Friday, August 1, 2014

FRIDAY FAVORITES LINK UP, V22



Hey there! Rachel here with Suburban Style Challenge for the Midwest Bloggers Friday Favorites Linkup. Before I share with you some of my favorite Midwest Bloggers, here's a quick bit about me. I started Suburban Style Challenge about three years ago, having noticed that most of the local style blogs were written by girls who lived or worked in the city, making their blogs very city-focused, and that most of the suburban bloggers were moms. Friends and family have long complemented my style and my nose for a good deal, and at the urging of a few close friends, SSC was born. Blogging is my “whenever I have time” gig. By day, I’m a Creative Marketing Manager for a company that makes computer peripherals. It’s a pretty awesome job, and not only is my inner nerd allowed to come out and play, but I have the freedom to wear pretty much anything I want to the office (within reason, of course). I love crafts, thrifting, my husband, shoes, and my dog Trixie (uh, but not in that order necessarily) and enjoy sharing great deals, fun outfits, and other stuff over at Suburban Style Challenge, so come check it out! But of course, before you do, go some these fab ladies some love first!



Maya from Charmingly Styled
I'm newer to Charmingly Styled, but I love Maya's point of view, her looks, and her overall take on life itself. She does some fun DIYs and hosts some cool giveaways, and let's not forget that she was the driving force behind #realbloggerbeauty!

Thriftanista in the City's Troy
Troy is a thrifting genius, and always finds incredible pieces that she styles in ways that make you want to run to the nearest thrift store to find something similar. She runs a great thrifting group on Facebook too, and shares her finds, tips, and more.

Erin from Loop Looks
Erin does a great job of expressing her style without falling into the boring "business casual" bucket that so many who have to dress that way do. She's got a knack for finding good deals, an incredible eye for pattern mixing, and a cute dog. What isn't to love?!

Modly Chic's Katy Rose
Modly Chic might be one of the first Midwest-focused style blogs I started following. I love the tips she gives on many of her posts, the FBFF meme she started (and recently resurrected), and watching her style change as she moves from place to place.

Make sure to link up below!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Behind the Blog - Danielle of Framed Frosting


1)   When & why did you start blogging?

I started my blog, Framed Frosting in April 2011. I was about to graduate from high school and starting a blog seemed like the perfect way to document my college adventures. Since then, Framed Frosting has evolved to be about so much more than college. It has motivated me to step outside of my comfort zone and try new things, especially new recipes!



2)   What’s the greatest thing that’s come out of blogging?

Blogging friends have become real friends. When I started blogging, I never would have thought I would make real-life friends from the online community. However, here I am now attending blogger brunches and having dinner or coffee with other Kansans like Alissa and Ashley.

3)   When you’re not blogging, what can you be found doing?

When I'm not blogging, you can usually find me sitting at my desk working on homework, papers, and studying for exams...did I mention I was a college student? I can't wait to graduate this May and put all the studying behind me! When I have free time, I also enjoying baking and watching TV shows while snuggled up with a warm blanket and a glass of wine.


4)   If you were stranded on a desert island, what would be the one thing you would take with you {people don’t count!}

Suncreen with SPF 50. I am extremely pale and would end up looking like a bright red tomato within just a few hours.


5)   What’s the one piece of advice you would share with bloggers just starting out? 

Don't be afraid to put yourself out there! Whether it's pitching to a large brand for a sponsored post or sending an email to a local blogger to meet up for coffee. You'll only get as much out of this experience as you put into it.


6)   What’s your “can’t live without” piece in your closet, kitchen, home etc?

I absolutely could not live without my KitchenAid stand mixer! As for my closet, I think every girl should splurge on a great handbag. My Michael Kors tote goes everywhere with me!


7)   On a Friday night, what can you be found doing?

I'm usually snuggled up on the couch with a blanket catching up on my DVR'd shows from the week. Or if my boyfriend is in town, we grab dinner from this amazing Asian restaurant in town and rent a Redbox movie.


8)   How do you balance blogging with a work/social life?

