TLS #71: Walking Away From “Success” With Caroline Rector (Unfancy)


In today’s Lively Show we are speaking with our first repeat guest from Season 1, Caroline Rector, the writer behind the popular fashion blog, Un-Fancy.

Caroline has blogged her journey to live with a capsule wardrobe and inspired thousands of readers to reconsider what it means to have a wardrobe they love.

Today on her blog, Caroline shared her decision to take a six month break from her blog as she moves to Seattle. In today’s episode she’s sharing her decision to do so, how she has approached her blog compared to her previous photography business, and what she has learned about “traditional” success over the past year.

This show is perfect for anyone who has struggled with traditional approaches to success, or wants to hear an inspiring story about someone who is choosing to step away from a “really good thing” when prompted by her intuition.   





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  • What inspired her to start her blog, Unfancy.
  • Why Caroline and her husband are moving from Austin to Seattle for six months and the steps they took to make the move possible financially.
  • Why she has decided to take a break from blogging for the next six months, even as her blog has become highly successful in a short amount of time.
  • The practice that helped her come to this difficult decision.
  • What Caroline thinks she may learn through this experience.
  • How Caroline defines success and why her idea of what success is has changed dramatically.
  • The surprising reason Caroline believes Unfancy might have become a success.
  • What might be next for Caroline.
  • Our advice to someone who needs to take a break but may not be able to because of financial reasons.
  • What Caroline would say to someone who is just starting out on this journey.



Intuition writing exercise

Indiana Elsewhere






This Post Has 28 Comments

  1. Gina Palha

    Wow. I loved this interview, lovely Jess + lovely Caroline. Change. I think ?ve been debating myself for so long. I think I’m also a bit tired with so much change happening to me + around me… but we change, we move forward, we get to become somebody different… even if it’s scary! Again, I’m always infused by your shows! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

    1. Jess Lively

      I hear you! I feel like I’m constantly “going through” something in my life. And at times it can feel exhausting. But you’re right, when change happens we get to become more of who we truly are. It’s like peeling back the layers of an onion. Which, ironically can bring tears along the way, just like peeling an onion can.

      Cheers to revealing our potential within and having the faith that the change is in our best interest as a human being. : )

      1. Gina Palha

        Oh… thank you! Loved these words ‘It’s like peeling back the layers of an onion. Which, ironically can bring tears along the way, just like peeling an onion can.” SO true!

        1. Jess Lively

          I know, right? I’ve never thought of it that way until writing you back, but I think it’s a great reminder we both can benefit from. : )

  2. Ali Edwards

    Awesome interview. Caroline – you rock and sound totally healthy and smart. Wish you all the best as you enter this next chapter. I think what you are doing is rad. Go for it.

    1. Jess Lively

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the show, Ali, and Caroline’s insights. She’s a smart cookie, that’s for sure. : )

  3. Jess Lively

    That’s wonderful to hear, Weiya. I’m so glad you are enjoying our journey to simplify and listen to your intuition. Noise is such a great word for all of the stuff that tries to drag us away from our intuition’s wisdom. Well said!

  4. Jess Lively

    SEM, YOU are amazing. Thank you for following along over the past several years and through all of the many transitions along the way! It means a lot to know you are still enjoying everything as I move closer and closer to the work I wanted to do way back in 2009 (and did as I was able to every step along the way).

    I’m also glad you are enjoying the interviewing. It’s been something I’ve worked hard on and am glad you appreciate.

    Thank you for taking the time to share. I hope you have a great weekend and I’m sending love your way!

  5. Audrey

    jess, I just had to tell you how much I appreciated this episode. my best friend and i are in this perpetual state of confusion/frustration as we try to find our worth in something other than our careers, and I think Caroline has found the answer, at least for herself. i love how she’s focusing on improving her true self and not showing her worth in what she does or what she has accomplished. it’s such a simple concept, but so hard to do yourself/achieve! I just loved the episode and thanks for sharing. 🙂 on a separate note, have you thought about an episode about what I call the “mommy wars” out there? How women and mostly moms (stay at home vs working) are constantly comparing themselves to each other and how negative it’s becoming? I feel like Glennon Melton talks about this a lot but I would love a Lively Show that addresses that! Keep up the good work, Jess!

    1. Jess Lively

      Hi Audrey. I’m so glad you enjoyed the show and that it spoke to your feelings on worthiness. I’m not sure if you’ve seen this post, but I think you might appreciate the message:

      Also, thank you for the episode suggestion. That is a fascinating topic! I don’t know much about it (yet) since I don’t have children at the moment. But I’m definitely going to keep this in mind for the fall (since we already have a lineup through summer). Thank you for recommending Glennon, too!

  6. I loved this episode. For me, I feel like it was a great follow up from the last with Alexandra Franzen. One quote I loved from last week’s episode was, “You can’t produce your best work on an empty tank.” And she talked about how important it is to set aside that one hour for yourself. Then this episode with Caroline Rector comes from a woman who is taking a long break to take that time for herself and make these awesome memories with her husband, and live her dream.

    I just feel her move is going to be such a great step for her. She is going to come back from Seattle and I think possibly produce her best work, and not because she’s going after it hard every day but because she’s taking a breather and making time for what matters most.

    1. Jess Lively

      Amen, Kaitlyn! I love your connections to these two recent shows and how they both repeat the same message through different forms of “time for yourself.”

      I too am so pumped to see what Carolyn decides to do when she comes back to Austin. : )

  7. Thank you for having Caroline on the show! I’m a fan of her blog and recently read her decision to take a break. While I’ll miss her posts, she still has inspired me to create my own capsule wardrobe and I wish her the best.

    And her decision corresponded with a similar one for my own business. I run my own blog and have recently decided to buck the traditional striving battle for money/likes/shares and to listen to my soul instead. I realized one day after reading through several emails on how to make money that I had quickly lost my focus for the blog. It had moved from a creative outlet to something without meaning or heart. And while, yes, I need the income, I was miserable holding myself up to standards and demands only I placed on myself. I had to take a gut check and remind myself that I’d rather create art and if the money comes I’ll welcome it! And like Caroline, journaling helped me to organize my thoughts into a resolution to take more care of my soul than my banking account.

    Thanks again, Caroline and Jess, for the encouragement!

    1. Jess Lively

      I love this, Christine! Thank you so much for sharing. Having the courage to reconnect with your Values vs. the shiny penny outcomes like IG likes, shares, etc. can feel so difficult sometimes. Bravo for going against that urge and listening to your gut!


  8. businessofblooming

    Thank you so much for interviewing Caroline. I’ve started the Capsule wardrobe and it’s so freeing and positive. I’m so grateful!

  9. I just went back and re-listened to both of Caroline’s episodes. Something was just pulling me back to them today. Listening to this episode I keep getting this urge to cry while listening to her speak. Her words are truly affecting me right now, in a way they did not the first time I listened. I’m not sure exactly how/why/what it means but I’ll be thinking on her words the next few days (and journaling! like she says) to work out what’s going on inside me. So grateful for your show, Jess and for Caroline’s openness. (I do dearly miss her blog though!)

    1. Jess Lively

      That is wonderful to hear, Stacy! It’s funny how the same message can hit us totally differently, depending on where we are on our journey when we hear it. Glad you went back and listened with a fresh perspective. : )


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