24th Year: Make Yourself Proud

I was feeling a more personal post today so I hope that's alright...
(edited to add: my birthday isn't actually until friday, but thank you for the sweet birthday wishes already :P)
When I think back on the past 12 months of being 23, I feel like I've grown by leaps and bounds in terms of maturity (well, sometimes) and finding myself. I've always felt like I kind of knew what I wanted to be/do, but the past year has really solidified some of my life dreams. 

Last March I turned 23. I wrote a 23 before 24 list, half of it was silly, the other half semi-serious. Little did I know that so very very much of what was in store for me the following year wouldn't even make it's way to that paper. I had these ideas for myself, and Mike, that I didn't think we'd even touch on until a year or two down the road. Honeybean is a shining example of that. After being inspired by so many wonderful ladies and friends in so many cities, we decided to take the plunge. 2 weeks after the thought we had a business license, and 3 weeks later we had a full renovated camper. That was already almost 8 months ago! Just 3-4 months into my new list and I was already tackling bigger and better things. It's an awesome feeling.

Not only that, but we signed the lease to the loft on my birthday. What a birthday present that was! We lived there for almost 11 months and absolutely loved it. Then we took a chance on the other side of the river... We've only been here 6 weeks but we think it's so great. We love our little house, and we're making it into more of a home daily. Then there was Toby... oh my stars! This obviously is the most recent (and biggest!) adventure we've embarked on, and it's without a doubt been the most rewarding. It was like our priorities all of a sudden shifted when came into our lives. 

I tend to keep the "big important secrets" under wraps for a while, just to make sure they don't fall through before speaking publicly about them. But because I've found so few women who are willing to share their journey, failures and successes, with a small business, I wanted to try and speak about mine. We've been looking at brick and mortar spaces the past little while. A few "oh we're interested in hearing more" phone calls made, and a much more serious one as of late. We found a space... nearby our home and a great size for starting out. The price and situation seem great, too. The only thing we're not sure of: the location is ~eh, even though it has 30,000 cars passing by daily (!!!), and the "Are we ready?!" freak out. I thought by having Honeybean it'd help satisfy the need for a storefront. It'd give us a few years to get things ready and to plan... but it's done the exact opposite. It's made me realize how much I loved owning my own business and it makes me eager to move on to bigger and better things (all the while keeping the 'bean of course!)

We've talked with some friends and showed them the space. We've gone over it in our heads, and aloud. We've weighed the pros and cons and when we still couldn't really make a decision, we decided to re-prioritize yet again. I honestly do feel so incredibly lucky to be in the situation I'm in. To have a partner who is as interested in making this a "family business" as I am, and to have all of you to share this journey with. While our initial thought process was to put our money toward opening up a brick and mortar, then think about buying a house, we're thinking we may flip that. Or at the very least take baby steps. We won't be signing anything for that space soon, but to know that we're at that point... the looking and planning... man, it's terrifying!
One of the things I find so alarming about the blog world is how "effortless" everything seems. The perfect life, the perfect babies, the perfect jobs and opportunities that fall into laps. Life isn't like that. No matter how much we try to sugarcoat it to make it seem like a fairytale, there are real struggles there. Daily ones. I know I mentioned a handful of posts ago that I find it so disheartening that there are so many women out there that refuse to speak openly (and honestly) about their journeys. Even privately! It seems as so many just want to keep their secret locked away so they're the only ones who are successful. Maybe it's a little naive of me to think of blogging as a community, because I'll gladly be the first to admit that not everyone is nice. But to be fair, building a business from the ground up isn't something that happens overnight and it's not something that everyone can get lucky on. It takes planning and budgeting and maybe even sobbing here and there. It's a little bit bigger than just starting a blog. The idea that you can "wish" your way into a successful business is kind of foolish. And maybe I'm just slightly bitter that there are women out there who operate under the 'guise of "helping you" and "teaching you what they know" because it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize who is self-motivated and who isn't. Of course this isn't meant to point any fingers (and if you think it's about you then you should have talk with yourself), because it's about no one specific. Just the general air of blogging and owning a business. 

I've found so much support from so many ladies through blogging. Vanessa of Wanderlust, Punky from Haberdash, and even some rad ladies here in Nashville. The girls at Old Made Good here in Nashville made a great point: "Commerce breeds commerce." I feel like the stinky air of competition drowns out so many potential partnerships and friendships. That can be even said for just blogging! Stop competing so much and just make friends! 
Anyway, I've gone on a tangent! That wasn't my intention! I guess my whole point was to say that I have big plans for 24. For me, for our family, for our business. Whether they all come to fruition or not is something to discuss in 52 weeks, but it won't be for lack of trying. I have to constantly remind myself that it's okay to start small. You don't necessarily have to throw yourself overboard to be successful. Businesses take time to build. And I'm slowly but surely learning some patience. The motto for my 24th year starting Friday: "Make yourself proud." That's the plan! And we're moving in the right direction!

