Blogger Trip: Los Cabos

Four content curators walk into a Mexican resort………….. and leave with the best of memories! HAHAHA!

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Feeling nostalgic AF while I write this piece as this trip signified not only my first all blogger getaway but also my first official week of being a full-time Content Curator! EEEK! The expectations of some R+R were far beyond met on this unforgettable trip!

Hotel El Ganzo 

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Welcome to Paradise!

El Ganzo is Los Cabos’ one stop shop for artistic, hipster, luxe boutique hotel vibes! Decorated in contemporary art, this unique hotel is what I’d describe as an experience. With it’s very own recording studio, cultural program, expansive views of the Sea of Cortez and Puerto Los Cabos Yacht Marina, you truly get the best of both modern and indigenous worlds.  Truly, one of it’s kind in Los Cabos. PLUS, THERE ARE SO MANY INSTA-WORTHY AREAS TO SHOOT!

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Each of us had our own ocean-front room equipped with a wooden soaking tub, which may I add, we took full advantage off! Together we scoped each other’s rooms and it was funny how we all entered, with “OOOOhs and AWWEs.”

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For dinner, we went down to one of El Ganzo’s four restaurants, and enjoyed some yummy tacos and guac.

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Acre Baja

A jungle lush dream!

On our second day, we headed to this tucked away lux sanctuary, where tree houses, an organic farm, and palm forest meets modern chic aesthetics found in every corner.

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We enjoyed this hidden gem for most of our day. From the farm to table dishes, playful  billy goats, and the most picture-esque poolside, Acre is an Instagrammer’s dream! If you’re looking for an all-things serene and visually appealing ambience, Acre is your place to visit!

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SUR Beach House

Island Dreams AF!

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On our third day, we headed to Cabo San Lucas to spend the day at SUR. When you walk through their entrance doors, you are instantly transported into your own personal private island, overlooking Cabo’s shoreline and of course, the magical arch. We were greeted by the most impeccable staff with the best Berry Hibiscus Mojitos I’ve ever tried, and the freshest guac I’ve ever tasted! This open-air dining space gave us all the Greece vibes, for sure!

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Once we finished our delish meals, we were then taken to our private beach chairs, where we were quenched with some chilled champaign and toasty vitamin D!

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After sinking our toes in the sand, we were then escorted to SUR’s very own boat service where our group was taken out on our private boat to El Arco. We spent about an hour circling around the rock formations, captured some awesome moments, and even saw some tropical fishies!

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We headed back to Hotel El Ganzo, and soaked up our final night together over looking the marina. How magical that this digital media platform, connected all four of us and our partners from all over the US, allowing our group to bond in one of the most culturally rich countries in the world #blessed .

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On Sunday morning we shared one last meal and said our goodbyes *cue the tears*. This trip will forever hold a special place in my heart! Thank you, Hotel El Ganzo, Acre Baja, and SUR Beach House for making it all possible!

If you’re thinking about heading to Cabo, I highly recommend checking out these bomb establishments. I’m very much about aesthetics, safety, and ambiance and these places were 10/10.

Things to Remember:

  1. Cabo is humid AF! And if you’re like me and are sensitive to the sun, make sure you come prepared with big sun hats, sunnies, hydro flasks to refill your water, and a sh*t ton of sunblock. THAT SUN WAS NO JOKE!
  2. If you have dietary restricts, (like me) *eyeroll* be sure to communicate that with the chef before ordering. I did find it a bit difficult to find non-triggering food options throughout the trip however, all the above restaurants, accommodated my dietary needs as best as they could.
  3. Do not wander off the beaten path. I felt entirely safe during our trip but that was because we did our research ahead of time with the areas we would be frequenting, we made sure we always stayed with our group, and rented a car versus relying on taxis or Uber’s. This is not to say, other means of transportation is dangerous, but it felt a little more comforting knowing we were in control with where we were heading.
  4. Rent a car! Los Cabos and Cabo San Lucas is about a 45 minute drive from each other and with Uber’s being so far and in between, we saved a lot of time just hopping into our car. Plus, if you are planning to shop and location scout, it is much easier to drive there 🙂
  5. Live yo’ best life! This is Mexico, GO LOKO!!

