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Jenni Chiu

Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, bloggers, This Blogger's Life, blogging, interview
Today, I’d like to welcome Jenni Chiu aka MommyNaniBooBoo to This Blogger’s Life. Jenni is one of my closest and dearest friends on the Internet and my BlogHer roomie. who just happens to be one amazing vlogger, blogger and writer Jenni and I found one another and the rest is history. If you have never read her, I recommend that you do that stat!
Her words have touched me (and many others) through sharing her stories with transparency and bravery. Jenni has a way of writing that is so raw and honest that if you are not feeling something when you are reading Jenni, you just might be dead. I can honestly say in the past 4 years she has made me laugh and cry more times than I can count. If she isn’t moving you with her written word, you can be sure that she is probably charming the pants off of you with her hilariously entertaining videos on youtube.
There are a million different wonderful things that I could say about Jenni ( and I’m not just saying that because she totally put up with my snoring;) but mostly I want to leave you with this, she was an actress and a beautiful model and now she is a mom, wife, a writer and a beautiful, talented soul who I am pretty sure can accomplish just about anything she sets her mind to. She is by far one of the kindest, truest women on the Internet and I could go on gushing for days. I know, I am biased because I’ve called dibs on her as my BlogHer roomie for infinity and beyond but believe me when I tell you, do yourself a favor and read her words. Get to know this brilliant woman through her blog. You will be wondering why the hell you hadn’t done it sooner.

I’m honored to call Jenni Chiu one of my dearest friends and it’s my privilege to have her on This Blogger’s Life today.

 

Jenni Chiu, This Blogger's Life, mommynanibooboo, the people behind the blogs

A blogger’s work is never done

This Blogger’s Life…Jenni Chiu (MommyNaniBooBoo)

Why did you start blogging?
I’ve always been a storyteller of some sort, which is why I spent so many years as an actor. After becoming a mother, I think I started blogging for the same reason a lot of mothers start blogging.  I needed some kind of creative outlet.  I also spent months holed up with a colicky baby and no support system after I gave birth. I was in desperate need of some kind of grown up conversation and commiseration.
 
What’s one piece of advice that you would give to a new blogger?
Write because it feeds your soul, or because it makes you happy to feed the souls of others. If you want to make money at it, have a plan on how to do it… and then be okay with NOT making money for quite a while.  Although, maybe that’s advice for writers… not all bloggers are writers.
I would say – Create a blog you can look at years from now and be proud of (whatever that means to you).
 
What are the three words that describe you best?
 empathetic, honest, undefinable
 
What is your favorite website?

The one that’s already built in my head – I just have yet to make it a reality.

 
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not blogging?
Sleep… wait no – play with my kids…
Wait – shop!
Okay now I’m back to sleep again.
 
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself  from blogging?
That my words can hold more space than my physical body can. In some ways it’s been a relief for me to have my words, and not what I look like, be most people’s first introduction to me.
 
How do you balance life and blogging?
I don’t. I am almost at all times off balance one way or another.
 
How has blogging changed you or your life?
It’s given me a sense of community that I was lacking in my real life.  It’s kept my creative self from dying a slow death.  It’s allowed me to witness and celebrate a thousand aspects of humanity… and also, it’s renewed my faith in women as a community.
It’s also made me a lot less physically active than I used to be (or maybe it’s the kids – or both). Either way, I have to remind myself to back away from the computer and move around more.
 
What do you think makes a successful blog? A great blog? Are they one in the same?
I think that depends on how people define success. Some define it by impact… some by income… some by longevity.
For me, I feel more successful when my reach is great – when people read, and are moved to share my blog.  I think a successful blog is shared it’s because it has moved people in some way. There also blogs that are shared or have a large reach because they are inflammatory… they are the Star magazines of the blogging world, and not successes in my book.
I don’t think a successful blog and a great blog are one in the same.  For me, a great blog has well constructed or important content that’s updated fairly regularly… unfortunately, there are many great blogs out there that have no reach and are largely unsuccessful. The Internet is vast and murky.
 
If you were to stop blogging today, what would you do with the rest of your life?

I would write books… or paint… or go back into acting… or find some other way to connect people through stories of humanity. I would also sleep more.

 
How do you balance telling your story, without telling the story of others in your life? 
I talk about what happens to me.  If something happens to someone else, I write about how that event affected me.  I also don’t use the names of my husband or children. I’m quite open about myself in my blogging, but very protective of my family.  I’m sure it will be even more so as my kids get older.  Their online identities will not be built on my blog – that’s for them to do later on in life.

 
Blogging has changed a lot, just since I started 5 years ago, what do you miss about blogging in the early days? What do you love that has changed?
I feel like five years ago the troll population was significantly lower. That may or may not be true however, because no one read my blog back then so trolls probably couldn’t find it.

