KutFromTheKloth

June 2018 Skincare Favorites

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Boy, is this heat wave weather driving anybody insane these days or is it just me?! If you're spending the next few days under the beaming sun, be sure to layer your face & body with SPF. Honestly, I already know a good amount of family members and friends who avoid this necessary everyday skincare step and suffer the consequences through the form of an unwanted farmer's tan. Don't be like them and be sure to take any necessary precaution to protect your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays ;)

In today's blog post, I want to share with you guys the trustworthy products that I've tried and loved throughout the month of June. This product review includes the latest additions that I've made to my skincare collection (ex: cleansers, creams, Vitamin C products, etc.) and softening/plumping lip products. Any products that I've liked and would use more than once - I've included in this review. If you haven't seen my May 2018 Skincare Favorites blog post, be sure to check it out here. So without further ado, let's go over my June favorites!


Cleansers


Rose Cream Cleanser:

Recently, I've tried the Rose Cream Cleanser from Pixi Beauty and absolutely LOVE the smooth texture of this product. It reminds me of those Club Mud days at Glen Ivy Hot Springs, as that was the first time I've ever experienced applying mud to my face. Although it doesn't have the foamy, bubbly texture that typical cleansers carry, I love how soft it makes my skin feel. The Rose Cream Cleanser is definitely a treat-yo-self type of cleanser that I will be incorporating into my morning skincare routine.

Even though I was told by my dermatologist that even splashing solely water on your face works in the morning, I've read enough skincare blog posts that mentioned that cleaning your face in the morning is important to eliminate the bacteria/dirt that you get throughout the night when you toss and turn in bed. Thus, the Rose Cream Cleanser will definitely be a part of my mornings from now on.


Precleanse (Travel Size): 

Love love loveeeee the travel size of this Precleanse from Dermalogica! Additionally, I adore how it comes with a mini "facial scrub brush" (sorry that I don't have a better name for it) so that my precleanse turns into a foamy mixture once combined with lukewarm water. I've added this travel-sized Precleanse to my travel bag whenever I sleepover at a friend's house or travel away from home for a couple days. Definitely recommend this baby for any traveler who needs a deeper cleanse to get rid of all of their makeup at night before bedtime! You can read my review of the traditional sized Precleanse in my May 2018 Skincare Favorites blog post here.


Vitamin C


The only two Vitamin C products that I have recently tried for the month of June are Dermalogica's Biolumin-C serum and H2V's Triple C Accelerator. Personally, if I had to choose a favorite Vitamin C product, I am still hooked on on the Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate  - I won't lie, the slight tingle (which feels like a tiny pinch!) that I receive from this specific product makes me feel like it's truly working its magic on my skin! However, the Dermalogica and H2V products also serve as great options for getting your external dose of Vitamin C and I've switched between the two often throughout the month of June. 

The H2V product has more of a sticky gel-like texture, but absorbs rather quickly into the skin - which I like, since personally I'm not a fan of skincare products that take forever to be absorbed! Meanwhile, the Dermalogica product has a more watery base compared to the H2V product and smells absolutely amazing! Actually, let me put it this way - ALL Dermalogica products smell amazing!


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Moisturizers & Creams


Although other people might think I'm crazy, I actually take pride and LOVE every second of my evening skincare routine! Yes, applying each and every skincare product on to my skin may take a while when you add up the total amount of time of the routine, given that you need to wait at least 10 minutes for each product to effectively absorb into your skin for the full beneficial effects. However, I find my evening skincare routine to serve as one of the best destressors before I go to sleep and it allows me to focus on just ME for once (and not things like Instagram, work, emails, etc.).

I've tested two products throughout June and these are from two of my favorite go-to skincare brands that you've probably already heard me talk about before - BABOR and Dermalogica.

