Tuesday, April 9, 2013

52 Some Bloggity Blog Chit Chat

Helloo dahhlings!  How is your Tuesday going?

Today I thought I would take a moment to get chatty about some blog questions I receive here and there.  Comments and questions that pop up from time to time, that I haven't really taken an abundance of time to address or explain.

I don't do these types of posts too often, but I think it's important to share some of the "whys" behind this second home of mine.

So let's dive right in before I get way too chatty and this post gets far too long.  It could happen.  Who am I kidding?  It has happened!

Question 1:  What's up with your sponsor posts?

Once per month I do a sponsor shout out post, which is just my way of giving back to those that keep these blog lights on each month, and showing them how much I appreciate their support of iHeart Organizing.

  • My sponsors support this dream I am living and without them, who knows where I would be or what I would be doing.  They are allowing me to follow my passions and heart and for that, I am endlessly grateful.
  • Although readers get to come and visit daily at no charge, it does cost money to run a blog.  On top of my time to write posts, answer emails, edit photos and stay connected with my readers socially, there are also many behind the scenes business expenses and costs to constantly be DIYing and projecting and drumming up new content.  Everything from accountants to branding to building a business and trademarking, it all comes with costs and it's the not so happy fun part that comes with blogging and isn't often spoken about.
  • I wish I had the means to work for free, but I just don't.
  •  I was raised to be thankful and grateful and I am just that when it comes to those that sponsor me and my work.
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  • Sponsor posts now go up the last Thursday of each month, in the morning.  They will typically be followed by a second post later in the day, so if they aren't for you, you can scroll on by.  But hopefully you will take a moment to take advantage of their promos and find some incredible new companies.


Question 2:  What's up with your Giveaways?

Bottom line, I adore you guys!

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Giveaways are my way of giving back to you, as readers.  My way of saying Thank You for stopping by this happy space!

  • Giveaways go live on Tuesday evenings.
  • They are often times considered a "double" post day.
  • I try to limit my giveaways to once per week, but occasionally, amazing companies contact me at the last minute with incredible opportunities, so I double up.  More goodies for you!
  • I do not get paid for hosting the giveaways or taking the time to write up the posts.  I have no personal benefit other than knowing I am giving something amazing to those I adore.
  • It is fun to support businesses and Etsy shops.  So many businesses are run by people like me, passionate about what they do and following a dream.  I would do anything to support and promote a company that I believe in, and love sharing their stories.
  • My giveaway hosts set the eligibility requirements, which often times means that they are only open to US residents {due to costly international shipping rates}, however, I do look to work with companies that are willing to give to all my readers whenever possible.
  • Giveaways and promos may come on a little stronger around holidays, such as Black Friday, Mother's Day and Christmas, as extra gifts to sweet peeps.



Question 3:  What's up with product reviews?

This one always seems to cause a little more buzz than standard giveaways for a few reasons, and I have been trying to set some guidelines for myself as my blog evolves.  I receive requests to review products frequently, and although right off the bat when I started writing, I would say yes a bit more frequently, it is something I have slowed down quite a bit.  Here are my thoughts on the subject:

  • My first and most important stipulation is that any product I review, must be something that I would personally purchase, fits with the theme and goals of my blog and is something I would put on my own wish list.  I have received requests to review many different types of objects, even clothing, but what?  I am far from a fashionista and haven't blogged about my attire once... why would I review that?  
  • All reviews are 100% my opinion and I am never paid or swayed to write anything I share here.  Reviews are compensated by product only, never by monetary means, which I will always disclose within the post itself.  
  • Due to the nature of what I write about, I do personally purchase decor, DIY supplies and organizing objects, and will often times link to those items and share their sources {because if I don't, I will get asked}.  This doesn't mean that I was given those items or am being paid to use and share my experiences.  I will always disclose if that is the case within the post itself.
  • I do not wish to review a product if I can not give the product away to my readers.
I believe that partnering with companies is an incredible way for bloggers to earn income and support their business, as long as it is always authentic.  That is the key.   If I am reviewing a product, I hope to always include some sort of organizing tip or inspiration within the post, so that there is still something to be gained from the post, and it is never my intention to let a post feel product pushy.

