PERFECT PERSPECTIVE: LIFE RECENTLY.

DSC_7120.jpg

Since I started my blog in 2014, I have posted pretty much every day, with a few exceptions. This blog has become so special to me and after taking the last two weeks off, I am happy to be back writing and sharing.

I have had a lot on my mind recently and while I normally head straight to my blog to write and sort out my thoughts, this was the first time I felt like I needed to step away. I have had so many things that needed serious consideration and reflection and after some time, I feel like I have a little more clarity. I'm just going to spill it out so it might not be as articulate as I want, but here it goes.

To be honest, my heart is really hurting. With everything going on in the world it can be really hard to stay optimistic. About two weeks ago I had this gut feeling that I needed to make a change with my blog. It drives Jesse crazy sometimes, but I am always asking myself, "what's next?" I wanted to figure out what was the next step with my blog. It's evolved so much from shoes to fashion to pregnancy to parenting to life and I have loved every step of the way. As Lillian gets older, Jesse's company gets more press, and I get more attuned to the complicated world we live in, I have just been reflecting on what type of experience I want for my family and me.

One of my favorite things about my childhood was the cocoon that my parents created for us. While we were active in the community, our home was our private place-- our sanctuary. We could just be. And I really want that for Lillian and Jesse but with the blurred lines created by the omnipresence of the internet, it can be hard to have privacy. I can see from the analytics of my site that people like my more personal posts, and I actually really love writing them, too-- they're therapeutic. But for the sake of my family, I have decided to pull back on sharing about our personal lives. One of the big deciding factors was reading articles about families who have turned their young children into internet stars. While they make a lot of money, I feel like they have compromised their privacy and is not something I want to do.

Recently it has felt like every day on the news there is something horrific happening. The truth is, horrific things have always happened, I just have a more visceral reaction to it because I am a mom now. It's definitely more intense than when I started this blog and wrote about shoes. It feels so inauthentic for me to be writing about trivial stuff when so much is happening.

So I've been focusing my efforts on spreading joy. I've been working hard on The Bundle of Joy. It has been amazing and truly refreshing to have a project that isn't so public. I've been working on corporate partnerships, curating new products, and community. While it might not look like much is happening, we are having a blast behind the scenes and I am learning a lot and pushing my skill set-- which I have always found satisfaction in doing.

I also just started working with Minted on their new Photo Op program. It's a cool program that allows Minted customers to book a photographer to take their holiday photos!

To summarize, this past year has been one of the longest years of my life. I traced it back and it all started with the election results. It sounds funny to say, but I feel like I became an adult this year. This year has brought so much "bad news" to my experience and has been so challenging. On a daily basis, I have been forced to really think about what type of person I want to be, how I want to raise my daughter and what our family values. The world is changing and I am changing. I feel like this year I switched my lens from naive to being self-aware of the world and this new perspective is hard-- it's like trying to constantly fight out the bad and find the good. It's exhausting!

What really prompted me to pull back and gain a new perspective are the fires happening in Sonoma and Napa. The fires have literally hit close to home. We've been monitoring the news and Twitter and just trying to get any information on how my parents' house is doing. From the maps of the active fire, it looks like my parents' house is safe but we won't know for sure until we can get back up there. Natural disasters are not something new. But having it affect my family has reminded me what is really important- family, love, safety, and health. Seeing so many people displaced and left with little is heartbreaking. While we say things like, "at least we're/they're safe" it doesn't replace how special, intimate, and full of memories everyone's homes are.

Being a mom makes all of these horrible things hurt so much more.  It's definitely not something you can anticipate and is exhausting. Every day I feel more and more appreciative for the values my parents instilled in my siblings and me and how they created a safe world for us. Like everything else they did, they made it look so easy.

For the past two weeks, I had been trying to decide if I was even going to continue to write my blog. It feels like the industry is getting more intense, yet I have heard that so many bloggers are feeling unhappy, stagnant and even burnt out. In the social industry, quantity is queen and so everyone is constantly sharing. Constantly. On all channels. I realized I was sharing out of habit and took some time to reflect on why I was sharing. It's crazy to think but true bloggers (in the sense that it's their full-time job and source of income) have been encouraged and rewarded the more they share. Like any job, the more time you put into it, the more you will get out. Blogging differs in the sense that you are sharing your life, your personal stuff, your family, etc. 

Ultimately, I decided that I will focus my platform on being a source of joy and happiness for all who read it. Moving forward I will be sharing about professionals I admire, pieces I like reading, and other information for living a meaningful life.

Thank you all for reading my blog and following along.

xo,

Caroline Signature.png

 

 

PERFECT PIECES: BUSY BEES KIDS.

DSC_7269.jpg

Happy First Day of Fall! Truth be told, I prefer spring and summer to fall. I'm not into the apple picking, leaves, and I don't like pumpkin spice. I'm more of a swimming, summer girl!

With the great weather in San Francisco this time of year, we don't really have to say goodbye to summer. And with the new fall pieces from Busy Bees, we can enjoy the transition a little longer. We absolutely love this gingham long-sleeve dress for Lillian- it's the perfect transition piece that keeps her warm but still has our playful print!

