(Life)style over substance

Want to learn how to style a $2,000 outfit, wear stilettos in a snowstorm, and keep your Covergirl-worthy makeup smudge free during a workout? Then look no further than the majority of the most commercially successful lifestyle blogs.

But what if you are like me, and you value style, but you value substance more?

What if you value aesthetics, but you value realism too?

I’ll cut right to the chase. I have a big problem with most lifestyle blogs. Why? Because they aren’t about lifestyles at all. They are style blogs, pure and simple. And not just any style: a very narrow representation of style (think Louis Vuitton and Prada).

And any life that makes it past the cutting room seems so feigned as to be disingenuous. Each post, even if it ostensibly is about travel or food or staying fit, invariably ends up being a barrage of staged photos of the blogger in question prancing about in front of the camera.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Just Google “best lifestyle blogs” and see for yourself. Be prepared for a lot of the following (these are all stock photos with cheeky captions courtesy of yours truly):

“Shopping IS a lifestyle! Who cares if the only way I can have all these luxury goods is because brands give them to me for free to blog about!”
“Hey, I can tag this as a workout post! Even though it’s cold enough for a jacket, I’ll forego a top so that I can subtly sexualize myself and play model!”
“What are you talking about? These are totally appropriate for a rainy Monday!”

Call me crazy, but I think there should be a movement towards lifestyle blogs that are actually about real lifestyles! Beautiful photography is awesome and something I personally strive for, but can’t a blog be beautiful and have substance?

I mean, where are the deep thoughts? Where are the philosophical musings that surely every human being has? Where is the conversation with readers and fellow bloggers?

As I continue to grow Mosaicca into the real-life style blog I want it to be, I honestly struggle with finding a balance between pursuing aesthetics and keeping conversation grounded and deep.

I want to talk with you all about my deepest thoughts and hear yours too.

I also want pretty pictures of cupcakes and lattes.

I want both depth and beauty.

I want Mosaicca to be a humble little example of what I think a lifestyle blog should be: a reflection of the blogger’s actual lifestyle.

I want the phrase “lifestyle blog” to mean more than just a 20-something blond or brunette white woman with the looks of a high fashion model “writing” about high street fashion, organic fruit, yoga, and perfume.

I want the phrase “lifestyle blog” to diversify. From animal-free advocates to back-woods hunters, from bodybuilders to marathoners, from TV junkies to no-screeners, there are a plethora of real lifestyles out there, few of which ever see representation in most lifestyle blogs. And I want that to change.

Of course, I can’t change the blogosphere all by myself. But I can make a dent. And, hopefully, that is what Mosaicca is doing.

Until next time,

xoxo Charlotte


  1. I think you’re doing a pretty good job at it! and I totally agree about your assessment of the majority of life style blogs. I imagine it can’t be that hard to make a blog authentic as well as aesthetically pleasing… but then I’m sure it’s easier in their minds to pander to what they think a lot of boring people want to look at (clearly that style works since they do become so popular.) As well as probably like receiving free goodies…. It’s hard to trudge through and especially compete with such blogs, given that the most famous and followed of blogs are few compared to the masses of authentic feeling blogs that are trying to eke out an online presence. …But still, if bloggers like you keep going and don’t give up in the face of traditional life style bloggers then I think you’ll steadily become more prominent. There are plenty of people that like pretty things but also crave substance 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much for the kind words! They mean a lot. It really makes me pleased that this post has resonated with so many other bloggers. I didn’t want to come across as bitter and jealous of these popular lifestyle blogs’ success. Don’t get me wrong – of course I would love to rake in the cash and get things for free. Who wouldn’t? But at the cost of integrity? No thank you. I would feel so disingenuous to my readers if I were to only write posts that I was sponsored to write. If I just staged a fake life only to promote a product … I would feel really slimy, to be honest. But as you say, they are successful for a reason! I can’t deny that they are beautiful to look at, and I suppose their readers eat it up like candy. Maybe, just maybe, one of these days there will be enough of a movement from small, deep, authentic blogs like ours. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic post Charlotte. I totally agree with you. I have no interest in the fashion/make up blogs that do not feel representative of anything I am interested in or of any life I can relate to. I am interested in real people’s lives. Bloggers who are honest about life’s ups and downs, who motivate, inspire and interest me. As a fellow blogger I also appreciate it when other Bloggers support my blog so it is reciprocal. Keep doing what you are doing Charlotte.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Debra! Coming from you especially, they mean a lot. As I hope you know, yours is one of my favorite blogs, precisely because you give it your unique voice and truly reflect your lifestyle in what you write. Real life is infinitely more interesting than anything we could stage.

      And I wholeheartedly agree about bloggers supporting other bloggers. I didn’t mention it in this post, but one of my other pet peeves about most of these super successful lifestyle blogs is that the bloggers themselves absolutely do not engage with their readers or fellow bloggers. On the one hand, if you’ve got thousands of comments to sift through on every post, I can give a pass to ignoring the shorter comments. But in my humble opinion, it is pretty cheeky to completely 100% ignore all comments, not follow other bloggers, etc. I mean, if it weren’t for those very readers, they wouldn’t have the good fortune they do.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Aw thank you so much for the feedback about my blog. I really, really appreciate it. I think you get more out of blogging if it’s more realistic of who you are. I feel like I have made some ‘blog friends’ and I really value that.
        As for Bloggers who don’t respond to comments, I don’t bother following or commenting on blogs where people don’t interact with their followers. There’s too much other stuff to read.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is exactly my problem with many lifestyle blogs! I do enjoy style blogs, but with a lifestyle blog, I am expecting to read about your LIFE, not a carefully curated portion of it. I find I connect more with a blogger if they post on multiple topics because I feel like I’m getting to know them more! Single topic blogs are a-okay too, but they are more of a “check in once a week” for me.
    My pet peeve is lifestyle blogs that only have professional level photography. I want to see what that recipe ACTUALLY looked like when you just finished, not what it looked like after 10 minutes of plating, 15 minutes of lighting, and 35 minutes of editing. When I take a picture to show my friends, it’s just going to be on a pathetic phone camera and not a DSLR that involves a 10 minute set up because I am busy doing my life rather than photographing it.
    I hope lifestyle push to be more natural, like yours! We love bloggers that we know, and being you is how we get to know you 🙂 WONDERFUL post!!!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you so much – I am really pleased that it resonated with you as well! I 100% agree with everything you said. If someone is a single topic blogger, that is fantastic if that’s what they do. Personally, like you, I don’t read a ton of those. But if you call yourself a lifestyle blogger, then in my opinion it needs to actually reflect your lifestyle, not just be a professional photo shoot of you in expensive clothes you didn’t even buy with your own money. Basically, with how most of those bloggers get sponsorships from companies, they really are just another form of advertisements, only instead of being in the pages of a magazine, they are on a self-hosted website. And I’m with you on the whole photography thing. I am a self-admitted photo hound, and I absolutely love my DSLR. *But*, as you say, as soon as someone starts staging and photographing a fake life more than they are living their real life, that’s a problem. Yours is one of the lifestyle blogs that I love because it truly does reflect your lifestyle. I get a feel for the books you read, the clothes you like, the tea you drink, the travels you take. None of it feels staged, because it isn’t. Which is why I love your blog so much! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This post really struck a chord with me. I’m having a hard time because I’m not that girly girly. I don’t wear makeup and I’m not that into fashion. I’m more into finance and I’m trying to work the line between writing about “stuff” and writing about how that “stuff” effects my life. I’m new to your blog, but I look forward to reading your thoughts and see how you curate your life for us to wander into. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! I am really pleased the post resonated with you. I know what you mean about striking a balance between writing about your interests and writing about how those interests affect your life.


  5. I had a hard time “categorizing” my blog as well. It’s not “lifestyle” in the sense of makeup, etc (I don’t wear any and unless you call t-shirt and jeans a fashion style, then I don’t fit there). It’s not a “Mom Blog” because I talk about more than “Mom stuff.” It’s not a “Writing Blog” because, again, I talk about more than writing. I like your category of “Real-life style Blog.” Time for the revolution to begin! LOL

    Liked by 3 people

    • Time for the revolution to begin, indeed!! I really love how much this post is resonating with others. And I totally know what you mean. Mine isn’t a running blog, because I blog about way more than running. It’s not a cooking blog, because I blog about way more than recipes. Same with book reviews, game reviews, fashion, etc. But that’s just the thing – this *is* my lifestyle. My lifestyle is a whole smattering of things, and so I blog about all those things. Just as your lifestyle is a whole host of things too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice rant, lady! I completely, 100% agree with your assessment of lifestyle blogs. To me, these big time blogs are just facades. There isn’t a real person behind them, and they most certainly did not get into blogging because they like to write. To me, there are two aspects to blogging-the actual blogging and then the written content. These blogs you refer to are just blogs with no real content. You are definitely paving the way for others who are sick of the impersonal blogs out there that get all of the undeserved attention. You go, girl!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, friend!! All of the support and encouragement that this post is getting really makes me feel hopeful that the blogosphere can change. I don’t think that these shallow, narcissistic “lifestyle” blogs will be going anywhere anytime soon (after all, they are a fantastic source of advertisement for big brands). But I can only hope that one day, authentic blogs like yours or mine will be just as successful.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This…is…AWESOME! I really can’t come up with words that can accentuate your points greater. You’ve said it all and I completely agree. Those photo captions were hilarious. This is a seriously good post and I’m simply going to have to share it on Facebook and Twitter. People need to see this. I really have a thing against aesthetics without substance and nowadays there is far too much of the former and nowhere near enough of the letter. Yet these materialistic folk demand to be taken seriously and given respect as human beings. Maybe a little self respect wouldn’t go amiss first…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. As a new lifestyle blogger this post has resonated with me so much! I totally agree with what you are saying! And, like you – I hope to create a more truthful blog on lifestyle! So glad I came across this! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think you’ve got a great lifestyle blog, and in the end, don’t we blog for ourselves anyway ? I agree though. Most lifestyle blogs appear to be about the life you could have if you have enough money that you can buy anything and travel anywhere without ever having to work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, Phil! And I agree, in a sense, that’s what all of us bloggers do. I just prefer some element of realism for those of us who don’t have the financial means to spend our whole lives on shopping sprees in Milan or in spas. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  10. […] like I said in my semi-rant (Life)style over substance, I wish that there were a bigger movement of lifestyle blogs that actually reflect the lifestyle of […]


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