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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Explaing to your Spouse your Pregnancy Hormones

Pregnancy hormones...


Oh WOW there is alot to unpack here. Most men think that pregnancy hormones are just a myth and they love to try to debunk it. But the facts are on our side fellas... Sorry.

There are alot of physical changes we share in regards to pregnancy: bigger boobs, longer hair, better nails, swollen feet, glowy skin etc. But rarely do we dive into the changes that can happen in a relationship. My husband and I have experienced some good and not so good moments during our first pregnancy journey together. Hormones have played a huge role! It's been a roller coaster ride in the sense that one minute my husband and I are extremely close and the next I am feeling completely sad and abondoned by him. In the beginning I didn't know how to manage these feelings. My husband was so frustrated with me because he didn't understand where I was coming from. I didn't even have a reasonable explanation for it! So we were not on the same page at times. 

For example, the other day my husband and I got into a really big fight. That day I was hawkishly watching him and having conversations in my head about him that were all negative. My mind was hyping me up to basically be mad at him. I asked him a question and he responded and his response was not what I wanted to hear so I got super emotional. I was both angry and crying. He was so confused and frustrated so he did what alot of guys do and that's walk away and ignore me. That was the wrong move. I in turn ignored him and started to do things around the house by myself but in his face to make some self righteous point that I don't need you and see what a jerk you are being right now! 


This silent treatment continued and I wanted to win this battle so I made the dumb decision to sleep downstairs because I just didn't want to be anywhere near him. The next morning he had an early morning flight out for work and I woke up so overwhelemd with sadness that I just cried my eyes out. I had no self control over myself. I toke a shower and googled searched pregnancy hormones and educated myself on what is going on with me. 

I found out that while you are pregnant women are subjected to high levels of hormones. 

The main hormones include: 


HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin)
This hormone is produced by what eventually becomes the placenta. 

Estrogen 
Estrogen helps to stimulate hormone production in the fetus's adrenal gland, it stimulates growth of the adrenal gland, and it enhances the mother's uterus, enabling it to respond to oxytocin.

Progesterone
Progesterone relaxes all smooth muscles in the body. It keeps the uterus muscle relaxed and help's the body immune system tolerate foreign DNA.

Relaxin 
Relaxin loosens the ligaments that hold the pelvic bones together and for relaxing the uterine muscle. This prepares your body for baby’s passage through the birth canal. 

Prolactin 
Prolactin prepares breast tissues for lactation and the release of milk.

Oxytocin 
Oxytocin is also the hormone that stretches the cervix and stimulates the nipples to produce milk.

Here are some of the emotions I have felt while I have been pregnant and I hope this helps you guys:

I am super clingy!

Hormonal changes during pregnancy may affect the chemicals in your brain. During my second trimester I started to develop feelings of abandonment and panic. I would at times feel like my husband is not being there for me enough and then panicking because I felt like he will leave me. When he is away on his work trips, I panic that something will happen to him. I have even gone so far as to watch hawkishly on our Find Friends app to reassure myself that he made it to his destination okay and to his hotel. One trip his location was unavailable and I was in such a panic that I was frantic and figiddy all day until I finally heard from him later that night and I broke out in tears. If you are feeling this way the best thing to do is to communicate what you are feeling to your husband. I didn't do that in the beginning and I internalized alot of these emotions. But when I did start to share with him where my mind was going he gave me what I needed, comfort and love. 

Why doesn't he understand what I am going through

I used to say this in my mind so many times when I felt  like he just didn't get it but in all actuality of course he doesnt'! He's never been pregnant before! He doesn't know what physical symptoms I am going through. I read an article where some men don't feel like fathers until they actually hold their baby for the first time. Obviously for us the minute we feel that first kick or movement it all becomes so real! I have learned to back off and realize that I am more emotionally connected to our baby because he is part of me. But once he comes into the world, my husband will feel that same love that I do! 

