It’s hard to believe that just six years ago I was sitting on my couch on Valentine’s Day, ready to take the plunge and start Living in Steil (which, for those who may be new around here, is pronounced ‘style’). I had debated for a while about starting a blog after my thyroid cancer diagnosis but wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about. At the time, I had been following a bunch of fashion and lifestyle blogs, so I thought I would make it a lifestyle site and focus on what I was doing on Long Island, my diagnosis and recovery, and life after cancer. Admittedly, I didn’t give much thought to things like posting schedules, content or turning my site into a business. I just wanted to pursue a creative outlet.
On February 14, 2014, I signed up for a free WordPress account, secured my domain name, and wrote and published my first post…about makeup. And then I waited. Would anybody read the post? How would they know I published something? Would people care about what I had to say? I watched my stats over the next few days and my excitement grew with each visitor Living in Steil saw. Two weeks went by as I debated what I would post next. Eventually, I found my stride and got into a Monday, Wednesday, Friday posting schedule where I shared content related to food, fashion, fitness, health and wellness, and overall life on Long Island. I never wanted the blog to feel like something I had to come home and do—like a chore or homework. Instead, I always strived to keep my content real, like my life, and strike a balance between lighthearted topics like fashion and food and more serious subjects, like my thyroid cancer diagnosis.
After a few months of blogging, I had brands reaching out about collaborating, which was exciting. People were reading my content and it was resonating with them. One of the things I’ve always loved about blogging has been getting to connect with like-minded people from all over the world and to collaborate with so many different brands.
Of course, blogging has also led to a whole new world in terms of my career. When I started blogging, I was an unfulfilled 27-year-old who was working in higher education and trying to carve out a new niche for herself. Fast-forward six years, and I have had speaking engagements; I’ve hosted fashion events as an influencer with LOFT; my cancer survivor story was published in a book; I’m an ambassador for amazing brands like Ghost Flower and Hello Workwell; I’ve shared my story and have been featured on numerous media outlets; I’ve changed career paths and started working in public relations; I’m becoming a health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition; and I’ve worked as a patient advocate and will sit for the Board Certified Patient Advocacy exam this spring. Phew, that felt like a lot and I’m sure I forgot a few things in there. Who knew blogging would lead to so many amazing opportunities!
I am beyond grateful to be able to share my life on the Internet and to be a resource for cancer patients and survivors, as well as other millennials. Making the decision to start a blog was one of the best things I’ve ever done—both personally and professionally. Blogging has led to so many rewarding experiences and tons of personal growth.
As I embark on this next year, I’m looking forward to having more opportunities to share my passion for health and wellness as a certified holistic health coach (May 2020, I’m coming for you) and to continue collaborating with brands that align with my mission to help people live healthier lifestyles.
Thank you for your continued support, both on the blog and social media!