A brief history of the Charming Avenue

I've been wondering,..is 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. And thus, The Charming Avenue was born.

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 what about the content?

It all comes down to what I want this place to be. I want my blog to be a place full of positive vibes, where you can come daily to gather ideas and inspiration for beautiful and refined living. A place that motivates you to try new things, experiment with new recipes, make your home a more beautiful place to live and make your health and well being your number one priority. In short, I want The Charming Avenue to inspire us to be better than we were yesterday.

As I already mentioned, over the past few years, my priorities, passions and interests have changed significantly. Things that fire me up have changed. Two major life events have informed my transformation: joining our family business back in 2012, and buying, renovating and moving into my apartment in 2015. From a fashion and beauty-obsessed girl, I've transformed into an entrepreneur with a passion for decorating, with too many books to count, and with a desire to live a more organized, balanced and healthy life.

While I used to love putting together fun outfits and shopping for beauty products, these things no longer make me tick. I love a good shopping session just like the next girl, but these days, instead of a new pair of shoes or a cute nail polish, you'll find me scooping up home decor accessories. And if I once used to pore over gorgeous fashion editorials, now I spend my Pinterest hours admiring beautiful home tours, browsing for home decor inspiration and gathering business, blogging and wellness tips. I want my blog to reflect this new "me".

So, these are the main topics The Charming Avenue covers:

Home & Decor. This is the passion I've developed over the past two years. I've always loved decor magazines and blogs, but it wasn't until I acquired my very own space to play with, that it became a full-fledged love affair. I'll be sharing my inspirations, my decorating tips and tricks and my favorite decor finds with you. I will also finally share my apartment renovation and the lessons I learned in the process. And now that I'm finally done furnishing my apartment, the most fun part begins - the decorating!

Business & life lessons. The one facet of my being that I practically never talk about here on the blog, is my work. It's curious, really, because it's such a huge and important part of my day-to-day life! I've been working in our family company for more than 3 years, and practically co-running it with my father for over a year. It has challenged me and made me grow in ways I would never have imagined and expected. And since I know that many of you are running, or are dreaming of running your own businesses, I think it could be so interesting and valuable to share our experiences, our successes but also our setbacks and struggles.

Food. This is one staple that will never, ever go away, no matter how much my life and blog change. I treasure my time spent in the kitchen: cooking, baking and experimenting with new recipes is a wonderful way to relax, to get my mind off my work problems and to challenge myself to try something new. My goal is to cook and bake even more this year, and to work tirelessly on my photography skills, so that I can share my recipes and creations with you again.

Books. This is another passion of mine that deserves a more prominent place here on my blog. I read as I breathe and I collect books as my most treasured possessions. My love affair with books is the longest one in my life, and I can't go a day without reading at least a few pages. Books teach me new skills, give me new ideas, entertain me, boost my mood when I'm feeling down and they generally make my life more beautiful. So aside my monthly reading list, I'll be also introducing some new book-related features: book reviews, my favorite quotes, interviews with my favorite authors, and more.

Wellness and healthy living. I've spent a great deal of time thinking about this one. It's something I've never talked about before, for the simple reason - it has never been a priority to me. I know that it sounds awful, but I've always sort of taken my health for granted. And when I reflected upon 2015, all I could think of was how terribly I'd treated myself last year, both my body and soul. And I kept doing it until until I began losing my hair and battling bouts of insomnia, until I enchained several health scares in a row and until I felt completely exhausted and drained of energy. I went to see my doctor last November, expecting him to prescribe me some sleeping pills and maybe some supplements, or whatever. Instead, we ended up having an hour-long conversation about my terrible, terrible lifestyle. That conversation was a wake up call that I needed desperately. It opened my eyes to how horribly I was treating my body and mind, always expecting more of them, but giving them almost nothing in return. I really needed to turn my life's priorities upside down and put my health and well being on top of that list, where they rightfully belong.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not going to turn into a gluten-free-yogi-living-on-sprouts-only. After all, I'm nowhere near being ready to give  up chocolate, a glass of wine and my beloved French and Italian cuisines. What I want to do, is share tips and strategies on how to live a life that's balanced, healthy and fulfilling and how to incorporate healthy lifestyle habits and choices into our busy schedules. And most importantly, how to be kind to ourselves and enjoy our lives without deprivation. Who else is with me?

What do you think guys? Will you be interested in these topics? Are there any questions you may have, or things that you'd want me to cover? Don't hesitate to let me know: I truly want to make this space a source of daily inspiration for us all.

Here's to the new and better Charming Avenue!

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