hey

This week has been quite chaotic. I’ve been pulled in every direction manageable. For those of you who have been following my fashion career, you know that I’ve been freelancing for a little over 2 years now. I recently was approached about a full-time gig (at Banana Republic HQ) and the seriousness of the situation is really starting to weigh in on me. The interview process has been rigorous, not to mention the fact that actually having a full-time big girl job just completely freaks me out. As much as I have complained about being a freelancer there have been a lot of freedoms that come with that. Expectations are low, and you can come and go as you please. Having a full-time salary job is totally different than clocking in for your hours and going home at 5 every day. I would be stepping into full on adult mode, and its exciting yet intimidating at the same time.

On top of all my job craziness, things with the blog have slowed down as well. I’ve been really struggling with my identity as a blogger, where I want to take things and how I’m going to get there. I struggle with what investments should be made for this blog and what it really takes to make it grow the way that I want it too. The stress of my job has caused me to be unmotivated and discouraged so I was thinking of taking a hiatus. In the midst of all of this I checked my email one day and realize I was featured in IFB Links Al La Mode. Wow! Just the confidence booster I needed. I was excited for about a week, but work was getting to my head again and I quickly got writers block. Then one day I’m checking my stats and realize I have a boost in traffic on my decorating my vanity post. I look it up and see that the post was featured in another blog link up! Of course, I was ecstatic. Right, when I started doubting myself all these people choose to feature my blog and seeing people appreciate my work is so rewarding. I was in two weeks of writers block and I still was getting featured in some amazing blog link ups. Week 3 comes along and its crazy busy. I didn’t have time to shoot pictures for my blog posts so I figured I wouldn’t put any posts up that week and take some time off. I forced myself to upload two posts, did a little Twitter and Instagram promo, and went on about my day. This morning I wake up and see that one of those posts were featured againnnn on IFB. What the heck is happening! I’m starting to think “shoot I should start doubting myself more if I’m gonna keep getting all these features”.

The point of all of this is that no matter how discouraged you are as a blogger keep on going! Somebody out there is reading your posts, and your work is valuable even though you may not necessarily see it right now. For those of us who work full time and let the woes of work get to you (guilty as charged) let this post be a source of motivation for you! Try and do whatever you can during the week and as long as you put your best foot forward, then don’t stress!

Hope this post inspired you! If you’re struggling with how to manage a blog while working full time you can read up on my tips here!

kierra again

 

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Third Feature for IFB! 2 weeks in a row!!

Links à la Mode, August 6

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Popcorn and Netflix are my best friends. I think Netflix is one of the best tv subscriptions out there and I’ve logged countless hours watching shows that I would have never discovered watching cable. This past year I’ve watched some great shows that I felt like were perfect for binge watching!

The synopsis that I gave for all of these are not from an official site; just my way of trying to explain a little bit about the show. All of these are on Netflix and you can easily watch a trailer for them on Youtube. I’ve watched all of these shows and all their seasons, so I’m not just recommending these based off the first episode I watched. Hope you enjoy!

Shondaland!

Grey’s Anatomy: My favorite tv show everrrrr. I first saw this show in 2005 while it was on its second season. I was sick in bed in Mexico and Abc was one of the only American channels that they had. I watched one episode as was hooked. I’ve been a religious watcher ever since, reserving my thursday nights for Greys and hosting premier parties. I absolutely love everything about this show and over the years have gotten really attached to the characters! It’s been on for 11 seasons so If you want a long series to watch then this one is for you. I’m not going to get into the storyline (you should know by now and if you don’t, shame on you!) but it’s a great drama. I’m sure most of you have seen some episodes here and there but if you watch it from the beginning I’m sure you will love it! (11 seasons-on air)

Private Practice: Addison was one of my favorite characters from Greys Anatomy so when she got her own spin-off show I was ecstatic. It’s a similar story to Greys Anatomy but instead of a hospital it’s a private practice, so fewer characters and no intense surgeries. This show is more geared towards love/romance and is more character based than Greys Anatomy. Less about them as doctors and more about their personal life. (6 seasons-canceled)

Scandal: When Shonda moved from the medical field to a political drama I was a little skeptical but when I realized the majority of the cast were former Grey’s characters I was really excited to see how she would use them in the new show. It’s told from the perspective of the main character (Olivia Pope) and you follow this DC fixer and her team as they take on some intense scandals including her own with POTUS. (5 seasons-on air)

How To Get Away With Murder:  Shonda’s newest development took me aback when I first watched it. It’s good but the casting isn’t as strong as her previous shows, and it has a slow build. However Scandal was the same way (the second season was wayyyy better than the first). Viola Davis plays a devious lawyer who teaches her class how to get away with murder, only to find out that the murder she was helping them commit was closer to home than she expected. This is another show that has a crazy good ending! (1 season-on air)

Thief In The Night

White Collar: A story about a con artist who got caught and is now serving his time as an FBI informant. The story is told from the perspective of both the con artist and his FBI handler. Some scenes can get intense, but they work together to take down some high profile white collar criminals. If you’re looking for a show with an easy plot line and a little bit of drama with a little bit of laugh then this is for you! (6 seasons-canceled)

Leverage: If you love a good con then this show is for you. A group of con artists with different specialties come together to steal or set up high-level authorities who have sabotaged the general population in some sort of way. They work to take down people like the CEO of a healthcare company selling bad drugs to cancer patients, or the president of an organization who is embezzling charity money. It’s lighthearted and fun and there are 5 seasons so you have plenty of episodes to watch. (5 seasons-canceled)

