2019 Q&A

It’s been a while since we did one of these! Let’s dive right in.

Who inspires you?

IRL: Gabby Bernstein, Morgan Harper Nichols, Jordan Lee Dooley

Blogging-wise: Dani Austin, Tezza, Olivia Rink

Where did you go to college?

Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana!

Are you gluten free?

Not technically. I am lectin sensitive and a way to help keep me healthy is to limit my gluten intake, among other things such as dairy, carbs, etc.

How do you keep yourself accountable health wise without obsessing over numbers?

I try to not limit myself calorie-wise. If I haven’t eaten dinner but my meal doesn’t “fit” into the allotted calories, I’m still going to eat dinner instead of starving myself. I also measure myself instead of weighing myself. Your weight can fluctuate based on what you ate the day before, your hormone levels, your water intake… and you don’t want to beat yourself up about “gaining weight” when you may not have at all.

How do you get yourself to work out when it’s cold?

I try to get it in early so I’m not dreading it all day. I also recommend at home workouts – cuts out the hard part since you have nowhere to go!

Is the spin bike worth it?

For me, the bike 10000% was. I can easily sit on it while I answer emails, watch TV, etc. and it’s great having workout equipment in my apartment.

Places to go and things to do in London?

I’m planning a full post on this soon, but a few of my favorites:

  • Peggy Porschen
  • Oxford Circus Topshop
  • Liberty
  • London Eye
  • Harry Potter Studio Tour
Tips for cheap Europe travel?
  • set up flight alerts to know when prices drop
  • take advantage of deals your hotel may offer on attractions or restaurants
  • eat most meals at street vendors or fast casual restaurants to save money
  • research ahead of time how much you will be spending each day, then set a budget and stick to it
  • read more here
Best part about living in Chicago?

Having the ability to go from skyscrapers to beaches in less than 10 minutes. Also, rooftops during #summertimechi

Worst part about living in Chicago?

The nearly five-month-long winter. It snows every year in April. Not fun traveling home for Easter with snow on the ground!

I want to move to Chicago. What is it like compared to New York?

They’re comparable in terms of the hustle and bustle, stimulation everywhere. Manhattan is similar to Chicago’s Loop in my opinion. Size wise, especially when you compare Manhattan to the Loop, Chicago is much smaller. Chicago has alleys for trash where NYC does not, so I think Chicago looks cleaner. Prices for nearly everything are cheaper here, especially rent. Flights are also relatively easy since we are located in the middle of the country and most everywhere is just a 2 hour plane ride away. Overall, I think Chicago is a smaller, more friendly albeit colder city (but still the third largest in the country so not that small!) ***Small important detail: CTA cards are actual plastic cards that you can reload on your phone and not the annoying MTA paper ones.

How is apartment hunting in Chicago?

It’s not too bad! I’ve found my past apartments on websites like Zillow and Craigslist. Just know your must-haves, your ideal area and your budget! In other big cities, you may need to hire a broker to find you an apartment, but there’s no need here. I will say that things do go quickly, especially if it’s a bargain. I always bring my checkbook with me to showings so I can write a deposit right then and there if I like it. Even waiting an hour could cost you the unit.

How did you find home decor on a budget?

A lot of looking, haha! I try to find the big pieces first and get those at the lowest price possible – headboard, couch, table, desk, etc. This part typically takes the longest as good deals on furniture pieces often sell out quickly, so you’ll need to look multiple times and at many spots. I recommend looking at HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, At Home, World Market, etc. for these kinds of pieces. Once you acquire all your big things, you can look at your budget and see how much money you have left to spend on decor, pillows, rugs, etc. These smaller items are typically easier to locate for cheap! Places like Target, Pier1, Urban Outfitters, etc. have unique products that generally won’t break the bank.

Why do you decorate so often?

I think life is full of enough sadness and hardships – we may as well celebrate every darn chance we get. I enjoy decorating my space for each occasion to help keep that positive, happy energy alive.

What is it like working from home every day?

Fantastic yet boring! I can go stir crazy when the weather is crappy and I’m stuck inside for days at a time. I like to go to local coffee shops and work from there at least a few days each week. Sometimes, my friends will come over and work with me, which helps. It’s important to keep a schedule and a to-do list so you can actually accomplish things. Granted, there are some days I wake up and just need a break, so I shift back my “working hours” and let myself have some time to read. I do enjoy not having to go out in the elements every morning and the commute from my bed to my desk is fabulous!

What made you want to become a blogger?

I never really thought of myself as a “blogger” until I moved to Chicago. Having a blog versus having that title seemed different to me, if that makes sense? I had a blog in college and it was a cute little hobby / place to post homework assignments that had to be on a blog (example posts here and here HAHA). It wasn’t really taken seriously by anyone, let alone me. Once I moved here, I saw the opportunities bloggers had in the city and it made me want to up my game and fully take on the blog world. I wanted to make this feel like home, and blogging seemed like a good way to immerse myself in the city and meet new people.

