New Year’s Eve in Charleston

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behind the scenes.. haha

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My favorite little detail is this Kate Spade “cheers” necklace I got from Nordstrom years ago. Sold out but I found it for you guys here.

So I couldn’t decide what to do for New Year’s this year. Last year, Cuba was amazing for New Year’s Eve and I always go somewhere exciting but I knew I had to stay domestic since I’m working on a few projects! Charleston is an easy drive {3 hours from Charlotte} and offered slightly warmer weather so I was excited to get away for a spontaneous few days for the holiday!

Before even checking into the room, we wandered in to Republic Garden & Lounge for some champagne lobster fries & a mixed greens salad with avocado. The perfect afternoon treat.

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I absolutely love all the walking you get to do staying downtown in the Historic district and it’s so fun to just get lost and I never met a colorful wall I didn’t like. I can’t get enough of the beautiful architecture. And the southern hospitality of all the friendly people is so welcoming.

Whenever I’m with someone who’s not very familiar with Charleston, I can’t wait to take them to the rooftop of the Market Pavilion Hotel just to see their reaction. It’s a little hidden oasis. And I always get a glass of something bubbly to take in the rooftop view and the duck confit nachos are my favorite thing on the menu.

 

For dinner, The Ordinary came highly recommended and I ordered a sampling of their oysters. It’s the perfect place to go with people when you want to mix it up because even though it’s pretty fancy they encourage all the plates for sharing!

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On New Year’s Eve, we toasted Prosecco in the room (paired with flaming hot Cheetos) and headed to The Darling Oyster Bar for dinner and drinks which was my favorite meal. The cold bar is delicious and has so many options there’s something for everybody {even if you’re not a big seafood lover} I actually had my heart set on having smore’s so I ordered their version after eating off the raw bar.

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I loved the atmosphere at The Darling so much, we stayed to ring in the New Year. It was a fun, intimate setting with everyone hanging out at the bar and we had the perfect view for people watching out the window from our seats and that was the most entertaining part of the night! I was bundled up but there were many brave souls on King Street wearing little outfits. We waited until after midnight to go dancing which was genius in my opinion because you’re not buying a ticket to get in anywhere!

For New Year’s Day, we explored Sullivan’s Island, watched a polar plunge on the beach and I made sure to drink lots of peppermint tea with lemon and even made it to the gym that night.

This year has been full of so much growth and love and change when it comes to business and relationships for me.

I am finally ready to share that I started a web design company and it has finally launched!! This is something I’ve been working on for a while but wanted to wait until the right time to share with my readers. So please check out my website and if anyone would like help with their blog or website please let me know I’d love to help! TheClassifiedDesign.com / hello@theclassifieddesign.com Xo!

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Lately…

Well hello there! I have genuinely missed writing so much I had to get back to the blog to write a few new posts for you guys! So here’s one and there’s more to come soon!

I’ve already seen a few posts on social media lately about “New Year’s Resolutions” and it got me thinking.

Firstly, it’s way too soon to even bring up New Year’s Resolutions and secondly, I’ve never been big on New Year’s Resolutions… I simply try to continuously evolve and improve myself in every way I can think of all the time… which is a process. It’s taken me time to learn you can constructively and kindly critique yourself into being the best possible version you can be.

Whether that’s in regards to relationships ( being a better daughter, sister, friend.. anything!), improvements related to your career, health & wellness, practicing a better outlook, money saving techniques… you name it but these are just a few that I think about pretty frequently.

I have noticed I don’t like to set concrete goals because that means there’s always the chance you won’t reach that goal and it’s almost like you’re saying it may not be attainable if it’s a “goal” instead of just actually doing it. Does that make sense? Whereas if you are constantly improving by a little bit all the time, you are chipping away at something and will eventually be closer to being the best possible version of yourself.

Part of working on myself has been changing my thinking so that I’m using positive self talk to look back at situations and ask myself, “How could I have handled that better?” or if something is bothering me I ask, “why does that even bother me?” and objective thinking is SO hard to do but I try to practice doing it all the time. And the more you practice anything, the more second nature it is to you. Has anyone read The 4 Agreements?  Reading books that challenge me to think differently is something I do on a regular basis now. And 2 of the Agreements I try to implement everyday. 1) Always do your best. 2) Don’t take anything personally. I think these are gold for peace of mind.