Obsessive behavior

I have never been so obsessively compulsive about cleanliness in my life like I have since getting pregnant. I have found myself looking for crumbs left on the kitchen table just to find a reason to be upset with people. I want the house to be so perfectly clean for the baby because I start to imagine him getting sick from something being unsanitiary in the house. When I think like this I feel a overwhelming sense of guilt and anger towards others who are not doing their part. This has taken a toll on me because physically I can't keep cleaning the way that I used to because my body can't handle to labor. Finding peace in these moments have been a struggle for me but I learned in church one day that we need to find contentment in whatever current season that we are in. I can't just only have faith when things are well and abundant but more importantly I need to have faith in seasons of struggle and scarcity. 

The first step I learned navigating these issues is acknowledging your feelings and educating yourself. When I first caught myself behaving differently I opened up my laptop and started googling pregnancy mood changes. 

Secondly communication with your partner is key and can bridge the gap in fulfilling both of your needs. When I started to share with my husband thoughts and emotions I was feeling in the moment he appreciated me communicating and providing him with an explanation of my behavior. 


Lastly we made sure to schedule romantic dates with one another. Motto: Remember that you are a couple first and parents to be second! 


I hope sharing my experience may offer some comfort that you are not alone. I hope my story can help anyone that has been struggling with emotional and mental issues with your spouse/partner during pregnancy. I know for me it was extremely therapeutic to type these feelings down and share it. 


Thank you guys for your time and support and see you in my next one! 




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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

How to Prepare your business for Maternity Leave + Tips!



I am so thankful for God's timing. Our pregnancy was unpredictable and the Lord is good in his timing. I do have to be honest though it toke some adjustment at first. My husband and I had just moved from Providence, Rhode Island to Rochester, NY. We didn't have a home yet and I didn't have a job lined up because I was focused on pushing my blog/youtube full time and building a business. Well like I said God is good in his timing. 



We moved in December 2018 and I got pregnant in January! We weren't really focused on trying because our lives were hectic from moving back and settling in. 

To be more honest we didn't have much alone time together so you could imagine to my surprise when I started to feel a little funny in that first month of pregnancy. I didn't realize I was pregnant until towards the end of February and I was both in shock and pure joy! 







I have changed many ways during this pregnancy by focusing more on actionable steps in my business/brand, learning to plan better and learning grace. In the beginning it was a struggle. I was tired, had a hard time focusing and remembering things and being efficient. But i wanted to share all this with you guys to show you that this all takes time and its a process. My first trimester was a mess and my second trimester was a great learning curve and my third is where I am focused on preparing my blog/youtube for maternity leave. 


I wanted to break down each trimester to provide helpful tips for you:

Trimester ONE

This is a hard trimester because more than likely you are the most unproductive in this time than any of the other trimesters. You are dealing with morning sickness, tiredness and lots and lots of naps. But when you have some energy use those moments to start strategizing. 


Ask yourself some questions:

- Do you have any money saved?
- How are you going to pay yourself?
- Do you need to build up some cushion revenue?
- Can your business look into delegating some necessary tasks while you are on maternity    leave?

Once you answer all these questions and write them down, you can then create some goals:

1. Create a revenue goal for your maternity leave

2. You can reach out to others on how they prepared for maternity leave 

3. Can you prepare for long term content in your business so your followers are still receiving daily/weekly/or monthly regular content.


Trimester TWO

This trimester is the most productive one for me because my energy did a 180. It soared and I was the most productive. I had great energy, tiredness and nausea went away and I was feeling myself again. 


Here are some things you can do in this trimester:

1. Start journaling or brainstorming on content. For this I used the site called Trello but some people use Google Sheets or Asana. I created two categories: blog and youtube and would create cards on blog topics and map out my strategy. By doing this you can create a shooting and publishing schedule.

2. Start communicating with your followers on what is going. I like sharing with my readers and followers life updates so this is a good time to give them a heads up on your new adventure and what changes if any they can look forward to. This form of communication can be in a newsletter, email announcement or blog post. 

3. Map out your revenue goals. Look over the revenue goals you wrote down in Trimester One and start planning on how you are going to hit those goals. For me I calculated all my monthly bills total and used that number times three of a save number of the minimum I need to have in my account. From there I wrote down bigger goals and strategized different monetization avenues to get to that number. I even started going back to free lancing to make my revenue goals. I am no stranger to hustling guys! But do what works for you and your business. 

