Category Archives: Blogging

More Newborn Photography Tips for Rookies

newborn_photography_tips_baby_owen-6

This handsome little fella is already almost 3 weeks old (where did the time go?!) and he still has me totally heart-eyed. You guys were right, being an aunt is AH-MAZING!
newborn_photography_tips_baby_owen-6When my sister asked if I could come over and get a few photos of Owen as a newborn, I was so excited for the opportunity excuse to play Auntie Paparazzi. I did however remind her that I’m not ((even CLOSE to)) a professional photographer and that she should definitely invest in a real photographer if she wanted professional quality photos. She insisted that my photos would be perfect for her. #awww

When Casey welcomed her nephew into the world with a newborn photo-shoot, she learned A LOT (and documented the tips in this post). That newborn photography post is actually one of our most popular posts, which is why I decided to build on that post with 10 MORE newborn photography tips. <– plus, any excuse to show off this cutie is okay in my playbook!

Disclaimer:

We don’t think our photos are close to professional quality, but we do feel that with enough practice (and lots of trial and error), new moms + friends can get some pretty amazing photos of their precious babies. And to us, that’s what it’s all about. We hope some of these tips help you capture the special baby in a stress-free environment <— we say that from experience. Newborn photos can be STRESSFUL, and to us, that stress defeats the whole purpose of these special photos.

1. Stay home! newborn_photography_tips_baby_owen-13

If possible, we do encourage you to stay at home to take these pics… for a few different reasons.

  1. Taking these photos at home will ensure that mom and baby are comfortable, in a comfortable temperature, and have access to anything the baby needs (i.e. diaper, bottle, new blanket, pacifier, nap time, etc.)
  2. We know we’re a bit biased, but we do think it’s important to capture hints of the home when possible in these photos. The house that you bring your baby home to is SPECIAL and is now officially a significant part of your family’s “story”. On the parent’s bed, in the little one’s new nursery, with a pet, whatever the case… being home is the perfect backdrop in our opinion.
  3. New moms are just that — NEW to the mom game. It’s important to take this transition slowly and being able to capture these photos in the comfort of your own home (and at the pace you want) is extremely important to keep this experience as stress free as possible.

2. Have a general plan, but be flexiblenewborn_photography_tips_baby_owen-5

I told Katie that I was there to take the photos, but I would take whatever photos she wanted to or do whatever she had planned. She made a very general plan of what she wanted the afternoon to look like, which helped me because I never felt like I was invading on her or Owen’s schedule. Plus it helped her because she had a few of the blankets, props, and “looks” ready for the photos before I came over. However, it is important to note that this plan should be very, very…. very flexible. Being flexible is key. If you don’t get to one of the “outfits” or one of your Pinterest ideas doesn’t work out, IT’S OKAY! There’s always tomorrow, right?!

3. Natural Light + Warmth = Winning combonewborn_photography_tips_baby_owen-15

Casey mentioned this tip in the original newborn photography post, but it’s so important that it deserves to be re-emphasized. If you’re new to the photography game, the biggest piece of advice we can tell you is ALWAYS shoot in natural light. Never at night, never with a lamp on, and never when the light in your home is less than bright. Having a space that is full of natural light is important to capture gorgeous photos. <— That goes for all photos, not just newborn photos.

Keeping the baby nice and warm in this bright space is probably the biggest tip we have specifically for newborn photos. From our limited experience, keeping baby warm and cozy is key in keeping him comfortable and photo-ready! (More heating tricks here)

4. Go with what’s YOU not with what’s on Pinterestnewborn_photography_tips_baby_owen-7

Pinterest is a magical place, isn’t it? We love Pinterest and turn to it for inspiration all the time. However, Pinterest can become stressful and overwhelming when you are looking to replicate an EXACT look rather than using that look as inspiration.

Spoiler alert: you’re never, ever going to replicate an identical photo — and that’s OKAY! We want you to create your own gorgeous photos and feel proud, not look back at these same gorgeous photos and feel disappointed that they don’t look like photos on Pinterest. So use Pinterest for ideas, but get excited to put your own spin and style on them. Photos that reflect you, your style, and this adorable little baby are way more perfect anyway!!

5. Get your light right before adding babynewborn_photography_tips_baby_owen-11

Super important. When you’re a rookie like me, getting the settings right on your camera may take an extra second… or 12. I find that it’s helpful to get your camera settings perfect before putting baby down to photograph. This way, you’re ready to shoot right away and you’re not wasting precious time. Let’s be honest here, every second counts when this adorable little guy in front of you cracks an unexpected smile. =)

6. Include mom, for more than the obvious reasonnewborn_photography_tips_baby_owen-18

Of course getting “mom” in the photo is important & so special to have for years and years to come. Plus we all know that moms are NEVER in photos because they’re always busy taking them! Not cool. So for obvious reasons we want mom to jump in the photo BUT we also think mom should be in the photo for some selfish photography reasons. Having mom in the photo almost immediately calms baby and provides that warmth that is so important to keep him calm and happy.

Owen was by far the calmest when he was being held by Katie, so getting her in the picture was a WIN-WIN!

7. Edit in black and white if you have an “oops!”newborn_photography_tips_baby_owen-10

Like I said, I’m a rookie when it comes to newborn photography so there were times my camera wasn’t on the perfect setting or the shadows/colors were a bit off. Because of those minor issues, the photos of these super cute moments were less than perfect (to say it nicely). However, editing the photos and converting them to black and white helped make-up for some of these rookie mistakes.

If you LOVE the photo but don’t love the photography skills behind it, try converting it into black and white and you may be surprised with the outcome! <— maybe not the answer for the entire batch, but an option for at least a few! #ourlittlesecret

8. NO pressure… newborn_photography_tips_baby_owen-14

If we’re being completely honest here, all you need out of this “photoshoot” are 5-10 photos you love. So forget having to do 12 outfit changes at 5 different locations — that’s too much and totally unnecessary to put this newborn through at this point!

Allow me to personally reassure you that if you take ENOUGH photos (even just with one blanket!), you WILL get 5-10 amazing ones (how could you NOT, these babies are so darn cute!?). So don’t feel pressure to get the “perfect” shot. You only need 5… let’s keep that in perspective. Five amazing photos of this perfect little human?! Forget the pressure… you’ve got this!

9. Don’t overlook the detailsnewborn_photography_tips_baby_owen-8

Don’t overlook the details! Mini toes, fingers, nose, hair…. all of these details are adorable and can be a fun touch to the scrapbook, photo stream, or baby announcement. So while you’re shooting away, don’t forget to snap a few pics of these tiny details that won’t always be so darn tiny.

10.  Embrace the imperfections! newborn_photography_tips_baby_owen-17

^ ^ ^ This picture… can you even?! I feel like Owen is saying, “MOM!! Ewwwww…. don’t kiss me in front of my friends!”. Is he 16 already?!

These imperfect faces and funny “mishaps” are actually the best part of some of these photos, so embrace the not-so perfect pictures! These moments are the ones that you’ll be extra grateful you have documented years and years from now.

So last but not least, when baby faces, baby postures, or ideas aren’t going exactly how you envisioned, just keep going with it because you may be surprised at how special these photos really turn out to be. Imperfect is the new perfect. 😉

newborn_photography_tips

Our Photography Favorites

For your information, here is our all-time favorite photo equipment & what we use to take all of our pictures (affiliate links used):

Bridget Signature

PS. Have you seen Owen’s adorable “Happy Camper” Nursery?! Take the full tour here!happy_camper_nursery_reveal_gender_neutral

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One thought on “More Newborn Photography Tips for Rookies

  1. Dinky Feet Photography

    Definitely safety first, agree. The problem I have with most newborn photography, especially with props is that they all look alike. I could take photos from 20 different photographers and put them up and I couldn’t tell you which one is the signature look, their style. I am not sure I found the solution, but I just focus on the baby interacting with the parents, and if props are brought it in, they have meaning to that family, not some basket or luggage I brought. Still am working on my own style for that, but just a point I wanted to share and see other folks’ take. Thanks.
    Dinky Feet Photography

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One thought on “More Newborn Photography Tips for Rookies

  1. Dinky Feet Photography

    Definitely safety first, agree. The problem I have with most newborn photography, especially with props is that they all look alike. I could take photos from 20 different photographers and put them up and I couldn’t tell you which one is the signature look, their style. I am not sure I found the solution, but I just focus on the baby interacting with the parents, and if props are brought it in, they have meaning to that family, not some basket or luggage I brought. Still am working on my own style for that, but just a point I wanted to share and see other folks’ take. Thanks.
    Dinky Feet Photography

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How We Make Money Blogging

Money-Cash-Coins

They say it’s not polite to talk about money. Excuse us as we get a bit “rude” today while we completely throw that rule out the window and talk ALL about money…specifically how we make money blogging.

Honestly, this is a question we get all.the.time. Many well-intentioned friends & acquaintances casually assume that we blog as a hobby and don’t make any money in the process (which we don’t blame them for assuming since this whole blogging thing is pretty darn confusing at times). The truth is though we actually do make money and thought that addressing this awkward topic could be enlightening for fellow bloggers or just curious blog readers.

Coins-Money-Blog-FinancesBut before we jump into the details, let’s backtrack a bit. We certainly did not start this blog to make money. Not even a little bit. Instead we started because we thought it would be a fun hobby for us both, and something cool to do together. Fast forward 3.5 years, and we still see this as an amazing hobby we have the pleasure of enjoying together, but one that has also (surprisingly) bloomed into a steady stream of income for us.

Would we continue blogging even if our bank account was at $0? Absolutely!!! Because the happiness we get from this journey truly is priceless, and for us it’s not about the money at all. But if we’re being completely honest here, we must say that the extra income is very much appreciated, and we’re constantly looking for ways to grow our little baby company.

3-calendar-day-planner-computer-organized

How We Make Money Blogging:

blog-income-chartOkay, enough being mushy…let’s get to the facts. How exactly do we make money blogging? Well our income mainly comes from 4 different sources. If you’re a blogger we hope this information helps you as you navigate your blog finances. If you’re not a blogger, well bear with us, because this may be a bit boring for ya!

1. Sidebar Ads (22% of total blog income)

We went a long time blogging before we put 1 ad up on our site, specifically because we didn’t know we should even add advertisements to our site (#rookies)! It just wasn’t something we were focused on when we first began this journey. After we started to see a steady stream of page views, we decided to add a couple of ads from Google Adsense onto our sidebar. These made like $.05 a day. Seriously… five cents! But it was still sooooo exciting to think that we were making a couple of dollars from our little website (as in, a couple of dollars over a few months). #popthechampsoffice laptopAs we continued to navigate the blogging world, we joined a few ad networks. Some were great, others not so great. The worst part about this was managing it all. So many logins, so little time to go in and check how all of the ads were doing. Last year, we were able to join a company called AdThrive and they now handle all of our ads for us. This switch has seriously been the best decision we have ever made in terms of the blog’s finances. No more logins, no more managing a variety of ads, no more trying to figure out the HTML to make it all work. Instead they do all of the hard work for us, and we simply get a check every month. We love that we don’t have to waste time trying to figure out the sidebar ads, but instead can focus on creating quality content for our readers.

We also sell ad space on our sidebar to individual companies, but this isn’t nearly as profitable as our AdThrive income. We sell this space in 1 and 3 month increments, and we’ve had some great companies on our sidebar over the past few years. (Thanks Snapbox! Thanks Sailrite!)

2. Sponsored Posts (33% of total blog income)

Creating sponsored posts on our site is another source of income, and a controversial one at that. We’ve been fortunate to partner with a lot of great companies, all of whom we already use in our homes and daily lives. Our main sponsors are Lowe’s Home Improvement, HomeGoods, and Michaels, but we’ve worked with many companies over the years and have formed some great relationships.

lowes-sign-new-york-nycWhen a company reaches out, we usually have a set price range for a sponsored post, depending on the company and the amount of work that will go into the post. We’re not gonna lie, we turn down A LOT of requests for posts. Sometimes it’s because they want to “pay us” in product, but mostly because they’re just not a great fit for our audience or our brand.

