lessons learned | etc

my happy place in Florence

I realize I have been nonexistent over the past few months (and super spotty before that), so I wanted to start off by saying sorry, followed up with a thank you to all the awesome readers who wrote emails and kept me feeling encouraged. Honestly, your words were much needed and so appreciated. Before we start right back in the groove of things, let me catch you guys up on what’s been going on (grab some popcorn, this could take a while).

First and foremost (I feel like I’m starting an award acceptance speech and yes, I have one ready to rock just in case. You never know!), let’s dish about the blog (or lack there of). I’m just going to give it to you guys straight. I lost sight of myself and why I even started this blog, almost 2 years ago now. I started losing myself in the mix of the blog making money, getting likes, and growing viewership. I moved the blog from something I was passionate about to just doing things to chase down approval from strangers, so naturally, I burnt out and things became a chore versus exciting. Besides that, I didn’t really like who I was becoming. I felt like I was unappreciative, too focused on my appearance, material things, and totally not finding the joy in the ordinary (simply put, I got too big for my britches). I felt like a fraud writing the blog because I was feeling myself pull away from who I know I really am (a southern girl with a disney obsession, to start). I have made some massive changes in my life (phew!) while I’ve been absent (coming up on the list next) and I’m feeling like I’m coming out on the other side, hence, paperyrain is back baby!

Secondly, I don’t live in Chicago anymore. The last time I wrote, we were loving and living in Chicago, I had just left a dream job at Trunk Club and started to walk dogs part time. Here is the fine print of what was going on. After up rooting again from Texas to Chicago, where I honestly enjoyed being, but never felt at home, the same feelings moved with us. We LOVE Chicago and I will definitely be going back to visit, but for us, it just wasn’t home. We were getting tired of living in the high rise with our dogs, I was tired of wearing a winter coat (for what felt like the entire year), and I just missed the east coast (our actual home). Our friends and family are all in Virginia and the Carolinas (minus awesome friends we’ve made along the way) and it just really came to a head in Chicago that we were tired of missing out on so much and tired of moving, to be frank (or Allen…Couldn’t help myself). Not to mention, Trunk Club was uber difficult mentally. I don’t want to bad mouth the company because I met some of my very favorite gal pals there, along with tons of amazing, genuine acquaintances, but I am not sure I fit the mold there. I actually said that as I was leaving and although I heard what my boss said that “there is no type to fit into,” I just didn’t feel that way. The way I felt one day was: this is amazing!; with the next being: this is 100% high school and I’m not in the popular crowd. It just started to wear me down and honestly, I admire the girls who kill it there, because it isn’t easy to do (they all deserve medals). By the time I parted ways with Trunk Club, the urge to part ways with Chicago was lingering as well. I’m so lucky that I have a husband who loves me, too much honestly, so he started to work on a plan to get us home. So, guess where we are? North Carolina!! We bought a house in a rural neighborhood and are getting settled in (I hope to share some of this on the blog in the near future!). We feel at home, so we can finally throw away our moving boxes and start building long term roots (hello DIY projects for days on days!!)

Lastly, which kind of ties back in to the first one, I have been (and still am) working on myself and getting my focus back on whats important. Towards the end of our time in Texas, I was drinking too much, spending without any responsibility, and losing special people in my life because of my inability to make them feel as special as they were/are. I kind of started to spiral, so moving to Chicago and struggling with another move didn’t go well. I had to remove some toxicity from my life in forms of people (and to clarify, they weren’t necessarily toxic, we were just toxic together), habits, and thoughts, so it hasn’t been easy. I don’t blame any of those things though for losing myself, I just had a hard time and handled it horribly. The good news is, I am starting to feel like I am getting it under control (I’m starting to find my joy again).

You might think, why not write about it right?? Well, I never wrote about my struggles because this blog was suppose to be a ray of light, a reminder for myself and others who read it, that life is awesome. I felt torn and I burnt myself out by trying to put on a happy face through struggles (which is real life, so for the record, that’s allowed). Lesson learned. So moving forward, the tone will be a little different. Finding joy in the ordinary is still the focus, but just with the twists, turns, struggles, and hilarity that is real life.

After all this heavy stuff (I mean geez louise!), here are a few good things: My husband and I are going to church (Hope Community Church and if you live in the Raleigh,NC area, go, its awesome), which helps so much. I just feel renewed and we are just getting started. I’m excited to see where our spiritual journey will take us. We are 30 minutes from one of my best girl friends and 3ish hours from my family and other best friends. We live on almost an acre of land (so prepare yourself for gardening posts this spring) and our pups are happier than ever (no more elevators and snow booties).

