A Realization: The Key to Successful Blogging

The other day, Alena asked me two questions:
What’s the best thing about being an adult?
What was the best thing about being a kid?

I’ll share my answers to and the relevance of those questions near the end of this post.

For now, before I reveal the key to successful blogging, let’s travel down memory lane…

Perhaps my favorite story, when I talk about blogging, is the history of it all. Unfortunately, it just recently hit me that while there are some years of history to my years wrapped up in blogging, there’s not a whole lot of success behind those years to feel proud of a product, or in the case of blogging, proud of a space on the web.

Here’s a look back:

Classy Ever After

In mid-2012, for a specific reason I cannot remember, I started a blog called Classy Ever After. All I recall is that I was fed up with trashiness and apparently thought it was my calling to blog about classy lady tips. Although during the 2000s I dabbled in blogging (via Xanga, LiveJournal and Blogger), when I started Classy Ever After, I opted to immerse myself in the web world and teach myself about web hosting, sitebuilders (thank you, WordPress!), and a bit of HTML and CSS.

After spending months and months (you want to really party? Stay up til 4AM learning web design and blog tricks!) teaching myself basic technical stuff regarding the blogging and web design world, I was finally ready to launch posts about How to Accept a Compliment and other various tips on keeping it classy. Even though I had a list of classy lady tips to cover, I was discouraged that no one was reading my blog. Shocking! (haha, in hindsight, not really!) I also found myself more interested in fashion blogs, such as FashBoulevard, Pink Peonies and a lifestyle blog called Living in Yellow.

Although I wanted to keep it classy, I also wanted to be a little truer to myself (I use profanity! Something tells me completely classy chicks don’t do that… nor would they refer to themselves as “chicks”) and I also wanted to try this up and coming phenomena called “style posts.” After a year of struggling with a lack of: a good camera, a photographer, funds for both outfits and renewing my blog hosting, I said goodbye to Classy Ever After and took some time off from blogging. (Sidebar: there’s a blog that exists called Classy Ever After it’s run by Gina, she’s a cool chick!)

Her & Hair

In late 2013, not too long after letting go of Classy Ever After, I got the itch to blog. I’d chopped off my damaged locks, became obsessed with hair growth journeys and, inspired by the sassy, super girl personality of my then ultra-feminist friend, I decided said friend and I should create a blog together. My friend rocked vintage clothing, style and hair; and I’d begun to rock my natural curls in the form of an afro hairdo. We spent a good chunk of our friendship “on the prowl” basically, looking for potential boyfriends while enjoying nights out during our early 20s. During our nights out, we drew a lot of attention due to everything from our bold styles, statement hair and outgoing personalities.

Fueled by that attention, my friend and I decided a blog journey was in order. My friend, a graphic designer, created the perfect icon and logo while I worked on developing the site. Her & Hair was born, but didn’t stick around long as our friendship ended. I tried to keep up Her & Hair for several months (posts and videos), but into early 2014, I felt discouraged, busy and disinterested in a blog that was supposed to be about women empowerment but built on a broken friendship. Again, I let another blogging project fizzle out. But you can bet your blogger buttons (remember those? ha!) that I continued to learn about the blog portal of the web world.
(Sidebar: Sad story turned happy? Recently, said friend and I added each other back on Facebook.)

chicago blogger

All the Cute

You may already be a bit familiar with my previous blog, All the Cute (born in 2014). The bio of All the Cute blog began with the following words: “stemming from a meism that I’ve been saying for years…look at all the cute…” hence the former blog’s name. That bio chatted about how I’d never had a blog that focused on my life and my loves. And that’s just what I did with All the Cute. For a little over 2 years, I produced content that focused on cute stuff (yummy recipes, holiday inspo, shopping and a bit of home decor), my loved ones and mostly, my personal style.

By the middle of 2016, and right around the time that I landed my first teaching job, I found myself fed up with All the Cute because my life was not always filled with “cute” and my style wasn’t always “cute.” Admittedly, though, I hold some great memories after spending 2+ years working on All the Cute. I blogged in that one space longer than my blogs in the previous years, met blogger friends in person, participated in collaborations and giveaways, and obtained some great opportunities to finally make a bit of money off of my blog (ads, sponsored posts and affiliate links, hellooooo). However, it just didn’t feel right…

All the Ambience

Just launched! Almost 5 years into my journey as a blogger, All the Ambience takes the word “ambience” and gives me freedom to mold my current web home into an appealing space. After doing some “how to” research to better my blog (narrowing my niche, expanding my followers and monetizing this new space), I realized the biggest key to successful blogging: a personalized and unique niche is needed. To be successful at blogging, I need to reveal what I can do and not what I can copy. That’s a bit of a duh! But… we are all guilty of looking up to successful bloggers in the industry and trying to imitate them for our own successes.

But that’s not what successful blogging is about…

chicago blogger

chicago fashion blogger

chicago fashion blogger

chicago fashion blogger

key to successful blogging

Off the Shoulder Top
Lipstick – Revlon: Sassy Mauve
Nail polish – OPI: Bubble Bath

Key to Successful Blogging

Successful blogging is individualization, not imitation.

Successful blogging is individualization, not imitation. Click To Tweet

Unfortunately, I’ve realized, and owned, that I’ve spent a sizable chunk of my blogging journey imitating. And I think that’s why I needed All the Ambience, I needed, and need, to gather up my smarts and feature what I know, what I do and what I enjoy.

So… getting back to the opener of this post. When Alena asked me what I like most about being an adult (my mind was clouded by the daily responsibilities…work…bills…stress…), I started thinking about what I am good at and what I do enjoy. I took the route of giving her a truthful and motivational response: “I like the freedom of being able to decide what I do with my time.”

As far as her other question, she asked me what I liked most about being a kid (my mind went to…minimal responsibility), I told her: “I liked to go outside and play!”

With All the Ambience, I hope I can make better use of my time as a blogger by sharing what I know and what I do all while having fun.

With Love & Style,
♥ Amber Monique Shannon
St. Charles, IL

xo, Amber
Share the Ambience:


  1. May 15, 2017 / 4:08 pm

    Loved reading about your path in blogging!

  2. May 19, 2017 / 6:02 am

    Wow I had no idea you’ve been blogging for awhile! I loved this post Amber! It was fun reading about your journey! So excited that you launched All the Ambience and I love that each journey you stick true to you!


  3. May 19, 2017 / 11:44 am

    What a fabulous post, Amber! You’re so right, when it comes to blogging, it can be rather tempting to copy others in order to achieve the same or at least close to the same success as those we admire in the industry. I’d say this would be especially true now because it seems like a certain image is often preferred. Though this is great for immediate results in some cases, for long term success, I can’t imagine it being beneficial to the reader and writer alike because it’s just not genuine. Alena’s questions were quite deep and I love your response to them and how they’ve tied into what you hope to achiever here. I wish you much success, girlie, and I hope you have a great weekend ahead!



  4. May 19, 2017 / 12:29 pm

    You hit the nail on the head when it comes to understanding the key to successful blogging. It really is about individualization. That’s what I noticed with every successful blogger, they have their own style (when it comes to photos, writing, opinions, fashion, etc.) and that’s what makes them unique and stand out in the noisy blog sphere. I’ve been following you since All The Cute and have watched you transform your blog into something great! The new name seems to really suit you. Wishing you all the best and I can’t wait to see where this new chapter in your blogging journey takes you! 🙂

  5. Shannon Jenkins
    May 21, 2017 / 10:59 pm

    Yay!! Congrats on the new blog! It looks amazing and I need those sandals!

    <3 Shannon 
    Upbeat Soles

  6. May 23, 2017 / 8:51 am

    What a sweet way to end this blog post =o) It’s always interesting to read about how a blog got it’s name and the journey. I love the new name and blog layout =o) I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you =o)


  7. May 23, 2017 / 12:30 pm

    So happy for you lady! I loved reading this post and learning about what inspired the change and what’s next. Congrats on All The Ambience. Can’t wait to see how this new journey unfolds. 😘

    ​​​​​​Louisa​ | ​​​BLOG: ​LA PASSION VOUTEE

  8. May 25, 2017 / 12:55 pm

    I totally hear you. That’s why I changed my blog URL last summer and have been pursuing comedy/just opened a second blog on the deeper end of the pool on pop culture. I want to do what I want and focus on that. However, maintaining a balance is still tricky for me. Balance with growing an audience by trying to build one but not care if it doesn’t go as fast as I want. Doing what I want without alienating an audience. Sharing the most interesting parts of me without sharing all of me. The fine details I still struggle with. But I totally get it! The bottom line: you gotta love what you’re doing! Glad you’ve been taking those steps! XO

  9. May 29, 2017 / 4:09 pm

    Amber, it’s good to bet back to blogging, I took nearly two months off to tend to my health, I was losing it but I seem to be getting back on track again.

    You look great and I love how much you have evolved with blogging, I only had the one blog and sometimes I want to delete a lot of it when I read things that I wrote that make me cringe but I leave them there to show myself how much I have grown from all the trials I have had.

    I look forward to seeing more of your blog when you have time, I totally understand how busy you can be… hopefully you and I can stay connected in other ways too… have a great week xox

  10. May 30, 2017 / 12:11 pm

    Oh my gosh you are so beautiful (both inside and out) thank you for commenting on my blog! I am so glad to have found you!

    Joy xx.

  11. May 30, 2017 / 1:46 pm

    Loving the rebrand and new name of the blog! You have definitely evolved so much! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

  12. Amy Arnold
    May 30, 2017 / 2:50 pm

    Love the look and the look back at your blog. I agree about the success part being about individualization.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  13. wendee
    May 31, 2017 / 12:14 pm

    I liked reading this. Most bloggers have rebranded themselves once or twice or several times. I know I have.

    The Glossychic

  14. June 1, 2017 / 12:00 am

    Thanks for sharing this! I have had a rough start trying to keep up with my blog as well, and I am super excited to go full force on this one! I hope you would check it out!
    x. kritsida

  15. June 7, 2017 / 10:35 am

    I really enjoyed hearing about your blogging journey!
    Thanks for sharing and congrats on all the ambience 🙂

    Laura xo

  16. June 15, 2017 / 1:00 pm

    Thank you for sharing your blogging journey! I think it’s so easy to get lost in the world of blogging and look at those that we deem as “successful” and imitate and not stay true to ourselves. It’s a challenge that we face outside of the blogging community too and I love how you are focusing on your own ambience, very inspiring 🙂

  17. June 19, 2017 / 2:04 pm

    I love hearing about your evolution. I have been through my own blog evolution and this makes me feel less alone! We grow and sometimes our blogs need to grow with us or we can feel stagnant and inauthentic. Thank you for sharing, Amber!

  18. June 19, 2017 / 2:06 pm

    I love hearing about your evolution. I have been through my own blog evolution and this makes me feel less alone! We grow and sometimes our blogs need to grow with us or we can feel stagnant and inauthentic. Thank you for sharing, Amber!

  19. June 20, 2017 / 10:11 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your evolution. Since we are constantly growing, I think it only makes sense that our blogs do too! I have been through a similar transition myself and your share makes me feel less alone. I’m excited to see of what comes of this chapter!

  20. July 15, 2017 / 8:20 pm

    OMG …I dont have words for this post! Big hug

  21. January 19, 2018 / 6:22 pm

    You are so inspiring and I’m so obsessed with your blog. I’m glad you feel like you are finding comfort in being yourself. Keep it up!

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