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Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Bon Voyage!

25 May

{ personal: }

F2 wedding
F2 ties the knot

 

On October 3, 2009, my husband Fil and I got married. This Saturday we’re taking our honeymoon. We’ll be spending the following three weeks traveling through France and Spain: Paris, the Pyrenees, Barcelona and Costa Brava. Do I sound excited yet? Well, I’m excited! I’m really excited!

{ daily outfit: }

Daily outfit, style tip, black skinny jeans, black blazer, pink 3D petal boxy top
Too excited to sit still. Can you blame a girl?
Daily outfit, style tip, black skinny jeans, black blazer, pink 3D petal boxy top
Dimensional petal detail

 

{ bloggers: }

Some of my favorite bloggers have agreed to do guest posts for me in my absence, you’ll be in good hands. I’m really looking forward to sharing them with you and hope you enjoy their company as much as I do. I read a lot of blogs, at least as much as time allows, and over time some have stuck with me.

I found myself returning again and again.

It’s been a long time coming but I’ve also updated my blogroll to reflect those blogs dearest to me.
In time I hope to feature more of the bloggers on my blogroll, you deserve to know who they are and what makes them so fantastic. Here’s a sneak peak of what’s to come:

Anika of by Anika – A self-worth activist and budding designer. Her beauty and love crosses the Atlantic and shines on my life. I think she single-handedly makes Oslo awesome.

Arash of Arash Mazinani – He blogs for both men and women. Not one to shy away from hot topics, he gets the conversation going across several continents.

Gracey of Fashion for Giants – Her smile radiates through her camera, over the internet and out of my monitor and lights up my day. I can’t help but want to smile back. In fact, I’m pretty sure I do.

Sarah of Cloud of Secrets – Do you ever want to be transported elsewhere? Whether it’s a land of textures or colors, Sarah takes my imagination out to a happier place. And she does it while still maintaining a beautiful, human connection.

I intend to feature these following bloggers after I return because I just can’t keep them a secret:

Casee Marie of The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower – She’s intelligent and captivating, I can’t just scan anything she writes, I have to read the entire post. Every time.

Kristy Eléna of Kristy Eléna – Not just Sunglass Hut’s Blogger of the Year, she’s the heart and brains behind Full Time Fabulous, a community fostering inspiration and support to fashion bloggers.

Lee of Lee Oliveira – A street style photographer whose photos make me want to dress up and wander the streets of Sydney until he “accidentally” spots me! His photos capture much more than the outfit, it’s always a pleasure to be shown how he sees others through his lens.

Ofelia of My Intended Life – I dare you to peruse her blog and not feel compelled to move to south Florida, or at least go visit. Colors and wonderful aromas lift from the pictures of the fresh fruit and vegetables from her local farmers market, her thrift store treasures on display beckoning us all to look twice around us, hidden gems are everywhere.

Sacramento of Mis Papelicos – Sacramento is the sky-diver of fashion; she’s bold and romantic and lady-like and creative. This woman loves her world and her world loves her back. Don’t you want to live in it? I do.

Check back every few days to see who will make an appearance. In the meantime, I will see you again in three weeks, my friends. Happy spring!

{ style tip: }

On my wedding day I only had to do two things: look good and say “I do”. Some things don’t have to be complicated. The same applies for getting dressed.

I almost penned today “Midriff Tuesday” after putting on my clothes. The boxy top sat about four inches above the waist of these black pants. (No one needs to see that unless I’m at the beach.) Enter the long tank top to save the day. Over the years, I have amassed a nice variety of tank tops, both plain and lacy, for such occasions. The black and neutral ones are staples in my wardrobe. If you can only have two, those are the ones to start with. You’ll be glad you did.

{ deets: }

Black ankle cigarette pants/BDG, Urban Outfitters, pink dimensional petal boxy top/H&M, taupe tank top/Nordstrom’s, black boyfriend blazer/Urban Outfitters, black sandals/Dansko.

