Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ask LBS: How Do I Start A Blog? 5 Easy Steps

It's the last day of January everyone! Yes, we're officially one month into 2012. Raise your hand if you haven't given up on your New Year's Resolutions yet! Mmhmm...thought so.

So at the beginning of the year, I received quite a few emails from readers who were empowered this new year to start blogs. First of all, I'm so incredibly excited to hear that many of you are embarking on the blog journey in 2012. It's an awesome one. Not easy and not for everyone, but if you do it right, you'll love it. So here are my top 5 tips for starting a blog...

1. Start with a passion.

Finding your niche and sticking to it is one of the absolute best things you can do when starting a blog. I mentioned this one in my Ask LBS: How Do I Get My Blog Noticed post. Considering how congested it is on the internet these days, the only way to attract new followers is to somehow be different. Express your true passions and not only will you love it, but the people who read your site will come to love it as well.

2. Find others + connect.

Me & blogger friends at FNO 2011 (read post here)

The amazing thing about blogging is that you don't have to go it alone. In fact, making friends and connecting with people who have similar interests can help put your blog over the edge. Poll any successful blogger, and you'll undoubtedly find that a large source of their incoming traffic comes from...gasp...other websites! Digital friends are some of the greatest assets you can have. They'll promote your site for you, attend events with you, and even snap pics for you. So don't be shy, get social. Literally. Use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and more to meet new people who share interests similar to yours. You might have a broad interest like fashion, for example. But is there something specific you can drill down to? If you're true love is indie fashion under $50, that's much more specific and there are groups and communities dedicated to finding others just like you.

3. Choose the right host.

So this is the big question plaguing the blogosphere. Which blog host is best? Honestly, there are blogs hosted on Blogger that do equally as well as ones hosted on Wordpress, that do equally as well as ones hosted on Tumblr...and I can go on and on. Use whichever host suits your needs! If your primary concern is monetization of your site, you might consider Wordpress and Blogger hosting better for you. If you just want to express yourself creatively, Tumblr might work best for you. If you're better in front of the camera, consider a YouTube channel. Evaluate the pros & cons of each, then go with the flow!

4. Get the right tools.

Source: MyDamnBlog
If you're a foodie and you're creating a blog about your adventures sipping cappuccinos and trying the latest prime rib in your city, you might want to invest in an amazing camera to document your food journey. If your blog focuses on interviewing really cool people, you might need to have a tape recorder in your arsenal. Think long and hard about the type of content you plan to post, and what tools you'll need to make that content as engaging as possible.

5. Just Do It!

Source: I Have A Degree In This
Don't delay or wait for "just the right timing". Unless your blog is based around a product launch or a huge event, do it now! There are people out there waiting to hear what you have to say. Live, blog and be merry.

So there you have it! My top five recommendations for starting a new blog. Anything to add? Share with the group in the comments section!
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Monday, January 30, 2012

LoveBrownSugar Chic: Spikes & Stripes

I'm at it again with another statement cape. What can I say? The post-Xmas sales had me at hello...

I scored both this Pendleton cape and these Deena & Ozzy spiked booties at Urban Outfitters. I love the subtle pops of color the cape adds to any ensemble. And a statement platform is always a plus in my book. Height, style & comfort = win.

Cape: Pendleton via Urban Outfitters (Buy HERE). Shirt: H&M. Tights: Old Navy. Platforms: Deena & Ozzy via Urban Outfitters (Buy HERE). Bag: H&M. Snake Cuff: H&M. Ring: Street Vendor. 

Photography by Ugonna Igweatu
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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kickin' It: Tiffany & Co Launch Party

Last night I had the pleasure of attending Tiffany & Co's launch party for their new gallery True Love in Pictures launching on WhatMakesLoveTrue.com. Curated by lovers & street style photographers Garance Dore and Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist, the gallery focuses on capturing true love and celebrating it (so cute).

Source: WhatMakesLoveTrue.com
I'm not gonna lie, I was most hyped about seeing Solange DJ (as I always am - check out this post from Fashion's Night Out, love her!) and taking pics at the photo booth. Solange wore an absolutely stunning Christopher Kane neon dress. She looked amazing, per usual.

I went with one of my blogger besties Jessica of Glamazons Blog

We had a blast taking pics at the photobooth, and of course being surrounded by jewelry worth more than our own homes...

