Monday, December 17, 2018

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE IN-BETWEEN OF 2018 / BEHIND THE BLOG


Happy Monday, friends - 

Each year around this time, I start thinking about resolutions and how I want to hold myself accountable in the coming year.  Somewhere around New Years Eve, I always publish a post listing them out one by one, as well as what you can expect from me in the year to come.  I've been planning and thinking about this post specifically for a few weeks, but recently, my perspective on it shifted a bit.

It's been a while since I've sat down, opened my computer, and just started to type.  Personal, meaningful posts are always my favorite, but I totally understand they're not for everyone.  After seven years of blogging, I absolutely love the genuine connection I've made with so many of you through FATL.  Others come here each week to gain a little inspiration and don't necessarily want to go 'behind the blog' and that's perfectly okay, too.  (By the way - if that's you, check back in a couple of days because this is going to be a long one!)  Either way, I love letting you guys in and connecting on a deeper level than solely material things.  A mentor I listen to each week recently said it best - "The clothes you wear and the products you use are a part of your life, but they're not your whole freaking life."

A few years ago, I found out about a website that basically trashes bloggers.  People create screen names to hide their identities, start threads about bloggers they can't stand, and pick apart their lives little by little.  Everything from a fake tan and bad teeth to how much they think they're making from blogging and what their husbands do for a living to support this ridiculous lifestyle.  At one time, I (For All Things Lovely) had a thread with quite a few pages of just pure meanness.  Such ugly words written about the most insignificant things to the point where I got emails (and one time even a handwritten letter in my mailbox) with women apologizing for what they said about me.  Every single time I read the thread, or even one of those apologies, I was always left confused.  So taken back by the fact that this was such a prevalent thing for these women.  No one, especially bloggers, likes to talk about it because it simply draws attention to something that shouldn't exist in the first place.  Yeas ago, I read it and checked it occasionally, vowing I would never allow it to bother me.  Some of my other friends, who were also bloggers and had their own threads, were extremely upset by it.  I remember one friend specifically, crying and just simply defeated by it.  It was heartbreaking not only to watch, but think about how sad it is that women do this to one another.  Without a doubt it's disheartening, but I always, always tried to be the encourager who told myself and everyone else - do not let this effect you.  They don't know you.  

Back in 2016, I wrote a blog post and for the first time, sharing a few intimate details on 'my story' - how J and I met, our rough start to dating, a few details about our family, surviving cancer at 19, and at the time, another cancer scare.  After that post, this thread that had been filled with nothing but hate was suddenly silent.  A few people wrote 'wow, I didn't know she had been through so much.' or 'I really hate this for her and hope she's okay'.  I had to quite literally pour my heart out in a blog post about what I was struggling with for grown women to think to themselves, WOW.  She's a real person after all, with real feelings.  Some months later, my feed, along with a few others were randomly taken down and to this day, I haven't seen it again.  I had no idea how it happened or why, I just felt like it was a God thing and called it a win.

Hold that thought and fast forward to now - 2018 almost in the rearview mirror and 2019 resolutions + goals top of mind.  Business wise, this year has been somewhat new for me.  It's been amazing in so many ways and so challenging in others.  I remember thinking/planning at the end of last year, there are SO many bloggers now - what makes me different from everyone else?  What's the reason my readers will want to come to the blog each week or continue to follow me on instagram?  The best answer I could come up with was simply this: do you.  At the end of last year, I wrote these bullet points in my notebook: 

continue to hone in + cultivate your style.
share your home you've worked so hard for and don't want until it's perfect to do so.
always, always post what speaks to YOUR soul.  It's speaking for a reason.
let people in + push boundaries; your love for writing is why you started.
say yes to travel.
be genuine over everything.
don't limit yourself - 'lifestyle' is all encompassing; decor, travel, style, recipes, gardening - do it all to the best of your ability.

After focusing on all of that throughout 2018, my blog + instagram feed has been a bit all over the place and to be honest, I love that.  (Including, but not limited to - chickens.)  For me, each and every one of those things has been a high of 2018.  We traveled to amazing places, created @thelovelycottage to share more of our life with you, started sharing more lifestyle posts like recipes and J's crazy cleaning tips, posted a few before/afters + how to's on outdoor living, I wrote quite a few behind the blog posts similar to this, all while continuing to share every day, neutral outfits + closet staples.  In my opinion, even though this year has felt a bit new + scattered, I feel like myself more than I ever have.  I genuinely love each and every single thing I'm posting or promoting and to me - that's what it's all about.  That's what it's always been about.

