Holy crap guys IT'S BEEN A MONTH. I saw this post today from @thefemalehustlers and laughed out loud, because I relate 1000%. Byeeeee, January.

There was so much, honestly too much, going on this month, that for the first time since starting my blog, I decided to put posting on the back burner for the past few weeks.

I'm one of those people who piles it on even when it seemingly can't be done, and I finally gave into the reality that "keeping up with it all" just wasn't in the cards. Letting it go and moving on without dwelling is one of my goals for this year, so here we are, a few weeks later, and I'm feeling pretty damn good about not feeling guilty for being a little MIA.

Before I jump back into regular content, I wanted to share a little life update, and fill you in on what I've been up to this month. Thanks for sticking around, even when life's a hot mess!

1. I Launched a Podcast

So incredibly excited about this new little passion project! We're already 3 episodes in and my heart is incredibly happy from all of the great feedback I've gotten from you guys.

I wanted a way to be able to bring you the BTS blogging content and growth strategies that I'm so eager to share, but often don't have the time to dish out in the form of a YouTube video, blog post, etc. Starting a podcast was the perfect option; with a little prep during the week, I can take a few hours out of my day and just TALK to you all, which has been something I've really loved doing.

Learn more about the Blogging, Unscripted Podcast here, make sure to follow along with @bloggingunscripted on the gram, and request an invite to our private FB group, where there's a constant line of open communication and real talk about all-things blogging.

2. Our Bedroom Reno

If you've ever had work done at your house, I'm sure you can relate to the stress that comes with having people working every day and everything being out of order.

life update
life update

We're redoing our upstairs bathroom and bedroom, and everything is a mess. Finally chose our paint color, thanks to your recommendations (we decided on Benjamin Moore American White), rescheduled painting about 6 times, and TODAY, we finally started.

So, so excited to re-do our little space; I'm bursting with ideas and have pinned probably 6283 home decor pins in the last few weeks.

Some new additions will be: changing out the knobs on all of our bedroom furniture (using these), getting creative with a hat display, a leaning gallery wall behind our bed, some greenery, a little desk space refresh (picked up this rug), new curtains, and some new colorful accents since everything will be mostly white/light grey. Will share all of my updates and what I'm shopping on Instagram, so be sure to follow along!

3. A Potential Lawsuit

That title sounds so much more dramatic than it actually is, but I want to clue you guys in (especially my bloggers) on something happening constantly that needs to be addressed.

A few weeks ago, I posted a photo on my feed, which was subsequently taken by a popular brand and used as their homepage ad. "Oh, so cool! What great exposure!" NO. What we call that is unlawfully taking an unlicensed image and using it for free marketing without consent.

My immediate reaction was to send over an invoice, to which I was met with, "We are sorry that we didn't list out all the details of our collaboration as we normally use bloggers' videos and photos for promotional purposes. As all your photos used for promotional material have been taken down online, we are glad to offer you USD200 store credit as compensation at this point."

Wait...what? Mind you, I've never worked with this brand, nor were the items in the image used even from this brand.

This is where the whole "knowing your worth" comes in, because f*!k no was I going to accept $200 store credit and a shitty, unthoughtful response from your "head of marketing".

Of course my response was a bit more politically correct, but I have a pretty strong inkling that this is going to be a fight. While it may seem like more of a headache that I'm not just accepting their offer and moving on, whats even more of a headache, is giving in to such unreasonable compensation and perpetuating the cycle that makes brands think this is okay.

So, more to come here, but guns areeeee a blazing.

4. Presetgate

So coincidentally, as I was seeking advice for the image issue, another blogger recommended Pixsy, a website that helps you find where and how your images are used online and recover compensation for unauthorized use.

life update
life update

I spent a few hours on the site upon signing up, checking out my matches (most of which were Pinterest repins or article features), until I came across a collage of my images with my Presets by Danielle logo smacked on the center that looked anything but legitimate.

Come to find out, a company based in the Ukraine (two women, actually), had been stealing and reselling hundreds of Lightroom Presets by bloggers, profiting off of our work.

Not my greatest quality, but I'm a "don't get mad, get even" kind of girl, so of course the most logical (but was it?) option was to put them on blast a) to call them out but primarily b) in hopes of enough reports to shut down their fraudulent account.

Long story short, they were offended that I "didn't just ask them to take MY work down" (I'm sorry are you f*cking kidding me?) and in turn, decided to send a Dropbox link to the masses with an open download for my presets.

I spent all day filing DCMA take down notices, writing to (which is Russia's version of Facebook), and things eventually settled down.

To be honest though, still feeling a little on edge and irked at how easy it was for them to keep creating new accounts and going about their business. Another lesson in "know your worth". 

So now do you believe me that IT'S BEEN A MONTH? Never thought I'd be so ready for my least favorite month of the year but...let's get on with February already, shall we?

As I mentioned above, I'll be jumping back into a normal posting schedule next week with some fun Winter content coming your way. Thanks for hanging in with me! xo

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