Since 2008 thanksgiving has been interesting for me. I end up not-so-secretly snacking on cheeses, dips and other pre-meal offerings. When it comes to the big meal, I’m left nibbling on sides. (I love side dishes so no hard feelings) But this is definitely not a holiday designed for non-meat eaters. Luckily, I choose to focus on the true ‘meaning’ of this holiday, giving thanks. And thankful I sure am!
WHAT I’M THANKFUL FOR THIS THANKSGIVING:
My beautiful & healthy family and friends. Everyone who impacts my life frequently and even non-frequently. Everyone matters.
Being gainfully employed and being able to provide for my family.
Having an amazing support system.
My dogs. They’re family, but I feel they need an extra shoutout because they are THAT amazing.
My health and wellness. I’ve always been blessed with a very healthy body and it has served me well and for that I’m so thankful.
Having a roof over my head and a table to sit around to enjoy this day with people I love. Millions of Americans don’t have this and this day means somethings completely different to them. And so the fact that I’m granted these luxuries, I’m thankful.
While I’m happy and thankful to be surrounded by my family and friends this holiday, my heart is still heavy for those suffering in Ferguson. I’m not one to put my personal beliefs/arguments on social media. Everyone has their own opinions, but my heart goes out to those families who’s lives have been forever affected by the events in Ferguson. The families of the victims, the protestors, the community, the business owners who lost everything…at the end of the day, people are people. Simple as that.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING Y’ALL!
Be sure to stop by tomorrow as I’ll be rounding up all the BEST Black Friday deals around the interwebs!
I’m back with my third gift guide of my ultimate gift guide series and this week it’s all about the monogram. Monogram gifts have an air of sophistication and shows that you, the gifter, put time and thought into choosing the perfectly personalized gift. (Unless you give the wrong monogram, then you’ve got bigger fish to fry)
Remember, if you’re shopping for a monogrammed gift you need to give yourself a good amount of lead time to ensure it will arrive before Christmas. Most shops have cut-off dates for personalization. For example, Shop Dandy’s is December 5th and Baublebar’s is December 2nd!
Pinterest makes me happy. As both a person and a digital marketing professional. Not only can I get lost for hours on Pinterest, but I love implementing Pinterest strategies for the brands I manage. Finding effective ways to organize your Pinterest boards can be tricky though. Or maybe you have never even given it a thought. But taking time to organize and clean up your boards can have a big impact on your traffic, engagement and follower rates. I’ve chosen a few accounts I think do a great job of naming, curating and organizing their Pinterest boards and I’ll explain why:
| Example #1 Mrs. Lilien |
Not only is Mrs. Lilien an amazing blogger with a knack for creating the most visually stunning content, but she has put a lot of time and energy into her Pinterest account. With over 25,000 pins, things can get lost in the shuffle. But I love how she stays up to date on her board organization. Before I get into the actual arrangement of the boards, lets take a minute to talk titles. The jury is still out with me on what strategy works the best, but from everything I’ve been able to gather on how Pinterest searches work, Clear, Concise and Accurate Titles work the best. While it can be tempting to use symbols and such, these do not help you get discovered and can be distracting/confusing for your followers. Ok, back to the boards. Mrs. Lilien has been very kind to those in search of holiday inspiration and ideas. Notice she has put Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fall Fashion, Holiday Wish List and Booze Board right up at the top so you don’t have to scroll through the rest of her 108 boards to find what you’re looking for. This is a great strategy if you are consistently driving traffic to your main Pinterest page to increase followers. Keep the time of year, holidays, key search terms in mind when arranging your boards.
An official Pinterest expert, Moorea Seal, knows whats up with Pinterest. She has over 900k followers and 42,504 pins. Cray Cray. You’ll notice that she has taken a similar approach as Mrs. Lilien, by placing her holiday-themed boards at the top (aka: If they’re doing it…you might want to consider trying it) They know that their followers will be looking to them and their Pinterest profiles for holiday DIYS, inspiration and gift ideas. Moorea also does a great job titling her boards, but she goes a step further in really curating the ‘cover images’ of the boards. While this may seem trivial to some, the cover image can make a big difference to whether or not someone ultimately decides to follow that board. Choose (or make!) cover images that look good, relevant and consistent with your brand. She also is running a contest, and made sure to place the board at the very front, so her fans could easily find contest information.