On that same note, 2018 also came with a few lows.  This was the year for the big instagram algorythm shift.  There are more (probably better, even) bloggers than ever before, making it harder for your content/posts to be seen by your followers or brands to recognize you.  Being an influencer is something that is so public.  Not only are you putting your life out there for the world to see + let's be honest - critique, how well you're doing is also extremely visible.  Likes, comments, views, stats, engagement - it's all out there for everyone to see.  I've never been more discouraged in this business as I have been this year.  Other than J, I'm a one woman show and I've had to continually motivate myself.  It's really hard to pour so much time + energy into creating something that ultimately doesn't succeed.  And everyone knows it.  To be completely honest, I've posted less and let that outlook weigh me down more times than I'd like to admit.  In the past seven years, the game has changed.  Some days, I'm not even totally sure it's even the same sport anymore.  However, throughout the entire year, I've had the resounding 'do you' reminder in my ear and I've tried so hard to be intentional about a healthy balance of posting what I love, all while continuing to engage you guys and post what you want to see.

All of this background from years ago and highs + lows of 2018 leads to now.  On the same day that I started to write this post, it was brought to my attention that my long-lost thread on this 'bashing bloggers website' was alive and well again.  While we're just putting it all out there, here are a few verbatim highlights:

- her engagement is really low. like three times lower than other bloggers with a similar following.
- I think she's super boring and brings nothing to the blogging world.
- I don't even pay attention to her photos or stories because they're always about chickens + plants.
- her brand makes zero sense.
- you can't appeal to people and only post luxury brands.
- she's not very responsive to have such a small following/engagement.
- it's all just a blur between her fake tan and dark clothing.
- what did this girl do? she used to be all bright and bubbly and girly.
- everything is so dark + editorial and it doesn't suit her at all.  I think she thought she would grow a lot more if she went in that direction and it's biting her in the ass.
- she seems inauthentic and quite frankly it's just boring to look at - such a snooze fest.
- all she does is talk about weird plants + chickens while wearing 4K worth of clothes.
- I have no interest in carrying a Chanel in one hand and a chicken in the other and I can't image anyone else does either.

Mic drop, right?  Please know my heart when I say I am not sharing any of this to get the sympathy vote.  I'm simply letting you in on how crushed I felt when I read all of this.  All of the worst things you think about yourself or your business, listed out in black and white for you.  And to know that years later, we're back here.  When you think you're doing all you can to stay above water and be your most genuine self who simply loves the crap out of everything, even that just doesn't work sometimes.  I could sit here and reply/argue each and every one of those comments, but I won't.  I want to focus less on the negativity and more on the bigger picture of why I even wanted to share all of this.  In my opinion, reflection is everything.  It allows you to learn lessons and analyze what works and what doesn't.  I've done a lot of that in 2018, professionally and personally, and I couldn't wrap up my year without doing it.  The good, the bad, (in this case the ugly), and everything in-between.

My point for this entire post is this: one, a reminder to simply show people love.  Around the holidays, after the new year, always.  You never know what someone is going through.  And you shouldn't have to.  I always say - no harm can ever come from loving people well.  These people don't know me and have zero reason to show me love or grace, but I was raised to give those things away freely - even to strangers.  Supporting other women has always been a priority to me, especially now and in the business I'm in.  When I read the last bullet point "I have no interest in carrying a Chanel in one hand and a chicken in the other" it reminded me of the quote from Sex & the City where Miranda and Carrie are looking for a Halloween costume (you know, right before they spot THE Vogue issue).  Miranda says, while looking for a costume "The only two choices for women: witch and sexy kitten."  Carrie replies with "Oh, you just said a mouthful there sister!" (Sidenote, everything in life reminds me of a FRIENDS line or Sex & the City, so sorry about that.)  But seriously, even when it comes to two drastically different things - why would it ever have to be one or the other?  Why can't a girl love her chicken and a Chanel bag she worked ridiculously hard to get?  And what gives you the right to judge her for any of it?  We are so, so responsible for lifting each other up.  On good days, bad days - moments when we're feeling insecure or moments when we feel on top of the world - always.  Open your arms + your heart to people - I promise it's such a better way to live.  We make loving people a lot more complicated than Jesus did.  (And yes, I did just go from Sex & the City to Jesus - welcome to Meg Runion's brain.)

