Today’s post is another one of my long-winded ramblings. You’ve been warned.
When I first created Clean & Proper, it was to serve as an outlet for all of my passions–cleaning, cooking, organizing, etiquette, and writing. Overtime my interests shifted to a greener-eco-friendly direction. As you know I am a huge critic of the processed-food industry and the chemicals we put into our products. So in January I announced the re-launch of the Clean & Proper brand, website and its new focus on simply just Everyday Etiquette for Everyone.
After rebranding Clean & Proper and redirecting the focus of my blog and podcast, I felt much happier with its direction and the purpose of what I do. But something was still missing.
I had the privilege of attending the annual Alt Summit conference in Palm Springs during that time. Attending this conference has been a dream of mine for so long. It’s where the best of the best go to collaborate, talk shop and learn from peers and mentors–at least for those of us in the creative-online media industry.
Fashion is a big deal at Alt Summit and it’s no surprise the event is a huge draw for fashion bloggers, DIY creators, Instagram-influencers, and everyone in between. It’s female-driven and centered around perfectly curated outfits. As a graphic designer and writer by trade, I should have loved every minute of the experience–but I felt completely ridiculous.
I have never been a shiny-hair kind of girl. You know what I mean. The one who wears a t-shirt with no wrinkles. The type of girl whose non-worn-down designer purse is paired perfectly with her accessories. The type of girl who doesn’t spill salad all over the table when trying to pick up pieces of lettuce with her fork. The kind of girl whose hair is always styled just right for the occasion–ready to be shared in a perfect selfie photo on Instagram.
But, that’s just not me.
There’s a new term we use these days called, “creativepreneur.” It’s reserved for those of us who have a variety of businesses focused on the creative. You might be a wedding photographer who also has a graphic design business on the side. Or a lifestyle blogger with an Etsy shop or Pop-Up shop. It’s a term we use for those who are entrepreneurs, focused on the creative. Alt Summit is a huge supporter and resource for us creativepreneurs.
As the voice and editor of The Clean & Proper Podcast and Blog, and the owner of Green Rain Design (focusing on social media, graphic design and website design . . . hint, hint), and a partner in Business By Barnhill (check us out!)–I am in fact a creativepreneur.
I don’t follow the latest fashion trends. As Nora Ephron so perfectly phrased it–“I hate my purse. I absolutely hate it…[I tried] spending quite a lot of money on a purse, on the theory that having an expensive purse would inspire me to change my personality, but that didn’t work either.”
My fingernails are rarely painted and I go way too long between hair cuts. Now that I’ve had a child my hair texture has changed a bit and I’m pretty sure my hair and I are going through some very expensive breakup. I’m not sure what the outcome will be, but I fear the final blow will result in the “mom-bob.”
And no, I’m not the perfect mom-blogger who spends her days documenting the beauty of homemaking, serving elegant vegan dinners for 12, and showcasing the best way to apply eyeliner while breastfeeding. And yes, okay–sometimes I do post about all of this, because honestly I love serving elegant vegan dinners for 12! But I don’t know 12 people who will let me serve them a strictly vegan five-course meal–at least outside of New York or LA. Trust me, I’ve tried.
And come on. None of us look that good at 6 am with our coffee–let alone the proper natural lighting in the kitchen at that hour. Sure my hair might look like that of my peers–which is showcasing beautiful highlights in the, “I haven’t washed my hair in 3-days”-kind of way. Chances are it’s been three days. But, I’m wearing actual yoga pants and not pretend-yoga pants that match my kitchen countertops and the Anthropologie mug from which I’m gulping coffee. Though I may still have the same super-cute Anthropologie mug. Hey, Anthropologie has cute mugs.
The cut-up fruit on the cutting board I’ve styled has created a fruit-juice puddle that is spilling over and down the side of my kitchen counter. The dish-rag I use to wipe up the puddle already has coffee-stains on it from when The Beau rushed out the door for work leaving a trail of coffee spillage behind him.
Meanwhile my child is harassing me for more mango and not cozying up to me as if she is a beautiful angel whose sole purpose is to help me take more photos for my blogging empire. Though don’t get me wrong, the thought has crossed my mind on occasion.
So I’m throwing out the next logical progression for Clean & Proper which is an “online course for how to live a perfect life”–which seems to be the trend these days if you are a creativepreneur. My life certainly isn’t perfect. Parts of it might be compared to others–just as others’ lives look perfect compared to mine. That’s part of life. But creating this type of resource for all of you is just not who I am.
What I am going to do is start sharing real stories on how I handle etiquette. Ok, so I already do and many of the lessons are going to continue. But I’m going to start talking about how I actually handle etiquette.
I’m going to talk about what not to do on a first date and those dozens of times I acted like a crazed lunatic on a first date because I was nervous, or stressed from work, or just down-right not interested.
And I’m going to talk about how to come off as poised and proper when you forget a hostess gift for the 10th time. And not because you didn’t know better, but because you simply just didn’t do it. Yup, been there.
See, I was brought up taking etiquette classes and attending cotillion. My mother and grandmother are both Charleston debutantes, but I was also raised by a mother who thought a debut was ridiculous–despite her mother forcing her to participate. In fact, she too attended the University of Alabama and joined a sorority in the south. But it was during the Vietnam War.
I was raised by a woman who thought caring about sorority parties was ridiculous in the 70s and so she dropped out of her sorority after just the first month. And I suppose that’s why I’ve always been torn between the love of Gorham silverware, and also completely not caring if the only wine glass I have on hand is a paper cup.
Instead of stressing about the perfection of what I write and the accompanying photography, I want to start writing about the lessons that are important to know, but more importantly–how I maintain proper decorum when completely embarrassing myself . . . which happens a lot. Trust me.
You will continue to enjoy lessons on etiquette, because let’s face it–etiquette is important and does have its place in the world and especially these days. But, I will share my personal (and often comedic) stories on how etiquette has helped me–like that time I completely forgot my manners or said something totally inappropriate. I’ll will share my personal solutions for what to do when you [insert embarrassing story here]. And there’ll be a lot of stories on manners and motherhood–and how sometimes it goes completely out the window and that’s ok.
So with that I’d like to welcome you to my next journey with Clean & Proper. A place where etiquette is held to a high standard, but where it is accepted that life often gets in the way. While I consider myself your etiquette guru, I also want to admit that embarrassing moments are often our real moments. After years of trying to hide behind the veneer, I’m saying, “Oh well.” It’s time to share the good with the bad, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
So with that–welcome and I hope you enjoy the laughs!