wow… what a year it’s been!!! i began this little blog with my first official entry on january 4th, 2017. it was a review of cartel coffee lab in scottsdale, arizona and if i based my entire blogging experience off of that entry, boyyy would this be a different beast today! i’ve had an amazing year with highs and lows – and throughout the journey of starting a blog – i’ve learned a lot about what i want it to become, influencer marketing in general, and how i want this passion project to morph with time. read on for an unapologetically long recap of the best (and worst) moments of my 2017 and an outlining of my goals for the new year ahead!
january, 2017: operation ‘learn how to blog’ commences. i had been using my iphone for several months before i realized i wanted to make this a legitimate effort, so after receiving my SonyA6000 for christmas and taking a trip to arizona, i began writing as a “lifestyle blog”. that quickly changed to a “life + style” blog when my fashion posts began getting the most traffic. january was a giant recap of my trip – cacti, native american reservations, the grand canyon… i wrote about cafes, my favorite supplements, and launched my first unofficial collaboration with stella & dot.
february, 2017: my stella & dot collaboration went live! though i didn’t receive product to keep, this project was a great way to get my toes wet with a brand that i loved and respected. they allowed me to showcase some of their spring preview pieces the way i would market them, as an influencer. my photos wound up on the stella & dot website, which was a huge step in the right direction and one of the biggest reasons the blog began to focus more and more on ‘style’. the day after valentine’s day, i took off for miami on my annual ‘mother/daughter’ vacation. while staying at the delano hotel, i created some warm-weather content and wound up with reposts from mystique boutique, necessary clothing, and the delano themselves. i collaborated with byblos, a mediterranean restaurant, receiving food and beverage in exchange for my photos and a review of the experience. (mom was super impressed, and we both loved the food.)
march, 2017: by march, i was in full-blown style mode. gone were the days of sifting for recipes and crafts – that wasn’t my niche and i knew it damn well…. but the beauty of blogging is that there are no rules – this is my site and my vision – so the next time a d.i.y. comes along that’s worth posting about, i can – and i will! on that note – i collaborated with ten clothing, a budding accessories label based out of washington, dc. i attended nyc’s “dessert fest” in williamsburg, and worked on strategizing how to keep my feed bright and bold at all times. after traveling to warm weather in february, march was a challenge at steering the aesthetic back to “winter in new york”. a challenge i still find, even to this day.
april, 2017: what a month! april brought my first repost from target. yes, target! i knew i was on to something and i had to start taking this seriously, so i began tracking my followers, growth and collaborations in a spreadsheet. (at this point i had grown organically from about 200 to 1,500 over the course of three months.) i also joined style collective, which was a useful resource for me as a new blogger. i’ll never forget grabbing coffee with @simplygailg, who i’d messaged on a whim, probing her for tips and tricks at building a successful brand as a blogger. to this day, we remain friends! shortly after these developments, i was accepted into the selective RewardStyle / LikeToKnow.it platform where my followers are able to shop what i’m wearing in my posts directly. adding shoppable content to the blog was huge. as though i hadn’t had enough of miami, in april i went back with my best girlfriends – also a trip that we take yearly – so i was back on the beach. this time around, i was reposted by betches – one of my favorite accounts – as well as the clay hotel, and alexis mera athleisure. i was right on track.
may, 2017: this month was absolutely insane for me – in both my personal life and my life as a blogger. i lost one of my best friends over a dispute that totally could have been avoided. it ate away at me for months, it bothered me that she’d rather hold a grudge than sit down to talk it through, and it consumed my thoughts until recently… when i realized i was better off without avoidable drama or toxicity. i’m still sorry it went down the way it did, and i’m sure the universe has some crazy reason as to why, but when i look back at the beginning of may – the first thing that comes to mind is this issue, a defining moment for me in 2017 and one that i learned a lot from. something like this, at almost 30 years old, inevitably shapes you and teaches you about how different we all are – how we handle things – and what paths we choose for our own lives. i miss my friend – but i’m a better person because of this. on the upside, in may i also hosted my first (ever) event at the vera bradley flagship store. i managed to get free sponsored goodies, food, decor and beauty services – and i treated this as a ‘meet & greet’ for fellow style collective sisters that i hadn’t met in person. i wound up making so many connections this day, and the store had a wonderful sales response. i collaborated with jord, a luxury wood watch company. on may 20th, i celebrated my first full year of marriage to stephen. he opts not to appear on the blog too frequently, but my husband is my best friend and the number one constant in my life. i am so lucky to have him, and may 20th was a happy day where we got couples massages, a steak dinner, saw miss saigon on broadway, and rounded off the evening with a taste of our (defrosted) wedding cake in the same hotel where we spent our first night as husband and wife. may 2017…. you really turned yourself around.
