Links a la Mode: November 23

dsc_0271

I’ve been featured on Independent Fashion Bloggers’ Links a la Mode again!  My post on how to take great outfit photos was included with 19 others by some really talented bloggers.

If you’d like to get featured as well, here’s how it works: submit your post to the IFB Facebook page by Tuesday of each week.  The top 20 will be chosen and rounded up on Thursday.  If you were picked, paste in the roundup on your blog (like I did below).  This means that not only are you featured on the IFB website, but you’re also featured on 19 other blogs!

Here’s this week’s list!

Links à la Mode, November 23rd

The 5 Worst Blogger Habits

DSC_0179.jpg

I’ve said over and over (and over) that blogging burns me OUT.  I get stressed about numbers and the types of posts I do and (not) working with brands–it’s overwhelming!  For so long, I really wanted to turn this into a career, but it’s gotten so exhausting that I finally decided to veer in the other direction: blogging for fun.  Now that I’ve taken some time to chill out, it’s got me thinking about the things that bothered me about blogging with the hopes of making it big. Here are my top five worst blogging habits!dsc_0180

dsc_0178dsc_0181dsc_0187

  1. The follow/unfollow game.  So…I have to confess that for a little while, I would go around following and unfollowing to build up my fanbase.  I stopped after a short time because I felt really crappy about it.  I mean, it’s happened to me, and it sure as hell doesn’t feel great.  On a related note, I also had an app that showed me who unfollowed me, and every time someone did, I’d get so worked up and take it way too personally.
  2. Working on the blog 24/7.  Poor Moxie.  There were so many nights when I’d come home from work and park myself at my computer to churn out a post, and Mox would just sit patiently waiting for me to play with her.  I felt bad, but I justified it by telling myself that one day I’d have more time to spend with her.
  3. Doing posts just to get attention.  You know those Ipsy bag reviews I do each month?  I kind of hate them.  They actually take up a lot of time and setup!  I would be super diligent about producing them, though, because they seemed to get a lot of traffic.  This month when I got my bag, it was really a joy to open it and know I wouldn’t have to write up this massive post about the pros and cons of each eye shadow, highlighter, and skin-firming moisturizer.
  4. Excessive self-promotion.  Don’t get me wrong–self-promotion is necessary to growing your blog.  I got a little obsessed with it, though.  Every day during my work breaks, instead of reading a book or joining a conversation with my lunch pals, I would leave comment after comment on Instagram in the hopes that I could entice more people to follow me.  (This was my strategy after I scrapped Point 1, above.)  And really, there are really only so many times I can say  “Aww so cute!” about a baby pic in the #livelaughlove hashtag.
  5. Getting jealous/envious.  There would be times…lots of times…that I would feel pretty bummed about someone else working with a particular brand or getting more followers than me.  And now and then, that “someone else” would be a friend.  That’s not right.  Now more than ever, it’s so important to root for our friends’ successes, and I want to cheer them on!

 

 

Thanksgiving in List Form, Part 2

DSC_0118.jpg

dsc_0114

DSC_0142.jpgDSC_0144.jpg

Every year, I like to put together a list of the things I’m thankful for.  Without further ado, here’s what I’m celebrating:

  1. My new camera remote!  I don’t know why I didn’t shell out the $10 for it before.
  2. Having long hair to play with.
  3. The sliver of bed that Moxie allows me to sleep on.
  4. All of my friends and family, who keep me sane at home, at work, and elsewhere.
  5. Living in a town full of astounding architecture.
  6. Coffee, especially when it’s good (but even when it’s not).
  7. Little House on the Prairie (the books, not the show).
  8. Lightroom’s teeth-whitening tool.  I can drink all the coffee I want and never worry about stains!
  9. thredUP.  I buy something from that site at least once a week.  I’m obsessed and I don’t even feel guilty about it because it’s a sustainable/ethical way to buy clothes and it ain’t that expensive. (Not sponsored, I just really love it.)
  10. Inspiration.
  11. Improvement.
  12. Falling in love for the first time.
  13. Moxie Girl!
  14. The new pie shop that opened down the street from my apartment.  I guess I’m not moving now.
  15. The boldness to steal candies from the vice president’s office.  Worth it.
  16. My car.  Even though it’s old and beat up, it still gets me from A to B with very little fuss.
  17. Finally having platinum blonde hair.  It takes a lot of upkeep, but I think it’s the color I was born to have.
  18. Traveling by plane for the first time!  Can you believe I never flew until this year?
  19. Enjoying my day job.
  20. Netflix randomizers.
  21. My glasses.
  22. Being happy with my body.
  23. Blogilates.  Cassey Ho, you’re my hero!!
  24. Breaking up with my boyfriend.  Ultimately, I think this was a good thing, so I’m gonna do my best to feel thankful for it.
  25. My hiking group.
  26. Lazy days off.
  27. Productive days off.
  28. Being petite and living in a time when body positivity/inclusivity is a thing.
  29. Hungryroot.
  30. Velvet.
  31. Treat Yo Self Day.
  32. Being able to stick up for myself.
  33. Living alone (well, except for a certain fuzzy someone).
  34. Being healthy and able-bodied.
  35. My gram’s mashed potatoes.
  36. Podcasts.
  37. Having access to plenty of good books.
  38. Animal shelters.
  39. Easily finding the humor in most situations.
  40. Doggy daycare.  Yes, it’s a thing.  Moxie and I love it.
  41. Milk chocolate.
  42. Getting to leave work at the same time every day.
  43. Grubhub.
  44. Central heating and air conditioning in my apartment.
  45. Moxie’s “hugs” when I come home from work. (Really, she’s just stretching on me, but let’s pretend it’s a hug.)
  46. Everything Lush makes.  The bath bombs, lip tints, shampoos, everything.
  47. Being a woman.  Right now that’s not an easy thing, but I’m glad to be who I am.
  48. My education.
  49. Flannel sheets.
  50. Always having a big Thanksgiving meal.

