State of the Blog 2017– What A Wild Ride!

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Each time I begin this post, Adele’s ‘Hello’ song starts coming out instead. Which indicates either the amount of cabin fever I’m experiencing or maybe it’s the champagne from New Year’s Eve still coursing through my veins. So if I randomly break into song and say things like “Helllllloooooooo, it’s me” please remember it’s been a very long year and humor me by nodding your head and perhaps rubbing my back a little too.

One of my favorite posts from last year was the State of the Blog 2016 round-up, and as I sit down to write a new one today I’m in awe of what a wild ride this year has been. Last January, I shared my big huge goals for the new year. A month later, we learned we could move to North Carolina and our formerly routine-driven world was totally rocked! Here I thought I had our year all planned out, and the blog was having it’s most successful year yet.  Then we did the craziest thing I can think of– put our house on the market, sold it in 6 days, had a quick closing, and packed the family up and put all our possessions in storage and moved into temporary housing in NC while we built a new house. To most people, that doesn’t sound crazy. To my husband and I, that’s about the most impulsive thing we’ve ever done and are truly suffering the consequences (both good and bad) at the moment!

kids activities in north carolina

I’m sure you’re wondering about that house, our dream home. I shared all about what our needs, wants, and ‘musts’ were and how to maximize your budget when building. I keep writing and deleting the next sentence, so please forgive me when I say some things are going on and I’ll update you as soon as I can. I’ve decorated each room in my mind, sketched out a million DIY projects and have the most amazing collaborations lined up. I really hope we can move forward, but there’s an issue with our builder and my fingers are crossed we can resolve what is feeling pretty un-resolvable right now. I’m attempting to make lemonade when really I just want to throw a dozen lemons and perhaps scream some choice words right about now. 😉

Things are going to work out. They usually do, right? It’s just very hard to let go when the number one requirement we had for our dream home is not going to happen. Ugh.

YEAR IN REVIEW

Aside from the whole ‘selling a house and moving to a new state’ thing, this was definitely a year of highs and lows. My kids were heartbroken to leave Pennsylvania, and the burden of guilt was solidly on my shoulders since this was partially my decision. Thankfully they found a new school to love, and I’ve made some amazing friends here already! We absolutely LOVE the area and everyone has been kind and welcoming. It’s a whole new world to have actual conversations with strangers that often then end up being friends. People look out for each other here. I thought we wouldn’t have a safety net being so far from family but turns out everyone takes care of each other around these parts, and it feels so darn good.

Since we live near some great trails, we all got bikes and have been able to ride them even in December (mind-blowing for someone who grew up near Boston!) The kids have also been active in sports… Abby tried her hand at basketball, Ben finally got the hang of soccer, and Abby is trying taekwondo. She calls this her ‘ninja outfit’. I’m pretty sure that’s not an actual pose but she’s only had one class and was so excited to be a ninja she didn’t want to take the uniform off.

kids karate martial arts

As for the rest of the 2016 rollercoaster:

  • The good: This was the year I jumped from part time to full time blogging since both kids are in school during the day. Even with all the changes, I was able to make it work. I had to toss about 80% of my plans, but the 20% I did accomplish went well and I was able to make a full time income. Like 2015, my post frequency was less than I’d hoped but such is life. There will always be more I can do on the blog, but I’d rather put that effort into my kids because time with them is something you don’t get back. At the end of the day, I may be working until midnight but I do feel blessed to call this blog my job and I owe it all to everyone reading these words right now. Please know I’m beyond grateful for all of you, even if I’m terrible about answering emails!
  • The bad: A few days after we moved in July, my computer crashed. This is a nightmare for anyone, let alone a blogger! It took 3 months (at about 20 hours a week) and a new computer to restore everything. I’m SO SO SO thankful it was all backed up to Carbonite, but due to the sheer volume of data it was difficult to restore. In the end, I had to get a new computer to get it all back but if I’d lost those 30,000 photos I would have been devastated. I’ve only snapped about 20 photos with my ‘real’ camera since July due to the computer issues, so that’s something I’m looking forward to doing more in 2017!
  • More good: Travel wise, we have been checking out everything NC has to offer from the mountains to the shore. We spent a week in OBX in the summer and again over Thanksgiving, drastically different weather but relaxing all the same. We enjoyed visiting Boone and mining for treasures. I was also able to visit Young Living’s lavender farm in Mona, Utah, as a reward for being a Silver leader. A few fellow DIY blogging friends were also there, and it was a blast to take in the incredible vistas of Utah and experience the majesty of it all with my buddies. Seeing the essential oil distillation process from the time seeds are planted to the time they bottle the oils was amazing. Promise me you won’t use grocery store oils, pretty please? NOTHING is as pure as these oils, and it does my heart good to see exactly where they come from and meet those who distill them.

young living lavender farm, mona, utah-- so gorgeous! No wonder their oils are so pure!

