Friday, May 25, 2018

Lemons & Hello to 27

I feel like I'm officially hitting my late 20s today as I ring in 27! This week has had a few lemons, but the good news is that I love lemons - and it's all worked out. I had a tough few work days that left me feeling extra frustrated, especially while experiencing horrible shoulder pain. But the lemonade of that? My mama confirmed she's the best nurse and life coach ever and I treated myself to a blowout since I couldn't wash my own hair. I had a few bad days at work, but we had the best event last night with one of my favorite authors, and I remembered why I love what I do. 

For today's birthday post, I thought I would share 27 things in question form that I most often receive as well as a few little random facts! Hope you enjoy!

1. What is your nighttime skincare routine?
Pretty simple! I use It Cosmetics makeup remover, Neutrogena Oil Free eye makeup remover, Elta MD heavy moisturizer and It Cosmetics eye cream. Oh, and Vaseline Lip Balm. The best stuff ever. 

2. What is your favorite foundation?
Estee Lauder DoubleWear. I've tried others. I've wanted to like others. It just doesn't happen. #TriedandTrue

3. Do you have a go-to self tanner?
I honestly never use self-tanner! I do get a spray tan every once in awhile, but I do tan relatively easily, so once spring rolls around and I spend a few day sin the sun, I'm normally pretty good. I don't have a particular self-tanner to suggest, but I do have a few favorite spray tan locations in Wilmington if you're ever looking for one!

4. Does your lash boot work?
YES! To be honest, I was a little hesitant but it really does work! I can tell a huge improvement in the length of my lashes especially since I had lash extensions for two years before trying Rodan + Fields Lash Boost. 

5. What's your best piece of advice for the first year of marriage?
That's a great one! Stephen and I were together for almost 7 years when we got married so I felt like we knew so much about each other. We never lived together so that was an adjustment, but we talked the other day about how we really just fell into it. It's so fun coming home to your best friend every day. I think my biggest piece of advice is to work on compromise and not dwell on the little things. I'm a pretty stubborn person and Stephen is strong-willed as well, but in a way that works because we hold each other accountable. I think we both put in a lot of effort in respecting the other - and that's huge! It's easy to get frustrated because something doesn't live up to a certain expectation, but in those moments, I remind myself of how things I do may be frustrating too and I appreciate the grace Stephen gives me in these moments. So I want to return that same grace. 

6. What do you and your husband do for date night?
Weirdly enough, it feels like every night is a date night in a way because it's just the two of us. We love to eat out, so we do that way more than we should. But we love going to dinner or sometimes just driving around to see what there is to see. One of my favorites we did was an afternoon date. We had spent the morning at the pool but decided to hop in the car to Southport with no plans. We just found a random place to park and walked around and grabbed dinner. Such a fun and relaxing afternoon. 

Business Ownership
7. What is your advice for someone who wants to start their own business?
Research, research, research. Do your due diligence. And find a mentor who is in your field. I spent so much time reading about boutiques, what worked and didn't work for others, studying brands, etc. and I still didn't feel ready when the doors opened. But I did sit down and create a business plan (I laugh at that original one now). And I have now found mentors who are in my field that are my go-tos for hard work situations. Having those allies are so important. I have also realized that you can't accept defeat easily. It is so easy to get discouraged so having a thickened skin and realizing that the first year is going to inevitably full of mistakes will help when the days get though. 

8. How do you balance the store and blogging?
That's a tough one. I will say that I feel like I don't have as much creativity flowing to my blog as I once did because I now have a whole separate brand to maintain. I worked in marketing and managed a variety of websites and social media accounts before I opened ZIA, but this feels different because it's more of an extension of me. But time management plays a huge role. If I know for a fact that I have content planned for the next week (or even past that), I try to go ahead and get it scheduled as soon as possible, and that has helped immensely. 

