Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blogging and Beyond- with Centsational Girl

I've got another fantastic Blogging and Beyond interview for you today! From time to time, I like to share a little behind-the-scenes glimpse into the lives of some of my favorite bloggers. It's been really fun to learn about blogging and time management from them!

Today's featured blogger is Kate from Centsational Girl.

I stumbled across Kate's blog not too long after she started it and was instantly impressed by the way she blended beautifully photographed DIY and decor posts with travel, recipes, holiday tips, crafts, and style. She manages to tie it all together with a sophisticated eye and a great sense of humor.

One of the things I admire about Kate is that while her home looks like it took a million bucks to decorate, she doesn't shy away from thrift shops or a great DIY project. She tackles some truly amazing makeovers on her blog, and she's always willing to share them with readers, offering step by step tutorials so that we can follow along at home!

And without being too sappy, I have to tell you all that I am daily grateful that I have a chance to work with one of the most talented bloggers out there as a Contributing Writer. Kate is as generous, friendly, and fun to work for as she seems on her blog. I am hoping to have the opportunity to meet her in person next summer when I attend the Haven Conference in Atlanta.

Here's what I learned about Kate in our Q and A session!

1. Why did you start a blog, and what makes you stick with it?

I started in early 2009 as a way to document the continuing process of finishing our home remodel, and also as a creative outlet. I've always loved decorating, design, home improvement, and DIY projects. I never dreamed the site would turn into a business, but it has, and I've even closed my small law practice to keep up with it.

2. What's one piece of advice you wish someone had given you before you started blogging?

Be prepared for how all consuming it can be if you're not careful. Reading blogs can be addicting, but writing one can completely take over your life. Between actually doing the projects, photographing them, writing about them, and keeping up with social media, it's a seven day a week "job". I've been much smarter in the past year pacing myself, and even pulling back from too much time spent online. It's important to not let your blog consume your life.

3. The most difficult project you've completed?

Expanding our home five years ago was especially difficult because my husband and I acted as general contractors and managed the entire project, and we had a toddler and newborn at the time. Those were crazy times and we almost lost our sanity. The most challenging project I've blogged about is my staircase, that took many hours to strip and stain, and then install hardwood steps, prime, paint and stain those too.

4. What does your day-to-day "uniform" look like?

I dress for comfort! At home: paint splattered yoga pants and a comfy tank. Out and about: comfortable dark denim capris in summer, jeans in winter, with a v neck tee or sweater. Sketchers or flip flip flops, mostly likely paint splattered as well.

5. Favorite meal to make?

Anything grilled outside, from chicken to fish to steak. We live in our new cabana these days, it's where we relax with family and friends and cook up some great grub!

6. Do you enjoy entertaining? Any advice for young families wanting to entertain on a budget?

I enjoy casual entertaining in the summer and throwing a Christmas party every December. My advice for anyone who entertains is to keep it casual and simple. No need to bend over backwards for your friends, and it helps to ask them to bring something. Laugh and enjoy each other's company, that's what people remember most.

7. When you have a chance to meet up with girlfriends, what do you like to do?

Dine downtown with a great glass of wine and some appetizers, catching up on each other's lives. It's important to take time to hang with your gal pals, they're such a source of strength, inspiration, and humor most of all!

8. Do you have a favorite room in your house? One you'll never show to readers?

Well the one I never show readers is my garage, it's often a disaster with tools and paint projects everywhere. My favorite rooms in my house are my kitchen and my living room, they're both light and bright and make me feel relaxed when I'm in the spaces.

9. Where do you think your love of DIY projects comes from?

I used to see creativity as something of a luxury, and prioritized my law career first. When I started crafting, sewing, constructing, and decorating, it was the one thing I could do to relax and enjoy myself, and also create something with my vision and my own two hands. It became so satisfying, I kept doing it more and more, so I started blogging about it, and now I make a living at it! I consider myself one of the lucky ones.

10. Favorite guilty pleasure?

Chocolate ice cream, a second glass of red wine, and a chick flick movie I've been waiting to see. Do not disturb!

11. How do you balance blogging with your personal life?

Ack, how is that even possible to achieve perfect balance? It's impossible to have perfect balance all the time, it ebbs and flows from times of chaos and clutter to more peaceful moments when everything flows smoothly. I think what's more important is your attitude in those more difficult unbalanced moments when everything is crashing around you. I try (but don't always succeed!) to be graceful under pressure. Life's too short to stress about perfection or dust bunnies.

