Thursday, January 30, 2014

Real. Part 1.

Blasts, from pasts.

As far back as 2009, I was grateful to be a "fashion blogger" Around that same time, I was developing my "womanifesto" on being a +40 woman, and just what all that entailed. I was spinning on style, and it's still relevant today. In fact, I encourage you to share my post entitled "Spin it Spinster."

I've been a bit nostalgic lately- noting drastic changes in "the bloggersphere" feeling the keen absence of the many women I "grew up" with as a blogger. A lot has changed since my first blog post, but reviewing many of my past blogs, I can see a lot has remained the same. What interests me today, is pretty much the same- and I still love stripes, polka dots and plaids. But HOW it interests me is very different now.

Still, I can appreciate the good nostalgic look inward, as I remember some wonderful highlights from "the good ol' days." Back when there was a Style Nation, Rags Against the Machine, an Elegant Bohemian, Jemina Jakin, Orchid Style, Comtesse De Ferveur, Walking Colors, etc etc. Many, many of my bloggy pals have quit blogging altogether, and a few just sort of mail an occasional in.

Past Imperfect-
Here are some thoughtful reads from the past:

As of late, I've been feeling uneasy- and in a bit in mourning regarding my blogger's life- all of which is curled up in a ball of yarn I don't feel like unwinding at the moment, or in this venue, but I do feel the need to acknowledge it. Because it reminds me of the best part of my life as a blogger: the community. I've been feeling very frayed, very flawed and very human. Figure-wise: aging, invisible and dumpy. Financial-wise: wobbly and struggling. Blogger-wise: flagrantly unsuccessful. In spite of my best efforts, or (perhaps because of them) I did not make it "big time" as a fashion blogger. LOL! No indeed. 

In fact, I've watched many +40 blogs, bloggers and website shoot far past me in terms of blog traffic, acknowledgment and accolades (how many articles NOT mentioning this blog on  their lists de facto of best Fashion Blogs for Women Over 40, ha ha, too numerous to mention) and yeah, good ol' fashioned financial success. What was an early ambitious aim towards making it to the top of the heap, paired with an intense investment of time, I've watched my "traffic"  drop by over 50%, engagement and comments slow to a timid trickle,  as I witness various income generating options collapse. Meanwhile, I can't help but wonder how relevant this blog is to the +40 community at large and what use that is to me, if it's not helping me put food on my table. 

This is me getting real, circa  January 2014. I have loved my stint as a +40 blogger, it's been, get this: SIX GORGEOUS YEARS. But as a "fashion blogger", folks, I'm calling it quits. This  means, I've got to shuffle my priorities to what WORKS for me. Quite literally. I've got to make "this" work. 

When I started blogging the original intent was to sell clothes, but I got distracted by the blogging bug. It was an incredible, democratic and amazing virtual world, and as a writer/poet by nature, I truly thought I could make a go of it. I was willing to work hard, and did everything I could think of to produce quality, original content. I wanted to foster community, and I set about actively creating it. My strong point in blogging has never been "aspirational"  but I had hoped I was "inspirational" and that I attain success (and make a modest living) by being hard working, authentic and real. It's been a fun run, and I wouldn't trade the experience of it for the world. But this Citizen Q is back to square one.

I want to bloom madly. And I wish for every person reading this, the opportunity to bloom madly as well. Thank you past, present and future friends and readers for finding me. Thank you for letting me blossom from a dreaming poet/pizza slinger, into a dedicated writer/publisher/blogger and vintage seller. THANK YOU for being with me with such delicate kindness and sweet, sweet support. I am so grateful! 

We'll be taking some time off blogging, to re-focus and recharge. Don't worry, the Citizen Rosebud as an entity, is alive and well- we're just taking some time to refine and polish this gem for the optimal way to blossom. In the meantime, feel free to sign up for the monthly newsletter- it's seriously the BEST way to stay in the loop: CITIZENS NEWSLETTER

Wishing you all a wonderful month.  
And here's to the boon of being born + being real. xo! -Bella Q


Justgraduatedat35 said...


Unknown said...

Not you too!!!!

Natalia Lialina said...

Bella, I found your blog not long ago - two or three months back, I think, - thanks to my friend. I am still pretty new to this worldwide blogosphere (my previous blogs are all in Russian and about totally different subjects, this is my first style blog). I enjoy your writing very much! You are a very passionate and honest writer, and your blog shows it - your articles are often very moving. I loved your post about jazz (where you compare life to jazz - I couldn't agree more!), and this one is also a gem... I will miss your articles and your style expressions, and I do believe that you are one of the most unique bloggers in this community. But at the same time, I do understand the need for recharge and refocus one's energy very much - I've been doing this myself for the past year or so, and style blogging is only one of ways of this recharging/refocusing process for me personally. I wish you to have a restful time and gain the understanding of your own unique way, and all the energy you need to boldly move forward! Sincerely, Natalia - InTheWritersCloset

Suzanne said...

