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.

ootd, melrodstyle, blog advice, blog tips, blogger style, blogger tips, blogger advice, how to start a blog, bloggers, blogging, blogger, la blogger, ny blogger, latina blogger, tips, advice, blog

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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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

Car Essentials

Today’s post is a little different but thought it was very important to share. As a blogger I’m always on-the-go, from one photoshoot to another, in between meetings and outfit changes in the car…. yup. Been there done that. Still do that. I realized how important it was to have certain items in my car while working. I decided to compile a list of items I feel are essential to have in my car, and also feel every blogger should as well.

  1. ‘Absolute’ Camisole: A simple camisole is so helpful when you’re constantly changing from one outfit to another, especially in the car.
  2. Cosmetic Makeup Bag Toiletry Travel KitTouching up in between photoshoots and/or meetings are a must. After all, you gotta look your best at all times. 😉
  3. Hair Ties Ponytail HoldersHelps keep your hair out of your face when you’re changing, plus these do not leave any creases in your hair.
  4. Trident Sugar Free GumNo brainer.
  5. ‘In the Wild’ ThrowAgain, very helpful when changing in the car.
  6. Titan Mall Plastic T-shirt BagsGotta keep the car clean.
  7. Band-Aid Brand Comfort-FlexAdhesive BandagesLadies and gents, we all have those shoes that are killer (literally), so having these around are major.
  8. Lil’ Lemon Drop Daily Detangler to Go BrushI cannot tell you how many times I’ve found myself regretting not having a hair brush in handy. There has been countless times when I see photos of myself where I can see all those loose hairs that make my eye twitch (insert eye-rolling emoji here), especially when I’m attending events. Not cute.
  9. ‘Detox’ Dry ShampooLIFE. CHANGING. Because no one likes oily/greasy hair. One of my favorite dry shampoos of all time. May I also recommend Batiste dry shampoo. That one is also my fave.
  10. Deodorant: When you look and smell good, you feel good. And that’s important… plus no one wants to be around someone who smells like onions. Barf!
  11. Mobile Power Charger from Pac2Go Portable ChargerAaaah… probably one of the most important things to carry in your car or purse, honestly.
  12. Travel Size Aloe Vera Spray for Face, Skin & HairYou gotta feel fresh, too.
  13. Aveeno Daily Moisturizing LotionBecause ashy elbows and knees are not cute.
  14. Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Lip BalmSo important to have, especially when changing lip colors for different outfit looks.
  15. Healthy SnacksWe all get super busy and forget to eat, which is so bad. I am guilty of this. We need to stay energize and take a moment to eat something or else we will crash, and feel very yucky.
  16. Dasani Purified WaterThis ties back to #15. Stay hydrated.
  17. Wet Ones Sensitive Skin Hand and Face WipesI have found myself wishing I had these or hand sanitizer.
  18. Makeup Remove Cloths: This ties back to #17.
  19. WizGear Universal Air Vent Magnetic Car Mount HolderHands-free is the way to be.

 

I hope you find this post very helpful. Feel free to share some of the items you carry around in your car.

xo

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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.

Quality Over Quantity

Quality over quantity… a topic I’ve been seeing a lot of other influencers speak on. This topic has been weighing heavily on me for quite some time now and I’ve finally made the decision to address it and express my feelings about it.  So here they are….

Since day 1, Instagram has been a platform for me to share outfits of the day, beauty, DIYs and anything else I love. I’ve always treated my instagram like an album, sort of like a yearbook, that I can post photos and look back to see how far I’ve come, how much I’ve changed, how much I’ve grown – from the things I like – to what I wore – to how I look – to the captions I chose – to even the hashtags I shared.

From time to time, I find myself scrolling down my feed to go back to those special moments and events that have occurred in my life. Perhaps I do this to reminisce on old times or to laugh at myself for whatever I was into during that time.

I have been blogging since 2010, and while I may not have the “number of followers” or “number of likes” other influencers may have that may or may not have been blogging for that long, it is really disheartening when brands do not value the content you produce that I feel is just as creative and great of work that other influencers create. The only difference is a number that seems to “divide” us – that every brand seems to think is far more important than the quality of work that goes into each photo.

While I love to create pretty photos and inspire others, I love following accounts that bring inspiration to my life as well. But with all this obsession of the number of followers, the number of likes and comments you receive has gotten out of hand. Don’t get me wrong – I, too am guilty of hitting the refresh button on my instagram to see how many likes I’ve receive in the first 2 minutes, hoping that it’s over 12 likes at least, and hoping if I share 1,000 hashtags someone will comment quickly to hide it because it’s embarrassing to have that showing on your feed. And often wondering why my photos do not get as many likes as others. It’s almost convinced me that my work is not good enough because no one “liked” it. I, too have let this consume my life by stressing over a number. A number!… While I’m writing this post, I’m thinking how silly this is. It sounds so stupid. What has life become? Is it really worth it?

