Monday Thoughts

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?

Monday Moments & A Sneak Peek

Over-the-Knee Boots

{A Sneak Peek!}

Happy Monday, friends! If you are counting down to Christmas you still have 18 days to go, and for those celebrating Hanukkah, happy Hanukkah. After stopping at the mall on Friday to pick up the wrapped feather ring I mentioned here from Anthropologie and another initial mug (this time in gold), I may be rethinking the whole going-to-the-store-to-shop thing. I couldn’t believe how crowded the stores were at 2 pm during the week. Let’s not mention the parking lot! I guess my plan of shopping while everyone was still at work isn’t going to work out after all. That leaves me with shopping early in the morning (I don’t do mornings), online (but what if it doesn’t fit?), or gifting everyone something I crafted from a DIY tutorial (do boxed Ghirardelli brownies count?).

On another note, I celebrated a birthday with a good friend over the weekend, and given my mall experience, I remembered why shopping local is the best option. I had no luck trying to find the perfect gift in a busy store, so I headed into a small boutique that created custom fragrances. I must have passed the store hundreds of times over the years, and despite being intrigued, I never ventured in. Once inside I was transfixed by the aroma and all of the kitschy gifts they offered. Why had I not thought of this before? Luckily, my friend had found the store way before me and had a custom fragrance selected and under her account — which made the whole gift buying process even easier.

This story is a reminder to check out small boutiques and local establishments this season. It’s a great way to support businesses in your community and you can avoid the hassle of the malls and big box stores.

And lastly, I had to share a sneak peek from my photo shoot the other day. Do you remember that I promised you a part II of a recent post? Stay tuned — it will be coming to the blog on Friday!

Photography by Vlad Polchaninoff