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 

 

How to Teach Your Man to be the IG Business Partner You Deserve: Our Story

Now, although this post is geared towards bloggers/content creators, I know many people outside of this whole influencer world are curious as to how this whole thing works. So in addition to spilling the tea on how we grew my account, I also wanted to share our tips on how your S/O can also become your business partner.

So before I continue, I have to give major props to my boo for growing into a role he did not ask for. Without him, none of this would have been possible. You believed in me before I even believed in myself and for that, I love you so much! YOU DA REAL MVP, BB!

Ah, so where should we begin!?

If you’re first starting out and have no idea where to start, don’t stress, because I was there…we were there! And I’d like to preface that although I’m referring to a significant other, these tips can hold true to any helpful person in your life.

Backstory:

Prior to bae and I dating, I had been blogging for half a year but only shared my posts with my inner circle of about 1K friends and family on Instagram.

Although, my blog views were low, each post fulfilled me more and more. Especially when I would receive messages that people actually resonated with my content… OMG, the best feeling in the world! I also felt creatively liberated after suppressing this side of me for so long. But, it wasn’t easy, y’all! I was simultaneously just as nervous to really open myself up and remain vulnerable on this platform, I was so used to posting random sh*t, like the fortune in my cookie that came with my Panda Express meal, not paragraphs on (for example) my journey dealing with anxiety, and the like. So with each post, I felt my walls go down, little by little.

So after half-heartedly blogging for 6 months, I finally decided to publish one of my most proudest pieces to date, “Why it is Okay to be Single”. I figured, I needed to give this blogging thing a true shot and put my entire soul into my writing. Coincidentally, this was published just a few days before my now bf, asked me on our first date.

Well, the rest was history! We were inseparable! One of the things I was attracted to the most about him, was his genuine interest in my passions and blog! He complimented my work and it was clear, he had read a few reads! In fact, he had been a food blogger for a while so we shared that common interest.

As our time together grew, so did our mini roadtrips. And since he has an eye for photography and landscape, he had asked me to pose for the camera a few times. And although, I’ve always been photogenic, I felt so awkward and uncomfortable, LOL. This was brand spankin’ new! I did not want him seeing my bad angles, ugly outtakes, etc! But weekend after weekend, he had encouraged me to shake the shyness off.

After a few months in, I remember us having this serious conversation about my intentions surrounding the blog and online presence.

Bae had hyped me up and really gave me the pep talk I needed to hear. In sum, he laid out the facts. He believed in my content, my creative talent, and potential brand but in order to see real growth, I needed to give this my allll and actually share it with the world, (not just the 1K followers on my private IG account.)

He vowed that he would do everything in his power to help me grow! BUT DAMMMNN, WHAT A CRAZY, WILD, STRESSFUL, BEAUTIFUL, JOURNEY ITS BEEN!! (We legit had no idea what we were in for!!)

The Beginning of Our IG/Content Curation Journey:

For starters, we really had no effing clue what we were doing.

On 2.05.18 we decided to try out our first curated post! This was the day, I made my profile public and one year ago to the date, I can say that day/decision was the first day of the rest of my life. I know, sounds dramatic but its so true!

In my caption, I let my followers know the shift of purpose I’d decided to make for my platform. It was my way of 1) holding myself accountable for all I had set out to do, but also 2) alerting my peeps that things would begin to look different.

Bae and I began utilizing our road trips as mini shoots. Both of us gravitate towards aesthetic photography so we just began to take shots that felt whimsical and pleasing to the eye!

At that point, what became equally important was learning/figuring out what editing software/style we liked. Bae introduced me to Adobe Lightroom and together, we learned the ins and outs of the program. I truly believe in creating a cohesive Insta feed through your editing but, at the beginning, it’ll likely take you some time to know what that exactly will look like. You can try out cool or warm toned photos, colorful, black and white, etc. Some people buy presets from other creators to slap onto their every photo or you can go our route and create your own presets; either or!

But this photographer/subject relationship is the hardest part! At first, I felt awkward telling bae that I did not like a photo. But now, let me tell y’all, she does not hold back! Haha, ugh!

In the beginning, it’ll take you some time to develop a trusting relationship with your partner/photographer. Especially if your partner does not come from an artistic background, YOU WILL HAVE TO EXPLAIN WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR. DON’T ASSUME. Even though bae enjoyed taking photos before, ya girl required a whole new level of expertise! SO, YOU WILL NEED TO TEACH HIM!

