Two Years of Blogging: Then Vs. Now


Hey everyone, I hope your weekends went well! Hopefully you’ve done something fun, or spent some time relaxing from the work week. I’ve decided to start posting some more lifestyle-ish content on the weekends, from books to what’s going on in my life, lists, etc. Let me know what you guys want to know about me! I’ve never done a post like this one before, but I was thinking last week that it would be fun to compare some of my old posts with new ones. It’s encouraging to look back and see how much I’ve improved since starting my blog in January 2016 regardless of what other blogs are doing!

Blogging Update

This weekend I made the switch to a self hosted blog at I think I’ve got everything up and running, but I would really appreaciate it if some of you could let me know what you think of the design! I’m still fairly confused about the switch, I have many questions for the WP Happiness Engineers and folks at Siteground, like what do I do with my content (delete it? keep it? I don’t know!) but I’m figuring it out. I probably spent over 18 hours working on my new site this weekend!


Meet Ion the Resident Cat

Then Vs Now: My Very First Post

My first post was called “Meet Ion, The Resident Cat“. Always Cleia was originally called “Classycatsbox” for those of you who haven’t been with me that long. My vision was originally going to be subscription boxes featuring my cat since Ion was always getting into my packages but I strayed away from that idea pretty quickly and started posting product reviews and beauty boxes.

Quantum Flatlay - Resident Cat

Less Cats, More Beauty Posts

A big change from my original post is that now I have TWO furry creatures that always photobomb me. Now Quantum likes to intrude on my blogging in the most loveable ways possible. I don’t feature them as much anymore but they occasionally make appearances on my instagramOne thing I noticed posting about my cats was that people would get a bit confused as to whether I was a pet blogger or a beauty blogger. Finally I decided I need to change that domain, and then became Cleia Beauty before Always Cleia.

Ipsy January 2016

Ipsy DSL Lipstick January 2016

Then VS NOW: My First Ipsy Review

Ipsy was the first subscription I ever reviewed. I took all my photos on top of our dinner table in bad lighting. I knew nothing about taking product photos, it’s a skill that develops over time with trial and error. My shots are out of focus and just lit sooo badly!

Ipsy January 2018 Glam Bag Review

Then VS Now: My Most Recent Ipsy Review

I started taking my photos on top of a board with marble contact paper about a year ago. It makes a HUGE difference in my photos. I learned pretty quickly that I need to use the brightest day light for my photos. Dark indoor lighting just doesn’t cut it.

Sephora Sunbleached Filter Eyeshadow Palette

Then VS Now: My First Attempt at Swatches

How terrible are these swatches!? Good grief, no wonder this post didn’t do well. (I’ve since updated some of the original photos my old posts). These are from the Sephora Sun Bleached Filter Eyeshadow Palette which I still use today, though it’s on it’s last legs.

ColourPop My Little Pony Palette Swatches

Then VS Now: My Latest Swatches

I recently took these swatches of the ColourPop My Little Pony and I can see that I’ve improved so much since I began. I used a flatlay board, spiced up the image with a few props and placed the palette in the background. Now I take my photos in front of a window instead of in a basement!

Work Makeup Look

Then VS Now: One Of My First Makeup Looks

At the time I really liked how this look and photo turned out. Better lighting would have helped the photo. I’m still learning to take makeup photos that look good on camera. I was in the process of learning the basics of applying makeup when I took this photo.

Then VS Now: A Recent Makeup Look

I know I still have so far to go in the makeup application department. I’m not a certified makeup artist (I was taking online classes for a while, and while the lessons were useful learning online isn’t the same as practicing on a real person). I’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks though! My current struggle is false lashes & eyeliner.

Benefit Bad Gal Lash Mascara Review

Then VS Now: An Early Flatlay

I was taking my flatlays outside on a wooden patio table back when I started my blog. I’m very glad I don’t take my photos like this anymore.

Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick in Griselda


Then VS Now: A Recent Flatlay

I am SOOO happy with how this came out, not to toot my own horn or anything! I’ve started using props in my photos that fit with the products I’m showing instead of a random group of objects. Flatlays are one of my favourite types of photos to snap now!

