So, for today’s post, we are doing something a little bit different… by (semi?) popular demand… my first Q&A. I LOVED getting your questions on Snapchat… and am thinking of making this a weekly feature over here. So, if you enjoy this and have a question… feel free to comment below or snap ’em to me (I’m grace.atwood) and I will answer them next week. I have to say, I was so impressed by your questions. I wasn’t sure what to expect. These were really fun to answer… so thank you for making this so enjoyable! (And if you have more questions, send away!!!)
Okay – onto the questions!! We’ll start with an easy one.
Where do you get your brows done?
I go to Benefit, downtown in Soho! I try to remember to go once a month… I’ll get them tinted slightly darker and then shaped. 🙂
I just moved to LA and live in this awesome apartment. I am obsessed with your gallery wall. What is a budget friendly way to decorate your apartment and find gallery wall worthy pieces?
First of all, congrats on the move – and finding an awesome space in LA! This is such a good question. I really took my time planning my gallery wall, selecting pieces one by one and then slowly assembling the wall together. Something I don’t talk about over here very often is that I’m actually really, really into art. I try to go to at least one art exhibit or show a week and I have a few artist friends (my friend Aly!) who gave me pieces for my wall, so I started with those and just sort of added to them. At first, I hung the pieces I knew I loved and had to have… and then I bought frames that would complement those pieces. In the early stage, I actually framed ads and magazine editorial pages that I found and liked. And then I’d look for a print the size of the frame, and replace the magazine page with the print. It took me a while (over a year!) but now I love it.
So, here are my tips for assembling a gallery wall on a budget. First of all, for art, figure out what you are looking for and then find a few prints you love. My favorite resources that are on a budget are Etsy and Minted. Then, find a great framing resource. I personally love Framebridge. They do such an amazing job. And look for some smaller frames to do a DIY job. My own gallery is a mix of pieces I had professionally framed + frames I found that fit in well. This frame set from West Elm is really great (I have it on my own gallery wall). It’s definitely more of an art than a science!
What’s your best advice for staying organized and timely between all of your events, traveling, working out and blogging?
Oh man – that’s a hard one as sometimes I don’t even feel like I’m all that organized. I constantly struggle to find a balance… but I’m always working on this. The biggest thing for me has been learning to prioritize and say NO without feeling badly. I place a very high value on my time and if an invitation I receive isn’t a) something I genuinely really want to do, b) something that will help me to grow and develop as a person, or c) something I am being paid to do, I usually say no. Those are my big three criteria… especially the first two. I get that the being paid part might sound lame, but if you only focus upon doing what you love and growing + developing, you might end up broke! 😉
When I was working and blogging full-time, the two things I felt the worst about were not seeing/talking to my family enough, and not working out enough. So now, those are my top two priorities. I really put an emphasis on exercise and living healthy. I work with a trainer and we schedule our workouts at the beginning of every month. And then I go in and fill in classes/alternate workouts for the days that we don’t see each other. Scheduling in my workouts as if they were meetings has really helped me to get into better shape. From there, I sort of just fill everything else in. I do a lot of my core “work” (blog posts, content creation) at off hours (at night and on the weekends). I might have mentioned this but I’m definitely a night owl… I do my best work in the evenings. The biggest “work” thing is to find the time to respond to all of the emails… there are so many, and often times I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle just trying to respond to everything. Prior to blogging full time, I worked in the corporate world for eleven years. I easily get quadruple the emails in this job than I did from any other. It can be brutal!!!
Events come last. I don’t particularly love them but they are a necessary evil to the job, and networking is really important. I’ve started doing something where I always ask for a plus one, so that at the very least I can see a friend while at the event, or use it as a networking experience. And having someone I know with me makes it a little bit easier.
Also! I put every meeting, appointment, etc. in my google calendar and synch my phone to my calendar. For meetings + events, I always add the pertinent details (the name of the person who invited me, + their contact info; the location). This is hugely helpful – if my calendar were to be deleted, I would be totally lost.
What are your favorite Face Masks?