The Blacklist: This show is also about a high-level criminal who is now helping the government to take down underground criminals that the FBI, CIA and other agencies have been trying to capture for years. Unlike most informants, he runs the show, living a life as he normally would and throwing a bone to the FBI when he can. In the beginning your shocked as to why someone so good at what he does would bother to turn himself into the FBI but as the story continues you realize he has a very personal connection to one of the agents and why he insists on working with her and her only.(3 seasons-on air)

Shows you should watch…but not at night

The Following: It’s a series about a cult that share one thing in common: the love of killing people. I know it sounds twisted but just hear me out. It’s a story about a cop on the hunt to take down this killing cult and the story is told from his perspective. It’s a great psychological horror show and it’s very graphic, but the storyline is really interesting. There is never a dull moment; I just wouldn’t recommend watching it at night.(3 seasons-on air)

The Killing: A series about two cops investigating a missing girl. The storyline is very longggggggg. It’s slow to warm up and it takes the whole first season to wrap up the story, but the ending is SO GOOD that it’s worth my recommendation. (4 seasons-canceled)

Honourable Mention

  1. Homeland: On Showtime Season 5- On Air
  2. House Of Cards: On Netflix Season 3- On Air
  3. Graceland: On Netflix Season 2- On Air
  4. Suits: On USA Season 5- On Air
  5. Covert Affairs: On USA Season 5- On Air

You’ll notice that I left off a lot of the popular Netflix shows, and its because I don’t like them (wasn’t a fan of breaking bad or orange is the new black) and because I wanted to share some shows that don’t get noticed. If you have any that I’ve missed feel free to leave them below. I’m always looking for new shows!

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When you’re starting a blog the hardest thing to figure out is where the heck do I start. The internet is flooded with blogging tips and tricks that after a while can start to feel really overwhelming (trust me I’ve read all gazillion of them). So today in an attempt to make your life a little easier I’ve compiled a list of a few things you should be sure to avoid in the early days of your blog. First and foremost is to always have solid content; the rest of the craziness will come later =)

Writing about stuff you don’t care about.

Just because it’s October doesn’t mean you have to write about how to carve a pumpkin. If those types of posts don’t inspire you then chances are they won’t do anything for your audience either. Bloggers make tips, and holiday parties look so easy to write about; even I fell for it a while back which is what inspired this post. I wrote a post about products that I’m always repurchasing and although it turned out great I can tell you right now I’m having more fun writing this one than I did that one. The more excited you are the more excited your reader’s will be.

Feeling pressured to write every day

I’m all for a full editorial calendar, but sometimes you just need to shut off. Take a day or two for yourself and really evaluate what type of content you want to produce. I used to think that writing 6 times a day would get my blog noticed more, I could get successful faster! But with blogging slow and steady wins the race. If only two out of the 6 posts you post a week are solid content then you should re-evaluate your blogging schedule. Quality over quantity!

Signing up for every social media platform

I am not a social media junkie..like at all. If it wasn’t for sorority recruitment I probably still wouldn’t know what Instagram was (we had to use it for recruitment promo). This is one of the areas of blogging where you can really spread yourself too thin. You start thinking “how hard could it be to make a Facebook post, send a tweet and post a picture”? But when you really look into it is more than just that, when you’re a blogger everything becomes more analytical; when is the best time to post on Facebook, what hashtag  should I use on Instagram, how do I build my Twitter following etc. Everything just got wayyyy more complicated. I would suggest mastering one and then slowly progressing to another one. So far my main platforms are Instagram and Twitter but I recently started to use my Pinterest account to promote my blog as well!

Taking photos from the Internet

I know it’s so tempting to use that cute photo on Pinterest instead of taking your own but trust me it’s worth it. People want to see your work; they want to understand your identity. If you’re constantly using stock photos or pictures off the internet, you make it hard for your audience to relate. Why should they read your blog when you have the same generic stuff everyone else has? Don’t get me wrong I certainly did my fair share of google images, but it didn’t get me very far. I didn’t jump into a full on DSLR or anything crazy like that, but I started using free stock photos and downloading my own fonts for them (like the picture used in this post). I would make my own pinnable images and over time I grew a creative flair. I followed a lot of Instagram accounts who were masters at flat lay and I slowly started to pick it up too. I’m no pro but I have a general look that I’m trying to go for, a story to tell and I’m slowly perfecting my overall image.

Doing things just because everyone else is doing it

This goes back to writing stuff that everyone else is writing just for the heck of it. Many bloggers will tell you self-hosted websites get you the most traffic, or you need a DSLR to shoot good pictures etc. Over time, this may be true but in the beginning you want to be smart about how you invest in your blog. It makes no sense to have a self-hosted blog when you know nothing about HTML or web design, and the same goes for a DLSR with no knowledge of ISO or aperture. Study an item first before you decide if you want to convert to using it. I personally started with a wordpress.com blog, and after a year I realized I wanted more control over my blog design (the pre-made templates just weren’t cutting it). I did research on the pros and cons of switching and who the best companies were to host my new blog (Bluehost is great). I still use a lot of templates and paid resources for things but being self-hosted challenged me creatively. I designed my own signature; I changed the color of my hyperlinks. You start to pick up little details here and there and before you know it you’re a pro at designing!

The number one rule out of all of this is to do what works for you. In my two years of blogging, I’ve learned the majority of it all from trial and error!

What little tips and tricks did you do as a beginner blogger?

kierra again

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