Two - Lastly and finally, what you can expect from me in 2019 - I'm always going to do me.  What you see is what you get, always.  And I'm proud of that.  The girl you see on instagram is the same there as she is with her best friends.  So my style has changed over the past 5 years?  Who cares?  So have I.  So my engagement is terrible sometimes?  Oh well.  I refuse to sell myself short by paying for likes, comments, or followers simply to look better.  I have never + will never and I sleep really well at night with that assurance.  Plus, it gives me such a swift, humble kick-in-the-butt and makes me beyond thankful for the genuine community I have cultivated over the years.

I promise to continue to be a real person.  One with real feelings, emotions, and struggles that you can relate to.  Although I always want FATL to be a happy place - full of chic outfits and daily inspiration, I'm also human enough to know that's not what life is all about.  So we might as well embrace it all together.
___________________________________________

So whether you've been following along for the last 7 years or for the last 7 minutes while reading this - welcome to For All Things Lovely {almost} 2019.  

Anyone who really knows me (which let's be serious, we're all there by now, right?) calls me Meg and I'm the editor behind this beautifully imperfect Lifestyle blog.  I'm married to the love of my life, J RUN, we live in a small house we like to call the lovely cottage, and we have 2 pups + 6 chickens.  I throw on neutral, basic, closet staples every day and call it fashion, the only way I get through life is with a planner, I'm a born again, saved by grace, Jesus lover, planting + working in our yard is good for my soul, I want some sort of sauce on everything I eat, I love hard and will do anything for my tribe, I'm happiest by the water - always, vintage over new any day, county music is my life, something new for my home (big or small) makes my entire week, there's nothing better than popping a bottle of Veuve Clicquot - I celebrate everything, and I'm so, so grateful to wake up every day and work really hard at my dream job.

W E L C O M E - it's going to be a fun, new year!

Love you all - 
MEG

33 comments:

  1. I absolutely loved this post! I have been following you for around 5 years I think- your blog and Instagram were so inspiring to me back when I began!! I was also been so discouraged this year by IG. :( It is refreshing to see "larger bloggers" like yourself speak out about it, as much as the algorithm changes suck, it is so nice to know it isn't just me! Can't wait to keep following into 2019!! <3

    xoxo A
    www.southernbelleintraining.com

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    1. Thank you so, so much! And yes, I think it's safe to say a lot of people are feeling that after this year, but keep going girl. Hope you have a great holiday! X.

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  2. I rarely will post a comment unless something truly speaks to me and this post has done just that! I honestly love following your blog and Instagram account (being completely honest I have screenshot so many of your home pics for inspiration for my own home!). It always amazes me what people feel is appropriate to write when they are hiding behind a computer screen yet I guarantee none of them would have the nerve to say it to your face. Unfortunately there are so many people who instead of dealing with things that are happening in their own life find it easier to bash and put down others but I love that you are staying true to who you are and keeping that going into 2019! #chickensandchanel

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    1. Thank you so much! For reading, commenting, and your kind words! And I LOVE the new hashtag - #chickensandchanel Totally using that one!! :) Thanks again babe - merry christmas! X.

