The Time Of Our Lives

Update: Aaaand less than 12 hours later we’re back with an update on the bottom of the post for ya. Smooth, right?

Hey there! Long time no see.

The break has been great. Admittedly a little weird, but really reinvigorating. So we’re immensely thankful not only for your support and kind comments, but also for helping put words to some of the things that we had been feeling for some time. And while the last month hasn’t been enough time to fill in all of the blanks about our future (heck, when are life’s blanks ever clearly filled in?) it has made one thing pretty obvious to us: after seven awesome years of sharing our home and our life, it’s time for our next adventure.

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This blog has been a staple in our lives for 80+ months, tagging along for all but three months of our marriage and our entire existence as parents. So we thought it would be nearly impossible to click off that urge to over-share this past month (we expected our blogging spark to come back with a vengeance). But maybe it’s us getting older, the kids getting bigger, or a general shift in life priorities – but it actually felt just right. So this break has given us the clarity (and the guts, I guess) to move on… and hopefully move the needle on that life balance we’ve been talking about for so long.

We won’t go as far as to declare this the end of Young House Love or our blogging days. Who knows, maybe somewhere down the line (when the kids are both in school?) we’ll get that burning in our bellies again – perhaps here or in a completely different capacity. We don’t know what the future holds, but we know that the most amazing things have happened to us when we’ve stretched waaay out of our comfort zone – as much as that sounds like advice you’d find on an inspirational kitten poster.

We plan to keep the blog archives available for as long as we can, and will be freezing comments soon, but we won’t be completely dropping off the planet. Some completed product designs with Liberty Hardware and Shades of Light may pop up, and our second book will come out next October. Those folks have all been amazingly supportive of our decision, for which we’re incredibly thankful.

Speaking of which – “Thank you” doesn’t come close to expressing how grateful we are for getting to share our weird little world with you guys for so long. We have nothing but love and gratitude for this whole experience – and for you. (*This is probably where we should fade up on that Dirty Dancing song*)

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But let’s not say “goodbye” let’s just say “see you on another time.”

Peace, love, and ceramic animals,
John & Sherry

PS: We did randomly snap a few fresh photos for the House Tour page over the break (some of the rooms were pretty outdated). Feel free to give the dining room’s blue trim the side eye for us (yes, it’s still there!).

Update: The same few questions kept popping up in the comments (we just can’t quit you). As for the “what are your new jobs” thing, we’ve mentioned in a few previous posts that we left the door open in our past professions (advertising/copywriting/consulting), which we can do as freelancers from home a lot of the time, while switching off on the stay-at-home parent thing. We know things like the book and products we design are driven by this blog, so we can’t live off those or anything. Didn’t mean to be mysterious! As for the Facebook/Instagram questions, we’d love to pop up there from time to time to say hi. And we hope our blog archives will be up for a good long time (we use them to reference things like paint colors, so we’d never want to lose them!).

We’re also really sorry if this feels abrupt. We’ve made a few public attempts to wind down and gain balance over the years (like when we moved to this house and after Teddy’s birth) but they’ve always been at odds with our “all in” personalities, so it wasn’t until taking this break (yet another attempt to recalibrate) that we realized we felt closer to our goal. We debated lots of alternatives – drastically fewer posts / shorter posts / no comments – but nothing felt like the version of Young House Love we were excited to carry on with. And we tried to keep today’s post light and happy (the last one felt so heavy) since this truly is a moment of extreme gratitude, despite it being a difficult decision to make.

Flawless and graceful exit, eh? Right. So here we go. Ack, we suck at this! We will miss you!!

 

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Feeeeeelings

This post was 3,000 words long. They all felt overly complicated and heavy and weird. I clicked delete. Then I just typed what we’re really feeling, complete with things we’ve never said out loud and even a few things we’ve never fully admitted to ourselves before.

The truth is that we love you guys. Like for real. Even for the tough love. We know you say it because you care (or hopefully you did at some point), and we want you to know we care right back. We want to do a good job. We want to do this with joy and excitement. We want to inspire you. We know this is an incredible way to have made a living and we are full of gratitude for the experience to have shared the last seven years of our lives with you guys online.

