BlogHer14 Photo of the Year

I’m passionate about many things— home design, DIY, crafts, parenting… but I’ve always judged myself against the “experts” in these fields: people with design degrees, perfect Pinterest pictures, published books. “It’s been done before” is a thought that often holds me back from doing. Recently, the frequency of my posts had slowed down, overwhelmed by all the “been done befores” and “been done betters” out there.Blogher14 PoTY_1

I felt rudderless. So I bought a ticket for BlogHer, a giant blogger conference where thousands of (mostly) female bloggers get together to learn how to improve their blogs, make connections, and seek inspiration. I was hoping for a road sign. Something to help me sift though the noise and guide me in the right direction. If I didn’t find it, maybe a few drinks with friends IRL would help.

Then, a few months before the conference, I got an email. I was announced as one of the winners of Photo of the Year in the category “Things I Made.”

At least the email said I’d won. I stared at my computer screen. I was certain there’d be a followup email saying there had been a mistake.

Even after the congratulations started rolling in, I still couldn’t believe it.Blogher14 PoTY_2

But it’s not a perfect picture. The costumes are flawed. I used someone else’s pattern. I have lipstick on my teeth… Yet it won. And it forced me to think about why.

It started with a kooky idea to make family matryoshka doll costumes. Then I went ahead and made the costumes, convinced my husband to wear makeup, and lined everyone up in front of a camera. (Think: fish-wrestling.)

Then I submitted it to a contest I thought I had no chance of winning. Just because.

Little did I know everything I’d been doing would be completely validated.

My DIY philosophy goes like this: It’s Do It Yourself, not Do It Perfectly. It’s about not waiting for your man (or woman) to get home when the drill is sitting right there. Get ‘er done yerself! It’s about doing something even if it’s been done before, because the way you do it is unique. Nothing beats that feeling you get after finishing a project that actually functions AND looks good. Victory meets pride meets love. I watch my kids feel the same thing every day when they make a new discovery and connect with their own limitless power.Blogher14 PoTY_3

I look forward to a day when I have no doubts about what I’m doing with my life. Maybe one day I’ll even call myself an expert. Until then, I’ve got this little road sign.

Thank you, BlogHer.

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