August 16, 2012

Growing Pains

I’ve been trying to write this post for at least three months. First I started talking about it with people. Then in fits and stops I started putting down words, but I could never bring myself to publish it or even get very far in the writing because I didn’t like what I had to say.

To put it bluntly: The blog community feels different to me. And not in a great way. To any of us who have also been feeling this dis-ease, I really do think we’ll find our way out of it and into something that feels welcoming. So this isn’t a goodbye at all, but it is a plea of sorts: I’m not the only one who feels this way am I?

Let me back up: Since 2006, Pink of Perfection has given me a reason to write and an audience of women who care about the tiny details of everyday life, just life I do, and want to make them resonate with art, friendship, and meaning. That alone has been more amazing than I ever thought having a blog could be.

Plus, it was fun. I liked seeing what people were cooking for dinner, what they were reading, what clothes they were thinking about buying. Even when we were striving for something more, our blogs felt rooted in reality, in something true.

And then Pinterest came along and the line between the real life and art directed-photo shoots got blurred. The number of images we were consuming multiplied by a billion. The internet, which had once seemed to me like a cozy, welcoming home of real voices, turned into a hall of mirrors. Everywhere we look, it seems, is something to aspire to: a better wardrobe, a better dinner, better snapshots of that dinner, better blog design, a better home. And the effect isn’t inspiring to me, it’s exhausting. My life does not look like that, even at its best, we think. And more than once it has made me stop and look at the photo I snapped of a simple steak dinner on Saturday night and think twice about posting it to this blog. It rained that night and we stayed home and sat at the dining room table and listened to B.B. King and laughed about something I can’t remember. I felt that I was home, that I was in love, and that the moment, despite a blemish on my cheek or a leak in the bathroom or a kitchen made messy from the cooking, was right. But my photo was kind of crappy, didn’t have fresh flowers in the frame or a burlap sack on the table, and definitely wasn’t anointed with clear, white sunlight. And so I didn’t even bother.

When Ez of Creature Comforts wrote about this very thing on her blog months ago, a chorus of voices rose up to agree. I nodded my head silently, but only to myself. I didn’t want to bring it up here. I didn’t know how to say that the world that once made me feel creative, supported, and inspired now made me feel sad and stunted. Moreover, I didn’t want to say it, because I didn’t want it to be true. I kept waiting for the feeling to pass. That feeling created weeks of quiet here that I felt guilty about, and now that I feel I’m getting my voice back, that I’m ready to start talking again, I feel strangely tentative and self-conscious. Who of my tribe is still out there?

Which maybe brings up a bigger question: Do we want the same thing from blogs we used to? What do we want from blogs? I find myself more than ever drawn to personal blogs that I want to read, not just scan for pictures: Remedial Eating, Elise Blaha, Fresh Basil, Amy Estes, Abby Try AgainCake, Tea, and Dreams. I want beautiful, honest writing, a moment of connection, a great idea, a good suggestion, a pretty experience. It doesn’t have to be Real Simple-pretty. Just pleasing. As the blogging space has turned more pro (which, by the way, I think is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Talented people should make money doing what they love; we should all be so lucky.), I find myself especially drawn to these authentic voices.

So here’s what I’ve come up with as my way out of the yucky feeling. My homework online is the same as my homework in the world at large. Ironically, it’s something I learned on Pinterest. And that site, filled with beautiful images and quotes with often dubious attribution, is not the bad guy, nor are beautifully aspirational, slick, hugely popular pro blogs. But there are more of us than ever at this party, and the volume level is rising to a din. My job is to listen for my own voice, to connect with all of you, who I feel so honored and excited to have as readers, and to keep looking for the bits of magic in the everyday––not on someone else’s blog, not on Pinterest, and not in my imagined version of their life–– but in my very own life.

And so I’ll try.

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Comments

  • Chery;: Hi Sarah,

    I say just keep doing what you’re doing. It’s your authenticity and not having burlap available at a moment’s notice that makes you who you are. That’s what people want.

    Cx1 year ago

  • Wini Moranville: Great piece, Sarah. And Amen to continuing to listen to your own voice. Amidst the din, the blogs that will survive are those that are the most genuine, with true connections and a palpable sense of community.

    Flashy pictures may get more clicks, but the folks who “sit a spell” and read your work are the ones that really matter. I’m sure you take a lot of joy in that! I know I do.1 year ago

  • Kim: As always, Sarah, you put beautifully to words what so many of us are thinking. I have definitely felt, as of late, that blogging has become more about keeping up with the Jones’ than it is about having an outlet for creativity and dedication to the things you love. BUT, the blogs that I have stayed true to reading, the blogs I don’t just scan for photos, blogs like yours, are the ones where the blogger let’s me take a sneak peak into their life–blemishes and bad photos–in all. We get attached to people, not photos and blog designs.1 year ago

  • Amy: I had this moment this week in which I thought to myself, “I must buy white dishes because they will look MUCH prettier in my food photos.” It sounds dumb but it was one of those moments where I went, “WHAT, AMY?” and realized that it was time to back down from crafting a Pinterest-y life and to be thankful for what I’ve got and not continually look at what I don’t have.

    I understand where you’re coming from is what I’m saying.

    This blog stands out as one of the most inspirational to me, because I feel as if we would be Real Friends when we met (which we will) because we have similar goals of a “good” life—not a perfect life, a small but valuable life. I love your voice in this space and what you bring to the table. I can’t wait to read more.

    I am also beyond honored that you consider yourself drawn to my blog. xoxo1 year ago

  • Julia (Color Me Green): i love the way you wrote this.
    my blog is for me, to reflect on my life, to provide some insight that might inspire others. it doesn’t get as many comments as it used to, probably because i don’t have as much time to read and comment on other blogs. but i don’t let it worry me because i know there are still some people reading and some people who will stumble on it through google.

    and i would much rather read real words about someone else’s life than just see a barrage of things i should want. it’s strange to see on pinterest that my real life friends and not just design bloggers are now oohing and aahing over fancily designed homes when we are in our 20s and live in tiny nyc apartments and none of it authentically relates to our lives.1 year ago

  • Jackie: I have followed your blog for years because of how you write. There might be other blogs out there with more staged photos or more elaborate meals, but I don’t care — it’s the personal touch, the voice behind the photos, and the way you string words together to make something lovely that keeps me coming back. There’s an authenticity here that I don’t see in many places on the web.

    All of this is to say that I always look forward to a new post from you, no matter what you have to say, whether or not it feels perfect. What I love the most about this blog is that you embrace life’s messy moments and challenges as much as its beauty. I hope you keep blogging in whatever way feels right to you!1 year ago

  • Felicity: This is it. Exactly how I’ve been feeling. I feel better already just having heard the problem identified. Here’s to more conversation on this!1 year ago

  • Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams: You’ve nailed it, Sarah. I’ve been feeling a bit quiet myself because my real life feels a little scattered right now and I’m not sure how to translate that onto the blog. (I am so honored that you’d include me in the list of blogs you’re still drawn to.) I think it’s dangerous when we start comparing ourselves to other folks who have prettier dishes, better cameras, more time to spend on their blogs, etc. – but it is SO hard not to do. (I’d love to see that “crappy” photo from your Sunday night.)

