An Uncomplicated Life Blog

Thursday, December 14, 2017

2017 In Review

Looking back at the wins and loses of 2017 for An Uncomplicated Life Blog

I see so many people saying they can't wait to see whatever the current year is in the rear view mirror. Facebook is full of those memes. Know the ones I'm talking about? I don't get those. Frankly, nothing is going to be different about the next year unless you make different choices, and why wait for a whole new year for that to happen? I can only think of one year that was really awful that I'd post a meme like that for... 10 years ago - 2007. And guess what? It stayed awful through August of 2008 when I made a different life choice (moved to the east coast for grad school) and magically got so much happier! Look at me, I'm being a negative Nancy in my intro paragraph to this post. 2017 was a great year for me and for my blog. Let's look back at how the year went down, shall we?


I chose JOY as my word of the year for 2017. I think there was definitely a ton of JOY! Otto got older and outgrew his RSV. From 4 months old to about 14 months old, he was sick every third week or so because of that virus. Fortunately he outgrew it or the virus ran it's course by about the time he started preschool in January. That was another thing that brought everyone joy - preschool! I got time during the week to work. While we have a wonderful part time nanny, there's something different about having the house all to yourself. It's so much easier to take photos and write in a quiet house! Both boys LOVE going to school. Henry has learned how to spell his name and the alphabet and Otto's vocabulary has exploded since starting school.

My blog brought me a ton of joy, too. I was able to work on some really exciting projects with brands I actually care about. I didn't do any pitching and still managed to reach the former income per month I was making while in the traditional 9-5 workforce in October and November. December I purposely slowed things down, because I take a two week break. Seeing this blog grow in page views and on social media has brought a ton of joy to me!

Personally, I started reading more which was joyous. Cutting down on screen time, whether it's social media or TV watching, has been awesome! Instead of watching dumb reality TV that robs my IQ points, I've begun reading at night. My sleep and brain have improved because of it.

Finally, 2017 saw my biggest travel year since having kids. I went to Richmond, VA twice to visit a bestie in a snow storm, then be a bridesmaid in her wedding. Hubs and I escaped off to Santa Fe for a wonderful long weekend getaway for his 40th birthday. I went to Wanderlust in Snowshoe, WV which was not only amazing, it crossed off another state I hadn't visited yet, leaving only two left on my list (Arizona and Oregon, if you're wondering). We took our annual family trip to my parents lake home in Wisconsin to escape the Texas heat in August. Hubs and I took a long weekend to Boston and then up to Salem for my birthday in October where we did all things Halloween. I may have forgotten one, but phew! That's pretty amazing for having two kids aged three and under.

Me at Wanderlust in Snowshoe, WV in June. Flying Pigeon post on the side of a mountain!


The thing that blew my mind about my blog this year was my recognition from brands as being an awesome FOOD blogger. In every other year, I made the most money from "mom blog" type posts, but this year it was neck and neck for "mom blogging" and food blogging/recipe creation. Let me tell you something guys: Food photography is SO challenging. It's like the photograph just instantly makes your food look horrible! I give serious props to all the constant food bloggers out there, because filming it as you go makes the recipe take 3X as long and then styling the food at the end is absolutely infuriating. It's far easier to capture a great photo of my squiggly toddlers than it is to make a dish look as good in a photo as it does in person.

Grilled Chicken Marinade
Zesty Summer Hummus
Pasta salad
Halloween cookie sandwiches
Tart cherry, pistachio and dark chocolate biscotti
Easy holiday party appetizer
Roasted root veggie pasta
Thanksgiving Appetizer
This is just a small handful of the recipes posted here! Follow along for all the great, hwhole foods and healthy based recipes I post

Social media grew, with the exception of Twitter, which remained stagnant. Anyone else kinda over Twitter? In 2014 and 2015 I participated in all kinds of Twitter chats and loved it and since then, Twitter just seems like the thing you schedule ahead because one "should" have a presence there. Pinterest saw a 25% growth which was super cool because I did nothing to intentionally expand it. Facebook grew quite a bit too, but more importantly than more followers, my organic reach exploded! It's so nice to not have to pay to boost posts. And Instagram... Oh, Insta. Stories became "the thing" this year and sooooooo many people tell me my stories are hilarious. I really enjoy making them, too. But Instagram as a whole is my least favorite platform. I could be on it literally all day, it's so much work. I stopped doing things to intentionally expand it - in part because the algorithm nullified most marketing strategies - and lost about 2500 followers this year. Oh well. I'm excited to see what 2018 brings for Instagram because SO MANY PEOPLE are over it. They're over likeittoknowit and over "swiping up" to buy from affiliate links so I'm looking forward to see how Instagram morphs to adapt to new attitudes.

