Spring Fever + Choosing Absence

By Kate Riley February 16, 2016

I have the biggest case of spring fever. We’ve had such beautiful weather here in California after much rain, I’m so drawn to the blue skies and the warmth from the sunshine coming from the outdoors. Opening up the windows and doors to all this fresh air has inspired reorganization and cleaning projects at home as well, and a few days away from blogging.

I was writing up a post on trays because they’re the most helpful organizational tool and have that knack for making a random grouping look tres chic, pardon the pun.

 tray with succulents

image via

I’m still working on the roundup but I hit a wall and it dawned on me that I’m lacking the motivation to write this week. Perhaps it’s because it marks the beginning of my 8th year of blogging, a small milestone, so I’m taking time to pause and reflect.

Spring fever has my attention on daffodils in bloom and the lure of long coffee dates with friends. I’m feeling the same way I did in school in spring when I was trapped in a classroom staring out the window feeling restless and unable to focus, wanting to play hooky.

Blogging has changed so much since I started in 2009. What began as a fun hobby turned into a business, which I’m very thankful for since I love what I do. Over the years, the income stream has changed which is why bloggers (including myself) take on more sponsored posts. I do believe brand partnerships are a good thing if they make sense, are on message and mutually beneficial. But I’m also wary of turning off readers, it’s a delicate tightrope to walk.

Social media changed the way we share information and where we spend our time online. Pinterest was so powerful when it came on the scene (still is) and then came Instagram. I wonder what’s next and whether I’ll be able to keep up and I confess I get mentally exhausted at the idea of even trying. I’ve never been one to chase followers or likes because it doesn’t feel authentic to me to do that, but it’s undeniable that social media is powerful and bigger followings earn you the coveted title of “influencer” which leads to greater opportunities.

Despite that pull, I’ve chosen at times to be purposefully absent from social media. Changing algorithms on Pinterest and Facebook made followings less impactful since posts don’t equal views anymore, so I question whether and how much time to spend there at all. More importantly I’ve found that choosing absence opens up wider pockets of time that I’m able to fill with more productive work or meaningful experiences.

It’s nice to receive accolades, to be recognized for your work and to be featured, that type of exposure is an honor and can lead to greater opportunities, it has value. But in a society with a 24 hour news cycle where people move on quickly to the next best thing, I don’t think it’s worth killing yourself or sacrificing what brings you serenity to chase online fame and fortune. For me, contributing my verse to the play is enough.

Choosing periods of absence online helps me appreciate so much more the simple pleasures found in my personal life that come from that ray of sunshine through the window and my real human connections.

I’m curious of your thoughts on social media and the time spent online in your personal life, do you find yourself spending too many hours checking in online, or instead choosing absence? If, so how has it affected you?

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106 comments

  1. I have to say, I have a very different style than you. I have more formal, French countryside themes than coastal blues in my decor and color schemes. Yet the reason I continue to read your blog is because of your authenticity and consistency. I know I am getting Kate Riley as I read about your designs and your ventures, and that you have not sunk into that deep blogger trap of writing for the audience and the sponsorships. I am inspired more by your efforts and initiative than I am by your designs, though I do appreciate them!

    • Thank you Kelsi, lucrative opportunities can be tempting, but I trust my gut, if it’s not the right fit, I pass. I appreciate your kind words.

  2. I have to admit, I have unfollowed so many bloggers this year because they have changed their format to ridiculous “Today I’m excited to be partnering with XYZ for this fabulous ________ project.” That’s not why we’re here, and quite frankly I’m resentful of said XYZ for intruding on my precious blogs! I agree with the post below…you are my first go to in the morning, and I love your authenticity. In fact, because of this post and your honesty today, I love you even more. Absolutely do NOT sacrifice your life and absence time to chase the almighty dollar. We are here for you and your talent, not giveaways and project suggestions. Please don’t change a thing! And thank you for sharing your talent with us. I don’t think you hear that enough these days.

    • Thank you Zan, that means so much. Many bloggers with followings are now in the business of making money so I don’t frown on sponsored posts but I agree too many makes one appear as if their opinion is for sale, especially if it comes across like the enthusiasm is feigned. Authenticity is something earned and shouldn’t be squandered for a quick buck, but I believe many brand partnerships do make sense if relevant to content. Again, thank you for your comment!

      • And just to clarify . . . YOUR sponsored posts are seamless. They don’t seem sponsored, because you integrate them into your blog so well. I was mainly referring to bloggers, for instance, who, in the midst of a year-long $50,000 kitchen remodel, suddenly plop in a post to urge me to buy command hooks and modeling putty for better craft storage. You see how irritating that is?!? So random and so strange.

        P.S. – When you do take a break, it is so stinkin’ exciting when a new post finally pops up. And we know it will be a good one.

  3. This post couldn’t come at a better time for me. I have recently started a staging and redesign company. So my business is hands on… not online at all, I thought once I created my website and a facebook profile for my business that would be it… not so I have found. From various sources, I have been told, you need to start tweeting on Twitter, you should be doing a blog so that you increase traffic to your website, creating an instagram account so people can follow you, you should be pinning on Pinterest and advertising on facebook, etc etc etc. I am not at all a techy type person and have found the amount of social media that I am “supposed” to be doing is overwhelming. I feel that I am spending soooo much time on social media and trying to figure it all out that I’m not actually doing the work I have set my sights on doing. It’s nice to know that someone such as yourself who has been doing this for so long, can feel like it’s too much at times. Thank you for the reminder to step back and enjoy the small moments in life. Love your blog and I think I’ve been following and enjoying your stories for the past 6 or 7 years, love your style but love your authenticity more!

    • Yes I hear you Debbie, I see all those articles about what I *should* be doing too regarding social media promotion. Just yesterday someone suggested I create a YouTube channel and while that sounds fun, I don’t know where that time would come from unless I take it away from my family, and that I won’t do. There are only so many hours in the day, if you spend them producing good work for your staging and redesign company, the shares will follow. :) Good luck to you!

