How it all started

Links + Loves


Somehow I got to explaining why I started my blog with my friends recently and Meg mentioned that I should write a blog post about it. It’s something that I figure people knew already, but her mentioning to write about it made me think it would be fun to look back and explain for anyone whoย doesn’t know the story.

I started my blog in 2010 as a way to share things that I liked. I had just stumbled across a few blogs and if my memory serves me, Centsational Girlย was the first blog I ever read. That and My Right Brain. I had been looking to make a jewelry tree and I think both of those blogs had tutorials.

My blog consisted of very brief posts, from a short story that I found funny to a little note about a new lip gloss I tried. It started off being called Lemon Sugar, but shortly after that I changed it to “” . It was such a mouthful that I shortened it to thesmallthingsblog when I bought the domain in 2011.

At this time I was building my business as a hairstylist. I only ever worked independently, never for a commission-style salon, so I had to do all my own marketing, inventory, etc. I was a one woman show in a rented studio in Raleigh. Justin and I had just moved from about an hour and half east, so I had a lot of time on my hands between appointments.

I did puzzles, we got our first cat, and I poured HOURS into my blog.

At this time, I was also working with my sister on Elisabeth Ashlie. We ran that business together for a few years but now she’s doing it on her own!

That was pretty much it. I had a slight idea that people can make a small bit of money from their blogs but I didn’t really know how to make that happen.

In the summer of 2011, I shared my first hair tutorial video on the blog and pinned it to Pinterest. This was the most pivotal turning point in the history of the blog.

I filmed the hair tutorial in order to create a resource for my clients. I would take time to show them how to do their own hair while they were sitting in my chair, but they’d always forget details about the instruction when they went back home. I thought,”there has to be some sort of basic tutorial on the internet that I can direct them to”. But as it turns out, I couldn’t easily find any that were extremely basic and straight to the point.

And then I decided to film one of myself. I sat in front of my computer with my curling iron hot and ready, hit record, and 76 tries later I had a semi-decent video tutorial. I didn’t know how to edit anything, a photo nor a video, so I had to do everything right from the time I hit record to the time I finished up. It was terrifying.

The blog became the central location that I could refer my clients to versus just sending individual video files via e-mail.

And that is why/how the hair tutorials began.

After pinning that first one, which is now very painful to watch, my traffic skyrocketed. I was absolutely overwhelmed with the number of people. I attribute the popularity of it to a few things, one being the major obsession with Pinterest that had JUST started at the same time and also the fact that I was filling a void. Now, there are so many really great hair tutorials but back then they were hard to find!

I remember hitting refresh on the Blogger stat page, with my husband standing over my shoulder, saying “I’M GOING TO HIT 200,000 PAGEVIEWS. WHATTTTT!!!”

From about August to December of 2011, my blog saw the most insane growth of page views. I was excited, nervous, and absolutely surprised at the response.ย Since that first tutorial, I had begun sharing weekly tutorials on my blog every Monday. Monday was hair tutorial day, and I looked forward to it the most! The rest of my content focused on other beauty-related topics and my cats. And crafts, as DIY tutorials were really popular at that time as well!

A lot happened between that starting point and now.ย A lot of great things, some tough things, but mostly a humbling realization that I have such a fantastic community here on the internet.

So that’s how it started. It’s been such a fun journey and with more and more blogs popping up every single day, I’m grateful that you take time to visit mine!

To find an easy list of my hair tutorials on my blog, check out this page!


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Casey says · 04.11.16

I remember finding your hair tutorial on Pinterest in the fall of 2011! I was that girl who had never learned how to curl her own hair and my friends always had to come over and do it for me. It was the first time someone explained it to me and I finally got it! I was so excited and have been curling and coming back to your blog ever since. Funny after 5 years of reading I feel like I know you but I didn’t know that’s how you got started. 5 years later and I still love coming to see your blog. Thanks for sharing your life with us me relieving my friends from curling duty! ๐Ÿ™‚

bree says · 04.11.16

OMG. I’m reading this and thinking, yes I think I probably started following about that time too, but you said FIVE years. That’s a really long time! lol. I didn’t realize. time flies.

Ashley Long says · 04.11.16

I agree with you Casey! I totally feel like I know her HaHa. We have gotten to see her and her life evolve and we’ve all grown and become better with Kate’s help! I know she’s helped me immensely! ?

Sherry says · 04.11.16

What a cool story, I knew I had been reading your blog for a long time, but I didn’t realize it had been that long. I am pretty sure I came across your blog via Pinterest. I rarely visit Pinterest much now…..but I still read your blog everyday. Hope you have a wonderful week.

Michelle says · 04.11.16

It’s not just the content of the blog, it’s YOU, too. We all love you. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ashley Long says · 04.11.16

Yes!! Not only does she have great ideas and things she shares but she’s such an awesome chick! You could not have said it better, Michelle!