Aside from your business, sit down alone and really think about what you want your maternity leave to look like. Do you want to take a whole month out or two months. Really listen to your heart and feel at peace with your decision but also don't put too much pressure on yourself either. If you take a peek on instagram during leave do it. If you decide to share an impulsive blog post share it! If you pick up your Vlog camera and record some personal moments, upload it! This is your time! 

Trimester THREE

My current trimester and boy has it been a roller coaster of emotions and energy. Some days are better than others and I have been extremely hormonal. But this month I have been really trying to prepare content like crazy on this good days! 

Here are some tips for your last and final trimester:

1. Finalize your departure date. You want to pick out a final date from work. Pick a date and stick to it. You need to give yourself time to rest and really prepare yourself to finalize last minute items around the house before the baby comes. 

2. Set dates aside in your calendar and finalize your content. Schedule any photo shoots that need to get done, starting writing your blog posts and film those youtube videos. I find the most productive way is to set aside certain time slots in certain days a week to concentrate on content creating. I have found this way to be so productive. You can do this in Google calendar. 

3. Ask for help when needed. If you need to outsource some tasks and can financially afford it then do it! If you have a family member or friend that can help your business in some areas then ask them. Don't be afraid to ask for help! 

4. Clean up your office area. If your office is in your home (like mine) right before you are ready to finalize your date make sure to clean up your desk area, your drawers, files and anything else that will prepare you to disconnect. When your ready to get back to work you area will be clean and ready for a new start! 

5. Send out your departure announcement. Like I said before whether its a newsletter, blog post etc make sure to push that publish or send button. Your followers and readers will thank you for this and will send you well wishes! I will probably announce mine on both a blog post and IG post. Tip: In your announcement direct your followers to follow you somewhere to see live updates. 

I am only 5 weeks away and I am ready for the nesting phase soon! I am still working on finalizing my departure date and will be sharing that with you all very soon. The baby is due October 14! WOW it is really flying by! 

I hope you guys enjoyed these tips and ways that I have been preparing for my maternity leave. If you have any other tips on this topic please share them below. I would love to add some more to this post and will make sure to credit you. 

If you are pregnant, congratulations! This truly is a special time for new mommies and make sure that through all of this you take some time for yourself for self care! 




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Thursday, August 29, 2019

How I am Preparing for the Baby and Breastfeeding with Walmart!

This post is sponsored by Walmart and RewardStyle.


Feeling overwhelmed is an understatement... Lately I have been feeling really overwhelmed to prepare and make sure I have all the things that I need before our baby boy comes. I feel like the days and weeks are flying by and I am losing time. Grace is something that I have asked God for lately. I decided to focus and write down a list of things that he would probably need right away and a list of things that can wait for later. Creating this checklist put my mind more at ease and also our checking accounts. Side note: I was hit hard with the realization that baby items are expensive! Yicks! 

As I have shared with you guys since moving back to our hometown we cut our family income in half. My husband is our sole full time provider at the moment. I have been tracking our finances and making sure we are making responsible purchases. 

When I was asked to team up with Walmart for this post I was so eager to say yes because Walmart is a retail destination for affordable products and that is what our family needs. I was also curious to check out Walmart's baby products. A shopping tip: scrolling online look for items in their roll back special prices! You can find some great brands for everyday lower prices. 

Since I live in a small town our aisles are small and products are limited in terms of product lines and diverse brand availablity however I really found a lot of great brands online! Plus I actually enjoy more shopping online and do about 80% of my retail shopping online. 



As a new mom to be my biggest concern and desire is to breast feed our baby. I am so looking forward to that bonding time with him and nurturing him naturally to the best of my ability. I have been doing a lot of research of breast feeding products and I was so surprised that Walmart carried all these amazing brands! At the moment I am in between getting the Medela breast pump or the Lanisol pump. If you guys have any advice or recommendations please share!

August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and Walmart is supporting this event with deals on breastfeeding and feeding items. Some items that I know I need right away are nursing pads and nipple cream

As far as feeding items I am using Dr Brown's bottles and going to try those out first (wish us luck that he likes it). I am also thinking of taking a breast feeding class before the baby comes to educate myself and feel prepared. 


