Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Why I Stopped Blogging

Little known fact about me. I was a blogger. In the height of blogging, back in the early 2010’s, I was a blogger from 2011-2016. Writing was my outlet, and my blog was where I put all of my creative energy. It was honestly such a fantastic influence in my life- meeting people, creating content, and challenging myself in new ways. It led me on to work for the Odyssey, which was another amazing endeavor in itself. As I got busier and busier in my personal life, with college and work, my time for blogging became less and less. I pretty much dropped it entirely in late 2016, with a few posts here and there throughout early 2017. Recently I’ve been thinking about my blog space- what it used to mean to me, and what a great influence it was on my creativity. So today I went to that dusty corner of the internet- my blogger account, to take a look around. And what I found was kind of interesting. Looking over my blog stats, I found that out of the hundreds of blog posts I wrote over the years, my most viewed one was “Finding the Light in College”. With over 3300 views, I kind of wondered why this was my top post. But reading through it, I realized why. It was one of my most brutally honest moments in blogging. I was transparent about my truth, my struggles. Because the truth is that being a Christian in college. No less in a liberal college- it can be brutal. I was struggling, and I was honest about it. I wrote about something that so many people can relate to. I think that while blogging was a wonderful outlet for me, during my time as a blogger, I struggled with some of the same things that I’ve been struggling with on social media lately. It’s that same thing that every other millennial struggles with. Being honest. So often social media feels like a place that is only for our highlights reel. Everything is touched up and sugarcoated. We strive for transparency, and sometimes we achieve it a little bit, but it’s hard to be totally honest. And sometimes, it’s just easier to walk away from it all entirely. Because the mindset of views, likes, followers- it can be all consuming. At a point when I was blogging, working as an editor in chief for the Odyssey, also working as a content creator for the Odyssey, running two Instagram accounts, twitter, facebook, three emails, and snapchat- I felt like my entire life was so public. Everything was up for judgement. And during those days, you’d be hard pressed to find me without makeup on. I didn’t step out of the house unless I was dressed to the nines. Hair curled, full face of makeup, probably a skirt and heels. Every photo, every caption, every post- was carefully curated and scrutinized. My phone was glued to my hand. I was in constant contact with my team, fellow bloggers, Instagramers, girls from my fitness community, girls from my bible studies, classmates, coworkers, friends, family- I couldn’t step away from my phone because my phone felt like my full time job. And looking back at that time- my life looked really happy. And I’m not saying that it wasn’t. It’s just that sometimes it all felt a little fake. Like a little bit of a fa├žade. Because all of those things were great, and a lot of them were really true, but it’s also true that I was probably eating ice cream at 2am in my pajamas, while I cried over some college algebra homework that I got a D on. It’s also true that during that time I pulled 20 hour days, drank up to seven cups of coffee a day and slept four hours a night. It’s also true during that time that I was dealing with a lot of insecurities and low self-confidence. But you wouldn’t know that from my latest selfie. My point in all of this- is that I say screw the picture perfect social media. I’m over it. It isn’t real life, it isn’t relatable, and frankly- it looks nothing like my real life. I’ll always cherish my blog space, but I think part of why I walked away from it is simply for the fact that I can’t relate to it anymore, because putting up that kind of image isn’t who I am anymore. I value my privacy, but I also value honesty and telling my truths. And maybe one day soon I’ll figure out how to strike that balance again. But for now I’m happy to live my real life-  I'm in my senior year of college at my hometown university, working as a retail manager at an amazing pet store, dating my best friend, taking care of my three rescue pets, and spending time with my new baby niece. That is my real life, and whether or not that makes it onto social media, I’m happily living it.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Coming Back

