Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Design Blog-What Makes It Tick?

        Since 1983 the world has had, in some form or another, blogs. The earliest being Usenet and mod.ber where a few members posted about the goings on of the world wide web (Wikipedia 1). In 1990 Bruce Ableson launched Open Diary, the first blog community with thousands of blogs and the introduction of reader comments (2). Since then, a variety of ways to blog have been presented and blogs in general have been steadily increasing in existence. In 2011 there were over 156 million public blogs in existence, in 2014 there were around 172 million Tumblr and 75.8 million Wordpress blogs worldwide (3). So in an ocean full of blog content, what makes a blog successful, what makes a blog stand out among the vastness?
            I think most American children remember getting to the checkout line of the grocery store and there, right at eye level, were the very tempting novelty candies and prizes. I will admit, I may have tested my mother’s patients, on more than one occasion, at the end of a long day over if I could pick out a treat. Now, in the good ‘ol style of Karma, my children carry on this tradition also. But since I was around eleven, those end of the day grocery visit treats changed from the cherry thumb sucker (yes, a cherry sucker shaped like a thumb) to me asking if I could buy the latest issue of Better Homes. These magazines, above and below the latest paper publishings of gossip, were the least expensive of design magazines, their pages filled with country home design and tips on how to make your home “shabby chic”. But things changed when I asked my mom for a Domino magazine (Domino). Domino was a game changer. At about twelve to fifteen dollars a pop, I really had to butter my mom up to receive such a gift. A Domino magazine at the end of a work and shopping day was a grand gesture. (Thank you Mom!) With a new Domino at my fingertips, my eyes were beholding this new world of design (at least, new to me), where design was not how to make your neighbors old shutters into a wall hanging but how to make your home into an art piece. From there my love for design was nurtured and I stopped having hobbies like other children. Under my bed at twelve I had a wide, narrow bin full of white folders that held the contents of sketched up floor and room plans. I clipped away at my favorite magazines and added the flooring, furniture, textiles, and lighting I believed made a beautiful design plan for an imaginary client.
            Unknown to my pre-teen self, design magazines began to struggle and some even disappear completely. In the article “The World of Online Interiors” by teacher, architectural historian, and critic, Alexandra Lange mentions, “you can have a blog without a print magazine, but not a magazine without a blog—people like both, and advertisers do, too” (2). Inside Domino, Lange’s favorite magazine, the magazine broke design down and always told you where to buy. “Because of this emphasis on attainability, it is no wonder Domino’s followers have migrated online, where they find links to stores, designers, and architects embedded on the virtual page” (3).  So what goes into making a blog? How much effort and time does it take? Can you make money from blogging? For most blogging starts out as a hobby or as Emily Henderson of Style by Emily Henderson says, her blog was “a way to share inspiration to the 14 people that read it” (Ladies who Laptop: Chatting with Interior Designer Emily Henderson 1), but since 2010 her site has changed from job, to career, to a “full blown business” with “4 full-time people, 6 market researchers, and 2 contributors” (2).  So how do you go from 14 viewers to the more than a million person reach Emily now has? Emily gave advice to young entrepreneurs in an interview with Anna James at the blog Lauren Conrad (3), and gave the advice to “Produce, produce, produce.” “Get your work out there, get feedback, adjust, and move on. Without putting your product/service out there, no one will find you and hire you. Just start” (4). Emily now describes how her blog as her best marketing tool (5). What began small grew momentum and into a project she poured herself into from 7am to 10 am and kept running smoothly over the years with the help of her staff. Today Emily and her team fill the Style by Emily Henderson blog with original content every day and Emily herself puts in a rigorous 40 hour+ work week (6). So how does a blog owner pay their staff, or their rent for that matter?
Viewed by some as slightly taboo, most successful bloggers make a career out of their blogs and are able to pay a staff from sponsored posts. John and Sherry of Young House Love, sat down with three design bloggers Justina Blakeney (The Jungalow), Nicole Balch (Making ItLovely), and Emily Henderson (Style by Emily Henderson) to chat on their podcast about the nuts and bolts of sponsored posts ("#8: Three Pro Bloggers get Real About Sponsored Posts" 1). Through the podcast the three thriving woman bosses agreed that they are similar to creative ad agencies (cue Mad Men theme song), where they are coming up with interesting concepts around different brands (2), ("Bloging + Money Matters"). The popular magazine Vogue has a reach of about 1.2 million with a one page ad costing $195,000. Justina Blakeney has a 1.7 million person reach and charges $5,000-$10,000 per sponsored post which includes sharing through her social media (3), (2). It seems as though brands have found a way to save money while bloggers have found a way to make money. Bloggers are not only reaching more readers but they are also, as Emily mentioned during the podcast, providing assets for brands (4). Emily says she sometimes winces at how much her blog charges to do a sponsored post, at $10,000 to $30,000 per post, but then she realizes that she not only saves brands money, but she and her team are also providing assets that the brand no longer has to produce, such as renting a studio, hiring a photographer, and creating interesting content (5). It’s really a win-win for brands and bloggers.
In short, as Emily Henderson again so eloquently puts it, “[design bloggers] work hard, using their design, media and general creative brains to produce content that makes everyone (readers, buyers, brands, and bloggers) really happy" ("How a Blog Post Gets Made"). Personally, I have, for the past ten years, loved reading and following along with a variety of design blogs and bloggers and I am happy to say that I see it continuing to be a source of inspiration and a possible asset to my own career in Design. So cheers to the world of the design blog, may you live long and prosper.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Conrad Archibald