I do think the end of the year is a great time for reflection. A huge theme of 2017 was an emphasis on self-care and health and wellness. I graduated last December so from January on I felt like I was still figuring out what I wanted to do. I had all this energy that I needed to harness and nothing to really focus on. I do best when I have a purpose so it’s been about trying to find that… {more on that later!}

Practicing self-discipline has been a new challenge for me this year. I give myself restrictions sometimes just to prove I can do it. Or I’ll tell myself I’m working out everyday and that’s that. And it feels SO good to realize you are capable and makes you feel accomplished and mentally stronger.

I started working out consistently and after a few weeks of dragging myself to the gym now I get so bummed if I miss a day! I got back into weight lifting and resistance training and have had so much fun writing up different workouts I want to try in the gym, putting together at home workouts, and have also become a little obsessed with nutrition along the way. This is a far cry from how I was a couple years ago and I am definitely the healthiest and most fit I’ve ever been. I try to break a sweat everyday and eat greens every single day. I’ve had so many friends and co-workers ask me for my smoothie recipes and work-outs so I was thinking I could do some blog posts on these! If you follow me on Snapchat or Instagram you’ve already seen a lot of this. (I can’t bring myself to put up a workout video I feel like that might look really awkward. lol) But a nice side effect of all these healthy habits is I feel I’m looking better too 🙂

Another theme of this past year was just doing. I didn’t talk about doing things I just did them. In the past, it’s occurred to me that I can think about doing things without taking action and in all the time I spent thinking about whatever it was I could have just done it. I’m still a work in progress but I knock things out so much easier now because I just do things when they occur to me even when I don’t feel like doing it. I try to make the best use of my time always which means I don’t sit still for long these days. I read something a girl wrote where she said if she spent all the time she had spent worrying about guys on something else she probably would have learned Mandarin by now. It made me laugh so hard because we all know time is our most precious resource and we can probably all work on how we are spending our time.

I try to be more intentional with my time. I made a rule “no electronics in the bedroom” so I took the TV out and I do not lay in bed and scroll through my phone. My bedroom is for sleeping now. I actually wait a full hour before checking any emails/social media/messages and all my notifications are always turned off. Read about how I ease into my mornings here.

And don’t worry, lots of travel posts coming your way soon and a BIG announcement. Xo

What are any areas of self improvement you’re working on?

And let me know what do you like better? Videos or Blog posts

Man, I feel like this blog post was longer than I intended and a video almost would make more sense. I know I skipped around a bit thanks for bearing with me 🙂 I’m not even editing this because then I’ll never end up posting it 😛 Let me know your thoughts ❤

You Tube Channel Q & A

Hello! Hi! Hope everyone had a great weekend!

I was trying to think of a way for you guys to get to know me better and I decided to create a YouTube Channel! I was actually pretty nervous filming this first one (go easy on me) which is so silly but I feel like it shows some of my personality and I hope it helps me connect with you guys!

This is something I’d love to start doing on a regular basis so if you have any questions or anything you’d like to see more of, please comment, and of course subscribe if you want to 🙂

Thanks for watching! And I’ve been more active on Instagram lately – we did an Instagram live the other day which was so much fun to talk to people one on one and I’ll do more lives soon! Xo

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How to do a weekend in NYC

 

I’m in a New York state of mind…

While many of my posts are about international travel, I wanted to write about another place closer to home and to my heart.

New York City is one of my favorite places! It never gets old to me. There is so much to do and see and the energy and hustle & bustle always makes me excited! I try to do at least one New York trip a year.

One of my first trips to NYC was in July a few years ago and we did a booze cruise down the Hudson River! The boat had music and cocktails and was a nice blend of both tourists and locals who had just gotten off work ready to enjoy the weekend. We got to see a completely different view of the city from the water and watched the sun set against the skyline. We ended up befriending some locals on the boat and went for dinner and drinks afterwards. If you’re going in the Spring or Fall one of my favorite things to do is pack a picnic or swing by a bodega, bring a blanket and go sit in a park. This is a great tip especially if you’re on a budget and not wanting to eat out for every meal.

To read more check out my full  article with Go Visit NYC I wrote about about my favorite things to do!