BABOR is absolutely amazing at what they do and I can vouch that I am literally in love with every one of their products. Not only do I use their Rose Essence Toner every single night for MONTHS, but I recently tried out the BABOR Skinovage Moisturizing Cream. Can I just say that BABOR's packaging is freakin' classy AF? Every container they have is minimal and sleek, and just using any of their products  makes me feel like I'm treating my skin like royalty. The BABOR Skinovage Moisturizing Cream is very moisturizing and lightweight - you can call this perfect kind of cream when it comes to texture and density, as it is not too thin nor is it too heavy and thick.

On the other hand, I've been using Dermalogica's Pure Night treatment cream for the last couple nights and again, the smell of their products are very soothing...soothing enough to put me to sleep. Zzz....whoops, can't sleep on you now! Additionally, I like to add five drops of Pixi Beauty's Jasmine Oil Blend to this specific treatment cream and mix them together for a very moisturizing concoction that I can safely call my own. Also, another reason why I decided to combine the two products upon application is because I would go HAM with the Pixi oil blend drops and apply 10 drops or more to my skin, LOL. When I told the Pixi Beauty team about my infatuation for their oil drops, they started laughing and thought I was silly. Welp, I aim to please anyways.


Mist


When I attended Pixi Beauty's intimate dinner event a couple weeks ago at Pelican Hill Resort, they taught us all about their collection of products - including their famous Glow Mist. I believe they included the Glow Mist in our goodie bags to take home that night, so that gave me the perfect opportunity to try it out!

Only the girls who attended the dinner will understand this, but there was one moment in time where we passed around a Mist product and started spritzing ourselves like crazy, haha. Now, whether I'm make-up free or wearing my makeup of the day, I always try to sneak a couple sprays on to my face. It also serves as a great way to cool down from this crazy heat! The Glow Mist contains 21 natural oils, propols, aloe vera, and fruit extracts to help hydrate your skin as a pick-me-up in the morning or adds glow all the while setting your makeup look.


Lip Products


I don't know why the magic number is TWO in this blog post, but for some reason, it coincidentally ended up that way - I've tried TWO lip products this month and both are awesome in their own ways! First, we have the COOLA Liplux, which is an amazing lip balm with SPF 30 for that extra suncare protection - thanks COOLA ;) It's not too sticky and doesn't taste bad at all (trust me when I've "tasted" some lip balms that I couldn't handle the taste of), and comes in a convenient size to throw in your purse or travel bag! Honestly, I keep one near my nightstand at all times so I can do a quick coat before going to bed.

Another lip product that I absolutely LOVE is the Algenist Genius Liquid Collagen Lip. It's a new product that Algenist released, and it is amaaazing. Although I am not a huge fan of the look of plump lips (even though it's the "rave" these days), I don't notice a hugely different plumping effect, which makes me a happy camper. The reason why I love this product is so much is for the fact that it moisturizes and softens my entire lips. I will be honest that the taste isn't my favorite, but who says you should be eating lip products anyways, Michelle? Regardless of the taste, I still use this every night as the last step of my evening skincare routine and it's my current go-to lip product. If you're looking for a trustworthy and quality lip product that will keep your lips moisturized and unchapped, this is the product you need!


I hope you guys enjoyed reading my second skincare blog post series! If you have any favorite skincare products of your own, I'd love to hear about them in the comments section below - let's chat!



Photography By:

Sharon Litz (@sharonlitz)

www.sharinaone.com


Father's Day 2018 Gift Guide

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More often than not, Father's Day almost always lands on my birthday (June 17th), or at least extremely close to this special day. Although my family is not big on gift-giving and we prefer to show our love and appreciation through intimate family dinners and quality time together, it doesn't mean that all families are like that! Every family is different, and I totally respect that! In fact, I know plenty of you celebrate Father's Day and whenever a special holiday arrives, we always get into this panic mode where we freak out when we do not know what to get a beloved individual. Worry not, because that's why gift guides are created on my blog ;) In today's blog post, I share with you a few amazing gift ideas that will make your Father smile this time of year.


