by MIKE CHAIKEN
There is a little bit of Connecticut with a good dose of New York City in the fashion blogosphere these days.
And it “Happens for a Reason.”
Actually, that is the name of the blog (www.HappensforaReason.com) written by Bristol, Connecticut’s Marisa Barnard.
We caught up with the working model, Miss Porter’s School, Farmington, Conn. grad, and Connecticut College, New London, Conn. grad via email.
This is what she had to say about “Happens for a Reason.”
CTFashionMag: What inspired you to launch a blog?
Marisa: A life goal of mine is to be a published author and publish a self-help book. I took my first creative writing course when I was 13, and that’s when I knew I wanted to be a writer. Since then, writing has always been an outlet for me. After high school, I decided that writing was something I wanted to someday pursue as a career. I went into Connecticut College as an English major, but ended up changing course and left with a degree in psychology instead. So writing took a back seat except for occasional articles that I wrote for Her Campus, a college online newspaper of sorts. After college, I began keeping a journal and realized how much I missed writing and how putting ideas and feelings down on paper was an outlet for my creativity and self-expression. As my interest in writing blossomed, I knew that I wanted to write about an array of different things.
After college, I moved to NYC and my first job was working for a small travel bag designer. I wore many hats in the position, and one of them was to reach out to and maintain existing relationships with bloggers. This was slightly ahead of the blogger phenomenon and before the role of Instagram and social media marketing began to skyrocket. At that point, I had a Tumblr and a somewhat artsy Instagram I was very proud of. I also loved photography and being both in front of (as a model) and behind the camera. I remember my boss telling me that I should become a blogger. My friends had expressed the same sentiment for years, but for me it was a secret dream. About a year later, that dream turned into a reality when I launched my blog, “Happens For A Reason.”
CTFM: Why a blog about fashion?
M: For me, fashion is fun and a creative outlet to express myself! I moved to NYC to model, and fashion has always been a passion of mine. I enjoy wearing and modeling all the latest designs and styles, and conveying the latest trends in both pictures and reviews to my readers. My blog “Happens For a Reason” is a lifestyle and fashion blog. It started out as a review of fun and trendy things to do in NYC, and turned into a melting pot of sorts. “Happens for a Reason” is unique in that it merges fashion, graffiti art, and the streetscapes and iconic landmarks of NYC, along with spiritual and motivational posts to inspire my followers.
CTFM: What is your particular focus when you write your blog entries?
O: My focus is to be transparent about my feelings and past experiences and to combine my words with photographs that capture the latest fashions and trends. I launched my blog in August 2016, mainly focusing on the fashion component. It wasn’t until January of this year when I felt that I needed to give my readers more of a look at my own experiences and to share my stories. At that point, I gave up my fear of being vulnerable and I actually began to write. Fear held me back from putting my thoughts down on paper for the longest time. Fear even held me back from starting a blog for the longest time!
I realized that there’s something beautiful about writing from your heart and revealing yourself. The blog is my outlet for my feelings, thoughts, and stories I may not share with other people right off the bat. I’m a pretty private person, but I don’t want to be; I want to be an open book. My blog is a glimpse into the person I am deep down and my own self-disclosure. The blog allows me to communicate my thoughts and feelings while growing on a personal level. It allows me to be genuine, honest, open, and above all, transparent.
CTFM: How would you describe your blog persona?
O: Spiritual being mixed with NYC chic.
CTFM: Who do you see as your reader?
M: What I write about is timeless, and I know anyone at any point in his or her life would enjoy reading it. I know I typically target the 18 to 25 yearold audience, as this is my age group, but I know people of all ages read my blog because I hear feedback from many different individuals of all ages.
CTFM: How do you determine what to write about?
M: It’s really hard for me to just sit down and write. I genuinely have to be inspired and sort out my own feelings first, since what I write about can sometimes really touch me and be overwhelming to put into words.
Usually my peers inspire me. I get a lot of ideas from having the more meaningful conversations with friends that I actually used to shy away from. Once upon a time, I resisted diving into more meaningful topics, but these are the types of conversations that now feed my soul. I will literally whip out my phone and take notes on my casual conversations with my friends if a topic or thought strikes me. I noticed that if I’m afraid to write about something, I should probably be writing about it. One major key I have learned is to follow and surrender to resistance, because it only holds you back.
CTFM: What’s fun about putting your thoughts down and sharing them with the world?
M: In a world that’s trying to make me be someone else, it’s fun to just genuinely be me. No holding back.
CTFM: You also have plenty of photographs to go with the entries. What’s fun about sharing yourself to the world at large?
M: I love that I can show off all of my hard work in every image. There is so much that goes into every blog post—clothing, accessories, makeup, hair, location, time of day, photographer, and I’m in charge of how it all turns out. Seeing the final photos from my photographers is so rewarding! They all make me look good! Shout out to Devon The Leveraged Look, Tiffany Chen Photography, and Josh Lobel Photography. My photographers are all very unique and every shoot is a combination of hard work, creativity and a lot of laughs. We are all passionate about our work and enjoy working together which makes the end result so rewarding.
CTFM: What’s been your favorite piece of feedback you’ve gotten from someone who read you.
M: I constantly hear the phrase, “I wish I knew this when I was your age.” Every time I hear it, I’m grinning from ear to ear. It excites me because I know I have so much ahead of me to look forward to. If I can touch someone’s life, even if it’s just for a moment, it makes it all worthwhile. Above all, it’s rewarding because it confirms that I’m on the right journey.
CTFM: What is the long term goal for your blog?
M: Ideally, the blog will help me smoothly transition from online blog to published book one day. Blogging has allowed me to publish my writing for the first time, which is something that really excites me and it’s preparing me to write my first book. I enjoy the creative aspect of writing and I am hoping that my message is something that others are interested in reading.
The most inspiring thing about my blog is that it is my own business, and I absolutely love it. Being your own boss is empowering. Long term, I want to be able to travel for my blog and write more pieces about traveling. I have such a passion for adventure, and I can see myself basically living on a plane with my apartment in NYC just being a home base of sorts. I also feel more grounded and connected when I’m outside taking photos—after all, who wouldn’t want to blog from a beach in the Caribbean?!
You can follow Marisa Barnard on Instagram, @marisa_barnard https://www.instagram.com/marisa_barnard/
You can also find her on Facebook: Marisa Barnard, https://www.facebook.com/marisabarnard.happensforareason/?ref=bookmarks