  4. I completely understand wanting to step away. I write a fitness/wellness blog as part of my job at a fitness center, and I handle our social media. I’m not on instagram for work as much as I should be, but I’m constantly checking fb to respond to messages/comments. Don’t even want to start periscoping LOL! It’s draining, and it’s not how I want to spend my precious minutes of life. Difficult balance for sure.

    More and more of the blogs that I consistently read are starting to spread out posts (instead of posting daily), and that’s ok with me! I like to read when you have something to share, but I’ll still be here when you’d like to take a break too ;) I was thrilled when you shared about your recent vacation. Australia has been on my bucket list since 3rd grade, but after seeing your pictures I’d like to visit New Zealand, too!!

    Now go enjoy coffee with friends and flowers in bloom :)

    • How sweet Theresa thank you! Life is short we SHOULD stop to smell the flowers and have coffee with friends. I agree, I’d rather read fewer posts from favorite bloggers than a lot of daily fluff, and yep I’m with you on Periscope. I can’t even think about taking on yet another social media channel, ugh.

  5. I have been reading since 2009 (have commented a few times here and there), and while I think your creativity, design eye, and ability to do things “cent”sationally are spot on and super inspiring, I think I keep checking in all these years because you have such an authentic, genuine, smart, “this girl gets life” kind of voice. A constant for me; a breath of fresh air in an ever-changing social media world. And speaking of fresh air, if that is the reason you may be absent from time to time, I can’t think of a better one. I think I’ve told you this before, actually, but you could write much less and can still count me as a reader from across the country! ~Jill

    • Thank you Jill that means so much! Cheers to more time spent in the fresh air and away from the unending social media feed. We can’t see ‘all the things’ online anyway so why try? :)

  6. I totally agree with the above two posts! It is precisely because you are authentic in sharing your passion for design, and not beholden to represent the interests of your sponsors, that I continue to follow your blog. I do visit linked webpages and occasionally make purchases because I’ve seen it in your blog and have decided it might work for me as well. But I can’t say how much I appreciate the freedom from constant pop-ups and noisy advertising. And while I love your design ideas and projects, I’m fine with the occasional absence. I don’t spend my days online or checking social media. Stay true!

    • Thanks so much Carol! I do like to share favorite décor products because having a few pretty things you love around you does enhance your home and makes it your special place! I also appreciate when other bloggers share their unique finds or sources, those things I’d never see if it wasn’t for their posts. It is challenging when promoting products to not come across as pushy or driven by money, but I also understand the business side of it too. If a blogger shares a great find with me and I make a purchase based on their link, it doesn’t bother me if they receive a small commission.

  7. Just wanted to let you know that you are awesome!! I have only managed 2 blog posts this month, and it was really starting to bother me, but I realized I would rather put out posts I really enjoy than force something. I don’t know how some people put out new content everyday of the week; I will attempt to stick to my 2 times a week and focus on quality over quantity.

  8. I agree completely with the previous 3 followers. I too am ‘unfollowing’ many bloggers this yr. I don’t need nor want a sales pitch with 3 out of their 5 posts for the week. Quality over quantity any time. As readers/followers our time is important also so it’s easier to just leave. Have a great break and we will be here when you return.

    • Ditto “quality over quantity” Dee! I’m not taking a long break, just a few days, I can’t see myself ever quitting, this gig is great! But a healthy amount of down time makes the job that much better. Thanks for following along. :)

  9. I agree 100% with everything you stated. :-) Every single word! It has been all I have been thinking about the past few months. I feel that time away allows you to really see what you need to live the best life you can. It allows time for focus and passion to return so you can follow your dreams by getting out there and doing it, instead of mindless time wasting scrolling to see what other are up to. I have never been big on social media, it is too exhausting trying to keep up. Enjoy the downtime. XO

    • Hi Diane, I miss you! I love following your new adventures with your lake house… and as I recall you take a healthy amount of breaks, thanks for your wisdom! So true that time away helps you focus on your true passions. xo

  10. I think there is so much pressure on bloggers these days. I’m not a blogger but I find social media has become excessive lately. Now I just focus on my favorite social media which is instagram. I dropped my twitter account and rarely check Facebook. Too old for snap chat & all the rest! This way I don’t get burned out or feel that I’m sharing too much of my personal life with others.

    • I wonder what’s in store for the next generation Sharon, will the millennials and their offspring just accept the constant barrage of information coming at them from so many social platforms or push back and seek out less time engrossed in other people’s feeds. There is definitely a societal shift happening, it seems everyone is always staring at their phones, the younger generation seems to completely accept it, while the older generation shakes their head at it.

  11. Well, I’m just a reader and I like you, that’s why I read the blog. Sure, you’re mind thinks in amazing, inspiring ways and I totally love your content, but you are a woman not a kid and so you, your ideas, your style, your writing resonate with me. I don’t have time for all the latest foolishness…I just want solid, endearing style. Don’t do Facebook, Instagram or anything else. For me, too boring. Text a lot w/my children and close friends…otherwise we like a little (real) face time and a cup of coffee ?

    • Thank you Pamela! Yes it seems there is a lot of fluff out there, I’ve always thought if someone wants to read about what I’m up to they can just stop on by the ol’ blog. I appreciate your insight.

  12. Also You should take as much time as you need and as often as you feel like it. I think you girls work too hard. I know it’s a job, but it’s not a life.

  13. I’m another one that has unfollowed bloggers because it seems that their blogs are 90% sponsorships than them actually blogging.

    I recently disconnected myself from facebook. It’s been about 3 months (THREE MONTHS!)… it feels awesome though. I don’t feel the need to constantly check on what everyone’s doing, I don’t feel the need to put little status updates constantly. I’m not checking my phone at red lights (I’m the one that you beep at because I don’t notice that it turns green)… and I just feel ‘lighter’ I guess. I’ve realized that the ones that I matter to the most will still be there.

    Anyway- all that to say that I completely get the “choosing absence”. Sometimes it’s just the right choice.

