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Blog Log #8: Are Comparisons The Root Of All Evil?

Blog Log

Blog Log Comparisons


Source: You Can’t Be Serious Blog by Natala


Whether you already have a blog or you’re just thinking about starting one, do you look at the top bloggers in your niche and wonder, “How will I ever get there?” Because I still occasionally have those days, 11 years into blogging.

Oscar Wilde famously proclaimed, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” And when I find myself getting caught up in self-imposed comparisons, I try to take solace in that. While comparisons can be a helpful benchmark to see if I’m on track (and I do follow a lot of blogs to keep up on market research and trends) if I check in too often, I start feeling low instead of inspired. How about you?

Maybe it’s just me but I feel like comparisons are harder to shake off now and it’s a sign of the times. I’ve been blogging since 2001 and I sometimes still get caught up in asking myself if my blog and work measure up. Part of this comes from a distorted reality a lot of blogs present (mine included sometimes), especially now. Back when blogging was a great big unknown and I was on Live Journal, we all did it for fun. Sure, there were really popular people but the overall playing field was much more balanced. Digital cameras weren’t that sophisticated yet and I don’t think any of us ever posted a photo larger than 500 pixels wide. I didn’t even know what an action was in Photoshop! We documented everything in a more “This is what I did today” way. There was less of a format or a formula. Our journals were often little more than personal diaries that happened to be outward-facing.


The Proof Is In The Picture

In the last few years (and especially now with Instagram), I feel like the proof is in the picture. Before, people were trying to explain how great their lives were and it was easy for us to write it off as being boastful or insecure. But now that we have visual proof, it really hits home. I’m a designer and by nature, I’m always rearranging my belongings and surroundings. Part of that no doubt comes from being in the advertising industry where the aim is to curate the best image possible on a client’s behalf. Companies pay big for that polish and it’s understandable because competition is stiff.

But what happens when that seeps into our daily lives? The lines between online and real life have been so blurred that it’s hard to separate fantasy from reality. If we see imagery in an ad campaign, it’s obvious that there’s a team behind it. But when we see it on blogs, it’s harder to tell.

When we’re comparing our blogs to everyone elses’ we only know part of the story. Contrary to what anyone says, none of us should be expected to share every little piece of our lives online. We all have different comfort zones. And we should respect that when it comes to everyone else, too. When we only see bits of a story (usually the best parts) it’s natural to fill in the blanks. I’ve met a lot of bloggers I admire (after following some for years before ever having that real life interaction) and I can tell you that I’m always blown away by how approachable, vulnerable and normal they actually seem. It’s a good reminder that we all have struggles.


Standing Out Is More Obvious Than You Think

When it comes to blogging, if you’re wondering why what you’re doing even matters, the answer is simpler than you think: We each have something within us that makes us unique. You have a distinct voice and perspective from everyone else in the world. Only you have the ability share, define and curate your experiences. Instead of comparing yourself to everyone else, you will actually stand out more by just being yourself.

If you’re familiar with differentiation when it comes to marketing, standing apart from the competition is a usually viewed as a major competitive advantage (and we go into a lot more detail on the subject at The Blogcademy). Your differences from every other blogger are what will actually make you the most memorable. If someone visits a dozen blogs in your niche, chances are that they’ll remember the one that is the most unique.


In Closing

At the end of the day, I try to remember that blog posts are just a snapshot into someone’s life. They don’t necessarily reflect a current moment. A blog post is a recollection of a point someone’s life that was memorable to them. It’s a learning experience. Instead of focusing on everyone else, focus on what you do best. The rest will come naturally. If the pieces haven’t fallen into place yet, it’s okay. It takes time. Just don’t lose sight of what makes you unique.


Do you fight self-imposed comparisons when it comes to blogging?
Any tips on how to stay focused?

View more of the Blog Log series here.

What I Wore: The Parker Palm Springs

The Parker Palm Springs

The Parker Palm Springs can be described as nothing short of a midcentury modern paradise. Revamped in 2004 by Jonathan Adler, this hotel shows off his trademark brand of kitsch, managing to mix oversized, mod patterns with drug references and brightly colored knick-knacks into a truly trippy experience.

The Parker Palm Springs

The Parker is very inviting to non-hotel guests. Though Star and I did not stay there (we were rooming down the road at The Ace), the service was exemplary. The must-visit restaurant on your Palm Springs to-do list should be Norma’s (click the link and watch the video!) I have never seen bigger portions of food in my entire life. Our friends ordered the french toast and the slices were so thick it resembled more of a cake! The descriptions were highly entertaining as well. The Parker seems to employ only the best — the copywriting, the decor, landscaping, the service and the food were all immaculate.

The Parker Palm Springs

I Wore:
Wrap Dress, Forever 21
Silver Bauble Necklace, H&M
Bracelets, Forever 21
Wedges, Minimarket

The Parker Palm Springs

After taking in the hotel lobby, where a large sign simply reading D R U G S takes center stage, we ventured outside into what can only be described as a tropical paradise. Mind you, it’s 100+ degrees but the greenery and palms are perfectly groomed and there’s even a hammock for lounging! The Parker let us take as many photos as we wanted and wander the grounds freely (which often isn’t always the case at many hotels for non-guests).

The Parker Palm Springs

Star OWNED that couch in her Bestsey Johnson dress! Within minutes of entering the Parker, we both wanted to move in immediately.

The Parker Palm Springs

This was hands-down the most photogenic hotel I’ve ever set foot in — I probably could have photographed it all day. It’s pretty unbelievable. If you have a trip to Palm Springs planned, make the Parker the must-see on your list. Most of our Design Life group ventured over at some point; it’s perhaps a five minute cab ride from The Ace and an experience you must see for yourself.

