New Domain Name!

UPDATE:  New domain name is up and running (www.sophistiquenoir.com).  Old domain name still works as well (sophistiquenoir.blogspot.com), and I no longer seem to be getting the “redirect” message.  Cool!

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I’ve purchased a domain name and will be updating the blog tomorrow morning (Thursday).  Those of you who are following should automatically see my posts at the new address.  Any outside links to my blog will get a “redirect” message before they are transferred to the new address (which I don’t really like, but Blogger doesn’t give me a choice).

I apologize if the blog goes down at any time while the new settings are being put in place.  Any down time will be resolved quickly.

The new address will be www.sophistiquenoir.com!

Anyone who happens to be linking to me, could you be so kind as to update the address at your convenience so readers don’t have to be annoyed with that dumb redirect message?  🙂

A Little Thank-You

I woke up to a delightful surprise today.  The lovely Hexotica posted a review of her favorite blogs, and she included the nicest write-up of Sophistique Noir.  Be sure to check out her post and all of the great blogs she featured today!  I also highly recommend you follow Hexotica.  Hers is one of my favorite Goth blogs as well, and I’m in love with about a zillion items in her Etsy store!!  🙂

Fashion Friend Friday: Rules of Engagement

Fashion/Beauty Friend Friday was created by ModlyChic.  Visit her blog to participate, or to view other responses to this week’s questions!

This Week’s Topic:  Rules of Engagement
 
A number of bloggers have questioned how to deal with Tweets, e-mails, DMs etc… from people who seem to be only pushing their own blog. For a new blogger the rules of engagement with others in the blogging world is uncharted territory. We learn a lot about how to do it from trial and error.

  1. Guest posts are a good way to gain new exposure. What do you think is the appropriate way to go about securing a guest spot?
    I would say to take some time developing a genuine relationship with the other person who’s blog you’d like to guest on.  Make sure it’s a blog that is as complementary to yours as possible.  Also be sure to offer them a guest spot on your blog, as well.
  2.  Leaving comments is essential to growing your blog. But how can you leave a comment without coming across as ‘Follow Me. Follow Me!’?
    Make every comment sincere!!!  Never comment JUST as an excuse to link to your blog, or it will show.  Also, try to be subtle: include your blog link, but don’t ask people to “be sure and check out my blog…” unless you are SURE that it’s appropriate.

  3. We’ve all gotten a mass email at one time or another asking for blog exposure, a link exchange, etc… But the mass emails don’t work. How do you make your email stand out from the crowd?
    I haven’t really encountered this yet, since I’m still pretty new in the blog world.  I do get some mass e-mails on IFB but I think that’s an appropriate venue for that, so it doesn’t bother me and I often do check out their blogs and follow the ones I like.  When I contact people on IFB, I try to make it somewhat personal rather than just a mass e-mail.  I make sure to address them by name, visit their blog and comment if appropriate, etc rather than just expecting a one-sided following on their part.

  4. In interacting with other bloggers where do you draw the line between seeking support and begging for exposure?
    I haven’t done much seeking of support even, except in terms of joining in blogging communities such as IFB and themed events like FBFF, etc.  Definitely haven’t begged for exposure.  That’s not really what I’m here for.  If the right opportunity comes along and it’s mutually beneficial, then it might be fun.

  5. What’s one rule of engagement error you made and how have you remedied that?
    I think I’ve been very tactful in communicating with other bloggers.  If I have erred along the way (or do in the future), I fervently hope someone will speak up and help me improve my methods!  🙂

Food Trip Friday: Anniversary Cake

Ok, so I am going to go a little off-topic on Fridays and do a quick food post. Because everyone loves food, and I wanted to participate in Food Trip Fridays with my fellow bloggers.

5-Year Anniversary Lemon Amaretto Mini 3-Tier Cake

I found this super-cute miniature 3-tier cake pan set on Amazon a while back.  I was saving it for a special occasion…  Then I forgot all about it.  🙂  I finally remembered on our anniversary, so I surprised my husband with this adorable little cake.

The hearts are made from a cookie cutter and an hors devours cutter.  I used the extra batter to make a tiny, thin sheet cake in a little toaster oven pan, then cut them out and dipped them in the glaze.

Such a fun project!!

Food Trip Friday is brought to you by:

Fashion Friend Friday: Feminism

Fashion/Beauty Friend Friday was created by ModlyChic.  Visit her blog to participate, or to view other responses to this week’s questions!

This Week’s Topic:  Feminism

Do you think there is an incompatibility between feminism and a love for fashion? 

No way!  Feminism gives us the freedom to be whatever we want to be and express ourselves in our own way.  It doesn’t mean we can’t be feminine.  It means we have the same rights, freedoms and independence as men have.  It means our work deserves the same pay as a man doing the same job at the same skill level.  It means we don’t have to choose to stay home and pop out babies our whole life long.

