Well, the new year is definitely under way now! I hope the first week treated you well, and transitioning back to life as usual was a smooth one. I’ve been recapping the most popular projects and posts of last year…and there were a lot of them (over 200!). But what made 2017 so unbelievably special was you…and the experiences and opportunities that came from your support, readership, comments, and genuine enthusiasm and encouragement.
While I tend to always be pushing forward, it’s important for me to slow down and fully acknowledge the blessings in my life…both big and small…so I can truly express my gratitude. In a world of endless To Do Lists, it’s easy for me to lose sight of what I’ve accomplished, so I hope you’ll indulge me one last recap post of 2017, sharing my personal highlights.
I always hesitate to write this post because it feels so horn-tooting, but this blog is not only a space to share my creative ideas, but also my own personal scrapbook and life’s chronicle.
So this post is a combination of my own personal highlights from 2017, as well as the projects you made popular…along with some geeky by-the-numbers stuff. Basically all the stuff that made 2017 grand for me, my family, and this little blog, all in one spot! If we don’t share DNA, you might want to skip it!
*Recognitions & Opportunities*
I’m constantly amazed by the experiences and opportunities that come my way because of blogging. To me, I’m just sharing thoughts and ideas with friends on the internet everyday, so I’m beyond flattered when it leads to things like filming videos with my daughter or speaking at a press event!
My Master Closet Makeover graced the pages of HGTV Magazine (and many more!) as The Container Store’s new full-page ad! I guess they were just as happy with the newly-organized space as us.
I had the fun opportunity to appear on Good Morning Texas as a guest and connoisseur of Barrington Gifts. I’ve done video on several occasions, but live television is a completely different beast!! There’s no starting over, or really even a chance to practice! It was a fun experience though, and I learned just how fast four minutes flies by! You can watch our segment here.
I spent a whirlwind three days in New York City as a guest of HomeGoods…presenting my tips for transforming outdoor spaces to about 40 magazine editors! Definitely a surreal experience.
I was thrilled to be a speaker at the Bloom Workshop when it came to the Dallas area, and have the chance to meet some of you face-to-face! Blogging is my passion, and I’m always happy to answer questions and share what I’ve learned.
I made two guest appearances on John and Sherry’s very fun, very entertaining podcast! We chatted about being bold and colorful in design, and I tried with all my might to sound like I knew what I was talking about! In true Young House Love style, the podcast is really well done, and all the episodes are excellent listens. Check out No. 43 to hear me babbling (I start around the 15-minute mark), and again in their Why We Stopped Sharing Our Kids on the Internet podcast.
Most days I’m tucked behind a computer, or a silent voice in photographs, so it was a totally different experience to step in front of a video camera all day with JCPenney. I recorded over 30 videos with no script, just hamming it up and ad-libbing about many of their best products. And let me tell you, it was not easy!! But I loved the chance to do something different, push myself outside of comfort zones, and work with a stellar brand.
Frog Tape invited me to participate in their Makeover Challenge, where six bloggers had three weeks to transform a space. We barely made the deadline, but are thrilled with the outcome, but more importantly, loved helping to raise awareness for the Alzheimers Foundation, a cause that means so much to our family.
Better Homes & Gardens named me a Stylemaker, and invited me to New York for an exciting day of learning and sharing. Plus, I got to spend time with some of my favorite fellow bloggers friends.
Since I think of you all as friends, I’m very choosy when it comes to recommending brands and products, and only collaborate with those I’d genuinely pass along to my mom or best friend. I know sponsored content is not always a reader-favorite, so I work extra hard to make those posts just as original and credible as non-sponsored content. I was honored to partner with these stellar brands last year.
*Stand-Out Personal & Family Moments*
Between getting his braces off, a drivers license, and college prep, it’s safe to say our darling son is spreading his wings, and our years with him at home are dwindling. #sob As hard as it is to see him grow up, we couldn’t be more proud of the young man he’s becoming. I know the next few years will be so precious, and I’m excited for each new moment and experience. (Find a copy of our New Driver Contract here.)
Little Miss graduated to Middle School, and has blossomed in school theater and choir. She had her first solo recital just before Christmas, and hearing her precious voice sing out with such confidence and clarity brought me to my knees. (I begged her to let me share it on my Instagram Story, but she said no. #wompwomp) She’s so sure of herself and the kind of person she wants to be, I’m amazed she’s my kid!
Mr. SP had a milestone birthday and we celebrated in Sedona. He gives so much to others, it was wonderful to shower him with love and attention for a bit. I may be the sensible, organized one, but he’s truly the rock of our family.
One of my favorite days ever, was sharing what I do with my darling girl. JCPenney invited me to share my take on current trends, and how to adapt them for both Mom and daughter. I jumped at the chance to work with my Little Miss, and it was a day we’ll always remember. It’s such a gift to have the video to remember this time in our lives. I can’t help but think someday she’ll watch it with her own kids, and know just how much her mama loves her. See the full video here.
Our annual family vacation is always a highlight, especially when it’s with one of our favorite families!
As was our family road trip through National Parks. It’s amazing what kids will tell you when trapped in the car for hours at a time!
Every moment of cruising through Scandinavia with my Mr. SP and our dear friends was a dream-come-true, and we never stopped pinching ourselves!
This Blogger Conference was really more of an excuse for a girl’s trip with my favorite blogger friends, and one of the most fun weekends of my year.
A major highlight for all of us was adding a new family member, Mollie. She’s stolen all our hearts!
We ended the year with sadness when we lost my dad. And even though this is a post of highlights, losing him is too poignant to not include.
My favorite part of blogging is the interactions with you. Every time I hit ‘publish’ on a post, I’m excited to see what you think, and am always blown away by your kindness. So I’m not surprised that the posts with the largest response are those most personal to me and my family. Losing my Dad, sharing my One Word, celebrating seven years of Hi Sugarplum, our new puppy, and the video shoot with my daughter drew the most comments, along with our Master Closet and Make-Up Tips. I can’t thank you enough for sharing in our joys, supporting me through the sorrows, and celebrating all the silly in-between.
Some posts take on a life of their own, and I really have no idea why one project resonates more than another…but these posts (along with the most commented ones) received more views than any others in 2017. And according to pageviews, Dressing Room Diaries and Sugarplum Style are the most popular of my regular series posts, and Shop My Insta is the most popular page.
And how can I forget launching my brand new site? It only took me six years, but I finally own my own domain and site!
It’s fun for me to see who you are, and where you’re coming from, according to Google Analytics:
All that’s to say, the majority of the amazing opportunities that come my way are because of you, darling readers…I know without your support, enthusiasm, kindness, and interactions, none of this would be possible. I can’t thank you enough for popping in every day, week, month, or leap year…whenever it is, I’m thrilled you stopped by! Even the lurkers…I know you’re there!
I know this post was a lot of toot-tooting my own horn, so thank you for indulging me. God has blessed me more than I could have ever imagined, and I’m beyond humbled by your friendship, support, and kind words. With all my heart, thank you.
Your encouragement makes me excited to continue creating and sharing what I love so much. I pray 2018 is your best yet, lovebugs!