As a South Carolina girl in Baltimore this summer, I was thrilled to get the chance to explore Baltimore’s art, shopping, food and fashion—and especially local bloggers. One such influencer was Ashley Gilbert, who goes by the Instagram name “neverbeenso” and shares fashion news and a fresh perspective on what to do and where to shop and dine in Baltimore.
As a contrast specialist who majored in economics and finance at Towson University, Gilbert says she needed a “creative outlet,” and neverbeenso (both the Instagram and the blog) was born.
Whether blogging about wearing her favorite romper or enjoying a new restaurant in town, she says she believes in posting photos with authenticity, efficiency and transparency, always aiming to interact with her followers. “I used to really despise hashtags, but they are really a great way to connect with people because people really do use them to see what else is out there.” Noting #thebmorecreatives and #baltimore as quick examples, she says hashtags are a way of making connections and engaging with the community. “I feel more connected to Baltimore this way,” she adds.
Other noteworthy hashtags?
“Well, #neverbeenso is a great one”, she says, laughing. “I love looking through my feed, seeing what people post and featuring the ones that catch my eye. But really, the hashtag really depends on what and when you’re posting. Since I’m a lifestyle blogger, I have various hashtags for food or style,” she says.
Scroll through Gilbert’s Instagram and you’ll find plenty of both: gorgeous photos with immaculate manicures framing yummy delights—like donuts or drinks—along with pictures of ensembles to envy with cute accessories like chokers, simple dresses and hats. And though her feed paints a pretty picture, the blogger knows that perfection doesn’t exist. In fact, she says her motto would be to “live truthfully.” (Truthfully, in my view, she’s got the best nails.)
She advises other bloggers to “stay consistent and decide which days you will do your post, maybe two times a week, spacing them out if you can.” It’s not all about just the right filter and clever caption, either: “I think people really love seeing places they’ve never been before or unique things going on in the city,” she says, “like a new restaurant, or great deal on clothing or shoes.”
As for some of her favorite things in Baltimore? Gilbert gushes over Gunther & Co.’s living wall full of greenery and their truly amazing space and menu. She declares Brightside Boutique her absolute favorite, with a sales rack full of must-haves, and Poppy and Stella the boutique to find the perfect shoes and accessories.
“A lot of people don’t have time to hunt for sales, but I love it. That’s one of my biggest obsessions,” Gilbert says. When having a drink after scavenging the city for deals, she loves Alma Cocina in Canton for their “refreshing sparkling sangria and most amazing cocktails.”
As she continues to post must-see places, must-eat foods and must-haves from shops that exude the city’s character, artsy atmosphere, and boutiques that are far from #basic, I feel more and more connected to the city. Baltimore shines through Gilbert’s lens, and I’ve #neverbeenso captivated.