Category Archives: Blogcadette Recap

Blogcadette Recap: Sophie King of Crown and Glory Accessories

Lisa Devlin

We’ve gotten to know Sophie of Crown and Glory very well over the past year. Not only does she provide the coveted glitter ears for every workshop goodie bag, but she attended a class last January and was our amazing assistant for our two London classes this month! In short, we adore her!

Since we first met we’ve seen her blog and her company come along in leaps and bounds and so we’re super excited to catch up with her today.

Unlike a lot of our attendees you’re not actually hoping to become a full time blogger. What was it that made you want to come to the The Blogcademy? What we’re you hoping you’d learn?

Here we have 3 kick ass women, rocking at what they love, making careers for not only themselves, but others too, being the best in their fields and still maintaining integrity – I needed me a slice of that magic! Initially I thought it’d be a great opportunity to improve my favourite but least performing online platform – the blog – but when I thought more about what I wanted to achieve, it was more about harnessing confidence, finding direction for my drive and meeting likeminded babes.

You’d already gotten quite a lot of press for your headpieces before you came to class – how did you manage this? Do you have any advice for an designers who would like to do the same?

God it’s all about who you know, not especially what you know in this industry. Obviously it helps that your product rocks, but it’s definitely about who you meet – and having integrity is so important too. Crown and Glory got on the grapevine because I happened to meet a couple of lovely girls who were doing the rounds interning at the mags and they loved what I did! Also being prevalent on social media has definitely helped – stylists and fashion assistants will often ask for help on Twitter so make sure it’s you who’s answering their pleas! But keep relevant, helpful but not annoying – if it’s weird offline, it’s weird online too!

We see your blog has come on in leaps and bounds since class with regular features and some really great helpful posts. What were your biggest takeaways from the weekend?

For the blog, implementing an editorial calendar has been the biggest change – instead of stabbing around in the dark for topics, dreaming up content comes to me so much easier when I have a set topic to work around each day! Sure, certain topics have a shelf life and may not work for long but that’s fine. Also, to not be that person that’s all “OMG I’m sooo sorry I haven’t been around here!” if I haven’t had the time to blog for a couple days or whatever – it just puts pressure on yourself!

Lisa Devlin

OK so tell us about the collaboration with our very own Kat! How did that come about and how has it gone since the launch?

It came about because of Blogcademy, but not in the way you may initially think! The biggest lesson I took away from the weekend was to stop being so goddamn British and self deprecating, of being scared of failure, of being told no, of dreaming too big and not succeeding! Without Blogcademy there’s no way the seed of a collaboration idea I got would’ve ever made it past my own internal monologue.

I’d been reading an old article of Kat’s that had been republished in Beyond Beyond magazine, in which she said she was a bit green eyed of her artistic friends because she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. But damn, I thought, that’s so not true, the girl knows how to accessorise, pull together looks, curate amazing visuals – and something Kat had written about Crown and Glory a while back popped right into my head – “designer Sophie always seems to be bringing out pieces that are 100% ME!”… Cogs got whirring, an inner whimpering of “as if she’d ever say yes!” was dampened with my new, Blogcademy Can-Do attitude and I fired off a quick email. The rest, they say, is history…

I’ve been blown away with the responses since the launch. Quite how we managed to keep it under wraps for so long I do not know.

What’s your overall vision for your business?

I want Crown and Glory to turn into the Tatty Devine of the headpiece world! A quintessentially British brand that pushes boundaries within our field, experiments and sets the trends, not follow them. I envisage a studio-led team, everything performed in house, a big, glittery family.

Alexa Loy

How do you try to stand out from all the other headpiece designers?

Oh, I just do me. Sounds clichėd but I’m sticking with it! I used to spend a long time sussing out the competition, getting pissed when someone copied one of my products – it just made me bitter and unproductive! Now I trust my vision, my instinct and if something doesn’t work? Be sure I can take away at least 3 things to learn from it. Fail quickly, and move onto the next good thing!

You’re very active on social media, Twitter and Instagram in particular. What did The Blogcademy teach you about using social media and how have you implemented these things? Have you seen growth in these areas since the class?

Social media for business is one of my biggest passions – I love interacting with customers and how easy it is to tap into support networks online, so important when you’re self employed! It’s also the number one marketing tool if you know how to use it wisely – The Blogcademy reiterated for me the importance of being personal but professional, useful not annoying and how to be consistent without wasting your entire life online. The Blogcademy has given me the confidence to portray more of myself online; I’d always held back a bit with sharing too much personal stuff due to fear of criticism, but I’ve learnt that actually it’s the idiosyncrasies and quirks that will attract people to a brand, that help gain loyalty and ultimately, customers.

