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Posts Tagged ‘leggings’

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.

 

Developing your brand. Why does it matter?

01 Mar
brand, face

Am I a brand?

Pepsi is a brand, Madonna is a brand, even President Obama is a brand.

Beautifully Invisible gave me inspiration for this topic. Observing and participating in conversations in a community group confirmed the need to touch briefly on this topic. Many new bloggers struggle with this as they navigate their way around developing their content, voice, image, style and character.

What does branding have to do with blogging? Everything. Marty Neumeier defines a brand as “a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company. It’s a gut feeling because we’re all emotional, intuitive beings, despite our best efforts to be rational.” I will take it a step further and add “person” along with “product, service, or company.” We believe that the brands we love are unique, being true to what they stand for makes them appear so. We connect to those brands emotionally and feel a sense of pride for having that connection. You are your brand, therefore, your blog is your brand regardless of whether you are style or tech blogger.

It’s important to have a sense of who you are, what you are providing and why anyone would care. The goal is to express something that solicits a reaction or response, you’re looking to engage your audience and develop a connection. A blog can be beautiful but uninteresting, if your content is not king no one will keep coming back. When I say content is king, I don’t mean to imply that every post must be brilliant. I only mean this: You are writing your content. Emphasis on “you.” People come back because they connected with it. You don’t need to blow their minds but you do need to present yourself and your content in a compelling and genuine manner.

So how do we figure out all this out? Make a list of what makes you “you”. Now make a list of how others see you, how they would describe you. People’s impressions of you make up part of what defines you. The two lists should have a lot of in common. Do you see the correlation? Too much disparity and you’ve got a perception problem. Blogs are personal by nature, in most cases your blog is an extension of yourself and not a completely different persona. Your top attributes should be reflected in how you present yourself leading to how others perceive you. We want confirmation that supports why we love a brand. Apple is innovative. Nike is encouraging us to get out there and just do it. They might pleasantly surprise and delight us at times but they don’t send mixed signals. We love them for who they are.

No one is going to assume you lack dimensionality or creativity for being focused, they will be pleased that they got what they came for. Who is your target, who is it your speaking to? What are they looking for? Why would they come back for more? Understanding your demographic is key to giving them what they want. You’re looking to bridge the gap between what you offer and what your target wants. Is she a mother with kids who’s looking to connect and share ideas with other mothers, or is she a woman who also happens to be a mother with kids? The differences may be subtle but making the distinction is very important in how you choose to speak to one or the other.

You are the primary authority of your brand, express it through your blog with conviction. Know your audience, be focused, remain true to yourself. In the words of Stella Adler, “don’t act, behave.”

I give credit to Primo Angeli for being such a leader and influence on me. Understanding the relationships we have with brands and each other, how those perceptions trigger emotional responses, has given me so much valuable insight. The three years I worked at his design firm were pivotal to my ongoing personal and professional development. Marty Neumeier is author of The Brand Gap.

Photo: Jose Rodriguez

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Deets: Mustard dress/ModCloth, slate shawl collar cardigan/You Be Cheeky, black leggings/Hue, vegan faux grey cowboy boots/ModCloth, silver and mother of pearl necklace/Lois Hill, hand-carved wood earrings/Chicago.

 
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30 for 30 Winter, day 11. My mod style

16 Feb

Here I am, last Thursday. I go back in time like that.

A few weeks ago I was checking out Cloud of Secrets‘ blog when I came across a phrase at the end of the post that caught my eye: “I’d also like to learn more about new blog friend The House in the Clouds.” Looks like I coincidentally wandered into being tagged with a Stylish Blogger Award. Sweet!

I’m a sucker for such memes. I absolutely love reading things about people that might not otherwise make it into their posts. Without further ado, I unabashedly reveal to you the following:

1. For years many people in my life thought I only had one sister. I have two. It doesn’t matter which one I’m referring to, they’re both so significant in my life that I speak about them with such importance and familial propriety that I always say “my sister” with the emphasis on “my”. I know it’s odd, I just never think to create a distinction between the two, even though they’re different. It doesn’t matter if it’s baby sister one or baby sister two, they’re both my baby sisters. One love.

