How To Travel In Style

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Traveling can be hectic, that doesn’t mean your outfit needs to be. We understand the struggles of waking up early, rushing to the airport with your luggage, and waiting hours for your flight to take off. We went through this process way too often on our trip throughout Europe. However, with the right style essentials, traveling isn’t all that bad.

Don’t worry, ladies, we’re here to help! Here are ten of our must-have items when traveling:

  1. Have cute luggage

    • Away Luggage is both durable and rollable, making constant travel easy. Our black and savvy blue luggage was THE perfect accessory for every travel destination.

  2. Sneakers

    • You can’t go wrong with a nice pair of white kicks, they go with EVERYTHING! Plus, not only will you be stylish, you’ll be comfortable. I lived in my white Reeboks.

  3. Basic items that can be worn in different ways

    • Having versatile clothing is great for packing light, especially when you know you’ll be traveling for multiple days. This can be anything from your favorite pair of leggings to a simple white t-shirt. My favorite was a simple black bodycon dress. I dressed it down with sneakers on the ferry and dressed it up with heels for dinner after.

  4. Stylish sleep essentials

    • Airports, trains and buses can all be very loud and bright so make sure you have some earplugs and a great sleep mask. We love our Sunday Forever super fluffy cotton sleep mask.

  5. Always carry a portable charger

    • You never know if there’s going to be an outlet nearby, it’s always better to be prepared. Urban Outfitters has stylish AND affordable chargers. Plus, these make great additions to any flat lay pictures you may take.

  6. Mini Deodorant on Deck

    • Traveling can be very physical, especially when you're lugging 50 lbs up and down the stairs. There’s no need to let a little sweat get in your way, just pack a mini deodorant to freshen up throughout your travels.

  7. Wireless Headphones

    • Don’t get caught up in wire mayhem! Make your life simple and grab yourself a nice pair of wireless headphones to keep you tangle free.   

  8. Oversized Sweatshirt

    • It may be hot out, but airplanes are freezing!! We used our Sunday Forever sweatshirts on every plane ride. It added the cozy factor, while still keeping us stylish.

  9. Sunglasses

    • Block out all the haters, oh, and the sun of course. Serve some looks with a pair of oversized black sunnies. You can find some great deals at Nordstrom Rack.   

  10. Personalized Passport Case

    • Whether it be for the cute Instagram post or for the compliments at the airport, passport cases are a great way to spice up your style. If you’re traveling on a budget, I’d head over to Marshalls or TJ Maxx, but if you feel like balling out, I’d head over Kate Spade or asos.

Travel shouldn’t be stressful and neither should your style. If you have these ten simple items during travel, we guarantee your travels will be improved.  Safe travels, ladies! There’s no need to be over the top and uncomfortable, but with a few simple items, you’ll be the best travel fashionista yet! So, grab your favorite pair of leggings, some cute white sneakers, your passport, and get traveling!

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Travel Essentials Every Girlboss Needs

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Ready, set, travel! You’ve got your travel itinerary set, your plane tickets booked, and your credits cards ready to be maxed out! The real question is...what do you pack!? Having these essentials will help you feel prepared and stress-free on your trip.


Luggage

It all starts with the perfect suitcase. We are obsessed with our Away suitcases! Not only do they have TSA approved locks for safety, but they come with tons of compartments to keep all your travel essentials organized. The carry on luggage also comes with battery packs so you can never be without your phone (trust me...it’s a must.)

Notebooks

Every girlboss needs to have at LEAST one travel notebook to take with them. Journaling is great for the long plane rides or boring bus trips in between countries. Girlboss Coffee has THE cutest stationary products that are perfect for any career girl on the go. Pictures can tell a million different stories, but only you can tell the real one. Write everything down: the places you visited, the food you ate, the clothes you bought, the memories you made, everything. One day you’ll get to look back at your travel journal and remember all the amazing times you had.

Sleep Must-Haves

If you’re like us, always on the go, it’s important to make sure you’re taking time for yourself to get some shut-eye! With all the exciting sites to see, foods to eat, and cute Europeans to meet, you can find yourself spending all of your time exploring and not getting any shut-eye. The train/plane/bus rides are the ideal place to catch up on your beauty sleep; however, it can get a little noisy and uncomfortable. Have no fear though ladies, Savvy Sleepers will bring you luxury at your fingertips. The satin pillowcases and Savvy scrunchies are the perfect treats for your hair and skin. Travel in style without turning your hair into a rats nest and finally get that beauty rest you DESERVE.

Hate the sunlight? No problem! Sunday Forever has THE best silk sleep mask. Block out the haters and travel as if you’re flying first class to the best sleep of your life.

Technology  

Now, we all know travelling can get expensive, so why throw all our hard-earned dollars on expensive cameras that we probably will never use again? Capturing the perfect, blogger worthy photos is crucial for every girlboss travelling. Moment sells these amazing attachable camera lenses for your phones that will make sightseeing easy, light and still picture perfect.

Portable charges are a MUST! When you’re out sightseeing all day, it’s easier to carry around a small portable charger rather than an outlet converter, struggling to find somewhere to post up and plugin.

Beauty

Travel size EVERYTHING! There’s only so much room in your suitcase, and no one wants to be lugging around bricks in their bag to and from every country! Leave the bulky blow dryers at home, and switch to something small and easy to pack.

We have bag inception going on in our luggage, too! Between our travel organizers and our carry on bags, you can be sure that the Savvy Sisters will be staying as organized as possible every step of the way. With all the little products you may have, try to find a makeup bag that can easily lay flat in your luggage and hold A LOT of products.

Moisturizer is another crucial product for any travel makeup bag. It’s so important to keep your skin hydrated out in the sun all day.


Join us on our journey throughout Europe, and see how the Savvy Sisters travel in style! We’re going to be abroad for the whole month of August, and we’d love to hear from you guys.


Follow Our Savvy Travels: @savvysistersmedia  //  Savvy Sisters Media

1 Week Plastic-Free Challenge

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“It’s just one straw!” said 8 million people. Every year, 28 billion pounds of plastic end up polluting our oceans. A single plastic bag, which is used for an average of 12 minutes, can take 10-20 years to degrade into tiny toxic particles. A plastic six-pack ring, which holds our beverages for the 1 minute before we break it open, takes 400 years to break down. These single-use plastics are single-handedly killing our oceans.