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  3. I found his writing to be as real as you can get. I understand everything you have said, I have been through similar let's say "ordeals" in my life but have always at least tried to stay true to myself and my beliefs. I find your honesty and throwing your life out their refreshing and brave ! I follow other bloggers but always come back to you for inspiration. We basically have the same type of style house and fashion. As I am alot older than you, you can be my daughter! I'm still young at heart, mind and soul (would like to say body) my husband still thinks so LOL... I love that you can hold a Chanel and a chicken in the other hand...just be you, don't listen or let anyone affect how you live your life because you see, only you know the "YOU" you only answer to yourself whether you feel you have not done something right or you did a fabulous job ! you are kicking it...so enjoy your life with JR, your chickens and your furry babies....I have had so much tragedy in my life and just remarried 2 yrs. ago to a wonderful man who treats me the way a woman should be treated. I would say my only regret is that I didn't have it in the 1st. part of my life, then again regrets only become memories, but I will consume all that I have now, with love, kindness and gratefulness...you only go around once so might as well make the best of every single second, not minute, because it can be all gone in a minute....this I know all too well...so just want to say I love following you, you inspire me and give me so many ideas also with my lake house...we call it our little lake house... you are a focused woman who is aware of all the negativity out there...but in closing....you are loving and kind and that is what I see shining through when seeing your posts, videos, etc. live the happy life you treasure ♥

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    1. Thank you so, so much for reading, commenting, encouraging, and sharing a bit of your story with me. I can tell you have a lot of life + love behind your words and that's such a powerful thing. Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year - so thankful for you!

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  4. Oh Meg, get ready for a long response, love, because I feel like I know you like a sister.
    This. This post is why I love you so dearly even though we've never met. The words that you've poured out on this post is as real as anyone can get.

    I love what your mentor said because it’s SO true. It’s not what our ENTIRE life should be about.

    I’m sorry you had to go through what you went through with that site. But what other reason could there be than to say that people who write whatever they write about others are those who are upset at what they’re not doing for themselves or disappointed with something in their own lives? I’m not saying it’s a jealousy thing, I’m saying it might be a “I wish I could do that,” thing. I remember a pastor saying this at a young adult service one night, “If you’re going to live an excellent life, it will always invite EXAMINATION.” And I extend that to you as a reminder because we all have downs and always will this side of Heaven.

    Here’s another one that has stayed with me: “I’m likely going to mess up a lot and the funny thing is, I can’t wait. My goal of life isn’t to be perfect, but to live on purpose. I also promise that you’ll be on the messiest, but best ride of your life! Mess comes with living on purpose and it’s so worth it.” - Lara Casey

    Once I heard that, I knew I wanted to just LIVE.

    I LOVE what you wrote in your notebook. It’s all of who I am too and resonates with me SO much. I love that you love Chanel and chickens and gardening and everything else you’ve mentioned. It’s what makes you who you are and from what I’ve learned as an identity coach, who we are, our interests and what we’re gifted in is a rare combination that NO ONE else has. If you think about it, there is no one else out there whose name is Megan who loves neutrals, chickens, CHANEL and has your personality and eye color! And that’s just a small combination. ;)

    As for Instagram, I learned that I should’ve built my following long before Facebook got a hold of it. Recently, I stopped fighting the algorithm and ceased posting for periods at a time. I’m just now finding out what my brand is and it’s so exciting! I think that’s what’s so fun about the blogging world. As you said, your style evolved and you as a person have grown. I think it’s fun to go back and see the people we once were to who we are now. Instagram is ultimately out of our control and to me, it sucks to see someone else control who we can and cannot be visible to, but it’s okay. We just need to try our best.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for not paying for likes, followers or comments! I’ve always believed in that and stood my ground on this topic too and it’s SO refreshing to see that you and I have the same lines in the sand.

    Those who want to find someone like you to follow WILL. It’s why I have you on my ‘favorite reads’ section of my blog and why I type in your website into my browser every morning. I CHOOSE to find you. I know you’re not writing to gain sympathy, but you’re human and I have to respond to let you know the TRUTH and what I see because that’s how I show love: my words.

    And for someone who went through cancer and had another scare and things going on I don’t know about, you need to know how amazing and strong you are and that you’re one-of-a-kind, even on days when you don’t feel like you are. Promise me that you will remember this.

    And that last paragraph is EVERYTHING I would want in a blogger I follow, a fellow sister-in-Christ and friend: someone who is proud of who they are, appreciative of what they have and love in a raw, here-I-am-take-it-or-leave-it way.

    Love you, love!

    P.S. And girl, I can relate with everything in life being a line from Friends or Sex & the City! It’s a real mindset, haha!

    She Sweats Diamonds

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  5. Love this post! I have followed you for many years, and I've loved watching how your style has evolved. I follow you for the chicken and the Chanel!

