A LITTLE BREAK






***UPDATE*** The new site will be http://vidaluxestudio.com

Things have been quiet on the blog lately. I haven't been slacking or taking a break (I wish!) but I've been hard at work on the new site. I've decided that I'm going to go ahead and launch it on Monday if everything is in place. I would like it to be perfect, but I'd rather launch and continue to grow rather than continue to postpone. So until Monday (hopefully!) my friends!

Keiz

INDEPENDENCE DAY




6 STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL REBRAND






I'm visiting over at Kenzie's blog today while she is away falling even more in love with her brand new baby! For the past month or two I've been seeing that a lot of bloggers + businesses are going through the rebranding process. I'm in the process of preparing to go through one myself! There's a big difference between a redesign and a rebrand, so I thought I'd share a few tips with you on how to ensure that your rebrand is successful. Head on over to Hello Neverland to read the rest!


HELLO JULY: MONTHLY GOALS




I know, I know - I'm a day early, but I prefer to do these things on Monday. For the past 15 or 16 weeks I've been linking up with Melyssa over at The Nectar Collective for Weekly Wishes. It's proven to be effective for me. I started participating because I've been procrastinating a lot lately and it has really helped me to stay on track. But I've decided that I'm ready to share monthly goals with you and I'll also be sharing business goals as well, something I found over on Think & Grow Chick.  If you're starting a business, have a business, or you're thinking about starting a business, you may want to think about giving this a try. This is something I'll be implementing on my new site as well, so I wanted to go ahead and get started!


JULY MONTHLY GOALS


// Review branding. I created my own style elements this time around (if you want to call them that!) and I need to be sure I'm okay with them. I'm sure they are just fine, but I tend to second guess myself.

// Begin creative coaching course. I'm so excited! This course starts today. I'm ready to work through the material and get this party started!

// Put newsletter content into an editorial calendar. I finally created an editorial calendar for this thing. When I launch my new site, I'll be able to create more newsletter with better quality content. By the way, if you haven't yet, sign up here

//Outline my business processes. It all seems so easy and put together in my head. But, once I start mapping it out on paper, it really turns into a lot, so I'll be spending some time on it this month. 



CHALLENGES


// Staying on track. I have goals for my new site, so staying on track while I'm working on this blog and the new site is a challenge. I've reduced the number of posts I create here on 27th + Luxe, but I don't want to neglect this space and I want to make the new space everything I want it to be. For right now, I guess it's about finding a good balance.

// Prioritizing. I've found myself jumping from task to task. I need to get better about completing something or getting to an acceptable stopping point before moving on to the next item on my list. 



WHAT'S WORKING FOR ME


// Keeping a list of goals. It keeps me focused on what my initial goal was for rebranding. When you're rebranding, you will come up with all these other great ideas, but it's important to stay on track and focused on the main goal.

// Feedback. I've gotten some feedback from family and friends. I also need to get feedback from some of my blogger friends and my business coach.



PERSONAL GOALS


// Paint more. I've been able to work on little projects here and there, but I want to do more. Maybe I should set aside a few minutes everyday? 

// Start sewing again. I have ideas tucked away for this too, so maybe a few minutes every weekend would work for this to make sure I touch it. 

// Explore the city. I can be a homebody and I really need to get out. I'm a born and raised Houstonian, but I've never explored my city as an adult. It should be fun! 



BETWEEN ME + YOU: LOVE WITH ACTIONS AND IN TRUTH



Dear children, let us not love with words 
or speech but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:18 - 

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ME





CJ from Some Call Me CJ nominated me for another Liebster Award. Since I've been nominated before, I will be answering these questions so you can get to know me better! Thank you CJ for the nomination and for your kind words!


1. What makes you boring?

I am a homebody. I'm perfectly fine sitting at home with the television on, lounging in my bed and working on my laptop. I think that makes me boring, but that's my introvert self. I really have to mentally prepare to go out and then I need time afterwards to recuperate. 

2. What makes you cry?


Anything sad! But if I had to choose something specific, I cry when people are senselessly mean and cruel. There's really no justification for being mean and cruel, but it really gets to me when I see this or hear about it. 
 
