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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Jumpstart Your Instagram! Course by Diana Trinh

Jumpstart Your Instagram Course

Continuous learning is big for me. I'm always on the lookout to grow my skill set and knowledge base. Earlier this month, I came across a post by The Coffee Date's Diana Trinh in Melyssa Griffin's Blog + Biz BFFs Facebook group.

On a scale from 1-10, I'd probably rate myself as a 5 on the scale of Photoshop skills. So I was really excited to learn that Diana had created a free Photoshop-based course on how to create an attractive blog sidebar. Not only did I walk away with a big boost in my design skills, I also took away that Diana is a great teacher.

I wanted to share with you a new course she is just getting to ready to launch on June 8th! It's called Jumpstart Your Instagram, which as you know is my favorite social media platform. I'm always looking to boost my photography and networking skills, and I'm really looking forward to making this possible with her help!

Diana's course is for you if you are:
  • An entrepreneur who wants to learn how to use Instagram to promote your business and get more clients.
  • A blogger who wants to grow a larger following, and get noticed by brands online.
  • A creative who wants to get more collaborations and gain more exposure in your industry.
  • Stressing out about how the algorithm change will affect you and your account.
Diana is also working with two guest experts: Dana Dyer and Patty Rivas

Dana Dyer is a storytelling photographer who specializes in documenting families, branding businesses, and wiping noses (she's also a mom of 7!). She will be walking us through shooting, lighting, composition, and editing (with a a LR tutorial!) to help your photos both look better and compliment your brand.

Patty Rivas is a Social Media Stategist and owner of SocialStorm Media. She will be showing you how to properly edit your Instagram content so that you'll be able to catch your target audience's attention. You'll learn the ins and outs of these apps and be well on your way to creating beautiful images that will make people stop scrolling.

I hope to see you in the course!

P.S. Diana has asked me to be an affiliate for her course, but as a reminder, I only recommend things I love! Thank you for your ongoing support. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Instagram Tips from 7 Brands I Follow

Instagram Tips from 7 Brands I Love to Follow

It's no secret that I love the Instagram community. With over 400 million monthly active users as of September 2015, I'm not alone either. When I'm not researching best practices and developing content strategies for the brands I represent, I love checking out content from thought leaders in different industries. Tapping into ideas from other sectors isn't just fun for me. It also enables me to discover new ways of delighting people and hidden facets of our diverse buyer personas. 

To that end, I've compiled seven of my favorite brand Instagram accounts. They've been able to successfully build an audience and deliver content that has both resonated with their audience and helped to grow their brand awareness. 

This list is not exhaustive of course, but it does showcase how brands with varying styles can cater to their audience on the same platform. Bear in mind that variety is key. Not every post should be “about” your business or even feature your products. The brands I've selected feature a mix of lifestyle posts, quote imagery, giveaways, videos, press highlights, and promotional photos to round out their content strategy. I hope this will help give you inspiration for what kind of photos and content to publish on your own Instagram!

UPDATE: If you're looking for more great tips on how to grow your Instagram & reach your target audience, I highly recommend Diana Trinh's JUMPSTART YOUR INSTAGRAM course!

The 90s aesthetic is strong with Rosehound Apparel. They make patches, pins, and more goodies to adorn your acid washed denim jacket. Unfortunately, their products speak my wallet's language. :(

And now for the ultimate gentleman's lifestyle destination: Tom Claeren's "Monaco Lifestyle" blog. One part James Bond, one part Matt Smith (Doctor Who), his inspirational quote imagery and over the top lifestyle spreads have pushed his account over 150k followers.

Cherie Tu is a vegan teen YouTube personality from Australia. Her recipes are to die for, and without a doubt will give you major food envy! Most of her shots are of seriously delicious eats, but occasionally she mixes in personal photos and brand messages.

A photo posted by Freebird Boots (@freebirdboots) on

Freebird Boots is a brand under the Steve Madden family of brands, so of course I'd be a fan! I especially love how they incorporate a mixture of lifestyle imagery and up close product shots to round out their Instagram strategy.

A photo posted by Nutsa Modebadze (@nutsa) on

Nutsa Modebadze is a fashion designer who specializes in handmade leather works. Her workshop is based in gorgeous Bali. When she isn't sharing beautiful shots of her incredible designs, I'm swooning over the tropical landscape.

Bill Crisafi's witchy sketches are simply from another time. Based in New England, there's definitely a vibe of part Salem witch trials, part Pagan spiritualism. He also has cats, which I can get behind.

Last but not least is Brit + Co. Founded by Brit Morin in 2011, the site is a destination for the crafty inclined set. I'm personally not a Level 5 Pinterest girl yet, but her site is a wealth of inspiration on a ton of topics.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Spaghetti Western

The last time my brother and I went on vacation together, we went to Bryce, Zion, and both sides of the Grand Canyon, among other destinations. There's so much to see and do in that area though, so this time we tackled 6 states in an all-American-style RV road trip! We left from his place in San Diego and drove across Nevada (hello Vegas!), celebrated the 4th of July in Arizona, toured Monument Valley in Utah, picked up New Mexico at Four Corners, and ended in Durango, Colorado. Sending a big congratulations to my cousin Becky too, as the reason for our road trip was to attend her wedding! Thanks for having us and we'll definitely be back in Durango soon!
My brother and I overlooking Monument Valley.

