Hi Friends! I can hardly believe 2017 is drawing to a close! For me, its been almost a year since I started this blog! Its been so much fun, and I am constantly learning something new about this adventure!
I wanted to look back this past year at some of the highlights from this blog, and share some of the posts that were personal favorites as well as some that received a little more attention from people such as you who have checked in to see what is going on.
So lets look back at some of the highlights if you will humor me. Starting with my first real post. It was January 7, 2017. It was my intro to the world. If you could have felt my nervousness at hitting that “Publish” button for the first time! (Yes, there really is a button that says “Publish”)
January was such a victorious albeit tumultuous month! We had literally worked, researched and planned for “how to write a blog” for over a year in advance. My husband Troy, my sons, my dear friends Kaleigh and Alex, my dear friend Maribeth, my brothers and sisters, my parents… and so many other friends and family all listening to me say things like “Soon the blog will be up and running” and in the background, working feverishly hours and hours with my friends Kaleigh and Alex overcoming technical hurdles. It is really like climbing a mountain… only to find at the top that there is another mountain and another and another to follow. This next image was the first real slice of life I included about myself. It was a post about my dreams for the blog, and an encouragement about New Years Resolutions. You can read that post here.
The next week I included this post about my adventure with my son Jake, when he took me kayaking for my first time! It was such a thrill! You can read about it here.
February included a couple photo shoots with my friend Kaleigh. In the photo below, this was my first ever moto jacket. If you have never tried one on, you really should at least go into a store and just slip one on and look in the mirror! Kaleigh was with me when I bought this one. It was at a TJ Maxx I think. I remember that feeling “Do I have the right stuff to wear this jacket? Its kind of out of my comfort zone… but I think I like it!” I think it was $30 and it was my new super fun jacket I wore all last winter! I also talked about my first time out on the Zumba! floor with my friend Judy. You can read about that edition here:
March brought more fashion. This first pic, with me in the longer duster, this was a really fun purchase. I had never bought anything quite like this. It was a super long hooded sweater, with sort of a fuzzy eyelash fabric with an interesting design. My sister and her niece from Germany were shopping with me and I walked past the rack and did a double take. But the reason I include it in this collection is that it was the first image included on my Instagram account that took a significant step forward in “likes” by people. Maybe it was the nice park setting or maybe people just like the novelty of the sweater. You can read that edition here:
This was a few weeks later, and its another image/outfit that seemed to resonate well with readers. It was a tuxedo vest and long white blouse. But I think what resonated so well was the black pin at the neckline. Pins are not as common, so it kind of stood out. You can read about that edition here:
The end of March and the beginning of April brought the addition of Stella & Dot to my life. Once again, lots of new waters to navigate. I loved the jewelry and Stella & Dot make it easy to go at your own pace. It was a great fit! Jake took the pic below. I was amazed at his creativity in choosing the angle and perspective for this shot. You can read about it here:
April also brought another first in my life. My first 5k. My sister Stacey encouraged me to give it a go, so I did! It was quite an adventure, and we were blessed with great weather! You can read about it here:
April ended with one of my all time favorite photo shoots in Ann Arbor. Troy took these photos. You can read about it here:
May brought another great addition in my life, working with my friend Vivi Sexauer. I was able to share her story and I delighted in every moment I got to spend with her which was such a blessing! Vivi makes gorgeous hand made jewelry and art, and I have asked her to design pieces for specific outfits for me on several occasions. This was another very popular post. You can read about her story here:
The end of May brought my beginning of “Tasty Tuesdays” on a regular basis, with a recipe a week and the gorgeous photos of my friend Maribeth Schmidt. I need to do a rewind on the Tasty Tuesdays, as well but I will do that as we get closer to that anniversary end of May and early June.
June brought the green of summer and lots of opportunities for outdoor photos. This photo below is another one that received positive feedback. You can read about it here:
June also brought a family milestone, my nephew Jonny’s graduation. Graduations are always so important in a young person’s life, but this was especially sweet because my parents and all 5 of my siblings made it to this event from all over the country. While not all the grandkids are in the pic below, all my siblings and parents and myself are in here.
The next day, some of the gals went shopping… another one of my highlights this past year! You can read about this here:
July holds so many special things in our family including my anniversary, and this was one of my all time favorite photo shoots. I don’t get dressed up like this well, hardly ever! It was really a treat! You can read about it here:
In that same edition, Jake my son took me to a local park area that had nature and graffiti… he loves this place and he took me here for a photo shoot. That was a special moment for me.
