Once upon a time, in 2012, I sat down with my pink Dell Inspiron 1520 and created a blog. I didn't know what I was doing at the time, or that it would ever become what it is today but I made something that has withstood time, grown with me and has been perhaps one of the great conversation pieces I will ever have.
Every now and then, I will go to an event and meet someone and they will say to me, "Oh! You're vanessainboston!". It's the craziest, most wonderful thing to be recognized for something you make, even if it's just a conversation about a mutual love for Glossier products, self-care practices or side hustles. So, in an effort to help you get to know me better, I've answered some of your questions from Instagram. It was so fun to learn more about what you're most curious about when it comes to my blogging journey/ life!
1. Do you have a blog posting schedule? | I'm trying! This is my biggest challenge right now and one that I am working on. (Bear with me!) I aim to post fresh content once a week and (per an Instagram story poll) on weekdays to give my readers something fun to look forward to. I was told that Mondays are a great day to share but sometimes I just get so excited by the topics that I'm bringing my audience that I just can't wait and have to publish right away.
2. How did you start your blog? | By just going for it. It feels a little cliche (and honestly, a little unhelpful) but one day I just decided to sit down and figure it out. I'm thankful to have grown-up in the era of Livejournal (R.I.P.) so journal-style writing in the virtual space wasn't a concept that was foreign to me. It did take a little research to figure out how to build my own platform but thanks to Blogger and then Wordpress and now Squarespace, I love where I've landed and the eye I've developed for curating my own little corner of the interwebs. Finding a name that can grow with me was one of the hardest parts but (I think?) I've arrived. The best advice I can give someone who is thinking of doing the same is to 1) don't be afraid. Even if you think your story isn't unique or worth sharing , it is and 2) just go for it. You can learn everything else on the way.
3. How do you grow your following? | Authentically. Repeat after me, "I will never buy followers". I don't care who says you need to inflate yourself a little bit to get ahead, it's simply. not. true. I am so proud of what I've built, however large or small it is, because it is a world of genuine engagement and of interesting people who have found me organically, through friends, through friends of friends and sometimes, just by searching a hashtag. I think that is just the coolest thing. Over the years I have joined networks on Facebook and various groups that help you to develop yourself as a blogger/ writer/ influencer and those networks have led me to some amazing people, other creatives and friends I collaborate with in real life. The blogging world, in my opinion, is for building people up and authentically creating a space you're proud of, with people who help you grow personally and professionally.
4. How do you plan your content? | I do my best to keep the subject material varied as much as possible. When I started on my blogging journey I was writing about my relationship with style and how it was intertwined with my professional career. My taste in style was much less sophisticated then and it was less sophisticated than the curated life and style it has become. I'm really proud of the evolution I have made in just six years and I really hope it only gets better with time. My blog and the subjects I cover are the most authentic story-telling that I know how to do whether that means I'm telling about the day I had yesterday, what I wore, what I ate over the weekend or a trip I took a year ago. I bring my readers whatever it is that feels the most real and if it's not totally current, I try to explain why it's relevant to me now.
5. How many outfits do you shoot at a time? How do you decide what to shoot? | This really depends on the situation and how much time I have. When I'm working with a photographer, we've shot anywhere from one to three looks at a time, typically depending on the temperature, weather and if either of us have any other appointments that day. I try to vary my style from causal to more professional and sometimes whimsical. It all depends on my mood, what I think I'll use the content for and of course, what makes me feel good.
6. What is your favorite thing to blog about? - @thehangrywoman | I like writing about anything that gives a real, authentic view into my life. I believe that we all have an incredible responsibility to tell and live our truths however raw or silly or sparkly or dull they may seem and my beauty routine, what I eat, what I think and where I go are all a part of that story. Of course, I will always enjoy talking about my personal style but since it is based off of so many things that inspire (the who, what and wear, if you will), I believe that all parts of the story are incredibly useful to share and that makes it meaningful for me to write them here.
7. What made you want to start blogging? - @thekingkasie | In 2012, I was in my early twenties and finding my voice as a young professional. I knew that was heading somewhere and needed an outlet to help me find my way. I have always been creative (doodling, making lists, etc.) and keeping an archive of the adventures I have just seemed like a natural way to share my story as a twenty-something, young professional trying to figure it all out.
8. What's your routine like?/ How do you prep for photo shoots? - @allthethingsetc | When a friend reaches out with availability to shoot, I try really hard not to repeat styles I've showcased in the past. I'm super methodical about the way I review old content and make sure that I'm not repeating colors or even moods (because I want to bring as much fresh, newness as I can, as often as I can)! As I gravitate towards a more minimalist wardrobe, I'm very conscious of the accessories I incorporate too, right down to whether I shoot with our without my glasses (which I wear for distance). As long as I'm comfortable in what I'm wearing, my confidence is really what makes the entire thing run smoothly. (Well, that and my amazing friends who have control of the camera.)
9. When it comes to blogging, what is the biggest challenge? | Right now, my biggest challenge is consistency and strategy. I'm both a detail-oriented and big-picture person and I get so excited by the little ideas sometimes that I forget to do things like schedule posts that need to be scheduled in advance while at the same time, drafting ideas for posts that never get written. Being a creative is both the best and worst thing because I never run out of the things I want to try but there is never enough time. And then there's having the patience to edit my own copy. Like anything else, writing is such a balance and learning to refine the skills that mean the most to you and your end result.
