When I first started, I honestly thought no one would care what I had to say. However, month after month, I see more and more people visiting my website and reading my words and I am blown away. Although it isn’t easy, you just have to keep chasing your dreams. People do care. You do matter. Your community is out there. You just have to be brave enough to put yourself out there and keep going when times get tough.
At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s wellbeing, is diametrically opposed to high achievement and high performance in one’s career. The stress, mental energy, long hours, lack of restful sleep and preoccupation that result from a high-achievement life seem to directly inhibit wellness. And yet, in order to sustain the creativity, flexibility, mental acuity and resilience that are necessary for high performance, wellness and wellbeing of the mind, body and soul are also mandatory. So how do we achieve both? This is the question I’m hoping to answer through conversations with high-achieving leaders and influencers who are practicing their own philosophies about how to maintain their wellbeing.
As a part of our series about “Social Media Influencers Share Their Top Self Care, Wellness, and Beauty Tips, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tiffany Ascensio.
Tiffany Ascensio is a Kansas City girl with a big-city style and is the face and voice behind the blog Always In High Heels (www.alwaysinhighheels.com). She is a Research Analyst and Stylist with a talent for predicting which trends are going to be hot for the coming seasons. Tiffany is a dog mom to a two-year-old Yorkie-Poo puppy named Mila who also loves lip gloss and skincare. Throughout Always In High Heels, you’ll find inspiration to help you become your best self. Both inside and out. Not only will you find the latest product reviews, beauty and wellness trends, and style tips, but you’ll also get a big dose of empowerment and encouragement. Tiffany is here to help you take trends from the runway to the real world, from Instagram to in person, and from supermodel to supermom. All while wearing high heels.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory of how you came upon this career path and to where you are today?
Of course! I’m so happy to help. I began my blog — Always In High Heels — two and a half years ago, after my friends and family encouraged me to share my beauty and wellness tips with the world. I have a background in Market Research, Brand Strategy, and Photo Shoot Styling. So I live in a world where data and analytics coexist with pretty things like shoes, makeup, and flowers! In fact, I use my consumer knowledge to predict upcoming trends and which new beauty product launches might just be a big hit. Although I talk a lot about beauty products and trends, I always encourage my readers to be the best version of themselves — with or without makeup!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Absolutely! I have several. My friend Sasha helped me set up my website and gave me some “pro tips” to get me started. My blog would absolutely not be the same without her. I also have a huge family and they are my biggest cheerleaders. Most of all my parents. Some of my favorite stories about my parents and my blog revolve around how much my blog posts have crept into our daily lives. One night my dad sent me a text that they were watching Dancing With The Stars and that Carrie Ann had great winged eyeliner that night and that he wondered if she used a stamp. (I had recently written a review and created a tutorial on how to use a winged eyeliner stamp.) And while our family was seeing the new Star Wars movie together, my mom leaned over and whispered “I bet Leia’s hair is a fake braid!”. It means the world to me that they support my dreams. I have countless friends and family members (as well as new online friends!) that support me every single day. I am so blessed to have each and every one of them in my life.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
There are no mistakes when you’re getting started! Everything you do and try is a chance to see what works and what doesn’t. I’ve made a lot of mistakes like uploading images sideways, launching posts by accident, and definitely biting off more than I can chew at times, but I’m learning to slow down, stay organized, and as my dad always says “work smart, not hard”.
As an influencer, you have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. In fact perhaps most people who tried to follow a career path like yours did not succeed. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?
When I first started, I honestly thought no one would care what I had to say. However, month after month, I see more and more people visiting my website and reading my words and I am blown away. Although it isn’t easy, you just have to keep chasing your dreams. People do care. You do matter. Your community is out there. You just have to be brave enough to put yourself out there and keep going when times get tough. People will hate. You’ll get frustrated and uninspired. That’s when you have to remind yourself that you’re amazing. You’re enough. You have your own kind of sparkle that no one else in this world can bring. You are the only you and that is your magic.
Can you share with our readers some of your strategies you’ve used to build an engaged, loyal, and large online community?
Overall, I’ve found the consistency to be key. Post consistently, know who you are and be yourself, and show up for your people. If you’re trying to be someone you’re not, people will feel it. People will find you, connect with you, and want to stick with you because of how awesome you are and what you bring to the table. It might take a while to find your audience, but they’re out there. If you can only commit to one post a week, or one post a month, do that. You don’t have to post every single day. But posting once a day for 9 days and then not again for 9 weeks won’t work as well as posting once a week for 9 weeks.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview. In my work, I focus on how one can thrive and care for oneself in three areas: body, mind, and heart. You are a busy person with a demanding schedule, can you share with our readers two self care routines, practices or treatments that help your body thrive? (Kindly share a story or an example for each.)
First, as a beauty blogger, I have to take care of my skin. I always make sure I take my makeup off before bed and apply my nighttime skincare routine. If you only do skincare once a day, do it at night so your skin has time to refresh overnight while you sleep. They don’t call it “beauty sleep” for nothing! (Except sunscreen. You still have to wear sunscreen every day. This is a must!) I also try my best to not pick at blemishes. I know it’s super hard, but it’s for the best. I fail sometimes, but we all have our moments.
