I’ve had a recurring whisper in the back of my mind for the last few weeks. It’s been getting louder and louder and finally the other night the whisper turned into a scream that pierced my heart. In my work life, I pride myself on thriving under pressure, but one downfall of this bo$$y characteristic is that this method is like a simmering pot. The other night, my simmering pot began to boil and the steam tipped the lid. In theory, I had a great day. I slept in, ate good food, took photos, hung out with friends, etc. Yet, I found myself in tears before bed. I was watching Law and Order SVU while simultaneously staring at my Instagram feed and this whisper began to whistle until I exploded.
“BLOGGING IS SO HARD”
When I started blogging two years ago, it was simply a form of expression and an artistic outlet. Ever since I began this hobby, I’ve had lots of encouragement, but also a lot of criticism.
“Why are you in a doorway? Your theme is boring- you need to go out and do interesting stuff.”
“Your posts are too long! Nobody is going to read that.”
“I’m too lazy to go to your website, can you just tell me where it’s from? What’s the point in having a blogger friend if I have to click on the link?”
These are things that have been said to me over the last few years. I do venture out for constructive criticism and appreciate feedback, but some things are plain hurtful. Don’t get me wrong- I have a strong support system. But as my own worst critic, I can’t help but succumb to these negative opinions. One blog post can take hours and hours of work before it is published. That aspect is hard enough itself, but to have sentences like this thrown my way have made me question if it’s even worth it.
As an influencer, I’ve constantly reinvented the way I express my style on social media. I’ve realized it’s because I didn’t really know who I was as a blogger and what my “aesthetic” or “theme” should be. It’s been hard for me to narrow this down for a few reasons. I mostly cook at home, don't go "out" much, have a small student budget, and chameleon-like style. These factors have made me vulnerable to outside pressures and opinions. In today’s social media world, we are forced to sell this “perfect life” to gain followers. You have to showcase a life that other people crave to embody. As a full-time student, part-time stylist, and blogger, I spread myself pretty thin. I have a small budget and little free time so it’s not easy for me to go out to fancy lunches, buy new trendy clothing for every shoot, or travel to exotic locations. I must work with what I have and don’t want to sell a life I don’t live. My style can also go from casual, classic, to edgy within one week. I don't want to restrict myself to one look so I have to find a way to make this all cohesive within my feed.
When I first started, I didn’t intend to monetize my blog, I was just doing this for fun. I also didn’t really know much about the industry, and considering how new it is, this is understandable. I’m pretty introverted and started my blog with 0 followers, no Facebook, a new Instagram, and only a handful of real life friends that would follow me for support. The more I step away from pursuing a 9-5 and gravitate toward creating my own business, the more I have been educating myself on this industry.
In 2015 my blog work consisted of friends taking outfit shots on my iPhone 5s because that was the extent of my resources. Later, I felt like that wasn’t good enough and became eager to work with photographers for professional photos. Lately, I’ve been doing a mix of everything which has left me feeling lost and dissatisfied. Every collaboration is different, and I like meeting new people because I feel like I always learn something unique. But, it can be hard to stick to one theme with so many different eyes and hands behind the camera. As much as I want to collaborate with many different people, I've realized that it is easy to lose a sense of self in the process because each person has their own vision. I’ve been so busy chasing different methods which has prevented me from maintaining consistency. I've learned that ultimately each blogger/influencer reaches success in a different way and it's best to do what works for you as an individual.
So, what now?
I've decided to take posting a bit slower. I'm going to take time to zone in on who I really am as a blogger and figure out a visual theme. I'm going to put my Advertising and Marketing books to use to narrow down a more strategic plan and figure out what need I am aiming to fulfill for my followers. I hope this post didn't come off as whiny or overtly negative, I just wanted to share some personal struggles I have been experiencing and explain why I have been more absent on social media. For those who have been there for me from the start, and have continued to unconditionally support my work regardless of what it looks like, I just want to thank you. Thank you for your patience during this transition, seeing the best in me, and rooting me on. Cheers to the future!
