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An Inside Look at Blogging with Jessica Camerata of My Style Vita, 11:30am, Floor 13, NW Quadrant, Veteran Atlanta-based blogger Jessica Camerata of My Style Vita gives an inside look into blogging and how it can benefit your business.
“MSV got started when I wanted to pursue a new career in writing and fashion. My previous job in a very conservative corporate America atmosphere had me itching for something that I was passionate about…”
I was sold. I’d considered starting my own blog for a long time and for the same reasons as Jessica. I attended her seminar, exchanged contact info, and met her for coffee a few months later.
“You have to sit down and just do it,” she said.
Jessica’s words were just the push I needed. I’m a creative soul, but I’m also a compulsive planner and perfectionist, the latter being why I’d put off starting a blog for so long. What I’d mulled over for years went into a short month of preparation. Using a branding questionnaire from Angie, a friend/graphic designer, and a focus group of my nearest and dearest, I decided on the name ARTicles of Clothing Blog and compiled a loose vision for from pages of notebooks, scribbles in margins, feedback from the focus group, and my own mind.
Without “sitting down and just doing it,” I may have never started a blog. However, after blogging for over a year, AOC Blog never evolved into what I hoped it would be. It became an eclectic mix of those initial intentions and whatever struck my fancy with a heavy influence from the blogging community and what my blog stats told me worked best. AOC Blog had become a mere fraction of me, half me and half something else. If I wanted to keep my passion for blogging, I had to get AOC Blog back on track, my track.
I needed to take a step back, quiet the extraneous outside influences, be true to myself, and cultivate my own method. For guidance, I looked to a book that had been on my shelf for years: Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit, A Practical Guide. First and foremost, this book helped me acknowledge and accept my identity: a creative. Under that creative umbrella, every aspect of my life falls into its own creative space: my compulsion to write, my fascination with fashion, my passion for dance, my love of cooking, my collection of journals, books, and magazines, and my blog. Next, I had to learn that being a creative is a way of life. It’s not just writing, fashion, dance, cooking, journaling, blogging, it’s everything from what you do while you drink your morning coffee to what you do before hitting the pillow at night. By approaching everything – no matter how mundane or exciting – with a creative mindset, I slowly began to tap back into my creative voice and my creative process. I began to establish my own creative habit.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe you also started a blog for a similar reason – an interest in writing or fashion, to do something passionately, for a creative outlet, to express yourself. Maybe the typical editorial calendars, blog stats, outfit-of-the-day-posts, and affiliate links just aren’t working for you. Over the past month, I’ve developed a new approach to blogging, and in the coming months, I’ll share the steps I took to create my method. While, I urge you to carve your own way and form your own creative habit, maybe you can learn something from my process.
Reflecting on the past can be an important part of moving forward. I often choose to end each year looking back at what has transpired and what I’ve accomplished. When a portion of your life is documented online – through social media or a blog – it’s easy to travel back in time through the past 365 days. Sometimes this is a blessing and a curse. There’s a point at which spending too much time on the past can hinder our journey into the future. There’s such a fine line between constructive and detrimental reflection on the past.
For me, the past year – my first year of freelancing and blogging full-time – has been a lot of learning what not to do. I’ve made a number of poor decisions as I’ve taken total and complete control of carving and shaping my career. While I know it’s all part of the learning process, it’s easy to fall into the trap of looking back with a negative mindset – the could-have, would-have, should-have mindset. Of course there are many, many things I could have, would have, should have done differently. The key to reflecting on these moments in a productive way is to acknowledge and examine what can be learned from them as I head into a new year and fresh start.
Whether it be self-imposed or a force from the universe, there’s a lot of pressure on year two of freelancing and blogging from New York City. So, I’m spending the last day of 2014 focusing on my energy – mental, physical, emotional energy – and reflecting on 2014. As cheesy as it sounds, I have this intuition that this is my year. It’s scary to proclaim in writing on such a public forum, but perhaps this is my first step in telling the universe I’m ready!
W I N T E R
S P R I N G
S U M M E R
7. Blogger Bazaar Milwaukee
8. Midwest Style Blogger Happy Hour
10. My Best Friend’s Wedding
13. Just Knotted ARTicles of Clothing Blog Bands
F A L L
24. Birthday in NYC with blogger GaBrielle Pedriani of Look Sharp, Sconnie
“She’s late. She gets home and sees her guests have already arrived. A moment of panic arises until she slips on her little black dress, dabs on some scent, pats her chignon into place, and clips a string of pearls around her neck. She’s perfect.” – Didier Ludot, The Little Black Dress – Vintage Treasure
Like Christian Dior, you too may consider the little black dress “the most essential thing in any woman’s wardrobe,” but when you slip on your go-to LBD, did you know you’re wearing a piece of history?
