I’m tickled pink to be welcoming our latest Worth Casing Blog Styling Curvy to Agent Mystery Case. I just know you are going to love this blog and the gorgeous blogger behind it, as much as I do.
Styling Curvy is Jenni, a 40ish, mum, wife and breast cancer thriver who gave away working in retail fashion to take up life as a bloggy type person.
Jenni’s a lover of homewares, flowers and coffee and gets regenergized and inspired with daily visits to the beach. Yoga is her jam and the housekeeping can wait because she’s busy living life to the fullest doing personal styling, volunteer work, public speaking and blogging.
Easily recognized by her short n sassy blonde hair but definitely one who takes life and blogging by the ponytail, sharing her tips on styling and living her best life ever on Styling Curvy.
How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I started writing and journalling when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in Sept 2012.
After a year I started a cancer Facebook page to help patients and families understand treatment and the impact of cancer. This page was also very therapeutic for me and I loved this but at times it was very heavy and I was craving my old life in fashion. That’s when I decided to start Styling Curvy in March of 2104.
I tried to keep the cancer stuff separate but found it hard as I am who I am today because of cancer. After realising I would never return to retail I took the leap and became a full time blogger. In October last year I started the blog and now write about styling, cancer and general lifestyle musings.
Tell us a bit about your blog and what we can expect to see in the next twelve months
My blog is about curvy styling and life’s curveballs…mine was cancer. I’m doing a series starting at the beginning of my breast cancer journey and writing about all the real stuff from medical appointments, facing my mortality and the impact on my family. It’s real, raw and honest and I hope it enlightens the general public and helps others through their own journey.
I live in Adelaide a beautiful city with the laid back feel of a big country town that has the most stunning coastlines. Lately I’ve been showcasing Adelaide talent in fashion and plan to do more of this in other areas too.
I’m a full time blogger so this gig needs to pay some bills, I know right hard to believe you get paid for blogging but yes…we do. I work hard on my blog and social media putting in lots of hours and I have great relationships with several brands who I review product for, we also collaborate on lines and talk all things curvy. I don’t review everything that’s offered my way, I still need to be authentic and won’t be ruled by the dollar, I also need product that is a good fit for my readers.
I’d love to collaborate on a line of clothing for women recovering from surgery, work with more brands, write a book, do more beauty posts, travel to meet my readers and get more of a handle on the techy stuff!
Do you have a favourite place or dedicated space for blogging?
I do! As I type I’m in my local cafe where I come to write 3 mornings a week. I eat poached eggs with tomato and spinach, sip black coffee and have the most incredible beach view. Bliss! Henley Square is a bustling precinct filled with locals, tourists, dogs, kids and some surfy types that are easy on the eye LOL.
What are your must have tools and resources when it comes to blogging?
My iPhone, iPad, laptop, camera and the ability to communicate. I’m still finding my way around a laptop, my new camera and all the tech stuff, I could definitely do with a proofreader at times too. I’m a shocker for pressing publish and then seeing typos. I always write with my earphones in and music blaring and sometimes break out in interpretive dance at the table…bit embarrassing when I do it at the cafe.
Have you ever experienced blogger’s block and what are your top tips for when it strikes?
I have! I know it’s early days for me to be getting that but I’m an off the cuff person…what you see is what you get and my writing is closely connected to my moods and my health so can be a little sporadic. I try not to be led by what others are doing and just run my own race. Comparison is a creativity killer. I also now use a planner to give me a guide of what I might like to write about.
What have been your blogging highlights and biggest challenges?
I’ve had so many highlights already that I have to pinch myself. You know what, just pressing publish is a highlight for me. Every time I publish a post its sending off a little piece of me out there into Internet land forever, I love that my kids will always be able to find a piece of their mum floating around after I’m gone.
Having brands I love wanting to work with me, that’s just awesome and the relationships I’ve formed are truly a gift!
