How To | Blog Collaborations



Recently one of my readers asked if I would talk about collaborations, working with companies, and how that all comes about. I've done quite a few collabs at this point so I feel like I can share my experience and my personal tips. Please take note I am in no way a consultant on the topic and still have a lot of growing to do and things to learn, myself. Below are some of my recommendations for bloggers, YouTubbers or Instagrammers hoping to work with companies, so they can share new products and services with their followers (including promo codes, giveaways, etc.).

Let me start by saying if you're in it for the free stuff, or better yet, money, you may want to reassess your plan. Yes, some bloggers make a lot of money and are able to work full-time doing what they love but keep in mind, that's not the case for everyone, or even most. Regardless, I would say every blogger/You Tubber/Instagrammer does it because they are passionate about their content and would most likely continue doing it even if there wasn't a payout or free swag.

Be patient. Everyone's path is different and it all depends on how much time, energy, and money you have to put into your blog/YouTube channel/Instagram. I started my blog without a goal of making it into any kind of revenue source. I did it because I thought it was fun and I wanted to share my favorite beauty products with my friends and family. For the first year and a half, I didn't have blogging goals or an idea of where I wanted it to go. But I was consistent, blogging five times a week the entire time. After I moved to California I had to think really hard about why I was blogging and what I really wanted to share. I also asked myself, "What makes Pardon Muah meaningful?" After I created a platform (confidence, style, beauty) it became much more clear where I was heading and it became much easier to write content. I also decided to blog three times a week instead of five so I wasn't just posting to post, it actually had direction and purpose. I say all of this because that was almost two years with very few collaborations and no sponsorships (meaning paid). Now, I know bloggers out there have stopped working their "normal" jobs after a year or two, to blog full-time, but they had they had three crucial pieces to the puzzle...direction, money and time. It doesn't mean you won't be successful if you don't have those three, it just means you have to be patient. 

Post what you love, consistently. The blogger market is so saturated now it can be really hard to be creative. It's natural to start taking photos and writing content similar to other bloggers you follow every day without even realizing what you are doing. But being different is what separates you from the pack! My Instagram, for example, isn't all that different from some others out there, as I share clothing, accessories, and makeup on trend, but I speak with my own voice and I stay consistent in my message of inner AND outer beauty. Companies want to see and hear your personality and they want to see you are consistent. If you post once a week on Instagram or your blog, you won't stay nearly as engaged in your audience as if you post three times a day on Instagram (what I've found works best) and three-five times a week on your blog/YouTube channel. Engagement is key! 

Increase your traffic. In order for companies to work with you whether it's via free product or payment, they want to know you have a loyal following that interacts with you and you interact with them. It makes sense right?! They want your help sharing their product because they want to increase their own revenue, following, and buzz. There are many ways to increase traffic to your blog and social media sites, which could really be a post of its own so I will say this: be authentic, consistent, responsive, and creative and a following will come. You can also team up with other bloggers and post a Follow Friday, or a giveaway, or a collaboration between blogs so that all of their followers see you and yours see them. It's very mutually beneficial. Also, if you're posting great content and photos of products or services and the company you're highlighting reposts, that can really drive new traffic.

Organic vs. requested collabs. So there are two ways you can go about collaborating. One, you can wait for organic outreach from companies that find you. Or you can reach out to companies via email stating you are interested in working with them and why they should choose to work with you. Both ways work, and I'm sure many bloggers use both approaches as they grow. To date, I've only done organic collaborations and that was my choice so I can measure my growth organically without my own interference. My only caution would be if you choose to reach out to companies yourself, make sure you've don't your research and that you present them with valuable information and statistics so they see why working with you would be beneficial.

Be authentic. No matter how much free stuff or money you are offered, always be authentic. If you blog about beauty and someone offers to give you $1,000 to advertise baby bibs...your followers will probably know what's up. And by probably I mean they will haha. Trust me, it can be tempting but it's not worth risking your brand or your reputation if you share something with your followers that is bad quality or that you don't believe in.

Always be polite. No matter what, respond with a kind answer even if the product or service is something you aren't interested in. Well, first off, respond. It could be really easy to let emails go unanswered when you don't want to collab, but if they took the time to write you an email of interest then you should do the same and respond. Even if it's just to say, "Thank you so much for your email. Unfortunately, I don't feel your product aligns well with my content, but I truly appreciate your interest in collaborating." If for some reason they say something back that isn't kind or is pushy that's when you can stop the email chain. FYI I've never had that happen. Most people are super polite even if you don't agree to work with them. 

Write a thank you. I love snail mail so I make sure to send a handwritten thank you note any time I collaborate. It's an extra step but it goes a really long way. It shows you took the time to write a thought out, appreciative letter and that means a lot when someone is sending you money and/or merch and believes in your brand (meaning you)

I hope this was helpful for some of you! If you have any other questions or tips of your own, please let me know! I've been posting a lot of new spring oriented items on social media lately so I've included some of my favorites below. I shared the floral scalloped bell sleeve top, lace-up blush bell sleeve dress, and burgundy rose body-con tank dress on Instagram this weekend! 

Shop Some of My Spring Favorites



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Achieving A Bright Undereye




Good Morning and Happy Friday Friends! Today, on Face It Friday, I want to talk about brightening the undereye. If you're like me and work late into the evening, a brighter, wide-awake eye can make a world of difference in the morning. I've tested and tried many brighteners, correctors, and concealers and feel I've gotten my routine pretty much down to a science. I discovered using yellows, purples, and light concealers really do make a difference. I'm pretty fair so I usually choose the lightest shade in every brand, but as a rule of thumb, I would suggest using a concealer a shade lighter than your skin tone. 




The first thing I like to do before foundation and after primer is to neutralize any darkness under my eye. Lately, my favorite is the yellow shade from the NYX Color Correcting Concealer Palette. I wish I'd known about it sooner because it makes such a difference! It's a great consistency and quite opaque so a little goes a long way. I also use the green square on any breakouts where my skin is looking red. If I'm not using my NYX palette I either use my NYX Dark Circle Corrector or a similar product by Becca Cosmetics. The Becca Undereye Brightening Corrector comes at a higher price point but I would debate it's a superior product with a more luminous finish. BUT it has a stickier finish and must be set with a powder once you're done concealing. The NYX version is really affordable and has a more matte consistency. 


After foundation, I like to apply a purple toned product, under the area near the corner of my eye to bring about starker brightness. It seems sort of white at first, but once you apply concealer on top, it will tone it down. The purple helps to create a "wide awake" appearance and is a step up from only using concealer. Neutralize, brighten, conceal, set...that's how I like it! Of the two products above the YSL Color Corrector is a little lighter and a little more luminous while the NYX Hi Definition Photo Concealer Wand is more opaque and a little thicker. I like to use YSL when I'm wearing a lighter foundation and NYX when my foundation is more full coverage. It's great for photos for all you Instagrammers YouTubbers, and blogger out there. 





Three of my four favorite concealers are drugstore...yayyy! My go-to lately has been the NYX HD Studio Photogenic Concealer. It gives fantastic coverage, a great color range and it's so affordable! The only downside is that I feel like there isn't much product in each tube and I repurchase more than any other product I own. Luckily, it's only a couple dollars. My oldie but goodie is MAC's Prolongwear Concealer. You can't go wrong! I found I don't use it day to day, but mostly when Justin and I are going out for date night or to an event with friend's and I don't want my undereye makeup to budge - and trust me it won't! For the price, this product lasts a very long time. I actually need to replace mine because I've had it too long and the consistency is off. And lastly, Maybelline's Instant Age Rewind in a concealer version and one specifically for brightening (it has a bit of a purple translucent tint). These are by far the easiest products to use and look beautiful on. Great for travel and a superior product for the drugstore! 


You might be wondering what brushes I use for application and blending. Going from left to right I use a Sigma F70 Concealer Brush when applying my MAC Prolongwear, a MAC 159 Duo Fibre Brush when blending concealer or brightener into the creases under my eye, a Real Techniques Sculpting Brush for pressing product into the skin (this is my favorite and very affordable), and a Sigma F86 Tapered Kabuki Brush when I'm not using my sculpting brush from Real Techniques. I use my fingers when applying and blending the undereye correctors from the beginning of this post. 


After all that work correcting, brightening, and concealing, make sure you set your undereye. This is such a crucial step - please don't skip it! Even if you feel like powder sinks into fine lines and crevices, a light dusting is better than nothing. Keep in mind, it's best to set as soon as possible after applying product before it can start to crease. You've probably heard of baking and it's such a fun technique. Basically, you dip a sponge (I've been using the EcoTools EcoFoam Facial Sponge) into a generous amount of loose translucent powder and pack it under the eye. You want to have excess powder and yes, it will look funny, but after a couple of minutes use a fluffy brush to wipe it away. It will ensure you're undereye makeup stays on all day. 


