The Future of Blogging

Blogging // The Future

Hey Monday lovers! Hope you had an absolutely swell weekend. I’m coming atcha this fine morning with a few thoughts and a question for you: What do you think is…

The Future of Blogging

Hey Monday lovers! Hope you had an absolutely swell weekend. I’m coming atcha this fine morning with a few thoughts and a question for you: What do you think is the future of blogging?

Usually when I write posts in this here Blogging series, I share my processes or thoughts about my blogging experience. But I’ve been thinking lots lately about my job, and how it might look in the future. What do you think blogging will look like in the years to come? Do you think it will stand the test of time? Do you think that it’ll be a relative flash in the pan and eventually make way for some new type of technology or media that doesn’t yet exist? Something in between?

No one could have ever predicted that magazines and newspapers would suffer because of this magical, futuristic technology we call the internet. I’m sure when the concept of the blog was created it was never meant to take the place of print journalism. But that’s what’s happening, little by little. So is there something out there that will take the place of blogging? These days, I feel  like part of my job is to keep my eye on the horizon to find out that very thing. And to bring it to you, ASAP, when I find out what it is. That’s part of the reason that we did our big fancy redesign — I wanted the blog to feel more like a destination, an experience. Because I’m feeling like that might be the future for Lovely Indeed.

I’d love to know your thoughts! The face and world of blogging has already changed dramatically and it’s still such a relatively new medium, in the grand scheme of things. What do you think is next? Is there a next? Or will blogs be around for a while? Let me know what you think and let’s have a convo! xoxo

Blogging // The Comparison Trap

Blogging // The Comparison Trap

This is a topic that’s been clanging around inside of my heart recently. Blogging can be such an inspiring world — there’s an endless stream of insane creativity that gets…

Blogging // The Comparison Trap

This is a topic that’s been clanging around inside of my heart recently. Blogging can be such an inspiring world — there’s an endless stream of insane creativity that gets splashed over the internet every day. But sometimes I find myself moving beyond inspiration and ending up sort of overwhelmed.

It always happens when I start comparing. It’s so easy to get inside your head and start thinking crazy thoughts. Well, that blogger has 100,000 Instagram followers. I need that. This blogger is renovating a house. I should do larger projects. The other blogger is best friends with Beyonce. Why am I not best friends with Beyonce?! Okay, so I haven’t officially seen any bloggers being best friends with Bey. But you get what I’m saying, right? Where do we draw the line between being inspired by others to strive for better things and just trying to keep up with that we’re seeing online?

It’s a tough distinction to make. Especially in a world that’s so filtered and styled and edited. When everything looks beautiful and fun and flashy, it’s hard to keep your head on straight and remember that there’s a real person behind each photo, each blog post. And the real person probably has struggles just like we all have struggles. It’s also tough sometimes to not discount the things that are going well, when you see other people accomplishing things you’d like to accomplish. Maybe that blogger just hit 100K on Instagram, but you’ve doubled your followers in the last few months. That’s no small feat. So why is it so easy to look right past it and wish that we had moremoremore?

I know that for me, it’s a constant battle to stop comparing and stop trying to keep up. I do my best to keep my head on straight, set goals that seem right for me, and work toward those goals. That’s not to say that I don’t lose it sometimes. But I find that when I stop looking around for comparisons and put my head down and just work is when I start feeling good again about my own progress. After all, wishing and stewing and hoping won’t get you anywhere, but hard work and a good attitude usually will, at least in my experience.

What about you? If you spend lots of your time online, is this something that you struggle with too? I’d love to know your take on it, and how you combat the comparison trap. xoxo

Tips for Working From Home

Blogging // Working from Home

Sometimes blogging is a really niche, weird profession to understand, and sometimes it’s just exactly like any other profession. I have been sitting here trying to sort out how it might…

Tips for Working From Home

Sometimes blogging is a really niche, weird profession to understand, and sometimes it’s just exactly like any other profession. I have been sitting here trying to sort out how it might be different to be a blogger at home and, say, a financial manager at home, and really I think they might be pretty similar. Because while a blogger’s workday might have a little more glitter or Instagramming than some other at-home professions, anyone working from home has to find a way to make it productive and fulfilling.