Oh boy. It’s fitting that I would get asked this as I’m always masking on Snapchat. 😉 I LOVE a good face mask. My all time favorite is the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask as it does all of the good things. It exfoliates, leaves your skin ultra glowy + radiant, and tightens everything up. In a pinch (especially if my face is bloated) I love Roloxin Lift (it’s like an instant face lift and tightens everything up immediately). And two that are just fun: this GlamGlow Mask – it makes you look like the tin man while it’s on, and leaves you super glowy… and this magnetic mask. It’s a weird/amazing new discovery… I’ve truly never seen anything like it!
Any advice for dark circles? Mine are terrible!
Ugh. I wish I could tell you some skincare product that will work, but so far the only thing I’ve tried for dark circles that truly works is The Cure for eyes. It’s magical (and also tinted, but that means you can skip concealer). It’s expensive but worth every. single. penny.
Where do you store all of your stuff? I struggle with this in my small apartment and wonder how you do it.
Okay, I’m going to answer this question in two parts. First of all, I promise – today on Snapchat, I will do a little “storage tour,” if that makes sense. I’ll show you where I stash all my things. Follow me on snapchat at grace.atwood!
Secondly, NYC situation is probably not the norm. When I moved, I was looking at one bedroom apartments, but chose my current (lofted studio) because the layout was more conducive to my lifestyle. I also chose to live in a less cool neighborhood (I’m on the cusp of Murray Hill and Gramercy depending on how you look at it, but really… it’s Murray Hill!) I dream of a cute apartment in the West Village, but… hiiiii… my apartment has two giant closets. One houses all my dresses + coats, and the other houses my tops, pants, and skirts. That being said, there are a few tricks that help. I love slimline hangers and I keep all of my odds + ends (scarves, clutches, hats) stashed in these pretty baskets. And I have this giant mirror thing to hold all of my jewelry (a serious problem after working for over four years at BaubleBar!)
I also edit, religiously. I sell/donate all of the time. I bring bags of clothing to Crossroads at least once a month and donate the rest to Goodwill. I may be too stringent on what I keep or donate, but I know that if my closet is overly cluttered, I won’t see/wear the pieces I truly want to!
A great resource is Marie Kondo’s book…. it really helped me. I love the idea of only keeping the things that bring you joy!
Can you talk about your journey and how you’ve gotten so independent? You always seem so happy, even just by yourself, in your own company!
This is a strange one but I will try to explain it the best, most honest way that I possibly can. If you went back four years ago, I was in a very serious relationship and a completely different person. During those four years, my biggest fear was that the relationship would end. I was incredibly needy and dependent upon my boyfriend. So needy. The person I am today would NOT have been friends with the person I am today. If you want the whole truth, I am actually pretty embarrassed by that girl. When the relationship ended, you would have thought I would have become a huge mess (I was, for a few months) but the opposite actually happened. The worst thing I could imagine had happened, and I became fearless.
I put all of my energy into figuring out myself. What I wanted, the things that make me tick, the things that bring me (as an individual) joy. It was very weird, as I had always been in relationships. Prior to the 4 year relationship, there had been a string of others that lasted from anywhere from 6 months to 1.5 years. I realized I’d had a nasty habit of taking on my boyfriends’ interests and putting them first. (I still do think you should always put your significant other first, but not to the same degree). So, at 30 years old, I was not even a fully formed human. I’m being serious. I was just a shell.
After that breakup, I spent a good year just working on me. I decorated my apartment, I got my own interests, I made new friends, and I just focused every drop of energy on being selfish and figuring out my own stuff. It was not easy, but I did it… and I learned so much about myself in the process.
That breakup was three years ago, and now things are a little bit different. I finally feel ready for an actual real, serious relationship but sometimes I worry that I have become TOO independent! I still haven’t met the right person, and that can be really hard. At the same time, I do recognize that someday, I’ll be married, hopefully with kids… and I won’t have the opportunities I have right now. You have to just sort of seize the day. So, sometimes I just do the things I want to do because that’s my only choice. Do the things, live the life, or sit around waiting to have someone to do them with. I spent New Years in London. I rang in the New Year with dear friends, but I spent the rest of the time mostly going to art museums by myself. This could be seen as depressing, but I made it an adventure… stopping into galleries, chatting with strangers, and doing all the things I wanted to do (shopping at Harrod’s, sipping on a Negroni at the Chiltern Firehouse). The me from four years ago would not have recognized this little adventuress, and that made me feel really proud.