If you don’t know exactly what this is: I would suggest coming up with a mood board and showing your partner. What niche are you wanting to dabble into? Fashion, Lifestyle, Beauty, Fitness, Travel, etc… the possibilities are endless and with trial and error, you will find yourself gravitating towards one over the other.

So we decided to shoot every weekend at cool locations with some cool outfits that I had in my closet. In the meantime, I began engaging with accounts I found on my explore page and tried to build relationships via DMs with other aspiring content curators/bloggers.

Almost two months later, I landed my first collab. Now, this was the dopest feeling because it made us feel like we had been doing something right.

But with this, also came the pressures to provide service/quality to brands outside of the one we were trying to build for our own.  The bar of expectations were now raised and bae felt that. (Well the relationship did! Will elaborate in a bit)

Road to 10k:

As time passed, I began connecting with soooo many like-minded people! I decided to use the same unfiltered/authentic voice that I spoke in in my blog posts but now in my work over on IG. The more I did this, the more I felt like I was resonating with others. Like actualllly making an impact in someone else’s life, no better feeling! A couple months in, (still figuring out what the heck I was doing) a girl had confided in me in that her random stumbling across my content the night before, actually saved her from hurting herself. I was taken aback. That conversation really moved me.  What good would it be to just post photos? I needed to provide real relatable substance to those who came across my content. I began to feel like this was God’s way of telling me I was heading down the right path…that this was the purpose he had intended for me to live out. That 1 heavy, genuine message, turned into at times 120+ a day. I truly felt so incredibly blessed that my words and photos actually meant something to so many souls!

BUT. All of this correspondence takes time! SOOOO MUCH TIME!

And if you’re in a relationship, this is time away from the relationship!

We struggled with finding this balance for such a long period! This, I’d say is this second hardest part about being business partners with your S/O! It’s really about finding that right balance. But in order for this to work out, your partner must be truly understanding of the hard work this whole thing takes. But in order for your partner to truly understand this world, you must introduce him to it. Show him your stats, explain the pros and cons of this industry, what your intentions are for the passion and if then your partner is willing and all in, here are…

Ways your partner can support:

  • Take his role seriously: 
    • Bae and I are celebrating today as OUR 1 year IG anniversary. The brand of “Jasmin Vanessa” has two heads behind it. He takes pride in all his efforts surrounding my IG, because he has also put his heart and soul into it! AND HE’S SEEN THE BENEFITS! We’ve been blessed enough to BOTH reap the benefits of complementary stays, dinners, amazing experiences, the opportunity to connect with so many people, creating amazing works of art, and just simply sharing each little milestone together.  If your man is talking crap about your passions, thank you, next! LOL JK… But seriously, your S/O may need some convincing, and thats totally okay! I suggest sharing your vision in its full potential! Map it out, create a powerpoint, buy him dinner on shoot days, just whatever you need to get them fully on board. Because at the end of the day, this is a career, and in just one year from now, your life may very well look 100% different! I know yours, does!
  • Research:
    • Understand the dynamics in turning your IG account into a business.
    • Read business articles, study other content curators, watch YouTube vids, etc.
  • Master an editing software:
    • + assist with edits
    • Bae and I worked together to create our own presets (which we hope to release in the near future)
  • First, learn your preferred style of photography:
    • And show him! Practice makes perfect!
  • Be your photographer.
    • THIS can be the trickiest part! We allll know how bratty we can get when we’ve been photographed in an unflattering angle! And sometimes if a friend takes a shot, we’ll joke or mask our frustration. But when it comes to family members or S/O, most of us will say it as it is. I saw a meme recently that said: *Me after my man takes my photo, “Ew, I hate this photo!!” *Him to me: “What do you want me to do about it, thats how you look!!” HAHA. Some days will be easier than others but I def think this is an art form that can take years to master. I mean it makes sense considering, we as the influencer have a creative concept in mind and we are just hoping our partner can evoke that on the other side of the lens. It really is a symbiotic relationship that requires time and patience. What has helped us is positioning bae in the perspective I’d want him to shoot me in, I take the photo on my phone and he’ll study it and then refer back to cross reference while shooting me on his camera or phone.
  • Be the listening ear you’ll need.
    • If your partner is out of the loop, the complaints or frustrations you have about this platform, will sound so ridiculous. But if your partner is as invested and knowledgeable in this as you are, they will not only be understanding but actually have the capacity to provide you insight, morale boosters, and hopefully constructive criticism.
  • Give honest feedback:
    • I am such an indecisive person but having that reassurance or difference in opinion means everything to me!
    • I live for constructive criticism. I always want to know the areas I could improve on for the next time, so having that outsider perspective can really shape and mold your brand into something even greater.
  • Assist in emailing brands:
    • Once you are at a point where you are working with brands, email correspondence can feel overwhelming. Especially when you are constantly negotiating your rates, getting campaign approvals, or just planning out your sponsored content for the month.
    • This is where you will make your money, so having your partner knowledgable in the business side of things can be a hugee help!

