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Favorite Fall & Halloween Books

Tis the season!!!!! It’s Fall at the Garvin house which means all the girls Halloween books are back on the shelves! Festive books are one of our favorite ways to celebrate every season. The girls are always so giddy to put new books on their bookshelves & decorate their rooms, they get it from their mama!! Technically we have been reading the Grinch since Valentine’s day but we are putting it aside for our favorite ghosts & goblins and I wanted to share a few of our current favorites with you.

Gilbert the Ghost // No Such Thing // Ghosts in the House // Vampirina Ballerina // Ghosts // Little Owl Lost

Harper picked out Vampirina Ballerina & No Such Thing just before Halloween last year, such fun stories with beautiful illustrations! We have already been watching Hocus Pocus & Room on the Broom, forever our favorites, and hope to introduce the girls to It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown this year!!

What are you guys reading & watching right now?! And who’s excited for Stranger Things return next month!? XO

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Starting a Blog

So you wanna start a blog? You should! It’s such a fun creative outlet that you can take in any direction that you want, a space that is all yours to write your heart out & share whatever inspires you. Whether you want to write about motherhood, interior design, cooking or anything in the world, a blog can be the perfect platform!

Beautiful framed art by my girl Kelly Ventura

I have had lots of questions about starting a blog over the years, so today I’m going to share a few of my tips for getting started as well as my advice for success & growing an authentic audience.

Setting up your blog is the easy part. I would recommend either blogger or wordpress, both are easy to use & can be customized pretty easily. Set up your account & then hop over to etsy to grab a template, something to give it your own personal feel and style. You can find beautiful themes for around $15-$20 and can even pay to have the designer implement it for you if you aren’t tech savvy.

Once you have your space set up from a function & design standpoint, start on your content. Create an about me page (keep things short & simple), a contact page & publish your first blog post as an introduction. Share why you are starting your blog, what are your goals or just a little bit about yourself.

Figure out what sets you apart, what does your blog have to offer and why will people want to read it? Be authentic. If you are just starting your blog for yourself and readership isn’t on your radar, this isn’t as important, but if you want your blog to be more than an online journal and your goal is to cultivate a community, you will want to be very clear on these things. You want to have an authentic voice, do not start a blog to be like another blog you like, that blog already exists. Start your blog as a reflection of yourself and your interests, people can sense those things & are drawn to authenticity.

Have good photography. Take a course or just read up on ways to improve your photography skills, it is what will catch people’s eye as they scan your blog & ultimately what will entice them to read your content. No need to invest in a fancy camera, natural light & proper editing techniques are all you need. It is also important to continue using your authentic voice through photos, when someone sees your photos, they should be able to tell right away that they belong to you by the vibe they give. This is especially important if you are using Instagram or other social media platforms to support your growing blog.

Create a media calendar. This is super important in order to be consistent, something I have not been lately. At the end of each month, I map out what posts I want to do for the next month, I schedule in when I want to shoot photos if needed & set up drafts in my wordpress dashboard so that I have a little bit of each post started. This helps me so much (and I need to do a much better job of) and will be a good way to keep all of your thoughts & blog post ideas organized.

Engage with other bloggers & content creators. This is so important for growth, read other blogs, see what inspires you, tell people when they inspire you or just leave genuine comments to support others in the space. When I started my blog, Instagram wasn’t even a thing, which meant I would hop from blog to blog every day catching up with all my favorites, and leave comments on every post. We are overwhelmed with content these days & everywhere we look there are photos and stories and articles being shared, but it is still so important to stop scrolling for a second and connect with other people.

And the last, most important thing that I want to stress, is to start your blog because you enjoy it or have a passion that you want to write about. If you start a blog just to make money, it’s going to be a slow moving train & you will likely get burnt out. If you want it to be a business one day, that is great & you will get there, but it is important to establish yourself and your credibility before trying to do partnerships or sponsored posts. When presented with dozens of partnership opportunities a month, I choose no more than two or three, and they are only things that I truly love & stand behind. That being said, I do think there is a difference between bloggers & product reviewers (which is totally a thing!) so know what you are trying to accomplish when you start out.

To find true joy in blogging, I think forming relationships with your audience & community is the most important thing. And I am so grateful to have been able to do that with all of you!! I hope this answers all of your questions, I am happy to do a part two if there is more that I can contribute, I am no expert, but it is a topic I love to talk about! If you have other questions, leave them in the comments. XO

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5 Ways to Cozy Up Your Home for Fall

Happy September!! The first official day of Fall is just a few weeks away and that means we are ready to open the windows & pull out all the fuzzy blankets. I can’t wait until our local farms are full of pumpkins so we can line our steps & fill our house, but until then, I wanted to share 5 ways that we are cozying up our home for Fall! Because I just couldn’t wait any longer.

Couch // Polka Dot Pillows // Fall Branches // Blanket // Coffee Table // Rug

1. Bring out all the cozy blankets, pillows & table linens. We are pillow & blanket hoarders over here, so even the slightest 60 degree breeze will have me piling blankets on the couches & beds. I love an extra basket in each room with some blankets, adding quilts to beds, and table runners or tablecloths to throw on the outside table when we are entertaining. I’m not opposed to having so many pillows on the couch that there is hardly room to sit. Using thicker textures like linen or soft faux fur will make every room feel warm & inviting!

2. Switch out accessories. One of the reasons I love neutrals so much is that it is so easy to make each room reflect the season. I like to switch out our brightly colored patio plates, berry baskets & cocktail glasses for copper mugs, cutting boards & cake stands. Adding a Fall garland to the mantle or even adding in festive artwork on the walls will make everything come together.

3. Bring the outside in! Pulling twigs or branches from outside to stick in a vase will instantly give your house a Fall feel. If you don’t have good branches quite yet, faux stems like these, will also do the trick.

4. Fill up your diffuser. It’s no secret we love essential oils & diffusing them to make our home smell like Fall all day long is one of my favorite ways to use them. You can see a list of our favorite diffuser blends here, they are a great alternative to candles (which are expensive & full of toxins) & a few drops go a long way to keep your house smelling amazing all season long! PS. I still have candles all over my house for decoration, I will never get rid of those pretty volcano jars! 🙂

5. Set the mood with a Fall playlist, I love having music on in the kitchen all day long. Here is our favorite Fall playlist, and I’m also loving everything on the new John Mayer album.

Can’t wait to share our full Fall decor home tour soon! In the meantime, happy decorating!! XO

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