So I read this article, When Blogging Becomes a Slog, over on The New York Times today (thanks for sharing, Gregory!) and I wasn’t sure what to think other than bless writer Steven Kurutz for shedding light on the topic to the outside world. Yet for those of us blogging (who number into the thousands), well we have battled with all of what he speaks of and more for years. Yet when you read about it in The Times it suddenly feels like it’s hot-off-the-presses brand new. But again, it’s not. Blogger burn out, sponsored content love/hate, feeling overwhelmed, post performance, stats, reader expectations, maintaining our pace… These have always been major blogger concerns. Attend any blogger conference or listen in on what bloggers talk about when they gather for lunch. It’s always on our minds.
And yet so many questions are on the table today after reading that article, for many bloggers. Because I think it raised a lot of interesting questions that, though didn’t get raised by Mr. Kurutz, seemed to come to mind after I read his take on blogger burn out. Here are questions that popped into my head:
- As advertising dollars slip away for those “annoying blinking boxes” so does the income that bloggers relied upon to keep producing 5 star content full-time. Many have moved on to sponsored in-post content. But lots of readers hate it and says it affects “our voice”. So what’s next?
- Are your readers really the ones pushing you so hard or is it voice inside of your own head along with fame, money, etc.?
- Should our readers be all that matter because at some point, shouldn’t we as bloggers care about finding pleasure in our work? For instance, Are teachers, vets, cafe owners, doctors heading off to work each day to only please their customers or do they genuinely enjoy what they do? Isn’t that the bigger part of it all?
- Are some bloggers simply too ambitious and it’s causing them to lose balance?
- Is the future of blogging in paid content – in other words, if readers don’t like ads, sponsored content or anything that they feel makes us less “authentic” or trustworthy, then should we have some of our blog content be stuff they pay to see? And the less intense-to-produce posts can remain free?
- And in all fairness, doesn’t everyone in every profession battle with burn out and fear and everything else – why is it that when bloggers do it becomes a NYTimes article?
My blogging mantra has always been to use blogging as a catalyst to live your best life. To let blogging drive you to do great things so that you have interesting content to share. I also think you have to think ahead and always expect that nothing today will be this way tomorrow. Especially online. Blogging (or any profession) cannot suck our souls or make us feel like losers when we miss a few days or when our last DIY post didn’t generate as many shares or comments. When that happens you have to step back and wonder what the hell is happening to us, right?
What are your thoughts on all of this?
(image: design for mankind who was one blogger featured in The Times article and had a few interesting things to say.)
Want a little color in your home on a budget, a little zing for Fall, a little fun? I was recently in touch with the Novogratz family about a new line they’ve produced for the home – colorful, budget-friendly and perky… And we all love fun interiors bursting with personality, don’t we? They wanted me to review some of their new things but I was hesitant since I hadn’t seen any of it in person and 1) I don’t feel comfortable reviewing products unless I’ve experienced them and 2) I am so picky when it comes to soft furnishings because stuff close to my skin has to feel GOOD. That’s why I asked for 4 of my favorite pillows from their collection agreeing that if liked them I’d post and if I didn’t, I’d simply return to sender and move on.
Thankfully, they passed my critical eye and I’ll end up keeping at least one for my home (I’ll give the rest to my friends, I don’t have much space left in my house!). But the pillows really are great because they are priced between $15-20 bucks a piece and they look really good in person — you really can’t go wrong. You can buy them, along with matching bedding and other goodies, like shower curtains, right here. And yeah, okay, if they were more expensive, I would expect zip-cases and goose feather inserts, but for this price range you really have to appreciate the quality that you’re getting for such rock bottom prices. You can easily wipe them clean, they aren’t such an investment that if your kids ruin them you’re going to freak and they work in all sorts of rooms – the office, kid’s room, play area, living room – anywhere.
I put the #9 numbers cushion in Aidan’s nursery…
And the Count Your Blessings and Color Wheel cushion on my chair in my living room for now – but the color wheel may end up in my new office – and a big P.S. — it’s not silk but looks just like it and the colors really shine against the pure while background.
The Love Letters cushion is another favorite, shown above.
So let me quickly tell you about the Novogratz family shown pictured above. You can see their website for the full scoop, but they are a creative family of 9 (Yes, my jaw dropped too), first is Bob and Cortney Novogratz followed by their 7 children. YES, you heard me right. S E V E N. I have ONE and struggle at times with my schedule so to have 7 completely blows my mind. To be as cool as this family to run a design firm producing collections for huge stores (like Walmart, Macy’s, CB2), developing and designing property, writing books, designing interiors, living in the big city (Manhattan), it seems like a total dream slash fantasy life. I think they need a reality show because I’d tune into that just to get the scoop on how they balance everything. Very inspiring…
(Brought to you by decor8 + The Novogratz. Photography in my home photographed by me. All words are my own.)
