life, lately.

life, lately // the story of my recent life

oh hey there blog world; it’s been awhile. i’ve been a lackluster blogger and social media diva the past couple months. i think it’s partly because i poured my heart and soul into my #realbloggerbeauty post in june and was so proud of it that i didn’t know what could possibly follow it and be as good. (hello, OCPD.) added in the fact that i have more than a couple things going on in my life right now. and like, big things. like, super grown up things. #helloadulthood

here’s the high level, readers digest edition of the story of my recent life to tide you over until next time…

1) as you know, [B] and i got engaged back in March (read that story here) – we have since locked in our date and venue and (most importantly?) our wedding hashtag. on september 12, 2015 we will say our i do’s at the minneapolis golf club and start our happily ever after. #mrandmrsbica

minneapolis golf club

2) we checked off one of the most important things on the wedding to-do’s; our photographer! after obsessively googling and making excel spreadsheets comparing everything we are uber jazzed to have booked with Matt Addington Photography to capture our wedding day. Matt used to coach and teach in Albert Lea (my hometown, the dirrty south) and it will be so fun to have someone who knows my family be part of our special day. he’s cray talented with a camera and a great personality on top – so no doubt the result will be perfect.

matt addington photography

3) in the midst of selling our house, looking for a house, planning a wedding i might as well throw in that i’ve been knee deep planning the biggest conference of the year for PeopleNet, our annual User Conference for upwards of 1,000 people. cannot believe that this is the 5th UC that i have planned for PeopleNet and i’m sure this one will be even more fantastic, especially with views like this from the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, FL. #PeopleNetUC

westin diplomat resort and spa

4) oh and speaking of house hunting, WE BOUGHT A HOUSE! after MONTHS of searching ans many a weekend spent open housing, we are officially moving to this cute little place in St. Louis Park. it’s beyond perfect and i can’t wait to move in. mostly because i love the house and a lot because i am beyond sick of packing. we move in t-minus 19 days, and that conference i mentioned? yeah we move one week after that. so things are happening.

our first home

cannot wait till i can settle down and share some more details on all this stuff going on. until then keep posted on what’s new via instagram (socialemma). life is good. xoxo

we are #realbloggerbeauty

hello, friends! i want to thank all of you for reading and sharing your sweet words with my yesterday following my post on #realbloggerbeauty and living with depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. i was truly overwhelmed with the amount of responses to it (overwhelmed in a happy way – not an anxious way :)) hearing people tell me that reading it made them feel comforted because they could relate it just about the best thing ever. i feel like i was given the gift of writing so that i could share my story so that other people may feel that “i’m not alone” moment, and maybe feel empowered to share their story. because we all have a wonderful story worth telling. a story that makes us who we are. and that is so beautiful.


i want to also give a ginormous shout out to Maya from Charmingly Styled for creating #realbloggerbeauty. consider this a virtual hug! she is truly a fabulous example of how simply lovely the blogging community can be. thank you, Maya, for giving us a forum to strip away the filters and get real. i have loved reading through all of the bloggers who participated in this project; both people whose blogs i frequent and those whom i am now a newbie follower to their blog. i highly encourage you to stop over and check out my fellow bloggers stories; Maya has them all linked up on her blog page here. And hey, if you feel like sharing your story she is leaving the link up open for a couple more weeks!

toodles! xo


the story of my #realbloggerbeauty


when i read Maya of Charmingly Styled‘s post on #realbloggerbeauty, i instantly knew it was something i wanted to be part of. i have been in the blogging world for over four years and it is a fabulous community of people. through blogging i have met people from all over that i never would have known. and they are truly lovely people who have real stories, real issues, real talent, real passion, real insecurities. and most of the time are really down to earth. but it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. most of the bloggers i read and interact with are women. and ladies, we can be downright mean. and with all the different social media outlets we now have a growing list of places to compare ourselves to each other. blog envy is a real thing.

it’s hard to see these blogs that every single post seems are so perfectly written, outfits every day that like they belong in a magazine, pictures of bagels that look like art, an instagram of the sky that gets thousands of likes, a blog post that gets hundreds of comments… it’s tough not to compare. it’s hard not to base part of your self-esteem off of how many likes, favorites, retweets, comments and follows you get. none of us can deny the instant gratification of an instagram picture rollin’ in the likes. or that we question how good a post was if nobody comments on it. i love being a blogger; and as a lifestyle blogger my blog is all about me and my story. but it’s very scary to put yourself out there in the world. for all to read. and judge. but if one person can read my story and say, “me too” or “i’m not alone” than that right there is something special. well here i am. sharing a story, my story, one that i’ve not told you before. but thanks to #realbloggerbeauty i am proud to share what makes me beautifully imperfect.

