I can’t believe it. I literally cannot believe I am sitting here writing this post!!!
Where to even begin, first of all, grab a coffee, sit back and relax, this may be a long one! 14 years ago on this day (June 2005), I step foot into a training class in Kansas City, MO on my way to be a Healthcare IT Consultant… my first real job out of college. I graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelors in Economics and a Minor in Statistics prior to that and this was the only job offer I got after countless interviews. Come to find out, my company did not require a Healthcare background, but essentially if you know how to use computers (which most college students did) and were personable (I would like to think I can hold a conversation) then that definitely helped.
I’ll have to tell you that my job honestly felt like going to College all over again. I met a whole new group of people, from all over the country, we learned together, we ate together, we drank together, we traveled together, we literally hung out in packs of 20-30 in the cafeteria at all times. I had a few friends from Umich that worked at the same company and occasionally on evenings I would hang out with them as well and one of them was actually roommates with Marvin, so that’s how we really met and started to hang out (well, technically we met in the company’s cafeteria on the day that I first came to interview for the job the January prior as Marvin had already been working there). Throughout my first few years at my corporate job, I learned all about the Pathology Lab, took on multiple clients at one time and soon enough was traveling every other week. I worked many 12 hour shifts, I worked night shifts, I never unpacked my suitcase, but I LOVED it. I loved traveling because of the perks of getting to see new cities. Many of the trips we worked 8AM – 5PM and the evening was ours. I’ve visited many big cities like New York and Chicago, as well as small cities like Hershey, PA and Minot, ND. But the most notable trips were the ones where I went to Egypt, multiple times. I got to ride a camel, see pyramids, eat all the hummus I wanted. We always traveled in groups and I’ve made so many great friends at the company. One of my friends sent me an Instant Message over work the other day and we were reminiscing about how we ate Lobsters and drank Limoncello in a restaurant in Maryland off the water and how beautiful it was. There have been so many good memories, I could cry thinking about all of them!
On the other hand, Marvin and I continued to hang out… and then before you knew it we started dating. 3 years later he proposed right when I got home from a work trip, and 6 months later we were married!? Why we planned such a fast wedding, I am not quite sure, but it worked out. And let me tell you, I LOVED the wedding planning process, I loved how creative I could be, but unfortunately Pinterest had not really picked up at that time, so we definitely did not have a Pinterest wedding, but it was still beautiful and amazing. We got married at the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan and honeymooned in Hawaii (we were supposed to go to Cabos San Lucas but Swine flu was a scare at that time)!
And then after we got married and wedding planning was over, I felt like I needed some creative outlet because I actually missed wedding planning, it was so fun! Over that Christmas, I was gifted a dSLR camera and I got a sewing machine. And then I remember over that break, I was like, I should start a blog to document all my sewing adventures and post my photography on the blog to allow others to help me grow / critique my photography. I remember distinctly sitting in Marvin’s parents kitchen going over blog names. I didn’t even really understand what the purpose of my blog would be but to share random things that I did on the side of my corporate job and family… let that sink in, things I do on the side… kind of like how ice cream is on the side “a la mode” next to an apple pie, and thus “Sandy a la Mode” was born in January 2010. It was my blog, a place to share all the things I do in my spare time, all the things I do for fun on the side.
I indeed shared sewing projects, but that ended quickly, sewing was not my forte. I shared photography and found a great community of others trying to learn the same thing. I shared recipes or more like my mediocre attempts to try other’s recipes (I would always source them of course)! A year later, I wrote my first fashion post about how I am NOT a fashion blogger, LOL!!! But then somehow, people liked seeing fashion posts, so I did more. And hello, the other meaning of “a la mode” means fashionable and trendy, so my blog name still fits with that! Fast forward 2 years and I got pregnant with our first son, Austin, and I felt like there was a lack of maternity fashion bloggers or good maternity clothes out there so I was on the hunt. I captured weekly pictures and made this fun collage of my belly and outfits! I have to say, my fashion has changed A LOT over the years ha!! It’s kind of embarrassing to look back at old outfits, but it’s also fun to see as well. And then after becoming a Mom, I definitely think my style changed and that was out of necessity and comfort, yet I still had a professional job.
