2016 was supposed to be The Year of Focus, and it’s hard to say how that theme played out for me personally. Was I truly more focused? Hard to say. In this post I’ll do a little bit of reflecting on different areas I cover in my blog and how I feel I did last year and what I want to change (or keep) for this year.
One of my major resolutions was to blog more. “More” is not quantifiable, so more specifically, I wanted to beat my 2015 blog post count—and I did! In 2015 I posted 15 times (shameful) and in 2016 I posted 36 times. I struggle with how over-saturated the blogging world is, and I try to create high quality posts. I am proud that I spend a significant amount of time creating each post, but I still think that this year I can speed up and increase my post frequency. So, there’s a goal for 2017: Bring my monthly average to/above 4 posts/month.
This small victory in increased post numbers certainly owes a lot to my monthly book club posts. Being part of a book club helps keep me accountable to not only reading, but processing my response to it through writing. It is easy to read a book or watch a series without processing it, and this step has been missing from my entertainment consumption so I’m excited that it’s continuing this year. Goal: Keep book club going.
My goal for 2016 was to focus on two big trips instead of multiple small trips. I did so-so on this goal, since we sneaked in a trip to Mexico City at the end of the year, went to Kansas for a wedding in October, and went camping a few times. I certainly took fewer weekend trips than I did in grueling 2015, so that was nice. I never blogged about my March trip to Washington, DC. I meant to do so in the fall as the weather got cooler, but now here we are. Goal: Process trip photos in less than 3 weeks from arrival back home.
While travel blogging was my first love, home blogging was my second. I barely put out home posts in 2016 and one of my major goals for My Friend Staci this year is to put out more home posts. Goal: At least one home post per month.
Thanks for joining me on this little journey back into 2016. I feel like I didn’t blog much but now that I am reflecting, I’m proud of the high quality work I did last year and I’m energized for blogging in 2017.
If you didn’t know, I work at a school: and school has now begun! It occurred to me that my work year is split equally into thirds– Fall, Spring, and Summer! Summer seems to go by so fast, so I was surprised once I measured out that each segment is four months. (Alert the “duh” police).
And thus! We all enter our last four months of 2016. Doug’s birthday is today (Yay!) and so last night we looked back on all we’ve done this past year. A lot!! Super busy! You’d think I have a lot to blog about, but I’ve been too busy doing stuff to keep up. A good problem to have, I guess. :)
Anyway, the results of last week’s poll! Thanks to my high school Excel class for showing me how to make a pie graph. A big thank you to those who voted. It looks like people want me to write more about interiors, which I love, so I will definitely take your feedback to heart. The write-in votes for Pets and Food made my heart sing.
I hope you are having a wonderful week. See you tomorrow for my book club review of The Unknown Americans!
I wanted to do a quick check-in today before I start brainstorming blog posts for the fall. When I started blogging in 2009 I was writing quick updates on my Study Abroad experience in Morocco. When I got back from Morocco I posted little snippets about life at home, doing craft projects and cooking, then I moved to Kansas and used it as a way to show people back in California what my life was like as I put together my first “grown up” apartment with my roommate Lisa.
Then, what I like to think of as the blogging boom started, with people like Sherry and John leading the wave of the thousands of other home and personal blogs that followed. I tried to keep up pace, posting more projects and inspiration boards. At my peak in 2012 I was posting almost every weekday.
Now blogging “the old way” is almost gone. People want quick top ten list, or “25 outrageous things” à la Buzzfeed. Or, big time bloggers with magazine-level budgets churning out a huge volume of excellent content… I’m no stranger to online window shopping and making product roundups, but I don’t have the budget to overhaul my whole condo in the name of blogging. I’m feeling more “talky” these days as evidenced by my recent lengthy travel posts.
All this to say — people don’t comment on blogs the way they used to, so I don’t know how many people are reading and what is connecting with those who do. Won’t you please use the poll below to let me know what you like to read?
I’d originally planned on checking in on my New Year’s Theme at the end of every month. So I did January. But I hadn’t been putting up many blog posts, and I didn’t want my only posts to be “Year of Focus” check-ins, so I skipped a month. Then I skipped 5 months.
Here we are at the [almost] end of June. Halfway through the year. I’d like to think that I have been more focused this year. Things have been busy (vacation!!) but I am feeling much less scattered than I did last summer. Pulled in fewer directions.
Travel: We focused our energy and money on two big trips this year, and now they are behind us. Washington DC in March was great! I haven’t blogged about it because it was very cold when we were there—then when we got back things instantly turned to spring/summer and all my bare tree photos just seemed really discordant. So, I’ll be posting a trip review on that in the fall. We just got back from Europe last week and I’m working on posts and photos from London, Paris, and Madrid. We had a wonderful time and took some great photos (if I do say so myself). It troubles me to see what the UK is going through this morning. Now, naturally (I’m such a planner), I’m working on the next trip, which will be around Christmastime.