Oh look, it’s me! Last, but not least….ok, maybe least; I only have 600 something followers and 5k pins, but I recently implemented a very of the strategies I’ve listed above and found them to really help my traffic and follower rate. I took some time to really clean up my Pinterest profile to match my blog and personal branding. I took the curation of the cover images to an extreme with sticking to a strictly black and white color theme. I love that when people visit my Pinterest profile now from my blog they will feel it’s the same brand. I also fell prey to the crazy title trap a while back. My boards were titled ridiculous things like *//S@VE it for L8ter//* (Aol instant messenger called, it wants it’s screen name back) and | Business | (I‘ll get to why this isn’t a great in a minute) So I went through a re-titled all my boards with clear and relevant titles, with words I think people might be searching for. I also was against having a lot of boards, but I finally decided to break up a few of my more ‘general category’ boards into sub-category boards. Example: My Business Board became: Entrepreneurship, Visual Branding, Social Media & Marketing, Packaging & Design etc. This way the pins on these boards are much more specific and categorized. The only thing I haven’t done is put all my holiday boards at the top, instead I’ve put the boards most relevant to the themes on my blog.
It can be difficult for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs to stay on top of the constant evolution of social media and digital marketing. Figuring out what makes sense for your brand can be tough and down right overwhelming. Pinterest is a great platform for amplifying your content and helping your customers discover your brand. Unfortunately many people are intimidated by the shear volume and ‘black hole’ of it. Hopefully these tips will help you start organizing your profile and leveraging Pinterest for your business.
We all have a friend or two that seem to always be out of town on some fabulous holiday or work trip right? The girls who seek adventure and are happiest exploring the world. I love those people. I won’t lie; I wish I was one of those people. (someday I will be) Travel accessories to me just equal instant excitement.
Already have a trip planned with the bestie, boyfriend or family in 2015? Travel accessories make perfect Christmas gifts to start building up that excitement early. I have a lot of friends getting married next year and that means honeymoons. I think a set of personalized luggage tags like these from GIGI New York would make an excellent gift.(this weekend only they are offering FREE personalization!) Nordstrom has an amazing selection of passport cases, but this black and cream striped case from J.Crew has me drooling, the pop of neon green is so fun and unexpected. Feeling stressed when traveling is the worst, so anything you can do to keep organized is a plus. Keeping all your prized possessions safe is priority number one. I’m LOVING this small jewelry case from Kendra Scott. Perfect for stashing all your baubles safely in your carry on and the red makes it easy to find!
| SHOP THE POST |
Be sure to stay tuned as I’ll be curating even more gift guides through out the end of November! I’ll be finding perfect gifts for the pooches, the boys, the entrepreneurs and many more! And if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up with LikeToKnow.It to shop all your favorite bloggers Instagram’s straight from your Inbox!
Am I the only one in total disbelief that it is almost Christmas time again? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m super freakin’ excited. I LOVE Christmas. The holidays, the energy, the gift-giving; all of it. They don’t call it the most wonderful time of the year for nothing! There is nothing I enjoy more than planning my master gift-giving list. I love giving a mix of handmade and purchased gifts. Last year I did several holiday gift giving guides (here // here) including this fun handmade gift wrapping post. This year I’m a bit (a lot) more busy than last year so while I’d love to make gifts by hand this year, I just don’t want to be unrealistic. So planning ahead and doing some digital shopping is looking like more my speed.
Since Texas decided to plunge into a deep freeze overnight, I felt kicking off my gift guide series with perfect finds for The Winter Warrior was appropriate.
