Like a Phoenix


I’ve never been good at pretending to be someone I’m not.  The conundrum is, I’ve also never really known who I am.  {photos: Lou Mora}


When I started this blog at the end of 2011 I was looking to create something that would push me to have more fun, to explore the creative sides of myself that I wanted to spend time on, to hopefully eventually share some of it with whoever might be interested.  I hoped to be authentic, to be inspiring, to serve others, to feed my creative spirit.  I was starting the blog and leaving behind a business that had sucked the very life out of me.  But then, I turned the blog into a business.  I’m great at business, it’s my thing.  I’m less good at fun.  So A House in the Hills fulfilled my initial desires, and then became, in some ways, a burden.  The pressure to keep up, the pressure to look good, the pressure to be this person that I’d created- this appearance.  It fed the deeply insecure little girl inside of me who is terrified that she’s not lovable- each achievement, each press feature, each comment of reassurance became something that I not only enjoyed, but defined me.  My very self worth depended on it.


This is not to say that what I’ve shared hasn’t been authentic.  It 100% has- it was all that I knew.  But this year, in the midst of the darkest days of my life, I’ve realized that I’m just now starting to explore who I truly AM.  I’ve always identified myself by the way I look, the people I love, the life I’ve created, my creative endeavors, my successes, my failures, the things that I’ve survived.  But I’ve never really spent the time doing the work of figuring out WHO I am.  I’m just now meeting myself, I’m just now getting to know myself.  I’m just now starting to believe that I’m lovable- and all of the reasons why have nothing to do with any of the things I thought they did.  As always, I’m sharing with you the best way I can, the only way I can.  Things are changing around here- inside me, 0utside me, on the site- because I’m committed to being honest.  I’m committed to revealing my true self as I discover who she is.  I have a feeling she is wildly better than the girl who I’ve thought I was.  I’m becoming the woman I’m meant to be.

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Outfit details: JumpsuitShoes, Bralette, Sunglasses, Bracelets

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Reader Comments

  1. Rosie|

    “I’ve never been good at pretending to be someone I’m not. The conundrum is, I’ve also never really known who I am.” This is exactly me and at times it is so frustrating. I really love this post!


  2. Sarah | Well and Full|

    First of all, you are absolutely stunning. But as I was reading your post, I was also struck by the inner beauty in your journey to discover yourself. Isn’t it funny how we spend our entire lives in our own physical shells, but only start learning about ourselves at certain points in our lives? Sometimes I feel like I’ve been a stranger to myself (which is so hard to wrap my head around – I’ve always been “me”, so how can I not know myself??). I really appreciate you sharing this personal journey with us. I started looking at your blog because of the recipes, but as I’ve started to consistently follow your posts I’ve realized how much unique insight you have to share with the world. I appreciate your words so much (especially your post describing your health journey a little while ago) – it’s so comforting to know that we are not alone in our process of self-knowledge.

  3. Rhode Izaguirre|

    That’s so cool! Kool, kewl, whatever but sharing your reality is pretty amazing.

    No wonder I enjoy checking in on you!

  4. Jen @ Road Trip Creative|

    BRAVE-BRAVE-BRAVE.You know what sounds the most exciting about this? The freedom and peace of knowing who you are and having all that clarity!! I need to do this with myself. In a BIG way. Oh and p.s.? If the new-ish you happens to dislike tortoise shell sunglasses and pencils skirts? I know a good home for those ;)

  5. maree|

    I also started reading your blog for the recipes but I really appreciate the honesty of your posts. Thank you for sharing your experiences. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that people in the blogosphere have perfect lives, so unlike our own. We all need to be reminded to be thankful for what we have.
    Unfortunately it seems that the whole “discovering who you are” process is something that takes place as we get older. I mean, how good would it be to get it all over and done with in our 20s and move on? Nobody is perfect, or even close – but once you get to know yourself better, it seems to me that life becomes a lot simpler in many ways because you start making the right choices for YOU. From someone who’s been there (and my journey started a lot later in life than yours!), I can tell you it’s very liberating to be able to say “yeah, you know, that’s not for me”.

