Guest Blog Entry #28, Entry #314, October 28, 2010
I’m always intrigued by other successful, career mom’s who blog and have a full time business. While I do it myself everyday, to see it in someone else is inspiring that this thing we call ‘passion’ is all worth it!
Today I welcome Jennae Petersen from Green Your Decor – a ‘Guide to Stylish, Sustainable Decorating’. I interviewed Jennae and asked her how Green Your Decor started and how she juggles it all!
STAGETECTURE: What need did you want to fill by starting your blog/design service?
GREEN YOUR DECOR:
Green Your Decor is the manifestation of my love for decorating and my curiosity about green living. This will sound like a cliche, but the idea came to me in a dream. At the time, I was also more than a little obsessed with decorating (I blame it on hours of watching HGTV), and I also was curious about sustainability, but didn’t know a whole lot about it. I started investigating, and the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. It was only natural for me to combine my two passions.
I also started looking for greener products for my own projects. They weren’t easy to find, and I figured there must be other people who had the same problem. My goal with the site is to prove that green design doesn’t have to be boring, or frumpy, or even expensive. With a little creativity and a lot of consciousness, we can make our homes — and by extension, our lives — more sustainable. Rather than telling my readers what to do, I show my them what I’m doing — which makes it easier for them to believe they can do the same.
STAGETECTURE: You’re also a graphic designer – How do you manage the two together?
GREEN YOUR DECOR:
Graphic design is my bread and butter, and it absolutely made the startup and maintenance parts of running the website a lot easier
for me. But managing two blogs (I also run a second site, Green & Gorgeous) is pretty much a full time job, so it’s never easy to split time between the two. It helps that I’m just as passionate about graphic design as I am about writing. Design projects rarely feel like “work” for me. I also tend to get very focused when I’m doing design, so I’ll sit for hours and knock out a project with no distractions.
It’s harder to maintain this kind of focus with the blog, particularly because social media is such a huge part of my online presence. It can be tempting to hop on Twitter and Facebook. I sometimes write blog posts in batches so I can schedule publishing a few days out, thereby freeing up my time during the week to work on graphic design projects. I also had to let go a little and realize that I’m not superwoman. When I started the blog 2 years ago, I pushed myself to post every day, and sometimes 2-3 times a day, even on weekends. I wanted to build my archives and get people coming to the site, but I also had a WHOLE lot to say. However, that kind of posting schedule burned me out eventually. First, I quit posting on the weekends, preferring to spend that time with my family. Later, I decided that none would die if I didn’t post every single weekday. Now that I don’t force myself, it’s also a lot easier to get motivated to write, and that leads to better quality posts.
STAGETECTURE: What are your suggestions for Stagetecture readers that want to make their home and lifestyle more eco-friendly/green?
GREEN YOUR DECOR:
There are many different levels of green. However, I would venture to say that the greenest person is the one who spends nothing at all, but finds a way to repurpose and reuse what he or she already has. This includes everything from furniture to clothing and everything in between. Looking at old items in a new way and reducing our consumption is the first step to having a greener lifestyle. Once we realize that over consumption is at the root of many of the problems related to sustainability, it creates a shift in perspective that’s hard to turn back from.
I would also recommend that when buying goods for consumption (like food, soap, cleaning products, etc.) and new products (like textiles and toys), support companies that take sustainability seriously and who build that into their products. Learn what is in those products, where they came from and how they were made.
STAGETECTURE: Like you, I’m a mom, blogger, and career woman. What suggestions do you have for those who are trying to juggle so many balls?
GREEN YOUR DECOR:
Whew! I need some advice on that myself 🙂 Seriously though, it’s all about balance. I know that’s what everyone says, but it’s the truth. Only you can decide the order of importance for the things you have to tackle on a daily basis. For me, my family is my priority. Of course, working puts food on the table and a roof over our heads, so I often have to make myself stop working to get in some quality time. Working for yourself and working from homes makes it really easy to let work and home life run together, particularly when you’re passionate about what you do. You just have to set boundaries that work for you. I now refuse to work on the weekends unless it’s a dire (read: life-threatening, or close) emergency. I try to get as much work as possible done while my daughter is in school so we can spend time together afterward. This doesn’t always work, but it’s a goal I always strive toward. It’ll take time to find a routine that works, but set small goals for managing your time and congratulate yourself every time you achieve one.
STAGETECTURE: What are some of your favorite items that Green Your Decor features?
GREEN YOUR DECOR:
There are SO many favorites! In general though, I LOVE products that are made by independent artisans. I spend a lot of time at Etsy.com looking at furniture, soft furnishings like pillows and textiles, and home accessories. I love products that have a story, such as products made from reclaimed wood or upcycled materials, particularly when those materials come from every day items that most of us don’t have the ingenuity to reuse. I’m always on the lookout for new, innovative products and projects that I think my readers will love too. I’ve honed my eye for design over time, so I have a bit of a knack for finding quality pieces that will stand out in any home.
Jennae Petersen is a green living expert, though she’s far from perfect. She is a mother, a graphic artist, a connoisseur of beautiful interiors and a purveyor of all things design. She believes it is her duty to strive toward sustainable living. This means being more conscious about every aspect of life. She is the founder and author of the Green Your Decor and Green & Gorgeous blogs. She also runs Hibiscus Creative, a successful, full-service graphic design firm specializing in branding and Thesis theme customizations, and is the Art Director of and Designer of organic t-shirt company Guillotine Co.
For more green living ideas on Stagetecture, click here.