2018 was a pretty good year. In the New Year I’m going to do some more business-y year in review posts (with all your favorite posts + products, etc) but today I wanted to write something a little more personal.
I started out the year just feeling just a little bit down. I don’t know if it was seasonal affective disorder, general loneliness or what, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite winter. Also, I felt that weird, awful combination of deep loneliness while wanting to be left alone. Like, “oh I’m so lonely, but don’t want to leave my apartment / nobody talk to me.” Okay, welllll Grace that’s just a recipe for unhappiness! The wellness challenge we did over here helped, but despite doing the best I could to take care of myself physically and mentally, I still just felt this nagging sensation of sadness and just feeling down and blah.
Things really started to turn around when Becca and I launched the podcast this past Spring. It got me out of my comfort zone and it was really energizing to throw myself into a new project and learn a new skill. It also helped with the loneliness. Becca has always been one of my closest friends but seeing her every week and working on a project together definitely deepened our friendship a lot.
The other thing that helped turn things around was yoga. I always wondered how you get that feeling of community at the gym/a workout studio and think the answer there is simple: go frequently, say hi to the teachers and the manager regularly, participate in their retreats/workshops/events and keep going back. I’m still amazed by the amazing community I’ve found at Sky Ting. I have slacked a little this month but when I do go, it’s the highlight of my day.
Eileen Fisher Coat (sold out but this is very similar and I love the green!) // Acne Sweater (also here)// Eileen Fisher Pants // Sézane Scarf // Manolo Blahnik Pumps // Chanel Purse // Celine Sunglasses (I get so many questions about them; these are the exact pair) // BaubleBar Earrings
I traveled like a maniac this year.
I’m a pretty big homebody so this was big for me. I really admire other bloggers who travel every week or even every month but that wouldn’t be for me. I love being home, I love my friends and being nearby my sister and her new baby(!!), I love my life and my routine here. And I get really exhausted (+ a little cranky TBH) when I do too much. But it was pretty awesome to see so much of the world. Cuba, Southeast Asia, and Morocco were highest on my list and I got to see them all. I will be forever grateful for the experience but I probably won’t do it again. I have a few big trips planned this year but they will be a bit more spaced out!
Work was a mix of ups and downs. I had a great year but with any job there are always frustrations. The biggest frustration as a blogger/influencer/etc is that no one thinks you actually work. It’s just a part of the job I guess but my ambition and work ethic are two of the things I’m proudest of and it’s hard explaining how much work goes into it all. The best part of my job is the flexible schedule and ability to work from anywhere.
The worst part is being perceived as lazy. And I totally get that when you are on a trip it might look all glamorous and fabulous to the outside world (and it should, that’s part of the job) but you don’t talk about waking up early and staying up late to get it all done… or pulling an all-nighter the night before a trip so that you could get all of your blog posts scheduled!
Instagram can also be annoying.
At the end of the day, I am just not that great at Instagram. I really do try but can’t seem to figure it out and also hate being on my phone all the time! That’s one of the reasons I put the most work into my site. The best part for me is writing more personal posts like this and feeling like I am forming a connection with you guys. Your comments make my day and I read them all and take them to heart. I really think a lot about what value I’m adding and what you guys will take away from visiting my site. I never want you to come here and feel bad about yourself. Also, I wrote about feeling stuck and this one reader comment really stuck with me.
I didn’t want to edit her comment but this is exactly what she wrote.
Hi Grace, just wanted to say that I read every bit of this blog post and thank you for sharing with us. I used to be one of your early readers (about the time you switched jobs to bauble bar) and then had to unfollow at one point because of the comparison trap and all the lovely Chanel handbags and material things that just didn’t make me feel good about my life in comparison to yours. Let me tell you, I’ve just recently been back on your blog to check out where you headed and your voice has changed! (imho to the better) I especially love the lifestyle posts and when you share personal stuff.
Being single is tough, being stuck in your job is tough, being stuck in a relationship is tough, being stuck in a city is tough etc.pp. The world would be a better place if we shared more about our daily struggles especially in this digital day and age, because we would feel less alone with our feelings. Exactly what you did for me with your post!
Thanks again. I am back to reading your blog regularly!
THIS. That is what I want. This comment came back in October but I still think about it and it helps me to shape what I do here. Of course yes I have some nice handbags and shop quite a bit. I always will. (Sorry?) But I am a regular person. I’m shy. I struggle. I get depressed. Also, I get stressed out and can be a brat at times. My life isn’t perfect. I share a lot (not everything but a lot), and my life is far from perfect. That comment says it best – I share my struggles and write more personal posts to make this community a little better and so that if someone reads something I write and it resonates with them they maybe won’t feel so alone.