Many many opportunities have come my way through blogging, and I am proud to say that I have had incredible opportunities to partner with some absolutely amazing companies and meet some really inspiring people.

As of right now, the two companies you will see me teaming up with are Silhouette and Staples.  I have been a Silhouette user for quite some time and have been partnered with them for the past few years, and they are always extremely generous in offering my readers products and promotions.  I also just partnered with Staples.  Yes, pinch me and shake me and wake me up because the opportunity to work with one of my favorite companies is nothing short of dreamy.  And I obviously supported them and purchased from them often and long before this recent partnership came into play, so there is no hidden agenda, just a really great opportunity to work with a brand that I love and bring you some goodies too.

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Question 4:  What's up with Reader Spaces and Contributors?

They are pretty amazing aren't they?  I mean seriously, how do you come up with so much awesomeness and have the ability to leave me astounded week after week?

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I feature readers because:
  • You Rock!  I have said it before and I will say it again, we are an endless ring of inspiration.  You inspire me and your ideas are what push me and give me ideas.  
  • I can not possibly project every single day.  Readers and contributors allow me to feature REAL spaces that are not just plucked from a magazine.  They are all spaces created by real people with real heart and passion.
  • It is my goal to limit the number of "filler" type posts and try to keep the posts project oriented and inspiring in some way or another every day.
  • We all have different needs, homes, lifestyles, budgets and situations.  By sharing reader spaces and contributors, this blog can hopefully in some way, relate to everyone.  Not every post will be something that you can do or want to do, but hopefully by featuring an eclectic mixture of amazing talent, some posts will provide you with ideas and inspiration.
  • I can not possibly think of it all.  To think I have a super power organizing brain that can problem solve every single design and organizing dilemma is just plain silly.  But by having an awesome team to turn to and to bounce ideas off of, or to share in the answering your questions, will hopefully give you different ideas and perspectives.  More brains are better than one.
  • Do you have any idea how many over the top fabulous blogs I have found through my reader space features?  I wish I had more hours in the day to keep up with them all.  It's been a blessing to connect with so many brilliant people.
  • Each contributor is so fantastically different.  Some share great tips about small space living, others focus on the design side of organizing while some are pros at repurposing thrifted furniture to create darling storage pieces.  I love all that they all bring to the iHeart Organizing table.


Question 5:  What's up with your posting schedule?

In case you didn't know, I live, breath, eat and sleep this blog.  OK, that didn't sound right, but it is basically true.  Everyday my mind is racing and I am anxious to begin typing up my next post.  I fall asleep with ideas spinning through my brain, what to write about, answers to questions I received, comments that resonated, big girl dreams that I wish could happen much faster than they do.... My brain doesn't shut off.  I write while I eat, while I am in the car and even when I am away on vacations, getaways or taking a weekend to breath.  I am constantly thinking up my next project and thinking all things blog, it has consumed my mind for the last three and a half years and I LOVE IT! 