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THE YACHT WEEK: SURVIVOR’S GUIDE

If you’re looking for a once in a lifetime kind of experience, look no further. The Yacht Week is becoming wildly popular since the founders William Wenkel and Erik Biörklund first launched in 2008.  Videos from 2008 went viral in 2009 showing amazing parties,  beautiful people, sailing all day, lounging in the sun, & dancing to DJ’s.  I jokingly told my parents I was going to “network” but after going, I can see how people really do build friendships during this week that lead to those connections and lifelong relationships. Joining an armada of about 50 boats for non-stop partying is not for the faint of heart but I’ll do my best to prepare you. Don’t be surprised if it’s the best week of your life.

The Yacht Week Routes you can pick from are: Croatia, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, Spain, or the Caribbean. I went on the Croatia Ultra route so my ticket included access to Ultra music festival and an Ultra Beach party. (Because if you’re going to go, why not go big, right?) While each route is different in it’s own way, Croatia has the reputation of being the biggest party route offered. Their sister company is The Ski Week.

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Buying A Ticket

You can either purchase a 2 person cabin on a sailboat or your own boat and fill it up with your friends. A 50/50 gender ratio is enforced when booking. We opted for a 2 person cabin and TYW did a great job matching us up with our crew. Everyone on our boat was late 20’s to 30’s and all but one of us was from the U.S. We met up before TYW to hang out and again at registration the day before. At times it felt like we could be a cast off the real world we were all so different but got along so well and bonded in no time at all. We paid to have a skipper and a hostess which is definitely worth it in my opinion. It was nice to not have to worry about planning meals when you’re at sea or cooking. TYW culture encourages partying with your hostess & skipper so we invited them out with us and if you go out to eat, plan on covering their share. (also don’t forget to tip them at the end)

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Sip champagne after a night out watching the sun come up

What To Bring

You get a towel but it’s yours for the week so I would either bring a lightweight one or buy one after arriving if you like.

Clothing: You’re pretty much in a bathing suit all day so I wouldn’t recommend packing much daytime clothing. Bring some nice outfits for dinners. Dress to impress. Leave the high heels at home I brought 1 pair of wedges. Girls may want to bring body jewelry, waterproof mascara, flash tats, captain’s hat.

TYW has a few themed parties. One theme was tropical retro, we went to a white party in Hvar, and there was a riviera theme another night. Your week also includes a regatta and each boat picks costumes/ accessories for whatever theme they want to do for their crew. I created a whatsapp group convo weeks before meeting so we could give each other packing advice and get to know one another. It’s so helpful to know if one person is bringing a lot of something so everyone isn’t bringing a lot of the same stuff. There is limited space so you’ll be happier if you pack light and bring a soft case luggage or duffel that’s easy to store.

I brought a deck of waterproof playing cards, some unicorn floaty drink holders for everyone, and a couple games. I also brought some decorations and stuff like umbrellas for drinks (blogger here can’t help myself) You will have some downtime sailing between destinations so I brought some books but mostly used that down time to nap and recover from the previous day. I wanted to bring a float but I was glad I didn’t have to lug it through the airport. My advice is to arrive at the marina early on registration day and buy a float from someone who did the previous week. You may only use it a few times but it’s nice to have and chances are they’d be happy to not lug it home.

Bring: aux cord, multiple port charging station  (really helped because there’s not many outlets on the boat and everyone wants to charge their phone at the same time), adapter, waterproof phone pouch (someone always drops a phone overboard I loved that my friend brought these), battery operated fans (your boat may not have A/C), I would bring a cheap yoga mat or buy one when you arrive if you want to sleep on top of the boat where there’s more of a breeze.  portable speakers (music definitely sets the tone so download some music on your phone before arriving and make a great playlist. Boats do have wi-fi but may not be dependable.) The outlets on the boat cannot handle hair straighteners or blow dryers. Pack medicine, dramamine, electrolytes, whatever you think you may need. Consider packing ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones if you’re a light sleeper. Bulky items like shampoo and sunscreen I would maybe buy at your destination and make them communal so not everyone has to pack it.