We would NEVER be here without you, and not a day goes by that we don’t know that. It’s why we asked for your feedback last week and read every last comment. We appreciate the honesty and the passion you guys have on the topic of making this blog great. And we agree with a lot of what was being said. We have been feeling off for a while – like we have lost our rhythm and we’re somehow missing the mark for ourselves and for you guys. We too miss the good old days when we did this for the love and were full of such obvious joy and spontaneity. This felt like a place we all hung out and it just doesn’t have that vibe anymore.

Over the years many amazing opportunities popped up for us. Things we never dreamed of doing in a million years, and things we’re incredibly grateful to have had the chance to experience. A book deal, curating paint picks with Benjamin Moore, a line sold at Target, a showhouse, etc. But in hindsight those things also made this feel a lot more like a business than a personal blog to many of you, and to us as well. We have actually ramped those down behind the scenes in an attempt to get back to our roots (we no longer do the BM color collection, the second book is mostly written, our products at Target have completed their run, and we finished the showhouse) but we never really made a big announcement about that – so it’s completely understandable that some of you might think we’ve moved on to those greener pastures and left the blog in the dust, so to speak. The reality is that our site propels the success of any outside project like a product or book, so we could never turn our backs on the blog and expect those items to continue to sell as well.

Not only have we felt this shift from “John and Sherry” to “Young House Love: The Brand”, but the blogosphere as a whole has become increasingly sponsored/corporate lately. We can see from the outside prospective as a reader, or even a fellow blogger, that it’s hard to read a blog post without suspecting some ulterior motive or money-making system behind it. Last week a few of you mentioned that we might need to keep giveaways around because they pay us well, which surprised us since they’re never something we accept payment for (we like to pass free things along to you as a thank you for reading).

Along with the whole business/brand thing that’s going on, and the side gigs that felt like they muddied the water for some of you, there are certainly other things we wish we had handled differently in hindsight. Just to name a few, there’s: being too defensive, over-explaining, letting things get in our heads and change our lighthearted approach, and the internal struggle between being transparent and oversharing personal details like a vacant new house without an alarm system (looking back we wish we’d handled our third house announcement differently). We know many of you felt insulted that we didn’t share more freely about that house, and we truly apologize.

Anyway, back to that whole “we’re sexy stumbling and you know it” thing. It’s endlessly frustrating to do a job that you love poorly, especially when it’s a blog baby that you’ve birthed yourself and nurtured for seven years. And especially when it’s such an amazing job that we once felt so inspired and joyful to wake up and do each day. What’s wrong with us? We know this is a dream job. We acknowledge it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. We know most people who have built something like this would be more inspired than ever. It’s not that we lost the gratitude, I think it’s that we feel like we’ve fallen out of our groove. We feel like we’re letting you guys down repeatedly. It got to the point that every time we pressed “publish” we braced ourselves.

So in an attempt to stop stumbling around and feeling like we just can’t get it back, we’re taking a break. We don’t know exactly how long we’ll be stepping away, but our guess would be at least a month. We will certainly be exploring other options for supporting our family (something we mentioned we were considering back in April). We had that fiery blog-spark back when we had day jobs and did this as a hobby, so we think it could be a good change. We’ll also be taking a break on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, but the blog will stay public so you guys can access the archives whenever you’d like.

Our internal struggle and the state of this blog is entirely of our making, and we completely own that. Please don’t get mad at anyone for being honest with their feedback last week or accuse them of sending us packing. We have been struggling with that “something is off” feeling for a while now, and after way too much denial and “we’ll turn it around” pep talks, we finally asked for your feedback because we truly wanted to hear what you were thinking. It was cathartic and helpful for us. It has allowed us to very clearly see that if we have any respect for this blog and our love of it, and for you guys and what you’d like to see, we need to take break if we ever want any hope of getting back to that fun/real/spontaneous place it used to be when this was something we did for the love instead of the high stakes game of supporting a family.

In summary: we love you, we thank you, and we hope you understand.

 

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