Category Archives: Business

5 things I wish I knew when I started a blog

5 things I wish I knew when I started a blog // a thousand threads
When I started this blog I knew next to nothing. I didn’t know how to edit a photo, or promote my posts, or change even the most basic design elements on my blog… and I’d definitely never heard of anything like SEO. Looking back, I marvel at how long it took me to learn some of the simplest things. But sometimes it’s the simple things that can be the hardest. I can’t tell you how long I struggled with branding, or how much and what I should share (and to be honest, it’s a process… I still do) so even though there are tons of nitty gritty details I wish I’d known when I started this blog, these are a few of the really big basics that stand out…

1 // You have to tell people about it.

I don’t care what you do for a living, be proud of this other more creative side of yourself and tell everyone you know what you’re up to. You have every reason in the world to be proud.

When I first started out, I was afraid of what other people might say — now I’ll admit I feel a whole lot more like this.

2 // Read other blogs, but set a limit.

Too much obsession with what else is out there can breed insecurity and box you in. We all need a little inspiration or a kick in the ass now and then, but too much can stifle your creativity.

3 // You can’t fool please all the people all the time.

You can’t be everything to everyone. No matter how badass you think that chick over there with the diy craft blog is, if you’re not Martha, you’re not Martha.

But you are passionate about something else, right? That’s why you started a blog. (And remember I didn’t say good at, I said passionate. You can always learn.) If you focus on the things you’re passionate about, it will show in your work. You just can’t fake it in this industry. You have to be comfortable with your brand and let it shine, limitations and all. Letting go of all of that extra stuff is the only way you’ll ever find your own personal brand.

4 // Natural light will be your best friend and your worst enemy.

Okay this is sort of nitty gritty, but it’s important. Photographers often specialize in one thing… still life or portraiture or landscape. If you have a lifestyle blog, you’ll need to be an expert in all of the above. So the sooner you figure out how light works, the better off you’ll be. Watch out for direct, harsh sun and dark rooms with artificial (yellow) lighting. Seek out the shade when you’re outside on a sunny day and seek out the sun next to a window when you’re inside. I can’t even tell you how long it took me to figure out how to work with the light, and I’m still learning every day.

5 // You will learn, you will get better, and you will grow. Work hard and have faith. It will happen.

I still remind myself of this every day, and when I look back over time I can see that it’s true. You don’t have to do everything right right away, and you won’t! But that’s okay, half of the fun is in improving every day.

Those are my top five… but like I said, there’s so much more.

What have you learned along the way, and what do you wish you knew more about? Are there any questions or topics you’d like to hear more about from me?

P.S. I’m sort of obsessed with Waterlogue, you too?


So what about the Alt Summit goals?

alt summit goals // a thousand threads
// Engage more on social media.
And get on Google+. It’s one more account to think about, but I’m hoping to streamline some of my social media work by scheduling more posts and zoning out a little less. (Pinterest and Twitter can drag me in and consume me for hours if I let them.)

// Collaborate more.
I’d love to work on more collaborations with other creatives this year, and plan to get up the guts (one of these days) to reach out to some of the people I admire most.

// Submit more content to other blogs and publications.
If you want to get your work out there, you have to be proactive. I know I need to be more proactive.

// Look less, do more.
Like I said, Pinterest and Twitter can pull me in for hours if I let them. If I want to maximize the time I have, I have to minimize the time I let that happen.

// Schedule more, waste less time.
I’ll share my schedule as soon as I know I have it down, but I’m experimenting with scheduling a time for social media and email, and generally avoiding them the rest of the time. That leaves the open space available for work. Nothing else. And I’m telling you, I just started doing this yesterday and it’s already blowing my mind.

What are some of your blogging and business goals this year? Do we have any of the same?


My top 6 takeaways from Alt Summit 2014

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you guys… you rock. Thank you again for all of your kind words on my initial Alt reactions last week.

It was so good to hear I’m not alone. But now I think we all can agree that it’s time to take a little action. Here are my top six useable takeaways from Alt Summit 2014…

alt summit takeaways / a thousand threads
First and foremost — this is the most supportive, wonderful, humble and amazing community out there. Give to it, and it will give twice as much in return. You all are incredible and I am thankful for you every single day.

alt summit takeaways / a thousand threads
Always say thank you, always follow up, and never forget where you came from. But also, never sell yourself short. Learn to own your accomplishments and talk yourself up.

alt summit takeaways / a thousand threads
You’ll be happier, and so will your readers. When you write about something you just feel so-so about, they can see through your bs.

alt summit takeaways / a thousand threads
You might be surprised how close you get.

alt summit takeaways / a thousand threads
Think about the way you respond emotionally to certain things (think Lisa Frank stickers), and recognize others immediately (Disney font). Now think of your own brand this way. When you share your own emotional connections and nostalgia, chances are someone else out there will feel the same.

alt summit takeaways / a thousand threads
Taking the next step is easier than it might seem. Sometimes you just have to think of things a little more simply.

