didn’t snap it, didn’t even really happen?!), Instagram, Vlog, and Blog.
  • Start creating content: outfit photos, product, etc.. depending on the collaborations.
  • Make time to eat in between shoots.
  • Then begin editing content, and start posting on Instagram.

 By this time, I have yet to enjoy the hotel, location, beach. To be completely honest with you, I have yet to really enjoy the hotel pool when I travel. Every Most photos I have shared on social media laying out on the beach or lounging by the pool have only been for a quick second or for the gram. I’ve never actually done any of the above in “real life” during my trips – lol. Sounds silly when you think about it. Sounds even more silly as I’m typing this post. But that’s blog life. That is my life when traveling for work.

After blogger trips:

  • Unpack.
  • Catch up on real life for a little bit. Then get back to work.
  • Begin uploading all of your content, and start editing.
  • On top of that – catch up on other work: respond to emails, follow up, prep for upcoming shoots and other collaborations, etc.

Although I have yet to master this whateveryouwanttocallit, I have learned that setting aside a few hours in the morning to shoot everything, has definitely helped me enjoy the rest of my stay. And as much as I try to set a plan and shoot all content first thing to get it out of the way, things always come up and not everything goes as planned. Life, right?! There’s a lot of work that is put into all of these trips and vacations. A lot of people don’t understand or realize that these trips are a lot of work and a huge part of our jobs. Creating content isn’t just taking a photo. It’s not as easy as point, shoot and upload. It’s so much more than that. It’s a lot of work but a lot of fun, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 I love posting in real time on social media as much as possible because it feels more authentic and right for me, but that’s not how it always works out when traveling. So one thing I have learned and would advice any other influencer is to post all your travel content after your trip to fully enjoy your stay. This will make it feel more like a vacation and less stressful. As a creative, you always have to make sure you are in a happy place and stress-free in order to produce and create amazing content.

PLEASE NOTE: this post is in no way of me complaining. I am simply sharing with you all what happens prior from posting vacation photos on Instagram, and during these trips, and the amount of work behind it that you don’t hear about. I love what I do, and my goal was to turn what I love doing into a career. Beyond blessed.

I’m pretty sure I left out a few other things, but this is just to give you an idea of what goes down behind these blogger trips and vacations. If you have any questions or feedback on this topic, feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts, tips and what works for you when traveling.

xo

Blog Tips: How to Get Started

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Blog Tips: How to Get Started

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.

 

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Here are a few helpful tips and advice for anyone wanting to start a blog:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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. 🙂

 

xo

 

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Dress & Scarf | Boots | Bag | Sunglasses

Five Instagram Pet Peeves

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Before I share my five Instagram pet peeves, I wanted to explain why I decided to draft this post.

A couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon a heart-breaking post. Someone recently going through a miscarriage, and while most were sympathizing with her sending love and prayers her way, others failed to read the full post and leave comments like “Where is your blouse from?” and “Love this” and “Congrats” because many assumed that since she shared an ultrasound photo that it automatically meant she was announcing her pregnancy.

Now fast forward to last week, while I was scrolling down my Instagram feed, I came across a post of this beautiful girl in her wedding dress, shared by an influencer I follow – mourning over the recent loss of her dear friend. I know this because – as always I like to not only see pretty inspirational photos, but read the captions as well. Most were replying with “Sorry for your loss”, while others “So obsessed” and “Love this look”. I don’t know about you, but this didn’t sit well with me. It never does. I mean, come on people read the captions! You might as well say GFY.

Sorry. This just really annoys me.

Per usual, while doing my daily blog reads, I read Sivan’s recent My Instagram Pet Peeves post, and decided to add my two cents on this subject, specifically on the robotic comments, because it’s a total eye-twitcher for me.

 

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Without further ado… here are my five Instagram pet peeves.

