Tag Archives: blogging

3 Things to Remember When Your Blog Becomes a Side Hustle

3 things to remember when your blog is your side hustle[* This post may contain affiliate links — because my blog is my side hustle!! 😉 ]

Congratulations! Your blog has graduated from a fun hobby and creative outlet to something that is pulling in a bit of money on the side. This is an amazing development! But now what???

If you’ve decided to roll with it and turn your much-loved baby blog into a full-fledged side hustle, there are a few things to keep in mind.  Blogging can be a fun way to make some extra cash, but only if you’re prepared to put in a fair amount of work. While Finding Delight is by no means my full time job, I do consider it profitable enough to be included in the lil pie chart in my brain that is titled “work.” Unfortunately, there are a lot of resources out their for folks lookin’ to turn their lifestyle blog into the whole dang pie but not that many for those of us who are happy with keeping it at a good, hearty slice. 

With that in mind, here are a few things I wish I had implemented as soon as I decided to consider my blog a money-making side hustle…

Keep It Separate

First, successful blogging is just one chunk of your life. So it needs it’s own chunk of time! Schedule dedicated time for your blog that is separate from the hours you need for your main income source but also separate from your home life, too. It took me awhile to get a hang of this and I would often let blog stuff leak into both realms. My saving grace in this department was definitely my perfect planner. This thing lets me schedule my day down to the half hour–which might sound crazy to some! But if I can see where in the week I have “blog work” scheduled (always highlighted in a pretty pink!), I’m less likely to pop into WordPress when I should be working or email that company back when I’d rather be hanging out with my husband. 

Making Time For You

I think there’s a tendency among bloggers to stack their plates too high. When something that started out as a hobby becomes a part-time job, it can be hard to reconceptualize. It doesn’t feel like work. However, you might find that there is great potential and power in slowing down and allowing some time for yourself. Last week I didn’t put up a single blog post because I wanted to give my full attention to a new project I was really excited about. And that’s ok! Sure there are things I do, like affiliate linking, that allow my site to make money without me around. But for the most part, I just don’t worry about it anymore. Think about this time away from blogging as the space in which content can be born! You allow yourself time to read books, or play games (www.finalfantasyxvapp.com#home), or travel, or bake a cake…whatever it is that you enjoy…and then you’ll have these rich experiences and opinions to share with your readers later!

Know The Reader

If there is anything that means success in the literary world, it is the ability to know your readers well, inside and out. And the same goes for blogging – if you can make sure that you really have a strong grasp of your audience, then you will be able to provide enjoyable and useful content. This becomes a careful balance when your blog is a side-hustle. You might start to feel pulled in a lot of directions. I know I did. You want to create the content you enjoy creating…but also get paid to do so by brands. You want your friends and family to continue stopping by…but you also want to grow your audience to include new folk. I put new posts to the test with a series of questions:
(In order of importance)
Will I enjoy creating this?
Will the readers I currently have gain something from this?
Can I optimize or monetize in some way?
Could this encourage new folk to join my tribe?

Any blogging-as-side-hustle hopefuls out there? I’d love to hear your questions, challenges, or thoughts! ❤
And bloggers who already have this blogging-for-biz thing nailed down — What would you tell someone just starting out on this journey? xoxo

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List 7: Blog Goals

A new series in which I share lists which I hope will help you to get to know me better. Why? Because I started this blog what feels like forever ago and there’s bound to be some new faces peering in once and awhile! So these posts are kinda like an introduction (or a reintroduction for those who’ve been with me since the jump!). A nice to meet ya, so glad you stopped by, now STAY AWHILE! Why lists? Because I love making ’em! (+ it’s the summer and I can give myself some grace when it comes to not posting overly-elaborate blog posts.)

PRE-P.S. This will be my last list in this summer series. HOWEVER, I’ve really enjoyed sharing a bit more about myself in this manner…SO – I’ll plan to keep adding lists here and there throughout the coming year. It just won’t be every Thursday. Hope you enjoy!

My blogging goals…

Continue to organically grow my readership and network.

Find more ways to meaningfully engage with other bloggers.

Reach out to more brands about collaborations.

Brainstorm (and keep track of) series ideas, not just post ideas.

Create an email onboarding sequence to send out when someone subscribes to my mailing list.

Start a Finding Delight book club.

Write an ebook!

Tell me a few of your blogging goals in the comments below! xoxo

[And in case you’re curious…

LIST 1
LIST 2 
LIST 3
LIST 4
LIST 5
LIST 6]

Sunshine Blogger Award Q&A

sunshine blogger award

The Sunshine Blogger Award is an accolade given by one blogger to another in recognition for work that they find creative, inspiring and positive. I was super honored to be nominated and leapt at the chance to join in the fun!

The rules of the award are:

  • Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Recently, Finding Delight was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by my sweet friends over at Sweet Tea, Science!

Meridith and Rachel are the masterminds behind Sweet Tea, Science. They are Kentucky gals like yours truly (we all went to Western Kentucky University) and sassy scientistas. They blog about their lives in the STEM-world as they complete their PhD’s. (Rachel in Ecology and Meridith in Statistics.) Some of my fave STS posts include:
Public Speaking Hacks for Scientists
What’s in Her Bag: International Conference + Honeymoon Edition
Day in the PhD Life: Statistician 
Guide to Graduate School Grief
Field Work Flashback
You can also follow Sweet Tea, Science on Twitter HERE and Instagram HERE.

The ladies of Sweet Tea, Science asked the following questions:

How do you take your tea?

Sweet, of course! But I’ve switched from sugar to stevia. 😉

What motivates you to blog every week (or as often as you blog)?

I genuinely enjoy doing it! There have been times throughout this little blog’s life where writing posts has had to take a backseat…but I think keeping a full editorial calendar is fun and I don’t beat myself up if not every idea comes to fruition.

Long before Finding Delight was a twinkle in my eye, I kept an online journal for 4 years — from my junior year of high school through my sophomore year of college. I really liked having a place to share about my life where I could connect with other people doing the same. I enjoyed knowing that someone would read what I wrote. I felt like it was the perfect creative outlet for my little introvert heart. Blogging is just my flashier, more grown up version. 😉

From a more practical standpoint, I work as a freelance marketing consultant and web content manager. My blog is a great way for potential clients to get to know me (freelancing is all about selling yourself alongside what you can do!).

What’s your favorite way to keep in touch with folks that have graduated/moved away?

While I love snail mail and social media, nothing beats taking an hour long walk through my neighborhood while on the phone with a bestie.

Where would you like to travel to next? Is it for work or pleasure?

Savannah, GA to meet my nephew! Besides that, I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland and Australia.

How has a mentor inspired you to take a risk? Or how have you inspired yourself?

A mentor gave me the push I needed to start this blog! During a conversation about how I could get to where she was in her career, her biggest advice was to start a project that would encourage me to write every day, as well as practice design, branding, and marketing. Finding Delight was born shortly after!

At the time, sharing about myself on the internet felt like a HUGE risk! I thought, “My life isn’t all that exciting. Will anyone even care? What if no one reads it.” But, of course, that wasn’t the point.

What is your favorite post you’ve written? Link that post! Go you!

I stopped paying women compliments on their appearance and here’s what happened…
How to Eliminate Decision Fatigue
A 30 Day Mantra Challenge (+ FREE activity guide)
and all the posts about my wedding.

What is your favorite post someone else has written? Link that post! Go them!

Nice Girls vs. Kind Women
Handmaids, Hospitals, and the Pageantry of the Newborn Nursery Window
My Sister’s Home Makeover
You’re Totally Allowed to Buy That Latte
I Talked to a Woman for 4 Hours on the Train

Where do you do your best blogging work? What sort of environment?

