boat neck sweater [available in regular & petite sizes] | split back button down [under $100, great for layering!] | high rise flare denim | heart crossbody bag [also available in black!] | crystal statement necklace c/o | mule booties | sunglasses | watch |
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Today’s posts is one of those that I’ve sat down and tried to write several times over the last two weeks, but end up closing my computer and moving on to something else after only a few sentences. I share just a small glimpse into my personal life on Instagram and InstaStories, so the thought of explaining where I’ve been these last few weeks is terrifying. It’s funny how we can scroll through social media and instantly fall in love with people we hardly know, never knowing their ‘truth’ or story. Whether it’s their perfectly curated feeds, hashtag #GOALS relationships, or adorable pups, we keep coming back for more. Hell, even I am guilty of it! I find myself in awe of the people who can be vulnerable to complete strangers, and while I’m proud of the community I’ve built over the years, it’s still something that I continue to work on, daily.
So where have I been? In all honesty, I needed a break. When I decided to pursue blogging full-time a few years ago, I committed to giving it my all. And this has left me with little to no ‘time off’ – there was always an email awaiting a response or a project that needed to be tweaked. I’ve been so fortunate enough to work with some pretty amazing companies over the years, that I often find myself taking on too many projects at once. Opportunities are truly a blessing in this overly saturated market, so ‘no’ was never an option. Let’s be real for a second, if you aren’t a blogger yourself you’re probably thinking, “what does this chick do all day?” And it’s a fair question that I hope to answer more about in the upcoming weeks, but for the sake of time, let’s just say that I treat TSF as a business because I rely on it 100% to pay my bills. I don’t have mommy and daddy to fall back on if it fails (kudos’ to you if you do!) I’m a one-woman-show, that’s working on something TSF related from 7am to 6pm 7 days a week, and often much later. So after almost 3.5 years of churning and burning content, a little vacation was much needed. While my posts continued to be uploaded daily over the last few months, I felt like my content was becoming repetitive and it became difficult to continue to talk about fashion and beauty when there was something so much deeper going on inside of me. I desperately needed to step away for a little bit to allow myself the opportunity to rest and recharge for the new year, while sorting through some of those ‘crap’ feelings we all tend to get from time to time. And boy was it nice!
I’m just going to put it all out there in case you find yourself feeling this way too – the comparison game is real, and I let it get the best of me in 2017. For those that don’t know me on a personal level, I come from a ‘do it yourself’ mentality. I don’t want to say that I grew up from nothing, because that would be unfair to my family, but my parents struggled to provide for us and often had to make a lot of sacrifices to put food on the table. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I truly understood that if there was something I wanted, I was going to have to work for it. I landed my first job when I turned 15, and have worked every day since. I saved up every nickle and dime to purchase my first car when I was 16, and although it was a used Hyundai Tiburon, I was so damn proud because it was all mine! After my dad passed away my senior year of high school, I decided I was going to put myself through college, and am still paying off those student loans. My point in sharing all this is to remind you (and myself obviously) that we all have our own goals and aspirations, but our journey to achieving them are much different.
Last year I fell victim to the endless cycle of comparing my blogging journey to those around me, and often felt insignificant and unaccomplished. Over the last 3.5 years I’ve devoted a lot of personal time and energy to helping other bloggers grow their audience through giveaways, lead thousands of support threads and served as an admin for resource groups, simply because I remember how it felt when I first started out. I emailed my favorite bloggers asking for advice, looked for ways to collaborate to get exposure and grow, yet was ignored. So, I wanted to do something about it, and took advantage of every opportunity I had to be a resource to others. But this past year was much different. People were disrespectful and said hurtful things, which I know, happens to everyone every single day. But these were my peers, and people that I thought I was helping! I was hurt, confused, and took it personally. I saw people in my community fly pass my own individual stats, that took me years to build organically. I was passed over for opportunities I was more than qualified for, which often lead me to ask “why?” I compared the content I was creating, the stats my posts were receiving, the opportunities I was awarded, and I even started to compare my own body image, and we all know that is NOT healthy. I had to start reminding myself daily that my worth as a blogger and content creator is not determined by the amount of likes my photos get, the number of followers I have across social media, or the campaigns I receive. After saying it out loud enough, I think it’s finally starting to sink in.
Ok, what does this mean? Two weeks into 2018 and I still don’t have the answers… I might never. But I truly hope that 2018 is a year of personal growth, allowing me to get back to doing what makes me happy. I have a lot to be thankful for, more than I ever imagined, and that includes you! Thank you for allowing me to be a small part of your life, thank you for allowing me to use this platform to put my thoughts into words, and thank you for encouraing me along the way. Your kind words and engagement mean more to me than you will ever know, and often helped me during those difficult days. Here’s to a new year and new opportunities to start all over again!
PHOTO CREDIT: Banavenue Photography