• Inspiration / Lifestyle

    Three Years Old: Reflections from the past and inspiration for the future

    Chris called me today in excitement “Did you realize the blog is three years old TODAY!?” It’s funny because I did know the blog birthday was coming up but in the hustle and bustle of heading back to school after Christmas holidays and a massive snow storm to boot, I didn’t realize it was TODAY! 

    So I thought it was only fitting that my first post of the new year be not just focused on the goals for 2018, but also a look back at some of the best moments from 2017 and the years before. 

    This blogging journey has been one of the wildest journeys of my life. Taking the ashes of an ended career and the tears of postpartum depression and sowing them with great sorrow, confusion, heartbreak and fear only to watch this beautiful harvest of a blog bloom. It’s been some of the toughest years and yet some of the most rewarding of my life. It’s easy for people to look at the outside work of what they see on the blog or various social media channels and think it’s been easy. In fact it’s been the exact opposite of easy. It’s been some of the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life, filled with unknowns, fear and lots of haters. The more “success” I’ve seen, the more friends I’ve lost. I’ve grown a thicker skin because of it and it’s led me to have greater drive, focus and clarity. I’ve never had more focus and determination at the start of a new year than I do this year. With getting my mental as well as physical health back in check, the mental fog is finally starting to clear and I truly feel like I’m just getting started. 

    But before I jump into all the fun stuff I have planned for this year, I do want to honor the past and the journey that I’ve been on…thanks in large part to YOU, my readers. 

    It truly is remarkable to think that in three short years, I’ve been able to grow this blog from literally nothing to a full time income. Let’s look back at some of the firsts, shall we?

    First post: Vintage Garden Lingerie Shower
    Even though the blog was not technically live yet, I wrote about eight posts before I launched so that on launch day, readers would have lots of content to keep them reading.

    First sponsored post: 3 Natural Ways I Help My Kids Stay Healthy 
    This was my first ever sponsored post. I was so proud of it then, but it’s almost painful to read now – none of the pictures are my own, there was no proper disclosure. But alas, I was officially in business, being asked by an agency to review those vitamins for a whopping $40, plus product (of course). How much things have changed!

    First YouTube video: Kids Haircut Tutorial
    I had no idea what I was doing with filming and I was really just making this tutorial for a few friends who had asked me how I cut the boys hair. I had no clue what would become of my YouTube channel, let alone that this video would be seen more than 100,000 times!

    First online magazine feature: Boys Room Makeover in Apartment Therapy
    On a whim, I submitted the boys room makeover to Apartment Therapy. I had never done that before, but had heard of bloggers doing it. To my surprise, they featured it!

    First sponsored trip: Visit Burlington
    I had barely been blogging for three months when I received an invitation from Burlington Tourism (a city southwest of Toronto) to come for a two day trip to learn all about what Burlington had to offer. It was the first time I had ever been hosted by a tourism group or hotel and I can remember feeling like royalty every spot we visited!

    Beachway Park Burlington Ontario Canada

    First time I appeared on a national television show: Canada AM
    While this morning show is no longer on the air, this was a BIG deal for me. I had done a number of local television spots before that, but to appear on a national show, even without them using any of my proper social handles, was huge!

    First time speaking at a conference: BlogPodium
    I can remember opening up the email response where my friend Jen (who hosts BlogPodium) said “YES! I’d love to have you as a speaker” and sitting at my desk sobbing. After a lot of second-guessing myself and at a point where I wasn’t sure if I was just speaking to the wind with no one listening, this was one a huge marker in my blogging journey and one I will never forget!

    There are so many other first or big moments I could share here but these were just a few that I remember well. Looking back at the timeline of the blog, these have been influential moments where I stopped and literally pinched myself because I couldn’t believe I was experiencing those things. 

    Life can get hard…really hard. The day in and day out grind takes a toll on EVERYONE. So it’s important to stop every now and then and take a look back at the journey. The days and the nights are long and we don’t always see the progress or evolution of a dream when we are still in the middle of the story, but doing a retrospective is critical to seeing how far you’ve come, to encouraging your heart that it hasn’t all been in vain and to inspire you to keep hustling. 

    So for the last three years I want to say THANK YOU! Thank you for journeying with me, thank you for reading this blog, thank you for liking, sharing, commenting, etc. Thank you for entering my giveaways and for ultimately believing in me and this brand that we are building. 

    Heading into this fourth year of the blog, I am SO excited…moreso than ever about where we are going and what we have planned! I can’t share all the details yet, but we’ve had some pretty major developments in the works over the last few months and it’s all coming to a head within the next week or so, so please stay tuned. 

    But in the meantime, I wanted to share my word for this year, as I do every year. I’ve honestly struggled with what my word would be for 2018. As I’ve already been taking steps to heal both mentally and physically, my mind and heart are starting to beat again with more passion and clarity than ever before. I have so many things I want to do and accomplish, it’s honestly been hard to unpack it all and put words to my thoughts and action plan to my dreams. 

