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Hello 2015!

Hello and happy new year! I’ve not been in this space to blog since December 26th, the longest blog break I’ve taken in years! Crazy! It’s nice to be back since blog breaks aren’t as fun for me as I guess they should be… I’m always so super eager to get back to blogging! For instance, on Friday I had two lovely things happen in my life. This blog celebrated its 9th anniversary since I’ve been blogging since January 9, 2006 (read my first post). I seriously can’t believe that I’m now into my 10th year and that this time next year, I’ll be a blogger for an entire decade. I never imagined this would become a company and a life altering path for me. This fantastic journey has been so rewarding in countless ways but most of all, I’m grateful to you for joining me.

aidan11months_2

Also on Friday my dear little son turned 11-months-old. It’s a very lovely feeling to have a baby, so new and helpless in many ways, and then to watch him grow so beautifully, become strong, handsome, clever, spirited, even develop his own likes and dislikes in mere months. He began crawling at 6 months at top speed, walking at 10 months and he has 6 teeth and is already eating solids (in addition to milk) — and is in perfect health. He has a beautiful personality too – a real mix of colors – he will definitely grow up to have strong opinions and a love for people – I can clearly see this already.

Our pediatrician told us she is so impressed by him, that even she isn’t used to babies his age being so bright and ahead of most other babies. Though, honestly, she could have said nothing and I wouldn’t have cared because I’m not invested in making him better than others, I simply want him to follow his own path naturally and on his own terms. Though, of course, being new parents we couldn’t help but to feel very pleased to be praised by our doctor for our dedication. This gave us both a very proud parents moment, and when you are so new to parenting, you need those confidence boosters because it’s a very unknown and long road to embark on – having a child – and an occasional cheering squad is nice from time-to-time. I’m so happy that all of the love and care we put into our son is paying off like this – with both of us home with him full-time, we may be struggling for work balance and trying to squeeze in everything while he’s napping or asleep at night, but it is soooo worth it to see him this healthy and happy. He looks a bit serious in the photo above, he was tired when I shot this on Saturday, but I prefer these quieter moments when he’s not clowning around because I love capturing his silence, his beauty, how lost in thought he appears because I feel like I’m catching a glimpse of “future” him and it really warms my heart.

aidan11months_10

But enough about parenting. How are you? I hope you all had a very restful and joyful holiday season. Ours was such a delight, we spent it with good friends and family and ate far too many of my homemade cookies and cake, but now I’m off of sugar doing a bit of a detox and my energy is coming back again and I feel like I’m getting my mojo back, slowly, after the lag of the holidays, celebrating a little too much, and chasing an 11-month-old who already looks and acts like he’s 2 or 3!

It’s all so good though – life – and to think that this time last year I was unpacking boxes in this new home with my huge belly and my due date drawing closer and closer. And today I’m talking about my energetic baby who is already walking. Yowser! So much can happen in a single year. In fact, I think that is what my dear little boy has taught me among a slew of other important things – how every moment should be felt and experienced, good and bad, and that so much can change about a person in such a short period of time that nothing is impossible if we will it to be.

Happy 2015 to everyone – I’m so happy to be back to give you another year of (hopefully) happiness, inspiration, creative ideas, support and community.

Love,
Holly x

(Photos: Holly Becker for decor8. Please do not use these images without my written consent since they are of my little boy, thank you. Just pop me an email. Thanks!)

Posted in baby on January 11, 2015

December Greetings + A Big Kiss!

Hello dear friends! It’s the holiday season which means that most likely you are home, or at someone else’s home, or maybe if you’re not in Germany (today is 2nd Christmas), you are shopping the big sales or enjoying some relaxing down time. Whether you celebrate the holidays or not, whether you have family or are alone and whether this time is special to you or simply “meh”… I simply want to send you many warm greetings and lots of love as I sign off until the new year. You have all been such an inspiration to me and next month will begin my 10th year of blogging… I still feel, in many ways, the same as I did when I first started, “Why do people even read my posts!?”. I’m so glad that you do and for those of you who take the time to comment and share what you find here, thank you.

