Don’t Compare Your Beginning To Someone Else’s Middle

chicago blogger

Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. Why don’t you have a seat and make yourself comfortable. The comparison game can get you. Major buzz kill right? I get it guys. We all succumb to this thief of joy now and then, so a few real life examples could do our bodies good.

In order to prove we should never “compare our beginnings to someone else’s middle,” I needed some hard-core evidence. So naturally, my guinea pigs of choice are some of the top bloggers in the industry. Why? Because bloggers document everything online. Including their beginnings.

Below I share each blogger’s “Now” – AKA middle – and some of their baby blog steps – AKA first posts (buried deep in their hidden archives). And because I am throwing these hard-working, motivated, inspirational women under the bus, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t include myself. So enjoy these fun before-and-afters and tell me your thoughts afterwards!

And Hallie, Liz, Julia, Joanna, Rachel and Kat – if you do happen to read this, congrats on all your success and thank you for making my day every single morning! Me and my coffee couldn’t do it without you. Xx. 

Corals and Cognacs: Hallie Willson


corals and cognacs wedges

The Scoop: Hallie, a Chicagoan turned New Yorker – was just sent to California to cover The Rose Bowl live via social media. And she’s a regular at New York Fashion Week. Here is one of Hallie’s first outfit posts when she used to live in the Windy City. She has admitted in the early years to setting the self timer on her camera and doing her own photos. This one especially makes me chuckle – can you imagine self posing on one of the busiest streets in Chicago?! This is exactly why Hallie is successful. Nothing – literally NOTHING stands in this girl’s way. Here is the earliest post I could find.


Sequins and Stripes: Liz Adams

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The Scoop: Liz has played with all the major fashion players (Kate Spade, PiperLime, L.K. Bennett) and continues to bring to life the best outfits. Did you know Liz had TWO blogs before Sequins and Stripes? YES. I actually learned all this by listening to her podcast with Jess Lively. Her first blog was Hairbows and Cosmos. Then she started a new blog called A Happy Haven. Then moved on to Sequins and Stripes. Third times a charm I suppose!


Gal Meets Glam: Julia Engle

Photo on 2011-05-27 at 20.52 #2

THE SCOOP: Let’s just say Julia is one of the top fashion bloggers out there. With 395K Instagram followers, she has collaborated with the most luxurious companies. Above is one of her first selfies and you can read the beginning of Gal Meets Glam here.


Cup of Jo – Joanna Goddard



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THE SCOOP: With 5 million page views per month, Joanna is considered the pioneer of the blogging world. She wrote her first post on New Year’s Eve when she decided to stay in instead of going out. I bet she never regrets missing out on that night.


Pink Peonies: Rach Parcell


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THE SCOOP: Rachel also leads the pack in the fashion blogging industry. It was rumored she pulled in close to a million last year and her style is to die for. As for the early days? Looking for a new couch addition? Be sure to book mark this lovely DIY! This isn’t her first read but a really good one. Do you think she uses this pillow in her new closet mansion? Something tells me no… Find her first writing here.


With Love From Kat: Kat Tanita



THE SCOOP: Kat has the best style and living the dream in NYC. But she didn’t always used to be. Her blog originally focused on inspirational photos and from other sources and slowly grew into sharing her personal style. This first post is a throw back of a spring break trip she took with her then boyfriend.


As for me? My blog was originally named Great Dates in the City (stellar title huh?). It originated when I started dating my boyfriend (now husband!) and we loved exploring new places in Chicago. You can find my very first post here!

So are you not DYING right now?! Which example is your favorite? Or have you secretly creeped into other blogger’s first posts before? I double dog dare you to share yours in the comment section below. And just in case this wasn’t enough, watch one of my all time favorite inspirational videos of famous people’s failures. SO. GOOD.

  • Katie @ Live Half Full

    What a great post idea! And you’re right, the only thing you can do in blogging (and live) is just be your best you. 🙂

    • Katie, thanks again for all your support today! Being our best is hard right? Cheers to keep moving forward. You just never know… xoxo

  • This is awesome, Nicole! And it is really a great way to put things in perspective!

    • Lindsay, your opinion is so valuable to me you don’t even know. Thanks so much lady!

  • The Adored Life


    • Haha, You are welcome so FUGGING MUCH! I’m not going to lie, I felt pretty great about my blog when I looked at these other ladies starting points. The only difference is what they did in that in between stage. Go get ’em girlfriend!

  • You are brilliant. Here’s my first post, just for fun! 🙂

    • Oh my gosh, you are just a baby and look how far you have come?!!!!!!!!! It has only been a hot second, I am excited to see what is in your near future. Holy cow!

  • What a great idea for a post!! My early posts were similar to Hallie’s in that I set the timer on my point-and-shoot camera and hoped for the best. Heck, I still do that sometimes 🙂 My blog is coming up on its 3rd year (first post here: and while I haven’t come as far as the ladies you featured I’m not going to compare myself to them. Maybe my journey is just a bit longer!

    • Erin, thanks so much girly. I hate self photos so I applaud you for using your self timer – I think that takes a lot of work and guts. It is also quite telling of your personality. It takes a special person to setup a semi-hidden camera and do your thing. It goes to show you how much you want it. I don’t even remotely compare myself to these ladies either but THANK YOU for sharing your first post. So fun to look back right?! KEEP GOING!!!!

