As Always Ara Turns Two

Two years in already… a lot has happened since my 20-year-old self first started this style blog! You guys have been with me through holidays, birthdays, breakups, college, my graduation, and the start of my adult life… whew. It’s been quite the ride.

“As Always, Ara” didn’t come so easily along. Two years ago I sat in my childhood room at my parents contemplating something I had wanted to pursue for a long time and deciding that I wouldn’t let the fear of putting myself out there for judgment and critique keep from what I wanted to do any longer. I had been blogging for two years prior to making the decision to make my blog public, but I was always too scared to share my blog before then — it was something I did often but only for myself.. I guess an online diary? Once I decided I was going for it, that I was gonna make my blog a public, shareable thing, there was a lot of planning and brainstorming to go into the launch. I wanted it all to be perfect before anyone had the chance to visit it. First: a name. But what is in a name?

I decided after literal days of going back and forth that the name I had created for the blog I didn’t share with anyone was gonna remain the name of my blog website. “As Always, Ara” means that I’m always gonna be myself, always speak my truth, and always be real and personable. It helps that it’s a triple “A” name and kind of rolls off the tongue!

Once I figured out what can be the hardest part of designing a blog, I then took to designing my new web page. Luckily there are hundreds of free templates you can customize here on WordPress, the content management system I use, so that didn’t take too long. I also custom made my own logos on Canva, a free graphic design tool website, which I used on the top of my website and any material I want to brand as my own.

The next step was to start planning content, which came fairly easy as I was working and had worked in boutiques for a couple years already. While I already had a sense of style all my own, working in a fashions store not only made cute clothes available to me, but it helped shape my style to be more fashion forward, pushed me to take risks and follow the latest trends.

I should have known at that time that having a blog was gonna be a lot of work. From prelaunch to now, it really hasn’t stopped. But after two years, it is still so much fun and something I look forward to every day. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it time and time again. I love to create. I love to see what other’s create and become inspired and I hope to do the same with what I’m creating. Styling photoshoots and seeing my ideas come to life is my favorite thing to do in my free-time! I’ll never get tired of creating for this blog and having something that is all my own for years to come.

I love looking back over past blog posts of mine, seen where my headspace was at, what was happening in my life and why. It resurfaces memories, some I absolutely treasure, some not for the best. Though either way, I’m glad they’re there, forever. Not only is it good to post often for these reasons, but posting often and being consistent with posting is how you can grow a following and maintain it. Think about the people you follow on social media platforms. You probably see them on your feed often and that’s because the world of influencing is super saturated, so it’s important to post often to be remembered and stand out. It’s also known on Instagram that those that post less are often shown up less on their followers feeds when they do post… gotta love those algorithms. I try to post on there at least twice a week. Consistency = Key. Your followers begin looking for and expecting your posts if you can stick to a schedule!

Looking back over the past year, there’s been a lot of growth. I’ve gained more than 2,000 followers on Instagram, the social app where I share all my photoshoot pictures (@ara_mackenzie) — way more than ever make it into an actual blog post. I wish I had the time to write more, but my life’s also not that interesting 24/7. But in continuing breaking down the stats, I’ve now written 20 blogs over the last year and have organized more than 82 photoshoots and posts for my Instagram.

My mother, my best friend, and now mostly my boyfriend, Mason, offer up their free-time to photograph the shoots I plan and help them come to life. I’ve gotta say, my blog and Instagram would not at all be possible without these self-less and encouraging people who take the time to support my passion. Finding a photographer and even paying for one is a job all it’s own. It can be expensive, it can be hard to find someone you vibe with and feel comfortable enough with to pose. I’m lucky enough to have such a great support system that always makes me feel confident and beautiful, and  also trust in my ideas and help me achieve them.

As far as the future, well you can expect to see a lot more from me. I’m trying my best to become even more personable on Instagram, as that is the platform with the most engagement for me, yet it’s the one where I feel I am the least transparent on what is actually going on in my life beyond the styled photoshoot. I hope to introduce Mason and  feature him with me lot more — I really feel like he’s absolutely the one for me and we’ve started building quite a life together already — which is so exciting, but more on that in a later post! I also hope to use the feature on Instagram called “stories” to update y’all on more of a daily basis. I feel like influencers who utilize the tool have a better connection with their audience on a friendly level and I absolutely want that with my little corner the ‘gram!

I hope to see the next two years full of even more growth, collaborations, travels, and love. You’d think after two years in I’d have the hang of this thing now and know the ins and outs, but I’m still learning and becoming inspired everyday. There’s no handbook to influencing and blogging, but winging it has worked out pretty dang good for me. Cheers to two years!

As always,

Ara

P.S. I’ve updated my “about me” page since so much has changed in the last 6 months. You can read all about me now, but I also wanna know about you! Comment below and tell me where you’re from, what you do, and what your passions are!

Dress: Urban Outfitters (sold out) | Boots: Chinese Laundry (sold out similar from Nordstrom: Vince Camuto and Free People) | Earrings: Kendra | Silver ring and bangle: David Yurman ring and bracelet (knockoff bracelet Amazon)

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