#OOTD: Matinee at the Museum (Feat. Make Me Chic)

Though I am generally one to enjoy my Sunday's by going to brunch, recently I have been finding my time better spent wandering around museums. If you remember, in my last outfit of the day post, I spent my Sunday at The Andy Warhol Museum, and talked about why I have such a special connection with my main muse. Well, in today's post, if you couldn't tell from the photo below, I took to exploring the Carnegie Museum of Art and I have to say it was a wonderful way to spend my Sunday afternoon.

Photographed in the Hall of Architecture.

Photographed in the Hall of Architecture.

 As I said earlier, and in my last #OOTD post, ever since I was a child I have enjoyed finer, cultured activities that not all, but many, people my age find boring. However, due to my infatuation with the arts and education, I am absolutely thrilled to be back downtown frequently and putting my museum pass to good use again. Though I have been to the Carnegie Museum of Art hundreds of times, in my more recent visits, I have been rushed through it, so this time it was nice to sit back and take it all in for a change.

Gleefully Grecian

Photographed in the Hall of Architecture.

Photographed in the Hall of Architecture.

Though I love many of the exhibits at the Carnegie (the Teenie Harris Exhibition being one of my all time favorites), I'd have to say two of my other favorite places to go in the museum are the Hall of Sculpture and the Hall of Architecture. Not only is the art in each of these rooms absolutely captivating, but the structures themselves are absolutely beautiful too. For instance, when in the Hall of Architecture and the Hall of Sculpture, you can't help but feel that you have traveled back in time to ancient Rome, due to the 144 architectural casts, 69 plaster reproductions of sculpture, and 360 replicas in bronze, that Andrew Carnegie brought to Pittsburgh in 1907.

Photographed in the Hall of Sculpture.

Photographed in the Hall of Sculpture.

For my Sunday afternoon outing to the Carnegie, I decided to wear this adorable, two piece shorts set, from my sponsor, Make Me Chic. The reason I chose this duo is firstly because I had nothing like it in my wardrobe which I am currently in the process of revamping and decluttering (Post on that coming soon!), but also because I loved its chic yet casual look. The reason I love this set so much, is because though it is darling, it is also incredibly comfortable. And, though the material is light wait, it is also a bit thicker, making it a viable outfit option for the chilly days of early spring, all the way through early fall. 

Photographed in the Hall of Sculpture.

Photographed in the Hall of Sculpture.

To style this two piece set for my day at the museum, I chose to pair it with my vintage, red leather bucket bag with my Hermes rodeo charm, along with my red, Nine West flats. The reason I chose these items is that I just loved the way the rich reds complemented the deep blues in the two piece set. I also felt that the red added some nice contrast to the duo, making this outfit more visually interesting.

Photographed in the Hall of Architecture.

Photographed in the Hall of Architecture.

Lastly, to add a touch of shimmer to this look, I paired this outfit with my gorgeous Elle earrings by Kendra Scott, this pretty (and fitting) marble accent cuff from SLATE, and of course my Ritani ring and its counterparts. The reason I chose these pieces is because I loved how the cobalt blue earrings matched this set, and the bracelet was just the right touch with out taking away from the look--the stone accents matching the atmosphere was just a happy accident.

One Last Look

Photographed in the Hall of Sculpture.

Photographed in the Hall of Sculpture.

What are some of your favorite rooms or exhibits at your local museum? Let's chat about it in the comments below or you can tweet me at @StarkRavingChic! Have a sweet photo you just have to show off of your local museum or a darling outfit of your own? Feel free to tag me in a post or in your Instagram story at @StarkRavingChic! Later, dolls.

Xx, Bree

P.S. Psssssst! If you love the jewelry I styled in this post as much as I do, you can try Rocksbox for a whole month 100% FREE when you sign up using my promo code "starkravingchicxoxo". Don't know what Rocksbox is or how it works? You can learn more here!

Also, In case you haven't heard, I am now a proud member of rewardStyle and LIKEtoKNOW.it! Meaning you can shop straight from my Instagram feed when you click here or here. Don't know what LIKEtoKNOW.it is all about? Learn more, here!

