Monday, February 1, 2021

Valentines Gifts For Him

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Valentines Day Gifts For Her

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Friday, January 15, 2021

January favorites from Chic Wish

This post is in collaboration with Chicwish Boutique. Some of my favorite Clothing finds were gifted. All opinions are my own. Click here to shop their website below.

Chic Wish

 Chic wish is currently having a great sale where you get 10% off anything over $80.00 WITH CODE:JU10 15% off anything over $120.00 with CODE:JU15 and 20% off anything over $180.00 with CODE:JU20. 

 

 I'm loving this adorable heart sweater for Valentines day next month. I paired it with black jeans, a red hat, and a black turtleneck with basic black boots. This is an easy look to get that has just enough pop of color for the holiday. 


This adorable tweed black and white skirt looks perfect paired with a turtleneck bodysuit and knee high boots. I get a lot of wear out of this top when styling outfits. I also have it in white for the same reason.
Third pick for this haul is the neutral tan coat as I think its perfect for spring, winter, and fall. It matches everything and is just timeless.
The next item I chose was this light green jogger set with a slight cropped sweatshirt. This material is amazing because it is warm yet lightweight. Its one of the coziest items I own.
Last but not least I chose this classic pea coat with faux fur that is removable and gives you two looks. You can wear with or without the attached faux fur around the collar. Win Win for me. Ill get a lot of wear out of all of these items but this jacket will be a staple in my closet for years to come as its neutral and great quality.
You can find me on LIKETOKNOW.it here for more looks and styles- https://www.liketoknow.it/blondedlights
 
 

 
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Friday, January 8, 2021

Everything Valentines From Target

Give me all the Pink and Red fun for the month of February. Im sharing my current finds from Target that are easily accesibe from online, in store, or oder pickup. I always love the month of February for this reason and you all know I love Target. let me know if you find any other good items I should look at or share.
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Bar Cart Styles under $100

All the bar cart styles here from Amazon and Target linked below.
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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Weekend Getaway in Leipers Fork, TN

Thank you Pot N kettle Cottages for hosting our stay, The Williamson County Visitor Center, and Eventbrite for sponsoring our entertainment. All opinions are my own as always.

The "Coda" Cottage 

While many people head to Nashville TN for the culture and Broadway fun most locals get sick of the city lights and tourism. I was born and raised in a small town so I can “occasionally" appreciate the small town living lifestyle without all the hustle and bustle. When I spoke with the owner of Pot N Kettle Cottages in Leipers Fork I was thrilled to plan a weekend getaway with my Canadian Husband who has never experienced anything quite as sweet and southern. If you are not familiar, Leipers Fork is about 45 minutes or so outside of Nashville and just a few minutes away from Franklin TN. Franklin is another great spot outside of Nashville with tons of entertainment and history. Franklin is known for its Civil war history and the Battle of Franklin. If you’re not familiar do a quick google search and you will quickly fall in love. Franklin, TN is rated one of the most livable cities in the country. You will have everything you need while visiting Leipers Fork with Franklin right next door. Take a look below and see for yourself.

Downtown Leiper's Fork 




Now more on Leipers Fork…
Leipers Fork is one of the most charming towns you will ever see.
If you have never been, think of this: A cute little village right off the Natchez Trace Parkway, right in the mountains and the smell that goes with. There are cute little shops everywhere, galleries featuring local artist, movie nights on the lawn, restaurants with live music, cafes, ice cream, seating on the river, antiques, etc. All within walking distance of all of the homes and cottages. It’s the perfect weekend getaway for some peace and quiet but you still have the conveniences of Franklin TN if you want just a little more. You will no doubt experience the sweetest hospitality and think you are in a Hallmark movie. Not kidding.. all while drinking the sweetest tea you will ever have.

Where to stay- Pot N Kettle Cottages-
All Pot N' Kettle Cottage properties are within walking distance from The Fork! From a  cozy cottage like Coda Cottage (which sleeps five) or one of the larger homes like Liepers Inn Fork (sleeps 10) your wishes will be met no matter which cottage you choose. 

