I’ve always loved reading. And writing, too. As a 12-year-old girl, I wrote that I couldn’t decide between being a beauty editor at a magazine or being a pediatrician. Well, as far as I know, I don’t think I’ll be doing either of those things anytime soon.
I started reading blogs back in high school, mainly on Tumblr. I searched for essentially who I thought I wanted to be in college: the preppy girl who always dressed well, had trendy things, and was generally a put together person. To some degree, I already was that girl… But as I attended the University of Alabama my first two years of college, I felt less and less like myself (and for a variety of reasons). Monograms and oversized t-shirts felt like a disguise. I realized I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted, amidst plenty of change and confusion in what I thought was the right career path for me. Y’all, I started out as a Biology major (everyone who knows me finds this fact completely hilarious).
After transferring to the University of Texas at Austin in 2014, a lot changed. I felt 100x more comfortable going to school there – Austin is weird, and people generally do what they’re passionate about, whether that means biking thousands of miles across the country to raise money for cancer or creating a student-led fashion publication, complete with models, writers, make-up artists, editorial staff and a public relations team. Not only did the University of Texas reinvigorate my desire to learn, but also it fostered my personal development as a 20-something-year-old trying to make sense of what my future could hold. Everything inspired me – especially being surrounded by others so fearlessly chasing after their passions.
In the beginning of 2014 I decided to create a WordPress account, knowing absolutely nothing about WordPress or even blogging (not that I’m any expert today). After a few glances at the home page, I spent 30 minutes writing up a Skincare Favorites post instead of studying. Having spent so many hours on Pinterest and other blogs, I loved contributing to the community. A friend of mine came across my post on Pinterest and read it, not realizing I was the author until the end of the post. “I thought that was a post from a real blogger!” she told me.
A few months passed, and in June I wrote an “updates” post. At this point no one knew I had a blog except for maybe my sisters and I definitely wasn’t going to publicize it. Let’s be clear: I didn’t even know what I was doing!
Fall 2015 started and I changed my major (for the final time 🙂 ). I got involved on the writing staff for a student-led blog and would crank out posts every week or so in the health and beauty category. After a few weeks I started volunteering to take on more stories. Lizzie Velasquez came to UT campus and after being a fan of hers for years, I got to capture what it was like hearing her speak about her life.
My excitement for blogging – even for the student publication – surprised me. I’ve always enjoyed writing and have kept a journal since I was a kid, but I never thought I would want to be a blogger. No one really understands what bloggers do and how (or if) they make money, anyway.
One day in October 2015, my sister Caroline texted me after reading one of my articles on the student website: “Why don’t you start your own blog?” And that’s when I decided to take my measly little WordPress site and actually do something with it.
In November, I sat down, came up with a name, wrote up some post ideas and asked (read: bribed) a friend with a fancy camera to help me shoot some looks for Thanksgiving. I had never “modeled” before and didn’t exactly want to do it, but I figured it was part of the fashion blog-osphere and needed to happen if I was going to go all-in. Let’s be clear again: I still had no idea what I was doing.
Months passed and I kept up with the website, posting every week or so about fashion, beauty and lifestyle topics. Instead of getting burned out by the nitty-gritty tasks necessary to successfully run a blog, I was energized by them. Editing photos, planning posts and constructing a website fed my curiosity and fostered my creativity as a traditionally non-creative student in school. I started getting comfortable with what I was doing and felt as confident as I could feel about the content.
All the while, I enjoyed every second. I worked on my blog instead of doing homework so many nights — and honestly, I’m doing that right now.
In January 2016, I launched an Instagram page for my blog, @withlovesuz. My website’s theme changed over time – less pink, more photos, less junk, more clarity. I moved to New York for a summer internship and kept up with it all to the best of my ability, but was excited to come back to school because I knew it would mean more time to spend blogging.
So incredibly much has changed since I officially started blogging one year ago. My website has done a 180; I’ve reached almost all of my goals for my first year, including working with rewardStyle and partnering with brands I admire (May Designs and Warby Parker); I’ve become part of the fashion and lifestyle blogging community and feel at home here. My blog has become part of my livelihood. I know I can be completely and utterly myself on this platform and I absolutely love that. I hope that I’ve encouraged and allowed other people to completely be themselves, too.
Writing little tidbits about style, beauty, and life means so much more to me than I ever could have anticipated. I can’t imagine not doing it. I’m still shocked it took my sister’s words to get me here, but I’m sharing that because if anyone needs that extra push, here it is! If you’re passionate about or interested in blogging, give it a shot. When you’re in it for the right reasons and truly enjoy the work, it’ll be worth every second.