What It All Means to Me

I haven’t written a heartfelt post in a while and Emelia inspired me to share my thoughts on this…

I started this blog in October of 2014. Prior to that I’d tried my hat at a few other forums and blogs but this one has been my biggest success. (I consider it a success because a) you’re here reading it and b) I very much enjoy writing it.) I’m not sure what I expected when I launched into this world, but I formed an online friendship with Chelsea pretty quickly and from there my internet friends really picked up and expanded.

I think there’s a somewhat popular opinion out there that traditional blogging is dead. Unless you pay $1,000 for good pictures or spend all your time pushing new skin care products (a.k.a. “influencing”), your place in this world is fading. Like Emelia, I 100% disagree with that.

I think that if you’ve been doing this for a few years you know that readership dips in the summer. You know that less people visit on holiday weekends and January is reserved for self-improvement and ‘goals’ posts. You pick up on the patterns of this world and you go with them or carve your own path. I love that this environment nurtures BOTH options.

Here are some other things I love about blogging:

Ohio is not a typical target for natural disasters or attacks (fingers crossed) so it’s hard to imagine the terror or devastation or hope that people feel when faced with wildfires or bombings or floods. Reading this post from Carolann about the Hawaii false missile alert or seeing IG stories from Ashten during the CA wildfires was so eye-opening. I cried real tears for these girls, even though I’ve never been in a situation like that or experienced these events first hand. Even on a smaller scale, reading about postpartum depression or flight anxiety or adoption or weight struggles is easier to understand and empathize with because of bloggers’ vulnerability. I’m more informed about city life and the struggles of homelessness, gerrymandering, and even commuting because people choose to write about it. When I was growing up our closest neighbors were cows so it’s a benefit to see the world through the eyes of people with different experiences.

I could go on and on about the friendships I’ve formed with other ladies in the blog world. I often catch myself telling local family and friends, “Well a friend of mine did xyz…” and I’m 100% talking about a blog friend. (K knows most of you all by name and he definitely knows your pets’ names.) I participate in snail-mail exchanges and book challenges and film challenges with my friends. I send and receive care packages. We collaborate on posts. We swap book recommendations and even physical books sometimes! If I stopped blogging I feel like the biggest loss I’d suffer would be the amount of friends I have. I really truly hope to meet some of them in person some day because I feel like we’ve fostered such a unique and special friendship through our writing.

While there’s always the risk of comparing lives or feeling jealous rage over perfectly edited IG photos, I think this community is a healthy place for inspiration. I constantly feel inspired to clean out my closet, cook a new dinner recipe for K, treat myself to a bubble bath and a glass of wine, or just take a walk on a pretty day. The ladies that I follow are constantly reminding me to enjoy life and be kind to myself (and others) and keep my environment healthy and productive and personal. That message gets lost or muddled in the fast-paced world outside our blogs. I honestly find that keeping close to and reading the words of other bloggers helps me to stay grounded and focused. They spread encouragement and acceptance and change, and in return I find myself doing the same.

It’s probably the most superficial reason for blogging, but I love the recommendations that come out of this environment. Speaking specifically about the bloggers I choose to follow, I think all the women are genuine and honest in their reviews. I find so many incredible books and movies, make-up products and shoes, clothing sales and Amazon steals from this community. It’s incredibly helpful come Christmas or birthdays or a treat yo’ self day.

I’m not an influencer. I made my very first sponsored post a few weeks ago and I didn’t get any money- they simply sent me a canvas to review. (It was awesome and I loved the whole experience, by the way.) I’m not a sales person so you’ll never see something here that I don’t love. I love to talk about my dogs and life and marriage and travel and books so that’s actually what you’ll see here 95% of the time.

So no, I don’t believe traditional blogging is dead and I’ll be around this space for as long as it’s fun and rewarding and therapeutic. I hate when blog-friends fade away, but I understand. I see my blog as a relationship with friends across the globe and I truly wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m grateful that you spend time here and I hope you get as much out of the blog world as I have and do. ❤︎

54 thoughts on “What It All Means to Me

  1. halfbakedbaker January 23, 2018 / 5:24 am

    love this and I totally agree, love seeing the world through other people’s eyes and being able to find my tribe 🙂

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 9:11 am

      Yes! My horizons and friendship circle have vastly expanded!

