Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Landing Brand Partnerships as a Blogger - Paid Partnerships


The long-awaited tips for paid partnerships! If you're new to this series, I recommend going back and reading through my blog posts about product trade partnerships and Media Kits ahead of reading this post! I know it's so easy to discount product trade and downplay those partnerships' importance to your portfolio but those partnerships will help build your Media Kit and give you more metrics to share with future potential business partners. Having a Media Kit on hand will be helpful for negotiating with contacts before any agreements are reached.

How to Price Services

To determine rates for deliverables you offer, refer to resources like fohr. They verify that your following engagement is authentic which is a good verification to have on your Media Kit. They also have tools to help you determine your rates. I like to take a look at each separate product offering. Make a list of what deliverables you can offer. For me, that would be Instagram in-feed posts, Instagram Stories, a blog post on my website, ongoing partnerships, giveaways, and Reels/TikToks. I'm newer to TikToks and Reels, so I wouldn't charge as much for creating that content as I would for an in-feed post or blog post. Eventually, as I make more video content and I become more of an expert I can eventually raise my prices. But from the standpoint of a brand, a company would want to work with me on deliverables that are currently my strong suit. So I often throw in Reels & TikToks as a part of the partnership so I can broaden my portfolio in that area. Additionally, sometimes brands may offer a lump sum for a few different deliverables. The most common pair I see are Instagram Post(s) and Instagram Stories. My advice is to always be open to the conversation, which we will cover later in this article.

Pitching and Being Pitched

There will be times that you are pitched, but don't forget the power of reaching out and networking! I pitch brands all the time and that is how I've landed some of my ongoing partnerships. I recommend going to the company's Instagram and clicking the contact button to get their contact information. There should be an email to contact and they might not be in charge of influencer partnerships but odds are they know the person to put you in contact with.

Always email as though you're emailing your boss or a client. Be professional but warm. When a brand pitches me, I often read over the email, attachments or information they send, and take a look at their social media channels. Also, look at the photos that the brand is tagged in. By taking the time to read, review, and research you're seeing if the brand aligns with your brand, if the company has a solid business practice, and if you want to work with them. You don't have to work with every brand that reaches out to you and you shouldn't plan to work with every brand that reaches out either. You need to make sure you have a good mix of sponsored content and organic content so that you don't come off as inauthentic to your followers. 

Once I do my own research, I always respond. Even if you're not planning on working with the brand, you never want to burn a bridge. Always thank that person for taking the time to reach out. Brand contacts work really hard to pull lists of influencers and bloggers to reach out to about partnership opportunities! If deliverables aren't listed, I tend to ask for more information about their ideal deliverables for their campaign. Once they send me more information on that then I attach my most up to date Media Kit and explain that it is attached for their review and has information about metrics across channels and my typical rates for different types of content. 


When discussing deliverables with a potentially brand partner, it is important to not have an all or nothing attitude. It's important to approach the conversation with professionalism and tact. You wouldn't want to talk to someone who threw a temper tantrum or was difficult to communicate with - so do not act that way with your contacts. 

When negotiating, also make sure you allow enough time for shipping, to test or try out the product, create content, edit, and post. Another item to discuss is how you will be paid out and when. Is the payment NET 30, NET 60 (Payment in 30 days, 60 days, or even 90 days)? These are important things to ask about so you can plan ahead for when you can expect to be paid. Also find out if you need to send an invoice, if they will pay you through PayPal, direct deposit, or if there's something else they had in mind.

Sometimes, companies won't be able to pay you or might want different deliverables or bundles of deliverables, and my advice is to always hear them out. You never want to be hostile or rude because in the future they might have a budget and be able to enter a paid partnership with you. Additionally, people will never forget the way you make them feel, and being rude when you don't get your way is a good way to be blackballed from different companies and PR agencies. 

When to Walk Away

Although the idea of being paid is enticing and for some the ultimate goal for blogging - it's important to ground yourself in reality when making commitments. Make sure that you always disclose that you need to try the product (if you haven't already) before posting any endorsement content. 

Does this company align with your brand? Would you buy from this company with your own money? Do the content deliverables and deadlines align with your schedule and current workload? Are they asking for too much? These are the questions you need to ask yourself! Your followers will know if you're just partnering to partner with a brand. They will not trust you or your opinion if they notice you're selling out and sharing items you wouldn't normally share if there wasn't a monetary agreement. 

Make sure you're listening to your gut and that you're planning content that resonates with your audience and is a true representation of you and your brand. 

There's a lot that goes into the backend of blogging and it can definitely be overwhelming! It's important to remember that it's okay to slow down, take a breather, and practice self-care. You're going to find your way and you're going to grow your blog. All of these posts will always be available on my page for reference and as always, I'm here to answer any questions! Happy blogging ladies! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Landing Brand Partnerships As A Blogger - Media Kits


Last week we talked about product trade partnerships and I gave my tips and tricks for those partnerships. There are definitely benefits to those partnerships and I fully believe that you shouldn't count them out. There's always room for negotiation, adjusted deliverables, and ongoing partnership. Remember that if you don't ask, the answer will always be no. 