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Recently, states like California and even entire countries like Kenya have banned the use of plastic bags in large retail stores. Starbucks has also promised to stop using straws completely by 2020. We are starting to take big steps in pursuit of a greener planet, but we have to chip in as well in order to make the difference that we desperately need.

I honestly haven’t put much thought into what I am consuming or using and its effects. I have always recycled, however, with the excessive plastic we are finding in our oceans today, I decided that I need to step up my game. I am tired of excuse after excuse of why eliminating plastic is too expensive or too much hassle. That is why I took part in the 7-day plastic-free challenge and encourage other people to as well. Stop saying “one day”, and make it day one.

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What I will allow during this challenge:

  1. Food that I have purchased prior to the challenge (I don’t want anything to go to waste)

 

What is not allowed during this challenge:

  1. No single-use plastics (straws, cups, utensils, bottles, bags)

  2. Food with plastic packaging

 

I will be trying to avoid all single-use plastics at ALL COSTS. Hopefully, I will not have used any plastics by the end of the challenge!

 

Day 1: I started off the day feeling a bit confused on where and how to start saving plastic. I opened my refrigerator door and all I saw was plastic packagings: bagels, bread, yogurt. For breakfast, I had a bowl of Lucky Charms which I bought previous to the challenge. I poured in my carton of almond milk, which I thought was lined with wax, but after some research, I found out most cartons are lined with plastic (great, not off to an amazing start.). Many products that we think are plastic free or low in plastic actually are not. Just in my breakfast alone, I have already used a plastic bag and a plastic-lined carton. I’m starting to think this week is going to be harder than expected.

 

Day 2: I decided to go food shopping today in hopes to find some food that I can buy in bulk without plastic packaging. I used this Plastic Free Shopping Guide to get me started. Around 45% of waste in landfills is attributed to plastic packaging. By buying in bulk, you eliminate the need for packaging altogether.  Luckily, there is a Dean’s Natural Food Market right next to where I work. I filled up my Tupperware containers from home with cashews, pistachios, oats, and dried mango scooped from the bulk food section. Dean’s also had a whole spice table filled with mini jars of spice, which you can take only the amount that you need to avoid waste. I kept my eye out for glass and cardboard/paper packaging because paper degrades faster than plastic and glass can be reused. I managed to find jarred peanut butter, eggs, oatmeal, juice, fruits, vegetables, and pasta without any plastic packaging. In total, I paid $49.54.  

 

Day 3: I work at a retail jewelry and handbag store, Charming Charlie’s, which still uses plastic bags, even though some stores are starting to make the switch to paper or canvas bags. Today a customer came in shopping with her own bag and I nearly screamed in excitement. It makes my heart happy when I see others taking initiative and being more conscious about what they are leaving behind. The average person uses 350-500 plastic bags in a year. Imagine the effects of thousands of people using their own canvas bags? We would see a reduction of millions of plastic bags polluting our landfills and oceans! Every Monday we receive new shipments with new product and LOTS of plastic. It horrifies me how much plastic is needed to package a single piece of jewelry. No joke, for one pair of earrings they are wrapped in an outer plastic bag, followed by an inner layer of bubble wrap, inside yet another plastic bag. Is it all necessary? While we try to do our part in reducing our plastic use, it is important to make sure that our businesses are doing their part as well.

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Day 4: It was 94 degrees today and I was extremely thirsty, so I brought my glass water bottle to get a smoothie from Dean’s. When I ordered the smoothie, I noticed that Dean’s sold their own smoothie mason jars with a reusable straw for $4.99. I decided to buy the jar because if you wash it and bring it back to buy another smoothie, you will get 25% off. Win-win if you ask me: saving plastics and saving money. Music to my ears. I have also been bringing my reusable plastic Brita water bottle to work every day to avoid using plastic bottles. I am a huge Brita fan; as long as you have access to a tap water source you can fill up the bottle anywhere and have clean, filtered water without touching a plastic bottle.

 

Day 5: So far so good. For dinner I made a nice marinara pasta dish from plastic-free packaging, only using the pasta paper box and the tomato tin can. For dessert, I was craving ice cream and went to the local ice cream shop in my town. To save plastic, I ordered my ice cream in a cone to avoid any waste instead of getting it in a plastic cup with a plastic spoon (double the trouble). When going out to eat, there are always ways to cut down on plastic. When ordering takeout, have them put the food in your own containers. When ordering drinks, ask for no straw. The little ways that you can avoid plastic can be the most effective when everyone chooses to make green decisions.

 

Day 6: Beach day! I spent the last two days of this challenge at Monmouth Beach, NJ. For lunch, my friends and I wanted to order sandwiches. Luckily the subs were wrapped in paper and I carried them to the beach in a cooler to avoid using a plastic bag. While eating our lunch, we did some people watching (one of my favorite beach activities). There is something about observing other people’s habits and interactions that makes a beach day entertaining. However, this beach trip I was particularly aware of other people’s plastic habits. To my right, there was a family of five all drinking from water bottles while eating out of plastic playa bowl containers with plastic spoons. To my left, there was a couple eating fruit out of their ziplock bags with plastic forks. Do people come to the beach to swim in the ocean or in plastic?

 

Day 7: Another gorgeous beach day spent by the water. Monmouth Beach is a fairly clean beach compared to more crowded beaches in New Jersey. I was pleasantly surprised that there wasn’t much litter lining the shore until I noticed small pieces of plastic scattered everywhere from high tide. I found everything from bottle caps to a toothbrush. My friends and I picked up as many pieces of plastic as we could before we left the beach.

If everyone put aside 2 minutes to clean up a few pieces of trash, we could drastically reduce the amount of pollution that ends up in our oceans. It felt great to take action and clean up the beach myself; a hopeful way to end this 7-day challenge!

 

When I first started this challenge, I thought that I would go seven days without plastic and then return to my normal way of living, but instead, I plan on continuing this challenge by doing my best to reduce my plastic use. Overall, this challenge opened my eyes to the amount of plastic that I actually use in my everyday life. I’ll admit that it was a bit harder than I had expected, but it was worth it to reduce my plastic footprint and to start making a difference. Stay tuned for the journey on the Savvy Sisters Media Instagram Story! I encourage everyone to take action to challenge themselves, give back to our planet, and start sacrificing plastic for a cleaner and more sustainable future.
 

