For 731 days, we’ve been Houston bloggers.
We’ve composed post after post of our best brunches; we’ve drafted after being drenched in sweat; we’ve told the tales of our travels; advised on Houston dating spots; boasted beauty tips; and fawned over food — ALL THE FOOD!
After all those days of getting to call ourselves bloggers and eating/drinking/exploring/writing about Houston (and the world!), we have a lot of thoughts. And now that we are being super nostalgic, we’re going to do what we do best: Blog them out.
Thoughts from Anastasia…
Blogging is such an amazing creative outlet. In my full time job, I’m surrounded by rough and guff drilling engineers, chemical plant workers, and type A consultants. It’s Not Hou It’s Me has opened a door into a world filled with artists, entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, fashionistas, girl bosses, and more.
One of the most satisfying moments of being a blogger is when someone messages me to say that one of my blog posts turned up on their google search or that their coworker was talking about this awesome Houston blog and it happened to be mine! I also love receiving emails from readers who have just moved to the city and have found comfort in discovering how vibrant and cultured Houston is as a city to live.
As a blogger, you get an ish ton of emails. This can be both fun (emails from readers) and simultaneously annoying (unapplicable press releases and SEO spam). Probably my biggest pet peeve about blogging is when I receive an email from a PR firm that hasn’t taken the time to personalize their pitch. I assume this is probably how recruiters feel when they’re going through hundreds of job applications. I definitely pay most attention to the news blasts that a) spell my name correctly (happens less often than you think) and b) pitches a product or event that’s actually relevant to the blog. Spoiler: we’re not in the wedding, children, or plastic surgery business. And no, we’re not just going to advertise your product for free.
It’s interesting to reflect on how this blog has transformed over the years from a simple creative outlet with homemade business cards into a mini-business with a revenue stream. Operating as a blogging duo has definitely brought along it’s own set of successes and challenges. Teamwork and patience has never been so important, as well as maintaining constant communication to develop a brand and seamless voice–which is certainly difficult as I’ve been traveling for work for the past 6 months.
With all the groundwork that we’ve done and the lessons that we’ve learned, I do foresee It’s Not Hou It’s Me continuing to grow. Right now, it’s especially exciting to see our Travel There section blossom. And as we move into year three, one thing that will definitely continue the stay the same is the way I write. I’m sometimes sassy, occasionally funny, and always honest about what my experiences can bring to readers. And while my hometown will remain a solid theme in my future posts, it’s not always about HOU…it’s sometimes about ME. 😉
Thoughts from Natalie…
When we started It’s Not Hou, I had recently returned from New York and was a post-grad wreck: No job, no money and a lot of frustration building up. I was freelance blogging, interning and applying for a lot of jobs. But I wasn’t doing anything that I really wanted to do. So, I talked my best friend into doing it with me. Blogging.
I’m not sure how much research we actually did. Anastasia, being the business consultant, looked into whether there was a market need for the blog we wanted to do, and what would the competition like out there. We found a few Houston bloggers, but realized what we were going to do was pretty niche. We launched, and then really learned how wrong we were. Ha! There are TONS of Houston bloggers just like us, or a little different but still blogging about their life in Houston. While I really hate being wrong, I absolutely LOVED meeting and learning about the other Houston bloggers. What we got was an incredible community that created more collaborative and beneficial relationships than any amount of competition.
As a journalist, that was new to me. And as a journalist, sometimes my blogger world and my journalist world collide. It’s not always something I’m super comfortable with. As a business editor, I try to be professional, decisive and true to the mission at HBJ; but, as a blogger, I prioritize a “Yes man” approach and bubbly persona. The thought that I had to be two different Natalies was not at all sustainable. I melded the two together, and now I just get to be me!
Looking back on our two years, I think of all the good times, and all of the bad times too. I regret absolutely nothing about this blog, but some days it really feels like work — and it is! I consider this my second job (and somedays, it’s more highly prioritized than my first). But, I’ve learned so much about myself in the challenges Anastasia and I face together, and at the end of the day, we have a kick ass blog to show for it.
To many, many more posts, gifs and years being a blogger.
When we started, we didn’t didn’t know what to expect in terms of readers and followers. But now they (you!) are one of our favorite things about the blog. Yeah, we get to write what we want or whatever, but knowing that our readers (you!) love it, makes us take it an extra step further.