Hey y'all,
No, I didn't fall off the face of the earth. I'm still here.
It's funny how things change. This blog used to be so important to me. The blogging community was a big part of my life in my middle school, and even high school years. Seven years of doing this, and blogging isn't a part of who I am anymore.... yet I can't bear to delete this blog because it holds so many wonderful memories. So for some reason or another, I continue to return to it, whenever life lets me, because I feel like it deserves an update. I don't give updates because I expect anyone to read them, but because I feel like I owe it to this space. This domain brought a lot of joy to a shy, insecure, fourteen year old girl, so many years ago, so yeah, I feel like I owe it to this blog.
This semester was a wild ride for me. This past year has held more than I could have ever expected.
I just wrapped my sophomore year of college, and my last semester at a community college. This fall, I'll be a junior at my hometown's university, and I'll be pursuing my major in communications. I worked so hard for my grades this semester, and let's just say, my work paid off.
My job is a huge part of my life, and I'm still really happy with where I'm at. I accepted a management position back in March, and I'm loving the change of pace. It keeps me on my toes, and even in the most stressful of work weeks, I still love my job. This summer will see me pulling some long shifts, and even longer work weeks, but I'm up for it, because as I've said about five times by now- I love my job.
My fur kids are doing great, and still bring me as much joy as the day that I got them. Daisy turned three in February and is loving the fact that since I moved downstairs, she can now sleep in my bedroom. My cats, Thor and Fern, turn four and five this year, and are still up to their usual antics. In January, I added a half moon male beta to my fur family, and he's currently living it up in a new, 3 gallon aquarium.
Fitness is, as always, a big part of my life, and I continue to keep up with it on my Instagram account @em_tonedup. Lately I've been on a cardio kick, so I've been putting in 2-4 miles a day, plus focusing on building my shoulders and biceps back up. Over the past school year I've lost twelve pounds, and dropped two jean sizes, and I couldn't be more proud of my hard work. I continue to have new goals that I strive towards, because there's something so incredibly rewarding about making your health and fitness a priority.
Overall, I'm so happy with the way my life has turned out. Did I expect it go this way? No, not at all! Here I am, twenty years old, pursuing a major that I never imagined myself in, taking care of four pets (never saw that coming), and working as a manager at a job that I never in a million years would have put myself at. But you know what they say. God is good all the time. All the time, God is good.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Hello lovelies,
Where has the time gone? Right now it's hard for to remember when I had a life where there was free time to blog or binge watch Netflix or go on daily hikes with my dog. Those things seem like luxuries now. I'm in a busy season of life, but I am loving it. These days, there's not a lot of time to sit down and breathe. This week is spring break though, and I'm savoring this time before it disappears.
We're only half way into this semester, and it's already held a lot for me. I'm in my last semester of community college, and have been preparing for my transition to my hometown's university this fall. *Fingers crossed it will all go smoothly* I'm working so, so, so hard to keep my grades up, because I want to raise my GPA before my transfer. This semester has held two sciences, one lab, a fourth level foreign language class, and a communications it keeps me hopping. When I'm not at school, or studying, then you can pretty much always find me at work. I absolutely adore my job, and I'm a tinge bit of a workaholic, but I do my best to keep the balance. I'm happy that I've found a job that I love so much. I'm there usually 25-ish hours a week, and I just recently got a promotion that I'm over the moon about. Needless to say, work is my second home. Besides work and school, I've been keeping very busy with my maid of honor duties. I'm currently planning a bridal shower + a bachelorette party, and the countdown is on! Only 47 days until the wedding!! In the little bits of time outside of that, I still try to fit in daily workouts, time taking care of my fur babies (plus my new beta), spending time with my family, and keeping up with things like laundry. I've definitely seen some sleep deprivation, and more coffee than a person should ever consume, BUT I love this busy season of life, and I feel really blessed for everything that I have. God is good, and I'm so joyful.
Here's to late nights, early mornings, six cups of coffee, hilariously misspelled text messages, mountains of homework, and the best coworkers in the world. Go live your best life- because nothing is stopping you.

xoxo, em

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Welcoming 2017

The first week of 2017 is ending, and I have a feeling that this is going to be one hell of a year. I still have another week before classes start back, so I'm savoring every last minute of this winter break. Once you get into college, you realize how rare your free time is, so when it comes along, it's valuable. This week held a lot of hard workouts, a makeover at Sephora, visiting a dear friend's new baby, work shifts, time with family, shopping, a lot of good food, and the start of my MoH duties. This week saw a cake tasting and wedding dress shopping appointments, both of which turned up some positive results. Wedding planning is A LOT of work, but is such a special time. I have a feeling I'm going to love this whole MoH thing!

I'm really big on setting yearly goals, just to overall see what my plans are, and what I should be working towards. This years goals include:
Transferring to the University of Kansas this fall. This one is already mostly a done deal, because I've already been accepted. I put it on the list, because it keeps me focused on where I am and where I'm headed.
Get a puppy. I had every intention of getting a puppy last summer, but I let time get away from me. Now that Daisy is about to turn three, I really want to get the perfect companion for her. I'm so excited to add another fur kid to my family of three, and see where this next adventure takes me.
Traveling more. I'm someone who loves traveling, whether it's to new places or old. I already have two trips on the calendar, and am hoping to at least throw in a few daytrips this summer.
Ride in a helicopter. Every year I add one adventurous thing to my list. Last year it was to complete a race, so I ran a Rugged Maniac 5K on one of the hottest days of the year. In 2015 I decided I wanted to go ziplining, so I ended up doing a zipline canopy tour in the Costa Rican rainforest. Helicopter ride is on this years list, and I have every intention of making it happen! Now just to choose the perfect location...