At my corporate job, I was worried about being a new mom and traveling and they were very accommodating with that. I still took a few trips here and there, but it was not nearly as much as every other week, more like once or twice every other month! Fast forward a couple years and I got pregnant with baby number 2, Vivian! And then halfway through the pregnancy, Marvin got an offer to move to Salt Lake City, Utah. We dwelled on it for awhile and weren’t sure if we wanted to leave our friends in Kansas City and be a virtual associate, but obviously we ended up taking the opportunity and moved to SLC when I was 7 months pregnant! Initially, Marvin and I both worked in a hospital office setting and once that project ended, for the past few years, we have been working from home! Me in my cloffice and him in the basement man cave, ha! But all this while, I was running my blog, staying up super late at night writing blog posts, having Marvin take pictures of me on our driveway.
It wasn’t until we moved to Utah that I realized HOW MANY BLOGGERS were out there and I hired my first photographer to take pictures for me so I could take the burden off Marvin! OK, this is probably getting super long so thank you for sticking with me if you have made it this far. But basically over the past few years, juggling full-time job, mom responsibilities, wife duties, home tasks, all while my blog was growing and I was slowly making pretty decent money with it… IT’S A LOT TO HANDLE. Lots of sleep has been sacrificed over the years (sorry Mom!), and to be honest, at my corporate job, the possibilities for a virtual employee to grow were a bit limiting. I started to weigh the amount of money I was making with blogging along with what items brought my happiness… and finally made the decision to quit my corporate job, pretty much on the day after my 14 year anniversary!
So where to things go from here?? First of all, I wanted to say that I am quitting my corporate job to pursue my dream job, our circumstances with the kids will stay the same. My kids will go to school and daycare as they have been during the Summer and the school year. Blogging is a JOB, and it is NOT an easy job, even though it can look like “just taking pictures”, there is so much more to it. Previously though, the kids would oftentimes be the last ones to be picked up from daycare and I always had a ton of mom guilt about that. I am hoping that with just one job now, I will be able to pick up the kids a little bit earlier each day. We have plans to travel to visit family this Summer and I will have the flexibility of staying as long or little as I want. I can set my own schedule every day and work as little or long as I want! But, part of me is absolutely terrified for losing an entire salaried stable income. Blogging income varies SO much day to day and month to month, as with many self employment jobs, but it’s something I will need to get used to. We aren’t the best at budgeting, but we will need to suck it up and be better at it. I want to be more present with my kids and involved in their school work. I want to spend a few more minutes each day picking up the house. I want to go on more date nights with Marvin. I want to travel more as a family!
In general, you probably won’t see much change around here. But the reality for me, is that I have so many more hours in the day to work on the blog, complete projects and ideas that I have been wanting to do, and achieve goals I never thought would ever be possible. However, I know that I still need to continue to find ways to work more efficiently and effectively and still set a schedule because if I don’t, I literally could probably spend the entire day sitting on my bed watching Instagram stories. I’m still planning to do lots of try ons at our favorite stores, share how to style items multiple ways, I will bring you the best sales and deals so you can save money, I will share gift guides, I will share about honest real raw moments of motherhood, kid’s fashion and pretty much share our lives like I have been. And pretty much my livelihood here comes from YOU. It comes from all of your support through the years and into the future. THANK YOU for being here, for shopping through my links (I make a small commission on your purchases when you click on my affiliate links), for supporting me in this endeavor and my hope is that I am a resource to you in finding your own style, a style that can look high end and nice, but yet be affordable. I want to be here for women who are struggling to let their inner beauty shine through outwards, and help give them the confidence back that they deserve. So let’s do this, let’s make this DREAM JOB A REALITY!! I’m so ready for it and I hope you’ll continue along in this journey with me! 🙂