Interviews with Big Bloggers

Interview with Meghan Bassett of Buried Truths

No Comments 29 May 2012

Happy Tuesday, guys! This post is a little belated thanks to the three day weekend and the fact that I’m in the tight grip of moving/post-being-sick hell, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important. In fact, I’m so thrilled to share this interview with you guys. Meghan Bassett is one of my best friends, who puts up with all of my nonsense in real life, and has turned into an absolutely brilliant blogger. Of all of the newbie bloggers I meet and work with (of which there are many) she has one of the most intense natural talents I’ve ever seen. Even Chase, my boyfriend, is frequently found on her personal blog searching through her recipes. She has a gift.

After the astounding success of her personal blog, Time for Renewal, Meghan decided to launch a very sophisticated sister site based on her graduate work and the important trafficking related issues called Buried Truths. This site came out, if I do say so myself, incredibly. It’s one of my favorite sites I’ve ever been a part of (I was here for questions as she built it) and I’m so excited to present it to you guys. So now, without further ado, here is Meghan!

1. Your first blog, A Time for Renewal, has really turned into quite the culinary adventure. Explain to me the premise of your personal blog and how it has evolved into what it is now.

Time for Renewal has been an unbelievable journey since I started it in January 2012. When I started the blog, I was going through a bit of a hard time. I was deep in the throws of a quarter-century crisis (similar to a mid-life crisis but without the wrinkles). I was feeling lost and despite having earned my masters degree last year, I felt like I lost my direction. Typical post-college issues I suppose. One particularly lazy Sunday I came across one of your posts on MsMorphosis that described how starting a blog changed your life. It really struck a chord with me and I decided to accept the challenge and start writing.

The whole idea of Time for Renewal is to take time to focus on myself. I know that sounds a little selfish, but when you find yourself in your mid-20s and you feel like you are already losing touch with yourself, it’s time to slow down and figure out where you got off track.

As I continued to blog, I rediscovered my two major loves in life – writing and food. As time goes by, food has certainly begun to take a front seat. The food portion of Time for Renewal started with the goal of trying one new recipe a week since I am not a great cook and my husband was starting to get sick of being the only one making dinner every night. Now the goal is trying two new recipes a week and I am really starting to challenge myself with the recipes I try (Maple Bacon Ice Cream or cooking my very first steak being the most recent accomplishments). I even find myself trying random recipes for the hell of it; Friday night I had the overwhelming desire to bake something so I whipped up a batch of meringues. Just so you know, I have NEVER been that girl before. Though it has only been a few months since I began the blog, it has already changed my life in ways I never thought possible. I can’t wait to see where the road leads me from here!

2. So in this experience of starting your first blog, what has been the most exciting part? What’s been the most challenging?

That’s a tough one! Particularly because there have been so many exciting aspects to starting my first blog. When I first started the blog, I had absolutely no expectations. I was a newbie to the blogging world and I had no idea the depth of social media involved with the online community. Time for Renewal started as a journey with no destination. All I knew when I started was that I wanted to reconnect with myself and this was the best way I could think to start. As I began to write and develop the site, it became, for lack of better words, a part of me. There is this amazing sense of liberation that comes with putting yourself and all your deep, personal thoughts out into the blogosphere. Exciting doesn’t even begin to encompass how it feels to start my first blog. It literally is learning a whole new set of skills and becoming a part of a community.

To be honest, the personal blog has not presented any extreme challenges. I fell into this blog and ever since it has felt completely natural. I suppose if I had to narrow it down, the most challenging part of Time for Renewal has been picking two recipes to feature each week. I am a bit of a recipe hoarder so it is always a challenge to narrow down my thousands of recipes to only a couple a week. I have a feeling I won’t be able to limit it to two recipes a week for much longer, especially since Pinterest is severely aiding my recipe addiction.

3. Then this brings us to Buried Truths, your latest creation. What’s Buried Truths about? Why did you decide to make it a separate site from Time for Renewal?

Buried Truths is a site dedicated to all issues related to trafficking. When I say all trafficking-related issues, I am talking about sex trafficking, labor trafficking, body parts trafficking, drug trafficking, and weapons trafficking. In my experience, there is a huge lack of knowledge in this area. Many people don’t realize that these issues are closer than they think, often occurring in their own backyards. In my opinion, it is important for the public to be well-informed. Without educating people on these topics, change can never occur.

