Just Another Tuesday

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So I’ve ditched this blog for over 2 weeks, checking it today was as hard as checking a grade for a class I know I am not doing well in.

The semester is almost over and my summer internship starts May, 18.

Mason is doing really well, he is my absolute favorite. A lot of my friends say that he is their favorite Hutson now. He is seriously so stinking cute, I can’t stop instagramming him. I am one of those crazy fur moms now.

Last week I stopped by Goodwill outlet in St Paul, and guess what, I can get a whole wardrobe there for under $10! You don’t need the expensive stuff this world tells you to buy. I am perfectly fine in my thrifted shirt and jeans. And Mason still likes me, so that’s all that matters.

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Acer Iconia A1 First Impression

 

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Let’s get technical, technical. Okay, I have to admit, we are a family of geeks. I love my technology, gadgets, widgets, plugins, laptops, SSD, and tablets. From Android to iOS to Windows, I’ve tried it! Some I love, some I hate, some I’d never recommend.

Today we are going to take a first look at Acer Iconia A1. An android tablet with Intel inside, this tablet reminded me of my iPad mini. The sleek white design and the feel of it definitely make it feel more expensive than it really is (retail price around $179).

It’s a great tablet for blogging, it lets you check social media, answer emails, and edit photographs (I’ve just discovered Retrocam).

Sadly the camera is not that great. The rear one is 5.0 MP, while the front facing one is only 2.0 MP. Maybe I will get a hang of photographing with this tablet, but I am not getting my hopes up. So to actually edit the said photographs, you need to jump through Dropbox hoops.

The battery life is quiet impressive – lasts up to 7.5 hours. The screen resolution is alright, I like watching YouTube videos, as well as Netflix, Hulu and Crackle, and it’s a great tablet for that.

Speakers and volume work well. I don’t need to blast music, unless we are having a backyard party, and then I can use speakers. But I love my Spotify app. What’s your favorite playlist by the way?

Overall it’s a budget tablet in a stylish package. It’s definitely better than some other tablets out there (I am talking to you Samsung Galaxy, every time that I have to use you at work, is painful).

I am looking forward to exploring apps that are android only, so if you have any recommendations, please comment below. Do you use a tablet? Which one do you use/prefer/would get?

And stay tuned for more posts about Acer Iconia A1!

Learn more about Intel Tablets!

#spon: I’m required to disclose a relationship between our site and Intel. This could include the Intel Corporation providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

 

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’

10 Blogging Tips from Being Zhenya

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Being a style and beauty blogger is wonderful, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’ve been doing it for over 3 years now, and have been loving and grateful for every opportunity that’s come my way, BUT…

… having a full-time job and being a full-time blogger is a challenge. I am going to be honest with you. I’ve been able to get away with it both at work and at home though. Do you want to know how I do it? Today I will answer some of the most popular questions I get asked and share some blogging tips!

1. Who takes your pictures?

The camera! It really does. Thanks to the voice activated feature in my Samsung Galaxy gadget, all I do is set up the tripod, and say “smile”. No need to set the timer. Though Sam sometimes takes my photos, especially when we are out and about.

Tip 1: Clear and beautiful pictures are a must! Yes I often edit mine, especially in the winter, but learning to play with your camera and finding the right person to take your photo will make fashion blogging so much easier. 

2. How can you afford all the outfits?

It’s simple, I thrift. 75-80% of my wardrobe came from a thrift store of some kind. I also recycle a lot of clothes by refashioning them, or finding something I thought was long lost in the depths of my wardrobe.

Tip 2: It’s not about the trends, it’s about your personal style. You don’t need to post a new outfit 7 days a week, otherwise you’ll go broke. Recycle, combine, mix and match! Styling is fun!

3. When do you find time to blog?

I blog at night after work, in the morning before work, on my lunch break at work, and of course during the weekends. What does my husband say about it? He is busy studying for CPA!

Tip 3: Never let your blogging get in the way of your personal life. Family and friends come first!

4. Where do you find inspiration? 

Usually from fashion magazines, and blogs. My father-in-law just came back from a trip to Japan and Hong Kong, and I got 3 new fashion magazines from that part of the world! I can’t describe how fascinated I am!

Tip 4: It’s all about an open mind and an open heart. Allow new experiences, new friendships, new opportunities in your life.

5. How are you always posting on your social media channels?

I schedule tweets/posts through buffer, and then Instagram pictures that I took beforehand throughout the day.

Tip 5: Lunch breaks and coffee breaks are perfect for a little social media check up. 

6. Do you get paid for anything?

Yes, I write sponsored posts, and I always disclose that. I decided against ads (I used to have them when I blogged on WordPress.com), because they are distracting. I also do social media campaigns for different blogger networks. I also receive beauty and fashion products for free through sites like iFabbo or BrandBacker. 