  • Even more good stuff: I traveled to the Haven conference in August and Charleston in November, both much needed breaks and enjoyed immensely! It will be interesting to see where we go in 2017. I’d love to visit Turks & Caicos again, take the kids to DisneyWorld, and perhaps embark on an epic trek down the California coast so my kids can see everything from the northern beaches down to LA. We will most likely stay put and work on the house instead because that’s quite a big expense, but who knows? I’m not counting anything out this year!

charleston houses

  • Low: In 2016 I completely and totally failed as a fashion blogger. My goal was to add in more fashion posts, and readers responded to them wonderfully and you guys were buying the clothes, which is affirming! However, I quickly realized that dressing up every day, doing my makeup, posing, getting my husband to photograph me, editing photos, and getting them posted while the clothes are still in stock is not in my wheelhouse. Perhaps when we’re in a house and I have a nice background it will work, but in the apartment when we’re living on top of each other is not the place to launch a fashion blogging career. 🙂
  • Low that was a GOOD thing: Another fail? My goal of publishing two e-books. This has been a dream of mine forever but with the move it didn’t happen. Something else interesting DID happen, though. Drumroll please… I’ve signed a contract with a Adams Media to write a book on organizing, due out at the end of the year! More details as soon as I’m allowed to share them!!!
  • Highlight: decluttering my entire home. I bet you thought I forgot about the KonMari Method I so gleefully started last year. Far from it! Truthfully, I was so busy KonMari-ing my home I didn’t have time to blog about it. Then my computer crashed so I didn’t have access to my photos. But I can honestly say we got rid of at least 50% of our ‘stuff’. This method is magical, people. I do have plans to finish what I started in 2017! Pinky swear!
  • Another YAY!: My Young Living business has been such a pleasant surprise! Never in a million years did I EVER think I would do such a thing. But my passion for sharing them ended up giving me a paycheck I just can’t ignore, so being PAID to share them seems insane to me. I’d share for free! Instead, Young Living says thank you with a sweet check. I’m a Silver leader now and as you can see from this income disclosure that means a lot of freedom (keep in mind those averages are PER MONTH!) The best part is watching the oils change people’s lives. I’ve witnessed some miracles, and that has been absolutely priceless.
  • Last but not least… I’ve eaten shrimp and grits at no less than seven different restaurants and counting. I’m taking one for the team (and my waistline) in my quest to find the best version. The search continues!

shrimp and grits

HOPES AND DREAMS FOR 2017

Well, this is silly. Since 2016 veered way off track from my plans last year, it seems futile to plot out anything at the moment. But planner I am, so here goes:

  • Publish a book. Since I’m under contract, I’m pretty sure this is going to happen. 😉 More deets coming soon!
  • Move into a house. I’m really hoping it’s the same one we’re currently building.
  • Higher post frequency. As usual, my editorial calendar is packed way fuller than there are hours in a day. With a book deadline looming and house move a’comin, I do have a plan to keep helpful content coming your way even when things get personally busy. What would you like to see? More videos? Organizing tips, cleaning ideas, DIY projects, recipes? Tell me what you’d like and I’ll make it happen.
  • Blog facelift. Making Lemonade had a big redesign last year, and now it’s time to tweak it. Fix up the galleries to make content easier to find, and make it more neutral in color so it’s easier to read and achieves a more sophisticated look. Plus I’ve never posted my house tour, and now I’ll (hopefully) have two to share. I have lots of ‘backend’ work to do, which makes me giggle. Because I also need to work on my actual backend. I’ve been taking classes at a pilates studio and don’t know where it’s been all my life but my backend thanks it!
  • I’m truly hoping I can break out the paint brushes, drill and tile saw VERY soon. I have design boards and room plans to share, and knowing that I could do a project and turn around and post it here has me giddy. I can’t wait for that to happen again, working on our house and sharing ideas and tutorials as we go. Now, we just need to get in there!

Wow that was a lot of words.

