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    NOLAFW Shop Your City Day w/ APOL & HOTR


    Your regularly scheduled outfit post has been postponed (until lunchtime, no big deal!) because I’m so very excited to announce what’s happening on Saturday! Um hello, it’s Shop Your City day aka the first day of NOLAFW, and Jennifer from Haute Off the Rack and I will be live tweeting/instagram-ing as we hop along the participating stores together (I actually like to envision us skipping not hopping, but you get it). 


    NOLAFW‘s Shop Your City Day – Support local retailers, brands and boutiques by participating this day-long shopping extravaganza that includes in-store appearances by some of your favorite fashion bloggers, designers and more! Take advantage of special sales just for NOLAFW supporters and enjoy cocktails, sweet treats and snacks all day long! Shop Local! Shop Often! Support NOLAFW!


    Keep up with us on Twitter and Instagram – @krystalbennett @hauteofftherack  to see where we go, who we see along the way and our favorite picks from local New Orleans boutiques (and meet us there if you wanna)! And since we’ll be all tech-ed out, we’ll also be using hashtags – #AHautePinch #shopNOLAFW – if you want to get in on the convo! 


    Stores supporting NOLAFW:

    Hattie Sparks

    Friend

    Life Boutique

    Vernon

    Angelique

    Angelique Baby

    Angelique Shoe

    Saks Fifth Avenue

    Revival Outpost

    Paris Parker

    Loft3H

    Armoire 


    Hope to see some of you out there! 

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    Flamingo Fancy

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    I planned this Etsy post with much excitement – tomorrow is the Spanish Town Mardi Gras parade in Baton Rouge. The entire parade is themed around pink flamingos, and it’s my first time getting to attend since I’m normally in New Orleans for Endymion. I’m really ridiculously excited. I mean, they throw PINK BEADS.

    In case you’re wondering- yes, I will be wearing something on my head. All big events call for a headpiece in my book. 🙂

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    Blog Lessons Part 5 – Finding Content


    So you’ve started blogging and have some great posts rolling out, and then at some point, your content ideas start wearing thin… now what? Where are you going to find some content ideas?

    This is why I think it’s important to map out your posts in advance. Once you see all the posts fitting together it’s easier to plug in the holes. You’ll be able to flip through and see the last time you posted about Subject A or Subject C. Even better, keep a running list of companies, websites, boutiques, artists etc. that you want to feature. Anytime, you get stuck in a rut, consult the list.

    Far better than a written list (you knew I was going here, right?), there’s Pinterest. And far better than normal Pinterest boards, there are secret Pinterest boards. In case you’re afraid of spoiling your content by pinning ideas for all of your followers to see, create a secret board for blog content ideas. I actually do this ALL of the time. Make sure you’re following your favorite bloggers and brands to get the most relevant pins. Following people who pin recipes and cute animals is not going to help out your content board!

    * Etsy has a similar system that keeps track of all of your favorited items and makes it easy for you to find them again.

    Start up a blog roll or Google Reader list. It’s always been really helpful for me to have all of my favorite blogs and websites just a click away. When I’m feeling less than creative, they always seem to get me back on track and motivated. I’m definitely not saying rip off someone else’s content idea, but you might see a product or outfit on another site that will help jump off a new idea of your own.

    And last, be alert. Blogging is more than just sitting behind a computer screen – so start taking notice – there are content ideas all around you. Keep a list; constantly jot down/pin ideas, and you’ll never be stuck without good post material!


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    Blog Lesson 4 – Financial Planning


    A common misconception about blogging – it’s free. One would think…

    When you start blogging, you’ll most likely begin at no expense of your own. But depending on where you want to take your blog and what you’d like it to achieve, there are expenses that will present themselves. The four items below are just the tip of the iceberg but the most relevant when starting a new blog:

    How about domain names? You could either keep the .blogspot or opt for purchasing your own .com domain name for easier search recognition. Luckily, domain names do not cost much at all, and you can reserve them for years in advance. In my case, I have apinchoflovely.com that currently serves as a routing page for all of the social media links and sends readers to whichever one they want to see.

    What about pretty photos? One of the largest (and most worth it) expense I’ve had so far is my DSLR. Fortunately, I’ve already taken photography classes since I was a studio art major, but for some, they may need photography lessons to figure out the different settings. The only other option would be hiring the help of a professional. Either way, get ready to fork over some cash for those nice photographs!

    What about blog design? Not everyone has Photoshop and HTML knowledge. Platforms like Blogger and WordPress have plenty of free templates to choose from, but honestly, they lack the personalization you might want and the features you need to stand out. There are bloggers out there that offer blog templates, custom headers and sidebar buttons. Their design fees vary, so do some research before you decide. A few that I love are Fabulous K, Blog Milk and Leap. (Think you can handle it yourself? Chances are you’ll need a program comparable to Photoshop.)

    Content costs money. Whether it’s a food blog, clothing blog or craft blog, remember that your materials are typically an expense. (A tax deductible expense if your blog is a business.) Chances are you will have an idea for a post that will require you to go buy something for it. Make sure to keep track of those expenses to keep yourself from splurging too often.

    I hope this helps you potential bloggers out there with monetary expectations. I learned this all on my own, and wish someone would have passed this on to me in the beginning!

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    Blog Lesssons Pt 3: Finding Balance

    Today’s topic is one that I still have issues with – balancing my time. Although I would love to be a professional blogger, I am not. I have a full-time job, and everything associated with this blog is treated as freelance. Because of this, it can get difficult prioritizing my time.

    One way to do this is to have planned posts. Believe it or not, the posts you read here are not written spur of the moment but rather, are planned at least a week in advance. I keep a monthly calendar with all the potential posts mapped out in pencil, so I can easily move ideas around. I also have certain topics that fall on the same day each week – Tuesdays are invitations, Wednesdays are outfits. I like to keep the other three days in rotation. In addition, most posts are made and written in advance. They’re usually compiled one or two days before they’re actually published.

    A giant help has been the Blogger app on my iphone. It keeps a list of all my drafted posts, and from there, all I have to do is click publish. I can publish to the blog from anywhere at anytime. Depending on my morning, I’ll publish before I get to work or wait until my lunch break. It’s been a trial and error process of figuring out when to post, but it’s finally getting more consistent.

    On top of planning posts (and here’s where I’m lacking), you’ve got all the social media outlets that need to be updated. Facebook helps by automatically updating the Fan page whenever a new post goes live, but you still have Twitter and Pinterest to maintain. Once again, those two things are done either on my lunch break or after work. I’m quickly learning that a social media plan is just as important as my post calendar. I desperately need to start mapping out tweets and pins depending on the post that day. (Working on it!)

    Here are a couple of social media tips that I’ve learned from working with brands like ban.do

    • Images pinned on Pinterest after 7 pm (EST) on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday evenings get the most re-pins.
    • If you want the most amount of people to see something on Facebook – post it on Wednesday at 3:00pm (EST).
    • “Please,” “check out,” “help,” “vote,” or “buy” always get more clicks.


    One last note on finding balance – take a break if you need one. If you skip a day or two or posting, it’s not the end of the world (just don’t let it turn into a habit or your readers will lose interest).


    Anyone else have some words of wisdom to help find blogging balance? Please share!

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