Tip 6: To be discovered by brands, build relationships with them first on Social Media, Twitter is especially good for that. And make sure to always have your email address on the “About Me” page of your site.

7. What is the best part about blogging?

You are! I love my readers! Did you think I was going to say free clothes?

Tip 7: Never forget why you started blogging. 

8. Would you ever consider blogging full-time?

Yes, and it’s in my plans! But because I don’t want to do ads, it’s definitely going to be challenging. So I need to find ways to make money without sabotaging my reputation.

Tip 8: Set goals for your blog. Know where you are headed. 

9. What is your favorite/least favorite social media channel?

Twitter is definitely number one, Instagram is also in the top 3. But when it comes to Facebook, I am sorry, I just can’t!

Tip 9: Set up a Google + account and start posting, adding friends, creating circles, joining communities. NOW! 

10. What’s one advice you would give to a new blogger?

Don’t start a blog to get FREE stuff, make sure you really have something to say/show/share. And find your niche (I know it’s hard to do, especially for lifestyle bloggers), because it will help you in the long run.

Tip 10: Ask yourself this: If I was a reader, would I read my own blog? Would I comment on it? Like it? Share it? What can you do to make your blog more appealing to others?

Let’s connect:

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

I got shot… with a camera!

Some exciting news are coming to BeingZhenya.com! But before I can spill the beans, I want to show you some exciting pictures I got taken of me by a photographer. It was all from waist up, so I am going to leave you guessing what they were for, but I’ve already updated my Facebook picture, as well as my Twitter icon, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t recognize me 🙂

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A friend in need is a friend in Indiegogo

A1 DIY Dork

Today I want to share some exciting news from a fellow blogger Sheri, from Awesome Sauce & Asshattery. She’s launched an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign to support the production of her 3 Crafty Nerd T-shirt designs: Sewing Geek, Knitting Nerd & Crochet Dweeb

She will be donating 10% of her funded total to Designer’s Against Aids! I personally think the Tees are pretty nifty and I would personally love to own all 3 of them! Which ones do you like best?

Xo,
Z

 

Art, Fashion and What in the World did I go to Chicago for?

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As you know I just got back from Chicago, but not all of you know what I was doing there!

You might have also noticed this badge on my sidebar:

So here goes:

I was contacted by Verizon Wireless to participate in their Fashion and Style Blogger program a couple weeks ago, and at first it seemed too good to be true! They offered to fly me to Chicago, pay for my hotel, take me out to SAIC Fashion show and a dinner at a hip restaurant, get a chance to meet other bloggers, and have fun!

And to top it all off I was also given a new device to play with.

Needless to say I agreed to come even before I asked for that day off at work 😉

The device turned out to be a Samsung Galaxy Camera that comes with 4G LTE, a touch screen, a 21x optical zoom and a whole bunch of other perks (which I am going to talk about in one of my later posts), plus you can upload photos and videos directly to your social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube), it’s packed with editing apps, which definitely saves a lot of time! The only thing that it can’t do is make calls. And the funny thing is, Sam and I were at Best Buy the weekend before looking at that exact camera! So now my camera dilemma is solved and my husband won’t have to listen to me whining. Though he will be definitely taking more pictures for sure!

But I think I am going to stop talking now, and show you what the camera can do!

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Style Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

At Marla Mullaney Art Studio

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On Lake Minnetonka

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We also got some ice cream at licks unlimited…

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And I spotted this ceramic sewing machine figurine at one of the other artists’ studios! Isn’t it the cutest?

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I am WEARING:

//White Denim Jacket – GAP//Boots – Steve Madden//Purse – COACH//

//Dress – The Webster Miami at Target//Sunnies – Lucky Weekender//

Hope you all had an amazing weekend,

Xo,

Z

Blue Nile Share the Love Game

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Blue Nile is doing another awesome campaign for Valentine’s Day – Share the Love, and since we all know diamonds are a girls best friend, let’s all get our boyfriends and husbands to participate!

So here is what they (or you) have got to do:

Share The Love game details:

  • ·         There are three special Valentine’s Day cards on Blue Nile’s Facebook page from which fans can choose and share. In order to participate, fans must “Like” the Blue Nile Facebook page.
  • ·         For nine days, Facebook fans will have a chance to send a card of their choosing to any of their Facebook friends along with a short message.
  • ·         Both the sender and recipient of the card will receive a $10 off coupon toward their next Blue Nile purchase. Users are able to send multiple cards; however, users can only send one card at a time, and they will only receive one $10 off coupon, regardless of the amount of cards sent.
  • ·         Users who send a card will be entered to win the Pink Morganite & Diamond Ring as seen on Blake Lively on Gossip Girl!
  • ·         The campaign will kick off on February 6, 2012 and end on February 14, 2012.

Good luck to everyone and stay tuned for a Blue Nile giveaway on my blog!

