Taylor Hage, the Minnesota-based fashion blogger 'gramming under the guise of @live.love.chardonnay is proving you don't have to live in a big city to turn out double tap-worthy pictures and a steady social media following. With a knack for making fashion look fierce in freezing weather and her Instagram husband by her side, Taylor also just started YouTube-ing. To find out exactly how she went from working under a human biology degree to full-time blogging, what three things she thinks YouTube noobs need to get their channel up and running, and more, keep reading for our interview with Taylor. 

OUAI Crush Taylor Hage

Job Title: Fashion Blogger

Neighborhood: North Loop neighborhood in Minneapolis, MN 

Where are you from originally?
I was born in Chicago, but grew up in a small town in Wisconsin. 

How did you get started as a blogger, and what were you doing before blogging became a full-time job? 
I started my blog because I felt as though there was a lot of pressure on me to dress like everyone else, even though it was not my personal style. This blog was a way that I could help other women who were maybe in the same boat. I wanted to create a place where women could stay up to date on the latest and greatest trends. This way they can explore fashion and dress confidently, while expressing their own style.

My degree is in human biology and I am a total science nerd! My last job was working with children and adults with varying medical conditions and developmental disorders. I would develop their plan of care with the family and/or client and coordinate their services (which took place in their home). 

Do you think living in a big city like LA or London is necessary to become a successful blogger?
I do not necessarily think you need to live in a big city to be successful blogger. Being a successful blogger is determined by hard work and dedication. However, I do believe you need to be willing to visit cities like LA, New York, and London. It is important to build relationships in those larger cities and have a presence there, even if do not live there. Larger cities have more opportunities for fashion bloggers to meet with PR companies, attend events, and to network with other bloggers and brands. For example, I live in Minneapolis, but stayed in LA for a little over a month this winter. This was a huge opportunity to network and reach a larger audience. 
OUAI Crush Taylor Hage
For aspiring bloggers who don’t live in big cities, what tips would you give them for making their blog/Instagram stand out?
Just because you do not live in a big city, doesn’t mean that you can’t be successful as a blogger. In order to stand out, it is so important be confident, be unique, and be yourself. People are going to gravitate towards someone who they can relate to, find inspiration from and gain value from. That is why being genuine is a must! Another tip is to use high quality photos that will pop on the explore feed. There are so many aspiring bloggers, but only the people who stay committed and dedicated will be successful (no matter where you live). 

Can you tell us a little bit about your morning routine?
After waking up, I rinse my face with water then apply Brevena Daily Moisturizer. Recently, I started using Skin Authority Reviving Eye Brightener and Joanna Vargas Daily Serum. After these few products I then apply my makeup. I like to keep my skin routine simple.  

In the shower, I use Aveda Damage Remedy Shampoo and Conditioner. Before I style my hair, I massage Aveda Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair into my hair then blow dry my hair. I usually start by using my fingers to comb through my hair when blowdrying, but then switch to a round brush once my hair is slightly damp. My bangs sometimes have a mind of their own, so they are usually first to style. I have slightly wavy hair, so I usually just brush my bangs down toward my nose while blowdrying them. Once my bangs are dry and in place, I use a small amount of OUAI Dry Shampoo (which I recently started using) to give them a more piecey look. That is pretty much all I do to style my bangs. How I style the rest of my hair, really depends on the day. Somedays, I throw my hair into a topknot, add messy waves, or wear it half down with a bow.

What’s the secret to making clothes look so cute in freezing Minnesota weather?
The first tip is adding layers! Everyday the weather can be a surprise in Minnesota. I like to wear layers so that I can still look trendy, while being prepared for the changing weather. It is also helpful to have a few statement coats in your closet. This way your coat will add to your look, instead of covering it up. 

OUAI Crush Taylor HageWe’re obsessed with your bangs—please tell us how you style them!
Having bangs has definitely added a little time to styling my hair. After waking up, I usually have pretty crazy bed head so I start by wetting down my bangs with water. I then style them with a round brush while using my T3 Cura Hair Dryer. I usually use a little bit of dry shampoo to finish up the look. 

Who cuts and colors your hair?
Javier Juárez, from Aveda Minneapolis, has been cutting and coloring my hair for the past year. He does such a great job and I love his hair painting! I am so lucky to have found such a talented stylist in Minneapolis. 

You recently started YouTube-ing, congrats! From your experience, what are 3 things an aspiring vlogger needs to create a successful video?
First, it is super important to invest in a good camera. You will want to make sure that it can accommodate the type of video that you are envisioning for your channel. I am currently using a Fuji X-T20, which is a mirrorless camera. I chose this camera for it’s compact size and quality images. In the future, I will invest in a better vlogging camera, but for now this is getting the job done. I have also found that a tripod (I use JOBY GorillaPod Tripod) and microphone (I use the Rode VideoMic GO) are essential to making a quality video.

For video editing, I have just been using iMovie (which is great for beginners), but I will be switching to Premier or Final Cut soon. I recently also started using Epidemic Sound for music and sound effects. 
OUAI Crush Taylor HageWe noticed you have an Instagram husband—how do you guys divide your time, and keep Instagram/shooting separate from your down time?
My husband is seriously the best. We work together every day and spend almost all of our time together, but it still important for us to both have our time to ourselves. Jason loves to work out and spends his morning at the gym and I start my morning a little later while going through my emails and drinking a cup of coffee. It is super important for us to have 1:1 time as well where we do not talk about work and can spend quality time together. It is all about work-life balance. 

Do you have any favorite apps for making Instagram pictures look extra pretty?
I am currently using 4 different apps to edit my photos. I start by using snapseed to slightly adjust the lighting. I then transfer the photo into Lightroom to really bring the photo to life by increasing the clarity of it. I am thinking of purchasing presets to add into Lightroom as well. Depending on the photo, I might use VSCO to add a filter (it really just depends on the lighting). Last, but not least, I transfer the photo into Facetune for final edits. I like to use the detail option to really make certain objects/items pop!

You have a friend in town for 48 hours—where do you tell them to go?
Minneapolis has a lot to offer. My favorite time of year is the late spring and early summer. You can spend an entire day on the biking trails and hanging out at the lakes. If outdoors isn’t your thing, there are also some great shopping locations like the Mall Of America and the Galleria. You can also check out all my favorite coffee shops. Minneapolis has some seriously cute spots to get a delicious latte. 

What’s one thing you wish you knew before you started blogging?
I wish I would have known how hard it was to grow my Instagram and blog. It takes a lot hard work and dedication to be a blogger. It truly is a world where only the strong survive.

OUAI Crush Taylor Hage

Follow Taylor on Instagram: @live.love.chardonnay