When it comes to your business, what are you most proud of?

I’ve overcome so many personal demons within my business – I genuinely think the last 3 years has grown me more than all the years through education ever did. It’s a work in process, but 3 years ago I could barely leave the house for a pint of milk without a panic attack, let alone sit in a shop window in Oxford Street making hundreds of headbands to order! The biggest walls we come across are often are those we build ourselves – I’m continually proud of myself for being strong enough to employ techniques to bring them down.

Alexa Loy

What’s the most valuable thing you took away from The Blogcademy? Would you recommend it to your best friend?

Genuinely, attending The Blogcademy set something alight inside me with regards to trusting myself and those two days in a room full of excitable, glittery souls has built my confidence in ways that I never could’ve imagined. It’s like the Headmistresses picked up the pieces of my worries and fears stuck them together with glitter glue. Embrace the fear, own the anxiety, put pink lipstick on the terror for its the worries that keep us awake at night that hold the key to discovering what we hold dearest.

I wrote more about my Blogcademy experience, and why I think it’s the best money I ever spent, on my own blog here!

Have you got anything exciting coming up that you can share with us?

My A/W collection employs completely brand spanking new techniques and avenues in another exciting collaboration – it’s kept me up at night and made me tear my hair out at times, but it means the brand is moving forwards to big things!

How would you like to expand or improve your business in the next 12 months? In your wildest dreams, how would your business look and feel this time next year?

Next year we will have more members of the team, on production probably, leaving me free to do what I’m best at – design and brand development. We’ll have grown our wholesale market, from small boutiques to something more mainstream while still maintaining integrity and our core beliefs.

Blogcadette Recap: Veronica Dearly, Designer and Dreamer

Photography: Devlin Photos 

Veronica Dearly sat right at the front on our London class in January. She wore teal shoes with killer heels and frantically scribbled notes throughout. After class she showed us some of those notes, which she’s designed into cute little drawings and sketches. We knew she was destined for brilliance and so we’re super excited to reconnect with her today and hear what she’s been up to since class…

Unlike a lot of our attendees you’re not actually hoping to become a full time blogger. What was it that made you want to come to the The Blogcademy? What we’re you hoping you’d learn?

I really love the idea of blogging, and I want to use my blog to lend an extra dimension to my brand – an authentic voice. Whilst it would be marvellous to build an audience and put my product in front of new customers, my main reason for wanting to go to The Blogcademy was inspiration and exploring the potential of the platform.

We LOVE that your husband bought your ticket as a surprise Christmas gift, it was SO HARD for us to not go blabbing! What did you think when you opened that voucher on Christmas morning!?

Completely blown away! Craig had actually wrapped my gift certificate in a box with some weird, long (and very heavy) metal struts to further throw me off the scent, so I was fairly bemused. We’d talked about The Blogcademy when it was first announced and agreed that it just wasn’t happening right now, so it was such a lovely surprise. I am very lucky to have him! I actually entered for the scholarship without telling him so it explained his completely underwhelmed reaction when I revealed my application to him!

What were your biggest takeaways from the weekend? How have you integrated them into how you run your business?

I can’t even narrow it down. The POTENTIAL that I discovered at The Blogcademy is almost enough to blow my mind. The one thing that really stands out is the work ethic – the don’t give up, the work your ass off, keep going, and stay ahead of the game attitude. It’s always easy to look at the pioneers in your industry and see someone who was lucky to be at the crest of the wave, when in fact the only reason they are there at the top is because they bloody well made that wave themselves. The Blogcademy taught me that I want to make waves, and it’s hard, so I’d better just get on with it.

We also see you’ve just launched a new website. It looks FAB. What did you learn in class that made you want to make a change?

Something that I’ve heard Kat quote before is that ‘your style will find you,’ and a couple of months before The Blogcademy I had been hit by a coconut of epiphany and my style just exploded all over my pages and my life. The branding section of the workshop was one I was really looking forward to (as a design geek!) and really brought home the need to make sure my brand was showing off who I am and what I do. It has been a labour of love but now I feel it’s much more representative of me and the future I see for my brand.

What’s your overall vision for your business? How do you try to stand out from all the other stationery designers?

My overall vision has changed a lot since it began in 2011. Originally I created alternative wedding stationery, and now I mainly focus on greetings card publishing and creative design projects. My overall goal from the start was to work for myself in a creative business, so it has been an interesting and often surprising journey. Moving out of the wedding industry has been a huge learning curve but I feel like I’ve really found myself.

