“13 in 13” is BACK! 13 Blogs 13 months – featuring some of my favorite style and lifestyle bloggers from around the blog community. I have to say this is one of my favorite parts about PRB and being a blogger. The “virtual friendships” you make can introduce you to some of the most interesting and courageous people.
Today I’m lucky enough to share with you one of my favorite lifestyle bloggers Nichole Ciotti of Vanilla Extract. Her inspiring story about “going after it all” will really want you to get off your couch and change your world! And…she does it one inspirational, fashion, foodie post at a time!
1. Tell me about yourself?
I was born in the suburbs of Philadelphia and lived there until I was 18. From an early age, I had the burning desire to see more. I moved to Tampa for college and ended up residing there for a total of six years. It was then that I really discovered who I was and what I wanted to do in life. Last year, I found myself quitting my job in Corporate America, selling my car, and moving across the country to San Francisco, which is where I now call home. I’m currently exploring all of the SF Bay Area where I run a branding + web agency called Blinc. When I’m not bossing people around (just kidding), you’ll find me blogging over at Vanilla Extract. The best part about this journey is that I have no idea where it’s going to take me, and that’s exciting! For all I know, I could be living in Texas next year. (PRB says - Let’s hope so!)
2. Why blogging and the online webspace?
I first entered the blogging world with a relationship blog called The Lease Agreement in April 2011 (PRB – I checked it out and OMG I love this “pre-Vanilla Extract” blog – favorite posts: here, here & this V-Day post here). It was created as a fun and flirty way to present your relationship in the form of a lease, an idea that I developed after seeing an episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County. The core message of the entire blog was to fall in love; not in line. It was during that time that I really fell in love with blogging, but as I started to evolve, so did my focus. About a year and half later, Vanilla Extract was born. I brand it as a lifestyle blog with a focus on fashion, beauty, and tasty treats from my inner foodie.
I got my taste of Corporate America right after college, and I hated it. People laughed when I described it as my “Cubicle of Doom,” but that’s literally what it felt like for someone with a creative background. I had also played with the idea of starting my own branding/PR company, but I knew I’d have to outsource a lot of the work like logo design and website coding. I teamed up with a group of talented people in Tampa, all of them spanning different backgrounds, which enabled me to put my goals into action. In January 2012, Blinc Agency was born – a full-service branding + web company. Fast forward 13 months later: I’m now producing a coffee table book that celebrates female entrepreneurship.
4. What’s your go to piece you can’t live without? My Louis Vuitton Speedy handbag. It’s a classic piece that can be paired with anything. It’s so worn in that someone actually called it “vintage” the other day.
5. When you are getting ready for a night out what your staples? I prefer pants over dresses, so definitely a pair of dark jeans and heels. Heels make me feel sexy.
6. What elements do you think define your style the most? I love the contrast of mixing and matching styles. I’m a sucker for leather and lace or a sequin skirt and t-shirt.
7. How would you describe your everyday style? My everyday style is casual since I work from home. Lots of lululemon, Zara leggings, and Anthropologie sweaters. It’s not that glamorous – haha!
Of course we couldn’t let Nichole Get Away without sharing some of her favorite choices as we begin to spring into spring – I mean the groundhog didn’t see his shadow right – so its coming early this year…Anthropologie Viscid Watch | Anthropologie Fine Wale Cord Buttondown | Merona Front Pocket Wristlet | Gap Envelope Leather Clutch | Wildfox ‘Drunk On Love’ Graphic Sweatshirt | Kenneth Jay Lane Necklace | Urban Outfitter Sea Foam Crystal Ring | Pour La Victoire Easton Pump |
8. What type of style do you capture on your blog?
My blog has shifted into so much more than just a style blog, however, this year I’d like to incorporate more advice for mixing and matching.
9. Do you think in the world of “style” Fashion Blogging is important? Absolutely. Many companies have partnered with top bloggers to get the word out. It’s effective, and readers will listen.
10. Do you think there are “too many” Fashion Bloggers out there? Yes! A lot of girls want to be style bloggers, but the truth is – it’s hard work, and the majority of them will fall off.
11. What’s your favorite social media outlet? Instagram is my favorite platform, but Pinterest returns the most traffic. They’re both equally addicting!
12. How do you connect with other bloggers? I’ve met a lot of blogging friends on Twitter. It’s crazy how a friendship can form out of 140 characters.
A lifestyle blog is not a lifestyle blog without something other than great fashion finds! One thing that makes Vanilla Extract “drool” worthy are Nichole’s tons of Pin-able recipes Check out three favorites -
14. How would you describe what you do? We build stuff you see on the Internet.
15. What was your journey like when you first started out in the PR/Brand Promotion/Ad/Communications world? My first taste came an intern in college. It seemed so scary! I always questioned if what I was doing was right or not. I stuck with it, and just picked up things as I went. There’s nothing like real world experience.
16. Why make the move and head out on your own – did you envision something different for what you were doing for clients? I didn’t want to build someone else’s dream. I wanted to build my own.
17. Any advice? I’ll leave you with this – “The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.”