One whole year has come and gone, in an instant it seems. On September 22nd, 2015, I posted the very first chapter of Stringfellow + Co. To refer to my action as nerve-wracking is an understatement. As I was writing up that first post titled “The Start Of Something Great” I could hear the doubts spinning through my head. ‘Looking Back On Year One’ is a title I never saw coming. To be completely honest I figured I’d get bored with blogging and push it aside, as I do with most of my aspiring hobbies.
Okay y’all, my iPhone goes everywhere with me. It’s my lifeline and we are connected at the hip. I do so much with my iPhone; from social media, to blog maintenance, and photo editing. My iPhone is like my little assistant and I’d be so lost without it. I wanted to share my favorite apps, especially the ones I use every single day. Let’s get to it!
It’s no secret that I am an introvert. In fact, one of my very first posts was about how introverted I really
am WAS. (I have gotten a smidgen more outgoing since the beginning of Stringfellow + Co) You can read that post by clicking here.
You don’t really notice how much of a community comes with blogging. There are friends and connections to be made constantly. As a blogger, if you want to succeed you need to show up and make appearances. It’s important for other bloggers to get to know you as a person, not just another blogger typing away at their computer.
I am no pro at networking, although as an introvert my mind is always racing. I can read vibes better than the extrovert in the room and I have common sense on how networking is supposed to go. It’s my introverted personality that tends to eat at my brain, listing all the things that could go wrong. A few weeks ago I attended a mixer for the Thrive Blog Conference alumni, it was my second time meeting up with some of the ladies who went to the same conference and my anxiety was through the roof. Here are some of my networking as an introvert takeaways and tips from that event.
So how do I get my introvert personality to shine through when I’d rather be quiet and out of the spotlight?
Attend as many events as you possibly can, without awkwardly forcing yourself of course. This is especially helpful when you don’t know anyone else in attendance. The first few events will be nail biters, but once you show up people will begin to put a person to a blog name and you’ll get great exposure. From then on being the odd person out won’t be an issue.
Speak to everyone you make eye contact with. The second your eyes meet another person walk on up and introduce yourself. A simple ”hello” may seem like a hard concept for most introverts so keep a notepad with you, listed with conversation starters, and don’t fall short of what you’re capable of. Plus, you’ll be able to give yourself major kudos for initiating a conversation yourself.
Give before you ask. When it comes to business cards, that is. Walking up to someone and handing them a business card strikes a conversation. It gives you the chance to introduce yourself and your brand. If you’re confident in your brand this should be easy to execute.
Ask questions. Group conversations can be awkward. Introverts don’t like interrupting others, nor do they think their points are worth the troubles. The second a question pops into your head hold on to it and make yourself voice it. Chiming in with questions lets others know you’re involved and passionate about why you’re there.
SMILE. An obvious one here. When in doubt– break out that smile. I find that it’s much easier to walk through a room knowing I’m smiling than walking around like a lost sad puppy. You’re only as approachable as the look on your face, keep it happy!
All photography is by Chelsea Renee Photography
Please follow these ladies names to their Instagrams and their links to their fabulous blogs!
So my friend Alessandra from You Are More Blog tagged me to participate in this bloggers 21 questions thing. Personally, I love these sorts of posts. It helps me to show you guys who I really am, instead of just some random chick typing away at her keyboard. Get ready to meet the girl behind the blog y’all!
1. Where were you born? Ft. Carson, Colorado! I lived in Colorado until I was 9 or so and then we packed up and moved to Texas. As the saying goes, “I wasn’t born in Texas but I got here as fast as I could!”.
2. How do you take your coffee? I don’t. Don’t get it twisted though, I LOVE the smell of coffee, the taste just isn’t the greatest to me. This one time, I finished a Java Chip Frap without even knowing it wasn’t my normal Chocolate Chip frap.. so thats probably a solid start.
3. Where do you want to travel? I’ve always wanted to visit Germany. My Grandmother immigrated from Germany in 1971 and it would be pure bliss to visit her hometown. Germany and somewhere really really cold, like Alaska or something. Cold weather makes me happy.
4. Favorite guilty pleasure? Peanut M&M’s. But who am I kidding I eat them every. single. night. That is no guilty pleasure, that is a problem.