There are so many baby products to chose from out there and I am thankful for destinations like Walmart to make it affordable and a one stop shop for parents. Check out below the items in my cart! Please share your tips or recommendations on items featured and items you recommend! Thank you to Walmart for sponsoring this post! 









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Monday, August 26, 2019

How to Throw a Beautiful Baby Shower | Tips and Inspiration




I dreamt of this day for so long... I always imagined what this day would look like celebrating my baby and being surrounded by my closest friends and family. During the shower and coming home afterwards I was so emotional. The next day my husband and I went to church and I was so overwhelmed with gratitude. Grateful for this blessing of a child I was carrying and overjoyed with how loved he is already..

 There is just something about party planning that I just enjoy so much and of course being the control freak that I am I had to be in charge of throwing my own shower! I am going to share with you guys every detail of the shower with links below. I wanted a gender neutral theme with boho vibes with pops of greenery. I love eucalyptus and baby's breath and I wanted it incorporated everywhere. Keep reading below for my tips on throwing a baby shower!  




Balloon Garland: (click here

               
                                      (baby sister)                                            (my Mami) 



Dress

This was probably the most stressful thing to find for the shower because it is so hard to plan out an outfit when your belly is growing every week. I didn't want to get it to early and I didn't want to wait too late. I ordered this dress from ASOS about two weeks before my shower. Luckily for me it worked out and fit me. I love the color and the tulle material. I felt angelic and beautiful in it. It was also surprisingly very comfortable. I wanted the dress to be the center so I kept my makeup fresh and toned down and minimal jewelry. 



Location

The first step to planning a baby shower is finding the right location. I searched and sent many emails to inquire on price and after checking out many places I feel in love with ROC Brainery. I love how minimalist it is but with an added pop of lots and lots of plants. The tables are included in renting the space and I love the Scandavian inspired chairs. It was the perfect aesthetic for what I was looking for. The owner, Danielle was so wonderful and helpful. They provided the tables, chairs, sound and if needed a projection machine. 


Table Decor

I knew I didn't want to use a table cloth because I loved the wood detailing on the tables. I did want to create a eucalyptus runner with accents of baby breath on the table. I decided to use faux eucalyptus garland because it was the more affordable option. I found some great garland on Amazon. The baby breath is real and I picked up 10 bunches from Trader Joes. It was such an affordable option at just $2.99 a bunch! I also found these small candles and holders from IKEA and they just added a delicate touch to the tables. 

I wanted table settings already in place so to add touches of gold I found these plastic gold rimmed plates on Amazon. Such a great price for 100 pieces and it was another affordable purchase. We put on each plate two game cards as well as their thank you gifts. 

My sweet sister in law handmade these rustic thank you plates that also had written on them my name and the date. It was such a cute souvenir that was personal and right on theme. 


Food

One of my favorite meals of the day is brunch. My shower had to be brunch style food. We ordered catering and served scrambled eggs, french toast, roasted potatoes, croissants, sausages and mini pancakes. I actually got the mini pancakes idea  from Pinterest and what I did was pick up a box of mini pancakes from Trader Joes and stacked two or three on top of each other. Then I toke a tooth pick and put a raspberry on top and sprinkled a little bit of confectioners sugar on top. 

For drinks we kept it summery and refreshingly light. I found these two pitchers from Home Goods and made two different styles of water. One was citrus water that included oranges and lemons and the other was strawberries and kiwis. 
We found some glass pitchers from both IKEA and GoodWill and filled them with different juices my mother found at Wegmans. I loved the way it looked. To add some glamour I ordered these gold trimmed cups from Amazon. 


Dessert

One of my favorite tables at any event YUMMM!!! I love mixing different textures and adding sight levels. This was the table I put the most thought into. I had an assortment of different desserts for our guests. My husband's Aunt made many of the desserts on the table such as the delicious macaroons. 

The decorated baby cookies are from a local bakery called Premier Pastry. I gave them a Pinterest inspired photo and they nailed it perfectly. I love the rattle cookie and the bottle. 

