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Meet Liana! She’s this month’s Featured Fashionista and the creative genius behind the blog “Finding Femme.”
As you can see, Liana has the most incredible sense of style and is a natural both in front of and behind the camera. She is one of the very first bloggers I ever started following, and I have always been blown away by each and every post Liana publishes. She is talented in so many different areas…from writing to singing to photography and even cycling! Her photos are out-of-this-world beautiful and her writing is always a joy to read.
I also want to mention, that I learn so much from Liana’s posts on photography. And her post on how to use Lightroom helped me so much – I use her Lightroom preset on the majority of the photos you see on my blog! And much to my delight, Liana is sharing even more photography tips in this post! Check out her Q&A below to learn even more about this lovely lady!
Q&A With Liana
Tell me a little about yourself.
Liana: By day I work in student academic support at a university and I help students navigate the transition into university life. I’m very good at what I do for a job, but I’m also passionate about writing, singing and acting. My usual day swings between that normal 9-5 life and an indulgence in the arts outside of that. That includes a good dose of reading.
How would you describe your blog, “Finding Femme?”
Liana: The current tagline of it is ‘the lifelong pursuit of elegance’. While on the surface that might seem like ‘wearing nice clothes’, it’s about a lot more than that. I see elegance as being honest, having the courage to grow, accepting who you have been in the past, and facing challenges with dignity. Clothes are a big part of all of those things. I know that if I wear the right clothes, I have courage. I know some clothes connect me to my family history or to my past selves. I know some clothes help me shape the person I want to become. I write on Finding Femme, too. I discuss ideas that help me question and observe the world around me. It’s like a public reflective journal, as I learn more about who I am and the world around me. A great example of this is a blog post in which I discussed my insecurities with my weight and how, as a relatively thin person, I felt I didn’t have a right to talk about those insecurities. You can have a look at it here.
There’s also a definite exploration of photography, which is starting to become bolder. I love it, and I love sharing my processes with other curious minds.
How did you start blogging? And what inspired the name “Finding Femme?”
Liana: There was no pivotal moment for me to begin blogging. I’ve always written, because I love writing, so blogging came naturally. When I started doing style posts that was very different to what I’d done before. I started doing that only 2 years ago and it makes me really happy.
The name I have had since I first started my blog in 2010 or 2009. I can’t remember the exact date I started the domain. I can’t put my finger on why I chose the name, but it made me think of my elegant great grandmother. It also suggested a journey, which I liked because it gave me room to develop.
What would you say your favorite blog post on Finding Femme is and why?
Oooh. This is going well back in the archives. Possibly this one.
I’d been studying to become a Library Technician and as part of my study I went on placement to the library in my old high school. I loved every minute of it, working with the brilliant library staff who worked there still from when I’d studied at the school. One of them I spent the most time with and she saved jobs for me to teach me how to do things. She saved this copy of Harry Potter to show me how to repair a book with a broken spine. I photographed the process because I had so much fun.
We talked all day. She was insightful, elegant and clever. I knew she was sick, as she had talked about her chemotherapy to me. But she was fine. She was well enough to be at work. Her health was improving after the tough journey she had had so far. After some months when I was back at work and finished my placement, I was scrolling through Facebook and happened to see a status update from a teacher at the same school who had been to a funeral that day. I sat on the floor of my lounge room, staring at these photos, and I sobbed. It’s unlike any of my new posts. It’s nothing like what my blog is like now. I still can’t remove it. I love the moment it captured so much. It reminds that for that brief moment, I was able to cherish time with her.
I also remember a past blog post on Finding Femme where you hosted a fundraiser for the Amniotic Fluid Embolism Foundation. Would you be able to tell us a little about what AFE is and why this is a cause that is important to you?
Liana: Yes! That was the baby shower for my sister. (Click here to see the post.)
Ten years ago my family lost my older sister and nephew to an Amniotic Fluid Embolism. She is a twin, and it was her twin sister’s baby shower we fundraised at. At the time when she died we had never heard of an AFE. We had no idea that at the time it was the number one, or close to number one, cause of maternal death in Australia, the UK and the USA. Those are developed nations! We have medicine! How are women and children still dying in childbirth?
The fact is, we don’t know. There is no research that can tell us yet. Most people find out about AFE when their family experiences it. The risk is 1 in 40,000. That’s higher than the risk of death from a plane crash, but flights begin with emergency procedures for ‘what if’? There are no standard emergency AFE procedures in most places.
The way to change this is obviously through education and through funding research. There is one foundation in the world that deals with this and that is AFE Foundation. They work from all effective angles in order to inform medical professionals, to highlight issues with maternal death reporting procedures and to fund critical research. You can find out more here.
Changing gears a bit now, the posts on Finding Femme are usually focused on style and fashion. How would you describe your personal style? And have you always been so stylish?
Liana: Hahahah! What a wonderful compliment. Thank you! I think my style is always being refined. It’s a collaboration between vintage and modern. I think one of the most powerful things I could say about my personal style is that it is mine. I own it. That ownership is everything. If I dress powerful, I’m owning powerful. If I dress fierce, I’m owning fierce. If I dress whimsical…
I don’t always dress in one style. I tend to celebrate all the sides of me there are and I can promise you there are some sides to me I’ve yet to share on the blog. It’s kind of a ‘who do I feel like today?’ thing.
