Blogging: Have You Lost That Loving Feeling?

I started out writing this article because the subject matter was bothering me and I wanted to get it onto paper. I sat down, open up a Word Doc and typed the title. Boom – got that right! Now what?

I was experiencing a bit of “Writer’s Block”. It was not that I did not know what to write about, but rather, “how am I going to manage to put this rush of thoughts and feelings onto paper?” How was I going to express myself? There I sat – staring at the title. I turned to Marica and started to do what the both of us love to do, which is to explore a subject. What is happening to blogs these days and how do we feel about blog content over the past few months? Naturally in our case, it is mainly referring to interior & lifestyle blogs.

What was the lead up to these bothering questions?  Well, for me it is real simple. Just the other day, I had become aware that I was thoroughly bored with blogs. Really? – an avid blog lover – bored?  Hell yeah!  I felt like most of the blogs I read on a regular basis just did not do it for me any longer. Notice, I said most and not all. Was I experiencing blog overload, I asked myself?  I asked Marica the same. Are blogs in that place where a complete and utter overload of information has overtaken the voice of the blogger, leaving them to resort to just presenting for the sake of presenting? Are bloggers just going through the motions, posting content that feel uninspired and soulless? Are there too many blogs that are merely billboards for their sponsors and advertisers or prospective sponsors, who in doing so just lost their authenticity? Is it all about the “business of blogging” where big business has managed to worm their way into the bloggershere along with all their PR companies?  The result of which means that we, the readers, have product foisted onto us all the time?

OR a much scarier thought, are blogs dead or dying off? The novelty has worn off and now all we have is quick post that come our way in billboard form?

Lots of rather strong questions, don’t you think?

Sadly, if we had to be truthful, we would have to admit that we too have fallen prey to what could be seen as “soulless” posts. When pressed for time, we often opt to post a quickie (which ultimately is not so quick to prep anyway) just to keep the momentum of the blog ongoing. However, in our defence, we have made it known that Design Monarchy, our “day job”, comes first. There are times when our interior design projects and clients suck up most our time and energy. It leaves us with no alternative but to post a couple of quickies to tide us over until our design work and deadlines have eased up a bit. Believe me, I love writing (you might have noticed by the length of this post) and were I able to earn a juicy living from just blogging, Marica and I would be churning dem juicy posts on a far more regular basis.

So there I sat – this blog title and I – just glaring at each other. Post my discussion with Marica, I decided to jump onto the net to get a broader perspective, do some research. I wanted to see if other bloggers were feeling the same way. Before I hit Google, I checked into my Outlook RSS Feed folder to see if any of the blogs I subscribe to had  anything to offer. One of these blogs were Holly Becker’s Decor8, whom I respect as a seasoned blogger. I had not checked in with Decor8 for a while and missed a vital post. Turns out she was either a really good mind reader, or it was totally serendipitous that the first post I opened was speaking the same thoughts, words and feelings I had been experiencing of late.  My goodness, she spoke it just about word for word what had been running through my system for a while. Phew – that sure made me feel vindicated.

If you also feel this way and have the time and the inclination to read a more in-depth article written straight from the heart, I encourage you to read her article here: link. I could not have said it any better! If you have even more time, be sure to check out the comments which contains the most interesting discussions.

I realise that this topic is completely debatable and like a diamond it has many facets to it, all equally justifiable. I also realise that there are some really cool bloggers who will not agree with me and for their own reasons will present their own cases.  Each blog has its own style, philosophy and culture that drive it.  All good!

I for one am really tired of “Billboard Blogging”. They are just not interesting for me. Informative – certainly.  Interesting – nah!  At this moment I am relieved that we were not able to “monetize” our blog, something I often used to envy other bloggers for.  Yes, our blog is a marketing tool in the Design Monarchy toolbox, we still treasure it as a platform to speak of our work, our knowledge and our minds. Our online business journal!

One thing that I noticed with Decor8, the blog has changed its format, layout and style completely.  No more sponsored advertising going on there. Looks more like a website than a blog. What a change that is! What a breath of fresh air.

Having said all of this, I am not giving up on blogs yet. Not as a blog reader, nor as a blog writer.

Gonna close off now, otherwise you will definitely get bored. Before I do, tell me: What do you think about the blogging world? Are you also bored? Does it still hold the same interest for you? What is your opinion? I would so love to hear. Even if it doesn’t agree with what I had to say? That is where the interest lies.

Cheerio-di lovely peeps.

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A Blogging Journey To Becoming You…

We chatted with Kathryn Rossiter, local lass and mommy blogger behind the lifestyle blog, Becoming you. I met Kathryn at a recent do hosted by Good Housekeeping Magazine and was both intrigued and impressed with not only her, but also her successful blog which features a wide range of inspirational topics from beauty, fashion, and décor, to family, motherhood and blogging.

Q:  Tell us a bit about yourself – where are you from, what makes you tick?

My name is Kathryn and I live in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. My primary role is as mom to 2 cute kids – a boy of 6 and a girl of 3. I also juggle a couple of part-time work roles such as Blogger, Social Media Writer and Media Liaison.

Q:  Tell us about Becoming You…

Becoming you is a women’s lifestyle blog. The name Becoming you reflects a journey of discovering who I am (or you are) and is also a play on the word “becoming” as an adjective which means attractive, lovely, pretty, handsome, fetching; stylish, elegant, chic, fashionable, tasteful.

Q:  Where did it all start, why blogging?

I started 2 years ago when I realised that as a mom of 2 kids I had forgotten what it was that I enjoyed and what MY interests were, aside from my kids. I started reading loads of blog and really enjoyed taking this time out for me! Obviously this then progressed to me having the crazy notion that I could start my own blog! Becoming you started as a space for me to document what I enjoyed and when I noticed that many other women also struggled with taking time for themselves I decided to use my platform to encourage them to stop neglecting themselves and to rediscover who they were: to become more of themselves.

Becoming You

Q:  What do you enjoy most about your blog?

I adore getting positive comments and feedback from moms or women who have discovered Becoming you and through it a bit more of themselves. That makes it all worthwhile! Another one of the benefits of blogging for me has been meeting so many amazing people, especially other bloggers. I have loved getting to know bloggers via reading their blogs and then bumping into them at a launch or event. I am fortunate that my blog crosses over quite a few subjects which means I have befriended beauty, fashion, food, lifestyle and mommy bloggers in Cape Town and really enjoy chatting to all of them and learning from each conversation I have. Also the free review goodies and fab events are nice too! 😉

Q:  What is your long-term vision / goal for Becoming You?

My blog has grown amazingly over the past 2 years into an inspirational online space for women featuring articles across many topics including beauty, fashion, travel, interiors, photography, motherhood, celebrities, product reviews, interviews and competitions, all of which are aimed at encouraging women to take some time to remember what it was that made them unique and gave them joy (aside from their kids!) My long term vision is for Becoming you to recognised as a credible source of information and encouragement for women across South Africa. I’ve always dreamt of working at a magazine, so turning Becoming you into an online & print magazine similar to Sweet Paul would be amazing!

Q:  What inspires you?

I would love to say I get inspired by my exotic travels around the world but alas that is not my current situation! (hopefully it will be one day) In the meantime I find inspiration in my current surroundings. It is everywhere if you only know HOW to look at the world. A primary source for me is reading everything I can – be it in print or online.  I have always been a huge fan of magazines and since I was 16 my dream job was to be a Magazine Editor. As I am now the editor of Becoming you I feel fortunate to have a bit of glimpse into that world!

Q:  Could you share your Secret Indulgence with us?

Oooh definitely Lindt dark chocolate – any flavour but I’m partial to orange 😉 Other luxuries I enjoy are beauty treatments, lounging in the sun reading a magazine and sushi…

Q:  What is your favourite current décor trend?

Right now I’m loving painted wooden furniture – although I’m not sure if that is a trend or horribly outdated. I recently enlisted the help of a friend to give me some décor tips and we decided to paint all my “orange” wooden furniture white, and a little desk a pretty duck-egg blue, I’m loving how it’s brightened up my home and I think it’s working well in my home décor but I wouldn’t take my word for it as a trend.

Q:  Tell us five things on your Bucket List…

I wrote a bucket list about 18 months ago which makes for interesting reading now but if I was to pick 5 things for a updated Bucket List they would mainly be all travel experiences as this is one area of my life that is severely lacking at the moment…

1. Travel overseas with my kids – Disney World or Mauritius would be awesome for them and us because of the amazing kids entertainment offered but I would also love to take them somewhere like Thailand and introduce them to the wonders of a different culture.

2. New York, New York and then a cross country road trip on Route 66.

3. Visit Provence and the South of France – for a self-professed francophile this is another “must see”

4. Spend a month (or more) sailing around the Greek Islands

5. Do a Biblical History Tour

And just for good measure

6. See the Northern Lights….

{You can follow Kathryn on her blog, Becoming you, or find her on Facebook and Twitter!}

A Reflection On 2012…

Like we did at the beginning of last year and to ease ourselves back into the blogging groove, we would like to share with you some stats on our blog’s activity in 2012. Here are some interesting facts…

We wrote exactly 100 new blog posts in 2012 and uploaded a whopping 572 images. Our busiest blog day was June 7th, the most popular post that day being the CrazySexyCool Wall Decals give-away. Our blog readers are spread over an impressive 178 countries, and just like last year, the most visitors came from South Africa. The United States & The United Kingdom were not far behind.

