Cactus Flowers

Why I Blog

How often do you ask yourself why you do what you do? Sometimes I’ll go months without thinking about it and then other times it’ll be at the forefront of…

Cactus Flowers

How often do you ask yourself why you do what you do? Sometimes I’ll go months without thinking about it and then other times it’ll be at the forefront of my mind for weeks on end. I’ve been checking in with it a lot lately and just started jotting down things in a notebook, which turned into this here blog post.

If you’ve been here a while, you know that I sort of have a patchwork of careers behind me; I graduated college and became a high school music teacher for a few years, then moved to NYC and was a musical theatre performer for another chunk of time, and during my time there I fell into creative blogging  & making and have been here ever since. I used to think it was a totally random path that I had taken, but looking back it’s pretty clear that I’ve always been driven toward creative fields. I think what was difficult about teaching music and performing onstage for me was that those are two lifestyles where you have about a zillion people to answer to. Whether it’s students, teachers, producers, directors, you’re holding a lot of weight on your shoulders and are responsible for the success and happiness of hundreds of other people.

When I discovered that blogging was a thing, that you could be creative just for yourself, and share that with the world, it sort of felt like a breath of fresh air. It’s far from the only reason that I love blogging, but it’s a huge benefit for me. I’m the boss. I make the plans. I concept the projects, good or bad. I have myself to answer to and I think that’s exciting. And also, as a people-pleaser from way back, it alleviates the stress and anxiety I would feel when I felt like I couldn’t provide what my students needed, or didn’t live up to an audience’s expectations. In this world, I’m my own compass and that’s very freeing.

And aside from all that, just the chance to be creative in so many ways on a daily basis is such a fantastic challenge. I’m surrounded by people who are spinning out these beautiful ideas and changing the way that the world looks, whether you realize it or not. It’s inspiring and invigorating and keeps my brain pumping to stay in the game. We get to write every day, take pictures every day, work with our hands every day. I feel pretty lucky about all of that. And then I get to turn it around and share it, to hopefully add some beauty and inspiration and creativity to the world. That’s the crucial part for me. I think that the world needs every bit of loveliness we can add to it, and I strive to do that every day, even in my own small way.

The icing on the cake? The people. You guys. My colleagues. Blogging is so fascinating to me, in that it connects people who otherwise would never have crossed paths. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written or shared something and gotten responses from you all that have helped me in one way or another — moral support, tips, suggestions, a different perspective, or just a virtual high five. I think it’s good for the world for us all to know that perhaps we’re far apart and different in many ways, but we can relate on more levels than we think.

So what do you do? And why do you do it? Seriously, I’d love to know — leave a comment and let’s chat. xoxo

How to Find Balance

Blogging // Finding Balance

I was so happy when I saw that lots of you from our survey are still into our Blogging column! I know lots of you lovelies perhaps aren’t bloggers, but…

How to Find Balance

I was so happy when I saw that lots of you from our survey are still into our Blogging column! I know lots of you lovelies perhaps aren’t bloggers, but so much of what we do can apply to lots of different disciplines and careers, or even lifestyles. Today, for example, I’d love to talk about finding balance — especially in a creative field or a field where you work from home, are your own boss, or anything similar. Quite a few readers responded to our survey wanting to talk more about this exact thing, and boy do I know we could all use it.

The thing is, I’m not sure it’s a topic that I consider myself an expert at, or one for which there are specific answers or formulas. But I do know that for a few years now I’ve been able to balance running a business, keeping a household, and now raising a baby who’s more or less normal. 😉 It’s so easy to just work every day away when you’re trying to build a business, and it’s scary to ever let up — there’s a fear that as soon as you stop working something or someone is going to pass you by. You can see right here that I don’t always feel like I have it under control, but there are a few ground rules that Ryan and I have laid out that truly help us feel happier, calmer, and more balanced when we stick to them.

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Blogging Project DIY Failures

Blogging // Failed Projects

Ya know, sometimes in the DIY world things just plain don’t work out. We’ve all been there, right?! You have this beautiful vision in your head about what you’re going…

Blogging Project DIY Failures

Ya know, sometimes in the DIY world things just plain don’t work out. We’ve all been there, right?! You have this beautiful vision in your head about what you’re going to create and when you’re done it ends up looking like something your dog dragged through the dirt and left on your doorstep. It happens! Today I thought I’d share my latest fail, just to keep it real and acknowledge the fact that it ain’t always pretty around here, folks.