This week, I wanted to build on our conversation and deep dive into the world of media kits.

What is a media kit? It's a blogger resume essentially. It's a way to showcase your creativity, talent, metrics, and rates associated with your content creation across your engaged channels.

Where do I get a media kit? You can hire someone to make you one like my friend, Melanie Smith, or you can make one in applications like Canva depending on your bandwidth and creativity. I created mine in Canva with one of their many templates and I go in at the beginning of every month and update it with brand partners, metrics, and every few months I update prices where are applicable. 

What do I put in a media kit? As mentioned above, it's a resume of sorts. However, you definitely want to communicate your brand and your visual content capabilities in your kit as well. I made mine two pages and included my baseline prices broken down to start conversations with brands as well. Below are the bones of mine to give you an idea.

You don't want to put too much information, but you want potential partners to be able to have all the information they need in a quick, easy-to-read document. Definitely showcase your best attributes and features. Chose photos that showcase your brand and personality.

What should I leave out of my media kit? My advice is to keep it easy and breezy. Whether you're entering into a product trade partnership or a paid partnership, you're asking your contacts to engage in business with you - so act like it. 

When do I send my media kit? Sometimes a contact will ask for your Media Kit and sometimes you have to bring it up. It really depends. But as I've mentioned before, if you wouldn't send an email to your boss don't send it to a potential business partner. Have a nice introduction to why you're sending your Media Kit such as in the middle of the email after you have a greeting portion, "does your team have a budget for paid partnerships? I have attached my Media Kit for your team's review." This opens the floor to negotiate deliverables, potential payment, and deadlines. 

One of my biggest tips for negotiating (all of which will be covered in the next blog post in this series) is to look at yourself, what you offer, and real ROI for potential business partners. Whether you're charging $100 or $1,000, is a company paying you that much money going to yield results for them and be mutually beneficial? If you're not going to drive website visits, clicks, and potential sales, you need to take a step back and examine your branding and how you're relating to your audience. Everyone thinks they deserved to be paid and it's because you work hard to create content! But to be able to charge money for content deliverables you need to be able to make your case. That's why it's important to have metrics on your Media Kit.

There's a lot that goes into the backend of blogging and it can definitely be overwhelming! It's important to remember that it's okay to slow down, take a breather, and practice self-care. You're going to find your way and you're going to grow your blog. All of these posts will always be available on my page for reference and as always, I'm here to answer any questions! Happy blogging ladies! 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Landing Brand Partnerships As A Blogger - Product Trade

It can seem overwhelming to figure out where to start with partnerships. How do the other creators you follow get so many partnerships? I am going to break down all my tips in this series I'm calling: Brand Partnerships. This week, we're focusing on Product Trade partnerships.

It starts with some things you’re already doing - YOUR brand and what it's made of. When your content is good, your authentic engagement is high, and you’re in the groove of sharing content across channels - brands will find you! I touch on some tips about this in my last blog post in this series about community growth, but some additional tips I can add are:

  • Batch your content - I take 85% of my content all in one burst for an hour with Alexa Morelli on Saturday or Sunday every week and that frees up my time for engagement, blog posts, emails, editing, filming try on's and beyond. 
  • If you don't feel like posting that day, it's okay! You don't have to post every day to see results. It is quality over quantity.
  • Create a call-to-action in your captions. Ask a question about their week, an opinion about a show, something to start a conversation with your followers in the comments.
  • Think about your followers. When are they on Instagram? What is going on in the world that affects everyone right now? What would you think if you saw this post? Taking a step back and being realistic.

After working on your brand and you're ready to explore the world of partnerships - there's another thing I cannot be more clear about. If you’re in blogging for the money, you're going to be disappointed. It’s just that simple. Blogging should be something you’re passionate about and look forward to doing. If you’re just blogging to make money everyone following you can tell and gold brands won’t work with you. 

The last big point I want to make for any correspondence as a blogger - if you wouldn't send that email to your boss, don’t send it to your brand contact. When I was working with influencers the amount of rude, condescending, and demeaning language was astounding. People and brands talk and if you pitch and don’t get exactly the result that you want, still be friendly and cheery. You can still negotiate without being rude. Eventually, the brand might evolve its brand partnerships to what you envisioned and they will reach back out - so it's important to always be nice to people you're corresponding with about partnerships.  

Product Trade 

Product trade is when you agree to create content in exchange for the product(s) you are being sent. These deliverables on your end are usually posts on your social channels. At the beginning of your partnership journey, this is a great way to get experience with sponsored posts. 

If you are ever asked to purchase a product they want you to promote or if you're put through a lot of different contacts (i.e. getting the "send us a DM" comments on Instagram) these are not the partnerships I'm talking about - these are scams!

