I started the year continuing the Words for my Wednesday series, beginning to add pretty photos as well, many times a flower from the yard (I really like flowers).
Playing with Photography
This also gave me a reason to work diligently on my photography skills (er - if you could call them that) and editing capabilities, anyway. I began doing Etsy shop features as Friday Features (more Buy & Try product reviews, along with Fab Finds for Friday - only, going more in depth with the Etsy shops and their owners).
My girls' matching shoes.
I blogged 1-3 times per week, which was just enough for me. I usually did a quick post to keep readers informed of daily happenings, like my girls and their matching shoes and shades. Of course, there are always the holiday preparations to blog about too, like this Valentine's Day bit or the Leprechaun Trap for St. Patty's Day my kids worked so hard on. I even did my own spin on another current event, sharing my thoughts.
We started a massive fundraising campaign for my daughter to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine (NYLF, now called Envision). I shared the great news with readers about her partial scholarship and the big surprise we got for her trip.
Our Etsy shop reached a milestone with its 300th sale, and we took a moment to reflect with great appreciation for how much we had grown as shop owners.
With help from blog readers, I celebrated Earth Day, Mother's Day (here and here), Father's Day, the last days of kindergarten and our keepsakes, and even Back-to-School time with pencil pouches and backpacks. I accepted submissions from readers, and I shared them here on the blog.
I began to recognize my blog as a place where I could ask for advice.
I hosted our first ever sponsored giveaway (that was a really big deal!) in September. As the year came to a close, I made it a bi-weekly thing. I had always loved promoting other Etsians, and these giveaways combined with shop features were a great way for me to do that. So the last few months of the year, I also started blogging a bit more (4-5 times per week).
I shared our family adventures about visiting the CA State Fair, our first ever visit to Lake Tahoe, and the awesome Giant Pumpkin Festival (which was so giant, it has a Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). The mommy blogging continued, as it was Potty Training Time for the little one. And as my oldest daughter started getting more into beauty and fashion, I showcased that here on the blog as well.
I may have shared just a few of our favorite recipes throughout the year!
There was the ever-so-yummy Blueberry Zucchini Bread. My daughter took a cooking class at the university over her summer break, so we shared the Lemon Muffin Recipe (LOVE these! It was the greatest take away from the class, besides her A+ grade.). Minty Holiday Cookies are yummy, even if it's not a holiday. Oh, and our favorite way to enjoy vanilla milkshakes.
I ended the year with a collaborative Blog Hop, co-hosting with a fellow Etsy seller & blogger, creating Meet & Greet.
Another new year began. I welcomed 2013 still keeping Words for my Wednesday alive and kicking. The Meet & Greet Blog Hop continued to thrive. I kept up with Etsy Shop Features and bi-weekly giveaways and slowly started to monetize with blog sponsors (like this one) for the sidebar ads using Passionfruit. Oh, and I got a new and much nicer point-and-shoot camera.
I had a ton of fun playing with my new camera.
Publishing a post almost daily, I talked about the blog commenting system and being a No-Reply Blogger, joined the 2013 Blogger Pay It Forward Challenge, and I played around (once again) with my photography skills (or lack thereof) and explored the use of watermarks as I explored my camera settings. More than ever, my appreciation for photography grew. There's so much to learn still too (and just imagine when I'm eventually able to get my dream DSLR!).
You know you're a blogger when you want to take pictures of absolutely everything,
and then you want to blog about it.
I also had my very first guest blogger! I created a blogger community on Google+ called Blog It Up. I also learned that my Blog Post Titles matter, so I started switching up how I wrote my titles for recurring things like giveaways and features.
As far as family and mommy blogging goes, I shared my daughter's ombre hair and frustrating times as a parent, as a mom. I had disappointing days, and sometimes I just blogged about it to vent, if nothing else.
And - wow - do you know how hard it is to find G Rated movies? The mother in me also came out when flu season hit and I had three sick kids at home.
I started making my own graphics in 2013!
I realized that I really liked blogging about topics like skincare, hair care and beauty/fashion. Plus, I found it was a great way to spend time with my oldest daughter - brainstorming on what I could blog about and what she could possibly model! She helped me blog about some current events in pop culture too, like inspiring this Boy Band Tribute. Or, when we were wondering if Samsung is better than Apple, for the smartphone war - we asked readers to weigh in.
But I did continue to give shop updates, offering certain specials and sales solely on the blog, and sometimes for charity fundraising efforts (like this one for the natural disaster relief in Oklahoma) and other social good. Because of this type of marketing effort, we even raised funds for specific events, like the time we were able to donate to the Red Cross and announce it in a very special Words for my Wednesday post. All because of our awesome readers and shop supporters! We can't thank you enough. Every day.
This photo was even published in the NEA quarterly newsletter!
In 2013 we celebrated Eczema Awareness Month with the National Eczema Association (NEA) and vowed to make this an annual thing (on or off the blog). We shared some of our favorite natural remedies and other natural stuff we've tried HERE.
It seems like the blogging is always amplified with extra events in the last quarter of the year. At least, that's how it happens for me. I used the month of November as a month of gratitude and shared some bloggers that inspire me. As I had become more involved with social media during the year, we participated in Small Business Saturday and joined the movement.
Wait a minute!!! We can't let the year just pass us by without a recipe or two...No worries, there were a few shared.
It seemed to have been a Year of the Cookies, because we shared the super yummy Toasty Oatmeal Cookies, our re-make of Red Velvet Cookies, and then there were the Super-Soft Pumpkin Pie Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Sometimes I just shared treats with you too, like our Halloween treats or the Birthday Sweets for the girls.
My biggest blogging roadblock for 2013 was trying to monetize the blog with sidebar ads. I jumped in and literally sank to the bottom of whatever swimming pool I was trying to swim in with fish way bigger that wanted to swallow me alive. I had started with Passionfruit Ads, and then they started charging for their services (and I was in no way ready to pay a monthly fee yet). So I just kind of gave up on that.
One of my biggest blogging achievements was working with my camera, a homemade light box, photo-editing (as well as making simple graphics - yay!), and finding fun things to photograph all the time. A bug in the yard? Sure! Why not? Oh! I can't forget...I bought my own domain name too. That's a biggie! =0)
Then, in what seems like the blink of an eye, 2013 was a goner. Just. Like. That.
What would you say has been one of your biggest roadblocks or achievements?
And just like that, today is New Year's Eve. I don't know where the time goes, but I sure hope you'll visit later so you can see my favorite blogging moments of this year! I'll be publishing the 2014 installment later tonight, because tomorrow is all about taking a break.
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