I’m going to New York in the first two weeks of March. What’s the weather like then, and what should I pack? Also, do you have any “must sees/dos?”
In terms of the weather, New York City is typically still pretty chilly in March–usually between 30 and 50 degrees. My best recommendation would be to bring a heavier coat (I rely on my puffer even in March!) and a lighter jacket. (I love the J.Crew Downtown Field Jacket.) Essentials are lots of layers, a neutral infinity scarf that goes with everything, sunglasses, a good pair of gloves, and an umbrella. I also recommend bringing a relatively large tote that can take you from day to night so you don’t have to run back to your hotel room all the time. As New York is a big walking city, a pair of comfy shoes is a must, too. I’m a huge fan of Sperry’s Audrey Slip-On Boat Shoes in patent leather, as they’re super comfortable and cute, but also functional when it rains. (Though right now, my eyes are on the quilted version.) I love that they’re small enough that you can slip them into your tote at the end of the night in exchange for a pair of heels! Oh, and don’t forget your bling. Because that’ll spice up any outfit. ;)
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In terms of sights, I’m not a huge fan of crowds, so I tend be one of those travelers who shies away from the big attractions. (Which is hilarious, considering I live in such a crowded place.) That being said, you should certainly see sights like Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue, Central Park, the Empire State Building, etc. (I suppose the list goes on and on. ;)) But don’t miss neighborhoods like West Village, SoHo, Tribeca, the Lower East Side, and the East Village. I spend most of my time roaming around these places, wandering in and out of the stores and coffee shops. I’ll be posting more in depth about what to do, see and eat in these locations soon… so stay tuned! (In the meantime, feel free to email me directly at KellySLarkin@gmail.com for recommendations by neighborhood!)
Yes! By day, I’m a middle school English teacher in the Bronx. (You can read about it here!) I really like teaching in the inner city, but it’s also pretty intense. (Sometimes a little too intense.) Running Kelly in the City has been great, though. While it demands a lot of time, it also provides me with a creative outlet. Besides teaching and blogging, I run a small photo album business, too. (We’re mostly word-of-mouth, though we do have a defunct Etsy shop, haha.)
My husband, Mitch, is a teacher at my school as well. (We met there. ;)) He also runs a part-time business on the side, and we used to run a wedding photography business together. (He handled the business portion, and I handled the shooting.) Because we’re together 24 hours per day, it’s relatively easy for us to take the photos for my blog. (It usually takes no more than five minutes! I set up the shots and he clicks.) Our biggest challenges are daylight, rain, the cold, my moodiness, and the fact that I have to carry around my hulking camera all the time. My poor shoulder.
How do you get your name and blog out there? I seem to have a difficult time promoting myself and I would love to know how you do it!
-Hunter, Prep on a Budget
This is a tough one for me, as I admittedly do not spend as much time on this as I probably should. I know that focusing more of my time on promotion–and analyzing which methods are best–would likely help grow my blog, but right now, all of that is really difficult for me… and I kind of don’t want to do it. There’s that pesky job, haha, but there are also a whole lot of other things that take precedence: my husband, family, friends, and exploring the Big Apple. Additionally, I love blogging for myself, and not worrying about what it’s going to do for my “stats.” (I know myself, and I know I’d be upset if I saw that I had far fewer “page visits” or whatever on a post like today’s, for example, than I usually get for an outfit post. Or vise versa.) Maybe promotion will be more of a focus one day if I decide I want blogging to be a bigger part of my life (and maybe I’ll grow a thicker skin, haha), but for now, I spend most of my allocated blogging time on what I enjoy most–creating original content–and I’m quite happy with that. (I’ve been trying hard to spend more time on posts that allow my readers to get to know me as a person, and it’s my hope that this stuff encourages readers to keep coming back!)
That being said (and remembering I’m anything but an expert on this topic), my first bit of advice is to tell your family and friends. When I first started blogging, I told no one. I was terrified that people I knew in “real life” would find out I was doing this weird thing online, and think I was ridiculous. (So not the case, by the way. Or, if they did, they didn’t tell me… and I was fine with that, haha. But in all seriousness, my family and friends have been nothing but supportive of and excited by Kelly in the City.) Anyway, once I told my family and friends, I was astounded by how quickly word traveled about my little blog. Sure, in the beginning, it was just my mom, grandma, aunt, cousins and best friend reading, but soon it turned into their friends, too, and then their friends’ friends. (Thanks, guys.) If you’re really gutsy, post your blog to your Facebook wall. Heh. ;)
My second bit of advice is to get involved in social media. This is something I was completely clueless about in the beginning. It was my well-versed cousin who pushed me to explore it, and I’m so thankful he did. He told me not to go overboard, but instead to focus on one or two networks. (Otherwise I’d run the risk of becoming overwhelmed.) So I began with Instagram, Pinterest and Lucky Community (because how could I only participate in two?!), and mostly just followed more successful bloggers and took note of what they were doing to get the word out and gain readership. :) Now I’m more active, and I’m slowly learning other networks like Twitter, Tumblr, Disqus, Facebook and BlogLovin.
I love that if you’re actively involved in a few social media networks, your name seems to naturally get out there. (For example, I totally recognize yours whenever it pops up, since you’re so amazing at commenting on bloggers’ posts! You go, girl.) It’s also really, really fun… and can be done on the go, on your phone. For me, that’s essential! While I’d like to think that I’d spend my free time being productive and promoting my blog, I know that’s not going to happen. But spending time on social media while commuting? Totally different story!
Another reason I love social media is that it’s helped me form amazing friendships with kind and supportive girls. Blogging can sometimes get competitive, but I think it’s important to surround yourself with people who don’t want to be involved in all of that. When I first started, a couple of more established bloggers provided me with helpful advice, and that stuck with me. Through my little support community, I’ve both given back and grown; promoted other blogs and had my own blog promoted. Whenever a blogger helps me, I try to pay it forward and help her or someone else.
Another way to get your name out there is to host giveaways. Host them on your own, with other bloggers, or with small companies that are aligned with your style. I find that giveaways give readers an added incentive to visit my blog more frequently and get involved… plus, they’re fun for everyone! (I’m overly giddy on the day a giveaway ends because I get to contact the winner.)
Featuring smaller companies’ products can help, too. I’m obviously a J.Crew nut (I blame my mother, hehe), but J.Crew doesn’t really need any help from a little blogger like me, for example. Smaller companies, though, are more likely to want to partner. You promote them; they promote you. Woo.
Oh–and attend events! Any event, really. Shopping events hosted by stores that are usually found in malls, like Kate Spade, are the best. (Who doesn’t like shopping and getting discounts?!) Bring your mom, your best friend, your little sister, or perhaps someone you’ve connected with online, and chat it up with other people. And don’t forget your business cards!
My best advice, though, is to remember why you started your blog. Remember how excited you were when you posted your first post, even though you kind of cringe when you look back at it now. ;) Blog for yourself first, and you’ll be happy! (P.S. — Love your blog!)
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