A few months back I bought about a jillion tiny wooden beads, with the intention to make a really killer beaded curtain for a doorway. It was gonna be rad. It was gonna be all painted and designy and super cool. And then I got all the beads in the mail and I sat back and looked at the project and I was like YEESH this is going to take me until the end of the year. So I put that on hold because lord knows I didn’t have time to string a thousand beads onto twine with a baby running around the house.

So then, I downsized the project. I had this great idea — a beaded wall hanging, a couple of feet square, in the shape of a heart. I figured, how hard could it be to just put some beads on a few strings of twine and organize it all so that it hangs perfectly in the shape of a heart? It’ll be so cool! So I stayed up one night stringing beads until my eyes were crossed and I got them all together in (what I thought was) the right shape while the project was laying down on the floor. And then I picked it up and it looked like a sad kidney. Gah.

Attempt number three: call in the big guns (A.K.A. Mr. Lovely). My husband is so great with precision stuff and I figured if anybody could get this blob to look like a heart, it was gonna be him. So the next night we tackled it together. We restrung, remeasured, retied all the knots for hours. And then we picked it up and it looked like a slightly less sad kidney. Attempt number four: we redid the whole thing again while it was hanging up. And here was the result:

Failed Blog Projects

Not exactly an ideal heart shape, huh? After this round I just scrapped it. It’s waiting in the closet for another day when I can either decide to devote more time to it or when I can bear to repurpose it into another project. I can’t even tell you how many hours are in this lopsided, weird, misguided project. Eventually I’d still love to make it work well enough to provide specific directions for you all to put it together. But for now, we’re stepping away from it.

When I’m in the middle of a project and I can see it going south there’s always a point where I have to decide to push through and try to make it work or just scrap it and move on to the next idea. And I’m sure you’ve all been there too! There’s a lot involved — how badly you want or need to complete your project, the time you have to invest, pride at whether you can figure the dang thing out. When you find yourself in the midst of something that’s not going well, how do you react? Do you get mad? Do you just laugh maniacally? I tend to kind of fall on the floor and just lay there until I think of a solution. (Completely true, no exaggeration; we put a carpet in our studio because we lay on the floor while we ponder things.)

And if you have a magnificent fail that you just have to get off your chest, leave a comment! I need my blob heart to have a little company in the pile of discarded projects. xoxo

P.S. Get lost in our Blogging archives right here!

How to Protect Your Intellectual Property

How to Protect Your Intellectual Property

Hey hey lovelies! As promised, our resident smartypants, Maria Spear of Spear Intellectual Property Law is back today to put some more smarts in our brains! (Her first post was…

How to Protect Your Intellectual Property

Hey hey lovelies! As promised, our resident smartypants, Maria Spear of Spear Intellectual Property Law is back today to put some more smarts in our brains! (Her first post was NOT to be missed.) Today’s all about protecting yourself and your ideas as best you can. I’m sure we’ve all been witness to some nasty bouts of idea theft, from small time bloggers to big time corporations. In this installment, Maria shares her top tips on how to protect your intellectual property, and avoid those situations altogether. Don’t forget to save this one in your bookmarks to come back to again and again. Now sit back, get comfy, and hey hello again to Maria!

Read on to find out how to protect your ideas!

Copyright Law for Bloggers (And What to do if You're Being Copied)

Making Sense of Copyright Law for Bloggers (And What to Do if You’re Copied)

Oooooooh baby put on your big girl pants because we’ve got a doozy for you today! We have a new resident smarty around these parts and she is dropping knowledge…

Copyright Law for Bloggers (And What to do if You're Being Copied)

Oooooooh baby put on your big girl pants because we’ve got a doozy for you today! We have a new resident smarty around these parts and she is dropping knowledge bombs on you today like it’s nobody’s business. I had the pleasure to chat a bit recently with Maria Spear of Spear Intellectual Property Law, and we got to talking about how difficult it can be as an online creative to protect your ideas. She had the brilliant idea of breaking down the mysterious concept of copyright law as it applies to bloggers and other creatives and share it here in our Blogging series! You’re definitely going to want to grab a cup of coffee and get comfy (and bookmark this one for sure!).