I didn’t realize the extent to which the little black dress had made its mark until reading Ludot’s The Little Black Dress – Vintage Treasure. This book is about one quarter text and three quarters pictures, both of which shed light on the journey of this simple yet profound article of clothing. Although Miranda Priestly’s monologue on cerulean in The Devil Wears Prada is a bit smug and over the top, she has a point in that there is a deep history behind every garment. I learned quite a few things from The Little Black Dress – Vintage Treasure, and I’m here to share the highlights with you:
BEWARE THE LITTLE BLACK DRESS
1. The little black dress should not be mistaken as just another wardrobe staple.
“By some mysterious alchemy, the little black dress embodies the woman who wears it like a second skin.”
2. The little black dress is powerful in ways we can’t quite understand.
“They say black absorbs the contours, but it’s a magnet for the eyes.”
3. The little black dress is unsuspecting.
“As we see it through the kaleidoscope of memories, the dress becomes the very essence of the woman.”
EVOLUTION OF THE LITTLE BLACK DRESS
Chanel brings the color black out of mourning and introduces the “Ford” dress, which quickly becomes the uniform of the modern woman.
Hemlines may change, but the little black dress is here to stay.
The little black dress joins the resistance. Despite the scarcity of fabrics, the LBD endures as a symbol of patriotic chic.
War is over and the little black dress is just getting started. Haute couture is reborn and the LBD becomes the uniform of the existentialist movement.
Christian Dior presents his first post-war collection, complete with the little black number, the “Diorama” dress.
Two words: Audrey Hepburn.
The little black dress goes back into mourning with the death of Christian Dior.
Film is dominated by the little black dress. “It was in the torment of those years that [the LBD] revealed its true nature: it was indestructible.”
The little black dress becomes the emblem of the young jet set – think Studio 54.
Peace, love, and the little black dress. Despite the Flower Power fashion movement, the LBD holds its ground.
Black returns with a vengeance and for a long time to come with the help of Karl Lagerfeld.
Miuccia Prada hits the scene. “The dress returned to its place of honor in every fashionable wardrobe. Mothers’ and daughters’ tastes in fashion could strengthen, broaden, and converge around the little black dress.”
“The little black dress obeys no standards, resists every fad, is fashion incarnate.”
“Every single one of our stories better be worthy of a dinner party conversation. If it’s not, then we didn’t do our job correctly. I think that’s what sets us apart and what has made Eide successful in such a short amount of time. “
World Culture and Southern Style
As part of my exploration of Eide’s summer issue, I had the opportunity to sit down with the magazine’s founder, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief Tova Gelfond for an exclusive look into the creative process that goes into each issue. Tova’s candor and enthusiasm about Eide allowed our meeting to evolve from an interview to an easy dialog among two writers who share a mutual appreciation for world culture and southern style.
Each Story Has to be Timeless
First, I wanted to learn how a typical issue of Eide is composed, specifically how the concepts of the issues, like adventure, are crafted. Tova explained that one of Eide’s goals is to “keep the readers learning and guessing.” After exploring the Adventure Issue, I believe this is one of Eide’s key strengths – the ability to dispel preconceived notions about a topic and shift the perception of a particular subject matter. Unlike the average periodical, at Eide, “each story [also] has to be timeless.” “You could pick up [an issue] in a year and the stories would still be relevant.” This element of timelessness is how Eide creates a publication that makes a lasting impression on its readers.
What Makes a News Source Valuable?
In a digital world where people are constantly craving instantaneous, up to date information, I wondered how a young periodical finds success. How are Eide’s readers unique if they’re coming to a periodical with an element of timelessness? To answer this question, Tova posed another: “what makes a news source valuable?” Decades ago, a source’s reputation was based on “who broke the story first.” Now, a source’s significance is based on whether you value and trust that source. Tova went on to say that she believes this shift not only accounts for Eide’s rapport with its readers but also accounts for the growth of the blogging community. As a blogger, this affirmed that it’s not only the content but also my unique writing style, tone, and voice that help to build connections with my readers.
The Voice of Fashion in the South
Part of Eide’s mission is to craft an “enlightened narrative” with each issue. An essential part of a narrative is, of course, the narrator. Tova acknowledged that Eide’s voice has been cultivated over time with the contribution of different perspectives from different writers. However, she believes that one of the biggest successes of the publication is that it’s the only magazine showcasing Southern fashion from a Southern perspective. Eide is emerging as the voice of fashion in the South. Tova’s words hit home. I was born and raised in Atlanta, and my first fashion influences originated in the South. Now that I’ve moved to a different region, I’ve realized how much my style reflects Southern culture and noticed how others infuse Southern fashion into their own style. Tova noted that in recent years “the stylish aesthetic of the South [has been] reigning in a lot of ways.” This is part of makes Eide, a national publication with Southern roots, so exciting.
If Part II of my exploration of Eide’s summer issue has left you craving more, you can read the digital editions of past and present issues online or purchase the print editions at Barnes & Noble locations nationwide and at select Whole Foods stores and specialty boutiques in the Southeast.
