How to Manage a Blog While Working Full Time

DSC09265

DSC09273

Oh shit. So you started a blog or small online business and you're thinking to yourself, "What did I get myself into?!" It's terrifying. A few years ago, (when I started this blog) I imagined myself blogging every other month or so. Casually uploading a photo of an outfit and imagined it getting 10,000 views in a day. Doesn't that sound like the best dream ever? The truth is, you're in for a fun ride and blogging or running a small online business (while working full time to bring in the real cheddar) takes work - like any kind of success. So before we get into the good stuff... (blah blah blah) There are days that will suck and you'll want to throw in the towel but don't. (blah blah blah) know that this article is targeted to those looking to create success from their blog or online business, so if you're just blogging for fun then you do you, HONEY. (Blah blah blah) These are tricks I have learned along the way and if there's something I left out, then leave it in the comments for the rest of us!

FIND THE TIME

WHY do I even have to say this? Because people actually think I get a full 8 hours of sleep at night and it's hilarious. When you want to run a small business on the side of having to work a 9-to-5, you MUST create time for yourself to push content. That means less Big Bang Theory at night and more waking up an hour earlier to plan, write and edit. If you're running a small t-shirt business, well GET ON IT. Everyday, commit to drawing or designing a new shirt (even if you don't end up using it), creating over and over and over again gets you to produce work you're ACTUALLY proud of. It's like pushing writer's block out of the way by writing. Easy right?

Time Tips:

Luis and I schedule a day off during the weekend to completely focus on our work. We will sometimes shoot 4 outfit posts in one day. That means I'm changing in the back of the car or in public bathrooms but when you want something bad, you gotta do what you gotta do. When you need to get work done, block off a day in your calendar and set it as "busy" and be sure to set an alert to remind you when the time is getting close. If you don't take your scheduled time seriously, you will lose out on so much!

Start a REAL calendar and stick to it. You know those old school pieces of paper bound together with little tiny squares that tell you what day it is? Yeah, get one of those things and WRITE THINGS DOWN. Write down when you're going to blog or sell shirts (or whatever it is that you're doing), write down when you're going to network (or keep track of events), and block out time to be creative and to push out content. I'm a little old school when it comes to this kinda stuff (mostly because I'm a sucker for a good planner) but it really helps to see my whole month planned out for editorial and it helps me schedule in new content that comes in.

Use your lunch or afternoon breaks to stay on top of comments or emails, write up new content, or brainstorm for new ideas. I find that small 15 minute intervals of brainstorming help so much. When I know I only have 15 minutes of my break to utilize, I find that I can write out all of the ideas and mess in my head and I can come back to it later.

SCHEDULE YOUR SHIT

When your boss has deadlines set for you to meet, there's no messing around. You can't be instagramming and writing blog posts during work. About 60% of my blog posts and posts to social media are all scheduled. Wordpress allows you to set a time and date for when you want your blog post to go live. Sort of how I'm writing this blog post in my pajams, while eating cherries and watching "You're the Worst"... only you'll read this while I'm fast asleep or just waking up. Yes, posting time matters too - so think of your target market and set a time for early in the morning so you can cash in on all your real stats from the beginning of the day. I'm originally from the East Coast so my readership is heavy at 4am Pacific time and since there's no way in hell you're getting me up that early to post, I schedule everything! Most websites like Wordpress, Blogger and SquareSpace allow you schedule your posts... but what about social media? Here's a few I'm digging right now.

Scheduling apps:

UnUm: An app that allows you to not only schedule your Instagram posts but also allows you to see what your new post will look like with the rest of your feed. I have deleted images in my feed because they throw off the whole vibe or consistency of my brand (yeah it's a real thing) so having a tool where I can see what my post will look like before it goes live is MAGIC.

Planoly: Another Instagram management app that's actually pretty awesome. I bailed on the app a week ago because they wanted to charge me and well... homie don't play that. But if you don't mind spending the extra $ then it's another good app to try.

