July 21, 2014

My Soliloquy: Why My Blog Isn't The Best It Can Be




"To be or not to be, that is the question..." - Shakespeare in Hamlet


The rain is softly clattering on the glass roofing of our porch. Our Jack Russel is looking at my zooming laptop with confusion from across the room. It's the first time I ever sit here to write a blog post, but now that I'm here, I think I should do it more often. It has been raining since the beginning of the week, so I've locked myself inside and am working away a few projects around the house. We spent the last three days re-paining the last room on our to-paint list: my bedroom. I did this last paint job on my own and, if I may say so, I did a pretty good job! No stripes, no skew-y corners and no paint residue on the woodwork, hooray!

Being home alone and painting, with the doors closed and the windows wide open to let in the fresh rainy air, gave me a lot of time to think. And did it do me good. I had been feeling restless the past months. Something wasn't feeling right, but with school and all I didn't have much time to stop and think things over. These rainy days came as a blessing, and when I sat down on the ground, slowly painting my walls from bottom to top, the old gears in my head started turning to the beats of Bon Jovi and Roxette. I was processing things, and the main thing on my mind was my blog.

I've been worrying about The Ginger Diaries for a good year now. Proof of that is a desperate post in my drafts titled "To Pull The Plug". I have re-written and edited that post probably a thousand times by now, but I never found the courage to hit the publish button. And to tell the truth, I don't want to publish it. I might not be retiring my blog just yet, but I can also no longer deny that it's time to make a change. Because today and after six and a half years in the business I no longer take joy in blogging. It's a feeling that came gradually and grew stronger and stronger with every new blog post I published. I wasn't doing something that I loved anymore.

The blogging world has changed a lot over the course of the last six years. When I first started keeping an online journal blogs were simply blogs, but like everything with the internet they evolved into so much more. Some of us got picked up by PR, and grew their web spaces into careers. With the media presence of bloggers growing, so did the population. Suddenly, everyone had a blog and we all wanted a piece of the cake. At the same moment, the feeling that The Ginger Diaries had fulfilled its purpose (help me build a more colorful wardrobe) grew and being lost without goals to direct me, I blindly started following the examples of others. 

I began doing what every other blogger was doing: trying to establish connections with PR, trying to get invited to events, trying to grow my blog into something more. But my trial was followed by error. And the more I tried, the more errors followed. I felt like a small fish, trying hard to swim against the current of negative feelings and rejection by others. After struggling like that for a few years, I was left without energy, drifting away into the very deep ocean of life & style blogs. I lost myself. 

In February, I finally hit a wall. I started to question what I was doing. Do I really want all these things I'm chasing? Am I still writing with passion? Am I still happy? The answer to all these questions is no. No I am not. I realized was doing it all wrong.

I don't have the right skills to pitch myself. I do not stand out to PR. I do not know how to market a blog. I don't know how to use social media for self-promotion. And that's okay. Because my heart lies with people and friendship, not with business and monetizing. The Ginger Diaries (and Go Home My Dear and Chronicles Of A Ginger Girl before that) was always my happy place. This blog is something light and fun that takes my mind off things and that connects me to people all around the world on a lonely evening. It is possibly the biggest internet-cliche ever, but I've met so many amazing people through blogging. Some of you are long gone, but some you are still here for me everyday. And that is what makes blogging worth it for me.

I don't want to pull the plug out of this blog, but I want to change my attitude towards it. Like I've said, my blog is something light and fun. I don't want to take it too serious. It doesn't have to be the best blog in Belgium. It has to be the best I can make it, and that's what I hope to share with you in the future. I'm going to go with the flow, not swim against the current, and do what I do best: write too much and share about my daily life, travels and wardrobe. Hopefully everything will fall into place soon, and I can turn The Ginger Diaries into a blog I'd love to write again. 

Thank you for reading.
I'll shut up now.

July 14, 2014

The wild one





skirt: Massimo Dutti • t-shirt: Zara • tank top: Forever 21 • sandals: Tamaris 


Kenneth is well on his way to the USA, somewhere between Continental Europe and Iceland right now I believe, and I'm sitting behind my computer with a cup of iced coffee and a mind full of thoughts. It has been a while, hasn't it? July 1st, apparently. Wow. I haven't been doing my best for The Ginger Diaries the past couple of months, and have not even yet set up a blog-rescue plan. I'm just going with the flow for a while. I'll tell you more later.

Not that I didn't have things to blog about! The first weeks of my summer vacation were so. much. fun. My friend Jolien and I went out for drinks, had breakfast together and went to Leuven for a good old girls-day-out with a lot of shopping and good food included. Karen and I went out for breakfast too, and I spent a day in East-Flanders barbecuing and cheering for team Belgium in the World Cup quarter final. We lost that game, but we didn't let it bother our happy hearts. Last week, however, was a little less fun. Our chimney had somehow filled with water and it had slowly seeped through the walls causing large damp spots on some of the walls upstairs. I spent the week in ugly old overalls painting and painting and painting some more. Not exactly how I was planning to spent my days off, but on on the upside: it gave us a good excuse to visit ikea three times (read: three times free coffee, cinnamon rolls and apple-crumble pie)! 

About the outfit then. First of all: excuse the messy, frizzy hair. It was very humid outside, I forgot my anti-frizz spray and couldn't get my do tamed in any way, haha. Hence the title of this post! The bottom-half of my look were gifts from my parents. The skirt is one I tried on when I was on vacation in Lisbon earlier this year, but I was on a shopping-ban and couldn't take it home with me. I kept thinking about it, and when it finally went on sale this month my mom surprised me by ordering it online for me! My t-shirt is a golden oldie. I think it's about 5 years old. I basically never wear it, yet it has survived many closet clean-outs. It's such a good basic and I simply can't part ways with it somehow. Thankfully, because it proved to be the perfect match for this olive pencil skirt!

July 1, 2014

Hard Work Pays Off (With Pretty Dresses)


outfit details: dress: Reiss • flats: Jonak Paris • shoulder bag: Kate Spade Little Minka


I'm writing this post in a fit of joy. A few minutes ago I received a redeeming email to inform me my grades were available online and I'm super excited that I can share happy news! I passed the 5 exams I took this semester! I skipped two exams, because they fell bad in the exam schedule and I wasn't granted a new and later date, so I have to re-take those two in late August. However, My day is made. A few moments after I received my report card, my friends started calling and texting and it looks like we all made it through our first year in university in one piece. That calls for a party (and a new dress!)

I want to say thank you to all of you for your supportive messages and encouraging words throughout May and June. I complained a lot, and you guys showed much patience, haha. It helped me to know that you were there for me when I was struggling to get through my textbooks and endless notes, while I was stressing out before an exam and when I needed to vent about how unsure I felt after I handed one in. With the school year ending, it's time to pinky promise I'll shut up about school until August and blog on a more positive note.

And positive things I have in offering today! Firstly, I updated the blog's look over the weekend, and added a few design elements I have been wanting to install for a while. There's a little more white space here and there, a little more color and (in my opinion) prettier fonts that work better together than the ones I had installed previously. I'm still fixing the comment link which is acting strange and thinking about installing a "you might also like" sort of plug-in, but the only one I can find for blogger (linkwithin) looks ugly, haha. Secondly, I'm also redecorating my bedroom at my parents house, and we all know how much bloggers love redecorating! I'm home for the summer and found my old room a mess when I arrived last week. Basically, dad wanted to be the handyman and even though he cooks and cleans, he better not do reparations anymore, haha. I took advantage of the mess to overhaul my room and we bought night stands, a new desk, new storage boxes and new curtains to make my room more fit for an "adult". I've also started re-painting today aaaand should actually get back to that. See you soon again!

June 23, 2014

Top it off with a little coral





dress: J.crew Factory • scarf: Pieces • handbag: Carpisa • sandals: Christian Di Riccio via Torfs

After spending most of the weekend around the house, I felt a need for an afternoon outside today. With the weather being absolutely glorious, Kenneth and I decided we'd quickly hop into Ikea to get a few little things I need (I'm redoing my bedroom at my parents house) and stop by a newly opened ice cream / waffle house along the way and make outfit photos for my blog. We never made it to Ikea, but I couldn't care less. My tummy is happily filled with the most gigantic Belgian Waffle I ever had, ice cream, strawberries and chocolate sauce. Living in a town next to Hoogstraten is a true pleasure this time of the year, something my Belgian readers will definitely be able to relate too! It's the strawberry capital of the world, and I don't know why I was even surprised to find what was probably half a kilo on my waffle when it got served, haha. It was so good you guys! After "lunch", we walked around the nearby public gardens and beguinage and captured my outfit of the day while enjoying the sunshine. 

My outfit is very basic and simple, but I've found that these are the outfits I love most lately. I've tried going out of my comfort zone on the blog a few times, but it's these simple, classy and almost lady-like outfits that I always love sharing the most. I wore almost exactly this outfit last year too, but added coral accessories to make it a little more bright and match my good mood. Today was the first day I had to dress up since cleaning out my closet last Thursday, and it was almost impressively easy to decide what to wear with such a neat-looking wardrobe. It motivates me to keep it this organised, but I'm woman and chances are that by next Thursday, things are going to look a little less pretty in that closet, haha!

I hope you guys had a lovely weekend!

post signature

June 19, 2014

Let the summer start!




dress: Zara • handbag: Terre Blue c/o • shoes: Scapa  

Hello there! Phew... it feels weird to be back! After three weeks of mental labor and a few bumps in my post schedule (apparently I missed a week, oops) I am finally back to typing something not school related tonight. And it feels gooooood, I tell you. 

My brain is still  a bit dusty, and I need to find my focus again. So I'm going to keep it simple today and just tell you how I spent the first hours of my summer vacation. Oh yesss, those words sound good! After my exam this morning, I had lunch with one of my good old friends and we spent the afternoon chatting because we had a whole month of catching up to do. It felt good not having to talk about school or exams with someone. We had lunch at Le Pain Quotidien in Antwerp, a place I had only been to when I was travelling, but which is actually Belgian haha. Afterwards we got us a treat at a local bakery and enjoyed it over a good few hours of non-stop girl talk in my apartment. Being with a dear old friend gave me a much needed energy boost after being locked up inside for so long.

In the evening I went home to visit with my parents who I hadn't seen in a few weeks either. I was welcomed home by my youngest sister jumping up and down around me, which was a really sweet sight. She bought me owl earrings on a vacation she had with her school, and I re-paid the favor by donating her one of my old dresses that she really really loves (she kept stealing it!), but that I have outgrown. I spent the rest of the evening cleaning out every part of my closet, and ended up with a pretty huge donation pile containing 9 dresses, 6 skirts, 3 tops, 2 cardigans, 2 pairs of jeans, 4 pairs of shoes and a few scarfs and belts. The dress rack in my closet looks frighteningly empty after that action, but when I started writing this blog post I found an email from Banana Republic to inform me the sales in the UK are full on. I think I have to stop writing now, and go take a peek! See you again on Monday... Hopefully with a little less money in the bank ;-) Happy weekend!

post signature