    When I look back on 2017, it was such an interesting year for me personally. Quite literally some of the most amazing moments and yet I think I cried more than I have in recent years gone by. I visited so many amazing places, from going to Florida three times, Chicago, up to the Muskokas and then jet-setting over to Paris, France, the adventures this year were by far some of the best I’ve ever gone on in my life. But yet, through all the trips and exciting opportunities, my stress and anxiety also soared to new levels. I saw the collapse of a few friendships, my grandma (who was my last living grandparent) passed away at the end of March, our family faced incredible amounts of sickness and my husband walked through a very challenging situation at his work that affected our entire family. By the end of 2017, both Chris and I felt quite beat down emotionally after a really tough year. Most of those things we walked through we didn’t speak of to many people, so it also felt quite isolating to walk through much of it by ourselves. I finally sought out a therapist at the beginning of the summer because I knew I was starting to downward spiral mentally and I needed help to sort through my thoughts and feelings. Therapy has been such a gift to me and ultimately strengthened our family unit. 

    And then we took our trip to Paris, just my husband and I and we both felt somewhat reborn during our trip. It’s hard to explain if you’ve never been there but there was just something about the city that DID something to me, to my husband…helped us gain perspective and I know we came back changed people. That’s part of why I haven’t shared much about our trip — it was deeply personal for us and something we knew was almost sacred. With that said, we will be sharing some tips on travelling to Paris and some of our favorite places because so many have been asking so stay tuned for that. 

    So why do I say all of that? Because it’s important to understand what kind of year 2017 was for me and my family in order to understand where my head is at, heading into 2018. Through therapy, our trip to Paris, listening to Taylor Swift’s new album (no joke, her new no-nonsense rebirth of the new TS inspires me every single time I listen to it), I’m entering 2018 with so much determination, so much drive and so much clarity on what I want to accomplish, who I want to become and where I want to be by the end of this year. 

    So with that said, you can probably see why I’ve struggled to nail down just ONE word for 2018. My first thought was PURSUIT because I want to be in constant pursuit of these goals and aspirations. Next I thought I would adopt some of TayTay’s new attitude and try to come up with something that embodied not giving a flying flinflawn. HA! I never swear on this blog, but I think you know what I’m trying to say there, right?! I cared WAY too much this last year about EVERYTHING – what people were saying, why certain people were treating us so poorly, why certain brands weren’t working with me…SO MANY CARES WERE GIVEN! And that caused my emotional tailspin. The end of 2017 brought about a profound realization that I cannot change people and there will ALWAYS be injustice in this world and in our day to day lives. The sooner I can accept it and move on, the better off I will be. And then finally the other night as hubby and I were sitting down to talk through some blog content for the year, I blurted out “Let’s JUST DO IT!” No more cares, no more standing still, no more second guessing, no more “could have, should have, would have’s”, let’s JUST DO IT!

    So I think that’s my word or should I say, saying for 2018 – JUST DO IT! The time is now. It’s time to wake up, to clear the mind, to quiet the distractions and noise and to put my nose to the ground and GET IT DONE. I don’t want to wake up at the start of 2019 and look back on 2018 and remember tears. I don’t want to remember how many times I was hurt. I don’t want to worry about all the times I didn’t get a certain opportunity. All of those things WILL happen this year – I will get hurt, I will cry, I will experience rejection and injustice – BUT, how I CHOOSE to deal with it will be the true test. Will it break me, like it did so many times in 2017 or will I be able to shrug it off and keep moving forward? My sincerest hope is that it will be the latter. 

    Here’s to the best year yet! Cheers my friends!

    Love & Blessings,

    CMartin-Sign

     

     

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    8 Comments

  • Reply Linda Cassidy January 8, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    you are awesome and I have loved seeing your Journey. I discovered your blog after Let’s Go Rama and what a treat it was for me. I have enjoyed reviewing old posts and I truly loved seeing and hearing you speak at BlogPodium. You inspire me to keep trying. I wish I could have you whispering in my ear guiding me along the path but I also recognize through you it has to be my path and my journey. Thanks ( PS I so love your blog theme)

  • Reply Heather Lynne January 8, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    All the best this year Christine! It has been so fun to follow your journey. From the outside (without being able to see many of the challenges), it’s easy to see the many positives (I don’t have to filter out the negatives & the hard parts). You’ve done so many great things & some really great work. I look forward to continuing to follow along & I thank you for the inspiration you have given me, to follow my own path, in my own way. 🙂

  • Reply Lidia January 9, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Happy 3rd birthday!!! Your post is perfectly worded and on-point – the balance is tough and with success comes a lot of the unexpected, both good and bad. But you are wading through it all perfectly and I know I’m not alone when I say how excited I am to see what you’ll be up to in 2018!! You’re going to rock it!!! xo

  • Reply Erin H January 9, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    This is such a beautiful post…I’m speechless. Congratulations on all your success and cheers to the next year and what’s to come! Looking forward to watching it all unfold. 🙂
    Also, I have to say I’m pretty honoured that your first post ever was the shower you threw for me! What a beautiful memory <3 🙂

    • Reply Christine January 15, 2018 at 1:25 pm

      Thanks friend! I’ll always remember that day.

  • Reply Kate January 9, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    You’ve got this. Every step you have taken in the last three years has brought you here. Thank you for sharing your journey, for lowering your walls and sharing your challenges with us. We all feel like a mess at times but show the world a different put together version because we feel that is what is expected. But you are showing that realism is strength. So thank you! You are strong, inspiring, creative and more! Cheers and keep it up. You’ve got this!

    • Reply Christine January 15, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      Aw thanks Kate! This means alot to me.

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