For cakes I knew I wanted two different kinds: a naked cake and a coconut cake. The cakes were ordered from Scratch Bakery and they were so delicious. I actually was able to save the top tier of the coconut cake and we froze it with the intention to eat it next year! I love the freshly flowers and greenery on top from Stacy K Floral. Gorgeous simple cakes is my style. 






Shout out to my husband who made this Donut Wall! It is amazing! I showed him a couple months ago a Pinterest picture of a Donut Wall and he immediately said I can make that. It came out amazing! I especially love his creative touch of adding the word "DONUT" on the top but leaving out the "O" letter and replacing it with a donut. 
We decorated the donut wall with faux eucalyptus garland I found at Hobby Lobby. It is such good quality and I always use this garland for fall touches around the house and decorated the mantle for the holidays. 


My husband actually made this beautiful photo booth as well! He found rose gold pipes from Home Goods and once he put the frame together we created the polaroid like frame and hung this boy letter balloons in front. I found the "boy" letter balloons on Amazon. 









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Saturday, August 10, 2019

A Cozy Master Bedroom Makeover with Raymour & Flanigan: Before and After Inspiration


I can't believe that baby boy is coming in 10 weeks! My alone time with him is just flying by. I have enjoyed so much the precious time of just being him and I. I love feeling his little kicks and sharing that little secret that only I can feel. I so look forward to his birth but there is still so much to do before hand. 

Next week is my baby shower so I am finalizing all last minute plans for that and once that is done it is the count down to getting the nursery ready and all his belongings in place. It still feels so unreal. I have dreamt of this moment for so long..

One of the major items on my list to prepare for our baby's arrival was to get our master bedroom ready. Our room is a giant L shape so we are creating a baby nook area in our room. I wanted the bedroom to feel calm and peaceful. Honestly guys I never had a bedroom set before. I have put together pieces but nothing that was complete. I cried when it all came together. It was a real humbling moment for me. It still needs a few decor items but overall I am so in love with our bedroom. 


I love how gender neutral the color and decor is. It gives me California dessert vibes. When I was deciding how I wanted to decorate the room I created three different mood boards using inspiration that I found on my Pinterest boards and pairing it with pieces that I found on Raymour and Flanigan's website. 

The bedroom before was painted yellow and it made the room feel dark. We didn't have a complete bed frame before. I just found a headboard from Target and paired that with a simple metal frame. Guys it was not a glamorous set up. The middle part of the metal frame was constantly coming off due to the weight of our new mattress and box spring. Before we got the carpet the wheels would move around and make so much noise when we got on the bed! I was ready for a room makeover and to finally climb into bed with no noise or movement. 



The first thing we needed to do to this room was paint it! After long deliberation I chose Snowbound my Sherwin Williams in a flat finish. It toke about two coats but when it was done it really brightened up the space. For the moulding around the windows and frames we did the Snowbound again but in a semi gloss finish. 

Next I wanted to create some mood boards to get an idea on what kind of design and feel fit our needs and wants for this room makeover. I used Canva to help me with this. It is a free account to sign up and I really love this website for creating mood boards but also Youtube thumbnails. 

Once I created my three mood boards I showed my husband and after long deliberation we decided on number 2. He loved the dark grey color of the head board and the wood end tables. With some soft rustic touches I liked the pick too! 


                                                         
Once we had our mood board selected and our items picked out it was time to schedule a visit to the store. I am such a planner and there is no way I could go into a furniture store without a plan of attack. I highly suggest that you guys create a mood board or Pinterest board when planning to redecorate your rooms. It saves tons of stress and waste of time. 

We were met my one of the managers, Terrell Jackson and he was awesome! Such a joy to work with and made the experience enjoyable and informative. The bed unfortunately was not available in the store so I couldn't look at it in person but we ordered it anyways. I actually didn't end up liking the ones that I originally chose and with Terrell's help we went with these darker wood end tables. But the best part about this compared to my original choice is the USB in the back! It was the one simple thing that made my husband happy! 

