Your Questions Answered
Earlier this week, I asked what questions you had for me in instagram stories. Since a few of the questions are ones I’m asked regularly and others required a little more detail than I could squeeze into a story or two, I decided I’d share them here. It’s like we’re hanging out with a cup of coffee talking about our lives, right? Or something like that.
When you were in your 20s and single, how did you deal with the holidays?
I actually wrote a post on this a few years ago. Years ago, I bought and carried a tree home by myself and woke up in my apartment – just me and my dog – on Christmas morning. I was lucky to receive an invite to a friend’s house that afternoon and urge everyone to welcome friends who might not have plans for Christmas to join you for the holiday. There were things I felt like I was missing but was still wonderful in its own way and I found joy in those moments. There were many holidays that I longed for a family of my own and I’m that much more grateful now. 3 years ago, I was the girlfriend Conor brought home for Christmas and it was tough being around a family that got along so well – I felt so out of place. Is that what holidays were supposed to be like?
If where I was a few years ago is where you are now, let me be a reminder that things can change, and hopefully you’ll look back on this time and be grateful. I found my own happiness each year by doing things I love and spending time with friends. I struggled a lot in my 20s and even my early 30s so if that’s where you are I feel for you. The holidays aren’t always easy — especially when your family situation is complicated like mine has been — but there are always some little silver linings if you look for them.
What advice would you give to someone who’s single and moving to a new city?
Here’s a post I wrote about how moving to a new city alone changed my life. I had to learn to say yes to things that made me uncomfortable – like going to events where I might not know anyone, putting myself out there (asking someone I just met to make plans), or saying yes to plans that I might not normally say yes to. I would also scope out your neighborhood right away. This might sound insignificant, but routine helps you feel at home, so having a favorite local coffee shop, knowing your grocery store, meeting neighbors, and even a flower shop or nail salon makes your day-to-day start to feel normal. It’s also so important to stay in touch with family and friends who aren’t nearby. I regularly talk to my friends who aren’t in Chicago since FaceTime and phone calls are the only way to stay in touch with them.
What financial advice do you have for someone planning to start over in a new city?
Save as much as you can before moving. I lived at home before making the move from LA to Chicago and was lucky enough to have a small savings that I could dip into if and when I needed to. I know I just spoke of saying yes to plans, but try to budget and save when and where you can. Coffee dates are a lot less expensive than brunch or dinner. Walking is cheaper than parking. If you can get rid of your car and take public transit, I highly recommend it. I didn’t have a car the first 4 years I lived in Chicago.
Tips for moving in with your SO when you each already have your own house, furniture, etc?
I’m honestly not the best person to ask only because I’ve lived with one person (Conor) and neither of us felt so strongly about something the other didn’t like that there was ever an issue. It helps that we weren’t married to any pieces that we owned previously and I ended up selling everything to my old landlord minus a few select pieces we both liked. He also has great taste. His mom has redone a few homes and his dad is an antiques dealer and furniture designer, so he definitely inherited an eye for design. I’ve seen friends fight with significant others over the most random things that one likes and the other hates. So I guess my advice would be to sit down, talk about what’s important and why, and compromise. That is something we’ve definitely had to do when choosing new pieces (i.e. white dining chairs took some convincing on my end) but we both love them.
Did you know Conor was “the one” when you first met him?
No, but I also don’t think it’s possible to truly know if someone is right for you upon first meeting them. I really liked him and we saw each other almost every single day that first month. I definitely thought it could go somewhere but I had just stopped dating a liarI and kept waiting for things to fall apart like they had with everyone else. Conor had also just gotten out of a long-term relationship that didn’t end too well and some people thought we were spending too much time together, so I don’t think either of us thought it would work out. But it was just easy and different, and after a few months, became pretty clear that it was going to work out.
Do you plan on having more children?
We are so lucky to have Margot but yes, we’d love one more. Going to enjoy just having one for a while though.
What is the best parenting advice no one ever told you?
I’m not sure that no one ever gave me any of this advice. In fact, I’m sure they have, but here it goes. Do what’s right for you and don’t let people make you feel badly for doing things your way. There are so many rules and not everything applies to everyone. Slow down, enjoy your baby, unplug as much as you can, and take tons of photos and video. It goes by so quickly. And I haven’t started on this yet but I just ordered a leather notebook to write letters and notes to Margot. Write down the little things! You will forget them.
What’s the most surprising thing you learned about yourself since having a baby?
As cliché as this may sound, how to truly slow down, let the little things go, and what really matters. My life has been a juggling act since launching The Everygirl and it hasn’t slowed down. We launched The Everymom and I moved into a new house just a few months before having my first baby. But – instead of unpacking in 24 hours like I usually do, I took a week. There are days my bed isn’t made and there are often piles of stuff all over my kitchen counters and table. My bedroom, sunroom, and basement aren’t done. We have been waiting to redo the bathrooms. It’s ok if everything doesn’t happen immediately. And every single day I am just truly thankful that I have a healthy baby girl and a little family I love more than anything. Nothing is more important than that.
Favorite maternity leggings?
I lived in my Storq leggings while I was pregnant and they’re great post-baby, too. I’m back in all my normal leggings but these are still my favorite.
Recommendations for a babymoon in January?
I’m not sure what the weather is like in Florida but we spent a few days in Miami last spring before having Margot and had so much fun. Or as much fun as one can have dead sober on vacation.
Favorite parenting and non parenting apps?
The only parenting app I really (sort of, loosely) use is Wonder Weeks and I don’t check it often. I liked The Bump when I was pregnant. The nanit app that goes along with our baby monitor is amazing! I can’t recommend it enough.
There are quite a few non-parenting apps that I use daily!
I love VSCO and Snapseed for photo editing.
Unfold for Instagram stories.
Slack for work.
Reminders (the one that comes with your iPhone) because I would otherwise never remember to do anything.
Waze because I never know how to get anywhere.
What are your dreams for 2019?
I think I need to write a whole post on this because I have some big dreams for 2019. I’m so excited to watch Margot grow up, sit up, walk, talk, and to become this amazing little person that I get to watch grow up. Second, I’m most excited to continue to grow The Everygirl Media Group. We grew so much last year! Doubled the size of our team and launched a second website, and we have some big (exciting!) ideas for 2019!
What’s been your biggest accomplishment this year?
Becoming a mom to Margot. I love that little cupcake more than anything. Second would be launching our second website, The Everymom.
There are so many blogs targeting women. I always check The Everygirl so what you do is working, but why did you girls decide to start? What was the initial idea behind it?
Such a great question. There are so many blogs out there and I’m sure it would be that much harder to start one now. I started a personal blog 12 years ago, and launched The Everygirl almost 7 years ago. Back then, there were lots of personal blogs starting to pop up but there wasn’t anything quite like The Everygirl. There wasn’t a site that featured truly relatable, attainable content with a focus on career, finance, fashion, health/wellness, beauty, and relationships. We wanted to help women share their stories, homes, and lives. To see real women, like us, who were trying to figure it out on their own.
How has the site changed?
The content has gotten so much better since the launch. We went from 1 story a day to 5 amazing stories a day. From just the two of us with interns to a full-time staff who produce incredible content. We’re able to really focus on growing various aspects of our brand (social, newsletter, and a few other things we have in the works).
You are constantly inspiring women of all ages and in all paths of life. How does that feel?
It’s hard to really think about the impact I’ve been lucky enough to have on some women’s lives, but I’ll receive emails from readers who have felt less alone because of something I shared. I don’t take it for granted, though. Not one bit. The best moment (not that you asked but I’m sharing anyway) was a few months in. One of our 30-something readers was inspired to go back to school to follow her dreams. It was the most incredible, surreal feeling to think that I was behind that in some small way.
What is The Everygirl to you?
Such a great question! The Everygirl is proof that hard work is worth it – that you should never give up. It was a dream, but I couldn’t see this far out, and it’s amazing to see how much it’s grown. It’s a place where women can go for inspiration, and to hopefully see someone like them who will inspire them to keep going. I still can’t believe we’re here with a full-time staff, second website (The Everymom) and some really big goals (and maybe an exciting launch or two) for 2019. The odds were probably so against us considering the number of blogs out there but here we are with over 1.3 million women coming to our site each month.
Advice for startups?
It’s so important to grow your business, but always always stay true to yourself and never say yes if it’s not a natural fit. Also, hire someone to help with accounting and make sure you have your (legal) ducks in a row.
How did you know it was time to take the leap and transition into starting your own blog?
My experience is a little different than most because I started blogging back in 2007 and didn’t make any money blogging (personally) until 2016. I did it for fun, becauseI loved it, so there wasn’t really a transition. We launched The Everygirl in 2012, and the time felt right because I was burning out on graphic design projects, and I just didn’t see my career moving forward the way I wanted it to – not because graphic design isn’t a great career, but because I was self-taught and didn’t have a lot of the skills I needed to make it work. Yes, I could have gone back to school but my heart wasn’t in it. Inspiring women every day was something that really excited me, so when I met Alaina and we got to talking, it all just clicked and felt so right for us. We never would have been able to do it without full-time jobs on the side though. So the first two years, I took on design clients to pay the bills, and eventually, we salaried ourselves, but I kept blogging because I enjoyed it, and it’s truthfully been a great source of additional income for my family so thank you to everyone who reads and supports my little corner of the internet!
Besides an iPhone, do you use a camera to take pictures? If so, which one do you have?
I just adopted my first puppy! So much work but so rewarding. Any advice for a new dog mom?
Yes! Get. Pet. Insurance. Even if you think you won’t use it, one day, a crazy $5000 emergency will happen and it will save you. We have Healthy Paws for Tucker. By the time I knew about pet insurance, Buddy had too many pre existing conditions, and there was no point in getting coverage for him if his patella luxation, heart murmur, and autoimmune disorder weren’t covered. I would have saved an insane amount of money had I insured Buddy.
If you have any additional questions about career, motherhood, relationships, or design, leave them in the comments below!