Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Winter Blues


I always feel like February is the month where I feel the lowest. There's a lot of downtime especially this year with the cold weather and it can cause us to feel uninspired and unmotivated to continually achieve the goals we have been setting for ourselves whether it's resolutions from the new year or general goals. 

I myself, have had some low days. There's only so much I can do in my studio apartment, and while I'm lucky to have the privilege of being able to work from home - there are still some days I feel stuck in a rut.

So although today the sun is shining in Chicago and I feel happy, I wanted to write this and let you know that on your low days, you're not alone! I have compiled a list of some things I've found helpful in my dark days to help me get through to the better ones. 

  • Drink water! When in doubt, fill your cup up.
  • Make your bed - this helps me feel like I'm starting the day on a productive note.
  • Do a face mask!
  • Take a hot shower - this always drastically improves my mood.
  • Clean out your closet - decluttering and donating clothes helps your community and having less stuff in my apartment helps me feel less stressed.
  • Take a break from your phone - pick up a book, give yourself a manicure, give yourself a break from screentime.
  • Get ready for the day - even if you're changing from nighttime pajamas to day pajamas - make a conscious effort to change your clothes - this helps with my mindset for starting the workday.
  • Call a friend or family member - whenever I talk to my mom, aunt or grandma I always feel better
  • Eat more veggies and fruits - I feel like making sure I'm eating a rainbow as much as I can improve my mood. Giving my body nutrients also helps with brain function, sleeping, and digestion.
  • Journal - I honestly wish I did this more but when I'm really in my head I like to open the Notes app on my phone and write it out! 
  • Move your body - if you're not comfortable going into a gym right now this could be walking up and down your driveway, doing some squats and lifting weights, or even a dance party! My mom and I turn out music and jam when we're trying to get our steps in. 
  • Clean - sometimes I put this off but Swiffering your floors, vacuuming, dusting are all active ways to improve your space. So you're moving your body and you'll feel accomplished after. Plus, the more you do it, the less time it takes! 
  • Bake! I am trying to do this more because I've really been craving blueberry muffins. 

Although you can't make every day perfect, you can find some perfect parts of your day. Even taking 15 minutes to do one of the things on the list or turning on your favorite show can be your you time! You just have to intentional about it. When I start doing my hair and makeup or I start cooking one of my favorite meals, I remind myself that this is a part of the day I can control and I'm consciously making this time for myself in my day.

Please remember you're never alone! You have a support system that is always there for you. We're going to get through it. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Three Years of Mimosas & Lipstick

It's funny how some things in life feel like they've taken forever, but have also only taken a day. It feels like yesterday that I was stuck in an uninspirational job, fresh out of college in an office with no windows. I was new but I felt stuck and disoriented about where to go from there. 

I saw bloggers like Courtney Shields, Lauren Sims, and Dani Austin share what they love. I soon realized that I looked forward to watching their content every day and following along with their lives. I always loved fashion and pairing outfits together because I watched my mom do it every day for work. However, the office park I was currently commuting to every day didn't really lend itself to being fashion-forward. So in my mind, I felt like my outfits were being wasted on my hour-long drives to and from work. 

I had done a little blogging in college when I interned for Jay Ducote and I really loved the process. Being a resource for others, telling a story, and getting to try new things all excited me. However, it was in the world of food which I was pretty inexperienced at it. My dad saw how much I enjoyed interning and he had urged me to start a food blog in college, but I quickly shut that down. 

"I'm not good enough."

"No one will care about what I have to say."

"I am not an expert in anything no one will read what I write."

And my dad would build me back up when I spoke that way about myself. He'd tell me that he believed in me, that I could do anything I set my mind to, and eventually he wore me down. I missed writing and what did I have to lose? 

So I started researching. I read blog posts from bloggers I idolized, I researched website domains and overhead costs. I asked for advice from people I knew like Karli Willis and Filo Garcia who had experience in the world of blogging. I used my resources to better prepare myself for the world I wanted to enter. 

And from there - I tried. I wish I could tell you that there was some magical formula or secret sauce but there isn't. I had to learn not to be afraid of failing and try new things to ultimately get where I wanted to be. 

Blogging is just like anything else in that you have to work for what you want. There was a lot of trial and error, there were some engagement groups and big giveaways which ultimately stunted my growth. There were some fellow bloggers I encountered who ultimately weren't loyal people, there were partnerships where I was scammed or overworked or underpaid but it got me to where I am today! 

Like everything else, there were some challenges I had to overcome.  People close to me in my personal life didn't understand why I worked so hard at a hobby. Others told me that I couldn't just start a blog, I put a lot of pressure I put on myself to have the 'perfect post', and my fear of what others thought of me really made my anxiety spike. I feel that blogging has really taught me to rely on myself and my visions for what I believe is possible. 

I'm all for a healthy amount of skepticism. I definitely needed the people in my life who were there for me to bring me back to down to Earth when I was overwhelmed and putting pressure on myself to constantly be online. I needed my people who helped me take photos and proofread my posts and let me crowdsource them for follower feedback. I couldn't have started this blogger journey without my close family and friends because even though they might have not understood what I was doing in the beginning, they still helped me in the ways that they could. 

My mom always listens to my stories about negotiations, collaborations, gossip, and strategies, she is honestly my hero and my best friend. I am so thankful for her.