a dear friend once said, having a mental illness is like being part of a really cool club with a really shitty initiation process. which is so true. there are so many people who struggle with mental illness of some sort but the social stigma around talking about mental illness is strong. through blogging and social media connecting people with the same struggles, the stigma is losing strength, but it’s still there. and through #realbloggerbeauty i want to break the silence. i have dealt with depression, obsessive compulsive personality disorder, and anxiety since i was 17. throughout the years i have learned a lot about myself. and while i wouldn’t wish my mental illness on anyone, it is part of who i am. and i’m still learning to be ok with that.


the majority of my junior year of high school was spent in tears, feeling left out, not good enough, not cool or pretty enough. i was losing interest in things that at one time i had enjoyed, was extremely irritable and constantly sad. i didn’t have many friends. at first, i thought it was just part of being a teenager. but my mom saw something deeper was wrong. i’m so thankful she did, because as difficult as the road that followed was, i couldn’t imagine going through it without help. after a visit with a psychologist/ psychiatrist it was determined that i had clinical depression. aka depression. and i started on a continuing journey of therapy, medication and learning how to be stronger than my mental illness.

one of the hardest parts of dealing with depression is pretending that you are happy. it’s truly exhausting. the fake smiles, small talk, the constant burning desire to just run away and cry. after an extended period of social interaction, i would be wiped. emotionally, and mentally spent. it’s hard to pretend that you’re ok, when you aren’t. but when people ask you how you are, you just say fine. because it’s not worth it to say how you really feel. it’d be too hard to explain and quite often people aren’t sure how to react when you say you struggle with mental illness. more often than not they say something that is supposed to be supportive but comes off hurtful. like, “oh you don’t look depressed. yes, i’m sorry. i forgot to carry my literal dark cloud around with me today.” and we are getting to overuse the word now, depressed, that it’s thought of just meaning to be sad. but it’s this overwhelming feeling of nothing and everything; wanting to cry for hours about nothing; just having a conversation with someone feels like a chore; telling everyone you want to be alone, but secretly praying they will come and ask if you are ok; feeling like it will never be better. and the scariest part? finding comfort in that. because you would rather be certain that you are miserable, than risk being happy.

fast forward to last summer. i loved school and knew i wanted to get my MBA. i thought it would be a great time to start; had a few years of work experience, minimal responsibilities, it would be great. i applied and was accepted and i was ecstatic. i couldn’t wait to start learning again. after my first class i was feeling great. and then suddenly i was in Indianapolis at a conference sobbing in my hotel room trying to write my first paper. i couldn’t do it. i didn’t know how to write a paper anymore. i didn’t know how to put my thoughts into words. everything i wrote i instantly deleted. it wasn’t good enough. i was up until the final hour but i finished it. i thought (wished/hoped/prayed) that it was simply because it was the first one. the next one would be better. i wish that was the case. and i could say that i would be graduating in the spring – but this story has a different ending. school became paralyzing for me. i had a physical reaction to working on a paper. i would get extremely panicky, short of breath, unable to focus, i quite literally couldn’t write a paper. i just started sobbing. i couldn’t write anything because in my head it wasn’t perfect. and it had to be perfect. it had to live up to my extremely high standards. and if it couldn’t be perfect, then it couldn’t be done at all.

brene brown

i thought i could “battle” my way through. i really wanted to be back in school. i didn’t want to quit. but the week that followed was even worse than the one before. and when i found myself practically running away from my computer cowering in the corner having a panic attack… i knew i couldn’t continue like this. it wasn’t healthy. and sometimes knowing when to stop it better than trying to keep going. and before i even finished my first class, i had to leave graduate school. i couldn’t understand what had happened to me. and after talking with my psychologist i started to learn about obsessive compulsive personality disorder (ocpd). being able to call it by name, makes it somehow more bearable. and reassures you that other people out there feel like you. i am not alone. that feeling of being unable to complete a task due to perfectionism? that feeling that i have to abide by rules, lists and a schedule? unable to be flexible and the feeling that either it’s going to work out or be utter disaster? i’m not the only one. what is ocpd? it’s a gift that needs a little grace.

i’m my worst critic. i never feel good enough. and i still have anxiety and lay awake at night because i can’t calm my thoughts, or feel sad just because that’s how i woke up that day, or unable to write a blog post such as this because i’m afraid it won’t be perfect. and that’s something i will continue to work on. and thanks to my mom and dad, my friends, starks the pup and my incredible fiance, it’s getting easier. and thanks to them i’m reminded how far i’ve come. no apologies, no regrets, no excuses – this is my story. i have depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive personality disorder, i take medication, i see a psychologist, i have meltdowns, and panic attacks, i live in fear of perfectionism and that’s my #realbloggerbeauty

note: first, thank you for making it this far down. i know this was a bit of a novel. but this is one of my stories i’ve wanted to share for some time now. it’s hard to put how i feel into words, so that you for bearing with me as it’s a little choppy. if you struggle with mental illness, i hope this brought you some comfort of “me too” and i’d love to hear your story. xoxo emma