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Plastic suffocates our daily routines. Plastic may be so engraved into our lives, but that does not mean that we cannot solve our plastic pollution problem. We need new ideas for greener products and support from corporations, the biggest plastic culprits, in order to see change and to see change quickly.

  • To get active in legislation and push our government for stricter laws pertaining to plastic output go to Take Action Ocean Conservancy and sign the petition!

 

  • If you and your friends are interested in participating in a beach clean up near you, visit Oceanconservancy.com for more information.

 

  • Visit 5 Gyres to learn more about the effects of polystyrene and plastics and what you can do to reduce your use.

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Learn more about the effects of plastic pollution and what you can do to help:

 

Priya Malani Offers Financial Advice All Millennials Need to Hear

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Priya Malani, founding partner of Stash Wealth, a financial planning team that helps young professionals get smart with all things money, started her finance career at Merrill Lynch, where she had the inspiration to create a better, faster, and cooler way to manage money for twenty & thirty-something’s who need help navigating their finances.

She’s been featured in articles from publications like Bustle and Wealth Management, where she is admired for addressing her clients as H.E.N.R.Y’s (High Earners, Not Rich Yet), and helps them save for the future.

Priya offers us some fun, yet essential advice on financial planning as a young professional.

How did you get started in your career at Stash Wealth?

I started working in finance in 2003 at Merrill Lynch. I was immediately hooked as I loved the idea of creating wealth and providing freedom of choice through a solid financial foundation. Not long after I joined Merrill, it struck me as odd that the Financial Services Industry was basically ignoring my entire generation. Many of the practices were very old school so even if the big banks wanted to work with millennials, I knew the concepts wouldn't resonate.

What are the common negative money habits some of us have, and how can we fix them?

>>We spend money we don’t have (a.k.a. get into credit card debt) That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a credit card. In fact we encourage credit cards at Stash. Just make sure you can pay off your bill in full at the end of the month. If you don’t trust yourself not to overspend, consider a free site like Debitize which does the hard work for you.

>>Living a lifestyle you can’t afford (goes hand in hand with the previous one). More here. Instagram makes it very tempting to try to keep up with your friends but just a friendly PSA from Stash: Your friends appear a lot richer on social media than they actually are!!

>>Saving for the sake of saving. When you’re putting money into a general savings account, it’s very easy to move it right back to your checking account when “Whoops! The credit card bill was a little high this month”

>>Confusing investing with gambling. Just because you’re buying Bitcoin or Amazon stock, doesn’t mean you’re investing - that’s gambling - don’t confuse the two.

What are some of the best ways to save effectively?

1 - Out of sight, out of mind. Keep your savings at a different bank than where you keep your checking account. You won’t have immediate access to it if you want to make an impulse purchase - that’s the point.

2 - Nickname your savings accounts. Stop saving for the sake of saving. Save with purpose so you’re less tempted to touch that money. Keep a separate account for each goal. Sounds tedious, but you’ll actually stick to your savings plan this way. Two common accounts we set up for our clients are: Travel and Holiday Gifts.

3 - Automate your savings. Technology is your best friend. Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to each savings account the day after payday. Then watch your savings grow without lifting a finger.

How can millennials can save without feeling restricted?

At Stash, we hate budgeting. Instead, we do something with our clients called Reverse Budgeting™. The concept is to save first, and then blow the rest. With your savings out of the way (and out of sight/mind at an online bank) you can blow whatever’s left in your checking account, guilt-free.

“No one wants to feel like they have to watch every dollar they spend with the hopes that there’s something left over”

How can recent college graduates/millennials feel secure taking on a business venture while paying back student loans?

While this works out in rare cases, taking a step into the very risky world of entrepreneurship is never a sure bet. We advocate that our clients keep a steady job while building up their side venture (hustle) simultaneously. Once you’re feeling solid about the revenue you’re able to bring in (which could take 1-5 years or more), then take the leap - especially if you’re still paying down student loans!

Do you think that having a financial plan is a form of financial wellness? How can having a financial plan better our lives?

I’m sure I’m biased, but absolutely. Financial planning eliminates the need to keep your fingers crossed - which decreases stress and uncertainty. Having a game plan is appropriate for many aspects of life. When you get in a car, what’s the first thing you do? You enter your destination into Google Maps or Waze and it tells you how to get from one place to another in the most efficient way. Same goes for having a financial game plan.

Do you have words of wisdom for anyone who thinks they’re bad with money?

Being bad with money isn’t a thing - so get that idea out of your head. If you think you’re “bad with money” it’s likely you just haven’t started thinking about what you want yet. Setting small and large financial goals is the first step toward being better with money.

What are some things we don’t need to spend a lot of money on?

At Stash, we are a #judgementfreezone. It’s your money, you work hard for it! Spend it on whatever you want as long as you have your financial sh*t together. That means, you are living a lifestyle you can afford (no credit card debt) and aren’t ignoring priorities like paying rent, paying down student loans, etc. If there’s money left over, blow it! An expensive bottle of wine, a weekly mani/pedi, SoulCycle/Equinox, Ubers, first class plane tickets, whatever!

How do you stay #savvy in your everyday life?

As an entrepreneur, it’s very easy to lose yourself in your work so I try to find balance. I read a lot (fiction and non-fiction). I workout a few times a week. I spend time outdoors. I am always “pruning” various aspects of my life, from my closet to Chrome bookmarks! When it comes to my money, I stay #savvy by spending my money on things and experiences that I value. Before buying anything, I ask myself “what is this thing or experience worth to me?”

“Remember, it’s your life, if you don’t plan for it, who will?”
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6 IG Story Tips

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Instagram Stories are a feature for businesses to leverage to increase authentic engagement and grow their brand's social media presence. It is also a great opportunity for companies to express themselves and for viewers to get to know your company on a more personal level!

When posting IG Stories, keep these tips in mind to reach your full business potential!

Ask Questions

Positioning polls in your Story allow for fun and easy interaction with your online community.

Keep in Mind - Poll features that are too close to the right or left side tend to cause the viewer to advance or go back to the last post.

Hashtags

Along with locations, Stories also offer hashtags. Use them! Tagging hashtags in Stories will get them get twice the views.

Tip - Paste text block of 15 hashtags that can be shrunk without the viewer seeing them and still optimizing the performance of your post.

