They grow up so fast. 

This past week marked the four year anniversary of my blog! Granted, it’s gone through a few serious facelifts and identify changes in those four years, the backbone has survived 1,460 days and counting.  I’ve never written an anniversary –or blog-iversary if you will– post because it’s taken me almost four years to get really serious about blogging. I started this blog because I stumbled into the community and saw something that I really wanted to be a part of. I saw creativity and freedom, but I also saw kindness and support. For a fifteen-year-old girl who was struggling through some brutal times, that was just what the doctor ordered. I found a place where I could express myself and interact with a community that was passionate about the same things I was without having the face what was happening in my physical reality. Blogging and its community really saved me. And I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be where I am today, happily going down the career path I have chosen if I hadn’t started blogging then and there.

My blog has grown alongside me and its changes have paralleled many of my own. I started out not really knowing who I was, what I was doing or what I wanted to be. Now, while I don’t have anything perfectly figured out, I’ve got a much better idea. Blogging helped me fall in love with the beauty industry and because of that, I’m now pursuing a degree in Beauty and Fragrance Marketing — a 180 from my original major of writing. I want to say the switch took a lot of umm-ing and ahh-ing but in all honesty, after I found out beauty was an available major (it’s new), I switched two days later. And I’ve never been surer of a decision. I still love to write, I even switched Writing to my minor, but there isn’t the slightest doubt in my mind the beauty industry is what I want to call home. 

I’ve learned a lot in these last four years. When I started, I didn’t know anything photography or editing, I had never heard of SEO and my writing was absolute crap. Not self-deprecating, just a fact. While I am no means a professional photographer or the next Jane Austin, my skills have improved ten-fold. Don’t believe me? Go back into my archives. I’ll be here viciously cringing as you do but hey, anything to make my point. I know that even though I’ve learned a lot in four years, I still have miles to go and I’m genuinely excited about that. I can’t wait to look back again in a year, maybe two or even three, and see how I’ve grown from here, how I’ve improved and evolved. That statement, of course, begs the question, do I really think I’ll be writing this blog in three years? I suppose the answer is both a yes and no. Or possibly summed up better as an I don’t know. I hope I’m still writing in three years — future me, if you’re not, I hope you have a damn good reason– and I hope that I’ll still be writing under my own brand, at least a little bit. I know eventually, I’ll probably transition to writing for other people –hell I’m an editor at my school fashion magazine, I do that now– but I hope that I find a way to create for just myself. Everything that I’ve created here in this blog started as a girl just desperate to create her own little corner of the world, and now it’s transformed into something more. Now, I’m not talking follower count or pageviews, because let’s be real, I haven’t taken this seriously for long enough for any of those to have real weight, no I’m talking about my brand. 

We live in a society that placed a high value on self-branding and I have been marching to the beat of that drum since I started this. I think of my blog the way some people think of their resume, the only difference is I’m a bit more personal here than I think any sane person would ever be on their resume. That’s because while yes, this is a huge part of my resume, and yes, this is basically my portfolio, I still get very personal on here because it’s the only place I feel comfortable to do so. And because I know that through talking about the personal, the awkward and the horrible, it humanizes Danielle Reine. It humanizes me. It’s so easy just to be a face, to just be some carefully crafted words when the option to hide behind the screen is there. But here I am, a living, breathing, beating human. Danielle Reine is my brand, but it’s also me. It always has been. 

So happy anniversary Danielle Reine, it’s been a trip. I can’t wait to see where we go next. 


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