IFB Conference Guide

To my fellow fashionistas out there:

Last week I attended the Independent Fashion Bloggers Conference in NYC, and what a great experience that was. Roughly a week prior to the event, I came across Jessie’s post on Style and Pepper and became intrigued weather or not this would be a good opportunity to learn more about this new phenomenon known as professional blogging. Now I gladly know it was well worth the expense (oh boy) of flying out to NY last minute.

Bloggers from all over the map showed up for the event. Someone flew all the way from from down under (aka Australia). Crazy but so cool. In case you didn’t show your pretty-blogger face at Milk Studios, but perhaps are planning on attending the next event, here are the things I found useful knowing:

Grab some business cards before going out the door. Only one out of many bloggers I met that day didn’t have a business card handy. And when nearly everyone is prepared, that somehow doesn’t look so great. In a room packed with hundreds of people trying to strive in the fashion blogging industry, this is one of the ways you can stand out and show your personality. Don’t have one yet? Three words (minus the slash): Microsoft Word/Kinko’s. Oh and keep it on you at all times. You never know who you’ll meet when when.

Bring a jacket. The doors opened around 30 minutes after scheduled time while a generous line of fashion-savy girls formed under the cold New York weather. There is no coat check (or at least there wasn’t this time) but you should be fine hanging your outwear over your seat.

Arrive early. Consequently, sit just a short row away from Bryan-Boy (or other massively-known it bloggers). And if you plan on reporting the event on your own blog, this is crucial for good photo ops.

Explore your surroundings. Forget sniffing around the gift bag for a sec and say hello to whoever just sat next to you. Before the first panel starts, take the time to walk around and get familiar with the boots. J Brand, for example had a styling area where you could play around with their collection and all. Get your pictures taken then (it’ll get crazier later).

Give and receive business cards. It’s so easy to obsess 0ver showing and passing along your stylish, I-love-it-so-much business card and forget to collect your peers’. Remember that if you have their information, you can follow-up and control the situation yourself rather then anxiously wait for an email that might never come. One of the most important things about attending this conference to me was the networking opportunity and exchanging cards makes the process easy from the beginning.

Take notes. As many as you can, seriously. My iPad turned into a real life-saver when I was able to record the panels I found the most informative (practically all of it). You’ll be presented with loads of information. I don’t care how great of a memory you’ve got, you’ll walk out of there remembering about half of what you’ve heard. Wait to go to the bathroom during breaks (you don’t wanna miss crucial information in exchange for bathroom relief, no no).

Missed breakfast? Not to worry. They provided us with a generous complimentary lunch that included three different sorts of sandwiches, cookies (so yummy too), chips, energy drinks, vitamin waters, hot cocoa and so on. If you’re on a special diet, I’d bring food and use the long lunch break to do some more networking instead of running out to get something.

Talk to the pros. Even though a lot of these folks are pretty accessible on twitter, when was the last time you had the chance to have a face-to-face chat with a DKNY PR Girl girl and get a flattening complement from Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere? (She liked the Valentine’s Day inspired nails). No, they’re not celebrities, but panelists are there to share their success story with you. Perhaps by approaching them directly you can get  more specific feedback on your ideas and your blog. Don’t chase them down (that would be weird, right?) but if you happened to bump into someone you know, can give you valuable feedback, don’t hesitate to start up a conversation before they speak that day. This way you’ll beat the line of enthusiasts that will form along the stage after the panel is over.

Come to the party afterwards. Alright, I have to admit this wasn’t the most comfortable situation for me. I walked in totally solo. The room was already filled with plenty of beautifully dressed people who had also attended the conference that day, none of which I had met (dang it!). I guess my folks weren’t the party type. It was super intimidating to walk up to people when everyone seemed to be happy in their little circles. But still, I’m glad I went. I think the biggest benefit of being there was strengthening connections I made earlier that day and most importantly, getting to know those people a little more and realizing that it could be the start of a potential friendship.

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Valentine Mani

Nail painting is a safe way to go celebratory without making a commitment. Unless you run out of polish remover, that is. Before attempting this one, I was sure it wouldn’t turn out. It might not of looked perfect but look at that! It did turn out. Wanna try this Valentine’s Day inspired mani? You’ll need:

  •   Navy Blue Polish
  •   Red or Pink Polish
  •   White Nail Art Brush

First, paint your nails with the blue polish. Next, use your nail art brush or polish pen to draw two thick horizontal lines across each nail.

While you wait for it to dry off, you can practice doing the heart on a piece of paper. I used the thin brush from the white polish, cleaned it off with a towel and dipped it into the pink polish.  Simply use the very tip to strike a small diagonal spot of paint (bottom left) and then another one perpendicularly , forming a little heart (bottom right).