Through my blogging journey, I have met some of my closest friends in adulthood. By looking to them for blogging support, advice, and brainstorming I was able to reach my goals, try new things, and grow my confidence levels. Redirecting my blogger questions, events, and photos to them helped formulate bigger, newer ideas that I wouldn't have been able to achieve without them. Additionally, this ultimately helped put less strain on my interpersonal relationships outside of blogging and helped me find more time to relax and decompress. 

This last year was a big one for M&L! I branched out into video content creation and editing, I reached 10K on Instagram, I went on my first few blogger trips, started my own blogger tips series on my website and I was able to connect with all of you, old and new! I landed partnerships with dream companies and landed more paid partnerships than I ever could have dreamed of - which is all in thanks to your support! I couldn't do any of this without you! 

I am honestly still in shock that I am allowed to wake up every day and do this. Whether it's a hobby or a full-time gig or something in between, knowing that I created and built a business that you all time and time again come back to means the entire world to me. 

The internet can be a harsh and cruel place. There are bullies and scammers and liars - but I like to believe this corner of the internet, our corner, has helped us through one of the craziest times in our lives. 

On my end, this year of M&L was mostly spent navigating the loss of my dad and the grief process. I truly believe that having the blog and being able to lean on this community is what got me through. So many of you have unfortunately had to navigate this type of loss as well and having you to turn to on my bad days really made a difference. There was so much support and love from so many angles regardless of different walks of life and you were all so helpful in my darkest hours. 

Looking forward to next year, I hope to continue to grow and meet more amazing people. To learn, listen, and love others, while also inspiring others. To try and share more things with you and for you to share more things with me so I can best create content that you enjoy. 

My advice to people who are thinking about starting a blog or are newer to it - if you wait for the "right time" or the "right place" or the "right relationship" or the "right weight" you're never going to do it. You're always going to find an excuse for why you can't start working toward your dreams today. If you put yourself out there, if you're coming from a genuine place, and if you're willing to learn from your mistakes and try again, you're never going to feel like you failed. 

Monday, February 8, 2021

Styling With Shop Queen


Top | Bralette | Jeans | Sunnies | Boots

I had the opportunity to partner with Shop Queen and style some of their pieces. As we work to transition from winter to spring (I say as Chicago experiences subzero temperatures) I wanted to show you some of my favorite picks from their collection.

I styled the Cruella Jacket with distressed denim and a bodysuit. It is so thick and cozy - it will definitely upgrade any outfit without being too bold. It's also $24 - which is a steal!

When I saw the Bling Bling My Tank Top I knew I had to have it in my closet! Take any outfit to the next level with this spaghetti strap tank. It's loose and for $21 it's worth stocking now in your closet for future fun events! 

These When We Disco Pants are so fun and I can't wait to bust a move in them! These pants are $33 and are the perfect way to start a party! 

The Start Of Something New Tiered Denim Dress is a perfect year-round item for your closet! It's lightweight enough to layer with different jackets and sweaters, and for $28 it's a must-try! 

I feel like so often plus-sized options are oversized, frumpy leftovers from straight sizes. What I love about Shop Queen is that there are trendy, affordable pieces that are fun. Their items make you want to play dress up! Check their website out here and give them a follow on Instagram!

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

How To Stay Inspired During The Winter Months


It's honestly the worst time of the year. It's a dark and dreary time for most where there are more days spent indoors and with inclement weather, it can be tough to find inspiration. Without the inspiration, it can feel like the collaboration opportunities, commission and followers go out the window.

The way I like to approach it is that although blogging might not be my full-time job, I treat it as such. You cannot half-ass something and expect to get full-ass results - ya feel me? So although it can be hard to find inspiration and different spots of your home to capture content as we head into almost a year of quarantine, there are a few ideas I have for you!

Batch Content

I've said it before and I'll say it again - batching content is the only way I get content done! 

  • You only have to get ready a few times a week (depending on when and what you shoot)
  • You can get multiple collaborations and ideas checked off your list
  • You're not scrambling or anxious to get content - it does wonders for my anxiety

I'll set aside time (weather permitting) on Saturday or Sunday and sometimes my lunch breaks from work to capture content as needed. I try to do it between two and four outfits to make the most of my time and to prevent myself from burning out.

Look For New Ideas On Pinterest and TikTok

Utilizing these platforms has drastically improved my creativity. Looking up different poses, video trends, outfit ideas and more can help you think of new content. 

Use Props

Incorporate flowers, coffee cups, sunglasses, and other objects to create more dimension in your photos - have fun with it! This can also help you with any jitters you have when shooting content.

Play Outside In The Elements

Y'all know how I feel about snow - but even taking photos yesterday I wanted to try and incorporate it. I played around with the idea and tried kicking snow, throwing a snowball, and throwing snow up in the air, I landed on the photo I shared at the top of the blog post!

Try New Corners of Your Home

Although you see it every day - try a new part of your home to take photos in. I switched up where I took mirror selfies the other day and was so happy with the result! Take some items from around your home and move them to create new frames and backgrounds.

Don't Be Afraid To Fail

Don't miss out on a fun idea by being afraid to fail. It might take a little longer than usual to capture your content when trying new things but you might be surprised with how it ends up turning out. Take photos and look back that night and you'll be surprised with what you like!
© Mimosas and Lipstick. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.