Weekly Roundup

Weekend Reading Vol. 4

June 27, 2015

Isn’t the internet so cool? Here are a few of my favorite links this week…

1  This post on coping with burnout is a must-read for creatives. You are not alone! (Alisa Burke)  |  2  I can’t get enough of this gorgeous illustration style by artist Bridget Davies. (I Love Illustration)

 

3  I thought this hanging mirror DIY was really great- so simple and chic! (Sugar & Cloth)  |  4  Isn’t this green smoky eye stunning? I think it’s a perfect way to look glam and still light and fresh for summer. (Maskcara)

5  In celebration of yesterday’s big news, I thought I’d pull out one of my favorite old SNL skits.

And on a more serious and heart-warming note, this compilation really moved me.

 

A few more for your reading pleasure…

Not new but new to me: great insight at why you suck at to-do lists.

Pink pineapple shoes!

I keep hearing about how amazing this Netflix series is- have you seen it yet?

I also can’t wait to dig into this series on YouTube! (Or E!, you know, for those of you that pay for cable.)

 

I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend! Feel free to share your favorite links with me in the comments!

FWS-signature

Beauty

Five Minute Friday: Taking the Time to Feel Beautiful (plus a New Instagram Beauty Challenge!)

June 26, 2015

One of the goals I made for myself this month involved fixing my hair and doing my makeup everyday. I see how that might sound completely silly, but between a lot of work-at-home days and being a horrible sweaty monster moving into a new apartment, these things had really become last priority. And I was feeling much less than my most beautiful self.

The thing about it is, I truly love beauty: hair, makeup, nails, whatever. It’s just fun, right?! So I set this goal to kind of challenge myself to bring the fun back into it, and it definitely has!

 

Whether it was trying a darker lip color, a fun mani, or an easy braid, I was really only spending a couple of minutes more than in my regular routine but it was a whole lot more inspiring!

I liked it so much, in fact, that I created a beauty-related Instagram challenge for July to keep the fun going!

I’ll be going into more detail on Monday’s post, but here’s a sneak peek for now…

#FWSBEAUTYCHALLENGE-calendar-July

I hope you’ll join in and tag your pictures with #fwsbeautychallenge! There are so many reasons I’d love for you to take part (one of which is a PRIZE!!!). But like I said, more on that Monday. 😉

In the meantime, why not head on over to my Instagram and make sure you’re following? July is already starting to look so much more beautiful!

 

Happy weekend, friends!

FWS-signature

Bloggers

Tips for Effectively Using Social Media to Build your Brand’s Following (with a Free Printable Guide!)

June 23, 2015

Social-Media-Tips-to-Build-your-Brand

I have something to confess: social media is something of a chore to me. I like it all in general terms, but in the blogging world, where a constant and consistent presence on social media is required, I often have a hard time keeping up. I’ll be very into it one day and then the introvert in me (and I’m assuming many of you fellow bloggers/makers) wants to take a day or two off to recharge, free of constant updates and statuses.

But that, my friends, is not the way to internet success. As much as I’d love to tell you numbers don’t matter, it’s simply not true if you are trying to create a sustainable income. Yes, you want to focus on creating content you believe in, but at the end of the day, if your numbers are really low, that valuable content that you spent hours on won’t even reach your niche audience- and those are the people who are dying to read it!

So what’s an introverted blogger do? Well, if you’re anything like me (meaning social media doesn’t really come naturally to you), I think it’s best to start with a plan. I’ve scoured the web and put together some of my favorite tips to help my audience (and yours) continue to grow.

 

Facebook

1. Don’t neglect Facebook. I know that some bloggers forgo Facebook altogether, choosing instead to focus all of their attention on Twitter or Instagram. In my opinion, that’s a mistake. There are 1.44 billion users on Facebook which means it can likely be your highest click-through referral source. it’s also a great avenue for sharing posts, crowd sourcing, and joining niche groups to help bring new readers to your site.

2. Do get a separate page. It’s really important to have a Facebook page for your blog or business that is not your personal account. Doing so helps people remember your brand name and become familiar with your content.

3. Vary your posts. If all you do is share links to your own blog posts (guilty of this one), people will lose interest. Behind-the-scenes snippets, funny anecdotes, and additional pictures or videos will give people reason to continuously look to your page for interesting content. Sharing quality posts from other sites/bloggers doesn’t hurt either.

