We love getting questions from readers – so keep ‘em coming – whether as emails, in posts, etc. But we thought that we’d store the most frequest questions here and add to the list if need be so you all have a place to find potential questions answered! (updated 3/8/13)
Why did you two decide to start a blog? We kind of caved to the advice of friends saying we should start one… And we thought, if we do it together we always have someone to lean on and talk out ideas. It was just a nice way to virtually store all the things we love at a given time and talk out our ideas. It will be fun to look back at past posts and remember what we were doing or what we loved… We never imagined we would love it as much as we do and blogging has made us ever closer (which we never thought possible!). < read more about A Piece of Toast here
Do you two work or blog full time? We always laugh at this question – not in a mean way – just in a “Ohhh… They don’t realize that… ohhhh.” We work full time and our 9-5 jobs come first. Always. Sally is a teacher at a wonderful Dallas school and Molly works as a Concept Designer for a Dallas-based lifestyle brand. We adore blogging and refer to it as our “second job” but at the end of the day it has to come second. < read more about us here
Where do you get your blogging inspiration from? Um, everywhere. Lame answer but we are inspired by anything and everything and since we have a lifestyle blog we feel like there is no limit to what we can post about… We only post about things we like and love – things that interest us, catch our attention, make us obsessed, and make us want to pass along. That’s a boring answer but it’s the philosophy we adopted from the beginning and it just seems to always work. We just cross our fingers that our readers like what they see and read!
How/when do you decide what to post on each day? This is a fact – we write our post the morning they go up on the site. Very rarely do we have them finished the night before and it’s even more rare that we know in advance what we will be posting on. We are kind of those freaks that work best under pressure and now you know that what you get from A Piece of Toast is always what is most fresh on our minds!
The one exception to this rule was our She Wishes She Was Wearing guest post series… Molly kept a calendar of sorts for this and had to stay organized since she got the content from the other bloggers then created the collage before the post went up every Thursday. *Thank you to all the participating bloggers that made this series a success!
How do you decide who posts when? We don’t! Typically Molly’s post go up in the morning and Sally’s in the afternoon but we don’t have a “both of us most post every day” mandate. Life happens and sometimes one of us doesn’t post – no biggie.
How long does it take you do write each post? It varies but we estimate 30-90 minutes. The writing, finding the images, finding proper sources for the images, tagging, linking, spell checking – it’s a lotta work! And it took us double the amount of time in the beginning stages…
How many hours a week do you spend on the blog? That’s a tough question. Partly because we both manage different things – Molly responds to the emails, site/blog maintenance, and does the ad communication and management and Sally posts on Facebook and manages the Twitter account – and we both do our posts and comment on other blogs… It could be anywhere from 2-5 hours a day with more on the weekend. Yikes!
Love your writing and voices! Did you both take writing classes? Hilarious! No, we did not take any writing classes outside of the normal curriculum and our brother (a true writer and journalist) is probably laughing reading this right now… There are bloggers that write a little and bloggers that write a lot – we are obviously the later. We do love to write and it’s so flattering to get complements on our “voices.” Makes up for the typos and bad grammar!
We write each post as if we were talking to each other, or mom, or our best friends. It helps us keep things casual, humorous, informative, and uniquely us. We never, ever, ever copy and paste text off the web and if we do use direct text – because it’s sometimes impossible to summarize in our own words – we always give credit and put it in quotes.
I love your header design and template! How did you do it/where did you get it? This is easily the most frequent question we get asked and it’s hugely flattering! For the first two years, our blog was housed on a SquareSpace platform. At the time, Molly designed the header herself – having graduated with a degree in interior design her love for graphics and layouts cam naturally so she just played around until we came up with something we were in love with. No template used what so ever for the header…
The blog you see now was part of a re-branding process we went through with our talented graphic designer friend, Katie Ogden. You can read more about the why’s and how’s in this post… While changing up our look, we also moved all our content from SquareSpace to WordPress and are so happy we made the switch!
What program do you use for your collages and altered graphics? Molly used to use InDesign 99.9% of the time but now uses PhotoShop exclusively for all photo editing and collage layouts.
