Once every few months I update my Q&A page here on Atlantic-Pacific as well as over on Instagram! I do receive quite a few repeat questions (I am highlighting them below) and today I am answering some of the newer questions based on what you were interested in via Instagram Stories. For more information, you can see my blogging story here and my career path story here!
Some other frequently asked questions with links:
How do you achieve your low bun hair? See my tutorial here.
What is your everyday make up routine? See it here.
What are your favorite locations to photograph in NYC? See them all here.
How do you edit your photos? My tips and tricks here.
MOST RECENT QUESTIONS:
Question: How are you holding up?
Answer: Thank you for asking! I have good days and bad days. For a long stretch of time I was really focused on being positive and not letting myself get down. Now that we are 10+ months into this pandemic and 2020 (and 2021) brought a lot of turmoil, I have hit a bit of a wall. I am giving myself permission to be upset, have a bad day, check out for a few hours, etc. I recognize how fortunate I am to be able to get outside, have a roof over my head, and still be able to work. I am extremely grateful, but I would be lying if I said my mental health is 100% right now. I am looking forward to brighter days for all of us.
Question: When are you returning to NYC?
Answer: I would also like to know the answer to this question LOL. I made a commitment in March to stay put in Florida until I felt that measures were in place to protect both communities (NYC and Florida). As an influencer I feel it is important that I set a good example and therefore I have not traveled since March 7th. I love NYC and I don’t feel my time is done there, but what that looks like is now a big question mark. Our original plan of buying a home in Florida in 2017 was to spend a few weeks in Sarasota here and there and then spend a majority of Jan/Feb/March in the sunshine state and the remaining time (majority of time) in NYC. Once Covid is under control here in US, we will see if that remains to be our plan. I am trying to be flexible and stay optimistic. With that being said, Florida has been an absolute delight. Having more space, wonderful weather, and the ability to be outside safely has been an enormous blessing.
Question: First places you want to go when you return to NYC?
Answer: There are so, so many. I want to visit the new Dante in the West Village, take a long walk through lower manhattan, see the new Penn Station, and hug all my friends. I am missing my old haunts like Via Carota, Little Sheep, Kogane, Hillstone, Westville, and so many more. Mostly I just miss the feeling of the buzzing city and all of my friends.
Question: How is Penny?
Answer: Thank you for asking! I’ll take any opportunity I can to talk about our dog! She is amazing and she is really thriving, but we are still working on dog socialization. When I look for a silver lining from the past 12 months, she is it! I am so happy we were able to adopt such a sweetheart – she has brought us so much happiness during such a turbulent year. Plus, she just got a haircut, so she is looking extra cute.
Question: Any outfits that you regret posting?
Answer: Believe it or not, none! My style has changed and evolved over the years and looking back there are quite a few outfits I wouldn’t wear now (looking at you incredibly short hemlines). I know that my style wouldn’t be where it is today without experimentation, which includes ALL OF IT! I also think about those of you who have been reading here for so long (A-P will be 11 years old in April!) and some of the outfits I look back on and may not wear now (mostly due to what makes me feel good and comfortable as I get older) may be some of your favorites, which is amazing! For this reason I don’t ‘make rules’ or tell readers what is ‘in or out’. I honestly believe that if you love it and it makes you feel good, wear it. This site is a reflection of things I love, but I don’t think my style is above anyone else. I don’t get to make rules or say what is lesser. I hope readers can come here and be inspired to mix and match, take a style risk, or find a new brand. I don’t want anyone to leave the site feeling like the pieces you own are ‘out’ or that you style is ‘wrong’ or that an outfit I wore that you loved I now find ‘regrettable’. I always hope you leave with a positive feeling.
Question: Any new product collaborations?
Answer: Yes, but nothing I can announce right now! I am currently working behind the scenes to figure out what are the best next steps for bringing product to market and when that would make the most sense. There are SO many things to consider in the process and it takes time. Any product categories you would want to see from Atlantic-Pacific? By the way, there are still a few pieces left from AP x Nordstrom here and I believe we still have one planner design left in stock at Target here.
Question: Current favorite beauty/skincare products?
Answer: I am constantly switching it up and trying new things! I have a few tried and true favorites like this Charlotte Tilbury face cream, this hair oil, this hairspray, this highlighter and this lipstick (shade ‘Baci’). Some of the newer items that I have been loving are this hair treatment and this hair treatment. I reintroduced this to my nightly skincare routine and have loved this eye cream!
Question: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Answer: If you had asked me this ten years ago I never would have answered correctly. Like I said in yesterday’s post, I like to have a plan, but I also want to follow my intuition along the way. I love fashion and hope that in ten years I’ll still be working in the industry, but I’d like to step back from being in front of the camera all of the time. I have a few 5-10 year goals that are steering me in that direction. I have always been honest in saying that I loved working in an office and working in corporate America, so I could see myself stepping back into fashion working for someone else. For now I am so thankful for your support to continue doing what I love!
Question: Are you pregnant? Are you planning on having kids?
Answer: I am not pregnant (no bump under all that tulle) and I am not sure if we will have children. One thing I am 100% confident in is that if I do have kids it will not change the direction of Atlantic-Pacific. If I were to become pregnant I would of course feature maternity fashion (because no escaping having a bump), but I would not share my pregnancy beyond that and I would not allow my children to be featured prominently on the site or my social media channels. No baby pictures or kids fashion! Sorry!
BLOGGING & BUSINESS
Question: What type of camera do you use and any tips on how to take better photos?
Answer: I currently use a Canon 5D mark iv camera with 50mm f/1.2 and 35 mm f/1.4 lenses. I have always used Canon and have been very happy with the results. I typically only buy Canon lenses but have also used Sigma in the past. I am no photography expert, but my advice is to learn as much as you can by watching and reading the many high quality, free tutorials available online. Anytime I can’t quite figure something out I describe the problem or the shot I want and 9 times out of 10 I find what I am looking for on the web. It’s really that simple. When learning, it is also crucial t to practice, practice, practice – both the technical side and the creative side on photography. Try and do this during the best lighting, which is normally in the mornings or a few hours before sunset. Also, recognize that a lot of the amazing shots you may see on IG or on your favorite sites have either been altered, or a filter has been used. Post editing is equally important when trying to create amazing photos!
Question: Do you think it is too late to start a fashion blog or fashion Instagram handle? I feel like the market is oversaturated and there isn’t room for new talent.
Answer: While I wouldn’t disagree the market is a very crowded place right now, I don’t think it is ever too late to start something you are truly passionate about. You’ll also need to ask yourself why you are starting it in the first place. Is it because you truly enjoy it and want to share your passion with the world? Is it for monetary gain and popularity? Starting a blog or Instagram handle for monetary gain is very difficult and I wouldn’t recommend starting a creative endeavor with money being your end goal. With that being said, I don’t think the influencers who are popular now, or have amazing content and engaged audiences, are going to be the last influencers to exist. There will always be an influx of new talent. I think there is room for everyone and in two or three years from now there will be influencers owning niches within the market who just got started with their accounts this year!
Question: When starting your blog and Instagram account what types of goals did you set? What advice do you have around goal setting for people starting now?
Answer: When I first started my site I did set a number of goals. All of my goals were around consistency in posting, differentiated content, and learning news skills. At the time, I was trying to tackle how to set up and code a website template, learn more about photography, and simply just get in the habit of posting regularly while still working 55+ hours a week! While I think it is great to set goals that may be tied to traffic, followers, or monetary gain, those are all hard to predict and difficult to control. I believe the most productive and actionable goals when starting out should be about you, your content, and your learning – pushing yourself to think differently and try new things.
Question: How do you choose who to partner with on Atlantic-Pacific?
