Three years today…

[Chelsae Anne | Photography]

WEARING: TEE, HEELS (similar), EARRINGS: (c/o) Neiman Marcus/JEANS: more options here/BAG: (c/o) Frances Valentine/HAIR TIE: more options here

It’s amazing how quickly time flies when you’re having fun. Yesterday as I was mindlessly shopping for groceries, it dawned on me. “OH. MY. GOODNESS. Today’s March 19. Tomorrow’s my blog anniversary!” I paused. Took a second to reflect. Smiled. And felt a tear roll down my cheek.

Realizing I was awkwardly gazing into a piece of raw chicken, I pulled myself together. Checked out and jumped into my car to see what was next on my to-do list. (Sunday’s are for errands.) One more task. Fax application, it read. I had to fax my application to register my blog as a new business in the state of Florida. Never thought I would be saying that.

For whatever reason, this anniversary seems more symbolic than the other two. I guess it’s because I started this blog from nothing (literally… nothing) in hopes of turning it into a small business that would allow me to do what I love every day. Write about fashion. Who knew this space I created online to share my ideas about style, life, inspiration, and advice would turn into something bigger than I could have ever imagined. And above all, push me in ways that three years ago felt really uncomfortable to me.

I’ll never forget the exact moment I told a trusted friend that I wanted to start a blog. At the time, I was going through one of the most difficult periods of my life. A time where I lacked confidence in my decisions and above all, in myself. I was lonely. Desperate for a change at 25. So the thought of putting myself out there + starting a blog felt terrifying. Actually, scratch that. It felt debilitating. I. Did. Not. Like. Being. Vulnerable.

“Cool. Go for it,” she said. Not putting much thought into her words. I said, “ok” and as scary as that sounded (out loud) something inside of me felt like it was the right move. I refused to continue feeling icky about my life. I wanted to change it. I wanted to get over my fears of being vulnerable. And knew this was the way to do it.

So I started The Style Bungalow…

And it took off.

I’m a firm believer that when things are meant to be, they happen. Doors open. No matter what. And that’s exactly what happened. Four months into blogging, I was asked to be the brand ambassador for T.J. Maxx throughout the month of July (which entailed an all-expense paid trip to NYC + massive shopping spree + professional photo shoot with uber cool photographer + fast growth on Instagram). Ten months into blogging, I was shooting an in-store ad campaign for Marshalls (that appeared in every store throughout the country). Then opportunities with household names like Express, Kate Spade, Madewell, Vince Camuto, Rebecca Minkoff, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, etc. My first fashion week. Vogue Mexico. 50k on Instagram. Styling. Making it my full-time job. Trips. Youtube. My first RAW and open post about life. Feature in Coastal Living magazine. An appearance on Lifetime TV. Public speaking. Being a business owner. Like, woah… hold up.

I can’t tell you this process has been easy. In fact, it’s been (personally) very challenging for me. Why? Because every time I opened one of those awesome emails, I felt paralyzed with fear. Fear of the unknown.

Whether you’re thinking about staring a blog or a business or simply going through a tough time right now. I get you. Been there. Trust me, I don’t want to go back. Here’s what I can tell you though…

The Style Bungalow changed my life. Not because of the opportunities. But because I’ve grown tremendously as a person. As a woman. Just writing this – openly sharing my experience with thousands of people – is scary for me. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that fear keeps you from enjoying life to the fullest. From achieving success. From pursuing your dreams. From living a courageous life. And from growing.

Today I’m prepared more than ever for new and unexpected changes that come my way. I’m comfortable with pushing my boundaries in the future. I know I’ll never look back. I feel like I’m just getting started. And if there’s one thing I can do with The Style Bungalow – ONE THING – it’s to inspire you to do something scary. To be brave. And tell yourself that no matter what happens, you are still you and everything will be ok.

I promise…

(with my best friend Jen in NYC)

(10 months later…)

(American Eagle)

(Another ad campaign in the making…)

(Always taking things in. #petiteprobs)

(Lol, when ADD takes over during shoots…)

(First NYC Fashion Week)

(Madewell)

(Another all-time favorite)

(Theory)

(With Rebecca Taylor)

(Back to Boston…)

(With Rebecca Minkoff)

(First time offering styling to readers…)

(Loved this shoot too…)

(Another all-time favorite for Jonathan Simkhai)

(Express)

(J.Crew)

(Kate Spade)

(One of my most liked photos!)

(Hanging in Miami…)

(Chelsea and I loved this shoot too!)

(First time styling a shoot for a client.)

(Alexis)

(Loved this look…)

(Second NYC Fashion Week.)

(This look was featured in Vogue Mexico, Elle and Refinery 29)

(Mexico)

(Coastal Living magazine)

(Lifetime TV)

(Sharing my story… ugh, I HATE public speaking!)

(More faves…)

(First blog shoot with Chels)

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all who have been on this crazy journey with me. Whether you’ve been here since Day 1 or this is your first time reading my blog – you’ve helped make my dreams come true. You’ve helped me grow as a person. I’m beyond thankful for that.

With lots of love today…

Xo, Stephanie

6 Comments

  • Congrats Stephanie!!! I started following you from the beginning. We started around the same time. I was Maxxinista of the Month for June and I wanted to find out about this stylish girl that was coming up for July. So glad I found you. Even though we haven’t met in person (yet) it’s been amazing to watch your blog grow and evolve. Congrats on all of your success and cheers to much more.

    XOXO,
    Davida

    http://vidafashionista.com/

  • Congrats! I found you thru the Coastal Living article and have been hooked ever since! Wish I could have had your courage when I was in my 20’s! You are such an inspiration on so many levels!

  • A couple of days late but…. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! I am beyond excited for you, I discovered your blog a little over 2 years ago and ever since it has remained one of my all time favorite 3. I could really feel your enthusiasm, positivity and gratefulness while reading your post, I am so happy to know that not only is this your full time job, which requires of so much care, but also to feel your passion and love towards it is much more of an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story, from the bottom of my heart, I appreciate how you’ve poured your heart to us your readers, and of course thank you for all of the fashion tips you’ve shared through these first 3 years. Congratulations and I can’t wait to see what you’ll do next 🙂

  • Congrats on 3 successful years, Stephanie! It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that we were sitting next to each other in Boston at the Marshalls Project Fab boot camp chatting about blogging. It’s been amazing watching you and your blog takeoff! Best wishes for continued success over the next many years to come!

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