    As always, I admire your honesty and your kindness and your thoughtfulness, and I will keep reading, flashy photos or burlap sacks or not. xo1 year ago

  • Liz: Thank you for writing this. As a new(ish) blogger, these exact sentiments keep me from wanting to share myself fully on my blog. The comparison trap is so easy to fall into. I’ve struggled in general with finding my voice, and sharing it is a whole other matter.

    So thank you for always being honest and real and providing inspiration – especially for folks like me who are still finding their footing.1 year ago

  • Ginger: I have two categories of blogs in my Google Reader. Those that I read, and those I scan to look for the pretty pictures.

    Those with the pretty pictures are very welcome. There’s nothing better than sitting with a cup of tea in my hands scrolling through for entertainment. But that’s just what it is — entertainment.

    And then those that add something to my life, that make me think, that make me walk away wanting to be a better me. Not a better Them.

    Thank you, as often, for putting words just to what some of us (myself, at least) are thinking. I feel like the fall brings a new year resolution a bit early — and that is to LIVE. Not only to observe, but then to cook that meal, to put out some pretty candles, to sit at the table and laugh, and not document, but just to live.

    After all, at the end of our lives, those around that table with us are the ones we will have hopefully touched. Not our Pinterest followers.1 year ago

  • Erin: Hi Sarah,

    I love your blog, and hope you will keep it up! I am a huge blog reader, but recently had to cut back on the “lifestyle” blogs that I was reading because I realized that all they were doing with their snazzy, stylish pictures was make me WANT more things. It’s great to make a new outfit discovery, or see a beautiful decor option every once in a while on blogs, but the last thing I need is for my consumerism to be encouraged 20+ times a day. I’m filling my bookmark list with more blogs like yours again – that are more about writing and everyday life than unattainable, fantastical pictures.

    So please keep it up! And if you haven’t seen it already, pop over to Helen Jane’s blog, who touched on a very similar point lately… http://helenjane.com/2012/08/06/on-dance-floors/

    Erin1 year ago

  • Zarah: I am out here! I love, love, love your blog exactly because it’s not the slick, art-directed creation that so many have become. That’s not my life, and I don’t want my life to become that. My house is messy, I need to make quick dinners after work, etc. I love your perspective on life and I hope you keep writing.1 year ago

  • kat: Another person who says- the blogs I care about are where people are writing. Not just spewing information and/or giveaways.1 year ago

  • Melissa @ Hilltop Hausfrau: Hi Sarah! My stomach was in knots reading through this post…I so love reading through your posts I was so terrified…

    I agree with you and your followers here: there are some very “unreal” blogs out there…ones who are immitating lifestyle magazines and not offereing any news or inspiration at all.

    However, I do know that there is an extremely varied audience out there. For example, you are the only blogger whose posts I read all the way through. I am offended by writing that has assumes I have time to read unnoriginal musings. I know that sounds harsh…feel you’ve created a space for honesty with this post!

    I am inspired by every single post you write and it translates when I post on my own blog, I hope! I write very little because I want to assume the reader is much like myself: busy and tired but interested in creating beauty out of simple things.

    Thanks for being you. I, and all your loyal readers and friends, are here with you!!1 year ago

  • Kristin: I have been reading your blog for years and, even though I am a rare blog comment-er, I have to say that I’m always happy when you pop up in my Google reader. I have recently undergone a purging of sorts, and I have deleted all of the blogs that make me feel not enough — I don’t eat healthy enough, have nice enough hair, workout enough, have a clean enough house, etc. I agree with the previous comments, I read blogs for the person behind them, not for the endless pretty pictures and definitely not to emulate someone’s internet-perfect life.1 year ago

  • Bekah: Sarah,
    You could never post another picture on here again, and I would come back again and again just to hear your voice and your wisdom. You put so much thought and passion into what you say, and I know that stems from a life well lived. Who cares if it doesn’t look styled enough for Pinterest? Love the life you’re in, and you will be contagious!
    Having said, that, I totally know how you feel. I’m still a newish blogger who is finding my voice (or finding the courage to share it) and trying to figure out how to present and relish a humble life while enjoying the thought of fine things. Perhaps we all need a little slice of reality intervention. It’s not the body image anymore; it’s the life image. If we enjoy our little lives, we shouldn’t have to hold back because it isn’t necessarily marketable. Sometimes the not-so-pretty lives are the most beautiful in the end.1 year ago

  • Mandy: Thank you for this post. I often find myself downhearted as I read through some blogs. The blogger seems like she has it all — the perfect, caring husband, the sweet kids, the amazing size 4 wardrobe. And then there’s me: single at 27 (GASP!), an Old Navy/H&M boring wardrobe, and certainly not a size 4. It can get really exhausting to see that over and over again. But then I remember, I’m me! I have a pretty awesome life, even if it isn’t as picturesque as those other bloggers’.

    I think this is so important to talk about, otherwise we all end up feeling isolated and crazy. So keep it up! I love your blog and want to hear about you, not some curated, glossy version of you! :) 1 year ago

  • Devon: Sarah, I have been reading your blog for a couple years now, but this is the first time I’ve ever commented. I could not agree more with everything you said. I stick to just 4 or 5 blogs I check regularly because I have come across so many that make me feel like an inadequate loser.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with the “Pinterest effect.” A few months ago, I was helping my sister decorate for my 4 year-old niece’s birthday party. I remember thinking that none of these little girls were going to notice all these cutesy details, and my own niece wouldn’t remember this party in a few years, but boy were those pictures Pinterest-worthy…

    Anyway, please keep writing. I echo all of the previous posts that are so thankful for your refreshingly honest voice. I have really missed it over the last few weeks!1 year ago

  • Maureen: I’m so glad you are going to continue writing, I was worried that you had decided to quit. I don’t have a blog, but I can understand how much things have changed in the community. I started reading blogs back when they were called online journals, and when I do feel on the whole, people were presenting themselves more authentically. I don’t really care about photos to be honest, they aren’t what attract me to a blog. It is all about the text, the writing itself. I love all your posts, and please don’t feel like your photos aren’t good enough, because your readers have nothing but affection for you-I hope you remember that.1 year ago

  • Stephanie: Sarah,
    I completely understand how you feel. I’ve felt disenchanted lately by the whole blogs/pinterest/instagram images of a seemingly perfect existence. It was hard for me to wrap my head around how exhausting it must be to constantly arrange, perfect, document and display such images. I caught myself wanting to make my own experiences picture perfect, and I realized how doing that diminished the experience for me. Ive always found your blog and your voice to be one of the most authentic and inspiring. And, the community you’ve built here is where I’ve found many of the blogs I relate to best and who seem to have the same idea in mind. This post articulates most of how I feel and I’m glad that you are hopeful. I am, too.1 year ago

  • Chris: Please, please, please don’t every stop writing Sarah. You’re voice is so genuine and real and I think that’s what we all love. You’re like us :)

    I agree with your sentiment about things changing. I’ve loved reading lifestyle/food blogs for many years, but too many seem to have this air of self-absorption and unachievable perfectionism that I had to cut down on who and what I read. It was making me depressed and feeling very “less-than.” The last thing I need in my already hectic and at times stressful life.

    We have to remember however, that this silliness is similar in many ways to the silliness of facebook – those blogs/bloggers that I stopped following because they weren’t adding anything positive to my life are most likely presenting the absolute best version of themselves. Their day to day is most likely nothing like how they present themselves to the world. I would much rather take my inspiration from someone like you who fully admits to feeling (at times) less-than and struggles with finding balance between the beauty of life and just making it through the day. That’s what I want to read about.

