Back when TJ and I arrived home from our honeymoon in June last year, I felt a sense of relief. Our wedding was everything we ever dreamed of (and more) but it also took hours each week to plan each detail. On top of planning our wedding, I was planning wedding blog content. We had pressed pause on a few things in our lives in order to contribute funds to our wedding (ex: we couldn’t buy a house), I had to work hard on my blog to pay for that extra wedding vendor I “had” to have, and work hard at my regular day job to keep a steady income. Each evening and weekend was either spent planning the wedding or working on the blog. When we arrived back from the honeymoon, our next challenge was going to be saving for and buying our first house. Our apartment rent was a lot and we felt like we were wasting money for years. We wanted our dog to have a yard. We wanted to finally have space for storage. TJ wanted grass to cut and a garage to put all of our 2 tools in. Jk, we now have like 20 tools and we also need to buy stock in Lowe’s.
If you didn’t know, I started my job back in November of 2016 at a company (Invisalign) where I met some of the best people I’ve ever met. We quickly became close friends, they even handed out programs at my wedding, and they just made me excited (for once) to wake up and go into an office each day. I genuinely looked forward to going to work every single day because of my work friends. The company’s work environment was the best. It took me a long time to find a company I absolutely loved after having a few different jobs where I felt less than satisfied. This was IT. I was beyond happy. Plus, I’d have a lot of paid vacation days for our wedding/honeymoon in 2017.
Now let’s rewind and go back to June 25th, 2014. I wake up, get ready to go to a friend’s bridal shower, put on a super cute outfit, I get to the bridal shower and people are asking me where my top and skirt are from. This wasn’t the first time people asked me for my outfit details. In fact, in the weeks leading up to this, my dad and I were both talking about starting blogs. His would be about camping/grilling/dad things. Mine would be about…. Well, anything that interested me – fashion, fitness, home decor, my dog. I specifically remember asking him if it would be “dumb” if I created a fashion based blog. He said “no” so then I felt reassured that it was okay for me to move forward. My dad is a pretty cool guy so if he says something is cool, it’s cool, okay? He knew I was creative enough, and business-minded enough to follow through with it. Plus, I had just heard I didn’t get into dental school so I had nothing to lose (except a lot of my time but I didn’t mind). I was excited for something creative, new, and with endless opportunities. I had also just purchased my first “real” camera… a DSLR Canon Rebel. Instead of forcing my friends to take pics with me on trips, I now had never-ending ideas of what to take photos of… food, clothes, my apartment, travel, my dog, life, etc.
So, I came back from that bridal shower on June 25th, 2014 and now that I had thought of a name (Pretty in the Pines), I created an account on BlogSpot, asked TJ to photograph my outfit, and then PITP was born in all of it’s glory. LOL, see below pic of what it looked like. Legit, right?
Was this at the apartment’s pool? Yes. Was he laying on the ground? Yes.
I posted about fitness a lot, weird recipes that I liked, outfits, party decor, and more. For over a year, I created blog posts just because I wanted to. I didn’t get paid. But this blog actually gave me LIFE. I was fine going to my oral surgery job and taking bloody gauze out of teenager’s mouths even though I knew I wasn’t going to apply again for dental school, because it was making enough money for me to invest in my passions. Eventually, the bloody gauze/oral surgery got old and I moved on to another pharmaceutical company. If you’ve ever worked for pharmaceutical companies, you know that there is always a possibility of them cutting your program and laying off everyone. That happened to me. Twice. My blog was still not making money but I still loved it. Thank God for TJ who quickly picked up photography as a skill, by the way. I kept going, working on my blog not knowing where it would take me, but also started seeing emails coming in from brands offering me money to create content for them. One company asked us to go to the Outer Banks for a week and create marketing content AND get paid for it. I was like “free vacation? WHAT? Yeah!!”. While that trip was a blast, it was NOT a vacation. It was a lot of hard work. That week I learned that blogging is not just blogging. It is creative directing/planning, photographing, filming, social media marketing, styling, editing, producing, responding to emails from brands and readers, reaching out to businesses (literally writing a sales email), reading through contracts, negotiating, branding, accounting, and more. We had to create multiple blog posts, capture great images of each thing we did, each restaurant we went to, all while continuing to put up posts while we were there. Sounds fun and it was fun but all I am saying is that it is WORK. In fact, since we started the blog, we haven’t taken a “vacation”. We took a few days in St. Lucia to relax but a lot of the time was spent working.
Let’s fast forward to when we arrived back from our honeymoon. TJ and I had talked about the possibility of my blog becoming a full-time job several times but with our wedding on the horizon, it was NOT in the cards. Especially since I wanted our wedding to be in Charleston. When that was over, it was still not in the cards. We needed to save for a house. We needed to have my steady income in order to qualify for a certain amount for a loan, blah, blah all of that stuff. We eventually found our house and a few days after we closed, I put in my 3 weeks notice at my job. This was probably the hardest decision I ever made in my entire life. After finally finding a company I absolutely loved with the best managers in the world, I was going to leave it along with the people I grew to love, and focus on my own business. The next three weeks were hard, some days I asked myself “did I make the wrong decision?”, “is it too late to just say JK nevermind”, “are my work friends and I going to stay friends”? And I received questions on repeat like “how does your blog even make money”, “does TJ make enough/is he okay with it” (of course he is… we are married and talk about financial things). My blog income began to reach my regular income. My parents actually encouraged me to make the change which was very important to me. My mom, the one who always told me how to fix up my resume, the one who told me to never leave a job under one year, the VP of HR, encouraged me to become an entrepreneur. That meant a lot to me.