In Conclusion

I know that this doesn’t cover all of my Then VS Now’s, but you guys get the picture (no pun intended)! If you’re feeing discouraged in where your blog is at I encourage you to take a few minutes to look back at your very first posts and compare. It’s very likely that you’ve improved! Tag me in your own Then VS Now posts, I would love to read them!

Thanks so much for reading! If you enjoyed this post please like & subscribe <3



  1. April 4, 2018 / 11:48 am

    As a new blogger this is so helpful! Thank you for sharing! πŸ™‚

    • AlwaysCleia
      April 4, 2018 / 2:39 pm

      Thank you for reading! Im glad it was helpful, we all start somewhere πŸ™‚

  2. February 20, 2018 / 10:34 pm

    Wow, I really enjoyed this post! So much progress and talent! And you know that I love your flat lays!!

    • AlwaysCleia
      February 21, 2018 / 12:49 am

      Thanks for reading Nova! This was a fun post to write!

  3. Akriti pandya
    February 16, 2018 / 12:22 am

    Loved to read about your journey and you’re very beautiful. πŸ’–πŸ’–
    I want to convert my blog. Can you please give me some tips for the same?

    • AlwaysCleia
      February 16, 2018 / 10:08 am

      Awe, thanks so much! 😊❀
      I’m still figuring it out so I’ll probably have more insights when I get everything running the way I want. Make sure you have a theme lined up if you don’t want the free themes, it’s easier to set it up all at once. Good luck!

      • Akriti pandya
        February 16, 2018 / 12:30 pm

        Okaay. Thank you so much🌼🌼

  4. February 15, 2018 / 2:01 pm

    Love this. You’ve come so far since I’ve started following your blog and are seriously one of my favourite bloggers to follow and engage with πŸ™‚ I feel like if we lived in the same city we’d be friends! Congratulations on everything you’ve accomplished! xo, J.

  5. m4gical
    February 15, 2018 / 9:32 am

    wow! There is hope for my photo taking skills lmao. I love posts like these, even though they can be cringey it’s so nice to see how far you’ve come! Well done, I’m sure one day I’ll look back on my posts and flat lays and cringe. I’ve only been posting about 2 months so I’ve got some time to go lol x x

    • AlwaysCleia
      February 16, 2018 / 5:48 am

      Haha It felt cringey linking some of those old posts πŸ˜„
      But I’m happy I did this, it’s crazy to see the difference!
      You’ll improve in no time if you keep it up! ❀ πŸ™‚

  6. February 13, 2018 / 2:23 pm

    I see a huge improvement in your photography – the way you style it, your angles, everything! But you and kitty are still adorable, there’s no change about that πŸ˜€ x

    • AlwaysCleia
      February 14, 2018 / 1:47 am

      Thank you! 😊
      So much can change in a year or two, the cats will always be getting into my things though πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  7. lifeofangela
    February 12, 2018 / 10:36 pm

    You’ve definitely grown over your two years of blogging! The quality keeps improving, and I can’t wait to see where you go next Cleia! Welcome to the self hosted side of wordpress πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

    • AlwaysCleia
      February 14, 2018 / 10:03 pm

      Thanks Angela! I think my next step is a new camera πŸ™‚
      Thanks for your advice on moving to self hosted!

  8. February 12, 2018 / 9:13 pm

    I think your self hosted blog looks seamless from your old one. Your hard work paid off! (this comment box is a little bit small though – width-wise – it’s about 1/3 of the screen width on my laptop).

    It’s always interesting to see how people’s blogs evolved. Hehe, I don’t have a pet but I can only imagine the challenge of having not one but two curious creatures wanting to know “what are you up to?” πŸ˜›
    I really like going back to see how old posts look compared to new ones – and just imagine, you just keep on evolving and tweaking continuously. It’s such a great thing to grow!

    • AlwaysCleia
      February 12, 2018 / 10:00 pm

      Thanks Stashy!
      You’re totally right, the comment box is small. Thanks for your feedback, I appreciate it! I’m not entirely sure how to fix that, I also want to move it up above the comments so that people don’t need to scroll all the way to the bottom. I have some googling to do haha!

      It’s crazy how much blogs transform once you really get into it! The cats are always into everything, my older cat always tries to destroy the box I store my makeup in, it’s so frustrating. I’m always like no no no stop!

