One Year of Candid Alexandra
Y’all, I launched Candid Alexandra a year ago! I started this blog because I needed a creative outlet. I also wanted to share my travels, eats, beauty finds, and advice that came from my experiences and research, or sometimes lack thereof. In the year that I have been sharing content, plus months of pondering and wondering if I should really do it, then the months preparing to do it, I have learned so much about myself and my new hobby.
I never set out to be a professional blogger, this is something fun and creative for me to do outside of my job. I find it mortifying when people start blogs with the intention of making it their career, sorry, but I do. All the blogs that I love most were started out of a passion or to be creative – not to make money, and it shows. I hope to continue working hard on Candid Alexandra and keep learning. There are definitely things that I could have done better before I launched, when I launched, and even now. That said, I am proud that I didn’t let fear stop me from pushing publish and giving life to Candid Alexandra.
Having this blog, as cliché as it sounds, has given me more than a project, but also a purpose. Candid Alexandra has given me something to focus on that isn’t work. There were days I would come home from work and do a routine of cooking/gym/household chores, but I was bored. I wasn’t doing much for myself. I thought of starting a blog for months but kept it to myself. As much as I like reading blogs, I honestly always found the idea of starting my own a bit stupid. Who would read it? Who would care besides my mom? I finally admitted to P that I thought I may like to start one and he was beyond encouraging. It wasn’t long after this conversation that I started to seriously research how to do the damn thing.
Building the site, learning about SEO, and Google Analytics, and creating meaningful and valuable content has been such a confidence boost for me. Setting goals for myself to complete for Candid Alexandra, sometimes even when I don’t want to do the work, has been challenging and rewarding. When I started, I told myself I wanted to publish at least once a week. I know I have missed a few weeks due to travel but I am happy with the consistency I have kept overall.
As I mentioned, I needed a creative outlet, I just didn’t realize how desperately I needed one! I have always loved to write and always received my highest marks in school in English and History – two subjects that involved a lot of writing! Through undergrad and graduate school, I wrote and wrote and wrote some more. Once I graduated, I quickly started work and the only thing I was writing then was emails. Boring emails. Writing for Candid Alexandra has been a different process from my academic writing, but I have loved it all the same. A new style of writing and being able to actively use my own voice have been welcome changes. And let me just tell y’all, it is scary to put something you have worked on, put your heart and soul into, online for strangers to read and potentially criticize.
As a result of starting Candid Alexandra, I have a found a new hobby in photography. I am fully aware that my photos are not the greatest but guess what, I am learning, I am creating and improving, and that is what matters! P gave me a book on beginner’s photography but being stubborn I tried to work it all out on my own. Keeping with the spirit of all the learning I do need to actually read it this year, so I can improve further.
The most important thing I think that this space has given me is that it has pushed me to do more, and to do so with intention. I am fully aware how fortunate I am to be living in Europe, only a cheap plane ride away from some of the most amazing cities in the world. I do however think I don’t always appreciate how close these cities are, or the amount of quality restaurants, museums, culture, etc. that Dublin has to offer. I can feel myself sometimes becoming complacent, but I quickly snap out of it! Just because I do live in my favorite city, and have now for a few years, is no excuse to stop exploring, ever.
Travel has always been something my family prioritized. Even if we didn’t take a big trip, weekends were full of day trips or weekends away. When I made the move across the pond and started earning some money, travel quickly became a top priority again. I obsessively plan our trips to ensure we make the most of every moment, and every euro so it only seemed a natural transition to take what I was essentially writing in TripAdvisor reviews (lol) and make cohesive guides out of my adventures!
Before I started this and I would read bloggers talk about how much their blog meant to them, all the people that they were able to meet through blogging, I was seriously skeptical. How can a blog mean so much to you? Who/how are you meeting people through writing online? But now that I have been at it for this year, I totally get what they meant.
Writing this blog has had plenty of ups and downs, but thankfully it has been mostly ups. I am beyond thankful for the practical skills I have picked up, the community I have built, and the fact that I actively, and productively turned the negative feelings I had into happy ones with this blog. If you are in the same boat as I was, I encourage you to do what you might be thinking of doing but are letting fear or uncertainty stop you. Nothing is certain! I don’t have many followers on Instagram and I’m not here getting 100,000+ page views a month but I don’t care! This blog was, and always be, a creative outlet for me and a resource to others. I want to thank y’all for reading and I can’t wait to see what happens on Candid Alexandra in 2019!