Sunday, October 06, 2013

Blogging with a renewed purpose

I don't know if you noticed but I renamed Fashion Friday to Topaz Fashion. This resulted from blogging coach Martine de Luna's advice on how to create a brand. Using the same word across all sections of the blog reinforces my brand. So I have Topaz Horizon (the main blog), Topaz Mommy (the parenting and kids blog), Topaz Fashion (style and shopping section), Topaz Beauty (yep, I also renamed Beauty Buzz), and I'm in the middle of tagging all my cooking posts Topaz Recipes!

Martine, are you proud of me?

Martine is a coach for women bloggers and creative business entrepreneurs. I really admire how she's created a service for the burgeoning online market—blogs, shopping sites, websites. She's an inspiration to me and a lot of other moms for creating a purposeful life that balances home, family and work in a beautiful way. I know people think I'm so cool for living my life the way I want it (and I think that's waaaaay cool, too!) but I also realize that I've just been winging it this year. Mostly because this year's been an exploratory year—will I earn money as a WAHM, will I go back to corporate, will I like being home-based, can I give up my heels and live a life in flats haha? Really scattered!

I've been chatting on and off with Martine the past few months and finally I said it's time to talk. We met a few weeks ago and we talked about my blogs and what projects I can pursue that can jump off from the blogs. You know, businesses, books, workshops! Real money.

Martine is very specific. She asked me about my purpose for blogging, my plans, my hopes and wishes, my lifestyle. Yes, these are all part of the consultation! It's quite unnerving because it's so probing haha but I understand its purpose. Martine believes that everything we do should support each other. For example, my career and my blog should not conflict with my family. In my prayer group Power of a Praying Wife, we call that a life of integrity. Everything is unified, consistent, at one. What is the point of a successful career if it means forsaking your family? What is the point of devoting yourself to your family if it means giving up your life's work?

Many people just go through life taking on whatever comes their way. Ok, I'll marry you because I'm already 30. Ok, I'll have kids because that's what's expected of me. Ok, I'll take that job because my parents need money. Ok, I'll blog because everyone's doing it. Ok, I'll have designer coffee every day because my co-workers have it every morning. And then we all wonder why we're unhappy and our life is meaningless and have no direction.

Do everything with a purpose. From the biggies like marriage and children to the smallies like shoes and what you wear. Yes, shoes. In my case, what is the point of amazing high heels when I'll be running after little boys all day? Of course I could hire a nanny and let her do the running so I can be fashionably fabulous. Nothing wrong with that. What matters is knowing what really matters to me (my family) and arranging my life so that everything falls under it—from my work, social life, down to my fashion choices!

So back to my consultation with Martine.

She asked me really detailed questions which made me stop and think on what blogging means to me. I'll break it down for you.

I love blogging because it's my venue to express myself with honesty. I have always believed in a life of honesty. One of my favorite verses from the Bible is Luke 8:17 "For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open."

Believe me, I have no secrets. I do know secrets that my family would hate to be known. I don't mind revealing them but my mother asked me to never blog about our secrets so I won't. Other than that, I love that my blog allows me to be who I am.

The problem is now that my blogs are bigger, I find that I have to be more discreet. I can't just post thoughts that may hurt people. I can't even just post names and photos of my friends and family because some of them want to remain private. I can't also post things that my advertisers may not approve! What a pickle I find myself in!

But being reminded of my purpose—to express myself with honesty—guides me in writing this blog. I don't need to write or post about other people; I can just find topics that are relevant to me and my experience. I don't need to say yes to every brand that wants to work with my blogs; I just need to focus on the brands that make me happy. I don't need to be too open or talk about everything under the sun; I can just pick issues that matter to me and yet are respectful to other people.

Martine pointed out that I have a loyal following that will support my projects should I choose to launch them. She gave examples of women who launched empires from their kitchen—books, workshops, magazines, product lines, seminars! That's something she believes I could also do since I have you guys! I love you, dearest readers! Oh my goodness, I can't thank you enough for reading my blogs every day, for supporting me and encouraging me, for sharing your thoughts and your life with me, for just being there! Thank you so much!

Anyway, Martine did make me rekindle dreams that I had about this blog. Remember when I sold leather satchels? Maybe I can do that again and sell other things, too. Brand collaborations, like what Gwyneth Paltrow does on her lifestyle website goop, are very attractive to me. I'm also thinking of making mini magazines that you can download as an app. Topaz Mommy, Topaz Recipes, Topaz Style & Beauty, Topaz Home. How crazy is that?! I'm also already writing a book! Well, I've written down the outline so it's really just a crazy plan, but who knows? Maybe I'll actually write that book and publish it and hopefully get you to buy it!

But the important thing right now for me is my family. My consultations with Martine reinforced that. As I was answering her questions, I just realized that I may have many dreams but right now I'd prefer to put them in the back burner so I can focus on my little kids, Vito and IƱigo. They grow up so quickly! I realized that a successful career in my previous life has allowed me the luxury of slowing down. Oh, every day I'm thankful for my life, for these days of lazing about in bed with my husband and our sons, that I can get to choose projects, that I can just blog. Life of luxury, I tell you. Not a lot of money but there's a lot of life!

So that's what I plan to do this year and next year: blog. Grow the blogs, be more purposeful in my writing, get to know my readers more, build my reputation as a credible and honest blogger. Maybe these steps will help me in the next stage—empire building!—or maybe the next stage is more babies and just settling down to be a simple housewife. Who knows? Whatever it may be, I welcome it!

To consult with Martine, check out her website: You can also follow her blog, Dainty Mom

UPDATE 12/17/2014: Martine has Make It Blissful now!

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  1. Great post, Frances! Like my mentor Holly Becker says: "Blogging can be a catalyst for your best life." It really is possible to make a living around our passions, our families, our talents. Our blogs are excellent "processing tools" for that kind of life. I'm so happy you had some great takeaways from our coaching! More power to the Topaz Blogs! Hugs :)

  2. I read it again. OK, I'll be honest. I read it like, four times? Haha! Super bet ko this: "Do everything with a purpose. From the biggies like marriage and children to the smallies like shoes and what you wear. Yes, shoes. In my case, what is the point of amazing high heels when I'll be running after little boys all day? Of course I could hire a nanny and let her do the running so I can be fashionably fabulous..." Only a fearless blogger/writer like you could make it sound so tactful. Feeling ko 'pag ako yan, I'm sure to get rolling eyes again 'cause I'm brutally frank like that, but my point was just the same as yours. Hehe. Ewan ko ba.

    Anyway, I call this the "Martine Effect". Most of the attendees of her workshops (including yours truly) can attest that she doesn't just help you with your bloggy life, but your life in general, too. ♥

    I'm looking forward to whatever big step your Topaz blogs would take. More blessings for you and your family! :)


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