    Thank you for doing what you do!1 year ago

  • Karen: Oh, Sarah. This post was so amazing and captured everything that I have been thinking, and even things that I didn’t realize I was thinking until now. I feel too that the internet (Pinterest, blogs, et al) have started to make me feel less inspired and comforted…and more envious, anxious and defeated. It’s not all of the time or with all blogs/experiences, but it feels moreso lately. I experienced a similar thing a few years ago when I was consuming more than my fair share of beauty/fashion magazines. At a certain point, it just starts to be too much and in a sense, eats away at you.

    But in all of that, your blog has always stood out to me as authentic and in the simplest of terms: true. Your writing never seems forced, always sound genuine, and I look forward to each new post. For that, I do want to thank YOU for standing out among so many others.

    And for the record, I’d love to see a picture of the (I’m sure) delicious steak that you had. With or without burlap and flowers :) 1 year ago

  • Julie: Oh, Sarah, so many good thoughts here!

    A little while ago I tried to sort the blogs I read in terms of friends and not-friends. I use that term very loosely – if I imagine we’d like each other, you’re my friend :) I couldn’t believe how many blogs I was reading where I didn’t even like the person. Ha! Now I only put friends in my reader. If I don’t like you, it has to be harder for me to seek you out.

    But I have to tell you, too, that I deleted a post featuring a delicious lamb steak with tzatziki sauce this morning because the photo was kind of blurry and dark. Silliness! My friends who read the blog wouldn’t have cared about that. Anyways, it’s lovely to be included in your little list of blogs above. Thank you, my dear.1 year ago

  • Joy: Please keep doing what you’re doing! I’m a fairly new reader here and I love your pretty little authentic corner of the Internet. I come here for your real life, not a perfectly styled photo.1 year ago

  • Tess: Hello! I’ve been blogging since 2003 and been reading your blog since I don’t know when (a long time ago). I agree wholeheartedly with everyone above, but especially @Ginger. I love Pinterest and use it heavily for bookmarking, but that’s it — bookmarking and inspiration. In this world of increasingly short attention spans, I’m still craving long reads. Thanks for continuing to provide meaningful content, just like the old days (read that last part imagining a gravelly “get off my lawn” voice).1 year ago

  • Sarah R: Hi Sarah;

    I have felt the exact same thing the last few months- not just with blogging (my blogging tastes have been changing, so I’ve been experimenting with new blogs) but with everything in the information world we live in- it’s difficult to keep perspective and root out what is helpful when you are constantly bombarded with what appears to be a perfect representation of life. It’s hard to put into words how icky and mean I feel when I’m not living up to the perfection of the fifteen different blogs that have a ‘perfect’ way of life, or that perfect recipe, or that great idea for something that in reality means nothing to me, except as a way to keep up with someone I don’t really need to keep up with. I’ve been trying to step back, to edit, and remove the things that I don’t need or want, and let go of that mentality. I’ve been consciously trying to edit my life into what I believe is good and beautiful, and not what someone else tells me.

    Anyway, I loved your post because it verbalized for me so many things that I have been feeling myself over the summer. Thank you!

    Sarah1 year ago

  • Alexis S.: I just wrote something along these lines a few weeks ago on my own blog. This feeling of discouragement with our own real lives really does come from comparison. As I get my new apartment together, I was so frustrated that I couldn’t get it (or any of the photos I posted) to look good enough, nowhere near all these pins and blog photos. But I enjoy the simple things in life and I want to share that and my journey through life with everyone else. So, in my opinion, it comes down to what exactly we want to get out of the experience. As you said, what do we want from blogs? I so appreciate your post, I needed a little reminder myself to stop comparing.1 year ago

  • Kishori: Hi Sarah! Haven’t read all the comments but I totally relate as a reader – I always feel like I need to spend more, buy more when reading the more “polished” and aspirational blogs, and I don’t feel that when I read your blog. I like the journal-esque tone of your posts, and the posts that are not about anything in particular. You should also know that I have used your recipes/ideas/etc more often than I have of the ones with the perfectly stylized photos. Look forward to staying on as a reader.1 year ago

  • Monday's Nugget-Lana: Oh, I love this. I actually almost bought new dishes for “photo shoots” of some fried rice last week. Then I had to check myself and think about how my dishes were my grandmother’s, and if the blue design is unpleasing to the eye, people can suck it. But I still didn’t post the photo. It wasn’t good enough and didn’t look appetizing, I thought, eventhough in real life it WAS good enough and tasted quite delightful.
    Here’s to stacks of dirty dishes, spots on the table cloth, and something that’s not quite perfection.1 year ago

  • amanda {the habit of being}: Just discovered you via Twitter but yes, I agree. And I’m comforted in knowing I’m not alone. Real life is just that, real. Sometimes beautiful, other times less so, a bit more gritty and disorganized and chaotic. I’m ok with that.1 year ago

  • Amy C: Hi Sarah!
    You are (as is obvious by all the above comments) not alone in your thoughts. I had a similar realization, in a very painful, life-altering way.

    I recently started a blog, after years of thinking and planning for it. I quickly fell into the “pinterest” trap – how can I make this picture the prettiest so it gets a million repins and I get internet fame and live in my perfect pinterest home and blah blah blah. Ugh. It’s amazing how quick I can start to sacrifice content for clicks.

    And then, my life shatters. A few weeks ago, I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease – one that means I won’t ever be able to have kids (we’ve been trying for 2 years), and one that will make keeping my health stable difficult for the rest of my life.

    And suddenly, those damn pictures seem so trite. I have so much to offer. Why aren’t I really working to make a connection?

    I haven’t written on my blog in a few weeks, but plan on really putting my heart and soul into it. I don’t care if one person reads it, I want it to reflect the realities of this (and my) difficult and beautiful life.1 year ago

  • Jessica: I long ago felt my blogging fire fade, and only update when it flares up. After all, I blog more for me than anyone else. I’ve been less frustrated with a feeling of perfection than I have with the feeling of being a target. Several of the blogs that I’ve been reading for years have “gone pro” I guess you would say. Now I see post after post that is either sponsored by some name brand, or is written by someone other than the original blogger. I’m not saying that either of those things are evil, I’m just saying that it puts me off. What drew me to these blogs in the first place were the writers’ personalities and outlook. Advertisements in the sidebar are one thing to me, but when the content itself is focused around a name brand “sponsor” I feel like I’m just being used. I don’t watch commercial television, I listen to public radio, and yet I’m being hit with advertisements on what should be an outlet of personal expression. Anyway, that’s how I’m feeling as a blog reader these days.1 year ago

  • katy: I love your blog, Sarah; it’s one of the first ones that I found myself really drawn to and it’s because of your enthusiasm and your inspiration. It’s the fact that, even though I don’t know you and probably never will, I can hear you and what you say resonates with me (and, clearly, with many others!). Your blog is more substance than flash, with wonderfully articulated thoughts that get me thinking about my own life.