The Parker Palm Springs

Insider tip: Even if Mister Parker’s isn’t open, peek your head inside. It’s like a darkly glamorous opium den complete with a white baby grand piano and illicit art featuring retro pinups and a large neon pink painting that simply reads LSD.

A special thank you to the Parker Palm Springs for being so welcoming!

I Fell In Love With A Llama.

nubby twiglet nigel llama

The One and Only Nigel.

nubby twiglet nigel llama

nubby twiglet nigel llama

nubby twiglet nigel llama

This is probably the strangest post that I have ever made but please bear with me. I have fallen in love with a llama. Yes, I said a llama. I have never been an ‘animal person.’ In my 28 years, I have never had a pet of any kind (not even a goldfish). But, an encounter I had two weeks ago has shifted my perceptions dramatically. I now want a pet…but not just any pet will do. I want a llama.

nubby twiglet nigel llama

nubby twiglet nigel llama

Back in March, I got word that a llama named Nigel was coming to town. He was supposed to be standing in front of the R.E.I. store in Portland’s Pearl District for a presentation about packing gear. I’d never seen a llama up close, so I was unsure of what to expect. The second I laid eyes on Nigel though, I was sold. Statuesque and all black, he seemed to be constantly smiling. In the middle of a bustling city on a downtown sidewalk, he was totally calm. His black fur was freshly brushed and very soft. I swear that he even winked at me. This llama was a total charmer.

Normally I am intimidated by animals that are larger than me, but I happened to be wearing my trusty Dries Van Noten wedges that night so we were at eye level. I was intrigued by this animal; there was something special about him.

I took a brochure for Wallowa Llamas which is where Nigel lives but over the next six months, life became hectic as I began taking on more freelance, bought a house and traveled often. The dream of meeting back up with Nigel got pushed to the back burner.

Then, a few weeks ago I was surprised with a late birthday present; a meeting with his royal blackness, Mr. Nigel himself. The drive from Portland was very long, clocking in at close to seven hours. Once we reached Halfway, Oregon (near the Idaho border) the scenery became quite idyllic. A bustling small town with farms and horses and greenery and quaint storefronts, Halfway has a storybook quality. Finding Wallowa Llamas proved slightly difficult; it was quite far from the highway, down a series of gravel side roads.

nubby twiglet nigel llama

Just look at that handsome profile!

nubby twiglet nigel llama

As we pulled up, one of the owners of Wallowa, Raz came out to greet us. Normally, they are accustomed to doing hiking trips that are multiple days in length and bringing the llamas along for the purpose of packing gear but made special arrangements for a shorter day trip instead. Raz took us over to a side plot of land where Nigel was hanging out. I spotted him from 50 feet away; even among other llamas, he stands out. As Raz was prepping the gear, he let us take Nigel into the orchard and spend some quality time together. Nigel ripped into one of the fruit trees and loaded up on leaves. Llamas chew funny, in a circle–8 motion just like camels.

Once the supplies were ready, Nigel was loaded into the back of a pickup truck with tall, enclosed sides and we drove a few miles to a secluded trail. As we hopped out of the truck, Nigel seemed confused; he is used to packing quite a bit of equipment but was free of the usual load that day. I spent most of the time pulling Nigel up along the path and we made a stunning pair, both in all black. He trotted right along, never stalling or tripping (unlike me)!

nubby twiglet nigel llama

nubby twiglet nigel llama

We took a few short breaks and Nigel chowed down on plants while we sat down, enjoyed the view and drank water. During one break, we heard some rustling and turned around to see Nigel rolling around, taking a dust bath! His fur became coated in dirt and full of debris but he seemed quite proud of himself.

nubby twiglet nigel llama

nubby twiglet nigel llama

On the way down, the trail was pretty steep and Nigel was going faster than me. He kept getting a little too close, breathing over my shoulder and making high pitched noises. I thought something was wrong, but I was told that it’s really just a sound he makes when he knows he’s getting ‘close to home’ (the truck). Pretty cute if you ask me!

Nigel was on absolutely perfect behavior the entire journey but when he was being loaded back into the truck, he did get a little grumpy, ducking his head down. It was pretty funny to watch!

nubby twiglet nigel llama

nubby twiglet nigel llama

nubby twiglet nigel llama

When we returned back to Wallowa, we were taken on a brief tour to meet the girl llamas and then the boys (they are kept separate to keep inbreeding from taking place). The girls really do look like girls! My favorite female llama was Mary Priscilla (I’m pretty sure that was her name. A fancy name for a fancy llama)! Her fur looked dip-dyed. She subtly faded into a beautiful spectrum of colors. The girls seemed inquisitive and simply stared at us, quietly taking in the situation.

nubby twiglet nigel llama

nubby twiglet nigel llama

In contrast, the boy llamas were much more rowdy and aggressive. They enjoy chasing each other around and occasionally fighting. Obviously, Nigel is much too evolved and refined to participate in this type of behavior and chooses to spend much his time away from the pack.

After the tour, we said a sad goodbye to Nigel and vowed to return next year.

I know this sounds crazy, but I’d like to skip the whole dog and cat phase altogether and move on straight to a llama. They are very quiet, go to the bathroom in relatively neat piles and don’t eat an absurd amount of food. Michael Jackson used to talk about taking his Llama named Louie on walks near his parent’s mansion and how he would stop traffic; I want to do the same!

Find out more about llamas and guided trips at Wallowa Llamas.

nubby twiglet nigel llama

Oh, I almost forgot. My favorite part of Nigel, besides that adorable face? These handsome little feet.

nubby twiglet nigel llama

Readers: What was your first ever pet?
If you had an unlimited budget and space, what would your dream pet be?

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