levis old hangout jeans

When Christian and I were snapping these photos a few weeks ago, I knew exactly what I planned on sharing when I posted them.

I consider myself pretty tough (I asked Christian this to verify I’m straight-shooting).  I am not much of a crier, and I am fairly good at knowing how to “stay in my lane.”  I can put on blinders and just do me, blocking out negativity or outside influence. I think when I was 17 and in Miss Teen USA, I learned not to compare myself to others and rather focus on my own strengths and weaknesses. I am a competitive person, but only against myself. I’m always trying to out-do my own personal best.

But I have my moments where I’m anything but confident.

Five minutes before we took these photos, I had tears rolling down my cheeks.  In terms of my career (which is currently this blog), this summer hasn’t been my favorite. Every week it feels like I’m tackling a new problem and it’s felt like two steps forward and one step back since May.  This blog was my passion project since 2010 and over the years, it has morphed from an online journal of sorts into a lifestyle website.  I left my corporate career to pursue it full-time.  My husband is still in school, and he greatly helps me with CBL as it’s kind of become our own little family business.

With that comes a feeling of pressure, expectation to meet certain goals, milestones, etc.  Some days I feel completely fulfilled and embrace myself, flaws and all.  Other days I feel like I’ll never be good enough and that I might even be happier if I dialed back the blog, ultimately putting less pressure on myself.

I’m not a size 0, and I’m fine with that. I have a 10 lb. fluctuation range that always ebbs and flows depending on how much I’ve been traveling. I’m not a model, never have been and never have pretended to be one. I’m not a tech guru or analytical expert. I’m not a web designer or professional stylist.  I don’t have perfect hair or glam makeup skills.  I don’t have professional photography training. I hustle, I work as hard as I can, I do my best and most importantly, I always try to have fun with it. After all, when I started this blog I had no idea it would make a dollar. I blogged for years without making a penny, and had so much fun with it!

When style bloggers hit the scene 8+ years ago, it was about seeing real girls wearing outfits and thinking, “oh I can style a dress that way or look like that in those jeans.” As this industry has continued to evolve, now many bloggers look like they just marched out of the magazines.  And hey, hats off to them for being so gorgeous.  I love to see it! But those of us that are more on the relatable spectrum can be left thinking… real girls, where you at!?

But that attitude isn’t fair either. The girls lookin’ magazine-ready are real girls and they are just #blessed. The issue isn’t other people, it’s my mind. Learning to be content, to love myself, to stop reaching for unrealistic goals thinking that a new handbag, losing 5 pounds or getting 50,000 more followers will make me feel more confident. That is absurd! Learning to be happy with myself, to think of all of the reasons I am so fortunate rather to count all of the ways I could improve… this can sometimes be a day-by-day challenge.

pink crop topbeverly hills palm tree lined streetlevis high waisted jeanslevis old hangout jeanscoral crop topcult gaia arc bagshoes of prey suede heelscarrie bradshaw liedlevis mom jeanslevis old hangout jeans

photos by Christian Barnes

denim – also available here (size up because they have no stretch!) | crop top, love this one (on sale) and this one | heels – custom design from Shoes of Prey, splurge version here | bag, dupe available here | sunglasses | earrings (40% off!)

And of course I have this amazing life partner who is both a sounding board and truth-teller.  I was so embarrassed that he saw me shed tears out of lack of confidence. I usually keep those moments private because I want him to only see me as a strong and secure wife he married. But he knows exactly what to do. I don’t need someone buttering me up, I need a truth-teller who can hold up a mirror and say, “girl – you’re never going to be satisfied unless you learn to CHILL!”

So there’s my spiel on self-esteem and a little bit more about the days that I definitely don’t have it. I just want to humanize those feelings and self-doubts we can all have, no matter how confident we appear to be.

I’ve never claimed to be the authority on all things style, but I share my life because it started out as fun and has become my job. There are websites out there dedicated to bashing bloggers for literally anything. You can’t please everyone, and the fact that anyone would choose to spend their free time writing crazy mean and usually incorrect things about complete strangers is both appalling, sad and bizarre, but it exists.

Perfecting my ability to put on blinders is always a work in progress, and I’m challenging myself this fall to focus on my attitude and perspective.  Do you guys relate to this?  Just to be transparent, this isn’t a cry for compliments, rather I’m hoping to start a little conversation about learning to love yourself.

I’d love to hear your insights on self-esteem and how you tackle those moments when you’re feeling anything but confident. And if you need a little music motivation, this and this are two of my favorite songs when I need a little self love.

Thanks so much for reading and sharing – XO –

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145 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Self-Esteem

  1. MY aunt always says, “Jesus said you will be blessed if you follow him, he never said your journey would be easy.” I have always kept this in mind whenever I start feeling that way. I own a preschool and I helped someone open her own, she chose to contact my current preschool parents and tell them whatever I’m charging she will charge them less. She contacted friends that I introduced her to and bashed me to them, they of course, told me. I was hurt, cried about it, and two of my parents are at her preschool right now! I know that God will never give me more then I can bear. I left my job to pursue my own preschool and although I love being a business owner it can make you feel like you’re alone. I get it. Your honesty is refreshing, it is truly appreciated and hopefully you will start sharing more posts about #bosslife. Fyi, I have never been interested in blogs, I love stylewatch! They featured a cute outfit you were wearing and I looked you up and I mostly shop blogs now. Thank you! “Greater is he that is in me, than he who is in the world”

    1. WOW. Did I need to hear that! I hate that you have had that experience but your attitude is incredible. As I like to say, “the cream always rises to the top.” And trust.. it ALWAYS does. Hugs and prayers to you that you will have peace with this person – I know firsthand that having “that feeling” towards anyone you think is copying your work rather than being original and unique in creating their own is just… the worst. And I also love you came here via StyleWatch! Thank you for sharing that and for taking the time to share your story. Hugs to you and hats off for having the courage to start your own business. XOXO

      1. I’m good with her, anger is just not on my list of important things to do with my life. We don’t speak, but if I see her I’m cordial and I truly wish her the best. I have an awesome life, I think sometimes that’s easy to forget

  2. Hi Kathleen,
    Great post! I struggle with self esteem on the daily. Between body issues, being single and working a stressful job that I really want a promotion at, I realized that i need to do what makes me happy, And fashion makes me happy. I actually have a blog as well that I post outfits, style inspiration and make-up reviews of products I’ve tried. It makes me feel confident, plus it gives me the self esteem I need to look at those photos of myself and realize that I am beautiful no matter what size I am.