So, some things to know about my posting schedule and our projecting frequency:
  • I post when I have something to say or a project to share.
  • I try to write a minimum of four days per week, but there are times when I get sick, the kids get sick, life happens, schedules and priorities shift or I just need a day to clear my blog filled brain. 
  • As far as the time of the day I write, it comes down to when I can.  My schedule changes from day to day, so sometimes I write in the evenings when the kids go to bed, other times I write in the morning after they go to school.  
  • I have always said that I wish blogging meant more hands on, more painting, more building, more crafting and creating.  But truth be told, I spend more time behind the ol' monitor doing all sorts of administrative like tasks.  #bloggingbummer
  • My hubby works outside of the home full time, and even contracted part time, so our chance to project is late at night or on a weekend with an opening.   I am so grateful that he gives his spare minutes to help me with a project so I have something to write about.  He always has said he is my number one fan, but I still feel guilty asking him to grab his hammer when I know he just wants to sink in on the cozy couch after work.  
  • I have rushed projects for the blog and lived to regret it.  Sometimes you see things change around here, faster than most change their underwear.  That is because I have made the silly mistake of rushing through something, for the sake of posting.  I am trying to reduce that from happening, and posting when things are good and ready.  That doesn't mean I won't still make mistakes, learn from them and share all those details here.
  • The blog hat is only one of the many hats I wear each day.  I also run an Etsy shop {which I have huge dreams of expanding and growing}, I am trying to start up a business, I am working with some local friends and clients on their spaces and I am first and foremost, a family gal with three very busy and active boys and a super husband that I cherish.  The hard part is loving every hat so much, that I refuse to hang any one up.  But that may mean some days I need to take a day off of blogging to focus on other areas of my biz.

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I seriously can't thank you all enough for stopping by each day.  I wish I could hug and smooch each and every single one of you and your daily comments mean more to me than you could possibly ever know or understand.

Hopefully that clears up any cloudiness as to my way of thinking around here, back to regularly scheduled posts again tomorrow.


52 comments:

  1. You're doing a great job balancing all those hats, at least from a blog reader POV. Take a break when you need it, we won't love you any less for it! <3

    -Ren

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    1. I agree with Ren! You are doing fabulous and I always love reading your posts! Thank you for sharing though because it's nice to hear some of the real life behind the scenes action. Makes me admire your blog even more! Keep up the good work :)

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    2. Thanks so much! Means so much to me!

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  2. Great post. There's so many behind-the-scenes details that you only realize after blogging for a while. You do an amazing job :)

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  3. I just wanna say that I find you so inspiring! You seem like such a genuine person and sweet, and it really shines through in your blog. You make me wanna rearrange my whole life and become even more organized, and with a prettier home. You are one of my favorites reads :) Go Jen!

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    1. I completely agree. I've been reading your blog daily for the last year, and I love it. It honestly has changed the way I hope to organize my life.

      Since I started blogging a few months ago, I can completely see the temptation to finish something quickly for the sake of a post. I appreciate the tip! Soon, I think I might be ready to submit to your reader space... It's a goal!

      {lamourcheznous.wordpress.com}

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    2. That makes me so so happy to hear, thank you! Even if only one person leaves here feeling inspired each day, it leaves me smiling big!

      xo,
      Jen

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  4. You're authenticity is just one of the reasons you are so loved, Jen! So much goes into blogging and you wear all of your hats so well. I admire that you'll take time off the blog for your family and bigger priorities. No one can do it all 24/7 :)

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  5. Jen, you are a ROCKSTAR! I seriously don't know how you do it all. I LOVE your blog! I don't blog, but some day I will send you before/after pics of all my projects that were inspired by you and your blog. Thank you!

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  6. Thanks so much for taking the time to write up this post! I appreciate the inside scoop! :) How exciting that you are trying to start up a business! I would definitely stop by on my way to MN to visit my sister & her family! :) Congrats on the team up with Staples! Love your blog! I read it daily!!

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  7. I have to say, behind your diy posts, I find your reader spaces posts to be some of my favorite! Of course, I think one of the best parts is you pointing out everything that "works" for the space, thus me seeing it in a while new light.

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    1. Same, it's fun to have some different flavours. Jen's organising posts are like chocolate ice cream, but you need to have vanilla and strawberry sometimes. And all three together is just delicious! Add some chopped nuts and cream and... I'm sorry, I think I got distracted, what was I talking about?

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  8. Jen, I always love your upbeat spin on everything! I think all the things you share and post about on your blog are awesome and I am honored to be a sponsor! Your have created one of the happiest, uplifting places on the web. Your readers are truly amazing, and I have been delighted to have several of them become customers. Thank you!

