Blogger Spotlight | Natasha of Hello Happiness

I'm so excited to be back for another edition of our Blogger Spotlight series.  Today, I am interviewing Natasha of Hello Happiness Blog and couldn't be more excited to have her!  She is a beautiful lady that juggles a lot of different roles and always seems to manage it with grace.   I was introduced to her blog through the Five on Friday link-up several years ago and owe that link-up lots of credit for introducing me to many fabulous bloggers.

I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did :)

1) This month marks 8 years of blogging for you. Can you believe that? What made you start Hello Happiness?

As they say, time flies when you’re having fun! It’s been a whirlwind to see my blog grow and transform and change as I have matured and gotten older and priorities have shifted in life… what started as an online scrapbook of sorts has truly followed me through the most significant milestones in my life [thus far] and I am thankful that so many readers still follow along.

I have always loved to write… whether it was a college journalism class, poetry, songs, etc, written expression has always been something I gravitated towards and since I wasn’t planning on keeping a hardcover diary in my 20s, I thought a blog would be a fun way to document my life and yet still be fun, engaging with my friends, and give me a creative outlet as well.

2) I know you have learned a lot about blogging over the last several years and you have done an amazing job captivating a large audience. What has helped make you a successful blogger?

Oh goodness… that’s hard. Honestly, blogging has changed drastically in the past 3-4 years and I think as a blogger, you have to make sure you’re keeping up with what’s relevant, what your readers want to see, etc. I am constantly asking for feedback, constructive criticism, etc and that helps so I’m not wasting my time delivering content that no one cares about.

However, on the other hand, I think staying true to yourself is the most important caveat when it comes to the world of social media and blogging. I’m an open book, much to some people’s dismay, and I will always tell it like it is… I have no secrets to hide and I promise that I will continue to blog for as long as it is “fun”, but it can be hard when people critique every move you make or how you parent or what you wear, etc.

I think as long as you’re genuine and you are honest, that’s all that matters and the people who want to read and follow will keep doing so as long as you keep them engaged.

3) You consistently post each week and you have really maintained that over the last 8 years of blogging even through a marriage, two kids and a new business. How do you do it and what time of day do you typically like to write your posts?

I wish I was that organized… you make it sound like I have this mastered, but in all reality, my blogging is a hot mess! Sometimes you’ll find me finishing up my Five on Friday post at 6am that morning, whereas at other times, I’ll have a draft post already scheduled to go up 1-2 weeks beforehand. I’m just trying to keep it all together and I’ve been actively working on trying to keep sponsored content spread out after receiving some feedback that people wanted more of the “real me” stuff.

Basically, I drink a lot of caffeine, multitask all day every day, and I can knock out a “normal” blog post in 20-30 minutes, if I don’t have any distractions [usually known as Jeff, Caroline or Carson].

4)  Do you keep a blog planner or calendar and plan your posts out ahead of time or do you typically pick your topics the day before you post?

I guess this is a continuation from the previous question… I do use a Sugar Paper monthly calendar that I jot down ideas, blog post dates, etc to make sure I am on track with my blogging schedule. That helps me see what I have coming up, and deadlines for sponsored posts and collaborations. If I don’t write it down, it’s like it never happened… I am totally someone who needs to have multiple calendars so I don’t flake and have a total blonde moment since I’m trying to balance life as a small business owner, blogger, wife, and mom.

5) You throw the most amazing parties for your girls. That's obviously a passion of yours. What are your best tips for party planning?

I have ALWAYS loved to throw a party… from sorority functions to costume parties to baby showers and such, party planning has always fascinated me. I think the details of a celebration are what makes an event stand out and what makes them memorable for your guests.

My best tips for party planning include the following:
Be Original! I think the party I’m most proud of would be Caroline’s 1st birthday with an “Our Lucky Charm” theme. She was born on her due date, St. Patrick’s Day, and I wanted to celebrate that, but with a feminine touch in a mint and pale pink color palette. And because we had so many adult guests coming, we rented a local food truck to keep everyone happy and full!
Think Outside the Box: scour Pinterest, Etsy, and other blogs for ideas that you can execute yourself… this helps save money and makes your party stand out. Favorite ideas for d├ęcor always include fabric tie banners, cardboard letters painted to spell out a name/number, customized paper items [including food tents, favor tags, etc], and food that goes along with your set theme. I think Carson’s Land of Oz Party demonstrated my little one’s love of everything Dorothy and Toto, while still having a cohesive theme!
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: I should tell this to myself once in a while because I am extremely detail-oriented and have mastered the execution of everything to do for a party, but if something doesn’t turn out perfectly, it really is OK. I guarantee no one will notice!
HAVE FUN! That’s all that matters anyway… and P.S. take loads of pictures!