    I do, however, understand your feelings. I started blogging after I took my Ph.D. exams because I loved cooking and wanted to challenge myself in a new way, one that was more related to my “real” life and not just to “the life of the mind.” My photography wasn’t so great and I felt I was often too wordy (which I often am, but who cares? This is who I am). It didn’t make me feel all that great about my blog. And although I’ve learned a lot about cameras and photography since then (a skill I have no regret having acquired), I still sometimes think that it’s a silly thing to do. Shouldn’t I just enjoy the food and make it look like a real meal? Life isn’t a photo shoot. Most people at night, after work, when the lighting isn’t that great. We don’t have tripods or money for zoom lenses. We can’t all be brands. But a feeling of pressure still lingers that makes me try harder when I think that I could (and maybe should) be devoting my energy to more important things.

    Although this is kind of long, at the heart of this wordiness is that I always appreciate when you update. Your blog has heart. It’s homey. Thank you for writing it and I look forward to whatever shape it will take!1 year ago

  • Oh no, I am most definitely not quitting! I tried to say that upfront so as no to seem too dramatic. :)

    I have to say, I was very nervous about hitting publish on this one. But I’m so glad I did, and I’m comforted to know that many of you feel the same way I do. Looks like lots of us are feeling this.

    When I shared this link on Twitter, Alex Beauchamp, like many of you, said she felt the same way, both in reading and in writing: “I think a cultural/expectation shift needs to happen online.” It got my imagination going. What would a shift look like?

    And I like so much what Ginger said about the two kinds of blogs: the ones she reads and the ones she scans for pretty pictures. (In fact, she prompted me to create two such folders in my reader.) I’d love to know which of these blogs you all are referencing that still make you feel good and inspired. What are they? I most definitely want to be reading them, too.

    God, I love these comments so much, so many truths! You ladies are such a smart bunch, and one of my main reasons why I’m not going anywhere.

    Amy C, I’m so glad to hear from you, and I’m so, so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I’ve missed your wisdom around here, and you can bet I’ll be reading every heart-and-soul-filled post of yours over on your blog.

    On the topic of “sponsored posts,” as Jessica brings up, I think they’re OK if they enable the blogger to keep creating the work that drew you to them in the first place. Advertisements and sponsors can be agents for good in that sense. But I do think there should be a balance, for sure. The potential for sponsored posts have come up on Pink of Perfection, and I have always said no in the past. But I think if it were for a product or brand that I truly spent my own money on and loved, it would be OK.1 year ago

  • Pamela: Sarah- I love your blog. It is the blog that turned me on to using the internet for more than search and email. When I compare your blog to others, yours is the standard and most of the others fall short.1 year ago

  • Amye: Long time reader, first time commenter.

    The idea of ‘blog’ has taken on a life of its’ own here. I love yours because it is very much the style of ‘this is my life, simple and unadorned’.

    It has the same feeling as “The Gentle Art of Domesticity” brought to life. ( http://www.amazon.com/The-Gentle-Art-Domesticity-Stitching/dp/1584797363 )

    I save your posts to read. The rest of Pinterest and all of the bloggers, I’ll whip through. Yours are like the novels I want to savor.1 year ago

  • Becky: Love you Sarah and love Pink of Perfection! Great post. :) 1 year ago

  • Cadi: Damn girl, you nail it again. I’ve had all the time in the world to blog my little black heart out when I wasn’t working, and with the advent of Pinterest and the blogs I’ve found via it’s lovely images, I feel like my humble little blog is just a little too, well, boring to be a part of the Big Kid Blog world. And it’s discouraging, sometimes. I started my blog for me, as a creative outlet from my mundane job, and while I still enjoy it, it just doesn’t have that same ring anymore.

    Life isn’t perfect, and my little blog doesn’t have to be either. But with the advent of the pro-blogs out there, it’s disconcerting. I’ve wanted to do more about decorating, and show off some of my sewing projects and things that I’ve done, but I just feel like I can’t because someone else is doing it better. I’m trying to work through it, to be more authentic the way I want to be in my blog, but I’m disheartened a lot. This, though, this post, makes me feel stronger. I want to be a part of the shift.

    Thanks for your bravery, Sarah. Thank you for always being honest, and true to your spirit, and saying the hard things like this when they need to be said. Your blog is amazing, it’s still (and will forever be) my favorite. The only one where I wait for new posts with bated breath. The one that makes me smile, repeatedly, with its unabashed freshness and bright-eyed wonder. And your community of readers is just as amazing. You’ve created a wonderful, cozy spot for us all. Pro-bloggers may have a lot of hits, but you’ve created a circle of friends. And that’s a hell of a lot better in my book! ;)

    P.S. Thanks for visiting my blog the other day, it seriously made my day.1 year ago

  • Sara: As someone who has been lurking on your blog for at least three years, I think like others have stated, there are blogs that we scan for the pretty pictures, and blogs that we read because we feel an inner connection to the thought and beauty that is at the soul of the blog.
    The pretty pictures come and go, and yes, sometimes make us feel inadequate, but the blogs with soul inspire us to dream bigger, challenge ourselves, but also, like a good steak and BB King, make us stop and cherish the beautiful moments that we have.1 year ago

  • Michelle: First of all, Pinterest is a black hole. It’s full of pretty photos and crafty ideas, but it has no soul. So many people I know have spent SO much time, pin by pin, creating these false lives and alternate realities…it’s too, too much. I had to turn away from it completely because it was too much about aspiring to a great life than actually living a great life. Your blog, however, has always been authentic and substantial. I love your perspective and the way you celebrate the small but important things in life. I live fairly simply and though I sometimes wish I had more, I’m pretty okay with where I’m at. Your blog validates my way of living and makes me feel good about my choices. Through this community you’ve created, I know I’m not alone. Tune all that noise out and continue being yourself. I will keep coming back.1 year ago

  • Lynn @ Learning Curves: I recently came to the realization that ‘self-improvement’ on many levels can actually cause us way more stress and self-doubt. I just never really applied it to my blog…not that it’s fancy by any stretch of the imagination, but I have caught myself looking at tutorials (via Pinterest) on how to glam-it-up. But I completely agree that this constant seach to be better than we are…to always seek something in life to improve upon is to totally disregard our authentic selves. At some point aren’t we actually ‘good enough’? I don’t mean that we can’t be nicer or practice and grow our skills…I mean that if we constantly compare (and “Pin”) our lives with the world we will never find satisfaction. Everything we need to be happy is already within us. Love the post.1 year ago

  • Amanda: Beautifully put, Sarah … and welcome back. I have missed your posts lately. I think yours is a welcome voice/perspective in an increasingly slick internet community. I love the way that you celebrate *simple* pleasures and *small* moments of beauty … you remind your readers that such things are possible, even essential, in our busy lives.1 year ago

  • Elinor Levy: What I have always enjoyed about the Pink of Perfection is that what you present always feels attainable to me. Meaning that I could actually make some of those recipes (and I have). So keep on keeping on and know that we who read the Pink of Perfection love it!1 year ago

  • Wendy: I love your blog! I don’t know you from a hill of beans but I love how you try to live your life honestly and with life! I happened upon you several years ago now and have just loved reading about your growing pains in so many non-painful ways. You are a sharp, sensible woman. You are creative in so many ways that I return now out of loyalty and intrest, like a daily newspaper. Gosh, if you could only post everyday that would be something!
    I am not a blogger. I am a reader. I read biographys and memiors. Blog reading fits that catagory for me. I truly enjoy being on the outside looking in. Voyeur? No! Intrigued by the experience and life others have or are having. I do have my own life and I am not a stalker mentallity, just really enjoy seeing how others live and make choices, feed their desires, find their pleasures, fuel their fires.
    You are doing a fine job. No, no one person is perfect, except Christ, but that is the example some of us follow to at least say we have done the very best we can. just ask yourself…are you doing the very best you can to live your life to the fullest keeping your self-respect in tact? If yes, then post that picture of a lovely steak in the half dark room with the one you love!
    You have given, at least to me, many new ideas and recipes. things I have tried and also on the the “to do” list I just want to compliment you for trying to keep it real in a world that is so busy trying to keep up with the Jones’ .
    All of that to say…as many others have said….beautiful post! Keep them comming!1 year ago

  • Janet Foster: When I first discovered blogs I gravitated toward the glossy slick blogs that looked liked a magazine. Then I realized that most of them were all gloss and no substance.Now I’ve moved toward blogs that I either learn from or blogs that entertain me in one way or another. Keep doing what you’re doing and don’t worry about the rest of the blogosphere. There will always be an audience for authentic voices.1 year ago

  • Kait: You have a lovely website. Don’t stop writing please!