However, working with brands in exchange for products is a great way to build your portfolio, gain experience, and exposure. When starting out with partnered or sponsored content, it is really important to build your portfolio and your knowledge of the area. It's kind of like building a resume for a job. You want to have experience in your area of expertise to create value for a potential employer. Eventually down the road, if you want to ask for payment in addition to product you have to have a Media Kit with metrics to showcase your value to that company.  

I still do product exchange partnerships if it's something I would buy on my own, something I know my followers are interested in, something I want to try, or an ongoing partnership.

Getting Brand Partnerships

Okay, I've told you about the benefits of product trade and why you shouldn't immediately write them off, but where does one get these partnerships? In the beginning, I signed up for affiliate networks. These groups help you partner with different companies and get your foot in the door. I became apart of Mavrick and InfluenceHer Collective and they sent emails to me as opportunities came up. I applied for the ones I felt best aligned with my brand. You may not be chosen for every opportunity but it will keep sending you different campaigns and it only takes a few minutes to apply. 

Companies can also find you organically through hashtags and engagement with other bloggers. Make sure your location is in your bio, your photos are geotagged and that you use hashtags for the area you're in. For example, I live in Chicago. I use hashtags like #chicagoblogger, #chicagobloggers, #illinoisblogger, and #midwestblogger since that's where I'm located. Brands look up these hashtags if they're looking for influencers in a certain location.

Another way that I suggest starting the conversation about collaborating is to simply reach out! Shoot your shot! I pitch brands all the time. I recommend following them, organically engaging with their content over time, and then contact them! Look at their page for an email address to contact. With that email, send a professional email with a warm greeting, an explanation about why you think you and the brand are a good match, and attach your Media Kit if you have one (which I highly recommend having)! Worst case, they never respond. But usually, I receive a response and either am speaking with the right person or I get in contact with the right person in the organization. 

If you don't see an email address on their social channels, DM them! I keep it short and sweet and ask if there's an email I could reach out to for a potential partnership. Either way though, keep it professional. Like I wrote earlier, if you wouldn't send the email to your boss, don't send it to a brand contact. If you get rejected, no response or they say that they aren't accepting any new applicants at this time - that's okay! It can be discouraging or defeating but it doesn't define you. Even when met with a seemingly negative response, be positive and cheery, and move along to the next pitch. You're going to get a few rejections but that only shows you're putting yourself out there. You also never know what the layout of an influencer program might be at a company and they could always reach out later.

Be Selective About Your Partners

That being said, you should be selective with the partnerships you chose to do. You should never take on a partnership just to do it. It's really inauthentic and can alienate your followers. A few ways to decide if this partnership is a good idea:

  • What is the cost of the product being given vs the time it takes to create, post, and engage on the content you're being asked to create? Is it a $10 keychain in exchange for 2 in-feed posts, 2 reels, and 4 Instagram Stories? Probably not. 
  • Would you purchase this product yourself? If you had to buy it yourself, would you? It doesn't make sense to promote a product you yourself wouldn't purchase.
  • Does this product and company make sense with your brand? If your personal brand is sharing different kinds of coffee and the product is a candle making kit, that's going to be confusing for your audience. While your audience might not jump to understanding why they're confused, you have alienated them to a degree. You also won't see as many conversions as if you had partnered with a product that more aligns with your brand. 
  • What is the turnaround time from when you receive the product to when you are expected to post? Give yourself enough time to create quality content.
  • Do you have other partnerships with similar due dates? Make sure you're spreading out sponsored content.

There's a lot that goes into the backend of blogging and it can definitely be overwhelming! It's important to remember that it's okay to slow down, take a breather, and practice self-care. You're going to find your way and you're going to grow your blog. All of these posts will always be available on my page for reference and I'm always here to answer any questions! Happy blogging ladies! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

It's Been One Year Without You

It’s been one whole year without you. 

I think about you all the time. 

It’s really hard to explain to someone what this level of loss feels like. I think the best I can is: sometimes it feels like it happened 20 years ago. Sometimes it feels like it happened yesterday. And sometimes it feels like it never happened at all and you’re going to call me any moment. It’s a constant feeling of loss. Sometimes I’m numb to it and sometimes it’s all-consuming. 

I still listen to all of your favorite bands. But it’s really hard to listen to our songs we’d scream together in the car on road trips. I know I need to watch the Taylor Swift documentary it's just going to make me sad and miss you though. I still laugh at all the times you hung out with me and my friends. I still look for the Peanuts on TV. I laugh every time I see Crocs. 

I think about our fights and how I wish I never wasted a moment we had together. I think about how much I wish we could’ve gone to the Northwoods one more time together. I wish I never rolled my eyes when you’d make us stop at the 100th barbecue place on a road trip. I wish I always answered your calls. I wish I hugged you a second longer when I saw you last. 

There are so many stories and moments and photos that I can look back on fondly. Voicemails and Facebook posts and tie-dye t-shirts but it's never going to be the same. There's always going to be a hole. I'm always going to cry every year on Father's Day, Memorial Day weekend, your birthday, the day you had your last cancer treatment, my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and today. The day we found out one year ago. 