Working with a mentor is awesome, I can’t tell you how much that helps. Writing can be a lonely game and most writers are a little (or a lot) introverted and it’s lovely having a mentor and group of women to bounce off in a safe environment, there’s no judgement just genuine care, help and hi 5’s.
There’s a few challenges with blogging…comparison to other bloggers and cliques amongst bloggers but it’s no different to other workplaces. I don’t put too much emphasis on watching numbers, my husband always says ‘don’t believe your own hype Jen’, always grounding me. It’s always easy to get caught up in the hi 5’s, likes and free gifts but the reality is nothing is for free and what goes up also comes down.
I also find pricing a challenge. I get contacted ‘ALOT’ by brands wanting me to work for free…of course there will be an element of doing a favour every now and then and I’m cool with that, but I don’t know anybody who works for free. I spend a lot of time building relationships with my readers, working on the blog, answering questions, I’ve invested in a blog, hosting, tools etc. some brands think I should just be grateful for a free item (which I am) but let’s not fool ourselves, if you’re sending it to me you’re hoping I can boost your business. I’m hoping to show my readers something new and of value to them and to pay my bills. Let’s meet in the middle.
Who inspires you and what’s on your Worth Casing list when it comes to other bloggers?
Wow that’s tough. I’m fairly new to reading blogs as I was always a Facebook junkie but I gotta say I’m drawn to Edenland, she’s not for everyone and at times the read can be dark but shit she’s funny and intelligent, warm, real and brutally honest. For a while I couldn’t read her stuff and judged her a little but when I just accepted that this was her truth that she was speaking I settled in and now just love it!
I also enjoy Sammy from ‘The Annoyed Thyroid‘ her energy is contagious and Lisa from the ‘Art of Joy‘ is a lovely blog when you need guidance and a chill pill. For foodie type blogs I enjoy ‘Ink & Cleaver‘ and popping over to ‘Sarah’s house’ and ‘A Beach Cottage‘ are feasts for my eyes. ‘BabyMac‘ and ‘Fat Mum Slim‘ is like having a cuppa in the kitchen with a bestie surrounded by chaos, beauty and humour with a healthy dose of reality.
For fashion and beauty there is so much out there but I like popping in to see what Barbe from ‘Fashionista in Suburbia‘ is up to, that lady knows her way around a lipstick and eyeshadow palette and has a rock star style I love.
What advice would you give to anyone that is thinking about starting a blog of their own?
Start! Just start, there’s no right or wrong a blog is YOURS. Always be authentic because readers can smell bullshit a mile away and never write to please an audience because your writing will always be evolving just as your readers will. Be you, write about what interests you and it won’t feel like work and will flow more easily. Surround yourself with good people and don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
Be open to trying new things, you never know where that may lead you and remember to have fun too.
Blogs working with brands is a fairly new thing and not the pinnacle…the pinnacle is you being happy, your readers being linked in and loving what you do. If you do work with brands then have some boundaries, guidelines and manners.
Numbers aren’t everything. Having thousands of readers doesn’t make anyone better than you, don’t place your self worth on the numbers. Having plugged in readers who interact is far more important to me.
What’s your favourite thing to write about?
Well fashion of course it’s in my blood but I love empowering women, watching the light bulb go on as they realise they always had it, they just needed a little help to let their light shine.
Women are hard on themselves…and other women. Let’s stop that shit, right now! Let’s build others up, wouldn’t life have more joy if we could hi 5 others and really mean it?
Honestly being able to truly accept yourself and love who you are leads to growth, you just gotta start. Making small changes leads to big things and life opens up and welcomes you.
If you weren’t in the business of blogging what would you be doing?
Volunteer work and swimming in the ocean. I volunteer one day a week for a local organisation ‘The Hospital Research Foundation‘ and do public speaking, media campaigns and fundraising for various breast cancer networks. It’s important to give back, it breeds empathy, understanding, a sense of community and balances life…and just feels bloody good!
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Note from Mystery: I don’t know about you but I nodded my head the whole way through this. Jenni’s outlook on life and approach to blogging are very similar to my own. Was there something that really resonated with you?