3. What makes you laugh uncontrollably?


Kids.  My little brother is starting to talk and he does the funniest things. He can always cheer me up when I'm feeling down. I also have a lot of little cousins so the questions a 4 year old will ask you or say will make anyone laugh! This new generation of kids is so advanced!


4. What is one annoying habit you have?


I'm late. Almost always. Even when I wake up early to avoid being late, something happens and it causes me to be late anyway. 


5. What item is your shopping weakness?


I don't have a particular item, but if I really like something, I'm known to purchase that same item in multiple colors. 

6. Favorite ice cream flavor?


I really like Amaretto.

7. Pepsi or Coke?


Coke

8. Warm weather or cold weather?


Cool weather 

9. What color best describes you?


White and gold together. White is very calm and peaceful, and gold adds a bit of zest. I'm very down to earth and calm, very serene. Every once in a while I'll surprise you with a bit of spontaneity or a funny joke. 

10. What's your favorite app?


Right now I'm really loving Trello. I wanted to get a new planner for 2015. For the longest I've been saying I would get the Whitney English Day Designer. But, I'm thinking I will pass and get a cheap planner for $15-$20. I say that because I like making my own lists in my notebook so doing that and carrying a planner is too much. I also love Trello because I can create my projects and place tasks with deadlines under each project. So I see no need for a massive planner right now. I'm a little sad because the 2015 Day Designer is white + gold. 


11. What made you choose the college you went to?


Well, I attended Prairie View A&M University, a Historically Black University. So one of the reasons I selected the school is because of its history. Another reason I chose the school is because a lot of my friends from high school were going there. I didn't really discover who I was until I had to move away from home for work after college, so being around people I knew and not being too far away from home was very important to me at that time. 

OUR HONEYMOON

I finally got around to getting the pictures off of our cameras from our honeymoon. I've been meaning to do it for weeks, but I always managed to get sidetracked by something else. Anyway, they are now safe and sound on my computer and in my dropbox account. I'll probably load them to photo bucket too. Enjoy!

























BOOK REVIEW: MY SO CALLED FREELANCE LIFE



image via Amazon


In my Amazon account I have multiple wish lists and one of them is filled with creative business books. I decided to purchase one of these books from the Kindle store and I'm so glad I did! For the past few weeks I've been reading My So Called Freelance Life by Michelle Goodman. This is a great guidebook for those of us who want to turn our freelance dreams into reality. Goodman offers tips, advice and everything else that we need to know to pursue a freelance career with witty anecdotes and a heavy dose of realism. What I enjoyed the most about the book is that she covers everything from creating an online portfolio, to invoicing and keeping receipts, but she also discusses the bits that we are all curious about - pounding the pavement, how to find clients, how to pay your bills and how to conquer the ever elusive work/life balance. 

I also want to share with you some resources I've discovered over the past few weeks and this past weekend.






Do you have freelance dreams of your own? What steps are you taking to make them a reality? 

BETWEEN ME + YOU: "PROJECT REBRAND"



Have you ever been so excited about a project you were working on that you could work on it for 20 hours everyday? That's how I feel about this rebrand! I'm working on what I want the site to look like and I'm pretty happy with what I've come up with so far. But, I'm also working on my content for the new space. It will still be a minute before I'm ready to share with you, but just know that I'm thrilled! Also know that I may miss a day, or 2 or 3 here and there. Everything is just fine, I'll just be pouring all of my energy into the new site. I've contemplated migrating and blogging from there, but I've decided I really need to take my time and do this right (my definition of right). I will try to blog regularly though. Right now I'm aiming for Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 

Have you worked on a project recently that got you super excited? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!



SUMMER SUMMER SUMMER TIME!




Tomorrow marks the official start of summer and I couldn't be happier! Despite the intense heat and humidity, summer is one of my favorite seasons if only because of the friendly gatherings, ice cream after a long hot day, the beach and that much anticipated summer vacay! We'll be heading to Spain in early August and I'm so excited! What are you looking forward to this summer? 






SKILLSHARE: FUNDAMENTALS OF ILLUSTRATOR REVIEW


I recently left lynda.com and signed up for Skillshare. Lynda.com is a great learning resource, but the lessons are basically a screencast. I like that with Skillshare I am able to watch the instructor and that the video lessons switch between the instructor and the demonstration. I also like that I'm able to see examples of other student projects. The Fundamentals of Illustrator course is my first course from Skillshare and I have to say that I enjoyed it! I thought it would be cool to share what I've been working on, especially for those of you that are curious about these courses.