People keep saying you’re with me and that you’re watching over me and I know you are but I hate when that’s their answer. People who don't know this pain always say it and it honestly just feels superficial. When I talk about getting married without you. And having kids and you won’t be here. When something funny happens in my day and I want to laugh with you. When I have a computer question. When a new song I know you'd like comes out. When I have a bad day and you can’t cheer me up. 

There are so many questions I will never get to ask you about your life. I just always thought we had more time. 

There are so many firsts ahead of me in my life that I can’t picture yet but I know how empty I’ll feel without you.

But with all my sadness comes love, too. 

You always wanted me to work at my current company and I know you sent me that job application as a sign. I have mom and our family and the best friends I could ever ask for. You pushed me to start a blog and to write and to be creative, and because of that, I have a strong support system not a lot of people have which has really gotten me through. I'm happy I live by the lakefront because I can see all the birds and ask any of my friends I always see hawks flying over. I know you're with me. I know you're guiding me. I know you're sending signs so I pause and appreciate all that I have. I know I'm so lucky. I promise I do. 

I just really miss you. And there will never be any words or any way to string words together to describe the feeling of missing you. I will always love you and I will always remember the all-encompassing, unconditional love you made me feel every day that we had together.

"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Holiday Gift Guide for the Guys - 2020

It's that time of year again! I always want to find and share affordable items for your everyday life and with the current state of the world, I wanted to share gift round-ups under $25 and $50. Here are some great starting points for all the guys in your life! All items can be clicked on in the image to shop and they are also linked below the image.

Fleece Flannel / Reusable Masks / Whiskey Ice Cube Maker / Sushi Sock Set / Sleep Mask / Carhartt Tee / Carhartt Beanie / Fleece Blanket / Monogram Keychain / Bird Feeder / Charging Station / Shave Cape / Fleece Flannel 

Pizza Blanket / Wallet / Sneakers / Yeti Cup / Slippers / Charger Alarm Clock / Sock Pizza / Cocktail Kit / Back Massager / Backpack / Nightstand Charger Station / State Beer Cap Holder / Air Fryer / Shave Kit

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Holiday Gift Guide for the Ladies - 2020

 It's that time of year again! I always want to find and share affordable items for your everyday life and with the current state of the world, I wanted to share gift round-ups under $25 and $50. Here are some great starting points for all the ladies in your life! All items can be clicked on in the image to shop and they are also linked below the image.

Hair Waver / Laneige Lip MaskTula Pads / Ice Roller / V-Line Lifting Band Mask / Collagen Masks / Indian Healing Clay Mask / Eye Masks / Make Up Eraser / Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Color

 Coasters / Beanie / Gold Candle / White Candle / Camo Leggings / Gallon Water Bottle / Slippers / Blanket / Cheetah Work Out Tank / Diffuser / Hoop Earrings / Mug / Work Out Bands / Reusable Masks Multi Pack

Yoga Mat / Amazon Echo / Vacuum / Over The Knee Boots / Back Massager / Tula Cult Classic Cleanser / Volcano Candle / Keurig / Popcorn Sweater / Facial Steamer / Graphic Tees

Monday, November 2, 2020

Blogging Community Growth Tips

As anyone who has tried blogging or is close to someone who is a blogger, it's truly so much more than posting pretty pictures on Instagram! My time in blogging has brought me many opportunities but also a lot of hard lessons. They've all made me stronger and happier than ever to continue to have a passion for this hobby turned side job. 

As we know, there are so many aspects that go into blogging. The world of blogging can be an intimidating place, and I want this post to help with some of the aspects that go into growing your community. 


Where it all starts! I started creating content because as I mentioned in my last blog post, I felt like I needed a creative outlet. I also created outfits on a daily basis that needed to be seen! When I was growing up, I watched my mom put outfits together for our whole family and her fashion sense really paved the way for my outfit pairings. (In college, I would ask my friends what they were wearing out Friday on Wednesday LOL!) Additionally, I love writing. So I wanted to talk about parts of my life and wanted to incorporate the lifestyle aspect into my brand as well. So for me, a fashion lifestyle blog made sense. It was a niche I felt really showcased my passions and was easy for me to talk about because I had a background in it. 

Before running out to buy a tripod and ring light, sit down with a laptop or a notebook and a pen and make lists about what you like. What excites you? That's what your niche should be. 

Once you have your niche, this is when the fun begins! Recruit loved ones to help you with content. It's definitely an awkward ask when you're just starting but this will help you capture content to share. I had help from my cousins, friends, my mom, and even my brother at times. Getting in front of the camera will help you learn what you like and don't like about lighting, outfits, poses, and backgrounds. So this will come with time - but there's no time like the present to start!

I like to batch my content, so I take 3 to 5 outfits one day out of the week all at once. This helps save time and eliminate any anxiety with capturing content in time to share it. This also helps me organize my content calendar. This doesn't have to be collaborations or partnerships - get creative and create value! For me it might be styling something I share often in a new way, showcasing an outfit idea for an event, or just an outfit I've been picturing in my head. Keep in my 'what is this doing for my audience? What is the value of sharing this?' It doesn't have to be deep, but it should help individuals who may come across your page. Don't overthink it, just get out there and get that content! If you don't have content, then what is a blog?


