10 Greatest Moments of My #SBOC2013 Experience

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photo credit – Curvee Beauty

In my mind, you’re here looking at this blog not only because I occasionally wear something you like, but also because a word or two that I’ve shared has resonated with you in a way that inspires or informs you….alright even if I make you laugh, my job is done.

Assuming the above statement is true, I know you’re going to enjoy reading about my brief but awesome time in Miami with the hubs and my Style Bloggers of Color sisters.  Here’s the top 10 greatest moments of my #SBOC2013 experience:

1. It’s a dialogue not a monologue – Charles Wade (@akacharleswade) reminded us that social media shouldn’t be a one way street during the Social Media Butterfly panel moderated by the stunning Blake Von D. (@BlakeVonD).  Engaging your readers, even those who do not “follow” is super important when it comes to creating and building a loyal following!

2.  Just ask – Nicole of The Garner Circle let us know that it’s okay to pitch a brand.  The worst they can say is no.  Often they’ll tell you what they’re looking for so that you can step up your game and approach them when you’re ready.  The second time they may recognize you and pay more attention.  It’s okay to remind them of the first encounter and let them know you’re bringing more to the plate.

3.  Just fabulous! – I got to meet so many beautiful, intelligent and friendly girls.  It did my heart good. I can finally say I’ve gone to a blogger conference!  YAY!

4.  Brand recognition versus purchases – I was dumbfounded when Dr. Heather of Specific Beauty told us that BIG brands like Loreal, Revlon, etc usually look for bloggers to help spread brand awareness, whereas smaller brands typically look for purchases.  For bloggers this is a reminder to do your homework before approaching a brand and then repackage your pitch accordingly.

5. October – The best month to pitch a brand is October.  Why?  This is when the PR teams are building their calendars for the following year.  You want to get in where you fit in!  Great nugget from Carmen of Viva Glam.

6. Hire a manager – or at least pretend to.  Carmen also shared a story from her own experience when she pitched a brand pretending to be “her manager”.  This is a great way to add professionalism to your blog/brand without costing you a dime.

7.  Don’t underestimate the power of honesty – Readers are readers because they trust your voice.  If you’re talking about a product that you liked tell them why you love it and where they can find it.  Reward Style is a great resource for finding inexpensive options for readers of varying disposable income.

8.  The Silver Lining – when asked how you deal with negativity on your blog, my BFF in my head, Inez, from StyleChic 360 she said she experienced a very disappointing response to a project featuring curvy women.  While the negativity was inappropraite and sophomoric, Inez, took the high road and used the experience as fuel for a blog post.

9.  We’re not friends - Spanx and  bodycon don’t particularly care for me.  Aaand the feelings mutual.  This weeked was my first time ever wearing spanx.  I usually don’t wear them because I rarely wear anything that fits tight enough for me to need them.  Since this was a special weekend I decided to reach out to my dear friend Love of Love Collins Clothier for a little help.  Love has made clothes for Beyoncé and Blue Ivy, she dressed the entire wedding party for NBA All-Star Tyson Chandler and remember that dress that Grammy award winner Estelle had on for the Grammy’s last year?  She did that.  So anyways, when she surprised me with two STUNNING dresses, I mean I was completely and totally honored.  Of course it was too late for me to get my rear in shape so I opted for SPANX.  Apparently I got 1 or 5 sizes too small because I swear to you that I was dying a slow death wearing that thing.  I was painful.

9 1/2. 15 seconds – Nicole witnessed my super power in person.  In reference to said 5 letter death apparatus in point 9…the SPANX, I had to get out of that thing with urgency so I excused myself from a conversation I was having with Nicole while she grabbed a parfait yogurt from the coffee stand 10 feet away.  When she returned to her seat, I met her with a smile.  Okay it was longer than 15 seconds, but it was fast.  If I’m not mistaken there’s some kind of award or something for that…a trophy?

9 3/4.  Just the facts – Just off the top of my head I have to mention a few of the lovely sights.   1. Ria Michelle‘s kitty ear headband 2. Chanel‘s fabulous floral bubble skirt 3. Cortnie‘s black business suit. WERK! 4. NuSophistocate‘s super sweetness and killer dress. 5. Ariel‘s adorable hair and perfect pout. 6. Kela‘s poppin pink skirt 7. Inez‘s happy strappy heels 8. Typhanie’s cute little baby bump and the fact that we share the same Christian fashion “struggle” lol 9. Ty‘s very cool naturally silver crown. 10. Martha‘s classic style and black and white dress 11. Kerissa‘s FLY black bodycon dress.  No one can wear it like Kerissa wears it!  Now THAT’s how you wear bodycon.  {And I love her for being exactly who I thought she would be in my head…like a sister} 12. Keelia and Tamra of Filthy Chic of filthy for their lovely natural hair, funky lenses and fun sense of style ! 13. Ashley‘s of A Sassy Woman had on this ultra fly leopard peplum skirt, that if it was not inappropriate, I would have ripped off of her and ran to my room! 14. Charles for keeping it real! 14. Shea of Curves and Confidence and her pants were out of control.

10.  That in a nutshell was my SBOC experience.  By no means what this list exhaustive because there was a TON of great information that I picked up from all of the panelists.  Special thanks to Mattie and her team for pulling together such a great group of bloggers to share with us.

Last but not least, I was almost brought to tears by the opportunity I had to meet some BLM Girls that I feel like I’ve known for so long.  You Girls really made my weekend and I don’t think I’ll ever forget the warm welcome and sense of sisterhood I felt from you.  I feel like the next time I come out to Miami, I’ll already have a family here to have fun with.  Let me just run down a list of the Girls I”m talking about.

Kerissa

Inez

Ariel

Shea 

Bianca

Jheanell

Kela

Ashley

THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!

Please be sure to visit my instagram for a visual display of our time in Miami!

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Be An Expert!

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dress: D.I.Y. 2 CAbi tops one worn as a skirt | belt: CAbi | purse: {gifted} Coach | shoes: zigisoho

Maybe I just notice this more because I’m no longer in the workforce but I’ve run into a lot of people going through various transitions in their careers.  The conversations we have usually go in the direction of the individuals wanting to go back to school to improve themselves but not necessarily having a clear vision for what they want to go to school for.  I’m 100% on team Learn More, but not knowing what you’re going back to school for will likely prove to be a waste of time and money.  In these cases, these potential students have significant work experience, families to support and bills to pay so they can’t afford to go back to school just to figure out life.  They need to have a purpose.  Going back to school to concentrate on sharpening a skill is usually what most people end up finding themselves doing, but often after thousands of dollars taking courses that don’t add value to their end goal.

Having an expertise or narrowing your focus is critical.  Take the sport of track for instance.  When you compare first place to second place, first place seems far more impressive than second place.  However, when you compare second place to third place, does second place really seem any more impressive?  To most people, including myself, not so much.

When we look at society we see that people who are experts about something are elevated high onto a pedestal.  Sure, hard work matters, but not if it’s scattered in diverse directions.  This is even applicable to bloggers just starting their blogging journey or thinking about refocusing their blog.  Some of the most successful bloggers are those who focus on a specialty.  Some are DIY queens, others are especially gifted at make up artistry, others are experts on caring for a particular hair type.  The skill isn’t necessarily what matters, but the expertise you can offer is.  So if you find yourself thinking about going back to school or building a more impressive blog or business, narrow your focus on learning fewer skills and mastering them all.  It’s about focusing more on less.

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