2nd Annual Blog Week

[Cue the confetti poppers!]

Welcome to The DIY Playbook’s 2nd annual BLOG WEEK, where we will be taking a break from all things DIY to chat about some behind-the-scenes blog tips and topics that often don’t get addressed around here. We have a whole a week of fun content based on our most frequently asked questions including:

  • Tuesday: How to make mood boards <– for rookies (like us)
  • Wednesday: What it’s like to run a business with your bestie… and our advice to others
  • Thursday: How we make money blogging <– and how you can too!
  • Friday: HILARIOUS Rookie Mistakes from our favorite bloggers <— stories from some of our favorite bloggers on some of their biggest DIY, decorating, and blogging rookie mistakes to date. Legit amazing.

But before we dive into all of that, today we are chatting about the STATE OF THE BLOG. Today’s post is a series of random updates that are happening behind-the-scenes of the blog, but never really make it into a post. Mostly because we can never figure out a clean and organized way to share this randomness. Think of this post as a pot luck of blog updates, and let’s be honest here, who doesn’t love a good pot luck!? <— especially when there isn’t any cooking involved!

Bridget_Casey_Chicago_Odyssey_Travel-13And speaking of our favorite. YOU GUYS, our amazing and supportive readers, are our absolute favorites and as a tiny token of our appreciation we’re hosting a giveaway to say thank you for your love and support!! More details and more mushy-gushy thank you’s at the end of this post.

Juggling our day jobs + the blogbedroom_mirror_navy_headboard_bridget-4

Emphasis on the “JUGGLE” because working full-time jobs and running the blog is a serious juggling act. Heck, all that juggling sometimes makes us feel like we’re those 2 crazy clowns in the circus. But to be perfectly honest, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

5-desk-area-cords-computerThis blog is our PASSION, our baby, what we look forward to working on every.single.day…. even if we’re up working on it way past our bed times. Yes it gets busy, and yes it can even get overwhelming, but we make it work because we WANT to. Do we think that maybe we can both blog full-time someday, without having to juggle our day jobs? Yes we do, but until then — a LOT more juggling. 😉

Fun Fact: Casey can actually juggle… like legit ‘three-balls-in-the-air-at-one-time’ type juggling! <– She’s probably horrified reading this right now, but she should know by now that any time I have the opportunity to brag about her, of course I’m going to! That’s what best friends do, right?!

Working with your Best Friendbirthday_casey_bridget_rookies_balloons_3-181

Spoiler Alert: there’s no drama, no fighting, and we can honestly say that we feel so grateful for the opportunity to work together. Since we get this question A LOT, we are actually dedicating a whole post on how it is for each of us to work with our bestie.  We’ll also dive into the tips we have for others who may be thinking about going into business with a bestie. As much as we LOVE it (it’s one of our FAVORITE parts of this whole journey), we would advise others to proceed with EXTREME caution. Weird, right?! Tune in Wednesday as we get personal & air our dirty laundry get totally real about how we make this relationship work (and actually thrive!).

Quarterly Meetings

Chicago_travel_sunsetWe briefly mentioned these before (I think?), but these meetings are definitely worth touching on again. Our quarterly meetings have a great impact on the state of our blog. As a group of 4 (us + our hubbies), we hold quarterly meetings to chat about the state of the blog, the blog’s finances, large purchases, future goals, etc. Our quarterly meetings also come with the DIY Playbook treating our VERY supportive hubbies to a double date night (our Q2 meeting was a sunset cruise.. so fun!).

We see these nights out as an investment in “team building” and a great excuse to “recharge” as a group… so much so that we just planned our Q4 meeting in Mexico for New Year’s!

Matt_finnThese quarterly meetings would not be nearly as effective without the help of Casey’s husband, Finn. He compiles our financial documents before every meeting, as well as an agenda, financial projections, and any other noteworthy information that needs to be discussed. We are SO lucky to have him and are SO grateful for ALLLLLLLLL of his hard work in handling all of DIY Playbook’s finances (without ever complaining).

Staying in our own laneEmoji Halloween Costume Bridget & Casey

This is still one of the best pieces of advice we’ve ever gotten (thanks Courtney!). Reading other blogs, following other bloggers via social media, and just staying up-to-date on what’s happening in the “blogosphere” can definitely lead someone into an ugly comparison trap — one that sucks away your creativity and forces you to think negatively about yourself. No thank you! For us it’s important to be aware of this trap so that we can avoid it at all costs. To do that we focus on staying in our own lane (we actually wrote a whole post about it here). We focus on us (and only us!!), what we can control here on the DIY Playbook, and in the process, are genuinely HAPPY for our blogging peers. We’re positive, happy people in real life and want this slice of the internet to reflect that.

