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the people behind the blogs

Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, bloggers, This Blogger's Life, blogging, interview
This week’s guest on This Blogger’s Life is Kelby Carr the founder of the website Type-A Parent and the organizer of the Type-A conference. I think just about everyone in the parent blogging world knows Kelby by her reputation as a business powerhouse. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know her over the years through her online magazine Type-A Parent and finally got to meet her in March at Type-A Disney World. I’ll be honest, I was a little intimidated, and I am not intimidated by many people but she really has her shit together. But, when I met her, if you look at the photo below, this is who I met. A kind, quiet, strong minded, business savvy woman who upon recognizing me gave me a huge smile and heartfelt welcome that put all my nerves at ease. The thing that I love most about Kelby is that she genuinely wants to help other bloggers succeed, which is evident by her conferences. I’ve only been to a handful of conferences but I felt like I got more out of her 1 day conference than any other one I’ve attended, I can’t wait to go to Type-A Atlanta in September.
I am honored to know Kelby and proud to have her as my guest on This Blogger’s Life today. So, without further ado…

This Blogger’s Life, Kelby Carr.

Kelby Carr, Type-A, Type-A Parent, bloggers, This Blogger's Life, blogging, interview

Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging while still working as a newspaper reporter. It was a way to write about a topic I was passionate about, but didn’t cover regularly at my paper (travel).
What’s one piece of advice that you would give to a new blogger?

Run your own race (blogging isn’t a zero sum game).
What are the three words that describe you best?

Assertive, Type-A and social.
What is your favorite website?

Inc.com

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not blogging?

Watch movies and read (everything from comic books to horror/fantasy and business books).
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself from blogging?

After years of writing and working for others, I realized I could (and prefer to) be my own boss.

How do you balance life and blogging?

That is one of the biggest challenges. The smartest thing I did after years of being an uptight control freak (and too tightwad) was to hire an executive assistant last year. It has made a huge difference. It has allowed me to work more on my business, and less in my business. If I could go back five years, I would smack my old self and say to do this earlier.
How has blogging changed you or your life? 

I can now work for myself. While I do have some travel, I can attend almost every school function. We can decide at the last minute to do a short getaway. I get to decide my own fate.

What do you think makes a successful blog? A great blog? Are they one in the same?

I don’t care what your business model or topic is, fantastic content is always the core to a successful and great blog. There are a lot of other factors that also can enhance that, but you can’t have great and successful without the quality content.
If you were to stop blogging today, what would you do with the rest of your life?

Travel, start another business or open a restaurant.
How do you balance telling your story, without telling the story of others in your life? 

I actually don’t share anything personal about my children or husband. I did buy my kids’ domains with their names years ago, so web their lives get blogged it will be by them.
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?

The focus on great writing, conversation and community. I am over the moon thrilled bloggers are making money and supporting their families now from this industry, but it is important that bloggers balance revenue goals with maintaining quality content. I see sponsored post to non-sponsored post ratios that are really alarming. If we don’t maintain the quality content, we will kill the golden goose anyway. We won’t have readers, and brands won’t see the value in investing in our industry.

How do you consistently come up with relevant and shareable content?
Type-A Parent has always been an online magazine/social blog, so that means I mix up my own posts with paid posts by bloggers. Each month, we do a call for paid blog post ideas and any blogger can apply. What’s great about that is it helps us remain community-focused, and we get lots of variety of topics and expertise areas. As an online magazine, we also cover a wide variety of topics (anything of interest to parents who blog, so that ranges from business and blogging advice to recipes and crafts).

If you could have a dinner party for 6 people, living or dead, who would you invite?

Hunter S. Thompson, Audrey Hepburn, Seth Rogan, George Takei, Lynda Carter and Stan Lee. 

What’s the one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?

I witnessed an execution.

What’s the one post that you are most proud of?

