Good morning from Savannah, Georgia! Jamie is a groomsman in a wedding today, so we are enjoying a couple days just the two of us in this beautiful city. (Psst – I’m actually writing this a day early because I want to soak up as much time with Jamie as possible away from the computer!)
Today I’m featuring my blogging friend, Fran! She and I have been following each other via our blogs and social media for a couple years, and she is fun to follow because she is talented at so many things. I won’t steal her thunder and tell you too much, but she has so much to offer fellow bloggers, as well as words of solidarity for moms and military spouses. Meet Fran!
Q: Tell us a little bit about who you are. ☺
A: Hello, hello! I am Fran an Army wife, mom to two full-of-energy boys, and book lover. I am a librarian by trade but I currently work as a blog designer from home. I have lived in 3 countries in 3 different continents and recently told my husband we’ll have to at least visit all other 4 continents in our lifetime since I’m basically halfway there haha
Q: Your blog has so many components! Tell us a little bit about your website – the blog and the design work.
A: It all started as a lifestyle blog shortly after my husband and I got married. I wanted to get to know the military community better and couldn’t think of a better way! From there it grew into a blog design studio specializing in WordPress solutions for female bloggers. I’m still attached to the blogging and community aspect of it so I can’t let go. And I started blogging long before “niches” were a thing which is why it’s a bit of a mishmash but I love it.
Q: Your blog designs are fantastic (which is why you’re working on mine right now! Spoiler alert, everyone!). Where did you learn everything you know about website design?
A: I’ve learned it all on my own! It started by me wanting to pretty up my own blog back in the day, then someone asked me to helped them with their blog, then another person that offered me money, and it just kind of went from there. I didn’t have any knowledge of graphic design or coding at the time and at first I learned by breaking! I’d create demo sites and change the code, break the demo, then figure out how to fix it, learn, rinse and repeat. But in the last 6 years I’ve taken courses online from codecademy.com, lynda.com, and teamtreehouse.com to hone in my skills.
Q: For those who are skeptical to hire a blog designer, what advice or tips do you have for them?
A: This might be controversial (and unexpected) but if you’re a brand new blogger – don’t get a custom design just yet. I know this is backwards from what everyone says but as a brand new blogger, you might not know yet what all you need from a blog design / theme to make your blog work. A custom blog design can be a big investment so you must know what you need and want out of it. Once you are ready for it, do a little homework before contact your chosen designer – look at layouts you might like, fonts, colors, the better idea you have of what you want and need, the easier it’d be to work with your designer.
Q: Where does the name of your blog come from?
A: It’s suuper random (and will actually be changing soon – but ssssh!) The blog name is actually a name I came up with when I was younger and used it for my blog because I couldn’t think of anything better. My name Fran is short for Francisca which means “the free one” and at the time that I came up with this I was obsessed with butterflies, borboleta is butterfly in portuguese (which I don’t even speak!) and that’s where it came from haha.
Q: I know you recently moved overseas with the military! How was an overseas move different or more challenging than a move within the US?
A: It was much more challenging! When you’re moving within the continental US (CONUS), it’s more or less, pack your stuff, drive there, change doctors, etc, unpack, and you’re there. For a move outside the continental US (OCONUS – this includes Alaska and Hawaii!), there’s a lot more little steps you have to clear before they even come pack your stuff!
We had get medically cleared before we could get the okay to move, this included everyone in the family and it’s a process all on itself. For an International OCONUS we also had to get special visas, or SOFA passports / cards. You have two shipments for your house stuff – an express shipment and your regular household goods, you have to ship your car, and don’t even get me started on everything dogs need to move! In short, it’s A Process. But it’s so, so worth it!
If you ever get a chance to move abroad, do it. It’s a grueling PCS but the experience you’ll have abroad, you can’t get anywhere else.
Q: Do you feel like you’re in your “groove” yet with parenting two kids? What’s been the most fun about having two kids? What’s been the most challenging?
A: Oh, goodness no! haha They keep me on my toes every single day. I think the most fun has been seeing Joey become an older brother and watch him care for Ben as best he can – grabbing his burp cloth or binky when he needs it, handing him a toy, etc. The most challenging has been finding a balance between the two. I still feel like I’m being pulled between the two. I love them both to pieces and want to spend as much time as I can with them and give them all my love, but it’s hard when they are both crying and both need me at the same time, or one is sick and I have to spend more time with him then with the other. Finding that balance has been hard.
Where should new readers start on your site?
2016-2017: Looking Back + Looking Forward – This post gives a pretty good overview of where my blog and I are at right now!
4 Things – Oldie but goodie with quick facts about me!
The Bloggers’ Guide To No-Follow Links – Because every blogger should know about this!
And just for fun…
- Tea or coffee? Surprisingly, tea! I love me some coffee but on my day-to-day I drink way more coffee than tea.
- Facebook or Instagram? Instagram but just barely. I used to love it but the algorithm really has me bummed. I hate logging in and seeing photos from a week ago for the first time.
- Pink or purple? Purple, all the way!
- Sky diving or bungee jumping? Neither..? haha If I HAD to choose, I’d probably go with Sky diving, for some reason I fear the cable snapping in bungee jumping way more than I think about my parachute not opening during sky diving. Plus, having an instructor jumping with you in sky diving gives me some sense of security I don’t get with bungee jumping haha.
In case you’re new to Whimsical September…
Hi! I’m Erica! I created the Saturday Sit-Down series in January 2017 as a way to give back to the blogging community and link readers with new bloggers whom they may share similar interests with. Click here to discover more bloggers that have been featured in the Saturday Sit-Down.
Want to be featured in this series?
I have openings starting in late 2017 and would love to feature you! Email me at WHIMSICALSEPTEMBER@YAHOO.COM to get in touch.
Whimsical September Email List
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to two little girls (ages 5 and 2) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo