The Seattle blogger event you must attend

Face it: There is no shortage of bloggers or social media influencers and brands are catching on. With a saturated market, ever-changing algorithms, and fickle followers, it’s hard to know how to stand out and grow your personal brand.

There are dozens of blogger workshops, seminars, and conferences promising to help you get to the next level and be a social media success. But in my experience, you usually walk away with a nice bag of swag but no idea what tactics to implement to reach your goal. Enter Style Summit.

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In its third year, Style Summit is the passion project of Gossip and Glamour founder Sydney Mintle, and it’s where bloggers go to grow. Though I didn’t attend the last two years, I paid attention to who did and I saw how they elevated their content, strategy, and branding with great results. This year, as Style Summit partners with W Bellevue and the “What She Said” series, I’m thrilled to attend — not just as a blogger but as a panelist representing the brand where I work as a PR/Influencer Manager.

My panel will discuss style blogging in relation to digital assets, affiliate marketing, social media strategy, and how to establish solid, ongoing brand collaborations. Other panels include tips from top bloggers on how they made it to the 50k+ Club and insights into the rapidly-changing landscape of retail. On top of all this goodness there is also a keynote, break-out sessions, brand activations, and an after party.

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The day kicks off at 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 11, at W Bellevue, and wraps up with a 4 p.m. after party at Civility and Unrest. There are still tickets left, but I’m sure the event will sell out in the next two weeks so get on it! You can get tickets here and use code BLUENILE to save $50.

See you at Style Summit!

-Winters

 

Okay, Ladies

I’m so excited to start off the new year by inviting you to celebrate the launch of a new, female-focused business support group in Seattle next week. Business Babes Collective is a platform connecting and inspiring women in select U.S. and Canadian cities through workshops, events, and retreats where they can learn, network, and find opportunities to grow together. When they asked if I would partner with them to spread the word, I was thrilled! One of my goals for this year is to participate in more conversations that help women become more empowered and connected. And I want to share that with you.

Business Babe Balloons

Photo by @creativewifeandjoyfulworker

The launch celebration will feature refreshments, photo ops, prizes, vendors, mingling and a Q&A with Desiree Siegfried. If you’re not part of Bachelor Nation, Desiree is a bridal designer best known for meeting her husband Chris on season nine of ABC’s The Bachelorette. I actually met her last month and was excited to hear about her new wedding dress collection, which is so beautiful! Can’t wait to pick her brain on the risks she took to build her business (Desiree Hartsock Bridal) — not to mention meeting her husband on TV.

Desiree Sigfried

Photo by @katieparraphoto

I hope you’ll join me and dozens of other Seattle-area lady bosses from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m., on Thursday, Jan. 25, at Sole Repair Shop in Capitol Hill. You can buy tickets here.

-Winters


Note: Seattle Business Babes provided me a free ticket in exchange for my assistance with publicity. I’ll always be transparent when organizations provide an incentive for my work. But rest assured, my opinions and recommendations are strictly my own and if I don’t like something or believe in it, you’ll know.

An evening at the symphony

You know you’re an adult when your idea of a fun double date is going to see the symphony. When my friend and her husband invited us to join them at Ensign Symphony’s “Hosannah” at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle, we loved the idea. Getting dressed up to listen to an orchestra play the Christmas classics I grew up singing in church? Yes. Also, I’ve only ever heard how lovely Benaroya Hall is and I was eager to check it out.

A night at the symphony

No, the guys didn’t coordinate their outfits — they just tend to show up wearing the same thing.

The performance was enjoyable albeit slow. Sitting in the auditorium listening to the symphony play and the chorus sing, I realized it was a very strange feeling to not be “doing” anything. No computer, no cell phone, nothing to look at but a bunch of people on stage singing and playing instruments. I felt fidgety for a while but settled into the calm. It’s so needed this time of year.

A night at the symphony

The Ensign Symphony and Chorus

There were a few funny moments: When the chorus sang a rousing rendition of “Betelehemu” one of the women in the front got off beat with her side to side movements and ended up getting jostled around between two others for a moment. I admit I giggled.

During the intermission, or “half-time” as my friend’s husband called it, we went out to the lobby to enjoy the decorations and take pictures. My favorite part about this time of year is all the pretty decorations.

A night at the symphony

The twinkling lights were beautiful — though a little dominating in this photo.

A night at the symphony

Our symphony uniform: Dress, tights, heels.

Thank you, Jo and Robbie, for a great date night!

Like our symphony outfits? Shop our looks below.

-Winters

My outfit (similar):

Jo’s outfit (similar):

My secret to free magazines

Every month, they come. And they stack up on my countertop and drive my fiancé crazy. Real Simple, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, People StyleWatch, Cosmopolitan (ugh, I know), Redbook, and more. Why do I get so many magazines that sometimes I can’t keep up with them? Because they’re free, they’re relevant to my industry and important for my job. And because they’re free. Scroll down to read how I scored this.

Free magazines for your industry

The first place to check out is Mercury Magazines. By filling out your basic contact and professional information, it will find free, relevant, and interesting magazines that you can sign up to receive. Of course, there’s always the risk of receiving junk mail but that hasn’t been a problem for me.