Conrad Archibald Garff. 7 lbs 11 oz. 20 inches. Born September 29th 2015 at 10:20am.

We are so glad you are finally here. Tomorrow you will be three weeks old. These past three weeks have been very tiring, wonderful, sore, sweet, slow-going, happy, healing, and all around totally awesome. You have light brown hair and one dimple in your left cheek. We're not sure yet what color your eyes will end up but my guess is brown. I guess we'll find out soon enough. You are a very calm, good-natured little person. You love to be snuggled and warm and you do not like diaper changes, although even during a diaper change you don't really cry you just fuss about it. You are "okay" with sleeping in your crib but your favorite place to snooze is between me and Daddy in our bed; which by the way, Daddy sleeps great this way, Mom, not so much. (I'm just so worried I might squish you.) At your one week check up you had surpassed your birth weight, which apparently you're only required to be back at your birth weight by two weeks...which leads me to my next topic. You LOVE to eat. You eat all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. Haha. I guess that's why you're doing so good at check-ups. (You're welcome.) We started out a little rough with the whole nursing thing but after a couple visits to a lactation consultant we got the whole "eating all the time without making Mom want to die" thing down. Now we're both happy and comfortable. You are still wearing newborn size clothing but I don't think you'll be fitting into them much longer because you're filling them out quite well these days.

Myself, Daddy, Sadie, and Hannah are absolutely in love with you. Every time Daddy looks at you it's in awe because he just loves you so much (me too!). Sadie and Hannah both love sitting with you and get so excited when you're awake, which is just now starting to be more often. Sometimes in the car they even fight about which way your head lays while you're asleep...toward Hannah? or toward Sadie? (Haha, I never saw that being a cause for argument.) Daddy helps me out a lot with you. Some nights you get gassy and Daddy is right there volunteering to stay up with you for a bit so I can rest, even though he has work in the morning. Daddy also changes many of your diapers even though your mildly smelly poo makes him gag, haha. 

I am thrilled to get to know your more in the weeks, months, and years to come and am so happy that you are a part of our family. 


Friday, September 18, 2015

another "plot twist".

In my previous post "plot twist" I talked a bit about my SPD and how that was effecting my life now and going to effect my labor and delivery (remember, a no drug labor and delivery. OUCH!).

Well after much research, talks with my doctor, talks with my husband, and talks with close friends I have now decided to go forward with an alternate delivery by cesarean section. I've been VERY hesitant to go that route since I first found out I had SPD. I wasn't so much scared of the procedure as I just didn't want to heal two places in my body, a pelvis and a cesarean incision. But like always, life doesn't always go as you plan. Hell, life may never go "as planned". Haha. But, I'm really okay with that.

After all the research and thought I just realized that as well meaning and practiced as I may be, when I go into the delivery room there is really no telling what type of experience I could have. I could practice every night, my breathing and positioning to help with my labor pain and to keep my pelvis aligned but in an emergency all thoughts of my pelvis are going to go right out the window and a delivery with an "out of sorts" pelvis can lead to chronic pelvic dysfunction and severe, life long, disabling pain. That is just not a chance I am willing to take just so little baby can come out one end instead of another. There are just some risks that are not worth taking and possibly being disabled for the rest of my life is NOT a risk worth taking.

So I am happy to announce that Conrad Archibald Garff will be delivered on September 29th. I am so excited to meet him and snuggle him. I have a feeling he's going to look just like his Daddy with a cute tiny chin and a little frog butt. Haha. Oh, I am soooooo excited! Did I mention I am excited? 


In other news, the nursery has carpet and windows and furniture. I haven't blogged a reveal quite yet because I am still getting all the little details finished up, but it looks SO GOOD! The bearded man and I love to go down there and sit because it is so comfy and quiet and happy. The cats love it too...which as of now isn't a problem, but if Fluffy thinks for one second he is going to go down there and wake Archie up at 3 am with his "poor kityy cries" when he thinks he is going to die of hunger, he has another thing coming. Haha. (Now that I think about it, they may both be up at 3 am crying from hunger. Haha.)