We never want to promote something on our site that we wouldn’t use in “real life,” so we’re very picky when it comes to partnerships. Plus because we have day jobs, we’re very fortunate to be in a position where we don’t necessarily NEED to take on a specific number of sponsored posts to get paid that month. And with that being said… because we only have a limited time to blog during the week thanks to those day jobs, we are even more selective when it comes to sponsored opportunities and only take them on if we are really excited about them.

Pillow Michaels Makers Sonoma, CaliforniaWhen we do take on sponsored posts, we always try to organically weave it into our content the best we can. We’re not perfect, but we try our best to include a coupon code or giveaway into those posts so our readers can get a little incentive too.

3. Affiliate Links (3% of total blog income)

This is definitely a new source of income for us, and it is by far the least profitable for us. We’re guessing you guys have seen all of the RewardStyle/Like to Know stuff on Instagram? If not, then here’s a brief description. Whenever we link a specific product on our site, we can make it an “affiliate link.” That way if someone clicks the link, buys that product (or anything else on the website), we will get a small percentage of the profits.

bridget_city-002This is a big money-maker for fashion & lifestyle bloggers, and we love learning about the latest trends from our fellow bloggers. But, we’re often linking home decor items. And I don’t know about you, but I buy shoes and tops a heck of a lot more often than I buy rugs and couches. Therefore, as a home blogger we’re not making quite as much as other bloggers who focus solely on fashion.

We use both Reward Style and Magic Links, and they’re both pretty easy to create log-ins and get started. However, we also proceed with caution when it comes to this source of income because we NEVER want to make it seem like we’re always selling stuff. If we really do love something, we will link it to make it convenient for everyone to quickly find. But we never want to link items just for the sake of making money. <– there’s a big difference and we try to our hardest to be as authentic as possible (again, we’re not perfect).

4. Writing for Companies (42% of our blogging income) 

Writing blog posts for other sites is another way we make money blogging, and this one is by far our favorite. Specifically because it’s separate from our personal blog, and it doesn’t negatively affect our readers. Instead, we’re able to do what we already love to do (write about home decor & DIY projects!) for other sites while getting paid.

Happy Mover Holding BoxEach Thursday we publish a blog post on the HireAHelper blog. They’re a moving site, and it’s been so much fun to challenge ourselves with different moving topics each week. Who knew there was so much to chat about when it came to moving?! For some of our favorite HireAHelper projects, check out this post.

old_faucet_DIY_bridgetThis year, we also signed on as contributors for the new Zillow blog. This is great because it forces us to get some projects done around our homes (sealing granite counters, installing faucets, etc.), and it’s given us the opportunity to do a few more “hardcore” homeowner DIY’s while getting paid. 

We write for other sites sporadically too, and overall, these contributor posts make up a large chunk of our income. These opportunities are great because they provide us with a steady income and we’ve been able to form some great relationships with some awesome people from all different companies. This consistent income also allows us to budget for blog expenses in advance (like tech support, photography equipment, project costs, etc.). 

Money-Cash-CoinsSo there you have it…a behind-the-scenes look at how The DIY Playbook makes money. We never knew that this blogging world could be profitable, and we’re certainly not experts when it comes to this stuff. But we do feel like it’s good to share… especially for fellow bloggers or small business owners out there!

If you’re looking for more money talk check out some of these posts we’ve done before…

Bridget and Casey Signature

 

 

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12 thoughts on “How We Make Money Blogging

  1. Jaclyn

    I found your blog recently and I just want to say that I love it! I love how open and honest you guys are with your content and how your sponsored posts still feel authentically you. I am moving into a new home in the next couple of weeks and your Michigan Condo makeover has been huge inspiration!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Jaclyn, that makes us so happy to hear! Seriously, thank you for your kind words. And congrats on your new home! What an exciting time for you!!

    1. DIY Playbook

      Great questions, Brenda! Building these relationships and getting these opportunities definitely took time. We started by growing our blog and as we did, more and more sponsored opportunities came to us. Like we mentioned, most of the sponsored opportunities we received then and now, we turn down because they don’t feel like a authentic, natural fit. However when we do find a sponsored opportunity that we really believe in, we take it on and try to build long-term relationships with these brands (ie. Michaels, Lowe’s HomeGoods). As for our guest writing opportunities, those are a mix of them coming to us and us pitching them. If we have an idea to work with a brand or quest post, we are not afraid to reach out. We pitch our idea and hope for the best. The worst that can happen is the company saying no, right?!

      Hope this helps!

  2. Ice Cream and Tequilla

    I don’t think this discussion is rude at all. You discussed money in terms of percentages, not real dollar values. This way seems honest and sincere without being rude or oversharing.
    I really enjoy your blog because you’ve remained true to DIY, home improvement, and decor. I also enjoy seeing women use power tools themselves! It gives me the motivation and courage to learn to use drills and saws! I even signed up for a class at Home Depot!
    This week’s series has been a one of my favorites! I pinned something each day, especially the Polyvore stuff.
    Keep up the great work!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      That is so sweet of you! Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. We are so happy to hear you signed up for a class at Home Depot. Girl power all the way….so excited for you.

      And love that blog week has been helpful for you!

  3. Holly Antoine

    I recently stumbled upon your blog and I am so happy that I found you! I love all your content, and I myself have recently started a blog so I am very grateful for this post! I look forward to seeing more amazing content from you ladies! Thanks again!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Holly,
      Thank you SO much, we are so honored to have you on the DIY Playbook team! We’re also glad this post could help. Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out with any questions along the way. We love this blogging journey and love connecting with others who feel the same passion and excitement towards blogging. =)

  4. Kara D

    I’ve been reading your blog for almost 2 years now (actually over 2 years, since I know I’ve read the “State of the Blog” posts twice before!), and I cannot remember how I came by in the first place. You’ve become my new YHL 🙂 My friend and I absolutely LOVE reading all of your posts!

    I wanted to say that you have handled the sponsored posts very well, I really like that you’ve chosen to only the ones that speak to you and what the blog is about, and nothing random.

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Kara you are seriously sooooo sweet! The playbook and YHL in the same sentence….wow, we feel lucky!! Love that you and your friend get to stay in touch even though you’re far away.

      And thanks for your kind words about sponsored posts!

  5. Ana

    I thought that sponsored posts were a blogger’s main source of income… I hadn’t even thought of using my blog as a way to establish my expertise and make money off of writing for other sites. What an eye opener!

    BetterThanRamen.net

    Reply

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12 thoughts on “How We Make Money Blogging

  1. Jaclyn

    I found your blog recently and I just want to say that I love it! I love how open and honest you guys are with your content and how your sponsored posts still feel authentically you. I am moving into a new home in the next couple of weeks and your Michigan Condo makeover has been huge inspiration!

    Reply
  2. Ice Cream and Tequilla

    I don’t think this discussion is rude at all. You discussed money in terms of percentages, not real dollar values. This way seems honest and sincere without being rude or oversharing.
    I really enjoy your blog because you’ve remained true to DIY, home improvement, and decor. I also enjoy seeing women use power tools themselves! It gives me the motivation and courage to learn to use drills and saws! I even signed up for a class at Home Depot!
    This week’s series has been a one of my favorites! I pinned something each day, especially the Polyvore stuff.
    Keep up the great work!

    Reply
  3. Holly Antoine

    I recently stumbled upon your blog and I am so happy that I found you! I love all your content, and I myself have recently started a blog so I am very grateful for this post! I look forward to seeing more amazing content from you ladies! Thanks again!

    Reply
  4. Kara D

    I’ve been reading your blog for almost 2 years now (actually over 2 years, since I know I’ve read the “State of the Blog” posts twice before!), and I cannot remember how I came by in the first place. You’ve become my new YHL 🙂 My friend and I absolutely LOVE reading all of your posts!

    I wanted to say that you have handled the sponsored posts very well, I really like that you’ve chosen to only the ones that speak to you and what the blog is about, and nothing random.

    Reply
  5. Ana

    I thought that sponsored posts were a blogger’s main source of income… I hadn’t even thought of using my blog as a way to establish my expertise and make money off of writing for other sites. What an eye opener!

    BetterThanRamen.net

    Reply

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The Truth about Running a Business with your BFF

Emoji Halloween Costume Bridget & Casey

Whenever we tell people that we’re business partners, we’re instantly bombarded with questions about what it’s REALLY like working with your bestie. Is there drama? Do we fight all the time? Do we have ever screaming matches that resemble those on The Real Housewives?!

Emoji Halloween Costume Bridget & CaseyWe don’t blame others for wanting the scoop! And today we’re ready to dish. Let’s get right to our list of frequently asked questions so we can tell you what it’s really like running a business with your BFF.

Is there ever drama?

Bridget CaseyChristmas CardThis is going to come as a big disappointment for most of you, but we can honestly say that there is minimal drama around here. Seriously. We’re not sugar-coating anything. We get along really well, and have similar personalities. We work hard, don’t enjoy conflict (Bridget legit gets like hives at the thought of dealing with confrontation in any bad situation), and each have the utmost respect for one another! But to be perfectly honest, we don’t really have drama in ANY relationships in our lives so it wouldn’t make sense that we would have drama with each other. The only slight “drama” that ever arises is if we’re both stressed out or have a big deadline. But in those cases, we don’t take it out on one another, instead we keep one another in check and put our frustrations into getting our work done.

Do you always get along?

Bridget_Casey_Chicago_Odyssey_Travel-14At the end of the day, we’re always going to be friends….first, business partners…second. And we would never want something petty to come in between our friendship. So yes, we do get along incredibly well 99.9% of the time! It helps that we have similar interests and work habits, because we enjoy doing the same kinds of things and don’t mind “burning the midnight oil” to get things done. If one of us put in way more hours and commitment than the other…then there might be some resentment. But luckily that isn’t the case with us!

We will say the only time when we’re not 100% on the same page is when one wants to push our business in a specific direction….while the other is a little hesitant. For example, I (Casey) wanted us to both get on board and learn how to use the editing software Lightroom. Bridget took a bit of convincing, because of the amount of time & work involved in learning a whole new program. But after a little nudging (that’s what besties are for, right?!), and a couple of weeks using Lightroom, we both agreed that it was the best thing we could have done for our blog. So we will say that there are instances like that when one person is ready to move full speed ahead, and the other is hesitant and cautious. This never leads to fighting or not getting along, probably more the opposite actually….. A LOT of positive reinforcement and encouragement to cheer the other one on in whatever new goal we’re striving for.

How do you divide tasks?

bridget-casey-computer-bedroomAnother great question! We both do projects, take photos, write posts, and deal with emails & social media. But there are certain tasks we enjoy splitting up, so our strengths can shine a bit more.

05-Casey-working-at-desk-officeCasey:

I’d say out of the 2 of us, I’m definitely the more “logistical” gal. How are we going to get things done? How can we make a to-do list to get our task completed? I like to make a gameplan and figure out how we can execute it most effectively.

Casey-bed-laptopI also do a majority of the proofreading (so if you see a typo…it’s my bad!), and I also edit our videos (because that’s what I do for my day job anyways!). I have a bit of a hand in the business/financial side of things too. Because my husband Finn is our CFO, I get together with him a lot to go over numbers and keep our receipts and invoices in check.

Arizona_camera_bridget-001Bridget: 

She’s totally right, Casey is DEFINITELY the logistic/business brain of the two of us and I’m SO lucky to have her…. especially her proof reading. I think your eyeballs would probably hate me if she wasn’t proof reading my posts.

As much as I enjoy writing a to-do list and chatting about the business side of things, I would say my strengths are on the creative side. I take care of all of the mood boards, graphics, and design heavy tasks. Like Casey mentioned we both photograph our own projects, but if we’re together shooting something, I am behind the camera and the one editing the photos. I love learning more about photography and trying to get better at it since starting the blog. I also brainstorm new creative ideas or initiatives (like blog week!) and then Casey’s logistical mind takes over and helps us make these ideas a reality.

