Birthday Thoughts

Today, I am 31. Thirty. One. I certainly don’t feel 31 at all. I run around the city wearing neon pink and leather shorts and five inch heels…. Carly Rae on my iphone, never too far from a pack of gum or tube of (pink) lip gloss. I make a living playing on the Internet. Oh, and I blog, and am old for blogger standards (yet still have so much to learn.) People meet me and think I’m 24. While it’s flattering that I can pass for that age, I realize that I must come off as pretty darn immature.

Whatever. (Picture me holding up my hands in a W, Cher Horowitz style.) When I was younger I thought I’d have everything figured out by 31. Married with kids. In some high powered career with a corner office wearing Theory business suits and Loubs… or running my own business. It’s funny how time slips by and before you know it you are at that age where you’re supposed to have everything “together.” But then you get to that age and realize you actually don’t have life figured out or know nearly as much as you once thought you knew.

The thing that I’m realizing more and more is that I’m okay with not having everything figured out… nor do I particularly care to conform to society’s definition of success. Get ready for a brutally honest post.

I’m most certainly not saying that I want to be mediocre… I’m not saying that I don’t have ambition. I might actually be too ambitious for my own good at times. What I am saying is that here in New York, it often feels like quality of life and real, genuine happiness is pretty underrated. At the risk of stereotyping an entire city, it often feels like New York is one big treadmill. Get up early. Work late. Head to the gym and hit the treadmill hard. After that, network! Drink! Hit up the hottest new restaurant! Sleep a little, and do it all again. This lifestyle is exhausting and I know firsthand because I’ve been there.

Here’s a little confession for you. My favorite thing in the world is to come home from work and hang out with my boyfriend on the couch and watch Jeopardy. I would also like to confess that I hate networking. I rarely go to work related functions or blogger events because I have a hard enough time calling home and seeing my friends. There are certain bloggers that I see out at everything and I honestly don’t know how they do it. I genuinely respect it, but it’s not me. I’m happiest at home, snuggling on the couch with the boyfriend, working on the blog, crafting on the floor, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends. Of course I like to go out, explore the city, try its many restaurants… but that whole treadmill thing is not for me.

Blogging has an entirely different set of pressures. Within the blog world, there is this incredible entrepreneurial spirit which I love… but since we’re being honest, I think it encourages some bad decisions. If you’re not doing it full time, does that make you a lesser blogger? If you don’t leverage your blog as a platform to start your own business, are you doing something wrong? You haven’t quit your day job yet? You don’t have an agent? I think that traditional work experience is pretty underrated here in the blog world. I see bloggers launching businesses left and right with no real work experience. While I applaud them for being so courageous, I just don’t think it’s the best idea. The blog world romanticizes being a full-time blogger or working for yourself. I think that both things are great, amazing things… if you are truly ready for it, have the traffic to back it up, and the experience to know exactly what you need to do.

Blogging also encourages a lot of bad purchasing decisions. I see 22 year olds buying $700 shoes and can’t figure out how (or why?) they are buying them. I hope they aren’t using credit cards. I can tell you from personal experience that it is not worth it. All that crap you bought is going to be out of style in a couple years but you’ll still be paying for it. I’m not here to judge anyone’s shopping habits. If you can afford it, go for it. I shop a lot and heartily encourage it if you can… but I also have a full time job and a blog that I monetize. I am also 31, live with my boyfriend, and since we’re being honest, don’t pay very much (by New York standards) in rent right now.

All of that said, I have a very strong work ethic and have had a tremendously difficult time this year balancing a relationship, friendships, family, my job, and this blog. I maintain a positive attitude and try my best to make things look easy but the hard truth is that it has been anything but. These are first world problems though, so I try not to complain. I have a pretty great life. The thing is, as I get older I realize more and more that all that stuff I once thought was so important actually is not. I’ve realized that my own personal happiness is what needs to come first. And not the kind of happiness that comes from accumulating more stuff.

