Monday, January 11, 2016

The Charming Avenue

Note: Guys, I have been writing, scratching, deleting and rewriting this post for the past week. I don't exaggerate when I say that I almost didn't publish it at all. It's going to be rather text heavy, and probably a little bit sappy, too, so please, bear with me as I'm saying goodbye to the old, and let me take you on my journey to a brand new & charming brand.

Well, hello guys! Noticed anything new around here?

I've been wondering, anyone around here long enough to remember, that at the very beginning, this blog was called Style in the city? I started it in 2010, and it was probably the ugliest thing I've ever created (see for yourself). Oh the joys of the gory past! I started writing in French, then moved to Slovak, before finally settling on the universality of English. Like any newbie blogger, I played around with layouts and themes, had a mile-long blogroll, and didn't know a single thing about photo formatting. It actually hurts my eye to see it today, but I would never delete it completely: it's the best reminder of the journey I've completed thus far. Because aside from being my favorite creative outlet, my blog has also been the witness of my evolution as as a writer, as a photographer, and most importantly, as a person.

When I first started blogging, I was freshly out of university, my Master's in political science in hand, a little wide-eyed and naive, with big dreams that didn't come to fruition at the time, and thus, with no clear idea of what I would become when I grew up. My passions and interests were all over the place: fashion, foreign languages, food, home decor, beauty, baking, decorating, shopping and so on and so forth. I have never even heard of the word "niche", and I blogged about whatever struck my fancy at the time.

A year into blogging, Style in the city somehow lost its appeal to me - it was too random, too broad, too reminiscent of one of my favorite TV shows, and not authentic enough. And so I was in the market for a new name and a brand that would represent me and my interests better. Thus Macarons and Pearls was born. I can still remember how happy and excited I was when I first came up with that name. At the time, it embodied everything I was striving to bring to my life and to my blog: chic and stylish outfits, the latest beauty products, a hefty dose of French chic and glamour. It was also a daily reminder of my quest for the perfect homemade macarons. And it seemed to be working. I loved writing, I loved sharing my outfits & recipes with you, and for a brief moment, I also thought about making blogging my full time career. No need to say that it never happened. Instead, life happened. From an unhappily engaged "housewife", I transformed into an almost homeless, but happily single woman. I packed my bags, returned to my home county (Slovakia), joined the family business and focused on picking up the pieces of my life, and rebuilding them all over again.

In the midst of all the drama, this little blog of mine somehow fell completely to the wayside. While adjusting to a dramatically different life situation, learning ropes of a brand new-to-me industry (cable confection, anyone?), and figuring out what to do with my life, I couldn't be bothered to put together cute outfits, review nail polishes or follow the latest in runway shows. I was becoming a new person, and I simply wasn't able to take my blog on that journey with me. I popped in occasionally, with a new post and grand plans to "do it all better this time", but my heart wasn't in it anymore. Truth is, for a brief moment, I even debated closing this space altogether and moving on to something else. But I couldn't bring myself to writing that one last post. I couldn't kill this space that had played such a huge role in my own personal evolution. So I let it hibernate and I stopped beating myself up for being a "bad" blogger. I focused fully on the most important areas of my life, and trusted that when the right time came for me to put on my writer's hat again, I would know it.

And boy, has that time come, indeed. The itch to write and share has come back in full force. But it has also come with a great deal of soul searching. In those months away from blogging, I have changed and evolved. My priorities have changed. So have my interests and passions. And I want and need my blog to change with me.

See, this year I'll be turning 30, and a new pair of shoes, a cute skirt or the latest shade of nail polish don't fire me up anymore. I still love a good shopping spree, but these things don't make me jump out of my bed in the morning. Learning the ropes of running a small business does. Wrapping up a difficult work project, making my new apartment a home, traveling the world, reading inspiring books, creating, making delicious things in my kitchen, learning constantly and growing as a person, as a daughter, as an entrepreneur...these are the things that light the fire inside my soul, that make me wake up in the morning, full of energy and excitement for a brand new day.

And this person that I've become, isn't able to identify with the Macarons and Pearls brand anymore. It feels too restrictive. Too linked to my past. Too vested in fashion, It doesn't correspond to my personal journey anymore. The time has come to tell a different story of who I am and what I do, and this story needs a new name to begin with.

Sooo. drumroll, please...and say hello to The Charming Avenue!

What's in a name, you may ask? First and foremost, I was looking for an adjective that could represent everything I wanted my blog and my brand to stand for. I want it to embody the elegant, feminine, sophisticated and refined style that I'm striving for. I want it to have a classic feel, but with a hint of playfulness. I want it to represent the current stage of my life, but I also want for it to have a longevity that will be able to encompass any possible future ventures I may embark upon. And I want to be proud to say it out loud.

I've been brainstorming new names for weeks. I've compiled so many lists of possible options. Jotted down each and every idea that crossed my mind. But only one word kept coming back over and over again. It was the word "charming". It's the word that best describes my life and my dreams. It's the word that best describes you, my readers. And it's the word I can see myself, my brand and my business growing with. And that's how The Charming Avenue was born.

What do you think, guys? I would love to get your feedback!  I'm a little bit nervous, presenting this big change to you, but I also feel confident that it's a step in the right direction. And of course, I'm absolutely giddy with excitement at the prospect of sharing all the new content and features with you!

I'll be back tomorrow to share a closer look at how the new name will affect the content of my blog. Some things I will keep and develop further, some new things I will add, and some I will throw away without mercy. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, if you've made it this far, thank you so so much for reading. You rock my world on a daily basis, and I'm so thankful to have you in my life!

Cheers to the new, charming beginnings!

Just to be authentic with you, guys, this is what drafting this post really looked like. I wrote four pages, then proceeded to scratching half of them, I rewrote each sentence three times, then went on and typed something almost completely different on my computer. I even spilled my coffee all over my paper draft. I'm definitely going to keep this as a reminder of a big milestone in my blogging history :)

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