Hello everyone! It’s Holly Marder back this month with another gorgeous home for you to peek inside. This month, feast your eyes on the quirky and collected home of Marlous Snijder, the blogger behind Planet Fur and founder of Oh Marie! magazine. Filled with thrifted treasures and bold bursts of colour, this home tour is sure to leave you with a smile and have you heading for your nearest thrift shop, guaranteed!
Marlous and her husband Pim were looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and escape to the country when they first laid eyes on a semi-attached 150m2 house, built in the 80s, and all plans fell by the wayside. “We fell in love instantly, though it desperately needed to be modernized. The kitchen was brown, the brick walls in the living room were still brick coloured. There were outdated brown tiles on the hallway floor, but boy, it was love at first sight,” Marlous admits. The bright, spacious and promising space became theirs and renovations began swiftly, lasting 3 months. With the help of friends and family, the kitchen and floors were replaced, the walls were freshly painted, and huge amounts of outdated wallpaper were removed.
“Located at the edge of our city, on one of its oldest roads that leads to the countryside, we now have best of both worlds: the advantages of the city, but the calm and quiet of the countryside too,” Marlous says. “I can’t exactly point out why, but this house gives us the ultimate feeling of being home. We love, love it. It’s got some kind of x-factor.”
With an eye for unique vintage finds and a penchant for creating a happy yet calming space, Marlous regards decorating her home as a way of life. “Designing the interior isn’t just the thing I do to pass time with. It’s much, much more than that. Creating a still life that looks good and balanced is like oxygen to me,” she explains. “My home is my happy place, my safe zone. I look at my surroundings like a photographer that is about to take a picture: everything needs to be in place, the image needs to be right. I have a need to see the beauty in things, no matter how small. I suppose it’s a way of shielding myself against the ugliness in this world. Picking out ‘gestures of beauty’, no matter how small, makes me a happy person. So, interior design is more a way of life than just a hobby or a job.”
In her home, Marlous is drawn to decorating with vintage finds and bright colours, mixing styles and hues to her heart’s content until she finds balance and harmony. “My style is pretty eclectic and it’s always a challenge to make a beautiful blend of all those different items from different eras together. It’s a nice and very rewarding challenge though. I love the whole concept of recycling and that one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure.” And though her style has evolved and shaped over time, Marlous wasn’t always so sure about her own aesthetic.
“It took a while for me to realize that this odd-bod bunch of styles really is my style. I really felt my style was all over the place and not very ‘recognizable’ for an outsider,” she admits.
“Over the years, I have come to accept the fact that my style is best described as an odd mix of different styles, ‘eclectic’ would best describe it,” she says. “It’s why I can fall for a watermelon coloured 80s vase and a retro blue-and-white jug on one second-hand shopping day. I’ve always followed my heart when it came to decorating though: no matter how many ‘rules of styling’ (if there is such a thing) I was breaking. If something makes my heart leap for joy, I take it home and integrate it into my interior.”
Her regular second-hand shopping sprees, the thrill of finding something unique and integrating it into her eclectic interior is what brings Marlous the most joy in designing her home’s interior.
“Since thrift finds are generally pretty unique, I can create my own, unique and personal interior blend with items that have a past life and have a kind of spirit,” she says. “My second-hand finds also inspire me for little easy DIY projects, such as block stamping a vintage tablecloth, or making cushion covers out of old bed sheets.”
Marlous’ trick to finding balance in her eclectic interior is combining her colourful, thrifted finds with clean, contemporary lines. “Because my home accessories are brightly coloured, sometimes a bit kitsch and slightly whimsical, I have kept the home’s base (floors/walls) white or neutral like a white canvas. And though she loves to display all of her treasures, she prefers to keep clutter at bay. “This is why I combine vintage with contemporary.” she explains. “For example, the Moldavian kilim is paired with our invisible Kartell side table. The table is modern and sleek and because of its ‘invisibility’ it doesn’t outshine the kilim it stands on. In my opinion an eclectic mix of accessories works best on a neutral or modest base.”
Though spontaneous in nature, Marlous has learned to be patient when it comes to designing her interior, being elective and bringing home the right pieces. “I’m a very impatient person, so it took some years and mistakes to learn, but there’s nothing more satisfactory than the search of that perfect piece and the thrill of finding it.”
The rug in the couple’s living room was the result of patience and persistence. “I have been craving for a Moldavian kilim since I don’t know when, so when we bought the house, the first thing we did was purchase the rug in the living room,” she says. “In fact, when we found it, we were heartbroken to learn that someone had already reserved it because we instantly fell in love with this particular pattern. Eventually it turned out to be too big for their home and it was returned. I guess it was meant to be!”
Other favourite pieces in the couple’s living room include a vintage Panthella semi-circular shade lamp by Verner Panton and the vintage zebra rocker. “Years ago I fell for this super-cute looking rocking zebra. There was something in his expression that I really liked. Like he appealed to my inner child or something. Now that I think about it: my favourite items are often animal-shaped.”