    • Yes yes Natalie I totally agree with the “lighter feeling” from pulling away! Congrats on 3 months away, you’ve got willpower girl! One of my best friends isn’t even on Facebook and no matter how many people say, can I message you or friend you on Facebook she just smiles and says “nope, that’s not for me” and I respect her so much for that. :)

  14. oh kate i just want to hug you! you said everything i feel… i find myself in this place where i want to not care about pinterest and everything that comes with social media growth and blog growth… i want to be totally authentic… but then i feel this pull of what i should be doing as a good blogger if i want to grow grow grow. and the thing is i DO want to grow because i would love to be more profitable, but i do not want to be pinning nonstop, or reading about the next algorithm change. and if something goes viral or is well read i want it to be because it was truly worth it, not because i pinned it to the right board at the right time. thanks for sharing your feelings today!

    • I think passion ebbs and flows, comes and goes Cassie. Some mornings I’m so fired up to blog and pin and share and other days I’m just not feeling it and that’s okay too. We’re lucky to have the kind of job where we can step away, it’s a luxury. We all want to grow, of course it leads to more money in your pocket, but I’d encourage you to trust your gut when it comes to taking time away from social media, and be happy with everything you’ve achieved to date. You’re blog is amazing and your talents will continue to propel you forward. xo

  15. This post came at the right time. I feel like I need some time away again too. I struggled with myself because I didn’t have a post for tomorrow and now I feel better.
    Social Media is exhausting at times. I do love Instagram but that’s about it.
    I have stopped blogging at night and want to just enjoy my time with the family. If I overdue it, my creative brain stops working.
    I’ve always loved your blog.

    • So true Julia! You know what? I used to put pressure on myself years ago to have a post publish the next morning and then I’d stay up late or skip a bedtime chat with my kids and not only was that too stressful I realized I was missing some really important stuff so I just stopped doing that. Now I realize that readers aren’t going to go away if you take more time between publishing posts. I’m happy whenever my favorite bloggers post something even if it’s just once a week. Be well friend! xo

  16. I just recently started delving into blogs again. As one that would like to have a successful blog, reading blogs like yours is so inspiring. But, after reading some of those “So I Married a Blogger” posts, it is evident a successful blog takes an enormous amount of thought, effort and time. I can see how you would want to take a break. Actually, I would say about 33% of the bloggers I read have mentioned taking a break. I like to call it divine discontent. Perhaps your work will go in a different direction, perhaps it won’t. Hope a break helps figure it out! I’ll be here checking for new posts, no worries :)

    • Yes it’s true Jenn it takes a lot of time but I have no plan to leave it, I just believe it’s healthy to step away from time to time, shut off the computer breathe in fresh air, and spend time with the ones you love, that’s so important to our health and happiness!

  17. I am an avid DIY/decor blog reader but I’ve found myself shying away for the past year or so. Mostly because I’ve seen the invasion of the sponsored post. I am absolutely not against bloggers making money, or sponsored posts even, but when I open my reader and a blogger has posted a sponsored post for the third time in a row, I roll my eyes and move on. Or when my reader has three different bloggers endorsing the same company on the same day…*yawn*.
    I actually do open sponsored posts from bloggers I love (looking at you Kate) because I trust their recommendations and I’m always interested in new products. But as soon as I get the sense that a blogger is trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, I’m gone.
    What I’ve realized recently is: I don’t need a new post every day (or even every week) from my favorite bloggers. What I care about is great content, which includes sponsored posts. Some of my favorites posts infrequently, but I always look forward to their posts when they finally do come.
    Woof. This is a really long reply, but I’ve been reflecting on the general decline of this genre of blogs. I’ve realized it’s unreasonable for the reader to see NEW! PROJECTS! EVERY! DAY! so I’ve had to adjust my expectations. And the blogs I’ve stuck with have balanced everything perfectly. A few sponsored posts, well thought out content, and not killing themselves posting every day. Less is more.

    • Yes so well said Lindsay, it is impossible as a single blogger (without a team) to provide original projects every day. And I agree I look forward to opening a new post from a favorite blogger who provides thoughtful content even if it’s infrequent, you’re right “less is more”. Thank you for your comment!

  18. I agree with the fact that people are now constantly inundated with information- whether its the news, social media or through blogs. All of this excess of information gives everyone less time and dumbs down the experience through every interaction. My question is, what is the future for blogs? I have one and love the creative outlet of blogging, and I still read so many other blogs as well. But as instagram and snapchat and these small tidbits of information grow, less people are actually coming to blogs, whether because of content or time. I feel like I am working so hard for better content, but getting less and less ROI- I’m not sure what to do or what is next. What do you think the next frontier is?

    -Stefanie
    http://www.thestylesafari.com

    • Yes so true Stefanie, the small tidbits of information coming at us in quick blips does dumb down the whole experience of absorbing content. Much of the commentary has moved over to those social channels because it’s quicker to just “like” something. I don’t think blogs will go away, I do see many of us small blogs surviving if we stay true to ourselves, I know I love to hear the voices of favorite bloggers from around the country (and world), real voices are appealing, but many bloggers also climb the ranks expanding their blogs into teams so they’re able to provide more content. I still believe there is space for all of us, but don’t know how long it will remain a source of income, YouTube and Instagram are now monetized and there are a lot of personalities making money there.

  19. Kate,
    Thank you for your openeness and honesty! I’ve been following your blog pretty much from the beginning, I think I’ve committed a time or two along the way. There are about three blogs that I truly love, and continue to follow. You are definetly one of them…I look forward to my quiet time at the end of the day, (after the munchkin’s are tucked in bed) to Check in on what you’ve been up to…It’s such a nice way for me to unwind. I love that you are original, and continue to inspire through your amazing sense of style. I am on Instagram, but to be honest sometimes I leave feeling a little “less than.” I love looking at beautiful images of homes, clothing, etc. But sometimes it can seem a little too perfect and not realistic. I’m glad you are able to Un-plug and recharge, we all need that from time to time. Thank you, sincerely Lori :)

    • Thank you Lorena! I agree Instagram, while pretty, can leave you feeling “less than”. SO MANY FEEDS so perfectly staged right? I get it though, they’re establishing their brand image and are posting a consistent level of beauty shots to maintain that image. Some of it comes across as phony, but often I am inspired by creativity spied on Instagram or introduced to new products or creative people. There are pros and cons to showing just the pretty. Thank you for following the blog, I really appreciate it so much!