Video with Text

Video content is on the rise, share value with your audience with tutorials, Q&A’s and behind the scenes content.

Keep In Mind - Majority of users watch without audio, be sure to add closed captioning to all of your video content.

Checking Your Viewers/Stats

Keep track of who is watching your Stories consistently and reach out to them! When you have more insight into your audience, you’re able to create more content that your viewers like.

Tip - Convert your Instagram page into a business profile; this will allow you to

see the reach, impressions, replies, and exits for each story you post.

Location Tags

Whether you’re eating at a restaurant or exploring the city, tagging a specific location in your Story will give you the opportunity of being featured in the area’s public Story. Getting featured in a location story will increase the number of impressions your Story has.

Keep in Mind - When screenshotting posts and adding new text make sure you also update the location sticker!

Branch Out

Expand your network by engaging and replying to your target markets stories to establish authentic relationships and drive organic traffic to your page. Having relationships with viewers allows for greater exposure and network opportunities.

Tip - Screenshot a great conversation you have with someone in the comment section on a post and give them a shoutout on your story. Not only does this strengthen your relationship with your viewers, but it also motivates others to engage in your posts!

Here are six things to keep in mind when you’re posting an Instagram Story, I hope you don’t forget them! Comment below any Instagram Story tips you have and make sure to follow our Instagram @savvysistersmedia to keep up with all of our exciting content!

6 Tips For Writing Instagram Captions

With a majority of businesses on Instagram, creating the perfect Instagram caption has come down to a science. Followers want to see engaging, interesting content that provides value to them while making them feel something at the same time.

Don’t worry, if you follow this guide, you’ll master the science of creating captions in no time!

1. Consider Your Audience

Keep in mind who is going to see your post and what they would want to see. Knowing who your followers are will let you create a guideline on how to write the caption. Depending on the characteristics of your following, it is essential to speak in their “voice.” Your followers can be split into so many categories: age, demographics, interests, etc. Pick a category and speak to them! Here are some more questions to ask yourself when thinking about your audience:

  • What are their interests?
  • Why are they attracted to your brand?
  • What value does your business hold to them?

2.  Determine Your Brand’s Voice and Personality

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It’s the personality that counts, right? Every company has their own identity, just like every person has a different personality. No two companies are the same, they all have different voices. If your company was a person, what would he say and how would he say it?

 

There are different ways to let your company’s personality shine through. Humor and storytelling can showcase your voice and let the followers feel more connected with your account. Accounts like Old Spice really “spice up” their feed by adding humor into their captions. Cleverness is also appreciated on Instagram, so feel free to throw in a pun here and there.

Maybe humor isn’t your thing, and you would rather get your message across through a story: that’s fine too! Humans Of New York (@humansofny) does a great job using the story-telling format in their captions. Try thinking about an interesting back-story about your company and then get pen to paper. There are tons of things to write about that can go deeper than the surface. Providing information in the form of a story can make your followers feel more connected to your business and more likely to read the information you put out. I’ve seen a lot of businesses also write in story format when introducing employees to their followers, to create more of an intimate introduction to their employees and a deeper look into their business. This is where you want to create a persona for your pictures and give them enough background story to come to life! And if you’re brave enough, try a humorous story!

3. Start the Caption With a Hook

Don’t be another grain of sand on a beach! Use a hook to help your caption stand out to followers. Hooks need to be able to catch your follower's attention and choose to read your caption. Don’t be another picture they mindlessly scroll past! The hook needs to show what value your business provides for your followers. There are different kinds of hooks:

The Question Hook:

  • What does it mean to be happy?

The Humor Hook:

  • Have you ever tried to eat a clock? It’s very time-consuming. Spend your time checking out our latest product about to launch this Saturday!

The Quote Hook:

  • “Be the change you want to see in the world.” -Gandhi

4. End With a Call To Action (CTA): What do you want your followers to do?

Now that you have a hook, you need the line and sinker. After your followers read your caption, what do you want them to do? Follow the link in your bio? Comment below? Or maybe it’s as simple as buying your product. It would be a waste of your time creating and polishing the perfect caption if your followers scroll right past it. Time to light the fire from under them and have them take action!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Ask about everyone’s favorite subject: Themselves. Get your followers’ opinions and pick their brains. Asking questions can get your followers engaged and lead to them dropping a comment or two on your picture which can drive views and engagement rates. After the question, follow it with “Leave your answer in the comments below!” to get as many answers as possible.

Monica knows Joey. Joey knows Rachel. Rachel knows Ross. Everyone has connections. To get your message across to a broader audience, have your followers tag a friend in the comments. Try an ending sentence like, "Planning for a luxe escape with your bestie? Tag your travel partner in crime!"

If you are trying to drive sales rather than engagement, give your followers an easy and direct way to purchase your products. Copy the link to your website in your Instagram bio and add a sentence at the end of your caption saying, “Check out the link in our bio for all your skincare needs!”

5. Emojis are a MUST 🙌🏼

If you use them the right way, emojis can be organic boosters for your post.

In 2017, posts that used emojis had a 17% higher engagement rate than captions that did not use emojis. The most popular emoji used in 2017 was the laughing crying face.😂

Make sure the emojis you use to relate to your post, or else you may just leave your followers confused.

 

6. Hashtags- 10/10/10 Hashtag Algorithm

Instagram allows 30 hashtags, so be sure to use all of them.

  • 10 Smaller Hashtags (10,000 to 50,000 total posts)
  • 10 Mid-size Hashtags (50,000 to 200,000 total posts)
  • 10 Large Hashtags (200,000 - 2,000,000 total posts)

This is the hashtag equation to maximize engagement and views on your post. Hashtag. Hashtag. Hashtag. Make sure the hashtags are somewhat relevant to your post and to your business to attract the right kind of followers. Don’t catfish people by using irrelevant hashtags just to get more likes: remember quality over quantity.

If you follow these steps, you will earn your caption black belt.

Now was that so bad? Not rocket science after all.

A Change in Perspective

Lessons learned from my week in Jinotega, Nicaragua  

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This past week I spent in Jinotega, Nicaragua, to assist in the building of a home with the Sasle community for an incredible family. I was given this opportunity through my university’s alternative break program, and an amazing non-profit organization called Bridges to Community.

