Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

February 10, 2017

Lake Life Lately: Behind the Scenes



I find it so interesting how people (myself included!) like to peer into the lives of other people.  Long before reality TV and blogging, my Mama would pop in on family, uninvited, "to see how they really live".  When she visited the townhouse for the first time, she unabashedly peered inside each and every one of my cupboards and closets, eager to ascertain whether I was actually a tidy homeowner, or I has just cleaned for her visit.  When I said the garage was off limits (because the house alarm would sound), she was convinced that's where I was keeping the mess.  I repeatedly asked her not to open the door, but that just made the garage more enticing.  When the house alarm went off at the crack of dawn one morning, I knew that her curiosity had gotten the better of her.

I laughed when I caught her red-handed!  I couldn't fault her, because my favorite hobby was to go for a walk at dusk - so I could nonchalantly peer into our neighbors' homes as I slowly sauntered by.  That was the reason I started reading blogs.  And I know this isn't some weird family quirk because that passion for voyeurism is what makes reality TV such a lucrative industry.

What's funny to me, is that the authenticity and realism we seem to crave is so illusive.  The Hills?  Turns out much of it was scripted!  Blogger homes?  A lot of those Pinterest-worthy images are staged!  Instagram was, for a long time, a place for those candid snaps, but it too has become more glossed over by highly edited and stylized shots.  The "way people really live" is driven deeper into the depths of the internet - now you can find it mostly in short-lived Instagram stories and Snapchat whatevers.  But in this world, where cash is king, there's no conspiracy to hide real life, it's just that glossier depictions perform better: better show ratings, better blog stats.  So do people really want "to see how people really live" after all?

I think about this so much.

I struggle with this as a blogger, because I feel pressure to produce Pinterest-worthy images but I'm still passionate about the function blogging used to serve: a glimpse into real homes, to see how people really live and decorate.  That's more difficult these days and the monetization of blogs blurs the lines even more.
  
The biggest lie I perpetrate is in my food photography and flat lays: I photograph so many things on the floor!  Not so scandalous, I know - until you see how heartbreaking this is for Szuka...


Szuka will come lurking and just hang out, staring longingly at the food that's within her grasp and yet so far away.  I can leave the room and she won't touch it, but she's there.  Watching. 

When I see blogging from her eyes ("why is the food on the floor, human, and why aren't we eating it?") it all seems so strange...

P.S. that's a diabetic-friendly cheesecake!
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18 comments

  1. this post nailed it for me! i love it so much and feel very much the same way about how staged everything has become, yet here i am staging things. and oh your poor dog!!! HA!
    that story about your mom is priceless!!!! i remember my grandmother once peering out of her curtains literally with the curtains pulled tightly around her face... HAHAHA!

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    1. My "mama" is my grandmother too. I can picture a grandmother doing what yours did, it feels familiar. I'm smiling invisioning it :)

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  2. I stage nothing, whatever shows up on my blog is how life actually is here. Poor Szuka, do you ever let her/him eat it?

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    1. I love that! I refuse to stage rooms but things get the Pinterest treatment. The backdrops, the props. It's fun, but so fake! Szuka has a sensitive tummy, I don't let her indulge in too many human treats. Just meat and cheese, no dessert haha.

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  3. Great post! I've been feeling this way too - I'm a newish blogger on the scene and while I display the spaces I've tackled, the rest of my house is definitely NOT Pinterest worthy (LOL!) But you do always see these perfectly curated spaces and wonder...I think I may initiate some sort of blog hop that shows the real state of people's homes - that would make me feel loads better! :)

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    1. I would love a real deal blog hop!! I am thinking about doing a video house tour to show the house without careful cropping, because that makes all the difference too. I might not stage rooms but I crop like a boss.

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  4. I love the honesty of this post. I love all blog posts where they show behind the scenes, where the lego toys really live, etc. And dogs. Any picture with pets, cropped, staged or not.

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    1. I am so thrilled to hear people like the less glossy stuff. I am planning a series on where I keep my stuff - a peek inside kitchen cabinets, my credenza. I am feeling really inspired to share more impromptu photos. Like you, I LOVE home photos with pups in them. I was just flipping through an old Style at Home and there was a living room with two white dogs, passed out on the living room, cuddling contentedly. Best living room photo ever.

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  5. I would love to see you do a video tour of your house. I absolutely love your sense of style and your blog!!! Please keep up the good work!!!

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    1. Thank you! I have been meaning to do a tour for ages but I am not very savvy when it comes to editing videos. I might just try to do it in one shot, haha. I am hoping to do one soon.

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  6. Haha I'm suddenly feeling less guilty about those dusk walks :D Thanks for sharing 'behind the scenes' pictures.. You can almost see Szuka's drool hahah, such a cutie!

    For a long time, I was deeply affected by how bad my house looked in comparison to ones on AT etc, until I just accepted myself and my home for what it is. So I think it does a world of good when bloggers show 'real life' once in a while. Thanks!

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    1. I am feeling very motivated to share more behind the scenes! I'm thrilled to hear other people like that too! I understand the feeling of not measuring up. I actually canceled some magazine subscriptions because they arrived on my door and made me less happy about my home. The less time I spent online too, the better my home looked and felt. Seeing so many gorgeous homes really negatively impacted my experience of my own space so I changed my habits.

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  7. I also love to walk around and casually peer through lit up windows :)
    But really, thank you for your honesty in this post. I have to remind myself not to compare my real house with all of the carefully staged and cropped images online. Blogs and magazines can be a great source of inspiration, but they should be taken with a grain of salt. After my kids left for school this morning, I went into their bathroom and found a towel on the floor, several hair ties littering the counter and toothpaste splatter all over the faucet. Real life is rarely pinterest worthy :)

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    1. You're definitely right: we have to take these images and advice with a grain of salt, for sure. You raise such a good point about the members of your household - no two households are alike and while we might have overlapping concerns/solutions ultimately we all have different homes with different people and that makes it impossible to compare.

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  8. I also love those early evening walks to peek through the windows! Lately, have been thinking about these perfectly curated pictures on Insta & Pinterest...kind of depressing for us "normal folks" with our decor and messes which can't compare.

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    1. It kind of feels like bloggers cheat because we get paid/compensated for keeping our homes tidy - it's part of my job description, in some ways. That feels like cheating, haha. I can do laundry on my "lunch break" while I'm working because I work from home.

      I'm hoping to infuse more joy into my blog in 2017 to break up the perfection that has been weighing me down. I am so glad to hear readers have a passion for more realism too! I want to celebrate the imperfection...

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  9. And I thought I was the only one that liked those walks at dusk. I have my man drive at night so I can look around.

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    1. Nope, there seems to be a lot of us, lol. Sometimes I catch my neighbors doing it to our house :)

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