Blogging has been my “job” now for a few years, and during that time I’ve realized that working from home has some major benefits and some major challenges. Obviously, it looks pretty amazing to make your own schedule, work in sweatpants, and be your own boss. But I know that I also have to keep myself in check when there’s no bossman to answer to or timeclock to punch. So I have a few little rules and tricks that I use for myself when I work from home, to be sure I stay productive and keep rocking out.

Get Dressed. I’m not gonna lie. There are days when I wake up at 6 am and I sit down at my computer and start working and I look up and it’s 10 am and oopsie I’m still working in my pajamas. But most days I make sure that I get to the gym, get cleaned up, and put on regular clothes like regular people. There’s just something about being put together that gives ya a little extra boost of productivity and professionalism, even if you’re at your kitchen table.

Get Out. Don’t get stuck at home. It’s a trap. Especially if you are feeling creatively stuck or in a professional rut. Get out! Go take your computer to a coffee shop, or take a research trip to a new location, or scout and source some materials that you might need. Maybe not every day, but if you tune in you’ll know when you need to get out. Sometimes you need a change of scenery to get refreshed, and puttering up and down your own hallway just ain’t gonna cut it.

Connect. This particularly has been something that’s changed my work experience over the last year or two. It can be so isolating to work at home for yourself, and connecting with other people can shoo away the isolation. Schedule meetings, plan work dates, put events together, find a partner to tackle a project with. Whatever it looks like to you, find a network of people to connect with.

Have a (Vague) Schedule. Mr. Lovely and I both work from home, and I wouldn’t say we have strict stop and start times, but we do have a structure to our day and that helps immensely (especially now with a little one). Mornings are usually administrative business, email catchup, and phone meetings. We always, always break for lunch — neither one of us do well when we’re hangry. Then afternoons are website builds for him and usually creating or photoshooting for me, with lots of flexibility for both of us when other things pop up. Sometimes we get sidetracked when the doorbell rings or something comes up at home, but we can always get back on track if we stay flexible.

Have a Workspace. When we finally found a place to live with enough space to create a little office, both the quality and the quantity of the work we do skyrocketed. It’s a luxury for sure to have an office if you work at home, but a “workspace” can mean anything — a small desk with just the essentials, or a favorite spot at the kitchen table. Carve it out and treasure it. (Disclaimer: Sometimes I loooove working on my couch. Especially in my final weeks of pregnancy, it was the only comfortable place to sit and work. I fully endorse a couch workday every now and then.)

Do you work from home? I’d love to know what you do and how you set yourself up to rock out. Do leave a comment and gimme your two cents! xoxo

Finding Inspiration for Blogging

Blogging // Coming Up with Inspiration (Part 2)

I can’t tell you how many people have asked me over the years whether I have trouble coming up with things to write about or share here on the blog….

Finding Inspiration for Blogging

I can’t tell you how many people have asked me over the years whether I have trouble coming up with things to write about or share here on the blog. And for the most part (aside from the odd dry spell or creative rut — we all get ’em), the answer is no. What I’ve always loved about this space is that it’s essentially just a journal of the things that Mr. Lovely and I like to do or include in our every day lives. We travel, we eat, we make things, we have deep convos. And all of that gets shared here. I think life is just the greatest inspiration. But there are definitely times when I have a more focused intent on creating posts to share, and that’s when I go to my tried and true methods of stirring up some inspiration.

Noticing a Need Oftentimes if I’m feeling like I want to make something and just don’t know what, I’ll check out my surroundings to see if there’s anything I need. The day I realized that my mousepad was old and tired, I accidentally made one of my very favorite DIYs! Similarly, if I feel like there’s an empty space on the internet where there could be a great conversation, I’ll put together a blog post (or series) that addresses it. That’s why I started writing about Married Life.

Window Shopping Mr. Lovely and I are notoriously frugal, but it don’t cost nothin’ to window shop baby! I love going to beautiful shops that have either gorgeous merchandising or really lovely things for sale (or both!) and getting inspired. Sometimes just seeing the way that other people organize or create is enough to get me inspired.

Local Adventures Go somewhere new! Every town has a whole mess of spots to explore, whether it’s a restaurant, a park, a shop, or an event. I love finding things in town that I didn’t know existed — and that’s a blog post in and of itself right there!