{ photos: }

Wedding – Ron Essex, other – Filip Jach

 

IFB Links à la Mode weekly roundup

01 May

Last week the post I wrote about tattoos was selected to be featured on Independent Fashion Bloggers weekly roundup, Links à la Mode. I’m very proud to be among such good company. I recommend checking out the posts by my fellow contributors.

While I typically focus on outfits-of-the-day posts, my dream is to make time to write more thoughtful in-depth pieces, especially as they relate to positive body image and personal growth. You might enjoy a couple other posts I’ve written in the past which were also selected by IFB, Favorite body parts and Shine your light on me.

 

More than Meets the Eye

Edited by Fajr Muhammad at Stylish Thought

When you visit a fashion blog you often see a stylish blogger posing in a perfectly, put together outfit with gorgeous scenery. What you don’t see is the work that goes into curating and maintaining a fashion blog. This week the theme across IFB was outfit posts: what deems an outfit worthy, what goes into creating a stunning visual post and ultimately the comments (some not so nice) that we receive as style bloggers. Ultimately, blogging is a way to express our love for fashion and personal style but as this week’s links can attest to, there is much more to fashion blogging than meets the eye.

Links à la Mode: April 28th

SPONSOR:

New Sunglasses at Shopbop: Stella McCartney, Tom Ford, Ray Ban, YSL, Marc Jacobs, Carrera, DITA, Gucci, Phillip Lim & Super Sunglasses

 

FBFF Q&A: The rules of engagement

31 Mar
Official facebook House in the Clouds page
Check out The House in the Clouds on facebook

 

Guess what? I’m really excited about this, I finally set up an official facebook page for The House in the Clouds. I’m still trying to figure out how to integrate a widget in a way that I find aesthetically pleasing. It feels painfully slow to be hindered by the reality of a full-time job and personal life, not to mention the stack of laundry decorating my office space, formerly known as the dining room. Check it out!

{ daily outfit: }

Daily outfit and style tips, wearing blue and coral pattern blouse with navy skirt and gold belt
Snuck away from a desk for a few to snap these on a beautiful afternoon
Daily outfit and style tips, wearing blue and coral pattern blouse with navy skirt and gold belt
We call this pose “looking for snails”

 

{ friend friday: }

We want our blogs to succeed however we have chosen to define that success. Most likely, we want to gain followers, fans, loyalty, even acclaim of some sort. We want to be recognized, we want to influence. It’s a daunting task at best, completely overwhelming to digest as a whole.

Our mothers warned us not to be too boastful, to play nice and to say “thank you.” Where is that fine line that we are supposed to ride, one that engages and encourages without becoming as annoying as a late night infomercial? How do we get there? What are the rules?

This is this weeks Fashion Beauty Friend Friday’s topic. Read on.

FBFF: Guest posts are a good way to gain exposure. What do you think is the appropriate way to go about securing a spot?

FJ: Personally, I’m a big fan of developing and nurturing connections. I make the most effort with those whose persona and voice appeal to me, those I would have just as likely been inclined to get to know in person. Once I feel that I have this type of rapport, discussing anything is easy. A dialogue and friendship already exists. I treat my online friendships with the same courtesy I extend everyone else, I don’t really have a specific tactic.

FBFF: Leaving comments is essential to growing your blog. But how can you leave a comment without coming across as “Follow Me. Follow Me!”?

FJ: Don’t make it your objective. It’s assumed you want to grow your blog but be cool, be genuine. People can tell when you’re not really into what their blog is about. Honestly, it’s just plain ol’ weird. We’re not little kids anymore. I would never walk up to a total stranger and ask them to be my friend and offer to be their friend. Where else in life is this acceptable for adults? It strips integrity from the action.

FBFF: We’ve all gotten a mass email at one time or another asking for blog exposure, a link exchange, etc… But the mass emails don’t work. How do you make your email stand out from the crowd?

FJ: There’s a huge difference between spam and a conversation. An email blast purely to promote my blog is marketing, more specifically, the worst kind of spam. I care to foster community or have a conversations, not be detached or irrelevant in the context of a group. It would be disrespectful in that context. Tweeting to people who have independently chosen to follow my blog is acceptable. Spamming within the confines of a group is using that group disrespectfully.

