Meet Brenna of Crunchy Mountain Life!

Your name: Brenna Jo Whitson 
Name of your blog: Crunchy Mountain Life
Blog social media accounts:
Meet Brenna
Let’s get to know YOU:
Tell us a little bit about yourself (mini bio): I’m a SAHM to 3 amazing kiddos, and wife to my flannel wearing, bearded Mountain Man. We built our dream home in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of NC, where we live a (mostly) crunchy life. We eat real food, use essential oils, baby wear, cloth diaper, and love Jesus!
What do you do outside of blogging (think school or work): Aside from the usual “mom” stuff of being chef, chauffeur, and boo boo fixer, I also have two other businesses that I work from home. I am a maternity, newborn, and child photographer, as well as an essential oil educator.
What do you like to do on your down time? I had to chuckle with this one. I don’t really have any down time. But if I ever get a moment to myself, I love to hike, or relax with a good book (although I haven’t been able to complete a full book in almost 4 years, haha).
Blog niche: General Crunchy / Natural living through food, essential oils and other natural home remedies
What’s the purpose of your blog? My hope is to normalize “real food” and help others see the benefit of removing processed foods from their diets. I am also very passionate about natural wellness, so my hope is that others will begin seeing other natural options as a first line of defense for everyday at home “ailments” that they may deal with.
Who’s your target? Everyone. Everyone needs to eat real food….and everyone needs to know about essential oils! <3
What’s the best way for your audience to contact you? I am pretty easily reached. Facebook or through the contact us form on my blog are both great options!
How would you describe your blogging style? I blog like I talk. I’m not a “formal” writer, and I want it to be easy for people to read and relate to.
When did you start blogging? I started my blog in March of 2016, but didn’t really put in the focus I wanted on it, until January of this year.
What inspired you to start blogging? My sister-in-law gave me a book that changed my life. As I began trying new recipes and posting the results on my personal Facebook page, I had several friends and family asking me for the recipes. I thought it would be easiest if I kept a “collection” of those recipes in one place…thus began my blogging journey!
What’s the biggest change in your life since you started blogging? I’ve been able to connect with so many other women and moms who share similar thoughts as my own. May of which are fellow believers in Jesus Christ, so it’s been a great way to connect in that way as well!
Blogging goals: 
  • Short term: To build my audience and continue to grow and learn in my own blogging/real food journey
  • Long term: I would love to one day make a living through my blog, and see a change in the food industry that myself along with other bloggers of the same mind set, may have helped facilitate.
If you could start blogging all over again, what would you do differently? Oh wow…so much. I would have done way more research on what it takes to start a blog and to build your audience. I feel like my entire first year went by with zero readers, and that can be so disheartening.
How do you motivate yourself to continue blogging? My family. I know that I have great information that I can’t keep to myself. The way our family lives has been so life changing, that I’d be selfish to not share it. Seeing my family and how far we’ve come, has pushed me to continue to spread the love, so to speak.
What attributes has helped you become successful blogger? Commitment. It’s a daily decision to spend time at the computer. Some days I just want to relax with my kids or cook lots of yummy treats. I also joined several blogger support groups, which has been phenomenal! What an incredible community of people coming together to help each other succeed!
How have you tried to increase your blog traffic? Which way has been the most successful? Right now it’s by word of mouth and sharing with other bloggers. I’m in the baby stages of really building up my audience, but knowing WHAT your audience is at is key. Google Analytics has been huge for me. I’m planning on working in some giveaways, and updating several of my plug ins, to help optimize subscriptions.
What’s your favourite social media platform and why? Instagram. Facebook used to be good for businesses and the like, but they want you to pay a fee for your posts to be seen. Instagram is great because people can search by hashtags, and I find that I gain new followers each and every day.
Most of your traffic comes from which social media platform? Instagram.
What’s your favourite blogging group on Facebook? Ooh, that’s a tough one. I love the Boost your Blog group. Super helpful folks in there. And most recently a faith based group called She is Worthy| Women blogging for a purpose.
Do you have a freebie for your readers? If so, what is it? Do we need to subscribe to receive it?  Right now the only freebie I have is a downloadable label for homemade Beard Oil – It’s been a big hit! No subscription required. I think as my blog grows, I’ll have an ebook available that will be free, but through subscription only.
What’s your greatest win so far with blogging? Becoming an Amazon Associate!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve so far with blogging? Write, write, write. More content = more readers.
Has blogging surprised you in any way? If so, how? It’s way harder than I ever thought. I was that girl once upon a time, that thought blogging was a lazy persons way of attempting to work. This is a job and it’s hard.
How often do you publish a post? I try to publish a new post every 2-3 days.
Have you had writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it? Gosh, yes. I have had moments where I don’t know what type of recipe a person would want to try, and so my mind freezes. In those moments, I have to step away from the computer, and force myself to think about something else. Recently, I found that watching Michael Pollan’s COOKED series on Netflix helped jog my brain and gave me some new ideas.
Do you have a blogging schedule? Daily theme? Please share! Nope, haha…With 3 kids at home, I blog when I can. Everyone has varying nap times, school pick up times, etc, that I have to squeeze in time here and there.
Have you guest posted for someone? Yes!
Do you accept guest posts? If yes, tell us about it! I haven’t done one yet, but it’s definitely on my radar! So if there are any natural minded bloggers out there, feel free to contact me!
Have you made money from blogging? If so, how? Not yet. I JUST became an Amazon Associate, and haven’t dived into the world of Ads (yet)…that’s coming soon though!
How long had you been blogging before you made any money? —–
Who’s your favourite blogger before you started blogging and why? (Name and blog URL) I’m embarrassed to say that I never had a favorite blogger so to speak. I always just randomly found bloggers that I liked and followed periodically. I do love Joanna Gaines, though!
Who’s your favourite blogger now and why? (Name and blog URL) Wow, I have met so many incredible bloggers since I began writing.  I do love Joanna Gaines, though!
What type of blogs are you interested in reading and why? I love all kinds! DIY, foodie blogs, home decor, natural wellness…I really don’t discriminate, haha
List the top 5 blogs you are reading currently: (Names and blog URLs) 
  1. Oh My Organics –
  2. Small Life Living –
  3. Just Life, Jess, and Jesus –
  4. 100 Days of Real Food –
  5. Magnolia Market –
Give advice to someone who wants to start blogging: Don’t give up. When family and friends (and strangers) tell you that blogging is not a viable business (and they will)…don’t listen to them. If this is what you feel called to do, then do it. Keep learning. Blogging is not a one and done thing. There’s learning curve. You’ll try something and it will work great…you’ll try something else and it will fail completely. Chin up, change it up, and push forward.
Tell us one thing your readers don’t know about you: I’m a pretty open book, so I’m not sure what else I can share that’s not already public knowledge, haha. One day my husband and I would like to move to Montana and homestead out there…gotta add a side note to my mom in case she reads this – don’t worry, we don’t see this happening any time soon! 😉
Anything else you’d like to share with us? Go for it!!! I just feel so blessed to have the opportunity to share my heart and thoughts with anyone who wants to read them. <3
Leave a message for your readers: Thank you for taking your time to stop by and check out my new recipes, words of encouragement, and random thoughts…I appreciate each and every one of you! Also, be on the lookout for a GIVEAWAY coming soon! Those who are subscribed to my list will get first notification. 😉

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