Features

State of the Blog: A July Update

Hello, Ladies:

I’m using this last day of July to clean a few things off of my to-do list and lighten my mental load.   As I learned on the Happier in Hollywood podcast, “Nothing takes longer to complete than the task you haven’t started,” and it’s so true.

August is going to be a time of transition for me and for the blog.

Tomorrow marks one month until our wedding, which seems impossible.  It’s like I blinked and the day was upon us.

This blog will be getting a new logo design soon to spruce up the Capitol Hill Style rebirth.  I finally found some software which will allow me to make collages and Two Ways posts again without having to navigate the pain (or price) of Photoshop.  But I’m still looking for a photographer whose rates fit into my budget so I can add some original photography to the mix.

Additionally, the Thirtyish newsletter will be launching this month.  I’ll have the sign up page launching next week.  We’ve built such a lovely community on Facebook providing career advice, fashion tips and travel recommendations, that it’s time to expand. I know several of you lobbied to keep The Edition on the blog, once the newsletter starts.  So that post will remain, but will only publish on Tuesdays, as opposed to twice per week.

So that’s the July Update for this site.   The links below are the top 10 products that sold on the blog this month.  So if you missed one, snap it up before it sells out.

Nadri Rae Small Stud Earrings • Nadri • $40
Tahari Pleat Detail Sheath Dress • Tahari • $84.90
The North Face Miss Metro II Water Repellent Hooded Parka • The North Face • $239.90
Halogen® Chambray Shirt Jacket • Halogen • $109
Wit & Wisdom Ab-solution Itty Bitty Bootcut Jeans • Wit & Wisdom • $44.90
Halogen® Knot Front Ponte Knit Top • Halogen • $38.90
Dolce Vita Women’s Cait Slide Sandal • $32.54
ELOQUII Surplice Midi Wrap Dress • ELOQUII • $89.95
Nordstrom Lingerie Moonlight Pajamas • Nordstrom • $42.90
Halogen® Wrap Dress • Halogen • $89

See you in August! (Boy, it sounds crazy to say that out loud.) xo, Abra

Leave a Reply to Alicia · cancel comment

    35 comments

  1. Jessica says:

    Are you still doing the reader survey? I was really excited about that!

    July 31, 2019/Reply
  2. Jessica says:

    It’s not $300 for an hour and a half of someone’s time. It’s $300 for 90 minutes of shooting by a skilled photographer who has talent and years of experience in their field, as well as professional equipment; a few hours at least of editing the photos; then transferring several photos to you along with, presumably, the copyright for the work. I’m not a photographer but I hire them for my job, and I appreciate that they can do a great job at something I can’t, and you get what you pay for. In addition, if they’re a freelancer, they’re in charge of paying their own taxes and paying for their own health insurance, etc. If it were as easy as putting in an hour and a half of time, then you could just do it yourself with your phone.

    July 31, 2019/Reply
    • Belle says:

      When you hire an attorney, you’re buying 19 years of education, hundreds of hours of on the job training, dozens of hours of continuing legal education, and access to a variety of research tools that you don’t have. Sole proprietors are paying for office space, employees, malpractice insurance, research subscriptions, etc.. And many don’t charge $300 for 90 minutes of their time. All professionals come with backgrounds that warrant certain prices, but I’m stunned to get the same price from seasoned photographers, as I do from people who just started.

      The 90-minutes is inclusive of 30-minutes of shooting, 60-minutes of editing, and a limited release on the photos (not even full ownership). That may be worth $300 to you, but it isn’t to me. When the photos produced might (and I mean, might) yield $50-$100 in revenue.

      July 31, 2019/Reply
      • C says:

        19 years of higher education to be a lawyer? Did I somehow miss out on 12 years I was supposed to do? All jokes aside…I’m with Jessica on this one. Why bother hiring someone and going through this trouble if it’s only going to maybe yield $50 in the end? Even a photography student would probably charge more than that. For what it’s worth, as a reader, I have zero interest in professional original photos unless it’s what you wore in real life that day (which can probably be accomplished on your own with an iphone, photo app that I get a million instagram ads for a day, and/or a willing fiance/husband!).

        July 31, 2019/Reply
        • Jessica C says:

          I’m a different Jessica (but the same one that commented asking about the reader survey) and I also don’t care about professional/original photos. I’d love to see more photos of you and outfits you put together, doesn’t have to be shot by a professional.

          July 31, 2019/Reply
          • pompom says:

            Professional photos aren’t up my alley either, I guess! Don’t bother. Or, if physically possible (as in, this works for your photos you have planned) can you shoot them and edit (learning curve, of course)? It would be a cool and interesting skill, maybe?

            July 31, 2019/Reply
      • JJ says:

        I agree with the above comments, and $300 seems on the low end actually. I know people that run their own photography business and it’s not just the time they spend at the wedding, it’s also editing afterwards + the talent you’re hiring + you’re paying for essentially the license to use their work. It’s disheartening to see people undervalue something that requires skill/a keen eye/an actual art like wedding photography just because they think it’s easy or anyone with an iphone can do it. I’m sure you could find someone cheaper but, if you only want to spend 50-100…well you’re definitely going to get what you pay for.

