Holiday Travels

Holiday Travels | Revamperate Holiday Travels | Revamperate Holiday Travels | Revamperate Holiday Travels | Revamperate
It’s hard to believe how quickly the year is winding down, and there’s still so much left to do this month. 

Andrew and I traveled up north for Thanksgiving, spending a couple nights with this family about an hour outside of Fresno. It was cold and we were, as expected, stuck in traffic the whole way home, but it’s always nice to get away for a few days, and he doesn’t get to see his mom very often. There’s nothing like traveling to remind you how comfortable your own bed is!

Before heading home, we drove out to a small town called Exeter where there are a bunch of beautiful murals that reflect the people of the town. We browsed through antique shops, and I wall crawled through the neighborhood, and we barely escaped in the car when it began to rain. 

Holiday Travels | Revamperate Holiday Travels | Revamperate Holiday Travels | Revamperate Holiday Travels | Revamperate Holiday Travels | Revamperate
Now that the weather has cooled significantly, I’ve never been happier to be snuggled up at home. While it absolutely kills my productivity, there’s nothing better than sipping hot coffee under a blanket on the couch with my Christmas tree lit up in the corner. Despite my overall dislike of the cold, this is still my favorite time of year and I’m soaking up every little bit of it while I can. 

Holiday Travels | Revamperate Holiday Travels | Revamperate
Andrew is almost finished with his third semester of law school, and I’m so proud of his accomplishments. The poor guy is stressed and exhausted but still manages to keep moving. Back off ladies, he’s mine! 😘

This past month has been busy in the most wonderful ways – we went to a beautiful wedding, spent the holiday with family, and I’ve been whipping tons of freelance work. Life is good, guys. I hope your holiday season is cozy and merry!

Holiday Travels | Revamperate

What’s New + Club Crafted

Holly Wade
Hey there! If you follow along here, you might have noticed that I haven’t been posting lately and there’s a reason for that. I kept it a secret for a while, but the cat has been out of the bag for months, so I think it’s time to talk about here on the blog where it all got started…

Several months ago I embarked on a new project. I had a few too many big ideas and when I finally came back to Earth, I decided it was time to start a new blog, Club Crafted. Amazingly, I started Revamperate in 2012 as just a school project but decided to stick with it and occasionally post the things that I was making anyway. I’d always loved following blogs, so it was a natural progression for me, and I loved sharing these things with others, even though I went into it with zero expectations. As time went on, I began putting more and more effort into this little blog Revamperate and saw it pay off, but it was A LOT of work for a 20-something with a full time job and I received little in return because I simply wasn’t treating it like a business. It was just me and a website with no real rhyme or reason. 

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At the beginning of 2016, I thought a lot about how I would improve this blog to the point that I could use it as a side income to support the projects I make. After a lot of ideas, it all funneled back to one decision – starting over. I decided to take what I learned from this wonderful project and make a brand new website from scratch (all by myself!) and create a brand identity to stick with. I wanted to treat my new blog as a business from the start, so I wrote a business plan, created new social media accounts and vowed to continue making the things I love but only posting them if I felt it was “on-brand.” 

Given that my background is marketing, this is actually what I really enjoy! I’ve been practicing photography the last few months and really focused on trying to be unique about what I share online. Despite being a complete introvert, I’ve ventured outside of my comfort zone on social media and begun communicating with other bloggers, trying to make connections and learn from people who love what I love. 

My lifestyle hasn’t allowed me to meet people who do what I do. I don’t know anyone who really understands branding and blogging like I have learned to, which means most people think I’m crazy for saying things like “it’s for my brand” or “no, that doesn’t fit with my brand.” The difference between Club Crafted and Revamperate is that here, I see it as a personal blog where I share things I make, whereas over there I see it as myself in the form of a brand. I put together the things that I love (cats, cakes, crafts and color) and made it look like an actual business, or at least that’s what I’m trying to do. 

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What happens to Revamperate?

I’m changing the way I use this website. Instead of simply abandoning it like I have over the last few months, I want to share other aspects of my life and use it as a platform to share my ideas about blogging, etc. I always saw Revamperate as a personal blog anyway, so now I plan to focus on that more and maybe even share goofy behind the scenes photos. Don’t expect any world-class photography over here, folks! 

Follow Along on my Next Adventure 

I’m really proud of what Club Crafted has accomplished over the last few months. After all, it’s extremely difficult to build something out of nothing. I hope you’ll follow along both at www.clubcrafted.com and on Instagram @clubcrafted! I can’t wait to keep sharing what I’m making with you! 

My Top 3 New Home Resolutions

My Top 3 New Home Resolutions | RevamperateHappy Monday, guys! This weekend was big for us. We got the keys to our new apartment and have about a week to fully move from our old place to our new one. Because of the move, I’ve taken a step back from the blog since I have a million other things to figure out (AHH). Nonetheless, I wanted to take a little time to share what this move has been like and share what my new home resolutions are.