This place is truly magical and I can’t say enough good things about the owners. They have the sweetest story if you would like to check them out- Pot N Kettle Cottages
They made our stay super easy and even gave us suggestions on things to do in the town..
 Entertainment-There’s so much to do all within walking distance from your fairy tale cottage. If you don’t feel like walking you can always take a stroll on one of the cruiser bikes provided by Pot N Kettle Cottages.

 You can also enjoy the property and peace and quiet-minus the frogs and crickets in the background which we loved. We had a fire every night and had smores to go right along with our experience for the full effect.
Smores by the firepit 



The town has galleries filled with the local artist pieces, coffee shops, Puckett's grocery which is a historic restaurant with live music, movies on the lawn, ice cream, antiques, etc etc.
Local Art Gallery 
 If you want to do some porch sitting and watch/listen to the creek you can do that too as there’s patio seating everywhere you go.
Porch Sitting in Leipers Fork 
 You might even see some local celebrities like Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, Justin Timberlake, etc. I can see why the celebrities live in the area as its one of the most peaceful places all close enough to the city. There’s also tons of history everywhere. The story is the town is very connected to moonshining back in the day.
Take a small drive to the Leipers Fork Distillery or H Clark Distillery




Both of these distilleries are amazing and will give you a great story to go along with your tasting. We spent a rainy day enjoying some tasty beverages and learning a little bit more about the history of this town and the connection.

Hot air Balloon Festival- There’s a huge hot air balloon festival every year just down the road in a darling neighborhood called Westhaven. They have huge hot air balloons on the lawn with tons of eating and entertainment options. The event was rescheduled the weekend we were in town to July 29th, If you would like info check out the link below.  


Arrington Vineyards-If you are a wine drinker you will love this quaint vineyard. They allow you to bring your own wine if needed and many people have picnics on the lawn. This is one of my favorite things to do in the summer. They have the best Blackberry wine... 
Photo Credit-Pinterest 
Carnton Plantation-If you are a history buff you will love the story of this house. Be sure to check out the book written about the house- Widow of the South. This is one of my all-time favorites simply because you can read the book then visit the actual house and the book comes alive.
Carnton Plantation Garden 
The Carnton Plantation served as the Confederate Hospital during the civil war and the Battle of Franklin and comes with a lovely little story. The couple that lived in the house cared for all the soldiers and grieved each soldier and wrote letters to the soldiers loved ones… The soldiers are still buried in the yard near the house. It’s a very moving piece of history that you can actually read about and see in person. I have visited this home several times and its one of my favorites. They also have a museum located near the home that has many original pieces and letters from the family that lived there.Carnton Plantation

Downtown Franklin TN-

This lovely town is rated the number one town in TN and like I said before it is known for the Civil War History. It has several original buildings from that time still standing. You can visit several historic churches, The Lotz House, and The Carter House and many other historic sites. You can literally go back in time and see everything in person. I highly recommend making the short drive over to see this piece of history. It’s amazing to see any piece of history in my opinion and you really do get the full experience with all of these homes and buildings.
Restaurants- You have many options downtown and on the square all within walking distance to all the shops and most have a patio with a view. I suggest Greys, The Red Pony, 55 South, Mellow Mushroom-this is right on the roundabout on the square with a lovely patio and view, they have a Starbucks and many Ice cream shops along with a wine bar.
 Lunch at 55 South




There’s tons of shopping, and anything else you will want and need for a charming weekend getaway. There’s no question you will fall in love with this town as well if you visit.  If you have been please let me know your favorite part or any suggestions I left out, I’m always looking for new things to do in the area for the next visit. We will surely be back soon. 

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

One year of blogging +lessons learned



This past month has flown by you guys…. I missed my 1 year blogging anniversary TWO months ago, I guess I wasn’t exactly surprised at myself 😂 I've literally had four-weekend trips back to back so I can't really complain but actually sitting down to blog and put my thoughts into words has always been my weakness.  In any case, here’s a quick update on the blog and what’s next!




The number one question I get in my dms is advice on how to get started. That question is so complex and really deserves two blog post in all honesty but I'm going to try to put it in this one then I'll update you guys with a worksheet with resources.
My biggest take away from this past year would be having a mentor is a must and a genuine sense of community. If you can find a mentor get one and soak up everything like a sponge. I reached out to a couple girls very early on that I am fortunate enough to have become very good friends with. This has helped so much and especially on those bad days when you want to vent and get creative with new ideas. I joined a couple of FB groups that introduced me to so many amazing women.