Answer: I typically filter partnerships through the following criteria – the brand, the creative, the timing, and the message and inclusiveness. Is this a brand that I love and admire? It may be a brand I have worn or used again and again, but sometimes it can be a new-to-me product that I have fallen for. Will the brand allow me putting my own creative spin on the product and/or message to make the creative more unique to my style and aesthetic? Does the timing make sense? Does it work within my schedule with travel commitments and the existing partnerships I have committed to? I always want to strike a balance on Atlantic-Pacific between thoughtful sponsored content and my own point of view. How many other influencers will be pushing this product or message at the same time? I want to feel as though you do not come to my site and see ‘all the same things’ that you may see elsewhere on the web or your social channels. Is the band inclusive? Are they featuring a broad range of people, specifically POC on their site and handle? Are the creators they collaborate with diverse? While I do take on a very select number of thoughtfully considered lifestyle, beauty, and spirit sponsors, the message of fashion and style always needs resonate first and foremost. That is the cornerstone of Atlantic-Pacific and always has been. I have been so unbelievably fortunate to establish lasting and trusting relationships with many of my incredible brand partners and cherish the collaborative effort to continue creating content together. I hope that gives you a little insight!
Question: How do you deal with negative comments?
Answer: I have been very fortunate that most of my readers and followers are incredibly kind, thoughtful people. Here and there I may get a negative comment. I have always tried to spend time responding to and thanking those who leave positive comments. I feel responding only to a negative comment when there are a disproportionate number of positive ones sends a bad message. I typically never delete comments (I have deleted a handful that have either been threatening, or so far off base that they are extremely offensive not only to me, but to my family, friends or fellow readers). As I mentioned, with a very bland negative comment such as ‘I hate that outfit’, I simply scroll on by. If a comment is being critical, yet thoughtful, I do spend time responding as I do think I can grow from feedback that is constructive and do enjoy dialogue with readers even when the conversation is tough. A negative or critical comment can sting – badly – but over time, and as I have matured, I take very few things personally and rather try to see where the reader is coming and how I can grow from the feedback. I try to be extremely mindful when approaching my response to negative comments to respond, not to react (the two are very, very different). Everyone will not like everything that I say or do, so I set realistic expectations for myself. If I need to take a step back, or feel myself getting worked up, I just walk around the block and cool off. I recognize that in putting myself out there I will be exposed to both positive and negative comments (I wish it could all be rainbows and butterflies). While I don’t think anyone on the internet should be subject to cyber bullying or hate speech, negative feedback comes with the territory.
Question: What did you do working at Tory Burch? What did you study in school?
Answer: I attended the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and studied Political Science and Business. I’ve always had an interest in fashion and retail, but at the time, was not quite sure of how to make a career out of it. During my senior year of college, on a hunch, I applied to Gap Inc.’s Retail Management Program. After a very long interview process I was awarded a spot and soon after moved to San Francisco. I spent a year rotating through the program, doing hands on training to learn product development/production, inventory management/planning, and merchandising. Upon completion of the program, I went on to hold various positions within Old Navy HQ in merchandising. In 2012, I move to NYC and took a similar role at Tory Burch working in ready-to-wear. I ultimately became the Director of Merchandising for Accessories at Tory Burch and also later consulted with the Digital teams.
Question: What made you make the leap and leave corporate fashion and merchandising?
Answer: There were a lot of different factors in play when it came to making the difficult decision to leave the corporate world. For over the ten years, I had built up my career in merchandising, and I felt that there would be a place for me if I wanted to go back. That was certainly reassuring. On the other hand, doing my own thing felt like something that was an opportunity right now, but may not necessarily be in the future. I had reached a point where I was no longer able to focus on both to the degree that I wanted to, and due to that, I was only disappointing myself in both merchandising and blogging. I needed to focus and make a choice. I saw blogging, and building opportunities around and outside of that, as something new and independent, but knew it may not last forever. After thinking seriously about my long term goals, I made the leap and left the corporate world!
Question: What is some of the best advice you have ever received?
Answer: I have been so fortunate in my life to have incredible bosses, amazing friends, supportive family members, and so many more humans who have challenged me, guided me, and also given me much needed reality checks from time to time. I think one of the most important pieces of advice I have ever received is quite simple: until you believe in yourself, no one else will. I have a tricky relationship with confidence, and at times I don’t believe I am worthy, good enough, or am simply afraid of overselling myself. I think humility is an extremely important trait, but I also know that if you truly believe in yourself, and there is something specific that you want to do, you absolutely need to believe it. If you don’t, no one else will.
Question: How do you stay motivated being self-employed?
Answer: At times, it can be difficult to stay motivated. Coming from a corporate background, I knew that becoming self-employed would be a huge change. I structure my weekdays as if I am in an office, complete with a Monday morning meeting to set goals, and a Friday check-in on the status of all projects. Having structure and a schedule certainly allows me to focus, but I also carve out breaks in each day to walk and get coffee and step away from the computer and re-set. I also take time to celebrate hitting milestones or completing big projects. These serve as moments in time when I can reflect on what has been accomplished – I think that is so important in any work environment. I also find a lot of motivation in the meetings I keep with likeminded friends. It helps a lot to get outside yourself and connect with others to discuss work challenges and opportunities. I think the biggest shock to my new way of working was how isolated I felt, so allowing myself to connect with people throughout the week has been crucial to my success.
There are absolutely times I don’t feel motivated or am downright discouraged (getting passed over for a big partnership, feeling like I am not progressing, being misunderstood), but it’s critical for me to remember that it isn’t all about me and my individual accomplishments- there is a bigger picture. If an annoying email or tech issue puts me in a tough mood (and I can get put in a MOOD), I try to re-focus and put out the energy that I would want to get back. So if someone or something gets me down, I try to do the opposite for someone else: being super friendly to a waiter or waitress, writing a nice review for someone who helped me in a store, complimenting a stranger, or finding time to volunteer in the community. In the end you have good days and bad days, but remembering that you can create someone’s good day or bad day is huge. Stepping outside myself and finding the bigger picture always helps me to re-focus and gain the confidence and motivation that I need to move forward.
Question: What are five things I can do to be more successful?
- Write out a plan. Create a 6 month, 2 year, and 10 year plan and create tangible ways you can work towards each of your milestones. Evaluate how you are doing every month and always work towards your goals.
- Be self aware. Self awareness is key in being successful. Gather feedback from co-workers, clients, and even friends. Continue to better understand your strengths and weaknesses and improve upon them. Recognize early and often that you will never be capable of being great at everything. Many successful people I admire know their true strengths and only focus on those. They find partners and people to surround themselves with who excel at what they may lack.
- Don’t mistake activity for achievement. Being busy isn’t a badge of honor. Make sure the meetings you take, projects you are working, even your daily tasks, are all as productive and efficient as they can be. Everyone has other things going on and places to be!
- Be direct and decisive without being abrasive. In any business, the more clear, simple, and concise you can be, the better. I firmly believe that once you feel you have adequate information, make a decision quickly and continue to move forward. Don’t over analyze.
- Be nice. This should be number 1 on the list. Every single day I’m astounded that people don’t understand this.
Question: How many people are on your team?
Answer: I have answered this before, but it is just my husband and I! We do pick up freelance help for projects when needed. Both having managed large teams in our previous corporate careers, we view hiring employees as a huge responsibility. We don’t feel it’s entirely needed at the moment and have chosen to keep things private, small, and nimble. Strategically engaging a network of talented freelancers is the perfect way for us to enlist help without unnecessary overhead and complications. Plus, we typically don’t mind doing both the little and the big things! We also choose to not work with an agent and prefer working directly with all of our brand partners. We read lots of contracts!
