Projects

Thoughts on Blogging + Kitchen Kickoff!

July 20, 2015  —  Written by Julia 

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Chris and I just got back from an 8 day trip to Cancun! We booked the trip to the new Secrets Playa Mujeres there last year before we knew about Chris’s back surgery. After the surgery and his recovery at the beginning of this year, among a few other things, well, the vacation couldn’t have come at a better time. We went with Chris’s siblings and their spouses and his parents and it was a blast, despite missing the girls terribly. We both feel rejuvenated and ready to finish off the year with a bang.

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A kitchen bang. Yes, we are finally starting the kitchen. Eeee!!! To be honest, there was a big insurance issue at the beginning of the year and Chris’s back surgery was not covered. It was a HUGE bill and required us to push the kitchen renovation back until that financial burden was under control. Now that it is taken care of, and we were able to step away from the blog and social media over the last week (I literally took 2 photos all week!), we couldn’t be more excited to dive into the kitchen. But before we do, there are a few thoughts that we’ve had about the project, the blog and blogging in general that have been on my mind.

I blog because I love to tell the story of renovating our home. It’s sometimes messy, mistakes only make the story better–and I guess it’s more of a novel because our renovation is rarely concise. Every once in a while, I enjoy posting about a quick project I’ve done around the house, but this blog is anything but a before and after blog or a content generator. There’s a lot of really great, inspiring blogs saturating the blogosphere that will feed your need for those things, but when I heard from one of the most popular DIY/Craft bloggers that she literally throws projects away after they are produced and photographed for her blog–I needed to take a step back and reassess if this was something I really wanted to be a part of. I’ve slowed down my posting and decided as popular and lucrative as those blogs are, I don’t want to be that. I don’t want to make a wreath or spray paint something or throw a party, or buy a house just because I need something to post. I want our home to be filled with intentional decisions and only things that would be here regardless of whether this blog existed…or not. I know before and afters are the juiciest, but to only show you before and afters of this house and the renovations that go on in here–it feels unjust. I fear that some blogs are creating an unrealistic picture of what it’s like to DIY or renovate a house, and maybe worse, creating a sense of entitlement with readers that if a post isn’t a dramatic before and after, a DIY they can do this afternoon, perfectly styled or professionally shot, the post isn’t worth reading.  DIY isn’t always instant. In fact, it’s intensely time consuming, a bit chaotic and also, really incredibly rewarding. That’s why we do it.

So as we start our kitchen renovation, our biggest project yet (!!), I wanted to express–1. it will take a few months–we are starting demo this week and have given ourselves a beginning-of-October deadline. We’re shooting for an 8 week completion time, but are already factoring in something going wrong–because something always goes wrong. Having it finished for Chris’s birthday (what a gift for a man who loves to cook, right!?) and our annual Halloween party in October is the real goal. 2. There will probably be a lot of posts about it because we’ll be documenting everything in real time, as it happens. If you feel like I’m just blabbering on or posting too much about the kitchen, I promise I will take no offense if you skip the post. Remember, we’re developing a plot line here. ;) 3. Our style isn’t everyone’s style–and thank goodness!–because I’d like to think it’s what makes this blog world go round.

We are so excited! We tweaked a few of these kitchen plans over the last couple months and then spent a lot of our vacation just grinning from ear to ear about the upcoming changes to our home. We feel so fortunate to be able to do this and so happy all of you are along for the ride.

Psst–laundry room afters later this week!

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What do you think?

  1. Heather says:

    “DIY isn’t always instant. In fact, it’s intensely time consuming, a bit chaotic and also, really incredibly rewarding. That’s why we do it.”

    AMEN! I have to remind myself of this sometimes, especially during weeks where not much is going on. That’s just life sometimes.

  2. Mikaela D says:

    This post made me like you even more. I’ve been paring down the people I follow (both on blogs and social media in general) and one of the reasons I keep coming back here is because of the “real” content you post. It’s really refreshing that your blog is to show your actual life instead of contrived content. Keep it up!

    Also, as a busy mom I am just trying to wrap my mind around the idea of people having time to make + throw away crafts… Gasp! ;)

  3. I think the way you are blogging is absolutely perfect, and I actually THANK you for showing all the ins and outs and little details and struggles that go into home renovation. That’s actually my favorite part of seeing a before & after, all the steps that got it there! There’s so much more of an opportunity to learn and understand the process, so when I start thinking about projects for my home I have a REAL understanding of what it takes (or as much as I can get without doing it myself). I love seeing the full story of a room (or house) renovation and I totally agree with you that it’s like a novel! The two of you are doing great, thank you so much for sharing your home with us. Keep it real!

  4. Sally G. says:

    Kudos to you both for being thoughtful and intentional with where your blog is heading and taking the time to communicate with your readers (and also showing that real life things like medical bills sometimes mean that you have to put off the fun stuff like a major kitchen overhaul.)

  5. Evelina says:

    Congrats on starting your kitchen! So exciting — I can’t wait to follow along (in real time!)

  6. Love your attitude towards blogging! That is so refreshing to see!

    Can’t wait to see the kitchen be torn apart and then come back together! ;)

  7. Maria says:

    Hi Julia,
    I support many of the comments here in that this is your blog and you can do whatever you feel like doing. My husband and I recently bought a new construction condo so we have no plans of touching anything, but reading your blog gives me the ‘fix’ (I guess this is an addiction?) of home renovation and the excitement of seeing inside other people’s homes, and enjoying the process with them.
    One of the many reasons I follow this blog is because you guys are super honest and open about your projects and if you change your mind, you talk about it and fix it. I am having serious problems committing to furniture for our new condo because I feel like if I mess up, I can’t fix the mistake, but reading your blog has given me a different sense of responsibility towards ‘stuff.’ It’s just stuff and if you don’t like it, you change it and move on. Thanks for your blog, I don’t just keep up with it but also refer to it when I want to read something in particular (like your search for your Lounge sofa… we might get it for the new condo) or your amazing shelves and green paint in your reading room.
    I’m very excited for this new phase you are going into and would love to know every single detail and share it with you – and even though we don’t know each other, I feel like I’m part of this process and I get to enjoy it. A lot.

  8. Kathy says:

    And that is why I read your blog. Honesty and real time renovations and recipes!!! Thanks for sharing all those things!

  9. you’re the best Julia! I love how you guys are so transparent, honest, open. It really is great! I also love how much interesting and captivating your content is. I don’t need a before and after, and honestly, I’ve been limiting my reader to those type of blogs because i can’t handle the facade anymore. It’s not real life. I want to read blogs where i could honestly be good friends with the authors. Anyway, thanks for all you do, you’re so good at it, and I’m very excited to see this kitchen unfold before our eyes!

  10. AlisonG says:

    You can’t please everyone. Everyone is different. If we all liked the same things and did the same things, the world would be boring. Just be you and forget about the rest. Congrats on the vacation. Sounds fun.

  11. Amanda says:

    This doesn’t have anything to do with your current post, but I was reading back through some old ones and wanted to see where the coffee table (clear) in your study came from? Thanks!

  12. jenny park says:

    I LOVE you guys! First off I love your honesty! How refreshing to know you are actually designing your house in real time with things you love and doing it yourself. So what if you get a free lamp or rug…kudos for being budget savvy and letting us know where great products are from and where to get them. It isn’t like you are ordering crystal chandeliers and diamond studded doorknobs (do those even exist? haha). You are an adorable family redoing their home in REAL time. We have been working on finishing our basement for two years…why? Well because it costs money and time and patience and set-backs. I love your posts and of course would love to see a million a week but I like your authenticity. Your home is amazing, and you do it yourself. You pick the elements, demolish and rebuild and make it look attainable for us non-artistic newbies. I actually had a window put in our basement bathroom which was inspired by your livingroom window add on. I had never thought about being able to do that before. I personally adore your style and am waiting (with a bit baited breath) to see how your kitchen unfolds because we need to update ours. Honestly I have been holding off doing ours waiting for your suggestions on supplies and how to knowledge, knowing you will have helpful insight and amazing taste. (I think we are renovation soulmates..haha). So keep on trucking and let the insta-crazy people who need spray-painted mason jars and chalk-painted furniture and mod-podged picture frames find their fix elsewhere. Sometimes patience is a virtue right? Also how many of those fast-paced project spitting blogs have recently gone by the wayside because they want more family time and/or are burnt out? Gasp! Your writing, style, and family life are fabulous and wonderful posts. And the cookbooks…YES!!!! I may have a slight addiction to my BBQ and have whispered sweet words of love to it while cooking your burgers and wings. Your fabulous and lovely so let the haters throw a temper tantrum about how they want what they want RIGHT NOW! Take it as a compliment that they simply can’t live without your posts and want them daily, then go eat some wings with your adorable family and get to work on that kitchen. I am dying to know what stove you picked! (Hopefully not GE…haha). Love from UT!!!

  13. Ami says:

    It’s such a shame that people feel the need to share their negativity, or even worse, that because you’re a blogger that they’re entitled to. I don’t expect to agree with every design choice you make, but it’s not my house. Would those people seriously walk into a friends house and criticize it? Ugh.

    I started reading your blog out of an interest in home reno and DIY, but I have stayed because of the real life content and timing (& the food, thanks Chris!). Don’t change a thing! If people want regularly scheduled posts multiple times per day and projects that are literally throwaway content (!!!) then let them go.

  14. Kensley says:

    It makes me so sad that you had to even write this post! Your blog, your rules as far as I’m concerned. I think you’ve got the whole sponsor thing figured out. I never felt like you over did it, but ever since you’ve only done ones that really apply in your life I think to myself “that just makes sense”. I love your blog, I love that it’s all done in real time! I love that you make mistakes and have to fix things because that means I’m not alone and even people who are super handy mess up!! I love see the rooms progress, and then the final before and after post is like a big sigh of relief as we (well you) check that room off the list and get to enjoy it! I’m excited to see 500 posts about the kitchen because progress is progress people!! High five for keepin it real, and super high medical bills! (ok maybe not a good thing, but that’s the boat we are in!)

  15. Margot says:

    Just goes to show you can’t please everyone – but I definitely agree that I love your blog and am really excited to see the kitchen progress. I think it’s great to see things come together, bit by bit, in real time; it feels much more authentic that way. And it’s also interesting and engaging to hear about Chris’s cooking and your friends and family; it feels more like a conversation with friends than an HGTV show, which is wonderful!

  16. Ingrid says:

    I love this blog and the way in which you continue to manage it. I am drawn to your intentional method of styling and decorating your home – it has helped me find my own aesthetic and prioritize projects in my own home. I like how you curate this blog. I think the variety and quantity of posts is excellent, and I will continue to read for as long as you continue to share!

  17. arethusa says:

    I have been silently reading your blog for almost 4 years now, and I heartily support the direction you are taking now. I love your voice, and look forward to seeing the changes you make to your home and blog.

  18. Jenny B says:

    It is always amazing to me when bloggers have to explain/defend/respond to criticism about their blog and how and when they blog. I am reading FREE CONTENT on the internet that someone spent the time and effort to put up for my enjoyment and edification. There is no one standing next to me forcing me to read this against my will – I am reading it because I am interested in other people’s lives and how they do things, and LUCKY ME someone posted something that I get to read and look at. I so appreciate bloggers like you two, and sort of hate the world of entitled readers, but thank you for what you do and keep up the good work. So glad you had a great trip and good luck with the kitchen.

  19. Kathy says:

    I love your blog!! An love that you post your renovations in “real time”. My husband an I have lived in the same home for 28 years, an renovation is a way of life for us. I truly enjoy your writing, renovations, an precious children posts. Keep up the great work Julia:)

  20. Sherri says:

    I read blogs for inspiration, and I enjoy seeing before and afters. But the ones I am dedicated to are the ones that draw me in as people( you and Chris, for example.) Like I’d be friends with them in life. You keep it real, so just keep doing what suits you best. The blog world misses YHL, but I can certainly understand that it was impossible to keep up the pace, and some of their readers wouldn’t settle for less. There are plenty of us that are loyal and will continue to follow. Just wanted to share that!!

  21. so excited to see what you come up with in your kitchen! We are going to start our “phase 1” kitchen remodel soon. oh and that photo of you guys: adorable!

  22. Angelie says:

    I LOVE your blog!! Keep all the good work. I love all the posts. You guys rock!!!

  23. Arielle says:

    I usually don’t comment, but I wanted to let you guys know that I LOVE your design and often frequent here for my own inspiration. You put together what I have floating around in my mind into tangible results. Also, I really appreciate the post that you just did. I like reading your blog because the timeline of the projects are real. If I did one project, I would keep working on it and probably post about it, as I did it. Keep up the great work and welcome back to the states! PS. I live in Pittsburgh :)

  24. Alexis says:

    I have to say that I read quite a lot of blogs, and by far my favourites are the ones that emphasize quality over quantity. I tend to get bored when I realise someone is pumping out “fluff” pieces just to keep to their 3x per week posting schedule or whatever, and those are usually the blogs I lose interest in quite quickly.

