Polkadots & Pearls


When at Alt Summit dress to stand out. This is something that I have learned over the years. The outfits at Alt are always top notch, oozing with creativity and style. There definitely is an unspoken pressure to showcase your personal style, and so I decided to pack my fluorescent orange skirt for one of my outfits. I am literally a walking traffic cone, but I LOVE it! When you need to stand out and have brands notice you count on neon to do it. AveStyles-7blogAveStyles-3blog

Also, mixing patterns is always a great way to express creativity. I decided to mix my polkadot cropped sweater with my damask orange skirt to create a more dynamic outfit. (Check out my earlier post where I paired my skirt with leather). A touch of pearls and a chambray shirt underneath gave a feminine and preppy element, but it wouldn't feel like "Alex" with out a little edge. My open-toe leather shooties (get similar ones here) did just that. Of course, you could pair a classic pointy toe pump with this outfit and continue to the classic vibe, but why be predictable? I'm wearing neon orange after all.


Photos by the AMAZING portrait photographer Sarah Deragon. 


Recap of Alt Summit Winter 2015


Oh, Alt Summit. You are a genius. Three days of creative entrepreneurs and brands together in one space = magic. This was my third Alt Summit experience and my second one speaking, and it was just as incredible as the events in the past. Each year I have gone to the conference for something different. 2011 was about learning as much as I could about blogging. 2014 was about delivering a successful Pinterest talk. 2015 was about connecting with brands AND delivering a successful Pinterest panel discussion. AirBNB, Honest Co., Overstock, Wayfair, Microsoft, Munchkin, and many more were at this conference, and I definitely was able to have great, long-lasting conversations with each brand. If you want to get practice pitching brand partnerships, go to Alt Summit. It's the only conference I know where brands are genuinely approachable and WANT to be pitched content ideas.

Alt Winter 2015 Brooke Dennis

The most important nugget of gold I took home was to be purposeful with each social outlet of your business. Write out your objectives for each one and focus on that. Below, you'll find mine:

Pinterest | a curatorial experience of what A.V.E. Styles enjoys

Instagram | a portfolio, behind the scenes experiences and work philosophies of A.V.E. Styles

Facebook | a place to share latest blog posts

Twitter | an extension of Instagram and Facebook

Now that I have these filters in place I think it will be a lot easier to hone in on growing a genuine and engaged audience.

Alt Winter 2015 Brooke Dennis

The Pinterest panel with Rachel Faucett, Kelly Beal and Sara Martineau was a success. It was great hearing the different perspectives of Pinterest, and learning all of the new things Pinterest has in store for their users. Pinterest is truly a company that listens and cares about it's users, and for Pinterest to sit on this panel it was crystal clear that they value the blogging community. If you weren't able to attend the presentation here are 5 things you should know about Pinterest:


1| You NEED to Rich Pin - Okay, well, you don't need to, but if you're a blog or business that is not doing this you are missing out on MAJOR traffic. You see, Pinterest gives priority to Rich Pins and recommends Rich Pins to their users because it's content that is ensured to be good and valuable. How does Pinterest know that? Well, you have to apply to use Rich Pins, and a staff member at Pinterest goes through the applications to make sure you a a legitimate business that is not spamming people. Since using Rich Pins my site traffic and engagement has grown significantly. Go get them now! Run! Don't walk!

2| Get a business account - You might be saying to yourself, "Well, I'm just a blogger. Only big brands need a business account." Wrong! If you care about getting your blog content out there and growing your Pinterest community your business account will be able to give you statistics that will help you measure your Pinterest success. You'll be able to know how much traffic is coming to your blog from Pinterest, which pins are performing best, which users are repinning your pins the most, where in the world your community lives and more. This is all important in building a Pinterest strategy. Plus, it's free! Get one here.

3| Time does not exist within Pinterest - I'm not trying to be philosophical here. Time literally doesn't matter anymore when it comes to your feed. Your Pinterest feed is a smart feed based on the interests you follow, what you are pinning and who you follow. You will still see content from those you follow and your followers will still see yours as well, but it just won't be shared in a chronological format. What does this mean for you? Well, you can go on pinning sprees as not worry about stuffing your followers' feeds. Also, you need to be purposeful about SEO and optimizing those pin descriptions to get your content in front of your audience.

4| SEO matters - Did you know that search engines like Bing and Google pull in your pins now? Awesome, right?! That means it's important to write great pin descriptions that reflect what a user would search. Simply describe what you see in the pin. For example, "ivory sweetheart lace wedding dress by Claire Pettibone."

5| Image matters - Well-styled, illuminated, colorful content that's oriented vertically will out perform a landscape, black and white iphone photo any day of the week. Make sure you are paying close attention to the creation of your pins. If you don't know how to take great pictures, hire a photographer. If you don't know how to style images, hire a stylist!

Want more tips? Follow me on Instagram (@avestyles) where I will share a new tip each Friday, AND I'm starting to plan a webinar. Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement. If you are interested in being the first to know, please send me a note alexandra@avestyles.com and I will put you on the notification list.

All images provided by Alt Summit and taken by Brooke Dennis.

