Today we are featuring VA Blogger, Lisa Tutman-Oglesby, the stylish brains behind the popular blog, Celebrate Creativity. This Black Southern Belle is a creative force and we are so excited to feature her. Lisa says “I’m a diehard baker, bargain hunter, DIYer, crafter, collector of fabrics and vintage dishes, home décor enthusiast, wife, mom of two and a Virginia transplant. I relish taking the everyday and the ordinary and transforming it into pretty darn extraordinary… without spending a fortune to do it. Celebrate Creativity is a natural extension of that sentiment.” We love everything about this blog and know you will too. If you want inspiration for your next craft or dinner party, make sure to check out Celebrate Creativity. This is one Stylish Midlothian, VA Blogger & DIYer you must follow!
What You Provide: Tutorials, ideas, projects and inspiration for creating a home and life you love, including but not limited to: sewing, crafting, photography, recipes, gardening and seasonal topics.
Where are you based? MIdlothian, VA
Why did you decide to start a business? My blogging started out as a way for me to share lots of different crafts projects and recipes and the site evolved into the lifestyle blog it is today. Ten years ago, I won a national scrapbook magazine contest (Memory Makers) and was named one of the country’s top scrapbookers. As part of the win, I was asked to contribute content to the magazine’s website. I found myself posting content that included far more than just scrapbooking. While the editors enjoyed seeing my sewing, recipes and decorating projects, I did feel a bit guilty about posting these other hobbies on a blog site that was supposed to be all about scrapbooking. That’s when I decided to start my own blog and that’s how Celebrate Creativity was born. The blog name allows me to have a pretty wide umbrella of content which includes my many interests. It’s also been a great forum for me to share my love of creativity and I hope my projects, tutorials and recipes inspire my readers to try new things.
What is your favorite client story? I actually don’t have any clients per se. I have done some freelance photography work for several companies and my projects and writing have appeared in numerous magazines and publications.
What is your website? celebrate-creativity.com
Do you have any mentors? Again, no mentors per se… but there are many bloggers whose work I’m inspired by and enjoy.
What is your favorite thing about being southern? I’ve actually had a chance to live and work in many different parts of the country. I grew up on the east coast, went to school in the south, started my television reporting career in the midwest and now I’m back in the south again. I think there is definitely a wonderful generosity of spirit in the south and a genuine hospitality too. Yeah, I know that may sound a little cliche but that’s been my observation. Oh, and I’m loving not having to deal with nightmare rush hour commutes in my neck of the woods now. When I worked in Chicago, traffic was often like a parking lot. I’m definitely not missing those two hour commutes.
What is your favorite southern dish? Oh, my. That’s a hard one. I’d have to say peach cobbler. That’s Southern, right? Of course, no peach cobbler is complete without homemade whipped cream which is so easy to make and taste much better than store-bought whipped topping. I have a great whipped topping recipe on my blog.
What is the most important thing you have done to build your business? I think one of the most important things I’ve done is to have my blog redesigned. When I first started the blog, it had a very simple theme that was not necessarily very reader friendly. I didn’t have a navigation bar, archives were hard to find and the presentation was just a bit lackluster. So, I hired a developer and designer to help bring my new vision together and I switched to a self-hosted platform. I think the site looks so much better now. It’s modern, fresh, with clean lines and the content is now organized in a way that is easier for visitors to find and subscribe to. I still make tweaks here and there but I think the presentation is now more in line with my own personal aesthetic. Having said that, I will also say that self-hosted blogging does have its challenges. I basically went from renting the store (platform) to owning the store (self-hosted fees, etc). There’s far more to learn and maintain to keep the site optimized on multiple fronts. I’m also responsible for keeping it secure from hackers, bots and malicious viruses. There’s always something new to learn to keep my site and content safe and running efficiently. It’s all part of the blogging process and successful blogging is still a marathon… not a sprint.
What is your favorite item or piece of clothing to wear/use while doing business? Hmm, don’t laugh but since I do most of my business/photography work at home, I’d have to say I love wearing my cushy, house slides. My son bought me a great pair to stop me from borrowing his. I have hardwood floors throughout my home and that type of hard surface looks great but it’s super tough to stand on for long periods of time and I do a lot of standing when I’m shooting and styling photos. The soft sliders are definitely a life-saver.
Check out more of our favorites from Lisa below! Make sure to follow her, we sure are!
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