7.29.2016

July Favorites + Looking Ahead



July. Boy what a month it was.

I wanted to do a shorter recap post this month, mainly because July wasn't that busy. There's lots to look forward to in August, so I'd rather focus on the "looking ahead" portion of this month's post. So to quickly recap July, I'm going to steal a portion of The Weekender and share the highlights and lowlights of the past month. I also mixed in a brand new outfit this time around. So hope y'all enjoy that as well!! Happy reading :)

Maxi Dress: via Le Tote | Block Heels: Michael Kors (old, similar) | Tote: Urban Expressions (c/o) | Sunnies: Karen Walker | Lips: Nars Golshan



July Highlights: July started out very busy with wrapping things up at work to prepare for the slow election season here in DC. The first few weeks I could barely keep my head on straight. That's the main reason I decided to slow things down on here, so I could focus on my day job and weekend activities. Throughout July I went to a few National's baseball games, celebrated several friend's birthdays, went to another Blogger Scene event with some of my best friends, and enjoyed the weekends by the pool. I didn't travel anywhere this past month, so it was really nice to spend the few weeks at home.

July Lowlights: there wasn't really a lowlight per say, but it was definitely a slower month activity wise. I was focusing on things offline, including a guy who I thought was genuine. But surprise surprise, he wasn't. I guess that was the icing to my cake of the past year, ha! BUT, with any negative I like to turn it into a positive. So I chose to take this time to focus on me, my blog and getting back into Church. Definitely not a lowlight!

Now, onto more important things... August!!



My favorite month of the year! Not just because work is slower. Not just because it's Restaurant Week. Not just because I have a lot of fun travel ahead. But because it's my BIRTH MONTH!!

If you know me, you know I love my birthday. And honestly, it's not for the reason you're thinking. Yes I love celebrating, going to dinner with friends and popping countless bottles of champs. I love my birthday for the sole fact that it's a re-do. A fresh new start if you will. A new year, new age and new me. And after this up and down year of 25, I've never needed a new year like I need 26.



So here's what I have to look forward to in August:

Personal

Like I mentioned above, August is going to be a special month. I'm saying sayonara to 25 and a big hello to 26! I've never been more excited and ready for a birthday. There will be lots of fun content coming up next month in conjunction with that. So far I have two dinners planned with all of my friends, but excited to just go with the flow this year. No big planning!

There will also be lots of travel coming up next month. Starting with my trip to Charleston next week, and then rounding out the month with a visit to Nashville, TN, my home state. I'll be heading down to visit my sorority little sister, my good friend's The Kennedy's, and my family. I'll get to see lots of family and friends in just a few days, and FINALLY visit the Draper James store. Cannot wait!

I'm also looking forward to DC's Restaurant Week, a few happy hours and other friend's birthdays, and a couple of blog events that are already on the calendar.



Blogging 

I think I've taken a nice little blogging break and slowdown, don't y'all?! It's time to get back into the swing of things and bring you a higher volume of posts, new content and more outfit inspo. I'm sure to find all the motivation to do that at this year's The Blog Societies Conference, which kicks off next week in Charleston. I'm really excited to head back for my second time, and to catch up with some of my blogger faves + meet some new faces. You can follow along on social media! I'll be sharing a little more info about my trip on here next week.

Next month there will be some birthday related content, new outfit posts + we'll be gearing up for football season.



Since next week kicks off a new month, my blog vacation mode will be over. It's time to bring y'all some new content!! I'll be sharing more details about my trip to Charleston + finally posting my Key West travel guide, as well as a fun collaboration with Minted! Here's a sneak peek. So stay tuned and have a great last weekend of July loves!!

7.26.2016

Tips for Attending Your First Blog Conference

I wanted to break away today from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale posts and the final Key West travel recap posts (yes, I promise there's a travel guide coming soon!), and share a brand new "learn" post. It has been a hot minute since I've shared a post like this, and with The Blog Societies Conference just a few days away, I thought what better of a time!