  3. Thank you for sharing! You are awesome and so real! You are the first and my favorite fashion blogger i follow. no one is as real and down to earth as you are! Im from new orleans so maybe i recognize the southern aspects of you coming through but i love how you share your life and fhasion!

    1. Candace thank you so much! I think being relatable has always and will always be a top priority for me. With the internet and social media, it’s so easy to give people an unrealistic portrayal of everyday life. I never want CBL readers to think I have it all figured out. I am learning one day at a time and love that we have this little space to help encourage each other. Appreciate you!

  4. your ability to keep it real is one of the many reasons i love your blog! in an age where instagram posts and stories are becoming more popular than blogs, yours is one i always come back to! thank y ou!

  5. I love this!! Ive been a CBL fan for as ling as i can remember and you have always been so genuinE! For me (BECAUSE im at the point where my blog is starting to make like ten pennies a month rather than zero ), i find it SO HARD not to compare. Ultimately, at the end of eaCh day, i think about my family who loves me, the fact that i have a roof over my head and food to eat, and the fact that im a daughter of the King (and the only true judge of character and heart), and perspective comes back to where it should be.

    Im glad that you have seen so much success by keeping it so real. That in itself is extremely encouraging to me (and i know many others) who are still kinda waiting for things to “take off.”

    Thanks for being you!

    laurel at http://www.thehiveblog.com

    1. You are so right gf. Your heart is in the right place – I need some of that!! And you and I both know nothing comes overnight – I am so proud of you for sticking with it and sharing your talents with us!

  6. You have no idea how refreshing this is! It can be so discouraging to be flooded with images of “perfect” people, and it can be so hard not to compare. It’s fun to fan-girl on those gals, but i love seeing other women who wear regular clothes and have fat days. You, by the way, are gorgeous! Bravo to you for writing and sharing this…it made my day!

  7. I loved reading this because it hit home in so many ways. I was never a blogger, instead an office manager for a 6 family practice physician group but always trying to be better than the day before with regards to how i managed 6 different physician personalities and 43 women employees, how i managed the bottom line of the corporation and even how well I dressed every day. It was so exhausting because I also was married and the two of us were raising two beautiful children. I constantly felt like I was running and juggling on this huge treadmill of life. We had a good life with the big house, big cars and lots of material things. Our family was constantly on the go never really slowing down to enjoy the full journey, rather loving what we were doing at the time but always looking for the next thing that would finally be true happiness and total success, we equated busyness with success (this we’ve come to realize is such a lie). In December 2010, our son committed suicide. Our world came to a complete halt. I was ‘paralyzed into stillness’, literally there were many days i could not move. The wisdom and lessons learned from this tragedy are as follows: we have a choice to live worldly or Godly. Worldly says you control your life and you are responsible for climbing the ladder of success, therefore do everything possible to compete and keep up with the jones’. What it fails to tell us is there is no peace on that path because ‘things’ will never bring happiness.. Godly says we put god (not religion) first and foremost in our lives by conversing with him daily on his lead, totally surrendering control to him. There and only there lies the peace to living true joy and happiness. Let God lead, you follow. The key………. Is that you must be still enough to hear from God which is the unconditional love in your soul.
    Quote for this book (ha!): look at where the masses are going, go the opposite way for that is where true peace, confidence and love is found.
    May God bless you!
    Love you girlie!

    1. Maxine! First of all, it’s not you – it’s the way this new site was designed and they are working on fixing the comment/all caps thing – you’re not alone! And WOW. The words you’ve shared are so incredibly powerful. I mean it, I’m going to write that last sentence down. You are full of wisdom, I’m so glad to know you!

      For the record, this shook me so much I had to read it out loud to Christian. You need to write your own book! But I’m gonna need you to autograph my copy. XOXO

  8. Kathleen you are one of the most real girl bloggers out there and that’s why I’ve followed your blog for so many years! You have always been one of my absolute favorites because you are real and can relate to so many people! I think you are smart, strong, absolutely drop dead gorgeous, funny and you are extremely caring and compassionate!

    I feel like i relate to you because we are the same age and we both went to southern sec schools (i went to auburn) and were sorority girls haha but we have definitely evolved from those college days! every time i read your blog, I’m like “this girl is awesome- i would love to be her friend!” haha

    you keep doing you girl, and just know that you have so many people in your corner rooting for you!

    1. Blaire. I mean… I feel like we ARE Internet friends and that has to mean something. I so appreciate you and that you take the time out of your day to read this blog. Really – that is the most motivating thing I could ever read. XOXO

  9. Kathleen, Today’s blog is going To touch so many people. We all have our moments when we are down, but that helps us to grown. Look im a 62 year old Mother of three grown boys and two grandsons and im reading Your blog! I have always loved fashion and i cant necessarily wear any of your outfits you model, but I can take away a little something that i can add to My style. Keep up the good work and by the way, if i was younger, i definately would be rocking that top! Hugs, Peggy

    1. Peggy! I’m so glad you’re here! My mom often feels like she’s the only person reading over 40 so NOW I can be like, “no girl. I have Peggy and she’s the best!” Thank you so much for reading and sharing and of course – motivating me. XOXO

  10. You are by far my most favorite fashion blogger. I have never been into blogs but when i camE across yours, you Totally got me hoOked. You are so real and so fun to follow. there are many days when The first thing I do is check your blog or watch your insta stories because They are absolutely hilarious. I look forward to them and love that you share so much DaiLy! You keep doing you, sister!
    Lots of Love from aRkansas,
    Maggie

  11. Love this post! I can be so hard but I really respect your attitude towards self-esteem and trying to live your happiest life. And for what it’s worth, I think you are one of those bloggers that always looks gorgeous with your hair and make up perfectly done.