Do you recommend everyone blogs with a buddy?

Bridget-Casey-SkylineHaving someone right there with you on this journey is ah-mazing! We can showcase 2 homes, get posts done twice as fast, and always have someone around to check the email and keep our inbox in check. Not to mention, events and blogger conferences are a heck of a lot less scary when you have your BFF glued to your side (plus, who doesn’t love an excuse to take a trip with your bestie?). And through the highs, lows, good times, and not-so-good times…there’s always someone there who totally “gets it.”!  Awesome, right?!

But, we certainly don’t think it’s for everyone. Before getting into business with a good friend or family member, we think it’s important to have an open and honest discussion about how you’re going to work together. How much time are you both willing to invest? What do you do if someone gets burned out? Having an open and honest relationship is key, and we think communicating these important questions upfront can save you a lot of heartache in the long run.

How has working together affected your relationship?

bridget casey christmas cIt’s made our friendship a heck of a lot stronger! Yes we’ve been friends since high school, but as teenagers it was a bit surface-level (not in a bad way, but when you’re young you care about boys, clothes, and other not-so-important things). Now, we chat multiple times a day and have seen one another at our best, and at our worst. We’ve gone on lots vacations and trips together (usually just the 2 of us…#girlstrip), and we do plenty of double dates with our hubbies. In fact, we’re even all heading to Mexico for New Year’s! We feel so grateful for this journey because how much it has impacted our friendship in the best way possible.

How are you guys the same?

bridget-casey-diy-guest-room-projectWe are both very ambitious, driven, compassionate and hardworking. But we’re guessing that can be said for many business owners who are excited about what they do! We’re also both fairly outgoing, bubbly, and optimistic. We don’t enjoy negativity and always try to make the most out of every situation <—wow, we sound like “goodie two shoes” don’t we?! We promise we don’t only live in a world of sunshine and smiles all the time! We’re also both super close with our moms, and love spending time with our families.

How are you guys different?

bridget casey happy Even though we share a lot of the same personality traits, we’re incredibly different too!  Bridget wakes up super early, and enjoys being in bed at a reasonable hour. While Casey doesn’t stay up super late, she certainly likes to sleep-in every once in a while and can stay up past 10:30pm <—rebel, I know!

Casey certainly enjoys her fair share of cocktails on the weekends, while Bridget can sip the same glass of wine all night long. To go even further, Bridget would probably rather skip that wine all together and order a chocolate milk shake instead.

bridget_summer_jeanshorts

Speaking of chocolate milkshakes, Casey eats super healthy and has a healthy routine for just about everything in her life (skincare, hair care, sleeping, exercise, etc.) while Bridget…. not so much.

When it comes to speaking in front of a crowd, Bridget is your go-to gal. Casey is freaked out by the idea of chatting to an audience, but she doesn’t mind being in front of a video camera! Bridget is much more creative, has gorgeous penmanship, and is incredibly crafty! Whereas Casey is logistical, pays attention to detail, and is very organized. <— Heck, I thought I was very organized until I saw Casey’s computer files… she’s a organizing machine!

bridget-casey-headshot-rookiesSo there you have it…a look behind-the-scenes at what it’s really like with your BFF as your business partner. We wouldn’t change it for the world and are so grateful to go through this journey side by side!

Bridget and Casey Signature

 

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4 thoughts on “The Truth about Running a Business with your BFF

  1. Austin Schneider

    It’s so fun to hear more about y’all’s personalities! Some traits definitely shine through in your posts, but obviously not all of them will, so it’s fun to hear about, specifically how you’re different. In my mind, you’re often a package deal! 😉

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      awww Austin that is seriously so sweet of you! We realized a lot of people don’t know how we’re different….so figured we’d inject some of that in there today.

  2. Kara D

    You guys are definitely very fortunate! 🙂 As a side note, I totally misread #girlstrip as girls strip! Made me do a double-take (double-read?) to realize what you really meant was girls trip! But I can’t unsee it now…. haha!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      OMGGGGGGGGG!!!! We are literally LAUGHING OUT LOUD. That is hilarious, Kara, and SO embarrassing for us! Note to self…. no more “Girls’ Trip” Hashtags. hahahaha

      And thank you SO much for your support. Seriously, your comment made our day. We feel so lucky to have amazing readers like you. THANK YOU!!! xo, B&C

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4 thoughts on “The Truth about Running a Business with your BFF

  1. Austin Schneider

    It’s so fun to hear more about y’all’s personalities! Some traits definitely shine through in your posts, but obviously not all of them will, so it’s fun to hear about, specifically how you’re different. In my mind, you’re often a package deal! 😉

    Reply
  2. Kara D

    You guys are definitely very fortunate! 🙂 As a side note, I totally misread #girlstrip as girls strip! Made me do a double-take (double-read?) to realize what you really meant was girls trip! But I can’t unsee it now…. haha!

    Reply

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How to Create a Mood Board on Polyvore

Shop the Look Mag Mile Makeover Mood Board

Believe it or not, we get our fair share of emails asking us how we make our mood boards. Because we use a free website (instead of photoshop) and our method is even more basic than rookie-level, we never really thought to do a blog post on the topic. HOWEVER, we recently realized that our way is perfect for people who want to visualize a space but, just like us, don’t know how to use photoshop!

Dining Room Mood BoardSo instead of feeling embarrassed that we’re totally taking a “shortcut” around the official photoshop way of doing this, we decided to embrace the “average, anyone-can-do-this” approach.

Not to mention, we actually really LOVE using Polyvore to make mood boards and really encourage EVERYONE to play around with different looks via mood boards before shopping for a new space. <—  this simple, free step has helped us design with intention so we are never victims of design regret!Dining Room Board and Batten Reveal

We create a mood board for every single space we work on and based on some of these examples, it’s pretty clear that these original mood boards clarify the “vibe” and direction of the space right from the start. It definitely gets us on the same page, while allowing us to give a visual to others involved in the process (like our hubbies, family members, readers, etc.)mag mile makeover living room shop the look mood boardSo today we’re here to break down the process of creating mood boards, so YOU too can easily create a mood board before your next project. maggie revealAnd if you’re not into home decor (which we doubt since you’re here reading the DIY Playbook), you can also use these boards to create outfit inspo, visualize your wedding plans (colors + flowers + decor) or even plan a party! <– the possibilities for mood boards are endless for visual learners like ourselves. Bridget Fall Fashion Mood BoardHave we sold you on mood boards yet?! We swear we don’t make commission on signing people up for this free website…. we’re just this passionate about mood boards and want to spread the love! (fun fact: Bridget loves this site so much she has actually uses it in her classroom for student projects… and the students LOVE it!)

Mood Board TutorialPOLYVORE_TUTORIAL.48 AM

1. Sign up for Polyvore

Go to Polyvore.com and Sign-Up (in the upper right hand corner) with an email account or even your Facebook/Twitter account. Once you’ve signed up, you’re ready to start your first mood board (or “set” as Polyvore calls it) by pressing CREATE in the upper right hand corner.

POLYVORE_TUTORIAL.09 AM

2. Start your Mood Board

Once you press CREATE, you’ll see the screen shown above. You may want to play around searching for items a bit, but honestly it’s pretty self-explanatory. You can search a specific item (ex: Target Threshold Pom-Pom Pillow Gray) or just search general items (ex: Gray Pillow). When you find an item you want to include on the mood board, simply drag it onto the mood board to the left.

.

There are specific categories you can search for items in as well. For example, I’m going to make a mood board based on modern chairs so I would go into the “HOME” category and type in “MODERN CHAIRS”. I can be as specific or general as possible, it all depends on what I’m looking to include on my mood board.

l

3. Drag, Drop & Format

As I come across chairs that I want to include on my mood board, I simply drag and drop them onto the board. The board is a “living document” until you press publish so you can move the items around, re-size them, re-format the images to a certain extent or even remove them from your board before publishing <– all of these things are super easy to do using the panel of options on the top right corner of the mood board.

Rookie Tip: If you hover over each item in the library, you can find out where it is sold and how much it costs. Some of the items are from overseas and won’t be identified in American Dollars, and we try to stay away from those items because we can’t really link them here on the blog.  If you’re just adding items to get a vibe of a space ,and not necessarily to buy that exact item, the source and price may not be as important to you.

POLYVORE_TUTORIAL.16 AM

4. Clipping Tool

Now some items can’t be found while searching Polyvore, yet you still may want to include these items on your mood board. For example, when I made the mood board for the nursery, I knew what large items Katie was going to buy (i.e. the exact crib and exact piece of art above the crib) yet those items weren’t in the Polyvore library to drag and drop. Because a lot of the mood board would depend on these key pieces, I used Polyvore’s clipping tool to clip the images from the manufacturer’s website (like Target and Minted). That way they would appear under “MY ITEMS” in Polyvore and I could easily drag and drop like any other item.

The only annoying part is installing the “clipping tool” onto your toolbar, but once you install it, you will have it on your toolbar forever.  To install the clipping tool, go to this page and follow the step-by-step instructions (probably do this before you start your first mood board).

POLYVORE_TUTORIAL.58 AM

Once the clipping tool is installed on your computer, you can “clip” items from literally every website. In this example, I went to West Elm’s website and found a chair I wanted to add to the mood board. I clicked on that chair on West Elm and then hit the clipping tool on my tool bar (usually you’re prompted to choose the exact graphic you would like to clip). About 5 seconds later, Polyvore notifies you that your item has been clipped. Now if you go back to Polyvore and click on the category called “MY ITEMS”, that chair’s image will be there for you to drag and drop onto your board.

POLYVORE_TUTORIAL.05 AM5. Add Text or Special Symbols

At any point you can add text, symbols, or special effects to your mood board. I usually wait until the very end of the process to add text, numbers, and arrows, but you can choose to do this step whenever you want.

All you have to do is click on the “text” or “arrows/numbers” categories and drag and drop onto the board. At any point if you don’t like the style, you can remove that text or re-format the color, size, transparency, etc. The other categories are cool to explore if you want to add paint samples, temporary wall paper ideas, or just general special effects that match your room/outfit/party/event.
POLYVORE_TUTORIAL.51 AMTo add arrows onto our boards, I simply drag and drop the numbers you see in the library of options. Sometimes I’ll resize them or move them around a bit, but other than that, it’s really that easy! POLYVORE_TUTORIAL.14 AMThen I’ll add the text, usually to the top of the board. These are the text options to choose from. I typically choose the same text every time to keep our mood boards somewhat familiar to readers, but you can have some fun with these fonts… and test out a lot of different looks!

Just drag the text style you want, drop it on the board, and write your message in the upper right hand corner. Once your message is written, you can change the color, size, transparency, etc. Super easy and quick and by clicking on the text box, you can go back and edit/adjust the text (or anything really) at any time!

POLYVORE_TUTORIAL.19 AMThe last thing I do before publishing the mood board is adding arrows or a mini graphic. You do this the same exact way you do anything else, drag and drop.

POLYVORE_TUTORIAL.38 AM6. Publish

Once your mood board is all set, hit PUBLISH in the upper left hand corner of the board (It took us about a year to figure this out)! If you don’t want to publish the mood board that same day, you can always save the board as a draft, and come back to it later by hitting CREATE on the homepage and then OPEN.

The great news is that if you do publish your board and want to go back and make changes, you can do that just as easily by pulling up the board and pressing EDIT on the right side of the screen.
POLYVORE_TUTORIAL.17 AMAfter you publish the board in polyvore, this “set” will always be a part of your Polyvore profile, which is amazing because you can always refer back to it.

When you hover over any product on your board in Polyvore, you can easily see where the item is from and how much it costs. Then if you click on it (twice), Polyvore will open up a new tab where you can buy that item from whatever store it’s from (i.e. PIER 1 in the image above). <– this is a super helpful feature for us because we can easily link directly to any item we include, without having to go back and find each URL ourselves.

