Over the weekend I read It’s Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be, by Paul Arden. It’s a short, yet powerful read. I highly recommend it to any self-starter, creative or entrepreneur. We’re all busy people and sometimes it can feel impossible to constantly create and produce high-quality content. Not to mention then promoting and sharing that content on all our social various channels. That’s why people pay me to do it for them. (Although, then they seem to forget how much time and energy goes into it and try to say our job is ‘easy’ or that they could do a better job. But…that’s a post for another day) One thing I come across a lot is how much knowledge, experience and wisdom my client’s possess, but they aren’t properly leveraging it to promote their services, brand or business. Creating and maintaining a blog can seem daunting for many business owners, but with the right systems, it can be done. Here’s my system to create a great blog post in less than 10 minutes.
See? That’s not so hard now is it. Now, if you install the editorial calendar plugin and produce just 3 blog posts a week, you’ve put just 30 minutes into creating and scheduling highly valuable content. Tweet This Quote This content that can be dissected, pinned, shared, tweeted, re-blogged (you get the idea) for months after you’ve posted it. Violá! You’ve got yourself a great blog for your business/self! Not too shabby for a Monday!
After a week of not so fun work, I’m welcoming the weekend with open arms! I’ve been self-medicating with lots of wine, chocolate & retail therapy though, which has helped easy the pain of difficult clients and technology snafus. I’ll be sharing my finds with you next week because I’m majorly excited about them. Especially this floral print peplum hem dress I scored from ASOS for only $40! I’ve been gravitating towards everything black & white and of course, gold. It just makes me so happy.
Tonight my girl Erin from Austin Fashion Week (btw, have you heard of their newest event: Fashion X Dallas? Because if you haven’t..you need to!) invited me tothe private grand opening party for Found Austin. Found is a new stylish and chic boutique opening it’s bright magenta door on W.5th street & Oakland. And after checking out their Insta….
(Um, these champagne bells are in the dressing rooms?! Kill me now. I fucking love it.)
I’m just so giddy and excited to check it out. For once I feel like letting my hair down and going out rather than curling up on the couch. So I need to take full advantage before I change my mind! Be sure to catch me on Instagram or Twitter to see what crafts and other semi-interesting things I get into this weekend!
I love chocolate. I love wine, chocolate, my dogs and maybe like 3 people. I also love pizza, but that’s for another blog post. I won’t bore you with the story of how I came to loving chocolate because ironically when I was younger I despised it and now I can’t live without it. At least 70% organic chocolate goodness is my jam. Does my body and love handles love it though? No…not so much. I also love desserts, my figure also doesn’t care for desserts. So when I came across this recipe for black bean avocado brownies. I drank the kool-aid and gave it a go. I’m always down for crazy recipes like this. I am always fudging with recipes to make them healthier (read in Jason’s words; ruining them) but these bad boys were Ah-mazing. Please examine Exhibit A below:
These brownies were the real deal. When I come across something I just truly love, I think it’s just rude if I don’t share. Also, if you are nervous or ‘grossed out’ about using black beans or a ‘weird stuff’ in your brownies instead of flour and other crap. Get over it. Just think about all the disgusting/unknown things they put in packaged food/fast food (gag, P.Terry’s you get a pass though. You’re delicious). Watch this trailer for Fed Up and consider making the switch to whole, real foods like these brownies from Ambitious Kitchen. I love these because you’re getting protein, they’re easy to make (you just throw everything in a blender/processor, then put in a pan and bake!) and you don’t have to feel guilty about eating them.
They’re vegan, gluten-free and not loaded with oil or sugar. I adapted it a bit, using a little less brown sugar and a touch of agave. I would also make these again and consider adding a bit of cayenne pepper for a kick! (And to give that metabolism a friendly boost) As busy as I am, I can’t afford to eat crappy food. I notice it affects so many aspects of my life; My mood/blood sugar, focus, skin, energy…everything suffers if I get off track from eating real food. Click the picture below to get the whole recipe!
I beg you to just give these just one shot and see if you don’t ditch the boxed stuff!