XO

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Q & A – Instagram Edition Pt. II

Hey boos! I see a lot of new faces on here + it has been a minute since I dedicated a post to my most asked questions so here we go 🙂

  1. Any tips on creating content on a budget?
    • This is tricky! Curating a photo can be multi-layered. This can all depend on location, outfit, props, etc. If you are wanting to shoot at a botanical garden, state park, museum, etc these locations all cost money, not just for your own entrance fee but your photographers as well. So in terms of location, try to stick to public places like the beach, down town area, and even your home. For outfits, if you are not gifted certain pieces, thrifting will be your best bet. I have posted photos in entirely thrifted pieces from head to toe where I spent anywhere from $10-$40. Now if you use props in your shots, which I do almost 100% of the time, flowers are my go-to. Trader Joe’s, Ralph’s, and Whole Foods carry my fave kinds of flowers for a decent price (depending on the week). But many times you can find props laying around the house and just incorporate them into your shots as you see fit.
  2. What is the biggest surprise in your transition into blogging full-time?
    • I would have to say, the struggle lies in the actual adjustment of schedules and time management. Before, when I was working full-time in the office, I knew I would only have the 6pm-12am time slot to work on my blog/IG. But now, as “more” time is available, I am finding myself still cramming everything into a small window of time as I am picking up more work on this end. Before there was some sort of structure there, though chaotic, it somehow worked. So, I am trying to fine tune a new schedule that works for me and that all begins with practicing good habits so that they eventually become routine.
  3. What advice would you give to someone who is trying to gain a bigger but yet organic and authentic audience on IG?
    • Now, I think this can vary depending on who you are asking. And this is because there are several routes to take. And by no means am I throwing shade to those who do the following techniques, but I’m just stating what I’ve seen be done. So in order to build an organic following, you want to refrain from joining any “course” that promises quick growth. Although, you may gain authentic followers, the way in which they advise you to do so, most likely won’t be organic. Because in my eyes, organic growth happens over time and not overnight or in a matter of a few weeks. Also, from what I’m hearing, these techniques can be flagged by IG which can effect your overall reach. In terms of authentic followers, do not succumb to the pressures or even curiosity of buying fake followers. I know SOOO many people do it, but like…it is SOOO obvious. And I have IG friends who have confided in me that they do this only because “desperate times call for desperate measures” and I can totally understand the frustrations of not growing, but I personally could not go about my day knowing I am making moves that have challenged my integrity. I also think there is a different sense of pride knowing you built your community solely through your hard work vs. through sus means.  So, the simple answer here…is literally just do you. Speak on issues that matter to YOU, create content that excites YOU, and by being your true + raw authentic self, people will take notice. Utilize your stories to help your audience get a glimpse into your every day non-curated life. Relatability means a lot to people! I like to ask myself, “am I the same person online than I am in real life?” If I feel I posted something that does not match 100% to who I am, I delete it. This has been key for me in my growth. In addition to authenticity, I love to focus on community. I want to get to know my followers and the only way I can do that, is through engagement. Are you taking the time to make real connections with others? Also, I listen to what my audience likes, if they ask for more at home shoots, I try to throw a few in there to show their suggestions are being heard.
  4. How do you stay inspired/creative?
    • I am naturally drawn to aesthetics. I love to look at content that makes me feeeel a type of way. And usually that is through pretty, thought out, photos. Yes, I love seeing bomb ass outfits, but what else can the photo give me? I want to leave looking at a photo feeling something stronger. So, that emotional aspect of it, is something I try to take with me in curating my own content. And this is not to say, I am successful each time. In fact, there are many photos of mine which will never see the light of day (or I wished never saw the light of day), because I didn’t/don’t feel any type of way while looking at it. It can be hard to conceptualize a shoot and go in thinking it’s going to be amazing, but during post-production, simply hating it. So I think what keeps me inspired, is creating and figuring ways that give me opportunity to feel less of those shitty days. I want every single photo of mine to spark something within me. So the more I am able to pull within myself and up my game more and more each and every time, the stronger collectively my work will be. I also like to analyze my feed as a means of surveying. What am I seeing too often? What am I not seeing enough? Which photos spark joy and which don’t? Whatever data I am able to pull from that, I can then go into Pinterest, IG, the outdoors etc., and try to locate those answers. Also, taking a break from posting, can also give me a fresh perspective on the direction I’d like to take for future shoots.