 

POLYVORE_TUTORIAL.42 AMWe’re not sure if this last part is the most tech-savvy or efficient way to do this, but once our mood board is done we take a screen shot of the final product to show on the blog as a regular image  (there is any option to get a HTML code and include that instead).

nursery_moodboard_happy_camper.30 PMWhen we worked on the nursery mood board, we weren’t necessarily looking for EXACT items (except for the crib and art), we were just looking for items to get the “vibe”. Once we ironed out the vibe and color scheme of the room, we were able to send this image to Katie for her approval. Then all 3 of us saved this mood board image to our phones so we could easily access it when we were out shopping and saw something we loved.  gender_neutral_nursery_happy_camper_revealAs you can see from the reveal, the nursery didn’t stick EXACTLY to the board (which is OKAY!) but the mood board was super helpful to keep our vision on track. Plus, this mood board ensured all three of us were visualizing the same thing and could plan accordingly.

how_to_make_a_mood_boardWhether you’re a blogger looking to create more mood boards, or are just looking to get your hubby on board with the new dining room design, we hope this tutorial helps you visualize your space and plan accordingly. We promise that these mood boards are pretty darn easy and WELL worth the time throughout the entire design process.

Bridget and Casey Signature

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11 thoughts on “How to Create a Mood Board on Polyvore

  1. Brandy T

    This is SO helpful, I can’t wait to get started! Question: how do you get a paint color into the background, like the gray paint in the nursery board for example?

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Great question, Brandy. Next to the TEXT button there is a category that says “COLOR”. I dragged in a gray color and made that gray image super wide so it appeared as the background of the entire mood board, which then acted as the paint inspiration/visual.

      Does that make sense?!

  2. Lindsey Hammer

    I am so excited to try this out! I have 2 rooms that I need to tackle and this is going to help so much!

    Reply
  3. Carol Stratford

    Photoshop impaired here, so this post is GOLD! Thanks this will make my bedroom up date so much easier for the husband to imagine!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      haha happy to help Carol! We too know that it’s a lot easier to get the boys on board when they have a clear visual. Good luck with the bedroom.

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11 thoughts on “How to Create a Mood Board on Polyvore

  1. Brandy T

    This is SO helpful, I can’t wait to get started! Question: how do you get a paint color into the background, like the gray paint in the nursery board for example?

    Reply
  2. Lindsey Hammer

    I am so excited to try this out! I have 2 rooms that I need to tackle and this is going to help so much!

    Reply
  3. Carol Stratford

    Photoshop impaired here, so this post is GOLD! Thanks this will make my bedroom up date so much easier for the husband to imagine!

    Reply

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Video Q & A with The DIY Playbook

bridget-casey-computer-bedroom

Last month, we asked you guys to submit some questions that we would then answer in a little video here on the blog. Well the day has come for us to dish!

bridget-casey-computer-bedroom

We wish we could have answered all of your submissions (seriously some good/hilarious/interesting questions) but we did choose a variety of our favorites to chat about on-camera including…

1. How do we dust our shelves? <— The price we pay for having so many accessories and knick-knacks…

2. How do we juggle our full-time jobs & the blog? <— Spoiler alert…we definitely don’t do it all!

3. How do you decide if buying tools is worth the investment? <—Amazing question! We can’t wait to go into this one in even more detail this Spring.

4. Where do you store out-of-season clothing? <—As 2 gals with small homes, this is always a challenge!

5. You always look so put together, but don’t shop a lot…how? <—HA! Can we kiss you through the computer screen? Let’s just say we rarely looked “put together” in real life. There’s a lot of messy buns and yoga pants happening behind the scenes.

6. Any favorite recipes that your hubbies cook? <—-Bridget’s answer = hilarious.

7. Do you ever want to have children & will they be on the blog? <—- We got this question like 10x! Apparently you guys really want the scoop on when the Finn & Matkovich clans will be growing….

Now for all of the answers, check out our video. (And even if you don’t watch it all, you’ve at least gotta see us prancing around with balloons and cupcakes. Yes it happened…)

And let’s elaborate a bit on the question about our hubbies and their cooking. Bridget mentions how she has cooked one (yes, only 1!) meal for Matt since living in their home. I asked her if her meal was at least any good. Her response? She was making chicken parm and saw that the recipe called for breadcrumbs. She literally took a piece of bread, shredded it into chunks with her fingers, and coated the chicken with that. I literally almost peed my pants when she told me. We had to stop the video for a few minutes to compose ourselves. I think it’s safe to say we could both use a few cooking lessons.

bridget-casey-laughing-bedroom-computerAgain, thank you so much for submitting questions and also for supporting us on our birthday week! We had a wonderful third year of blogging and can’t wait to see what year four brings!

Bridget and Casey Signature

 

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10 thoughts on “Video Q & A with The DIY Playbook

  1. shawnna griffin

    hey girls! I just subscribed to the blog a little while ago! Yes that’s right! Y’all seem so fun! Can’t wait to see more!

    Reply
  2. Alysia @ Slim Sanity

    Lol….I wondered if you’d have any magic tips for dusting. Unfortunately, it’s just a crappy chore I guess 🙂

    Reply
  3. Summer Hogan

    LOVE THIS! You guys are great on camera! I just recorded my first very amateur video but have yet to throw it out here….We’ll see 🙂

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Thanks so much Jessica! We had lots of fun putting it together 🙂

      We use Final Cut Pro to edit, but iMovie works well too and is pretty user-friendly.

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10 thoughts on “Video Q & A with The DIY Playbook

  1. shawnna griffin

    hey girls! I just subscribed to the blog a little while ago! Yes that’s right! Y’all seem so fun! Can’t wait to see more!

    Reply
  2. Alysia @ Slim Sanity

    Lol….I wondered if you’d have any magic tips for dusting. Unfortunately, it’s just a crappy chore I guess 🙂

    Reply
  3. Summer Hogan

    LOVE THIS! You guys are great on camera! I just recorded my first very amateur video but have yet to throw it out here….We’ll see 🙂

    Reply

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Blogging: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly (Take 2)

birthday_cupcake_candle_3

Let’s face it, sometimes blogging looks a heck of a lot more glamorous than it really is. In reality, there are many good, bad, and even ugly things that come along with running your own blog. And in honor of our 3rd birthday week, we figured it was a good time to dish. birthday_cupcake_candle_3

THE GOOD

12-coffee-cup-flowers-kitchen-subway-tile-backsplashGet projects around the house done: Not gonna lie, the blog has really forced me to get my butt into gear with our Chicago condo. In fact, I often walk around each room and jot down what I want to do directly into our blog calendar. That way I’m pretty much forced to tackle a project because if it’s written down, it’s more likely to happen! I doubt we’d have accomplished this much if it wasn’t for the blog.

Readers feel like friends: It’s true, we totally see you guys as our friends and we have the BEST friends a girl could ever ask for. We love seeing familiar names in our comments and on our social media. We feel like over time we learn so much about you guys through these interactions and feel so blessed. This is definitely a really, really GOOD GREAT part of blogging. From the bottom of our hearts, thank YOU!

Support from strangers: We talked about the overwhelming support we get from some important people in our lives earlier this week, but we also need to mention the amazing support we get from strangers! Yes, complete strangers have blown us away with their support via social media, blog comments, and emails. We are so darn grateful for every single one of these and ALWAYS work hard to reply back to everyone who took time out of their chaotic schedules to reach out over the past 3 years! You words of support and encouragement mean more to us than you may ever realize. Sincerely, thank YOU!

Bridget-Casey-Travel-NYCAlways something fun to look forward to: We constantly say that there is ALWAYS something to look forward to when it comes to the blog, because we are always so busy preparing for what’s next on our calendar. We are both people who would rather stay busy, and the DIY Playbook definitely keeps us very busy doing things we LOVE to do! So being busy and always having something exciting, challenging, and NEW to look forward to is one our fav parts of the blog.

Emoji Cell PhoneThere’s never a day we don’t talk: We talk every.single.day. Usually our first text exchange is before 7:30am and we continue to exchange texts or emails throughout the day. Often during the evening is when we’ll touch base with a phone call, especially when a lot is going on in the blog or in our inbox! This blog has strengthened our friendship so much and has allowed us to be constantly communicating and constantly up-to-date about what is going on in each other’s lives (like up-to-the-minute updates) and this is by FARRRR one of the best parts of this entire experience. We feel so blessed to have each other.

THE BAD

3-calendar-day-planner-computer-organizedAlways having something you “should be doing”: We just told you that being busy and always having something to look forward to and prepare for is the “good” part of the blog (and it almost always is), but at times this can be the tough part too. Because we are busy with our day jobs and trying to juggle life outside of the blog, anytime we have “down time” or free time we feel like we need to be doing work so we don’t fall behind. Having that looming feeling that we should always be doing something is definitely hard to escape at times and can become a tad stressful. But remember… we actually like being busy so as long as we’re not overwhelmingly busy, then we make it work!!

Dining Room Board and Batten Reveal Feeling like you can’t make your home what you want because it’s been done on the blog before: Sad, but true. We always want to try to create/showcase new, original, creative content on the DIY Playbook. Usually we LOVE this part of the blog, but sometimes this actually becomes a problem. There are times we want to repeat something we already did (and love), but feel bad doing so because we don’t want readers becoming upset that we’ve “been there, done that”.

board and batten bedroomTake B’s board and batten obsession. She likes it so much that she put it in her hallway, her bedroom and her dining room and we felt bad for repeating it so much. AND we actually got some hate mail about how offended someone was that we kept re-doing the same design choice. EEK! (They’re really not gonna be happy when Casey shows off her new family room built-ins…) We felt bad, but if we love these projects, sometimes it’s worth redoing them rather than just doing something to be “new”. I mean we are the ones living in our homes, shouldn’t it look the way we want? We don’t necessarily want a trendy space, we just want spaces we LOVE… fine line, right?!

flower phone camera nyc bhgNot unplugging as often as we should: Eek… we both have some serious room for improvement in this category. For both our own sanity and the sanity of those around us (cough, cough… those poor hubbies), we need to do a way better job of setting limits and UNPLUGGING. <– enter that looming feeling that we could be checking, updating, emailing, etc. and we’re wasting time.

birthday_bridget_cupcake_3_happyTalking about our blog feels like bragging so we avoid it: Chatting more about the blog in our “real lives” was one of our 2016 goals, and we are totally failing at it so far! The DIY Playbook is such a HUGE part of our lives, but it’s hard to chat about it with friends and family without feeling like we are bragging…. so we usually default to a generic response when someone asks about it. We NEED to get better at this, especially because it’s something we are so proud of and it’s such a huge part of our lives!

tile toolsNot having enough time to tackle bigger projects: If we had it our way, we would tackle far more weekend warrior projects and hardcore DIYs (hello bathroom remodel!). Unfortunately though, this is not always an option when we are trying to juggle work, blog, family, friends, and LIFE. =/ However, we did carve out two FULL weekends this month to tackle one of our biggest DIYs to date! We had to put it on the calendar 3 months in advance to make it happen (seriously..) but we can’t wait to get started!  

