Welcome to 2016, folks. I’m back (big arm clap) and I feel GOOD. The last few months have been the most challenging of my life and it taught me something very important: I’m trying to make way too many appetizers and side dishes. Let me explain…. but don’t worry, it’s all good news.
Someone recently told me that life is like a big dinner party – one that starts out simple and easy but after adding too many side dishes and appetizers can turn into a big buffet-style mess, with the chef on the floor of the kitchen singing ‘Le Poissiant’ from The Little Mermaid, but like, not in a good way. It’s not that the food isn’t edible, or the company isn’t cared for, it’s that I’m/your in the kitchen acting like an insane person, trying to time the roast with the dumplings, and juggle the souffle with the rolls. You know those dishes that you think will take 10 minutes so you are like, ‘sure!’ but they don’t just take 10 minutes. You still have to think about them, check to see if you have the ingredients/tools, buy everything, make each one, bake it, find a serving dish, juggle the cook-time with the other dishes, clean up, etc, etc. It’s the little optional stuff in life that can make any sane proficient multi-tasker breakdown and fail.
You’d think that the answer to this common problem is to JUST focus on the main course, and say ‘no’ to more appetizers. Quality over quantity, right? But sometimes it’s the spur of the moment little ideas that can grow into something huge, fulfilling and successful. And ultimately the thing is .. I actually love appetizers and side dishes (which is why I love styling versus renovating). My job is to create content everyday so in a way my job is making appetizers and side dishes. SO WHAT DO I DO?
To prep for “maternity leave” (I use that phrase VERY loosely) I had written 10 or so posts and we had a lot scheduled on the calendar with a healthy amount of empty days to allow for flexibility. During the six weeks that followed I wrote some posts, oversaw many posts and was barely involved in others (like Makeover Takeover). While it wasn’t perfect and there were some posts that slipped on the quality scale, I think the idea really worked. It allowed me time to grow another part of the business (partnerships) while producing good daily content, plus it gave me some extra time to spend with my new baby. But it didn’t feel quite right either, and I saw the engagement slip as some posts just weren’t that compelling (not to anyone’s fault but mine). There has always been this question of how to keep this blog personal while being accessible to a larger audience without becoming generic – the ultimate insult and fear. So what is the answer? I think that the answer is more and diverse content, from smart, funny, edgy, stylish, design and lifestyle experts and writers, IN ADDITION to me still posting. Keep what we have, just add more and better. Easy, peasy.
It sounds like I’m adding a LOT of appetizers to the menu, doesn’t it? But I think the ‘ONE BIG POST A DAY’ thing often feels too precious and limiting … and I can’t keep up with writing it on my own. My obsession with posting only original photos styled/shot by us often means that the the quality of those photos slips as we are trying to produce too much too fast. Since the emergence, (nay, threat) of Pinterest I’ve tried to make this blog a destination – the only place that you can get unique information (like makeovers), and I think it has kept this blog from becoming obsolete, and has continued to grow traffic. But, I love talking/thinking about careers, beauty, feminism, media, food/drinks, fashion, relationships and parenting in addition to style and design, and I have strong opinions/ideas and advice about all of those things. And I suppose i’m maybe just narcissistic enough to want to talk about them on this platform that has a large audience.
A few years ago I tried doing multiple posts a day and totally failed (it lasted 2 weeks) but that’s because I didn’t have help and I was writing every post myself. Also I may or may not have been taking delusional pills at the time since I had JUST had a baby. This time I already have really amazing help by my staff, and with the help of good, professional freelance writers and editors we’ll be set. Like who? People like Orlando. People like Amelia Diamond (hired by Leandra of Man Repeller) who doesn’t know I exist but whose blog-turned-site I admire very much. Now, you might be scared that things will get watered down and that the quality will diminish, but I really don’t think so, not if we find the right people. We’ll still have those meaty 9 page makeover posts with ‘get the looks’, et all, but we’ll also have quick, fun posts from me like ‘5 things that I never thought would come back in style but have’ or ‘The seemingly innocuous things my parents forced me to do that made me more creative’. The multiple post formula allows for more flexibility in case I want to talk about my regretful lash extensions, or why everyone in fashion week is wearing what looks to be $300 linen hospital gowns with cross trainers – with the follow up post about how I, myself, have purchased said gown (although, from Spain for $60) and love it despite the marital conflict that has ensued.
The solution that I’ve come up with for my ‘too many appetizers/side dishes, not enough time’ problem (and to really (egg) beat this analogy to death) is that I need more sous chefs. This won’t happen overnight because finding the right people is HARD. But I’m excited about the prospect of making the site larger, more interesting, more diverse. I want it to be both lighter and deeper at the same time. Still TOTALLY style-centric, but with some fun women’s topics mixed in with some different SMART voices. But don’t worry, it will always be pretty, informational/inspirational, personal, original and funny. No biggie.
Now to find those people …
Once again we are hiring in every department – writers, designers, graphic designers, editors, content creators, lifestyle experts, admin, even photographers all of which have to have strong graphic design skills and general knowledge of trends, blogs and the internet, with an fast/smart voice. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Hiring full and part time and freelance, remote or LA – just basically the best of the best, wherever you are. If you are in college and want credit as an intern, we are always looking for the right intern.
In the survey last year most of you said that you would be open to more content, written by contributors as long as it was really good. Well guess what? I’m holding you to that. And I’m VERY, VERY, VERY excited.
Happy New Years, friends. Come back in a few hours for a second post where I will repost and criticize a design project I did years ago…. It involves people wallpaper and a drumset.
Meanwhile, are you scared? Do you think I’m going to succeed, fail or breakdown mid-way? Do you attempt too many appetizers? Or do you need a job? Or are all these cooking analogies just making you annoyed or really hungry? Let me know your thoughts and requests … Also if you know any amazing/compelling writers please send them my way …