Sister Style: Sparkle and Shine

Elsie Larson Hey, there! I’m not going to lie—I’ve been sitting here for 20 minutes starting and deleting opening lines. Haha! Blogging is weird like that. Some days you can just shoot the breeze and talk about the first thing that comes to your mind, and other days there’s the overthinking.

I’m trying not to overthink so much anymore.

There are so many different ways you can blog. And, truly, I think there is no right or wrong. This past week I was catching up on some of my favorite blogs (a long list), and I noticed that there are so many extremes these days. The extremely styled blogs where you never see a photo that’s not taken on a paper backdrop. Studios, big teams, fashion bloggers who fly to Paris to take outfit photos for a week’s worth of content. It’s mesmerizing to me! And I mean that sincerely. Each year I am continually blown away by how much blogging grows as an industry. Just when I think it’s hit a peak… never!

And on the flip side, I still read blogs where it’s one random cell phone photo and a ramble-style update about somebody’s week. Kind of a rare bird these days, but I still follow a few blogs like that, and it almost feels like a time capsule to me since that’s how my own blog started all those years ago. And I see a special-something there that’s sometimes missing in the blog world. I guess it’s a lack of polish or a lack of filter.

In my own brain, I am always trying to find a balance between both because I really see the beauty of both approaches. And if I had to classify our level of production, I think it definitely does fall safely in the middle. And, now that I think of it, I feel pretty OK with that!

Emma, I’m curious to hear how you think food blogs have changed since you started reading (what, like, 8-10 years ago??).

Elsie LarsonElsie Larson Elsie Larson Elsie Larson Elsie’s Wearing: Plaid Top/Similar, Tie Waist Skirt/ASOS, Necklace/Madewell, Clogs/Swedish Hasbeens

Shift dress and flat sandals Glitter purse and shirt dressOmbre hairI’ve always read lots of different kinds of blogs, but I must admit that food blogs have probably always been my favorite. Not that you have to pick a favorite! I just think they are the ones I started using the most out of the gate, as I’ve always been interested in cooking. And I love to read blogs to catch up on what so and so is doing, but for me, I tend to gravitate toward things that I find useful, like an online resource. And I think in that way blogs haven’t changed all that much. There’s still tons of talented people sharing information or inspiration from their kitchen, their home, the crafting tables, their outfits, and their lives. And I love it, just as I always have.

But back when I first started reading blogs, there wasn’t Instagram, IG stories, or snapchat. And I love that these are available now! I love sharing random things and “behind the scenes” type stuff. Like just last week I shared two pie recipe attempts (it’s still not there—but I’m still testing) on my IG stories and that was fun but not something I would have taken the time to photograph for our site, because again, it’s not really useful. So, yeah, LOVE all the options we have available. Although I must admit, most days I forget to share anything. Ha!

Glitter purse and shoes Shirt dressEmma’s Wearing: Dress, shoes/ASOS (similar here, here, and  here.), and Purse/ASOS (similar here.) (Can you tell I love ASOS?), and Necklace/F21

What do you all think? Have the blogs you loved changed over the years? Do you love following along online and via social media? Do you love sharing or are you are lurker? 🙂 xo. Emma + Elsie

Credits // Author: Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman, Photography: Janae Hardy and Amber Ulmer. 

  • Okay, hi. First time to your blog and I am already a fan!! It’s beautiful and yet so real. I had to laugh at your opening paragraph b/c I have done that so many times!!!! Some posts just seem to start effortlessly and others take a while. I’ve also been blogging for 10 years and the evolution is crazytown. I love where it’s going though. So many exciting things on the horizon. Anyway. Nice to “meet” you guys! 🙂

  • I find quite a few blogs really intimidating now compared to when I started reading blogs on a regular basis 6-7 years ago. The photos are perfectly styled and they all look professionally done. Nothing seems real-life to me. Life is messy and these photos are anything but messy. They are beautiful though, which is nice, but as someone who has a website and a blog, I don’t post that often because my pictures are not as good as this new breed of blogger. People miss my old blog where I shared the good, the bad and the ugly but I don’t feel good about posting those types of photos anymore. I think the pressure for perfection has become very intense.

  • I am both a daily reader and avid fan of ‘A Beautiful Mess’. However, I do find myself missing/longing for the random life updates you mentioned.

  • I loved this! I couldn’t agree more that there are so many different ways to blog. It’s as unique as we are individuals and it’s nice to hear from someone with a successful blog that you appreciate that and still follow so many other bloggers! I can’t help but be nosey and want to know which ones you read/recommend, lol. Loved the styling ladies, beautiful as usual!

