In a few months, I will be celebrating 10 years of blogging, so I’ve been thinking a lot lately about those 10 years and how much this platform has made an incredible impact on my adult life. I’ll be writing about the highs and lows and some behind the scenes secrets on the actual anniversary, but I have been thinking a lot about the future of my career and my family lately and I wanted to share what’s been going through my head lately because it’s been top of mind for weeks and weeks and I basically just have to word vomit for a minute here 🙂
When I started (as Lemons & Loafers) in June of 2010, I never in a million years imagined that anyone would read my blog besides my friends, family, and health coaching clients at the time. I created it to share recipes and tips with the people in my life because they were always asking for wellness advice. I figured it would be easier to put it all in one place.
A friend of mine designed a logo, I bought the domain name, and a Blogspot blog was born. At the time, almost no one was writing about both food and fashion and lifestyle blogs were not a thing. Instagram didn’t even exist! The word influencer was years away. So I shared my posts online the only way I knew how… on Facebook. My friends there started sharing the posts with their friends and it started to grow.
After a few months, I began getting emails and comments from strangers, asking me questions or advice. It was surreal!
Pinterest asked me to be a Beta tester for their new social platform and to this day I get to test out new features for them before they go live (it’s still my favorite social platform). When Instagram launched in October of that year, I jumped on board and started growing a following there too. I just posted what I loved without worrying about likes or comments or my grid and, again, never even considered the fact that one day I’d make money off of it.
I met so many other women in the industry during that time, and committed to getting my face in front of as many brands as possible. I hustled hard and spent all my free time out of work at events or press previews or meeting with PR people. When I wasn’t out and about I was huddled over my trusty laptop, editing photos and writing blog posts.
Soon, PR firms started invited me into their offices to give me clothes from the brands they repped to take photos of and share on my website. I remember walking to that first meeting on my lunch break at work thinking that it was the coolest thing in the whole world. And it was!
C. Wonder (RIP) was the first major brand to partner with me and I took a day off of work to go to the Hamptons with them. Although they’re not in business anymore, at the time they were the hottest new thing in town and the fact that they wanted to work with me felt like a really big deal.
On New Years Day 2013 I quit my job to blog full time and open an online shop (that was an epic fail and a story for another day). Around that time, The Glitter Guide hired me to be their NYC correspondent and I went to my first NYFW to see shows like Carolina Herrera and Tadashi Shoji and previews with J.Crew, Kate Spade, and Club Monaco. I spent my days and nights going to every single event I got invited to. I networked like crazy and met every other blogger in town. We would take each other’s photos and work in coffee shops together.
In 2014, I decided to go back to work full time because the store crashed and burned and we had blown through much of our savings to start it. So I worked a marketing job by day and blogged on nights and weekends. I loved it. I loved being busy and following my passions while still making a paycheck.
As my following grew, I made more and more income on Lemon Stripes and toyed with the idea of trying to do it full time again. But I loved my job and was very ingrained with the start-up I was working for. I was the 4th employee and it felt like a family. So I stayed on.
Then I had my miscarriages and I knew something had to change. I had no life outside of work and blogging and I was burnt out. I remember my friend, a fertility coach, telling me that if I wanted to live my healthiest life I would have to pick between my job and my blog. Working 24/7 wasn’t sustainable and wasn’t conducive to a healthy pregnancy (for me, personally). At that point, the income for both jobs was about equal, so I bit the bullet and quit my “real” job to focus on Lemon Stripes full time.
It was terrifying! Anel and I had a deal that I would try it for six months and if it didn’t work out financially, I’d call it quits and get a regular job again. That was four years ago…
In those four years, we welcomed Boots into our lives, got pregnant, had a baby, I went through the most intense anxiety of my life, overcame that, leaned into motherhood, bought a new house and here we are today.
What I love most about Lemon Stripes is being able to talk about the tough stuff and connect with you guys on that. I still, to this day, get emails almost daily from women who read my miscarriage post and said that it helped them get through their own. Those emails keep me going on the days when I want to quit.
I talk to people every single day about their anxiety and when I hear stories that you guys were inspired to start therapy because of something I wrote, it brings real tears to my eyes. That kind of connection keeps me going. My favorite recent email was from the husband of a reader who explained how she decided to get help after I shared my story and how it changed their lives. It moved me beyond words.
