Social Media, For Better or For Worse?

IMG_0397Somewhere along the way, I got off track with social media. On the one hand, social media has great benefits including staying in touch across the miles, promoting your business and finding a new job. But there is a balance one should maintain, and I, during the last two years especially, was doing a terrible job of pulling back when I should.

My first social media account was on MySpace. I know I am dating myself! As everyone knows, MySpace was eclipsed by Facebook, which I joined in mid-2008, four years after it launched, hesitant to go where I thought only college students tread. Other social media formats followed, and it was not long before we were Tweeting, Pinning, Snap Chatting and Instagramming with people far and near.

I created a business page on Facebook, and I joined Twitter as a means of raising my business profile for my new career in image consulting. It worked. By late 2010, I was receiving business from Google searches. Pinterest swept me into its arms in 2011, and I built boards geared at educating clients and keeping myself on top of trends. I joined Instagram in 2013, mostly to maintain a presence to avoid looking like a dinosaur. One must keep up!IMG_9991

I spent a good amount of time building a following across these four platforms, in addition to my personal business website and my blog. The time I spent on social media was mostly reasonable, and it rarely eclipsed the day-to-day work required of a small business. By 2014, my business was on a roll. I was speaking at least once per quarter and working with a steady stream of personal clients. I give a lot of props to social media for this momentum.

Yet, after our move to Seattle in January 2015, I became depressed and I collapsed into social media as an escape. The mere idea of starting over in a new city drained me of all energy, and I spent more and more time immersed in a world of highlight reels.

My husband tried to talk to me about my social media use on a few occasions, and each time I became defensive. I was homesick, and I missed my friends. Seeing them on social media was my way of being with them. On a deeper level, I was angry at my husband for this big change, and retreating into social media was one way I could punish him. What I realize now is I was punishing myself by missing out on life with my family. I was often choosing social media over them. The happy moments occurring right under my nose were going unnoticed and unappreciated.

IMG_0127Social media, at first an innocent escape, became a robber in my life. It robbed me of time, motivation, confidence and joy. When I finally decided to pull my head out of my rear and examine my social media use, I realized my husband was right and I was wrong. He was not asking me to give up social media. He understands the benefit of it for my business. He was simply asking for more of me at the appropriate times.

The solution that worked for my husband and me is we drew up a schedule of when neither of us would be on social media at all. With a few slips here and there, we have stuck to it. The things I need to do for my brand marketing are easily condensed, and I am feeling much more engaged with my husband and my kids. Further, I am reading more, working out again, and doing other things that bring me happiness and fulfillment, like writing.

If you are struggling to pull back from your phone, here are a few tips:

  • Set a time schedule of when you will or won’t be on social media.
  • Keep a log of when you are on social media, and write down the reasons you are using it. Escaping occasionally into social media is fine. Escaping for several hours per day when there is important work to do is not okay.
  • Ask your partner how he/she feels about your social media use, and adjust where needed. It might enhance (or save) your relationship.
  • Remember your social media feed is not real life. If you feel you are missing out, you are. Look up from your phone and observe the world around you. Don’t miss it!

IMG_9369

Why My Style Changed

IMG_7403When I knew we were moving to Seattle a little over two years ago, I began to stock up on a variety of outerwear. Mind you, I already owned a closet full of jackets and coats! But the types of jackets Seattle requires, I definitely did not own. Besides, I am always looking for an excuse to shop!

I have two friends in Seattle who used to live in the South like me. Recently we discussed the shifts to our personal styles since moving to the Pacific Northwest. In short, our styles are decidedly more casual to say the least.

There are at least three factors at play in why our styles have shifted: (1) the weather (it is damp, okay, wet here in Seattle!), (2) the topography (it is quite hilly; high heels and steep hills do not mix well), and (3) the vibe (Seattle is relaxed, natural and unfussy – and gritty).

Seattle style is difficult to define since it is changing. As one of the fastest growing cities in America (#4 in 2016), Seattle is taking on new residents from all over the United States and the world. But here is the marvelous thing about style in Seattle: no one is judging yours. You are free to express yourself without worrying whether you have the latest handbag or the “it” shoe. That is refreshing and freeing, to be honest.

In Seattle, no one will blink if you dress to the nines, nor will they care if you show up in tattered jeans and a North Face puffer jacket. Whatever works for you, goes.

Yet, I have a challenge for you, Seattle residents: Whatever “dress up” means to you, do it once in a while (and I don’t mean rarely!). The way you dress not only influences how you feel, it influences those around you. Have you ever noticed how others smile when you wear a t-shirt with a funny slogan or have you ever received a compliment on a color you were wearing? You are having a positive impact on them!

So, find a reason to dress up soon. You probably have beautiful clothing that never sees the light of day. If I may say so, that just ain’t right!

Thank you to Heather Lundy of HerCommonThread for the photo, taken inside Easy Street Records in West Seattle!

New Website!

It is with great pride I announce the launch of my new website with an updated logo by New Orleans based BethanyHeadshots2015-8804Sea Level Design and photos of me by Dallas based Christina Childress. This website looks and feels like the woman I am today. Please look around and leave comments here (constructive criticism is welcomed).

For those of you familiar with my former website, you may notice I am paring down my services. Gone are the custom color analysis, the image & style evaluation and makeup lessons. When I moved to Seattle, I wanted my business here to focus on my greatest strengths and the services I most enjoyed, closets and shopping. I have rolled the style evaluation into the wardrobe consultation as it is crucial to understand the client’s style before working with their wardrobe.

