6.19.16|#DOFB

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Dear Diary,

My little graduated from elementary school and I was so proud of him!! He’s on to Jr. High School and he though he tells me “I not excited” and “I could care less mommy”, I know it’s the opposite. I can remember his first day of school and sitting there watching him graduate, I couldn’t believe that his time there was over. I told him that I was sad he was not going to be my little boy any more and his response was “Mommy I will always be your little boy because you will always be older than me” LOL! That’s my boy!

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And I have to wish all the dad’s out there a Happy Father’s Day and especially to my dad! He’s not a fan of the sappy stuff but I can’t let the day pass without saying….Daddy I love you very much and I am lucky to have you. Thank you for having my back, giving me good advice and being such a great papa to my son. You don’t say you love me opting to show me instead and that’s worth more to me than gold….but if you want you give me gold I would not turn it down!

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You may have noticed I only posted once over the past week….shit happens. It was all about prepping for a two day training and I still haven’t recovered from back to back 10 hour work days. This week I will be playing catch up with the blog; posting on a regular schedule, scheduling a shoot with Lauren, prepping post and finishing up a series that I’m working on. Blog traffic has been really picking up over the past week and that is giving me the motivation to hang in there. For new bloggers its the one thing that can be frustrating, not seeing any traffic and the leads to many closing up shop very quickly. I have learned that building an audience takes time and you just have to keep pushing. If you stay consistent, join blogger groups and stay encouraged, the audience will come.

I have one more week of training and then our summer camp program begins, so I’m researching scheduling apps for Instagram because posting will be a chore and a half until camp is over. I’ve been saying that I wanted to put IG posting on auto pilot and now I’m finally forced to do so. I post all of my pics in real time, most of the time, and that won’t be an option during the summer. Not only will I have to plan out my blog post, I will have to get in the habit of planning my IG post as well so that is on my list of things of to knock out this week. I’m looking into Hoot-Suite but I will be asking around for other ideas in my blogger groups!

Well its time for me to sign off. I have to take my dad his gift, Chipotle lol

Until next time,

XOXO

Shanna

 

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6.12.2016|#DOFB

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Dear Diary,

Something pretty major happened to me….a post I wrote a few weeks ago was featured on the Independent Fashion Bloggers site as one of their Links a la mode! You can’t even begin to imagine how may bloggers submit there post hoping to be picked. In the two years I have been member, I have never submitted; but this time I said what the heck and I was picked! It’s beyond cool and I am still super happy about being featured!

Between preparing for training’s and putting the final touches on a summer program at my full time job plus working on the blog, I am TIRED and it’s not gonna slow down. With my 9-5 rather 1:30-10:00; I have two weeks of training, one of which I’m helping to plan, a big summer project that needs to be finished, summer camp parent meeting to prep for, and of course the start of summer camp shortly followed by classes in July. I was planning on taking just one but Uncle Sam said take two, so two it is. I made my weekly to-do list to keep things on track but still; I mean I know I have as many hours in my day as Beyonc’e but how does she get it all done?!? I wonder if she would lend me some of her help for a day! I am working on a new system of daily planning and when I have finished testing it out and get it up and running, I will share it with you; hopefully that will help!

Anyway, last week I told you my goal was to reach out to more bloggers and that was the main focus for this week. There I was, trolling the internet like a creep looking for blogs to interact with and then came upon a site that changed my life…it was a blog link up! Right there in front of my face were hundreds of links to other bloggers that I could interact with; why on earth did it take me so long to figure this out!! And as a bonus, I could link my blog in the party as well for others to come and interact with me! This is the definition of working smarter and not harder!