Another self-care routine I have to keep my body thriving is to be aware of what I eat and drink. A few years ago, I did Whole30 to see if I had any food allergies and lo and behold, I did! I am allergic to dairy, gluten, and legumes (soy, peanuts, beans, etc.). I also try not to consume caffeine because it activates my anxiety and insomnia. Every day I start my morning with a glass of hot tea (decaf) with lemon and do my best to eat healthy whole foods throughout the day. Although who can resist a Justin’s Cashew Butter Cup, an Udi’s Chocolate Chip Muffin, or a Do Bite? Not me, that’s for sure! All in all, it’s all about moderation. I don’t consume things that will hurt my physical or mental health, but I still allow myself some yummy treats. So many people think things are all about diets or calories or the number on the scale. When in fact, if you focus on how foods make you FEEL instead of depriving yourself or making a lot of “rules”, it’s a lot easier to feel good about yourself and be confident in your own skin.
Can you share with us two routines that you use to help your mind or heart to thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)
One thing I do to keep my mind and heart thriving is to try to stay connected to this beautiful world. I will call or FaceTime my parents, grandparents, friends, family, etc. I’ll go for a walk and see if there are any new flowers blooming and get some fresh air. I also send birthday and anniversary cards to all of my friends and family members so everyone feels a little extra love on their special day. Plus I have a puppy who always makes me smile and reminds me what it means to love unconditionally.
Since I have anxiety, sometimes I have to put the world on pause for a bit for my mental health. And that’s ok too! I have a list of fun and light-hearted podcasts I enjoy, and will just listen as I clean or go about my day. I’m also a big fan of Ashtanga yoga and I am trying to learn to meditate. Although I really just end up daydreaming or thinking about what I want to eat instead.
Also, I just want you to know that it’s ok to cry. It may not seem like something a very “grown-up” thing to do, or it might make you feel weak, but sometimes you just gotta let it out. You can even cry in the shower if you are worried about people hearing you. Just know that it’s healthy and it’s ok.
Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)
In my opinion, “feeling beautiful” is a state of mind. First, I want to say that no matter what, you have to love yourself. In the words of the great RuPaul — “If you don’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” I think “feeling beautiful” means a lot of different things to different people. Beauty is personal. Not everything is one size fits all. For me, feeling beautiful means feeling good. Three physical things I do to “feel more beautiful” are to put on an outfit that I think fits well, get a spray tan, and put on some makeup. Three mental things I do to feel more beautiful drink a lot of water, take a long hot bath and put on some awesome music. But overall I think one of the most important ways to feel more beautiful is just to believe that you are beautiful. Because you ARE.
Is there a particular resource, a practitioner, expert, book, or podcast that made a significant impact on you and helped you to thrive? Can you share a story about that with us?
As far as being an Influencer, I’m a huge fan of Brittany Hennessy and her book “Influencer”. Brittany is an expert in the field and gives the absolute best gems and advice. I also enjoy the Science of Social Media podcast and I am in the middle of reading the book Big Magic. As far as impacting me as a person, I’m all about great books. Some of my favorites are The Alchemist, The Five People You Meet In Heaven, You Are A Badass, and Tuesdays With Morrie. Of course, I also have to include The Devil Wears Prada! (The book, not the movie.)
Do you have a story about the strangest, most bizarre or funniest wellness treatment that you’ve ever experienced?
When I was little, my mom would put a mayonnaise mask on my hair as a deep conditioner. As an adult, I’m a big fan of cupping therapy and gua sha. It has really helped with my breathing, anxiety, and even processing past grief. I’ve also tried floatation tanks and acupuncture. Plus I tried those foot peels that are supposed to make all of your gross skin come off, but they didn’t work.
As an influencer, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I want people to feel loved. I think a lot of the hate in this world comes from people feeling lonely or like they’re “not enough”. I feel like if people understood that each of us is special and we all have our own kind of magic and that we are worthy of love, it would bring a lot of light to the world. Yes, we are all different. But isn’t that good? I wish people would realize that our differences and our “quirks” are what make us special. I wish they would realize that they are beautiful and important, and most of all, they are enough.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂
I have several! I think it’s really great to have heroes, mentors, and people you look up to and admire. First, Brittany Hennessy because I’ve learned so much from her and she has so much business knowledge. Plus she knows her way around a meme. Second, Lindsey Silberman because she’s total #goals. She comes across as so down to earth and so much fun but she is incredibly savvy and a hard worker. Last but not least, Eva Chen because she’s an awesome businesswoman, an amazing mom, and always seems so positive, encouraging, and uplifting. (And obviously my parents and loved ones, but I’m lucky enough to get to have lunch with them whenever I want!)
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Of course, you can find me on my blog — Always In High Heels, as well as on Instagram (@tiffanyascensio), Pinterest (@alwaysinhighheels), and YouTube (tiffanyascensio).
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!