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Today, one year later:

02.05.19. We are still wrapping our heads around this all! Just a little over a year ago, I knew I was called to do something more. God was tugging on my heart to ACT but I was just so scared to take that next step. I almost allowed fear of critique and the unknown to block me from one of the biggest blessings God had waiting for me. I truly believe if something is tugging at your heart and it scares TF out of you, it is not random, it is what you were called to do! I am so entirely grateful for every single soul who I’ve connected with this past year. And all I can say is THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Y’all have pushed me to become openly vulnerable, true to my authentic self, and just overall a better freaking person and I thank y’all for giving me so so much in such a short amount of time! I wake up every single day with the intent to create aesthetically pleasing content but most importantly, content that is of substance and content that will somehow shake up and challenge my little community for the better! Love y’all and thank you bae, for everything! I hope I can give just as much to y’all, as you have given me! XOXO

How to Travel On a Budget

“To travel is to live” Legit one of my fav quotes ever! I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: the first time I’ve ever truly felt alive was when I first traveled abroad. But let’s face it, traveling is a luxury! And most people just don’t have it like that!

So in order to make traveling more feasible, I’ve decided to share/backdown what has helped me in planning/budgeting for my travels.

Since this topic was highly suggested, let’s jump right in!

The biggest question I receive is: “How much should I have saved up for a trip like this?

So it really depends on where you are going, some countries are legit so expensive (I could cry) but others can be very reasonable!

To be safe, I always say to give yourself a $2,000 limit when booking a trip abroad.

But considering I have lived and traveled throughout Europe, I will recommend ways in which you can stay under that amount (wellllll, assuming you agree to really ball on a budget).

And I say this because I know many people who only travel in luxury but in all honestly, you can still have the time of your life while watching your pennies, okurrr.

But be forewarned: these amounts are based off of MY experiences in EUROPE, no where else.

ROUNDTRIP AIRFARE ~ $600

This should be the largest lump sum of your trip. And the first matter of business in your planning. You don’t always have to fly in and out of the same country but keep in mind you will have to plan the in-between flights.

I suggest purchasing a non-stop flight as many sites will try to trick you into a good deal but one that has a gnarly layover in a random country, so be thorough with your search.

You will find a reasonably priced non-stop if you are patient. I have made the mistake of booking welllll in advance and honestly, I found much cheaper tickers for the same flight closer to the date. Airlines take advantage, y’all! So be smart with how you book! I say, a good time to book a flight is 2-3 months in advance. Oh, and ALWAYS PURCHASE INSURANCE! The extra $12 is so worth it!

Useful Sites: (Hover for links)

Google Flights

Skyscanner

CheapOair

Orbitz

Expedia

(These sites will compare prices for you, however, sometimes it is cheaper just to go through the specific airline itself)

& In my opinion: Norwegian Air  has had some of the cheapest roundtrip flights into Europe that I’ve seen.

STAY: ~ $350-$600 (Based on a 7 night stay)

Once you have solidified your roundtrip flight, the next order of business, I would suggest booking, is your stay(s).

Now, this is where your budget can significantly be affected.

I say: stray away from hotels. Your best options are either highly rated hostels or Airbnb’s. If you are looking into hotels, be well prepared to spend over $150 a night!

You can find hostels that offer private rooms for as little as $20 Euro per person if you are in a group of 2 or more and entire Airbnb’s for less than $75 a night.

Or if you are a solo traveler: you can choose to stay at a hostel as well, but in a common room and you’d also only be looking at $20-35 euro a night. This is a great way to save and meet other travelers! I’ve gone this route plenty of times with random groups of other women but also men!

But remember: this amount can vary dramatically by the city and/or accommodation method you choose. But the good thing here, is that this total amount most likely will be split amongst you and your traveling buddies.

Side note: London & Paris tend to be the more pricier of countries( for hostels at least) but we found the dreamiest Airbnb in Paris for only $70 a night! So it really depends.

