The beginning of Aspen Real Life

[su_heading size=”18″]Aspen Real Life: The Beginning[/su_heading]

The beginning of Aspen Real Life began in 2009 when I decided that I wanted to be a SAHWM.

I had read about the pioneer of Mommy Blogging, Heather Armstrong Heather who was making a million + dollars for her “reality” stories about life, religion and parenting. She was doing so well that even her husband was able to quit his job to join her on her career path. “I can do this,” I thought to myself. With a background in film production and publishing, I knew that where I didn’t have the same brazenly raw tones as “Dooce,” or her attractive story of growing up a Mormon and leaving the church, what I did have was my own quirky and positive voice.

We were in financial distress and I needed to brush off the professional dust that settles when raising babies and try my best to help stop our ship from going down. I had always felt that raising children was my calling and had to figure out how to work from home.

I was setting up a website, writing stories, juggling family life and trying my best to keep my relationship with my husband strong, and throughout the transition from working 12-14 hour days in film production to being a mom with three boys it came to me that perhaps I had been over mothering our children. The tough love began and they miraculously readjusted. Without my waiting on them hand and foot they blossomed into beautiful beings, attacking their chore list, learning how to cook their own eggs, how to grill their own dinner and how to find that elusive enormous white milk jug in the refrigerator. Nevertheless, the house was a mess, the kids felt neglected and I fantasized about stealing away to Mexico with my laptop to indulge my neurosis and do nothing but write in peace with nothing on but a large floppy hat, a pair of enormous dark sunglasses, a sarong and a skimpy bikini (yes, I’m delusional).

Instead I plugged away in my office. When the kids peaked in to see if their mommy still existed they found in her place a Rottweiler foaming at the mouth and bearing sharp teeth. Wade would appear in the doorway singing his Wa, Wa western music. I would look up acknowledging his presence, my fingers still typing on the keyboard, and he would smile, blow the smoke off of his imaginary gun and say, “Don’t worry Mama, I’ve got this.”

I applied to be an advocate for Colorado tourism and received an assignment to go to Wolf Creek and don, dada, da, I began travel writing, providing the incentive I needed to keep going. I wasn’t making any money but at least I was taking my family on trips that we would never be able to afford otherwise.

As I delved further into the journey of blogging, I kept envisioning myself, and my family, sitting on a plane on the runway. With each progression the plane would start moving and slowly creep along in preparation for takeoff.

Through my travel writing I became a freelance luxury travel contributor for Inspirato, Quintess and the St. Regis Magazine, Bespoke. I also became the Roaring Fork Examiner. But blogging is a lonely world and like the tale of Miss Piggy who visits her mailbox every day hoping for a letter to arrive to show that somebody cares, I checked my analytics obsessively. “Is it kind of like weighing yourself every day?” my Search Engine Optimizer asked me staring into my eyes with a subtle innocence.

It’s always been my readers who keep me going. Encouraging me out of the blue to hang in there, or sending me a message online to give me just the right amount of positivity to keep me going. “I love your blog,” they tell me and I look at them like a deer in headlights because I have no idea who locally actually reads my blog or follows my timeline on my social media platforms, it often feels as though I am swimming through cement without a soul out there to help me. I’m on my own.

What also kept me going was the mantra playing in my head from Malcolm Gladwells book, Outliers, 10,000 hours for success, 10,000 hours for success. There are often times I didn’t sleep, eat or work out and the fur grew on my teeth, my legs and in my armpits, and all the while the joke in the house was, “Guess how much money mommy made today? Nada cent.”

Nevertheless, my plane kept moving forward on the runway with an occasional hump to cross, Jet Blue style, where I would become encased in my own tomb for eight hours, but that only led me to reevaluate my path, resulting in necessary changes.

As my stats grew predominantly from readers out of town I decided it was time to connect with my community even though I preferred the anonymity that gave me greater freedom to write from the heart.

Social media became my MO and instead of treating it as a mundane requirement, I embraced it. This new paradigm shift was bringing the bartering system back, Davey Crockett style, and it was a beautiful thing, discovering that my writing and interviews could help bring business to my friends and in return they increased my audience.