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With love from where you’d rather be…

The day before departing you arrive to register at your assigned marina, get your passes, and have a few drinks with your crew. I definitely recommend arriving a day or two prior to do some sightseeing and to let your body adjust to the new time zone.Most nightsEveryone chips in for a “kitty” which includes docking fees, mooring, water taxis, gas. The group also starts a grocery + alcohol fund and a couple people will go shopping with the hostess. The hostess knows to also buy essentials like toilet paper, grocery bags, dish soap, mixers…The fridge on the boat is small so you’ll probably buy perishable food items twice on the trip. Stock up on ice when you can and get more water than you think you’ll need. We did go out to dinner most nights but I can’t emphasize enough how nice it is to have breakfast and most lunches and a couple dinners made for you and to not have to worry about washing the dishes and cleaning up so you can really enjoy yourself. You also put a card on file for a deposit for the boat during check-in.

The trip is what you make it so if you want to skip a party and go hiking or take in some culture plan ahead and let your skipper know what activities you’re interested in. See what excursions are available for your route if you’re feeling adventurous. We talked about skydiving and got distracted by all the fun we were having but made up for it by doing some of our own excursions in Croatia after TYW ended. Most importantly, go into it with a good attitude. Everyone is so excited to be there and have a blast it’s going to be the time of your life!

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I like big books and I cannot lie…

You know how we all have little idiosyncrasies that make us weird special? We sometimes aren’t even aware of something being strange until someone else points it out. (I.e. my mom taught me to make scrambled eggs in the microwave and I thought everyone did it that way for a while). So growing up one of the highlights of the week when I was kid was getting to go to the library. And checking out the max amount of books permitted… or videos! But let’s be real, Blockbuster had the good movies. Anyways, I’m a big fan of the library. Always have been. It’s not something I think about that often as being different until my friend recently pointed it out. I know that you can read from a screen (blogger here… duh) but I love holding a book, flipping the pages, and I think it’s great I don’t have to commit to buying a book (anyone else decluttering?)

My love affair with the library started as a kid tagging along with my dad. He had such an emphasis on learning, encouraged asking questions, and it was kind of a bonding experience.

Fast forward a few years when a new student came to our school. He was cute and from Ireland and so interesting and all the girls wanted him. I decided he would be my boyfriend. (Heaven help him). Cut to us hanging out for the first time in the same library I frequent today. I brought him brownies I had made (he never even saw it coming) and I think we opened some books at some point… we were in the same AP class and I was trying to study but I remember without any words actually being spoken we kind of decided to ditch the third wheel study partner and after that we were inseparable.

So I guess you could say I have some fond memories of the library. After high school, I interned in D.C. for the Lubuto Library Project which builds libraries for kids in Africa and was started by a group of librarians. I have an affinity for learning and am always trying to better myself in some way. I bargain with myself if I’m renting a non-fiction book, I’ve got to read a book about money management too. I rented an absurd amount of books before my last trip… no like actually absurd I think I brought 8 books. (I thought people may want to read on our boat?!) The travel blogger in me knew better than to pack books I’d have to lug around but I was practically salivating at the idea of having time to read them. I wanted to share some of my favorite with you guys. I’m always looking for new books to read. What are your recommendations? I’d love to hear Xo

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero. This is like the self help book for people who hate self help books. She is funny and swears and has been in such low points in her life. She didn’t really start making money until she was 40 and now she pulls in 7 figures and travels the world. Badass indeed. I kind of needed a kick in the butt motivation-wise and didn’t really dig into her books until I got home but they did give me some much needed inspiration and some reminded me of some things I already knew but for some reason it really clicked when she said it (is that what an epiphany is?) (especially about finances) and they made me really excited for the future and all the things I’m going to build. One take away is the month before I go on vacation I work harder than ever and that’s always the month I have the highest income of the year. I need to start treating each month like I’m about to go on vacation and not lose that hustle. And I have some big picture ideas now I can’t wait to apply.

The Nightingale I read this 800 page book on my flight home from Europe in one sitting. Set in Paris and it starts out with, “Oh, there will never be another War like the Great War… Ok but the Germans will never infiltrate France… Ok but they’ll never take Paris. Impossible!” The main character I admired so much for her bravery and wit. I don’t want to give too much away but she does unthinkably heroic things. Talk about inspiration. And also made me never want to complain about anything. ever. again. Such a good book! It’s almost like one of those survival shows you watch that make you feel alive. The guy next to me on the plane kept commenting on my facial reactions but I was immersed in this story.