Making Buried Truths separate from Time for Renewal was an easy decision for me. Time for Renewal is very personal and very much focused on me and my life. Buried Truths, on the other hand, is focused on an area which I am extremely passionate about advocating change for. The site to me is more of a professional blog where I can utilize my educational background, raise awareness, and hopefully help instigate change.

4. What can we look forward to seeing as Buried Truths grows and evolves? What are your plans for the site?

My ultimate goal for Buried Truths is for the site to become a main resource for trafficking news. In my experience, there are not many sites which fit this mold. I would love to become known as an expert in the field, providing up to date news, interviews with other experts in each area of trafficking, and ways for everyone to get involved to bring about change.

My plans for the site are fairly simple – getting people involved and raising awareness. I sincerely believe the more people know, the more possibility there is for change to occur in the world. I have always been dedicated to international trafficking issues and by sharing everything I can about the world of trafficking, I feel like I am putting my undergraduate and graduate degrees to good use. :) On a more serious note, I feel that I am finally giving something back to the non-profit community, even if it is simply raising awareness.

5. What have been your largest obstacles in building Buried Truths? What advice would you give to someone building a website for the first time?

There were several obstacles when it came to building Buried Truths… As someone who is extremely inexperienced in HTML and building sites, technical errors were one of my biggest nightmares. I remember one night I was fixing a very minor issue and in my attempts to fix the issue, I managed to make my site disappear. I was left in a panic for the rest of the evening until it got fixed. Thankfully I was lucky enough to have a mentor (ehem, I believe you know the lovely Jen?) who could help me through the crisis. Seriously, without you I am pretty sure my head would have imploded. Jen interjects: awwwww :) well, to be fair, we had Chase’s help! It all takes a village, especially in web-world.

The biggest obstacle for me was fear. When I started working on the site I was so excited and as I got closer to launching the site, the excitement grew but fear grew with it. I found myself wondering “what if no one cares?” and “what if I do all this work and no one sees the site?” Then I started to fear the critics out there who might not like my perspective on trafficking topics. Overcoming my fear was the biggest accomplishment in this whole process. I could have thrown my hands up and simply stopped at any point. No one really knew about the site and no one would hold me accountable. The only person who would know I gave up would be me. I realized I would have to live with that choice and that was unacceptable. I told my fears to take a hike, kept my chin up (despite the technical errors which followed), and stayed true to one of my favorite quotes from Nikki Giovanni – “A lot of people refuse to do things because they don’t want to go naked, don’t want to go without a guarantee. But that’s what’s got to happen. You go naked until you die.” So I went naked. It wasn’t the easy choice, but I will never regret it.

For someone building a website for the first time, the best advice I can give is when things get tough, take a deep breath and step back for a moment. There are times where things will get a little overwhelming. You might want to give up and you might feel like the work is not worth it. These are the moments when you need to take a deep breath, take a step back, and just give it a minute. It is so easy to feel like building your own site is a daunting task. Yet if you have a vision and you are dedicated, it will all come together. And if you have a mentor in the blogging world, TAKE ADVANTAGE of that connection. I can’t emphasize that enough. It makes all the difference in the world. If you don’t have a mentor, make connections and find a consultant to help if you are feeling lost.

6.You wrote a fantastic blog post on Time for Renewal (which I republished here) about the fear of starting a new blog. If someone is reading this and is nervous about the whole process, what advice would you give to them?

Thank you so much! That post was a real look into my heart and soul; I have to say it was probably one of the hardest posts to publish since it was so personal.

If anyone is considering starting a blog and are having reservations, the best way to figure out whether blogging is for you is to just start writing. From experience, that’s the best advice I can give. As soon as you start writing, you will know whether this is something you want to do. For me, it was an instantaneous connection. I didn’t have a site thought out and I didn’t have a goal in mind, but after publishing my first couple posts I was hooked. After that, the passion for blogging was all that mattered. As long as you have the passion, you will find your direction and your site will morph into exactly what you want. So start writing! If you love it, then keep going despite any fears that may be lingering in the back of your head. Life is too short to not do something based on fear. Like I said before, just go naked. If it doesn’t work out, it’ll always be an amazing story to tell.

 

Want More?

Visit Meghan Online:

time for renewal

buried truths trafficking

twitter

time for renewal facebook

 

 

Interviews with Big Bloggers

Interview with Girl Next Door Fashion Blogger Charlotte Crowley

No Comments 21 May 2012

Today I’m so excited to share this fantastic interview with Charlotte of Girl Next Door Fashion. I never read fashion blogs (because let’s face it, I spend most of my time in flannel and sweats… which is weird, because we’re moving this week and I have about 6 enormous boxes of clothes to go through – how does that even work?!), but when I go to hers I can’t stop scrolling.