“I have always had a love for the quirky, playful, colourful and eclectic. Items that immediately catch my eye often have a toy-like appearance, they often even come from the children’s department of a thrift shop. I’m not sure why I like those so much. Perhaps I never let go of my inner child.”
The couple’s bright yellow cabinet is an absolute favourite. “It was already yellow when I found it. I was looking for a cabinet like it when I stumbled upon this one in a second hand store. The guy at the store couldn’t believe his ears when I told him it would stay yellow!”
Some of Marlous’ favourite thrift shop finds are the various artworks adorning her walls. “I have a love for old, thrifted prints and posters, we mounted my most favourite ones above the dinner table.” Other favourite pieces of art are the rare vintage Dick Bruna posters Marlous thrifted recently. “I found five of them, stashed in a corner of a thrift shop for €0.20 each. I had to pinch myself when I saw Dick Bruna’s signature on the corner of each poster. I walk on sunshine for days when I find something like that.”
The couple’s dining room combines delicate vintage finds with wooden dining chairs by the well known Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek and contemporary white drum pendant lights overhead. In the kitchen, a baby blue Smeg fridge inspired a kitchen overhaul. “We actually designed our kitchen around our baby-blue Smeg. We bought it when we moved into a temporary home and so we had to think of a way of integrating it into our new kitchen plan.”
Though much of her home is comprised of inexpensive pieces from second hand shops and vintage markets, Marlous appreciates a splurge is sometimes necessary for the right piece. The couple decided to invest in a good quality designer bed for their new baby, the ‘Kili’ bed by Sebra, while the rest of the room decor comes from second hand shops, Etsy or Marktplaats (the Dutch version of Craigslist). “I love the way the room worked out and I like the fact that, after much debate, we went for the Kili bed there. We don’t often spend money on something so expensive, but I’m glad we did this time!”
The couple’s baby daughter Jet’s bedroom mixes both bright and pastel hues against a calming white backdrop. The antique rag rug was an Etsy find from Vintage Home Stories.
One of Marlous’ favourite baby room features the ‘ABC of birds’ print from Etsy seller Geninne. “She sold it years ago in her shop. When I found out she didn’t sell it anymore, I realized how much I wanted to have it. When she announced on Instagram that it was back in her shop again, I literally didn’t wait a second and purchased it right away.”
On the same floor, the couple enjoy a cheerful home office, though it wasn’t always that way. “The sloping ceilings we have at the first floor were a real design challenge. They cast a shadow over everything and, during winter especially our workroom was pretty gloomy and not a nice spot to work. In the end, we replaced the previous black worktable with a white one and moved it in front of the window. We also papered the wall underneath the sloping part with a brighter pattern.”
Marlous finds her inspiration in blogs, magazines and interior books. “My blogger friends are very inspiring people because they ‘feed’ my creative flow. They make me feel home in the creative community and feeling good is the best way for ideas to flow,” she says. “One of the first interior books I bought featured the home of Emily Chalmers and I think her great sense of style and the way she blends all kinds of different styles together planted the seed for my current interior style.”
Marlous enjoys nothing more than filling her home with rescued items and creating an ever-evolving, though always inviting home for her growing family. “Our interior will always be changing.” she says. “It’s so very different from the 2010 version. Or the February 2014 version! As I’m currently on maternity leave, I have finally time to work on DIY projects again and to spend my days blogging, photographing, writing and making exiting new creative plans for the future.”
So what’s Marlous’ secret to decorating? “I don’t think one is ever too old to put playful, colourful things into their home, and I also don’t think that there are exact rules that need to be followed when decorating. It’s more important to just follow your heart and surround yourself with things you like to look at. I don’t select items especially on their appearance to make it easy to ‘merge’ them. The only thing the items in our home have in common is that they stole my heart.”
I hope you guys enjoyed touring Marlous’ home! I’ll be back next month with another inspiring home. But before I sign off, tell me: what do you love about Marlous’ home? Love her mix and match style, or too quirky and colourful for you? I’d love to read your thoughts, and if you spot anything you love, feel free to ask Marlous directly in the comments section below.
What do Autumn interiors look like this year to you? I created a board so you can peek into my view including some of the photos that I took yesterday in the forest behind my home. Here is a glimpse into my vibe this year for Autumn… I LOVE this mood right now and is the current inspiration behind my living room redecoration project too. Moody, smokey, intense, sensual, nature-inspired and cozy as hell!
The Smiths (I’m going to see Morrissey in November – yeah!)
David Gandy and Bianca Balti for Vogue Mexico Hombre (June 2013) via Habitually Chic
Pinned here – source unknown – if you know, tell me!
Pinned here – source unknown – if you know, tell me!
Does this mood and palette feel like sweater weather to you, too? Moody blues and greens?
(images linked to their sources above)