brunette the label rose okay sweatshirt
brunette the label rose okay sweatshirt

Goodbye, 2017. Hello, 2018! It’s always exciting to ring in a new year and to say goodbye to an old one. Sometimes sad to see a year full of good memories disappear, but also happy to say sayonara to any unfortunate events, be what they may. A new year means a new slate for new adventures, endeavors, and opportunities. A new page in a new book where you get the chance to write or rewrite the story. I’ve written a resolutions post for the last three years now and it’s always a huge hit. I would guess it’s because they are the most candid – full of reflection and honesty. It gives me a chance to open up to all of you about what has transpired and what I hope to achieve moving forward. 

While thinking about my resolutions this year, I’ve realized the tide has changed. In years past many of my thoughts and desires surrounded love, relationships and learning to be happy with myself within companionship… I’m happy to report I feel fulfilled and complete in these areas. It’s heartwarming to see how the last year has changed my perspective on dating and partnership. That I’ve come to trust more, love fuller, and embrace the journey of just being happy. It wasn’t without trial and error but it’s amazing to see the positive outlook that has been built up in my mind, replacing so many bad memories and tribulations of relationships past. 

I digress.

The reason I say all of this is that this year my resolutions are all about business and self-growth. I find myself in a wonderful place in my love life and home life and can now focus on the growth of myself, my brand, and my mind. Things I’ve been hoping to achieve for quite some time now. 

Below you’ll find a quick summary and reflection of my 2017 Resolutions, and below that, my hopes and desires for this year.

Embrace positivity. This is an interesting resolution to reflect upon because I think I was misguided when I originally wrote it. After much inward reflection, I realized it wasn’t that I’m a negative person… I’m a person who battled and continues to battle anxiety. I had a light bulb moment when discussing this resolution with Justin last year… I wasn’t looking at the glass half empty, I was just constantly struggling to fill it up. To feel at ease or at peace with the day to day. Our conversation motivated me to write THIS post on anxiety and my struggles to overcome it each and every day. The response from that post was overwhelming, enlightening and even encouraging. Encouraging in the sense that the number of messages, stories, and kind words helped me overcome my fear of judgment. I plan to talk about this further in 2018 as I realized sharing was not only cathartic for myself but helpful to so many who feel and felt the same as I do. 

Live in the moment. As I’m writing this I realize none of my resolutions from last year were very concrete. They were all states of mind, in a way, so it’s a little bit harder to judge my progress or lack thereof. Living in the moment will probably always be a struggle for me as my mind automatically plans for what will come next and is always looking to find hurdles or a possible problem (again where the anxiety takes over). I do, however, think I’ve been better about enjoying all of the treasures life has handed me. The chance to travel, the opportunity to live in a beautiful new home, the love of a person I can continue to grow with and learn with, the tools to grow my own business, etc. Sometimes I actually have to stop myself and tell my mind to stop and smell the roses. To enjoy all the little moments that mean so much to me like Netflix time on the couch, days I get to sleep in with Heidi, coffee runs to Starbucks… etc.

Incorporate spontaneity. Of the three, this is probably the one resolution I didn’t come close to achieving, but I’m not so sure I really wanted to in the first place. Spontaneity is a trait I admire in many but with further reflection, I am not so sure it’s what I want for myself. I’ll never be able to jump up at the drop of a hat and throw a suitcase together for a quick trip or get out of my pajamas for an impromptu dinner. It probably sounds silly to those who do it easily, but for me, it’s anxiety-inducing. I love to be at home, even more now that I’ve worked from home for almost a year. I thoroughly enjoy downtime with my Keurig coffee, my computer, and my fluffy little dog. Justin and I DID decide with half a days notice to run up to Lake Tahoe the day before we moved from California which is probably the most spontaneous thing the two of us have ever done together. And we did have an incredible time… though we only stayed a couple of hours and wanted to come home lol. 
Drum roll, please…

