The Style Collective Conference

Joining the Sisterhood of Style Collective has been one of the best decisions I’ve made since starting my blog. Read more HERE on why I joined Style Collective. As soon as I found out Annie, the owner of SC was holding a conference during New York Fashion Week I knew I had to go!

Style Collective has the best community! Right away after joining I met bloggers who I follow, support and talk to weekly. This attributed to wanting to go to the conference because I knew I’d meet more like them and even met a few during conference! It was amazing to be in a room full of women who all have the same likeminded values and goals for their blogs. Meeting the women from SC who I’ve been following on social media was a big deal because these women were exactly who they portray themselves to be online. They were friendly, nice and I got to know them on a personal level.

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Being able to hear from speakers who are in the industry is an incredible bonus! Annie had a variety of women speak from influencers, life coaches and an author. These people are here for you to learn from and ask advice. None of the speakers held back on the truth about the blogging industry, they shared the ups and downs. One of the speakers I was dying to meet was Cara Alwill. She’s the author of Like She Owns the Place and has written seven other books, plus has a podcast-Style Your Mind. I’m a huge fan of hers because she’s honest and authentic.

I received a shout out during the opening of the conference from Annie which transferred onto her podcast, The Becoming Fearless podcast. This shows just how close Annie and I were before meeting in person. Annie is amazing in the way she connects with everyone in SC because she truly cares about you and your blog/business.

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There was a contest during the conference for posting pictures from the day and I won a beautiful blue Mon Amie watch! I love the color, the diamonds and that it’s iridescent. Also, we were provided an amazing swag bag of goodies!! We received everything from jewelry, makeup and skincare products from various vendors.

We received a workbook to write in during the conference. Inside were lined pages to write notes in and a quiz to help you determine the purpose behind your blog. I had written about five pages of notes, jotting down things that I wanted to remember that the speakers said, quotes and important websites to reference.

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Throughout the day we were able to get our hair and makeup done by Be Glammed. They also gave everyone a gift certificate to use at their stores.

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At the end of the conference, VIP members were to write a letter to themselves that Annie would mail to us. I literally sat in my chair frozen because I was so emotional. I thought to myself, I NEVER WANT TO FORGET THIS MOMENT. This moment of being happy and doing something for myself that was completely out of my comfort zone-planning a trip to NYC and navigating the city, meeting new bloggers (some I’d been following online for a few months and it was surreal to meet them in person, like they actually exist!), meeting Annie and the speakers and overall having a wonderful NEW experience. I learned in that moment that it feels AMAZING to allow yourself to be apart of new experiences. Yes, it can be scary to put yourself out there, but I met incredible women because I went to conference, so you see the outcome outweighs the stress of going. It can be so easy to freak yourself out by telling yourself all the reasons you shouldn’t do something, but if you just do it I guarantee it will be worth it in the end.

Will you be joining the SC Sisterhood ? I hope to see you at the next conference! Follow me online @stylestomakeyousmile & let me know if you’re an SC Sister and I’ll connect with you 😊

Tips For Your Next Clothes Shopping Trip

To start off  The Smarter Shopper Series I wanted to state my five tips that will be helpful for your next shopping trip! I created this list as a way to make clothes shopping easier. It’s also a great way to think about how the clothes fit into your wardrobe and lifestyle. Check back every Wednesday for new content! Enjoy ❤

My top 5 tips:

  1. Style-Everyone has a style. Whether you like classic, trendy, casual or dressy, the pieces in your closet should make a statement about your style. When going on your next shopping trip, think about how the styles you buy today can complement the pieces that are already in your closet. This applies to shoes, jewelry and accessories too!

 

While shopping, see what you gravitate towards most. Do jeans always have the same color, shape or fit? Consider trying on clothes or accessories you normally wouldn’t wear to see if you like the style and fit for your body type.

 

  1. Fit-The type of fabric will make a difference in the fit of the clothes. You don’t want anything pulling, creasing, showing the line of your undergarments, or sticking to the fabric. What you do want is for the fabric to push away from your body so that it makes one smooth line from the top of the garment to the bottom.

While trying on clothes it’s a good idea to move in them; sit down, walk around the fitting room, and lift your arms up to see how high a shirt will come up or to see how much room you have to move in a jacket. If you wear a lot of layers during winter, it might be a good idea to go up a size in a winter coat, this way you’ll have more room to move your arms. Pants are a great example of fit. If there’s a gap, can it be fixed with a belt? Does the gap come out too far when you sit down? Some stores will provide a definition of their different “fits.” Try on the ones you think will work best for your body type. If you’re having difficulty finding the right fit, always ask an associate for help

Remember if you find a dress you love but it doesn’t fit quite right, it can always be tailored. It usually doesn’t take very long and generally isn’t costly. Bonus points if you can do the tailoring yourself 😉

 

  1. Wearability/longevity-If you’re on the fence about whether or not to buy floral capris, consider its wearability and longevity. Think about the pieces in your closet you repeatedly wear and ask yourself, ‘is this an item that can be worn with those pieces too?’ Be mindful of the colors too. Does the floral capris coordinate with the others, or would you need to buy something else just to wear it? For example, if you own a lot of printed capris focus on buying solid/neutral pieces to go with them.

Also, think about whether or not you’ll be wearing the item(s) for a long period of time. Is this an item you can only wear once (and do the first few points already mentioned make it good enough to buy) or each week? You get bonus points if the item can transition from season to season (which is great in my opinion). If this is true, think about how and what you can wear it with each season. Example: A striped shirt can be worn with a cardigan and denim in the fall and floral shorts in the summer. Can the item be dressed up or down? Again, if the answer is yes to both, then great! What you don’t want is to buy items you’ll wear a few times only to then sell online or donate after one season.

 

  1. Price-If you can justify the first three points for buying something, then it may be worth the price. You just need to determine whether buying it today is worth it or if waiting for it to go on sale may be a better option. Note: Some stores don’t have sales, so you may want to buy the same day before the stock runs out OR make sure the item is available online and buy at a later date. Also note, when buying at a later date, you risk the item going out of stock both online and in-store. However, you can ask an associate if the item is available at another store. If the store has a lot of sales, keep track by either going back into the store or looking online.

 

5. Buy it if you love it-Regardless of everything else that has been said, buy it if you love it. If all four points come across in your favor and you absolutely love the item(s), buy them! You don’t want to have buyer’s remorse later on. Stores tend to carry different trends, colors, fabrics, and styles throughout the years so if you find something you really love at a great price and it fits well, go for it! You may never know when you will find something you love again.

What shopping tips do you have when you’re clothes shopping? Let me know in the comments below ❤

Lessons I’ve Learned at 31

This weekend I made a list of the lessons life has taught me at age 31 and I thought I’d share some of them with you all. These lessons I’ve learned have helped me grow into the person I am. I hope they help you grow into the person you want to be no matter what age you are. ❤

Take a break when you need to. Whether it’s from work, school, and your busy schedule or from someone you love. Your body will tell you when you need one-physically or if you’re like me, your mind will be saying, I need a day off to be left alone. When you take that time for yourself, make sure you do things you enjoy to help you recharge.
Your body will change physically. When I was in my late 20’s I found my first gray hair and I now have just a few more 😉 Haha. I’ve always loved to sleep but now I’ve realized getting sleep helps me to function during the day. Having a routine where I go to sleep around the same time each night helps. Certain foods I used to eat I can’t eat anymore because they upset my digestive system, instead find the foods that give you energy.

Write things down as soon as you think of them. This also goes for doing things as soon as you think of them or you may forget until later. Stopping what you’re currently doing to do what you’re thinking of is okay because you’ll remember to go back to what you were doing originally.

It’s okay to do things alone. Just like I learned to go to events alone, see in this post-Learning How to go to Events Alone & Painting Tips Being alone in public is okay. I love going for walks at the park by myself so I can think or not think about anything and just enjoy being outside. I’ve also learned to go to cafes alone so that I can blog.

You’ve probably faced dealing with a friend or family member dying of a disease or sudden death, whether they’ve lived a long life or were a child. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many people I love pass away. The lesson I learned from this is to do what you love before your life is over. The person who passed would be so proud of you for it. Life is too short not live how you want, so if you want to be doing something, go out and make it happen however you can. I know that money can hold people back from their dreams but find small ways to start and go from there.

Everyone in your life is struggling with a battle you may not know anything about until or IF they decide to share. And if they share their struggles it may make you realize why they act the way they do. Things always make sense when you know more information about a person but until you do, don’t judge them, just remind yourself that they may be struggling with something and ask if you can help in any way even if it’s just to talk.

Learning to deal with people who don’t like me has taken most of twenties to deal with. It wasn’t until I found the right people who liked me and appreciated me that I realized who matters. Don’t ever hold yourself back from being great just because someone doesn’t like you or tells you aren’t good enough to do something. DO IT ANYWAY.
Listen to advice. I have always loved reading people’s stories in books and listening to them online/TV. Everyone is on a journey and it may be similar to yours. Their advice may make you realize things about yourself that you need to change (even if someone close to you has been telling you the advice for years, sometimes if you hear it from someone else’s perspective it will click with you).

Confidence is something that I’m working on every single day. I’ve learned that it comes with believing the positive advice/things people say about you, finding a great mentor such as a friend/family member/therapist/coworker and most importantly believing in yourself. Confidence is NOT something that can be forced onto someone, so as much as you’re seeing someone else struggling with confidence, you can give them advice but know that they have to make the choice to be confident on their own.

Travel and go to as many events as possible. Getting out of the house is important and it’s FUN to do new things. Seeing how other people live is important and can put things in your life into perspective. You may even make new friends from going to new places simply because you’re interested in the things they are.

Decide what’s important for your life. People may not agree with your choices or understand what makes you happy but that’s okay.

Put your all into the things and people you love. Starting my blog has given me something to look forward to every day, I believe everyone needs this. Everyone needs people who care about them, so find the ones who do and treat them well.

HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE. Just like I’ve talked about in my blog post, Motivational Monday: Live the Life You Want  you have to live the life you want to live and not listen to judgement, only positivity. Focus on what makes you happy because life’s too short not to.

What are some things you’ve learned at your current age? Please let me know in the comments! ❤

Why I Joined Style Collective

Today is International Women’s Day! I’d like to give a shout out to women all around the world!
Since creating my blog, I’ve wanted to become part of a group to interact with other bloggers to gain their perspective and support on blogging. Through Instagram I found the group, Style Collective, run by Annie Spano. Style Collective is a place for boss babe bloggers/entrepreneurs to share their ideas, tips and advice to their fellow SC Sisters. Each week Annie goes on IG Live and covers a topic about blogging. She also has a podcast-The Becoming Fearless Podcast, where she’ll interview other bloggers/entrepreneurs about their advice, authenticity and more. Once I began watching and listening to these each week, I was hooked!

I joined the group late last month (when membership was open, other times there is a waiting list to join) and absolutely love being a member! Style Collective is a wonderful way to meet like-minded people who are interested in blogging. They even have a map of the world that shows where your fellow Style Collective Sisters live so that you can meet up to collaborate or say Hi on social media! Certain parts of the world have Regional leaders who plan meet ups throughout the year-such as: coffee dates, meetings or an event to give to an organization, like donating to charity.
Here’s what I’ve learned since I’ve joined:
-I’ve gained a community of fellow bloggers.
-There are yearly conferences in North Carolina and New York City (bonus, it’s during NY Fashion Week!) that allow you to meet members in person and gain an education on blogging and business.
-When you’re a member there are: forums to participate in, a chat room, blog posts and information about meet ups and educational E-Courses.

So, to all my SC Sisters, bloggers and boss babes around the world, I’d just like to say, Cheers to YOU! Keep pushing through all of your hard work and know that you DO make a difference in your follower’s lives ❤ And to Annie, thank you to you and your team for making the group what it is and being able to share women’s stories. I wish you all much success and happiness in the future ❤

Not a member of SC? Annie announced yesterday that membership is open today only for International Women’s Day! Follow them on IG stylecollective_

What I’ve Learned in One Month of Blogging

MM-Happiness vs. Passion

I can’t believe it’s already been a month since I’ve launched my blog. I thought I’d share what I did before I started my blog, what I’ve learned and things I’m still working on. If you didn’t do the things I did before I started my blog, you can start now!

Before I began my blog:
I researched A LOT! I searched everything I could think of about blogging on YouTube; what equipment to use, what is SEO, and a bloggers life to name a few. I would watch videos in the mornings before work. I listened to two Podcasts: The Influencer Podcast and The Becoming Fearless Podcast after work while cooking and doing dishes. I watched Live Instagram videos after work and during lunch and I watched free webinars on the weekends and took notes. I did all of this because I wanted to know how others were so successful at blogging and how I can be too.
I tried the WordPress website for free-I used the WordPress domain before purchasing my domain. This was so I could get used to using the site before I launched it to the world. Having a lot of things in place before launching benefited me, so that I could then work on other things the day of launching-like my Facebook page. I had my picture taken, a Welcome page, a background picture and two posts written and published beforehand.

I began an Instagram account two months prior to launching my blog (I heard this tip from more than one influencer in the blogging world). This helped determine if I enjoyed posting pictures every day AND if I liked the public to see what I was posting (prior to this I’ve never had any public accounts).

Things I’ve learned:
I love going to cafés just to get posts written for my blog (and buy a smoothie). I’ve found that I can zone into my work and work quickly (the pressure of getting work done before the café closes helps to work fast, even if I’m there for three hours, I treat it like a countdown). I also love working from home so I can cast YouTube music videos on my TV while writing my blog posts.
The only person who will promote yourself the most is you, so if you publish a post on your blog, promote it to your social channels so they can view it.

Things I’m still working on:
Creating an editorial calendar and sticking to it. I’ve tried to plan with a physical calendar and with an excel spreadsheet. Neither of these have stuck with me, yet. I feel like I need something to see visually every day that is inspiring. I’ve seen the idea of a white out board, does this work for anyone else?

