The meaning behind “a la mode” + tips for working with brands

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?


  1. March 4, 2015 / 9:36 pm

    Thank you so much for the great tips and I enjoyed reading your story Sandy!

    xo, Claire

  2. jillian
    March 5, 2015 / 5:41 am

    great tips sandy! xo jillian

  3. March 5, 2015 / 7:27 am

    Hot damn lady you look good! I love knowing the meaning of your name now too!

  4. March 5, 2015 / 8:10 am

    These are great tips! I definitely wandered around blindly when it came to sponsors at first. I just kind of did trial and error till I found things that worked for me.

  5. March 5, 2015 / 5:45 pm

    These are awesome tips, Sandy! Could not agree with #4 more. Being creative and coming up with a collaboration that’s different from everyone else really shows that you “get” the brand.

    I’ve been such a huge lurker on your blog lately, but I still read daily. I’ve loved your IG feed and have been so impressed by how much your style has evolved since we first started blogging. You are still one of my favourite daily reads and super inspiring.

    Best of luck in year 5 and beyond!!


  6. March 9, 2015 / 11:48 am

    Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday, and for your great post. xo

  7. March 10, 2015 / 6:22 am

    Thanks for the tips in this post. You look so sporty-chic and I will copy you since I have very similar pieces. I am also wearing coated dark burgundy jeans today.

    Hope baby Vivian is doing well. My Vivian and I send you ladies, our love.

    <3 Ada.

  8. March 11, 2015 / 11:36 am

    This was so helpful!! Thank you for sharing these tips. The last one especially helps about sponsored posts. Plus your pictures are GORGEOUS. And so are your Nike shoes 🙂 Thanks for posting all of this, it really helped me!

  9. March 11, 2015 / 2:17 pm

    That hat and shirt are darling! Plus, you take a great picture. Thanks for sharing a bit of your story and your tips!

  10. March 12, 2015 / 9:03 am

    Beautiful model, great tips, cute hat, and an awesome shirt! You got it all, girl! Thanks for linking up at Thursday Favorite Things. Can’t wait to see what you’ll share next week!:)

  11. March 17, 2015 / 10:37 am

    Very cool leggings. Thanks for linking up at Who’s Wearing What Wednesdays at Pastries, Pumps and Pi!

  12. March 25, 2015 / 2:29 pm

    I love this whole outfit! You are so stylish and beautiful! Thank you for sharing your tips with us!

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