We are excited to share that Busy Bees is having an event at Dottie DooLittle on Monday, October 2nd and we'd love to have you join us. We're not hosting it, just attending as guests and I wanted to make sure you got an invitation!

They will have a professional photographer on hand to snap pictures of your little one!!!

xo,

Caroline Signature.png
dottie doolittle

PERFECT PUPOSE: THE SIMPLE LIFE.

I discovered this article from the NY Times and immediately fell in love and felt like it was worth sharing. Recently I have been striving to focus on what's important and reevaluate everything. This article helps give perspective and reminds me what's important!

I copied and pasted the article (and linked it at the bottom), in case you don't subscribe to the NY Times. Which is probably not a great idea, you should subscribe, but either way.... I hope you like this article!


You'll Never be Famous- And That's O.K.

Today’s college students desperately want to change the world, but too many think that living a meaningful life requires doing something extraordinary and attention-grabbing like becoming an Instagram celebrity, starting a wildly successful company or ending a humanitarian crisis.

Having idealistic aspirations is, of course, part of being young. But thanks to social media, purpose and meaning have become conflated with glamour: Extraordinary lives look like the norm on the internet. Yet the idea that a meaningful life must be or appear remarkable is not only elitist but also misguided. Over the past five years, I’ve interviewed dozens of people across the country about what gives their lives meaning, and I’ve read through thousands of pages of psychology, philosophy and neuroscience research to understand what truly brings people satisfaction.

The most meaningful lives, I’ve learned, are often not the extraordinary ones. They’re the ordinary ones lived with dignity.

There’s perhaps no better expression of that wisdom than George Eliot’s “Middlemarch,” a book I think every college student should read. At 700-some pages, it requires devotion and discipline, which is kind of the point. Much like a meaningful life, the completion of this book is hard won and requires effort. The heroine of the novel is Dorothea Brooke, a wealthy young gentlewoman in a provincial English town. Dorothea has a passionate temperament and yearns to accomplish some good in the world as a philanthropist. The novel’s hero, Tertius Lydgate, is an ambitious young doctor who hopes to make important scientific discoveries. Both hope to lead epic lives.

Both Dorothea and Tertius end up in disastrous marriages — she to the vicar Mr. Casaubon, he to the town beauty Rosamond. Slowly, their dreams wither away. Rosamond, who turns out to be vain and superficial, wants Tertius to pursue a career lucrative enough to support her indulgent tastes, and by the end of the novel, he acquiesces, abandoning his scientific quest to become a doctor to the rich. Though conventionally “successful,” he dies at 50 believing himself a failure for not following through on his original life plan.

As for Dorothea, after the Reverend Casaubon dies, she marries her true love, Will Ladislaw. But her larger ambitions go unrealized. At first it seems that she, too, has wasted her potential.

Tertius’s tragedy is that he never reconciles himself to his humdrum reality. Dorothea’s triumph is that she does.

By novel’s end, she settles into life as a wife and a mother, and becomes, Eliot writes, the “foundress of nothing.” It may be a letdown for the reader, but not for Dorothea. She pours herself into her roles as mother and wife with “beneficent activity which she had not the doubtful pains of discovering and marking out for herself.”

Looking out her window one day, she sees a family making its way down the road and realizes that she, too, is “a part of that involuntary, palpitating life, and could neither look out on it from her luxurious shelter as a mere spectator, nor hide her eyes in selfish complaining.” In other words, she begins to live in the moment. Rather than succumb to the despair of thwarted dreams, she embraces her life as it is and contributes to those around her as she can.

This is Eliot’s final word on Dorothea: “Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

It’s one of the most beautiful passages in literature, and it encapsulates what a meaningful life is about: connecting and contributing to something beyond the self, in whatever humble form that may take.

Most young adults won’t achieve the idealistic goals they’ve set for themselves. They won’t become the next Mark Zuckerberg. They won’t have obituaries that run in newspapers like this one. But that doesn’t mean their lives will lack significance and worth. We all have a circle of people whose lives we can touch and improve — and we can find our meaning in that.

A new and growing body of research within psychology about meaningfulness confirms the wisdom of Eliot’s novel — that meaning is found not in success and glamour but in the mundane. One research study showed that adolescents who did household chores felt a stronger sense of purpose. Why? The researchers believe it’s because they’re contributing to something bigger: their family. Another study found that cheering up a friend was an activity that created meaning in a young adult’s life. People who see their occupations as an opportunity to serve their immediate community find more meaning in their work, whether it’s an accountant helping his client or a factory worker supporting her family with a paycheck.

As students head to school this year, they should consider this: You don’t have to change the world or find your one true purpose to lead a meaningful life. A good life is a life of goodness — and that’s something anyone can aspire to, no matter their dreams or circumstances.


This article originally appeared on the NY Times page. 

Emily Esfahani Smith (@emesfahanismith), an editor at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, is the author of “The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed With Happiness.”