Hydrating Through Winter With Moroccan Magic

Hi everyone,

I wanted to let you guys in on my new favorite hydrating lip balms by the brand Moroccan Magic. Moroccan Magic lip balms are USDA certified organic and cruelty free, checking two things off my list of desirable brand qualities.

They are super hydrating for your lips in the dry winter months. I have dry skin year round and while winter is magical time, it isn’t necessarily the easiest for beauty! I keep these in my purse or jacket pocket for work or class, and they give a moisturizing coat to my existing lip color. A tip: lip stains work really well with these balms, because they won’t smear the product.

They come in 5 scents, and the ones I’m featuring in this post is “Rose.” The others include:

♥ Lemon Thyme
♥ Coconut Almond
♥ Peppermint Eucalyptus
♥ Lavender Vanilla

Having argan oil be the main base ingredient for these balms is great, because argan oil is known worldwide for being highly conditioning, not to mention it has anti-aging properties.

I love the scents and these are perfect for keeping my lips resilient this season! You can pick them up at your local CVS, Bed Bath and Beyond, the Vitamin Shoppe or Whole Foods. I hope you love them as much as I do! Drop me a comment about your own review. Have a great week!

-Kelly

xx

Trader Joe’s Beauty Haul: Beauty for Less

Hi everyone,

As if Trader Joe’s isn’t already obsessed over enough, I’m adding yet another reason why the store is my go-to. The reason: beauty products. The prices are right and the ingredients are minimal, what’s not to love?

I hope you guys find this non-sponsored review useful!

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I want to start with a disclaimer: I’ve paid for quite a bit of expensive beauty and hair care products over the years, telling myself that the brand made the expense worth it. When I stopped seeing results, and asked myself if I wanted to repurchase, I had a change of heart. And a perspective on my bank account.

The truth: you don’t have to always break the bank to get good quality products that work for you. And cutting back on expenses is such a relief. It adds up fast; 3 high grade skincare products may equal the cost of a flight for your next adventure. If you can find quality products for less, you won’t be stressed with your beauty expenses. 

The first on the list is my personal favorite: the moisture boost serum. The miracle ingredient is hyaluronic acid. It does make your face a bit sticky at first, and you need to rub it in well before it fully absorbs, but it provides the best hydrating base for your favorite moisturizer.

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I stopped using serums for months because I didn’t get the appeal, and now it’s clear that I just wasn’t getting results. The TJ’s moisture boost serum has just five listed ingredients, which to me is a miracle for a serum to be effective. I get nervous at products with laundry lists of ingredients with unpronounceable origins. 

This moisture boost serum locks in moisture and creates a protective barrier, so your moisturizer is more effective at hydrating your skin. I honestly can’t justify looking at another serum when this one retails for $7.99.

The next product is the TJ’s coconut body butter. It’s formulated with coconut oil, Shea butter, and vitamin E. I first found this in the Palm Springs Trader Joe’s store, when I was getting some essentials for our week trip. Going from the Seattle pre-spring weather to the dry desert heat was a lot on my skin, and this body butter was so effective for deeper hydration before I went to bed!

It’s also not a surprise that coconut scented products are sought after (and amazing), so this product was an awesome find. Props to TJ’s advertising for putting it near the checkout lines.

I did look up the body butter for allergens, and it passed as a 91% allergen free product. It’s paraben free, soy free, and gluten free. It’s also free of common preservatives (which I really try to avoid) and serves as a topical antibiotic from the coconut oil. Sold yet?

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The third product is another coconut love of mine: the shea butter and coconut oil hair mask. Not only is the packaging enticing, but the price is also. This 5.1 ounce tube is only $3.99. Seriously, I couldn’t believe that. I’m super into shea butter and coconut oil for my face and body the last couples of months.

There’s also argan oil and vitamin E in the formula as well, and all of the ingredients make a product designed to control frizz and produce a silkier texture to your hair. My hair is 100% on the drier side, and this mask really makes my ends softer.