Monday I joined  Pink Sole and Sincerely Jenna Marie

Tuesday I hung out with I do deClaire and Style Elixir

Wednesday, well I needed a break lol

Thursday it was The Mix and Stylin in St. Louis

And Friday I ended my party spree with Forage Fashion and Two Thirty- Five Designs

In addition to linking up all over the place; well that sounded kinda dirty and my mother reads this now lol, I joined two blogger groups on Facebook; Show Your Blog Love and Bloggers Supporting Bloggers and that has been a big game changer! I’ve gotten more traffic in the past few days than I got in my in the first few months of this year; so much so that I had to update my media kit! And yes the traffic is great, but its also been great to meet other bloggers and dive into their content. It has been nice to get advice and just talk all things blogging with other like minded people; there is this theme within the blogging community, “Community over Competition” and you really feel that in these groups. Everyone is eager to help and support each other and its a good thing because bloggin’ ain’t easy!

The one thing that I didn’t get to this week was following up and pitching to new brands for collaborations. I have been so busy with my full time job that when I get home all I have energy for is cleaning my house; half assed might I add, and editing blog post. I have added some time in my week that is totally dedicated to this, so I will have an update for you next week. Also on the list is working on new content and finishing up a fun series that I have been working on for a few weeks!

Well that’s it for me time to get ready for the week ahead; my little is “moving on” from elementary school…here come the tears!

Until next time,

Shanna

 

6.5.2016|#DOFB

IMG_2473[1]Dear Diary,

So a few days ago I told my mother, sister and one of my best friends that I had a blog. Up until then, only two people knew. My mother asked why I never told anyone before now and I really didn’t have reason besides the fact I didn’t want anyone to say anything negative. In my past life, I was an actress and I’ve never had a problem performing on stage, in fact I loved it, but the second I knew my family was there, I got kinda nervous of what they would say. They never said anything bad, in fact they are my biggest cheerleaders; and they have cheered for me in about 100 endeavors I’ve journeyed into lol, but I was always nervous. The same thing with this blog, I was nervous of what they would say but as always everyone was supportive. I think my mother binged read the entire blog from the beginning and I know my bestie did, I was on the phone with her while she was reading. My mother even left two comments on my latest post I have yet to respond to….thanks for the nice comments mommy! So again I was worried for nothing and now my secret is out.

So to keep myself on track, I made a ToDo list of the things that I wanted to get done for the week and prayed to the God’s I would get it all done……

  1. Create media kit
  2. Reach out to two bloggers and leave comments on a post or two 
  3. Plan out three flat lay photos for Instagram 
  4. Reach out to two brands for possible collaborations (I reached out to just one)
  5. Prep post for the upcoming week

I am happy to report that I have done everything on my list; well I only reached out to one brand, but everything else is done! I am sitting down today to create this weeks list and I am confident I can get it all done or at least a good portion of it done. I have come to find that blogging is not just creating a post, but its networking with other bloggers, something that I never really did until now, so my weekly goal is to reach out to two bloggers and interact with them. I also joined a group named Small Talk Social. This group is all about helping creative businesses (would not go as far as to call my blog a business yet), grow their social presence on Instagram. Using the hashtag #thegramgang I have been able to connect with other like minded creatives and learn a ton of tips and strategies that have been helping me step my IG game up! I’ve had a ton of engagement; more than ever and I’m slowly learning how to put a feed together that is an accurate representation of the brand I am trying to grow. I highly recommend this tribe to any creative content creators who are looking to improve on this social media platform.

Well that’s it for me; I am cooking dinner as I type this and my son has given me his “I want dinner” face a few times, so I have to go.

Until next time,

Shanna

 

Oh, update on the car you ask….well don’t! I could create an entire blog about it featuring my my dad!

 

This post got featured in Links a la Mode! Check out the other bloggers who were chosen!