I really appreciate the customer service provided by Raymour and Flanigan. We added the Platinum Protection Plan because since a newborn baby is on the way I am concerned with food or beverage stains or any other stains that could arise in the next five years with a child. The plan is valid for 5 years from the date of your delivery. It states that furniture covered under the plan requires stain removal or repair, they will attempt to resolve the problem by sending a cleaning kit or a Raymour and Flanigan Quality Service Technician for a scheduled service call at no charge ( and I like the term "at no charge"). 

Some of our pieces were not currently available at the warehouse near us so we had to wait until it arrived. Once we received notification that it was available for delivery, delivery schedule was quick. Delivery is guaranteed in 3 days or less. The day before the delivery a reminder call is made and the day of delivery the delivery driver will call to give a heads up of arrival time. 
Tip: make sure to have the area ready and clear to accommodate your new furniture. It makes the delivery process smooth and avoids chaos. 


I really like the wood finish of these night stands. It adds rustic gender neutral touches to the room and its functional for added storage. The drawer is deep enough for lots of storage space and it has a plug behind it for the convenience of charging our phones. 

I wanted to keep my husband's side of the room simple so I found a wooden box where he can put his change and watch in and it doesn't make the night stand look cluttered like it did before. 


I always wanted a place to sit down while getting ready in the morning in front of my bed and the Madeline accent stools are perfect. I needed to get two to put them side by side for it make room and it fit perfectly. 

I even found a basket to roll up extra fitted sheets and pillows cases under the stools. More storage ideas the better for us because the closet is not big enough. The stools tie in with the night stand and softens up the area. 


Choosing the perfect bed frame was the hardest decision. We chose the Bishop Queen bed and I am happy we went with a dark grey color instead of the cream. The grey headboard pops in our newly painted white room. Realistically it won't get as dirty as a light colored bed. Its also fun to play around and decorate around a grey colored bed. Since grey is a neutral color it can be paired with many different nuances and textures. This shade of grey has a soft nature and I thought it went well with warm tones such as the night stands and the rustic accent tables. 

But in the winter I can switch up the bedding and play around with different shades of grey or even black and white colors. My Pinterest board has been lately with different bedding ideas to have fun with this beautiful bed. 



We kept the curtains light and airy since the headboard is in front of the window and I didn't want to get heavy curtains that will block out the natural light even more. To tie in with some of the black touches in the room furniture I chose a black long curtain rod for a pop of color above the window. It makes the white curtains pop when your looking straight on into the room. 

I love adding pop of greenery into my home spaces so I added faux plants in different spots. It really adds color and texture to the room. To warm up the space some more I picked out these accent tables from Raymour & Flanigan. I am thinking of adding more plants in the room and placing them on top of these tables in the future but for now my husband loves to sit on them while he's getting ready for bed! LOL!

Our room is not perfect nor is it completely done but its cozy and makes me so happy! I love getting into bed at night and waking up in the morning in this room now. I want to thank Raymour & Flanigan for giving me the opportunity to collaborate with them and design the room of our dreams. 
Click here to check out Raymour & Flanigan's website.

If you want to see the entire transformation of our master bedroom I documented it and shared it on my YOUTUBE channel: https://youtu.be/gnUcdPWSrA0 

                        





If you guys have any questions feel free to contact me. I will love to answer any questions you guys might have just leave them down below!

Have a wonderful weekend guys and stay tuned for another post next week! 

*This post is in collaboration with Raymour and Flanigan. However all opinions and design choices are my own and are 100% authentic and my own*



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Monday, August 5, 2019

HOW TO FIND BRANDS TO WORK WITH AS AN INFLUENCER


I used to be so scared to approach brands because I compared my worth by instagram follower numbers and comparing myself to other larger influencers. However I remember when I was contacted by an agency to do a photo shoot with Estee Lauder and it was at the moment that my confidence was built. I do have value and worth in this game regardless of the number on my profile page. It was after that humbling and amazing experience that I started to approach brands and pitch myself to them. 

The way my confidence was built up with that one email is the way that I want to build you guys up to be confident to go out and reach out to brands. Here in this blogging tip post I want to share with you guys some tips on how to find brands to work with as an influencer/blogger regardless of your follower count! 