  1. Read the captions. Especially if you are planning to leave a comment. Know what you are commenting on, and be genuine. Get creative even. Don’t leave comments, like “Fabulous look” or “Maj” or my favorite “Great capture”… Great capture?! WTF!!! Do people even speak like that? I know there’s been times when even I leave generic comments, but it’s never comments I wouldn’t actually say in real life. I always try to leave organic comments. I try to think as if I were running into a friend and she asked me what I thought of her OOTD. I like to leave comments as if I were speaking to a girlfriend in real life. Does this make sense? If you’re not going to leave a genuine comment then maybe don’t comment at all.
  2.  Inappropriate commenting. This ties back to #1. If someone is mourning over the loss of their pet, relative, anything tragic, don’t comment with a happy emoji or make irrelevant remarks. Don’t compliment someone’s shoes when they are clearly talking about a recent breakup. Have some respect. Don’t be rude. Read the post.
  3. Reposting. If you’re going to repost an image, ALWAYS make sure to give credit. While we all love pretty photos, it’s important to tag the account you got the photos from. Don’t be a thief. Lol.
  4. Like / Comment Groups. Oh, yeah this is a real thing. I think they’re great because it allows you to share your content with other influencers that may or may not get to see it other feed and/or get introduced to new influencers you might’ve not known before. It’s another way to support one another in this blogging community, especially since Instagram changed their algorithm. I’m totally apart of them, well was a part of several now I narrow it down to one for the following reason. My only issue with this is the strict rules you have to abide by that no one seems to ever follow. The rules are simple: before sharing your photos, you must be caught up and like/comment on everyone else’s photos. My favorite is when they say they’re caught up but they’ve missed a few photos. Or when they share their photos before catching up, but say they have bad connection or no wifi so they’ll catch up later… Sooooo if you have no service, then how did you manage to post a photo and then share it on the group? I’m confused. 
  5. Do not follow and unfollow accounts. That’s pathentic. It’s lame. Who does that?! This has got to be one of my biggest pet peeves. I know I’m not the only one that has experienced this before. Maybe I’m just the first to speak up about it. This has happened to me multiple times where I notice influencers with larger accounts follow and unfollow me right away. I know it’s only to get my attention to follow them back and once I do, unfollow me. Sometimes I do follow back because my first reaction is “oh cool, ___ is following me. I don’t know them personally but I’ve seen them. I’m going to follow them back.” I’m all about supporting one another. If you’re trying to increase your following, do your research and tag relevant accounts with huge followings that can potentially repost your photos and increase your audience. Don’t be fake. After all, no one likes a shady bishhh. 😉

Before I go, I wanted to say that I hope you all take this as simply me just venting and sharing my thoughts, experiences, and perspective. I hope this doesn’t make anyone upset. I treat my blog like a diary so I hope you understand my reason for publishing this post.

Off topic, I’ve linked and listed all outfit details below. 🙂

 

xo

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Sabo Skirt Top | Shorts | Slides | Sunglasses 

Hosting Tips for a Successful Party with H&M

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Backyard parties and BBQs are so much fun. Hosting these parties can be quite the opposite though. Being a host takes a lot of effort and is a lot of work. The good thing is that there is no right way to host a party, and there are no limits to hosting a cool party either.

Whether you love being the hostess with the mostess, or if the idea of hosting a party stresses you out, but are planning a get-together at your place anyway, then don’t worry. I’ve listed a few tips that help me prepare a fun, stress-free party.

 

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home decor, home inspiration

Whether you’re hosting indoors or outdoors, here are just a few hosting tips based from my experience that can help you plan a very smooth party this Summer.

  1. Clean & organize throughout the week leading up to your party. This will help relieve stress, and avoid feeling overwhelmed the day(s) before the big bash.
  2. Prepare cocktails in advance, and always keep wine and/or champagne refrigerated. Options is key.
  3. Avoid serving difficult/messy dishes, meaning try to stay away from dishes that will get all over the place, specially if it’s a kid-friendly party. Stick to tried-and-true recipes because trying something new the day of your party can go really really bad. Or try maybe hiring a taco man or ordering out.
  4. Have enough food and drinks. This is George’s tip by the way. Know approximately how many guest you are planning to expect.
  5. Be ready early. Set aside enough time for you to get ready. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of blow drying your hair while your guest are all waiting around bored AF.
  6. Having an outdoor bathroom is SO CONVENIENT. This will help you keep your place inside clean and have to worry less about cleaning more areas in your home. Trust me, an outdoor bathroom is life changing lol. But don’t worry if you don’t have an outdoor bathroom. This tip doesn’t apply to everyone. Perhaps rent a portable bathroom if you are trying to avoid indoor foot traffic.
  7. Make sure to have enough seating areas in your backyard for your guest to be able to relax. If you’re limited on chairs, maybe lay out blankets, pillows and cushions to create a floor seating. It’s the easiest and perfect way to add extra seating.
  8. Entertainment is very important. Create a music playlist and have it playing before your guest arrive. Have games out for guest to play, such as corn hole or even drinking games. Obviously if you’re hosting a kid-friendly party then have something to entertain them as well. Or if you don’t have any kids (like me), but your friends do, then maybe advice the parents beforehand that you do not have anything to entertain them with, so suggest for them to bring their own toys.
  9. Put away anything valuable or anything you do not want to get ruined, ESPECIALLY if you are expecting kids to attend.
  10. Have a cocktail and relax because you’ve worked so hard. After all, you’ve earned it. CHEERS!