With the  new changes Instagram has made recently, it is only natural to be concerned, and sure it’s ok to wonder why your following isn’t growing as fast as others may be, but to let it consume you entirely and dwell over is something I refuse to do.

I’ve learned to say ‘fuck it’. I will no longer stress or get anxiety over a number that does not determine the value or quality of my work. It’s ridiculous. There are far more important things to be concerned about in life, and this “number” is sure not one of them. I’ve realized that yes my work is good enough and yes my work is worth more than a number. I refused for my blog or my work to be labeled as a number.

I hope that anyone reading this understands where I am coming from and does not take offense to this because this post is not intended to do so by any means.

Feel free to comment below or contact me if you have any questions.

One Item, Two Ways | Shop the Look

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Wearing – Style Mint Blazer, Tank Top (similar), Tee c/o Style Lately, Kardashian Kollection Skirt (can be purchased here), DSWNude Heels, Keds Shoes (similar), Bracelets c/o Outrage Fashion, H&M Hardcase Clutch, Nude Clutch c/o Deux Lux, Ray Ban Aviators

I like outfits that can take me from day to night, can be dressed up or down for any occasion and can be worn multiple times styled differently each time. That’s just what I did with this pencil skirt – I styled it two ways. Outfit #1 is very dressed up and sophisticated, while outfit #2 is very cool, tom-boy chic.

Which outfit is your favorite?

xo

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Style Challenge: What to Wear for Thanksgiving

Style Challenge: What to Wear for ThanksgivingStyle Challenge: What to Wear for ThanksgivingStyle Challenge: What to Wear for ThanksgivingStyle Challenge: What to Wear for ThanksgivingStyle Challenge: What to Wear for ThanksgivingStyle Challenge: What to Wear for ThanksgivingStyle Challenge: What to Wear for ThanksgivingStyle Challenge: What to Wear for ThanksgivingStyle Challenge: What to Wear for ThanksgivingStyle Challenge: What to Wear for ThanksgivingWearing – Coat: Lulus.com (similar), Top: Charlotte Russe, Boyfriend Jeans: Miss Me, Booties: Asos, Bag: Melie Bianco (love this one too), Rings: F21 & Lia Sophia

I’ve teamed up with some of my favorite blogger ladies to bring you a new style challenge (check out our last style challenge). This challenge was what to wear for Thanksgiving. I went for a casual look but kept it cool by adding some edge with these fierce leopard booties.

Check out some of the other LA fashion bloggers for more Thanksgiving outfit ideas:

akeenesenseofstyle.blopgspot.com 

fashionaddict.la 

glamlatte.com

lauralily.net

lovefashionlivelife.com

melaneeshale.com

xo

Studs and Flamingos | MelRodStyle

flamingo and studsRecap of the Studs and Flamingos outfit I wore. Come shop the look and get the flamingo blouse here!

xo

Black White Print and Stripes

Black White Print and StripesBlack White Print and StripesBlack White Print and StripesBlack White Print and StripesBlack White Print and StripesBlack White Print and StripesBlack White Print and StripesBlack White Print and StripesRomper: similar here, Skirt: similar here, Heels: c/o Sole Society, Belt: here, Bag: Philip Lim x Target (similar), Bracelets: c/o Julie Vos & Robyn Rhodes, Rings: Ariel Gordon, ShopLately.com, Joanna Morgan, Lip color: Perfect Red by It Cosmetics YLBB

Mixing print and stripes has been one of the hottest trends this Fall. So I decided to take this look to a whole ‘nother level by not only incorporating this trend but by layering a skirt over this playsuit (yes, that’s a romper underneath that skirt), and keeping the colors subtle with black and white.

xo

 

Romper and Skirt | MelRodStyle

Romper + Skirt (MelRod Style)

I love styling and reinventing different outfits without having to spend too much money by using items that are already hanging in my closet, much like the outfit shown on TheWeartogoGirls.com here. So in this look I created a new outfit using a romper and skirt and accessorized with a mix of silver and gold jewelry.

How did I do? What are some of your tricks and tips? I’d love to hear them.

Style Tip: Instead of putting away all of your Summer items, maybe pick out a few key pieces that can transition over to fall. For example – a romper or a dress can be worn underneath a skirt like the one shown above, a maxi skirt or with tights and boots. Or open toe pumps and wedges. Leave them out to pair with short or knee-high socks.

xo