Once you’ve got enough practice making hearts on the paper, try it over the nail. You can paint one heart on one nail or like me, one for each.

Navy Stripes

I’m wearing: zara top, pants and belt, gifted necklace, swatch watch, hellen lima bracelets, aldo shoes

Sure I didn’t think I’d be using these pre-blogging photos anymore, but every time I open their folder I feel the obligation to. These were snapped in Jan, 2010. It’s crazy to think that if I’d started the blog then, when I had developed an idea of what I wanted to blog about and started producing photo shoots, the blog would be just a little over two years old now.  But I’m a firm believer things happen when they have to. And here I am now, in Chicago, showing you how ridiculously nice the Florida winter is, so much a long 3/4 sleeve by the lake will do.





Earring Solution

Yesterday I showed a best-of-all-times sunglass solution as seen in my new closet. Now to the earring solution tutorial. Here’s what you’ll need:


  •   a frame (mine is thrifted and painted)
  •   a screen material purchased at any home improvement store
  •   a staple gun

Place your frame against the screen and  cut the screen following the shape.

Staple the ends. I recommend a thicker, stronger frame than mine (it didn’t handle the gun pressure so well and it literally fell apart). Fix? Super glue. You can still see the cracks but oh well, it gives it character!

Trim the ends and voila! You can hang it on a wall like I did, or just rest it against a wall.


Storing Sunglasses

On one of my frequent visits to Cupcakes and Cashmere, I read this post with the greatest idea for hanging sunglasses. This is genius, and I can talk because if you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a sun-glass addict and for that same reason, my not-so-shabby-but-still-modest collection gets lost around the house, in my bags, in a random drawer, on the dining-room table, behind the couch. You would find sunglasses hanging in any room I have access too, shower included.

Clearly, I stole the idea and will show you step-by-step how I made my own simpler version. Here’s what you’ll need to make something similar:


  • a 12 x 16 frame. Although not as fancy as Emily’s,  mine cost $2 at a thrift store.
  •   steel wire from an art supplies store.
  •   staple gun

It was black but became grey after a couple of  Martha Stewart Cumulus Cloud coats. If needed, you’re welcome to use a tape measure and pencil to mark were the wires should go, I didn’t use one and it looks pretty straight. Get ready to staple two pieces of wire across the frame and that’s where the shades will hang. Allow a little over and inch space between the frame and the top wire (otherwise it will look great but it won’t let you remove the shades easily).

Staple the wire a couple of times on one side of the frame. Then fold the left over wire…

and staple over it again to secure. Repeat the process on all four ends.

This is how your frame should look after you have both wires securely stapled, minus the messy painting job (my pre-school teacher  would be livid).

Now, the glasses. Pretty awesome, huh?

 

Bell Bottom

I’m wearing: urban outfitters sweater and clutch, j brand jeans, arezzo shoes, gap hat and gloves

Not very many years ago people would put a huge question mark on their foreheads when I’d bring up my J brand jeans. I was never sure if they didn’t understand my accent or if they didn’t know the brand at all. I’ve always loved their jeans. In love, can’t live without each other love. So much the first pair didn’t last me much more than two years. Not because I didn’t take well care of it, but that’s all I wore for two years. This one lucked out because bell bottoms weren’t as hot then as it’s now and let’s be real, if you’re not wearing hills or platforms, this is a tough one to pull of.

Eskell

When I left home to stroll around Wicker Park, I didn’t expect to make any major discoveries. True, vintage shops, hippie bookstores, cozy restaurants all line Milwaukee Ave, but of all the places I’ve visited, Eskell was the most flirtatious.

I have no idea what the word Eskell means but wonder if it has anything to do with the hanging bicycle in the window display (and the reason why I walked in there at the first place). Very Alice in the rabbit hole, I know. But I’m glad I did. The second thing to catch my eye was the frame wall where various photos of bicycles and their owners hung. Super cool. The whole place has this whimsical feel and I could tell so much thought was put in every little decorative object.

The girls at the store were extremely nice and helpful. I mean, really nice. Ready to help if I had a question but also respectful to let me browse independently. It felt like the whole store was my giant dressing room.

Everything was put together and neatly organized. Yes, the candles smell even better than they look.

Look at the vintage sun-glasses collection, my favorite corner (shocker) and if I can remember right, they run under $20 a pair.

No questions I’m coming back sometime soon to snatch a couple of vintage belts and a few other things.

The verdict: This is a place I’d like to shop at again, especially if I was looking for something different.  Vintage sunglasses, belts, maybe a few clothing items (their own collection is actually very cute) and the best deal of all: a relaxed atmosphere paired with attentive customer service.

Where? 1509 N Millwaukee Ave Chicago, IL 60622. In Wicker Park

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