  • Lindsey Burton

    This post is amazing! Probably one of my favorite blog posts ever. You did some serious digging. Great idea 🙂 Here is my first blog post:

    • Lindsey, hands down THE BEST compliment I have ever received. Thank you so much. And I love that you shared your first post. It makes me miss your blog SO MUCH. I made so many purchases off your recommendations. Miss you! xoxo

  • I LOVE this post! It’s so hard to avoid the comparison game and looking back at where I started is crucial. <3

  • I will admit, I’ve stalked the archives of Atlantic Pacific before. But this is amazing! It’s so tempting to delete some of my old posts, but I’m really glad these ladies didn’t!

  • Thank you Nicole for all your work on this post. It’s just what I needed to keep me blogging and boost my spirits.

    • You are most welcome Mary Beth! It personally helped me, so glad to hear it helped you too.

  • Julia Engel

    This is a wonderful post! It shows how you can grow and change and create something if you set your mind to it 🙂 As I said on Twitter, everyone has to start somewhere.

    XO Julia

    • Julia, Ummmm is this real life?! Thanks so much for your wonderful words and stopping by. If this is your “middle” I cannot wait to see your ending. Keep. It. Going.

  • Um, see below! (Eeeeeek!) So awesome, Nicole!

    • Gaaah!!! Ummm….Remember when you and Damsel became BFF’s 4 Life? #JEALOUS

  • Really needed to read this today! It’s not only inspiring to see how far these ladies have come, but it’s makes these gals more relatable to know that everyone started somewhere, including them. Great post!

    Xo, Alison

    • Thank you so much Alison! Doesn’t it give you the feeling you can do it too?! Anything can happen…

  • Nicole this is too cute! Love this post 🙂 miss you pretty girl!

    • Christine I miss you too woman! Is New York still wondering what hit them? P.S. This comment made me realize I need creep on your first post too…Watch. Out 😉 Heart you!

  • SarahLagen

    I love this Nicole!! What an awesome way to put everything in perspective, it is funny to see how far we have all come and where we all started! I was actually looking at some of my first blog posts and its really funny– what was I thinking!!

    • Thanks Sarah 🙂 Yes, some of my first posts are like “whaaaat?!!!!”. I think you should share them…

  • beauty for bloggers

    This is a breath of fresh air. Love the intro! Try not to compare, forge onward! All women really need is a dream and some gusto!

  • Absolutely love this post!

    • Thanks for commenting Leah!

  • I love this so much. A+

  • Nicole Kivitz

    This is so inspirational! Makes me want to keep trucking along with my own little space 🙂

    • Keep at it girlfriend! You never know where you’ll end up 🙂

  • Love this post! So interesting and inspiring!

  • Mariah @ Elevate Mobile Fitnes

    This resonates so deeply with ALL of us who are trying something new…but of course, bloggers especially. This is encouraging for me. I’m not brand-new to fitness or writing, but the world of blogging and taking my personal training online over the past 6 months has been a whole new world for me. I tell myself what I tell my clients–“It doesn’t matter how long it takes. With enough persistence you can’t help but get better.” It took me four years to be able to run one mile without stopping, and now I’ve recently completed my second full marathon. Consistency trumps talent every time.

  • Great post! I love the then and now! I can so relate with the changes my website has gone through and my photography. Looking back at some of my first photos.. LOL

    I wish I didn’t delete my first post ever but I did.. fairly recently as well doing a blog/site rework. Im not going to be such a slacker with my blog like I have in the past and actually grow it a bit more!

    I so would of shared my first post! We all started somewhere… 🙂

    • Yes, I want to go through my posts and delete every single one I dislike. But it’s fun to go back and those posts were something at the time you were so excited to write about. And going through the archives are hysterical. I hope my blog some day serves as a journal and reminder of things I did or places I went. Don’t delete it!

  • Jessica ThePyreflies

    What a wonderful post! Seeing Hallie’s “transformation” was my favorite! My very first posts are about hamsters and my favorite cartoon (Hey Arnold!) haha so random!


    • Haha! Hey, we all have different interests right? Hallie was my favorite too. Look at her now!

  • Comparing the “hard core evidence” is really fun. I hope I have some screenshots saved from my blog when it first started so that I can look back, have a laugh, and see how far I’ve grown 🙂 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  • Jenny | From the Desk of J

    Very inspiring! I’ve been blogging for about 6 months and just last night, was talking to my boyfriend about how other bloggers with blogs the same “age” as mine are much more successful. I kind of got down and was wondering why that could be, but quickly realized that 1. I shouldn’t compare myself to others 2. Success takes perseverance & time and 3. I should use their knowledge & advice as inspiration for growing my own blog. This was a fun post to read!

    From the Desk of J

    • Jenny, so happy you enjoyed the read. It gets quite daunting doesn’t it with so many other amazing blogs out there? Just keep at it and someday it will happen. Nice to know we all started out the same way!

  • Emily Attwood

    Love this post! It’s a great reminder. I love looking at the then and now!

  • hercharisma

    This is awesome!


  • I love this post! It’s so cool to see how these amazing blogs have evolved!