Social Media Changes

Speaking of staying in our own lane, we really try to focus on this when it comes to social media.  There’s a lot of calculation, strategy and overall pressure that goes into using social media as a blogger. How do you grow your following? Are your pictures all “branded”? What hashtags are you using? How often do you post? At what time do you post? … and the list goes on and on and on. Holy stressful!

Obviously growing your audience via social media is a good thing. However, we don’t want to put pressure on ourselves and post/say things on our social media JUST to get followers. We want to be “us” and let our channels reflect who we are as people, which is a bit scary to put yourself out there for others to judge/comment on/gossip about/etc. Yikes! In the past, we haven’t always been super open or “personal” on our social media (i.e. Instagram) and kept our captions pretty general, but we have realized that sometimes it’s not JUST about the pretty picture, but it’s also about making connections with people (even if that comes at the risk of being vulnerable). We’re still navigating the waters, but being more real, candid, and just more open on social media is a goal we have and something we’ve been working on…. slowly but surely.

Stepping outside our DIY comfort zoneCasey-miter-saw-diy

And speaking of slowly but surely…. we are slowly but surely building up our tool collection and trying our best to step outside of our DIY comfort zone more and more (as evidenced by Casey’s guest room, her board and batten project, B’s new faucet, and her in-progress bathroom shiplap). We are really trying to make an effort to DIY with as little “help” as possible. Navigating these projects by ourselves has helped proved that we can do this! And if we can do these projects, we KNOW that you can too!

Of course B still loves to work with her dad, and sometimes we will have to hire projects out, but it’s empowering to tackle some of these larger projects (ones we would have NEVER been able to do alone just a few years ago), all by ourselves. #babysteps bridget-reading-directions-nail-gun

Learning & improving behind the scenes

bridget-casey-computer-bedroomThe blog has been experiencing some behind-the-scenes changes in order to improve the quality and experience for the reader. We recently had a tech team clean up the site so that it loads a lot quicker and is a lot more streamlined when it comes to all that techie stuff. It’s all a little over our heads, but anything that makes the blog quicker and more accessible is welcomed with open arms around here.

bridget camera coffee fall converse We also recently bought a new camera lens and have started editing our photos in Lightroom (since we hear that Picasa is not going to be around forever — teardrops) in order to increase our photo quality as much as possible. Now that we switched over, we feel like we should have made the switch to Lightroom about 3 years ago! <– that’s usually the story around here. We put off the switch forever and when we do finally dive-in, we love it and wish we would have done it sooner! 

Coming soon…

  • A new, much more efficient mobile site!
  • Hopefully more room reveals. <– Right now we’re working on B’s bathroom and Casey’s dining area. But we also want to dive into B’s neglected guest room!! #eek
  • More Video (see below for more details)
  • We’re attending the Haven Blog Conference in August and look forward to connecting with our fellow bloggers. We always leave feeling extra inspired and motivated to step outside of our comfort zone and look forward to seeing what this year’s conference has to offer. =)

More Video!!liberty mutual casey bridget

Our hyperlapse craft videos were such a hit, and we’ve been working on incorporating MORE of them, as well as more “just because” videos. We love creating video content (Casey does this for a living!) but making a video instead of a traditional blog post takes significantly more time, so unfortunately this isn’t always realistic. However, we’re trying to put a priority on video for the remainder of 2016.

Defining our individual styles

guest-room-gallery-wall-champagne-signThis is probably one of our biggest design related “goals” lately and one that doesn’t neatly fit into any specific category.Maybe we’ll put together a whole post on this if you guys are interested. In short, both of us are really working hard to identify our individual styles because we don’t think we’re quite there yet. We realize that coming to that “final conclusion” is definitely a journey, and right now we’re learning from our mistakes (and successes!).

bedroom_mirror_navy_headboard_bridget-7Our end goal is to both be able to confidently identify the look that is so US. We both want to nail down these answers before we ever move on to our “forever homes” and have been taking little steps in our real lives to hone these styles (i.e. only buying what we LOVE and not just buying because something is cute, being aware of how our personal fashion style influences our decor decisions, trying to identify what is “so us”, etc.).

The bloggers and style influencers that we love the most are ones who have totally NAILED DOWN their own style. If this is something that interests you guys, we’d love to document the journey a bit more via blog posts, but weren’t sure if this is a something that everyone would find valuable. Just a thought… and a topic that has really dominated our conversations lately.

Our ReadersChicago_Odyssey_Travel_ drink_cheers_champagne

And of course we saved the BEST for last. A state of the blog address would NEVER be complete without a BIG, SINCERE thank you to all of the AMAZING people who tune in everyday to read the blog, who leave sweet comments and suggestions, who email us questions or ideas, who follow us on social media, cheer us on, and most importantly, who make this WHOLE journey possible. We are forever grateful for your love and support and hope if nothing else, reading the DIY Playbook brings you a tiny bit of happy or inspiration each day.

We are all way too aware lately that the world is not always sunshine and roses, and we try to use this platform to focus on the happy, positive, fun-loving, light-hearted stuff while hopefully inspiring a few DIY rookies along the way. We want others to feel empowered to create a home that they LOVE because if we can do it, we KNOW that you can too!! From the bottom of our grateful hearts, thank YOU for being a part of the DIY Playbook team.

And because we want to CELEBRATE you, we are a hosting a giveaway and asking for a tiny bit of feedback. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Target <—because everyone loves Target! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Bridget and Casey Signature


  • Emily Dunham

    It’s really fun to see the behind the scenes of the blog – looking forward to your upcoming posts!

  • Reva

    Thanks ladies, for your fun and uplifting spirit! I have read your blog for awhile now, and you bring joy to my scattered free time and inspiration to my scattered house 🙂 I like that your projects are completed in addition to your jobs, because I know they are (theoretically) doable time-wise for me as well. I also like your guest help at friends and family’s homes–could make it a regular thing and call it Rookie Relief!

    • “Rookie Relief”….you’re onto something there Reva!

  • Samantha

    I really look forward to reading your posts; they inspire me to get moving on some ideas I have for my home. I’m not so much a video watcher but I might have to start if you move to video posts!

    • Thanks for the insight Samantha! Good to know.

  • H Buchanan

    Probably not super helpful, but just keep doing what you’re doing! I love this blog. I think it has a great balance of content and I always look forward to reading!

  • Jenny

    The two of you are a great team! I really enjoy the room reveal post and love that you ask your readers their opinions about the room. I think it helps your readers feel more connected to your blog.

    • Thanks Jenny! That’s great insight and we’ll try to continue to do that as we decorate our homes!

  • Summer Hogan

    Can’t wait ladies! Such a fun week!

  • Christina

    Just discovered this blog – now it is one of my favorites! I am a renter and really appreciated the budget-friendly renter tips you shared recently – would love to see more posts with renter-friendly DIY ideas!

    • Awww you’re so sweet Christina! Happy you found us.

  • Erin

    Y’all are so cute! i love how you’re a solid team and you’re honest. Stay true to yourselves! i love that you’ve planned your meeting in mexico. I also would like to mention that styles will continually evolve and change over the years. If i look back to my style like 8 years ago to now, wowza it is different!

    Oh and thank you for fixing the website loading. that was sooo frustrating to me, it’d mess up everything on my computer. Crazy stuff.

    • So right about styles changing! We look back to when we first started the blog…and whoa baby, it’s different! And happy that the site is working better for your now!

  • Thanks so much for the insight Nadine!

  • Adina….such great advice! We always have to remind ourselves to do this and even set aside time in our schedules to make this happen. Friends first!

  • Thanks Amanda! We’re definitely adding a lot of this to our fall calendar.

  • Jody Hon

    Love reading your blog and enjoy the peak behind the scenes!

  • Rachel Uhrig

    You guys are awesome and it’s so much fun reading about your diy-ing adventures. I also like the personal updates and fun personality you both add to each post 🙂 If you ever need a room to diy, my whole house is open and in the chicago suburbs – just kidding…kind of 🙂

    • haha Rachel you are too cute! And someday we may have to take you up on the offer to work on other spaces 😉

  • I love this topic! I’m a new home owner, so the topic I would love for you to cover is what things you should do first..when it seems like every room needs some TLC!

  • Stephanie Cooper

    I love reading your blog, you guys one of my favorites! Posts about identifying your own style would be great!

  • Lindsey Hammer

    I look forward to opening up your blog everyday! I love that you are honest about what works and what doesn’t and I am learning as I decorate my first home to be true to me, but it is taking a little time to figure that out too! I would love to hear about how you pin down what your personal style is!

    • Awww thanks so much Lindsey! And yes…that is definitely on the to-do list! Thanks for giving us the push to write about that more often.

  • Carol Sesin

    Really looking forward to more video content! Do you have a YouTube channel? If so, I’d love to subscribe.

  • Ana

    I can’t wait to see more videos!