  • You girls are my example of successful bloggers, I love your DIY projects! When I grow up I want to be like you 😀 I have a blog too, I was inspired by yours, I started mine 2 years ago. Here is one of my favourite posts I hope you have time to check it out 🙂 Have a great day! You are awesome!

  • I feel like there’s a time and place for all of it. Sometimes, I just want to see pretty photos our outfit inspiration. Other times, I really want to find a meal or a craft I can realistically do. And still more, I am really fascinated by people’s lives and love seeing all the behind the scenes. I think those “cell phone pics with a ramble-style update” can be great – they’re a much needed break from the curated and filtered world of the internet (esp. Instagram) these days! But I think that’s why you guys have grown such a following – you provide useful, doable information, dress cute and take pretty photos, but you also stay down to earth and RELATABLE. For me, that’s the key. I’ve had a blog for years and years (that started as a journal just like yours) but am really starting to invest in it – creating better content and growing an audience. I love how Joy Cole put it above – it’s like running your own magazine and publishing whatever you want in it. Dream life, y’all. <3

  • Lovely post. I’m new to this blogging lark and trying to to find the right balance. Very helpful. p.s lovely the clogs. 🙂

  • The first time i read a blog,it was yours. Still in love after all this years and you are a part of my daily routine now. I tried some more,most of them i found through your page. But it was too much for me, seeing all this perfect photos of daily life, meals, hollidays ect.. I started to feel like my life was crap, boring and not interesting. It really put me down. It put a lot of pressure on me,i felt like every aspect of my life had to be worth photographing. I felt guilty posting a normal,no filters, no super-cute-wall-backdrop photo on IG. Then i realise i was stupid, and that all those photos mean nothing cause you NEVER know what is the truth behind all these. So i stopped reading blogs, except yours and one about what’s going on in my city. I wonder if anyone else feel pressure from blogs or IG or any other social media or if it just me!

  • Super interesting post. I’d love to know some of your guys’ favourite blogs. I find there is so much out there that it’s hard to wade through to find blogs that I love as much as A Beautiful Mess. I appreciate your blogs consistent content, I find sometimes that I fall in love with a blog and they post so sporadically they fall completely off my radar. I’ve just started my own blog after years of wanting to (and finally finishing the abm blog course – holla!) and I find myself falling into the same loop of not posting consistently. It’s all a learning process. Trying to find the balance between authenticity and ‘branding’ and just having some fun. Thanks for all you do! xx

  • This was an interesting read. I like blogging because it feels like running my own little magazine that I get to publish whatever I want in.

  • Interesting thoughts. I began a blog several years ago to rescue myself from mummy brain and absolutely loved it, loved the processing, loved the chance for verbosity, loved the connections with other bloggers. For about two years now I’ve solely been on IG, but lately I’ve been finding it increasingly dull! I don’t think this is because I need to ramp up my interaction but simply because there is too much information given sloppily. Actually I don’t need to know more, but less! I need to make less, do less, speak less, photograph less and consume less. So, personally, in a blog I appreciate depth which just isn’t there on IG or other platforms. I’m being drawn back to blogs and away from FB & IG which emphasize quantity over quality. I want to see depth of thought and intent rather than consumerist themes. I hope blogging stays well and truly alive through media upheavals (love the free access to recipes and love the honesty and effort of many independent bloggers!) But I don’t like when blogs and bloggers sell out to make a buck and content losses its innovative qualities or honesty and liveliness.

  • Elsie, you’re so pretty on the second pic ! You look like a little girl !

    Your blog grows but doesn’t change and it’s what i like. I’m French so i didn’t read your texts each time. But i love coming here to see your beautiful pics, even after years ! I saw blogs i like becoming famous and the content becomes very commercial and i stopped reading. Maybe it’s hard to find a balance. I think you found !

  • Perfectly said Elsie, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve got my list of blogs I check out everyday and I love that they have always stayed pretty consistent with their content and style. ABM is probably the blog I’ve stayed with the longest, I started reading back in 2008! I love that your blog has always been a place for creativity and all around lifestyle, it has always fueled me for any kind of inspiration I searched for. Thank you!!!


  • I feel like blogging is such a free thing to do. We can literally say anything we want in our blog, it’s our little space. And I think blogs that are very professional are just as amazing as the ones that aren’t as professional because of that freedom. I follow so many blogs and sometimes I get a bit sad when I see blogs that are extremely professional while mine isn’t like that, at all. But I’ve learned to love my current situation and I’m still learning and getting better every day so maybe one day I’ll be at a point where I’m completely happy with my blog, or maybe not (damn you perfectionist trait haha)

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