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Life Lately

Flowers

We all need a break from time-to-time. While taking a day off from our day job may not always be feasible, enjoying a respite from our side-hustle should be. After the weekend, I felt like I needed a break. I had a great post planned to start the week, but when I got home Sunday evening to write it, nothing flowed. A couple of years ago, I would have forced myself to sit and write something…anything…just not to miss one of my scheduled posting days. But, honestly, who wants to read something that doesn’t come from the heart, and has no soul? I value your time and this space too much to publish just for the sake of putting something out there. So, I hope you will excuse Monday’s absence and understand my need for a respite.

If you have been following along on Instagram Stories this week, you may have seen me talking about my recent appointment with my endocrinologist. I appreciate all of the well wishes and prayers that you sent my way on social media, so I feel that it is only appropriate that I share the outcome of the appointment here.

After almost six months of blood work, neck ultrasounds, and treks into New York City for follow-ups, my antithyroglobulin levels remain elevated. Weeks earlier, I had hopes that despite a modest 50 point decrease from my February numbers, we could stay the course and keep up our watchful waiting approach. But after my appointment with my endocrinologist on Monday, a new course of action has been prescribed. Next week, I will have a consultation with a radiation oncologist at a hospital closer to my home, and will likely have an I-131 whole body scan performed, followed by a dose of radioactive iodine. Since my surgery in 2013, I had been resistant to undergoing radioactive iodine treatment, but given the length of time that my numbers have been elevated, and on the recommendation of my endocrinologist, I have decided to pursue this option.

I never imagined that I would be making this decision. For the last four years, my numbers had been steadily trending downward—which is a good sign after surgery. I can still recall the sheer shock that overcame me when I opened the results of my blood work from November 2016 and saw that my antithyroglobulin level was more than double what it should have been. That was the beginning of this setback and I am finally ready to write the ending and close the chapter.

The last six months of waiting, wishing, and wondering have taken a toll on me—even if I have tried to suffer privately. These months have reminded me that despite my best efforts to push unsettling news aside, sometimes you need to tackle things head-on—especially when they pertain to your health.

As always, I appreciate all of your support. It means so much!

Monday Mantra: Community Over Competition

Montauk Retreat at Gurney's

I had the best weekend ever! Fern Olivia’s retreat at Gurney’s Resort & Spa was everything I had hoped it would be…and more. I’ll be sharing a full recap on the blog later in the week, but today I wanted to talk about the notion of community over competition.

The inspiration for today’s post came when I was tagging the photo above on Instagram. After spending the weekend surrounded by so many impressive women—who each in their own way embody the definition of girlboss—I knew the hashtag community over competition was most appropriate. Each time I attend one of Fern’s events, I walk away with a renewed perspective and new friends.

From yoga instructors, reiki masters, history teachers, to entrepreneurs, bloggers, and wellness influencers, each of the women photographed above is leaving her own mark on her respective industry. They have each found a way to turn their passion into a paycheck, and are more than happy to share their knowledge and connections with a newcomer.

As a blogger, I am always learning something new and I know that there is always something new to learn. That is one of the things that I find so interesting about blogging—and keeps me from getting complacent. But I also love the sense of community that is fostered through blogging. I have met many incredible women over the last three and a half years. Some have inculcated new knowledge; others have inspired me on my own journey (even if only virtually, and without even knowing it), but all have encouraged me to pursue my passion—especially when the road looks bleak. The community I have cultivated has supported me, made themselves available to me, and are my cheerleaders. For all of those things, I am grateful.

In the age of social media, it’s easy to get consumed with numbers, or to feel that you are only as good as a number. Number of followers, number of readers, number of retweets—you get the point. I have never been a numbers person…that probably explains why I wasn’t good at math. But to me, blogging is not a numbers game. Okay, fine. I used to obsesses a little over my stats when I first started out, but mainly that was to see if anyone was actually reading my posts. I began this site as a creative outlet and resource for people with whom I could share my own experiences. Therefore, I want it to be organic and relatable. And I want to be someone who is approachable and willing to help other bloggers when they are standing where I was three and half years ago. To the women I met at the retreat, I was a blogger who was there to share a day of wellness with them. They weren’t concerned with my numbers, but rather the energy that I contributed to the day and how I shared the space with them. It’s not the number of photos I posted on Instagram, but rather the discussions we had throughout the day that I hope they will remember.

So when I am fortunate enough to attend one of Fern’s events, it reaffirms my belief that in doing what we love, we are all building our own communities. And in building your own community, you never know how you can help someone else build theirs.