Links à la Mode, June 9

SPONSOR: Amazon’s Shopbop Rachel Comey, MIKOH Swimwear, Temperley London Dresses, Lioness, Sydney Evan, Arik Kastan, Bridesmaid Dresses, Boyfriend Jeans, Lace Tops, Men’s Etudes

5.29.2016|#DOFB

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Dear Diary,

I’ve been told that the relationship between blogger and photographer is a sacred one. You have to be one with each other, in tune to with each other, communicate the perfect shot with a single look; ok I may be taking this a bit far, but you do have to a level of comfort and work well with the person you choose to take pictures for your blog; I mean the pictures are a representation of your brand. For the past few weeks I had been on the hunt for one and wasn’t having any luck. I was a the point where giving up was a real thought and then I got a response from one of the photographers I reached out to. I saw her work while scrolling through Instagram and I loved the work that I saw. She had the look I was going for and I really wanted to work with her. We had our first shoot over the weekend and it was great to work with her. I got a sneak preview of the pictures and I am excited to see the final ones and with that my search is over! Thing one checked off the list, now if I can get my blogging schedule in order, because that’s a hot damn mess!

I have yet to come up with a schedule that I am happy with and I am pulling my hair out trying to get it right. I was going to keep with the one I had the last time I blogged, but I added a few new sections that I want to introduce and the old posting schedule won’t fit. I know I’m just over thinking it because it really shouldn’t be this hard. The goal is to nail down the posting schedule by mid week and just roll with it. I guess the issue is, I want this to be the schedule that I stick with and I’m just trying to make sure the schedule will work out in the long run. I’ll be sure to report back next week; fingers crossed lol

In other news, there is been a ton of activity over on my Instagram page and that has me super excited! I’ve been doing a ton of research on making my content better, so I’m happy the work is showing. I have been posing on a regular basis, making sure that the content is relevant to me and have been working, on, well being social and it has been paying off! I’ve had so much activity I’m hosting my first giveaway….eeek! I posted it a few hours ago and I have been checking my IG like a crazy person and so far a good response but no one has followed the rules as listed. Man how embarrassing would it be if  nobody followed the rules…. Do I just pick a person anyway? Do I run it again? The giveaway runs until next week so there is time to figure all that out.

In other other news, I got my car stolen and that was the most annoying thing ever! I am still sorting out that mess and it looks as if I will have to get a new car as a result of the damage. If you follow me on Instagram you saw what I posted about the matter and I am feeling better about the issue. I wanted a new car anyway so I’m trying to look at the positive and stay focused on that. I’m on the hunt for a new car and I will keep you posted on how that process goes. I start classes in July and its a social media marketing class and I’m excited to get that going plus the start time gives me time to relax at the start of the summer.

Well that’s it for me Diary!

Until next time,

Minnie

 

Let me explain….|#DOFB

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Dear Diary,

I am staring this entry on a sad note, my sweet baby kitty that I’ve had for 20 years died this week. She had been sick for sometime and my parents told me to take her to the vet to have her looked at. Poor thing had been back and forth to the vet so many times over the past year for one thing or another and my dad kinda figured this would be her last trip. Later on in the morning, I got the call from my father and he told me that the vet recommended surgery but with her age and other health issues didn’t think she would even make it through one, so we made the tough decision to have her put to sleep. The family went to spend some final time with her and I stayed there as they gave her the meds; I wanted her to have a familiar face in the room as she went. It’s crazy how pets take a small part of your heart and when they pass, its as if that piece they had died. I’m adult with a child of my own but I for some reason never thought she would die, like that never crossed my mind. I was still that kid in a way, thinking she would live forever. I have had many pets before her who passed, but this one hurt the most because she was the last pet from my childhood. I am going to miss her curled up at the foot of my bed or running around the house like a mad animal chasing something!

I loved my kitty so much and will truly miss her.

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Korey being a lazy bones lol

So the time stamp on the draft of this post is May 1, 2015; holy crap has it been that long since I have blogged?!?! It’s been so long I can’t even remember what this post was originally suppose to be about. It doesn’t feel like its been a year but it has been and well, I suck for that. I guess I should explain….

There was no one thing that happened to make me stop blogging; it was a combination of a lot of things….I was becoming overwhelmed with how much work it takes to keep it up, I was constantly comparing myself to other bloggers, I couldn’t find my voice in this blogging world and at a point I became really unmotivated.