  6. Diane|

    As a much older woman and, more importantly, the mother of a daughter, my heart breaks for what you are going through both physically and emotionally but it appears you are on the right track. Therapy (with the right therapist) can work wonders and provide you with tools you will use for the rest of your life. My only advice would be to relax a little, even on the search for your true self. It will, with time and wisdom and the help of professionals, reveal itself to you when the time is right. In the meantime, try to be mindful of where you are in life right now and enjoy every single moment, both good and bad as all of that will help you find the “woman you are meant to be”. I have shared wonderful tradespeople with you and if you are in need of a wonderful therapist I can share that as well. Good luck and hang in there….it really does all work out in the end. :) the shoes!

    • Rachel|

      Love this comment. Relaxing and just letting things happen is so valuable. I suffer from Interstitial cystitis and I have found the more I relax and not worry so much, I have fewer flare ups. Yes I still have Shit days where the pain is awful but O remind myself those days come and go…I am sorry about all your health issues. I tried so hard to control my diet and reduce my Interstitial cystitis. What I found is when I finally stopped obsessing and allowed myself more freedom, I did better. I also got a partial hysterectomy because I noticed that my Interstitial cystitis was much worse during certain times of the month. I had suffered for years from fibroids and endometriosis along with Graves Disease. I had radioactive iodine treatment for the Graves.

  7. Lavenderhill|

    I admire your honesty to write this post instead of creating a faux personality. Your true voice is what makes this blog be what it is.

  8. Natasha|

    Sarah and Lou…I adore you both…and I thank you for sharing all that you are – your trials and tribulations…you bring me comfort and bliss…you bring me reality, and inspiration…you bring me peace in waves of discomfort…thank you xoxox

  9. beatrix|

    you are such a brave, true and honest person that I cannot help but telling you once again. I always look forward to seeing what you will come up with the next time. you are a wonderful woman, and a true inspiration to me. I hope that when I need so I will have the same courage you have to stand in front of myself and to watch closely at the reflection in the mirror.
    a deep, loving hug,

  10. Wilma|

    Beautiful. I remember when I stumbled upon your blog I scrolled through every single post lapping it all up. I love the way your online home has evolved and I love its honesty in a world where perfection reins. I am also discovering who I really am and its not an easy road so bravo for sharing. I look forward to seeing your space evolve further as you evolve. W xx

  11. Sharyn|

    There are several reasons I love this blog and your transparency is surely one. I am so sorry to hear of your health struggles and understand fully how they can just rock your world. Brighter days await, though, of that I feel certain! May God hold you close and comfort you always. (On a lighter note: your new haircut looks awesome! So flattering!)

  12. Monica Beatrice Welburn|

    These photos are some of the most stylish and cool I’ve seen on A House In The Hills, and the text which accompanies them is so honest – the perfect balance.

    Your honesty sets you apart Sarah; the fact that you share the non-perfect dialogues, alongside beautiful imagery and articles . . . it’s exactly how your readers get to know YOU.

    We are all behind you : )

    Monica x

    P.S. You’ve had your hair cut? Looks gorge!

  13. Danielle|

    I feel you! I kinda break down and re-evaluate and change every so often. Once you stop growing, you stop living. So this is the excitement of life.

  14. amy bordeaux salazar / bungalow|

    thank you for sharing. i can identify with the self discovery you are experiencing. at the risk of sounding like a total nerdy blog reader i wish i could meet you and person and chat over a drink or coffee/tea. thanks for your honesty. :)


  15. Jessica|

    I love this post, I can definitely relate, since starting my blog I have felt the same pressures. It is still fun, but sometimes I can feel how I have created something that exerts a lot of pressure on my life that I didn’t have before. Thanks for being real and honest in an area where many only put on a good front constantly. It is truly refreshing.
    – Jessica
    Miss Moore Style

  16. Andrea|

    And it turns out – you just keep getting more awesome the more you find out. Keep going! Sometimes I just want to type “tell me what to do”, “tell me how I am” into google. Instead I end up looking up some blogs and feeling even more crap about myself then when I started. Your blog is one of the few that doesn’t do that. There is a beautiful home, stunning clothes, locations and photography. But you keep it real, you acknowledge those things haven’t come easy, you acknowledge that it’s just “stuff” and it doesn’t define YOU. It’s just so refreshing.