This year is going to be the year I take better care of myself. I’ve been really focused on my health and eating better. I’m making a point each day to slow down and appreciate the small things.

I’m excited about so much this year. We have some ah-mazing things up our sleeves at BaubleBar. Stripes & Sequins is getting a massive makeover in the next few months. Stefan and I are going to Europe for nine days next month. I’m finally feeling healthier and sleeping better thanks to my nutritionist. I’ve lost weight and I actually enjoy getting dressed again. And I can not wait to go home for the holidays.

I’m so thankful for this blog, for the community it has introduced me to, and for all of my amazing readers. You (and your comments) make my day. I don’t say that often enough. I’m thankful for my parents and family. For my boyfriend. For having such an awesome group of friends. I’m thankful for the roof over my head, for a closet full of clothes, for my job, and for my coworkers. It’s really nice going to work every day and loving the people you work with. I didn’t do a birthday wish list this year because there isn’t really anything I wanted terribly or had to have. We’ll leave out the fact that I’ve been shopping up a storm so there wasn’t really anything left for anyone to buy me. I’m thankful for quiet time, for red wine, and my big comfy couch. And just for fun… I’m thankful for Instagram, for Phillip Lim, Jenna Lyons, iced coffee, and neon pink. I think I’ve covered the bases now.

My life is not perfect, but it definitely is good. If you made it to the end of this post, I’m impressed. I’m not usually one for essays, but it’s my birthday and I’ll do what I want. Don’t expect another one of these for a while.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment


  1. Such a well thought out and articulated post, Grace.  I so enjoy your honesty and completely agree with you on all counts about the blogging industry and the pressures associated with it.  I also would rather be on the couch with my husband & kids!! 🙂  Hope this coming year is a fantastic one – it’s been so fun to watch your site grow and yet see you still remain so grounded & sweet!  Happy Birthday! 🙂

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  2. Ashley Allen:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You deserve all the best. Thanks for such an honest post. xo

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  3. Happy Birthday!! 

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  4. Of course I made it to the end, birthday girl! You write it, I’ll read it. 🙂  You realized exactly what I’ve realized about this whole blogging world, and why at 32 closer to 33 feel a bit ancient by blogging standards, shock– have a child, and have not done everything I’ve wanted with the blog because my down time is so limited and time with my daughter is even less so. I couldn’t imagine putting TAGG above her. Yet, it’s challenging with the feelings of continually wanting to improve this, to do more work for my clients. I realized recently that I too need to take care of myself. I have pneumonia that won’t go away and I’m EXHAUSTED, despite eating much better in the past month. Ah, Anyway, must cut this because I’m sure your birthday wish is to not read other’s essays. 🙂 Happy birthday to one of the girls I’m happier to have met these past few years! xo

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  5. Never commented before, but I’ve ready your blog for a while. I really like the points you’ve raised here. If you’re old for blogging standards, I’m positively geriatric (35) and have slowed down my blogging to a geriatric pace as I realized that the time I was spending on it was taking away from time from other things. As a fellow New Yorker, I totally feel you on the treadmill thing. I jumped off a long time ago (literally and figuratively, I speak). It sounds like your 30s are treating you very well thus far and you are off to a great start for a very happy birthday and year. Cheers!

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  6. Katrinevacher:

    Happy birthday Grace – I think it’s amazing and inspiring what you have accomplished since the good old P&G days.

    Have a great day and a fantastic year ahead! xo

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  7. Happy Birthday Grace.  I’m 36 and don’t feel my age at all; you’re as young as you feel.  I can so relate to some of your thoughts on just about everything!  Here’s to a more balanced you from here on out.

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  8. Lisa Watkins:

    Happy birthday! May this year be your best yet!