In terms of differentiating myself I actually try to limit my exposure to other peoples designs. I’m lucky to have a found a style that really comes naturally to me so I find starting with a blank piece of paper and no pre-conceived ideas of what I’m about to do should look like is the best way to come up with something that stands out.

Case in point – when I first emailed my first greetings card design with very specific requirements and notes to a printer, they asked me to phone them and said “What the HELL are you on about?!” Those same cards have been my best sellers by a million miles.

You’re very active on social media, Twitter and Instagram in particular. What did The Blogcademy teach you about using social media and how have you implemented these things? Have you seen growth in these areas since the class?

I’m much more conscious of my output. I have two children, so the natural, almost unstoppable compulsion when I open Twitter is to write a constant stream of mildly amusing anecdotes about my family life. I feel like I have much more of a balance, which has resulted in a modest but much more steady growth. Sadly, my Facebook page is an area that still needs a lot more of my attention!

When it comes to your business, what are you most proud of?

It sounds clichéd, but I’m so proud of how far it’s come since the beginning. I’ve made huge changes, learnt so much and found a style that I am SO excited to work with everyday. I have stuck at it and tackled it in a few different ways and have created a job for myself that I’d never have found advertised in the paper.

What’s the most valuable thing you took away from The Blogcademy? Would you recommend it to your best friend?

It’s so easy to go through this life and accept the path that is laid out ahead of you, make practical and ordinary decisions and get by. That is not the key to my happiness, and The Blogcademy has given me the confidence to pursue BIGGER DREAMS. And yeah I definitely HAVE recommended it to my best friend – my husband Craig applied for the scholarship for the London class in September… and was one of the winners!

How would you like to expand or improve your business in the next 12 months? In your wildest dreams, how would your business look and feel this time next year?

I’m just beginning to focus a lot of my energy onto getting my products into shops, and so far the take up has been really encouraging. I’m also constantly expanding my products and this time next year I’d love to have a broad range of products available in a respectable number of stores. Couple that with attracting some more exciting design projects and world domination and that’s pretty much it.

Blogcadette Recap: Jayne Rusby, A Yoga Babe With Guts

Jayne Rusby is a yoga babe with guts.  When we met her in London at the start of the year, we were immediately taken with her chutzpah, her open mind and her strictly no bullshit take on life!

Her blog, She is the Revolution, doesn’t assault your eyeballs with a hundred bells and whistles.  It is a place of refuge for women who are learning to love themselves… And we’re in love with it, too.

Through revitalizing breath & moving our bodies to the beat, eating soulful life food & thinking outside of rigid boxes, we can inspire ourselves & others to live a life that truly rocks.

This is not about self improvement.

This is about self acceptance.

(She Is The Revolution manifesto)

Your blog has changed and evolved so much since we met you in London. What, in your mind, have been the biggest and most positive changes?

The BEST thing about Blogcademy is that it is in person. Gala, Kat & Shauna travelling all over the world showing up, being present and inspiring fellow bloggers. This made the act of being online feel more human. I’ve done so many online courses and to be honest not always finished them but The Blogcademy is different.

A great thing was realising that these ladies are the same as me, they have just put in the hard work & the hours for longer. Self belief was a big thing especially from Gala who oozes charisma, Kat is wild with a dose of profanity & Shauna has a beautiful professional grace, everything I hope to infuse into She is the Revolution.

The most positive change is that this is what I do now. She is the Revolution is what I am dedicating all my time to. I love it, I want to do it all the time. The stuff I have in the pipeline is going to explode over the coming months.

What is the overall vision for your blog?

I know this is being read on The Blogcademy blog but I actually don’t visualise my site as a blog. It’s a place, a soft landing to create a movement of young women. Women who are just starting to peep over the wall of insecurity and are ready to take responsibility for their own happiness. When I write, it’s for them. So my overall vision would be that my readers feel connected to what I write, they share it, use it as reference in different stages of life, and that they feel very much part of it.

Is it difficult for you to be so vulnerable in public? What do you gain from doing that?

I have to be vulnerable, there is a strength in vulnerability and I believe it’s how we connect. Not by being aloof, guarded or different, I’ll never help anyone that way. Yeah it can sound all woo woo but we tell ourselves the same bullshit lies, I just want to crack wide open so that I can inspire others.

When it comes to your blog, what are you most proud of?

Ha ha the fact that I actually started the bloody thing, which is a big thank you to The Blogcademy. When I signed up I didn’t have a blog at all. I paid my money and then thought, ‘Shit, I’m gonna get detention, so I better put my mouth where my money went.’ I hastily put one up, got my report card, took on board the comments and made changes. I have total respect for these three ladies, they’ve done the work.