        July 31, 2019/Reply
        • Belle says:

          These weren’t for wedding photos, just for a couple of product shots inside my home.

          July 31, 2019/Reply
      • Freida says:

        If you didn’t like the photographer’s fee, then don’t hire them. Simple solution! No need for the whining or elitist comments.

        July 31, 2019/Reply
        • Pam says:

          All I saw her say was she was looking for something in her budget..that’s sensible and reasonable. No need for everyone to pile on the insults

          August 1, 2019/Reply
          • Alicia says:

            When this was first published, there were some snide-ish comments naming the actual rate she had an issue with, which have since been edited out. It’s her blog, and she should edit when she wants to! But, that’s why people are taking issue. Also, haha, I don’t know what you’re reading, but the people disagreeing with the original posts aren’t the ones piling anything on 🙂

            August 2, 2019/Reply
            • Belle says:

              I didn’t mind the criticism of my comment in the post. I took it out, because I didn’t want anyone else to be offended, because the comment was wrong. But the hateful comment in response, which had nothing to do with the original, and the handful this spring in the same vein, are what prompted this response. There just comes a point where it’s not criticism; it’s cruelty as entertainment.

              August 2, 2019/Reply
          • Belle says:

            There was another comment, a reader correctly pointed out that it was insulting, even if it wasn’t intended to be. So I edited it out as to avoid alienating anyone else through carelessness.

            August 2, 2019/Reply
  3. Hannah says:

    I love seeing what the most popular products were!

    July 31, 2019/Reply
    • Melissa says:

      Same. It feels more honest. Like, Here are the things Belle/ Abra shared and of those things, here is what you all enjoyed the most. Maybe it could be like a monthly feature.

      August 1, 2019/Reply
  4. Jennifer Baustian says:

    I would love to know what software you settled on! I camp out in Adobe so much for my business, that I’d rather not live in Photoshop for my “hobby projects” if I can avoid it!

    July 31, 2019/Reply
  5. Erin says:

    Oof, I’m married to a documentary filmmaker, and the comparison of photography rates to an attorney’s rates really rubbed me the wrong way Belle. I get that still photography is different, and that you may not see it as valuable, but the comment seemed elitist. My husband is also well-educated and has years of on-the-job training; he also has to buy a new camera every couple of years ( at upwards of 25k) just to be able to get work. He has student loans, insurance that covers his equipment, editors and composers, and his own taxes and health insurance to pay. If photography isn’t for you, great- that’s fine. Don’t buy the service. But attorneys aren’t the only folks who have worked long and hard to master a craft that is valuable to society.

    July 31, 2019/Reply
    • Sara g. says:

      Erin, don’t you know by now that Abra only thinks highly of herself and her choices? She is elitist, and she has no reason to be. She’s got no job and she won’t admit that it’s because she went to a very poorly ranked law school; has the writing skills of a 10th grader who struggles to spell; and is abrasive when responding to her readers who are her only steady source of income. She announces that she’s getting married only because of some “mean” comments on IG… Did he even propose at that point or did she just make it up? She’d be posting frequently before about how they were happy not being married and just being “partners,” probably because she was getting older and he wasn’t committing. All she’s got to hold on to in order to be above other people is her “19 years of higher education” (by which she probably meant education, unless she took 19 years of classes after high school… which is doubtful based on her frequent grammar errors and inability to properly communicate).

      July 31, 2019/Reply
      • Belle says:

        It’s always so nice to come in here and see that the ugliness of the Internet is still alive and well.

        1) This blog is not my primary source of income. Was for a while last year, isn’t anymore, hopefully, won’t be again.
        2) I don’t have a full-time job as a lawyer, but it’s not because I went to Gonzaga (which is very well respected in the part of the country I live in, and most of the lawyers here went there). It’s because I’m not looking for a job as a lawyer.
        3) I went to Gonzaga because I could afford it, scholarships are an amazing thing, and I didn’t want to take on more student loans.
        4) No, my grammar is not excellent. But it’s amazing that somehow I am the elitist, and you are the one criticizing my comma usage as if it is a deep sin to not have paid enough attention in 10th grade English, while simultaneously using the phrase “she’s got no.”
        5) And lastly, yes, Kyle and I had already told our families, picked a venue, and hired vendors by the time the unfortunate reveal happened. Not everything in my life is discussed on this blog and chronicled for others. Mostly because just when I think that this blog is a safe place for me and my readers, I get a comment like this and remember that there are hypocritical trolls everywhere, so if you really want to enjoy the things that are important to you, you might think twice before posting them to the Internet.

        July 31, 2019/Reply
        • LP says:

          Whoa, that was cruel. Did that make you feel good?

          August 1, 2019/Reply
      • Pompom says:

        Um, wowzas, Sara G.

        Just, that’s…a lot.

        July 31, 2019/Reply
      • Anna says:

        Wow, if you have such disdain for Belle, why are you reading her blog? I think your energies might be more productively used elsewhere.