Travel I’ve had wanderlust my whole life. And traveling is one of the things that inspires me most. Sometimes our worlds are so small, and we travel in the same paths every day, and we forget that there are places, communities, cultures, vistas, roads we’ve never seen. Go see that stuff if you have the chance. Notice everything you can and see how it enhances your creative vibes.

Talking with Pals Inspiration doesn’t have to cost a dime. I’ve had more than a few creative lightning bolts strike while I’ve been brainstorming or just talking shop with friends. And sometimes I find that the best ideas come from chatting with people in an entirely different industry than mine! It’s so refreshing to get a totally new perspective, and it can sometimes open your eyes to an idea that was sitting right in front of you.

I’d love to know how you get inspired to do what you do! Whether you’re a blogger, teacher, doctor, or anything in between — where do you go or what do you do when you’re in a rut? xoxo

P.S. After I wrote this I realized I wrote something similar about a year ago — and interestingly enough, it’s a little different! See more tips for getting inspired from last year.

Best Apps for Blogging

Blogging // Favorite Apps

Does this stuff bore you guys? Sometimes I get so nerdy about the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes into putting a blog together I might get a little over excited about…

Best Apps for Blogging

Does this stuff bore you guys? Sometimes I get so nerdy about the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes into putting a blog together I might get a little over excited about it. But this one (I swear) is perfect for bloggers and non-bloggers alike! Some of my favorite apps to help with putting blogs together just happen to be apps that also help with being a real person. Ya know, one of those crazy folks who doesn’t share every moment of their day online. Who are those people, anyway?

So! Let’s talk apps. These are m’ go-to, tried and true apps that help me keep track of what I’m doing, what I need to be doing, things I want to write about, all my photos, and way more. Let’s break it down.

Social Apps. I’m sure you’re all up on these, but I had to mention the group of them anyway. I’m always using Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook (probably in that order) to help share bits of my every day and the blog. But mayyyybe my favorite social app is actually HootSuite, which allows you to combine streams from various social media and see it all in one place. You can also schedule tweets and posts, which is so helpful.

Teux Deux. Teux Deux has been my to-do list app for yearrrrs. They actually went to a pay model a year or two back and I stayed with it because it’s the only list app that does everything I like. You can add items to any specific day, including months and years into the future so you don’t forget them. You can cross things off the list. You can drag and drop to-dos. And there are “Someday” lists, for things that you need to accomplish but not on a certain time frame. And my favorite thing about it is that if you don’t finish a to-do, it automatically rolls over to the next day.

Evernote. Evernote is another list app, with more rich features. It’s more for storing ideas and combinations of media. You can organize your notes into folders, bookmark web addresses, and include photos. I use it often to keep track of DIY ideas that I think of but can’t put together for a while.

Sunrise. A totally beautiful calendar app, that syncs with iCal and Google Calendar. I love that it’s got a great, clean design, it’s easy to use, and it has a little weather notification attached to it to help plan if you’re headed out.

Dropbox. If you don’t use Dropbox and you share lots of files, you are missing out! It’s so handy to be able to send large files back and forth without using email. You can just add a file to your account, invite a friend, and they have access to it too. Mr. Lovely and I use it to trade files back and forth almost daily.

Photo Editing Apps. This could probably be a whole post unto itself. I’m waaaayyy into photo editing apps. I just checked and I have 26 of them on my phone. Hashtag excessive. But! If I had to pick only three, they’d be VSCO, Afterlight, and Studio. VSCO is a gorgeous app with a beautiful design, and it breaks down editing images to a few really key, simple steps. Afterlight has a few more capabilities without being overwhelming, so if I want to add light effects or other cool stuff I go there. And Studio is my favorite for overlays — there are so many cool fonts and image packs that you can download to jazz up your images.

If you have more apps that you just love, please leave them in the comments! I’m always on the lookout for fun ways to stay organized and be creative. Do tell! xoxo

Blogging: How to Write a Post

Blogging // The Process of Writing a Post

If you’re a blogger, you know that the process of writing one little post can be kind of daunting (especially if the post involves making something physical, like a recipe…

Blogging: How to Write a Post

If you’re a blogger, you know that the process of writing one little post can be kind of daunting (especially if the post involves making something physical, like a recipe or a DIY project). Blogs are, after all, essentially like miniature daily online magazines, and to turn out quality content for your blog is something that we all strive for. I’m asked often (by bloggers and non-bloggers) what the post writing process looks like for me, so I thought I’d tackle it today. Let’s get down to it.

