Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Looking Back at 2016 + Plans for 2017 (PLUS a reader survey!!)

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Um... how are there only four days until 2017?! I know I say it a lot and everyone else says it a lot too but I legitimately cannot believe this year is so close to being over. It went so fast! With a lot of ups and some downs, it's been a pretty awesome year. This was my first "full" year blogging (I started mid January 2015) and the growth I've seen in my blog, myself and my attitude toward my blog have changed drastically. When I sat down to brainstorm for this post, I went back and read my 2015 year in review and I was actually surprised at the growth I saw in 2015; the way my blog has grown this year completely overtakes what I saw in my first year of blogging and it's been incredible. From the support of friends and family to the friendships I've made with bloggers to the engagement on blog posts that I couldn't have imagined, it's been *so* amazing and I can't wait for such growth to happen again (and more so - fingers crossed!) in 2017.

I'm also adding in my very first readers survey at the bottom of this post (thanks to Summer from Coffee With Summer for the inspiration to make a readers survey!)! I would so appreciate you taking just a minute or two to fill this out. It'd mean the world!! :)

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My top 10 posts of 2016:

Based on stats from Google Analytics, these 10 posts performed the best throughout this year; and some just so happen to be my very favorites!

1. 10 Ways to Decorate like Joanna Gaines - Ten things you need to do to decorate your home if you want to channel your inner Joanna Gaines. We all love Fixer Upper and I mean, who wouldn't?! Not only is this my best performing post of 2016, but it's my best performing post of all time. With over 123,000 pins on Pinterest, it's a pretty awesome feeling! I loved writing this post and I've been so excited to see so many others love it, too.

2. The Ultimate Guide to ShopStyle Collective - A full, in depth guide about how to use ShopStyle Collective. There's full tutorials, why I prefer it over rewardStyle and more!

3. How to Make Glitter Text in Photoshop - This was my first Photoshop tutorial and after making lots of fun and pretty glitter text and getting many questions, I shared a simple step-by-step tutorial on how to do it yourself.

4. 10 Beauty Products You Need Under $10 - Who doesn't love drugstore beauty buys? I rounded up my top ten picks that you can pick up at your local drugstore; each under $10. Some of these are *too* good.

5. Strawberry Lemon Prosecco Spritzer - This drink was on repeat all spring and summer in my house! It's delicious, fun to make and is made with some of the best prosecco I've ever had.

6. 5 Sephora Shopping Tips Every Beauty Lover Needs to Know - After finding out a ton of secrets to Sephora and becoming a VIB, I shared my top 5 tips that you need to know and be using during every Sephora shopping trip.

7. Packing Tips for International Travel - Before my trip to Italy this summer (please take me back!), I put together lots of packing tips to not break that pesky 50 pound TSA limit. There's also a fun way to create 9 different outfits with 12 clothing pieces/accessories. This was a huge help when I packed this summer!

8. Italian Gem: The Amalfi Coast Travel Guide - There's more to do in Italy than one could ever see. I got to see the entire Amalfi Coast, so in this post I shared a ton of tips for traveling the coast by car and the best spots to stop and see, eat at, shop at and more.

9. 10 Things I Wish I Knew in College - These 10 tips are hands down the top 10 things I *wish* I knew/that someone told me when I was still in college. I graduated in May, so sharing my expertise and what I learned from four long years of undergrad had to be shared.

10. 22 Life Lessons I've Learned in 22 Years - this year I turned 22! Numbers 7, 16, 19 and 22 are my tops and most important if you ask me. I loved writing this post and still read it every once in a while. :)

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Major milestones and highlights of 2016:

This year was great for me in more ways than one, and I even had some pretty major moments too. In May, I graduated my undergrad career with a B.S. in Business Management and Marketing. This was hands down my biggest accomplishment for obvious reasons, but honestly it felt so good. I worked SO incredibly hard to graduate on time but also to maintain a 3.6 GPA (which let me tell you - wasn't all that easy while running a blog!). My diploma is now the most expensive piece of paper I've ever laid my eyes on, ha! But it was of course well worth it and it's truly a huge weight off my shoulders to know I did it.