July also included the big Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and my pics and info I gleaned from being right there on the front lines! You can read about my first review of the sale here: Its amazing how much that sale captures what you will see all fall and winter… and its in the middle of July with temps in the 90’s!
August brought another really fun discovery, my first time at a sunflower field! It was a beautiful day! You can read about it here:
And another very popular August outfit with bell sleeves (which were everywhere this past fall) you can read about it here:
In September we did a debut with my sister Stacey in some gorgeous outfits photographed by her husband Matt and included their gorgeous car, the 1940 Lincoln Zephyr Convertible Coupe. We did this 3 separate weeks, this particular photo (with her in red, my favorite color!) you can read about here:
September also brought a little getaway for my family, and I wanted to include this photo of my sons Jake and Shane from that trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes. Great memories!
And a few more popular outfits from September you can read about here:
And these were two of my faves of the fall, also in September. You can read about them here:
And then October came! Oh did October deliver! I was included in an amazing campaign called “Bridging the Gap” put out by an ever growing group organized by Catherine Grace O’Connell called “Forever Fierce”. Catherine is so kind and authentic and she is a fighter passionate to bring the light of kindness and love in every corner of the world, with a personal emphasis on women over 40! The campaign paired up a person in their 20’s with someone over 40 to establish relationship and collaborate ideas in an effort to build new bridges across the generations. With the help of the incredibly kind and witty Jodie Filogomo (Jodie’s Touch of Style is her blog) I was assigned one of the most fascinating women I’ve ever met, Jacynth Bassett, who lives in London. She is the owner of a clothing company called The-Bias-Cut.com. We skyped and emailed and text and it was such an incredible blessing! She is one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met, a warrior trying to knock down walls that isolate any woman of any age from being offered opportunities especially in the world of fashion. One of my favorite quotes of hers is “No woman is invisible or irrelevant.” You can read about this collaboration here:
And October also brought the fulfillment of a lifelong dream! My first ever girls getaway! This involved both of my sisters, and a few of my nieces. We went to Chicago! I wish I could bottle that fun and share it with you through the internet! You can read about it here:
My sisters Stacey, Susan and I at our first ever Bloomingdales shopping trip!
November was yet another amazing month bringing my first ever trip to the Big Apple! My friend and sister-in-law Hannah and I went to NYC, the first time for both of us! It was an amazing trip! You can read about it here:
In November I also did a story on Black Friday deals, as well as talking about my dear parents. This photo was one of the most popular and well received of any photo of the year… it is #1 in my heart! I am so thankful for my mom and dad!
And up to December… this month! What a blessing it has been! I included a first ever Weekend Edition on Not Just Surviving but Thriving this Holiday Season. I interviewed my friend Kelly Stott of Thrived Living, and she shared great health tips and recipes to truly enjoy the season. From a fashion standpoint, I included a few fashion ideas that were well received.
Animal print was huge this year!
Cardigans of all kinds were having a moment.
Buffalo plaid has been showing up everywhere.
Definitely a crowd favorite was this one, the faux leopard coat, faux fur has been just about everywhere. You can read about it here:
I have been so blessed this year to be able to take this journey! I am having an absolute blast! I am thankful to so many who have helped me. Many thanks to Jo-Lynne Shane, who’s blog and words have set the bar for me and given me inspiration and help in so many ways!
My sisters Stacey and Susan who are always full of fantastic ideas and encouragement even when I text them from a dressing room (yes… this happens), my husband Troy who is so patient and encouraging, my sons Shane and Jake, my mom and dad (they read every post!), my friend Maribeth (food photographer extraordinaire) my friends Kaleigh and Alex who have literally been there from the get go and I will text them immediately every week when I hit “Publish” (including today) as they help make sure I am on track from a technical standpoint where I need to be in so many ways… my faithful bloggy doggy Kasey… I love her to pieces!
And you, my friends… you are my heart and soul… and I am so thankful for your words of encouragement, for every time you read or open or mention or think of me and this blog. My heart is to encourage you. I use fashion and food because they are delightful things to think and chat about, but my heart is to simply encourage you and myself to get out there and live a life that is full and fun and to share it together! And I am so grateful to God who saw fit to put all of us on this earth together at this time. What a blessing!
Happy New Year my friend!
I’ll be back next week for a Tasty Tuesday, and to take us on new adventures all through 2018!
May the road rise up to meet you, May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields, And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand. The Irish Blessing, ~Author Unknown
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