I won a Liebster Award!
For several years I barely wanted to talk about my blog. I guess I was embarrassed. In January, I revamped my site's look with the help of Cotton Row Creative and narrowed down my focus to just United States travel. I love my site now and niche. I was recently nominated for a blogger award called the Liebster Award, awarded to and given by bloggers. It's a great way to bring attention to new blogs and let bloggers know that someone is actually reading (thank goodness). My blog isn't really new but since I went through a major rebrand, I'll take it!
Once you're nominated for a Liebster, the person that nominates you asks you a handful of questions... Here are the questions Andrea asked me.
Do you need any special environment while writing your blog?
I have a desk at home where I often write but tunes are a non negotiable. Even if I'm in a coffee shop, I have headphones in. I've curated the ultimate road trip playlist on Spotify with over five hours tunes to keep you awake on a long road trip or help you maintain sanity during a long layover. If you sign up for my monthly newsletter, you'll receive the playlist instantly. Pretty awesome right? The Spotify playlist Deep Focus is amazing when you need some instrumental tunes.
Which post of yours are you most proud of and why?
Personal posts are the hardest to write because it is uncomfortable putting yourself out there; (at least for me). Why a Travel Blog and Confessions of a Travel Blogger were my way of letting readers see more of my "real" life. When I first started the blog, I never intended to get very personal but I'm proud of these posts because they are a little harder to write and people seem to connect to them.
Who is your biggest supporter/motivator in blogging?
My longtime childhood friend Celia has been my #1 blog fan since the beginning. She talks me up to anyone and everyone around her; I've gotten several freelance opportunities through her free(lance) PR efforts. My family has always been really supportive too. My mom, sister, and brother are always sharing my blog posts (thanks y'all). My husband Ryan is a constant cheerleader too. He's taught me a ton about photography and creating videos. If you wanna see some of the videos, check out my YouTube.
If you have to give 3 easy tips for starting bloggers, what would they be?
- Just start. If you want to start a blog, do it. I speak at Indiana University often to different classes and the students usually ask me this question. Fear of putting yourself out there online is one of the biggest hurdles. But if you want to do this, you just have to.
- Blog because you enjoy it. Blogs take a lot of time to maintain especially in the beginning so you have to want to do the work. Working with brands and earning money from a blog comes later from a lot of hard work and patience.
- Figure out how to differentiate your blog early on. I started mine as a hobby and just treated it like an online journal. I wish I would've developed my niche and focused on long-term goals earlier.
What keeps you motivated for blogging?
I'm a creative person so I feel at home when I'm taking photographs and writing is what I do. If I can help someone figure out how to have an awesome weekend in Lexington, Kentucky through my blog, even better. I also like being busy. Don't get me wrong, I like a Netflix binge every now and then, but I love my little corner of the internet.
What is your next destination?
I am heading to Austin, Texas in July for a bachelorette party. It's been seven years since I've been to that city so I'm excited to see it again. Later this summer I'm heading to Bend, Oregon for a Yoga + Beer retreat!
What special item you always take with you on travels?
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A camera for sure. Ryan and I bought a Canon 60D back in grad school and it has been a lot of fun to work with. I gotta say I'm really freaking excited about my new camera, Canon Gx7 Mark II. It is a lot smaller than the 60D, so easier to travel with. It can shoot in RAW & Jpeg which is crazy to me and shoots full 1080 full HD video. I'm obsessed. I shot all of the photos in my Milwaukee Weekend Guide and Virgin Apothecary post with the Canon Gx7.
I also never leave my house without a few key skin care products. Chapstick is a MUST. I always have a tube of Burts Bees in my bag. My new favorite though is made by my friend Gina of Virgin Apothecary.
Name your 3 top cuisines you’ve tasted.
- French - I traveled to Paris with my aunt and cousin at the age of fourteen and ate everything in site. I loved bread and chocolate before that trip but after, a grocery store croissant just seemed like a cruel joke.
- Turkish - Turkish food is incredible; so many rich flavors in every dish. Near the end of my trip to Istanbul back in grad school, the group sat down to lunch at a restaurant in Bursa that claimed to have invented the kebab. That was the only thing on their menu. We were asked if we wanted something extra and our teacher, a Turk, just said yes they want it before any of us could answer. The server brought around a sauté pan with hot butter and doused each of our plates full of kebab and bread. It was one of the best meals of my life. Oddly enough I don't have a photo of that plate!
- Korean - I have not visited Korea but I experienced some truly incredible Korean BBQ in San Francisco. Some friends ordered for the whole table so I'm not exactly sure what I was having but it was freaking delicious.
Where was the most breathtaking view that you’ll remember forever?
I have two.
The first was on a hike at Haleakala National Park. We were living in Maui at the time but it was kind of like a two year vacation. We took Ryan's stepfather hiking up on the volcano and normally the volcano is surrounded by wispy clouds, impeding your view of the valleys below. But on this particular day, the clouds unusually dissipated and we could see all the way out to the ocean. We must have been really baffled by what was happening with the clouds because we don't have any photos of that either. #oops
The other was in Assos, Turkey. My class had been traveling all day and as we watched the sunset at the top of the acropolis our professor broke out a bottle of wine out of his backpack. He poured us all glasses and we shared a toast as the sun went down.
To keep the chain going I'm nominating five bloggers that I'm a fan of and want to know more about...
- Leigh of Campfires & Concierges
- Megan of Olio in Iowa
- Megan of Moderately Excited
- Blake of Hoosier Travels
- Justine of The Iridescent Wings
Questions for y'all
- What inspires you to blog?
- What is your preferred mode of transportation when traveling?
- What destination exceeded your expectations?
- Favorite drink you've had traveling? And where to get it?
- What 3 things do you always have in your carryon?
- Favorite destination in the United States?
Looking forward to reading all of your answers!