I have the most THRILLING news to share with you – my magazine, Celebrating Everyday Life is BACK and will be on newsstands NATIONWIDE this September! Yep, a real, honest to goodness, print magazine that you can walk into a store, hold in your hands, buy, and hug and twirl around with (or maybe that will just be me!). It will be filled with party ideas, decor inspiration, recipes, crafts, DIYs, and loads of tips for celebrating every day! A REAL magazine!!!!
I am so grateful, that words that truly express how happy and thankful I feel seem hard to find. Blessed. I feel honestly and truly, blessed!
If you’re new around here you might be wondering how I got here. Part of me is still asking that! It’s not a super short story so please grab a cup of tea or coffee and let me at least try to give you an abbreviated version.
We’re going to go all the way back to my childhood for a moment. Because, in a way, it all started forty plus years ago. In her youth, my mom was a runway model with Wilhelmina in Paris. She continued modeling even after I was born so I grew up in front of the camera, modeling from a small child. I loved it. Over the twenty or so years that modeling was part of my life, I spent a fair amount of time in New York and Los Angeles. I met glamorous people and went to gorgeous parties. I rubbed elbows with Hollywood stars on a regular basis and eventually landed a job planning events for an exclusive boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. This is what drew me to event planning. A job that at the time I thought was my life’s calling.
You see even as a young girl I was passionate about entertaining and decorating. I was constantly redecorating my room and throwing elaborate parties for my toys and family. My father shared his passion for delicious cuisine with me and without even knowing what was happening, a future “lifestyle blogger” was born.
Planning events was a dream come true for me – I got to pour all of my creativity into making a memorable celebration for my clients. I was always working with different themes, budgets, locations… there was always a challenge, and I thrived on that. I like being busy and on the go.
It was while planning events that I began working with magazines. The six-figure events that I was planning began gaining attention from the likes of Martha Stewart Weddings and other high profile magazines and websites. My colleagues and I were thrilled to begin creating styled photo shoots to allow our creative ideas to soar even more – without the confines of a client’s personal tastes or budgets. It was this inspirational photo shoots that really broadened my view of what was possible.
I began a blog as part of my event planning business and started showcasing the shoots. More magazines took notice. I then launched a line of notecards and papers which also drew more brand attention. Victoria magazine named me one of their artists-in-residence for 2011 and more photo shoots were planned.
It was also at this time that my dear daughter was born and my marriage began to unravel. I decided to slow down and focus on my family. I closed my event planning business, stepped away from the photo shoots and prepared for mommyhood. Unfortunately, my marriage didn’t survive though my ex-husband and I have remained very close friends and have a strong family bond which our daughter thrives in.
Going through a divorce with a newborn is a pretty tough situation, I won’t try to pretend it wasn’t. I cried (a lot), prayed (constantly), and pleaded with God to show me what to do. I stayed with my parents for several months just to get my bearings. It was during this time that I began to spend more time writing on the blog and I got the idea to try my hand at publishing an online magazine.
I had already tried publishing a couple of really small ones in 2010 and thought that I could perhaps try to expand on that. I tinkered with it a bit and then in 2013 I launched the first digital issue of Celebrating Everyday Life with Jennifer Carroll. It was loaded with 206 pages of inspiration.
Having been so blessed with being featured in so many magazines, including landing the cover of Southern Living, and loving that feeling of validation and encouragement, I wanted to create a similar opportunity for so many of the creative women that I knew! I wanted to give others the chance to feel proud of their creative talents. So I reached out and rounded up a group of contributors and put together this magazine with nothing more than my laptop and my dreams. I would work around the clock with my toddler by my side. Pouring my heart into the digital pages of the magazine hoping that it would earn enough for me to support my daughter and be able to stay home with her while living my creative dream.
I met the most amazing people, got to interview so many of my “heroes”, and genuinely loved every minute, except, I was pretty much a one-woman show. I had a friend helping me with the writing but everything else was done by me. Most magazines have teams – groups of people who develop stories, editors, writers, photographers, a fleet of marketing experts. I was on my own. Hoping, praying this would turn into my dream job.
While the magazine was gaining readership and was well loved by its readers, it was nowhere near able to earn me an income I could live on… so in late 2014 I had to make the very painful decision to close it and “go get a real job.” The pain I felt was huge. After having “survived” the divorce, this was a major loss all over again.
I mourned the loss but knew that it was the right decision, despite the pain of it. I started working for my parents who own two successful Aveda hair salons. I scaled back from the blog too as I began managing one of their locations and tried to focus on my 9 to 5 job… but the creativity that is in me just wouldn’t quit. No matter how hard I tried to ignore it. I began devoting my “off” time to the blog, daring to dream again that somehow, someway I could find a path that would lead to me making a living following my heart.
As I began to enjoy the stability that the “day job” gave my bank account and the opportunity to buy my dream house, the blog also began to grow and flourish. A book publisher reached out to me with an offer to write a book on entertaining, something I had wanted to do for a very long time. Not having fielded book offers before I reached out to a woman that I was Facebook friends with online – who had published many books and is the editor of several magazines – for advice. To my amazement and eternal gratitude, she responded to my friendly (but random) plea for input. Clearly, God had given me favor with this exceptional woman!
She began looking at my blog and stumbled upon my magazines. While giving me advice for the book deal (which I ultimately turned down – more on that at another time) she believed in my magazine and became its champion. Shepherding me through the process of creating a proposal and pitching it to a publisher. She encouraged and calmed my jangled nerves as I waited to hear from them – it was a long process. But one fine day (a few months later) I received a phone call from the wonderful publishers of Country Sampler saying they loved my proposal and were interested in working with me! I was delighted, flabbergasted, and overwhelmed all at once!
A few more months went by, contracts were signed, and production has begun! I’m now the editor of my very own magazine. A sentence I will never tire of writing! I’m creating content, designing layouts, taking a million photos, reaching out to other creative women to feature – and best of all – I am earning a living doing something I love!
I’m slowly phasing out of my day job while we’re in this time of transition and trusting God to meet me in the moments. Things aren’t perfect. Everyday something has to give because there truly aren’t enough hours in the day. I’m learning to prioritize and not beat myself up (too much) for not being able to do it all.
I ask you to please bear with me as I am in the throws of creation ’round here. I’m trying to keep up with the blog because I love you and I need you – but please understand if some days I don’t post it’s only because I’m cooking up a brand new magazine that I’m praying you’re going to love, love, love!
If you’re still reading, you’re amazing. I know this was too long (and believe it or not this really is the edited version!) Thank you for listening as I’ve tried to summarize a forty+ year journey towards this moment in time. I pray that it encourages YOU. If this can happen to me, trust me, God can do amazing things for you as well!
Thank you for being here. I know that you are a big part of why this is happening. Your trust, your belief, your clicking over to this corner of the internet – it has profoundly impacted my life and I am grateful.
Hugs and Happy Celebrating!