I have added photography as a service. It began as an idea to do street style photography for my blog. Then a couple of people used my photos on their website, and the idea to offer this service was birthed. The photos are web-ready for use on social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.

I continue to do public speaking as the opportunities arise. I have always enjoyed speaking and educating groups of all sizes, and I would like to see this part of my business grow. Stay tuned!

Last, but certainly not least, my new website features a new blog! I will be adding an e-mail subscription to that blog soon, and once it is complete I will let you know so you can follow me there. Thank you for your support and encouragement. Here’s to the next chapter!—Bethany

Street Style – Two Style Lessons

IMG_3886Here are a few more snaps from our evening at Casco Antiguo earlier this week. Style Lesson #1: If your top is long (longer than where your leg breaks when you lift it), you must wear a heel to create a longer leg. Otherwise, your body is cut in half (50% torso; 50% leg), which makes you look short regardless of your true height. Our lovely, leggy model Amanda here asked me about cuffing her jeans. If she had been wearing a top with a hem around her hip bone, I would have told her to go for it as she has plenty of leg to sacrifice. However, because her top is longer than the leg break, I advised her to keep her jeans un-cuffed. If you can visualize her in flats with a cuffed hem, she would have appeared overlong on her top half and, thus, out of proportion.

IMG_3903Style Lesson #2: The more leg you show, the more of your top half should be covered. I do wish I had a tan for this lesson – ha! Wearing shorts that hit at mid-thigh or shorter calls for a top that is either a half sleeve, 3/4-length or a long sleeve as I am wearing. Short shorts and a tank top is provocative and not very classy. Leave a little to the imagination, and keep it classy, ladies. It is what men prefer, actually.

IMG_3902Lastly, if you have silver and/or turquoise jewelry, now is the time to wear it. The cool tones of the silver has an overall cooling effect on your look, which is just right during our warmest season. Ditto for turquoise. The light, soft green/blue goes with all your spring/summer clothing without having to think about it. Don’t worry if you have none of this color in your outfit. Adding a new color to your look via accessories is totally okay and encouraged, actually. Happy Weekend!—Bethany

Seattle Street Style – Casco Antiguo

IMG_3891I won’t lie, finding decent Mexican in Seattle has been a challenge. I realize it would be impossible to recreate a Texas experience; however, is it that difficult to make a good home-made margarita and sour cream enchiladas? Enter stage right, Casco Antiguo in the Pioneer Square district of downtown Seattle. The margaritas are delicious, the tacos are tasty, and the chips and guacamole remind me of what I left behind in Dallas. At last!

Apparently, I am not the only happy customer. The vividly-painted patio alone puts a smile on your face, but once you enjoy a few sips of your favorite carefully-created libation, your cares slip away as the cool Seattle night air kisses your face.

IMG_5329

True to Seattle, the patio is pet-friendly. This cute terrior was posing for me.IMG_3921

I have visited twice, and on both occasions I have met nicely-dressed  young professional men whose casual style are distinct to each of them. IMG_5333No one is trying too hard, and they look great. I especially love their shoes. From Capri pants to shorts to rolled jeans, each one has their own take on summer casual style.

Not to be outdone by the fellas, my friends Amanda and Lori cozy up for a photo, as well. Next time you are in the area, stop in for a bite and a few sips. You will be glad you did. Happy Summer, everyone! (All photos by Bethany Siggins.)IMG_3901

Dallas Street Style Heats Up

IMG_3053My hair stylist and best friend, Gary Walden, has been doing my hair for longer than I care to admit. Today the spotlight is on him as he heats up the Dallas streets with his playful yellow and blue ensemble and his perfectly imperfect bracelet stack. The bright yellow shorts play nicely off the darker blue shirt. Neither is vying for the focus. Perfect playmates.  The bracelets are a cool mix of colors, textures and weights. IMG_3082Each one stands on its own; however, he has brought them together in one look which makes it unique and special.

IMG_3068Whatever your story and whatever your style, it is yours. Let it speak and do not stifle it. Have fun. Thank you, Gary, for showing us how to have fun with style!

Edie’s Shoes – Seattle’s Capitol Hill Mainstay

IMG_2359For 16 years Edie’s Shoes has served up the sophistication of Europe in a relaxed shopping atmosphere in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Founded in 2000 by Erin Dolan, the shop offers men’s, women’s and a select few children’s styles, in addition to hats, handbags, jewelry and men’s accessories. On a recent visit, I found an enticing selection of merchandise, including lovely wall art for sale. As I have learned since moving to Seattle, comfort is key, and Edie’s serves it in abundance. Yet style is never compromised. These are on-trend shoes for the fashionable, discerning client.IMG_2310

IMG_2347Erin knows her stuff and is very hands-on with her customers, offering educated advice on what works and why.

As the saying goes, it is a small world. My daughter could not stop talking about a boy she likes (in a friendly, not a romantic, way – they are only five) in her class at a West Seattle school. It turns out, he is the son of Erin.

IMG_2348Edie’s Shoes offers a welcoming, relaxed shopping environment, and I recommend you stop in soon. They are running an anniversary sale until June 9! Now is the time to invest in a cool pair of shoes no one else will have at a price that won’t break your bank. Happy Shopping!—Bethany