Five years ago, this week started out like any other. I had a regular work day complete with the weekly Monday meeting. Trudged through Monday and Tuesday’s expected tasks. Met my deadline on Wednesday. Back in those days, we had a busy social circle and friends would just stop by the house as evening fell, most often on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights. That particular week, our dear friend Ehren — also our landlord at the time — came over after dinner. We sat around drinking, just my husband, Ehren, and myself. And through the course of conversation, Ehren convinced me that I should have a blog. “What would your blog be about? What would you call it?” We bounced around ideas for maybe an hour or so. Maybe less than that. Pretty much as soon as the question was posed to me…I had an idea that came straight from my heart and soul. My husband came up with the best name ever, we bought the domain on the spot.

I stayed up all night writing my first ever blog post, and learning basic HTML so I could include links and videos to my blog. (Back in those days, WordPress wasn’t as intuitive as it is now). Ehren made me a header. We put up my first post on August 14, 2006.

Five years ago, my life changed.

Afrobella old header

Shout out to YOU if you've been reading since Afrobella looked like this!

I like to take a look back every year, and every year I’m astounded by how much my life has changed since then.

If a magical fairy or being from the future had appeared to me and told me — because of what you’re doing in your off time this week, someday you’ll go to New York Fashion Week, get to go backstage and meet models, celebrities and designers…I would have said stop lying. If someone had told me back then, because of this blog you’ve just created, you’ll be featured in magazines and on websites around the world…I would have said they were tripping. If there was any foreshadowing of the brands I’d collaborate with, trips I’d take, or things I’d get invited to…I wouldn’t have believed. Creating this blog taught me so much about my own abilities, my own power, and the strength of my ideas and my talents. Creating and maintaining and building Afrobella into what it’s grown into today, has taught me that hard work truly does pay off. If you put in consistent, quality, heartfelt work, you can make your own dreams come true.

I’m often asked for my best advice or top tips for up and coming bloggers. I guess in retrospect, the best advice I can give anyone is DON’T GIVE UP. Be tenacious. Follow your heart, pursue your vision and work hard to make your dreams come true. You will work harder for yourself than you’ll work for anyone else. And the fruits of your labor will be sweeter and more nutritious than you can possibly imagine.

This week, in honor of five years of Afrobella, there will be some truly amazing giveaways for all of you! Keep reading, keep commenting, and thank you ALL for the support you’ve shown me in the past five years. I love you. And I can still honestly say after all of this time — the best is yet to come!

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