Interview with a blogger: meet Jessica from Lavender & Lilies

February 13, 2010

Today’s post begins a new feature on Penelope Loves Lists called “Interview with a Blogger”. I’m absolutely fascinated by the ways other bloggers work, especially how they organize their time, their physical workspace space and their blog. I decided to start asking some questions of bloggers I admire.

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My first interviewee is one my favorite bloggers, Jessica from Lavender & Lilies. She’s super smart and creative and I love her blog. Here’s what Jessica says:

When did you start your blog? I started a sort of test blog in March of 2009 and then started my blog with Blogger in April of 2009.

What physical items keep your work organized? (Notebooks, binders, etc.) My iphone and my laptop.  I tend to get inspired in random places so I use my iphone to make notes of ideas for posts or interior design ideas.  I get a lot of ideas from magazines and I rip the pages out and scan them onto my computer.  I pretty much hate loose paper so I scan everything into my computer.

What software or online tools to you use to keep yourself organized? I am a huge user of the Picasa Photo Albums on Google.  I upload all of my decorating, crafting, entertaining or gardening ideas.  I also use the Notes function on my iPhone for quick note taking when I am out and about.  I also use iPhoto to store and organize photos I personally take.

Are you a “list” person? If so, what kinds of lists do you find yourself making most? I am a huge list person.  I make lists for everything: to do lists, grocery lists, weekly menus, packing lists and most recently I have been putting together lists of trips I want to take in the next few years.

Where/how do you store ideas you get for content? I am inspired by nearly everything: magazines, traveling, television, the internet…  If I am out somewhere I will make a note of it on my iPhone or snap a picture of something that I think is a good idea.  If I am online, I save photos to my desktop so I can upload the photo with my post.  If I am inspired, I always try to write the post as soon as I can.  If I wait, I tend to lose interest. I am very ADD that way.


Mac or PC? I am a Mac girl through and through. I hate PCs.

How many hours a week do you spend on your blog? I typically spend several hours on the weekend writing and scheduling my posts for the week. I also check my blog periodically throughout the day. I love comments so I  am always checking for those.

There are a lot of tasks involved with successful blogging: writing content, guest blogging, commenting on other blogs. How do you organize your time? I always try to have my week’s posts scheduled for the week by Sunday night. My work schedule and commute give me very little time during the week so I don’t write my posts during the week generally. I do guest blog occasionally but I do have to say I don’t do as much of that as I should.  I usually check other blogs and comment at random times during the day. If I stay in my office through lunch I will take 15 minutes or so to check and comment on my favorite blogs. I also spend at least a half hour or so commenting on blogs in the evenings.

Describe your current work space. I have to say my workspace is very portable. I use my laptop to store images that inspire me for content and I have a notebook I jot down ideas so I can blog while in the bed or watching a movie with my husband. I use our desktop computer sometimes for blogging but typically that only serves as a hub for our movies and photos.

Jessica's blogging workspace

Jessica's blogging workspace

As for my office at work, I am insanely organized. We are a paperless office so all of my files are stored on a server, which I access from my computer.  I keep very little paper at my desk and any documents I have to keep I store in polka-dotted Kate Spade folders in a folder stand on my filing cabinet, which is empty because I hate paper.  Did I mention that I hate loose paper? I am a trial lawyer so I have to keep resources for trials, case law, etc.  I store all of those in organized binders that I keep in a bookcase. For me, a sign of a successful workday is a clean desk.

Describe your dream work space. Oh my goodness I could keep you here all day!  I want my own office space that I don’t have to share with lots of storage for office supplies, stationery, gift wrap, crafting supplies, etc. I would love a big desk with shelves mounted above and a dock for my laptop so I can use a large monitor and keyboard when I am at my desk.  A great scanner/printer combo and a high end photo printer are musts also.

I also would want well-organized drawers and cabinets for all my office supplies and a fabulous framed bulletin board lined with gorgeous fabric.  Bookshelves for my books and accessories would line a wall. In the same room I would like a work table and stool for gift wrapping and crafting.  I would also like a large comfy chair and ottoman for reading or list making. The room would, of course, have to be painted a fabulous color with amazing drapes and a rug with all of my favorite prints on the wall. It would be sanctuary of creativity.