This hair mask is consistently in the staff favorites section of the store, which is actually super on par (hiiii new cold brew favorite). Anyways, this mask smells and feels amazing. Once a week in your hair for five minutes and you’ll see what I mean. And compared to other deep conditioning treatments that can be anywhere from $30-60, you don’t have much to lose if you try to mix in a mask for such a small price in comparison.

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Another disclaimer: this sunset shoot outside of Trader Joe’s was definitely one for the books (of awkwardness). But that’s the commitment for these products ya’ll, I wanted the full effect. Happy beauty bargaining!

For more content on my favorite finds, follow my Instagram @k_stateofmind .

I wish you all a productive and inspiring rest of the week.

xx

-Kelly

Saying No to Diet Culture

Hi Everyone,

This week I’m talking all about diet culture. What is diet culture? It’s essentially a society and mindset that is centered on weight and size (over your actual health). Is this healthy? No. Is it super common right now? Unfortunately yes.

Society has a gravitation towards “thin” bodies because it’s what we see most in media and on magazine covers. Whenever you see notifications in your email inbox or advertisements for the latest skinny tea or magical vitamin, chances are the words “weight loss” will be in there somewhere to reel you in. How to get a bikini body, how to drop the pounds… these headlines are so common and are associated with “getting healthy.” While there is a lot of progress happening to expand the definition of beauty and less emphasis on the “ideal” body that truly does not exist, so many people worldwide are still get discouraged from the effects of diet culture.

Diet culture essentially ignores science and body diversity. Body-types exist for a reason! Genetics play a major role in how your body responds to nutrition and fitness, as well as different types of fitness. Weight loss has become more marketable than promoting how to maintain authentic emotional and physical health, and positive relationships with food.

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Why do you need a positive relationship with food? Because you don’t want to spend your life seeing food as calories. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend calorie counting to anyone, unless istructed by a doctor for health reasons. Seeing food as solely negative or positive for weight loss is not only restricting, but it creates stress and anxiety if you “slip up.”

My motto for food: if you do indulge in something that is low in nutrients, has higher saturated fat than you would like to admit, or is full of empty calories, indulge in moderation. For instance, I probably haven’t had soda in a month, but I had a root beer today while I worked on my website and it was glorious (shoutout to Trader Joe’s for making a more natural formula). I had zero guilt.

While we’re on the topic of guilt, stop referring to food as “guilty pleasures.” Even if it’s a joke between you and your friends, it could be effecting your relationship with food at a deeper level than you think. Peep me eating a cupcake below for my brother’s birthday. A cupcake, yes. It was piña colada flavored. 

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Diet companies are advertising weight loss in the form of trends, making them more attractive by categorizing them by season or attempting to customize them to you by pulling at your emotional insecurities with body image. The tricky thing is, we’ve become so used to it as consumers that it seems normal. And people feel bad if their bodies don’t meet the margins.

To be clear, I don’t read the magazines or look at celebrities diets they swear by to maintain their figures. I listen to my own body. This is crucial. If one take-away from this post resonates, I would hope that would be it. Focus on what works for you, learn what your body likes and dislikes. I can guarantee that piggy-backing on what works for someone else will frustrate you anyway. If this sounds opposing from what companies and sponsored instagram advertisements have been trying to sell you… good. That’s music to my ears.

A little background on my weight (not weight loss) journey. I had a somewhat negative relationship with fitness up until 2 years ago, given how much cardio I felt I needed to do to be “fit” and skinny. I honestly had no business doing cardio on top of my collegiate tennis training, and I was over-exercising. Yes that happens! I didn’t want to do extra, I just felt that I was more attractive being a lot lighter in weight. No wonder it was hard for me to gain a bum! How much I have learned since then, let me tell you. And I am spending LESS time in the gym.

I’m not saying it’s easy to navigate all the types of fitness or the broad spectrum of healthy diets. I myself am now questioning if I need to make changes for my digestion and gut health, not for a trend or for the goal of weight loss. I just want to live my life feeling good internally, because that is more important to me now, as I’ve jumped through hurdles with my body image in the past.

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I sincerely hope this discussion of body image and diet culture either resonated, or has inspired you to look at nutrition and fitness in a more positive light!

Stay bold and confident xx

Check out my Instagram for my recipes, fitness tips, and mental health  at k_stateofmind.

<a href=”https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/18232251/?claim=c36ecczhdtd”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

-Kelly

 

BNP Paribas 2018: A Week in Palm Desert

Hi everyone,

It’s March already, how did that happen? I was waiting for this trip to the Indian Wells BNP Paribas tennis tournament for what seemed like minutes, the way the months are flying by. I’m currently already on the plane back from Seattle, sun-kissed and craving more vacation and adventure. Time is crazy!

So I did promise blog content and possibly a Palm Springs hike vlog, but there was no hike. A trip to California without the hike? Questionable, since I used to love hiking the rolling hills when I went to college in the Bay. But things don’t always go as planned, and we spent 6 full days watching elite tennis. And I’m not complaining!

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First off, the 5 takeaways from my week in the desert sun are as follows:

1.  I need to take more trips. I’m currently reading a book that is all about creating the life you want and to stop making excuses to do so, and I want to adventure more. This takes planning for larger trips, but I also aim to do smaller more last minute trips, whether it’s over the border to Canada or spending the night in Whidbey Island. The possibilities don’t need to include a plane. Although many of mine do!

2.   Sunscreen is a Seattleite’s (yep I used that word) best friend. If you’re spending up to 8 hours in the sun each day watching a sport, you need to reapply sunscreen. Most of the time, waterproof sunscreen only lasts up to 80 minutes. The math is very clear here. Protect your skin regardless of if you sunburn, or if you’re trying gather evidence to show your friends how you got two shades darker from white to off-white. Skin damage isn’t cute.

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The gardening aesthetic of the BNP Paribas Open is 10/10

3. Hydrate constantly. Carry a reusable water bottle with you, because physically carrying the bottle will remind you to fill it up. Buying water bottles is often a one-time commitment. Every time we passed by water fountains we would fill up our bottles, and we would also fill them in changeovers (tennis terms, ya know). Also, room temperature water absorbs quicker through your body, so you can pass on the water taken over by ice chunks.

4. Do NOT wear sandals to an all-day sporting event. Unless you own burkenstocks or some kind of sliders, chances are your feet will blister from any kind of friction. You’re walking a lot and it’s not worth cutting up your feet trying to be fashionable. And since when would athleisure not be fashionable?

5. Event food is expensive, so try to pack snacks. My recommendations would be Good RX bars (12 g of protein and limited ingredients), peanut butter and apples, trail mix, dried fruit, etc. Relying on the quickly made, almost fast food that events often provide could make you sick if you’re used to eating healthy. Although the tournament added a new booth with Mahi Mahi salads! YES…

PS 5

Those are pretty specific, let’s get on to the action. Even if you don’t watch tennis or tried to play once and thought it was a game only invented for perfectionists, you, might still enjoy some of these snapshots:

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Sam Querrey 
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Novak Djokovic 
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Milos Raonic 
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Caroline Wozniacki 
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Roger Federer 
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I got a selfie with Gilles Müller after his doubles win! I’m still stoked. 

A week can be a relatively short vacation, depending on how you look at it. The trip for me flew by in real time, but slowed down because I was simply taking in the moments more. I was appreciating the sun on my face and how amazing a perfectly mixed cold brew tasted while sitting on the deck  in the morning, and I was relaxed. I was so content, and not at all thinking about my obligations back home or the fact that I hadn’t studied my GRE flashcards.

A mindset that really helped me fully dive into a vacation was the grind-and-then-relax mode. I’m on that grind 24/7 back home in Seattle, working to save money and building my blog as well as a fashion company’s blog. I’m building my photography portfolio and scheduling shoots. But this wasn’t in Palm Desert. So a pro tip: don’t bring your work with you. If you need to a do a few things to stay on track, that’s great, but postpone anything that can be postponed.

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This is the book I’m reading currently! Because we all need to bring out our inner badass. And peep my favorite cold brew (Chameleon Cold-Brew) 

If you’re a fellow blogger, don’t obsess over a promise you made on your Instagram story to produce a vlog or a set of photos of every outfit you sported on vacation. If it doesn’t happen it doesn’t happen, create the content you can make time for and ENJOY YOURSELF.

I had ideas for the trip that weren’t executed, but it’s all good in the blogging hood.

The best advice I can say is to just try to live in the moment and forget the rest. I left my 50 mm canon lens at home and only brought my wide angle lens, which was a mistake for getting pristine action shots. I used my iPhone. It was actually a fun challenge for me to work harder to get the quality! And I’m happy with the results, and just enjoyed seeing the most elite tennis ever!

You make the most out of short vacations just like you make the most out of life.

Happy planning xx

-Kelly

BCAA’s Versus Pre-Workouts: Are Either Worth the Hype?

Hi everyone,

This week I’m sharing some insight on BCAA’s and pre-workouts, because I feel like there’s a lot of questioning of whether you need both or any at all. The simple answer (I would say) is it totally depends on your energy levels. What type of workouts you’re doing and what time of day you’re exercising are big factors.

Jumpstarting your day with exercise would most likely give you more energy than trying to get the intensity up at 9 pm. But we work with our schedules, and you might need a boost!

Let’s break it down financially. Pre-workouts can be pretty pricey for small containers. You don’t get a lot of bang for your buck, unfortunately. And I find very sporatic results depending on the type of pre-workout I try. The ones I’ve tried and the pros and cons of each are below.

Vega Energizer:

This is my favorite pre-workout I’ve tried. The price on Amazon is around $40 on Amazon for the tub, which is relatively decent for pre workouts (but not by any means inexpensive). The taste is not overpowering or too sweet. I did move on from the pre-workout simply out of curiosity, and I felt that the effects could be stronger. But I felt that I had enough energy to smash out a workout. So I would recommend if you’re starting out and want a cleaner formula.

I love how the formula is dairy and soy free. It is also gluten free, if you are gluten intolerant. The caffeine is derived from green tea (hello antioxidants and no crash) and Yerba maté. Overall, I’d give it a thumbs up, if you’re willing to spend the money.

Vega Clean Energy:

I would not recommend this pre-workout, for two reasons. The taste really is brutal. I thought the reveiws could be exaggerating, but they weren’t! It honestly tastes like watered down, fruity sugar water. And sits heavy, which doesn’t make for a good pre-workout drink before you’re jumping around and getting your heart rate up. As for the strength, I hardly felt a difference in energy.

The Clean Energy formula drew me in with the promise of zero artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. The caffeine is derived from green and black tea, and come to think of it, I think the “bitterness” the reviews are saying may be due to the black tea addition. As for the price, it is substantially cheaper, sitting at $16.99 on Amazon.

I appreciate the vegan and clean formula, but I will not be repurchasing.

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Ūnico Athena Intense:

I was interested in ambassadorship for this brand, so I got a few Ūnico products to try out to see if I liked them. The pro of Athena Intense: it works. The taste is also awesome. The cons: I would get an uncomfortable tingling all the way up to my fingertips. Not to mention the price is steep at $39.99. Consensus: I would say not worth it. Definitely keep exploring your options if you wanna save some money and not feel like Legolas that first time in got drunk with Gimli in Lord of the Rings.

Now onto the BCAA’s!

BCAA’s I’ve tried:

Ūnico Yumino: 

I got the formula in the flavor blue frost, and I was impressed! The taste is great and you get a solid 40 servings out of the container. I really liked using it, however, I did not feel the boosted endurance as much as I would like. I did think it aided it muscle recovery and hydration from the added electrolytes!

Overall, I would say it’s a good product. But let’s check out that price of $59.99. I got it during Black Friday so I did not pay this price, but wow. That’s steep.

