Lemon Stripes is…

A website where my adventures in fashion, home décor, and healthy living as a young woman come to play. I started the blog in my 20s and as I begin my 30s, I try to share what I’ve learned along the way.

I started Lemon Stripes because…

I wanted to share healthy recipes and simple style tips with my friends and family. I never in a million years thought that anyone outside of my circle would want to read what I had to say.

What sets Lemon Stripes apart from other blogs…

A lot of style bloggers are moving from style into “lifestyle” so it’s hard to set yourself apart in this world. My niche is healthy living with a strong holistic approach mixed in with attainable style and décor.

What I wish I knew when starting out…

How much work it is to blog! It looks like it’s all fun and games but the hustle is real. I work more hours on my blog each week than I have for any full-time job. And there really isn’t any time off because I’m sharing so much of my life on a daily basis.

Strategies I used to build a following of avid readers…

First and foremost, creating great content consistently is key. For six years, I’ve written a minimum of three blog posts per week. When I was sick, when I was traveling, when I was working full-time. It didn’t matter. The consistency creates habits for your readers to check in every day. Secondly, I work hard to team up with other brands and influencers in my world to cross-promote each other and create joint content. That introduces me to new audiences every time.

Top tips for entrepreneurs & bloggers developing their brand voice…

Be authentic to yourself. So many young women these days are starting blogs right out of college and think that by emulating their favorite influencers, they’ll build a following. The thing is, people will read you for you. Whoever you are, you have something to say – so say that instead of what you think people want to hear.

3 creative ways entrepreneurs can leverage social media for their business…

  1. Tell a different story on each platform but in the same brand voice. For example, I showcase beautiful vignettes of my life on Instagram but direct people to Snapchat for a more raw look at what’s going on. I promote my blog and other platforms on each one to essentially cross-promote myself!
  2. Drive traffic to your site even on platforms with no links. On Instagram and Snapchat, you can still drive people to your site with the captions.
  3. Think of each platform as a separate business. I work with different brands on each one. For example, some of the brands I work with only hire me for Instagram or Twitter but not for a blog post.

Ways to create an engaging Instagram feed on a budget…

See the beauty in the every day. Go for a walk in nature, get outside for that sunset, or even snap a shot of your neighbor’s hydrangea bush. Instagram doesn’t have to be about showcasing the most expensive item in your closet or home. It’s about taking a beautiful photo of whatever is inspiring you at that moment.

The perfect photo caption is…

Witty, inspirational, or both.

The simple steps to taking a beautiful photo are…

  1. Lighting
    It can’t be too bright or too dark, find that happy medium.
  2.  The frame
    Look at what’s in the frame of your photo. It should be clean and easy on the eyes, without too much going on.
  3. Color
    I love saturated images with bright bursts of color.
  4. Editing
    On my phone, I use an app called Snapseed to edit photos. It’s a mini Photoshop on the go! Watch a few Youtube videos on how to use it and you’ll be a pro in no time.

How I connect and engage with my followers on social…

Every Monday I do a Snapchat Q&A. It is one of my favorite parts of the week because I really get to engage with my followers. I also try to answer as many Tweets and Instagram comments as possible. Even if I don’t get to one, I read all of them and so appreciate when people write in.

Advice for addressing negative comments on social media…

This has been really hard for me in the past but in the last year, I’ve really learned to deal with it in a healthier way. When I see a negative comment, I take a deep breath and say a personal mantra that calms me down. Once I feel calm, I take a few minutes deciding if it’s something I should respond to or not. If it’s constructive criticism I’ll always respond but if it’s just mean or a nasty comment, I leave it and often block the user. I don’t think it’s worth it to connect with that person.

Ways entrepreneurs can partner with other brands…

Having worked both on the brand and influencer side, I’ve seen a lot of collaborations! When pitching a brand, get creative. Think about what’s in it for the brand as well as for you. When I worked for a CPG (consumer packaged goods) company, we were being pitched multiple times per day so I could only respond to the really compelling ideas. Send statistics and specific ideas for promotion of the brand whether it’s with an event, a social media post, or whatever else you have in mind.

It is important to leverage email because…

It’s one of the few platforms that you can actually own. Social media algorithms are constantly changing but your email list isn’t going anywhere. You can fully control the content and this list is probably highly engaged. Think about how many emails you get in a day. If you’re not unsubscribing, you must be interested in what I have to say!

Advice  for entrepreneurs starting a blog…

Know that it takes time to grow a solid readership. It’s not going to happen overnight and that is okay. Remember that with consistently great content, you’ll get there!

This summer I want to learn how to…

Ride a road bike with clips. I know it sounds silly but shoe clips terrify me. I love cycling so I want to take the next step by clipping in.

The most important lesson I learned over the past year…

I can’t control everything in my life, and that’s okay. I have a hard time not being in control but I’ve lived through some intense situations in the last year where all I could do is sit back and make the best of the situation.

I’m inspired by the Foundation’s mission to empower women entrepreneurs because…

Working for other companies, I saw firsthand that I’d never have the same odds as men in my same position. As an entrepreneur, I’m paving my own path to success without anyone telling me what I can and cannot do. My dream would be for every woman on the planet to have that freedom!

What is next for Lemon Stripes…

I hope to write a book and start a family in the next two years. I hope that with having children, my site morphs into more healthy living mom-focused content.

Most important habit that keeps me productive…

Making and sticking to a to-do list every day. I hand write a new to-do list every morning with the most important action items at the top. I won’t let myself stop working unless everything on the list is complete or has a date for completion.

Must read business book…

Although it’s not a traditional business book, Gretchen Rubin’s new book, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, has dramatically changed the way that I work for myself. Through reading the book I learned that while I’ll never fail someone else, it’s hard for me to stay accountable to myself. It’s forced me to put systems in place that work for my habits to make me as productive as possible.

Apps I can’t live without…

Plano.ly for scheduling Instagrams. Snapseed for editing photos. Spotify for music. Snapchat for sharing my day-to-day adventures with my followers. Instagram for sharing beautiful things. Waze for not getting lost…which I do a lot.