Ask Casey No. 2
I get lots of design questions from you guys, but it’s funny…I actually get questions about a lot of other things happening in my life — marriage, blogging, infertility, fitness, fashion…really every single category! So I want to tackle some of your inquiries in my “Ask Casey” blog post series. My plan is to tackle your questions every month or so here on the blog.
Thanks for submitting so many awesome questions in last month’s post. The google form (at the bottom of the post) has helped me keep everything organized so I can slowly make my way through your inquiries. So, if you have another question today, be sure to submit it down below.
How has decision making changed since you took on the blog as your own?
Bridget and I were always very much in sync with the projects we wanted to do and how we wanted the blog to look/feel. Bouncing ideas off of her and talking things through, start to finish, was so nice. Now, it’s just me, and that can feel like a lot of pressure sometimes. What if I choose the wrong partnership? What if I make the wrong design choice?
But on the other hand, it’s nice to be able to say “yes” to projects and opportunities without having to ask anyone else. I can have a call with a brand or sponsor and immediately tell them I’m on board, or not. I feel like things are moving a bit more quickly because I can just make a decision right away. Overall though, things are good and I’m slowly getting used to my life as a solopreneur.
How much does blogging cost you? How much do you pay to be found on Google and have your own domain?
That is such a good question because blogging can seem very mysterious. First, you don’t pay to be found on Google. Instead, you create quality content with the right focus keywords and Google finds you!
In terms of expenses, blogging comes with plenty, but I’ll just cover the bare basics of setting up the site. First, we are an LLC and have to update that paperwork yearly ($150), along with our trademark ($50). I also have to pay for hosting (around $2,000) and renewal of the domain names (around $30 every few years). Funny story about the domain name…
Back when we were starting The DIY Playbook, we looked at buying” diyplaybook.com”. It was about $500 at the time and we didn’t want to spend that much money. Instead, we opted for “thediyplaybook.com” because it was only about $15! Eventually, as the site grew and grew, we realized that we should also own “diyplaybook.com” to keep it under our company and brand. The price had gone up at least 10x and we had to fork over a lot more cash. That was definitely a lesson learned (we should have bought it from the beginning!). So my word of advice? Buy the domain name (and every iteration of it) from the start!
Is Finn your husband’s first name or your last name? I’m confused!
I get this question at least once per week on Instagram. Finn’s full name is Mike Finn. We met fifteen years ago in high school and he introduced himself as “Finn”, so I have called him that forever. He goes by “Finn” to everyone…his coworkers, his friends, even his family members. Even though I’m now Casey Finn, I can’t call him Mike or Michael…it just feels too weird.
So he goes by “Finn” and we know it’s confusing. And no, his name is not Finn Finn. hahaha.
You and Finn are high school sweethearts. Did you ever break up at any point?
Yep, we did break up and we both agree we wouldn’t be together today if that didn’t happen! We were together for three years (two in high school and one in college), and then Finn dumped me the week before I was heading back for my sophomore year of college. It came out of nowhere for me and I was devastated. He now says that a lot of adults were in his ear telling him that he couldn’t marry his high school sweetheart and he needed to experience life. We both dated around through the rest of college but always kept in communication. After I graduated, we got back together and have been together ever since. So, we’ve been together for fifteen years (married for five), but we had those few years of not being together in the mix.
Blog & Design Inspiration
What are some of YOUR favorite blogs (for home design or just for fun reading)?
I love this question because I’m such a blog reader myself. I read blogs for a few years before starting The DIY Playbook and I still read those same ones today. I also follow lots of designers, DIY’ers, and bloggers on Instagram but I don’t necessarily read their blog every day. Here are some favorites (and I’m lucky to now call some of these talented people friends!)…
- Young House Love
- Yellow Brick Home
- Chris Loves Julia
- Emily A. Clark
- Inspired by Charm
- Room for Tuesday
- Emily Henderson
- Cupcakes & Cashmere
- A Thoughtful Place (pictured above…she is a sweetheart!)
- Juniper Home
- Vintage Revivals
- The Gold Hive
- Amber Interiors
- Studio McGee
- Kelly in the City
Honestly, I could go on and on and on. I love me some blogs and designers!
Tell us more about your social life and friend group! Do you go out a lot with friends? Does Finn have a “guys group”? Are your friends mostly couples? How did you all meet? I love hearing about how people connect with their friends and how they built their friendships!
What a fun question and one I’ve never gone into detail about here on the blog. Let’s start with Finn.
Finn is lucky enough to have an amazing group of guys that he has been friends with since childhood. And it’s funny because I was friends with most of Finn’s friends before we even started dating. Since we grew up in the same town, we kinda knew most of the same people. Lots of his friends live in the city, so we see them often for drinks or dinner. Sometimes it’s on double dates (if his friends are married/dating) or just in a big group setting. Finn also spends a lot of time with my brother, Ryan, which is really cool.
While Finn has a large group of friends, I have fewer friends, but close friends. And many of those friends are from various stages of my life. Obviously, you all know Bridget very well. But I’m also close with girlfriends from my childhood (Katie, Meghan, and Lauren). We all grew up in the same neighborhood and have stayed friends for 30 years! We’re all at different places in our lives, but when we get together, it feels like no time has passed! I also meet up with friends from my old jobs for drinks and workout classes and I see my college friends sporadically too (more on that in the next question).
I spent a lot of my twenties not seeing friends because I was so wrapped up in working my full-time job and then using weeknights and weekends for blog work. Now that I have more free time, I’m trying to nurture relationships and even make new friends (which is tough as an adult!).
How was your college experience?
I went to the University of Notre Dame and really loved my time there. Freshman year was a bit hard, though. I didn’t really know anyone (Notre Dame has students from all over the country) and most of my high school friends (and Finn) went to the University of Illinois. I remember calling my mom that first week of college and telling her that I wanted to transfer to U of I at semester. She told me things would get better and to stick it out (Funny how moms always know best!).
Then my dog, Jingles, died at the age of 16. She was my best friend and really grew up alongside me. Obviously, Jingles had lived a long and good life (we joked that she was old enough to drive), but I was still very sad and homesick. I remember getting the call from my mom and sitting in the hallway of my dorm crying my eyes out. This girl came up to me and consoled me and took me to the grotto to light a candle for Jingles. That’s how I made my first friend, Lizzy, at college. We then became fast friends with Maggie and Laurie, and the four of us are still best friends to this day!
I also was on the Notre Dame Pom squad and it really transformed my college experience. We practiced for two to three hours, four to five days a week, and then we danced at games, pep rallies and had other performances. It was a big time commitment, but it was ahhhhmazing. I’m still wonderful friends with lots of the girls on the squad and it was great to have that discipline in college (not to mention the workout to keep my beer drinking butt in shape!).
Do you plan on opening up opportunities for more in-home decor consultations? I love seeing your concepts.
I get asked this question constantly and people are always shocked when I tell them that I don’t ever want to take on clients. While I love all things home and interiors, I enjoy creating and sharing my own home. That’s what The DIY Playbook brand is. Even though I would love to help everyone with their space, it takes too much time and attention away from creating content here. I’ll never say never, but I have no plans to ever take on design clients.
I’d love to hear from you. Submit a question using the form below and I’ll try to tackle it in next month’s post.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.