My Story

 

If you watch my stories on Instagram, I have shared bits and pieces about my journey to "re-brand" myself as a blogger/influencer/ Instagrammer (what have you). Change is inevitable in all of us over time - our likes and interests change, our goals, our hobbies, etc. You could even say we all have a "brand" that makes us US, whether you put it out on social media or not. Because I do put a lot of my life out for everyone to read and watch, I have been thinking A LOT lately about what feels "right" when I share it, and what feels fake or just not ME. 

{First things first, I must say that simply writing a blog post feels GOOD. I sort of hate that Instagram has taken over and makes people feel like they need to focus all their time on it in the blogger world- and that their actual website/blog is just an accessory to that. I used to blog almost every day and sadly this entire summer I have only written a handful of posts!} 

I had this thought that I wanted to share my journey up to this point. I spend so much time looking forward to what I want to be, and I easily forget how far I have come. (Isn't that the truth for us all!) 

So here we go! The journey of my little blog, 2014- present!

May 2014

I had followed fashion blogs for almost 2 years at this point. Just a handful of them, as they were much less popular back then! (Sincerely Jules, Collage Vintage, and M loves M were my favorites.) I secretly had a dream to create my own. Brandon and I were engaged at the time, and even as supportive as he always is, I was so nervous to ask him to start taking pictures for me. I felt self conscious and that he would think it was totally ridiculous. He loved photography and had a really nice Nikon camera that he used quite often, but taking pictures of my outfits? I didn't know how he would feel!

I can't remember how I first introduced the idea but I do remember pulling up all my favorite bloggers on my Instagram feed to show him what I wanted to emulate. He was totally on board- (I really couldn't believe it!) and one morning after church we brought the camera along to try our first "shoot".

We lived in Boston at the time and its funny to look back because NOW I would kill for that type of backdrop to go out and shoot photos around. I just wanted to shoot against walls or stairs, or very boring grassy areas. Silly, silly me.

Anyways....

We tried a bunch of different shots and angles and I felt totally awkward trying to be a "model". But I still had fun! At this point I knew nothing of photography, or cameras, or editing. Like were talking ZERO. I remember after we shot the photos, Brandon pulled up Lightroom on his computer and he showed me how to upload the photos and import them to edit them. He showed me some basic edits and I played around with all the photos we had just taken.

My very first outfit post ever! Brandon took these outside of my apartment building in Cambridge, Ma

 

That same week we took the photos, I looked up online how to start a wordpress website. I watched how to videos, and bought my domain name - alexander-alexandra.com: still the same domain I own today! It was super basic, I filled out an "about me" section, and had a scrolling home page with all my blog posts. In the posts I would share a little about the outfit and then go and link everything I was wearing manually - this was right when LiketoKnowIt was just getting its start, only a few bloggers had it and I applied for the hell of it, and got denied. I kept linking things though, (for my audience of probably 2 people)

We continued to take photos here and there when we had time and I would take the photos, edit them, and create a blog post and share my photos on my then Instagram handle @alexander-alexandra. 

Note on Instagram and algorithm changes. I kick myself all the time for not really taking advantage of the crazy growth I experienced with that first Instagram handle in 2014. In the first month I had easily grown to 1,000 followers with little effort other than posting the photo and adding a few relevant hashtags. I understand the changes today and how Instagram wants you to engage with others, but it was definitely a different game back in 2014!

Onto about two months into my first attempt at blogging - July 2014. 

Brandon and I weren't living together yet, and he was a full time student at Harvard, and I was working full time for a private equity firm, which the complexity of our schedules made getting out to take photos really difficult. At least for my fashion blogging purposes. Neither of us had a car and our bikes were our main method of transportation. I would sometimes bike to meet Brandon in my cute outfit, heels in my backpack and wipe the sweat off my face before posing in front of a brick wall (UGH, just emphasizing again that we were in a historic, beautiful place and I wanted to pose in front of a brick wall!)

DSC_7813.jpg

see..another wall. a very ugly red brick wall

August 2014

Three months in, the busy-ness of life and the difficulty of finding time to shoot photos killed my few month stint of blogging. I told myself it just wasn't for me, and even though it was secretly my dream to continue, I told myself it just wasn't possible. I deleted my Instagram and let my hosting service expire on my website. (So hard to even think about! I wish I would have kept them.. but I was a little embarrassed over my failed attempt and didn't want anyone to see!)

We continued to shoot lots of photos even after I stopped - but all just in the moment, or from vacations or road trips we took along the East Coast. We had so much fun with the camera. I actually started uploading my photos (no blog, just photos) of our adventures to a photography website. We would shoot little videos too! My love for photography, capturing life and telling stories continued to grow during this time. I took photo editing courses and got really sucked in to the whole creation process. But again, all just in our spare time, and just for fun!

Fast forward to January 2017.

We had found out we were pregnant in November and once my first trimester ended (and my energy returned!) I felt an urge to start blogging once again. I thought - what better time than now? How fun would it be to document my pregnancy, (and share cute maternity outfits along the way). I actually sat down a few weekends straight and went back over ALL our photos we took over the past few years and made blog posts for them. (talk about a huge undertaking! although for most of them I just uploaded photos and didn't write anything for them..maybe someday I will go back and do that?....) I backdated everything to the correct dates of when everything happened. I taught myself Squarespace this time around - it was much different than WordPress and SO MUCH EASIER. It looked better and was pretty customizable! Once I had all my old photos uploaded I talked out a plan (well a very loose, broad plan) with Brandon for taking blog photos together on the weekends so that I had content to post during the week. 

We would shoot several outfits every Sunday. PLUS would take a "bump" photo weekly where I gave pregnancy updates. I really enjoyed getting started again. In all honesty though, I hated writing ABOUT the clothes. I felt very uninspired, and would try to incorporate personal, (and hopefully more interesting) material about our lives when possible. I still loved style and creating somewhat "editorial" content but finding my voice has been a journey I tell ya!

I posted pretty regularly all throughout my pregnancy - all mainly fashion stuff... until our big trip to Italy and France that summer!

I mean how can you NOT take beautiful photos when your in beautiful places. But that really made it concrete for me that ultimately - one of my biggest lifetime goals was to travel as much as possible and share my love for seeing the world with my children. 

It also started me thinking BIGGER about what I wanted out of Alexander-Alexandra. I loved telling stories and writing down memories - and I realized on our trip that if I didn't have my blog, I probably wouldn't be taking as many photos or writing anything down about our experiences. This project that had started out to share my outfits had morphed into a platform in which I saw added more joy and value to my life! All my memories in one spot, that I could have forever to look back on.

Now I know that for the 99% of us that aren't travel bloggers (myself included, although that would be a DREAM) , our lives are must lest postcard worthy and the everyday may look way less picturesque. However, I do believe that seeking adventure big and small in the everyday, has enriched our lives by leaps and bounds. My interest in photography continues to grow on the daily and I must be honest in that my last month or so - I have been less active on my blog and Instagram as I try to work out my vision going forward. But photography lies in the heart of it. 

So I'm going to leave it at that... a big "to be continued" as I hope to come back in a year or so and look back to see this time as a pivot in my "blogging career" to some kind of great new adventure. 

I also write this in the hopes to inspire you to tell your story too - take lots of photos, write in a journey or even better: start a blog! What a wonderful way to learn more about yourself, connect with others, and record your memories forever. 

{if you EVER have questions on blogging, taking photos, squarespace - anything blog related always don't hesitate to reach out. I love helping others get started!}

Thanks for reading friends!!