Hello, Friends : ) I've been gone for almost a month, but now I'm refreshed and ready to be back - for the most part. I intentionally unplugged for the last 30 days to give myself a break from the online world, the store and work. When your work life and your real life intertwines as mine does, I feel like it important for me to remove myself from all of the things every now and then to revive perspective. I am ready to get back to work, be creative, write, photograph, create - I truely enjoy my "job," but in 100% honesty, there is something I did not miss. Instagram.
For a month, when I had an extra 20 seconds, or 5-20 minutes, instead of grabbing my phone and scrolling insta, I would make a cup of tea and sit, or light a candle and sit, I would relax, I would color or build legos mindlessly with Emma, I would tidy something up, I would play music, I would water the plants, I would go out on the back porch and take a deep breath and look around the back yard, I would mix a quick batch of cookies, I would let my mind wander, I would sit, I would flip through a cookbook, I would eat a slice of cake. This was living.
One afternoon about two weeks ago, I had an extra 20 minutes to lounge so I indulged my renewed self and grabbed my iPad (I removed Insta from my phone, but kept on the iPad) and spent 20 minutes with my head down, scrolling. Taking about .4 seconds to consume each photo, scrolling and looking at snapshots of peoples lives. With each snippet of insta photo there was an instant thought - instead of relaxing on my bed, maybe I should be at the park with Emma like that family, or wow, wish we were on a tropical island like them, hum, maybe I should redecorate our house like that one, gosh, I wish I had more antiques in our home, I need that dress, I should wear dresses more, I wish I was going on a date night so I could wear a dress, I wish I was staying at home with a candlelit family dinner, I want to be out and about with my girlfriends. You see the problem.
After losing 20 minutes of my day, I went downstairs and got annoyed at how messy the house was and irritated at Mike for watching golf on tv (shouldn't he have been vacuuming or something?), irritated that there was glitter and bits of playdoh all over the floor (again), and annoyed at myself for not being outside enjoying the rare 50 degree day in December. Ick.
I've never been one to be envious of anyone else's life - it just isn't how I'm made. I've always felt that I'm responsible for my own happiness and that if I'm not happy, then it is up to me to something about it. Being in charge of your own life helps you to always be fulfilled with it. And I am. If I wanted to do or be something or someone else, then I would. I can do things. So when I scroll through insta and I get these feelings of I wish, I want, I need, I'm annoyed - it doesn't sit well with me. It's not who I am. I'm a doer. I'm a maker. I'm not an envier. This feeling does not inspire me. This feeling makes me want to compete - put up a "me too" post. See how cute my family can be? Look at how much fun we're having, too. See how perfect my house can look? Major ick.
Notice the photo above? The photo below is what was at my feet when I took the photo. Not as cute, right? I know, I know - everyone is just sharing their perfect snippets of a non-perfect day/life and it makes us feel good to do it, but it doesn't change how it makes other people feel. And what's worse is we're addicted to that feeling. All of us. Ok, maybe just those of us that are normal and not all of the instagrammers that actually are perfect. ; )
I get it. It's fun to share the perfect. It's fun to put only the good out there. When I scroll back through my own feed, it looks good, it feels good. But the mindless scrolling through it all makes me feel bad. I hear it from many of you, too. People think my life is perfect. And it is. It is perfect for me, but it isn't perfect in the way everyone thinks. My house isn't always spotless, my dinners aren't always gourmet - and I couldn't care less. The stuff that I put out there is the stuff that is fun for me, but doesn't really matter. I want you to know that. I know that. Most of those perfect photos that I create are done so during my work day. They are done in my creative mind space where I get to be an artist and create and make and do. I love that part of my day. I love creating beautiful photos of pretty projects. It is my art and I love it.
So, now I'm in this space of not sure how to move forward with incorporating this new point of view with my work. Instagram is such an easy way for me to put my work out there. It is such an easy way for you all to keep updated on what new products I have, suggestions for what's for dinner, grow my business, etc. But scrolling through insta is not a great way to spend a day. I would rather you all be sitting, thinking, doing, making, relaxing, instead of scrolling. I don't want to feed the beast. But, I want to still share with you all. I want to grow my business. I want to still have a voice.
