Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Style At Work | Day In The Life: Full-Time Professional + Part-Time Blogger Schedule

Today's Style At Work look reflects my day to day cold weather office and blogger style.  No heels, no dressy looks--strictly business casual.  I tend to keep things classic during the week with black.  It's easier to get dressed in the dark this way, lol.  However, adding these trousers from French Connection, gave me a little more interest that I wanted for this look.  Remember, just because it's freezing out, doesn't mean you have to compromise your style.  These  Jaynee Platform Oxford shoes make walking downtown that much more comfortable, while keeping things polished.  This look also transitions really well if I have a business meeting after work.

Life as a full-time professional and part time blogger can be quite the balancing act.  I have been dividing my free time outside of my day time job with blogging for almost 6 years now.  I often get questions like "How do you find the time to do it all?"   When your small hobby turns into a part-time job, you start to put more into it.  More time, more effort, more attention, and more work.  It can be challenging every now and again.  A lot of the time, I just want to come home, put on my pjs and watch some Netflix before finally dozing off.  Managing the time to spend with my husband, do day to day house work, cooking, personal errands, all while still running a blog can make for late nights and early mornings.  Here's what a typical day looks like for me:

5:30 AM - Wakeup time.  Normally my alarm goes off and I hit snooze for the next 20 mins.  I normally get myself  out of snoozy mode by turning my phone's backlight up and doing some scrolling on the gram for a few moments.  Once my eyesight has properly adjusted (lol) then I'm up and getting myself dressed.

7:15 AM - Arrive at work.  It probably takes me anywhere from 15-20 mins to settle in at my desk.  I get logged into my computer and immediately check my work emails.

7:30 AM - Eat breakfast.  If it's a really good day I eat breakfast at home.  Realistically, I'm heating something up in the office kitchen.  It's easier.  That way I can take my time to eat rather than scarf down a breakfast burrito in the car while driving.

7:45 AM - Daytime Office Mode.  Job responsibilities and tasks.

I like to get through my work day with music or podcasts.  Podcasts I listen to are:  The Casey Crew, Afford Anything w/ Paula Pant, and Myleik Teele.  I like to keep music flowing depending on my mood and what kind of day I'm having.  My playlist can be gospel, jazz, R&B, all the way to trap music.

10:30 AM- Mid Morning snack.  Normally a handful of blackberries, raspberries, and almonds.  Drinking lots of water to keep me focused until lunch.

12 or 1PM - Lunch.  Depending on how my morning went I'm either eating a packed lunch or grabbing food from one of my favorite spots about a block away from the office.  I love eating at SunTrust Bank's Marketplace.  A lifesaver when you don't bring lunch.  Their salad bar is bomb.

If I have blog deadlines, I will bring my personal laptop and type up a blog post that's due or edit something I'm working on whether it be a post or photos.  I also use my lunch hour to make personal phone calls or appointments.

2 PM - Afternoon Office Mode.

4PM - Out of the office.

4:25 PM - My husband and I normally arrive home within 15 - 20 minutes of each other, which is great.  For the next 30-40 minutes we catch up with each other and talk about how our work day went.  Check the mail, talk about important things to get done, and plan for the weekend.

5PM - I start on dinner while hubby is at the gym.  Sometimes dinner will already be prepped (Normally on Sundays) but about mid week I tend to cook again.  I like making something quick during the week, like Fajitas.  We can eat Mexican food a few times a week so this meal is actually a favorite.  When I make fajitas I love making fresh guacamole to top it off.  If it's a Thursday night I'll add in a margarita to toast to Friday, but I'm normally drinking water with lemon and lime or ginger ale.  Then I tidy up the kitchen.  I really don't like going to bed with a dirty kitchen.  Something about waking up to a fresh space in the mornings puts me in a better head space.

5:45-6:30 PM - Shower + Pjs + me time.  I normally am prepping my hair for the next day.  Planning or ironing my work outfit and winding down.

6:30- 8 PM At this point I head into my office and take a look at blogger deadlines I have for the week.  I check and answer emails, continue to write and edit posts, or upload photos.  Go over looks I want to shoot for the weekend.  Unbox a few PR packages, test out new cosmetics I've received, or share on social media.

8-9:15 PM Wind down before sleep.  I'm normally scrolling the gram or watching YouTube videos until I crash.  I really try to be asleep by 10pm.  Depending on my night I could be up for another hour or two working on a post.

This is very much a rough breakdown of what my schedule normally looks like.  There are weeks of course when it changes--anything from a weeknight blogger event to a random date night with hubby (Always the best!), or tackling laundry mid week.  At the end of the day, I do my best to get my projects done for both my day time and blogger jobs as well as keeping my focus mentally and spiritually, all while spending time loving my husband.  I try to dedicate as much time as I can to the things and people I love.