  5. How do you balance being so active on your social media and being present in your real life?
    • THIS IS TOUGH! I feel like the two go hand and hand at this point but that is partially because I have always been this way! Ever since I can remember, my friends and family HATED that I had to take photos of everything! But, I’d always found joy in documenting my life. So now that social media is actually a thing, I don’t necessarily find it to be any different? I know this sounds bad but I don’t look at it as an inconvenience to whatever my day to day is. But I also think this is because of who I am. If I’m having a shitty day, I am able to talk about it and share what that looks like. No make up, greasy ass hair, etc. But I know of friends, who can’t do that! They feel they have to “show up” for Instagram, make up, cheerful attitude, the whole 9.  So it can be hard for me personally to draw that line, because I can easily watch a movie with bae, take a quick video while slumped on the couch, post it, and keep watching. But what I did in Europe to try to remain as present as possible was saving all my videos until later that day, so I wasn’t spending that time while out adventuring. But again, this is a work in progress for me!
  6. How do you get such great engagement on your posts? 
    • Well, right now I am currently shadow banned so meh, it’s been hard out here for a sis!! HAHA. But overall, I have to owe it all to the community I have been blessed with! I think the amount of time I have put into getting to know my audience, and the friendships I have built has been reciprocated in so many ways, one being through engagement. For me, there is this sort of loyalty to each other so when we post, so we just naturally want to support and engage. And I truly think that has been the case for me.
  7. I’m a smaller account and larger accounts have directly copied my content, any advice?
    • UGH, if I had a dollar for every time this has happened to me (massive ass eye roll). So I know there is this notion that ideas are not owned and we all pull inspo from each other at some point and I get that! However, it can feel like a robbery when all the time, effort, energy it takes to curate one post, can literally be “taken” for lack of better word and treated as though it were an original concept. Because as content curators our work is essentially public, we are not really protected against this. So the only thing I can suggest doing, is finding it within yourself to some how shake it off. It’ll suck, it’ll sting, it really makes you question the integrity of others, but unfortunately this is a risk all creators take by putting their work out for the world to see. It is almost inevitable. But what is most important to remember is that people can copy your recipe, but YOU ARE THE SECRET SAUCE 🙂
  8. When it comes to blogging, what is your biggest fear and what’s your advice to fight it?
    • My biggest fear is that I am not touching on topics that resonate with people. If y’all notice, often times I don’t talk about very blogger-esque topics because simply other things interest me. I’ve found myself wondering if people even care what I’m writing about but then I have to remind myself that I am not creating content to conform, I am creating because I have a passion for whatever it is I’m putting out. So in my case, remembering that as long as I am loving what I’m doing, the rest will follow.
  9. If you knew something when you started your IG journey that you know now, what would you do differently? 
    • I would have cut off toxic, half-assed support earlier on. When you start a small business, you have a lot of skepticism around it. And in the beginning, I went through several months where I struggled maintaining “friendships” that I knew were not supportive but I stuck around anyway because #loyalty. But I realized, life is too short to surround yourself that with type of energy. Life requires you to level up and if my circle is not vibrating to that same frequency, girl, bye! The time and guilt I spent/felt by ending those friendships were yes, worth it in the long run but in retrospect, it would have been healthier for me to just act on those red flags earlier on.
  10. What does your BTS actually look like, if you could paint the picture for us. 
    • AH!! So usually the real BTS takes hours and this is because my posts are all for the most part… fully curated. We start off heading to the store to pick up our props, then we head to our location. Thing is, our location, is usually a longer road trip away, HA! So once we are there, I quickly change into my outfit, we have Troy (our dog) in his stroller chilling on the side of us, and we location scout. Once we have our exact location, I have bae stand in my desired spot, and then we add in the props. Usually the weather is against us, so many times we both are just standing idle until the wind passes. Usually I try 10-20 different poses. Often times after 20 minutes, Troy starts to bark and the embarrassment begins, LOL. Half of my shots are me telling or yelling at  Troy, “almost done, Bubba, just a few more!!” We normally take a break for me to review the photos and if none are to my liking, bae knows the pressure is on, because I can get impatient AF! Our roles are like reversed: he’s the one telling me we need to shoot more, and I’m the one who’s like, “K, lets go!” HAHA. Depending if the photo is due that day, we either edit straight after in the car for posting or we narrow down our selects so once we arrive back home, the post production part is not as long.