    Your post reminded me of this quote:

    “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

    http://www.goodfoodworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Perfect-Good.jpg1 year ago

  • SarahJ: Dear Sarah,

    I think the word of the day is authenticity.

    I’m so over the hyper stylized blogs (culture, really) that project this (impossibly expensive) charmed life, with interiors practically out of the home and garden rags and restaurant quality plating. It’s style over substance, and that’s exactly why you have the readers you have. We care about the substance of our lives, not the appearance.

    I’m feeling that a lot lately and it’s making me cranky, but I guess I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until now. So many people I know are in search of the perfect vintage whatehaveyou, the most ethical and trendiest diet, wardrobe, et cetera… Comparison really is the thief of joy. Your blog helps me put on my blinders and pay attention to what matters, not the mess of dishes from last night, the mismatched furniture in my bedroom, the untrendy clothes in my closet, or the croissant i plan to eat later.

    Thank you.1 year ago

  • SusanB: Dear Sarah,

    Reread your last sentence. And then reread it again. There, it feels like to me, is your Truth. I ask that you continue to listen to YOUR voice & let go of the desire to compare because NO one can be you. (Maybe even stop reading other peoples’ work for a while?) Trust that your audience is there waiting for that voice. I love your work and appreciate you very, very much.1 year ago

  • Katharine: I just discovered your blog a couple of months ago, it was recommended by a friend. To me, your pictures are beautiful, your ideas and words, inspiring. I understand that once in a while we can be overwhelmed by self-doubt (it happens very frequently to me also), but don’t let it take over; your passion for life, for the little things and moments that makes it all worthwhile, are why I read your blog. It feels real. After all Beauty comes from within…

    En vous remerciant pour votre générosité et au grand plaisir de vous lire.1 year ago

  • Tracy: Hi Sarah – here to underscore the above comments. Your authenticity is what makes your blog inspiring. I too feel a strong push/pull when it comes to overly styled, beautiful images, often leading to envy and a sense of vague inadequacy and malaise. Because even when all the “props” of my daily life for once match the fantasy in my head, the light and camera angles don’t. Bloggers can be just as culpable as Anthropologie in cultivating our belief in an existing fantasy life beyond our reach. I love browsing Pinterest to fantasize, and then reading The New Domesticity for a good mental reality check. But your blog perfectly illustrates ways we can bump up the fantasy in our daily lives in a way that is real, honest, and completely necessary. Thank you, and please keep on!1 year ago

  • Sara: Sarah,
    I am glad you have gotten such positive feedback! I was worried when I began reading and am glad that you have decided to continue writing. I love your blog, the beauty and ease in simple things that you portray, the yummy recipies (my fave was the zucchini pasta stuff – I have to look for that one again!), and how much comfort I find in reading about someone else who is on the same page, who wants to make life beautiful without it having to be the “perfect” beauty that is in magazines or those fancy blogs.

    I totally understand the feelings of inadequacy and desire to keep up with the Joneses when seeing these sites and magazines, and have decided to avoid them. The beauty int them gives me a smile at first, but usually leaves me feeling empty because I am not like that and cannot make things like that. Your blog is always lovely and inspiring and leaves me with good thoughts.

    Please don’t feel disheartened! You are doing a wonderful job and as long as you keep writing, we will be here to read.

    Have a great day! Knit something beautiful, make something yummy for dinner and keep smiling!

    (don’t forget to post the recipe!) :) 1 year ago

  • Amanda: Dear Sarah,

    I just read through this post, thinking that it was a common lament: reading blogs about others’ lives can breed inspiration or leave one feeling inadequate. Everyone feels it. I don’t read many blogs, but yours is one I check fairly regularly, although I rarely leave comment.

    I turned 30 this week, and after a fantastic weekend with girlfriends when I felt lucky and loved, I’ve spent most of this week feeling inadequate, comparing their successes to my shortcomings and wondering if I could ever get certain things right. Not the confidence I wanted to march into my next decade!

    But the quote you shared at the end gave something to really pick me up today. It said something concise and true that I’d been feeling but unable to say to myself in a helpful way. Its something that likely couldn’t come from a friend or someone who knows me.

    A blog is a great place to take in ideas and inspiration that can be personalized, without much external interference. Used in the right way, it can help one find our own ‘centered.’ ‘Pink of Perfection’ does that for me every so often, and its a pretty place, too. You do a great job!

    Thank you! And best to you!

    Amanda1 year ago

  • Erin: I feel lucky that you are not throwing in the towel! Your blog has been like a tonic when I really needed it. Your voice is genuine and I think that is the appeal of a good blog, not perfect photographs. Photos that take time to set up are good in tutorial kind of blogs but not necessarily a must-have ingredient in heart and soul (with wit and wisdom served on the side) blogs. A iphone snapshot of a dish, when you’ve shared a recipe is nice, but for you to struggle with styling the shot after a hard day seems like it would take the pleasure of blogging away for you.

    In fact, perfect photographs are what kind of took away my own photography mojo. I don’t have a lens that goes to a really low aperture and captures those blurred background shots that everyone seems to be doing. I lost confidence in bothering with my clunky DSL.

    I have not looked at any blogs in a while – there were other things I had to tend to and I deprived myself of the pleasure of my favorite blogs. I’m glad I landed back here after a too-long absence.

    You have followers who are interested in what you have to say because it is from the heart and well written. Please keep saying them!

    P.S. I admit to checking in on Pinterest, but many times I get tired of the sheer volume of images many of which do not interest me.1 year ago

  • Arwen: I blog in a different circle (Tarot) and have felt this same issue. I finally decided that I would just do my thing. If it spoke to someone, fabulous. I refused to add more bells, more whistles, more anything. I decided that I was enough. You, Sarah, are enough. I found you a few years back through some random search I was doing. And I loved your voice. Still do. You may not post every day, but when you do post, it’s worth reading.1 year ago

  • Katrina: I, too, was worried you’d decided to quit! My heart was in my mouth.

    To me, blogs like yours – and the early blogging movement as a whole – were the perfect antidote to the consumerist, picture-perfect lifestyles we are sold every day, with women’s magazines being the worst culprits. Discovering blogs like yours has meant a serious decline in the magazines I read – I’ll take genuine, well-written, heartfelt post over a whole magazine of shallow articles designed to make me feel lacking any time.