The current version is the result of six weeks of copywriting to back up the posts that have been ongoing. I’m proud of that. I’m not a natural writer, I’m a talker, so this is a muscle I’m learning to use.

What’s the most valuable thing you took away from The Blogcademy? Would you recommend it to your best friend?

Seriously being in the same room as the girls is simply wonderful. Yes they are beautiful, talented and successful but they really make you feel like you are too. There is no difference.

Funnily enough, I actually came with one of my best friends and she has got loads out of it too. Would I recommend it to others? HELL YES! I went to the second ever Blogcademy and I know that improvements have been made which I’m slightly envious of. I think a level two in smaller groups would be awesome, although the girls might have to be cloned to do that too…

How would you like to expand or improve your blog in the next 12 months? In your wildest dreams, how would your blog look and feel next year?

In my wildest dreams, next year I will have created a movement. The SHE in She is the Revolution is not me, it’s us. I would love to see young women talking about this place as if they created it because actually they have. This blog isn’t about me, it’s about how I can serve others. I’d like to think that there will be better writing once that muscle has been flexed and video is absolutely on the horizon.

And if we’re talking WILD, I’d like to be interviewing inspirational women and bringing the blog alive by doing workshops and talks all over the world. And the best thing is that it’s all possible.

Blogcadette Recap: The Babes of Bespoke Bride

Photos by Craig Dearsley

When we first met Jess — one half of the dynamic duo behind Bespoke Bride — we were instantly smitten.  This vivacious babe smiled all weekend long, and won us over with her sweet, sparkling temperament!

When we hugged her goodbye, we had our fingers crossed that she’d be able to use what she’d learned.  At the time, their site was on a generic WordPress template, and it was all looking a bit safe and beige.  It didn’t represent them at all!  A few months later, their site had undergone a complete — and radically gorgeous — makeover.  But that’s not the only change they’ve made!

Read on to find out the secrets behind Bespoke Bride’s success!

We love the changes we’ve seen you making to Bespoke Bride since the workshop in January, especially the amazing rebrand and redesign of the site! What did you learn in class that inspired you to make such big changes?

Thank you! I think one of the most eye opening points that stood out to me from Shauna was that your brand isn’t just about your field of work or genre, it should be about you. You are your own brand. This really resonated with me because looking at Bespoke Bride back then we were just so CLICHÉ! URGH. Honestly, the site design couldn’t have been further away from who me and Emily are but we made the classic mistake of creating the site to look how we thought the audience would want it to instead of how we really wanted to. We also learnt that using a standard WordPress theme is OK for a while but if you really want to up your game then you need to ditch that preset!

There are some super affordable and much more professional looking themes out there that really did change the entire feel of Bespoke Bride. In a world that now seems like everyone has a blog the best thing you can do is stay true to yourself and what you believe because chances are, someone else is already covering what they think the audience wants and in fact, I think that what people are really looking for now is something a little more honest and a little less standard.  

Has the overall vision or direction of your blog changed since the class at all? We’ve seen some new regular features cropping up!

Absolutely. We came to realise that there are so many wedding blogs out there that literally just blog real wedding after real wedding after real wedding with nothing else to offer on the site, no business advice, no personal opinions, no wedding advice which is fine for some people but for us, we really wanted to be a wedding blog that stood out as being a little bit different. I learnt at The Blogcademy that people come to your blog for your content but they stay for your personality! (Which our site had NONE of before attending the class). You couldn’t even distinguish if it was me or Emily writing posts which looking back on is absolutely ridiculous because we both have such different opinions! It was time for a major personality upgrade!

We got together to talk about what we really loved and what made us different and so we introduced a few non-wedding related features such as cooking DIYs, home DIYs (since I’m quickly becoming obsessed with interiors) and our Off The Record feature where we talk about what we’ve been getting up to away from the blog that week. We get that some people won’t care about these features but we also get that we’re expanding and appealing to a much larger audience too!

The community and engagement around your blog seems to have come along in leaps and bounds since class. We hear a lot more wedding industry folks mentioning Bespoke Bride in the list of top UK wedding bloggers! What’s your secret and how do you think you’ve been able to get your name out in such an over-saturated market?