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  9. Happy Birthday! I’m not a big commenter, mostly a lurker, but I read your blog daily. I also just turned 31 this year, and I feel exactly like you do. I thought the same thing – I’d be on top of the corporate ladder (or at least on my way to climbing to the top), have kids, the big house with the yard. I’d be settled. Nope, I’m not even close to that, and it’s ok. I’m outside DC so life is crazy with horrible traffic and fiercely competitive people that will do anything to get ahead in the rat race. I learned early that I really want no part of that, even though I feel that’s what I *should* be doing, and people around me try to tell me that’s what I *should* be doing. I’m a type A, motivated individual, but I value my time, and I want to spend my time doing the things I love and being with the people I love. And if that means I don’t get that promotion, then that is just fine because life is about so much more. I might not be in the career of my dreams, but I’ve realized it has allowed me the ability to fill my after work hours with hobbies that I love, and maybe some day one of those hobbies could turn into a career. I agree with your statement about success. Growing up, we think it’s one thing and one thing only. And as we get older, we realize there is no one definition of success. It’s about what matters most to you and what makes your heart soar.

    Have a beautiful, wonderful birthday! You deserve it!!

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  10. First off HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Secondly I love this post, because being in college, blogging trying to figure out what to do when I leave here is extra stressful when I am living part time in this blog world, because it is FULL of amazing people who either have my dream job or are starting their own businesses. Its incredibly stressful and makes me often think, oh wow this is never going to be me…ill just never ever mention what I do after college on my blog because it will never be as cool as these people, so I thank you for your honestly and bringing me back to the real world. 

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  11. Happy Birthday, Grace! I think you’ve got the right attitude about blogging. It’s not about buying those $700 shoes to show off or constantly berating people at networking events. It’s about enjoying what you do and sharing it. You’re not running that rat race of wanting to climb the corporate ladder as supreme tyrant. You have the guts to say, “Hey, I want something new and different!” I think that’s brave.  And seeing how far you’ve come, I think 31 is going to be a great year full of wonderful things for you. 
    Thank you for being awesome.

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  12. Meagan Murtagh:

    wow, this was my first time over here and i have to say that i’m in love.  what a great intro to your blog!
    you are gonna rock 31 girl…..get after it!

    xo, your newest follower  the egg out west.

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  13. Julie & Lauren:

    Love this Grace. Happy, happy Birthday!!! And couldn’t agree more- I’m happiest coming home from work and hanging on the couch with my fiancée. Blogger events are fun but a bit stressful and sometimes forced. Enjoy your day!!

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  14. This post was amazing and honestly changed my perception a bit. Thanks for being honest and always being a dear. You are one of the classiest girls I’ve had the pleasure to “meet” and I’m so glad that you were one of the first people I got to know in the big blogosphere and world of social networking. No one could ask for a better example! 🙂 This was a great way to ring in your new year, and there’s nothing wrong with a little neon pink mixed with wisdom. Having a wise heart will always be more becoming than looking mature on the outside 😉 I’m glad you have no intention to be anyone but who you are…it’s helped me improve my own life. That means you’re doing good! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, happy happy happy birthday – you deserve it and all the good things that come your way.

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  15. Happy Birthday!! I totally appreciate your honesty, and I can definitely relate. New York City is a wonderful place to live, but there is a lot of pressure to keep up with the crazy pace all the time. I’m not a fan of networking either, and I’m also perfectly content to go home and snuggle with my hubs on the couch, even read a book. I have two blogs which I love, but I also work a 9 to 5. I don’t have it all figured out either, and (most of the time) I’m okay with it. So, I want you to know that you’re not alone, and I’m glad you have a lot to be thankful for! Eat some cupcakes today 🙂


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  16. Elizabeth Schneider:

    Happy birthday, Grace! What a PERFECT birthday post. I am so not about the treadmill, I do what I do for me and I am definitely happiest finishing my days on the couch. It’s crazy how many of us are “entrepreneurs,” {I still don’t feel like I am} and I can see why these decision are premature – that’s why I take it one day at a time and try to separate myself from the treadmill of other blogs. Sometimes, you have to think of yourself as one! HBDDDDD!!!

