Lindsay Ponta is the founder of Shrimpsaladcircus, a daily DIY and lifestyle blog that has readers in over 200 countries and espouses a life of hands on creativity. We connected over IG and the next thing you know, she took our pants to the Galapagos and talks to us here about her philosophies on the DIY life.
You inspire DIY lifestyles the world over on your blog. Tell us more about Shrimpsaladcircus and the catalyst for starting it (and the origin of the name!)
That’s so sweet of you to say! I started Shrimp Salad Circus as a means of procrastination when I was in grad school. There’s not a lot of room for creativity amidst the papers, exams, and all-nighters, so I made my own space for it. If you had asked me then, I never would’ve guessed I’d still be plugging away at it now, but it’s become my happy place for sure! As for the crazy name, here’s that story.
What do you think embodies the DIY philosophy in your view?
The way I see it, the entire core of the DIY philosophy is approachability, whether it’s skill level, cost, or time. When I create something, I love knowing that most of the time it’s something that anybody in the world could create after a few minutes on my blog and a few new supplies. There’s enough exclusivity in the world already; the DIY lifestyle should be an open field to invite creativity rather than a members-only club. I want people to feel excited when they stumble upon my blog, not overwhelmed.
You’ve shared countless DIY projects and tutorials. What motivates and inspires you everyday?
I typically create projects to fill a need, whether it’s something important like a piece of furniture for my home or something more lighthearted like a treat for a party. I feel like I’m almost overwhelmed by inspiration half the time, especially in our carefully-curated world of Pinterest and Instagram, but my biggest inspiration is still always the world around me: a funky looking fruit at the grocery store or an amazing color palette on the side of a rundown building can inspire an entire project. My bag is filled with snippets of nonsense scrawled on the back of receipts: “yellow and coral lettering on wall” or “gummy turtles swimming in candy water?!” 😉
You’ve been to 23 countries. What’s at the top of your current bucket list and why?
I’m completely obsessed with animals, and I think that to see them in their own world and experience that with them is such an honor. Our most recent trip, which is where I took my MATTER pants, was to the Galápagos Islands, and I swam with sea lions and penguins and was close enough to touch nests of baby frigates and big marine iguanas basking on volcanic rock. Having had that experience, I know the next big item on my bucket list has to be something else “once in a lifetime” where I can sneak around peeking at animals I can’t find anywhere else. So, naturally, I’m trying to shimmy a South African safari trip into my calendar!
What are 3 things you wished you knew before becoming a blogger?
Ohhhh, I could go on for days about all the things I wish I’d known before I started blogging, but in the interest of not rambling, here are three:
- It takes so much more time than you realize. I work a full time job during the day, and I spend just about that same amount of time on my blog, leaving minimal time for sleep or a social life. It’s a labor of love, but I love it oh-so-much!
- You get what you pay for. For years I got by on free templates and themes; did my own coding after spending hours upon hours with Professor Google; and shared some deeply mediocre photos with my readers. A lot of the freebies served me well, and I’m proud of just about everything I’ve put out there over the years, but I’ve learned that sometimes it’s worth springing for a $5 plugin or a graphic designer or an equipment upgrade. I still often forget that one until I’m crying onto my keyboard at 3:00 in the morning, but it’s a good one to remember.
- Be better than you were yesterday. Don’t worry about how you compare to anyone else today. You have to set your own bar rather than letting the jealousy monster rear its ugly head. Comparison is unproductive, and it can stop you dead in your tracks. You have too much potential to waste it worrying about what you’re not.
Tell us about an experience that has been instrumental to you being where you are today, but that you hated at the time?
Rather than one experience in particular, I’d say a series of having had “every single job on the planet” has really shaped where I now find myself in my career and life. I’ve worked at McDonald’s, babysat and nannied, conducted phone survey research, sold shoes, worked retail and hospitality, taught preschool and summer camp for kids from a year old up through age 14, planned events, raised money for nonprofits, waited tables, tended bar, and a slew of other things. I’ve loved some aspects of them and hated others, but all of it has taught me to appreciate having something to stay afloat while I pursue my passion. To be able to pay the bills while learning a new skill or building a small business is an invaluable gift!
Show us an object that you cherish and the story behind it.
Not to sound cliché (especially since I’m a bit of a hoarder), but what I cherish most are the memories I’ve created of the people and places I love most. I love to get together with old friends and wax nostalgic over ridiculous moments from college or the crazy, wonderful things we’ve seen on our travels, and I love the common thread that those memories have woven into our lives! It might be cheating, but my passport and camera have been pretty instrumental in making all those memories, so maybe I’ll pick those!
We are inspired by Lindsay’s down to earth, fun-loving attitude as she brings joy to DIYers around the world, and are proud to have her as Fieldtester, a group a group of inspiring friends that regularly test MATTER products in their workplace and travels to help us improve durability and design. Lindsay wears the Easy Dhoti + Chambray Olive, Size 1.