How To Be A Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger: Meet Annie Austen

“…..At that point I decided to take a step back and reexamine why I was blogging in the first place. I thought about what I actually do in my day-to-day life and considered the hobbies and activities that bring me joy. It might sound cliché but focusing your blog on what you truly enjoy makes all the difference.”

Happy Friday! This week’s feature is an absolute gem. I met her through Instagram and fell in love with her feed. Her photos and brand style are so stunning! I know there are so many of you who are looking to start your own blog but aren’t really sure where and how to begin. Our next Girl Boss will tell you exactly how she became interested in blogging and how she found her niche. Also, did you know her hometown didn’t have stoplights until the early 2000’s?! So much to learn about this babe and I’m so excited to share her story. This is one interview you won’t want to miss! Grab a cup ladies, sit back, and enjoy your Friday read. Get to know…..

Current City/State where you live: Kansas City, Missouri

Hometown: Carrollton, Missouri

Profession: Recruiter in the Healthcare IT Industry

Hi Annie! Welcome to The Boss Diary! So glad you’re here. Tell me all about your blog – The Austen Adventures.

Thank you so, so much for having me! The Austen Adventures was truly launched as a way to become more motivated and have a creative outlet. Creating the blog and really starting to focus on social media served a way for me to start living a more intentional life and connect with others. More recently my blog has adopted more of a style focus which has felt like a very natural evolution. I do still talk about trips my husband, Corey, and I take, our furry kids, yummy food, and things to do in Kansas City but I spend more time talking fashion and shopping. I’m a total deal addict and absolutely love sharing my finds with others!

Sometimes it can be challenging for new bloggers to start their blog and find the inspiration to create their first post. What is one piece of advice you would give to women out there who are looking to start their own blog, and what steps did you take in order to do this?

Finding post inspiration can be so challenging and figuring out your niche isn’t something that can easily be done from day one. When I first started blogging I tried to really cast a wide net in terms of content. I covered everything from style to home décor to recipes to travel and, although I do love all those topics, I could tell something wasn’t right – it felt like such a huge chore to create the content needed for my blog and social media. At that point I decided to take a step back and reexamine why I was blogging in the first place. I thought about what I actually do in my day-to-day life and considered the hobbies and activities that bring me joy. It might sound cliché but focusing your blog on what you truly enjoy makes all the difference. I find it so much easier to put together content now that I focus more on style and deal-finding because it’s something I already think about (and enjoy thinking about) every day. So, be authentic. That is literally the most overused sentiment, I know, but it’s truly vital in both establishing your blog and sticking with it. AND it’s okay if your passions change and shift over time – authenticity if more of a vibe and willingness to adapt than it is a dedication to focusing on one very honed-in concept for the rest of forever.

I love your Instagram highlights “Try-On Sessions” That’s so creative, and I think it’s a great way to form a real connection with your followers. What are some other ways you connect with your online audience?

Gah, thank you so much! Try-On Sessions are really one of the best ways for me to engage with others and get feedback on the content I’m producing. On Instagram one of the best ways I’ve been able to engage with others is through Instagram Stories and polls within my Instagram Stories. I feel like people are more willing to click on a quick poll in an Instagram story, particularly if they’re already looking at it, than they are to leave a comment or visit a website to share an opinion. In my written content on Instagram and my blog I always try to make sure to include prompts and encourage conversation in the comments. If I am talking about an insanely good Target find, for example, I ask people what their favorite Target deals have been lately. If I’m writing about my weekend plans, I ask what others are doing for their weekend or if they have any exciting plans coming up. I also feel that it is so important to not only connect with others on your own posts but to actually go out and engage with their content as well. This helps form even more meaningful relationships and prompts such exciting conversations, friendships, and opportunities!

You have such an incredible style! I could scroll down your Instagram feed all day. Do you have any favorite designers or fashion boutiques that you can’t live without?

