Take Back Your Happy

It feels strange to write this and realize it’s the first blog post I’m writing in three weeks. After a year and a half of blogging 2-3x a week, I almost have to remember how to edit photos, you know? It feels sort of deja vu.

Why did I pause?

The truth is, I’ve loved blogging since the moment I started and I still do. I love writing, I love fashion and photography, and most of all I love connecting with you by sharing the tips and tricks I know.

Fifteen Minutes to Flawless Kendra Scott Tassel Earrings

But for me the ugly side of blogging was always Instagram. It’s the biggest platform for bloggers at this point in time, but it’s also the one I don’t care for. For me a blog is about getting beneath the surface and connecting with you in an authentic way, providing value and having a platform to share my take on fashion and photography.

Instagram on the other hand is quite the opposite- it’s a parade of the same sweaters in the same Target or Nordstrom rooms, often with the same Lightroom preset followed by a witty, superficial caption telling you why you need that particular cardigan. iPhone pictures are strongly preferred to digital ones and from my  experience, the less thought out a picture, the more people it reaches and the more sales you make. Why? Because this is what Instagram likes. But iPhone pictures in a Target dressing room have nothing to do with why I started fashion blogging.

Once you post your outfit on Instagram, you’re supposed to sit on your phone for 30 minutes (or more) to reply to superficial comments, largely from other bloggers. There are some genuine ones from you guys mixed in, but they’re the minority only because of the dozens of bloggers who comment in hopes of getting a ‘like + comment’ back to increase their engagement.

Fifteen Minutes to Flawless Kendra Scott Tassel Earrings

There was the time I wrote about a family member close to passing, or to raise money for childhood cancer research but still got dozens of comments from bloggers telling me ‘I love your top!’ or gushing how cute Juliana’s shoes were. They didn’t even read what I wrote. It was fake and felt like a waste of time.

And then there’s the comparison that Instagram forces. When you are constantly in touch with other bloggers it becomes impossible not to compare- no matter how hard you try- your life, your looks, your house, your physique, your wardrobe, your # of followers, your Instagram feed, how many likes you get, etc. etc. For months I made a conscious effort not to but the nature of Instagram makes completely avoiding comparison impossible.

Many bloggers have talked about comparison, or the pressure Instagram puts on them- myself included. I talked about it in this post back in November and then again this Spring, but here’s what I finally came to realize:

the only way to turn off the toxic was to turn off Instagram.

Blogging brought me happiness, but no matter how hard I tried Instagram was bringing me equivalent amounts of unhappiness. I needed to find my happy all over again, so I deleted my Instagram app and didn’t look at it for two weeks straight.

Fifteen Minutes to Flawless Kendra Scott Tassel Earrings

What happened?

I felt a level of freedom, peace and happiness I hadn’t felt in a year and a half. It felt AMAZING not to care if my Instagram was growing (or dropping off the face of the earth) and amazing not to constantly think about what I needed to add to my Instagram Story or what photo needed to go next in my feed. But best of all it felt amazing to shut off the comparison. It feels so good. I feel free. And most importantly, I’m much happier.

As a blogger Instagram can become a powerful alternate reality. Even though it’s tiny squares and video snippets of other’s lives, it has a way of sucking us in and spitting us out. A few days after deleting the app it finally hit home just how much INSTAGRAM AIN’T REAL.  Anything you can delete from your life at the push of a button isn’t real life folks and shouldn’t hold power over you.

I did go on Instagram the other day to check direct messages after getting notes on other platforms from you guys checking checking if I was alive. When I saw how many direct messages I got, I  realized as much as I needed to shut Instagram off, I should have communicated better. For all the bad, the beautiful redeeming factor of this platform is the genuine community that also exists on it.  I was touched how may of you reached out and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Fifteen Minutes to Flawless Kendra Scott Tassel Earringsphotos c/o Deeana Kourtney Photography

And so we arrive here- a blog and community that took two years to build. Cutting off Instagram might feel like amputating both my blogging legs but I’ve given a lot of thought to where we go from here and this is where I’m at:

  • Pro: I love writing blog posts and I can’t wait to keep doing them.
  • Pro: I’m much happier without Instagram so I won’t go back to spending more than a few minutes on the platform each week (max).
  • Pro: From a practical standpoint, I have other platforms that drive the majority of my blog traffic so that should stay relatively consistent.
  • Con: Most brand collaborations start with interest from my Instagram, so I won’t have the same opportunities for sponsored content. As a result, my income from blogging will drop.
  • Pro: my career is still my primary source of income and financially Juliana and I will be completely fine.

I would say the pros outweigh the cons- what do you think? 😉

Here is the monster takeaway lesson in it all:

You are in charge of your own happiness and you ALWAYS have the power to choose it. If you’re unhappy in some area of your life identify the thing that is stealing your happy and make the change no matter how drastic it feels. Don’t be afraid to re-write the rules. You have the power to take back your happy.