This is such an important part of connecting with your audience and building trust! Make sure that you're creating content with value to start the conversation. I like to respond to every comment on my photos (I am admittedly behind but am catching up!) And make sure to return any engagement from fellow bloggers on their content as well. 

When you're getting your start, engagement groups are a common way to help network with other content creators in your niche. However, I say that these are super time consuming and don't produce real, authentic engagement. Over time, I highly recommend breaking away from engagement groups and focusing more on the content you actually want to experience and engage with. I love cheering on girls I genuinely want to check in with and learn from - it's so much better for your brand and your mindset. 

My biggest piece of advice is to focus on what you have because the grass is greener where you water it. Continue to check-in and connect with people who always engage with your content. You have to appreciate what you have before you can grow. Beyond commenting, I like to provide polls and question boxes so I can gauge what my audience wants to see from me. If I'm showing everyone green things to wear but they want purple - there is no value in what I'm sharing. Additionally, get on your stories and share parts of your day or life that people can relate to you about. Offering a resolution to something can be advice a follower takes away that they didn't realize they needed. They can also help you with a situation and give you a fresh perspective! 

Blogger Networking

Do you remember your first week of college or summer camp when you didn't know anyone? Or maybe you knew one or two people? Blogging is like that when trying to meet new people with who you have things in common. This is another thing that takes time! Just like anything else in life, you're not going to have genuine and real connections overnight. I have been blessed with finding some of my closest friends through blogging across the country! Over time, genuinely engaging with people on a personal level helps build a relationship and trust, just like your relationships you've built off the gram in other parts of your life! 

This isn't the first time I have said this in this article but being genuine and being yourself are two of the most important things you can be throughout any aspect of your life. One thing that really rubs people the wrong way is when you cold DM them and say something along the lines of "hey girl! love your page - would love to support each other!". This comes off as disingenuous and that you're not actually connecting with people but rather that you just want clout and followers. Show people that you want to connect with them by engaging with their content and their page in a genuine way! By being yourself, people take notice and want to connect with you!

Another habit I've noticed on Instagram is content creators tagging other content creators randomly in their content to show up on tagged photo pages in hopes of broadening reach and engagement. This has too stop. Own your brand and what you put out there, don't tag other women who are working just as hard as you to cultivate their own brand! Just as people will notice you're engaging with their content and want to connect, they will also notice you tagging them in content they didn't have any part in. 

Something I apply to my life in general is that no one owes you anything. Your success is your own - you have to show up for yourself! Over the years, people have reached out to me to say in so many words that they need everyone's support - that is true but again showing is telling. Work on your brand and support other content organically and it will come to you! Building a brand doesn't happen overnight. 

At the end of the day, my biggest advice is to be consistent, creative, and enjoy the ride. Authentic following, good brand deals, and success takes time. I know that when someone says that about anything it's annoying but it's true. It takes time just like anything else. Cheating your way by buying followers or engagement is not authentic and people can 100% tell. You have to earn your success. Additionally, if you're blogging for the money, I highly suggest you throw in the towel now. My good friend Alexa Morelli has talked about this a bunch but this shouldn't be something you're doing for the money. Blogging should be something you look forward to and want to do. It's time-consuming and you're opening up your life to strangers, but you need to want to do it for fun. If you're not having fun with it, it's not for you. By building relationships and trust with your audience, that's where the enrichment of blogging lies. When people trust you and open up to you and look to you for opinions and you can help them, that is what you should be doing this for! 

I have some actionable items that you can take away from this article and start on immediately. Take a look at yourself and your goals, begin focusing on genuine engagement and creating value and getting out there and just doing it! You are the only person that is holding you back from your own success. So give it a try and give it time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Blogger Milestone - 10K Instagram Followers!

I am literally still in shock as I'm writing this post but holy moly I am so grateful! When you reach 10,000 Instagram followers you are able to utilize the 'Swipe Up' feature. This sounds trivial but this convenience for your followers speaks volumes to brands. So not only are you able to provide a better service to your followers but brands also pay attention to this feature. It's a huge landmark for bloggers and it still doesn't feel real that I have achieved something I've worked every day for almost 3 years for. 

I often get asked about how I started this blog and it's crazy to think how the universe works. In college, I studied marketing (geaux tigers), and randomly one day in one of my electives someone came to class to speak about her experience in marketing. She was funny and sarcastic and real and one of my friends told me that I should work for because we had the same personality. I marched up to her and expressed my interest and from there a lifelong friend and mentor formed. I worked under Blair with Jay Ducote and the whole team. I was eventually entrusted with writing new posts and began loving the world of blogging. 