june, 2017: the first day of the month brought on my big milestone 30th birthday! i celebrated with two (sort-of) surprise parties: one with family in new jersey, and one with friends here in nyc. we brunched at the haven rooftop, and i had an amazing confetti cake!!! i am so lucky and grateful to everyone who showed up for me on this birthday. it meant a lot! this month i collaborated with oliver bilou (a handbag company), ellie activewear, plaka sandals, and mb45 hair studio. right around this point is where i began weaving in ‘experiences’ along with the clothes that i wear. i strongly believe it’s important to be relatable when you blog, in order for your audience to strive to live a life that’s inspired by you. some fashion bloggers post content that’s tough to replicate as a “real” person – and that’s super cool – but by june of this year, i can confidently say that i knew (for SURE) that i wanted to focus on attainable, affordable, everyday fashion – and the experiences that go along with the outfits. this became the indigo heights tagline, and to this day, i’ve received wonderful feedback on how easy and down to earth my content appears. i may not be dangling from a ledge in front of the eiffel tower in most of my posts, but you bet your bottom dollar the boots on my feet are still making an impact – and sales – which is the key to effectively showcasing what you wear and why you wear it. for me, blogging became about featuring what i (really, actually) wear every single day… even if it’s sweats or leggings! … END TANGENT
july, 2017: the hubby and i spent fourth of july weekend in washington, d.c. with one of my best friends ryan, and his boyfriend nick. it was my first time ever being there, and i was excited to be collaborating with the embassy row hotel – along with several local restaurants. this weekend getaway was chock full of perks. at this point, i had reached about 2,100 followers and i really started actively pitching myself as a (super micro) micro-influencer…. and businesses were responding! i met up with two lovely local style collective sisters while in d.c. i also collaborated with my first photographer in july of this year, something that i was weary about at first. for those of you who don’t already know, 95% of the work you see on my blog is done solely by me. everything – from concept, to edit, to copy, to maintenance – is a one woman operation. so handing the control over to someone else was scary at first – but i realized how much more mobility i had when i wasn’t worrying about a tripod and a remote control, so now i’m way less hesitant to call a photographer when i have something complicated in mind. this month i also collaborated with zotos professional haircare, zaful clothing, rosegal boutique, maison pickle restaurant, and francesca’s boutique.
august, 2017: on august 1st, i won the betches ‘summer of betches‘ instagram contest – which resulted in an all expense paid trip to mexico!!! it was the first time i had ever won a trip, and stephen and i will be taking it over valentines day weekend in 2018. the fact that it resulted from an instagram photo was a super fun way to jumpstart a month of travel. the front half of this month was spent prepping for italy, and the back half was spent enjoying every last drop of my two week vacation. stephen and i traveled to the amalfi coast where we stayed in positano – and then we met up with the rest of my family at our summer home in calabria. it was the most relaxing, fun and content-filled two weeks of the year! this is something i look forward to yearly, and i was so excited to get to blog about it for the first time. i collaborated with tobi and ideal of sweden, rode on a yacht, and carb-o-loaded like crazy.
september, 2017: it wasn’t long after i returned from italy that i was thrown head first into my first ever New York Fashion Week. i attended approximately two-dozen shows and events, one of which was the alice & olivia presentation. this is of the toughest shows to gain access to. i was beyond excited, and proud that my aesthetic and hard work was catching the eye of all the right brands. i met many more industry contacts and peers at fashion week, and i was really able to get a feel for the “kind” of style blogger that i am. to piggyback off of my tangent in the june paragraph written above, there are many different types of social influencers – some that feel more relatable than others. certain bloggers you follow because its “wishful thinking” – you admire their aesthetic, but you know it’s not something you’d ever actually wind up doing. i felt surrounded by these types of girls (and guys) at fashion week. i didn’t feel intimidated by it, and i busted out some out-of-the-box looks myself, but my first NYFW was another signed & sealed confirmation that, instead of trying to be something i’m not, i needed to stay the course on being ME. my fashion isn’t overly risky. it’s not overly dramatic. but it’s real, and anyone with my lifestyle can attain it. i’m looking forward to the next NYFW, which will be happening in february of 2018. it’ll be a much different experience in the dead of winter!
october, 2017: i love any opportunity to travel, and october was a successful month of being on the road. i flew to chicago on a whim while my husband was there for business. we were in town for a whopping two and a half days, but i crammed in as much content creation as i possibly could – which opened my feed up to a new audience in a new part of the country. i collaborated with the gwen hotel, my second ever hotel collab! when i returned, i was in ‘fall mode’ so at the back half of the month i spent another long weekend away in upstate, new york at hunter mountain taking in the fall foliage and going on hikes. i had second collaborations with both zaful and rosegal, went pumpkin picking with one of my best friends jenna, and launched my first bit of video content! i had been experimenting with 60-second beauty vids, which boast a bit more of my quirky personality (and certified makeup artist skills). it’s had an overwhelmingly great response, so i slip one in every now and then to spice things up. last but not least, i began freelancing remotely for @thesocialstatusco! i run their instagram account and use my knowledge of social media and branding to help strategize new business ventures for this awesome boutique agency.
