A lot has happened since 2005. A Girl's Gotta Spa! began as a beauty blog intended to help other women, short on time, discover meaningful reviews and tips that they could incorporate into their daily lives. It was also a way for me to connect socially with women in my season of life beyond the 4 walls of my house. (Working from home has many benefits, but socializing is not one of them.) October marks nine years that I've been blogging. (Insert gif of me doing the robot dance here. No, there'll be no image, but just know that I am indeed jamming out.) Thinking back to the October 26, 2005 version of me sitting in front of my chunky computer monitor on a dial-up internet connection, I was full of excitement and anticipation. I had zero html skills and zero design skills, but I was happy to figure it out as I went. There weren't many beauty blogs at the time, and the ones I was reading (Scentzilla, Beautiful Makeup Search, The Scented Salamander, Beauty Addict, Bag Snob, e-Beauty Daily) all had their unique spin on the beauty and fashion world - I knew I needed to discover mine. (Lest I forget to mention that I read Amalah every single day, as well.) For lack of doing a yawn-worthy post, I've decided to compile 9 things I've learned in 9 years of beauty blogging - this is going to be long: 1. Beauty blogging is hard work and sometimes it's exhausting making you become a hypocrite to your own tagline. When I initially launched A Girl's Gotta Spa! the tagline I chose was "because we all deserve a little pampering." I, for one, knew this well. However, over 9 years, 4 children, 2 miscarriages, a divorce and re-marriage, I can honestly tell you I often forgot about myself, my needs and that I deserved to take time for myself. Coming to this realization, which I guess you could say was like an epiphany, is what led me to launch A Girl's Gotta Spa! bath and body line. How many other women out there are like me, I wondered, the friend who can give the great advice but can't seem to apply it to her own life? I now take time for myself each day without guilt or regret. 2. Sometimes at the beginning of your journey you think you can see a clear path, but often that path has twists and turns you never saw coming, both good and bad. In 2005, the only two goals I had, as stated above, were to be a help to other women and to have that connection with others. I recall that within 9 months of launching the blog, I was contacted to potentially write for an online magazine. I was beside myself (although it never panned out.) A month after that I was interviewed and extended the opportunity to join b5media (now defunct) and launch another blog called, Makeup Minute (anyone remember it?) Then a month after that a well-known NYC PR firm hired me to be their "Chief Blogger." Within 6 months of that I was doing social media consulting with beauty brands. Suddenly, I had a new career on my hands. It was never my intention, and I still marvel over this stream of events that took place that has led me to where I am now. This path, although incredible and at times almost unbelievable, hasn't always been easy, but I am so beyond grateful for how this path essentially changed my life. 3. Just like anything in life, you will meet some really great people and you will meet some people who, for lack of a better word, suck. I can truly say that my intended goal of connecting with other people has been a success. There are so many people I have met in person and virtually connected with (due to distance) over the years that have really made an impact on me, both positive and negative. Just like the soap opera of life, some have betrayed me and left me in tears, while others have brought me so much joy, that they inspire me daily. I've witnessed random acts of kindness from acquaintances to punch-you-in-the-gut careless words being said by people I've considered my friends. Just for the record, I read all of your comments and emails. Some make me smile and some make me crinkle my nose. I prefer the ones that make me smile because crinkling my nose leads to wrinkles. 4. No one will understand what you do, like ever. I don't even think this one needs to be explained because my fellow bloggers will simply nod in agreement from that sentence alone. 5. Evolution is a guarantee. I can say this with confidence. Blogging has evolved as a platform, and many of us who began so long ago have evolved and branched out. I am so very proud of my blogging friends who have now launched product lines and wrote books like Kitiya of Mischo Beauty, Tina of Bag Snob, Elizabeth of Beauty Bets, and Nadine of Nadine Jolie Courtney, to name a few. In 9 years, A Girl's Gotta Spa!'s tagline has evolved too. Because we all deserve a little pampering has now become You Deserve to Be Pampered. It feels more empowering. 6. Opportunity will knock in expected and unexpected ways, be ready for both. The one thing I like about laying my head down at night and waking the next day (besides still living to see another day) is that each morning is like a clean slate. It is always open to new possibilities. To be honest, I can't really think of any more. This is what happens when you turn 40. Your brain effectively nose-dives into ADD behavior and mush. You know what would be funny? Is if you share this post with the statement, "Points 7, 8 and 9 are the most profound!" Then everyone will be confused and feel duped. Which I guess is point 7 - have a sense of humor. And point 8 - don't believe everything you hear on the internet. And finally point 9, be forever grateful for the gifts God has given you and appreciative to how far down the path they can take you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking with me for 9 years and I hope you'll stick around for many more. xo - Shannon Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!