1/22/18

Zip Up Sweater + Letting Go

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I'm not sure if it's the same where you live, but all the stores here are filled with spring clothes and bathing suits for vacationers...and we're one month into winter. I know our winter weather is mild, but we relish legit sweater weather here so I'm in no rush to buy a bathing suit any time soon! My sweater in today's casual, mom-on-the-go outfit is most definitely winter-weight. For colder climates I'm sure you'll want a long sleeve tee or turtleneck underneath, but I just grabbed a basic tank and was good to go.

Outfit Details: 
This sweater adds to my growing collection of pieces from PattyBoutik on Amazon. This is becoming my go-to brand for quality pieces at a reasonable price (usually under $50). They're not as cheap as some of the budget items I've shared from Amazon, but they are consistently much better quality. Generally PattyBoutik items run pretty small, but I'm wearing a Small in this sweater and it's a little less fitted than the other Smalls I've ordered. I think if your normal size is available you won't need to size up, but if you're an XS the Small will be fine. This comes in several other colors and my first choice was actually black or grey, but I pushed myself to switch up. I like wearing navy blue (I think it's pretty flattering on me), but I have a harder time styling it. Ultimately I decided that for a comfortable, casual item like this, I don't need a lot of ways to wear it. I just need one way to wear it so I can throw it on and go when I'm in a hurry!


The only other current item (aside from jewelry) I'm wearing are these jeans, which are my current favorites for a lighter wash. I think the distressing looks just a bit different (higher up on the leg maybe?) in the stock photo than they do on me, but they are the exact pair I ordered. They ran true to size for me, and as usual I took the short length, which consistently works best in Express Jeans for my 5'4" height. 

Monday Motivation: Personal Growth
On January 1 I kicked off the 2018 edition of my Monday Motivation series and outlined the four key areas I'm focusing on for the year. I promised to go into more detail on each area in subsequent weeks, and now we're on week three. For January I'm following the order I listed in the original post: Time Management (discussed here), Relationships (here), Personal Growth, and finally Health & Fitness.

This week we're on the topic of Personal Growth, and something that keeps coming up in my life lately is that sometimes growing in one area requires letting go in another area. "Letting go" sounds like it should be an easy act...the opposite of "holding on" which requires strength and effort. But  usually it's not easy to let go! It often requires a lot more mental work for me to let go of something than it does to just keep holding on. This is particularly true if it's a goal I set at one time and I've already invested time, effort, and even money towards it. It doesn't really feel good to think I'm just throwing it all away, but sometimes after some objective reflection it becomes clear that it's the right thing to do. (If you need some help in making a hold on/let go decision I really enjoyed this article on the subject.)

This year, there are a few things I'm letting go. For one reason or another, these are things I think are holding me back from being my best, happiest self. Or they're taking too much energy or time from other things I truly value most in life. For this post, I'm talking mainly about blog-related things since these are the ones that are visible to you all as readers.

First on the "letting go" front is Social Media. I'm not dropping out of it or canceling my accounts, but I'm letting go of any social media growth objectives. It used to be a bit easier to just post content on social media and have your account grow organically, but any blogger will tell you the game has changed and it takes a lot more time and effort to grow. Through the various books and articles I've read, I've come to understand that Instagram and Facebook want people to spend as much time as possible on their platforms each and every day. And to that end they need content providers who contribute as much as content as possible to keeping everyone else checking in there all day. That kind of participation is rewarded with increased visibility, and casual participation is effectively "punished." A daily outfit post is just not enough anymore. I've had to just let go of expecting growth or the same level of engagement as bloggers who post 2-3 full outfit pictures a day and keep their front-facing camera on all day as they narrate every trip to Target, every mess their child makes, and the 452 things they tried on at LOFT this week. This is not meant to be judgment of people who post that much content, because if it makes them happy, then who am I to tell them what to post? They're lucky to have found a platform that is conducive to their lifestyle. I can only say that for myself, it does not make me happy to spend all day on my phone or give me the blog-life balance or privacy level that I prefer. So I can only choose how much time I'm willing to spend there, then let go of the expectation of growth or any other return (be it likes, follows, sponsorships, etc.) on those platforms.

Last year, I worked on getting a Facebook page set up for my blog, in part because I wanted to be able to use the "Swipe Up" feature on Instagram Stories. But I also started the page because I've had so many blogger friends tell me it's a really good tool for growth and engagement on their blog, so I thought it was something I "needed" to do. Well, after a couple of months of struggling to find the time or motivation to maintain it, I've finally decided it's just something I need to let go. The page is still there, but I'm not planning to post content there. While it may hurt my blog opportunities by not being there (e.g. there are quite a few brand collaborations that require a Facebook post), I'm protecting my time and probably my sanity by not being there, and those are more important to me than being a Top Blogger.

There are couple of other things I'm letting go of this year on the blog front and in other areas, but since this post ended up with a social media focus I'll leave it at that and save the rest for later. And of course, I'd love to hear from you! Do you have anything you need to let go of in 2018 for your own personal growth? Do you find it challenging or do you have some good strategies for keeping yourself on track? Let me know in the comments below!


Linking up with: Rachelle | CaryleeJoLynne | Laura | Lindsey

CONVERSATION

20 comments:

  1. Love your sweater, I checked that store and they really have some cute stuff. I didn't formally think about it but this year I kinda gave on growth and numbers as well. I post the pics that I have and I have zero interest on sharing my every single move on ig story. The only thing I do for facebook is share my new posts there, that's easy enough. The space that I care for the most is my actual blog, and the newsletter too.

    xo
    Pinksole

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    1. I think it's great that you've found a balance that works so well for you. I love your newsletter and I would still really love to do a newsletter too, but I am afraid it will take more time than I think...and where would I cut back to come up with that time anyway? Always a balancing act!

