Teaching Photography and Mentoring Bloggers

Today I have some exciting double news to share with you, so let's get right to it! In just a moment that is, because I'm going to fill this post with a few pretty photos for you too.

I'm sitting in my living room (above) as I type this out and if you are coming over here from my friends Kim Six's blog I welcome you in! I'm talking today about the Haven Conference
that I'll be attending in July, which is an amazing conference for bloggers held in Atlanta every year. I'm so honored to have been invited to be a mentor this year, and I'm also very excited to have been asked to be a speaker. Double whammy...boom!

I enjoyed teaching photography and styling last year at Haven and I guess you guys enjoyed it, since I've been invited back. You can read about my experience teaching photography and styling  at The Haven Conference last year if you like and I have some cheat sheets in that post to download.

1. How many years have you been blogging?

I'm now in my 10th year of blogging but I have actually been on the internet since the dinosaur days of around 1998. That's almost 20 years of internetlandia and I started out my on-line days a little different than most...as a seller. This was back before blogs were a thing and no one had a website except for a very few and I was an eBay Power Seller happily selling home related items and vintage goods. Several years later when websites first started to become available to individuals, I took things a step further and with a great leap of faith my business Shabbyfufu was born. 

My blog started as an extension of my selling website, and it seems that many bloggers these days do just the opposite! Yes...I've seen so many changes and back then we had to find our own way, manage all of the technical stuff, the advertising, the html and all with crappy point and shoot cameras. It's MUCH easier in some ways now to be a blogger, and in other ways much harder.

2. What is your favorite DIY project that you have completed?

Once again the dinosaur is back, meaning that I've been a DIYer since we purchased the same home that we still live in over 25 years ago! We raised our family in this home and have done so much of the work over the years ourselves. It definitely helps that my husband is a general contractor and knows his stuff and there are so many projects that I really have no photographic record of. 

This project was pretty extensive and I've linked all of the DIYs at the bottom that were necessary to turn this junked up former kiddo's bedroom into my Chic French Modern Home Office

We have a large yard and gardens and this past winter we added a new pergola by the pool as well as a DIY pea gravel patio with a romantic story behind it.

We also have a second home and we are currently Remodeling The Beach Place and doing a lot of the work ourselves. I hope that you follow along with me on this project, lots more to come!

3. What is something useful you have learned from a blog conference?

I learn a lot by observation and working at home gives me the time to read as much as I can, watch videos and then apply my new found knowledge. Meeting up with kindred spirits who really get what you do is such a great validation of one's blogging journey and the friendships formed and strengthened are amazing! One useful thing that I've learned is that although we all have this commonality of blogging we are all so different and yet the same. We are storytellers, photographers, DIYers and just regular folk.

4. What is something you love about blogging and what is something you wish you could change?

Like most bloggers I love being able to work from home in my yoga pants:-) I love the flexibility to be able to travel and still be productive and the fact that I work for myself can't be beat. Blogging is a full time job and not an easy one and most of us work long hours and constantly strive to become better at our craft. I've had numerous opportunities come my way as a result of not just blogging, but putting authentic self out there. And that is the key...authenticity and honesty in blogging and life.

What I'm NOT wild about to be perfectly honest is the amount of social media that we have to do these days to get eyes on our pages. Back when I had my website I would simply allot a certain amount every month for magazine advertising and with one good sale I'd be sure to make that back and then some. Nowadays it's the hamster run on the wheels of Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and the algorithm changes and competition is fierce for us all. It's exhausting and not for the faint of heart.
5. What is one piece of advice you would offer a blogger – new or otherwise – who is going to Haven?

Mix and mingle and don't be afraid to ask anyone for advice or help, especially your mentors and instructors! We are all there to learn and grow and make new friends but keep the old. Just be your best authentic self.
Ohh...pack a suitcase within a suitcase that you'll plan on checking at the gate. The amount of swag at this conference is abundant! 

Well friends, you've come to the end of the line with me and this is the last day of the blog hop. I hope that this is just a beginning though and I'd love to get to know you if you coming to The Haven Conference!