Stephanie and I have been friends since high school – we bonded over an unhealthy love of gel pens and a mutual fondness for the varsity hockey players in freshman year history class, and stayed close through our shared theater kid and awkward emo music years. Stephanie blogs about her experiences DIY-ing on a budget; she and her amazing husband Matt are in their first home and learning as they go. She features a “House & Project Tour” that’s a great place to start to get to know her – it gives an overview of everything she’s tackled, and features some stunning before and afters. I remember the pictures she shared with friends when she first put an offer in on this house, and trust me, it’s crazy to see how far she’s come on a tight budget with minimal outside help!
Thanks for tagging me, Steph – and now let’s get down to it!
What are you working on right now?
I’m still very new to this whole process. Right now, I’m two weeks into my Focus T25 Alpha challenge – you can read about it here! I am also going to be running a Facebook Challenge group for anyone who wants to tackle T25, so if you’re interested leave a comment or send me an email, and click below if you’re interested in picking up the DVDs for yourself.
Behind the scenes, I’m working on some plans for where I hope to take this blog over the next 3-6 months. I am always working to educate myself about health and wellness, by following other bloggers, listening to podcasts, reading scientific research and generally being aware of current news and trends. I’m also always looking for new workouts to try and review for the site – leave a comment if you have a recommendation for something you’d like me to review!
How does your work differ from others?
I decided to start blogging for two reasons. First, I didn’t see a lot of fitness bloggers out there who I could identify with. I try not to dwell on appearances, but I just didn’t see anyone who looked like me. In so many cases, the other bloggers out there are already at their “after” picture – and oftentimes, their “before” was a picture that I’d be proud to call my “after”! I wanted to start a blog for other women like me — women who are on a long process of changing their entire life, women who are very much still at the “during” stage of their journey and may be there for some time to come.
Second, I started hearing from many other women at the studio where I work out that they were inspired by me. One woman told me that she joined the studio after seeing my Before & During shots from August of 2013. She felt that I was a realistic portrayal of striving for a healthier lifestyle and gave her the confidence to believe that she could also make the change in her own life. I realized that I wasn’t the only woman who was desperate to see other women like myself out there making positive changes in their lives! The encouragement from the women around me helped to nudge me to start this blog, and I’m excited to see where it leads.
Why do you write about what you do?
I had been working on improving my health and fitness for eighteen months before I started blogging. I’ve always been a very verbally driven person; I kept a journal throughout high school and college, and I realized that I was missing a written document of this process. I felt that I needed to add something to my existing routine, and blogging seemed like a great way to stimulate my creative desires while also holding myself accountable. I also wanted to be able to share my experiences with friends and family, and as this blog grows I hope to reach a broader audience of normal women looking for the inspiration to make a positive change in their lives.
How does your writing/creative process work?
I have a bit of a split personality when it comes to organizing my work. I use several apps that help to keep me on track. I use Pocket to save articles that I stumble across and want to read, or to flag interesting research that could inspire a future blog post. I rely on Pinterest to help me organize all of the amazing (and free!) online workouts that are available, and I’m slowly curating my pins to build up my Web Workouts page, which is still very much under construction. I use Evernote and Todoist to keep track of new ideas as they come to me, and to plan and schedule upcoming posts.
But there are also times when inspiration strikes and I just have to go with it. I try to be organized, but I would never want my creativity to be stifled by imposing unnecessary order on myself. If an idea hits me, I’ll go with it – no need to hold it up in draft form or let it languish on a To Do list. Other posts can always wait! I find that this is a balance that works for me.
I begin with the words. As I said before, I am very much a verbally driven individual. Once I have a solid draft, I’ll start looking at ways to incorporate images into my posts. I’m not a great photographer and don’t have a fantastic camera just yet, so I source photos from the web, relying on Creative Commons licenses (big credit to my real world publishing gig for helping me to understand the crazy complicated world of copyright law and attributions!) I love PicMonkey for photo editing and for adding embellishments both to my own photos and to those used under a CC-BY license.
Here’s the part where I’m supposed to tag other bloggers. Well… confession time… I am still working on building my blogging circle! I have lots of blogs that I follow and admire, but not too many that I know well enough to tag. That said, check out these folks, who I think are pretty fantastic.
Melissa was the instructress for my first ever class at Studio Poise, way back in late February, 2013. I was completely terrified when I walked into that studio, but she was warm and welcoming, and she made sure to help me with modifications when some moves were beyond me. Her support and cheerful demeanor helped to give me the courage to keep going back to class and to push myself further instead of giving up. Her blog captures her spirit and her creativity, as she documents her adventures in bringing Pinterest to life! She’s a new mom so she has to balance posting to her blog with her work life and her life with her (totally adorable) son, so be patient with her; I promise she’s worth it!
This is a personal blog written by one of my dearest friends, Brian. Brian grew up down the street from me so we’ve known each other since we were wee little things, and we reconnected as gigantic theater nerds and emo kids in high school. I haven’t carried many of my high school friends with me into adult life, but Brian’s one of the good ones. He doesn’t post often, but when he does, his voice is so unique and his stories so rich that they are well worth the wait. (He also has an Animorphs reread blog which is a nostalgic hoot, if that’s your kind of thing.).
What are some of your favorite blogs? I love getting recommendations for new people to follow – leave a comment if there’s someone you think I need to check out!