This is as far as I've gotten. I've been stuck on this nose for a bit, trying to get the coloring right. If you're a master at Illustrator and you have any tips, let me know!

WEEKLY WISHES 16



Happy Monday! I hope your weekend was great! Mine was pretty relaxing. I went to lunch on Saturday with my mom, sister and precious niece. Then I spent Father's Day with my dad and little brother. I did pretty good with my goals for last week, especially the one about finishing grad school!


LAST WEEK'S WISHES

// Go back to personal training + boot camp. Adding some extra activity this week in an effort to get back on track. 

// Get back on track with blogging. Still focused on engaging. Also exploring the new blogs I've found + being more active on social media. 

// Finish grad school! I'm in my last week! Even though class is officially over on Sunday, my plan is to be finished by Friday.

// Begin preparing for e-course. I signed up for an e-course that I'm so excited about! Don't worry, I'll share more about it later.

//Plan a beach date. I really want to go to the beach. Like really. Hopefully Aaron + I can spend a day out in Galveston sometime soon. I'm a planner so I'll start putting a little itinerary together. 


This past week was very relaxing for me in the sense that I didn't have too much to take care of. I did make it to personal training and it went pretty well. The only thing that I dread is the running. I'm not an endurance runner at all. Like AT ALL. When I was in track, I ran sprints. So I dread having to run during personal training. While I know that running helps speed up weight loss, I can't stand it. I've been doing pretty good with blogging and engaging. I need to figure out how to engage more during the day. I really feel like I miss opportunities to connect during the day while I'm at work. Being able to schedule tweets and posts to my other social media accounts is nice, but connecting with other people is an area that I'm still working on. I FINISHED GRAD SCHOOL!!! It feels so awesome and I'm so happy to be finished. I didn't get to prepare like I wanted to for my e-course last week, but now that school is officially over, that will be my focus this week. As far as our beach date, I'm hoping to go on Friday or Saturday. I haven't really made any plans...maybe this will be one of those situations where I wing it. 


THIS WEEK'S WISHES


// Try boot camp this week. Do I really want to...no. But I'm going to try to go. 

// Get back on track with blogging. Still focused on engaging. Also exploring the new blogs I've found + being more active on social media. 

// Begin preparing for e-course. I signed up for an e-course that I'm so excited about! I've already received a worksheet so I want to get started on it this week.

// Continue working on rebrand. Guys, I've had so many great ideas and I'm excited to share them when it all comes together!  

Best of luck accomplishing all of your goals this week! You should consider linking up with Melyssa for Weekly Wishes. They don't have to be weekly-they can fit your schedule however you see fit!

LINK LOVE





It's Friday and I am so thankful for that! Especially since I sent an email out on Wednesday that said something like "Aren't you glad it's Friday?!" It's been that kind of week! Thank you so much for completing my survey! The feedback I've received thus far has given me so many ideas! If you haven't taken the survey, you can do so here. It will take you a little under 2 minutes to complete, that's how short it is!

What do I have planned for the weekend? A whole lot of nothing! I may go out to lunch with my mom on Saturday and Sunday is Father's Day so I'll visit with my dad, but other than that, RELAXATION...and working through all these notes I jotted down! 


// I found a lot of new blogs this week! Anne Marie Loves, Studio Meroe, Catalina Creative, Kimberly Genevieve, and Gary Pepper

// I love chambray! The Evergirl gives you 12 ways to style it

// Still in search of a Father's Day gift? Femme & Fortune shares some creative gift ideas for dad.

// I loved reading this interview over on The Nectar Collective

// I've had more than one dream as I've gotten older so this article definitely resonated with me. Dream on and dream BIG!

// I have natural hair and this week I rediscovered Urban Bush Babes! I'll be binge reading this weekend!

What are your plans for the weekend? Nothing but awesomeness I hope. Happy reading and Happy Friday! 

