Hey there! Welcome to my page :)
My name is Monica and I’m a teacher, entrepreneur, & globe trotter. I am passionate about inspiring others to have the confidence to chase all of their dream jobs!
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”
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Read some tidbits about my life
Launching the Dream
The creation of Rebol Wear and my journey as an entrepreneur
Have you ever accomplished something you’ve been wanting to do forever? Well I was in the same boat about a month ago.
I went to college, pursued my career, and made the funds I needed to do other things in my life that I enjoyed, like traveling. But being the person I am, I always knew I didn’t want to stop there 🏹
As easy as it was to stay in my comfort zone and live out the rest of my life like this, I had a gut-feeling that this wasn’t the end for me. So, I continued to climb. I pursued and graduated with my master’s degree and another box was checked yet again.
It wasn’t until the spring of 2021 when I started thinking about all the other things I wanted and I was fueled by how much I’ve already accomplished in such a short amount of time at my age. I was looking for an outlet to express my creativity and gravitated towards social media almost naturally.
Likewise, I climbed the ladder again and opened my own small online boutique @rebolwear. Everything we offer is thoughtfully selected by me to reflect current trends and my personal off-the-clock style.
With this new business endeavor, I hope to inspire others to rebel against comfort and strive for more. We hope that Rebol Wear gives you the confidence you need to make moves and launch your own dream!✨
Fan-favorites you will love!
Stylish finds on the low for that fashionista on a budget
How to Create Trending Content
Simple ways to catch the attention of your audience and boost exposure
For those who have been active on social media for a while or are just starting out, we all know that presentation matters. Studies have shown that audience retention rate matters in the first 3 seconds of glancing at content. Like most of us, we are guilty of scrolling to the next thing as soon as we see it, because it wasn’t catchy - plain as that.
In my time on social media, I have learned a few simple tricks-of-the-trade when it comes to capturing AND HOLDING the attention of my audience. Read more below to find out how I do it.
1. Photos & Videos
By now we’ve all heard about the push for reels in order to go “viral” on IG. The real secret behind this trend is the purpose of the content itself. Before you post something, think about it’s INTENTION. This is the foundation of how you essentially hook your viewer and “reel” them in. What exactly is the purpose of what you’re sharing with your audience? Is it a how-to, is it a story time, whatever it is make that clear so that you attract the audience you’re intending and leave no room for interpretation. Be sure to use quality photos with good lighting & try to incorporate at least 1 transition to your video.
Whether you’re making IG reels, sharing a story, or talking with background noise, choose a song that is trending. Trust me this has helped boost my views like never before. Don’t know where to find these tunes? Use searches on Spotify or Apple Music like “Today’s Top Hits” or “USA Top 50”. Another key way to find trending audio is by scrolling through reels. If you’re hearing a lot of the same audio that’s because it’s trending! Click on the audio in the bottom left and utilize the “Save” feature on IG. Incorporate this audio on your own reels or stories when you can. Easy win!
Choosing fonts is super important when it comes to writing captions or headings for your photos and stories. Play with the highlighter tool and text animations that IG has to offer when posting content. One of my favorite ways to choose fonts lately has been through copying + pasting IG fonts outside of the ones that IG already gives you by default. Sites like lingojam.com, igfonts.io, and fancyfonts.top have been my go-to’s. Just make sure to choose fonts that are easy to read, this can easily deter the viewer from your content. No one has time and/or wants to figure out what you’re trying to say.
The all-star game changer to my content has been the use of hashtags. These little guys are a HUGE part of the views I’ve had on my IG photos, reels, and stories. YES I even said stories! I use hashtags that are relatable to what I am posting. In my stories, I simply type in my hashtags, hold, and drag off to the side so that they are not obstructing my post. This has boosted my view rate like CRAZY!
PRO TIP: Create and save a list of hashtags in your notes to use for future content.
A few hashtags in my notes include #ootd #entrepreneur #justforfun #weekendvibes and #mondaymotivation. What are yours?