Do you?! Oooh that’s exciting! I suppose the key has been personality. I feel like we’re slowly becoming a wedding and lifestyle blog instead of purely weddings, so I suppose that in itself kind of separates us from the wedding market slightly! However, I think one of the most important things we did was to stop comparing ourselves and trying to compete with the massive wedding blogs and instead start creating our own niche. As I said before, I think brides and grooms are looking for more inspiration on showcasing their personalities in their weddings now which is something I’m proud to say we provide. Perhaps more and more people are becoming bored of having the same weddings as everyone else and more and more people are looking for ways to switch it up a bit!

I would also like to add that getting out and meeting people is one of the best ways in getting your name out there and socialising and being genuinely nice to people! Nobody wants to work with or collaborate with someone who’s known for not being very nice! I can honestly say that some of our biggest opportunities have come from meeting people in person and forming relationships with them. The very reason I’m even getting to write this interview is because I got my ass up to London and attended the Blogcademy where I met SO MANY incredibly creative, fantastic and amazing people! Keeping those relationships are also important too.

A little bird also tells us you’re working on some other off-blog projects too. Can you tell us a little about them?

We sure are and it’s very exciting for us! We’re currently in the process of building a separate website from the blog for creative and special vendors in the industry. We found a bit of a gap in the market and wanted to grab the opportunity with both hands, although I don’t think we anticipated just how big a project it would be! You see, last year me & Em decided we would travel to wedding shows and fairs all over the UK to try and meet unique and fun wedding companies with something different to offer but it was costing us a lot of time and money and there were a few fairs that were just too far away for us to attend so we were sometimes left a little disappointed that we wouldn’t ‘find out’ about these companies. If only there was some sort of online wedding show where we could find out about unique vendors from all over the country?! DING! An idea was born.

‘But that’s just an online wedding directory I hear you cry?!’ But it really isn’t, we’re designing to have online chat features so that couples can chat to suppliers if they’re online, you’ll also be able to buy quirky decorations, gifts, wedding attire or even search for an unusual venue or hire a tepee if you desire! (that rhymed didn’t it?!) We’re trying to cover all aspects of your wedding to make it easier for couples who really don’t want the same old thing! It’s something we’ve been working on for almost a year now and will hopefully be launched by the winter of 2013!

We’ve also been meeting fellow creatives in the industry to bring a new social event to the world! A place where you’re not shoved awkwardly in a room and forced to go up and introduce yourselves to people. We’re working on creating an evening where socialising grows organically, where you also have a lot of fun and where you learn a few things while you’re there too. It’s going to be an instagramming, yummy fooding, fun activitying extravaganza!

When it comes to your blog, what are you most proud of?

I speak for both me and Emily when I say that we’re most proud of how far we’ve come. I can’t even tell you how many times we were asked ‘What’s a blog?’ or ‘So why are you doing it? I just don’t get it’ and ‘Why don’t you just get a proper job?’ It’s so fulfilling to know that something that so many people didn’t believe would work is now a profitable business for us both. Sure, it’s not making enough money to hold us down full time yet but Rome wasn’t built in a day!  We’ve had so many amazing experiences from it and we’re so proud to say that we followed our hearts and pursued our passion for blogging and weddings instead of sticking in boring and soul sucking full time jobs!

What’s the most valuable thing you took away from The Blogcademy?  Would you recommend it to your best friend?

Are you kidding me girls?! How am I meant to choose just one valuable thing? The entire workshop was incredibly valuable! OK, If I absolutely HAD to choose from the weekend it would be the amount of drive and inspiration I took away with me. Just being in the same room as 30 something women that are all so career and passion orientated was so liberating!

If we’re talking POST Blogcademy I would hands down say the support system we’ve been invited into. When I bought my ticket I thought it would cover the class but the forum we’re all in is amazingly helpful and I know that if there is anything we’re stuck on we can come to you for advice. It’s so heart warming to know that you’re all happy to help with whatever trouble we run into and we both feel like we could come to you for anything (which is amazing!)

I would 100% recommend the Blogcademy to my best friend. I’ve been recommending it to everyone I meet! I’ve also had a lot of people ask me about it and my reply is always simple: ‘It was the best business decision we ever made’.

How would you like to expand or improve your blog in the next 12 months?  In your wildest dreams, how would your blog look and feel next year?

We would love for our readership to continue to grow and would love to have more of a presence on social media. It would also be fantastic to have more gorgeous sponsors sitting pretty in our sidebar and be able to be blogging full time so we could focus more on producing new and exciting content and features!

In my wildest dreams I would be blogging from my new holiday home in Mexico overlooking the sea! We would both love the blog to feel like a community and to be in the top 10 wedding blogs in the UK. An award wouldn’t be too bad either! Ha!

