Four Year Blog Anniversary

On October 13th 2018, According To D turned FOUR. Oh my gosh that is nuts! It’s been pretty crazy to watch the blogging and social media world evolve over the last four years, and of course I still kick myself and wish I has starting blogging in 2011 when the dream originally was placed on my heart, but I am so grateful to have entered the world of blogging (better late than never). I was so hungry for a place that I could be creative, girly, talk about the things that I loved in the way that I wanted to talk about them. Create community with other women from all over, share stories, have conversations, and connect with my readers and followers. That was the initial motivation and that’s still the motivation.

Haters Gonna Hate…

It’s always been about having a creative space, creating community & connecting with my readers.

When I launched According To D in 2014 I absolutely got crap for it. My husband and I were in business together and I had a significant role in that business, so for our business partners a few of them were making comments like why is Danielle wasting time on that blog thing, what does she think she’s a blogger now?… It’s always been a wonder to me why people can’t just be supportive of other people’s dreams, but I think it’s a great thing. It builds thick skin. And blogging, like any other business, you need thick skin. Sometimes you’ve just got to ignore the haters and stay in your own lane, doing your own thing. You’ve gotta do you in life.

I have had a ton of amazing supporters too though. From day one my husband has been my number one supporter, he’s always been encouraging me, pushing me and telling me if I love it I should pursue it (I’m a lucky girl). My friend Brit bought me my first book about blogging that was just gold when I started four years ago, it had all the nerdy things I needed to learn. And of course I have the sweetest family ever, although they for sure had no idea what blogging was for the first few years, they’re pretty on board with it now and encouraging.

The Journey…

I would sit in my room for hours when I was first building my website, trying to learn the techy things and I remember I would get so frustrated. Sometimes it’d take me days to learn how to do one thing, like how to set up my RSS feed (I was like wth is that). Sometimes I laugh when I get asked, how do you start a blog? Because I just think back to the hours and hours that I spent on Google or with my nose in that blogging book just trying to figure it all out. Sometimes you just have to go figure it out and not look for the easy answer or the easy way into something. Blogging is more than just pretty pictures and a fancy Instagram feed, and you’ve got to be willing to learn the not so glamorous things too.

It’s easy to forget where you started when you’re on a long journey to where you want to go.

I have all sorts of huge/crazy dreams that I want to achieve through blogging, and honestly Nick is probably the only person I really discuss those dreams with. Some of those dreams have been coming true, but honestly it’s taken so much longer than I hoped, but most of those dreams are still a work in progress. I think that’s usually the case though, with anything worth working towards it doesn’t happen over night. I have a journal entry I want to share with you, it’s a bit embarrassing so don’t laugh, but it’s also super powerful. I reread this a few weeks ago and got choked up. It’s easy to forget where you started when you’re on a long journey to where you want to go. This journal entry was written in June of 2016. I won’t add the whole thing, but I was basically writing down everything that was going on with According To D at the time. I had just landed my first paid collaboration and I was so excited! It was only $50 but that was such a huge step to me at the time. I wrote this:

“I hope one day I read this journal and think awee I got so excited over $50, now they pay me 10x that just for a simple post and I am used to it. If I am reading this thinking that… let me say something to my future self. Stay grateful. Don’t take these opportunities for granted. Appreciate everything and enjoy it. This is what you’ve wanted. Try to be balanced and happy. Work your booty off - you only live once Danielle. Go for it.”

I like my past self haha, so motivational. On a serious note, when I read that I was shocked. I didn’t remember writing that over two years ago but I sure am glad I did. I just wrapped up my highest paid collaboration and they paid me 30x what my first collaboration did. Don’t worry I was thrilled and didn’t take it for granted for one second, but still it’s wonderful to have that reminder of how it felt when brands didn’t see enough value in what I was doing to pay me. I’m so incredibly grateful for my blog and where it is, but I’m even more excited about where it’ll go in the next four years. I still love blogging, and you’ll keep hearing from me.

New Niche + Discouragement…

Reflecting on that post makes me grateful that I didn’t quit. Here’s what really happened after that journal entry. Just two months later we spent a month in Europe, mainly touring Italy. I had the most beautiful photos and content to share from that trip of course. Then that September I got pregnant, and that’s where the discouragement came. I started blogging as a lifestyle blogger, but there was a huge emphases on travel and adventure. When I got pregnant and started sharing that on my blog I felt like my following came to a halt. It felt like the people who were reading and following before now had no interest in what I was saying. Which is fine, but I don’t blog for just my mom to read it (sorry mom). I was changing niches and they weren’t super thrilled about it, instead of a travel focus I decided I wanted to focus on motherhood, with sprinkles of travel and lifestyle. The thing about blogging is you have to stay true to what you want to say, otherwise the passion will die. I wanted to talk about the journey I was going on through becoming a mom, not my journey around the world. For the first time I cared about something more than travel and I wanted to talk about it.

For about a year + I felt like I was replacing followers on Instagram (and yes in the blogging world that does matter). 100 followers would fall off and 50 new ones would come on haha that left me feeling super stuck. I finally, as of recent, feel like my audience is here to listen again. I actually feel more connected with my followers and readers than ever before. I have so many amazing women who I get to connect with, typically laughing about motherhood stuff. I would have never experienced that if I had quit and just said “nobody wants to hear what I have to say” or “nobody likes my blog”. Niche transitions in the blogging world are hardddd, but as a blogger you’ve just got to stay true to you and what you genuinely think the world needs to hear.

Be busy with your dreams.

One of my passions right now is bringing moms together and creating a community of mothers who can life each other up. Every Monday we do #MommyTipMondays, a community I created where mommy bloggers share tips every Monday and other moms get to read them and chime in. I also love the idea of being insanely transparent about motherhood, creating a space where mom guilt becomes something we laugh about instead of something that makes us cry. When Giulian was first born I did a post called 15 Confessions From A New Mom, and I plan to do more Momfession style posts, I think they’re needed in the world of motherhood so stay tuned for more ridiculous stories about myself as a mother.

I’ve also found a passion about being a “mompreneur”. Mamas who are full time mothers and build a business have my heart, it’s a lot of work. I recently launched my online boutique Bella Magari, between that and blogging and being a full time mom and wife… it’s a lot. It’s crazy, but it’s also super exciting. The feeling of being busy on your dreams is a great feeling. I also find so much importance in having something outside of motherhood that brings you life and purpose. I think it’s sad that moms get shamed for that. Having passions outside of motherhood is okay! Well shoot, this is supposed to be a four year blog update huh? I guess I’ve gone down a deep deep rabbit hole.

Now that I’ve gone way off topic, let me reel it in. I’m so grateful to each and every one of you who reads and follows along (even you mom lol), without you none of my blogging dreams would come true. I can’t wait to see what the next four years in the blogging/influencer world looks like! I can’t wait to keep sharing my journey through motherhood, business, style, marriage, blogging and travel with you all! I promise to be transparent and truthful every step of the way. Again, thank you for following along!

Freshening Up Our Home This Fall

This blog post is written in partnership with and sponsored by Big Lots.

We have lived in our place for over a year and a half now... and every now and again  I love to rearrange, reset, and freshen up our home. Sometimes that means new furniture, and sometimes just moving things around and cleaning up our space. This time I'm so excited to be able to do both in a big way!  We live such busy lives being entrepreneurs and parents and we've had a list of things we've needed for our home for months now, but we just haven't made the time to go get it all.

Well, the time has come and we're knocking everything off of our to do list for freshening up our home and making it ready for a new season. We are so grateful for Big Lots, it's our one stop shop to making our home festive and functional this fall. We were able to pop into our local Big Lots and thanks to its new design, it was much more convenient for us to shop there and find everything we need.

fall home decor
fall decor throw pillows
big lots home decor for fall

Giulian is running around the house now, so I’ve been needing to get a steam mop for our kitchen floor and a smaller vacuum for our office since the kitty litter is in there.  It’s my job to make sure our home is safe and clean for our little guy, of course, and I've been needing those items for months now. Another must-have on my list is additional storage bins so that we can have more areas to store and organize Giulian's toys.

Big Lots has such an amazing selection when it comes to storage and organization products (every mama’s dream)! I found an amazing four pocket wood storage piece and fabric storage bins that fit perfectly in it. The products also matched our furniture.

Another thing we've been in need of is a new coffee maker! Giulian is a little over one year old and we have been in need of a new one since he was born. The one we had was a pain in the butt and didn't work well. We have been saying we will get a new one for quite some time, we just never made it happen. Why are we such procrastinators?! Well we have one now, thanks to Big Lots! And some delicious Pumpkin flavored coffee and pumpkin spice biscotti to go with it. Big Lots really does have it all in store and makes it so easy to pick up all your needs in one spot.

We have had a larger item that we've needed, a TV stand, but we haven't found the perfect one until stopping by the Big Lots store. We needed one that was our style, a wood color that would match our existing living room furniture, high enough so that the baby couldn't grab the TV and pull it down, heavy and sturdy enough so that it wouldn't tip over onto the baby if he is by the TV stand, no glass (another baby precaution), and within our price range.

That is a very hefty list of TV stand requirements! It’s been super difficult to find one that would fit our lifestyle. When we saw the one we got from Big Lots, Nick and I both got super excited and knew it was perfect, and not to mention so pretty! I love the sliding barn doors (see photos below).

Finally, of course, the main reason I went to Big Lots this fall... decorating! I’m a fall fanatic! It’s my favorite season. Decorating the home to make it warm and festive brings me so much joy! Big Lots has the most adorable fall decor items to match any home style, from country to modern, they’ve got us covered! A few throw pillows, wreath, candles, a centerpiece and ceramic pumpkins was enough to transform our home into the fall space that I was looking for.

My mom is amazing at making the home cozy and festive for every season. That is something that stuck out to me and now that I'm a mom I want to make our home  feel the same way. My mom has the most adorable glass pumpkin set she got from Big Lots years ago and it’s still one of the prettiest decor items that my mom owns.

Since I was already at Big Lots getting everything I needed to freshen up our home for fall, I was able to grab basic household essentials that we needed as well. Laundry detergent, coffee, healthy snacks including Kashi crackers and La Croix Sparkling waters, freeze dried mango (the baby loves that), and pumpkin spice biscotti for when we have guests over. It was such a big help that they carried all of those items and I didn't have to go anywhere else.

fall decor throw pillows
big lots home decor
big lots home decor
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pumpkin spice biscotti
coffee
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shop big lots
home decor with big lots

I want to give a special shoutout to Big Lots for sponsoring this post! I am so grateful to have worked with them. Big Lots is truly an amazing store with high quality products. I had such a wonderful experience and absolutely will be back in the store throughout the entire holiday season.


 
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