Weekend Reads

I wish more influencers would share their real schedules, not these stupid “aspirational” ones where it only includes making smoothies, going to the gym, having a brand meeting and a meditation session. Why don't they share all the work it takes to prepare for that brand meeting? How they drove an hour to a pretty place for their photoshoots and realized they left their bra at home, or their shoes, or their lipstick and how they have to change in the car and pull a muscle trying to zip up a jumpsuit in the passenger seat. How they wake up in the morning to 250 new emails? How they may not know something super basic but they know SEO (search engine optimization) and site metrics and social media better than the VP of that role at a major corportation? How most of their days are chock-full yet really boring to look at?

Last week, someone hacked my hosting account (for those unfamiliar, this is the company that provides the servers to have my site exist on the internet). Luckily, my hosting sent an email immediately and I was at my desk when it showed up. I logged into the account and immediately changed my password and reached out to their tech support to block that individual. While I was at it, I changed the passwords for my blog and my LastPass and a few other sites. I have a Mac desktop, Mac laptop, and an iPhone and passwords usually save across the board in Keychain. I don't save my LastPass password (please don't save your LastPass password with Keychain or your browser password collector, that's like leaving your front door key under the mat) but I wrote it down on a Post-It Note. All is well, I do most of my blogging from my desktop in my office. And then I went on travel, and couldn't get into my blog. I went to log into LastPass, though I had put the Post-It note in a spot where I'd find it easily but no one else would connect it to my computer… and it wasn't there. Oh well, this is LIFE telling me to not work and actually enjoy my getaway. But then I had a half-finished blog post scheduled to go live, what if I got hit by a car while in NYC and no one could get into my blog and this half-written post would publish and be the last thing ever on Wardrobe Oxygen? And well, I didn't have anything scheduled for Tuesday or Wednesday.

Riding the bus home from NYC, I reached out to my sister, who is an admin on my blog in case I do get hit by a car and need someone to log in and preserve this business. She gave me her password, and I couldn't log in as her either. I was frantic, but then remembered I use ChloeDigital. They were able to log in and get me back in within ten minutes. The wifi wasn't working on the bus, but I used my phone's hotspot and took photos my friend Sylvia shot just a couple hours earlier and made Wednesday's blog post.  

What it takes to make a blog post like the one from Wednesday:

  • Put together a cute outfit.  Have someone shoot pictures of you in said cute outfit.  Depending on the weather, lighting, setting, photographer, and your outfit this shoot could take 15 minutes or an hour not including travel and coordination with photographers, locations, and others who may be in the shoot.
  • Receive and edit photos.  This time was easy; Sylvia only took like 12 pictures on her phone and AirDropped them all to me.  I scrolled through my phone, deleted the ones with only one eye open or where I just didn't feel the cutest.  I then used the app TouchReTouch to remove my nipples.  Yes my nipples.  It was cold AF and they were on full display and while that is natural and healthy, it can be distracting and I wanted to write about my outfit, not about my body.  I don't do a lot of editing to my photos; I may clone out dog hair or trash on the ground but I mainly play with color and light in Lightroom.  I didn't color-correct these photos; no time and really no need. Then I AirDropped the photos from my phone, to my computer, where I used PicMonkey to make each photo a smaller file size so they wouldn't slow down my site.  When I save these compressed images, I save them with phrases that describe what's in the picture to help be picked up in Google Images.
  • I write my post before adding photos.  This is the copy and the things like Sweater: The Sweater Company (size large; plus-size equivalent) | Shoes: Shoe Town (sold out; similar) | Earrings: Earring World (budget-friendly option). I then work on collecting links.  Links for the sweater, the shoes, the earrings, but also the plus-size and budget-friendly and alternative options.  I use a bookmarklet from my affiliate platform that I can click while on the product page that will give me the ability to save the item for my shop the post widgets but also give me a coded link for affiliate sales.  That is if the product is on that affiliate platform.  If it's not I Google to see if it is on another platform and sometimes have to apply to that platform to get the link. 
    • For Wednesday's post, the jumpsuit I wore was sold out both on Nordstrom and the Topshop site so I searched for something similar.  “Gray Boilersuit Women,”Gray coveralls women,” “Gray topshop jumpsuit,” “Cotton boilersuit button front women” and on and on until I found pieces I felt gave the vibe.  I focus more on similar silhouette and fabric with my “similar” options. The best I could find was coveralls from Vince Camuto that came in black and tan, and in a good range of sizes. It was a pricepoint and brand I know you all are comfortable with.  It took about an hour to get to this point because I really really wanted to find some in gray!
    • I then create the “shop the post” widget which is actually quite easy.  I go into that affiliate program's dashboard, go to that feature, click the items I had previously saved, choose the image size, widget width, and whether I want the prices to show and it gives me a code I drop into the blog post.
  • Now I upload the photos into the blog.  I play with which ones go where.  The first image disappears on RSS readers and some email programs.  Not sure why, but because of that I don't put my favorite as the first. If I write about the shoes, I want a picture of the shoes above that paragraph.  If I go into a rant about a pant silhouette or a color, I then go through the search I did for the coveralls to find more examples of that silhouette or color in a good range of sizes and prices and make another widget.  With each image that is uploaded, it gets coded with a unique Pinterest Title, Pinterest Description, alt description (what is picked up by a screen reader), and a description for King Google. 
    • If I am doing an informative post, I usually create a graphic in Canva.  I have templates and a brand kit I paid a graphic designer to create for me so they all look pretty consistent with my logo and branding. Sometimes I create more than one; a horizontal rectangle at the top of the post and a vertical one that is either later in the post or hidden and will pop up if you try to pin a different image, thanks to a plugin I bought.  I also create additional graphics to upload directly to Pinterest because that site loves fresh images and those who love Pinterest seem to love my content.
  • Now I go through and see if I mentioned anything else.  After looking at this post this long, I often miss things.  This is when you say, “Hey Allie there's no link to the insoles you mentioned.”  I swear I went through it 50 times but still missed that link – one of the perils of being a one-woman show. But I always try to link at least once back to a different blog post on Wardrobe Oxygen – Google loves that (you want to appeal to the Google Gods so you get traffic to your site), but it's also great for new readers to experience some of my archives and to show how I rewear items over and over.
  • I then use a plugin to create a description for the post, some keywords for Google to know what I wrote about.  I set a featured photo, choose tags and categories to organize the post, and schedule it for a certain date to go live at 6 am ET. 
  • Finally, if the photos were taken on a camera I email or AirDrop them to myself.  I then edit an image with A Color Story and craft a caption.  I go into the rewardStyle app to connect the photo to the items I previously bookmarked so individuals can shop my look on LikeToKnowIt. I then go into Instagram and share the caption with or without the LTK stuff and I save it as a draft and post it quickly (sometimes before the gym, sometimes after, regularly in the evening when I am yelling at my daughter to brush her teeth). 
  • After the post goes live, if I am being a good blogger and remember, I share the post on Instagram Stories with a swipe-up.  I also pin images from the post to various Pinterest boards I own or am a member of and upload original not-in-post content to Pinterest.  I share the post on my Facebook page and my Facebook group
  • If the post is sponsored, within 48 hours I gather analytics (screenshots from Instagram Stories and the feed and other social platforms showing the metrics as well as appropriate data from Google Analytics and such) and send to my point of contact/s along with an invoice and often a suggestion on how we can work together again or at least chat soon to discuss future collaborations.

I was psyched to get Wednesday's post done before our bus even hit the Maryland State Line Tuesday evening.  You can imagine how many hours it takes to create a capsule wardrobe like I shared Monday, or when I gather celebrity photos like I did with this post about tucking in tops.  And I totally missed a few links and even sharing one of my favorite photos from the shoot.

This isn't a pity me my life is sooo hard kind of post.  Because my life isn't hard.  I've worked retail, I worked for a construction firm, I've worked in the service industry. I worked in Corporate America for 15 years for great people and for terrible people.  I know this job is easier, and that is why I chose it.  But there is a lot more that goes behind the scenes to a simple blog post or photo on Instagram.  If you think all influencers do is drink lattes and go to the gym, it's likely because it's the only “cute” thing they've done all day, they know they'll get shit on for whining about how hard their job is, and because they were too busy to post anything else. That being said, there are some truly lazy influencers out there and they grind my gears, but there were lazy jerks in every other job I had that somehow got away with it while the rest of us were working late at the office and being passed up for promotions. It's not really much different, it just has a pretty filter on it.

Weekend Reads

I liked this piece about what NOT to say to Girl Scouts selling cookies.  (Big Crazy Life) We started booth sales last week and it is shocking the inappropriate things adults will say and do to young girls.  The biggest one?  Weight and diet. You may be on a diet, you may not be able to consume sugar, but you don't need to share that with these girls.  Because you are one of dozens of people she will encounter who also state that within that one-hour shift. Imagine how that affects their own self-image and what is important as an adult. And since I'm on the topic, if you don't have Girl Scouts in your area selling cookies, you can buy online from my daughter and have them mailed to you or purchase cookies to be delivered to deployed troops!  Cookies are available through March 15.

What color is your name? (Medium)

I really enjoyed this profile of James Corden. (New Yorker)

It's not a medical clinic, it's a caste system. (Jezebel)

Jane Fonda on aging, climate change, and finally living life for herself. (Elle Canada)

Ruben Toledo on The Times of Bill Cunningham, the upcoming film about his friend, the famous street photographer. (Vogue)  I loved Bill Cunningham New York, and Fashion Climbing was a delightful read; I look forward to this movie.