This should be a major priority for people starting out. I recently attended a seminar about blogging during fashion week here in Nashville from several successful ladies and the biggest piece of advice was to always surround yourself with people as smart as you or even more importantly smarter than you. Everyone in your corner or around you should bring something to the table rather than taking from or being negative. You want the power players in your corner and learn from them as much as you can.

ITS AN INVESTMENT
Not only is blogging an investment time wise but its an investment money wise too. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars all at once but be ok with spending here and there. Initially, I spent a couple hundred up front on my URL, website theme, and hosting for one year. I got my camera earlier in the year but I knew this going into that purchase. My Canon power shot was a couple hundred dollars. Photo props are never-ending- Tri-pod, backgrounds, flowers, candles, rugs, etc. Again you don’t have to do all of this at once but you will have to invest a little over time. You have to spend money to make money though. I upgraded in December to a Canon Rebel T6. This camera has been a game changer and I'm noW working on my editing skills. Again more investing… Different programs cost monthly cost but you don’t have to do all of this at once so remember that. Some major bloggers take a lot of photos with just the new iPhone and edit with VSCO. I'll link all the items I use below.

YOU WEAR SEVERAL HATS
You are not just a blogger or influencer, I quickly learned you are a photographer, model, stylist, brand manager, social media strategist, graphic designer, writer etc etc. The learning never ends and you really have to take it in strides. Some people might be better at one avenue than the other but overall you have to work on all the components mentioned or you won’t make it. “Hustle beats talent every day when talent doesn’t hustle”. You have to continue to grow and that is A LOT more work than most realize. I am always working on multiple things at any given time. Sometimes its content, marketing, branding, editing, or just getting enough photographs in general. On top of that, you always need a snazzy caption so its always on or you get behind quickly. I periodically will adjust my goals depending on what I’m working on at the time. This year alone I set a few different goals and I am busier than I’ve ever been because of that so don’t be afraid to stop and adjust what you’re doing. It will be trial and error for a while. If you’re not uncomfortable you are not growing. Usually, when I get comfortable I start working on something new that stresses me out or brings a challenge.

PHOTOS
I started out with a Canon power shot camera, an iPhone, a go-pro, and a tri-pod. My husband takes the majority of my photos or I take some with my tripod. 








This takes practice but can be done. I occasionally work with photographers in the area and have learned how to collaborate with others. All of this came from asking questions and doing my research daily. I took webinars, courses, and read tutorials for quite some time. I still do all the time because I still have so much to learn. You have to know this going into blogging and be ok with that. I have upgraded now to a Canon Rebel EOS 6 with a few different lenses. This is still a starter camera but pretty user-friendly with great quality photos.  Please know you don’t have to invest tons of money immediately to get started. You will have to spend here and there but you don’t have to go crazy.



 I am lucky enough to work with Katie @lifeshelives on my recent photos as she has created a preset for me. You can purchase my pre-set here and use my code BLONDEDLIGHTS1 FOR 15% off. This is a great deal and super helpful. I will usually edit small things afterward like the lighting but she has several options if you’re looking for something different. 
Link-Presets

SOCIAL MEDIA
This is such a hot topic with bloggers. It’s extremely important to know that your blog is the single most important platform you should be focused on. Your website is the catalyst in which your blog is based on so always remember that. So many bloggers found themselves in a frenzy over the summer because they didn’t have the two-factor verification on and several others reasons caused them to get locked out of their account or shadowbanned. Basically, all that hard work was gone until the Instagram Gods decided to unlock or lift the ban. You can’t depend solely on one social media platform to make your blog. You must have several avenues to get traffic and move directions with just in case something like that happens again. #JUSTSAYING
Can you be a blogger with just a great following on Instagram? In my opinion no. You are just an Instagrammer… sorry not sorry. I struggle with this one too but this is a new goal and priority of mine that you all will see changing very soon hopefully. I have recently figured out the game of affiliate marketing and that’s such a game changer when you can talk about things you love and make some cash at the same time for sharing your secrets or tricks with others. That is the exact reason I started. #WINWIN
Now with that being said you still need to build these platforms up just don’t get too caught up with them if they don’t take off immediately or a fast as others. You likely have different goals than the person you are comparing yourself to and they are likely in a different place so it’s not always apples to apples.

