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Join Me at Meet The Blogger in Amsterdam!

August 22, 2016

Two great things to share today… First, Meet The Blogger! Next, I feel so good if I just say the word… Suit, Suit, Suitcase! Yes I’m a dork, I know… But I have a lot of travel coming up, including Amsterdam on October 1 for MTB, and I needed luggage so SuitSuit Fabulous Fifties collection in MINT arrived and totally saved the day. Best part… I’ll never miss them on the conveyer belt at the airport because they really stand out. And there are three in the collection so I scooped the smallest one up for my little boy so he can travel with a matching bag to mama. At least we’ll see how long that lasts until he wants his own with cars and trucks on it. :)

Join Me at Meet The Blogger in Amsterdam!

I have so many nice places to visit this Autumn and Winter, and I may be getting back to America, so I’m really looking forward to being on the road seeing nice people and dear friends to give lectures, sign books and just hang out with cool people that inspire me. I love work travel, it hardly feels like work, so I consider myself very lucky in this regard.

So… Are you going to MEET THE BLOGGER in Amsterdam on October 1? Please do! I haven’t been at an event in years – the last was in London in 2012, so this is a big scary step for me to get back out there into the world of blog conferences, speaking engagements and book events. I’m very excited but definitely have shaky knees. I took time off during my pregnancy and the first few years of being a new mom so I could really stay home with him, write books (I finished two since I was pregnant) and focus on re-launching Blogging Your Way and other business-related goals.  I’m glad I did, but now I’m eager to go back out there and meet bloggers and creatives again, see what has changed since I took a leave of absense from it all, and most importantly, to connect and inspire as well as be inspired.

On Saturday, October 1st I will be at Meet The Blogger giving the keynote at 10:15 am – a 45 minute discussion to include q+a about creating content – photography and words – for social media and publications from the heart and with passion and courage. I have A LOT to share that I’ve learned in my 10 years of having a career as a blogger and writer, and I promise it will be a discussion like no other because I plan to share my failings and successes and most importantly, help everyone attending to walk away with a lot more than they entered the room with! It’s going to be a very intimate discussion, that is my goal at least, so I do hope you will be there.

To get your ticket to MEET THE BLOGGER please sign up here for Saturday which includes my presentation along with a bunch of other speakers and workshops. Tickets are nearly sold out to act fast. You have to join us!

SEE YOU IN AMSTERDAM!!!! :)

xo

Holly

(Photograph: Holly Becker for decor8)






Bloggers

20 Creative Ideas For Facebook Live

May 21, 2016

Hey guys! I’m excited to share my guide to using Facebook Live because this is something new that I can really see myself using regularly! I did two broadcasts last night in my Blogging Your Way group on Facebook and it was so much fun! And though the lighting was bad, I still had a great time and decided that going forward, I’ll try to broadcast in natural light. Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of research into Facebook Live for the past week and so I thought I’d share my findings based on my experience and some creative ideas on how bloggers and small biz peeps can use it. Ready?

20 Creative Ideas For Facebook Live

WHAT
Facebook Live lets you broadcast a live video from your iOS or Android (not from your computer, at least not at the moment) to your followers on Facebook either on your own timeline OR on the timeline of a Groups page that you run. Your audience can freely interact in real time through comments and Facebook emoji. It’s fun!

WHERE
First, click on the Facebook app on your smartphone. Then login. On your timeline, top left corner, click on “status”. An “update state” screen will appear. Click below on “live video”. Enter a clear description for the video. Click on the blue bar that says “go live”. Countdown begins 3, 2, 1… Smile! You’re live! Yay!

WHY
It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s fresh. And you’ve already got peeps. Think about it, you most likely already have followers or you may have a private group page that you run for your business. This means you don’t have to start from zero on a new app.

BUT REALLY, WHY?

We need to make genuine connections now more than ever. With a bevy of beautiful, yet heavily edited images and inspiring yet overly tweaked written content, all that sparkle and shine can feel boring at times. Even fake. Your content may be discouraging because to your fans, you may come across as totally unapproachable to your fans. You can google and find anything online yet we all still crave more. That “more” can be satisfied currently through live broadcasting. A live video gives YOU a chance to share openly without retakes, beautiful filters or post-processing. As a result, you can create genuine and present topics and share moments in a fresh new way that can inspire your followers. Continue Reading…






Bloggers, Blogging, From The Heart, Ramblings

From The Heart: A Blog Is Only Dead When You Are

September 23, 2015

Call me dramatic but I believe this strongly — your blog is only dead when you, your content, your zeal for it, dies. It’s a strong statement but it’s worth chatting about for a moment because there is lots of talk online about the future of blogs. I see many of my favorite blogs changing, stagnating or simply selling out (I define this as when a blogger does things for fame and/or money that others find questionable or that they hide because they know readers wouldn’t support them). Due to some of these things, I often wonder if the practice of writing a blog purely out of pleasure has become a lost art. Other times I see certain bloggers who make me proud  – they are full of fire and life, they say what they want, their words aren’t diluted or disingenuous so as to please sponsors and clients, they are unfeigned and they don’t give a damn.