I rocked my fave new Zara cape, a turban and my new hair! If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know since I tweeted about this on Sunday. The birthday is coming up so I had to turn up the drama. More updates on the new 'do to come! 

Be sure to check out the WhatMakesLoveTrue website as well as the Tiffany & Co Facebook page for pics from the event and from the new gallery!
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

LoveBrownSugar Chic: Harlem Daze

The other night at a friend's house, I sat and watched Eddie Murphy's 1989 film "Harlem Nights". I found myself paying absolutely no attention to the dialogue and being engrossed in the amazing costume design. Sometimes I think in my former life, I was a speakeasy regular during the late 20's. Diamond headpiece and feather boa included.

Living in such a historic neighborhood for black culture like Harlem, I find myself wandering the streets of Striver's Row to marvel at the century-old brownstones and picturing myself at a cocktail with the likes of Zora Neale Hurston or Langston Hughes.

Leather Dress: H&M. Wool Cape: Zara (On sale $39.99, Zara.com). Bag: Elliot Luca (similar look here for $128). Watch: Michael Kors. Shoes: Steve Madden (buy here - only $41.98). Necklace: Street Vendor (similar Modcloth version, $14.98). Ring: Versace for H&M (similar).

Photography by Ugonna Igweatu
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Friday, January 20, 2012

Flavor of Friday: Rachel Roy Supports OrphanAid + Keys To Success

Happy Friday loves! This week has been filled with ups & downs but this morning I was inspired by one of my favorite designers Rachel Roy. Not only is she a designer, entrepreneur and super-mom, she's also a celebrated philanthropist. Read on for inspiration:

New Year + More Risks = New You

For those of you who need that extra boost of confidence before taking risks this year, I highly suggest you read Rachel's recent post for Stylelist. In it, she talks about some of the challenges she faced when starting her line and how empowering it can be to take a risk, even when you're scared you will fail. As someone who struggles with taking risks and leaving my comfort zone, I found this so inspirational.

Rachel Roy Supports OrphanAID

In honor of Rachel's birthday on Jan. 15th, she kicked off this awesome campaign in which she donates $1 to OrphanAid Africa for every new email subscriber on her Facebook page. OrphanAid Africa is a non profit organization dedicated to helping children to grow up in safe, permanent family settings. On top of that, 15 lucky subscribers will receive one of these luxe "Kindness Is Always Fashionable" Ghana clutches, of which 100% proceeds go back to the charity.

Click here to signup: Rachel Roy Facebook

That's the tea on this fine Friday. What motivated you this week? Soundoff below!
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Tale of Two Must-Haves: Hair & Beauty

So a few of you lovelies have been asking which lip color I rocked in my last outfit post "Cosby Steaze". Then it dawned on me that I haven't done a review of it although I've been rocking it faithfully for about a month now. I've also been getting tons of questions about the hair products I used to do my natural up-do. Alas, a tale of two must-haves...

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

LBS Beauty Review: Essie Aruba Blue

My new favorite blue. It's that happy middle ground between navy and royal blue. Loves it.

Ring: H&M, Nail Color: Aruba Blue by Essie, $8.00 

You guys have any favorite blue polishes? Feel free to share!
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Friday, January 13, 2012

LoveBrownSugar Chic: Cosby Steaze

My favorite vintage sweater this season. When I wear it, I feel like Cliff. With the heels I feel like Claire. No Rudy required.

Sweater: Vintage, Tights: Old Navy, Shoes: Bare Feet Shoes (similar), Bag: Vintage Coach Willis Bag  (buy here), Watch: Michael Kors, Bracelet: Linea Pelle, Ring: RACHEL Rachel Roy

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

LBS Beauty Review: Incoco Nail Appliques

My life changed forever after discovering nail appliqués. If you're like me, and you consider nails an accessory, you can't live your life without them. My first nail appliqué experience took place while I was an editor at Honey Magazine and Incoco was actually the brand I used. Yes, Incoco broke my nail appliqué virginity and ever since, I've been hooked. Although I love many of the other brands out there, including Sally Hansen - blogged about them here - and Sephora, I think Incoco offers an awesome array for prints and colors. Here's are the 5 simple steps I take to put them on:

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Solange Knowles Lands Modeling Contract


Congrats to my girl (bff in my head) Solange Knowles! According to Vogue UK, the natural diva just landed a modeling contract with Next Model Management. How major is that? This means we may see her beautiful face attached to national fashion & beauty campaigns soon. Who knows? She might be strutting the runways at fashion week. She betta WORK!