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Love always,


P.S. The Fifteen Minutes to Flawless Facebook page is my social media home base where I’ll keep you updated on posts, fashion, beauty tricks, and more. I’d love for you to join me there or reach out directly anytime on Messenger…I can’t wait to hear from you!

Another way to keep updated is to subscribe directly to Fifteen Minutes to Flawless on the right hand side of my blog.

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  1. August 29, 2018 / 2:28 am

    Terra, you rock! I was wondering where you had gone. I actually think I checked your page a good four times to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. But I’m so happy to hear that you’re making this change, and that you’re doing it for your happiness above all else. You continue to inspire me, and I’ll continue to follow along here. Xx, Kelsey

    • Terra
      August 29, 2018 / 9:13 am

      Thank you Kelsey! I am so glad we’ve gotten to connect and thank you so much for sticking with me! Sorry I fell off the face of the earth!! 🙂

  2. August 29, 2018 / 3:26 pm

    Hello my friend! I admire you for doing this especially deleting your Instagram app and not touching it for a few weeks! Instagram can be addicting but then after awhile it can drag some people down. I am happy to hear that you are feeling happier with this type of change. You are doing amazing girl and keep going! ❤️ xo

    • Terra
      August 29, 2018 / 8:39 pm

      Thank you Helena. So are you! <3

  3. September 1, 2018 / 9:44 am

    You’re right Terra! I experience the same misery with IG this year! Personally, I wasn’t getting anywhere, I wasn’t growing unless I did stupid giveaways. I am always comparing because I am trying to grow, (what is she doing that I am not doing?) I got tired and my Army career has me super busy… I am more successful in the Army than with my blogging so I decided to step back a little. I do not have the energy to do both especially when my IG and Blog are not successful. This year my post engagement dropped to 50-60 likes every time I post…One day I stopped caring… I still post but only when I feel like it. I do a lot of IG stories on the weekends. I don’t provide a lot of engagement back- I don’t browse as much as I used to. I will reply to those who comment on my IG when it is sincere within 1 day. Lol! I do everything against helping my growth on IG. I keep Instagram because of all my favorite IG friends I made in the fashion world, like you ?. I enjoy seeing your content. I noticed you haven’t posted in a while and I’ve checked a few times in the past few weeks for new stuff! I am glad you are well and happy! I will continue to look for new content on FB and the blog! ?. This was a great post and I love how honest you were. I have thought about the fact that we all share the same content, same clothes, stores, etc. and it is hard to set yourself apart in the IG world.

  4. Alisha
    September 9, 2018 / 12:29 am

    It was really good to read this. Not only did I read this post, I went ahead and read the other two you linked. I started blogging on Mother’s Day this year. I was having a really hard time adjusting to my new life as a stay at home Mom. I started my blog as a present to myself. It began giving me purpose again. When I started my blog I started my instagram page. It’s exhausting keeping that up. It is a lot of pressure. I keep thinking I will never make it in this industry if I don’t get these numbers up. Last week I finally made it to 300. Such a small number but to me it felt like I turned a corner. Then the next day I dropped two followers. I realized that a lot of influencers will follow me to get me to follow them. I would get so beyond excited to see someone with 15K followers wanted to follow small potatoes me. I would follow them back. Then a few days later I would see they unfollowed me. I told my husband I refused to do that. If that’s what it took to grow, then I guess I might never get there. It just seems so mean and sneaky. Not to mention the financial pressure to always have something new on in every photo. I would spend so much time in the morning picking out an outfit just with the thought of what can I wear to take a picture in later. Instagram is a really difficult and hard beast to tame. Not only that but I follow people and never read their blog unless I see an outfit I’m curious about. It almost feels like that the defeats the whole purpose of the blog. You were one of the first comments I ever received when I started blogging. You probably don’t remember, but I do and I’ll never forget it. Thank you for sharing this. It feels really good to hear someone say this. To know that some of the feelings I feel sometimes are valid. I’m sorry you are going through such a hard time. I know how awful the loss of a relationship can be. I also know the strength we gain as moms and especially moms of girls. I will be thinking about you and sending my thoughts and pry your way. Sorry this comment is sooo long. I just really appreciate this candid post.

    • Terra
      September 9, 2018 / 1:14 pm

      Hey Alisha, your comment made my day. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it. It is a LOT of pressure and I think at the end of the day you have to think about why you started and what your ultimate goal is. Instagram will come and go like every other social platform, but a strong brand will last long term. Stepping back from Instagram has given me the time I needed to focus on that. You are doing amazing! Just try not to focus on the numbers and the audience will come. For me that audience is bigger/stronger on my blog because that was always my primary focus and it feels much more stable that way. It’s also what has allowed me to step back from Instagram. <3



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