This is farewell (not goodbye)


It’s been 7 years since I started this blog. SEVEN YEARS! Can you believe it? I think back to why I started this blog and what my intentions were back then, how the topics evolved as I continued to grow, and where the blog is today. It was never my intention for this blog to become a style blog, but that’s where my passions at the time took me. It was originally through being such an avid reader of fashion blogs and then mustering up the courage to participate in Kendi’s 30×30 challenge that got me to start documenting my outfits. It was that very moment that opened my world to the wonderful community of style bloggers!

For the first few years, I remember how exciting it was to run around the city with my tripod, DSLR, and a wireless remote, trying to find tucked-away corners of the city to take photos in (it still makes me nervous to take photos on busy sidewalks today!). It was always such a fun challenge to put together new outfits too! Nothing made me more excited back then to shop, style, and then plan content for this blog. Some of my fondest memories are bonding with old roommates, friends, and embarrassingly, sometimes even my coworkers(!), to help snap outfit photos.

With that said, my relationship with this blog has definitely changed and evolved over the years. Around the 2015 time is when the content of this blog started to shift away from being purely about the clothes and started to incorporate more travel and lifestyle too. As my personal style started to steady out and plateau (hello closet full of denim, basic tees, and not much else), I felt like the content of this blog did too. Unlike other style bloggers, I was having a hard time staying inspired both in the clothing and the writing department. Because my mindset towards clothes switched gears from following the latest and greatest trends and more towards building a budget-friendly lifestyle, this started to change the way I looked at the blog as well.

There were many times I struggled with getting a post up. It’s really obvious in the months that I was only able to write once a week, if even that. I went through so many cycles of writer’s block and feeling like I needed to find new ways to keep myself motivated – but also competitive, creative, inspiring, etc – with the growth of other bloggers that eventually I had to take a step back and ask myself, “Why am I still writing this blog if it brings me so much heartache?”

The blogging landscape has changed so much since the early days of The Demure Muse. Back then, being a full time blogger wasn’t even a possibility! Nowadays, there are platforms trying to sell the idea of becoming an influencer overnight by buying fake followers to keep up the facade, brands who try to swindle free creative work, and a constant battle with Instagram on how to push content to the top of a feed, because anyone can be an “influencer” these days. This is not why I started my blog (I never intended to influence… just wanted a space to write and share thoughts) and I just don’t have the desire to “compete” in this way.

With all of that said, I’ve always loved having a blog because of the community that came with it and my little corner of the internet to share things I’ve learned. It’s funny because even though the majority of the content on this blog’s archives is outfit posts, the posts that have resonated the most with people are the resource posts. The most pinned posts on Pinterest to this date are: How to restore a vintage purse, recipe for mac n cheese bites (throwback to 2012!), tips for buying vintage bags online, the good, bad, and ugly of buying IG followers, and a review for rosehip seed oil.

Thinking back to all of the most popular posts, these were my favourite ones to write! Nothing makes me more excited than to share resources and starting a dialog about topics we’re truly passionate about. For that very reason, I’m taking a step back from this blog. After thinking long and hard about transitioning The Demure Muse to be a resource blog, the archived content just feels so disjointed from what I’m truly passionate about learning and writing about moving forward.

Looking back on the last 7 years, I can’t even begin to describe how incredible of a learning experience writing here as been. Thank you for all the support and encouragement. I’ve learned so much about styling, photography, social media, etc etc etc, that I would’ve never had the opportunity to learn otherwise. To everyone who read this blog, emailed, commented, and collaborated, you’ll never know how much it all meant (and still means) to me. This blog has been a complete labour of love, born of out my need for a constant creative outlet.

This is farewell, but not goodbye. I’ll be over here at steady catalog.

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Buying Instagram Followers: Is it really worth it?

Buying Instagram Followers: Is it really worth it?

I’m going to start this post out by saying that while I have never personally paid for followers, I can empathize for why people do it. In an ever-evolving industry where the sheer number of followers can make or break a sponsorship deal, I can see the appeal (and temptation) of buying followers. My goal of today’s post is to shed some light on the topic of buying Instagram followers and generate a discussion on whether or not it’s really worth doing. While I’m personally very strongly opinionated about the side that I sit on (don’t do it!) I’m curious to know how others feel about this topic.

Let’s dig into the good, the bad, and the really ugly of buying Instagram followers, shall we?

The good: Spoilers, there’s not much…

I’m probably stating the obvious here, but the only good I can see in buying Instagram followers is the bump in sheer numbers for a following. And, of course, the potential sponsorship deal(s) that come with a large following. While having a huge following count is impressive, more than just the number of followers are now being considered for sponsorship deals.

