Let's Have a Chat about 2018.
I am writing a new year, new (slash same) me post about a month too late. Oops. To be perfectly honest, this post has been sitting in drafts since December, but I never published it because I just haven't really felt open to share much for some reason. It's like my teeny tiny rebellion. I can't even pin point why, but I think it has to do with some of what I have to say below. Hopefully it resonates a bit, and helps me open up a bit more in the future. Because, spoiler alert, that's a big goal for this year.
Here's the thing, you won't find any lofty resolutions here. No losing weight or drinking more water or any of the standard ones we've all read one hundred times. I've never been one for resolutions (I'm a moderation gal), and my goals are all safely tucked away in my notebook (I still like to physically writing them down). But this year, I also set intentions. To me they fall in a different category than resolutions or goals. They are more balanced based. They focus less on that oh-so-trendy-word, hustle, and more on an equally trendy word, self care. Which sounds so 2017, doesn't it?
But you want to know where my goals, resolutions and intentions all seem to meet? Right here. With y'all. I really want to use this year to find my itty bitty niche. I want to open up to this little community we've created together without being so scared of rejection. I want to be more open to failure. I want less perfection. Less overly styled shots (which isn't really what I do anyway), more in the (actual) moment, moments. I never want someone to come to any of the channels I've created and feel less about themselves. I want more reality. I want to chat with y'all more, and learn more about YOU. I want to figure out why you so awesomely come back to my Instagram to support and encourage me. I want to know why you connect with my imagery, what annoys you, and what you'd like to see me do more and less of.
So here are my questions for you:
1. Does the world need another blogger? Truth be told, I never thought I would be back in the blogger chair again. I was a tad burnt out after all the years at Style Me Pretty. Not because I didn't love what we were doing there, it's was more the constant push of content. So I suppose I have a little PTSD from that intense level of blogging.
BUT there is also something SO wonderful about creating fresh content, and I've always been drawn to is story-telling. Or giving images a bit of life. And I miss that aspect of it. Which is why I dabble in it here. I would love to know your thoughts. Do you like hearing the story behind the images and the people who create the images? Or do you just want the pretty pictures? Be honest.
2. What the heck do you want? Haha. That sounds a little harsh. But really, what the heck do you want? What resonates the most with you? Fashion posts? Home posts? Personal posts? Editorial posts? Travel posts? Let's start an open conversation about this.
3. What do you come here for? I would assume for the pictures, but I want to know. Because I would love for this to serve as a sort of community in some way. Where we can chat directly in the comments, and where likeminded folks can exchange ideas, design sources, vent about life, travel plans etc. Selfishly, because I would love that myself.
4. What questions do you have for me? In an effort to open myself up a bit - let's start a conversation about this. I have a hard time writing about myself - but if we are going to create a community based on likeminded folks, I really need to get over that. I have the "why would anyone want to listen to me" complex. Which is why I rarely talk on instagram - even when I have interesting things to share - like a project or a trip. I share the dogs so much because they are safe. Who doesn't love a golden retriever? But I need to get out of my safe zone this year, and I need your help doing it. Let's be each other's accountability partners. We all have something important to say. Even if it's a tad messy and unstyled.
Phew. That's a good place to start, right?
Here are some things driving me in the new year:
1. Practice gratitude.
Gratitude has always been easy for me. Sometimes I'll look around during my day to day and get teary-eyed because I'm just so thankful for my life. That sounds ridiculously cheesy. But it's true. I'm beyond thankful for "little" things like the fact that my body just functions normally every single day. And I'm thankful for the big things like the fact I was able to find such an amazing life partner and friend in Andrew. I'm generally a very thankful person.
But I want to take more moments to actually practice it. To stop what I'm doing, and look around and say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Instead of focusing on anything negative happening, I want to hone in on the good.
2. Be more vulnerable.
I can't tell you how hard this one is for me. In a way, I think my pull towards styling (and being an editor in the past) is my need to make things appear perfect. That's actually my job. And it's so hard for that skill set to not seep into my actual life. But I'm here to tell you, my life is not perfect. It is so far from that. Are we blessed beyond measure? Yes. I truly believe we are. I say a prayer of thanks every.single.day. But is our life perfect? Heck no. So far from it. And I wouldn't want it any other way - so I don't want to project that perfection onto others.
3. Be more honest and open.
Since this bullet is literally be more honest - I'm going to be honest. Sometimes instagram gets my goat. Sometimes I need to take a step back, and remind myself that this isn't just people's highlight reel (as people always love to say), it's often a very staged, not real, reel. That's impossible to live up to.
I try REALLY hard to make sure you are seeing into our actual life. It's our highlight reel in that the pictures are edited, but if instagram didn't exist - it would still be our life. I would still be obsessed with our dogs and we would still sneak up to Vermont every chance we could get in the winter and down to the beach every chance we could get in the summer. We would still save all our pennies for travel. I would still love home decor and entertaining. Our life hasn't changed because of instagram. I live my life, and then instagram it. I don't live to instagram my life. That is so important to me. I just don't want this pretty platform to take away from me living in the moment (which I REALLY do, believe it or not!).
4. Get outside.
When I left Style Me Pretty a few years ago, one of the biggest drivers was I just needed to get out from behind the computer. The constant laptop time was just too much. I think it's pretty apparent by my instagram that the outdoors are what truly inspire me (and my work). So this is always a priority for me. I think I did a decent job last year, but I always want to make sure this one is one the list.
5. Go easy on myself.
I'm going to open up a bit more about this is a week or so, but last year I was filled with so much guilt because I just couldn't do as much as I wanted to do. Not being able to take on jobs I wanted to, missing out on drinks with friends, or just having to say no in general left this "yes lady" feeling pretty out of her skin. But then something happened. At the end of the year, I started relishing in the fact that I could say no - and that the world would keep spinning. People would still hire me, and I would still have amazing friends. It's such a freeing feeling. I need to remind myself of that over and over.
So there you have it. Here's my first (somewhat scary) step. I'm opening up. It's time to show the mess.
I'd love to get a conversation going in the comments below about all of the above - or feel free to shoot me an email if you prefer to stay under the radar (I totally get that, btw) - firstname.lastname@example.org. Nothing is off limits (other than mean negativity - there is obviously no room for that!), but I would love to hear what you REALLY want to see in my tiny little space on the world wide web this year.
And as always, thank you. I couldn't do any of this without y'all.
"I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness - it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude." ― Brené Brown
“Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.” ― Brené Brown