On Change and Growing Up... (And Turning 29!) - Studio DIY

On Change and Growing Up… (And Turning 29!)

6/21/2018

Thoughts on Change and Growing Up

Today I turn 29! I somehow managed to start a tradition of writing a life-update birthday post so here I am! But this one’s a little different. It’s more about my business growing up than me this time. (On the personal side, I wrote a post about what I want to accomplish personally before I turn 30 here.)

I wanted to write this post today as it’s a topic I’ve been thinking about for awhile. I mentioned it in my end of year post but I wanted to expand on it a bit. I’m sure some of you have noticed, but there’s been a pretty significant shift in the content here over the last 6? 9? 12? months. I’m not sure when it happened exactly! All I know is I felt a big personal shift in the last year+ since becoming a mom. I feel like I truly “grew up” in every sense of the word. And I’ve also felt a big shift in the blogging industry overall in the last six months. I feel that the connection between bloggers and their audience has grown deeper than ever. As a result, I’m hoping to continue making some changes but I’m also hoping to just spend some time experimenting as I do it!

After bringing Arlo home, my creativity felt like it took a huge hit. I kept waiting and waiting for it to come back in the same form it used to come in, but it’s been almost 15 months now and it still hasn’t. I used to be constantly writing down new ideas for quick little DIYs and recipes. We couldn’t make them fast enough! But those don’t seem to be so free-flowing from my brain anymore. Instead my brain is occupied with bigger, more personal creative tasks, like thinking about ways I can create memories with my family, ways I can make my house a home and ways I can adapt my style and wardrobe to fit life with a messy toddler. Like I said, that’s all still creative it’s just not creative in the way I used to be.

Have you noticed?

I’ve taken to doing far less DIYs and recipes and incorporating far more personal and home content. I imagine some (most?) of you have noticed, and I’m sure there’s some who are happy about the change and some who are dissapointed.

I feel pretty good about it, personally. But I’ve also felt an internal struggle because our old content and the new content I want to be producing feels so disjointed to me. I used to pride myself on the strong brand identity Studio DIY had visually and I don’t feel like that is as strong anymore. I feel like instead, that identity has been replaced with a strong brand message. That I’m working to not just “make life a party” but to share my personal story in hopes of inspiring someone or brightening their day, in big ways and small.

To touch on the industry shift I mentioned, it seems that you guys (and not just you! Blog readers overall.) have become much more interested in the person behind the blog than the content itself. DIY used to reign supreme. Bloggers were scrambling to do more, more, more because that’s what everyone wanted. But now, across the board I’ve noticed readers craving the stories more than the projects themselves. Does that resonate with you? Do you feel that way?

Were you all just burnt out because the DIY and blog world got so oversaturated and the only thing left to differentiate each blog was the person writing it themselves?

That’s how I felt, as a reader. These days, everyone I follow, I follow for them and their story. 

Ironically though I wasn’t expecting this change from the blogger side of things. But at the same time, I wasn’t expecting how happy I would be about it.

I wasn’t expecting to get messages from people saying we helped them decide to pursue adoption, or that our story helped pull them out of a deep depression or that our excitement over Arlo encouraged them to see the joy in parenting, instead of focusing on just the hardships. The emails I get and the interactions I have when meeting followers in person has shifted from “I love your DIYs” to “I love following your story.”

As it turns out, what I love most about my job is connecting with people. I love being an advocate for adoption, because adoption changed my life. I love sharing the happy parts of parenting, so that people don’t only see the hard ones. I love sharing my home and I love that I’m decorating my home to reflect me and not just my brand.

I guess what I’m trying to say is… I’m ready to grow this blog “up” along with me. Keep the colorful zest for life we’ve always had here, but continue to shift the content to fit more with the stage of life I’m currently in. It’s so drastically different from where I was before.

What do you think? Have you already felt a shift here? In blogs and “influencers” overall? Why are YOU here? I’d love to know why you read this blog. If you’ve been here for awhile, is it for a different reason now?