 
Charlotte, a UK blogger, is confident, loves clothes AND food (something we both share that makes her a real fashion icon in my book!) and has a thriving, full life yet is always impeccably dressed. She’s a beautiful person, inside and out, and she deserves every ounce (and more) of the massive success that her blog has had.

 

Girl Next Door Fashion

 

1. How did you get started blogging? What are your aspirations for your blog and web presence?

 

I’ve always loved writing and the online community. I used to be active on music forum and then I started making my own websites, then I moved onto LiveJournal (cringe!). In 2009 I discovered style blogs and after finding out a girl I knew had a blog, I just thought, why not? I’ve been running my blog for two and  a half years now. It’s hard work, but so worth it.

 

My aspirations for my blog are just that it continues to grow. Of course, blogging full-time would be amazing but I don’t see myself being able to do that any time soon. I’d love to have more of a presence in the blogging world- being featured in a magazine would be amazing!

 

2. I absolutely adore your sense of style. How would you describe it? Can you give us some links to a few of your favorite recent outfits??

 

Ooh that’s tricky! I think my style has changed a lot lately and is continuing to evolve, which is really exciting. I think my style is kinda pretty and put-together. But also a little whimsical and fun. I don’t like to take my clothes too seriously, I think getting dressed in the morning should be as exciting as dressing up as a kid. I love getting excited about new outfits and putting together new ensembles. I also like to think my style is pretty wearable and accessible- I am such a high street girl. My style used to be kinda cutesy and very girly- very much knee-socks and dresses and cardigans- but now I’m getting towards the end of my degree I feel my style… maturing? Is that the right way to put it? I’m favouring button-ups, blazers, jeans and simplicity. I guess when your life is complicated and stressful- which it definitely is at the moment while I finish my degree!- you like your style to be easy and uncomplicated.

 

Here are some of my favourite recent outfits (I’m a sucker for pastels!)
Charlotte - Girl Next Door Fashion - Favorite Outfit #1

 

Charlotte - Girl Next Door Fashion - Favorite Outfit #2

 

Charlotte - Girl Next Door Fashion - Favorite Outfit #3

 

Charlotte - Girl Next Door Fashion - Favorite Outfit #4
 

3. I see in your About Me section that you like Mexican food. I LOVE Mexican food! Just curious, what’s your favorite thing to order at a Mexican restaurant?

 

Mexican food is the best! I love a big fat veggie burrito, nachos and anything with shrimp!

 

4. As someone who wears flannel most of the time and looks like hell in 99% of photographs, do you have any advice for how I could better pose for photos to look less like a moron? You’re always adorable in your photographs!

 

Oh really? Thank you! I worry that I have about 3 poses! I take the majority of my own photographs, and I try to do them in quiet places or at home, so I think the key is to try to relax and find the poses that work for you. I actually take better pictures when someone else does them for me because I feel less self-conscious than when I’m standing there with a remote and a tripod like a moron! And take a LOT of pictures! I take about 40-50 (and sometimes more!) to get down to 10 pictures for my blog.

 

5. Ok, back to blogging! How have you grown your blog and expanded your readership?
 
I spend a lot of time on my blog- posting posts on twitter and Facebook, submitting to sites like Chictopia and Lookbook, communicating with other bloggers and companies and doing my best to interact with my readers. I think blogging is difficult because there’s always another blogger with has 1000 more followers than you but I try not to let it get to me.

 

I think it’s important to be yourself and focus on what you want from your blog and people will come. I blog about what I would want to read, and I sometimes go and read my blog as if I’m coming to it for the first time. I think it’s important to like what you do. Finally, communication is really important. Read and comment on other bloggers, use twitter, email your favourite bloggers. Get yourself and your blog out there!
 

6. Since you’re a fashion blogger do people send you free clothes? Inquiring minds want to know!

 

I am very lucky to have worked with some fantastic companies, and yes, I do get sent free clothes. It’s a great part of blogging, but I don’t think it’s the be-all and end-all. Don’t just blog for the free stuff, haha!