2. At 25, I found myself broken-hearted and feeling like I hadn’t done justice to any of my dreams. Without knowing the first thing about doing so, I started a band. I’ve sung all my life, I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t do it. It was an incredible experience to be onstage, deal with stage fright, make up lyrics on the fly that one time I froze and forgot them all. I’ve since refined my ability to improvise on the fly. I’ve also recorded a track for my best friends’ band on their last album and hope to record more in the future.

3. I did not go to art school. I’ve been earning a living in the field of design since I was a teen. I learned from my dad who is a designer. I worked with him until I branched off. For that reason, I didn’t discover that I could actually draw until my early 30′s. Imagine my surprise. I don’t draw often, I’ll trust I will enter a phase someday when I will draw until I can’t draw any more.

That’s baby sister, Frederique. She’s professional belly dancer

4. I used to think I was really shy. I turns out I was probably maladjusted and culture shocked. Not speaking English and needing glasses badly probably didn’t help, either. I’m not shy. So much so that last year when I was presenting a design round at work, the CEO of my Fortune 500 company was brought in as a surprise guest. He grilled me on every aspect of the strategy. Everyone in the room was mortified and apologetic to me that this happened. No need, I had a blast. We even laughed a bunch. Definitely not shy.

5. When I was young, before (gasp!) the internet, I would go to the public library and read the Chilton’s manuals for my car, write the instructions down, and go back home and work on it. My sister and I changed the brakes on my dad’s car. Several years later she and I changed the head gasket on my car. It goes back to believing at my core that there’s nothing I can’t do, only stuff I haven’t learned how to do yet. I have no problem being a total beginner if it means I’m learning something.

6. I have Celiac. I didn’t discover this until I was 39. I didn’t even know how bad I felt all the time because I had no idea what it was like to feel “normal”. I love feeling great now. I don’t care how much effort it takes to avoid gluten, it’s totally worth it.

7. I’m unbelievably allergic to poison oak. I get it all the time. Sometimes, it makes sense because I was outdoors. Other times, I couldn’t begin to tell you how I contracted it. The hubby is always amazed at my ability to develop that lovely rash. I can now treat a poison oak reaction in no time flat. That’s how many times I’ve had it.

The rules of engagement are as follows:
- Thank and link back to the person who awarded you
- Share 7 things about yourself
- Award 10 recently discovered great bloggers
- Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award

I’m going to cheat a little here. You might remember that a while back I was tagged with a Versatile Blogger Award by Rose of Lovely Ladypants McGee. At the time I didn’t feel qualified to tag people yet so I publicly postponed suggested tagging. I’m going to tag ten bloggers now and, well, absolve myself of having to tag another ten and just consider the whole thing fair and square. Which is technically cheating. But only a little.

Here are my tagged ten in no particular order, peeps that I would like to get to know more about:

1. Emma, Daily Clothes Fix
2. Arash, ArashMazinani
3. Brett, Silvergirl
4. Yvonne, Vogue Inspired Fashion for the Real World
5. Mackenzie, Whatever, Gatsby
6. Franca, Oranges and Apples
7. Collette, Statements in Fashion
8. Sherry, Girl’s Day Out
9. Alice, Lovelorn Frog
10. Nicole, Graph Paper Heart

I would have had an even longer list that would have included additional lovelies such as Jodi, Bella, Stephanie and B, alas someone had beat me to it recently and I didn’t want to be redundant. Just sayin’.

Deets: Mod dress/H&M, black turtleneck/Benetton, black leggings/Hue, silver and mother-of-pearl necklace/Lois Hill, black ankle boots/Munro.

Photo: Euan Rannachan

 
 

30 for 30 Winter, day 9. Who you calling a wookie?

14 Feb

Ravens on a wire nuzzling overhead

There were wookie jokes made all day. I wonder why.

It’s finally raining in Northern California. While this might not mean much to those of you outside the state, it’s been a month since we’ve had any and unless we want our water to be rationed all summer, this is a good thing.

Of course it also means snow. Which means I finally get to take my beautiful new snowboard out this weekend. Am I excited? Heck yeah, I’m excited!