We had a long road trip over Christmas which gave me the chance to talk at length about my Insta frustrations with Mike. I told him that I was worried that if I disappear from insta, that my brand might disappear, too. Would I become irrelevant? Out of touch? He reminded me that if the means of communicating didn't fit the brand, then it wasn't working anyway. He reminded me that this is my business - I'm in complete control. He reminded me that I'm good at knowing what you all are looking for, that others are probably feeling the same way. He encouraged me to do it my way - even if it seemed against popular culture. Isn't that what my brand is against anyway? Being sucked into all of the rush and hurry of life?
I've always wanted my brand to be about encouraging you all to live your best life. Through my recipes, home projects and store products it is always my goal to inspire and empower you, and give you simple tools to enhance your day/life/home - you can host friends for dinner, you can easily refresh your home each season, you can make bakery worthy treats, you can sit down to a family dinner most nights of the week and experience real moments with your family.
I feel like what resonates most with all of you about my brand is that it feels like slowing down. You come here to read my blog and you see photos of our quiet dinners at home, you see comfy sofas with throws and pillows, you see little arrangements of flowers on my bedside, Emma playing in the backyard, me stirring something on the stove, baking fresh scones each morning, delivering homemade gifts to friends each season, hosting family holidays with grace and style. That is my brand and what I want you to feel. And quite honestly, it is my real life that I'm sharing here. But if you are spending your time only looking at these photos and not doing any of those feel-good things, then I haven't done my job. I want you to do these things. I want you to spend your time baking homemade treats, playing in the grass, cooking with your kids, hosting friends - it is a beautiful way to live. I want you to stop spending your free, valuable mindspace scrolling on insta.
I'm making a conscious decision to re-devote my time her on my blog. I will be here more and sharing and blogging more. I will. I will be on instagram less. Much less. I'm thinking maybe once or twice a week on insta, just to update you on what is happening here for those of you that don't get my email newsletter. It will be generated on my computer and posted on instagram. I will not be re-installing instagram on my phone. I hope you will continue to come here. I hope you will join me in refocusing your day to being and doing, instead of watching others do and be. It is better on this side in the real world, right?
I would love to know your thoughts about this. Please tell me I'm not the only one! And do, please come back here to visit. I know your time is valuable and I hope you'll join me for some more real life inspiration.
Now, because I don't want to just rant (I do have other things to share!) here is a little real look around our house this morning. Emma and Mike have gone off to school and work, respectively, and I'm here with Mr. Darcy enjoying a quiet morning. I snapped some photos of how our home is feeling this morning. Because I believe in enjoying my day, I thought I would focus on the things that are making me happy this morning. I know that they might seem "too perfect" (especially after my strong thoughts above), but I think photos feel different when paired with words. Welcome to my happy place, with pretty snippets of our home. Please do know that there are unmade beds upstairs, piles of laundry and dirty dishes in my sink : ) And you've already seen what my floor looks like...
I love these little mini topiaries I found last week. They are real and I'm trying not to kill them. I also replaced our Christmas prints with fresh framed botanicals that will be part of the valentine's collection (coming friday!). Swapping out prints each season is just so easy and makes me love this corner even more.
These are the topiary that I bought this fall... that are struggling in a major way. I think the transition inside was too much for them... and I am not the best at watering. So, trying to get them to come back!
A few days after Christmas, I got rid of the greenery and added about 4 potted flowers to our home. They are making the house feel so fresh and alive (after all of that crispy greenery!).
Isn't this the sweetest shade of pink?
My Mister : ) Watching the squirrels.
I kept the pinecones and got rid of the greens. I love how they feel very wintery and sparse.
I just realized I forgot about this greenery! Very crispy.
A glimpse of the snow, past the snowflakes on our or door. Lots of smudges, too : )
The aftermath of our walk this morning. I'm not really a very neat person. At some point today, I will have to go around and pick up after myself... usually around 5:30 right before Mike gets home!
Yesterday, my sister and I were talking about how much we love Jenna Bush Hager. She is so real and normal and funny and smart. (She also deleted insta on her phone!) We love her on the Today show. As I was walking around snapping my photos, she was almost in tears apologizing for a mistake she made on air. I felt so bad for her : ( Jenna - keep on pluggin!
Sledding aftermath from Saturday!
The artwork wall in my office. The most perfect part of the whole house : )
Thank you all for taking your time to come here and read my thoughts. I'd love to hear yours. How does this new idea sit with you? I hope your new year is off to a slow and happy start.