I’ve spent 2 hours attempting to write this opening paragraph. Not because I have anything life-changing to say, but rather I can’t seem to find the right balance between sharing what an incredible year it’s been and conveying my deepest gratitude to YOU who made it all possible. I mean, do I scream at the top of my lungs “here’s the most popular posts on my blog this year!” or shyly say “golly gee, these posts did pretty well I suppose”. What I really want to say is “I LOVE MY JOB WITH ALL MY HEART AND EVERYONE READING THIS MEANS THE WORLD TO ME”, but that’s my drunk Carrie voice, and I don’t want to appear sloppy.
my cardigan is off, it’s getting crazy up in hrrrrrrr….
This was the year (after 5 years of blogging) that I quietly started calling myself a ‘work from home mom’. What followed next has simply been a wonderful & wild ride. I’m ending the year feeling incredibly grateful for the opportunities, relationships, and again, YOU for making it all possible. While it’s not always easy– okay, it’s rarely easy– I think this was the year I found balance enough to feel fulfilled as both a mom and a blogger– and it was because of the opportunities it brought to my family, not just me. My kids were able to see me work, and work often looked like strolling the beaches of Turks & Caicos and hugging Elmo at a Mom Mixer– which they think is SO COOL. And ‘so cool’ isn’t something I’ll be for very long in their eyes, so I’ll take it. They don’t need to see that work also looks like Mom furiously typing on the computer as soon as I put them to bed until 1AM to meet a deadline. That reality will hit sooner or later, and I chose later. 😉
So here’s the year in review, the highlights that made this year one of the best ever (in the history of my ever, anyways). Most of these weren’t the posts with the biggest pageviews, but they are my favorites, and that counts for something, right? Oh what a year!
Favorite Recipe: Being gluten-free didn’t stop this post from happening– Easiest Doughnuts Ever (no, really!) My kids still beg for them, and since you can make them in minutes, they sometimes get their wish.
PS- You know what else people loved this year? Decluttering! I never thought a post with a trash bag photo in it would do so well, but apparently you all feel the way I do when it comes to clutter.
Favorite Feature: Better Homes and Gardens liked these gilded edge agate coasters enough to include them in their Summer contest! I didn’t win, but… it was an honor to be nominated? (no really, it was, it’s just funny to say that!)
Favorite Series: Speaking of summer, we kept it healthy with 10+ delicious salad recipes during the Summer Salad Series. You’ll find a roundup of all the salad recipes here, wouldn’t a nice salad be delicious right about now?
Favorite DIY Project: For someone who loves DIY projects, I don’t post many of them, do I? Here’s one that was easy and looks harder than it is– DIY industrial style pipe curtain rods!
Favorite New Cooking Skill: I set out to find out EVERYTHING you need to know about freezer meals. And I quickly realized freezer meals are all the rage, with good reason– they’re easy to prep and even easier to make after a long day of work or play. In fact, you might want to pop on over and read these tips and recipes and get a few meals in the freezer for busier days ahead.
Favorite Destination in Florida: One of the fun trips I took this year was to the lovely Anna Maria Island. GAH. I loved it there! Definitely a place I want to visit again. If you’re looking for a warm destination with beautiful beaches, check out all the fun things to see and do in AMI!
Favorite Party Trick: We eat outside a lot, so this fly-repelling trick saved us from being invaded at our outdoor meals. Except at the Outer Banks, those flies are ninja flies. But regular ol’ Pennsylvania flies are confounded by this easy trick.
Favorite Blog Hop: Not a popular post by any means, but one of the MOST important when it comes to decorating your home: finding your signature style. 25 of my blogging friends got together and shared our signature styles– stop by, browse a few, are there any you love? Don’t decorate or invest in a wardrobe before discovering YOUR signature style!
Favorite Money-Saving Secret: I revealed my tricks for getting Cute Kids Clothes for Practically Free. Shhhhh!
Favorite Video AND Favorite Housekeeping Tip: I made my first blog video– How to Cover a Duvet in Minutes. Aside from one person in Europe telling me they were ‘sorry to pee on my parade’, the comments were overwhelmingly positive (nope, I didn’t publish the peeing one, ha!) This trick seems to really have helped many of you, which makes me very happy.
Favorite Tour: I loved my Christmas home tour this year. I’m not sure if anyone else did, but this year the decor fit us so well– rustic glam all the way, baby.
Favorite Round-Up Post: 25 Gorgeous Ways to Use String Lights— y’all love string lights. Enough said. 😉
Favorite Experience: By far my favorite experience this year was being a guest of Beaches resorts in Turks & Caicos for the Social Media on the Sand conference. I was able to bring my family to T&C, a vibrant island with the most incredible hospitality. To wit, a conversation I overhead from my kids in their carseats today:
Abby, 6: I heard mommy say this is Christmas vacation! DOES THIS MEAN WE’RE GOING BACK TO TURKS & CAICOS?!?!?
Ben, 4: Turks & Caicos. I love that place.
My son only loves 3 things: trains, cats, and mozzarella cheese. To add another thing to that list made my heart soar. Explaining to my kids that ‘Christmas vacation’ just meant they were off of school, not jetting back to Turks & Caicos, was a tough one. If you’ve ever considered visiting, you’ll want to read this post. We can not wait to go back.
While those are the most popular posts this year, there’s one BIG thing that completely changed my life. In April this year I started using essential oils to help my family’s health and wellness after hearing the incredible testimonials from my friend Darlene. That single decision has given me my life back. I lived with chronic pain silently for years, and now… well, the proof is in the spring in my step and smile on my face. My kids beg for the oils each night, they love them as much as I do (and having their mom feeling great is not too shabby, either). Not only that, but the paycheck I’m getting each month is so, so sweet! Since I started in April, my downline now has over 150 members and growing each day– just by sharing these oils from my heart. I’ve not only been able to help myself but bless my friends too! Of all the incredible things that happened this year, Young Living is at the top. Happy, healthy, helping others, AND a fat check each month? Ahhhhh!
If you’ve ever considered getting started with essential oils, let’s chat! I have an incredible special right now through January 1st to help you become part of my Young Living family. I’ve love to help change YOUR life for the better, like my friend Darlene did for me.
My friends Jenna from Jenna Burger Designs and Jessica from Decor Adventures are co-hosting a Best of 2014 Link-Up, and we’d love to hear about your year too! Link up your ‘best of ‘ posts right here, and hop around and visit a few too.
Ready to party like its…. 2015? Link up your end-of-year posts here and join us!