    Recently, though, the line between the two is blurring. The advertisers have caught up and will pay those who present their lives as perfect to feature their goods. Some pro bloggers, in turn, are capitalising on this and creating blogs designed to appeal to the masses, and, in turn, the advertisers. It’s sad.

    I now only read 4 or 5 blogs religously – yours being one of them! All are by genuine, talented writers and make me feel positive and inspired. A couple that I read feature sponsored posts sometimes, but always seem to put as much thought and effort into those posts that they do their others – their sponsored posts are still a joy to read – a rare thing these days indeed.

    My comment is getting very long, so I’ll summarise by saying that in the same way that I consciously withdrew from lifestyle magazines, I’m now making the effort to leave blogs that make me feel my life isn’t as perfects as it should be behind – leaving only those that inspire me as my regular reads.1 year ago

  • Janice: I’ve been a long time blog reader and have thrown my hat into the ring a few times with blogging myself. I totally get what you’re saying about blogs making you feel down, inadequate, or just generally stifling your creative endeavors. I feel like there is a trend of blogging as a form of competition, i.e., who can live their life the best way possible, and here are the clothes, gadgets, cute babies, and things you need to do so. It is a hard line to walk between offering inspirational content without getting wrapped up in the competition cycle yourself. Which is why your post is so true and important to remember. Thank you for continuing to be one of the most thoughtful voices out there.1 year ago

  • Elizabeth: I like your blog, doesn’t overpower me as some do. I can’t figure out pinterest…don’t know what it means when people keep saying I’m pinning it etc. I don’t want to be anymore complicated than this.1 year ago

  • Stitchybritt: It’s encouraging to see lots of comments here, because comments are something I’ve noticed has really dropped off recently (on many blogs, not just mine).

    I definitely don’t read any ‘perfect house’ blogs, and you’ll see that my blog is simple and the photos more humble than professional. If I wanted to see glossy I’d read a magazine, but blogs for me are about personal stories and connections.1 year ago

  • elo: I still remember the day I stumbled upon your blog as if it was yesterday, although it’s been about 4 years or so.
    I was in my room in Paris, on a hot and humid summer day, struggling with the essay I needed to write to finish my degree. I fell in love with your blog. read all the pages in a row, all afternoon long. forgot about my essay for a while. i was 23.

    then autumn and winter came by, I moved to south of france, then to portugal, then to brazil, i experienced these things that every 23 year old girls consider as major and unique experiences in their life, (even if we all experienced the sames) , and i never ceased reading you. whereas most of the blogs i was following at that time, I just got bored of them, because they were all turning into the virtual pages of some glossy magazines, with their perfect life (while mine was so less than perfect), their sponsored articles, their sharper -and more uniform- sense of fashion, their picture too nic to be true … To sum up, they become less spontaneous. all of them, except yours, and a very few others.

    today it seems to me than many things changed in my life, but at the end of the day Im back to paris, Im still struggling during a hot and humid summer with the (last ever, hopefully) essay, and Im more than ever following your blog. i commented once in a while your articles, but most of time I just stayed back and read. they helped me a lot during these past few years, and taugh me so many lessons. how to live thriftly and enjoy it, how to buy fresh vegetables and make a fancy salad out of nothing, how to treat myself even with a broken heart, how to find the beautiful in small everyday things, how to make a banana bread and iced coffee, how to make lists of things I like in every season… the list could go on and on.
    thank you sarah. please don’t change.1 year ago

  • jen: Sarah-
    I discovered your blog several years ago, googling how to make a yoga mat. Your video was full of joy and I had to follow you. Over the years I have made some of the tasty dishes you shared. When I receive your creative, crafty, tasty emails in my inbox i still wonder “what you are up to.” Your posts make me feel like I have an old school pen pal.
    You helped me channel that Julia Child and be fearless and explore the kitchen.
    Compassion for oneself is key. I have to remind myself that if I do not have compassion for myself then how can I have it for someone else.
    With gratitude,
    Jen1 year ago

  • Jessica: I absolutely adore your blog…I find it so inspiring. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, but I’ve never commented. I just wanted to let you know that I agree so much with this post, and I always look forward to new posts by you! This is the only blog I’ve been consistently reading over the past couple of years…it seems more authentic and real, and I love it!1 year ago

  • Dana: a lovely, honest post, sarah. please keep at it. that roosevelt quote has become my mantra in the (many) times where i feel like i’m not measuring up with what i see online.1 year ago

  • Kelly Jeanne: I’ll add my voice to the chorus – I’m so glad that you’re not quitting the blog, Sarah. POP is one of the only blogs that I read regularly anymore, and I do so for the honesty, the wisdom, and the inspiration. I think that you’ve cultivated a really wonderful readership as well. I *never* read such thoughtful, intelligent comments on other blogs!

    What about that e-course that you mentioned a while back? Maybe that would be a fun way to focus on substance, not (impossibly attainable, super slick) style.1 year ago

  • molly: You know, I’m not one to go all big caps on a lot of things, but let me just state for the record, and add my voice to the (obviously huge) chorus: COUNT ME IN!!! Keep it coming, Sarah, crumbs and leaky toilets and all. (Did I mention we’ve one that’s had a DO NOT USE sign on our bathroom door a month or more?)

    Slick is slick, pretty and shiny. Life is not, at least in my experience. Your honesty and real is why I come, over and over and over again. No quantity of white plates and perfect lighting can ever begin to make up for that. (Though it might make for a lot of comments.) Does it seem ironic that the quintessential breath of fresh air can only come from sinks piled high with dirty dishes and basil everywhere? That’s where I get it, anyway.

    Yes, it’s changing, this whole blogging business. Yes, it’s not what it was. But then again, there was a time when it wasn’t at all (hello, julie/julia!), so change is the way of these things, no? Not clarity, by any stretch, but worth remembering, anyway.

    Keep it up. Please. Keep keeping it real.

    And thanks for the sweet words.

    And I have exactly that same milk glass lamp :) $2 at my (old) local Goodwill. Not exactly glam. But I love it, just the same.

    xo,
    Molly1 year ago

  • Carrie Ann: There are the glossy, photoshop-enhanced magazines and art-directed blogs that are a fun, easy read but that don’t always fit into the real world that is my life. Do I still read them? Yes, sometimes. But blogs like yours, that call out the real things, the beautiful mess that is REAL life, that I come back to time and time again. That I sometimes need to remind me that not everyone has burlap handy or fresh flowers on the dinner table. You’re an inspiration, Sarah, and I thank you for doing what you do.1 year ago

  • Gale: There will always be others with more gloss and flash but it is substance and true north that are what my friends and I look for in writings. No matter the subject, your blog is a breath of fresh air, wit, thoughtful, and thought provoking. Continue with your inner compass.1 year ago

  • ashley: You are still one of the only blogs I have bookmarked despite Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. I continue to check your blog daily even though I realize posts may be a bit more infrequent – and that’s okay! One of the many reasons I love your blog (aside from the beauty, the character, the humor, the quality, the everything) is that it is real. You have a fantastic personality and similar interests to my own, so I enjoy identifying with (and often emulating) you.

    Perfection isn’t interesting.

