a facelift for the blog and my thoughts on social media

by Sharon Santoni

 

If only a real life facelift were as painless and stress free as a facelift for this website, I think I’d have gone under the scalpel years ago!

Today you may notice a few, some fairly subtle, changes around here.   We have given the blog its fourth major refresh, which I suppose is quite a few for a site that is only eight years old, but hey,  I like to keep things moving.

Please take a look around.   We have a new section for press, and new categories and sub categories for the blog posts.  You have a direct link to My Stylish French Box in the header and we’ll soon be filming some more videos that you’ll be able to see here.    It is more the layout and structure that has been revamped rather than the content.  The aim of course being to make it all more simple to navigate.

And there are plenty of links to find our other social media, because who today can hope to exist online without all the tassels and trims?  And that is what I’d like to talk to you about.

I am by no means a giant on social media, but thanks to the blog, I do have a fun presence on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.  Just big enough to give me some good communication tools and a little street credibility.

I am sometimes asked about how to grow social media pages or how to grow an audience for a blog.   There is a lot of information out there, but my answer is invariably “Be yourself, follow your heart, write sincerely and take nice pictures”

As with most things in life, love and enjoyment are the secret.  If you love the subject you are posting about, and if you enjoy the act of sharing then I believe that will be appreciated by your readers.  In the blogging world, we all need each other.  I could never have started my blog unless a couple of other bloggers kindly included me in their blogroll.    Using a tool like a blog or a media page that can reach a good number of people is fun, but it’s also a privilege.   I like to think these tools are never better used than when I am using them to share a person, or a place or a brand that I love.

And talking of sharing on social media, I am particularly honoured and happy today to be invited to take over the Instagram page of the beautiful Country Home Magazine.   A big Bonjour and Welcome to any new readers that have come here from Country Home.   Please take a look around and don’t hesitate to drop us a line here if you have any questions.

The illustrations for this post are by my  highly gifted friend Céline Chollet, who is also our resident artist at My Stylish French Box this year.  Proof that one of the real pleasures of having a blog and social media, is the opportunities that it gives us to share our talented friends.

Wishing you all a beautiful weekend, come rain or shine.  And looking forward to sharing my French Country weekend on the Country Home Magazine Instagram page.

47 comments

Shari Bellizzi-Davis June 1, 2018 - 8:55 pm

The drawings are amazing, and your thoughts, spot on! I feel so grateful to be able to see so much of the world through social media.

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Audrey Young June 2, 2018 - 2:25 pm

Love your site and would love to win a week at the French cottage! Audrey Young

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Carrie L. Thatcher June 1, 2018 - 8:57 pm

I don’t comment often, but I found your blog 4 years ago after I returned home from a visit to France. Every version of your blog is lovely. I am also enjoying your spread in Victoria Magazine. They are inspiring on paper or online.

Thanks

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Sharon Santoni June 2, 2018 - 7:37 pm

Thank you Carrie, I appreciate that !

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Racha Nadim June 1, 2018 - 9:11 pm

Love your blog, your subjects, your photos and your books. They all talk delicately to my heart. Thank you for sharing your world and thoughts with us

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Alice Genzlinger June 1, 2018 - 9:16 pm

Glad to see your Subsrription box is up front. Love every one of your post and look forward to reading you in the future.

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Nadiya D June 1, 2018 - 9:32 pm

I absolutely adore your blog, I often visit to find inspiration and explore other blogs in your “our favorite blogs” section. Thank you so much for creating this beautiful window of inspiration and grace.

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Irene Peterson June 1, 2018 - 9:37 pm

always look forward to receiving your bog. The sentiment and the colors and the descriptions are ever so warming.

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tracy brown June 1, 2018 - 9:37 pm

Good for you, Sharon- I LOVE it- all of it!! Celine’s watercolors are gorgeous. And I had no idea Country Home was back in business (they had shut down a number of years back). So I entered my subscription immediately.

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Kelly Dodson June 1, 2018 - 9:42 pm

I love your blog and get quite excited when I see you have a new post. Loved the paintings today in place of the photos but keep supplying those photos! Sharon, I live in France vicariously through your blog while physically living in Kansas! Bless you for sharing!

Until next time!

J’aime votre blog et devenir très excité quand je vois que vous avez un nouveau message. J’ai adoré les peintures aujourd’hui à la place de la photos mais garder fournissant ces photos ! Sharon, j’habite en France à travers votre blog tout en vivant physiquement dans le Kansas! Vous bénir pour le partage!

Jusqu’à la prochaine fois!

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Debby Hammer June 2, 2018 - 1:59 pm

Reading Sharon’s blog has inspired me, too. So mablogue.com is now two days old. I have studied French all my years since living in Canada. I attended the Sorbonne one summer session in 1973. Jasmine H is my blog name.

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Linda June 1, 2018 - 9:46 pm

Loved the article about you in Victoria, and now am wondering of the Country Home magazine you speak of is the American version. I enjoy it, too, and would love to see articles from you there. I love the new look of your blog, specially the water colors. I always feel a sense of peace when I read your news. Thank you.

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david terry June 1, 2018 - 9:51 pm

Oh, Sharon….I don’t think you need ever worry about whether you’ve done or are doing things “right”. Obviously, you have….and your friends were quite right in telling you (and I quote from your posting): ” My answer is invariably “Be yourself, follow your heart, write sincerely and take nice pictures”

You’ve already done that. It shouldn’t be too hard for you, at this point, to avoid being a sales-point person for Nordstrums or some other shill for an online marketer who gives you a cut from the proceedings. Your brocante tours, “French boxes”, and everything else MFCH do seem refreshingly genuine and (here I’ll use an old-fashioned word) sincere.

Do you need me to tell you that folks can tell the difference between someone’s trying to SELL them something….and someone’s sharing something with them? You and MFCH do the latter (sharing)….and it shows.

As you’ll know, we’ve spoken a few times over the telephone (France to North Carolina, when you’ve called), and we’ve corresponded for over five years. All I have to say is that you’re doing just fine…..and just stay yourself. MFCH is something that YOU made, all by yourself……and do, please, keep it that way.

Admiringly,

David Terry
Quail Roost Farm
Rougemont, NC
USA

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VicKy (from Athens) June 1, 2018 - 11:40 pm

I am in complete agreement with David! I couldn’t have said it better myself. In the words of Billy Joel…”I love you just the way you are.”

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Petra Matthew June 2, 2018 - 4:03 pm

I am also in compleet agreement with David. I enjoy to follow blogs, but loose interest as soon as they are collaborating with products. I do understand they need to make money to pay the bills, but somehow it doesn’t feel sincere anymore. And the way you do it, does! Loved the illustrations on this post. I wonder though….you always speak of “ we” and “us”. But who else is doing something then? Isn’t it you who writes it all?

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Sharon Santoni June 2, 2018 - 7:31 pm

Thank you David for your very generous comment, and a note to everyone else: I don’t pay David to say this stuff!

Thank you also for picking up on my grammar. The We/I thing is a bit of a minefield …. either I’m unwittingly beginning to adopt a royal WE, or I just need to pay more attention. For the moment I am writing everything, but I do have some wonderful help backstage with logistics, thank goodness!

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Petra Matthew June 2, 2018 - 11:27 pm

Aha! I wasn’t trying to comment on your grammar though. I was just wondering if your were having some people to help you, because you always say “ we”. But with logistics then; good for you!

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Taste of France June 1, 2018 - 10:00 pm

Congratulations on the changes and the Country Home gig!
I think that if one does what one loves, then it doesn’t matter whether anybody notices. If they do, it’s icing on the cake. But even if not, you have cake anyway!

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Susan June 1, 2018 - 10:02 pm

Great new concept! Love the drawings.

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Kathy Gordon June 1, 2018 - 10:15 pm

This is my first time reading a blog. I just read about you in my local paper by the designer Mary Carol Garrity and enjoyed your answers to her questions. I immediately ordered your book My Stylish Girlfriends for myself and a gift for my girlfriend. We both love all things French. I’m intrigued by My Stylish French Box and will investigate at a later time and also your creative tours. I’m looking forward to this journey.
Kathy Gordon
Clarkston, Michigan

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Colleen Taylor June 1, 2018 - 10:45 pm

Absolutely lovely new look Sharon. Changes are good and always refreshing. Loving your new photo & the watercolors.

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Tanya June 1, 2018 - 10:45 pm

Such lovely drawings!!

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Marianne June 1, 2018 - 10:46 pm

Hi Sharon. Before I read today’s blog, I have to tell you the changes are beautiful, lovely, so pretty and made me smile. Of course, it was perfect and loved before this, but even more so now. So look forward to your mailings, and love both your beautiful books. Marianne

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[email protected] June 2, 2018 - 12:08 am

Beautiful illustrations

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Lin Powell June 2, 2018 - 12:22 am

I really like the new look. The artwork is amazing. Wonderful blog.

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Judi June 2, 2018 - 1:34 am

The water colors are beyond beautiful and I love that at the bottom you have some of your great photos, too! Keep doing what you are doing. Everything is always so beautiful, so elegant and inspired. Congratulations on your latest achievement, and on the new face of your blog!

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Sherry June 2, 2018 - 2:41 am

Love the new look. Beautiful

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Kay June 2, 2018 - 4:35 am

Beautiful art work

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CÉLINE CHOLLET June 2, 2018 - 8:58 am

Superbe Sharon ! Très honorée de voir mon aquarelle de la maison en en-tête, merci !

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Debbie June 2, 2018 - 3:18 pm

Been following and loving all you do for years. You’re still one of two that I always read. Others I only enjoy sporadically, but not you. You’ve made me fall in love with Normandy; I already loved France. The water colors are lovely but it’s your photos that have kept me faithful. It’s the photos of your home that stole my heart. I guess I’m the type that wants photography verses other images. Just thought all feedback might be helpful.

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Sharon Santoni June 2, 2018 - 7:33 pm

HI Debbie, . First of all thank you for your kind words, but just to put things straight here, the watercolours were just for this post. I love Céline’s work, and I wanted to use something that would illustrate the possibilities of sharing in the blogging world.

For the next post we shall be back to photos

have a lovely weekend

Sharon

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david terry June 2, 2018 - 3:55 pm

P.S……My only suggestion for your blog, Sharon, is that you and/or your minions somehow devise a way for readers such as myself to simply leave a “like” or that-offputting-heart-emoji in response to another reader’s response to your blog. I always read the comments from your predictably bright and involved readers……and I think “Good, Sharon’s hit the mark again”. That said?….I don’t necessarily have a “comment” or response to someone else’s comment…..but I do wish there were a way to indicate the I read it, responded favorably to it, simply enjoyed the response……and generally want to spread the Good Karma that MFCH obviously sows for a lot of folks.

Quite Sincerely, and Best Wishes to you and MFCH…….
David Terry
Quail Roost Farm
Rougemont, NC
USA

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Sharon Santoni June 2, 2018 - 7:34 pm

Thank you David, that is a great idea. I’m not sure that function exists, but I’ll be sure to check it out 🙂

xx

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June Rubenstein June 3, 2018 - 8:52 pm

I was trying to figure out what it is that draws me to your blog, Sharon. I think it’s just that it’s so gentle and comforting…. Two of the best visions of
France for me. Love todays Watercolors which is also my passion, but also prefer your photos because they transport me to France .

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stitchinsweetsue June 2, 2018 - 5:16 pm

lovely post sharon, artwork is very soothing, congrats on country home magazine, what’s not to love since day one!? enjoy your weekend my friend. xo

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Sharon Santoni June 2, 2018 - 7:35 pm

Thank you Sue, you have always been so kind in your words of encouragement

hugs from Normandy

Sharon

x

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elizabeth martinez June 2, 2018 - 11:52 pm

The illustrations are captivating,so feminine, so fresh !

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Trish M June 3, 2018 - 5:19 am

Hi Sharon. I have been following your blog for some time now and I don’t often leave a comment. I love seeing your beautiful gardens, your trips to Paris and Provence (bring back memories for me) and reading your occasional short stories. I have just received my first ever Stylish French Box and absolutely loved it. Thank you!

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JaneEllen June 3, 2018 - 7:24 am

Have always enjoyed and love your blog, lets me see and learn about France in way never could otherwise.
Drawings on this post are so lovely, truly enjoyed them so much. How I wish I could visit France, get to meet you. One of best happenings for me was finding your blog long time ago. So wish I was in position to receive one of your French boxes, would always cherish it.
Have wonderful Sunday

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Freddie Ann June 3, 2018 - 3:00 pm

I’ve read all the above responses and obviously you have hit a home run. I’m fairly new to your blog (couple of months) and I get so excited when your newsletter pops in my inbox.

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Marilyn L June 3, 2018 - 5:47 pm

As usual you have got everything just right. I have lovely happy memories of holidays spent in France with my late husband and your blog takes me back to them. Thank you.

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June Rubenstein June 3, 2018 - 8:58 pm

I think Jane Ellen said it perfectly in her comment. Your blog makes people want to actually meet you. I think it’s because you seems like I a really truly lovely person.

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Bethany Berk June 4, 2018 - 4:52 pm

I’ve only recently found your blog … It’s simply beautiful, a wonderful escape. Thank you for your generosity in all you share whether photographs, advice, inspiration … just wonderful.

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david terry June 4, 2018 - 10:05 pm

How funny (as in “odd”, not “amusing”) to find so many off-the-cuff (I gather) references to “an escape”, etcetera. My own “French” marriage ended after ten….maybe twelve…years. I wouldn’t be the first divorced person to say I’m not quite able to say when it started and/or when it ended. And I’m not at all sure that that issue is, all done and said, an issue at all.

My point would be (and, I hope, IS) that I don’t read Sharon’s blog for escapism, or because of any francophilia. I read it for confirmation. She makes it clear that some things are worth working for and worth sharing. It’s not as though all of this happened MAGICALLY for her, or she b ought it with her Guinnesso-Girl-Trust-Fund, you know.

The life she leads is, indeed, pretty in all the obvious ways. It’s also a good and busy and productive one, from what I can gather (and, trust me, no one has a more cynically trained eye than I do when it comes to spitting poseurs and fakes).

That said?….I don’t think of MFCH as escapism. Looking over it gives me a lot more hope, speaking quite practically, than a lot of other online ventures do.

sincerely,
david terry
quail roost farm
rougemont, nc
usa

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david terry June 4, 2018 - 10:07 pm

damn……one can’t correct typos once one’s hit “Send”…….
abashedly,
d.terry

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Jodie Chin June 5, 2018 - 1:04 pm

Love the illustrations and can’t wait for new videos, I love those!

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