Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Hassle with Hashtags

Every once in a while, I get bogged down with the business of blogging. 

Between the emails I get from web SEO specialists or whatever telling me that they can help my blog rate better on search engines and spam comments suggesting ways I can get more followers, it's sometimes easy to lose sight of why I started blogging in the first place.

At the core, my blog is personal. It's about me, what I think and my experiences. It began way back before hashtags and Instagram, well before social media was an integral part of being a blogger. Since switching my blog to Blogger nearly ten years ago, I started to explore more than our family's adventures in Hong Kong.

I changed blog names when I changed platforms, which opened up all sorts of new possibilities for my writing and introduced me to new communities as well. Fast forward nearly eight years, and my blog has developed into a place to share what I'm passionate about with vintage, second hand and sustainable fashion along with my experiences as a mother. I love sharing these things with the readers I've found here (thank you!).

I don't monetize my blog and I'm not sure that I plan to either. After all, I have a 9 to 5 that I enjoy and life keeps me pretty busy without adding 'professional blogging business' to my load. Don't get me wrong, this blog has brought me many gifts and collaboration opportunities. I have brands I love to work with and I feel like I'm part of the industry in my own way. 

But there are times where it just starts to feel less creative and more like work and I begin to lose my inspiration. One such time is trying to stay ahead of the always changing social media game, which brings me to the topic of this post.  Hashtags. It's part of the love-hate relationship I have with Instagram. Just when you think you have it figured out, it changes.

And why does that matter? Well, in the grand scheme of things it doesn't.  But it also does. I mean, I'm far into this blogging/Instagram thing now and so I do want my content to be seen and read. I'd like to think that when a SEO consultant emails me, I can confidently say that I don't need their services because I have figured most of it out on my own. By myself.

And mostly, I'd like to stop getting bogged down in followers and analytics and keep doing this for the love of what I do. Hashtags and analytics are not inspiring.  I'm inspired by connections and style inspo I get from the blogging community out there, but if I don't stay on top of the social media game, I won't stay connected. 

So there, I said it. It's off my chest.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Gold Dress and Gratitude & Links a la Mode, Nov 30

***Disclaimer: This is a more personal post than most.

It's Thanksgiving weekend, and I would be remiss if I didn't use it as an opportunity to stop and reflect and give thanks.

So, how shall I reflect? What am I grateful for? How can I do justice to the many gifts in my life? And there are many...I have my health, I have my family and I have wonderful friends. I have love in my life, a job I enjoy and a roof over my head. Those things are reason alone to stop and be grateful everyday. And, for the most part I do. Gratitude for these things shouldn't just be shown once a year.

As a parent, I try most of all to make sure my children understand what it means to be thankful for what they have. Too much these days, I see kids whose focus seems to be on what they don't have. Maybe it's a bi-product of social media that makes them hyper aware of what others post and then compare themselves to others experiences. Whatever the reason, at home we make sure to remind our kiddos that they shouldn't say only as in "I only got such and such...or I only have this or that" but rather "Look, I got such and such" in away that helps them know that they were lucky to receive it.

But this post isn't just about the gratitude I have for my children, my family and my friends. It's about more. It's about stopping to reflect on where this blogging journey has taken me and more importantly, where it's going and the gratitude I have for all that it's brought me.

This week, I had coffee and a catch up with a friend and we spoke about what we had going on in our lives beyond motherhood and work. We spoke about the things we were passionate about, the desire to be creative and the enjoyment we get when we find like minded souls. She asked me what I thought my blogging meant to me and about the future of this journey. And then she encouraged me to continue it. 

It was one of those afternoons that left me feeling fulfilled and supported by a fellow woman, and that in itself was important. We women can be our own harshest critics, so it felt wonderful to feel lifted up. It made me feel such appreciation for the community of people I've met by way of this blogging journey. The women who, like me, are putting themselves out there and sharing their voices on blogs, on Instagram, on You Tube. 