Later (formerly Latergramme): Much like the other scheduling apps but different. I really like Later for their desktop interface. You can upload multiple posts with hashtags, @mentions, and you can schedule right down to the minute it's posted. When the time comes for your post to go live, you get a notification on your phone and all of the content is pushed to your Instagram account. Additionally, you can add team members to your social media handle to help manage your account. I wont say that it takes an army to manage my social media (because you know I have all but 2,000 followers) but any help I can get - I'll take.

SOCIAL MEDIA ES MUY IMPORTANTE:

If you're not pushing content to your social channels you may as well be living in a cave in a far away place. No one will know how to find you if you are not putting content out there. This whole online business thing isn't very "if you build it they will come." My advice is to stick to 3 main social media platforms and focus your attention on building your following and then alternate with other platforms you may not use everyday. Depending on what your demographic is and what you're trying to build, the social channels you choose can be detrimental to the success of your business or blog.

Get help:

Building a brand or online following is tough. I have a few friends and family who are dedicated to helping me win at life. From taking photos, to helping me repost on social media, I honestly don't know how I'd do it all alone and you don't have to wonder either. Recruit your friends or family. Let them know how important your new business is to you and help them with their goals in exchange.

BUT (you knew this was coming) don't wait on other people to help you get to where you need to be. There have been times that I've used a camera tripod to shoot my photos when I just can't find anyone to help. Be punctual with your content and stick to a plan so you're not scurrying around at the last minute trying to get things together. Investing in a business is tough and it's a commitment, so don't be afraid to pay for people to help you if you really need it. That can be anything from social media help, website changes, photography and the like. You might be a one (wo)man band, but don't let that be the downfall to your blog or business.

BE ALL THERE

This one I left for last because it's so important. Your new life and new chapter may be super exciting and take up A LOT of your time, but don't get lost in it. The whole purpose of scheduling your time and making an editorial calendar is to be able to have time for yourself the rest of the days that you have off. When it starts to become an annoyance and you start rolling your eyes or huffing and puffing to push content, then what are you doing it for? Although it may seem different on social media, I love being present in every moment and remind myself not to document EVERYTHING. We get it, those Eggs Benedict are BOMB but if you let that food go cold because you're trying to push content, you're losing cool points with me. I'm a photo and video taker by nature, I have been since I was a kid, but I usually am never directly posting to my social channels or blog when I'm in the moment. I give myself a decent few minutes to get everything out of my system by taking all the photos I need and then my phone or camera goes away so I can enjoy the rest of my time. Remember to schedule in time for yourself and your family. Down time is so important and if you're constantly thinking about your blog or business, you're never allowing the mind to rest or reset.

if you're feeling bummed about the fact that you have to actually work to bring in the funds instead of staying home to work on your dream project all day... well, don't feel bad. I recently read an article that hit so close to home for me. Ann Swindell of Darling wrote this article right here and in it she said,

"when we don’t have endless amounts of time to do what we deeply love, the hours that we do have become more precious. We see that time to chase our creativity as the gift that it is — as an opportunity and not as a right. And so those hours in the margins are often charged with the electricity of a soul on fire, a soul finally getting to release her passion onto the canvas, or on the page, or into the dance. Deep creativity is born in that place."

I just couldn't agree with her more.

So, you'll have to tell me what tips or tricks you're using currently and what's working for your business. I would love it if you could share.

*These "Oh Shit" photos were taken the day I registered MELSANV as a business. Luis got me this cake and I thought it was so fitting with the feeling of starting something new. So, here's to your new business adventure that makes you say, "Oh shit!" Until next time, friends! xo

DSC09225

DSC09249


Saying YES to the Dress with a&bé bridal shop

IMG_0724

I've been so excited to share a little more about my wedding on MELSANV.COM! So, today, I'm taking you back to the day I said "YES" to the dress at a&bé bridal shop Dallas! I know you're wondering why I went all the way to Dallas to get my dress. The truth is, every year we have a family reunion at my grandfather's memorial site in Dallas, TX. And since I live so far from my family, I knew it was one of the only opportunities I'd have to have them help me pick my dress. I'm going to dig a little deep and dish on my experience with trying on my wedding dress for the first time, who was with me, what to bring to your bridal fitting and maybe even a hint into what dress I actually picked for our wedding.