Thank you so much, Kate, for taking time out of your schedule to share your thoughts with us.

If you don't already read Centsational Girl, consider making it a daily read. You won't be disappointed!

I hope you'll come back tomorrow to link up YOUR best post of the week to Weekend Bloggy Reading. Recipes, crafts, home decor, book reviews, funny stories, you name it. Come prepared to showcase your blog and find some great weekend reads.
Weekend Bloggy Reading


  1. Kate says she tries to be graceful under pressure. I'd say she succeeds in ALWAYS being graceful! She is so kind. She's the real deal, in my opinion--her blog is awesome, but it's not just for show. She writes about her real home and real life, and that genuine spirit shines through. I was thrilled to meet her at Blissdom. I saw her across the room and thought, "Oh, there's Centsational Girl Kate!" She walked across the room and said, "Hi, Richella!" I was stunned that she recognized me, but that's who she is--she cares about people. I wasn't just a reader and fellow blogger to her; I was a real person. And that's how she treated everyone. I think perhaps that's why you have such a deep connection with her, even though you've not yet gotten to meet her in person--you're both real, genuine people who care about others. Deep calls to deep.

    This series is so much fun!

  2. Kate is one of my very favorite bloggers too :) She's such an inspiration. Thanks for sharing. And she's so right about blogging being all consuming and a 7 day a week job! That is one thing I definitely didn't realize before starting my blog!

  3. Her uniform sounds just like paints at home and jeans when I'm out:) And I totally agree that life is too short to stress about dust bunnies and my house proves it!

  4. Great interview Amanda! I love Kate and her blog. Definitely one of my favs. Nice to her take on it all. Blogging can be soo consuming. I try to balance it as best as I can, but I know there's days when I'm on the computer waaaayyy more than I should be. : )

    ~ Catie

  5. Great interview! Kate's blog was one I stumbled upon early on. She is such a genuine person. I love her sense of style. And, so glad you mentioned Haven. I live in Atlanta, and had not heard about it.

  6. Thanks so much for featuring Kate. Her blog is partly what got me started getting crafty in the first place and out of the 'mommy rut.' I always look forward to seeing what she's done for her next blog post because it's always full of information and humor. I hope to meet her (and you!) at the Haven Conference as well!! Great interview Amanda :)

  7. What a fun interview. I've been following Kate since we started our home buying process (I needed validation that I too could make a house work on a small budget) and she is one of my favorite bloggers out there.

  8. I love Kate's blog as well!! I'm also excited to meet her and YOU at Haven in June :)

    Love this series. Great insight into some of the fabulous bloggers out there!

  9. I really enjoyed this interview. I used to follow Kate a long time ago and them my computer got wiped out. I will have to check out her blog again. It's so interesting to hear how she handles it all. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Great interview Amanda! I love Kate's blog. I started reading her blog about this time last year, along with yours. I'm so excited about Haven and the chance to meet you, Kate, and all the other bloggers I read daily!

  11. Kate's blog is one of my favorites. She has great taste and I'll have to say that I've liked every single project that she's posted.

  12. Wonderful interview!! I admire Kate so much for both her style and how kind and down to earth she seems. I am amazed at the amount of projects that she gets done and every single one is beautiful!!

    I loved hearing her advice about not letting blogging take over your life. It's a lesson that I am still learning.

    Thanks for letting us learn more about her!!


  13. Loved hearing Kate's answers to your questions--she's one of my favorite bloggers and I'm in total awe of everything she does. Fun interview, Amanda! :)

  14. I love Kate's blog. Have been following her for awhile now. I love the projects she comes up...some I would never have thought of to do. Love the inspiration she well as you Amanda!!! ;) Thanks for sharing! Have a great day.

  15. Great interview! Have you mentioned how you and Kate got together in blog land? I like hearing how bloggers connect with each other!

  16. Thanks so much everyone and to Amanda for having me! To answer your question Beth, Amanda was a frequent commenter on my site, and we struck up a conversation via email about something (can't remember what, can you Amanda?) and we've been online friends ever since!


  17. Loved reading these questions and answers from 2 of my favorite bloggers! I've met Kate in person and she is as absolutely warm and delightful as you think she is from reading her blog. Can't wait to meet you for reals! Amanda :)


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