Who's That Gal: Elissa Garza of Style Wire

Name: Elissa Garza
Occupation: Content Creator
Hometown: Corpus Christi, TX
Age: 27
Currently Reading: My timeline… I wish I had more time to read!
Fav outdoor spot in Boston: The docks on the Charles River

How did you first become interested in blogging?

I was in a very unglamorous 9-5 and desperately needed a creative outlet. My boyfriend at the time said, “You have great style, why don't you try this blogging thing?” And here we are almost 5 years later!

When you first started, did you reach out to brands, or did they contact you? How did these relationships develop?

I'm a hustler so I really hit the ground running; from the very beginning I talked up store managers, people active in the fashion scene, started networking, and elevating my content and eventually the brands started to come to me.

 

We love following you on instagram. Which social platform is your favorite? Which yields the most traffic to your blog?

Instagram for sure! It's such a fun visual platform and with the addition of stories it really allows you to connect with your audience on a more genuine level.

We love that you work with so many local companies. What are have been some of your favorite brand collaborations so far?

Among my favorites was working with Jess and The Handle Bar team; she's such a go-getter and her entrepreneurial spirit and drive is contagious. The same goes for Kristina Tsipouras, I've been following her companies and watching her grow the BBW group for the last couple of years and am grateful blogging connects me with such amazing women. But my absolute favorite and what I find most rewarding is that I'm able to support local charities through my platform; I've been able to raise awareness for charities like Lovin’ Spoonfuls, The Ellie Fund, Dress for Success, and Goodwill Boston through my following.

If you could work with any brand, what would it be?

JetBlue! Cause what fun is looking good if you have no place to go?

How can brands and PR people catch your eye when pitching to you?

Imagery and ingenuity! If there's no imagery, I'm likely to hit delete and keep it moving. And I get a lot of emails, so if there's nothing really compelling or unique about a pitch within the first or second paragraph, it's hard to warrant a reply.

What advice would you give to a budding blogger that wants to work with brands without compromising their voice?

Never post something you're not proud of. I used to share for the sake of getting a post up, but if it's not something you're 100% eager and proud to share, it's not worth the effort. It will only diminish your brand.

How has your success in blogging impacted your career? You have a lot on your plate - how do you balance it all?

It's a challenge each and every day and involves a lot of late nights, early mornings, and multitasking (I joke that the T is my primary office). The flexibility I had when working retail was unmatched, but now that my store is closed it's a serious concern. It will be interesting to see how the blog evolves as I explore what's next!

What’s next for StyleWire?

Very good question! I'm exploring the idea of taking on content creation full time but could very well end up in a more traditional 9-5 role. Only time will tell but I hope you'll all follow along with me as I figure it out!

Who's That Gal: Libby Vilner of Life With Libby

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Name: Libby Vilner
Occupation: Graduate student, blogger, partnership manager at W.E.L.L Summit
Hometown: Israel
Age: 25
Currently Reading: The Microbiome Solution by Robynne Chutkan
Favorite Spring Activity in Boston: Taking a walk outside
Favorite New Brand: Pacifica (for skincare)

For our readers who don’t know your backstory, can you explain how you got interested in the non-toxic lifestyle and blogging?

When I turned 17 I signed with a Modeling Agency, and while doing photoshoots, fashion shows, and events, they hide you behind so much makeup. One day, my older brother asked me if I knew what was truly within the products they layer onto my face. Clearly, I had no idea, just as so many others don't. He gave me some advice and said to do my research on the mainstream makeup that's out there. I began to slowly educate myself and therefore exchange my beauty and home products to non-toxic and organic ones. I thought to myself if I wasn’t aware of how harmful these mainstream products are, so many others probably aren’t as well! I began Life with Libby with a focus on raising awareness about this subject, and organic living in general. Organic living for me doesn’t just end with the products we use, it continues to the people we surround ourselves with and the ability to maintain authenticity within ourselves. 

