Since the launch of Ivy and Sprig in February,  I’ve had a lot of questions from friends about how I started blogging, why I started blogging and what my goals are.

Ivy and Sprig is now three months old and I thought I would take a minute to thank YOU for all of your support, comments and shares.  Thank you for your input online and offline.  Your ideas, questions and blog requests have kept me busy learning and creating.

Here’s the backstory on Ivy and Sprig…But first a little video that sparked dreams of Journalism in my childhood,

 

I think I decided somewhere in high school journalism class that I wanted to go into broadcast journalism.  People would say to me “Oh so you want to be the next Jane Pauley or Barbara Walters” but the truth is I think I just wanted to be Mary Tyler Moore….who wouldn’t want to be this super cool chick when she grew up?!!  Independent, working in a newsroom, smiling while she threw her hat in the air and SHE WAS GOING TO MAKE IT AFTER ALL!

My University of Texas Broadcast Journalism degree led me into some of the most interesting twists and turns of jobs that could ever happen to a random girl from Texas but I didn’t end up in a news room.  Later, I became a full time mom working hard to raise upstanding citizens out of three people born to me with penises which is the equivalent of raising nine little girls that are just average.

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Blogging came to me by accident through my friend Jen who thought I needed something to do besides fuss at my kids  asked me to write a blog for a stationery company a few years ago.  I said, “What’s a blog?”  A blog is a Web Log or online log of some subject.  She coached me through it and I stumbled along for a year learning how to write the posts.  The company changed direction a year later to go wholesale so we left but I had loved the writing again.

Then, it happened.  One of my kids left for college.

There are two reactions to this …Phew, one down two to go and OUCH, I feel like someone just tore my heart out of my chest!  Finally, one day setting the table and returning the extra placemat that I kept pulling out for him for at least three months after he left, it hit me.  In a few more years there will be less placemats, more phews and more chest pain.  I can’t follow them to college with toast in my hand yelling “One more bite, baby, please, you need to eat your breakfast!”  I gotta get a plan.  I gotta help these poor women behind me figure out how to survive this madness and figure out who to lean on (God) and figure out how to find their own vision (His vision) for their life.  But first I had to find mine.

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So I worked on it.  I prayed about it.  I talked to my husband and to my friends about it.  I answered some questions on some website that I’d share but I can’t remember.  It was like “what do people tell you that you’re good at? What do you think you could do all day for a year?”  Kind of stupid stuff like that but it got me thinking.  I had to chase up a few entrepreneurial rabbit trails before I landed on it though.

On blogging, your questions answered:

1. How did you come up with the name Ivy and Sprig?  Well the original name for my nail salon pop up retail shop…..yes, that’s what I was originally going to do with all this extra time now that one child left for college….a pop up retail store inside nail salons (I know, right? some of you are thinking that’s crazy and others of you are thinking THAT’S TOTALLY BRILLIANT) it still is brilliant, just not for me.  So the name was going to be …… Pink Parasol.  I had the domain name and everything.  I nixed that after research (visiting like a thousand nail salons)  and deciding that the nail salon retail business wasn’t my strength and didn’t fit my lifestyle.  My family and friends who knew this all along were very patient while I came to that conclusion for myself.

People kept telling me to write.  They kept telling me to start another blog.

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The courage came so gradually that I couldn’t actually say it out loud for months.   But then I did.  Pink Parasol sounded like an old lady according to my good friend, Susanna and made no sense with the blog I wanted to create so I needed to dump that domain name and find another.  One day on a walk with her, I saw some Jasmine Ivy and said “How about Ivy and Sprig? Yes, that’s what I want to call it!”  She liked it.  I liked it and the name was born.  Ivy is meant to symbolize growth in our passions and interests.  Sprig is meant to depict Kids.