Read on for the down n’ dirty of my blogging process!

Wordpress Tips and Tricks

Blogging // WordPress

I’m so excited about today’s post — I’m nerding out. My nerdy husband has rubbed off on me and I now find it fascinating that there are so many things…

Wordpress Tips and Tricks

I’m so excited about today’s post — I’m nerding out. My nerdy husband has rubbed off on me and I now find it fascinating that there are so many things you can do that make it easy and awesome to blog! And lots of the things that make it easy and awesome for me are because I blog on WordPress. So if you’re a WordPress user, today’s post is your jam. And if you’re looking to get into blogging or for a new platform, this might have a bunch of info that’s right up your alley as well. I spend quite a few brain cells on making my blogging experience smooth, simple, and efficient, and I’ve learned a few tricks along the way. I’ve also realized lately while consulting with some of my blogger clients that there are lots of WordPress tools I take for granted that some folks don’t even realize exist! So today, I’m sharing my secrets. Let’s get nerdy! Click here to get all the goods!

Offline Events

Blogging // Events

More and more, I’m loving getting offline and out into the world to create events and experiences that relate back to Lovely Indeed. I love the internet dearly. I know…

Offline Events

More and more, I’m loving getting offline and out into the world to create events and experiences that relate back to Lovely Indeed. I love the internet dearly. I know it sounds weird, but I do. It makes so many things possible and I’ve met some beautiful people through this here blog. But after a while, I find myself craving in-person interaction, and so offline events have been where it’s at for me lately.

I really feel like I’m not the only one who’s searching for these personal interactions more; it seems like bunches of people are either putting together events or looking for places to gather and create. And I love that! Working online can be a very isolating thing, so I think it’s crucial to seek out opportunities to connect in real life. Like real people. Over the last year, I’ve planned, executed, and attended my fair share of events, so I thought I’d share a few bits and pieces about how you can do the same if you’re craving that same person-to-person connection, too.

Start Small. No events in your area? No problem. Call a few friends or reach out online to like-minded bloggers who might be near you. All it takes is a ringleader and I promise that people will want to come and connect. It can be as simple as planning a get-together with a few creatives for coffee, and it’ll still be an inspiring gathering. Even better, invite some folks over and tell them to bring whatever it is they might be working on — have a crafternoon together.

Find a Workshop. Lots of cities have shops that hold creative gatherings like craft nights or workshops. Check out your local stores and see if they have anything that sounds fun. If you’re near a West Elm or an Anthropologie, you’re in luck — they put together some of the best workshops around. And if you can’t find any workshops near you, heck, make one. Stick your neck out and ask your favorite store if you can host a gathering there. You’ll benefit, they’ll benefit, and hopefully you’ll end up with a batch of new creative buddies.

Invest in a Conference. While it’s a larger time and financial commitment, creative conferences are the ultimate place to make connections. Some of the folks that I met during my first time at Alt are now my closest friends. There are creative conferences popping up all over the country; put your ear to the ground and see if you can find the closest one to you.

I’d love to know if in-person interactions are something that’s important to you! If you’re in the online industry, is that something you find yourself missing? And if you’re not, do you find yourself wanting to connect creatively outside of work? Seriously, if I could throw a party and invite every last one of you, I would. Let’s make that happen. xoxo

Gold Foil Business Cards

New Business Cards {And a Reader Discount!}

While I’m running around Alt this week passing out Lovely Indeed’s new business cards, I thought I’d give you all a little peek as well! Rachel from Lupa & Pepi…

Gold Foil Business Cards

Gold Foil Business Cards

While I’m running around Alt this week passing out Lovely Indeed’s new business cards, I thought I’d give you all a little peek as well! Rachel from Lupa & Pepi designed another set of business cards for me this year, and I love ’em so much I’m wiggling my toes.

