Celebrate You (At Every Stage) + My New Camera

If you are new to my blog, hello beautiful soul, I’m so glad that you are here! For those sparkling new readers of mine recently I celebrated the blogging milestone of 1 whole year of blogging (read it here ‘My First Blogiversary + How I Celebrated‘) by doing some of my favourite things, and then reflected on my first year (read it here – ‘My First Year of Blogging + What I’ve Learnt‘), but for me I wasn’t going to let this achievement pass me by without spoiling myself, so as my first Blogiversary gift to myself I bought myself a new camera and a new tripod to inspire and motivate me to continue my blogging journey with even more SPARKLE.

My cameras..

Previous camera: Canon PowerShot SX700 HS

This camera I will still be keeping even though I have bought a new one (I took the photo above with it). It is getting on with a few glitches here and there, but it’s still a great little camera as a backup, to take with me to the beach etc., and as above, to take photos of myself with my new camera (yeah, it’s a blogger thing).

I recently bought a new battery for it to try and get some more life out of it while I still can. With so many new versions coming out all the time I don’t really see the point in trying to sell it if it still has some purpose to me, and plus, it will take me a little while to get my head around my new camera (there really is so much to learn).

New camera: Sony A5000 with 16-50mm lens kit

Now for those who are into cameras, I realise I have purchased an older model Alpha (there’s newer versions that have already been released to replace this model), but I have my reasons.

My first reason being that this is my first ever interchangeable-lens digital camera, so I didn’t want to invest into the higher hundreds or thousands until I really understood how a camera like this works and how to use it properly. I picked this camera up new for $495 which is within my budget and pretty much all I wanted to spend at this stage. My other reasons being that I have read and watched many amazing reviews about this little setup and how good of a camera it is to have as a first interchangeable-lens digital camera. Now I don’t intend on going out and pursing photography dreams, I just wanted something a little more advanced than what I had to give me some room to learn, and to improve my photography for my blog, and I know that I will be able to do this with this camera.

Also my thoughts being that if this camera is still around even though it’s been passed and overtaken by it’s advanced counterparts, there’s something to say about that. I figure that I can play around with upgrading the lenses as I get better, then upgrade the body later (maybe my 5 year Blogiversary – who knows).

New tripod: Joby GorillaPod 1K Kit

I am so in love with this accessory. I had previously purchased a no-brand one off eBay, but decided when I was in store buying my new camera that I wanted to invest in a better quality tripod like this as well, and I believe, that you can never have too many tripods anyway (I use all 3 of mine now for different reasons).

The grip that this little tripod has is absolutely incredible, it can pretty much stand on and wrap around anything. After trying out this one, I realised the strength difference in the legs between it and my cheap one I got from eBay. Though the cheap one I got off eBay once again I will be keeping as it will still be great for using it with my phone or a GoPro etc as I have attachments for that.

If anyone is wondering why I would need a tripod like this, well it’s great for some of the close up photos I want to take, but also a little insight into the fact that I’ve been looking into vlogging as my next venture, and my new camera + this tripod will allow me to do that. I have a lot to learn though before I publish any video content, but it’s definitely in the pipeline as something I want to have a go at on my journey.

When I first thought about celebrating my 1 year of blogging there was that thought that crossed my mind, do I deserve to? Then I thought, absolutely I do. When I first thought about buying a new camera as my present to myself for my 1 year of blogging, again there was that thought that crossed my mind, do I deserve it? Then I thought once again, absolutely I do, I more than do.

I feel like so many of us wait for the big occasions, the big events, the big moments in life to celebrate ourselves, which are as we all know far and few between (I’m talking Birthday’s, dream jobs, weddings, babies, buying your first home etc..), but why do we wait for these when we could be celebrating life at every stage? That’s how I feel about my blog, I’m going to celebrate it because I’ve put in the hard work, because it makes me happy, because who says I can’t?

At the end of the day, it’s the smaller milestones in our life that actually fill up most of our life, and if we are celebrating them and are making ourselves proud, then to me that’s creating our own happiness, not continually waiting for things to happen to us. I say, order the cake darling and light your own damn candle, celebrate you and all that you achieve at every stage of your journey (because you absolutely deserve to).

