a 5 year blog-iversary

August 7, 2014


Today marks exactly 5 years from when I hit the New Blog and New Post buttons in Blogger. Now I hit New Post almost everyday of the week. {This is the 1200 post if you can believe it!} When I started M Loves M back in August 2009, and wrote the first post, I was working full-time for a law firm, studying for the LSAT and planning on law school and ideally a legal career working in public interest. I desperately craved some sort of creative outlet and with a boyfriend across the state, I liked the idea of writing about the two of us…even if it was just for me to read. I’ve always had diaries and journals of some sort. I even have a notebook filled with everything I did each day from my Sophomore year of high school to my Junior year of college. When I was little I was worried that I’d forget things when I was older so I wrote everything down. Blogging has changed my life in many ways, mostly all unexpected. For those of you that are relatively new to blogging you might not even realize the changes. I’ve been reflecting a lot about how much has changes since when I started so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts with you..
Social Media
When I started blogging, no one used social media accounts for their blog. I already had a Twitter account but I remember learning how to create a Facebook Page and an Instagram. Of course when those started it was a lot different to how it is now. I remember being so excited thinking about how Instagram was going to show the behind the scenes look at a blogger’s life. You were going to get cute, unedited snapshots into their lives. The content that wouldn’t make the blog. Of course, as you know, Instagram has become a little fake. I’m guilty of the staged set-ups too, of making my Instalife a little more editorial than it really is. It’s sad, though, when you get to a point where it bums you out when people unfollow you for posting the realness. I try to not let that affect me. I want to post the things I want. I want to give that behind-the-scenes look and not care that it might be “boring” to some. It gets hard though when blogging has become this business though.
Blogging as a Business
As I said when I started this blog it was really for the creative measure of it. I wasn’t expecting the blog to become a business, or even to make any money from it. Back in 2009 no one was really making money from their blog. I think maybe a year later there were some but they were blogger model celebrities. You could hardly consider this lifestyle blog on the same par. Yet, blogging has become a business. While it’s many people’s full-time job, it’s not mine, although I do probably put at least 40 hours into it a week. I spend every evening, and the majority of my weekends working on blog stuff. I think some people unfamiliar with blogging think it’s very easy: you just take photos of yourself and post them. The truth is there is so much that goes into running a blog. A big part of my time is spent on emails. I get around 40 a day that need to be responded to {not including the junk mail}, whether it’s from a brand, an agency, an editor, or a reader. I try to get to as many as I can but unfortunately it usually takes a few days. I also have to keep track of contracts and invoicing, so legal and finance are another part of it. In an industry where there aren’t many standards I’ve had to figure out how much my time is worth, and also speak up for it. I’m not one to like confrontation but there have been a few times where I’ve been taken advantage of and contracts have not been upheld. I’ve learned though and been able to stand up for myself and be my own best advocate. In that way I feel like I’ve gained some valuable skills that I might not have gained otherwise. 
As social media has played a bigger part in the business of blogging, the actual platform of blogging has changed. There have been less comments and lower engagement. Readers have been given so many different ways to engage with bloggers that sometimes the blog isn’t even one of them. While they can come each day to read your blog, there is also Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Google Plus. They can’t engage on all so they choose the appropriate channels for them. While I love social media I do miss the original blogger community. I had readers from all around the world that would comment and even share about themselves. Now I get less comments from these regular readers, although I’m still so happy to get their emails. The community aspect has definitely changed though.
Equipment and Skills
When I started blogging I posted when I felt like it, with photos taken from my phone or from my point and shoot. The image quality wasn’t the best but it was real and no one really seemed to mind. Of course you can totally understand why the idea of sharing beautiful clear and bright images became prefered. Photo quality began to matter so investing in camera equipment was the next step. The photos went from looking like random snapshots to looking like they could belong in a magazine. They’re definitely high-res enough that you could blow them up and not have one grainy dot! I learned about photo terms and was able to identify what I did and didn’t like. Matthew picked up a whole new skill set when he started doing my photography. I also learned to do some photo editing and also mastered some minimal Photoshop skills. When one of my favorite collage and editing sites shuttered I needed to figure out how to do my giveaway posts. Luckily I had some help from my brother and of course You Tube. “How to Draw a Line in Photoshop” was definitely something I looked up!
Content and Schedules
I never used to keep myself to a strict blogging schedule. I posted about what I wanted..a dinner date with Matthew, a DIY, a night out with friends, going to a pet store to play with pups, trips to San Diego, a recipe I made, an outfit I took on my point and shoot sitting on a window ledge, random thoughts. It was just for fun. Then somewhere along the line someone said you needed to have a schedule. So eventually I developed one. Matthew was living in LA and started taking my photos. This blog became less of a lifestyle blog and more of a personal style/fashion blog. Outfits were easier to shoot that DIYs and recipes, and as I said our free weekend time was limited. People would ask what I did for fun, and while the blog is definitely fun, it would take up any free time I had. Here are some old outfit posts for entertainment: sweater-comfyin the bamboo, at a carnival
One thing I am so grateful to this blog for, is helping create and foster so many relationships. Because of my blog, I have gotten two of my full-time jobs. That’s pretty amazing! They are opportunities that I might not have gotten otherwise. I’ve also met some amazing friends, and one of my best friends. A reader who reached out when I was planning my wedding and wanted to see if I could use her help. Four years later, I feel like I have known her for my whole life. I’ve met several of you, and have also had the pleasure of getting to know even more through emails. Some from the US, others from France, Germany, Portugal, England, etc. I’m grateful for all my email penpals out there! It’s amazing to think that I could probably go most anywhere in the world and get a recommendation or two from some of you!
These past five years have been challenging and busy, but they have been so incredibly rewarding. Looking back on it, despite some of the stress, the busyness and the late nights, I would do it all again. I feel like I am part of a great, open and wonderful community. While some of you are new here {maybe this is the first post?}, many of you have followed along this journey from almost the very beginning. You remember when I visited Matthew up in the Bay Area, when I was trying to figure out what to do with my life. You might remember when Matthew moved down to LA and set up his apartment, and when we got engaged, married, adopted Ginger. There have been so many of these life changing moments and it’s been so fun to share it here. While I have no idea where blogging will be in another 5 years I’m hoping I’ll be right here. I hope to share more with you all in the future, and always keep this lifestyle aspect. While it’s fun to share what I’m wearing, I do love cooking and baking so much. I want to share more recipes and lifestyle content. I’m also always open to your ideas and suggestions. I really love hearing from you. 
Thank you all so much for supporting me and this blog! It means so much to me and I’m eternally grateful! Here’s to another 5!

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  • . mara

    thank you so much! I really really appreciate that. It's been a fun road and not one that I expected. I'm grateful for all the opportunities though and I can't wait to see where everything goes. Grateful to have you and your support 🙂

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