Feeling like a “real” blogger: Create & Cultivate Dallas

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Last weekend, I went to Create & Cultivate Dallas. It was my first ever blogger conference, and I’m not going to lie, I was pretty nervous. I sit down with my blog reader every morning, so there’s something of a celebrity status reverence in my mind. I also anticipated a great deal of fashion bloggers, given that it’s a popular category in general and in the Dallas area.

A twinge of impostor syndrome had me feeling the need to up my style game and buy a bunch of new outfits. Some confidence-boosting FT business cards and soul-searching later, I realized a) my closet is already too full and b) I like my every day style, so it just wouldn’t be me to dress like my idea of a “real blogger”. Some outfit planning later with my style consultant (as in, if my husband hears “these shoes or these shoes?” one more time…) I ended up 100% comfortable as just me in things I already owned. Figures.

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Once I actually got there, I realized I had nothing to worry about anyway. Everyone was truly friendly and nice. There was also way more of a range of blogger levels and career fields present than I expected, which kept things interesting and way more approachable. It also helped a ton that one of my favorite people was there.

Overall, it was fun, fancy, and I’d definitely go again! Here are my big takeaways from Track #2:

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Let’s get technical:

  • Know your audience – where else should you be for them to discover you, what do they actually want or need from you.
  • Engage with people who’ve just liked / commented / followed – they are most likely to still be on their phone or in the app.
  • Hashtags – check before you use! Luckily, this lesson was already cemented while researching before a client’s major sports event…In case you were wondering, “#score” on Instagram is not so much sports-related. That’s all I’m going to say on the matter.
  • Specify rounds of edits in partnership contracts in advance, as well as fair fees for extra / extensive ones.

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Make your own opportunities:

  • Bag Snob turned a negative review for a designer’s bag –> a product conversation –> into a bag pitch –> into her own line.
  • House of Harper was looking to personally embark on a home remodel. She decided to explore expanding her blog content accordingly and pitched Lowe’s with her design ideas to see if they would maybe, like to, potentially sponsor. They did.

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Quotes, thoughts and things:

creativity is a practice

 

know your strengths, tap your network for the rest

 

sell the idea over the skills

 

respond to “no” with “why”

 

you’re only as good as your last _____

 

authentic > innovative …and is often innovative in and of itself

 

inspire creativity by understanding how people work best – and then letting them

Hope to see ya’ll at the next one!

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Meeting Lauryn from The Skinny Confidential!
Meeting Lauryn from The Skinny Confidential!

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Living your dreams

shay mitchell vogue

One of the perks of working with lifestyle / fashion brands in what happens to be an all-female office is our monthly magazine subscriptions. I don’t think we’ve been at all shy here at FT about our Pretty Little Liars obsession, so when I saw “Emily” on the cover of the newest SELF Magazine I snagged that up right away.

Apparently her real name is actually Shay Mitchell, and Self starts off by saying if you’re not a fan of hers yet you will be after this article. Sure enough, I didn’t get very far before I was admitting her into my circle of celebrity BFF’s with Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence (…now I just have to meet them). Besides the fact that she believes being healthy is beautiful and is all about supporting other women, she is also a fellow blogger and had some inspiring words of wisdom about going after (and getting!) what you want.

First, create a vision of the life you want. Then share it—and your wisdom—to get started. “When I was living in Toronto and going to my bottle service [waitress] job, I walked down the street as if I were the actor I wanted to be. Back then, my vision board had a Hollywood sign and palm trees on it. I knew this was going to happen. It’s important to wake up every day and remind yourself what you’re working toward. You create your own life. It’s not set out there for you.”

Her determination and success at reaching her goals brings me back to an idea I’ve had before that was just waiting on the terminology – vision boards. For me, it’s not real until it’s down on paper, hence my desk of to do lists, iPhone full of Notes and planner that lives by my side. In addition to being a tangible processor, I’m a very goal-oriented person so it only makes sense that a vision board is exactly what I’ve been missing for daily and long-term inspiration.

Perfect timing, too, because creating and finding a place for a vision board sounds like an awesome new-home project. Only one and a half more weeks until I’m in the new place! I promise, I’ll even get over my fear of others thinking my dreams are vain, unrealistic or petty and share the completed version with you this summer.

