Have you recently thrown or photographed a party of any kind that was filled with to-die-for details? Do you like creative crafts for the home or a party? Then Somewhere Splendid is the blog for you! Somewhere Splendid began on August 11, 2010 after Maddy Hague and her husband purchased their first home in St. Paul, Minnesota. This lifestyle blog covers home renovation and decor, entertaining, and cooking. Maddy, the primary author, designed and coded the entire layout. We are so excited to feature her today!
Featuring Maddy Hague of Somewhere Splendid
I was an editor already! I also write the wedding blog the Inspired Bride. I knew that once my husband and I owned a home, I’d want to expand my blogging to cover more “nesting” areas – including cooking, general entertaining, home decor, and crafting – so it was always back of mind. We purchased a cute midcentury house in the Twin Cities, Minnesota last year, and Somewhere Splendid was born a month after we closed!
How would you describe the style of Somewhere Splendid?
I would say our approach is styled and contemporary. I work full time as an art director, so aesthetics and presentation are really important to me, from the way an event is set up to the way it is photographed. I like fresh visual looks and ideas – the more surprised I am by a product or a shoot, the more likely I am to feature it.
What types of submissions are you looking for through Two Bright Lights? What kind of images and information should the photographer (or crafter or other creative pro) include in their submission?
I look for anything that is not a wedding or engagement shoot. I’m open to bridal showers, but otherwise I leave all the matrimony-focused entertaining for the Inspired Bride. I love to see baby showers, kids’ and adults’ birthdays, and holiday entertaining. I tend to avoid too many “people” shots for Somewhere Splendid; I’m more focused on the details that our readers can be inspired by. I love to get credits for all the vendors as well as the sources (whether it is an Etsy shop or local store) so that if there’s a detail a reader is particularly loving, she (or he!) knows who they can contact to get the same or a similar item or look.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be featured in your publication? What makes a submission stand out?
First and foremost, the event should be exclusive to our blog; though I’ll publish it if a vendor has posted pictures on their own blog, I prefer to be the first one to bring it live if possible. A high quality of craft in the photography and styling is important, and I love to see great care taken in documenting all the details of the event. From my point of view, there’s no such thing as “too many detail shots” – I can edit the photos down to make a great story, so I’d love to see everything you’ve got!
As I mentioned before, I love being surprised by details that are original or have a “wow” factor to them. They don’t have to be a big splashy backdrop or something similar; I can be just as impressed by an interesting new take on the drink stirrer. Fun and exciting themes that are well-executed are also a huge bonus!
What is your favorite part of being an editor? What is the biggest challenge?
Being a blogger, you have the opportunity to meet so many incredibly talented and creative people. It’s a really great community you find yourself in, and I’ve made a lot of great friends as a result of it.
The biggest challenge is definitely coming up with regular, fresh content. The biggest disappointment is to receive an amazing submission, only to find out the person who sent the images in also sent it to four other people at the same time and you’ve already been beaten to the punch. It’s really important to establish great relationships with bloggers whose sites you really admire and would like to be featured on, and things like that can leave sour tastes in our mouths. Submit one media outlet at a time – if you know you’ve got really great content, someone will definitely snap it up, so there’s no reason to go overboard and send your shoot to multiple people at the same time.
What is something that your readers don’t know about you?
A lot of my personality goes into Somewhere Splendid because the subject just happens to be more personal than IB – it talks about my home, and my life, so I do share quite a bit there. I guess one big thing about my husband and myself that you wouldn’t know from the blogs is that despite our love of great design and hipster music, we’re complete and total nerds. Playing video games, in particular, is a big weakness of ours as well as our favorite bit of bonding time. We’re different types of gamers, but we always find common ground. For example, I might be playing the Sims on my Mac while helping him “spot” people on the opposite team while he’s playing Call of Duty online. Slightly embarrassing, right?
Who or what inspires you?
I’m inspired by all aspects of great art and design. Obviously, as a graphic designer myself, that’s a huge part of where my inspiration comes from. But I’m also absolutely in awe of the work of architects Richard Neutra and Donald Wexler, the work of photographers Annie Liebowitz and Diane Arbus, the mobiles of Alexander Calder and the paintings of Mark Rothko.