Do you accept advertising? What are your rates?

I do accept limited advertising on the site. I have a google ad banner on the bottom of my site and one 300 by 600 ad on my side bar. The rate is $150 a month with a 3 month minimum.  I prefer six months and offer a discount for multiple month commitments.  The advertiser needs to be a good fit with my blog and something my readers would be interested in discovering (it seems to work best for everyone that way).

I am ambivalent about advertising — we are so inundated with commercial messages and I find that the lines blur very quickly on many blogs that accept advertisements and “sponsored” posts — everything blends together and it is hard to tell what is authentically a blogger’s point of view and what is being paid for. So, that being said:

* I do not do sponsored posts, nor do I accept money to blog about products.
* I don’t do link exchanges.

I have an Amazon affiliate site which means that if you buy a product I’ve blogged about through Amazon I receive a 6% – 8% of that purchase.   I’m a huge fan on Amazon and I never blog about anything I haven’t used or want to buy myself.

I’m coming to NYC – Where should I shop and eat?

Some of my favorite spots include:

City Bakery (Union Square)
Wichcraft (Union Square)
Pure Food and Wine (Union Square)
Any of the Shake Shacks
Balthazar at the bar (SOHO)
Odeon (Tribeca)
Grimaldi’s (DUMBO)
SuperFine (DUMBO)
Articoke – Basille’s Pizza (East Village)
Angelica’s Kitchen (East Village)
Souen (Union Square)
Kefi (Greek Food) (UWS)
Cafe Luxembourg (UWS)

Uniqlo (SOHO) for awesome Japanese basic clothes.
ABC Home (Union Square) and rug shop across the street
Housing Works Thrift Shops
Printed Matter for awesome books
Cooper-Hewitt Gift Shop
Blue Tree (UES)
Hermes (window shopping)
Barney’s COOP (UWS)
Tani Shoes (UWS)
Zabar’s second floor kitchen shop

Riverside Park is a hidden gem on the far west side of the city. Pack a picnic, rent a bike and ride up the city’s waterfront. Parts feel like Paris, other’s like the Riviera.

I’m thinking about applying to the Cooper-Hewitt program – what can you tell me about it?

I loved the Cooper-Hewitt MA in the Decorative Arts and Design.  Great teachers and course selection; lots of handling objects; great library; lots of opportunities to intern in the curatorial departments of the museum.  There is the option to go part time, which worked for me, first with a full time job and then with a baby.

That being said, I stumbled upon the program and didn’t really understand there were other options for this course of study that include; Bard’s program in the history of decorative arts; the Winterthur program in early American culture; the sotheby’s institute; the Corcoran Institute in DC; the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s material culture program.  If you don’t know of these or haven’t researched them already, I would take a look.

Finally, I’d suggest contacting any program you are interested in for recent course offerings.

I’m thinking about buying the Hutton couch, do you like it?

I get lots of emails asking about the Hutton.  I  totally understand that committing to such big furniture purchases is stressful!  Here are my thoughts:

Pros: I LOVE the Hutton and I love Room and Board.  I have the shorter Hutton and really like the size.  Not too big, but really comfortable for two people to both watch TV and for people to sleep on (my sister who is 5 8 sleeps on it really comfortably (and it is wide enough!)).   In terms of wear (the velvet seems to scare people), I’ve been really happy with it — I’ve had it four years and it has held up nicely — it still looks brand new.  The velvet is a very short “nap” and does not get crushed.  And, I often sit on it post the gym or shower and have never had a problem with it marking.

Cons:  the buttons can come off if you aren’t careful — esp if someone sleeps on it without a sheet on the bottom cushion. However, Room and Board sent someone to repair it (three times!) for free, in under a week.   Also, we ordered extra side square pillows (in the same fabric, from room and board, in their custom section), which I think you really need to make it comfortable since it is so deep.  Also, the velvet can pick up dust — but we just vacuum it whenever it needs it.

I want to start a blog; what is your advice?
I’ve met some of my favorite people through my blog; it’s not an exaggeration to say blogging changed my life and my world view; made me feel part of a vibrant, creative community.  There are tons of great books and blogs out there that can give you so much better advice than I can.  Grace at Design*Sponge has some great essays on her site.  But, since you made the effort to ask, here are my thoughts, for what they are worth:

1) Starting is the hardest part; But just start posting on things you think are great; don’t worry about having a niche or theme, that will come in time. Repost other people’s posts if that helps you get started (always, always, always link back to their site no matter how many times you’ve seen it elsewhere). Remember you can always delete posts in a few months once you find your voice and stride.

2) Read this great post by Please Sir on the “rules” http://pleasesirblog.blogspot.com/2008/06/rules-of-blogging.html
3) Commenting is a great way to building a readership and make friends.  Find a handful of blogs that are relatively new that really really resonate with you and comment everyday.  The only reason I say newer blogs is in my own experience, it was the other women starting blogs at the same time I did that were really open to building connections and friendships.  The older bloggers I knew and followed were supportive and friendly but they were already THERE  in the place I wanted to be and what I needed were traveling companions on the road to getting there.  (I’m not sure this makes sense, but, hopefully some of you will get what I’m saying).
4) Keep at it. Everything worth having in life takes time.
5) Find other bloggers where you live and invite them to coffee.  Meeting likeminded people is hands down the most rewarding part of blogging.

6) This seems obvious, but bears including: I try not to put anything in a post I wouldn’t want my mom, a boss or husband to read.  I’m endlessly surprised by who reads my blog and so will you!

7) Don’t be afraid to get personal though; what are you cooking? wearing? lusting after? Are your parents ill? Do you want to have a baby?  Did someone push you on the bus this morning and you’re in tears? The pleasures of a great blog are that you get a voyersitic thrill from seeing another person’s life, warts and all.  None of us are perfect, and in my experience, those who come close are pretty boring.

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