  12. You are beautiful!

    You are one pf the bloggers i constantly think, “wow, so naturally gorgeous.” I also think you happen to be quite skinny! As a blogger myself who is not a size 0, not even close, i actually have stopped creating conTent our of feeling ehat youre describing above, which is really sad . All of this to say, yes its relatable. Always a work in progress!

    Xoxo
    Kylie
    http://www.tanandwild.com

    1. Kylie. DO NOT stop creating content! I’m clearly not always 100% full of self-love but I hope you will continue to be inspired and creative. Looks like you got some mad skillz in the kitchen girl (and serious makeup skills)!

  13. I’ve had way too many days where i doubt myself. learning you and life is a never ending process and i’m working on accepting the change. i used to try and hide my voice and be quiet because i was afraid of speaking out. turns out there’s people who like a loud woman- ha! it’s a constant journey trying to find your way 🙂 i’m not just saying this because of the topic of your post, but i genuinely appreciate and enjoy who you are. you keep it real, you’re funny, you tell it how it is and look beautiful doing it. keep doing you…we all have those days. xo!

  14. As I read this post.. I cried haha it’s almost as if you spoke right into my soul and as you said told a girl to “CHILL” Thank you for being so honest and open and showing that real girls on the internet or not, have real feelings and real thoughts. this post straightened my back a little this morning and changed my perspective. thank you so much for that!

    1. Awww Christina! We are all in this together! Know you’re never alone in your feelings. However you’re feeling there’s a 90% chance the girl next to you has felt the exact same way before.

  15. What a lovely post Kathleen, thank you for keeping it real and living out loud the kind and brave soul that you are. There is more beauty in discussing your own vulnerabilities than any wardrobe, makeup application or set of jewels. You always look fab BTW 😉

    YOU ROCK GIRL!

  16. There is a saying that you are given one more day not because yoy need it in your life bu b so else needs you in their’s. After reading today’s post i am sure you were given today to help and inspire so many of us. You are one of the reasons i dec to give blogging a try myself. You are genuine, relatEable, and alWays approachable. And while i think you do happen to look like you walked out of a magazine you down to earth! Those of us who 8 years behind yoU are fumbling along worse than you think you are. Shoot… iam easily 15 years older, and 10 pounds heavier and i think you are fabulous!

    1. Lark! What a huge compliment. I think learning to be truly confident and happy in my own skin is a work in progress and most days I have no problems but every now and then there’s a moment. Just gotta keep that chin up!

  17. This is such a great post! I love the honesty and you always come across so confident. Being real is relatable, being perfect isn’t (i just read something like that this morning). I just finished grad school and felt like I was taking a look at my life and all the things that fell short while I was in school. my confidence was shaken for sure and I’m trying to change me perspective. this helps a little.

  18. where to start!! 1. your new site looks amazeee i know im a little late sorry! 2. i couldnt feel you more, i started “blogging” almost 8 years ago in college where it was a small group of people and silly then girls around me blew UP AND i didn’t and i have (and sometimes still do) spend so much time trying to figure out why!! but in the past few months ive said screw it and showed my personality more in stories ect and its connected to more people than ever before. i try and remember why i do it and only do it for those reasons, and if that means not posting for days and losing ENGAGEMENT than great bye bitches lastly…….i think you rock and crack me up all the time…legit say outloud ugh i feel like we’d be pals lol! keep doing you! ok sorry for the longest comment ever xx

    1. Oh my gosh Emily THIS COMMENT made me laugh out loud! You are hilarious. “Bye bitches -” I can’t. I appreciate the love and know there will ALWAYS be someone achieving more or achieving less than you. It’s just reality and even though sometimes it might not make sense… it’s just the way it is. Thank you for sharing! XO

  19. Kat, this post hit me deep. I’m a new blogger that’s just starting out and to be honest; I’ve already begun feeling the pressures that you’re referring to. Obvs they’re not to the magnitude that you’re speaking of, but they’re there. Even though my blog is only a little over 2 months old, I really resonate with this post.

    Ultimately, I think this post is a great reminder that when we do anything we’re passionate about, whether it’s your job, blog or other hobby, we need to ONLY be doing this for ourselves and ourselves alone – no one (or thing) else. I’ve found that the moment I switch my mindset into doing something for the blog and not myself, is where I’ve lost it. For example, am I working out today to better MYSELF or for the next set of pictures I take so I don’t have a double chin? Am I posting on IG today because I’m really passionate about the photo // speaking to my readers, or am I just doing it to gain more followers in a way that’s not ultimately true to me or in an organic way? It’s a tough balance, no doubt, but I think the key is finding what is true to YOU. If you feel like you need to dial it down a bit and take a break, then do it! Your REAL followers will understand and still love you the same when you return. Remember, your blog is what you do, not who you are; take care of yourself first.

    As always, your honesty in your writing is what instantly drew me to your blog and is one of the many reasons you’ve quickly became one of my favs out there. Stay true to you girlfriend, Xx!

    http://roseoutlook.com/

  20. this. post. – My favorite post to date! so beautifully written and this is exactly why you are one of my favorite bloggers to follow. thank you for being real and honest and yourself. im so tired of the model bloggers we want be we can relate to. all the best to you and thank you for sharing your life with some many people.

  21. 🙁 I relate to this so mUCH. i STRUGGLE WITH SHARING WHEN i AM NOT FEELING SUPER CONFIDENT OR SOCIAL.