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Ah, soooo I know this is long (let’s be honest, when are my posts ever short?) but I tried to be thorough AF. Or if you’re just a metiche like me, hope you enjoyed the tea! XO 

 

Q & A – Instagram Edition

Hi guys! Long time no talk, ha! So, I’ve compiled a list of my most asked questions as of recently from my IG and thought I’d answer em’ in an easy read blog post!

  1. Q: How do you plan a curated feed?
    • A: I use the app called, “UNUM” It gives you a look of what your feed currently looks like plus a preview of what it would all look like with whatever photo you’re looking to upload next. Plus, I edit all of my photos with the same style of editing on Adobe Lightroom.
  2. Q: What are you hoping to achieve with your personal brand?
    • A: For right now, I hope to create beautiful photos that tell a story. I hope to continue to inspire women to be their bad ass, fierce, confident selves, but also to come together to create the better good in society. Whether that be, helping a stranger in need, speaking up on issues that are important, and/or not being afraid to put you and your mental health first! As I grow with my audience, I hope to create presets and possibly workshops/meet-ups for aspiring bloggers.
  3. Q: Do you ever get body shamed? If so, what do you do to forget the haters?
    • A: Not really in my adult life, but growing up, I would get dumped on for how my body looked! I was called, “cottage cheese legs”, “wide-load”, “corn-bred fed” throughout my time in school. It happened so frequently that I had a talk with my parents. They advised me that in this life, we are giving one body and we have the choice of loving or hating it. Through my practice with self-love, I realized these people were the problem and not my body! I felt empowered knowing this and am very comfortable in my own skin, today! However, just recently I received a comment on IG from another blogger that read, “You are the most beautiful big-skinny girl, I’ve ever seen!!” Now, part of me, was like, whoa! Although, maybe a compliment?? – it came off as icky. But at the end of the day, no matter what people intentionally or unintentionally say, you are the only person living in your body so might as well love it!
  4. Q: Do you connect IRL with many creatives? If so, how do you find them?
    • A: Yes, I actually have! In fact, I’ve made really strong friendships with a number of them! About 6 months ago, I mustered up the courage to host a meet up with some babes I know solely through IG. It went so well that now we talk everyday and are meeting up again this weekend, actually! Since then, I’ve met up AND collaborated with so many others and I think the most useful tool in doing this is your DMs! I heard a podcast that said, “Your DM portal is your magic potion!” You can literally create such strong connections  every single day with complete strangers by simply reaching out and complimenting someone’s feed, recent post, outfit, whatever it may be!
  5. Q: What inspires you to create?
    • A: For me, I get inspired by so so much! I’ve always been more of a visual learner and in my adult life, aesthetics really draw me in. I feel a mood whenever I see something that captures my attention. And this tingly- weird awe-inspired feeling is something I try to bring to my own content. I want to tell a story of some sorts: I want to make the seemingly ordinary look extraordinary, lighting up whatever random corner I’m shooting at. Most importantly, I don’t just want people to look at my content, I want them to FEEL something after looking away.
  6.  Q: Tips on posing and shooting locations?!
    • A: I try my best to scout locations ahead of time. Whether that means: I take a mental note of a cute area I see on my way home from work, or visiting a popular tourist site, or even hashtagging my city and going through recent posts of other IG users to get location inspo. However, there are other times that we just wing it, pick a random neighborhood, and drive around and around until somewhere speaks out to us. As for posing, I try to stand tall and confident in whatever movement I make. I like to go for more action motions such as: walking, arms swaying, dress in the wind, that sort of stuff. But do whatever feels most comfortable for you! If you are a hand on the hip, head tilted a bit, cheesy smile gal- you do the damn thang, boo!
  7. Q: Do you plan your outfits for the location?
    • A: Typically, yes! Like I said, I like to set a mood. So if I am doing a shoot with plants, I will go for animal print or something that is in the same palette. Also, I think you should go based off of your feed! If your tones are more warm like mine, I like to stick to neutral colored items but if its more cooler, than maybe whites, tans, black. Or I’ve seen some really colorful feeds, so likely brighter pieces will fit better. But the great thing about creating is that you can take a completely diff spin on what you’re comfortable wearing and switch it up every now and again!
  8. Q: How do you stay consistent with posting content?
    • A: This is actually a very complex question for me. I used to post on IG, 4 times a week, no matter what! I was on turbo mode and made sure shooting was of top priority. It wasn’t until I sprained my ankle when the universe sent me the unfriendly reminder that it will not always work alongside your preferred schedule. I legit could not walk for almost 2.5 weeks. I was miserable! I felt as though someone was suffocating my creativity and just sitting at home made me feel as though I was not bringing value to the world. I even tried to force myself to shoot, crying in pain on the way to our location, yet smizing for the shot, but what that actually did was exacerbate the injury and leave me with a photo where I looked pained. But as time passed, I accepted what was. But I was nervous, tbh! On this platform, you’re expected to create to remain “relevant” as sad as that sounds but more so, there are so many people looking forward to your content. I decided to be transparent with my followers and made it known the content would be slowed down for a while. Personally, I know of a lot of people who share “filler photos” or throwbacks consistently but I wanted to be true to my situation and honestly listen to my faith and the universe that maybe…just maybe I needed to slow down. Now that I’m finally healed (from my ankle, HA) life has given me a bit of a window to create more content again, so I do what I can for now. I try to make shooting a priority but I realize life will get in the way sometimes and we have to take care of our health first and everything else second.