Almost 2 years ago (in September to be exact), I started this blog as my creative outlet. I was in an environment when I could literally fell the creativity draining out of me and I needed a space where I could explore and grow. As I was exploring Instagram, I can across an account that blew my mind! I had to find out more about this person and went to their “blog” and spent hours exploring their page; I FOUND IT! This is the creative space I wanted to create for myself. It was full of pictures of stunning travel locations and delicious food and beautiful clothing perfectly curated on what I described as an online diary.  After seeing that, I dove into research about how to start one of my own. After a few weeks of research, I started a second Instagram account and on September 9, 2014 I posted my first blog post ever! It was the start of my very own online diary and I was proud of it. As time when on, the ups and downs of this journey came and wanted to document it, so I started to write weekly about this experience. I shared with you my fears about stepping into this arena. I shared with you my first feature and sponsored post. I shared with you the burnout I was starting to feel and in my last diary entry before my long silence, I shared with you the changes that were happening in my life and the changes I wanted to make to the blog; but I ever followed through. Fast forward to today and some changes have taken place in my life. I have moved to my dream neighborhood and will shortly start the hunt for my dream house and enrolled in school to get my degree in social media marketing.

I have always wanted to come back to my space and create again but the more time had passed, the more I felt like I should stay away. I felt it would be strange to jump back into it after being gone for so long. I mean what did I have to even talk about??? But one day as I was looking at other personal digital spaces I said to myself, “You love doing it so just do it, it’s your’re place where you can come and create.” And that was it! This blog is my small section of the inter-web that I can curate and call my own. It my space where I can create and explore and grow. I can make it what I want it to be, the possibilities are only as endless as my imagination.

So I am back! Back to creating, back to exploring, back to growing my digital space! I am sorry for such the long break, but I’m back and ready to share with you again!

XOXO

Minnie

 

 

 

Making Changes

 

Change is inevitable.

In life there are only a few things you can count on and change is one of them. Even though many of us don’t like change, its a good thing. It makes you take stock of what’s important, it makes you take stock of yourself. My life has gone through some really big changes over the last few months and at first I wanted to crumble, I actually did. But as I looked at the change for what it was and took at good hard look at myself, I am coming to terms with it. Maybe this change is best for all parties involved.

As changes are going on in my personal life, I decided to make changes in other parts in my life and that includes the blog! I had been thinking about changing things up but never got around to it; there is no time like the present right? And as other changes in my life scare me a bit, this one has me excited beyond belief!

I’m adding weekly Lifestyle post featuring everything from home/style DIY projects to recipes you should try, sharing with you my weekly wants and a bi-weekly styling post from showing you how to add vintage into your everyday wardrobe to re-working your basics. And if you have been following my blog from the start, my Monthly Favorites are coming back!

Bringing you more content to the blog means I will be spending more time on the blog, but that’s not a bad thing right??

In order to grow, you must endure some change and I am excited for the changes that are coming to the blog. As my personal life goes, I’m getting there.

Until next time Diary,

XOXO

Minnie

 

One and Done

Last week I posted my first sponsored post and I was scared to death of how it would turn out. I wanted to make sure that the pictures were perfect, it was well written and most importantly that the company I was working with was happy with the end result.

Putting this post together was the most nerve racking thing I have ever done! I am the type of person that has to have everything perfect! I do 3 drafts of simple e-mails I send out at work, so imagine having to put together an entire post! I stayed up until 3am working on the first draft and second drafts and another two days working on the final post that went live on the blog. I agonized over what pictures to use, what details of the dress to showcase and what words to write. Even down to the pictures I posted on IG, I was crossing my fingers that they were the right ones.

After all that worrying, the client loved how the post turned out, I got a ton of traffic over on the blog for the post and most importantly I love how it came out and my first sponsored post jitters are gone. I am actually working on my next sponsored post that will go live in a few weeks.

I am slowly seeing my blog take shape and I loving the shape its taking!

Until next time Diary,

XOXO,
Minnie