What have you done to make yourself proud?

( 1 // 2 // 3 )


  1. You have accomplished so much Kaelah!!
    I can't wait to read about all the adventures you embark upon during your 24th year!!

  2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! My birthday is on Friday and I think I am going to adapt your motto in my new year as well.. Thank you for continuing to inspire me :)

    Lots of love to my fellow Aries...


  3. Happy birthday. It looks like you have a lot to be excited about. I mean, you have this amazing successful blog at only the age of 24? That's awesome! =)

    - Sarah
    A Girl In Transit

  4. how exciting!!! (: HAPPY BIRTHDAY YOU SWEET GIRLL!! <3

  5. thank you... THANK YOU for acknowledging that everything in the blog world is not effortless. it's something i've been thinking a lot about lately, and have started to write a post about it. everyone only presents the good side of themselves, and it's really easy to think that they're living the perfect life and you're not.

    anyway... happy birthday, kaelah! have a most beautiful day :)

  6. aw such a lovely inspiring post :)x


  7. A. Happy Early Birthday

    B. I love OMG!

    C. So excited for you to open a shop in our neighborhood!

  8. GO FOR IT! Happy Birthday - I just turned 23 and started an Event Planning Business on Long Island. I can so relate - this is my business motto 'Even if you fall on your face, you're still going forward'

  9. I totally forget how old you are because of all the things you've accomplished in your life and are embarking on now is amazing and inspiring! I also appreciate that you are willing to share your life's ups as well as downs because that's how life is! I'd much rather read about successes and failures rather than constant success and the illusion of leading a perfect life. It's a good learning experience for us to see the true struggles of a young entrepreneur and what goes into making a business succesful. I want to know the truth, damnit lol. And side-note: I realized that you are 1 year younger than my "little" sister so I'm like, whaaaa? This girl has her stuff together :) happy early birthday <3

  10. I love your mindset, and wish you the very best :)

  11. woot woot! love this post. I have wanted the be a grown up so badly since I was a little little girl. At age 8 I would read about child prodigies who could paint these masterful paintings and sell them for millions of dollars and I would beat myself up thinking, why aren't you doing that? Why aren't you perfect and incredibly talented?

    SO ridiculous for a kid to be beating themselves up over! But it's that spirit of always wanting to be better, improving, making new things, constant creation that drove me to start my own business. The only thing that I really reaaaally get sad about sometimes, you know the occasional bawling, is that I just don't have enough money and time to create the things I want to create to change my business into what I see in my head. I have to always keep myself in check remembering I shouldn't focus on "wanting what I don't have" but instead think in the mindset of "I have great dreams and as long as I keep working away at it, I can slowly achieve each dream, one by one over my lifetime."

    It's hard not being able to do everything at once! And you are right, the blogging community sometimes feels like everyone else is so easily able to do everything, be a mom, run her own business, buy everything she ever wanted, make a home that is perfect, travel blablabla. I get sad sometimes knowing I wont get married for at least a couple of years, I just have a tiny work space in my dining room to run my business out of. I struggle to pay all my bills every single month. I don't "have it all." BUT I know that when I do accomplish goals, I can look back and think, "Damn Moorea. Look where you have come from. I'm proud of me." How BORING would it be if we didn't have to struggle for things? Struggle encourages you to build strength, courage, faith in yourself no matter what, humility, passion, and all things good :) The process is hard, but only good can come of it as you pursue positivity along your life journey.

    I'm so proud of you for what you have accomplished this past year Kaelah. I am amazed at your tenacity and strength, balancing being a new momma in a new home with a young business and doing freelance. Its a shit ton of work and you are an inspiration.

    Lots of love.
    xo Moorea

    1. Moorea, reading this from someone like you (e.g. someone who's work and inspiration I really admire) is such a ray of sunshine. Thanks for your honesty! ;o)

  12. really great post. there are so many amazing things happening for you (and you are MAKING them happen!) i love that you are so open about it, because i know a lot of people, (including me) tend to wait around for something to fall into our laps instead of really striving for it. pretty inspring for SURE.