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  9. Your blog is one of the best there is! You do all of your posts with such class, I can't see why anyone would complain. I do like finding out the schedule a little bit, though. I sure love your ideas.

    Bobi
    bobijensen.com

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  10. Thank you for these insights into your world! Could you tell us how you began your relationships with your sponsors and giveaway hosts? Did you approach them? Did they approach you? How does that work {for those of us just beginning this adventure}? :)

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    1. Great question! Might end up being a whole post worth of an answer. :) But the short version is that I added a "your ad here" box on my sidebar with a link to my advertising page and the sponsors kindly came to me. I was very very fortunate for that. I actually purchased my first few giveaway items myself and slowly started reaching out to some of my favorite companies here and there, but for the most part, again, I have been approached, which has also been a huge blessing.

      Best wishes!!
      Jen

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  11. Thanks for the great post, Jen:) I'm so impressed and inspired by all you do. Your blog is such a positive part of my day. Congrats on your success. You deserve it!

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  12. Jen, I just adore everything you attempt and love reading about your successes and failures. From a reader's point a view with my busy schedule as well, I honestly am just trying to keep up with your posts! :) Your blog posts are always about something new, oh so relative, and genius. My husband is a graphic designer so I see things with a different set of eyes than most and really appreciate reading your blog with ease. It's eye candy! Not to mention the fact that I can come tame my organizing obsession while I'm at it :)
    As we close the deal on our house and start making it our home, I can't wait to implement everything you have taught me so far. I am so thankful I found your blog last year. Maybe one day I will send you some pictures of how you've inspired me! Thanks for sharing a behind-the-scenes look at blogging and thanks for being you, Jen!

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    1. You totally have me blushing, thanks so much Sarah!

      xo!

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  13. Jen - we all just love you to PIECES!! You post such amazing things, but honestly, I can't keep up with you! Sometimes I get behind so quickly on your posts because I want to savor every detail and just don't have the time to soak it all in! Don't ever feel bad about taking a day or two off here and there because you post SO much that we will never be bored! You need to take care of YOU and not burn out. (Although I don't think that is possible - you are like the energizer bunny!) :) Congrats on all of your success - you deserve every bit! And thank you for all of the fun and inspiration you give daily to so many people.
    xoxo

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    1. Thanks beautiful friend! I always love popping in to see what you are up to as well! We are organizing sisters separated by distance! Love ya!

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  14. I just found you in December and I am already hooked. As a mother of 2 little ones I have loved the organized places for your boys. I have a small home and love to see your creativeness in how you have shown how to maximize what space you have. Love to read all your posts. I agree the the other comments. Don't feel like you have to post daily but I have to say I am addicted to checking every weekday. You are amazing. I cheer you on!

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  15. You do a wonderful job!
    Your blog is so inspiring, and filled with wonderful posts and information!

    Keep up the great work!

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  16. It is obvious that you put your heart and soul into it- thank you!

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  17. My question, which I'm sure you get all the time, is how do you do it all!!?? I get tired just reading about all that you do! I think people underestimate the amount it requires to take and edit a ton of pictures of everything you do as you go and then the time it takes to write up the posts, much less the time it takes to actually do a project. Plus you have three kids and run an Etsy shop!? I'd love to see a "day in the life" post. Do you really only have one blog assistant? Are you sure you don't have like 5 clones of yourself running around?

    Your blog is definitely one of my very favorites, and I honestly don't notice if you "skip" a day or two of posting. I also love all types of posts (regular posts, sponsor shout outs, giveaways, product reviews, reader spaces, etc).

    I totally get what you mean about eating it, breathing it, and sleeping it. I do the same. I literally dreamed about labels last night. My family thinks I'm crazy!

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    1. Ha, you made me chuckle. I don't do it all the time, I promise. When I do well in one area, other areas are just maintaining {or even suffering}. I am always trying to find balance and have learned to not be so picky about some things and to cherish the moments with family first.