After my internship and college wrapped up, I moved back to the Chicagoland area and took a new job. My first job out of college was in a windowless office with tall cubicles and no one liked working there. It was the first time in my life I felt like I didn't have a creative outlet. I followed a few huge bloggers who I looked up to but I mean I could never do that. I could never be a blogger. My dad believed otherwise. He told me to start a food blog since I had experience with it but food didn't really drive me to create a whole brand. I laughed when he said it honestly. I could never be a blogger. I repeatedly said this to myself because I was sure that this dream of mine could never come to light. 

Eventually, I became so unhappy that I thought, "you know what? Why not.". Worst-case scenario, I tried it out and it was too hard or too much or too fake and I stopped. I had nothing to lose. I looked to people in my life that I respected and loved. And to be honest, that wasn't very fruitful. My boyfriend at the time brushed it aside. Other people in my life didn't understand the goal or thought it was self-centered or told me that I couldn't just start a blog. It was a self-centered industry and it was oversaturated.

But, I figured if I could help one person somewhere with something then I would have done the job I set out to do by starting my blog. So I played around with names, did a lot of research about websites, and then Mimosas & Lipstick was born. It started small, with family and friends following my account. I had my cousin help me with photos and I stressed about captions and outfits and timing of photos and building a community. At times, it consumed my life and it seemed as though I was overreacting about Instagram. People closest to me thought I was investing too much time into something that seemed so trivial. However, I loved it. Even when my photo got 50 likes or 10 people unfollowed me or I tried to talk on stories and totally messed up. All my failures made me work harder. 

Eventually, I landed a new job that liked that I had experience as a blogger. I made friends and then formed a friend group with fellow bloggers. I moved to the city and continued to develop and grow my brand. It took time, a lot of time, but it kept evolving and growing. 

This blog, this community, this platform has seen boyfriends come and go, jobs come and go, it helped me learn how to grieve the loss of my father, it helped me learn more about other viewpoints on numerous topics, and its made me better. I in turn have helped people with anxiety, women who are plus size, individuals starting their own blogging journey, women who have been ghosted, and women who do not feel supported.

This hobby, side job, career, has changed my life in more ways than I can express. The most important aspect of being my confidence. I never would have tried the things I have without this platform. I wouldn't have gotten to know new people who come from different walks of life. I would not be living my life to the fullest. 

All of this to say: if I can do it, so can you. Your "it" can be whatever you want to be. Do not be scared to try new things and try to succeed at the goals you set. I have been working towards this goal for almost three years and there were so many times I wanted to throw in the towel, give up and forget because my goals were not instant and it took growth, endurance, and drive to get to it. But even as I type this I am in shock and I can assure you that your dreams are important, they're attainable, and you need to try. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

New Fall Arrivals at Perfectly Priscilla Boutique!

I love partnering with boutiques that have everyone in mind no matter the size and Perfectly Priscilla Boutique is definitely one you should add to your list. They're a cute boutique in Georgia that carries size 0 to 22. They sent me some of their fall arrivals and I wanted to share how I styled them. 

The Fall In Love Dress

This dress is perfect for warm fall nights out at a country concert! I immediately thought about different events in COVID-free times that this dress would be perfect for. The straps are adjustable and the frill on the bottom is the perfect feminine touch! I paired it with tan booties and a denim jacket.

The Cut Your Lose Leopard Print Sweater

This sweater is bright, eye-catching, and perfect for a chilly fall night! I definitely could've sized down but I think it's a fun pop of color! The fringe goes around the sleeves, bottom, and neckline with a crisis cross in the back. I paired it with Spanx leather leggings and combat boots. I think this would be a great item for your in-office wardrobe. 

The This Is Real Top

This top's gold details really sold me on it! This top is good for a night out on the town. I love the balloon sleeves, criss-cross bodice, and thick material that made me feel comfortable and fashionable. I love that this top is also versatile, I paired it with a denim skirt and tan booties for a warmer fall night out. 

Their pieces are great staples that only add to your closet. They're a reasonably priced boutique that aims to make every woman celebrate their bodies and themselves. Everything I shared today is under $50 and they have new arrivals going live every day on their website

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

So You're Settling Into Your First Apartment

Chicago, IL, USA

First of all - congrats! I have lived in downtown Chicago for the last two years but when I moved into my first apartment with three roommates, they were rockstars and mostly had it furnished! So as I got ready to move into my studio apartment it was all on me. 

Your first apartment is an exciting experience, and it can be easy to overload ideas and make purchases ahead of time. I get it! My mom can tell you how many Target, Home Goods, and Walgreens trips I made preemptively made before both moves I definitely had ideas I wanted to implement ASAP.

However, there are definitely some things that can be done as you live in the space. You might think you have everything figured out but as you live in the space you'll see what works and how you can make it the most livable for you!


For starters: take an inventory of what you already have! For me, I already had most of the furniture that would fit into my studio. My bed frame, mattress, dressers, shelves, TV, and coffee table were all coming with me from my last apartment which helped me save a lot of money. I didn't want to replace any of the items because they were all relatively new and would fit into my space perfectly. Taking an inventory can help you save money and start visualizing what you already have in your new space. 