Attendees: My mom, Steve, My Abuelita (aka #GRAMZ aka Alba aka ALMA), My Tia Chela, My cousin's Amy and Monica

What to bring:
- YOUR WEDDING HEELS or just heels in general
- Spanx. Those wedding sample sizes are NO joke so any help you can get to get them on smoothly and quickly is key. I used these which are my absolute favorites!
- Strapless bra or breast petals. I personally use these which I order from Amazon and I promise I use them WAY too much. They're just perfect for the tops you can't wear a bra with but also can't afford a nip slip in. (laughs)

For starters, a&bé bridal shop is so beautiful and modern inside. I'd always imagined the place I'd pick my wedding dress at to be clean and airy - and they nailed it. Going into this experience, I will say that every bride is different and that my experience and emotions really stemmed from how I grew up and what I have always known about weddings. I guess I already had this vision in my head of what I was going to look like walking down the aisle. I knew exactly what I wanted and exactly what I didn't want. What I didn't know was that those ideas and emotions would go right out the door the second I started to try on dresses.

My stylist, Bethany was the sweetest most gentle person. I never once felt pressured by her suggestions and I always felt like she had my best interests at heart. Time from time, she'd glance over at me and study my face as if she was going to have a test on it later. She was constantly watching my emotions and making sure that I wasn't getting side eye from anyone. Every response was, "Yeah, GIRL!" and it made me feel like I was in a closet trying on clothes with a close girlfriend.

Bethany and I started out on one end, flipping through lace and silk, heavily beaded dresses and one after one they just felt so individual and unique. I kept flipping through the dresses imagining I'd land on the one I'd been dreaming of (something lace and definitely form fitted), just waiting for something to jump out at me. I tried on about 10-12 dresses and it came down to the final two. It was between dress #1 that I'd imagined in my head all along (unfortunately not pictured) and dress #2 which I ultimately ended up deciding on (definitely not pictured). It was time to try them on with a veil - which proved to be quite emotional for me. As soon as I tried on dress #1 with the veil I immediately became overwhelmed. Something about seeing yourself for the first time in a veil really makes things feel so real and scary. And in that moment, I panicked and felt itchy. Like I couldn't breathe and just needed to get the dress off. I slipped out of the dress and tried on dress #2 and my outlook completely changed. Bethany added the veil and when I looked in the mirror, I just felt at peace. I felt and looked like myself and within three minutes of standing on the platform, I was down on the floor making sure I could bust out all of my wedding dance moves. It was such a crazy and interesting experience. It has proved to be one of those moments that I've learned a lot about myself from.

I guess I'll never understand why I got so overwhelmed with emotion. I think it's partly because I'd carried this vision in my head for so long that when the moment finally came, it just didn't match up to what I'd pictured. I will 100% say that when the time comes, you have to go with your gut. Even though having my family by my side was so important to me, I was so thankful to have picked a dress that felt so personal and close to my heart. So after 10,000 pictures and getting a nod of approval from everyone in my party, we popped the champagne and picked dress #2. I am so infatuated with my dress and think about it so much these days. When I need a little extra wedding diet motivation, I lookup the photos and just stare for awhile.

I hope you guys enjoyed this mini personal post. I'm hoping to share more of my wedding festivities here really soon. Is there anything you think you'd like to see? Also, what's that vision of you on your big day look like? I'm so curious to know!

A HUGE thank you to a&bé bridal shop for their attention to detail and support. Bethany has a heart of gold and I recommend her a 1,000 times to all Dallas brides out there! And another major thank you to my family for being by my side on a day that I will remember for years to come. It was SUCH a special experience getting to toast to my wedding dress with my abuelita and I know that my abuelito would have been so happy to be there. <3
IMG_0732

IMG_0735

IMG_0745

IMG_0877

IMG_0891

IMG_0901

IMG_0911

IMG_1080

IMG_1100

IMG_1111

IMG_1112

IMG_1145


Nikol Elaine Beauty Editorial: Flower Bomb

0W9A4801

Today's beauty editorial is bitter sweet because it's the very last of our Nikol Elaine Beauty collaboration. Doing this collab challenged me in so many creative ways, but getting to work with these beauties made it worth everything. I could ramble all day about this editorial but to keep things simple: we wanted this last one to be just that - simple. Something about the softness of this lighting and how FLAWLESS Christina's makeup is, made me think so much of fairy dust or magical unicorns galloping in the clouds. Are you feeling trippy yet? I'm so bummed this is the last set we get to share but I'm sure there will be others!