As a marketing and social media professional, I geek out a bit when it comes to new digital tools. Especially ones that are useful, well-designed and highly-demanded. Many of you might be familiar with a company called RewardStyle. In their words,
“EMPOWERING THE WORLD’S PUBLISHERS & RETAILERS TO MAXIMIZE MARKET POTENTIAL BY PROVIDING AN ECOSYSTEM OF INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY & STRATEGIC CONSULTING.”
I could write about RewardStyle all day. The co-founder is a rockstar, Amber Venz Box, of the blog Venzedits. But anyways, LikeToKnow.it was built off the RewardStyle model after realizing a major player was being left out of the publishing equation for bloggers.
Instagram as we all know, is exploding. I put all my clients on Instagram, even if they don’t understand or think that they need it. (That’s what they’re paying me for right?) I adore Instagram for business and personal use. And so do bloggers. It’s essentially a visual micro-extension of your blog and gives you the ability to add another layer of personality and depth to your brand. Many bloggers use it as their primary source to connect with their readers and promote their content. And that’s where LiketoKnow.it stepped in.
How many times have you commented on your favorite blogger’s Instagrams and asked, “Where did you get ___fill in the blank___ from?” A lot right? Or at least a few times.
As we all know Instagram doesn’t play the hyperlink game. (Read: Pain in the butt) The only spot for a clickable url is in our profiles. So before LiketoKnow.it, bloggers would just have to direct people to the profile link to either search their blogs to hunt down product links or just divulge where they got it from and miss out on a commission. Which is a bummer when a blogger spends hours putting outfits together, writing the blog posts and spending the time to publish great content for her readers.
LiketoKnow.it now enables bloggers to create shop-able Instagram photos for their readers. This is a blessing for both publishers and readers.
See? SO simple. You can even customize how often the emails get sent to you. I get mine sent ASAP, because when I want something…I want it now. It’s really nice because you are able to instantly shop the looks that your favorite bloggers are posting without the frustration of having to hunt down links or wait for a response.
Above is an example of one of my recent ‘shop-able’ posts. The products I selected to be included with this post are shown below. They link directly to their product page. Example: That necklace, it’s a stunner AND is 40% off. I had two people comment and ask where it was from. Solution: LiketoKnow.it!
I think one of my favorite features, is that it saves all your Liked ‘grams in one easy feed that you can go back to at any time to check out the products. So if you see an outfit or product you love, but have to hold off on buying it till that next paycheck rolls in,then you can simply double tap that photo and go back to your LiketoKnow.it account later to shop!
As a blogger, consumer and a social media manager, I think this tool is the tits. Yes, the tits. There are several other tools out there, but so far I’ve seen this one gaining to most traction. Instagram is still growing and is still fairly untapped in terms of marketing/monetization. Brands are quickly catching on as Facebook works to recoup the money they spent buying the platform. They’re currently testing sponsored ads (which people are complaining about, but I honestly think the ads are the least disruptive/obnoxious of any current SM platform. And if you see one you don’t like you just hide it and it learns what to show you.)
Are you using LiketoKnow.it already? If not, be sure to sign up at LiketoKnow.it and follow my feed to easily shop my posts!
This time of year is so exciting; there is just something in the air. The anticipation of the holiday season distracts me from mourning the loss of my summer tan. I’ve been busy swapping out my beloved cut-off’s for cozy leggings and savoring warm cups of coffee while snuggled in mounds of blankets. Today though, we’re decorating some mini pumpkins!
Disclaimer: This is more of an inspiration post rather than a true ‘how-to’ because really, you can’t go wrong with glitter and sequins. Ever. These were such a blast to create and the possibilities are endless!
| SUGGESTED SUPPLIES |
Lots of mini pumpkins…get more than you think you’ll want because it’s addicting!
Glitter…lots of glitter
Pearls, ribbons, sequins etc.
Mod Podge & Tacky Glue
| GLAM PUMPKIN IDEAS |
Chanel Pumpkin: Using white acrylic paint, paint 2 coats over entire pumpkin. Paint stem gold. Trace or hand-draw Chanel Logo, fill-in using black acrylic paint. Using tacky glue, apply small pearly beads around stem. Coat with thin layer of Mod Podge gloss to seal and shine.