But I think most of all we would love to be a well known wedding and lifestyle blog amongst brides and grooms and be known for being one of the most helpful and inspirational wedding blogs out there! The most important thing to us is being helpful to our readers and remaining true to ourselves.

Blogcadette Recap: Latanya Rene, International Party Girl

Photo by Mike Falzone.

Latanya Rene of Sprinkles And Booze is a true Blogcademy success story.  When she attended our very first class, she didn’t even have a blog… And eight months later, she is blogging fulltime!  Yes, fulltime… As in, the girl makes her living from her blog alone!  What a champ!

Of course, we had to dip in and find out her secrets.  Here’s what she had to say…

Latanya, we are so proud of you! We were delighted to have you in our very first class in NYC, and in the eight months that have passed, so much has changed! What, in your mind, have been the biggest and most positive changes?

When I signed up for The Blogcademy, I actually didn’t have a blog. At all. I had a static page, a lot of ideas, and was livin’ on a prayer. Before venturing into professional blogging, I blogged on and off for over 10 years and never took it seriously. My idea of a blog was bitching about men on LiveJournal and posting photos from the party that took place the weekend before.

Following many bloggers over the years and having an idea of how blogging worked wasn’t enough for me to take my blogging to the next level. I had so many questions, fears, and needed something to push me out of my safe zone.

One day while I was working my 9 to 5 job, I decided to take a break from my regular office duties to see what Gala Darling was up to. She had just posted an announcement about The Blogcademy and it was like everything froze in time and baby glitter angels started singing. It was one of the most perfect moments ever. The workshop would not only teach me the business end of blogging but it was the proper investment to force me into actually following through with being the blogger superheroine I’ve wanted to be for years.

With all of this said, Blogcademy has given me the confidence and know-how to properly operate my blog as a business. There have been many things that have changed over the last 8 months since the birth of Sprinkles and Booze and it will continue to change. My blog helped me figure out how to use my passions and I thank Blogcademy for teaching me on how to properly market myself.

I have been schooled on how to be a master blogging Goddess and I have no fear when moving forward and growing. It’s sort of crazy to think about how my mental state has changed since I’ve attended the workshop.

What did you learn at The Blogcademy that inspired you to make such massive shifts?

The biggest shift I’ve made overall has been my thought process. I stopped being afraid of going after what I feel my calling is. I used to have many excuses like “Everyone has a blog!” to “Why would anyone care about what I have to say?”. The fact of the matter is we all have a unique voice and it’s our job to showcase what makes us different and to do this without fear.

Blogcademy taught me that there is something out there for all of us, and don’t let the negative thoughts prevent you from following something you know is right in your heart.

A little birdie told us that you are now blogging fulltime! GO GIRL! How were you able to make the jump?

The jump was more of a skip than a full-on launch. I was laid off from my 9 to 5 desk job shortly after attending Blogcademy. I had the tricky task of figuring out if I should get another 9 to 5 or if I should try to move forward and make my blog my fulltime gig. Being let go from my job forced me into moving forward with making my blogger dreams a reality. I am nowhere near where I want to be as a blogger but I can say I am proud of where it has taken me.

Sprinkles And Booze is all about the best things in life. Do you have an overall vision for your blog?

Since starting Sprinkles and Booze many concepts and ideas were born. Something that I fell into because of blogging has been event planning. I want Sprinkles and Booze to be all about celebrating life and showing the world how to enjoy every millisecond that we have on this planet.

My goal is to be a international Professional Party Planner and take over the world one unique themed event at a time. I want to showcase people celebrating in their own way to remind people that life is in fact a celebration.

Sprinkles and Booze will be an event and lifestyle blog that reminds people it’s okay to dance like no one is watching and it’s okay to build pillow forts. I’m all about making more happy moments and memories and reminding people that laughter is love.

When it comes to your blog, what are you most proud of?

I am proud that I can inspire people. So many people have told me I am an inspiration and it’s probably the biggest thing I can take from blogging. I am proud that I can be myself and have people respond positively to it and take something from my crazy rants about lip gloss and superheroes. Any moment you can inspire someone is a moment well spent and you’re living your purpose.

What’s the most valuable thing you took away from The Blogcademy? Would you recommend it to your best friend?

The most valuable thing I took from Blogcademy is the friendships that I have made. I have never met so many kickass women in all of my life. You can be the most seasoned blogger ever and I would recommend going to The Blogcademy to get involved with the best of the blogger community and share warmth and knowledge. The community within Blogcademy is so strong and so positive it is beyond worth the time, energy, and money to attend.