I had J grab my knit beanie out of my snowboarding bag, because it’s my favorite/only one. Although after seeing so many cute pompom hats at Gap, I might need to up my hat game this winter. (side note: Gap currently has 30% off right now! So stock up before the black Friday crazies descend.) COld ears in Winter are a deal-breaker for me, so when I spotted these fluffy earmuffs WITH headphones, it was like Christmas came early! My lips HATE me in the Winter. SUGAR lip treatment is the only stuff I’ve ever used that actually works in restoring moisture and has the most perfect amount if tint without being obnoxious. Obsessed 100 times over. I’m also super impressed with Target’s selection of travel coffee mugs. I think a cute travel mug filled with little goodies makes the perfect gift for that on-the-go coffee/tea drinker on your list. (I can think of a few good candidates personally.) Stay tuned for many more gift guides through the rest of the month!
The weekend was a bit of a blur that I’m still recovering from (is a fashion hangover a real thing?) But alas I had so much fun. I put together the social media strategy for Fashion X Dallas, it was rewarding to watch it all play out and see the event come to life. Big shout out to Caplan Miller for producing such a beautiful event! For those of you who don’t know, Fashion X is a three night fashion event featuring the best emerging and independent designers in fashion. In addition to amazing runway shows there is a jewelry and accessories Gallery where you can meet designers and shop. It was hosted at the Fashion Industry Gallery (F.I.G) in the Dallas’ art district and I’m just in love with this venue! But enough banter, continue on as I share my experiences during the first two nights of Fashion X Dallas…
| #FXD 2014 Night One |
Not only was I in charge of making sure our social media was running smoothly, but I was wearing my startup hat too. We also had two of our Phox Charge secure phone charging boxes at the venue to keep everyone’s devices charged so no one would miss a moment! Jason joined me for night one since we (he) had to set up the charging stations. I decided to go a little fun and flirty for night one with my favorite floral print dress from ASOS. And paired this Short Cast Marquise Crystal Necklace with it.
One of our secure phone charging boxes in the VIP lounge.
yes…that is a guy skateboarding (actually it was two guys) kicking off the show. Literally, with kick-flips.
And on Wednesdays we wear Pink . wrong…on Wednesdays we wear Isabella Rose Taylor. This girl is on another level. #CoolKid #Respect
This first two nights of Fashion X Dallas were such a welcomed start to the weekend. I really didn’t know what to expect, but knew either way I was going to love it. (Spoiler Alert: I Did.) Minus a few hiccups only the event staff probably noticed, you wouldn’t have known this was their first year presenting a three-night fashion event of this scale in a new city. It felt like a seasoned event and it left me wanting more! Which luckily I was granted as we still had one more night of shows, featuring a heavy-hitting line up of Project Runway All-star designers. But unfortunately for you, I’ll be wrapping all that up in Part Two! So stay tuned! Who else attended FXD2014; Who were your favorite designers from the first two nights?
Yesterday was just ‘one of those days’. It started off on the right foot, but just slowly quickly deteriorated into something rather icky. I hate days like that. I do my best to avoid them. I don’t like conflict. Like at all, it doesn’t make me thrive. I know some people who thrive creating and living in a world of conflict. (note: these people are probably not my friends) It gives me anxiety (shocker) and cotton mouth. So awkward. Luckily, I’ve reached this stage of my twenty-something’s where I can confront the problem and offer solutions, rather than perpetuate the conflict. I believe it’s much more productive to ask How can we fix it? rather than Who broke it. It’s a mindset I’ve found has helped me resolve a lot of issues both in my personal and professional relationships.
People make mistakes. I think it’s awesome because it’s 100% unavoidable. If it wasn’t and we could do things without ever making a mistake, no sports games would ever be won, everyone would be top in their class and life would honestly be pretty dull. Mistakes are what give us knowledge, wisdom and build our experiences. The thing we need to focus on is not doing them over and over again, because that’s is counterproductive. You have to train your brain to consciously examine outside of yourself, analyze the situation from afar and then offer up the solutions you think will ignite change. I love this graphic below I found via Pinterest, because you can swap out the question to really anything and the logic still applies.
Today, I am going to take my mistakes and experiences from yesterday, and not do those things, so I can have a happier, stress-free day.
