Nov 20, 2009  •  In Blogging, Personal, Wedding

The Black “Bee” of the Group

Being accepted as a blogger for Weddingbee has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have forged amazing friendships, learned a great deal about blogging (and being a better person in general), and have found a treasure trove of inspiration for all aspects of my life.

That being said, I sometimes get annoyed that the internet community only seems to see me as “Mrs. Peony from Weddingbee.” Readers follow this blog, or subscribe to my Twitter, expecting to see wedding/crafts/DIY/newlywed updates…and leave when they see that this is not the case.

Then there are those who I know in real life, who see me as a wedding-obsessed freak just because I blogged for a wedding site.

I am sure my fellow Weddingbee bloggers can attest to these emotions, and I am thankful that I have a group of people who understand where I’m coming from.

However, I sometimes feel like the black sheep of the Weddingbee clan too. Okay, maybe not as extreme as a black sheep. Perhaps the term I’m looking for is “sticking out like a sore thumb.”

I am not a fan of Etsy and I find Anthropology a bit too frilly. I have never bought anything from sample sale sites like Gilt Groupe or Rue La La (because even their discount prices are often too expensive for my tastes). In fact, I don’t like shopping in general…even online shopping!

The object of many women’s delights. Unfortunately, I am not one of those women.

My personal style tends to lean toward the minimal, with a preference for muted solids — no patterns or bright colors for me. My home is all beige, grey, brown and black (I just realized while typing this that even the dog fits into this muted palette!) with pops of red here and there. We don’t have much decor in the house and the walls remain free of art or photos.

Even when planning my wedding, I kept a safe distance from the ever-so-popular bird cake toppers and Paloma’s Nest bowls. They just seemed too cute and kitschy for my tastes, and there were even times when I questioned my style (or lack thereof). Is there something incredibly wrong with me?

I hate the outdoors. I prefer cash over other gifts. I have a vulgar and immature sense of humor. Most people find me a bit stand-offish, blunt, and socially awkward. I am nothing like the charming, well-mannered ladies of impeccable taste that comprise Weddingbee.

Sometimes I am glad that I applied to blog for Weddingbee back in 2007, when the site was just starting to gain popularity on the web. I’m pretty sure that my application would be rejected if I were to apply today.

ETA: I sat on this post for a few days before deciding to publish it, because I was afraid some of my fellow Weddingbee bloggers may find it offensive. Please know that this post is not an attack on your style and preferences at all — I am merely stating that my likes & dislikes seem so different from that of the majority of the Bees. I love you all. Really, I do. <3

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26 Responses to “The Black “Bee” of the Group”

  1. Lisa says:

    I’m not offended at all, even though i’m an etsy fan and am a member of Gilte Group and Ruelala (never bought anything from either because it’s still too darn pricey!). Anthro is a little much for me, too.
    I disagree with you, though. Just because you’re out of the "norm" doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be selected today. I don’t know, but I think you were probably picked because you’re a good writer and you blog consistently. I also think your wedding aesthetic is well within the range of WB bloggers. My wedding, for example, isn’t nearly as cool or elegant as most of the ones I’ve seen there. You fit in just fine, dear. Always have, always will. *huggles*

  2. LIzzie says:

    Heehee. This made me smile b/c I too hate the outdoors, my home is minimally decorated, and the only thing I can afford/have ever bought from Anthropologie is a mug. It was $6 and has my initial on it and I use it to hold pens. I wouldn’t consider you a black sheep or an outlier to the blogging Bee community!

  3. bowie bride says:

    hi. love your blog, btw. i applied to be a bee and got rejected–for most of the reasons you just listed. i’m a little too ‘out there’ for the bee. so i came up with a little weddingbee parody that i thought maybe i’d share with you in light of this post. because if i was chosen to be a bee, i definitely would have been the ‘black sheep bee’ . my fake bee name is ‘miss crack pipe’ 🙂

  4. Kristin says:

    All the reasons you listed for being a "black bee" are the exact reasons I followed you to your personal blog from Weddingbee! I loved that I could read your posts and identify with your tastes from not being a fan of Etsy and Anthropology down to the dog who fits into the muted color scheme of our house (our pup is a salt and pepper schnauzer and definitely blends in!).

  5. Amy S says:

    Girl please! My wedding wasn’t anything trendy either, but it was us and that’s all that mattered! 🙂

  6. Kit says:

    I used to comb through WeddingBee religiously as I was planning my wedding. But now that it is over- I am SO GLAD my wedding is over. I was never a girly girl (even though planning my wedding let me be so briefly until I came to my senses and realized- "It’s exhausting being a girly girl- I just want to be me!")
    I "grew" up and am so glad I got married between my first year of grad school and before my second year to sever the ‘girly girl’ ‘wedding obsession’… We are now trying to conceive, and growing along together and I believe my procrastinating internet surfing days evolved into more of a reality check thing.
    I read your blog for it’s down to earth insight. You don’t have to fit any particular mold. You just need to embrace the fact that you offer up a perspective on life different than most of the girly girl, froo froo trend followers. And you may find you might overlap on certain things with those froo froo things- but like myself, it happens rarely.
    I second Amy S… My wedding was anything but trendy (in a vineyard/garden, 68 guests, our dog was the dog of honor)- but we loved the day, it was us, it spoke to us, and my hubby and I moved on with our life- looking forward NOT back.
    You’re doing good! Your blog is lovely. It speaks to me. And as I journey into conceiving a child- it’s nice to know someone else’s journey is a unique road too. Life is about living, and objects and pretty things don’t grow with you.

  7. Rhey says:

    I agree with Kristin. The reason I followed you from Weddingbee and stayed was that you are different. I don’t always share the same opinions, but life would be boring to surround yourself with people who agree with you all of the time. Cheers to being yourself!

  8. Amen, fellow (former) Bee sister! I was never a girly girl so I often felt out of place during my blogging tenure there. Many of the posts I wrote that I loved the best hardly anyone commented on because they were about relationship/emotional stuff as opposed to dresses or centerpieces. Having checked out the site again a few months ago, I am positively certain I would have been weeded out under the new regime.
    All that said though, I did genuinely enjoy and appreciate my time there as it introduced me to a bunch of great blogging pals such as yourself. 🙂
    Cheers and big hugs to you for keeping it real here on this blog. Even when I get superbusy, I always make a point of clicking over and seeing how you are doing.
    Your friend,
    The former Mrs. Hummingbird 😉

  9. Moll says:

    I followed you from Weddingbee, and I’m still reading because of your unique voice! I loved reading the ‘bee while I was engaged, but my one complaint is that a truly diverse site would have a bit more… diversity? Not just DIY marathons that most gals don’t have time for or (much as I love them) the constant parade of Anthropologie and J Crew. I think a couple of recent bees have written on there about feeling out of place. I’d guess the WIC is as much to blame as the site, encouraging people to do things just to be "good wedding bloggers" instead of highlighting their own individual style.

  10. You sound just like me. I mean seriously. Every thing you described, from your anthropologie/bird-topper/etsy blahness to your vulgar sense of humor…

    I think they would have accepted you. They let me in, after all. Maybe there’s some kind of ‘uncool’ corner of the ‘bee where people like us can make jokes about boogers and farts.

  11. I love keeping up with your blog since your Weddingbee days and always look forward to your posts. Even though to a certain extent I am probably a part of the diy frills (although I pale in comparison to some other talents), I still love reading about all the different weddings and getting to know the personalities and following their non-blogs. After my rambling my main points are: I’m not offended, you have one of my favorite blogs and you wouldn’t be rejected because you have an amazing writing voice that lets us feel like we know you. And to me that is what is important.

  12. AMEN, SISTER!!! SERIOUSLY!! I loved this post. I completely agree.

    Now that I have the term "former" in front of my title, I feel even more like I don’t belong. I love most of the people I’ve met through Weddingbee and am really glad that I was part of it, but I’m left feeling like I’m not longer a member of a sorority I didn’t quite fit in with to begin with.

    Oh well…I’m still really thankful for the awesome friends I’ve made as a result of my brief tenure. 😉 And I do have to say, though, that there’s one exception to this: no matter what, that the readers ALWAYS made me feel really great–so I definitely felt like I belonged in that way.

    Thanks for writing this! It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one!
    –the "former" Mrs. Cream Puff 😛

  13. Jessica says:

    I, too, found you from Weddingbee. I have an appreciation for all kinds of things, and Weddingbee was a great find for me for what it is at the time I needed that stuff. But even better, it’s introduced me to blogging beyond personal diaries… I follow you and a few other used-to-bees, plus a bunch of really cool vegan cooking blogs!

  14. I love your style. I loved your wedding! And, honestly, you were one of the bees that made me want to apply 🙂 Thanks for being brave enough to write this! Its wonderful.

  15. a bee says:

    I’m going to say it’s just the baby mania that’s driving you away right now to sulk in the corner. Totally understandable, but I don’t think you’re a black sheep.

  16. I just wanted to say that I love your writing style and hope that I can be as open and honest as you are on your blog. It has been a joy following you on Weddingbee and beyond.

  17. Kasia Fink says:

    I’m not offended by this post Jenny but I have to admit I’m a bit confused. I would never have thought of you as sticking out like a sore thumb at Weddingbee. Not at all. And what’s more, I’m not sure such a thing as a black sheep exists.

    The thing is, (and I’ll go out on a limb and speak for all Bees here), we all have our quirks and interests outside those weddingy things and dare I say it… personalities. That side of us isn’t always evident when we’re writing about weddings all the time and writing for a certain audience with expectations to boot–and that’s natural… but it’s still there.

    I really like this blog precisely because of the things you write about. All that geeky stuff? I love it and maybe you wouldn’t guess it from my own blog, but I devour similar stuff like that day long. On the other hand, I also like shopping and frilly things too. (Where does that put me on the sheep-o-meter? 😉 ) I guess what I’m trying to say is, those people behind the WB monikers? They’re all different. In some instances, their true(er) personalities are revealed in their post-wedding blogs but in others, though they may have post-wedding blogs too, we will never truly know them.

    If some WB readers are coming here and leaving because there’s no DIY or newlywed updates, then I think that’s a fabulous thing. It means you are writing in your real voice about things you care about, and not for an audience with whom you don’t have a lot in common but for whom you’re writing because you know they followed you here. It’s one of the hardest things to do and one that I know many bloggers (myself included) struggle with. The readers for which your blog resonates will stay. And I’d be willing to bet there are a lot of them.

    Kudos for being real. But if you are a black sheep, then so am I and there’s a flock of us.

    Fist bump,
    Kasia (aka Mrs Sea Breeze)

  18. MrsJBT says:

    Wow, Kasia just stated exactly what I wanted – and so much more eloquently than I ever could have! I’ve loved following your blog since we wrote together precisely because you do come across as such an individual…your writing and your style is fantastic!

    Jenn (Magnolia)

  19. Maggie says:

    Kasia, Broke-Ass Bride, Pink Heli – they’ve all said it – I’m a lurker on the bee site, but through it I’ve found some of the bees’ other blogs, and personally, I like your guyses other blogs even better then what I see on the bee. I think I miss my group of girls since moving away, and reading what you all are up to makes me feel more connected to them (or something?). Please just keep on being you!

  20. Vir says:

    Hi Jenny! I think many people’s blogs (especially their Weddingbee-specific blog) really only show very limited facets of their personalities. There are a few out there whose blogs strongly portray their unique voices and personalities much more than others (you, Avo and Shortcake are a few who come to mind — and I think it’s great that you guys are able to express yourselves so openly) but I don’t think the lack of that means the blogger automatically fits into the Bee "mold" you’ve sort of painted in this post, or that you stuck out like a sore thumb as a Bee. The though of Bees all having similar personalities, likes and dislikes has never crossed my mind, to be honest — I have always thought of us as a rather diverse crowd in terms of personalities and interests: if not obviously, then by assumption, because who can really be contained in a subject-specific blog?

    Speaking from personal experience, I’ve grown increasingly more cautious as a blogger about certain elements of my life, which might make me come across as fairly one-dimensional in the blogosphere. I definitely don’t and will never have a readership like you do, and even those who have read all my blogs — my wedding blog, my personal blog and my baby blog — will never have a really good understanding of who I am without knowing me in real life. I’m okay with that; it’s honestly rather intentional though I admit it makes for a way more boring read than say, your blog or Jenna’s blog. From my wedding blog alone, I wouldn’t be surprised if readers thought I was shallow or wedding-obsessed; they’re really only seeing one side of me, though I do think writing style accounts for a lot of the perceptions a reader forms. I guess what I’m trying to say is — don’t feel like you are a black sheep — I think there are many who have much more in common with you than you think! 🙂

  21. Snapdragon says:

    I don’t think of you that way at all! Every WB blogger is much more than just a Bee. WB is about weddings, so that’s what most of the posts are about. Most of the bloggers are young, too, so naturally their blogging will greatly evolve once they graduate le Bee and run their own blogs. Post-wedding, the ladies start to write much more about real, authentic life. Although it might not seem true on the surface, underneath the craftiness or JCrew are a lot of very different, multi-faceted women with their own talents and insecurities. Sure, many people go through periods of time when they feel like they don’t fit in, but, for me – I treasure the fact that my friends (including Bees) are vastly different from me: religiously, politically, culturally – you name it. It’s how we grow – the day I feel like I totally fit in is the day I stop learning and challenging myself. Just my thoughts – who says anybody has to fit in? That would be pretty boring. XO

  22. Marigold says:

    I discovered your blog thanks to the ‘Bee, but I continue to follow your writing because your an interesting person with lots of great things to say (not because I expect any crafts or newlywed stuff!). So, don’t worry, there are plenty of us out here who read your blog simply because we like to hear about your life!

  23. Linda says:

    I found your blog through WB, but I continue to read it because I love your posts! I love WB, I’m not a Bee, but a Hostess instead. I always wondered if I was a weirdo there because I don’t shop at J Crew, and really just hate shopping in general. I, too, was never interested in the bird toppers, or ring bowls, so I’m glad I’m not the only one! Thanks for writing this, and for being so honest!

  24. Jenna says:

    This post made me realize how much I would love to know if I That Wife is what people expected from what they found on WB. As Snapdragon points out on the ‘bee we are writing posts that cater to a specific audience and so their real lives might not match up with what they are portraying (not that they aren’t being real, just that we only see one small part of them).

    I also think it’s important to note that the growth of the site has placed higher expectations for the writers, which they in turn feel like they have to fill. If you read back through the archives of the older bees you see that the posts aren’t the same as what you find on the site today, because they didn’t "have" to be. In fact, (and someone is going to hate me for saying this) I don’t even think Bee would be accepted if she were to apply based on her old posts! Readers now demand a lot more transparency and a lot more effort than they used to (I think that’s the case, maybe not though) and because the site is essentially a product now they are trying to meet the demand. I’m not sure there is anything wrong with that, as blogging is a time-sucking

  25. Anon2 says:

    Individuality is key. I followed you from Weddingbee, and you were one of my favourite bees. Along with the wonderful Mrs. Gummi Bear. I so wish I knew if she had her own blog!!

    One thing that I find odd though, is your statement about Etsy. Because even if you’re not girly or into kitchy stuff, there is a ton of awesome stuff to be had on Etsy. It’s not all about one asthetic, and how can someone not be a fan of supporting hand-made goods by individuals trying to make a living on their own wares. That one kinda baffles me. Even my UBER minimalist best friend, who is not a lover of kitsch, or all handmade items, loves Etsy. I’d suggest giving it another chance? If anything, for the clothes. There are some amazing indie designers on their, that make simple, well-styled clothing! Give er another shot. Also, there is tons of gamer and geeky stuff. As a fellow geeky girl, I can say that I’ve seen some awesome video game related Christmas ornaments, tshirts, and so on.

    Thanks for the behind the scenes WB info. I think wedding stuff inadvertently (and sometimes intentionally… like the crazy ass people on the knot.. holy crap those ladies do NOT have their heads screwed on straight) has the ability to make people feel inferior if they don’t like what they think is ‘the norm’. But I never viewed you like that at all.

    To the other bee who said her more beloved posts always received fewer comments, I feel like I should possibly apologize for that a bit. My visits to Weddingbee have been continually fewer (these days, I prefer A Practical Wedding.. I’ve been engaged for two years, we’re holding off on a wedding for financial reasons, and I’m getting sick of a lot of the WIC. Even Offbeat Bride seems WIC in it’s own weird way. Also, I stopped visiting WB so much once Miss Avacado came on board. Her views, and tolerance/promotion of hate made me beyond upset and angry, as well as her self-righteous uppityness about that stuff.) But, I’m rambling, to my point – when I go to Wedding Bee, I’m honestly looking for escapist content. I don’t view the site as something that will have content for me to become inspired, find deeper meaning, etcetera. This is partially my fault, but also the nature of the site, and the way it is marketed. There have been a few bees that have been very brave to post some amazing in-depth content, and I try to bring myself to read it, but I often just stop part way through. It’s not a shot at anyone, I just have different sites for different needs… I hope that makes sense?

  26. Gregoria says:

    How do you feel about 80’s music? I know this guy who was on the whos who back in the day and now he is pulling a completely different gig, making about 40k per month online with something has been called the “Cash Pulling App of the Gods…” (It automatically pulls social traffic to your website) If you are a rocker, or even if you are just curious, you should check out this page that tells his little story. Pretty amazing stuff…

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