One thing I love about blogging now is that we have so many different ways or sharing our words and engaging with one another.  Social media has exploded over the past five years.

 
How do you consistently come up with relevant and shareable content?

I simply go with what I feel motivated to write about… turns out I have lots to say about all kinds of things.  I also try to remember that they can’t all be gems.

 
If you could have a dinner party for 6 people, living or dead, who would you invite?
Shakespeare and Tom Hanks because they are two of my favorite men. I would also then invite Nick, Brandon, Monte, and Gary.  The last four are people in my life that I feel died too young. I want them back… even if it’s just for a one-night dinner party.
 
What’s the one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?
I ate my twin in the womb.
Kidding.
Probably nothing if they read my blog or follow me on YouTube.
 
What’s the one post that you are most proud of?
Impossible. That’s like asking which kid I love more.
Some of the ones that have done well are:
 I’m Pretty Sure AT&T is Responsible for Many Deaths (I love that I got to read this one at BlogHer’11 for Voices of the Year.)
Thank you Jenni for taking the time to let me interview you. You are one of my favorite people. Keep using that big voice of yours to change the world. I suspect some day soon I’ll be reading your book. It needs to be written.  Love ya , roomie.
XOXO
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I planned to write a post tonight about my Mommy A-Ha moment and then I read a couple posts of fellow bloggers who I really admire. Tonight, their posts have inspired me to write something different then what I had planned.I know that lately I have been writing syrupy or serious pieces, not my usual “laugh out loud, that lady cracks me up” kind of pieces but that’s just where my head has been lately.Things have been weighing on my mind. I do have a serious side, you know. Sometimes:) Tonight, is not night that the snark makes its reappearance but soon.I promise.

The posts that I read were  Empty by Jenni Chiu @ Mommy Nani BooBoo and Hey Buddy by Kelle Hampton @ Enjoying the Small Things. Jenni is normally a rip roaring hoot. I adore her because she is absolutely hilarious, snarky in a way that you either fall madly in love with her style or you are completely offended. I fell hard for her snark. She is honest and real, just like life.Tonight, I first read her post about Green Eggs and Ham and her little boy eating his boogers and I laughed out loud. She is challenging herself to write a 50 word story. Commentors  are encouraged to leave a word to be used and she will use the first 50 words that she receives,just like the challenge issued to Dr. Seuss. Of course, given our repartee I  issued the word “pulchritudinous”.Then, I went back a post and read, Empty and my heart cracked open into a million little pieces.

A few days ago she had a miscarriage at two months along. It’s her story to tell and I suggest that you read it. I can’t do it justice. But it made my heart hurt and made me want to hold me girls really close tonight. I am so blessed that when I crawl into bed after writing this post, I am going to snuggle so closely to my little girls that they are going to wake up and say ,”Mommy, get off of me!Scoot back!You are smothering me!” And I won’t really mind or care because I am just so grateful that I have them here to annoy. These are the moments that change us.The moments that make us realize that we are mortal that we are all here but by the grace of God.

Then I headed over to Enjoying the Small Things, as I do every single time my blog roll shows that she has posted something new.Have you read Kelle Hampton? She is really an amazing writer, photographer, mother, and lover of life. She is a go big or go home sort of person with her love. I read her for inspiration.She inspires me to Enjoy the Small things and to be a better person. Tonight’s post was about the Downs Syndrome Buddy Walk held in Naples, Florida this past weekend.Kelle and her husband have two beautiful daughters, the youngest, Nella, has Downs Syndrome. I am perpetually inspired by how Kelle views the world and her perspective on life.Tonight’s post touched me beyond words. The gorgeous photos of all family and friends gathered round in support of their little almond eyed beauty in the walk. As I skimmed the photos of Nella herself, in her little Rock star wagon, I found myself crying and smiling simultaneously. My heart breaks knowing how deep a Mother’s love is and how we want every possibility for our children.To see our children grow up, get married and have children of their own, to share their life experiences with us..to watch them exhaust every avenue of potential..that is what we live for. That’s the good stuff. To watch them struggle in any way, tears at our soul.To know that one day limitations will arise for such a small piece of God’s perfection makes me sad. But I am so happy that little Nella has such an amazing Mother, Father,Grandfather, sister, family,  and friends who will be there throughout the good times and bad times, the hard times and the soft times, the sunny days and the cloudy days of life. Her piece made me want to do more, to push the possibilities, to embrace the chaos and to love my children with reckless abandon with a love so fierce that it could rule the world.

Thank both of you ladies for sharing such intimate moments in your lives. You both have inspired me to be a better woman, mother, and wife.You have made me want to be a better me and to be thankful for this beautiful world that I see. These moments are truly changing me.

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