  20. True! It’s nice to stay away from blogging and all the social media stuff. There is no doubt that socal media can be very helpful for work and staying in contact with loved ones who live all over the world – but do we have connected disconnectivity? We need to start putting down the devices and stop obsessing about how many likes our most recent post attracted, how many comments we get on our blogs, or how many friends we have on Facebook. Lol. We so busy taking photos and uploading them of our amazing holidays, meals and experiences for everyone else to see, that we’re actually missing the moment ourselves.

    • Ha yes Gwen! Ever notice how many people have their phones out during events, photographing or videoing it instead of enjoying it? I confess I’m just as guilty of taking out my phone to capture a moment, one I’ll want to relive with an image or short video, so I try not to judge others for doing the same but you’re right, it seems EXCESSIVE how tied we are to our phones and social media profiles. The other night I was out to dinner with a group of friends, not one of us looked at our phone for hours, yet the table next to us made up of 20 somethings spent the entire time on their phones. Wow. Such a stark generational difference in socialization.

  21. Hi Kate – I only came to your blog recently, but have enjoyed everything I’ve read. I don’t follow tons of bloggers and tend to bookmark posts I like and refer back to them, like books on a bookshelf.

    I’m really glad that you’re rebalancing your life and I think you’re part of one of those realisations that strikes a culture every now and then. Too much to read means that the words wash over us like a constant river of language and we’re drowning in information, most of which we don’t have time to process or any real need for, on the day it appears onscreen.

    Dickens did ok publishing Pickwick Papers in ‘posts’ once a month. There’s something to aim for!

    Your children will be thrilled to have extra helpings of you.Time does whizz by and there’s no editing available for family time.

    All best wishes – and thanks for all the creative inspiration

    Elaine

    • Hey if Dickens can, so can we! Thanks Elaine, I loved that. That constant flowing river of information will never end, we’ve got to be able to step back from it otherwise like you said, we will drown in it.

  22. My friend and I were just discussing the “condemnation of content” in our current society.

    I also am a home stager, with just 6 clients. People are constantly asking me “why don’t you market yourself? ” I am not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. I don’t even have a website! I have my clients, they know where to find me. I am not changing the world and admittedly not paying the mortgage either. But its enough to travel, do small projects on MY home and keep my creative juicing going. And you know what? I am content.

    Just do your blog for YOU – that’s how you started and that’s why most of us are here. I understand you have to reach a certain number for money- but if money is not the driver then let that go.
    Just be productive, creative, and informative.

    • Preach Cassie. That’s exactly how I feel. Content with just enough. Good luck with your staging business, I’d love to see pics of your projects!

  23. Hi there, I’ve only just discovered your blog and love that you are open and authentic. I also agree that maintaining an online presence and competing for the few seconds that viewers spend on any post whether it’s a blog or social media is very draining. However, I think that you need to do what makes YOU happy and if it means sharing a sponsored post to earn an income from your passion, then your true readers should be ok with that. Everyone deserves to make an income from their passion and we cannot appease the masses. Your true followers will understand that and sponsored posts can be valuable if they fit your brand and what you blog about. Congratulations on the longevity of your blog, it is not easy to create unique and valuable content for as long as you have. You have a new follower. xx

    • Thank you Nicki. I agree making an income from your passion is great! I love that I have the ability to be creative, to work with new products, and do that as a source of income. It’s the competition for attention online that can be so draining as you say, thank you for your support!

  24. Oh my goodness I SO agree with you. It seems that “chasing the carrot dangling in front of our noses” has become the goal. I understand all the reasons behind sponsors. But, like you, I just want to get my words out there to reach hearts and help people. Thankfully I don’t have to depend on my blog for my income, because I write randomly as I have the urge.
    Thank you for being authentic.

    • Thank you so much Mimi! My blog is not our family’s sole source of income so I feel blessed that I have the luxury of stepping back to catch my breath if I need to. Yes to just wanting to share your words and reach hearts.

  25. I think everything in life has to be in moderation. If you spend your whole life on the computer then your really not having a life and selling yourself and everyone around you short.

    • Exactly Kim, the best writers and creators know that shutting off the computer and stepping out into the real world is where you will recharge and find new sources of inspiration.

  26. Totally agree. The whole chasing likes and follows is just not me so I don’t even attempt it. I say quality over quantity – even if that means I’m not at the top of the heap.

  27. Yes! Choose absence when that is what your authentic self is craving. You will continue to be an inspiration to all of us when you pay attention to what that inner self is telling you. Continue to do what you do so well and don’t worry about the next best thing. With this post you have given everyone an absolutely perfect reminder that while reading and posting blogs beautifully enriches our lives, real life is lived off the screen. Thank you, Kate.

    • So well said Diane, real life IS lived off the screen. But we DO love our blogs! The thing I love about the blogosphere so much is the opportunity to witness other people’s creativity, hear their voices, and be inspired by their experiences they share. It’s like one big online piazza where we get to people watch!

  28. Wow Kate! beautifully written! I am just at the very beginning of my blog career (we’re talking 4 weeks) but yours has been such an inspiration! The weekend reading series is my FAV to peruse with a cup of coffee. It’s so great to hear your perspective on social media and balance as I’m at the point where I’m really trying to build an authentic audience…not just a “like for like” or “follow for follow”. I’ve found the blogging community to be so open, warm, and friendly. Kudos to you for recognizing the need for balance, genuine professional relationship, and time spent away from it all. I admire your work and what you’ve done with your blog! I only hope to be as successful as you!

    • I wish you great success Colette, thank you so much for your kind compliment, so glad you enjoy the Weekend Reading series. I started it a couple years ago because I do find many random links that inspire me or make me smile and I love to share them.

