Self-care is a trend that’s been making the rounds online. Treat yo’ self is the new mentality, with therapy coming in the form of spending big at Sephora and Lush. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good self-care Sunday. Is there anything better than taking the day to pamper yourself?
Face masks and bath bombs aside, however, self-care has a deeper meaning for me. Leaving my full-time job last June was my ultimate self-care move. Not only was the job thankless (as most jobs are), but my daily three-hour commute left me drained and I felt as though I was on a path to nowhere fast. I knew I needed to reclaim not only my time and energy but also my career… so I left.
Was I crazy? Perhaps. But being my own boss was something that I had been working towards for months. I already had a few steady freelance writing gigs on the side, and I trusted myself and my ability to hustle to make the leap. Many people asked me (and some still ask me) if I’ll go back and get a “real” job. Woof. To some people, working in an office is the only worthwhile and stable job there is. I trust myself and I trust the process enough to know that if there ever comes a time when I need to go back to a 9–5 office job, that it will become abundantly clear.
It has been nine months since I left the stability of a full-time job and I’ve never looked back.
These days, I wake up when I want to. I make my own meals at home instead of living on overpriced salads and smoothies. When I treat myself to a coffee shop beverage, it’s because I want one, not because I’m desperate for any excuse to leave the office. I do my laundry while I work. My house is (mostly) clean. I go to the gym four times a week and actually enjoy it. My mental and physical health is the best it has ever been. My bank account is the best it’s ever been, too.
I don’t say all of this to brag.
Not too long ago, I was in a place where extreme anxiety was my normal.
After years of trying to suppress it, I decided to face it head-on. I talked to my doctor about it and we decided to start me on a low dose of an SSRI. To me, there was a distinct before and after the med, and the improvement in my mental health cannot be understated. Since leaving my full-time job, anxiety triggers like my daily train commute, workplace stress, and neglected physical health have all been firmly left in the past, too.
Time is the most precious commodity on earth because it is finite, and I am now giving myself time for the things that make me happy. Travel and taking vacations are important to me, so I’ve made them a priority. Exercise is important to me, so I’ve made that a priority, too. I dog-sit sometimes because I love hanging out with dogs, even though we’re not ready to get one yet. I make lists of things that I love and try to put into words the feelings that are hard to articulate. I watch TV. I read books. I spend time with my husband and I cook for us.
I celebrate the small victories, like folding my clothes and doing the dishes. My physical health and body are important. My mental health is important. My relationships with others are important. I make time for friends, stay true to my word, and do my best to be someone that others can rely on.
It’s not to say that I wasn’t doing all of these things before I left my 9-5 job, but I now have a deeper sense of self-care and have the time to devote to nurturing myself.
Now, I feel as though I can stretch all the way through my fingertips.
I’m more than just a cog in a machine; I am the limited edition. There never was nor ever will be anyone like me. There will never be anyone who thinks or speaks or writes or loves exactly like me. I’m not sure why, at 28, this is a revelation to me, but it’s something that fuels and reassures me when the self-doubt starts to creep in.
Other things I have been thinking about lately:
That helping other people takes nothing away from me
That being my true and authentic self can never be wrong
That exposing my fears and putting myself out there will open doors I never imagined or even knew existed
That “followers” mean nothing and that real relationships mean everything
That no one will write on my tombstone or in my obituary about the number of followers I had
That I’m allowed to take up space in the universe
That my words and thoughts and time are worth more than an arbitrary “salary”
That having excitement for the future and taking joy in the present are not mutually exclusive
I love myself and I am genuinely, breathlessly, and jumping-out-of-my-skin excited as to what the future will bring. I hope you are, too.
In recent months, I’ve noticed a shift in myself. Things that once felt like an obligation no longer do. This blog, for example, was once an obligation. In the early aughts of 2013 – 2015, I felt the need to post multiple times a week on a variety of topics and consistently serve up new and fresh content.
The early aughts
When you first start a blog, you tend to do a lot of Googling on how to start a blog (I know I did). The most common piece of advice to give newbie bloggers is to stay consistent and keep up the posting cadence so that your audience knows what to expect. I get it – it’s nice to know what to expect. But to someone who only started blogging for fun, keeping up a breakneck blogging pace while working a full-time job was grueling.
The second tidbit that “How to Start a Blog” articles tend to throw out is that most blogs will fail within the first year. To that, I ask – if you’re doing something for the fun of it, how can it become a failure? Even if you abandon the blog after a year, your content will continue to live on in an archival fashion. After all, the internet is forever.
This blog has only ever been a source of creativity and fun for me. As with all seasons in life, sometimes I go through heavy creativity phases where I’m posting multiple times per week, and sometimes I don’t feel like posting for months. I love being able to come back to this space whenever I have a boost of creative juice and knowing that it will welcome me back like an old friend.
The times are a-changin’
All of this is to say that I may be popping in here from time-to-time again. It might be different content than what you’re used to seeing on here, and I hope that’s okay. I started this blog when I was 22 and dreaming of moving to California with my boyfriend. I’m now 28, have been living in California for five years with said boyfriend (who is now my husband!). When I moved to California, I didn’t have a job or even an idea for a career path – the only thing I had was this blog. Six years later, this blog has been the most significant source of consistency and has led to my career as a full-time freelance writer.
