Greetings! It’s that time again! Every year I like to highlight some of my favorite moments, outfits, and blog posts from the past year. I think this is my favorite post to write, and I hope you enjoy looking back over 2017 with me.
I just took a look at my 2016 year in review, and I called it a growing year. It’s the year I figured out the fashion blogging thing, and there were some family and lifestyle changes that happened as well. I think I’ll look back at 2017 as the year I really started to hone my personal style. I feel like I lost myself for a bit as I got used to fashion blogging, and I’ve gone back to my roots in some ways and grown in others. I definitely want this blog to be a resource as well as a personal style journal, so I’m always working to strike that balance.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Year In Review: Highlights From 2017
The most popular post I wrote in January, according to Google Analytics, was How to Purge Your Closet & Love Your Wardrobe Again. I republished it in July, which is why it has a July 2017 date on it, but it was originally published on 1/4/17. This is the perfect time to give it a re-read. In fact, my project this week is to purge every closet in my house.
The other post that was really popular in January was my Best Purchases of 2016. I plan to write one of those for 2017, so stay tuned for that!
My favorite outfit from January was this graphic tee with distressed black jeans, a denim jacket, and black suede booties.
In February, I traveled to Nashville to meet up with Cyndi, and we had a blast talking and shopping and talking and shopping some more.
February’s most popular post was by far my Spring Wardrobe Essentials. It will be interesting to see how that lists changes (if it does much at all) for spring 2018.
My favorite outfit from that month was this casual winter date night look. This outfit is super simple, but the accessories turn it up a notch, and I love the addition of the red coat.
March brought us 27 Days of Spring Fashion, and my most popular post that month was my kick-off outfit with this green cashmere sweater, white jeans, and coral ballet flats. I also added a khaki trench since springtime in my neck of the woods generally requires a coat.
I like a lot of my outfits from that month, but one of my all time favorites is this floral trumpet sleeve top with distressed jeans and wedge sandals. This top was a step outside of my comfort zone, and in theory it shouldn’t really work for me, but I loved it. I also really like the photography in these shots. More in this post.
April was a busy month! Paul and I visited Savannah for a short couple’s getaway, and we took our family to visit my parents in Virginia over Easter weekend and visited two colleges in western PA on the way.
I also traveled to Dallas for the rewardStyle Conference, where I got to hang out with these three smart, gorgeous women. We had SO much fun. I’m not sure if I’m going this year or not, but looking at these pictures makes me want to.
I came home from the conference inspired to do more with my Facebook Page, and I’ve tried to do that but I haven’t been as consistent as I’d like to be. That’s something I’m planning to work on in 2018. The blog is my bread and butter and will always be my first priority, but I can’t neglect the importance of social media for getting my content out there to be discovered.
I guess I’ll call this striped top and pink jeans my favorite outfit of the month, although I’m not sure if it’s the outfit or the photography that I like more. We took these pictures in Savannah. I also really like this one and this one.
In May, I visited Orlando on a press trip to see the newly improved Disney Springs. That was another fun trip.
For some reason, my blog traffic really tanked in May. Summer Wardrobe Essentials was my most popular post of the month, with What to Wear to Disney World, my White Jeans Review, and May Favorites all close behind. While they were the most popular, they received less than half the views of my most popular posts in the previous four months. I don’t really know why except that people get really busy that time of year and are probably spending less time online.
7 Ways to Wear White Pumps didn’t even rank in the top five, but it is my personal favorite post from the month. I know a lot of you were skeptical, but now that I’m seeing white booties and loafers gaining popularity, I don’t think white pumps are going to seem so far fetched as we get into the spring and summer of 2018. I’m excited to wear mine more.
My favorite outfit from May was definitely this easy summer shorts outfit. I practically lived in this outfit (or a variation of it) last summer.
June was another slow month for the blog, and personally it’s a month I’d be happy to forget. I was suffering from a case of vertigo that lasted a full four weeks. It was also the month of my summer fashion series. We took almost all of my outfit pictures that month in the front yard, and I remember thinking that my only goal for the month was to make it through.
We took our family to the beach in July, and while the weather was less than stellar, I have many fond memories of the trip.
Not surprisingly, my Guide to the #NSale was my most popular post.
I didn’t post a lot of outfits that month, but I really like this rust tie front tank outfit and my casual 4th of July outfit. Yes, I realize half of my favorite outfits involve these AG jeans. #sorrynotsorry
On August 5th, Paul and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary with a quiet dinner for two. We had one of the kids take this picture on our back deck before we left.
At this point my travels were over and I was tired of summer fashion, but it was way too hot to post fall outfits, so I started my Fight the Frump series as well as my 5 Favorites. Both were very well received, and I plan to do more of those in 2018.
I launched my new blog design at the end of August, and that was super exciting. (I always love getting a blog makeover.) I highly recommend Lindsay at Purr Design if you’re a blogger in need of branding/logo development or website design. She’s worth the wait.
Fall fashion was in full effect for September, and Cyndi and I did another 26 Days of Fall Fashion series. I did notice when looking at my analytics that traffic was down overall from September 2016. It was such a hot September this year, I think people just weren’t excited for fall quite yet. Despite that, I loved most of my fall outfits. This was by far my favorite outfit series of the year.
My orange cardigan outfit was my most popular post that month, followed closely by the green quilted puffer vest outfit. Both were favorites of mine as well. Other favorites of mine were this one, this one, and this one. Oh, I liked this one a lot too, LOL! Like I said, this was my favorite fashion series.
It’s funny how some of my favorite outfit posts aren’t necessarily the outfits I end up wearing a lot in daily life. I don’t know if it’s that they aren’t practical for my lifestyle or if I like the photography more than the outfits, but that’s something I’ve noticed as I’ve picked out my favorites for this post.