At my desktop computer – although I’m known to fire off a few paragraphs into my phone notes when inspiration strikes. Here’s a look at my desk set-up. It has stayed pretty much the same since our move to Alabama…except now, instead of being about a foot away from our bed, I have my very own home office!! *trumpets*

What is that one productivity tool (app/website) you enjoy using for your blog?

I’ve recently started using Asana which has really helped me visualize larger projects as a bunch of smaller tasks as well as keep track of deadlines. I enjoy assigning due dates to my goals (even when they’re totally arbitrary) because it helps me stay on track. Plus, sometimes a unicorn flies across the screen when I mark things complete–and I’m all for that!

What is a big career challenge you have overcome?

I think narrowing the scope of what I wanted to do. Starting out, I faced two big personality traits; 1) interested in everything, and 2) decisionphobe. That meant I was excited about a lot of possibilities, but would stall out in planning mode. Once I realized I can be interested in things without needing to make money doing them, I had a lot more time to build a career around things I was actually good at.

If you could only read one book, over and over, for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I don’t want to live in a world with only one book! (Perhaps that would be enough incentive to start writing my own!!) I don’t often re-read books because my reading list is just too long for circling back around! But if I had to, I would choose one of these.

My Nominations:

  1. A Silent Observer
  2. This Curvy Life
  3. Views From My Garden Bench
  4. Little Things With Jassy
  5. The Barefoot Angel
  6. Katnapped
  7. Em Busy Living
  8. Dreamer Achiever
  9. Chaus’ Adventure
  10. Miss Portmanteau
  11. Hello Whitney

My Questions:

  1. How did you first get involved with blogging?
  2. Besides the comments section, where do you chat and connect with other bloggers?
  3. What’s the hardest blog post you’ve ever written? Was it worth it?
  4. What’s your favorite book?
  5. What three goals are you focusing on right now?
  6. Where do you get inspiration for your blog posts?
  7. What are some positive things blogging has brought into your life that you didn’t expect?
  8. Is there a post you’ve always wanted to write but never have? What’s holding you back?
  9. What’s your favorite social media platform? Why?
  10. Is there someone who doesn’t have a blog but you would read every thing they published if they did?
  11. What have you recently achieved that you’re super proud of?

Everything You Need to Know to Find Your Blogging Niche

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Finding your blogging niche is one of the best and most powerful ways to grow your audience and start making a profit from your little corner of the internet. Admittedly, I’m interested in LOTS of things (you probably are too) and I’m still working on whittling down what I include on my blog. However, over the years I’ve come to realize that my posts about books, career, travel/packing, and life management systems (like capsule wardrobes and meal plans) perform the best…and not just that…I enjoy creating them, too. They’ve become my own lil “lifestyle” niche! Sure there are other things I’d love to write and share about. But they’re better left outside of Finding Delight. 

So, what are some of the steps I took to find this mystical niche? Read on for everything you need to know.

I Looked Closely At My Interests And Passions

To find your niche, you first need to look closely at your interests and passions. You’ll feel far more fulfilled when what you’re researching and writing and SHARING align with what you love. So, one thing I did when trying to find my blogging niche was write out a MASSIVE LIST of everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) that I was interested in, passionate about, or enjoyed doing/researching. Then, I went in with a few highlighters to start identifying some themes. 

I Looked At My Skills and Talents (And My Weaknesses Too!)

Next, I evaluated my skills and talents to figure out how to best use them for creating blog content. Of course you should love your niche, but you need to be good at it too. For example, there are a lot of systems I’ve successfully put into practice in my own life to eliminate decision fatigue. I would say I’m skilled at creating them. So I started working them into my blog posts. Not just because I enjoy coming up with them but I’m good at it.

Finding your niche means knowing your weaknesses, too. I love the idea of posting elaborate recipes on my blog (I even did a fair amount of recipe posts back in the day) but I’m just not that great of a cook. I don’t have the patience for taking process photos as I create a dish because cooking itself is already taking up all my concentration. I don’t enjoy it because I’m not that great at it! (I do think there are some exceptions to this wherein you blog about something you want to learn about a la Julie and Julia or if you’re charting a fitness journey. But overall I’d say steer clear of finding a niche based on a weakness.)

