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. ❤︎

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I Can’t Think of Anything to Say But ‘Thank You’

I wasn’t planning on posting today, but the amount of feedback and love and advice I received on Monday was so overwhelming. Originally I had a little “thank you” sentence added to Wednesday’s post but I decided that just wasn’t enough.

I write in this space because it helps me collect my thoughts and express my opinions or imagination in a structured way. When I started Life as Louise (just over two years ago) I wasn’t sure it’d attract any traffic but I didn’t care- I just wanted a space to call my own and write creatively. The people that I’ve ‘met’ and now interactive with almost daily are such an unexpected bonus. You guys are the sweetest souls and I feel so happy when I get to connect with you, both here and on your blogs. I really, really appreciate your thoughts from Monday and I feel so lucky to have this community of supportive, intelligent women. You are all truly wonderful friends. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I feel so grateful for this blog and everyone that takes the time to visit and interact here 🙂

(Even if you’re not a comment-er, I’m glad you’ve stopped by!)

I typically have a list of blogs saved to my “favorites” on my computer than I visit most days. When new people interact with me or I see interesting comments on other blogs I visit those writers and sometimes add them to my list. (Just FYI if you were curious about my following habits.) Even if you don’t get a notification, I always respond to blog comments here.  It might take me a week, but I try to address everyone that stops by and leaves a thought.

I’m happy to know what topics interest people most- thank you for taking the time to address that on Monday! I’d planned on continuing to “just be me” in this space, but it seriously warmed my heart to hear how many people look forward to coming here and reading because they see me as genuine or honest or real. You guys are the most wonderful humans ❤︎

I’m happy to be in the smaller pond of bloggers (not that I consider you guys small- I’m just defining myself here). I’m glad that I can write whatever comes to me and I feel so awestruck that people actually enjoy it. Thank you for your kindness and friendship. I never imagined this outcome when I started blogging.

So before I go, I’ve seen some other bloggers do this and I absolutely love it: I always send Christmas cards to friends and family! I’ve connected with so many amazing people here & this year I want to extend my mailing list to blog-friends, too! (Essentially it’s a holiday card with two of the cutest puppies ever on it… 😉 ) Don’t be shy- if you want a Christmas card this year shoot me an email with your address! audreylou09@gmail.com
*(I think it goes without saying, but obviously I’d keep your address 100% private!)

Ok, I’m off to hit up my third Thanksgiving dinner.
No comments today since I’m still warm and fuzzy from Monday❤︎

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Talk to Me About Content

Let’s be really really real. Do y’all come here because you enjoy reading what I write, or are you here because I comment on your blog frequently and you feel obliged to return the favor? (I’m not asking that in a fishing-for-compliments kind of way- I’m really on the fence about my content here.) I pick the blogs that I read based on what topics and writers interest me. Some bloggers teach me about new places and things (Stephanie, Olya, Alexandra) and some make me laugh out loud every single time (Mattie, Erin, Nadine) and some make me think about things I’ve never considered (Carolann, Erin, Chelsea, Steph) and some are just super uplifting (Rebecca Jo, Chelsea, Lindsay). And then there are a handful of folks that I’ve only started reading that I really love. All that to say sometimes I questions what I’m putting out here in the blog world.

(Also, if you’re in the market for new blogs to read, I recommend all those ladies up there.)

So without doing a survey, tell me what you enjoy reading most- both here and in the blog world.

I’ve said it before, but I write what I write because I like to write it- so that won’t change. But I’m always curious if people enjoy travel posts or book reviews or about me lists or wishlists or personal stories. Specifically from me, in my voice.

If you don’t care or you’re here out of obligation that’s fine, too.

So if you feel moved to comment and critique/advise me I’d be ever so appreciative. And if you don’t want to that’s ok; have a great week regardless.

I’ll end this with a Lylee+Enzo pic because we’re coming up on their “Gotcha-versaries”:

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Thanks, friends ❤︎

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Some Friday Favorites

The world has me in a constant state of rage & I have nothing new to say today. I’m trying really hard to send positive vibes into the world, but I’m struggling.

Please know that you are enough. Whatever you’re struggling with, you’re enough. Please also do your very best to spread love and understanding and compassion. It seems crazy to have to say that, but this world is crazy.
And now I leave you with thoughts from other bloggers that had me nodding my head and throwing my hands up in praise this week…

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  • Steph said it all. I honestly couldn’t agree with another human more right now. Enlist me in that army.
  • Chelsea is also spot-on. Why is being a female so controversial?!
  • I really love Elyse’s movie + meal pairings; especially #10!
  • I can always count on Julie to share some encouragement & art!
  • Chelsea (a different one!) shared her incredible birth story and I am so in awe of her. Check out part 1 first, then move on to the intense part 2!
  • Reading about the folks Rebecca Jo met while “catching” at the Louisville IronMan was so heartwarming!

And from the non-blog world:

I’m hoping and praying our weekend events (gender reveal party, wedding, birthday shenanigans) distract me from my political rage for a bit. Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

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Revisiting Some of my Favorites

Happy Monday, my wonderful friends!
Are you bored with nothing to do? Fortunately today’s #BlogtemberChallenge is sharing a few older blog posts that I’m especially proud of!