What does community mean to you?

Living in Steil Turns Three

Thank You

I am moved beyond words to be celebrating this little space on the Internet turning three today. When I began this blog on Valentine’s Day three years ago, I had no clue what I was doing. I was looking for a creative outlet to break the routine of my hectic 9-to-5, and felt like Valentine’s Day was as good a day as any to begin my foray into blogging. I remember feverishly checking my stats once the post went live—hoping to just get one view that night.

In the weeks and months that followed, I started reading more and more blogs every morning. Before long, I received the first comment on my blog. I was so happy to know that somebody had read what I had to say.

It would be impossible to fathom when I started blogging how many interesting people I would meet and paths I would go down. From fashion and beauty bloggers who have shared their favorite beauty tricks and must-have wardrobe staples to fellow cancer survivors who have told me their stories, I am amazed by the varied talents and inspiring women I have encountered.

If you would have told me when I began that I would fall in love with creating social media content and connecting with relative strangers on the Internet, I would have thought you were nuts. As a person who values privacy, I shied away from all forms of social media for the longest time. But after my thyroid cancer diagnosis, I thought about how I could share my story and help others. It seemed like the right time to do something publicly that would help me find my voice as a survivor.

The last year has been one of infinite changes for me. From transitioning from working from home as a blogger and returning to a 9-to-5 in a new marketing role, and now suffering another health setback, it has been a year of personal and professional growth.

Some of the personal highlights for me in the last year have been accepting a job that allows me to utilize the skills I have acquired through blogging, reaching more than 3,000 followers on Instagram, receiving invitations for New York Fashion Week shows, and attending lots of wellness events hosted by amazing women—who have become mentors, friends, and inspirations.

Throughout this whole experience, I am always reminded that it would not be possible without all the people who stop at my site, read my posts, leave a comment, and follow me on social media. As always, I am immensely grateful for your continued support and heartfelt comments.

As I embark on another year of blogging, I am excited to branch out and cover more topics. I have always been interested in career development and the ways people choose their career paths, and I am looking forward to profiling successful women in a variety of fields on the blog. And since I am on a path towards eating better and cooking more, I will be sharing healthy recipes, exercise classes, and overall wellness tips.

Thank you for encouraging me on this journey. There have been plenty of times where I have questioned myself, second-guessed a post, or felt uninspired, but knowing I have such fabulous readers keeps me going strong.

I’d love to know if you have any topics that you would like me to cover. I am open to suggestions, and I want this to keep being a site that has engaging content that you look forward to reading!

XO,
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Living in Steil Turns Two

Living in Steil Turns Two

It’s hard to believe that I began blogging two years ago. It has been such an exciting adventure and I love seeing how my blog has grown as I re-read old posts.

This past year has been one of immense change for me as I transitioned from a job in higher education and became a full-time blogger and freelance writer. There has yet to be a day where I have regretted my decision, but that doesn’t mean it’s been without challenges. Through it all, my love of the written word and your kind comments have guided me.

I am continually inspired by the wonderful network of bloggers who are always willing to offer their advice and expertise, and who have become friends. From my early days reaching out to Jessi at The Darling Detail, to my coffee meetings in New York City with Elana at Elana Lyn, and being invited to fashion shows for NYFW by Kate at Taffeta and Tulips, I am honored to be among such a supportive group of women.

As I embark on this next year of blogging, I am hopeful and grateful. Hopeful that fruitful opportunities will continue to present themselves and grateful about all that this creative outlet has brought into my life.

But what makes blogging so rewarding at the end of the day is when you, the reader, comment to say that a post resonated with or inspired you. As a writer, that is the greatest praise I could receive.

So as this next year unfolds, you can count on seeing more posts about fashion, style, career, beauty, health, and wellness. But I would also like to hear if there is anything else you want to see Living in Steil cover. Because you are the reason for this site. Please leave any thoughts or suggestions in the comments below!

Thank you for two wonderful years. Wishing you all a happy Friday and a wonderful Valentine’s Day. I’m looking forward to indulging in some decadent crêpes on Sunday from my favorite crêperie, Sweet ‘n’ Savory.

P.S. I am now on Snapchat! You can find me at livinginsteil. I’d love to connect with you there.

Here’s a look back at my very first post!

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

I am excited to share that I have been nominated for a Liebster Award! This award is given to newbie bloggers by other bloggers as a way to support and promote each other. It is great to be recognized for this creative space, and I am beyond grateful to my loyal readers for visiting my site, their lovely comments, and all of their support.

