It’s taken me awhile to get the courage to write and share this post. I haven’t wanted to offend anyone or cause stress on the relationships that I have made within the blogging community, so I’ve hesitated to share my thoughts. However, I have felt a strong nudge to share them, and hope that it can offer some insight into my blogging experience and the challenges I’ve faced, and that hopefully others may relate to these struggles.
I started my blog in January of 2015, after starting to follow a variety of different blogs and getting really inspired by them. I wanted to use my blog as a creative outlet and share my style - both my personal style and in styling our home that we were going to be renovating. I didn’t know much about photography and photo styling (if you look back at my early pictures, they are SO terrible!), and I was super self-conscious about posting pictures of myself. It just wasn’t really all that natural feeling to me. And, if I’m being honest, I was really preoccupied with what others thought of me, so over time, it was just a place where I posted pictures of things around my house, pretty things outside, occasional pictures of my style, and it never really went anywhere because I was really inconsistent (sometimes not posting for months...) and put too much stake into what others thought about what I was doing.
When we went through our infertility journey, I created a seperate, private account where I shared our experience and made so many authentic connections with other ladies going through the same experience. I’m SO grateful that I had Instagram & the TTC (trying to conceive) community during that difficult time, because I really struggled finding people that could relate to what we were going through, and I really withdrew from life at the time. This amazing little app enabled me to receive so much support and make connections with women who are now friends in real life, and I still keep in touch with many others who are not local through social media as well.
However, once I got pregnant, I felt at odds about posting on my infertility account, because I was worried how others would feel about seeing “bumpdates”, as I know it can be a real trigger for those going through infertility. It was kind of this weird feeling, because I had created this amazing, supportive place, but now I almost felt like I was on the outside of it because I was now pregnant. I wrote a whole blog post about this, you can read it here. So I decided to go back to my neglected blog IG account, and start sharing more openly there. I started to share some bumpdates (which felt more natural to share than sharing my outfit style), how I was designing the nursery, more pictures of our home and my interior style and a little about our infertility journey. I was having fun doing it, and starting to get more into photo styling and photography and with that I was gaining some momentum, which was so fun and rewarding. It’s a personal passion of mine to photograph and style little scenes that showcase my style and favorite things for our home, motherhood and our little guy. It was so reaffirming to gain this momentum, and actually start generating a little bit of income for our family through something I was having so much fun doing.
It was about 1 year ago that I was asked to be in my first “engagement group” for Instagram. I was really excited because this was a new tactic that bloggers were doing to help create more engagement on their posts, which would help them gain more exposure and overcome the Instagram algorithm change (which has made it more difficult for your posts to be seen). These engagement groups had about 10 people in them, and every time you posted, you would let the group know, and they’d like and comment on your picture and you’d all reciprocate. I loved the appearance of how well my posts were “performing”. Soon, I was asked to join another group, and then another and before I knew it I was in a few of these groups, and spending a lot of time on my phone trying to keep up with everyone’s posts, so they’d do the same for me. I then learned about telegram from some other bloggers, an app where you send your post at a certain time, and you all just like each other’s photos, which gave me an extra 100-200 likes on a given picture. I had stopped doing engagement groups because of the time it was taking up and because I was starting to feel very inauthentic. But, candidly, I let my pride get in the way, because I was still longing for that appearance of highly engaging IG posts and to keep up with the other bloggers who were doing this, too, so I did telegram for while. I was spending so much time on my phone trying to keep up, it was hard for me to be present. I had this sweet little guy that we longed for and prayed for, for so long, and here I was just wasting my time away on my phone. I was following along with accounts that I may not normally follow and engage with, stressed out about it, and it was all to keep up with the appearance that I wanted to convey. It was almost as if I was starting put too much stake into how my posts were performing and it became such a focus for me. It took the fun out of it and it all started feeling like a chore. I got away from the reason I started all of this, to have fun and channel my passions and creativity.
So, I took a week long social media break at the beginning of the summer because I was feeling so discouraged about this whole blogging thing and wanted to spend some time doing some reflecting. I was feeling discouraged because so many people were buying their followers & likes, or “manufacturing” or enhancing their engagement by participating in engagement groups or telegram. The other thing that’s become super popular, and is basically a more acceptable form of buying followers, is doing giveaway after giveaway. It just felt like it was all kind of a big sham to me, so I took a breather. Don’t get me wrong, I have tried all of these things, and I don’t blame or judge anyone for doing them. Instagram continues to change who sees and is exposed to posts, and has made it really hard for bloggers to grow their followers organically, and even have strong, natural engagement. Here’s a link to an article about this - Instagram then & now. These new growth tactics for engagement and followers has become the norm now, but something within me didn’t feel right participating. (Note: I will still do the occasional giveaway if its something that I think my readers would love - and are products that I love - like Stabuckys and Target! But, I promise to not become a page that is constantly doing tons of giveaways, all the time.)