I think there are “aspirational” bloggers and there are “real life” bloggers, and I am definitely in the second category.
And that’s where I’d rather be be. I don’t write so that people come to my blog and want my life or feel jealous/less-than… I write to connect with you guys, to hopefully add some sort of value, and to leave you guys feeling better than you did when you got here. Of course there will always be sponsored posts and shopping round-ups (I like to shop, it’s why I started blogging!) but that’s the biggest thing.
Being a little bit of sunshine with your morning cup of coffee or adding a dose of realness. The private Facebook group has become a favorite place for that reason. I don’t like being on my phone so hanging out on Instagram all day can be hard. I love the Facebook group because I can sit down at my computer and chat with you guys. Same goes for the conversations we have in the comments here.
Changing subjects – dating.
I have talked about my struggles with what to share here before. Basically, if something is about me and only me, I’m an open book. If it has to do with other people, things get trickier. I’ve had a few really weird things happen over the years. I put my life on the Internet and have personally found that literally NO GOOD comes from talking about the people I date in a place that is easily google-able.
My big ex (we dated for four years ago, lived together, and broke up 5 years ago) was allllll over the blog. My blog was just a hobby back then and he was on it from day one because I started it when we were together. He took most of my photos in the beginning and was in a lot of my photos because we had a whole life together. And then that relationship ended and we both started dating other people and it got weird from a social media/stalking POV.
I didn’t like that so I scrubbed the blog and removed all photos and mentions of him. And it was painful to see the things that were bringing people to the site. “grace atwood boyfriend” and “grace atwood breakup” were top drivers for a while. Going through such a big heartbreak was hard enough without the reminder from Google analytics.
Gradually, I got over that and started to slowly talk more about dating here and THEN three or so years ago I had a kind of crazy experience. I had just started a very short lived dating newsletter (which I killed after this experience). I met a guy I really liked. We had only been out a few times but I was excited about him. He was hyper conscious of his online presence and staying off the Internet because of his job – something I can respect. We’d only been on 3 or 4 dates and I mentioned him in my little newsletter (which only 400 people received, I should add).
All I did was refer to him by his profession and say that he had called me on the phone. The newsletter was all about the lost art of the phone call and how it was nice talking to him on the phone. Innocent (boring, even?) stuff.
He found out about the newsletter and got very upset. He didn’t understand that my instagram follower count didn’t translate to how many people read the newsletter. Then he went deeeeep into the blog archives. He got so far back to where I’d told a story about a really religious guy I dated when I was 23 (14 years ago) that blamed God for our breakup, saying God was putting bad thoughts in my head. (Yes this actually happened – when I was young it was incredibly hurtful, now it’s a hilarious story.) I don’t even know how he found that post. I had forgotten about it and wound up deleting it. Then he started fixating on the newsletter. He made me send it to him and then through Mailchimp analytics I could see that he opened it several hundred times. Oof.
His freak out was brought on by a) the fact that he was pretty religious (something I would have been cool with and curious about) and b) the prospect of me talking about him. He had quite a bit to drink and got nasty and I left the bar we were at in tears. I felt judged for something I hadn’t even fathomed doing and it totally sucked. It made me really question everything that I share here as something SO innocent can really come back to haunt you later on.
My new boyfriend doesn’t care if I put him on social media or my blog. He understands how social media works as it’s a part of his job as well. It’s refreshing and nice to meet someone so supportive. I’ve been showing him a little on my IG stories and will talk about him on the pod a little bit (we are baaaack next Weds 1/2!) and but that’s it. Maybe that will change but that’s where I am right now. I’m still a little traumatized. I also feel a bit protective of him. There are snark sites and things (again, part of the job) and I wouldn’t want him to be picked apart as a side effect of being involved with me.
ALL OF THAT BEING SAID…
I’m really happy and meeting him has made the annoyance of dating apps worth it. I’ve been on and off them all for the past five years and was frustrated as hell. I didn’t really date this summer because I was gone so much. I needed a break and I worked on me. Also, I went to yoga a lot, I traveled a bunch, and I cut out any bad behavior on my part (no need to get into specifics but we all do those things we know we shouldn’t… like stalk our exes or date people who are bad for us). After my birthday (end of September) I felt ready to go back on and actually work at meeting someone so I downloaded Hinge and a couple weeks later I met him.
This is oversimplifying it of course. Don’t give up on the apps BUT also if you are getting down on them, give yourself a break. I really do believe that if you feel negative about something, you will (even unwittingly) give off bad energy. I also don’t think you should do anything you don’t want to do. Do what you want, do what makes you happy, and don’t ever settle!
Kk that’s all for now. That’s 2018 in a nutshell. And a little dating pep talk I hope! Happy Friday! xoxo
photography by Carter Fish.