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As of recently, Airpods are one of the coolest Apple gadgets to exist on this planet. If you don't know what Airpods are, they are essentially wireless, bluetooth-activated earbuds made by Apple. These two "pods" come in a compact case that also serves as a charging station, so you're technically charging your Airpods whenever they aren't in use.

Honestly, these babies are convenient AF to own. Although I don't own a pair myself, I definitely want to someday and I have played with a pair enough to know that I want one for my very own. Not only do I love the compact and convenient size of Airpods for easy storage and mobility, but I love how it's so user-friendly and easy-to-use as well. Also, a pair of Airpods definitely beats my handy-dandy Bose noise-cancelling headphones regarding the fact that they do not easily slip or fall out of your ears during an intense session of abs or crunches. Additionally, if a gym friend forgets to bring his/her earbuds or headphones for a day, you can still share one Airpod with that buddy and have one for yourself so that you can both listen to music! It's like splitting a pair of earbuds - without the wire! Compared to my more expensive pair of headphones, the pricepoint of Airpods are set at a fairly reasonable price to spend on an important family member. 

If your Father gardens, works out, walks the dogs, or just loves listening to music, you can give him no better gift than the gift of beautiful music through a pair of trustworthy Airpods.

Purchase a pair of Airpods here.


Massage Vouchers


All of our Dads work hard, and any hard-working Dad definitely deserves a massage every once in a while!

In previous blog posts, I have always shared my secrets to getting a massage that is worth every bang for your buck and the secret is purchasing affordable massage vouchers on GROUPON! To do this, you simply search what city/location you want to visit for your massage (or in this case, your Dad) and the search engine will provide multiple suggestions on various businesses you can purchase a discounted massage voucher from. Honestly, I don't trust GroupOn reviews, so I look to see which location is the most convenient to visit before I head on Yelp to look into more trusthworthy 4-star or 5-star reviews. Also, GroupOn typically only applies to first-time customers, so make sure that your Dad hasn't visited the location before for the GroupOn voucher to be applied!

Honestly, whenever I purchase a GroupOn voucher for massages, I always save anywhere from $25-100 off the original price! I'm sold.



I talked about this awesome company once before in a previous Valentine's Day gift guide here, but I wanted to bring it up again because ManCrates does not have enough recognition for its innovative and diverse amount of crates! Essentially, ManCrates designs a "crate" full of themed products for the father figure in your life. Think of it like a themed subscription box, without the annoying or unnecessary subscription! Instead of picking out miscellaneous items that you think your Father will like and putting it together in the form of a gift basket, ManCrates does all of the work for you! From the genres of grilling to eating to drinking to to sports to project kits, ManCrates has it all. See, they even have a tab called "Father's Day"! That's when you know they're prepared for the holidays ;)

Browse through recommended Father's Day ManCrates products here.


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Google Home or Google Home Mini


If your dad is electronic-savvy or into the latest technology, he will definitely love owning a Google Home or Google Home Mini! As a matter of fact, I am the proud owner of a Google Home Mini that is shaped like a coral donut speaker and I absolutely LOVE it! With my Google Home Mini, I use it daily as my alarm clock and also various times when I feel like blasting a random playlist of music in my room. You can literally say, "Hey Google, play Michael Buble" and a popular hit by Buble will start playing within the next few seconds. Additionally, you can ask your Google Home various questions such as, "What time is it?", "When is Father's Day?", "How long do eggs last in the fridge?", and other questions where you need a quick answer without browsing the Internet. This device is great to place in the bedroom, bathroom, living room, family room, garage, outdoor patio, or anywhere you need to have an electronic buddy that provides all of these services and more.

Purchase a Google Home here.
Purchase a Google Home Mini here.



Personally, I don't use the Kindle because I prefer old-fashioned paperback or hardcover books, but I know plenty of Moms and Dads who have hopped on the Kindle train as of lately. Not only is it convenient to carry around with you, but I just don't envision parents these days lugging around books when they can easily access multiple sources of literature through one electronic device. Especially because men don't often carry a backpack, bag, or purse with them everywhere, I can't imagine a man wanting to carry a thick book with him everywhere that can easily get wrinkled when he can carry around a lighter, sleekly designed electronic instead.