Lastly, be incredibly strategic with the times that you post. Think about when you are usually scrolling through your phone. For me it’s lunch time or later in the evening - chances are other people are too! Knowing when your audience is active can really make or break the amount of exposure you’re getting. Views, likes, engagement all depend on KEY TIMING. IG makes it easy to get specific times to post. Navigate to your Professional Dashboard > See all insights > Total followers then scroll all the way down. And tada!
LIFEHACK: Pre-plan your posts for when you don’t have time by adding photos or videos to a folder on your phone or saving them to your IG drafts. Copy + paste your caption & hashtags and you’re golden✨
I hope this helps with your future posts!
How I Monetize My Social Media
Way less complicated than it’s made out to be
Up until now, I never really put much thought into using Instagram and Facebook as a source of income. I used to think it was a given for those who were already famous, or just had a huge following. (Anyone else with these thoughts exactly?) But when I really got to thinking about it, the people who I watch and follow all started somewhere, somewhere small and I’ve witnessed them grow myself. At this point, my curiosity was officially peaked. I needed to know how they did it, and this is what I discovered…
I kid you not, and this seems quite obvious reflecting on it now, but monetizing your social media starts by being as YOU as YOU already are! There are too many people trying to be like other people. Stick to your personality, and be genuine. People may choose to follow you for a variety of reasons, just as you would to them. Let one of their main reasons for keeping up with you be your authenticity.
As with any system, there is an algorithm that needs to be harped on. And while social media is constantly changing and evolving, you NEED to adapt. One of the simplest ways to keep up with the algorithm is to post every single day. I personally do this with a mixture of stories (videos & standstill), trending music & hashtags, reels, igtvs, and posting to my photo grid. The more consistent you are with your posts, the more (for lack of a better word) relevant you are AND the more exposures you get to existing & potential followers.
3. Make connections
Be comfortable speaking in front of your audience. Interacting through polls or questionnaires is a great way to boost the engagement and build a sense of community on your page. How will you get people to connect with you? Well, are you a great storyteller? An artist? A musician? HIGHLIGHT THIS on your page. The larger the following you have, the bigger you grow! Adding onto my previous point, utilize hashtags to draw crowds of people who are interested in the content you are posting.
4. Have fun
Social media can be daunting, especially when you’re first starting out and don’t have an exact idea of what you’re doing. IT’S OKAY! Just go with it and pretend like you do, that’s the fun part about figuring out something new. Make content that you enjoy and would actually watch, listen to, or read. There are no rules! Social media is a FREE platform that lets you do just about anything you want over wifi, so why not make money off of it by doing what you love?!
I Tried the No Makeup Challenge and This Happened
Who knew that not wearing makeup could change more than just your physical appearance?
Who knew that not wearing makeup could change more than just your physical appearance? I went a whole week without a touch of makeup, and I'll never be the same again.
I learned the importance of embracing my natural beauty at a very young age, and to say the least, this practice was not an easy one. Sure, I was a cute kid—as every kid is before puberty finally hits—but the real challenge was learning to embrace this new kind of “beauty” that took the form of acne scars, designer eye bags, and uneven skin tone that I was ever so blessed with in middle school. In return, this trauma brought me self-esteem issues, and as much as I tried to convince my mother (a natural-beauty queen) that concealer and foundation could make me feel beautiful, she never bought into it.
My mother has always been a tough cookie to crack, but I don’t believe I could have learned to look in the mirror and feel content with what I saw in the reflection if it weren’t for her. And now that I’m older, these blemishes are not as profound as they once were, but in the quiet moments to myself, I still appreciate the days I spend lounging with a bare face.
"I needed to regain a positive outlook on my physical appearance by viewing these "problem areas" in an asset perspective"
For spring break, I decided to take full advantage of this perplexed nakedness and root back to my pre-pubescent self. In those seven days, I chose to let go of makeup and all the reasons I chose to wear it: approval from others, double-takes from strangers, self-worth, etc. I figured that it was time to refresh the way I viewed myself—I needed to regain a positive outlook on my physical appearance by viewing these “problem areas” in an asset perspective as opposed to a deficit perspective.
