Sitting in my communications class senior year of college, I could never have imagined that the final project we were about to get assigned would one day turn in to my full time job. Start a blog about all the movies we have watched in class. Boring, yet totally doable. I graduated from Indiana University shortly after that final project was submitted, and went on to become a teacher. However, one September night, I decided to log back in to that blog and play around with it.
I thought, why not document the things that I LOVE writing about. Fashion, lifestyle, beauty advice, fitness, relationships, food, and anything else that felt natural in my life. I started photographing my outfits, and adding links so that everyone could find exactly where to buy each piece. I would even show celebrity’s styles and add a section of "get the look" so people knew where to find it, and for much cheaper.
The first 6-8 months were entirely just for fun. I would come home from teaching and work on it for a few hours every night. I would get my beauty tips from trying every single product and service you could imagine. I spent hours at a time at Sephora and Ulta carefully selecting the best skin care products, make up brushes, blushes, bronzers…okay… you get it! I would be the first in line at Walgreens on a Thursday night at midnight when all of the new magazines would come out. There would be days when I bought almost 10 at a time – Shhh…don't tell anyone. I would find a lot of tips and tricks in there, but would make sure to try everything out for myself before writing about it, since it's always been extremely important to me that everyone saw me as a very credible source of information.
When it comes to the relationship section, a lot of it came from my own life, past experiences, my friends’ experiences, movies I watched, TV shows, my guy friends’ advice, and the input of my girlfriends. I started to have people email me topics they'd want me to write about regarding relationships, mens’ habits, women's behavior, etc., which gave me much of my content. I even had people email me asking for one-on-one personal advice. It was very flattering and also extremely scary (especially for those who know me) that people were taking my relationship advice so seriously. However, at the end of the day…as long as I give great advice, it shouldn't matter if I had a horrible track record of taking it!
After gaining a stronger following on social media and a high traffic flow coming to the blog everyday, I decided it was time for a makeover. I had a great web designer "brand" my site so it best fit my personality and voice, while I still had complete control over the back end. With that came so many "WOW" moments for me. I got accepted to an agency called RewardStyle. They allow brands/publishers like me to work with some of the top advertisers in the world. Having over 200,000 brands, I was ecstatic to be invited to Dallas for the RewardStyle conference for the top 300 publishers. There, I met with some of my favorite advertisers and set up some awesome projects with companies such as Shopbop, Free People, and Nordstrom.
For the past 2 years, I have worked with Free People in covering "Lollapalooza Fashion" in Chicago. Myself and the Free People team go through their festival collection and pick out outfits that would work best for myself, the blog, the festival, and their brand. I have my photographer take pictures of me at the festival in the outfits, and then blast it to all of my readers and social media. It is important for Free People to feel a presence at one of the biggest festivals of the year.
Although working in the fashion industry in Chicago is not always as glamorous as it would be if I were located in LA or New York, I wouldn't trade it for anything! The internet has made it possible for me to work with brands and companies from all the way on the other side of the country. I also get the pleasure of working with small businesses in the city as well as in the suburbs of Chicago. While initially, in the early stages of my blog, I would jump at the opportunity to work with any and every brand, I have since become more selective. I now collaborate and partner with companies that are a natural fit for Celebritized in Chicago. I only showcase things on my website that I personally love, believe in, and would buy or use myself.
You have no idea how much I appreciate each and every person that follows Celebritized in Chicago. I would also love to give back to you guys in any way I can, whenever I can help with anything...please shoot me an email! xx