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Sometimes I find it boring to go back and read old, random posts. I tried to keep things interesting & relevant 🙂

❤︎ In honor of Fall (3 days to go!) here’s the recap from last year’s Halloween Party– complete with costumes!

❤︎ One of my favorite things I’ve ever written: A Letter to my Future Children

❤︎ My thoughts while sitting at the OB/GYN isn’t very old, but it still makes me giggle

❤︎ I am stupidly proud of my bachelor/bachelorette posts (fyi: it has nothing to do with the real thing)

❤︎ Here’s the very first “about me” post I did on the blog!

It was tough to narrow my list of ‘favorites’ down to five… Hopefully at least one of these posts is new to you & you find it entertaining!

Like I said, this post is a part of the #blogtemberChallenge with Love Bailey Jean.

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*ANY POLITICAL AD ON THIS SITE IS NOT ENDORSED BY Life as Louise*

Five Things: JOY

I saw that out there in the blog-o-sphere there’s a #BlogtemberChallenge going on. I haven’t participated yet but I figured I’d give it a go today  🙂 The prompt is Five Things That Bring You Joy.

| 1 | My Little Family
This one probably goes without saying… Just tossing a toy with Lylee or snuggling with Enzo or watching K go about his day puts a stupid smile on my face. Those three really do make me the happiest in the world.

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| 2 | Fall
I know everyone’s lusting over fall right now, but I am so in love with this season. I love pumpkins and Halloween and crispy leaves. My favorite end-of-summer outfit is a pair of TOMS with some jean shorts and a warm sweatshirt. I love pulling boots over my skinny jeans and draping a scarf around my neck and feeling the warm sun on my face while walking the dogs on a cool 50 degree day. Serious perfection. I grin from ear to ear.

| 3 | A Good Book
I’m talking about a book that introduces me to a bunch of new friends and throws me into an adventure with them where we laugh and cry and eventually succeed. You know- the book that’s got good font and the perfect number of pages and an appealing cover. (i.e. Harry Potter)

| 4 | Road Trips
Vacations/trips make me happy, but the getting-there part is always one of my favorite things. Long drives don’t bother me. In fact, I love hanging out in the passenger seat and reading a good book or hunting for license plates or chatting with the driver. Trips with K and/or my parents are my favorite. A good satellite radio connection and halfway coffee stop are a must.

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| 5 | Games
I don’t really play video games, but I’m a big fan of board games and group games (like Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples). I also like crosswords and fill-in puzzles and wordsearches, etc. There’s also a Gameboy series (Professor Layton) that I like to play sometimes. It’s a bunch of puzzles and mind-games. K tells me that playing mind-games on him brings me joy, too. *eyeroll*

I thought it’d be harder to come up with five things, but that was easy. What are some things that bring you joy?

Like I said, this post is a part of the #blogtemberChallenge with Love Bailey Jean.

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The Drafts

Such an ambiguous title, right? I didn’t mean to make it so vague. I’m not talking about football or the army; I’m actually talking about the blog drafts that all of us have stored away in cyberspace. Well, I do at least.

I won’t lied. I was totally stuck on what to write about today. Nothing felt right. When that happens I usually consider skipping a day or even an entire week. (If my pattern isn’t obvious, I try to post Monday, Wednesday, Friday.) This week I looked through my draft posts, ended up cleaning them out and getting rid of 2/3, and then decided that the remaining few still didn’t fit for today.

And then I had a Jimmy Neutron brain blast. (Tell me I’m not the only one who remembers that stupid show…) Why not share all the drafts in my folder? Not in their full form, but just as a little preview for y’all of what’s to come (or not come, I guess… Depends on my mood).

I am a Woman & That’s OK
This is an angry feminist post. It almost went live today, but I held off. It’s not quite where I want it. Plus, it has some cursing (because it’s angry) and I know my family reads my blog so I need to edit it and/or just get past it. Ha. I’m sure something will happen soon enough that boils my blood and drives me to push “publish.”

Confession: I’m Obsessed with Planners
I ordered a planner and they gave me a coupon code for my blog readers! (Nope, I didn’t get the planner for free- I got a coupon code, too.) Once my planner arrives I will share pictures of how cute it is along with the code for you to get one if you want!
*The name of this post might change. I’m not loving it.

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What I Read… August 2016
This is pretty standard. I always have a running draft for books. So far I have two for August. I think I’ll end up with three total. Maybe four.

Blogger Love
Similar to the book post, I usually have a “blogger love” post saved somewhere for me to jot down the things I’ve read. This one is going live on Friday 🙂

IMUO (In My Unpopular Opinion)…
I started a post documenting my ideas or opinions that I think aren’t widespread. I’m still collecting thoughts for this one. I think I have three or four so far.

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Helpful Tips to Calm an Anxious Dog
This post is 3/4 done and very important to me. Lylee is an anxious dog and it’s something we’ve been battling for years. I feel very passionately about dogs and their behavior/mental health/etc. so I will end up posting this eventually- once I get it perfected.

If something sounds good or dumb, let me know. I’m always looking for input! Also, I’m totally fine with people following/copying/borrowing my ideas 🙂 Write what you want.

**Also, I shared my thoughts on body image + marriage with Elyse from Just Murrayed so check that out!

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