Anyways, cheers to a change in plans, nurseries being done, and cat vs. baby crying battles. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

"plot twist".

I don't really know how to start this blog post so I guess I will just jump right in there...Hi, I have symphysis pubis dysfunction or SPD. (Say wha? Ya, I know, right?)
  1. Normal Female Pelvis
    Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) is a condition that causes excessive movement of the pubic symphysis, either anterior or lateral, as well as associated pain, possibly because of a misalignment of the pelvis.

Pelvis with SPD

Pelvis with SPD

So here's the story. When Chris and I got pregnant we were beyond thrilled. We had been planning this pregnancy for about a year and were excited to not have difficultly conceiving. For me I was slightly nervous, just knowing the toll a pregnancy can take on the body, but I was very determined to maintain my fitness routine throughout this pregnancy so that I could have a healthy pregnancy and strong labor/delivery, also, I was hoping for a quick(er) postpartum recovery.

The first month (well really four months) I was sooo nauseous, unlike my first two pregnancies with the girls, but I prevailed. I continued to go to the gym and workout like normal...well, with an occasional break to go gag or barf, haha. But all was well. Then about 10 weeks into my pregnancy I started noticing pain in my "groin" area. I never remembered having pain "down there" with my other pregnancies until my last couple months and it was very bearable. I spoke with my O.B. about the pain I was having and he told me it was probably lower ligament pain and common in pregnancy. "Well duh!" I thought. I had just done a rigorous HITT workout on the treadmill so I pawned it of on me pulling a muscle (serves me right for being on a treadmill anyway, nasty things. Haha)

As I waited for my "pulled groin muscle" to heal the pain only became more intense. I was becoming completely unable to do lunges,squats, or jog; and walking or getting into my car was becoming painful. The pain became especially intense at night. One night when I was laying down for bed the pain was so bad that I literally cried out. I remember leaning over and telling Chris "something is wrong, this is NOT lower ligament pain." That night, after a complete sobbing meltdown, that I am sure I freaked the shiz out of my husband with, I did a lot of googling and, rather quickly, I was educated for the first time about SPD. I remember reading a blog with a long list of symptoms and I had every. single. one. At first I felt relief, finally I knew what was giving me so much grief; but the more I read the less comfort I felt and the more I felt nervous about what was ahead of me. 

The hormone relaxin is released into the body to prepare your pelvis to deliver a child, SPD occurs when relaxin relaxes a little (or a lot) too much. Any separation 9mm or more is considered SPD and is extremely painful. SPD doesn't heal itself until after delivery and pain levels generally heighten throughout pregnancy. 

Heck, at the moment I was reading this I was only 13 or 14 weeks along and I thought I was dying (haha, If I only knew what was coming)! Then I started to look for ways to help or prevent pain...don't sit too long, don't stand too long, don't spread you legs wide, don't lift heavy objects, go up stairs slowly-one foot at a time, use (a million) pillows when sleeping...the list just went on and on. Then I was like, "okay I can do that, I like pillows" how do I exercise? That's when google punched me in the face. Oh you want to exercise...well don' least not the way I was used to exercising. Short and slow walks are typical workouts for women with SPD. (Oh boy! Really? Nothing? Nada? Seriously?)

Presently, I have 11 weeks to go. Sedentary positions to large movements are intertwined with medium to extreme/intense pain. Haha, the girls and Chris are so used to me taking sudden gasps through my teeth that they barely even notice it anymore. Settling into bed is still the most intense but once I get settled in I can slowly feel my body relax and I can sleep well-ish (I mean, let's be real, even the most comfortable pregnant woman doesn't sleep all that well, am I right?)

Anyways, I have also found that a labor without medication is recommended for women with SPD because it is imperative that you be able to feel how your pelvis is positioned during labor and delivery to prevent further injury to the pelvis. So the bearded man and I signed up for Lamaze and I'm going to practice really hard so that maybe I can do whole L&D things without meds...we will see. (I could use all the crossed fingers I can get, haha.) 

Another thing I wanted to mention is that while dealing with this it has been really hard to stay "up" mentally. Although I try not to whine or complain, sometimes just describing how I'm feeling comes off that way. It get's old hearing myself talk about how "Ooo, that hurts" or "I can't do that" or "I need help" even if it's all true and informative. I hate being unable to do things. I hate slowing my family down from doing things. I hate hurting. And all that together can really take a toll on ones "up-ness". It's been a real struggle to stay positive. But I am determined. My determination alone may not help me stay physically fit during this pregnancy, but it can help me to stay mentally fit. 

So do I hurt? Yes. Is it really, really bad. Yes. Are some days almost unbearable? Yes. Do I wish this wasn't happening to me. Yes.

But I will NOT let it get the best of me!

So eat that you dirty little SPD. [Sticks tongue out and makes a mean face]    

Here's some positive quotes I found on the good 'ol pinterest that are helping me keep my chin up...maybe they can help you too. 

final nursery design...(for real though).

So after some revision (and budgeting) I finally have a "final" nursery design and I am so excited! This design is slightly more simplistic than my initial brainstorm mood board...which is par the norm, but I am satisfied that it will grow with baby Garff as he grows. Nothing in here screams "BABY ON BOARD" and I am sooooo okay with that.

The bearded man is going to start working/slaving away on insulation, electrical, and dry wall this week (cross your fingers). Hopefully we will have this little space done (well, done enough), by the end of August.

Mexican blanket- Found a sweet deal on Brickyard Buffalo but the original vendor is Gunn and Swain
White duvet cover-Ikea
Swiss cross sheets-Target
Black shades-Ikea
Floor lamp-Ikea
Track Lighting-Ikea
Bronze sconce-Urban Outfitters
Narwhal hooks-Urban Outfitters (sold out)
Grey pouf-Land of Nod
Red rug-Urban Outfitters
Mini crib-Walmart
Fox pillow-Urban Outfitters
Arrow pillow-Urban Outfitters
Triangle pillow-Urban Outfitters

Also, I cannot wait to frame up one of these free printable posters for baby boys room. I think I'm leaning more toward the "Happy Little Campers" poster, though.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

hey little baby 5.

Hey little baby,
Well guess what? You are male. It's been a bit since we went to your 20 week appointment and got to see your cute little self but I just now had the opportunity to write to you, (presently, you are 23 weeks and some days along). The appointment was awesome. That day had been kind of busy because S had a field trip that kept getting postponed because of weather. We actually had to leave her field trip early to get to the appointment on time, but it didn't even phase S. She was REALLY excited to see you. Your sisters both loved hearing your fast heartbeat and we were all thrilled to find that you were a boy. The girls were especially excited that they were right about you being a boy. Your sisters like being right and winning bets...remember that, haha. Also, we didn't get a lot of pictures of your cute face but what we did see looks a lot like your Daddy.
Since your 20 week appointment I have had another appointment and you are still sounding great and measuring correctly with your approximate due date (October 6th). You move around constantly and your kicks and wiggles are really strong now. Sadie has felt and seen you kick a few times and she loves it. Both your sisters love to give you a tummy hug and talk to you through my belly button.
You're one lucky guy to have them as your big sisters, by the way. The app on my phone tells me that you can hear us when we talk to you, so you should be really familiar with all of us when you finally arrive.
I have been shopping around for your clothing and other supplies and I've made some burp cloths and a mobile for you...there are also a few blankets in the works. Nanny and Pawpaw are moving out here from Georgia on August 12th. Nanny wants me to wait until she gets here before I make your blankets. She made both the girls a soft blanket when they were babies and both the girls still love them, so she wants to do the same for you.
Keep up the wiggles and kicks and I will write you again later. (Only 17 weeks left till I get to hold you in my arms. I am so excited!)
Love you lots,

nursery design.

I am soooooooo(!!!) excited to be renovating and designing this basement bedroom as a baby/guest room. Over the years my taste and style has evolved so much and I am thrilled to let loose a little for Baby Garff. Out of all the rooms in a home, childrens rooms are the most fun to design. The sky is honestly the limit and ANYTHING goes. (I mean why not have a Bill Murray clock right?) When designing this space though, I really wanted to stick to things that didn't just scream "BABY BOY IN THE HIZ-OUSE!" I want it to grow with our little man and, of course, jive with the style of the rest of the house. So here's to a bright eclectic room, with a bit of mine and the bearded man's favorite things--the dessert and comedy.

Also here are the before pictures of the room. Since these were taken we've ripped out carpet, paneling, and the weird ceiling tiles. The first steps will be to insulate, install new windows, put up drywall (walls and ceiling), add lighting, paint everything a bright and crisp white, and install carpet.

That's when the real fun will begin. I know I only threw together a vague design collage, but I have the grand design all in my noggin and it's going to be AWESOME!!! Pops of color and texture mixed with some young eclectic pieces (like the tiger rug and narwhal hooks) are making me so excited I may just bubble over.

Anyways. The bearded man has been super busy with free lance work this summer and I will admit I have been a little stressed that we might run out of time for our little reno; but I have been promised that the room will be done by the end of August.

(p.s.-take a sneak peak down below at some of the things I'm hoping to add to Baby Garff's wardrobe.)