This is still something I struggle with. At the beginning of the week, I look at my calendar and try to prioritize everything that needs to get done that week. I work two jobs as a pharmacy technician and the social media + marketing manager for Gracie B. and attend college full-time. Those are my top priorities and everything else kind of follows along behind. There are some weeks when I don't have time to blog at all and other weeks when I photograph 2-3 posts in one day. If I have time to fit in a coffee date or shopping at the mall, it's a good week!


9)   What’s your favorite quote? Or what’s a quote that describes you?

"Once a year, go someplace you've never been before."

This quote describes me perfectly because I'm finally at the stage in my life where I have the money and time to travel. In the upcoming year, I will be visiting Houston and Napa Valley and cannot wait to eat good food, tour some wineries, and enjoy the outdoors! 

10) What’s your dream job if you haven’t landed it yet?

I'll be graduating in May with a degree in Marketing. Some day I hope to land a job doing campaign management for a large home decor or gourmet foods company.

11) Guilty pleasures?

Dark chocolate, Grey's Anatomy, online shopping, and Nicholas Sparks books. 


12)  What’s your favorite “little thing” in life?

Sitting on the patio with a glass of wine and watching the clouds and the airplanes fly by overhead.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Behind the Brand: Blog Coach Erin Marie Bassett


Name: Erin Marie Bassett (I just go by Erin)
Location: Chicago, IL (originally from Milwaukee - Brookfield specifically - school at the university of Dayton in Dayton, OH and then I spent a year living in Santa Cruz, CA before moving to Chicago)
Occupation:
​ Blog Coach and Mentor, ​
Content Marketing Expert, Blogger and Windy City Blogger Collective co-founder

Hobbies: 

I enjoy cooking at home, I am an avid sports fan (hockey mostly), I play beer-league kickball and I am a leading learner meaning I love the opportunity to learn a new skill or learn more about a topic! As a Blog Coach I get to learn about blogging all day long and then pass what I've learned onto my clients.​

I couldn't live without my: 

Morning caffeine jolt... Either black coffee at home or a slightly sweetened latte from my favorite coffee shop in Chicago, La Colombe, or one of their "pure black" iced coffee which is distributed in an old coke vending machine! Oh, I also always have my iPhone but I wouldn't be able to operate it without caffeine first.

What is Blog Coaching/Mentoring? 

I work with bloggers to elevate their sites and focus on their goals to help make blogging less work and more fun! ​For most of us blogging doesn't pay all the bills so we have to learn how to balance this passion project (never a hobby) with the other responsibilities in our lives. I also love working with clients who are rebranding their sites. It is such a fun experience to dig into why they want to switch things up and then come up with a plan to make sure it happens smoothly!



Which part of your job is your favorite: 

Meeting with bloggers. Hands down. I simply adore bloggers and I know how much dedication it takes to produce a content on a regular basis so it is incredibly rewarding for me to help them blog more efficiently and, asa result, be able to spend more time on the creative and inspiration sides of blogging and not the technical behind the scenes work that really eats up the most time.

Are you a full-time, one-woman show: 

I am, but I am lucky enough to be supported by my husband, Danny, and my family and a fantastic network of blogger friends who each have helped me figure something out along the way. I don't claim to be a tax expert, or attorney, or graphic designer so I rely on my network to help me figure things out if Google can't answer it for me. Some day I will hire someone to help on the administrative side so I can focus on my clients 100% but that time isn't on the horizon just yet.

When and why did you start your Blog Coaching business:

I officially launched on March 1, 2014 but I had been putting the pieces together for about six months before that. My journey to get to the point of starting my own business was littered with 8-6 jobs (no one works 9-5 anymore) that were not good fits but each taught me something about who I am, how I work and what drives me so I am glad to have experienced them. Leaving my job was certainly a frightening move but I had incredible support from my family and friends and after one in-depth conversation with Farissa of What RU Wearing (whatruwearing.net) I decided to pull the plug! Blogger Coaching gives me the opportunity to support my community of bloggers and brands that can benefit from my expertise and guidance. It gives me the chance to partner with these people to improve their presence on the internet... Which makes it better for all of us!! 



