Let’s talk history, shall we? Last week, I shared some about my life as a music teacher and theatre performer. But I wanted to share what happened after all of that, once I started Lovely Indeed. I mentioned that I started it as a hobby to document our DIY wedding, but I get asked frequently how it became what it is now.
When I was planning and creating our wedding, I fell deeply in love with the blog world. There was so much knowledge and info out there, and it was all so creative and beautiful and inspiring and totally free! I loved it. And I wanted to contribute to it, so I started Lovely Indeed (thusly titled because isn’t life lovely?).
How it All Started
One of the first blogs I started reading and got major wedding inspiration from was The Sweetest Occasion. Cyd is now a good friend, but back in those days she was a total celebrity to me. So I was insanely over the moon when she agreed to feature our engagement photos on The Sweetest Occasion. It was my first big feature anywhere and I felt so fancy that my favorite blog was sharing our photos.
A short time after she featured our photos, Cyd brought me on as a guest blogger at The Sweetest Occasion. In those days, being a contributor or a guest blogger was an awesome way to gain exposure and start building up your own following. I learned so much from her, and I was so grateful for the chance to contribute DIY posts there. It was some major street cred that I was contributing for her, and a big foot in the door to the blogging world.
Putting Myself Out there
A while after I started contributing for Cyd, I attended my first Alt Summit Blogger Conference. At the time, Alt was the place to be if you wanted to really try to up your blogging game. That first year I really put myself out there, learned a ton, and decided that I was going to try my best to have Lovely Indeed become the real deal. It was also where I met so many new bloggers who I’m now so lucky to call my tribe. I’ve since gone back to Alt as a presenter and panelist, but no year was as special as that first one.
Before Lovely Indeed really started making any money on its own, I earned income as a blogger by contributing to other, bigger sites. I was recruited to be a contributing blogger at two big sites that would, for the next couple of years, pay our bills. I was so grateful to Momtastic and The Neighborhood (which doesn’t exist any more), because they gave me the flexibility to grow Lovely Indeed at its own pace while I still earned an income by writing and being creative.
I also happened to have a couple of viral posts like our wedding activity book that helped put me on the map a bit.
A Move and an Upgrade
Soon, we decided it was time to move from NYC to Los Angeles to be closer to family. Because of the move, we were able to score a bigger apartment with great light and more space to shoot. So the quality of the content that I could produce made a huge leap. That was really when things started taking off for Lovely Indeed. I booked a few of my first really exciting sponsored contracts (Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV, and more), and gained a lot of experience with what it means to work with brands.
Right around that time, I also started coordinating and hosting workshops with colleagues and friends (and by myself). We hosted at West Elm, various spots around LA, and even a weekend retreat in Palm Springs for fellow bloggers. It was a ton of work but it was a really exciting time, because it meant that we got to spend lots of in-person time with colleagues and readers, which is rare in the blog world.
Growing our Family
And thennnnnnn…. I got pregnant! Henry was not a surprise by any means, but we knew that we’d have to make some tough decisions when we started to grow our family. And for us, it meant that it was time to move away from Los Angeles and back to my beloved hometown of Modesto. I had kept my home here during the time that we lived in NYC and LA, being maintained by renters, and we had this lovely house with a huge backyard that was just waiting for us to raise a family in it. So we moved to Modesto and started our family.
And again, because of the move, I was able to increase the quality of my content. As it turns out, it’s way easier to create and shoot in a big house, instead of a tiny dark apartment. Who knew? 😉 We also got super involved in our local community and began to develop a really amazing, engaged, cool local following (which I dearly love and greatly value).
A Big (Medium) Decision
Also at that time, we made what was kind of a tough decision, but one that made sense for us. Lovely Indeed had been teetering for a long time on the edge of being a “big” blog/company and a more moderate-sized business. And when we started our family and moved to Modesto, we made the conscious decision to stay mid-range. We looked at what it would mean and what it would take to really push and try to get huge, and for us and our lives, it just wasn’t worth it. I didn’t (and don’t) want to hire a team. I didn’t want to spend every waking moment working or stressing about work. I didn’t want to trade parts of my kids’ childhood for larger paychecks. So we made the choice.
And I should say, in all honesty, that it’s still a tough decision to deal with sometimes. I have friends and colleagues who have outstripped me a thousand times over in the performance of their businesses. And at times that’s tough to stomach. But I know in my heart that the quality of life that my family has wouldn’t be there if I had decided to go big. I also know that I have all that I need, and that pushing any harder wouldn’t have made anybody happier.
But. After we had a few big talks and made that decision, it was truly like a weight had lifted. And I felt so much joy in what I get to do every day. So we really honed in on what Lovely Indeed is all about — creating a life that you love, and encouraging us all to make our own lovely. It’s about positivity, sharing experiences, loving DIY, empowering and encouraging each other, and so much more.
These days, I’m branching out in the ways that really inspire me and that I feel will make a difference for people. I created The Productivity Tool Kit, which is an embodiment of the organization and productivity tools that I’ve used for years, and a way to help people feel less overwhelmed every day. I have other projects in the works that are in the same vein, and it’s so exciting to see this new branch of Lovely grow. I’m doing lots of speaking engagements, and realizing that I kind of enjoy it!
All in all, Lovely Indeed is about being intentional in your every day, seeking out and leaning in to those things that make you feel good. It’s about creating a life you love. It’s a reflection of our real life, not a shined-up Instagram version. It’s real. That’s where it has landed, and it feels awesome. And I can’t wait to see what the next ten years holds.
So thank you for sticking around, for reading this insanely long post, and for all of the love over the years! xoxo