    • We’re excited to share more video…. lots of mini videos in the works =)

  • Emily

    Hi girls. I cannot wait for Wednesday’s post about working with your best friend. It’s something I’ve been thinking about and it will be good to read about your experience and input.

    • How exciting! We hope you get a little more insight after reading that post!!

  • Kathy Harwood

    I’m probably not your typical audience. I’m a 50 yr. old who loves your blog! I don’t even remember now how I found you ladies, but your blog is sent to my email so I don’t miss a thing! I just love ya’ll!

    • We are SO happy to have you on the DIY Playbook team, thanks Kathy!! You are so sweet =)

  • christine

    Love the blog! My husband does most of our cooking, too. Would you consider doing any cooking yourselves? Might be fun to follow along as you try to work on those home skills, too.

    • We love your idea (and I’m sure our husbands love it even more). To be honest we’ve never really thought about posts about this, but it’s definitely something we should consider. Thanks for the idea and for following along!

  • Cindy

    Without a question this blog is easily one of my favorites. I’m pretty sure my husband is getting tired of hearing about all the DIY projects that I’ve been inspired to take on. #sorrynotsorry 🙂

    • You are making us blush!! And #sorrynotsorry <—– you know we can't resist the use of the hashtag. Thanks Cindy, you made our day =)

  • Sara Kral

    Congrats on another successful year of blogging! Can’t wait to see what comes next! Nice work, ladies!

  • Ashley Sorrick

    I love this week! Can’t wait to read what y’all have to say! There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes! Have so much fun on your Q4 trip 😉

    • We’re really glad you love it because we LOVE blog week too! And thanks so much, we’re excited for a vacay together. #teambonding

  • Carly Williams

    I don’t have any particular advice, but I think you guys have done a great job! I really enjoy reading.

  • Sara Warfel

    Love love love your blog and thank you for making it fun to read!

    • Aww, thanks Sara!! You’re too darn sweet. =)

  • Sarah M

    Thank you ladies for the constant inspiration and for keeping it real! I love that you have continued to give your readers glimpses into your personalities and lives. Keep up the fabulous work!

  • Lucy B

    Love your blog!… I started following you gals b/c you were from Chicago, but I’ve kept reading b/c your “rookie-ness” is very relatable.

    • Aww so happy to hear from another Chicago gal, Lucy! Thanks for sticking with us 🙂

  • Brandi Beals

    Personally I would love to hear about how you begin with a new decor project… I’m moving into a new house and I’m not completely in love with my furniture but I can’t start from nothing either… How do I use what I have (but maybe not everything) or how do I design a room and make it cohesive?

    • Love these topic ideas Brandi! Definitely will add this to the to-do list.

  • Betsey

    Looking forward to your post about working with each other – my sister and I have been talking about starting an online business together and I think you’ll be able to give us some good insight!

    • Thanks Betsey! We hope we provide the insight you’re looking for. =)

  • Katy Kownacki

    Love your style, love your tutorial! Keep doing what you’re doing! So glad I discovered your blog this year!

  • I vote for the “find your style” posts too! I am constantly trying to figure that out too! Keep up the fantastic work!

    • It’s unanimous…more style posts coming your way soon! Thanks for your continued support Diana!

  • Julie Rod.

    i definitely love the videos 🙂

  • Taylor Closet

    I would love to see DIY.

  • Natalie V

    Loved your latest post on DIY in a rental. Even though Casey is no longer a renter, I’d still love you see more rental friendly posts!

    • Thanks for the feedback, Natalie! We are noting this and adding this to our editorial calendar (it seems to be a common requests today!)

  • Alli

    Love your blog and always get inspired from your posts!

    • Thank YOU, we appreciate your kind words and support. So grateful to have you on the DIY Playbook team.

  • Rosie

    It is a really nice blog, I can’t think of anything more. I love home decor and DIY, also recipes. I love crafts that are home decor oriented.

  • Beth M.

    I think you’re doing great! I love all of your photos

  • We DO need to continue to step outside our comfort zone… butt it’s hard! Your encouragement helps!! =) Thanks Maggie

  • We LOVEEE this idea and will definitely add it to the blog calendar. We too find ourselves in the thinking phase and sometimes when you start overthinking, you get STUCK and can’t get started because you don’t want to make the wrong decision. We’ve been there…. a lot! Thanks for the idea, Veronica. So lucky to have you tuning in =)

  • You’re so sweet, thanks Brittany! And yes, great idea!

  • Jessica Shilt

    I love your guys blog! My favorite posts are behind the scenes and quick easy diys! I love videos too! I’m more of a visual learner so I really like seeing step-by-step even in photos!