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  17. Brooke Andersen:

    Grace you just summed up everything I have not been brave enough to write myself. I admire your ability to write something so honest and true to yourself! HAPPY BIRTHDAY and keep doing what makes you happy 🙂 xoxo -B

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  18. happiest birthday m’dear!! i have to say i had no idea we were practically the same age – i’ll be 32 in a month, and will tell you right now that 31 was the year i finally slowed down to enjoy the benefits of everything i’ve earned after working my ass off for the past 5 years to grow my blog and my business. if i lived in NYC, i know it would only have been harder to do that! that lifestyle IS exhausting!! here’s to 31 being that year for you – keep growing and building, but take more time for YOU! we’ve still got lots of time to figure the rest out 😉 big birthday hugs! xo

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  19. I’m going out right now to buy everything on my credit card and oh yea, I’m giving my notice to work on with a CH full time. Sorry about that… Kidding! Happy Birthday! 🙂 

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  20. N.:

    I’ll never understand why it’s looked down upon (or considered lazy) to value “quality of life and real, genuine happiness”.  We’re totally worth it!  Thanks for the great post and don’t ever be ashamed to slow things down and take care of yourself.

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  21. Happy Birthday!

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  22. Viviana Carmona:

    Happy birthday, lady! This post sums up a decent amount of my opinions on blogging/life/NYC and I’m so proud of you for laying it all out there like that. I hope this year brings you all you dream of and more. xx

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  23. Julia Rosinus:

    Such an honest post Grace. I think you hit everything pretty much head on. It’s inspiring to hear from successful bloggers on their opininos of the blog world — people really do underrate the value of REAL world experience. I think blogs need to compliment a person’s resume, not be the entire resume. Happy Birthday!! xo

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  24. Happy B-day! I love how you focused here on what you have and appreciate and not what you dont. I think at birthdays for me it is easy as I get older to feel down and compare myself to others careers or family life etc. When in actuality there is so much to be happy about! hope you have a wine filled couch dwelling relaxing night with your bf to celebrate 🙂

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  25. I truly hope you have the amazing bday you deserve my friend! Balancing it all is no easy feet, but you’ve got your priorities straight! I see your 30s being an amazing decade for you! 🙂

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  26. Robin:

    Good for you Grace! I read your blog daily but don’t really comment.  Tell you what….from the perspective of a 52 year old woman with a career, kids (grown) and marrige, you will always be trying to figure out life!  Things change in a NY minute, and there you go, figuring it all out again. Get used to it and just surround yourself with what makes you happy!  All the things that you are “supposed” to have will fall into place!  Happy birthday!

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  27. Emmainprogress:

    Hayy Birthday!

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  28. Happy birthday, Grace! Thank you for such an honest post- I know I struggle from time to time wondering how some people manage juggling everything, so it’s always refreshing to hear that I’m not the only one feeling that way sometimes! I hope you have a great day today, and really, thank you for sharing this with us today. 

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  29. Denise Atwood:

    Wow, do I have an amazing daughter!  Happy 31st Birthday, I love you and can’t wait for my short birthday visit on Sunday!  xox

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  30. I am so glad you posted this! So many great point and lots of things that my 22 year old self needed to hear. As I prepare for a move to the city, you opened my eyes to a few valuable lessons – thanks, Grace.. and Happy Birthday! xo

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  31. Danielle @ louwhatwear:

    Happy Birthday! After reading that post, it reaffirmed why you are my favorite blogger. I feel EXACTLY the same way but on a smaller city scale. I think the same pressures exist everywhere they are probably just way more pronounced in NYC.
    Congrats on all you’ve achieved and i’ll be following along on all your future achievements. I don’t usually write long, heartfelt comments because I don’t normally connect with bloggers on a {virtual} personal level but I definitely felt compelled to after your post.

    I love stripes + sequins, your point of view and i think it’s worth sharing that of all the DIY I’ve pinned, saved and planned to do, one of your necklaces is one of the only projects I’ve actually set aside time to work on.

