(Happy first Christmas in the same zipcode to us! Domo guards our tree from peekers)
Honestly, I couldn’t have it any better this Christmas! When I look back on the last year and all the changes, drama, love, loss and tumult- I’m very blessed and happier than ever! This time last year, I was in California and having the “serious” talk with my then boyfriend, now fiancé. I was nervously preparing for my first half marathon and in December, ran my first 12 miler evah. At the time, that was the furthest I’d ever gone. It’s crazy to think after a year I’ve run 15 half marathons (16 if you count the 20 miler that turned into a 13.1 when I horribly prepared) but still haven’t gone beyond 13.1- that seems to be as far as the gas tank will let me go!
A year ago, I didn’t know where I was headed. I was running my own freelancing business, had just launched Rockstar Blogging, my first ebook, and was struggling to see if I wanted to keep freelancing or, gasp, join the ranks of the 9-5 (which was in the complete opposite of all of my colleagues) and made me feel really uneasy.
I had some hard talks with my family about moving back to the Midwest and how serious I was with the “boy.” So serious in fact, that I would give up mild winters of southern California (where I ran a warm 5k in Pasadena, California that was amazing and warm) to be here in the frozen hell that is cold ass Chicago. Brrr. (It’s like 20 degrees out right now. Yes. He’s worth it.)
(This is our official holiday family photo & took like an hour and ya, it was the best we could do with two dogs.)
We spent Thanksgiving this year in St. Louis with his family and it was our first Thanksgiving in the same zip code. We ate good food, spent some quality time with my future in-laws and attempted to take Christmas card photos outside with only a camera remote and very little patience in 30 degree weather (which we only used a snippet of the final card which ended up being a collage of photos…go figure). We ran a Turkey Trot and I kept busy with work (social media doesn’t sleep) in between noshing on food and shopping on Black Friday.
Speaking of work- I’m happy as a clam. I officially started as a Social Leader for Collective Bias on 11-12-13 (but had worked for a few weeks before my super cool and easy to remember start date!) and my job is unbelievably cool. Ya, I’m going to get braggy- sorry. I work from home two days a week and downtown 3 days a week… I’m 30 minutes away off the Blue Line (so no 1.5 hour commute each way! Hallelujah!) I’m learning a lot and feeling excited to be a part of such a dynamic team.
(This week I got to visit HQ in Bentonville, AR. I must have a set of social media pillows. Must)
I had previously been a blogger with Collective Bias through Social Fabric and worked on a few campaigns when the opportunity to apply for a part time position opened up in the Chicago office. That part time gig transformed into a full-time offer and I jumped at the chance. I get to play on social media all day and work with awesome bloggers…okay- so it’s totally work and I take it seriously, but I find it totally amazing that my career is built around something that most people don’t take seriously.
Most people think Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest is superficial and superfluous- but writing tweets that will be seen by hundreds of thousands within thirty seconds on behalf of a major brand is quite serious. Knowing that plenty of grammar trolls are waiting to see your every typo and are ready to point it out within the 45 seconds after you hit “post,” keeps you on your toes.
My day job is what you’re not supposed to be doing at your day job, yet everybody is! (I’m just now getting to the point where I’m comfortable when a boss walks up to me and sees me on Facebook! Even though I’ve done social media management for years now, I previously worked in environments where fellow employees would raise an eyebrow since they didn’t understand my role in the company and thought I was constantly “slacking off” on Twitter and Facebook…yikes..not a healthy work environment!)
The environment is so much friendlier and I feel really excited to be in such great company. I nerd out about social media and trends in online marketing- all of my colleagues are the same and are just as passionate about social networks and influencer marketing with bloggers as I am. If you haven’t signed up for Social Fabric and you blog, check it out. There are a lot of paid review opportunities (known as Shoppertunities) and it really has helped me grow my blog!
(Some photos on my trip to Collective Bias HQ. Bentonville is so cute! Lots of character & the best little shops!)
I got to fly out to Bentonville, Arkansas to meet everyone at Collective Bias HQ. It’s a hive of activity and I finally feel that I’m in the right place. Being a blogger myself who really believes in the power of online influence, it’s really rewarding for me to be in a space with others who also value the work of bloggers beyond “bottom lines” and “pageviews.” We see bloggers as community leaders, influencers and potential ambassadors who can tell stories for brands- not just “sell stuff.” The value is in the people who blog, not just the web real estate they take up… I’m vey excited to be working with people that totally get it and built an entire business around the power of bloggers who create honest-to-goodness delicious content.
Okay- done bragging now. The last year of my life has been a whirlwind when it comes to my career and I finally feel like I’ve landed in the right spot. When your day job is right, it makes the rest of your day feel right as well- so the blessings are abundant and I feel so lucky that I’ve found a job that aligns so closely with my personal values and shares the values and goals for my work within social media & influencer marketing (social media is big business but still relatively young in terms of advertising, so there is a lot of growth and not every company approaches it the same way!). I’m happy and grateful.
Last week, I posted a whole series on the Week of Gratitude, there are a ton of great printables so feel free to check it out! Also, if you haven’t seen my 25 Under $25 Gift Guide, you’re going to want to check it out- especially if you want free shipping on everything!