Get to Know Our Speakers: Nat and Holly from My Sister's Suitcase

My Sister's Suitcase
Hey guys! We're Nat and Holly, from My Sister's Suitcase. We are super excited to be a part of the Build Your Blog Conference and can't wait to talk to you about what we have learned in our first year of blogging. We're not experts by any means, but we want to share what we've learned along the way in hopes that it will help other new bloggers out there.

As we have looked back on the past year, we've realized a few things... 1. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into :) 2. It has been an AMAZING experience 3. It is a lot of WORK. Being a creative blogger is HARD. But it's worth it.  And despite all of the things we'd like to improve, we LOVE our blog! We feel like proud mamas....

Speaking of mamas, we're guessing every mom reading this post has heard of {or owns a copy} of this book:

It pretty much answers every question you'll have as a new parent. Don't you wish they had a guide like this for brand new bloggers?? Today we are going to give you a little sneak peek of our class and share a few things we wish we had known when we started out on this adventure.

1. The first year is HARD!  One of our favorite bloggers once told us that we would have to work really hard the first 1-2 years without much in return... but that if we just stick with it, it would be worth it. We have truly put our hearts and souls into our blog, and tried not to expect anything in return. We create because we love it, and we share what we create it because it makes us happy. That still doesn't mean it is easy!  Everyone has different goals for their own blog, but in order to achieve any goal, you have to WORK for it.

2. Just like new moms, as new bloggers we were SLEEP DEPRIVED!!  Haha, you know you can relate! {As full-time mamas during the day, we try to do most of our photo editing, posting, and social media at night.} At first we struggled to find a balance between our blog, our families, and taking care of ourselves, but we've learned a few things along the way that have really helped. {Come to our class to find out!}

3. Don't compare your "baby" to anyone else's.  It's hard not to look around at the other blogs we read and start comparing ourselves {and let's face it, it is really easy to feel inadequate!} But we can't get caught up in that! Celebrate what makes your blog unique. Do what works for YOU. Be grateful for each new experience as it comes, and try to be content with where you are TODAY. Trust the journey, and enjoy each step along the way.

4. Find your support group.  One of the most challenging things about being a new blogger is trying to go through it alone. So don't do it! Reach out to others in the blogging community and be supportive. Leave genuine comments, thank your party hostesses, promote other bloggers in social media, build meaningful relationships. We promise you will find some of your very best friends! And as you create these friendships, opportunities will come that will benefit your blog too.

5. Get outside your comfort zone! {And we're not talking about getting out of your PJs and slippers, but actually getting dressed.} You have to be willing to put yourself out there and get noticed! We will share some of the things we have done that have resulted in some awesome opportunities for us.

We hope you guys will join us as we share what has helped our blog to grow over the past year. We're keepin' it real! We'll tell you the good, the bad and the ugly of what we've gone through, in hopes that you can make your blog a little better, and enjoy it a little more :)

{Oh, and there may just be a freakin' hilarious video involved that you won't want to miss!}  See you next month!!

We asked Nat and Holly some question so we could get to know them:

1. Why did you start your blog?
Well, I pretty much talked Nat into it, haha! We followed several blogs that we loved, and kept talking to each other about all the projects we were working on and kept thinking... hey, we could do that! I had recently moved to Idaho and missed seeing My Sis all the time! This was a perfect way for us to have something we could do together, long distance. {And we love having an excuse to travel and meet up at blog events for some kid-free sister time!!}

2. How long have you been blogging?
Just over a year... our first blog post was in September of 2011, but we really didn't get things going until January of 2012.

3. Who is your inspiration?
Nat, my sis! I wish I had the design talent she has. Someday I'll hire her to decorate my space. (When I can afford her...

4. Hobbies other than blogging?
IS there anything else? Nat: I like to cook if someone else buys all the groceries and does all the cleanup :) I love reading children's books and want to write a preschool curriculum someday.  Holly: I love to design and bring an unexpected element to the spaces in our home. I'm pretty thrifty {though I'm sure my husband would disagree!} I get a thrill from finding something really cheap or old, and making it into something beautiful. One of my favorite things to do is sing with Nat.

5. What is one thing you wish you had know when you started your blog?  
That you don't HAVE to do it the way everyone else does. Posting once a week is not the end of the world and family comes first.

6. Who is your celebrity crush? 
Nat: None other than cutie-pa-tootie Zac Efron! Have you seen The Lucky One? Ahh!
Holly: I have to say Jon Hamm. I'm a sucker for an advertising executive in a suit :)