Welcome to the “Tell Your Story” highlight reel.
If you haven’t guessed it as yet, everyone has a story. Within each is identifiable life experiences, anyone can glean from if open to receive.
This is a Highlight Reel of another’s life journey designed to inspire.
So, prepare your mind and enjoy a coffee/tea as this mother-daughter Stephanie/Sydney of @smalltownliv share their story.
Hey everyone! Small Town Living USA is a lifestyle blog started by Stephanie and Sydney, a mother and daughter duo. We blog about several things that we are passionate about. Recipes and restaurants are definitely at the top of our list, being the foodies that we are. We also enjoy blogging about small towns and small businesses. Shopping local and supporting small businesses is extremely important to us! Travel, holidays, family and home décor are other things you will find us blogging about.
Introductions: I am Stephanie, the Mom of this duo. Some of my hobbies are reading, journaling, planning with the Happy Planner, cooking, baking, traveling and spending time with my family. I love all things coffee and chocolate! They seriously should be a food group! My husband (Jim) and I have been married for 33 years. We have two children, Sydney and Mason. Jim and I have just started into the empty-nester phase of our lives. Definitely looking forward to being a grandma in the (hopefully near) future. 😊
Prior to blogging, I was a medical biller and coder in a busy pulmonology practice. I really enjoyed the challenge of getting medical claims paid and working with insurance companies. I gave up this position because I was needed to help with my father-in-law who was suffering from Alzheimer’s. I helped take care of him until he lost his battle this past June. I wouldn’t have traded this time with him for anything in the world! I learned a lot about life and what is truly important during this time.
Introductions: I am Sydney, the daughter of this duo. I absolutely love Christmas!!! I am an absolute Christmas fanatic!!! I always have my tree up by November 1st (please don’t hate me!). I also love to bake, cook and travel. My husband (Austin) and I have been married for two years. We both are looking forward to children in the future (and it can’t come soon enough for my mom and my mother-in-law). Austin and I hope to be able to adopt a baby with down syndrome, as well. We both have a passion for children with down syndrome!
Prior to blogging, I worked as a paraprofessional in a kindergarten class for a sweet little guy with Cerebral Palsy. I loved this position and had planned on staying in this field, but when my husband accepted a position that would take us back to Ohio we couldn’t turn down the opportunity. We were living in Florida and both wanted to get back home before we had children. We were so blessed to be able to get back home!
Why did you start blogging?
I (Stephanie) have always loved writing. Journaling is a huge passion of mine. There is something about an empty sheet of paper or a blank computer screen that just seems to speak to me. Sydney has loved photography for years. She really enjoys taking people pictures and capturing those special moments for them. We had been tossing around the idea of a blog for several years and the timing just seemed to fall into place for us. I do the majority of the writing and Sydney does the majority of the photography.
Blogging is such a creative outlet for us, but also gives us a chance to share so much with the world! Whether a recipe or a place we have traveled to someone always seems to appreciate the story and the photography. Our favorites are when we get a message that something we have shared has really touched someone and made their day! Those are the best!
Sydney and I have always been very close. Blogging together gives us the opportunity to do what we both love and spend time together. What could be better? 😊
What hurdles (mental or physical) did you have to overcome to get your blog started and continue on today?
For me (Stephanie) that is easy, technology. I am a complete technological misfit! I have always been a paper and pencil kind of girl (remember, I am 53!!). Facebook was the only social media platform I used. Learning how Instagram and Twitter worked was a huge deal for me. But…I hung in there, asked a lot of questions and finally got them figured out. I laugh now at how easy they are, but what a huge obstacle I made them.
For me (Sydney) it was learning how to design the blog and all the background work that goes into it. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes. SEO is still an ongoing lesson for me…
Patience is something we both have to work at if we are being honest! I (Stephanie) get impatient when there are computer glitches and Sydney can’t get them fixed quickly. Sydney gets impatient when I can’t grasp a technical concept. This definitely is a hurdle some days!
For both of us, it was pretty easy to know who was going to do what. Figuring this out was a much smaller hurdle. I (Stephanie) do the writing, set up the appointments at the small businesses to do interviews, do most of the face-to-face talking with people and post on our social media platforms. Sydney does the photography, editing, maintenance of our blog and computer troubleshooting. These decisions were definitely the easiest to make of all the things we had to figure out.
What advice would you share with someone who wants to start blogging?
Do a lot of research! Read a large variety of blogs! Sydney and I spent about 4 months doing major research. She researched the technical side while I researched the writing and content side of blogging.
We also enrolled in a 30-day blogging course. That was so helpful! They had so many different sites for us to check out and answered questions for us we didn’t even know we had.
Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Questions are how we learn. Make mistakes, if you aren’t making mistakes you are not growing and learning.
Finally, make sure to have fun! That is what this is all about. If you are not enjoying it then it becomes just another thing you have to do. Blogging is about sharing what you love and are passionate about with the rest of the world
Sydney and I would like to thank Al Bell for allowing us this opportunity to share a little bit about ourselves with you! Hopefully, you learned a little bit more about us.
In short, we did ladies. Thanks for sharing your experience with us and much-continued success to you both.
To follow and stay up to date on what Stephanie and Sydney are doing connect with them through their website listed below.