I Figured Out What Problems I Could Solve For Other People

I started to think about what problems people were facing and how my blog posts might be able to solve them. Now I know this sounds high and mighty but think about it! When you type something into the search bar of Google, what are you looking for? Usually a solution, right? It might be how to DIY a really expensive piece you fell in love with at Anthropologie or home remedies for seasonal allergies or even the answer to some obscure celebrity-gossip query.

Solving problems for people is a key aspect of your niche. It’s also an almost guaranteed way to increase readership. (When people are searching on Google or Pinterest for an answer–they might just click on YOUR solution!) But I also wanted to take current readers into consideration when evaluating the type of problems I could solve. 

I’ve conducted two reader surveys on my blog over the years. Both of which asked readers to answer,

“What challenges or frustrations are you facing in your life right now?”

Many of their answers went on to become topics I tackled in future blog posts!

[Related: Librarians solve people’s problems every day! USC has an awesome library science degree if this is a path that speaks to you beyond the world of blogging –  learn more on their website.]

I Learned From My Competition

Your competition can be used to your advantage. When identifying my specific niche within lifestyle blogging, I began to look at other blogs less as something to emulate and more for what I could do differently than them. What could I do better? Not really in a competitive way…or in a wishing them ill-will sorta way. But my life experience and expertise and passion are uniquely mine. So my niche and my blog should be uniquely mine, too! I want ALL of our blogs to succeed because of who we are and what we love. Not because we’re trying to tick a bunch of boxes of what a blog “should” include. Make sense?

I Constantly Experiment

When you think you’ve figured out your niche, run tests and experiments. No one needs to know about these tests and experiments…they’re just for you! They will help you to figure out whether your ideas are something that should be pursued in the long term. Whether your readers will love it, if your traffic will grow, and most importantly, if you will enjoy it. If you find some posts in the new niche are meeting all of the above — take note! And then look into ways you can double down on that sort of content. 

But don’t be afraid to drop something that hasn’t worked and move on to the next experiment. You might decide you want to start reviewing brunch locations everywhere you travel to…and then find you’ve started resenting an activity you once enjoyed. Or what about a crochet tutorial that you spend hours photographing and uploading…only to find it got 5 views? 

Not everything will work, but you won’t know until you try! And you can always move on to the next great idea!

What steps did you take to find your blogging niche? Any content ideas you love in theory but just didn’t work in practice? SPILL! 

Looking for a Second Income Source?

Y’all know I love ballin’ on a budget, right? Well, one of my favorite tips to give fellow budget ballers is, “DIVERSIFY YOUR INCOME STREAMS!” Luckily, there are lots of ways to achieve this. Read on to discover some of my favorite suggestions on how to earn extra money…

Freelance – There are so many options for freelancers today. All you need to do is a quick search online and you will find tons of websites designed for freelancers. Many of them work like this: Someone looking for a job to be completed will post a listing, and interested parties will make an application. If your application is accepted, you submit your work and the money will hit your bank or PayPal account. If you have skills that can be put to use over the web — such as writing, photography, or web design–this could be a great fit!

Start a blog – A blog won’t make you money overnight, but if you have something you are passionate about (a niche!), starting a blog is a great step towards generating income in the future. Once your blog is going, and you’ve built up an audience, there are a number of ways to make money — from sponsored posts to affiliate marketing.

Invest – Another way to make money is by investing. However, this is not something you should dive straight into. Take the time to read feedback, such as these thinkorswim reviews, which enlighten you to various brokers and investment products so that you are informed on the pros and cons. Before you can invest, you need to make sure you are aware of your attitude to risk and that you only invest within your means and your comfort levels.