I hope you find these tips very helpful for your next get-together. If anyone has any tips to add on, please feel free to comment as I’m always looking for new recommendations for hosting a successful partay!!!

 

xo

 

All home decor are from H&M and are listed below to shop!

Jacquard-weave Cotton Rug

Knit Cushion Cover Pillow

Crocheted-front Cushion Cover Pillow

Scalloped-shaped Metal Vase

Stone-like Metal Vase

Large Glass Vase

Small Metal Candle Lantern Holder

Large Metal Candle Lantern Holder

Stoneware Toothbrush Mug

Metal Napkin Holder

Jacquard-weave Bath Mat

Jacquard-weave Tassel Bath Mat

Patterned Seat Cushion

Cotton Seat Cushion

Jute Laundry Basket Hamper

Clear Glass Vase

Palm Leaf Coasters

Glittery Placemats

Patterned Cotton Rug

Velvet Cushion Cover Pillow

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Dress by Peixoto (similar) | Sandals | Sunglasses | Earrings 

How to Juggle Blog Life and Real Life

 

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How to Juggle Blog Life and Real Life….

Really wish I could say “OMG, it’s SOOO easy. All you have to do is this, this, and that!”  Wish it were as easy as snapping my fingers. That would honestly be amazing and make my life easier, LOL.

Balancing work and play isn’t that easy but you have to always keep in mind to find a happy medium, especially with family and friends.

How to Juggle Blog Life and Real Life

This is how I juggle both my blog life and really life, that have actually helped me stay sane….

  • I try to get all my work done before George gets home from work, so that I can be present and give him my full attention.
  • I always work my schedule around his. On his days off, I will make sure to clear my schedule, whether it’s skipping events (unless it’s a campaign) or scheduling my meetings and appointments on days he’s working.
  • I make sure my blog and social media content is scheduled and done at the beginning of the week so that it is less stressful when I’m trying to do real life things outside of blogging.
  • When I get campaigns while I’m traveling with George, I like to get them out of the way by shooting all content early in the morning, so that we can enjoy the rest of the day, and enjoy each other’s company.
  • I often meet with my blogger friends to shoot content together so that when I’m spending time with family and friends, I don’t bother them for a photo.
  • I always make a list of things I need to get done. What’s important and what can wait. Prioritizing is key.

Sure, things come up and don’t always work out the way you expect them to, but what I’ve learned is having a plan is VERY helpful, and makes your life so much easier.

Besides, happy hubby, happy….

Wait, I don’t think that’s how it goes. 😉

xo

Wedding Tips, The Do’s and Don’ts and What I’ve Learned

Wedding Tips, The Do's and The Don'ts and What I've Learned, bridal shower, m and g to be, bride to be, melrodstyle, wedding, bridal,

If you’re reading this, then we are officially in Puerto Vallarta celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary (cue the music/happy tears) woohoo!

Shut the front door?! Is this real life? Are we really celebrating our 1 year as husband and wife already? Where did the time go? WTF? OMG! This is CRAZY!… Pretty much what is happening inside my head right now as I’m drafting this post.

Wow, omg, where do I even begin… ummmm, let’s see. There’s just so much that is running through my head right now.