5. Are you afraid of anything? YES. Dying, snakes, stray dogs, the ocean (deep water in general), driving on I-45 during rush hour, and when the toilet water starts rising in someone else’s house. You know.. the norm.
6. What did you want to be when you grew up? Oh good Lord, I was planning on being a Jane of all trades. I think my first ever aspiration was working at McDonalds, just so I could make my own Happy Meal any time I wanted. Then in junior high, while I was in Space Club, yep.. I was THAT girl, I wanted to work at Nasa or be and astrologer. Also, during a Shark Week, I was convinced being a shark suit tester would be fun.. In high school, when we lived in a small town, there was a short time where I wanted to be a cop, but then we moved to Houston and I said peace out to that one. After high school I thought of being a physical therapist, realtor, or chiropractor. Obviously none of those things stuck.
7. Where did you meet your husband? We actually met in a BAR you guys!! I was 22 and it was my first time in a real bar, a dancehall to be exact. We spent a few minutes catching each others glances, then he walked up to me and took the beer out of my hand, gave it to my friend, and led me onto the dance floor. To this day I can’t even remember the song, but all I remember was me, being in Nike tennis shoes , in a country dance hall two stepping. Whatever, I got a husband out of it!
8. What’s your favorite scent? Vanilla and Amber make my nose happy.
9. What is your favorite verse? May my son walk before You, God, as King David walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that You have commanded him, and keeping Your statutes and rules (1 Kings 9:4)
10. How do you like to spend time with family? Any way possible! Life has been crazy hectic lately and its been tough to plan things out. I cherish the moments I have with just my husband and my boys. Whether its sitting in the backyard, on the couch, or walking through a store, as long as were together I’m a happy mama.
11. What is one thing you couldn’t live without in your house? A dishwasher! We actually just moved into our new house and I swore I wouldn’t use the 10 year old dishwasher thats here now.. and that lasted all about 2 days. I can wash cups every once and a while but I love shoving it full of crap during the day and turning it on before bedtime. Plus the noise puts me to sleep!
12. What is your favorite Restaurant? Lupe Tortillas! I am a Mexican food kinda gal. Theres no other cuisine that can compare to my love for Mexican food. Happiness IS chips and queso, and tacos, fajitas, salsa, ALL THE FOOD.
13. Favorite Season? Winter! I love the winter festivities, winter style, warm pot roast dinners, and a fire burning!! Call me crazy but I love my winter months.. Plus its my birth season so, duh.
14. How many States have you lived in? Not too many actually! Colorado, Washington, and Texas all have a piece of my heart!
15. What is your favorite song? I don’t have a favorite song, nor genre. I am all over the drawing board when it comes to music. One day I can be jamming old country, the next Creed and Disturbed, and a few days after that I’m rapping Eminem to the best of my abilities. Variety people, variety is everything.
16. What is one thing you think people notice about you first? My height, I’m sure.
17. What is one piece of advice you would give to someone? You gotta keep on keepin’ on. Life’s a garden: dig it. You gotta make it work for you.
18. Do you think you’re funny? I reckon I can throw a couple knee slappers out every once and a while.
19. Have you always wanted to work with kids? To be honest, no. I never thought kids were a good fit for me. When I was blessed with my first son I was scared to death and I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going in life. That little boy made me into the mama I am today and I couldn’t be more happy with where I am now.
20. What made you start a blog? I’ve always been a writer. I love getting my thoughts on paper and reading them over and over again. When I started blogging I had no idea what blogging was all about. I didn’t think my words would ever get read and I had no idea how happy it would make me. I started a blog to find myself, to find my passion, and to find out what the heck is really floating around in my head. Along the way I’ve found a great group of supportive ladies and I can’t ever imagine life without Stringfellow + Co.
21. What is your favorite thing to watch on TV? As stupid as it may be I am a sucker for reality shows. Teen Mom, The Real Housewives, and Vanderpump Rules are a few of my faves.
Well there you have it! Me in a nutshell. Did anything surprise you?!
We get it. One day your friend is a normal person, and then all of a sudden she’s working her way up to a socialite. She’s got a ton of social media buddies and her life revolves entirely around her blog. It happens in an instant, and as with any passion, bloggers absolutely love what they do.
