FEATURED LIFESTYLE

Thank You 2020


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My 2020 in Review – First Time Blogger/ Influencer

Wow, it has been just over a year since I first hit publish on my first blog post, thank you 2020. Back in September 2019, I decided to finally take the plug and start a blog.

we survived 2020 - medicine hat - yxh - south Saskatchewan river

The Beginning.

I feel like to in order to talk about where I am now, I need to chat about where I came from. Since I was a teen, but more so in my early 20’s I always wanted to have a blog. I have always wanted to share about the things I love. Over time it’s always evolved.

First I had always wanted to be a hairdresser and share how to do hair, business tips and product recommendations. Then I forgot about that idea and focused on working retail. I realized I was made more than retail. I fell into learning gel nails and miniature nail art, I had thought of one day training how to do nails/art. That dream quickly vanished as I realized it was too hard for me to juggle salon life with a family. So I focused on working at my family business and how a blog would be super helpful in explaining our services. Finally, I got a chance to actually put my thoughts to paper and start writing.

I quickly realized that, although I loved my families business, upholstery was my dads passion. Starting out, I really struggled to come up with content. I always had to ask him questions about things I was writing about. So many ideas started to flooded my brain of things I wanted to talk about or share. None of those topics didn’t really line up with with the market that would be on our business page. We were in the processes of redesigning our website. I quickly released how much fun it would be to pull my own together.


The Art of Sharing

Earlier in 2019, I started to share some of my struggles, my heart and things I loved on Instagram. I was getting a great response from it and so many people enjoyed what I was sharing. But I felt like I didn’t have enough space in those tiny little squares. I don’t know what came over me but I finally just went for it. My intentions, at the time, were never to become a content creator or influencer. I had just intended to share my favourite things, recipes and anything stories I wanted to share.

During this time I was dabbling in a “beauty and wellness journey”. So in other words I was trying to make money selling products with some muti level marketing companies. I was desperate to try and make the millions of dollars, with the 1% of people that actually make money from mlms. But we are not here to talk about them. I am also not going to mention them by name. If you do enough looking you’ll find which ones they were. Honestly, if it wasn’t for dabbling in them, I wouldn’t have realized I had a potential to share more than just products with my followers. And build my own following based on me and me alone.


Finding My Confidence

Through these endeavours, I became confident enough to tell a story most people weren’t talking about. I had to go down the tunnel of wanting to lose weight. To fit into societies standards but that world was toxic. It seemed to me these people got to where they wanted to be but still were not happy with themselves. They always seemed to be looking for something more.

I quickly released why I was struggling to follow the rigid diet and exercise programs. That was because I was doing it for people other than myself. When I started to reflect on what I was doing and what I was trying to accomplish. I wanted to offer something different. To be that friend you go to get hyped up. I wanted to be able to give you that big sister advice you’re always looking for. I wanted to show you what a normal body looks like – how to dress it and feel confident right where you are at.


No Looking Back Now

What came next was bold. So,I ordered a large amount of bathing suits from my go to store AERIE. I threw all my negative thoughts out the window. I went and made a video trying on swim suits on a midsize/plus size body. Trying my best to give honest reviews and tips to my viewers. I shared positive thoughts of encouragement and hoped to make my views feel like they could do it too. To the day this youtube video has had 9k views.

As many content creators do you make a plan for the year. Basically what your guaranteed content is going to be for the year. For me, it was all about traveling to Hawaii in the spring and California in the fall. Oh man did I have so many plans, hence all the bathing suits. But much like everyone, 2020 came to a screeching halt, quickly changing all and any plans you might have had. But little did I know, like everyone says, when one door closes, another door opens.

Because I took one crazy step to share my story, it has single handedly launched my content creating career. Never in my life would I have imagined what happened next. When you share things on social media you often get phoney account saying they want to collab. I got a comment from AERIE on one of my bathing suit photos say “we would like to talk to you about an opportunity”. I was then asked if I was interested in being an AERIE ambassador. My mind was blown.

Of all the companies in the world American Eagle/AERIE have been one of my go to’s since jr. high. Before I knew it was posting photos for AERIE and I even was a top photo on their website. What a dream. Sadly, with covid their program changed. So I only got to partake in one campaign but it was such an honour, I hope to be able to do it again one day. Thank you 2020.

aerie midsize model body positive
Photo Taken by @brittanyrossphoto
aerie midsize model body positive
Photo Taken by @brittanyrossphoto
aerie midsize model body positive
aerie midsize model body positive
aerie midsize model body positive

Pivot!

This whole year I have had one phrase repeat itself in my mind and that’s Ross from Friends, “PIVOT!” – thank you 2020.

friends pivot

I quickly realized a lot of small and local shops were struggling from the shut down. So I was trying to figure how I could support them. I started off with creating a Mother’s Day Gift Guide. Then an amazing team put together a The YXH Box and I was just so excited for this. I ordered one right away and did a review. This quickly exposed me to so many businesses I never would have connected on that level otherwise.

It became apparent that I was on to something. My passion for small shops and businesses was coming in strong. So I just kept at it.

two friends
Photo Taken by @creativity.in.action

Then my friend tagged me in this casting call post for a show on Cottage Life. The account encouraged us to submit our info. We got in contact with them and sent in all of our info and ideas. Knowing we weren’t exactly what they were looking for but we submitted anyways.

We ended up hearing back from them and we were in the top ten. Now we needed to submit an audition tape. So we got to work. It was honestly one of the the most creative/fun things I have been able to do with a friend. We put so much heart and soul into our video. We made sure to feature our community, we wanted to sell the idea of producing the footage in our hometown. Sadly, we were not selected, which we kind of knew, but we still had so much creating together. We decided to make our audition tape public for your viewing pleasure. Thank you 2020.


Leading into the holidays, I knew I needed to curated some amazing local gift guides featuring small shops and businesses. Especially after the success of my first few. With the second wave, many of these businesses ordered lots of stock intending to be attending markets for the holiday season. Most if not all markets were cancelled. So I went to work collecting shop all across Alberta but mostly in Medicine Hat. I ended up making 6 Local Gift Guides featuring over 100 businesses. These blogs were all done for free. I wanted the oppertunity to elevate these businesses and give them some different exposure. Plus it was the holidays so why not!

On top of all of my blog posting, I some how found the time to launch my own side business. Offering custom wood slice ornaments. I had been wanting to offer them for a few years now but like everyone else, 2020 was the year to try something new. So I just went for it. The ornament sales blew up, and were more popular than I ever would have expected. Crazily enough, the ornaments got me the oppertunity to be approached by our local news! Sadly, I only got a small 20 secs of fame but it made me realize why I got into blogging in the first place. Thank you 2020.


Thank You 2020

This year has been freakin’ WILD! So much stress, so much sadness. But I can’t leave 2020 with out being thankful for everything that has come from it. If you’ve watched Marie Kondo on Netflix, you know you are supposed to thank every piece of clothing you are getting rid of. For that, I would like to thank 2020. It has taught me so much more than I ever would have expected. Yes it was hard – it was SO hard. But through difficult times come new beginnings. If the actual “worst year” of my life was 2020. With this many positively unexpected experiences happened, GUYs, 2021 has so much potential for so much more. Let’s manifest the best for all of us, because we have now learned to expect the unexpected.

burk and co, midsize model medicine hat yxh
Photo Taken by @creativity.in.action

If you are a small business or you own a small shop and you would like to work together. I would love to hear from you.

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