Hello? Hello? Is this thing on? Ahem…. well, that was a rather long and unintended but much enjoyed break from blogging. While I’ve been on hiatus spending time with the family, I’ve done so much thinking, soul searching, and traveling. Our family took a giant road trip stopping in Chicago, Madison, Sioux Falls, landing in the Black Hills for a few days, and then stopping in St. Louis on our way back home to Maryland. The trip was just what this girl needed… time with my family, experiencing new things, and seeing some of the most beautiful and moving sites in our great country. I took a million and one photos on our trip, so I thought I’d sprinkle them into this post as I ramble on about updates to keep you somewhat visually stimulated. Today, however, I don’t want to talk much about my trip; I want to talk about what has culminated in my mind these past two months away from you. I’ve been digging and I’ve decided that I truly need to get back to my roots in both blogging and business, and do the things that made me passionate about my endeavors. Basically, just like Chris Martin (Coldplay reference), I am going back to the start.
Old Chapel I saw near Al’s Oasis in South Dakota
Let’s talk about blogging first. I’m basically a dinosaur when it comes to the blog world, and have been sharing on my little corner of the internet since 2009. When I began, it was primarily to share my furniture makeovers and I assumed I’d use the blog to market my furniture. I had no idea what I was getting into, and it grew into more of a DIY blog where I shared my methodology, paint colors, and more. As time went on, it evolved and has become a bit more of a lifestyle/home blog, and I love that it’s become more personal because I feel like I connect with you, my readers, that way. I’d prefer you know who I really am, and I love when you share pieces of yourself in comments.
Over the years, blogging as a platform has grown, and it’s quickly become a career for many. The numbers, pageviews, ad clicks, subscribers have all become important to bloggers. Everyone works together to do collaborative blog tours and blog hops, and it’s really a great thing to see bloggers pull together and share in these ways, but it can also become time consuming and draining. The pressure is on to have my Fall home tour up September 1, when all I really want to do is hold on to the last days of summer with my kids. Also with these hops and tours, it’s a common courtesy to visit the others on your tour and leave them comments, and pin some images from their site. I’ve also taken the time to do that, but other bloggers seem to be “too busy” to return the favor and it honestly leaves me feeling like they must think I just suck compared to them. The comparison bug creeps in that way, and I am left questioning my own blog’s value.
Riverwalk in Chicago
All of these feelings were taking the joy out of blogging for me… I don’t want to be looking at my numbers and wondering if they’re good enough. I don’t want to be working to promote bloggers in collaborations who don’t reciprocate or even reply to your comment. It doesn’t feel good, and it’s mentally draining. I have loved this little blog of mine for over 8 years now, and earlier this summer I was honestly feeling so ready to just walk away from it. However, over the years I’ve connected with so many readers, and I didn’t want to lose those relationships. I recognized that what I needed to do was take it back to the start, back to what I originally loved about blogging. With that said, I’ve decided to really scale back to the basics in a retro-blog movement. I’ve left all of the tours I had signed up for as well as any other collaborations and from now on, everything will be as I want it to be and when I want it to be… no pressure on me. It’s just Cassie and her blog. Of course, in the future these things may change, but for now, I’m going to do what I have to do to keep feeling inspired in order to inspire you.
Bison bull in Custer National Park
Now let’s get to business… I have a really exciting announcement! If you’ve been here for a while, you know that I used to own a vintage barn sale in Frederick, MD, called Sweet Clover. Last fall, my partner and I made the decision to sell the shop to a fabulous pair of sisters. We sold it for many reasons, including wanting less stress and more time with our families. What started as a part time side gig became a full time job where people always wanted more and more from us. At the end of the day, I didn’t feel I had much left to give my family, aside from a tired and cranky mom. My partner, Sarah, and I used to always say, “Remember the good old days when we were just vendors in a store? When we could come in, set up, and be on our way? Wasn’t that fun?” The answer was YES! It was fun back then. Hunting for fantastic vintage finds, giving them new life, and then styling them in a space are all things that I love about the vintage shop business.
In August, I made the decision to see if Sweet Clover would take me back as a vendor and I am happy to report that they said yes! I’ve been busy working this last month, with Emmy by my side, on all of the fun parts…. thrifting, painting, refinishing, styling… it’s been a breath of fresh air and I feel creatively inspired again. To be quite honest, I didn’t even really want to do it at first, but life has not been easy for me this year (more on that in a bit), and I recognized a need in myself…. I needed to just get moving, and just grab life by the horns and start taking some direction. Sweet Clover has been exactly what I needed and I’m looking forward to being ready for the September sale in a week and a half. I’ll be taking some better photos next week and will be sharing here. But here’s a little peek from what Emmy and I accomplished this weekend.
That decision will also impact the blog in a positive way…. I will be sharing so many more furniture makeovers once again! Stupidly, I am so out of my game, I forgot to photograph all the pieces I’ve finished before hauling them over. I won’t make that mistake again! I’m really excited about bringing that back to the blog! I have to also say a huge thank you to everyone at Sweet Clover who welcomed me back with open arms… I have absolutely no regrets about selling the store, and am anxious to once again just do the things I love while continuing to have a flexible schedule and time with my family.
We’re a funny looking bunch, but this, right here, is my entire world… At Sioux Falls
And now I have one more update that I feel I owe you. Last Spring I wrote about the two miscarriages I had up to that point, and how lost I was just feeling in regards to everything. If you had asked me one year ago where I would be right now, I would have told you I would be home with a baby, and working hard on my blog as a source of income. Clearly, that hasn’t worked out. Summer brought me two more miscarriages, one in June, and one in August which happened to be the week of my birthday. I’ve been seeing a specialist, so I’ve been doing all of the right things, but some things are just unexplainable. Also, I’m older… I turned 39! That 4th one in August hit me the hardest. Because we had seen a specialist and were doing everything right, we truly had a good feeling and thought that was it. We had to travel that week to see family, including my sister in law whom I adore but who happens to be pregnant. Seeing her while I was still bleeding crushed me, and I felt so much guilt about that. I was left feeling defeated, sad, and so angry with myself for allowing my feelings to get in the way of time with family. When I arrived at their home I said I had a headache and a nap would be good, but nap was really code for “go upstairs and sit on the floor and sob.” Chris found me there, and I just couldn’t stop the tears. Of course, they eventually slowed, and I was able to survive the weekend, but it was so much harder than I had anticipated.
A very pregnant burrow at Custer National Park
After I returned home from that trip, I decided it was time to take my life back. I contacted Sweet Clover, I started running a little bit farther again (I had eliminated long runs in the process of trying to get pregnant), and I said yes to my first design job, which happens to be for my pregnant sister in law. I told you, I absolutely love her which is why I was so filled with shame at being so broken hearted. She’s a true champ though, and handled me and my emotions well. I did all of those three things in one day, and I felt incredible after… filled with hope and happiness. As far as a baby for us goes, I am not ruling it out, but I need to get myself out of this rut and move on and do the things I love simply because I love doing them.
I’m excited to once again bring you posts about furniture makeovers, and will continue to sprinkle in other home posts as well as some of the personal. Although a schedule can be a wonderful thing, I’ve decided not to commit to one and will just blog when I have something to say. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for sticking with me on this journey. I know that taking it back to the start will only lead to wonderful new places!
Finally, I want to say a huge thank you to these three people… they’ve been my support system, my cheerleaders, my rock through everything this past year. When I questioned whether I was even able to do a space at Sweet Clover again, Chris encouraged me and pushed me forward; Emmy volunteered to help me find things and stage, and honestly, she’s really good at it. And Sawyer, he’s just my love bug who wants me to be happy. If it weren’t for the three of them, this blog post and its sentiments would probably not be here.
The Fam-bam at the Badlands
While the kids went back to school today, so I think it’s time for new adventures. Shall we?