Flares and Fringe at Create and Cultivate

I’m going to be really honest with you today and share something I haven’t told anyone. I’ve thought about quitting blogging. Actually the idea has crossed my mind many times – and very recently I got to the point where I felt I needed to make some serious decisions. The thing most people don’t realize is just how much time and effort goes in to each and every blog post. Everything from coming up with the idea, shooting images, editing, writing, and more editing. Video is a whole different animal and I won’t even get into that. Basically it is hard work – and since I am not working my full-time job anymore, this is also my job.

But the blog is also a part of me,  it is my second baby that I’ve nurtured and loved for three years and sometimes it is hard to see me or my baby as a ‘business’. Some examples: for years I wouldn’t use more than 2-3 hashtags on any given instagram post because I thought hashtags were annoying – especially hashtag paragraphs (and i still think that) but in order for people to organically find me – which is key to growing – it is important for me to include the right hashtags. I’ve also never created a business plan, and I didn’t have a crystal clear idea of who my reader is. For someone coming from a Business Development/Sales background, I understand how important having a plan is, even if it is just a loose outline. Even though I have had some major successes here that I am really proud of, I’m just not satisfied because I know I can do so much more.

With all of this in mind, I attended Create and Cultivate, a conference held in Chicago full of creative minds and entrepreneurs. All of the panelists are killing it in their respective fields so I was really excited to learn their secrets to success.  My friend and fellow blogger Tahsin of Tahsin the good came too, all the way from Toronto and it was a really nice reunion since I hadn’t seen her since college and both of our lives have changed so much since then.

The conference was really inspiring, and I took away a lot from hearing the personal experiences of the speakers and mentors, especially learning about their failures and personal insecurities (they are just like us!). A common thread I found amongst all of these wildly successful people was 1) they all made mistakes (some made huge ones) that they learned from 2) they didn’t take no for an answer and more importantly they didn’t take it personal  3) they were confident (whether real or fake) about their blog or business – because they needed to be in order for others to believe in them.I’m going to do another post where I summarize more of what I learned so I can offer you those tips because there is a lot of information. Stay tuned for that!

What I wore: I love a great flare leg and fell in love with this bold printed pair – I can’t tell you how many people complimented me on these pants at the conference. I mean, literally all.day.long. I know they are a little loud so you can’t help but get noticed in them. To balance out the print, I paired with a simple chambray top tied at the waist and a mule sandal. Big thanks to  @theGlamApp for my hair, and Lanisay for my gorgeous fringe bag!

flare-pants-chambray-topcrown-braid-sana-yasin-clutch sanayasincrown-braidella-moss-flare-legPants | Top | Sandals | Bag | Earrings | Watch  | Ring |Bangle – Rocksbox (get your free trial using offer code LoveZahraxoxo at checkout)

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Last week we took a quick trip to escape the snow for some sunshine in Key Largo, Florida☀️ We spent every moment possible outside, Tom and Adam got their Scuba Diver PADI certification (yay!) while Sophia and I spent our days either swimming or drawing marine life and landscapes. This was my first trip after my sister passed last November, and even though I look so happy here, there were so many moments I felt the grief and sadness, as if it happened just yesterday. I am still figuring out how I want to show up in this space, as I have changed so much as a person since the loss. I just don’t feel called to post some of the things I shared before. Maybe that will change someday, or maybe it will just naturally evolve into something new. I think I will take this year to just process it all. (Even the idea of taking an entire year to think through something is a huge shift for my usually hyperactive type A personality) My focus at the moment is just living in the moment with my family and friends, spending time doing things that make me happy and healthy. I hope to share some of that journey here with you ~ thanks for following along ❤️
I had planned to shoot this outfit in collaboration with @lenacoutureofficial right before my dear sister passed away. Saba, the designer, was more than understanding if I didn’t want to anymore - but after thinking on it for a while I decided I wanted to - in my sister’s honor 💗 She was always my biggest hype woman. When i would feel like I’m not good enough or that I should quit (which was often) she would tell me I was unique and great and to keep it up. When I think of my sister, beauty and love is all that she embodied in her being. She expressed that on the outside also - as she loved to wear everything glam, bright & colorful, and full of bling. Hair done, nails done, everything did - that was Nusrat. For this shoot I took the time to get glam after a long hiatus - and makeup and hair took so long because I think I forgot how to do it, but afterwards I was surprised how I felt transformed. When I wore this gorgeous outfit that I know was designed with such love and incredible attention to detail by @lenacoutureofficial, I felt all of that beauty - like a walking piece of art, and very much at peace. Thank you so much to @divmophoto for capturing the feeling so well 💕
Ski weekend with my favorites ❄️❄️ So proud of Sophia for skiing on her own for the first time!
There are some trees with seeds that only grow after a fire. Their seeds are completely sealed with a resin that have to be physically melted off by a great fire in order to propagate. So to do we as humans, gain wisdom only after great pain and suffering.*
A month ago (and one day) I lost my sister and best friend to cancer. I am still completely gutted and broken. But, I’m also so so grateful to have had felt the love that now brings me so much heartbreak. ❤️ I am so inspired by her - and I will forever live my life to honor her memory. Miss you sis ❤️
Classic outfit combo: oversized blazer + denim 🖤fendi mules @shoeslutz
Just a mom who loves mums 🌸 🪴
Cozy for a coffee date ☕️
French. Toast. Egg. Bake. Save this recipe for a weekend or holiday brunch - it’s SO good and fool-proof! I’m not even a sweet person and I love it. The pecans are a non-negotiable IMO - I get honey bourbon vanilla pecans for this and it is just heavenly. Enjoy!