Happy Monday, friends! I cannot believe it, but it’s time to write my 2019 Year In Review.
This is where I highlight some of my best moments, favorite outfits, and popular blog posts from the past year.
After surviving 2018, a year that brought many changes for our family as well as my business, I felt like there wasn’t going to be much to say about 2019… but I found plenty!
I hope you enjoy looking back over 2019 with me…
YEAR IN REVIEW: HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2019
January started off with a bang as far as my business goes, but I’m learning that’s the cycle of things. I guess people are all inside on their computers, so why not read blogs?
We moved into this house in the summer of 2018, and I spent most of that fall and last winter updating the house and making it our own. My most popular post last January was my Foyer/Living/Dining Room Reveal.
My favorite post to research and write was my Fashion Sneaker Review.
Happily, I’m still loving my final choice — my white Veja Esplar kicks.
Also in January, I organized my basement storage area… it’s already a disaster again, but at least I have the framework in place. One of the tasks on my to-do list this week is to get my holiday stuff put away, and get all of those bins back on the shelves.
I also took a quick trip to Maine last January to visit my mom and grandfather. Mom and I stayed at the lake, which is gorgeous covered in ice.
At that point, Phase One of our decorating projects were complete here at the new house, and we took a break from house-related projects for a while.
My most popular post of the month was How to Create An Interesting Outfit…
and A Few of My Favorite Things was a close runner-up.
March brought us 26 Days of Spring Fashion, and I think my favorite post that month was this spring jumpsuit outfit, mainly because it’s a different look for me. Plus, the lighting in this picture is really cool. (I was freezing, by the way!)
Paul turned 50, and I hosted a big party with friends here at the house. A friend took this picture for us before the party started.
Later in the month, the girls and I met my parents at Disney World… my dad looks miserable, but he really does smile!
It was fitting that my most popular post that month was What I Packed for my Disney Vacation.
Soon after that, I came down with a case of vertigo, which lasted over a month and caused us to cancel our trip to Austin, TX. Paul and I had been really excited about our couple’s getaway, but it clearly wasn’t meant to be.
On the plus side, it gave us more time to spend with his sister and family, who had come down to stay with our kids.
In April, we celebrated Easter with Paul’s parents.
I continued with testing for my vertigo — everything turned up negative, so I still have no answers for that.
We enjoyed watching the change of seasons for the first time in our new house, and it was fun to open our pool again after a long winter.
We didn’t travel anywhere in May, and I spent a lot of time reading and hanging out on the deck, enjoying our mild spring weather and the privacy of our backyard.
There was no drama, don’t worry, but all good things must come to an end. We decided that after three years, it was time to move on to something else. We’ll still be teaming up from time to time for other fun fashion ventures.
Also in June, we had our front walk and landscape replaced, which makes a much nicer backdrop for my outfit pictures!
The girls had their annual piano recital on Father’s Day weekend, and I love this picture of them with their dad.
C and I saw Cats in Philly later in the month. It was my third time seeing it, but her first.
I’m one of those crazy people who loves it, and while it’s not her favorite, she’s really happy she got to see it.
At the end of the month, I went to Maine for a family wedding. This picture of what I wore was one of my Best Nine from Instagram this year.
On July 1st, I turned 47. We had a small get-together at our house with good friends, and my daughter made me this gluten-free cake.
My Guide to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale was by far and away the most popular post of the month, followed by my #NSale Try-On Haul, my #NSale Preview, my #NSale Spend vs. Save post, my #NSale Favorites, and… well, you get the idea!!!
Also in July, my JLS Fashion Tribe was born! It’s the best thing to ever come from the #NSale.
And amidst all the #NSale madness, we took a summer vacation to Maine!
On our way home from Maine, we stopped in the Boston area for a few days, and I showed the kids my alma mater.
I also started the hunt for what to wear to a black tie optional wedding, which we would be attending in October. Many of you enjoyed following the process and weighed in on my try-ons.
That month, we moved D back to college and into his first apartment, and R started her second season of playing mallets in the middle school marching band.
D loves living off-campus in an apartment, but sadly, he opted not to take the spot he was offered in his college marching band this year.
I was (and still am) disappointed in that turn of events, but I keep reminding myself that it’s his life, not mine. (Parents have growing pains, too, yo!)
We went back to Massachusetts in the middle of the month to attend my cousin’s wedding. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a family picture, but I have this one of Paul and me.
I had this dress altered to fit better, but after seeing pictures, I still don’t love it. Ah, well. You can’t win ’em all!
Soon after we got back, the girls started back to school. R is in 8th grade at our public middle school…
and C attends 21st Century Cyber Charter School from the comfort of home. Savannah is her favorite (and only) classmate.
Personally, it was a relief not to have the pressure of photographing so many outfits in such a short timeframe, but I tried to keep fall outfits the focus of my posts that month.
I started doing weekly Try-On Hauls in September, and since then, they consistently dominate my top three most popular posts almost every month.
And we finally saw Hamilton!!! (D was with us, but he opted to take the picture.)
Also in September, C and I joined a local choral group, and I joined a Community Bible Study. Both have been really good experiences, and a way for us to get out of the house and meet new people. #workfromhomeproblems
One of my favorite posts to put together in October was this Save, Spend, Splurge: Neutral Handbag Roundup.
