Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Today Is For Making Dreams Happen


Hey there, dear friends.  Today, I am over-the-moon excited to have an incredibly inspiring and authentic girl guest posting on Smart and Sassy with Sprinkles.  Kelsey Humphreys is a speaker, coach, and author of the recently published book "Go SOLO: How to Quit the Job You Hate and State a Small Business You Love!"  (PS: Barbara Corcoran from ABC's Shark Tank was one of the many people who gave her book a rave review!)  Kelsey is a also a dear friend from college, and it is so incredible to see her making her dreams a reality.  Perhaps even cooler, is that she is helping others make their dreams a reality.  (Small secret: Kelsey has been coaching me for the past few months to make a professional dream come true, and we have some crazy exciting things in the works, eeek!)  I'm so excited to have Kelsey posting today, and if you are a blogger, or thinking about becoming a blogger, this post is definitely for you!  Take it away, Kelsey!

A Letter to Aspiring Lifestyle Bloggers,

I sometimes wish I could be as cool as a lifestyle blogger, like my dear friend Allison. (It’s so weird to call her by her first name and not her maiden name - college habits die hard!) You all seem so chic and put together, yet approachable and open. I know many of you reading this are either lifestyle bloggers yourself, or aspire to be. You’re posting your hiney off, hoping to someday quit your soul-sucking day job and become the next IT girl or go-to-woman in your area of expertise. And as I stated earlier, I get why.  It’s no surprise lifestyle blogs, fashion blogs, and their not-so-distant cousin, mommy blogs, have exploded. Recently, Forbes published an article claiming that these sites are ridiculous and "bad for women." The writer went on to say that they are unoriginal and that everyone is trying to be similar to one another. This article on Huffington post said that “Very few things that lifestyle bloggers post are innovative, but they are pretty!” The latter post was a negative story about the empire Emily Schuman has made for herself with Cupcakes and Cashmere, accusing her of only posting promoted material rather than her personal taste.

You know what I feel like they are glossing over? The EMPIRE part. Though the content of the usual post may not be very “meaty” - don’t tell me we can’t learn a lot from her example! She is one of many. What about Pioneer Woman? Talk about an empire. Oh what if we bring in fitness bloggers? OH! What about coupon bloggers! Instead of throwing stones, why don’t we applaud women who are following their dreams and paving their own way. Instead of writing articles calling for these sites to post different content, why not write articles highlighting their new role as Empress and how they got there?! 

If you are out there posting your daily outfits or your workout routine or your weekly meal planning wrap up, I have a message for you: You freakin’ GET IT, GIRL.

Yes, it feels like everyone else has already done it and done it better. The book I just launched? It’s a motivational book about starting your own business. There are thousands of them! The book next to mine on the top 100 list was written by this guy you may have heard of called RICHARD BRANSON. My self-published book probably won't stay there long, but I had a passion in me and felt compelled to write. I am in my sweet spot, I love what I do and know that I’m making a difference in the world. I also know I am telling my own story. 

Those writers earlier did have a point that there is a lot of sameness in this digital world, even in my category of business coach. Try to stay true to yourself and make sure that being a serious blogger is what you really want to do. Back in the day I tried to do a “home” type of lifestyle blog and I hated doing the things that I did to fill said blog. Ummm, that’s a sign you’re not in your sweet spot. As of 2012, reported that 65 percent of bloggers hadn’t touched their blogs in a year or more. The key is to keep blogging, even if the marketplace is full. The blogs that stand above the crowd are the ones that have been around a while and are updated regularly. If you enjoy writing and you are posting about your true passions, it should be easy to stick with it. Don’t start a blog just for blogging’s sake, especially if you do not like writing! If the writing is a chore, maybe you should focus on becoming a stylist or photographer or chef or whatever you seem to post most about. If you do love writing, find what makes you different. You’ve heard that a million times. Here’s more specific advice: find what you love more than those similar to you. If you really really love coffee maybe you add an entire section on becoming a connoisseur and you start featuring chic boutique coffee companies and they become your advertisers. From there maybe you write an ebook called “A Girl’s Guide to Really Great Coffee” and add to your income through book sales. Remember it will probably take multiple revenue streams to replace your full-time job, get creative!