At around the time that parenting transitioned from wiping bottoms to jail prevention, Aspen Real Life had a mid life crisis. I was running out of time and money and kept hitting walls with finding partners to take Aspen Real Life to where it needed to be. The good life came to a screeching halt. I had teens to parent and bills to pay. I needed to do something fast and stop living the good life to actually make some money. Hitting the pavement running I explored all stones unturned. It was time to get a real job, and so Aspen Real Life was placed on the back burner and I went to work for a hot digital marketing firm in Aspen, directing all of my energy towards promoting other businesses through social media.

Three years later I am back, returning to my passion with new gusto from my digital marketing job, and I’m ready to take Aspen Real Life to the next level, and monetize it with the belief that if I am passionate about what I do; taking adventures and exploring new places; connecting people and businesses together, I will wake up every morning excited to begin my day, and soon it will all finally begin to happen. It has to.

So what now? Well, I have completed the redesign of my new local digital magazine and am focused on bringing my numbers back up to over 14,000 unique visits a month and market the shit out of the site. Want in? Email me: aspenreallife@gmail.com

Soon we will move, yet again, so the rest of our boys can be in the Aspen School District and sooner than that, all of my creative side projects will be running smoothly and THEN, and only then, the nose of my airplane will lift off of the tarmac and I will fasten my seat belt as I soar into the air.

[su_quote cite=”Quotes from Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success”]Those three things – autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward – are, most people will agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying. If you work hard enough and assert yourself, and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world to your desires It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether or not our work fulfills us. Being a teacher is meaningful.[/su_quote]

A Big Thank You to All of You Who Have Supported Me

  1. THE VICEROY SNOWMASS
  2. LITTLE NELL HOTEL
  3. HOTEL JEROME
  4. LIMELIGHT LODGE
  5. VAIL RESORTS
  6. WOLF CREEK SKI AREA
  7. THE RESIDENCE HOTEL
  8. THE FRESH & WYLD FARMHOUSE INN
  9. THE WESTIN RIVERFRONT RESORT & SPA
  10. THE BROADMOOR
  11. THE BROWN PALACE
  12. C LAZY U RANCH
  13. THE OMNI INTERLOCKEN RESORT
  14. THE HOTEL MADELINE
  15. HOTEL ASPEN
  16. THE SORREL RIVER RANCH
  17. ASPEN POST
  18. BUZZ ON 82
  19. JERRY BOVINO

INTERVIEWS

  1. ASPEN FILM
  2. POWDER MAGAZINE
  3. KENYON MARTIN
  4. RAMONA BRULAND PLUM TV ASPEN
  5. PAM SWEENEY
  6. NICK DEVORE
  7. JAKE SAKSON
  8. KEN QUERICONE
  9. COLE TAMBLYN
  10. MICHELLE MANNING KOGLER
  11. DR. JEFFERSON ROTH
  12. STAN CHEO
  13. CAMERON SCOTT
  14. TERRY BUTLER
  15. COSBAR
  16. ANTON UHL
  17. LAURIE CARNEY & WILLIAM GRUBB
  18. SHERI GAYNOR
  19. SUMMERS MOORE
  20. KATALIN DOMOSZLAY
  21. CHRIS DAVENPORT
  22. NATURE CONSERVANCY
  23. THEITRAVELER
  24. BLACK SHACK ARCHITECTS
  25. WALFORD WILLIAMS

PRODUCT

  1. VIZZIBL CLOTHING
  2. COLUMBIA SPORTSWEAR T
  3. WO LEAVES AND A BUD
  4. TRANSPACK

//

6 thoughts on “The beginning of Aspen Real Life

  1. Happy Birthday, Aspen Real Life! You ROCK! Jillian, you are truly my inspiration. Congratulations on this anniversary. I expect to be reading your blogs for many, many years to come!

    Like

  2. Keep up the good work! Although new to your blog, I think it is a really interesting and cool thing that you are doing!

    Like

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