Friday, October 9, 2015

The Em-Life: Keeping Up Appearances, Life Lessons Learned

**For 1 Week (and only one week, thank goodness!) Emilee and Marquette attempted to live a life that matched up to Social Media Standards, mostly just to show what that could look like in real life and how ridiculous the idea is. New to our Keeping Up Appearances series? See what all the fuss is about here, then catch up on what you missed on Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7. Enjoy!**

Hello! We made it!
In a lot of ways, now that the KUA project is done, it's back to life as usual, but in a lot of ways this project has changed me, in some ways a better change, and in others ways negative changes that I certainly wasn't expecting.

I learned sooooo much this week! Attempting to live a social media perfect life was exhausting in every way possible. Mentally I'm drained, physically I'm exhausted, emotionally I'm spent, and spiritually I am pretty out of it as well. Attempting to live up to social media standards, to live a "Pinterest Perfect Life" what have you, is so all consuming I can't even explain.

This project was so eye opening in so many ways. I was surprised just how exhausting it was. There was this moment at the very beginning of the project where arrogant Em thought that maybe this wouldn't be so bad and that maybe, just maybe all those people who live "perfect" lives, were on to some big secret that the rest of us weren't in on, that living this "perfect" life wasn't that hard, and that you just had to have the guts to go for it.

That Em was so so so wrong. This was so awfully hard. This was hard on me, on my husband, on our house, on our budget. This was one of the most difficult weeks I have ever willingly put myself through.

So what did I learn this week?!

I completely blew our budget this week. I spent over 2x what we usually spend on food, lucky for me my husband knew this project was happening and he planned accordingly. How crazy is that?! To do a lot of these recipes we see floating around the internet that look like they came from a restaurant you have to spend what you would if you were actually at a restaurant. It was all REALLY good food, but as far as budgets go, it isn't sustainable for us to cook by social media standards every night.
I also spent a good chunk on the crafts and makeup. I will use all the makeup supplies I purchased, but that was still a $26 purchase I don't usually make for all my contouring materials. With that being said, I will use them still so they aren't going to waste. The craft supplies were almost $50 bucks! Even with everything 40% off or more, I definitely can not do that each week.

I woke up earlier, went to bed later (even though I tried to get on a better schedule), didn't nap (except for that one accidental nap) and still didn't have time for what I needed to do. There were literally not enough hours in the day to do the exercise, the clean eating, the cleaning schedule, the DIY, the daily meditation, the home cooking, and still see my husband and do normal life stuff.
The dog didn't get as much attention this week, and my husband spent a lot of time doing his own thing while I was doing the project. He felt bad for me during this whole thing because he could see how stressed I was, and how much pressure I was putting on myself, he helped out a lot around the house, but it STILL DIDN'T GET DONE!

Not only did I feel like I was in competition with my to-do list, but inadvertently I felt like I was in competition with Marquette. I felt like she was keeping track of her stuff better, and that her writing was doing better than mine. I felt like I needed to make sure and do big pins like she did, and have as much material as she did. I didn't resent her whatsoever, but there was an element of competition there that I wasn't expecting and that I didn't like. I am so glad this is over because let me tell you, Marquette is amazing and the fact that she did all this with a  toddler is super hero status people! I know for a fact I would have hit break down status on day two if I had kids.

This is a huge one. I really really struggled with this. Bear with me here.
This project was, for us, really important.
We just re-launched the blog which we have been planning and working on for months, we were really excited about that and we were extremely excited for this project and the potential it had to help people see what real life looks like, despite our best efforts to be social media perfect.

At first it seemed like everyone was really interested in it.
Then day three came, and so did the nasty e-mails and messages.

We had people message us how sad they were for us that we felt the constant need to be perfect: we don't. There were people who said our new material was crap and that we should go back to how things used to be because they liked it better: the blog has evolved and so have we, and that is more than ok. We had messages of how fake we seemed doing this, how we weren't perfect and we were living a lie; we agree with you! We aren't perfect! This project isn't real life! We had messages of how we were promoting self-loathing and how we were using our voice to spread unrealistic expectations that would potentially hurt people: we were literally trying to do the exact opposite.

