New Year, New Us

Lifestyle

tumblr_nowxf7ofsq1srx7r7o1_500Guys, we made it! 2017 is here and even though technically nothing really has changed in the past four days, the new year marks a time for reflection and renewal for just about all of us. For the past five years, I’ve used the time between Christmas and New Year’s to reflect on what we accomplished in 2016, what missed the mark, and what would excite me in the future. More than anything, it’s become a ritual dedicated to embracing change.

In 2014, I made a significant content shift on the site. When I started Wit & Delight, I wanted to attract freelance clients for my design work and spend my extra time flexing some creative muscles. Then, like we all do, I grew up a bit and got to know myself. I wanted Wit & Delight to be more than pretty pictures of pretty things, because while life isn’t always pretty, it’s beautiful in it’s honesty. While I had lived long enough to understand that our struggles often leave us changed for the better,  I had no idea if writing about my experiences with therapy or my divorce would resonate with people, or if it would turn loyal readers off. It was scary to put it all out there on the internet, but you, dear readers, responded with more positivity and support than I ever could have imagined. That said, what we write here is not a personal project. I’m so glad my personal experiences offer a perspective, words of encouragement and solace. I write those stories not for myself. I write them because those experiences were painful and difficult to navigate and it was hard to find voices that spoke openly.

We’ve had great conversations about a wide array of personal topics, and it’s been incredibly meaningful and gratifying to watch unfold. I didn’t know where this conversation would take us, but in the back of my mind, I’ve worried about reaching my limitations as a “writer”.  I also wondered about the larger internal conflict I’ve had around sharing pieces of my private life when I’m much more comfortable remaining behind the scenes. Because the intent of this site has never been to share aspects of my day-to-day life, I’ve wrestled with how to evolve the site so I’m able to give more value to our readers while keeping the personal boundaries needed to enjoy my work and keep some of my life private.

W&D’s readership reflects a wide array of ages, experiences, and interests. Many of you are young professionals, some of you are still in college. Many of you have offered guidance on experiences I have yet to live through, and some of you give advice with six decades of perspective under your belt. The one thing that does unite us all? Most of our readers are women. And the men who read Wit & Delight? Well, from what I can tell from your emails and comments, you’ve got some incredible women in your life. You are not only interested in her likes and dislikes, you’re sharing experiences together as friends, lovers, sons or fathers.

As I look at all we’ve discussed together, I begin to think about W&D as a platform not for myself, but for the modern women read it. The inspiration behind Wit & Delight has always been in it’s name: a bit of humor mixed with a bit of beauty, found in everyday life. In many ways, Wit & Delight is about taking your pleasures seriously. To be relentless in squeezing as much joy out of life, or finding your path to self-acceptance and peace.

People often ask what I hope to accomplish by having a blog. I’ll admit I didn’t know the answer when I registered the domain witanddelight.com. But I can tell you that writing about lifestyle topics has taught me that our identity is not a sum of the images we project on the surface, but in the duality of our interests, the tensions in our contradictions, the friction formed by our dreams and our realities. My life is messy, my interests vast, and identity fluid. It’s possible to read the New Yorker and still keep up with the Kardashians. It’s possible to be a feminist while adopting traditional gender roles. One can appreciate fine dining and equally enjoy a dive bar. I can keep my kitchen tidy and my room a disaster. We are all many things.

No matter how large or small the platform, our voice and our actions have meaning. I use to feel that talking about beautiful things or making something for pleasure was too indulgent of a career. Now, I believe that we all have our own talents, and if you want to make a difference, the quickest way to make an impact is to find a way to use that talent for good.

Being a woman has never been easy, and 2017 feels like the right time to put our words, humor, and energy into action. While my personal experiences have helped many, collective experiences can help even more.

What does this mean for W&D?

It means a wider range of topics, more voices, more action, more philanthropy, and more fun. Each month we’ll be introducing a new theme with a series of essays, illustrations, and stories inspired by them. You’re even going to hear from some male voices, my husband included. We will also be offering weekly email edits, which will include a round-up of weekly content, special offers, products, and articles. You can sign up for this list here.

At it’s core, vulnerability and beauty will always be the cornerstone of our content. It is my hope that with this new direction, Wit & Delight can mean as much to you as it does me.

Lastly, I want to thank you for supporting us up to this point. This shift would not be possible without sponsors, which gives us the opportunity to pay good people for their time and talent. Without project management, photography, and a couple extra hands on set, there is no way we would be able to put as much out there as we did this year. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store.

Please let us know what you think of this new direction. Emails, comments, and suggestions are always taken into consideration and some of our best ideas have come from readers.

Image c/o Studio DIY

BY Kate Arends - January 4, 2017

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20 Comments  +

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  1. Sally

    January 4th, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Yes to this: “It’s possible to read the New Yorker and still keep up with the Kardashians. It’s possible to be a feminist while adopting traditional gender roles. One can appreciate fine dining and equally enjoy a dive bar. I can keep my kitchen tidy and my room a disaster. We are all many things.”

  2. Kate

    January 9th, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Hear, hear, Sally! Glad you’re in agreement 🙂

  3. Mailinh

    January 4th, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    Kate,
    I am all about this and am excited to see the direction W&D is taking. It’s great to see how you and this space has evolved over time. I remember when I first stumbled upon W&D a few years ago and it just became a part of my reading routine; however, within the past couple of years I’ve felt that (even though we have completely different experiences) the feelings expressed in this space was where I was at in my life. It was nice to know I was not alone and could look to this space for a bit of guidance. Thank you for all that you’ve shared so far. Also, I love the variety of topics that you touch upon and it just reiterates how we are not identified as one thing but of many things. Thank you.

  4. Kate

    January 9th, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Thanks for your kind words Mailinh. I always enjoy hearing your voice on the site. Happy new year to you!

  5. Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    January 4th, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Really, really looking forward to your posts in 2017!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  6. Kate

    January 9th, 2017 at 11:59 am

    So happy to have you over here, Charmaine!

  7. Vicky

    January 5th, 2017 at 2:56 am

    HAPPPPPY NEW YEAR!!!

    all the best,
    ❥ Vicky | The Golden BunInstagram TGB

  8. Carol

    January 5th, 2017 at 10:13 am

    I am thrilled to see your blog has evolved from “pretty pictures of pretty things” to so much more than that. Your posts showing photos of your baby bottles by the sink and laundry pile make the whole concept of your work feel more accessible. Cheers!

  9. Kate

    January 9th, 2017 at 11:56 am

    thank you so much Carol!! glad you’re enjoying this direction.

  10. Cat

    January 5th, 2017 at 11:16 am

    I am very excited to see where witanddelight will go in 2017! Congrats for making through one more year!

    Cat // https://fromgirlc.wordpress.com

  11. Hannah

    January 5th, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Love this post! It’s so raw and a great realistic view on how to approach life – especially as a woman these days. Keep the amazing content coming!

  12. Gretchen Brant

    January 5th, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Kate, you write from my own heart! I’m right there with you; Depression, ADD, Anxiety, Designer, Writer, Twin Cities woman of many seemingly conflicting interests….we’re (almost) the same person made out of two bolts of fabric. (You’re prettier and a whole lot younger!) I’m with you all the way and can’t wait to see how 2017 reveals all of its Wit and Delight! We’ll need it, and you, more than ever.

  13. Kelly

    January 5th, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Kate,
    Thank you! Simliiar to Mailinh (above), I stumbled upon W&D a while back and I’ve really grown to appreciate the perspective you bring and the vulernability you share. You’ve helped me in more ways than you can imagine – despite our lives being vastly different. I look forward to seeing how W&D continues to evolve. xo

  14. Jill Elliott

    January 5th, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    Kate,

    Cheers to 2017, and this shift in direction for W+D! I love looking at the world through your lens, in your words and can’t wait to see how you bring that to some new areas of focus.

    I especially love hearing about this shift in light of your new role as sweet mom…the world, now more than ever, needs more YOU.

    xo. Jill

  15. Jackie

    January 6th, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Beautifully written, Kate, per usual. I’d love to see more conversations, perhaps round table discussions, about current events and topics that are important to your readers, to women—the future of Planned Parenthood, for example, and political discourse if you’d ever be open to covering that here.

    (Also, this is totally minor but the comments section is always a bit unappealing to read because of the white text on black background. My eyes may just be sensitive, but thought I’d mention it!) HNY, Kate, looking forward to following along in 2017!

  16. Kate

    January 9th, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Thanks your your comment and suggestions, Jackie! so glad you’re following along!

  17. Danielle Torres

    January 9th, 2017 at 9:37 am

    I have truly enjoyed the evolution of this blog. it’s honesty, vulnerability, and authenticity is a breath of fresh air each morning. I love the direction you and the team are putting forth, and absolutely love the inclusion of male voices! Yes, yes, yes!

    Thank you for all that you are and do.

  18. Anna Oates

    January 12th, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    I am all for this. I’ve been reading this blog only for about a year and a half and over that time it has been so heartfelt and wonderful. I’m excited to see where this takes you, especially because there is so much to the modern woman as you said.

  19. Kate

    January 13th, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Thank you so much Anna! I’ve loved getting to know you over here. Your comments shape the direction we’re taking. Keep speaking up and letting us know what you want to hear more of!

  20. Brenda Bryant

    January 16th, 2017 at 11:57 am

    What an amazing read. I love when you share personal posts like this one, I feel like i’m your close friend. And I love the new direction, btw. Keep it up!

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