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