I recently watched my wedding video and went through my camera roll, and watched all the snapchat stories/videos our friends and family sent us. Not going to lie, I got a little teary eyed. The reason why I decided to draft a post around the topic: Wedding Tips, The Do’s and Don’ts and What I’ve Learned, is because so many thoughts were running through my head from what I would’ve done differently, the what ifs, if only – to the should’ve could’ve would’ve. I mean, obviously none of this really matters now and regardless, I have no regrets. BUT, I definitely wanted to share my thoughts on a few points in hopes this would somehow help a bride-to-be.

So here it is…

  • DO: Hire a wedding planner. I would’ve been lost without my dear friend/wedding planner Evelyn (@harlowplanning). She was seriously my wedding god-mother/therapist/EVERYTHING.
  • DON’T: This is where things get pricey because you steer away from what a wedding means, and start spending money on shit things you really don’t need just to please your guest. BIG Mistake. HUGE (in my Vivian voice from Pretty Woman)!
  • DO: Instead of gifts, have your guest contribute to your honeymoon. Create a honeymoon fund website. Obviously, this only applies to couples who already live together and don’t need housewarming gifts.
  • DON’T: Keep your wedding favors simple. Ask yourself, would you realistically use this (xyz) if it was gifted to you? Is it a waste of money? The majority of your guest end up leaving the favors behind, so try to get something that is practical to use or something fun/unique. I mean, there’s just so many wine openers a person can own, amirite or amirite?
  • DO: Make sure you hire a really good photographer and videographer. These two are probably the most important of them all and where I would put extra $$ because these are the memories you’ll forever have.  You can never re-do your wedding if you end up being disappointed with your photos and video. And make sure you give them inspiration to look at for the big day. You must be very specific as to what you want them to capture because once the moment is gone and has passed, it’s too late to recreate.
  • DON’T: Please, I repeat, please don’t be a bridezilla. I wasn’t quite a bridezilla, only probably during the time we were planning my bridal shower because I’m very particular aka like to have full control of everything so letting go of some of the responsibilities and pass them down to my bridesmaids was tough. Honestly if I knew then what I know now, then I would’ve been more chill about it, but that’s the thing, you won’t know until you experience it.
  • DO: Make sure you have a good DJ. Music is everything.
  • DO: Create a hashtag and a snapchat filter for your guest to use on social media.
  • DO: Photo Booths are so much fun so I would highly recommend having one at your wedding.
  • DO/DON’T: Do have an open bar (maybe just during cocktail hour), but don’t keep it open all night. Although you want everyone to have a good time, you also don’t want everyone do be s** faced at your wedding, ya know what I’m saying?
  • DO: Write your own wedding vows. I think it’s so special and more meaningful when couples do this.
  • If you’re planning a big wedding but are on a budget, still expect to pay a pretty large amount, because let’s be real, a wedding is so expensive even if you try to cut corners (I tried) or DIY your entire wedding (yup tried this, too). I don’t care what anyone says, it’s expensive planning a wedding. period. the end.
  • This is a no-brainer, but make sure you have an inspiration board or a vision of how you want your wedding to be. Create a Pinterest account if you don’t already have one. If you have no direction, then good lawd! You in trouble… just kidding! But seriously, it’s a MUST.
  • Remember, this is YOUR big day and the wedding should be filled with nothing but love and happiness. The importance of a wedding is that you (the bride and groom) are gathered around the people you love most, and are there to celebrate YOU. Often people forget the true meaning of a marriage. It is not a big party to host your friends and family. It is a time for your friends and family to join YOU to celebrate YOU, and your love together as a couple.

The most stressful part was the guest list. My gosh, I cannot even tell you how stressful this was. Who do we invite? Is it rude if we don’t give them a plus one? I mean, they’re not married so not giving them a plus one is fine, right? My wedding planner did say that 10-15% of your guest won’t show up even if they RSVP’d. When she told me this, I said “Yeah right! All of my guest who RSVP’d will show up.” But she was right. Which leads to the most expensive part of a wedding: the food. This was also a tough one to decide what food.

My wedding planner also did say that you end up losing friends along the way. Psshhhh, I laughed and rolled my eyes. Thought she was crazy, out of her mind. Again, she was right about this one, too. It’s unfortunate that this was true and that it happened, but like they say, “some people are only meant to be in your heart, not in your life.”