So quit it all. My heart just didn’t feel right doing it, and to be honest its not fair to any of the brands that I team up with from time-to-time. It felt like things have just gone way too far for me to feel comfortable, so I just had to stop participating. And my engagement is way down and my followers have remained around the same range for awhile, and that’s OK!
I’ve grown a lot in my faith as I’ve started Bible Study Fellowship and Mom’s Morning at my church this fall. It has helped me find fulfillment in Jesus and has helped me build new, authentic friendships with other moms who are in the same season of life and share the same faith. It has been so wonderful to have a community to connect with that is in this season of life with me now, too. My faith has helped me realize that you will never find fulfillment from a social media platform, or value your worth or popularity from how many likes or followers you get, or commissions you make. This has been so freeing for me. Now I can post and truly just have fun with it, be myself, and use social media when I have time for it, versus using it in a way that feels like a job to keep up an appearance. My likes and comments on other pages are truly meaningful too, not just something I felt like I had to do because I was in an engagement group. If my blog grows as a result of this, that’s great, but I’m not going to stress out about it like I once did. This will let me do this as a passion, which was the reason I started doing this in the first place.
I love being able to do something that is fun, allows me to be creative, and helps me support my family. So to everyone who has been here with me on my journey, thank you so much. I felt like I owed it to all of you to be honest and transparent about my experience with blogging, and hope that you will appreciate that. I always do my best to try to keep things real and authentic so that I can connect with people in a meaningful way. Thank you again for all of your support. XO
I've rounded up some of my favorite items for the home below. Many of these could work as great hostess gifts, too! You can click on each image for details. :)
I've started putting some thought into some gift ideas for Parker and thought I'd share them here, in case anyone is interested or is looking for gift ideas for their little. It may be more appropriate to call this mommy's wish list for Parker.... :)
I am trying to be mindful about not collecting a bunch of toys and "things" that will just sit on a shelf. So this list was made with functionality and need in mind, versus a lot of toys. I actually haven't even bought P many new toys at all, almost everything we use is hand me downs from his cousins, or he uses my kitchen utensils and bottles of water. He just loves the simple stuff. :)
I'm so happy to finally share this post! I have been planning this post about this since, literally, last year at this time. But then the holidays came, P arrived and then I just never got around to it, so I'm glad I finally am! I love a nice, simple clean shelf, but have never figured out how to achieve that pretty look without spending a ton of money on new stuff, which isn't really needed. So I decided to use some great hacks in our master built ins and share them in case anyone else is wanting to do some DIY shelf styling.
1. COVER YOUR BOOKS LIKE YOU DID IN SCHOOL
I was strolling through Restoration Hardware at the Galleria doing some holiday shopping last year when it donned on me that they don't have perfect, neutral colored books making their shelves look pretty - they've just covered hard covered books (many with cool bindings) like I did way back in grade school - when you had to cover your books with paper grocery bags - except they did theirs in a linen fabric. So I hopped back in my car and drove straight over to Joann Fabrics and bought some belgian linen. I came home to my husband's big book supply (that is still in boxes from our remodel) and stripped off the covers and started covering some books. You can see those on the bottom shelf. (Tip: The white linen can be sheer and not cover all of the wording on the binding if it's brightly covered.)
2. STRIP THE BOOK
Then, this past weekend we were at Galleria again, and in Arhaus (such a pretty store!), I saw another great hack - just rip off the covers and bindings of the books for a super cool, aged bookshelf look. I really liked this one, because we have so many books, and I hated the way they looked on our shelves. So, this was a great way to make them useful and achieve the look I was going for - although I'm sure my husband may think otherwise. :) Those are on the middle shelf to the right.
3. FACE THE BINDING BACKWARD
If that sounds like too much work, you can always face your books backwards too, so just the binding is showing like on the left side of the middle shelf below.
I am absolutely loving Target right now. Their new brand, A New Day is super cute and trendy, and best of all affordable. Both of the gray sweaters I am wearing below are from that line, as well as the white furry one, that is my new favorite! Parker is also wearing Cat & Jack items that I've linked below, too. :) Thought I'd share since they were all around $30 or less and super cute! A few items in these pictures are not from Target, but I've linked them anyway just in case anyone is interested. :)
Gray Sweater - Seriously sooo soft and cozy!
Hi! I'm Lindsay, a new mama to our little boy, Parker. I started my blog as a way to channel my creativity and document our life happenings. From the pretty, styled shots to the real, raw experiences, too, like our journey to start our family. I love to share about my faith, my personal style for interior decorating, holidays and entertaining & for our little guy. too. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your support. XO