FASHION & STYLE
Question: How would you describe your personal style in a few sentences?
Answer: The way you think of yourself or describe yourself is not always the most accurate, but I’ll try my best. I would describe my personal style as quirky, yet elegant, and almost always colorful! Even in a minimalist cycle I still believe that more is more and I always encourage layering and risk taking.
Question: Do you mind me asking how tall you are and what sizes you typically wear in your favorite brands?
Answer: I am 5’7″ and wear the following: XS/0 J.Crew, size 4 ASOS (sometimes a size 6), size 25 in almost all denim, Madewell included, size 0 in tibi, size S/2 in Zara and size 8 or 10 in almost all UK brands (self portrait).
Question: Do you really wear all of the outfits you post?
Answer: Yes! My fashion career, with very few work wardrobe rules, has always allowed me to dress as I please. I have also been so fortunate over the years to be invited to some amazing events that afford me the right to wear some of my kookier/more over the top looks. I do walk A LOT living in NYC, so while I may wear some crazy heels at an event or in the office, I typically always have a pair of flats with me! And, with some of the outfits I post during the winter months, you may not see the second bulkier coat I am wearing over my look, chunky scarf, or gloves as oftentimes I ditch them for the photos (but not always)!
Question: What are your views on trends and when to embrace or not embrace a new one?
Answer: Fast fashion, the internet, and ‘wear now, buy now’ marketing tactics have all dramatically accelerated the trend cycle. I believe the amount of trend you choose to embrace largely depends on how adventurous you are with your wardrobe, practicality, and, of course, your clothing budget. When I was in my 20’s I was more willing to try new trends each season as I was continuing to search for what worked for me. As I have gotten older, I’ve shaped and defined my personal style largely by increasing my confidence and providing a more edited point of view. With that being said, I still have what I would describe as a wide range of fashion interests, and do embrace trends more so than say the super chic minimalist woman who may be known for a killer ‘uniform’. Embracing trends is simply a personal take on what is right for you. Fashion is about being and feeling creative through expression! So, if there is something about a trend you find intriguing, I say go for it. You may look back and regret a trend or two that you tried out (I certainly have), but oftentimes the road to finding your fashion voice is more shaped through discovering what doesn’t work for you versus already knowing what does.
Question: Who are your style idols?
Answer: To be honest there isn’t one person that I look to for inspiration, and the people and brands I find inspiring change quite frequently. Right now I am really inspired by Tracee Ellis Ross and the designer Christopher John Rogers (who was just named as a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist).
Question: Do you own all the clothing you post? Do you ever sell your clothing?
Answer: I do not! I borrow from a lot of showrooms, designers, and retailers that I keep close relationships with. Especially when I am attending a fancy event (lol that feels like a lifetime ago) and know that I most likely won’t get a lot of wear out of an occasion dress, I will typically pull a piece from a showroom. On occasion, I am gifted items, but typically prefer to buy my own pieces so there are no strings attached and I am not under any obligations to promote products. Yes, I do re-sell some items on therealreal.com, and when I was in NYC, sold and donated to Crossroads and Goodwill.
Question: Is there are reason you do not share much about your personal life? Or don’t share more lifestyle/everyday content? I feel like I have followed you for years and know so little about you!
Answer: I started Atlantic-Pacific with the very clear vision of it being a fashion and style destination. Sure, there have been many moments along the way where I have felt compelled to do the next ‘big thing’ in content, be it beauty, home, lifestyle, etc., but I simply didn’t want to become everything to everyone. When it comes to opening up on social media, I am quite hesitant. I feel that next to time, privacy is one of the most precious things I have. I hold my personal relationships very near and dear, and would never inadvertently subject anyone to any social media criticism or unwanted commentary. Those relationships will always come before my content. With that being said, I do recognize that within this space, nearly every platform that content creators use seems to be moving in the opposite direction that I am. The emphasis appears to be on more overt sharing, with a preference for grittier ‘of-the-moment’ iphone photos and more realtime video, over well curated and crafted stories. People are now looking to connect online with an influencer by getting to know their family life, their struggles, and their thoughts on current events, versus simply looking at pretty photos for inspiration or styling cues. While the format is changing and evolving, I still believe there is a space for everyone, particularly those with a clear point of view, and hopefully that means Atlantic-Pacific is still relevant to those who love fashion and style!
Question: What did you find to be the hardest thing about moving to NYC?
Answer: I had already lived in San Francisco for about five years so I was pretty accustom to ‘city life’. Making new friends, seasons (read winter), and the amount of visitors, were all overwhelming. At 28, I wasn’t going out as much, and didn’t have a network in NYC when I arrived, so meeting new people was, well, work. I needed to put in a lot more effort to make and foster connections to create real, meaning relationships. I loved my first few months in NYC, heading into summer and experiencing the fall bliss! When winter came I wasn’t prepared for how annoying it was to get around at times (an 8 block walk to the subway felt life threatening) and the overall lack of activity. Lastly, living in San Francisco, I rarely got visitors, but being back on the east coast, I was shocked (SHOCKED) at how many people I knew who were coming in and out of NYC for business trips, quick weekends, and weddings/events. The first year I felt excited, yet obligated, each time an old friend reached out to say they would be in town for 2 days. ‘Let’s grab drink!’, or ‘Do you have time for a quick lunch?’ became almost daily requests. Of course I wanted to, but when it was happening so often, I started to get burnt out! I was so happy to have the opportunity to see more friends who did not live in the city, but I needed to completely recharge after those first few months!
Question: Tips for going into a party where you don’t know anyone?
Answer: So, I find myself in this situation quite a bit! I am often invited to events where I don’t have access to the guest list and I am unsure of who will be in attendance. My go-to move is to find someone wearing something I really like, compliment them on it, and asking where it is from. In a fashion environment this can be a really easy way to start an organic conversation about brands you love, places you shop, etc. If the piece is interesting, the story behind it is often interesting as well. On the other hand, if someone I know is throwing a party and I don’t know anyone, another easy way to strike up a conversation is to introduce yourself and ask said person how they know the host. Usually a story will come out of this and more often than not you will realize you have mutual friends in common. But typically, I just try to wear a big smile and keep off my phone so people know I am actively trying to stay present! P.S. if you see me at an event, please come over and say hello – unless I ask you about your outfit first
Question: Are you married? Are you posting any wedding content? Can we see your dress?
Answer: Yes, I am married, but will not being sharing any wedding content. I don’t share much about my personal life as I try to keep my content focused mainly on fashion and style with just a touch of beauty and home sprinkled in where it makes sense. I protect my relationships, which is why you won’t see a lot about my family, friends, or husband on Atlantic-Pacific. I didn’t share my engagement and noted that I most likely wouldn’t share my wedding, which I ultimately decided not to. I had not planned on having a traditional wedding or dress – and I didn’t!
Question: Sarasota recommendations? I just moved there!
Answer: Congratulations – it is such a pretty area! Understandably, at the moment, many things are not 100% up and running in the state of Florida, and specifically in Sarasota, but I am happy to share a few of the places here that I love. A few of my favorite places to eat include Owen’s Fish Camp, Shore Longboat Key, Nancy’s BBQ, SCOB (Siesta Key Oyster Bar), Overton for a coffee, Artisan Cheese Company (for lunch!), Morton’s Market, Napulé, and Walt’s Fish Market. For takeout we love JPAN for sushi and Mellow Mushroom for pizza (blame it on my U.F. days). The beaches here are stunning and the county did such a fantastic job with the new facilities and parking updates to the Siesta Public beach. I love being down here and taking long bike rides from Siesta Key through Cherokee Park, into Southside Village, and into Downtown. I have found Sarasota to be very bike friendly!