      Oooh, we should do a post about blog dream stories! I have had my share of comical ones!

      xo,
      Jen

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  18. Jen,
    You are such an amazing person and such a big source of inspiration for me, personally. To tell you the truth I can't get enough of your posts:) When I check and there is nothing new...I feel down. I love your sense of style, your creativity and your skills. Keep up the good work. And maybe one day you can join me in on blog...and post something for my readers. You are an awesome woman. I wish I knew you in real life!

    XO
    Anna

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  19. Thank you for posting this. I hope everyone is able to understand that running a blog does have it's expenses. Especially for the new bloggers as myself. Keep up the good work. You are doing great!

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  20. Jen,

    I think that you are SO great at what you do! You are inspiring, creative, and the beauty that comes through in everything you do is so delightful.

    ~Sarah

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  21. Thanks for this really informational post. I'd love to get your thinking sometime about "how to get started" and doing a blog "part time". I work full time as an educational consultant which means lots of travel. Last summer I decided to feed my passion of home decorating, cooking, organizing, etc. by starting a blog about it. However, I can't do the amount of work it takes to make it exemplary therefore it's a little slow to get going. My wonder is do I abandon it due to this or are there some tricks that I should consider. I want to do so much with the blog, don't really want to abandon it until there's time, but yet it's not living up to my expectations.

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    1. Hi Kerry!

      When I first started, it was a lot less frequent posting and only as a hobby. I didn't rely on it for income, and only posted when I could and when I wanted a creative outlet to share a new idea. I have to say, those days were much less stressful ;) but I totally appreciate where it has gone over the years and how it has grown. At the end of the day though, you have to love it and want to do it and everything else will follow in time.

      xo,
      Jen

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    2. Than you for offering me hope. I tend to want to be an overachiever and do everything to the max. You have reminded me that I shouldn't take the fun out of my life and for me, right now, blogging is a FUN WAY for me to honor the creative side of me. I love that part of my life (and my work life too) so why abandon something I love :)

      Smiles and hugs,
      kerry

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  22. I can't imagine the time and effort you must spend keeping up with this popular of a blog. You have inspired me in many ways and I very much enjoy seeing all transformations, whether they're yours or a reader space. I hope one day to be pleasantly surprised as a reader space feature! LOL. www.styleoyster.blogspot.com

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  23. Hello Jen, I sadly only found your wounderful blog in jan of this year HOWEVER I loved the post I read so much I have taken time out to go back and I am working my way threw out ALL your blog posts ( I'm half way threw lol) but I have been inspired to organize my bedroom and have found myself in the position where I have more space then stuff to store. But this is thanks to you and your dead caution to use as readers .i sadly do not own my own home I still live at home ( I am dreaming tho) but I know I have learned so much from you that I could start my home right rather then have the problem to solve ( that make sence?) but I guess all this ranting is to end with thank you
    Hugs from over seas
    Vikki H xxx
    P.s I do wish we had more uk blogs like yours to help make buying storage things easier :(

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    1. Haha, please forgive my early posts as you go! :) I always look back and giggle at how much I have changed in three years. It shows why blogging is so awesome though, I have learned so much and my style has evolved and having this blog to reflect on and document my trials and errors has been so valuable!

      xoxo!

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  24. I don't like that you had to make a post like this...explaining why you run YOUR blog the way you want to. I'm grateful to be your reader because you post some pretty awesome stuff, give me great ideas, and are just super cute and it is all for FREE!

    Keep doing you girl!

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  25. I personally enjoy looking at your monthly sponsor blog...because it always reminds me that without them...we wouldn't have YOU! Also, please tell your wonderful husband that he's a great team player! It's so refreshing to see a husband and wife making their home and life so amazing...together. Congratulations on signing with Staples! I luv that store--I'm so excited for you! You are doing an A+ job and it's so fun to read your blog.

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    1. Well seriously, that was the sweetest comment ever! Thank you so much!