I believe my Dad owns a tablet or Kindle of his own, which is all the more reason to trust me and get a Kindle for your Father as well! ;)

Purchase a Kindle here.


Giftcards


If your gift-giving creativity has hit a major slump, I have been there too and I feel ya! Don't become frustrated, concerned, or down if you've tried really hard to think of a creative gift - sometimes, some people are just difficult to shop for! Say, if your Dad is extremely picky or he already owns everything he could ever want, sometimes a giftcard is the best route you can go in some cases. This way, your Dad will be happy that he can treat himself to something else he may want or need and KNOW that he's going to like it too! And since the giftcard is from you, what he buys is technically from you too ;)

Personally, I've gifted my Dad Home Depot giftcards in the past because he LOVES gardening, and he seemed like a happy camper, LOL. Write down 3-5 hobbies that your Dad has, and from there, find the most relevant businesses that you can purchase a giftcard from that relates to these hobbies.



This particular gift is for those MARRIED TO and HAVE CHILDREN with their male partner - I introduce to you, DateBox. DateBox serves as the ideal "dating" gift when you're trying to spice things up with your lover or fi the quality of your time together has been feeling a little repetitive/dry/comfortable. Say, if you both are super busy with the kids and find that you never have free time, try hiring a babysitter sometime before or after Father's Day (unless you're free on the actual holiday!) to spend a little time with your man and DateBox. In fact, DateBox can either set you up on a fun date around your city or you can receive a physical DateBox in the mail as an in-home activity. In-home DateBox activities include a sushi-making kit, a card game over alcohol, an espresso-making kit, and more. Although this is technically a subscription box, you can cancel anytime if you just want it to be a one-time memorable gift. Just because your significant other is a Father doesn't mean you, as his wife, can't celebrate it with him too! 

Purchase your DateBox here.


FitBit

Read my Valentine's Day Gift Guide here for the deets.


Watches

Read my Valentine's Day Gift Guide here for the deets.


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And those are all of the Father's Day Gift inspired ideas I can think of for this upcoming Father's Day holiday :) Do any of your Fathers own any of these products? What did you get your Father on previous Father's Days? Let me know in the comments section below - let's chat!


Outfit Details:

Hat: Dynamic Asia

Sunglasses: Sunglass LA

Jumpsuit: Chriselle Lim x JOA

Denim Jacket: Kut From The Kloth


Photography By:

Sharon Litz (@sharonlitz)

www.sharinaone.com


Much Love,

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#MeToo: A Victim Of Date Rape

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Have you ever been sexually harassed or abused, but never had the courage to speak up about it or confide in a close friend or family member?

If your answer is yes, just know that you're not alone - I've been there too, as well as countless other women who choose to share their story or not. #MeToo


Outfit Details:
Top: Kut From The Kloth
Jeans: Kut From The Kloth
Purse: StyleWe
Shoes: Zooshoo


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After observing the #MeToo movement becoming viral on Twitter from actress Alyssa Milano's sexual assault and reading a sexual assault experience from a fellow blogger, I knew I had to share MY story too. To be honest, I never felt 100% comfortable talking about any topics related to sexual abuse or harassment on my platforms because it drifts heavily away from my blog's main focus of positivity stories, career advice, and inspirational topics.

However, the longer I've suppressed this feeling, the more I wanted to express the frustration and pain I was going through. Thus, I've gathered up the courage to write about this topic because I want my platform to be a safe place where we can talk about anything, grow from our mistakes, and learn from each other. After all, the last thing I want is to have another woman go through the same hell that I've been going through and to live with this mentally scarring experience every passing day for the rest of your life.

This is the story that continues to give me nightmares that jolt me awake at 4:00AM. This is the story that haunts my very thoughts whenever I'm driving in the car alone. This is the story of how I was a victim of date rape.


He was the perfect catch - or so I'd thought.

