Whats my name?
My first name is Ashley and my middle name is Mae. Ashley is so common so I usually go by both, Ashley Mae. My last name is Fernandez- and no I do not speak Spanish, but I wish I did!
Where Do You Live?
I currently live in Raleigh, North Carolina with my hunky husband, Ben and our 2 black labs, Luke & Lily. Ben and I got married in November 2014 and purchased our first fixer upper in December 2014. We have spent most of our weekends touring around this beautiful city & doing DIY projects in our home. We are also expecting our first child, a little girl, in September 2017- so we are gonna have our hands full come here soon!
Where Did You Go To College?
I graduated from The University Of North Carolina Greensboro in 2012 with a Bachelors Degree in International Business, marketing and Chinese (yes, Chinese!). I studied abroad in Hong Kong & absolutely loved it. My first job out of college was assistant store manager at A&F and I quickly realized retail was not for me even though I loved the manager aspect. So, I switched jobs to a marketing coordinator/manager position.
After a few years, I decided to switch careers completely, and went back to school for Dental Assisting and worked in a Orthodontic office for almost 2 years after I graduated. During that time, I created this blog because I really missed the creative marketing field. I quickly fell in love with writing and creating content and started to pour my heart and soul into blogging and making this a space were others could come connect, learn and relate. Not long after, I was able to quit my full-time job and do this blogging thing full time!
Where did you meet your husband?
I met Ben at our church here in Raleigh. We both were attending a worship night and I commented that I liked his shirt. The rest is history..
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
I don’t have a specific place, but I know I would want to have a lake/pond & farm land. I grew up on a small farm in the middle of nowhere and there really is NO place like the countryside. I also wouldn’t mind living in the mountains. Give me the mountains over the beach any day.
A little bit about my Journey with Jesus
Long story short, I was very very very broken and Jesus pursued my heart and saved me when I was a freshman in college. I seriously have NO idea what I would do without his love and grace. I have written a blog post about my testimony you can check out here– be prepared however, it goes a little deep and raw.
How did it all start?
I already had a background in marketing and loved to write and create and when I switched careers I found that I really missed marketing, I created this little space as a creative outlet. At the time I had just gotten married a year and all my friends that were getting engaged were asking me for advice. I was also still obsessed with all things wedding on Pinterest so I decided I was going to blog about weddings. After about 4 months however, I realized that strictly weddings were not me so I decided to transition by blog to a lifestyle blog.
I have to say when I first switched, I was ALL over the place. I blogged about weddings, my faith, home decor, recipes, fashion, beauty, marriage, DIY projects, stationary, fitness attire… I had NO clear vision and I felt like I was just throwing ideas at a wall and seeing if they would stick. After a few months of working super hard and seeing hardly any traffic to my blog, I felt like giving up. I took a little break and started to RESEARCH and gain focus on what I wanted this space to achieve.
Once I started to hone in on my focus and truly establish my ideal reader and once again did a rebrand of my blog to focus on the 3 main topics that were truly a representation of me and could help people with. You see, the main focus from the beginning was to help others. I lost sight of that for a while and after getting burned out, I prayed really hard about it, took a break and refocused.
I am forever asking myself how I can better this little space on the internet to better fit YOU. My true passion for this space is to be real, open and honest with you and build COMMUNITY. I want you to come here, be able to learn from my mistakes & feel like you have a friend. I want to share my imperfect story with you and how God gives me grace everyday. Most importantly, I want to show you the Love of Jesus and encourage you to chase boldly after his calling on your life!
When did you start your blog?
I started my blog in April 2016 and strictly blogged about weddings. I ended up changing to a lifestyle blog in August 2016 and “attempted” to try and make money from it. It wasn’t until about January 2017 after I took a break and did my research that I started to actually make money. Then in June 2017, I was able to quit my full-time job and go from hobby status to full time blogger. 🙂
What type of Camera Do You Use For Your Photos?
So, I do believe that the message of the photo is more important than the quality, BUT being a huge visual learner and type A perfectionist, I am a little more detail oriented when it comes to photos. I will also tell you that I NEVER post pictures in real time. When I am out with friends or my husband, I try to put my phone away and truly invest in my time with others. It drives me INSANE when I am with someone trying to have a conversation and they are constantly on social media and half way listening in a conversation. Therefore, I try to be intentional with bringing my DSLR camera with me and snapping a few photos and then putting it away. BUT, every now and then I will use my iPhone 7 camera and take the time to edit it later.
The DSLR camera I use is A Canon 80D with a kit lens.
How Do You Edit Your Photos
VSCO cam on my phone and Adobe Lightroom on my iMac.
How Do You Make Money From Blogging?
The first way I started to monetize my blog was through affiliate marketing & sponsorships (working with brands). I have written a post about that here!
I will also say that growing my email list has been TREMENDOUS in monetizing my blog. Why? because you have a focused audience who signed up for a reason! Seriously, if there is one thing I recommend starting from day one, it is building an email list!
Another source of income for me is teaching courses. I got asked on a daily basis for tips on starting a blog, how to grow it and just general questions on growing an email list or social media following. So I decided to create step by step courses where I walk you through how to make these things happen with INTENTION. I have also taken SO many courses from other successful bloggers and was really tired of paying a lot of money for some courses that were complete crap! I told myself I would NEVER do that to my readers and just put something together to make a buck.
I pride myself on sharing the good and the bad and what worked for me and what didn’t. I also believe that starting anything with a CLEAR purpose and vision and not focusing on being “popular” but intentional and showing up for the ones who are already there gets you a lot further to reaching your goals.
I seriously have spent 12 hour work days working months on end to create some of these courses and make sure they are specifically tailored to help you achieve your goals the RIGHT way.
You can find a list of my courses here.
What Do You Blog About?
After I did a rebrand of my blog I decided I was going to focus on my top 3 things!
- The first was my faith and sharing my love for Jesus. You will find a lot of posts about my walk with Christ and how I live each day for him. You will find real pieces of my heart, my struggles & this journey God has me on. I also tend to share a lot about my marriage and personal life because I never ever want to portray that I (or Ben and I) have it all together.
- The second is my passion for blogging/writing and marketing. After earning a business and marketing degree in college, I have been obsessed with creative marketing. At first I have to admit that marketing was a little iffy for me. I was not a fan of scammy sales tactics and all the “fluff” words I would see in the marketing field just to pressure someone into buying something. I was more interested in the visual aspect of it and REALLY helping people in a genuine way. After I started this blog and saw ALL the fake and un-genuine tactics people were marketing to others and promising instant success, I knew I needed to do it different. I wanted to show that blogging/writing could be done with intention, integrity and purpose of helping others.
- The third thing is affordable fashion. Now, let’s just face it, I am girl and I love looking cute while being comfortable. I also LOVE a good sale and pride myself on finding name brand clothes for cheap. If you ask my friends, I am know as the queen of deals on cute clothes and its something thats super fun for me so of course I had to include that on my blog (haha)!
Can You Help Me Start/Grow My Blog?
I sure can! I sure can, Darlin! You can read my How To Start A Blog post here.
Other Ways I Can Help You