What would you say your go-to look is? And what is your favorite clothing store?
Liana: Gah! This is a hard question. My go to look is chic. I tend to wear this outfit more than any other.
It’s simple, elegant, a bit minimalist, feminine and comfortable. This skirt is the most worn thing in my wardrobe. I don’t like washing it because I want to wear it when it’s hanging to dry (probably a bit disgusting, but we’re all friends here). I style it with everything from Cath Kidston runners and a Taylor Swift t-shirt to a bikini top and sun hat. I guess, since it comes from Modcloth, that makes Modcloth my favourite brand. I do love a few, though. I shop a lot at Review Australia. I also love Cue (another Australian brand), Chicwish, Hello Holiday, ASOS, Unique Vintage and Kate Spade to name a few.
The photographs you feature on your blog are always breathtaking. Were you experienced in photography before starting Finding Femme?
Liana: Gah! Thanks! Well, technically no. I got more experienced in photography before I started the outfit posts. Here are some of the first photos I ever started taking.
It was an enjoyment of photography that got me into the rest of it. I went and did a course on how to use my digital camera. I took photos all the time every day. I travelled around Europe with my camera and then it broke. So I bought a better camera. I took even more photos. Then I bought more lenses. I asked questions. I stayed curious. What my blog has given me the most experience with photography-wise is how to pose and making me really efficient at photo production. I’ve done a little post about posing photos here.
I’ve also done a little post for those using Lightroom here.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give to anyone interested in bettering their photography?
Liana: Light. Is. Critical. If you study the light, look at how it falls, look at where it isn’t, look at the colour of it, look for good light, look until it’s second nature to think about it in your photography. Here’s an example of a shoot I did with my sister where we worked everything around the light.
If everything in your photos is saturated by light, you don’t get the emotion and depth you might feel in what you’re trying to capture. Try having light to one side, or having darkness to one side. That’s a good place to start especially with portraits.
You are also an absolute natural in front of the camera. How would you say you became so comfortable posing for photos?
Liana: Practice. Editing the photos helped too. Eventually, I started to feel like I knew what it would look like from the perspective of the camera. The blog post I mentioned earlier has a little write up on it.
I am always so impressed with your cycling photos! Especially as you are wearing heels in them. Are there any tricks to cycling in heels? And are there any particular heels that are better for cycling?
Liana: Yes! I’m glad you’re excited about this. Riding in most shoes is really easy because you ride with your toe on the pedal. The only time shoes would be an issue is if the sole is slippery, or they have an embellishment that might get caught in the chain. Even flat shoes can have those faults. It’s actually easier to ride in heels than it is to walk in them because you don’t have to think about the heel at all. I like to think that any shoes I can walk in I can ride it. I’ve done a blog post about it here.
Your hometown of Ballarat, Australia is featured on your blog frequently – it sounds like such an incredible place to live! What are a few of your favorite things about Ballarat?
Liana: A real winter. Australia is really spoilt for good weather and most Australian’s joke that Ballarat is the coldest place in the country. That title is kind of unfair since it’s not even close to being the furthest south part of the country. It doesn’t even snow there. But, I really like that transition between seasons. Change helps keep your soul seeing things with new eyes, and getting four distinct seasons in a year helps that. I also love how small it is, how close it is to Melbourne, how lovely most of the residents are. It’s got a community feel to it.
You have also mentioned you are a professional singer! I don’t know how you find time to sleep! Could you tell us a little more about being a singer and the genre of music you sing?
Liana: My gosh! You have done your research. Haha! Well, I sing multiple genres. I’ve had the most experience singing rock, but now I’m moving into more technical genres like jazz. I love singers like Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. I sometimes fill in for local bands when their singers get sick. I’ve been singing since I was about four or five. I am good at a rock growl but I also love deep soul notes. I write my own stuff sometimes too, usually on piano or guitar.
Do you have any advice you would like to share for someone who is looking to start a blog of their own?
Liana: Commit to it. Set yourself a goal of doing one post per week. Have one day be your blog post day and always share on that designated day. Use a consistent format with your posts, too. If you’re writing recipes, do that each time. If you’re into clothes, do an outfit each time. That regularity will do a couple of things. Firstly, you’ll get practice at what it is you want to produce. Secondly, you’ll have people want to come back because they know what to expect from you. Showing that consistent theme of content really helps build your readership. As you get better at what you do, people will want to come back and see how you’ve done it better the next time!
Any final thoughts you would like to add?
Liana: I feel like I’ve written an epic amount, so now I feel bad about adding anything else! I’m so excited that you asked me to share this post on your blog, Lindsey. We started blogging at a similar time so it’s been nice kind of growing with you. I know you already follow me on everything (thank you!!), but if anyone else wants to see more of what I’m interested in you can follow me on:
Thank you so much, Liana! And don’t forget to checkout Liana’s blog by clicking here!