Will you have to work crazy hard to really go solo as a full time blogger? Yes. Will you have to find other ways to supplement your income besides ad sales and promoted posts? Yes. Will your family think you’re crazy? Yes. Can you really do it? Can you really be the next {insert who you admire here}? YES. Yes, yes and yes again! It has never been easier than it is right now thanks to internet marketing, digital products, apps and social tools like Instagram and Pinterest. Find your sweet spot and rock the crap out of it. Soon I’ll be emailing to interview you and post about your Empire and how you built it. Next time you get discouraged, come back to this post and read these words again: GET IT, GIRL!

A huge thanks for Kelsey for her post, and if you're haven't already headed to Amazon to check out her book, I can't recommend it enough. I'm not lying when I say the bookchanged my life. It's only 99 cents this week on Amazon, and then the price goes up next week. Cheers to powerful women and making dreams happen!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dallas Trip

This post probably could have been better titled "The Trip to Dallas to See My BFF Where We Ate and Shopped the Whole Weekend," but I decided to opt for simplicity ;)  Several weekends ago, I made a visit down to Dallas to spend the weekend with my best friend, Jordan.  The trip had been on the books for a while, and I had been counting down to the day I could give her a huge hug and get in some quality bestie time.  Sometimes it can be tricky when I head "home" to Dallas, because there are so many people I want to see and spend time with.  But for this weekend, I decided not to overdo it, and just focus on time together with Jordan.  It was definitely the way to go.

IMG 4968In all our years of being friends (almost 17 to be exact, which is totally crazy), this might be one of my favorite pictures of us.  It's not particularly glamourous or exciting, but I can remember the moment and how great it felt to be reunited, and it just makes me smile.

Dallas TripAn airport outfit selfie was necessary while in Chicago, as was purchasing these glittered, leopard print tennies.  I mean, how could I not get glittered, leopard print tennies?  It was like they were made for me!  And naturally, within fifteen minutes of touchdown in Dallas, we were at Sonic, sipping on cherry cokes.  Sonics are super rare in Illinois, so they are a must when I'm back in Texas.  Cherry cokes just aren't the same from anywhere else! 

IMG 5168So I made one tiny exception to my "not seeing anyone else rule" and that was to see these two little cuties and their mom.  The fact that Paradise cookies were involved didn't hurt either.  (Like I said, this post really should have been titled differently lol.)

Dallas Trip1Saturday, we headed to the McKinney Farmers Market, where we stocked up on some goodies, and I got to enjoy my first Earth on Tap juice.  Oh my goodness, it was so so good!  Cashew milk, sprouted cashews, Himalayan pink salt, cinnamon, maple syrup, and coconut butter.  Then we headed to Downtown McKinney for some shopping and brunch at Snug.

Dallas Trip2Another Texas must have when I'm back is a sno cone!  (Illinois needs to get with the picture when it comes to cool summer treats!)  I had given Jordan my cravings list a week before the trip, so she was prepared in the sno cone department, taking me to Bahama Bucks.  Y' life will never be the same.  Underneath that wedding cake flavored shaved ice, is a scoop of Blue Bell vanilla.  I mean, I can't even talk about it without getting excited.  It was out of this world!  After a second visit in three days, it was time to head to the airport and back to Chicago, wishing I could stay a little longer.  Thankfully, Chicago welcomed me back with a pretty sweet sunset.

IMG 5002Trips like these are bittersweet.  They make me so incredibly grateful for such wonderful, lasting friendships, yet they also make me sad that I'm so far away from so many of my friends.  This trip was also a reminder that I want to be better about scheduling a few weekend trips a year to head back and see friends and family for the weekend.  Especially when sno cones and Sonic drinks are up for grabs! ;)

Have a fabulous week, y'all, and as always, thanks for stopping by to read this little blog of mine!