Most definitely I would recommend The Blogcademy to my bestie! Hell, I recommended it to one of my close friends Holly Danger and she flew across country to attend. Some might think it’s insane to travel for a workshop, but I call it brilliant.

How would you like to expand or improve your blog in the next 12 months? In your wildest dreams, how would your blog look and feel this time next year?

Wow, the next 12 months seems like forever away but I know that it will definitely fly right by. I will work towards adding more content to engage new readers. I want to get my readers more engaged and involved in what is featured on my blog. Even though I am blogging full time, I tend to forget it is a job. I love what I do so it is easy to get distracted by everything that is fun. Because of this, I want to improve my business sense a bit more to where I can work hard while playing hard.

I want my blog to manifest into a geeky-glam party that people look forward to sharing, viewing, and being a part of. I want to continue to make people laugh and be helpful and hope to expand on this within the next year.

My biggest goal is to have David Bowie read my blog on the regular while drinking his morning tea and being fabulous. This is what you meant by my wildest dreams, right?

Blogcadette Recap: Veronica Varlow, Sensational Siren And Burlesque Babe

We don’t play favourites with our students, but sometimes you have a babe in class who surpasses all of your expectations… And then some.  Veronica Varlow is one of those women.  When we first met, she had a rarely-updated blog which needed some love.  Veronica perched on the edge of the sofa at our very first class in New York City, wrapped in lace and silk with a deep red pout.  Her eyes shined and glimmered as she took notes, and as soon as the weekend wrapped, she was whipping her blog into fighting shape.  Eight months later, she is still mercilessly rocking her blog.

We are super proud of everything she’s achieved, and — don’t tell anyone — her blog is a Blogcademy headmistress favourite.  We would even go so far as to call it essential reading.  So we reached out to her for a little update on how her blog adventure is going…

Your blog has absolutely exploded with delicious content since we saw you at the very first Blogcademy in New York City.  What did you learn there that inspired you to make such big changes?

Where do I even start?

After trying to blog regularly and failing for almost 10 years,  I now have been blogging consistently and enthusiastically for 7 months straight.  I was able to push through and attempt something I was blocked to do before, solely through my experience at Blogcademy.

From the moment I walked into class, the mood was set for the weekend.  It is a super supportive think-tank of like-minded individuals, eager to learn and to put Blogcademy’s lessons to practice.  The information, secrets and tips that Gala, Kat and Shauna shared in just the first half hour were worth their weight in gold to me… And they were just getting started!

Having the unique opportunity  to learn from you and hear the secrets of your success inspired me and motivated me to finally take my own blog and my own writing seriously.  My eyes were opened to the fact that it is way more than just about blogging, it was about uncovering what makes me unique and putting it out there, honestly and unapologetically.  It’s about knowing what I want and finding my own voice to communicate with the world.  It’s about crafting my own space on the internet, down to the elements of design, the message I want to put out, and the community I want to build.

Getting the secret lowdown on blogging for a living, how to cultivate new, interesting ideas for posts, and insider tips to working social media not only revived my blogging aspirations, but pushed me to the next level.  I was also inspired by the other people who showed up: bloggers from around the world looking to have serious fun. I made some fantastic, lasting connections at Blogcademy.  I left the weekend knowing I had more people in my corner, rooting for me to succeed.

This might sound silly, but in our Blogcademy gift bags there was a little heart glitter ring.  I wore it everyday for the next thirty days to remind myself of the commitment I made to myself to blog regularly and to push myself with my content… To write my own raw honesty, to connect with the world.

What is the overall vision for your blog?  Is it to help build your profile as an artist, to communicate with your fans, or is it something else?

All of the above and then some!

Two years ago, the passion to build my blog was born from tragedy.  In 2011, our home burned to the ground, with the majority of my hard-bound journals that I had kept for 10 years.  I was devastated.  All of my written memories were gone in the ten minutes it took a fire to consume our home.  I am driven to blog online so that my memories will never be destroyed again.

…But at the same time, it’s more than that.  My blog has become a project for me to reveal myself in an honest way.  I used to write in journals no one would ever see and express my deepest feelings: my failings, my successes, my desires, my secrets.  I challenge myself to write online what I would have otherwise written in a private journal.I didn’t do what I wanted to do in my life for many years because I was afraid of what people would think of me.  Once I pushed past that fear, my world started to open up.  This blog is how I’m doing that through my writing.  There are several posts I was on the fence about clicking “Publish” on… but I always do it.  Yes.  They have caused controversies and backlash but at the same time, those same posts drew compliments and support from the people that I admire the most.  (Thank you, Gala, for supporting and mentioning my “Stripclubs and You: How To Worship at the Temple” post).We noticed that you’re now sticking to a pretty strict editorial calendar, which seems to be working super-well for you!  How does using an editorial calendar for your blog help improve your content?