And if you'd like to take it a step further, because why not, you can make the area under the inner eye even brighter. I've been obsessed with Ben Nye's Super White Professional Powder. I dump a small amount onto the back of my hand and pick it up onto my Real Techniques Setting Brush. Then I place it on the area from the inner corner of the eye to about the middle of the nose and the middle of the eye (does that make sense? I feel like I should draw a picture hahaha)


And voila! A bright undereye! 

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend! I'm almost jumping with joy that the rain here in Northern California is finally supposed to subside, which means Justin and I can finally use my new camera and take a bunch of much-needed photos to share with all of you. It's such a challenge taking photos in terrible lighting that most of the time I don't even try. Hopefully, we will make up for it Saturday and Sunday!

SHOP THE POST




Don't Forget to Enter the Giveaway

I’ve teamed up with an amazing group of bloggers to give YOU a chance to win: a $500 Target Gift Card, just in time for some spring shopping! Simply enter below by completing the rafflecopter. You’ll receive one entry per completion. This giveaway runs until 3/6. The winner will be announced here. Good Luck!


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Pink Corduroy






I've never been much of a skirt girl, but I saw this one and knew I had to have it in my wardrobe. I love the color because it will work well throughout spring even though it's corduroy. I paired it with a simple white long sleeve tee and some knee high boots, that are on sale btw! Once the weather warms up I'm planning to wear it with this white eyelet off the shoulder top and perforated espadrille platforms. Also, I've been obsessing over my stone bangles and linked my two favs above and below. 

If you haven't seen on Snapchat or Instagram stories, I created a SHOP tab at the top of the blog where you can shop my favorite spring items, along with things I link on a regular basis. 

Have a fabulous Wednesday!

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Remember to enter!

I’ve teamed up with an amazing group of bloggers to give YOU a chance to win: a $500 Target Gift Card, just in time for some spring shopping! Simply enter below by completing the rafflecopter. You’ll receive one entry per completion. This giveaway runs until 3/6. The winner will be announced here. Good Luck!


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How to Juggle Life As A Busy Bee + A Giveaway!




Hello, and Good Morning!

I am so excited to share this morning that these are the first photos I've taken with my new "big girl" camera! I have sooo much to learn, but I couldn't help but start snapping and testing it out this weekend. I've waited a very long time to buy a nice camera and lens(es) for blogging. Justin and I did a lot of research before I decided which camera and brand to purchase. I ended up buying the Canon EOS Rebel T6S with an 18-135 lens + a 50mm lens I used to take the photos above. I'm also using Lightroom now to edit photos and gosh! it makes such a difference! I also got a really nice (and cute) pink camera bag that holds the body, lenses, SD card, card reader, cords, etc. 

I can't wait to share new and improved photos with all of you and can't even tell you how excited I am to finally take blogging to the next level. I love Pardon Muah and it gives me so much fulfillment to share, learn and make new friends on a daily basis. I want my blog to continually improve in all ways, but especially when it comes to quality content and photos - and now I've got better tools for the job! For reference, we've been using Justin's smartphone (not an iPhone) for all of my pictures since May. And then I would edit them via Photoshop Elements. 

Now on to today's blog post! How to juggle life when you're a busy, busy, bee.

Since my schedule has been so chaotic lately, I wanted to share some ways I stay organized and sane when I don't have enough hours in the day to get everything done. The past couple of weeks I've been working 55 hours a week before blogging and it's been way more challenging than I originally anticipated. Some weeks I'm better at juggling everything than others and sometimes I worry I won't be able to sustain such an intensive work schedule. But something valuable I have learned is that if you want to make time, you will and you can. I used to think I didn't have enough time to blog, but now that I've added a part-time job to the mix I realize I can definitely do it.


Make a list. I mentioned list making in last week's Monday Motivation post titled When You're Feeling Blue... as a way to reduce anxiety and stress and the same rings true when you're schedule gets crazy. I'm a list maker by nature so it comes quite naturally and I find it very helpful. When you're really busy and your mind becomes a jumble of tasks and to-do's right them down. And don't worry about it being organized. Many times, I will quickly try and get everything down on paper that I can think of and after I'm done I will prioritize and put them into a list that makes sense. It's also a good idea to separate your list by work and personal. 