THE UGLY

Negative comments: This is just the W-O-R-S-T. Very rarely do we get ugly, negative, or mean comments on our own blog or our social media accounts. However, when companies share our projects on their social media pages or websites… that’s when we’ll see some straight up RUDE comments. We totally understand that not everyone shares our style or taste (we’re all different and that’s okay!!) but we just can’t seem to understand the need for someone to make these rude comments on the internet. If people have constructive criticism or a difference of opinions, we are all ears. But straight up rude/mean/offensive opinions that serve no purpose… Why, why, WHY?! We just can’t seem to understand and probably never will, but hope to focus on our own work and our own positivity. =)

“Am I good enough?”: Possibly stemming from those mean comments (yikes) or maybe just they’re just natural feelings that come with putting yourself out there for everyone to judge, but we would be lying if we said we don’t sometimes question ourselves and wonder if we’re really good enough. We try our best, try hard to stay true to ourselves, and hope to inspire a few fellow DIY-ers along the way — but bottom line: we are rookies! We are not expert carpenters, not full-time bloggers, not professional interior designers, and are NOT perfect… just average homeowners who love DIY and home decor.

bridget-casey-computer-bedroomBack issues: The chiropractor called, she’s reminding you about your appointment tomorrow after work! <– true story!! Blogging from our beds, our kitchen islands, or our couches during the Bachelor is not doing either of our bodies (specifically our backs) any favors. We try to hit the gym when we can to help make up for this sitting/slouching but we do sometimes have sore backs, necks, or even arms (Bridget) because of our bloggin’ ways. #30goingon75

So we hope we brought you a little behind-the-scenes to see the reality of being a blogger. Not so glamorous, right? Also, if you want to read our first take on the Good, Bad, & Ugly series be sure to check out this post from 2 years ago! (Crazy that not much has changed!)

birthday_balloons_3Bridget and Casey Signature

P.S. Another GOOD thing about the blog? Your husband asking to jump in your photo shoot for a little impromptu balloon fun! Gotta love a man who isn’t afraid of pink balloons. (& here he thought he was getting away with me not putting this picture on the internet this week) birthday_Finn_balloons_3

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20 thoughts on “Blogging: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly (Take 2)

  1. Heather

    I say board and batten ALL THE THINGS and forget the negative comments! It is your house, your blog, not anyone else’s. If you do a project that has already been done, readers can skip that post. And who knows…you may be doing a project for the 5th time but this time you tried to approach it differently and that allows you to show a different perspective on a project.

    Reply
  2. Gretchen Braun

    I’m (hopefully) going to be buying a new house soon and starting a DIY blog, so all of this is really helpful to know! I’m so glad that I found your blog this year and it’s been a huge source of inspiration to me. Keep doing what you’re doing!!

    Reply
  3. Emma and JW

    You’re both so amazing. I’m so grateful for the support you’ve given me over the last year and feel so grateful to be part of your community! I totally agree that unplugging can be tough when there’s always a social media profile to update, but I love that you’re working on that (I am too!)

    Reply
  4. Erin

    hahahah that last photo!!

    but yeah. the ugly, it sucks when people are negative about you repeating something. don’t they realize that it’s not the easiest thing to come up with new things all the time! creative people (i am one) have mental blocks all the time, sometimes a tried and true just works!

    just keep rockin’ on the way you are… and pssh to the negative comments, they’re just not happy with themselves. It’s all about constructive criticism!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Thanks Erin! And yes we welcome constructive criticism, but being hurtful for no reason…no thanks!

      And isn’t that picture hilarious?! He is gonna kill me…

  5. Trang

    I definitely think all to good (and great) things out weigh the bad aspects of blogging (except for the back pain). I love you guys and can’t imagine not reading your blogs. THANK YOU for putting yourselves out there and being a part of my daily life. What you do takes tons of work, sweat, and maybe even tears at times.
    And the haters – shrug it off. You can’t please everyone and those people only show their ugliness with hate mail and negativity. They obviously never learned as a child to not say anything if you don’t have anything nice to say. It really does only show their own insecurities. Your passion should never be criticized.

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Thanks so much Trang. We appreciate your kind words about any negativity. We try to be upbeat & positive all the time and remind ourselves that anything hurtful stems from their own insecurity.

  6. Lisa Martin

    Your honesty is endearing:) Focus on the positive and let yourselves enjoy a real life discussion with friends and family about your blog! I’m sure you hear about their successes at work often. Thanks for being true to yourselves.

    Reply
  7. Austin Schneider

    Y’all’s blog is truly one of my new favorites (I check it religiously, even though I know my email will alert me to new content ha ha). I just want to encourage you specifically when it comes to “repeating” ideas, PLEASE DO! I tend to do that with gallery walls (3 in my apartment and counting), but that’s real life, and it never looks EXACTLY the same because it’s in a different room/has been tweaked slightly/etc. Trust me, your true fans won’t be bored. 🙂

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      You are so sweet! And so happy to hear you’re okay with doing a project another time in a different space. Thanks for being our “true fan” Austin! Lucky to have you.

  8. Colleen Bansley

    Love Finn’s blogphotobomb! You girls are awesome and so talented in DIY projects, writing, hyperlinking to every cute thing in a post because we are dying to know where it’s from and so many other things. You should be so proud of yourselves for creating this amazing site. And you risk putting yourselves out there and that takes guts and patience. It’s hard not to dwell on the negative but I hope you can focus on all the positive and what a gift this blog is to so many loyal readers! Thank you!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      He saw it while he was at work today and was like…”seriously, Casey?!” hahahaha.

      Thanks so much for the support Colleen! We’re so happy you found the blog this year 🙂

  9. katie c.

    Your blog is one of my very favorites! I love that you aren’t “expert carpenters, professional interior designers”, etc., because I’m not either! Your beautiful, creative homes make me feel like I can have a beautiful home too, even though I’m not any of those things, either! Keep being yourselves!!

    Reply

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20 thoughts on “Blogging: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly (Take 2)

  1. Heather

    I say board and batten ALL THE THINGS and forget the negative comments! It is your house, your blog, not anyone else’s. If you do a project that has already been done, readers can skip that post. And who knows…you may be doing a project for the 5th time but this time you tried to approach it differently and that allows you to show a different perspective on a project.

    Reply
  2. Gretchen Braun

    I’m (hopefully) going to be buying a new house soon and starting a DIY blog, so all of this is really helpful to know! I’m so glad that I found your blog this year and it’s been a huge source of inspiration to me. Keep doing what you’re doing!!

    Reply
  3. Emma and JW

    You’re both so amazing. I’m so grateful for the support you’ve given me over the last year and feel so grateful to be part of your community! I totally agree that unplugging can be tough when there’s always a social media profile to update, but I love that you’re working on that (I am too!)

    Reply
  4. Erin

    hahahah that last photo!!

    but yeah. the ugly, it sucks when people are negative about you repeating something. don’t they realize that it’s not the easiest thing to come up with new things all the time! creative people (i am one) have mental blocks all the time, sometimes a tried and true just works!

    just keep rockin’ on the way you are… and pssh to the negative comments, they’re just not happy with themselves. It’s all about constructive criticism!

    Reply
  5. Trang

    I definitely think all to good (and great) things out weigh the bad aspects of blogging (except for the back pain). I love you guys and can’t imagine not reading your blogs. THANK YOU for putting yourselves out there and being a part of my daily life. What you do takes tons of work, sweat, and maybe even tears at times.
    And the haters – shrug it off. You can’t please everyone and those people only show their ugliness with hate mail and negativity. They obviously never learned as a child to not say anything if you don’t have anything nice to say. It really does only show their own insecurities. Your passion should never be criticized.

    Reply
  6. Lisa Martin

    Your honesty is endearing:) Focus on the positive and let yourselves enjoy a real life discussion with friends and family about your blog! I’m sure you hear about their successes at work often. Thanks for being true to yourselves.

    Reply
  7. Austin Schneider

    Y’all’s blog is truly one of my new favorites (I check it religiously, even though I know my email will alert me to new content ha ha). I just want to encourage you specifically when it comes to “repeating” ideas, PLEASE DO! I tend to do that with gallery walls (3 in my apartment and counting), but that’s real life, and it never looks EXACTLY the same because it’s in a different room/has been tweaked slightly/etc. Trust me, your true fans won’t be bored. 🙂

    Reply
  8. Colleen Bansley

    Love Finn’s blogphotobomb! You girls are awesome and so talented in DIY projects, writing, hyperlinking to every cute thing in a post because we are dying to know where it’s from and so many other things. You should be so proud of yourselves for creating this amazing site. And you risk putting yourselves out there and that takes guts and patience. It’s hard not to dwell on the negative but I hope you can focus on all the positive and what a gift this blog is to so many loyal readers! Thank you!

    Reply
  9. katie c.

    Your blog is one of my very favorites! I love that you aren’t “expert carpenters, professional interior designers”, etc., because I’m not either! Your beautiful, creative homes make me feel like I can have a beautiful home too, even though I’m not any of those things, either! Keep being yourselves!!

    Reply

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Blog Finances 101

coffee-change-receipts

Let’s talk money, shall we? Blogging Finances to be exact.

Coins-Money-Blog-FinancesWhen we first started blogging, the absolute last thing on our mind was making money. That being said, we never really had a “plan” or quite frankly, any real idea how to handle the financial side of our blog when it came time. We still are navigating our way and have A LOT to learn, but through some serious trial and error (and lots of guidance from Casey’s husband, Finn), we try our best and have learned a ton.Zippered-Wallet

Here are some of the “tips & tricks” we use to organize, spend, and track our moola.

1. Open a Bank Account: From the very beginning of transitioning the DIY Playbook into an actual business (DIY Playbook, LLC), we opened a bank account at a local bank. If you want to make money as a blog and be taken seriously by brands, we definitely recommend opening a separate account for your blog. We looked into several different banks, some large-scale and some smaller scale, and eventually decided that a local bank in our hometown was best for us because there aren’t high fees for their business accounts, which isn’t the case for all banks. <– Just something to keep in mind when shopping for a blog bank account.  Having a bank account was essential for many reasons, but one of the big factors is that there are 2 of us and having 1 pool of blog money makes things a heck of a lot easier. Plus, it’s so much easier to track income & expenses for tax purposes when all of your money is in 1 spot.

This year we also got a business credit card, specifically because we knew we had some big purchases and wanted some of the perks/incentives/cash back that come along with having a credit card vs. a debit card. This was a great choice for us and is another thing to look into for your own blog.

Paid-Invoices-Blogging-Finance2.  Create a Payment Tracker: Game Changer. When we first started juggling several accounts, sidebar sponsorships, and paid opportunities all at the same time, we realized that we were NOT keeping track of our payments very well. So much so that if a business didn’t pay us, we probably wouldn’t have even noticed (not a good thing if you’re looking to make money! Oops). That’s when we created a Payment Tracker in our Google Drive. This is a google spreadsheet that outlines dates, invoice numbers, prices, dates that we receive payments, dates that we deposited payments, etc. As we have grown as a business, Finn has stepped in to help hone this document, which is extremely helpful. If you don’t have a Finn on your blog team, just a DIY Payment Tracker can do the trick… and make a huge difference for that bottom line. We keep a file folder with hard copies of all invoices too. 

3. Hire an Accountant: As you can probably sense, business is not “our thing” which is reason #542 why we hired an accountant to handle our taxes. Taxes are a serious part of any business, and we wanted to make sure we were following proper protocol from the very beginning of the DIY Playbook’s life. And let’s be honest, as a baby blog we had no room to budget for any penalty fees for incorrect tax paperwork. Our accountant takes care of all of this for us and advises us on what tax forms we have to fill out (our taxes are even little more complicated since there are 2 of us as “owners”). Of course there is a fee for our accountant’s hard work but we consider it a worthy investment to stay in good standing with the IRS. 😉

Receipts-Change-Money4. Track ALL expenses for Taxes: More tax talk…. yay?! It’s important that you track your spending so that you can write-off your blog’s expenses when it comes tax time.

Bag-of-receipts5. Save your Receipts: One of us is way better than the other at this tip– Casey is a receipt queen while B is still in training. Receipts are an important part to those dang taxes so it’s important that you save EVERYTHING you can! From a $2 purchase to a $2,000 purchase, save those receipts. Find a system that works for you (we need to upgrade from our big ol’ ziploc bag) and stick to it, you’ll be happy that you did come tax time!

flowers coffee6. Know your worth: Believe it or not, blogging is not always coffee and pretty hydrangeas (we wish!). One post can take 10+ hours before it goes “live” on a blog. Between brainstorming a project, shopping for materials, actually doing the project,  photographing it, uploading photos, editing photos, watermarking photos, writing the post, formatting the post, editing the post… we’re tired just thinking about it! Blogging takes time and as we all know: Time = Money. It’s your responsibility to analyze and calculate your worth so you know your rates when brands approach you. Trust us, YOU’RE WORTH IT!

Money-Cash-Coins7. Don’t sellout…. ever! Never, ever, ever, ever sellout for less than you think you deserve. Whether it be working with a sponsor for a price you don’t agree with or sharing a product you don’t actually enjoy, selling out is not an option. You have worked too hard, you have way too much passion, and your voice is so much more valuable than settling for less than what you deserve. Sometimes it hurts to decline what seems to be an awesome opportunity (trust us, we know all too well), but at the end of the day, you’ll be far more proud of yourself and your blog for not settling for something that isn’t right for you & your audience. Plus, when the “right” thing comes crawling along, it’ll feel even sweeter and you’ll appreciate it faaaar more! #WINWIN

Blog-Invoice8. Treat your blog like a business: Our +1’s are huge advocates & constantly reminding us that we need to treat the blog for what it is, a business. We are extremely grateful for this support and could use the reminders. They are the DIY Playbook’s biggest cheerleaders and are constantly making sure we make decisions, both financial and non-financial, that align with the idea that we need to take our business seriously.

camera bag9. Invest back in the business: “Spend money to make money” <– we never really thought much about this before, but now we get it… sometimes you really do have to spend some of your hard-earned money back into the business in order to make more money in the future. We have invested back in the business by buying new computers, upgrading our cameras,  hiring a webmaster to handle the tech side, etc. By stepping up our equipment game and the overall functionality of our site, we have been able to improve our quality in some of these areas, which has increased our value to brands and opened new doors of opportunity. See the trend? Investing back into the business to improve your “blog game” is a must. Bonus: You’ll have less blog income to declare come tax time, so you’ll save some dough too.

blog10. Reflect & Assess consistently: This is probably our newest piece of Financial Advice and one that has helped us a lot most recently. Just like in any career, it’s important to make time to sit down and intentionally reflect/assess where you have been, where you’re at, and where you want to go. Blogging shouldn’t be any different, especially when it comes to the blog money and financial goals. We sit down as a group (Casey, Finn, Bridget & Matt) quarterly with a formal agenda, statistics and financial projects (thanks FINN!). This gives us an excuse to get together,  and also gives us the specific chance to talk moola.

Champagne-Glass11. Treat yourself! Save the best for last, right?! You probably shouldn’t take our advice on this one because we’re pretty awful at this one! Blogging is EXTREMELY time intensive so it’s important that just like in any job, you take a break and treat yourself! You work hard for that money, you need to make sure you splurge (without feeling guilty!). Dinners, drinks, travel, clothes — something fun to motivate yourself to keep on working’ hard!blog finance money

Bridget and Casey Signature

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7 thoughts on “Blog Finances 101

  1. Diana

    Speaking as a former accountant who worked on many small business accounts…the more organized you can be with all this the better! (And it sounds like you are!). Nobody likes going through a box of receipts after the fact!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      We get a little better every year at being ready come tax time! At first our accountant was like….”ummm how exactly does this blog thing work??” Now he gets its! haha!

  2. Trang

    I know it’s a business for you gals, but I’m glad it’s something fun and enjoyable for you at the same time because I do love our blog and couldn’t live without a daily dose of DIY Playbook. You two are ultra smart and savvy ladies!

    Reply
  3. Colleen Bansley

    As independent contractor, aka Real Estate Broker, the advice about spending money to make money is so true. You learn as you go along that some money spent is not worth it, and other money spent to invest in your business is very much worth it! It’s a hard pill to swallow, but has to be done for anyone trying to succeed in growing their own business.

    Reply

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7 thoughts on “Blog Finances 101

  1. Diana

    Speaking as a former accountant who worked on many small business accounts…the more organized you can be with all this the better! (And it sounds like you are!). Nobody likes going through a box of receipts after the fact!

    Reply
  2. Trang

    I know it’s a business for you gals, but I’m glad it’s something fun and enjoyable for you at the same time because I do love our blog and couldn’t live without a daily dose of DIY Playbook. You two are ultra smart and savvy ladies!

    Reply
  3. Colleen Bansley

    As independent contractor, aka Real Estate Broker, the advice about spending money to make money is so true. You learn as you go along that some money spent is not worth it, and other money spent to invest in your business is very much worth it! It’s a hard pill to swallow, but has to be done for anyone trying to succeed in growing their own business.

    Reply

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The AWKWARD Side of Blogging

Casey & Bridget

Let’s face it…everyone has awkward, embarrassing moments now and then.

blog

But when you’re putting your thoughts, feelings, and ideas on the internet for all of the world to see… that awkward feeling is magnified by 10x.Casey & Bridget

We decided to compile our list of holy-moley-awkward times into a nice little post for you guys. Honestly, we were both CRACKING UP reading some of these, and they’re all 100% real stories that have happened to us both. Welcome to the oh so glamorous world of being a blogger…DIY Rookies 1

– That time you wrote a whole post and spelled the word “CORD” wrong at least 12 times in the post (even on a graphic) and a reader calls you out on it = awkward.

– That time you sat on the couch thinking of the perfect hashtag. Thirty minutes later you’re still sitting on the couch thinking of a hashtag = awkward. #notpunny

– That time you realized one person was leaving malicious comments from a new IP address everyday and you finally realized who it was = awkward.blog

-That time someone thought you had two men in your life because you call your husband both “Mike” & “Finn” on the blog = awkward. (For the record…I’ve tried to keep it to just “Finn” to avoid any more confusion. #mybad)

– That time you were writing a “Wedding Fashion” post and realized you wore your dress backwards to the last two weddings you attended = awkward. (True story…read more about it here)

– That time you asked your husband what he thought about the day’s post and he stares back blankly. You politely follow up with a comment about the previous day’s post and the blank stare continues = awkward.

– That time your co-worker saw you on TV talking about “some blog?” and is thoroughly confused about why the hell you were on TV. Trying to explain the situation to someone who has never heard of a blog or DIY = awkward.rookies liberty mutual

– That time you see a project repinned on a Pinterest Board named, “Who the F%&$ would ever make this?” = awkward.

-That time when someone is talking about your blog and continues to say “DYI” instead of “DIY” and you just politely nod & smile and think “do-yourself-it” has an interesting ring to it = awkward.

-That time when a few readers mentioned they’d rather look at pictures of our homes than pictures of us = awkward (And totally noted! Sorry this post is chock full of weird photos of us though…)

– That time your parents say, “yesterday’s post wasn’t too good huh? No reader comments” = awkward.

– That time a good friend declines your invitation to like DIY Playbook’s Facebook Page = awkward.

– That time your mom comments, “Love these girls (smiley face with sunglasses emoji) on the HomeGoods Instagram account when they feature a DIY Playbook space as if she is a random “fan” = awkward (and really sweet at the same time).DIY Playbook Cell Phone

– That time a student comes up to you in the hallway to say she saw your wedding picture on Pinterest and wants to know how you got your picture on Pinterest (aka my students don’t know about the blog) = awkward.

– That time you took photos for Valentine’s Day and realized after looking at the pics that your shirt is folded in a way that makes you look like you are half pregnant and half addicted to doughnuts, yet you have no choice but to still use those photos = awkward.

– That time you send that “I look pregnant” photo to your sisters and ask them what looks weird in the photo. Neither of them mention the pregnant look, but both have other negative feedback about your appearance = awkward.

– That time someone talks to you about “today’s post” and you have no clue what topic they’re talking about for a few minutes because you wrote it two weeks ago = awkward.

– That time you throw a question out on @diyplaybook’s social media accounts and you get zero responses = awkward.Rookie4

– That time a film crew + a HGTV host was in our bedroom, and I realized that my husband’s childhood wrestling buddy’s arm was exposed from under our bedskirt and there was nothing I could do but kick it back under without drawing attention to myself = awkward.

-That time when a blog reader stops you on the street, and you’re sweaty from your walk home from work and know that she is eyeballing your professional work attire paired with your  clunky Sketchers = awkward.

-That time when a guest walks into your home and declares that it’s much prettier on the blog than in real life = awkward.

-That time when you’re shooting photos on the side of an industrial building and the owner comes out and asks why you have red balloons and you’re wearing dresses in November = awkward (But to be fair, we did say we would send him a Christmas card if he let us continue our photo shoot!)

Bridget & CaseySo if you thought blogging was all glitz & glamour…now you know the dirty truth. Blogging = a heck of a lot of awkward moments.blog

Bridget and Casey SignatureWe want to hear from you! What are some of your most embarrassing moments? Let us know in the comments below! And if we hear crickets…. awkward.

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32 thoughts on “The AWKWARD Side of Blogging

  1. Trang

    Thanks for sharing all of these awkward moments. It makes you more human! Who hasn’t been in the awkward moment???….ALL of us whether we like to admit it or not. I really did laugh out loud on a lot of these. My favorite though is: That time you see a project repinned on a Pinterest Board named, “Who the F%&$ would ever make this?” = awkward. Now I want to know which project that was. Haha.

    Reply
  2. Sarah @ 702 Park Project

    That time that Country Living featured our porch restoration but chose to show the before and after from two different angles, and people flipped the hell out about it….awkward. I love this post! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Reply
  3. Colleen Bansley

    This is hilarious! I love the total honesty in all your blog posts. #reallife #weallliveit #letsbehonest

    Reply
  4. Katie

    haha loved the wedding fashion mishap! too funny. also…who the heck would have a “Who the F%&$ would ever make this?” board?!? Whenever you feel awkward, think about the fashion bloggers who have to take outfit shots in public everyday…that HAS to be awkward!!!

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32 thoughts on “The AWKWARD Side of Blogging

  1. Trang

    Thanks for sharing all of these awkward moments. It makes you more human! Who hasn’t been in the awkward moment???….ALL of us whether we like to admit it or not. I really did laugh out loud on a lot of these. My favorite though is: That time you see a project repinned on a Pinterest Board named, “Who the F%&$ would ever make this?” = awkward. Now I want to know which project that was. Haha.

    Reply
  2. Sarah @ 702 Park Project

    That time that Country Living featured our porch restoration but chose to show the before and after from two different angles, and people flipped the hell out about it….awkward. I love this post! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Reply
  3. Colleen Bansley

    This is hilarious! I love the total honesty in all your blog posts. #reallife #weallliveit #letsbehonest

    Reply
  4. Katie

    haha loved the wedding fashion mishap! too funny. also…who the heck would have a “Who the F%&$ would ever make this?” board?!? Whenever you feel awkward, think about the fashion bloggers who have to take outfit shots in public everyday…that HAS to be awkward!!!

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How to Be an Efficient Blogger

blog laptop computer inspiration

We certainly are not claiming to be the most efficient bloggers out there, and we’re guessing our husbands will attest to the fact that we spend way too many hours hunched over our laptops. Guilty. But we will say that we’ve gotten much better at becoming more efficient with our blog and the technical, not-so-fun, behind the scenes stuff associated with running your own small business.

The truth is with 2 full-time jobs, we’re forced to try to be as efficient as possible with The DIY Playbook. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to devote to both blogging, our jobs, families, husbands, and social lives.

blogBut we must stress that every blogger is different and has her own way of doing things. Some people blog the night before their post goes live, some don’t know what they’re blogging about until they wake up that morning, and others plan content out 6 months in advance. There is no “right way” to blog and you really have to do what is best for you and your lifestyle. We’ve figured out what works for us and wanted to share some of our tried & true methods towards becoming more efficient bloggers.

Draft Email Templates:

blogOur policy for our email account is that we respond to every email we receive within 24 hours of receiving it.  We want to be personable in these responses, however we have a limited time to make these responses happen. To combat this time factor, we recently started implementing draft email templates, and we can’t believe how much time this method saves us. Why didn’t we think of this sooner?! We receive countless emails throughout any given day and found that many of these emails have similar topics such as:

1. Companies  reaching out with interest teaming up on a sponsored post
2. Companies reaching out seeking our advertising rates
3. Individuals reaching out with interest to write a “guest post” on DIY Playbook.
4. Websites seeking permission to use our photos/blog content

We have drafts already created that address each of these topics (and a few more random things), which allows us to respond to these inquiries appropriately and efficiently. We copy and paste the response into the new email and add a personal touch to both the intro and conclusion of the email. This way, we are answering each email with the necessary information, still being personal, yet not wasting valuable time re-writing the same emails over and over and over again. Simple change that has made a WORLD of a difference!