I have to give a shoutout to this crazy amazing team. Can't believe we pulled it off!

Makeup Artistry: Nikol Elaine
Creative Direction: Melissa San Vicente
Photography: Luis Omar Landestoy
Model: Christina Chinn of Closet Luxe
Floral Crown: The Petal Company
Makeup Products: The Balm Cosmetics

0W9A2672

0W9A3735

0W9A3851

0W9A4294

0W9A4783

0W9A4847


Timbuk2 His + Her Style

0W9A3685

Ever since my FEMME collab with Timbuk2, my FEMME bag has seen better days. When I mean I ran that thing into the ground, it sure gave a good fight. So when I had the chance to make a custom Timbuk2 backpack before my New York trip I jumped at the chance! I will admit, having so many options put me in a creative spiral. I wanted one in every color! I even headed to SnapChat and you may have helped play a big part into the final design. Either way, I'm obsessed. AGAIN! Heading to New York was a breeze as I slipped through airport security like I owned the place. Having padded pockets where my Macbook Air just easily slips through made unpacking and packing too easy.

Luis may have caught onto my obsession, so he joined in on the fun. Today, We're sharing our first His and Her style! We filled the gas tank, picked a few places and what you see below is the outcome. Of course, Luis wants to let you in on exactly why he loves his Timbuk2 backpack, too! He says:

As some of you may know, I'm an independent hip hop producer. I need a lot of equipment to do what I do in shows - effectively. I love my Timbuk2 backpack because it's so comfortable. Aside from being comfortable, I’m able to fit all of my music gear in it! To name a few: my laptop, Maschine, headphones, hard drives, cables, and then some. I have been having issues with my laptop lately, so sometimes I take my desktop to shows. My Mac mini, Maschine and all the cables fit in the backpack like they were meant for each other. What I love the most is that even though I’m able to fit all of my essentials in the bag, it feels comfortable and it looks so fresh! It doesn’t look like I’m carrying a person on my back! I'm excited I had the chance to do a collab with wifey. How dope is she?

0W9A1974

0W9A2011

0W9A2019

0W9A2119

0W9A2129

0W9A2213

0W9A2290

0W9A2294

0W9A2342

0W9A2451

0W9A2540

0W9A3593

0W9A3606

0W9A3627

0W9A3659

0W9A4634

0W9A3836

0W9A3991

0W9A4024

Click here to make your own Custom Timbuk2 backpack

Shop Luis' Backpack

A HUGE THANK YOU to Timbuk2 for awesome collaboration!


Nikol Elaine Beauty Editorial: Green Goddess

edited-blackbackground

Are you ready for more beauty goodness?! We're back with the second edition of our Nikol Elaine beauty editorial. Let me just start by saying that it excites me 10,000 times more when I'm editing a beauty editorial and my friend just happens to be the model! Julianne Cronin of The Wink Blog stepped in to serve some serious slayage and I'm so glad she did. See a resembelance in these photos? It might be beacuse Julianne gets confused for Adele ALL. THE. TIME. I had to step back and few times like, "Adele, I need you to take it down a notch!" We have one more editorial to feature after this but until then please take a minute and appreciate this beauty.

Makeup Artistry: Nikol Elaine
Creative Direction: Melissa San Vicente
Photography: Luis Omar Landestoy
Model: Julianne Cronin of The Wink Blog
Floral Crown: The Petal Company
Makeup Products: The Balm Cosmetics

0W9A5207

edited-blackbackground4

edited-blackbackground2

edited-blackbackground3


H&M Bustier + Skirt with Appliqués

0W9A2673

HOLY SUMMER. IT. IS. HOT! Last weekend, I took all but 2.2 seconds to realize that I needed this H&M set in my life. I used to start my Saturday routine with coffee and finding myself lost in a little retail therapy... cue in #weddingbudget and I've been hungry for all kinds of shopping that I just can't get into lately. So, leave it to me to hang around the H&M website until this bad, bad baby went on sale - and it was MINE!

