Brand It!

I know enough about this whole blogging thing to know that eventually the word “branding” will pop up. As in, “what’s your blog’s branding strategy?” I started thinking about this while in my car running errands this afternoon. What is the “brand” of Furnished Souls?

Let’s start with the name. For branding, the blog’s name should set its goals and effectively communicate the brand. Umm…nope. Not happening here.

My blog name actually comes from an e.e. cummings poem, and is intended ironically, as the women he writes about are stuck in an “acceptable” routine where they are busy, but create nothing of consequence. (Read the whole poem at Poetry Foundation.org.) It’s exactly the kind of woman I don’t want to be. The women I write for (for I always picture my friends reading) are thoughtful, interesting, funny, clever, sarcastic, beautiful and imperfectly quirky.

Ironic obscure poetic reference for a blog name = Branding FAIL.

Choose your look, sayeth the gurus of branding.

The color palette of this blog varies between some colors and lots of colors. I get bored. I try to do the starkly minimalist backgrounds, but always go back to things that are colorful and over the top. And then I start designing blog banners on Photoshop…

Sorry, faithful readers. I have no colors. Wait, I just adopted colors for the blog in my head. The blog’s colors are now BLUSH and BASHFUL. (Name that movie reference!)

At least I should know the purpose of the blog, right? That’s the heart of branding!

It’s a fashion blog! But it’s not, really. I’ll never be the Man Repeller or The Sartorialist. I can’t even bring a great OOTD on a daily basis. Guaranteed you will never see a full-body picture of me in a romper and high-heeled clogs with a sun-dappled tree in the background. Sorry. Plus my style is kind of quirky–sometimes vintage, sometimes conservative, sometimes a little rocker or alternative. And when I recommend for other people, I try to take their personal style and body type into consideration.

Maybe it’s a budget blog? But that’s more out of necessity, because I’m a teacher in my real life, which means I am economically ground in the gears of the system of THE MAN *rant rant*. I show people how I shop and how I utilize the internet to get greater bargains on the things you want but can’t afford. But it’s not really about that, either.

Technically, I guess Furnished Souls would be considered a lifestyle blog. I am so uncomfortable with that term, though! I automatically think of Gwyneth Paltrow, the guru of GOOP, or Martha Stewart, with all her good things.

Things Martha Stewart and I have in common: we could both rock this outfit.
Things Martha Stewart and I have in common: we could both rock this outfit.

To me, “lifestyle” means that you have it all together–or at least act like it. It’s those ladies on Facebook who post pictures of their fresh-baked loaves of bread on their immaculately clean tables, who talk about their adorable precious children and thoughtful husbands. Lifestyle bloggers are people who seem to never make a misstep, and if they do, it’s adorable and anecdote-worthy. I do not fit that description. I am actually pondering having a recurring feature here entitled “Where It All Went Wrong”, chronicling my own fashion failures and how I might have fixed them.

I am not even in a relationship, but I have the feeling if I tried to “consciously uncouple” like Gwyneth, it would involve a lot of wailing, mascara panda eyes, and undignified snotting.

Upon reflection, I think I could best be branded as a “life” blog. It occurs to me that my trip to run errands and my blog are much alike. I had to do four things: take my diploma to the framer’s; pick up a package of Korean beauty products from the post office; go to Bed, Bath and Beyond; and get lunch. From my place, the framer’s and the post office require a left turn, BB&B requires a right turn, and lunch was in between. Yet, my route ended up being framers to BB&B to post office to lunch. Totally inefficient, yet I got it all done, and had more time in my car to listen to fun summer tunes and enjoy the sunshine. And isn’t that great sometimes?

Girls in Glasses

Marilyn Monroe: “Well, you know what they say about girls who wear glasses.”
Man: “What are you talking about?”
Monroe: “Men aren’t attentive to girls who wear glasses.”
–How to Marry a Millionaire

I can guarantee that statement wouldn’t have been true if I had gone out in my old glasses, but for all the wrong reasons. My glasses had a very slim rose-gold wire rim that looked very dowdy on me, and were cracked across both lenses. I only wore them in bed, after the contacts came out for the day. They had a rough life, but insurance being what it is, the only thing covered was a year’s supply of contact lenses, so I put off buying new glasses.

