The conundrum of blogging, twelve years later

The morning I began to type this post, I had just received an email from a blog sponsor telling me I had been removed from their program and would no longer receive compensation because of low engagement from my site. Understandable when explained that way. What I failed to mention to them, (which I see no point in doing now) was that several months before they had asked all participants to install a new promotional widget. In order for me to do that, I had to upgrade the version of my site, which required me to pay GoDaddy $$$ to upgrade. It was a shock to pay so much, but I love my blog and I did it. I installed the widget, and then moved on.

But then I kept getting notifications that my website was down. It was failing to load over and over. I was excited to blog again but it’s hard to do that when your website won’t even let you log in. When I called GoDaddy, their answer was to pay to upgrade. But I explained that I just HAD upgraded. But they wanted me to upgrade even MORE. I’ve been livid thinking about this and feel scammed. I had upgraded because my sponsor needed to, not because I wanted to. Then the upgrade broke my site.

After I received my demotion email,  I removed the widget from the sponsor and now the site seems to be working better…so I don’t know what to make of all that. But now I feel kind of free. The compensation I got from them was small. I have a day job, so it really isn’t a problem for me. But I see how other bloggers get caught in a compensation and validation trap to produce content and get caught in a cycle to satisfy sponsors.

A few weeks ago when my busted blog was averaging 1 view a week (and I think that 1 person was me), I was feeling low. Why am I even doing this? Do people even care about blogs now? I haven’t even shared a style post in months here. I have them, but I literally have not had a chance to share any of them. I am (and so many other bloggers, writers, and content creators) are more complex than just that. We have multifaceted tastes and adventures that sometimes don’t fit in this space. It’s the same issue people have been dealing with on Instagram. When you’re pressured to post for likes and sponsors versus the real you, it doesn’t feel authentic. And some bloggers are bad at this. They are deprived of creativity. I had a low threshold for pressure to post. I wanted to make myself happy, not someone else. And oddly enough, I finally get the freedom to do that.

In the journey to fix my website, I literally had to go back to the beginning of my posting (way back to 2006) to get rid of content that may have been eating up resources. I saw very old posts that were so random, just stream of thought posting of which I’m glad no one looks at anymore :) I saw the very first comments, back when people were EXCITED to communicate and have a dialogue. I saw some embarrassing posts and some that I remember really loving. I want that again. In the end, the website is running better. I don’t know if I should be more mad at the exSponsor, GoDaddy, or myself!

I guess this a story of how my blog broke, and how that didn’t break me.

Hello May

Where did that month go?! Oh yeah, most of it was spent dealing with a broken website. I’m currently absolutely still livid with GoDaddy, who have been nothing but useless when my site has been down and broken. Instead of helping, they want me to pay for an upgrade that is not guaranteed to even work. So I’m currently weighing lots of different options. But that’s a story for another day and time. New month, who dis? May has come like a whirlwind!

Thrift Eye

I just happened to finish and thoroughly enjoyed reading Drive by Daniel Pink. I had read his other title, A Whole New Mind, for a class and really loved it. So when I saw this book at a friends house, I asked to borrow it! I gave me perspective on finding “drive” and motivation within myself to do work.

I’m embarrassed to admit I’m one of those people that secretly really like Drake. Sue me.

Somehow I came across this holy grail of snacks at Trader Joe’s called Bamba. Which apparently is an old Israeli snack favorite. Imagine the texture of a cheese puff but with the flavor profile of peanuts. It’s quite amazing.

All my blue jeans have holes in the now…I’m annoyed but now see that it’s a good time to maybe find jeans that aren’t skinny jeans. All my denim that isn’t J Brand are vintage Levi’s. I need something new. The hunt begins.

I was loving my mixed metal Madewell earrings so much, I bought other ones! But Madewell has been killing it with their earring designs. I really hope they aren’t stealing the ideas from another brand, but I absolutely love almost all earrings they have out right now!

Who made my clothes? It’s a fashion revolution!

Fashion Revolution week, who made my clothes, sustainable fashion

April 22nd, 2018 is Earth Day! So it is fitting that I post about Fashion Revolution week. What is Fashion Revolution Week you ask?