Actually, I would say that feminism gives us more freedom to love fashion by breaking down old stereotypes about women.  Combining fashion and feminism helps us to show the world that they can’t judge us by our appearance, that hot girls aren’t necessarily dumb, and that a girly girl isn’t necessarily a useless ornament.  If feminism meant that we all had to look and act more like men, it would be the same as saying that we have to be more like men in order to have the same value as men.

There is more to each of us than a love for fashion, how do you incorporate every aspect of yourself into your blog?

My blog is still a baby, but I try to address social issues I have encountered throughout my life and how those influence my wardrobe choices on a daily basis.  Naturally, since how I dress at work is part of my blog, my career choices and success as a graphic designer and Web developer will come up from time to time.  My family values will also come into play as I discuss the support I get from my parents and the ways in which my husband encourages me in everything I love.  Things I like to do will be discussed as I present outfits I wear to various events.  You’ll see my craftiness in outfits that need alterations or added flair.  My passion for photography will be evidenced by my outfit photos.  And I will probably randomly talk about chocolate and kittens a lot.  Can’t help it.

With the fashion industry still being a male-dominated profession, how do you think it would differ if women played a larger role? 

I don’t think it would differ much.  It’s the women wearing the clothes who drive the market.  Initially I wanted to say that perhaps there would be less emphasis on sex appeal or something, but I really don’t think so.  I think many women embrace the confidence (and sometimes power: yes, I said it) that comes with being attractive to the opposite sex and women who exploit that do so because they choose to, not because the male-dominated industry somehow forces them to.


How is your self-image and the way you carry yourself formed by your beliefs? 

I hold myself up to a higher standard because I believe that how you present yourself to the world around you shows respect for yourself and respect for others.  I see many people doing their grocery shopping in stained sweats, pajama pants, thrashed gym shoes, etc.  There was a time when things like that were for home only.  I feel there’s something to be said for putting together a classy presentation when you go out and make yourself part of society.  “I don’t care what anyone else thinks” is a brave mantra to a point, but it is disrespectful when it reaches the point of total sloth.

Do you think clothing/makeup/hair help communicate the truth about yourself or are those things superfluous add-ons? 

A little of both.  🙂 Definitely, my look expresses volumes about my personality!!  At the same time, how important is that, really, to anyone outside of myself and my most-loved ones?  Not very.  But if it matters to me, it’s not superfluous.  And if my husband happens to find it attractive (which he does) then that is a HUGE  plus in my book.  I guess this ties in with my answer to the previous question, because how I present myself to my husband shows that I respect him, care about his opinion and have a desire to remain attractive to him throughout our years together.  Would he love me any less with no makeup and grungy clothes?  Of course not.  But does he appreciate the effort I go to?  Most definitely!  Perhaps that makes me not a very good feminist, but it makes me happy.

    Fashion Friend Friday – In the Beginning…

    Fashion/Beauty Friend Friday was created by ModlyChic.  Visit her blog to participate, or to view other responses to this week’s questions!

    This Week’s Topic:  In the Beginning…

    So far, what have been the 5 hardest blogging lessons you’ve learned during this process and have helped make you a better blogger as a result?

    I’m still fairly new to blogging, so I can’t say I’ve learned five lessons yet!  I’m sure I will make plenty of mistakes and learn hard lessons over time…  🙂  Here are a few things I have learned, so far.

    Don’t Market Without Content
    I was so excited to start my blog that I started marketing it when I really didn’t have much content to share.  I think this might have cost me some followers early on.  I guess it makes sense that not everyone could envision where this was going to go, just based on the concept of Gothic Fashion for the Mature.  I’ve had better results since I got a few good posts under my belt.

    Save Your Posts Elsewhere
    After about an hour of work on one particular post, I hit CTRL+Z to undo a change I didn’t like and it suddenly cleared the whole post.  Everything disappeared, and of course the post auto-saved immediately so there was no way to retrieve the previously-saved version.  I Googled in hopes of finding a Revision History or something, but there is no such thing.

    From now on, I will type my posts in Word and save them on my computer.  Then I can paste them into Blogger when I am ready to schedule the post.  At worst, I might lose a few last-minute tweaks, but the bulk of my work will be safely stored (at least until my hard drive crashes).

    Oddly enough, we have created some HTML-based editing systems at my work and I have always advised my users to originate their stuff in Word and then just paste it in.  I guess I have learned to take my own advice!!

    Toss the iPad
    iPads are okay for video games and very basic Web browsing, but pretty much useless for doing business online.  The browser runs super-slow, has a plethora of functionality limitations and is extremely quirky!  Not to mention I would need to shell out $100 for a decent bluetooth keyboard.  I nearly went insane trying to make the thing work for blogging.

    I only have an iPad because the boss bought it for me “to evaluate potential business use.”  For me, there is no business use.  And I don’t play video games, so mine is just a very pricey paperweight.  lol!

    Fashion Friend Friday – Finding the Balance

    Fashion/Beauty Friend Friday was created by ModlyChic.  Visit her blog to participate, or to view other responses to this week’s questions!

    This Week’s Topic:  Finding the Balance

    I think this is one of the hardest things for us as bloggers to deal with. How do you do it all and still live, work and play as you should?

    When it comes to prioritizing your life, in what place does blogging fall? 

    My order of priority is Marriage, Family, Cats, Job, House, and then Blogging.  🙂  So definitely after all of the really important stuff.  I’m still not sure where this whole thing will go, so it’s mostly just for fun right now.

    We all wish we had more free time to dedicate to blogging and all it entails. What are your tricks for taking advantage of the time you do have to be as productive as possible? 

    Mainly, I utilize my lunch hour at work.  I work a 4/10 schedule, which means 10-hour days Monday through Thursday.  Add in my one-hour unpaid lunch, and I’m stuck away from home for 11 hours those days!  The only free time I have during the week is lunch, and I prefer to eat in my office rather than spend money on restaurant  food, so this is a perfect time for me to do my blogging.  I also use the time to do whatever marketing I can think of to spread the word about my blog.

    Using my lunch hour also allows me to keep my Fridays free for catching up on chores and errands, and most of my weekend time free to dedicate to my husband and family; the number one priorities!!

    Have you discovered any short-cuts that make blogging easier or more time efficient? 

    Not yet, but I think right now the needs of my blog are pretty manageable.  I am very interested to read how other Friday Friends will answer this question, so I can learn from them.

    Do you have an editorial calendar or something similar that helps you plan ahead? 

    I just post when I am inspired.  I try to post about three times per week: one work outfit, one weekend outfit, and one general interest article (such as Fashion Friend Friday).   I plan to just go with the flow; if I’m not particularly excited about anything I wore to work during a given week, I won’t post any work outfits that week.  I don’t want to set up schedules and expectations for myself that will take the fun out of it.

    If time wasn’t an issue what you would be doing on your blog/for your blog that you aren’t doing now?

    Daily outfit posts, and maybe more general interest articles on Goth lifestyle.  Also more networking with owners of complimentary blogs, in hopes of more interaction and maybe some cross-posting.  Perhaps someday!  🙂

    Fashion Friend Friday – Beauty Products

    Fashion/Beauty Friend Friday was created by ModlyChic.  Visit her blog to participate, or to view other responses to this week’s questions!

    This Week’s Topic:  Beauty products 

    What’s your favorite drug store makeup product and your favorite higher-end product?

    My favorite drug store makeup product is, by far, L’Oreal HiP (High Intensity Pigment) Lip Gloss (color: Tainted).   Living in the desert, I find that lipstick dries out too quickly on my lips and constantly needs refreshing.  L’Oreal’s HiP line has tons more color than typical gloss, but is far more hydrating than lipstick.  Best of all, somehow they managed to find a way to keep it from bleeding into the fine lines.

    My favorite high-end product is Ben Nye’s Luxe Eye Shadow line.  Ben Nye is more of a makeup artist/theatre brand, so sadly it isn’t available in most stores.  The Luxe line has just enough shimmer without full-on sparkle, and the colors are intense!  They can be played down for day or built up as bold as you want them to be, making them extremely versatile.

    Is there one type of product that is your go-to, can’t live without? 

    My Bare Minerals powder foundation.  Amazing stuff.  It feels like I’m not wearing any foundation at all, but does a fabulous job of smoothing out skin tone and small flaws.  And for some reason they actually carry a shade that is pale enough for my fair skin.  🙂  Although occasionally I do add a bit of zinc oxide powder to make it a hint paler, while adding additional UV protection.

    What’s the best hair product you’ve ever used? 

    BioSilk Hair Treatment.  It really does make my hair feel like silk, and drastically reduces tangles.

    Fess up, what’s the worst beauty look you’ve tried to rock and look back at now with a little shame or apprehension that you actually did that? 

    This is a tough one.  Not because I think every look I’ve ever tried has been a winner, but because every look was a part of my evolution.  I try not to feel shame for anything as long as I was trying to look my best.  I guess the closest for me would be back when I was a teen and was trying to “fit in” with the popular, trendy girls.  I wanted so badly to hide the fact that I was creative and original and just plain different, because teenagers make fun of those qualities in their peers.  This led to teased hair, acid-washed jeans, and other 80s fads that were popular at the time; things I attempted because it was expected, but never really felt good about.

    When it comes to beauty products, we all use the same basic products. What do you use that helps show off your personal flare and personality? 

    Probably the Ben Nye products mentioned above.  Because being into the Goth look inevitably brings out a little bit of the theatrical in us.  🙂  Also, I am a huge fan of the single, thick liquid eyeliner line on the top lashes.  Nothing on the bottom.  This is a departure from the typical “black all the way around” eye look, while still being “dark” overall.  And it gives me just a tiny hint of the 1940s glamor that I so admire.