A successful career in one of the top consulting firms. A gorgeous, private studio overlooking the city view of Los Angeles. A die-hard passion to constantly travel and develop his photography skills. A good conversationalist with a frequent use of emojis and laughs. A cute smile and a decent dresser (although my friends deem him a solid 3/10 for being an asshole - we'll get to that later, LOL).

"How could a guy like this be single?", I thought to myself. "And how did we manage to squeeze in time for a date throughout the week when we're both such busy people?"


We talked from one to three times per day on Facebook messenger, exchanging anywhere from 1-6 detailed paragraphs long per chat. Right from the start, I saw potential to become something more with him because I couldn't imagine a "player" devoting so much time to get to know me on a deeper level through text - to invest time and effort into a long, meaningful conversation, to ask me questions about my personality, dream career, and lifestyle, to answer every question that I asked him in precise detail. I wanted our first date to secure this potential, but it very well did just the opposite.

My friends warned me about his "stereotypical" player features, but I just assumed that they were being the typical overprotective girlfriends that we all know and love. I assured them that I'd be okay and proceeded to excitedly drive to the designated dinner spot while feeling like I was on Cloud Nine.

Over Korean food and soju, we got along well and shared a few laughs throughout the night. Like any other date, you talk about friendly topics such as family, travel, career, passions, and so on. Honestly, I wanted to ask him more serious topics about relationships, but refrained from doing so on the first date to avoid scaring him off. All I knew is that he was definitely somebody I wanted to see again, or at least get to know better with time.

By the end of the date, it was past 10:00PM, we were an hour away from my house, and I was tipsy AF from the soju shots we had earlier. Let's keep in mind that this is the first time I have ever drank on a date, or drank alcohol in a while. Nice going, Michelle. I will never, ever condone drunk driving so I ended up telling him that I couldn't drive at that very moment - which was 100% true. In response, he suggested that we could either wait at the restaurant or we could head back to his place while I sober up since I had a long drive back home to OC.

My gut feeling told me two things - he was either a thirsty player trying to get it in, or he was a considerate gentleman for realizing that embarking on an hour-long car ride home past midnight was not the best idea in my current condition. I hesitated a bit before I took him up on his offer to crash at his place for a little bit, whether it be for 1-2 hours or overnight in a separate room. If I did feel better, I replied that I would drive home for the night after sobering up. On the other hand, if I felt that it was too late to drive home, I would accept his offer to stay the night and leave the very next morning. Thus, he drove us to his place with his car, UBER'd back to the restaurant to pick up mine, then drove my car back to his place as well. Would a player really go through this much effort to get laid? I personally didn't think so.

As I was admiring the beautiful city view from his apartment, he poured one more drink for the each of us. At that point, I should have realized that he was up to no good, but I was still too inebriated to think straight. Our glasses clinked as we drank the last alcoholic drinks of the night and we ended up sharing a conversation about various board games (yep, I'm a total gamer girl geek and proud of it, haha). After realizing that the rules of the game were way too complicated to go over near midnight (we were debating on playing) and with a drunk Michelle, I excused myself to use the bathroom and that's when it happened.

I opened the bathroom door to find that he turned ALL of the lights off. He approached me quickly, knowing exactly what to do (kind of like a rehearsed script) and started undressing me. On any first date, I knew exactly where my boundaries stand and I never schedule sex to be a part of the agenda. Little did I know that our agendas were on complete ends of the spectrum, and he ended up getting what he wanted - his way. That entire night, he fulfilled his own selfish needs against my will. He continuously dismissed my request to use protection and kept trying to pressure me to do it without. Even when I told him to stop and attempted multiple times to shove him off, he didn't let my forceful pushing bother him one bit. When he was done, he knocked out immediately and I ended up not getting a wink of sleep that night. It was the worst sleep I've ever had, and he was the worst date I ever had. I felt used. Traumatized. Disgusted.

How could somebody who appeared so proper and mature at dinner turn into such a disgusting, disrespectful animal at night? Honestly, he was the most selfish, appalling, and pathetic man I have ever encountered in my life and just thinking about that night makes me extremely clammy and uncomfortable.