    We are in the planning stages of our kitchen remodel and so am totally excited to read in-depth detailed posts about the minutiae of a kitchen reno!

  25. Carrie W says:

    Hi Julia – long time reader, don’t comment very much, but just wanted to say “thanks” for being real. I appreciate the journey that you share!! Most of the time it’s awesome and helpful stuff, and I also appreciate that you share “design mistakes” and/or “we didn’t love it so we changed it” posts. This has helped me immensely in my own trial-and-error decorating/design process. I do love a good “before and after” but most of those leave me wanting more details – more in-process pictures, more product information, more STORY, guts and glory… Because those are the things that would help me repeat the project in my own house if I wanted to. For example, I followed your fauxdenza process and found it super helpful. I also like the walnut countertop posts and sent those to my mom as she wants to do her kitchen island with wood. If a post isn’t relevant to me, I skip it.

    If I could change one thing, I’d ask for more art. I bought one of your paintings years ago and still love it and have moved it around my house a few times. :) Do you still do any commissions??

    Thanks for sharing your stories.

    • Julia says:

      I do still do commissions. In fact, that’s all I’ve really done this year. I’m trying to get back into posting more art in my shop–especially since my paintings are featured in 2 major publications this fall!–but, I have yet to find the time. Haha!

  26. Jen says:

    Great post Julia! I have been there (rushed a project for the sake of the blog) and it has failed me so many times that I just can’t do it for the sake of consistent content anymore. Our kitchen renovation has already taken three times longer than we initially planned/wanted, and part of me feels awful carrying that weight with the blog, but the other part of me knows it is more important to not rush it just to pump out a reveal post before we are ready (how is that benefiting anyone?). It is good to set that expectation ahead of time (even if just for yourselves), because there is always a pressure to have a new post up with something fresh to share. And cheers to making mistakes and learning/sharing along the way. :)

    I can’t wait to see how your beautiful new space evolves!

    • Julia says:

      So happy to hear your thoughts on this, Jen! I have been following your renovation and you should feel no guilt or weight at all! It’s turning out so beautiful and I can’t wait to be where you guys are.

  27. adriana says:

    I love your take on blogging! I’ve been following y’all for a couple of years now, and I love how REAL it is. Sure, I can get my fill of pretty befores and afters on other sites, but not all other blogs will show the realities of renovation (including cost), like you do. So, thank you! Keep it going! My main question is, how do you do the renovations with two little ones?! What tips do you have for parents renovating with kiddos around?

    • Julia says:

      Our girls have always gone to bed early. Greta went to bed at 6pm the first three years of her life and now she goes to sleep at 7:30. Faye is down by 6:30. It gives us plenty of time in the evenings to get things done, but we usually only work until 10 and then wind down ourselves. On the weekends, we really try to involve Greta in projects now that she’s 5. She loves responsibility! One of us usually keeps Faye busy or when we work outside, the girls have free reign of the yard while we work. It’s a balancing act at times, but we really enjoy it.

  28. Jaclyn says:

    Thanks for being awesome Julia! I love your blog and how the timeline feels normal. I always get excited to see one of your posts in my feedly. The unscheduled nature makes it more exciting ;)

    Keep doing you!

  29. Anna says:

    I love reading your blog! We are currently in the middle of replacing the majority of our floor in our 1970’s fixer upper (and a kitchen reno coming soon)…I know the process and the time it takes to complete a project (with life happening too!) and I have no idea how you post as frequently as you do! Keep up the good work and remember It’s *your* house, *your* blog…just keep doing *you*! : )

  30. Here! here!

    As a blogger that burnt out after 1 year, and is looking to get started on a new house renovation and start up again, I’m glad to see that some of my favorites also feel the burnout and helps me feel less terrible about giving up for a while.

    I hate content created just for content. Half the time I dont even open the pages. So excited for your kitchen remodel, as our styles are similar and I’m looking forward to using your tips and ideas in my next place.

  31. I’m a long time fan but rarely comment…. glad you wrote this post, though! I feel the same way as a blogger- 5 years ago when I started, there was no pressure to have a perfectly curated post with pin-worthy photos, etc. It was just us, blogger and snaps of our projects along the way. Now I feel like I can’t post “in between” projects- people just want the before/after glossiness. Some of these comments really surprise me- I can’t fathom why someone would rather see a bunch of random “junk” projects over a true renovation story. Keep up the good work, I love reading and am glad that there are other bloggers out there who feel like I do!