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Last Christmas, one of my presents was a gift card to the fabulous Warby Parker, online spectacles retailer extraordinaire. They have a great selection of fashionable frames, and are super easy to work with. Plus, for every pair purchased, they give one away to someone in need.

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I was a little nervous about ordering online, but Warby Parker has a great system where you can borrow five frames at a time to try out. Pick them out online, and they will mail them to you with a postage-paid return label. I actually did that twice, trying on ten frames total. It was so helpful, because the pairs I thought I really wanted didn’t necessarily look good on me.

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Another great thing about Warby Parker is they do a lot of collaborations with designers and others, so their inventory is always changing. I ended up with a pair of glasses that I really like, the Finch frame in Violet Magnolia. In retrospect, I should have bought them in Grenadine. I had hoped they would be a little more violet, but they’re much more magnolia.

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Ordering from Warby Parker was fast and easy, and I would love to buy frames from them again. Who knows, it might inspire me to not wait ten years to trade out my glasses!

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…

I know I’ve been AWOL from this blog for a while. I’m taking my master’s degree, and any spare time that I have to play around on the computer is no longer blogging time, but thesis writing time. Whoo-hoo!

I’m finally starting to get a handle on my thesis and paper writing, so I have been toying with the idea of coming back to blogging. I’ve decided, though, that I’m ready for a new project.

I have enjoyed Furnished Souls so much, but I realize that I’ve been all over the shop on this blog. Fashion, interior design, beauty, hair, travel–I’ve covered it all. I am ready to narrow my focus, so I’ve started an accessories blog! Please come and visit me at my new blog, Bedeck! I’m excited about this change, and hope you’ll visit me over there, as I’ll still be finding some great style options for your wardrobe.

Come on over and check me out at BedeckMe.wordpress.com!

Little Black Bag Unboxing

Check out what I got in my Little Black Bag! I had a little issue with my video recording, and then I had a little issue with my video, but I got the basics in there.

What I had to cut out was the advice on shopping Little Black Bag. Since I traded, and traded, and traded, I came up with a couple of guidelines:

1. Make decent offers. You waste people’s time when you offer a $14 pair of earrings for a $65 necklace. It’s annoying, and it doesn’t work, because for every $14 item you’re offering, someone is offering double or triple that value.

2. Handbags are impossible to trade for. Let one go, and likely it’s gone forever.

3. Patience is key. Your ideal trade might be right around the corner, but it might take a little longer. You have seven days–this particular bag took me six days to trade.

All in all, I’m partially satisfied with this bag. I’m returning the taupe necklace, and the wall decals, because they actually have the black frame printed on a cream background, which doesn’t match my wall color, so they don’t look good. The nail decals are great, though!

This Week Inspired By:

Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Oh, YA fiction. You are like a mistress I just keep coming back to. I try to only read YA that is highly recommended, and I saw a bunch of my friends on Twitter talking about these books a couple of months ago. It’s taken me a while to get around to it, but I managed to read both of these within 24 hours today. I slept little and snuck reading into my work day. And now I’m sad that it’s over. Signs of a good book! I think I like Lola a little more, because the characters are a little quirkier, (and Anna shows up there, too), but I love them both. Which brings me to…

Paris

City of Lights! The city I could/should/kind of do love. Allow me to explain.

In college (I was just a couple of years older than Anna!), I finally got to visit Paris. I went with one of my best besties, who I love. However, I discovered once we got there, that my friend did not like art. Or great food. Or history. Or culture. Or basically anything Paris had to offer. Except for architecture, but she got bored of that pretty fast. And we were poor; too poor to drink, too poor to eat well, to poor to take public transit, too poor to afford anything but a hostel, too poor to even go up the Eiffel Tower. And then I got sick mid-week, and we were locked out of our hostel in the rain. Needless to say, Paris is my do-over city.

