Photography Credit: Carissa Gallo
I discovered Naomi’s blog, The Rockstar Diaries, in early 2009, when she published her wedding photographs. I immediately fell in love with her and her husband Josh’s effortless style and achingly cool attitude. I loved the way they shared cute little stories about their life as newlyweds – getting married, setting up home, moving from New York to DC, getting their dog Kingsley, having their first child, Eleanor… It was all very unpretentious and honest and I felt connected with them instantly.
So I thought Naomi would be the perfect person to interview today. If you have a blog and you worry about what to share about yourself, then Naomi and her family are the perfect role models to inspire you.
Hi Naomi, I’ve followed your blog for years and I’m so excited to have you in the Green Room today. For those readers that might not know who you are, could you briefly introduce yourself?
I’m Naomi (also known as Taza in the blogging world) and I live in Washington DC with my husband, Josh, and 16 month old baby girl, Eleanor. In 2 or 3 weeks, we’ll be adding a new member to the family as I’m due with our second child, a boy, in early June! We also have an English bulldog named Kingsley who is sort of our world. We love him dearly.
My husband and I met while attending school in New York City (him, Columbia, me, Juilliard). We were married in NYC and lived there for a few years before making our way to DC about 3 years ago. I started our little blog shortly after we were married as a way to share our wedding photos with family and friends. After I posted our wedding photos, I continued to update here and there about our newly wed lives in NYC and it sort of just took on a life of its own from there. I never started my blog with the intention or desire to gain a large following or make money from it. We never advertised our blog or pushed it out there… I remember when we first started receiving comments from people we didn’t know… It made me terribly nervous and I almost made it private. But it’s been a wonderful experience (for the most part, ha!) and I’m thankful for it. I’ve met some of my best friends through blogging, find constant inspiration and support from fellow bloggers and feel fortunate for the opportunities and experiences that have come our way because of it.
Is your blog your full time job and what role does your husband Josh play in the business?
I got my BFA in dance at Juilliard and was teaching up until Eleanor’s birth. At the moment, I find motherhood to be my full time job. Although I’ll admit that our blog could definitely be considered a full time gig if we allowed it.
I blog, answer emails (although I’m awful at keeping up with them), sort through and edit photos and posts for about an hour each evening after my husband comes home from work. On the weekends I try to dedicate a bit more time to the blog. My husband has really stepped in to help as it’s grown and runs most of our advertising and sponsorships. He loves that sort of thing and I’m terrible at it, so it’s worked out really well.
You appear to be very comfortable sharing details and photos from you and of your family online. Is it in any way weird to feel like your living your lives so publicly? Have you ever had any scary moments or do you ever worry about putting such personal things out there?
I think some often forget that what you see on a blog is never the full picture. We blog bits and pieces of our lives together, but there is still a great deal we leave off the internet for both safety and privacy. I often think some readers forget that a blogger also has a right to privacy. There are some things I won’t talk about online and as Eleanor (and any future children) continue to grow older, I think their presence on our blog will shift a great deal.
Your blog is exceptionally popular. Can you think of any defining moments that caused this to happen? Have you ever stopped and thought “wow, I get paid to write about my life”? And do you have any tips for anyone struggling to know what to write about or get their blog noticed?
The growth of our blog has really been an organic process. We never started blogging with the intention to gain a large following or make money from it. It still surprises me often that anyone would want to follow along with our little family life. But I really do love our readers and sharing bits of our life with them. The support in the blogging world is unreal. From marriage to pregnancy to raising a toddler, it’s comforting to find that support and love from an online community and it has meant the world to me. As for tips for someone struggling with blogging, I find that if you blog about what you love, not what you *think* will make your blog popular or help you gain higher traffic or followers, you’ll be successful. For me, it’s never been about the number of comments or monthly stats or anything… in fact, my husband tracks all that for our advertisers, and I stay away from it because all that just makes me nervous. Whenever he starts to say something like, “Wow, we had *blank* number of unique visitors this month”, I tell him to be quiet because I don’t want to look at it that way. I don’t want to get caught up in the numbers and all that. I try hard to blog for me first, documenting my life for me and my family…. and I think the reason I still enjoy it and have found success is because of that.
What do you think makes a good blogger and what do you think separates the successful ones from the mediocre?
I think what makes a good blogger is someone that blogs about what they love, what inspires them… over what they *think* they should be blogging about. I’ve been so turned off my many bloggers who I once loved that suddenly changed their blog to a “fashion” blog or “recipe” blog or whatever was suddenly hot at the moment because they think that will help their numbers grow since it’s everywhere. Suddenly you have to follow their blog and tweet about their blog it in order to enter a giveaway. It’s like, really? I feel like readers see through bloggers who are only in it for money or popularity. If not yet, they will eventually. And that blogger will also eventually burn out. Be true to who you are on your blog. Blog often. And blog only content that you want to blog about. The readers will see you for who you are and appreciate that. And, those readers will keep coming back.
What are your favourite blogs and why?
I cleaned our my google reader over 9 months ago and it was beyond liberating. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with a million blogs and after having Eleanor, my time suddenly became much more precious. I read only a handful of blogs each week now– the ones that resonate with me either because of the photography, the parenting style or approach, their outlook on life, etc. A couple of my favorites are Bleubird, Sandra Juto, and The Littlest Blog.
What inspires you as a business woman and a person?
I really gather inspiration from everything– my close relationships with those around me, beautiful bold colors, people watching, street style fashion… I feel like it’s everywhere.
What does a regular day look like for you?
I spend my days with Eleanor. We often have breakfast with papa before he heads to work. We read a ton of books and play before her morning nap. While she’s asleep I clean up and if I’m lucky, get to answering a few emails (although at 37 weeks pregnant right now, I’ve started trying to nap when she naps since I’m absolutely exhausted these days!). Once she wakes, we have lunch together and take Kingsley out or head to the park or a museum or someplace around the district. Our afternoons vary from day to day…. We like to have dinner together as a family and spend some down time just hanging out together either here at home or someplace in DC before Josh takes E for a bit and I try to get some work done.
What are you most proud of to date, in both your business and personal life?
I’m most proud to be a mother. Staying home full time with your children these days can often get such a bad rap. Some have said, “Oh, you’re so lucky to just get to sit at home all day and shop online.” Um. Really? That’s what you think I do? Being a mother has been the hardest thing I’ve done so far in my life, over getting into and graduating from Juilliard, any professional dance projects, all of it. But to date, it’s also been my greatest accomplishment. I absolutely love it and I’m thankful for this opportunity.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to dance. Be a mother. And have my own sort of business.
Do you have any goals for this year that you’d be willing to share?
Hmmm. One goal I’m willing to share is– after this baby is born in a few weeks, I cannot wait to get my pre-pregnancy body back and into a dance class! I have a hard time just climbing the stairs in our home right now I feel so out of breath at the top! So getting back into shape is a big one for me.
And finally, what’s next for you? Any future plans or projects you are able to tell us about?
Oh gosh, we do have some exciting things in the works via the blog right now but I can’t share them just yet. I hate being that person who has to keep mum, but stay tuned!