november, 2017: speaking of video content – i started the month off with a smile brilliant teeth whitening campaign. at this point, i was hovering right around 4,000 followers. my goal was to hit 5k within one year. this month i also collaborated with saint rose hair salon, earthies shoes, did another campaign with jord watches, worked with red couch clothing, and – drumroll please – got reposted by one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE BRANDS: aerie!!!!!!!!! … to go into a bit of detail here, i had conceptualized a holiday-themed body confidence photoshoot featuring aerie’s entire winter collection. i reached out to my pals at tribeca rooftop (where i got married) and they were kind enough to lend me their loft space for a morning of shooting. then, i recruited another blogger friend of mine (and body confident babe @ashleerosehartley) to be a part of the shoot – because two #aerieREAL girls are always bettter than one – and her husband charlie acted as our photographer! we decked the space in string lights and fur, and had so much fun shooting a campaign that was near and dear to both our hearts. i had a sick boost in followers from this re-post, which was exactly what i had been strategizing to help me reach my 5k goal by 2018. in november, i also visited the top of the rock at rockefeller center, attended the ‘out of office’ yacht party with a group of my favorite blogger friends, and also went to the nickelodeon halo awards. i closed out the month by collaborating with the red & white spa in midtown, and by celebrating thanksgiving at my sister-in-law’s house with all my sweet nieces. it was officially the holiday season.
december, 2017: winter content, we meet again! by this point i’ve come to embrace that not every post has to be bright and fun. the authenticity of winter in new york is how unpredictable the weather is, and as a blogger, i’ve learned that i just gotta go with it. at the start of the month, i hosted my second networking event. this time it was a holiday-themed charity event in conjunction with the “fill a purse for a sister” campaign that’s based in canada! we donated gently used purses to a women’s shelter here in the city and filled them with everyday essentials and notes of encouragement for women in need – especially women who have suffered domestic violence. it felt great to give back, and i loved that this campaign focused on fashion. i received sponsored food and beverage, photography, and a large donation from violet ray handbags. full recap coming soon! i also spent this month ice skating with santa at rock center, attended the betches ‘meme gala’ (which was so dope!) and celebrating christmas with the fam. after a long and snowy weekend at a secluded cabin upstate, i can confirm as of december 30th, 2017 that i tried to ski – and hated it!!! you live and you learn, right? meet ya in the lodge! at the very least, i collected a bit more content to release in the coming weeks and added another checked box to my list because i hit my goal of 5,000 followers on december 23rd.
in conclusion: as i’m writing this, it is the night of december 30th. with just over 24 hours to go until we’re launched into a new year, i am proud of all that i’ve done over the last twelve months. i took an idea, made it a reality, and met some amazing people along the way. in 2018, i want to more-than-double my current following with product giveaways and engaging content so that my audience can easily shop for my looks using instagram features like ‘swipe up to shop’. i want to really practice ‘running my own race’ and not comparing my content or my growth to that of my peers. everyone’s goals are different, and i know exactly what i want to get out of this. do i want this to become a fruitful side hustle? absolutely. but do i want it to necessarily take over my life? absolutely not. it’s easy to get sucked into being obsessed with numbers, likes, followers and lightroom presets…. and while it’s full of perks for those who know how to utilize it, blogging (especially instagram-focused blogging) can become life-consuming. there are more ways than one to have a blog that’s monetized, and i’m prepared to put in the work – but in 2018, it’s necessary that i continue to be present in my everyday life with my husband, family and friends that i’m so blessed to have by my side and supporting this endeavor. as my numbers grow, i will stand grounded and practical. i will put thought into planning my content – but i refuse to allow content creation to fill up 75% of my day or to hinder my social experiences. 2018 will be about enjoying life, counting my blessings, and turning collaborations into paychecks. as of this month, stephen and i have begun an epic new jersey househunt!!!!!! i am so ready for a change of scenery, a focus on my family life, and to blog throughout all of the upcoming madness! if you’ve been following me from the start – THANK YOU. if you’re a new follower – THANK YOU. if you have given me advice or partnered with me in any way – THANK YOU! this has been an absolute blast, more fruitful than i could have imagined in one year’s time, and i can not WAIT to see what the next twelve months have in store. BRING IT ON, 2018!!!!!!!!!!! i welcome you with OPEN ARMS!