Read on for Maria’s input on intellectual property, and find out how to take on the copycats.

behindthescenes

Behind the Scenes // Photo Outtakes

This post has been DYING to happen for years, y’all. And Mr. Lovely officially gave me the go-ahead, so I’m pretty excited (for lack of a better word?) to share…

behindthescenes

This post has been DYING to happen for years, y’all. And Mr. Lovely officially gave me the go-ahead, so I’m pretty excited (for lack of a better word?) to share with you some of the best behind the scenes photos you’re gonna see, possibly ever. Because we work side by side day in and day out, we often help each other out with projects. I’m still a one-woman team at Lovely Indeed for the most part, which means we usually take all our own photos. Of the two of us, I’m a better photographer, so usually I’ll put the camera on the right settings and set a shot, then Ryan will hop behind the camera and actually take photos of my or my hands or whatever. But while I’m setting the shot, I need a subject, so Ryan stands in… Do you see where I’m going with this? I have the most magnificent collection of terrible, hilarious photos of my husband waiting for me to test shoot and I’m sorry but they are just begging to be shared. Let’s just get right to it, shall we? I took the liberty of pairing Ryan’s test shot alongside the final shot, just for funsies.

Sometimes, they’re not so bad, right?

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And then sometimes they just kind of look like bad cellphone photos.

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Sometimes he realllllllly doesn’t want to be doing whatever it is that we’re doing.

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And then sometimes he really gets into it.

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Behind the Scenes

I am sitting here dying laughing while I write this post! Come on, if you’re a blogger with a husband you KNOW you have similar photos. Or if not, hopefully you’ve had a laugh at my husband’s expense today. Don’t worry, he can take it. xoxo

Top Blogging Tips

Top Five // Blogging

We’re back with more of your faves! For all you bloggers out there (or just anybody fascinated by the blog world), today we’ve got your Top Five favorite Lovely Indeed…

Top Blogging Tips

We’re back with more of your faves! For all you bloggers out there (or just anybody fascinated by the blog world), today we’ve got your Top Five favorite Lovely Indeed posts about blogging! I kind of started the Blogging series on a whim but it’s turned out to be one of my favorite things to write about, and to read your comments and responses. I’ve learned a bunch from you all and hopefully you’ve found it to be a good resource as well. So without further ado, check out our top blogging posts! xoxo

Editorial Calendars and Planning
Font Resources
WordPress Tips and Tricks
How to Grow Your Blog
How Much Does it Cost to be a Blogger?

P.S. Didja catch last week Top Five posts from our Married Life series? They’re pretty hilarious.

Favorite Apps for Blogging

Blogging // Favorite Apps Part II

I’m a big nerd! I love talking apps. No joke, the apps on my phone have helped me get hundreds of hours (not an exaggeration!) of work done while I’ve been…

Favorite Apps for Blogging

I’m a big nerd! I love talking apps. No joke, the apps on my phone have helped me get hundreds of hours (not an exaggeration!) of work done while I’ve been nursing Henry over the last few months. With the right apps, you can rule the world from your iPhone. I still use most of the apps I outlined in Part I of this series, wayyyy back in the day, but I have a few new faves that deserve to be on the list. So let’s get right to it!

Infinit I use Infinit as a complement to Dropbox these days. Ryan and I are constantly sending files back and forth and Infinit makes it so you can send a file with about two clicks. It zips between computers or phones and you’ve got the file on the other end in about 3 seconds, depending on the size of the file. I use this one particularly often to send image files between my computer and phone. Like if I want to Instagram a photo that I took on my DSLR, I can shoot it from my computer to my phone in a jiffy. Both Infinit and Dropbox are perfect tools if you need to get lots of files between different devices.

Snapseed I have Jeff and Kelly’s Can’t Crop This Class to thank for the intro to Snapseed, and I don’t know how I ever missed it! It’s now on my go-to list for editing photos on my phone. What sets it apart is that you can selectively edit only certain portions of an image, as opposed to most other apps that only have capability to edit the entire image at once. It’s got a spot repair tool too, which is super handy.

Periscope & Snapchat Instagram will always have my heart, but Periscope and Snapchat are like the fun new (to me) kids on the block that I like playing with. I’m loving Snapchat for keeping up with friends while they go gallivanting around the world — it’s so fun to see peeks at what everybody is doing, or what people find funny. I also love the fact that there are no filters and almost no thought that goes into it. It really takes the pressure out of social media. (I’m lovely-indeed on Snapchat! Follow along there.) And Periscope! Periscope is insane. At first I thought it would be weird — you literally can live broadcast yourself while people tune in to watch and chat. But then we tried it and it’s trippy and fun! We actually have some cool things planned for Periscope coming up soon, so you can find me there @lovelyindeed.

Amazon Photo This one is brilliant for families who take a ton of photos on their phones. Ryan and I were going crazy trying to share photos of Henry with each other until we found this. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can upload all your photos to the cloud. Then, multiple family members connect to the app and when you open it, everybody’s photos load. So essentially you have access to each others’ photo streams. Woaahhhhhh it’s really rad.