DOING WHAT YOU LOVE




I'm a big proponent of doing the thing that you're most passionate about. I have a lot of awesome ideas jotted down in my notebook. Those ideas have been whittled down to the things that I am most passionate about, but they also mesh really well together. Now that grad school is officially over, I have the extra time to focus on courses that are directly related to another passion of mine: my business. 

I don't know of any entrepreneurs in my family -the only person I can think of is my cousin, she's started her own photography business. If there are any others, they are in the same boat as me - just getting started, honing their craft and figuring out how to authentically stand out in the crowd. I do know that my dad would speak about having his own business when I was a little girl and so I believe he planted that seed in me. And now in hindsight, MAYBE that's how I ended up studying business - so that I can have an understanding of the administrative aspects of working for myself. This is something that I'm going to do (speaking + typing this into existence!). I've finally got a plan together that just feels right. Do you know what I mean? A plan where every other idea that you think of just fits in so seamlessly? 

I want to share two things that I've been working on. The first I've been working to piece together for some time. It's the rebrand I mentioned earlier this week. It's coming. I have enjoyed my time blogging at 27th + Luxe, but I don't feel like I can take that name with me. I'm going to take my time as I continue to strengthen my voice and my vision, so you won't see any changes in the immediate future. Just know I'm planning away behind the scenes and it's awesome!

The second thing is that I am starting a course on June 30th called "Build Your Creative Coaching Business From Scratch" from byRegina. I'm excited about this because while I've started implementing many of the points that will be covered within the modules, the coursework is extremely detailed. I'm looking forward to refining my plans and seeing my business in a new light.  I'm really looking forward to receiving feedback from someone who really understands what I'm working to accomplish.

I usually keep these types of things to myself - I don't like sharing until all my ducks are in a row. But I thought I'd try something different this time and keep you in the loop throughout this process. I won't overload you - you'll see tidbits in the newsletter (by the way have you signed up?) and I'll share bits + pieces with you here on the blog as well. The most important takeaway from this post is that when you want something, you go after it. And having other people that you can bounce ideas off of is so crucial, especially when you're new to this freelance/entrepreneur world. You also need to be willing to take a risk on yourself. Haters gonna hate and you have to be able to push through that to reach your bliss. [Click to Tweet]

Are you in the budding stages of your freelance/entrepreneurial career? I'd love to chat!

And one last thing friend! I'd like to know how this blog has rocked your world these past few months. It's a very short survey I promise! The data will help me with my rebrand plans so your feedback is so appreciated!






REBRAND COMING SOON







Hello there!! I've been tinkering around with the idea of going through a rebrand. 27th + Luxe has been a space that has helped me to grow and become even more involved in the blogging community and I'm so thankful for it. This space has definitely evolved over the last few months as I've experimented with different topics and worked to find my voice. I still have a lot of growing to do, but I feel that the time is nearing for me to take this space to the next level. I have some ideas of what that is and plenty of notebooks that hold my thoughts. I thought I'd start playing around with moodboards as I work on finalizing my plans. I've noticed that I'm loving online spaces that are very minimal and clean looking. But, I also like bold color as well. Decisions, decisions! 

What do you think of this color scheme, yay or nay? 

WEEKLY WISHES #15



I hope that you had a wonderful weekend! Mine was pretty good. I caught up with a dear friend, I got some much needed rest, and Aaron + I found a church that we've started visiting. I like it, so this may be the one!


LAST WEEK'S WISHES

// Go back to personal training + Pure Barre. Adding Pure Barre this week. That's it. I need to get back there. 

// Get back on track with blogging. Still focused on engaging. Also exploring the new blogs I've found + being more active on social media. 

// Thank you cards. I must start. That's all. 

// Finish June Household Budget. Goal is for this to be completed by Saturday night. 

// Finish grad school! It's the final countdown!!♩♬ ♪ I'm in the LAST 10 DAYS OF GRAD SCHOOL. It feels like I just started and kicking myself because I'd waited 4 years to start. I'm so glad to be done you just don't know! More time to focus on my other interests.