For two days out of our week, my group and I spent time exploring breathtaking crater lakes and cities of Nicaragua. For the rest of the week, we lived in a beautiful home who belonged to a very kind woman named Benita living in the community. We spent 8 hours each day passing cinder blocks, mixing cement, painting the roof of the home, and working on finishing touches with other members of the community.

For a family to receive a home from Bridges to Community, they are nominated by members of their community and pay a certain amount monthly which goes back into a community fund.

There are so many takeaways that I gained from this experience, but here are those that stuck out to me the most.

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The Importance of Family and Community

When building the home, we worked with the hard working members of the community, including the father of the beneficiary family. Could you imagine your next door neighbors helping you build your own home? In Sasle, there was such a strong feeling of community and value placed on helping one another. While we worked, every car or bus that passed by honked or waved at us saying hello. Not only is community valued so much in Sasle, but so is family. During our dinner with the beneficiary family who received the home, the father told us how grateful he was that we would leave our family for a week to come and help them build their home. Family means so much to them and made me want to express gratitude for my own family that much more.

How can you further embrace community and family in your life?

Try having a sit down dinner with your loved ones without distractions. Oftentimes, we check our phones out of boredom. When we eliminate that option, we can have even deeper conversations with the people we love.  

How educated are you on the issues in your community? Spend some time researching, and see if you can lend a hand. Helping others makes you feel connected to those around you and gives you a sense of gratitude.

Embrace Simplicity

Though there are some things that the Sasle community could use more of, they are filthy rich in what truly matters; family and community. They were always happy, grateful, and content with what they had. Though some don’t live in what some Americans would consider ideal living, they never complain because they already have what they need. During our dinner with the receiving family, I also noticed that each person took such a humbling amount of food and politely made sure that each person had a plate before eating. They were always considerate and aware of the people around them.

How can you further embrace simplicity?

If there are clothes sitting in your closet that you haven’t worn in a while, consider giving them to someone who might be able to make use of them every day.

Instead of spending extra time on social media, which can sometimes create too much extra content in your brain, try to connect with nature around you, or reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.

When plating your food, try to take only what you know you need to fuel your body. Eat with friends, and shop locally whenever possible.

Cultivating Acceptance

Many stereotypes and judgments come from things that we just don’t understand. Before coming on this trip I thought I had an idea of what the members of a developing country would be like, but I was completely wrong. They were the most hardworking, kind and wholesome people that I had ever met. Being open-minded to the stories of the people that we met was key to having an incredible trip. I learned that people value different things because of what they’ve grown up valuing, and it’s never a personality flaw on their part, but more on ours for not looking deeper. We need to look past our own barriers and listen to the stories of others and maybe even spend time in different cultures to show us just how much we have in common.

How Can we Cultivate Acceptance?

Actively reach out to and listen to stories of those that are different than yourself. It will always help you in becoming a well-rounded and compassionate person.

Understanding Culture

When I arrived in Nicaragua, I experienced some culture shock, but I also experienced some shock when coming home to America. I felt like I finally realized why many people suffer from anxiety in the U.S. While in Nicaragua, I mostly didn’t have service, so I spent free time playing cards, music, or just bonding with members of my group. I think at first I was in shock at my lack of distraction, but once I embraced it felt so clear-headed. The night before my flight home to America, I had trouble sleeping because I was overthinking about my responsibilities at home. At first, I put blame on Americas society for being so overpopulated, obsessed with technology, money, and other material items. But I thought for a while and realized that it is just a different culture that we live in, and America has its own history and way of living that contributes to what we experience. Though America has many distractions, we should take the time to see what it would be like to give them a break. Those distractions only have power if we give them power.

How can we learn to better work with our own culture?

If you experience anxiety after scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, or don’t experience much happiness after a season of Netflix, try to explore what it’d be like to journal, meditate, or reach out to a friend.

My week spent with the Sasle community members taught me the value of hard work, support, connection, and love. I will never forget those friendships that taught me such imprinting lessons that I will take with me forever.

In life, always remember to keep an open mind and push past your comfort zone. There is always so much to gain from connecting to what truly matters.

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Need Tips For Getting Started in Business? Ask Sarah Kunst.

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Sarah Kunst, creator of the app Proday, which provides workout routines from fitness celebrities and world-renowned athletes, has been making it big in business. Her app has been funded by the L.A. Dodgers, Arielle Zukerberg, and features routines from athletes such as Delanie Walker from the Tennessee Titans. She is on the board for Venture for America, a venture capitalist herself, and a successful entrepreneur.

Sarah offers us some helpful tips for those trying to navigate the business world and create a successful startup.

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How did you get started in your career? What were the pivotal moments that helped you realize that you were on the right path?

I got started in college working for Apple in a marketing role and found a passion for tech and strong brands, which took me to Chanel out of college. Then I got into the Startup world. There was never a clear path, but I always worked hard, read about industries I was interested in, and helped people.

“If you’re smart, hard working, well read, and helpful, being successful becomes much easier because people like you, need you, and want to help you in return.”

What are ways to stand out when raising money for your startup business?

Be prepared. Read books on how to raise venture capital money. Listen to podcasts and read articles. Find old pitch decks from other startups. Comb the websites of VC funds who offer advice on how to pitch them.

Once you have an idea, digital presence, and proof that it works, you can try raising money from friends, family, or accelerators. No one is too far along for an accelerator. It’s often the easiest $100K you’ll get in your life.

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How do you overcome the continuous challenges in your career while staying passionate about your app, Proday?

Life is a challenge. Being a black woman might mean more or different challenges, but everyone has internal and external roadblocks to overcome. Controlling your mind and body helps a lot.

Meditate, workout - even just getting your 10k steps in everyday - drink lots of water, sleep a lot, give hugs to your people, dance to happy music, and eat healthy. Those things can’t be overlooked. You have tons of time each day to struggle with your business and other problems, so make sure you spend a few minutes chasing joy too.

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How do we encourage speaking out about issues of discrimination and harassment?

As the late, great Whitney Houston would advise, keep impeccable receipts. You will be discriminated against or harassed - we have research that shows it’s a virtual inevitability for women and people of color in the workplace. So keep a record when it happens. Take detailed notes, screenshots, or confirm it in writing. Read up on EEOC laws. This stuff is wrong, often illegal, and women need to hear that they are allowed to report these people.