And I want to invite you to give us some grace as we work to shift the visuals of our content to better fit where we’re headed so we can regain some of that visual identity… even if it looks a little different. I’m excited for the change! But never fear, you can still expect a huge dose of color. That part of me hasn’t changed. 😉

I can’t wait to spend this next six months? year? experimenting. I want my whole heart to be here in this blog and I feel pretty confident this is the way to do it. Hope you’ll stick around for the journey with me!

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62 comments

  • Jules Johannemann

    Happy Birthday Kelly!!

  • Mia

    First off, happy birthday! Secondly, I started reading Studio DIY in 2015 when I found your Halloween costumes (I was a disco ball that year), but kept reading because I fell for your story. I follow both you and Jeff on Instagram and do plan to adopt when the time comes for me. Thank you for sharing your story and always bringing a dose of color and fun into my world <3

    • Kelly

      Thank you so much Mia! I’m so excited to hear you’re considering adoption in your future. Best decision we ever made.

  • CAMI

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Kelly!!!! <3

    I don't even remember when I started to follow your blog, but I do know that it was a time waaaay before Instagram.
    Then, I started following you on INSTA and later on, Jeff. I was never dissappointed with the content. I love the way you both make life a party and that has little to do with posting DIYs. 🙂
    Following you inspired me on changing my wardrobe, on adventure more into color, and even on being more considered with moms travelling with babies on planes XD!
    So, thanks for that!
    Lots of love from Buenos Aires.

    • Kelly

      Thank you so much for sharing this. It means so much to me to hear I’ve inspired you in some way! Thank you for being a part of our journey! So grateful.

  • Heather

    I’ve found that I’m much more interested in the bloggers behind the blog more than anything. Yes, I still read the content (that is what got me hooked in the first place!) but I’ve found that my favorite blogs are the ones that I enjoy their story / interactions the most. Happy Birthday!

  • Kaitlin Kirchner

    Happy 29th Kelly!

    I think the first reason I started following your blog was because of Pinterest. I was constantly pinning colorful pins and was receiving recommended pin from the same person every single day. (That was you) I remember the pin that really got me interested was the release of the cloud clutch with the rainbow keychain. I saw it and I noticed it was also from you and I was like, “okay. I think I need to check this girl out.” And that is when I went to your Instagram and fell in love!! I have always been obsessed with color and thought I was a bit of an outcast because of it. Growing up in rural Ohio, I was the ONLY person that dressed the way I did and StudioDIY helped me realize there are people out there that are actually like me! My people!
    I loved your DIY projects and cute costume ideas, but I ended up falling in love with your family. I also want a big family some day am married to my high school sweetheart and how happy and how hard you worked to get to where you are has inspired me. And now, I check your blog EVERY morning at 7am (when each post launches in EST) just to read about another inspiring post! My husband makes fun of me because he says how obsessed I am with your posts! lol I will show him pictures of Arlo in his cute little outfits and how great of parents you all are! And really it is because it gives me optimism for where I want to end up one day. Loving my job, loving my family and helping others. I will continue to follow your story, no matter what direction it goes, but I think you are so right! Everyone likes to feel a connection to someone or “see themselves” in someone and that’s what StudioDIY does for me.

    • Kelly

      You are making me cry over here Kaitlin. Thank you so much for all the sweet words! You will never know how much that means to me. I am so happy to have you here!!!

  • Patricia Whitmore

    Happy Birthday Kelly!! Enjoy your day!

  • Allie

    Happy birthday!!