This weekend is going to be a doozie. We’ve got another weekend of ACL festival, the Texas v. OU game, a 3-day weekend; Oh, and a whole lot of pretty great sales. My wallet is going to hurt a little bit, but I’ve put a side a little shopping budget to rebuild my wardrobe with some much needed essentials and what better time than during the first of the early holiday sales? What’s on my list? Well…
| SHOP THE POST |
I already nabbed the black suede contrast booties from Old Navy because I got a brown pair from them last season and wore them constantly! I’m obsessed with these bar stack rings I bought from Madewell last weekend and ever since I’ve just been day dreaming about the rest of their jewelry, so with 30% off…I’m tempted…very tempted.
I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather this week. Which might explain the lack of blog posts. I also have several clients with large events coming up including an election and a 3-night fashion show within days of one another, so my brain and body has been working overtime. I’m sure many of you can relate to pushing yourself too hard, trying to do it all and then suffering the consequences. This past year I’ve tried to do a much better job of ‘self-care’ and making sure I do the little things to ensure I’m ready to kick ass everyday. I’ve been just craving solid night sleeps, warm cups of coffee with grass-fed organic butter (What?! You crazy bitch you’re going to get fat. Yes I’m crazy, but no I’m not going to get fat and here’s why I’m trying it) amazing candles and a much needed spa day. This week’s ‘Can I Have That?’ is all about pampering and treating yourself to some little luxuries.
I’ve already started hinting to the bossman that I will be taking a personal day around the end of the month to prepare for the mountain of client events we have at the beginning of November. For all my lovely Austinites, the Away Spa at the W offers a local’s discount Monday through Thursday. 30% off any treatment. You also can go early or stay late and just chill by the pool with cocktails. Or hang out in the lounge, take a steam shower, drink pretty water etc. J and I have made full days out of this in the past and it is one of the most spiritually rejuvenating things ever. I would HIGHLY recommend for anyone who is go-go-go. Just take a day, put the phone away and CHILL! This is my little piece of heaven, so you’re welcome that I just spilled the beans on this great deal.
| SHOP THE POST |
Oh, and the coffee? Well, check this out and get back to me. I’m trying it because I’m a nut and totally dig stuff like this. Have a happy and pampered day!
Hello from Dallas! Yesterday was an exciting day for our startup business, Phox Charge! I’m proud to announce you can now safely charge your phone at Kung Fu Saloon in Uptown Dallas. This work-cation has been short, but so great and much needed. Jason has what I call ‘people mojo’ and somehow scored us a sweet room upgrade.
And by sweet I mean suite. I got my scallop fix at Ocean Prime Steakhouse and stopped by Kung Fu on the way home to check on the unit to make sure everything was ok. While we were checking on it, we had our first person come up needing to use it! Bam!
Back in our room, we took a minute to reflect on life and everything we have accomplished to date. I suffer with anxiety and all that comes with that, so it can be hard to see the silver linings. Having the ability to look past the obstacles and let downs when good things happen, and relish them can be difficult, especially when it comes to business. It’s so easy to compare yourself to others and lose sight of all the hard work and dedication you’ve put in. Jason always does an amazing job of persevering and staying calm under pressure. That’s why today I’ve invited him to co-write this post with me. So without further ado…I pass it off to Jason! (because I’m going to make full use of this $1,500/night room and go take a bubble bath before they kick us out!)
So here goes nothing! Hi Jason here, Lauren’s boyfriend and business partner. I have been involved in Lauren’s post (who do you think holds the camera?) a number of times but this is the first time I’m actually writing. Usually I’m waiting not so patiently to eat my food, finish a project or just relax while Lauren takes a picture or “frames” the shot…I still love you!
Where to begin? Lauren has written a lot about startups and the stresses of being an entrepreneur but I want to touch on the ability to persevere and stay positive in business and in life. Often times we are faced with hurdles that seem to high to jump and how you react to that will often times lead to better situations. Lets just say we were dead in the water a few months ago! We had just visited with a manufacturer that found numerous design flaws with our original Phox Box and brought to our attention that we were going to need a lot more money. While sitting on the beach in Huntington Beach, CA we were going through the tough decision to fold up shop or figure out a way to get it done. I absolutely hate losing, Lauren beats me all the time, but I still hate losing.