6) I just had my second child and still feel like I'm trying to get a good grip on this new dynamic (#gamechanger}. What are your best tips for adjusting from one child to two??

Oh those were the days… is it bad to say I miss them now?? Caroline was just 15 months old when Carson debuted, and I remember thinking “how in the world are we going to pull this off?” The honest answer… take one day at a time, breathe deeply, and never be afraid to ask for help from family and friends.

I think it’s important to remember to have one-on-one time with each of your children. Whether it be a date to the ice cream shoppe, bedtime with more than stories per usual, or just some quality time together playing, don’t let these sweet times pass you by!

My final tip would be to have a “command station” in your entryway, linen closet, mudroom, etc where you have all the car/trip/restaurant necessities and aren’t having to scramble before you head out of the door. In our box, I always kept diapers, wipes, A&D cream, powder, snacks/bottles/sippy cups, coloring books and toys, and any other necessities that you find yourself using when out and about. It’s a lifesaver I promise! **And this always helped daddy out so he wasn’t having to pack the diaper bag, too**

7) You wrote a great post recently called the "Nanny Chronicles." You had just hired a new nanny and were in the beginning stages. How are things going and is there any new advice you would add for someone looking to hire a nanny?

If at first you don’t succeed… try, try again! Our new nanny Kara has been a dream. She is such an active and engaging nanny for our girls and is constantly teaching them and I can absolutely tell a visible difference in Caroline and Carson’s skills, language, and abilities since she came onboard with us.

She lesson plans, schedules out their daily activities in advance, and helps me with Sugar Bit when the girls are off at school two days a week. I think my best advice is be honest when interviewing potential nannies… walk them through a “typical” day, let them know what’s important for you, your kids, and your family, and open communication is something that is a MUST.

8) I know that your word for 2016 was "prioritize." You juggle a lot of different balls. What has helped keep your priorities in order so far this year?

Oh goodness… my word for the year and my “resolution”. I think I have done a good job in the fact I am learning to say no to things I really don’t have time for, but I totally have FOMO (fear of missing out) so it’s a struggle I assure you. Basically, I have to look at my calendar, narrow down the things that I can remove, and learn to balance work versus personal life and obligations. As much as I love girls’ nights out and playdates and such, I have to focus on the things I HAVE to do rather than the things I WANT to do.

Regular attendance at church keeps me accountable, daily scripture and devotional time, as well as to-do lists that I can cross out once I complete are my go-to essentials for trying to prioritize… also search out the Rocks, Pebbles, Sand idea for scheduling your day!

9) You just celebrated Sugar Bit's two year anniversary. Time is flying! What are the biggest lessons you've learned from starting a business on your own?

I can’t lie… I am so proud to be celebrating two years of Sugar Bit that it’s humbling, exciting, and other than Caroline and Carson, my biggest and most fulfilling accomplishment thus far. I did a blog post last year detailing my best tips for starting your own business, but most importantly, I think it involves hard work, a positive attitude, ambition to succeed, and thinking outside the box.

Sugar Bit is a labor of love and I learn each and every day about what works, what doesn’t, how to stand out from my competition, and what matters to our loyal customers and friends.

If you had told me I would ship out more than 4,000 orders over the course of two years, I would’ve said you were absolutely crazy, but I am setting big goals and I’ve got big plans for our little shoppe over the next few years… I am SO thankful to be providing a place for customers to shop online, easily and affordably, and will continue to handwrite a note with every single order for as long as I am able… superior customer service is what keeps people coming back and it absolutely matters!

10) What does a typical day look like for you?

Sometimes I wish there was a “typical” day for me, but I have to be honest and say that every day is different from the one before and that’s how I like it… fast paced, challenging, exciting and never dull. I’m sure a lot of people out there think I am absolutely crazy for how much I tackle, but a full life is a happy life in my case and I want to make each day count… I just posted Part One of a peak into my daily life here! Stay tuned for Part Two to follow.

Thanks so much for having me Annie!!!

I hope you enjoyed the interview and please make sure to link-up with Natalie and I below for Thoughts for Thursday! 

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  1. This is wonderful ! I read Hello Happiness and l just love her beautiful blog.

  2. Love.

  3. What a fun series! I enjoyed reading this

  4. I love this series that you're doing - always such fun to know a little more about other bloggers! Loved reading more about Natasha!

  5. What a thorough set of questions and answers! Great post -- I feel like I know Natasha after reading that and I certainly can say... what a rockstar!! Make today work, Rachel -CubicleCouture

  6. she is one of my favorites! :) xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  7. Natasha was one of the first blogs I followed when I started blogging 5 years ago! I've loved seeing her family grow!

  8. Loved this - and just like Alexandra, Natasha was one of my OG blogs ;) and I still love her 8 years later!