We read on your blog that you grew up in the public eye with a famous father in Israel. That sounds incredibly tough. Do you think your childhood experiences helped you in business by giving you a thicker skin when it comes to criticism, rejection or self-doubt? 

Going through a rough childhood and teenage years, most definitely gave me a thicker skin and the ability to brush off the negativity that comes my way every day, especially ever since I began Life with Libby, because, I've been through worse, right? So, at the end of the day, I really hope to be able to externalize positive energy back into the world whether it be through an Instagram photo, a blog post, or an interaction. 

At the same time, I do have those moments where I am self-doubting or allowed a mean comment or gesture to get the best of me, the question is how do you handle that form of negativity? I personally like to take that negativity and try and turn it back around into a positive through my support system, through my artistic outlets such as my blog, or even just by going to the gym. 

To read more about my childhood story, head over to my blog.

What advice do you have for women who are putting themselves out there on the internet for their businesses and not used to this sort of attention and/or criticism?

I think the best advice I could give is to tune out the background noise that is the negativity, and really focus on your journey, and your goals. Try not to get caught up in someone's rude DM, or comment, or gesture, and just accept it with the understanding that with success comes the challenge of looking past the negative remarks and knowing you are good enough, making sure that this stranger or this person that is trying to infuse you with their negativity doesn't get under your skin, rather thickens it! It's also super important to have a support system that you can rely on those tough days. People that will lift you up and support you 150%! 

What was one of the most difficult obstacles when you first started your lifestyle blog?

I think the most difficult part was learning and doing everything myself. I did not hire a company to create my website, or take a class on how to work Wordpress, how to edit and take photos, etc. I had to learn that all by myself, and it was one heck of a challenge but definitely extremely rewarding. 

As someone studying to be a social worker and a current panel member of M.I.N.T. (Media Impact and Navigation), how do you navigate brand partnerships while staying true to your personal values?

I haven't had many issues with navigating brand partnerships in terms of my role as a social worker and a panelist on MINT, but actually, I have had to turn down many opportunities with beauty brands who are not non-toxic and organic. It is very important for me to stick to my values of a non-toxic lifestyle and give my followers who trust my word and what I stand for only advice that I would take for myself as well. 

I recently able to partner with Athleta in order to help spread awareness about eco and sustainable fashion which I was very excited about because that's a collaboration which truly follows my values and lifestyle.

To learn more about MINT and my role as a social worker there, you can read my Q+A with them on their blog.

Any tips for brands that want to work with your brand or other social media influencers?

The biggest thing for me is to definitely skip the DM outreach and go right to emails, I can't tell you how many companies have tried to work with me through DM and I just missed the messages! I turn off my Instagram notifications because it gets too overwhelming sometimes. 

What about someone looking to start a career as an influencer?

So many tips! One of them is to know that you and your brand will always be evolving! It's a growing and learning process which I am and will forever be a part of myself. You learn something new every day and implement that into you and the brand that you are creating. I

I also have a blog post about some of my blogging tips which you can read here.

You have a blog, Instagram, YouTube channel, Twitter, and Facebook. Anything else?! How do you balance all the components of your brand as a one-woman show?

Nothing new as of right now until the next big app comes along! I am also juggling school right now but am almost done! It will be nice to not have to worry about school days, papers and exams! 

Balancing is extremely tough, what keeps me sane is staying organized and I do that through my planner, I am old school and need to write everything down, and make checklists. Without my planner, I'm a lost cause! And again, having a support system of close friends and family/loved ones is crucial. Taking some time out of almost every day to do something for you that has nothing to do with work (for me it's the gym) is also a huge aspect of being able to juggle life, it helps me stay grounded. 

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What’s next for Life with Libby?

More content and collaborations. Once I am done with school I will finally be able to for the first time work on Life with Libby almost full time so I am very excited for my creativity juices to start flowing even more and to really try and incorporate more of my social work background into some blog posts as well. 

Come Meet Libby at Ladies Lounge 4/27!

Follow along with Libby at Life with Libby. All images provided by Libby Vilner.