When it comes to my Summer style, I'm all about keeping things simple. The less time I have to think about my outfit, the more time I have to spend outside eating Elotes. Because ain't no party like a grilled elote party! Either way, I LOVE the Appliqués on this set and think it's the perfect nod to a minimal, boho look. I love a challenge of being able to wear these pieces separately, too! I've listed a few of my favorite pieces in the links below. And this H&M Bustier + Skirt with Appliqués is on SALE right now so get to steppin', babes! Stay cool. B)

clouds

0W9A2817

0W9A2719

0W9A2781

0W9A2837

0W9A2899

0W9A3454

0W9A3008

0W9A3229

0W9A2743

Skirt & Bustier: H&M / Sunnies: Le Specs / Heels: Banana Republic

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"][show_shopthepost_widget id="1724391"]
[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]


Bare Minerals Live in the Vineyard

DSC08534

Back in April, I got the chance to attend Live in the Vineyard with the bareMinerals team. Not only did we get a little tour of Odette Estate Winery (which just opened and has an interior to die for) but we had a beautiful dinner while being seranated by American Idol winner, Nick Fradiani. I don't know how all of those items can live together in a sentence but they do and I was there to witness it. And because the bareMinerals team refuses to do basic, we wrapped up our dinner and headed (back in our LIMO BUS) to Live in the Vineyard where we watched a beautiful and intimate, acoustic performance by platinum selling recording artist, Ingrid Michaelson
(!!!).

I'm trying to keep my cool and act like this is just a regular day in my life, but I'm totally geeking while reliving the moments in these photos. I really love and am so grateful for relationships I've made with brands along the way. What's the coolest thing you're going to do this Summer?

DSC08522

DSC08521

DSC08512

DSC08507

DSC08504

DSC08541

DSC08538

A huge, HUGE thank you to the BareMinerals team for inviting me on such a cool trip. Getting to know and really befriend the people behind the brand has been the highlight of my year! <3


Metallic Dress and Leather Studded Jacket

0W9A0109

The sun has been here to stay in the Bay, baby! I shot this outfit with a leather jacket thinking, "it's going to be cold" (because shit it always is) and it didn't make it to the end. Anyways, lately I've been really into keeping things simple when I style an outfit. Probably because it feels like 10,000 degrees out (global warming is REAL y'all) but mostly because it forces me to not add so much fluff! I found this dress at Zara last weekend and I love how fancy yet casual it feels. With the whole closet-purge fest going on in my house lately, I've been really drawn to items that have dual purpose. I'm excited to wear this under a sweater, with tights (in the winter), and maybe a cute pair of studded boots. Have you guys done any closet purges of your own? I'll be asking for your help on SnapChat this week as I go through the rest of my things and I'll need your input for whether I keep or donate certain items. Let's add each other for moral (closet-cleaning) support, yes? Username: @msanv. Keep reading for outfit details. Have a great week!

0W9A0574

0W9A1401

0W9A0201

0W9A0421

0W9A0568

0W9A0666

0W9A0914

0W9A1180

0W9A1205

Jacket: Urban Outfitters / Dress: Zara / Heels: Shoedazzle / Choker: Nordstrom


Short Shorts and Camel-Colored Booties

0W9A0955

My first weekend back in the east bay and I was welcomed with the HEAT, baby! When Summer rolls around, I gear up my closet by putting the turtle necks and knits way in the back and give all of my Summer clothes a chance. Luckily, the weather here can go from Summer-to-Winter feeling real quick, so my Winter clothes never really go to far!