What is your advice for someone wanting to start their own business? 

First, make sure you are comfortable financially with the change in income. It takes a while for it to build back up but you can't devote 100% of your energy to your business if you have another job. You need that desperation to fuel you. Second, set a reasonable timeline before you measure success. Ive given myself a year and a half before I really evaluate if ​being a blog coach is a viable career for me and my family. (This closely ties into the financial piece). Thirdly, you will be tempted to try and do a little bit of everything when you are first starting out, at least I was, but I've discovered it is better to focus on one thing and be really kick-ass at it before building other services or offerings into your business. Unless you're selling products...​t​hen you might want ​
one more than one item for your customers to choose from! Finally, I recommend you set non-monetary goals on a weekly basis. For example mine, at this point, are related to outreach and sales so at the start of the week I set out to interact with X amount if brands and to attend X amount of events where I can meet with bloggers. But, overall, I think if you want to start your own business, reach out to others who have already done so and ask questions! Everyone will have their own opinion and you do have to figure things out for yourself to a certain degree but having a friend you can reach out to on your "O.M.G. What have I gotten myself into" days who has been in your shoes is vital.

What is your degree in: 

I graduated with a BA in Communications, PR and minors in Marketing and Philosophy. Looking back I wish I would have taken graphic design courses but that's what "continued learning" is for!

What is your favorite thing about ​Blog Coaching/Mentoring

I just published a few ebooks (erinmariebassett.com/ebooks/) to quickly help bloggers and it was so fun to write those. (Psst: you get $5.00 off your purchase with the code "MIDWESTBLOGR") ​With the first few I published I tried to address the most common issues I hear from my clients. Every blogger wants more time, better pictures and for their boyfriends to just get on board with the whole thing! So, I wrote "3 Steps to Better Content", "Blogger Essentials: The Content Calendar" and "The Blogger's Boyfriend Guide Book". Shoot me an email if you've got other ideas or questions or complaints about blogging and I'll add them to the next round of ebooks (erinmariebassett@gmail.comalso ​love curating my Resource Guide (free for my email subscribers). As I find new apps, tricks or information about blogging and content marketing I add them to the list. I'm a self-taught blogger, as most of us out there are, so my goal is to make it easier for you so you don't have to google everything for yourself.


If you're not working ​with a client or penning ebooks what can you be found doing: 

I split the rest of my time between dates/time​ with Danny and time with friends, blogging for Color Me Styled (colormestyled.com) and Get UR Daily E (geturdailye.tumblr.com) and Instagramming (instagram.com/erinmbassettand working on Windy City Bloggers (including attending several events)! So besides dates and outings with friends or blogger events... I'm at the computer blogging or running social media from my phone in the back of cabs to and from my dates, outings and blogger events.

What is the best piece of content advice you can give to a blogger:

Create a content calendar. Don't know how or where to start? Don't worry. One of my first ebooks is all about a quick start to content planning and I've created two sleek content calendar templates for you to start with. And, ​my Blogging Better and Blogging Best ​one-on-one sessions include content calendar creation.

What other tips and tricks do bloggers need to know: 

Be nice... because blog karma is real. Be you... no two blogs are the same and for good reason. And write a fabulous About page... it is the first page I visit when I find a new blog and a lot of times I follow the blog based on that page.

What is the biggest mistake people make in their content and how can they fix it? 

There are a TON of bloggers out there nowadays and I think one of the bigger mistakes bloggers make in their content is trying to be like someone else. The best and most popular bloggers are consistently creating new content on their site (including original pictures). If you find that you've been pulling a lot of pictures off of Pinterest lately, spend a Saturday just walking around your town or neighborhood and take several different still life shots that you can use instead. Farmers markets, rummage sales, parks, they all have the potential to be great locations for pictures.

What is your website? 

​Blog Coaching and Mentoring and Ebooks ​are at erinmariebassett.com and my blog ​is​ colormestyled.com and Windy City bloggers is windycitybloggers.com

What's the best way to contact you? 