Making the decision to blog full time has been huge for me too. I never, ever have pictured myself in a 9-5 desk setting job. I don't like the idea of feeling trapped or glued to a 4x4 cubicle and I don't like the idea of having to wear dress pants and a blazer to a desk job each day. It's never been my cup of tea. In fact, I've gone back and forth about what I want to do probably close to 1,000 times since high school. But I now know that my passion when it comes to a job would be to sell/flip/design homes. I plan to get my real estate license soon and eventually go to design school to become an interior designer. But my blog will (hopefully - God willing!) always be a huge priority to me and with as much success as I've had in the past year, it's been a huge blessing. It's what I truly love to do, think about all day and all night and something that I don't ever get bored of. Being able to live off of doing what I love is an amazing opportunity that I will never take for granted!

Taking a three week trip to Italy this summer was probably the most exciting part of the year. I love nothing more than to travel so when I got the opportunity to go this summer, I didn't even think twice. It was so much fun to see friends and family that I haven't seen in years and to experience new places that I'd never been. My sister is so incredibly creative when it comes to pictures and video, so she was glued to her GoPro our entire trip! She put together an INSANELY amazing video from our trip to Italy and she worked so, so hard on it. You can watch it here:


In October, I got the chance to meet my all time *favorite* band, OneRepublic. Yes this is being listed as a major highlight of 2016 because it was one of the best days of my life! The last time I was completely in love with a band, I was a 10 year old girl who had a major crush on every band member of The Backstreet Boys. I've always loved OneRepublic, but it wasn't until I saw them at a local radio station festival in 2013 that I realized how good they were. Since then I've gone to 10 of their concerts and with their newest album out now and next tour coming in this upcoming year, it's safe to say I have a concert fund going! ;)

Just last Friday, I hit the 10,000 followers mark on Instagram! I earned my K and it's been a long time coming. Since the beginning of this year, my goal has been to get to 10k followers by the end of the year. In January, it was a far off number and seemed like it was years and years away. As I started to inch closer, I was excited, but sort of lost hope in November... I've worked SO hard on my Insta-game this year and it's been a huge game changer. I was beyond excited to hit 10k last week - it was the best Christmas present!

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Goals and big plans for 2017:

Every year I say I'll do a lot of things, and half (ish) get done. I know it's so common, but I'm so sick of coming up with these awesome ideas then never acting on them. I've wanted to create a legitimate office for a long time now and never have, for one. And I definitely haven't traveled this year as much as I wanted to. I'm making 2017 my year of positive change and I'm committed to said changes. This may or may not be my "word of the year", but I'll talk more about that next week! ;) My main/broad goals for 2017 include:

Traveling more. This is the prime time of my life to travel. I'm 22, don't have a family of my own yet and as my mom always says, since I still live at home I don't have any major bills to be paying so I can make all of these experiences happen now. I have some fun trips in the works and I can't wait to talk more about those, finalize plans and create fun travel guides for said destinations!

Stay on top of my game, and get even higher than that. I have huge plans for Daily Dose of Design come 2017. The first big step is a complete blog makeover. You'll be seeing a whole new look for DDoD in just a liiittle bit! ;) I cannot wait. I legitimately cried when I saw the first draft of my new design, so I can't wait to share it and talk more about it and my awesome designer. I'm also working harder than ever to plan more efficiently and more in advance, which in turn will only benefit this blog.

Collaborate with more awesome brands. I'm working on a lot of pitches to a lot of big brands that have been a dream of mine to work with. Never have I ever imagined having the opportunity to work with brands, so this year has been amazing for me. I cannot wait to see the awesome companies I get the chance to work with this year!

Grow all of my social media accounts substantially. This year I really focused on growing Instagram and Pinterest but neglected Facebook and Twitter quite a bit. I'm hoping to grow every account and really engage more too!

Get healthy. I've had the hope of getting healthier for a few years now and I usually start off great, but fall off the bandwagon sooner than I should. I'm not sure why, but I've been focusing on finding programs and a support system to help me achieve my health goals. I really want to workout more and eat more healthily. I'm planning on sharing some fun workout inspo come January and share health updates, which I think will also help keep me more accountable!

Increase my monthly income. Like I mentioned, I'm currently a full-time blogger (and VA too). I'm working on a plan to save more and be able to spend a little more too. There's a few big purchases I'm hoping to be able to make, so I'll be working even harder.

Create a weekly newsletter. I meant to do this month after month this year, but it just never got done. #procrastinator. So this year I'm planning on putting together a fun newsletter for my subscribers to enjoy each week! I'm not sure what it will entail yet, but it's on the list of things I *need* to do as early as possible.

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For the first time, I'm conducting a readers survey. I'm so excited because I'm in the midst of planning and creating content for the new year, and I need your help. I'd love if you could take just a minute or two to fill this out so I have some constructive criticism to use to my advantage in the new year! THANK YOU so much, guys!


This whole week between Christmas and New Years is sort of awkward... I can't decide whether to get things done, be lazy and enjoy it or what! But according to Twitter, I'm not the only one facing this! I'm using the week to plan and organize, while relaxing and catching up on shows that are consuming my DVR. Lazy, but productive! :) What are your goals for the new year?

XOXO

23 comments:

  1. So many great goals for the new year!! I'll have to take a look back at some of your favorite posts from the last year :-)

    xoxo A
    www.southernbelleintraining.com

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  2. Congrats on the spectacular year and good luck with the next one! I am writing my first end of the year recap post and I can't wait to check it out next year and see the growth. This year I looked back at my first post ever...ugh disaster lol! But I learned how much I have made progress in so many areas of blogging!

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  3. What a year! You've done so much! I haven't really taken the time to get focused on my goals for 2017 yet, but I will in the next week. Best of luck on your goals in 2017, I'm positive you'll achieve them!

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  4. Congratulations on graduating and I'm so happy you had an amazing year!! I hope 2017 is wonderful for you :)

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  5. Wow, sounds like you had a fab year with tons of great posts! Looking forward to seeing your content in 2017!

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  6. This looks like you had an amazing year! I can't wait to see what you do in 2017!

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  7. Looks like you had an awesome year and it is cool to see the variety of posts that did well for you! :)

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  8. It looks like you had a totally amazing year! I'll definitely have to go back and look at some of those popular posts of yours!
    -Anna | www.fivefootandfabulous.com

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  9. Can't wait to see what 2017 has in store for you. I have a lot of the same goals for 2017.

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  10. I'm really glad that you had an amazing year this 2016!

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  11. It really does sound like you had an amazing 2016! Congrats on all the milestones you accomplished. I look forward to you reaching your goals 2017!

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  12. Sounds like you had a GREAT year! Good luck in 2017

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  13. You are such an inspiration! Congrats on achieving so many of your goals! Can't wait to see what you do in 2017!

    Keep up the great work girly!

    xx, Jamie

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  14. What an amazing year you've had. So many great highlights to look back and enjoy. I am so ready for a new year to start. I look forward to bigger and better things.

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  15. Girl you have had a killer year! I can't wait to see where 2017 will take you!

    Greta | www.gretahollar.com

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  16. What an amazing year! Congrats on hitting 10000 on Instagram! That's a huge goal of mine!

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  17. It sounds like you had an amazing year! Congrats on graduating, and with such a high GPA too! You've got lots of goals for the new year (ours are really similar!) and I know you'll accomplish all of them and then some! Wishing you all the very best for the new year!

    Jasmine / www.jasminekeclipse.com

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  18. 10k followers on IG is awesome, congratulations. My daughter would be jelous with you meeting the One Republic, she's a fan also.

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  19. Congrats on the IG followers and I am so jealous of you meeting One Republic... That's so cool! Good luck with your goals this year!

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  20. This is awesome! But I also can't believe we're now waving off the year, it feels like it has happened so fast. Although I can't wait to say goodbye as well since it took so many of the celebs that we love. ---For Elizabeth O.

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  21. Wow! 2016 was quite a year for you!! Best of luck getting your real estate license and starting the next phase of your career :)

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

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  22. Congrats on all of your achievements!! Sounds like 2016 has been amazing for you and I hope 2017 treats you even better!
    xoxo,
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

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  23. I love the posts that you have shared here. I wish I could have thought to do a similar post!

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