Neroli Salon in Milwaukee: My Lash and Nail Experience

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Disclosure: I received complimentary service in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.

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Let’s admit, we all need some pampering and time to ourselves, away from work, family, even our significant others. And what better place to go to in times like these than a beauty salon, especially an Aveda one?

It’s been two weeks since I received the services at the salon. Yes, a part of me procrastinated, but another part of me wanted to actually see how long the nails and lashes are going to last. And I have to tell you, I am more than impressed! I only lost a few lashes, and my nails are not chipped at all. Grown out, but no one is really looking that closely.

I will start with lashes! I had lash extensions once before (you can read about it here), so I knew what to expect. My esthetician Elise was the sweetest! She is the one who actually made this whole experience happen! Turns out she knows one of my blogger friends Kaitlyn and she sent her my way! Lesson 1: Make friends and stay in touch with people! 

I spent 2 hours relaxing and chatting with Elise while she was doing my lashes, and the 2 hours flew by in no time. I shared with her how stressed out I’ve been lately, and how much I was looking forward to the service. We both agreed that her job is not just about making someone’s lashes longer, but rather making that person happy.

Hands down my lashes make me feel prettier, happier, and more confident than ever. Additional bonus – when you cry – your mascara won’t run, because you don’t have to wear any. Lesson 2: It’s okay to be emotional (especially when Mercury is in retrograde! Anyone else feel my pain?)

Since having my lashes done 2 weeks ago, I’ve only started touching up with mascara in the outer corners of my eyes this week. I think one of the most popular questions I get asked about lash extensions is how long they last me. And it honestly depends on the person. I know this is a cop-out answer, but everyone’s lash cycle is different. It’s like hair. Lashes fall out. And if you don’t make a wish and blow them away, then you are not keeping track of them. Lesson 3: Dream often. But if you are seriously thinking about getting lash extensions, try to pay attention to how often you lose your natural lashes, that should be an indicator of how long the extensions will last you.

I love my extensions for a few reasons: I wake up looking ready. There is absolutely no mascara that can help me achieve the same (or even a similar) result. I can still sleep on my stomach and somehow get away with it!

If you are thinking about getting extensions, I highly recommend doing it at Neroli in Third Ward with Elise! From effortless casual conversation to fanning the fumes out of your eyes, she is your girl and she will make sure you leave looking and feeling like a million bucks!

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My manicure experience was as amazing as my lashes. And I think a big part of it was really hitting it off with my estheticians. Lisa did my nails, and that girl is a riot. We talked for 2 hours as she was doing my nails and even after, as she was walking me through some of her favorite Aveda skincare while making me samples. How thoughtful is that? There are a few products I definitely have to go back for, like the Tulasāra Wedding Overnight Masque.

Lisa was very helpful when it came to picking out the design. I wanted something simple that would go well with everything. So when she suggested a reverse french manicure that included a nude, I was all in!

I have never gotten this many compliments on my nails before.

And to make it all better for you my Milwaukee friends, Lisa has been working on some unique Milwaukee nail art that I can’t wait to get done! The amount of effort and drive this girl puts into her work combined with the creativity is so inspiring, it’s literally helping me write this post!

Thanks to Lisa, I am not only loving my nails, but have a few beauty products to write reviews on for you!

Thank you so much to Neroli Salon and Spa for providing me with these complimentary services! I will definitely be coming back. Please follow Elise and Lisa on Instagram, the preferred choice of social media these days.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions you may have! I will gladly answer those 🙂

 

Women’s March on Madison + Link Up

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Hi all! I would like to let you know right away, this is a post featuring photos from Women’s March on Madison that took place on Saturday.

As someone who came from a country where women have very few rights, where patriarchy reigns, where gay people can’t express their feelings towards each other, where foreign exchange students get harassed, raped and killed, I marched! I marched because I can make a difference. I marched because I am a citizen. I marched to support. I marched to spread love. I marched for a better future.

I didn’t march to show hate, to support one side over the other. I marched for equality, rights and freedom for all.

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I want to end with this quote – The Devil whispered in my ear, “You’re not strong enough to withstand the storm.” Today I whispered in the Devil’s car, “I am the storm.”

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Instagram. Instablogging. Instablogger.

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Image courtesy of http://hackwithdesignhouse.tumblr.com

An interesting subject came up during one of our Twitter chats last night. Who is an Instablogger, and is it possible to be one?

While a lot of us have been using Instagram to compliment our blog, post previews of the posts to come, host giveaways, etc. Some people call themselves instabloggers, and have no other online presence other than Instagram.

Who is an instablogger and should you become one?

If you already have a blog that’s connected to your Instagram account, bad luck. You can’t qualify for that position. But if you are an active Instagram user, who also likes going somewhat deep in the comments section before inserting all the hashtags, instablogging may be for you.

But let’s take a step back and think how Instagram has changed the blogging scene.

More and more likes and comments appear on Instagram vs the actual blog.

We spend more time looking at the Insta feed than our blog feed.

There are bloggers I only follow on Instagram and Twitter, but don’t read their actual blogs.

Now is all this bad? No! I have said it before and I will say it again, there is room for everyone on the Internet. There are no limits as to where and how much you can upload, but also no limits to your potential! Be creative, be inventive, be original. And maybe one day I’ll see your photo on the popular tab.

Now a lot of you are maybe wondering how to become popular on Instagram. If popularity is what you are after, think about a theme for your feed. Just like a blog has a niche, a feed can have a theme. For example, Mavatar’s instagram only consists of black and white photos. Chelsea of zipped blog edits all of her pictures in Afterlight. Hackwith design’s photos are very neutral, done in mostly whites, greys and beiges, with some green and white in between.

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Image courtesy of http://hackwithdesignhouse.tumblr.com

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Image courtesy of http://hackwithdesignhouse.tumblr.com

Think about the feeds that you like, why do you like them? Are there feeds that you don’t like?

I have a very hard time following feeds that feature babies, pets, parties, alcohol, bauble necklaces, and a few other things. I will be honest, I don’t follow such feeds, and if they do post anything along those lines, I unfollow. Is it wrong of me? Well if that’s something I or you don’t want to see, why subscribe or follow that person?

So back to insta-blogging… I personally think Instagram is a great tool to drive traffic to your website, online or actual store. But is insta-blogging going to replace regular blogging? Even if you take all the clickable and affiliate links into consideration, it won’t.

As long as Instagram doesn’t go down the FB way with the amount of followers an individual can pay for, I am okay with it.

How to Become Popular on Pinterest

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First of all, let’s make it clear, it’s not PinInterest, its Pinterest. There I said it! Now let’s cut to the chase. How can someone, how can you, how can I become popular on Pinterest?

A lot of fashion and beauty bloggers will agree with me, Pinterest drives traffic, and depending on the popularity of the pin, it can drive hundreds of people to your site. Add that to FB, Twitter and Google traffic, and you are looking at a pretty popular blog here.

I am going to share what works for me, what works for other, and what doesn’t work.

Here is what doesn’t work:

Pinning the same image to every board. I have several board related to fashion, whether they are personal style, outfits you can see on my blog, thrift finds, or wish boards, they are all pretty much the same. But if I pin the same image to all of them, what’s the point? It only gets annoying.

Sitting and waiting that followers will come. That’s just plain stupid. Everyone should realize by now that there is a lot of people out there and while some of them couldn’t care less about followers, some are very competitive and everyone wants to be a social media manager these days. You get the idea.

Here is what should be self-explanatory:

Connecting Pinterest to other social media channels.

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Using the appropriate hashtags. I recommend using ritetag.com to help you discover the appropriate hashtag for the pin, related to its’ theme.

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Filling out not just the name, but the board description and category, when creating something on Pinterest.

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Here is what works:

Professional photos and collages: When I create look books, and pin those images, it’s what drives the most traffic.

Following, commenting, inviting your friends to join Pinterest. 

Joining Pinterest link swaps. You can find a lot of them in theme related Facebook groups.

Joining group boards. When you check out my Pinterest Profile, you will notice that all my boards start with The… (The DIY, The Style, The Vintage, The Weekly Wear, etc), all the other boards are group boards. A group board allows several pinners to add to it. There are many benefits of being a part of the group board.

Adding a Pinterest widget to your site. If you are a blogger, I am sure there is room on your sidebar for that! And while you are at it, add the hover “Pin It” button too! Since I blog on WordPress, I use plugins for that.

I hope you find these tips helpful, and good Pin away!

Questions? Comments! Feel free to connect with me on:
Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Minneapolis a la Mode // Bloglovin’

 

Google Plus Guide

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There is still a lot of misunderstanding and confusion when it comes to Google Plus. That’s why I created this guide.

I struggled with Google Plus for a while. And even though it may not be your social media network of choice, I hope it will become in the top 3 after reading this post. Besides I will always prefer Google + over Facebook. 

One of my Twitter friends Michael shared this helpful tip: “My strategy is all about adding circles upon circles.  It’s not like Twitter where there’s a followers/following ratio which is great.  Find people within your niche and add the hell out of them.  Then create the same content that’s successful on your other platforms.”

  • Start with creating your profile. Make sure to add your best picture, just like on your other Social Media networks. Choose a header that represents you/your brand or your blog. Google does offer a few really nice images, but creating your own will always make you stand out. (That’s something I need to work on).
  • Add people to the circles. These are some of my circles: Fashion Bloggers and Contacts, Beauty Bloggers and Contacts, Social Media/Creative. I hope that gives you the idea. Once you start adding people to these circles, Google + will automatically suggest more people you can add. And of course don’t forget to add your contacts, friends and family. 
  • Join communities. That’s as easy as 1-2-3. Most communities are open, but some do require approval. So far I’ve always gotten accepted, so you should too. Some of the communities I am a part of: Blogging, Independent Fashion Bloggers, Budget Beauty’s, Minneapolis-St.Paul, etc.
  • What’s Hot: Just like Twitter shows you what’s trending, Google + shows you what’s hot, you can see the most popular posts, hashtags, etc. (You will find it under the Explore tab)
  • Google + on your phone: The app is pretty fantastic, I’ll be honest with you! I use it all the time. Try it!
  • Hangout: It’s pretty fantastic, easy to set up, and a great alternative to Skype. 
  • +1: Don’t be shy and show some love to the posts in your feed, comment, it’s all about interaction after all!