Here’s an example of how I did recently ask for support from some friends for my facebook page. Firstly, I had an easy, realistic goal: to reach over 25 “likes” in order to claim my name. Secondly, I sent an email to my best friends. Not everyone in my address book, that would have been really uncool. I sent an email to my absolute closest friends, those who have a vested interest in my success and would not be put out in helping me out in this fashion. I don’t make it a habit to do this so I didn’t worry that my actions would be interpreted as annoying and careless. They came through. Fantastic!

Why did this work? They know me, they like me, they support me. I laid out what I was hoping to achieve and how they could help. I made it clear and I only sent out one email. Why would a group of people who don’t know me want to help me? What’s in it for them if I have not made any attempt at developing a rapport with them? That’s reality. If I want support, I create and become an active participant in that group or community. Being purely self-serving is shallow and easy to ignore, it’s certainly not a likable trait.

FBFF: In interacting with other bloggers, where do you draw the line between seeking support and begging for exposure?

FJ: Seeking support is valid, we all benefit from a helping hand. We help, we get help, it’s a nice way for the world to go around. There’s really no line to draw, they may seem similar from afar but I know the difference between the two and I would never confuse one for the other. My actions speak to that very clear distinction.

I’ll speak loudly on this: there’s no integrity in begging. DON’T. GO. THERE. Don’t beg, Don’t plead. You want advice or support, just ask for it. Be genuine with your request. One hundred people is no more or less valuable than a single one. That is my absolute truth. It’s easy to get caught up, it’s human nature to compare ourselves to others’ successes and failures in order to assess ourselves. Every follower, every person who digs what I’m doing is an individual with their own worth, they’re not lumped in some category and boxed up to go. So why beg for exposure? I have it. It’s right here. If only two folks read my blog today, guess what? That’s two valuable humans. People aren’t numbers. There’s never a good reason to compromise ones self-esteem over anything.

FBFF: What’s one rule of engagement error you made and how have you remedied that?

FJ: I don’t recall making any. I took my time observing and learning before dipping my toes in the water. That just happens to be the kind of person I am. I might be all kinds of things but one would be hard-pressed to call me clueless. I pay attention, listen to others and I learn well. And no, I’m not going to point out my flaws to counterbalance that statement.

Thank you Katy of Modly Chic for crafting these questions. Friend Friday is an opportunity for fashion and beauty bloggers to share their thoughts on a specific topic and read what others have to say on that same topic. For more information, check out Modly Chic and welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!

 

{ style tip: }

I matched my belt and tights to one of the colors in the pattern of my blouse. It provided contrast nicely without being jarring or too matchy-matchy. It was a way to keep the outfit colorful without introducing yet another color. The somewhat sheer tights are a sparkly ochre yellow which made them fun, but the sheerness kept the sparkle from becoming overwhelming.

 

{ deets: }

Blouse/ModCloth, navy blue skirt/MaxStudio, elastic belt/Anthropologie, sparkly tights/Urban Outfitters, brown vegan suede boots/Munro, necklace/Linkel Designs.

Photos: Filip Jach

 

For Japan, with love

18 Mar

Today’s regular programming will be postponed until tomorrow while I join other bloggers in a Day of Silence. Many of us have joined forces with Utterly Engaged‘s fundraising efforts. While I may not have mentioned the tragedy on my blog this week, it has weighed heavily in my heart. It was the last piece of news I read last Thursday before going to bed. While Friday would bring the excitement of going to Las Vegas for Style Nation, it was bittersweet as I never completely lost touch with those who suffered and those who lost their lives.

Please join me if you feel so inclined.

Sincerly,

f

For Japan with love fundraiser
Click on image to help
 

FBFF Q&A: Just breathe… Blogging vs. life

11 Mar
Wearing my 30 for 30 remix outfit, wearing burgundy dress in garden

30 for 30 remix, day 23

I blog therefore I am… busy, tired and sometimes a little overwhelmed. When does the wheel stop spinning? Yoga might help but that would be yet another thing I would have to cram into an already busy schedule. So, how is this done? How much sleep do I really need, anyway?

