BLOUSE: (c/o) Shopbop/SHORTS/SANDALS (more options here)/CLUTCH: (c/o) Neiman Marcus/EARRINGS, NECKLACE

My boyfriend lives in Miami so almost every weekend, I’m there. This weekend, he left for a work trip which meant staying in Palm Beach… a first for me in a long time. 10 months ago, my weekends consisted of working out, shopping, cleaning my apartment and occasionally going out with friends. Writing, too. Now, I make a consorted effort to log off when I’m in Miami and operate on autopilot. Cozy up to my boyfriend. We cook together. Spend quality time… and it’s lovely.

Although somewhat lonely, I loved how those #singledays forced me to reflect on everything from life to family to career to personal choices. I had no distractions. It was just me and my tiny apartment. This weekend, I did just that – reflect…

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been racking my head against a wall wondering where I take my blog. One part because I do not want to perpetuate “living behind a screen.” And one part because I feel indebted to protect what I have. I’ve known for a long time now that it’s time to evolve The Style Bungalow. But (#realtalk) fear my ideas or personal style won’t make it because I’m not “doing it all” (i.e. sharing my entire life on IG Stories in an effort to gain followers because the IG algorithm favors that, posting over sexualized pictures, attending Couture Week in Paris or better yet – buying fake followers because everyone does it). #NOPE

“I want to explore my Hispanic heritage. I want to explore new places. I want to experiment with fashion. And I want to dive deep on here from time to time… I want to connect because I’ve grown so much since starting a blog,” as I explained to Chelsea Anne one night. “But what does that look like? Why don’t I have it figured out?”

Last week, I posted this picture on IG and included a quote by the amazing Leandra Medine on personal style that said this,

“Let style happen to you. Let life begin to show you, allow nature to take its course and then adjust, modify, accept who you are and make it the best. But there is an ingredient that I believe is often overlooked and seems to be at the crux of defining your style, and that is honesty. You can’t know your style until you know yourself… How after all, can you dress to reflect yourself if you’re not quite sure who you are yet… In the event you’re trying to find you, I propose this: think about when you feel like the best and most comfortable version of yourself. What clothes propel that notion?… Good style doesn’t mean constantly changing. It means learning to make the same point over and over through the use of different methods…”  

The next morning, I checked IG feeling slightly uncomfortable. “Was it too much?” I thought. And then saw this comment:

“Whenever I think about my own style I end up thinking about yours. Not because I try to replicate yours but because it’s been awesome over the years to watch your style grow and change and I try to keep that in mind with my own style. Love that quote – I think you could argue this caption is at the essence of your blog, thanks for sharing!”

Light bulb. Suddenly it made sense.

You see, my blog is SO much more than sharing outfits. It’s my journey to becoming a woman. These past couple of years, I’ve suffered and have experienced plenty of hard times. I’ve also found happiness and fulfilment in what I do and in my personal life… and the more I’ve pushed myself, the more I’ve evolved as a person, not as an influencer.

And because blogging has fundamentally changed the way we act, think and consume fashion, I think it’s important to be raw and human. To create intentional, well-thought out content with the goal to inspire others to live their best lives off-screen. To tell a story. To educate. And to protect social media from turning into a full-blown comparison trap that triggers negativity and self-doubt.

This year, I’m eager to grow, evolve and share my journey on here with fashion at the center of everything I do. No, I’m not exactly changing. I’m simply using my blog to promote the same thing over and over again: authenticity. And hopefully in doing so, give you permission to do the same.

Xo, Stephanie

P.S. Little late here, but let’s consider this my (only) resolution for 2018.

P.S.S. Shopbop’s having a sale today. Consider this your PSA and use code: GETLUXE for 25% off designer.

[Chelsae Anne | Photography]