Where Do We Go From Here?
It’s been a hell of a week, hasn’t it? On Tuesday, Bridget announced she was leaving the blog and yesterday was her final blog post. I know you guys were all pretty shocked by the news, and the truth is…I was too. In fact, I’ve pretty much felt every single emotion since she told me she wanted out back in January. Angry, sad, scared, heartbroken, nervous…it has been a rollercoaster, to say the least.
Today, I figured it was time to share my side of the story. And, of course, I also want to answer the biggest question of all…”where do we go from here?” So let’s dive into what I’m sure will be a very lengthy blog post.
As you guys all know, Bridget and I started the blog over 6 years ago. It began as a fun outlet from our full-time careers (Bridget as a teacher, me as a TV producer). We never started The DIY Playbook to make money or to make it our jobs (hell, I didn’t even think that was ever a possibility way back in 2013). We created this blog because we loved DIY projects and we wanted a place to document what we were up to in our homes.
Slowly, but surely, our blog grew and grew. And we found ourselves devoting all of our free time to this little outlet because it was just so much fun! Whenever we weren’t working, we were spending our time on the blog…doing projects, writing posts, getting together to talk all things blog. And it was amazing. Yes, our lives were busy, but we didn’t care. We wanted to spend all of our free time growing The DIY Playbook and putting everything into it.
Back then, we always chatted about how amazing it would be if we could one day leave our jobs and blog full-time. Wouldn’t life be so much better? We could spend our days working on the blog, and get our nights and weekends back! Plus, maybe we could even get a cool office space and work together side-by-side. Literally, that was the dream. The dream we both talked about incessantly but didn’t really know if we would ever achieve.
As the Playbook grew, and we started to make money and land larger sponsorship deals, we realized that we were making more than enough for one of us to transition into working on the blog full-time. You can read about that decision in this post, but ultimately we both decided that I would take the leap first and spend a year or two growing things even further before Bridget could join me.
Growing The Playbook
And I’ve been doing just that for the past year and a half. Spending my days home alone, doing about 80% of the blog work. The timing of me going full-time worked out really well. I started in January 2018 and Bridget had Ben in February 2018. That gave her some time to live life as a new mom, as I picked up a lot more of the workload.
The plan was always for Bridget to eventually leave teaching and join me as a full-time Playbook employee. And we talked about it all the time. Finn kept a good eye on finances and we had a “dream number” in mind that we wanted to hit before we would start that discussion.
In January, we had a playbook team meeting to kickoff 2019 and Finn announced that Bridget could officially leave teaching next year and work on the blog full-time with me! I was overjoyed. The timing couldn’t be better. Bridget would have her second baby in May, have the summer off for her maternity leave, and we could start working together next fall. I would no longer have to work alone at home by myself, which honestly, hasn’t been great for my mental health.
I started thinking about moving out to the suburbs where Bridget lives so we could buy a house there and rent office space in her town. I had it all planned out in my head. We would wake up early, hit up a workout class, and then head to our office to work together Monday through Friday. Then our weekends could be devoted to family time. The dream we had been planning for 6 years was finally coming true!
A few weeks after that meeting, I got a call from Bridget. She was holding back tears but told me that she couldn’t keep doing the blog. She had a change of heart and didn’t want to leave teaching after all. I was in complete shock and didn’t see it coming from a mile away. I don’t remember much of that phone conversation. But I do remember getting off the phone and falling apart. Calling for Finn to get home from work immediately, calling my mom, and spending most of the night up sobbing.
The next day I knew I needed to chat with Bridget again, to get to the bottom of things and explain to her that leaving the blog wasn’t the right choice. Of course, I knew she was overwhelmed with the blog, her full-time job, Ben, and another baby on the way…but surely those problems would be solved when she quit her full-time gig? She would have a flexible schedule and have her nights and weekends back! Hell, she could still take the summer off for all I cared. I explained how much easier my life has been with just one job now and how great it is to have flexibility. With the countless doctor’s appointments and surgeries I’ve had in the past year, the flexibility of this job has been the biggest blessing. Didn’t she want that too? It felt like she was breaking up with me, and I wanted to somehow convince her to change her mind.
But Bridget reassured me that she had thought it through and this was the best move for her.
Feeling All The Feels
I kinda felt like I got dumped and I was absolutely heartbroken. I spent the next few weeks feeling all the feels. I toggled between feeling sad and devastated, and also a bit angry and betrayed. I also felt nervous and self-conscious. Would readers stick around to read about me and my journey? Or would they continuously ask for Bridget to come back? Wanting to know updates about her home and her family all the time?
