Saturday, January 12, 2013
2012 Lookback + Resolutions
I'm getting down and dirty with you guys, gloves are off, sleeves rolled up. This thing is WAY longer than I expected but I feel like I'm being a fraud not being open with you readers, if anyone still reads this silly little thing.
2012 was a very ups-and-downs year for me, in so many aspects of my life. For some of the best, it brought to me a sewing machine, my first collaborations, jewelry making, being blessed enough to have my looks hit the front page on Lookbook (ironically enough, just after Madeline @ Jean Greige featured me on "Lookbookers You Probably Won't Find on the Hot Page" -- I see your reverse psychology/voodoo magic there, Mad) and some of the most heart-stopping and creatively inspiring trends I've have seen thus far.
The not-great events are ones I am loathe to address; I hate dwelling over such things if it's not beneficial, and a lot of things fell out of my control in the last year, but bottling them up can only be more poisonous. The only "lessons" I learned were that I need to try to be consistent and to continue to exercise effort, to try to make time for myself, and perhaps to find some therapeutic ways of keeping calm. I at times specifically avoided the blog out of pure pressure. Shopping trips became torturous because I have put so much time into this project of mine, and when picking out clothes to purchase I started asking myself, "is this blog worthy?"
I think one of the biggest culprits was money. I worked so hard this year, worked so many hours at the baleful minimum wage entry level job that I currently have, and I couldn't bear to spend that cash that I busted my bones to acquire on something "mild" for showcasing. When shopping, it felt wasteful, and I felt this invisible chain begin to sprout within my brainspace from the abstract idea and memory titled "Blog" that somehow leeched out of my head and had slithered its way around my ankle. Every shopping trip, every article of clothing I considered, I felt that little misfit tugging at my ankle. "But is it good enough?"
The other culprit was blog sponsorships -- and don't get me wrong, I love sponsorships...but I hate the pressure. Deadlines are bad enough (I swear, they make me just want to procrastinate MORE and my life has been one giant snowball rolling down a never-ending mountain that I can never stop long enough to take photos in a timely fashion) but when I post a look with a sponsored piece of clothing and it makes little or no impression on my peers, I feel like I failed the company nice enough to humour me and this dinky little blog. They are running a business, they are spending money sending me things to wear in the hopes that I will generate traffic and sales for them. It isn't just some event that happens when a brand pops up and says, "hey you're awesome lets shower you in things, no strings attached" like you won the lottery. It's a cooperation, a business deal. I'm actually trying to figure out how to write this email to ROMWE asking them to cut me off -- because I just feel too much like shit taking their money and not making it all back for them. I don't even enjoy receiving their items anymore, I just feel like I'm robbing them. (That and I feel like I'm blogging for UO or something, because I'm a little torn about ROMWE's products; I saw them directly ripping off a product from UNIF and since then I've felt a little less than trusting of them.) Sometimes I'm terrified to accept sponsorships, because my brain just screams, "but what if we're not good enough? What if the outfit sucks?" I won't name names, but one sponsorship I did this past year didn't even respond after I modeled their product, never mentioned me on any social networking platform, pretty much acted like I didn't exist. WHAT a blow to the Self Esteem Department, let me tell you.
My blocks of absence and lack of productivity were when I had thrown my hands up and cried, "I've had it." I needed something else to focus on...and I can't say I don't regret some of the alternative hobbies that I picked, only because for some, I just ended up wasting my time sitting at a computer feeling the same anxiety and pressure over something entirely different, and at that point, if I was just going to stare blankly with puffy, tired eyes forcing myself to write, I should have just done that for my blog.
I need a new approach to blogging. I feel like just posting pictures of myself simply won't cut it for a good blog. What is a "good blog"? Is there some fool-proof formula to follow? Popular trends, outfit photos, Instagram collages, Polyvore sets, macarons? Any ol' dog can play those tricks.
But my blog isn't some paid commercial advertisement. (Another reason why I hope to leave ROMWE's sponsorship. I hate to give too many deets but here on the lower end of the totem, bloggers aren't given monthy limits of items but now have to blog advertisements for store credit and that's just not what my blog is for. Not that I think I deserve more money or something for nothing, but it feels just slightly too skeezy for me.)
I'm not a "resolutions" kind of person -- not in the sense that I don't wish to better myself, but instead I want to look back and see what I can do better now with the benefit of hindsight. Still, putting stuff into a bullet list never hurts:
→ Diverse content for the blog
I should blog about more than just what clothes I put on. It doesn't always generate more attention but I honestly did enjoy making posts like the Urban Decay makeup review, and it really can help readers discover some cool products. The whole idea of my blogging was to share the things that I wholeheartedly love with whoever bothered to notice. Does anyone remember back when I would just post massive linkbacks of similarly-themed items, like earcuffs and shit? Yeah, those were good times.
→ Pay more attention to brands, and tumblr
I feel bad not having spotlighted more shops, brands, and lookbooks. I kept wanting to spotlight Tunnel Vision and stuff but I can't even remember the last time my brain felt like a semi-solid object. I'm going to be getting into some online mags and some fashion mags so that I'll be more up on the trendz and what have you, so I can be more interesting for you guys to look at. (Because daaamn while my Lookbook page has been booming, this blog's reception has been kind of pitiful. I kinda feel dumb.)
→ More DIY
I haven't done a whole lot of DIY and I feel like crap for it. Which reminds me...
God, I don't even need to specify. I remember the literal day I last left off on making jewelery, and I'm pretty sure it was back in March or April. Somehow my remaining listings of jewels expired (I didn't realise Etsy did that?) so I have some I need to relist, and I need to get back on track for making stuff!
→ Sew some shit
I have a folder on the desktop titled "make stuff" full of things that I want to experiment with, or things that inspire me to make some unique products. This also includes jewelry making, but I really do need to break out the sewing machine. God, a sewing class at Jo-Ann wouldn't hurt either, even if I end up making a dumb looking apron or something. My first plan is to make kimonos SO ORIGINAL I KNOW but I've looked at the seams of the one I own and dude, I can't mess that up. I'll probably do a giveaway for the ones I make since I'll feel like a cheat trying to sell something that everyone and their mother already owns anyway. (Unless I can come up with styles or fabrics I haven't quite seen yet. Juuust wait.)
→ Calm the fuck down
Seriously, when did I develop such a cynical and self-deprecating outlook on my blog? It's been a rough year, guys. I can't even convey into words all of the crap that's happened but my only hope is to come out of it all one year older, and one year wiser. And hey, the new year comes bearing a new job for me: I'm starting at PacSun the week of Jan 20th! Can't quit the hellhole that is Dunkin' Donuts just yet, but retail experience is what I need, and at least in retail I have the drive and vision to try to work up the ladder. (Also I'm thinking about bartending on the side. It's practically what I do at Dunk's anyway just with way more ca-ching.)
I'm gonna try, you guys...just bear with me. I always did pride myself in saying "I blog for me" but in 2012 I was just constantly obsessing over what the reception of others would be. I gotta stop that silly stuff. To start, I think I'll be hanging out more at IFB because their blog prompts are pretty awesome AND they make lists of the posts that are submitted, which brings people into reading new blogs. Yay traffic! ♥