You'll also want to take a tour or if that's impossible to get a virtual tour and the measurements of the space. I hadn't toured my unit before I signed but I was familiar with the building because my friend, Alexa, lived here and they provided YouTube video tours of the different units available for me to get a better idea about the space. You wouldn't want to overspend and get more items than will fit comfortably in the space.

Use Your Resources

Once you know what you have in your wheelhouse and the space you have to work with, its time to ask other people what they have that they like, dislike, and potentially are getting rid of. My parents were huge resources for me with kitchen appliances, plates, and flatware! Your extended family or friends of friends might be selling or getting rid of something that could be useful to you so its always worth an ask. I bought my couch from a friend of a friend so I saved money and trusted the previous owner. 


As you move into your new home, pack a small bag of items you'll need right away (think skincare, toiletries, a few changes of clothes, chargers, etc.) and focus on cleaning the different surfaces before unpacking anything. When unpacking, try to tackle it room by room. I recommend kitchen and bathroom first!


Now that you've unpacked your belongings and your furniture is moved in, you can play with where to place things. Before finalizing any floor plans or adding anything to the mix, move some items around and see how they look. Facetime friends and family, ask opinions and take those into consideration. I know a lot of my friends helped me brainstorm new ideas and placements that made my unit more cohesive. 

As I began to make purchase decisions, I got a lot of my items from Amazon, Home Goods, and Target. These stores have affordable furniture, decor, candles and more that can help your new place feel like home. I looked for an aesthetic I wanted and I know I can build on as I evolve and grow. 


I waited until I knew where I wanted the furniture to hang up decor and get any final touches. Once I knew where I wanted my bed, couch, etc. I then planned out my gallery wall and other personal touches. I still made sure to position the wall decor with enough room if I did decide to move items around later on. I looked for frames on Amazon and printed my memories at Walgreens. Additionally, I took pieces that I found as I cleaned out my dad's condo and included them in the planned alignment.

As I settled in, I also picked up a faux fiddle leaf fig tree, bathroom storage, and a compact desk to help with my current work from home situation. 

My biggest advice to you as you get ready to settle into your new apartment is to not buy everything you think you might need ahead of your move. You don't need to have all the answers right away, and as you live in your new place you will find that something might work differently than you antipcated. There will be new ideas and ways you will want to improve your space and you don't want to have spent a majority of your budget early on. 

Friday, September 25, 2020

Athleisure Brands That Actually Have Plus Size in Mind

I'm sure it's no surprise why I'm writing this article. If you've followed me for a while, you know that I've opened up about growing up without popular brands having clothes in my size and how that affected my body image growing up. One brand that sticks out is lululemon. They have always been a brand that I've teetered with but their announcement last week about being size inclusive when they unveiled their "plus sizing" honestly made me roll my eyes.

Lululemon has openly shared before that their clothes are for people of a certain size, and if you weren't that size, then it was too bad. I remember scrimping and saving and using birthday money to get their leggings and always being disappointed. It piled, it tore, it ripped and that was even with handwashing and flat laying to dry. So not only was it insanely expensive, but I was then wasting money because the clothes wouldn't hold up. 

Am I all for people and brands evolving and changing their minds as they learn new information? Of course. However, this is truly too little too late for me. Especially considering that their plus size clothing isn't across the board, its a few items offered in select locations. 

I don't want anyone feeling the way I did with lululemon growing up - I want people to who might not fit. social beauty construct (thin, tall, short, plus size, EVERYTHING) to feel empowered when making a purchase decision. I want women to feel empowered and have choices and be able to make their own decisions about what to wear - not be forced to pick between from a handful of items because that's all that the store carries. 

I am so proud of the brands that have evolved their brands years ago to include women of every size, shape, and color - those are the brands we should be supporting when making purchase decisions about activewear, athleisure and beyond. Below are some of my favorite brands and links to shop them!


A no brainer here for me. This brand is not only size-inclusive but has consistently showed up and implemented self-love for their consumers. They use real women to model their clothing and do not retouch their photos. They have so many seasonal patterns, colors and sizes for everyone!


I have worked with Fabletics and continue to work with them because they truly embody the idea of activewear for every size! Their sizing is accurate, inclusive, and still allows women of every size to get their sweat on with any workout. Their sports bras are supportive, their leggings do not pile, and they have every style, color, and size you could be looking for!

Colorful Koala

I found this company through Amazon but love their joggers and leggings. They feel like lululemon but there is minimal pilling if any and they're a fraction of the price!

L&M Company

This company is one of my newer favorites! They are a women-founded business that supports and encourages self-love and movement in every form no matter your size! 

I definitely have more brands than my ongoing favorites to try out and I am going to continue to share them as I learn more about them! Some brands I want to try within the next few months include Girlfriend, GRRRL, AthletaMimikini, Active Truth, Hine Collection, RunFaster, AIM'N, and Running Bare.

Do not feel the need to try and conform with a brand that ignored the plus-size population for 22 years and now decided to throw a few pieces of clothing our way. Your voice, your opinions, and where you spend your dollars matters. Below is my collection of recommendations for activewear from brands that have included women of all sizes for more than one month. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Planning the Perfect Birthday with Paris312!