1 // Achieve financial stability. Okay… talk about an anxiety-inducing subject. Financial stability, without a doubt, is my number one goal. Part of my personal financial situation is completely my fault… shopping and testing out products for the blog, constantly seeing other bloggers with things I want, filling places of hurt and negativity with things to make myself feel better (in the past). But, the other part has been circumstances of life. Getting unengaged in 2015 and being stuck with a rent payment higher than some in California, planning two cross-country moves without employment (yes, this was happily my decision), being 100% financially independent out of grad school, and refusing to ask for help. Looking back there are so many things I would have done different financially. If my mom or Justin are reading this they are both nodding their heads in agreement… and they are completely right. I was young & dumb with my money straight out of college and I’m paying the price now for my inability to save. When you’re young (yes, I still am) you don’t look ahead to the roadblocks and troubles you might have and the fact those circumstances might be expensive. You might hit a deer, you may need all new tires on your car, you may have to pay rent out the wazoo for months and months before you can get back on your feet… so you may want to be smart (read, frugal) with your money. 

Something I wish I’d been able to tell myself sooner was that you don’t have to keep up appearances with anyone else. This is especially hard in the blogging world because your Instagram feed is constantly inundated with designer items, luxury vacations, and fancy cars. It can be hard to remember social media is just a small glimpse into a person’s life. And that glimpse is usually filled with one’s proudest possessions and happiest memories. But remember, that doesn’t mean to be happy or fulfilled you have to have a Louis Vuitton or a plane ticket to Paris – I’m not just telling you… I’m also telling this to myself. Remember, success and happiness aren’t measured by physical possessions. And trying to keep up is a great way to find yourself with a very large Nordstrom bill lol. 

This goal of financial stability is much easier said than done as my blog will take more financial investment this year, and taxes are probably going to drain me (yay!), but I strive to get to a place where I feel comfortable. To a place where I don’t have to worry about paying the bills or keeping a post-it in my planner of how much I owe Justin for utilities and the mortgage (which by the way I do pay and feel very proud to do so… we split everything 50/50 in our household and that’s the way I like it). I want to be able to freely put money into my business, to have an account solely filled with fun money, and to have an opportunity to give back to those who have given so much to me. To make this all happen my plan is to budget, budget, budget, and to set goals for myself in the way of commission and sponsorships. In the past, because Pardon Muah was a hobby, I really didn’t keep track… until now. I need to get better about tracking my income and expenses so that I can plan for financial success.

Let’s all keep our fingers crossed shall we!

2 // Find work-life consistency. This resolution goes along closely with the first. For those of you who don’t know, I’m actually in the process of job hunting since we just moved from California to Virginia for Justin’s job (part of the reason my financial state has been in flux). Two years ago I decided to leave my job and move to California and since then, I haven’t had any kind of real work-life consistency. Now let’s pause here. I absolutely would not do things differently (other than saving more money lol) and would move again in a heartbeat. Taking a chance to change my life and my path was the best decision I ever made for myself. I had the chance to break out of the box and I took it, and I’m so proud of myself for that. The scariest decisions can truly end up being the best ones you’ll ever make. With that said, once in California, I worked as a contractor which was an incredible experience but I was on a month to month contract and that was always a little disconcerting. Once my contract was up in Sacramento I was working part-time elsewhere and job hunting at the same time so it feels like I’ve been doing that for a very long time. Once I knew we were leaving, I picked up hours at my part-time job and blogged as much as I could which got me through until we left. 

I’ve been very fortunate to interview for three different companies since we moved back at the end of October. None have been the right fit, but the interview experience has been invaluable and has helped point me in the direction. Finding the right job can take time and I really do want to find the right fit. Something that will supplement my life and my goals where I can continue to grow and to learn. More than anything I’m just ready for work-life consistency where I’m not always wondering. Where I know what tomorrow will bring and I can finally ask Justin to take me out for a celebratory dinner to eat tacos! 