    I don’t remember exactly when I first started following your blog, but I know it was around Halloween time. I think the first time I came to your website I spent a good hour or so just scrolling through everything. I couldn’t get enough! You were actually the first blog I ever followed and started my love of DIY blogs. When I first started following you, A Beautiful Mess, Lovely Indeed, etc. all I wanted was DIYs all day, every day. Even if I never made a thing I just wanted to see what everyone was working on. But over time I got to know the people behind the blog and I loved hearing about each person’s life, family, journey, etc. With you, I came for the cute and colorful DIYs, but I stayed for your personality and story. I loved reading the articles and insta posts about your life. I was so excited when you announced you were adopting Arlo, when you bought a house, and now I love following your family story. I know you don’t have to share any of the personal stuff with us, but it’s great that you do. You’re making us part of your family, and the way you interact with readers highlights that. And with recent events, it’s nice to see you’re not trying to pretend you aren’t a real person with feelings. You’ve inspired me in so many ways just by being yourself and letting us see the real person behind the blog.

    • Kelly

      Thank you so much Allie! It’s so interesting to hear your evolution as a reader of what you’re attracted to. Like I said in the post, I feel similarly!! So grateful for your continued support of this business and our family!

  • Amanda J.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I am such a fan of your brand, you, your family, your products, your DIYs (still loving my Cosmic Brownie costume from last year), your content… I just love it all!!! I actually bought the dress you recently wore from Target (colorful stripes) and it arrived last night. Kelly Mindell goals! 😉

  • Alexandra

    Happy Birthday!! I just want to say that I follow both you and Jeff and I NEVER miss your Instagram stories – I love seeing all of the adoption posts and Arlo joy even though I don’t have kids and never plan to… You guys are just very honest and real and joyful and the Internet, and world in general, needs more people like you! Thanks for letting us follow along!

    http://www.onlylivingirlny.com

  • ELISE LANEY

    I have always loved the authenticity of the Studio DIY site. Kelly, Jeff, Arlo, and all the behind-the-scenes peeps do a great job sharing an assortment of creative ideas. Even if it isn’t a project that I can do or something that applies to me, I still find the colors and creativity inspiring.

    Do you, Kelly. We adore that about you. Happy birthday!

  • Sara

    Kelly, I love the shift in content! I’m at a similar place in my life (hoping to start a family soon, bought a house and decorating) and this content has REALLY resonated with me. I loved the DIYs, but I often didn’t have time to implement them. Those that you’ve done in the past year have actually been more relevant to me (such as building your own Christmas village!) and I’ve found the time to do them because there was a true need. I look forward to reading in the next months and years to come!

    PS Happy Birthday!

  • Jonel

    I started following your blog because of Mary Costa Photography and the work that you were doing with her. I love her photos! I am at a very different stage of my life (empty nester looking forward to retirement in 10 years!) so the DIYs were interesting but, in most cases, nothing I would ever create. I am 100% here for the personal story. I love your zest for life, your devotion to Jeff and that you are head over heels for Arlo. I follow both you and Jeff on instagram and I love all of the photos and the joy they exude. I also LOVE that you are using your platform to bring attention to social issues.

    • Kelly

      Thank you so much, Jonel! It is really nice to hear that someone like yourself, in a completely different stage of life, is still enjoying the content!

  • Rachel

    Happy birthday Kelly! I don’t have a family but have still loved the new direction and hearing about your little family. It’s so great to see your family and brand grow into something new. I look forward to your future expiements!

  • Amy Cluck-McAlister

    Happy birthday, Kelly! I can totally relate to that shift after kids. My little one will be turning 3 in August and I am just getting my creativity back and crafting again (other than home decorating & baby stuff). I hope you still keep some DIYs – especially wearable stuff – but I also love where your blog is headed. Looking forward to following you on this journey!

    • Kelly

      Yes!! It’s so nice to hear from someone who felt the same creative shift!!! I completely wasn’t expecting it. And we’ll absolutely still be sharing some wearable DIYs in addition to the home ones, etc!

  • Victoria Shingleton

    Kelly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

    I started following Studio DIY years ago for the DIYs… but I stuck around for the stories. From you I found Jeff, and I just love his photography (I have prints hanging in my home!). And then when you guys added Arlo to the mix – boy, I just can’t get enough! Arlo brightens my day – seriously, if I only watch one person’s Instagram story for the day, I choose either yours or Jeff’s so I can smile at sweet and funny little Arlo!

    I’m nowhere near starting my own family, but I have really appreciated the shift in your blog to home decor. It’s been such a help and inspiration as I’m working on decorating my own apartment. Also, I live in Los Angeles and work at Disneyland, so I really like following your stories for the local aspect.

    • Kelly

      I love that you have some of his prints in your house!! SO cool!! Thank you so much for the support. Also let me know if you want to be Disney BFFs!!!! 😉

  • Ana

    I love the shift! I really enjoy the DIY but I love that they come mixed with more personal post, stories and things that matter. I never thought you were going to be so vocal about the border crisis (because its so hard to mix with “make like a party”) but I’m so happy you did!Much respect for what you are doing, I became a loyal follower because I love what you do but now I also love who you are.

    Best
    Ana

  • Johanna

    Happy birthday! How can you be only 29 :O?
    I followed a few DIY blogs but now yours is the only one left in my bloglovin list and the only one I follow at all. I got tired of all the DIY projects in my feed. The posts that really lured me into the Studio DIY world were your personal posts. Namely the infertility posts. Now Arlo just completely sealed the deal with me bring a fan 🙂
    I truly hope you continue being you and being real. Along with all the color ofcourse 😉

    • Kelly

      Johanna! Thank you so much for this and for the love for our family! So lucky to have you here in this corner of the internet! =)

  • Karlee

    I’ve been here for a long time watching and following along at a minimum of 4 years now and i started following you because i loved all the color and DIY’s and excitement then i followed because of your shop and your DIY’s, then i followed because of your family (ARLO, You and Jeff) i love seeing all the changes that have come as you have grown, i love seeing your home, your story, the struggles you went through to get here! It’s awesome as a follower who has been here for what seems like forever Because i personally have had kids in the last two years and started decorating a home and grew up myself so i feel like I’m doing it along side you guys! ❤️

    • Kelly

      We’re all in this together!!! Thank you so much for being here, Karlee! =)

  • Carina

    I don’t follow many DIY blogs because as you said it just feels over saturated now. I started following your blog because of your color choices/photography but I fell in love with your story. Reading your journey to becoming a mom and watching you tackle home projects felt more authentic to me. I loved your posts on Instagram where you tried to grapple with tradition and parenthood. I don’t have children of my own but I am inspired by your process and love for your family. I didn’t know anything about adoption and now it feels like a possibility for me. Thank you & have a wonderful Birthday.

    • Kelly

      This couldn’t make me happier! Thank you so much Carina. And I’m so glad to have opened your eyes to adoption. It is the greatest journey. <3

  • Brittany

    I’ve been following a lot of the “major bloggers” since about 2009, when I used to have a daily reading list (I had more time to read blogs in college). Now, I find myself primarily tuning into their Instagram stories or feed for content. It’s rare now that I’ll actually go a blog and read full content, unless something really catches my eye from a social media post. I like feeling like I’m “getting to know” the person behind the blog & especially LOVE StudioDIY/Kelly and Jeff on Instagram. I can’t get enough Arlo updates 🙂 I’m transitioning from college/post-college life, where I used a lot of the DIYs for costumes or party decorations to now starting a family and focusing on home projects, so the growth of this brand is fitting with where I’m at right now as a reader and I really enjoy it.

    • Kelly

      I had SUCH a long daily reading list back then too, Brittany! Thank you so much for the sweet comment, I’m so glad you are enjoying the new direction we’re headed in!!

  • Lindsey

    I’m not sure when I started following your blog, but it was sometime in the past year or two. I went to American University too, and I think your Insta came up because we have mutual friends. I fell in love with your blog for the personal content, like your end-of-the-year reflections that are real and heartfelt, not just the bland “everything is fine” posts that I typically see on social media. As a fellow new parent, I especially love your family posts! My life, priorities and identity have changed so much in the past year since becoming a parent — it takes my breath away sometimes. I think it’s great that you’re changing your blog to reflect who you are and what you value now.

    • Kelly

      Everyone says parenthood makes you take a hard look at your priorities.. and they weren’t kidding, huh!? Thank you so much for the kindness and support, Lindsey!

  • graz

    Happy birthday Kelly! I’ve been following your blog for a while, a little before Arlo came into your life, I think I almost read all of your blog posts in one night! I just want to tell you that I am a fan of your family, all your posts and only your way of living life inspires me a lot, you really make life a party, always happy and smiling, that joy is so contagious. I hope one day my husband and I can be as awesome parents as you and Jeff are 🙂 The best wishes for you and your family!

  • Corin

    I feel like you are spot on with this! I’m a pretty young reader, only 21, and though I’ve been reading blogs since high school, what I have wanted to read has from blogs has changed. I came for the DIY’s at first, kept following for your colorful, beautiful visuals on instagram and uplifting voice, and feel more engaged than ever now reading your story now and learning about your experience running a business as I approach the “full time job” stage of my life. I am loving reading your story and watching you and other bloggers grow up a few years ahead of me, I can’t wait for what comes next! And side note your adoption story is so beautiful, you have really opened my eyes to that possibility for me a few years down the road!

  • Sarah

    Ahhh. I love this! Happy birthday and leveling up. Good for you for recognizing hour transition and pulls and honoring that. I started following you about the time I had my daughter and you got Arlo. I didn’t even realize you were an adopted family for a bit. Must have been the newborn haze. But even as a new and somewhat clueless initially follower, I adore your posts and am cheering for your wee family.

    • Kelly

      Oh I know allll about that newborn haze. Sometimes feels like I’m still in it haha! Thank you so much for the support, Sarah!!

  • Stephanie

    I have been following you since the donut sunglasses diy! So what is that like 4 years?

    I do miss the diys, that is why I originally came to the blog, however I fell in love with you guys and your openness about your lives and hardships. You actually were opening up about your fertility when I was struggling to have my second child, and I found comfort in you being open about it, because as you know- it’s very isolating.

    I would love it if you did a little more diy stuff, but I’ll stick around as long as you’ll keep this up because of who you and Jeff are.

    • Kelly

      Thank you Stephanie, it means so much to me that you were able to find some comfort through our story and posts. It can be SO isolating. DIYs are definitely here to stay, just less frequent than before. But we have some good ones up our sleeves still!!

  • Maria

    I can relate to the loosing creativity after having a baby. My oldest is almost 4 and I haven’t gotten it back fully yet. You are not alone!!! Like you said, it just comes in different forms now. Love your blog and following your family story! Thanks for all you do! Happy Birthday! 🎉

  • Taylor

    Happy (belated) Birthday!
    Since I’m only going into highschool, I started reading your blog and following you just a few years ago. Instantly I loved it all! You wrote about growing up with athletic brothers (hello 6’5” brother who plays two sports) and missing the athletic gene which is obviously me 😂 You wrote about how you always dreamed of your wedding and having a family even when you were young, and I thought I was the only one who did that! I related to your love of diy and art supplies and Pixar and Disney and colors…and I read just about every post! Your career (while probably not what I will end up doing) is one of my many dream jobs. I wish I could pull off color everyday like you do 😍 In my class picture I’m actually wearing a sparkly hot pink sweatshirt in a sea of navy, army green, maroon, and grey 💖 I love all the clutches (especially the watermelon!🍉), but the only one I’ve bought so far is the toaster pastry! Anyway, I love your blog and I will love whatever direction you choose to take it in!

  • Cat

    Happy Birthday, Kelly!! I have to say that with all you’ve already accomplished, I’m honestly surprised that you’re ONLY 29!!! 😉 I started following you years ago – I’m sure I came for the DIYs but also loved how openly and honestly you shared and wrote about your journey towards motherhood as I was getting ready to start a family at the same time. Once IG Stories came along, I was hooked on following both you and Jeff. I love watching you two juggle family/work/home/marriage. You’re real and fun and refreshing. What fun to follow along! Thank you!!

  • Natalie R

    I cannot tell you how close to home this hits. I’ve been a fan for about 4 years now, way before Arlo (the pineapple costume was the hook!).
    We have a 19 months old boy and he’s VERY active. Watching your stories is exactly what we have at home too – a handful for sure! Since having him I’ve definitely been less creative in my work too, some of it due to mild post partum depression but some just because as you wrote, we’re changing and growing drastically over here, right alongside with him. I LOVE the change in the blog because it’s been exactly what I need, when I need it. The same stuff are on my mind too (ways I can adapt my style and wardrobe – please write a post about this!). The biggest help and inspiration you and Jeff have given me since Arlo is definitely focusing on the joy. With 2 full time careers it ain’t easy, but it sure is hilarious and amazing and so full of love. Thank you for being you and keep on doing this please ♥️

  • Brandy

    I love the shift your blog has taken! I followed you before Arlo but as soon as he came into your life, I instantly felt your JOY and wanted to celebrate along with you and follow your journey more closely! Since you are SO creative and fun, just sharing how you dress yourself and Arlo, his nursery, what traditions you do for holidays, how you keep/store pictures or scrapbook your memories and keepsakes would all be helpful to other people! Happy 29th Birthday!

  • Kristina B

    I started following about the time Jeff proposed because I remember the Geronimo balloons he planted as a surprise!
    I think through all that time I made about 2 or 3 of your DIYs. I kept coming back just to see what you had cooked up next because I love puns and themes but I really just adored the voice of the girl behind the ideas! Your personal posts have always been my favorite and I have definitely noticed the shift but am a-ok with it.
    This is YOUR space after all. Yes, it’s a business, but if it isn’t you, if it’s forced, it won’t succeed no matter what you post! When you speak from the heart and the content is important to you, you will always have followers and people who support you.
    I don’t even want kids and I always read your kid posts because I support you! And I like getting to know the girl behind the blog!
    So A+++++ for new things! <3

  • Avery Shaw

    Oh I love this!!! And I totally agree with the shift of focus of projects/things to people/stories. I absolutely love connecting with people and hearing their stories. I love open,honest, vulnerable, creative people who share their life and hearts with us!! Which you have certainly done. I’ve been following you and Jeff for a little over two years now and have really enjoyed getting to see you two grow as people, brands, & parents!!! Keep going strong and pursuing your passion and the things on your heart. It’s inspiring, heart-warming, and beautiful to see. Love you both!!❤️❤️ Oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!😘

  • Eleanor

    I’ve adored your brand for a couple of years now, I didn’t especially notice the shift but now you’ve highlighted it I can see it. My favourite post of yours, and the one which we got me into DIY-ing was your Christmas collab with Michaels stores. Seeing how you had used DIY to create your own style/colour scheme for your Christmas tree made me realise I could do the same.

    I guess that collab was a good mix of both the ‘before’ and ‘after’ – DIY-ing but also making a home and enjoying your first Christmas with Arlo.

    I hope you had a wonderful birthday, can’t wait to see how you celebrate the big 3-0 next year.

    Sending lots of love to you guys from Bristol in the UK. <3

  • net worth

    Belated Happy Birthday! Love your blog, this is my inspiration <3

  • Alice Tremea

    Happy (late) birthday! I’ve come to your blog for years now, sometimes frequently and sometimes it took me a while to come back. I feel the blog really hit the same steps as me: I went through a VERY intensive diy phase (when I first found you!). But then college came along, and jobs, and everything, and now I am starting my own adult life and thinking more and more about my own space, and how to dress to work. And you keep it fun and colourful all the time! Thank you!

  • Traci Baker

    You keep being YOU. That’s what I fell in love with….well and the COLORS…but your story and talent is amazing. We all have stages and that is what makes the journey so exciting! You and Jeff and Arlo are super fun and I will continue to watch and read through your journey!!

  • Kelly Mahan

    Congradulation on the birthday, hope you got everything you wanted!

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