Where do you see yourself in 10, 20, and 50 years?
In 10 years, I'd like to have two or three children, be living in a house with a yard and a garage and maybe even a garden (that's a big reach for me, who can barely keep a potted plant alive). I want to feel at home and settled wherever we are, and have a business/career that I am proud of--one that aligns with the vision I have for what I want my life to be.
In 20 years I want to be able to look back and be proud of where we are--I see myself in a happy marriage, everyone in good health and high spirits, hopefully with lots of friends and family in the same city.
And in 50 years I guess I could have grandchildren! What a strange thought. My greatest hope for 50 years from now is the health, happiness, and success of myself and everyone around me.
What are your travel dreams?
I've talked about this a bit before, but as of now my travel bucket list includes Ireland, Argentina, Norway, and Iceland. I would like to re-visit France, Italy, and England; and there are a great many states I haven't even been to.
Do you do anything in particular to keep your hormones balanced (other than a Paleo diet)? Your skin always looks perfect! Edited to include everyone reading: Tell us about your skin care/makeup routine!
Well first of all, thank you so much! I can assure you that my skin is definitely not perfect. But I do keep it in good shape because of my diet, I think. Any time I have too much dairy (more than one or two servings for a few days in a row), I usually end up breaking out. I used to have problem skin but have had really great results with Paleo--I'm actually embarrassed to admit that I don't really have much of a skin care system other than removing my makeup and using a gentle cleanser (right now I'm using this one). I also swear by this foundation (and the brush)--it makes my skin look really good!
As far as hormones go, I actually have very low progesterone, so I've been on a hormone replacement program for about three years now. I was not only breaking out a lot, but also (and more importantly) feeling super anxious and depressed more often than not, so I was lucky to have my mom introduce me to a doctor who specializes in hormone imbalances. After a quick blood test I was able to start getting on the right track again.
This last question is actually a combination of several, all pertaining to the topic of blogging as a career: How did you get started with sponsors? Can bloggers make a living simply by blogging and sponsorships? Do you have a traditional day job?
I think blogging for a living and being self-employed in any creative field are really touchy subjects that people don't always like to be super transparent about. I'll do my best, though--I got started with sponsors by working for free a lot. A brand would reach out to me and ask if they could send me an item of clothing, and I'd blog about it in exchange for the free skirt or shoes or whatever it may have been at the time. After a while, I was able to start charging for sponsored posts. I also sold ad space (and still do, although the majority of my income is from sponsored posts). Blogging has been such a great option for me over the past few years as we've moved around a bit and I haven't had to jump from job to job each time. I'm really thankful for that.
It definitely is possible to make a living off of a blog--once you have the traffic, you can charge more for everything. Unfortunately, a blog is a community with an aesthetic, so it's not like freelancing where you can take on as much as possible. I actually lost readers last year because I took on too much sponsored content, so this year I'm taking a step back and being more selective with the collaborations I accept.
Having said that, I still don't have a traditional day job--I love blogging, and Rob and I made the decision to continue to make Freckled Italian a priority in 2015. I would sometimes take on part-time temp positions here and there, but the blog always suffered. Right now I do a lot of freelance recipe development and photography to supplement my income. I still get to work for myself and decide how much to take on, but I get to spend time on different projects; and everything kind of falls under the umbrella of Freckled Italian. I have some really big goals, but I'm trying to learn to be content with where I am right now instead of stretching myself too thin and doing my readers a disservice.
If blogging full-time is something you want to do, just keep at it! It's been a year and a half and I still don't feel like I've "made it." But I get a little closer to where I want to be every day.
Thank you all so much for reading (and asking these questions)! If you feel like it, please feel free to answer some or all of them below in the comments--I absolutely love hearing from you. If you have something you'd like me to include in v.8, let me know!
Photo by V.A. Photography.