 

Twitter

1. Get real-real. Twitter is really fast-paced and interactive, making it the perfect place to be a little more opinionated and unfiltered. Keep in mind that you are always promoting your brand, so you don’t want to push the envelope too far For me, this means avoiding anything overly negative and staying generally PG-rated, but to each brand their own. Just know yours and stick with it.

2. Utilize the hashtag. Sometimes using hashtags feels a little slimy to me, but the truth is they’re necessary. They are basically free marketing, allowing people interested in your topic to find your content. Check the trending topics of the day and if one fits your content or your brand, make sure to use it. Hashtag wisely, though. Not all tweets need them and nothing turns me away from content faster than taking advantage of a trending hashtag when it doesn’t even apply to the tweet.

3. Take part in Twitter chats. This is a very new area for me, but live Twitter chats are a great way to meet people in your niche. I recently took part in the #fireworkpeople chat (Tuesdays, 9 pm EST) and it was so energizing and motivational for me. I also really feel like I’ve already met new friends, a claim I’ve heard over and over from bloggers that is proving true.

 

Instagram

1. Curate your account. If you are promoting a blog or business on Instagram, it’s important that all your posts reflect your brand. Choosing a general vibe and sticking with a cohesive color scheme are great ways to make your brand instantly recognizable. It’s easy to go through your account and edit out any images that don’t add to your brand. If you are really having trouble in this area, you might want to consider a personal account that is separate from your brand.

2. Post often. As far likes and comments on images, general interaction on Instagram holds up pretty consistently throughout the day. Videos, however, are generally better received in the evening, when people are home from work, and Saturday and Sunday have the highest traffic and response rate overall. If you are anything like me and constantly forget to take photos, it can be helpful to set alarms at intervals throughout the day to stop and snap some pictures.

3. Hashtag, hashtag, hashtag. Again, I cringe a little every time I add a hashtag to my pictures, but it does help get viewers to your content. According to Who What Wear, the magic number of hashtags is a whopping 11! More or less will garner lower results. My favorite way to use hashtags is to participate in Instagram challenges (this is a great list of hashtags to take part in). I will also be launching my own hashtag challenge in July, #fwsbeautychallenge, with prompts to encourage fun experimentation with your daily beauty routine. Please make sure you are subscribed to future posts if you want to take part! It’s going to be fun! :)

 

Pinterest

1. Get personal. This one’s pretty simple, but adding your name to your blog/business title can help make your brand memorable and relatable to pinners.

2. Get vertical. Large vertical pictures have a much higher pin rate than their smaller counterparts. For visual proof, skim through your feed and see which ones pop out to you and which ones go unnoticed. And while we’re on the topic, picture quality when it comes to Pinterest is crucial. If you are a food/DIY blogger or sell products online, pinning beautiful (and vertical) images can make this outlet your top source of click-throughs and sales.

3. Get rich. Utilizing “rich pins,” which display your website name and icon under the pin, help to direct pinners to the source- you and your brand! They also give a professional look that can help garner more likes, pins, and overall traffic.

 

Well, now that we’ve got the tips for optimizing social media, it’s time to implement them into your daily routine! If you’re like me and love a checklist, these downloadable Social Media daily schedulers will help you step up your social media game and start growing your brand!

Social-Media-Tips-to-Build-your-Brand-Printables

I’ve included a full-color and black and white version. These are based on my current social media goals and can serve as a good guideline, but in case you want to create a more personalized checklist, I’ve also included a blank printable where you can add in your own specific daily goals.

 

Click to Download:

Social Media Checklist (Full Color)

Social Media Checklist (B&W)

Social Media Checklist (Blank)

 

I’ll be using these checklists myself and hope to increase my overall social media presence over the next couple of weeks.

Do you schedule your social media activity?

FWS-signature

Weekly Roundup

Weekend Reading Vol. 3

June 20, 2015

 

I spend a lot of time on the internet, so I figured it’s only polite to share my favorite links with you. Here are my top picks this week…

1  I love the idea behind this Instagram account, Subway Book Review, where strangers on the subway give personal summaries of what they’re reading. (Instagram)  |  2  I’ve been daydreaming about this Cherry Mocha Smoothie ever since I saw the recipe. It sounds ah-maaaazing! (Hummusapien)

 

3  A gorgeous hand-written rainbow thank you card (and you can download it for yourself!) (Enjoy It by Elise Blaha Cripe)  |  4  I’ve been wanting to try rose gold hair for a while now and I think this subtle (and very non-committal) DIY may have just sealed the deal. (The Beauty Department)

 

5  Get out your note taking tools. This is some very essential advice for getting your perfect swimsuit body. (Miss Kris)

Isn’t that a refreshing take on all the crazy body obsession going on this time of year? I love her.