It may feel like I’m not here anymore (hence the lack of posting), but this blog has always been here for me. If anything, it has served as an archive for my twenties. Now that I’m approaching thirty, I’m feeling extra-grateful for this digital space I’ve carved out just for me. Maybe that sounds a little selfish, but I’m okay with that.
This blog has allowed me to freedom to try out new things and realize what works for me and what doesn’t. This blog made me realize that I love to write and that what sets me apart from other bloggers is that I’m actually good at it. I’ve taught myself how to take quality photos and edit them. I’ve taught myself social media and influencer marketing. I’ve taught myself Adobe Photoshop, Premiere, Final Cut Pro, WordPress, HTML, and how to use a DSLR. I’ve spent countless hours reading about skincare and beauty, and many more hours testing out new products (very few make the cut). None of this I knew before starting a blog (I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Biology lol).
What I now know is that I’m a lifelong learner. I crave new information and skills; my curiosity is insatiable, and my quest for knowledge is unquenchable. I want to be better and more efficient. I need to be stimulated. I quickly discard things that no longer serve me in my quest for efficiency. Some may call this ruthless or hasty, but I see it as knowing what I want. I wish to leave something that I’m proud of behind and to sharpen my skills along the way.
I am not abandoning this blog. In fact, I think that this new shift may be just what the doctor ordered. Posting here no longer feels like an obligation, it feels like a privilege. Thanks for joining me on this journey.
Since getting engaged in Thailand back in May, it’s been a whirlwind few months. The day we got engaged, we discussed getting married right away. We’ve been together for almost 11 years, so why wait?
We knew we wanted a small, intimate ceremony with just our parents and siblings and a party afterward with our closest friends and family. We also knew we wanted to get married back in Maine. It’s the place where our relationship began and holds such a special place in our hearts and memories. And so we did just that!
I still can’t stop smiling. Four months seems like an impossible timeline to pull off a wedding, but we did it. It all came together in no small part to my parents, who scouted locations, cake-tested, and met with caterers in Maine. My mom and I had a shared Pinterest board to organize our ideas and mood board, and Sawyer and I didn’t even see the venue until the day before the wedding!
I like to think that I was a pretty low-maintenance bride and was happy to forgo many of the “traditional” wedding rituals for an affair that was more our speed. We opted out of the bridal shower, the bachelor/bachelorette parties, and bridal party/groomsmen. To us, these felt like unnecessary expenditures and too rooted in tradition. We’ve always liked to do things our way, anyway!
My dress was custom (I designed it myself!) from a bridal boutique here in SF, Lace and Liberty. It’s actually a lace bodysuit and a skirt! I felt like this style suited my taste more than a classic wedding “gown.” The process was beyond easy and the fabulous ladies at L&L made it so fun.
The only two things I was particular about were the flowers and the photos. My mom and I actually got all the flowers for both my bouquet and the table arrangements at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s! She also saved some peonies from her garden to use in my bouquet (she clipped them as buds in MAY and preserved them in the fridge until our September wedding… unREAL). We assembled the bouquet together and it is a memory I will cherish forever.
I found our photographer, Mat, on IG and was smitten with the way he used natural light in his photos. I was looking for someone who could capture the casual-yet-elegant, whimsical-yet-retro vibes I pined for in our wedding photos. We wanted fun. We wanted enchanting. And we got it all with Mat. Maine brides – PLEASE book him for your wedding. His work will blow you a-WAY.
Sawyer’s brother, Andy, officiated our ceremony. He got ordained a few months before the wedding and we felt so honored to be married by a close family member instead of a total stranger.
We couldn’t have asked for a better day, surrounded by our closest friends and family, back in the place where it all began. I still feel like I’m floating on a cloud! ☁️ Can we do this every year?
Hey, remember me? Popping in to say hello and what a year it has been. In April, I had the privilege of participating in the second annual Femme Fair. One part community event, one part fancy garage sale, all parts female empowerment movement – Femme Fair was a sight to behold. From intellectual talks and panels, to immersive photo experiences, to shopping galore, Femme Fair brought over 200 Bay Area women together to connect and build relationships.
Check out the stunning photos that Jess Onesto captured during the day!
When I was 17, I failed my driver’s test. Twice. When I finally did pass, my parents bought my brother and me a green 2000 Ford Focus to share. My brother was in college living at home, and I was in my senior year of high school. Being the bratty little sister that I was, I insisted that I take the car to school during the week. I would drive it to school and leave it parked in the student parking lot. My brother had to take the city bus to the next town over to go to class (legit still feel bad about this – sorry Kyle!).
At the time, having a car meant the freedom to do whatever I wanted with my friends after school without needing to be picked up or dropped off by my parents. I certainly wasn’t thinking about heavy things like car insurance and deductibles.
September is a strange month. On one hand, September feels as though it should kick off the Fall season. I love pulling my cozy sweaters out of the closet and pairing them with high-waisted denim (these are my fave fave fave) and ankle boots. Sadly, those sweaters will have to stay in the closet for a bit longer, because September is gearing up to be h-o-t in the Bay. We’ve been working hard to get our patio in tip-top shape to enjoy the last of this Indian Summer, and I’ll definitely be sharing the big reveal in a few weeks.
I’m also jetting off to LA this weekend for a little celebratory getaway – my big bro is turning the big 30! Looks like I’ll be wearing my breezy linen skirts and knotted tees a little while longer…. Happy September! ✌?