How can it possibly be 2016 already? Weren’t we ushering in 2015 just a minute ago?! Perhaps it’s because my kiddos are now school aged, but it seems time speeds along much quicker when the pace of our schedule is ruled by school drop-offs and pick-ups, homework and sports, and the all-too-quick weekends. I’m telling you, motherhood has me constantly searching for the elusive ‘pause’ button. Does anyone else feel this way as well?
What an interesting year this has been for Making Lemonade. What was once a hobby and side gig has now turned into a full time endeavor. When I started blogging six years ago I could never have imagined the places we’d go, or the change in the industry! YouTube what? Pin-who? Periscope… up? Like most things, blogging has evolved and changed by the minute, both for the bloggers producing content and the readers who enjoy it.
Even the tone of the internet has changed; it’s been all too easy to leave negative comments on social media or blogs, and some people seem to delight in ripping others down. I can’t imagine going up to someone in real life and screaming “THAT OUTFIT/PROJECT/ROOM/BABY IS SO UGLY” to their face, but I see it all the time on Facebook, so crazy! If only people put that energy into creating and building and supporting and helping each other instead. Makes me give thanks that it VERY rarely happens here. With a blog name like Making Lemonade, you’d need a cold heart to leave a comment like that. Which is a very round-about way to say I’m thankful for all of you, who are so positive with your comments and interactions! Truly, I have the best community around and I love you for it. Reading comments here or on the Making Lemonade Facebook page fills my bucket, to bring in a phrase from my teaching days. 🙂
While I rarely blog about blogging, I know personally I enjoy a peek behind the curtain when people choose to share and thought maybe you would too? If so, here’s the year in review as well as what’s in store for Making Lemonade in 2016!
A Year In Review
2015 marked the end of the preschool years for my kids, which brought a strange mixture of sadness and hope into my life. I’ve always loved babies, and had circumstances been different would have loved to add just one more sweet face to our family. But it is what it is, so in May we said ‘buh bye’ to preschool and looked onward to the elementary years. You may have noticed my post rate dropped down to about one post a week, IF THAT. Sometimes it was one post every two weeks! Part of that was a longing to spend as much time with my kids when at home as possible, and other that my Young Living business took off beyond my wildest dreams and that pulled me in another, unexpected direction. I now have almost 600 people on my team, using and loving the oils! It feels amazing to be a tiny part of changing lives both health-wise and financially too, so my heart told me I had to pursue my passion in helping others drastically improve wellness, and I’m glad I listened.
My one-post-a-week schedule continued through summer. Again, I focused on my family and making it the best summer ever. We had many adventures and traveled quite a bit. All that adventuring left little time for posting, though this blog was never far from my mind. But I just kept thinking, ‘my kids will never be 4 and 6 again, I need to do all I can to remember this moment in our lives!’
We also faced a decision about what to do about my son, whether to keep him in preschool to give him an extra year of development or put him in public kindergarten. I couldn’t imagine him with the homework burden my daughter faced last year, but he’s a smart kiddo and I didn’t want to hold him back either. In the end, the choice that felt best in our hearts was to split the difference– we enrolled him in private Montessori kindergarten, and now he is BLOOMING! He adores school and the Montessori model really works for his unique personality. Don’t know what we’ll do next year, but this ‘gift’ of a year worked better than I could ever have hoped.
Once school started in the fall, I was able to pick up the posting again– usually 2-3 times a week though some weeks it’s been 4-5 posts. My pageviews typically double this time of year thanks to holiday traffic from Pinterest. For those new to the blogging world, pageviews are great for those who serve ads on their blog because it increases your ad revenue. And ad revenue pays the bills! It’s what allows me to blog about things that you want to read about without taking on too many sponsored posts. 🙂
Fall also brought another trip to Turks & Caicos for the Beaches Social Media on the Sand conference. My head is still spinning from this amazing experience, so look for a post later this month when I have a moment to process that we’ve been there three times in the past 12 months (twice for the conference and once on our own because we loved it so much). My kids consider Turks & Caicos a second home at this point, and I’ve been so grateful for the one-of-a-kind experiences blogging has given my family.
(Here’s the other Philly mamas at Beaches… I’m the blondie in the middle)
A few more highlights:
- I was the keynote speaker at the Be Fit Philly event sponsored by Philadelphia Magazine! Speaking to several hundred motivated women had me shaking in my sneakers but I did it, what an amazing experience.