I took a trip down to LA with my mom about two years ago and picked up this cold-shoulder, flowy top from a boutique and I've been holding onto it ever since. I might've mentioned that I did a little closet purge and I found that my most favorite pieces happened to be cottons, silks and denim. I tend to put clothes on repeat, wearing them in as many combos as I can, before I decide to give them up. I've realized that I'd rather clear my space and let go of random articles that may never see the light of day. I think this Summer it's going to be all about the basics and staples. Light and white sneakers, denim high-waisted shorts and leotards seem to still be sticking around. Being comfortable is and has always been my #1, so more often than not you can find me sporting shift dresses or maxi dresses, which cut my outfit creations in about 1/2.

I opted for something a little simpler for this style post. Keeping your outfit light and allowing your accessories to breathe through your outfit makes you look less fussy and uncomfortable. This season, we're ditching the huge statement necklaces, slapping on a thin choker and calling it a weekend, yes? What are you guys into when Summer starts to roll around?

0W9A0329

0W9A0537

0W9A0577

0W9A1821

0W9A0970

0W9A1075

0W9A1833

0W9A1308

0W9A1451

0W9A1708

0W9A1459

0W9A1631

Top: LA Boutique (Unknown) / Shorts: Gap / Booties: Aldo Shoes / Choker: Nordstrom / Backpack: Banana Republic


Life Update: I'm home

life-update

Phew! It's been a whirlwind of events lately! The month of May was a complete blur to me, as I had a month-long stint of work in New York that I simply could not bail on. Having so much time to reflect on my own, living in a hotel and out of a suit case, was good for me and my soul. I found that it allowed me to clarify some things I'd been unsure about (internally) and I'd like to shed some light on those topics. As this blog evolves, I feel it's important that I become less guarded and allow myself to really open up to you about growth, spiritual finding and how I'm evolving in this crazy world.

Home life: when I moved to San Francisco two years ago, I didn't know what to expect really. I imagined the sense of loneliness. Leaving friends or family behind was never easy. I imagined struggling with the life change and getting acclimated to simple things like the weather, finding the grocery store, or knowing where to go when I felt unsafe. What I never imagined was the feeling of not knowing where "home" was. And I battled this coming back from my trip head-on. See, most of us consider home as somewhere that the heart is, where your family is, or really the place you just are yourself without pants. For me, that sense of "home" didn't fill my heart when I reached my doorstep and I struggled with this mentally. I also never imagined this feeling after being here for some time now. Facing this made me realize that when we moved here we never focused on making this place "home." It wasn't the primary focus because we're always on the run that we just assumed "home" meant the address that's located on your driver's license. So, I did a little digging. I rearranged furniture, I printed pictures, I did a deep purge and got rid of so many things; clearing my space and my mind. And I cannot tell you how this has changed my perspective. Not only do I feel happy when I get home, but my mind feels clear. My anxiety isn't through the roof and catching up on emails instead of laundry is less daunting when you know you're going to come back to this place tomorrow. We even went as far are buying furniture, looking at paint swatches and preparing this place for a forever feeling. It's scary to commit. Shit, even paint can be painted over, but mentally I struggled with the realness and permanent feeling of nailing pictures to a wall or planting flowers. I have never felt more myself in a community. A place that fully allows me to grow creatively and a sacred place I can collaborate with people and brands, constantly finding inspiration around every corner. Being home and feeling it to the fullest extent means so much to me. Luis and I have been so inundated with wedding tasks that we overlooked this simple principle. So my hope with sharing this is that you, too, are home and find your place of being. Whatever gets you there, whatever things make you feel great about your creative/resting place, find that and keep it close to your heart.

Real life: I want to thank you for being so great and supportive of my absence here on my blog. Being away and not being able to have this creative outlet made me realize more than ever that my heart is here to stay. In a sense, this place is really a creative home for me where I can put out work I'm crazy proud of and gives me the opportunity to share with to you. Getting to know you better here and through social media is in a word: EVERYTHANG. I realize that taking a mini hiatus set my stats back, and to be quite frank, this is really what gets my foot in the door in working with awesome brands. BUT I'm committed (fully) to bringing MELSANV.COM back to life and to really get the gears going here in the coming weeks. So if you can sense gratitude from this side of the screen then I'm happy already.

Are you ready to pick up where we left off?! Me too, beauties.

SO. MUCH. LOVE.

M