Thursday, December 27, 2012

behind the blog: chic on the cheap

This week's Behind the Blog features Lyddie from Chic on the Cheap. Lyddie always looks fashionable and put together while not spending a lot of money. She has some great insight about blogging and shopping so I'm really excited to have her here this week!
Tell us what motivate you to start blogging. Were you following a lot of personal style/fashion blogs before you started blogging?
I was not following any blogs when I started! Chic on the Cheap didn't even start out as a personal style blog, it was more about shopping and for a while I was doing weekly "outfit under $100" inspiration collages.
It wasn't until a personal style blogger commented on my blog and I visited hers, saw what she was doing, looked at her blogroll and had the realization that daily outfit photos would be a direction I'd enjoy taking the blog in.

Which blogs do you read every day? 

Well I try to read them all. I always look at the blog of anyone who leaves a comment at mine, and leave a thoughtful comment if I can. Especially if I see its a blogger just starting out, because that is when getting comments is the most meaningful.
Who takes your pictures? What camera and lens do you use? Have you ever been caught in the act of taking these?

Usually I take them myself, with a tripod and remote. Occasional I can coerce a friend or family member into taking them, which is ideal for more public settings.

I've definitely been caught in the act, or rather, I don't try very hard to do it in secret. I've got plenty of stories ranging from funny to frightening, though usually people just ask me one of three things:
Are you a model?
Do you want any help taking those?
I'm not in that, am I?

Presently I'm using a Canon 60D (I love that it has a pivoting screen, it helps so much with the self portraits) and I rarely take off my 50mm 1.4 prime lens. Ideally I'd like to shoot wide open, but it's too hard to get critical focus when relying solely on autofocus, so I usually set it to 2.8.

Do people in real life know about your blog? What were their reactions when they found out about your blog?

Yes, everyone knows about the blog, and I even have all my posts feed into my Facebook account. Sometimes I'll run into a friend who I haven't seen since high school in the grocery store and they will tell me how much they love looking at my outfits.

The premise of your blog is finding create style without spending a lot. Where do you find your greatest deals? What advice do you have for those hoping to find amazing pieces for less?

It's no secret that T.J.Maxx is my favorite place to shop, and I frequently browse the thrift and secondhand stores in my area. Of course you never know what you will find, and you definitely have to dig.

When I'm looking for deals online, amazon is my go-to source for shoes.

Gap/Old Navy almost always have a coupon code for 20 to 30% off and it's easy to get free shipping. Old Navy has a LOT of J.Crew dupes floating among their offerings. Since you can return to a brick and mortar store, it's a safe bet.

JCPenny definitely made some big strides with their recent revamp; on CyberMonday I stocked up on brightly colored pencil skirts, for $10, $14, and $17 with free shipping, how could you go wrong?

Many fashion bloggers hop from one trend to the next. How do you manage to stay on trend without breaking the bank and just blindly following each trend?

I try not to blindly follow each trend, but let me tell you, after seeing everyone wearing it, it's hard not break down and buy into it. Right now it's the animal sweaters. I'm trying to stay strong and remind myself that I'm an adult woman do not need a fox on my chest, no matter how cute it looks layered over a gingham button down and red pencil skirt.

Something I've realized about trends is that many don't ever really go away. Animal print is never going to be out of style. Maybe a leopard fedora won't always be the best choice, but I'm pretty sure I'll be wearing my leopard sheath dress for years to come.

Putting yourself on the internet comes with the expectation that not everyone will always love what you are wearing and writing. Have you encountered any of these criticisms, and if so, how do you handle it?

I've never had anyone be especially cruel, which I am very thankful for. As for the occasional disapproving remark, I can usually just laugh. 

What has been the best thing to come out of blogging? 

The blog has become a big commitment in my life, it's an entity that I have complete control over, and no one to answer to other than myself. It feels great to have that. When I started, the goal was just to have a creative project, a reason to get my camera out.

Now it's become this wonderful social entity - I've made friends, many just on the internet, some in real life.

And then their is the concept of monetization; it would be pretty amazing if the blog could be my day job. But for now, I'm still pretty ecstatic when I get an offer to review a product for a company.

When it comes to promotion of your blog, what methods do you use? Do you spend a lot of time commenting on other blogs, pinning your looks, doing link ups?

Yes. Yes to all. I promote every way I can, while trying my absolute best not to be annoying. You can definitely over promote! But really, the goal is to have great content so that others will want to promote you.

What tips or suggestions do you have for your fellow bloggers? 
Having an expensive camera is not going to make your photos better. Having a couture handbag is not going to make your outfit better.

It's easy to look at some of the heavy-hitter style bloggers and convince yourself that all you need is one particular material possession and your blog will be an overnight success.

I can't tell you the secret to getting your blog to go viral, but I'll remind you to blog because you enjoy doing it and not because all you want is a bigger number of followers.
(but if you do figure out how to get your blog to go viral, let me know.)

Thank you so much Lyddie! Next week Sam from Sam ipsa Loquitur will be featured - you're going to love her!