Changing Things Up a Bit

It's finally Friday! Is it just me, or was this week particularly long? It seems like my kids were messier, crankier, and hungrier than usual this week. Yeesh.

Anyway, I mentioned in Monday's Instagram post that I would be making an announcement today! Which, it's not really so much a big change as it is a few significant little ones.

So, what are these mysterious changes, you ask? 

Well, when I started this blog a few months ago, I knew the general subjects I wanted to write about, and I knew the vibe I wanted to give off. But other than 25-35 y/o women kind of like myself, I wasn't too sure on who I wanted to write for. And let's be honest, there are wayyyy too many "lifestyle for the modern/millennial woman" blogs out there. I mean, sure, 5 High Heels Every Woman Should Own might be helpful in some capacity, but is it really meaningful, or relatable? Not as much as I'd like.

So my goal over the last few months has been to provide fun content while figuring out my true "purpose," as it were. Of course I still want to provide lighthearted content, but I also want to provide things for you guys that really hit home and make you think, or make a difference in your life personally. So I started thinking...

Who am I? What expertise do I have?

And then it hit me: I have no fucking idea. I know who I was, back when I was 23 and newly married. When I was living in San Diego, my happy place, with the ocean just a short drive away if I needed to get out of the house or the office and clear my head. When I loved the outdoors and meeting new people and exploring new places. Or just sitting cozy on the beach with a good book.

But then we had baby number one, and we moved to Japan on military orders. And then we had baby number two. And I raised two babies half the time by myself while hubby was on deployments. And then we moved to Texas after the military, because it's affordable here, and my wonderful in-laws live here. And then we had baby number three (surprise!) after moving into our very first home, which was definitely not built to be baby-proofed. So I quit my part-time retail job and tried to run my side project/day dream clothing line while raising a baby. Which, even though I knew it would be hard, was wayyyyy harder than I thought.

Then, just before Christmas last year, I realized that I had been breaking down crying every other day because the kitchen was a mess, or because I stepped on the fiftieth Barbie shoe that day, or because we were going to be late to school AGAIN. I couldn't find the energy to do the dishes, but then I was upset with myself for not doing them. I would get upset because hubby went out with his friends, because I thought he was being inconsiderate, but really I was just jealous because I hadn't made any friends in this new city (even though the thought of going out and finding new friends stresses me the hell out). And then I hated myself for not having the strength to hold it all in, because my daughter would see me crying, and she would cry too.

After really thinking about it and understanding that this wasn't just a really bad, weird extension of my normal anxiety that I've been managing for so long, I realized that I had actual, real depression (I know, what a revelation!). So I went to the doctor and got help, and now I'm doing much better, and am much more stable (yay for Zoloft, haha). I also shut down my clothing brand because I realized that it was a huuuuge source of stress for me, and even though it was my (fourth) "baby," and I was disappointed to let it go, I was also incredibly relieved to do so. This is where The Artful Ambler came in.


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The reason I'm sharing this with you is not to throw a pity party, but to give you some background on where this blog is going. After thinking about this whole depression experience, and my life over the last 6 years since leaving my home state of California, I realized that part of the reason this depression was/is happening (I think) is because, in focusing so much on taking care of my family, I forgot to take care of myself as well. And I forgot to think about who I am as a person and as a woman, other than just being a mom. Although I love my babies and I love being a mother, and a wife to an absolutely amazing guy, that is not the entirety of who I am. After a lot of reflection, I'm figuring it out, but I still have a lot to discover. So far, I've found that I am a woman who:

  • is far from her Happy Place (on a surfboard, out past the break) and is working on finding her new, more feasible Happy Place.
  • dreams of exploring new places (including her own city).
  • loves the outdoors, and wants her kids to experience it more than they currently do.
  • appreciates our beautiful Earth and wants to take care of it more.
  • was a yoga skeptic and is now obsessed.
  • appreciates good food, whether she's cooking it or just eating it.
  • is trying to dress like the stylish woman she is at heart.
  • is a bookworm (although it takes about a month to read one).
  • is working on fighting her social anxiety and wants to make more friends.
  • dreams of hosting amazing parties.
  • is finally taking good care of her skin.
  • needs to SLOW DOWN and appreciate the time she has with her family.
  • needs music in her life all the time.

Okay, I know that's a lot to take in. And maybe a little melodramatic. BUT, I wanted to get that out so you guys can completely understand where I'm coming from, and maybe relate a little bit. So don't worry, you won't have to deal with this stuff all the time.