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Cheers,

Z

2013 Resolutions / Новогодние Решения

Happy New Year!

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We survived 2012! Can you believe it? With all the crazy Mayan predictions, elections, wars, floods, The New iPad, iPad Mini…

Back when I was in 10th grade I made a list of resolutions that included something like “Getting no C’s on my report card”, “Reading more books”, “Going to the US”… I clearly new what I wanted even in my teens, and I was so compelled by the whole “Resolutions” concept, that I decided to sign it with blood! Thank God I didn’t get an infection, but I am sure the list itself is buried somewhere in the depths of my closet in Russia! And that small blood stain is probably still on it! Gross, I know!

Now with mushroom soup cooking on the stove, I thought it would be appropriate to share my resolutions with you! And even though those are blog related, they can always be translated into everyday life.

1. Stay Focused: It’s so easy to get distracted nowadays, and the biggest distractions on my list are my phone and social media. I am going to try and limit myself from using those. I even get distracted when I blog. I can be half-way through a post, then get side tracked by Twitter, then check my stats on my Facebook page, and well what do you know, it’s been an hour, and the original post isn’t finished yet!

2. Quality over quantity: Over the past couple of years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve been trying to be a part of “Post a Day” that WordPress challenges it’s writers to do. Well, I think I am done with that now! I’d rather give you one or two great posts a week, with good quality pictures and descriptions, than post 7 times a week about some nonsense that no one is interested in, including myself!

3. Give more: This year I want to share and give. Giving chances, giving gifts, giving a hand… I have been thinking about how blessed I am a lot lately. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve it, and I, by no means, want to jinx it, but I have a lot, and the more I have, the more I want to give. That will include more giveaways for you, more opportunities for you, just more for everyone else, who is not me!

4. Be Bilingual: I really want to work on making this blog a place where you can come and learn something new in Russian, or in English, or something new in general. I got to put all that Russian I know to good use! And maybe it won’t be a word for word translation, it will be something! Something bigger and better for the blog I hope!

And there you have it! Happy New Year! What resolutions are you making this year?

Cheers!

Z

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С Новым Годом! 

Мы выжили 2012 год! Даже не верится! Со всеми этими предсказаниями Майя, выборами, войнами, потопами, Новым iPad, iPad Mini…

Когда я училась в 10 классе, я составила список “Резолюций” в который входило следующее: Закончит 10 класс без Троек, Читать больше книг, Поехать в США… В общем даже в свои 15 лет я знала, чего хочу! И из-за такого большого ажиатажа и торжественности всех этих обещаний я решила, что подписать этот список нужно именно кровью! Слава Богу я не заработала себе никакого заражения! Ну и я уверенна, что этот список до сих пор валяется в глубинах моего шкафа, где-то в России! Ну и кровавое пятно скорее всего еще на нем! Фу! Гадость!

Ну а теперь, пока готовится на плите грибной суп, я подумала, почему бы не поделиться с вами моими резолюциями на этот год! И не смотря на то, что большинство из них касаются этого блога, мы всегда сможем перенести некотрые из них на нашу личную жизнь.

  1. Не отвлекайся: В сегодняшнем мире очень легко сбиться с курса, и больше всего меня сбивают мой телефон и социальные сети. Я постараюсь ограничить их использование. Я отвлекаюсь даже когда пишу в этот блог. Могу написать половину поста, вдруг отвлечься на Твиттер, потом решу проверить статус своей страницы на Фэйсбуке, и О,нет! прошел уже час, а пост так и не дописан!
  2. Качество, а  не количество: За последние пару лет, что я пишу блог на этой платформе, я старалась писать 1 пост в день! У WordPress есть такое понятие как “Один пост в день”, это что-то типа тэга и многие этим увлекаются. Я поняла, что пора с этим завязывать! Лучше я напишу 1-2 хороших поста в неделю, с отличными фотографиями и описанием, чем буду писать о всякой ерунде, о которой никто не захочет читать!
  3. Отдавать: В этом году я хочу делиться и отдавать. Давать шансы, дарить подарки, помогать. В последнее время я все чаще думаю о том, какая чудесная у меня жизнь. Не знаю чем я это заслужила, и не хочу ничего сглазить, но у меня есть очень многое, и чем больше я получаю, тем больше хочу отдавать! Это подразумевает больше конкурсов для вас, больше возможностей, просто больше для других, а не для себя!
  4. На двух языках: Я хочу, чтобы этот блог стал маленьким кусочком Интернета, куда вы можете обратиться, чтобы узнать/выучить что-то новое по-русски или по-английски.Не зря же я знаю русский язык! И скорее всего посты не будут слово в слово одинаковыми на двух языках, лучше так, чем никак вообще! Это будет что-то большее и лучшее для моего блога!

 

Ну вот и все! Поздравляю всех еще раз с 2013 годом! Какие резолюции сделали вы?

 

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 160,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.