So, on December 21st, 2017, I drove to my job one last time. I wasn’t going to tell anyone and I certainly was not going to make some big announcement on my blog which would only add more pressure to me to be successful but here we are. This was on my heart and needed to be written.
Incase you want to read a good post about the truth about blogging, read this. It is much less glamorous than it sounds. I’ll be working way more than 40 hrs a week. I will have to learn how to prioritize, focus, and learn to not leave my office every 30 minutes for a snack. I am really excited though because although I am not 100% sure where this blog will go from here, I know that I am finally working for myself… a dream that I always had. There were so many jobs I was rejected for after college but I am so thankful those never worked out.
I guess I’m just writing this all out so that 1) I can be more transparent, “real” about my life and 2) if you have a passion, work hard and stay consistent, good things will happen. I remember graduating from college and seeing everyone’s Facebook status say “I’m so excited to officially announce that I have accepted ____” or “have been accepted to ___ school” while I was getting “no” after “no” for any job or school I applied for. Turns out, I wasn’t meant to go to dental school. I wasn’t meant to be in pharmaceutical sales. If something isn’t working out for you, you can either keep trying (if you’re really passionate about it), or you can sit back and take a look at WHY you are wanting that job or that opportunity. If the why has anything to do with just financial reasons or status reasons you should probably think more about what it is you want to do.
You can expect new posts here every M, W, F until I get my schedule/routine down. Hope you’ll continue to visit! Thank you so much for taking the time to read any of my posts over the past 3.5 years.
31 thoughts on “New Life Update for the New Year”
Congratulations, Shelby!! I know this was a HUGE decision but I hope it is one you will continually be affirmed in. Cheering you on!
Thanks Lisa! We will have to meet up for coffee now that my schedule will be a bit more flexible!
Love this post. It’s always encouraging to see someone be this real and honest about their life and their experiences leading up to becoming a blogger full time. A huge congratulations to you, I’ve loved following your posts and it’s awesome you’re able to pursue this. Keep it up 😉
Thanks Kristine! I really appreciate you taking the time to read my posts! and so glad you found this to be encouraging!!
Yay yay yay!!! Congratulations Shelby! So incredibly happy for you. Can’t wait to see what this full time life brings to Pretty in the Pines and you!
xo Laura Leigh
Thanks so much, Laura! I’m so appreciative of each time you’ve taken the time to comment/read! It means a lot!!
Reading with smiles! So excited for you Shelbs! Now schedule a week in NYC!!!!
YES!!! A NYC trip needs to happen for sure. Thanks for the support, Maria! You’ve always been the most encouraging person!!
Shelby, this is fantastic news! I had no idea when I texted you this morning! I am so excited to follow along with your space! xx
Thanks Meghan! You were one of the first bloggers I met and I really appreciate the support from the very beginning!
Congratulations!! What a rewarding accomplishment. I’m so happy for you guys! Xo
Thanks, Stephanie! It definitely feels rewarding and I’m so excited for the change! Thanks so much for taking the time to read!
This is so exciting, friend! So happy for you!
Thanks for the support from Day 1, Zelle!! You’re the best!
Congratulations!! What an achievement. Excited to follow y’alls new journey!
Thanks, Morgan! I really appreciate you following along! xoxo
Shelby!! I am absolutely thrilled for you and oh so excited for this new FULL-TIME venture of yours! It’s so apparent that you were made to do this and you’re using your amazing so well. I know it’s been so much work, especially over the last year, and I’m so insanely proud of you for balancing all that life’s thrown at you… and with a smile on your face! You’re so inspiring, and I cannot wait to continue reading your blog. Sending tons of love and encouragement to you as you ease into this transition… and give yourself plenty of grace along the way! CONGRATS!!
Stephanie, thank you SO much for your constant encouragement and support. It means a lot to me! You are the best!
Congratulations! I love your style and look forward to watching what these changes bring for you!
Thank you so much for following along!! I’m excited for sure!
Congratulations on making a hard decision and following your dreams. It’s not cliche – it’s reality. You are inspiring many people including me!
Aw, thanks so much Lauren! Hope everything is going well for you and your family!
This is great – good luck!
Thanks, Natalie!! Hope you’re doing well!! xoxo
WOW! YOU INSPIRE ME! WHAT A FAB POST! YOUR HARD WORK IS PAYING OFF! I AM A FIRM BELIEVER THAT EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON SO YOUR POST IS SO SPOT ON! YOU KNOW I AM ALWAYS FOLLOWING ALONG! EXCITED TO SEE WHERE THIS NEW ADVENTURE WILL TAKE YOU! WISHING YOU ALL THE BEST ALWAYS <3
Thanks so much, Alex! YOU are inspiring! Hope you’re doing well!!
Ahhh I had a feeling this would be happening sometime soon- you & TJ seem to make such a great team! I’m sure you’re going to continue killing it in the blog world, proud of you girl!!
Please tell me that top in your original blog post is from the children’s department at Target… because I totally had it too! Haha love following along with you!
HAHAHA yes! It totally is! That top was so popular back then!