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2. Where do you get your ideas for your blog posts?  Good question.   My ideas come from my everyday life and problems I’m facing or have tackled.  For instance, What to Keep In the Fridge During Busy Sports Season and  Beautiful Laundry and the Grocery Store. I tried to determine who my audience is based on my own friends and what their needs were.  Often friends and readers give me ideas as well.  I keep them in my phone when they come to me or when someone gives me a suggestion.  Some never pan out and some do.  I try to think about what I would want to read on the fly and what my friends might like.  I keep notes on my wall and have a calendar for posts so that they fall into the different categories regularly.  I will always take your ideas so keep em coming!  You can leave any you have today in the Reply Box below.

3. Do you really post them at 6am in the morning?  Umm, no.  They have this really cool scheduling device so I can write them and schedule them for when I want them to post.

4. Why do you use the name Ivy?  It’s shorter than my real name which is Stephanie (9 letters) and because it’s kind of fun.

5.  Who’s your audience?  Who are you trying to reach?  I’m hoping to reach all those people who need ideas for quick ways to do everything from make dinner to getting out the door in the morning, advice on parenting, help with organization, time management, information about traveling with a family, tips to make their life more productive, encouragement in their faith, ideas on how to relax and play during the most demanding stages of life.  I’m hoping to reach the sleep deprived, rushed, busy, overloaded, overextended crowd of parents who need information fast that is helpful to what they are trying to do right now.  I”m hoping to find empty nesters and almost empty nesters who want help creating a new vision for their lives and moms who want to start living their passions by interviewing other woman who can be an example for them.

6.  What are your goals for Ivy and Sprig?  I want to make this the largest, most popular place for people growing in their passions to find inspiration for ways to make life easier and simpler, especially moms raising kids AND I want to build a community of readers who share ideas with each other.   By building a community of ideas, encouragement and support, we can help each other find ways to enhance our lives.

For example, my post called Get Your Summer On Helping Kids Make A Plan got great feedback comments from some readers.  My family ended up following up on one of those leads and now my 16-year-old is headed to Shanghai, China on a summer program with Go Putney!  Honey, now that’s what I’m talking about …community!

7. Do you make any money? No. Not currently.  Right now I’m just trying to write content that I think readers like, want and need.  There are ways to make money blogging which is to build such a big community that advertisers want to jump on your site.  I’m looking for a big community and I will welcome advertising that will not interfere with my content.  I also look forward to collaborations with cool woman entrepreneurs who can inspire my readers.  Are you one of those? Then you should reach out to me so we can have some CAWFEE TALK!

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8.  What can I expect to find here?  How should I start?  In the future, you can expect to meet great women who will inspire you.  You can expect tips to help you life run more smoothly and real encouragement from God’s word that will bring you substantial peace.  I plan to use great writing and carefully selected photos, videos, music, and interviews to help you find inspiration for your busy life.  The best way to start is to Subscribe to Ivy and Sprig.  I won’t flood your inbox but will drop something in it once or twice a week.  Like this one,  Music To Cook By Monday.

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9.  How do we build this community?  Share this post or another favorite post from the blog with your friends and Facebook friends.  People won’t know about it unless I get it out there.  Keep sharing posts that you like with your Facebook pals and friends.  This will increase the number of people who will subscribe, comment, and help Ivy and Sprig become the number one resource for encouragement and tips for busy people.  It’s truly a numbers game my friends, every time you share it, more people are added to the list of subscribers and ALL of them help grow Ivy and Sprig, help me reach my dreams and help me bring you the best information available. I’m working hard to bring great ideas and to share my life with you, if you like it, pass it on.

WE”RE GOING TO MAKE IT AFTER ALL!!  Thank you for listening and for sharing this post with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.  I’m truly grateful for all of your support.  This blog is dedicated to Eileen Lonergan of EileenLonergan.com, Jennifer Espey, Mark, Mom, Dad, Monroe, Marie, Susanna, Beth, Joan, The LONDON GIRLS, my kids who let me even write about their diapers blowouts, and the many friends who have encouraged me to write.

What would you like me to blog about?  Leave it in the Reply box below!

Best,

Ivy

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