At the end of the day, you are all you have. Of course, you have friends and if you are lucky, a great significant other. But if you aren’t able to be happy on your own, and you aren’t doing the things that nurture your own individuality, you aren’t fully living. That’s just my two cents.
What are your golden rules for professional etiquette? What do you wish people did more of? What small acts of professionalism have gone a long way with you?
Gahhh! Another great question! My golden rule is to treat everyone with respect. I try to respond (even with just a quick “Pass, thank you”) to every email I receive, as long as it is addressed to me personally. If an email is addressed “Dear blogger,” or worse “Dear Fashionista,” I am inclined to send it to SPAM. I used to be better at sending hand written thank you notes, but this summer got a little crazy. I need to get back to that. I felt like they went a really long way with the brands I work with.
On the other side, what goes a long way with me is when a brand/publicist has actually read my blog before they reach out. You’d be surprised how many people just buy lists and send emails without putting any thought into them. This is just a waste of everyone’s time. Nothing makes me happier than receiving a genuine email. From there, it’s usually very easy to connect and chat about whatever the work-related topic may be. I remember once that a brand I wasn’t sure about working with put together a huge PowerPoint detailing out my current content and how we could work on that specific partnership. My initial reaction had been to pass, but I accepted as they’d clearly figured out a way for us to work together in a way that my readership would enjoy.
Last but not least (as I said before) I place a high value on my time. So if someone reaches out and is able to do so concisely, that also goes a very long way. This may sound rude or cut-throat, but I never fail to be amazed by the number of meetings that could be phone calls, or phone calls that could be emails. Efficiency is so underrated!
What is one thing you would change about your job?
Oh gosh. This is difficult to say but I will just be brutally honest. I wish that blogging full-time were a more respected profession. I wake up every morning SO excited to get to do what I love, and SO grateful to get to do it, but I work my butt off running this blog. I easily work 60+ hours a week (a lot of the time it doesn’t feel like work as I’m doing what I love). I’m so tired of having to be defensive or educate friends/family/acquaintances on how my job actually works. I went on a date once where the guy said, “So basically, you get paid to just walk around and look hot.” Yes, he really said this. I know he meant it as a compliment, but it really stung + pissed me off a little.
The thing is, this is my business and I treat it as such. Photoshoots are about 5% of my work week. Writing is (sadly!) only about 10-20%. The rest of the time is spent doing all the things regular people do in their regular jobs. Recording analytics into spreadsheets, going over legal contracts, more spreadsheets, social media upkeep, accounting, invoicing (I’m always following up with brands to make sure I get paid… yesterday I followed up on something from February!), countless back and forth with the brands I work with… and a lot of unglamorous stuff (running around like a maniac tracking down product before a shoot – it’s almost always late and brand often give you unattainable deadlines to produce content), going to my mailbox and carrying home countless boxes of stuff I never asked for or wanted (PR mailings can be fun, but they can be a nightmare too… think of lugging a 50 lb. box 10 blocks home, only to get styrofoam peanuts all over your apartment and open up a box that contains every single shade of a brand’s new foundation). It can also be lonely. I’m home by myself all day, and I never feel like I’m allowed to complain to my friends and family because they have more conventional jobs with bosses that yell at them and annual reviews and all of that stuff. I’ve been there, and can assure you… working for yourself is just as hard… it’s just different.
Like I said, every job has it’s ups and downs. I love the flexibility I have. I love the community of readers I have. I adore this job and would not trade it for any other one. But just like any other job, it’s also really hard work. When people only see the pretty pictures, it can look like we (bloggers) live in this constant state of lattés, pretty clothes, and sunsets. But trust me, we are working just as hard as you are.
Photography by Lydia Hudgens.