If I could re-do my wedding all over again, what changes would I make? Hmmm… I would do a destination wedding for sure. The original plan was to get married in Palm Springs or Hawaii. I knew I wanted a outdoor garden themed wedding, and don’t get me wrong, the location I had my wedding at fulfilled my garden-theme expectations/dreams, but I would definitely change the venue even if it were held again locally. Also, I probably would’ve had a second dress. I did, however have interchangeable sleeves for my dress – one for the ceremony and one for the reception.

Gosh, I’ve learned so much during and after planing my wedding. It was stressful, quite possibly one of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve ever had to plan. Just thinking about it makes me feel like I need a drank. LOL!

I feel like I covered everything, unless I think of anything else, I’ll be sure to share on Instagram stories (@melrodstyle). If you’re interested to see more about my wedding, then head over to Instagram and type in our wedding hashtag #MandGtobe.

I really hope this information was somewhat helpful for some of you, and as always if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment down below or DM on instagram.

Stay tuned for next week’s post where I share a few fun facts about George and I, along with a fun video. 🙂

In case you missed last year’s video right before our wedding, here it is again.

Ok, now where was I?… Oh, yes soaking up the sun.

Excuse me señor, can I get another margarita, for favor?! Gracias. 

xo

Packing Tips for a Summer Getaway

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As I am just a few hours away from taking off to Puerto Vallarta, still not packed not even a little bit. DON’T PANIC., decided I’d share what I usually pack when I’m headed somewhere warmer.

Packing Tips for a Summer Getaway.

Here are a just a few tips of what I like to pack…

  • I always try on every single piece of item that I plan to bring with me. Trust me, this prevents from over packing. So much easier and less stressful.
  • Pack basics white and black tees and tank tops. These are perfect for day to night outfits, and they make great layering pieces.
  • Pack a few sandals and one pair of sneakers. You really only need 2-3 pairs of shoes plus a pair of flip flops. Honestly, I never pack heels anymore because I noticed every time I do bring heels with me, I never end up wearing them. Lesson learned.
  • Swimsuits, obvi. I always like to bring one for each day. I like to pack one-piece swimsuits as well because you can use them as tops paired with shorts.
  • At last three pairs of shorts and one denim skirt. These double as swimsuit cover ups, too.
  • Pack 1-2 maxi dresses. Dresses are always a must because they’re perfect for either day time or night time.
  • One to two pairs of sunglasses. I always pack cheapy sunnies, just in case they get lost.
  • Bring at least one statement piece of jewelry. For me, I’m really into earrings so I’m definitely packing statement earrings and dainty layered necklaces.
  • If you’re married, I suggest leaving your wedding rings at home. Both George and I never travel anywhere internationally with our rings. You just never know if they get lost or stolen.
  • Pack your beauty products in one bag away from any of your tech accessories, such as chargers, batteries, camera, etc…
  • Don’t forget hair ties and bobby pins, especially if you’re planning to travel somewhere humid.
  • Bring dry shampoo, and anything you need to protect your hair from the heat. HOT MESS HAIR, I DO CARE.
  • Don’t forget sunscreen.
  • Pack little to no makeup. I never pack a lot of makeup because I don’t like to wear makeup while I’m out laying by the pool or the beach. I keep it very minimal. Instead, I pack a tinted moisturizer, anything that already has sunscreen. Pack at least one neutral and one pop of color lipstick, and bring a bronzer.
  • Either carry your hat(s) with you on the plane or pack upside down in your suitcase. Fill it up with either swimsuits, undergarments or socks, and fold/roll your clothes and pack around your hat to secure your hat from moving or bending around. This will help from damaging your hats.
  • Bring a tote bag to serve as a carry-on. It’ll double as a beach bag as well. Also, you really only need one day bag (cross body or backpack) and one clutch for the evening.
  • Pack neutral color clothing. If you want to add a pop of color to your outfits, accessories and shoes are always the way to go. My go-to colors are always neutrals, but I like playing with colors with my shoes and jewelry.

I hope these packing tips are helpful!

Happy traveling, and happy Cinco de Mayo!

xo

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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

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