Saying farewell is never easy – even when it’s not forever. But this post is going to be my last for a long while.
Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been thinking about the future of SoFortWorthIt, weighing options ranging from stepping back to ending it entirely. Pulling the plug was definitely too final for me, but I’ve decided to put the platform on a hard pause, at least for now.
There are several reasons for this. The most important one, though, is my family. When I started SoFortWorthIt in 2012, our youngest was three and a half years old, and our oldest was in kindergarten. Both boys are now in high school – one is in ninth, and the other is a senior, meaning our oldest will be heading off to college soon. I want to make sure I enjoy every second of my full nest before he’s grown and flown. As long as I can remember – even before I got pregnant with our firstborn – people would tell us to enjoy our children, because the days are long but the years fly by, and boy were they right. I feel like I’m afraid to even blink right now – I don’t want to miss a thing! And of course, my sweet husband is ready to have me back as a full time wife too, just like the good old days.
I’ve also had a significant tug at my heart to spend more meaningful time with my parents. I want to drink up these golden years with them and not waste a second more. The distractions of this bloggy world have really eaten into the quality time that I spend with them. And not just them, but also close friends who are in need of a bestie who can lean in with them when things get tough. I have been unavailable in many ways, and sadly, this can be one of the negative side effects of this profession.
But, I know I will miss this community. I have always been a storyteller. When Jason and I got married in 2000, I began following our family tradition (just like my mom and my grandmother) of sending out Christmas cards accompanied by a detailed newsletter updating family and friends about all things Smith. When Facebook came onto the scene, I instantly fell in love with having a platform to share stories – all of which were engaging and hilarious, of course. For years, people told me I needed to write a book – if you know me, you know that’s probably not going to happen, as of now – but in 2012, I did something way cooler: I launched the Internet version of a book – a blog!
That blog was called SoFortWorthIt when our dear friend Hal Brown, owner of Fort Worth Magazine, asked if I would become its social blogger. As a Fort Worth native, I was thrilled because I’m so passionate about our city! I have spent the greater portion of my life involved with philanthropy work here, volunteering with and donating to many local nonprofits. This, combined with my love for food, people and supporting local businesses, placed me in a pretty perfect position to become an influencer before it was even a thing.
I’ve covered entertaining tips, home and interior design, social events, dining, travel, holidays, health and beauty, and so much more. I have truly loved sharing all things Fort Worth with my audience, especially when it has helped dear friends with their growing businesses or giving shoutouts to so many deserving charities. The privilege to engage with so many real people in such an organic and interactive way ALL THESE YEARS has been awe-inspiring, and I truly appreciate you all.
Although there are too many to list, here are some of my favorite highlights and milestones over the past 11 years:
- My very first Christmas Activities List, which I published in 2012 under Fort Worth Magazine. When it went viral, it put me on the map as the GO-TO source for all things Christmas in DFW!
- Winning Best Blogger/Local Influencer (readers pick) in 2019 with Fort Worth Magazine.
- The many opportunities over the years to showcase fun topics and important charities on Good Morning Texas, NBC 5 and CBS 11.
- Once-in-a-lifetime dream collaborations with B&B Butchers, Dr. Peter Malouf, YLANG 23, Ellerbe & Ruinart Champagne, Park Place Mercedes, Epic Helicopters, ProLon, Saks off 5th, Neiman Marcus with Riedel, Baker Aviation, Tanger Outlet, Mizzen + Main, J Garrett Auctions, Ala von Auersperg, Clear Eye & Optical, Marky’s Caviar, Central Market, LAFACE Skincare, AND SOOOO MANY MORE.
- The ability to spread charity far and wide, beyond my wildest dreams. I am so thankful for the numerous, well-deserving non-profits I have had the absolute pleasure to work with, including Beautiful Feet, Jewel Charity, Kids Who Care, Cook Children’s Hospital, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Cancer Care Services, Boys and Girls Club, and A Wish With Wings, just to name a few.
- Starting a podcast last year with Laurie Mitchell called My Favorite Therapist.
- The opportunity to giveaway more than $100K in gifts, prizes, experiences and vacations from local businesses to my followers in DFW. What a dream that has been!
- But I think the most favorite and best idea that came from the whole influencer world was starting a brand new non-profit called Your Dress Their Dream. What began as a simple idea during a closet clean-out has become a full-on special occasion dress drive that’s brought in more than 800 dresses in a 12-month period for young girls and military women in need. While my platform may be paused, this nonprofit isn’t going anywhere – and it’s only getting bigger!
Truly, I’ve had a crazy good time doing all of these amazing things. But if I am being honest (and, y’all, I am always honest!), there have been some challenging times, too. Like, ugly cry-level challenging. Social media ain’t always social, and it surely isn’t what it used to be when I started this journey eleven years ago. There have been sucky moments for sure, but I truly believe surviving the shitstorms made me a better person. I was blessed to be able to lean into my faith and lean on my incredibly supportive family and precious friends, and I am stronger because of it.
Today, I live life without regrets. I am in control of my physical health and my mental wellbeing (well, most days at least). Whereas I used to only look down at my phone, gripped with anxiety, I now look ahead with joy and gratitude.
So what’s next? In the short term, I am most looking forward to having a lighter schedule and the opportunity to enjoy the holidays WITHOUT managing a “Best Christmas Lights and Activities of 2023” blog post and the heavy load that comes with THAT project. I’ve already been enjoying a slower pace with my family without the pressure of having to produce a single thing that doesn’t have to do with eating or gifting. Whatever I do, I am 100 percent positive that it will be much easier to accomplish without a device glued to my hands.
Some New Year’s goals: A major focus on my health. I must dedicate some serious time to healing my body from a lot of burdens that I will not burden you with. Some of you may or may not know this, but I have a HUGE relationship with the Lord. I have been walking with Christ since I was a little girl, but I have NEVER read the whole Bible. 2024 is the year I will read the Bible from start to finish. (Shout out to Bible Recap, a guide/podcast/program that takes you through the Bible chronologically in a year, highlighting and summarizing while explaining the challenging parts and connecting the dots to help you develop a deeper friendship with God.) I absolutely can’t wait. Our oldest son is already half way through the Bible and the rest of our family is starting with me.
For almost a year now, those who follow me on IG see a daily quote that I post from the book, “A Year of Positive Thinking,” along with an inspirational devotion from Susie Larson and/or Christine Caine. The amount of positive feedback from this shift shows me that people are thirsty for meaningful content that brings light, empathy, forgiveness, joy and understanding to our broken world.
I also plan to do plenty of volunteering in 2024, especially with Beautiful Feet Ministries and Your Dress Their Dream. I plan to continue using this platform to share any upcoming events involving these incredible organizations, along with other charity initiatives that might pop up. So don’t unsubscribe from SoFortWorthIt’s emails – I would hate for you to miss something that’s beneficial and fun. Also, a HUGE shoutout to FWMag for graciously reaching out to me to share my journey and what’s on my heart for this upcoming year!
So, this is goodbye. Honestly, I never thought in a million years SoFortWorthIt would take off like it did, and then again, I didn’t doubt it wouldn’t. The success of this brand/platform has brought me great joy and I hope you have enjoyed the fun, inspiring and uplifting content I have published over the last 11 years.
I am so grateful for your encouragement and kind messages, cheering me on every day. We did it together!
P.S. As I conclude my last blog post (for now), I would like to share a few of my favorite inspiring quotes from the book, “A Year of Positive Thinking” by Cyndie Spiegel:
- Surrender the parts of your past that no longer serve you. People, possessions, thoughts–be willing to release them if you don’t need them anymore. Doing so creates the space you need to allow in true love, to create honest connections, and to live an extraordinarily fulfilled life.
- By being fully yourself, you give others permission to be themselves around you. And creating a safe space of acceptance, empathy, and kindness–for yourself and others–is a rare human superpower. Be more you, because by doing so, you give others permission to be more them.
- You deserve to smile. You deserve to laugh. You deserve love. You deserve to experience happiness. You deserve all the goodness that the world has to offer.
P.P.S. Before I flood you below with the longest photo dump in SoFortWorthIt history, I invite you to leave a comment at the bottom of this blog and to please tune into my Instagram, as I will be doing several lives, stories and Q&A’s to wrap up this chapter. And maybe even some amazing giveaways to boot if I can get my poop together. It will for sure be a December to remember!
P.P.P.S. I tried REALLY HARD to include as many friends as possible below, but inevitably, I know many are left out. I want you all to know I appreciate and love you all. And I know you know who you are. I couldn’t have embarked on this journey without your unwavering support and love.
P.P.P.P.S. And one last and final MAJOR shoutout to my incredible unicorn, best friend and Sister-in-Christ, Mallory Jones. She has been by my side for almost 5 years and SFWI wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for her. I literally would tell her all the time that if she quit on me, I would stop blogging cause I just couldn’t keep going without her! She has been by my side through the ups and downs and thicks and thins of this crazy digital world. Her love and advice have been unparalleled to anyone I’ve worked with before, and I will forever be grateful to Autumn Reo for introducing us many moons ago.
Ok, ok. I’m so sorry, but I have one more P.P.P.P.P.S. I MUST THANK the team of people who have helped make SFWI what it is today:
- Mallory, of course. That’s a given.
- Nicole Ellis, who has been with me since 2016 and designed all of the logos, brand imaging and the entire website.
- Autumn Reo with the Reo Agency, and one of my go-to PR girls.
- Maggie Mullins, another PR girlfriend who helped me with strategic ideas.
- Kaylee Parsons for all of her amazing graphic art on my social media accounts.
- Kirbe Schnoor who helped produce and develop my podcast, My Favorite Therapist, with Laurie Mitchell.
- Laura McCarthy, my ride-or-die photographer who makes SFWI so happy and pretty.
- And last but not least, my editor Jenny B. Davis, who makes sure all my fun ADHD and Dyslexic awesomeness looks pretty and perfect for public consumption.
Ok, I know y’all are tired of reading about a lot of Pee Pee, BUT I have one more announcement to share. There will be an “End of an Era” celebration at the end of this month, and you are invited. Details coming soon. Love to you all! Thank you for everything. xoxoxoxooxox