Brands who do their homework will know to look for other criteria like engagement, trajectory of growth, and dig into the percentage of real followers. Let’s explore how to dig into these other criteria, what they look like after buying Instagram followers, and the tools used to do this research.

The bad: It’s pretty obvious to spot if you’ve purchased followers

I want to introduce you to a tool called Socialblade. This site allows anyone (no account necessary) to dig into the analytics of any user on any social media platform (IG, YouTube, Twitter, etc). I’m specifically focusing on Instagram because that’s my personal favourite social media platform and the one that I have the most experience researching.

The examples that I’m going to show you in this post have been stripped of any identifying username info… know that this information is easily accessible to anyone (aka potential brand sponsors, other bloggers, your followers, etc)!

Case #1: How to tell if someone has purchased Instagram followers

buying-instagram-followers-example

In this specific example, it’s really obvious that followers were purchased. This particular user only had 700 followers on March 22, and by April 11 hovered just under 10,500 followers! That’s an increase of almost 10,000 followers in ~3 weeks! Not to mention, the numbers of followers “delivered” is extremely unnatural where it fluctuates from 600 to almost 1,500 per day. A true following of real users would be amassed in a steady growth, where the daily average count would be similarly reflected in the daily reported counts of new followers. In this specific case, we see that at the bottom of the report that the daily average value is +433, even though this particular user was barely scraping a +30 daily average prior to March 27. The numbers tell everything! No one’s being bamboozled into thinking this is natural growth here!

Case #2: What happens when you decide to stop buying Instagram followers?
This is another tell tale sign of whether or not someone is buying Instagram followers: the period of time right after all of the purchased followers has been delivered. This is what I call “the bleeding period” because it’s when they start to bleed followers.

Using the same user from Case #1, we can see that all of their purchased followers were delivered by April 11, and they began to bleed followers on April 12:

buying-instagram-followers-stop-buying

The “bleeding” is caused by a combination of the fact that no new followers are being delivered and the fact that Instagram discovers spam accounts. The spam accounts make up the majority – if not all – of the purchased followers. Since fake spam accounts are being banned and the user who purchased followers does not have the steady, natural momentum of gaining followers, the net following is negative. This is such a fascinating period of time to witness as a third party observer…
If you want to see what this use case looks like for a blogger with a much larger following, here you go!

From this use case, we learn that the only way to sustain the net positive growth after buying Instagram followers is to continue to buy followers. It’s a really ugly (and potentially expensive) cycle to fall into.

We’re now going to go into “The Really Ugly” part of buying Instagram followers.
(more…)

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Earth Day Blogger Closet Sale!

Today’s an extra exciting post because of an upcoming event this weekend! If you’re in the Seattle area, I’d love to invite you to the Earth Day Blogger Closet Sale (FB event details here) happening on Saturday in Pioneer Square. Along with 6 other bloggers/small business owners in the city, we’ve teamed up to throw an afternoon hangout with drinks and snacks while opening up our closets for folks to shop!

Earth Day Blogger Closet Sale
Where: Fresh Tangerine studio (89 Yesler Way, 2nd Floor)
When: April 22, 2017; 11am – 3pm

closet-sale
Jenn of Hello Rigby, Lisa of Story of My Dress, Alyson of Circa 1988, Rebecca of Blogger Not Billionaire, Me (!), Kim of Fresh Tangerine, and Moorea of Moorea Seal

I will be sharing a rack with the lovely Alyson of Circa 1988 and cannot wait! I have about 30 items pulled from my closet (some – embarrassingly enough – still have tags on them) and am so excited to find new homes for them. Here’s a little teaser of what I’ll be bringing to the event. You may notice from familiar pieces from the blog!

blogger-closet-sale-preview

Hope to see you on Saturday! (FB event details here)

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3 Tips for keeping fitness goals

tips for keeping fitness goals

One thing that I’ve struggled with a lot in the past is keeping up with fitness goals. Although my original fitness goal for 2017 was around yoga and not running, I decided to pivot activities. Despite changing things up, these same tips apply.

Context: My Seattle BFF has a goal to run every weekend, increasing the distance by at least 1 block each session. As I’m not a strong runner at all (not much as changed since 2015… heh) and barely made it 4 blocks after weeks of trying to increase continuous distance (I blamed it on the cold, wet, Seattle Fall weather back then, I decided to share some tips for how we’re helping each other stay accountable in keeping our fitness goals for the year.

running-buddies

1. Find a workout buddy!

Depending on what your fitness goal is, having a buddy to workout with is huge. Not only does it help with accountability for showing up (scheduling to meet up, making sure the workout/activity happens, etc), but it also helps to keep motivation levels high while actually doing the workout.