 

7. Who are your fashion icons??

 

This is gonna sound super-cheesy, but other bloggers. I have about 150 blogs on my Reader and I have about 30-40 that I read every day. I’m more inspired by them than any celebrity or clothes horse because they’re real. Some of my favourites are Kendi Everyday, Keiko Lynn, Selective Potential, Steffy’s Pros and Cons, Fancy Treehouse, Blonde Bedhead and The Magpie Girl.

 

8. Ok, now I really need to stay on topic. What advice do you have to a newbie blogger? What do you wish you could go back and tell yourself at the beginning of your blogging journey?

 

Ooh what a great question! As I’ve said before, be true to yourself. The thing I love most about blogging is that every blog is different because every person is different. Some people like to share everything, good and bad (that’s me!), others only share the good stuff and keep their blog a positive space, and some blogs are just pictures. My favourite blogs are the ones where I really feel like I know the person!

 

I would also say don’t worry about success or free clothes or whatever. Blog because you enjoy it, not because you want to be the next Susie Bubble. And from a personal point of view, make friends with your camera. Since getting my DSLR (I use a Canon D550) the quality of my blog has really improved. What would I tell my old self? I guess keep going. Keep plugging away. For the first year of my blog I probably only got one or two comments on a post, but I kept going and I still love it.

 

I don’t know if I thought my blog would take me this far, but I love having a lasting memory of my life over the last two and a half years. I blogged through my entire year abroad, through relationships, through breakups, through family bereavements. My blog has always been there for me and I can’t imagine life without it. If you’re not sure about starting a blog, just give it a try. You never know where it might take you.

Interviews with Big Bloggers

Interview with Anne-Sophie of Fighting Anorexia

2 Comments 14 May 2012

Anne-Sophie, author of FightingAnorexia.com, is a blogger, podcaster, and entrepreneur who I first met through Jon Morrow’s GuestBlogging Apprenticeship Program. She’s popping up everywhere, including BlogWorld NY, where I’ll get to finally meet her this June!

She was kind enough to interview me about my experiences with anorexia on her site a few months ago, and I’m so excited to now be the one interviewing! In this interview, we focus on Anne-Sophie’s life as an entrepreneur, how the internet helps up heal, and what her goals are for the future.

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Interviews with Big Bloggers

Interview with Social Media Expert and Serial Entrepreneur Christine McDannell

No Comments 06 May 2012

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During the course of the thirty day video challenge, which I recently completed, I met some amazing people who spend a lot of their time growing their businesses online. Of these amazing people, one really amazing person really stood out to me – Christine McDannell.

Christine is a female entrepreneur and social media expert who owns the San Diego social media consulting firm Social Starfish, and from her habits (running and goal setting in the shower) to her powerful business presence, I knew she was a perfect match for the Blogging Fearlessly interview series.

Here, we talk about what it takes to be an entrepreneur, how to be productive, and using social media to grow your local or global business online. Enjoy!

 

Interviews with Big Bloggers

Interview with Online Business Expert David Krug

No Comments 30 April 2012

David Paul Krug is both a friend, a peer, and an inspiration. He has helped me immensely in my own online journey, and I’m so honored that he’s offered to share his story with you guys. If you’re interested in building an online business, I encourage you to begin following his latest creation – Freedom Business. If you’re looking for SEO help, his Search Garden agency might be able to help. And, if you’re just looking to follow another amazing blogger, you can find him at davidpaulkrug.com.

1. How did you get into the business of making money online? Can you tell me a little bit about that journey and where you’re focusing your energy now?

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Interviews with Big Bloggers

Interview with “Life After College” Author Jenny Blake

No Comments 23 April 2012

If there’s one person that understands the Blogging Fearlessly movement, it’s Jenny Blake. Here on Blogging Fearlessly, we want you to think for yourself about your life – where you invest your precious time, energy, and skills – and how you can creatively construct a job that you can be proud of for a life that you can be proud of. Jenny wrote the book Life After College, and has been featured on Forbes.com, US News & World Report, and CNN.com. She currently spends her time blogging, coaching, speaking, and being a yogi (she’s a girl after my own heart!).

Now, I’m so proud to present to you the beautiful Jenny Blake. If she doesn’t inspire you to get online and find your passions, then I just have no words for you.

1. How would you describe your career?

I’m excited to describe myself now as a solopreneur — a woman of many interests! My career is based around my blog, LifeAfterCollege.org, and incorporates coaching, speaking, online courses and now even teaching yoga. Continue Reading

Interviews with Big Bloggers

Interview with “Becoming a Better Woman” Creator Amy Harman

2 Comments 16 April 2012

I am so excited to present today’s interview with Amy Harman of Becoming a Better Woman.