It helps to create structure for me and familiarity for my readers.  They know on Monday there’s magic, Tuesday is How Tos, and Thursday is more freeform… Whatever is on my mind.  Personally, I found that having a format actually makes it easier to come up with new ideas.  I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and material, and when I know that I’ve got to do a How To Tuesday blog once a week, my eyes become open to all of the “how to” situations in my life.

Your readers are really engaged with what you’re writing: they comment like crazy!  Do you have a secret recipe?  Why do you think this is?

3 Things – Hot Relationship, Trust, Throwing in Prizes to Make it Fun.

Relationship/Juicy Communication: The relationship between me and the Danger Addicts (because there are Danger Dames and Dudes who comment) is one of the most important relationships in my life.  There’s a billion blogs out there, there’s a trillion things on the internet: if they are taking the time to not only read my writing, but then comment and add to the conversation, I’m honored.  There’s no other way to describe it.  I’m grateful for them.  They add a whole other dimension to the blog… It’s a community blog, rather than just my own thing.  It’s a safe space where we all get to have our say. They throw in their tips and their wisdom.

I ask them to do some pretty brave things in the comments that I’m not too sure I’d have the courage to do just 3 years ago. This past Magic Monday, I asked them to put their favorite picture of themselves up and write one word that they would like to be described as below their picture. They did it. There’s over 100 comments on the thread right now.

They support each other, and give good feedback to each other. In the past I would have been terrified to put myself out there like that, leaving myself open to ridicule or attack, but the Danger Addicts are fearless. They just put it out there. They encourage me to put it out there, too. I learn from a lot of the comments. We teach each other.

Trust: I made a commitment.  I’ll be here every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday… Whether I’m on a tour bus or blogging from the other side of the world, I will find a way, come hell or high water, to have this conversation with you.  I reveal my inner most thoughts and stuff that has helped me in my life.  Sometimes I talk about my wild burlesque NYC life or life on the road.  I talk about dealing with jealousy, going to stripclubs, and ending up in the gutter.  I’ll talk about gut-wrenching self-doubt to feeling like a Queen.  I trust them with my heart and my thoughts.  And in return, they trust me with theirs.  It sounds intense, but that’s how my life is.  I’m an all or nothing kind of girl.

Throwing In Prizes To Make It Fun: I offer necklaces I make or love letters or postcards or Skype “Dates” as an incentive for people to comment and put their truths out there.  It works and it also makes it interesting.  Everybody loves prizes.  And if that’s an extra push for them to put their picture up with “Fearless” written below it for someone else to see and be inspired by, then hell yes… I’m going to offer the damn incentive.

When it comes to your blog, what are you most proud of?

Sharing things I’m not proud of.  Being honest.  Showing up.

What’s the most valuable thing you took away from The Blogcademy?  Would you recommend it to your best friend?

The most valuable thing is that through what I learned at The Blogcademy, I have been able to break my own boundaries, push through my own obstacles… And FINALLY…. Have a widely read consistent blog that I am proud of.

This happened through all of the secret and insightful tips the three of you shared on how to make our blogs as unique as we are as people.  Asking the questions:  “What do I have to offer that no one else does?  What is something unique about me and my life experience that will help my blog stand out and be recognized?”  That and then learning the process of making our blogs an “experience” through design, feel, fresh content and visuals.I would absolutely recommend it to my best friends and have (they’ll be taking it in NYC this weekend)!  I’ve gushed to anyone who will listen… And I think the fact that I’m still blogging 7 months later and building a rapidly growing committed readership is testament to the inspiration, knowledge and support that Blogcademy has given me.

How would you like to expand or improve your blog in the next 12 months?  In your wildest dreams, how would your blog look and feel next year?

I would love to add more interactive elements.  The comments are a great way to have conversations, and I can say a lot with my writing, but I want to do more vlogging and hosting live chats on the site.  I want to continue to get it out there more to the world.  My partner-in-crime Burke Heffner and I are headed on a massive cross country road trip to film our feature movie, Revolver, that we wrote, and I am looking forward to blogging the experience as I go.  I want to meet readers at 2am in some 24 hour diner over pancakes, I want to have meet-ups at abandoned road side attractions from the 1950s.

If Jack Kerouac were alive today and blogging… What would that look like?  That’s an inspiration for me.   I want to make my blog this spontaneous, fun experience where all of us can interact and affect each other on this wild road of life.  That’s my dream.