Thursday, July 12, 2018

Celebrating History; Embracing Change - 7th Blogoversary

Can you believe we've been blogging for 7 years today? It seems like yesterday when Mom Paula posted that first photo of Chloe and Zoey's kittens to announce to everyone that she would have some new kittens soon.


Sweet Purrfections 7th Blogoversary Graphic
Truffle and Brulee celebrating a rebranding on their 7th Blogoversary

As we think back on the past 7 years and look forward to many years to come, a theme came to mind for today's celebration and the future of our blog: Celebrating History; Embracing Change.


We believe this theme is especially important as it relates to cats, our blog, our cat community, and our personal lives. Everyone knows cats don't like change. Have you ever moved a box or a piece of furniture and watched how your cat reacted when she came into the room? Cats notice change and they are uneasy with it at first. The same thing can be said for humans, especially Mom Paula. Join us on our little visit with history and our plans for the future.


Celebrating History

Chloe with kittens - 1st photo
First Photo on July 12, 2011
Photo courtesy - Terri Rogers

Mom Paula: The photo above was the first photo I shared on the blog back on July 12, 2011. This was a photo of Chloe with her first litter of kittens, who turned out to be Truffle and Beignet. There was also a photo of Zoey and her litter of kittens. I had recently taken a 1-month break from blogging after remembering Sweet Praline on her 3rd Blogoversary, which was about 6 weeks after I'd lost her to cancer. I wanted to begin a new blog that didn't have names of cats as the title and wanted to share the news that some new kittens would be coming to live with me in a couple of months. There were two queens with a litter of kittens that I was considering and the first blog post shared these photos to "whet the appetite" of all of my cat blogging friends.


Ann, from Zoolatry, designed the first header for Sweet Purrfections and has continued to work with me through the years because she tends to understand my vision for the blog. I chose to use pastel colors for the new blog because my future kittens were Silver Shaded Persians (white coat with black tips that give the illusion of silver shading) and their soft coats reminded me of sweetness and the South. 

In the beginning, I basically used the blog as a daily journal of raising two Persian Cats. I wanted to chronicle their lives through photos and stories. This is basically what I did with the Sweet Praline blog for three years. In December 2011, I was contacted by Mr. Chewy, now known as Chewy.com, to review their webpage. This was the beginning of becoming a pet influencer. I became a regular influencer and reviewer for Chewy.com. In January 2014, I was approached by Pet Box to do a review of their product. This was the first company outside of Chewy.com to reach out to me and I was honored. I look back on that first sponsored post from a Brand and realize that I still had so much to learn, but it was a beginning for our role as a pet influencer. Over the past seven years, I became a pet influencer with BlogPaws and applied for and was accepted for campaigns. I worked hard to make sure my initial reviews included photos of Truffle and Brulee with the products and I shared facts and my honest reaction to the products. After attending my first BlogPaws conference in 2015 in Nashville, TN, I began working on improving the brand of Sweet Purrfections. Even though I'd been blogging for almost 6 years between the two blogs, I didn't know much about setting up a post to encourage people and brands to visit the blog. I knew people and brands knew about Sweet Purrfections because when I'd introduce myself and give them my card, they would say, "Oh, Truffle and Brulee! We love them!" I remember sitting down in the one-on-one sessions at that first conference and being told by representatives of BlogPaws that they loved the blog, but one of the major things I needed to work on was my photos. I needed to take more photos using natural light and the photos needed to be more focused and a larger size on the blog.

1st review photo with Brulee and Get Pet Box
1st Review from a Brand

I'm proud to say I've been part of several BlogPaws Campaigns, written reviews of many wonderful cat (and dog) products, hosted giveaways for our readers, and received our first sponsorship this year with Sleepypod®. I've begun working with other companies through affiliate programs and continue to work on my craft of blogging and being an effective and informative pet influencer. 

I've attended four BlogPaws Conferences, one BarkWorld Conference, three Cat Writers' Association (CWA) Conferences, and three Global Pet Expos. I was honored to be serve as an Ambassador at the 2017 BlogPaws Conference in Myrtle Beach and received a Certificate of Excellence from BlogPaws for a Nose-to-Nose Award for Best Written Post: Sponsored (Eye Envy) for a post I wrote as part of the 12 Days of Catmas series this past December. I served as a Council Member of the CWA in 2017 and was elected as Vice President of the Cat Writers' Association (CWA) in June 2018. I received a Certificate of Excellence for a MUSE award from CWA for the 2018 Blogging Cats Weekly Planner. I recently took over as managing editor for The Cat Blogosphere along with Terry Frum from Brian's Home (Technical Advisor) and Ann Adamus from Zoolatry (Graphic Design). I retired earlier than planned last year, so I'm getting used to a new lifestyle.

Embracing Change


I admit, I'm a lot like cats in that I don't really like change. As I was writing this post last night, I was reminded that it was the 22-year anniversary of my divorce (after 21 years of marriage). I've gone through a lot of changes over these last 22 years - personally, professionally, emotionally, and healthwise. My early retirement threw me for a loop and I've had a difficult time adjusting to this new lifestyle. We also found out this past year that the BlogPaws organization we've known over the past 10 years was changing and many of us were a little fearful of the unknown future. That's when I began thinking about celebrating the history of my personal life, the professional groups I belong to, and the purpose of the Sweet Purrfections blog. I knew it was time to reassess my life and how I was going to move forward and embrace the future.

You'll notice a new look to our blog today with a color scheme that will be used in all of our posts, graphics, and social media shares. I know the current trend is bold colors, but the Sweet Purrfections brand is still representative of the beautiful South with it's magnolias and azaleas and the softness of Persian Cats, so I'm staying with pastel colors. Our tagline has changed from Southern Sweet & Sassy (which still fits us perfectly) to Living and Learning with Persian Cats. I recently celebrated 2500 consecutive days of blogging with Sweet Purrfections over the past 7 years. I'm moving away from a daily post on the blog. I will still feature photos of Truffle and Brulee in the majority of posts on the blog. My plans are to continue to work with brands on reviews/giveaways and sponsored posts, but to integrate these products into informational posts about behavior, health, nutrition, research, and living with cats - specifically Persian Cats. There are plans to use my research background to feature research-based articles on the blog that are relevant to my experiences with Truffle and Brulee and that will help other cat owners. I will continue to publish the Blogging Cats Weekly Planners and host the Secret Paws Gift Exchange as long as there is an interest from the cat blogging community. I look forward to increasing the engagement among the cat blogging community through The Cat Blogosphere. I'm excited to see what the future holds for BlogPaws and the Cat Writers' Association. I want to take some classes to help me with understanding SEO, use analytics appropriately, improve photography skills, and learn more about graphic design. 

Truffle and Brulee
Truffle and Brulee

My major goal for the future is to enjoy my life with Truffle and Brulee (and any other fur child who may enter my life) and explore what life has to offer as a senior citizen with a lot more life in her. I'd love to travel more in the United States and visit my blogging friends. I love face-to-face interaction with people.

We have some exciting reviews/giveaways coming up this summer and will once again feature a holiday series this December. Thank you to everyone who has impacted our lives these past seven years, especially friends in the cat blogging community, BlogPaws, and the Cat Writers' Association.

Truffle and Brulee

45 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. Please come back later to see our new design.

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  2. Happy 7th logoversary!
    We look forward to the new changes to your blog and the changes.
    Just shows that life is not static but always in motion and changing :)
    Purrs Georgia,Julie and JJ

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  3. Happy blogoversary! I look forward to all that you have planned!

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  4. Happy blogoversary! Can't wait to see what you have planned. :)

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  5. Happy Blogoverrsary! We're looking forward to seeing how you change!!

    The Florida Furkids

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  6. Happy Blogoversary sweet friends, you've got lots of exciting things going on. We love the new look of your blog, it's purrfect!

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  7. Happy blogoversary! And what a great new look!

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  8. We love the new look! Happy Blogoversary!

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  9. Happy Blogoversary!! We were just reading your story above and must say that you have been doing a beautiful job the last seven years. We always enjoy your posts and the photos are always lovely. We thank you for the hard work that you do on a daily basis. Thank you and have a wonderful day.
    World of Animals

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  10. Happy Blogoversary! We love the new look!

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  11. Happy Blogoversary. You do have a great new look!

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  12. Hey sweet girls, thanks for joining the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop!

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  13. we can't wait to see what the future brings....and we love the new look

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  14. Congratulations - and many more !

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  15. Happy Blogoversary! I love your new look. XO

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  16. Happy Blogoversary! You have an amazing record of teaching and sharing. This is the first time I've seen the new design - and I love it!

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  17. BIG Congratulations and Happy Blogoversary! Loving the new do!

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  18. Ooo pretty! I love the new look Paula. Happy Blogoversary

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  19. How nice to learn more about you and yoru blogging journey with your lovely cat family. Congratulations on this seven years!

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  20. Congratulations Paula ... best wishes going forward, and thank you for the "paws up"!
    Ann, Dougie Dog and Zoey

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  21. Wow! Congratulations and well done! You must be so proud to look back on all that you have experienced and accomplished - both personally and with your blog. There certainly is a learning curve to blogging and your site reflects your patience, dedication, and passion.

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  22. What a nice look back and a very Happy Blogoversary to you!

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  23. Happy 7th Blogiversary!! I love the theme of this post, it's important to celebrate one's history in life - the good, the bad, and the downright heartbreaking. It is what makes us who we are and shapes where we will go in our quest to move forward. That last photo of the girls is beautiful, what a cool angle & photo effect
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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  24. So sweet! Happy Blogoverary! I really love this tribute to your relationship, and the photos too. ~Dear Mishu

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  25. Happy anniversary! The site looks fantastic and I love the color scheme! xo

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  26. Happy Anniversary Paula! I loved reading this post, and I'm blown away by how much you have accomplished, I hope you're really proud of everything you've done. I'm seriously impressed by the number of days posting, and I'm inspired reading about your plan going forward. I'm excited to follow you on this new journey.

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  27. What a wonderful walk down memory lane! It was great fun getting to know the fur girls better.

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  28. Happy Anniversary and thank you for sharing your memories with us, your journey sounds amazing and I am in awe here as I have so much to learn and grow and reading this post has made me feel it is possible

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  29. Belated Ann-i-ver-sary Wishes for you and your wonderful bloggie! It sure is one of my favs and so are the silver dolls! I purr-zonally think that the colors of your bloggie are purr-fect with your brand. Mom and I always enjoy reading your posts and luv luv luv all the photos. Keep 'em coming! Purr purr purr. Kisses kisses kisses!

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  30. Congratulations on your blogoversary. And wow, I love your new header.

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  31. Wow! Happy blogoversary, you have achieved so much and what great plans you have ahead of you! I love the new headed too!

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  32. Happy Blogoversary! I love the new design, it is purrfect! Also, blogging for 2500 consecutive days is quite a feat, congratulations on that too.

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  33. Happy belated blogaversary. This redesign is absolutely purrrrfect!

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  34. Happy belated blogoversary ! We wish you many many more ! Purrs

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  35. Wow, happy 7th blogoversary! I love the new theme by the way! I've always loved Truffle and Brulee and I look forward to seeing what you have in store for us in the future. :)

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  36. You look totally epic! A new look and a new direction. Perfect and so Persian!!!

    Good luck for the coming year under your new look!

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  37. Wow 7 years and 2500 days of continuous posts! I can't imagine doing so many! I struggle with one a week. I love the new look to your blog and your new plans.

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  38. You have accomplished a lot in the past 7 years alone. I am looking forward to your future accomplishments and recognition through your consistent action educating cat parents. Congratulations!

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  39. Happy 7th Anniversary Paula! Wow! Really and truly it's been 10 years of blogging (with your first blog). You are definitely an inspiration to me with your consistent dedication. You deserve to scale back 100%. You have accomplished so much so far and I'm sure you're far from done. I personally like your pastel colors and new look on the blog. Looking forward to reading more of your content going forward. Wish you the best with CHANGE, I know it's your favorite thing! LOL :P

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  40. Happy 7th anniversary! We just celebrated our 3rd year on A Girl and Her Husky. There is a lot of change going on in the pet influencer world and in the pet industry in general. I am usually the opposite of you- I embrace change and I adjust to new surroundings very well. Of course, I am also 23 and my life is constantly changing right now LOL. I wish you the best with all the change going on.

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    Replies
    1. Too funny. I’m almost 3 times your age and my life should be setting down

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  41. Happy Blogiversary! You've accomplished a lot throughout your years of blogging. The new header suits the blog.

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  42. Happy Blogoversary, and we love the new look! We're sorry we're a little late in popping over to concatulate you ladies on all you've accomplished, and on developing a fab new look. We're looking forward to seeing what the next 7 years brings to you.

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