      Like

  2. Nadine January 23, 2018 / 7:28 am

    I completely agree with you. Blogging has changed over the years and most people are focused on Instagram and Pin-able posts and such, but I like to just be me and post how I always have. I treasure all the friendships I have made with bloggers over the years…like you!!! And I wouldn’t trade that for the world, even if people think the hobby is dead. I don’t believe it is at all. Thanks for sharing a piece of yourself with all of us 🙂

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 10:03 am

      I’m right there with you, Nadine. My IG is actually private although a bunch of blog friends follow me. I just don’t want to have a crazy-huge following with people I don’t know. It’s how I try to keep my blogging semi-private and personal. Lol

      Like

  3. kathy @ more coffee, less talky January 23, 2018 / 8:16 am

    i totally agree with you re: blogging. it comes in waves for everyone and right now i’m in a slump ie. not blogging. i do still read and i know that it’ll come back soon. that said, i love real blogs about the author’s life and i can’t stand sponsored posts. i almost never do them (i think i did one or two in my 20+yrs of blogging) but i much prefer REAL content from the bloggers, not something that they’re just throwing up on screen to get paid. in fact, i legit skip all of those posts and dont even bother reading it.

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 10:08 am

      I like that the blog world gives you so many options; you can read and gravitate toward people and posts that appeal to you. At the same time, I feel like I’ve formed such strong friendships with some writers that I’d read anything they posted- even if it was about mothering or a recipe or something that might not appeal to me. And I don’t mind sponsored posts if it’s something I’d be interested in! But I also have no trouble skipping over ones that have nothing to do with me 😉

      Like

  4. chelseajacobs January 23, 2018 / 8:32 am

    Is it weird that this made me emotional?! I love this world.

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    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 10:04 am

      Not weird 😉 I got emotional writing it! lol

      Like

  5. Lauren Becker January 23, 2018 / 9:33 am

    Love this! I’ve been blogging for a little over 10 years now, and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon. I’ve “met” so many amazing people – a few in person, but most just online. I’ve learned so much and had my eyes opened to all kinds of experiences. It’s like reading a nonfiction book in little snippets…but that a friend wrote. 🙂

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.net

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 10:19 am

      That’s a great description!
      10 years is impressive! I’d definitely love to meet some of my blog-friend in person!

      Like

  6. Rebecca Jo January 23, 2018 / 9:37 am

    Preach. I love old schiil blogging to blog just because. Its the ones i follow the most. The ones you get real relationships from & the ones you trust their opinions because of honest & realness shining through their words.
    I always live your blog world here so glad to see you enjoy it even still

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 10:21 am

      Totally agree 🙂 I love seeing what friends are up to on the weekends or scrolling through a fun Friday favorites post! Your blog always reminds me to add a little thankfulness to my day, too! I love that!

      Like

  7. StephTheBookworm January 23, 2018 / 10:22 am

    I agree with all of this! And I constantly say “oh, my friend so and so did this,” and am talking about a blog friend. Haha! I love it.

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    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 10:22 am

      Yep! And when blog friends open Etsy shops and I buy stuff people tend to ask if I made it and I say, “Nope, a friend did.” Lol!

      Like

  8. Beth A Kondrick January 23, 2018 / 10:46 am

    I LOVE this post so much. I was just talking with a friend the other day about how I want to get back to my roots of blogging for the connections and the stories. I don’t want to make a ton of money. I don’t want to be an “influencer.” I just want some human interaction. Old school blogging is where it’s at. Love it.

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 11:58 am

      Yep! I have absolutely nothing against influencers and I totally think there’s a place in the world for them, but I’m just not one 🙂

      Like

  9. erin (everything with love) January 23, 2018 / 10:48 am

    i have so many of the same feelings as you on this topic! i am constantly talking about my friends (who i’ve never met in person) to other people, like it’s just normal. but actually, i talk to some of my blogging friends more than old real life friends i’ve grown apart from. that is a big reason i’m still popping back in to write and share and inspire/be inspired!

