Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The charming content

So, you've probably already noticed that this beloved blog of mine has got a New Year's makeover (and if not, head over here to get the lowdown and all the whys). I may have kept the color palette (because I still love it as much as the first day I picked it) and the old URL (more on that later), but there are some serious changes brewing behind the scenes. And they all concern the content of The Charming Avenue.

It all comes down to what I want this place to be. I want my blog to be a place full of positive vibes, where you can come daily to gather ideas and inspiration for beautiful and refined living. A place that motivates you to try new things, experiment with new recipes, make your home a more beautiful place to live and make your health and well being your number one priority. In short, I want The Charming Avenue to inspire us to be better than we were yesterday.

As I explained in my introductory post, over the past few years, my priorities, passions and interests have changed significantly. Things that fire me up have changed. Two major life events have informed my transformation: joining our family business back in 2012, and buying, renovating and moving into my apartment in 2015. From a fashion and beauty-obsessed girl, I've transformed into an entrepreneur with a passion for decorating, with too many books to count, and with a desire to live a more organized, balanced and healthy life.

While I used to love putting together fun outfits and shopping for beauty products, these things no longer make me tick. I love a good shopping session just like the next girl, but these days, instead of a new pair of shoes or a cute nail polish, you'll find me scooping up home decor accessories. And if I once used to pore over gorgeous fashion editorials, now I spend my Pinterest hours admiring beautiful home tours, browsing for home decor inspiration and gathering business, blogging and wellness tips. I want my blog to reflect this new "me".

So, these are the main topics I'll be covering on The Charming Avenue from now on:

Home & Decor. This is the passion I've developed over the past two years. I've always loved decor magazines and blogs, but it wasn't until I acquired my very own space to play with, that it became a full-fledged love affair. I'll be sharing my inspirations, my decorating tips and tricks and my favorite decor finds with you. I will also finally share my apartment renovation and the lessons I learned in the process. And now that I'm finally done furnishing my apartment, the most fun part begins - the decorating!

Business & life lessons. The one facet of my being that I practically never talk about here on the blog, is my work. It's curious, really, because it's such a huge and important part of my day-to-day life! I've been working in our family company for more than 3 years, and practically co-running it with my father for over a year. It has challenged me and made me grow in ways I would never have imagined and expected. And since I know that many of you are running, or are dreaming of running your own businesses, I think it could be so interesting and valuable to share our experiences, our successes but also our setbacks and struggles.

Food. This is one staple that will never, ever go away, no matter how much my life and blog change. I treasure my time spent in the kitchen: cooking, baking and experimenting with new recipes is a wonderful way to relax, to get my mind off my work problems and to challenge myself to try something new. My goal is to cook and bake even more this year, and to work tirelessly on my photography skills, so that I can share my recipes and creations with you again.

Books. This is another passion of mine that deserves a more prominent place here on my blog. I read as I breathe and I collect books as my most treasured possessions. My love affair with books is the longest one in my life, and I can't go a day without reading at least a few pages. Books teach me new skills, give me new ideas, entertain me, boost my mood when I'm feeling down and they generally make my life more beautiful. So aside my monthly reading list, I'll be also introducing some new book-related features: book reviews, my favorite quotes, interviews with my favorite authors, and more.

Wellness and healthy living. I've spent a great deal of time thinking about this one. It's something I've never talked about before, for the simple reason - it has never been a priority to me. I know that it sounds awful, but I've always sort of taken my health for granted. And when I reflected upon 2015, all I could think of was how terribly I'd treated myself last year, both my body and soul. And I kept doing it until until I began losing my hair and battling bouts of insomnia, until I enchained several health scares in a row and until I felt completely exhausted and drained of energy. I went to see my doctor last November, expecting him to prescribe me some sleeping pills and maybe some supplements, or whatever. Instead, we ended up having an hour-long conversation about my terrible, terrible lifestyle. That conversation was a wake up call that I needed desperately. It opened my eyes to how horribly I was treating my body and mind, always expecting more of them, but giving them almost nothing in return. I really needed to turn my life's priorities upside down and put my health and well being on top of that list, where they rightfully belong.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not going to turn into a gluten-free-yogi-living-on-sprouts-only. After all, I'm nowhere near being ready to give  up chocolate, a glass of wine and my beloved French and Italian cuisines. What I want to do, is share tips and strategies on how to live a life that's balanced, healthy and fulfilling and how to incorporate healthy lifestyle habits and choices into our busy schedules. And most importantly, how to be kind to ourselves and enjoy our lives without deprivation. Who else is with me?

What do you think guys? Will you be interested in these topics? Are there any questions you may have, or things that you'd want me to cover? Don't hesitate to let me know: I truly want to make this space a source of daily inspiration for us all.

Here's to the new and better Charming Avenue!

PS: I've also promised you my two cents on the technical part of this rebranding, so here they go:

Over the past few weeks, I've read dozens of resources about rebranding, most of which dealt mainly with buying new domains, switching hosts and changing all your social media at once. All of these resources kept pointing out that a rebrand could take up to 6 months. And I was like, whaaaat? No way was I prepared to wait that long to put my new blogging goals and plans into practice. And after agonizing over this for several days (and nights), I've decided to take a different route. The one that my gut kept pointing me towards.

See, I'm really happy with my current design, layout and color palette. I even kept the main font for my header, because I love it so much! And sure, the discrepancy between the new name and the old URL may be confusing. I get that.

But in the end, you, guys, don't read blogs because of their URLs, or because of their expensive custom-made design, or because of a professional logo. I know I don't. I read and follow blogs because I love their content. Because I am inspired by their authors, by their authentic voice, by their beautiful photography and their unique perspective and opinions. Sure, I do appreciate a great design, but if the content doesn't follow suit, I'm outta here.

And I guess that's why you're reading my blog, too (or, at least I fervently hope so). Because you find it inspiring. Because you like my writing, or my style, or the type of content I am producing. And that's precisely what I want to focus on right now. Simply switching colors, adding fancy icons and getting a new domain isn't going to make this blog any better. Focusing on writing great copies, improving my photography, streamlining my niche and generally making this space more authentic and inspiring is.

Like all of you, I'm operating on a limited amount of time each day (and no, I'm sorry, but I don't buy that ever-present nonsense about us "having the same amount of hours in a day as BeyoncĂ©". Can we just please stop shaming ourselves for not being mega-successful, world-dominating superstars with hundreds of people at our disposal to make our life run smoothly? Thank you.). And right now, I don't want to spend that time arguing with Facebook about changing my page's name, or checking my permalinks, or making sure that everything is redirecting properly. I need to invest my time and money in things far more useful and beneficial than a pricey web design and development.

It is true that as I'm gearing towards my bigger goals for this year, all these elements will probably follow. A new URL, a new website, a new business venture. All in good time. But right now, my main focus lays in making this space an inspiring place to be, for both you and me. And that, to me, begins and ends with great and authentic content.

I'll be sure to keep you updated on all the upcoming changes and modifications. Once again, thank you so much for bearing with me, for your patience and for your daily visits. You truly are the best!

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