Well...I got sick this week and so I didn't make it to Pure Barre or personal training. I did get some much needed rest, so that's good. And I lost some weight while I was sick so I'm going to try to keep it off now that I'm semi back to normal. As far as blogging is concerned, I'm back on track all right! I had to purchase a new idea notebook. We decided we want to include a wedding photo in our thank you cards, so this is on hold. We should be getting our photos this month, so hopefully I'll still have it finished by the end of June. Budget smudget. In all seriousness, this didn't get done and still needs to get done. I procrastinated with my school work this week, but got it done. 


THIS WEEK'S WISHES


// Go back to personal training + boot camp. Adding some extra activity this week in an effort to get back on track. 

// Get back on track with blogging. Still focused on engaging. Also exploring the new blogs I've found + being more active on social media. 

// Finish grad school! I'm in my last week! Even though class is officially over on Sunday, my plan is to be finished by Friday.

// Begin preparing for e-course. I signed up for an e-course that I'm so excited about! Don't worry, I'll share more about it later.

//Plan a beach date. I really want to go to the beach. Like really. Hopefully Aaron + I can spend a day out in Galveston sometime soon. I'm a planner so I'll start putting a little itinerary together. 

Best of luck accomplishing all of your goals this week! And, if you're anything like me, you should consider linking up with Melyssa for Weekly Wishes. They don't have to be weekly-they can fit your schedule however you see fit!

FAR FROM MEDIOCRE: PURSUING YOUR GREATNESS

far from mediocre



Hello! Aren't you glad it's Friday? I know I am!  I've been overflowing with ideas all week and I wanted to leave you with something positive! As we grow up and get older, as time speeds up, as loved ones leave this earth, it's becoming even more imperative for me to live what I love. I see no point in waiting for tomorrow, or next year, or 5 years from now. Why not today? Granted, some things do take planning + resources - actionable steps to reach the end goal, but what I'm saying is, why all of the excuses? Why not begin to pursue your greatness today?




//Love hard. I'm realizing that life is short. Truly. Losing loved ones has a way of knocking you on your backside and making you reflect not only on your life, but their life as well, especially when they've loved so much, done so much + impacted so many lives in such a short time. All because they loved hard. That's why we're here - to share agape love. So love hard my friends.


// Live your life. Just live it. Don't spend so much time worrying about where you are and where  you wish you were or about the opinions of others. Live in the moment, the present is a gift, it really is. Enjoy the people around you, enjoy the journey -your journey. 


// All things are possible. Boy is this true! In a moment of transparency here, I spend time worrying about where I am and where I wish I could be. But when I sit back and reflect on where I started, I know that all things are possible with God. He has a plan for my life and your life too! I'm thankful that I know Jesus and that with hard work and faith in Him, I'll reach my goals. You will reach your goals too!


// Pursue your greatness with ferocity.  It's so easy to want to give up and just ride the wave through life. But what if you decided to fight and pursue your desires? Can you imagine the outcome? What about the inspirational story that you'll leave behind? By pursuing your own greatness, you have an opportunity to inspire others to do the same - just by living your life + doing your own thing. 


I really love that quote - pursue your own life and don't get caught up in the story that someone else is creating. Always be in competition with yourself to do better, live better and love harder. Weave your own dream and use the power within you to make those dreams come true. Be a dream chaser and then take actions to realize those dreams. Always believe in yourself. 


Have a great weekend!

xoxo Keiz




ONE MONTH LATER

our wedding



We've been married for one month today. It still feels pretty strange that we're no longer planning for the wedding, meeting with our planner, or shopping around for items we'll need for the big day. They weren't kidding when they said the day goes by so fast. I did my best to soak everything in. I remember being happy that my vision for our day became a reality; everything was so beautiful! And I remember being so thankful that we made it -we high-fived each other after our I Dos!

We've known each other since 2005. When I started college, I had heard about people finding their sweethearts there and marrying them, but I didn't take it seriously so it was a pleasant surprise when we stumbled into each others lives. We've been inseparable ever since. Aaron and I have had our ups and downs over the years, but I am thankful for how far we've come and for how much we have grown together. One thing that I am very thankful for, although I wasn't as thankful in 2010 (I've wanted to get married for a while!), is that we took our time really getting to know each other before we were married. Everyone has their own timeline and this is what worked for us. 