This topic could not have come at a better time. I had been coasting nicely along until snowboarding season. All of a sudden, my schedule looks like this:

  • Monday night – Run 30 min., stretch 30 min., get home later. Blog.
  • Tuesday night – Catch up and blog. The weekly grocery shopping trip is often squeezed in here.
  • Wednesday night – Run 1 hr., stretch 45 min., get home pretty late. Blog.
  • Thursday night – Pack for snowboarding. Blog.
  • Friday night – Make the 4 hour pilgrimage to the slopes. Arrive late.
  • Saturday – Wake up early, spend all day at the slopes.
  • Sunday – Wake up early, spend all day at the slopes, make the 4 hour drive back home. Unpack.

 

To add to the precarious navigation of said schedule, my hubby and I commute together to and from work. Up until recently, we lived in urban areas where the need for a car was next to none and our schedules were totally independent of each other. Now, if one of us has an early meeting it means that both of us have an early meeting. We only have one car to share, there are regular negotiations about who gets the car when, who gets picked up from the train station at what time. All in all, everything we choose to do affects the other.

I’ve been progressively feeling like I’m falling behind; I have to ask myself why do I feel this way? My schedule has changed on purpose, acknowledging this is key. Am I going to let it stress me out or am I going to modify my game plan? After all, snowboarding is not a chore, it’s my passion. I dream about it all summer, I can’t wait for the snow to fall every year. You know what else is not a chore? Blogging. It’s evidently also a passion. What’s a girl to do? Plan better. Be more efficient. And just breathe…

This week we’re discussing the delicate balancing act of blogging versus life.

FBFF: When it comes to prioritizing your life, in what place does blogging fall?

FJ: After my health, fitness, adequate sleep and marriage and before socializing, reading books and resting. I know how that sounds, I put blogging before rest. I’ve been known to stay up right until bedtime which has led to thinking about blogging in bed when I ought to be mentally preparing myself for slumber. While it is not stressful, it’s also less than ideal. The mind should be shutting down, I’m aware that this habit needs to change. It’s cool to be this excited about something but it’s not sustainable to operate at this pace.

FBFF: We all wish we had more free time to dedicate to blogging and all it entails. What are your tricks for taking advantage of the time you do have to be as productive as possible?

FJ: I jot notes down every time I think of something I want to remember. I’ll also send myself emails, too, if I don’t have my notebook around. I click on links from my twitter feed and quickly check out a post at work while I’m on hold or waiting for a file to upload or print. I can read very quickly, it’s probably one of my most underrated abilities.

FBFF: Have you discovered any short-cuts that makes blogging easier or more time efficient?

FJ: Not getting sidetracked is key. I joke around that my brain is run by a tribe of rogue ants, all trying to make stuff happen at once. I literally have to list my top three goals on a piece of paper, number them and keep referring to them every time my mind, eyes or body dart elsewhere. I kid you not. I use a black Sharpie marker and make my list on the back of an envelope. It has to be obnoxiously noticeable to work. I know how my brain functions.

The other thing is that I’m always thinking, constantly mapping out how and what I want to do so that by the time I have a free moment I have already figured it out as efficiently as possible. My actions are bite-size! I’m always improving one little thing at a time. I let go of trying to be perfect out the gate a long time ago. It’s paralyzing. Instead, I’m constantly assessing how I can improve one little thing or another. No one really notices the changes but the experience is perpetually improving one little evolutionary step at a time.

FBFF: Do you have an editorial calendar or something similar that helps you plan ahead?

FJ: Lol! No and boy is that ever going to change soon! I’ve been kicking the idea around for a while. Before I even started hearing about editorial calendars I had already put in certain things in my gmail calendar with reminders. I just need to flush out the system realistically, I wanted to sit with it a little while before implementing it. I’ve been thinking of ways to create a sustainable schedule. I don’t want to blog every single day, it feels unhealthy to be in front of the computer like this all the time. I need to create a schedule that allows for pre-posting so that I can take a few days off a week.