I ended up telling a few of my close girlfriends what happened, and they were all disgusted beyond belief. "That's not okay", "he's a rapist", "what a hoe", and more negative feedback about this man literally filled my text chatrooms and all I could do was feel empty and lost inside.

To confirm if he was a player or not, I wanted to see if he treated me differently afterwards. I sent him a follow-up message, continuing our chirpy conversation from where it last left off - to see if he was the "hit it and quit it" type of guy or if he was remotely interested but a DTF type of guy. My worst fear was confirmed when it took him two full days to get back to me with a shorter, effortless message - that's when I knew, he was a player and he was a rapist.

Realizing that I had allowed this disgusting rapist to take advantage of me, I felt weak in the knees and experienced fluctuating emotions of anger, sadness, bitterness, and confusion for the next two weeks. Why would he spend so much effort talking to me, just for that one night? Was all that effort really worth the chase? Was he even remotely interested in getting to know me?

The answer to these questions, I'll never know. People act the way they act based on a series of life events, and you'll never know why somebody does something until you get to know them on a personal level. Based on his actions, I personally felt that he was trying to fill this empty void in his heart through meaningless one-night stands. I'll never know the truth, but that's just an assumption I have. But regardless of his intentions, he is, and always will be, a rapist.


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Now, I'm sharing my traumatic experience with you guys because I personally learned that opening up about an issue is one of the healthiest ways to move on from emotional torture. Of course, everybody has a different comfort level when it comes to discussing sexual-related topics and I totally respect each and every one of you and how you choose to grieve over a sensitive subject like sexual harassment. However, if you have experienced a similar sexual harassment situation and find yourself angry, upset, or uneasy about the situation, trust me when I say that talking to another trustworthy individual will make you feel ten times better. To suffer agony alone is a terrible feeling, and you should never have to go through life's obstacles alone. As soon as I told my friends about this predicament, they made me feel loved and cared for, unlike that disgusting pig.

Also, I learned that staying passive in life or not taking action does not make me happy at all. If I ever experience a life-changing lesson that can help others, I will almost always write about it on my blog in hopes that I can better another individual's life. Thus, I'm doing the same with this blog post and strongly encourage any of you to speak up if you've ever been sexually harassed or abused. By coming together and uniting as a community, we can make a universal effort to eradicate the world from sexual harassment and abuse, one story at a time. If you feel that you're ready, join the #MeToo movement by speaking up for yourself and for the ones who aren't ready to tell their stories yet.

To gain closure, I realized that I couldn't hide these feelings any longer and had to share it with my friends, and now you guys. A couple days later after that night, I privately messaged him a collection of my raw and honest thoughts - how disgusted he specifically made me feel and how what he did was not okay. To this day, I know that he's purposely avoiding my message, but what matters is that I was strong enough to communicate how I felt with him. Now that that's out of the way, I can move on with less weight on my shoulders and a strong desire to move forward from this horrific event.

All in all, I am extremely thankful for the important family members and friends that I have in my life, but I am still mentally torn till this very day. At the end of the day, I realized that it's not healthy to live in regret or anger, so I'm taking this personal experience and using my story to share my learning lesson with you guys.

The learning lesson is this...don't ever expect an individual to act the way you want him/her to act and don't ever put him/her on a pedestal. What you see may not always be what you get, and only time can really tell you what a person is really like deep down inside.

With that being said, I'm saying #MeToo and hope that none of you will ever have to experience this kind of suffering alone. If you are currently experiencing emotional pain from a previous sexual harassment or abuse situation, remember that you are strong and that each passing day will bring you one step closer to strength and happiness. Let's turn these negative incidents into positive life lessons and do the best that we can to move forward together - after all, I'll be with you every step of the way.

Much Love,

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A Step-By-Step Guide On How I Monetize Through Sponsored Instagram & Blog Posts

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"Wait, you can make money through blogging?"