  32. Gretchen says:

    Newer reader here, but I’m loving your blog. We’re planning a kitchen reno too as soon as our budget catches up, so you’ve just been added to my Must Read list! Looking forward to all the details.

    I’m just starting blogging myself, so thanks for being a blogger I can look up to. :)

  33. Meggan S. says:

    This is why I continue to read (and love) your blog. I feel like I’m being invited in to watch the process of making your house a home. (Not to mention I’m obsessed with your warm, casual, comfy, but sophisticated style). Thank you!

  34. Leslie B says:

    You go! I really enjoy your blog just the way it is so I’m glad you guys are staying true to yourselves. Can’t wait to see the kitchen transform!

  35. Ashley Bee says:

    Hi Julia – I just wanted to say that I adore what you’ve said here and am also appalled by some of the mega-blogs. Nobody wants to see yet another dumb project that is clearly just for a post (i.e. not a thought-out addition to someone’s home). I have no problem whatsoever reading a series of posts about a long-term project or even reading a blogger’s thought process on a house/room scheme. Addicted 2 Decorating doesn’t always have progress to show, but I love hearing the way she thinks through the design process.

    I will be THRILLED to read dozens of posts on the nitty gritty of your kitchen reno. Good luck and know that you still have a lot of readers who enjoy whatever content you decide to post on. (And you’re 100% right, if I don’t find it interesting, I just won’t click it. I’m not a cook, but that doesn’t mean that I remove your blog from my feed! Sheesh, people.)

  36. I am SO excited to follow along with the kitchen reno! We’re in the process of buying our first home and are preparing to put our own stamp on our new place. My favorite DIY blogs (like CLJ!) are the ones that are real time, that I connect with, and that give me a true picture of what our own renovations might look like (in schedule and bumps along the way). Thanks for doing what you do!

  37. Lisa says:

    Why is no one asking the important question…. WHERE IS THAT CUTE BATHING SUIT FROM? Seriously, its adorable (and you look awesome in it)! ….And rock on with your bad self; I gave up blogging because something I started for fun started to feel like a job (one that I wasn’t getting paid to do). Can’t wait to see the kitchen in a few months. :)

  38. Alise says:

    This is exactly why I love your blog! Your authenticity shines through and as a reader that keeps me coming back. Thanks for being you and sharing your little piece of the world with us!

  39. AmandaH says:

    The more I read your blog, the more I like it! Thanks for sharing all your work with us!

  40. Amanda says:

    Good for you! Echoing (most of) the others, authenticity and real time gives us also-real-timers some sense of grounding. We just bought a 1970’s spilt level, and with every surface needing refreshing/painting/replacing, I sometimes feel behind already, it’s only been one month! Seeing other people’s homes NOT come together in a week or two helps cut down the unrealistic expectations I have put on myself, fueled in part by reading blogs. I loooove before and afters (so inspirational!), how-to’s and grand sweeping posts from blogs around the web, but am also comforted that pro-bloggers make mistakes, change their minds, and take longer than they think. Keep doing what your doing:)

  41. stephanie says:

    You know, that’s why i like your blog! It’s not just fluff and fillers and give-a-ways. You always do thoughtful REAL stuff. Keep it up and I am so excited to see your fantastic spin on the kitchen reno!

  42. Emily says:

    I don’t think you should have to apologize or explain what YOU want to do with YOUR blog. There are so many blogs out there that if someone doesn’t like it, or doesn’t agree, then they can go find another one. I love blog makeovers that are in real time and are honest about setbacks, costs, and the nitty gritty. As a reader I don’t understand how you could get mad at that because it helps you understand the what/why/how if you want to do it yourself. So all that to say that I’m so excited for your kitchen makeover! Keep doing your thing

  43. Vanessa says:

    I like how you write your blog (that’s why I have different blog go-to’s, each fit something else I am looking for). I love having real time, in the moment things, since that’s how most would likely be tackling any sort of project, plus it totally helps me as a reader to better assess what’s practical vs. TV land home reno projects when making plans/budgets for my own home. And all those little details you throw in because your projects are moving in real time? sooo helpful. Like your laundry room trim around the cabinets. We installed our kitchen (with Sektion) and were stumped how to ‘finish’ it. Your blog posts help that, and we refer back constantly. Keep it up!

  44. Love ya, girl. I am so looking forward to watching your kitchen unfold!

  45. Hannah says:

    If you write about DIY projects on your house, and you have ads on your blog, some people out there seem to feel entitled to a magazine-like experience from your blog. And some bloggers do seem to pull it off (at least for a period of time before it becomes unsustainable) so that feeds into people’s unrealistic expectations. But a blog is not a magazine. I hope you ignore any pressure to post anything other than whatever you feel like, whenever you feel like, on your personal blog, and don’t feel you have to defend it.

  46. Haley says:

    I’m super curious about the blogger that just throws their stuff away.

    My taste is different than yours (whenever you share some options, I almost always pick the one opposite of what you end up picking), but I love following along and seeing what you do. I actually love short updates because I’m a little more dedicated to the end project and I don’t have to spend a huge chunk of time reading through a step-by-step of the bloggers last 6 months.

  47. Alison M says:

    So glad you guys had a great time in Mexico and thanks for being honest about the financial setbacks that led to the delay in the kitchen renovation, etc. I agree with the delusional la-la land that blogland (and HGTV) produces, so I appreciate ya’ll being real about Chris’s medical bills and saying that you didn’t want to bite off more than you can chew. I don’t need or want posts every day if it means I have to see a spray painted doo-dad.. :)

    On a somewhat related note, I think a lot of readers understand why bloggers accept free things for sponsored posts, but it is easy to get jaded and annoyed by that quickly and remove you from their reader. Imagine if every time you were listening to music, the song stops half way through and gives you an ad. I hope that during the kitchen renovation, you can pepper in the sponsored posts throughout so that we don’t get hit by sponsored post after sponsored post, after sponsored post.These generally come off as ingenuine anyways and I truly think the best ones are ones you built relationships with over time (ie your Ace ones! I loved those!)

    I hope this isn’t coming off as me feeling “entitled” because it is your blog and you can post whatever you all want to, but I do want to respectfully pass along my thoughts because I enjoy reading and seeing what you all do and I want to continue reading without feeling like I’m being sold to in every single post.

    • Julia says:

      Not entitled at all, Alison. We value your feedback. Last year, we made the decision to only feature sponsored content that helps us get our projects done. Ace Hardware was a good partnership, but we parted ways earlier this year. Lowe’s has been great to work with, too. But you bring up a good point about free stuff a lot of bloggers, including us, get. So, I thought I would address that here. Has any blogger ever talked about this? Probably because, first, it’s weird. I don’t even like talking about it with our closest friends because it’s not a normal thing to be able to work with these big companies that sometimes just let us have free reign. I feel awkward. But, since you asked–there’s a big difference between sponsored posts and items sent to us that I should clear up. Sponsored posts are paid for by a company and there is usually a product in the posts, too. The Ace posts were sponsored posts. We received compensated for writing the post/doing the project/including links to Ace and we also generally got to choose a product to feature in the post, too. Before we decided not to do only project-related sponsored posts last year, we would probably get contacted about 15-20 different sponsored posts opportunities a week about anything and everything. I can see how it’s hard to pass up for some bloggers and I don’t blame them for accepting them, really. They pay well and you generally get a hefty perk (like a month of free food!) out of them, too. We just decided, for us, that wasn’t the focus of this blog no matter how much money they paid.

      The other thing you mentioned here is “free things.” We have partners, different than sponsors, whom we have worked with for a long time. Rejuvenation, Wayfair, Shades of Light to name a few. These companies see so much value and return in us posting one of their products that they basically say, anytime you need something from us–we’ll be happy to send it to you. They don’t pay us to post about their company. We aren’t exclusive with them. They don’t contact us repeatedly or send us things to sneakily use in a post. We usually pick something out we like and would use anyway, and they send it to us. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great perk to being a blogger for so long, but it’s only “free” because of the influence we have developed by posting consistently for so many years, our relationship with our loyal readers, and of course the relationship we have with these companies we have loved long before things were free with them. It’s tricky. And like I said, I hate talking about it because you’re right, not everyone has that ability. We don’t have a no-swag policy like YHL used to, but we follow our own personal guidelines and only accept free product that has to do with our current projects, that we can choose and fit into a budget we would be able to buy anyway. I still make a point to let you all know if a company sent us a product.

      We are partnering with a couple of our usual companies for the kitchen, but none of them are paying us to use their product or write a post. I hope this makes sense and answers some of your questions.

      • Alison M says:

        Thank you for your response and your honesty about all of it :) It is a difficult position to be in and I appreciate you being frank with us about it. I think the “no swag” policy was a reason a lot of folks were drawn to YHL, but I also understand saying ‘yes’ to the partnerships and sponsors that feel right for you and your home.

        If it’s worth anything, I definitely think you all have the right “equation” for it all, so here’s a major internet-high-five for that.

      • Meagan Briggs says:

        If only all diy/lifestyle bloggers were as open and honest about this as you guys are! It’s refreshing.

  48. Lauren says:

    Now I’m DYING to know who that is that just throws projects out! Ha! What a WASTE… and how FAKE?!

    Julia and Chris, you guys are way more modern than my taste, but I like YOU all. And that’s what keeps me here. :)

  49. Tanja says:

    AAAAACKKKKK, I just saw my typo of “Julie” vs “Julia”

  50. Kelli says:

    This post made me love you and your blog even more. With all of the blogs that I read frequently, if the post doesn’t interest me I just skip, it doesn’t mean that I don’t come back. You can’t please everyone and thankfully we all have different tastes – how boring would life be if we all wanted and expected the same things. The way your share your life and your renovating process is inspiring and I can’t wait to see more! Having lived through my own renovations and more to come in the future as we continue to update our own home – it nice to see I’m not alone and the process takes time and a lot of patience but so worth it in the end. Thank you for being you Julia! Can’t wait to see the kitchen come together.

  51. Tanja says:

    Julie, while I would enjoy it if you posted daily as I like your style of writing and the content of your blog, you need to do what works for you and your family. I wouldn’t want you to become one of the blog “machines” either you being you is what makes this blog awesome.

  52. Ange says:

    Julia, thank you for your honest thoughts and real life blog! Although I read a lot of blogs, yours is my absolute all time favourite because it is real. There is no spray painting thrift store finds to create a post, or one of those many sponsored posts. Blog land is overly saturated with those! Your blog feels like you sharing your life and your home with us. I love that your design style is unique, and that your writing style is effortless and easy to read. And I’m excited to see your new kitchen evolve!!

  53. Aymee says:

    As a longtime (numerous) blog reader, I’m disappointed in seeing some of these blogs publishing posts drop off, or disappear altogether. But I completely agree with you on quality versus quantity. Good for you on knowing what YOU need – it will only make better content for us to read. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for the kitchen. I look forward to continuing to read your blog.

  54. Melanie says:

    I think there is a big difference between honest feedback and hateful criticism. When you openly just state “I don’t care if you skip posts when you think I talk too much about a peticular topic”, you’re essentially saying you don’t want anything other than positive affirmations. I don’t think most of the critics of comments are hateful or mean spirited- I think your fans are genuinely telling you they are losing interest. If something takes 50 posts to show meaningful progress, then so be it. But 20 posts about a laundry room renovation, where some of the updates could easily be combined to prevent reader fatigue, isn’t just “hateful”. I have been growing tired of your blog for some time, and this post just lost me as a reader. And while I’m sure all of the “if you don’t like the posts don’t read it, this is a free blog” will likely come, I do think you want my readership. This is a revenue- making effort. And you’ve just lost my viewership.

    • Julia says:

      Saying we only want positive affirmations is not true and a little mind boggling since we never moderate comments and rarely delete them (only if they’re spam really). There are about 150 comments on the previous post and many of them are opinions about more than just curtains. But you know what? I appreciate every single one of them. Being an art major in college, I am so very used to critique and feedback. While I don’t love hearing “I hate the way that looks” especially after a project is done, I can swallow that so much more than someone telling me, “You’re posting too much about this thing.” Because, it is 100% avoidable on your end. If you see it’s another kitchen/laundry/bedroom/etc. post, and you truly are tired of reading about it, don’t even click on it. Simple as that!

  55. Lindsey F says:

    Chislovejulia is one of my all time favorite blogs, because you do things differently than most of the traditional design blogs do. I love all of the fun touches you add to the content, like Chris’s recipes (BTW the cook books are the BOMB), updates on your 2 & 4 legged family and all of the other creative aspects of your life. You are a lifestyle blog, with impeccable taste. You and your family are role models to many of us, and for that I Thank You!

    I’m seriously ready to explode with excitement about your kitchen reno. Can’t wait to enjoy the ride with you both!

  56. Carmen says:

    as to your thoughts on blogging…I love that attitude and that’s why yours is one of my favorite blogs. I like the nitty gritty real time real content.

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