The girl bosses who are running their brands and businesses and taking risks to follow their dreams. They're hustling, creating, beautifying, teaching, inspiring....and doing so for the love of it.

And when I think about it,  I feel incredibly lucky to be part of this amazing, creative community of strong women and to have found friends here along the way.

Links à la Mode, November 30
SPONSOR: Shopbop Marysia Swim, BACON Jackets, Vince Sneakers, NSF, Sunday Saint Tropez, KULE, Swimwear, Mini Heels, Travel Bags, Men's Sorel

Monday, November 20, 2017

Summer Days Have Come and Gone

When Summer lingers, or there's suddenly unseasonable warmth at the end of October or November, its usually referred to as an Indian Summer. What does that even mean? I decided to look up the origins to make sure I was understanding the term correctly. Apparently what it refers to is the occasional warm summer weather that occurs well after the end of season. It became known as Indian Summer because Native Americans believed it was a warm wind sent by their southern god.

At least that's the official explanation offered on the internet. Whatever it means, it has nothing to do with my outfit or really even this post except to say that Hong Kong summers are longer anyhow. The humidity dips, but it really only gets 'cool' in November. I picked up this dress in an end of summer sale at H&M, which would never occur in any store other than in Hong Kong because summer weather is long gone. 

It is arguably over here, too. In fact, as I recall, the day I wore this thin summer dress, I remember feeling a bit of the chill. And now that I look back at these pictures, I'm feeling a little sad that those blue Sam Edelman slides that have been such a staple in my outfits this Fall might have to be put away for a little bit. 

Not yet, because I can still wear them with pants, but soon. I'd better think about ways I might be able to layer this dress.  Over pants? Belted?

I don't have to be sad about these Eat Da Rich pom pom earrings because there are all sorts of possibilities for winter outfits.

Just you wait and see!

Friday, November 17, 2017

What Inspires You?

I should really use Pinterest more to keep a 'scrapbook' of looks, but I'm afraid I'll get sucked in and quite frankly I don't need anymore time suckers.

In any case, I can't take credit for this outfit. I was really inspired by a look I saw on an Instagram account I follow, @mercyvintage. These days, Instagram is real well spring of inspiration for me. I don't usually copy outfits, but prefer to offer my own take on the original inspiration.

Whenever I find something that excites me, my first instinct is to look into my own closet to see how I can pull my own pieces to recreate the look. Copying exactly leaves little room for creativity, so I try not to do that.  In this case, you can see from the original, that there are lots of aspects that are similar to the original outfit, but nothing that is an exact copy.

I've got a silk bomber, instead of a blingy cardigan. My skirt is crushed velvet and more of a gold color than the yellow knitted version (theirs is also a maxi skirt, while mine is a midi). Scarf, also different and chosen to match what I selected. The shirt was a sweet gift from @thriftedsisters who saw that I'd posted this outfit inspiration in my instastory and knew her piece would help me to put the look together.

Which brings me to my next point. People inspire me. People like @bjonesstyle and @karenbritchick whose enthusiasm for what they do is contagious. Who wouldn't love getting dressed when you see how excited they are about playing dress up. Seriously, subscribe to their YouTube channels and you'll see. My girl Abby of @clothesandpizza has a new one, too. She's super fun to watch, too.

But that's not all. Movies and TV inspire me. I sometimes imagine how fun it would be to be a costume designer for movies or TV. Shows like GLOW or Girlboss, featuring vintage fashion or a movie like The Age of Adaline. I was crushing on Blake Lively for weeks after that.

Color inspires me (look back at the previous post, I just wanted to wear red). Patterns inspire me, especially wearing lots of them. Seasons inspire me. I'm in Seoul right now and it's actually Fall. I'm loving being able to rug up in a proper coat.