The Fort Lauderdale Chronicles: Spring Break 2017

Much like every blogger, I obviously love my blog. It's my baby, my creative outlet, and I have worked so hard over the past two years to make it the success it is today, so obviously I cannot see myself ever just giving it up. However, that kind of hard work (especially while juggling classes and a job) also entails many caffeine fueled, sleepless nights, writers block, and frustration which leads to a meltdown or two similar to Fiona Gallagher's from Shameless last season: 

Yes. I look just like that, aside from the fact I definitely do not look as pretty while crying, how does Emmy Rossum do it? Anyways, jokes aside, as much as I love my blog, when I get to that state of frustration, it reminds me to step back, relax, that I am only human, and believe it or not, I need a break. And as I am sure many of you know from past posts, I ended up doing just that, and actually had a break for spring break--which is why I was M.I.A. for four days. And man, was it liberating!

You see, normally when I go to Florida to visit John he is still dealing with his classes and I am perpetually busy with my blog, so though we spend time together, we also spend a lot of time working along side each other too. Which means I always end up bringing my laptop, iPad, my million and one post-it notes, and all my stress. Well this time, since my beau was actually on spring break too, he decided I needed an actual vacation and planned a romantic seaside getaway for us in Fort Lauderdale. His only condition was that I had to leave all of my work at home and enjoy myself. At first it was odd because I honestly wasn't quite sure how I would cope not working for a few days, but as soon as I saw the beautiful inn John picked out for us to stay in, I was thrilled and just knew that this was in fact the break I needed. And after having four gorgeous days just relaxing with my man, I have to say I came back home feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and inspired to get back to work here! And even though I've already done a few posts since I returned, this one is a bit different simply because I've decided it would be nice to share some of my more personal details with you guys, so here are some of the highlights from John and I's trip!

Snaps & Such

Though I did bring my Leica with me on this trip and took a few professional grade photographs for this post, there were points in our vacation where I wasn't so much focused on shooting, but just having a good time. However, while strolling along the board walk and stopping at my favorite restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Lulu's Bait Shack, I was armed with my iPhone and here are a few of my favorite candid moments that I snapped!

Pretty palm trees on the board walk.

View from Lulu's Bait Shack.

Not quite sure why there was a dummy of Castro on the street, but it gave John and I a laugh regardless.

Town center in Fort Lauderdale.

First ever trip to IHOP!

The Sea Side Inn

Next up, John got us a room in this nifty little seaside hotel, Lauderdale By The Sea. The hotel itself had more of a mum and pop or B&B feel, but it was lovely on the inside and had a gorgeous court yard which was great for enjoying our morning cups or tea and coffee.

Outside view of our hotel and the court yard.

Though the hotel looks tiny from the outside, it was actually quite spacious and homey on the inside.

I just loved the little work station complete with a live plant.

Comfy and cozy beds with a vintage photograph of Lauderdale By The Sea back in its early days.

One thing that I was very excited about, is that this hotel had a complete kitchen along with this cute little breakfast nook! 

Lastly, the bathroom of the room was cute and spacious as well, and the little sign just gave John and I a chuckle.

Funky Buddha

Next up, John treated me to lunch and drinks at the Fort Lauderdale brewery, Funky Buddha. For those of you who have never been or heard of Funky Buddha, it is a brewery with a huge selection of in house beers and a tapas menu. It's quite the laid back place and is definitely the place to go on a lazy Sunday afternoon to just hang out and enjoy a couple brews.

Just outside of the brewery.

As I stated earlier, I really love the laid back vibe of Funky Buddha, as well as their chill atmosphere.

It's also a bonus that Funky Buddha's beer and tapas selection is excellent!

Casual Date Outfit

For John and I's casual date to Funky Buddha, I decided on a more whimsical and relaxed out fit, because I was on vacation after all! So I paired my Victoria's bikini top with my white criss-cross cami from Fascino, my Oliver Goldsmith sunnies, some high waisted shorts from ModCloth, a basic tan leather bag, and my black flats.

And to add the finishing touches to this outfit, I paired it with gorgeous Delilah Druzy neckace by SLATE. The reason I chose this necklace is because I felt the blue stones added a nice but subtle pop of color to this outfit.

A Perfect Moment

Lastly, on John and I's way home from the hotel, I decided to snag a photograph of this barn because the lighting was absolutely gorgeous. The story behind it though is, in order to get this photo, I actually ended up having John pull off the freeway. So we ended up having a little adventure of our own.

If you can't tell from this article, I had an absolutely wonderful time over my spring break! I just can't thank John enough for putting this all together for us, as well as just being an outstanding human being. If you're reading this Affection Rabbit, I love you and you are just the best!

