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Interview a Blogger, Shae Barry | Blog Series

Hello Again,

Welcome back to my Interview a Blogger blog series, where I have a different blogger each Saturday answer the same questions so we can get to know more about them as a person and more about their blog! Today we have the beautiful Shae from Diary of a Beauty Padawan, let's get to know more about her!

1. Tell us something about yourself and your blog.

Well hello, hello! My name is Shae, I live in Melbourne, Australia and I write for Diary of a Beauty Padawan. As the name suggests, my blog is primarily about my adventures in the realm of beauty -- but I hope to expand further into lifestyle throughout 2016! (Which means, of course, I'm now actually going to need a life.) My style of writing is in-depth but personable. I love detail, so I try to deliver as much as possible so that my readers know the nitty gritty of a particular product, as if they were right there looking at it with me! When it comes to myself, I consider myself to be pretty friendly and easy-going. I can sometimes be shy to initiate conversation, usually because I'm trying to think of something cool to say, but once I get going I'm a regular Little Miss Chatterbox! I'm a cat-lover and a lipstick-hoarder -- is there much else to say? XD

2. How did you get into blogging? Did someone else inspire you?

The whole journey of my foray into blogging is kinda long -- and while I love telling stories, here I'll keep it as short as possible. I was looking for a makeup tutorial on a character from a particular movie, and found a beauty blogger who had done a different look on the same character. We got chatting and became really good friends -- I was completely clueless about makeup too, so she was my go-to girl -- and so the idea of starting my own blog came about because of her.

What actually made me open up my laptop and go, "Right, this is happening today!" was the most disgusting bowl of pad Thai I'd ever eaten. It was as salty as the Pacific, and I hated it so much that I felt compelled to write about how terrible it was -- so Diary of a Beauty Padawan was born but, oddly, the post on pad Thai was never written.

3. What does blogging mean to you, and why?

For me, blogging is personal -- it's all about sharing knowledge and connecting with people. The actual proper blogging aspect about sharing a passion that you have on a particular topic, whether it's beauty, fashion, food, books -- hell, you could probably dedicate a blog to ferrets and there would be people who'd read it -- but there's also so much more to it than that.

When we write a post, how many of us put our heart into it, give it the best we can? I like to think that the majority of bloggers do, whether they it's a full-time job or a hobby. All of us share a piece of ourselves with each other, and the greatest part is that there are other who know exactly how we feel! I love how blogging means that we can connect with others that have similar interests; it's a beautiful thing, especially when we live in a globalised world where people still feel alone.

4. I personally have almost stopped blogging, so what keeps you motivated?

Look, I'd be lying if I said there weren't moments last year where I was just so busy with uni that I thought about going on an official hiatus for a few months -- and, really, the word "hiatus" doesn't sound so bad, but it would've been equivalent to closing down my blog for good.

The reason why I keep going, when I already have so much on my plate, is to prove to myself that I cankeep going. I have half-written posts, half-planned ideas and so, so many photos that I've invested so much time in, I feel like I owe it to myself to keep pushing on. I also have an "open" colour-coded calendar that I created myself, where I have all of my future and potential posts plotted out, and that can help with the motivation as well. Rather than a thousand ideas in my head, everything is set out so that I can tackle one post at a time -- it breaks big tasks into smaller, more achievable goals, and it makes the process far less daunting.

5. Name some (one, two or three) of your favourite bloggers, and tell us why they're your favourite.

Okay, this is easy like Sunday morning.

1. Danielle, "Confessions of a Beauty School Dropout" || Remember my go-to girl for makeup who inspired me to blog? This is her. Not only are we really good friends, but her content is great and I love the makeup looks that she's created in the past. Whenever I have a questions about beauty or blogging, she's still the girl that I run my ideas or questions by. I think she's crazy talented!

2. Emma, "Peace Love Vintage" || Emma is another beauty blogger that I've come to know well too. I always find her content refreshing to read -- I actually find that I take some fashion inspiration from her, and I'm not really into fashion posts -- and have you seen her header? Daaayum, it's good! Emma's blog just has this quality that I can't quite put my finger on; whenever I start to feel a little blog-weary, I can go to hers and feel immediately refreshed. There aren't many blogs that can do that for me, I can tell you.

3. Iqra, "The Blushing Giraffe" || I honestly can't remember how I discovered Iqra's blog -- I don't think it was through Twitter (which is how I discover most blogs), because I realised much later that I didn't follow her on Twitter. Either way, it doesn't matter, because now I do follow her on Twitter and I think she is an incredible human being. She has an amazingly kind personality, and even though I really look up to her, I find her easy to chat to! The content on her blog itself is succinct, on point and just well-written all round.

6. What do you do when you're not blogging?

Too many things, Sarah, too many things.

I'm currently completing a Masters degree in Teaching, which is a full-time accelerated course -- basically, they take two years worth of content and try (notice try) to cram it into eighteen months. It has been a whirlwind and a nightmare, all at the same time; I don't think I can count the number of breakdowns I have had because of it -- luckily I love the shit out of teaching or it wouldn't be worth it! Then, that aside, I work part-time and I babysit full-time as well -- it is a hectic life, y'know what I mean?

My main passion, however, is genealogy. Family history research, family tree building, contextualising what I discover -- I love it all. I know I said that I love teaching (and I do -- especially as I'll be teaching History!), but it's my third choice of career (I was doing archaeology previously, but that's a story for another time); genealogy would be the thing that I would do if I knew that I could make a sustainable living doing it. I got hooked on it when I was 13 and, ten years later, I think I'm pretty good.

Then, that aside, I'm doing all kinds of weird random things -- watching TV shows or reading, mostly, or playing video games. I'm a Pokémon Master in my house and I have a reputation to uphold!

7. What are you most proud of when it comes to your blog?

I think, for me, it's the fact that I have sustained my blog for this long, and that I have a kind of vague trajectory planned out for it. In some ways, I think that it is one of the best representations of myself that I can put out there. I know what my blog is, I know where I want it to go and I know vaguely how I plan to get it there -- and it all comes down to patience with a touch of realism, I think. I know exactly what will be achievable in the next six months, what will be achievable in the six following, and what is essentially what I like to call "A 2017 Thing".

Wow, is this really the shortest answer?

8. Everyone has a favourite and least favourite post: what are yours?

I feel that I could easily classify favourite and least favourite posts as the ones that I like to read and ones that I avoid -- but I feel like it does the term 'favourite' an injustice. For example, take the fact that I don't normally have an interest in fashion posts -- does this mean that fashion posts are my least favourite? Not really, because I don't look at a fashion post on my Bloglovin' feed and go, "Aw HELL nah!" I look at it and go, "Oh that's a cute outfit. Makes me wish I wasn't wearing pyjamas for the second day in a row." and move on.

I can be quite pedantic over semantics at times.

My favourite posts are ones that are well-written, grammatically correct and have an air of personality about them. These are the kind of qualities that can be applied to all sorts of posts: beauty, fashion, lifestyle, fandom, food, books -- the list goes on. Yes, maybe I do usually hit "Skip" on fashion or DIY posts -- after all, I have the fashion sense of an apricot and the crafting finesse of Sharknado -- but there are many bloggers I follow whose posts I will read regardless of their topic, simply because I love the pizzazz of their personality!

My least favourite posts are ones that are very poorly written. The writer's spelling and grammar might be all over the place, making the post difficult to understand, or -- and this happens sometimes with beauty reviews -- they might be generic and non-specific. I'm not interested in posts that go, "Oh just look at this eye shadow palette! Such versatility! Much range! So swatchy! Beautiful on all who adorn it! They last forever!" when I have the same palette and know that while the metallics are awesome, the matte shades are super chalky and blend away easily. Give me details, ladies! Give me photos of those supposedly beautiful swatches! I want to feel like I'm sitting down with you and discussing the ins and outs of this product over a cup of coffee. You don't have to talk forever (which is what I clearly do) but I want to feel like some effort has been put into it.

9. As I'm mainly a beauty blogger, I feel that I have to ask at least one beauty question, so: if you could only use one kind of beauty product, what would it be and why?

Prepare yourself for the shortest answer ever: mascara. I feel like mascara is the glue that holds a look together -- it's the one thing on me that would look good on me even if I wore no other makeup.

And if you're curious: my Holy Grain mascara is Too Faced's Better Than Sex. DEM LASHES.

10. What would you say to someone who aspires to become a blogger?

I have three bits of advice that I'd give to anyone thinking about starting their own blog:

1) Don't be intimidated by what other blogs are doing -- do things at your own pace.

Don't feel like you have to post every day or twice a week. If you want to start out with one post a week, do that. Don't think that you need to have the flashiest design from the get go -- if your writing is good, the readers will come. Don't think that you need the best camera or fancy editing software immediately. I started with my phone camera and edited my photos with Paint (WITH PAINT, I TELL YOU!) -- actually, not gonna lie, I still use Paint. Sorry not sorry.

Of course, if you do want to post every day, have a chic design, use a camera worth $5mil and buy every piece of editing software under the sun right from Day 1 -- go for it! What matters is that you're blogging at a pace that you are comfortable with -- and more importantly, one that you can keep up. Ain't nobody wants you to feel like blogging is a chore!

2) Proofread before you publish.

If grammar wasn't your strong suit in school, take the time to re-read your post just before you hit "Publish". Read it aloud to yourself. You'll be more likely to pick up on mistakes -- basically, if it doesn't sound right, then something might be wrong. If you know someone who's a whiz at it and you're comfortable with showing them your content, ask them to proofread it for you (and perhaps have a bribe on hand as well).

3) Don't worry about the numbers.

It is so easy to get caught up in numbers, it's crazy. When you see blogs start the same week as yours and within three months somehow have hundreds of followers, and you're sitting there praying to stay in double digits... It can be disheartening, absolutely. After all, chances are that you put in just as much effort or that you care about your blog just as much -- why can't you be the one asking for cheeky follows to see if you can get to 900 by the end of the month?

Believe me, none of it matters. What matters is the reason why you blog in the first place, what matters is that blogging brings you joy -- the numbers are just a small extra that makes a great thing that little bit better, like salt on a grilled cheese.

I'd like to say a massive thank you to Shae for taking part in my blog series!!

Come back next Saturday to see what blogger is next.

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