How Not to be a Successful Blogger

How to Not Be a Successful Blogger | emmaelsewhere

Hey there, hi there! Long time no talk. I’ve spent the past few weeks making BIG changes in my personal life (more updates to come!), so I’ve been a bit absent from the emmaelsewhere universe. Although constantly brainstorming, game-planning and power-organizing, those background efforts aren’t as visible as a post or an email. To put it bluntly, I haven’t been the best blogger as of late.

During one of my late night (8pm) brainstorming sessions (bubble baths), I was thinking of ways in which I needed to improve my blog in order to find a better niche and a wider reach. That thought process led me to an endless list of “to-dos”, and I realized that not all of them are SUPER obvious to the beginner blogger. So, in a twist of irony, I’ve laid out a few of my sort-of serious tips on what not to do if you want to be a successful blogger. AKA: Do as I say, not as I do. 😉

Here’s what not to do:

  1. Publish a post once a month.
  2. Publish a post…whenever.
  3. Promote your latest post once – then never again. You should recycle your promotions every three months to get new eyes on old posts.
  4. Only promote your posts on Twitter.
  5. Make promises that you can’t keep. Don’t tell your readers that you’ll be posting every Monday, Wednesday and Friday if that’s a goal that won’t work for your schedule. It’s better to be honest and consistent than aspirational and defeated.
  6. Look for inspiration from other bloggers. If you’re copying someone else, there’s a good chance that their post already has a higher SEO score than yours will. Re-doing their “trending” idea won’t help your posts be seen.
  7. Use any photo you can find. Original images will always be best, but in the event that you aren’t able to take a relevant photo, find a royalty-free image that fits your aesthetic. Remember: always give credit!
  8. Ignore social media trends. If Instagram’s algorithm has you down, do a bit of research into what types of content are performing well. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, but if it is broke…
  9. Pass up Pinterest. Pinterest is the most important social media platform for blogs right now, as it acts like a search engine to drive readers to your blog. If you create “how-to” content, this is especially important for you.
  10. Forget about SEO. If you’re trying to be a successful blogger, search is your new best friend. Optimize your posts so that they’ll be found when people search for specific keywords.
  11. Be as general as possible. People aren’t going to follow you just for being you (sorry), but they will follow you if you have a distinct point of view on a specific topic.
  12. Write only short posts – or only long posts. This is one I struggle with all the time! As someone who loves to write, I find myself wanting to work on longer, detailed pieces all the time. However, this tactic usually ends up with me putting off that increased effort and writing nothing instead. Sound familiar?
  13. Think of your blog as your one thing. Being a successful blogger means having many avenues of content, whether that be having an email newsletter, an active Instagram or even a podcast. Everyone has a different blogging journey!
  14. Go in without a plan. It’s difficult to create consistent content without an idea of what the next week (or few weeks!) looks like for your blog. If you rely on thinking of one idea at a time, there will come a time when the ideas just aren’t flowing and you just won’t write.
  15. Think of it as all business, all the time. Remember why you got into this hobby in the first place. For me, it’s remembering that my voice matters, and that it deserves to be heard amongst the fray. That brings me back to my laptop every time.

Happy blogging! xo

“You Know You”: A Lesson in Giving Back to Me

Emma Leuman | emmaelsewhere

Hey there! Happy August!

After a month of rest and smelling the sunflowers, there are some things that I want to talk about. Some things that I think could help you out if you’ve been feeling the way that I had been up until about a week or two ago.

As I mentioned in a recent Instagram post, it’s been one hell of a summer. Along with the sunshine (and too much rain) came endlessly planned weekends, multiple trips to the airport and big client projects at work. Among all of this, I took it upon myself to sign up for a summer-long challenge at my yoga studio. You know, to combat any stress that might pop up.

Talk about your all-time backfires (name that movie!).

As someone with mild anxiety (meaning it’s always there, but is not debilitating and often doesn’t affect the way that I live), I have gotten used to feeling waves of uncertainty and unease. I’m usually able to calm myself back down and reassure myself that things are going fine, that I worry too much. However, when I don’t have enough downtime built into my schedule those waves become tsunamis – and I definitely wasn’t giving myself enough time.

BOOM. Did a light bulb just go off for you? I wasn’t giving myself enough time. I had been giving time to all of these external things: plane rides, projects, family time, yoga and scrolling on my phone. And even though none of these things are negative, they were piling up and not leaving enough space for me.

That was my big epiphany this summer. Over the course of the past few days, I’ve been working toward breaking down that mindset into smaller lessons that I could share with you, in the hopes that it won’t take you having a breakdown to realize that you’re stifling yourself.

Lesson #1: Girl, Give Yourself a Break

First thing’s first: we are way too hard on ourselves. So you weren’t as productive as you could have been today? So what? You’ll get back at it tomorrow. So you haven’t written a blog post in a month? (whoops) Who cares? This is your personal project – and you get to decide how it’s done. If you’re feeling like your brain is telling you that it can’t take another day without downtime (or if you get that weird feeling in your chest like I do), then listen to it. We can’t all be at 1000% every single day.

Lesson #2: Sick Days Aren’t Just For Stomachaches

Here’s one of the hardest lessons that I’ve had to learn. As a college student, if you weren’t feeling well or you were having an off-day, you could email your professor or TA and tell them that you wouldn’t be able to make it to lecture that day (or if attendance didn’t count against your grade, you could just skip). As a full-time human, you usually have to take a sick day. If the thought running through your mind right now is, “No way I’d use a sick day if I wasn’t puking”, then I’m with you. That’s the way I looked at sick days for a long time too – until I noticed that that feeling in my chest wasn’t really going away day after day. In fact, the more I put off a day to myself, the worse it got.

The mental barrier that you have to get over is the difference between being physically and mentally sick. In 2017, our society still doesn’t value mental health as much as it values physical health, but if you’ve been dealing with anything similar to what I’ve described above, it’s time for a reality check. If you can’t function mentally, does being physically well make a difference? Take back some time for yourself. I promise that you will not regret it.

Lesson #3: Tidying Up > Loafing

Another thing that I learned through this season was the power of mindless tasks. When I first started to feel the overwhelm, I would let myself spend entire nights doing nothing except binge-watching Game of Thrones. I would go to bed feeling the same way that I had when I woke up that morning – because I was relaxing physically, not mentally. A better tactic that I’ve found to let myself have “productive downtime” is to conquer household chores. Whether that’s doing dishes, dusting, sweeping the floor or making the bed, I’ve found that silent busy work can make me feel more zen than loafing around.

Lesson #4: You Know You Better Than Anyone

Lastly, there’s only one way to get through any anxiety-filled periods of your life – and that’s to trust yourself. If you wake up in the morning, after weeks of rocking out another amazing client project, and your brain tells you that it’s had enough – take some time back for yourself. If your friends want to make all-day plans for the 5th weekend in a row and you’re an introvert who needs alone time to recharge – do what’s best for you. The best thing that you can do is be honest with the people around you about what you need to feel whole, and trust yourself to know what those pieces are.

I hope that these insights into my life over the past few weeks have been helpful in some way – big or small! If you have any questions about other ways that I work with anxiety or mental overwhelm, feel free to shoot me a message. I’m happy to talk. 🙂

Thank you for giving me the grace of a much-needed break from it all. I appreciate all of you and look forward to getting back into writing, innovating and updating this blog.

xx,

Emma

Seeking Summer

Seeking Summer | emmaelsewhere

Happy Summer, friends! I hope that so far you have been able to soak up adequate amounts of sun, drink the freshest lemonade that you can find and read every book that has been sitting in your “to read” pile for the past few months. If not – you and I are on the same page.

To be honest with you, summer has been fairly unproductive on the personal front so far. Professionally, I’ve traveled to a few beauty tradeshows, worked on launching several campaigns for my clients and answered god-knows-how-many emails. Personally, I’ve been feeling a little blah.

I’ve had a ton of great ideas this summer. A ton. And then I find myself distracted by a marathon of Fixer Upper or a bowl of Captain Crunch (seriously). So, in this life update post, I’m going to take a page from my friend Natalie’s blog and lay my summer goals out on the line for you. I’m hoping that this will hold me accountable for them and that you’ll help out with that bit!

Eat more vegetables

Let it be known that at this moment in my life, I am not a healthy eater. If it weren’t for my boyfriend being a great cook (thanks, Will), I would subsist on PopTarts, Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Dr. Pepper. That was only a slightly dramatic statement. My goal for this summer is to eat a vegetable every day. This could be anything from a handful of carrots to having a side of vegetables with a meal. As I’ve never been much of a cook, I’ll have to take this one slow. Which brings me to my next summer goal…

Get cookin’

This summer, I want to learn how to cook. I’ve never been particularly gifted at this skill. Even throughout college, I would default to the easiest things to make – different types of noodles, soups, etc. This summer, I want to make it my mission to become better at this skill so that I can feel a little bit less dependent on people who can cook well (Will, my parents, etc.). It would be nice to be capable of making a surprise dinner once in awhile!

I also think that learning how to cook could help me eat healthier. I’ve been going to yoga classes consistently now for about 6 months, and although I have seen a change in my mental wellbeing, my body hasn’t exactly followed suit. If I can cook myself healthier meals, I can tackle that end of the issue and hopefully see some results.

I have two ideas as to how I can work toward this goal. One is to sign up for Blue Apron, which I’ve heard is a great gateway to learning how to cook, as the ingredients are set for you and you’re given a clear recipe. One of my major barriers to becoming a great cook is the grocery shopping experience, which I despise. Blue Apron would cut out that step and let me focus on actual cooking skills. The other is to designate one day a week for which I am responsible for cooking dinner. I might end up doing a combination of the two!

Keep blogging

Blogging has been such a joy for me over the past few months (even if there weren’t a ton of posts). My only goal related to blogging for the summer is to keep at it as I find my direction and voice. Let me know if you have any specific things that you would like to see me write about! In the meantime, I’ll keep my ear to the ground for fashion and beauty industry happenings and I’ll report back to you on them.

Stay tuned for my autumn update! I’ll be back to fill you in on how these goals went and what I’ll be setting out to do in the fall.

Coffee + Content

Do you have any hobbies?

This question always seems to come up during icebreakers, networking, and even small talk. It shouldn’t be hard to answer… except that it is for me. It’s hard to tell people that your hobby is content.

Books. Magazines. Podcasts. Blogs. Social Media. YouTube. Anything goes.

My entire life I’ve known that I was meant to absorb information. I’ve been reading books since before kindergarten, often finding a quiet corner whenever my parents dragged me somewhere and becoming sucked into my latest novel. I’ve always loved how people can string words together to create a story, an image or even emotion. From this love has sprouted an obsession with the constant content our generation is producing.

It doesn’t hurt that I write my own.

If you’re wondering what content I’ve been consuming lately, today is your lucky day. Below, I’ve broken down my recent favorites in every content category! Happy reading/listening/watching!

Books

I haven’t been obsessed with any of the books that I’ve read recently. However, the book club that I’m in with Emily and Natalie is currently reading The Nightingale, which has been beautiful so far. It’s a story set in France during the German occupation in World War II about two very different sisters trying to survive in their own way. I’m about halfway through, but will let you know how I like it in the end! Big Little Lies (yes, that one!) and The Cuckoo’s Calling are other novels that have stuck out to me over the past 6 months.

Magazines

My magazine subscriptions have changed a bit! Although I still ready my Glamour and Vogue monthly, I’ve added InStyle into the mix. After following Laura Brown on social media for awhile, I was thrilled to hear that she was becoming the new EIC of InStyleIts covers. With Laura came a whole new look for the magazine. are some of my favorite month after month, and the articles inside are actually entertaining and substantial.

Podcasts

Podcasts make up the majority of my content consumption these days. Whether I’m folding laundry, taking a bath or sitting in traffic, there is sure to be a podcast playing from my phone. I am subscribed to a variety of podcasts from multiple genres. In the political sphere, my go-to podcast is Pod Save America. It’s run by a few members of Obama’s communication team and it comes out a few times a week.

From a fashion and beauty perspective, I’ve been loving Fat Mascara from Jessica Matlin and Jennifer Goldstein, and 4 P.M. at Fashionista. I listen to The Strategy Hour Podcast – a business podcast – religiously. I listen to The Lively Show when I need to reset my mindset. Finally, a new weekly listen is At Home With… which is a podcast hosted by Lilly Pebbles and Anna Newton where they interview fashion and beauty icons in their homes! I told you there were a lot of podcasts.

