2016: The Year in Review

Wow, so 2016 is over, huh? It seems like it was a pretty crazy year for everyone, and people didn't exactly hide their desire for it to go away once and for all. For me, 2016 was an ok year. It had its ups and downs, but I'm pretty glad it's over. I'm ready for a fresh start, so even though technically the only thing that changed is one little number, it feels like anything is possible. Let's hop into our time machine now and travel back through my memory as I look at the year in review.

2016 has been one crazy ride. I moved into my house on New Year’s Eve last year, so I essentially started the new year in a brand new place. Its our first home and we are loving it so far.

It’s also been my first full year being engaged and planning a wedding. That hasn’t exactly been fun or easy. It’s not really affordable, and so it’s been a struggle to try to have the wedding of my dreams on a shoestring budget. The budget has grown and it’s overwhelming!

I started this blog to chronicle my life as I planned my wedding and decorated my home. However, it’s become so much more than that. I have big plans for this little blog, and pretty soon you’ll start seeing what’s been going on behind the scenes.

The topic changed, but the reason behind starting it is the same. I’ve always wanted to start my own business. I’ve always wanted a creative outlet. And I’ve always wanted to flexibility to be home with my kids when I have them. I’m hoping with this little blog, I can do all those things and more. I am hoping that I can show what I am truly capable of, proving to myself that I can achieve anything. I already kinda feel like I can (thanks mom and dad!) but I want to show that it’s not all unjustified confidence. I want to put my money where my mouth is.

This blog helped me to do so much I never was able to. For starters, I broke my toe taking pictures for the blog. Breaking a bone is something I have never done before, and frankly, I hope I never (ever) do it again. It’s also encouraged me to learn things that I’ve always wanted to be better at, like photography. It’s challenged me to find out what I am and what I like without being influenced by what others are doing. Which, surprisingly, is really hard! And it’s also encouraged me to focus on bettering myself and not focusing on where I am in relation to others. We are all on our own journeys, and if we focus on our goals, there’s no reason why we can’t catch up (or surpass!) the people we are admiring.

Let's take a look at 2016 month by month.

January: On Dec 30, 2015 we closed on our house, so we spent New Year's Eve moving in. It was exhausting and thrilling at the same time. Most of January was spent unpacking, purchasing furniture, and trying to settle in.

February: In February, I started looking into starting a blog. I suddenly had a 3 hour commute round trip, so I had a LOT of time to spend on Pinterest. I'm not sure how I started looking into blogging, but once I did I became addicted and realized I needed to start one. I had always wanted to start blogging, but it finally seemed like the time was right.

March & April: Most of March and April was spent behind the scenes as I started creating my blog and coming up with content. I decided to go with SquareSpace because their interface was the easiest for me to use. I wanted something that I could edit easily myself and was relatively simple.

May: In May my blog finally went live! I didn't know what exactly my blog would be about, so I wrote about home organization tips, DIY's and party planning. I made my first and most popular DIY tutorial, a donut party platter with sprinkles. I also did my first party post, for my Sugar Sweet 27th Birthday Party. I created the most blog posts this month, a whopping 11 posts!

June: In June things quieted WAY down and I wrote my first holiday blog post, Fourth of July on a Budget. I also enrolled in Blog to Biz Hive by Melyssa Griffin and began working on creating a business for my blog. There was a lot of soul searching during June as I tried to decide what my blog should be about. I decided to forego the lifestyle category and instead focus on DIY's and party planning! I also had my Disney-themed engagement party in mid-June (pics coming soon!).

July: Some of my favorite blog posts happened in July. I started with my Nautical Notecard Banner Tutorial, which I came up with on the fly at Michael's and ended up really loving. Then, I had my first party supply haul post from Michael's using their fun tropical themed stuff. And one of my favorites to date, my TGIF 90's-Themed Slumber Party. This was seriously the most fun ever to plan, and I loved hunting for 90's themed supplies. Plus I got to eat the lunchables and candy after the shoot, so that was pretty epic.

