Betty Juliet Diaries: Behind the Scenes
Most people who read my blog are those I met through Instagram, the CT Bloggers Collective or who I met in real life. I wanted to re-introduce myself on here for any new readers (and old)! I wanted to share with you the start of blogging, my favorite blogs, my 10 favorite fashion & style items and some advice on bloggers starting out!
Growing up, I always had different websites. I loved coding and html. Don’t get me wrong - I was not some sort of protégé but I loved making websites that reflected my interests. I had them throughout high school, I used one to highlight my poetry and my interests in music and art. I loved Pre-Raphaelite art and was very inspired by Tori Amos and Francesca Lia Block. I wanted a space that was feminine and pretty!
As I got older and saw Instagram being used as a launchpad for blogs, I was very intrigued. I was living in Mississippi at the time working for a real estate company that dealt with all foreclosures. I was going to little coastal towns with gorgeous, abandoned mansions. I fell in love with the intricate architecture, the French creole influences, the moss trees, the ghostly glamour of neglected mansions from Hurricane Katrina. I was moved by the strength and stories of everyone I met from that devastating Hurricane. I lived there 5 years after Katrina hit, but the devastation and sorrow was still there. The sadness and strength was palpable. I saw the sweetest sunsets on the gulf coast and knew when I went back home to Connecticut I never wanted to forget it. I had the best food in tiny little Mom & Pop shops, I tasted the best shish-kabobs in a gas station that was close to me. I wanted to capture this whole life through words and images but it never came to fruition. I still had a passion to write and I often wrote prose about my life and also posts about fashion and décor. As I began to meet other bloggers I realized I wanted to find a niche. I always loved vintage and vintage fashion. Mad Men sparked my fervor but I also loved the elegance and glamour of Golden Hollywood and the feminine beauty that my grandmother Pauline (who passed away when I was a young girl) and my grandmother Grace had. They were always so feminine yet strong; so elegant. I love the fashion and décor of mid-century and started to hone in on that love and passion.
I didn’t realize blogging would often become a side job. I love it, but there are times when life gets busy and it’s hard to keep up. It’s also a lot of self promotion including photoshoots. I’m comfortable behind the camera but what took me a long time was explaining my blogging to people who weren’t bloggers. Many people saw it as modeling or a vanity project, but I see it as much more. I love having a creative outlet. I love writing and coming up with ideas for photoshoots. It’s like having my own magazine.
In my early twenties I did some modeling to help photographers I knew and trusted to build their portfolios and a couple paid local boutiques. Growing up, I was tall and lanky and as I grew hips and curves it seemed I was always too thin or too thick. Being told I looked anorexic hurt just as much as being told I gained weight. I still struggle with images where I look too thin or look too full figured. I try and put those thoughts away and realize I want to present a polished, vintage Instagram feed and blog but also an honest one. It’s easy to get sucked into social media and see girls with perfect bodies and home lives, but I also know that it’s a place where people show their joys and not the gritty, sad stuff. Being a blogger you have to make sure you guard yourself and don’t get swept away in the photoshopped glamour.
I also learned I don’t have to go to every blogger networking event. Many events were far from where I lived and were after work. One of the last events, I got lost in downtown Hartford and the parking lot closed by the time it let out. I learned it’s okay to say no to networking events.
I’ve monetized on my blog which was great, but it takes a lot of time and focus. When you have a busy full time job, Instagram and all that come with it can seem more of a pain than fun. The money I made was always great for those little things and always helped me but it was nothing substantial I could live off of. I would truly say to pick and chose the campaigns you work for and make sure you are getting compensated for all the work you put in. It does happen.
When it comes to relationships - I’ll be honest - it’s hard to find someone who’s 100 percent comfortable with my blogging and instagram. I love the vintage look, I like sexy in a classy, glamorous way but that can be hard in a relationship. I’ve always tried my best to explain my aesthetic and keep my analytics women-based. There are so many things you can do to block out the creeps and keep the focus on your niche which is really nice when you have a public persona.
Two amazing, creative young women who are in the vintage niche really inspired me and still do:
Nicole from Darling in Dots and Laura from Laura Jane Atelier. They both have such an amazing aesthetic - it’s like stepping into the 50’s or 60’s. They are incredible and would recommend any of my readers to follow them.
If you know me, I’m a note taker and list maker. I always, always made lists even growing up. I used to watch QVC and write down each item they sold. (Strange hobby for a child, but hey whatever! :) ) I love, love lists and here are my top ten favorite things!
Song: Into Deep by Genesis (I’m a sucker for sad 80’s love songs!)
Restaurant: There are sooo many but I love Donahue’s in Madison, CT.
Lipgloss: Maybelline Baby Lips in Cherry!
Vintage Shop: Vintathromodern
Golden Hollywood Actress: Carole Lombard
Golden Hollywood Actor: Paul Newman
Author: Francesca Lia Block
Accessories: Layered Necklaces and Scarves