Posting Calendar/System:

IMG_6454-001Truth: We canNOT function without the organization and information that our Google Calendar offers us. The google calendar may not work for everyone, but for us, it’s absolutely essential in operating the DIY Playbook. Like we mentioned before, we typically have our posts planned up to two months in advance and written/scheduled AT LEAST 2 weeks ahead of time. Yes, some bloggers may think this is absolutely nuts (we get it…), yet we also know that we don’t have a lot of time during the week to devote to “real-time blogging” because of our other jobs. Scheduling posts and completing them in advance is really the only option for our lifestyle.

Google CalendarHere’s how our calendar works: We typically write the post topic on the calendar when we brainstorm it and choose a date OR when we make an agreement with a company to write a sponsored post. The post topic will appear on the calendar as a YELLOW event on the Google calendar that we share. Once the post is completely done (photos added, post written, links checked for accuracy, writing edited, etc.) then whoever is “in charge” of that post will change the color of the event to GREEN on the calendar. Once the post is green on the calendar, this indicates to the other one that the post is completely done and ready for the other to read it over and do any last minute edits. Does that make sense?!

We also use the calendar for traditional purposes like scheduling meetings, tracking phone conferences, reminding us to pay our bills, etc. Overall, this system totally keeps us organized and allows us to look at the blog’s content as a whole, meaning we like to keep the content diverse and not schedule too many similar posts near each other.

Google Drive is Our Friend: We were skeptical of Google Drive when we first started blogging, but have quickly learned the Google Drive is the bomb dot com. But just like the calendar, it’s important (for us) to keep it organized and be very methodical when using it. And trust us, this organization and structure did NOT come over night and has been a labor of serious trial and error…. emphasis on the “error”.

Google Drive

Our Google Drive is home to any important document that we use and need to refer back to. We try to scan all of our contracts into google drive to reference when completing a partnership with a brand. Google Drive is also home to all of our financial records (thanks to FINN’s hard work!). He set up a detailed spreadsheet on the drive that tracks our invoices, payments, expenses, etc. He then takes this data and implements it into Excel using his analytical magic (but that’s a story for a different day) <– maybe this Thursday? The drive is also home to our videos, our blog questionnaire results, and any other projects that we need to keep records on (costs, future plans, ideas, notes, product lists, etc).

We love the drive because we can pull it up on any computer and both of us have “live” access to it at the same time. Heck, if we’re both working on the same document, we will chat right inside of the document via text. Overall, Google Drive is definitely your friend, your very best blogging friend.

rp_Casey-Bridget-Taking-Photos.JPGDo Things All at Once: No, we’re not talking about multitasking here. Instead, we think it’s best to split up the main tasks of blogging (pictures, photo editing, writing) and tackle each one all at once. Since you’re taking your photo equipment out already, take pictures for the next few blog posts. You might as well make one big mess, instead of having to get your camera out again the next day. Then we’ll typically edit all of our photos at one time. We’ll both just sit and knock out photos for multiple posts and then upload them into WordPress. This usually happens when catching up on TV or doing other mindless tasks. Finally, we’ll knock out a few blog posts. The writing portion usually happens when we’ve carved out a good chunk of time to sit quietly and just get ‘er done. This system works for us and keep us from continuously jumping from one task to the next.

IMG_6464-001Like we said, we are definitely not claiming to be the most efficient bloggers ever, but these tricks have helped us make the most of our time blogging. But let’s be real…. there’s always room for improvement and we are always on the hunt for suggestions or new tips! If you have any tips for us… we are all ears!

Bridget and Casey Signature

P.S. Sorry about the NOVEL today… holy moley that was a LOT.

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17 thoughts on “How to Be an Efficient Blogger

  1. kimmatreinvented

    Great tips! My biggest goal is to schedule and write ahead so that I am not “blogging by the seat of my pants.” Love your ideas for Google calendar.

    Reply
  2. Summer Hogan

    Love this post ladies and I’m definitely going to have to use Google drive. So you guys use spreadsheets in google vs an account software like Quickbooks? Thanks for this!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      We use google spreadsheets for us to track (rookie friendly), but Casey’s husband translates this information to Excel/Quickbooks to keep a more detailed inventory. (more on that Thursday)

  3. Heather @ The Deans List Blog

    I am loving this series — I started a blog a couple months ago, and this is so helpful. I do a similar content planning — except old school on a pencil & pen kind of calendar! Do you have hopes that the DIY Playbook will turn into two full time jobs for both of you? Or do you like blogging with full time jobs?

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      We heart an old fashioned calendar for personal use but since there are two of us, we needed to switch to a digital calendar that we could share for blogging items. And full time jobs? In our dreams!! We love our full time jobs but it is definitely very busy working + blogging. But to be perfectly honest, we both love being busy so we really wouldn’t have it any other way!

  4. Sage Grayson

    You ladies are so organized! I love it. 🙂 I use tons of email templates too so I can whip through my emails every day. Zero inbox every afternoon is the goal.

    Reply
  5. Diana

    Impressed! I don’t know how anyone can churn out content like you gals do and still have a full time job (and a life). Being organized is key, I’m sure!

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17 thoughts on “How to Be an Efficient Blogger

  1. kimmatreinvented

    Great tips! My biggest goal is to schedule and write ahead so that I am not “blogging by the seat of my pants.” Love your ideas for Google calendar.

    Reply
  2. Summer Hogan

    Love this post ladies and I’m definitely going to have to use Google drive. So you guys use spreadsheets in google vs an account software like Quickbooks? Thanks for this!

    Reply
  3. Heather @ The Deans List Blog

    I am loving this series — I started a blog a couple months ago, and this is so helpful. I do a similar content planning — except old school on a pencil & pen kind of calendar! Do you have hopes that the DIY Playbook will turn into two full time jobs for both of you? Or do you like blogging with full time jobs?

    Reply
  4. Sage Grayson

    You ladies are so organized! I love it. 🙂 I use tons of email templates too so I can whip through my emails every day. Zero inbox every afternoon is the goal.

    Reply
  5. Diana

    Impressed! I don’t know how anyone can churn out content like you gals do and still have a full time job (and a life). Being organized is key, I’m sure!

    Reply

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State of the Blog Address

Casey-Bridget-Chicago-Skyline

We would like to cordially welcome you to our first annual “BLOG WEEK”. This week we are devoted to giving you guys detailed information on the behind-the-scenes/day-to-day operations of the DIY Playbook. We know that this may not interest all of you (we sincerely apologize to those who don’t care and will immediately go back to our regular content next Monday at 5:00am), but we also know that we receive quite a few inquiries about how we do things and thought this was a great time to address those questions. This week’s blog topics:

  • State of the Blog Address
  • Tips on Efficient Blogging
  • The Awkward Moments of Blogging <—wow there are lots!
  • How we Handle Blog Finances (let’s talk money!)
  • Advice from 20+ DIY Bloggers #halloffamelineup

blog weekBut let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, first up– the State of the Blog Address. No we are not here to drop any bombshells. We just wanted to check in and keep you up-to-speed on the “state of the blog”… literally. Where are we headed? What are we changing? How do we think we’re doing? As much information as we can squeeze into this post without completely boring you out of your mind. Here’s what’s on our minds:

1. Trending Now – Less Craftiness: No we don’t hate crafts. However, we have realized that we just don’t have a lot of room for crafts, craft supplies, and seasonal decor in each of our small homes. Since we don’t have a significant “need” for crafts in our real lives, we don’t want to create ’em just for the sake of blog content. The DIY Playbook seems to trending away from crafts for this reason and this reason alone. We aren’t saying goodbye to crafts forever (we still love us some quality time with the hot glue gun!), but there just won’t be as much as there has been in years past. (Psst: Fellow crafters don’t be too sad… we ironically have a craft tutorial scheduled next week).

2. Getting Vaccinated for – Blogger Burn Out: No, we don’t have any symptoms of Blogger Burn Out and we want to keep it that way! It’s always a concern floating around in the back of our heads, so it’s important that we take breaks, treat ourselves, and unplug every now and then to RECHARGE. Hopefully these small steps will keep that dreaded Blogger Burn Out far, far away from the DIY Playbook.

flowerskitchen3. What’s on Deck – Projects we actually need to tackle in real life: Like everyone else in this world, we are busy and our time is valuable. This is exactly why we continue to share projects that we actually need to tackle in real life (hence the decline of crafts). If we need new bedding… you can bet we’ll be sharing it. If we need to rework a gallery wall… add it to the content calendar. But if we need material just to fill a blog day… you can bet that we will NOT be creating work for ourselves and making something just to make it. We want this blog to align what really needs to be done around here, not just what can fill the calendar or be most “pin-worthy”


4. Walking that Line – Getting too personal vs. not sharing enough: <– The struggle is real! We are constantly going back and forth about keeping it strictly “DIY” or letting a little bit of our lives leak onto the blog. It’s a fine line and we go back and forth. We don’t mind sharing, but we are also hesitant because sharing = being vulnerable for the internet to comment. We want to share DIY in order to inspire others to create (that’s why we all read blogs, right?) but on the other hand, we personally love following the blogger’s journey and learning about the gal behind the blog. We don’t want to get too personal, but we don’t want to be strangers either. Are you completely confused yet? Cause we are….

bedroom5. Room for Improvement – Making Design Decisions with Intention: We have a whole post coming up on this topic next week. This has been an ongoing discussion between us for a few months now and we think we are finally ready to lay it out there and seek advice/support. In short: 2 years ago we both started decorating our spaces and our style continues to evolve. We look back and sometimes wish we could change some of the design decisions we made. So from here on out, we want to make design decisions with intention and purpose. If you feel like you can relate, we’d LOVEEE to hear your insight next week (Monday to be exact). HELP!

Rookies6. Ongoing Goal – Being Transparent, Honest & True to “Us”: This is just an obvious yet ongoing goal we have around here. No matter where this blogging journey takes us, we want to make sure we keep our professionalism, integrity, friendship and honesty along the way. If we take this wild ride and come out with those four things intact, we’ll call our journey a very, VERY successful one.

computer7. Real Talk – Treating the Blog like a Business (because it is!): We’ll chat more about this on Thursday when we discuss Blog Finance 101. We didn’t start the blog as a business, but it slowly grew into one. With the guidance and support of our husbands, we think it’s important to view the DIY Playbook like a business, heck we pour hours and hours of work and passion into this blog, we owe it to ourselves to treat it for what it is.

Patio Reveal Door8. Want to be BFF’s? – Our Brand Partnerships: Plain and simple, we want to partner with brands that we are already BFF’s with in real life, brands we use/believe in, and ones that will work with us for the long run… not just a “one and done” post. We take the DIY Playbook and the responsibility of communicating our opinions on products seriously, and we want to be authentic in who/what we align with. So yes, we are always looking to team up with our BFF brands, yet are thoughtful in making sure these partnerships are with companies with whom we are proud to work.

office9. In your Dreams – Our Blog Dreams: Like little girls dreaming about their “dream wedding” or future plans, we often gossip about the day we could rent a glamorous studio, come to work together, make coffee, and blog all day. That of course is just a DREAM, but it can’t hurt to dream, right? In the meantime, we’re sticking with our day jobs and are thanking our lucky stars for the opportunities we have had thus far! Blogging makes us happy and feeling fulfilled, just living that reality everyday is a freakin’ dream. =)

Rookies NYE10. Saving the Best for Last – Thank YOU: Yes YOU, the reader on the other side of this message who takes time out of her (or his!) crazy busy schedule to check in on the DIY Playbook. Whether you read every single day or check-in when something catches your interest, we are thankful for YOU. For those family members who always ask, “what’s new with the blog?” — thank you. For our friends and co-workers who comment on how much they LOVE that new board & batten — thank you. For that person who leaves a sweet/funny/happy/positive/encouraging blog comment just because — thank you. For that new follower on Instagram or that stranger from across the country reaching out to say keep up the good work — thank you, thank you, thank you. We are passionate about DIY and home decor and if this mini slice of the blogosphere is able to inspire or motivate even ONE person to create something in his or her own homes that (s)he LOVES, well…. we’ve done our job. Our hearts are full and we love spreading DIY cheer because of YOU, thank YOU for being a part of the DIY Playbook team.