So, did any of you travel anywhere exciting for spring break? If so, let's chat about your adventures in the comments below or you can tweet me at @StarkRavingChic! Have a sweet photo from your travels? Feel free to tag me in your post or Instagram story at @StarkRavingChic. Later, babes!

Xx Bree

P.S. Psssssst! If you love the jewelry I styled in this post as much as I do, you can try Rocksbox for a whole month 100% FREE when you sign up using my promo code "starkravingchicxoxo". Don't know what Rocksbox is or how it works? You can learn more here!

Also, In case you haven't heard, I am now a proud member of rewardStyle and LIKEtoKNOW.it! Meaning you can shop straight from my Instagram feed when you click here or here. Don't know what LIKEtoKNOW.it is all about? Learn more, here!

What I Have Learned in 730 Days of Blogging

Wow, I cannot believe that this post marks my second blogiversary! I really find it so surreal that today my blog turned two years old and how far it has come since my first ever post. So, in light of Stark Raving Chic turning two years old today, I've decided to change the pace a little bit and get a tad bit more personal with you all today.  To do this, I've decided to feature the top ten and a half things I have learned since I began my blog, along with featuring some of my favorite photos/posts from the last two years and how each of them have helped me get to where I am today. 

1. Quality Not Quantity

Throughout my two years of blogging, I have read so many articles with so many differing opinions on how much is too much in a blog post. Personally, I've learned that there is no right answer to this question, however it is up to the discretion of the author. For instance, my Style Guide posts tend to be more lengthy, consisting of 1500-2000 words. The reason this is, is because unlike my personal Outfit of the Day posts (usually anywhere between 500 and 800 words) they are more in depth and cover five or six different outfits opposed to just one. The key to having successful blog posts is not simply finding the magical number of words, but is to have quality writing skills and to engage your audience. If you have compelling posts, it doesn't matter if your post is two paragraphs or two pages, people will want to read it because they enjoy what you have to say.

2. Quality Photography is a Must

One day I swear I'm going to write a blogging for beginners book and one chapter will be titled "PHOTOGRAPHY, PHOTOGRAPHY, PHOTOGRAPHY!", and not just because I have my Bachelors degree in photography. You see, the reason the photos on your blog (especially blogs relating to fashion, beauty, or lifestyle/travel) are so important is because much like having quality writing, you want your images to be captivating. You also want your photos, of you or your subject, to be styled and flattering. For instance, nobody would subscribe to Vogue if the photography was not stunning and the models did not look attractive. Hence why you always want to show yourself (or your model) in the best light because that's what will reel people in. Not to mention, if your photos look like garbage, it gives the impression that you do sloppy, last minute work which in turn makes your brand look like garbage.

3. Copyright & Protect Your Work

My website's DMCA Certificate

My website's DMCA Certificate

And we have yet another chapter title in my book, which would be "Protect Your Intellectual Property" simply because within the two years I have been doing this, I have been amazed at how little my peers in the blogging community actually know about protecting their brand, when in all reality it is quite simple and inexpensive. As we all know the internet can be a great place for creatives, but it can also lead to many issues, such as people stealing your hard work and claiming it as their own. However, the best way to prevent this is simply by working with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), whom monitor and protect your work from potential copycats online, and if by some chance someone does steal your work, the DMCA will have the fraudulent work removed. This service is only $10 a month (or $100 per year), which if you ask me is a small price to pay for protection. 

4. Keep A Positive Attitude

If I'm being honest, sometimes keeping a positive attitude can be very challenging especially when you have an online presence. The reason I say this is because when you do have a public presence online, everything is out in the open for everyone to see, and not everyone is as nice and kind as we would like them to be. However, when/if you ever come across something that is negative about you online (note, if it is something serious, such as defamation and could actually do damage to your reputation, then I would suggest contacting the DMCA), simply take it in stride and ignore it. The truth is not everyone is going to like you, and sometimes the things that hurt us the most when we hear or read them, hurt because there might actually be some truth in it, so instead of being upset, simply take the criticism and use it to your advantage and better yourself.  

5. Sponsored Posts Are Key 

Though building a reputation and finding brands to partner with can be tricky at first, sponsored posts really do boost your credibility and online presence. So, you're probably wondering how to get your posts sponsored, and my best advice for beginner bloggers would be to sign up for Influenster ASAP! I'm not going to go into all of the details here, but feel free to read up about it in this post. However the reason sponsored posts are so important to a blogger (especially if you want to make some money blogging) is because when you do sponsored posts, you can sometimes make commission on the products/clothing you are featuring. Also, the more sponsored posts you do, considering most are on a deadline, this builds your credibility as a blogger and social influencer, which just makes more brands want to work with you.

