Nadine Jolie Courtney blog

New Beginnings

 

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about new beginnings. So much has happened in my life in the past 12 months–hell, the past 12 days!–that I haven’t been able to publicly talk about. For many people, this might not be the worst thing in the world, but for a chronic over-sharer like me, it’s torture. Being unable to share–not just trumpet the good, but also work through the bad–feels like being gagged. There’s a flip side, however: it forces me to dig deep, evaluate things privately, talk Erik’s ear off, and work through things offline–you know, in the real world, not just the digital one.

Luckily, there is ONE thing I can finally share with you guys: I sold my 3rd book! Here’s the Publishers Marketplace announcement from Friday:

Nadine Jolie Courtney book deal

This book has been a long time coming–false starts and rewrites, sweat and tears, little victories and crushing defeats–and I’m so proud and excited to share it with you. It’s also one of the major reasons I’ve fallen a bit off the blogging map: I made the tough decision to pour my time into Wisteria (which will probably get renamed–you know how it goes). Friday’s announcement felt like a wonderful validation of that scary decision.

I’ve written at length the past few months about my blogging discontent, the decisions I’ve made to change it, and my excitement over finally relaunching this site (Today! Welcome!). Because of said happenings and the need to finish Wisteria (now I’m up against another deadline!), I haven’t been able to post daily–and it’s a trend that will continue into 2015 until I deliver the book. At first, this panicked me, but then I realized it would likely be a good thing. Rather than spinning my wheels, posting about this beauty launch and that pretty celeb (things you can discuss more economically on Twitter), all because…well, that’s what a beauty blogger is supposed to write about…

I can write about what I WANT to write about.

Things like happiness, and relationships, and the lies we tell ourselves, and the truths we need to hear, and covetable beauty products, and tantalizing travel destinations, and the magical shininess of Kate Middleton’s hair. The important things.

Changing the look of the site was a scary decision. These past years, I’ve gone through four?, five?, six?, seven? (seriously, I’ve lost track) cosmetic updates. Each time, I hoped for the site of my dreams but came away–hitting publish on the day of unveiling–feeling underwhelmed, like the blog didn’t really represent me.

No mas.

I wanted something clean and classic, with fonts and visuals and a color palette that excited me. When I came across my epic designer Ali Nagy (email her here!), it only took one conversation for her to “get it” and me to feel like she truly got ME. Mad, major props go to her (and my super hardworking, awesome web guy Marshall Bishop!) for helping me create a site I’m finally happy with. It might not be for everybody (one friend was like, “Um, it’s kind of…political? All the red, white, and blue?”) but I’m thrilled. It’s a place I want to call home.

Next big decision: the name. I legally changed my name in March to Nadine Jolie Courtney, but most people–even friends–still stubbornly insist on calling me Nadine Jolie.

I was born as Nadine Haobsh. That’s the name my first two books were published under, and that’s the name everybody knew me as until I was about 25. When the whole Jolie in NYC thing happened nearly 10 years ago (can you believe how long it’s been?), people began to identify me as “Jolie.” Within a couple of years, I thought of myself as Jolie–and eventually, I dropped the Haobsh altogether and rebranded myself as Nadine Jolie not just online but in life.

As a woman, there’s something tremendously empowering about choosing your own name. Not the name your father gave you. Not the name your husband offers you. The name you take for yourself. Choosing to make my way as Nadine Jolie was like planting a flag in foreign soil and claiming it as my own. (There was just one hitch–I never got around to doing it legally!)

So when I married Erik, deciding to take his last name (and legally making Jolie my middle name) was a fraught decision. But once I committed to it, it felt right. It fits me like a second skin. It feels like the name I was born to have. Making the decision to change my URL to Nadine Jolie Courtney was a scary one–scarier, in many ways, than actually changing my name.

It’s the fourth time I’ve rebranded (first there was Jolie in NYC, followed by Jolie Nadine, and then Nadine Jolie) and doing so always means losing valuable SEO juice–a risky step in bloggerland. This will be the last time I need to rebrand, the last name change I need to make, the last URL switch ever. I’m here to stay, in this new bit of land I’m carving out. I’m willing to take the temporary SEO hit so that I can have a place I want to call my own, forever. Obviously, the look will continue to evolve!

The permanent URL change will happen next week, and there are still some site bugs and things to be tweaked later this week. It’s not ideal: I wanted to put everything live today. Have it all be perfect. Check something big off my list, satisfied, done. But that’s life! You can be a maximizer or you can be a satisficer–and honestly, sometimes done is better than perfect. (That’s been a hard lesson for me to learn over the years!)

I hope you’re having fun poking around the site, and if you want a refresher on some of my favorite posts, you can check them out here:

Relationships and Personal Stories
(AKA, My Path To Erik, My Soulmate)

Finding My Voice

My Mother’s Death

Epic Travels

Royalty
(Yeah, I’m obsessed)

Honest Beauty

As I say on my About page: “Every time I make a proclamation on How My Blog Is Going To Be, I grow and change and the blog changes with me. So, I’ve learned to stop making grand declarations.”

This isn’t a Grand Declaration post for what you can expect from me going forward. Rather, it’s an official “Here we go!” for the next step of the journey–wherever it takes us.

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FINDING MY VOICE

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13 Comments

  1. Claire

    Fun! Glad you’re making changes (on- or offline). I’ve been reading (and will continue to) since you were Jolie in NYC … really, 10 years?? At the time, I was an assistant editor at a magazine; now I’m home, freelancing nearly full-time, with two kids under the age of 3. Life certainly turns in ways you didn’t expect.
    Anyway, cheers to you. You’re still the breath of fresh air that got me reading in the first place … and loads more readable than all the “new” bloggers shilling out their kids and overpriced clothes that look like trash bags.

  2. Thanks for being a long-time reader, Claire! Two kids under three?? I hope you are getting some sleep. ;) (And, I know–I genuinely can’t believe it’s been THAT long since the Jolie in NYC days.)

  3. Nuha Shouga

    Congratulations Nadine!!!! I can’t wait to get my hands on your latest book. Of course, I will need a signed copy to add to my collection. When and where or will a book signing take place? :-) Wishing you and Erik all the best.

  4. Looks great lady! I’m so proud of you, and happy to hear you and Erik are happy and life is moving in an exciting direction! Looking forward to reading about what’s next! Hope to see you both soon. XO

  5. Hi Nadine:
    Congrats on your new site and even bigger congrats on your 3rd book. I’m a longtime reader (I found out about your site from reading Brooke Parkhurst’s site). I love that you put it all out there and always dig your celeb posts, royal posts and of course: beauty posts. p.s. enjoy your travel posts as well… I’m a Midwesterner, but recently lived in Fort Lauderdale, so I enjoyed your Miami and Delray Beach posts.

    Keep doing what your doing :) Aimee

  6. Jenny

    Another longtime reader here dropping by to say I love the redesign. Lookin’ good!