- Travel! In addition to Turks & Caicos I visited Charleston, Utah, Raleigh, Boston and Maine for various wonderful reasons. As nervous as flying on a plane makes me, I sure do love the destinations!
- We focused on several easy home projects that gave us big bang for our buck, like a simple deck makeover and are in the middle of a HUGE decluttering spree that earned several thousand dollars thanks to a summer yard sale and selling in local Facebook groups. We’ve slowed the influx of ‘stuff’ to just a trickle and are reversing it to truly clean out once and for all (see 2016’s goals).
At the end of 2015, I’m looking at two kids in school full time and a blog perched exactly where I always hoped it would be. Which brings us to whats in store for 2016…
Roadmap for 2016
I’m the first to understand at a visceral level that life is what happens when you’re making other plans (um, ruptured umbilical cord during delivery? Stomach flu over Christmas? YES and YES.) That’s why I draft out a roadmap for the year and use it as a framework, knowing full well things can and will pop up to derail it. It’s how we react and ‘make lemonade’ that matters, right?
The MOST important thing when you set goals for the new year is to make sure those goals are for YOU. Not to keep up with the Joneses, not because Blogger XYZ does it. YOUR GOALS are for YOU. I’ve watched blogging friends achieve phenomenal success and can be genuinely happy for them because while success is nice, achieving a certain level of it takes sacrifices I wasn’t willing to make. Not that THEY had to make those same sacrifices, as their family situation may be different than mine. For me personally, it would have meant getting additional childcare for my kids or working over weekends during what we usually set aside as family time. I feel 2015 finally brought a level of work-life balance that matched the time I put into it, without making me sacrifice being with my family. My #1 goal this year is to continue along that path– working hard while my kids are in school, but learning to say ‘no’ when needed to make sure my plate isn’t overflowing like a bender at an all-you-can-eat Vegas buffet.
There are a few BIG things I want to change or accomplish in 2016:
Get a new hosting company. CHECK! My blog’s server kept crashing which was incredibly frustrating. When it crashed for 4 days over Christmas I bit the bullet and since it was already down took the time to switch hosts. So my big to-do for 2016 is to-done!
- Get a design facelift. As much as I loved the design when it happened 3 years ago, it’s SO 2012. I’m hoping to have a new design rolled out with a fresh look and much better functionality and navigation in February.
- Publish two eBooks. This is a dream I’ve had since the blog began, and THIS is the year to make it happen. The eBooks I have in mind are geared to solve two BIG problems I keep hearing from my audience, so look for more news on this in the spring. EEEEKKKK!
- Incorporate more fashion, fitness and health, but in a ‘Carrie’ way. I dipped my toe into the fashion post waters and got a great response. I was nervous to do so because I don’t have a ‘fashion blogger’ body but the response I’m getting is that is EXACTLY why you liked it. I’ve come a LONG way health-wise too over the past year, thanks to the Whole30 diet, integrating in daily exercise, and loving essential oils. So look for more fashion, recipes, fitness and health but in attainable ways to incorporate these tips and idea into REAL life for busy people!
- Videos. The first Making Lemonade video I every filmed and uploaded to YouTube now has almost 300K views, so I hear you loud and clear: YOU. WANT. VIDEOS.
- Declutter home and life, once and for all. As mentioned this fall, reading The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up has truly transformed many areas of my life. Are you feeling stifled with stuff? Frustrated with constant decluttering? Looking to simplify and find room to BREATHE? Good. Me too. LET’S DO THIS.
All in all, I hope to continue to learn to work smarter and not harder. Those lofty goals come with a lot of work, plus I haven’t even mentioned my Young Living business yet. I’m poised to hit the next major rank in the company at which time their income disclosure chart shows I’d be making WAY more from sharing essential oils that I did as a full-time teacher! It will be interesting to see how the time-management strategies I’ve put into place going into the new year will play out. It’s going to be a wild ride, that’s for sure.
I’d love to hear from you what you’d like to see from Making Lemonade in 2016. What problems do you need solved? Which types of posts do you enjoy? Are you looking for more ideas for home, organizing, cleaning, family, kids, parenting, health, fitness, life? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments as I plan out my editorial calendar for 2016! Let’s hit these goals… together.
Thank you again for being such a positive community, and making the successes of 2015 possible and dreams of 2016 viable! Happy New Year to all of you!