Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Let's Talk Shop

Today I have the pleasure of introducing a fellow blogger, personal friend, and inspirational woman. Dana Havens of Chocolate and Sunshine has graciously invited me to participate in a blog tour, and I am delighted!

Dana and I met at Bloggy Bootcamp St. Louis this Spring. I was immediately drawn to her infectiously positive and friendly personality. She is just the kind of person you want to have in your "tribe" because she is ambitious, generous and fun! She and I also connect through our love of all things "home decor". We both have a perpetual list of project ideas and DIY's, and we follow the same designers. I guess you could say we are kindred spirits.

I urge you to visit Dana's blog, Chocolate and Sunshine, for amazing projects (like the upcycled credenza pictured above), recipes, events and "sunshine"! You won't be disappointed.

And now, for the question and answer portion of this blog tour...

1) What am I working on?

One of the main reasons I began blogging was to reclaim an important part of myself that I had allowed to get lost over the course of many years and many life circumstances. You see, I have a Bachelor's degree in Interior Design and worked in that industry for almost 18 years. Then, one thing led to another (which I am solely responsible for allowing) and I settled for mediocre jobs and forgot my potential. At some point, I stumbled upon my first blog and began to follow more and more women out there who were creating beautiful homes and family lives. After a long period of soul searching, I challenged myself to dig deep, lose the fears and negative self-talk and make myself proud once again. That's when Renaissance Mermaid was born.

So, in answer to the question, I'm always working on multiple projects. No room in my house is safe from receiving it's next facelift (just ask my family, haha.) I'm also busy helping my daughter plan her wedding, serving on the corporation board of my college sorority, and am in active service to Al-Anon (the family branch of AA...which has drastically changed my life for the better.) Add a full-time job to the mix, and this lady has a lot on her plate!

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

We're all unique with our own story to tell, and we all have gifts to give. As a person, I've undergone an important transformation over the past few years, and I plan to share some of what I've learned here as time goes on. If you are kind enough to follow along with my blog, I hope to be able to impart some experience and wisdom (definitely gained the hard way...believe me.)

3) How do I write/create what I do?

The writing process is natural and intrinsic for me. I have always enjoyed putting my thoughts on paper. Creatively, I struggle a little more because I constantly compare myself to others out there, and I also feel the pressure of having had a former design career. The expectations (whether my own or those of others) are always looming in the back of my mind. After being away from that business for so many years (about 13 to be exact) I have lost so much of my creative mindset (use it or lose it, you know?) I want desperately to bring that part of myself back. It's a true journey, and I'm working at re-learning and applying what I set aside for so long and at elevating my design style to where it can be once again.

4) How does my writing/creating process work?

I'd like to report that there is a method to my madness, but alas, I am currently flying by the seat of my pants. Sometimes the stars align and I complete a room or project and am able to write a professional-looking post. Usually, though, I make it up as I go (yikes!...brutal honesty.)

After the wedding, I hope to really get more organized at blogging. There are SO many improvements I want to make here (right now Renaissance Mermaid is pretty "bare bones".) At that point I plan to be much more methodical about this and treat it as the job I dream of it becoming.

As part of this tour, I am asked to introduce three bloggers for my readers to discover, and share their blogging awesomeness. However, I have decided to cheat take a liberty here and share some of the blogs that I read religiously and aspire to emulate. So, in no particular order, here are my current faves...

French Kiss Life - a chic and liberalizing life coach for women

Thistlewood Farm - hands-down best storyteller on the web, and gorgeous interiors

Simple Details - I just love her style...enough said

The Little Black Door - down-to-earth, funny and a knock-out home

French Country Cottage - for the romantic in all of us

Simply Modern Home - great interior design inspiration

A few more that I regularly enjoy are: Dimples & Tangles, Little Green Notebook, The Hunted Interior, Chateau Chic (along with a smattering of others.)

Are there blogs you love that I should be reading?


  1. Julie - I'm very appreciative for your kind words about me and Chocolate and Sunshine. You are correct in that we are kindred spirits and so grateful to have met you and continue our friendship. Love your blog. Your daughter's wedding should take precedence and the blog will follow along when you have time. I love blogging but have come to terms with the fact that the posts come as I have time and something quality to share. Love all that you do!

    1. Love ya, Dana. First and foremost, we should enjoy what we are doing as we blog. I figure the rest will take care of itself. I have already enriched my life with amazing friends by doing this ;)

  2. Great post! I'm glad you decided to start writing your blog because it meant I found a new and dear friend. Thanks for sharing your experience here!

    1. And I have also found a new and dear friend in you, Jodee :)

  3. Dana had the best business cards at bloggy boot camp. Chocolate...thank you! :)

    I love all kinds of blogs. I'm so glad that I was able to meet some new people at the conference.

  4. Julie, thank you for stopping by my blog and your kind comment. I'm a new blogger (7 months) and it's been so great to be able to be creative and write. I applaud your efforts to explore your dreams and do what you love. Thank you for mentioning these other blogs, too; I'll have to check them out.

    1. Deborah, you must have started blogging at the same time that I did :)

  5. Hi Julie! It was fun getting to know you better through this post. Enjoy this time with your daughter! Looking forward to following your journey. ~Ann
    Tarnished Royalty