How do you manage your day?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Rest & Relaxation with Laxed Home Spa & Bath

 I've always loved a good at home pamper.  I truly believe that taking time even if it's just once week to indulge in your own at home oasis can really do the body and soul good.  I was really excited when  Laxed Home Spa & Bath owner reached out to me with the opportunity to create my own customized  bath milk and massage oil.  I really didn't realize how much I've been missing out on by not taking my at home baths up a notch with these carefully handmade products.  The bath milk I had the pleasure of making is filled with some pretty amazing ingredients like goats milk, rose petals, and lavender!  Once I made my bath recipe, I was inspired to create an over the top bath to indulge in and I did just that.  Complete with rose petals and a good book.

After my bath I used a massage oil that I also made with a special oil blend.  Once I applied it I was totally ready for sleep!  This routine is so relaxing.  I truly believe everyone should take a great soak bath to put your mind  in a relaxing space after all of the hustle and bustle of the week.  It's so easy to zone out and the perfect time to pick up a good book to read.  What's awesome is that it only takes one scoop of this mix to have your entire bathroom smelling like heaven.

It doesn't take much to create rich experiences like this for the soul.  You'd be surprised how one small change during the week can set the tone for your mind and spirit.  It's so beneficial!  For me personally this is a way to practice mindfulness and a great way  to quiet my mind--preparing me for sleep.  Check out Laxed Home Spa & Bath to create your own spa experience at home.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Blogger 411 | How to Find Success In Blogging With A Smaller Audience

The perception right now amongst many bloggers is that you have to be 'popular' and have over tens of thousands of followers on social media in order to find success in the blogging world.  While numbers can definitely play a big role in attracting brands, receiving free product, and getting invites to certain events on a regular basis-- I'm here to tell you that the numbers are NOT the end all be all.  What's also important to think about first and foremost is what you perceive to be success online as a blogger.  One could find that they are successful in just creating their blog, hitting publish on a post, and having the world (or a few family and friends ☺️) simply be able to read it.  Another would deem they have reached success after they've gotten their first check or receive opportunities on a regular basis to make money.    It's really all in how you view it.  In this post, I'll be discussing the latter.

As a blogger with a reach of under 10K, I have still had some of the same opportunities that bloggers with over 100K have had.  I've been able to work with major style and beauty brands, be flown out on location to represent said brand all while still being paid to do so.  Let me be your example in how it is VERY possible to not only attract a major brands attention when you have a small following, but also, generate another stream of income through monetizing your blog.  If you have a small audience and are still growing your readership do not let the false perception of social media discourage you.  It's all about perspective and focusing on what your personal goals are as a blogger.  Your goals and opportunities don't have to look like every other blogger on Instagram.  Here are a few of my thoughts and tips on how you can find success in blogging with a smaller audience.

1.  What's Your Purpose?

Before jumping on the bandwagon of what seems to be working for others, really explore what it is that you like and are passionate about.  Are you wanting a blog for popularity?  To make money?  Or do you just have a desire to share whatever it is that you do?  For me, it's always been about sharing written content, my journey with style, and love for beauty.  Since I were in high school I wanted to have a career in fashion as an editor, buyer, or in fashion merchandising.  Find what it is that really ignites motivation and passion from within.  If you are looking for success in your blog by growing readership and ultimately attracting monetized opportunities, your love for whatever it is that your blogging about will be your fuel during the times when those 'Glow Up' opportunities haven't come your way yet.  If you don't really have a purpose, you'll find yourself doing everything that everyone else is doing trying to 'catch fire' and ultimately giving up because it's not something you really loved in the first place.  Knowing why you're blogging brings clarity and focus.  Purpose and focus are definitely some of the key ingredients you'll need in order to garner the success you're looking for.

2.  Be Intentional

Although I tend to have a relaxed approach when it comes to how I post on my blog and social media, I am still very intentional about how and what I share.  When you look at my feed on social, most posts are of what I'm wearing, where I've been, my natural hair, beauty, and a little lifestyle here and there.  It all ties into the niche of blogging I'd like to be tied to. Therefore, if you look to have your blog taken a little more seriously in the eyes of brands and are using it as a tool to create our own business, definitely take the time to plan.  Plan what you want to share and create content that you can be proud of.  Use specific hashtags certain brands use to increase the odds of having your social posts featured.  Tag companies you love.  Share your content on varies social platforms.  Learn when is the best time to share your work on social and do that.  When you are intentional about the work you are creating and how you promote it, it sets you up so that it isn't by accident that your attracting opportunities.