As a fashionista, it’s part of the job description to be somewhat of a hoarder… right? Hehe! I have an entire box of decade old Jordan’s tucked away in my closet from high school. I rarely wear them these days, but make an effort occasionally because they still look new and are a comfy and stylish alternative. Mario had been yearning to get us a matching pair of sneakers and we found these Air Jordan 1's on sale at Sheikh!
It took about a year, but I finally convinced Mario to purchase designer denim. He has two pairs now and I immediately knew I would be styling his outfit around this destroyed pair of AG's. This fresh wash is perfect for spring and summer! Aside from the light color, the peekaboo knee slits are optimal for additional ventilation on warmer days. I topped off the look with a pinkish/redish t-shirt he purchased from Zumiez a while back and a crisp white denim jacket from H&M.
Shop his look below! #ad
I styled Mario first so I had to ensure my look complemented his. Ironically, I had a much harder time styling my look because I had so many ideas. Which got me thinking about future outfit posts. Would you like to see a Jordan Lookbook?
Overall, I knew I wanted something really feminine to offset the chunky sneakers. I decided on an off-white lace romper I bought at a Boutique in the Haight for my first Vegas trip a few years back. I layered the onsie with aForever21 chambray dress which I wore unbuttoned as an oversized cardigan and a pink belt for a pop of color. Rompers are not only fashion forward for sunny days, but also practical when you want to avoid matching separates.
I've linked similar styles to shop below! #ad
I hope you enjoyed this "his and hers" look! Let me know if you would like to see a Jordan Sneaker Lookbook in the comments below!
I’m currently in Sea Ranch, in Sonoma County, for our yearly family vacation which has been great for much needed downtime and getting blog work done. Things have been hectic for the last few months balancing school, my day job, blogging, and my personal life. Immediately after finals, I picked up extra hours at work to make up for the time I was taking off which left me exhausted, but financially prepared. When I return from vacation I will go back to working part-time and can finally focus on modeling as well as collaborating with other bloggers and photographers until school begins once again.
(Comment below or email me at email@example.com if you are interested in networking!)
I am very excited for today’s style post because each piece I’m wearing is special for a different reason. I purchased each of these items at different times over last few weeks, yet they all compliment each other which worked nicely for this impromptu shoot.
I found this sheer t-shirt at H&M a few months back, but left it behind because I am trying to be better at managing my tiny budget. Months later, I returned to H&M while looking for artistic inspiration and saw that this tan number was on sale for $8. It pained me to leave it behind the first time, but my patience paid off, and for that price I snatched it without hesitation!
Moto Jacket and Crisscross Mules
Typically, I’m not much of a thrift shopper, but my boyfriend is. For his birthday, last month, we spent the day doing activities he loves and visited Crossroads Trading Co. in the Castro. He swore they had the best selection out of the ones in our area and we found a few sharp pieces!
I purchased this beautiful moto-style leather jacket by Zara that looked virtually new. Although I own several faux leather jackets already, it had been a few years since I purchased a new one. Many of the ones I have are cropped or a thin bomber style. I loved that this one was boxy, oversized, and more edgy than the ones already in my closet. I wear it all the time and get so many compliments on it!
As we were walking to the fitting room to try on our collection of clothing, I stumbled upon these bright mules by New Look for $25. I had been craving a fresh pair of heeled sliders for summer and the crisscross detailing, bright color, and suede-like fabric on these stood out to me. The red shoes also looked unworn which was a plus. I found the same pair on sale at newlook.com for 8 Euros, if you're interested.
I got both of these pieces for right under $60!
I'm sad to say I do have a few complaints. As far as the jacket, the previous owner cut out the tag which explains the fabric make-up and wash instructions so I don’t actually know what it’s made of or how to properly care for it. All in all, this comes with the territory of second-hand shopping. Fair enough.
