I've always had a hard time blogging. I wasn't doing it for the right reasons, I was so wrapped up in doing it "right"...
This is me, a behind the scenes look at Salt and Sol. My life, unedited and real.
My life, my love, my passion, has always been fashion. When I dream or in that state right before you fall asleep, I am creating new designs or taking road trips up the coast of California selling my designs, making memories with my wonderful and supportive husband or planning my next photo shoot adventure. My mind never really rests! So for me, when I sit down at the computer to blog, I have a bit of writers block. I was so concerned with if I was doing it right, you know, adding the right keywords, saying the right things, worrying about SEO statistics...the list goes on and on, I didn't feel creative while doing it, so I am changing it up!
This is a place for me to share my journey of becoming the person I have always wanted to be, chasing my dreams and not looking back.
It has been quite a journey this past year, and really since the day I saw my now husband walk into the doors of Mellow Mushroom 4 years ago. I always tell him he saved me. I had gotten into a rut in my 20's as I think most do, your 20's are freaking hard. I lost confidence, gained weight and misplaced my creative mojo. With Mike, I became alive again. New Year's 2015, he took me to Savannah where I said Yes to the man of my dreams and we got a taste of traveling and seeing new places.
With weddings, the dress shopping began...deep down I noticed I just wasn't happy with how I looked. I wanted to be healthier and proud of the way I looked on my wedding day... so we started to hit the gym, (and when I say that, I mean the first time I set foot into our Apartments gym room, I had on Toms and pajama pants. I had never been in one before!) I closed my eyes and started on the intimidating elliptical. Over the next few months I started to see a difference, we felt great, we were starting to get in shape and felt like we were ready to take on the world.
Meanwhile, I had been managing 5 etsy shops selling graphic tees, baby clothes, artisan jewelry, handbags and digital prints. My A.D.D. was full on and I was just "making" things and not putting my passion and heart + soul in it. I was just doing things that I thought would sell at art markets and kind of sold myself short. Mike always encouraged me and my goals but I didn't even know what they were anymore.
Then there was a large crowdfunding event, One Spark, that I signed up for and wanted to really take it seriously. A re-birth if you will. Salt & Sol was born and I worked tirelessly on my booth. Mike and I both became excited about Salt & Sol and my dreams became alive again. This was it. I wasn't going to let my insecurities get in the way this time. I didn't win first place but it "sparked a fire" back in me (get it?) and Mike got to participate and ended up really enjoying himself!
On a high from One Spark and planning our wedding, Mike and I started to really focus on what we wanted and not what was expected from us. He is the most amazing chef and his talents are beyond measures but working in a kitchen doing over 500 covers in a day, over hot ass grills and stoves in the Florida heat, 80 hours a week living an unhealthy lifestyle he finally hit a breaking point. One night when we were "going down" (if you've worked in a busy restaurant you know what I'm talking about) I was passing by his station and I'll never forget his words..."Do you want to cancel our Savannah wedding, put in our notice and travel?". Yes, yes I do! We made our scary phone calls to our parents, filling them in on our crazy new plans and started planning our intimate beach wedding, designing our first collection and mapping out our cross country journey.
First on the list...I Do!
My vision of Salt & Sol and life on the road has had it's ups and downs. We had big plans of touring Florida promoting our brand and then head out west in hopefully a campervan of some sort. With the wedding behind us, anxiously awaiting our samples, we spent some quality time with family and friends but hit the first speed bump on our adventure. The samples weren't what we were looking for. After a day of tears and encouragement from my bestie, I got myself out of bed and we made a plan B. Nothing was going to stop us from heading out west and traveling the country. We packed up our Kia and the 3 amigos (2 humans and a dog) hit the road.
Destination: San Diego
Looking back now, 6 months later, the cross country journey seems like forever ago, a different life. We were scared shitless, not admitting it to each other, both searching for something but not yet knowing exactly what it was. I said I was going to be real, so here is real. We stacked our plates full and it has been a big test. It tested our marriage, ourselves and has been a wonderful whirlwind of tears, fear, inner growth, soul searching and freedom.
Exist, Evolve, Transcend.
Mike wanted this to be our slogan, if you will, and it didn't really click until I came out to California. Salt & Sol as a business and myself were going through these exact motions. I had gotten so lost in self doubt and fear that it was holding me back....again. I decided enough was enough. I just turned 35 and told myself it's now or never. Shit or get off the pot Nicole. What the hell does it matter if someone laughs at what you are doing, or talks about you behind your back. Granted, it's easier to do this when you move across country from everyone and everything that you know and don't know anyone where you live. It's pretty freeing. So I dusted off my camera and started taking embarrassing pictures of myself. I was determined to follow my dreams and not let anything stop me. Taking self portraits with a timer in public is quite liberating. You get a lot of strange stares but if you can set yourself free and not give a shit it has allowed me to gain a bit of confidence and my creative mojo is coming back alive. I am embracing my inner self and trying to become the woman I know I can be. It has not come easy, I still say mantras every morning to get out of bed and be a bad ass and some days I lose, but they have become less and less. I feel that burning of excitement inside again, like when I was younger and dreamed of becoming a fashion designer, ripping my jeans apart making them into bell bottoms, thrifting for cool threads and teaching myself how to sew. My life has come full circle and am excited for this wonderful adventure. The dreams of travel and life on the road I am sure are still to come. I have existed, evolved and am ready to transcend...let's see where it takes us!