Four Year Blog Anniversary

On October 13th 2018, According To D turned FOUR. Oh my gosh that is nuts! It’s been pretty crazy to watch the blogging and social media world evolve over the last four years, and of course I still kick myself and wish I has starting blogging in 2011 when the dream originally was placed on my heart, but I am so grateful to have entered the world of blogging (better late than never). I was so hungry for a place that I could be creative, girly, talk about the things that I loved in the way that I wanted to talk about them. Create community with other women from all over, share stories, have conversations, and connect with my readers and followers. That was the initial motivation and that’s still the motivation.

Haters Gonna Hate…

It’s always been about having a creative space, creating community & connecting with my readers.

When I launched According To D in 2014 I absolutely got crap for it. My husband and I were in business together and I had a significant role in that business, so for our business partners a few of them were making comments like why is Danielle wasting time on that blog thing, what does she think she’s a blogger now?… It’s always been a wonder to me why people can’t just be supportive of other people’s dreams, but I think it’s a great thing. It builds thick skin. And blogging, like any other business, you need thick skin. Sometimes you’ve just got to ignore the haters and stay in your own lane, doing your own thing. You’ve gotta do you in life.

I have had a ton of amazing supporters too though. From day one my husband has been my number one supporter, he’s always been encouraging me, pushing me and telling me if I love it I should pursue it (I’m a lucky girl). My friend Brit bought me my first book about blogging that was just gold when I started four years ago, it had all the nerdy things I needed to learn. And of course I have the sweetest family ever, although they for sure had no idea what blogging was for the first few years, they’re pretty on board with it now and encouraging.

The Journey…

I would sit in my room for hours when I was first building my website, trying to learn the techy things and I remember I would get so frustrated. Sometimes it’d take me days to learn how to do one thing, like how to set up my RSS feed (I was like wth is that). Sometimes I laugh when I get asked, how do you start a blog? Because I just think back to the hours and hours that I spent on Google or with my nose in that blogging book just trying to figure it all out. Sometimes you just have to go figure it out and not look for the easy answer or the easy way into something. Blogging is more than just pretty pictures and a fancy Instagram feed, and you’ve got to be willing to learn the not so glamorous things too.

It’s easy to forget where you started when you’re on a long journey to where you want to go.

I have all sorts of huge/crazy dreams that I want to achieve through blogging, and honestly Nick is probably the only person I really discuss those dreams with. Some of those dreams have been coming true, but honestly it’s taken so much longer than I hoped, but most of those dreams are still a work in progress. I think that’s usually the case though, with anything worth working towards it doesn’t happen over night. I have a journal entry I want to share with you, it’s a bit embarrassing so don’t laugh, but it’s also super powerful. I reread this a few weeks ago and got choked up. It’s easy to forget where you started when you’re on a long journey to where you want to go. This journal entry was written in June of 2016. I won’t add the whole thing, but I was basically writing down everything that was going on with According To D at the time. I had just landed my first paid collaboration and I was so excited! It was only $50 but that was such a huge step to me at the time. I wrote this:

“I hope one day I read this journal and think awee I got so excited over $50, now they pay me 10x that just for a simple post and I am used to it. If I am reading this thinking that… let me say something to my future self. Stay grateful. Don’t take these opportunities for granted. Appreciate everything and enjoy it. This is what you’ve wanted. Try to be balanced and happy. Work your booty off - you only live once Danielle. Go for it.”

I like my past self haha, so motivational. On a serious note, when I read that I was shocked. I didn’t remember writing that over two years ago but I sure am glad I did. I just wrapped up my highest paid collaboration and they paid me 30x what my first collaboration did. Don’t worry I was thrilled and didn’t take it for granted for one second, but still it’s wonderful to have that reminder of how it felt when brands didn’t see enough value in what I was doing to pay me. I’m so incredibly grateful for my blog and where it is, but I’m even more excited about where it’ll go in the next four years. I still love blogging, and you’ll keep hearing from me.