Photo by Freutcake seen on decor8

It means so much that I can support my family doing what makes me happiest – reaching out, sharing, writing and growing alongside all of you because no matter how “seasoned” or “pro” I may be, we’re all in this together and I often feel as overwhelmed and unsteady, inspired and eager, drained and filled with anticipation by this whole blogging thing as you do. I may inspire you by my work but you’ve inspired much more in return because I simply couldn’t keep all of this up without the incentive = YOU. I’m signing off for the next 10 days for some family time, but I’ll be back again during the first week of January after New Year’s, most likely the 5th. But since I didn’t take maternity leave this year or vacation, I may linger a little and return a few days later. I’ll have to see. If you’d like to keep busy, here are a bunch of great things for you to enjoy in my absence like…

My personal top 12 posts this year:

  1. Resolve To Be Happy
  2. Our Baby Aidan Benjamin Is Here!
  3. Our Birth Story + Newborn Photography by Christin Lange
  4. Can Full-Time Bloggers Live Off Of Rainbows & Hugs?
  5. Our Baby Boy’s Nursery Before + After
  6. What Do Babies Play With?
  7. Baby Essentials For The First Year
  8. 22 Hard To Kill Houseplants
  9. The Future Of Blogging – What Do You Think?
  10. Blog Trends: Slow Blogging
  11. 10 Ways To Create Hygge At Home
  12. Our New Book Has a Website

Now for 9 blogs that are really lovely…

  1. Tell Love and Chocolate
  2. Hanke Arkenbout
  3. Freutcake
  4. Jeanie Micheel
  5. Two Loves Studio
  6. Sugar & Cloth
  7. Carnets Parisiens
  8. Mokkasin
  9. Anna Malmberg

15 favorite design finds (or purchases) this year:

  1. Floyd leg
  2. Muuto Stacked Shelves
  3. Superfront
  4. Jonathan Adler Owl Bookends (still on my wishlist!)
  5. Anything from Menu A/S
  6. & Other Stories
  7. Kauniste in Finland
  8. This amazing cabinet
  9. Fujifilm INSTAX Instant Smartphone Printer
  10. Copper foil tape
  11. Matte white washi tape
  12. Band.do iPhone cases
  13. Hubble & Duke baby mocs
  14. Ali Edwards December Daily kit (I’m nearly finished with mine!)
  15. My amazing pineapple Aimee Wilder wallpaper

And…

New Year’s Eve inspiration for you – a whole lot of it… –Click here

Thank you, dear readers, for another rewarding year on decor8! And a big thanks to those who help me on this blog like Jessy, Flora, Liz & Jewels and Holly and the teachers who worked with me on Blogging Your Way this year – Tina, Fiona, Nichole along with my husband Thorsten. Also, a hug and thanks to Leslie because our book launched this past Spring and it’s so lovely and super successful thanks to her – it looks like Decorate With Flowers will soon be in 12 languages/editions with Japanese releasing in January. Woo hoo!

Love, Holly xo

(credit: trimming)

Posted in News on December 26, 2014

Crushing On Inaluxe

Have you heard of Inaluxe? Fine artists Kristina Sostarko and Jason Odd formed this design studio in Australia and have collaborated with some very impressive brands including Kate Spade, Bloom Cosmetics, Land of Nod, IKEA and Urban Outfitters. Kristina launched the brand in 2006 online to share her projects but later, Jason joined in to help take the brand further which eventually landed them a studio space and many new projects. These make me happy!

Inaluxe Art Studio as seen on decor8

Inaluxe Art Studio as seen on decor8

Inaluxe Art Studio as seen on decor8

Inaluxe Art Studio as seen on decor8

Inaluxe Art Studio as seen on decor8

Inaluxe Art Studio as seen on decor8

Inaluxe Art Studio as seen on decor8

Inaluxe Art Studio as seen on decor8

Inaluxe Art Studio as seen on decor8

Their work is just lovely. My wish list includes the Birds of Australia, Blue Winged Kookaburra, Odyssey, Laser Beams, Garden Party and Float prints.  Garden Party and Float would be PERFECT in my new work studio. I also love the paper products they are creating for Earth Greetings, like this gift wrap above.

What do you fancy? You can shop online for these vibrant, beautiful prints here and they offer shipping worldwide.

(images: inaluxe)

Posted in Arts + Crafts on December 24, 2014

Blog Trends: Earn Money Without Guilt

Let’s talk about another trend in blogging – or at least a trend I want to see very soon – Earn Money Without Guilt! Oh and remember, if you’ve missed the first two posts in this series, you can catch up by reading them here: Slow Blogging and Become Your Own Blog Star. And if you’d like to continue this discussion elsewhere online, including Instagram, you can link to this post (shortlink: http://wp.me/po210-3iu) and use hashtag #20blogtrends. Ok, good. Let’s get started!

