Melinda Kummer Rubinstein '05 Give and take -- Alumni Experts Share Their Experience

By Melinda Kummer Rubinstein ’05 (English and studio art)

In college, I tested the waters in my first blog, with posts ranging from political rants to slices of life. After a few missteps in the Internet Wild West, where there are no rules, especially about civility, I abandoned the blog, never thinking I would return.

In spring 2009, I was back in the blogosphere reading about white dresses, DIY favors and wedding budgets in preparation for my marriage to Jason Rubinstein ’04. Blogging had come a long way since 1999. More like online magazines and less like Live Journal diary entries, these blogs showed me the successes of focused topical writing in an online format.

The writing itch resurfaced, and I started blogging about my wedding planning experience as Palindrome Bride (www.PalindromeBride.blogspot.com) in homage to our palindrome wedding date, 01/02/2010. My posts were picked up by the national wedding blog Weddingbee.com, where I was featured as a regular contributor. For nine months, I chronicled everything wedding from touching moments to gigantic DIY failures. When I posted my farewell wedding recap, I was left with a burning question: “What now?”

I took the old writing adage, “Write what you know,” and looked around my life. We had just bought a fixer-upper in Durham, N.C., and were watching several hours of This Old House a week. The Lowe’s plumbing department knew us by name. I was navigating the waters of cooking for a family and exploring the abundant farm produce in the South. We were coming into our own as a couple facing burning issues such as merging finances and cat ownership. Palindrome at Home (www.PalindromeAtHome.com) was born out of the stuff of our life. I roughly categorized our projects into Thoughts, Apron and Tool Box, then let the content flow from there.

I taught myself about purchasing domain names and storing online pictures as I took tips from my blog heroes. I hired out graphics work to improve the look and usability of my blog. I attended a BlogHer conference to network and learn from the hottest female bloggers in the country. I wrote, edited pictures and answered comments late into the night. I pushed forward with posting even during family emergencies, allowing the blogosphere to witness our woes and, in turn, to be comforted by longtime readers, now friends.

Today, Palindrome at Home gets roughly 1,200 visits per month. Building the blog certainly took hard work and dedication, but the steps were simple and merely took a leap of faith. Step 1: Find your voice. Step 2: Set up a free blog account. Step 3: Post regularly. Step 4: Keep posting.

Upon our recent move to San Francisco, I worried I would lose readers as our suburban home ownership lives took on an emphatically different, city-dweller feel. My blog friends followed right along with us as I let them in on the excitement of a cross-country drive and the challenges of turning our balcony into livable square footage. As much as our day-to-day routine has changed, the universality of this human experience remains the same. We move, we redecorate, we fail, we triumph and then we do it all again.

 

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