DIYs with essential oils continue to be a favorite
Along with the good comes the bad, right? In June, Young Living came crashing down on me for some oils posts I had. All of these posts were my most popular, and my most repinned pins. Basically, they carried my page views! Subsequently I took all mention of Young Living off my blog, removed their brand from those posts and re-photographed them. But I had to take the posts down while I was doing all that, and my page views TANKED over the summer. They were cut by 66% level tank! Oh, that was rough. However, I did a Facebook live about my feelings on it, and got about 300 new followers from that video, so that was a silver lining.

Most popular posts of 2017:
How Blogging Is Like A High School Lunchroom
Spring Breeze Room Spray
Fall Room Spray (y'all like the room sprays, huh?!)
Thanksgiving Appetizer
Bath Salts Ornament

It looks like y'all like recipes, DIYs with essential oils and my op-ed pieces. Which is perfect, because those are my favorite things to blog about! I'm pretty pumped for 2018, which will be my 4th year blogging. There's already some super exciting personal things developing which I can't wait to share, and I'm exciting to see where this blog goes.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Currently December 2017 Edition

What I'm thinking, feeling and doing in the month of December

You don't have to tell me; I already know. There was a ton of sponsored content on here and it was all grouped together. Like bam bam bam, I'm just shooting sponsored work at you. As hard as I tried to craft a well rounded editorial calendar that brought you a ton of create, diverse content, it was like every deadline I was on got changed last minute and brands held content for draft approval longer than anticipated. Such is the life of a blogger just trying to get those bills paid, know what I mean? So let's take today and just catch up, currently style. Here's what I'm thinking, feeling and doing this December. Some links may be affiliate. Currently, I'm:

Reading: Anything by Liane Moriarty. Big Little Lies and Truly Madly Guilty were fantastic reads, and I just ordered The Husband's Secret off Amazon. It was a personal goal to get back into reading this year, and I'm proud to say I accomplished it! Prior to 2017, I think I read a half a book a year. This year I've polished off six! Which is still peanuts to the average reader, but a huge leap for me and impressive given my time constraints with kids, working part time and a traveling husband.

Used this pic for our annual Christmas card, because even though it's "fall" and not "Christmas" it was my favorite pic I took all year!

Watching: Not much! It's like it's dead season for good tv, no? I'll be reading until all my fave shows come back this spring (Handmaid's Tale comes back in April, and tons come back this summer!) with the exception of the Olympics. I'll probably watch those.

Eating: Everything. My weight it five pounds out of the heaviest end of my normal range and I need to pull it together! I'm eating lunch out a ton - almost every day during the week. That's a problem. But I look at it like it's my break in the day since my hubby is traveling so much this month and I'm on the clock with them all night long... Ah, excuses. Pull it together Paige. If only tacos weren't so damn good.

Consumed too many of these over the holidays. Oops.

Loving: Several things! 1) Practicing yoga 4-5 times a week 2) Carly Jean Los Angles for comfy but cute clothes (y'all I've ACTUALLY been shopping recently! Who even am I?! FYI, their shipping takes foreverrrrrr) 3) Cutting out all wine during the week - I'm sleeping SO much better, and my complexion looks better too. Not as poofy. I'm even considering cutting out all alcohol, even on the weekends... Is this what life looks like in your 30's? Alcohol is just no longer fun and worth it? Man, aging is a literal buzzkill. 

Hating: I'll tell you what, the latest iPhone update is for the birds. Drains your batteries like crazy, makes my phone get super hot, and apps just randomly shut down regularly. C'mon Apple, Steve Jobs is rolling over in his grave with this crap!

Looking forward to: It goes without saying, but Christmas. Halloween is still my favorite holiday by a long shot, but seeing the looks on my kids' faces during Christmas - whether it's driving my Christmas lights or looking at our own tree or meeting Santa - is just precious and priceless.

Dreading: The January gym rush. UGHHHHHHHHHH!!! Why do people sign up for a gym, tell themselves that "this is their year" to get into shape, go for a month then ghost out? Drives us regulars nuts. I'm bracing myself for this tomfoolery now. If you follow me on Instagram Stories, you also know I'm dreading putting together Otto's birthday present - this guy. It's going to be so fun when it's done though!

This guy turns two on December 18!

Blogging: Looking forward to my annual blog break the last two weeks in December! I'm figuring out dates now, but blogging slows way down for the holidays and I'm in need of some time off after how busy this fall was. A lot of other blogging gals I talk to feel the same way. I'll still be around on social media - just no posts planned for two weeks, exact dates TBD. I'll let y'all know though, and I'll be back for sure the first week of the new year.