Share economy – The share economy is booming…and for good reason! You could drive for Lyft, deliver Instacart orders, or rent out your spare room on Airbnb. But if these aren’t for you, there are other ways to earn a bit of cash while also helping out others. Evaluate what you have and consider if sharing might be of value to someone. For example, if you live in an area that is close to a lot of businesses, you could look into renting out your driveway.

Sell your belongings – Last but not least, it is likely that you have some stuff in your house that you aren’t particularly fond of anymore, nor do you need. You can sell these items online to make a little easy money. Need some inspiration? Check out this video — 


Looking for a second income source but not sure what would be a good fit? Let’s bounce around ideas in the comments! Or feel free to shoot me an email.

Do any of you have any “wins” when it comes to diversifying income streams that you’d like to share? If you do, drop ’em below! 

mid-week round-up

What are you up to today? I’m looking forward to the leftover broccoli soup we have stowed away in the fridge, and taking FULL advantage of the fact that every season of E.R. is on Hulu. (Chet’s never seen it!) Oh those lazy, winter weeknights in. Have a great day, and here are some links I think you might enjoy…

Sharon Stone laughed for literally 10 seconds after being asked if she’s ever dealt with sexual harassment.

Thousands once spoke his language in the Amazon. Now he’s the only one.

What would you do if you thought you had 15 minutes to live?

The best apps to fuel your blogging business.

Weirdly want to buy a pair of pajama jeans. Has anyone ever tried them?

52 places to go in 2018.

The story behind Little Golden Books.

These would be nice to keep tucked under your kitchen sink.

How Old West theme parks lie about America’s pioneer past.

This productivity notepad set is super adorbz!

The lives nurses lived outside of hospitals during WWI.

The island where Washington State sends its sex offenders.

mid-week round-up

Hi folks! Sorry for the radio silence but the past week has been crazy! Last Wednesday, it started to become quite clear that Hurricane Irma was going to make a direct hit on Florida. After the 11 am models came out, showing the possibility of a Miami landfall, we loaded up the car and hit the road. The traffic was insane! And gas and hotel rooms were scarce. (You can read where we ended up spending the night on this Instagram post.) About 28 hours of driving time later, we FINALLY reached our destination. Crazy to think we were part of the largest mass evacuation in U.S. history. The devastation in Florida will be long-lasting and I’m so grateful we had a safe place to go to weather the storm. Now we’re just waiting around to make sure our return trip is as uneventful as possible. (There are lots of reports of road closures due to flooding and gas shortages.) In the mean time, here’s what I’ve been reading…

An Australian snake may have evolved all-black scales to cope with pollution.

On gender specific toys and stereotyping children.

If you’re in the market for a studio apartment in Budapest, this one is ADORABLE.

30 Autumn blog post ideas to curb your bloggin’ writer’s block.

Seven days of heroin. This is what an epidemic looks like.

27 of the best books to read this Fall.

Perfectly imperfect. (Cents of Style sent me this bracelet recently and I love it!)

People are shaming Kate Middleton for her pregnancy and it’s actually so offensive.

If you’re a Southern gal or guy gone vegetarian and have a hankering for comfort food, this cookbook has got you covered.

How to enjoy working on the weekends.

What Dreamers gained from DACA, and what they stand to lose.

To understand rising inequality, consider janitors at two top companies, then and now.

P.S. A couple Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Book Review: The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger and Weekend Uniforms: Dressy, Casual, and In the Middle.

March Resolutions – How Did I Do?

Happy April, Finding Delight readers! This year, I decided to approach my New Year’s resolutions a little bit differently. I wrote out all the months in my  journal and have filled in things I want to work on in 2017– 2 items per month. Not every item is filled in yet. I want to give myself space to grow over the year, to not set my resolutions in stone.

My hope is that, once something is set into practice for a month, I’ll continue the habit throughout the year.

I’d like to share results and thoughts at the end of each month because accountability. (You can check out past months HERE.) Here’s how I did in March…

March Resolution #1. Up my comment game on other blogs. 

