January 12, 2016

Happy Tuesday, everyone! With a new year comes new ideas and I decided to start a reoccurring series called Table Talk Tuesday. The idea being that I will bring different topics of interest to the table for you to get to know me a little bit better, as well as answer some of your questions in a more organized format. I am open to covering everything and anything, from fashion, to living in NYC, blogging and my personal life. Please feel free to always shoot me an e-mail (I LOVE hearing from you guys), tweet, snap or comment on instagram with any ideas, suggestions or topics of interest.

As for today, I wanted to launch this series with a Q&A answering the top 10 questions I get most often! So without further ado, here we go…

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1. Help! I want to start a blog (or have started one), what are some tips for beginners and to grow your blog?

This is going to be a lengthy one, stick with me! We all started in the same place and believe me it can be super overwhelming. I’m certainly no expert – I’m constantly learning so much myself, but I have learned a lot over the past two years that I want to share (I know when I first started, I appreciated any and all advice SO much, and still reach out to other bloggers all the time for advice on handling new situations).

There are certainly highs and there are lows to blogging, but in the end it is important to remember why you started and to stay true to yourself (cliche I know). If you do this, your readers/followers will want to keep coming back because they connect with you and what you represent.

When I first started blogging, I spent hours on YouTube watching every video possible on how to set up and navigate your blog. As time demanding as this was (and still is), it allowed me to learn the ins and outs of setting up and maintaing a website. I was able to make my site look professional, clean and functional without having to pay someone to do this. Eventually, when I knew I wanted to stick with blogging and invest in it, I hired someone to do a small facelift (about $300) and then six months later I hired someone to switch my blog from Blogger to WordPress and give my site a total facelift (about $1,500). You don’t need to make that investment right away in WordPress-if ever. There are some hugely popular blogs that I read everyday that are on Blogger, such as Atlantic Pacific. The benefit of WordPress is that you will have a lot more creative freedom in designing your site and posts.

Also, one great way to grow your blog and to get more out of the experience is to embrace the community you just joined. Try to submit your posts to as many communities as you can (some listed below) and connect with other bloggers in your area. Other bloggers are incredible resources to bounce ideas off of, ask questions about anything and vent to when you are having website issues. Some online blogger communities: Bloglovin’ // heartifb // Lifestyle Collective (need to apply) // Mode Media (need to apply).

Have patience and allow time. I truly wish there was some magical way to grow overnight, but that just isn’t the case. Everything takes time and the more time you put into something the better it will do. Try to stay consistent with posting and create a schedule so everyone knows exactly which days you post and are able to come to your site looking for new content. And don’t get down on yourself if it doesn’t grow as fast as you want! Believe me, I used to get really frustrated and still do, but life is too short to get too upset with how many followers you get in a day, among other metrics. Believe me, if you want to do this for the long haul, you need to have some fun with it!

And finally my biggest piece of advice (I could go on forever so feel free to e-mail me) is don’t be afraid to share and promote your work! Verbally and through social media, talk yourself up and put yourself out there! It may be one of the hardest things to do, but surely pays off. If you know me personally, you know how hard this was/is for me, but definitely gets more natural overtime.

2. What is the difference between affiliate links, sponsorships and collaborations?

Affiliate links, in a nutshell, are coded links that let the websites know who directed you there. As a blogger I am able to code items with “my link” so the brands/sites can see that people got to their site through my page. They can also tell the brand/site what product caught their interest and led them to click and then what they ended up buying (if anything) from that site. There are a few companies that work directly with brands to establish affiliate link programs and bloggers can apply to those companies and, if approved, will have access to their affiliate link program. I work with a company called RewardStyle, and I am able to access the RewardStyle website to get affiliate links for products I feature on my website. If you want to find out more information about this then this Timothy Backes review on Human Proof Designs is worth consideration.

Sponsorships and Collaborations are basically the same thing. It gives the blogger a chance to partner with a brand on a particular project and showcase something specific for that company. Typically you are solely talking about that brand/product throughout the post. Generally, a blogger will be compensated for a post, although that’s not always the case and certainly not when you first start blogging (sometimes, the only compensation is the blogger can keep the item that is the subject of the post – most bloggers would not consider that type of post “sponsored”, but will generally indicate that the item was gifted). When working with these type of opportunities, always try and make sure that it aligns 100% with your personal brand so you are staying true to yourself.

3. What type of dog is Hadley?

Hadley is a Cavachon (King Charles Cavalier and Bichon mix) — she is also hypoallergenic.

4. Any tips for creating the perfect topknot?

Day old hair and lots of dry shampoo! This combination gives your hair some texture to work with (especially if you have thin hair like me). I then put my hair in a high ponytail, and with one hand holding my hair I use the other hand to twist the ponytail and then wrap it around counter-clockwise. I then secure with a hair tie. Finally, I sort of create a massaging motion pulling a little hair from the back of my scalp to the front to create a more relaxed, loose look.

5. What type of camera do you use?

When Matt (my husband) and I shoot, we use a Cannon Rebel SL1 with a 50mm f/1.4 lens. I would recommend investing in a DSLR that comes with wifi so you can upload images asap. My next camera investment will likely be the Cannon 6D (which has wifi capability, my SL1 does not). My blog photos are partly shot by Matt and partly shot with a professional photographer.

6. What is your fitness routine?

I am a huge fan of fitness classes. As much as I would love to say I could get a good workout in on my own…I can’t! Spin and Barre classes are typically my go-to as well as walking a TON around the city. (Flywheel, Cyc Fitness, Flybarre, Pure Barre are my favorites)

7. How do you get your loose curls?

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I recently discovered and have been obsessed with the t3Micro with the 1.25 barrel. While on the pricer side, it is totally worth the investment. My hair was starting to not hold a loose curl for more then thirty minutes (only tight ones with a 1 inch barrel or smaller), but with the t3Micro the curls will last throughout the entire day. I also prep my hair with Kerastase Heat Protector and Elixir.

8. What are three must-have items in your wardrobe?

A great pair of jeans // Classic sunglasses // A basic (yet cozy) white tee.

9. How old are you?

28…eek!! Did I actually have to type that?!

10. How did you and your husband meet?

We both went to the University of Delaware. Our junior year during our school’s winter session we met at a mutual friend’s 21st birthday at her apartment. Matt had recently turned 21 and was still not quite of legal consumption age, so being the gentleman that he is, he snuck me into the bar that night (whoops!) and the rest is pretty much history! You can read more about how we met and our engagement here!

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