    Here’s to the happiest birthday!

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  32. what a wonderful and honest post, grace! you address so much of what i struggled with when i moved to new york and my having taken a step back for the first 6 months of this year to focus on health & wellness was certainly the right thing to do but it has been hard to lose focus on wit & whimsy and some readership as a result. all that being said though, you totally have the right outlook. i am so glad to count you among my friends and wish you the happiest of birthdays this year – to health, happiness & success. xo

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  33. I honestly think this was the most inspiring post I have read in along time! Happy Birthday Grace!

    xoxo stylelista

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  34. Happy Birthday 🙂  I absolutely love the honesty in this post…and totally agree with so much you said.  Although I am totally clueless about the NY lifestyle considering I live in a small town in Northern BC (far far far away from the busy city life), but I’ve often fantasized about it…but I think it would get old after awhile and I’d miss the slow pace!
    I admire you for preferring to stay home and do the things that you truly enjoy…go you!!

    Natasha ~

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  35. Happiest of birthdays to you darling! In today’s blogging world, I appreciate the honesty in your post, and couldn’t agree more with what you have to say! 

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  36. Julia:

    Happy Birthday!  Sometimes it takes a milestone for a little life introspection and it always feels good when at the end of it all, you can look back over what you’ve done and feel satisfied for it. Living life at your own rhythm is the only way to be happy. 

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  37. Happy Birthday! I just turned 30, I dreaded it the whole year before it happened and now that it’s done I’m okay with it. Congrats on being features on the MJ Trim blog today!

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  38. First of all, Happy Birthday Grace! I absolutely loved reading your thoughts and reflections on turning 31.  These are my favorite type of posts from bloggers- real talk. I hear you completely about NYC being one big treadmill. I’m like you in that quiet evening at home reading, watching tv, crafting is the perfect evening for me.  It really is hard to keep up with it all and I like that your goal this year is to take a step back and take care of yourself.  Cheers to that!

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  39. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you!!!
    It’s such a great time in your life I’m sure. 
    Like you, I also thought that I’d have much more of my life “figured out.” I thought I’d be “soo classy and “soo smart”…you know how we all think like that when we’re teenagers and the idea of being “older” seems outrageous and “so far away!” It’s amazing to me how quickly time passes once we hit our 20s. 
    I really love your take on the blogging “business” and how so much of what bloggers do are relative. Because everything is so accessible online, we often compare ourselves to those who are “big” and it suggests that we “have to” follow a similar path or we won’t be considered successful.  
    I also relate to you SO incredibly much when it comes to the networking vs. wanting to stay in with the hubs (in my case). I’m (ironically) a shy person by nature and I know it requires a lot more of me than what I feel ready for. Part of me feels like I need to get over that though…I’m “old enough” to know better. =)
    Regardless, HAPPY BIRTHDAY and I hope you enjoy your 31st year to the fullest!!!

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  40. Happy Birthday Grace! Absolutely adored reading this, and I appreciate your honesty so much. It’s so inspiring and in a big way, made me feel better about everything I’m doing too. Thank you for sharing, and enjoy your special day!! xox

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  41. Annie G.:

    My favorite post of yours so far since I have been checking your blog every day for the last few months! It really showed me a different side of you and I love it! Makes you very relatable 🙂

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  42. Laura Bergin:

    Love this post Grace! Happy Birthday 🙂 

    Laura xo

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  43. Lindsay Moore:

    First off, happy birthday! Secondly, I feel your pain about NY. It’s never quite enough. There’s always the “keeping up with the Jones” mentality that I can’t stand. And lastly, don’t feel bad about figuring it out. I don’t think any of us have it figured out at any age. Just have fun! 🙂 Have a wonderful celebration!

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  44. I made it to the end, because I found so many things you said in this post that I could relate to. 

