Today I’m sharing a couple magazine features I’ve recently had and a fun new job I started a few months ago.
Being a DIY/Interior Design blogger has many perks. I work from home, set my own hours, get to be creative, share my passion with others, work with big and small companies to promote products I believe in, and in general – get paid for doing what I love.
Before I started blogging, I had no real idea of the kind of work that would go into it, or the different jobs I would be “required” to learn. I put “required” in quotes because technically, they are jobs that can absolutely be hired out, but to pinch pennies (especially in the beginning) and to make a maximum profit, you learn to do a lot of things yourself. And I’m not talking just about DIY projects around my home.
As a blogger I have had to learn how and/or become proficient in everything from photo editing and design in Photoshop, to marketing and brand communications, to intermediate CAD rendering. Those don’t include some of DIY skills I’ve learned like woodworking, tiling, basic electrical, and learning how to use nearly every tool that you will find in a home improvement store.
I think that is one of the things I love the most about my job– that it is constantly changing and presenting me with new opportunities to learn. Well, I’m excited to share with you all a new aspect of my blogging job that I was offered late last fall: magazine project producer! I was sub-contracted to produce the project for an article in a magazine that just hit newsstands everywhere this week: Better Homes & Gardens’ Special Interest Publication – Refresh Magazine! The article is titled, “Click Design” and is all about tips and tricks to shopping online for a room makeover (pages 44-49).
Basically, I was given the premise of story idea and a general color scheme, and it was my job to put everything together in my home to be ready for the photographer and stylist to come in the day of the shoot. Granted, I had some guidance along the way by my good friend and mentor, Jessica, a BHG stylist who lives close by. I honestly was floored to see how much confidence they had in me– more than I had in myself at times.
I definitely had more than one moment of self-doubt where I thought,
“This was a mistake. They are trusting me– investing in me– and I am not qualified to do any of this!”
Have you ever felt that way?
I am infinitely thankful for a few really good friends, my husband, and God- who I could confide in and would help push those negative thoughts out. I needed the reminder that the self-doubt I was experiencing wasn’t founded in truth, but in fear. Fear of failure. Fear of disappointing someone. Fear of being unprepared.
The truth was I am qualified. I’ve had years of experience that prepared me for this new job.
I needed to simply (but not always easily) push through the fear by taking one step at a time– one day at a time– completing each step in the process. AND MAKING LISTS! Lists were my sanity leading up to the shoot. Prioritizing and checking those little boxes allowed me to sleep at night.
To give you an idea of what kind of work goes into this project, I sourced and created 3-4 different room makeover design boards for them to choose from. From there I bought or borrowed (communicating with PR teams of different online retailers) all the items in the chosen design board plus extras. The extras were alternates for nearly every aspect, just in case the color or size wasn’t right.
(This is George. We affectionately named him so because of his massive size. He was bought for the shoot from a local floral wholesaler and whom I still have in my front room.)
The strict stipulation for this particular story was that I could only use retailers who ONLY had a presence online… if they had a store that you could actually visit– then I couldn’t use them as a source! Additionally, we didn’t want to order more than a few items from the same retailer because it would look like we were promoting one vendor more than another, and it shows lack of creativity. I used more than a dozen different vendors to put the room together.
More than half of my basement was completely covered with boxes and all the “extras”. Even though I’ve been ordering things online for my home for years, I learned SO much from this project and I shared my best tips and tricks to make the entire room makeover experience more enjoyable and successful. I am so proud of the story and would LOVE if you wanted to pick one up for yourself!
(A crappy iPhone pic I took with Jay Wilde, our photographer, making adjustments to equipment.)
Of course the day of the shoot was so much fun (it happened just before Thanksgiving)! All that hard work paid off and we (the photographer, Jessica, and I) could enjoy the creative process. We completed the photo order (sort of a ‘menu’ of shots that need to be taken) just before the sun went down and laughed and talked while organizing items to be returned.
Here is a little video I put together of some behind-the-scenes of the photoshoot and a quick flip-through of the articles I’m in:
This is the lamp that was in that video snippet above of the wrapped up huge lamp… it was actually very beautiful in person, but entirely too large for our space. So glad I ordered 2 other “extras” to choose from!
One of the questions I been asked quite a few times is “Do you get to keep anything?”
The short answer is no.
Besides flowers or greenery, everything that can be returned for a magazine photoshoot, is definitely returned. This type of shoot is different than a home feature. A home feature is where they come in and bring a few props but mostly shoot your home as-is. A shoot for a project-based article like what I did, uses very little of what I already own because the room is supposed to serve as a ‘studio’.
We transform the room into something completely new and different than what is known and familiar on my blog or anywhere else. Keeping items that I bought would add up to a big expense that isn’t reasonable for myself nor the magazine. If I fell in love with something I got for the shoot and wanted to keep it, I would have to pay for it.
I’m so glad I was able to keep George. 😉 This is before he got a trim, as he was quite full and bushy.
A few weeks after this shoot finished, I was asked to produce another project for BHG’s Best of Flea Market Style, coming out in April. That project was was a bit more involved and the shoot took place last month. I’ll share more about it when the magazine comes out, but learning this new job — a magazine project producer– has stretched me in new ways that are both exhilarating and exhausting. I can’t wait for more! 🙂
P.S. I shared this on my Instagram stories last year, but this past September BHG sent out a small crew to shoot the exterior of my home, as well as a corner of my living room for 2 different magazines. The exterior of my home was featured in this same spring issue of Refresh found on pages 50-55!
And the corner of my living room was shot for the cover of Small-Spaces Decorating which came out in this past December:
Click here to read about my first BHG experience when my entire home was photographed (and I made the cover) for 100 Ideas Flea Market Style.