 

And I love these…

This post is a great resource for bloggers.

Such a gorgeous jewelry collaboration.

The taco is here!

I REALLY want this and these.

Loved this BTS peek into Studio DIY.

Are you using all these iPhone tips and tricks?

I want to paint something exactly like this.

Fiiiiiine…. I’ll eat this.

And my favorite look of the week.

 

What links are you loving? Let’s chat in the comments!

FWS-signature

Clothing / ETC

Five Minute Friday: Using a Ribbon to Solve Your Wardrobe Woes

June 19, 2015

 

Do you have a ribbon and a minute to spare? Great, because this simple solution can get your closet whipped into shape with seriously minimal effort!

Five-Minute-Friday-Ribbon-Closet

Have you heard of the ribbon method before? It’s a super simple way to get your closet organized- you basically just tie a ribbon at the far end of your closet rod with all of your clothes to one side. Then, after you’ve worn a piece, hang it back up on the opposite side of the ribbon. After a couple of months of following this system, you’ll really be able to see what items you wear and what items might be ready for donation.

 

The ribbon method can help solve a few major organizational problems:

1. You’ll lighten the load. If you know you need to purge your wardrobe but can’t seem to part with anything, this eliminates the decision process. Simply set a date (like 6 months out, for example) and anything on the unworn side of the ribbon goes.

2. You’ll re-purpose old favorites. You know that designer skirt you found on clearance two years ago that still has the tags on it? Or that favorite old jacket that, even though it’s not really your style anymore, you’re still hanging onto, just in case? Well, there’s nothing like a looming donation deadline to get the creative juices flowing. Now is the time to see if you can restyle those pieces in a new way that you’ll love or if it’s simply time to pass them along.

3. You’ll get organized. If it has been a while since you cleaned out your closet, this is the perfect opportunity to get it back in order. As you are hanging the pieces you’ve worn on the other side of the ribbon, take a second to merchandise it among the others. If you decide on an organizational method in the beginning (tanks with tanks, jackets with jackets, etc.) and then hang your worn items accordingly, by the time your ribbon has moved down the rack, your closet will be an organized masterpiece!

 

What do you think? Would you try the ribbon method?

FWS-signature

Beauty / Nails

#MonthlyMani: Graphic Pineapple Print

June 16, 2015

DIY-Monthly-Mani-Graphic-Pineapple-Graphic-Cover

I’m taking part again this month in the #MonthlyMani linkup hosted by Delightfully, Kristi. The theme chosen was “summer picnic” so I went with my favorite summer food- pineapples!

I’ve always loved painting my nails and making nail art, but I’m still feeling really inadequate when it comes to documenting these DIY manis. It can be really awkward to take a picture of your own hand not to mention nearly impossible to capture the actual process. It’s times like these I realize I need an assistant. And a photographer. And probably a life coach. 😉

Anyway, here’s my take on a fruity summer picnic mani…

DIY-Monthly-Mani-Graphic-Pineapple-Base-Colors

First, I applied my base colors. I’m pretty obsessed with black or white nail polish as a base for nail art. I think they help to make everything look graphic and chic. Either color would work great with this design, but I opted for black, using it on most of my nails. I then added a couple yellow accent nails to serve as my “pineapple” nails.

 

DIY-Monthly-Mani-Graphic-Pineapple-Stripes

I used a paintbrush to add crossing stripes on the accent nails. If you feel really shaky (pun intended) with making freehand stripes, you could use nail stripe tape, but I don’t mind the organic/imperfect quality here. Pineapples have texture, so I think it works. :)

 

DIY-Monthly-Mani-Graphic-Pineapple-Green

Then I added a green tip for the… leaves? Do pineapples have leaves? Anyway, I just swiped the nail polish across the top, but again, you could easily tape off that portion before painting if you prefer.

 

DIY-Monthly-Mani-Graphic-Pineapple-Graphic-Print

What do you think? Am I ready for a summer picnic?

 

Want some more DIY mani ideas? Check out what the other bloggers came up with!