    Blogging can be such a vicious treadmill, if you let it. It’s hard to not get caught up in the romanticized view of making more, doing more, being bigger, going to every conference. But at the end of the day, I’ve tried to remind myself that those companies are selling this view so that they can make more money for themselves, not for me. Any monetization through my blog is a nice bonus, but what it boils down to is that you are still “working” for someone else. Of course they want you to be bigger, do more! 

    I’ve tried to maintain the balance of making a bit, while really enjoying it still, and remembering why I started blogging in the first place. And this is in addition to a 9-5 day job, that while not completely related to what I do, like you mentioned, I feel it gives me invaluable business experience that I know I could not get on my own.

    I really enjoyed your frank honesty here, it’s refreshing. I’ve always loved reading your blog, not just because the content is good, but because it’s YOU. Happy, happy birthday Grace! Cheers to many more!

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  45. Sarah Pickell:

    Happy Birthday!! This was a truly inspirational post! I’m only 23, and I just started a new internship [hence why I have not been able to make some of your amazing crafts yet 🙁 ], and your wise words about life really resonated with me. Thank you for being real and writing this post! Enjoy your birthday!!

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  46. Happiest of birthdays, Grace!  I loved this post, and found myself relating to it entirely.  And I can’t wait to spend some time with you and Stefan in Europe!


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  47. Happy birthday Grace! Loved this honest post and I can relate to so much of it. Here’s to a wonderful year ahead and focusing on the things that matter x

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  48. Jeandiament:

    Very Refreshing! I can relate 100%. Thank you!
    Happy Birthday!

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  49. Glam Media:

    Happy Birthday Grace!! Have a great one! xo Glam

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  50. Happy Birthday Grace! 
    I love your honesty in this post. I have found that I can connect so much more with bloggers that can talk a little bit about their life and what it is like in a typical day. It is not as easy as people make it seem. I am also working full time and trying to blog and plan a wedding. I could never find the time to attend all of the social events in the city and would much rather spend time with my S.O. or really close friends that I never get to see as it is. I hope that year 31 is amazing for you! 


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  51. Happy Birthday! And really enjoyed this honest post. I’m nearing my 28th birthday and have been having some of these similar thoughts. I thought for sure at 17 that by now I’d be married, have 2 kids and be in entertainment law. Well, none of these things are true and while I’m heading for 1 of the 3 in the near future there are times where I think did I veer off a path because I wasn’t driven enough? But I realize I didn’t, I just made choices and do I regret them, not at all and that’s what matters. 

    I agree with the blog pressure, when I first started I was like yay this is so awesome I market online  for physicians all day long and now at night I can talk about fashion, food and shoes, but then about 6 month into it started to see what others were doing and was like wait, is what I’m doing enough? And instead of being me I’d try to be like them and about a month ago I realized wait a minute this outfit isn’t you and decided to halt and go back to my roots. I started the blog to have fun and continue to grow and educate myself in the online space for my professional career by tapping into my creative side, so I’m trying my best to focus on that rather than how many people are reading my blog and does my outfit look like the 100 others I read about last week. 

    And I also wonder how some of these 22 year olds are buying $800 shoes, I mean I’ll be saving for months and selling off some things to buy those beautiful YSLs we’ve talked about so I have no idea how one could make that purchase at 22. Wow, this is a really long comment, but I found it comforting to read and have some of the same thoughts. 

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  52. What a great & refreshing post – happy birthday lady. Enjoy! 

    – Sara @ Gameday Stylist 

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  53. Love you. And this post. And I’m glad we share the same brain.  Hear, hear to 31 and growing up – it’s really not so bad! 

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  54. Great post and a very happy birthday! 

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  55. Meg Biram:

    Love love it. Great post Grace. 🙂
    Happy Birthday. Wish I could be there to share a bottle of wine with you!
    My husband and I watch Jeopardy together too. He usually wins.

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  56. AMAZING post. I can relate to so much of what you wrote. I initially read this post while working last night [6:30P-6:30A. I’m a 911 dispatcher] and got a little misty eyed; mainly because all of this hit SO close to home. This was my first visit to Stripes & Sequins and I will definitely be back. Thanks so much for being so candid. 