My favorite posts tend to be when I mix commentary about our industry with advice, like this recent one on sponsored post ratios: https://typeaparent.com/sponsored-post-ratios.html

Kelby, Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. I KNOW how crazy everything is right now with you being in full-swing preparation for Type-A Disneyland in a couple weeks. You always make time for your fellow bloggers and  I hope you know that it doesn’t go unnoticed. You’ve earned my respect on so many levels for what you do and how you conduct yourself in this arena. Can’t wait to see you in September and hug your neck. XOXO

 

If you want to know more about Kelby Carr, check her out at Type-A Parent on FB, Twitter and Google+.

 

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Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, bloggers, This Blogger's Life, blogging, interview

Today, I am honored to welcome one of my favorite people and writers on the Internet, Amanda Magee to This Blogger’s Life. I had the pleasure of meeting Amanda last year at BlogHer and she has been one of my favorite people ever since. Not only was she dressed completely adorable, my first impression was what a beautiful smile and legs for days but she had a great personality so the first thing I did when I got home was start reading her blog. She’s a directly to my inbox kinda writer.

I am not blowing smoke up your derriere when I tell you that she is one of the best wordsmiths I’ve ever read and being the bibliophile that I am, that is saying a lot. She is not only a wonderful storyteller, she is an artist. She paints a story with her words and her “book” of words is better than any movie could ever be. Amanda is a writer’s writer and I am thrilled to get to feature her here.
When I met Amanda, we were introduced by a mutual friend at a function and I am pretty sure that I charmed the pants off of her with my gruff vocabulary and loud, overly blunt attitude ( just think naval officer on leave but louder and more obnoxious and you have me). Amanda on the other hand was very Grace Kelly, her personality is as ethereal as her words. Still, she laughed at my jokes and I enjoy anyone who I can amuse without offending.
Long story short, if I had been a regular reader of her site before we met, I may have approached her with a little more reverence and a lot more awe but as it stands, we met exposed in all our human vulnerabilities and became fast friends. I am not joking when I tell you that I look forward to reading every word she writes because it always makes me feel something, think something, consider or take action. Her words have weight and we all need to read them and if you are a writer, mother, sister, woman, human; Amanda Magee should be on your daily read list…just like she’s on mine.
I’m honored to call Amanda my friend and it’s my privilege to have her on This Blogger’s Life today.

Amanda Magee, This Blogger's Life, the people behind the blogs, blogging  This Blogger’s Life….Miss Amanda Magee ( Jones in my head as I now cannot get that song out of my head)

Why did you start blogging?

I initially started blogging because my grandmother once told me, “Write things down. Just a little detail or two each day to help you remember times in your life.” I knew that I would not go the scrapbooking or journaling route with recording our daughter’s first year. The blog was a way to chronicle that sweet time, while also making it possible for my family on the West Coast to keep up with the milestones.

 
What’s one piece of advice that you would give to a new blogger?

Write for you. It’s really that simple, because anything less is unsustainable. Now, writing for you means a lot of different things, for one person it might mean writing reviews to earn bits of money, for another it might mean writing to cope with emotions. Whatever your motivation, so long as you stay true to it, you’ll find a path.

 
What are the three words that describe you best?
Hmm, why is that so hard to answer. Me as a writer? Open, hopeful, intimate. Me as a working woman? Driven, passionate, frank. Me as just me in the quiet of my thoughts? Worried, sentimental,
 
What is your favorite website?

A site that I kind of forget and am then reminded of and every single time find something grounding or inspiring is https://thatkindofwoman.tumblr.com/

 

 

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not blogging?

Well it isn’t folding laundry, I can tell you that. Ok, sorry, focus. My favorite thing is probably doing something outdoors with my family. A hike, a trip to the lake, or just goofing off in our backyard. It makes bedtime so much easier when everybody has had their itches for time together scratched. That moment when the girls are down and we have the sensation of job done right or a life well lived, it’s priceless.

 
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself  from blogging?

That I dream in words. My love and my heartache, it all lives inside of words and the release of those words, sometimes as a declaration, other times an admission, and others still a kind of song, makes me feel whole.

 
How do you balance life and blogging?
The simple answer is that I don’t. I think balance, in any sense, is more a loose concept than a real thing. I certainly pursue a sense of balance, but honestly most of the time in order to get the uninterrupted writing time that I crave, I cannibalize my sleep, staying up late or waking early. The saving grace is that my family all know how much writing means to me and, as a result, it has come to mean a great deal to them. The girls ask me to write about them, offering suggestions and delighting in the times that I take them up on it. Sometimes on a Sunday morning Sean will clap his hands and declare that it’s “writing time for mom.” Everyone scatters and lets me have space.
 
How has blogging changed you or your life?
 

I have made dear friends, like share my darkest secrets people who have held me up from thousands of miles away. It’s also taught me so much about myself. I have often said that I wish I created something—music, art, buildings, whatever. Blogging helped me see that I do create something; I make Narnia like doors for people to slip away from the harsh intensity of life and just be inside a moment.

What do you think makes a successful blog? A great blog? Are they one in the same?

I think we all define a successful blog in our own way. For me it is having a clear voice and a steady direction, which really means not writing things that don’t add value to my life and never betraying the people who “use their time on me” as my daughter would say. Every time someone visits my blog, that’s a choice, when they comment it’s a gift, I hope that in some way my writing honors that.

 
If you were to stop blogging today, what would you do with the rest of your life?

Miss it. And find a new way to write.

 
How do you balance telling your story, without telling the story of others in your life? 
We have a saying in our house, “If you have to ask, then you probably already know the answer.” I feel like I have a pretty good internal gauge. If I am in doubt I’ll ask Sean or the girls.
 
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 started over ten years ago. I don’t really miss anything because I really cherish each couple of years as a chapter in my blogging tale. I suppose I do sometimes yearn for a slightly less caustic environment. Even as I say that I don’t really know who is to blame, is it the media loving to stir the pot or is it in-fighting within the blogging realm? Maybe I’m just older and less inclined to try and elbow people out of the way. It’s why I am grateful that I love writing, the rest just doesn’t really matter to me.
 
How do you consistently come up with relevant and shareable content?

Oh, I don’t. I’ve have stretches when I cannot bring myself to publish because it doesn’t feel up to snuff. Eventually the freeze passes. I think Instagram has helped a lot. I find myself getting so inspired by moments I snap and the conversations that they spark. “Oooh, I can write about this. This is more than a photo!”

 
If you could have a dinner party for 6 people, living or dead, who would you invite?
My grandfather six times over…
My dear friend Estefania from my year in Spain (1991), I lost track of her and I’d love to hear her say “Ai, Amanda” and then laugh. Sean’s friend Andy and his wife Ali, who live just outside of Boston. Andy and Sean were on the crew team together at RIT. Andy can make Sean laugh like no one else in the world. It is one of my favorite sounds. Jenny Ingram because when you are with her she makes you feel like the most important and wonderful person in the room.
 
What’s the one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?

I used to be a smoker. I quit in 2001.

 
What’s the one post that you are most proud of?
I feel pretty deep shame when I run out of patience with the girls. I wrote a post once about a bedtime that tore me open. I was scared to reveal the experience. The night it ran Kristen Chase tweeted a link to the post.  Before I went to bed I got an email from an editor at the Huffington Post asking if I would allow them to republish the post. Reading the post I can still remember what it felt like to have her let go of my hand, it reminds me that nothing lasts forever.
Amanda thank you so much for being my guest on This Blogger’s Life and allowing me to interview you! I am so glad that we got to meet last year at BlogHer and I can’t wait til the next time I get to hug your neck! Keep on telling your stories. I cannot wait to read the book that I KNOW has to be written. Nobody puts baby in a corner:) XOXO

If you want to get to know more of the amazing Amanda Magee go read her blog, check her out on Facebook and Twitter!

