Mary Seng is the fresh face behind the fashion blog Happily Grey. Her approach to fashion is fun and the mix of price points is nice and real. As a rising star in the competitive world of fashion blogging, Nashville is showcased many times each week in the gorgeous photos that not only show off Mary’s keen fashion sense, but also neighborhoods and parks throughout our fair city. Today we find out more about the person behind Happily Grey.
How did you make your way to Nashville?
My husband got accepted to Vanderbilt’s Oral Maxillofacial Surgery residency after finishing dental school in Houston. We were so excited after hearing the news! Nashville has been a dream!
How did you decide to start a fashion blog?
At the time I was working as a nurse in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit. As much as I loved nursing, I craved for a creative outlet — a platform where I could share my style inspiration with others. I’ve always enjoyed and closely followed fashion. After a few years of reading other blogs and doing some research, I decided to give it a go.
Is Happily Grey your full-time job?
Yes, I blog full-time. I typically spend 10+ hours a day working. It’s nonstop, and I’m so thankful for that!
Do you post everyday?
I typically post about five times week.
How much time does it take to figure out your outfits for each of your posts?
I typically spend six to seven hours a week outfit planning each week. We shoot at least twice a week, and I usually outfit plan for three or more hours the day before we shoot.
Tell us about your first photographer.
My husband, Luke, who was in dental school and knew nothing about photography took all the images the first year! I basically just handed him a camera and we learned as we went. It was both fun and very challenging. I will never forget the first time I tried explaining that I needed him to take a few style shots and pulling up examples (bloggers with obviously professional imagery) that I wanted the images to look like. He chuckled, but a year later we were still shooting!
And now you have a professional photographer?
Yes, I started using a professional photographer about 5 months a ago. At the time I was actually looking for a videographer to start making videos. I didn’t know any videographers or photographers in the area so I actually just started looking online. I wandered upon John Hillin’s website and immediately loved his style! We initially made a video together, and from there he started shooting all my imagery. We have now had the opportunity to shoot photos and videos for major brands, as well as begin traveling for more extensive collaborations. We are thrilled to be going to NYFW next week! I am so thankful for all that John has done for Happily Grey and am so excited for the future.
On the surface, Happily Grey may be “just” a fashion blog. But, how does this forum reach women to give them an added boost or smile with each post?
I would hope that Happily Grey can provide women with the inspiration needed to dress in a way that gives them confidence and empowers them. I want Happily Grey to be a very honest and approachable platform where women can come to gain inspiration for any occasion.
So, we’re guessing that that the fashion blogger profession is pretty cut throat. Are we right? Does that wear on you?
I think fashion blogging in general can be very competitive. Luckily, Nashville has an amazing group of bloggers that have become some of my great friends. Everyone is very supportive and is eager to help one another. A few of my local favorites: Stella Shops, Under the Guise, and the newbie The Transatlantic.
As I travel more and am able to attend more conferences and events, I hope to connect with other fashion bloggers. It always helps to have someone to call and bounce an idea off of.
What would our readers be surprised to learn about you that might contradict what we think of as a “fashion blogger”?
On most days that I work from home, I never change out of my flannel PJs. It’s really becoming a problem! The mail man recently laughed and told me he wanted my job.
Can you share a piece of advice that has resonated for either business or life?
Recently I’ve learned how important the word “be” is. I think it is very tempting to look to the past and dwell on regrets, as well as look to the future and constantly plan and aspire for more and more. This really hit home for me as I am very guilty with both sides. I often get distracted while trying to get something done because I am so busy planning or worrying about the next thing coming up. I think it is so important to remind yourself daily to be present in the now and stay invested in the interactions that are happening at that moment. I’ll never forget what one of my patients once told me. I had heard this a hundred times from my parents and good friends but there was something that resonated with me the day he said it: “Life is too short to not enjoy what’s happening now. You will never get yesterday back. Be mindful of what’s happening now.”
Where do you seek inspiration?
So many different sources! Pinterest, magazines, books, other bloggers. I’ve journaled my entire life. Anytime that I would see or hear something that caught my attention, I would jot it down at the end of the day. I’ve been doing it for years. It’s fun to look back at old ideas and try to bring them to life. I also love going to McKay’s, the huge used book store in Nashville. I will sit for hours buried in books!
Name your last best dream-worthy meal in Nashville.
Favorite coffee place in Nashville?
Portland Brew. Not only do they have great coffee and breakfast, the atmosphere is what I love most! It’s quaint, casual, and you always see a familiar face.
When life gets too chaotic, what do you do to center yourself again?
Running. There is nothing better than throwing on my old sneakers, headphones, and hitting the trails by myself. I don’t think or focus on anything. I just run and listen to music.
Where is your favorite place to vacation?
The beach! White sand and crystal clear water never gets old. We try to go at least once a year to a new beach we’ve never visited.
What books are currently on your bedside table or e-reader?
I typically read more magazines than books. Currently on my bedside table is February’s issue of Marie Claire, Elle, BAZAAR, and People ShopStyle. The most recent books I’ve read are Man Repeller by Leandra Medine and IT by Alexa Chung.
Name three things you can’t live without (excluding God, family and friends).
Music, bananas and peanut butter, and my sweet Allie girl.
Thank you, Mary! To see more of Mary, check out Happily Grey: www.happilygrey.com
Special thanks to our FACES photographer, Ashley Hylbert, for her gorgeous photos today. To see more of Ashley’s work: ashleyhylbert.com.