I’ve been overwhelmed by support from men and women since I spoke up in a New York Times article about being sexually harassed. Often men don’t hear about sexual harassment so they don’t know how common it is. When you tell them, they will listen and be better allies.

What advice do you have for women that have no prior knowledge about managing money to take charge of their finances?

Sign up for mint.com to get your credit score. See what you’re spending on monthly and decide to save a little. Set up a 401k or IRA and contribute just $20 from each paycheck to it.

If $20 sounds like a lot, try just $5 a week. Tally up what you spend money on that isn’t rent, bills, or transportation and see what you’re spending on that you’re not really enjoying.

I’m a big at home coffee person. I know I can’t fund my retirement on the $5 a day I save, but it covers gas money and my phone bill and that’s not trivial.

The most important first step is understanding what you make, owe, and spend, then trying to save or pay down debt a little more.

Investing is easy and apps like Acorns and Robinhood are simple to use. Download the Yahoo! Stocks app and start following stocks that you like and understand - Apple, Amazon, Stitchfix etc. If you can afford it, put some money into buying those stocks once you feel you can explain to a friend why they’re good buys that you’ll want to hold for a while.

Women make great investors, the data proves this. We just need more of us to invest!

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Follow Sarah at @sarahkunst

How to effectively use #’s for your brand

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What even is a hashtag??? It’s the key to growing your brand's organic growth. Hashtags often get thrown around without purpose, but we are here to tell you that if you use them correctly, it can make or break your social media strategy. By adding a #savvy touch to your social media game, the potential to grow your brand is limitless.

Types of #’s

Branded hashtags, which are created specifically for your company in mind. Fun fact: 70% of hashtags are branded. You can use these to encourage (and find) user generated content, as well as analyze your efforts.

Community hashtags, which are general hashtags that are widely used, and include things like: #tbt, #instafood, #throwback and #ootd.

# Shortcuts

We all live very busy lives, with little time to perfect all the little details. Luckily, for you iPhone lovers, there’s a solution!

Settings > general > keyboard > text replacements > (add hashtags)

Saving lists of your hashtags will help you know the value of each to determine what works and what doesn’t.

# Tips & Tricks

Instead of putting the hashtags in the caption, leave a comment immediately after posting. You can use up to 30 hashtags per comment.

Focus on the activity of hashtags. It’s important to always do hashtags with a purpose and finding a specific niche audience that will find use in your hashtags. Finding hashtags with more than 1,000 users will get you the most results because you know people are constantly looking for that specific one. Get a general idea of how often people use hashtags. If the hashtags are too popular, your post will be gone in seconds. Hashtags that have a lot of viewage are harder to track and have a lower conversion rate.

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Use what’s popular instead of what’s trending. Trends come and go, so it’s important to keep a long shelf-life of your branded hashtags.

#’s For Your Business Hashtags are both keywords and conversations. Instagram users can now search for a location or hashtag, and see a Story compiled from Story posts by other users that include that location sticker, hashtag sticker, or hashtag in the caption. Location Stories from nearby places (but not Hashtag Stories) will also appear featured on the Explore tab.

According to Simply Measured, using even a single # increases post engagement by 12.6 percent. Hashtags are an effective way to drive organic traffic to your content.

The more specific the hashtags the better.

Add new hashtags to target and leverage the social authority towards organic authority. Different #’s can mean different things to many people.

All in all, hashtags are a powerful tool that are often overlooked. Hashtags are crucial to growing your brand organically.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can grow your brand sign up for one of our social media training sessions, and learn how you can take your brand to the next level.

5 Finals Week Tips From the Universe

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The week that turns students into zombies, textbooks into lifesavers, and coffee into fuel: Finals Week. The two words every college student dreads hearing. At this point in the year, winter break is so close you can almost taste the candy canes and cookies, but you are stuck in this stressful reality worrying about your 5 finals within the next week. What do you do? How do you handle your stress?

Gabrielle Bernstein, the author of The Universe Has Your Back, has some helpful tips to get you through finals week in one piece. Based on the results of your quiz, find the corresponding tip and read more about how you can handle your stress:

 

 

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Tip #1: Download a Meditation App

If you are overwhelmed with work and tests, alone time is very important for your mental health. Gabby always says, “Your energy is your greatest source of power.” You should always take a few moments each day to recharge and unwind; never run on an empty tank. If you are in a time crunch, meditation apps can be your best friend.

My favorite apps right now are Headspace and Calm. These apps have different meditation routines for coping with different situations like stress, anxiety, as well as depression. You can also meditate to build happiness, confidence, and focus skills to ace those finals!

Don’t worry, you can set a timer for the amount of time that you have to meditate: 5-minute study break sessions, or a relaxing 20 minute before bed routine. Either way, will have you feeling refreshed and recharged!

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Tip #2: Ask For A Sign

Sometimes, it’s just not worth worrying. Most of the time the consequence is not that bad and it may be better if you just hand the situation over to the Universe.

If you are unsure about a decision or want to know if you are on the right path, Ask for a sign! Asking for a sign means that you are willing to collaborate with the Universe. This is the fun part!

The sign can be anything: an animal, person, object, color, number, Starbucks order, the first thing that pops into your head. Leave it up to the Universe and be patient. Your sign will be a billboard: crystal clear if you are going in the right direction.

If you don’t receive your sign right away, consider that your impatience may be blocking it. Your sign will come when you least expect it, so don’t force it. Be willing to be receptive!

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Tip #3: Meditate

Time is something that we can never have too much of. A busy day leaves us feeling tired, overworked, and frustrated. It is important to take time out of your day to focus on yourself.

Meditation is the perfect way to find your inner peace and balance, with proven benefits of focus abilities and happiness levels. One of Gabby Bernstein’s favorite meditation techniques is called the Kundalini Meditation. This technique is known for its ability to channel your stress into calmness and help you chill out before you freak out. Be sure to try out the meditation before you freak out on finals.

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Tip #4: Surrender Your Goals

Let go! Loosen your grip on your drive through life. Everything does not need to be meticulously planned out and scheduled. Rather than over detailed plans, have goals for where you picture yourself in the future. Goals are there to guide you, not control you. When you release your control and let the Universe take the wheel, you will find that with the right mindset, you will automatically drive towards your goals without knowing it.