Now, I'm excited about our next chapter- marriage is a serious thing! We're planning for our future together and in that planning we have to think about things like finances, where we'll live, where we'll worship and serve together, when we'll have kids, and so much more. When people have asked me how it feels, my response every time has been "It feels the same." And it really does! Granted, there is giddiness when he calls me his wife and when I call him my husband, but other than that, everything is the same. Maybe because we've known each other for so long and have grown together over the last nine years. But there is something that is different. We've made a conscious decision to deepen our commitment to one another. That's what has changed. And with that change comes a dedication from both of us to have a christian marriage. This means that we both need to live Christ filled lives and deepen our relationship with God. That will make our marriage stronger and help it to mature over the years. 

Are you recently married or have you been married for several years? How do you feel that your relationship with your spouse has changed? 

THE POWER OF AN INSPIRATION BOARD


inspiration wall

image via The Everygirl // Photographer: Courtney Apple


Creating an inspiration board is a great tool for uncovering your true brand. A lot f times we think we know what we want until we put an inspiration board together that truly captures our wants and needs for our brand. Pinterest is definitely a great tool that can visually capture what is appealing to you, but consider something more tangible. I had a client piece together an inspiration board the "old-fashioned" way, with a poster board, magazine, and some scissors. 


This is what she initially created:



inspiration board



This immediately captures what she envisions for her brand. Over time, this board will continue to evolve, but this is a great first look into what she wants for her brand. 

When was the last time you created an inspiration board? Begin a private board on Pinterest or better yet, pull out that poster board along with some of the magazines you love. There's something so therapeutic about focusing and doing this exercise. You really think about what you're choosing to cut out of the magazine versus pinning all the pretty things that catch your eye. Take the first step in defining your brand, whether this is your first time doing this exercise, or you're brand is evolving. Inspiration boards are also a great tool for career + life planning.

Thinking of creating an inspiration board? I'd love to see what you create! Email me and I'll share some here on the blog.


SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

Being introduced to search engine optimization in grad school and then using it in real life are two very different things! Hopefully this post sheds some light on the subject and helps you in your blogging + business efforts. 

Search Engine Optimization or "SEO" is the process of getting traffic from free or organic listings on search engines. Web pages and other content like videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what a particular search engine identifies as most relevant to users. Major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing have these results. When used as an internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for and more. Optimizing a website may involve website editing including content, HTML and related coding. However, SEO may not be appropriate for every website. As a marketing tactic, SEO may deliver adequate ROI, but it is important to keep in mind that because SEO is organic, there is no guarantee of continued referrals. 

Moz provides a free SEO beginners guide that gives some great tips for implementing SEO. The best tip for SEO success in my opinion, is to create high quality content. Content Marketing, which was discussed in this post is a great way to get high rankings for your website. This presentation also provides some insight on SEO implementation. And finally, here is an infographic from seoinfographic.org

via seoinfographic.org

via seoinfographic.org

Another great source for learning SEO is through lynda.com. They have video + exercises so that you can practice what you've learned. A key thing to remember as you get started is to title your content by the keywords people are using to search, include your post title within the first paragraph of your content, and link your images as well to make sure they are indexed as well. With practice, you'll get the hang of it in no time. Good luck! 

OF MERCER


of mercer




I was just talking to Aaron about how I feel frumpy + I need to go shopping. While we were planning for our wedding, I didn’t go shopping unless there was somewhere I needed to go. At that point I’d rush out to buy something for the occasion and that would be that. Everything has been in rotation since we got engaged with the few emergency pieces added in here + there. It’s not that my wardrobe is TERRIBLE…it’s just that I’m bored. And my style is evolving so a lot of the items are no longer me.

The first thing I want to address is my work wardrobe. Have you heard about Of Mercer? If you haven’t heard of them, they provide quality professional workwear at a modest price. The Stanton dress caught my eye. Probably because I have a habit of purchasing items that I can wear both at work and outside of work. I like the workwear from Of Mercer because you can wear very subtle pieces with it and statement pieces as well. 


stanton dress



The Stanton dress is $175. I usually don’t spend this much on one item, but I’ve also found that quality fabric at a higher price point will last me a lot longer + result in less money being spent on my part, so I may need to change my ways. I would style the Stanton dress like this:

the luxe edit







What do you think about Of Mercer? What would be your first purchase?