What I’ve Learned from Blogging & Youtube :: Summer 2016 Lookbook

Happy Friday babes!
Today is a very special post in my eyes because tomorrow marks my two year blog anniversary! And since I actually was a good little blogger this month and planned out my editorial calendar and the fact that I don’t typically post on the weekends, we are ringing in this momentous occasion today. Sometimes I think back to when I didn’t blog or I think about what my life would be like if I never started a blog and I truly can not imagine it and I honestly wouldn’t know what to do with my free time.
Today’s post is gonna be a long one and it’s gonna be a little text heavy. BUT FIRST… I was so excited to get back into making videos on YouTube and to be able to introduce a new platform on Live Laugh Linda and the response I’ve received from it has been incredible so thank you to any of you who have taken the time to check it out. I touch upon this later on in the post, but I want to constantly be looking for new ways to bring fun content to the blog. I don’t want to get comfortable with where I am and what I’m doing and not bring anything new to the table. So with that being said, I love sharing my style with you guys and think it would be fun to share it in motion. When I’m online shopping, I love when a retailer offers a chance to see the product in motion like Asos or Shopbop. So I thought it would be fun to make lookbook videos and I’m really proud of the finished product and I hope you guys like it!!
I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for two years and it doesn’t even feel like it. I’m so proud of how my little blog has grown and changed throughout the two years. I’ve had my fair shares of ups and downs and confidence and low confidence when it comes to creating content and being a blogger so today I wanted to share with you guys just a few thoughts that I have on it. Things that I’ve learned, things that bother me, things that I think are important, things I wish I knew when I started. It’s a bit all over the place, but I really just wanted to share a few thought thoughts that I had.
What’s In A Name
 
Blog names are hard to come up with. Especially since there are so many bloggers out there and to be honest we all like the same things so chances are if you’re trying to come up with a name, someone already has it or something very similar to it. When I wanted to start blogging 2 years ago, I remember almost giving up because I couldn’t think of a name. I would write down all my favorite things and try to put words together until they rhymed or sounded good. What I came up with was L.A Style, N.Y Smile, which I thought was cool because LA are my first and middle initials and it incorporated New York.
I did a bit of research when I was brainstorming and one piece of advice really stood out to me. It said that you have to make sure you are proud of your blog name and if you’re embarrassed to say it out loud then it’s probably not a good fit. Well L.A Style, N.Y Smile was my start so it will forever be special to me, but it was just long and awkward to write and whenever I went to press previews or was asked about it, I was always embarrassed to say the name because it just didn’t flow. But, the great thing about blogging is that this is your space and you have creative control to do whatever you want. So when I decided to invest in my blog, I also decided that if I was going to invest more into it, I needed to have a name that I was passionate about and proud to say.
My biggest piece of advice for anyone trying to come up with a name or is thinking of changing theirs, is to brainstorm with others and to talk it out loud and to trust your instinct. You’ll know it’s a fit when you hear it and are crazy about it. I had texted my best friend one night and mentioned I wanted a change. I started telling him my ideas, he started telling me he thought they sucked and we went from there. Honestly if I hadn’t brainstormed with him, I would probably have gone with another name that I was still not crazy about. But, when he came up with Live Laugh Linda, I just knew. I imagine the feeling was similar to finding your wedding dress, not that I would know because right now, my biggest priority is my dog. But, not to toot my own horn, I’m very happy with my blog name and it’s something that I’m incredibly proud of.
Be Your Biggest Fan
 