My shoes on the other hand, get a 10 for cuteness and a 3 for comfort. I made the mistake of breaking these in during a long day of walking around the city which resulted in several large blisters. I thought by the time I wore them for a second time I would be okay to not bring an additional pair of shoes, but was wrong. I only wore them for about two hours, yet I got a few smaller blisters once again. The only reason I didn't give them a 1 out of 10 is because the heel height was perfect for me. The older I get, the more important it is for me to take care of every part of my body, so as much as I love them I'm scared they are going to scar my feet each time I wear them so I may refrain.
I was gifted this Plunging V-Neck Drop Hole Jumpsuit by Shein for our most recent collaboration. I felt it was a cute spin on the revived overall trend without being so blatant. I was surprised this black one-piece was a "one size fits most." In my opinion, it would fit sizes 0-6 best. It's now on sale for $17 at Shein.com! (ad)
The model on the website featured it without a shirt and was sporting sexy side-boob, but I suppose I'm not that bold. At first, I thought of wearing it with a bandeau to highlight the plunging sides, but after some rummaging I rediscovered my new nude top from H&M. Combining the black jumpsuit with a sheer tan shirt mimicked the way it was originally advertised in a more conservative way.
I hope you all have a great start to your weekend and enjoyed catching up with me.
Be sure to leave me a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to collaborate this summer!
Big "thank you" to my photographer, Rey Marquez, for meeting me on such short notice so I could get this look done before I left for vacation.
"The coldest winter I ever spent
was a Summer in San Francisco."
- Mark Twain
It’s June 8, 2017 and it’s raining in San Francisco. It’s been gloomy on and off since May, but I was hoping the rain was over. I live in a part of the city that’s less accessible so it’s a drag commuting in the rain without a car. I took the day off from my day job to spend time with my boyfriend for our one year anniversary, but we aren’t gonna let the weather bring us down. Whether you live in The Bay, are visiting, or live somewhere with unpredictable weather like me, this post is for you. I will be including some tips on how to keep your outfit bright when the weather isn’t.
First and foremost, I am excited to announce my collaboration with eco-friendly brand, Mona B. Mona B. specializes in creating recycled handbags, backpacks, home goods, and even has a Men's line. The products are handpicked and up-cycled from truck tarps and military tents which are hand stitched and screen printed to ensure each piece is unique. Eco-friendly brands have a special place in my heart because aside from loving Mother Earth, the first collaboration I ever did as a blogger was with a sustainable fashion line. In honor of my most recent collaboration with Mona B., a Backpack is the first on my list for beach day necessities. #ad
Backpacks are the ideal necessity for any beach day, but especially on a windy or gloomy day which is common during San Francisco Summers. Backpacks allow you to pack up the basics like sunscreen, a bikini, snacks, and a towel. On beach days when the wind is in full force you can throw your bikini in there in case you feel daring or an extra layer if you hate being cold, like me. The Greek Isles backpack I was gifted from Mona B. is actually convertible! This two-in-one piece can be worn as a classic backpack or a versatile crossbody. I am noticing a huge trend in fashion with convertible pieces like this. Consumers love getting the biggest bang for their buck and when you are able to transform a piece in several ways, it allows you to incorporate it into your everyday style and switch it up depending on your mood or activity. I love the sweet sea-horse detailing and multiple tones on this piece!
Fun Patterns and Flowy Pants
Incorporating a fun pattern into your day at the beach is a great way to make a sunshiney statement when the weather isn’t optimal. A fun and bright pattern screams "summer time style." Instead of wearing a bikini with a fun pattern, I opted for flowy pants that were comfortable enough to lounge in, and gave me the extra coverage I needed to save my skin from goosebumps. If you are daring enough to wear a bikini loose pants are also great to layer with. You can wear them before and after sunbathing or taking a dip in the water.