2. On top of one big goal, set mini weekly goals

Instead of only having one big goal, it’s been helpful to have weekly mini goals. I’ve found myself trying to set goals like “Run 1 mile without stopping”, only to become discouraged even before the run starts. Today, having a mini goal of pushing one more block in distance every time we run has made a big difference. Not only does this mini goal feel much more attainable, but the immediate satisfaction of hitting a new PR every time we run ups the stickiness of the overall big goal.

I like to think of this one like breaking down a big task. If we start with something huge, it can feel overwhelming and undoable. Breaking it down into the smaller components that make up the bigger picture and chunking the tasks makes it seem more attainable. Similar method for how I’ve been thinking about fitness goals and how to make them feel less daunting.

Brooks Running gear: ghost crop, LSD jacket

3. Rain or shine, keep a consistent schedule

One thing that I noticed in the past is how easy it is to fall off the fitness train. A day of rain and deciding to not workout could throw an entire schedule off– not only would I have put off working out on this particular day, but I found myself dragging my feet even harder the next day/time to workout (even if the weather was beautiful out) because I allowed myself to skip a day.

So far this year, I’ve gone for 2 rainy runs. One day it was so cold and bone-chilling that we decided to cut the run short. Despite not making it to our goal distance, the experiences of staying accountable and keeping each other motivated in bad weather made the next run in nice weather a lot more satisfying. I even caught myself finding more internal motivation on the next run because of the fact that the previous week’s run was less satisfying in terms of distance and set a new PR!

Even if you don’t have a goal for running, I think these 3 tips apply for anything that requires consistency and accountability! The hardest part is always getting dressed and out the door. Everything after that get easier! ;)

A huge thank you to Brooks Running for providing us with beautiful running gear featured in this post! I’m wearing last year’s LSD jacket (current season’s version), the ghost crop tights, and PureCadence 6 shoes. On my BFF is the men’s LSD running jacket in yellow.

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Whistler weekend and gearing up for upcoming seasons

Last weekend, a handful of friends and I headed up to Whistler to enjoy the snow and beautifully laid out runs on the mountains. I’ve only ever been to Whistler one other time (back in 2012) and was so excited to revisit the beautifully laid out the runs and gorgeous scenery.

Back in 2012, my visit was right after a night of snowfall, so there were nothing but amazing pillows of snow to catch my falls. This would have been amazing if I had stayed on green runs, but a friend accidentally led us down a black diamond with moguls… let’s just say I ate a lot of snow that first time and hoped to not repeat history on the second trip.

Snowboarding gear for women going to Whistler - Helly Hansen
outfit details:
Powderqueen jacket: c/o Helly Hansen (exact)
neck cowl: Helly Hansen (similar)
snow pants: Burton (old)
snowboarding boots: Salomon (old)
snowboard: K2 (old)

Fast forward to 2017 and the mountains are still as beautiful as ever! With the sun shining and only doing green runs (for real this time… haha), I thought we were set up for a pain-free day. Sadly, with no fresh snowfall the night before, the ice pellets were not as forgiving. Despite practicing my S-turns after making it a goal to learn how to carve instead of always leafing down the hills (don’t judge!), I still left with a bruised bottom. Snowboarding is something that I really want to learn to excel at, especially since it’s one of the few sports that all my friends and I can enjoy together during the winter.

Whistler green runs
Helly Hansen W Powder Queen jacket review
With just over a month left in the snowboarding/skiing season this year, this is one of the best times to gear up for the future snow seasons to come! I first bought all of my gear in 2012. The jacket, snow pants, boots, board, and helmet were all purchased during a mid-season sale. Sadly, I also managed to outgrow some of it in the last 5 years. In the last couple weeks, I’ve scored some great deals at the Helly Hansen outlet store in Burlington, WA. I bought myself a new neck cowl for $10 (regularly $20), a new pair of baselayer pants for $20 (regularly $40), after being really impressed by the quality and performance of the HH base layers I got to try earlier this season.

Helly Hansen skiing and snowboarding gear
With a jacket being one of the most important pieces of equipment, I’ve rounded up a handful of Helly Hansen jackets that are going to keep you warm on the slopes (linked below). If you’re local to Washington, you’ll be able to find these HH beauties locally here:

REI – Crystal Jacket is currently 51% off! (here)- 222 Yale Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

Burlington Outlets – 314 Fashion Way, Burlington, WA 98233

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