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This is year has been off to a strange start! One day it has been warm then the next morning to wake up to four inches of snow. That being said, it is certainly not a good idea to put away winter jackets and sweaters just yet. I love this striped boatneck sweater I got from Loft because it’s warm and a great transitional piece from winter to spring.

I am wearing it in XS petite because this sweater does run a bit large. I recommend sizing down. This sweater is so perfect to wear casually with some comfortable jeans and knee high suede boots. My knee high boots are old but I found a similar pair at Nordstrom by Marc Fisher that are the same height and are so comfortable!

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Sweater: Loft // Jeans: Articles of Society // Boots: OLD: similar by Marc Fisher // Bracelet: Fitbit Charge 2

 

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Hi loves! As my career progresses as a blogger and influencer, there is a question that receive on a daily basis: how do you do it? Many may not know this but I am also a full-time receptionist that spend 8-11 hours at her job throughout the week. On top of sleeping, exercising and eating, I am also in front of my laptop blogging about topics that make my heart soar. So today, I want to share with you all a little behind the scenes of Timeless Optimist and how I run my blog as a side hustle. I am hoping that these tips will help you start a blog if you have been wanting to do so too! So what does it meant to be a full-time blogger and full time employee?

It means being one hell of a planner. Yep. Planning is everything when it comes to running a blog – especially if you are doing everything on your own. I do not have anyone running my social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook. That mean I have to take time throughout the day engaging with my followers, tracking analytics and creating posts on a weekly basis. If you are looking to better streamline your blog content strategy here are some of the tools I use on a day-to-day basis:

  • Planoloy: This is the app that I use to help schedule my posts on Instagram (you can also use Planoly from your desktop too). I love it because it also serves as a mood board to ensure all of your photos match your aesthetic for your feed. Plus, you can schedule your Instagram posts in advance from Planoloy so that you do not have to be glued to your phone. Additionally, you can view stats as to which of your posts received the post engagement to help you plan out your content. I have a paid subscription with Planoloy which I pay $9 a month for.
  • ColorStory: Being on the go means you need to be able to edit photos from your phone. To me, ColorStory is the most user-friendly photo editing app. Editing photos are super simple on ColorStory and it now has a grid feature similar to Planoloy. As you edit your photos, you can also get a preview of how they are going to look on your feed.
  • Hootsuite: If I need to plan any posts on Twitter, I do it on Hootsuite. It provides a planner similar to Facebook, where you can schedule a post on any specific time and day after you link your Twitter account. I am using the free version FYI.
  • PeopleMap: This is a tool that takes a little bit of getting used to but it is so useful! I just started using it this year and it has been super helpful. It allows you to engage with your followers and track your engagement. PeopleMap has been a fantastic resource to provide brands and PR analytics (the perfect tool for crafting a perfect pitch).

It means being a multi-tasker. When you are a blogger, you are wearing several different hats. You are a writer, a stylist, a coordinator, project manager, PR agent, photographer and social media strategist. In summary: blogging is a lot of work. That is why it is CRUCIAL that you blog about topics that you love. To me, blogging is a creative outlet that needs to be enjoyable. The fact that I love the topic that I write about allow me to authentically and enthusiastically create content for you all to enjoy.

It means you are creative. Becoming a blogger has also helped me to become a amateur photographer. While I work with professional photographers from time to time (shout out to Belkin Images and Kate Vee Photography) I take most of my images with a shutter remote and my own DSL camera. I learned how to this to fellow petite fashion blogger Kileen from CutenLitte. I learned how to edit my photos from her here. My go-to present for lightroom can be purchased here. Since I work full time, I had to great creative as to how I was going to get my content. It takes practice but once you get the hand of things, it’s second nature!

It means you are a networker. I knew that blogging was a chance to have a creative outlet and maybe possibly as a monetized side hustle. What I did not plan on was connection and building relationships with other like-minded women like myself. I had had the pleasure to connect with some amazing bloggers who have also become close friends to me. I feel like my bachelors in business is finally getting put to good use. Blogging gives everyone an opportunity to meet with a plethora of professionals from various industries. Through social channels like Style Collective, I have had the chance to connect with local bloggers as well as bloggers all across the US.

It means you like to stay educated. You don’t have to be a student to be a blogger. But you are someone who loves to learn. Especially when it comes to topics you cannot get enough of. As a blogger, I always looking to understand more about social media, web design and inspiration for future posts. Podcasts like The Becoming Fearless Podcast and The Influencer Podcast have continued to keep me inspired as a writer as well as an influencer. Whether it is through podcasts, online articles or word of mouth, being an full time blogger means you love to dive into topics that help you grow as a professional.