Fashion Revolution week, who made my clothes, sustainable fashion

Fashion Revolution is now a global movement of people like you.

It’s a time to reflect, brought to you by the Fashion Revolution organization that is trying to get everyone to become a conscious consumer. Have you ever wondered who made your clothes? How much they’re paid, and what their lives are like?

Our clothes have gone on a long journey before they hit store shelves, passing through the hands of cotton farmers, spinners, weavers, dyers, sewers and others. Approximately 75 million people work to make our clothes. 80% of them are women between the ages of 18 and 35.

However, the majority of the people who makes clothes for the global market live in poverty, unable to afford life’s basic necessities. Many are subject to exploitation; verbal and physical abuse, working in unsafe and dirty conditions, with very little pay.

This needs to change.

At the moment, most of the world lives in a capitalist economy. This means companies must increase sales growth and make profits in order to succeed — but crucially, not at the expense of peoples’ working conditions, health, livelihoods, dignity and creativity and not at the expense of our natural environment.

Whether you are someone who buys and wears fashion (that’s pretty much everyone) or you work in the industry along the supply chain somewhere or if you’re a policymaker who can have an impact on legal requirements, you are accountable for the impact fashion has on people’s lives and on nature.

I too, just like the folks running this organization, felt a wave of shock in 2013 after the Rana Plaza building collapse where over 1,000 people died making clothes for pennies. I decided then and there that as a person with a blog and platform, I could no longer turn a blind eye to an industry that IS literally killing people. Here are the changes I personally made –

1. I would use this blog as a bigger platform to bring awareness to the sustainability of fashion and in conjunction, support brands that were paying employees fair wages, conscious about the environment, and proponents of slow fashion. In particular, the Made in USA clothing movement.

2. I did not shop at all for several months. And when I finally did again, I decided that I would almost exclusively buy second hand. And if I had to buy new clothing, it would be Made in the USA. And in 3 years, I have been about 95% successful in achieving this goal.

3. I rid my wardrobe of the highest offenders. No more Forever 21, Zara, H&M, etc. I kept very few things, but most of it was donated to a thrift store. I am no longer supporting these brands nor their trendy consumerism.

I think the biggest thing this Fashion Revolution is attempting to do, is to highlight that real people are the ones sewing all these clothes. Not robots or machines. Humans are working really long hours, in blighted conditions, for very little pay all over the world. It doesn’t mean you have to make the changes I make. But ask more questions, ask who is making your clothes, and ask where your clothes come from. Click HERE for a guide to getting involved.

Fashion Revolution week, who made my clothes, sustainable fashion

Spotlight on: Seea swimwear + Shopbop Sale

You’ll be able to follow all of these spotlight posts here, but also keep up with my Made in the USA series here.

Ever since visiting Tulum in December, I have had beach on my brain. But since then too, I’m realizing I’ve been wearing the same suits over and over. And they just kind of don’t fit my style anymore. I was browsing Shopbop recently and came across this new (to me) brand Seea and I’ve totally fallen in love with almost everything. And then fell in love even more after hearing their brand philosophy and that they’re made in the USA!

A distinctive brand, Seea is dedicated to the pioneering women who first braved the waves, and to every woman who has ever searched for a suit that is feminine, comfortable, and fun. An elegant mix of retro-modern shapes and contemporary colors and prints, Seea strikes the perfect balance between surf function and style.

Committed to domestic production and sustainable design, Seea suits are a locally crafted, 100% Californian product, right down to the famous breaks they are named after. Even small details, like the hangtags, are vintage made and multi-use, printed by letterpress, and complete with a hair band for your next surf session.

A brand I can definitely get behind! The older I get, the more body conscious I get too? (yes, that question mark is supposed to be there because body positivity is a roller coaster for me.) Some days I feel confident enough to wear a bikini, other days I want to wear a one piece. What matters to me more is a great fit and great quality.

*images courtesy of Seea website
Seea Swimwear

Seea Swimwear

Seea Swimwear

Seea Swimwear

Seea Swimwear

Pieces like these and others are part of the awesome Shopbop sale going on right now through April 14th with the code EVENT18