Monday marked a very special day here at As Always, Ara. It’s been one year since I launched As Always, Ara as a fashion + lifestyle blog and became an influencer on Instagram!!
One year. Whew, what a journey it’s been. When I sat down to write this daunting, milestone of a blog post I had no clue where to start. Looking back on these blogs make me realize I’ve captured some of the best moments over the past year through this blog of mine. Sharing my good news, my family holiday traditions, and discussing life over the last 12 months with you all has allowed me to document my life, but more than that, this blog has allowed me to meet some of the sweetest people and grow a network with others all with the same interest and this platform has given me the confidence to express my individuality in my style and word. As Always, Ara has given me an outlet to be the creator I love to be and create – I’ve finally found my niche! I’m forever thankful for that because, after all, you are the greatest project you will ever work on.
A little something I’ve learned along the way – you don’t have to have it all figured out just to start. You can learn a lot about yourself by observing what you share with the world. When I was thinking of rebranding my blog last year I wasn’t really clear with the direction I wanted to go or the type of content I wanted to be sharing week to week. I had wanted to start a fashion blog for the longest time, but there was never a good time to start. I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind one week last summer so I finally took the leap of faith to just do it – I totally winged it. (See the blog post what angels do – because winging things is OKAY, we are human and we are getting places one way or another.) So, there I was. A girl on a mission with no direction and no one to show me the ropes or line me out. I had done my own research and decided that was enough! Honestly, going into this business with no plan for blogs, no planned photoshoots or photo stock would totally freak most people out. I wasn’t scared, I knew what I wanted to do so I did it. My best friend, Keely, told me she would take my pictures for me in her free time and I knew one thing was for sure – I was just gonna be myself, capture my fashion and style, and post consistently. Take me or leave me, but here I am, world!!
Now, after a year of growth, I can define myself: I am a creator. I’m a content planner. I am a college student and a 20-something. I am affordable high-fashion in a small city. I am bold prints and colors, sequins, and faux fur in grass fields, bricked streets, and short skyscrapers. My style stands out and I’m always overdressed. My style was meant for big city fashion and the young professional. All this to say, it’s okay to find yourself along the way!! You don’t have to have it all figured out to begin. We grow from our worldly experiences and we are constantly learning and evolving. Most of the time, the understanding of our true self comes much later.
“If it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you.”
I remember this time a year ago, I was getting ready to hit publish on my first fashion blog and post on my instagram account – I was so nervous to press the publish button I almost talked myself out of the whole thing!! My mind was rushing through thoughts like, what if other girls laugh at me or make fun of me behind my back? What if I do all this and no one reads or cares? What if this is another wild idea of mine that becomes a bust? It’s tough to put yourself out there to be judged by the world – literally (talking to all of you international readers!!). Growing up in a small town where everyone knows everything about you didn’t make it any easier. I knew I would be talked about for starting something like this, maybe even made fun of.
In the end I decided if I was going to be the whole town’s buzz, it might as well be over something truly worthwhile to me. I reminded myself over and over that every blogger, Youtuber, Instagram influencer, and fashion icon I had looked up to for years all started where I was… at the bottom. As Always, Ara challenged me to put myself out there and share what I’ve got with the world. With time, a humble confidence grew and putting myself out there actually became less scary. As Always, Ara continues to challenge me weekly with the content I wish to share with you all. It keeps me on my toes to be consistent with the best content I can create. It challenges me to create something entirely for myself with the goal of creating and connecting with others in this industry, in different brands, and in similar situations.
“Don’t miss out on the opportunity to do something great just because it may be difficult.”
For those of you that have followed along with me the past year, I thank you to the stars and back for your support!! I would do this blog if I only had 10 followers, (I mean, I have before) but watching As Always, Ara, my lil fashion baby, grow into being a successful blog and influencer brand is everything I could ask for. With every new subscriber, I literally break out in a little happy dance!! You guys keep me going, I am so grateful. I’m thankful for everyone who has played a part in making my blog and Instagram dreams happen – my amazing mom, boyfriend, and best friend who all drop what they’re doing to be my personal photographers anytime I ask, you don’t know how much it means to me – if I ever fail to tell you. I wanna thank Sewn Clothing Gallery for giving me the confidence and fashion industry experience over the years to start something as wild as a fashion blog (and helping me curate the cutest outfits!). Also my community of beautiful blogger babes who support my content and have been so sweet and helpful since day 1, I’ve learned so much from the girl bosses willing to share their knowledge – something I will always pay forward!
This blogger thing isn’t easy (even when it’s portrayed otherwise), and most of the time I feel like a jumbled, busy, mess trying to create the content I want you all to see, but it’s so worth it and rewarding to me when I get that engagement from you all and can connect with you guys over life, new experiences, career choices, college advice, self-confidence or fashion. My goal for this blog is to be able to do it full-time, but until then, this passion of mine will continue to bloom in the time I make for it. Cheers to this first big milestone and to many, many more for As Always, Ara – we’re in this together!!
“Your heart will always pursue what you treasure.” Matt 6:20