I have clearly seen a trend developing in my personal style lately. I’ve been evolving, like we all do, into someone a bit more refined and intentional. This might be is a new mantra I’ve been repeating to myself:
I think it can be so easy to become complacent with work, relationships even just life in general. That space of complacency when you hear people (or yourself) start making excuses as to why they’re: lazy, overweight, unhappy with their appearance, wish they made more money etc. This has definitely happened to me in the past and even recently. Luckily my type-A, neurotic personality won’t allow myself to get too far, but I think it’s also been an issue of maturity. This year and even the last couple months I’ve felt more at calm with myself than I ever have before. It’s so welcoming. Being a twenty-something is super confusing, frustrating, emotional draining and fun all at the same time. But now that I’m developing a mindset of intentionality, I feel I’m able to more clearly define my goals, both personal and professional, and even my style. All of which makes me extremely happy.
With all this serious talk of intentionality and ‘growing up’, I had to lighten the mood with this week’s Can I Have That? with some seriously awesome leopard and gold boots. I mean….come on! And the fact they’re under $100 makes them a double win! Also, my style is pretty classic and chic, I don’t really pull off the bohemian look , but I would consider converting if I could try the hand chain trend. And with a minimal investment like this one from Forever 21, I wouldn’t be mad if I looked completely ridiculous. Bubble bath is currently trending in the world of Lauren. It’s been years since I’ve taken the time to draw a bath and have a good soak, but in the last month I’ve taken two and each time I enjoyed them…a LOT. I have a great tub, so I’m thinking it’s time I make the investment in some really luxurious bubble bath to up my Sunday soak game a little more.
| SHOP THIS POST |
Is it just me or does anyone else feel like the curse/blessing of being a true twenty-something is upon them?
Happy Monday dolls! I spent the weekend helping to style a first birthday party for a set of twins and I’m exhausted. Unfortunately I don’t have time to rest as we are heading up to Dallas this weekend to enjoy Fashion X Dallas, a fun 3-night fashion event a client of ours is putting on. This sudden change in weather is throwing off my packing a bit, but I’m excited that it’s finally cool enough for jeans, long sleeves and hot coffees. (My Instagram feed has been blowing up with everyone’s Starbucks selfies #NoShameInTheGame right?)
I had a mega tough workout on Friday and my muscles hated me on Sunday. So I made the wise decision to draw a bath and soak for a bit. Best decision of my life. I’m pretty sure these Sunday soaks are going to become a ritual, because it was amazing. I drank my butter coffee, caught up on literature (Harper’s and Health count right?) and chilled the fuck out.
After a recent wine-buzzed Saturday night trip to Half-Priced Books with my pal Courtney, (we’re officially old) I have a new stack of great business books to start digging into. It got my thinking of how many great business books I’ve read over the past 5+ years. A few weeks ago I posted about 4 great marketing bloggers you needed to follow and got great feedback from it. So i figured sharing some of the great business books I’ve stumbled upon would be a nice gesture. So let’s get to it!
I love this book, It’s my most recent read. It’s super short, but is filled with such great take-aways. I love motivating, quick-reads like this one. Would make a great stocking-stuff for any go-getter or creative.
Oh, Richard Branson. What a life this man has had and is living. His brain and business intuition is on another level. Many of his earlier life experiences are so relatable and he just tells it like it is.
I won’t lie I still have not made it all the way through this book because every time I start reading it my brain starts working too much and I get distracted. But this is an Entrepreneur-101 book. ie: A Must Read
Life lessons are invaluable. I truly believe the only way to become very successful is to make your fair share of mistakes before finding something that works. I love picking successful people’s brains and asking about their experiences (which is essentially what this book does). 99% of them tell anecdotes of the time they almost went bankrupt or told a few white lies just to keep their business a float. It’s all about the hustle.
This book was given to me last Christmas. It’s another short, yet motivating read. I love books that speak purely to my creative side, as I feel like many books focus more on strategies, analytics and management. This is all about you and how to thrive as a creative. Hells ya!