  29. I also live in Ca and have the same spring fever you are feeling. I do enjoy reading your post and I look to it for inspiration(Peacock color night stand). You shouldn’t feel quilty for wanting time away from the computer, time to enjoy life. I won’t quit “following” you if you have less posts. I tried to give up FB as a New Years resolution but it didn’t last long. I keep going back under the pretense of keeping in touch with my kids.

    • Like you the blue skies were making me so restless Pam I couldn’t concentrate! The rains are back this week :( so it’s mellowed my spring fever but I am anxious for it to arrive, spring is my favorite season.

  30. I think a lot of the pressure to be ever-present in social media is driven by social media itself. You’re a breath of fresh air and I enjoy sitting down to your blog like sitting down with a friend for coffee (albeit a friend with a great eye for design!) – love your site just as it is.

    • Thank you Anita, I so appreciate that. I too love the ritual of sitting down with a cup of coffee and visiting my favorite blogs to see what they’re up to, so many lovely people and creative voices, a refreshing break from all the noise coming from so many other media outlets.

  31. It really does feel like we’re chasing after the wind these days. Kate, you are always so purposeful… whether it’s sponsored posts or sharing design details from your heart everything you do is always first rate. I always feel like I’ve flipped open an expensive magazine that is not only beautiful, but inspiring when I click on your blog. The frequency of your posts won’t change that if you choose to step away and live more in the moment from time to time. And by what I have already read… your readers will applaud you for your decision.

    I am approaching my 4-year anniversary. I have been successful because I have stayed the course through job losses and 6 moves in this same time frame (yes I am counting success differently). My numbers have fluctuated… sponsored posts come and go… I cannot compete with those who have a steady home or financial base.. I’m not alone in this. A lot has changed in the past 4 years…. let alone the past 8. We’ve become more professional. That’s good. But, I do believe that social media has negatively impacted the blogging world. Because we are all interacting on so many platforms we don’t leave comments on blogs… I haven’t commented here in a really long time. I don’t have the time nor the emotional stamina to chase numbers on social media. Plus, self-promotion doesn’t feel right. Having to build our numbers constantly is draining. And I think it’s draining the life out of us.

    I feel sorry for those who are younger who have only lived with a cell phone and the internet in their palm. Life is happening all around them, but their are missing it as they walk through life… eyes glued to their devices while their children play unattended though in physical proximity.

    Thanks for being real today, Kate. Enjoy your time away. And be blessed.

    • Wow Diane, I just love everything you wrote. I’m so impressed with you that you’ve stayed the course through some tough times, bravo. Yes the competition for attention on so many profiles can be all consuming, I just refuse to let it take over my life. The pull of the device (phone/ipad) has become such an addiction, we struggle in our own home to limit the use of them. I have fond memories of a childhood spent playing outside all afternoon, no TV to watch or gadget to entertain me. I want that so much for my own children too, no matter how much they protest, I’m always forcing them to go outside and play or jump on the trampoline. I think (hope) they’ll thank me someday. :)

  32. I am reading these types of comments and discussions on many of my blogs. Here’s my two cents. I think less posts and more content is they way things are going. Less product roundups with affiliates and more thoughts and information. Doesn’t bother me that you are not posting all the time…I don’t have time to read every blog every day anyway. I want to have my own blog, but have been waylaid due to multiple losses in my life. So the blog idea has changed greatly since I first decided to do it. But when I do it, I guess I will not worry about numbers so much. If it happens, it happens. I am reading that readership is down everywhere. People are embracing JOMO – joy of missing out. Maybe they realize that knowing the hippest, hottest, newest, doesn’t help anyone’s quality of life. Your blog is great and is safe from all that! You have lots of info to share and your voice is heartfelt.Carry on girlfriend!

  33. Kate, I have never left a comment with you although I have followed you for years. Today I must. YOU are why I follow your blog. You have remained true to your vision it appears, and we readers can sense that. The first two blogs I ever followed, I loved for years, until the past two or so years when I feel like I am constantly being “sold” something. As a reader, I feel used and more than a bit resentful. As far as Pinterest and FB go, they are a bit in the past I think, IG posts are lovely, once again if I don’t feel marketed to. Readers are pretty savvy if you ask me. Stick with your gut girl, take it at your pace, we’ll all still be here, genuinely appreciating your authenticity.

    • How kind Ruth, thank you so much. I think it’s important as a blogger whose business it is to share information to strike a balance in your posts by rotating original content with the occasional product feature. If you have an eye for great design and a strong readership, brands want to capitalize on it and that’s where the barrage of partnership pitches come from. I don’t mind the sponsored posts, product roundups, or décor recommendations from bloggers as long as it integrates well with what they are already writing about that is not sponsored. On one side is the desire (need) for money to pay the bills, on the other is that question of turning off readers that tugs at you. For me, if a sponsored post doesn’t fit with my ongoing remodeling/life/decorating story, then it’s declined. Readers are savvy as you say, they can sense if you’re trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

  34. If I see give away in the subject line, of a blog post, I hit the delete button. I realized a long time ago, that I was not going to be a Kate Riley, in the blog world, but it serves as a good marketing tool for my shop. I have found that boosted posts on Facebook have been good ways to get people into the shop. But if I don’t boost the post, they get no attention, to speak of, considering I have over 3000 likes on my page. I think that there’s a more sophisticated audience these days and a couple of bloggers continue to focus on new vignettes. How many times can you move stuff around in your house and keep a bloggers audience intact? Anyway, keep doing what you’re doing. Family first.

  35. Great post, Kate! Your blog is one of the first I started reading years ago and I’d say it’s one of the few that’s still on my regular list. I started this year with the intention to only post when I feel like I have something worth sharing. Nothing forced and definitely turning down partnerships that don’t feel right. It’s freed up more time to be creative and spend quality time with my family and friends (something I was missing out on too often before). Less time at my desk has been better for my health too!

