Lifting the Blogger Veil

Hello.

It’s been awhile since I’ve sat down to write on this little site that has been so much a part of my life for the past 2+ years. First and foremost, I want to thank you – yes, each and every one of you who continues to come back and read even in my absence the past few months and for all your sweet messages, comments, snaps and support.

I was inspired to write today’s post after reading my good friend and fellow Hokie + blogger, Jenn of Southern Anchors, coffee date post yesterday. She lifted the veil on blogging and was real and honest. I’ve seen several other close blogger friends do the same over the last year so here it goes…

The only other time I’ve ever been “personal” on H&T was on its first birthday when I shared why I was inspired to start this blog in the first place. I’ve always kept my day-to-day life details, career and relationships off this space. I even made a point starting this summer to keep “personal” photos off instagram and stick strictly to blog (which I still intend to do).

 Regardless, if you follow me along on instagram (or snap chat – @bannc) for that matter, you probably noticed that the usual lattes, liketoknow.its and travel photos were replaced with more Bible verses, encouraging words or just, well, blank spaces.

Days upon days without instagram posts, an overwhelming inbox with unopened emails, and a queue of blog posts to do – I took an unexpected but much needed hiatus and today I want to share with you why.

I had intended to take a mini-blog break at the start of my aunt & uncle’s trial to go home and be with my family (see: blog birthday post). The same week I was supposed to fly home for the trial, I got another call and flew home 4 days earlier as my mom had a serious stroke and brain surgery from which she is still recovering. I could not believe this was all happening and at once.

I had prepared myself as much as one can for such a surreal experience as a trial and was asked in the weeks before if I would write a victim impact statement to testify in court. Writing a eulogy about these amazing people came much easier for me three and half years ago but to put into words to a jury of complete strangers what these people meant to me, who they were and what their loss has done was much more difficult. Without my aunt & uncle’s loving strength from above, my family closeby and friends’ encouraging words, I would of never been able to read it, while sitting in front of the same person who took them away from us and a room full of cameras.

While my family and I are happy that chapter of our lives is finally over and that justice was finally served, it took a toll on me after 3 long weeks day in and out. It truly was the most exhausting and emotional time I’ve ever endured encompassed with everything else. I could not of been more blessed with such loving friends and colleagues during this time – from sleepovers to packing my suitcase to airport rides and flowers from afar, to say I am lucky is an understatement.

I share all this with my readers, not so you feel bad for me because I’m much stronger & will be okay. But because I think sometimes us bloggers give you a glimpse into only one part of our lives. You see the fancy brunches, the fun trips, the gifted clothes and not much else. And while that might be inspiring and pretty to look at – there is so much more to me, to H&T and to my life than perfect lighting, gluten free avocado toast and over-sized sunglasses.

 A perfectionist by nature (as most of us bloggers are) I’ve also learned through all this it’s okay to not have it all together some days. It’s okay to miss a 6AM barre class because you didn’t sleep (or barley ate) the night/day before. I can absolutely assure you that at this moment in time, my room is the messiest it’s been in years. My dining room table is full of UPS boxes instead of a beautiful fall tablescape as it usually is this time of year – and that’s all okay too.

However, above all, what has truly gotten me through all this is my faith and love in God – my faith has always been important to me and I often turn to the Bible and Christian teachings. {“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6 & “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” – Philippians 4:13}

 I’ve also embraced my own spirituality more. {“If you knew who walks beside you on this path that you have chosen, fear would be impossible.” & “Where there is hope, there is faith. Where there is faith, miracles happen.” h/t Jenn} I can thank my sister and some of my favorite spiritual teachers – Heather Waxman, Jennifer Kass & Gabrielle Bernstein for that. I know I often share all my lifestyle & fashion blogger BFFs but these ladies are also truly remarkable. A Course in Miracles is beginning to change my life and I look forward to Heather’s periscopes each and every day (thanks girl!). Hopefully you’ll bookmark these babes too!

The past few months have been anything but easy and so scheduling time to blog became less of a priority than focusing on myself and what I needed each day. Through all this, my heart has also broken in more ways than one, more than one time. Some situations I was prepared for, others were unexpected and another reassured me once again, how short life really is. I’ve learned to forgive others, to forgive again, make mistakes, make the same ones again and finally, to let it all go and yes, even forgive some more.

You know, there used to be a time where I would rush home from work late and stay up blogging until the wee hours just to get everything done because it made me so happy. And now, as I sit here WELL past midnight finishing this post – that same feeling has taken over me – happy to share this other side with you and let the veil down a bit.

AND if you’ve been so kind to make it to the end of this and read my journey – below is the outfit I teased on instagram last night.

Hat // Top //Jeans (similar too) // Sunnies // Pumps // Purse (similar) // Lips // Earrings // Necklaces: Long, Chain & Charm // Bracelets: 1 2 3 4 // Rings: 1 2

It’s safe to say that with all of life’s recent events, I’ve been doing a whole lot more toasting these days than hosting, ha! There’s lots more exciting news & posts coming H&T’s way soon too.

I’m so happy to be back.

But from the bottom of my heart to yours, thank you for reading – today and always.

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