These nastygrams, as we like to call them, really hit us like a ton of bricks. We worked really hard on this and we were in love with the idea of spreading positivity through showing people what real life is like. Not everyone saw it that way.

We were getting a lot of positive comments, but somehow the few nastygrams we got really overshadowed the people who we were actually helping.

The point of this project was to show just how ridiculous it is to try to the live the life that so many people try to show they have on social media. We all know that one person, that person who dresses impeccably ALL THE TIME, has a beautiful family, eats healthy all the time, has fun working out everyday and everything seems to just come natural to them. That's how it looks anyways. I can now say from experience that it is all smoke and mirrors. No one's life is actually like that. No one wants to show the crummy days, because then it might look like you have a less than stellar life.
Marquette and I intentionally did everything in our power to live the life that those pictures elude to, and despite our very best efforts real life took over anyways. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

I learned some great positive things about myself during this project.
-I have always wanted to be the person who washes her face twice a day, everyday: I started doing that this week!
-I was doing my daily scripture study everyday first thing in the morning, which I have been trying to do for years!
-I had a set menu everyday! I love that! I have also been trying to do that one for years.
-I tried new scary recipes which were out of my comfort zone.
-I decided on, shopped for, and completed three crafts in one week, for me that's a lot! I usually only get halfway through a craft over a  period of a few weeks so this was really fun.
-I learned how to deal with rejection.

I have read a lot of articles talking about the harmful affects of online rejection in the form of negative comments. I had read these articles as a third party observer not being connected to the commenters or those whose feelings were at stake (the writers or subjects of said comments). It's hard to see your work on the chopping block. I have had tons of school papers torn apart by professors, but having your passion critiqued by the people you are (in part) doing this for is hard. But guess what, I lived! I still love my work, I still love what I do and I love the people who are involved with the blog. Just because something isn't your cup of tea doesn't mean they hate you, or that what you are doing is wrong. It just means you are different from one another, and that is what makes life interesting.

In all it was a week of growth. If I had shown my Pinterest Perfect week, this is what it would look like.

Here is what my week really like!

Thank you for sharing this crazy week with me!
Love you all!
Xoxo, Em


  1. I enjoyed going on the journey with you - I wouldn't even try to do what you guys have done

  2. We are also Paleo and I want to recommend this book we got for Christmas last year, because it has been a budget saver!

    I really enjoyed your posts tis week, and I know that it couldn't have been easy. I sat down and thought about when I read the first one and said to myself, "Ya, I would never do that, too much work!" So bravo to both of you for at least being willing to try!

    1. Thanks for reading this week, it means a lot when people see the work we put into this!
      Also, thanks for the book recommendation, I will have to check it out!

  3. I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about your decision to revamp the blog. But it was completely unnecessary. Great job on the first week (Em and Marquette - both)! Looking forward to more posts from you both.

    1. Change can be scary, but we are really happy with the direction we are going. Thank you so much for your support, it means the world to us!

  4. I've been really impressed with both of you this week, and somehow found myself wanting to do more around the house and looking after my appearance as well. It really made a difference for me. Funnily enough I found it much much more inspiring to see these two real women making such a big effort and sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing, but always showing reality. Much more inspiring than any perfect picture painted elsewhere.
    I'm very excited to see what you'll do next.

    1. Caroline, this makes us feel awesome! We want real life to be inspiring. It really should be!

    2. Thank you for the compliment Caroline! I was reading through it and thought, "real women", I just love that, it is a HUGE compliment in this crazy world to be thought of as real. Thank you!

  5. Anyone who really, actually READ what you were saying last week wouldn't send you a nastygram. I know that won't take away the sting of the unkind comments, but I'm just sayin'...

