Thursday, January 3, 2013

behind the blog: sam ipsa loquitur

I'm so excited to have Sam here this week for Behind the Blog. Sam is just about the cutest person on the internet. Not only is she gorgeous, she's a smarty pants (future lawyer!) and hilarious. You're going to love her.

Tell us what motivate you to start blogging. Were you following a lot of personal style/fashion blogs before you started blogging?

Last summer I found a picture of Blair from Atlantic-Pacific on Pinterest and I'm pretty sure my eyes bugged out and did that cartoon heart thing. I'd never even heard of style blogs, and even though I instantly wanted to start my own, I felt stupid - I don't live in San Fran, I don't know any professional photographers, and I wear a wholelotta Target. It wasn't until I came across blogs like J's Everyday FashionBlondie, Esquire, and Hello, Gorgeous! that I realized it doesn't matter what camera you have or where you take your pictures or where you shop - it's your style and what you have to say and the fact that you put yourself out there that matters.

Which blogs do you read every day?

My entire blog roll! I do love the big blogs, but my very favorites tend to be the girls who are just running around after work taking pictures in empty roads ;) A tiny, tiny fraction of the blogs I'm loving right now are biscuits&NAVYDainty & DecadentHere(and)Nowfleuraniworkday.weekendMix&Match FashionFash BoulevardLife, Love, and the Pursuit of ShoesMarionberry StyleCoffee Beans and Bobby PinsAlong the Lines of StyleBecause Shanna Said SoClarabellelynette marie, and of course miss Frannypants (oh, you didn't know? That's her given name) because she's sassy and I dig sassy. 

This feels exactly like telling your third grade crush you've been doodling their last name on your binders. *Gulp*

Who takes your pictures? What cameras/lenses do you use? Have you ever been "caught in the act" of taking these pictures?

I have a Canon Rebel XS that I got on eBay for a serious steal, it was like $250 with the kit lens and a camera bag and an SD card. I use a cheap tripod from Amazon, an even cheaper remote from Amazon, and for a few weeks I was using an external flash I picked up used for $100 before the puppy smashed into my tripod and knocked the whole setup over. Luckily the flash was the only casualty, besides the puppy. 

JUST KIDDING. The flash is fine. (Just kidding, seriously.)

No one catches you in the act of taking your pictures when you're just a nerd taking pictures of yourself in your bedroom, but then again... you're a nerd taking pictures of yourself in your bedroom. Upside/downside.

What programs do you use to edit and upload your pictures? You often times make collages of outfits - what program do you use for that?

I use iPhoto for some basic cropping and then for resizing, watermarking, and collage-ing.

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

My ex-boyfriend was the only person I've told about the blog. My mom and grandma and aunt would worry about stalkers ("You put your face on the internet?! What if they recognize your lamp through a window and figure out where you live?!"), my girlfriends aren't really all that into blogs, and style blogs and Pinterest are foreign concepts to boys. I tried to explain Pinterest to a guy friend once, and we got halfway through my super-professional expert tour and he gave me a confused look and was like "so... how do you win?" I quit. I give up. Go back to Madden.

Many fashion bloggers hop from one trend to the next. How do you try to stay on trend while working within your budget and closet?

I'm never like "oh yeeeaahhh, I'm gonna find me some burgundy (not oxblood)/peplums/wedge sneakers/printed pants today!" I tend to just buy what makes me happy. If something is "trendy" now, I make sure I love it enough to wear it even when it's not. And if I can I like to find little incarnations of particular trends that are still office-appropriate, because I realize that next year I'm going to start have 40-hour workweeks just like all you other big kids.

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?

Every comment I've ever gotten has been so sweet and positive. I got one criticism of my photography (yeah... that was bound to happen!) but she left me a bunch of tips and it was so constructive. Honestly though, I've had people in prison say fairly horrible things to me at work so I'm not sure how rude blog comments would affect me.

BUT there's a special little circle of hell Missouri (Jayhawk joke!) reserved for you anonymous (and not anonymous) internet trolls hiding behind your computer screens with your "I don't like this at all, what were you thinking" and "that shirt makes you look like a beluga whale." I don't know what it is about the Internet that makes people think it's cool to blow off their manners, but if you can't find a single thing you like in a post, don't comment! I've seen this go way beyond clothes- it should go without saying, but you are not entitled to judge other people's personal lives (or how they spell their name - true story) or demand to know everything about them just because they blog. You're not angsty and cool and enlightened, you're rude. And mean. And a liar, and pathetic, and alooooone in life and mean. (Had to.) 

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

I got my girl time back! I lived in my sorority house for two years in undergrad, and then in a house with two roommates who love clothes but have totally different style... and then I came to law school. Alone. Three hours away from my undergrad girls, and eight hours away from my best friends from high school. I've gotten really good at solo shopping, but style is supposed to be analyzed and shared and tweaked and talked about and I missed that so much before I started blogging.

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?

Commenting on other blogs is my #1 favorite thing about this whole thing, so that's a big one. I also do a lot of link-ups, again, because it's one of my favorite ways to find new blogs to follow. The only real social media I keep up with is Twitter (tweet me! let's make sweet 140-character one liners with each other) and although I'm a total Pinaholic, I don't tend to pin my own stuff. At least not yet!

What tips or suggestions do you have for your fellow bloggers?
Am I qualified for this? I think the very best advice I have is that you have to LOVE to blog. Not like it, not love the IDEA of it, not love the POSSIBILITY ($$$) of it, you have to love to blog. And there is nooottthhhiinnngg wrong with posting iPhone/full-length mirror pics. You don't have to be fancy, just be real.

Oh! Turn off your word verification for comments! Having to delete spam every hundred comments is worth saving us all the squinting and hemming and hawing over whether that's an 8 or a 3. Go check your settings right now, we'll wait. (Cue Jeopardy music) 

And while we're talking about comments, remember: every time you leave a "want to follow each other?" comment, a kitten dies. Probably. I have no way of knowing that. But just in case, stop it.

See, I told you you would love her. Go show her some love and then come back next week for Respect the Shoes to be featured!