That is incredibly kind to say, thank you so much! I am unashamed to admit that I’m a big-box store gal and do a vast majority of my shopping at places like Target, Forever 21, H&M, Old Navy, and (believe it or not) Walmart. The thing I’ve learned about fashion is that you do not have to spend a lot to look stylish! There are so many ways to incorporate trendy pieces into your existing wardrobe and that’s really what I try to focus on. There are a couple of boutiques here in Kansas City that are absolutely incredible sources of style inspo – Coco (https://coco-brookside.myshopify.com/) and Lady Bye (https://ladybyekc.com/). Both are incredibly female-driven businesses that focus on building community and being incredibly stylish while doing so. I absolutely love everything they put together! Another boutique I’ve started working with recently is Lou and Renae (https://www.instagram.com/louandrenae/). This boutique is located in the cutest antique shop in KC, Bella Patina (http://www.bellapatinakc.com/), and all of their pieces have such a comfortable, feminine vibe. I’m so excited to start collaborating with them!

Who takes the majority of your photos? And how often do you take photos for your blog and social media?

Oh this is the biggest struggle for me if I’m being completely honest with you! My husband is incredibly patient and takes *a lot* of my photos but I do also have a wonderful photag bestie, Tay Daliese (https://www.hey-tay.com), who does a good chunk of my photography too. I try to shoot a few things each weekend and then sprinkle in quick photo sessions during the week as well. A lot of times we work to get photo content on the fly however I am working toward a more structured approach so that I can plan content out well ahead of time. I feel like strong photographs are key to a successful blog/social media account.

Who are some of your favorite bloggers or female entrepreneurs that have inspired you as a lifestyle blogger?

One of the first people who got me thinking about blogging was Lauren Conrad. I absolutely love her effortless, feminine style and her take-charge attitude. Gal Meets Glam is another blogger who creates incredibly gorgeous content and just exudes glamor. Finally, Anna Bond is a huge source of inspiration for me. I absolutely love her art style and am obsessed with all things Rifle Paper Co.

Tell me one thing that most people may not know about you.

I am a total nerd. I stream video games at least once a week and do charity livestream events a few times a year too. A charity livestream is when a gamer or group of gamers play video games for an extended period of time and raise money for a cause in the process. I know it sounds weird but it’s a super effective way to fundraise for nonprofits! My foray into the livestreaming world began after my brother-in-law, Matt, passed away in May of 2016 due to SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). In order to raise awareness of SUDEP, my husband started an organization called Moblins for Matt (https://www.moblinsformatt.org/). So far we’ve raised over $12,000 just by playing video games while people watch us. It’s been such a wild ride but has been a great way to productively channel our grief.

Name one thing that your hometown city is known for that some people may not know.

My hometown of Carrollton, Missouri is so small that we don’t have a Walmart and did not get stoplights until the early 2000s. Carrollton is known for our big Band Day when an average of 30+ high school marching bands compete in field, indoor, and parade events. Typically, if someone has heard of Carrollton and is from the area, it’s because they attended Band Day!

Where would you like to be in blogging five years from now?

I would love to have my blog monetized and be working on consistent collaborations with brands I love!

Now let’s get a little more personal! Tell me your favorite:

Summer activity: Laying poolside, or better yet beachside, and reading!

Restaurant in your neighborhood: Rye KC

Podcast: RadioLab

Lipstick: Wet n’ Wild MegaLast Lip Color in Bare it All

Color: Blush

Bravo t.v. housewife (wait…do you watch the housewives?): Okay, I’m the worst and don’t watch the housewives BUT I think I’ll go with Lisa Vanderpump because she’s British and has the most ridiculously extra life.

Disney movie: Beauty and the Beast

And let’s get a little more personal, shall we:

If you won $20 million dollars in the lottery, what would you do with that money? I’m so boring and would honestly invest it, pay off all my debt (student loans, mortgage, car), and pay off my family’s debt too! I’d love it if I never had to work again, isn’t that the dream?

How would you describe your best friend in 3 words? Intelligent, even-keeled, nerdy

What is the last good book that you’ve read? Game of Thrones (I’ve read the whole series)!

What’s your favorite song on your current dance playlist? Lemon – Rihanna and N.E.R.D

Number one travel destination in the world? Fiji!

Who is your male celebrity crush? Donald Glover

3 things on your bucket list? 1) Go on a road trip across the US in a fancy RV 2) Go to London 3) See the Northern Lights

 

Thank you so much Annie for joining us today, and sharing your story in my diary! So much gratitude. Ladies – be sure to follow Annie on social media – all links below!

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