December 9, 2016
As a child I used to draw a lot but I was never able to come up with my own artwork, I recreated other people's drawings. That discouraged me from studying fine arts. However, I often feel the urge to create something, that's one of the reasons why I turned to photography. It has also interested me from an early age but we will talk more about that subject some other day.
I've always looked up to creative people that's why today I want you to meet Annie. She's the sweet lady behind MontgomeryFest who I recently had the pleasure of interviewing. Her project started as a travel blog when she and her husband Justin moved to Brussels. Now they live in London and her blog has also become a showcase for her beautiful prints. That mixture of photography and paintings is what makes her blog so special and inspiring. Every month she offers a wallpaper for her readers to download, isn't that sweet? Keep on reading to get to know Annie Montgomery...
Q: Tell us a bit about your website. When and why did you start blogging?
A: Back in 2012, my husband, Justin, and I had just gotten married and set off to experience another part of the world. A pin landed on Brussels, Belgium and we began this rad, little adventure. I had so many things to update my friends and family about that I began the blog as a letter back home. It quickly turned into a travelogue and kept me accountable for the photos and thoughts flooding in from all of our adventures around Europe.
Q: Describe MontgomeryFest in a sentence
A: Wanderlust-filled and thoughtfully quirky, MontgomeryFest is a design-conscious travel and lifestyle blog.
Q: Your husband Justin is also involved in this lovely project. How did you and Justin meet? What’s the best and worst part of working with your husband?
A: We met at work! Funnily enough, I started my career in accounting. It was love at first spreadsheet. The best part is building something together, feeding off of each other's ideas to create something poetically ours. I think the hardest part would be when we each have different ways of seeing something, sometimes it gets hard to articulate how each of us is picturing something in the moment - I don't know how many near-identical pictures are in the camera roll as we each try to refine a picture!
Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge in blogging?
A: Hmmm...good one. I'd say it has to be consistency. In theory, blogs are fun and lighthearted and, well, pretty. But there is a ton of behind the scenes work to constantly generate content that actually works for you and and your audience. Lots of tweaking, finding your voice, exploring new avenues, re-finding your voice while your blog journey and your life journey change at different rates. There are weeks (months for some of us..*raises hand*) where the inspiration wanes and yet we have a commitment to our readers and to ourselves to create this big, beautiful story....that's on the internet...forever. *wink*
Q: You came up with #theprettypursuit and recently turned it into an IG handle. What’s the story behind it?
A: I have so many lovely friends that I've met through Instagram and blogging. So many wonderful, creative, supportive people that I was searching for a way to connect them. That's where #theprettypursuit came in. It's a way to gather and connect lovely people online. If I can help or one of my friends can help, I think it makes this industry smaller and warmer.
Q: How do you get inspiration for your designs?
A: Definitely travel - I'm infinitely inspired by Paris and Venice. Oy vey. Museums with unexpected perspectives - give me a MOMA any day of the week! I like my boundaries being pushed and once I open the door to creating things, the day usually tumbles and multiplies with ideas.
Photo by MontgomeryFest
Q: You used to live in San Francisco before moving to London, what do you miss the most?
A: Oh dear goodness. The views. The ocean. Walking down a random street to get to the grocery store and turning a corner to have this unobstructed, mouth dropping view of the Golden Gate Bridge. That city is filled with 'pinch me' moments.
Q: Have you ever experienced culture shock in Europe? What’s the hardest part about being far from home?
A: Absolutely. That first year we moved to Brussels, we had no idea what we were doing - from the groceries to the street signs to being a Southerner who hugs everyone in a part of the world where hugging is outrageously intimate and kissing is the norm. Now, this is home. Europe has our hearts. I went to visit family down in Louisiana where everyone wanted to call it home for me, but I missed London and the culture and the diverse conversations so much that I had complete reverse culture shock. The hardest part about being an expat has got to be that you always miss someone. We've left pieces of our hearts with friends in our hometowns, in Dallas, in Brussels, in San Francisco. I have this dream that, for our tenth year anniversary, we can get all of our favorite people and gather in some incredible destination, like a riad rooftop in Fes, Morocco and then the world would be right. *sigh*
Q: Where do you see yourselves and your business in 5 years?
A: Creating anything I can get my hands on and taking breaks to have tea with friends during the week and hopping on a plane to new countries and favorites cities on the weekend. Living in London, raising a family. Teaching our little ones that the more cultures you experience, the more similar people are around the world and that opens the door for kindness.
Thanks, Annie for this lovely chat.
Join the Fest on Instagram for more inspiration: MontgomeryFest, The Pretty Pursuit.