  22. PREACH GIRL, PREACH!
    I think you’re absolutely amazing and one of my favorite people to follow. I am definitely no where near a size 0 either and that’s sometimes hard being a nyc fashion blogger. But I think that being too “normal” is almost an advantage nowadays!

    you also look incredible in these photos!

    Pink Champagne Problems

  23. HI katHleen!

    I just wanted to let you know that you are my absolute Favorite blogger, not only because of your style anD outfit inspirations, but because of your attitude and humor. On more than one occasion, i have laughed out loud at your Insta-stories or posts because you are freakin’ hilarious!! i always get pretty excited when i see a new iNsta-stoRy by you because i know i’m about to Get a good laugh.
    Like you mentioned in This post, everyone feels insecure evry now and then, And i personally feel very content with myself most of the time (since i’ve gotten older and i’ve Decided not to Give a ‘isH what other people thinK), and at other times, i feel like a complete mess and a total loser. I think the key is not to dwell on our flaws and, instead, to focus on thOse aspects of Ourselves That we like, as well as SUrrounding ourselVes with positive people, and trying to be a good person In general, because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter How beautiful someone Is on the outside if they suck on the inside. (Also, a good face mask always helps!) I can guarantee thaT if i were a BloggEr and i was taking Pictures/lookIng at pictures of myself on a regular baSis, i would feel like a mess more often thAn not. I so admire you for putting yourself out theRe on a daily basis in order to inspire and Entertain all of us- so thank you! As a normal person, i find your posts like this refreShing, because iT’s a nice reminder that we are all hUman and feelings like this are normal. Thank you for bEing you, kathleen! You are beauTifuL on the inside and out, and you are KILLINg it!!!!

    1. Kathryn!! Wow. Thank YOU so much for sharing. Feedback like this is so motivating to me and I am so appreciative of supportive women like you. Thank you so much for the encouragement and love! Truly. Means so much. xoxo PS – your attitude is amazing. LOVE!

  24. I usually relate to most of your posts, but I have never related more than i did toDay! Unlike you a good cry goes a long way for me coupled with a walk through Target lol. But i too tend to look at The magazine ready bloggers and think “i love what theyre weaeing but i cant pull that Off”. I think whether we’re looking at others or just in a place where everything seems to be Against us, we all Fund ourselves feeling insecure. I am very competitive wirh nyself only and it Sometimes takes a lot of energy. It is only when i thiNk of My emotional bank Running low because of my surroundings, when i can attempt to chill out. Thank you for this. These are my favorite posts. And go on wiTh your bad self – i know Other readers will agree its all worth it!! Love to you!

    Melonsg

  25. What a BEAUTIFUL and refreshing post to read! As much as I love reading about fashion, reading about the everyday struggles and honesty sticks with me the most. It reminds me that I’m not alone in this world when it comes to self-esteem or confidence issues. Being an outsider introvert in a small southern town of extraverts where everyone grew up TOGETHER, it’s tough. I find joy and light being with my outcast tribe that gets me and reminds me that they love me for me and not to conform. Sometimes I just have to talk to God and write down my feelings and know that it will get better from here. Keep your head up and know that your not alone!

    Tabitha
    https://shopsiloe.com

  26. I loved this Kathleen. since coming across CBL a few months ago I’ve found it so inspiring – I love reading your posts and hearing your daily anecdotes! Also I think you have absolutely awesome style, and I’m so inspired by how far you’ve come through blogging! Thanks for always sharing the real deal, and I think that’s a great breath of fresh air for a lot of people when it comes to how we portray ourselves online!

    I hope you’re having a great Thursday!
    Michael
    https://www.mileinmyglasses.com

  27. gIRL, i HAVe been following your blog for a while now and I relate to you because you are real. You are honest, funny, quirky, genuine…you remind me a lot of Lauren Scruggs Kennedy who I also love and adore. I think anyone who sees your content sees Kathleen, they see this woman that is a beautiful mix of sweet, motivated/go getter, and human. And that is what people want. I personally have also had a very hard year with many trials, have fluctuated weight about 5-10 lbs (for the first time), and have had to accept that life is not always perfect, despite my altered type a sense that everything should be. we must accept rest. we must accept patience. we must accept that we can only be what we are in that very moment. and sometimes, that moment calls for pushing ourselves, and sometimes it calls for simple rest and setting down our laptops. god’s got you girl, you are wonderful. the haters gon’ hate, just pray for them. xoxo kristen

    1. KRISTEN. WOW. So fantastically said! I literally had to read the last part of your comment twice. You have moved me, gf! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom! And PS – I also love Lauren Scruggs. She rules.

  28. I loved this post. It’s so honest. Social media has defintely changed the way we see ourselves. Thanks for being real and honest and Thanks for sharing.
    Xxx

  29. I love you blog and look forward to you sharing! I follow you because you are REAL and you’re the only fashion/ style blog I follow. Thank you and your husband for doing what you do.

