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sandyalamode running outfit

sandyalamode reflection shot

sandyalamode leopard beanie

sandyalamode leather leggings outfit

sandyalamode jumping pic

sandyalamode cents of style leopard

sandyalamode casual outfit

sandyalamode a la mode shirt

sandyalamode a la mode leather leggings

sandyalamode new balance sneakers

Outfit Details:
Sweater: Banana Republic
Leggings: Agnes & Dora
Beanie: Cents of Style
Necklace: Cents of Style (take 50% off Cents of Style tortoise collection with code TORTOISE)
Sneakers: New Balance
Bag: Target

Photos by Anastasia Strate Photography (based in SLC, UT)

Because this sweatshirt is pretty much calling my blog name… I wanted to take some time to write a little bit more than usual and talk about how I started blogging, why I started blogging, tips for bloggers, etc.!  I started blogging over 5 years ago.  It was after I got married to my husband and before Pinterest started, I received my first DSLR camera as a gift and I wanted to continue the creativity that had sparked from wedding planning.  We only  had 6 months between the time we got engaged to the time we got married (I guess I wanted to just get married already) so once the planning all ended (it was stressful, but FUN) I wanted to do more.  So got weeks, I bounced a ton of blog names off my husband, family and friends.  I wasn’t quite sure what exactly I wanted to blog about but I thought I would start with my photography journey, blog about recipes and some sewing projects.  One day around Christmas in 2010, I was out with my husband’s family eating dessert and we got some cake with ice cream a la mode.  And that’s when it hit… a la mode… like ice cream on the side… which could translate into things I like to do on the side… besides my day job.  So… Sandy a la Mode was thus created!  Fast forward 5 years and now I am predominantly a fashion blogger… but the other meaning of “a la mode” means being fashionable and stylish.  So thus, this blog name was a perfect name for me from the start.  :)

Now through the past 5 years, I never really considered myself a “big sized blog” or even a “medium sized blog”… I really think I am just a “small blogger”.  My intention was always to keep this space as a journal and not turn it into a job.  As my blog has changed and evolved, I started monetizing the blog for some on the side fun money which really just goes back into buying more clothes and shoes… for myself and for my kids.  I’m sure my husband would wish that I invest the money more wisely though, I am working on that.  Anyways, this past weekend, my friend Looks For Lovelies hosted The Lovely Lunch for business owners/bloggers/powerful women in the Salt Lake City area.  Cents of Style helped to host the event and the CEO Courtney had such an inspiring and amazing story about her journey to success!  AND the kicker is, Jacque asked me to be a speaker to present some things that I had learned from my recent experience at my first ALT Summit blogging conference.  So I just wanted to share a few of the tips here that I shared at that conference.

My talk was about how to pitch to brands and ways to monetize your blog…. and because I work better when I write things out in lists, that’s just what I am going to do.

1) If you are a new blogger, create quality content for 6 months – 1 year before starting to think about monetizing, etc.  Make sure you are consistent with your posts and write at least 2-3 times a week so you give readers incentive to come back!

2) Follow the brand’s social media, curate inspiration posts with the brand, tag the brand, make sure you are talking about the brand that you are wanting to work with in a positive way.  Make sure your blog content fits with the brands vision.

3) Some ways to monetize are sidebar ads, sponsored posts, giveaways, blogger networks, affiliates.  Feel free to try them all, but in the end, pick the 2-3 that generate the best revenue streams for your blog/business.  Stick to those.

4) For sponsored posts specifically, be creative with your pitches. I feel like lately, these are the way to go over sidebar ads (which used to be more popular years ago).  But now, companies want to see their products used in as organically as possible in blog posts or social media outlets.  But instead of just doing one post for one company, try to make a 3 part series.  Maybe on how to style 1 item in 3 ways which is 3 blog posts.  And if brands like what you are doing, then they’ll want to come back and work with you (bonus)!