From The Heart: A Blog Is Only Dead When You Are

Those are the bloggers that convince me to carry on — they astonish with words, ideas, photography – some or all.  I rely on their voices and go to them when I need a dose of humor, reality or to really think and feel something again. I don’t look to Facebook updates or random photos posted here and there on apps and websites. These blogging voices remind me that having a blog can still be relevant, fresh and invigorating when the people authoring them are. Blogs can still electrify.

I’ve been busy and unfocused lately when it comes to blogging and truthfully, even ambivalent. A colleague told me that my blog has become boring over the past few months. I was mildly offended at first but then realized the truth in her words because it even bores me, which has lead to my highly irregular posts. Many bloggers are struggling currently, have you noticed? Content is boring, posts are few and far between, content is constantly sponsored, passionate opinions are few (or gone)… Many bloggers feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of social platforms that exist now. Others are struggling to make money since blog ads aren’t pulling in the cash that they were years ago. How do you maintain a blog and find enough time to produce engaging content on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, LinkedIn? How can you also make money blogging when the entire revenue structure has changed?

I guess this is why I’m writing this post. To say that all of us can fall into the boring rut but whether we remain in it is up to only us. And I have decided to get out, and I’m starting with this post because it’s been awhile since I really said anything here.

It can be soul-crushing to stay fresh on every social channel while also trying to reply to those who want to network with you via these platforms, too. It can be hard to turn down a company with products that don’t interest you when they’re offering you thousands for a blog post. Blogging becomes all about survival, all about numbers – number of fans, number of dollars, number of page views, number of followers on other platforms. While some massive blogs thrive on numbers and love the push, the rest of us just don’t function that way. I personally have to believe in and love a product before I’ll take on a sponsored post but I have other ways to generate income that have nothing to do with my blog so I don’t feel pushed to accept every offer I get. I can’t judge those who do and who have families to support. I get it. But this all has changed blogging and how we once felt about it. .

Blogging, for many, gets pushed in the background because posts take time, in fact more time than posting a quick photo on IG or an update on Facebook. I loved blogging before massive online communities where everyone seems to throw out whatever pops into their mind without a single edit. All day you are bombarded with streaming random thoughts from “friends” which amounts to a lot of information that you really didn’t need (or care) to know about.

Then there are places where you only post and share imagery. And those places end up just showing the most edited, perfect, beautiful scenes imaginable. And they are at first inspiring but later, end up making you feel like you have to pump out equal or better content and if you don’t, you’re lame. In my opinion, there are two negative extremes online within these communities –  unedited oversharing and massive role playing (portraying your life as perfect).

Okay, maybe there is another negative and it’s called content overload. There is so much happening online making it impossible to focus and truly appreciate the hard work bloggers are pouring into their content. You find one great post and a second later, you’re reading ten more or liking ten more and so on. Same goes for the beautiful photography produced and shared on Instagram and Pinterest. In this sense, staying in a constant state of feeling oversaturated can be negative since studies have proven that too much choice stamps out creativity, causes depression, creates family stress and even alters our personality – we go from being humble sharers to hungry attention seekers at the cost of even our very own family life.

Limitation breeds creativity. My husband says this often. Being selective in what we’re taking in matters because it impacts our own work and voice. Which leads me to talk about this thing called power editing – not perfection, not role playing, not oversharing – power editing. Using a measure of self control in what we share to maintain both joy and sanity.

I sat in a bar recently in Amsterdam across from Leslie Shewring having a good chat. Her firm belief in power editing is quite inspirational. She believes that you have to power edit your life and not allow excuses or people or anything else to hold you back from doing what needs to get done. Leslie is all about power editing. And some of the book authors I read are into mindfulness, slow living and creating value. All good things.

With power editing, you ask yourself who are you the spending the most time with? Are they good for you? What are you doing for a living? Is it fulfilling you? Stuff like that. You really make your life choices intentional. For things that won’t work for you, that drain you, that aren’t rewarding – those are the deal breakers. You have to root them out or put your focus elsewhere if you can’t make them go away. And as for blogging, maybe we can all work to do the same. Only share what is left over when you’ve filtered out the loads of content you have taken in during the day – share what mattered the most to you personally. It’s a lesson in editing, that’s for sure – a lesson in holding back, in having self control. But that’s the good stuff and that’s why I will continue reading blogs – if I can tap into gems like that.