 

So if you’re still reading this, you da real MVP! I’m such a chismosa and LOVE reading Q&A’s so hopefully this brought some insight into who I am and most importantly, has been helpful in any way to other aspiring bloggers or influencers. XOxo

Bloggers Who Inspire Me

Heller, friends! Lately, I’ve been getting a ton of questions regarding my blog and what inspires me in terms on content, social media strategy, etc., so I thought I’d highlight the women who inspire me the most.

In my opinion, each of these creators, stand out from the rest!

Tezza Barton

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@tezzamb

http://www.bytezza.com/

Tezza is by far, my go-to everythanggg inspo account! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a thousand times over, SHE IS A CREATIVE MUSE! Literally an icon in the making! Tezza & her photographer hubs, can literally make any backdrop come alive! Whether she is frolicking through European flower fields or just chillen’ in the streets of NYC, every single photo is curated with so much TLC! Her props are amaze, her outfits are amaze, and her overall gift of creating is INSANE!

 

Alyssa Bossio

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@effortlyss

http://effortlyss.com/

Alyssa is truly a gem! Her cityscape shots are probably the best I’ve ever seen! She makes you want to travel to each and every place she visits! Her and her business partner, have truly inspired the wanderlust in me. She is also extremely transparent in her work and personal life, which I love. You get to know and relate to the person behind the photo, rather than just seeing her as an “influencer’.

 

Negin Mirsalehi

4.5m Followers, 462 Following, 6,506 Posts - See Instagram photos and videos from Negin Mirsalehi (@negin_mirsalehi)

 

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@negin_mirsalehi

http://neginmirsalehi.com/

Negin just wins at fashion! Every single outfit is effortlessly gorgeous! For years I’ve been following her and it’s so inspiring to see her rise to the top! She campaigns for brands, you can only dream of and now has successfully launched her own business/products, #GOALS! As a woman of color, I love seeing Negin break the mold. Not to mention, she travels to the most picturesque places in the world alongside her cute lil’ family!

 

Sazan Hendrix

unsuper mommy, life tips, life advice, sazan, sazan Hendrix, happy life, life advice, Maggie combs, perfectly imperfect, beauty, self love,

 

stevie and sazan, sazan pregnany, pregnancy, gender reveal, pinterest, ideas, style, fashion, beauty, baby, news, maternity, second trimester, blog, mommy bloggers, los angeles, kurdish

@sazan

http://sazan.me/

Sazan is truly God sent! Like actually. I fell in love with her and her hubby years ago when they first decided to make a living for themselves here in LA. I mention her hubby as these two are breaths of fresh air. Sazan’s personality is by far the reason I admire her the most but her outfits are also to die for! She has the ability to make you, as the viewer, feel good. What I think separates her from a lot of influencers, is that she uses her platform to uplift and create a community of women.

 

Suzy Shattuck

@suzyshattuck

shopsuzyshattuck.com

Suzy is literally my spirit animal! She is a creative genius and lights up any corner she shoots in! Not to be dramatic, but like you want this girl as your bff! She is funny as hell and super responsive! She inspires me to push the envelop and think outside the box! She also just launched her own magical presets/workshops to help upcoming bloggers, ugh! She is for sure my daily dose of laughter and inspo!

 

Woooo! These women are continuously reminding me and millions of others that if you continue to follow your passions, they will come to life! Hope these boss babes bring you as much inspo as they do for me. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and give them a follow! XO