New Niche + Discouragement…

Reflecting on that post makes me grateful that I didn’t quit. Here’s what really happened after that journal entry. Just two months later we spent a month in Europe, mainly touring Italy. I had the most beautiful photos and content to share from that trip of course. Then that September I got pregnant, and that’s where the discouragement came. I started blogging as a lifestyle blogger, but there was a huge emphases on travel and adventure. When I got pregnant and started sharing that on my blog I felt like my following came to a halt. It felt like the people who were reading and following before now had no interest in what I was saying. Which is fine, but I don’t blog for just my mom to read it (sorry mom). I was changing niches and they weren’t super thrilled about it, instead of a travel focus I decided I wanted to focus on motherhood, with sprinkles of travel and lifestyle. The thing about blogging is you have to stay true to what you want to say, otherwise the passion will die. I wanted to talk about the journey I was going on through becoming a mom, not my journey around the world. For the first time I cared about something more than travel and I wanted to talk about it.

For about a year + I felt like I was replacing followers on Instagram (and yes in the blogging world that does matter). 100 followers would fall off and 50 new ones would come on haha that left me feeling super stuck. I finally, as of recent, feel like my audience is here to listen again. I actually feel more connected with my followers and readers than ever before. I have so many amazing women who I get to connect with, typically laughing about motherhood stuff. I would have never experienced that if I had quit and just said “nobody wants to hear what I have to say” or “nobody likes my blog”. Niche transitions in the blogging world are hardddd, but as a blogger you’ve just got to stay true to you and what you genuinely think the world needs to hear.

Be busy with your dreams.

One of my passions right now is bringing moms together and creating a community of mothers who can life each other up. Every Monday we do #MommyTipMondays, a community I created where mommy bloggers share tips every Monday and other moms get to read them and chime in. I also love the idea of being insanely transparent about motherhood, creating a space where mom guilt becomes something we laugh about instead of something that makes us cry. When Giulian was first born I did a post called 15 Confessions From A New Mom, and I plan to do more Momfession style posts, I think they’re needed in the world of motherhood so stay tuned for more ridiculous stories about myself as a mother.

I’ve also found a passion about being a “mompreneur”. Mamas who are full time mothers and build a business have my heart, it’s a lot of work. I recently launched my online boutique Bella Magari, between that and blogging and being a full time mom and wife… it’s a lot. It’s crazy, but it’s also super exciting. The feeling of being busy on your dreams is a great feeling. I also find so much importance in having something outside of motherhood that brings you life and purpose. I think it’s sad that moms get shamed for that. Having passions outside of motherhood is okay! Well shoot, this is supposed to be a four year blog update huh? I guess I’ve gone down a deep deep rabbit hole.

Now that I’ve gone way off topic, let me reel it in. I’m so grateful to each and every one of you who reads and follows along (even you mom lol), without you none of my blogging dreams would come true. I can’t wait to see what the next four years in the blogging/influencer world looks like! I can’t wait to keep sharing my journey through motherhood, business, style, marriage, blogging and travel with you all! I promise to be transparent and truthful every step of the way. Again, thank you for following along!

5 Reasons Having A Community Matters - Galentine's Day Edition

Com·mu·ni·ty

noun

a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

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I made the decision to start my blog in October of 2014, knowing that I would have a space to explore my creativity and style. What I didn't know was the amazing community I was about to join. The blogging world is filled with goal driven, ambitious, creative women who have huge entrepreneurial spirits. And to top it off, the Denver blogging community is filled with stylish, kind, down to earth women! What a bonus! 

