I like to end the month of December with a recap of the highlights (and lowlights) from the year. It’s always fun to take a little walk down memory lane.
2015 has been a pretty big year, both personally and professionally. My oldest turned 16 and started driving (hold me!) My middle became a teenager and started middle school. And my little one turned double digits. I guess she’s not so little anymore.
Professionally, the blog got a minor cosmetic makeover and a major change in direction. After 9 years of being a “mommy blog” (we all HATE that term, by the way), I decided to narrow my focus to fashion — specifically wearable fashion for women over 40. It has given me a whole new lease on life. I am loving having a niche, and I’m super excited to celebrate my 10th “blogiversary” in March. I can’t wait to see what’s next on the horizon!
So let’s start back in January, shall we??
2015 Year In Review
In January, we started planning our first ever “grown-up” family vacation. I say that because it was the first time we really planned an entire vacation on our own. In the past, I’ve been invited places for the blog or visited our extended family, but for the first time ever, we decided on a destination, planned the entire trip, bought plane tickets, and reserved hotel rooms and a rental car. This was supposed to be an epic trip to the Grand Canyon, among other iconic Arizona sites, but things didn’t QUITE go as planned. I think we can say it was, in fact, a bust. But more on that in a few minutes.
What to Wear to a Winter Wedding was my most popular post in January, but What Hose to Wear with a Cocktail Dress has stood the test of time and still comes up high in my Google search results each month.
I spent most of January recovering from a torn perineal tendon (that’s in the ankle.) I didn’t travel anywhere or have any noteworthy social occasions.
In February, my husband and I visited Gettysburg for a press trip. It was freeeeezing, but we had a lot of fun. We LOVED our stay at the Federal Pointe Inn, and we’d love to go back sometime.
8 Makeup Mistakes You’re Making Right Now (And How to Fix Them) was my most popular post in February.
In March, I wrapped up 28 Days of Winter Outfits with this popular post.
My post on Wearable Spring Trends was popular as well. I think we must have all had a bit of spring fever!
And wow, has our blog photography come a long way, or what!?!
April was the month of our infamous Arizona trip that came to a screeching halt when my son got sick. We can look back now and say all’s well that ends well, but at the time, we were terrified. We had no idea who else was going to come down with it or how we were going to get home with a child that sick. Fortunately no one else got it and my son rallied just in time to fly home, but it was not an experience I ever care to repeat.
We did our best to enjoy the resort. I would have enjoyed it MORE if I hadn’t been so stressed out, but at least the girls had fun.
You can read more about the Hyatt Gainey Ranch here. It is a FANTASTIC place to stay, should you ever find yourself in Scottsdale.
At the end of the month, I returned to Scottsdale, Arizona, for a blogging conference.
This time I stayed at the Phoenician Resort. It was interesting to compare it to the Hyatt Gainey Ranch. I still love the Hyatt, but the Phoenician wasn’t shabby either. I love the location with Camelback Mountain as its backdrop.
For the first time in many years, I got to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mom. We look nothing alike, I know. (Bwahaha!)
As soon as school let out in June, we visited Pittsburgh for the weekend.
See my list of Things To Do in Pittsburgh, if you’re interested in making a visit. It was a lot of fun.
This Daily Mom Style post was most my popular post of the month.
And my Fourth of July Fashion collab with Cyndi was up there too.
Wow, did I ever need a tan!?!
In July, I turned 43. For the second year in a row, there is no photographic evidence. I guess that should tell you something about birthdays as you grow older. Either no one really cares, or we don’t want to dwell on it. At any rate, I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been, with the possible exception of the year I ran the half marathon. I can’t complain!
Also in July, we took our annual family vacation to Maine.
Then we stopped overnight in Vermont at the darling Inn At Manchester.
While in Maine, we balanced our time between sightseeing and hanging out at the lake.
Our travels weren’t over, however! In August, my husband and I were invited to experience the chic Hotel Monaco in Baltimore, a Kimpton Hotel.
We also quietly celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. My daughter made us a gluten-free cake for the occasion, and she snapped this picture of us on my iPhone. I love it because it’s so ordinary. The lighting is awful, I’m hardly wearing any makeup, and nothing’s staged. It’s just us in the home that we made together with the three kids that we grew together, and that’s all that really matters.
My post on my favorite over-40 fashion blogs was my most popular in August, and it still ranks high in my monthly search results.
I guess a lot of women my age are looking for fashion advice! Which makes a great segue . . .
In September, I decided to try out full-time fashion blogging. I didn’t TELL you that’s what I was doing, but I’d been toying with the idea for a while. I was feeling spread too thin trying to do too many things well, and I needed a change. So when I joined Cyndi on our 26 Days of Fall Fashion, I knew it was an experiment to see if I’d want to narrow the focus of my blog permanently. I guess you know how that turned out!!