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FOOD: ~$300-$450

Again, this is another area which can highly affect your budget!

If you plan on eating at the hottest restaurants in town and drink your days away, this price budget may not be for you!

But it is possible if are choosy with how and where you dine.

You are traveling, so of course, #treatyoself! BUT, be strategic about it.

Breakfast: Pastries will be your best friend. I know in America, we are used to the grand All-American breakfast: eggs, bacon, toast, avocado, the works! But in Europe (and I’m sure many other regions) breakfast is not as heavy. However, I have seen Europe begin to implement our style of breakfast.

So, in order to save, buy yourself a few pastries to fill up until lunch. We are talking a couple bucks per pastry.

Lunch: Some easy pizza, panino, sandwich, etc ~$10.  I know it may be tempting to have a midday bougie lunch or sangria (which is fine) but I say wait for dinner to do this.

Dinner: This is where you can splurge! I def like to map out a few days of the trip to do this but keep in mind, splurging every night can easilyyy take you well off of your budget. A glass of wine, sure, but this doesn’t mean it HAS to be at the trendiest place in town! Don’t underestimate hole in the wall locations! I’ve found some of the YUMMIEST restaurants that were still 5 course meals but under $15 a person. Yelp will be your best friend!

Dessert: This is also where ya girl splurges! Gelato, Nutella anything, hot chocolate, crepes, etc.

Alcohol: So inserting my opinion heavily on this one but alcohol is one of the easiest ways to break your budget.

I say, limit yourself to some wine at dinner and maybe a couple nights out at the local bar, but save what you would have spent on drinks, to pay for an extra day of (exploring connecting flight, activity, etc). And I say this because you can drink all you want back in your home country, but if you’re on a budget, you can reallocate your money towards the real adventures. BUT, this does not mean, don’t drink. Something I’ve done in most of the countries I’ve visited is simply head to the local supermarket and pick up a few bottles of wine (usually $2-$4 a piece) or mini liquor bottles and enjoy them for a night in or just bring them with me for night time picnics, late night strolls, etc.

Side note: There are so many different cuisines throughout Europe so don’t feel bad if you aren’t eating that particular country’s cuisine every single night. Asian and Mediterranean cuisine are quite popular and inexpensive options as well!

CONNECTING FLIGHTS/TRAINS:  ~$300 (OPTIONAL)

One of the things I love so much about Europe, is that travel amongst cities/countries is relatively cheap. Usually you can find roundtrips for under $100.

Cheapest options:

Airline Sites:

Ryanair

Vueling

WOW Air

EasyJet

Norwegian  

Train Sites:

GoEuro

HappyRail

(Here you can search and compare for the cheapest train options for your destination country)

CITY TRANSPORTATION: ~$100

In Europe, (at least) be prepared to walk, and A LOT! BUT… there will be days when you will need a metro, tram, taxi, and/or bus ticket. Each of these will likely cost ($1.50-$3.00 a piece, excluding taxis) So if you’re looking to explore the entire city, these small amounts can and will add up! Unlike the US, one pass is only good for one stop. Many people aren’t aware of this and get fined a hefty amount. PRO TIP: VALIDATE YOUR TICKETS FOR EACH STOP! So many of us (myself included at one point) have tried to beat the system and just sneak on but I highly discourage this (we did eventually get a 100 EUR fine!) From what I was told, many cities have been stricter on their public transportation so just be safe and cover your bases. As an alternative, some cities do offer City passes that you can purchase in bulk (which would avoid you having to purchase a ticket each and every time you ride).

SHOPPING/SOUVENIRS: ~$20

I personally do not shop abroad, unless its an item, I absolutely need. I use the same logic here that I do with alcohol. I can shop back home and instead allocate that money towards my adventures. However, if you are really dying to shop, most cities usually have cheap flea markets that you can potentially pick up some finds.  If you are looking to bring home some souvenirs, I suggest something small but thoughtful: postcards,  certain packaged foods from that region, etc.

IF YOU ARE A BLOGGER: ~$50 (OPTIONAL)

You may need to allocate some funds for outfits and props. I would suggest thrifting and/or working with brands/hotels to help alleviate the costs.

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IN SUM: ~ $1,500-$2,000.

SOO obviously this budget is not a one size fits all model, BUTTTT I swear, it’s what has worked for me.

I hope this break-down encourages any of y’all who view travel as impossible at the moment, as something that can actually be attainable…when done right!

Happy travels, y’all! 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