Create a routine. Creating a routine >> you can stick to << is so important. I've found my more structured days where I wake up on time and keep to my schedule are much more productive and leave me feeling accomplished and satisfied. I've found creating a routine to be trial and error. Sometimes you're goals of waking up at 4 am and working out for three hours after work are lofty and you may find it doesn't work for you. So you shift and make a plan that works! 

A clean space is a clear mind. My biggest piece of advice is to stay organized, constantly, and much like creating a routine, find a method that works for you. I've found I can take on more and more, and at work, lots of urgent projects, without losing my mind because I stay meticulously organized. Now, I know that's not everyone, but I highly encourage you to keep your home, your workspace, and even your email clean. It will help you to not lose or forget about something important. I like to keep a folder and notebook with my to-do list and urgent notes so whenever I go into meetings (and can't take my laptop) it's all there and I can add to it throughout the day. 

Ask for help. No one can do it all. No one. So ask for help if you need it. It's better to communicate up front you are overwhelmed and need to reprioritize than to wait and miss a deadline. Or you'll find yourself doing so much so fast you may miss important details or produce work that is lower quality. Asking for help at home is also an option. If you need help with the usual chores, cooking dinner, etc. ask a significant other. I know this sounds obvious but sometimes we forget other people can't read our minds and it may not be blatantly clear you need an extra hand. If you live solo than reaching out to your family is also a great idea. I know when I lived alone I would call and talk to my mom, dad or grandparents and they would do their best to put my mind at ease, help me to reprioritize or remind me I can't always do it all - and that's okay!

Take time for yourself. I talked about this last Monday as well but taking time for yourself is so important! Self-care and being kind to your mind and body are critical to a healthy lifestyle and keeping yourself going. Going on vacation is great, but hey, it doesn't have to be a big trip. I haven't been on a true vacation for a super long time, but I find other ways to decompress. Whether it's taking a mental break to watch a beauty YouTube video, going to get my nails done, on a good day, a massage, or partaking in tv time with Heidi and Justin. You can also build it into your day so you have something to look forward to after meeting work goals and milestones. 

Do what you can and save the rest for later. At the end of the day, you can only do so much. Your plans won't always go as, well, planned, so give yourself a break. The things you have to do, do first, and the rest, try your best and then move it over to tomorrow. As long as you try hard and do your best, you should go to bed with a smile on your face. With most things, consistency is key, and hard works will pay off in the end! Instant gratification is something we all want but great things come with time.

I hope this was helpful for all you busy bees out there. And now, for something exciting...a giveaway! Thanks for following and make sure to enter below. 

GIVEAWAY TIME!

I’ve teamed up with an amazing group of bloggers to give YOU a chance to win: a $500 Target Gift Card, just in time for some spring shopping! Simply enter below by completing the rafflecopter. You’ll receive one entry per completion. This giveaway runs until 3/6. The winner will be announced here. Good Luck!


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Instagram Roundup









Lightweight Spring Pajamas // Puppy not for sale :)


Good Morning and Happy Friday! 

This week has been another long one, but I'm super excited for a three day weekend (I'll be posting some good President's Day sales soon)! Today's post features nine Instagram photos and nine new spring items I'm loving, own and highly recommend. I've linked all of the items I could find underneath each photo and an easy to shop spring preview below. I can tell my spring and summer uniform is going to be bell sleeves, off the shoulder tops and distressed denim shorts. There are also some amazing and affordable dresses under $70. The first is a blue off the shoulder lace number that would be perfect for Easter, wedding season, or a fun night out! Also, it's sooo much cuter on. The second is an incredibly flattering, must-have, burgundy rose sleeveless dress that comes in five colors! And the third blush colored bell sleeve is only $50 and absolutely amazing on...I doubted it before I tried it on and then...wow

SPRING PREVIEW



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Feminine Meets Edgy







For today's post, I'm mixing edgy and feminine pieces. I'm definitely more of a feminine girl, but at times, I like incorporating something new into my wardrobe. Baublebar was so kind to send over this amazing bib necklace as a preview to their collaboration with Target! All of the items are super affordable and there are so many to choose from. At first, I thought this necklace may be a bit daring for me but I absolutely love the way this outfit turned out. I'll definitely be wearing this necklace on repeat with a cami and jacket. My pretty pinky coral jacket is from Sid and Sam and in very high demand! I think they only have a few left so make sure to check the site soon if you're interested! I linked one similar below as well in case you can't get your hands on this beauty. 