The last year has been hell for me and the playbook was the one thing that was going well…really really well. Now here was another aspect of my life completely falling apart. I’m usually not the type of person to feel sorry for myself and mope around, but I couldn’t help it. Between the miscarriage, the countless surgeries to remove the retained product, the flooded storage unit, and now my job falling apart…what more could go wrong? 2019 was supposed to be a fresh start, and somehow things were just getting worse week by week. And I’m not gonna lie, I spent a good week feeling sorry for myself repeating these thoughts in my head continuously. Thinking that with Bridget gone, I pretty much didn’t have a job anymore.
Thankfully, that glorious husband of mine picked me up off the ground and urged me to keep going. He reminded me of the quote I shared right here on the blog, “It gets darkest before the dawn.” Finn told me that of course, it was difficult right now, but maybe this was the biggest blessing in the long-run. Our amazing readers wouldn’t go anywhere. Of course, they would miss Bridget, but they would stick around to follow our journey to start a family and buy a new house. And now we could take the playbook in whatever direction we wanted!
Finn also promised to help me with all of the logistics of the “separation”. Filing for a new LLC, changing over the bank account, hiring a lawyer to sign the company over to us, taxes, etc. So many overwhelming logistics to sort through it made both of our heads spin. I also got started figuring out how we would handle the brand side of things. Making small changes to the website, our media kit, finishing up contracts with brands, etc. It was A LOT and that’s pretty much what Finn and I have done behind-the-scenes from February through April.
Putting our Friendship First
I did take a few weeks to myself to process Bridget’s decision before having another conversation with her. We then got together and had a heart-to-heart with sooooo many tears. If you know either of us, we’re both super emotional people, so just imagine 2 girls sobbing and hugging in a coffee shop. We certainly created a scene.
But that conversation proved to me that everything is going to be okay. We’ve always said we’re best friends first, and business partners second. And we really had to put that to practice with this situation. While I never wanted to do this blog alone, I 100% respect Bridget’s decision. She has to do what’s right for her family and I commend her for being brave and making that choice.
I’m going to miss having a blogging buddy and this experience won’t be the same without her, that’s for damn sure. But I’m ready/nervous/excited for what the future holds for me and The DIY Playbook.
What Happens Now?
Honestly, things won’t be changing much. Obviously, Bridget won’t be writing blog posts anymore but other than that the blog will remain the same. It will still be about my love for all things home…DIY projects, home renovations, decor, etc. I’ll be keeping our regular series (Reader SOS, Rookie Mistake, Room 101), and will re-brand our Happy Hour posts a little bit (but the content will remain the same). You may hear from Finn every now and again (at least when it comes to food because we all know I’m horrid at cooking). And we will still be taking you along for the ride as we battle infertility and aspire to start our own family.
Oh, and Bridget’s old posts and home tour aren’t going anywhere. The archives will remain the same, so I’m not taking down any posts (that would be craziness!). But I do want to say, that you won’t be hearing from Bridget here on the blog (that was a big question we got this week). Even though we all selfishly want to know what she’s up to and how her house is shaping up, she left the blog to focus on her family and I’m respecting her decision. So we won’t be doing any posts checking in with her (although I will let you guys know when she has her baby!). She also does not have a public Instagram account and again, I think we all need to respect that. As someone who has put her life on public display for 6.5 years, she is eager to live life a bit more privately.
In terms of posting, I’m going back to posting Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesdays will be sans blog posts for now, but that may change in the near future. I just want to give myself some grace and not post just for the sake of posting. When we finalize things with our new house (omg, more details coming soon!), I will have plenty to chat about and we’ll probably go back to 5 days a week.
Another question I received is if I will be “replacing” Bridget, which honestly made me chuckle. How could I possibly replace Bridget?! No, I will not be searching for a new blogging partner. Instead, I’m excited to make the DIY Playbook from just my point of view and take it in any direction I want. Down the line, I may accept guest contributors, but for now, I have more than enough content for the Playbook from just my home and life. I may also expand the Playbook team (again sometime in the future, when the dust settles on all of this!), because I would love to have more help behind-the-scenes and working alone is no fun (haha).
I just want to say a heartfelt thank you to this amazing community. I know it’s been a crazy week, but this is my way of telling you guys…I’m not going anywhere. I love this space so much and it brings me incredible joy to connect with you. I’m excited for the future of The DIY Playbook and I’m going to continue to put my heart and soul into this little slice of the internet.
Thank you for sticking with me, friends.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.