A 14-year-old in Atlanta created one of the biggest dances on the internet. But nobody really knows that. (New York Times)

Whether or not you like Taylor Swift, I recommend watching her Netflix documentary, Miss Americana.  It may change your thoughts on this pop star and is great to watch with the young girls in your life, as well as the men in your life.  What really stood out with it (and also Jessica Simpson's memoir which I gobbled up most of it on the bus to NYC) is how many who claim to love and protect women are in full support of disordered eating and hypergymnasia so these girls can have the looks to achieve success.  I've been meaning to share this doc with you all, but didn't know how to share it where it wouldn't get lost in the sauce or be seen as fluff.  Anna, a reader of the blog sent me an article from Buzzfeed about Taylor Swift, disordered eating, and body image, suggesting it for Weekend Reads. “But just because we recognize the ridiculousness of an ideal doesn’t mean we don’t find ourselves subject to it. These ideals are so pernicious that they have completely, and perhaps forever, messed up millions of people’s relationship with food, one of the most elemental components of living as a human in the world.” (Buzzfeed)

For Your Entertainment

Princess Nokia is the alter ego of Destiny Frasqueri, who is also founded Smart Girls Club, a collective of urban feminists who collaborate and promote one another's work. At age three, she lost her mother to AIDS; from age 9 to 16 she lived in foster care in East Harlem, experiencing such intense physical abuse from their foster mother they had to wear makeup to a black eye for school Picture Day. She ran away at age 16 to live with her grandmother in the Lower East Side. Her parents were hip-hop fans, but she was exposed to heavy metal as a young child, and as she grew up became a major fan of Riot Grrl and punk music.  She is passionate about intersectional feminism and uses her art to share her message.  You may not have heard of Princess Nokia before, but you've likely heard her song, “Tomboy” which is used in the Billie razor commercial. This song has a great message and many references to things in her life; instead of paraphrasing this video on Genius is of Princess Nokia discussing her song Sugar Honey Iced Tea (S.H.I.T.).

19 Comments

  1. March 2, 2020 / 1:46 pm

    This post is amazing and so appreciated because I felt like I was doing all this extra work around each blog post I write because it always seems so “easy” for everyone else based on what I see on social media. I was like WHAT AM I MISSING HERE? When truth is- I am not missing a thing. It takes a ton of work to do these posts and promo and all that jazz thoroughly- who woulda thunk it? Thanks for sharing!

  2. February 28, 2020 / 7:10 pm

    Thank you for the workflow. I’m a mommy blogger and it’s very similar.

  3. Angela
    February 25, 2020 / 8:40 am

    Thank you for writing this. I’m new to Wardrobe Oxygen and like how you share the behind the scenes along with thought provoking links. Keep it up!

  4. February 24, 2020 / 6:52 pm

    New reader here but absolutely LOVED this post. Thanks for sharing this

  5. Gay B
    February 21, 2020 / 8:14 pm

    I love these behind the scenes posts. I know nothing about blogging/influencers and whatever else there is. This is completely fascinating to me.

  6. RoseAG
    February 17, 2020 / 9:38 am

    I’m reaching the point where I’ve bought half a dozen boxes, and that’s what I should say — but mostly I say, “oh how about those toffee ones?”
    I like the Girl Scouts and even if I throw the unopened boxes out, which I have done, it’s worth it to support them.

  7. Lauren
    February 16, 2020 / 1:14 pm

    Thanks for keeping it real, I always say, nothing really takes just 10 mins, prepping for a presentation or a proposal pitch takes hours of boring research and layout of decks that people want to see, sometimes gloss over, but always think just take a few minutes to throw together! I appreciate seeing the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, because that is where the blood, sweat and tears make the magic!

  8. February 16, 2020 / 8:15 am

    As a new blogger I really appreciated that detailed account of your process for creating a post. I recognized many of the steps but some were new to me and will help me to do better – so thank you! I do have a question about photos showing up in RSS feeds. About 50% of the time my feed for a post has a photo with it, and the rest of the time it doesn’t, and I can’t figure out why, I’ve tried everything I can think of to be consistent in the way I size, name and post photos. When the photo does show, it’s always the featured photo. You said your first photo doesn’t show, so which one does and how do you determine which one is going to show — and make sure that it always does?

    • February 16, 2020 / 9:17 am

      I know every other photo shows and the top one, whether it’s above all copy or lower into the post, won’t. Not exactly sure why, and it doesn’t seem to happen to everyone. I make my featured photo in WordPress one that will look good in the thumbnail when shared on Facebook and will also look good in my slideshow at the top of my homepage. So one that is likely vertical but also can be cropped to a square or rectangle and not just be background or my crotch (LOL). I upload all the photos into the post and then choose a featured photo. If you upload a separate one as your featured photo it can show twice or not at all. I’m not sure why you’re experiencing what you are; I know in the past I’ve had photo issues and it was because of the WP theme I chose for my blog. I highly recommend WP Beginner, it’s a great site to help with WordPress issues (https://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/how-to-fix-common-image-issues-in-wordpress/). Also find some Facebook groups for bloggers, I learn so much from them. If you’re looking to make money from your blog I can’t recommend Brandi Riley’s group enough, it’s supportive and a good range of bloggers from novice to pro: https://www.facebook.com/groups/728236540607997/ Marie Denee from The Curvy Fashionista also has a really supportive online community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1610744245639822/ if you’re part of any affiliate programs they usually have FB groups too. <3

      • February 17, 2020 / 6:47 am

        Thank you!! If I ever figure it out I’ll let you know!

  9. Lainey
    February 15, 2020 / 9:59 pm

    Mostly a lurker here, but had to chime in on that Girl Scout cookie article! I just got back from a booth with my Girl Scout where a lady proceeded to sternly lecture our table of 6-year-olds on how unhealthy cookies are and how she doesn’t eat them and they shouldn’t be either. I was truly shocked and had a difficult time holding my tongue. I got the sense that she thought that she was actually offering helpful advice, too. It did provide a teachable moment to talk about manners and the fact that this is something even many grownups are working on.

  10. Stacie Scattergood
    February 15, 2020 / 4:47 pm

    “Forward” just started advertising their clinic opening here. I was happy to see their Facebook posts largely made fun of, but reading the article just makes me sick. So much of healthcare in this country is indeed already a caste system–can’t afford healthcare or don’t have an employer sponsored program? Go to the emergency room–maybe if you get lucky, they’ll write your case off for charity, but for-profit hospitals in our area have been called out for deliberately NOT following through for patients who clearly can’t afford their care.
    Ali, I so look forward to Weekend Reads–that aspect too must be so much time and energy, but you genuinely help expose me to music, news, and ideas I never would find on my own. Thank you.

  11. Karin
    February 15, 2020 / 4:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing that Girl Scout article. I never even considered how saying “I’m on a diet” or joking about being too fat to buy cookies affects young girls, but I will now – and I’ll make it a point to buy cookies.

  12. Marjolijn
    February 15, 2020 / 2:05 pm

    Hi, I just wanted to say that I greatly enjoy your blog. We are about the same age and size (I’m taller but also heavier, so that evens out), and I love your style and unfiltered realness (is that a word?). As I live in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, I can’t always buy your recommendations but I find them usefull anyways since you always explain why you like or dislike something.
    So, in two weeks I’ll spend a lond weekend in New York. With my mother. Can you recommend any restaurants and/or clothing stores we should visit?

  13. Ellen Smith
    February 15, 2020 / 12:46 pm

    We recently watched Taylor Swift’s movie, on the recommendation of our 24 year old daughter, a huge TS fan. She grew up with Taylor Swift. She was so inspired she went to college in Nashville, majored in music and actually got to meet her at a Target in Nashville. She was the kind of person my daughter had imagined her to be…kind, friendly, willing to spend time with fans. She has been a great role model every step of the way and her recent honest talk of her struggles speaks volumes to the girls who grew up with her.

  14. Megan
    February 15, 2020 / 9:53 am

    Thank you for sharing that Taylor Swift article! I was so glad that she shared that part of her life in Miss Americana. It couldn’t have been easy to be that vulnerable but I know it has already led to so many good conversations.

  15. Lee
    February 15, 2020 / 9:18 am

    Oh my goodness—I’m tired after reading all of that! It’s always interesting to read your “behind the scenes” posts since you show us how much work your job takes.

    The Buzzfeed article on Taylor Swift & disordered eating is so interesting & shocks me a bit too—because I know SO many women who are exhibiting similar behaviors and it’s just considered “normal.” So many women I know are constantly talking about how much they exercise, what they do & don’t eat, what size they are (& it’s interesting how cleverly they drop that into conversations with humble bragging), etc. It’s like a way females try to one-up each other. As someone who has always struggled with weight, I get so uncomfortable with those conversations. I also know that there were times when I felt heavy but if I look back at old pictures, I’m surprised to see that girl who looked normal & completely fine. Why didn’t I recognize that then?? Because society has taught us that we are never good enough…I’m now noticing that lots of bloggers are talking about Intermittent Fasting. Is this healthy or is it the newest fad for women to get into & further perpetuate our inappropriate body images? I honestly don’t know.

    Anyway, I need to stop. This is not a therapy session, but thank you for sharing these types of articles with us & encouraging us to talk about it, recognize it, & try to stop it.

  16. Jo Stone
    February 15, 2020 / 8:25 am

    Wow! I am exhausted from that description ! GOOD on you for sharing it.

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