Have a fabulous Wednesday!

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When You're Feeling Blue...







Last week I shared that I've been feeling more anxious than usual lately thanks to my current workload and the amount of pressure I put on myself to succeed. I know it's human nature to feel blue sometimes and that there are lots of other people out there who feel anxious or suffer from anxiety too. So I thought I'd share some helpful tips for anyone else who may be feeling overwhelmed by life...because, hey it happens, and it happens to the best of us! 

But before I share my tips, let's talk about today's outfit! This gorgeous navy tunic is from The Mint Julep Boutique (c/o) and fits like a dream! I love that it's not too sheer and is really comfortable to wear. It's called the Tear Drops Fall Top and also comes in white. I know it's called the "fall top" but I can't wait to wear mine throughout spring and summer with a pair of white pants. The pants I'm wearing have been my go-to since last year and are linked below. Great for petite, as I only had to roll them slightly once. My wedges (c/o) are extremely comfortable and my second pair from the brand. They are also on sale right now for under $35! I added some magenta accessories for a fun pop of color and have a feeling this navy & pink combo is going to be a recurring outfit them this season. I've linked most of my outfit below, including some of my fav beauty items and my new fav nude drugstore lipstick (it's so good!). 

Now on to my tips...

Stop, and take a breath. // The first thing I try to do when I'm starting to feel anxious is to stop, take a breath, and realize why I'm feeling the way I do. I've recognized recently my anxiety is exacerbated by an overload of stress. When this happens I take a moment to breathe in and out while taking a step back from how I'm feeling. It's important to remember it's okay to not be perfect all of the time, or any of the time. 

Replace the negative with positive. // One of my New Year's resolutions was to start seeing the glass half full. Whenever I get anxious and a negative thought enters my head, I send it away and immediately change it into something positive. If you're not careful anxiety induced thoughts that aren't at all true can quickly become a false reality. And if you continue to give them thought space in your mind, something wonderful can quickly become a heavy negative burden. So if those little thoughts start to creep in...and we all have them...tell them "goodbye" and think about the positive instead

Take some time for yourself. // Another thing that really helps to remotivate yourself and to curb anxious feelings is to take some time for yourself. I know taking time out not to work seems like it would only make workload induced stress worse, but it's so important to relax & recharge. I've found that even taking mental breaks throughout the day to rest my brain really helps. Go and get a massage, book a nail appointment, watch EllenTube, read a couple pages from your favorite book...you get the idea. 

Make a list. // One of my favorite ways to curb anxiety is to make a list. My head can get so jumbled by the million and one things I need to do each and every day. I'll start to think about everything I need to get done in a single day and almost immediately will feel my heart start pounding and my mind will start racing. So what I do is make a list. It is incredibly helpful to get all of my "to-do's" out of my head and onto paper. I'll make one list for work, one list for my blog, and another for my personal appointments and chores. This way I can focus on what is truly achievable that day and can rearrange everything else so it will still get done on time. It can also be helpful on super busy days to plan your day out by time so that you hold yourself accountable to working efficiently. 

Trust those you love not to judge you. // I've always been hesitant to talk about my anxiety for fear it would be looked upon as some sort of personal failure. A lot of people don't understand anxiety if they've never experienced it and therefore aren't always understanding of those who do, indeed, struggle. I've tried to express myself in the past and have been "shut down" which caused me to be quite reclusive and shut off when I'm feeling overwhelmed or upset. Luckily, being in a loving, nonjudgmental relationship has helped to turn this around. Once I finally opened up about the way I was feeling and saw that nothing changed and that in all actuality, it brought us closer, I felt an immense amount of relief.  

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and that these tips are helpful to some of you! 

I finally got back to the gym yesterday which was quite the success. Lately, I've been so busy, working out has fallen to the wayside, but I have a Vegas trip with my girlfriends coming up next month so I'm determined to get back into my routine. I also got some blog photos and planning completed which is always a great way to start the week. A major anxiety reducer! Justin and I also got in our usual TV downtime and lots of puppy cuddles with Heidi girl. Have a fabulous Monday, see you Wednesday! 

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