Four Year Blog Anniversary

On October 13th 2018, According To D turned FOUR. Oh my gosh that is nuts! It’s been pretty crazy to watch the blogging and social media world evolve over the last four years, and of course I still kick myself and wish I has starting blogging in 2011 when the dream originally was placed on my heart, but I am so grateful to have entered the world of blogging (better late than never). I was so hungry for a place that I could be creative, girly, talk about the things that I loved in the way that I wanted to talk about them. Create community with other women from all over, share stories, have conversations, and connect with my readers and followers. That was the initial motivation and that’s still the motivation.

Haters Gonna Hate…

It’s always been about having a creative space, creating community & connecting with my readers.

When I launched According To D in 2014 I absolutely got crap for it. My husband and I were in business together and I had a significant role in that business, so for our business partners a few of them were making comments like why is Danielle wasting time on that blog thing, what does she think she’s a blogger now?… It’s always been a wonder to me why people can’t just be supportive of other people’s dreams, but I think it’s a great thing. It builds thick skin. And blogging, like any other business, you need thick skin. Sometimes you’ve just got to ignore the haters and stay in your own lane, doing your own thing. You’ve gotta do you in life.

I have had a ton of amazing supporters too though. From day one my husband has been my number one supporter, he’s always been encouraging me, pushing me and telling me if I love it I should pursue it (I’m a lucky girl). My friend Brit bought me my first book about blogging that was just gold when I started four years ago, it had all the nerdy things I needed to learn. And of course I have the sweetest family ever, although they for sure had no idea what blogging was for the first few years, they’re pretty on board with it now and encouraging.

The Journey…

I would sit in my room for hours when I was first building my website, trying to learn the techy things and I remember I would get so frustrated. Sometimes it’d take me days to learn how to do one thing, like how to set up my RSS feed (I was like wth is that). Sometimes I laugh when I get asked, how do you start a blog? Because I just think back to the hours and hours that I spent on Google or with my nose in that blogging book just trying to figure it all out. Sometimes you just have to go figure it out and not look for the easy answer or the easy way into something. Blogging is more than just pretty pictures and a fancy Instagram feed, and you’ve got to be willing to learn the not so glamorous things too.

It’s easy to forget where you started when you’re on a long journey to where you want to go.

I have all sorts of huge/crazy dreams that I want to achieve through blogging, and honestly Nick is probably the only person I really discuss those dreams with. Some of those dreams have been coming true, but honestly it’s taken so much longer than I hoped, but most of those dreams are still a work in progress. I think that’s usually the case though, with anything worth working towards it doesn’t happen over night. I have a journal entry I want to share with you, it’s a bit embarrassing so don’t laugh, but it’s also super powerful. I reread this a few weeks ago and got choked up. It’s easy to forget where you started when you’re on a long journey to where you want to go. This journal entry was written in June of 2016. I won’t add the whole thing, but I was basically writing down everything that was going on with According To D at the time. I had just landed my first paid collaboration and I was so excited! It was only $50 but that was such a huge step to me at the time. I wrote this:

“I hope one day I read this journal and think awee I got so excited over $50, now they pay me 10x that just for a simple post and I am used to it. If I am reading this thinking that… let me say something to my future self. Stay grateful. Don’t take these opportunities for granted. Appreciate everything and enjoy it. This is what you’ve wanted. Try to be balanced and happy. Work your booty off - you only live once Danielle. Go for it.”

I like my past self haha, so motivational. On a serious note, when I read that I was shocked. I didn’t remember writing that over two years ago but I sure am glad I did. I just wrapped up my highest paid collaboration and they paid me 30x what my first collaboration did. Don’t worry I was thrilled and didn’t take it for granted for one second, but still it’s wonderful to have that reminder of how it felt when brands didn’t see enough value in what I was doing to pay me. I’m so incredibly grateful for my blog and where it is, but I’m even more excited about where it’ll go in the next four years. I still love blogging, and you’ll keep hearing from me.

