An Exclusive Interview With 2010 Canadian Weblog Awards Winner Connie Of Sogni e Sorrisi

Connie authors the 2010 Canadian Weblog Awards winner Sogni e Sorrisi, which placed 1st in Fashion & Style.

Why blogging? Why did you start blogging, and what drives you now?

To be honest, I started blogging on a whim. I hadn't read very many blogs and didn't know much at all about the blogging world when I first started. I saw blogging both as a creative outlet and as a way to stretch my writing muscles. Once I got started, I realized that blogging could also help me to jumpstart the freelance writing career I’d always thought about but never pursued.

What are some of your favourite things? Tell me about your favourites in television, fashion, and whatnot.

I love fashion and interior design, beautiful items, and things that make me smile. Some of my favourite Fall 2011 shows at New York Fashion Week, which is going on as I write, were Jason Wu, Tory Burch, and Rodarte. I’m looking forward to seeing what the shows still to come have in store!

I have to admit that I may not have the most highbrow taste when it comes to television, but the shows I do watch I love. I regularly post about two of my favourite TV shows — Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars — on my blog, including the fashion featured in each. I'm still mourning the loss of LOST, and I do watch reality TV like Jersey Shore, The Real Housewives, and sometimes The Bachelor.

Some of the other things I love/am loving: Books. Travel. Chartreuse. Wide-legged pants. Sparkle. Bright lips. Trays. Rustic elements for interiors mixed with Baroque glamour.

You obviously have a strong sense of style. Do you believe that a sense of style must be inborn and intuitive, or can one be cultivated through cultural immersion and education?

Thank you, I like to think that over the years I've gained enough confidence to have a sense of style that is my own, as well as the courage to express it. I think personal style is largely intuitive; we each like what we like for a variety of reasons. I think the best kind of style is when you are doing you and not trying to be a copy of someone else.

That said, we can all learn, and gaining inspiration from others is one of the reasons I love blogging. I am constantly being educated and enlightened by dozens of talented tastemakers daily. It's awesome. But at the same time I try to take whatever inspiration is gleaned and use it so it fits my own personal aesthetic.

Fashion is much more trend-friendly than interior design, I find, because a lot of fashion pieces can be more affordable and, therefore, more disposable. You can buy into a trend for the short-term, say trying out a new red lipstick, and if it doesn't work out you haven't lost much. When it comes to interior design on the other hand, a lot of what we buy is much more long-term and expensive, so really loving the pieces — as opposed to trying to emulate a style or trend — is really important, I think, for ensuring you'll love what is in your home for some time to come.

Where do you find ideas for your content? If you are feeling less than inspired, where do you look for inspiration?

Street style photographs never fail to inspire. These days I find myself much more drawn to looking at how real people style themselves on the street rather than editorials, although there are obviously always great photo spreads in magazines as well.

Looking at street style photographs from sites like Jak+Jil, Stockholm Street Style, and The Sartorialist also allows me to zero in on looks and trends I love and expand from there. Interior design magazines and their beautiful rooms are also great jumping off points, inspiration-wise, as are online magazines like Lonny, Rue, and High Gloss.

One of my goals as a blogger is to start increasing the original content on my site. While I still don't have the nerve for outfit posts (I think I'll leave that to the bloggers who do it seamlessly for now), we are moving into a new home soon, which I'm hoping will provide a lot of innovative content and even some DIY ideas for people like me who have never really attempted stuff like that before. Hopefully I won’t be in need of too much inspiration in the months to come, although there will surely be lack of sleep!

Are you open about being a blogger? How do people offline react to your online writing?

I would never hide it, but not many people in my "real" life know I'm a blogger, and those that do don't read my blog (I don't think!). I think in a lot of ways blogging is new to many, especially in Canada, so those I have been talked to about it with a lot of questions about what it is and how it works.

I've had the good fortune of meeting other bloggers and I think it's wonderful how many amazing people I've met through my blog and how many opportunities it has afforded me so far.

Which blogs are your current favourites? Which weblogs have been most influential in the shaping of your own blogging?

It is so hard to narrow it down, because I literally read a ton of blogs. It wouldn't seem fair to me to only single out a few. Lately, I haven't had as much time to comment as I would like, but I'm always keeping up with other bloggers. One of the first blogs that I started reading was Elements of Style, which is still so well done by Erin Gates.

What advice do you have for new bloggers?

Blog what you love and don't limit yourself. The quest for daily content can be difficult if a) you're not passionate about the subject or b) you've given yourself too narrow a focus.

Do you. I think that when someone is writing about things they love and/or are knowledgeable about that comes across. People are drawn to that kind of content and a genuine voice. You don't have to be like Successful Blogger X, but rather be yourself and you'll find your niche.

Interact with others. I've learned so much from the people I've met, both online and in real life, and it has enriched my blogging experience incredibly. I don't think people should focus on gaining followers or page views, but I also can't imagine blogging would be as fulfilling for me personally if I didn't have that interaction with my readers and other bloggers.

Embrace other forms of social media. I'll admit that I only recently got myself a blog-related Facebook account, and I'm not on there much, but I find Twitter to be a great resource to use in conjunction with blogging. Not only does it really help you meet people and get word about your blog and posts out there, but it's also an immediate way to communicate with others in the blogsphere and beyond.



2010 CWA Winner:
Just outside Toronto
Sogni e Sorrisi
1st in Fashion & Style
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Elan Morgan

Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They have been seen in the Globe & Mail, Best Health, Woman's Day, and Flow magazines, TEDxRegina, and on CBC News and Radio. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.