What are your goals for 2017?

xoxo, em

Friday, December 9, 2016

Finals Week + Life Update

How has it been nearly a month since I've posted on here? Life has been non-stop, and somehow I've found myself at the end- finals week. The light at the end of this very, very long tunnel is FINALLY in sight, and for the first time in a while, I feel hopeful. Because I've survived another semester. Once again I got through all the classes that I didn't think I could, and I maintained my GPA and my spot on the honors roll. I can always breathe a little sigh of relief when I realize it's all actually going to be okay after all.
This season of life is messy and confusing and filled with a lot of hard days. But it's also filled with a lot of joy, laughter, smiles, and blessings- because for every bad day there are also good days. This semester I've learned A LOT. I've changed a lot as a person, and that's the beautiful about life- we grow, we experience things, and ultimately, we change.

A few highlights of life lately:

*A customer brought a baby monkey into my work last night, and it was hands down one of the best moments of the semester. To see something so precious and tiny, with such an inquisitive face, and curious heart. Animals have a way of making every stress of life melt away, because they live in the here and now, not worrying about the future. That's why I love working with animals- because they're constantly teaching me something.

*I've been blessed with some of the best co-workers, and this past week I was reminded of how incredible they are when one of them surprised me with my favorite Starbucks drink. Sometimes it's the simplest gestures that speak the loudest. It made my day 10x better and I'm thankful to have found such a sweet friend.

*I upped my workouts to 2-a-days this past week because I was so stressed out over finals. Some days I was getting in five miles of cardio, just because I needed that focus that comes from running on a treadmill while blasting your Spotify playlist.

*It's officially the Christmas season and that fills me with so much joy. My family and I got our Christmas tree last week and decorated it all together one evening. Every night I see it glowing in the corner of the living room, and I'm always struck by the simple beauty of a pine tree.

*If I can just get through this next week, I'll be free for winter break, and I'm hopeful to write here once again. After five years of blogging on here, there's something so therapeutic about writing.

For all my fellow college students out there who are facing finals week- good luck and god bless.

xoxo, just a girl trying to survive finals week

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Why Blue Bloods Is One Of The Best TV Shows

This weeks Odyssey article is live! This week's piece strays from my normal pieces, but it's about one of my favorite TV shows, so I'm very proud of it! Read all about it here!  I share my latest Netflix obsession and why this network sensation is a must-see! If you're looking for a new show to binge-watch, I've got you covered!

Give it a read, then spread the love and share it!

xoxo, em

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Embracing The Seasons

This picture sums up my life right now. I'm always moving, always hustling for something. This season of life is busy, but it's a good kind of busy. My days are full, and don't usually allow for much free time, but I'm grateful for all of life's blessings right now. My days are school, work, homework, and a little bit of sleep. There's not room for much else, and that's okay. I'm embracing this season of life, because it's just a season, and I know that all too soon it will be over.

*Sophomore year is going really well. Classes are certainly hard, but I try my hardest to stay on my A game, and keep my grades up high. It feels good to work so hard for something and then see the results.

*Work takes up the majority of my life outside of school, but I'm thankful for such a wonderful job, so I don't mind. Having a job where you are appreciated, and you're working in a positive environment makes all the difference. My work is pretty much my entire social life right now, because heaven knows I have no time for going out with friends. I've been blessed with some amazing coworkers though, and my shifts are filled with lots of laughter. I feel really strongly that every high school and college student should have a part-time job, because it's such an important experience. Having the responsibility of working 25 hours a week, on top of school is something that every one should learn how to handle.

*My current Netflix obsession is Blue Bloods, and if you haven't seen it, go watch it right now! I've been watching it for the past few months, and it's hands down one of my favorite TV shows ever! I have a whole post on it coming out on the Odyssey on Monday, because I'm that obsessed with it!

*I'm so thankful for my incredible family, and I truly love that I get to live at home during this season of life. I've been blessed with such a loving, supportive group of people, and I love how close we all are. Family relationships do take work, but your family is your family for life, so investing in each other is one of the most important things that you can do.

*I'm so proud that I've managed to stay on top of my workouts this semester. Usually I've let my routine slip by this time of the year, but not this time around! I still workout for about an hour a day, six days a week, and it's made such a difference. For me, working out gives me more energy, makes me happier, and just makes me feel better. It bring sanity to my insanity, and peace to my anxious moments. The fit life is the best kind!

That's it for now folks! I'm off to another busy day! Praying today that love and peace will abound during this crazy time, and that people will remember how far a little kindness can go.

xoxo, em