Da big 2-4

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I’m not a big birthday person. I don’t really enjoy being the center of everyone’s attention and mostly just saw it as a reason to get free drinks in college. Most of High School my dad had an annual work trip on the big day, so my actual birthday was a little more laid back with friends, and then we’d go to a delicious dinner with the whole fam upon my Dad’s return and I’d leave with my stomach aching from over eating. So that’s just what I’m used to. Not making a big fuss on my birthday but having several little events with the people I cared about. Furthermore, every since my 21st birthday I’ve been dreading getting older. 22? 23? Simply not as fun.

When I turned 22 I was about to graduate college. I was leaving all of my friends and setting out into the unknown of Arizona. Plus, I was still recovering from my 21st birthday and hooked on the notion of “it’s all downhill from here.” When I turned 23 I was still figuring out life post-Arizona. Things hadn’t worked out there and then I was an unpaid intern and a barista living at my parent’s house. It simply wasn’t where I thought I would be at twenty-three (rhymed! boom). So getting another year older just meant that I was off my timeline.

But now 24. I’m so happy with everything in my life right now. I also realized early on that 2013 was going to bea great year and turning 24 is just part of it. To me, and I am brutally aware of how silly this is, to say “I’m 24” just sounds so much better. It says… I’ve been out of college for a while, I have it together, I’m mature, I am also responsible, I am working to achieve my dreams but I can still go out and have fun because I have little responsibilities to anyone but myself and no intention of settling down for quite some time. Who wouldn’t want to be all of those things? So I’ve decided not to be such a birthday bum this year. I have a quiet dinner with my boyfriend tonight, one of my very best friends is coming into town, I’ll go out and then tomorrow there’s yoga, brunch, pups, present shopping, Dave Matthews and more celebrations afterward.

Liebster Award

Leah and Jane of smartassy nominated us yesterday for the Liebster Award. As a fellow blog duo we’re quite fans of their work and honored by the nomination! Because seriously, their posts are relatable, brutally honest and usually pret-tay hilarious.

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(Flexible) Rules of the Liebster Award:

– Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you.

– Answer the 5 questions from the nominator, list 5 random facts about yourself, nominate 5 blogs who you feel deserve to be noticed, and create 5 questions for your nominees. (Blogs should have 200 followers or less. Let the blogger know you have nominated them.)

– Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.

Questions

1. What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?

Lydia: Honestly I think I embarrass myself all the time but don’t notice nor care. Furthermore, I am confident I have just blocked out all my middle school years. But I did recently have a heavy blushing stint at work. Ya see, I had this one horrible photo taken of me at a club/bar in Sevilla, Spain while on a recent vacation. I’m clearly having a blast dancing in my red lipstick  with a bunch of male friends around. Somehow this managed to live on my Facebook for enough time that my coworkers saw it. When I arrived back to work full caffeinated after my long flight, I discovered the photo framed (in a cute frame, I might add) and placed on my desk. So embarrassing! They all think it is hiiiilarious. Somehow though, the picture seems to have disappeared in my drawer…RIP. 😉

Sarah: Oh dear. A side effect of being both awkward and clumsy is that I embarrass myself regularly. I came to terms with this long ago, so now it’s usually just something to laugh about and rather hard to pick just one most embarrassing moment… I mean, there was the time my ex-boyfriend of almost an entire year saw me a year later in Walgreens, and I didn’t recognize him for a good full minute into the conversation. Or the time when I had to run through basically a monsoon to get to a ceremony I was hosting…and then proceeded to announce the awards in a now see-through skirt and bright red underwear. But truly, these are all topped by the fact that I had a xanga. I put all my far-too-personal teenage angst online for the world to see (aka my one loyal reader, my youth pastor) and nearly melted into the floor the day I reread it in college. My best friend reread it with me and likes to quote it from time to time just to rub it in. It has since been deleted, but there is absolutely no way I’ll be sharing my username with you…just in case.