  36. Thanks for the thoughtful post. It feels to me like pendulum has swung away from needing to be in constant digital contact and towards living in the 3 dimensional world for a lot of people. Growing food, cooking real meals, living consciously and thoughtfully. The digital/social media thing has always felt so self-centered . . . meals with friends where they’ll ck the vibrating cell phone when someone is mid sentence, endless instagrams of Kim K’s massive buttocks, inane twitter & facebook wars. Not sure what to say about young people and social media; this is what they know and it probably doesn’t feel absurd to them.
    However, the nature of the pendulum is to swing. It may be swinging one way now but it’ll swing back the other way.

  37. I think you’re one of the most genuine bloggers out there. As a marketing professional, I feel you’re doing sponsored posts the right way; they’re genuine, honest, and personal. I see so many of these family and fashion bloggers partnering with sponsors you know they would never in a million years relate to in real life. Taking vacation after vacation with their poor, tired children. Wearing $1000 handbags and claiming they’ve got Old Navy in their closet. C’mon! Please keep doing what you’re doing – being real – because so many of us appreciate it.

  38. Please do you! The other kind of blogging is a turnoff. When bloggers are chasing a dollar instead of being rewarded for who they are instinctually as a blogger, it shows in posts and turns off the people who read them to begin with. I don’t know if that made sense but I appreciate your thoughtful posts as opposed to some that are just ads. And not every post has to be full! Some of the best are just a little slice of life.

  39. I find that I’m unsubscribing to many of the blogs of I’ve followed. I enjoy lots of DIY/decor blogs, but I really don’t want to see what the bloggers are wearing on Fridays, nor do I want to click through to purchase another blogger’s bundled product, buy your essential oils, etc. That’s why your blog is my favorite! When you were offline during your website redesign, I missed your blog so much that I stalked you on FB to make sure you hadn’t disappeared! Honestly, I feel like I spend too much time online – instead of creating my dreams and seeing my ideas spring to life. This year I’m applying the KonMari method to many parts of my life (not just my house). If a blog no longer sparks joy, I don’t hesitate to unsubscribe.

  40. I’m trying to grow my blog presence and have spent too much time on social media. I’m ending up not doing the things I enjoy which just seems pointless. This sounds melodramatic but at the end of my life I don’t want to be thinking of all the time spent on line. :)

  41. I enjoy reading blogs about design. It’s a passion of mine, maybe even an obsession. I sometimes enjoy sponsored post if it’s a product or service that is on topic for the blog an/or the bloggers style. I’m not a fan of a blogger focusing on home DIY and design blogging about a food service company.

    I’m also guilty of not reading the posts unless the images capture my attention. As you mention social media consumes so much of our time, I sometimes feel it can pull me away from real life too much, so I skim. And only stop and read when something captures my eye.

  42. Kate, C.Girl, you have defied the forces for 8 years—it’s no wonder you want a break. Every year the number of keystrokes required for eyeballs goes up exponentially. How in the world have you maintained a message of generosity, thankfulness, resourcefulness, affordability, defiance of snobbishness and perfectionism, resistance to compromising your integrity and good humor and delightful transparency? Most people (me) can’t even get a topic selected before another platform has been added. As a culture, we have almost doubled back to the day of subsistence living, a time when we had no resources for art, play, comfort, relaxing, broadening conversations and learning the wider world. What is there to enjoy inside a screen and without social intelligence? Regarding social media and blogging, I am thrilled to hear that this is not as easy for you as it looks. Now that I know there’s a club, I am joining JOMO. My life is happier in face-to-face conversing and listening. Joining in the energy of person-to-person authentic exchanges is my goal. My choice is to explore real, not imaginary, paths for doing that and living a making. You are a great guide but you get to decide what you want to guide and how you’re going to use that gift.

  43. I agree with you. Take a break when you need/want to – post when you have something to say rather say something just to post.
    I have 4 blogs and no idea of how many followers I have (if any). I use my blogs for journals and posting so that friends & family can follow what’s going on in my life/projects. I have one for my crafting, another for crochet projects/sales, another for reno projects/DIY and one for my dogs. I rarely instagram except for fun, I follow some people on twitter rather than tweet and I only go on facebook to keep in touch with people who are too far to visit. I do use pinterest but again it’s mainly for my personal use and project research.
    I really enjoy your blog and you are one of the few people I still follow and visit.
    Live your life the way you want to and I hope you post just enough to keep the rest of us inspired!

  44. I actually appreciate blogs that I follow not posting every single day or even every week. Keep it sincere, real and relative. People follow you for a reason; if you deviate from that path they’ll feel it and lost interest. I have recently trimmed down the blogs I follow because many seem terribly insincere and have become so ridiculously overrun with ads that I just don’t enjoy them anymore. I’ve seen blogs I’ve followed for years go from detailed, thoughtful posts to just trivial postings filled with so many ads I was overwhelmed with the mental chaos it created just trying to read the blog that ended up not amounting to anything anyway.
    Sincerity, honesty and being true to yourself is the best way to keep readers engaged and interested. And taking a break is simply good for everyone sometimes.

  45. Such a thoughtful post and one I also struggle with. I am a paid blogger for others in the design industry so I spend a great deal of time online and trying to balance their presence on facebook and pinterest. I have purposefully stayed away from twitter and instagram. The feedback I receive from my clients is that their numbers to do up but whether that is mportant or not, no one really knows. The key it seems to me, is to continue to offer applicable and relevant and helpful information to clients via blog posts of their own as well as sharing relevant posts from others in the industry.

    I also have to step away occasionally and take a break from all the online “noise” and I usually return inspired and invigorated. I enjoy your blog and other articles you write for Lamps Plus, BHG etc and appreciate your dedication.

  46. Kate,
    I just enjoy your writing so much. I often feel as though I know you and your family. You bring so much of your personality to everything you do, from your writing to your design. I agree with so many of the other commenters that quality versus quantity is much more appealing. Honestly, I am amazed by how you juggle everything and with such grace-at least that’s what we out here see!

