Friday, October 19, 2018

Smart Southern Style Turns One

Thank you. Thank you.  Thank you.

That is the only way I know to start out this post, as it was exactly one year ago today that my blog Smart Southern Style first went live!  I can't thank you all enough for joining me on this journey over the last year.  Whether you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, read and subscribe to my blog posts and/or purchase items I share, I am so appreciative of your support!

For at least a year before launching Smart Southern Style, I had thought about starting a blog, but kept telling myself I was crazy to take on something else. After all, I already had a demanding full time job that required travel, two beautiful daughters who were busy with activities, a hubby I wanted to spend time with, and other family relationships and friendships to maintain and grow.  However, I finally decided to take the plunge into blogging and am so glad I did!  It has been WAY more work than I thought it would be, but I have enjoyed every minute!

A while back, I asked you all on my Instagram Stories to share what you would like me to write about as I reflect on my first year of blogging.  You sent in questions, so I thought I would answer some of them in this post. So, here it goes...

What have you learned after a year of having a blog?
As I referenced above, blogging takes a lot more time than I thought it would.  I thought I would just post a photo or blog and people would just find me.  Nope!  Building and growing a blog takes a lot of time - engaging on your posts and others, planning content, writing blog posts, networking with other bloggers and brands, the list goes on!  I have also learned that it is important to be grounded in a firm foundation of who you are and not get swept up in the game of comparison.  When we are comparing our "insides" to someone else's "outsides" (Instagram feed, clothes, number of followers, etc..) it is easy to experience feelings of inadequacy.  But, nothing I see on a phone or computer screen can compare to the grace and love of Jesus, my family and friends.  If I fall into the comparison trap, I will take a break from social media and blogging and spend time doing what fills me up.

What advice would you give someone just starting a blog?
Set goals for yourself, but make them realistic.  When I first started, I said I would write two blog posts a week. I quickly found that to be unrealistic with the limited amount of time I had available.  In addition to setting realistic goals, I would pinpoint the target audience you are trying to reach.  For example, the objective of Smart Southern Style is to provide fashion inspiration for busy mamas in their 30s and 40s who want to live a fashionable life without breaking the bank. And my last bit of advice...HAVE FUN!  Give yourself grace, make the most of every opportunity that comes your way and enjoy the ride!

How do you balance your blog with your full time job and personal life?
I'm not gonna lie, it is TOUGH!  I love to put 110% into all of my "jobs" - wife, mom, corporate job, blog - but that leaves little time for me!  There have been times in the past year that I have had to put the blog to the side when other parts of my life are busier than normal.  This balancing act is still a work in progress, but I am trying to give myself grace and not be as hard on myself.  And I am thankful to have a supportive husband who has taken on even more with our family since I started blogging!

What have been the highlights of your first year as a blogger?
This is a tough question, because there have been so many highlights!  Being able to connect with all of you has been the best part of starting this blog.  When I get an email or DM from you saying that you found inspiration in some way from something I posted or wrote, it is the highlight of my day!  In addition to connecting with all of you, I have been able to meet some amazing ladies who are also fashion bloggers. They have been so helpful and kind and I want to specifically thank Anna DeLeon of Peppered in Style and Jan Correll of Silver Is The New Blonde for meeting with me and answering a bunch of my questions when I was just starting out.  (Give them both a follow if you don't already!) I have also been able to work with some amazing brands in the last year and I am so thankful!

Who takes all your blog photos?
I work with a fabulous photographer named Deeana Beckley, with Deeana Kourtney Photography. She is great to work with and was so helpful and patient when I did my first few photo shoots.   I asked her questions like "What do I do with my hands?" and "How should I pose?" because I was completely clueless and she gave me great advice and suggestions.  If you are in the Charlotte NC area, I highly recommend her.  Occasionally my sweet hubby takes photos of me, especially when we are traveling.

What are your favorite trends for fall?
I am actually wearing several of my favorite fall trends in the photos in this post.  Leopard (or any animal print) is definitely one of my favorite trends. Even if you don't want to go bold with a sweater or skirt, you can incorporate some leopard in a more subtle way with a belt or handbag.  I also love burgundy and plum colors for fall.  You can wear them with clothing, a handbag or even with your lipstick or nail polish.  I am also loving pointed toe booties for fall. I think the pointed toe gives them a bit of a dressier look, and you can wear them with anything from jeans to a dress.

Do you have one article of clothing that is your favorite?
I have a basic black sheath dress I bought about 5 years ago for an event that is still in my closet.  It is  flattering and timeless and can be worn so many different ways.  I have worn it several times over the years and continue to hold on to it because it it is a classic piece that is easy to put on if I cannot figure out what else to wear to an event!

I tried to cover as many questions as I could without this post getting too lengthy.  If you have any questions that I did not answer in this post, feel free to comment below or send me an email.  Thanks again for reading Smart Southern Style and making the past year so much fun!

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