I am not going to go into details about customization, editing posts, adding photos, links, etc. This is more to get you started. Feel free to comment with any questions, or concerns that you may have. And feel free to follow me on Google +.

Another tip if you are on Klout: It highly takes Google+ into consideration for it’s score.  You can gain 10+ Klout points just by being active on Google+.

Let’s connect:

Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Minneapolis a la Mode // Bloglovin’

 

 

Working With Brands

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So you want to work with brands? You see other bloggers do it, and you think to yourself – Why not me? Great! If you are one of the bloggers who doesn’t want to work with brands, I would still recommend you read this post, it’s going to be interesting. I promise. We are going to discuss:

What does working with brands do for you as a blogger?

What does working with you as a blogger do for the brand?

How does it affect your readers?

How does it affect you?

Where to begin?

Let’s say you’ve been blogging for a while, and have done several reviews, or outfit posts, or any type of post where you mention a brand, company, etc. I started out like that – I would do reviews on products I bought myself, or made lists of products that worked for me in the past (for example this post). When it came to outfits, I took pictures of what I wore on a daily basis. Now, having been blogging for over 3 years, I do sometimes put together outfits just to shoot. The “brand” (and here I mean the PR/marketing person) will see your blog and think – I like the way s/he is doing that! Maybe she can do it for us? – and will contact you.

But what if you have been doing all the above, and still nothing? Reach out to local brands, smaller brands, indie brands. Don’t be afraid to pitch companies! And consider singing up for networks like iFabbo (their shop has amazing products), Brand Backer, Klout (actually everyone should go sign up for Klout! Right now! Go!), and the like. They are not affiliate programs, but more of a middle man between the brand and you. They pitch to brands, and then offer products to bloggers. Sometimes it can depend on your Social Media following though. 

About the Social Media following… I have met so many people who start blogging, write a post once a month, and expect to go viral overnight. Has anyone read Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy? In the book she goes on Twitter, and is obsessively counting her followers. It’s hilarious and helps you understand that there are wrong and right ways of doing social media. Don’t expect people/brands/companies to follow you. Twitter is about discussion, interaction, meeting people. There are multiple twitter chats that you can join on a weekly basis to grow your twitter circle. 

Brands do pay attention to the number of followers that you have, and while not everyone has (insert your number)K followers on Twitter, or Instagram, it’s good to have some, and keep that number growing. 

About self-promotion… That can be a good or a bad thing. I had people ask me how to stop my updates from showing in their Facebook feed (Burn!), but I still post on Facebook! Why? Because there are groups, pages, communities that actually appreciate my posts and do the same thing. I see nothing wrong with self-promotion. There are millions of people on Social Media, and by the time you post a new update or tweet – the previous one is history.

That email address… I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – always have your email available on your blog, some users even put it in their “about me” section of Twitter and Instagram. One of my best friends runs a successful freelance business through Instagram (she is an editorial hair stylist in New York, and her pictures are worth millions of words) 

So you got that email saying brand X loves your blog and is interested in working with you. What now? Here is where the questions I asked in the beginning of the post come in. But before you begin answering them, remember this – Know your worth! Don’t sell yourself short! If a brand offers me a free product, I am going to think twice before agreeing to do the post for them. I don’t do brand giveaways unless I try the product first. I don’t do samples. I don’t do discounts. I will review a product if:

It’s a good fit for me. It’s a good fit for my blog. My readers will enjoy it. I would buy it with my own money!

That’s why I like Social Fabric, Clever Girls Network, and the other websites I mentioned above – they let me pick and choose what I want to try and review on my blog. 

The next step is $$$ I didn’t start getting paid for content right away, I tried running ads for a while, but it wasn’t for me. My blog has evolved so much though, that I see nothing wrong with asking for a certain amount of money per post. Be it $100 or $500, it’s marketing, PR, and as a blogger, you can reach out to audience the brand might not have been able to reach in the first place. 

Great Ideas Sell! In the end of the day, it’s all about ideas. Is there a celebrity look you want to recreate using bran’s X mascara? Are you going to a fashion/style event and want to stand out with brand Y’s necklace? Will you make a video tutorial? A vlog? Be creative, and think outside the box, and you will be successful!

Let’s connect:

Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Minneapolis a la Mode // Bloglovin’

To the Unfold

Fashion Unfold is one of my favorite monthly twitter chats. Out of the many different ones that I participate in, this one is probably the most thought provoking. There are many different opinions. And it’s not just agree/disagree, yes/no, but more of why and what would you do? There is a lot of thought behind this chat. We discuss fashion related issues, like “should the bloggers be denied access to fashion week”, or “where does the clothes you donate to charity really go?”, it’s always ethical, and there is never one answer. Just like in life, the discussion often hits a grey area, and a solution must be found. As hard as expressing yourself in 140 characters may be, learning to express yourself in the few words is the skill you acquire as an unfolder. And that’s why I love it!
Join us next Tuesday at 1 pm EST! We want to see you unfold!

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