2017: Year in Review

I feel like this year just started and it’s crazy to me that we are in the single digits counting down to 2018. This year was a big one for me, filled with lots of challenges and successes alike. I’m awfully proud of all I’ve accomplished despite the curveballs life threw my way, and I know 2018 is about to be a ball. Here’s a walk down memory lane of what happened with me and Sophisticaition.com this year!

Paso Robles

you know what rhymes with friday? wine 🍷 #wishuponavine

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This February, I had the opportunity to go on a blogger trip to Paso Robles, California. It was my first time traveling for my blog, which was exciting in itself, but this was also the first time I realized, hey, this can be a job-job, not just a side job. I learned so much about the business of blogging from the other girls on the trip, made some great friends, and drank lots of wine.

 

RewardStyle

This spring, I was accepted into rewardStyle! This invite-only influencer platform allows me to link my Instagram posts with LIKEtoKNOW.it, allowing you to get direct links to what I’m wearing in my pictures. My acceptance was another major win for me, proving that my blog really was starting to take off.

 

Full-Time

Today's office 🍽

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2017 will be forever known as the year that my blog became my actual job and I began my love-hate relationship with self-employment!!!! (Spark Notes: It’s great until you have to become a debt collector #freelancelife)

 

San Francisco

I was able to go visit my BFF in San Fran this summer! It was my first time seeing her since she had graduated from Purdue, and I loved getting to explore her city and drink wine with her and her mom <3

Life was made for good friends and great adventures 🛥

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Second Blogiversary

In July, Sophisticaition.com turned 2! We sure have come a long way from when I started this baby out in college for a class, ha!

 

Developed my presets

I really focused on learning more about photography, editing and other back-end blog topics this year, and this fall, I FINALLY finalized my Lightroom presets. This probably doesn’t seem like it deserves a spot on this list, but it really does. This was a huge work milestone for me. I was able to capture myself and my personality in photos. It took a long time to figure this out, but I am so glad I did, and I love my editing process!

 

The Blog Societies Conference

I attended my first blogging conference in August, which taught me so much about the business side of blogging. I’m now more knowledgable about self-employment business expenses, tax deductions, and all that boring stuff, but I also met a bunch of girl bosses and brands that I work with to this day! So fun, and I’ll be back next year.

 

New York Fashion Week

NYFW is perhaps my biggest highlight of the year. I went for the first time with my friend Caitlin and it far surpassed any expectations I had! Running to shows, buying new outfits at Forever 21 for the LIKEtoKNOW.it wall, getting matching I<3NY shirts, meeting so many girl crushes in real life: it was a dream come true, and I can’t wait to go again in February.

 

Homecoming

My second homecoming after graduation was a BALL. I was able to chat with students from my favorite PR class at Purdue about my career path, work with other Purdue alumni on fun collabs, and drink some Mind Erasers at Harry’s like the good ole days.

 

I stopped caring about IG

These past few months, I’ve spent so much time trying to figure out this stupid app’s new algorithm: “Post hashtags IN THE CAPTION!” “Don’t post any hashtags at all!” “Post at weird times!” “Join pods to boost your posts!” “Leave all your DM groups, they’re spam!” … when did this become a chore?? _ I used to love Instagram. It was a great platform to visualize previews of blog posts, to connect with other bloggers and to get your feedback. Now, I’m lucky if a fraction of you even see my posts! Beyond frustrating. I’ve tried nearly every “fix” out there and nothing is working. You know the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? Yup. _ SO this is me officially giving up, @instagram. I‘m done trying to “beat the algorithm” and instead I’m going to try to remind myself why I loved this app. _ I’m going to post what I want to post, not what the “algorithm” favors. I’m going to find bloggers and industry professionals who push me and inspire me to do great work. Most importantly, I am going to find new ways to reach all 19,000 of you. If I no longer can do that through Instagram posts, I’ll keep trying through Stories and Lives. _ Let’s start with this photo. This is me and Katie, a blogger friend turned “sextuple-texting about a TV show character I’m in love with” friend. We’re both very happy in the photo, partially because we had a boozy brunch beforehand, but also because when this was taken, we weren’t worried about our pose, or lighting, or if the photo would “do well.” And that’s the way this should be 🖤 #liketkit @liketoknow.it http://liketk.it/2sRxu

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This deserves to be on here. I felt like IG was running my life for the longest time because I NEEDED it to succeed in this industry. Surprisingly, the more I stopped caring about what “fits the feed” best and posting what I genuinely liked, the more fun it became again. I still hate the IG algorithm and wish all my followers could see my posts, but I love being an IG creator again, and that’s a big win for me. I feel like the changes have forced me to get more creative and innovative with my content, and it’s such a thrill!

 

Blog redesign

This fall, my blog was redesigned to fit my presets and match my brand overall. I LOVE the new logo and layout, and I appreciate all the positive feedback from yall. I do think that this is far more easy to navigate, between the menu, the shop page, and the category layouts.

 

Working alongside my friends

I’ve found that the longer I work with brands, the more they trust me to have creative freedom, and this has allowed me to begin working with my friends in so many fun ways. Whether they are bloggers in the same verticals as me, or they write about food and health; whether they work at a PR agency and have clients that fit my audience demographics; whether they are a photographer; whether they are a freelance writer; whether they work at a local company that needs visibility; we have been able to join forces and create incredible content, all while having the best time. This is what I love about my job, the people, and even especially more when they’re my people.

 

Looking Ahead

I want 2018 to be my year of “yes.” If it is not hurting me or others around me, not morally or legally questionable, or otherwise a “bad idea,” I must say yes to anything. I am such a type-A planner and I am really getting better about being flexible when things don’t go according to my set plan, but I think that this will be a great reminder to live in the moment and stop planning for an unknown future. I’ve always been told God laughs at your plans, and I do think it’s true – the best laid plans rarely come to fruition.

I have a really good feeling about this new year. Big things are on the horizon for me and this not-so-little-anymore blog of mine, and I am so blessed to have you along for the ride. Thank you so much for all the love and support in 2017! I look forward to seeing you in the new year.

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    Comments

    Alexa

    I loooove how you laid this post out! so cute! <3

    emma lenhart

    Your year was epic, girlie. love you and so happy we got to meet in 2017!

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