    Also, it’s never fun when something you love becomes mainstream. On one hand, you feel happy that everyone can enjoy what you love, but on the other…I don’t know..it gets under my skin and I’m not sure why :/.1 year ago

  • KD: Great post, Sarah. I’ve always loved Pink of Perfection because it’s real. The truth and wisdom in your words inspire me time and time again. In a world that seems to be becoming increasingly superficial, you celebrate the joy in life’s simple pleasures. Despite PoP’s beautiful pictures and pleasing design, I come here because your prose inspires me to live a better, more meaningful life. You make me think and you make me reflect on the many things for which I am grateful. Perhaps more importantly, you make me realize I’m not alone when I feel overwhelmed by it all. Thank you for you for always being honest.1 year ago

  • Joanne @ FifteenSpatulas: Well, I know that I’m just adding to the many comments that say the same thing, but I’m so glad you published this. Lately I’ve been feeling very funny myself about all this blogging stuff. I feel like it’s gotten very competitive…but that word doesn’t really cover it. It’s so easy to lose sight of the “point of it all” and I feel like I constantly have to keep myself in check or I’ll lose what I truly enjoy so much and the whole reason why I started blogging in the first place. I’m bookmarking this page and am going to remind myself to read it from time to time.1 year ago

  • Carmel: Where’s the picture of the Steak? A picture is worth a thousand words… but the words still came and no picture. We are getting down to the nitty gritty of what’s real and meaningful. So the Now is presenting us with opportunities to just enjoy the steak and then BE with that experience. But then there’s the “To Do” of needing to make sure we snap the picture and write the blog about that delectable experience and then we wonder where the disenchantment is coming from? I came to your beautiful site for a Clinton Kelly recipe and what I also found was a reason to get back to my life and Be IN it… thank you for sharing Sarah in more ways than you could know. You are lovely for having the courage to speak your true feelings. Love, Carmel1 year ago

  • Anita: OMGosh! The pressure of perfection has caused me to delete my old blog. I just recently started blogging again under a new name and address because I could no longer handle the pressure to be something I wasn’t and that is a professional blogger.

    I’m still here. I’ve been following you for years. I think since the first year you started blogging. I love your blog. It’s very inspiring for this old lady. I love seeing your ideas for dinner, decorating and living. I always enjoyed your thoughts on the current events as well.

    I get what you are saying, and all I can advise is to be true to who you are as a person and a blogger. Don’t let the pressure of perfectionism change you.1 year ago

  • Kate Wetsell: Hi, Sara; I love this post and I am so glad that you took the time to articulate something so well and that you had the courage to say it. You are right- it is the everyday magic of MY life that makes it worth living. I have to constantly remind myself that while organizing and decorating sites and things like Pinterest are wonderful and fun while they are inspiring me, when they cause me to lust after something unattainable or to feel less worthy because my life isn’t perfect- then they become a problem. I love your blog and I value your good writing- it is becomer so rare these days. I know that this is what everyone has already said, but I am de-lurking myself, after being inspired by you in such a positive way. Thank you!1 year ago

  • ML Bishop: I’ve always enjoyed your blog simply because of the authenticity. There ARE too many shiny fakey fake blogs out there, and your readers are not of that ilk. We adore your true search for everyday beauty and comfort, and that is why you stand out. Thank you for that.1 year ago

  • Cindy: I enjoy reading Pink of Perfection! You keep it real and your ideas are attainable for most of us! I’m not in pursuit of perfection in my life, but of quality – quality of relationships with my husband and family, quality of life, and how I spend my time on hobbies and interests. No matter what my job, financial or social status, I can enjoy a luxurious life! A soak in a hot bath with beautiful aromatic bath salts, a nice glass of wine on my patio or a decadent afternoon reading a good book – these are considered luxurious to me ( a non-member of a country club or high society). Luxury can be found in just about anybody’s life if she would just look. Keep up the good work !1 year ago

  • Susan: Sara, PLEASE don’t ever stop writing! In a cyber world which is so heavily populated with blogs, yours is the only blog I have never stopped reading and enjoying since I first found it several years ago. Your writing is fresh, elegant and absolutely inspirational: I still return again and again to some of your posts (this morning I re-read ‘There is Enough’ from October 14. 2010. I still remember reading that the day it was published and feeling comforted and reassured and newly inspired by your thoughts. And remember your post ‘Where Does Your Brilliance Lie’? That had me thinking and feeling good about life for weeks! You are making such a difference to people with your ability to communicate honestly and gently – it’s a rare and wonderful thing in such a tired, over-stimulated world to find someone whose voice can truly touch you from afar. POP is such a wonderful part of my on-line world that I (selfishly) hope you feel comforted enough by the voices of your followers to keep going with it! xxx1 year ago

  • Maria: I’ve been combing through these thoughtful responses over the last couple days. I love the intelligent women drawn to this space.

    I do think there’s room for both.

    I read Pink of Perfection and other writing-focused blogs because I enjoy what you have to say. I enjoy how your readers respond. I especially enjoy how what you say makes me think darn hard about *living* a good life, and not presenting it for consumption. It feels really good to see other women’s messy but beautiful lives, and seeing a little of myself in them.

    Pinterest and lifestyle blogs feel indulgent to me; I imagine it’s how some women respond to celebrity gossip. If you get caught up in it all, it’s damaging. If you take it for what it is, it’s fun. I enjoy the gloss sometimes. It’s fun to deep-dive into a perfect aesthetic and charmed-but-impossible living. From a curatorial perspective, I like examining my boards to find glimpses about my taste and how it evolves. At the same time, I try to stay critical of the influence these carefully staged and edited lives have on me and my well-being.

    Keep on writing, Sarah.1 year ago

  • Hollie: Dear Gawd,

    I hope this means you will start writing more frequently, if you think your lack of posts has gone un-noticed, you’re dead wrong. I almost wanted to post on your facebook or something. I think this faze is similar to what we all go through in life in general, we see people who have better lives, jobs, WHATEVER. But you have to remember the grass is alway greener on the other side, and even though you may not think your steak dinner picture deserves to be noticed, keep in mind that there are people out there ( like myself) who religiously only follow 2 blogs and one of them happens to be yours. And even though there may be prettier pictures somewhere else out there, I’m more drawn to your stories about them anyways and I need those few paragraphs in my life, so quit hoarding all your witty humor and graphic details and for Gawd’s sake, blog something!!!! And try to make it twice a week, thanks in advance.

    H
    xx1 year ago

  • Heather Grilliot: :) I just love you, always have. Your writing is what I come here for. I think that you are one of the only authentic souls writing about beauty in everyday life out there now. I never feel threatened to compare my photography, writing or thoughts to yours because you just make me feel good while I hang out here at POP. I also love your music lists. I often will crank one up, while I straighten up the messy kitchen or re-organize my sock drawer. No pressure just comfort. Your blog has always been a soft landing spot on the web. But, like always…still holding out for the book you are going to write one day :) Keep on keeping it real kiddo. I’ll always be back for more.1 year ago

  • Bella: Beautiful post. It’s what you are–authentically beautiful. I have to add to the chorus and say that you never disappoint, and your musings, whether on joy or occasionally something else, always resonate and inspire. You are exactly what you say you want to be: a wonderful place for woman to gather and think about things that bring meaning. I am grateful for every post. Thank you!1 year ago