My most popular post that month was this outfit with the bootcut jeans and mustard cardigan.
In October, I updated and republished my post on How to Wear Ankle Boots. It was by far and away my most popular post that month, and it continues to be popular. I get a lot of visitors to this post from both Google and Pinterest.
My Denim Report was also a hit.
As was 3 Ways to Tie a Blanket Scarf.
And somewhere in there, we managed to celebrate my daughter’s 10th birthday.
In November, my son turned 16, and my girls and I joined my parents and my brother’s family in Disney World.
We’ve also been teaching our son to drive, which is proving to be QUITE a hair-raising experience. I had a picture of him at the wheel, but I can’t find it. Boo.
How to Wear a Down Vest was my most popular post in November.
And my OTK boots with a chambray tunic and leopard scarf was a close second.
On Thanksgiving Day, I ran a 5K and was thrilled with my time of 28:54. I wanted to come in under 30 minutes, so I did much better than I had even dared hope. It felt GREAT.
Later that weekend, we took a train ride out to a tree farm and brought home our Christmas tree.
And just like that, Christmastime was here again!!
What to Wear to an Office Christmas Party was my most popular post in December.
And my 25 Days of Winter Fashion Recap was also a hit.
One of the highlights of the month was taking the family into Philadelphia to enjoy some of the traditional Christmastime activities our city has to offer.
And on Christmas Eve, we celebrated my daughter’s 13th birthday.
Our Christmas was quiet and laid back this year.
We were planning to be in Maine this week, but our travel plans got thwarted. When we found out what a mess the airports were, we declined the offer to reschedule and opted for a refund instead. I am glad we stayed put, although I missed being with my family.
We’ve accomplished a lot around the house with these extra few extra days off that we weren’t expecting. We’ve been cleaning and purging and organizing and preparing our master bedroom and bathroom to get painted next week. I’ve bought new bedding, and I’m currently shopping for curtains and other accessories to complete the new look. I am SO excited for this makeover. It’s been 10 years since we moved into this house and decorated our bedroom, and I’m more than ready for a refresh.
Looking Ahead To 2016
I won’t be making New Year’s Resolutions or coming up with a Word for 2016, but I’m hoping to live more simply and intentionally, and I’m always striving to grow in my relationship with the Lord each day. This post from Paul Tripp really sums up how I feel about all that.
For the Christian who finds their hope in the person and work of Jesus Christ, change doesn’t take place in big, dramatic moments. Rather, the transforming work of grace operates in 10,000 little moments of life more than it does in a series of two or three life-altering events.
Are life-altering events significant? Absolutely – that’s why they’re called life-altering! But, the quality of your life and the character of your person is primarily shaped and defined by the 10,000 little decisions, desires, words, and actions you make every day.
Being a better person is truly a day-by-day and moment-by-moment endeavor, and ultimately, that’s what I’m striving for. I’ve never been one to make big declarations of intent. The lasting changes in my life have always been because I just started making better decisions, one at a time. Of course, progress is usually two steps forward, one step back, but that’s okay. That’s life!
Up Next For The Blog
As I look ahead to 2016, I’m prepping for my next fashion series — a capsule wardrobe challenge, or it might turn into a shop-your-closet challenge. I’m working out the details! All I know is, over the past week, I’ve reduced my closet to ONLY things that I love and would happily wear right now, and it’s so refreshing. Finding the proper balance between fashion blogging and keeping my closet under control is proving to be a formidable challenge, but I’m working it out.
I’m excited to get together with Cyndi in Nashville in a few weeks to work on some stylish projects we’ve been brainstorming. A few weeks after that, I have plans to travel to Florida for a working weekend with some of my best blogging buddies. I’m so grateful to my husband for encouraging me to go on both trips so close together. He’ll be the one keeping the home fires burning while I’m away, so I couldn’t do this without his support.
I’m also planning a Spring Fashion series with Cyndi for March. That’s about as far ahead as I plan anything, so we’ll all just have to wait and see what the future holds for jolynneshane.com after that!
From the Bottom of my Heart, THANK YOU!
I want to take a moment to sincerely thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your support this year and throughout all the years of this blogging escapade of mine. Your comments, your questions, just for being here and reading to the end — it truly means so much. I mean, really, if you got this far, you deserve a cookie . . . gluten-free, of course!!!!
But seriously, it takes a lot of guts to put myself out there like I do, letting y’all in on all my crazy. The support and encouragement you give back is what keeps me going, so THANK YOU.
And Happy New Year!!!