It is crazy to think about where I was three years ago at this time. Specifically on December 3, 2015. I was a newlywed living in an on overpriced but adorable apartment in Chelsea, recently fired from my job and feeling so incredibly lost in this world at the ripe age of 25.
Fast forward a few years to today and I truly cannot believe how much has changed since then. Both professionally and personally. I started sharing end of the year reflections a couple years ago and they are one of my favorite blog posts to write for you! If you haven’t read 2016 and 2017’s, they are worth a read (or at least a skim) to gain a better idea on what has been happening over here for the past three years. And also where this blog even came from and the details of getting fired from my so-called “dream job”.
I feel very different ending 2018 than I did this time last year. By the end of 2017, I was battling chronic stress, hormonal issues and was a one women circus running my business from my apartment. I can’t say much as changed in the circus department, but I have been able to better manage my stress levels (more on that here). A year ago I had hives all over my body, which to be honest I think were from stress and nothing to do with food looking back. I had the darkest circles under my eyes and while it may have appeared that everything was rainbows and butterflies to a stranger, I couldn’t have felt any worse physically and even mentally. Something I didn’t share much about on Instagram stories or my feed. I was running on zero. Think of the gas tank in your car completely out, not even on and still running. Basically stalled in the middle of the street. But I knew that wasn’t a way to go into another year, and it certainly wasn’t going to help me in the long run.
I have always been someone who isn’t competitive whatsoever with others. Someone can do laps around me and I wouldn’t think twice. But when it comes to competing with myself, well that is a different story. I always try to do more and to be better in every way. I have a hard time settling and am constantly looking ahead at what is next. I am sure many of you can relate and yes, it is as exhausting as it sounds. This year though, that has taken a step back. Instead of focusing on becoming better all the time, I am focusing on just being me. The good, the bad and everything in between. This comes with skipping workouts when I just don’t feel like it and eating a gluten-filled pizza because it tastes pretty darn good. I don’t regret saying no to handfuls of collaborations, events and social things this year to be home with my husband, focusing on us instead of trying to be the social butterfly I usually am. I certainly don’t make effort to keep in touch with as many people as I used to and have learned to prioritize my friendships instead of trying to please and be friends with everyone. I remind myself that we all F up and that is okay. No one is perfect, nor should they have to be.
Physically, I had a bit of a challenge this year. I stopped harping on my body a couple years ago when it comes to its appearance (story here) but when we begin doing infertility treatments, that put that relationship to the real test. It wasn’t easy watching my stomach bloat to the point of looking pregnant when at the time all I wanted to be was pregnant. It certainly wasn’t easy at first for me to mentally take hormones and “give in” that my holistic practices just weren’t cutting it to make a baby. But this year I have truly fallen in love with my body. And I don’t mean that in a “dayum you so fine” or superficial way. No, I never got abs and my stomach was constantly puffy for the first 6 months of the year thanks to hormones. But the moment I found out I was pregnant, I couldn’t even believe how f**king amazing my body is for allowing me to carry our baby. Something I dreamed of doing for what felt like forever. I truly fell in love with the experience of being pregnant. It showed me a new love for my body I never had before (more on pregnancy things here). There is so much more to having an amazing body than looking like a Victoria’s Secret model. The real amazing bodies are the ones that allow us to feel our best and grow a family inside our flipping BELLY. It is beyond crazy to me that it took me 28 years to truly realize this (here is some more info on getting pregnant: part one and part two of our infertility journey we shared).
Now one of the most common questions I receive from you guys these days has to do with monetizing my blog and working with brands. I totally owe you a blog post just on this topic but for the sake of this post, I will keep it brief. My relationship with brands and products, or as I like to say “brand partners” has continued to evolve each year. And this is also how I sustain my business and make a living (crazy, unconventional and I love it). Some may say that is so cool and I am so lucky, and while I am eternally grateful to do what I do, it isn’t always easy. The constant up’s and down’s and there is no consistency. This year and gong into next, I have decreased the amount of products and brands I post about and really streamlined the collaboration process. I have continued to be a stickler about ingredients, brand culture and ask if I truly love the product before even thinking of working with them. If I don’t love the product or am hesitant on an ingredient or even just get a bad vibe from the brand, it isn’t happening. I value the trust of my readers too much to risk it to work with a brand that will pay a lot. Sure, there are many brands with big mama budgets that would pay me more than I make now, but who would trust me? I certainly wouldn’t if I was posting about products that are questionable with creepy ingredients. Your trust means everything to me and my brand.