Keep the Layers Light
When I say keep the layers “light” I don’t mean warmth wise- I mean color. Although I wore two different sweaters for this shoot they are cream and white. Keeping the color light ensures that you are still in a Spring/Summer mode and can construct the rest of your look around the piece that is going to save your skin and bones from the wind. My photographer warned me it was going to be windy at Ocean Beach and the first oversized cardigan I wore kept me warm as he was setting up the equipment. I love long sweaters because they are pretty much fashionable blankets. The oatmeal shade allowed me to cast a beachy vibe while keeping warm with a cozy sweater. The second loose-knit pullover sweater I am featuring, allowed me to sport a sexy bandeau and get additional color on my skin without freezing to death.
Last, but not least, don't forget to wear sunscreen! Whether it's gloomy, windy, or cold at the beach, the sun's rays are still harmful. Protect your beautiful skin with sunscreen and be sure reapply as needed.
Visit www.Mona-B.com to view my Greek Isles Convertible Backpack and more... Connect with the up-cycled fashion foward brand at https://www.instagram.com/monab_lifestyle/
Photos by Rey Marquez
I have worked in retail for a decade and one of the things that pains me most after all this time is turning away a customer because various employers have not carried the size they need. Regardless of either end of the spectrum they lie of society’s minimal standards, it hurts me equally each time to break the news, and to have a potential client leave with a void in their closet and heart.
Although my size is often available in stores, I recently have lost some weight/toned up due to diet and exercise so I can directly relate to this inadequacy. Things haven’t been fitting me as well as they once did and although I love my new, smaller waist, there are many beautiful pieces I have had to give up recently because they didn't fit me well.
When eShakti reached out to me to participate in the “Real Fashion for Real People” campaign I was especially excited because I love what the custom-made clothing company stands for. The online store caters to a vast audience of sizes 0-36W and even provides women with the opportunity to put their own spin on designs at reasonable prices.
Our collaboration was initiated in January and I chose the “Floral Print Crepe Midi Shirtdress” in a size XS/2. The online store creates new designs each day and due to the time frame this particular print is no longer available. I decided to keep the neckline, sleeve type, and tunic length, “as is,” but there is an option to change the designs to your individual liking by selecting a variety of templates provided on the order form. I chose a classic collar and ankle length specially cut for my height. My floral dress also has pockets which is a major plus because I am a minimalist when it comes to purses!
Although I have lost some weight since the order was first placed, the bodice fits nicely with some breathing room. I imagine it would still fit well if I gained the weight back. When I shop in other scenarios I typically stay away from “extra small” and prefer a regular “small” in tops because my shoulders are slightly broad for my proportions. The shoulders and arms on my eShakti dress fit a bit snug, but I can’t imagine going a size up since the rest of the dress fits well. I decided to button the sleeve above my elbow opposed to below the elbow to maximize comfort.
I hope you are all inspired to check out the endless combinations on eShakti.com! For 10% off your purchase enter code Vanessa10 at checkout. I have included links to each of their social media sites below so be sure to connect, follow, and show some love.
I'm excited to announce my collab with Love Said Hello! Love Said Hello specializes in statement caps and effortless tanks. As a full-time student with a hectic schedule, my everyday style is very casual. I have limited free time so I have to optimize my wardrobe for dressing on the fly.
For this collaboration my goal was to feature an attainable look that made a statement for ladies with busy lifestyles like mine. I aim for pieces that can easily transform from dressy to casual and are easy to match. Caps are super trendy and ideal for a variety of scenarios. Whether it's sunny outside and you need a cute accessory that will protect you from the sun, or you don't have time to do your hair, caps are versatile for many scenarios.
When I envision "SAUCE" red immediately comes to mind. As I began styling a look around this black cap, I knew I wanted to incorporate a dark/neutral look with a red statement piece. I started with a cropped sweater and high-waisted shorts from American Apparel. I took an edgier route and went with over the knee boots by Aldo, but the same outfit could easily be worn with sneakers. I have been aiming to accessorize more and added a choker I recently got on sale for $3! Even though I have lots of red in my wardrobe, I decided to borrow my boyfriend's plaid coat by Derby of San Francisco as my red statement. Finally, I was ready to complete the look with the accessory that inspired it all- my "saucy" cap!
