So this is it. Last birthday of my 30s. My favorite decade yet. One full of self growth, figuring out who I am and defining my role as a mother. I plan to make this last year of my 30s amazing. I remember turning 30 and thinking wow this is significant and I’m going to look at turning 40 the same way. BUT we aren’t there quite yet so cheers to celebrating 39 and leaving a special mark on this past decade.
Last year was my first birthday celebrated on HOLB and I wrote 38 things about me for my birthday blog post. So if you are new around here you can check that blog post out here. This year I thought it would be fun to do a birthday FAQ and answer some of the questions you may have for me. I rounded up all your questions from my IG stories and the question form I had on the blog. Lots of different types of questions I’m excited to answer. So here we go with my birthday FAQ.
Hi ! Looking for a daily face mask like Rodan & Fields to keep the wrinkles away! Suggestions please!!
I’ve tried quite a few face masks this year but my favorite one is by Tula. I have really sensitive skin but Tula’s Exfoliating Mask is very gentle yet effective at stripping the impurities off your skin and leaving you with a firmer skin tone. You can read all about the other Tula products I use in this blog post here and here. And you can also save 20% off your Tula purchases with code HOUSEOFLEO. I also am just starting a collaboration with Exuviance skincare for their newest Performance Peel. It’s a 6 week system and I’ll be starting next week so stay tuned for my results.
How long have you been blogging?
I launched my blog on 5/15/2017 so just shy of 2 years. You can read all about why I started blogging in this post. Beware though the photos in that post are super amateur. I transitioned into full time blogging this past September and this blog post talks all about my tips for being a full time blogger.
Favorite hair care products?
These next 2 questions kinda go together. I’m such a beauty junkie and am always trying out new products. But ranking as my top favs for shampoo and conditioner are these products by Kevin Murphy. Everything in his line is amazing. For styling I live and die for Oribe Texturizing Spray and Kevin Murphy Bedroom Hair. And I curl my hair with this wand by T3 Micro. If you go to the highlights on my IG page you can see my hair curling tutorial and I go into how I curl my hair and the products I use. I spend quite a bit of money getting my hair done so I’m a firm believer in using more luxury products to maintain my cut and color but for more budget friendly hair products I do love It’s a 10 and Moroccan Oil products also.
Would love to know how you do your hair! It always looks so good! Need some hair inspo!
Thank you so so much! So I think I answered a few questions above regarding what products I use and definitely check out my hair curling tutorial saved to my IG highlights. For color I guess you can say I have some sort of bayalage. My hairdresser is amazing at color. If you are in NJ and need a recommendation let me know. As for styling, I only wash 2 times a week which can be tricky because I workout a ton. After I workout I will dry my hair and use dry shampoo to get the oil out. Then I will curl my hair with the same T3 curling wand I mentioned above. I can usually get 3 days out of my curls. I’m honestly not great with hair. I can curl and I can straighten haha! Still trying to perfect how to do a topknot bun and the messy bun look!
What’s the best advice you’d give your 20 year old self?
Geez this is a tough one. I could probably spend a week sitting with 20 year old Tammy and telling her what she should do and shouldn’t do. But figuring that out, learning from your mistakes, taking risks — that’s all part of your journey. I honestly would say find something you love and explore it. I had a very lucrative career selling insurance for 15 years till I gave it up to blog full time. I never loved what I was doing. I don’t ever regret that career but I regret waiting so long to find something I was passionate about and incorporating it into my life. Find a hobby, an outlet, something that lights you up and make it a part of your life. Even if it’s just on the weekends find something that gives you a personal release and self fulfillment.
What are your best blogging and insta tips. You became so popular so fast. It’s amazing!
Well first off thank you so much for that! In a sea of influencers and a business filled with competition I certainly don’t feel “popular” but I am beyond grateful for my following and for the growth I’ve achieved. I summed up a lot of tips about blogging in this post but my best tips are probably ones you’ve heard before. CONSISTENCY. I can’t stress it enough. You’ve got to be consistent with your content, your schedule, and your engagement. It is hard to stay consistent especially early on because you don’t see the return on the time you are putting in, but you gotta stay the path, continue putting out good content and eventually you’ll start to see the shift.
It may seem like I got to where I am quickly but it’s been almost 2 years and the first year I spent learning how to take better photos, how to make a better blog and developing my brand. It wasn’t until after I was blogging a year that I started to get paid brand work and really develop a loyal following.
Treat your blog and Instagram like a job. Study what the bigger bloggers are doing. Show up everyday like any other job. Analyze and study your analytics. From there you can learn what kind of content does best for you and really develop who you are as a blogger.
Lastly, commit to a schedule you can stick to. My first year I put out 2 blog posts a week on the same days every week. I posted on IG 7 days a week. Year 2 I started to put out 3 blogs a week and posted on IG 6 days a week. Whatever it is you can handle just come up with a schedule and stick to it and don’t stray from it. That will teach you consistency and help your followers know what to expect from you. Find a system that works for you and work it, girl! AND don’t forget why you started blogging. Love it! It’s a labor of love!
Do you like sports? If so, what is your favorite sport?