Last weekend I had the privilege to hang with some of my blogging girlfriends for a fun Galentine's Day celebration, sipping champagne, eating chocolate covered strawberries (oh and cake too), and in typical blogger fashion, taking tons of amazing photos to document the whole day. We went to the stunning Renaissanse Hotel in Downtown Denver, enjoyed one of their beautiful suites and had gorgeous steak dinner at their restaurant, Range Downtown. We partnered with some local brands to make our Galentine's Day extra special, we wore the most adorable shirts that are from the online shop called Fiercely by Valery. We ate the most amazing chocolate cake that was made by Beehold Cakes, and I must say that cake was so delicious it reminded me of a brownie! And as if that all didn't already sound like female heaven, we were surrounded by the most beautiful floral arrangements by Flower Bombers, which of course added the most gorgeous pop of color to our girls day. 

I think having a community around you who shares similar goals and interests, in whatever you do, is important. In every aspect of my life I have made a commitment to immerse myself in a positive community surrounding that part of my life. I joined MOPS to be around more Christian mothers with similar visions for themselves in motherhood. In our business we surround ourselves with motivated people who have had massive success in the field we are in. I have a community of best friends who are also in marriages that I admire and respect, that way we as wives can encourage and inspire each other. And in blogging, I have made a huge effort to participate in practically every community event that is available, join every group that exists for Denver bloggers, and build relationships with the Denver bloggers that I adore.

Because I think having a strong community is so important, I thought I'd share with you my top 5 reasons that I think having a community matters! Here we go!

1. Teach & Encourage Each Other

A candle never loses any of its light by lighting another.

Everyone has something that they can teach me, I truly believe that. Whether it be a technical skill or a life lesson I truly believe I can learn something of value from just about everyone I meet. It's so important to surround yourself with people who have mastered the skill you are trying to get great at. I love learning, asking questions and growing any chance I can. The great thing about it is, the more you know, the more you can help others. I get so many people asking me "how to" blog related questions and I am always open and eager to help and encourage as much as I can. That attitude helps to create a more positive community of people empowering people.  Being a part of a community allows you to learn from, and teach people in a way that is truly special.

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2. It Pushes You Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

When you are meeting new people, learning new things and and having new experiences, chances are that your comfort zone will begin to be stretched. This is a good thing. In anything I've done in my life, I have only gained success once I was willing to say goodbye to my comfort zone.  A few years ago meeting with a group of blogger ladies and letting a photographer take our pictures would have made me super nervous (in a socially awkward kind of way) but now I am able to just laugh and have a blast. Being around other like minded people in a community will help you stretch outside that comfort zone and really grow. They say life begins at the end of your comfort zone and I truly believe that to be true. I also think the best version of you is sitting right outside of your comfort zone, so go find her! 

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3. Being Around Like Minded People

It's such a breath of fresh air being around people who have the same interests and attitudes as you. You have much deeper and more meaningful conversations when you are around people with similar goals in life. It's important to be an individual but it's also important to have a "tribe". Being around other people with a similar vision and similar goals as you is not only fun, but it will challenge and encourage you in many ways. Like I said before, the Denver blogging community is filled with driven, kind, goal oriented women, and that is absolutely the kind of women I want to be spending my time with. 

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4. Sharing Ideas & Insights

When you are part of a strong community, it allows you to have access to people with great ideas and knowledge. I learn so much from surrounding myself with knowledgeable people. It also gives you the opportunity to share your own ideas and insights with others. Getting feedback on ideas is super valuable, in any area of life. Sometimes when we are the ones working on something  and we are so involved with it, we can easily miss something that and outsider can spot quite easily. Sometimes we are in the trees and all we see is the trees. Feedback from your community can help you see the forest. In the blogging world, creativity is key, and being around other influencers helps me to practice and stretch my creativity muscle.  

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5. Build Friendships

This is by far my favorite and I believe the most important aspect of community. I have created the most amazing relationships from making community a priority in my life. Some of my best friends have come from being part of a group or community together and then building a friendship outside of that as well. I'm so grateful for the amazing women I've met in the blogging world and can't wait to continue to strengthen those friendships as we all continue our journey in the blogging world. 

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All photography on this shoot was done by Alejandro Caballero with Avid Visuals. Thank you so much for the beautiful photos and for putting up with us silly ladies all day!

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