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 11:59 am

      Yes! I used to say “my blog-friend” or I’d do the air quotes but I’ve gotten rid of that. Now when I talk about blog friends I just say “my friend” because other people don’t need to know that I’ve never met most of y’all 😉 Lol!

      Like

  10. Monica January 23, 2018 / 11:25 am

    Agreed! It is not dead, I think things have changed but a lot of the bloggers have grown and adapted and it is great to see!

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    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 12:00 pm

      Yes, it’s definitely changed. I honestly like the direction that things are going. There’s a rise in civilian power with influencing and political resistance/call to action and community!

      Like

  11. A Mindful Migration (@MindfulMigrate) January 23, 2018 / 12:11 pm

    I’m with you 100%. I have zero problem with people earning money from blogging but it needs to feel organic versus like I’m being sold or worse – they lose their identity or personality when they become a monetized blogger. I like real people who talk about real stuff. Some days it is ordinary life things and other days they are educating me and helping me grow into a better person. I always talk about my blogging friends. Sometimes people look at me odd when they realize I’m talking about a blogging friend who have never meet in real life, but some of my blogging friends know more about me than my real life friends do.

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 12:07 pm

      Oh yeah, I agree. I have no issue with people who push products/services they love! But ya gotta love it 😉 Don’t lie to me. Haha!
      I’ve stopped labeling them as “blog friends.” I just say, “oh yeah my friend did that” and never let on that I haven’t actually MET said friend 😀 Haha!

      Like

  12. Jana @ Jana Says January 23, 2018 / 12:43 pm

    The ONLY thing that keeps me from quitting my blog is the relationships I’ve made. I don’t care about the money, I don’t care about being an “influencer”, I don’t care about traffic but I do care about the people I’ve met, the friendships I’ve formed, and the fact that my world is so much bigger because of blogging.

    I love and agree with everything you wrote.

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 12:09 pm

      Yep yep yep. My world is SO much bigger 🙂 And it’s kind of fun to know there might be someone to connect with in the next city or country I travel to!

      Like

  13. Kelly @ Noodle to the Rescue January 23, 2018 / 1:51 pm

    I love this ode to (real life) blogging! I agree completely. The main reason I keep blogging is due to the friendships that I’ve developed with fellow bloggers. I also like the memory-keeping aspect – I know I wouldn’t put nearly the effort into recording my life if I didn’t have a (small) audience). But mostly it’s the people, the relationships. I read very few “influencer” style blogs and much prefer those that feel like a conversation with a friend.

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 12:25 pm

      I like the memory aspect, too. It’s fun to see my old anniversary posts or look back at my year end posts. I agree that I know I put effort into my writing and schedule because there’s an audience. I like that it pushes me to be accountable, though 🙂

      Like

  14. Kristen from Pugs & Pearls January 23, 2018 / 3:11 pm

    I’m so happy to have found your blog! I love reading about real people with real lives that look like mine. Not the influencer stuff so much, although that has it’s place too.

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 12:31 pm

      Thanks, Kristen! I’m glad to have found yours, too!!
      I prefer real life stuff but I definitely don’t mind influencer stuff when it something I’m interested in 😀 Haha!

      Like

  15. Michelle January 23, 2018 / 3:45 pm

    I love this and feel exactly the same way! The relationships I’ve gotten through blogging are hands down my favorite thing ever.

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    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 12:32 pm

      Yep yep yep! Once I started connecting with other bloggers I knew I was hooked. Lol

      Like

  16. chelsea @ the new wifestyle January 23, 2018 / 4:43 pm

    awww i’m SO SO glad we connected YAY! i am also glad you’re staying in the blogging game in ways that fulfill you because we, as readers, can feel that!