Hidden Arch at Goulding's.

Silverton & Durango Narrow Gauge Train
Molas Pass

Monday, June 1, 2015

Aveda's Rare Bloom

Aveda's Rare Bloom Collection
About two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a private press preview for Aveda's Spring 2015 Rare Bloom collection at the Cherry Hill Mall in NJ. Celebrity stylist and Aveda’s Global Artistic Director for Textured Hair, Tippi Shorter, was on hand for one-on-one consultations and gave me some great tips for taking care of my curly hair. She's the sweetest! 
Even the men's products smell amazing.
My mom happened to be in town for a short visit and the staff was kind enough to let her hang out and even treated her to a few samples too!
Tippi Shorter and I :)
Mom and I, how cute.

Stress-Fix line of products
As part of the experience, we were offered a complimentary makeover, massage, and a cup of Aveda's lovely Comforting Tea. The Stress-fix lavender body lotion also smelled amazing, but so do all of Aveda's products, so nothing new to report there! :)

Another one of us looking glamorous, because why not?
How adorable is my mom, by the way? She insisted that I learn to do this cat-eye all the time, but sadly I am terrible at getting the angle to match on both sides. However, their new lipstick in Poppy perfectly suited my complexion and it was also fun to try one of the Petal Essence Face Accents, as I don't usually wear highlighter on a regular basis. 

Learn more at and check out the collection inspiration video below:

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Philadelphia Collection: South Street Open-Air Runway Show

On Tuesday, I attended the South Street Headhouse District's Philadelphia Collection runway show at the historic Headhouse Shambles. Hosted by America's Next Top Model finalist Cory Wade Hindorff, the event showcased men's and women's cutting-edge street styles from some of Philly's top boutiques and salons. Featuring looks from Urban Princess Boutique, Totem Brand, Passional Boutique, Eye's Gallery, Moon + Arrow, Philly AIDS Thrift, Conrad Booker, McKinzie Chic, Helena Boutique, Armour Philadelphia, Hats in the Belfry, Dudes Boutique, and Nostalgia, the evening offered a unique mix of vintage original designs, thrift-store fashions, punk rock chic, and more. As a special bonus, architect, couture fashion designer, and visual merchandiser Conrad Booker, whose work has also been featured on Project Runway, debuted new fashion installations.

Say hello to my feet.

Friday, August 15, 2014

InStyle for Nine West

I'm on the left! (From @ShopsatLiberty)
Last week, I received an email in my inbox that literally made me jump with shoe lover joy. Enclosed was an invitation for the launch party of the new InStyle for Nine West Fall Collection! Everyone knows by now how obsessed with shoes I am, so I had to RSVP with a big yes. Plus, Nine West is one of my favorite places in the mall to visit when I'm looking for something on-trend, high quality, and at a great price point.
From left to right: Tessa, Cate (back), Jaiden, and Elia
At the preview event, there were plenty of fun activities to get the party started, including a selfie mirror (SelfieMIR), music by DJ Lady FX, Flash Tattoos, and pink champagne. My top pic was the Elia Open Toe Sandal in black leather. Even with a 4" heel, they were still very comfortable to walk in with the padded insole and arch strap. However, I do recommend sizing down by a half size; I first tried on the size 10 (my usual), but the 9.5 offered a more secure fit.
It was hard to choose with so many cute design options.
Temporary tattoos gone fashionista, it was hard to resist.
On hand to answer questions about the new collection was InStyle's Senior Market Editor Dana Avidan-Cohn, with whom I spoke for about ten minutes. Asking her about the collaboration with Nine West and how it all came to fruition, Dana said, "We wanted a brand that was really beautiful that could produce a beautiful shoe at the right price point." While InStyle features many high end or luxury items within its pages, it was important to be conscious of price for this collection because great style requires a balanced mix. Tapping into Accessories Director Leah Karp to curate and design the shoes, the collaboration truly follows to a tee what is happening in the market right now in a very inexpensive way and delivering that to InStyle's readers. Dana shared that, "If you know Leah, she has such beautiful taste. Her personal wardrobe is really curated for the way she dresses. Now, everybody gets to have the Accessories Director at InStyle magazine curate for them through Nine West. It's a great collaboration." Nine West has absolutely delivered on their promise with this perfect capsule of shoes all girls will want for the upcoming season.
Jaiden was tempting; pointed toes are back for fall!
Reflecting on the inspiration for this collaboration, Dana mused about how this collaboration is really about "directing a style savvy girl to a place where she knows she is going to get something that is going to work. You can't make a mistake if you buy any of the shoes in this collection; they'll all have something strong for fall so I think it's a great concept." For the evening, Dana was wearing the Cate Pointed Toe Pumps in navy suede, but she also recommended trying them in the leopard pony hair too with a boyfriend jean rolled up and a white t-shirt half tucked in for a cool weekend or going out look. Summarizing her sentiments regarding the outcome of the collaboration, Dana closed by saying, "I think the details are what we are most proud of. The execution of this collection is just beautiful and representative of when a great editor and a great brand come together. Editors are obsessive about details and brands are great at executing."
You'll just have to try something on!