On vacation, I simply wore moisturizer and sunscreen on my face, and as a result, I was convinced that my skin had thanked me. I wasn’t quite sure if the acne scars started to fade quicker, the darkness under my eyes appeared brighter, and if my skin tone actually evened itself out, but I like to think that scaling back on the makeup and allowing myself to rekindle the beauty of my blemishes was just simply the result of getting used to/loving the way that I looked.
"I am glad to have found that bit of confidence in myself"
Moreover, the slight self-esteem issues that I still continue struggle with, were helped in an alternative makeup-free way: The strangers that I have met while on vacation—who had no idea how different I would look with makeup on—thought I was beautiful: Just naturally glowy, blemishes and all, they thought I was beautiful. And this was just a bonus on top of the way I had already been feeling about myself. It’s been a week since I’ve returned from my trip, and I actually still prefer myself without makeup for the most part, and I am glad to have found that bit of confidence in myself. It’s really true what they say, when you are at peace with yourself, you just glow naturally.
Finally, I will continue incorporating the practice of the “no makeup challenge” for the seasons to come. I believe that taking the time to truly appreciate every aspect of your physical appearance will ultimately help you find peace and balance with yourself. Good luck on your own makeup-free journey!
When Life Gives You a Backpack
I am a travel bug in its truest form
I can’t help the excitement of planning my next trip. If there is one thing for sure, I am a travel bug in its truest form so sticking around in one location for periods of time, isn’t exactly my cup of tea.
Last summer, I had the privilege to not only live and work in a foreign country, but backpack to just some of my dream destinations all over the European continent as well. For two months, I spent weekends at a time packing and unpacking a bag with just some of my basic necessities, and hit the ground running to 5 different countries and 10 different cities.
Along the way, I learned many things about life that can only be taught from such an eye-opening experience. Here, I have compiled a list of the Top 3 Lessons I got out of this minimalist exploration style. I hope that this article inspires you to seek a life worth living and learning about outside your comfort zone, let alone your community. Enjoy!
1. Leave your worries behind
Trying something that you aren’t used to could be one of two extremes: fear or enjoyment. Bottom line is, it’s practically impossible to have the answer to everything, so stop worrying about what hasn’t even happened yet.
I checked "facing my fear of the dark and bats" off my to-do list when I tried underground caving for the first time in Budapest. Had a great time scaling over, under, and through rocks for 2 miles and would highly recommend this experience to anybody!
2. Take risks
Someone once said that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take—and it’s true. What doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you, so don’t deprive yourself from growing as a person. If you end up not liking what you tried, good news…you don’t have to do it again. But hey, at least now you know.
Stuffed my bag and tried my luck with a last minute flight to the city of love. I ended up at the Tour de Eiffel around midnight and um...WHAT A BEAUT. Honestly, wouldn't trade this moment for anything in the world. A dream come true to say the least!
3. Be weightless
This idea of bringing only a backpack holds the intention that you will be traveling lightly, but here’s the thing—weight can take physical and mental forms. Go easy on the physical weight and pack on the mental weight AKA knowledge and positive ~vibes~.
Spent the afternoon exploring historic museums in Berlin. I can say that I gained a lot of mental weight that day from learning so much about German culture and traditions. By far, they have some of the most impressive exhibits I have ever seen!
How to Live in a Big City on a Small Budget
I was ready for a change of scenery from the suburban lifestyle I grew up in
I moved to the Windy City when I began college. Being a natural born busy-bee, I immediately fell in love with the 9-5 shuffle, food, night life, art, and diversity that make up this unique metropolis.
As every true Chicagoan knows, living large comes with a cost—literally. With all the amenities that anyone could ever want stationed on just about every street corner, I caught on quite quickly that living out here costs a pretty penny.
Already being a broke college student as is, I figured that if I really wanted to stay in the downtown vicinity, I would have to be proactive about making ends meet. Here are 5 of My Top Tricks-of-the-Trade that have allowed me to afford this urban lifestyle.
1. Pick up a (fun) part-time job
For a few years, working in restaurants was what really put change in my pockets. It allowed me to have a sense of ownership, and ultimately made me more cautious with how I needed to be spending and saving my earnings—which is a must in this pricey city. The fact I had fun working in this fast-paced environment was just a bonus.
2. Double dip
This is a good one to keep in mind when you’re shopping. The tax is Chicago can really kill your wallet if you don’t find ways to be a strategic with your money. Try to buy things that will serve for multiple purposes. For instance, my backpack is used to hold my books for school and my groceries after school. This trick also saves you from spending $ on a plastic bag!
3. Eat smarter
One of the best things about living in this area of the Midwest is that you have the accessibility to authentic food in just about every neighborhood you venture into. Don’t settle for fast food when you could get the quality of a home-cooked meal at a local café or bistro. Though the cost might be little more, you definitely get what you pay for.
4. CTA everywhere
Not only is taking the subway one of the fastest ways to get around the city, it’s also the cheapest. Sure you could “Uber everywhere,” but a couple dollars here and a couple dollars there really start to rack up. The CTA can get you anywhere you need to go without breaking the bank. Plus, it’s reliable (more times than not).
5. Fun for the free
The great thing about living in the city is that there is an abundance of free and low-cost activities to keep you busy until days' end. You can’t put a price on the most beautiful sunrise over Lake Michigan, or calmness of taking shade under a tree after walking through Lincoln Park Zoo, or the adrenaline rush of racing alongside traffic on a bike, or even just catching a breath of fresh air at Oak Street Beach.
7 Ways to Become a Better Person Tomorrow
Tomorrow's are the second chances in life that we often overlook
Never let yourself believe that when the going gets rough, it's the end all be all. Tomorrow's are the second chances in life that we often overlook.
Some days we do things we aren’t proud of or say things we don’t mean, and unfortunately, second chances in this world aren’t a luxury. In situations like this, it's easy to bash your mere-human flaws and feel completely defeated. Luckily, there's a silver-lining: the amount of chances that you can give yourself are limitless. If today is not your day, don't sweat it.
There is a grace that comes with leaving yourself room for improvement so that you can strive again tomorrow. See below just how to become that better version of yourself one step at a time.
1. Smile more often
A genuine smile is more than a reflection of your happiness. It improves your mood and has the ability to speak a hundred words all on its own. In addition, smiling can boost your confidence, ultimately making you look more approachable. So basically...Look good, feel good, am I right?
2. Be open-minded
Naturally, everyone gravitates toward the comfort of certain values and beliefs that they feel very strongly about. This is good, but it also doesn’t hurt to broaden your perspective. Take a chance and challenge the way you look at things by learning to become more comfortable in your most uncomfortable zone. Trust that the experiences from this process are meant to leave you with an enlightened outlook on life.
The trick to lending a listening ear is to be particular about not only what you listen to, but who you listen to. There isn’t anyone in this world who understands you more than yourself, so absorb as much as you can from the guidance of those you deem wise and trustworthy, and take the time to evaluate your thoughts from there.
4. Practice forgiveness
Sometimes finding it in your heart to forgive someone (or even yourself) is difficult. Understand that while the future cannot change the past, the present can indeed change the future. Besides the fact of who was ultimately in the wrong, harness your strength to be the bigger person. Doing so may take longer than anticipated, but know that a positive mind eventually leads to a positive reality.
5. Stay humble
Everything happens for a reason. There is no way to ensure that the certainty of the people, experiences, and opportunities in your life now are guaranteed forever, so if not today, make moves tomorrow! Be grateful for the lessons that consistency and inconsistency in your life has brought you, and be sure to cherish the blessings that are yet to come.
6. Learn to laugh at yourself
You will be surprised to know that everything is better with a grain of salt. Inevitably, there will be days when sh*t hits the fan, but roll with the punches in the meantime by laughing along the way. You will see that having a sense of humor can make your life a bit easier.
7. Live in the moment
Finally, they say that in order to live the life you love, you must love the life you live. So make sure you surround yourself with people who add to your life, not take away from it. Live for the moments (big or small) doing what you love with people you love even more.
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