3.  Be Great

 I really like to focus on becoming really good at what I do.  I often times get compliments on my photos that I take on IG or my outfits and how I applied my make up.  It's because I've practiced and over time learned what works for me.  I take time to plan my written content and what I would like to say.  I do research.  I try not to just slap a post together.  Whatever I share, it's my best.  Whatever kind of post or content you create, it should be your best.  Is that not what this is all about? Especially if you'd like to reach a certain level.   If not, then why bother?  Become a master at what you do.  Don't focus on anything else.  It takes time, patience, and practice. Continue to research to get better--whether it's your writing, photography, editing-- have the mindset and focus of being great.  Although your audience is smaller, your work will always speak for itself.  When you are known for being great at what you do sometimes the numbers won't even matter.  Brands will want you to be part of their campaign simply off the strength that you are the expert in your field.

4.  Reach Out

There are times where it takes a little more than doing the work and expecting a brand or someone you'd like to work with in business to make the first move to reach out.  If there is a certain company you'd like to partner with, research who you need to connect with and send them a quick email.  Ask if there's any way to be part of XYZ or whatever it is that you'd like to do.  Be professional when reaching out as well and also think about what it is that you can offer them so that both parties can benefit from whatever exchange you are trying to have with them.  As the saying goes 'Closed mouths don't get fed.'  

5.  Focus on YOUR work

Quit worrying about the analytics of Instagram.  I've seen a lot of bloggers complain about the changes with Instagram and other technicalities, but guess what?  You should let NOTHING stand in the way of you and what you are trying to do with your blog, business, or in life for that matter.  When you face challenges, take a step back, research, and problem solve.  Continue to focus on what you want to create, your plans, and what YOU want to do!  It is perfectly okay be inspired, but don't become so obsessed in someone else's work that it distracts you from what you do well and have to offer.  When you shift your focus to what you have going on, you'll become better at what you do and that in turn benefits YOU.

If you noticed these tips are not a quick scheme to get you a glow up.  Being a style and beauty blogger right now is tough work if you want to have bigger opportunities to work with brands.  This post is about changing your mindset and perspective so that you set yourself up for the opportunities. I'm here to tell you that it's possible to get what you're looking for, but realize that everything takes time.  Don't give up.

If you are a blogger that would like to meet with me or discuss matters concerning blogger guidance and tips; send me an email so that we can work on a game plan to get clear on why you're here and how to take things up a notch.  I would love to offer my services to you in a more in depth analysis of how I can help you and your blog.  For more information, connect with me at  Serious Inquires only.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Winter Wardrobe | Blush Shaggy Knit Sweater

Notice a trend here?  I just realized that this is the second shaggy piece that I've featured here on the blog this winter, lol.  For me, the shaggy sweater is the easiest way to wear something different that stands out.  Normally once I find something that really works for me, I tend to roll with it for awhile.  We've still got another month or so of winter and I really want to take advantage of that and wear some of my warmer pieces that didn't get much love this season.  Winter has gone by so quickly, I really can't believe Spring is almost here.  While most people are praying the cold temps away, I actually enjoy the cold weather so I'm a little sad to see it go.  

With my busy schedule lately, it’s been really easy for me to throw on darker winter clothing items and go-- especially during office hours.  However, on the weekends and to events around town, I like to have a little more fun.  With New York Fashion Week around to inspire me last week, I thought I'd pull this pretty piece out of the closet to wear downtown for brunch last Saturday.  This piece just makes a fun statement and gets me out of my wardrobe rut.  I absolutely love the blush tone that's giving me all of the spring time vibes and reminds me of Cheery Blossom season!  How are you making a statement with your wardrobe before Winter is up?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Instagram Worthy Places To Eat in Richmond

Like Many of you, Instagram is probably my favorite app on social media.  I really love taking photos of my favorite things which include all things beauty, pretty floral arrangements, and of course my favorite places to hang around town.  If you are ever in the Richmond area or are a local, here are a few places to dine that great for the gram.  I used my iPhone to capture all of these views.  Between the regular camera and portrait mode options, these photos show each location to be very instagram worthy!

Quirk Hotel

201 W Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23220

Quirk Hotel is probably my favorite place to visit since moving to Richmond because nearly every corner of it is so photogenic.  A few of my style posts have been at this location because of the impressive & gorgeous ambiance.  This 1916 store-turned-boutique hotel features a modern and up-tempo lobby which includes millennial pink sofas and chairs that serve as the perfect spot to take photos and selfies for the gram!    In the lobby, there is also a coffee shop, the Quirk Gallery, and Maple & Pine Restaurant.  I've had the pleasure of grabbing coffee during the work week as well as having lunch here.  The experience is always great.  If you dine in for lunch, be sure to try the salmon burger.  The dining table tops are all marble so they make for a perfect background for flatlays as well!