FBFF:  If time wasn’t an issue what you would be doing on your blog/for your blog that you aren’t doing now?

FJ: About a gazillion things! I would have already practiced making a vlog, or two! I’d have read the manual to my new camera so that I could take better pictures, I’d have more posts written for the future. I’d have set up a facebook page. I’d read more blogs, spend more time getting to know fellow bloggers better. That’s just for starters.

As you can see, I’ve been thinking about this long and hard. What have I learned? Ultimately, the choice to do this is mine, I own the schedule, the content and the stress. As long as I remind myself that I’ve chosen freely to do this because I enjoy it I cannot give it so much power over me that it creates a heightened level of anxiety. I love doing this! If I don’t have the capacity for it some night, it’s ok. I take a break. To be frank, I’m a perfectionist so this is something I have really focus on, I have to give myself permission to rest. The internet is not going to die if I skip a day or two. Really! (That’s going to be my new mantra.)

Thank you Katy of Modly Chic for crafting these questions. Friend Friday is an opportunity for fashion and beauty bloggers to share their thoughts on a specific topic and read what others have to say on that same topic. For more information, check out Modly Chic and welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!

 

Deets: Burgundy sweater dress/unknown, leggings/Lulu’s, vegan grey faux cowboy boots/ModCloth, infinity scarf/hand knitted by me, cap/unknown, red leather belt/Wilson’s Leather, green abalone bracelet/gifted, silver three kitties ring/gifted*

* The background on this ring is that my youngest sister bought my other sister and me the same ring. The three kitties represent the three of us so I think of both of them every time I wear it.

 

Not just for experts only—Getting your blog off the ground.

09 Mar
Kirkwood, The Wall, snowboarding, skiing, blogging tips

The Wall at Kirkwood. Our favorite run of the day

A couple days ago it dawned on me that although my commenting system was greatly improved since my move from Blogger to WordPress, it was still missing a crucial element. I had been taking the time to reply to many of the comments left by you for naught. Without a reply notification plug-in, you would never know I had done so. On one hand, it seemed so trivial, on the other, it was a glaringly obvious how much more I had to learn.

I reflected on the fact that it was barely six months ago when I thought starting a blog would be fun. Well, it’s been a lot of fun. And it’s been a lot of hard work. Blogging is not limited to experts only, fortunately, there are some wonderful souls out there who have taken the care and time to share their experiences and knowledge base with the rest of us.

30 for 30 remix challenge, day 22. Ivory lace dress, vintage sweater and cowboy boots.

Birds making a pleasant commotion on day 22 of the 30 for 30 remix challenge.

Without them, this blog would not be what it is today. My success here and anywhere else, is and always has been, the result of collaboration and support. I would like to share a few of the resources I turned to in the past few months. By no means is this list complete, it’s merely a sampling of the information out there. If you’re already blogging, or are thinking of starting, check out some of these links. I have relied on the first seven at different times, the rest I think you might find useful.

What you need to know to be an outfit of the day blogger

Introduction: So you want to leave Blogger for WordPress?

 

Trademarks–What you need to know

Blog Analytics

Independent Fashion Bloggers – (Community resource)

FBFF – Friend Friday – (Community group)

Killer fashion blogging: 50 ways to take your fashion blog to the next level

How to make failed outfit pictures work (Photoshop tutorial)

Build a better blog

While I couldn’t remember the original site I turned to for grammatical assistance, I did find this one which is equally helpful. You may be the smartest cookie around but if you are misspelling regularly and don’t have the basics of English grammar down, your readers are going to think you’re dumb. Or worse yet, that you just don’t care. Like I said, blogging is fun but it’s also hard work.

Last but not least, last week I wrote about the correlation between your blog and branding. It’s a topic I’ve reflected upon on this journey and believe it’s good food for thought. While I may still have a long way to go, I’m confident that I’m headed in the right direction. I’m enjoying the journey and hope you are, too.

 

Deets: Vintage sweater/eBay, ivory lace dress/Jeremy’s, lace tights/Hue, vegan grey faux cowboy boots/ModCloth, owl necklace/Urban Outfitters.