Now that we're done being gloomy, I'll get on to the fun stuff! I do have a few really fun things planned for the future, but for now, I want to talk about the changes that are coming like, now.

  1. A new look: Although I really love my current color scheme and branding, I think that it is a little saccharine and not quite indicative of who my readers are. This new look won't be completely different, but it will be a bit more mature and toned down.
     
  2. Less frequent, more detailed posts: You can expect 1-2 posts per week, depending on the content. With that, see change number 3...
     
  3. Old and New topics: I'll still be covering all the general topics that I have before, but I'll be focusing on making them more helpful with things to save you time or stress, so that you're able to focus on the meaningful things in your life more. Here's what's going to change or be added in:
  • Fashion: I'll still be doing OOTD posts, in addition to style-related tips and tricks. I also want to get into some of the big sales that are happening, so I can get you the scoop on super cute clothes at a decent price. I'm also going to try and keep up better with the "Shop My Insta" feature on the site, so you can scroll my Instagram feed and shop directly from there if you like one of my looks.
     
  • Wishlist Wednesdays: As much as I like doing these, I'll be removing them. I feel that they just don't offer the type of value I want to give you. However, if there is a product, or a sale or a new launch (like the Opalhouse collection), I'll be sure to give you the low-down on those.
     
  • Beauty: I'll still be doing beauty box reviews, as long as you guys want to see them! However, I'll probably be focusing more on skincare, and on natural/organic products and a natural look in regards to makeup (being that I'm getting older, and I don't have an hour and a half to spend getting ready).
     
  • Travel: Definitely will be posting more in terms of travel and family fun. And I don't mean I'm going to go to Morocco to ride a camel and sit by an elaborately-tiled pool like all these ridiculous travel bloggers (although that is totally on my bucket list). I want to take more day trips and explore more of my city and the areas around it. So if you're in Austin, hopefully I'll have some good tidbits for you in that area. We have tentative plans to take a day/weekend to San Antonio this fall to check out the Riverwalk, and maybe be super-touristy and visit The Alamo. Some other Austin spots on my list are Barton Springs, Mayfield Park, Mount Bonnell, and maybe a little tour of Downtown Austin or South Congress. We'll see what happens!
     
  • Food: This will remain pretty much the same. I'd like to offer occasional recipes and recipe round-up posts, along with some restaurant reviews. Feel free to shoot me a message if you're in Austin and have a particular place you'd like for me to review!
     
  • Home and Family: These will be key areas still, and I will be focusing on tips to help your everyday life run more smoothly (such as organization tips, or fun, free places to take the kids).
     
  • Living more eco-friendly: This is a goal that I set for our family awhile ago, and though we've been doing much better with things like recycling and watching our energy consumption, we are still a long way from where I'd like to be. Being on a pretty strict budget has made it more difficult to invest in brands that are eco-friendly, so I'd like to work on finding brands that are as budget-friendly as possible. I'm hoping to go zero-waste one of these days, but we are a looooong way from that, letmetellyou. In the mean time, I'm going to be exploring easy ways to gradually reduce our waste.
     
  • Mental health: I'm not going to make this a huge part of the blog, but I know there are a lot of people (especially women and moms my age) who suffer with anxiety and/or depression. So I'm hoping to offer my perspective on these, or share how I manage them/live with them, and hopefully it will be helpful for you.
     
  • Self-Care: I'm not totally concrete on my plan for this one yet, since self-care can mean different things to different people. But I'm thinking I will include my journey in yoga, as well as any products, services, etc., I might find that help with this. One of my favorite types of self-care is the beauty boxes I've been getting, so as I already mentioned, you can expect to see more of those! P.S.: I just signed up for FabFitFun, so I'll be reviewing that in late August or early September!

SO. Even though these aren't huge changes, they're an important step in where I feel I need to go with this blog both for you, dear reader, and for myself. I would like to offer you a good read that can help save you time, or stress, or just give you the knowledge that, no, you are not alone if you're a mom who feels like she's not living up to her full potential, or who just needs to stop for a minute and take care of herself. Most importantly, I'm looking forward to not only discovering and growing myself, but getting to know all of you better! Seriously, I'd love to chat! E-mail me here!

With all of that said, I'm going to be taking next week off from posting while I work on the website a little bit, but you can keep up with me on Instagram for some good stuff there, and I'll be sending out an e-mail when the new site is live on Monday, August 6. If you're not on the list, head over there now and sign up! Have a great weekend, and I'll catch ya on the flip side!

Much Love,

Michelle