My Story Part I

Next month will mark my four year blogging anniversary. I can hardly believe it’s been that long. And definitely find it hard to comprehend how much I’ve learned – and changed – since my first post went live in 2009. When Andrew and I both moved to Chicago in early January of that same year, we had both just graduated from University and certainly had high hopes for a new start in a new place together. Andrew had accepted his first full time gig as a sales engineer at an HVAC company and I was determined to find my first job too within the journalism industry. Armed with a boatload of determination, over 50 addressed demo reels headed out to any and every news station, and a heavily loaded resume sparkling with numerous impressive internships, I didn’t think it would be tough to find my groove in the career world. Yet sometimes our plans in life sort of fall through, falling a bit short of our expectations don’t they?

What I never anticipated was how hard and unlikely it would be for a fresh out of college journalism grad to find a job in the second best journalism market in the country; in the middle of an economic crisis. Throw my Canadian citizenship and restrictive Visa status into the mix and I literally felt like I couldn’t catch a break. Slowly but surely I started to blow through my savings account as I tried so hard to be a loving and supportive fiance, who handled the groceries and made home cooked meals just waiting on the table for when Andrew arrived home from work. I tried to make our little one bedroom apartment feel cozy and inviting. But I felt helpless, unmotivated, unencouraged and most of all, sure that this lifestyle would fall through sooner than later. I hated tapping into my savings account to buy things that I thought would give us the life we were supposed to be living, but wanted so badly to have some sort of supposed normalcy.

Before Andrew and I officially moved to Chicago, I had set up a part time internship as a writer at a tiny magazine called College News. You can check it out here. I really thought this would be my big break and if all else failed, would be something to at least fall back on until I landed a job I really wanted. Except when I started to settle into my internship schedule I learned really quickly, this wasn’t the gig for me. Between the long unpaid hours and the ‘newsroom’ that was far too quiet and predictable in contrast to a lively, bustling never-know-what-you’re-going-to-get telvisions newsroom, I found myself absolutely bored out of my mind and uninspired with my daily duties. I remember so clearly having to write a story for the CN blog about the Chris Brown and Rihanna incident when it first broke, and I thought to myself, if this is the kind of work I’m destined to do forever, then I must be selling myself short.

Eventually my lack of fulfillment at my internship, led me to pursue personal interests at home. And all at once in between job searching and emailing news editors until my fingers were blistered, I found myself up to my eyeballs in cookbooks, baking soda and cupcake pans. One day at the internship while writing a story for the College News blog, it dawned on me that I too could have a blog! One that would highlight my favorite recipes, along with a little commentary in my tone of voice and it would hands down be much more fun than writing about celebrity gossip or trivial things that I had no interest in. It would allow me to be creative (bonus), in control (double bonus) and if the blog ended up falling short of my expectations there was the option to quit and move on. With that Pink Sugar Desserts was born. Along with a plan to open a storefront. All at once I had these big ideas and even bigger plans to do something.

I eventually said good bye to the College News internship, and instead stayed home to juggle the ongoing and exhausting job search with the obsessive amount of baking in our tiny little kitchen. I soon after discovered Bakerella and decided I too needed a Canon Rebel to document my kitchen creations so I went out (spent more money) and bought one from a camera retailer who was going out of business. I started to realize that in putting a little effort into my posts (like well thought out images) and a little personality (like a conversational tone of voice) led to very slow but sure increases in traffic. People other than Andrew and my Mom started to read. And at once I was hooked on blogging.

Here’s a couple photos of some treats I baked back in what we shall call my domestic prime :)

BerryBread

You can read Part II here.

28 comments on My Story Part I

  1. Ashlyn on

    love this little tid bit on you! crazy how our little dreams change + so many times our so called plans are not what God has in store for us. you really are an inspiration + so truly genuine — it shows through your blog & in your business, as well as in those silly emails that you respond to ;) you keep smiling! i can’t wait to read the rest of your story! & i agree there is always a why + what to every story and i hope to share mine one day! happy Wednesday! x

  2. Anni on

    I love reading this. Where we’re supposed to be in life never comes easily, or as we expect it too, it seems. Thanks for sharing your story, I’m looking forward to the next part.

