Ep 37: Peeling Back the Curtain on the One Room Challenge™

May 8, 2017

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 




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20 featured bloggers, 200-ish participating bloggers, six weeks. The One Room Challenge is now in its 11th season and Julia and Chris are part of it. We’re talking details about how The One Room Challenge works, how bloggers are chosen, how they feel about being involved and what they get out of it.

Chris and Julia also talk candidly about free stuff from sponsors and how they decide what to accept, what to pay for, and how most projects end up a featuring things from both categories (provided/purchased).

Listen to the latest episodes on: iTunes, GooglePlayStitcher.

This Episode is Sponsored by:

Blue Apron

Blue Apron
Get your first 3 meals free.
Visit and use code CLJ


Listener Question: Would you be doing another nursery if it weren’t for the ORC, and if so, would it be as extreme? 
• The individualized importance of home design
• Last child, last nursery
• Helping our (currently) youngest daughter no longer see it as “her room”
• Expensive furniture and decor pieces in a baby’s room

Chris Loves Julia - Nursery

Interview: Linda from Calling it Home, Founder of The One Room Challenge™
• Background on The One Room Challenge
• How the sponsorships work
• The six week timeframe
• How featured participants are chosen
• Some of Linda’s favorite projects

Chris Loves Julia - The Girls' Room

Hot Topic: The Not Normal Things That Bloggers Present as Normal
The professional blogger’s goal is to create great content. The more frequent said content is posted, the more money a blog makes. But what starts as relatable and real, can easily go the way of commercial and staged. We discuss the tight rope that bloggers walk between making money and keeping it real, and how a proper balance helps bloggers publish more quality content for their readers.

Can’t Get You Outta My Mind

Preston: The recent Daddy of Five controversy has Preston thinking about children and the permanent impact, positive or negative, we can each have on them. Every single interaction with a child can end with the child feeling loved.

Chris: Chris gets political (but in a non-polarizing way) and talks about his concerns with staying informed when so much of our media has vested interest in misinformation. He talks about Countable, an app he’s been using for a few months, and how it is helping him keep tabs on what is happening in his state and our country.
Julia: After couple heavy topics from the gentlemen above, Julia talks about her favorite sunless tanner. She discusses her skin issues and how the St. Tropez sunless tanner has worked so well for her.
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Have questions you’d like us to answer on the podcast? Email [email protected].
Theme song Headphones by Preston Pugmire

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What do you think?

  1. Dan says:

    Thing is, I think many people realise they can make extra money on the side from blogging, because everyone wants to get their name out there for digital marketing purposes. Even I’m guilty of it commenting here to be honest. There is always someone who wants to get their name out their by paying for affiliate links, and it does help those who need extra income or want to monetise their own blog. The only way to really fight against it is by making sure you don’t follow the same pattern.

    People delivering misinformation through blog posts is an entirely different situation, and one that you can’t do much to stop. Might be worth exposing them though!

  2. Okay, I just wanted to comment on this post because of something Linda mentioned in the podcast (and that I just read from a fellow blogger too). Basically, that some people are doing the One Room Challenge ahead of time, and just posting about it during the 6-weeks timeframe. Her reasoning was that it’s hard to coordinate so many people to be on a schedule at the same time every year. However, as someone who’s participated – it’s easy enough to look at my calendar and start planning for it (months in advance…) but I still do it in real time during the challenge.

    Ahh rant over – sorry :(

  3. Jessica says:

    Julia I think it is only fair if your ‘cant get it out of my mind song’ is always played that Preston put his ‘exclusiiiiive’ ditty to music and use it too!!! :-)

  4. mirror says:

    I appreciate your talk on the Hot Topic about blogging turning into commercials. This is especially prescient because just today another popular blogger is on FB live doing their Sleep Number mattress shopping…just like you guys did! I’ve read lots of posts by bloggers and how they need (and rightfully deserve) to make money, but I’ve rarely seen this pattern addressed. I have no issue with bloggers being sponsored, but when you see one blogger talk about Blue Apron, and then another one two days later, and another one a month later, I can see why readers get annoyed and feel that bloggers are being disingenuous.

    Especially because virtually no one talks about the opposite: free product that you end up not liking. You know how there is this backlash going on with Amazon reviews and the tons of “I was given this product for free but my opinion is my own?” Yet those reviews are always 4 or 5 stars. We’re just being inundated with sponsored stuff and it’s hard to see the truth and honesty in anything anymore. Like, say you love that $5000 couch and you get it for free. Can you honestly judge it if you didn’t have to pay for it? I know I’m more likely to ignore some issues if I didn’t have to pay the big price tag. Or you’re a reader who bought that product because a blogger loved it, but then they were sponsored by another brand for the same product, and they love that one more…and you trusted their opinion and now they’ve moved on and it’s no big deal for them like it is to you, you who had to pay for it. Same goes for “we would have paid for this anyway, we have the money saved,” but in the end you didn’t pay for it, and now you have even more extra money to go towards something else, that ordinarily you wouldn’t have.

    None of this is a judgement against you guys. I just wanted to spill some thoughts as someone who reads many DIY home improvement blogs. I don’t really have a solution to offer. Bloggers deserve to make a living off their work. And I wonder if part of the issue is a certain cycle: blogger starts off with a small budget and pulls off great DIY makeovers, they become more popular, now they have more ad money and sponsors, now they can pull off even more awesome rooms, and now they are out of reach of the readers they started with…and the readers feel left behind? One of my favorite bloggers did things differently by always had a giveaway for the sponsored product in addition to using it themselves. But they are not so active anymore, and there is probably a reason why more bloggers don’t do that, but after a while I do get sick of seeing the blogger enjoying awesome free stuff and telling us how awesome it is, and 90% of any sponsored post is them enjoying the free stuff (which I dont think you guys are guilty of–you share a lot of prizes with us!).

    After all my rambling, I wonder if it bugs readers most because the foundation of blogging is sharing. Sharing ideas, trials and tribulations, and the final look. But then at a certain point, the blogger starts to focus more on showing off awesome free stuff, and not sharing–either literally with a giveaway, or by giving feedback we as readers can trust.

    • Janine says:

      Agree! I think so many people feel the same way as this reader above. I start following blogs because they do great things with limited resources and I feel I can do the same and learn from them. Popular blogs all eventually become “look at all the free stuff we got but we are also going to put affiliated links so not only is it free but we make money when you buy it”. Even worst is when bloggers create a post of couches they found, all affiliated linked, but never bought or use the item to begin with!! There is no transparency – never a bad review or this didn’t hold up well – it’s all sunshine and rainbows. Bloggers eventually become boring because they are not forced to do any creative problem solving. Unlike their readers, they don’t have limited time (aka you both have full time jobs that aren’t to create blog content), limited money (because you don’t get free stuff), and don’t have to learn new skills because the money they aren’t spending on products they can now afford to hire someone out to tile/drywall, etc. So to confirm what the person above said – yes, it bugs a lot of readers and we will eventually stop reading, stop following on Instagram, when we get so sick of it or find new smaller blogs that haven’t hit “fame” yet.

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