Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Transitioning Your Wardrobe...



When I saw this dress online, I knew it would be the perfect one to wear now… and later. You can definitely wear it in the summer months since it's off-the-shoulder (it would look great with wedges!). In the fall, I would style it similar to this - with booties, a leather bag, and I'd probably add a floppy hat and jean jacket too! One thing I'd like to point out is that this dress is SUPER comfy - I wore it to ran errands in - but it does run small (I'm wearing a U.S. size 4!). It also comes with shoulder straps if you want.

Even though it's still hot outside, be strategic about your purchases this month - you want to buy clothes and accessories that you'll be able to transition into the fall months. And in case you missed yesterday's post, I rounded up some of my favorite fall items (many on sale).

Happy Wednesday! xoxo

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fall Wardrobe Essentials (You Can Buy Now)

Joe's jeans (on sale) // tan crossbody bag // Kate Spade watch (on sale) // black floppy hat (on sale)
 Vince Camuto booties (on sale) // leopard flats (on sale) // Tory Burch flats (on sale)

Even though it's still a zillion degrees out, all of the new fall products are making me CRAVE cooler weather (I have already bought a new pair of booties and these amazing jeans so far). Today I wanted to put together a list of items that form a basic fall wardrobe - each piece is perfect for layering, mixing and matching with other items (and many of them are on sale right now). For instance, you can wear the striped shirt one thousand ways - with a statement necklace, puffer vest, scarf, cardigan, with jeans, tucked into a skirt, etc. Same goes for the chambray shirt - there are so many different ways to wear it during the fall and winter months (for example, try layering it underneath a patterned sweater). 

Don't forget that the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale ends August 3rd and prices go back up on that date - so definitely buy before then if you have your eye on something! This striped sweater (below) came in the mail yesterday. FYI, I didn't wear this outfit outside… I was just trying it on :)

striped sweater (wearing XS) // Joe's jeans (size up one size)

One more thing worth noting is that J.Crew has re-released the incredibly popular red rose necklace from a few years ago. These are guaranteed to sell out fast. They have also released their puffer vests for the fall. The two most popular colors from last year are the navy and "bright ivory" color, however I'm really loving the hunter green color that's new this year.

Hope everyone has a great Tuesday! xoxo

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer in Pink


David Yurman bracelet // beaded bracelets // monogram necklace (size 3XL)
Celine sunglasses

For as long as I can remember, I've been a pink girl. Growing up, it was always my favorite color for anything - birthday cake, nail polish, the walls in my room. Although my style has matured a lot since then, I still gravitate toward the color pink! Maybe that's why I adore this pink top so much (or maybe it's the really cool back!). It's a really lightweight material so it's perfect for dinner or going out on summer nights. I'm wearing it with jean shorts because I was running errands during the day - but I think it would be really cute with white pants, especially for nighttime.

This weekend was pretty packed - with an overnight trip to Atlanta (to see my brother off to Japan), a Rascal Flatts concert on Saturday and lots of errands/girl time on Sunday. I hope everyone had a great weekend!

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Friday, July 24, 2015

The Most Flattering Dress for Every Body Type

 

grey swing dress ($36, wearing a size small), also comes in stripes

Right after we took these photos yesterday, the sky opened up and a huge thunderstorm rolled in… so the lighting isn't the best in these pictures, but I hope you can still tell how flattering and cute this grey swing dress is! I ordered two (it also comes in stripes) and they were even cuter in person than they looked online. It has to be the most universally flattering dress ever - most swing dresses appear to swallow you up, but this one is the perfect fit. It has just enough material to be super comfy but still somewhat fitted. For this look I added some cute tassel necklaces and my Steve Madden wedges - which happen to be on sale right now!