  30. Hi Kathleen!

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I’m new to blogging (just hit 7 months) and this is something I go back and forth with a lot. I started my blog with the hope that I could make a small business of it someday. I usually read stories about how people didn’t imagine making money from their blog and those are usually established, skilled veterans like yourself. But I think so many of us newbies on the block see that it can in fact be a career so there are more people setting out with different intentions these days. I’m a perfectionist and when I find something I’m passionate about and aim to do it-I give it my all. I’ve definitely done that with my blog, but it’s hard when you’re in a creative field like this and see so many personalities and talents coming at you all day, every day. My two biggest struggles are impatience (and thinking I should have gained 20K followers over night) and never feeling like I’ve completed my list of “things to get better at.” it’s not even about comparing myself to other bloggers because, took me long enough, but I finally learned that we all have different skills, talents, styles etc. and that we all have different goals ad some of us have simply had more time to work on the craft than others-so it’s apples to oranges. I just had a conversation with my husband about this the night before last, actually. I’m hard on myself (it sounds like you’re the same way), I want to be proud of what I produce, and I set really high expectations for myself. In general I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but my husband pointed out that when I only focus on being better or improving rather than what I’m already good at, I get really down on myself. So I think sometimes we have to take a step back and look at ourselves without anyone else in the picture and, furthermore, find what we’re proud of and let that give us some fuel! I know I’m just reiterating everything you so eloquently said, but it’s all just to say that this really resonated with me. I totally don’t mean this in a bad way, but it’s nice to know that a bogger I truly admire (your style is amaze and you’re one of the most relatable and community based women I follow, hands down), consider a huge success, and have followed and read for years has days like this too. I don’t want you to have days like this because you should have all of the confidence that you deserve to have, but to be reminded (by a roll model, nonetheless) that I’m human and it’s okay to feel this way as long as I find my way out of it, is comforting. Thanks so much, Kathleen! <3 Keep being wonderful, confident, and your own beautiful person!

    Much love,
    Allison

    1. Allison!! Thank you so much for taking the time to share and of course, welcome to the blogging community! 🙂 I so appreciate your kind words and I agree – sometimes it’s nice to know that people in your industry, all over the spectrum, struggle with the same issues. We are all human at the end of the day and doing our best! Love your attitude and proud of you for taking the step to put yourself out there. It can be scary but it’s always worth it!

  31. Thank you for sharing!! It’s refreshing to see the “real” side all out on the table in the blogging/creative biz world, which is honestly the main reason i love following along on CBL. you’re honest and it’s nice to see! And your insta-stories are hysterical, so there’s that. 🙂

    i feel ya on unmet goals/EXPECTATIONS. it’s incredibly hard to overcome, and this topic really hit home for me. I’m in my first year of starting my own home organization business, and eventually i want to blog with it. I think i just set such high expectations for myself that it’s hard for me to see growth in the little victories. and comparison kills!! oh my word… it’s so necessary to find a way to push through that, or it can leave you frozen, unable to move forward. i’m guilty of that every single week… if not day. I don’t know how to overcome it all, but focusing on quality over quantity seems to be key for me. Having quality clients with quality content/results is more important than the quantity of followers. also Knowing my worth is not in my work, but in my identity in Christ is really the only thing that can really take the fears/doubts out of my brain. and that’s something that takes intentional focus and daily prayer to accomplish for me.

    I love that Christian supports you in the way you need! a sign of a true partnership. As a newlywed IT’S FUN TO SEE HOW HE SUPPORTS YOU IN YOUR BUSINESS/PASSIONS. i just got married in december, and my husband definitely believes in me when i don’t in myself. i think that is so key.

    anywho, thanks again so much for sharing! and opening the dialogue… so many feel just like you do no matter what our line of work is, so it’s nice to see someone broach the subject in an honest way.

    xoxo –
    Ellen

    1. I apologize for the state of my comment above. ha! When I typed that up it only allowed me to type in all caps. However, when I hit submit it presented a mix of all caps and lower case. I have no idea how to fix that, but just know i was not “type yelling” on purpose on those all caps sections. 😉 And i do know how to use proper capitalization. The OCD grammar nerd in me had to address this. ha!

    2. First of all, the upper/lowercase is an issue I’m fixing currently – so it’s not just you I promise! And best wishes on your new marriage – how lovely!! Being a newlywed is just the best. Thanks so much for sharing – starting anything new is scary but your hard work always pays off. Best of luck to you Ellen!

  32. As a blogger (part time) myself, I completely appreciate you writing this post. I’ve struggled with an eating disorder for years, and it’s always tough. Gaining healthy weight, comparing myself to others, not feeling good in what I wear…it totally sucks.

    It’s horrible that there are sites dedicated to blogger bashing. I started blogging because I liked the idea of helping each other with style, or traveling or cooking…and in no way should it open the doors to people being mean.

    You look amazing, I love your outfit and I love reading your blog!

    http://www.luellapearl.com
    Caitlin

  33. I follow tons of fashion bloggers on instagram because i love style insPiration as much as the next gal, but i am far more likely to actually go to your blog and read your posts because i know you keep it real and real is always more interesting than the carefully cultivated image of False perfection so many other bloggers Maintain on social media. You’re so beautiful and stylish that you could easily do the same Thing, so thank you for choosing to allow your followers to see you for who You truly are, human.

  34. ThaNks for being so Freakin awEsome and speakin the truth! All your snaps and posTs are my fave! And i am SECRETLY wishing wE could be bff Haha you do you girl cause it is the best!

  35. Girl, you’re blog is awesome & the content you share is always fun to read. You’re relatable in many ways & that’s what makes what you share fun to read! Keep doing you!

  36. my favorite quote as of late is “comparison is the thief of all joy”. it has really helped me over the years to not (still a work in progress) compare myself to others. i just gotta do me, boo.

  37. Im a stay at home mommy to 2 boys. I lOve reading your blog and seeing your pics!! You are goRgeous and i love how real you keep it!! I live through you and your travel and cute outFits!!! Thank you for putting your life Out in the public!! Sorry people Feel the need to say rude things (so strange that they feel the need)!

  38. Girl, your honesty is one of the reasons I adore your blog!!! Keep up the good work! btw,,,, you look amazing!!! 🙂

  39. Girl! ya look great, but helps to know you feel like the rest of us! I read blogs b/c they aren’t magazines – the more personal and real the better. honestly, refreshing to be different and show who you really are…im not as into blogs where there are no flaws. also, literally cry to my husband all the time – if you can’t cry to him then what is the point of a husband, i ask?

    apologies for the all caps, can’t turn them off!

  40. “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful” by One Direction is always a self-esteem boost for me! I JAM OUT to that song. 🙂

  41. I just started blogging! This could not have come at a better time! I feel like it is such a cut throAt business, but everyday i remind myself why i started my blog! Its the passion that i have aways had inside. I live how you talk about blinders! I am learning how to use mine And also to find inspiration in moments that maybe make me feel insecure. After all i am me amd thats the best person i know to be. Keep up the great work and keep being you!

