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Why I’m not that offended by Martha Stewart. (Thoughts from a blogger of 7 years)

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I know there’s been a lot of conversation around Martha’s recent “who are these bloggers” comments the past couple days, and – even as someone that’s been blogging for over 7 years – it wasn’t my initial instinct to publicly weigh in, partially because a lot has already been said, but mainly because for some reason I just wasn’t experiencing as strong of a reaction personally as most of the ones I’d seen.

At first I wondered what my deal was – why I wasn’t getting all up in arms like I should be – but after reflecting on the situation for a bit, I figured out the reason why I wasn’t having a strong reaction, and it honestly kind of surprised me! So… I decided to share a few thoughts on the situation after all, in hopes that an alternative perspective might offer some comfort – or at least food for thought – to fellow bloggers that may still be feeling a sting.

The reason I wasn’t all that offended by Martha’s generalized opinion is that… I don’t really care about it all that much. Period.

I have to admit it feels a little weird to say that out loud, and this may not have been the case a few years ago, but it’s true now. And I don’t mean it in the nonchalant “I could care less” attitude sort of way at all. I mean it in the “I sincerely just don’t think her opinion affects my life” sort of way. Here’s why:

1) In regards to the things that I am or am not an “expert” on, I don’t feel any differently today than I did before the comments were made. I still have the same level of confidence in the abilities I do have, and am still well aware of the specific abilities I do not have… those areas have always been pretty easy to figure out on my own. ;)

2) While it’s true that I’m not a “trained expert at Vogue” so to speak – I’ve never pretended to be, not even for a minute, so I really don’t feel like that’s something I need to apologize about.  That’s the beauty of blogging, really… you don’t have to fit in a certain box. You’re free to be you, whether you’re a seasoned pro in your field, just starting out, or somewhere in the middle. Your unique perspective & experiences are actually what will make you resonate with a certain audience – and that audience is the one worth worrying about. The people that are actually reading your blog – the ones that are taking time out of their day to check out what you have to say – those are the people whose opinions about you matter.

3) Blanket “opinion statements” on huge groups of people are just not accurate. Ever. Her statement was just so broad and cast such a wide net that it’s almost hard for me to take it seriously. However, one thing she may have been trying to convey (I think) that I will agree with – is that just starting a blog on a topic doesn’t automatically make you an expert on that topic. Starting a blog is one thing… Maintaining a top quality blog with great content on a consistent basis, and putting in the incredible amount of time and grunt work required to continuously grow and stay relevant in an extremely crowded and ever growing space… well, that’s a whole different thing, my friends – one that’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination. And I know quite a few bloggers that can proudly claim expertise in that. ;)

So on the bright side – the silver lining of this whole situation for me – and for all of us at HWTM – is that it made us stop and reflect on whose opinion is TRULY important, and the answer is: our readers. On that note – please let me know what we can do better… we don’t want to be sitting here spinning our wheels round and round; we want to be effective. So, please tell us what you want to see more (or less) of – whether it’s a certain kind of topic or column, more “behind the scenes” posts, being a little more open about the side of party planning that’s not always “cupcakes and confetti” (i.e. the epic fails that don’t make the final “party cut”, the times when centerpieces blow off the tables, etc.) And yes – that last part really happened to me. I’m really feeling like it’s time to freshen up the blog, but want to make sure we focus on what’s relevant to you – so please tell us what you want to see. We are listening. :)

 

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POSTED BY:jenn s.JENNIFER SBRANTI is the Founder and Creative Director of Hostess with the Mostess®, a hip and modern party planning resource.

51 responses to “Why I’m not that offended by Martha Stewart. (Thoughts from a blogger of 7 years)”

  1. Amanda says:

    Nicely said! I would love to see a few post on hosting a fabulous party on a shoe string budget. I have several friends who ask for my help but always have a super tight budget.

    • Lisa Frank says:

      Hi Amanda! I’m a party lover too and I’m always looking for ways to stretch the budget. Granted, I’m usually not quite so good about sticking to a super small budget, but I did recently partner with Shop Sweet Lulu to throw a “Geometric Crafternoon” party for my girlfriends with a cocktail, dessert, and a craft station for making DIY wooden bead necklaces….all for just under $50! (Shhh, don’t tell my husband or he’ll expect that from all my parties! hee hee) You can check out the party here, if you’d like: http://www.handcraftedparties.com/geometric-crafternoon-party/

      Lisa :)

  2. Very well said, especially point #3! FYI, I highly respect your blog.

  3. Rosmery Lamb says:

    I agree with you. I dont really care what martha says about bloogers. As long as you have confidence in what you are doing and make you and proud thats what matter. I dont know why some bloogers get soooo touched by this.

  4. Amber says:

    HWTM is an amazing place for cumulative ideas and ways to plan a party. I for one would like I see more close ups of the dessert tables and how to’s. I own a cake business and my brides need to see this. This is where I send them for ideas.

  5. Heather says:

    Here, Here, well said! I really appreciate the confidence it takes to tell your readers how much they mean to you and ask how you can make them happy, instead of looking for acceptance from Martha Stewart. Thank you.

    You ask what we want to see so I will tell you what I want to see: My daughter is turning 13 next year and after doing big over the top parties for years we have taken a break the last several years. 13 is big and we are going to do something big, but I want to do something beautiful and truly meaningful for her as she enters some of the toughest years that can determine so much of who we become. I want to invite ladies who have known her and loved her for years, friends, aunts, teachers and Sunday School Teachers and ask them to pour wisdom and confidence into her for the years ahead. Please give me some ideas. I have till next May to plan so there is plenty of time. :)

  6. Leslie says:

    What great insight! It is so great that you also asked for feedback from your readers. I think an epic fail every now and again might be a funny feature on the blog. Keep doing what you are doing, HWTM!

  7. Vana Chupp says:

    This was probably one of the best post re: Martha's interview I've read so far. Like you, I didn't care about her statement. I honestly think she doesn't really filter what she says – may be is age, may be the status she's created for herself. Who cares! I feel like the ones screaming and pointing fingers do so because they crave attention. If you're good, you know it and people around you know it. Thanks for a well written post, Jennifer! Love your blog and always a pleasure working with you!

  8. I’m sure some of you read about Martha’s statement about bloggers. I did too and honestly I didn’t care! Here’s a… http://t.co/Im7CrYquaO

  9. I just love your transparent heart. I never took Martha’s comments personal. It is not important to me. I’m doing what I’m passionate about & it makes me happy. Your blog is awesome & yes funny you mentioned the centerpieces blown away because I kid you not Hannah’s Sofia the First party had the entire tables stripped because of the wind. Everyone felt so bad. I was almost in tears….LOL

  10. Tonya says:

    Hey Jenn, I too could care less about MS’ comments. I was never a MS fan and frankly her approval doesn’t make or break my business. I do feel for those who idolized her and put her on a pedestal and who feel betrayed by her comments, but at the end of the day, we can only be the judge of our own success…in whatever form that may be for each of us. I personally would love to see the behind the scenes, before and afters and yes, the blooper moments as we have ALL had them and it would be nice for up and coming party planners to learn from our mistakes.

  11. @atozebra says:

    Why I’m not that offended by Martha Stewart. (Thoughts from a blogger of 7 years) http://t.co/HAwe2b18oS via @hwtm_jenn

  12. Dianna says:

    Well said. I agree with you wholeheartedly about knowing my own limitations, never pretending to be something I am not, and simply focusing on readers who would like to interact. I’m happy to just be a girl in my kitchen who likes to share recipes that I enjoy with whomever would like to stop by for a story and a cookie… if I can make a full time career out of that, even better. :) What many bloggers want and what Martha has is like comparing apples and oranges. Her words did sound harsh to me, but they also sounded like the words of someone who doesn’t understand the platform.

  13. YES Jenn. Yes. Anyone who was even remotely offended by her off-hand statement must have thought a WHOLE hell of a lot about themselves in the first place. And, everyone knows how out of touch she is! I mean, big duh.

  14. Debbie Hogan says:

    I had a lot of respect for the bloggers who, like you, just went on giving us their yummy recipes for pumpkin cakes and fall yummies…you bet those are the bloggers I pay attention to, the other nasty bloggers who felt the need to shout out because they only crave attention were quickly and instantly deleted. I don't want to learn how to cook with nasty people, who have hateful attitudes; I cook with love and that's how I want to learn from you fantastic bloggers, keep the love there please. Good job.

  15. Connie Renfroe Quintana says:

    Sorry but why would anyone care what she says?

  16. Amen sista! I think this kind of hype is what happens when people idolise celebrities in general. (a personal pet peeve of mine!) They are just people. Just like me, just like you. While I have a tonne of respect for someone like Martha Stewart and the empire she’s created, I have just as much respect for anyone who pursues a dream or their purpose in life, big or small, and puts the work in to make it happen. There is something way more attractive to me about that person soldiering on with something they are passionate about, than chasing the accolades of the rich & famous.

  17. Stacy Harris says:

    I'm in love with everything that HWTM posts! It has definitely brought out my creative juices and personally has really had me thinking about becoming an events coordinator and starting my own thing. Tips for those like me out there would always be helpful, and I love the idea if getting the do's and fonts and fails, etc. but definitely not necessary, keep doing your thing and inspiring many!

  18. I totally agree with you! Martha Stewart has no affect on your life, your blog, your talents, etc. I just thought her blanket statement sounded uneducated. Whatever! Glad you took the time to post about this! Cracks me up because it’s not really like you! xo

  19. Seriously. I was wondering why I didn’t care what the heck she thinks either and this is probably why. I hate to be cliche, but she’s probably just jealous the blogging community is taking away from her empire, even if only a little. And it’s probably more than a little.

  20. Ning Fathia says:

    I do actually thought the same way, more over, I was thinking, "why would everyone be offended by what MS said?" because yes, she was telling the truth. not all of us are not expert, but I should point out, some are (experts on their fields who blogs, google for pixar animators' blogs, you'd find many). but yes, Martha is a little bit delusional, isn't she? How about her own blog (the craft dept)?How about when she's currently published lots of cookbooks, and when we try it at home and blogs about it, she said, "don't trust that recipe". Hey it's from your own cookbooks!

  21. So well said and quite inspiring in regards to self confidence and focus.

  22. So well said and quite inspiring in regards to self confidence and focus.

  23. Oh, Martha. “Why I’m not that offended by Martha Stewart. (Thoughts from a blogger of 7 years)” #timeschange http://t.co/4jkUMrMBBX

  24. Bird says:

    I’m like you Jen, not really affected by what MS said. At the end of the day, bloggers do not set out to be experts, nor pretend they are. They simply enjoy what they do. But I can’t say I wasn’t surprised to hear her say those words. She’s human like all of us, and yes, entitled to her opinion/rants. But what surprised me actually, was the realization that MS the person could have a contradicting view/feeling on the fabulous work that MS the brand does to support bloggers. That’s where the “penny dropped”.

    Anyways, keep up the great work here on your site! And would love to see more behind the scenes! :)

  25. Donna P. says:

    Great article, so proud of you and your views dealing with Martha’s comments. I read your blog everyday because it is fresh and full of great ideas and inspiration. Keep up the great work!

    I would love to see more party styling, and insider tips about party planning. Thanks for all you do, I appreciate YOU!!!

  26. jocelyn H says:

    Very well put.

  27. Nicole DeBoer says:

    Considering that I read your blog EVERY DAY… every. day. You are 3rd on my morning blog schedule (after my daughter’s and Pioneer Woman). And considering that I don’t read Martha at all… does she even have a blog?

    Then I guess that means in my book, you win big!

  28. Wendy says:

    Jenn, Jenn, Jenn. I SO wish I had your way of expressing what you think!
    HWTM is one of the best, if not THE best written and designed blogs out there.

    What would I like to see more of? I think more of the “Party with Paper” series. As you know, last year has not been very good for me and finding ways to do stylish parties on a budget is not easy. Other than that, keep up the good work, you know how much I adore you!!!!

    Regarding Ms. Stewart, I think enough has been said. She and her PR team are already trying to handle the backlash.
    Moving on!

  29. Amen, Jenn! So well said. I had the same reaction to the Martha ‘scandal’ that you did – that is to say, not much of one. Reading your words made me understand why. I agree with you wholeheartedly!

  30. Well written, well thought, well expressed. I’m new to this but have been following you for a long long time. I love your work and your perspective here shows that you have a good level of humility. You’re clearly successful and have plenty of fans, so you can have all the confidence in the world. Martha is great at what she does, but she’s no expert on you. :)

  31. Rachele Funk says:

    Martha who? She lost her reign a decade ago. I agree. Who cares?!?!?

  32. Dear Jennifer, I have not watched the clip but I have to say this. This opened my eyes to who do you see yourself as? You think you are a blogger? No you’re not. You are a solution provider to people like me. Who was made redundant while pregnant and decided to focus on what she really loves to do. Creating beautiful things, parties. How do I get started by reading, checking and focusing on the tons of work people like you put on the internet on a daily basis. You are not a blogger. I recently started a party planning business for children in Aberdeen Scotland. It may seen easy but I can tell you it has not been. But people like you have made it easier for me to start. The ideas I have with your help I am able to bring them to life and create truly unique and beautiful parties for children. Not only that you have brought a lot of other small businesses to limelight. Through the candy table steps you posted about a week or so, I have seen new vendors I can source from. Where would I have seen these businesses if not that you showcased them. I cannot think of a week that I don’t visit your site or blog for unique inspirations and ideas. Thank you for all you do. And please keep at it and stay blessed. If you are not already a christian, I pray the Lord Jesus find you

  33. Dear Jennifer, I have not watched the clip but I have to say this. This opened my eyes to who do you see yourself as? You think you are a blogger? No you're not. You are a solution provider to people like me. Who was made redundant while pregnant and decided to focus on what she really loves to do. Creating beautiful things, parties. How do I get started by reading, checking and focusing on the tons of work people like you put on the internet on a daily basis. You are not a blogger. I recently started a party planning business for children in Aberdeen Scotland. It may seen easy but I can tell you it has not been. But people like you have made it easier for me to start. The ideas I have with your help I am able to bring them to life and create truly unique and beautiful parties for children. Not only that you have brought a lot of other small businesses to limelight. Through the candy table steps you posted about a week or so, I have seen new vendors I can source from. Where would I have seen these businesses if not that you showcased them. I cannot think of a week that I don't visit your site or blog for unique inspirations and ideas. Thank you for all you do. And please keep at it and stay blessed. If you are not already a christian, I pray the Lord Jesus find you

  34. When you honestly don't care about something, you ignore it. Who cares what Martha thinks?..Honestly.

  35. Why I’m not that offended by Martha Stewart. (Thoughts from a blogger of 7 years) http://t.co/iRrn6eOlCf via @HWTM_Jenn

  36. You asked what we wanted to see, and this is a thought I have had for a LONG time – I really love HWTM. It’s my ultimate party inspiration blog! That said, sometimes I just feel like I have to roll my eyes at some of the parties posted because really? Yeah, it would be easy to be the “hostess with the mostess” if I was having a baby shower at the Ritz, it was catered by a 5 star restaurant, and I had an army of professional florists, event planners, and staff to do it all for me. Oh, and $20,000 to spend. But for MOST of the people out there, it’s just them and maybe their mom or their best friend trying to pull off a great party without all the professional help. As much as the lavish parties are fun to look at, they make it feel like throwing at great party is out of reach for the average Jane, and that just not true.

    The other thing that bugs me a lot is that there is a LOT of emphasis on the material aspects of the party, and very little on anything else. It makes it seem as though what makes a party REALLY great is having a fancy cake table, custom sugar cookies and a plethora of color co-ordinated party printables. While that makes a very impressive LOOKING party, it doesn’t necessarily make a fun or successful party. You can have a very beautiful party that is deadly dull, and that no-one enjoys. I would really love to see more attention paid to making a party successful in more than just the visual aspects. When people leave my parties, I want them to say “wow! that was the best party I’ve ever been to!” Not “wow! That was the most expensive/elaborate party I’ve ever been to!” Tips or posts on guest lists, party activities, menu planning, etc. would be very welcome. That post on how to set up a candy buffet in 6 easy steps? BRILLIANT. More!

    Lastly, I know that this blog is trying to present unique parties that are not run of mill, but sometimes the parties featured are just so silly. Yes, I’m super glad you are not featuring parties sponsored by Disney brand paper plates, or Dora the Explorer, or other branded characters (unless the host/ess really makes it unique) but I wish sometimes you had more parties featuring popular themes. Instead of so many “Healthy Yoga 2nd birthday!” or “80’s workout neon 2nd birthday!” (because lots of 2 year olds are SO into that, and not, say, princesses or trains), I really wish I could find more on how to throw a really great pirate party, or Alice in Wonderland tea. If you go over to catchmyparty.com, they rank the top 20 party themes by event type, and those are the types of parties that are most often requested by guests of honor. I guess what I’m saying is, sometimes the party themes featured are nice or interesting to look at, but totally irrelevant to what most people are going to choose. Yes, maybe an event planner has thrown a million fairy princess parties and is SO over it. Maybe they are going to get excited by something like an ombre gingham yoga picnic because they’ve never done it before, but MOST people are not, because they haven’t ever thrown a fairy princess party yet, and they are probably only going to throw one in their lives, ever.

    • Lisa Frank says:

      Becksinvinciblesummer, your comments made me laugh! Oh yes, an “ombre gingham yoga picnic” party is definitely at the top of my “must see” list now. :) That’s awesome.

      I liked your blog post suggestions and, as a new DIY party + craft blogger, I hope you won’t mind if I use some of them for inspiration! Since I love food and recipes almost as much as I love parties, one of my ideas for an ongoing series was to take a popular kids party theme (pirates, mermaids, princess, cars/trucks, etc.) and create menus (with links to recipes) based on that theme. I’ve already posted a round-up of 6 Autumn events/parties with menus to match (apple picking, pumpkin patch, football game/tailgating, harvest dinner, etc.) and people seemed to really like it. I think doing the same thing with ideas for creative food at kids parties would be really fun and helpful for busy parents, especially if the ideas include a mix of homemade and store-bought foods that just need a little creative packaging.

      Lisa :)

  37. Great post by HWTM: Why I’m not that offended by Martha Stewart. http://t.co/cghgI4yDYq via @hwtm_jenn

  38. Well said, by someone with a healthy attitude. I don't understand all the blogger indignation, she's Martha Flippin' Stewart not your BFF. :)

  39. Valerie Payton White says:

    Just shows me who she is…like Oprah says " when people show you who they are listen". She obviously has great PR people who have respected and used bloggers for the companies gain. She would have been smart to use that opportu ith to speak about how wonderful blogging has been for increasing interest in crafts, cooking, decorating etc.