Are new home resolutions a thing? If not, I guess I’m making them a thing.

This is only the second move I’ve ever made (lucky for me!) so I can’t exactly call myself an expert. I’ve only ever lived in two places my whole life, and our current apartment has held so many memories for me because it’s where I moved when I left my parents’ house during college and I’ve lived there for five years with three different people (one of which is my boyfriend and current “roommate”). As with any home, I have some things I can’t wait to get away from (e.i. our lack of dishwasher, loud neighbors and constant motorcycles) but it’s also really hard to leave the memories. I got an incredible deal for this apartment, and it’s very large and gated, something that I’ll be giving up with my new apartment. 

Change is tough. I’m sure everyone can agree with that, but it can also be super exciting! As scary as it is to start a new chapter in a new home, it’s also really exciting to have a fresh start. Like, even though packing can be a pain, it’s helping amp up my excitement for the move and keeping me from feeling too anxious. Plus, we’re getting a dishwasher! I can’t stress that enough! 

Anyway, we’re having to downsize a lot for our new apartment, so as a packrat, it’s been really hard to get rid of the knick-knacks I’ve acquired over the years. I’m making it happen though! You would be amazed how much I’ve managed to get rid of!

My Top 3 New Home Resolutions | RevamperateMy first apartment meant that I was going to make some mistakes (kind of like a first-time homeowner). Going into a new apartment with a fresh start, I made a few “new home resolutions” that I’m going to try my hardest to keep:

1. Decorate with Caution

The most fun part of a new place is the opportunity to decorate it all over again. I don’t even live there yet and I’m going crazy window shopping everywhere I go with a million decor ideas buzzing in my head. BUT I’m trying not to buy anything. With the last apartment, I learned not to make too many snap decisions because when I’m unhappy with them, I’m kind of stuck with them. For example, we made a quick decision on a paint color for our living area and ended up with paint that was WAY too dark, but at that point, there was no turning back and we’ve been stuck with paint we didn’t love for almost two years. So now I’m trying to decorate patiently and cautiously to make sure that investing in any decor pieces is worth it and it’s something that I (and Andrew) really love. 

2. Buy for Now, Not Next Year

As someone who crafts and bakes a lot, I tend to be guilty of overbuying supplies every time I go to Michaels or Target or pretty much anywhere. In general, my shopping philosophy is “it’s on sale, so I need it” and I’m trying to overcome this. We have a storage unit at the current apartment, and as I was cleaning it out, I found so many supplies I purchased on a whim that I didn’t end up using and had to throw away because of lack of space (usually seasonal things). It’s a waste of space and money. I’m spending a lot of time organizing the supplies that I’m keeping to ensure I don’t go overboard, so my resolution is to only buy what I need right now, not for a project I want to make two months from now. After all, I change my mind a lot, and I don’t want to end up with unused supplies taking up the little space that I have. 

3. Don’t Put Off Cleaning

When I moved into our current apartment, my then roommate had already been living there for a while. She was very cleanly and made sure my room and bathroom were clean prior to moving in, but coming in to an already lived-in place meant that it hadn’t been cleaned to death by a professional like when you move in to a brand new place. Over the years, no matter how hard I scrubbed the floors, they never looked clean and this has always driven me crazy. We found great cleaning solutions over the years, but even as I’m moving out and cleaning up, it just doesn’t feel clean enough. Any clean freaks understand what I mean? Our new apartment has been recently renovated, so I’m really excited to come into a new, super clean home with never-before-used appliances and freshly cleaned floors. I’m determined to keep them that way! My strategy is to clean as I go and not wait until it feels “too dirty.” As much as I hate cleaning the bathroom, I’d rather live in a place that feels ultra clean. 

Here’s to hoping that we love the new place, no matter how small it may be! I definitely don’t want to move again for a while!

The Struggle to Pursue Creativity

The Struggle to Pursue Creativity | RevamperateEver since I was a kid, my parents have told me how creative I am. I was very lucky to have that support. To this day, my parents still tell the story of the Thanksgiving I made myself a turkey costume out of paper as if it were my greatest achievement. They’ve always told me how impressed they were by the things I made. Most people don’t have that kind of creative support, but I did. 

This post has been a long time coming as I’ve been trying to find exactly what to say, but I think it’s time to share. I come from a family of creative people. My mom and sister can make just about anything, and each have their own style and their own specific talents. For my mom, that is sewing and cake pops. For my sister, that is cake decorating among many other talents. My dad is a talented woodworker. Creativity was always important to me, and it still is. The problem with creativity is that we generally grow up being told that being an “artist” is not a “real job.” I thought of my creative side as a hobby, not something I could do forever, because I always learned that being creative wasn’t a job. 

I was wrong. 

I grew up knowing that I wanted to go to college and be successful. To me, success meant getting my degree and becoming a businesswoman in a big office building. I changed my mind about what I wanted to be for years. First, I wanted to be a vet, then a teacher, then a movie director, a journalist and eventually I landed on public relations and marketing, hoping that it was versatile and would combine all of my interests. Ultimately, I just wanted to be successful in the only way I knew how. I jumped in and I’ve learned so much on the job that I never learned in school, and the experience of working in marketing for an IT company over the past almost-two years has taught me a lot about marketing my own blog and even marketing myself. 

Now I’m 24 years old and working in marketing like I wanted, but I’ve realized that I wanted more. 

Bloggers and businesswomen like Elsie and Emma of A Beautiful Mess, Kelly of Studio DIY, Ashley of Sugar & Cloth and Sam of Aww Sam have taught me that you don’t have to work in a big cubicle-lined office building to be a successful businesswoman. Over the past two years of running this blog, I’ve realized how much my dreams have changed. Watching the women behind such successful blogs play the roles of creative blogger and businesswoman have taught me that it is possible to make a living as an artist and be truly successful as a creator. These bloggers showed me the new age of businesswomen and are the reason I’ve treated Revamperate like my real job. Dress for the job you want, right? 

I feel like pursuing creativity is a constant struggle because the little voice in me wants to play it safe and the rest of me wants to do what I love and throw myself into it, but I’m too logical to make a snap decision like that. For as long as I can remember, I’ve played life safe. I save instead of spend and I make decisions based on what I think I “should do.” It’s worked for me so far. I’m very lucky that at my age I have a degree, a full time job and a cushy savings account, and it’s not easy to stray from my safe way of living.

I originally started Revamperate as a school project, and I kept with it because I thought it would be fun. I didn’t set out to create a business or anything. Over time, I realized that I was making stuff anyway, so why not publish it online and share it with others? As I began to post more and more often, I decided to do more research on blogging and make mine look more professional. Over time, Revamperate became so much more than a hobby for me – it became my passion and my side job. Well, it’s the side job I don’t get paid for, except for the rare occasions a great opportunity comes along. 

I titled this post “The Struggle to Pursue Creativity” because I spend a lot of time thinking about the blog and dreaming about what to do next instead of actually pursuing anything. What I really want is to be my own boss and start a real business sharing my ideas with anyone who will listen, and one day I want to be an author and a blogger and a business owner and make cupcakes all day, but it’s not easy to take that leap. Right now, I feel sort of stuck and it’s hard to move past it. 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life, it’s that nothing happens overnight. I think my dad’s favorite lesson is “practice, practice, practice.” I know he’s right, but man, it sucks. It takes a long time to get anywhere when you’re taking baby steps. 

What do you think? What are your goals? Do you ever have the same struggle to pursue creativity?

Top 10 Posts of 2015!

This has been a big year for the blog and for me. This year I had several major features and began taking on small catering and freelance gigs. Andrew started law school and my job changed dramatically. It’s been a year to remember. 

It makes me so happy to see how Revamperate has grown in 2015. Even month-to-month I can see the constant growth and I’m incredibly proud of myself when I take a step back and look at how many posts I put together over the course of just one year (over 180, if you’re wondering!). Because I put so much work into this website, it’s very rewarding to see that people appreciate what I’m doing. Next year, I’m just going to focus on my photography, honing my skills and putting the time (and money) into making Revamperate a blog that people will love. I want to keep making, baking and blogging, so here’s to hoping for a good year in 2016. Thanks so much to everyone for reading my blog and keeping me going!

Here are my top 10 posts of 2015!

DIY Clay Cactus Ring Holder | RevamperateM&M Surprise Inside Cupcakes | Revamperate

1. DIY Cactus Ring Holder

2. M&M Surprise-Inside Cupcakes

DIY Mango Sugar Scrub | RevamperateHomemade Circus Animal Cookies | Revamperate

3. DIY Mango Sugar Scrub

4. Homemade Circus Animal Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge | RevamperateChocolate Espresso Cupcakes | Revamperate

5. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

6. Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

Vegan Banana Shortbread | RevamperateDIY Knobbed Jewelry Hanger | Revamperate

7. Vegan Banana Shortbread with Chocolate Chips

8. Dresser Knob Jewelry Hanger 

Margarita Cupcakes | RevamperateDIY Dollar Store Pencil Cup | Revamperate

9. Margarita Cupcakes with Tequila Lime Frosting

10. Dollar Store Pencil Cup

Have a happy New Year!

