I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I started this blog!
Wow, y’all! Whether you’ve been a reader from the early days or started following me more recently I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is because of YOU that I’ve been able to keep this going as long as I have and it is for you that I create content. Thank you for being here and supporting me over the years! I love sharing wellness, recipes, style, and life with you..and I hope to do it for many more years!
I would not be the same person I am today if not for this creative space! It’s really hard to put into words what it has meant to me but I’ll try! I thought it would be fun to share a little of my journey with you in this post…
I couldn’t have done it without my amazing husband, family, and friends who have stood by me as I’ve learned and sometimes struggled with this business! Ryan, Marisa, and Andrew, have been loyal L&L supporters from the beginning! And thankfully, good sports about participating and pitching in to help!
There would be no blog without my incredible friend, Stephanie Weibring!
Steph was the one who brought my blog idea to life with an official logo and set up my first WordPress site for me. We’ve had countless coffees and lunches to spark creativity and talk shop. She’s encouraged me and inspired me for the last 10 years to keep going, even when I’ve wanted to quit! I admire her as a person and her business (she’s the creative force and boss woman behind Joy Creative Shop!) greatly and cannot thank her enough for her continued support and friendship.
My Photographers & Team
I figured out early on that investing in working with a photographer was going to be key for quality images (and better for my marriage, ha)! I’ve learned so much by working with talented people behind the camera.
You may not know this but early on I disliked doing photoshoots and avoided them for the first couple of years I blogged! I did my first real “blog shoot” when I was getting ready to launch with my friend, Jennifer Cortes, who regularly took our family photos. But during those first couple of years I still wasn’t comfortable with posting a lot of photos of myself! More on that later…
In 2015 I finally decided I needed to put myself out there and started shooting regularly with my dear friend Stephanie Drenka! She has also saved me numerous times with tech issues and website develpment/redesigns. Through her encouragement and direction I felt less awkward and became more comfortable in front of the camera. I still wouldn’t call myself a pro but over the years I’ve loosened up, am way less critical of myself, and I have fun with it! She also gave me these words of wisdom, “it’s okay to take a break sometimes, the blog will always be there!”
Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of shooting with many talented photographers in Dallas and Taos!
I’m so thankful for the fun experiences and content we’ve captured over the years! Rebecca Patton (Beckley), Audrie Dollins and team, Victoria Saperstein, Kristen Massad, Whitney Krenek, Katie Rosebaugh, Mary Hafner, and Danielle Doby. In Taos, Jasmine Peralta and the Jasper Creative team, and Bonnie Zylka. If I forgot anyone please forgive me!
I learned early on that I can’t do it all!
It’s best and completely okay to ask for help on the things I don’t know how to do or don’t have time for/to learn. Over the years I’ve had various people assist me with the blog, currently Sydney at Seeside Creative, Rachael at Studio Foray, and Paige Hughes, (Pinterest/graphic creation, and newsletter). Could not do it without them!! Thank you, ladies!
This blog has brought personal growth and positive change to my life…
I love being social but I’m also an introvert and enjoy time alone to recharge. Blogging and being an influencer has brought me out of my shell in a good way. When I stop to think about it I feel deeply grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had and the people I’ve met because of it. There are many friends I never would have connected with if not for the blog and instagram!
I’ve had the pleasure of working with wonderful local and national brands, some I never would have dreamed possible. I’ve formed great ongoing relationships with brands, and learned to be comfortable with asking for what I want. I used to be a lot more timid about putting myself and my ideas out there and I’m proud of how far I’ve come. As I’ve continued to grow my brand, I’ve learned about business, how to monetize/strategize, photography, writing, marketing, and more. It’s been quite the ride!
How it started
I started L&L (the OG logo on the left!)when I was a stay at home mom in 2012. I was feeling a pull to have something to work on for myself and to possibly help others, a creative space or project. Marisa was 9 years old and Andrew was 1. Prior to Andrew being born, I was a pre-K teacher at a private preschool in Dallas.
I was following other bloggers at the time and the blogging world was very different then!
My initial idea was to focus on two things I loved: fashion and fitness. I was not sure how I would bring them together but I was very into activewear, specifically lululemon. I loved how the pieces were well made and elevated and could be worn for workouts or styled in different ways. And, I’ve always loved shoes and Christian Louboutin were (and still are!) a favorite luxury shoe brand. That’s how I came up with the name: Loubies and Lulu! I think someday I’ll change it to my name but for now I think it still fits!
I didn’t look at myself as a fashion blogger when I started!
Most that I knew of at that time were in their early 20’s sharing outfits for going out and work. My day to day wardrobe as a 30 something mom was a lot different, going to the gym/workout studios, running errands, taking/picking up my kids from school, date nights with Ryan. I was wearing a LOT of activewear and wanted to share that sort of casual style.
During the first year I shared mostly product collages, workout class reviews, workout posts/sweat schedules (where I would post my workouts for the week). Things have changed in 10 years and it’s fun to see a lot more lifestyle content from creators of all ages!
Whole30 enters the chat…
In March 2013 I did my first Whole30 and it changed my life!! It truly did. If it weren’t for Whole30 and the freedom and confidence I found through the program I don’t think I would have continued blogging. As my mind and body became healthier my whole outlook changed and my confidence grew. Whole30 was the catalyst for many other positive changes in my life over the last 9 years. I believe that God brought it into my life at exactly the right time!
Because it made such a dramatic impact, I wanted to share it with anyone who would listen…
It changed the game for me that I wanted to pay it forward and help others find freedom too. Whole30 and Food Freedom became an important pillar of my content and still is today! I wrote about my journey, recipes and products I loved, and even “unofficially” coached a group of family members though through the program in 2015. Though social media, I eventually connected with Melissa Urban and Whole30 HQ.
In the years leading up to now, I’ve had the opportunity to write for their website, create content for their social channels, do a Whole30 recipes takeover (a big goal for me!) and connect with the enormous Whole30 community. I was also in the inaugural group of Whole30 Certified Coaches. A very proud moment!
The Dallas Duo
In 2017 I joined forces with my amazing friend Whitney Stuart MS RD LDN CDECS to co-found the Whole30 Dallas Duo!
We created a fun social and interactive group Whole30 experience featuring weekly local restaurant and fitness class pairings. We’ve coached several groups over the years together and even won the award for Innovation in Coaching at the first Whole30 Coaching Summit! It was an incredible experience!
I’ve learned so much from working alongside Whitney. She’s a super talented clinician and passionate about helping and educating people. I can’t say enough great things about her…we’ve loved helping others and had a blast doing it!!
How exactly did the Whole30 change my life?
During my first Whole30 I learned to listen to my body and nourish it with healthy, whole foods!
A little backstory- In my late teens I battled eating disorders. I went through therapy and by the time I was 20 I was in recovery. But even though I had the behaviors under control I didn’t have a good relationship with food or my body in my 20s and into my early 30s. I was overly self critical and very black and white about my food habits. I put a lot of pressure on myself to workout a certain amount of time, count calories, weigh a certain number/be a certain size, and I was very hard on myself. It was not healthy. I tried a lot of different things to find a healthy balance but I thought it would be something I’d just always struggle with.
I wrote an entire blog post on this journey, one of the most vulnerable for me and difficult to press publish at the time! Prior to this I felt a lot of shame around the eating disorders and didn’t like to talk about that time in my life. But once I did it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders! I realized I could use my story and struggle to help others.
Back to my first Whole30- I started to pay attention to what was in my food and how it made me feel. I began to eat foods I had deemed “off limits” for many years. Because of the diet culture of the late 90s I was afraid of eating too much fat and gaining weight. But once I trusted the process and ate according to the Whole30 meal template it was like the blinders had been lifted. I finally started to enjoy real food- cooking and eating, and the fear slowly melted away.
After just a few weeks, I felt amazing! By the end of the 30 days I knew I would never go back to my old way of eating. It was the first time I really paid attention to nourishing my body and not restricting it. It was a total game changer and catalyst for change. I also started to feel better about the example I was setting for Marisa and Andrew. I wanted to do everything I could to teach them healthy habits and mindset around food.
As I became healthier, my family did too!
Whole30 changed our habits and how we ate and talked about food at home. It was a gradual process for me, doing a few more Whole30 resets and then reintroducing foods, and working hard to understand and establish Food Freedom. (This means not staying on the reset beyond the 30 days, using the Whole30 as a tool to discover the best way of eating for your unique body/lifestyle.)
I haven’t done a Whole30 in a long time! These days I follow a relaxed and healthy Food Freedom lifestyle, taking a lot of what I learned from my Whole30 experience! I listen to my body to give it what it needs and I’m always learning about how I can further optimize my health…
10 years later…how it’s going!
Over the years I’ve added more lifestyle components to the fashion/fitness mix! The blog has grown with me and I’ve shared more about kids activities, travel, food, wellness/beauty, home renovation/decor, college life, and more…
The most surprising to me was the addition of sharing more recipes and offering recipe development! Before my Whole30 journey I didn’t like to cook, It was a necessary chore. But now I truly enjoy being in the kitchen, cooking healthy everyday meals and recreating childhood and restaurant favorites.
It’s been an amazing journey and I’m excited about the future! My goal is to continue to share content that is helpful, provides value, and is fun to read. I have lots of goals for this blog and there’s so much more I want to do!
Thank you for 10 awesome years!
I couldn’t have done it without you. Always feel free to reach out and connect via email, comment, or social. Cheers to 10 years! Lastly- don’t miss our L&L Favorite Things giveaway, enter for a chance to win here!
Photography: Victoria Saperstein
Location & Outfit: Sette Collective (save 15% with my code: ANDREA15)