5½. Sponsored Posts Should Be 100% Free

Okay so this is where my "and a half" comes in, simply because I did not just want to lump this point in with sponsored posts and figured this bit of advice is useful and strong enough to stand on its own. Firstly, unfortunately, much like the potential of having your work stolen, there will come a time that a fraudulent brand will try and take advantage of you. This happened to me within my first year of blogging, and though I won't name names, this brand ripped off hundreds of girls just to make a quick buck. How did they do it? Well, initially, I did not see any harm in paying $10 for shipping of one of their products (it was heavy after all and coming a bit of a way) however I came to find they were charging other bloggers $70+ dollars for shipping which is absolutely outrageous, and obviously isn't free at all, even if they were charging almost $300 for the product (which as it turned out, they were buying wholesale from China for mere pennies). With that being said, if a brand asks to work with you, they will send you their product 100% free of charge, including shipping. 

6. Network, Network, Network

From my collaboration with makeup artist, Bailey Waterbury, for my post Marvelous Makeup (Feat. Makeup by Bailey Waterbury).

From my collaboration with makeup artist, Bailey Waterbury, for my post Marvelous Makeup (Feat. Makeup by Bailey Waterbury).

I mean it. Network with everyone you possibly can! Whether it be with brands, a local shop or boutique in your niche, or another blogger, get out there and meet people. This also rings true to messaging or emailing potential partners, which I know can be a little nerve wracking due to  the fact no one wants to be rejected, but the worst that can happen is, someone declines your offer and you move on or try again at a later date. Trust me, the first time I applied for half of my affiliate-ships I was rejected but I simply just tried again. 

7. It's a Community Not a Competition

Much like my point about networking, don't be afraid to reach out to other bloggers and help one another. Sure, there are some assholes in the blogging community, but for the most part, everyone tries to be respectful and help one another out. So if you like something someone did with their layout or coding and wanna try it out, simply ask for the plug in politely and chances are they'll help you. Though the blogging game can be competitive at times, ultimately most people aren't going to try and step on you to get ahead, and if they try to, that bad behavior is just a reflection of their character and chances are they are not secure in themselves and/or their own abilities and might see you as a threat. And much like what I mentioned earlier about negative comments, simply let it roll off your back and move on, it is their issue, not yours. 

8. Do Not Speak Negatively About Other Bloggers

Though I feel that this point should be a no brainer, I know sometimes it can be tempting to talk negatively about someone--especially if you do not like them on a personal level. However, no matter how tempting it is, if you do not have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Talking badly about someone is just rude and unbecoming in general. And besides talking badly about somebody in the community is looked at as being tasteless, it honestly reflects poorly on YOUR character and comes off as unprofessional, which could cause many people to not want to work with you. Karma is funny that way, so just keep that in the back of your mind. 

9. Take A Break

During my first year of blogging, I had many lingering mental and physical health issues due to my longtime battle with anorexia. Therefore, I decided that it would be best to take the summer off and start back fresh in the fall. I know many people fear taking a personal hiatus can reduce your readers, and it will to an extent, but honestly after my break I came back with ten times the motivation and grew my following tremendously in only six short months! So needless to say, it was the best decision I ever made, and trust me, if you feel you need a break, take it.

10. Most Importantly: Have a Strong Support System

This last point I can absolutely not stress enough simply because without my support system (Hi mum, dad, John, Nic, and McKenna!) I would probably be  completely insane by now. Though it can differ for others, I know without the five people I named, I wouldn't be able to do it all. My mum and dad for giving me all the help and guidance I need (and my mum really is the world's most poorly paid personal assistant, in the history of personal assistants), to McKenna and Nic being there for me when I need a good venting session, as well as being my editor and IT department respectively. And lastly there is John, who is just such an incredibly good sport about helping me with photos and also making sure that I don't over do it and have a complete meltdown over my work load (he always has a glass of wine or scotch neat ready for me when I've had a bad day). He is also such an inspiration to me and really makes me want to push myself to do my very best. Each of them are just such wonderful people, and I can't thank them enough. 

One Last Note

Lastly, I just want to say thank you to all of my readers for yet another fabulous year! You all are truly great and I really can't express how grateful I have been for this wonderful opportunity. I cannot wait to see how much more my blog will grow in the upcoming years, but I am sure it is going to be a great adventure, so please, by all means, stay along for the ride!