How to Murder Your Life I thought this book would be kind of inspirational. Well I was in for a surprise! Inspirational if you want to know what not to do. haha. The author is transparent in the best way. I wouldn’t even say she struggles with addiction because she embraces her addiction. Cat Marnell was a beauty editor at one point and has lived such an interesting life it’s worth the read.

What Remains & Fairy Tale Interrupted: What Remains is by Carole Radziwill (Of HONY fame and she’s always been one of my favorites – so down to earth and she brings some intelligence). She was a producer for ABC News and married a prince of Polish ancestry who was cousins with JFK Jr. and she was best friends with Carolyn Bessette. I really enjoyed her writing style and like her even more now. Fairy Tale Interrupted was written by JFK Jr.’s assistant and shares her memories and experiences of him and Carolyn Bessette.

I’m reading The Miracle Morning right now and can already tell it’s one of those books that gives you tips to improve your mindset which I’m very into.

Happy Reading!

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The Yacht Week: Croatia

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*borrowed from a drone pic of our group!

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*borrowed from a drone pic of our group!

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I spent my birthday in Croatia and we did The Yacht Week which was incredible! I have been wanting to go to Croatia for years! I tried to go in 2015 when I was in Greece before heading to Italy and we didn’t have enough time… last year I actually had a flight booked home from Croatia but decided to stay in Italy longer and save it for another time. So that made Croatia extra special for me because I had to wait for it.

The Yacht Week in particular was amazing. We did the Ultra route and it’s already inspired a few posts (how to pack, what to expect.. I feel like next time I will be a pro!) I have been to concerts but it didn’t occur to me until I was there I’ve never been to a music festival before! So lots of firsts this trip and along the way made friends, had great food, and had many experiences I’ll never forget. It really is the experience of a lifetime!

I enjoyed myself so much I hardly stopped to take pictures so many are borrowed {also so did not want to be that girl dropping her camera overboard haha}. I actually wish I documented more because I don’t want to forget anything but some things you can’t capture in a picture. Like the stars were out of this world – I swear you could see the Milky Way at night on the boat away from city lights. I’ve been in rural parts of Italy where I saw tons of stars but not like this.

If you’re thinking about doing The Yacht Week I absolutely recommend it and I can’t wait to write about it more. Every day I would say, “yesterday was my favorite day” and then we would top it the next day. Here’s a few pics I wanted to share with you guys! ahh I wish I was on the front of the boat right now drinking a glass of champagne watching the sun come up.

Xo

 

Soft Hair with Nanoil

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My hair needed some TLC after being in the salty waters of the Mediterranean! I was on the hunt for a remedy… a good deep conditioning treatment wasn’t cutting it and coincidentally, Nanoil was kind enough to send me some of their hair oil.

Typically, I don’t use any products on my hair on a regular basis (besides shampoo + conditioner) but my ends were dry and tangly. After taking an online quiz on their website about my hair’s texture, I was recommended oil for medium porosity hair.

I think 1 pump is plenty… it goes a long way! After trying it a few different ways, I prefer to blow dry my hair first then use a pump just on my ends and they are so much softer, healthier, and manageable! I apply some on my ends after I’ve finished brushing my hair (if you brush your hair, you’ll spread the oil throughout and I like more volume on top)  I noticed it also helps my hair hold a style whether I’m wearing it straight or curled a bit.  This post I wrote years ago about how I do my hair and here’s some of my favorite braids. In this video from Paris I show how I curl my hair with my favorite wand. {less than 5 minutes!}What are your hair tips?

*As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you, Nanoil!

Croatia post is in the works!  My phone was stolen (which honestly wasn’t the worst thing – I’ve been SO productive!)

XO

 

Interview Questions

 

A British publication recently interviewed me and I thought they asked some really good questions! I wanted to share with you guys so you can get to know me better 🙂

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Describe your blog. 

My blog consists of mainly travel posts sprinkled in with beauty, lifestyle, fashion, and wellness. I also share any tips or tricks I learn along the way if I feel it will be relevant and helpful to others.

Can you give us a brief personal background and talk about your hobbies/interests?

