Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Celebrating Two Years!

holding sunflowers
I was going to go to a local cupcake store for these photos but then I realized the sunflower festival was happening, so I grabbed my nearest seersucker dress and took my most “on brand” photos to date!

I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for two years now! It feels like I’ve been at this forever but it also feels like I just started yesterday. In this post I’m going to share a little bit about why I started blogging as well as answering questions that you guys had for me, so let’s get started!

Why I Started Blogging

Here’s a little known fun fact: this is actually my second blog! I was inspired to start one because I used to read a blog about physical therapy school and I tried to start one about being a pre-PT but it didn’t last. I wish I could remember what the name of it was but those posts have been deleted and I transformed that blog into Sunflowers and Seersucker.

I started this blog because I was inspired by bloggers like Kate from Lonestar Southern and Lucy from Daily Dose of Prep. I wanted a place to document my style and share my thoughts and I’m so glad I started! Blogging has become such a fun part of my life and I’m glad I have a space where I can document what I’m doing so I can look back on it later!

walking with sunflowers
Probably checking to see if I have any bugs on me.

The Lessons

Something you may realize is that all of these lessons are centered around a common theme. I apologize if you end up thinking it’s repetitive but here we go:

Be authentic.

All of my favorite bloggers show their day to day life alongside the “highlight reel” that is Instagram. From sharing her hair loss and wig wearing journeys to showing viewers her husband’s broken toe, Dani (@daniaustin on Instagram) is the queen of keeping it real.

I personally believe that everyone who blogs should incorporate lifestyle into their pages if you blog/post on Instagram. I think keeps things interesting while also showing people that life isn’t meant to be perfect. We’ve let social media take over so much of our daily lives that it’s time to learn to laugh at ourselves.

Don’t niche down.

If you’re trying to make it big blogging, you probably shouldn’t listen to this piece of advice because every podcast I listen to tells you to find a niche and they have at least 10x the amount of followers that I have, BUT, if you’re blogging as a hobby write about everything that interests you!

People aren’t one-dimensional, so play to all of your interests. I love picking out cute outfits so I started this blog to share my closet, but I also love reading. So once I found out there were book blogs and #bookstagram I wanted to share my reading list too. It’s easy to get caught up in making things fit your niche but you’re still sharing something valuable it just might not be what someone was expecting. For example, I don’t follow any instagram accounts dedicated to making smoothies (although I do love looking at smoothie bowls) but when someone shares a good looking smoothie I usually screenshot it.

The numbers don’t matter.

This is such a hard one! For the past few weeks I’ve been staring at my follower count on Instagram just willing it to hit 1000. But so much of Instagram just isn’t real!

Real talk: when I first started trying to grow my Instagram I joined a Facebook “likes” group. You could comment on a daily likes thread and you and 99 other people would go like each other’s pictures. Sure my likes went up but I didn’t have anything in common with these people, they weren’t interested in my posts and I wasn’t interested in theirs except for the extra like. Not to mention it was stressful. I was always checking to see if a thread had been posted because I wanted to keep up my number of likes. And you had 12-24 hours to complete all the likes. I can’t even tell you how many times I wrote “oops sorry Instagram won’t let me like anymore posts right now” just because I didn’t have the time/energy to go down the list even though it’s a pretty mindless activity.

So next time you find yourself playing the comparing game, tell yourself that whoever you’re comparing yourself to may be using other sources. It wasn’t just small bloggers who are in those groups, some bigger accounts are there boosting engagement too!

Focus on the people.

This is social media we’re talking about. Not thing I want to focus on going forward is making real connections. I’m going to comment on more posts that I find interesting and ask people questions about how they’re doing. I want to find authentic engagement, I want people to comment on my posts because they think it’s interesting or they’re giving recommendations.

I recently joined @bloggersliveboston and I can’t wait to start meeting some New England bloggers! I haven’t been able to make it to an event yet but I’m looking forward to making connections really soon!

girl with her back to camera holding sunflowers, in front of sunflower field
They don’t even look real!

Answering Your Questions

And now to your questions! I had a lot of similar themes so I tried to tie them together but if I missed your question, comment below/send my a DM and I’ll answer it!

How I grew my followers?

I’ve tried a few different ways to grow my followers so here’s the rundown:

  • In the Facebook groups I was talking about earlier I have also participated in follow for follow threads. So I would put my link down and then you would either have to follow everyone or pick a certain number of people per thread and follow them. If this is the route you’re going to try to grow followers I would definitely recommend the latter. While following everyone will get you more followers, it’s better long term wise to pick people that have similar interests to you!
  • I’ve also done a few loop giveaways. I did find these to be beneficial as I always gained a ton of followers and only lost a few in the days after the prize was announced. My advice if you’re trying this method: find giveaways that match your/your followers’ interests and make sure the giveaway account unfollows you before the prize is announced. Matching interests is important with the authenticity factor, for example I don’t think too many of my followers would want to win a gift card to Game Stop but they may want to try to win a gift card to Lilly, especially when After Party Sale season comes around (if anyone wants to do this as a giveaway hit me up it sounds like a good idea!). And as for the unfollowing factor, it’s easier for people to unfollow you if all they have to do is go down a list of everyone that participated in a giveaway 😉
  • I have had some luck recently with my new and improved authentic engagement strategy. It is a slower process than the methods above but I’m okay with that! All that’s required for this one: comment on people’s photos! People that you follow and people that you don’t! Think like Oprah: you get a comment, you get a comment, everyone gets a comment. The important thing here is don’t just say “cute” make it meaningful, make it something you would want someone to comment on your page. Although I’m definitely guilty of throwing some “so cute girl”‘s around too.