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  26. I don't know how you keep up the drive so constantly! You are such a sweet soul. Your optimism, cheerfulness and just plain awesomeness keeps me hooked. I know that you are a "real" person and that you deal with real life issues like the rest of us - but I love that you just let the rest of us shake off our real world for a while and escape into your blog (which ironically has improved my real world...just ask my junk drawer.) I do find it funny that people would message you to ask, "What's up with...?" lol!

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  27. Love your blog SO much Jen! Thanks fo the daily dose of inspiration and positivity! You are amazing!

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  28. Thanks for this post. I know that bloggers need sponsors and I have no problem with that at all however it is so good that you have brought it out into the open with this post - hopefully it will take away any shame others may feel about sponsors, we all need to eat! I love reading your blog sporadically and love the way you acknowledge your sponsors monthly.

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  29. Thank you for giving us a look behind the scenes! You do an awesome job--I honestly don't know how you do it all! The amazing quality of your projects and posts shows that you really put your heart and soul into every single one, and we as readers are the lucky ones who benefit! Thank you again for writing such an incredible and inspiring blog!

    ~Abby =)

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  30. I absolutely love your blog! One of my favorites. Your sweet personality, positive outlook, and inspiration shine through with every post. Your blog is a breath of fresh air, bringing ideas for beautiful organizational ideas. I enjoy all the various posts you do, and I get so many ideas for my own home. Take a short break now and then when needed, just as long as you keep coming back! :-) I appreciate all the work you put into IHeart Organizing: great ideas for inspiration, well written posts, beautiful projects/photography. Your photography skills are getting better & better with every project - even more eye candy! I do miss the posts where you were helping to transform actual people's spaces (82nd Chronicles or something?)

    Looking forward to more great, inspiring, and beautiful organization posts!

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  31. LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog! You really do make a difference in the lives of your readers. Thank you for sharing with us.

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  32. Jen, I absolutely adore your style, your tips, your chipper personality, your writing style, and of course, your way of making organizing + cleaning so fun and entertaining. I can't count the number of handy hints and hours of (free) entertainment reading your blog has given me, and I absolutely appreciate the fact that you put everything you have into producing this website. If it takes sponsors, ads, banners or whatever it needs, you do that. I'll keep reading....and hey, since the sponsors are obviously brands that YOU like, and we readers love the content you produce, it only makes sense that we'll appreciate what your sponsors have to offer too. I'm proud of you for producing a blog awesome enough to GET sponsors! (I think my mom is still the only one that reads mine :)

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  33. I really enjoy your blog and have made changes for the better in my home and life because of you and your blog! So thanks for all that you do. :)

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  34. As long as you never stop blogging, I'm happy with whatever you post! Your blog has changed my life for the better and you and your contributors constantly inspire me with new organisation ideas and amazing (but cheap!) decor. Keep up the amazing work, Jen! x

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  35. Your blog was the first one I ever decided to read on a regular basis. I just love how you are down to earth, almost local to me, relatable, and fun! I sometimes feel like I miss you when too many reader spaces are shared or contributor posts are listed. But, as a married, full-time working mom of two, I completely get being pulled in many different directions. You need time to be you! Thank you for your blog. I really thoroughly enjoy it.

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  36. I love your blog. My husband and I are currently renovating our house top to bottom and I am constantly clipping pictures and saving links to rememeber all the great ideas I read everyday on here. After a stressful day at work and then coming home to a house with no current kitchen it is a breath of fresh air.

    Keep up the great work!

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  37. I love everything that you do,some days I have heaps of time to take it all in, other days I skim but I always come back. Sure I wish I could win some things over here in Australia but that doesn't stop me from dreaming.. one day I am coming to the USA for a craft/organising etc supplies buying trip! I need an agent/friend to buy and ship for me! Thanks for all that you are and all that you do. Quick question, do you feature reader spaces that don't have a blog attached to it? xx

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Thanks again my lovely friends! XO!

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