  3. Brittany on

    I love this post. I’m a fairly recent uni grad still trying to figure out my place and what I should be doing with my life. I’m trying to start my own business, so I’m excited to read your posts on this subject :) xo

  4. Love reading your story as I start my day. I graduated in Human Development and my first job out of college was in social work through a mental health agency. Although I had planned this career for myself throughout college, I quickly and unfortunately found that it wasn’t for me. I now have backtracked into a manager position in retail during the day and pursuing my creative passions after hours. I love reading your inspirational posts because I know so many others like myself are at that uncertain, post-grad, career crossroads! Making Things Happen in 2013!

    Cheers,

    Victoria

  5. This is great!! I enjoyed reading it and can’t wait for Part II!

  6. I’ve been following your blog for a little over a year now. I’m a photographer from Casper, Wyoming. I received my degree from GVSU and started my career there in Grand Rapids before moving here. I wanted to say what an inspiration you are, and I absolutely LOVE that you bring a high level of personal testimony to your blogging and your business. Many people think there is a set “checklist” to start a successful business, but honestly I think its about soul searching. All in all, I love reading your blog, you do beautiful work, and you make me feel normal :)

    Nicole.

  7. Well, I’m mightly glad you started your blog! otherwise, I would not have had the opportunity to “meet” you =). Blog on, sista! Blog on!

  8. Maria on

    well dear Rhyannon i’m reading you with such a big smile, i hope your truly story never end, because we need lovely stories on a pecially tone ! Can´t waite for part II.

  9. This post is really inspiring. I’m getting closer to graduating and sometimes I wonder if I will find a job with my degree (English & Theater Education). I get so anxious, I want to have a job in a creative field, something I’m truly passionate about. But I feel that will take some time. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I think your wonderful in the world of wedding planning and home decor. I only wished I had found you, when I was planning my own wedding. Stay Beautiful Rhi! Your always shinning.

  10. Aww :) I loved hearing this!! Can’t wait to read more <3

  11. Alicia on

    It’s so amazing how our plans and our realities can be so different and so so much better! Although I think you would have been the cutest news anchor!

  12. Lauren on

    Thank God for unanswered prayers. I, for one, am so glad your journalism career fell through. You are such an inspiration!

  13. Lena on

    The baking era!! Love that you’re sharing your story, beauty.

  14. Wrote a long comment and just deleted it. I don’t know what to say other than GO YOU! I know just how it feels to be operating on faith and not much else. Even when you know where you’re headed and life (i.e. money) gets in the way, we are never too far from our dreams. So inspired by your journey. It gives me hope for my own! xoxo Rachel

  15. brandi on

    I love this post! I havent been reading your blog for 4 years but maybe the last two and I just love it so much! You are so inspiring!!! :)
    xx
    b

  16. Jess on

    Wow! Cant wait for part two! i’m still studying at uni and chose against journalism (which was something i always wanted to do) because of the lack of oppurtunity. now i study business because i hope one day to be able to start one like yours! your work really is an inspiration and motivation, keep it up!

  17. Kate on

    oh yay, i’m so glad you’re sharing your story. i can’t wait to read more! :)

  18. Casey on

    Love this segment, looking forward to Part 2! Thanks for sharing your story. I too am a wedding planner and love hearing how others got inspired and started out x

  19. slamdunk on

    It is always inspiring to read how successful people like you Rhi got to where they are. It is certainly a lesson being able to think outside the box and be willing to say that a specific job or internship is not the choice for me.

  20. Ok, I knew about the journalism past but I had no idea you were a food blogger to start! That’s so fun! I have a similar experience about starting out with high hopes in one career and finally finding my passion in something altogether different. Life is a crazy ride, isn’t it? I can’t wait to hear Part II. xo

  21. I absolutely love this “My Story” post – so inspiring, and it’s refreshing to hear that you’re not alone in the beginning struggles. Certainly makes us who we are, doesn’t it? And makes the bumpy ride so worthwhile. Looking forward to Part Two! xoxo

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  23. Ashley on

    Rhi, I need to be reading more stories like yours, because I still have no clue what I want to do with myself. My architecture background couldn’t feel further from what I’d really like to be doing, and it’s nice to know that other people make it through the scary middle ground of not-knowing. I’ll be looking for Part 2 :)

  24. Pingback: My Story Part II :: Hey Gorgeous, The Blog

  25. Lara on

    Proud of you!!!

  26. Karen on

    What a great inspiration. Thank you

  27. Pingback: FAQs: Starting a Wedding Planning Business :: Hey Gorgeous, The Blog

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