August: The end of July and beginning of August were AMAZING because I got to go to Greece for the first time! It inspired me to write a post on What Greece Taught me About Being a Great Hostess. It was also a great excuse to show off some of my photos from Greece, including the amazing purple and yellow mermaid dream home I found there by accident. Once I got back, I posted another fun tutorial on a DIY Pineapple Garland that's so easy to make. I also created a blog post & amazing freebie on How to Plan a Pinterest Worthy Party. This guide shows you how to plan a great party that's gorgeous, and the guide itself is super pretty as well! I was so happy with how it turned out.

September: On September 2, I had my most emotional day ever. It started with being teary-eyed as I excitedly realized that in a year I'd be walking down the aisle and marrying my fiancé. Then, I spent the afternoon working on some fun new blog posts. I was standing on a chair while taking some overhead shots, and Humpty Dumpty went tumbling down. I spent the rest of the day in the ER, then spent the rest of the MONTH unable to walk with a fractured toe. That was not fun! This seriously made all my plans come to a screeching halt. I couldn't go up 2 flights of stairs to the attic, so I couldn't really do any DIY or party blog posts. However, I did my first collaboration with Paperless Post for How to Plan a Summertime Christmas Party, which was so much fun to do! And, I spent the rest of the month researching proper equipment so that I would never hurt myself taking photos again.

October: By early October, I was able to get back into the swing of things. I wore a walking cast and was finally able to move around on my own. I dove right into Halloween (one of my favorite holidays!) and spent a day decorating my house while hobbling around in my walking cast (the Boot, as I called it). I utilized one of my favorite websites, Oriental Trading, to create two awesome Halloween tutorials. The first was DIY Faux Pinatas using inexpensive papier mache pumpkins and some streamers. The second was a Colorful Halloween Party that featured spiderwebs, black and white striped plates, and a whole lot of colorful paper fans. Plus, this party had ME in the photos! I'm working on being more present in my work next year, so that you guys can start to recognize me as the face of my blog. October was also the first month that I started using Instagram daily and I was able to increase my engagement.

November: In November, after finally getting to walk around in normal shoes once again, we went full-on Thanksgiving here on the blog. I started with 9 Tutorials to Help you Build the Best Thanksgiving, featuring some of my favorite colorful Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving ideas from around the web. I created a colorful and classy disposable Friendsgiving Tablescape that's sure to wow your guests, and a DIY Colorful Leaf Garland that's so easy to do. After YEARS of using Pinterest, I finally got 1k followers at the end of November! I remember having about 300 or so at the ER in September when I fractured my toe, so this was HUGE.

December: Ah, good old December. This is always a SUPER busy month for me, since I have my sister's birthday (Dec 13), my mom's (Dec 16), and my fiancé's (Dec 23) followed by Christmas. This left me with practically no time for blog posts! I was, however, pretty active over on Instagram. I was really bummed because I had some amazing DIY projects I wanted to do, but I did some other great blog posts. I started with How to Save Time and Money on Holiday Gatherings, a guest post on the Crazy Busy Happy Life blog. We also rounded up some fun and colorful DIY Christmas Ornament tutorials and discussed How to Mix and Match Party Supplies using gorgeous tableware from Target. I also created my very first Gift Guide for hostesses, and it's filled with some great stuff that any hostess would love. By this point, I own pretty much half the items on the list, so I mean it when I say it ;) We closed out December with a Last Minute Dollar Store New Year's Eve Party.

So, what does 2017 have to bring? A free 4-week e-course is coming to the blog soon, along with virtual party planning services! I also have plans to open up at Etsy shop, and there may be a redesign happening as well. So what's the new blog name going to be?! Well a girl can't reveal all her secrets, but I can tell you that it's going to be amazing. Be sure to follow me on Instagram, where I'll be sharing updates, sneak peeks, and behind the scenes photos and videos!

Welcome 2017- I'm ready for you!