Whoa, I’m so happy to be getting a bit personal with you guys on what’s been happening behind the scenes of Sunshine Style lately. The last time I wrote one of my What’s New Lately posts I had just gotten back from Hawaii. That was in June which means I am way behind in keeping you all in the loop!
So much has happened since I got back from Hawaii. To be honest, I’ve been trying to avoid writing this post that I started a month ago. Sometimes opening up in certain seasons is harder than others and this has been a hard few months since I’ve last wrote one of these. These personal posts are usually one of my most popular posts, so I know it helps us all feel less alone and I feel so much more connected to you. But I feel ready now, so here’s catching you up on the past four months!
I’m Substitute Teaching While Hunting for a New Job
First off, I have been substitute teaching since September. That’s three whole months that I never planned! This route was definitely not in my plan but for right now…it’s okay. Mostly because it pays the bills.
In the last What New Lately post in July I mentioned how I had resigned from my teaching job. My last paycheck came the very last week of July and after that I was purely living off my savings. Not having a job lined up and no income coming in was nerve wracking to say the least.
With all the uncertainty came a ton of stress. My body always carries stress so different but this time it came in the form of tension headaches. When I started worrying about where I’d find a job or when I’d have a consistent paycheck again, I started to get these super debilitating headaches that froze up my neck and back muscles.
That only happened a couple times then I just decided it was pointless and stopped worrying. I made a choice to trust God. There was nothing fancy about it. I just said God, I know you will help me. Your good. I believe you are good. Please provide me with the job and money I need. From that point on I kept faith and have not had any of the stress headaches since.
Luckily, when I resigned from teaching, I made sure to keep myself on the payroll so I could substitute teach. I never though I’d actually be a substitute but I filled out all the necessary paperwork just in case. #neversaynever Well August came and went, I applied for jobs, networked, had multiple interviews, worked really hard on my blog, kept myself busy with projects and the job never came. None of the opportunities worked out. So I was still trusting God and just felt it was time to start subbing in the meantime.
Subbing is exactly like teaching except, wayyyyyy less the pay for almost the exact same work. Minus lesson planning, emails and meetings. The first two weeks were the hardest to adjust. Going to a new school is like going to a new job every day. The environment is different, the people are new, kids behave different at each school, you have no idea where anything is, every school has different rules and expectations and as a sub your kind of just expected to know it all. And when those kiddies walk into you classroom, you better know what your doing or it’s absolute chaos from that point on.
I get to pick which schools I sub at. Thank goodness! Believe me, I have some schools I never want to step foot in again and others that are like a walk in the park. Once you find a school you like and the teachers like you, they start passing around your number and the word gets out that your a good sub. Subbing pays the bills (sort of) but I literally never know what my schedule will look like and live day to day.
Last year I was teaching, living the good life making my first actual salary and learning so much even though it was so hard. My plan was to pass a standardized test and teach for the next two years…except my plan didn’t quite work out.
When I first started subbing, I was super discouraged and has some really dark and sad days. I felt super lost as to what my next move was. There was a ton of doubt, feeling like a huge failure, and just upset that my life had gone in a direction I never wanted it to. Truly though, I am actually super thankful to have a way to make a little money or else I’d be depressed on the couch all day. This way I am up, dressed and out of the house almost everyday.
Subbing is also very humbling and since I’m tight on money, I just take any job I can get. I’ve subbed for a childcare teacher watching infants and toddlers for a week, girls PE, art, science, taught math, english, honors classes, high school, middle school, crazy kids and angelic kids. I’ve seen it all. Sometimes it’s super entertaining but most of the time it’s mind numbing boring.
In between sub jobs, I have had interviews almost every week since I started subbing. Nothing has worked out yet and it’s super frustrating. When your trying your absolute hardest, getting dressed everyday, going to work, trusting for God to provide something awesome and still not find a new job, it’s no doubt discouraging.
After doing this for more than three months, I’m itching to have a job that actually has a purpose instead of professionally babysitting kids everyday. It really wears on you. I really don’t miss the aspect of actually teaching but I do miss the community that comes with it.
Meeting all the teachers is my favorite part! Teachers are the best and most hardworking group of people! The kids can be pretty fun to! Middle schools are crazy and say the silliest comments, tell me I’m pretty and throw paper at each other all day long. High schoolers are much more mature, can have adult conversations but not as funny or wild as middle school.
Some repeated questions and statement I’ve gotten at almost every school I sub at:
- “Are you single?” Half of time they just want to know if it’s Ms. or Mrs. The other half it’s completely inappropriate.
- “Are those Gucci shoes your wearing?” Yes, yes they are….on my hourly sub pay. HA
- When I tell them my name is Ms. McCarty, someone always shouts out, “Cardi B” and jams to her songs.
- “Wow, your so pretty” <— My favorite comment haha!
- “Are you nice? You look like a nice sub”. In my mind this is good and bad ha! I want to shout, you can’t walk all over me but I AM A NICE PERSON.
One weird thing. I subbed for the Jr. High and High School I went to. Now that is so strange. Their actually two of my least favorite schools to sub for. Being there as a sub and not a student is a totally different experience though. This time I actually have confidence in myself walking through the hallways and don’t feel like I have to impress anymore. I really don’t miss my middle school days at all HAHA! I try to avoid those two schools as much as possible just because it is sooooo weird. It’s like flashback of memories I never want to relive. All those awkward years.
On the Hunt For a New Church Home
This has been my goal for the end of the year. Find a new church. I left my old church for personal reasons and finally felt like it was time to find a new one.
I feel like church is like dating. You have to try out a few until you find the one you like ha. I’ve tried a bunch around town. There’s one particular church I really like except I cannot deal with their insanely loud music. It’s so loud, they pass out ear plugs when you walk in. Sunday concert anyone? I’d totally go there except, yeah, not exactly my idea of a relaxing Sunday morning.
God just sort of opened the doors to the church I’ve been going to lately. I know a bunch of people who go there which is always a plus and I’ve been able to make a bunch of new friends which was the most important part about finding a new church for me.
August Has Been the Month of Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone
After picking myself up after a funk and not finding a job, I started to do new things to push myself out of my comfort zone. Subbing is not for the faint of heart. You have to be completely okay with new everyday, lots of change and fast paced moving. This pushed me out of my comfort zone in a totally good way for sure.
When I would go to try new churches, I would go alone. That is a total step out of your comfort zone. Again it’s a new place, new people, new environment and your navigating it by yourself. I really have no problem going anywhere alone or meeting new people (If you would have told me that when I was younger, I would have laughed in your face) but it still gets your nerves going because new places mean you just never know what to expect.
I joined a photography team with the church I started going to. It’s just a volunteer position but again I had to meet new people, drive far to a new place and do something that pushes me out of my normal. This group was actually the reason I started going to this church. I was so excited to find a place that wanted people to shoot pictures for their social media channels during the services. I love photography, so this was such a perfect opportunity!
At the beginning of August, I attended a Rising Tide Society meeting called Tuesday Together. My local photographer friend Harmony runs it. A bunch of creatives get together once a month and discuss specific topics. I put on my brave face, got dressed and went to the first meeting. I had wanted to go for over a year but was never able to make it as a teacher.
Turns out it was so much fun! I left with such a full heart being able to meet so many new people who owned local businesses, loved social media, photography and blogging as much as me. The best part? My old co-manager and sorority sister ended up being at the meeting and I had no idea! It was a blessing in disguise and just proved that it’s worth going to places that push you to meet new people and put yourself out there.
Gosh, sometimes I’m so tough on myself. After typing all of this out and re-reading it, I’ve had so much new in a really short amount of time. Sometimes I box myself in and even though I feel like I’ve taken a million steps back in this season, I’ve actually done so much to grow myself! Only forward from here.
Ahhh blogging, my favorite subject. With no job, there’s been a ton of behind the scenes blog work. For a while I’ve been feeling the need to drive specific traffic to my site but was unsure how. I took a leap of faith and bought a Pinterest course by Jenna Kutcher to help get organic traffic to my blog.
After taking two weeks in August to go through the course, I was able to implement all the new strategies. August didn’t show much growth in my blog but I’m so happy to report that I doubled by page views for September and October and I reached the most page views I’ve ever had in November!! This makes me SO excited because it’s a goal I’ve had for a long time.
In October, I shot products for two brands you can see here and here. Both gifted me the products and I shot lifestyle photos they can use in exchange for the item. Working with brands is definitely something I hope to do more of in the future.
Besides from growth, I’ve been really struggling with being a fashion blogger and not being able to buy new clothes. It sounds so silly. With no job, I’ve halted all spending. I love buying clothes, but in the long run it’s just not worth it. Usually I online clothes browse all the time. Lately though I’ve had to stop. It was making me sad I couldn’t buy any new clothes. I just really love clothes hahaha!
I don’t particularly need to have the exact product in order to share it on my blog, but realistically, it helps if I can give as much detail about a product, meaning if I own the clothing item in stock, it gives me a better chance of making a sale and gives you my readers more peace in knowing it’s a quality item. I really don’t love linking to products I have never felt, tried on myself in store or own. Plus, I prefer to read blogs when bloggers wear new clothes in case I want to buy the item.
In October, I signed up for another course to help turn my influence into a profit and lay the foundation I’ve been longing for! I’ve listened to all the the free Podcasts, watched so many YouTube videos, read business books, downloaded tons of freebies and felt I could only get myself so far with my own knowledge and free products.
In order to make money, you need to invest money (or so they say. Who’s they? I’m not quite sure?!), so I invested in this course by Julie Soloman called The Influencer Academy. I really feel this is the catapult to push my blog into the right direction and create a foundation to bring in profit and grow my business, brand and eventually create the physical products I desire! I’ve also been able to make some online blogging friends which is really great, they just get me and our mission is super similar!
I’ve Had Fun To
In between all the uncertainty of a job, I made sure to have fun to! During the summer months I went on lots of bike rides, watched the sunset, took beach trips with friends and swam.
I went to two Corn Mazes in October with my family! That was a blast even though it felt like a zillion degrees out the first month of fall. I’m literally a giant kid at heart and jumping on things like a giant blow up pillow brings me so much joy!
During Thanksgiving my family and I had a gingerbread making contest. It was my sister and I against our parents. We made a Theme Park and they made a log cabin. We were allowed to use hot glue, craft sticks and cardboard. We had all of our friends vote and the log cabin won by about 50 votes out of 200. It was so much fun and well probably do it next year!
Last week I went to Disney Springs twice and that’s always so fun. Once with my mom and sister and another time with a big group of friends! It’s so festive and decorated pretty for Christmas! If you are ever in the Orlando area, be sure to stop by Disney Springs because it’s worth the trip! You will find the best shopping and they have a Sprinkles cupcake store!
I promise I’ll do a better job at keeping you updated next month! I’m actually heading to North Carolina to spend Christmas with my older sister, nieces and nephew! It will be my first ever Christmas not spent at home.