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Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, bloggers, This Blogger's Life, blogging, interview

 

This week’s guest on This Blogger’s Life is my good friend, fellow blogger and mentor, Jessica GottliebI have known Jessica for a few years now. I believe our friendship was sealed over a conversation on Twitter about drinking good wine, in bed, or something like that and we have been friends since. The more I’ve gotten to know her, the more I admire her keen sense of business acumen, her sense of humor and her determination to always put her family first. It’s hard to find a balance doing what we do but she does it and that’s something I’m still working at.
Anyone who knows Jessica knows that she is a straight shooter, loves her family and likes fast cars and pretty things. I love her because she has a giant heart, can use the word f*ck in casual conversation and still sound like a complete lady and always says what’s on her mind, especially if it’s a cause she believes in. I am honored to have her as my friend and here today. So, without further ado…

This Blogger’s Life… Jessica Gottlieb

This Blogger's Life, Jessica Gottlieb, bloggers, blogging,

Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging a number of years ago when my friend was dying of AIDS. I was raising my kids during the day and then spending my nights by his side at the hospital. I found that my friends would ask me how I was doing and then I’d burst into tears and start giving them the details of Steven’s demise. I needed an outlet and blogging became a good one for me. https://angrymom.blogspot.com Without that site I’d have lost many friends.

 
What’s one piece of advice that you would give to a new blogger?

Write honestly. If you don’t have a passion there’s no reason for your readers to care.

 
What are the three words that describe you best?

I’d be scared to think about that.

 
What is your favorite website?

Just one? Everyone loves Suri’s Burn Book right? No one’s supposed to admit to reading GOMI but I have to admit that it tickles me. Also I really enjoy suburbanmatron.blogspot.com

 
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not blogging?

If you can get my husband my kids and me all in the same room I don’t really care what we’re doing. I am happiest when the four of us are together. As for alone time? I like to be in motion. I love tennis, yoga and hiking.

 
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself  from blogging?

I learned that I can be respectful of people who I disagree with. Blogging reveals a lot about people that you might not otherwise learn and I’ve found that I can enjoy parts of people and they can occupy parts of my life without needing to agree with them.

 
How do you balance life and blogging?

I have a social media schedule. I am willing to spend up to three hours a day working on these things and no more. When the time is done, my work is done. No one wants to read about a blogger who sits in front of the computer all day. You have to get out and live. Most days it’s less than an hour but three is my absolute limit.

 
What do you think makes a successful blog? A great blog? Are they one in the same?

I don’t know what a successful blog is. Is success a large audience? Maybe financial security? Perhaps success means a book deal? Blogs are like the new MLM and the moment someone tells me they have one I sort of cringe because I’m not sure I want to read it. I’m not sure anyone wants to. Hell, most of the time when people ask me what I do for a living I tell them I’m a housewife. There’s something so inherently narcissistic about blogging that I’m both drawn to it and repelled by it. I can’t define success. I can’t define greatness. I’m not sure anyone can.

 
If you were to stop blogging today, what would you do with the rest of your life?

They same thing I do now. I’d just have to budget better.

 
How do you balance telling your story, without telling the story of others in your life? 

This is where the work comes in. It’s difficult (and worth making the effort) to tell only my story. It’s entirely possible to talk about motherhood without talking about your kids. I’ve had a few slips and annoyed some folks along the way but for the most part no one knows much about my kids, my husband or my extended family. When my kids go to get their first jobs you will not be able to google their names. That’s the balancing act.

 
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 don’t know that I feel particularly wistful for anything. Change is good. I love that short content can live on other networks. I just don’t enjoy slideshows, I’d say that’s the only big bummer in blogging right now.

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

I don’t. An awful lot of my content gets ignored.

 
If you could have a dinner party for 6 people, living or dead, who would you invite?

My family of four and Sasha and Malia Obama. I want the scoop from those two.

Thank you Jess for being my guest today and always being such a huge supporter of other women & bloggers, and on a more personal level, thanks for always being such an awesome friend and mentor to me. Your writing always makes me think and your fierce attitude has taught me that strong women can do what ever they set their minds to. XOXO

If Jessica  rocks your socks as much as she does mine, check her out at JessicaGottlieb.com and at Word of Mouth Women. but if you really want to have someone interesting to follow and engage with, Jessica Gottlieb is that person on Facebook and , of course, Twitter, where it all began.

 

 

 

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