“Maria, Miami girls are so cheesy,” a New York Editor once told me as she assigned me a fashion story. As a freelance writer, my colleagues in other major cities constantly chastised me that Miami girls lack fashion know-how and class. We were considered tacky, trashy, slutty and — gasp! — vapid.
And so I decided to slap on my big girl panties. And stick it to the big (wo)man.
In 2011, I launched this site to prove to the naysayers that we Miami gals indeed have sartorial chops. And wit, for that matter. Written from the POV of a 37-year-old mother of two, readers can always count on me for some classic-meets-edgy fashion inspo sprinkled with food and mental meltdowns.
Since my blog’s genesis, there have been so many highs and heartbreaking lows, too. So here, readers, are the 6 Surprising Things I learned from Blogging — and life lessons anyone can relate to for that matter.
- PEOPLE LIKE ME! They really do! It’s important I start off on positive footing here — because a lot of gnarly shit happened along the way. Somehow, the Blogging Gods drove crazy traffic to my site and poof! I found myself live on The Today Show, featured on The Huffington Post and collaborating with brands such as ELLE magazine, Chanel, Hermès, Phillip Lim, Madewell and more. Mad gratitude for this.
- PEOPLE HATE ME! A reader once commented on my blog (In which I was wearing an Alaïa, no less!) this nasty nugget: “Spend that money on Botox, lipo, a personal chef and trainer instead of clothes and bad dye jobs. Bless your heart…” I cried. It drove me to the brink of bad body obsession. I wanted to shut down the site. And wallow in self-pity at Shake Shack over a cheeseburger and cheese fries, obviously.
- YOU’VE GOTTA DUST THAT DIRT OFF YOUR SHOULDER: Cyber trolls are real, people. The same goes for real-life social vampires. Accepting the fact you’re not everyone’s cup of tea is a hard pill to swallow. So when braving verbal vitriol and antipathy, you’ve just got to keep on keeping on. There will always be self-projecting haters. Poor them. Not you.
- I’M A HUSTLER, BABY: At age 34 (What can I say? I’m a late bloomer), I realized this invariable truth: Nothing is going to be handed to me — in both my career and personal game. The blog wasn’t going to get any traction unless I hit the ground running. For two years straight, I attended every event I was invited to — even the ones that were meh. I networked. I left my husband home alone with the kids (oh, the guilt!). I found myself sweating over a hot keyboard hours upon end. I. Fucking. Hustled.
- I’M ANNOYING: I’m relentlessly irritating on Social Media. I clog up my followers’ feeds with the latest designer IT handbags and selfies. Often times, I tell my friends to unfollow me on Instagram and Facebook because I have to floss like a wannabe Kanye West and constantly post pics of myself, which inevitably emanates a narcisstic, materialist and utterly self-absorbed vibe. But those who genuinely know me, know that I’m far deeper than this. For me, Social Media overload is the key route to gain followers/future business. The takeaway here? You are your own publicist. When it comes to your craft, you need to share your successes (and the latest cool girl Jimmy Choo dunks) to establish yourself as a viable brand. In other words, be bothersome. Make some noise.
- YOU’VE GOT TO LOVE WHAT YOU DO: So cliché. I know. But you need to design the life you want to live. I attribute my victories with being genuinely in love with my craft. And the same should go with you. I get high off writing. I sense a body-tingling thrill when I hit the “publish” button on a fresh post. My dopamine levels peak when finish editing a piece. I adore reading my readers’ comments. My job has afforded me to rub elbows with fashion greats like Christian Louboutin and Oscar de la Renta, to meet celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson and P. Diddy (or whatever his name is at the moment) — and at night, I get to curl up on my big white fluffy couch with my husband and kiddos. You cannot beat that.