I was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina and have an Economics degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. My biggest hobby would absolutely have to be travel! I’m always down for an adventure. I also enjoy being outside whenever I can and a good book. I still tag along and annoy my big brother who I’ve always looked up to and my sweet little sister is the complete opposite of me and she’s so much fun. I don’t like sweet wine or small talk. I love in depth conversations and being places I’ve never been before. I try to leave a little sparkle everywhere I go.

When, where and why did you start blogging?

I was always thinking about blogging. When I launched my blog a friend I’d known for ages actually said, “You mentioned when I met you seven years ago you wanted to blog! I’m so proud you’re actually doing it!” And honestly I wish I started blogging sooner. I think the unknown held me back a bit, not knowing where to start and I was worried people may think I was being narcissistic.

I had the pleasure of living with a girl who became a best friend to me and she really unrelentingly encouraged me to start a blog, then helped me come up with the name and would even help me take all the photos! When I first started we would go on our back porch and I would have her stand on a chair (I’m pretty tall and she is petite) and she would take pictures of me on a cell phone (before I bought my Canon Rebel camera). Without her encouragement, I’d like to think I would have started the blog but I really can’t say for sure. Her confidence in me was so impactful. So the blog essentially started on my back porch with her balancing on a chair.

I created a blog because I wanted to inspire others. I enjoy the beauty and style posts but the travel posts will always be my favorite because I’ve had a few readers actually go visit places after I’ve written about my experiences which is the biggest reward to me.  I love connecting with others and really enjoy photography, writing, even the editing process so blogging has been a dream.

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Has your blog led to any exciting opportunities for you?

One of the coolest experiences was when I was laying on the beach in Praiano on the Amalfi Coast sipping on a spritz and a woman, Maria, came over and told my friend in Italian that she read my blog and follows me on Instagram! She is a luxury beachwear designer and with my friend translating for us, we agreed that I would do a photoshoot featuring her designs. I woke up so early and rode on the back of a moped down the mountain (with my freshly done hair getting smushed by my helmet). We started shooting at 7 in the morning and I loved spending time with the kindest people. I’ve had a few similar occurrences where a restaurant in Italy asked for me to mention them on the blog in lieu of payment, things like that.

One really exciting opportunity was when a hotel in South Africa asked me to come stay and feature them. If I wasn’t in school at the time, I would have jumped at the chance. Now that I’ve recently graduated, I look forward to saying yes to many more opportunities.

What would be your dream post, if you haven’t done it already?

Santorini was my dream post. But I am always dreaming about the next thing and how I can top it. I have tons of photographs saved that have inspired me in some way and there are so many places I can’t wait to go and post about. Croatia is next for me and I’ve wanted to go there for years!

What blogging tips or advice would you give to yourself when you were starting out?

Go for it!!! I was so concerned with negative feedback but I haven’t directly received any negative feedback whatsoever. I know my blog is not for everyone and that’s okay. The more you grow, the less you care what people think and if you’re putting energy into something that makes you happy, makes you feel like you’re thriving and creating something good – then that’s all that matters! I thought for sure I’d receive negative comments along the way or people would make fun of me – after all it’s kind of a vulnerable thing putting yourself out there like that – but I SO wish I could tell myself to start sooner than I did.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to write but doesn’t know where to start?

Write about what you know. It is so easy to write about something you know in & out. I think you can always tell when someone is rattling off a generic post just to fill content or reach a word count and you can also tell when the writer is passionate and excitedly typing away. A lot of really successful bloggers will tell you to always post content no matter what. I am still learning but for me, I don’t feel like I’m being my most genuine self if I’m only filling up space just to put something out there. I choose quality over quantity every time. I’d rather not have a “blah” post. I have countless drafts saved that never quite made the cut. So write about what you know, and what excites you and the readers will come. They may come slowly but it’s about finding the right audience for your writing style.

Another tip would be when you do start to get a following, don’t start to endorse every sponsored post that comes your way. It’s so exciting when companies first start taking an interest in you! But if a lawn mower company came to me and had a great lawn mower and wanted me to promote it I would have to say no. Maybe it’s a great product but does it make sense? Stick to what you know and what makes sense for you and the brand you’re building. You also don’t want to over-saturate your readers with sponsored posts so be very selective when saying yes. It’s good to be picky and you’ll know when it feels right.

What methods do you use to expand your readership?