While school wasn’t really my thing I absolutely LOVE learning. Psychology plays such a pivot role (probably the important role) in marketing and effectively communicating with your customers (or potential customers). As a strategic marketing director, I obsessively analyze my client’s customers digital behaviors and habits. I think the whole landscape of social media and digital marketing is fascinating. Definitely next on my read list.
Oh data. You beautiful, number-driven beast. I used to hate (still do) math, But I LOVE data, analytics and spreadsheets. I think that comes from being a super-competitive athlete for 10+ years. We were constantly looking at stat sheets with our coaches; using those percentages, averages, and benchmarks to improve our game and learn from our mistakes or successes. I now do this daily for my startup and my clients. Could I get better at it? OF COURSE, thus I want to read this book.
After becoming the poster child of how to NOT run a lean startup (although, compared to many failed startups, we didn’t do that bad) I think this book would be very useful to reference in the future. If you are still pre-funding/pre-revenue and still in idea form, I’d recommend learning as much as you can about Quickly Validating Your Business Model [ Tweet this Content ] and making sure your ‘amazing idea’ will actually make you money! (Because while ‘following your passion’ is admirable, going to go broke doing it makes it much, much less appealing.)
Again, back to the topic of psychology. Marketing, blogging, social media, real life social/business interactions (which unfortunately are becoming rather scarce) is all a brain game. I’m pretty no bullshit when it comes to people. This is mostly due to a self-diagnosis of resting-bitch face. I also suffer from ADHD and a recent onset of moderate to severe anxiety. (All lovely right?!) Unfortunately, my job requires a LOT of interacting, people-pleasing and influencing (this is something, luckily I naturally excel in) But again, I can always be better.
A few weeks ago something happened to me that NEVER happens. I won a contest. I never win contests, giveaways, raffles…it just doesn’t happen. But thanks to a girlfriend who entered me in one via Instagram…I WON! And it was the most perfect prize for me. A night of pizza making and eating. Say whhhaaat!? *Does a happy dance* The inner fat kid in me was just.so.happy.
After a whole day of work, there was nothing more that I wanted to do that nosh on some handmade (by me!) pizza. J joined in and we got busy learning all about the necessary requirements to become a certified neapolitan pizzeria. YES. That is a real thing.
There is apparently a lot that goes into becoming a qualified DOC-certified Neapolitan Pizzeria:
1. Wood-burning oven: The real Neapolitan pizza must be cooked in a wood-fired dome oven operating at a temperature of about 900 F.
2. Proper Ingredients: wheat flour type “00, Fresh tomatoes, Canned Peeled tomatoes, Mozzarella, Extra Virgin Olive oil, Fresh Basil Only, Grated Hard cheese must be used, Origano, Sea salt, Compressed yeast, All types of fat must be excluded from the dough
3. Proper technique for the preparation of the dough: Hand-worked or low speed mixer (fork or spiral). No planetary or vertical mixers are allowed.
4. Proper technique for the preparation of the pizza: Opening the dough only by hand and slapping on the working surface, transfer of the pizza on a peel by hand and adjusting the shape, cooking on an oven with a temperature of not less than 900Â° F for a time not exceeding the 90 seconds.
5. Proper Equipment: A proper work surface (usually a marble slab), a wood or aluminum pizza peel to introduce the pizza into the oven and a long handle metal round peel to turn and remove the pizza from the oven.
6. Final Product: Pizza Napoletana must be not larger than 11 inches with a raised edge crust of about 1 inch and a thin center.
That wood burning oven is custom-made direct from Italy. I spy our pizzas getting all hot and bothered! It only took them 90 seconds those bad boys…so good to note: If you are not a patient pizza orderer, neapolitan pizzas are for you!
By the time J and I had taken the kitchen tour, made our pizzas I only had the patience to take one Instagram worthy shot, before I finished inhaling it.
I’m so thankful to Citygram for choosing me as one of the winners. It was such a fun, unexpected evening. I’ll definitely be back to aRoma soon (possibly for their happy hour or 25% off Wine Wednesday!)
Here is a short list of some of my favorite pizza places in Austin and some I’m still wanting to try:
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!