Business: So after last fall semester, my business plan is completed. This spring I took a graphic design class which I think will help me in my long-term goals. My short-term goals involve pursuing Typecrafters clients, selling a bit more on ebay / etsy, and doing any side gig that comes my way to stash money away (bit by bit) towards my eventual opening. Oh, and getting introduced to potential investors which is really scary, intimidating, and exhilarating.
Personal: Last time in the personal section, I wrote about how our iMac was on the fritz. I’ve been working hard and putting money away and last week I bought a new computer. YAY! Now I can get down to business on the blog and on business-related things.
So, we’ve made it halfway through an overall, pretty rough 2016 so far. Did you make a New Year’s Resolution or pick a theme for 2016? How are you doing on it?
I was invited to do an interview with UK based fabric and interiors store Terrys Fabrics about what influences me in home design, blogging, and inspiration. It is live today! Click on the image below to go to their site.
Oh and a couple of the pictures up top? I have an updated home tour in the pipeline for July (can you believe we’ve lived in the condo for two years already?) so make sure to subscribe to the blog or follow me on facebook, twitter, or insta for updates!
I have noticed an increase in the trend of eschewing traditional “New Year’s Resolutions” and instead picking a word for the year or a theme for the year. I don’t think I picked a resolution or a theme for 2015, but looking back it is clear to see the theme of the year was “Travel/Exploration.” This is something I am so happy about– being privileged enough to have these getaways.
I was so busy I only blogged 13 times in 2015, disappointing myself. This year I will blog more, and I’ll probably work my way through my recent photos and put together a few blog posts about last fall’s travels even though it’s been a while at this point.
Anyway, in reflection on how scattered I was last year, and inspired by my friend Libby’s decision to follow her dreams, I’m going to designate the theme of 2016 as “Focus.” I want to focus on a couple larger trips instead of lots of weekend trips. I’d also like to streamline and focus my finances and priorities with the ultimate goal of starting my own small business, possibly a year from now. By reminding myself on a constant basis to focus, I hope to be more purposeful and productive, building habits that support this goal.
Do you have a New Year’s Resolution or a theme for 2016 yet?
It seems like every time I load my bloglovin’ feed these days, somebody has purchased a new house! It makes me itchy about living in my shoebox (as we affectionately call it) and eager to purchase my own home. I guess it really lit a fire under me to start getting serious about putting every spare penny into a savings fund. With this renewed focus and inspiration, I’m more obsessed than ever with scouring real estate websites for affordable fixer-uppers with lots of potential. We are no strangers to living in less-than-perfect conditions and I feel like I have the ability to see inspiration in anything. We’ll see what happens! Don’t hold your breath though, because you’d probably be holding it for like a year.
Anyway, this is a fantastic time to share with you some inspirational and influential blogs I follow, that happen to have just moved or will be moving in the near future! I love all of these blogs dearly and very strongly recommend all of them.
It all started with Emily at Merrypad, who in April began sharing a several part series on their quest to find their new home. Spoiler alert: they bought one! I can’t wait to find out more about their new home as she and her hubby settle into life together with their elementary-aged daughter, oh and not to mention the one on the way. (Squee!!)
Not long after that, Sherry and John Young House Love shared a bombshell with us: They bought a house and would be moving in within a few weeks’ time. They’ve since re-floored the upstairs, moved over all their belongings, and started arranging the new home!
And of course there are Kim and Scott at Yellow Brick Home who closed on their new house last Friday, after a rollercoaster ride of finding what they thought was “the one,” then losing it (I can only imagine the heartbreak) and now finding “the real one!”
What?!??!! If there’s one way to ensure that I’m addicted to your home blog… it’s to start over with a blank slate and let me watch you work your magic again.*
This is a very exciting time to be a blogger… and a blog reader! So much hopefulness, excitement, adrenaline, and future-thinking is swirling around everywhere I look! I must admit, these blogs inspired me to finish rearranging my living and dining room and generally refresh my living space. And, of course, as the end of my lease approaches (September) I’m weighing the pros and cons of a new apartment… A new apartment (PRO!) and moving again (CON!) Maybe I should split the difference and sign a six-month lease? I guess it will all depend on the dolla billz.
*I am not implying that any of these bloggers moved simply for more followers, although I’m sure those rumors are swirling like mad. I’m simply along for the ride of their lives and enjoying every minute of it.