I don’t play sports now. I just do cardio and weight training 5-6 days a week. You can read all about my fitness routine in this post here and here. When I was younger though I was the biggest jock! I was a competitive gymnast until I was 12. Brings me so much enjoyment watching Summer in her 3rd year of gymnastics. I also played softball for years. Then in high school I played field hockey and ran track. Favorite sport to watch is baseball. Go Yankees! And I do watch the occassional UFC fight with Erik!
Do you ever think about having another child? Is that too personal? If so, I’m sorry.
It’s not personal at all. No worries! I wrote a blog post all about my road to motherhood in this post. But to sum it up I kinda always knew I either didn’t want kids or just wanted 1. I knew I would regret not having 1 and just as all parents would say — having Summer was the best decision we’ve ever made.
There was a time last year that I wondered if we should have another child but to be honest we have always been happy with just 1. Erik works nights and at the time I was working full time outside the home and getting Summer to daycare from 5 months old while being alone with her at night was just plain hard. Those were some of the happiest years of my life but also some of the hardest. Ironic that now I am home blogging full time and could probably have another and handle it much easier but honestly Summer is such a light and truly fulfills us so much that we are content staying a small family. I love seeing the dynamic relationship between siblings but this just works for us.
Summer is also such a social child which can be hard for only children but she has a huge personality, tons of friends, and we are committed to keeping her very involved in activities so she doesn’t get that lonely feeling. Luckily she and I have this very deep, special bond that goes way beyond her years and we honestly feel she is doing perfectly fine as an only child.
Will we regret we didn’t have more kids one day? I surely hope not but I also know that we are so very happy with the little family we created.
Where’s your favorite place to get your nails done in the Red Bank area?
I go monthly to Aree Nails in Holmdel for my pedicures. They give the BEST pedicure! I’m talking a good 45 minutes with the best foot/leg massage. My finger nails are a different story. I HATE getting manicures. I just had this on my Instagram yesterday. But I hate that they chip and I’m too impatient waiting for them to dry. I started using Dazzle Dry nail system. Non-toxic, dries in 5 minutes and doesn’t chip for 7-14 days. I’m honestly such a fan of their nail system. If you use code TAMMY4DD you can get free shipping on your first purchase. HUGE FAN!
What makeup brands do you like?
OMG so many. Totally beauty product obsessed. I’ll be doing a beauty haul series on the blog soon where I feature my favorites in beauty for the month. But favorites for foundation are Estee Lauder Double Wear and Nars Radiant Longwear. Eyeshadows I love palettes by Lorac. And concealer I love this one by Tarte. Lipsticks? Too many to name but one of my favs for years is Kinda Sexy by MAC and budget friendly option is Whipped Caviar by NYX.
What’s your favorite food?
First off I have the biggest sweet tooth. Favorite dessert is carrot cake and every night I eat 1/2 pint of either Halo or Enlightened ice cream! For dinners I love sushi, pasta anything and I LOVE seafood. Lobster tails are my request for my birthday dinner every year.
What do you love most about blogging? And what drives you nuts about it?
Great question! I love so much about it. I love that I can share the things I love and inspire others. Whether it’s a great sweater or a new beauty fave I love to help my followers discover things that will make them feel great. I love creating content for brands. I love to tell a brands story and introduce the brands I believe in to my followers. I love the connections I’ve made with not only my followers but with other influencers. I have made some amazing, true and special friends who share the same love of blogging as me. Lastly, I love that I get to wake up everyday and say that I truly love what I get to do everyday.
But that also brings me to what drives me nuts about blogging. For me it’s a full time job, a business. So while others look at me and say wow look at all the free stuff you get they don’t get that it’s not free. With those “free” items comes work and LOTS OF WORK. I have deadlines, contracts and expectations from brands to create great content for them. So yes. I get great clothes and such but it’s a job like any other job with demands and obligations.
It’s also really, really, really hard to shut off. This is a job that doesn’t give you vacation days. You are always working. Sure I can take days off but it’s a tough business to truly shut off from.
The last thing that drives me nuts are watching other influencers want success over night. Those of us who put the time in, the hard work, the sacrifice to build our brands over time — it can be very frustrating to watch girls who started yesterday and fake their following and knowledge. I’ve seen it all too much. Enjoy the journey of building an authentic following and creating your brand. That can not come over night. I will forever route my blogger girlfriends on — the ones who put content out when no one was listening, the ones who sacrificed weekends with family to shoot pictures, the ones who stayed up past midnight to engage with their followers.
Blogging can be a love/hate relationship but it brings me so much joy not only to celebrate my own success but that of my peers as well. It’s not easy to be an influencer. Cheers to my girl squad for each day we are moving mountains!
PHEW! And that’s my birthday FAQ. I thank you for reading and hope you maybe learned a little something about me that you didn’t already know. Goodbye to 38 and hello to 39. I’m ready for ya. I have 365 days ahead to round out this amazing decade of my life!
And of course gotta finish this post out with a quick chat about this outfit. If you saw my SheIn haul blog post the other day then you got a glimpse of this jacket. Ladies. Hands down the BEST $38 coat you’ll ever get. The quality is utterly amazing for this price. It’s not the heaviest coat but makes a great fall coat and perfect for completing a winter date night look. I’m wearing a medium and it fits me perfectly. Use code “tammy1” to save 20% on your SheIn purchases. Trust me when I tell you — this is a good one!