Power editing is also about making better choices for yourself quicker and with less emotion attached to the process. We crave intimacy, a sense of belonging and the motivation that only others can give through sharing how they’ve navigated their own struggles. You don’t get that by looking at pretty photos all day. You get that from conversations. You also don’t get that from overthinking everything to the point of paralyzing yourself. Blogging could easily become more creative, meaningful and special again if we all worked on this approach. Even therapeutic for us and others.

Power editing isn’t about being fake and presenting only the good, it’s about being genuine and presenting what matters most to you personally even if it ruffles some feathers. In fact, that is the only way blogs have a future in my opinion – if we start blowing minds again. If we break ourselves off from what’s comfortable, popular or trending… If we individually rise up and use our voice to create emotion, stir thoughts, stimulate creative thinking… Then blogs aren’t dead at all because we are very much alive.

What do you think, has blogging lost value? Will blogs eventually fade and die? Do you still read blogs? How do you think power editing can apply to bloggers in general?

(photography: holly becker for decor8. That is my little boy in the top photo examining the mushroom he found last week. Isn’t this something to do more as adults, to inspect what we are finding and value it? Maybe the same can be applied to the content our friends are sharing online. Take a moment to appreciate what treasures you find before you move quickly to the next thing.)






Bloggers

Our Food Stories in Berlin

June 22, 2015

Berlin is fast becoming a food-lovers city, a place for foodies from all over the country and beyond to gather with drinks, eats and stories in the many biergartens, trendy cafes and edgy-urban outdoor spaces. Along with this big wave of food, you also have a rising up of food trucks, markets and bloggers – all of which are quite impressive with their culinary passion shining through. In fact, I predict that the food culture in Germany will only grow, and leading the scene is definitely the great city of multicultural, forward-moving Berlin (with Hamburg in second place). Between the low rents in Berlin (compared to other German cities), innovative youngsters and middle-agers who want to bring fresh ideas to life, and the abundance of food that is available sourced locally at affordable prices, it’s definitely fertile ground to make your culinary dreams come true in Berlin.

Our Food Stories in Berlin

I was recently reading the Michelin Star Report 2015 and found that their are now 15 Berlin restaurants (I want to try Pauly SaalHorvath and VAU) that hold the high honor of receiving Michelin stars and an additional 5 have received their newest award, Bib Gourmand, one of which I’m dying to try called Continue Reading…






Bloggers

Sassy Kitchen Blog

March 26, 2015

I was just dropping some cash at H&M on boyfriend jeans and tunics when I clicked over to their blog and found yummy food recipes by New York-based blogger Julia Gartland, who is the photographer and food stylist behind the Sassy Kitchen blog. I’d not heard of her until now but was excited when I clicked over and found her beautiful gluten-free cooking blog. I’ve often thought to go gluten-free. I don’t have gluten allergies that I know of, but I do love the idea of trying something new and even a bit healthier. Aren’t her photos and recipes just scrummy?

Sassy Kitchen Blog

Sassy Kitchen Blog

Sassy Kitchen Blog

Sassy Kitchen Blog

Sassy Kitchen Blog

Sassy Kitchen Blog

Hope you are doing well, you guys! Sorry I’ve been a little absent lately. I’ll talk about it more on the blog soon.

xo,
Holly






Bloggers

Meet Instagrammer Cestmaria

December 17, 2014

If you love creative and cohesive instagram accounts, beach scenes, melty ice cream, balloons and lots of dreamy pastels, Maria Marie is one to watch — Such a great eye! My friend Leslie Shewring taught a styling and photography workshop last month in Mexico and returned with wonderful stories to tell of adventure and the people she’d met, including her wonderful students. One immediately interested me because I’d been following her surreal-ish pastel playground on Instagram (@cestmaria) along with 40K others, and was pretty convinced she had been working in a creative field for many years.

Meet Instagrammer Cestmaria

That’s why when Leslie told me Maria Marie is 27-years-old and not even doing what you see in her photos for a living, I was amazed and had to learn more because those who are working day jobs and filling their creative cups at nights and on the weekends totally inspire me and I’m sure, so many of you out there. Would you like to meet Marioly Vazquez, known online mostly as Maria Marie? That’s her above – so cute!

Meet Instagrammer Cestmaria

 

Hi Marioly! It’s nice to “meet” you here. can you tell me how you are using the internet to share your creativity?
MM: Yes, of course. I don’t formally blog, although I would love to someday. I am microblogging though using Instagram and Tumblr because I love how fast and intuitive their interfaces are and it is so easy to stay in touch with everyone, share instant moments, and report in on the current projects I’m working on. I also have a website here.