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 12:35 pm

      Me, too!! Thanks, Chelsea 🙂

      Like

  17. Amanda January 24, 2018 / 1:07 am

    I could have written this! These are all the things I love about blogging too. And also free product in exchange for a blog post is often more fun than money anyway! 🙂

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 12:37 pm

      I was so shocked when I got that canvas, haha! I definitely don’t mind people benefiting from blogging by getting some free decorations or food or toiletries! And then I get to hear about what they thought of it later on. I love suggestions!

      Like

  18. Amanda January 24, 2018 / 1:09 am

    Also, I get so many great recommendations from other bloggers too! Jordan loves when I say, I heard about this on a blog… haha!

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 12:38 pm

      Hahaha- I can’t tell you how many times I say that exact think to Kyle. Lol

      Like

  19. Julie Hood January 24, 2018 / 2:29 pm

    I love all of this and that you didn’t bash sell-outs (hello, hi, like myself!) who include products in their posts!!! I LOVE your blog and am so happy you’re going to keep writing. Also, most of my stories of “a friend who said/did ____” are about bloggers, too. Glad I’m not alone hahaha

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 12:40 pm

      Hahahaha- you are NOT a sellout! I love it when bloggers play the guinea pig and test out products for the rest of us! I get lots of recommendations that way! I just don’t think it’s the only way to blog 🙂
      You’re definitely not alone!

      Like

  20. Rachel G January 25, 2018 / 6:32 am

    You said so much of what I’ve thought so many times. I love “traditional” blogging. Angel knows a lot of bloggers’ names and knows that they are a part of my life and his, haha! I appreciate hearing about what’s going on in different parts of the world from the individual’s perspective, and I’ve found that I’ve come to trust recommendations from bloggers WAY more than simple ads–when I’m searching for a hotel or a travel destination, I always try to find blog posts from real people about the place before committing!

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 12:44 pm

      Oh I definitely trust blogger recommendations (or lack thereof) when it comes to products or recipes or travel! K knows lots of people by name and he has a pretty good handle on who everyone’s dogs are. Hahaha!
      I love that I get to hear about Australia and England and Hawaii from my little computer world!

      Like

  21. Anthea January 25, 2018 / 6:52 am

    Love this post! Since I’ve been blogging I also feel inspired do random things like you mention.
    With FB I feel quite irritated reading my timeline. But when I log on and catch up with blogs I genuinely enjoy seeing what everyone is up to. I’ve been wanting to do a post on why I blog for some time now. It often feels so much more ‘real’ that what is put on social media.

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 12:46 pm

      I’m way more efficient because of blogging. I organize random areas and make new cleaners and all that stuff.

      When I first started blogging it took a while to decide what to post on FB and what to blog about- my blogs were always more detailed. I barely post on FB anymore because it feels so surface level compared to the blog world!

      Like

  22. simplyalexandra12 January 25, 2018 / 1:08 pm

    Yes, yes, yes! I definitely agree! For a LONG time I was blogging without knowing any bloggers. I wanted to preserve my memories, and get my thoughts out into the world… and one day… Kristen (see you in a porridge) found me on Twitter or something, and all of a sudden… I “met” bloggers, and it has been one of the best things ever! KC definitely knows you all and your hubbies, and things you’ve been up to. I talk about y’all like real friends too. I love hearing about everyone’s successes. I get so excited anytime someone announces that they are doing anything cool like buying a house, having a baby, traveling, reading a book I recommended. LOL. And I tell KC about it. I 100% agree that blog friends are the best, they are so much of my own reason for blogging, they inspire me, and I don’t think that real life lifestyle blogs are dead! PS – please come to KS. I will meet you! 😛 If I’m ever anywhere close to Ohio, I will let you know! 🙂 I LOVE THIS POST! XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 1:58 pm

      When more and more people started venturing to my site (and me venturing to theirs in return), I felt like a brand new door had opened, too 🙂
      I completely agree! I love hearing about other people’s travels and businesses and purchases and family. I think blogging has actually helped me to NOT feel jealous for other and, instead, to show them happiness and encouragement!
      I will ABSOLUTELY let you know if we ever venture near Kansas! And definitely tell me if you’re ever in Ohio!!!