  • Ann: I too am grateful for your posts. I am a 53 yo woman who loves your writings- they challenge me to slow down, breath for a moment and remember that life is really good- in spite of the craziness of the moment. Your recipes for spending a weekend or reading a new book or creating a great meal remind me that I can do this too. I save your blogs to read when I need/want a moment of calm- a soft landing spot from a hectic day/week/month as Heather Grilliot remarked earlier. Your writings help remind me of what is important in life and it has nothing to do with white dishes or burlap tablecloths. Hang in there wild woman and keep on writing!1 year ago

  • Evon T.: I’m still with you, Sarah, and your “voice” still mesmerizes me. I know what you mean about the growth and sophistication of blogs these days. I, myself created a blog. I posted a couple of essays and have yet to invite anyone to read it, because I’m also comparing what I write to what I’m constantly reading on other blogs. Maybe oneday I’ll get there, too, but for now, I just love hearing what you have to say, and it never, ever gets old! Thank you so much… for all of it.1 year ago

  • Kat: I wanted to let you know that your post inspired one of my own:

    http://aestheticsnafu.com/2012/08/24/the-pressure-of-presentation/

    Thanks so much for such insightful thoughts!1 year ago

  • lisa lee: love this post…going through my own growing pains while trying to identify my blog style and, heck, even my own style amidst all the “fluffy” blogs. Thoughts of “am I good enough to be doing this?” “why am I doing this?” and “who is going to read this?” have been bothering me lately. But glad to know someone else feels the same way. Cheers! I’d love to share a drink with you any day!1 year ago

  • Rachel: I love this post — just read it again, because it really resonated, and totally captured my attraction/repulsion to the blogosphere. If I still lived in NY, I would totally want to take you out for coffee, reconnect and reminisce about our summer at the Details intern desk. Keep up the fabulos work.. x1 year ago

  • geek+nerd: 1,000 times yes to this post. I’ve been around the blogging community for a long time too, and I both agree with your observations and feel in a slump myself! I’m trying to putter through as well, though. xoxo to you!1 year ago

  • lindsey clare: A resounding YES to all of this. I sort of dropped off the blogging wagon when my daughter was born (or maybe a bit before that, anyway…)

    And for the last year or so I’ve felt crowded out. My blog wasn’t expanding rapidly. No guest posts, no sponsored giveaways. A lot of times, no comments even. But I was just then reading old posts on my blog (which then brought me here, after probably a year of not having visited!) and it reminded me that I used to love writing in my blog, so much. My simple posts, my simple (yet I think pretty and pleasing) photos.

    Thank you for the reminder that it’s actually okay not to be pro. It’s okay to blog for many different reasons including just to make yourself happy.

    x1 year ago

  • Anja: Amazingly well said. Bravo.

    I’ve started and stopped two blogs because it just feels too dizzying and overwhelming, perfectly said as “a hall of mirrors”. Especially with Twitter (chatter all day gives me a restless, anxious feeling), Pinterest (have you seen the “Pin It!” buttons on every site now?), and Facebook (no one’s lives are as they try to show on FB). Nothing is authentic or genuine anymore, and it’s terrifying.

    I’m in a book club where every single reader has an eBook, which shocks me. I can’t bear to look at one more screen during the day. You can’t replace books and I refuse to. As Maurice Sendak said, “A book is a book is a book.”

    Anyway, I don’t want to go to bed at night with that electric hum from technology/internet/social media/non-human communication/etc. Let’s get back to basics.

    Thanks for sharing and I hope you find what you’re looking for.

    xo1 year ago

  • Vanessa: Amen! I just had this conversation with my mother today when she asked why I don’t blog or make videos much anymore. It’s exhausting trying to keep up with the competition who seem to take effortless photos good enough to be in a Martha Stewart magazine. I mean who has the time to strew pistachios all over a white-washed antique door serving as a table with branches in the background to make a food photo shoot. Is that real life? It seems we are aspiring to be back-to-basics, natural, rustic — but the photos we produce are the exact opposite of that; very contrived. It’s scared me from even trying because I know I don’t want to put in that much time or effort into creating a blog post. How can one compete? Should one compete? I’m glad someone such as yourself with such a lovely blog is echoing my feelings. One of the reasons I keep returning to your blog is because of your genuine voice and cute personality. So thanks for writing and don’t care what other people are doing.1 year ago

  • Pattie: I stopped writing my blog a long time ago. I wrote to chronicle my life with my family…period. I wasn’t looking for fame or fortune. I simply wanted to remember.

    I looked around and saw people using counters and charts to see how many people were reading their words, watching their blogs and I didn’t get it. I all felt as though they were operating a business. I was not. So I left the world of blogging. I miss some of it….sometimes…but not enough to do it again. At least not today.1 year ago

  • Steph: Hey Sarah,

    I love reading your blog. You really do have a way of grounding your reader and making her reflect and enjoy the simple things in life. Thank you.

    Steph1 year ago

  • kelly: hi sarah,

    while i always enjoy your blog (in fact, it was one of the first that i had ever encountered, back when you were making cream puffs with clinton kelly), i was particularly struck by this post. i’ve had some form of website since 1996 when i was 12, and the shift to ultra-perfection i’ve been seeing in the blogging community had me ready to throw in the towel. like you, i’m trying to figure out what it means to be a blogger in the post-pinterest world. my kitchen may be messy, and my pictures may be just a touch off, but i can still write good posts!

    thanks so much for your many posts that have been inspirational to me–i love that your blog has an underlying theme of how to have a lovely, fulfilling, REAL life, not a slick, shiny, plasticky one.1 year ago

  • Dane: I sympathize. My own blog is a photo blog, so for me – trying to improve on my skills all the time – I am always looking for that perfect food styling, that “clear, white sunlight” (that made me laugh – I work hard to get precisely that fluffy white sunlit look) and it is hard!

    For me, it started with Flickr, then Tumblr. I love the beautiful images, and they educate my eye, but … yeah. It’s become to my photography and blogging (and by extension, my decorating my home) what fashion magazines did to me back when I read them. That “lesser than” feeling.

    As everyone above said, your authenticity is why you’re so loved, and thanks for broaching the subject and putting your finger on it.1 year ago

  • Shannah: Very thoughtful post. I have actually stopped reading some of those “slick” blogs, because sometimes when people become “professional” bloggers, they sometimes start to seem less trustworthy, less authentic. It’s more like they’re trying to sell themselves rather than thinking about a real connection with the individuals who are reading. And I think to myself – I don’t matter to them – they can use one less reader. It kind of It’s like going shopping and trying on clothes with a friend vs. and getting an opinion only from the person who works there and doesn’t care about you. What they say just doesn’t matter, no matter how well dressed they may be themselves. Probably a bad comparison, but anyway – I really appreciate your authentic voice and the fact that you’re even reading this and caring what we say hopefully tells you a bit about what this is about for a lot of us. :) 1 year ago

  • Ky: Your blog is a great place to find something real and I always feel relaxed when I read your posts. Pinterest is a great place for the eyes, but it feels a little empty. I realize this when I click on a picture and the link goes somewhere else or when I feel the need to craft every corner of my life. A lot of the time we go on the internet to find something new or get an idea and we often walk away feeling as though we can’t live up to what everyone else is doing. But behind all those perfect, edited pictures, everyone else is…in fact…normal. I’d rather take the time to read a well-written blog entry and walk away with something than look at pictures of things I’ll forget about in a minute.

    Keep up the good work. I enjoy what you have to say.1 year ago

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Love of beauty is Taste. The creation of beauty is Art.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson