It’s hard for me to believe that The Sweetest Occasion marked five years old at the beginning of September. Five years! If we want to get a little statistical for a moment, that’s 1/6 of my lifetime. It feels so short and yet so long all at the same time. I never imagined five years ago that my first post would lead to all of this. Not even in my wildest dreams did I think that in 2011 I would cross into the territory of full-time blogger. That this site and my freelance work would lead me down the path of building a career that is so gosh darn fun and fulfilling it’s utterly overwhelming at moments. I never imagined it. But I am so deeply grateful for everything that has brought me to where I am today.
When I founded The Sweetest Occasion in 2008, I had recently lost my maternal grandmother. Kay Sweet was, well, about the sweetest lady you ever did meet. In a total spitfire kind of way. (That’s her along with my mom, my sister and I celebrating my graduation from grad school in 2007.) She was also the ultimate hostess. I have no doubt that my love for entertaining came to me by way of some genetic code inherited from my mother and her mother. When you showed up at my grandmother’s house, I’m here to tell you what, every detail was in place. The music was on, the candles were lit, her hair was done, and her shoes always matched her earrings and her handbag. Always. Even if it was just for a party of two. I would come home from college, go over to her house for dinner, and she’d have that dining table dolled up like I was the frickin’ Queen of England. Because to her, that’s what inviting people into her home was. The chance to show her love and appreciation for them in the littlest of ways. So she’d wander out into her expansive gardens, snip a big bunch of peonies for the center of the table, and she’d make sure she had Elvis playing on the stereo. Because she was a Red Stripe drinking, laugh until her sides hurt, Elvis listening kind of lady. And she was every color of awesome you can imagine.
It dawned on me recently, that despite full intention of doing so a long time ago, I’ve never shared how The Sweetest Occasion came to have her name. (And, yes the blog is a girl. Clearly.) In short, The Sweetest Occasion is my ongoing love letter to my grandmother. “The Sweetest” part is a play on my mother’s maiden name, Sweet, and a celebration of the kind of woman my grandmother was. The kind of woman she taught all of her girls (three daughters and four granddaughters) to be. No matter how big or how small, every occasion that brought us together as family was the sweetest one of all in my grandmother’s eyes. And now, five years later, you know that without this one incredible little lady (all five feet and zero inches of her), I literally would not be here today doing what I’m doing. Just like The Sweetest Occasion, Grandma Kay was also a September baby. She would have been 77 this year.
To all of you who come here every day and grace me with your friendship and unending support, I thank you with all of my big sappy heart. To the sponsors who help keep these little girl dreams of mine alive, I’m endlessly grateful. To the amazing photographers, designers and stylists who have shared your work with me, I could not do what I do without you. To all the amazing contributors I’ve been proud to call a part of The Sweetest Occasion team over the last couple of years (Alice, Chelsea, Jenny, Stephanie, Kelly, Andrea, Samantha, Jade and Morgan), you ladies have inspired more than you’ll ever know. To my family, especially my parents, lil sister, and Grandma Converse, thank you for believing in me and always supporting my crazy ideas, even when it means leaving the land of paychecks and health insurance behind to write a blog. To B, my best friend, cheerleader, coach, and confidant, there are no words to express how much of what I do is because of your love and support.
The day to day operations of The Sweetest Occasion are still an entirely one woman show. I could not do it without amazing friends like Ami, Carolynn and Erika who have supported me over the years in countless ways. That said, the daily grind of producing content, writing and editing posts, working on sponsorships, responding to emails, working on business development and keeping on keeping on is just me, myself and I. Plus I freelance and try to have some semblance of a personal life, at least on the weekends. I’m not perfect, I’m far from where I want to be professionally, but I can’t wait to see what the next five years bring. I want to bring renewed energy and life to the posts and columns I’m producing and I’m making strides right now behind the scenes to try and do just that. Each year just keeps getting better and I can’t wait to make year six just as awesome as it can be.
And because I hate to go out on a total cry-faced sappy note, although that is absolutely what writing this post has resorted to for me, a few more stats from the last five years! (Because if you’re like me you’re a number geek and stats make you happy!)
Whoa. Sometimes looking at those numbers I can understand why I’ve spent a rather embarrassing percentage of the last five years in yoga pants with no makeup on. That said, I’ve got so much more to accomplish before I’ll do what I’ve set out to do. And what’s that you ask? Hopefully you’ll be here along for the ride to find out! With all of my heart, thank you thank you thank you. xoxo