Max's on Broad

305 Brook Rd, Richmond, VA 23220

Max's on Broad is a French/Belgain styled restaurant in the heart of downtown Richmond.  My husband and I love having brunch here Sundays.  When you visit, ask to sit upstairs and preferably near the large bay windows.  You'll get perfect lighting to take photos of your food as well as the perfect downtown view while dining.  My favorite brunch specialty would have to be the Brioche French Toast  & Belgian Waffles with berries.  Don't forget to order your mimosa!

Graduate Hotel

301 W Franklin St, Richmond, VA 23220

The most instagramable spot at this location would have to be the coffee bar and lobby.  Honestly, the menu options at Brookfield (hotel cafĂ©) are pretty slim.  So far, I've only had the Shrimp Green Goddess salad and chai tea so that's all I can really tell you about.  The goddess salad is actually really good and very hearty. I love the collegiate theme and the boutique design and decoration is perfect for all your insta-stories.

I plan to update this list with more of my favorite Instagrammable spots as I get to know more places here in RVA.  Be sure to check back for more!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Style At Work | Keeping A Positive Attitude During The Work Week

Happy Monday and welcome back to another installment of my 'Style At Work' series!  In today's post, I not only wanted to share with you some cold weather office outfit inspiration, but also give you a little boost mentally when it comes to going into the work week.  Obviously, it's not enough to just dress the part for work.  It's really important that we are excelling at what we do no matter what your specific job is.  Part of excelling is being in the right head space and staying motivated throughout the week, which is key for me.  It's easy to have the Monday blues after the weekend, but here are 5 ways to keep a positive attitude during the work week.

Take Time To be Grateful

Whenever I 'feel some type of way' about going to work, I refocus back to the simple fact that I actually have a job.  Not everyone can say that.  There is always something beneficial about being employed, whether you are working in your dream career or not.  When you take the time to recognize and have a grateful heart about where you are, it tends to put things into perspective, and for me, serve as an instant motivation.

Stay Productive

One of the first things I do when settling in for work in the mornings is make a To-Do list.  I also meet with my supervisor about things that are to be completed on a daily and weekly basis.  This definitely keeps me organized and focused on our goals.  At the end of the day, I tend to have a lot more satisfaction in seeing tasks completed and overall feel good about getting things done.

Customize Your Surroundings

Make your cubicle your own by placing positive images in your workspace.  I have a custom  colorful desk calendar and other images that I can look at that bring inspiration and calmness throughout the day.  Having a visual display of things that bring you joy can serve as stress relievers and maybe even reminders of what's really important if and when you have a rough day.

Leave For Lunch

Whether it's just going into the break room to eat lunch you brought from home, or down the street to a small cafe; I strongly encourage you to step away from your desk for your lunch hour.  I love having lunch in a space with a nice ambiance because it gives me something to look forward to each day.   This is also an instant mood lift and I almost always come back to the office with a better energy to finish out the second part of the day.

Get Good Sleep

I can almost guarantee what kind of day it's going to be based off of how much sleep I got the night before.  There have been times where I've been able to stay up an hour later without feeling the effects of less sleep, but I make sure not to make a habit of going to sleep late.  The lack of sleep can be frustrating and make you less likely to want to do anything in the work day.  Who's thinking about staying positive when all you want is your bed??

How do you keep positive during your work week?  I'm not sure about y'all, but these bitter cold days can definitely have an effect on my mood.  Who really wants to leave their warm and cozy beds to head out into 30 degree weather??  It can be a challenge, but lets keep our heads in the game.  Positive thoughts will bring positive results.  It'll all pay off!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Weekly Deals | Cozy Sweaters

When it comes to sweaters this winter I have definitely fallen for extra long sleeves and something a little oversized that tends to cover my hands somewhat like gloves.  I was in LOFT last month and noticed this fuzzy off the shoulder tunic sweater and thought it'd be perfect this season.  I really loved the fuzzy texture and normally would shy away from materials like this because of the shedding.  This one doesn't shed at all and I don't have to worry about keeping a lint remover brush on hand for my winter coat.

This tunic has a very complementary length.  I love that it's not too long and bulky that way I can tuck it into whatever bottoms I'm wearing or simply wear it out like I am here.  My favorite feature of course is the fold over off the shoulder neckline that you can adjust to your liking.  Off the shoulder tops tend to compliment my neckline & shoulders really well so I've been really into them lately.

There are a few, chic cozy sweaters that I've added to my closet within the past month, so I created a quick video for you all that you can view HERE and have linked similar sweaters for you to shop down below.  Most of these styles have gone on sale with an extra percentage off, so take advantage of these deals before the cold weather is gone.  Stay cozy Chic ladies!


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