What about your blog work makes you most anxious and how do you deal with it? I think I get most anxious about making time to visit and comment on other blogs. I think it’s so important that we support one another and visit each others blogs. When I get really busy I always worry that I am not being faithful to my fellow bloggers. I have been blessed by so many amazing blogging friends that have supported me and my blog and mentioned my blog on their sites, which has in turn brought me so many new readers. I always want to return that favor and show that appreciation. To deal with this, I try to make sure I visit those bloggers that are faithful to my blog at least every 3-4 days. I don’t put the pressure on myself to comment every day but I do make it priority to let them know that I do appreciate the inspiration they give me.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to a new blogger? Let your personality shine through your blog. This took me a while to learn how to do.  When I first started blogging, I obsessed over posting on things I thought people would like or using content I thought would bring me the most readers.   It’s hard to write good content if you really are not interested in what you are writing about. Once I let that go and started posting on what inspired me personally, the traffic on my blog spiked and I started really having a lot more fun with my content.

Blogging is a huge creative outlet for me. I have a very stressful job and blogging has given me such a great way to express myself and my creativity.  Now that I really have learned to blog about where I am at in my life right now, I find that I truly enjoy blogging and that more and more people seem to be drawn to my blog as well.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

meg February 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm

I loved learning more about her and her blogging organization; what a great sneak peek!

Laura @ PARING DOWN February 13, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I am so identifying with the paperless thing. I really want a mini paper scanner for receipts and things that we need access to but don’t need taking up real space. Bravo!

Thea February 13, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Great interview and I like her advice for being more paperless. Food for thought.

Meredith February 13, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I am putting together a post for March about the “paperless office” bc it’s definitely a topic I get a lot of questions about. Keep reading!

In the meantime, if you have strategies for going paperless that you’re using successfully, send me an email!

Marie February 13, 2010 at 3:39 pm

I love this post! Jessica has some really great tips that I’d like to try. I’m so happy I discovered your blog! I have always been a list person. Thanks for your nice comment over at my blog, see you at byw :) xo

Erin February 13, 2010 at 5:03 pm

I really enjoyed this! As a new blogger, it really helps to hear how other bloggers do it. Thanks for the inspiration.

Kimberly Lynn February 13, 2010 at 7:45 pm

{le sigh} If I didn’t already adore Jessica, I certainly would after reading this interview. I definitely found a lot of useful tips on blogging – something I feel I’m still trying to navigate my way around.

Keep it up!


Maartje February 14, 2010 at 12:47 am

Nice interview!

Anna February 14, 2010 at 4:54 am

Great interview. I like the advice on the paperless office.

Jessica at Lavender and Lilies February 14, 2010 at 5:09 am

I love the way the internet turned out! It’s so great to see everyone so interested in going paperless. I’m a tree hugger so that makes me happy and it really makes organization so easy! Thanks Meredith!

linda@LimeintheCoconut February 14, 2010 at 5:25 am

Very nice interview…and a great blogger to boot!

Juliette February 14, 2010 at 7:02 am

great post! i nominate you for an A+ on the BYW homework =) I like the type and the amount of questions you asked. I’m also looking forward to hearing more about paperless offices! Great job on the homework! I’ll definitely be coming back to read more of these!

heather j. February 14, 2010 at 7:36 pm

what a great interview. i love hearing how people organize themselves, etc. i love reading Jessica’s blog and i’m glad she introduce me to yours. look forward to more interviews.

Flavia @ Estilo Home February 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Great interview! This series is such a great idea; I am always curious to see how other bloggers handle the time commitment, abundance of inspiration, etc.. See you over at BYW!

FROM THE RIGHT BANK February 16, 2010 at 11:52 am

I agree with the others that this is a great interview. Jessica and her blog are lovely and it’s fun to learn more about how she works. Well done, you two!

Kimberly February 16, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I really enjoyed the interview too. While I don’t have an IPhone, I use my Blackberry to keep all sorts of notes. I HATE HATE paper too unless I feel like doodling. I am very interested in your paperless strategies. I do have some thoughts, so I will send them your way.

Nicole February 16, 2010 at 8:16 pm

What a wonderful new feature & thanks for such an detailed interview… I love that others dream of their perfect workspace too!

Meredith- you’re just full of inspiration & eye candy each time I visit… I’m so happy to have found you via BYW! :)

carlee February 19, 2010 at 4:14 pm

What a wonderful interview! She has such a great blog…thanks for sharing!

leaca February 20, 2010 at 12:05 am

Great interview. I have struggled with letting “me” come out on my blog but I think I am getting better at it. It sounds like such a simple concept but it really can be hard at times.

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