Next Wednesday I'll be traveling down to Charleston for my second The Blog Societies Conference. You can checkout last year's recaps here and here**Note: the conference used to be called the Southern Blog Society Conference. Since last year, all of the regions have now combined to what is known as The Blog Societies. A society made up of bloggers from all across the country.



Last year's conference was my first blogging weekend and workshop I had ever attended. I had done a few blogging events that offered panelists here in DC, but this was my first weekend conference. Even though I was attending with several of my best friends, I still was nervous and had no idea what to expect. I had talked to a few girls who had attended the conference before, and they offered some wonderful advice and insight into how the weekend would go.

I am sure there are many of you who will be attending a blog conference soon for your first time. Whether that be something local, or you're traveling down for this year's Blog Societies Conference. So I wanted to put together a post with some helpful tips I learned both prior to the event + throughout the weekend. Hopefully these will help you enjoy and make the most of your experience.

But first, many of y'all have asked what the benefit is for attending a blog conference?

  • I feel that attending last year's conference was 100% worth it. I will say though, a conference or workshop is exactly what you make of it. If you're open to learning and meeting new people, you'll do just fine. I met a ton of new bloggers, who I now call my friends. While we may not see each other but a few times a year, we are always connecting on social media or via text. 
  • I also connected with a lot of wonderful brands last year, and ended up partnering with them long after the conference was over. Either through posts with fellow bloggers, sponsored content or product reviews. I still work with some of them a year later. 
  • By attending a conference or workshop, you're opening your brand and YOUR business to a whole new world of publicizing and networking. New brands to work with, new bloggers to bounce ideas off of, etc. 
  • When it comes to choosing a conference to attend though, I highly recommend reading blogger reviews. Some conferences offer more than others. And some are more beneficial than others. Do your research before purchasing that $300 conference ticket. 

With that being said, hopefully these tips will help you make the most of your conference or workshop. Both before and during the conference, as well as when you return home.


Before the conference 
  • Stock up on business cards // this is probably the most important prep you can do. There will be so many new bloggers, businesses and brands there for you to connect with. While yes, it can be easier to find other bloggers via social media and start following them that way, brands want something tangible to remember you by. On that note, if you have a media kit definitely bring it. In my experience, I don't think they're necessary. But it can't hurt to leave one with your business card as well. 
  • Prepare, but don't over prepare your outfits // one of the biggest things I stressed about prior to the conference was "what am I going to wear?!" I over prepared actually. I spent so much money on new clothes, new pieces, and items that I only wore to the conference. In the long run, it just wasn't very financially savvy. So this year, I set a budget and created three new outfits. I got all of the items for under $150, and I will be mixing some of these new pieces with things I already own. I also made sure to buy items that were versatile. Pieces I could still wear back here in DC.  
  • Prepare your affiliate links // if you work with ShopStyle or rewardStyle, go ahead and link your daily outfits into one folder. That way you can easily add shop links to your Instagram photos and aren't spending precious time scrolling through LIKEtoKNOW.it. 
  • Leave room for goodies // if you're traveling to a conference that lasts several days, make sure you bring an extra bag or carry-on. You will accumulate a lot of new goodies. Whether that be gifts from brands, or items you purchase while shopping. 
  • Purchase a portable charger // this by far has been the greatest tech purchase I've ever made. It holds four FULL chargers + has two phone USB jacks. So you can charge two phones at the same time. This charger is less than $30 and available on Amazon Prime! It's vital to staying connected and sharing your conference fun all day.
  • Bring comfortable shoes // nothing hurts worse than walking around the cobblestone streets of Charleston or pavement of a large city in heels. Be sure to slip a pair of flats in your purse. Trust me. 
  • Let your followers know what you're doing // be sure to explain to your followers and readers where you're going, and what you're doing. This is a vital time to cross promote your blog with your social media. Make sure everyone is following along on Snapchat (kroyster815), Instagram, Twitter, etc. You also want to make sure they aren't left in the dark. Nobody has time for an hour long snapchat story, yet has no idea where you're at or what you're doing. Engage and keep your followers in the loop.