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  2. This was so interesting to read and echos a decision I made a while back. At one point I decided I wanted to try to play the blogging and social media game. But then it did seem like the rules changed and to do so meant having to be on there constantly. I admit I love some Instagram stories, from a viewer's perspective, and I appreciate some of the creativity and effort others put forth, but I just play the game. I hope you stay on though. You're still one of my favorites.

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    1. Thanks so much Megan! And I agree about stories - they can be so entertaining. They're the new reality TV! I do think they're a great addition to Instagram, and obviously VERY effective at keeping us hooked and spending more time on that platform! But there's just no way I can (or want to compete) with the amount of content some people are putting out there every day! I still want to stay...just kind of playing by my own rules of the game and letting the results fall where they may.

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  3. Great thoughts Gina! I'm glad you are deciding what's best for you and letting go of the rest! I had to do the same thing with instagram. As you know I hardly post there and don't do any style challenges. I had to decide where to put my focus and do one thing in social media pretty well. I went with Facebook for my real estate business. I miss the IG style challenges and my IG friends but I peek in from time to time and enjoy following your blog! I wish you an amazing and transformative 2018!

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    1. Hey Kathy! Thanks for taking the time to comment! I do miss seeing you on Insta but completely understand and respect your decision! Hope 2018 is a great year for you as well!

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  4. First of all I love that sweater--it looks so cozy and I love the navy blue and the texture of the fabric. I will have to check out that shop on Amazon!

    I totally identify with what you're saying here about letting go. I can let go of things (usually) fairly easily, but letting go of expectations I have for myself? That is HARD. I'm a list maker and have a hard time allowing myself to deviate from the list or not do something... it's ridiculous. Since having my second child a little over a year ago, I pretty much let go of social media expectations. I'm sure my growth has suffered, but I just stopped caring. I now put some effort into Instagram, but it's because I enjoy it (and my effort is really very minimal--I don't have a gazillion followers so I just have fun) but everywhere else I don't do much. It can take over your life if you let it!!

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    1. I totally agree with what you said about expectations we set for ourselves! Crazy how much pressure and power we can give those. And yes, sometimes major life events are a great reality check that force some correction or analysis of how we spend our time!

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  5. That sweater is really cute, and I love you in blue! It looks pretty against your blonde hair :)

    I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but I am right there with you on social media. It’s all more exhausting than it is fun. I really hate the new algorithm on insta and I have decided after feeling bad about my content this last year that it’s not good for me mentally to be so obsessive about every like I get or every comment. I refuse to spend my life on an app instead of enjoying the company I’m with! Good for you Gina for standing your ground on this! I think most people are fed up with it all too!

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    1. If you haven't watched the Nosedive Episode of The Black Mirror on Netflix, I think you would really enjoy it. It lost my interest a bit at the end but the first 30 minutes or so were worth my time and good food for thought!

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  6. Well you know where my thoughts are on this! Yes. There are things I definitely need to let go for my own sanity. Even just last week. The second I decided to let the blog go and just lay in bed to recover— not even worrying about posting to say I’m sick- was such a relief off my shoulders. I will have to continue to learn what rewards me and what I can do without this year. I know you and Rachelle suggested I let my hair go! Ha! The struggle I have with this is that I feel like I’m one of the only people who does truly change their hair as much as their outfits! So giving that up means I’m giving up one of the things that sets me apart from the other 5989275 bloggers. Even if I’m the only one to notice. But never say never! We will see how 2018 shapes up!!!
    Caryl | http://morepiecesofme.com

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    1. Ha, we had to talk about this offline but I don't think you should let your hair go, per se! But I think you can find a happy medium of variety...it just might be four hairstyles in a month vs. four different hairstyles in a week!

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  7. As someone who lives in a place where winter is long and pretty harsh, it's frustrating to see all the spring clothing in stores! I know I won't be able to wear it until May and for now all I want are cozy sweaters. That zip up sweater is really cute! I love the variegated yarn!

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    1. Well now I have to look up variegated yarn! I had not heard that term - thanks for the lesson!

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  8. That hoodie is so cute!!
    https://sugarcoatedbears.blogspot.com/

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  9. Love your thoughts on letting go. It really is true sometimes it is much harder. I have a "real" job so being on IG at all hours of the day isn't an option and I found myself being so stressed over it. I really, really want the swipe up feature but dang...at what cost?!!

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    1. You know, that's the very simple truth of if, Shelly! It will cost you (or anyone who wants to grow on that platform!). It cost everyone who got to 10K and beyond one way or another. Whether someone spent the money on clothes and professional photographers to create a certain look for their feed, or whether they spent thousands of hours constantly posting and engaging on the app. I did lots of giveaways for awhile and those are not cheap either! Looking back I would say it was worth it to get to 10k (swipe up is handy and an effective way to get people over to the blog), but beyond that...not so much. Other people may have different opinions based on their experience but that's just mine. :)

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  10. I totally am on the same page. I love blogging and sharing my style and hopefully inspire some other person to try something new, but I am not willing to give up my kiddos or hubby or life in the process. It's just not me either. I love finding people who are experiencing the same kinds of feelings. It lets me know I'm not alone.

    http://www.mylittlenest.org

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    1. You are definitely not alone! And yes, having kids is a big factor for me in wanting to limit my social media time. I don't allow them to spend unlimited time on technology/devices so I have to set that example myself. I also simply just don't want them to remember me as a mom who ALWAYS had her face to her phone. I want them to know that they plenty of my undivided attention.

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