AN INTRODUCTION TO EIDE MAGAZINE and THE ADVENTURE ISSUE
As someone who prefers short stories to novels, Eide is the ideal publication. Each “article” or story is like a tapas plate: easy to digest yet leaves you hungry for more. When you think of adventure, what comes to mind? A cross country road trip? Backpacking through Europe? The idea of adventure initially sparks the notion of a grandiose journey, but Eide’s Summer 2014 issue, The Adventure Issue, reminds us that “thrill-seeking isn’t relegated to the lily pads of Taiwan, architecture of Prague or tranquil beaches of Mexico, it’s found right outside your carport or bus stop.“
Each issue of Eide starts with a concept, like adventure, and “stretches that concept as far as it can,” according to founder, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief Tova Gelfond. In this issue, Eide challenges us to shift our perception of what constitutes an adventure. While a “self-imposed scavenger hunt” in Panama and a photographic journey through the mountains of Peru are part of Eide’s Adventure Issue, these more traditional adventures are nestled between a guide to foraging and an expose on glamping. In Eide you’ll find something for everyone – the food connoisseur, the fashion lover, the thrill-seeker – so if you’re not keen on adventure in the conventional sense, skip the story on skydiving and turn the page to the feature on athletic fashion and the Atlanta Ballet’s Thom Panto and Ben Stone. “Some people are just hardwired to crave the feeling that danger provides” and others aren’t, according to the magazine’s piece on calculated risk. However, after exploring The Adventure Issue, you may realize you’re more daring that you thought.
In nearly all aspects of my personality, I consider myself dichotomous. I can be introverted or extroverted depending on the situation I’m in, the people I’m with, or my general mood at the moment. But when it comes to adventure in the traditional sense, my response aligns with the introverts: “University of Amsterdam researchers determined that extroverted people have an enhanced sensitivity to rewards based on how their brains react to dopamine. When compared to introverted personality types, extroverts had intensified responses when their risks resulted in rewards…” Before reading The Adventure Issue, I considered myself a somewhat unadventurous person – I don’t like heights, I’ve barely traveled abroad, I rarely throw caution to the wind and do something spontaneous – and I’ve always found myself envying those who are conventionally audacious. I may never be the overtly thrill-seeking type, but this issue of Eide taught me there’s an adventurer in all of us, even me.
I can honestly say that each and every story in the Summer 2014 issue resonated with me in some way, but there are two in particular that really spoke to my brand of adventure. The first of which is a story I feel many women can connect to, particularly twenty-something women like myself who “tread the line between adolescent and adult.” In the story Seeing Red, Senior Editor Jaime Lin Weinstein takes us on her adventure of “rebelling against growing up.. [and] dying [her] hair red. Not auburn red. Or strawberry-blonde red. But red, red. Shock value red.” Jaime and all women know “the inexplicable importance these strands hold within the female psyche.” I’ve never changed my hair dramatically with color, but at a monumental turning point in my youth, I chopped off a good eight or so inches of my long locks and traded them in for a short bob. I’d never thought of this particular experience as an adventure, but when I take myself back to that moment in the salon – “blood pressure [increasing], heart pounding” – I realize my haircut was an adventure after all.
The second story that spoke to my newly discovered adventuresome side is Beautiful Bacteria, also by Jaime Lin Weinstein. This piece appeals to my dichotomous nature. I’m both a scientist and artist at heart, and the prospect of “clothing crafted from microbes” makes my heart flutter with excitement – and there it is again – that sensation – an adventure is about to ensue. “A new breed of textiles” made from bacteria is not only an incredibly exciting advancement for the fashion industry but also an encouraging step toward diminishing “our wasteful wearing ways” and making fashion more sustainable. “In the future, we might compost our wardrobes and grow something new, or, at the very least, return them to the store for recycling,” according to fashion visionary Suzanne Lee, founder of BioCouture and former research fellow at the School of Fashion & Textiles at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. Although “it’s not quite ‘ready to wear’… bio-manufactured materials could be making their debut in clothing stores in the next two or three years.” This sounds like the cusp of an adventure that has barely begun, and I cannot wait to continue to tag along for the ride.
Whether you’re the type who salivates at the thought of introducing a new flavor to your palate or the type who burns with desire to be the founding member of a roller derby league in your hometown, Eide’s Summer 2014 Issue connects you to all breeds of adventurers. The take away from the issue – at least my take away – is that adventure is all around us and life itself is one great adventure.
If this exploration of Eide’s Summer 2014 issue has left you craving more, you can read the digital edition online or purchase the print edition at Barnes & Noble locations nationwide and select Whole Foods stores and specialty boutiques in the Southeast. Then, stay tuned for Exploring The Adventure Issue – Part II in which I sit down with founder, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief Tova Gelfond for an exclusive interview about the creative process that goes into each issue of Eide and how Eide is emerging as the voice of fashion in the South.