I cannot wait to share some of my new photographs that I take with my new camera with you, and who knows, maybe even a vlog sometime in the future (dreaming big and making it happen).

All my love,

My First Year of Blogging + What I’ve Learnt

My blog, SPARKLE on darling, for those who don’t know or are new to my blog, has just hit the big 1 year mark, and I’m so, so proud of my very own sparkling online space. Not just for the fact that my blog is now 1, but because I didn’t give up on it, I kept working on it and kept creating content for one whole year, even when it was really tough sometimes to find inspiration and motivation to do so, I made it happen week after week, 53 blog posts, 50,600+ words written later. I’ve celebrated my Blogiversary, (read it here – ‘My First Blogiversary + How I Celebrated‘) and now it’s time to let you in behind the screen about what my year has been like and what I’ve learnt now 12 months on as a new blogger.

There will always be new blogger doubt..

As a new blogger there are doubts, so many doubts, about why you even bother to put fingers to the keyboard week after week and write about whatever it is that you write about, with only the hope that someone will read your content, and even better, enjoy it. I have not in this first year published a sponsored blog post where someone has paid me to write about something, so every single blog post to date so far has come straight from my heart, soul (and my pocket), this first year has been created entirely from a place of love.

Writing unpaid to be honest is actually a little scary, because every time you hit publish it’s just you, raw and real on a screen every single time, sometimes totally ‘off trend’, for the world to give their piece about if they wish, so it can feel a lot more personal, rather than how it would feel if you were to blog for a particular product or brand, which is why I guess I tend to doubt myself more in my pieces. As a blogger though what I’ve realised is that no matter how long you blog for, doubt about why you are blogging will always be there, whether it’s a paid piece or not.

I’ve learnt that doubting oneself is simply part of being human, and that it’s how you keep moving through it, and what you do with it when it creeps in that matters and in turn makes you stronger.

You have to hold hope and not give up..

Have you seen the movie ‘Julie and Julia’? (one of my favourites). For me blogging has been exactly like that (who knew life could be like a movie), except I haven’t had a celebrity pick up on my blog yet (maybe one day). It has been like it in the fact that I take a big deep breath every time I press publish, I sit at my laptop and refresh and wait and hope it really did publish, then I check it again an hour later to see if anyone has read it yet, and each and every time I am greeted with a beautiful response of views, likes and comments on my blog posts, people always find them, and read them, and then I take a big deep breath in and out and do it all again, each and every week.

I’ve learnt that if you create and put your work out there, someone, somewhere will find it, you are never alone in the world of blogging, even if sometimes it feels like it when you sit in front of a screen all day hanging out with you, yourself, and you.

Blogging does feel like the deep end, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still swim..

When heading into the world wide web as a blogger, one blogger might think, or will think, that within the industry of bloggers, that there are millions and millions of blogs out there, why should you do this, what will make you different in amongst them all? You, you are what’s different. My blog is a ‘lifestyle’ blog, which basically means I can blog about a variety of things relating to life itself, though I have chosen the health side of things as my particular lifestyle blogging niche as it’s one of my personal passions. Health is most definitely a flooded topic on the internet, you can get millions of responses to any given search you type into Google for what you are looking for, but still I find that my readers find me, that they find me inspiring, motivating and still get something out of my blog posts for what they are, even if there are thousands of others writing about the same thing. Blogging is all about your personal vibe, some people will vibe with you over the thousands of others and that’s how you will build your own brand.

I’ve learnt that there is no point worrying about all the noise out there in your niche, because darling nobody is you, and nobody can bring to the table what you can.

Your community really is everything..

Speaking of community, it’s a slow process organically growing an online community of any kind, but it’s worth it, every new reader is more than worth it. Someone will always support you on your endeavours if they feel that you are speaking your truth, if they can relate to you and feel that they too are a part of your path. People love to feel like they are a part of something, and it’s how you write and talk to your readers as a blogger that makes them feel like they are a part of something, even if it’s virtually. From liking and replying to comments, in amongst my busy schedule I really do try to do my best to get back to them all eventually. I’m not perfect at my replies, but I’m always working on my community, I’m always working on giving back to you, my sparkling reader.

I’ve learnt that to feel a part of something is what makes a thriving community, that we all at the end of the day just want to be a part of something that enrich’s our lives, no matter how big or small. There’s a reason that saying thank you or giving a compliment can change someone’s entire day.

My 1 year stat’s..

My blog has had it’s ups and downs as I knew it would statistic wise. When you first press publish and launch a blog out into the online world it’s fresh, Google loves it, everyone loves it, for about a day, then from there it’s growth is pretty much up to you, your personal time and of course, your budget. I’ve said from the very beginning that I’ve kept my blog very organic, the future of my blog may begin to look a little different overtime as I begin to implement new things, but writing from my heart for this first year was very important to me, I wanted to find my blogging vibe and do it on my own terms. I don’t regret not splashing around more cash to get my blog out there more, because this first year has been extremely enjoyable, though tough sometimes, it’s been everything I dreamed it would be like for a new blogger, and more.

Here are some of the raw and real statistics from 7 July 2017 until now:

Total Blog Views until Present 6300+

Location Viewed 66 different countries from around the world

Total Followers 120 (WordPress: 96, Email: 24)

Blog Post Likes 195

Blog Post Comments 53 (96 including my replies)

Blog Post Count 53

Google Still ranking Number #1 when searching ‘SPARKLE on darling’

I’ve learn that at the end of the day, your idea of success is whatever you believe it to be.

If you would like to read where my blog was at after only 3 months of blogging, you can do so here – ‘The First 3 Months of Blogging + What I’ve Learnt‘.

There is no such thing as the right time to start blogging..

If I had waited until the right time to publish my bog, my blog would have never seen the light of the internet because there isn’t a right time for anything really, today is as good a day than any. There was nothing special about launching my blog last year other than the fact that I have a really strong attraction to the number 7, so my blog I published on 7.07.17, but other than that it was the same as any other year, I was still (and still am) working full time and going about my life as I usually would, I just went for it, and have never looked back. Sure you can wait until you have more cash to splash around or companies behind you to help you grow your blog, but who knows how long you will be waiting.

I’ve learnt that every day without your passion is a day without your magic out in the world, don’t wait, just start. The world needs your SPARKLE.

You have to believe in your purpose to blog..

Every time I write I write from a place of heart, soul and purpose. Before you start your blog, or even if you have already started your blog, even if you are years into your blogging journey, you need to know your purpose of why you are blogging and believe in it, you need to believe in yourself. Even if to some, which it will, seem un-purposeful, blogging that is (I still get questioned why I do it), do it anyway. I blog because I love to create, I love writing, I love taking photo’s and I love building a community and talking to people from all over the world, blogging allows me to do this. I blog because my soul craves it, not blogging particularly, but I have always felt a strong purpose to tell my story and share my journey, because I know deep down I’m suppose to, that it’s part of my path, blogging allows me to do this.

I’ve learnt that we all have a purpose inside us, our purpose is what lights us up, and it’s that spark that lights it that we need to follow.

I have a lot of plans for the future for SPARKLE on darling, as I have from the very beginning of my blogging journey. Most are just dreams and visions right now, but another year on and some of them might just be a reality (or shall I dig deep and say now that they ‘will’ be). Once again, I want to thank you, my absolutely beautiful sparkling reader, for following my journey, from blogging, to my wellbeing, eating and living journey, and everything in between. For choosing to spend your down time reading my content, for letting me know when something I’ve written sparks a fire within your soul and for letting me know that I’m not alone on this journey I’ve chosen to embark on.

Thank you for everything my sparkling community, from the bottom of my blogger’s heart. I cannot wait to share another sparkling year of blogging with you (bring on all of the virtual glitter).

All my love,

My First Blogiversary + How I Celebrated

Happy 1 year Blogiversary to me! If you are a regular sparkling reader of mine you will know that I am Chloe (aka Clo), Soul behind Lifestyle Blog, SPARKLE on darling. Yesterday, 7 July 2018, marked exactly 1 year since I pressed publish on this blog, my passion project, and allowed the rest of the world to see it too. I still can’t believe it’s already been a year, but celebrate it, I most certainly did, and I am so excited to share the day with you and what I got up to.

It’s days like yesterday when I know that this is meant to be a part of my path, because when I think about that quote that floats regularly around the internet.. ‘I think it’s beautiful the way you sparkle when you talk about the things you love.’ – Atticus, it reminds me exactly how I feel when I photograph, write and create content for my blog, and how I ooze excitement when I talk about my blog and what I do here to people in person, and how you can never wipe the smile off my face when I talk about SPARKLE on darling. I think that’s when you really know you’ve found ‘a purpose’, when you light up, when your soul really sets on fire and your heart dances around it, when you can see others seeing it within you, like it’s a part of you, when you know that they sense your passion too right from the moment you begin, that’s when you know, that’s how I knew 1 year ago that this is part of what I’m meant to do.

Shall we get onto what I got up to yesterday on my Blogiversary? Let’s just say it literally had some serious SPARKLE..

Style

I had my nails and my eyelashes done throughout the week and then did my own makeup first thing in the morning, but decided that I wanted to treat myself further and have a blow-dry too before my event. Every time someone else does my hair I forget how amazing it is. I went to the same hair salon where I had my hair done for my original photo shoot for the blog, Bach Hair in Graceville, Brisbane.

When I arrived at the salon I had a long black whilst I was pampered. Yesterday I truly felt like a goddess from start to finish.

I had a similar hairstyle to my original photoshoot, just a little more relaxed in the curls, because yesterday was all about being comfortable and feeling good.

Event

I decided that I wanted yesterday to be full of SPARKLE, but small and meaningful at the same time, so I hosted an intimate brunch to celebrate. I chose the same cafe, Miss Bliss Whole Foods Kitchen in West End, where I had my Launch Brunch for the blog last year (read it here – ‘Launch Brunch for SPARKLE on darling‘ ), and it was even more amazing than the first time, possibly because we had cake, but honestly it is by far one of my most favourite cafes in Brisbane.

I added some small personal touches to the space of the cafe where we were. I wanted everyone to feel like it was a celebration and that they were a part of the SPARKLE with me.

Cute monogram lights to represent my blog name and of course, my iconic ‘SPARKLE jar’.

Sparkling goodie bags for my beautiful guests, which I gave to them when they were leaving to say thank you.

I started my brunch with an almond flat white, my current favourite coffee.

To eat I chose this gorgeous breakfast crumble, and it absolutely tasted as gorgeous as it looks.

We all chose something different to eat and to drink, which is why I love events like this because you can choose what you feel like.

Our smiles say it all, we had so much fun. Is there anything better than good coffee, food and soulful conversation?

So grateful for all of these beautiful souls.

For anyone thinking it, I absolutely did wear glitter to breakfast, and absolutely did leave a trail of glitter everywhere I went yesterday, and for that I truly am not sorry (you should see my car).

My Blogiversary celebration cake by Miss Bliss was a choc-salted caramel vegan baked cake, and it truly was beyond amazing. If I were a cake, this would be me.

The aftermath of my brunch, my most favourite thing to do. If one were to invite me to dinner, I would more than likely try to convince them that breakfast is a much better idea.

Mini Photo Shoot

After my little event one of my beautiful friends Sammy came with me to a stunning location in Brisbane to help me take some more photos to celebrate the day and for my blog. We had so much fun, no captions needed..

Yesterday really was amazing, it was filled with everything I love, from getting pampered, dressing up, good food, good people and creativity, I wish I could relive it again and again. It truly felt like a celebration. I hope to host some bigger events in the future where I am able to invite more beautiful souls along, but it’s these smaller ones that I know I will forever hold close to my heart.

Next week on the blog I will be publishing an in depth blog post about my first year as a blogger, what it was like, what I went through, what I learnt, my tips for anyone wanting to begin their own blogging journey along with all of the stats, behind the scenes and the SPARKLE, so make sure to subscribe to SPARKLE on darling back on the home page to ensure you don’t miss it.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me on my blogging journey so far, for everything you have all done for me, I am so grateful. I’ve said it before, but this little blog really is everything to me, it’s my heart and soul on show, raw and real in every single blog post, every week, so every bit of support means the absolute world to me.

I cannot wait to share this next sparkling year with you, my sparkling reader. The best (and most sparkliest) is yet to come.

All my love,