Along with the editorial calendar comes with making sure every post is ready for the week-this is important if you have a very busy personal life or if some weeks are busier than others-planning is key! Use the calendar to plan a month’s worth of blog posts before this I would just determine in my mind what I would write about and then write and schedule it on the weekends.

Managing social channels-For now I have Facebook and Instagram and I’ve heard influencers say to work mainly in the channels you’re interested in. But one of the main reasons I picked WordPress as my blogging platform is to engage with the community, so I also have to be following, commenting and liking posts. I also just joined Style Collective so I have to keep up with those girls too. While this sounds like a lot, I really do love engaging with others in the blogging community. It’s finding the time to properly engage with everyone that I need to balance-I do most of this on my free weekends. Anyone have any free tips on this?
Diving into new social channels can be a little intimidating but I know that I want to try Pintrest because of all the beautiful inspiration!

 

I’d love to read in the comments what you did before you started your blog, what you learned and are still working on.

How to Stick to a Weekly Food Budget

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Grocery shopping is something I have grown to love. It’s something I do each week (possibly more than once a week). I try to focus on buying what I know I’ll want to eat throughout the week and make healthy meals that fit into my budget.
Here are a list of tips I use to stick to my weekly food budget:
• Know exactly how much you can spend each week on food. Try to make a budget that is doable as this will correlate into what you’re spending each month. During the week I sometimes run to the grocery store to grab fresh food instead of cooking I will then subtract the money I spent towards my next grocery run.

• Know your weekly schedule when planning meals. Keep your plans written in a planner to determine nights you’re free vs. busy. On the nights you’re free you’ll have time to cook a meal that will provide left overs for the nights you’re busy. Also, plan when you’re going to eat out so that you don’t have to buy/make any food for dinner that night.

• Know what foods you have in your kitchen. This all comes down to making a list of what you need and what you buy on a regular basis. Before you run out to the grocery store, consult the list of what you normally buy to see if you’re missing anything from your list. When you’re planning a meal you’ll know what ingredients to buy at the store vs. what’s already in your kitchen. Buying 1 or 2 ingredients because you know that’s all you need saves you money over buying what you already have.

 

 

• Shopping around is something I just started doing. Each week I buy from two grocery stores: Wegmans & Trader Joe’s. Each store has different items I buy weekly. Some of the items I buy at Wegmans are water, yogurt, almond milk, eggs, sandwich meat & at Trader Joe’s I buy fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese and frozen meat. In order to stay within my budget I compare costs of items I buy regularly at both stores and buy the items that are inexpensive at that store, this is how I save money and how I keep a low food budget.

• Know what you’re in the mood to eat. If you feel like eating fried rice and orange chicken this week then make sure that’s what you buy, otherwise you won’t feel satisfied eating food you didn’t really want because you kept thinking about eating food you don’t have. Also, if you buy frozen food, like a batch of chicken that you’ll need to cook during the week, make sure you’ll want to cook it. A helpful tip is to cook during a night you’re free and you’ve recognized it will take a certain amount of time to cook. While cooking chicken you can also cook a grain and vegetable with it, and do some dishes while everything cooks!

Do you stick to a weekly food budget? What are some tips you have that help you stay on track of your food budget? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram or Facebook @stylestomakeyousmile

Motivational Monday: Happiness Vs. Passion

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One New Year’s Eve I made “being happy” my New Year’s Resolution. I failed miserably. I thought if I told myself “I’m going to be happy this year” that I would be. The problem was I didn’t do anything to consistently make myself happy that year because I continued to go about life the way I had always known.

Looking back I realize happiness is an important part of life but you have to do things you enjoy to get yourself there. This is where I’ve realized that you can make yourself happy by doing things you are passionate about; whether it’s working out, cooking, a hobby, and the list goes on and on. I’ve found my passion through blogging because I’ve always loved to write and now that I’m actually blogging I’ve found happiness. The reason I turned to blogging is because I was tired of not doing anything other than my daily routine of get ready, go to work, make dinner, watch TV and go to sleep. I felt I needed something more and especially something creative that I wouldn’t tire of quickly.

Now that I’ve found something I’m passionate about I can turn my regular routine into scheduling what I want to do next for my blog. Sure I may not be able to blog every day as life gets busy, but it’s something I can always be thinking about to come up with new content. I can even turn a bad day into a better one by focusing on writing a post for my blog. This is all a mind-set of turning the negative into a positive and once that sets in it creates happiness. I encourage you to take something small you like doing and turn it into a passion.
What is something that makes you happy or something that you are passionate about? Let me know in the comments!