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  57. Chelsea D.:

    So beautifully written! Thanks for sharing this and I hope your birthday was wonderful!

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  58. Laurel:

    loved what you wrote…your honesty hit on many things i’ve had simmering in my mind! Love that you wrote it as you felt it! Thank you!

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  59. Dianna, The Budget Babe:

    well said. you rock, grace!! xoxo

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  60. What a lovely honest post.  I think you’re not alone in your thinking.   Lots of people haven’t got it figured out yet… that’s just part of the fun. Don’t let em fool ya!   

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  61. such a great post, lady! you are truly an inspiration. here’s wishing you your best year yet! ox

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  62. Hi Grace, Happy Birthday! I really enjoyed reading this and getting to “know” you a bit better 🙂 I too just want to go home after work and just relax, and also am coming to realize that it’s OK that I’m not where I thought I would be at this point in life. And that success isn’t measured by how expensive your bag is (even though living in New York might have us convinced otherwise!) Keep at it girl, you’ve inspired more people than you probably realize 🙂

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  63. so spot-on, it’s not even funny. beyond grateful the blog world introduced us. you are one incredible woman, grace! xoxo {av}

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  64. Girl, I never knew we had so much in common.  I share so many of your opinions on blogging, networking and age!  I too am 31 and have had a whole perspective change in the past year in terms of comparing myself to others, or even my own expectations of who I should be.  And yea, as a blogger who is first and foremost and designer and owner of a construction company I both envy and don’t quite understand those who only blog.  

    9.30.12 Reply
  65. tanya_caines:

    I have left this post at the top of my blog lovin list all weekend. I kept marking it as unread until I figured out what to say. First off Happy Birthday haha bit late though. Its nice to see that someone I idolise is a normal human being haha just to read that you like coming home to sit in from of the TV with your boyfriend. I’ve always thought that high profile bloggers are all about networking and the rest but to hear someone be openly honest about hating it is so funny. I think a lot of people let things get away from them and dream about the ‘perfect life’ well this was me anyway. Its nice to just sit back and think about what you have and be grateful. Best post I’ve read in ages. Definitely made me think.
    xx Tanya

    10.1.12 Reply
  66. Grace- I love this post. I never tire of blogger’s really opening up, and you’ve done it so eloquently. I share a lot of your feelings ( NYC is a treadmill! Give me the couch, reality TV, and my bf any night!) and it’s so nice to see them in writing. And even though I technically left my day job, in reality the work I do is a lot less glamorous than people perceive, but it makes me happy, challenges me, and supports me. But I still have those moments where I feel like my hard work and success isn’t good enough though, because my business isn’t backed by a really really big blog. But how silly is that? Even typing it out makes it feel more crazy. Still.. the feeling comes from time to time. Anyway, I’m rambling! I’m so thankful I met you, discovered your blog, and have some upcoming collabs with you! And- happy birthday! xx

    10.1.12 Reply
  67. Hbaetz:

    I love love love this post. I am so with you about the pressures that blogging brings. I will never be the type to network or hit up events. I prefer my down time to be down. City life is exhausting enough. I just turned 34 and am so not where I thought I was going to be at this age. But I’m also learning to be ok with it, grateful even. Thanks for the perspective. And happy bday! 

    10.1.12 Reply
  68. kiley:

    Sweet Grace – this is my favorite post ever. You know there are countless others who feel the same but don’t lay it out there. Honesty is a missing trait in so many fabulous blogs – and conversations! Thanks for laying it out there – I hope it inspires others (me included!) to do the same. cheers to you and 31 being your year!
    Happy Birthday again girlfriend! If it weren’t for our crazy blogging lives I would never have met you, and I’m so thankful we did!