Hanke_Arkenbout-19

See this lovely lady above? She is a mother, a wife and a blogger. She works from home. She also just won her first blog award from a prestigious Dutch design magazine. Her name is Holly Marder and she writes once monthly on decor8 (her column is called Homes With Heart) and on her own beautiful blog called Avenue Lifestyle. She has high hopes to do more and with her talent she is likely to reach her dreams and even soar beyond if she keeps at it. Her goal is to earn a living as a blogger, stylist and photographer. That is the goal for many bloggers currently.

The question is, as readers will we allow that? Or will we stand in her path?

A blog doesn’t just have to be about sharing pretty things for free, day in and day out, with no financial reward for the effort poured into it. We all need to eat and pay rent. And most of us really do love blogging and feel a genuine passion for it first and foremost. Yet, when you add up the hours and resources involved to produce beautiful blog content, no one can keep at it post after post, year after year, without eventually needing to earn some money to sustain it all.

It isn’t nice or even fair to demand from talented people who write beautiful blogs to just pump this stuff out for free and to get upset when they start online shops, publish books, produce downloadable content (for a price), etc. Sure, it wasn’t this way in the beginning for all bloggers but also remember, in the beginning, blog content wasn’t where it’s at today. We didn’t see magazine-worthy recipes, professional-looking styling from weddings to interiors and beyond, gorgeously shot food, amazing travel stories, expertly crafted DIY stories. It was mostly text and tiny images and since blog platforms, templates, even digital cameras weren’t where they’re at today, the average blogger couldn’t produce magazine-worthy content at home.

Time changed that. We all learned and grew together. We bought books, we took classes, taught each other tricks and tips, bought the latest cameras and software programs for photo editing. We leveled up.

When I started blogging nearly a decade ago, we didn’t have a crystal ball to predict all of this.  But with a lot of drive and enthusiasm, we moved blogging to where it is today – into a new form of media, the people’s journalism, a community of inspirers who, together, have a strong global conversation on topics every single day in which our passion and often our talent, flows. When I hear readers complain that they see so much of the same stuff on blogs lately I think that we really are influencers because if we can get so many bloggers to pick up a topic and write about it, my god, how amazing to join voices in this way! How amazing to have this kind of social influence! Woot!

But one problem still exists – the stupid elephant in the room…

MONEY.

We don’t need to stay stuck in the mindset of the past when everything online was free so it should always should be free, do we? Are we really selling out if we earn a living by doing what we love and through sharing our talents online? A sell out is a person who compromises their values for money. That’s clearly wrong. A sell out isn’t a person who earns money without compromising their values and does it with class and integrity.

See the difference?

Everything shouldn’t be cheap or free, because often you get what you pay for (or aren’t paying for). I’ve taken a lot of $10 e-courses that gave me nothing more than some pre-recorded content and not much interaction from the students or teachers otherwise. They were the online equivalent of reading a how-to book in most cases. I’ve also taken some online courses that were a lot more money (like $100+) and the videos were top notch, I learned a ton, and I felt a part of a larger community. I definitely got what I paid for with no regrets.

I’m frankly so bored with this old-fashioned mindset of everything being cheap or free. While, as a reader, I may not want to pay to read individual blog posts, I may be happy to support the blogger in other ways. Maybe they have a shop, products, books, podcasts, videos, exclusive content, online magazines or other things that enables them to earn a living. If the content is exceptional and there is great takeaway, paying for that is a non-issue. Or perhaps your favorite bloggers have some sponsored posts from time to time (of course with full disclosure in the opening paragraph and at the bottom of the post), or some ads. Is that really so terrible? Or are we being a bit judgmental?

Let’s stop guilting our blogger friends. Most of the blogs we read are not run by wealthy people looking to take advantage of us. They are run by people just like us, who want a better life for themselves and their families and are willing to work very hard for it, by working for a living in an ethical way that brings value to OUR life. Because the truth is, for blogs that spend hours on creating meaningful content, our appreciation has to run deeper than merely pinning their images to our pinboards.

Currently, I see a big burn out “mass exodus” on the horizon, bloggers posting less or giving up altogether, if we don’t get clever and new find ways to support what we do (monetarily) without audience push back. The “everything is free on the internet” mentality has to go because only then can the quality of content drastically improve, which drives competition, change, innovation and new ideas.

For 2015, let’s all join forces and support this trend of earning money as a blogger but beyond that, let’s spread a new way of looking at blogs – as the new media they really are – and as a righteous path for career seekers to explore and to not be shamed if they earn revenue in ethical ways while blogging.

So there, I’ve put it out there. Discuss if you’d like. I’d love to here your thoughts, of course. #20blogtrends

(image: hanke arkenbout)

Posted in blogs on December 23, 2014

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Some of my books

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