blogging, education, lifestyle, self-care

The Code

I’m taking a pre-bootcamp JavaScript bootcamp class and it is HARD. I am scared to go to the gym or even leave the house before class because I need to spend every minute breaking this code down so that I can learn it. I realized with my last post that I can’t do both right this second, so I’m putting this here to remind me that I have to do my homework, do my research and generally surrender every waking moment to getting through the next week.

I’ve never been so happy.

See you soon!

Faith/SEB Market BK

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black women, blogging, body image, brooklyn, color, cooking, decorating, exercise, fitness, food, health, home, home decor, home furnishings, influencer, interior decorating, lifestyle, nutrition, personal style, Photography, self-care

The Salad Bowl

So yesterday I went to Soho because there was a sale I wanted to check out, and I ended up at Crate & Barrel. I just meant to browse or maybe get a planter for my homegrown lemon tree, but instead I got this stuff ($15 total, because I am cheap). And out of all of these things, the most important is the salad bowl.

See, I’m on a diet- or rather I’m going back on a diet, or really I’m doing everything I can to guide myself towards better food choices. I went to Dean & Deluca, which I always do when I’m in that neighborhood, and instead of coffee and pastry I did an iced chai with a banana. I am super proud because D&D makes fire baked goods and I did not waver. Which brings us to salads:

I love salad and while salad tastes good in anything, most of the time I’m eating one out of a plastic takeout bowl (recycling!) with a plastic fork (I re-use those, too). This salad was delicious, full of fresh greens, crispy carrots and cucumbers, perfectly boiled eggs and premium Tonnino’s tuna. It tasted amazing, too. But I know how I am and I need to stunt a little so when I saw the bowl, I knew that it was a match made in salad instagramming heaven.

This salad is just a pile of random stuff in a bowl- but look at the bowl! How can you not want to nom everything in it? And it was $2.57! Lightweight but sturdy melamine and looking like an egg yolk pouring out of blindingly white shell. It is pure salad motivation. Btw, this was actually tasty. Chopped salad greens, avocado slices, roasted sweet plantain, ground peanuts roasted with bbq sauce, and slivers of white onion. Topped with cheddar cheese, for color as well as taste. I think I enjoyed it more because it was nestled in bowl perfection.

I just blogged about my bowl to show off, and to show that no matter how you get there, eating good food makes you feel like your best self. Feel free to tell me about what motivates you to eat properly! (Or not, it’s all good).

See ya next time!

Faith/SEB Market BK

blog, blogger, bloggers, blogging, Fashion, NY Fashion Blogger Project

A Blog Grows in Brooklyn (written for iblog mag) #blogging

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So out of the blue I got an email from someone at iblog magazine asking for a post about writing blog reviews for them. I wrote it, in my own words, basically talking about my experience over the course of my time as a blogger. They didn’t like the piece, but I hate to waste blog posts, so I’m just going to publish it here.

A Blog Grows In Brooklyn by Faith Bowman

When I started blogging in 2012, I wasn’t thinking about product reviews or getting paid for anything. I am going to cheerfully admit that the only thing that I concretely knew about blogging was that people stood around posing like fashion models and talked about their clothing as if the fate of millions depended on it. I was luckier than most in that I was a photographer and writer already, and I had experience in fashion journalism. I had already started and closed my own online magazine, and worked for print and online mags both in New York and Chicago. I started blogging as Sassy Ethnic Bohemian with an eye towards being humorous and taking the starch out of the proceedings, but because I was writing  for a huge website and had a profile on Lucky Community I had more traction than someone starting from scratch with nothing. It was extremely good luck and timing in addition to having fun content.

The first product I was asked to review came as a surprise. I was asked to try a skincare oil and the company was offering a free full sized sample. I was sort of confused, because I didn’t know that that was part of the deal. I learned, through networking with other New York bloggers that companies routinely held events where they gave you products, and that there were blogger ‘lounges’ where you could get free stuff.  I was floored. I began working with beauty brands and clothing companies and while I wasn’t making money, I wasn’t really losing anything either. I started interviewing bloggers in order to learn more about the business and used that information to build up my social media presence and that led to getting more stuff. I didn’t actually start getting money for my work until 2015, when a brand that I had casually promoted asked me to set up an online project for them. So now it was free stuff and money.  Success!

This year I was offered money to review a box of products and also made a deal with a feminine care company to write about the products that they had given me to review on a regular basis. I recently wrote blog posts for a haircare company, talking about their products and styling tools. I still work with products to review and write about products in exchange for samples, but more opportunities are on the horizon. My rate of pay has varied per client, but overall I’m happy with the progress that I’ve made, so money is secondary. I’m building up writing credits and gaining experience and insight, too. Not to mention getting to try tons of beauty products. Getting paid, for me, was a validation of my writing skill and relatability and that’s pretty much what I was after. It was also proof that numbers aren’t everything.

In the last few years, the emphasis went from unique content to how many UMV’s. People started asking more about my clicks and I started realizing that I was working hard to create resonant content and be informative, but a lot of brands were more interested in ‘It Girls’ and the stakes were changing. Bloggers were doing deals with major fashion and beauty brands and being called influencers, and I was never going to be that type of person. The blogging industry, if it can be called that, has taken ordinary women and turned them into actual brand spokeswomen. Hair ads featured bloggers, and companies are signing big money deals with them for consulting on products as well as advertising them. It’s empowering and inspiring, but it also begs the question as to how someone who doesn’t want that kind of fame can achieve any measure of success. It’s a bit like losing out twice, since blogging is open to amateurs but then you can only get rewarded if you’re pretty. I did not sign on for this.

Over the course of this year, as I got paying work I also reworked my blog so that it was less kooky, creative professional and more a vehicle for Polyvore generated styling posts (I can access more items and be stylistically daring without actually spending money or having to go to a pr person or brand) and my original content focuses more on product posts. I decided to focus more on beauty, and especially skincare, because clean clear skin is just as important as what shoe you’re wearing. I also use instagram as a sort of backup blog, where I can post images of products to an audience that probably doesn’t follow my blog and who is also looking up images that feature products or brands that they like already. I use twitter, a facebook page and tumblr, but I think instagram has the most impact because people consume visually.

My main goal, in addition to getting more blogging clients, is to create a sustainable business model with the blog as an umbrella to other endeavors like listing my photos with a stock agency, and designing tshirts. Blogging and doing product reviews is awesome, but I also want to make sure that I have a balanced, fulfilling, sustainable business as well.

beauty, blogging, events, Fashion, lifestyle, parties, social media

2014 in review: redesigns, parties, and standing next to Kelly Rutherford

So one time, six months ago, a pr lady told me that even though I had slaved over arranging, executing and promoting a photo shoot prominently featuring her clients products on prominent NY Fashion Bloggers- my numbers weren’t high enough for her clients to continue to work with me.

Ain’t that something? I had to take to my bed for two weeks from anger and disappointment.

After that, I decided to work on my ‘numbers’ and luckily, they got better. But I’m happier about the fact that people are enjoying my content than anything else. That pr lady can suck it.

Also? I had a lot of friends and worked with a ton of people who liked me more than my numbers. And I also got to stand next to Kelly Rutherford at the DKNY25 event, so…

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Also, you may have noticed the the blog has a new look- that was an accident. I started messing around and then couldn’t  get it back to the way it was- so I just went ahead and committed to a new look for 2015.

So that was my year… I had fun. And oh yeah, the fricken numbers are up.

NUMBERS: 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,600 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.