Yes.

"You do this for living?"

Yes.

"Wait, so this is your full-time job?!"

Uh, so how many times do I have to tell you "yes" for you to actually believe me?! Yes, yes, and yes!

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Photography By:
Sharon Litz (@sharonlitz) from www.sharinaone.com

Hairstylist:
Lyssa (@hairbylyssa_)


Outfit Details:
Top: Free People
Pants: Kut From The Kloth
Shoes: Zooshoo

Flowers: The Bouqs Co.
Purse: StyleWe


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And yep, that pretty much summarizes a typical conversation that I have with various people when they ask me about my career as a full-time blogger - I kid you not. Since this is such a popular topic that I'm frequently asked about by both peers and strangers, I wanted to shine a little insight regarding how I monetize through my Instagram and blog. This blog post is meant to HELP and ENCOURAGE those of you who are interested in monetizing your Instagram or blog on a professional level. It's definitely a possible feat to turn blogging into your full-time career, but you have to remember that it's not all fun and games like you may think - I'll get to that story in the next paragraph.

First off, let me make one thing very clear. If you're not willing to put in the heart and the hustle or if you prioritize feelings of instant gratification over long-term results, you're better off finding a different job than pursuing full-time blogging. In contrast to society's popular belief, blogging is NOT easy, nor is it fun all the damn time. Like with any other job, there comes responsibilities, deadlines, and tasks that you must complete within a certain time frame. At the end of the day, only a few can really survive this super saturated and competitive industry because they have the ambition and determination to make things work when the results aren't showing up quick enough.

If the previous paragraph didn't scare you off already, then let's get started with this detailed step-by-step guide on how I personally monetize through Instagram and blogging! This post was created to show you how I feed my bank account every month all the while encouraging you passionate creatives to make Instagram and blogging your next part-time or full-time hustle if you're ready for the challenge! Ready, set, let's go!


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1. Approach companies with a mutually beneficial proposal.

As an active fashion and lifestyle blogger for three years and counting, I've grown and seen it all. I've witnessed bloggers reach out to companies, only to put themselves first as a priority and not giving a crap about the companies. So ask yourself this - why would companies want to work with someone who is selfish about their own needs? Exactly.

First and foremost, you should work with a company because you actually admire and support their work or mission statement and not because you want to make it rain in dollar bills or products. You'll learn sooner or later that working with incompatible companies will bite you in the ass later, as they may want to create a long-term partnership with you. Eventually, this incompatible long-term partnership will end up jeopardizing your brand name if your aesthetics and style don't align well with this company.

If I ever reach out to a company, it's because I truly WANT to work with this company and I WANT to create content that will help better their brand image and marketing. Also, I make sure to approach the company in a very friendly and professional manner, share a little bit of background information about myself, my analytics and media kit, and what services I can offer to them.

When a company sees that you truly care about their brand mission, they are more likely willing to work with you. However, if you talk to a company in a way where you look like you'd work with just about anybody, you come across as a complete turn-off and you're more likely to experience a higher rejection rate.

Long story short, work with companies who only add value to your brand and personality, and vice versa.


2. In your proposal, create package deals that a company can choose from.

When you dine in at a restaurant, you always want to look at the menu for various options to choose from, right? The same goes with collaboration proposals. Companies enjoy seeing what you have to offer, why you offer these select services, and how your services will benefit their brand.

Personally, I enjoy creating 1-5 package deals ranging from sponsored Instagram posts to Instastory features to Instagram and Facebook giveaways to YouTube videos and more. The possibilities are endless, so be sure to get creative with it and provide them with a few project ideas to choose from!


3. Send me a contract or it didn't happen.

You know the saying, "pics or it didn't happen". The same shit applies here. Contracts are a MUST when it comes to paid collaborations, or any collaboration in general. A formal written agreement ensures that no party screw the other over, whether it's the company or the influencer who's not keeping their word.