10. Where are your favorite places in Boston to take photos? - @itsmariaalyssa/ @lifebyfabby | I'm a sucker for nostalgia and have taken pictures all over Boston. Some of the best have been along residential streets in the South End, the entrance to the Arnold Arboretum and on rooftops at friends' apartments. It's all about the memories you make and the feelings you capture at that moment that make all the difference in the quality of content you shoot and I have some really artistic, beautiful friends that have such an eye for direction.
11. Where do you get your inspiration from? - @theluxurybelle | Everything I write is from experience so each of my posts are divided into categories that I think are a best fit. Even though everything I do is technically an adventure, I try to get even more specific about my thoughts so that if you're inspired enough, you'll follow in my footsteps and experience them for yourself. I love recommending products, dishes and styling tips and hearing what you think! (Don't be afraid to drop me a line, I'd love to hear from you!)
12. Who is your blogging inspiration? - @sumelika | Lauren Conrad will always and forever be a favorite. I was a teenager when she was figuring out side bangs and boyfriends and I always thought she did it with honesty and grace, even when the outcome didn't fall in her favor. It's just natural to me that I would appreciate her life and style now that she's a CEO, mom and all around #girlboss. Other bloggers, lifestyle curators and generally chic gurus I admire include; Emily Schuman, Laura "Lacquer", Courtney Shields and Liz Joy.
13. Are you from Boston and where's your favorite spot in town? - @beautifuldetour/ @biancablogs | Technically I'm from a city about a half hour from Boston proper but considering I spent 46+ hours a weekend downtown, I consider Boston my home too. I have SO MANY favorite spots but if I have to pick one, it's either the Harborwalk along Boston Harbor or Christopher Columbus Park. Both are such beautiful open spaces and within walking distance to places I've adventured before and where I have wonderful memories.
14. Do you have another job or do you blog full-time? | If you've been frustrated by the lack of consistency in the scheduling of my posts, I'm right there with you. I do have a day job (which takes up at least 46 hours a week, sometimes more) that is an adventure an undertaking all on its own. In addition to that, I teach ballet to a lot of little dancers on Saturday mornings. While I never discuss my day job directly on my blog, many themes are inspired by the experiences I have that are very different than interfacing with lifestyle brands I adore, places I visit for non-work-related purposes and coffee I consume for my own personal benefit.
15. How do you stay motivated? - @tashajsteel | It's not always easy but when I think about starting something, I ask myself 1) Can I finish this? and 2) Will I be happier when it's done? If the answer to those questions is yes, I make myself a cup of coffee or tea and buckle down until it's done. If the answer to either question is no, I know I'm not in the right head space to produce quality content.
16. What are you favorite "hidden gems in Boston"? - @gourmetpigs | Don't go telling my secrets but to name a few: Art/ Museum: Mapparium | Bar: BOND | Experience: Tea at the Boston Public Library | "Getaway": Castle Island | Hole-in-the-wall: jm Curley's | Outdoor experience: Victory Gardens
17. What is your favorite social media platform? | Instagram. A picture says a thousand words and while I love a bright, curated feed with all the rose gold accent pieces money can buy, it's what people don't say in their feeds that intrigues me too. My relationship with social media has become such a journey to be truly as real as possible and if that includes not posting one day because I don't feel like it, I don't need the gratification of a lot of likes or I just want to live my life away from behind my phone lens, then that's what I'm going to do. I would caution aspiring influencers, especially women, to take note of those accounts that don't ever chronicle the reality of what it's like to have writer's block or feel like you are in an unspoken battle of who has more followers. It's not about that but it is about finding your way and your worth in any platform you choose to use or not use and appreciating yourself for that uniqueness.
18. What do you like to do when you're not blogging? - @glamjessxo | When I'm not blogging I'm probably getting a workout in. My favorite way to exercise is in group glasses like barre or Pilates but I'll do a quick ab circuit at home if I'm short on time. I also like to read (currently: You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero), watch Netflix (currently: The Office and The 100) and hang out with P, trying new restaurants.
19. What's your favorite thing to do in your free time? - @simplynatters | Right now I'm trying to get better at practicing self-care. No wait, before you roll your eyes, it's this really important thing. For so long and for so many years, I was kind of just buzzing around and "relaxing" was a dirty word. Now that I'm older I feel like our society really glorifies "busy" and being over-committed and my mental, emotional and physical health was just not into it anymore. I'm really thankful I've gotten better at slowing down which, on some days, means writing, other days, reading, and sometimes it means doing absolutely nothing at all.
20. What is your favorite trend for 2018? - @whattheclique | Honestly, I'm so, so psyched that purple is having a moment. It's pink's unexpected cousin and I'm having an absolute blast styling all things lavender, lilac and hydrangea. In seventh grade, I had a love affair with purple (my entire back-to-school wardrobe was one shade or another) but for now I'm settling on comfortable, easy-to-wear pieces that work from barre to brunch and back to my desk.