2014 Resolutions

I’m probably the last blogger that has gotten around to writing about New Year’s Resolutions… and to post it on a Friday Afternoon? It’s like I don’t know anything about blogging at all! Oh well. I am trying to get back into the swing of things and to post twice weekly, so an 11th hour post is what you get, readers.

Resolution #1: Go for a long walk twice weekly… more if possible

Mission Bay

After an eight hour shift standing/walking/hustling all day, the last thing my feet are in the mood for is a long walk. Sometimes I’ll take Mosey to the dog park and throw the ball for him, but in that scenario Mosey does all the work and I just stand around. San Diego’s slogan is America’s Finest City, and what’s the point in living here if I don’t take advantage of the year-round good weather, the amazing beaches, and plentiful parks? This week, while the rest of the country was covered in snow and ice we went for a really nice walk at Mission Bay. We just live a stone’s throw from the beautiful bay and I don’t know why we don’t make it out here more often.

Resolution #2: Make 2014 the year of home ownership… or at least head in that direction

Point Loma and Coronado

It’s scary to think about spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new home. It’s scarier to think of flushing all that money down the drain every month forever and ever and ever. Now that we’re spending an absurd amount on rent, this reality is clearer than ever. Homeownership isn’t for everyone, and it depends on your situation–use this handy tool for some perspective. The truth of the matter is that San Diego rent prices are crazy and we might be able to scoop up a dilapidated condo or townhouse that will reach the “buying is better than renting” line after 3-5 years. Seeing how we have lived here for 16 months already, time certainly is flying. Now to get down to brass tacks and really think about money.

One of these resolutions is going to be easy and enjoyable, and one I can tell is going to be very hard and emotional. Here’s to 2014!

Did you make any resolutions?

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Focus.

I’d love to transform this blog into a full-time gig, or at least, use the blog as a springboard for a different full-time gig, something along the lines of interior designer/decorator/consultant. There. I said it. I put it out for the bloggy world to know.  That’s the first step, I hear.

This, I have admitted to myself, might or might not happen. Becoming a successful blogger is kind of like becoming a famous athlete or actress… Tons of hopefuls, but hard work and yes, talent, will set one apart from the rest. Clearly, I am currently in “the rest.” Let’s change that.

Homework.

Confession time: I recently read every post from Making it Lovely from the beginning of her blog to now. Seeing Nicole’s home come together from scratch was very encouraging. Same thing with Young House Love.

Tangent: I must keep reminding myself that I’m young, that funds are tight, that I do have a full time job that I have committed 40 hours a week to, etc etc. It’s so hard when the bloggers I admire are in their 30s. And already using their blog (among other avenues) for their living. On that note… perhaps I can be the voice of the struggling fresh-out-of college-niche? Although I’m not that fresh out of college anymore. I’m an in-betweener.

Back to homework: I am list-making, putting it in a binder, and I am filing away a few articles like this one and this one to study and try to take to heart.

Investment.

I’ve bought a camera to use for blogging but have only used it a few times.

Maybe if I knew how to use it a little better?

Do I want to save up for alt design summit next January? Seems like every blogger I follow went to it. Maybe if I’m a little more “established” by then?

Upgrading my wordpress and doing a custom design is something I’m interested in, but website woes I’ve been dealing with this week at work make me second-guess going to the next level. We shall see.

Boldness.

They say “if you want something, just ask.” I would feel like such a pest bugging “real” bloggers with links to my blog, so I haven’t done it. But I need to learn to take pride in my work! So what if my home tour hasn’t been featured on an interior design blog yet (ahem.) I am proud of my photos and my friends tell me they’re great. If my content wasn’t great, why would anyone go out of their way to tell me they like it? They would just ignore it like the elephant in the room. The fact of the matter is, I have had people complement my home and my blog, and instead of going “aww shucks,” I need to grab ahold of it with both hands and try to parlay it into the next phase of my life. This means offering to write guest posts, asking for people to write for me, doing more DIY tutorials (possibly) and just focusing and working hard instead of making excuses.

Right? 

The Big Three [I Admire]

When this blog grows up, it wants to be like these blogs.

Now, on my Google reader, I follow a TON of blogs. What turns me off is when people only post about things you could buy if you wanted to. Do you know what I’m talking about? “Look, here are some lovely clothes and decorative objects grouped by color. They are all out of your price range.” While I’m impressed by the fact that the author found these cool design-y objects I could not come up with if I tried (where do you find this stuff??), that ain’t me. Among the blogs I follow, a few do have moments like that, but those posts do not stick with me. I glance at them, scroll past, and look for something more down-to-earth, chatty, and engaging. Like… the ones I’m going to point out today.

My blog heroes: I’m talking about heavyweights in the interior design blogging world. I know there are bigger ones, magazine-style blogs with various contributors and more content, and other blogs with a widespread reader base that I subscribe to, but none of those speak to and inspire me as consistently as these three do. These are the blogs that I cross my fingers and hope a new post is up when I check my Google reader every morning. The ones I can spend hours browsing in my pajamas on the couch instead of going to bed. Wow, I sound like I’m writing a love letter. And maybe I am.

Below, click on the picture of each site to be taken to it.

Enough blathering. Let’s get to ’em.

What I love about 7th House of the Left:

  • What a great site design! They seem like a fun and interesting couple.
  • This house is so classy and the writers seem so fun. You can tell a lot of the house is “in progress” and it makes me eager to see how things turn out. Each room’s color palette is top-notch and I can’t wait to see her incorporating more “pops” of color here and there (which she mentions frequently that they’re working on).  They are currently working on their kitchen (YHL is too–see below) and I find it very interesting what they are choosing that is similar and different from other kitchen rennos I’m seeing online.
  • I really like their “his and hers” posts–glimpses into what other people are totally into at the moment is interesting to me.
  • They post the least frequently out of the three blogs listed here, but that’s okay because of the posts’ quality.
  • They have a top-notch house tour page and their “projects” page allows you to see their floor plan and click room by room to see related posts. LOVE!

 

What I love about Brooklyn Limestone:

  • There are fewer home construction posts on this blog since the renovation she started 5 years ago is finished. She does talk about furniture and accessories, which are interesting to me, but also writes about a wide variety of topics like holidays, travel, and organization.
  • The photography is excellent, from up-close shots–she does a ton of holiday-centric paper items, especially halloween, and takes detail shots of everything) to far away, and wide angle shots. (I have to assume she has a wide angle lens to get narrow rooms into one photo).
  • She travels a lot… and shares photos with us, which as I said before, are often just breathtaking.
  • Her free printables are so much fun! I used the tags she made this year at Christmas and I look to these to get some inspiration for my own paper documents (cards, fun things at work, etc).
  • Collaboration with other bloggers–I found this blog around a year ago (I think) from her junk drawer overhaul series… YHL (below) were included and I followed their link on over and have been a fan ever since!
  • Her worldly sofa table. I am pretty sure this is what sold me on the blog for good. It is just perfect.

What I love about Young House Love:

  • John and Sherry’s writing style makes their personality very clear. Tons of commenters mention it every day–“I feel like I know you and we are friends!”
  • Frequency of posts: they post twice each weekday (once on Friday) which keeps us all coming back for more on a regular basis.
  • They do a ton of projects, large and small. For example, they are currently redoing their kitchen, but not all posts are kitchen-related, because they simply aren’t going fast enough to give us two updates a day on it (they are moving at light speed considering they are doing it themselves as well as being full-time bloggers). So, interspersed between the big projects are smaller things that anyone can do, whether a homeowner, renter, or other (dorm resident? I don’t know).
  • Step by step details. Man. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen somebody explain, with words and picture (instead of video or in person) how to do something–and make it seem so doable and even easy. They have a knack for walking you through a process and making you (well, me) believe that I can do anything as long as I’m patient (paint: “thin and even”) and thorough.

 

Takeaways:

If this blog wants to grow up and be more like the others (maybe my blog is in middle school and the above are in college?), here are a few things I can learn from their successes and work toward in the future. While it’s not feasible for me to abandon my 40 hour a week job like YHL, I can continue focusing on doing quality projects, getting better at writing step-by-step how-to’s for them, and most importantly taking and using more photos. How pathetic is it that I don’t use a ton of extra photos because it’s such a pain moving them over to the computer from the camera? Lazybones alert. So, here are a few more bullet points just for fun:

  • Take more photos and improve their quality
  • Do more step by step “How to” posts
  • Share budget breakdowns so readers know how cheap/easy something can me
  • Continue to link back to old posts for reference
  • Try to post frequently, make it a habit and gradually increase frequency

Any tips for my little blog as it grows up?
Or, I know, please leave YOUR favorite blog in the comment section! Pretty please!