If you really feel like you need to hire additional help, for example, but you can’t afford it, think about hiring interns. They’ll gain valuable experience, and you’ll have an extra hand or two to take things on.


Initial Alt Summit reactions

alt summit // a thousand threads
I’ve been mulling over my thoughts on Alt for a few days now — trying to decide where to begin.

It’s hard to write about insecurities. And for some reason, post-Alt, I seem to be full of them.

The thing is you guys… Alt was so good. It was amazing. I connected with folks I haven’t seen in months, and folks I’ve only ever seen online… not to mention a boatload of incredible, sweet, generous new friends. And all are the kind of people you’d be lucky to meet just a handful of in a lifetime.

I feel incredibly grateful for a week spent with such amazing people, and incredibly inspired by the smart, creative, straight badass speakers I had the honor to listen to and learn from.

I also feel grateful for my sponsor, Lenovo, who made it all happen and even made it possible for me to give a tablet away to the sweetest, most appreciative Instagrammer who made my heart burst with excitement for her when she wrote. I was lucky to have a sponsor, and securing sponsorship for Alt was one of my goals for the year I can now say I’ve achieved.

But if I’m really honest… the truth is that I left Alt feeling a little overwhelmed.

Read More »


My new cards (Because maybe you didn’t get one!)

letterpress business cards / a thousand threads
Hey, so you know what post I’ve had queued up and ready to go for a week, but haven’t gotten around to hitting publish? This one.

I know, I know… right now I’m supposed to be sharing other peoples’ cards, not my own. But I couldn’t leave them off entirely… they’re just too pretty, and Chris at Moxie Press deserves every scrap of credit I can send his way for the drop-dead beautiful job.

Not to mention lovely Moorea (who I finally had the chance to meet in person after all this time online!) for the beautiful logo that looks so great in letterpress.

Read More »


Alt summit love

alt edition link love / a thousand threads
If you’re spending a lot of time on the blogs this week and not headed to SLC, you probably feel like punching me right now. I’m sorry… I know. It’s a lot this time of year. It’s a lot for us all…

Outfits, media kits, business cards, blog updates — bloggers think about this stuff all the time, but for some reason when it comes down to crunch time (conference time) suddenly none of it feels like enough.

We want everything to be just that much better… or that much more organized… or just that much more new. (What is it about new clothes that makes them so much better than the rest? Even cheap new clothes from H&M. They win every time.)

So there’s a lot of “new” going on right now — a lot of organizing, a lot of perfecting. Or at least trying to perfect. And on one hand it’s totally overwhelming… but on another, and I think this is why we all have so much love and admiration for events like this, it’s also really inspiring.

There are a lot of really really talented creatives out there. And this is one time when you get to see them shine just that much brighter.

Stepping up your game might be a little stressful, but it’s also a blessing. One of many reasons we all look forward to conferences like this — whether we’re on the outside or in — is because they light a fire under our ass. They inspire us to do more, to create more, to refresh and renew… much like the new year. And what do you know, when it comes to the Alt Summit, the two coincide.

So ya, I’m obsessing. But that’s not always such a bad thing to do. We all do this thing called blogging because it’s what we love. The pressure to do more just reminds us of how much.


Eye tons and tons of fantastic advice and information, including this outfit planner from Design Crush, to help you prepare.

Buy a pretty green dress for Thursday night’s green party.

Make some great business cards to show off to new friends.

Bake some tasty treats for the 4am trip to the airport.


You should also make both of these beautiful scrubs — speaking of talented creatives.


Amazing backstage Polaroids from the Golden Globes.

Kelly Oxford’s office.

These baked eggs look amazing.

In case you need a little extra encouragement from your desktop.


Getting organized on the go

getting organized on the go / a thousand threads
With Alt coming up in just two weeks and a full plate right now, I’ve been thinking a lot about ways to get and stay organized on the go. Even though the conference will be a little bit of a vacation — I’m so excited to see everyone, attend some great parties, and learn a ton of new things — I’ll also be working hard to keep up with everything at home. Luckily, that’s something I’m used to. So I thought I’d share a few of the ways I prepare to stay organized on the go — both to remind myself, and to give you all some ideas if you happen to be looking!

// Decide which device(s) are best to take. Major project? Bring your laptop. Just keeping up & taking notes? Use a tablet with a keyboard (this is what I’ll be using at Alt thanks to Lenovo’s generous sponsorship). Do you need your Kindle or can your tablet do double duty with a Kindle app?

// Check for wi-fi on the plane, and prepare accordingly. If you don’t have it, it’s a good time to sit down and write or read that paper that’s been nagging you.