I think so many bloggers feel the exact same way you are feeling right now. Almost weekly I wonder what the heck I'm doing blogging.

It always makes me wonder just how one decides to stop, or change focus for their life. Another blogger I loved and followed just up and said, "decided to focus on something else now…bye nerds!" and that was that this past week. Shocking since I considered her to be very well ahead of the curve and commercially successful. One never knows though. Also success is measured so differently for each individual.

You've always been one of the most thought provoking blogs I read. But that doesn't really have to do with fashion as much as it has to do with your ideas as a person. Maybe that is where you will decide to focus.


Catherine, Not Dressed As Lamb said...

Gosh Bella, that's not something I was expecting to read from you... but it's very brave to hold your hand up and say It's not for me any more. Before I blogged I had a crafts business that was going absolutely nowhere - I stuck at it for nearly 10 years before calling it quits. But having a style blog has (unknowingly at the time I started) combined my love of fashion, dressing up, shopping, photography and design; there's no one aspect of it that I don't love. Maybe that's why I've stuck with it...! (Not looking forward to my tax return though now I'm doing it full time as a job)

Anyway I wish you the very best of luck, I've loved being your bloggy friend and hope I've done my little bit in showing you off to my readers. But I hope you'll continue to stay in touch via social media and commenting...? You've always been such a great supporter of mine, I'll miss our girl crush moments otherwise!!!

With much love
Catherine x
Not Dressed As Lamb

Catherine, Not Dressed As Lamb said...

Forgot to say writing, I love writing too. As you can see from that lonnnnnng comment ;)

Connie said...

Well.....I just recently found you, too. And well....I know that a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. I've enjoyed knowing you for this brief period and I wish you the very best of luck!!! YOU are rad.

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

Oh Bella, I will miss you so...just as I miss Terri and Serene...your point of view is what made your blog important and your wonderful writing style. Thank you for everything you tried to do for bloggers 40+ and I so look forward to reading your new direction...I just hope you don't are a gem!

Patti said...

You gotta follow your heart - but I have loved your blog for so long, I don't know how to do without it. You've been a huge inspiration to me, to stay real and write my truth. You are bursting with talent and goodness - so I can't wait to read about what's next (I'm on your subscribe list). Much love and kisses, - Patti

Shybiker said...

I don't know what to say, Bella. If you're anywhere online, I'll stalk you. If not, I'll miss you. Many bloggers take breaks, some forever. I understand. That said, I do like you LOTS and hope I can keep up with you somewhere.

Melanie said...

I was stunned recently venturing beyond my blog neighbourhood to see how many women have thousands of followers and how few of them write anything I want to read and or wear anything that excites me; they are fashion not style. I felt like I was being smothered by empty sameness. You, Bella, are STYLE, plus you have an authentic voice, wit, a big brain, and dazzling looks.
I've signed up for your newsletter. You do what you gotta do but I'll miss your posts while you're away. This will be a void. Here's to success with your new focus! xo

Forest City Fashionista said...

As Suzanne has noted, there have been a number of bloggers who have decided recently to call it quits, or, change the direction and focus of their blog. Six years is a long time to devote yourself to a project (it will be five for me this year) and I can understand the need to re-evaluate whether what you're putting so much time and energy into is getting you closer to where you want to be in your life.

Your blog posts have always been thought-provoking, articulate, and visually inspiring. Thank you so much for your unflagging support to all of us 40+ bloggers. I wish you all the success in the world in whatever adventure awaits you. XO


Oh, Bella, there have been many times I have almost written the same post. The blogosphere has changed so much since back in the day, and with the advent of Twitter and Instagram, activity on the blogs has died down for everyone to a degree. It's so commercial and catty and unlike what it used to be.

Like you, I've relished the community aspect of blogging, but unlike you, I've never had to make it a job. I suppose that's what keeps me going after eight years...I never had to make my numbers hit a certain mark; that definitely changes the dynamic and makes you feel bad when you don't quite get where you want to be. It's not easy, especially now with a gazillion more bloggers out there trying to make a buck.

Funny, I wasn't originally a member of the +40 niche you have so wonderfully championed (and yes, you have been overlooked in that category as well...terrifically unfair), but I've been at it so long, I blogged my way right into that category. As such, the way I feel about outfit posts, etc., has changed. I see a lot of try-hard going on out there, and it's just so laughable in a way, so insipid. I still have the desire to blog, albeit far less. I'm grateful that I have a career that allows me to keep blogging as just a fun, side thing I do.

Maybe it's time for you to take that approach...carve yourself a career I the bricks and mortar world, and just blog for fun. You CAN reinvent yourself at any age, so do what you need to do to pursue another creative venture, perhaps with regular hours and benefits. Plus, it's damn hard to be inspired and creative when you're worried about paying the bills, right!?

I think a break is a good thing. Take time, focus on's always worth it.


Krista said...

Ah Bella you are such a great writer no matter what keep doin that. I think the hardest part about trying to do your own thing is knowing when to call it quits and try something else. You have big balls for giving it a real go. I also think change is good and nothing lasts forever. Except the friendships we've made through blogging- those are real man!
Take care sweet girl

sylvia @ 40PlusStyle said...

Wow Bella. That comes as a shock. You are definitely a star amongst the 40+ community and I will miss your quirky and original posts. Sometimes it's good to take a break as you say and recharge and find you passion again. I hope you will and that in future we can continue to enjoy your unique voice.

Unknown said...

Oh no Bella !
But i can really understand ... but please come back .

alexis said...

Thank you, Bella. From the moment I discovered your blog, and then quadrupling when we met in NY, I consider you an inspiration.

Sending you love beyond measure and excited for what is next!

~Alexis Grace of North On Harper

The Dainty Dolls House said...

Oh wow...well, I think you've been inspirational indeed. And I have enjoyed your drive and dedication to many things. But, I understand you must follow your heart & that is most important!! I wish you love, peace and great times wherever you may wander doll!! xx

Beth Waltz said...

As a 60+ reader of your blog, please permit me to reassure you that the 'uneasy' feeling you're experiencing is the scritchy-itchy sensation one gets at 40+ when it's time to shed a skin...

There's no doubt you'll re-emerge from the mulch, bright and shiny (in stylishly glorious colors!), ready for your next life!

Unknown said...

Hello Bella,

Sorry to see you go, really, you had style and wit - Yes blogging has changed a lot over the years -Everything changes in fact, nothing stays the same, but when you feel you have to move on you have to move on i guess - I often wanted to quit, lot of work but i,m staying- I do it for fun, i have no ambition -
I wish you the best of luck Bella
I will join your Newsletter


Mrs. D said...

So sorry to hear this. You are indeed an inspiration.
It's just too bad that not enough people can see it. I know exactly what you mean - some people are so boring, yet thousands flock over to read them. I think it has a lot to do with being unique and quirky - it's not for everyone and most people like the manistream and want to see their choices validated, not challenged. To them people like you or me are crazies (wtf are you doing wearing cutesy things after your 20s?, I can hear them say).
I hope this bout of blogging disenchantment doesn't last too long and that you can find a new inspiration to continue sharing your beautiful self with us all.
Don't give up!!!
I hope to see you around facebook anyway :)

thorne garnet said...

You have to do what you have to do. Your blog was one of the first I followed ( I recognized the Thrift Town on Stockton Blvd in a post) I get the newsletter, so I'll be looking forward to that

Vix said...

As long as its just time off to rest, regroup and relax then I'll forgive you.
Blogging can become all consuming and when silly things that don't matter start to annoy the crap out of you then you know it's time to unplug and walk away for a while.
Yes, those blogs that have thousands of followers are perplexing, so often they're dull and impersonal and, if you have time to read through the hundreds of comments the commenters rarely say anything more then "Nice...follow me", far better to have a handful of meaningful comments by virtual friends who actually care about what you say.
Don't be a stranger, see you on the other side! xxxxx

Unknown said...

I understand - I don't like it, but I understand. This won't put any food on your table but I consider YOU to be one of the most influential bloggers I've had the pleasure to know. I can relate to your frustration. It seems that if you deviate in the slightest from what are perceived as the acceptable rules for dressing and living the 40+ lifestyle you're not going to make a living as a blogger. I'm sorry you've become a casualty of conformity. You're not alone.

You're doing the right thing, Bella. You can make a name for yourself as a brick and mortar vintage maven, and I hope you make money hand over fist doing so. I'll miss you, but I really, really want you to do well!


Sue in Spain said...

Oh no! Bella, I can't believe it. You are one of my favourite bloggers because of your originality and wit. I have a link to your blog on my own blog, for that reason. As an over 60, I wish that I had been like you when I was an over 40 (I'm sure you will understand what I'm saying!) You have inspired me and I will miss you. Please come back soon! I hope it's "Au revoir" and "Hasta luego" rather than goodbye. Take care my bella Bella!

Val said...

Bella, I hope you don't quit altogether! I like reading you as a friend in the blogging community, but I think the ones who make it as professional bloggers are really into brands. However, there are a lot of bloggers doing that now, too, so a lot of competition.

