hi five

February 20th, 2016

Five years.

Half a decade.

I can hardly believe it.

blue five

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As this year’s blogiversary approached – along with the requisite post (click for years one, two, three and four) – I did what I always do. I gave long and serious thought to both the year that passed, as well as what I want to accomplish in the year to come.

One of the more interesting revelations that I had this time around was that this is the first job I’ve had where I really do just think “year-to-year”. Not where I want to be in 10, or 5, or even 2 years’ time.

Frankly, I’m often just so happy to have made it through another year.

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The burnout rate for blogging is pretty high. And I’m hardly surprised when yet another blogger I know takes a sharply different path – or drops out of the game completely.

The competition? Fierce (there are so. many. blogs.).

Compensation? Difficult to come by (I’d be a millionaire if “exposure” translated into dollars), and too often not commensurate with the time and effort required to craft a quality partnered post.

And the time suck? HUGE. I’m pretty much never not working. Seven days a week. I’m either researching ideas for future posts, cooking/baking/photographing, editing photos, cleaning up after the cooking/baking/photographing, creating content or managing my social media accounts. It’s relentless. And FEELS relentless. I no sooner close out one month than I am busy planning for the next.

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This past year saw a new writing gig in addition to Babble (thank you, mom.me!), along with an extended freelance job that just wrapped up last month. I did more sponsored posts than ever before, and continued to grow my readership and “follows”.  I was invited to participate in a monthly cookbook series with a bunch of super-talented food bloggers. It was hands down my most rewarding year ever.

And – if you’re a regular reader here – you know that it was also one of my most challenging years, personally. While we continue to make only amazing progress and strides with our Noah, we faced many frustrating obstacles and difficulties – all of which took a major toll on my time, energy and overall enthusiasm.

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So there were many  – MANY – times I considered quitting. Dropping one gig. Dropping ALL gigs. When I closed my eyes and imagined what my life – my time! – would look like? It looked like heaven.

But then – as Chelsea always reminds me – what would I do on Tuesday? Yeah, that first day of “nothing” would be AH-mazing. And then I’d be pacing the house, pondering next moves. Truth is, I like to keep busy. And I really – REALLY –  love what I do. It’s gone way beyond just having invested too much to walk away (though that, too, is a large piece of what keeps me “in it”). I truly enjoy the work – all of it. The challenges and opportunities never cease, it’s never boring, never stale, never “done”.

And having the responsibility of keeping things up – both for my paid gigs and right here at DD&D – is often a welcome respite during difficult times. Cooking, photography and writing require 100% concentration, allowing me opportunities to shut out the “stuff” – even if just for a few moments.

All of which is why I’m still here. Still committed. And, as always, ever so grateful for all of you.

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So – looking back, and going forward.

Looking back?

The “dirt” has definitely bit the dust. While I loved writing my gardening articles – and am so proud of the body of work that I’ve produced on that topic – it never really seemed to resonate here. And as I wound down (and eventually shut down) my landscape design business, it was clear to me that the topic of gardening had run its course here too.

My capsule wardrobe experiment was life changing – sartorially speaking, anyway. I’m in Florida with Noah, visiting my parents as I write this, and I barely packed anything. I’m no longer planning a formal capsule every few months; the idea of living with and buying significantly less has simply become a way of life. And I love the conversation it sparked, both here and elsewhere.

I started the year with a very structured monthly editorial calendar and ended it with a much looser one (if I did one at all). While the calendar often kept me on-task and organized, it more often felt like a weight – something I was “bound” to. And because this is the only space where I truly get to do what I want, it started to suck some of the joy out of it. Not good.

And going forward?

For the first time in five years, I really don’t have a plan. I have some fun ideas for more mini-series – “dinner irl” being the first – but not much beyond that. I’m simply going to take things month by month and allow this little space to evolve as it will. I guess it’s my happy medium between dropping out all together and forcing a monthly “to do” list of posts that need to be done – regardless of whether I WANT to do them or even have something meaningful to contribute.

Technical typography. Number

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That said, I’ll be engaging you all with a little giveaway I have planned for next week in conjunction with my blogiversary, so stay tuned.

And thank you as always – from the bottom of my heart. xo

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