// Use a cloud. It’s the best way to keep all of your work in one place, and to access it on the go. Evernote, Dropbox, and Google Drive are great options that cost little to nothing.

// Make a list. Nobody wants to get to the airport and realize they’ve left their phone charger at home. And if you really hate packing (like me) try Packing Pro to make the lists for you!

// Make a folder. Organize all of your flight details, appointments, etc in an email or other folder on your device for easy access. TripIt is a great option for doing all of this on your device.

// Use your commuting time to work, but don’t overdo it. You still want some time to relax and take it all in. Even if it’s just a business trip, it’s an opportunity to travel. Try not to take it for granted.

// And speaking of a little bit of time to relax — download GateGuru to find the best food on your layovers. (You know I’m always thinking about the food.)


How to organize your blog’s editorial calendar

how to organize your editorial calendar / a thousand threads
I’ve gone through a lot of different types of editorial calendars. Lists, yearly calendars with just a quick overview, monthly planning alongside the rest of my work… but it’s only recently that I’ve found something that really works.

Of course, I share this with the caveat that this is what works for me. Everyone is a little bit different. But what I’ve found is that there are a few very specific (very detailed) things I need to keep an effective editorial calendar.

1 // It needs to be separate from the rest of my work. Even from my blog-related appointments.

For a long time I tried to keep everything together, and it was just too easy to let the editorial planning fall by the wayside.

2 // It needs to be all-inclusive.

That sounds like a contradiction, but what I mean is that everything involved in my editorial planning needs to be contained in one place. That means the brainstorming, the scheduling, and the planning.

First, I’ll brainstorm a list of posts based on a pre-set list of topics. Then I’ll use that list to fill in my calendar, and adjust the topics accordingly. Last, I’ll plan when any prep for a post needs to take place. Scheduling is only half the battle, after all.

3 // I still need a to-do list and an appointment calendar.

Such is my busy life and obsessive compulsive planning problem. The editorial calendar happens in Google Docs, the appointments are recorded in my Google Calendar, and the to-do list is updated in TeuxDeux.

Technically, I love to keep a paper planner… but I’ve finally given in to the fact that they’re just too much to carry around.

And if I can’t carry it around, it’s not any use.

Here’s an example of my own editorial calendar for November.

It’s pretty rudimentary, but it works just perfectly for me. And I’m so excited that I’ve finally found something that does that I just had to share.

Photo via.


3 effective writing habits that work for me

effective writing habits / a thousand threads
I don’t write nearly as often as I’d like to. Life always seems to get in the way. But I’m always fascinated by the writing habits of others. James Joyce apparently wrote just a few sentences a day, while Ernest Hemingway made it a point to get in 500 words… and Stephen King goes all the way to 10 pages, even on holidays. Truman Capote wrote lying down, and Alexandre Dumas wrote for decades only on one particular shade of blue paper. Some wrote in between errands, some during (Gertrude Stein wrote while her wife drove them around in their Model T Ford.)

Some habits make sense, some not so much.

Here are a few of my own that I’ve found to help…

1 // If you can’t write something good, write nonsense.

Lately I’ve started using to get out the bugs on the days I’m feeling less than inspired. The idea is that once you’ve written 750 words of nonsense, your head is all limbered up and the ideas will flow. So far I’ve found it to be really effective!

2 // Read

An hour or so with David Sedaris and my brain is buzzing with ideas. Of course, my storytelling ability doesn’t hold a candle to his… but at least I can try. Practice makes perfect, right?

It’s all about reading the folks that inspire you.

3 // Walk

When all else fails, take a walk. Sitting (I sit – anyone here stand or lie down?) for too long in front of a computer will fry anyone’s brain. Moving around gets things going again, and for me, it usually works to break the block.

What are some of your writing habits? Do you use any tricks to break you out of a slump?

Photo via.


Optimize your pictures for the web

how to optimize your pictures for the web / a thousand threads
Hey bloggers and creatives, do you optimize your pictures before putting them on the web? I’m guessing you do. But if you have no idea what I’m talking about (because until yesterday, I was with you…) then do I have some news that will blow your mind.

For months (years) now I’ve been struggling with an irritating grey tone… one that wouldn’t show up on my laptop, but damnit if it didn’t show up every single time I pinned something I’d posted. I thought it was something in my editing, maybe my screen (I needed a desktop, desktops are always better for photo editing!)… or what if it was the light, the shot itself? I was one step away from an asylum when I came across this article on the Alt Blog.

I thought, “Huh, what is this “save for the web” thing? Maybe I should try it out…”

And then, as Emeril would say

But tell me now, is this one of those super simple things I was already supposed to know? Or are you with me? Because I’m feeling a little silly for all of these years of un-optimized, sad, grey little photos like the one on the top left.

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