A Life Update! (+ Answering Your Questions)

How To Wear A Tunic Sweater
By Jess
22 Mar 2023
Jess Ann Kirby Life Update

A Life Update! (+ Answering Your Questions)

Hi! Trying to figure out where to begin…If you subscribe to my newsletter you’ve probably seen some of my mini life updates, but it’s been a minute! I’m writing this post sitting in our new addition (so that happened!). I am working on the blog post for that, but as always I get obsessive about all the little details and it takes me too long to just share the dang space.

We are officially in Vermont full time.

Feels weird to say that. We still have our house in Rhode Island, it’s currently rented for the winter, summer TBD. We have Vermont driver’s licenses and Vermont license plates and it all feels very official. I love living here. I love our neighborhood, our friends, our life. Don’t get me wrong there’s things I miss about Rhode Island (family, the beach, a good place to get a mani/pedi, lol). But overall I’m really happy Vermont is home.

Marin is 3.

I have no idea how three years have gone by. I do not miss the baby stage at all. And I feel like I am finally getting out of the fog of new motherhood. Toddlerhood is a total $hit$how too, but in a different way. But I enjoy motherhood so much more now than I did before. I feel like I’m rediscovering myself and also finally processing all the f&cked up stuff that happened since I got pregnant. Between hyperemesis, postpartum hemorrhage, D-Mer, having a baby right before the pandemic, etc., etc., I honestly have been in survival mode, and only now dealing with all the stuff I buried wayyyy deep down there. Motherhood is SO hard, like honestly WTF?! But it’s also really great and I love my kid and all her funny little quirks so much.

On the work front, things are good.

The same way I am rediscovering myself post baby, I’m also reevaluating the vision for my business. It has been challenging trying to do that while parenting a toddler (who is constantly home sick from daycare), but it’s a work in progress. My time away from Instagram has been enlightening, though maybe not as shocking as I thought it might be. I don’t miss Instagram at all and I guess the most surprising thing is how much I can get done not being on it. I’ve read almost 9 books so far this year! IG and TikTok are where most brands want to spend their money, so not making those a priority can be challenging financially, but I’m figuring it out and I have no regrets about doing what feels right for me.

I’ve been focusing on the blog and getting back into the things I enjoy writing about, capsule wardrobes, home reno/decor, books, tv, podcasts, beauty, etc. The blog has been doing better than ever (traffic keeps going up) which is really nice. I love having my friend Kelley write for the blog (going to do a proper intro and Q&A with her soon). The community has also been really awesome. I like that it allows others to interact with each other too, and helps me feel connected since I’m no longer reading IG comments or DMs.

I have a lot of fun things to share in the coming months, more home reno projects, capsule wardrobes, another clothing collab, and a blog design refresh coming soon. There were a lot of questions so I consolidated them and answered a few below. Thank you so much for being here. Above all, I’m so beyond grateful for this incredible community. I appreciate you!

How has your time away from Instagram been?

Great, and anti-climatic. I think I was waiting for some big revelation, but that didn’t really happen. Maybe also because I’m still creating content for IG even though I’m not personally on it, so I don’t feel completely disconnected. Ultimately I decided to keep my account active, use it for business and have Lauren run my account for me. Having someone I trust, and also who gets me and what I stand for was HUGE, and I feel really lucky I have Lauren helping me manage it.

I think the one thing I feel is missing is political content. I’m still figuring what I want to share and how to do it, but I’d like to make that an ongoing part of my IG content, because I do think it’s incredibly important, now more than ever. The reality is, there are some people who are only going to follow me on IG, and I have come to terms with that. I can’t force people to read a blog or newsletter and ultimately it’s on me to reach my audience where they enjoy consuming content (to an extent).

At the end of the day I have to separate the me (personal Jess) from the me (business Jess) which is hard when the me (personal Jess) is also a big part of the me (business Jess). Did I make that confusing? One of the hardest parts of this business for me has been carving out my boundaries around privacy and my personal life. I’m still figuring that out, but for now I will continue to use IG as a business tool, and who knows what the future holds.

How are the pets?

The animals are good (so many questions about the animals, lol). I still miss Nora. I always will. Pepper is nuts. I will NEVER get a puppy again, but we put in so much work and effort with her and she’s a really good dog. She actually reminds me of Nora, it’s kind of crazy, because they couldn’t be more different, but also so similar. The dynamic between Fuji and Pepper is very similar to Fuji and Nora. It took longer for them to bond, but they are thick as thieves now.

Fuji is really good to her. Hunter is great. He’s 12 or 13 now. He had to have all his teeth removed (I guess common for old cats), but it totally changed his personality, for the better. He’s playing again, going outside a ton. He loves to wrestle with Pepper which cracks me up. Having three animals and a toddler is absurd but Marin is obsessed with them and they’re all pretty funny together.

Are you happy full time in Vermont?

Yes! I love Vermont. I genuinely never saw myself living anywhere other than Rhode Island in adulthood. We moved back to Rhode Island in 2013 because we felt it was home. Of course things change and life happens, and 10 years later we find ourselves in Vermont. There’s just so much to love about living here, and trust me it’s not all sunshine and roses, but overall I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Eventually I’ll share a longer blog post about what it’s like living here.

Woodstock Vermont Travel Guide

Is it hard being away from family?

Yes. We have an amazing community here in Vermont and incredible friends, but there are times when I really miss having family close by, especially when we just want to have some alone time or need a break as parents. Babysitters are hard to come by and the convenience and comfort of having family to help is definitely something I miss having up here. Marin also talks about her family all the time and loves being with them, so that makes me sad sometimes.

How are house updates going?

They’re going! It almost feels like we’re starting from scratch with this house. The addition is done (I promise that post is coming soon). The basement mudroom is done. We renovated the hallway bathroom, the kitchen, the living room (which will eventually be an upstairs mudroom I think) along with a ton of other small little updates. The next project is converting the garage to our bedroom/bathroom and then turning our bedroom into Marin’s room. We also have to re-side the entire house, build/enclose a small entryway, replace all the windows, build a patio in the back, plus a bunch of landscaping projects and other odds and ends. So yeah, no end in sight over here.

Vermont home fireplace

Do you have any design collabs coming up this year?

Yes! I am designing another Fall collection with ABLE. It will be very small, probably 3-4 pieces max and I can’t give many specifics but I’m hoping it’s a sweater or two, a shirt jacket, and a blouse.

Any advice for first time parents who feel overwhelmed?

I didn’t want to leave this question out because I can empathize. I have so much to say about my own experience with early first time motherhood, but looking back my main advice would be, cut yourself some slack. Like a lot of slack. We get so hell bent on doing things “right” as parents (especially the first time around). I can tell you right now, you’re doing a great job. Seriously. It’s so effing hard. Like way harder than anyone could possibly convey in words. It’s exhausting and consuming. It’s ok if your house is a mess, if dishes are in the sink or laundry piles up. Just do whatever you need to do to be ok. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you can, carve out time for yourself, alone (this is so important). Find your mom friends. They are your people, and it’s hard to describe what a gift it is to have fellow moms you can relate to. Take it one day at a time, and don’t worry about soaking up every moment or any other sanctimonious bull$hit. Read this article if you haven’t already. Hang in there.

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6 Comments

  1. Ann wrote:

    Great update. Nice you are all happy & thriving! How did you make new friends? We have been back in RI for a few years and it’s something I can’t crack. My husband’s high school friends are still here. Mine are not. It’s lonely.

    3.22.23 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Thanks Ann. I will say, and I’m sure some people will shred me for this, I do think it’s harder to meet people in Rhode Island. I think the overall vibe is just very different than in Vermont. I wasn’t even really seeking friends here, but just found so many like minded women and the numbers just keep growing. It’s a very small town here and everyone is kind of friends with everyone. I don’t know it’s just something I’ve never experience before. That said, most of my friends are my neighbors (again small town) and moms I’ve met through daycare/extracurricular kid activities. That’s been the main way we’ve met people here. I don’t know if that’s helpful? I have a lot more to say on it because it’s been interesting comparing RI (where I lived almost my entire life) and VT where I’ve lived less than 2 years. Also if you’re not in the community please join and mention you’re living in RI and looking to make friends! I think there’s a lot of RIers there.

      3.23.23 | Reply
  2. Nicole wrote:

    As always, loving the updates. Your community has been a great experience so far, and it’s a testament to the amazing people that you’ve built around you over the years. And as someone who has multiple pieces from your first Able collection, I cannot WAIT to see what you come up with this time!

    3.23.23 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      That’s so sweet thank you Nicole. So so happy you are in the community and enjoying it. I’m really love it too and it’s so nice to be able to connect with so many like minded people (off of social media!).

      3.23.23 | Reply
  3. Poor hunter and all his teeth! So glad youre enjoying your time away from Instagram. You aren’t missing a thing! lol!

    Can’t wait to see your website refresh, always feels SO good to do that.

    xo Jessica
    an indigo day

    3.26.23 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Haha! I know he’s a real trooper that cat. Thanks Jessica, always appreciate all your support. xx

      3.27.23 | Reply

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