Sinead Godden says · 04.11.16

Fantastic post! I have just started my blog and I am loving it, although it is a little nerve racking thinking people might not like what they are reading! Thank you for this post ๐Ÿ™‚

Beth tessier says · 04.11.16

You are my FAVORITE blogger. I was following you for a while before I realized you were a believer. That was just the icing on the cake!

Barbara UK says · 04.11.16

I really enjoyed reading how your blog started up. I found one of your hair tutorials on Pinterest when I was looking for imaginative ways to tie up my shoulder length hair for holidays. Once I’d found one, I was addicted to thesmallthingsblog and have enjoyed reading it ever since. I love the layout, the photos, the videos of course and…your voice! I think you have a lovely soft and gentle voice which makes watching your videos such a pleasing experience. Thank you for sharing.

Cait says · 04.11.16

i love how finding out why people started blogging in the first place ๐Ÿ™‚ love your blog girl!

Ashley says · 04.11.16

I found your blog in the fall of 2011 on Pinterest!!! I had a wedding coming up and had longer hair and I remember wanting your bob cut SOOOO BADDDD. Two days after my wedding I went to the salon, showed them a picture of your hair, and chopped all my hair off and loved it!!! I had learned how to style it thanks to your tutorials. I have loved watching your blog evolve!!! You have now gotten me to love putting on make up!! I can’t wait to see what you have in store for the future.

Samantha says · 04.11.16

Thanks for sharing the story! You are my absolute favorite blogger! Reading your blog is part of my morning routine ๐Ÿ™‚

Christy says · 04.11.16

This is so great. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time. Like right before you found out you were pregnant with David and wondered how it started. Also, for some reason, I didn’t know you had a whole page where I could find hair tutorials. I was always looking for them on Pinterest instead of here! (My internet savvy-ness is taking a hit today.) Thanks for posting the link! ๐Ÿ™‚

Allison says · 04.11.16

I found your blog a little over a year ago on a google search for “how to use a bobby pin”. You have stayed true to your origins by making all of your videos so easy to follow and have certainly inspired me to be more adventurous with my hair and trying new looks with make up. Thank you for showing me that hair dos don’t have to be difficult or scary!

Cassie says · 04.11.16

Thank you for sharing Kate! I found your blog in August of 2011 through that Pinterest hair tutorial. I received so many compliments on my hair thanks to your Monday posts.

I have enjoyed being a faithful reader as the blog has continued to change and grow. Thank you!

Ashli says · 04.11.16

Kate, I never knew how it all started so thank you for sharing! I started visiting through your hair tutorials. I remember thinking how easy you made everything seem. I love how your Blog has evolved through life and motherhood.

Becky says · 04.11.16

Very interesting how it all started.
“Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.”

Katherine says · 04.11.16

I really liked reading how it all started. I first found your hair tutorials on YouTube, and I think I watched every single one of them before I even visited your blog. I found them so helpful and, after blow drying my wavy hair straight for almost my whole life, you inspired me to go buy a curling iron and use it exactly like you did! My hair has never looked better!
Now I read your blog daily and there’s so much I really identify with! You’re a lovely person with a great manner, humor, and character… and a such a wonderful family! Keep up the good work!

Martie says · 04.11.16

I remember when I started seeing your cute face and awesome haircut all over Pinterest! Your tutorials are great, and I loved watching how another hairdresser worked. I’ve been hooked for years! Keep up the great work! ๐Ÿ™‚

Melissa G says · 04.11.16

I watched your tutorials back then. You made me want to let my hair grow out! Your hair wasn’t very long back then, but longer than mine and you could do so much with it. However, I was too big for long hair. I have since lost 163lbs. And my hair has been growing out for the last year. I go back to those old tutorials often! I still watch you mainly for the hair advice! Not sure I will ever make it to as long as yours is now, but I’d love to! And no matter how many tutorials I watch, my hair never looks like yours!!

Arijana C. says · 04.11.16

Congrats on your weight loss ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

gturn62 says · 04.11.16

163 pound weight loss? That is AWESOME! Congrats to you!

CourtneyviaND says · 04.11.16

I, too, was one of those girls that found your hair tutorial on Pinterest. I then started poking around your blog and spent an entire Saturday afternoon reading all of your blog history! You were the first blog I started following and let’s just say…I was hooked! is like my morning newspaper! I have learned a TON from your blog, we have very similar hair and skin so I feel like I hit the jackpot! Your tutorials showed me that blush can be pretty AND I can wear lipstick! Hair tutorials: game changer! My hair has been styled after your long bob for years and I now can’t live without aquage uplifting foam. I love your personality and look forward to your blog each day! Well done, Kate!

Suzanne Ogburn says · 04.11.16

Thanks for sharing. I always wondered how you got started.

Whitney @ Come Home For Comfort says · 04.11.16

I’ve been following you since those early blog days, and my hair thanks you! I’ve picked up so many great tips and tricks that have made a huge difference in how I care for and style my hair. ๐Ÿ™‚

Arijana C. says · 04.11.16

I agree with others! I was in desperate need of some hair advice and i stumbled across your tutorials on Pinterest!

Ashley Long says · 04.11.16

Thank you so much, Kate for creating this blog! Yours is the only one I check religiously! I remember when I found it years ago before I found Pinterest! You have the cutest hair styles and you have made them so easy. It’s been cool to see you and your life change as well. You deserve all of your success! You have helped so many woman and I know I can’t thank you enough. Because of you I never worry about what to do with my hair. I have an album on my phone called “hair” and I’ve saved pics etc of your hairstyles! You’re a genius! So THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!โค๏ธ

Princess Kaiulani says · 04.11.16

This is awesome! Thanks for sharing your story ๐Ÿ™‚

Amy says · 04.11.16

I started following you in 2012 from a hair post on pinterest! You were the only blogger I followed for a long time and now I follow a few more, all of whom you have recommended ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for doing what you do, you inspire so many!

Annie Luhmann says · 04.11.16

So cool! I’ve been reading your blog since 2011! Which is kind of crazy, because I was 11 when I started reading. I’m 16 now! Yours was the first blog I read, and it was the time of my life where I was figuring out all the hair and makeup stuff, and I really learned a lot from you! Still love your tutorials, but also enjoy reading about you and your cute boys! XO, Annie

Courtney says · 04.11.16

So I’m joining the crowd of people that found your blog through Pinterest, only I didn’t find it until last fall (2015). I’ve have learned SO much through your tutorials and you’ve taught me so much about applying and using makeup, I actually feel like I know what I’m doing now! Thank you so much for all your efforts and hard work (and that of your blog team!), it’s been such a help and I look forward to your posts every day.

Alicia says · 04.11.16

I’ve wanted to start a blog since 2011 (I just launched my blog this Feb), and it’s crazy to think if I would have just listened to my gut back then I could have gotten in at a really great time. Ah, well, you live and learn, at least I’m doing it NOW. ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, your story is super interesting! It’s crazy how God orchestrates things sometimes, huh?? I think I started following in 2012, when I impulsively chopped off all my hair and, in a panic, began desperately searching for cute ways to style it. Enter your blog. I can’t believe I’ve been reading this long!

Rachel says · 04.11.16

I just went and looked at your page of hair tutorials, and it’s amazing how much your style/hair has transformed over the years! I mean it when I say that you genuinely look beautiful in all of them, but my favorite is the way your hair is now. I even took in a photo of your hair when I recently cut quite a bit off of mine. Keep up the good work – thanks so much for sharing!

Teri says · 04.11.16

I found you on Pinterest, and have been following you since. I used to be a cosmetologist and I loved finding different ways to help clients, and myself. You are an inspiration!

Dawn says · 04.11.16

I stared reading your blog a few months ago!! I love checking in everyday to see what new beauty products you have tested! Also love your hair tutorials!! Thanks for sharing you knowledge. It gives me the confidence to do my own hair and makeup. I have so much fun reading your blog!!

Katrina says · 04.11.16

I just love your blog and look forward to reading it every day!! My hair is so much cuter because of it!! Thank you!

Sarah @ Foxy's Domestic Side says · 04.11.16

Oh fun, thanks for sharing! Yours was one of the first hair tutorial videos I found too! Then I started discovering more, but yours was always so easy to follow! So thank you for starting all those years ago!

Sam says · 04.11.16

I loved your old tutorials! Your hair used to be so pretty and healthy.

Katie says · 04.11.16

Never knew how it all started and I have been wondering! I love your blog I read it almost every other day. You have given so many great hair tips/tricks, and I have you to thank!!! Keep up the fantastic work Kate! xoxoxo

Mel says · 04.11.16

I’m a new reader (less than 6 months) and I love this story!! So inspiring!!!! This encourages a new blogger like me!

Mel |

Kristin S says · 04.11.16

I still remember the first time I clicked on your blog from a picture on Pinterest all those years ago! I also remember emailing you asking if I could pray for you because it was growing so stinkin’ fast and I knew there would be haters! You are a gift and blessing to many.

gturn62 says · 04.11.16

Such an inspiring story, Kate. I started reading your blog back when you were having fertility problems, so to see you now with those two beautiful boys…well, it’s just wonderful. I read your blog EVERY day, and enjoy it so much. You’re like a dear old friend to all of us regular readers. (Maybe you’re the “Dear Abby” of the blogging world) If you ever stop blogging, we’ll all need some sort of withdrawal therapy. Haha! We appreciate you so much. Thank you, and may you have continued success.

Sydni says · 04.11.16

I found one of your hair tutorials on Pinterest in January 2012! I FINALLY learned how to curl my hair by myself, and didn’t feel like an idiot for not knowing how to do it before then. Thank you for that!! Love that I’ve been able to follow you through brand updates and your two pregnancies. So glad for your blog, it is one of my faves ๐Ÿ™‚ <3

Sarah says · 04.12.16

I remember finding your blog and loved it from the start!! You totally should have posted a link to that very first hair tutorial! ?

Chelsea says · 04.12.16

I just want you to know that Ive been
reading your blog from the beginning.
I have loved watch you go through your
different seasons of life since you’ve
started your blog. You should know that
though this is a blog about products and
tutorials, this blog has really empowered,
inspired, and made the dreams of a lost
twenty something girl from Indiana seem
tangible. Thank you for helping me through
my seasons of life. <3

Carrie says · 04.12.16

Hi Kate!

I started following you more recently.. after you had David but before you knew about Luke. I have loved everything! Your blog is the single most helpful hair resource I’ve ever found. It was great to read your story and appreciate you more. I feel like you’re a friend of mine even though we’ve never met. And I have to say you and Lauren are both so entrepreneurial and creative! Get it girls! Very impressive.

On another note, I would love to see more fresh in fifteens with more hairstyles! Please bring them back! I love watching you in those videos.. you’re hilarious. And as a mom of a toddler, I can always use new ideas when getting ready quickly in those busy mornings.

Melissa says · 04.12.16

Thanks for sharing your story! I have been following your blog since I found it some time in 2012 and I was always curious how you started it all. Despite the increased availability of tutorials online, yours are still the most straightforward and I LOVE them! I never used to be able to do anything with my hair, and now most people ask me how I have such cute styles ๐Ÿ™‚ I always direct them back to you. So THANK YOU and I’m glad you have been able to enjoy such success!

Ann says · 04.12.16

I started following your website from the video that was posted on Pinterest. I look forward to reading your reviews and have found many new and amazing products because of you!

I was wondering if you will be coming back to Chicago any time soon to do a hair class again. I missed your last one and was heart broken!


jennifer says · 04.13.16

fabulous post ever your ideas are great!
i read your block everyday and it seems your thinking is
too good i love this post! many many thanks for sharing
this lovely story with us and i also love your pinterest post
oh….i love your tutorial …….this tutorial helps me lot!!

Tรขnia says · 04.16.16

So lovely that you shared this, Kate!
I first found your blog in 2012 , via a pinterest email. One of your hair tutorials was a suggested pin and I decided to check it out! I must say I came, and stayed, because of the hair and beauty content but these days I really love to share in a little bit of your personal journey. It’s been wonderful to read your thoughts on maternity and raising two little boys and also Justin’s brave and inspiring story!
Thank you for sharing, this really is one of my favorite blogs!
Much love from Portugal ๐Ÿ™‚

Nefeli says · 04.19.16

wow, very nice story! Very motivating for new bloggers.. I found your blog for the first time today and it is really nice!! I like so much the bobby-pin under your blog name. Your logo in general. Its the best simple clever logo!!!

Megan says · 04.20.16

Now you got me thinking how long I’ve been reading your blogs! I remember stumbling across your videos on pinterest. It was most likely around that tome like everyone else is saying. I can’t believe it’s been that long!! I feel like I’ve really gotten to know you in those years. I love reading about you and your family. Oftentimes I’ll be talking about something with my boyfriend and say “Kate said yada yada yada.” and he goes “Who’s Kate?!” “Duh, Kate from The Small Things Blog!”

Sonja says · 04.24.16

I’m so happy you decided to share. Yours was the first blog I ever read and followed. I started following in Jan 2012 just after the birth of my first son. I love that we both have two boys and i just love you and your “realness” and all the simple tips you provide. Such a simple start but look how far you’ve come. So happy for you and all you are achieving as entrpreneur, wife and mom!


Samantha says · 06.06.21

I found you on Pinterest in your early hair tutorial phase. It had to be 2011 or 2012. It was the tutorial on how to blow dry your hair to give volume. I ran out and bought Kenra 25 and Aquage uplifting foam and the rest is history. My second big moment was when you taught us how to use a flat iron to give lift at the roots and curl at the ends. โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚ Thanks for teaching me what to do with my hair!

Chloe Tully says · 06.28.21

You are one of the first blogs I started following after seeing your pins on Pinterest so much. Iโ€™m so glad I found you! Itโ€™s been a joy continuing to follow you all of these years.