Real Talk: Balancing Blogging and a Full Time Job

Balancing Blogging and a Full-Time Job | RevamperateIf you’ve spent any time reading my blog before today, you may have noticed that while I do try to blog consistently, I actually have a full-time job outside of Revamperate. For the past year or so, I have struggled with balancing blogging and full time job, and I assume that there are many other people out there struggling through the same thing. Once upon a time, I was working 10 hour days at work, plus sitting in traffic each way, and still struggling to make things and write about them after work. I was completely exhausted and questioned why I even bothered doing all of this work for a website that no one but my mom read. As my dad always says, “practice, practice, practice.”

I always say that Revamperate is the job I don’t get paid for but it’s the job I love, and that’s mostly true. Revamperate is continuously growing and I’m happy to have begun developing partnerships and displaying ads to help supplement the work I do behind the scenes. It makes it easier to justify all of the time that I dedicate to making my blog a website that people want to visit, but it’s still far from being a high paying gig. Luckily, I don’t care because I have another job to pay the bills. Today, I just wanted to take some time to share WHY I do what I do, but also HOW I do what I do in case you’re in the same boat. Also, I want to hear how YOU do it! Please share your blogging experience in the comments. 

Time is your friend and your enemy. 

Honestly, I can tell you that I dedicate at least 1-3 hours a day during the week and at least 5-6 hours on weekends to Revamperate, and that includes more than just projects and posts, like social media and answering emails. It’s time consuming, but I love it. Revamperate is a place for me to express myself and share the things I love with whoever might care, and when I started this blog as a hobby on WordPress.com with my iPhone camera and a barely-working hand mixer, I never thought that I would get to where I am now. 

My brain is always on, so I use my “wasted time,” like driving, showering or lunch breaks, thinking about what to do next. I try to make the most of out of the time in a day by taking advantage of those brief moments when I can’t do anything else, and sitting in traffic for 2+ hours a day is great place to start. It’s the perfect time to brainstorm. 

I plan my posts for Revamperate weeks in advance – I had my Halloween projects done three weeks ahead of time and I’m already thinking about Christmas. The days when I would plan, make, photograph and write a post all in one night after work were slowly killing me. I did it this way for months before I finally realized that stressing about those projects made them a lot less fun. That’s when I installed the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin that let me plan what I wanted to make and choose how to spread everything out. I’m a planner to my core, so this plugin saved my life a little, but especially my sanity. 

Learn to be a planner. 

If you don’t consider yourself the planning type, now is a good time to start. To minimize my mistakes, I usually plan and write out posts before I stop to actually make anything. Otherwise, I end up with a half finished project that I suddenly realize didn’t make any sense. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve done that, like the time I made this copper pipe magazine rack and glued all my pipes together before realizing I forgot to add the fabric that actually held the magazines. Oops. It happens more than you’d think. 

Then again, the whole point of being a DIY and baking blogger is to make mistakes so that your readers don’t have to, even if that means making things several times to get it right. I see what I do wrong and then tell you guys what you SHOULD do based on what I learned. 

Do yourself a favor and plan ahead whenever possible. Sometimes I do things on a whim just because I have a random idea and time to run with it, which was the case with these DIY tassel earrings and quite a few of my baking projects, but planning projects before you make them will help you save time and reduce the stress of projects that just don’t work out. I get really upset whenever I have to scrap something, but it happens.

Develop a routine. 

Just like you get ready in the morning or prepare for bed, a routine will keep you on track. After I began using my calendar plugin, it was easier for me to plan my 3-4 posts a week. Set a time to respond to emails, and schedule any other work (social media, research, etc.) that needs to be done for your blog. I tend to do a few projects or recipes over the course of a week, take photos each time and then wait until I have 2-3 projects saved up before editing them all in one batch. I find that easier, but everyone works differently, of course. 

Now I can look ahead at what I’ve planned two weeks from now and start gathering materials, writing the post and doing the project. I can spread things out over a few days to lessen stress and still finish with plenty of time before the post is actually scheduled. Plus, this leaves room for making mistakes if you need to plan a different project or replace materials. 

It gets easier. 

Time management is still time consuming, but after you’ve been blogging for a while, I’ve found that it does get easier. Now that I’ve learned to control my time better and developed a routine, I’m still a blogoholic but I feel significantly less stressed out. When I come home after a long day at work, it’s OK if I don’t have the energy to make something because I’m always 1-2 weeks ahead and I know that taking a day off won’t affect my schedule. I live by a certain mantra: your mental health will always be more important than work. While that may not be for everyone, I really value my mental health, which means making sure I always get enough sleep and take breaks when I need to.

Know your limits. Learn what works best for you and make time to do what you love, even if it means cutting back on your number of posts or the complexity of your projects. 

The moral of the story is it’s possible to be both a full-time employee and an avid blogger. One day, maybe they can even be one in the same (fingers crossed)! I’ve been doing it consistently for at least a year now, and it gets easier and easier as I learn my own style, develop a routine and learn to manage my time better. The bigger you get, the more time it takes up, but it’s all for the best if blogging is what you love. 

*Graphic created with Canva