Advice for new bloggers?

Have fun with it! This is your corner of the internet so share whatever makes you happy! Think of what interests you and share that. I am a firm believer in “your vibe attracts your tribe” so share what makes you smile and you’ll find people with common interests.

Biggest thing I’ve learned?

The biggest thing I’ve learned is definitely apparent throughout this whole article but it’s important so I’ll say it again: stay true to yourself! At the end of the day if you’re happy that’s all that matters! I actually just finished a book that is about social media and staying true to yourself and while the post is still being typed up, it was a good reminder that sometimes social media doesn’t feel social at all.

girl in sunflower field
Cheers to 2 years!

And so you have it! What have you learned from having a blog?

This dress is from Banana a few summers ago so here is a similar style from Tommy Bahama! Unlike mine, it has pockets which always seem like the best thing when it comes to dresses. I tried to find cheaper alternatives but it’s the end of the season so you’re best bet is looking on Poshmark!

xox,

Marissa

Lifestyle

An Easter Playlist

Hey friends!

It’s definitely been a while since I hopped on the blog! I have been up editing a paper and the idea popped in my head to share some of my favorite Catholic songs as it is officially Easter!

This is a post that means so much to me because I have heard most of these songs since I was a freshman in high school just starting my journey of learning more about how my faith can help others. Every summer starting right after the 8th grade I participated in a week long service trip with my youth group. This was definitely an experience that shaped me and I am lucky enough to be able to come back every year and help other students have that same experience.

1: Do Something by Matthew West

To me, this song sums up everything that being a Catholic means. I don’t even think I could put it into better words than were written, “If not us then who?” There’s no better time to “Do Something” than right now!

It even made an appearance at the Women’s March…

2: Oceans by Hillsong UNITED

Another song I’ve been listening to for years. While I think this version is absolutely beautiful, one year we had a number of people in our group sing this while someone else played the guitar and I always get flashbacks to that night. Such a peaceful memory.

3: When We Pray by Tauren Wells

This is a pretty new song to me, I only discovered Tauren Wells last winter. Kate from Lonestar Southern shared a story and Hills & Valleys was playing and I thought it was so catchy! So I did the only logical thing and started playing him nonstop on Spotify. It was immediately added to my “If Not Me” playlist and the rest is history. 

4: Who Am I by Casting Crowns

This song will forever hold a special place in my heart. It has so many special memories for me. From our summer retreat to playing after our church’s Living Stations of the Cross to my first ever solo. When it came time for our teachers to pick solos one year, my teacher and someone else’s didn’t communicate and we had the same song. All I remember is her bringing out the waterworks so she could keep that song (as much as I like to think I didn’t come from a Dance Moms studio… we had our moments) and so my teacher then gave me the opportunity to pick my own song. A few nights later we were at Stations rehearsal and that song played and something just clicked. So after rehearsal I went home figured out that I could adjust the speed of one or two parts and everything fell into place.

And that’s my round up! This is definitely a little different than my usual posts but I hope you guys like it! If you need any other songs let me know I’d be more than happy to share. Please leave your favorite songs in the comments!

xox,

Marissa

Style

Weekly Style 19

This Weekly Style is so special because it is all about a collection from one of my favorite bloggers! Kate from Lonestar Southern was one of the biggest influences when I wanted to create a blog! Her style is absolute goals and she seems like she has such a great time blogging that I thought hey that might be fun! She is also the reason I found out about Starfish Project, one of my favorite jewelry lines.

Kate teamed up with a store in Dallas called The Impeccable Pig to create the cutest summer line! There are so many cute pieces so lets get started:

Gone to Charleston Crop Top & Gone to Charleston Shorts

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How cute is this set?! I love the complete look but I also love that you can mix and match with other pieces in the collection. My favorite part of the top is definitely the ruffle and my favorite part of the bottoms are the tie waist! So adorable!

Picnic Party Stripe Romper

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This romper is so sweet! One thing I love about rompers is how easy they are, there’s no time wasted in trying to find a top/bottom because it’s all built in! The details of this romper make it even cuter, I’m obsessed with the red trim and there is a cute keyhole cutout on the back.

Free Flowin’ Pink Dress

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This dress is gorgeous! I love the colors and the print! It is so flowy which makes it absolutely perfect for the summer. And the icing on the cake: it looks like it is a little longer in the back! Us tall girls need all the help we can get!

Last is my absolute favorite piece: Little Darling Embroidered Dress

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Darling is definitely the perfect description for this dress! I am in love with the sleeves and the embroidery! I am such a huge fan of off the shoulder dresses and everything about this dress is perfect!

To end today’s post I just wanted to share some of the cute statement earrings in the collection:

Seaside Disk Earrings

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Capri Tassel Earrings- Coral

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And my personal favorite: Jamaican Me Crazy

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Let me know your favorite pieces in the comments!

Stay stylish!

xox,

Marissa

 

All pictures were taken from The Impeccable Pig website, I do not own them!