Q&A with the Everyday M&K duo
Taryn Pemberton Schmidt connected with Melissa Oftedahl and Katie Buell via virtual community building.
The thing I miss most since the pandemic started is building community. Being new(ish) to Madison, community is important — you meet people you can connect with who bring about a sense of “home.” As we all collectively work to rebound from this pandemic, we are finding new ways to connect with one another, especially on online platforms. Children are in virtual classrooms, and most of us have lost count of how many Zoom meetings we’ve attended over the past year (I know I sure have). Since becoming more involved with Instagram and the blogging world, I’ve connected with some truly amazing women in Madison who are in search of the same thing — community. Melissa Oftedahl and Katie Buell of Everyday M&K are two friends-turned-business partners who are creating just that: an online community where people can engage and just simply show up authentically.
As Oftedahl and Buell state on their blog, Everyday M&K is a place “where food is simple, fashion is affordable, and life is better done together.” Both moms, the duo create content for their blog and Instagram account, @everydaymandk, that features clean lifestyle products, favorite kitchen gadgets, fashion finds in boutiques around Madison and more.
One of the more recent endeavors for Everyday M&K, which they launched a few months before COVID-19 hit, is starting an online cooking club via Zoom where guests can join Oftedahl and Buell as they prepare easy and nutritious meals. If you haven’t had the opportunity to join one of their new cooking club sessions, you are still in luck — all of their recipes can be found online on their blog. Some of my favorites include their gluten-free apple crisp, cashew curry chicken salad and the spaghetti squash pizza pie — BIG yum.
I had the opportunity to sit down virtually with these two to learn a bit more about them, what they’ve learned since launching Everyday M&K, and what they’re most looking forward to.
How have your priorities shifted over the last year?
As we’ve connected with others, we definitely realized everyone, including us, is chasing this elusive notion of balance. We feel the same way many people are feeling right now — overwhelmed! There is and has been so much going on with trying to balance our kids in virtual school, devoting time to our jobs and working to build this blog, that we just felt very stretched. For both of us, it made sense to dial back our respective work schedules by 50%, devote more time to building Everyday M&K, and shift our energy to spend more quality time with ourselves and our families. This still somehow adds up to greater than 100%, but we try to be more intentional about what we fill our lives with, so that’s been helpful.
In working to maintain balance while also building community, how do you figure out what is worth your time?
We started Everyday M&K roughly 16 months ago, and in the early days of building the blog, we often jumped at every opportunity that came our way. We were able to meet and work with many great people, but we also realized that many collaborations or engagements took a lot more time and work than we anticipated but without the desired results. We are open to trying something new at least once, but having a little experience under our belt now, we have a clearer business sense of what our time and energy is worth, and we are much better about protecting our energy. When you are getting started in blogging or “influencing,” it is easy to feel like you have to post daily, but it takes more energy to create content than one would expect. It’s important to be consistent to maintain good engagement, but it’s also okay to take a breather every once in a while. We can put out more meaningful content when there’s energy behind it, but we can’t pour from an empty cup!
What does the future look like for Everyday M&K?
One quote we have really identified with is, “Nothing is so permanent that you can never change it.” And that is the way we think about Everyday M&K. The blog has changed a lot over the past year and so have we. The one thing we know for sure is that we want to add value to people’s lives versus just taking up space. Everyday M&K will continue to evolve just as we continue to evolve as individuals and as an online community. One of the greatest parts of the M&K community are the relationships we’ve been able to build with the women that follow our blog and our Instagram. I think the tie that binds us is authenticity — that thread of human connection. We want Everyday M&K to be a bright spot in someone’s day, a place where people can join in on conversations and encourage one another. We’ve felt so encouraged and supported by the people we’ve been able to meet along the way, and we hope we can give that back to our online community. In a nutshell, we don’t know what the future holds for Everyday M&K, but we do hope that people will join us for the journey.
Taryn Pemberton-Schmidt is a monthly fashion and style blogger for Madison Magazine. She also has her own blog, The Good Schmidt.
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