    AND since I'm in nashville too, if you guys want a real estate reference, i'll send you the guy who helped us buy our house. he is someone we've known for a long time and has been in the business for years and years. what was really helpful is he is also a contractor, so he was really able to look at more fizer upper houses (which were more in our price range) and give us a realistic idea of what it would take and cost to fix it. it was a really great experience. just throwing that out there. :)

  13. Loved reading this :) I love your blog for one main reason (amongst many others of course!) - though you continue to build your business and succeed, you haven't stopped being real and personal and honest. It's refreshing :)

    I love making friends out of blogging - it is honestly such an amazing to forge these strange blogger friendships with people sending sweet tweets, or emails, just to say hi or asking me to guest post or to swap buttons and then chatting a bit after :) It's so sweet and it's one of my favourite things about blogging :)


  14. I'll be graduating as a journalist in the summer after all the work I've done in the past year. It's just fingers crossed for my exams now! x

  15. Thanks so much for posting this. I struggle so much with wanting to have a successful blog, but then wondering what "successful" is supposed to even mean! I try to focus on just using my blog as a space to share my passions and things that I love, and if people want to read it, then that is amazing! Sometimes we all need a little reminder about this.

  16. I loved this post. It was real, and honestly super positive in all the right ways!

    I was making myself a 24 before 25 list (my birthday is next month) and I kept thinking these are all such silly little goals. I want to accomplish a lot next year but I am not sure I can write those goals down.

    thank you for sharing! always a pleasure

    P.s. I think you should check out this girl's blog
    I love her stuff!! I think you would too, she's super positive!!


  17. "I tend to keep the "big important secrets" under wraps for a while, just to make sure they don't fall through before speaking publicly about them." I'm the exact same way!!

    I wish you all the best. I love seeing people succeed, whatever it is they define as success.

    I do agree that a lot of bloggers make it seem so effortless.

  18. I really love how candid and honest and positive and realistic you are. It is refreshing! That is something you should be proud of.

  19. As usual, great simple, yet touching post, that you ever so much for being to sincere. thanks. xx
    Alice Barton ♥ The Mow Way

  20. You're so right, one can sometimes get a bit dissapointed with people on the internet... I guess for people who have successful blogs, it's hard te stay friendly with all the many people who want a bit of their time and attention, and for people with smaller blogs it's hard not to get jealous of the ones who seem to attract an audience so effortlessly... we just have to remind ourselves again and again that the greatest thing about this community is that it has te potential to be exactly that: a community. And that's what we should strive for!
    Hope you'll have a very happy birthday and all the best with your big plans!!
    yaga @Shiny Bubbles

  21. This was so inspiring to read. I really appreciate how open and honest you are about blogging. I've recently started blogging and I've already slipped into a rut of sugarcoating everything and being happy and bouncy, when really that's not quite who I am. Thank you for reminding me that it's okay to be real on my blog. Happy birthday! I'm excited to read about your adventures and plans this year, and your outfits too, of course. :)

    Et tu, tutu?

  22. When I graduated school I couldn't find a job in the arts, or an office, or anywhere. I was showing my my art in a lot of group shows (still am), but not making hardly any money to speak of.

    However I kept blogging despite feeling sad, and cranked up my art production dial. Somehow "overnight" (we know that term isn't quite literal/ true) I started to garner attention. And now I can at least feed myself.

    So i'm extremely proud for sticking to my guns and building my own dream life. <3 That's what i accomplished this 23rd year! 24 won't know what hit it! (Thanks for sharing!)

  23. Kaelah,
    Thanks so much for being so open and honest about what's going on in your life, even the not-so-good stuff! It really is refreshing to read, especially when most bloggers don't go in to the deeper stuff and their lives seem so perfect! I read your blog pretty much daily and I appreciate how much you share with your readers. I feel like I know you! I also feel like we'd be BFFs in real life! So know that you are appreciated! I'm turning 25 next month and am freaking out a bit! Happy Bday and know you have a friend here in Austin:)


  24. You hear that? Its a slow clap building to a standing ovation. Blogging/bloggers often make life seem so perfect. That just can't be. I am trying to figure it out myself. I don't want to be a bummer but I also don't want to be phony. I'm *so* glad you touched on that.

    Owning your own business is HARD. lol I am in month #7 now and jeez Louise. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. But I love it and won't give up! I think you are doing fricking amazing, young lady! I hope the next year is everything you've dreamed.

  25. I love this post! I think your work and your journey is so inspiring! I hope all goes well and I wish you the best of luck!
    p.s. we almost have the same birthday! (mine is saturday) Happy Birthday!


  26. this post was awesome.
    I do see people being very sugary and sweet about their "perfect" lives, but sharing the frustrations and fears can bring everyone together!!!

    even though i'm very new at blogging, mothering, and am trying to get a very small business going, i am a firm believer in supporting people like me.

    doing what you love is about being honest with yourself, as well as with other people.

    good freaking job at being completely honest with EVERYONE who loves your blog.


