Hey friends. . .it’s time for a LOOONG overdue check-in. I need to share a bit about what’s on my heart and what my plans are for 2021.
Some of you have been following me since my very first blog post on October 9, 2009 – and if you have – THANK YOU, we’ve been through so much together and I’m so grateful for your continued support.
If I look back over the last 12 years, I can see very specific seasons . . .
October 2009 – June 2015 – Raising my two babies, blogging long hours, clipping actual newspaper coupons, chasing chickens, growing a garden, sharing recipes, documenting everything – I look back on those early days of this blog with both exhaustion and adoration. I loved those early years with my kids and it’s during those years that my blog was a big part of our family income.
July 2015 – September 2016 – We sold everything and moved into an Airstream to travel the country! I look back on these 15 months as the BEST years of our lives. Quality time with my kids, creating memories in some of the most magical places in this country. The year represents stepping outside my comfort zone to grow as a person, chasing a dream and putting it into a reality, owning our destiny and NOT waiting for ‘some day’ to come around. It was so very special and I blogged all about it at TakeThatExit.com.
September 2016 – We bought a small house in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the kids started public school and Jeremy (Mr. Queen Bee) got a teaching job. We picked Coeur d’Alene because we had family there and we had spent lots of time visiting in the past. It’s a beautiful community that reminded me a lot of my time growing up in Alaska. The traffic was nothing compared to the Puget Sound, housing prices were cheap and it was only a 5.5 hour drive “home” to Jeremy’s family’s house.
December 2016 – Amazon had cut my Queen Bee blogging affiliate commissions (the % they pay on deals we refer) in early 2015 – and other affiliate companies were following suit (across the board – for all bloggers). It was becoming harder to support our family full-time on just blog revenue. . . .so I decided to start a LuLaRoe clothing boutique.
We had a 5,000 piece clothing boutique and no place but the master bedroom to store it. Our LuLaRoe business was thriving – but our personal life was not. We were cramped and cranky. We missed the Puget Sound and the support from having Jeremy’s parents and family nearby. We loved so much about Idaho – but ultimately decided it wasn’t the best long-term solution for us. We started looking at houses back on the Washington coast – from Olympia all the way to Portland.
June 2019 – We bought an old house in Northeast Olympia, close to downtown Olympia. Built in 1890 it’s an old craftsman on a corner lot with lots of fruit trees, a chicken coop, room for raised beds and a dedicated space for our LuLaRoe clothing boutique. We got the keys June 15, 2019 and instantly felt back at home.
July 2019 – February 2020 – The kids started public school in the fall of 2019 here in Olympia and we continued our LuLaRoe business. Grateful to be back in the Pacific Northwest we traveled a lot, put in raised garden beds and started to settle in while both working the boutique business.
February 2020 – December 2020 – In February 2020 I decided I didn’t want to carry the LuLaRoe brand anymore and transitioned to an online boutique called Ramona Rose Co where I could source products of my choice (many from other small businesses).
Knowing the kids would be doing virtual school because of the pandemic. . .and not knowing what the future might hold, we decided Mr. Queen Bee should get a teaching job again. In the fall of last year, Jeremy got a job teaching online with Washington Virtual academy. This allowed him to work from home, while kids did online school. It also provided us with health benefits (so grateful) and relieved some pressure from the retail business.
Also in September 2020 – I also opened a vintage/antique space at Courtyard Antiques in downtown Olympia. I did this, not because I had a bunch of free time, but because thrifting and vintage items bring me so much joy! Jeremy and I decided that even if my vendor space didn’t bring in a ton of revenue – if it was something that brought me joy and filled my cup, that it was worth the work. A labor of love – just like Queen Bee was at the beginning.
December 2020 – After another exhausting holiday retail season I made the decision that I’m done working so hard at things that doesn’t bring me joy. We started LuLaRoe in 2016 because it was an excellent business opportunity (which we needed after traveling for 16 months) – but if I’m being honest with myself – clothing and fashion has NEVER been a passion of mine. Some of my favorite clothing items are 10+ years old. I like comfortable shoes and secondhand items. I don’t care one bit about what’s in season or what the color of the year is – I just want comfortable, affordable clothes.
I like saving money and I like being frugal. This does not necessarily bode well for a boutique owner. The constant struggle of offering a deal I thought was fair – but being profitable enough to pay employees, rent, taxes – it was exhausting and if I was being totally honest with myself – I didn’t love it. I don’t love fashion. I didn’t like being LIVE on Facebook all the time. “Boutique” life no longer felt genuine to me. . . and I was burned out and tired.
I have spent most of my adult life following my heart . . . quitting my state job to stay home with kids, blogging about things I loved, selling everything to simplify and travel . . .all of those things brought me joy. And I found that in the last five years, I had gotten farther away from what was important to me.
And if 2020 had taught me anything – life is short and nothing is guaranteed. My babies aren’t getting any younger – they are 10 and 13-years-old and as we round the corner to the next 5-8 years with them at home, I don’t want to be pulled away by a business that doesn’t bring me joy.
What brings me joy? Being home with my kids, gardening, cooking, being frugal, traveling, thrifting and blogging.
When I’m doing things that bring me joy. . . when I feel like I’m genuinely serving others – the rest falls into place for me. So here I am in 2021. . and I’m going back to the basics and doing what makes me happy – blogging, thrifting, raising my kids, working in my yard. . .
So what does ALL THIS MEAN TO YOU? I plan to spend more time blogging – so hopefully you’ll see more meaningful Queen Bee Today blog posts in 2021. Maybe get back to gardening, chickens, recipes, thrifting, DIY – the type of blog posts that I used to love doing!
I’m doing a MASSIVE SALE over on my boutique website. Use code FEB30 to save 30% off sitewide. This makes things ridiculously cheap. I have one week to clear my retail space out. Many prices (especially clothes) were already 60% off or more – but the code FEB30 takes another 30% off. . . the prices are so good. I want to scale back my inventory to only a handful of things that I feel passionately about.
Eventually I want to grow my vintage business. I love thrifting and sourcing secondhand items so much. I love that I can do something I adore, while offering others a great deal on a quality item. I love that it keeps things out of the landfill and it gives old things a new life. It fills my cup, so I plan to ramp up this secondhand vintage business as I’m able. I hope to do some vintage lives in my Facebook group, post items on my vintage Instagram account, and I’ll continue to put my favorite items at the Courtyard Antiques in downtown Olympia. Who knows what this business will look like a year from now – but for now, I’ll do it because it brings me joy and helps pay the bills (a little). 🙂
If you’ve read this whole post – thanks for letting me share a little about the journey that I’ve been on over the last decade and where I hope to focus my efforts this year. I don’t know where I’ll be this time next year – but I do know I won’t regret listening to my heart and focusing on the most important thing in my life. I think being able to stop yourself mid-stride and say, this doesn’t align with who I am. . .and take a leap to do what feels right, even when it’s scary . . .that’s what makes us grow and that’s when we’re living our best life.
I’d love to hear from you. . .what do you want to see on Queen Bee Today this year? How can I serve you better as a blogger?
Much love and gratitude,