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  6. Love this post. I think it’s so amazing how honest you are. Please don’t change, keep doing you as it’s amazing! I’ve always dreamed of being a blogger but have no idea where to start. You’re an amazing inspiration, and I hope one day to have the courage to put my life out there the way you have. You’re my favorite blogger to follow, and I love seeing your life. Chickens, plants and all!

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  7. THIS is why I’ve been following you for years and will continue to do so!!! You’re as real and as fabulous as they come and don’t let some bully tell you otherwise. I have loved watching your style grow and change over the years and appreciate that you march to your own drummer (as do I, girlfriend!). I never pay attention to your numbers (because numbers don’t measure your worth) but I do pay attention to your creative blog and IG and love to get style and decor inspo from you! I also love the hilarious banter between you and J and get some good cleaning tips from him too haha (vacuum parts in the dishwasher—sheer genius I tell you!). Your heart for Jesus and the fact that you can sling a Chanel bag on while carrying a chicken is one of the hundred reasons I follow! Women can be ALL the things we want to be and all we have to say to those who don’t believe us is “watch this”. Keep on doing your thing and shining your light! This Midwest girl living in the south is cheering you on!!! XO, Christine

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  8. For the record, I have a Chanel bag and you've inspired me to want chickens and a goat (although I know you don't have a goat yet from an IG reply). In fact, I have been texting my mom today telling her a goat is at the top of my Xmas list. ;-) Keep doing you! You do it well! And don't trust people who don't love animals.

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  9. I absolutely loved reading this post this morning. We are all human, we evolve, and we grow, so I don’t know why anyone would be mad at you for being true to yourself and sharing that. I can’t believe anyone would waste the time of creating an awful website like that, but I think it’s amazing you’ve maintained a positive outlook through it all. Keep it up lady! I always look forward to the blog and Instagram posts!

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  10. Authenticity, that is what makes me continue to follow you. In fact, my husband jokes that with people I barely know, but feel a sort of connection, I will attempt to become a friend right off the bat. You seem so real that you could be a best friend to any of your followers. A true, matter-of-fact friend, who doesn't shy away from the tough stuff. Keep owning it. Some bloggers seem to have lost a bit of the sparkle and grit of who they originally were, not in a positive, changing for the better way. Not to say I am discouraging them or the path they have chosen. But it is less of a source of inspiration now. Just as you each wish to "do you" and should, influencers may lose followers over the years because it simply stops to resonate. You have not, at least to me. Several others seem to only care about the commercialization of what they do, and while I do understand it is a job and a business, the whole reason one obtains followers is to reach out to people with their uniqueness and make some sort of connection. Or at least, that's what I thought it was about, and as you've said, that seems to have changed. How sad though. When everyone begins to look the same, buy the same things, and basically lose their "edge" - what are we left with but what I witnessed in college: a bunch of girls trying to be women, wearing North Face jackets, rainbow flip flops and baggy t-shirts, all insecure, simply wanting to be loved. To know we were worth what we felt in our hearts, and that we were connected, and should embrace our differences. The same but different. Maybe it doesn't make sense, but know this: this year, I too experienced a cancer scare at a young age. I too have realized life is what you make it. It matters. You matter. We each matter in the greater scheme of things. God has a plan for each of us. And for me, now thanks to you, it includes chickens. XO - @bamabellebarbie

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  11. Love this and you! Keep doing what you’re doing g!

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  12. Your versatility & authenticity are the main reasons I not only follow you but look forward to your posts. I love that you carry a Chanel bag in one hand and a chicken in the other. I love most that you don’t apologize for it. Jesus didn’t give them your purpose for a reason, they don’t need to understand it.
    “Men may cut you down, resist your purpose and undermine your progress, but a faith filled person is always the last one standing in the ring and the first one kneeling in obscurity.” -kris valloton

    P.s. I will find who insulted your tan.

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  13. Hello sweet Meg! I looooved reading this post, thank you for being so honest, always! Although life gets crazy for all of us and your blog posts the past few months have been few, far and in between, they are something I look forward to reading and drawing inspiration from and I've never thought negatively about you or your blog because it's simply just that - a blog containing snapshots of your life, but it's not your entire life and that is a-okay with us, your true and honest followers.

