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giving thanks

This month last year I quit my job to blog full-time. I was excited, terrified, clueless. But I believed in my writing, my ideas, and this community and felt it could work. And if it didn’t work, well I had made enough contacts that after a year I could try to get a new job in my old field.

It’s been a year, and I haven’t failed. Sure, this year has been hard but I knew it would be hard. Starting your own business, no matter the type, it’s hard. It’s overwhelming and emotional and all-encompassing. I’d say I work more now than I did a year ago, but that’s not true. I do work more now than I did at my old day job, but the big reason why I did quit was so I wasn’t working so much. I missed being a person away from her laptop. And I’m excited that this year, not only did I not have our house fall into foreclosure or have to beg my old boss for my job back, I became a person away from my laptop.

Recently, my Google Alert let me know I was being discussed on a SubReddit that is about blogging. Someone found me boring, and that I wasn’t providing anything special to the blog since quitting my job. My Instagram Stories were nothing other than me going to the gym and taking my kid to school. Of course, I read this the day before my period and got all upset and created an account on Reddit so I could reply, plead my case, ask them for constructive feedback, look for ways to win them over and prove I’m busting my ass with this job. But then I went to bed, woke up with Aunt Flo, calmed down, and thought about it.

Honestly, my life is pretty boring. And I freaking LOVE IT. I get at least six hours of sleep each night, I eat meals with my family, I go to the gym almost every weekday morning, take my kid to school and sometimes even have the chance to pick her up. I go with my mom to her doctor’s appointments, I volunteer at my kid’s school, I actually go to the grocery store and Target instead of shopping at 2am from my phone. I ride my trike with my family, I drink tea out in an Adirondack chair with Karl while watching the sun set. I clean my bathrooms while listening to the latest Robyn album on my headphones. It’s all gloriously boring and it’s all things I wasn’t doing a year ago.

But I do think my content is better, and a big reason is because I have had the time to get to know all of you better. We chat in the Facebook group, you email me and DM me and we have conversations. Heck, this year I even had the chance to meet a few of you in person and you’re just as awesome as I hoped. Of course, I’m creating content that I hope will make Google happy and bring in income, but I’m finding ways to do that and bring you the content you’re asking for. This year, I said no to partnering with brands that don’t have a decent size range because you asked for that. You complained that the collages in capsule wardrobes didn’t help you envision actual outfits and styling so I began real-life capsule wardrobes where Karl and I shoot me in the clothing. You criticized websites that shared beauty routines of celebs that cost thousands a month and don’t mention the plastic surgeons and dermatologists who do the real work so I created the My Beauty Routine series with real women I knew and admired. We had the time to craft better outfit shoots – better locations, better lighting, more detail shots, more shots showing the clothes in motion and from different angles. And it’s all been fun, finding new ways each day to update and improve Wardrobe Oxygen.

My goal has never been to be an “influencer.” I have no desire to be a model or spokesperson, don’t want to be on TV, don’t desire to be on the pages of a magazine. I know that fashion, especially when you’re older, can be a pain in the ass. Clothing isn’t designed to fit us, quality isn’t what it used to be, trends change with the speed of light, and knowing that sweet spot between boring and try-hard is tough. I want to help women like me, grown-ass women living their lives, desiring a wardrobe that is as hard working and awesome like them. I want to show that fashion can be fun, even if you aren’t a size 2 or 22 years old. Being a badass doesn’t have an expiration date, and you can be a badass on your own terms, with your own unique personal style. Therefore, you won’t see 80% of my day on Instagram Stories, you won’t find carefully curated pictures of my meals, or read reviews of wild and exciting adventures on Wardrobe Oxygen. Because Wardrobe Oxygen isn’t about me, it’s about us.

They say if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life. Well that’s a load of horseshit. Every job, even if it’s your dream job or your passion, has aspects that suck. But this career choice has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This has been a year of learning, of trying new things, of planning, of stabilizing. What makes it so great is you, you give all of this a purpose. I proved I can do this, and now with you, I can keep making Wardrobe Oxygen better. I am so thankful for those of you who have stuck with me, those who have recently found me and decided to stick around, and those who have not been afraid to give me feedback so I can learn and grow.

Wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving.  I am so thankful for you. <3

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I am sooo glad its been such a positive change for you! I enjoy reading your blog today as I did 9 or 10 years ago. bring it on ! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving-

  2. I’ve followed your blog for probably 10 years, since the “What’s My Wardrobe Today” days. 😉 As others have have already said, I absolutely adore you and your blog. Your honesty, passion, and empathy are so refreshing and the blog/Instagram have become even better since you quit your day job to focus on it full-time. Keep doing what you’re doing – you have tons of readers who support you!

  3. There is beauty in the everyday. Your realness is why I’ve been following your blog for years. Our lives couldn’t be more different but you have an authentic voice and true grit.