How will you style yours?
Get this cap and more at 20% off by entering YAY20 at checkout lovesaidhello.com/shop
Photos by Rey Marquez
I was scrolling through the SheIn website for our second collaboration and came across these blush pants. It’s so hard to narrow down the choices because there are so many cute items at affordable prices. I wish I could add the entire website to my virtual shopping cart! It came down to the final choices and I had to think about what the most beneficial addition to my wardrobe would be.
When I fall in love with a piece of clothing I often purchase it in more than one color. I justify this shopaholic tendency because when I'm obsessed with an item I wear it repeatedly. Multiple options are ideal so that I can be prepared regardless of the event or weather.
Finally, I narrowed down my choices to these blush bottoms. I purchased a similar pair during the winter that were black with a silver sheen by another brand. They're super comfortable, but I've refrained from wearing them on several occasions because my lifestyle is pretty casual and I consider that color combination a statement for special occasions.
(Click here to my Comfy Cute for Holiday post.)
These blush pants are one size fits most. I am currently a size 25 in pants and they fit high on my waist. They aren’t sheer with the right undergarments. Personally, they feel like a small but considering the stretch in the waistband and width of the pleats I could see them fitting an array of sizes.
I went cool and chic for today’s post with a loose spring knit and retro Coach wedges from circa 2010. I attached some additional items on my wishlist that would complement these Pink Elastic Pleated Pants well:
1. Floral Embroidery T-shirt
2. Front Knot Detail
3. Ribbed Tank
4. Grid Print Top
5. Feminist Tee
Direct link to Blush Bottoms
Photos by Rey Marquez
I’m the kind of gal that will ask 100 people’s opinions and ultimately do what she wants anyway. I must get some sort of thrill from going against the grain because I always buy pieces nobody else likes at the time. Lo and behold it comes into trend a year or two- or five- later.
I purchased this oversized cardigan by BB Dakota on sale around 5 years ago. At the time all my coworkers thought it was way too long, but I just had to have it! I had a vision and knew I could make it work.
Now, extra long cardigans are all the rage including kimonos and dusters which mimic this exaggerated length. Good thing I’m a hoarder, and even though I’ve only worn it once or twice I kept it around. I recently received a similar style from SheIn that is only $17!
Click here to shop.
Photos by Rey Marquez
Growing up, I never saw myself wearing denim on denim. I didn’t understand the concept and it never appealed to me in the past, but then I became a blogger and things changed. Recently, monochromatic looks have become increasingly intriguing to me. Wearing the same color top to bottom requires less thought, is on trend, and if done correctly looks very chic.
I layered an Audrey 3+1 button down under a Rubbish chambray to get the look started. I decided to go all the way and then some in the blue department. I layered these two button downs over a floral H&M crop and completed the look with high-waisted retro style jeans by Principle Denim.
Shop similar styles below!
Photos by Rey Marquez
The nude illusion palate continues in today’s blog post. I would like to thank GoJane for gifting me this taupe jumpsuit! I love the stretchy fabric, rogue detailing, and pockets! This style is easy to dress up or down for optimal use. I decided to go with a dressier look that complimented the sunshine and palm trees at the Sunnyside Conservatory, but would also be perfect for a night out on the town. This piece could easily transition with sneakers and a cropped sweater for an everyday look.
This jumpsuit is now on sale! Shop my look here.
Furthermore, I am excited to announce my partnership with ShopBexo! ShopBexo creates handmade costume jewelry! I appreciate unique pieces of quality that are made with love. This piece runs long and easy to maneuver many ways depending on your mood and outfit. I love the contrast of sharp gold detailing on this feminine piece. ShopBexo believes in honoring the extraordinary within ourselves and other creatives which is where the name derives. Shop my necklace here.
Photos are by my good friend and fellow blogger Alyssa Aguilar from ReviveYourWild.com