My friends and I have been celebrating birthdays all month! Cori and I share a birthday and Alexa's is coming up this weekend! With all the celebrations comes the need for decor - and Paris312 has got Chicagoland covered. All their decorations are diverse, breathtaking, and can be delivered right to your door for free. 

First, I looked through all the designs they offer on their website. They have something for every kind of celebration. All age birthdays, holiday parties, bridal showers, baby showers, and even just because! We got the Shades of Mauve Palette Floating Arch and Custom Numbers & 11 in Balloon Bouquets Set and 11 in Balloons bouquet of 7

After we ordered online, they arranged the best time for us to deliver them, and on the day of our party they delivered our order right to our door and we set it up within 10 minutes! What's amazing is that their free delivery includes prearranged decoration assembly for a Ready-To-Party experience, meaning they are easily unbagged and require little to no setup! They're always available by phone, email or Instagram DM and their expertise shines through in their creativity and genuine customer service. 

I have loved all the parties I've attended that Paris312 has helped decorate and our joint birthday party was no exception. All the balloon features from their company are always available for free delivery to the city and the suburbs. Definitely reach out to myself or Paris312 with any questions related to your upcoming festivities! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

August Amazon Picks

This summer for a lot of reasons, I have been feeling uninspired to write or dig deep. But in this time I have done a lot of product testing and as I'm feeling more and more settled into my apartment I wanted to share some of my Amazon faves right now!

You can get almost anything on Amazon, but I'm trying to make purchases that will last for a long time! 

Below are my favorite self-care and home items lately as well as great closet staples I have been loving under $50! Click on any image you're interested in to go to the product page!

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Every Body is a Bikini Body

Today is National Bikini Day and with that thought came a lot of self-reflection. Growing up, I was definitely larger than more of the girls my age. That's not to say that I didn't have curves, I did, but it made me self-conscious. I was constantly overthinking and worrying about my body because brands didn't make sizes for me. Forever 21, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, Pink, you name it, I was squeezing into a size large.

Bathing suits? Don't even get me started. I was uncomfortable all the time because high-rise was not a thing yet and the brands my friends all loved didn't make clothes for me. It's hard when you're constantly told by society that you're not like everyone else. This made me always second guess myself and I didn't feel comfortable in my skin during a time where everyone is already super self-conscious.

How did I get past this? Over time, brands started listening and showing up and making clothes that truly fit the masses! Brands like Aerie and Fabletics started popping up and making clothes for everyone. I also realized that everyone is insecure about something. Everyone has something about themselves that they wish they could change or adjust. I didn't feel as alone and beyond that, I realized that everyone needed to embrace the body they have.

We all have something we want to change, but focusing on the one negative thing that makes you insecure takes away from all the amazing parts of yourself that make you, you!

Every body is a bikini body. and to prove this, I've rounded up five fun and fabulous bathing suits from companies I feel represent every size, whether that's 00 or 25!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

When You Don't Have a Dad on Father's Day

This year will be the first year without my dad on Father’s Day. And while it’s only one of many firsts that we as a family have had to navigate, I imagine this will be one of the hardest.

We lost my dad suddenly right after Thanksgiving. In some ways, still being in shock when the first Christmas came and went without him was probably a blessing. Because there’s so much of him in all the holidays we celebrate. He had a unique personality that lit up any room and even if we only could call him it was still apart of the holiday. And Father’s Day is a day for dad. It’s filled with all the examples of why dads are great. And just thinking about it in anticipation makes me miss him more.

Granted, I’m not alone. Others have lost their dad, some never knew their dad, some don’t speak to their dad. Some wish they didn’t know their dad.

And all of this is acceptable because we’re all on different life paths. We all come from different backgrounds and families.

But for me, I love my dad.

And as I typed that out I teared up. Because grief is weird.

Grief is weird because sometimes it feels like it happened yesterday, sometimes it feels like it happened 20 years ago and sometimes it feels like it never happened at all. And it’s just a bad dream. And he’ll call me any second now and make me laugh.

And sometimes I’m fine and sometimes I fall apart. But with the grief, comes people who care. And listen when I talk about him. And those people have my back.

So this Father’s Day and the rest of them I assume will suck for me. How will I practice self-love on a day that’s presumably going to be this hard? Luckily, one of my dear friends had some helpful tips for me.

I’m going to stay off social media for the day.

I have a lot of photos from cleaning out his condo that we haven’t gone through yet and those will be good memories to look back on.

I’m going to remember that it’s okay to cry and be sad, but I also have to remember that he wanted us to be happy and he wouldn’t want us to be sad.

I’m also going to remember all the ways he loved me and my brother. All the acts of kindness he did for us. All of the road trip jam sessions and the BBQ pot stops and the hugs.

And it’s going to be okay.

Because while he may not be here, Father’s Day is a day for dads. And I’m so lucky to have had mine.
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