Meet Instagrammer Cestmaria

 

Where do you live and what do you do for a living?
MM: Currently I live in Monterrey, an industrial City in the North of Mexico with beautiful mountains in its surroundings. I’m currently working at a museum and a foundation, I love being involved in multidisciplinary projects related to art and culture which supports society’s development. Although my days are quite busy, I always find time for my real passion, photography and styling, which I do as a freelancer. I’ve had the opportunity to work with diverse clients for different campaigns, and I’ve done some editorial work too.


Meet Instagrammer Cestmaria

 

What do you love about photography?
MM: The possibility of saying a million things with just one image. Being able to provoke different emotions in people and leave them with a feeling of peace and happiness, is one of the most gratifying things. More than just taking photographs, I also love creating the perfect moment and scenario, being playful and capturing it. More importantly I love how photography gives me a sense of peace and purpose and I hope I can transmit that in my work.

Meet Instagrammer Cestmaria

Meet Instagrammer Cestmaria

 

What inspired your passion for photography?
MM: My father used to be a hobby photographer and he used a film camera, it was a lovely Canon AE-1. He photographed my brother and me during our holidays, family vacations, or any other milestone event. I remember being so captivated by the sound of the shutter, I instantly wanted to get my hands on the camera. So my father very patiently started teaching me the basics of photography. I got so excited picking up our developed film, it was always an amazing feeling not knowing what would come from the pictures we took together. After several years I received my first digital camera (2.0 megapixels back then!) and that day everything changed. I took my camera with me everywhere, I loved shooting whatever captured my eye. What I loved the most about digital cameras was that I didn’t have to spend so much time caught in technicalities, and was able to focus on the composition and concept of my images instead.

Meet Instagrammer Cestmaria

 

When and why did you begin styling?
MM: This started as a necessity, I’m such a wanderer, always imagining worlds, places, moments and beautiful color combinations. I would go out on weekends always trying to discover new places or pretty things to capture, but I never found places I imagined inside my head, and that’s when I discovered and started styling. There is no better feeling than giving life to your ideas and imagination. I started drawing and putting together my ideas on paper which helped me conceptualize and organize my projects better. Once I had a complete idea, that’s where the fun part began, prop searching! I started creating vignettes in my kitchen, backyard, bedroom, anywhere I could find beautiful light. Since then, styling and photography are things I enjoy and love to do.

 

Meet Instagrammer Cestmaria

 

You recently took a class with Leslie Shewring, what did you do there and what was your takeaway?
MM: Yes I took her photography and styling class in Baja. Leslie is amazing, and she is so talented and creative. She has a very beautiful aesthetic that is very coherent in all of her work. We learned to work under pressure while styling — for instance, we did a photo shoot with different popsicles under the sun and also took photos of a giant ice cream, which believe me, in those conditions every second counts. I also learned how to take advantage of all the things you have on hand in that moment and to work in very different situations which you did not have in mind. One thing I also enjoyed very much was visiting Patricia Larsen’s home for an interior styling photo shoot. I learned a lot about etiquette when you photograph a stranger’s home. It is amazing how you learn to see things in different perspectives, it is very fulfilling when you are working with people, and everyone can capture the same moment but each with their very own point of view. That made me understand very well what makes a good photographer and stylist; Leslie’s creativity, imagination, eye for the detail and a unique perspective.

Meet Instagrammer Cestmaria

 

What do you ultimately want to do with all of your creative talent?
MM: There are lots of projects I want to do, I’ve always been so fascinated by beautiful homes and spaces and would love to style interiors, and design sets for photo shoots someday. I wish to continue creating and experimenting either for my personal projects or for a client. I love working and collaborating with different creative people, because you always end up nourishing your head with fresh ideas for new creative and artistic projects, campaigns or editorials. I want to keep collaborating also with different magazines, publications and agencies and eventually publish a book with all my pictures and creative processes inside.

Meet Instagrammer Cestmaria

 

Where do you turn when you are not feeling creative?
MM: Talking about creativity is a really complex subject for me, but I love it. Normally it is creativity that finds me at the most unexpected moments! I’ve ended up writing my ideas on concert tickets, napkins or even in the palm of my hand. Now that we have cellphones it is obviously easier to take note of whatever comes to my mind. When I have specific projects and I’m not feeling that much creativity it always helps me to just listen to some good music, get away from the computer, grab a beautiful illustrated book or just simply change my perspective. This helps me get away the pressure of creating something instantly and it relaxes my mind and eventually ideas flow. Also a great source of inspiration is Pinterest and Issuu, but I risk on spending too much time on them and not creating, so I limit the time I spend.

Meet Instagrammer Cestmaria

Meet Instagrammer Cestmaria

Thank you so much Marioly (and also Leslie!) for this chance to get to know more about you. I hope to see a lot more of you online and wish you heaps of success today and onward!

(images: Marioly Vazquez)






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