Today and tomorrow are going to be really tough days. Ever since my brother was little, he has had a passion for Japan and Japanese culture, always knowing that he eventually wanted to live and work there. After graduating college this spring, he officially accepted a position teaching English there… and today is his last day in the United States! My mom and I have been crying on and off the past week, but I know tomorrow morning is going to be the worst (when we take him to the airport). Chris, I'm so proud of you for following your dreams, you have been the best little brother and blog supporter, and I can't wait to come visit you in Japan!

xoxo

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

How to Start & Grow a Fashion Blog


Over and over, one of the main questions I receive via email is, "How do I start a blog?" or, "I've started a blog, now how do I get it to grow?" I decided to dedicate today's entire blog post to this, since so many of you out there seem interested in this topic. Before I begin, I will say that if you are interested in starting a blog solely for the purpose of making money off of it or becoming "famous," you are in it for the wrong reasons. The most successful bloggers started blogging because they truly love it, and it's their dedication and passion for it that have made them so successful. 

Now! Let's get started with "How to Start a Blog." 

NAME YOUR BLOG
My first recommendation would be to pick a name and decide on a niche. The name is really important because it becomes your brand. To be honest, there are many times that I wish I had chosen a different name! Since I started mine in college and didn't really intend for it to be a fashion blog, I didn't put a whole lot of thought into the name or my "brand." If you're undecided, you could simply name it after yourself. If you're going with another name, pick one that you will be happy with five years from now. For a niche, decide the type of content you want on your blog that will set you apart from others. I tend to think of "southern fashion" as my niche, with an emphasis on mixing high and low fashion. Maybe you want to blog about style on a budget, or maybe you live on the West Coast and want your blog to produce content centered around West Coast fashion.

CREATE YOUR BLOG
Now that you've decided on the name and niche, it's time to actually create your blog. There are two free sites for creating a blog, Wordpress and Blogger. This blog is run through Blogger - it's really quick and really easy. There is nothing wrong with Wordpress, and actually if you are going to hire a blog designer in the future, Wordpress is the way to go. There's a lot more freedom in design in a Wordpress blog. However, I have been really happy with Blogger in the four years I've been blogging! To begin, simply go to www.blogger.com and sign up for an account (I believe you must have a gmail account to begin).

BLOG DESIGN
Once you are signed up for Blogger, you can choose from different templates and play around with fonts, font sizes and colors. For my first blog design, I created the header in photoshop and tried to do all the html coding myself (it was really bad!). Nowadays, there are a lot of really talented blog designers that can help design your blog for you. A designer will usually send you a list of questions to help determine your interests and what you want your blog to look like, and you can work with them along the way to create the perfect, customized blog design. One tip: keep your blog as simple and uncluttered as possible. Too many buttons, images and sidebars will leave your readers confused, when you really just want them to focus on your content.

This was one of my first logos:
Now that you have created and designed your blog, how do you get it to grow?! This is definitely one of the most frustrating parts of blogging. It's easy to feel discouraged if you are working really hard, producing great content and your readership is not increasing. I will tell you, it takes a LONG TIME to gain a readership. You can't expect your blog or social media following to grow overnight. It takes months and years of hard work to really see a difference and track growth. Here are some tips for growth:

PRODUCE ORIGINAL CONTENT
In a world where everyone seems to have a blog, the easiest way to set yourself apart is to make sure you are producing original content. This is especially, especially true for fashion bloggers. It doesn't take much talent to copy a look from someone else, or to buy the exact same shoes, handbag and dress and wear them in the exact same way. What I do consider talent is the ability to put together an outfit in a new and interesting way; to combine patterns, colors, and textures in a way that is visibly pleasing and makes people go, "Wow! I never would have thought to wear that, and I love it on her." Don't just replicate what someone else has already worn... be unique! Your personality should shine through your clothes and your content.

UTILIZE SOCIAL MEDIA
As a fashion blogger, social media is your new best friend. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat are all outlets you can use to enhance your brand and drive traffic to your blog. I think Instagram is particularly important - since blogs are very image-driven, think of Instagram as an extension of your blog. You should definitely post your blog photos on Instagram to drive traffic to that day's blog post, but also include "behind the scenes" photos, or pretty snaps from your regular life. I've found that readers usually respond a lot better to my iPhone photos on Instagram, rather than photos taken with a professional camera. Social media is also the place to let your personality shine. Share a funny story on Snapchat, talk about your healthy lunch on Twitter, share your "ootd" on Instagram, and ENGAGE with readers who reach out to you on those platforms.