I'm always on Instagram and ​twitter, @erinmbassett, and I try my best to respond to emails within 48 hours at erinmariebassett@gmail.com

We hear you are offering a discount to Midwest Bloggers... 
Yes! ​Use the code "MIDWESTBLOGR" fo$5.00 off any of my ebooks (erinmariebassett.com/ebooks) and as a special treat I'm offering ​a Content Calendar planning session to Midwest Bloggers as a stand-alone a la carte option (normally only incorporated into Blogging Better and Blogging Best) for just $55 but ​
you've gotta book the session by July 31! Make sure you reference this post in your email (erinmariebassett@gmail.com)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Showcase: Stripes

This summer seems to be all about stripes, and Midwest bloggers sure do know how to rock 'em!

Check out this week's showcase for all kinds of ways to wear the classic pattern. From shirts to skirts, shoes to bags, bloggers across the Midwest have taken stripes in all style-directions. Try some of their looks out this weekend. Stripes are such an easy look for a casual summer day. Make sure to give these ladies a follow on Instagram or a comment on their blog, as well. Their "stripes-game" is on point. 

This week's showcase had a GREAT turnout so thank you to all of you who tagged @midwestbloggers or #midwestbloggers on your social media posts. It was so fun to see how everyone  styled their stripes. Make sure to keep an eye out for next week's Showcase topic!


(from right to left)
























Friday, July 25, 2014

FRIDAY FAVORITES LINK UP, V21


Hi there, my name is Alexandria Stratton and the blogger behind Styled In The Heartland. I write a lot about thrifting and vintage pieces. One of my favorite things to is rummage through thrift shops, vintage stores and check out yard sales. You can say I’m a bit obsessed with it.  I am a firm believer that you can shop with $10 or less and my personal motto, “You can make tacky happen”. I currently am studying marketing and living on a budget in Iowa. My blog was just a creative outlet and an all around fun way to show off my clothes instead of just wearing them. I have along ways to go in my dreams with my blog, but I really know it can happen! What I really enjoy about MB is that there was open arms for someone like me who had no knowledge of blogging but decided to do it anyways. I hope you enjoy my link ups and have a great weekend.



1. Kayla- I love this blog because it’s so colorful, fun and keeps me inspired. She always seems to have fun DIY projects I can easily create.

2. Tori-Tori posts a lot of things I would personally buy myself. I love being able to relate to her fashion choices. Plus she’s a total pet lover. I really enjoy blogs with dogs—hey that rhymes ha!

3. Jaime- This girl is so down to earth with her writing and her clothing. She also wears a lot of clothing I’d wear too. I am obsessed with her cutesy style. Plus I enjoying seeing her pictures of what she does day-to-day and not just style.

4. Catherine- She is so adorable! I love her travel diary in NYC. It’s fun experiencing New York City with her. I want to read a blog that captivates me—and one that totally has a cute girl writing it. She features a lot of things I can afford and it’s not over the top expensive items! It’s such a regal blog. 

Make sure to link up below!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Midwest Bloggers 4 Ways - Muchana Hats


As we shared before, we're huge lovers of local brands - especially of the fashion variety! We're excited to team up with the lovely ladies of Muchana hats to share our favorite looks featuring their gorgeous homemade hats from Ecuador! We first featured Katie & Kelly of Muchana a few weeks back, so we were extra anxious to test out their gorgeous hats ourselves. We unanimously agree - we're all BIG fans! The hats are amazingly well made, versatile and are the perfect accessory for a hot summer day. Plus, if you're in the market (you should be!) they're offering Midwest Bloggers a special discount code! Get 30% off at checkout using "mwstyle"

Check out the full looks on our founders blogs!
Maya // Sam // Katelyn // Lauren 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Behind the Blog: Melissa of Design, Eat, Repeat

We are so excited to have the lovely Melissa of Design Eat Repeat on the blog today! We've always been amazed by Melissa's amazing deisgn & photography skills, and we're big fans of her inspiring and colorful blog. Get to know her a little better and make sure to stop by & say hello! 