Even if you’re not celebrating Thanksgiving, what are some things you’re thankful for?

Outfit: Blowing in the Wind

DSC_0087.jpg

Remember how I said that the only thing that could hold me back from taking pictures was bird poop?  Well, that got tested this weekend.

dsc_0056

dsc_0084

You might notice that my clothes and hair are askew in nearly every picture. When I went out to take pictures, it was a scant 35 degrees, and a wind advisory was in effect.  Great gusts of 35 mph blew across the trees, and it was a challenge for me to stay on my feet!  It seemed as though the wind would take a breath now and then only to come back and blast even more furiously than before.

Thankfully, it blew perfectly horizontal, so I never had to worry about my skirt flying up.  It stayed put the whole time, if a little sideways.  And it’s not like anyone was around to notice, anyway.  Normally, this spot is full of people and pets, but no one wanted to be out that day.  Can’t say I blame them!

At one point, I had to run back to my car to warm up, but after my hands were warm, it was right back to it.  At least I kept my coat on the whole time!

I can’t be the only one who takes pictures under extreme conditions, right?  What’s the craziest thing you’ve endured to get good photos?

 

Outfit: What Big Ears You’ve Got

DSC_0501.jpg

dsc_0486

 

dsc_0540

While blogging originally started out as a fun hobby for me, it’s had so many unforeseen benefits.  I’ve entered into a very positive, supportive community, made amazing friends online and IRL, and I continue to learn every single day.  One of the most significant pluses, though, is how I’ve come to see my body.

Being dissatisfied with my figure was something that I accepted as a matter of course.  I was underweight at one point in my life, and I never used to feel like my body was “right.”  Every time I lost a few pounds, I’d feel bad about how my clothes fit–and the same was true whenever I gained a few.  I never looked at myself in the mirror and just felt good.

And yet, after looking at photos of myself day in and day out, I got familiar with what I looked like in an objective way.  I saw my body for what it was.  I stopped making judgments about my hips or my thighs or my (lack of) breasts.  More than anything, I was looking at my clothes, not the person in them!

And maybe that’s part of it–over the years, I’ve learned what looks best on my body, and now I stick to styles that I know will flatter me.  For the most part, though, I think seeing my figure so much has made me get used to how I look.  Sometimes we come to love what’s familiar to us, and that’s been the case for me.

It’s been freeing not to worry about it, and the only thing that prompted me to write this post was the fact that I didn’t like my hair in these pictures.  What a wonderful thing it is just to dislike my hair for a day!

It’s true that every now and then, I still get down about my bod, but I no longer feel like I did a couple of years ago.  Most days, I’m simply happy. And for that, I’m extremely thankful.

How to Take Amazing Outfit Photos

dsc_0271

When I first started blogging back in early 2015, I was determined to do everything by myself, including the photography.  I bought myself a special tripod for my phone and got to work.  In those early days, my poses were uncertain and ungainly, and the composition was horrendously cringe-worthy.  For some reason, I quickly got the idea that I should invest in a DSLR, despite having no photography experience and an unpromising blogging career ahead of me.

I’m glad I did.  While I’m still by no means an expert, I’ve learned a lot in the last couple of years.  These days I’m proud of what I’ve been able to do, and since some of you have asked, I wanted to share some of my tips for taking your own pictures.  This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, so if you have questions, please ask!

dsc_0245Set up. My only equipment includes a DSLR with a 50 mm lens and a sturdy tripod.  I don’t use a remote–my hands are usually occupied with my purse or a fold of my skirt, so I don’t want to add anything else to the mix!  I set up the camera so that it’s around waist-height, which helps me look a little taller than I am.  Finally, I set my purse (even my keys if I’m in a pinch) where I plan to pose, focus the camera, set the timer, and scamper to my spot.

mox and socks modcloth blue bird top pink gingham skirt gray sandals bag (21)

Get to know your body. Time and again, you’ll see me standing with my legs crossed.  Why?  I know that pose will guarantee my legs will look longer–even more so if I remember to point my toes!  Since I’m very small, I do whatever I can to keep from looking stumpy.  As you practice, try out lots of different poses–eventually you’ll discover what works best for you.

dsc_0099

Get inspired. Honestly, I think the best way to learn how to take great shots is by studying your favorite bloggers.  When I first got started, I would try to recreate, shot-for-shot, some of their pictures.  Doing so helped teach me how to angle my camera, use the light, and discover new poses.

DSC_0179

Have fun!  Get creative with your shots.  Sure, it’s good to have some head-to-toe pics to show off your outfit, but that can get boring.  Liven it up with something different!  Twirl around, shoot through pretty flowers or leaves, and experiment with angles.

dsc_0026

Practice your butt off. When I first started, I would often get discouraged with my pictures.  They were never quite right!  And sometimes I still don’t think they are, but now I know that over time, the quality will get better.  Now and then I like to compare my recent pictures to ones from a year ago, and it feels great to see the progress.  Don’t get discouraged–keep going!!

See?  The pic on the left was taken in January 2015.  The one on the right is from last weekend.