    You continue to inspire me to try new ideas on my home. Thank you!

  47. I think that you are spot-on with this, Kate. I have taken frequent breaks from social media…usually on the weekend. I find that sometimes the amount of posts that I view about other people can make me feel a little less-than. I think that this is something that we all struggle with when we are inundated with beautiful photos of things and experiences.

    As far as blogging goes, I think you’re right about that, too. I have a little blog that I keep that I update when I’m feeling inspired, and I think my mom and husband are the only ones who read it, lol, but it is a creative outlet that I love and that makes me happy.

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this.

  48. Thank you for this post–like others have commented, it came at a great time for me. I’ve had a blog for 5 years, but have been sporadic with posting over the years and I am just now trying to take it a little more serious. I’m overwhelmed with just the idea of what the “experts” are recommending with social media (and SEO, picture optimizing, Google Page Speed, ugh!!). I think I am going to take a step back from all the research on what I should be doing and just concentrate on consistency and providing value to my readers. Thank you again–it is nice to know that even a well-known blogger feels like I do about the social media aspect.

  49. Love this post. I have a small interior design business and once thought of starting a blog, but decided I couldn’t handle the pressure of always needing to post something new. I don’t know how you do it!

    Two bloggers I follow – Sarah at Sarah Dorsey Design, and Kiersten at House of Jade Interiors often only post once, maybe twice a week. Sarah is the ultimate DIYer and everything Kiersten touches is amazing, so I don’t really care if they post more than that. I keep checking! I’ve followed you since almost the beginning, and keep following for all the reasons others stated above. I also think life is just way too short to spend so much time looking at a screen.

    I have 4 kids and 2 just left home for college. Let me tell you…that time goes by in a flash and I guarantee you I won’t be lying on my death bed wishing I had spent more time decorating or doing things that took me away from my family. A job is sometimes necessary, but I like you because it’s obviously not your life, I love that you give back to the community too…just what makes you the one of only 5 I have followed for years. :)

  50. You are one of the three decor blogs I read. I’ve trimmed the list way back because other bloggers no longer write posts that show, share and teach. They write posts that sell products or that “mark time,” which means they really don’t have time for a real post so quickly post a few enticing items to buy from different sources and call it good.

    I return to your blog because it’s substantial, real, and I always learn from your posts. We have very different styles but that doesn’t matter. I learn from your posts.

    I encourage you to find a rhythm that works for your life. Post 3 days/week or 2 days/week but commit to a regular schedule so your readers know when to find you. Two days might seem radical to you but it would definitely give you ‘a life’!

    Facebook is just boring anymore and very few FB pages are ‘authentic’ and that medium really isn’t “the place” for real voice and real exchange. Twas sexy for a long while but technology keeps moving and I would argue snaring our lives from us. But we’re in the pilot seat; we can opt to take a walk instead.

    Thank you for all that you give to others and especially thank you for caring about your life.

  51. Your post is really inspiring, Kate! Centsational Girl is the first blog I started following, back in 2009 all the way from Switzerland, and even though our style is different, I love your intelligent voice, your good writing and your down-to-earth approach when it comes to, well everything.
    Your posts are high-quality and that’s what makes us (your readers) return for more. And I’m sure most of us appreciate that over the frequency of your posts.

    • Thanks so much Eva, so nice to know I have a reader in Switzerland! One of my most favorite countries ever, it’s so picturesque and charming!

  52. I’ve come back to this post three times now because your words hit so close to home. Social media is tiring. I don’t know who has time to keep up with FB, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Google+ and whatever else is out there. My time with my kid is already limited and I’m not sinking down to the level of posting her photo all over the place just to get likes or follows.

    And sometimes we just need a break to reenergize. I totally get that. I still work full time and try to blog… but now I’m starting to realize that my 8 year old only child is growing up too fast and sometimes I put a DIY project in front of hiking with her at the park. Talk about a mother’s guilt. So yeah, this post reminded me to take some time for myself and my family.

    Thanks again for saying this. Just keep sticking with your true, authentic self. We will always be here to read your posts. You were the first blog I ever read (and you inspired me to start my own blog), and I’ll read it until the day you decide to stop. But just don’t let that happen any time soon ;)

    • Thank you Erin! Yes that mom guilt creeps in whenever there’s a choice between spending time with family and working on another project. I feel that a lot! I had to stop blogging in the afternoon so I could just focus on the needs of the kids during that time. Less time online means less projects to feature or posts to publish but the contentment felt from knowing that the family’s needs are met (mine too, must make time for exercise and lunch dates with friends!) makes me feel I’m making the right choice. I love your blog, keep on being amazing at your own pace too.

  53. I am NOT a blogger or vlogger just a fan of your blog. Why do I read it? Because I love your ideas on ways to make my life happier, smarter, sweeter. I think social media is a blessing and curse. Keep doing what makes you true to your self. And THANK YOU!!!

  54. First, Kate, you are such a talented, well rounded blogger. I’ve consistently followed you and looked at your posts for inspiration. You are such a talented decorator, writer and travel inspiration! I spend a lot of time online because of my job, but you give me a break and respite in my day. But I’m sure blogging can be weary…that said…hope you don’t stop. I’m sure it’s difficult to keep coming up with more and better content. But you are so authentic and professional, you’d be hard to replace out there!

  55. Great Blog. I too have one but only for book reviews and things I feel moved to speak about, with no commercial income (i.e. just for me!!). So no pressure there. However, the pressure comes from friends who want me to look at their facebook account rather than actually talking to me – never going to do that as decided in the early days that I didn’ need facebook and it didn’t need me! All the other stuff, twitter and so on, just takes up time. Time I can garden in, read in, and have fun in. Good for you and your decision!!