If you find yourself agree with my points here, take a leap of faith! Start planning out your dream blog and make it is reality. Blogging, as I have pointed out, it not easy. I will tell you this – it does not feel like work when you are writing about topics you love. As long as you do that, you will always stay motivated and authentically engagement in your blog content.

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Skirt: OLD ; similar black/white floral pattern here // Earrings: Baublebar

Top: OLD; similar here // Beret: Free People // Boots: H&M  // Purse: Zara

 

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Valentine’s Day is a holiday that I have always enjoyed even when I was single. Who doesn’t love getting chocolate right? My best friend and I used to dedicate Valentine’s Day to watching our favorite romantic comedy like He’s Just Not That Into You and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.

I am looking forward to spending Valentine’s Day with my man. Since we are both hopeless romantics, we both like to really cherish each other’s company. Over the years with both of us having working opposite hours, it is nice to be able to have a day to ourselves. I am hoping that the weather will be a little warmer to wear this darling black lace romper. I am wearing this romper in S

So what does love mean to me? Love is about selflessness. Love means supporting one another. It means growing wiser together. Love means supporting each other’s dreams and helping each other fulfill them. Love is when two people come together as equals. It inspires us to be the best version of ourselves. When you find your true love, you realize what it means to find your better half. Your life suddenly has a new sense of purpose. Without love, we just exist. 

I hope you get a chance to enjoy your Valentine’s Day with the people you love most. Love you guys! 😘

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CLINIQUE Pop Matte Lip Colour + PrimerLC Lauren Conrad Petit Faux Fur Critter Crossbody BagMarc Fisher ‘Alinda’ Over the Knee BootAris Couture: Lovely Lace Romper

Romper: Aris Couture Boutique // Beret: Free People // Boots: Marc Fisher // Bag: LC Lauren Conrad // Lipstick: Clinique in Ruby Pop

 

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We all have that one color that instantly give us confidence. Some prefer neutral colors like gray or black. For me, red has always been my go-to color whenever I have needed a confidence post. I have always felt that red is a color that looks great on everyone! Every girl needs a little red dress in her life and here is why:

It’s timeless. Cliche I know but hear me out. Red is a color that stands out in any generation. Plus, if you are looking to get noticed, this is a color that will always help you stand out.

Confidence. I mentioned before that red is my go-to color for confidence and it has never failed me. Red is a color of demands attention. It’s the perfect color to wear when you are giving a presentation at work or if you need to do a speech at your next public speaking event. Red will draw the attention of your audience which will allow you to excel as a speaker or presenter with ease.

Excitement. Adding pops of red to your look adds drama and excitement to it. A little red dress is the perfect piece to spice up your wardrobe.

Versatility. A red dress can always be accessories with a blazer for work then with some great heels and sparkly jewelry on your next date night. Has anyone seen Once Upon A Time? Emma’s red dress in first episode is ICONIC!

I hope these tips have convinced you to get a little red dress of your own. Ladies, we all deserve to stand out now and then. Take the time to boost your confidence with a little red dress. I think this color will be a lot of fun for you to try and I hope it gives you confidence the way it does for me.

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Aris Couture Boutique Lace Sleeve JumpsuitAris Boutique Couture Killer Crimson Cocktail Dress

Dress: Aris Boutique Couture 

 

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Hi loves! If there is one piece of advice that I get from bloggers all across our nation is the importance of working with local stores owners. Collaborating with local store owners is a great way to build lasting relationships with your community as well as provide much needed exposure for the business owner. Today, I am so thrilled to introduce Aris Couture Boutique run by the lovely and talented Jess in Montclair, NJ. She started this boutique from scratch and since then has build a lasting relationship with each one of her customers.

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What is the selling point of this boutique? The price point! Jess’ clothes do not cost a fortune and also do not compromise on quality. The pieces that she has in her stores range from classic to boho-chic. Needless to say, this blush dress caught my eye instantly when I saw it.

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This blush dress has a the most elegant detailing (which is why it is named as the Tea & Crumpets dress). If you can believe it, I was actually really bloated with I took these images! Talk about impressive right? That is how flattering this dress is! I am wearing the dress in a size S. Since we are still in the middle of winter, I paired the dress with some black stockings, black boots and a rose gold/black clutch that I got on clearance at Express.

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If you want this dress for yourself, visit Jess in Montclair at her boutique or she can ship the dress directly to you! I cannot wait to show you all more darling pieces that you can rock on Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank.

My eternal thanks to Jess from Aris Couture Boutique for sponsoring this post. I am so grateful and honored to be partnering with you!

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Dress: Aris Couture // Boots: H&M // Clutch: OLD ; similar here

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