Why did you start blogging?
Honestly, I started a blog just for the heck of it and had no idea what I wanted to do with it. I was teaching and got super bored during the summers, so I thought it’d be fun to dedicate my time to some sort of creative outlet.
As far as my “direction” goes, my first blogger crush was Taza. I’ve adored her for years now – her positivity, her adorable family, and her ability to find/share beauty from her everyday life. I was also super inspired by Casey Wiegand‘s honesty, opennesss, and love for the Lord. Those two women help set up a vision for what I wanted to do – share my life and spread positivity.
Somewhere along the way, I kind of lost my vision and got caught up in quick and easy content versus meaningful and joyful content. You can read more about that particular journey in this post about My Blogging Purpose & Direction. Basically, I lost focus for a little while, but I’m back to the heart of what I want to do: A lifestyle blog that inspires women to live intentional lives, encourages self confidence, and spreads truth and goodness.
Why the title “Happily Howards?”
“Happy” is what I strive to be on a daily basis. I want to leave an impression of “happiness” after interacting with others so that, hopefully, it will open the door of opportunity for me to share the gospel. How perfect would it be for someone to ask a Christian, “Wow, you just seem to be so upbeat all the time despite whatever is going on around you. Why is that?” The evangelist in me jumps for joy at the thought of such an easy opportunity!
However, it’s important to know there’s a difference between “happiness” and “joy”. Happiness is transitory. It can come and go in the blink of an eye. Real talk: You receive a delicious, beautiful latte and, seconds later, you spill it all over yourself. I bet your happiness abandons you quickly.
Joy goes down to the soul. Joy comes from knowing God and His promises. It’s called a fruit of the spirit (did anyone else just start humming the Sunday school song?). The Bible doesn’t command us to be happy all of the time, but we are called to rejoice. To be joyful. That spilled latte might take away our fickle happiness, but it won’t take away our down-to-the-core, unshakable joy. Oh no, not today! (Or ever.) Do you catch my drift?
All of that to say, I want to express that joy within me by being a generally happy person. Sure, “Joyfully Howards” is probably more accurate. But I’m a former teacher and a lover of alliteration, and “joyfully” just didn’t make the cut.
Is life really that perfect?
Nope – Life is in no way perfect. And you will never hear me say that it is. I’m a regular person with struggles, frustrations, and bad days. Sometimes I share little pieces of that online, and sometimes I cling to joy instead. My biggest warning is to be careful not to compare your life to mine or to anyone else’s because that’s a dangerous game. We’re not always smiles and rainbows over here, but I desire to use my platform to spread positivity. While I do my best to strike that balance between that positivity and being real, I ultimately want to be a place of encouragement, goodness, and hope for those reading!
What camera, lens, and editing apps do you use?
For editing photos on my computer, I use Lightroom and VSCO filters. For editing iPhone photos, my favorite app is PicTapGo. I absolutely love that you can choose from so many filters and adjust how much of the filter I want. I know a lot of other bloggers also love Afterlight and VSCO.
What tips do you have for healthy romantic relationships?
Oh boy. There’s so much to say about this topic! I did a fun 5 Marriage Lessons I’ve Learned Over 5 Years post that share my biggest pieces of advice that I think would be helpful for everyone in a relationship to read (just dating, engaged, newlywed, and beyond)! In addition to those things, I’d also add that selflessness goes a long way. Remembering that you’re not perfect, you’re not always right, and that the world doesn’t revolve around you is so healthy and gives you a great perspective!
You can browse through the rest of my relationship posts to see if you find anything else that’s helpful to you!
What tips do you have for new bloggers?
Oh man, I get asked this question SO often! I wish I had all of the answers for you, but I don’t. For learning/taking the first steps to blogging: Honestly, as dumb/obvious as it sounds, Google will be your best friend as you learn. I can also point you to a few ladies that helped me immensely when I was first getting started: The Fox & She and A Beautiful Mess.
Practically, once you get started, here are a few helpful things I’ve learned along the way: Invest in a nice camera. Start working with small companies to build your portfolio and work your way up to bigger and bigger companies. Apply for as many influencer programs as possible. Find blog hops to post on. Try out guest posts to capture a broader audience. Find brands on Instagram that feature blogger photos, buy their items, take great photographs of their products, and tag them – Maybe they’ll feature your photo! And be original – No one wants to read a post that’s already been talked about a million times. Embrace your personality and give your posts your own voice. I promise there are people out there that will connect with you!
From the very practical side of things, I use WordPress (I originally started with Blogger but switched over to WordPress because it’s so user-friendly and they have such amazing plugins!), I bought my domain name through GoDaddy, Bluehost hosts my website, and Lauren from Restored 316 designed my site (and I highly recommend her!).
Like I said, I wish there was a magic recipe I could give you, but there’s simply not. It takes hard work, focus, creativity + originality, and lots and lots of patience!
What workout do you do?
You can read all about why I starting working out and what weight-training program I did for the first 6 months of my fitness journey over in my Why & How I Started Working Out post!
What are some of your favorite books?
I’ve become an avid reader over the past couple of years and I love sharing that passion with you! You can see all of my favorite books (for book clubs and Christian life!) over on my Currently: Reading page.
Do you have any tips for hair?
I’ve done several posts all about my healthy hair routine, my favorite products and tools, and a few fun hair tutorials. Browse through my hair and beauty posts to see if I’ve answered what you’re looking for!