Evolution Nutrition:

I find these BCAA’s comparable to Ūnico’s. The factors that made me switch to Evolution Nutrition were the price and accessibility of the product. This one is available on Amazon for $19.99. I like being able to get purchases on Amazon to avoid shipping costs, spam emails, and be able to make quick returns if need be. The container does note that you may experience a slight tingling on your skin, and that it is normal. It’s not an uncomfortable tingling and is very brief.

There are zero added sugars and the formula is derived from more natural caffeine sources- green coffee and green tea. The price is right and the effects have been solid so far! I have an energy boost without a crash and I like the addition of electrolytes. Because let’s face it, I just drink water and kombucha all day. And some coffee.

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Now that I’ve shared the products I’ve personally tried, my thoughts are that you could get by with just BCAA’s, as opposed to both BCAA’s and pre-workout. I found that BCAA’s give me the energy boost I need to get my workout in, as well as the added benefits of muscle recovery and growth. I do prefer to have a boost, because I like to keep my workouts high intensity and complete for me to see my desired fitness results.

A disclaimer: The fitness industry is huge. Brands are popping up everywhere claiming their products are the next big thing, and blogs and social media posts are constantly sponsoring and promoting gym supplements. Suddenly you’re questioning if you need to invest. Don’t give in without proper research, reading reviews, and evaluating what these products would do for YOU, and you alone. The tricky thing with trends is that they often convince you to spend unnecessary money. No one has time for that money trap.

For example, I added a daily collagen powder into my routine for the benefit of my hair, skin, and nails. That and water are an amazing combination! Take new additions slow, and find what works for you at your own pace.

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My advice: stay SIMPLE. Don’t purchase multiple new things to try out, start with just one or two new ideas to add to your fitness success. Focus less on the hype and more on what would most compliment your personal workout regime.

I hope these tips and my personal reviews on the above products helped! Have a great Wednesday. xx

For more of my fitness journey as well as nutrition tips, check out my Instagram @k_stateofmind

-Kelly

 

 

2018 Initiative: Becoming Body Positive Through Fitness

Fitness has unlimited benefits to an individual’s lifestyle. Not only is it essential for cardiovascular health and disease prevention, it also improves mental health and body positivity.

It can be difficult to believe that fitness and body positivity can coexist, with the heavy influence around us every day. We see ‘fitspo’ imagery on social platforms, phrases like “beach body’ and articles on how to constantly cut food cravings. Following these phrases and trends can be confusing and skew the purpose of fitness.

Essentially, these phrases and terms that are thrown around through media are body-shaming readers. Fitness ‘gurus’ have workouts even called ‘beach body workouts’ or tips on how to be bikini body ready in (insert time period here). Which body type are you trying to promote? It can’t be a universal one, because that would be impossible, wouldn’t it? Genetics are a slight obstacle with that one…

Let’s skip the awkward labels and cut to the chase here. You should workout for you. Year round happiness over seasonal happiness is key as well. Summer is great, but it offers a lot more than your showing of how many pounds you shed with that at home pilates YouTube streak. You are more than your size, babes.

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Be PROUD of your progress so far, and take on the rest you have to go as a challenge, not a chore. ❤

Hitting the weights or making it to your favorite Zumba class can improve your confidence in your body, by being active and learning to love the progress you make. Fitness can be an amazing release, not a chore to get closer to an ‘ideal’ body that is unattainable. Embrace your body, and workout because you want to be healthier. Have your fitness goal be happiness, whichever exercises bring you that. If you’re bored, mix it up. 

Don’t workout to earn food, or obsess over a particular waist measurement. Discovering a true balance of focusing on how you feel rather than just how you look is an important step towards body positivity and the power of confidence.

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Nourish your body and give yourself credit when you push yourself. 

I’m not saying I don’t succumb to body critiques. I just don’t let them run my life, or my relationship with fitness.

When was the last time you told yourself what you’re grateful for with your body? What makes your body ‘yours’? Because you are one of a kind, don’t forget that. Use fitness to start finding the positives, such as increasing your energy or strengthening your immune system.

Set your own standards. There is no finish line, because fitness isn’t a race. You don’t need to make comparisons to another’s body when it’s not a competition. Give yourself encouragement and set goals that will make you truly happier, and ensure that those goals are for you and you alone.

