Blog Features

Blog Spotlight | Hope’s Cafe

Today I would like to welcome Hope from Hope’s Cafe. I had a chance to learn more about her blog and here’s what she had to say…

Please tell me about yourself.

I am 23, and still live at home with my parents, 3 sisters, and 2 brothers! We do a lot of traveling, and I love it πŸ™‚

I enjoy reading, writing (journals, short stories, etc.), cooking, baking, and sewing. I also spend a lot of time working on the computer, and have designed a couple of websites in the past. I just got my first Mac, and am enjoying getting to know the world of Apple!

Please tell me about your blog.

My blog is titled Hope’s Cafe, due to the fact that I love coffee (especially Starbucks!). It has been up for about 7 months, and I am surprised at how quickly it has grown. It’s not a huge blog by any means, but I am pleased with how well things have gone.

How long have you been blogging?

I started blogging a couple years ago after our Pastor’s family showed us their blogs. First I just had my personal blog for family and friends, but in December of 09 I started Hope’s Cafe, my review and giveaway blog.

How did you get started?

My older sister had been entering giveaways for a couple months (Fall of 09), and that got me started. I had a lot of fun entering (and occasionally winning πŸ™‚ some giveaways. One day I thought “Wow. It would be so much more fun to have my own blog to host reviews and giveaways”. So, that’s how Hope’s Cafe started…now I can blame my sister for all the mail I get in!

What kinds of products do you feature on your blog?

Basically anything family-friendly. I don’t feature anything that I would be upset if my younger siblings saw on someone’s blog. I especially enjoy bath/beauty products, jewelry and clothing (I know, what woman doesn’t?), and anything fun for kids. And of course, I’m a huge coffee lover (thus the name of my blog), so I love finding coffee companies that will sponsor reviews!

What was your favorite giveaway?

Wow, that would be hard to pick just one. I featured Wilton on my blog a while ago, and that was fun. I did the review and giveaway with a Tasty-Fill Pan, and it was a great excuse to try out different recipes/fillings for the cake! I have had 2 giveaways that stick out in my mind as having a huge response-Crocs shoes and Novica.com-so those were great for raising my stats.

Who does your blog appeal to?

I guess anyone who enjoys finding out about new products. I like finding companies that no one else has featured, to bring some different products to the table, so-to-speak. While I don’t do many baby products, I do quite a few for children, so mothers and grandmothers would enjoy it.

What direction do you see your blog going in the future?

Hopefully getting bigger! Honestly, I would like to increase my readers/following consistently as I go along. I would like to make this a long-term hobby πŸ™‚

What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far with your blog?

Actually, I have had 2. The biggest was getting companies to sponsor a review or giveaway when I had first started. At the beginning many companies seem wary (understandably so) of sending free product to a blog that has just started. I boosted my stats by giving away a Starbucks gift card for my first giveaway πŸ™‚

The 2nd challenge would be finding time to get everything posted on time. Like I said, we travel a lot, which makes it hard sometimes to find internet access, etc. Sometimes I have to type up the review on Notepad and then add pictures and links when I get internet somewhere.

What do you love about blogging?

I love the opportunity to experience new products and share the experience with readers. I like to write, and blogging is a great outlet for that!

Do you have a blogging pet peeve?

I hate when my reviews start sounding like carbon copies of each other. I try to use different words (have you ever tried to describe something that is really pretty/beautiful in 2 or 3 reviews in a row?).

Do you have any advice for the readers entering your giveaway?

Talk to my sister! She has won more giveaways than I can count! I don’t know how she does it, but unfortunately, she won’t share her secrets with me πŸ™

newbie review bloggers?

It may seem difficult at first, trying to find a company willing to work with you. Keep writing companies, and eventually you’ll get a few! I’d also recommend keeping a calendar or journal of some sort to track your giveaways. I use a monthly calendar and write down each company I am working with, the date I received it, posted about it, etc. It makes it so much easier!

Tell me some of your favorite blogs that you read.

Honestly I don’t read blogs as much as I used to. It’s too hard to find time to take care of my own blog, let alone read other blogs πŸ™‚

Helping Mommies Win is a big favorite of mine. I have followed your blog for quite a while, as well. Mostly now, though, I just skim through the blogs I follow on my dashboard, and check out any posts that catch my eye. And of course, I keep up with personal family and friends’ blogs.

How can people find you?

My blog is www.hopescafe.blogspot.com

I am also on Twitter (http://.twitter.com/pilgrim86)

Stacie Vaughan

Stacie is the mom of two girls and lives in Ontario, Canada. She enjoys cooking/baking, photography, reading, DIY and is fueled by lots of coffee!

more by Stacie »