  • Brie

    I so enjoy your blog! All of the ideas you listed sound great. I personally like the easier, smaller crafts/DIY/organizational stuff you share because that’s more my interest/ability level, but I enjoy reading about the more advanced DIY challenges you take on. When you mention that you want to explore defining/distilling your style, I’d be more interested in learning WHY you are drawn to certain things- whether they be decor items, wall treatments, etc.- what about them just feels right to you? Is it the texture, the color, the size, the versatility of an item such that it could be used it in multiple places in your home, etc.?

    • Very good insight Brie! Thanks for your advice. love it!

  • Karen

    Love your style and DIY projects. You both always look cute and fashionable – know your blog is mostly about decor but would love to hear more about your personal fashion style too!

    • Karen…you are too kind! Most days you’ll find us with messy buns and yoga pants. haha. But we agree that you might see more fashion around these parts.

  • Laura

    Keep having fun! I love any post that has to do with decorating on a budget 🙂

  • Kerry

    I would definitely be interested in learning more about you define your personal style! I love your blog, and you can definitely tell how much hard work you two put into it!

    • Awww that’s so sweet of you Kerry! Thanks so much. And yes..more personal style posts coming your way soon!

  • Katie

    I think a little more about how you girls have advanced your photography skills would be interesting. It’s been on my to do list for awhile now, I’ve even taken an online class, maybe I’m just not consistent with it.

    • We certainly are not experts, but we’ve come a loong way. Some of our early photos are downright scary! Love this idea Katie!

  • Trang

    You ladies are awesome and you know I love your blog. Stay true to yourselves and continue doing great things. I’m a huge bargain seeker and love to save money where I can with alternatives to things. I like to read blogs that offer tips to save money and/or time. Clever ideas are a plus. Your blog offers this so keep up the good work.

    • As always, you’re the sweetest Trang! Thanks for your continued support 🙂

  • Austin Schneider

    I would LOVE to hear more about how you’re defining your individual styles! This is something I seriously struggle with, because I feel like I like several different styles, so categorizing myself as a certain style is pretty daunting.

    • Totally agree Austin. It’s overwhelming to try to put yourself in a little style box…we’re right there with ya!

  • Abbie DeLaney Zinkan

    I know neither of you have kids, but if you have ways/blogs that you’ve found that incorporate kid projects, I’d personally love to know more about that. I really like the “shop this look” posts (I can’t find that geometric white vase that B has ANYWHERE). I love the mood board help from today’s post, so thank you for that. Overall, I like coming to a blog that feels like me, with people who are real, make real mistakes and learn/teach from them all. Thank you!

    • Aww thanks for your sweet words Abbie! We appreciate the support.

      Kid Blogs: We are big fans of Bower Power Blog…she has 4 boys and is always doing fun kid projects. Definitely give it a look!

      Geometric Vase: Have you tried Lulu & Georgia? They definitely have a similar one, and Casey has it at her house and loves it. Pricier than the Target one, but similar look.

    • Abbie DeLaney Zinkan

      I’m headed to both those sites now, thanks for the tips!

  • Rachel Griesmer

    I think you’re doing an amazing job! I really enjoy the videos 🙂

  • Brittany Whitley

    Best if luck!!!

    • Thanks Brittany!

    • Brittany Whitley

      You’re welcome ^_^

  • I totally just exclaimed: “It’s blog week!” on a commuter train full of strangers. It’s the little things. ❤

    • Hahaha this made our day! Glad you’re as excited as we are! =)

  • You guys are my favorite DIY blog! someday ill find enough courage to tackle a big project like yours in my house! I love the little hacks, like switching light fixtures or faucets. making things look new on the cheap 🙂

    • Thanks so much Elizabeth! We like those small projects that make a big impact too!

  • Kim R.

    LOVE the idea of a post/series re: nailing down your style. That’s something I’ve also been giving a lot of thought to lately (both home-decor and fashion wise), so would be interested to hear more about your process and any helpful tips!

    • Awesome to hear Kim! We’re the same…trying to figure it out both for our homes and our wardrobes 🙂

  • I totally need to have a tech team clean up my site! I would love some more insight into that process–it feels a little overwhelming at the moment, but I know that some things need help!
    XO, Jaclyn

    • We are seriously clueless when it comes to html & coding…so thank god we have people who can help us out! Seriously the site would be slow as molasses if it were up to us!

  • Laura Mueller

    My favorite blogs are diy! Im designing and building my house from the ground up and love lots of new ideas!

    • Wow, that’s amazing Laura! Congratulations, so excited for you!! Thanks for stopping by =)