Because of conversations with you, my eyes have been opened to so many new things and I am able to educate myself on topics that I hadn’t thought about before. I love that we can teach each other. I love that you’re excited about my sustainability challenges. I love hearing that my motherhood posts help you with your kiddos.
And I love the creativity of it all. Being able to express myself freely on a daily basis and share what I’m loving and living is a true gift that I don’t take for granted!
But some days it feels really hard. There are days when I’m terrified to hit publish on my posts because I don’t know how people will react. There are days when I shake with anger and sadness because someone has called me a bad mom. And there are many many days when I just want to keep my life private and not share everything that is going on because I’m feeling personally overwhelmed.
I allow myself to do that whenever I need to, but it feels like I’m letting people down. In reality, I realize that no one cares, but as someone who lives with underlying anxiety at all times, it’s often hard to separate reality and emotions. I’m working on that!
Over the summer and fall, I had more tough days than good ones when it came to my work and I knew that if I didn’t make a change soon, things would continue to get worse.
So what comes next?
I can’t imagine doing just this for 10 more years. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but I really don’t think that people will be reading blogs or using Instagram in the same way by then. Because of that and because I just love the work, I’ve been focusing more and more on my freelance digital marketing clients.
Working with those clients is so fulfilling to me, and I’m able to easily draw a line between work life and home life. With blogging, that is not often the case which is what has lead to my weird relationship with this career choice.
I want to continue sharing and connecting but I also want to invest in my future and what’s next. I want to continue to share what I learn as a mother and as someone trying to do better and make a small difference in this crazy world. But I also want to find that line.
I’ll share more and more about my marketing work as I feel comfortable doing so, but for now, I’ll say that it has me feeling all kinds of excited and energized. Similar to the way I felt when I started Lemons & Loafers almost a decade ago.
Ever since I started putting more energy into that side of my business, I feel more motivated than ever. I wake up every day excited to work and fall asleep every night feeling proud and accomplished. It feels like a really good balance now. Where I was feeling creatively stagnant and nervous a few months ago, spending more hours focusing on my marketing clients has made me feel better about my work here too.
Now that I’ve rambled on for quite some time… I’ll end this post with the point I’m trying to make which is this: Follow your passions as far as they’ll take you. Sometimes they won’t work out (like my online store), but if you dust yourself off and build yourself back up, you might just find something even better and more fulfilling.
Don’t be afraid to pivot and change when things start to feel off. Step out of your comfort zone and do whatever it takes to be happy in your career. While yours might not look anything like mine, find your version of that change. When you love what you do for work, it radiates into every other area of your life.
Photo by Julia Dags.
Thank you for sharing this journey with us! I am a fairly new follower (past year) and I was immediately drawn to your upbeat, positive attitude, beautiful family, clean and crisp design, and your honesty. I am inspired by you every week! As a fairly new blogger who has NO idea what she’s doing, I take comfort in knowing it takes time..slow and steady.. and that if we’re doing what we love, the rest will fall into place. <3
Thank you so much, Jennifer! That means so much to me. Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t give up on it if it’s your dream. The hard work will pay off in the end!
Congratulations on 10 years! I’ve been reading blogs for 11 years (yours for about 4-5), and the industry has completely changed… sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst.
I would love for you to share more about what skills and tools you use most for marketing! I’m taking on a new job that has a focus on marketing, and while I know the basics, I’d love to know what you think the upcoming trends are in marketing and what works for different industries. “Marketing” feels like a buzzword at this point, but its engrained in every single thing a brand or firm does. It’s more holistic and strategic, which I’m sure you agree with.
Looking forward to the future of Lemon Stripes and hearing about your marketing business!
I will definitely write more about this as so many people seem to be interested in it. Stay tuned! It depends on the brand and the goals of that brand, obviously, but I do have certain tactics that I take from client to client that always hold true.
Would love to hear more about the marketing business and how you’re pivoting from blogging. We all evolve, career wise, and I love hearing about people’s career journeys- I do something very different from what I spent the first 10 years of my career.
As a long time reader, I have to be honest and say it doesn’t feel like your passion is in blogging anymore.
I will talk about this more as I continue to pivot in that direction so keep an eye out for those posts in the near future. And you’re right, some days I just don’t have the passion here anymore. It for sure comes across in my writing.