  42. Great post and so relatable! I began a new job and I have never felt more challenged in my life. tomorrow, I have to present before judicial officers, and even though I have been preparing for months and know the content, I cannot help but doubt myself and feel like an impostor. it’s funny how pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone can create so much doubt, but also joy. As Ted Roosevelt said;

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

  43. Kathleen I think you are doing amazing! You are in an industry that is alll about numbers and comparison so it makes sense that some days you are going to feel like you aren’t reaching a certain goal. What keeps me coming back to your blog is your tone. You are a woman I could completely see myself having out with, because of your tone and sense of humor. Theres always going to be someone critiquing or complimenting the only thing you have to do is ask yourself if this is still your passion project? Do you still love it or do you need a creative break to live life and comeback later. I love the song love myself and Most girls! Frankly I love your style and I think as long as you love your style and self the right people will come.

    https://kerielaine.com
    Keri Elaine

  44. the more and more we inundate ourselves with hundreds of women bloggers the more we are likely to keep comparing ourselves to others, and typically negatively. That’s not to say we should not blog, or follow bloggers, because certainly there can be a lot to gain from reading and and watching women’s experiences. We want to be inspired, we want to learn how to express ourselves with the help of others, to relate to other women; and so we inundate ourselves with lifestyle, fashion, travel, makeup and hair bloggers. For me it’s a daily balance of living into the most basic nature of my true self and soul while also wanting to express myself through decor and fashion, and garner great life experiences. however, we must be aware that The more visuals we see (particularly the more unrealistic and faux visuals we see) the more we are actually chipping away at our security and individuality. There is always the rare person who is just resilient to it all, but i promise you, she just came out of the womb that way. For the rest of us, we do need to find balance in this blogging world, so that we learn to trust ourselves and see our own beauty as it exists apart from everyone else, instead of continually comparing and lusting after “virtual” strangers. balance is never easy….but neither is just “chilling”, right?

  45. So…. I’ve always looked at your posts and thought “Damn, that girl has style and I will never look like her” – so you’re doing a good job, even if you feel like you’re not where you want to be in some aspect. I’d just say try not to compare yourself to others. Everyone is different, and if all bloggers were the same, the industry would fizzle out really fast. It’s so nice to be able to pop around the web and see so many different girls with their own style and their own ideas/opinions! Don’t be so hard on yourself!

  46. Thank you so much for this post! Im a new blogger, and i have days where i feel ugly and fat, anD that i have no way of standing out among a sea of beautiful, thin, blond girls. Lol. Ive Learned that it dOesnt mAtter, because i blog due to my love of fashion and writing, and even if no one Reads It, i was still true tO myself! You are beautiful and an Inspiration, and i love following your blog!

  47. You are amazing, and honestly it is so nice to hear that even someone who is so confident (I always wish I had your confidence) still struggles with insecurities from time to time. AKA is human. It really is just part of the beauty of being a human being with real desires and feelings. Usually it works to our advantage, but sometimes it gets the best of us. Thanks for being so real and also for believing in yourself enough to not get stuck in that mindset! Love to you!!

    xo MK
    http://www.goldhattedlover.com

  48. First off, you look amazing…98% better than the world population, even though you don’t see it. we all know that bloggers photoshop the absolute *&^% out of their images. it’s not a huge secret! I know we all appreciate your not doing that. i think you have to stop and realize how much your audience appreciates you for being yourself.
    You look like a real woman. Real women go through seasons of life where their bodies change. For example: I have gained a good 40 lbs in the past 3 years doing infertility treatments, ivf, etc., and now into my 3rd trimester of a twin pregnancy. its life – its real, and women like following someone that is just that. celebrate your body, but what i can tell the most after following you for all this time is that you are a good person with a good heart and personality. so many bloggers have seriously terrible personalities. instagram video has made me stop following so many people, but you are funny and people like down=to earth.

    1. Thank you for these kind and encouraging words, Anne! And of course, MAJOR CONGRATS to you and your incredible pregnancy of two baby angels! That is huge. I am so happy for you!

      I appreciate your support more than you know. I am so lucky to have readers like you who can dig the “real girl style.” Lots of love to you and your two littles! XOXO

  49. You are seriously slaying in this outFit. I Am obsessed!!! We all have Our moMents! Its tough not to get down in the dumps sometimes, but i just remind myself to keep Working hard and it will All coMe together, whats meant to be will find a way. . I L-O-v-e Hard on your blog, your one of Funniest anD honest bloggers i follow!

  50. Girl….you are “my girl”…my favorite blogger of all!!! thanks for always being so real! I’m a teacher and struggle with self esteem because i worry too much about what my principal and other teachers think about me. I struggled with this today more than ever, but i stepped back to regroup. i told myself that i cant compare mysefl to others. i know with all my heart that i give it my all every day, even weekends, to be the best teacher i can be! no one can take my passion or my hard work eithic away from me. they may act like they have it all together but in reality those are the ones who dont or those are the ones who are suffering more. thanks for letting me vent on your blog! you are legit, girl!

    1. I love this! First of all, thank you for giving your career to teach the next generation. In my opinion it’s undervalued and I so appreciate and support all of our teachers out there. Kudos! And I totally agree – EVERYONE has there moments, no matter how confident they may appear! Keep doing you gf – XO

  51. Kathleen, girl you are amazing! I have been researching blogs for months on end and have finally decided to start my own with another girlfriend, although i’m feeling many years behind and in my mid 40s (and a new mom on top of that)…yes, feeling very behind, lol. your blog is so inspirational, you cover so many relatable topics and from the outside looking in, seem so very real in comparison to many bloggers out there. yes, don’t we all wish we were eating bon bons wearing cashmere robes at a 5 star resort WEIGHING in at a buck o’five, but that’s just not reality for most. god blessed them! thank you for this post, it was much needed in my world and just wanted to shout back at you and say that i think your amazing, love, love, love cbl and keep it up. haters gonna hate, but what we can do is love ourselves and others and hope that makes a difference. sending you hugs and blessings from dallas, texas.