INVEST IN THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
Having high quality content is a huge factor in blog growth. If you are serious about blogging, I would invest in a nice camera and lens, as well as a good photo-editing program. Think about the photos you see re-pinned the most on Pinterest  - most of them are clear, bright images where the outfit is clearly in focus. Your goal should be to create images that people want to re-pin on Pinterest.

Learning how to use a camera can be very difficult (my mom and I had to watch a thousand YouTube videos, and learned a lot from trial and error!). If you don't want to purchase a camera and learn how to use it, you also have the option of hiring a professional photographer. Many wedding photographers are willing to shoot fashion photos on the side, and charge by the outfit or by the hour. It doesn't hurt to research photographers in your area and just shoot them an email to ask!



SET REALISTIC GOALS
   To keep your blog growing, you must determine where you want it to go and have a means to analyze your success. People measure their success in different ways - maybe you want to reach 1,000 followers on Instagram, or 100,000 page views on your blog. Maybe your goal is to produce the highest quality photos you can. Once you determine what your "goal" is, write down some steps that will help you achieve your goal. If you want to reach a certain number of page views, your steps may include "blog three times a week" and "promote each blog post on Twitter," etc. Whatever it is, make sure you're setting realistic goals for yourself and not setting yourself up for failure. Setting goals and striving to achieve them is something that has kept me motivated to blog!

BE CONSISTENT
I believe that consistency is the most important part of blogging. It is easy to get discouraged and want to take a week or even a month off from blogging, but consistent posting is the best way to grow. Even if you only blog three times a week, you should do it on the same days and post at the same time (for example, Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 a.m.). That way your readers know what to expect, and can come back to your blog on those days and find new content. If you are always creating different and original content, people will check your blog and social media over and over, knowing that they will always see something new. Even when you get discouraged, the best thing to do is push through - you may not see it at the time, but your effort and consistency will pay off in the long run.

I hope this post was helpful to anyone thinking of starting a blog, or to anyone who is trying to grow theirs! On another note, thank you to each and every one of you who come back to Southern Curls & Pearls each day. I would love to try to "give back" to y'all more often and produce content that you really want to read. If you have any other blog topics you'd like me to write about, please let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My Favorite Purchase from the NSale...

 Lush white tunic (only $27 & comes in several colors!) // Joe's skinny jeans (also on sale)

My very favorite purchase from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale would have to be this Lush tunic. It is literally THE perfect tunic - it's long enough to wear with leggings and cover your booty, AND it's less than $30 - I really don't see how you can beat that! Sometimes it's extremely hard to find tops to wear with leggings, but these are perfect. My next favorite purchase would have to be these jeans by Joe's Jeans. I have already told y'all how comfortable they are - they feel like pajama pants! I wore them all day yesterday in Asheville and they stayed comfortable and didn't stretch out the entire time. (Order one size up for best fit!)

Here are some ways I've worn other #NSale purchases...

 NSale items: navy plaid top // Tory Burch bag (sold out), similar here
 NSale item: Donut PJs
Mug from White Elephant Designs, spoon from Leif
 NSale items: Striped sweater (less than $25) // Vince Camuto booties // Tory Burch bag (sold out), similar here
NSale item: Joe's skinny jeans // Tory Burch bag (sold out), similar here

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MORE GREAT NSALE BUYS:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Classic…



white scalloped skirt (less than $50) // similar white pleated top (less than $20)
similar quilted handbag // NYX butter lip gloss

I love finding pieces that I can wear now, but will transition into fall easily. This scalloped skirt fits the bill perfectly - for less than $50, you really can't beat it. I paired it with a white top for a really crisp and summery feel, but there are a thousand ways to style it. I wore it on instagram the other night with this plaid top - it will be the perfect outfit to wear with riding boots in the fall! (Can you tell how excited I am about fall!!! haha)

Thank you all for the recommendations on places to eat in Asheville yesterday! We went to Corner Kitchen yesterday for lunch and WOW. I think it may have been the best meal of my life (I had the fried chicken sandwich with pimento cheese). We went to Wicked Weed for a beer, and for dinner we tried out Modesto for some of the best Italian we had ever tasted. And we finished at Sky Bar - literally a bar in the sky! 

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