Happy Monday, and welcome back to reality, friends! I hope you all had a lovely and lazy holiday season full up with too many cookies, at least a few cat naps, an abundance of hugs and lots of new memories made with your favorite people. Our Christmas week was a flurry of activity during which I came down with a cold, so I’ve spent much of the last week trying to recharge my batteries and sort through my intentions and goals for 2015. Our ten year old black lab Nina (you can see her cute face here if you want) had unexpected surgery early last week, so when she came home on New Year’s Eve we quickly amended our plans and ended up coming home early after dinner at a friend’s house. Since then I’ve spent most of my time reading, planning and gearing up for January. (While also playing doggie nurse and keeping her heavy schedule of meds on track.) I always tell myself to take a few days to do very little but relax, rest and make my mind right for kicking off a new year, but honestly this is the first time I’ve followed through on that commitment, and I’m already so glad that I did.
For those of you who love and reads scads of blogs (as I do), you’ll probably already know that 2014 was a year when a lot of bloggers talked about burn out and about all the changes the blogging industry (and yes, it really is an industry) has been facing in the last twelve months or so. I could comment on that at length, but I’m going to spare you that novella and instead just boil it down to what I’ve taken away from those discussions and reflections for myself and for the future of The Sweetest Occasion. If you’re interested you can read more about how I got here (here being a full-time professional blogger), but something I think I failed to mention there is just how much the landscape of blogging has changed since The Sweetest Occasion came about in 2008. It’s relevant to today’s little chat, because it’s forming a lot of where I want to head in 2015.
So let’s back it up for a minute and go back five or six years ago to the day I moved over from Blogger to a self-hosted WordPress site with my own domain, which is really the day that ultimately laid the groundwork for where my life and career has gone ever since. When I started blogging about parties, entertaining and all the fun ways you could DIY, cook, and bake your way to being the hostess you always dreamed of being, there were very very few blogs centered on entertaining and parties. Most celebration-centric blogs were entirely focused on weddings, and that distinction immediately allowed The Sweetest Occasion to stand out from the pack. It was not anything I did consciously or strategically, it was simply a natural extension of my personal passions and interests. As we all know, the internet is now flooded with amazingly talented bloggers creating awe-inspiring content crafted to make you want to host impeccably designed parties all year long. I love that. Those bloggers inspire me in so many ways I never knew possible. But from a “crap this really is my job and I need to support myself and my family and how do I continue to stand out” standpoint, it has given me great pause over the last several months. There were moments I was scared or felt like I didn’t measure up, and there were moments I felt I needed to fall in line and ride the wave alongside everyone else. There were times I felt like I had to figure it all out overnight and I grew frustrated because the answers weren’t coming as quickly as I’d hoped. Honestly, it really wasn’t until these last few weeks that I’ve realized I do have it figured out, maybe not necessarily in practice, but absolutely in intention and in mission.
As 2015 kicks off, I’m feeling more clear and more purposeful with where I want to take The Sweetest Occasion, the ways in which I want to inspire you, and the personal relationships I want to foster between us. As such, I’ve been working on a bit of a mission statement, which on one level feels kind of silly, like, why does a blog need a mission statement? But on the other hand it feels long overdue and I know it will act as the guiding principle that will help me out when I’m struggling to determine which sponsored partnerships make sense for me to take on, what content to devote my time and monetary resources to, and which path to take when I’m feeling a little muddied down. So today I wanted to kick off the new year by sharing the Cliff Notes version of that mission statement with you. This mission draws from my personal passions, my own life experiences and the things I learned from my grandmother, who continues to be my inspiration in everything I do here. Sharing this makes me feel a bit weird and kind of vulnerable, but it also feels like the most authentically me thing I’ve written in a while, and it would be a shame not to open that up to you, my friends. And as I always say, yes, I truly do consider each and every one of you a friend.
At the heart of The Sweetest Occasion is the desire to inspire you to live your most beautiful life. To help you find moments of joy in every day, to encourage you to try a new recipe or feel less intimidated about painting your living room or hosting a party. I am committed to feautring trend-forward yet timeless and approachable design, with the goal of making a well-designed lifestyle both accessible and achievable. This isn’t about overly complicated, expensive or exhaustive DIY tutorials or decor that’s as budget-busting as it is beautiful. It’s about encouraging more moments spent and more memories made with loved ones. It’s about taking time to celebrate life together. It’s about creating a life and home that allows you to feel like the best version of you. It’s about showing you that none of these things have to be stressful, but that in fact they can be a stress relief. It’s no secret that I am obsessed with pretty things, but I want those pretty things I share to add to your life in a way that’s fuss-free and not even a little bit pretentious. Let’s remember together that life is unpredictable, life is short and our relationships with each other are of greater importance than anything else. Life is sweet, so let’s make the most of every occasion.
And there you have it, friends! In a nutshell, those few sentences are directing all of my planning and all of my goals for 2015. I will tell you that in 2014 I became a massive podcast junkie, and I sincerely believe that helped me to wrap my head around all of these things that have been floating around in there over the last year. If you’re ready to kickstart 2015 with a bang I highly recommend Grace Bonney’s podcast After the Jump and Jess Lively’s podcast The Lively Show. I believe I’ve listened to just about every single episode of each and I can’t suggest them enough, whether you’re a blogger, a business owner or otherwise. Over on Instagram today, I’m sharing some of my favorite organizational tools (including my 2015 Day Designer as seen above) that I’m utilizing to bring all of these plans and goals to life, because a mission statement ain’t nothing without action.
If you’ve made it this far, you’re a rockstar. Also, if you’ve made it this far I’d love to hear about your own goals or mission statements for your life or your career in 2015. Or maybe you have an awesome organizational tool or app that you’re loving? Whatever it is, I’d be thrilled if you shared. Here’s wishing you a happy new year full of awesome, exciting things and many beautiful little moments in between. xoxo
[Photo by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]