Coffee Date with JoLynne Shane

Every so often, I'll go through my blogger stats to see how people are finding my blog and what I need to keep doing or change to find readers who would enjoy my content. For the past several months, one of my top referral sites has been JoLynne Shane. As a way of saying thanks for introducing me to her readers, I thought I should at least introduce her to mine with my first Coffee Date post of 2016!

Original Posts: One / Two / Three

JoLynne has been in the blogging game pretty much since the beginning of blogkind (more on that below), and I've always enjoyed her polished-yet-practical outfits along with her friendly, down-to-earth writing style. As the new year starts and I'm reflecting about the best ways for me to use this space (shared in here), I also wanted to pick her veteran-blogger brain a little to find out her secrets to success and longevity in this industry.,

For those who many not be familiar with you or you blog, can you tell us a little about your background and your life now?

JoLynne: I grew up in Southwestern Virginia in the era of AquaNet and sky-high bangs. But when I went to college in New England, I loosened up ​quite a bit and became a lot lower maintenance. My husband is eternally grateful. We've been married for 20 years​,​​ and we have 3 kids and a dog. ​I was a schoolteacher in my former life, but these days blogging is my full-time job. We live in the suburbs of Philly, which is the area where my husband's family is from. I love it here. It doesn't hurt that we are located 20 minutes from the biggest mall on the East coast.
JoLynne and Family: Original Post

For your regular blog followers who already know you pretty well, is there anything they might be surprised to learn about you?

JoLynne:​ It might surprise people to know that I'm very musically inclined. I played the violin for 10 years and took voice lessons in high school. I used to sing solos in church, and I was an active member of the concert choir in high school and college. I miss singing. I'd love to be a part of a local chamber music group at some point, but right now, I don't have the time to dedicate to that.

That's so impressive! If you ever get back into music I hope you'll share some videos on your blog. (Or Snapchat would be great for sharing that sort of thing in a non-permanent place...hint hint!) I can certainly understand why you don't have time for that, though. For me personally, keeping up with two kids, two blog posts a week, and 5-7 Instagram posts a week feels like a full plate. You have three kids (and a dog!) and manage to post on your blog and Instagram every day! By all means please tell me your time management secrets because I have no idea how you do it! 

JoLynne:  I don't have any great time management secrets. In fact, I am pretty inefficient at time management. I'm one to hop around from task to task, which I know is a bad habit. I'm trying to get better about that. I am also incredibly detail oriented and spend too much time tweaking every little thing until it is just how I want it. But since this is my full-time job, I dedicate 30-40 hours a week to the blog and Instagram. If anything suffers, it is the housework. I'm also fortunate that my husband helps a lot with the kids so it's not all on me.

I think it's really impressive that you've managed to turn your blog into a full-time job, and I know that's a long-term goal for a lot of bloggers and aspiring bloggers. Just for some perspective, ow long have you been blogging, and what advice would you give to someone who wanted to start a blog now or who is just getting started? 

JoLynne: I've been blogging for almost 10 years so I'm a bit of a dinosaur in this space, however, I've only just recently narrowed my focus to fashion. Fashion has been a part of my blog for a long time, but lately I decided to go all in with fashion blogging, and I love it! [Read about how she made that transition in this post.] My best advice for someone who wants to start a blog is JUST DO IT. I think people get too hung up on how to start, and they feel like they have to know so much before they can get started, but it's easy to set up a free blog on Blogspot and start writing, taking pictures, and putting yourself out there. Everything else will come in time.

That's great advice, and if anyone is qualified to give it, it's you! Ten years is a really impressive accomplishment. Are there any mistakes you've made along the way, things you wish you'd known sooner, or blogging regrets from your experience? 

JoLynne: I'm not one to live with regrets, and every decision I've made along the way has grown my blog into what it is today. But I do tend to wait too long before letting go of things that are weighing me down. If I have any regrets, it is not following my instincts sooner.

Despite your claim that you're not the best at time management, you are undeniably consistent with your content. Do you have some tried-and-true strategies for that? 

JoLynne: Having an editorial calendar and planning ahead has helped a lot. I hate to wake up and not know what I'm writing about. I prefer to have a few posts in my draft folder, ready to edit and publish. I also take several outfit pictures in one photo session so I don't have to get fixed up every day. ​ 
Original Posts: One Two / Three

So if you happen to have a minute to spare outside of family and blogging, are there any other things you’re working on in your personal life right now? 

JoLynne: I'm working on decluttering and simplifying. I know it's trendy, but with good reason. Americans tend to have so much stuff. I feel stifled by clutter, but I have a hard time getting ahead of it, so it's my goal for 2016 to tame the beast. I've been reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, and​ ​it's a game changer!​

Ohhhhh, yes. I read that last summer (I posted my review here) and although it didn't change my life, it really motivated me to make some changes. I could also use some motivation to clean up my diet a little this year (#sugaraddict), and I recall that prior to shifting your blog focus to fashion, you shared quite a few recipes and healthy eating ideas. Do you have any current healthy-food favorites? 

JoLynne: ​I do eat pretty healthy. I'm gluten-free and into the real food movement, but I hate to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. My favorite go-to recipe at the moment, one that the kids love and is easy and healthy is Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Sweet Potatoes:

Those do look very tasty and healthy! I hear you on not wanting to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It cuts into my Pinterest and blog reading time! Just kidding...but not entirely because I do really depend on those tools to keep the outfit and blog post motivation flowing. Where do you like to look for fashion inspiration? Do you have any favorite stylish celebrities or fashion bloggers?

 ​JoLynne: ​I am always inspired by Jennifer Aniston. I love her style, and I think she's gorgeous in a very girl-next-door sort of way.

She is definitely one of my favorites, too. Jen and I are both Aquarians, and I've recreated quite a few of her outfits in my Astrology Style posts (e.g. here and here). In terms of your personal style, what's one of your can't-live-without fashion items?

JoLynne: My moto jacket! I love that thing. I can put it on over any basic t-shirt or sweater, throw on my favorite jeans, add a scarf, and I feel like a million bucks!​
Original Posts: One / Two / Three (Similar Jacket: Nordstrom)

You are definitely speaking my language! I'm something of a moto jacket collector (that's a nicer way of saying addict). You mentioned on Instagram that your current favorite moto jacket is sold out, so I'll just mention that the one I have is another great (currently available) option:
Jacket: Express

And last but not least, do you have any recent purchases that might be on track to becoming your next closet staple? 

JoLynne: I splurged on a Tory Burch Britten Tote with some Christmas money, and I am LOVING it.
Original Post ( Also worn here and here)Exact Bag

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A big thanks to JoLynne today for taking the time to collaborate on this post with me! I really enjoyed getting to know her better and hope you all did too! To keep up with all of her latest outfits and happenings make sure to follow along with her blog and Instagram!

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  1. wow can't believe she's been blogging for 10 years that's impressive. Loved getting to know more about her.


  2. I was so excited to see your coffee date was with JoLynne! I've been following her for a few years and love her style! It was so fun to learn more about her!

    Doused In Pink

  3. This is great! Ive never heard of her blog before but I'll definitely be checking it out now. Doesn't hurt that she has a picture in Pittsburgh!!

  4. oh so lovely to meet JoLynne, what a fun post. I feel like I learned so much about her aaaaand just added like 5 things to my 'to buy when january is over' list. i love what you said 'polished but practical' so true. i think that's why i love your blog / outfits so much (besides the fact that i also just really like you as a person.. anyway) because some fashion bloggers outfits are so out there, things i'd never wear in real life. anyway hashtag rambling what else is new. i'm also gluten free so checking out that recipe now! yum.

    1. Aw, well that make me very happy to hear! Not the 5 things on you shopping list, but that you find my outfits polished + practical! :)

  5. Jo-Lynne is so super nice and stylish and definitely inspiring! This was a fun read!
    Carylee | http://morepiecesofme.com

  6. Love this type of post, Gina! Thanks for introducing her blog. Looks like a great one. I will definitely check her blog out. Happy Tuesday!

  7. So honored to be featured as your first coffee talk blogger of the year!!! Thanks so much for having me. :)

  8. How sweet of you! I love that you featured her and gave her some recognition! I loved reading about her and seeing her family. Her style reminds me a bit of yours as well, which I really like. I like that you both take pieces and mix and match them into totally different styles.

    Denise | Fashion Love Letters

  9. Great post. Her link up is one of the few link ups that I do that gets my blog a lot of traffic too. I like her style because it is so real and practical for my lifestyle.

  10. She is amazing! Love her advice, 10 years is a really impressive accomplishment! I imagine how it was when blogging just started! Great coffee date!

    We Shop in Heels

  11. She sounds great! It's nice to read about a fellow long time blogger, and yet I'm bummed that I'm unfamiliar with her blog! I'll have to check it out :) Thanks for sharing Gina! You're always so good about introducing people.

  12. I love these coffee dates of yours. I have got to read that Art of Tidying Up book. I see it mentioned all over the place. And those stuffed sweet potatoes are calling my name.

  13. Love this post Gina! She sounds awesome. I will definitely check it out! Great coffee date:)
    Hope you are having great week.
    Xo, Raysa

  14. Thanks for sharing this Gina. Anew blog to follow:)

    1. So glad you enjoyed, Margaret! Thanks for reading! :)

  15. Wow congrats on this new segment of your blog - and happy to know that Jo-Lynne is your 1st one!


  16. I loved this post! I really enjoy JoLynne's blog, so it is fun to learn a little more about her. I knew she had been blogging for a long time, but I did not know it was her full time job. I love her clean style and her kind demeanor. I'm checking out that recipe!

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style


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