Exhibit a. Lauren beating me 4 times in a row at Mario Kart…I was Mario, She was Toad.
This was a no lose situation and by simply working through the problem we figured out a solution. We partnered with a small company that was already manufacturing a product that was identical to what we were trying to do. They had the product we wanted but not a big enough reach to get into new markets. We wanted to manufacture our own product but in reality, what were we thinking!! Manufacturing is not our core business and is not in our wheel house of things we are good at.
(Our ‘Ya! We’re going to Dallas’ selfie)
So here we are almost 6 months later having just installed a unit in Dallas. This might not seem like a huge accomplishment to most, but for us it’s huge. The point I am trying to make and eventually get to is that it’s all about perspective and staying positive. When things are going south it often feels like the world is against you. Whether it’s business or just life it’s never as bad as it seems. I don’t know how or why, but I have always been able to take a step back and look at the big picture. It’s all about the perspective you take! You can look at the Mona Lisa and think it is the worst painting you have ever seen, but if you change your perspective and look at what is actually accomplished in that painting you might change your views. Life and business truly correlate on many levels. It’s all about perseverance and perspective.
(I didn’t look twice at these books in our hotel room, but once Lauren took this picture, it changed my perspective.)
So when things just don’t quite work out as planned, take a look from a different angle and you might just find the solution. That’s all from me for now!
Uh, ok…I’ll just go ahead and give my blog to Jason permanently. How great was that? Almost better than that bubble bath I just took. We have worked together on both Phox, in the bars, on our relationship and other projects together for over 3 years now and I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from him! He’ll definitely be invited back to guest post again I guess! Now… to finish our breakfast in bed!
For the past few weeks I’ve been in a bit of a food rut. Most likely a nasty combination of moving, crazy work schedule and just a general lack of putting myself first. But now that things have settled down a bit I have no excuse for downing breakfast tacos daily and crushing a whole pizza by myself twice in one week. YES…that happened. (For the record, pizza is probably my favorite food. SO cliché, but it is just fucking delicious. Pineapple and mushroom…it’s weird, but it’s my jam.) To follow up that tangent; I’ve always been, in general, a very conscious and healthy eater. *Cue ironic moan and eye-rolling* But really; grocery stores, packaging and preservatives give me anxiety. I really hate eating things that have been processed and tinkered with. I was vegan for a year, but the amount of fake product I was consuming was disgusting. Remember, just because it’s ‘vegan’ does NOT instantly translate to healthy! I’m so excited for fall/winter because I love the produce and meals that comes into season. Who’s ready for soul-warming soups, pumpkin everything and left-overs!? <<insert raising-hand girl emoji here>>
But coming home after a super long work day and then having to prepare food and cook is NOT my idea of a good time. But I also know I perform so much better when I use food as fuel instead of a abusing it. So to save myself a ton of time (and money) during the week, I love preparing food and meals in bulk on Sundays! Example: I spent $74 at Trader Joe’s and bought food for the entire week (and that included a basil plant and hydrangeas!) and about 2 hours preparing my meals! This brings me to my first meal:
I love brussel sprouts, but NEVER cook them. I’ll only enjoy them when I’m out at restaurants…I’m still dreaming of the super crispy ones at Uchiko and the full-flavored ones last week at The Grove. Not only are these bad boys super healthy (health benefits of brussel sprouts), but they are filling and reheat beautifully. So you can read that as: lots of meal opportunities. This recipe has served me for 3 different meals this week. I also need to mention that the inspiration for this super easy fall recipe came from my best friend, the beautiful Mary Catherine.
I ate this solo one night, added it into my quinoa mix for lunch the next day and tonight for dinner I stuffed it into a Delicata squash (which is SO cute and delicious, recipe coming soon!) and had the most amazing meal! Boom, 3 days of meals less than $5 in under 25 minutes!
I will be posting a few of my other favorite healthy fall and winter recipes over the next few weeks. I love hacking recipes to make them healthier so I’d love to share them! What favorite healthy winter and fall recipes do you look forward to making?
Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a fun blogger soiree hosted by Fab’rik in the Hill Country Galleria. A small group of us were invited out to preview some of the newest Fall denim they had just received.
They have these great new skinny grey Hudson’s. Hudson is going through a bit of a rebrand, moving away from their signature flap pocket for something a little flatter. I dig it. We saw a lot of great new styles and I even learned a new trick for taking care of denim.
They gifted each of us with a new pair of Spanx jeggings and I’m OBSESSED. I also had a chance to talk to Fab’rik owner Leslie for a while and she was a doll! She was an amazing host and we chatted about Fab’rik brands and what looks we were loving. Also good to know, Fab’rik has their own in-house design studio and buy entire bolts of fabric so you won’t find the same designs anywhere else.
A Shiner ruby redbird while shopping and trying on cute clothes? Count me IN! I wanted everything but I resisted and only scooped up this super cute black layered crop top and this flow-y high/low dress that I will be wearing out on our date night in Dallas later this week.
Let’s get back to these Spanx jeggings shall we? Ah-mazing. I will be living in these things this fall/winter, so don’t judge me. I paired them with the new crop top for a super chic and easy (did I mention comfy?) work outfit. I brought Chloe out to snap some pictures of the look when I got home from work.
They snuck in their signature red with a red snap on the back pockets. These bad boys are SUPER stretchy, soft, run xs-l and feature a great little front panel that keeps you all sucked in. They’re like a butt-lift in a box, seriously, can I get an amen!?
Chloe wanted to show off the fact she doesn’t need Spanx for her adorable doggie booty. Bitch. (just kidding, i love you Chloe-Einstein!!)
Some of the trends I’ve had my eye on:
Mid and high-wasted trumps low-rise (finally)
Wax-coatings and leather looks
Skinnies and boyfriends are still a go
Colors: Eggplant, hunter green and grey
What Fall denim trends are you most excited to sport?
I got an iphone 6 the day they came out. Not because I was standing outside an Apple for 24 hours, but I happened to walk into Target that morning and saw them on display. I was due for an upgrade, so bam! 30 minutes and $100 later I was out the door. Problem is, there aren’t too many stylish iphone 6 cases out there yet. I was going to hold off since the gold and white is so pretty, but it’s hard to hold and after watching this video, I figured it was time to get one. I settled on this Mint & Clear Case so I could still see the gold. Although, I think that white marble one is next one my list. Major swoon.
Sharing is caring. That’s why today I’m sharing some of my favorite marketing and social media blogs you need to know about. But I’m not going to give you the normal list of ‘top marketing experts’ like Gary Vaynerchuk, Jeff Bullas, Seth Godin…let’s throw a female in there shall we, Mari Smith...because that would be a snooze and too easy. Not to say the aforementioned figures aren’t amazing at what they do, I just want to throw a couple of names you may not have heard of, that I really trust and admire for different reasons.
I can’t say enough good things about Ted Rubin. I had the pleasure of meeting him two years ago during SXSW, where he gave me a signed copy of his book. This past SXSW we all met up one night on a whim via Twitter of course! And he then invited J and me to a panel that he was speaking on the next day. He is one of the nicest, most sincere people I have ever met and he knows his shit. This book put everything in perspective for me and severely changed my outlook of how I approach relationships both in real life and online. (In a good way of course!)
Ted is a Social Media strategist, keynote speaker, brand evangelist and acting CMO for Brand Innovators. Get a copy of this amazing book HERE and follow him at @tedrubin
Rebekah‘s blog stands out to me because it’s focused, easy to read and relatable. It’s also not all ‘me, me, me’. A lot of super popular blogs I’ve noticed are constantly trying to sell their products, services or selves to you while you’re simply trying to access their content. I get it, we all need to make a pretty penny, but that’s why I enjoy Rebekah’s blog. Yes, she has some banner ad’s promoting her products, but it’s not plastered all over. Super valuable and actionable posts as well.
Rebekah is a social media strategist, speakerand digital marketing specialist. As well as the Chief Experience Officer of Imagine WOW. You can read her blog here and follow her @RebekahRadice.