Amy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has experience treating individuals, couples, and families for issues ranging from teenage substance abuse, depression, anxiety, abuse and trauma, to (the all-too familiar topic of) eating disorders. As a psychology-grad (and enthusiast) who also blogs about female self-improvement and self-understanding, I have an enormous amount of respect for Amy’s work.

Becoming a Better Woman has inspired a lot of posts on MsMorphosis, and I am constantly inspired by her insightful, loving, informative approach to dealing with issues that impact modern women. From her Stories of Strength series, to her powerful posts on the objectification and sexualization of women in society and the media, to dealing with relationship and body issues, Becoming a Better Woman is a phenomenal resource and refuge for anyone that has ever struggled with their body, their relationships, and the pressures of life today.

In this interview I was so excited to pick Amy’s brain about body image, blogging, and how it all changes once you become a mother.

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Interviews with Big Bloggers

Interview with Life Coach and Founder of “Alive: With Passion” Vlad Dolezal

1 Comment 09 April 2012

For today’s interview we’re going international, folks. Vlad Dolezal is a really fascinating life coach (and life explorer) who experiments with all types of self-growth (his eating, sleep schedule, etc), in order to find ways to enhance his life and wellbeing to live with passion. Vlad and I Skyped from his new home in the south of France (i.e. my dream destination) to talk about growing, building a blog, becoming a coach, and finding peace in the unknown. Off the record we also talked about his polyamorous lifestyle, which he agreed to write a guest post for me about on my blog, MsMorphosis, if you’re interested in reading that, just click here.

 

Jen: To start, you are living all around the world. So, how are you able to do that? Why are you doing that?

Vlad: I live around the world because I have a job that’s location independent since I work online. I work as a life coach, which involves phone calls with people or Skype calls, and I also write a blog, so I can do this from anywhere in the world that I want. Currently I’m in the south of France which has been my dream for quite awhile now.

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Interviews with Big Bloggers

Interview with Floliving Founder & Holistic Health Counselor Alisa Vitti

2 Comments 02 April 2012

I first discovered Alisa Vitti, HHC, AADP (Holistic Counselor, American Association on Drugless Practitioners) from her amazing Ted Talk “Loving Your Lady Parts as a Path to Success, Power, & Global Change.” I was having a particularly “hormonal” night, and her honesty and kindness brought me to tears and brought back my spirit. My writer’s block ended, and that night I wrote the post Is PMS Real or Imagined? The Short Guide to the Monthly Crash. Her work does what great people do: it inspires us, energizes us, and makes us feel understood enough to open up.

Alisa founded Laughing Sage Wellness Center, now Flo Living, 9 years ago, after being diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which she was able to heal herself through diet and lifestyle changes. She has received degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Today, she focuses on reproductive and hormonal health and creating real intimacy in relationships (MsMorphosis fans – does she sound like my soulmate, or what?). Continue Reading

Interviews with Big Bloggers

Interview with Brazen Careerist Founder Penelope Trunk

No Comments 26 March 2012

On the list of top nerve-wracking experiences of my life, calling Penelope Trunk for our phone interview was undoubtedly at the top.

We all have career idols. She’s one of mine.

We all have personal idols. She’s one of mine.

Penelope is a writer, blogger, and entrepreneur who focuses on the intersection between work and life, often chronicling her own personal and professional experiences while drawing on the expertise that dubbed her “the world’s most influential guidance counselor” by Inc. Magazine.

I write on MsMorphosis about my opinions on sex, marriage, and my body. I’m often terrified, because sometimes people pay attention. Penelope is far more adventurous than I am, and the whole world is paying attention.

When she famously tweeted “I’m in a board meeting. Having a miscarriage. Thank goodness, because there’s a fucked-up 3-week hoop-jump to have an abortion in Wisconsin” she dealt with the shitstorm that ensued with unwavering strength and grace. She later stook up for her controversial tweet with remarkable persuasiveness in the post You Can’t Manage Your Work Life if You Can’t Talk About It. Continue Reading

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For unique, interesting, entertaining, and thought-provoking articles and interviews, MsMorphosis covers it like no one else can. MsMorphosis creator, Jennifer Gargotto, has the courage, curiosity, intelligence and spirit to challenge our thought processes by expressing different points of views on a variety of relationship topics. The articles are very well-written and interspersed with humor and humility. I enjoy it immensely. — Betsy Montgomery

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