During the conference
  • Get into town early, if you can // honestly, this was something we learned from last year. We felt so rushed getting into town the day of, grabbing our bags, checking into the hotel and rushing to change before the welcome party. So this year we're going a full day and a half early. We're going to tour around the city a bit, take our time to get settled in, and take all of our outfit photos prior to the conference beginning. That way we can already have most of our Instagrams ready for the rest of our trip. No more rushing to get a shot in between meetings or events. 
  • Go with an open mind, and ready to learn // while you may know in advance some of the topics being discussed, be open to hearing ideas and advice from all the speakers. While you may not necessarily need photography tips, you never know when you can learn something new.
  • Don't over schedule yourself // you're going to be meeting so many new people. So be sure to leave some holes in your schedule for last minute meal invites, happy hours or coffee breaks. This allows you the chance to make new friends and new connections. 
  • Be yourself // going back to "what to wear," just be yourself. You don't have to wear the shiniest outfit to the party, or spend thousands of dollars on the trendiest items. Honestly, I can't remember half of what I wore or what anyone else did. But I can definitely remember their personalities and the fun we had! So just relax, and be yourself. Everyone will love you!
  • Don't oversell yourself // when meeting a brand or fellow blogger, no one wants to hear your pageviews or how many brands you've worked with. Unless asked. Most of the time, brand reps and other bloggers just want to get to know you. Stick to lighthearted topics, and let them get to know you as a person. I guarantee that your bubbly personality will make a far better first impression vs. throwing countless facts at them. 



After the conference 
  • Send thank you notes and emails // I am very pro-handwritten thank you. Just like you'll be passing out your cards at the conference, so will brand reps. Most of which will have a mailing address. Take the time to purchase nice thank you notes, and send a handwritten one to each of the reps you talked with. Trust me. A handwritten note goes a long way to building a relationship with brands you hope to work with. 
  • Stay in touch // both with bloggers and brands. Send follow-up emails, collaboration pitches, and comment on bloggers/brands Instagram photos. I met so many new faces last year, and have grown close to many of them simply by staying in touch. 
  • Implement what you've learned // a conference will give you newfound motivation! Take the tips and tricks you learned, and figure out how to implement them. Use the advice that best falls in line with your brand, and run with it. Don't let all that you learned go to waste!

Most of all, if you listen to any piece of advice from any blogger who has attended a conference before, listen to this one....

Have fun!! Yes this weekend may be work for you if you're a full time blogger, but you also need to enjoy it! Don't stress or overwhelm yourself. Allow the time to enjoy being in the moment, making new friends and soak in all the advice you can to take back home with you. In the end, it's just a weekend and a few days. So make the most of it by being yourself and enjoying all that's going on! 

Can't wait to see many of you in Charleston in just a few days!! Let me know if you're going in the comments below. Xo

7.15.2016

The Weekender, Vol. 3



Top: H&M (comes in 2 other colors) | White Denim: Old Navy | Wedges: Nordstrom | Clutch: GiGi NY (c/o) | Necklace: Julie Vos (c/o) | Bangle: Old, Ann Taylor

I fully intended to post this edition of The Weekender last Friday. But in light of everything that occurred throughout our country towards the end of last week, I decided to save this post for another time. I don't want to delve too much into my feelings on everything that happened, but just know that I'm very heartbroken about all the tragedies that occurred last week. My heart goes out to all the families!

**Update: I had scheduled this post prior to the unfortunate attacks in Nice, France. It's just so sad we keep ending our weeks with such terrible news. I'm keeping everyone in France in my thoughts and prayers!**

Now, onto a lighter note... let's get into this week's volume of The Weekender! Lots of awesome links + some photos from one of our nights out in Key West.