I have had many, many offers to boost my engagement, likes, followers, you name it – for a price. I would rather have no followers than pay for fake ones. I know the trend is to buy followers but it’s not for me. (no offense intended if anyone does – I have a few friends who have gained followers through these methods and it’s worked for them). I really just try to interact with readers/followers. That’s my #1 tip. They want to know where my shirt is from? I will respond and provide a link. It’s simple things like that I believe make a difference. And I’m so thrilled when they reach out or ask questions and happy to answer them. I also gain readership by reading what others write and “liking” and commenting on it. It’s a great way to make friends in the writer’s community and there’s really no competition because everybody is so different.

Time management is a challenge for many bloggers: how do you keep yourself disciplined and organised?

I am still working on this! I shoot content when I’m feeling inspired and am normally so excited to post afterwards that I will put it up within 24 hours but finding the time to actually take pictures can be tricky. When I get an idea for a post – I’ll make a note in my phone so I don’t forget about it and that is about the extent of my organization! ha

What has been your most popular post to date? Did you expect it to be the most popular?

How I afford to Travel has the most views

And these two are most popular by likes & comments
Positano Lovin on the Amalfi Coast

An American in Paris  

(My post on Brazilian waxes also received a large amount of traffic 🙂 haha Have to mix it up! )

I never expected any posts to be very popular so it’s such a pleasant surprise when I see they are getting a lot of engagement! It’s definitely not something I think about when I’m shooting, writing, or posting. I do think about what is geared towards my audience and what posts they respond well to – but not in a way where I have specific goals with each post’s traffic. If my audience likes travel posts, or how to afford travel, or what to pack, I pay attention, listen and will try to do more posts like that.

How do you get such good quality pictures of yourself? Any tips?

Invest in a good camera. I got my Canon Rebel Ti 5 off Groupon for about $500. To me that was a ton of money at the time and something I really thought about before I purchased it but it has made all the difference.

I get asked a lot who my photographer is and I laugh because I have had such a broad range of friends and strangers with no photography experience who I just direct and they can capture the best pictures! Whether it’s my roommate teetering on a chair as I direct her where the good lighting is or a stranger taking my picture in front of the Eiffel tower who doesn’t even speak English – it can be done! A lot of this is practice – I’ve taken enough pictures to know what angles are most flattering so my goal is to ask someone to maybe take 5 pictures and I’ll shift my pose slightly for each one. If you’re really laughing those are always the best pictures to me and normally I am! When I travel solo I’ll do a little charade motion for taking pictures (If they don’t speak English) and offer to take one of them and then ask if they’ll return the favor. Most couples or families are happy for the chance to get a shot together (not on a selfie stick 😛 ) and they trust you with their camera because I trust them with mine.

As a travel blogger, I am impressed at how you blend practical advice posts with typical ‘I went to this place and here it is’ posts. Do you feel you have a responsibility to give advice as well as just share your experiences?

I definitely don’t want to publish a post where I know someone could go on Google and type in the place and come away with the exact same images and no new information. I want to make it my own – and I want to add something to it that’s helpful and hopefully a little insightful and gives that post value. It goes along with wanting to inspire and help others I can’t imagine writing this blog without adding that in.

Obviously, it’s something to do with your home city, but how did you decide on the name Charlotte Fox?

It started as an inside joke – my friend calling me that one day. And it was kind of cheeky so we decided that should be the name and then I started getting comments and e-mails addressed to “Charlotte” which we would laugh about and I would go along with. But I’ve also always been a pretty private person. Most well-known bloggers have their full name front and center and it appealed to me to have a certain level of anonymity – at least in the beginning – I didn’t want to expose myself on that level and wanted to maintain a certain level of privacy and mystery. I’m not that opposed to it though so maybe in the future that will change…

 

Happy 4th!!!

IMG_0066IMG_0067IMG_0068IMG_0070IMG_0071IMG_0077Happy 4th {a few days early} from me to you!! What is everyone doing to celebrate?! This is one of my favorite holidays and I’m spending it with my family this year in North Carolina. I still remember 2 years ago spending the 4th in Greece and it was so crazy being in another country celebrating but such a cool experience. I have been planning a big trip and I leave in 10 days!!! Any guesses where I’m off to?! 😊❤️💙❤️💙

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