With that being said, let me share a previous story of how a company tried to take advantage of my work due to the absence of a contract. We exchanged emails going over various prices and collaboration ideas. Because I didn't have a contract, he "argued" that he didn't understand the collaboration agreement and that I should post for their company for free. In other words, any collaboration without a contract agreement can lead to total manipulation. Eventually, I ended up getting paid for my work, but it took a lot of unnecessary back-and-forth emails that I could have avoided if we had a signed contract to begin with.

Honestly, don't make your contract look like complete shit, but it doesn't have to look like a presidential document either. Below, I've included a few important points that you should include in your contract:

  • what services you will be offering to the client
  • the price of the services you offer (if applicable) & method of payment
  • the payment amount (if applicable)
  • the deadline of the collaboration
  • your business name and the client's business name (don't forget SIGNATURES and DATES!)

After signing under the dotted line, your collaboration is sealed. You're welcome.


4. Follow-ups are important!

Following up with a company after publishing a sponsored post is as important as following up after a job interview. Whenever I publish a sponsored post, I email the client right away with the respective links of my posts and confirm with them when the payment will process. And don't be afraid to ask for payment - you're doing your fair share of the work so you deserve to be paid! Also, if a client doesn't get back to you in a few days, follow up again! I've learned that a lot of employees just happen to be on business trips or experience a "lost in the mail" moment, but most of the ones that I've followed up with truly appreciate the gesture!


5. Establishing a long-term relationship with the company (if desired).

If this is the type of company where a long-term relationship can be fostered, I would almost always jump at the opportunity to create a strong connection with a company that I wholeheartedly support. However, you have to make sure that continuing a (monthly) collaboration also has to make sense on the company's terms. If you're promoting a winter wear company, it would only make sense to promote this client during the winter and not during the summer, right? All in all, the time/season and frequency that you partner with a company truly matters and may negatively affect the reputation of your brand if done incorrectly.

If you had a great time working with a company (I mean at least I hope you did!), be sure to share this positive note with them! Tell the company how much you enjoyed working with them and if they'd be interested in a long-term partnership. If anything, the worst they can do is turn you down or postpone a potential collaboration to a later date in the future. Whenever I am able to work with a company more than once, it brings a warm fuzzy feeling to my heart because it makes me realize that I've built a professional and genuine relationship with the client all the while staying true to myself and my brand name.


The last topic I wanted to discuss was the use of the popular hashtags #sponsored or #ad.

A question I get asked frequently by both followers and influencers is...

"Are you getting paid if you add #sponsored or #ad at the end of your caption?"

The answer is yes and no. I'll go over more precise details of when to use these hashtags below based on my personal experience.

When to use #sponsored & #ad:

1) Campaign Guidelines
You must hashtag #sponsored or #ad if a brand's campaign guidelines specify that you must include these hashtags on your social media posts. It doesn't matter if the campaign is paid or not; if it's specified, you have to use it.

2) Receiving payment from a client.
Even if the client does not tell you to do so, just include one of the above hashtags yourself. It's like putting your name on the top right hand corner of your assignment - it should be naturally done. Also, if I heard correctly, I believe it is against the law to not include one of these hashtags if you're being paid for a sponsored post. If you're getting paid for your post, do remember to include #ad or #sponsored at the end of your caption. After all, it's better to be safe than sorry!


Whew, now that was a mouthful of the financial side of my career in one post! If you guys enjoy reading more informative and finance related posts like these, please click the heart button at the bottom of this post and leave a comment on what topic you'd like to read next! Thanks for reading, and I'll talk to y'all next week!

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Much Love,

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Four Essential Outerwear Pieces You Need This Holiday Season

Four Essential Outerwear Pieces You Need This Holiday Season

Tis' the season for warm outerwear pieces! Just when Orange County finally became cold, I've picked up a few essential outerwear pieces YOU need to have in your wardrobe this winter season! After all, bundling up in cute layers with your favorite hot beverage makes for the perfect Instagram photo, am I right? ;) So what pieces do I recommend picking up just in time for Christmas and New Year's? Let's find out together!