So! Are any of these new to you? Or have you been using them for a while? I’d love to know which apps are your favorites! Leave a comment and let me know which you’re always using so I can check ’em out. xoxo

 

Best Tools for Blogging

Blogging // Tools of the Trade

Having been a blogger for almost five years (whaaaaat?!?), I’ve spent lots of time developing systems, processes, and a list of tools that make my job so much easier. I thought…

Best Tools for Blogging

Having been a blogger for almost five years (whaaaaat?!?), I’ve spent lots of time developing systems, processes, and a list of tools that make my job so much easier. I thought I’d share a list of the tools that I use on a daily basis, in case it helps anyone out there to build an arsenal! Some are digital and some are analog, some are no-brainers and some are smack-me-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that-forever-ago. Read on for my tried and true tools, and please leave a comment with your own favorite tools of the trade so we can all up our game!

White Foam Core Board The answer to everything! I use it for white backdrops on flatlay photos, to bounce light around when there are too many shadows, and sometimes to sketch things out or test paint patterns, and so on. They’re affordable, easy to store, and so useful!

Colored Posterboard So cheap and so fun to play with! I keep a rotating stack of different colors to use as backdrops for DIY projects or Instagram photos. Lay them on the floor for flatlay photos or tape them up on the wall to act as a backdrop.

Camera Remote Shutter Lots of what we use this for is personal family photos, but I’ve used it plenty on the blog! This little remote shutter pairs with your camera and you can set up a tripod to take photos from a few yards away. That’s how we get shots like this one, no photographer needed!

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Camera I saved and saved my duckets to spring for this camera, and I can actually pinpoint the time when I got it as the time that my photos improved vastly and my business improved because of it. This is the one area where, for me, it made sense to invest in my business.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens This little lens is a cheapie but has been a workhorse for me. I love shooting on a 50mm because it’s pretty versatile and this little guy helps me get nice, bright photos even when the weather isn’t necessarily cooperating. My next purchase will definitely be this lens
; also 50mm but a higher quality.

Camera Hand Strap I get asked all the time about my hand strap for my camera! For some reason I don’t get along with a regular neck strap, so this hand strap is my favorite way to go. I’ve toted my camera all over the place this way — on shoots, on vacations, and just around home — and it’s been great. It feels secure in your hand and helps me steady the camera.

Apple Time Capsule We’re in the process of revamping how our computers and files are backed up, but this is always our constant. It backs up your computer automatically, and if you ever have an issue with lost files or crashed computers, you can reboot your system to replicate what was in your computer at a certain day or time. It’s crucial and has saved us a few times for sure.

Apps, apps, apps! I did a post on my favorite apps a while back, but I’ve definitely got some new ones. Stay tuned next time for the apps that help me the most. And until then, find more blogging resources in the rest of our Blogging column!  xoxo

Blogging // Reader Engagement

Blogging // Engagement

Hey gang! Coming at you today to pick your big beautiful brains about a few things. I’ve been thinking lots lately about blogging and engagement with blog readers and what…

Blogging // Reader Engagement

Hey gang! Coming at you today to pick your big beautiful brains about a few things. I’ve been thinking lots lately about blogging and engagement with blog readers and what that looks like. I’d love to know your thoughts on the matter, whether you’re a blog reader or a blogger yourself.

Even in the few short years that I’ve been in the blogging game, I’ve seen engagement style change over and over again. It seems to go through cycles — sometimes there’s lots of action on the blog, with great comments and people really wanting to have conversations there. Sometimes that dies out and the engagement is on social media. These days Instagram is an awesome place for engaging with readers and other bloggers. Twitter and Facebook have both always been spotty for me; it comes and goes.

So my question for you is this: how do you like to engage, whether you’re a reader or a blogger? Do you prefer to comment on blogs? Or maybe you would rather just communicate via social media. And if it is on social media, do you show your support with ‘likes’ and ‘follows,’ or do you actually like to start conversations?

And speaking of social media, what’s your fave? I know for me there are some that I love and find totally energizing and exciting, and some that I just. can’t. stand. What about you? Do you have favorites or certain platforms that just make you crazy?

There are so many questions! I’d love to know your thoughts on any or all of it, so let’s talk it out. Part of me wants to know so that I can make things better for you lovelies with regards to how we communicate, and part of me is just interested because I find this stuff fascinating. We live in the future, you guys. Leave a comment and let’s hash it out! xoxo

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