Though The M.A. Times has changed significantly over the last five years of blogging, there’s one thing that’s stayed consistent over time. No matter how big or small my audience was, I always put the same amount of effort, love, and time into what was published on these pages. There was a time when I first started my blog where no one other than myself looked at it (I hadn’t even told Ryan or my family about it yet). During those first few weeks, I was still as prideful of my work as I am today.
Because of the amount of pressure I put on myself to create quality content on this site, it took a significant amount of time for me to formulate what I wanted my first post of 2018 to be. An ordinary style post? No. An updated makeup or skincare routine? No. Or what about my newest addition to The M.A. Times – a vlog? None of them seemed quite important enough to warrant setting the tone for what’s to come in 2018.
During my last few weeks of “disconnecting” and taking time to reflect, I read back through some of The M.A. Times’ archives to gain fresh inspiration from existing content. I came across the first post of 2017 I wrote, where I laid out new objectives for blog. Though I feel like these objectives were things I held true to all year, I’m ready to push myself even further in 2018, and establish clear goals for the coming year, both personally and professionally. It’s always intimidating to put your most intimate and vulnerable thoughts in the open for the world to read, but I hope that by sharing these with you, it will start a conversation, a community, and ignite a spark of inspiration for us all.
One of my biggest goals for 2018 is to finally get married! Though I’m kind of joking about this being a “goal”, I’m also serious. Ryan and I have been so content and happy with where we are as a couple since getting engaged in Paris in 2016 that we haven’t pressured ourselves to jump immediately to that next step. However, with that said, I’m so thrilled to say we are officially planning for a 2018 wedding! We’ve already checked several of the major steps off our list – including finding a dress and a venue! I’ll be sharing my adventure via Style Me Pretty starting this month, so be sure to check back on the “Wedding” tab of my blog for updates.
Another relationship goal of mine for this year is to make more time for family and close friends. By that I mean, making a conscious effort to make them a priority over anything else. There are countless times I’ve missed out on family game nights or celebrating a friend’s birthday because I had a blog post to get up for the next day. In 2018, I don’t want to look back and feel like I missed out on anything with family. With better time management during the work day, my goal is to make more time for those things that are truly important.
This may be one of my more intimidating goals to hit publish on. Though I’ve never been an unhealthy person, that doesn’t necessarily make me “healthy” either. I’ve spent the last 28 years getting by and doing just fine with yearly checkups at the doctor, with eating whatever I wanted in moderation, and working out when it was convenient. I’ve come to realize, however, that doesn’t mean that I’m doing the best I could for my personal health. I went for an eye exam last week for the first time in over a decade – and though I still have perfect 20/20 vision, it felt good to take care of myself.
With that, I’m making it a goal in 2018: to eat more vegetables than I do carbs, to find an energizing exercise routine that I can stick to, making ten minutes every day to meditate (for the sake of my mental health), consistently taking a multivitamin and forcing myself to drink more water, and finally scheduling some doctor’s appointments I’ve been putting off (ie. getting my wisdom teeth removed and a trip to the dermatologist). I’m hoping that by being more responsible with my health, it’ll give me a sense of empowerment and drive that will follow me through every aspect of my life.
I saved this one for last, because I have a feeling I’m about to get long-winded. I’ve always shied away from speaking about my professional life (outside of blogging) on here, because I like to keep the two worlds separate. I’ve never encouraged or asked my employers and co-workers to read my blog, and don’t speak about it at work unless asked. Therefore, I’ve followed suit here on the blog, and never spoken about my career. For those who don’t know, I work part-time as an HR Manager/Personal Assistant for an Equine Veterinarian practice. It’s not what I went to school for and not an environment I would have guessed I would be working in, but I learn something new every day, and generally enjoy my position. I’m lucky enough that I’ve been given an opportunity to work when I’m needed at the office, and then spend the rest of my day pursuing my blog.
Speaking of the blog, much like when I took some time off last year, I’ve reassessed the type of content I want to share on this platform. One of my favorite bloggers, Erika Fox of Retro Flame posted something the other day that sparked a lot of thought for me. She said that so much of what influencers do has become about traveling the world and posting pretty and perfect photos. I couldn’t agree more. The Instagram struggle is real these days, and I’ve had moments I refrain from posting a photo because it’s not “perfect” enough. That’s not to say I feel that I’ll ever post anything that’s poor quality (I believe in quality over quantity) but I also want to break through the mentality that there’s a certain mold we should be fitting into as influencers.
Bluntly speaking, I’m a new homeowner with lots of home renovations in mind, working part-time for myself to build a business, and planning on contributing payments for a wedding at the end of this year. The ability to travel the world, have an overflowing closet, and create content similar to that of some other influencers just isn’t in the cards for me this year. With a grateful heart and attitude for what I do have, I’m making it a goal this year to put “blinders” on to the blogging world around me, focus on what you all what to see more of, and just being myself.
It’s a lot less pressure (once I get away from the idea of how scary this change may be at first) to just do what comes naturally and stick to that. If I’m being honest, I don’t have a plan set in stone yet, but I have an idea of where I want to start. If you’ve watched my vlogs over the last couple of months, I’ve become a lot more comfortable with sharing my real life – the good and the bad. It’s been so much more enjoyable to be able to connect with you all on a down to earth level. I’m hoping to bring more of that to the pages of The M.A. Times as well! It’ll be less about the clothes on my back and more about inspiring all of you and creating a community – with maybe a little shopping along the way.
Thank you to all of you for following along (especially if you made it through that whole post). I’m so excited about what this year is going to bring, both personally and professionally, and can’t wait to share it with all of you!
Photos by Ryan Sides