Highlight of the week: there were so many fun things this week. Tuesday I met the author of Something Borrowed, Emily Giffin. She held a book signing at one of DC's newest apartment communities, The Hepburn. She spoke for a few minutes, and then met with attendees to sign their copy of her newest book, First Comes Love. If you're a lover of her books, or just the movie Something Borrowed, you'll be happy to know they are definitely making Something Blue into a movie. Emily confirmed Tuesday that the script has been sent to Kate Hudson, EEKKK!!!

Lowlight of the week: it was a very, very busy week at work. Combined with lots of activities and after work festivities, I'm exhausted y'all. On the bright side, work will be slowing down for awhile and provide the opportunity to get caught up on my to do list.



7.07.2016

Top Spa at La Concha Hotel



























One of my favorite activities during my recent trip to Key West was popping over to the La Concha Hotel and Spa to checkout a few of their services. I already recapped our dinner and wine tasting at Wine-O last week, but I also wanted to share some photos and info about our morning at Top Spa.

I've been to a few spas during my lifetime, but mostly to get a facial or pedicure. That has been my extent of spa services, ha! I've been dying to try a massage. Yes, I've never had a professional one before. So when Top Spa invited us over for a morning of pampering, Jenn and I immediately said yes.

We headed up to the top floor of the La Concha Hotel. We stepped off the elevators to an immediately calming environment. After checking in, we were then shown to our own private spa room for the entire morning. It was a corner room with the most gorgeous views. But it wasn't just a room. There was a living area, spa space, a massive bathroom with an ocean view shower, and a wrap around terrace with cabana. Umm, we were in heaven. Thankfully Jenn and I are best friends, so sharing a room wasn't too big of an issue. We enjoyed an hour long relaxation massage, followed by a fruit and cheese tray, then our pedicures. We also were never without a mimosa in hand. It was truly the most relaxing thing I think I've ever done. If you know me, you know it's hard for me to relax. So having a few hours away from my "work" world and stressing about this to-do list or that task, was purely refreshing. I will 100% pay Top Spa a visit again next time I'm in Key West. If you're looking for a relaxing few hours during your next Key West trip, I cannot recommend a morning at Top Spa enough!



Thank you to La Concha Hotel and Top Spa for hosting Jenn and I. While our services were complimentary, all photos and opinions are my own. 

7.01.2016

The Weekender, Vol. 2

Happy July 1st y'all!!



One of my favorite weekends of the year is finally here. I'll be signing off-line later this afternoon and literally counting down the minutes. I'm excited to celebrate America's birthday this weekend!! I'm going to be spending most of my time outdoors by the pool, walking around the city and seeing the monuments, and heading to a Nationals baseball game tomorrow night. What's more American than a hot dog, cold Bud Light and watching the Nats crush the Reds?! Nothing. That's the answer. Nothing!

I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday weekend as well. Tell me what you're up to in the comments below. But before you go, I've got a really great roundup of links I'm loving this week. As well as a mini sale roundup at the bottom. So many great deals over the next few days.



So grab some coffee, or if you're already on vacay (a cold brew), and checkout today's post! Have a great 4th of July y'all!

Links to checkout: 




Sale Roundup: 

  • Ann Taylor: 40% off full-price styles with code JULY40 + extra 60% off sale 
  • Escapada Living: 25% off sitewide with code ALLAMERICAN 
  • GiGi New York: 30% off select styles during their summer sale (prices as marked)
  • Kate Spade: 30% off sale with code SUNSHINE 
  • LOFT: 50% off everything with code JULY4TH
  • Rebecca Minkoff: up to 60% off during their 4th of July sale
  • Tory Burch: extra 30% off sale with code EXTRA30
  • Waiting on Martha: 20% off your entire purchase with code HAPPYFOURTH