Lauren is a true example of someone who's life has been lived on screen. She was an established blogger living in London before she found herself pregnant with her twin girls, and the blog world awaited their arrival alongside her. I imagine that's because Lauren had truly become a friend... that's just how she is. When Lauren lost one of her daughters shortly after birth, she continued to live her life through her blog. Sharing all the wonder of her new baby girl, Viola, along with all the heartache of their loss. She stayed connected when so many would (rightfully!) pull the plug. And it made sense to me when I met her. She was in it, connected, excited to really be present at The Hundred, and to graciously share her life and her story with all of us.
How long have you been blogging?
I started in February of 2010. My friends had started blogging a few months before and were loving it. They forced me into it by creating my blog for me (literally!) and telling me that I wouldn’t have anything in common with them, if I didn’t. Ha!
Can you pinpoint a transitional time, when your blog became something "more"? Perhaps something that you hadn't intending it to become? Or maybe your vision was actualized? (Or maybe it isn't yet!) How did you handle that time?
Well there are two points that blogging took a jump in my life. The first was when we moved to England. I was, in many ways, friendless as soon as we arrived. Blogging gave me friendships with so many people. I never felt lonely because of the relationships I was making through it- which is something I’m not sure a lot of expats can say for their first few months in a new country.
The second time was when I had gave birth to our daughters. Not only were people so kind to me in sharing in our excitement during pregnancy, but when one of our daughter’s died shortly after birth- they grieved with us, too. People I had never met sent cards, wrote emails, knitted blankets… I felt so uplifted by a faceless crowd during that time. It endeared me to the blogging community in a profound way. Yeah, I know there are some really nasty people saying really mean things about bloggers, but I choose to think of the kind people who read blogs. I blog in the hopes of connecting with them, and, maybe, being a part of the faceless audience that can help them through the tougher parts of life.
You mentioned to me the concept of "humanizing" blogging. I loved that phrase! Tell me more about what that means to you, and why it matters.
I think it’s really important to remember that behind the blogs that we read are… people! If there is one thing that I’ve learned from about people after traveling the world over is this: we’re all a lot less glamorous than we appear in photos. (I’m the #1 example of this ever. I, personally, look considerably better in pictures than real life.) Let’s use the prettiness and inspiration of blogging to make real friendships. Instead of trying to make those glossy pictures we post of our lives into faux personalities, let’s use them as kick-starters for conversations and relationships. Instead of looking at beautiful picture of a brunch spread and feeling frumpy over your bowl of Special K, why not use it as motivation to finally stain your kitchen table, invite a friend over for coffee or engage in a conversation about what you love about that particular restaurant, too.
At the end of the day, we are all just (mainly) women doing the best we can…. and we all look, pretty much, the exact same walking around on the street. Why should the ability to style a vignette or have a good angle determine that anyone is better than the rest of us? We’re all just people.
What was important to you about hosting The Hundred? What inspired you to make it happen? And do you think you saw it happen there?
I love the relationships I’ve made through blogging, but they felt incomplete without the physical element. I wanted to MEET the people I’ve spent so much time talking with over email and text. Hosting The Hundred was a fun way to do that, but instead of just making it a fun weekend with the four hosts- we wanted to open it up to everyone interested. We wanted to demystify blogging a bit. Show people we are normal and empower them to use their normal selves to engage deeper in the blogging community.
If a blogger asked for advice on how to balance her blog and her everyday life, what would you tell her? Can it be done?
Not really! I always say that if my blog looks good, my house is a wreck and my husband is annoyed with me. They take a lot of time! Once you nail down what your “schtick” is, it doesn’t make it a bit easier. You don’t have to flounder trying out new subjects or doing it all. You want to be a fashion blogger? Great. Spend one day shooting all your posts for the week. You like to make recipes and share them? Perfect. Do it all one morning a week. You’re a sporadic travel blogger who writes too much and posts way too much food? Well, that’s my bit. Find another. ;)
What strikes you about the bloggers you love? What makes you feel connected to your fellow bloggers?
I know most bloggers stick to blogging circles that are like theirs… but since I don’t know how I would classify myself (travel blogger? mommy blogger? lifestyle blogger?), I feel free to move in and out of any circles that seem fun. The bloggers that I feel closest to know are those who have known me since the beginning. The ones who asked me to guest blog before I could get them any traffic other than my mom. The bloggers who sent flowers to our flat the day we had my daughter’s funeral. I love those bloggers- regardless of their niche or following- because they’ve become my friends.
Have you ever regretting being a blogger? If so, how did you weather that storm and push on? If not, why do you think that is?
I do all the time. Tyler, my husband, jokes that starting a blog is like asking for a puppy for Christmas. They loose their shine, they require constant upkeep… and you just can’t walk away. Maybe someday I will. I feel like I’m running out things to say, and people are probably ready for me to sign off anyway. :)
You probably already do, but if you don't, see more of Lauren and her awesome family as they adventure through a dreamy life in London's Notting Hill neighborhood, over at Aspiring Kennedy.
All photos courtesy of Aspiring Kennedy and Awake Photography.