I read, or at least scroll and skim, a RIDICULOUS amount of blog posts each week. As I mention in my very first post ever, I’ve been a fan of the medium since the early days. I had an online journal in the early aughts and, when that faded into obscurity, I followed several lifestyle bloggers with cult-like consistency.

When I was settling on resolutions, I tried to find a balance of betterment within every aspect of my life. So when I reflected on how I could make positive changes in how I approach blogging, I realized I need to stop being a lurker and start joining the conversation. (Not to mention, according to The Secret, you get what you give. And I’m tryin’ to get more blog comments, too. #keepinitreal)

So in March, I joined a few blogger Facebook groups and have tried to engage with folks as much as possible. We trade comments and brainstorm collaborations. It’s been a lot of fun!

There are still a TON of blogs I visit on the regs that I don’t often (or ever) comment on. I hope they’re happy to let me continue lurking. Haha!

Going forward: I’ll continue to stay active in the blogger groups I’ve joined. I’ll find a few non-group, new-to-me homies and resolve to comment on their posts with regularity. I’ll respond to the comments on my own posts when I want to keep the conversation going!

March Resolution #2. Keep fresh flowers in the house. Don’t scrimp on the anticipation aspect of travel. 

Yes, I switched this resolution mid-month. Whoops! But hear me out… When planning out each month’s resolutions in my journal I thought committing to a nice grocery store bouquet of flowers on the regular would be a worthy pursuit. Fast forward to every time I went grocery shopping in the first week or so of March and I realized I needed to scrap this idea. As I picked up and put down bouquets and mulled over price tags, I came to the conclusion that these colorful blooms just wouldn’t bring me enough happiness to justify their expense. And I’m ok with that.

So! Did I accept defeat and call it quits on having 2 resolutions for March? NOPE! Back to the drawing board.

Knowing that I had two upcoming trips in April, I chose to work on something that I’ve recently noticed about myself. I’m not so good at the anticipation aspect of travel. It’s like I know I have an upcoming trip but I tell myself NOT to think about it until the time draws near. This means I’m missing out! According to a 2010 study,  just planning or anticipating your trip can make you happier than actually taking it.

I think shying away from anticipation is a holdover from college speech & debate. We traveled to so many tournaments throughout the year that there wasn’t really enough time to put a whole lot of thought into the process ahead of time. We just packed our suitcases and off we went. And then we did again the next week.

But now! I’m leaning into the planning and anticipation of travel. Googling, asking for recommendations, packing lists, “to-do before I leave” lists, etc, etc!

Going forward: I won’t try to trick myself into thinking my trips are spontaneous…I’ll relish in all the happiness they can give me before I even embark!!!

Alright friends, let’s keep things going in April!

How are YOUR New Year’s Resolutions going? Three months down! Tell me how you’re doing in the comments below (#accountability) or feel free to email me – ebeth.berger@gmail.com – if you’d like to keep it private. You got this! 

P.S. Need help sticking to your 2017 goals? Check out this post. Oh, and “Like” the Finding Delight Facebook page! I’d love to have ya!

In Search Of: More Delight! (+20 ways to find it)

Hey guys! The other night I was clicking around on a few favorite bloggy-type sites (as ya do) and was struck by how many bloggers feature lists of cool things they want to do in the coming year or before they turn a certain age. What a great way to challenge yourself to mix it up. Plus, the added benefit of blogging = a)accountability, but also b)sweet content each time you check an item off the list!

Basically my blog was green with envy and I needed to hook her up with a list POST HASTE! But wait a minute, I thought to myself, we’re already 2.5 months into the new year and my birthday is FOREVER away. Can I really just put together a list like this on a random Tuesday??

Short answer: Yes. When you write the blog, you make the rules.