  27. ps- i'm very happy to hear that you've achieved so many goals! and happy birthday <3

  28. Happy (early) birthday! This is a wonderful post. Congratulations on all your accomplishments this past year- your honesty is so cool and your excitement so infectious. :)

  29. This is such an inspiring post. My birthday is tomorrow, too, and I wanted to write a post about my last year too and this has really inspired me. My 21st year hasn't been great, through a lot of things that weren't my fault, but I really hope my 22nd year is better.
    I am so so excited for your future with the shop and with mike and toby. I love reading your blog and hearing about your life. I personally hate those bloggers who pretend their lives are sunshine and rainbows, and follow the mentality that people want to read your blog to feel good. I want to know about real people. I want to hear the good and the bad.
    Have a lovely birthday tomorrow :D

    Charlotte x

  30. Such a beautiful post. I have just entered the blogging world and am starting to create a business plan for my dream. Your blog is such an inspiring read and I cannot wait to read it for another 365 days! Happy Birthday for tomorrow and I hope the coming year brings you incredible happiness and memories.
    Lindsay xx


  31. loved this post! i have to say, from what you share with your followers it is very clear how much change has come into your lives this past year. it always seems like you take it with a smile and a can-do attitude! as an outsider looking in you seem like someone who can definitely accomplish all you set your mind to. keep thinking positively and looking toward the future. i'm sure you'll continue to make yourself proud this next year and happy early birthday!

    life spelled jen

  32. Happy Early Birthday!

    And as for the heart of this post, i agree, people should stop competing and just make friends. I see this in all aspects of my life - work, friends, and even bloggers. It really is crazy that even online people are rude and have their cliques or won't even tweet or email you back because you're not "popular" (again, not referring to anyone in specifics, just sayin'). Life isn't perfect and i know people want to keep things positive in their blogs but they shouldn't also act like nothing bad happens. We should all come together and celebrate our differences, not just pick and choose who we want out of popularity or who has the most followers. Anyhow. I'm excited to see what adventures you go on in the future!

  33. Happy Early Birthday!

    And as for the heart of this post, i agree, people should stop competing and just make friends. I see this in all aspects of my life - work, friends, and even bloggers. It really is crazy that even online people are rude and have their cliques or won't even tweet or email you back because you're not "popular" (again, not referring to anyone in specifics, just sayin'). Life isn't perfect and i know people want to keep things positive in their blogs but they shouldn't also act like nothing bad happens. We should all come together and celebrate our differences, not just pick and choose who we want out of popularity or who has the most followers. Anyhow. I'm excited to see what adventures you go on in the future!

  34. I love this post so much. It seriously, seriously inspired me. You make me want to push myself to open up more in my writing. I've had difficulty really finding my "voice" since I started blogging, and it's posts like these that make me realize what I really want to aim for: openness and honesty. It's why you've always been one of my favorite bloggers. You make honest writing seem so effortless, which it what it SHOULD be.

    I could NOT be more excited for you and your brick and mortar. You inspire me to follow my dreams, even if they're off the beaten path.

    Thanks for being so awesome.

  35. Whoa! I will also be turning 24 on the 30th of March!
    Should I ask my parents if there was a twin that got stolen?
    I love your new motto. I could use one, too.
    Here's to a great 24th year for both of us!

  36. Thanks for being so honest, it is refreshing! I'm new to this blogging/own business scene, though I've been in the creative industry for a while now. People are so precious about their work, they WILL NOT collaborate with anyone for fear of having their idea stolen or perhaps revealing their insecurities or something. I've found it very frustrating, but when you find the 'right' people, it works well. It would be nice if we could all be free and sharing with our ideas and time (not only in creative projects, but life in general)

    Lovely to find someone with the same attitude!

    Kitty x

  37. This is great Kaelah. You hit the nail on the head about how some people just won't open up, like they are afraid you will take their ideas and run, or become bigger and better, and I will be the 1st to admit, I've had that mentality in the past, being petrified to share my hopes and dreams for fear someone would beat me to it. BUT, you know what? I have found its okay to have the same hopes and dreams, and that its so much more fun to conquer them with others that share them with you! Rock on for 24!! It's going to be a great year for you. You are getting married!! EEE! Happy Birthday sweet friend!

  38. How exciting! I hope a brick and mortar shop works out fo you - that would be so amazing! <3

    I'll keep you and my family in my prayers. :D

  39. Kaelah! I read this post and diiiied because it's exactly the kind of encouragement I've been looking for. I'm new to the blogworld, and reading about others' hopes and successes, as well as your wisdom about the reality of blogging really stuck with me...so much so that I included it in last week's Things Thursday post! I adore your blog and your fearless style. Happy belated lady!

    PS here's the link to the post if you wanted to check it out: http://onetwothreepeaceful.blogspot.com/2012/04/this-that-other.html

  40. I just saw this post and I want to offer some encouragement! Working towards your dreams is tough, but it's worth it in the end. You know i love you lady! Can't wait to see how this develops...


HEY! Thanks for dropping by. xo KB