Today is my birthday and I’m spending a little time reflecting on my blessings. My husband, daughters, family and friends are top of the list but so are you, my sweet readers. I am grateful for your time and comments on each post here and on Instagram and Facebook. The Lush List is an important part of my lift and you have made it’s success a reality. What a gift to me. Thank you!
Recently, I received a huge honor. The Lush List and I were featured on the rewardStyle website in a Q & A and wanted to share it with you. You may remember from the spring, that rewardStyle is the company that helps make my website shoppable for you. Hopefully, it will give you a more full picture of why I started the blog and why I keep creating…to share with you.
Thank you for reading and cheers to 2017!
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BEHIND THE SCREEN WIITH THE LUSH LIST
Alicia Wood, Dallas-based mother of three redirected her love of design and PR in a new direction and created The Lush List, a digital space devoted to delivering curated lists, tailored specifically to her readers’ needs. At just over two years old, and with over 15K followers on Instagram, The Lush List continues to deliver daily inspiration—from everyday style, to interior design and innovative, allergy-friendly recipes. Join us as we go Behind the Screen with Alicia Wood of The Lush List!
rewardStyle: For those who are just being introduced to The Lush List, would you tell us a little bit about your brand story and how The Lush List came to be?
Alicia Wood: The Lush List is a luxury lifestyle blog focused on Personal Style, Clean Beauty, Interiors, Food & Entertaining, and Travel. I am a huge list maker and information junkie. People have always asked me where I purchased things: from what I’m wearing to items in my home, from favorite travel destinations to where to eat or a favorite recipe. My friends often tease me, saying that if I don’t have the information someone needs, I can find it quickly. I founded The Lush List a little over two years ago to be an inspirational destination and information resource for others and to fulfill my need for a creative outlet. Before I had children, I had done a lot of different things: PR/Graphic Design for a Dallas sports team, had an event planning company, an invitation design company and did a lot of freelance graphic design and PR. I sold my interest in my last company to be a full-time mom to my three girls, a job I truly love.
The biggest impetus to starting the blog was sharing the information I have learned over the past 5 years about food allergies and finding the best way to feed my family safely but not sacrifice taste or traditions. Two of my girls have multiple and severe food allergies, including gluten, and people often asked me, “What in the world can you eat?” I had an email I sent to friends and acquaintances of newly diagnosed to help them navigate a very scary time. Because we need to know all of the ingredients in our products, clean beauty is not just a buzz-word here but something I’m truly serious about. Now, my website has become a trusted source for gluten-free and nut-free products in the areas of both food and clean beauty. Living in this “food-allergy” world can be very serious at times. Including more fun and frivolous verticals on the blog has allowed me to be creative and inspire others with fashion, entertaining and home décor ideas, travel, and beauty and share important food information and recipes as well.
rS: The Lush List’s ‘Wanderlust Wednesday’ column is devoted to travel tips – specifically where to go and what to bring. What is your favorite travel destination? And why? Of all of your travels, which destination inspired you (and your content) most?
AW: Anyone who reads The Lush List knows I truly love Mexico. I’m a warm weather girl, and I love the relaxed environment of a beach vacation. With my toes in the sand and a Serrano Margarita in my hand, I’m a happy girl! My husband is an “adventurer” and can’t sit still on vacation. We have to work hard to find a location for him to be active (read surf or ski) and for me to relax…with said margarita and a book. Punta Mita, Mexico is a place we both enjoy and our three girls love it as well. We have all learned to surf and snow ski as a result of his passion and are constantly looking for new locations for these family activities. Telluride and Whistler are our favorite mountain spots. You can find travel and packing guides for Telluride on the website, and Whistler is coming soon.
Of all the places I’ve been, I absolutely loved the Maldives. The beauty of the islands, the kindness of the people, and the crystal blue water are all unsurpassed by anywhere else I’ve been. My husband and I traveled there for our 20th anniversary, and it was the perfect combination of adventure and luxury. The Six Senses Laamu was everything we wanted: exotic, remote, luxurious and absolutely gorgeous…with surfing of course. Our stopover in Abu Dhabi was like nothing we’d every experienced. I’d love to go back to both places some day.
Two vacations we’ll never forget are family trips to Costa Rica and a week in London and Paris. In Costa Rica, we stayed in a house on a surf beach and surfed twice a day. It was a great time to truly unplug and invest in our relationships with no distractions. In London and Paris, it was exciting to experience these destinations through their eyes. Itineraries for these destinations are on the blog.
rS: It is no secret that you are quite the chef! With 30 different recipe categories on your site, ranging from Gluten Free Recipes to Pantry Staples, there are countless recipes for your readers to choose from! Where did you learn to cook? What was on your table during Thanksgiving? And which recipes are always a hit with your family?
AW: I get my love of clothes from my dad and my cooking skills from my mom. I come from a long line of cooks and food is an important part of our family life. I was fortunate enough to cook with two of my great-grandmothers, my grandmother, and, now, my mom. They were all great at different things and being in their kitchens is one of my favorite childhood memories. My mom and I have a great time cooking with my girls now. She is passing down the family dinner roll tradition to my three girls.
For Thanksgiving, we love a traditional menu with smoked turkey and all the trimmings. One of our favorite recipes, and one of my readers most loved recipes as well, is my Spiced Ginger Orange Cranberry Sauce. It is a great Christmas dish, too. The sweet citrus but bright cranberry flavor with a ginger kick perfectly balance a rich meal. It is also great as a topping on a baked brie wrapped in a pastry crust or on a turkey sandwich the next day…if there is any left! A seasonal margarita is always on the menu. Pomegranate Margaritas will be shaken to order this year.
As for favorite recipes, I’m lucky that I don’t have picky eaters. One favorite for a casual dinner and movie might is my Charcuterie board and using flavored salts on our popcorn. We all enjoy soups from my Honey Ginger Butternut Soup to Slow-Cooker Chicken Pho. My family also loves anything from the grill. You’ll find recipes from grilled artichokes and pizzas to the Best BBQ Chicken and steaks on my website. Pomegranate Guacamole is a new favorite.
And I can’t forget birthday cakes! Since we can’t eat things from a traditional bakery, I tend to go a bit overboard on the decorating. The girls love showing me photos of things they find for inspiration and a challenge!
rS: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? How does it apply to your career as a digital influencer? If you were to pass on a word of advice to influencers who are just getting started in the digital space, what would it be?
AW: The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is what I would say to anyone getting started in any business: Be who you are. Stay true to who you are and what you do. It’s easy for us all to get wrapped up in what others are doing in any industry, not just blogging. You were created for a purpose and need to fulfill that purpose. In doing so, you’ll be successful in work and in life.
“The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is what I would say to anyone getting started in any business: Be who you are.
rS: What, in your expert opinion, are the key decor pieces for creating an instagram-worthy holiday table-scape? What is your favorite trend when it comes to interior holiday decor?
AW: I think that layering and dimension are keys to a beautiful tablescape. This is as easily done with inexpensive items as with costly goods. I love to take a wide ribbon or piece of fabric and use it for a table runner. All of my chargers are from Target or World Market and no one is the wiser. Add seasonal flowers, fruits, or other items (and, of course, candles). Voila!
I only glance at trends when it comes to holiday décor. I think you should decorate for the holidays, and your home for that matter, in the colors that make you happy. I like my tree and other décor to enhance my home not compete with it. However, I love Nutcrackers, so I do use them every year. I have amassed a huge collection of ornaments and other holiday items over the years, so I have a good selection to choose from. Here, I also apply my layering rule. More is more, in the words of Tony Duquette! My family loves the traditional red and green décor, but I lean more to the metallic: silver and gold. I LOVED the fuchsia and turquoise theme I created one year, and believe it or not, my girls revolted! So funny to me with the pops of pink we have in our home year-round.
rS: At what point did you see The Lust List as a business venture rather than a hobby? How has your brand evolved with the digital trends over the past few years? And how do you see it evolving into the future?
AW: I began to realize my hope that this could be a business not long after I came on board with rewardStyle. The tools and support they provide are amazing! The support of my rewardStyle rep Courtney and others at rewardStyle have made a big difference in my being able to turn the blog into a real business. The tools are easy to use and have a clean, professional look. I used two different monetization platforms prior to rewardStyle. They were too cumbersome for me, and you needed to know how to code to create boutiques.
Since I began only two years ago, I was able to start a at a great time to maximize in the design and usability of my website. I hope to stay ahead of this curve as things change in the digital world. I see my travel vertical expanding, and may possibly add videos in the near future! My desire is to continue to create content that resonates with my readers and continues to inspire all of us.
“My desire is to continue to create content that resonates with my readers and continues to inspire all of us.”
rS: As a full-time influencer, you must be brainstorming and planning content around the clock. What is your secret to staying organized? How do you like to spend time when you get the chance unwind and unplug from the digital space?
AW: I am a visual person so I use a paper calendar for blog planning. I keep a notebook with me at all times to jot down ideas as they come to me. All of my appointments and deadlines I keep in my iCal with alerts, so I don’t miss anything. This also helps with keeping my calendar from conflicting with three carpools! My husband and I laughed at your unwind question…that is something that I’m constantly working on. I’m creative, so I’m always thinking and making. Even when we travel, I’m always thinking about what I can share with my readers to make their experience better if they were to travel there.
rS: The Lush List offers a range of holiday gift guides for everyone from foodies, to hostesses, to tweens and teens! What are your favorite rewardStyle widgets to use when creating ready-to-shop content and gift guides?
AW: Gifts are my love language, and I love to create Gift Guides for all gifting occasions. Nothing is more satisfying than discovering a unique and perfect gift for someone. Because most of my readers are using their mobile device or iPad, boutiques seem to work best for Gift Guides and for showcasing a round up of items, like “What to Wear to Holiday Parties”. Readers can simply click the item and be taken to the retailer’s website to purchase it.
rS: What are your favorite rewardStyle retailers for go-to holiday style? What is on your product wish list this season?
AW: I’m a Dallas girl, so Neiman Marcus is a go-to for me for style year round. Their holiday selections are almost unmatched. My other favorite stores for that fit my style are J.Crew, Shopbop and Nordstrom. As a shoe and handbag lover, these are always on my wish list…YSL Tributes in a new shade, anything Aquazzura, and a Celine, Saint Laurent, or Longchamp bag will do nicely, thank you! There is also a great bamboo handled hobo at Mark and Graham that may have my name on it, too.
rS: Since becoming a digital style influencer, what has been your biggest *pinch me* moment?
AW: Besides being featured here?! I think the biggest “pinch-me” moments have been being regrammed on a major retailer’s Instagram accounts and websites, having recipes shared by Cup4Cup (the gluten free flour of Chef Thomas Keller of French Laundry and Per Se), and contacted by a large retailer for my first paid fashion collaboration. The most recent is a collaboration with a major fabric company to redecorate my family room. I can’t wait to share this process and great product with my readers!
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