    Today's post really hit a nerve with me and I just want to tell you YOU ARE DOING AMAZING and it's refreshing to see and feel your honesty no matter the topic. I heard this quote from another fellow blogger, Emily Gemma of The Sweetest Thing blog, saying "hurt people, hurt people" and I feel it really rings true to all aspects of life and experiences, so all we can do is respond with love and kindness which brings me to my favorite MLK quote, which almost if not all know "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that" and I think you're doing an incredible job with drowning the darkness & hate with light and love.

    And with that, I always like to say #alwaysmorechickens haha and cheers to almost 2019!

    XoXo
    Longtime reader, follower, fan and lover of "meg" & "for all things lovely"
    Sladja

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  14. Loved your real and raw post. Makes us even more connected.
    Keep doing you and you will always win!
    Cheers to you!

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  15. I’ve followed you for a long time.. the initial reason was fashion (which as a blog reader and Instagram follower, I believe the game has changed big time... I appreciate what Instagram/blogging has turned into but I desperately miss what it was a few years ago). Like I stated, I initially followed you because of your impeccable fashion sense, but you’ve impacted me the most, not because of fashion, but because you’re REAL. Not the “real” that other bloggers say they are; you are actually real, down to earth, relatable. Thank you for sharing your life- I look forward to seeing more Chanel and chickens in the new year!

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  16. I’ve been following you for a little over a year now and as much as I love your style it’s your heart and passion that makes you stand out to me!!! You bring what real life is in to a blog and you help everyone to see that the seasons of life bring many ups and downs. Thank you for being you and sharing your impeccable style, your life, but most of all your heart with all of us. Thank you for reminding us that kindness matters, brightening someone’s day matters, and being true to yourself matters. Soooo thank you for simply being you, sharing your passion for life, toasting too all things happy, and helping us to all be the best versions of ourselves. Cheers to 2019 and wishing you and your loved ones a blessed holiday!! Xoxo
    Ashley.

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  17. I've been following you for a while and I love your sincerity. And I LOVE your well roundedness... you have a great blend of luxurious style while also living simply, if that makes sense. Keep walking around with your Chanel in one hand and your chickens in the other and stay you. :) Thanks for this post. You truly handle adversity and struggles with such a grace that is so lovely.

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  18. Beautifully written post Meg! Don’t ever stop loving Chanel or the chickens because that’s what makes you YOU. Jesus did show us that it really isn’t all that difficult to be kind and love hard. I truly hope that the women who post on that awful site encounter more kindness in their lives. There is an infinite amount to go around. I know we would be fast friends if you lived in Texas! Just know you have more love and support than you realize!

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  19. Hi Meg! I’ve been following you for about 3 years now and I absolutely adore your style. You take neutrals on a whole another level and I’m obsessed. I’ve even mentioned you in my stories before on how I try and draw inspo from you. As far as that chicken and Chanel comment goes...screw them. I love your chickens and I’m happy how much you post about them! Keep doing you.

    Xo,
    Rowda from @rowdabaker

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  20. This blog post was so real and I thank you for being real all the time. You are one of my favorites to follow on Instagram for that reason. I think you are a genuine person and I hope you never let those negative (untrue) words take away from your wonderful personality. I dream of finding a house that I can take inspiration from you to build, I love your chickens, and I love your fashion. I may not afford it all but I love to recreate what you wear. For every one negative person who needs Jesus, just remember you have a ton of people who love your content and you. Thanks for being you!

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  21. Your authenticity shines through your online world every day and you should be so proud. I have followed you for years. I have no interest in chickens or owning any, but I do love seeing how much joy they bring you and I love following along to see what will happen with them next. Your love for your husband and his love for you inspire me that I can find that too. Your home is stunning and I am always excited to see what you guys will do next and draw inspiration from my own home. But at the end of the day, none of what I want/like from you matters. What matters is what makes you happy. Life is so hard sometimes (all the prayers and blessings to you for being cancer free!), allowing the devil to try to get to you through women who shamefully prey on others is not worth your energy. You keep doing you girl! We will NEVER be able to make everyone happy. And being blogger shouldn't be about that anyway. Stay true to who you are and what makes you feel good. Don't let those haters or numbers or comments or likes or WHATEVER bring you down! Thank you for sharing every day. Thank you for sharing this. Happy holidays Meg! I wish you nothing but the best in the new year. -- From just a regular girl out there in the world following along because you let me. <3

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  22. Meg —

    THIS. I feel like I needed this today. As an extremely small Instagram page, I’ve been a hot mess trying to make it work. Questioning myself every step of the way is not something that is normal. But this “world” has made it become my new norm. I’m always self conscious about my low numbers, my filter choices, if my photos aren’t “blogger-posed” enough...the list goes on. It hit me like a ton of bricks when my husband (& photographer) took a photo of me for my Instagram and I LOVED it. But then I said, “I don’t know if this is blogger enough for me to even post.” So I didn’t. What does that even mean?? “Blogger enough” ? I hate how it’s turned into this ugly comparison game where being unique is often scrutinized and bashed. That’s why I feel like your words and point of view is SO incredibly important!

    Let me just say, your content encourages me to be different. It encourages me to, as you say, do me. Your Instagrams and blog are beacons in the sea of monotonous content. I like to pride myself in being able to tell when an influencer is being genuine, and you, girlfriend, you are genuine. It radiates through everything you do! I thoroughly enjoy reading about your chickens just as much as I enjoy admiring your beautiful designer bags. But really, wearing a Chanel bag WHILE holding a chicken could make for a great picture!! People like you are the reasons why I still find so much joy in this social media craziness. I am so, so incredibly blessed that I get to stand beside you to represent our beloved YeahThatGreenville. And as a (way smaller) one-woman-show to another, you sure are doing one HECK of a job. You go, girl!

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  23. Keep doing you! I can’t believe there are such mean people who feel it necessary to break others down. Wishing you a happy holidays and a great 2019!

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  24. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!! People are a$%holes!!! I enjoy your blog! While I may not like certain things or would maybe do something different, that's the point! If we were all exactly the same, the world would be a boring place! Thank you for being authentic and real!

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  25. Your blog is one of my most favorites. I look forward to reading it daily, watching your IG videos, and seeing what photos are posted on Instagram. Your style is truly lovely; your home, your decor, the addition of having a chicken coup, your clothing and accessories...those girls are jealous when they say negative comments about you. They wish they could wear a white t-shirt and make it look as good as you. I have found over time my style, too, has changed, as have my desire to wear colors. I have found since being a mother, a monochromatic look or simple neutrals always looks the chicest.

    I hope to meet you one day!

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  26. I am new to the blogging world, but this is one of the best blog posts I have read. Thank you for being open and real. I hate that this seems to be a common problem, and that I am having to teach my children at such a young age how to deal with people like this. Stand strong and hold your chickens! I hope you have a Merry Christmas.

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  27. Absolutely incredible post Meg! Please keep writing these. I'm not one to typically comment on your blog posts, more of a silent reader type but I just felt like I needed to for this one. I love hearing about your experiences and who you are. YOU are the reason I follow your blog and Instagram. KEEP BEING VULNERABLE! It's how we learn, grow and be our best selves! Happy Holidays to you, J, your pups and your sweet chickens.

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  28. So well written, Meg! I LOVE your blog, your style and you! Happiness is a choice and unfortunately a lot of people don't choose it. But, you are and that is evident to anyone who follows you. Do you, girl! Can't wait to see what you bring in 2019.

    xo, Amanda
    A Glam Lifestyle

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  29. This is so beautiful Meg! I have been following your blog since 2013 and have loved you more with each passing day. I love the fact that you have opened up over the years although I would admit that I miss you in bright clothes like years back. I check your blog/insta stories everyday because I love your chickens, your cottage and your beautiful little family. All the best!
    www.docdivatraveller.com

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  30. Well written sweet girl. You are such a mature and wise young lady.
    I love looking at you home decor. It is so beautiful. (I want to come see it one day)
    I know a couple of challenges you have been through over the years and for “women” to judge without knowing you is awful.
    I know that fashion has been your “thing” since you were in the nursery at church. I remember one Easter Sunday the little ones were parading across the stage in their Easter finery and I was trying to hurry you up. You said, “Wait! I forgot my glubs! (Gloves).
    You keep doing what you do and God will continue to bless.
    Merry Christmas to you and J!
    DHines

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