  4. I so disagree with that Reddit comment. I have followed you for years and have always enjoyed your blog. I have also noticed and commented on how much I thought you had stepped up your game over the last 18 months or so. Leaving your job has definitely been a good move for you and your blog. I love that you are a real person and live a real life. You are the only blog I have consistently followed. You have followers that adore you and your blog – never forget that!

  5. I am much older than you (could definitely be your mom), but LOVE your blog. It’s not even about the clothes–though you’ve helped me immensely in that area as I sift through the advice and adjust for my style and age–it’s your good energy, kind heart, intelligent commitment to what you do that keeps me reading.

    As for boring? No way! I look forward to your posts like the next chapter of a good book. My son lives in DC and you’ve given me lots of ideas for things to do when we travel there. You’ve exposed me to brands I don’t usually buy from because your styling tips are so awesome. And I agree with your politics! 😉

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Interesting and inspirational yes. Boring no. Real people don’t do exciting things every minute of every day. Media hype just pretends that happens. Just like most people aren’t super models.

  7. I’m a long-time reader and probably outside your demographic sweet spot. I’m 65 and finishing an MS degree in counseling, doing an internship in my new career field. While our taste in clothes and our places in life are very different, I love your blog, your POV and your whole attitude towards life and its myriad blessings and challenges. It has never occurred to me that you are boring. Honest, generous in spirit, loving and brave are what come to mind as you share your life with us through your writing, definitely come to mind. Relatable, sure thing. Humble enough to respond to genuine Feedback about your positions of privilege with caring and integrity. Yup. Check that box. But boring? I hadn’t considered that one. Makes me wonder what it would take to be interesting to that person?
    Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday and thank for being you.

    1. Helen, I was going to write a comment but you’ve already written it better than I could have! I’ll add that I think if anything, I like Alison even more since she left her “regular” job and love it that she has become a fitness inspiration for the average woman.

      1. +1 to what Helen and Marlad said, and I’d add “hard-working” to the list of adjectives that describe you, Alison.

        Glad to have stumbled across this blog. I’m in an older demographic, 60+, too, by the way.

  8. I’ve been reading your blog for about year, and I look forward to it every day. I’m a size 4, but I have gotten so much good information on skincare and fashion sense, and I personally enjoy your writing about the local scene and the things your family does from time to time. What one person finds boring is just the kind of thing another enjoys reading. So, though easier said than done, don’t pay any attention to the negative comments…know that there are tons of people out there who get a lot out of your content. Keep doing what you’re doing, and thanks!

    1. I don’t think they were being negative, more like they were readers who weren’t happy anymore. Trolls and haters I ignore, but when people are clearly readers and were fans and are no longer makes me curious to know why. I won’t necessarily change but I think that kind of feedback can be useful, like a focus group.

  9. Happy Thanksgiving.

    I just found your blog this year and it’s one of the most valuable ones I follow. Unlike a lot of your readers, I am a lesbian. I work from home for a small corporation, I am single and over 60. My clothing choices are a lot more bohemian than most of what you feature, but your articles have helped me immensely in finding great underpinnings, jeans, wide calf boots and shoes for wide feet. You have also encouraged me to look at some sites I would usually never give the time of day to-Talbot’s, for example and Chico’s. Over the past year, for health reasons, I have lost more than half a dozen clothing sizes. Even as a size 12, it is not always easy for someone my age to find clothing that does not make me look like mutton dressed as lamb.

    You provide women with something that is essential yet rare in the online world-authenticity. Brava to you for that! Never stop being exactly who you are and encouraging your followers to do the same.

  10. Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family! I’ve been a fan for years and love your blog because you are real. I don’t want to follow someone who thinks she must post a lifestyle that I know she’s not really living but is just lying or exaggerating to get likes. No thanks. I’m in my 40’s, I work full time, I’m a wife & a mom. You get it. Keep up the fantastic work!

  11. I honestly thought this week, as I was feeling good about my outfit on the way out the door, that I was thankful for you and the FB community. Keep doing what you are doing. Living a real life is what you are about. Helping women help other women is what you are about. So by you doing what you do, we can do what we do. You are the only blogger I continue to follow from those I found early on, when I realized there was a blogger world that could help me rediscover “what not to wear” and “what to wear”. I follow you because you are real, you make mistakes, like the rest of us and own them when you do, and you don’t try to BS us with a pinterest life. Thanks for who you are and being brave about putting yourself out there. And when it doesn’t work for you anymore hopefully we will salute you and be happy for the time in our lives it worked for us all.

    1. Oh wow Sandra thank you so much, your comment made me tear up! I am honored that this blog and the FB community are something you’re thankful for. I am thankful for you <3

  12. I’ve been following you for years, and your content and writing have never been better! So there! And have a Happy Thanksgiving with your family!

  13. You are real and that’s fantastic. You seem happier, and I am thrilled with the “new” blog and new “you”. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the time with your family.

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