Happy 2015 + Looking Back
Happy 2015 everyone! I’m back after what has been the longest (and only) break I’ve ever taken from this blog. During the holiday break, I spent a lot of time with friends and family, watched more TV than I probably have cumulatively in the past year, and actually spent one full day laying in bed and reading. I’ll admit that the first few days of the break I was a little restless and still jumped up and wandered around my office looking for stuff to do (not that I had to look hard, when you own a business, there is always stuff to do), but then after Christmas, I really felt that I could decompress without guilt. Yesterday, Matt said he’d never seen me be so still for such a long period of time. I took that as a sign of a successful break.
During this time off, my mind (which is usually a constant flurry of buzzing ideas and thoughts) was able to settle as well. I was able to take a step back and really look at the year, but also at my full career as a blogger and think about what 2015 has in store and what shape this blog will take as we advance into the next phase. I’m so so excited about where it’s headed, but it took a bit of looking backwards to understand where to go in the future. Let’s look back and this blogs history, shall we?
I started this blog for two reasons. Firstly, because of the aforementioned constant flurry of ideas, I would wake up in the middle of the night, poke Matt, and whisper something like, “what do you think if we got some tree stumps and painted them, then cut them into slices and did X, Y or Z with them?” or “Do you have a jig saw? Can I use it tomorrow?” In his groggy half-sleep state, he would give some appeasing response so that he could just get back to sleep and I would flip on the light to write down the ideas so they wouldn’t be forgotten. One day, being the techie computer guru that he is, he introduced me to the idea of a blog.
Although Matt put the idea in my head, it really grew because I was deeply unhappy at work. The early years in the fashion industry were action-packed and full of new things, but around my five-year point, it grew into a monster. In a world where thought I was creative, and had something to offer, I was cut down by other women in my team. I quickly caved into my feelings of insignificance and self-consciousness. I cried almost every night at home and sometimes I had to go out to my car mid-day just to get myself together enough to go back in and finish the day. I needed an extra-curricular to take my mind off the discouraging days.
So, I hopped on over to the bookstore and actually bought the book, “Blogging for Dummies” and “HTML for dummies” (I really like the ‘for dummies’ books, clearly). When it came to creating the site, I actually declined all help from Matt (who builds programs and websites in his day-job) and was determined to do it myself. I often make myself go through the harder ways to do something just because in my mind it makes be stronger, so I opted out of using blogger and wanted to have my own URL (in hindsight, I’m very very happy I did this). This is where my books started to come in real handy. I remember sitting down at my desk with the ‘Blogging for Dummies’ and starting at page 1. After navigating my way through the steps, I had my own URL with wordpress installed. The site was gray wood grain with green lettering. I had an emphasis on the ‘nest’ part of Earnest because I thought that was cute and catchy. After the site was designed, I was paralyzed by what to say first. I went to all of my favorite blogs and went all the way back into their archives to find their first posts. Everyone’s were a little rough, but I thought, “well, I have to start somewhere”. And that I did. My first post was aptly named, ‘You’ve Got to Start Somewhere‘.
The next four years of blogging seem like a music montage. Four years in life doesn’t really seem that long, but to think of four years of posting every day (1000) posts, it seems crazy. I had the perfect place to talk about things I liked projects I wanted to make, and changes I was making around the house. I am pretty sure the only people who read my blog back then were Matt and my grandmother. It wasn’t until 3 months in that I learned about stats. After installing a stat counter I saw that I had a whole 30 views that day! It seemed like a ton to me at the time. I remember very seriously telling Matt over dinner than my goal was 100 page views (crazy, I know). Just one week later, I met my goal and had to set another, then another, then another.
The blog started to take on a whole new meaning. I signed up for my first blog conference at 1 year of blogging and met the most incredible group of people. I never realized what a big world it was. I was so inspired with the possibilities of an online voice, but was also acutely aware of my shortcomings. Everyone was so nice, though, instead of feeling threatened, I felt encouraged. I went home, redesigned the site, came up with an actual plan for my content, and went after it. I immediately felt more self-worth at work, knew I had something to contribute to the world and started holding my head a little higher.
Now, nearly four years after the start of this blog, I sense that it’s time for a change. House of Earnest has been cruising along since my 2012 redesign and has been quite predictable, tidy, and regular. The years of ‘regular’ were great and needed. The predictability in the blog made it possible for me to quit my day job and start my own product line, Grandiflora.
I love Grandiflora because it’s really a merge of my experience in blogging with my experience in product design & development (what I used to do in the fashion world) but there is a bit of an identity crisis that happens when you develop a new brand. I get to thinking, “who am I? House of Earnest? Or Grandiflora?” When I meet someone new I wonder which business card to give them? When I talk about what I do, I sometimes tell people I’m a blogger and sometimes tell people I’m a product designer. But it’s not just about the split second business card crisis, I have been basically working two totally separate jobs. Blog work, Grandiflora work, it didn’t merge at all, which meant double the work for me. Two separate websites, two Facebook pages, two twitter accounts, two instagrams…. you get the picture. I totally didn’t anticipate this when I started Grandiflora, but it took me going through a year with the brand to realize what I needed to do.
Since this post is already a whopping 1200 words and I’m thankful you’re even still with me at this point, I’m going to lay a big fat one on you at the end… House of Earnest and Grandiflora are both coming to an end. But there will be something else, something greater and bigger and blended that is coming. I hesitated for 6 months with this change and I’ll be so so sad to see the site that started it all leaving, but I know there are bigger things that lay beyond and cannot wait to introduce you! Stay tuned next week for more details on the merge, the new name, and how we’re moving forward!
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