Thursday, December 20, 2012

behind the blog: literate & stylish

This week's Behind the Blog features Heidi from Literate & Stylish. Heidi is a hardworking woman who showcases her amazing thrifting finds in her daily outfits. If you are looking for someone with a great working wardrobe that she has curated on the cheap, she's your girl!

Tell us what motivate you to start blogging. Were you following a lot of personal style/fashion blogs before you started blogging?
yes, i started out by reading style blogs and kept up my reader/lurker status for a loooong time.  i never thought about starting my own blog because i was in grad school when i first found style blogs and at the time and style/fashion wasn't something i thought about to the extent that i do now.  i was a jeans-wearer 7 days a week, which is just the way i was used to dressing since high school and into college.  i owned a few pairs of dress pants and what could pass as dress shoes, but i never had a reason for trying to dress with an ounce of style.  i gradually became more interested in fashion from reading blogs {i think my mind was blown the first time i saw someone belt a scarf... speaking of which, why don't many bloggers belt scarves anymore?} and i was prompted to start taking my own daily outfit pictures when i started my first job out of grad school and had to figure out how to dress in a business casual environment.  i did that for a good year and a half so i could see what outfits i liked, what worked, what didn't, etc.  finally, i put the two together and started my blog when i felt that i'd developed some semblance of a personal style and wanted to share my experience with the broader blogging community.

Which blogs do you read every day? 
i feel like i am going to leave someone out, but here goes:  along the lines of styleordinary fashionistaapples & pencil skirtsanimated cardigandainty & decadent, and dayi's sense of style are blogs i look at first on my google reader because i feel their style most similarly reflects my own and i love being inspired by their outfits, especially if i am at a loss of what to wear the next day!  and i think it goes without saying that i love your blog franziska!

Who takes your pictures? What cameras/lenses do you use? Have you ever been "caught in the act" of taking these pictures?
i take all of my own pictures with a nikon d40 (and stock lens) and remote.  i've never been caught in the act as my routine is to snap a couple pictures when i get home from work since i am the first one home, then i quickly import the pictures onto my computer so there's no "evidence" left on my camera, even if i don't post (i still take pictures of my outfits every single day).  when i first started blogging, i tried to find outdoor locations to take pictures and was nearly caught in my apartment parking lot and the target parking lot, so i keep to the safety of my bedroom now!

What programs do you use to edit and upload your pictures? 
i crop and resize my pictures in adobe photoshop and add a layer of color, but that's the only editing i do (or admittedly know how to do!).

Do people in real life know about your blog? What were their reactions when they found out about your blog?
my sister insinuated a long time ago that i had a blog and i worry she may have seen my blog in a tab on my browser on my computer (sure, it could have been anyone's blog), but she's never called me out on it.  if she were to ask, i would probably come clean but right now it's my own thing that i'm not comfortable sharing with anyone in my real life yet.  one of my friends is really into pinterest and i worry about her coming across a picture of me or something that will lead a trail to me, but i don't think that's happened yet or i'm sure i would have heard about it!

A lot of your clothing pieces are thrifted. What motivated you to start thrifting, and what tips do you have for those who don't have as much experience in it?
although i volunteered sorting clothes at a thrift store for a service club in high school, i didn't grow up thrifting.  i didn't visit a thrift store with the intention of shopping for myself until about five years ago.  i had moved across the country to a new city to start grad school and was alone and bored and needed something to do.  my mom encouraged me to go and check it out... and i finally did.  i still remember a couple things i bought that first thrifting trip and when i came away with donated target stock i was hooked.  i found that the basics i wished to fill my closet with could be found within the racks of donated clothing, and this avenue has worked really well for me to build and expand my professional wardrobe on a grad school student's (and now social worker's) budget.  as for tips, i honestly don't think that you need any to start thrifting... just take the leap, check it out, and allow time & patience - you may have to make the rounds to several thrift stores in your area to find the one that you like the best or go back week after week before you finally find a treasure.  believe me, finding that j crew skirt or a perfect pair of heels will make it all worth it!  i also recommend finding your favorite thrift store's websites to find out what their sales patterns are and signing up for their email lists or frequent shopper cards.

Many fashion bloggers hop from one trend to the next. How do you try to stay on trend while working within your budget and closet?
i will be the first to admit that i do not feel compelled to follow trends.  if anything i am wearing happens to be something that is on trend, it is probably a fluke or something that i have had for a while.  i don't feel that i have to look like everyone else and before i even started reading fashion blogs i didn't even know what was trending each season.  i lose inspiration really quickly when i see everyone on my reader wearing the same pieces season after season.

Putting yourself on the internet comes with the expectation that not everyone will always love what you are wearing and writing. Have you encountered any of these criticisms, and if so, how do you handle it?
i kind of find this hard to believe, but i've only received one negative comment since i've been blogging from someone who said they didn't like a particular skirt that i wore one day.  it stung for about a second until i took another glance at the photo and realized i wasn't too crazy about it either.  i do wish that reader would have offered a reason why she didn't like the skirt or why it looked off on me.  if we're afraid to give (or receive) constructive criticism, we'll never grow or start to look at what we're wearing in different ways.

What has been the best thing to come out of blogging? 
blogging has always been a very selfish act for me in that i do it for myself and consider my blog my little baby, so the fact that there are actually hundreds of people who visit my blog still kind of blows my mind.  the internal transformation i've had towards certain articles of clothing and simply getting dressed in the morning and feeling good about myself has been the best thing about blogging so far.  my confidence has really increased beyond my wildest imagination.

When it comes to promotion of your blog, what methods do you use? Do you spend a lot of time commenting on other blogs, pinning your looks, doing link ups?
this is an area where i definitely lag behind the curve.  i don't do twitter, facebook, instagram, and i begrudgingly joined pinterest when someone invited me but i don't pin my own outfits in the hope that they'll be repinned.  i do a few link ups like these when i feel i have something to contribute, but other that i don't feel a great deal of pressure at this time to really promote my blog.  i'm not sure if that will change in the future, i'm kind of a lazy blogger and would find it really hard to stay on top of all of those different methods if i joined them all.

What tips or suggestions do you have for your fellow bloggers?
one suggestion i would put out there is that i think it's important that we respond to comments that are left on our blogs.  i may come across a post i like in my google reader, but i'll be less inclined to leave the blogger a comment if they have a history of never replying back and engaging me as the reader in a conversation.  even a simple "thank you" or "i'm glad you dropped by" instantly means so much.  we all invest a lot of time in this hobby and it's nice to know that the blogger appreciated the time you took to click through your reader, decipher the annoying word verification codes if applicable (why do so many bloggers still use that?  i don't understand!), and leave a meaningful comment.

Thank you Heidi! Next we Chic on the Cheap is being featured - you're going to love her answers!