well-rounded

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when i tell people i have a blog (which is pretty much all the time), the natural counter-question is usually, “oh cool, what is it about?”

to which i tend to flounder, nervously giggle, and then turn to someone nearby to help me explain. apparently my perfection of my 30-second elevator pitch is yet to be, well, perfected. 

but that’s just the thing. how DO i characterize this little piece of blog real estate? it’s sort of a hodgepodge of thoughts and topics all bundled together by daily selfies and habitual references to friday night lights. if we’re really being honest, now almost four years since its conception, it’s hardly even about the three things in its namesake. i mean, i don’t even really wear nike tempos anymore -they’ve been replaced by lululemon crops (the kind that aren’t see-through). but “trader joes, lululemon crops, and reality shows” just doesn’t roll off the tongue as well, does it?

i’ve been thinking a lot lately about the future of this blog. what i want it to be and look like and how i want it to grow and evolve and reach its readers. and let me tell you, i have a list of about a half-dozen things that i’d like to do in order to, for lack of a better term, take it to the next level. but not only does it feel daunting to tackle said list, it also seems really scary. not like “i think there’s someone hiding in the attic” scary, more like the kind of scary you experience when you try something new and completely out of your comfort zone. nine times out of ten that scary transforms into something really wonderful but i suppose it’s all about taking that first step.

and right now my foot feels like it’s about a gazillion pounds so you can see how that might impede on all of that first-step taking.

when i started this blog a few years back, it was mostly on a whim, as a creative outlet to store my thoughts and feelings on the latest celebrity break-up or what new product i found at trader joe’s. i had no idea that it would become such a big part of my life. and by “big part of my life,” i mean a way to lure people to become friends with me. but seriously, it has become this entity that i truly can’t imagine my life without. and well, that’s pretty neat.

but i kind of feel stuck. to somehow define what it is i’m doing on the internet (besides doing google searches for “taylor kitsch girlfriend”). what’s my platform? my purpose? the category of which i fall under? lately i’ve been watching some of the blogs i follow grow and change and hone in on their specialties, with an effortlessness that i can’t help but to envy. “ugh, i could never do that,” i think. i don’t even know how to use google analytics properly, so how on earth could i start to tackle blog re-design?

i remember when i applied for college, we were all advised to be a “well-rounded” student. that meant that in addition to being enrolled in honors and AP classes and participating in sports, we should take electives like art and yearbook, volunteer at our local church or hospital, and run for student council. instead of focusing our efforts in one solitary area, we were supposed to divide our time and talents amongst many. this is what colleges looked for in applying seniors, students who could, in a sense, do it all. students who would bring a spectrum of knowledge and experience to their university and who would make their student body a more vibrant and well-rounded institution. and seeing as i had my eyes set on gaining admission to some prestigious universities, i heeded the advice of my college counselors, as did many of my fellow classmates, too. in an ironic turn of events, it turns out for that particular year, colleges weren’t in fact looking for the well-rounded student, but rather the student that was specialized in a specific area like playing the cello or being a competitive horse back rider. turns out pepperdine was still looking for the well-rounded student so thankfully all of my work wasn’t in vain, but it was pretty rude of UCLA (which had always been my #1 choice) to change up their qualifications that year.

i tell you that story because i think i’ve made it my goal to take that original counsel of my high school teachers to be a well-rounded person out of the classroom and into real life. and from my experience thus far, i think it has served me well. i may not know all there is to know about sports or music or pop culture or art or travel or [insert topic of choice here] but i know a little. i know enough. i may not be able to make a souffle or roast a whole chicken but i’ve watched enough seasons of top chef and episodes of chopped to know how to navigate a menu at a fancy restaurant. i may not be able to tell you the record for the kansas city chiefs (actually i do know this one, it’s 7-0) but i can tell you that alex smith is their quarterback and that he’s really attractive. i’ve never been to greenland or iceland but i learned in mighty ducks 2 that despite their respective names making you believe otherwise, “greenland is ice and iceland is nice.” i have worked on committing a lot of little facts and figures to memory over the years, and have spent just as long perfecting my mediocre talents as well. sometimes i think i should have focused on excelling in one thing but then i think that would have made for a really boring life. plus, i don’t think my attention span (or lack there of) is conducive to that anyway.

squirrel?

so let’s be honest. i’m not going to be the best fashion blogger (clearly, i had have to hire a photographer and probably find a better back-drop than my bathroom) or food blogger or even give you the best relationship advice (that’s for sure). there are a zillion other blogs that can tell you where to buy staples for your wardrobe or make-up products that will make you a doppelganger for heidi klum. despite needing to appease my inner over-achiever, i must face the fact that in terms of the blogosphere i’m not going to be the best at one certain thing. there are just too many more creative and talented and beautiful and more put together people out there for me to even try to compete for the title of “best at ______.” and that’s okay. being the best at one particular thing is certainly fabulous, especially if that one thing is something really cool like being a trapeze artist or being a professional chocolate taster, but it is also kind of limiting.

so i suppose then if i had to describe what this blog’s premise is -its “schtick” if you will, it would be this:

a happy little corner of the internet where i share my daily outfit (mostly for my mom and grandma), tell you my latest dating dilemma, and sometimes write reflective pieces on what it means to be a twenty-something Jesus-follower just doing her part to show love to everyone she meets. most days, i’m also trying really hard to make you laugh.

i’m not trying to sell you something (though those shopping PSA’s could make you think otherwise), i’m not trying to get you to think a certain way, or dress a certain way, or subscribe to my behavioral patterns. i’m pretty sure the world is pretty good with just one shawna (and all of her shawna-related idiosyncrasies) running around. honestly, sometimes i don’t even know why you’re interested in reading up on the musings of yours truly, but then i think about how many personal lifestyle and family blogs i read -blogs whose authors i have never met or seen in any other form than through the internet -and i realize it’s not really all that weird to tune in to read up on someone else’s stories and recaps. or maybe you actually know me and don’t get to talk to me as often as you’d like and this blog is kind of like your way on keeping tabs on my life. kind of how you keep up with the kardashians, but then again, not. i’m not nearly as rich and my name doesn’t even start with a “k.”

i think my blog is a reflection of me -a little bit of everything wrapped up into one. a little of this, a little of that. like how my plate looks at thanksgiving. a little sweet potato casserole, a little stuffing, a LOT of cranberry sauce, a little turkey, and a little gravy to wash it all down.

and now i’m hungry.

what was i talking about again? oh right.

i guess what’s really holding me back is this overwhelming need to define what my purpose is in the blogosphere. what my mission is and how i fit in amongst the thousands of other website domains. but i don’t want to be hindered by labels. i don’t want to be confined to a specific schtick or schpiel or some other yittish word i don’t even know about. is it okay to be a little bit of everything? like the variety pack of snapple flavors they sell at costco?

i think it’s okay to be well-rounded. to not necessarily fit in a single category or box or subject matter. i think it’s okay to know a little about a lot of things rather than know a lot about a little amount of things. i think that’s what makes you interesting. and i think that’s what my blog is going to be. well-rounded. a jack of all trades and a master of none. in the best possible way.

p.s. i’m actually being serious about that whole re-designing this blog thing, so if you know someone who would help and/or are actually that person, please email me. kthanksyou’rethebestbye.

image via: LoCro studio.

image via: LoCro studio.

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