The story of 11 Magnolia Lane

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Today we are sharing the story of 11 Magnolia Lane.

framed couch marked

I have been thinking about writing a post on the “story” behind our little blog for awhile now. I figured at some point our readers have wondered our connection or maybe the meaning behind the “11 Magnolia Lane’ title and the backstory on how we started all this. Honestly, many days when I turn on my computer and see the sweet comments and the Facebook posts I marvel at how we got here too!

Super Cute-- laughing

So, here is the whole story… I started a {different} blog as part of my paper (wedding invitations, party design etc.) business in 2009. Whenever I did a project for a wedding or event, I posted it on my little blogspot blog. Most of my followers were my supportive friends. I met Terry during that time as our sons were in preschool together and since she was an event planner there was an instant connection. We started working on weddings and events with our respective businesses, quickly becoming close friends as well. We soon needed to create a website/blog to promote the wedding and charitable event work we were doing together. As we tried to think of a name for the site, we both decided we liked the southern motif and were kicking around using “Magnolia” in the name of the event business.

Terry STep

{Terry}

At the same time, I was reading “party/event” blogs for my business which quickly led to reading home blogs {there were fewer at that time} and I was instantly hooked, after all I love to work on my house as much as I love to entertain. It occurred to me at the time how segmented the blogs were—there wasn’t much crossover {at that time} between the party/event blogs and home décor/DIY blogs and the idea hit me to recruit some talented friends to create a magazine type blog covering all those things like-minded people want to read about. And, as I mentioned in this post on our causes, through our event work, Terry and I were hoping to launch a fun but charitable fundraising event, and we figured a blog would be a great way to spread the word down the road. And, 11 Magnolia Lane was born.

11 Magnolia Lane button

Enter Christy…I have known Christy since my first day of college when– thankfully –the computer assigned us a roommates. We couldn’t be better matched as far as our tastes {you all have probably notice similarities in our decorating, and we tend to reconvene while shopping to find the exact same items in our baskets!} and have stayed close friends in the years since our college days though we haven’t lived near each other since that time. My visits to see her were always the highlight of the summer and it was easy to see how talented she was at decorating her home and entertaining her house guests.

Christy Bright Yellow head Shot

{Christy}

As luck would have it, about the time this type of magazine type blog idea was kicking around in my head, Christy and family had just moved into this stunning home in North Carolina. Each time I visited her I felt like the world needed to see how lovely not just the home was, but the creative ideas she used to decorate and keep her family organized. Before too long, I roped her into joining up with Terry and I to start this little blog. Her pretty house became our initial “brand” and we used a {made up} address of 11 Magnolia Lane, liking the concept of the house and our readers being our welcomed guests.

nc house

We were pretty haphazard when we started, we posted whatever we were up to, and the holidays were upon us so we had plenty of stuff to write about. WordPress picked up Christy’s chalkboard post for “Freshly Pressed” and we suddenly started getting tons of comments on it and before we knew it we were off and running. We sort of played at blogging our first few months, just posting when we felt like it, making a few connections in the blog world and having fun with it. Most of our friends and families probably didn’t even know we were doing it, but it was fun for us.

Garden Shot-1

Things suddenly changed for me when my husband was unexpected transferred across the state shortly after we got the blog rolling. This admittedly threw my life into upheaval with having to close my design business, halt the event work Terry and I were doing, unexpectedly sell our house, find a new house and start completely over in a new area. Terry was working on a major event about the same time and Christy was also moving, {since she is military she rolls with it better then I did!} so we all pulled away from the blog in the summer of 2011, not really thinking or knowing if we’d continue working on it. {Note: that summer was the time Christy remade her new kitchen which eventually got published in Better Homes & Gardens Kitchen & Bath Makeovers, lest you think grass grows under her feet!}.

BH&G Kitchen + Bath Makeovers--Christy's kitchen

photo courtesy Kitchen + Bath Makeovers

I suppose after awhile we all missed blogging, after all, we’re pretty “Type A” girls so we constantly have projects going and a blog provides great motivation to keep going, going going! By fall of 2011, we got back to posting again. I had plenty to share about the house we’d just finished having built, Christy was quickly completing makeovers on her new home and Terry started the work on her “In the Kitchen series” of cooking/healthy meal plansand pretty soon we were back in the swing of it all.

couch shot

In the spring of 2012 we planned a weekend to meet up in person to get better organized and get some photography of the three of us done. {FYI for new bloggers, of all the things we’ve done, I think giving the blog the polished look with the new professional photography helped us the most.} We had a great time that weekend, and came back with renewed energy and suddenly 11 Magnolia Lane became not just a hobby but a business.

amy photographed

While we’re on that slightly touchy subject, after all we all just want to read blogs and see beautiful room makeovers and mouth-watering recipes, not advertisements right? Well, that spring we were accepted into the BlogHer network which has been a great relationship for us. They provide occasional sponsored opportunities which help us offset the costs of running a blog, not to mention the personal costs of craft supplies, décor supplies and even sometimes the childcare we need to actually write our posts. We are very, very careful about which opportunites we participate in, trying only to take ones that match our subject/content areas and things we actually endorse, and we appreciate our readers understanding about them.

So we’re now entering a new stage at 11 Magnolia Lane. Terry is still spending time with her gorgeous new baby boy, but she’s got a ton of ideas about healthy eating and menu planning coming up soon. Christy is getting ready for her next move and will have a new house to start making gorgeous—probably a rental home this time which will give a new perspective since many of our readers are renting as well. I am in a new home too, we were fortunate enough to be able to move back to where we lived when we started the blog {just blocks from Terry!}.

{EDIT: see Christy’s current home HERE, and Amy’s current home HERE}.

street shot

Thanks to all of you who read us, and especially take time to interact with us via comments, email, instagram or on Facebook. As a blogger we all have many, many days where we think—“What am I doing posting my pantry on the internet??? This is totally nuts!” But we enjoy the relationships that we’ve built online and it’s been fun to be a part of this ‘blog-o-sphere’ as it grows.

Did I answer anything you might be wondering? If not, please leave questions in the comments. As always, thanks for stopping by!

XO,

Amy New Headshot 2014 Small

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Comments

  1. Yay, I Love hearing how things come together. I will be at Haven and look forward to seeing you ladies there. I Love that you are in the Carolinas!!

    • Jessica! Great that you’ll be at Haven. We’ll look forward to meeting you! Have a great day, Amy

  2. I loved this post! It was really interesting to see how it all came together. Y’all have such a sweet relationship too. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Lisa! Friendships are priceless, its such fun to work together. We appreciate your kind words 🙂 All the best! Amy

  3. I so loved reading your story and glad that you made it back to the same town…Your friendships are so very inspiring…which lends to your succcessful blog…Yes, I am going to Haven…attended last year and had a fantastic time!..I look forward to meeting you two!!!…

    • Can’t wait to meet you Shirley! Thanks for always supporting us–you are definitely a role model blogger! XO AMY

  4. I love how random you guys are.. in a good way! You keep us guessing what new post we get to read next! And I love how you incorporate family, food, entertaining, and you share your lives so openly… it’s refreshing! And coming from a future military wife, I love how POSITIVE you are about always moving from house to house… it honestly makes me nervous but you guys handle it so well that it gives me hope! Thanks for being awesome!! 🙂 xoxo

    • Morgan, you are SO sweet. You’ll be the best military wife! We are so excited for you. Thanks for always supporting us and your kind words. We’re proud to be RANDOM–I never thought of it that way but I guess that’s just how it all falls with three of us contributing. I am glad you think its a good thing 🙂 All the best, Amy

  5. So I hesitated to comment because sometimes we are lucky and other ‘commenters’ will link back to another commenter’s blog…..well I am just a terrible blogger and I thought…if I leave a comment and someone links back to me then they will see that I am a terrible blogger (in terms of how many posts I posts-or lack there of!). Then I thought…..live in the moment. So right now, in this moment—this is what I want to say…. I love the 3 of you! I think you are hysterical, gorgeous, creative, inspiring and I love your honesty and differences. I just love it all and hope you continue to post and post and post.

    • Lisa that’s just the nicest comment ever. It made our day! You should never worry about when you post or not–you said it best, LIVE IN THE MOMENT! Great thought for the day. We love it!
      XO, Amy

  6. I really enjoyed getting to read the story of how y’all came to be. I enjoy 11 Magnolia Lane and look forward to what is to come. Y’all are doing a great job!

  7. I love your blog! I will be at Haven as well and look forward to meeting you!

  8. Actually, your pantry make overs are what started me following you and getting into the world of home blogging. Each of you have such wonderful gifts and talents to offer readers, I’m blessed to be one of them. I’m encouraged by all your post from cupcakes to back porches. I enjoyed reading about your history with one another and look forward to many more post!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Linda

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