Happy New Year! I can’t believe 2017 has already come and gone. I hope each of you had a great year full of love, health and happiness, and I hope 2018 tops it!
One of my biggest goals for 2017 was to take my blog full time and become a successful businesswoman in the fashion and blogging industries. This was somewhat a challenge because that meant that I had to grow my blog to the point of where it could be financially stable enough for me to leave my 9 to 5 corporate job. The transition was something I tiptoed around (for months), but after lots of prayer and a huge leap of faith, here we are — I’m finally living out my dream in my LNL world! (all thanks to you guys!!) 2017 was definitely a year of transition and growth, yet ultimately a huge step in the right direction for my career path. (PTL!) I’m SO grateful for this, however, I do want to be as real & transparent with y’all as I can right now because it wasn’t all unicorns & butterflies.
2017 – for me – was really good in some aspects of my life, yet really bad (& discouraging) in others. There were lots of amazing ups that I am SO grateful for, however, there were also a few heartbreaking downs that were challenging for my family and I – to say the least. I haven’t shared much about these times (specifically) because for one, I like to focus on the positive, but on the other hand, it’s not necessarily my place to share about some of these experiences. Maybe one day when the timing is right … I really appreciate y’all’s understanding on this. However, on that note, I do want to be as real with y’all as I can because life is not perfect — even though Instagram often makes it seem that way — and everyone goes through hardships. This year, I’ve experienced pain, but even worse, those around me have experienced an even worse heartbreak. And that kills me. I hate seeing the ones I love most in pain. In 2017, I, as well as the ones I’m closest to, experienced loss a few too many times & some hardships along the way — I’m certain that Satan was testing our faith in God. But we weren’t going to let that happen.
Along with all of this came many feelings of unworthiness in 2017. Starting my blog was hands down one of the very best decisions I’ve ever made, but along with that came the comparison game (which I wrote about here). On top of that, I’ve felt feelings of inadequacy in my own, personal life this year. I’m human. I’m a girl. This is going to happen. It happens to us all at some point. It’s inevitable. There are always going to be times when we feel like we are simply not enough. When you feel empty. When you feel like you let someone down. When you feel like you’ve failed & there’s no turning back. When you think you won’t ever achieve that one main goal that you want so badly. When you experience everyone around you seeing their dreams come true – except you. When you look in the mirror and hate the person that you see. A lot of people would never admit that they’ve experienced these feelings, but I have a really hard time believing that they haven’t. It’s a really sucky (for lack of a better word) feeling, but it happens to us all at some point, and it’s just a part of life. No one is perfect even though social media can often disguise that. I never want my followers and readers to think that I’ve got it all together 24/7 or that I’m living this perfectly ‘Lightroom-edited’ Instagram life on the daily. That’s why I really try to share the real parts of my days with y’all as much as possible on Instagram stories and why I am sharing all this with you right now.
All of that said, you CANNOT dwell on or believe the negative insecurities that creep in. That is the devil trying to grab ahold of you! Between my personal hardships this year in my family and in myself, I’ve learned that you have to keep moving forward and most of all, you have to keep trusting God’s path for your life. And no, it’s not always easy. But, (in the words of my sweet sister) He is the ultimate line leader. The road He’s leading us on may have a few bumps along the way, but it’s the best path to take. He will always make all things work out for good of those who know and love HIM. (Romans 8:28 – my favorite bible verse). And even throughout the toughest of times, we just have to hold on to that promise. And I know that in His perfect timing, He will make our deepest hopes and dreams (that sometimes seem impossible) come true. I will always keep my faith in Him, no matter what this life brings to me …
Satan, I will NOT break to you. You’ve tested me and the ones I love most this past year, and you FAILED!!! Don’t you dare try to rock our faith in the coming year because our hope will always & forever lie in the hands of our King!
I’d totally be lying to y’all if I said that writing that last sentence didn’t almost bring me to tears … God is so good and his love and protection over us is so powerful, you guys! If you’ve been following me for awhile, you may know by now how strongly I feel about my faith. It’s a big part of my life. However, when we are on the highest of highs, Satan will try to tear us down so hard to where it shakes us to our core. We cannot let that happen. When this happens to you in 2018 or if this has happened to you over the past year, then I urge you to turn your attention to Jesus and let Him step in to make all things new. He is SO much more powerful than the evil that is trying to bring us down.