1 The blog is on our mind, literally, 24/7.
Don’t try to change that. We aren’t over sharers or social media whores, were simply doing what our blog needs us to do.. share our lives!! If we wake up and there’s perfect lighting you can bet we’ll drop everything and snap a picture. If were walking through a store and notice a picture perfect display you can bet your bottom dollar we’re going to get eye level with it and snap a picture. When our food gets to the table you better make sure it’s ALL staged properly so we can SNAP A PICTURE. Pretty pictures don’t just happen guys. Its actually a lot of work, and we need you to cooperate.
2 We aren’t living in a fantasy world.
We don’t sugar coat things just to get popular and we certainly don’t fake our lives to seem more appealing to certain audiences. Bloggers are probably the most real people you’ll ever encounter on the internet. Our main goal is to relate to our readers and followers. It’s literally all for you.
3 Internet trolls can’t ruin our day.
Sometimes we’ll get someone whose main goal is to tear us down, spit on our work, and roll on like nothing happened. They read our blogs only to get to the bottom and leave a nasty anonymous comment about how we voiced our opinion on our blog and ruffled their feathers. Thats fine, because Google Analytics still counted their view, and it logged in how much time they spent typing up that dumb comment. You can’t rain on our parade because for every negative theres a million more positives. So stick your straw in that and suck it.
4 We are nothing without natural light.
Cloudy days are the worst and dark pictures can make our skin crawl. Without that sweet light from Mr. Sun rooms aren’t well lit, nature isn’t as glowing as it can be, and flatlays would be just that.. flat.
5 We may ask you to take a million pictures.
Please just do it. Selfie sticks and tripods can only do so much. And some of us just don’t have the funds to pay for a professional photographer when we really need one. Take the camera and help a girl out!
6 We’re glued to our phones.
There, I said it. We’re constantly on our phones because thats where our readers are. Social media is a major factor when it comes to a blog succeeding and social media needs to be updated more than our blog, daily instead of weekly. Don’t underestimate how hard it is to get, and keep, a social media following. Pictures need to be edited, comments need to be replied to, and we need to engage with other bloggers, 24 hours of every day, minus sleepy time. Duh.
7 We’ll use any opportunity to talk about our blog, blog friends, Instagram etc.
If you’re married to an avid blogger I’ll just go ahead and personally say I’m sorry. Sometimes the only thing left to talk about is the blog, we’ll tell our friends or significant others what Becky commented on the picture we took yesterday or how many followers we gained last week. We’ll try to get some input thinking it’ll lead to some non blogger insight when really their eyes just glaze over 10 minutes in. We’re sorry! It’s our thing, and our thing is worth bragging about.. To us anyway.
8 Our blog friends are our real friends,
regardless if we’ve ever met face to face or not. We can build relationships quickly. We exchange our numbers all the time and we’ll chit chat about everything under the moon. We love our blogger friends because it’s nice to have someone to relate within the blog world. So the next time you see a blogger shout out to her blogger BFF you should go to her page, theres a 100% chance you’ll love her just as much.
9 Friday nights are when our blogging brain truly shines though.
At least for me, I hope others can relate. Happy Friday by the way!! Our real life friends, and even our significant others, may question our desire to do this but sometimes a Friday night can be a gateway to our best blogging ever. Oh, we will pour that glass of wine, stack up our notebooks and colorful pens, crank up that laptop and make magic happen. Friday night blogging is definitely a thing.
And as a bonus, sometimes we’ll stare at our screen for half an hour trying to come up with number 10 instead of awkwardly ending at 9.
But eventually we’ll give up and press publish anyway.
Bloggers! What are some things I didn’t include?! If you’re not a blogger feel free to chime in as well!
So you’re all signed up for your first blog conference, what’s next? If you’re anything like me, and I think you are considering you might be in fact a HUGE introvert, your mind is racing.
Again, if you’re like me, you’re most likely overthinking everything and questioning your abilities to hold conversations. Because, let’s be honest, you’re a writer not a speaker. I can relate. You’re probably scouring social media looking for other attendants and comparing yourself to them, re thinking outfits and rehearsing your “What’s your blog about?” answer.