    1. Brandi! Thank you so much for this and congrats to you for deciding to start your own! Haha I love your mindset. I mean cheers to those girls and cheers to us for being in our own category. Sending a vino cheers to you in Texas! XOXO

  52. literally had this kind of cry sesh today. I hate the “im not good enoughs.” Thanks for being so refReshing! You are so #goals

  53. This post was truly amazing for me! I am a blogger and am just starting out and i have dealt with self-esteem issues my entire life. So just being able to read and hear what you had to say, just reminded me that I am not the only one who struggles with that and that it is okay to be vulnerable sometimes because at the end of the day we are all strong. I really look up to you and follow your blog constantly and this post just made me love it even more so thank you!

    1. Welcome to the blogging world, Danielle! You know, there are going to be highs and lows but I truly think the highs make the lows totally worth it. Stay with and give yourself grace. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there! XO

  54. This is the first time ive commented, however ive been a longtime SUBSCRIBER and simply put and admirer of you, your style, your outlook and what you have created here at cbl. Your blog is literally the only one i subscribe to and look forward to reading

    This is a fabulous post, so real and honest and i see myself in Much of what you Have said. Im a fashion illustrator trying to make a start and i have to talk myself up at times, realise my limitations To my Hopeful career and not compare myself to others, And simply – do me. Not much else we can do right!?

    Keep it up, i would absolutely miss you & the blog if it went snywhere!!

    Xo

  55. Kathleen. You are my favorite blogger! You are beyond pretty. I seriously skip
    Right over Aimee Songs and Parcell’s blog . They seem unrelatable… and I hate their bodies! They are seriously anorexic. And their clothes, purses, etc, are beyond the reach of most of us.
    Its not even fun to see. You have an amazIng body! You’re actually someone I’d like to look like. Chin up girl! Anyone that says anything different is just jealous!

    1. Thank you for the encouragement! I think sometimes we forget that we are all beautiful in differences. We should celebrate them and march to the beat of our drum rather than follow what we “think” the definition of beautiful is. XO

  56. Um, you ARE one of those gals who just marched out of a magazine, you are gorgeous in every way and Christian is so lucky! Your posts and Insta Stories are my favorite. Thanks for keepin’ it real and being so down to earth – it helps us, who admire you, to remember that we’re all human 🙂 Your love for fashion has helped me with so many shopping struggles, so THANK YOU and keep doin’ you!
    XOXO

  57. This is exactly why I follow you. You are so relatable and confident and beautiful. You make me laugh. I love that you drink wine and are real about everything. Just wanted to drop by and let you know.

  58. You is kind, you is smart, you is important. Seriously, though! Social media is both a blessing and a curse, and it’s so good at making us doubt ourselves far too much, but we just have to rise above that and know our worth exists far better outside of a little app. like Instagram, or what have you. I am totally speaking to myself here, too. Great post, Kathleen! I wish I could virtually hug all women going through this, because I’m truly like you, in the fact that I’m typically pretty confident and strong, and it stinks to doubt yourself from time to time.

    Happy Friday, girlfriend!

    xoxo brandi
    http://www.brandisoileau.com

    1. HAHA Brandi! My dad always tells me that lol. I TOTALLY agree with you about social media being a blessing & a curse. SO TRUE. Appreciate your encouragement!

  59. I love everything about this post! I This post is one of the reasons why I read your blog daily and your instastories are the ones I watch when I want some entertainment, because, girl, you keep it real. I love that. Your love of life and passion for what you do shines. I truly admire that. I am also a big fan of people being vulnerable because that’s how we make connection with others. Without vulnerability, there is no true connection. So thank you for being vulnerable because I do relate to what you are saying, and I think everyone out there feels like their self-esteem is challenged at times even when we are generally confident people. Life isn’t easy, and I think having these transparent conversations about the real aspects of life, the ones that are hard, are what make the hard times just a little less hard. It’s knowing that we aren’t alone, that there are people who are struggling with the same thing. Truly admire you for putting yourself out there. I hope you do more posts like this in the future!!

    1. Darcie! Thank you so much for this feedback and kindness. I do get nervous to be vulnerable sometimes but readers and girls like YOU are what make me say, “screw it. I’m gonna do it!” Amen to not being alone. Thank you so much for your grace and for inspiring me to keep the personal posts coming! XOXO

  60. I absolutely adore you! And Christian and Bailey and Lu! And I absolutely love the relationship you two have! That it’s like 90% sass! That he’ll always tell you what you need to hear, but will always be there for you when you need it. I’m not sure why, but this post has me in tears – well I think I know (hello Aunt Flo :x) I know it’s so hard for us ‘regular’ girls to get sucked into realm of ‘we’re not good enough’ even when scrolling through instagram, snapchat or instastories…because we see all these bloggers all made up, skinny, clothed in these awesome clothes etc and then we looked at ourselves and we’re like ‘um what are we doing wrong?’ But that’s comparing and we are know where that leads us, right? And then you post your wonderful instastories where you’re glamed up and then yesterday’s where you were sitting on your couch with your shorts unbuttoned #keepingitreal (and didn’t even notice) those are the moments I love seeing from you and other ladies, ya know? Does that make sense? I do think bloggers are trying to be more personal to their readers and let them see the other parts instead of just the highlight reel.