Speaking for Alt on Topic: Making Money in a Changing Media Landscape


I'm SUPER excited to tell you that I will be speaking for Alt on Topic this coming October!!! YAY! I had a blast speaking about Pinterest Strategies this past June for Alt Summer with Rachel of Handmade Charlotte (read all about it here). Well, I'm back at it and offering the same class for Alt on Topic, which is all available online! Woohoo! All you have to do is register and then I'll see you in cyber space! It's a one day online workshop focusing on the following topics: Pitching to Brands, Transparency and Authenticity in Integrated Editorial, Instagram Marketing and Pinterest Strategies. You get ALL of that for only $80! That is one heck of a deal!

Date: October 24, 2014 Time: 9 AM PST - 2 PM PST Where: Online Who: Click here to see the line up.

Not sure if you have $80 to spend on this? You can enter to win free registration for you and TWO BFFs right now! The contest is open until Monday. Click here for details!  PS You better say you are more excited about Pinterest Strategies!

Photo by Red Poppy Photo

Fall Transition & Pineapples


Last week I went from 110 degrees to 50 degrees. Ryan and I traveled to San Francisco to see Beyonce and have some quality time together. It was one of the best trips we have ever been on...and COLD! 50 degrees with wind...This Phoenician was freezing in her boots. On the bright side, I got to break out my sweaters and boots and pretend it was fall (my favorite season).

On our trip I made sure to meet up with two new friends I met through Alt Summit. They are genius business women! Sarah Deragon (left), photographer of Portraits to the People and Lisa Shaffer (right), designer and owner of Zelma Rose Dry Goods. They are Instagram wizards and spoke at Alt Summit about their Instagram workflow, as well as how to take great photos with an iPhone. We talked a bit of business, broke bread and had a mini photo shoot. Sarah is SUCH a talented photographer! She knows how to capture people so well.


I wore my summer pineapple dress from Lulu*s, and used the mini photo session to show y'all how you can style your sweater over your favorite summer tank dress to transition your style for fall.


#1 Sweater wrap - Wrap your cardigan completely around your dress or top, and then belt it. This creates the ideas of separates.


#2 Slightly open - Put the sweater on, fasten your belt and then move an excess fabric to the back. Make sure you can see your dress peeking through showing that you are in fact wearing a dress and not separates. This approach creates more of a shape for those with larger chests.


#3 Throw it on over - If you don't have time to think about styling your sweater, just throw it on over and you still have a cute fall transitional outfit. Just be careful that you don't lose your shape. Sometimes people can look a bit frumpy with clothes just hanging on them.


I'm also wearing some AMAZING jewelry by 31 Bits. It's from their fall collection which just released today. Go check it out!

Get the look: Dress, sweater, boots, jewelry

Photos by Sarah Deragon, Portraits to the People 

Speaking at Alt Summit - The After


I did it! I spoke at Alt Summit and I didn't throw up. (Yes, that was my first goal.) Was I more nervous than anything I have ever done before? Yes! I was more nervous to speak at Alt than to walk down the aisle at my wedding. Why? Not only did everyone spend big money to glean important information to grow their businesses, but some people flew from across the globe and country to get this information. It HAD to be good and relevant! Plus, there were brands like The Honest Co. sitting in my session, and boy would I feel terrible steering Jessica Alba the wrong way. 14287016240_980c1412c7_z

Thankfully, I had Rachel Faucett of Handmade Charlotte by my side. Together, we divided and conquered the beast of Pinterest Strategies. She added such humor and confidence. Her laid back personality really kept my type-A, intense personality in check. I really felt like we balanced each other out well.


For those that couldn't make the talk and for those that weren't able to attend Alt Summit at all, I wanted to share a top 10 list of things to do for your Pinterest account.



1. Verify your website - This will ensure that people can click through to your site when they are viewing your Pinterest profile

2. Less than 20% of the images on Pinterest have a face. YES! Try to avoid putting faces in the content you pin. When people are dreaming about their lives it's weird to have a face staring back at them.

3. Stay true to your style while pinning. Don't pin anything that you wouldn't buy, wear or make yourself.

4. Stay vertical - vertical images out perform horizontal photos by a long shot. They take up more real estate on Pinterest.

5. When pinning your content try to pin a couple images of similar content at the same time. This will ensure that the viewer will focus on the topic you are sharing rather than hoping you get noticed in the feed of competing images of many different subjects (i.e. decor, recipes, fashion, beauty, etc.)

6. Always check where the image links to. You don't want to give people dead links. I have made this mistake myself and it has cost me followers and given me many a bad comment.

7. Engage with your audience. Follow back or reply to their comments when you see fit.

8. Check out related pins when you find something you love. Often times you will find something else you love as you scroll down. This is always how I find great content.

9. Product images don't perform that well. Try to show products in lifestyle settings.

10. The average user spends almost 15 minutes at a time on Pinterest. If you are going to invest in the social platform aim for 15 minutes a session at least. (I, on the other hand, should probably cut myself off a little more often. It's addicting!!)

If you have more questions about Pinterest or how to create good content for the platform, please shoot me an email. alexandra@avestyles.com Also, follow along on Pinterest to see what I am pinning, http://www.pinterest.com/alexandraevjen/. A BIG thank you to Alt Summit for having me there. I hope to be back again!

Photos by Justin Hackworth