I hope you find a new course for financial fulfillment, but that you keep on blogging for the fun and friendship!

Curtise said...

You know, I get it, I really do. If you are trying to make blogging your career, it seems that you have to pretty much abandon your brains, your opinions, your individuality, and your integrity, and chase the dollars. I too miss some of those who have stopped blogging, and am fascinated and appalled in equal measure at the "success" of some vacuous, plainly ambitious, but ultimately empty blogs. Go figure... It's easy to be disheartened.

So yes, take time away, think it through. Maybe the blog should be about fun and friendship, playfulness with your writing and your photos and outfits, and then you won't worry about traffic stats and monetising. I'm sorry you feel sad and unsuccessful. But it all depends how you define success. Creating something that fosters relationships and confidence, which has some fabulous women expressing their support for you? That's successful, in my book. Take care, Bella. xxxx

Beryl said...

Hi Bella - You know I have worried about you ever since you moved to Seattle. As a transplant, you might not be familiar with one of the basic truths of living there - don't make any major decisions during January and February. I think you need to keep your blog alive. You could consider your blog as an adverting vehicle, steering me to your Etsy or actual store - just a quick little couple of pictures once or twice a week. It could be viewed as Art Therapy, where exercising your creativity keeps you happy. Or lots of other non-income generating, but still good and viable reasons. As a reader, I would be perfectly happy with you checking in and just writing "Hi!" once a month until August - when (hopefully) the sun will be shining. And then decide. Just my 2-cent's worth.

SeƱora Allnut said...

you've been a source of inspiration and attitude for years!, and I think that's a Great Success!. Sometimes things seem immovable, but we can stay dreaming. And we can stay fighting our place and being Fabulous 40+ Ladies!. We're on the way!
Wish you luck and fun and fabulousness!!
besos & abrazos, querida amiga!

Veshoevius said...

I totally understand every word that you're saying here Bella, but even so...Don't go!
I'm actually pretty lost for words, but whatever you decide to do, all the very very best with it.

Tamera's Craft Palace said...

Bella--I will read what you have to say in any format. You are an amazing writer!! It's frustrating to see vapid twits with no content but c/o FAST FASHION make it and someone like you with real content not.

Unknown said...

Dear Bella,
I so agree with all of your fans that regard you as among the most influential bloggers we know. You're at the top for me, and without your initial help with your big list, I don't think I would have kept my little rag going at all. We'll all be here when you write anything, and you'll always have loyal readers.
I wish you prosperity ... I've never been paid for what I do well and love doing, so I've given up expectations. Good for you. Perhaps you can find time in the future to just blot for fun and inspiration, and who knows ... you may be a blogging mogul yet! I'd certainly bet money on it!

The Style Crone said...

I didn't see this coming and I'm in a bit of shock right now. I get what you're expressing, but I'm having difficulty with accepting it. You have been a major support during difficult times, and I have loved visiting your world for years now. Ever since the day that I found you. Your writing, creativity and style have been a source of inspiration and your influence has been enormous from my point of view.

I wish you the best of everything in whatever you decide. I will sign up for the newsletter and hopefully that will provide information regarding your process. And I will miss you deeply. Sending much love.

Anonymous said...

This is such a surprise and not the good kind. You are such a unique and wonderful voice in the style community. I've always loved your wit, whimsy and rebel nature. Hopefully you can take some time off and then come back in some way, that supports your bigger business efforts. There will always be a place for you and people who will follow.
Be well,
x Laura

Idee Fixe said...

Bella darling blog if you want to, don't make it a chore. I'm a professionally published author & writer & I adore your voice, it needs to be heard now and then! I understand your frustration, I have it too so I only blog when I feel like it (which is way too little these days). We all have lives, families, bills etc. to attend to and unplugging and decompressing is important as it can be so overwhelming with all the social media as well. Love you & look forward to your reinvention! Best of luck in all you decide to do! XXX <3

No Fear of Fashion said...

Well Bella... This comesas a shock, but at the same time.... I agree wirh Suzanne Carillo's comment entirely. She said it all, so I won't repeat it.
For myself... I also wonder when I will get back to a normal life, as this is very time consuming and i have nit figured out why I do it.
Love you as a person. Which is why I followed you. Hang in there and be wise.

No Fear of Fashion said...

My sincere apologies for all the typing errors.

Fabulous After 40 said...

Bella, I'm in shock. I've always loved your blog! You're such an original. My blogging partner retired last spring and it was a huge decision for her too, but she is extremely happy now with new projects. So Bella, I wish you all the very best. I know you will put your wonderful creativity to something else fantastic!

Cheers, Deborah
Fabulous After 40