The stats indicate that the most popular posts to be…

Decor Dictionary: Hollywood Regency1.  Décor Dictionary: Recycling & Upcycling attempts to define the rather elusive terms, recycling and upcycling – specific to the design industry.

2.  Décor Dictionary: Hollywood Regency Style – we asked Capetonian Interior Decorator, Kim Stephen of In A State Of Luxe to define this trending glamorous décor style for us.A Valentine’s Picnic - without the corny clichés

3.  Consol’s SUPER Solar Jar! inspired us to try our hand at product styling… and boy, what a ball we had doing it!

4.  Décor Diva: To Paint Or Not To Paint in which Rose discuss the current trend of painting vintage furniture pieces.

5.  A Valentine’s Picnic… without the corny clichés put new stylish spin on the old romantic picnic idea.

Rose and I also sat down and discussed our personal favourite blog posts of 2012…

Rose said:

“Monday was the first time I switched on my computer since 20th December. It really felt that I had come out on the other side of the Mayan Calendar, almost like Mayan afterlife. Now in the present moment here in the very early stages of 2013, one of the best things I did today was glance back at the blog posts we wrote during 2012. This little exercise also brought home to me some of the business successes that Design Monarchy had in 2012 – big and small. It inspires me into the new year.

Without any further ado, these are the blog articles that stand out for me. I would love to expound the reasons why, but since lethargy still clouds my mind, I just went on my gut feel.

Design Indaba was actually the highlight design activity of last year. It was the first time that I had attended any the conference itself and needless to say, I was blown away. I was inspired to dizzy heights coming out of Design Indaba ‘s talent. That is why I think I was attracted to the article that covered the beautiful Design Indaba ceramic works.

It was via Twitter that I stumbled across graphic designer, Leila Fanner’s work – strangely, since she hardly ever tweets. Since meeting her, we have discovered so much in common and gone onto become friends. Leila is also the graphic designer that is responsible for Design Monarchy’s new look company logo. That new logo was just simply another sign of the maturity that is slowly happening within our company.

2012 also saw the development of the Ask Décor Diva column coming out of design queries from our readers. I loved this, the “feature bathroom” query being one of my highlights! PLEASE, don’t hesitate to let us have as many of your design dilemma queries as possible – the Décor Diva needs to be kept busy.

Marica’s Get The Look article on the Contemporary Lounge so did it for me. She really managed to nail that one.

There was a moment last year where I had that ah-ha! moment coming out of all the blog reading I do. I realised that Tea Towels were just so cool. Marica translated that into a cool post on these nifty décor accessories.”

For my part – like Rose, the Design Indaba was also the most unforgettable event of 2012! Attending the conference and listen to all the local and international speakers was jaw-dropping amazing.

I also had a ball earlier this year when we did a 3-part blog review on the developing trends we observed the previous year. I think trend-watching has become on of my favourite activities!

Another blog post I thoroughly enjoyed was James Russell’s knowledgeable guest post on the History of Toile de Jouy – it gets the award for the most interesting read of 2012!

Getting our hands dirty with our little Consol Solar Jar shoot was also a blog highlight for me. Running around my backyard in the dark was a lot of fun!

Lastly, I also enjoyed putting together the post on using ladders as décor accessories… so much so that my one friend thinks I ladder-obsessed.

So what do you think? What as your favourite posts of 2012?

Thanks for all your wonderful support during 2012 and STAY WITH US, we promise to deliver the goodies.

Is there anything design and décor related you would like to see us writing about – any local person, place, space, query – let us know – WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE HEARING FROM YOU!

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Hello there 2013!

The Design Tabloid | Design Monarchy | 2013

And we’re BACK! How are all you beautiful people doing? Had a good festive season break? We sure did, in fact sitting here in front of the computer feels quite surreal…

Now even though Rose and I had a whole list of beautiful things and inspirational festive season posts we wanted to share with you before the conclusion of last year – design work intervened. Please excuse us for dropping off the face of the earth without so much as a “Merry Christmas“…

You see, we spent the last two work weeks of 2012 sprinting around Cape Town sourcing furniture and décor for an upmarket show flat and assisting another client with final selections. Let me tell you a little secret… shopping is hard work – we still have sore feet! However, once you get past the nitty-gritty logistics, dressing and styling an interior is huge fun – Rose, of course, was in her element!

So here we are – greeting you and the new year! Boy, I sure am glad the Mayans got it wrong cause 2013 is going to be a good one! Join us as we celebrate our continued existence and another year filled with excellent South African design!