I always find it curious that I get a lot of requests for these, but they rarely show up high in my stats for page views or for sales generated. Perhaps people prefer to shop for handbags in person, where they can try them out first.
And I have so many favorite outfits from that month, I can’t begin to list them all. I love dressing for fall!
And we celebrated R’s 14th birthday.
She was super excited to get Sixers tickets for the following week.
D and I were there too, but the only good picture I got was of Paul and R. I think it’s so cool that they can bond over sports.
I think this look was my favorite one of all… pardon the mums.
Next year I need to remember to get my holiday decorations onto my front porch earlier in the season. At least the colors coordinate with my top!
I also attended a blogging conference in Nashville, where I got to hang out with these smart and stylish ladies.
D turned 20 in November, and we had a small celebration with a few of his good friends. He also got Sixers tickets, but we didn’t go with him to that game. He took friends instead.
We stayed in town for Thanksgiving this year, and we had dinner with some of my in-laws who live locally. Later that weekend, we went to a tree farm and cut down our live Christmas tree.
Yeah, that picture was a joke. It was hard finding a large enough tree, though. They were either huge or tiny, but we finally ended up with this one.
We celebrated C’s 17th birthday on Christmas Eve with our traditional sushi dinner out, and we came back home and had her presents by the tree.
She actually loves having a Christmas birthday, but we do try to keep the two events separate.
Our Christmas Day was a quiet one here at home, but we enjoyed a visit from my parents earlier in the month, and we celebrated with my in-laws this past weekend.
We also had a little mudroom makeover this past week. Some of you asked for before & after pictures, so here you go!
I’ve been able to move a lot of paper goods and cleaning supplies from the pantry and coat closets into this space, and there’s still room to spare, so I’m happy about that!
Those shelves and hooks will all fill up shortly, I’m sure. I’m still figuring out how to organize the cabinets — one side is all shelves, and the other has space for my upright vacuum cleaner. It’s so nice to get that out of the coat closet.
As I bring this Year in Review to a close, I’m very aware that this isn’t only the end of a year, but the end of a decade. The changes that have taken place in the world over the past decade are enormous.
Here are a few facts to ponder:
Ten years ago, Paul had a full head of brown hair, and we had a 4-year-old, a 7-year-old, and a 10-year-old.
Ten years ago, the real food movement was just beginning to take hold, and the words paleo and keto were virtually unheard of.
Ten years ago, Uber and Netflix had yet to become household terms, working from home was barely a thing, and most people didn’t even know what a blog was.
Ten years ago, my outfit pictures looked like this, my blog header looked like this:
Ten years ago, there was no Instagram or Pinterest, much less Snapchat or Tiktok.
And let’s not even discuss politics…
There’s so much more I could come up with if I had time, but this post is already reaching epic proportions.
Looking Ahead to 2020 & State of the Blog Address
Let’s wrap this up! I’m happy to say, I’m not feeling as burnt out with the blog as I have in years past at this time, but there’s still some proverbial baggage that has been weighing me down, and I’m excited to get a fresh start with a new year.
A lot of changes have happened to fashion blogging over the past year or so. One of the biggest for me was bringing an end to the daily style series Cyndi and I’ve done together every season for the past three years.
I’ll admit, I floundered a bit when September rolled around without our usual 26 Days of Fall Fashion to prepare for, but it was also a relief not to have the pressure of shooting and posting so many outfits in such a short time-frame.
I’m also really excited not to have to shoot 27 spring outfits for March, which can be one of our coldest months of the year.
Try-On Hauls have become hugely popular this year — not just with me, but across the fashion blogging space. People seem to be tiring of the creative, aspirational photos and prefer a down-to-earth approach that is more relatable. I’m happy to oblige, and I’ve made them a weekly feature on the blog.
I’m also trying to post My Daily Looks on a semi-weekly basis.
There will still be plenty of professional photo shoots sprinkled in, but I’m not pressuring myself to do as many as I’ve done in years past.
I also really want to move away from promoting fast fashion, which really doesn’t align with my personal style or my convictions. That means focusing on brands and retailers that carry quality products, and styling them multiple ways to get a better cost per wear. I’ve been slowly making this shift over the past few months, and it feels really good.
I’m going to try to do more informational posts — fight the frump, outfit evolutions, how to wear current trends, multiple ways to wear our wardrobe basics, etc.
Those can take a long time to put together, so I’m also toying with cutting out a posting day from my schedule, now that the busyness of Q4 is over. I need to sit down with my calendar and see how that works out.
In more personal news, Paul and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in August, R will turn 15 in October, D will turn 21 in November, and C will turn 18 in December.
Those are some big numbers, people!
I have mixed emotions about those milestones, but most of all, I am proud… Proud and thankful, because I know how blessed I am. They aren’t perfect, but they’re mine, and I adore them.
Paul and I are super excited about our anniversary trip to Paris this spring, and we need to start figuring out C’s college plans as well.
It’s both exciting and terrifying to think that far ahead, so I’m just going to take it one week at a time.
As Cyndi said in a recent post, I don’t know what the future holds, but I know The One who holds the future. I hope you know Him too.
FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART, THANK YOU!
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you 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. The support and encouragement you give back is what keeps this blog going, so THANK YOU.
Here’s to a happy and healthy and productive 2020!