New Niche + Discouragement…

Reflecting on that post makes me grateful that I didn’t quit. Here’s what really happened after that journal entry. Just two months later we spent a month in Europe, mainly touring Italy. I had the most beautiful photos and content to share from that trip of course. Then that September I got pregnant, and that’s where the discouragement came. I started blogging as a lifestyle blogger, but there was a huge emphases on travel and adventure. When I got pregnant and started sharing that on my blog I felt like my following came to a halt. It felt like the people who were reading and following before now had no interest in what I was saying. Which is fine, but I don’t blog for just my mom to read it (sorry mom). I was changing niches and they weren’t super thrilled about it, instead of a travel focus I decided I wanted to focus on motherhood, with sprinkles of travel and lifestyle. The thing about blogging is you have to stay true to what you want to say, otherwise the passion will die. I wanted to talk about the journey I was going on through becoming a mom, not my journey around the world. For the first time I cared about something more than travel and I wanted to talk about it.

For about a year + I felt like I was replacing followers on Instagram (and yes in the blogging world that does matter). 100 followers would fall off and 50 new ones would come on haha that left me feeling super stuck. I finally, as of recent, feel like my audience is here to listen again. I actually feel more connected with my followers and readers than ever before. I have so many amazing women who I get to connect with, typically laughing about motherhood stuff. I would have never experienced that if I had quit and just said “nobody wants to hear what I have to say” or “nobody likes my blog”. Niche transitions in the blogging world are hardddd, but as a blogger you’ve just got to stay true to you and what you genuinely think the world needs to hear.

Be busy with your dreams.

One of my passions right now is bringing moms together and creating a community of mothers who can life each other up. Every Monday we do #MommyTipMondays, a community I created where mommy bloggers share tips every Monday and other moms get to read them and chime in. I also love the idea of being insanely transparent about motherhood, creating a space where mom guilt becomes something we laugh about instead of something that makes us cry. When Giulian was first born I did a post called 15 Confessions From A New Mom, and I plan to do more Momfession style posts, I think they’re needed in the world of motherhood so stay tuned for more ridiculous stories about myself as a mother.

I’ve also found a passion about being a “mompreneur”. Mamas who are full time mothers and build a business have my heart, it’s a lot of work. I recently launched my online boutique Bella Magari, between that and blogging and being a full time mom and wife… it’s a lot. It’s crazy, but it’s also super exciting. The feeling of being busy on your dreams is a great feeling. I also find so much importance in having something outside of motherhood that brings you life and purpose. I think it’s sad that moms get shamed for that. Having passions outside of motherhood is okay! Well shoot, this is supposed to be a four year blog update huh? I guess I’ve gone down a deep deep rabbit hole.

Now that I’ve gone way off topic, let me reel it in. I’m so grateful to each and every one of you who reads and follows along (even you mom lol), without you none of my blogging dreams would come true. I can’t wait to see what the next four years in the blogging/influencer world looks like! I can’t wait to keep sharing my journey through motherhood, business, style, marriage, blogging and travel with you all! I promise to be transparent and truthful every step of the way. Again, thank you for following along!

Year Of Growth + 3 Ways I'm Stretching Myself In 2018

I am declaring it a year of growth for my life. If I'm being totally transparent, entering motherhood has made me feel like I've lost a bit of control over my life. I've done some reflecting and I've realized that something that I have full control over and that I'm going to grab the reigns of is my ability to grow as a woman. I've spent the last decade of my life prioritizing self growth, reading books, listening to audios and attending seminars. It makes me feel like I'm thriving in life. They say if you're not growing you're dying. I feel that to be true. When I'm not growing, challenging myself, and learning, I feel a sense of complacency that utterly annoys and frustrates me. One of my highest values in life is growth and the beautiful thing about that is I have full control over it! 

 
Change is inevitable but personal growth is a choice.
— Bob Proctor
 

1. Read More

It really can't be a year of growth without reading can it?! No, I think not. I just finished the book Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, I am currently reading For The Love by Jen Hatmaker and I have a stack of books that I will be reading next. All of my book choices are personal growth and development books. 

I am also reading the Bible this year, specifically the New Testament. This will be my very first time reading the Bible even though I have been a Christian for about six years now. How is it that my faith can feel so strong but my knowledge feel so little. I am excited to get into the word more aggressively. It's been going great, it is actually such a simple discipline, easy to do. It's just a matter of staying committed. The Bible app has wonderful programs for basically whatever you are searching for. I found one that breaks the New Testament down so that you finish it in one year and it also has devotionals each day to help you better understand what you are reading. 