    I personally like the new directing you girls are taking with the blog. Bloggers are real, live people with real lives and life changes, and it makes me happy to see the ones who I follow being happy and living/writing according to the organic growth that's happening in their lives.

    1. P.S. Check out emeals menu planning service. Usually they have a half price groupon or deal close to the holidays. Takes so much of the stress out of meal planning and prep. We used the Paleo option for a while, and it was quite lovely.

    2. Thank you! We are really excited for the new direction and that everyone has taken a leap of faith with us on this journey as well. Real life can be blog worthy too! Thank you for your support!

    3. @ladylyn - I also like 5dinners1hour ( - we tried the "clean eating" option for about a year and I go back to the menus time and time again.

  6. I'm glad you guys did this project it really does showcase how hard it is to be social media perfect. I enjoyed reading about your adventures and love what you've done with the blog changes.

    1. Thank you Caitlin! We knew it was a lot to take on, but we thought the message was important.

  7. I read one "nasty-gram" on an early page and thought they must have missed your explanation before the week started! You guys bit off A LOT with your expectations, and I would have felt like dirt if you'd succeeded in meeting them. Thanks for coming back! I've missed you and look forward to more!

    1. We knew going in to this there would definitely be some Pinstrosities! We are glad that real life came through as its messy authentic self!

  8. Ack, my comment disappeared when I tried to sign into my Google account. Sigh. I'll try again.

    I enjoyed your KUA blog series! My take-away was that Pinterest-Perfect is impossible (I already knew that), but Pinterest-Better is totally achievable. There were many things you tried this week that you are proud of and plan to continue doing. We can forget perfect, and aim for better. I can do that. Thank you.

    One thing, however. I have limited time most days for blog reading, and since the posts in this KUA series were so long, I was unable to keep up with both your daily posts and Marquette's. So, since I had read yours first, I decided to just keep up with yours and come back and read Marquette's when the week was over. Because of this, my suggestion is that if you two ever decide to do something as massive as this again, maybe it would be best for you to do it one at a time.

    Thank you.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Robin! We worried a lot about the length of the posts, but then worried about dragging this whole thing out too long and losing people along the way. There wasn't really a win-win. But, if we are ever crazy enough to try this again, we'll definitely do it at different times and post up different weeks because it was a lot!

    2. Robin thank you so much for that, I love that, Pinterest Better not Pinterest Perfect.
      The posts WERE long! They were long to write too! haha
      We knew it was kind of a double edged sword, but since this isn't a regular thing we were doing we thought we would give it a go and see what happens. Thank you so much for your feedback, it really helps us in the future!

  9. Sorry you received some nasty comments. I want to think I wasn't part of the problem. I didn't comment on every post because I had a crazy week, but I love what you are doing and I hope you're enjoying yourselves in the new format. Both of you did an amazing job with this challenge and made me feel a little better about my failures. Congratulations for surviving it!

    1. Thank you! It was a crazy week and we are both very happy to be back to "real" life!

  10. I read all the blog posts from both of you on this project, and after reading about your nastygrams, just wanted to pop in and say I enjoyed both of your posts for the week.

    1. Thank you! We are feeling so much love this week from everyone. The negative vibes from the end of the week are gone and now we are just feeling the Pinstrosity communities love. Thank you for being a part of it!

    2. I also was cheering you guys on! Sorry to hear you got so much negative feedback. I think so often when people have a negative reaction, they are quick to comment, but when I read something that I enjoy, I don't always comment - so I bet you had a lot of happy readers who don't comment but will keep coming back to read. Keep on doing what you're doing - love the redesign & direction y'all are heading in! ::sending positive vibes::

  11. Em & Marquette, I totally missed the re-launch of the blog and just navigated to it today while puttering and wasting time putting off homework, errands, dinner prep and housework! (Oh the irony)
    I'm sorry there are people who feel the need to spread negative words. I'm loving what I've seen of the blog so far, it's awesome and inspiring.
    Love, your cousin Emily (Judy's daughter)


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