Xx, Bree

Marah Frank: Blogger

Recently, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to once again return to one of Pittsburgh's excellent restaurants, The Urban Tap. For those of you who are new to my blog, you are probably wondering why the experience is so surreal to me, right? Well, the reason it is, is because though The Urban Tap is just your run of the mill, South Side eatery, it is also the place I met with two lovely ladies, almost two years ago for my blog's first ever collaboration. So as I stepped through the doors of Urban Tap to prepare for this interview with another young, talented, and rising blogger, the whole experience became very nostalgic to me. This was the place where I started and now it is coming full circle, only now I've grown so much since then, and couldn't be happier about where I am today. So as I sat and waited for my interviewee to arrive, I began pondering how much my blog has broadened since the end of last year:

From covering large fashion events, collaborating with major jewelry retailers, adding more lifestyle posts, and lastly, my most favorite addition to my blog's categories: interviewing other artists and bloggers. Just in case you haven't sensed a pattern here, I am thrilled to announce that I will now have a monthly segment dedicated to interviewing different bloggers, artists, and shop owners! And now that you have that information, let's get on to what you really came here for, and discuss the lovely, Marah Frank.

Meet blogger, Marah Frank

My first impression of Marah when speaking with her through texts and emails is that she seemed like a slightly shy but very sweet girl, however once I met her in person I have to say that she has a commanding presence and is incredibly personable. For those of you who have not yet heard of Marah, that is probably because she only stepped onto the blogging scene last fall and prior to the was primarily a YouTuber. But let me tell you, she definitely has a knack for what she is doing. Marah's blog (marafrank.com) covers a variety of topics including faith, fashion, and travel, and along with that her website also has an impeccable layout to boot! And though you will be reading her interview shortly and will see this for yourself, I have to say that this girl is bright, fun, and is totally going places. 

Aside from her bright and fun personality, another of of the first impressions I had about Marah was that her style was incredibly on point, but after all, she is a fashion blogger. The reason I loved Marah's outfit choice so much is due to her perfect pairings. Though many people tend to disagree with me on mixing patterns (my mum being one of them) I want to take this time to point out how fabulous Marah's striped shirt looks with her floral kimono--see fashion rules are made to be broken. Aside from pointing out that fact though, the reason why I really love this pairing is because the lightness of the shirt adds contrast to this outfit, but due to the darker stripes, this contrast isn't too stark, making these two pieces a perfect pair. To complete this cute, casual, outfit, I also really liked the way that Marah accessorized this look. I feel that her white pendant necklace adds just the right amount of shine to this outfit, without being over bearing, and then her tan booties are the perfect way to tie her whole outfit together due to the fact they match the tans of her kimono perfectly.

Bree Fesh: Okay so to start off, since I admittedly didn't gather this information from you while we were setting up this interview, though I know you're from the 'Burgh, what part are you from? Also, how old are you, because initially I was going to get us a pitcher of mimosas but then it dawned on me that I didn't even know if you were legal!! 

Marah Frank: *Laughs* Unfortunately, I am not legal yet, but in a few months I will be! But to answer your other question, I am from Murrysville.

BF: So what got you interested in fashion and led you to start your blog?

MF: Ever since middle school, I have been very interested in fashion and experimenting with my personal style. And even though this is a little silly, there was a book series that I read in middle school called Clique, and though looking back its a terrible series, at the time I really liked it and it also got me very interested in fashion. Same with other book series such as Gossip Girl.

BF: How long have you had your blog?

MF: Well, before I started my blog, I actually had a YouTube channel first because I am very interested in videography, and am actually heading to college for it in the fall. But the reason I decided to start a written blog is because I felt that it was a great marketing tool and would get me some more notoriety. So I started my YouTube channel in 2015, and then my blog in the fall of last year, 2016.

BF: Okay, one last question because I am very curious, what hosting site do you use? I just absolutely love your blogs layout and think it is so well put together!

MF: Thank you! And actually, my dad is a web developer on the side so my blog is self hosted and he helps me out with all the coding and the layout.

One Last Look

What are some things that got you into blogging? Let's chat about it in the comments below or you can tweet me at @StarkRavingChic! Also, to see more of Marah's work, head over to marahfrank.com and you can also see the article she wrote about our different styles here! Later, babes.

Xx, Bree