Here's what she had to say about her new gig:

“Artistic expression is invaluable to me in all walks of my career and I am so excited to continue to develop this path along with such an amazing team at Next Model Management. I feel right at home working with people who have worked beside such creative forces in the world.”

Between the new gig and becoming an Aunt this week, I'd say Solo is on a roll. 

What do you think?
Source: HuffPost BV
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Friday, January 6, 2012

Cover Girls: Keke Palmer for VIBE Vixen

I'm absolutely obsessed with Keke Palmer on the cover of VIBE Vixen. They're handpicking some of my favorite ladies this season, huh? Their first Dec/Jan cover reveal was none other than classy & chic Tracee Ellis Ross (see it here).

Now taking a younger spin on the issue's cover is actress and singer Keke Palmer. She chatted it up with VIBE Vixen about her love life & new projects in 2012:

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LoveBrownSugar Chic: Navajo Fresh

Yes, another post about a poncho. Yes, I'm obsessed with them. No, I'm not ashamed.

Perfect attire for early-evening strolls in Central Park on the weekend...

One size fits all...

Hoodie & fringe included...

Good outfit day guaranteed.

Poncho: H&M, Leggings: Old Navy, Boots: ALDO, Chain: Vintage, Watch: Michael Kors, Studded Bracelet: Linea Pelle, Flower Ring: Versace for H&M

Props to Christina Topacio of ProfreshStyle for snapping these lovely pics of me. Had a ball with her and Gabi of Gabifresh, in Central Park on this Saturday.
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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

LBS Beauty: My Everyday Look

As you guys know, I'm no beauty guru. I'm a novice at best. But over the course of the last few years since my interest in makeup has grown, I've developed a few tips, tricks & product faves of my own. I can now say I have a steady arsenal of drugstore (and a few pro) makeup products I love. Cheap & chic. So, here it is. My simple, everyday makeup look:
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Monday, January 2, 2012

How To Create A Vision Board: Part III

Happy New Year everyone! Can you believe it's 2012 already? I'm so incredibly happy you guys have been my faithful readers for another year and I'm wishing you the utmost success & happiness in 2012. So far Ive instructed you on how to make a vision board (Part I) and I've showed you how it helped me (Part II). To close out my How To Create A Vision Board series, I'm shining the spotlight on you! I had an open call for people to submit pictures and stories of how they did their own vision boards, and how they've achieved success. I received some amazing submissions from three special ladies. Here they are:

Ty of GorgeousInGrey.com writes:

I just read your post and I wanted to share a picture of my mini vision board that I created on my journal. I wanted to be filled with positive vibes so I put different words and things on the inside of my journal.

I even put the logo to our local newspaper, just because it was the letter b and my former last name is Brown. So I started actually reading the paper and thought about contributing.. about 4 months later I emailed the editor with ideas and I'm now a freelance writer for them.

Mia Anita of Bigger Than Hair and The Style Edit writes:

My board focuses A LOT on career paths and professional goals and desires. It has a touch of spiritual and romance but not as much as the financial, career, etc.

Last year when I still lived in L.A., I had a vision board party for my close friends. I didn't tell them what we were doing, I just led them to believe it was a normal girls night event I usually had but just with a bunch of magazines. I then revealed what we were doing and we got to cutting. The process of creating the vision board really put into perspective of a persons goals or lack thereof. It makes you sit back and began a goal oriented thinking process that everyone doesn't do automatically.

Blake of BlakeVonD writes:

I'm submitting a pic of my vision JOURNAL. I wanted to give the traditional vision board a little twist (see her post here). I like this idea because I can carry it around with me AND write down things that are important to me/pertain to those goals. I love the idea of having them in the same place. And I can add to it as the year goes on! :)

And there you have it ladies & gents! If the vision board concept can work for them, it can work for you. Do what suits your lifestyle best. Just remember to stay focused and all your dreams & desires will come true for you - one after another.

P.S. If you're a fellow blogger, check out my post on IFB - 5 Tips For Creating a Blog Vision Board That Works. Similar to my series, but more focused on blog goal-setting!
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