I think the next question I get in my inbox is what suggestions do I have for someone starting out on Instagram and how to build a following. I’m always flattered by this because honestly I really just consider myself a beginner who has small successes but for others, those small victories could be huge I guess. We all have a love/hate relationship with Instagram but we have to take the good with the bad. I started before the insane changes came along and I focused solely on IG for month’s day in and day out. I reached 10k followers right before my 6-month mark but it’s honestly just from hard work and growing from my mistakes quickly. You have to figure out what works for you and stick to it. You can, of course, change it up once you get the flow of everything. Stick with a theme and schedule and just go with it. I take a break on occasion like during the holidays because you can get burned out quickly if you don’t take a break. I started out again joining those engaging support groups.
I then began joining pods for different types of things like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter etc. I still need to work on these pages myself but usually, I commit to one day a week to really try to engage and grow that page. A lot of people ask do you really need more than two or so platforms and I would say if you are serious about making money absolutely. I quickly learned the more you have to go on a media kit while negotiating with brands the better. I started noticing a change in that 6-month mark when I implemented all of these changes. A lot of people think you need 10k followers to work with brands and that is so not true. If you know how to speak the sales language and market correctly you can begin around 3k in my opinion. You will need to work with some brands in exchange for product in the beginning but this is crucial for your portfolio and media kit. I also started using a price list with that media kit and that was another game changer for me. If you need help on these topics feel free to message me or just simply go to Pinterest and you will find an over load of information.

GROWING THE GRAM
SIGH….. this one is always a complex thing. I have experimented with so many things including giveaways, pods, international giveaways and that one is 50/50 in my opinion. You will grow but likely with the wrong followers so the followers will fluctuate drastically afterward and marketing companies target you when they see this and will randomly test out your account then message you afterward only to lose hundreds of followers after the fact… I get incredibly frustrated at least once a month over this issue but it just comes with the territory at this stage. It's not really my primary focus but I'm aware obviously. I'll still participate in blogger support groups and networking but I'm working on new ways to get involved. I like doing the giveaways for my followers and even the secret giveaways but I'm torn on the followers the come with. Still working on that….You will see an upcoming giveway to go along with this post for my blogger babes. 


ADVICE TO NEWBIES
Starting out it’s important to always remember why you started and always go back to that. I knew early on that this little hobby/business of mine would take time to build. It can take anywhere from a year (IF YOU'RE LUCKY) to three years to really take off for most people. Some people start several and still fail but the only key factor to success is hard work. You can easily start making an income and picking up after 6 months or so if you really hustle at it and make it happen. You have to treat it like a business. Any start up a business takes a while to get going and every entrepreneur will tell you that.  It’s important to pick a name, URL, host, theme then all your social handles first. Start following, posting, and engaging. From there you will need to make a list of short-term goals and long-term goals. You can begin from there but just get started and don’t wait or try to perfect everything you’re doing. You will figure it out as you go and that’s how most of us do it. If you feel lost and you will A LOT do your research and ask questions as much as you can.


MY GOALS MOVING FORWARD
Short-Term
I plan on building and focusing on other social media platforms, of course, working with more brands, monetizing more, and dominating my newsletter…. That’s one area I need major improvement on. I didn’t mention that above because I’m not the best with my own but newsletters are huge and can bring in a lot of traffic.
Long-Term
I have lots of plans for Blondedlights and I plan on using this platform in the next couple of years really more as a tool for other goals. I hope to work with more brands, branch outside a little beyond fashion, lifestyle, and beauty. I’ve been so fortunate to work with brands I love and that list never ends on brand work. I would love to incorporate charity somehow with this blog and get others involved with causes close to my heart. If you follow me on social media you know exactly what I mean. It’s always a struggle on balance with work, family, blogging, charity and personal time so I hope to get better at the balancing act.


Heres a few post from some of my favorite ladies that started out around the same time as I and I’ve grown to love them all and I always find something useful from their advice and blog. Do yourself a favor and check them out. Feel free to save these post for resources in the future.







Most popular blog post to date-





If I left anything out or you have any suggestions please leave a comment below and let me know if you like this post and want more like this in the future.  Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for following this little journey with me.





















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