With all of that said, I want to say that you ARE worthy. You are beautiful. You are good enough. You are not alone. You are STRONG. You are loved. Your body is beautiful & can do amazing things. You deserve to be cherished. And most of all, you are so loved. If there are ever any times in 2018 when you are doubting these feelings, come back to this post, read it & be reassured. We are human, so we are going to feel these things from time to time, but one of my personal goals for 2018 is to keep reminding myself of these things daily. All of us women deserve to hear these facts everyday!
Now on a lighter note & speaking of goals for 2018 … Here are a few of mine:
Be positive. I want to become a more positive person overall this year. For myself, for my readers and for all of those around me. On my Instagram feed, I may always seem positive, however, if you follow me on IG stories, you probably get to see the more ‘real life’ behind the scenes (which no worries, I’m always going to keep it real with y’all). But I am going to try to be more positive in my real life outside of social media.
Read more. If you know me, you know I’m not a huge reader. I’ve never been the bookworm type. Simply because I never really take the time away from other things (that seem to be more productive to me) to read a book. I have a lists of books that I really want to read this year, so I’m going to try to put work away a little early a few nights a week just to get lost in a book every once in awhile.
Be healthier. Let’s face it, I’m never going to give up my sweets or a glass of vino cold turkey, but I do want to try to eat healthier in the new year and consistently exercise my body so that it’s in it’s healthiest state. Cliche, I know, but I just genuinely want to be healthy and take care of my body. After all, this is the only body I’ll ever have! Let’s just say my first purchase of 2018 was a new gym membership today LOL. Who’s with me on this one??
Find a good work – life balance. Geeeez. This may be the toughest one of all for me but Lord knows, I need to work on it. I’m the worst at putting away my work. Being my own ‘boss’ and working remotely from my home means that I never technically have a ‘clock out’ time. And sometimes, I find myself working until after midnight. Like, whaaaat! Typing that out sounds crazy to me, but it really does happen way too often and I’m finding that it can’t be healthy for me, for my career or for my marriage. I’m SO insanely passionate about this career – my blog – and what I do, that it’s so hard for me to put it away completely and focus on other things around me, but it’s something that I’m going to work very hard on in coming year. I started focusing on this a bit during the holidays, and it’s so far been pretty good, so we’ll see if I can actually stick to it! I’ll let you all hold me accountable on this one 😉
Clean out & organize. Clothes, desk, etc. I started this in the fall when I began cleaning out my closet and selling some of my clothes on @shoppeytonbaxter, and it’s felt so great to get rid of some things that I just don’t use as much anymore, however, I still have SO many things I need to clean out and sell/donate so stay tuned for that.
Create more video content for you! I promise, I’ll be delivering some more tutorials and video content for you all in 2018 – yay! I hope you’ll enjoy it and follow along!
Plan a fun vacay with the hubs. We haven’t been on a fun, exciting vacation (just the two of us) since our honeymoon, so we’re hoping to visit somewhere exciting this year!
Become more of a morning person & less of a night owl (ugh). This may actually be impossible for me, LOL. I’m the biggest night owl y’all — Teej is too. Our most productive hours are typically late at night and sometimes we find ourselves up until 3:00 in the morning. (crazy, I know). This year, I want to try to lie down earlier so that I can become more of a productive morning person. Wish me luck!
Grow my business & connect with YOU. Like I said earlier in the post, one of my main goals for 2017 was to take my blog full time by the time 2018 rolled around. Thankfully (and God willing), I was able to do so by April of 2017 (because of YOU & your loyalty!). This year, I hope to continue to grow in all aspects of the blogging world, the fashion industry and as a female entrepreneur in charge of this entire brand called love ‘n’ labels. I want to connect with each of you and maybe even schedule a meet up to where I can physically meet some of you in person — I always love to take photos with you guys whenever I run into y’all around town or when you tell me that you follow my blog! Or even just receiving a sweet comment or message on Instagram — all of these moments are what truly keep me going (especially on the super busy or hard days). I’d also love to partner with some of my dream brands that I’ve shopped with my entire life and continue to bring forth the best content that I can offer for you all. Overall, I just hope to positively impact each of your lives in some way (in an IG post, story, outfit, blog, etc.), to show you daily how much I appreciate your loyalty to my brand, to show you guys love & generosity, to remind you that you’re beautiful (because you are!), to share my top tips and advice when it comes to what you should or shouldn’t purchase, to show you to best trends and styles you can’t miss out on, and to share lots of laughs and smiles with y’all!
THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for following along with me on this journey and for trusting me to influence your personal style and purchasing decisions. I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for you! If you’re reading this, I LOVE you and I want you to know that I’m so incredibly grateful for your support. I hope that we can continue to grow even closer in this new year.
Cheers to a happy, healthy & stylish 2018 – Happy New Year!!