        July 31, 2019/Reply
      • Pam says:

        Wow Sara, why are you here? Don’t clutter this blog with your meanness

        August 1, 2019/Reply
      • TheLOOP says:

        You regurgitate this same nonsense now and then – even when it’s completely irrelevant to the blog post. Aren’t you tired of your own whining? We are. Please go away.

        August 2, 2019/Reply
      • R says:

        Wow Sara G. Don’t you have better things to do than spend your time to insult someone? Your post says so much more about you than Abra, and let me tell you – it’s not pretty.

        August 3, 2019/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I apologize, I didn’t mean it as a comparison. I was rubbed a bit wrong by the commenters assumption that I didn’t understand what I was paying for, and responded without thinking it through.

      Photography is a skill, especially the editing, and good photography is truly an artform. My response was in-artfully trying to convey that when you pay any professional, you pay for a breadth of experience and knowledge, it isn’t just limited to one profession. I wasn’t in my initial post or in the follow-up trying to say that there are not photographers who are worth that price. I’ve worked with several who are more than worth it, if that were in my budget. I’ve even gone so far as to reach out to students, new photographers, etc., and every time it’s the same $300 for a single shoot price. This is probably because I live in a city without a large pool of people in the profession, but I’ve just been a little surprised that the pricing system isn’t tiered based on experience.

      July 31, 2019/Reply
      • Anna says:

        Not sure why my comment was deleted (it was critical but I hope not mean!), though commenters above more thoroughly explained the costs and time that go into a shoot. If $300 is the going rate in your area, then that might just be a case of supply and demand, and that’s the price the market will bear. If photographers weren’t getting business at that rate, then they would drop their prices. I think what you’re asking for is also fairly unique, so that may limit the pool of available photographers even more. That said, $300 doesn’t sound ridiculous (I’ve never seen people include amount of time editing in their rate, since it’s impossible to know how much the images will need beforehand, but ok). It may just not make financial sense for you, and that’s totally fine.

        July 31, 2019/Reply
        • Belle says:

          I think it’s what the “market will bear.” I’ve tried to say, “Hey, I need 20 minutes of shooting, very basic editing, and I need it four times a month, let’s work something out.” I had a good deal with a photographer a couple of years ago, where I got an hour of her time and some basic edits for $150, and it was a great compromise. But she’s gotten very successful, because she’s crazy talented, and isn’t available anymore. I actually had one woman lined up, and then she saw I had blue check on Insta and told me she wouldn’t include the rights to the photos and that I couldn’t have affiliate links or sponsors with her photos unless she got 25-percent of total revenue. And I guess it just soured me to have someone presume there was a lot of money in something that there isn’t as much as people think, it’s not like I’m Emily Schuman.

          July 31, 2019/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Also, I wanted to sincerely apologize to you, and anyone else who works in a creative field, if I gave the impression that I don’t think those skills have value. I am genuinely sorry that my comment came off that way.

      July 31, 2019/Reply
      • Erin says:

        Thanks, Abra, I appreciate it. I called it out because I’ve been reading your blog for years and think you’re better than that! I’m in biotech, and it just makes me crazy to see how my industry pays versus how hard my husband works for peanuts. But I’m glad he does- he’s shed some light on the genocide Native folks have been subjected to over hundreds of years, and I’m really proud of that.

        I’m so sorry my comment prompted Sara’s disgusting outburst, I’m not going to feed the troll, but please know that your blog is one of the bright spots in my day- keep doing what you’re doing!

        July 31, 2019/Reply
        • Belle says:

          Your comment was totally fair. My comment came off a way it wasn’t meant, and I didn’t want anyone else to be insulted by it. I appreciate you saying something.

          July 31, 2019/Reply
  6. BN says:

    LOVE that you posted the top 10 products that sold on the site – can you make this a recurring post? Maybe once a week or month? Or maybe a rotating feature so that each week is a different category (e.g.; “in the past month, these are the top 10 beauty products that sold,” then the next week, “in the past month, these are the top 10 pieces of jewelry that sold,” etc.) so that each week there is a top 10 list but it’s comprised of a month’s worth of data? Thank you!

    July 31, 2019/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I think I will. I wanted to put them in a photo widget so people could see them without having to click, but the widget wouldn’t load, so I need to figure that out before next month.

      July 31, 2019/Reply
  7. Margaret says:

    Abra, F*** those trolls.

    Anyway, I wanted to put a bug in your ear about the idea of trading services for services. Many entrepreneurial friends of mine in the fitness/beauty/healing industries who relay on Instagram and the online world to advance their businesses frequently do this. E.G. I’ll give you private yoga sessions in exchange for lash extension fills or I’ll help you set up your website in exchange for a photo shoot). Often these arrangements come with mutual promotion on each others Instagram stories.

    I bet there are some other self-employed folks or those with a side hustle in your area with photography skills who would gladly work with you in exchange for help with setting up their own blogs/businesses. It’s the millennial way 🙂

    August 1, 2019/Reply
    • Belle says:

      THAT is a great idea. Someone must need LLC paperwork or some trademark work. I will look into that. Thank you.

      August 1, 2019/Reply