Being a blogger, it’s natural to want to get some kind of validation for your work. Whether it’s working with a ton of brands or needing a certain number of comments or likes or page views. I mean, it’s truly exhausting especially since you worked so hard on your post or videos and at that moment that you completed it, you were so happy and now you’re waiting to make sure everyone else approves. Nah. Do it for you.
When I published my first post, I remember being really scared and not knowing what to expect and even knowing that it may get no views because no one knows who I am. But, what helped me to hit publish, is me telling myself that I’m doing this for myself. I’m not doing this for money or free stuff, I’m starting this because I genuinely want a space where I can share my style, talk about my life and bond with fellow shopaholics. And I think throughout my blog journey, I’ve definitely forgotten that at times and it’s natural to feel sad because you don’t have as many likes or followers as someone else or you don’t work with a specific brand, but then I remind myself that I didn’t start this space just for that. Is it a perk? Sure. But, it’s not what drives me.
I think what I’m trying to say is, if you wanna write a super long post, just like this and know that probably only 2 people are going to read it, then do it. If you want to wear all black for a full week on your blog, do it. Do what makes you happy, publish what you want to publish, don’t worry about what you think people want to see or if no one will read it/watch it, if it makes you happy then do it. I think one thing that bloggers forget is that readers very easily pick up on your mood and know how genuine you’re being so if you’re happy, then it’s something we can all appreciate. I follow bloggers who I don’t relate to their style at all, but I love their energy and reading their words and knowing they’re just trying to be true to themselves, as a reader, that makes me happy.
Be Genuine
 
I think it’s important to be genuine, not only on your own blog, but with communicating with other bloggers. One of my biggest pet peeves, is when people leave blog comments or Instagram comments and say “nice” “cool” “love it” and it’s normally followed with a “if you wanna check out my post” “you can follow along here” “can you check out my page too.” Um…no. Here’s an open letter from me to everyone who does this:
I get it. You want to drive traffic to your sites. Totally get it. But, we could have been blog friends. We could have supported each other and always commented, read, liked each other’s post. But, instead you decided I was just someone who was gonna return the favor and check out your post even though you didn’t feel the need to give mine the time of day. Let’s be honest, you’ve been copying and pasting the same phrase on about 10 other bloggers pages in hopes that it will drive traffic up to your site because at the end of the day, you only care about your numbers going up and not building relationships or even giving my post the time of day.
I work hard on my posts and that’s why I’m proud of it. And if I work hard, then I know everyone else does. Everyone else cares about the content they put out so instead of bouncing around the internet, why don’t you check out blogs you actually like and give them your time of day. Now, I’m not the best with responding to comments even though I wish I was, but I try to check out everyone’s blog who comments on mine and I *gasp* take the time to read their post and leave a comment on what they’re actually wearing/talking about. If you’re networking and trying to be social, just make sure that you’re taking 5 minutes of your day to just read someone’s post before you leave a comment because everyone sees through your one word compliments.
Good Sportsmanship 
There is such a stigma and such a negativity with blogging, especially fashion blogging. People who don’t blog, but follow along, a lot of them bring negativity to the table and hide behind the internet and frankly it is what it is. But, what I hate to see is other bloggers bringing that negativity to the table.
I personally hate seeing notable bloggers with a following constantly tweeting or talking about things they hate that other bloggers do or making fun of them in a sense. But, then preaching about being against the negative comments and getting hurt when people bring negativity to them. Listen, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but if there is so much negativity against us as bloggers, why don’t we support each other rather than bringing additional negative energy. And if you don’t like people attacking you or your friends, why would you attack someone else. All I’m saying is that we have a platform especially those who have a strong following, so instead of encouraging the cattiness, why don’t you encourage an environment of support?
Here’s what I’ve learned. There’s enough success to go around and successful people don’t need to bring others down. They know that not only they can be successful, but so can others. I’m not saying I’m an incredibly successful blogger, but I’ve gone through all of the negative thoughts and low confidence and I’ve learned that it’s just not worth being jealous or trying to compete because when your time comes, you won’t have anyone to support you. When my friends or people I follow, wear an amazing outfit in a post or work with a great brand, I’m not only happy for them, but I’m proud of them. I know the hard work that goes into this and it’s amazing that good things came from it.
I rambled a little (or a lot), but I think what I’m trying to say is just support everyone because you can’t expect to have positive energy around your work if you’re not putting out positive energy.
Don’t Listen to the Noise
As much as I like to preach against negativity, I do know that it’s out there. I’ve followed a lot of YouTubers when they were like 16 and are now in their 20s and a lot of them say that YouTube gave them thick skin because of the negative comments and they learned to ignore it. As sad as that is, I think it’s a great piece of advice. If you get a bad comment or feedback and or something that just brings you down, don’t dwell on it and don’t torture yourself with it. It’s taken me a long time, but I’ve learned to not keep negative energy around and to just focus on the good that I’m hearing.
On a different spectrum, I’ve learned not to dive into and take “blog help” tips so seriously. I obviously want to learn and look for new sites or things that will help me, but there is so much talk out there about SEO and contracts and doing this, that and the other and things you must be doing and it’s overwhelming. Instead of stressing yourself out and trying to force all of these changes, wait for it to come naturally. The reality is, is that everyone is different and every blog is different. I read countless of blog tip articles and instead of inspiring me and helping me, it just kind of made me feel sad and uninspired because I’ve been doing my thing for 2 years and adapting and now someone is telling me I need to do this to blog and I need this and I have to have this. For me, I’m just adapting as I go and I’m not trying to force anything just because it worked for one person.
You Better Work 
I say it all the time because I don’t think people realize it, but to maintain this little blog is a lot of work! I pick out and style my outfits, I location scout to shoot and sometimes I do several in a day (hello weird bathrooms I change in and hello people who stare), I edit all of my pictures, I have to resize them, I try to link everything, I try to write an enjoyable post, I try to promote it on social media and to network and to keep up with this ever changing social space. It might seem silly to some, but it’s something that I love. But, the most important thing I’ve learned is that you can’t just post a pretty picture or have a good post and expect people to go crazy for it, you have to work for it. If you wanna increase your monthly views or you want to take better pictures or learn more editing tools, you can just sit there and wait, you have to go out and get it for yourself.
How to Say No
 