My Instagram Roundups show what I actually wear, and there are a lot more pullovers and ballet flats than cardigans, blouses, and heels.
I’m okay with that, though. I do put more creativity into my outfit posts because I want this blog to be more than a personal style diary. I try to walk that fine line of being true to myself while offering enough variety to keep y’all coming back!
Blog traffic started picking up during October, and Fall Outfits to Copy was my most popular post, with my 5 Favorite Lipsticks and 5 Favorite Cardigans as close runners up. Roundup posts are definitely the favorites, aren’t they!?!
I loved a lot of my fall outfits in October. This one was a favorite, and this one, and this one. My favorite, though, was definitely my camel cashmere pullover with black leather jacket and oxblood suede pumps.
Also in October, my son was accepted to West Chester University and University of Pittsburgh — the only two colleges he applied to. (He’s still trying to makeup his mind.)
And my youngest turned 12. I just love those freckles.
In November, D turned 18. EIGHTEEN. I can’t wrap my head around it. His big birthday gift was Sixers tickets, but unfortunately I didn’t get any good photos at the game.
We also took D and C to see Phantom of the Opera at the Academy of Music in Philly in November. It was an AMAZING show and we all loved it.
Winter Wardrobe Essentials was extremely popular that month. In fact, I’m surprised to see that my winter essentials did better than my fall essentials post, but it did. My Thanksgiving Outfit Ideas post was a close 2nd.
This winter party outfit was my personal favorite, and incidentally, it would make a fabulous NYE outfit if you have the right venue for it. My NYE party will be too casual an affair for this outfit, but I still want to wear it sometime. I guess I should make dinner reservations for this weekend!
I also loved this outfit, as well as Alison’s photography.
Alison also did our family pictures that month, and I absolutely love how they turned out.
December was a strange month for the blog. I didn’t have any super popular posts that I wrote this month, but my 3 Ways to Wear a Blanket Scarf from two years ago went gangbusters. Somehow it has made it onto the front page of Google when you search “how to wear a blanket scarf.” Pretty fun!
As far as posts I actually wrote this month, Outfit Ideas for Christmas Day was the most popular, but my favorite was this suede moto jacket outfit. And there are those jeans again… sorry about that! Y’all are probably sick of seeing them by now, but I’m still not sick of wearing them, so I’m sure they’ll continue to make an appearance in future outfits. If you love the look but not the price tag, these are a pretty good dupe for $64.
Also in December, C turned 15, and we traveled to Virginia to spend Christmas with my family. It was a lot of fun and totally worth all the pre-trip stress of how to get all of our stuff down there.
We still haven’t uploaded the pictures from the camera, but we did get this family picture on my iPhone at the hotel where we went for Christmas dinner.
So to wrap up this epistle . . . 2017 had its ups and downs, but by far more ups than downs. All in all, it was a pretty good year, I have to say.
Looking Ahead to 2018 & State of the Blog Address
I’m excited for 2018, but I don’t have any hard and fast plans as yet. I only have one trip on the horizon and it’s a personal one. I’ve got a girlfriends getaway planned for April with three of my closest friends, and I’m super excited about that!
In my personal life, 2017 hasn’t been a particularly momentous year, but 2018 surely will be. My oldest will graduate from high school (Lord willing!) and head off to college, my youngest will graduate from elementary school and start middle school, and my middle child will likely continue with the cyber charter school but she may need a change. All that to say, 2017 was a nice reprieve, but I’m gearing up for a roller coaster ride.
Business-wise, I am definitely feeling some growing pains as I try to run this blog and my social media sites all on my own. Most bloggers at my level have some help because it’s pretty much impossible for one person to do everything. Many have a full time assistant or team member working on the blog and social media accounts with them, and others hire out various tasks.
I’ve hired out a few things here and there over the years, but right now I’m pretty much a solo artist. I like it that way, to be honest, but it’s definitely hard to keep up in this space doing it this way, especially when you are opposed to buying followers and that nonsense. (Yes, really. It seems like “everybody does it.”)
My biggest problem is, I’m not one to let go of things. I guess that’s called a micro-manager. I just feel that my brand is too personal to let anyone answer my emails or comment on my Instagram or write my Facebook posts. Every time I give something up for a while, I end up taking it back. This is something I’m trying to figure out as I head into 2018.
I definitely want to continue doing weekly Facebook Lives because I think that’s a really fun way to connect with you all, and hopefully it will help my Facebook Page grow as well. I’m trying to get better about planning my Instagram content, and I’d like to do more with Instagram Stories, but again, there is only so much time. Plus the algorithm changes on both of those networks have made it way more challenging to get our content seen, and sometimes I wonder if it’s even worth it. I’ve noticed less Pinterest referrals this year as well, and I have to admit, I’m feeling a bit weary of playing the game.
I realize this is probably way more than most of you want to know about the behind-the-scenes of running a blog, but perhaps some of you find it interesting to get a peek behind the curtain of this industry. I also know that some of you have blogs of your own, and I expect you’re feeling some of the same pressure to keep up. I hope it’s reassuring to know that we’re all having the same struggles!
I feel like I’m in a good place with the blog, so at least there’s that. Even if overall traffic isn’t growing at the rate I would like, I feel like this community is growing, and that’s what is most important to me. This blog is always my top priority, and that’s a good thing because it is the only space I own and have full control over. One other thing I’ve been wanting to do is grow my email list, so that’s another area I hope to work on in 2018.
All that to say, there’s a lot to do, but I truly love it. I know I’m extremely blessed to get to do something I love that helps support our family. As always, I am open to suggestions and even constructive criticism if it’s coming from the right place. I truly value your support.
FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART, THANK YOU!
I can’t say it any better than I said it last year, so I’m just going to copy and paste this last section.
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 courage 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!!!