Thanks for sharing! Although it’s a choice to open your personal life up to so many people, it must be incredibly hard to make yourself vulnerable to so much criticism, especially when you know that your livelihood is tied to your openness. I think “normal” social media posting creates similar anxiety, but I can imagine not having a clear delineation between the personal and the professional would make it even more difficult–especially when it seems like some people only read blogs to leave nasty comments. That said, one of the things I like best about your blog is that you have your own honest, voice. You respond well to criticism, rather than ignoring it or getting defensive. You also make changes when you think the criticism is well-founded. I hope that you will continue blogging in a way that works for you. Personally, I’m in favor of less, more substantive posts (but I’m sure there are financial considerations around the frequency of posting). I would love to see posts about your marketing career too. Whatever you decide, best of luck!
Thank you for all of this!
…i don’t mean to sound like a debbie downer, but can we hear more about the online-store-that-wasn’t? Sometimes it’s just as inspiring & relatable to hear about someone’s fails that forced them in a new/better direction vs just the good, happy, shiny, always-winning stuff.
I haven’t written about it in years so I can definitely do that again. I’m not sure how interesting it would be but I have a lot to say about it!
Love this! Always look forward to your posts. You’re so inspiring! Love how honest you are, it brings such a sense of “real-ness” which is priceless, in my opinion (and hard to come by these days, to be honest). Thank you for sharing your life with us!
Thanks, Lindsay!!! So happy you’re here and following along.
Hi there! I’ve been reading your blog – I think – since the early days. I forget how I found it, but we had an IIN connection (I went in 2009) and I always appreciated your approach to various matters in life. Though I rarely commented, I enjoyed “keeping in touch” and watching your life unfold. After all, we had parallels: I also made a career change in NYC (advertising to health coach!), got married, made a big move (to LA!), bought a house, had two girls (my second is days older than Amalia), had some great vacations and also battled various health issues like postpartum depression and anxiety, food sensitivities, eczema, and so on. Of course no two people think exactly alike, but I always enjoyed watching the way you handled things. And while we may not dress the same I do appreciate your style and I definitely picked up pieces through the years that you showed off. I also appreciate your fresh take on Greenwich and the surrounding area as my in-laws live in Old Greenwich! All that to say: you’ve been an influence in my life for many, many years – and I don’t use instagram AND the only other blog I ever follow is cupcakes & cashmere 🙂 so you really stand out! I appreciate all the work and honesty and realness you put into this blog and regardless of where the next 10 years you’ve made a wonderful world here on Lemon Stripes. What you’ve done matters.
I’ve only found your blog in the last few months but I enjoy it so much! Love seeing little Amalia with her books! She is adorable and so happy. Love your honesty. Hope you’ll be able to continue the blog. Take care.
I have been following you since you were Lemons & Loafers. This is a blog post that is hitting home in more ways than one and I so appreciate your honesty. I chose to go down the road of being an entrepreneur three years ago and I toy with going back into corporate or finding freelance opportunities. You have actually helped me identify my own anxieties as well and your honestly makes me feel like I don’t have to be ashamed of who I am. You act as motivation to continue with my two businesses and continuing my smaller than small blog. Just wanted to say thank you for being you. Your impact is so transformative.
I’m glad you’ll keep blogging here because I love following you but good for you for deciding what more you want and chasing it! It’s funny, I stepped away from my blog for a while (full time work + baby + masters – I just couldn’t make it work) but started something new again recently just to document my family’s adventures; I don’t want to lose those memories and for me a blog is the right spot to capture them. Even though I tell myself it’s just for fun I find myself challenged not to professionalize it again (even though I honestly don’t want to! I love my day job!) so I’m intrigued that you don’t necessarily see a future in blogging full time. Why is that? Or is it more for you rather than industry-wide?
Your thoughts on all of this are interesting, I’d love to hear more when you’re ready!
Also and completely off-topic, I lived on the UWS when there was a C.Wonder store in Columbus Circle and I loved it!
Thanks for this post, and your honesty! You’re doing a great job.
This is so well written! I have been following you for at least 4 years (that is when I joined your newsletter). I have loved getting to know you, and your honesty has been so refreshing. I just started my own blog (I am always a little late to the party) …it’s been a dream for years, but finally found the space and time in my life.
I too have a lot of anxiety, and it is scary to put myself out there, but also so rewarding. Thank you for inspiring me in my “blogging journey” and I really hope we continue to hear from you for years to come.
Love this! Thank you for taking us on your journey!