If you remember last year’s cards, these probably look a little familiar. But what we didn’t have last year was — oh, I dunno — gold foilI’m seriously so pumped about the foil embossing with the letterpress I feel like it’s Christmas all over again. Gold has become such a staple around here I thought it would be cool to include some on the cards, so Rachel made it happen. And I love that the little heart still has a pop of color on the front.

On the backside, Rachel actually had a kind of crazy idea that I ended up loving and going for. Because the card is so simple and clean, she suggested just including my logo, name, and the @lovelyindeed handle. Since I recently switched all of my social media over to the same username, I kind of thought it was cool. And I know it’s a bit of a risk, not including a web address or an email address, but I kind of love it! It feels different and fun, and hopefully people will know that there are a million ways to find me at @lovelyindeed or lovelyindeed.com. In any case, it was a decision that I’m glad I made, and I loved Rachel’s suggestion! The rest of the backside is a full bleed letterpress (in reverse, so the only thing that doesn’t have color is the information).

Gold Foil Business Cards

Gold Foil Business Cards

It’s just so wonderful to collaborate with other creatives — I love that we made something together that wouldn’t have existed if only one of us was working on the project! Be sure to check out Lupa & Pepi to see more of Rachel’s work. (I’m loving this new pattern in her shop!) She’s also offering a reader discount of 20% off design fees on custom business cards, so check it out if you’re in the market for some awesome. Just email Rachel at [email protected] and mention Lovely Indeed before January 31! xoxo

P.S. Yeah, my name is different now. It only took me two and a half years to take Mr. Lovely’s last name!

Gold Foil Business Cards

Gold Foil Business Cards

ALT

Alt Summit Prep for your Blog

Last week I shared a little bit of my philosophy on dressing for Alt Summit, and while that’s obviously the fun part, I kind of wanted to get into the…

ALT

Last week I shared a little bit of my philosophy on dressing for Alt Summit, and while that’s obviously the fun part, I kind of wanted to get into the nitty gritty of what I do to get my blog all shined up and spiffed out for the conference. Alt is so jam-packed with opportunity it can make your head spin, so I always try to have all of my ducks in a row when it comes to the business end of my blog before I head to Salt Lake. There’s nothing worse than having an opportunity present itself and realizing you just ran out of business cards, or your site crashed, or your social media pages are out of date. Here’s the checklist that I like to run through to make sure that everything is ready to rumble for Alt. Continue reading

socialmedia

Blogging // How Do You Use Social Media?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the way that I use social media in my personal life and for my business, and how those things kind of overlap sometimes….

socialmedia

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the way that I use social media in my personal life and for my business, and how those things kind of overlap sometimes. Are you a blogger or a business owner? And if you are, how do you use your social media? I’m so curious to know how other people approach the whole sitch.

It’s kind of tricky, because when you’re “building a brand” the best folks will tell you to make your brand cohesive everywhere. And that means a blog or shop that has the same vibe as your Pinterest boards, which matches the feel of your Instagram feed, which gets along with your Tweets & Facebook, and on and on. And that makes sense and I get it and I do try to aim in that direction.

But the problem with that is sometimes I feel like the person behind it all gets lost. The other day I wanted to post a photo of Mr. Lovely and I actually gave it a second thought because my most liked photos are not of people. I creeped myself out! I actually thought of not posting the photo because I was afraid it wouldn’t get enough likes. That. Is. Gross. Luckily, the person and not the brand won out and I posted it. (Also he’s really cute, so there’s that.)

See the thing is, I believe that there is value in keeping yourself present in your social media, and not letting it just boil down to a bunch of images and status updates that are “in line with your brand.” But at the same time, I know that it’s a slippery slope and at the end of the day, my blog is my business. I guess this is all to say that I really try to find a balance in social media of injecting enough of myself to feel like my brand is still true to me, and not just a lovely machine. The other day I hesitated on pinning something to my Pinterest page because it wasn’t necessarily a perfectly composed image. But again, I just pinned it and threw caution to the wind.

I’m also not trying to kid myself into thinking there aren’t people out there doing it better than I am — people who have keen eyes and a straight-ahead vision of their brand, and who show it in everything that they do on social media. And I have crazy respect for that. I think it’s just a matter of finding the sweet spot where it all feels comfortable, and trying to stay right about there.

I would really love to hear your take on this one! Have a good day, guys. xoxo