1)   When & why did you start blogging?
I started my blog back in 2011 the summer after my sophomore year of college, simply as a little summer hobby & an excuse to craft. I had zero idea of what I was going to blog about & really had no idea what kind of “niche” I wanted to take the blog. As I went through design school & experimented with a bunch of different design projects, I decided that I might as well share some of these designs as printables on the blog. My blog really helped me narrow down my focus and allowed me to share my passion for crafting, baking, and design. 



2)   What’s the greatest thing that’s come out of blogging?
Like I just mentioned, I started it on whim after a friend told me that I should start one. I literally did not think I would stick with it for more than a few weeks. I had no idea what blogging really meant, and I had zero intention to ever turn it into something more than a little summer hobby. It has completely taken me by surprise, but it was one of the best spur-of-the-moment decisions I made. My blog has allowed me to connect with other creatives all around the world and grow my client base for my business. It has also given me a creative outlet where I can share free printables & family recipes, in hopes that they make someone’s day/party/get together a little brighter! I recently left my 9-5 job to pursue my graphic & blog design business and there is no way any of that would have been possible if I had not started my blog.


3)   When you’re not blogging, what can you be found doing?

When I'm not blogging, I'm usually working on client design & styling projects (workaholic alert). Since going full-time freelance, I've found that work & what I used to consider hobbies all kind of mix in together now. When I do actually decide to take a break from all work (which is rare! Ha!), I'm probably binging on Netflix (Hello, Parks & Rec!) or dreaming up some vacation spot.



4)   If you were stranded on a desert island, what would be the one thing you would take with you? 

This will probably sound shallow, but probably my computer considering I wouldn't be able to carry on business without it!


5)   What’s the one piece of advice you would share with bloggers just starting out? 

For me, the hardest part of blogging at the beginning was finding my voice on what I wanted to blog about. My advice is to write on your blog the same way you would talk to a friend. It's easy to get caught up in writing all prim & proper, but sounding like yourself is going to help people get to know you and your personality. A friend recently told me that she can hear me talking (aka rambling) when she reads my blog and I was like, "yesss, mission accomplished!" For example, I tend to be a dramatic storyteller in real life, so my posts usually end up a little dramatic too.



6)   What’s your “can’t live without” piece in your closet, kitchen,  home etc?

In my kitchen, it would definitely be my Kitchenaid mixer! That thing is my baby.


7)   On a Friday night, what can you be found doing? 

*Laughs out loud* Well, my normal Friday night consists of watching Sharktank, doing a little personal design work, and then going to bed. I swear I'm not always that lame (okay, yes I am), but going out just seems like too much work most days. Who's with me?



8)   How do you balance blogging with a work/social life? 

Honestly, I've been a bit of a terrible blogger lately because I've been working on lots of fun client projects - but I think the key to balancing blogging with work is to make a schedule and stick to it! Something I need to take my own advice on. Back when I was blogging in college & then with a 9-5 job, I took most of my photographs on the weekends and then edited pictures/wrote the posts during the week. I always say that if it matters to you, then you'll make the time for it no matter how busy you are. I started my blog while working, freelancing, and going to school 80hrs/week, but I made time for it because I loved doing it!

9)   What’s your favorite quote? Or what’s a quote that describes you? 

One of my favorite quotes is "Do What You Love and Love What You Do."  As cliche as it sounds, life is too short to spend your days not doing something that fulfills you.



10) What’s your dream job if you haven’t landed it yet? 

I used to have ideas on what I thought my dream job would be, but at this stage of my life, my dream job is simply to be doing something I love doing and something that fulfills me. Right now that dream job is growing my business, but as we all know - time tends to take us in different paths, so who knows what I'll consider my dream job in a few years!


11) Guilty pleasures?

Cupcakes, Sprinkles, Cupcakes with Sprinkles, and pretty much anything sweet (with sprinkles). You know how some people have a sweet tooth? Well, I have a whole mouth of them.


12)  What’s your favorite “little thing” in life? 

Can I say tacos? Just kidding. No actually, I'm going to have to stick with tacos. True love right there.