YouTube

YouTube will forever be one of my favorite ways to consume content. I am endlessly inspired by YouTubers who create videos, blog posts and social media posts for a living. Can you say goals? My favorite YouTubers haven’t changed a ton since I last filled you in, but there are a few newcomers. Tati Westbrook and Amelia Liana are still on my must-watch list, but they have now been joined by Amber Scholl, Suzie from Hello0ctoberxo and Kate from Kate la Vie.

What have you been reading/writing/listening to and watching? Let me know in the comments!

How I’m Changing my Beauty Routine

My Beauty Routine is Changing | emmaelsewhere

2017 has already given us so many beauty trends. From unicorn makeup to early 2000s supermodel inspiration, the year has been full of innovation and nostalgia. For my part, I’m editing my beauty routine to keep up with the trends and make them my own.

Lately, I have been moving in a minimal direction with my makeup. Don’t take that to mean minimal products, I’m still a beauty junkie after all, but I want my makeup to look as simple as possible. Gone are the days of dramatic winged liner and cut creases – I’ve gone to the “lived-in” side.

Makeup

Base

Let’s talk makeup. For my base, I’ve been reaching for a BB cream instead of a traditional foundation in order to get decent coverage with a natural finish. Lately, I’ve been using the Rimmel BB Cream Matte (in the lightest shade….it’s not summer quite yet). I love this product for its staying power. I don’t notice it wearing off at work, which makes it a huge asset to my beauty routine. My concealer routine is pretty much the same as it has always been – the Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Peach followed by a healthy swipe of the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Fair.

Here’s where things really get interesting. Instead of powdering my entire face, I take the CoverGirl Outlast All-Day Matte Finishing Powder only underneath my eyes to set my concealer and between my eyebrows to keep shine at bay. Other than that, I let the natural finish of the Rimmel BB Cream shine through on the rest of my face. This keeps my skin from looking so “done”.

As far as bronzer and highlighter go, I’ll add a little bit of both. I am never going for a blinding highlight or a chiseled contour anymore. You can find me using the E.L.F. Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder in St. Lucia to add a little warmth to my face, and MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in Soft and Gentle to give a peachy glow to my cheekbones and the tip of my nose.

Eyes

After powdering, I work on my eyebrows. That step hasn’t changed much (still using the L’Oreal Brow Stylist Definer in Brunette), although I have added a tinted gel to my beauty routine. I’ve found that adding the L’Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper in Medium to Dark  gives my brow hairs some dimension instead of leaving them matte and flat. I use the gel to comb my brow hairs upward. In contrast to last year’s perfectly manicured brows, this year it’s the bushier the better.

The biggest change that has occurred in my beauty routine is on the eyes. As I mentioned above, I have ditched the liquid liner and sharp application for a more “lived-in” look. These days I’ll run a warm-toned eyeshadow from the Anastasia Beverly Hills palette with Mario Dedivanovic through my crease and smudge brown crayon eyeliner (usually the Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer in Cappuccino) along my lashline. After blending away any weird edges, I add L’Oreal Voluminous Original Mascara in Blackest Black and I’m done! I’ve found myself gravitating more toward this model-off-duty vibe than high-maintenance glam.

Hair

My hair routine is also moving in a more undone direction.Throughout the week, I’ve been trying to put down the curling iron and let my hair do its thing.  I still have to blow it dry in the morning for work, but I have been able to master using a round brush to keep any frizz tamed. For context, before this update, I would use a blow dryer, a curling iron and a flat iron on my hair almost every day to make it look the way I wanted it to.  Although I don’t get the look I want every day, my hair is thanking me for giving it a break.

In addition to laying off excessive heat styling, I have been using treatments on my hair. The most important one is Olaplex no. 3 – a hair mask that addresses damage. I’ll run this through my damp hair at the beginning of a bubble bath and rinse it at the end. I have seen a noticeable difference in my hair – especially the very blonde pieces!

While unicorn makeup and holographic highlights continue to dominate my newsfeed, I have turned toward a simpler beauty routine for 2017. Though I still use quite a few products (I like makeup – okay?!), I’ve found that this more smudgy, lived-in look has felt more like me than any other routine I have tried. In fact, because this daily look has a mostly natural finish, I have even gotten better at embracing the days when I don’t wear makeup. What’s better than that?