Audio books and the Bible app have seriously been life changing for me as a mother. It isn't simple to read a book while taking care of Giulian, but listening to something is an entirely different story. It simplifies these daily disciplines for me and makes them much for enjoyable and for more doable as a mother. 

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2. Challenge Myself

I've decided to run a 10k. Okay, I get it... some of you are like yikes that's a challenge for her?! Yep, it sure is! 6 miles without stopping is a challenge for this girl. And I am super excited to take it on. I am running a race called the Boulder Boulder with two of my very best friends. I can't wait! It's exactly what I need in my life right now. A reason to get in shape, a reason to train for something, and something to challenge myself. The race is just a few weeks before Giulian's first birthday (cry face) and that means I will be in great shape by then. A runner friend suggested I start with running two miles without stopping, and then work my way up to six or more. So, that's what  I'm doing. This morning I ran two miles in the frigid 38 degree air and you know what? It felt pretty good. It was super hard and my lungs were less than thrilled, but the fact that I am challenging myself is what feels good. No, it feels fantastic. Plus, if I could give birth, I can absolutely do this.  

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3. Having My Motto Be "I Do What I Say I'm Going To Do"

This ties in perfectly with numbers one and two. If I start a book, I need to finish it. If I say I am going to read the Bible, I will read it. If I say I am going to workout this many days a week, I will. They say in life how you do anything is how you do everything, I believe this to be true. How you show up in one area of your life can represent how you show up in all areas of your life. I want to be the kind of woman, leader, wife and mother that is trustworthy. By trustworthy I mean in all areas. I believe my friends and family would trust me with their kids, money, secrets, etc. ( I am overall a good person with an intention of love and kindness), but when it comes to my friends and family trusting that I will do what I say I am going to do, well... I would say that is an area for growth. I don't have a reputation for being a quitter or a flake, but I do think that I have a habit of saying I'll do something and then three weeks later totally negating the fact that I said it in the first place. Being a mom and having Giulian has made me reflect a lot. How do I want Giulian to see me as a person. What do I want to teach Giulian with my actions and words? I want Giulian to grow to be the kind of man that does what he says he will do. I want him to be a man of his word and a person who follows through. It all starts with me. He will watch me say I am going to do something and he will watch if I actually do that thing or if I brush it under the rug. Big or small things in life, this matters. Starting a diet and declaring I will not eat bread for the next 30 days and then on day 15 I'm eating a sandwich... that plants a seed in my sons head. Heck, that plants a seed in my own head. Rachel Hollis talks about this in her new book Girl Wash Your Face and it was so in line with everything I've been thinking and feeling on the subject. Rachel Hollis said it perfectly in chapter two of her book when she wrote, "When you really want something, you will find a way. When you don't really want something, you'll find an excuse. How does your subconscious know the difference between what you want and what you only pretend to want? It looks at a history of how you've tackled similar things in the past. Have you kept your word? When you set out to do something, did you see it through? When we're at a loss, we reach for the lowest bar- and the lowest bar is typically our highest level of training." Seriously ladies, pick up her book, it is gold. She is so right, why would you trust yourself to finish the big stuff in life if you always quit on the small stuff. Your subconscious mind has no clue when to take you seriously. This year I am committing to doing what I say I am going to do, with the big and small things in my life. 

Having this be my motto is serving me in another way too, I am now more protective of my "yes". Before I jump into saying yes to everything I have to really really evaluate if it is something that I want. Because if it isn't something I truly want to commit to, I will end up half-assing it or quitting. Sometimes saying no to things is quite liberating. 

 

I am so excited to be reflecting in December of this year, 2018, and say wow I truly am a better, stronger version of myself because I chose for this to be a year of growth. I can't wait to have the proud feeling knowing that I finished what I started and stretched myself in 2018. It will then roll into 2019 and allow me to feel encouraged to set even bigger goals and greater commitments. This is a year of massive internal growth for me,  I can feel it and I am gonna chase that. 

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