Fortunately, I’ve taken on a part-time job that starts tomorrow – I’m so excited! One of the brands I collaborated with has been following my story and asked if I’d like to help out with some marketing and creative materials and I said “Absolutely!” You never know when someone will extend new and amazing opportunities like this one I’ve been given. I’ve always believed that things happen for a reason and that the right thing will come my way. And this is definitely one of those things. The owner of the brand and I are even traveling to New York City in February which is going to be an amazing experience I will definitely not take for granted. It’s funny, until now, I’ve never even had the opportunity to travel for work. I’m so excited!

3 // Push Pardon Muah to the next level. Oh, Pardon Muah how you’ve grown! I cannot believe this little blog of mine has been paying my bills. I never ever thought it would actually come to fruition. Never. Ever. Probably the reason it’s taken me so long to get to where I am is that I never really believed it could happen. First and foremost, I’ve had to believe in myself, but that’s so much harder than it sounds. Starting a blog and getting it to a place where you finally make it an LLC and hire an accountant to handle your taxes is one crazy ride. When you’re begging your boyfriend to come with you to take six outfit photos while people stare unabashedly and you change in your car… oh, and btw… no one is paying you. You’re simply trying to get ahead… and do what you love, which is the key. You start filming Instastories talking to your “following” on Instastory and Snapchat, which is no one in the beginning or solely your very close friends. But we all have to start somewhere. Your feed goes through phases where it’s colorful and then it’s not. And then it’s dark and moody and then it’s light and airy. And then you may or may not have an old almost fallen down white garage door in all of your photos on Instagram and your blog because that’s as far as you can get your boyfriend to go (I say this kindly, he’s an angel) to take photos and that’s really all you can afford. Again, you have to start somewhere. If you never start, you’ll never know. 

I look at Pardon Muah now, almost four years old, and I’m so excited for the things ahead. It’s finally time for me to start taking myself seriously and to start showing companies and brands what I can do for them. Up until now, I’ve never pitched to a company for free product or sponsorship. I wanted to measure my organic successes based off of who found me. But I’m seeing the time to wait for this kind of outreach pass and the time to start hustling fast approach. As a marketing professional, I have the tools to do this, I just need to do it. Often I think about all the things I could do or would do or look at what others are doing and pine for similar successes. But I don’t capitalize on those ideas… and why not?! There is a fear behind all entrepreneurial endeavors… the fear of failure. The fear that everyone else will see your failure. The fear that you’ll never want to try again. But failure is learning and failure is an insight into how to succeed. I think in many ways failure is the key to success. How can you do something differently the next time? How can you turn that “No” into a “Yes!”? 

SO this year I have big plans for the blog, yet still realistic. I’ve been slowly writing down goals for myself. The number of companies I’d like to approach, specific companies I’d like to work with, ways to elevate my content, my website, and my social channels. New mood boards, new color palettes, and new fonts. Getting my ideas down onto paper so that I can see them, evaluate them, and achieve them. My goal? To make the blog my job by 2020… comfortably. Part of me thinks it’s important to set this goal but part of me worries it puts too much pressure on my mission. My mission of sharing fashion and encouragement, tips & tricks because I love it and not because I have to pay the bills. Granted, that’s a part of it… I just don’t want Pardon Muah to lose its sparkle

I also want to let anyone else out there who is also a blogger or who may be thinking about blogging that it’s okay for your blog to take time. I see girls who started blogging this year who are so much bigger than me and my first thought is, “HOW?!” and then quickly, “Why isn’t my success happening so quickly?” But then I have to tell myself what I always do… This is your race. This is your life and your circumstances, and you will get to the finish line when the time is right. No cutting corners, no buying followers, no accepting payment for products you don’t believe in… just lots of hard work and commitment.  

Thank you to all of you who read this post and who have been following Pardon Muah here and on social media. I truly appreciate each and every one of you and cannot wait to see what 2018 has in store!

Happy New Year!

XO Amanda