  9. February 12, 2018 / 7:54 pm

    Hopefully my makeup applying skills will improve as yours did, I’d be very happy to be able to make my eyes look as professional as you do now πŸ˜‰

    • AlwaysCleia
      February 14, 2018 / 10:04 pm

      Awe, thank you so much! I still have a lot to learn haha
      You’ll improve too, just keep at it! πŸ™‚

  10. February 12, 2018 / 4:01 pm

    As a newer blogger, this post was incredibly helpful! Thanks for the tips!

    • AlwaysCleia
      February 12, 2018 / 4:25 pm

      I’m glad you found it helpful! thanks for reading πŸ™‚

    • AlwaysCleia
      February 12, 2018 / 7:49 pm

      Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

  11. Melina
    February 12, 2018 / 1:06 pm

    This was such a good post, and something I was thinking of doing! It’s so cool for other bloggers to see much bloggers improve, and they aren’t automatically good. I feel when bloggers first start out, it’s so difficult not to compare yourself to other bloggers, especially bloggers who have been in the industry for a while now. Great Great post Cleia xxx


    (ps. I do honestly love your new blog layout, it looks so pretty, sleek and professional)

    • AlwaysCleia
      February 12, 2018 / 1:12 pm

      I’d love to read your then vs now post if you decide to write one!
      It’s sooo hard not to compare myself to other blogs that started up at the same time sometimes, I remember nominating someone for a liebster award in my first month who now has 5k+ follows, it’s crazy!

      But looking back I have to remember that I’ve improved too and everyone’s blog will grow differently.

      Thanks for reading Melina, I’m glad you like the layout!

  12. February 12, 2018 / 12:41 pm

    Congrats on being self-hosted! The new blog layout looks awesome. I might have to bug you for advice if I ever decide to become self-hosted (which is the goal eventually…I’m just too lazy to try and figure it out).

    I love this post! It’s always so rewarding to see how far people have come since their first blog post. Honestly, I’m a little afraid of going back to my old content and not seeing much improvement. Flatlays in particular are really tough for me, for some reason! I have to say, I absolutely LOVE the composition of that old selfie of you!

    • AlwaysCleia
      February 12, 2018 / 1:09 pm

      Thank you!! It was a very time consuming process, I thought the hosting company would be able to seamlessly transfer everything but it turned out there was a lot I had to figure out (and still am)! Feel free to DM me if you ever decide to make the switch, if enough people are interested I’ll write a self hosted journey post in a few months πŸ™‚

      No way, don’t be scared to look at your old posts, I think you’d be surprised looking back! Your photos are always so beautiful πŸ™‚

  13. Shereen
    February 12, 2018 / 11:36 am

    This was so helpful…I want to start a blog but don’t know where I want the content to focus on. I love skincare, fashion and just taking photos Of things I come across while I’m out and about. So I began with an Instagram page @simply_shereen to get a feel of what I want my content to be about. What Would you recommend is important to focus on for first time blogger?

    • AlwaysCleia
      February 12, 2018 / 1:07 pm

      That’s one of the hardest things to figure out when you start out. But you also have so much freedom right now to post what you feel like and see where it goes.
      I would experiment with different types of posts and see where it leads you, you’ll figure out from there what type of content suits your blog best πŸ™‚ Good luck!
      ps. I followed your instagram, I’m @alwayscleia!

  14. February 12, 2018 / 11:34 am

    This is so inspiring and gave me some hope for my blog! ❀️

    • AlwaysCleia
      February 12, 2018 / 12:52 pm

      Thanks for reading! There’s always hope, we all improve a little every day 😊

  15. February 12, 2018 / 9:39 am

    This is so eye opening… Learnt so much from your post..
    I’m Manisha by the way.. All the way from India.. A VERY newbie beauty/mommy blogger.. Nice to see your Then VS Now post.. Long way for me.. Best wishes for your future blogging..
    Love.. Manisha..
    PS: I’m a Dog,chickens and horse lady πŸ˜‰

    • AlwaysCleia
      February 12, 2018 / 6:03 pm

      Nice to meet you Manisha! Sometimes we don’t realize how far we’ve come until we look back. Good luck in your blogging endeavors too!
      I’m a cat lady but I also love horses and dogs πŸ™‚

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