Everyone has that built in auto-pilot, and many choose to ignore it instead of taking advantage of it. Too often, people live life milestone to milestone instead of the moment to moment. Remove that pressure and surrender to your goals. During Finals Week, don’t sweat the small stuff. No, I am not telling you not to study, but do not worry about cramming anything more than you need. Take study breaks, and whatever you know you will know. No need to add worrying about your final grade to the mix. Focus on being present in the moment and ace that final!

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Tip #5: See Through Love

Do you get home and complain every day about how much you hate your job, a class, a professor, or your roommate? Be conscious of how often negative words come out of your mouth, and how they make you or others feel.

If you genuinely want to see a change in your judgment, you need to be willing to see situations in a different light. Be willing to exchange toxic thoughts for love. Try to see the good in every situation.

Yes, I know more than the next college student how horrible finals can be, but tell yourself that a week from now you will be worry-free. Nothing is permanent; finals will be over soon!

Before you know it you will be home on winter break, eating homemade meals and pulling a Mariah Carey, “Finals who? I don’t know her.”  


 

We all handle stress differently, hopefully, these tips help you get through finals! Always remember that the Universe has your back.

Radiate positivity by sharing this article with a friend~

Manage Your Anxiety With These 3 Steps

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Stress creeps up on us all the time. Whether you’re at work, at school, your side hustle, or just in life itself, stress and anxiety can come in all types, but it’s important to manage that sucker and get it under control.

Licensed psychologist Dr. Lauren Hazzouri, PsyD, founder of the online community for young women called #HeyLauren, told us the three ways you can manage anxiety in your life.

Step 1: Manage that stinkin’ thinkin’

Each of us has many thoughts, up to 70,000 per day! The goal is to get so familiar with your thoughts that you can instantly recognize the thoughts making you feel scared or worried. Once you know which thought patterns cause the unwanted feelings, you can change them! If you change how you think, you can change how you feel and how you behave.

 

"Thoughts lead to feelings and feelings lead to behavior."

 

Step 2: Take two (minutes to relax!)

Your body cannot be anxious and relaxed at the same time. So, consciously relax your muscles. Taking a couple of minutes to stop, breathe and get present can reduce stress, increase mood and decrease anxiety in an instant. Focus your attention on your breathing, exhale slowly. Scan your body for tension. Loosen the cramped body parts, letting go of anything you’re holding too tightly. Recall a good memory, favorite place or event. Continue to breathe, exhaling slowly. Repeat, as needed.

Step 3: Walk through it—Exposure, exposure, exposure.

If you're afraid of it, you need to do it. It's as simple as that. You cannot will yourself to courage. You have to exercise the emotional muscles that flex when you walk through the fear to overcome it. Avoidance adds to the anxiety by reinforcing it. There's no easier, softer way. You don't need it to be easy and soft. You need it to work and exposure does work. Promise.
 

"You cannot will yourself to courage."

 

You are in charge of your own life, don’t let anxiety control you. Take a breath, take action and reflect. Whether you are dealing with an in-the-moment panic attack or facing an anxiety disorder, the feelings you have are normal and treatable. You are not alone! We all get nervous sometimes, we all have freakout moments, and that’s okay. Research tells us that there are an estimated 40 million adults (—women are 60% more likely to be diagnosed than men), who suffer from an anxiety disorder.

At the end of the day know this: you are the creator of your own mind and who you become or who you are is rooted within you. Anxiety is manageable, now go out there and kick some #girlboss ass! 

  For more from Lauren, visit  @dr_lauren  and sign up for her weekly newsletter at  HeyLauren.com .

For more from Lauren, visit @dr_lauren and sign up for her weekly newsletter at HeyLauren.com.

You have the power within you to change your life.

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I had the opportunity to speak with licensed psychologist Dr. Lauren Hazzouri, PsyD, founder of the online community for young women called #HeyLauren. This is the advice that I found impactful in my everyday life and want to share with our community.

Thoughts only have value if you give them value.
Thoughts → Feelings → Behavior. Each of us has many thoughts, up to 70,000 per day! The goal is to get so familiar with your thoughts that you can instantly recognize the thoughts making you feel scared or worried. Once you know which thought patterns cause the unwanted feelings, you can change them! If you change how you think, you can change how you feel and how you behave.

Prioritize taking charge of your thoughts and taking care of your body
When you stay balanced from the inside out, you decrease the desire to keep life balanced from the outside-in. There is no way to balance all areas in your life at once, dive into one area wholeheartedly for weeks at a time and then dive into another. Strive to do this without compromising self-care, always eat, sleep, and get moving.

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Set Strict Boundaries
Know what works for you. Trust your gut. If your life feels unnatural, lose the parts that shut down who you truly are to become who you think you’re supposed to be. 

Use your village. 
We women need our tribe, our girl gang, our coven. Rely on the women around you to pitch in with your mission. We’re all in this together. 

Let go of who you think you should be to become who you are. 
We all want to be liked as humans. This is okay, just don't morph into something you THINK you should because then you won't like yourself. 

When you fall into your chameleon, ask yourself what the motivation is for your action. If you don’t feel like yourself, remember what makes you unique is a special gift to the world that only you possess. 

Only you can do what you do the way that you do it. You have a mission in this world, do not miss it trying to fit into what others like.

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Walk through it—Exposure, exposure, exposure.
If you're afraid of it, you need to do it. It's as simple as that. You cannot will yourself to courage. You have to exercise the emotional muscles that flex when you walk through the fear to overcome it. Avoidance adds to the anxiety by reinforcing it. There's no easier, softer way. You don't need it to be easy and soft. You need it to work, and exposure does work. Promise.

Stop. Breath. Get Present.
→ Reduce Stress
→ Increase Mood
→ Decrease Anxiety

You do not have to search high and low for your purpose. You are your purpose.

The goal is to bring all that you are into all that you do. That’s “The work”. You are “The work”. Once you’ve got you, life gets easy.

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For more from Lauren, visit @dr_lauren and sign up for her weekly newsletter at HeyLauren.com.

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In the past twenty-one years, I have learned and experienced more than I could have ever imagined. I started a digital marketing business, received a full-time offer, and had an impact on my University all before I could have a legal drink. Reflecting back on the lessons below has taught me to be grateful for every experience that has shaped me into the woman I am today. Challenges, grief, and heartache have all been obstacles in the right direction.

 

These are the five life lessons that helped build my strong foundation:

Trust your intuition.