I am ready to live la belle vie in Paris. I need my do-over.

Quote of the Week

My writing sample for my master’s application is not going well.

Song of the Week
Foux da Fa Fa by Flight of the Conchords

You know. To go with the Paris theme.

Who wants to plan a trip to Paris with me?

Chevron Skirt, Yellow Shoes=Whole Lotta Cute

Twitter is the best thing ever. I am convinced. (And just as I wrote this, Dwight Shrute said “I really ought to have a Tweeter account.” WIN.)

And it is also seriously helpful tool for ideas for the blog! My Twitter friend @KandNandB asked for a little advice on putting an outfit together with a skirt and shoes that she already owns. The shoes are yellow, the skirt is navy and white.

Look at the cute shoes!

The platforms and the jersey skirt (you’ll see in a moment!) are casual enough to pick a knit top, be it a t-shirt knit or a thin sweater. Also appropriate: chiffon. For a layered look, a casual blazer (in a shrunken shape) is fab. I stuck to the basic yellow/navy/white color palette, because the chevron is bold enough that you don’t have to do anything too crazy to offset it. (I also love the skirt and want it for myself.)

Yellow and Navy and White

And bonus: jewelry to complete the look! I stuck with casual, bold, and bright costume jewelry.

Yellow and Blue and White Jewelry

Thanks for the opportunity, @KandNandB! Hope you find something you like!

What Are You Waiting For?

I definitely am a gal who lives on a restrictive budget.  Teacher’s incomes are notoriously laughable, but I am always determined to be as stylish and polished as possible.  (Et voila, le blog!)

Still, we all have our lusts and I am included in that.  I have a couple of brands that I watch like a hawk for the possibility of sales.  Over spring break, my vigilance paid off!  

 

 

Hayden Harnett has quality leather goods, and not a lot of great sales on their fantastic handbags. Seems to me that most of the time anything good got snatched up before I could decide to pull the trigger. But I happened to click on a link from HH’s Twitter account (@HaydenHarnett) and got into their Easter Sale early enough to see the Cargo Cult Satchel on sale in black, down from $285 to $71! Luscious lamb leather, in my hands, RIGHT NOW. And the straps are the perfect length, and it has amazing pockets. It’s delicious, and worth waiting for!

That would be my top tip for snagging great items in a sale: follow (and check) their Twitter! If they’re good with Twitter, that is. If so, you’ll be on the inside track to get those coveted lust list items!

What brands will you/do you wait forever for a great sale?

This Week Inspired By…

Everybody needs some inspiration. My inspirations for this week:

Lola Montez

Not admirable, but jaw-dropping. In brief (there is so much more than this!): An Irish girl who went to Spain, learned to dance (badly), went to Bavaria (pretending she was Spanish), performed a tarantella dance where she pretended there were spiders all over her skirt (just so she could lift it high). Carried a whip. Bedded a king (Ludwig of Bavaria), who built her a castle. Got chased out of Bavaria by angry Bavarians. Opened a cabaret in California during the Gold Rush, where she was the only performer. Died alone and unrecognized on the streets of New York. My favorite Lola story is as follows: She had an affair with composer Franz Liszt (a notorious womanizer himself). His exit strategy out of that relationship was to lock her into their hotel room while she slept, and leave money at the front desk for all the furniture he knew she would break when she woke up. And yes, “Whatever Lola Wants” is based on Lola Montez.

My Daguerreotype Boyfriend

This Tumblr account is rocking my world.* Pictures of hot guys throughout history.

*(This guy’s plaid pants are also rocking my world.)

The Week’s Mantra:

Song of the Week (or the month, or the year, or until I get tired of it, which seems like will NEVER happen)

Gotye featuring Kimbra
Somebody I Used to Know

What are your inspirations for the week ahead?