      Like

  23. Elyse January 25, 2018 / 4:01 pm

    I think that bloggers probably have different reasons for doing it and staying in it. I think yours are great! For me it’s always been the connections! You and SO many others have been amazing to connect with! If I’m ever in Ohio(haha I do have a thing for the Amish…) we definitely have to meet in person!

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 2:00 pm

      I agree with you (and thank you)! I think as long as this world is rewarding/fun/relaxing/lucrative/therapeutic for you, you should invest in it!
      Oh yeah! If you ever venture here let me know!! One of the largest and most touristy Amish communities is roughly 20 miles from my town so it’s definitely got that old world charm for ya 😉 Haha!

      Like

  24. Europafox January 26, 2018 / 1:21 pm

    I am so glad you have written this post! I have just re-started a blog after around a 5 year break and it is like a different world – and I was getting a little concerned I was living in an old-world unable to adapt to the new. I re-started because I missed the friendships, keeping up with events on your side of the pond (and all the different perspectives on live, love etc), and also the silly old school stuff we did with the awards and what not. I have re-started blogging not having used a mobile for 5 years and never having taken a selfie and using my my small son’s £5 phone. I really want to make real connections, get to know people, have fun and to write – and post ‘in-curated’ pictures that help with that writing. It has filled me with some confidence that you feel the essence I was looking for is still out there. Your blog is an inspiration – thanks for sharing! Joanne – Europafox x

    Like

    • Audrey January 26, 2018 / 2:02 pm

      Thank you! I’m glad you’re finding your niche back in the blogging community. It has definitely progressed and changed 😉
      I think you will definitely still find some old-school blogging out here in the internet! Thank you so much for your kind words!

      Like

  25. Emelia Lawrence January 30, 2018 / 11:35 am

    First of all I’m sorry I’m so behind on blog reading. Thank you for sharing my post Audrey. I love Blogging so much and I think The biggest part I love is connecting with wonderful women I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise, like you. I love this post and the blogging community!

    Like

    • Audrey February 1, 2018 / 2:16 pm

      I’m so glad you wrote your post, Emelia. It was inspiring 🙂 It’s women like you who keep me motivated and encouraged in this blogging atmosphere!

      Like

  26. Christina February 1, 2018 / 12:37 pm

    I go back and forth about quitting again (I stopped in 2016 and never thought I’d pick it back up again), but I love the people! I’ve never been a big blogger, but I used to get lots of hits and comments and that’s all gone WAY downhill. I’ve stopped putting pressure on myself to churn out posts and I don’t do giveaways or paid posts anymore, so it feels much more natural this time around.

    Like

    • Audrey February 1, 2018 / 2:18 pm

      I had two or three (maybe four?) blogs off and on through my teens and early twenties before I launch this one. I LOVE this space and I’m very glad for it. At first I got MAYBE a comment here or there. Even if all the likes and comments quit I know I’d still write here because I enjoy expressing myself and many of my internet friendships have overflowed into IG and FB and email 🙂 I like that natural feeling that you’re talking about!

      Like

  27. Susanne February 3, 2018 / 3:14 pm

    Hi there, I just found your blog. I’m one of those who’s said that traditional blogging is dead, or at least almost dead, but I’m always trying to hope that it will be the “thing” again because I really love traditional blogging. I love it for everything you’ve said, because you make friends, connect with people, learn about other people’s lives and thoughts about things.
    I’m glad to find a blog like yours and this post because it gives me some more hope!
    I blogged for years but quit because there were so few people who were still doing it and that had me lose the inspiration. Now I do some photography blogging and I just opened up a blog about Irish whiskey. I still love blogging and sharing about things and I love to see other people do that too.

    Like

    • Audrey February 11, 2018 / 9:37 am

      Thank you, Susanne! I really enjoy the authentic people in my blogging community. I don’t think I’d do this without them. Glad to hear you’re getting back into blogging in a new way!

      Like

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