“When you surrender your plans and release control, you stop pursuing the path of your misguided ego. You allow the voice of your intuition and the energy of love to be your guide.” -Gabby Bernstein

  • Trust your gut; we are all born with survival instincts. However, be mindful that since we are always in ‘survival mode’ our mind automatically falls into fear. Honor your feelings, choose to see through love and your intuition will do the rest.  

 

Take care of yourself in order to have the strength to take care of others.

“Your conviction and certainty help others remember their own.” - -Gabby Bernstein

  • As empathetic beings, our heart goes out to others and we want to do everything we can to help them. However, we need to take care of ourselves before helping others. You can’t water a garden with an empty watering can.

 

Life is what you make of it.

“You are the dreamer of your own dream, create visions of the world that you want to see.” - Gabby Bernstein

  • When you do what makes you happy, you are happy. It is all about perspective. Fill your mind with happy and positive thoughts and you will lead a happy life.
  • A little good goes a long way. Try to be the lifted spirit in the room.

 

Be yourself: Embrace what makes you different.

“Sufi poet Rumi said, ‘The wound is the place where the light enters you.’ Each wound has brought light into our lives; these experiences shape us into who we are, embrace the person you are becoming. Don't be ashamed of your wounds, honor the feelings they bring, remember that they brought the love that is shining through you now. Love who you are.” - Gabby Bernstein

  • Who cares what people think, keep searching until you find your tribe. In the current day and age, authenticity is appreciated and expected. When you embrace what makes you who you are, you can experience life in its fullest form.

 

Bold Moves Only.

You only have one life, make sure you are living. Your dreams in life will not get handed to you, take chances and go out of your way to make sure they happen. “Everything is figureoutable”

-Marie Forleo

  • When you are making a decision, think to yourself, what is the worse that will happen? NOTHING, take chances and live your life without regrets.

 

These are just a handful of the lessons that have led me through my first twenty-one years. I look forward to seeing where the journey of life takes me. Stick around for the ride, you won’t be sorry!

Savvy Sisters Media, Inc. Celebrates Their One Year In Business

Wow, has it really been a year already?

Time really does fly, when you're having fun!

From the very beginning, Jamie says, “I knew Savvy had potential to grow. I just didn’t realize how fast it would all happen. When you work hard and genuinely love what you do, time really does fly by!”

This past year has been full of amazing memories with our Savvy Sisters, so naturally we decided to celebrate with the distinguished 1st birthday party! Not only was this a celebration for the Savvy Sisters’ persistence, motivation and many accomplishments throughout the year, but it was also a time to get crafty in the kitchen!

The Savvy Anniversary party took place at the Levy’s family beach house in Southold, New York. Close friends and family were invited to take part in this great milestone, while soaking up some sun on the Savvy-theme-decorated deck. Unlike the serene venue, the hors d’oeuvres were very extravagant. Jamie and Tara decided to get particularly festive by adding teal, Savvy’s signature color, to the champagne and chocolate covered strawberries and pretzels. The ladies also had some of their delicious brunch favorites: fluffy bacon pancakes, french toast and omelets, to add to their teal creations.

As the “sisters” relaxed outside, commemorating the launch of their very own company, they thought back on the past year and all that they’ve achieved. Some of the major highlights of the year include:

Throughout this amazing journey, there have been many indispensable people who believed in us. And, without them, we would not be here, sipping on teal champagne, today. The Savvy Sisters are independent and empowered young women with growth mindsets meaning that they are always open to outside ideas and influence when it comes to improving the overall quality of their business. Along with many others, their #savvy dads did an exceptional job at keeping the two women grounded and supplying them with unlimited business advice. As they expressed their thanks to the family and friends surrounding them, they began to look forward.

When the Savvy Sisters take a glimpse into the future, they see endless potential! A major priority for this next year is adding new #bossbabe (or #bossdude) members to the Savvy Squad. We are looking to grow our team with like-minded and ambitious individuals who have high expectations. Because once we have a strong foundation built, there’s no stopping us! This is only the beginning for Savvy, and you most definitely will be hearing from us again!

 

Xoxo

Your Savvy Sister,

Madi

 

Savvy Sister Roots

It all started one sunny morning as we sipped on iced coffee by the beach soaking up the sun. Both Jamie and I had enjoyed a long summer of tanning, singing our hearts out on long car rides, making memories with friends and tasting new foods...all of course which we documented on social media. That one sunny morning on the beach Jamie and I decided to captivate on those memories and put them to good use. If we could be as excited about our own social media, why couldn’t we be excited about someone else's social media, too? As the coffee kicked in and the sun beamed hotter, it dawned on us that we could do what we love and help others do so, too. Why not captivate on what we’re good at and turn it into a career?  

From that moment on, Savvy Sisters Media, Inc. was born. It took us some time to get where we are now, but without that moment on the beach we would not be the #girlbosses we are today. I’ll be the first to tell you that starting a business is not easy, but it’s worth it. All the blood, sweat, tears and Starbucks purchases have paid off, and will continue to pay off...especially the Starbucks purchases.

If it weren’t for the people around us to guide us in the right direction, we’d still probably be brainstorming on the beach, but one of the most important things about Savvy is the bond Jamie and I have. We conect with each other on a personal, emotional and even a marketing level. Because we know how the other thinks, it makes brainstorming, pitching, creating and innovating all the more better.

From the very start, Jamie and I were always tag teaming on ideas. We started with the basics, creating our brand. With the help of some friends, we designed a logo, created a website and started social media accounts. From that point on, we went from door to door, town to town pitching to stores, restaurants, small businesses, anyone that could use our savvy social media skills. Eventually, clients started coming to us, and it was one of the many breaking points in our career.

It’s important to set goals and constantly remind yourself of them. Push your limits and don’t be afraid of the what-ifs. Write your goals down and don’t cross them off until you’ve reached them, and once you have reward yourself...preferably with more coffee! Nobody can be successful for you, it’s up to YOU to pave the path of your own journey. Our journey was not a smooth one, and it will continue to be bumpy, but the journey is a marvelous one.

Through this blog you’ll see everything from social media tips to marketing ideas to trending topics. If you have something that you’d like to learn more about, please reach out to us and let us know! We’d love to blog about topics you’re interested in, too! This journey has just begun, and I can’t wait to take you on the ride with us.

Xoxo,

Your Savvy Sister,

Tara