SO READ ON BELOW FOR THE WAY TO FIND BRANDS TO WORK WITH YOU AS AN INFLUENCER:

DONT NEGLECT YOUR HOMETOWN

Local retailers, restaurants and small businesses all are either interested and are understanding the value of influencer marketing. Reach out to a small shop/boutique in our city/town and approach them on a collaboration. Be mindful that they might not be as cultured as larger international brands but this might be a good thing because it allows you to both navigate the situation and be the one in control. 
Try to think of ways that you can bring value to the small business besides just asking for free clothes or a free hotel stay. This is good practice for you when approaching larger brands. You can collaborate on a shopping event with a boutique or help a hotel promote an upcoming event. I love coffee shop shoots so contact them and see if they will open the shop early for photos and in exchange you can include them in an upcoming travel/lifestyle post!

INFLUENCER NETWORKS

An influencer network is a marketplace or platform that brands and influencers can partner in a campaign. Some networks allow you to build direct relationships with brands through their platform. 

I have personally worked on some amazing campaigns through some influencer networks that I truly love to work with. Here are some of my top ones:

ASPIREIQ:

This is a new one but I after doing a campaign with them with buybuy BABY I already love the platform. The platform allows you to connect directly with the brand and negotiate on deliverables and contract terms, money and timeline. You are given more control in the situation and I love that you have an open dialogue with brands to work on forming long lasting relationships. 

COLLECTIVELY:

This is an invitation network but it doesn't hurt to reach out to them and express your interest in joining their network. Again don't be shy! Collectively sends out available campaigns and allows you to submit your interest. The employees that work with Collectively are wonderful to work with. The only down side is that you have no communication with the brands. Collectively is the middle man for all campaigns. But I have landed some great beauty/skincare campaigns with them. 

ACTIVATE BY BLOGLOVIN:

Although I have only worked on a handful of campaigns with Activate but I do love the fact that you have an opportunity to pitch yourself to a brand via their network. IF you have a bloglovin account then you should check out activate. 


CHECK OUT OTHER NICHE SIMILAR BLOGGER'S FEEDS

I have recently started doing this in the parenting/maternity niche. There are some brands that I am really interested in trying out or partnering with and I do some research by checking out if other bloggers have worked with them.  I like to check out the brand's hashtags and by doing so you can see if they have collaborated with other bloggers.
Another great tip is to put into your google search "all opinions are my own [then put in the brand].." The search results will show every sponsored/collaborated blog posts posted with that brand. This is one of my favorite ways to check out what type of collaborations have been done with the brand so when I approach them I will have already come up with a different idea then what they have already done with other bloggers. 

PITCH THEM DIRECTLY

This is where you must tell yourself not to be scared. I used to be so scared to approach brands directly because of fear of rejection. But I look back and think how silly because the worst thing that can happen is they ghost you (has happened to me many times) or they say no. The no doesn't mean forever, so don't take it to heart. It can be for many many reasons that are outside of your control such as budget or timing. 

THERE ARE MANY WAYS YOU CAN FIND A BRAND'S CONTACT INFORMATION:

- I have found a lot of success of reaching out to a brand via Instagram. I will find their page and first check their email address. The email address is sometimes a specific direct email but if it says info or customer service I won't use it. When that happens I message them directly with a simple message explaining who I am and that I am looking for someone in their social media / influencer department. 

- Go to their website and see if the brand has a social media or collaboration email address

- Use LinkedIn to search for the brand's social media department. You can look up key words like " social media manager" or "partnership coordinator". By doing this you know the name of the person you are reaching out to and the email can be more personal and direct as oppose to a generic email address. 

I am really excited to keep sharing these type of posts for you guys! If you have any questions please don't hesitate to leave me a comment below. 

Here are more tips articles below:

https://www.thestylebrunch.com/2019/05/how-to-get-noticed-by-brands-as.html

https://www.thestylebrunch.com/2019/01/what-no-one-tells-you-when-starting.html

https://www.thestylebrunch.com/2016/07/blogging-tips-choosing-blog-name.html





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