So yeah, inspiration is all around. Where do you find yours?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

All Over Red

Red has been a hot color this season. I've seen loads of people with pops of red on Instagram transitioning from summer into fall. From Geneva of A Pair and a Spare who adds reds as a statement to my girls Abby of Clothes and Pizza (@clothesandpizza) and Beth of B. Jones Style (@bjonesstyle) layering whole outfits in red.

It was the idea of wearing as much of one color in one outfit that really inspired me. When you do this, it looks really sleek and super stylish. Even Karen of Where Did U Get That (@karenbritchick) suggested this as a fall styling idea. Watch that video here. I've just started watching her YouTube channel, but I reckon you should give her a follow/subscribe.

So be forewarned, this outfit is saturated in color! I clearly couldn't sneak in and out of anywhere in this outfit because everywhere, heads turned instantly. You can definitely spot me in a crowd.

Since wearing this, I've been consciously adding more red to my existing pieces so that I can create this look again. Actually, I'd really love to thrift a pair of red pants. My eyes are peeled. Do let me know if you find any for me.

More than that, I'm thinking about other colors I could wear from head to toe. I'd say blue is a strong contender. Layering in one color opens up all kinds of print mixing opportunities, too.

And now that it's officially layering weather in Hong Kong, the possibilities are endless!

Monday, November 6, 2017

My Love of the Midi Skirt & Links a La Mode, November 9th

I'm a skirt person. Even though lately I've been a pants person, I'm really a skirt person.

As far as skirts go, I'm a midi skirt person. I have more of this item in my wardrobe than anything else, I reckon. I guess you could even say it's part of my signature look.

My girl Kenia runs two amazing Etsy shops which I love (find her on Instagram at @smallneeds and @retrorhapsody). She gets my style like no one else. She knows when posting an item that I'll like it even before I do. My goodness, I love her and I haven't even met her in real life. I love social media for that (ooh, controversial I know).

Anyhow, all of that is to say that this blue checked prairie style skirt came from her shop. Blue is my favorite color, which Kenia also knows. I'm really digging the combination of orange and blue lately. It's rising right up there with mustard and blue as a favorite color combo.

On this day, I was saturated in blue. My blue suede Sam Edelman mules, my navy fringed purse and blue beaded necklace, both Stanley Market finds, and my ZoKo Jewelery bracelet. 
That's because this outfit started with the blue midi skirt.

And, when a skirt person like me finds the perfect midi skirt, all outfits start there.

Links à la Mode, November 9th, 2017
SPONSOR: Amazon's Shopbop Mira Mikati, Stuart Weitzman Boots, Furla Satchels, Goen.J, Whit, SAM., Pajama Sets, Velvet Pants, Shearling Boots, Men's Y-3

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Thrifted Sisters: One Trend for All Seasons

One trend. Florals. Large print, small print. Summer florals, winter florals. Floral prints are always being revived in one way or another. They're all over the runways, have a look.

So, my friend Sharon from Thrifted Sisters and I thought we'd collaborate once again to show how one floral piece can be styled through the seasons.

As soon as this floral jumpsuit arrived, I couldn't wait to put it on. I took it right out of the mailer and styled it right away with a late summer feel. Okay, no lie. When I wore this, it was feeling very much like mid summer. Hong Kong's humidity lingered this year.

Still, I imagined it was one of those later summer nights where the chill in the air becomes noticeable as the sun sets. These blue suede slides picked up the subtle violet and blue hues in the floral print just perfectly. 

And, for summer, you definitely want to keep the accessories simple. Small earrings, a simple choker, watch and bracelet. I added the gold brooch on my waist for an added touch. It's fun without adding weight (or making the outfit too warm).

I love a jumpsuit with a clutch for it's ease. Long nights, a glass of wine (or several) with friends in the outdoor gardens of bars or restaurants.

The weather has finally turned here in Hong Kong, so I will be thinking about how to transition this same piece with layers for Fall. Notice that I already chose a darker shade of lippy with this outfit to make it feel less day time summery. 

Stay tuned for more of this collaboration.

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