And as an EXTRA thank you, we are hosting a giveaway from one of our fav partners — HomeGoods! We’ll announce the winner FRIDAY! Good luck =)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bridget and Casey Signature

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66 thoughts on “State of the Blog Address

  1. Emma Byers

    Hi ladies – I totally appreciate the balance of personal/professional, but I’d love to get to “know you” better by seeing more details about your lives outside of the DIY. Thank you for sponsoring this giveaway! Looking forward to blog week. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Kayla

    DIY Playbook has quickly become one of my favorite blogs! I look forward to reading your posts every day before work! 🙂

    Reply
  3. DIY Playbook

    That’s definitely on the to-do list. We just made a new “Travel” tab in the play by play section and we have 2 more trips coming up soon to document!

    Reply
  4. Heather

    I am right there with your on the crafts! Little houses can’t hold all that fun! I am always excited to see a new blog post, so I am not sure what else to add……

    So helpful!

    Reply
    1. Heather

      What about doing a post on how to form brand partnerships? Im sure there are new bloggers (and seasoned) that would like to know how o start that conversation?

  5. Lucy

    I’m curious to see what your “designing with intention” posts will look like. Due to limited funds, we don’t tend to buy things that are not functional. But, that’s not to say that I don’t drool over some of your vignettes. 🙂

    Reply
  6. Lindsay @ Lindsay Weighs In

    You know y’all are one of my favorites from my constant comments on your posts! 😉 I think you’re doing everything right and I love to read the blog because of how real it is. Of course, I also like the projects as well! I’m excited to read the design with intention post because I’m trying to incorporate that more and more and waiting for the right piece instead of just buying something to have it. In the blog world it’s so easy to get caught up in wanting everything to be perfect in my house but that’s not always the reality! Love the blog, love you guys and as a fellow blogger myself I’m totally digging this series. Woo!

    Reply
  7. Sarah M.

    Thank YOU ladies! Love checking in with the DIY Playbook for fun projects and inspiration, and I love that your personalities shine through. With a move coming up in August, I’m soaking in all the inspiration I can get! xo

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Thanks for the kind words Sarah! Casey is moving at the end of August too..so we’ll have some moving posts coming your way with tips to make it less stressful <—if that's even possible!

  8. jennyf

    I love the way you guys are aligning yourselves, keep up the good work! I like the authenticity of not creating just to create…then what do you do with the craft? I like the smaller home projects myself. The board and batten was great!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Thanks Jenny! As 2 gals trying to cut the clutter in our homes…we simply don’t have room for the crafts! We’ll definitely try to tackle more small home projects here on the blog.

  9. Laura V

    Great Post! I totally sympathize with the crafts comment – hello! fellow Chicagoan with little storage space – I love the spaces you create and your blog feels really real to me. I appreciate that. Between 9-5 jobs and the blog, I don’t know how you do it. Keep the great work!

    – Laura B

    Reply
  10. Stephanie Cooper

    As I love everything you do, I can’t think of anything specific I want to more of! Keep up great work!

    Reply
  11. Michelle Anthony

    I only recenty discovered DIY Playbook, and I’m so glad I did! We’re getting ready to (hopefully) buy our first home, and I’m already having so much poking around your site and seeing how much potential there really is to make a home your own with some thoughtful DIY. Love your work!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      We are so happy you found us Michelle! Hopefully we can be of some help to you as you find & decorate your first home. What an exciting time!

  12. Dana | fresh simple five

    I love seeing inspiration on how to make a space feel like your own… without breaking the bank! You guys do such a wonderful job of showcasing how decor works in your own homes and I’d love to keep seeing more of it!

    Reply
  13. Bec

    I am planning to start my own blog soon so this is so helpful to hear and get more perspective from other bloggers out there. I love what you both have done so I’d just love to see more of your beautiful DIYs!

    Reply
  14. Jody Hon

    I love reading your blog for your real/honest experiences with blogging and home decor/DIY! I really enjoy seeing the behind-the-scenes side of things too!

    Reply
  15. Jaclyn Lorimer

    You are both so inspiring to me as a blogger and one of my favorite blogs as a reader! I think you do a great job walking the line between content & personal details–I love hearing about your lives. Feels like we’re getting to know you that way. 🙂
    Visiting from LorimerLiving.Com
    XO, Jaclyn

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Thanks for the input Jaclyn! Happy to hear you’re getting to know us! I’m sure you know what it’s like to walk that line as a blogger!

  16. Kara D

    I am looking forward to the making design decisions with intention topics! It’s so hard to pick just “one” when I like 134,243,224 things and also suffer from getting bored with things so quickly.

    Reply
  17. Lindsey Hammer

    I love coming and checking out what you have everyday! I am so excited for this week as I have been playing around with the idea to star blogging!

    Reply
  18. Diana

    Right now I’d like to see more outdoor stuff! That’s been my big project for the summer but I don’t know how well I’m doing. I love both of your interior style and love to see how that translates outdoors (like the Lowes project you did, that was awesome!). I get the sharing struggle…I have a much much smaller blog but I think about it a lot.

    Reply
  19. Kim Church

    I just discovered you guys & love your blog! I love how it’s a mix of personal, travel & decor. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  20. Gloria @ GloriaJoy

    I’m all on board for making design decisions with intentions. I don’t have a huge budget for decorating, so I’ve been learning to pick items I LOVE and want to live with for a long time instead of buying something because it was “such a great deal.” Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

    Reply
  21. Mila

    More chicago themed posts – probably selfish and not good for the blog’s audience overall, but the shared locality is what drew me to the blog in the first place!

    Reply
    1. Trang

      Yes, I’d love to see Chicago themed posts…even though I live in Ohio. Chicago is one of my favorite cities and I visit at least once a year.

  22. Erika

    AH I love this blog and you ladies are killin’ it lately. I just moved into a new house (well, I will on Thursday) and I’ve pinned about a million of your posts. Things I’d love to see: more personal posts! I love decorating and stuff but it is fun to see “behind the blog” a bit. You guys are awesome though so keep doin’ what you’re doin!

    Reply
  23. Katie

    Woohoo HomeGoods! Also, THANK YOU for not just buying, making, creating stuff for the sake of blog content! I think it’s very obvious when blogs do this and who needs all the extra crap around their house anyways right?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

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66 thoughts on “State of the Blog Address

  1. Emma Byers

    Hi ladies – I totally appreciate the balance of personal/professional, but I’d love to get to “know you” better by seeing more details about your lives outside of the DIY. Thank you for sponsoring this giveaway! Looking forward to blog week. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Kayla

    DIY Playbook has quickly become one of my favorite blogs! I look forward to reading your posts every day before work! 🙂

    Reply
  3. DIY Playbook

    That’s definitely on the to-do list. We just made a new “Travel” tab in the play by play section and we have 2 more trips coming up soon to document!

    Reply
  4. Heather

    I am right there with your on the crafts! Little houses can’t hold all that fun! I am always excited to see a new blog post, so I am not sure what else to add……

    So helpful!

    Reply
  5. Lucy

    I’m curious to see what your “designing with intention” posts will look like. Due to limited funds, we don’t tend to buy things that are not functional. But, that’s not to say that I don’t drool over some of your vignettes. 🙂

    Reply
  6. Lindsay @ Lindsay Weighs In

    You know y’all are one of my favorites from my constant comments on your posts! 😉 I think you’re doing everything right and I love to read the blog because of how real it is. Of course, I also like the projects as well! I’m excited to read the design with intention post because I’m trying to incorporate that more and more and waiting for the right piece instead of just buying something to have it. In the blog world it’s so easy to get caught up in wanting everything to be perfect in my house but that’s not always the reality! Love the blog, love you guys and as a fellow blogger myself I’m totally digging this series. Woo!

    Reply
  7. Sarah M.

    Thank YOU ladies! Love checking in with the DIY Playbook for fun projects and inspiration, and I love that your personalities shine through. With a move coming up in August, I’m soaking in all the inspiration I can get! xo

    Reply
  8. jennyf

    I love the way you guys are aligning yourselves, keep up the good work! I like the authenticity of not creating just to create…then what do you do with the craft? I like the smaller home projects myself. The board and batten was great!

    Reply
  9. Laura V

    Great Post! I totally sympathize with the crafts comment – hello! fellow Chicagoan with little storage space – I love the spaces you create and your blog feels really real to me. I appreciate that. Between 9-5 jobs and the blog, I don’t know how you do it. Keep the great work!

    – Laura B

    Reply
  10. Stephanie Cooper

    As I love everything you do, I can’t think of anything specific I want to more of! Keep up great work!

    Reply
  11. Michelle Anthony

    I only recenty discovered DIY Playbook, and I’m so glad I did! We’re getting ready to (hopefully) buy our first home, and I’m already having so much poking around your site and seeing how much potential there really is to make a home your own with some thoughtful DIY. Love your work!

    Reply
  12. Dana | fresh simple five

    I love seeing inspiration on how to make a space feel like your own… without breaking the bank! You guys do such a wonderful job of showcasing how decor works in your own homes and I’d love to keep seeing more of it!

    Reply
  13. Bec

    I am planning to start my own blog soon so this is so helpful to hear and get more perspective from other bloggers out there. I love what you both have done so I’d just love to see more of your beautiful DIYs!

    Reply
  14. Jody Hon

    I love reading your blog for your real/honest experiences with blogging and home decor/DIY! I really enjoy seeing the behind-the-scenes side of things too!

    Reply
  15. Jaclyn Lorimer

    You are both so inspiring to me as a blogger and one of my favorite blogs as a reader! I think you do a great job walking the line between content & personal details–I love hearing about your lives. Feels like we’re getting to know you that way. 🙂
    Visiting from LorimerLiving.Com
    XO, Jaclyn

    Reply
  16. Kara D

    I am looking forward to the making design decisions with intention topics! It’s so hard to pick just “one” when I like 134,243,224 things and also suffer from getting bored with things so quickly.

    Reply
  17. Lindsey Hammer

    I love coming and checking out what you have everyday! I am so excited for this week as I have been playing around with the idea to star blogging!

    Reply
  18. Diana

    Right now I’d like to see more outdoor stuff! That’s been my big project for the summer but I don’t know how well I’m doing. I love both of your interior style and love to see how that translates outdoors (like the Lowes project you did, that was awesome!). I get the sharing struggle…I have a much much smaller blog but I think about it a lot.

    Reply
  19. Kim Church

    I just discovered you guys & love your blog! I love how it’s a mix of personal, travel & decor. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  20. Gloria @ GloriaJoy

    I’m all on board for making design decisions with intentions. I don’t have a huge budget for decorating, so I’ve been learning to pick items I LOVE and want to live with for a long time instead of buying something because it was “such a great deal.” Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

    Reply
  21. Mila

    More chicago themed posts – probably selfish and not good for the blog’s audience overall, but the shared locality is what drew me to the blog in the first place!

    Reply
  22. Erika

    AH I love this blog and you ladies are killin’ it lately. I just moved into a new house (well, I will on Thursday) and I’ve pinned about a million of your posts. Things I’d love to see: more personal posts! I love decorating and stuff but it is fun to see “behind the blog” a bit. You guys are awesome though so keep doin’ what you’re doin!

    Reply
  23. Katie

    Woohoo HomeGoods! Also, THANK YOU for not just buying, making, creating stuff for the sake of blog content! I think it’s very obvious when blogs do this and who needs all the extra crap around their house anyways right?

    Reply

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