One question I often get asked is, “How did you start blogging?” I feel like I’ve repeated the story about a thousand times, but I realized this week that I’ve never actually talked about it here. On my blog. What the what?!
Let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we? Hello Gorgeous wasn’t my idea. Don’t get me wrong… I tossed around the idea of a blog for several years. When I first moved to Los Angeles in 2011, I even started a Blogspot page but I didn’t publish it. I just never felt like I had enough to talk about.
I’ve always had a love for hair and makeup. Growing up, I spent a lot of time at my aunt’s nail salon and always knew that beauty was my calling. Heck, I was even cutting my girlfriend’s hair in high school. Why anyone in their right mind would trust me, I have no idea. But it somehow magically turned out okay. I became the go-to for glam in my hometown circle for school dances, portrait sessions and, multiple times, even entire wedding parties. Angela was my name and giving makeovers was my game.
I was completely self taught. I would look at photos and figure out how to recreate a look. So, I began watching makeup artists on YouTube before anyone even really knew what YouTube was. Arabic videos were my favorite to learn from, I couldn’t understand a single word, but I would soak up every single technique I could. Threading was another one of my services that was self taught. Name a beauty trend or technique and I’ve most likely tested it out on either myself or someone I knew.
I desperately wanted to go to cosmetology school. My dad wouldn’t hear of it. He insisted on nursing school… A lot of good that did me, lol! But that’s a different story for a different day.
Fashion has always been an important part of my life. I obsessed over clothes and shoes. From a young age, I just knew what I liked, what was “my style”. The fact that I spent the majority of my school years in uniforms may have something to do with that, lol!
Speed ahead to January 2013. I’m now living in LA, working full time as an insurance fraud investigator and planning my dream wedding. My girlfriends and Matt began encouraging me to journal my creativity in the form of a blog. I knew they were right because I always had blogging in the back of my mind. There was just one problem: I had no idea where to even begin.
After talking and talking it through with Matt, I decided, what do I really have to lose? If no one reads it, no reads it. Big deal. That’s when Hello Gorgeous was born. Matt actually came up with the name and I loved it immediately.
Matt owned a pretty nice camera, so we went out and shot our first set of photos. We didn’t really know what we were doing, we were just having fun. Plus, I figured, it would be a cool way to show my family and friends back home in Ohio what we were up to on the other side of the country.
It’s incredible to look back and see how much Matt has grown as a photographer. Neither of us realized at the time how incredibly talented he was with photography and videography.
When we started Hello Gorgeous, we were 5 months away from our wedding. I would post random content whenever I could find the time. I wanted to create a space to discuss everything I loved: beauty, fashion, cooking… Really just life in general. If you look back to my early posts, you can see how much I incorporated recipes and DIYs into my posts. I still very much love those things and post about my recipes frequently on Facebook and Snapchat. (Keep in mind, this was when Pinterest had just taken the internet by storm.)
When May rolled around, we received word that Matt’s new tv series, Star-Crossed, was picked up and would be filming in New Orleans. There was no second thought as to do what I wanted to do. I would go wherever my soon-to-be husband went. So I handed in my resignation as of the first week of June, with the plans to become a housewife. Here’s the thing, I loved my job as a fraud investigator, but I loved being by Matt’s side so much more.
We were married on June 14, 2013. We had an incredible two week long honeymoon in the Caribbean, then returned home to start packing. Two weeks later, our truck was packed up and we were on the road headed to our new life in New Orleans.
Somewhere in the craziness of the wedding and the move, Matt & I decided that I should really put a focus on my blog. It would give me something to do during his long work days. We began Hello Gorgeous purely as a hobby for me. We had no idea in the beginning that there was any way to turn blogging into a career or even earn any income at all. I was simply looking for a creative outlet and a community with my readers (at that point I’d created a handful of posts and had a small following).
The more time and effort I put into my blog, the more feedback and readers I would accumulate. Matt & I began shooting higher quality photos more often. He really began to fall in love with photography. We had such a great time learning and creating together. We grew so much as a couple, sharing a love for this new hobby.
Then the requests for videos started coming in. Never in my life, had I ever been in front of a video camera in a professional capacity. The thought of doing YouTube videos totally freaked me out. Luckily, I have the most encouraging and patient husband, who also happens to be incredible on camera. He wouldn’t let me not do videos. If you have been with me from the beginning, then you remember how painfully shy I was on camera. My voice came out in a mouse-like octave. I was stupid nervous. It took many hours and so much practice to just be able to begin to be myself in front of the camera.
I’m not going to lie to you… Some of the worst fights in our marriage have been a result of a video we were shooting. When you combine his acting expertise and amazing on-air presence with my inability to even speak in a normal tone… Disaster happens. We didn’t expect to butt heads like that. We’ve never once had an argument over a photo shoot. We speak each other’s language perfectly when it comes to photography. We never imagined that the same wouldn’t be true of videography. Oh girls, were we wrong.
You know what? Those hurdles and those fights made us a stronger team. It taught us many valuable lessons about communication that may have otherwise taken us years to learn. Not every married couple could work every day with each other. I can understand why. But for Matt & I, the more time we spent together, the better we both were. We sharpen each other creatively and professionally. We grew in our love, respect and admiration for each other. Our love story has only gotten better with the time we’ve spent together.
I realize that I’m not the most successful blogger or YouTuber out there. I gave up that unrealistic goal a long time ago. There will always be someone who does something (or everything) better than me. One thing I do have to offer, is who I am as a person. I’m unique in my own way. My goal both professionally and personally is to always be my best me.
The fact that we have been able to grow Hello Gorgeous to what it is today, is pretty incredible. I’m so proud of all that we have accomplished. The fact that each one of my Gorgeous Girls take time out of their busy days to invest into my life by reading, watching and commenting, is never lost on me.
My one piece of advice for any female entrepreneur is to stay true to who you are. The one thing I am most proud of in this journey is that I have remained 100% authentic to my own self at all times. I’ve only ever talked about and worked with brands I truly believe in and personally use. I’ve stayed organic to my personal taste and style. I pride myself in creating an atmosphere of honesty, so that my readers know that they can truly trust what I say.
When I look back at my life, it’s hard to believe where God has brought me. I never imagined that I would live out my dreams. That’s the thing about God. His way is always better than what you could have ever planned for yourself.
Please leave a comment below and let me know what you do for a living. Feel free to share your journey with me! I’d especially love to hear from my fellow female entrepreneurs!