As the blogosphere grows ever larger, it takes a lot to make a blog stand out from the crowd. When I stumbled across the blog La La Lovely, I was struck by the elegant simplicity of the design and the pretty and well-written content. Then I saw her family and home featured in the Land of Nod catalog and I was even more smitten. At the Alt Summit design conference, I was lucky enough to meet the blogger behind La La Lovely, Trina McNeilly, and she is just as sweet as her blog name suggests.

What does a general day look like for you?

TM^Every day is a little different but most days, we wake up around 7 a.m. and quickly make breakfast and pack lunches. The older kids leave around 7:50 for the day. After that, I usually have a cup of coffee and check e-mail, etc., while Liam watches a cartoon. Rocco gets up around 9 a.m. and we get dressed for the day. We then usually play and do chores (as in, I do the laundry and/or dishes) until lunch time. Some days we have swimming lessons or take walks, if it is nice out. After lunch we may play just a bit or watch Yo Gabba Gabba and then it's naptime. Once the babes are in bed, I jump on the computer. That quick blogging session comes to an end and I pick up Ella and Luke and we usually are off to gymnastics or piano and get home just in time to throw dinner on. After dinner, everyone helps clean up and it's homework, baths, books and bedtime. I usually get back on the computer to work on a post or project. I've been trying to power down earlier than later so I can fit in time to just watch a show, read a book or chat with Stephen. And I almost always end the day with a cup of green tea and dark chocolate.

It all sounds very smooth and easy going but usually the schedule gets interrupted with this or that and we always find ourselves moving along in fast forward trying to get everything done.

When do you blog? Where? Do you squeeze in the time here and there or do you have a dedicated window?

TM^I have a little work area set up in my bedroom. It's my little creative corner, with an inspiration board, and I do most of my blogging from there.

For the most part, I blog during naptime and at night. Honestly, I used to stay up way too late but that just isn't working for me anymore (I've gotten better the last couple of months although, old habits are hard to break). I also have 2 days a week where my little ones go to pre-school, and my mom is wonderful and helps me out too. I try to get a lot done on those days but I also like to (have to) fit in a workout and grocery shopping, too.

And, I do tend to squeeze in little things here and there, like checking and responding to e-mail, a quick hit of Pinterest and so on — but that is also something I'm trying not to do so much.

I only have two kids, and I have help with them, and I still struggle with fitting everything into the day. With a big family and a growing readership, do you have any tips on time management?

TM^First of all realize you can't get it all done. I still have a hard time accepting this, but I find that when I do, I'm much more relaxed and I accomplish more and stay optimistic.

I've been time blocking, meaning I give myself a half hour to do a task and then stop. I then move onto to the next task for a certain allotted amount of time.

I am a crazy list maker. I like to keep a hand-written to do list and I love using Google calendar for schedules (the color coding is the best). I'm also a huge fan of Teux Deux.

Lately, I've been time blocking — meaning I give myself a half hour to do a task (such as e-mail) and then stop. I then move onto to the next task for a certain allotted amount of time. I find that it helps me to focus and work smarter (for instance answering the most important or timely e-mails first).

Currently, I'm trying to improve on prioritizing, decision-making and working faster. I tend to waste good time over thinking things and I'm learning to try to trust my instinct and be more decisive.

Your family and home was recently featured in the Land of Nod catalog. Can you tell me a little about how that happened and what it was like? What other opportunities and experiences would you say blogging has brought about?

TM^It all started with an e-mail, really. I was redecorating Ella's room and contacted The Land of Nod about incorporating a few of their products. We made a video revealing the outcome, which led to another e-mail and we began some conversations about collaboration. The whole process was so much fun. It was a like a dream come true to design several spaces with amazing pieces and work alongside some brilliant creatives. My family had such a great time (see what I mean?). So much so, that my 3-year-old keeps talking about everyone. I cannot say enough nice things about The Land of Nod. They are really doing some amazing things and their products are quality and right on trend. I still get a little overwhelmed thinking about the amazing opportunity and am just grateful for the new friends I made.

I have had a lot of fun experiences come from blogging that have involved travel, decorating, new friends and so on. It's also given me the opportunity to take on a few freelance writing jobs, which I really enjoy.

What are your favorite blogs to read? Do you feel part of the blogging community, or does it feel like a solitary endeavor to you?

TM^Oh, there are so many blogs I love to read. I just need about two extra hours a day to fit it in. A few that I frequent are: Simple Lovely, Bleubird Vintage, Simply Grove, Design for Mankind, Mackin Ink, Decor8, Sacramento Street, Design Mom, Breanna Rose, The Design Files.

I do feel part of the community, although I didn't always. It takes effort, just like a friendship does. You have to reach out. I've attended ALT Summit for the past three years and it has been a game changer for me. It was scary (and felt a little crazy) to go meet all these people you talk to online, but it was so worth it. There is just something about stepping away from the computer and talking to people face-to-face, right? I found that talking with others that have the same interest as you is really not that hard to do. I have made some really great friends and had some amazing opportunities just by meeting others and reaching out.

What is the most important lesson you've learned about blogging, either about yourself or something you could share with someone just starting out?

TM^

The feel, the voice, and the tone of your blog should always be an extension of you and what you love and are interested in. People are looking for authenticity.

Be yourself! It's way too easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and then comparing yourself. It's a bit of a trap because you can waste a lot of good creative energy focusing on what you think you need to do in order to keep up. The truth is, there are always going to be things you have to do to keep up (hello, ever changing technology) but the feel, the voice, and the tone of your blog should always be an extension of you and what you love and are interested in. People are looking for authenticity. The blogs I love to come back to over and again are the ones where you get to know the blogger, you can hear their voice and there is a conversation to join in on.

That's just what your blog does, Trina. That's why we love La La Lovely.

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