  56. Kate, to begin with let me thank you for allowing me to see some of your life through your blog. You have inspired me to decorate more than you could know and I also thank you for that. A lot of design and a little bit of this and that is exactly what I look for in a blog. I read only 3 or 4 in a week now. If I have time on my hands I will view a few more but nothing like I did 2 years ago. Some that I used to follow have become advertorials for certain stores or are so busy flogging products that the content has all but disappeared. For several years I read the most wonderful design and life blog written by a woman with genuine style and at the time was probably my favourite blogger. She had many readers in blog land. The blogger went into the real estate business and so her blog became an ad for the properties she has listed , a total turnoff. No one refers to her anymore and I personally don’t know anyone who reads her. As a reader I do not mind product referrals as I realise that to continue bloggers need to make money but I do like some content too. I don’ t Pininterst or Instagram and prefer to get my inspiration from chosen blog sites, design magazines or Houzz.

    I too hope you don’t stop blogging you would be sadly missed Kate. Your blog is of such quality and totally relevant.

    • Thank you Alison! I’m not going anywhere, I’ve found a slower pace just works for me, thank you so much for your support!

  57. Oh Kate! I loved this post so much! I just hit nine years of blogging and things have changed so much that it is so disheartening at times. Feeling the need to keep up and grow and stay on every single social media constantly has just worn me out. I have always said on my blog that I cannot keep up with social media and do what is expected of bloggers. I simply do what I want to do, and blog the way I want to, and do not even attempt to stay up on social media. I’ve just about given up pinning on Pinterest all the time, and Instagram things to be nothing more than a showy place to me these days. Cannot keep up with all the hashtags and parties over there either, so I Instagram the way I want to as well. I will never have huge following on any of these social media and I have resigned myself to that fact and I am OK with it. I will never stop blogging as long as things are going well for me as They have these past nine years. I am so thrilled to be able to make a living at this and even though sponsored posts are part of that, I turn down so many things because I do not want to just chase the almighty dollar. My time is also precious and I refuse to stay on social media constantly. I’ve always said I have a love/hate relationship with social media and that is still true. Blogging has changed our lives in so many profound ways and I am so grateful for that. But, I have a life with real people and that is what I want to focus on the most. So for me the blog still takes my focus and social media is a slow second. We just can’t do it all, as all of us know! Thank you for such a real and authentic post about life as a blogger. It is so so true. I feel like a rebel many times in the blog world because I don’t want to follow all the trends and do all the things that it supposedly takes to grab more attention and followers. Thank you my dear friend!

    • Thank YOU Rhoda! That was so well said, and I am thankful you shared your experience and the wisdom that’s come from it. You are a lovely voice in the community and a good friend. :)

  58. Kate, as always your authentic self can be seen in this post. I have followed you almost from your beginning and I still enjoy your blog immensely! After reading many of the comments, I find some comfort in seeing there are others that feel the same way I do…….I too have stopped following so many blogs this year; many that I have followed for years. It is so obvious that some blogs have become more about generating traffic, whether it is for promoting their design services, a book, their online store, their graphic designs, etc. It changes their voice and to me they lose their uniqueness and authenticity. Please don’t get me wrong, I do understand that it is their business which means making money and ways to keep that money coming in. I’m sure it is such a fine line to walk between making money and keeping readers happy, one I don’t envy. I do kind of miss the days when bloggers were just using their blogs for a creative outlet and doing fun diy posts, moms on a budget giving their simple projects and sharing ideas to those of us on a budget. Blogs have evolved into businesses, which means promoting local or national companies products, promoting other bloggers to gain more followers, promoting their own businesses. When I see a blogger putting hardwood on the entire first floor of her home and she is promoting the company where she got the hardwood, I do a big eye roll since she is getting the hardwood for free or at a substantial discount. I’d love to have hardwood on my first floor but unfortunately I won’t be able to get a huge discount or the product for free. Yay for her! See this is where the disconnect for the reader comes in, no longer is she saving for months, having garage sales to make some money, etc all just so she can get the hardwood……which is what most of her readers have to do. Nowadays it’s about the promotion and not the journey. One blogger paints her walls white…..they all do, one blogger promotes xyz product…..I see the same xyz product pop up on other blogs…..I’m not sure what the answer is for bloggers in general but whatever you are doing Kate it works. If you need to do fewer posts or take some breaks, I say do it! I applaud you for staying true to yourself and balancing making money from your blog with design inspiration, travel inspiration, workout inspiration, the list goes on. I will still be here waiting on your posts and enjoying it all! You’re one of the best!

    • Thank you Tina, I too see the change, and I totally understand the business/promotion side is a natural evolution for a growing blog. I love the creativity that comes from the design/DIY community and the voices behind it.

  59. No matter how many blogs come and go, yours stands out Kate. Love everything you have written here. When others ask me about blogging, I always tell them you will be as successful as you want to be. If you want to become hugely popular with millions of fans, that determines a very high level of dedication and in many ways an opening up of your life to the public. I’m content to be where I am, somewhere in the middle. I’m encouraged when I see others being more purposeful in what and when they post and in turn I’m becoming more selective in what I consume. Funny enough, I find myself turning back to old favourites, bloggers I’ve followed for the last seven or eight years. The ones, like you, who contribute their stories and thoughts instead of just more noise keep me coming back.

  60. Great post, Kate. :)
    I feel like I’m losing it with all that “has to happen” to have a successful blog… I can’t keep up with all these ridiculous changing algorithms and honestly, I don’t want to. I don’t want every minute after the kids go to bed to be filled with blogging and I don’t want it to be my life…I want to blog about my life in a real authentic way but not have it be my life. I want my blog to be successful and I love the side money I make from it but I’m trying to really figure out my priorities in regard to the blog and my home and what’s necessary and what’s true to myself.

  61. I am late reading this because well I have really stepped away from spending too much time online and I agree 100%. I just closed my facebook account about 6 weeks ago and it’s awesome. Never had twitter or instagram and I even stopped pinteresting. I read only a handful of blogs now ( yours is one of them) because those are the ones that have the good stuff not just a rehash of other blogs. I also find that 2-3 posts a week with good content is much better than 7 posts a week. They are worth waiting for just like a good magazine subscription. To be honest a good blog is worth paying a small fee for and maybe in the end the truly good blogs will evolve into something people are willing to pay for.

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