Three Year Blogiversary: What I've learned Through It All

Wow. Just WOW you guys. Celebrating my third blogiversary and 20K milestone all in one week feels so surreal. When I think back on these past three years making Blonde Gone Clean my life, it’s hard to wrap my head around how much I’ve changed, grown and gained through this platform. How many friendships I’ve formed, how many amazing opportunities I’ve been presented with, how many recipes I’ve tested (and consumed), how much I’ve learned about my body, how much I’ve grown mentally and physically, how much my philosophies and values have changed, yet also stayed the same. It’s truly been a journey – a constantly ebbing and flowing journey, with ups and downs, twists and turns, beautiful joy-filled moments and anxiety-stricken ones. But it’s been the most amazing three years of my life.

Blonde Gone Clean

Blonde Gone Clean

Why? Because Blonde Gone Clean has given me more passion, joy, love and purpose than I ever thought possible. It’s given me more confidence than I ever thought I could have and truly shaped me into the woman, foodie, fitness lover, runner, thinker, writer and learner that I am today. It’s helped me shape my business skills, forced me to perfect the art of time management and pushed me to think about life, food, fitness and wellness in new lights. It’s presented me with opportunities to travel, meet amazing friends (who so many have turned into REAL life best friends) and try new foods. It’s pushed me to say YES more, to go outside of my comfort zone and be creative every single day.

Blonde Gone Clean has 100%, without-a-doubt, no-questions-asked flipped my world upside down and changed everything about it.

Without it I probably wouldn’t be on my path to becoming a personal trainer, I probably wouldn’t have ran a marathon, I probably wouldn’t have ever visited LA, I probably wouldn’t have such a deep level of love for my own body, I probably wouldn’t understand half as much as I do about health and nutrition, I probably wouldn’t constantly feel a drive to learn more about all things wellness, I probably wouldn’t be as mindful and I probably wouldn’t have as much joy, love or happiness in my life.

Blonde Gone Clean

Blonde Gone Clean

And as I reflect on all of this, I realize there are two key reasons why Blonde Gone Clean adds so much to my life… and it’s because of all of YOU.

Without the support of 20,000 amazing souls constantly inspiring me, lifting me up and pushing me to be my best, I wouldn’t have been able to do the things I’ve done or changed my own life for the better in the ways that I have. Without all of you I wouldn’t have a community to understand me and cheer me on. Without you guys supporting me and giving me tips throughout it all, like my personal certification process certification process and marathon training, I may have chickened out. Without you guys inspiring me daily, I wouldn’t feel as driven to learn about health and wellness every day, constantly work on my relationship with myself and try new things (food, fitness and mindfulness alike). You guys seriously are my rocks, my people and my inspirations!

Blonde Gone Clean

Blonde Gone Clean

The other key reason is PASSION. I truly believe living a passionate life is the best (and only) way to live it. And I’ve never felt the kind of passion I feel when I do the work that I do for Blonde Gone Clean. Whether it’s recipe testing, writing a blog post, speaking out for ulcerative colitis awareness, advocating for local eating and sustainability, writing up my workouts, styling food, editing photos or working with companies… I LOVE it. Absolutely, LOVE it. And I love that my passions are diverse and wide-spread. Some days I feel insecure that my blog isn’t totally niche, but then I remember that life is more fun this way – full of passion in MANY aspects and areas.

Each year, when my blog-iversary comes around I like to take time and reflect on what the year has taught me, because each year growing and running this platform brings with it new lessons and lightbulb moments. And man, was this a YEAR.

Blonde Gone Clean

Blonde Gone Clean

So, over my third year of blogging I’ve learned...

  1. That I am very different, and I have never been so okay with that: I’m 22 and find roasting veggies at 6AM fun, going to bed at 8:30PM normal, drinking herbal tea more ideal than drinking alcohol, reading about nerdy topics enthralling and so much more. I’m quirky and proud of it!

  2. Don't sweat the small stuff (I’m still working on this): I used to get so easily worked up – whether I was stressed about a recipe testing fail or a collaboration that almost slipped my mind, I’d hit panic mode. Over this past year and especially now I’m really learning to let that sh*t go. My goal is to always keep Blonde Gone Clean FUN for me, and stressing over silly things doesn’t help that. It’s all about perspective.

  3. My worth is not defined by numbers: This past year I truly gave up focusing so much on numbers – likes, followers, etc. – and simply focusing on posting what feels good and genuine to me. Because I realized, if I love what I’m posting then who cares how many likes it gets? If I’m able to reach ONE person or change ONE person’s day around, that’s all that matters. And the craziest part? The more I stopped caring about numbers and just doing me to the fullest, I started noticing so much more growth. Authenticity is truly key.

  4. Genuine friendships and connections are the best part of blogging: I feel like more than ever this past year has blessed me with so many amazing friendships. I haven’t been lucky enough to meet them all in person (yet!), but the ones that I have quickly turned into real life best friends. I’ve truly found my people and that feels so good.

  5. Vulnerability is a beautiful thing: Being vulnerable is scary and uncomfortable at times, but this year I decided to go all in when it came to showing all sides of me. I truly poured my heart out this year on the blog about my past struggles with disordered eating and grief, ulcerative colitis and so much more. It feels good to let my walls down because I know I’m helping others who have gone through similar experiences. My biggest goal is to be able to let others know that they have someone who GETS IT and vulnerability helps me show that.

  6. Relationships take precedent over work: I used to place the blog and related work above relationships, making plans with friends, saying YES to spontaneity with friends and so much more, but I’m finally realizing that that’s no way to live. This past year of blogging I realized sometimes the blog actually shouldn’t come first, but RELATIONSHIPS should.

  7. The workaholic, go-go-go, hustle 24/7 life is overrated: Going off of the above post, I really realized this past year that my workaholic tendencies needed to be kicked to the curb. Don’t get me wrong, I still work extremely hard, but I also know when to stop, take a break and put myself, others and different priorities first. I no longer feel that constant guilt when I’m not working and that’s the best feeling.

  8. I can handle a lot more than I thought possible: This past year was a busy one. Between balancing my ebook creation, graduating, work, marathon training, personal training studies, blogging, etc. I often felt torn in a million directions. But in the most stressful moments I realized I couldn’t and wouldn’t give up any of it, so I had to just charge ahead with positivity and believe in myself. I clearly couldn’t give up work or school and I knew I wouldn’t give up the ebook or the blog, so the only thing to do was put on my big girl pants and get to work.

  9. Saying YES is so damn rewarding: Saying yes to events, opportunities, collaborations, new friendships, adventures and so much more this past year (especially the past few months) have filled my life in ways I never thought possible. Because of Blonde Gone Clean I was able to say yes to going to the GoodFest and having the best LA weekend, I was able to say yes to a ton of fun adventures with friends I’ve met through the blog recently, I was able to say yes to the most glorious brunch with Bobs Red Mill and The Feed Feed in Portland, I was able to say yes to incredibly fun collaborations throughout the year, I was able to say yes to hosting my first event talking all about social media branding… and looking back on it all I’m so dang grateful.

  10. And lastly, nothing feels better than when someone says you’ve inspired them: The extra work and sometimes stressful moments are so incredibly worth it when someone tells me this. Because that’s truly why I do what I do. Why I share details about my life, health journey, autoimmune disease, past struggles and daily joys. I do this for you guys and it makes my heart want to burst when I get to hear these words.

So thank you. ALL of you. Thank you for following along on this crazy journey of mine, for lifting me up, encouraging me, loving me for me and being my community.

Here’s to another year of vulnerability, adventures, tasty recipes, saying yes, fostering friendships and growth. I love you guys!

Xo nat