I feel like my heart is full and I promise to remember its ok to be a unicorn in a sea of horses (even if the unicorn feels like her rainbow isn’t always perfectly shining). I also promise to be ok with horses not getting the whole unicorn thing.

Thanks for sticking with me and can’t wait to start sharing joy again!


P.S. I’m talking homemade Valentine’s cards on Wednesday! They won’t disappoint!


  1. Lynne says:

    Hugs, dear one.
    In a couple weeks I will be 64. (“could be your mom age or even older”). Growing into womanhood is a lifelong endeavor. Do not be hard on yourself.

    The world of fashion is driven and edgy. I quit the passion, the hype and the travel on our daughter’s first day of kindergarten, when my (female) boss wouldn’t give me the day off. ( I was 36).

    The very reason your blog caught my eye was your art and your passion for fashion. You remind me of the younger me . . . only way more talented in the art department.

    I miss my fashion career every day as I currently work in the medical field. I now style my grandchildren with designer finds from thrift stores. It’s a hobby I plan to grow in my retirement. My very first find was a Burberry ( kick a– ) khaki dress in a size 5 ! That find reeled my back in to styling and merchandising . . . and a rolling rack!

    I promise there will be much joy ahead as you channel your talent and passion towards your church, home, family and community.

    I am assuming that you , Matthew and all of Carolina are riding a wave of regional spirit as your team prepares for Super Bowl 50! We know the feeling as we are from the Pacific Northwest – Home of the Seahawks. Enjoy the ride!

    Can’t wait to see the first peek of your sweet rural Carolina home.

    PS. Do you follow Hey Natalie Jean? I love her because she lives on The Palouse, near Pullman and Washington State University where my kids went to school. She’s a kick!

    • paperyrain says:

      You are just such a joy and honestly, this blog has given me so much. A great example of this is connecting with you. Thank you so much for writing this and for reading. You are so special. Also, awesome find on the burberry coat. I need to start hunting, but for a size for me! haha!
      Thank you again! xoxo

  2. Debbie says:

    You are such a beautiful soul and I miss you terribly. I read your post this morning and you are so brave, authentic, and transparent. This is what life should be and we all have our moments (or months) where something overshadows our joy and it can be pretty overwhelming. I just wanted to reach out and say I love you…and I will give you your bill in Maui! lol, love you tons!

  3. Kelly Jo says:

    “Finding joy in the ordinary is still the focus, but just with the twists, turns, struggles, and hilarity that is real life”. Love that. Thanks for sharing the tough stuff, your blog has always helped me to feel not alone in the struggles that life brings. Happy that you are finding your way back to a more joyful, lighter place. It’s something I’ve been working on myself. Looking forward to more posts 🙂

    • paperyrain says:

      Yay, we can work on it together!! Sad we never got a chance to meet up when we were so close, but maybe one day!! Thank you so much for sticking with me, I always love catching up with you! Stay warm this winter and keep me posted if you need any encouragement, I’ll do the same with you ;). xoxo

  4. Jenna Plakut says:

    Welcome back! We have definitely missed you but I admire you more in your honesty and realness. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to your next adventures. Chicago will miss you but I know that North Carolina will be key to getting back to you. Best of luck!

  5. Michelle says:

    I love this post. So happy to see you back. I feel like I can relate to a lot of what you’ve been struggling with, and although I’m still figuring out how to get to that happier place, I appreciate reading what you’ve gone through and being reminded that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Best of luck to you and your husband!

    • paperyrain says:

      Thank you Michelle for commenting! Ya know, I think it is a never ending battle. Life seems like its smooth sailing then bam, something flies at you, but you are right, learning from others and leaning on them helps to see the positive. If I can do anything to help, please let me know. xoxo

  6. Hannah says:

    I am SO happy to see you back! I missed you! I love your honesty in this post. I most definitely connected with what you wrote (I haven’t been feeling like myself either!) and feel proud to be one of your long-time readers. 🙂 You always remind me that there is so much love and light in this world and I am incredibly lucky for the wonderful life I am leading. Can’t wait to read more!

    • paperyrain says:

      Hannah!! I have missed chatting with you too! I am so thankful you’ve been reading from the beginning too! I hope things have been awesome for you, so glad you commented! xoxoxo

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