Today is a very special day and one full of love for more than the obvious hallmark holiday reasons.
Today I celebrate TEN years of blogging!
If I could paint a picture for you to illustrate where I was exactly ten years ago today, I was sitting in a small Chicago apartment, at a bar-height kitchen table, exploring blogger.com for the first time. I was 22 years old and engaged to the man who is now my husband, interning for free at a small online magazine downtown, and feeling that odd mix of exhilaration and anxiousness that perhaps other 2008 college graduates felt in the midst of the economic turmoil. I had many dreams and ambitions then! Such a specific picture of what I wanted life to look like. And while my reality now is a little different than those visions a decade ago, it is in fact much better.
In celebration of the last decade, and how time surely helps sharpen and shape many parts of our lives, I want to highlight ten of my favorite memories. I also want to celebrate you, my dear readers, because without you this blogging journey, and path in my life, would look quite different. Whether you’re a new reader or one who joined the adventure in the midst of cupcakes and Pink Sugar, I toast to you today. You were a part of the dream that started in that Chicago apartment. You still are. Please join me in reading this celebratory post!
10. When I first launched the blog, Andrew and I were engaged and as such I started to dabble in the wedding planning process. In fact, what ended up being an outlet here to share my plans and progress, led to the start of what is now my business as a wedding planner and floral designer. From sharing handmade projects for our budget-friendly wedding, documenting emotional journeys between Toronto and Chicago when we had a long-distance chapter in our relationship, and blogging about our vows, this platform was like a dear friend. It still is.
9. We got married! On a rainy September day where many things went wrong but the things that mattered went right. And to date, we’ve celebrated eight anniversaries. I’m excited about what year ten will hopefully look like.
8. I finally moved back to Chicago after living in my parent’s basement for almost a year. Driving from my home in Canada to my new home in Chicago as a wife, was one of the most exciting and fulfilling road trips for me to make; next to the two times we’ve trekked to the hospital to meet our babies of course. And while we didn’t stay in Chicago for long, we made our little space ours and I’ll remember it with fondness.
7. We built a beautiful home. It’s become the home base, the common denominator, of our most treasured traditions and memories. Our home is a place for celebration, growth, and love, all of which we’ve experienced in profound ways. While I know it’s not our forever home I do dread the day we drive away from it for the last time.
6. On the way to the farmer’s market one summer Saturday almost seven years ago, we stopped into Petsmart to look at puppies. It was just to get a feeler for a pet of our own someday. And if we are ever in person together please ask to hear the whole story because it’s best told face to face, but someday became THAT day much to our shared delight. Zoe Francine has been a constant source of cuteness, joy, and laughter in our family.
5. Consistent comments on the blog from strangers allowed friendships to blossom, many of those friendships leading to offline meetings, opportunities, and both personal and professional fulfillment. From speaking at and attending dozens of conferences around the country, freelancing with mentors and colleagues, organizing editorial shoots, and more personally, having dinner parties, sleepovers, and watching our kiddos play with kids-of-the-friends-we-met-online, this may be one of my favorite blog-related highlights from the last decade.
4. This space has held countless announcements and celebrations! Three of my favorites professionally were the time Vogue Magazine selected my company as a top planning firm world wide, that time BRIDES magazine did the same, and then in 2016 after having Lachlan, being selected as a Grand Rapids Business Journal Forty Under 40 award recipient. Being able to share highs here and know they are welcomed with eagerness and high fives is hard to describe, especially to anyone not familiar with the blogging sphere and community.
3. This space has also been a place where I’ve celebrated lows. And I use the word ‘celebrated’ carefully and intentionally because for as many GOOD and joyful things I’ve encountered over the last decade there have been hard ones. And those hard ones have been just as refining and appreciated. I’m so grateful for the gift of transparency and discernment, both of which I’ve been able to exercise here in rewarding ways.
2. We welcomed two sweet little boys to the world and to our family. From sharing pregnancy announcements, preparations for birth, birth stories, adjusting to life as a mother, and all of the heart-wrenchingly beautiful, hard, and messy in between, by far this has been one of the best parts in having my blog as an outlet. Not only did my dive into motherhood inspire both a rebrand in 2017 and new approach on better streamlining the unique way I do business, but it gave me a fresh and admittedly sobering perspective on time, priorities, and legacy. I am a better woman because of my sons. And I hope one day they will say the same about me and their dad.
And finally, 1.
I get asked often what I credit my successes most to. And in 2019 I can confidently say hard work, the grace of God, staying in my own lane, and finally, my blog. Perhaps this could be its own blog post one day so I could better explain the ways this space has created joyous opportunities not obvious to you as a reader, but without it I wouldn’t be living the life I have now. Ten years of nurturing this space has allowed me to become more creative, professionally savvy, less judgemental, acutely aware, joyful in my circumstances, less apologetic, comfortable in my own skin, open to change, and best of all, content.
I’ve teamed up with Teak & Twine to celebrate today with a giveaway! To enter please sign up for my mail list and then leave a comment below. You can share about your favorite perks to blogging or perhaps when you started reading mine but I’d love to hear from you. I’ll select a recipient and reach out to them personally by the end of next week. Not only did the Teak & Twine team graciously partner with me by providing this thoughtful gift but they let me add in one of my own RB Soap Co bars and it sure looks pretty in there.
Oh! And I will also pick three other readers and subscribers to receive one of my favorite soap bars, Pink Petals, a soft pink-hued bar scented with a variety of floral essential oils. It’s about time I finally started sharing my soaps with the world and I cannot think of a better day to do just that before I launch an online soap later this summer.
Finally, thank you. Simply and fully. To the next ten years, friends!
Psst: Will we see you today at Rowster Coffee on Wealthy? We’ll be there from 2:00 to 7:00 pm popping up with fresh flowers, soaps, and handmade gifts from Lark on a Limb. Our supplies are limited so don’t miss out!
Photography by Samantha James Photography