Curalate is one of my current favorites. I’m ALL about UGC (User-generated Content) and so are they. See, they even have a whole tab for UGC. I love how they present and layout their blog posts. They are a data and results-driven marketing product. This gives them the unique ability to gather TONS of useful data and insights from big brands that most of us wouldn’t normally have access to. The case studies are fascinating and their blog never disappoints.
Curalate is the world’s leading marketing and analytics suite for the visual web. They have GREAT webinars and are constantly offering free PDF’s so be sure to follow them! @Curalate.
A true Austinite; lover of breakfast tacos and marketing, Noah Kagan’s blog is super no frills and aptly titled, “OkDork”. What I love about Noah is that he lays it all out there, isn’t afraid to use his failures as good learning lessons and always is sure to inject a good amount of humor into his posts. I subscribe to his email newsletter and it’s great. He’s also always giving away useful/free marketing products! (Who doesn’t love the price of free?)
Noah is the Chief Sumo at AppSumo.com, where he promotes cool tools and content to help entrepreneurs kick more ass. Before that he was a ‘cubicle monkey’ at Intel, #30 at Facebook and #4 at Mint. Explore Noahs’ blog HERE and @NoahKagan
There are SO many more but there are just some of my favorite go-to’s. I’d love to hear what social media blogs I need to know about!
I haven’t done a DIY post in such a long time, so this makes me excited! I drive Jason crazy sometimes because I always throw out the line, “I could make that.” Now will I make it? No…probably not. But could I? Yes.
Now a headboard…I can do a headboard. We have a perfectly good bed, so why not do a little repurposing? J and I had planned a date night for one of our few nights together, but we decided to spend the $100 on this instead. We popped into Joann’s and we chose a slightly off white leather-looking vinyl. It was the perfect type of material for this project, but a thick linen or similar decorative fabric would work well too.
What You Need:
-Fabric (2 1/2 yards for a King)
-Flat, old headboard
-3″ Foam Padding
-Staple Gun and Scissors
-Nailhead trim, rope or individual nailheads
Upholstered Headboard DIY How-To:
1. Attach the foam to your headboard
I love this super 77 spray adhesive. It’s super tacky and dries quickly while working well on a variety of different materials. The foam was a little short but we lined it up with the top and it ended up being ok because our mattress comes up pretty high. If I were to do it again I probably would have bought two rolls of foam so I could have wrapped it over the top as well.
2. Attach your fabric
Lay your fabric wrong side up and then lay the headboard down on top of it, wrapping the fabric up and over. We began by stapling the top. I started in the middle and worked our way to the edges. I put a staple about every 1-2 inch. It was a lot of staples…
After the top, I wrapped the corners. This part was a little tricky, but think of it like wrapping a present. I tucked the extra in and did a little straight fold that lined up with the top edge.
After the two top corners, we worked our way down the sides. This was definitely a two person job. Make sure the fabric is tight and even. I cut off the excessive from the bottom and folded the bottom edges the same as I did the top.
The back of it once we finished stapling. Not too shabby!
3. Add your nailhead or trim
Ok, so this part was a doozie! We definitely had to pause for a glass of wine (it was date night after all!)
This part was really difficult and took some time. We didn’t take into account that we would need some slack in the fabric to account for the 3″ foam. Luckily the fabric had a bit of give and we hadn’t pulled it as tight as possible, but I think if I ever did a project like this again I might attach the nail-trim first, then finish upholstering. We used a measuring tape as we went to make sure we were staying straight, but it was difficult because the roll was not straight. Next time I might do individual nail heads. Jason hammered the nailhead while I measured and made sure it was straight. This part took us a good bit of time, but eventually found a rhythm. We were so nervous the whole time because there was no going back once we started!
A close up.
We both love how it turned out and it definitely brightens up the room. I’m still shopping around for new bedside tables and some jazz for the wall. The skull that we used to have above the bed got retired to the living room. I’m thinking a large sunburst mirror or something like that would look great above it. Suggestions are very welcomed!
If you are loving the upholstered headboard look, but don’t want to get your hands dirty: