We were lucky enough to sit down and talk with lifestyle blogger, Julia Dzafic, from Lemon Stripes. True to form, she was even more wonderful to talk with than we could have even imagined. She is 1,000% authentic, smart and fun. She has built her blog into a real go-to for thousands of followers (over 101,000 on Instagram!) to find style and design inspiration, for healthy and delicious recipes, and for great home decor tips that you will actually want to use… and her blog is so beautiful to look at and travel in. If you haven’t met Julia and Lemon Stripes before, wait not one minute longer… We think you’ll love her as much as we do.
Q: Love. Style. Life. You seem to have all in spades…. we are so happy for you as you embark on this next chapter as a full-time lifestyle blogger. How are you acclimating to this new phase? Do you find you have days that are more routine-based, or is each day a brand new adventure?
A:I find that having a schedule truly helps keep me organized and on-task — and productive and happy. This is what I have found works best for me. I use Mondays and Fridays to go to the city, take meetings, have photo shoots, etc. And Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are “days for me.” I wake up at the same time, take our dog for a walk, have a healthy breakfast (see her smoothie recipe for inspiration!), get settled, start writing and working on my blog post. I take an hour for lunch, settle back in and focus on work until about 5 or so. Lemon Stripes is my job. I take it very seriously, and I love it. But I also balance my work with my family, friends — and our puppy, Boots.
Q: What did you do before Lemon Stripes? What inspired you to start blogging? How did you grow your blog?
A: My background is in holistic nutrition. I graduated from nutrition school and people were always asking me to share favorite recipes and tips, so I started my blog to share what I was learning and some of my favorite healthy recipes with friends. My husband paired his photography with these recipes, which gave a whole new dimension to the content I was sharing.
I would say that the blog grew because I worked at it, every single day, five days a week, for six straight years. I did not shy away from the hard work, and I committed to it. I also loved it. But I think it’s important for people starting out to understand that it’s not going to just happen. You need to network, promote, and connect. You need to put hard work and time in, and also focus on content and design. There is a direct and clear relation to effort put in and results coming out. And you need to love what you’re doing, what you’re saying, and why you’re doing it.
Q: What have been the most important ingredients for your success? What would you tell someone who is considering a career as a blogger? What are the best pieces of advice you can give them?
A: The most important ingredients are (1) a willingness to put in hard work; (2) you need to have something to say, a true point of view, and a purpose; and (3) you need to find your voice, be authentic all of the time, and stick with it. You need to do what feels right — and true.
A great piece of advice I can give to future and novice bloggers is this: invest in design. It needs to look beautiful, be reflective of who you are, what you are saying, and what your message is. You need to give it 110% and make it yours. People respond to authenticity. Stay true, be yourself, and present it beautifully and honestly. People will follow.
Q: We love a great book, and we noticed you recently read Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. What did you think? And did the perfectly curated blue and white book cover help draw you to it? :) Tell us: What are you reading right now and what’s next on your list?
A: That is funny…. the cover did color coordinate. I absolutely loved Fates and Furies. I am a big reader, and I just finished a book that I really liked, The First Bad Man by Miranda July. But it comes with a total caveat: it is very weird and unsettling! But I do recommend it. Next up for me is Emma Straub’s new book, Modern Lovers, which just came out at the end of May, was one of my favorites — and also had a lovely blue and white cover, a perfect complement to Lemon Stripes!
Q: We loved seeing you in our Helen Jon navy Lattice-Back one-piece. You wore it beautifully! Do you have a favorite beach or resort where you plan to wear it next?
A: Thank you! That suit is one of my husband’s very favorites on me (and one of my favorites too). My family goes to Martha’s Vineyard every summer, and I’m sure I will wear this often while we are there. I cannot wait!
Q: You’ve recently given your followers a glimpse of what’s in your carry-on…. but could you give us a little peak at what you will keep inside your summertime beach tote?
A: Sure! I always carry two beach towels: one for me and one for my husband. I love those clear bags that help keep everything organized and easily seen in my beach bag. In that, I try to always keep: (1) an extra pair of sunglasses; (2) tissues; (3) chapstick with SPF; (4) an all-natural SPF — my current favorite is Alba; (5) paddle balls for fun; (6) S’well bottles, at least 3 of these, because we drink lots of water and love how these keep the water so nice and cold; (7) a good book; and (8) always, always wireless speakers.
Q: Personalize it….It seems you love a good monogram. General rule of thumb… is there anything that shouldn’t be monogrammed? And what is one of your favorite items to monogram?
A: Ha. Yes, I love a monogram! And I honestly cannot think of anything, not one thing, that should not be monogrammed. :) I was going to say ‘underwear’ but, actually, I think that might be kind of cute! One of my favorite items I monogrammed is a tie for my husband. It was a gift for him, and I put his monogram on the back of the tie, so it’s not seen by all, but he knows it’s there. I love how a monogram can make something feel so special and thoughtful and personal.
Q: You have this perfect quality of being equal parts: totally adorable, truly sophisticated, fresh & fun, and accessible. What is your style advice?
A: I am all about comfort, first and foremost. It is so important! I truly believe that you look most beautiful when you feel it. My mom gave me one of my most tried-and-true pieces of style advice and I do my best to honor it: take as much time as you want to get ready to go out and to feel great, make yourself look as good as you can… and then, once you leave the house, don’t think about what you look like for one more moment. Enjoy yourself, don’t be bothered by any nagging thoughts about ‘do I look good enough’ or ‘is this flattering’ or any of that. Just enjoy and be happy — and be yourself.
Q: You always look so healthy and fresh! What is your favorite green juice or smoothie?
A: Absolutely! I would love to share with you a favorite smoothie recipe of mine. In fact, this is what I made for breakfast today and I loved it: 1 - 1/12 cups of unsweetened cashew milk; a few frozen, sweet cherries; 1/2 frozen banana; 1-2 TBS cashew butter; 1 or 2 TBS chia seeds (these really help keep me sated and full); a few Vitamin D drops; and 2 large handfuls of spinach. Blend together. And enjoy!
With this, we concluded our interview, but not our refreshed love of all things Lemon Stripes. Julia is the best. She is proof that hard work, authenticity, great, innate style, and a true sense of self come together to equal beauty and success. We like to think that her style mantra perfectly complements Helen Jon’s. Authenticity, beauty from within enhancing outer beauty. Be yourself… and be your best self.