As promised, I’m back with the second installment of 20 Questions!
I was so thrilled to hear that you enjoyed this little exercise LAST TIME AROUND! This week, I’m digging in and answering a few of the tougher questions I’ve had sent over. Although I post 5x a week, I still have a hard time sharing personal details about myself, so this has been a great opportunity to open up a bit more so that you guys can get to know me a little better. So much happens behind the scenes of THD and my life in general — it’s nice to finally share those details with you!
Hope you enjoy!
Do you miss New York?
Whenever anyone finds out I relocated from NYC to Cleveland, this is definitely the first and most common question I get.
The short answer, is yes, I most definitely miss New York. It’s my home. It’s my family. It’s my friends and old colleagues. Most importantly, it’s New York and it’s fabulous.
The long answer is that I miss the idea and nostalgia of city living more than I actually miss the physical location. New York is a tough place to thrive as a young, single person and an even a tougher place to raise a family. As soon as my husband and I got married we knew that our time in the city was numbered. We agreed that we wanted to raise our children in a safe, family-friendly and laid back environment. One where both parents could be available and present and not tied to the corporate grind — not exactly the NYC way of life.
When a Cleveland job opportunity presented itself, we really felt strongly that it would be the right move for us. We’d gain the lifestyle we craved, the family support-system we needed (my husband grew up in Cleveland) and the ability to give our kids the type of childhood most people wish for. So here we are!
Five years later, we’ve settled in and made this city our home. We’ve also made frequent trips back and forth to NY to spend time with the people we love in the place we love, so it’s kind of the best of both worlds.
Who are your style muses?
As the saying goes, imitation is the best form of flattery!
If you ever need a little push to try something out of your normal wheelhouse, I highly recommend finding your own personal style muses to turn to. It’s nice to have a fashion spirit animal to inspire and motivate you. If I’m even short of ideas on what to wear, what to buy or even what to post about I turn to these 4 amazingly talented women.
Interior styling in my mind is always a bigger leap of faith and commitment than personal style. Once you commit to a home decor style, it’s an expensive investment and you want to love it for many years to come. Pulling the trigger and getting an interior design project started is much easier when you have talented pros to consistently turn to.
In regards to personal style, you really can’t go wrong with these two. I’ve blogged about OLIVIA PALERMO a few times now and her style just keeps getting better and better! I love how she mixes and matches and incorporates a high-low philosophy to her style. The end result is always refined, eye-catching and original.
MARY SENG, on the other hand has created a minimalist formula and sticks to it. I love how her aesthetic carries through everything she’s wearing no matter how dressy or casual. Her INSTAGRAM is also meticulously curated and true to her personality and style — not to mention, beautiful to look at!
How do you make money?
Ahhh, the million dollar question! No pun intended.
This definitely makes the top 3 of all questions asked. The world of blogging is a weird, weird place and although there are more blogs out there than you could probably count, there is still a lot of grey area and whispers when it comes to how bloggers get compensated. As you might have read, some of the bigger bloggers (CHIARA FERRAGNI, DAMSEL IN DIOR, WE WORE WHAT, SOMETHING NAVY, etc.) are pulling in high 6-7 figure salaries. Seriously. That includes sponsorships by major brands, licensed product lines, promotional appearances, advertising, etc.
Just to be clear, I am NOT in that league. At all. Not even close.
One of the most unique aspects blogging business is that over time you develop an engaged audience, which depending on size and demographics could be very appealing to brands. Currently, I work with an affiliate program that allows me to earn a certain small dollar amount per click — somewhere between $.05-$.15, possibly more at times. In all honesty, I’m not 100% sure of exactly how much as it varies based on the retailer and amount of traffic driven to their site or product.
Over time, affiliate commission accrues and I get paid out monthly. I only recommend products I would honestly buy (or HAVE bought) and use on my own — separate from any commission — and I am really proud of staying true to my brand and this personal code of ethics over the past 3 years! Occasionally, brands will gift you items in exchange for review/post. Again, I’ll only work with brands whose products I would buy and use regardless of whether I was blogging or not. I probably turn down 2-3 requests a day.
Do you ever run out of ideas to write about? How do you stay motivated and inspired?
After 3 years of actively blogging, I think I’ve developed a rhythm to my work and a method to the madness. At the beginning of each month, I brainstorm post ideas — seasonal trends, notable events and general stuff that’s on my mind or making its way into my closet/home. I keep a master list in the Notes app in my phone. If I’m working with a brand or collaborating with a business, I make sure to include these themed projects as well, to ensure that everything gets accounted for within my editorial calendar. Usually, this monthly brainstorm leaves me with enough material to generate solid content for 2-3 weeks out.
In case you ever wondered, in my ideal blogging world my posts are drafted, edited and scheduled 2-3 weeks in advance. This allows me some flexibility and freedom in my everyday life to go about my days without deadlines constantly looming overhead.
Again — we’re talking about an ideal world here and we all know, very rarely do things go according to plan… like today for example. About the late post?! Sorry about that!
There are times when life just doesn’t cooperate and I find myself scrambling to put together a post only hours before my regularly scheduled morning posting time. Again, usually I have topics and themes in the hopper, but there have been occasions when I’m totally drawing a blank. At this point, I pull out the big guns!
To help fuel the creative fire, I like to browse some of my favorite style related sites and magazines. Sometimes, a quick outing or visit to my favorite stores help to get those ideas flowing. When all else fails, I start scrolling Pinterest to see what images are gaining traction and get a better read on what people are actually interested in!
As far as motivation goes — my biggest motivator to is actually loving what I do! I am very lucky to have the opportunity to do what I love every day and build something that is 100% my own. I don’t take that for granted. The other major motivator to keep this all going is the feedback I get from YOU! I love to hear how my musings and stylings have impacted other people. Whether it’s as trivial as buying something you never thought you’d pick out for yourself, to perhaps changing the way you think about your personal style, or even testing out a recipe I recommend — I love to hear all about it, so please don’t hesitate to reach out and share your experiences/feedback/successes!
What can you not leave the house without?
This is an easy one!
Before I leave my house, no matter where I’m going I always recite the following mantra:
Phone, wallet, keys.
It’s saved me more times than I care to admit. After 15+ years of reciting the same thing, you’d think I’d eventually get it together!?
In addition to those 3 crucial items, I never leave the house without a WATER BOTTLE, a pair of SUNGLASSES (now on sale!), a BACKUP PHONE CHARGER and an “Emergency Pouch.” Inside my small PRADA NYLON MAKEUP BAG (a.k.a. the Emergency Pouch) I keep: Aleve, tampons, Altoids, a hair tie and bobby pin, a small travel sized tube of SUPERGOOP SUNSCREEN, my favorite lipstick (CHANEL BOY) and a Dr. Scholl’s BLISTER STICK (the best invention EVER).