    Thank you so much for sharing this post. It truly does mean a lot to me and I’m sure to everyone who has read and commented and the ones who read and maybe didn’t have the ‘courage’ to comment. #keepdoingyou

    1. Bianca!! You have no idea how much I love this feedback. Most of us are trying to please our readers and just hoping for the best. So to hear what you guys gravitate toward, relate to and like to see is SO helpful and motivating. Thank you so much for the kindness, grace and support. Honestly – it’s what makes my job so rewarding. Thank you so much! XO

  61. As an older woman and mother of a 20 something daughter i just wanted to share what ive learned and try to pass on to her….you aRe beautiful right now just as you are…one day you will look back at photos of yourself and think “what the heck was i so worried about…i was GORGEOUS”. And as for doing new things and Taking risks…you realize that failure oNly happens when you quit…everything else is just growth and It makes you into the interesting fantastic woman you are. Go for it!! BeliEve now what you will know to be true when you are 50…and still fabulous!!

    1. Kris!! I love this. How lucky your daughter is to have such a fantastic role model! Thank you so much for the encouragement and reminder. We all need that from time to time!

  62. I can humanize it a bit more… because you are the model, perfect person that I look at and think “if only I could be like her!” But I totally get what you are saying. Thanks so much for being so real! I have told you this before, but I love you doing you!!

    All the best,
    Miranda

  63. Girl– I finally got a chance to read this and I have to just tell ya.. you are kicking butt! You are always my first go to for inspo and ya never fail me! As for the self-esteem, we are cllllll human so having self doubt is totally normal. However, you should know you inspire so many women, myself included, to lighten up and make the best of every situation! Your light draws others to you, so just continue to let it shine, girlfriend!

    1. WOW Brittany!! I don’t deserve these sweet words but I’ve gotta say, you have really brightened my day sister. Thank you so much for the love and encouragement. I appreciate you! XO

  64. You’re one of my fav bloggers, hands down!! I love how real you are too and your insta stories for sure make me wish we were friends!!

  65. Confession: I stood right next to you at one point at the RS party last Saturday night and wanted SO badly to say hello and to tell you just how amazing I think you are and how I love following your content. And yet, my lack of confidence took over and I quietly walked away. So sad, right?! I love this post so much and can completely relate on many levels…I’m quite certain most of us women can. Keep doing you, because honestly, you are rocking it, gorgeous girl, and inspiring so many other bloggers out there on the journey to be their own kind of beautiful. xoxo

    1. JANUARY! First of all, you have the coolest name ever. Secondly, I wish you would have said but but to tell the truth… I’ve done the SAME THING to bloggers I also admire. You aren’t alone! Thank you so much for your encouraging words and kindness. I hope one day we will get to hug!

  66. Giiiiirrrllll. You look awesome! We all struggle with this. And i think you look very professionally styles! I cant believe u do t have formal training (is there blogger training?). I agree with you i want to see real girls. I want the looks to be at leaat semi attainable. Thank you for sharing. Nice to know we r all human.

  67. Such a wonderful reminder for Monday morning!! I’m a pretty recent college grad, and just started a new job and moved to a new city. Comparison and my attitude have been weighing heavy on my mind lately. Thanks for being authentic always. I love following your blog for the style inspiration but I keep coming back because you’re so damn funny and real.

  68. Settle down from No Doubt is my song when i’m feeling down 🙂 hope you like it and make you feel powerful 🙂

  69. You are amazing, fun, beautiful, smart and I love your blog. Seriously, keep on doing you. You inspire more than you know, are loved more than you know and just so you know, for so many of us out there you are the ideal. Have a wonderful week and just keep on keeping on, cause girl you got it.

    And you’re on Ole Miss Rebel, so come on, you are pretty perfect!

    XOXO,
    Kim

  70. I have found that my security and significance can only be found in Christ. You are inspiring and I love your transparency — it truly sets you apart! Keep using your God given gifts to shine! Lisa

  71. You are one of my main inspirations for starting my blog two years ago. I love this post so much and I have always loved your relate ability and honesty. It’s so easy for me to fall into the trap of not being good enough whether that’s in regards to my weight, career, blog or just life in general. It always helps me to take a few minutes and think of how unpredictable life is and how much I have to be appreciative of. And of course blasting I Will Survive always adds some extra confidence haha!

    xo Kathryn
    http://fashionwithoutthefortune.com/

    1. Wow Kathryn – what an honor. Thank you so much for sharing! I think knowing what we are made of always brings us back home, to our core values. But sometimes it just takes a little reminder!

  72. I needed this today! Thank you for the inspiring words. You’re seriously my blog #goals. With my entire 950 followers I strive to be as successful as you are. Keep doing you booboo you inspire so many of us!

    XO,

    Jacqueline

    1. Appreciate your sweet words Jacqueline. My husband is always telling me to stop worrying so much about growth and focus on the followers I DO have and cater to them. I remind myself of that often!

  73. Girl. You are the REAL DEAL. I’ve continue to follow you throughout the years because you’ve maintained a sense of authenticity with your blog, regardless of your success. Do you know how frustrating it is to watch affordable blogs I used to love make more income and now showcase items I could never dream of buying (because clearly my revenue stream didn’t increase when theirs did just because I read a lot of blogs rather than have one) or stop showing items I can wear to work because they no longer work in a corporate office? You are freaking hilarious, GORGEOUS, and real AF. If you lived in NYC, trust I would be trying to work out a way to sneakily befriend you. No one ever has it figured out. Everyone, regardless of their current size, thinks they need to loose another 5lbs. Everyone wants to travel more, buy more, watch more, eat more, do more. I’m glad you married someone who can act as your mirror because I am telling you, you are doing way more things right than I could ever image you doing “wrong”.

  74. Oh my Kathleen! What would I do without you???you are such an inspiration and positive influence in my life, and I’m confident in the lives of many women. Thank you for your authenticity. It is this that draws me to your blog over and over again. And do you know what? I follow other fashion bloggers on Instagram and yours is the only feed I’ve actually bought things from. So see? More than good enough! You rock! To me, you’re always moving forward and that’s a motivator. I thank you.

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