I would like to thank Michele at Classic & Gray for this nomination. Michele and I connected through Instagram, began following each other’s blogs, and soon realized we had a lot in common. I love Michele’s fashion sense and the story behind what inspired her to start blogging. It’s a site I return to frequently and one that I think you will enjoy reading as well. So head over and show her some love!

The Rules:
1. Post your award to your blog.
2. Answer the questions that you were given from the person who nominated you.
3. Nominate a few new bloggers you’ve discovered.
4. Create 10 new questions for the nominees.
5. Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link to their blog.

Here are my answers to Michele’s questions:

1. What is your favorite type of food?

Does chocolate count as a food? No? Well, then anything that you would find on a brunch menu is my favorite food. In case you couldn’t tell — and don’t know me — I have a serious sweet tooth. Since the question is “type” and not “favorite food,” I’m going to answer this by simply saying — anything sweet!

2. Who is your style icon?

While I appreciate the fashion sense of icons from Audrey Hepburn to Charlize Theron, these days I find myself inspired by the looks I see scrolling through Instagram, what’s on trend for the season, and what’s in my closet.

3. Describe your fashion philosophy?

My fashion philosophy is simple. I believe it’s better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy lounging in yoga pants just as much as the next girl, but when it comes to leaving the house I’m all about being as stylish as possible. I think when you look good, you feel good and I happen to feel my best when I’m all dressed up!

4. What is your favorite fall trend?

I’m slightly obsessed with over-the-knee boots at the moment…okay, really obsessed! They are the only fall staple missing from my wardrobe. I’ve found a few affordable options and I plan on purchasing a pair as a birthday present to myself.

5. Best advice for a new blogger?

Be yourself, find your own voice, and give it time. Blogging is a lot of work, and growing your audience takes time. When starting out, don’t get discouraged about your stats — how many comments and likes your post received, and how many followers you have. You should blog for the love of writing and connecting with an audience and you will eventually find your niche.

6. Coffee or tea?

Definitely, coffee! A White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks is my drink of choice.

7. Go-to stores to shop at?

I’ll try to narrow them down, but my list gets longer each year. I love LOFT for their classic pieces, and because they are the only store where I can get skinny jeans in petite and not have to shorten them. Banana Republic is my go-to for all things work wear — every one of my dresses is from Banana and all of my pants. When I need blazers and summer dresses, I head over to H&M. And then there is Target. I always tell myself that I’m just going to browse, but Mossimo is one of my favorite brands and I seem to be unable to leave the store without buying at least one piece from the collection.

8. What is your favorite blog for inspiration?

There are so many wonderful blogs out there and I read lots (sorry, I can’t quantify that number for you) on a daily basis. I am particularly loyal to my friend Christina’s blog, Musings of a Mom, Esq. She is a full-time lawyer, wife, mother, fashionista…and blogger. Her blog was one of the first blogs I ever read, which planted a seed in my head to start my own. Aside from that, I love perusing The Fresh Exchange Blog for travel and lifestyle tips, Camille Styles for entertaining advice and beauty reviews, Elana Lyn for career advice, and Memorandum for work attire inspiration.

9. If you could get a free trip anywhere, where would you go?

I wish I could say somewhere exotic, but after spending some time in California last spring my heart is still in San Francisco. Now that it is getting colder on the East Coast, a West Coast adventure would be most welcome!

10. What is one thing you want your readers to know?

I am so thankful for my readers and their support! My blog has opened up a whole new world for me. I am the happiest I have ever been writing new content every day and engaging with my audience. When I left my full-time job at the end of July I was hesitant about this next chapter. But it has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. I get to spend my days writing about topics that I’m passionate about and making new friends with people who constantly inspire me. What could be better than that?

My Nominations:
Christina at Musings of a Mom, Esq.
Jalisa at The Style Contour
Samantha at Gold Coast Girl Blog
Annessa at Seeking Sunshine
Jamie at Treats and Trends Blog

My Questions for the Nominees:

1. Describe yourself in three words?

2. Why did you start blogging?

3. What’s your favorite way to spend an afternoon?

4. What does the perfect outfit look like to you?

5. If you could move anywhere in the world for one year, where would you go?

6. What three things in your life could you not live without?

7. Business or casual attire?

8. What advice would you give to a recent college graduate?

9. If you could have dinner with any living person, who would you choose?

10. If you won the lotto, you would _____________?

I hope you enjoyed reading my answers to these questions. A big thank you to Michele at Classic & Gray for the nomination!