Do you have any tips?  What are your best ways for monetizing your blog or unique pitches for brands?

You guys! One of my favorite sales events ever is HERE! With code BIGEVENT15 you can get some amazing discounts off of regular and sale priced items at Shopbop (Stuart Weitzman excluded).  Shopbop seriously has some amazing designer goodies, some of my favorites are Madewell, Rebecca Minkoff, Joie, and Kate Spade!

Here’s the details:

shopbop big event

How amazing is that?  But hurry, the sale only lasts through March 7, 2015!

I’ve put together a little Spring/Summer collage to get you inspired for warmer weather.  We just got hit with some snow so we may have a few more months of winter, but I know some of you out there are probably heading towards Spring weather (LUCKY!)

shopbop big event sandyalamode1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

And here’s a few more of my wishlist items from Shopbop.  You can bet I’ll be making a few purchases during this sale… ;)

Happy shopping!

mama daughter wearing pink and gold

So the last time I wore this dress for the blog was for my gender reveal video.  If you haven’t seen it before, you should check it out, I am absolutely in LOVE with the video.  And here are some pretty family photos to go along with it.  So when I put together this outfit for my little girl, I thought it would be the perfect chance to re-wear this same outfit (to coordinate with her) and take pictures with her.  This Dream Catcher Baby dress is slightly a bit big for her, but it only means that she can wear it all through Spring and Summer, which I am totally looking forward to already!  And the dress can turn into a tunic as she grows taller and taller!  I am all about making the most out of baby clothes since they don’t last long in nature!  :(  Gosh, I just LOVE her!

baby girl in dream catcher baby dress

baby girl wearing plaid dress

baby girl wearing gold bow and dream catcher baby dress

laughing baby girl

baby girl sitting up in pink and gold dress

mommy and me matching outfit

baby girl sitting on mama's lap

My outfit:
Dress: Lime Lush Boutique
Necklace: Olive and Piper

Vivian’s outfit:
Dress: Dream Catcher Baby
Headband: Think Pink Bows
Shoes: Sophie Kate Moccasins

Photos by Shailynn Photography

And don’t forget to check my Instagram as there will be a giveaway for a Dream Catcher Baby dress over there!!

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On the weekends, I live in leggings.  Like seriously, sometimes on Saturday and Sunday I wear the same pair and I don’t even care. My favorite way to take them from casual to dressy is wearing them with a tee (gold sleeves are definitely a bonus), kimono, heels and a fun clutch. Kick my heels off and put my clutch in my handbag shelf and this is the perfect outfit for lounging around at home as well.

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Outfit Details:

Top c/o Zoony
Cardigan: LuLaRoe
Leggings c/o Agnes & Dora (use code SANDY15 for 15% off your order)
Clutch: House of Mimzy
Sunnies: Silvano Apparel
Shoes: Steve Madden
Necklace: Downeast Basics
Bracelet: Pink Peonies Collection

Photography by Brittany Ting

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I hope you guys are loving this Mama and Daughter outfit series as much as I love shooting them with my baby girl.  Knock on wood, she has cooperated through most of them and I hope this trend continues.  Even if she has skipped her nap, she’ll still be all smiles in front of the camera, which is just INSANE.  But I guess she just loves the camera — go figure since she is a fashion blogger’s daughter haha!  Someone recently reminded me that once baby girl starts crawling, skirts will get in the way, so basically this is why I am soaking up this time where she can wear skirts now and then again once she is walking.  I just love throwing on a skirt for her over leggings, it just adds a girly touch and makes pattern mixing that much more fun.

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My outfit:
Top c/o Deloom
Cardigan: Forever 21
Jeans: Hudson
Shoes: ASOS
Purse: Tory Burch
Necklace c/o PinkBlush

Vivian’s outfit:
Onesie: Target
Skirt: Kack Design
Shoes: Sophie Kate Moccasins
Headband: Little Kate Designs

Photos by Shailynn Photography