What type of camera do you use? Molly uses a Canon 60D and a 50mm 1.4 lens. She passed down her Canon T3i Rebel and 50mm 1.8 lens to Sally. You can read more about Molly’s take on photography and camera useage here! She was recommended by everyone I asked to get a 50mm lens – they’re inexpensive (in the world of lenses), light weight, and give you gorgeous depth of field without much effort. Just want to clarify that even though we have nice, big cameras and we practice our skillz, we would never consider ourselves true photographers :)
Can you recommend any good Dallas-based classes for photography? YES! Molly took a full day beginners workshop class at The Spot Studio, located in Dallas. Peter, the photographer who teaches the classes, is a hugely talented guy that truly explains all the mechanisms of a DSLR camera and walks you through – step by step – the best ways to achieve taking beautiful photos. The classes are small so you get one-on-one attention if you need it. She highly recommends taking one of his classes! < read Molly’s post about The Spot Studio here
I’m in the process of starting my own blog. What kind of research did you do before starting A Piece of Toast? Do you have any advice for me? So humbling to be asked this question – we’ve been in your shoes! Starting a blog is very daunting, especially when you don’t know where to start and want to make the best first impression. We didn’t do a whole lot of research before getting started, we just knew that we wanted a lifestyle blog and that we wanted to be ourselves and not a carbon copy of all the other ones out there. We also had a wonderful friend, Fallon of A Lovely Being, holding our hand through the initial set up phases on our blogging platform, SquareSpace.
We definitely have lots of blogging advice – like get involved in social media early on, comment to get your name out there, be original, always link back, etc. – but every one’s situation is different and if you truly need guided help in getting things started and have zero idea how we recommend reaching out to someone that can walk you through all the early phases… I highly suggest consulting with something that can walk you through the early steps and advise you on all the stopping points. One of our blogging besties, Victoria of vmac + cheese is an AMAZING resource. She has founded her own business, VIVALEUR, and among her amazing offerings of services is consulting lots of people on how to get started in the blogging world. She is so knowledgeable and connected it’s definitely worth investing in her help early on and then seeing where blogging takes you after you’re comfortable and established.
How did you grow your readership? We wish we had a lot of words of wisdom or tricks to offer to gain more followers but honestly it just takes time… The best advice we can offer for gaining more readers is to comment – A LOT – on other blogger’s posts with your url name. The more you comment, the more chance you have of bloggers checking out your site. Sounds silly but it’s how we found some of our favorite bloggers that led to the best friendships. Also, be engaged with Twitter – tweet and follow the people/bloggers you like – you will definitely start to form friendships and gain readers!
There are so many bogs – it seems pretty easy… What are some misconceptions? Right? Everyone and their dog has a blog and they are designed to make it look easy! In our humble opinions, the most common misconceptions are: 1) That it is easy and anyone can do it/be good at it, 2) that you make money or that all bloggers are in it for the money, 3) that bloggers don’t have real jobs/full-time jobs aside from blogging.
What’s the best part about blogging? Connecting with readers, other bloggers and amazing brands and companies! We have had the privilege of getting to know some incredible people that we never would have had the chance to had we not started the blog. We are constantly blown away by the wonderful readers who comment, the bloggers who email and inspire, and the brands who reach out to speak to us. Every day we kind of have to take a step back and realize how amazing this blogging thing is – we are so thankful.
What’s the hardest part about blogging? It’s a full time second job (sort of) that’s not easy and you can’t grow a valuable readership overnight. The hardest part is churning out content every day… Sometimes it feels easy and most of the time it’s second nature to sit and let the words flow but there are days when we feel like we are grasping at air to come up with something. The most not fun (not fun?) side of blogging is dealing with copy-cats. Which sounds horrible but it’s the only down side about having a blog! The world wide web is an enormous place and it’s impossible to keep people from copying your header, ideas, posts, and writing. Major bummer.
Do you think you ever want to make blogging your full time job? Never say never, but having parents that are entrepreneurs has made us gravitate towards corporate life, steady paychecks and career development paths. Our blog is still a baby right now (compared to the bloggers that do make a career out of theirs) and as much as we love it, doing it full time or leaving our jobs for something in the blogging/social media/consulting realm would be an enormous risk. Plus we love our jobs way too much to ever think of leaving them… It’s what our four years of college prepared us for!
Molly, what formula do you use for your hair color? Sorry to disappoint, but Molly’s color is the hue she was born with – no color, highlights – it’s never been touched