9. Do you use presets to edit your photos?
I actually don't! I love Travel In Her Shoes' Instagram, so when she released her presets I downloaded them immediately, but they just didn't quite work with my photos and the theme I wanted to create. I also go back and forth on what I want the aesthetic to be, which makes it difficult sometimes. I feel like I edit my photos more consistently now so I play with the same settings on most of them, but I don't have a standard preset that I use. 

10. Can you share some tips on growing your Instagram following?
This is a bit of a tough one but one I get asked quite a bit. Compared to some bloggers that have been blogging significantly less time than me, it seems like mine is barely growing! But I've found that the comparison game never works out so great! I try to interact with a lot of bloggers or influencers who I genuinely am interested in. I also try to post consistently. But my biggest thing is that I never want to share something that isn't authentic to my "brand" and to that same affect, I want to show things that are personal as well. Not everything I share is perfectly staged or curated, but I want to keep that real life element present in my posts. 

11. How do you plan out your posts ahead of time and how far in advance?
Sometimes I have a very strategic plan while other times it's the night before and I'm sitting at my computer trying to decide what to write! With collaborative posts, I normally have a deadline to meet so I work the rest of my posts around that and I use a calendar to make sure I don't miss those days or have any conflicts. I try to always have a post on on Monday and Wednesday and then some Fridays. I used to do every single day! But with the store now and so much creative energy being driven there, I've found that quality is better over quantity. 

12. Do you pitch to brands or do they pitch to you?
A little of both! I've been lucky to connect with a few marketing and PR friends and peers who have kept me in mind for future collaborations. I also have joined a few collaborative groups and I can apply to work with brands who are interested in working with influencers similar to myself. I've found that those groups have led to really great opportunities and with brands that I'm now a consumer of.

13. Probably the most asked about thing ever so I'm going to direct you over here to this post!

Random Facts: 

14. I absolutely hate scary movies! I cannot stand them. If Stephen is really in the mood to watch one, I almost always go upstairs to our room to watch something different. An action movie is great but the horror movies? NO thanks!'

15. My favorite food is fries. Could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Ketchup or ranch works great with that, too. 

16. I treat Sophie like she's my best friend. I love that dog more than life!

17. I would love to become a published author one day. 

18. The top place on my travel bucket list is Italy. I would absolutely love to visit and the next time I go to Europe, that will definitely be priority. 

19. I find the Instagram algorithm to be incredibly annoying. I gain followers daily but it doesn't translate to engagement. No fun. 

20. I have a hard time parting with things. I do a closet clean out once a month but there are some items that I just have the hardest time giving away because I have some kind of sentimental attachment to it. I also keep almost every card I've been given. Lots of clutter but just things I love. 

21. I have a hard time picking favorites in categories, i.e. favorite movie, favorite musical artist, favorite song. Maybe it's a commitment issue but I absolutely hate being put on the spot for my favorite something. Unless it's food that is. See number 15. 

22. I love being the main decision maker in my business but I sometimes miss having someone to tell me what to do. It's a two-fold experience being the one that's in charge!

23. I'm scared of the Easter Bunny. Cute real bunnies hopping around? Those are totally fine. But an Easter Bunny costume? No thanks. Have you seen some of those creepy pictures? Yikes. 

24. I've become addicted to those sheet face masks. They terrify Stephen every time I come out of the bathroom with one on, but I find them so incredibly relaxing and hydrating! If I've had a long day, they always rejuvenate my skin and I wake up feeling refreshed. 

25. I don't watch a ton of TV but I can binge watch Grey's Anatomy like a champ. It's the only show that keeps me completely preoccupied. Otherwise, I have to be on my computer or something - I can't stay focused. Although I do love my recordings of Southern Charm each week. 

26. I am completely addicted to Buxom's Lip Gloss. I can't stop buying it! Favorite colors are Dolly and Pink Lady. 

27. I confess that it is hard to come up with random facts!

Thanks so much to everyone who continues to come read this little space of mine. I so appreciate it! Happy Friday!

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