How did you start blogging as a job?

By accident, kind of. I got an offer to post an Instagram in exchange for $20. I never really knew there was a potential to make money! I was on LIKEtoKNOW.it but that was barely giving me $10 a month at the time. Soon, at my day job, I was able to see how bloggers were leveraging their reach as an advertising service for brands. I was working with fashion magazines, who get advertising based on their circulation, so I was able to connect that quickly to my own blog and social media. I worked hard to increase my numbers and put myself in front of paying brands, and from there, it’s history.

I want to make my own blog but am horrible with technology! What should I do?

I was when I started! You don’t have to know how to code or run a website to make a blog. There are some very user-friendly options out there nowadays. I go into some of them more in this post, but a lot of website providers give you templates that you simply pick colors for and change out text! Don’t worry about the tech part πŸ™‚

How can I help support you and your business?

First off, thanks to each and every one of you who are reading this post. Your “page view” of this post helps me to show brands that people are caring about my blog content and to set rates for advertising on my blog. Other ways to help me are to like and comment on my Instagram posts, turn on my Instagram post notifications, shop through my Shop page, and tell your friends and family to follow me!

What do you look for when you decide to partner with a brand?
  • Is this a brand that I already use, or a brand that I’ve been wanting to try?
  • Do I genuinely like the product/brand?
  • Would I recommend this product/brand to my best friend?
  • Is this a good fit for my audience?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, I pass on the offer. No dollar sign is worth breaking the trust you have in me!

How do I negotiate higher rates with a brand?

I suggest using numbers. If you have 1,000 followers but an amazing engagement rate, focus on that. If you have 30,000 followers and lower engagement, but you have a high conversion rate on LTK, sell that to a brand. If you have 30% of your followers located in one city and a company is also based there, be sure to tell them. Data is king in every industry, blogging is no exception. Find data pieces that speak to your strengths and leverage those to get higher-paying brand deals.

What did you learn at your 9-5 that helps you be a blogger?

TIME MANAGEMENT, how to budget, how to deal with deadlines, and most importantly, the art of professional yet shady email responses

How do you get more profile views?

I’ve found that you get more when you engage with people outside of your following!

How do you maintain a consistent feed?

I edit all of my photos with the same Lightroom preset and then make tweaks to lighting, brightness, highlights, saturation, etc. to match my other posts. I preview the feed in UNUM prior to posting.

Instagram pitfalls to avoid?

Following and unfollowing accounts, like pods, buying likes/followers. All of these screw up the algorithm even more than it already is!

How do I make blogger friends?

Put yourself out there! Comment meaningful things on their posts. Send them messages. Share them on your stories. I share more tips in this video. It’s kind of like online dating, honestly. Find people that have similar vibes and interests, and then strike up a convo. I’ve met 90% of my blogger friends on Instagram. For example: I shared my friend Austen on my Instagram stories in fall 2016 as a “IG girl crush” and now she can’t go 5 minutes without me texting her or trying to plan a warm weather trip!

What are “good” impression goals on Instagram?

Roughly, 33% of your following should be seeing your posts. For me, this looks more like 75%, then 12%, then 50%, then 30%… every post is so different! Don’t get caught up on the numbers, though. Just try to always increase them.

How do you avoid getting in the mindset that your product is too similar to someone else’s and that they did it better?

I think that this is a huge issue, but an equally large one is the opposite problem – how many Tezza copycats do you see on your feed each week? For me, I try to stay true to myself and my brand. If I have some overlap with other creators, that’s fine. Naturally, I find myself looking at those most similar to me and comparing analytics, content, etc. The important mind shift is looking from a place of bettering myself instead of seeing it as I’m competing with those women.

Fashion week tips?
  • wear comfy shoes. bring the heels along for a photo, then change out of them
  • don’t take all the nos from shows personally. 99% of the time it’s a capacity thing, not something about you that kept you from getting an invite
  • connect with other creators while you’re there to network and have people to split ubers to shows
  • some people make themselves out to be sooooo glamorous and cool… don’t take yourself too seriously. you don’t need to have fancy dinners or couture gowns. just be you
  • don’t forget to have FUN! you’re in New York! do touristy things when you’re feeling burnt out from the work aspects

Thank you for all the amazing questions! I streamlined a lot of similar ones, so if I didn’t answer your specific question fully, feel free to email or DM me πŸ™‚

XO Cait

Leave a Comment

1 Comments

  1. Dionne wrote:

    This was a great post! I learned so much about you & helpful tips for Myslef as a blogger. Thank you!

    Posted 2.6.19 Reply

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