I managed not to capture my nordic leggings and brown boots while taking my picture this morning. I got distracted by two lovey ravens up on a wire overhead. The were being so sweet to each other. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that before. Well, it was Valentine’s day.

In the last three days I designed and migrated my blog to another platform, wrote six posts, helped a friend with a design project and managed to celebrate Valentine’s by cooking dinner with my sweetie. If it seems like I’ve haven’t been around lately, you’re probably right. I miss seeing your faces, I’ll be back shortly.

Deets: Burgundy sweater dress/Marshall’s, faux fur vest/Urban Outfitters, belt/Anthropologie, necklace/gifted, hand-carved earrings/Chicago, woven bracelets/gifted, nordic leggings/Lulu’s, vegan brown suede boots/Munro.

 
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Who’s Is This Murphy Character?

21 Dec
WinterFest ’10 happening right here on my knees

Happy legs

Because as far as I can tell, I’m not too pleased with that law of his. Not at all. Leave it to bragging about not having gotten sick to start feeling a little under the weather. Swollen glands, check. Tickle in the back of the throat, check. Feeling tired, check.

No less, on a night which I planned months ago to meet a friend for a drink. This is a cruel, cruel trick, Murphy. This is the opposite of festive cheer and peace to all men.
It will be tea for me tonight, alas, and an early bedtime. (By tea, I actually meant Hot Toddy, served by one amazing bartender, Marjan, but the early bedtime still stands.) Let me just add that I got a lot of mileage out of those leggings today. All kinds of cheery holiday mileage.

I know happiness when I wear it!
Deets: Black dress/Max Studio, cranberry ruffle sweater/Moth, Anthropologie, cozy cabin cream leggings/Lulus.com, boots/ModCloth, necklace/gifted, bracelets/gifted, hand-carved wood earrings/Chicago.
 
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Missing You.

20 Dec
Cozy Cabin Cream Leggings from Lulus.com

You won’t believe what happened this evening. As we were parking the car I turned to my husband and professed that it felt so strange to be coming home without plans to blog. Turns out that taking the weekend off was plenty of time away. I missed my baby! It happened, it’s become a habit. That’s what thirty days straight will do to you. I think this might have been Kendi’s secret master plan. She looks cute but she might just be devious like that.

I’ve officially navigated the holiday season quite well. I have one gift left to buy, (yipee!) I’m not stressed, hung over, sick or have bad hair. Remember that list I made last week? Just in case you missed it:

  • Christmas card designed and mailed, no YES!
  • Christmas tree purchased, no YES!
  • Christmas decorations installed, no  YES!
  • Christmas presents made, no YES! 1 more to go, I just decided it’s a New Year present!
  • Christmas baking planned, no, (it’s ok, there’s still time)
  • Baking ingredients purchased, no YES!
  • Holiday parties attended, yes, one

And just because I really like making lists and crossing things off, I’ve added a few more items:

  • Decorated Christmas tree, YES!
  • Had friends over for dinner in Christmas-y house, YES!
  • Gave gifts to team at work, YES!
  • Had hair done, YES!
  • Maintained running schedule, YES!

You’ll see that I’ve progressed quite well, if I may say so myself. By the way, where did this expression come from? It’s totally redundant. Who else is saying so? I resolve to stop using it. Yes, in fact, it will be one of my New Year’s resolutions.

Since I didn’t want to leave you hanging you’ll notice I posted a little eye candy. Yes, I am referring to the happiness that is also known Cozy Cabin Cream Leggings from Lulus.com. I bought them. I admit it was an impulse purchase. I really had no idea how on earth you wear these things, let me tell you, it’s like a cross between some bad childhood sweater I had and 1974 ski movie there on my legs. I was too curious to pass up that experience.

A few minutes foraging through the forest that is my closet and I came up with not just one, but two outfits. The second is a bit fun although I may wear it to work on a dare to myself. If you’ve been good, I’ll show you the first of the two tomorrow. Ok, I’ll show you if you’ve been naughty, too. I’m more flexible with that kind of stuff than Santa. Just sayin’. Santa’s alright and everything but I don’t care too much if you’ve been sleeping or if you’re awake. Just as long as you’re happy!

Photo from Lulus.com

 
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