Maybe my goal for 2017 should be less words?

I will try.

Yes.

There you go. 😉

outer banks for thanksgiving

May 2017 be full of blessings for you. What was your highlight of 2016? What are your hopes and dreams for the new year? Any fails so we can commiserate together?

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15 Comments

  1. Your ninja girl….be still my heart!!!?
    Great post! Good things are coming in 2017…you deserve it!!!

    1. Thank you! Ninja Girl can’t wait to visit CLT, and I’d better comply, or else she’ll ninja me. 🙂

  2. Your readers also look forward to see your posts about your upcoming projects! Having made a cross country move recently (our first load of furniture and boxes from the east coast) is arriving today and so many of your pointers were either ones I had thought of myself or learned from your experience. Thanks for all of the guidance… I wish I had downsized and sold/gave away/ tossed far more stuff than I did before the move…. one place where I should have really listened to you and done things much differently. Can’t wait to see your new digs and the projects you’ve come up with for decorating!

    1. This is great input, thank you Cathy! And it’s never too late to get rid of things. I plan to do a lot more decluttering as I unpack. Living with most of our possessions in storage for 9 months has a way of making me realize the stuff just isn’t that important! Good luck with the rest of the move! <3

      1. Our stuff has been in storage for over two years while we tried to sell the house. We came to California with a couple of suitcases of clothing, expecting our home to sell quickly. And we couldn’t move anything until the house sold and we bought or rented another house. The State gave us a furnished apartment (an incentive to get us to relocate here) but three months after he moved out, the apartment was destroyed in an earthquake (August 2014). That forced us to find our own rental apartment with none of our things nor any funds to bring our things out. The home finally sold, and half of our things arrived this week. It was pure joy to see the things that mean so much, things we love, favorite clothing, some of our china, my husband’s favorite chair. Yes, we’ll down size a bit more but I’m glad we didn’t simply sell everything off with a plan to buy “new” out here.

  3. Cute kids! Your plan to spend more time with them and travel with them is spot on – coming from me who’s not travelled too much either alone or with her kids .. but I always wanted to take them to Disneyland. Now they’re 21 and 18, so travelling with mom is not so much on their radar. My plans for 2017 are to just have a great year and hopefully do some sort of trip this summer, with at least one of them. I have decluttering work to do in a big way, plus a bathroom reno. Sounds like fun huh?!

    1. I’m one of those weirdos to whom decluttering and a bathroom reno actually sounds like great fun! It’ll be a lot of work but you are going to love the results. I hope 2017 is a great year for you and you get to do a trip with at least one of your ‘kids’!

  4. Great update!

    I lived in the Carolinas for 4 years and would love to go back. People are so genuine and nice. I’m glad you’re getting to know some lovely people.

    My favorite posts are organizing, projects and how to use essential oils around the house (like the DIY carpet powder or room freshener spray). I like fashion, but it’s not the top of my priority list. I need quick wins so the posts that I ldon’t be are info I can knock out in a day or even better, a few hours.

    Thank you so much for everything.

    1. This is such great input, thanks Theresa! I plan to do a lot more household and essential oil posts in the new year, since that’s my true love as well. Thanks for being such a loyal reader and I hope I can live up to your expectations in the new year!

  5. Congrats on the book deal! best wishes for you. Something to keep your mind busy while you (hopefully) resolve the house thing very, very soon!

    1. Thanks Darla! I may be calling you for a consult since the topic of the book is your area of expertise! It’s definitely going to keep me busy, but I could not turn it down no matter how crazy life is right now. Miss you!

  6. Congratulations on the book deal! So sorry to hear about the troubles with your house; I hope things work out in the end.

    1. Thank you! I hope it works out too, the house itself is beautiful and we’ve watched it being built every day since August so it would be super sad to walk away. Fingers crossed!

  7. What a year, Carrie. Congrats on moving, going full-time and the book deal (what?!?). Wow, that computer crash sounds miserable. I´m glad that you recovered gracefully.

    Thanks for sharing the downs too and don´t worry—you´ll always be a fashionista in my book.

    Enjoy your time with those gorgeous loving children. Happy New Year!

    1. Denine! I know, I’ve been so busy working on the book I haven’t really announced it to friends yet. 🙂 Thanks for the endorsement of my fashion, I need to get a lesson from a European though. 😉 I hope you are enjoying the new year and your pictures of your family enjoying life make me melt!

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