2. Would you take the position of president/prime minister of your country if it were offered to you?

Lydia: Oh absolutely not. I’m quite stubborn but also super indecisive. I feel like I’m the right combination to be totally manipulated like The Sultan from Aladdin. Just awaiting a Jafar. Furthermore, I tend to want people to like me.

Sarah: While the traveling and perks like knowing Beyonce would be sweet, it seems like far too much stress than it’s worth. I also have a tendency to feel an unreasonable amount of responsibility to everyone followed by sickening guilt when I can’t live up to my own unrealistic expectations. This would likely be a recipe for disaster with the whole country counting on me, political parties vying for contrasting outcomes and all in a time of so much international relations instability.

3. What’s your favorite thing about yourself?

Lydia: This one was hard! I think the thing I most like about myself is my open mind. It’s not something I’ve always possessed but cultivated  over time. I will try most anything once (maybe I’m a little pickier when it comes to food though) and am open to learn about other’s opinions and lifestyles. It’s also enabled me to see other’s perspectives and engage in great discussions where I learn a lot and can often change my opinion on something.

Sarah: Hmm…This was a hard one at first, but I actually landed on two qualities. I like that despite being a bit of a perfectionist and a huge fan of planners and to do lists, I’m actually pretty easy going. I’m not one for drama and generally flexible when it comes to settling on food, activities, etc. The second is that I’m loyal to a fault…this might be partially related to that sense of responsibility I mentioned. I have friendships that are decades old and will try to do whatever I can for my friends.

4. What (if any) movie always makes you cry?

Lydia: Pretty much any movie where an animal is injured or killed brings a tear to my eye. But my go-to movie for when I’m looking for a good cry is always A Walk to Remember.

Sarah: I swear, before I read Lydia’s answer, A Walk to Remember was totally my choice, too. Every time. I also cried for an hour after the first time I saw Pearl Harbor (I went through quite the Josh Hartnett phase). It’s also worth mentioning I will cry at literally any sentimental or sad moment in any movie or tv show, especially if that show is Grey’s Anatomy.

5. Why did you start your blog?

The heart of the blog is to share the good, the bad and the “oh to be 20-something” digressions on our path to achieve our goals and dreams, to remind us to live intentionally and to constantly seek out new inspiration. We hope, in turn, to inspire others to do the same. After months of noncommittal, whimsical brainstorms, it took several bottles of Prosecco and almost a full season of Pretty Liars commercial breaks before the blog came to fruition. It didn’t hurt that we are both devoted blog readers and always on the lookout for new creative outlets of our own. And on sixth day Finding Tiffany’s was born. On the seventh day we rested… with more Prosecco.

Facts

  1. Sarah used to want to be Amish. She still thinks they are quite cool, but not so sure she could live without her hair dryer…or cell phone.
  2. Lydia talks really really unhumanly fast. She blames it on being from the East Coast, but even east coasters think it’s a little ridiculous.
  3. Sarah will only drink hot drinks through straws. No straw = no coffee, tea, etc.
  4. Lydia pronounced the phrase “hand me downs” wrong until the age of 17, because her mom thought it was just too cute that she said “handy downs” to correct her.
  5. Sarah and Lydia got locked in a mall once. Visions of camping out, raiding the food court and playing games a la The OC flashed through their minds, followed quickly by terror and a sudden onset of growing claustrophobia. Luckily a security guard was kind enough to find and escort them to their car.

Blog Nominees

Since it took us SO long into the Liebster nominating process to A. notice we had been nominated and B. actually get together to compile this post, it’s been hard to find blogs that haven’t already been nominated! It turns out that many of our go-to blogs are also beloved by many others, which is a great thing. Here’s some of the other blogs we love (sorry if there are any repeat nominations!):

  1. http://sadieanddasie.wordpress.com/
  2. http://houseofhblog.blogspot.com/
  3. http://monicamanda.wordpress.com
  4. http://brunchforeverymeal.com
  5. http://booksandbowelmovements.com/

Your Questions: What’s Your…

  1. Number one place you’ve always wanted to visit?
  2. Absolute dream job (regardless of any practicality, your education / experience, etc.)?
  3. Best book you’ve read recently?
  4. Happiest memory?
  5. Celebrity crush?