Kristi from Delightfully Kristi

Justine from The Thrifty Girl’s Guide

Kate from Into the Stratosphere

Melissa from The Fashion Huntress

Natalie from Being Mrs. Olson

FWS-signature

Weekly Roundup

Weekend Reading

June 13, 2015

We’ve had a good week around here. Working, unpacking, and generally laying low. Sometimes it’s really nice to have an unscheduled weekend to look forward to, don’t you think?

Here are some of my favorite internet finds this week. Enjoy!

1  I thought these pairings of Resort 2016 pieces and their coordinating flora were so beautiful. (Miss Moss)  |  2  This is a recipe for Peach Sauvignon Blanc Sorbet heaven. (Cup of Jo)

 

3  This DIY sculptural vase checks all the boxes: cheap, easy, and looks like an expensive designer piece. I’m sold! (The Hunted Interior)  |  4  Looooved these pictures of celebrities at prom! Of course Meryl was the queen. (Elle)

 

5  And a little motivation boost from the uber-successful Joy Cho. (Oh Joy!)

 

Want a few more…?

Some real-life shorts talk.

The Ban.Do office is like a super-girly sparkle explosion.

Decorating hacks for renters.

And kitchen storage solutions for the whole house.

Hilary’s pantsuits joined Instagram.

Have you heard of double doodling?

The most gorgeous ring dishes.

And my favorite look of the week.

 

What links did you love this week?

FWS-signature

DIY

Friday Five: A 5-Minute DIY for Color-blocked Keys

June 12, 2015

After moving recently, I noticed our key rings are now stacked with a whole lot of plain metal keys. Not exactly a visual treat. So I decided to use tape and nail polish to give them a quick pop of color and help them stand out from one another.

To give your own keys a 5-minute upgrade all you need is Scotch tape and some nail polish!

First, tape off sections of your keys, leaving an exposed shape to be painted.

Friday-Five-DIY-Painted-Keys-Step-One-Tape

Give the exposed areas a couple of coats of nail polish. I used neon colors but I think black and white would also look really cool!

You can see here that some polishes will need more coats than others. The lime green, for instance, took several while the fuchsia had good coverage with just one coat.

Friday-Five-DIY-Painted-Keys-Step-Two-Paint

Friday-Five-DIY-Painted-Keys-Colors

Remove the tape before the paint is completely dry. This will prevent the tape from peeling part of the design off.

Friday-Five-DIY-Painted-Keys-Step-Three-Peel

Voila! A little pop of DIY color always makes me happy.

Friday-Five-DIY-Painted-Keys-Voila

Happy weekend!

FWS-signature

ETC

That New Blog Smell

June 9, 2015

If the last time you checked out Style On High was in May, you might be wondering what’s going on with all these changes around here! I had a harder time than expected getting my Bloglovin’ followers transferred to the new site, so for many of you this might ring very true as this is probably your first post from the newly updated Free Wills Studio. (If this is you, you might want to check out this post on the reasons behind the change.)

But today we’re strictly talking looks. I wanted this new space to feel cleaner, fresher, and more energized than the old site. This started with a more stripped down theme. I actually won a Blogzilla Studio theme giveaway from Fall For DIY a few months ago. I had been coveting one for the rebrand, so the surprise could not have come at a better time! For anyone in need of a modern web design, I would highly recommend one of the clean and modern designs from Blogzilla (I went with the Velvet theme). I can’t tell you what a nice change it has been to be working with a pre-designed template this time around!

As far as colors, fonts, and other design elements, this mood board shows my direction.

Free-Wills-Studio-Blog-Design-Board

There are still several things I need to do, such as reorganizing all my old categories, adding my about page, and updating the sidebar. I plan to have all these things done by the end of the month, so bear with me. But in the meantime, I’m very happy with the update, especially the new smaller, centered titles and clean social media buttons at the end of each post.

What do you all think of the new design? And more importantly, should I make the fonts bigger? Share your design ideas with me in the comments!

FWS-signature

 

Fashion

In the Mood for… Electric Nomad

June 8, 2015

In-the-Mood-for-Electric-Nomad

runway looks from: dries van noten | gucci | emilio pucci

With a rise in temperatures, acid-bright southwest-inspired pieces feel very current. Here are a few pieces to help you bring the look to your own wardrobe.

(Click to shop.)

What’s your take on this style?

FWS-signature