Five Years Later

January 5, 2018

Five years ago, I never would have dreamed that my life would take the course it has now.

Five years ago today, I sat down in front of the desktop computer in my basement, on my 14th birthday, and decided to try the whole website/blogging thing one last time. I had started a few before, but I never really knew what I was doing or what I wanted to write about. I picked website builders that had pretty templates, and thought that Blogger was a platform farrrr too complicated for me to figure out.

But I took one last try. I gave Blogger a shot, and I figured that I would be lucky if 20 people saw what I was posting in a year, much less hundreds of thousands.

This was me wayyy back in 2013, when I started Eva Darling as The Preppy Ballerina

So 14 year old me sat down, with what I thought was the perfect blog name at the time, “The Preppy Ballerina.” I mean it did describe me perfectly back then, it probably still does, but ultimately it was too niche, and I think when I had the name, I was confused. I had let myself be defined by other people by the fact that I was a dancer my whole life, and because of that felt obligated to somehow incorporate dance into my blog, writing about it not really because I truly wanted to, but because I felt like I had to. Ultimately, it became very clear that style, travel, and lifestyle, were exactly the things I was best versed to write in, so The Preppy Ballerina changed to Eva Darling.

I talked about being bullied briefly before on this blog, but I’ve never gone fully in-depth on the subject matter. I won’t in this post, but I will say that at the time I started this blog, I felt as if I was alone. I felt like I had a few friends, but no one truly in my life through thick and thin. Blogging somehow helped me find my voice not only online, but in the real world. I’m not always confident in approaching people and I feel like I never know the right thing to say to someone, but it has opened me up so much more to new people and new situations, in a way that I would’ve never thought possible. In five years, I’ve met the most incredible people through this blogging thing that somehow started as a hobby, and when I look back at the friendships I’ve made with the strangers on the internet that your parents warn you about {I mean honestly, the type of friendships that they somehow know exactly what you wanted without even telling them or will text you knowing that you’ll be the best personal shopper around}, it’s incredible. It’s unlike anything I could’ve asked for, and I am honest-to-goodness tearing up as I’m typing this, because it has been such a journey.

Tampa 2014

My first blog posts were so rough. Like SO rough. Like my OCD was so bad at the time for my first probably year and a half of blogging I had to end every sentence with three of the type of punctuation I was using. Oh, and I loved exclamation points. Like loved exclamation points!!! Basically every sentence ended with and exclamation point, and because I was so OCD there were three of them!!! A decent amount of my OCD involves numbers in case you couldn’t tell!!! I actually went¬† back into my post archives, deleted a ton of my early posts, and edited even more to take out the ridiculous amounts of punctuation triples {but if you want a good laugh, you’re welcome to click on “2013” and see the cringiness that still lives on}.

 

Miami 2015

I think part of the reason that I’m getting so emotional over my 5th blogiversary in particular is because my blog was the first business I started. I didn’t even start it as a business, it was a hobby that I genuinely had a passion for and didn’t even know I could make money off of. Since then {in the last year especially}, Eva Darling has made longtime dreams on mine come true. Attending NYFW, College Fashion Week, partnering with some of my favorite brands, being able to share style with others and have it be my job. It also means that as of today, I’ve started five businesses in five years, all before I turned 19 {you can check out three of them here, and the other here}.

Boston 2016

Oh yeah, and Blogger? That platform that I was so scared of? Ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself. I HIGHLY recommend it for bloggers who are just starting out, the SEO built into it was the reason that any of my early content ever went viral {the fact that I now know that SEO even exists. Or what it is. That’s definitely an improvement from 14 year old me}. Blogger forced me to self-teach myself HTML and CSS elements by reading up on hundreds of blog articles trying to learn how to customize my blog template in every way I wanted to.

Minneapolis 2017
New York 2017 – post name change

So I kept going, kept coding, and eventually heard about WordPress.org. WordPress.com was one of the platforms I used with one of my original failed websites, and I hated it. Honestly, truly, through and through hated it. Self-hosting and using WordPress.org sounded too complicated for me and like a headache. “Never in a million years,” I used to say to myself. Yet here we are, just a few years later, and within the next few days my complete blog makeover will be done, and I’ll be self-hosted over at WordPress.org with the domain of www.eva-darling.com {don’t worry, www.thepreppyballerina.com will redirect to the new URL} thanks to my web designer and her team {I hired someone to help with my blog. Crazy, right? Try telling my former 14 year old self that would happen. She definitely wouldn’t believe you}.

I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. Without you, the last five years would’ve been so incredibly different, and I can’t say thank you enough for coming here and reading, supporting, following, and laughing along with me. I can’t wait to see what the next five bring.

 

 

Love and Stay Preppy,
Eva
{what a throwback, right?!}
xx,
Eva

 

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