I get a lot of random emails and pitches throughout the day and as nice as a PR person is or the fact that they want to give you something for free, if it’s not a good fit, it’s not a good fit. When I first started blogging, I felt the need to say yes to every email, especially those brands that just want you to write them a post, but not disclose that they reached out to you and I would put in all of this hard work because I didn’t know how to say no and I was just honored that they emailed me.
Now that I’ve hit my two year mark, I’m more confident in my work and I look for brands that are confident in my work as well and respect me. I also look for brands that go with my aesthetic. One of my rules for myself is that I don’t do post with high-res images because I’m not a free press release and I’m not about to talk about a product I don’t even know about and as nice as a PR person was and as generous as they were to try to give me that tie dye tank, it’s not my style. It’s important to stay true to who you are and to focus on elevating your brand, you don’t have to say yes to everything. If it’s not a good fit and it’s not going to benefit you the you don’t need it.
Be Open to Learning
Ok, I know I said to not take those blog help articles too seriously, but I do think it’s important to not get too comfortable with where you are and to be open to learning. For two years, I’ve shared my style and it can definitely get repetitive so I look for ways to make it more interesting or to make the content better even in the smallest ways. That’s why I’m really excited to post my first lookbook video. I also recently purchased a new lease and it’s been tricky, but I’ve watched countless videos on how to use a camera in manual mode and how to edit photos and I think it’s important to try and learn something new every now and then.
Remember Why You Started
This one is the most important one to me and I think it’s important. But, remember why you started blogging. As the blog world changes and grows and you change and grow and your priorities change, I think it’s important to remember why you started a blog, how you felt publishing your first post, how you felt your first week or the first time you worked with a brand and I think if you remember that it’ll help keep that passion and that genuine and positive attitude up.
But, I always think back to how happy I was when I first posted it and how people in my life were really supportive and how I bonded with my mom even more over learning how to even run a blog or my boyfriend helping me with all the tech stuff, but at times when I get down and I stress myself out, I always think of that.
THE END
 
Woof. That was a long post!! To any of you who actually read it and made it through the post, thank you or for anyone who didn’t and are just reading this part, I understand, don’t worry, it was long. But, I want to say, thank you for an amazing two years and I hope to grow more with you guys in my 3rd year of blogging!
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