Make 2018 about body positivity. Go with friends to workouts or enjoy hikes outside. Take a new group class you’ve always wanted to try. Make challenging yourself a passion as opposed to a hurdle. Learn to love what you were born with, and use it as your source of inspiration, not as a subject of critique.

Exercise as sight seeing? Yes please… 
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If you open yourself up to your surroundings and a bigger picture, you’ll see more than the small details. 

Why? Because you deserve that confidence. Self-compassion and acceptance is not always easy, and is a practice that is often overlooked. Step off the scale and push aside the numbers. Choose a starting point and go from there. And enjoy the process.

How are you going to become more body positive? Let me know in the comments. xx

-Kelly

Five Ideas to Consider Before Starting a Blog

Hi everyone,

This week I’m sharing my tips and idea’s for how to start a blog. A beginner’s guide, if you will. I’ve had my blog for about a year and a half, and I have to say, it’s my favorite activity. I love to write and share info and education on topics I love. If you’re wanting to do the same, then read on! ❤

1 . There are a few more technical steps to setting up your blog, but the one decision I’ll give my input on is the platform. I prefer WordPress and have been loving it since I started. There are approximately 82 million WordPress users, so your engagement possibilities are great here. I find the platform user friendly and straightforward for uploading content and images.

If you’re unsure about which platform you want to use, research always helps. What kind of content will you be uploading? For instance, an image dominated blog may apt to go for a platform like Squarespace, for that modern clean look. I, however, love to include a bunch of text in my blog pieces, and compliment it with photography.

WordPress allows me to post aesthetic posts with my writing and one of my new found loves, photography:

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2 . Consider investment. If you aren’t willing to invest some money into your platform, it’s better to know at the beginning stage. A few investments instantly make your blog more professional. The two that I invested in were a domain and a template.

A personalized domain is much more personal to you, as opposed to having the platform name be in the domain. And people respect and appreciate a blog that has gone the extra mile.

WordPress, for instance, offers a variety of templates free of charge, however, my advice would be to look through the free ones and paid ones without focusing on the money factor. Which template stands out to you? Which properly displays the type of content you’ll be posting? After that, it’s up to you. You could always go with a free template to start out and switch later.

3. Think about cross-promotion. By that I mean promoting your blog content on multiple social media platforms to gain more exposure. Currently, my top priority of cross-promotion is Instagram. I feel like I can really show my photography on there and draw my followers to my blog site. I always put my recent blog post in my Instagram bio for easy access.

4. Time commitment/management. Posting regularly on a blog does take time. I aim to post once a week, mostly on a Wednesday or a Thursday according to my posting statistics. Some bloggers aim to post twice a week, and some manage every two weeks. The key is finding what schedule works for you, and sticking to it.

If you’re adding a blog to a current full schedule, blocking out time in your week to write posts and take photos is essential. Sometimes I’ll arrange 5 flatlays in the same sitting and save them so I have them for upcoming posts on Instagram and on my blog. It helps to think ahead! Some examples of flatlays I plan out (when the winter light allows):

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5. Lastly and most importantly, you need a niche. When trying to figure out what your blog will be about, ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I know? (You don’t need to be an “expert”, but go for your strengths)
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What content would I like to read?

Your niche should be something that flows more naturally. If you have always loved keeping up with the latest fashion trends, fashion blogging would be great for you. If you just love photography and taking photos and want to show them to an audience, a photography blog would be great. If you’re passionate about health and wellness, design a blog that covers those topics. Go for your strengths and write what you know.

I consider this point the most important because it ensures authenticity in your writing. I myself strayed from my passions for a few months posting more style and fashion, and my excitement for it faded. Writing about health and wellness and fitness are always on my mind and in my lifestyle, so I found my way back to what I consider to be my strengths.

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Be yourself. Let it come through your blog and through your writing. You’ll be amazed at the feeling of people responding positively to it.

I hope this guide was helpful! For any further inquiries about starting a blog, feel free to drop a comment below or email me. x

-Kelly