My second spot is RewardSurvey. This system works by awarding you points based on surveys you take about everything from parades to household products to cars. You can use the points to subscribe to magazines like Elle, Glamour, Real Simple, and more. The more points you earn, the better the selection.

Happy reading!

-Winters

How to pack for the holidays

Three days away from home and 45 minutes to pack. That’s what I was faced with this morning.

You see, today, we are taking a ferry and driving to my hometown to spend the first part of Thanksgiving with my family. Tomorrow afternoon, once we have polished off my dad’s amazing stuffing and eaten a piece of crack pie, we will get back on the road and take another ferry to go to a second Thanksgiving with my fiancé’s family. We will get back to our apartment in Seattle at some point on Friday night. So I needed to pack enough clothes, makeup, hair product, and charging cables to last until then.

Disclaimer: I am the worst at packing. I hate it and I always put it off til the last minute.

Because of that, though, I have some packing hacks that I hope will help you out as you pack for holidays away from home.

Tip 1: Start with socks and underwear. Stick with the basics at first cause if you forget them, good luck. Socks, underwear, charging cables, and deodorant are the first things to go in my bag.

Tip 2: Think about what will get you the furthest. This is where you want get strategic. If you pack clothing and accessories that are complementary in color you can mix and match and get more use out of the pieces you bring. More use out of what you bring = less things that need to be brought. For this trip, I’m going with blacks, grays, and gemstone tones.

Tip 3: Plan ahead for a long lasting hair style. Along the same lines as above, pack hair product that can help keep your hair looking great for a couple days. This eliminates the need to pack hair dryers, curling irons, hair straighteners, etc. My go-to products are from Living Proof and I can’t recommend them enough.

I hope these three tips will help you as you pack for Thanksgiving weekend. Happy Turkey Day!

Winters

My shopping rule of thumb

In April 2007, I visited the Puma store at the Seattle Premium Outlets and found a super cute white windbreaker. It was a good price but I was a broke college student. I didn’t buy it and spent my money on a nice dinner out instead. Because people need to eat, right?

Such regret.

I never forgot about the windbreaker. I went back several months later but it was gone and I haven’t seen one like it since. My chance to have it passed. When I saw the price tag, I should have calculated how many times I would wear the jacket (a lot) vs. how many dinners out I needed (um, none).

Puma Windbreaker 2007. #neverforget

Can anyone else relate?

After that, my shopping rule of thumb became: If you can’t stop thinking about it, buy it. Within reason, of course. Because bills. But seriously, if you can’t stop thinking about a piece you see at the store that probably means you’ll wear the heck out of it, which will make it worth every penny.

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Photo by Madeleine Wilson Photography

My most recent obsession was a pink velvet dress by Chelsea28 at Nordstrom Rack. It wasn’t pricey but I was there to buy a dress for a Kentucky Derby party and it just wasn’t the right look. Nonetheless, I thought about the pink velvet dress often: The way it fanned out when I twirled and how the straps were adjustable for maximum modesty — or not — when it came to the plunging overlapping v-cut in front.

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Photo by Madeleine Wilson Photography

The next time I went to Nordstrom Rack, I checked the clearance rack and would you believe it the dress was there! Not only could I still purchase it, but I could purchase it at half the cost. That, my friends, is Shopping Fate.

I bought it, of course, and have worn it twice. Now that it’s cold and rainy, I’ll be looking for ways to style it in a more weather-appropriate way. Suggestions are welcome. 😉

-Winters


Shop this look:

Olyvia halo ankle strap pump • Sole Society • (similar)

Women’s Nsr Velvet Midi Slipdress • NSR • (similar)

Why you need a blarf

My friend hates this word. “Blarf.” But I haven’t found a better way to describe the giant, square scarf that doubles as a blanket.

I got my first blanket scarf in my Fall 2016 FabFitFun box and it quickly became one of my favorite pieces. It’s black and white plaid from Modcloth and as cozy as it is versatile.

Ways to wear:

1. Drape – Fold it in half and drape it over your shoulders. Perfect for fall days when the sun is still peaking through and providing warmth. (see below)

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Photo by Madeleine Wilson Photography

2. Cape – For a chic, French look, fold it in half and wrap it around your body so the fold is directly over one arm while standing at your side. Then, secure it with a brooch on top of the other shoulder. (see below)

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Photo by Madeleine Wilson Photography

3. Bandana – This is simple, quick, and one of the most common ways to wear a blanket scarf. Fold it into a triangle, wrap it around your neck with the point facing down your front side, then pull the ends back to the front. (see below)

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Photo by Madeleine Wilson Photography

These are just three ways to wear a blanket scarf but there are many more! Including, as a legit blanket at the movie theater, over your head when it starts raining on your way to the bus stop, and tied around your purse when you walk inside a warm building from the outside cold.

Like this look? Shop it by clicking the links below.

-Winters

Amanda Winters Blogger Shoot-153

Photo by Madeleine Wilson Photography

Women’s Hudson Jeans ‘Nico’ Ankle Skinny Jeans • Hudson • (similar)

Women’s Halogen Long Sleeve Turtleneck • Halogen • (exact)

Express textured blanket scarf • Express •  (similar)

Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Large Convertible Leather Crossbody • Michael Kors • (exact)