    10.1.12 Reply
  69. SarahRoads:

    Happy belated Birthday. Grace, i’m so glad you wrote this.  It’s so nice for someone to just be real.  I love that you hate all the networking that goes on, that’s actually refreshing to hear. I am right there with ya. Hope you have a wonderful year! xo

    10.2.12 Reply
  70. Embecker:

    Thank you! I turned 30 this year, and while my life is no where near where I thought it would be when I was 20, I am SO thankful for the life I have. I live with my wonderful boyfriend, just landed my dream job. Everything in due time. I’m right there with you! 

    10.2.12 Reply
  71. This is such a great post! Thanks for sharing and I totally know what you mean about the lifestyle as well as the expectations of what you would be doing at your age. That is something I spent a lot of time thinking about this year when I turned 25! 🙂  I hope your post helps some people figure out what they really love and enjoy in life or at least feel happy with what they have no matter what age they are! 

    10.4.12 Reply
  72. Margaret:

    Grace- I must say that while I completely respect you for eloquently expressing your feelings about the blogging world, I find points in this post disheartening. I am a 23 year old (almost 24-yippee!) currently working a full time job that is a dead end because I was not fortunate enough to have the money to get through college and come out the other end with the degree I wanted. I have pushed myself to make the most of my current position so I have networked with some pretty impressive people and garnered a good amount of respect from them. To be frank, I work my butt off! While I do not have a large following by any means, blogging has given me a space to truly express myself and ‘get away’. I am constantly inspired by successful women who have taken a leap of faith and created a career path for themselves. I find it sad that you would, in so many words, discourage women to follow their dreams just because they don’t have a resume to back it up.
    I don’t have a decade of business experience like you very well may have but I do have the drive to make my goals a reality. I believe that if you truly want something you will make it happen, no matter what it takes. I have every intention of working for myself in the next two years and I don’t think I should be judged because of that.
    I believe that you wrote this article with the best intentions, which is why I completely respect you for it. I just wanted to make sure that others that may agree with my opinion are expressed in the comments left on this post as well.

    10.12.12 Reply
    • Grace Atwood:

      Hi Margaret,

      I am so sorry that you found points of this post to be disheartening.  That was not my intention at all… nor was it to appear judgmental.  I simply want to encourage others to make responsible decisions and I often see people jumping the gun and making bad decisions.  People like Mackenzie, Victoria (vmac+cheese) and Liz (Sequins & Stripes) have done an amazing job leveraging their blogs to turn them into businesses.  That said, more often than not they have the support of a significant other, family, etc –  and have been killing themselves at their blogs to get to a point where they are ready.  People see someone like Mackenzie and all that she has accomplished, but forget that just because she is 22 years old, she’s been blogging for longer than most of us (I think 5 years?) building up a lot of experience and a huge readership.

      I too dream of someday working for myself, but I want to make sure that when I do, it’s a responsible decision. To get there, I have worked incredibly hard to build up both the experience (at my 9-5 jobs) and following (here at S&S)  Most nights, I’m up late working on my blog, teaching myself tricks in photoshop, editing photos… figuring out what I can do to take this site to the next level.  It’s not easy!  As bloggers, we work very hard to make things look effortless and easy but the reality is that it’s anything but.  I worry that the blog world romanticizes working for yourself and makes people think that just because they want something means that they can get it.  Of course if you want something badly enough, I’m sure you will get there – I am just trying to be realistic, and would so much rather have someone be honest with me and ask me how I plan on getting where I want to be vs. a fluffy “You can do it!”   It’s all about having a plan, putting savings aside, and getting your blog to the place where what Jess Constable calls your “spaghetti number.”  Meaning, that you can meet your basic living expenses from revenue from your blog, etc.  (If indeed, your blog is your business.)  It’s just about being ready, and making wise decisions – which is all that I was saying.  I’m sure you know all of this.I respect and admire your drive to get yourself where you want to be without a college degree – and believe that some of the most brilliant minds out there got to where they are without a degree.

      Thank you for reading – and for you comment – I hope you can see where I am coming from.


      10.14.12 Reply