The Week of April 17th

Around Boston

It's none other than Patriot's Day!  Track the progress of your favorite marathon runner.

We hope you have the date saved for next week's Ladies Lounge!  Keep your eyes peeled this week for everyone's Who's That Gal features!

Fast-dining app is now in Boston!

Around LA

Playlist Yoga is hosting a Yoga & Tacos event at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Bookworms unite! LA's Festival of Books is happening this weekend.

Here's everything you need to know before you head out to take instas in the poppy fields.

Beauty & Health

We're never too old to be aware of these tips for oral health.

Self-care is always important.

How to fight signs of jet lag.

Career & Finance

You may actually be sounding unprofessional in your work emails... here's how to change that.

How to use a planner for more productivity.

Style & Decor

Key steps on how to downsize.

So you're saying there's a chance (to stop junk mail once and for all)?

Oh, sh*t.  How do you reverse-like an Instagram post?

So, according to science, where do people actually meet?

Stretch for a Cause at Yoga Reaches Out

In less than three weeks, thousands of yogis will fill Gillette Stadium’s Empower Field House. Yoga Reaches Out New England (YRONE) will hold their seventh YRONE yogathon on Sunday, April 30, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Why to Go

Yoga Reaches Out has become an important event for many. Not only does YRO bring the yoga community together to create seva (selfless service), but the proceeds raised benefit the Boston Children’s Hospital. The hospital’s wellness center is a place where the parents and family members of those being treated can take care of themselves. Can you say, namaste?

YRO focuses on fundraising for other organizations that impact the health, education and well-being of children. Come out and join YRONE in reaching their goal to get good vibes flowing while making a difference. Register for the Yogathon with promo code PowerCrunch to waive your registration fee!

The Details

Sunday, April 30th, 2017
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Empower Field House at Gillette Stadium
One Patriot Place
Foxboro, MA 02035
#YRONE17

The day will be filled with yoga, community, music, FUNdraising, networking, raffle, and so much more! The Empower Field House is located at Gillette Stadium home of the New England Patriots. Keep  the good vibes flowing afterwards at Patriot’s Place where there is shopping, dining, and entertainment.  

Can’t attend? Please consider making a donation.

photos courtesy of Tracy Rodriguez Photography

photos courtesy of Tracy Rodriguez Photography

Colleen Gordon is a content contributor for JUGs, but also shares her views over at her blog Here She Stands. You can follow Colleen on Twitter @here_she_stands.

Join Team JUGs for the BARCC Walk For Change April 23rd

It’s time to get serious. Twelve people every day are sexually assaulted in the state of Massachusetts. Nine out of ten rape survivors are women, with women between the ages of 16 to 19 being four times more likely to be a victim of sexual assault. 55% of sexual assaults occur at or near the home of the survivor. 33% of women that are raped contemplate suicide. What’s even worse, on average only 6 out of 1000 rapists will face jail time for their heinous crime. These statistics are jarring, but there is something you can do. 

Join Just Us Gals on Sunday, April 23rd at DCR’s Artesani Park in showing up for survivors of sexual assault and violence. We have partnered with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center to promote this year’s Walk for Change that will raise funds for life-saving work the Center provides. BARCC provides services like counseling, medical advocacy, and case management for the entire Greater Boston Area, all of which are free and completely confidential. Since 1973 the Center has offered a 24-hour hotline to provide survivors with healing and next-steps. 

The theme of this year’s Walk is Power of You: Supporting All Survivors, and we would be honored for you to join us! The Walk is dog friendly and begins at 9:30 with a kick-off rally. And if you register to walk with the Just Us Gals team, you can save $15 by using the code JUGS

We can’t wait to see you and 2,000 other participants as we walk to end sexual violence!

For more information on sexual violence please visit the following sites:

http://www.barcc.org/information/facts/stats
https://www.rainn.org/statistics/scope-problem

Faith Kelnhofer is a content contributor for JUGs! Learn more about her and the rest of our team on the 'about us' page.