Long answer: I created this blog to encourage myself to keep looking for, and FINDING, delight. Actively searching for life’s unexpected pleasures is something I try to do on the daily. But making a list of things I expect to bring me joy works too. I don’t need to feel bad about not having an “occasion” to set myself up for delight. I can just make a list and start checking things off!

So here goes…

  1. Visit the Miami Seaquarium – Planning to check this one off THIS week!
  2. 10 Day Ballet Challenge 
  3. Rent a Surrey Bike
  4. 24 Hour Digital Detox 
  5. Mini Near-to-Home Vacay/Stay-cay – Don’t need a day’s drive to justify renting an Airbnb for the weekend. 
  6. Take a MOOC – Totally left-field subject matter encouraged. 
  7. Go on a Boat Tour or Day Cruise – Zip past Miami mansions and watch the sunset over the skyline or BETTER YET…head to the Bahamas for the day. 
  8. Complete a Whole 30
  9. Dine at a Posh Indian Restaurant
  10. Finish a Loom Knit Project
  11. Go Geocaching 
  12. Play a Super Involved Board Game 
  13. Plant an Herb Garden
  14. 30 Day Pilates Challenge
  15. Make a 3-Layer Birthday Cake
  16. Memoir Month – Challenge myself to read as many as possible before the calendar page turns.
  17. Support the Performing Arts at FIU – A night at the theater or ballet? Yes, please!
  18. Create a Piece of Art for Hanging 
  19. Visit a New City
  20. Eat Conch Fritters – When in Rome! 

I’m so excited to get started!

What’s on your “In Search Of: Delight” list? Do any of the items above strike your fancy? Which would you most like to see a blog post about? I’d love your thoughts!

Finding Delight in 2015!

end of 2015 selfie

2015 has been an absolutely amazing year. So much happened (!!!) but I still can’t believe we’ll be on to a new year in just a few short hours. I’m so excited for everything 2016 holds in store but for now, CHEERS TO 2015! The year I saw my brother marry the love of his life. The year I watched my sister star in a musical she wrote. The year I cheered as Chet earned his PhD. The year I got engaged. And the year I packed up my Subaru and moved down to the very southern tippy-tip of the U.S. of A. I’ve made so many wonderful memories this year with my friends and family.

Having a blog is such a cool way to look back and reflect on all the neat things going on in my world over the past year. I’ve never been too great at life documentation. The commitment of keeping up a scrapbook seems over-whelming. I’ve tried to pour my heart out to diaries and journals to no avail. At the end of the day, I like writing and creating for other people. Not just myself. So, thank you! Thank you for checking out my corner of the internet once in a while. Thanks for reading what I have to say! It means the world to me…and it encourages me to write things down, cherish my memories, and feel blessed with good fortune.

I promise to keep posting in 2016! I hope you’ll swing through (and say “Hello!” if you do). But now, as we close the books on 2015 here on the blog, I’d like to take a look back at a few of my favorite posts from this year!

15 favorites from 2015:

Life Lessons: Handwriting A memory of a childhood decision inspires me to take a more assured path to self-improvement.

No-recipe Recipes Meals to turn to again and again when you’re too lazy to get fancy but too awesome at ballin’ on a budget to hit up a restaurant.

4 Career Building Tips for the Newly Hired How to make the most of your big kid job.

Restaurants are not Food Culture A lot of my year was spent working on the local food scene in Lexington; this post was inspired by the people, places, and food I encountered along the way.

My Reverse Bucket List There are tons of things I still want to do but sometimes it’s fun to reflect on the things I already have!

Photo Diary: Wedding in Savannah, GA Andy and Dawn get hitched!!!

We’re engaged! Chet asked me to marry him (on his own birthday no less!) and I SAID YES!

We moved to Miami! I left behind The Bluegrass State and now our home is in The Sunshine State.

5 Tips for Writing Killer Emails Sometimes you just gotta address your pet peeves via a blog post!

Showing off my new home workspace! Now that I’m working from home I thought it was important to create a functional and rad work station.

Full. The Musical My sister is a bad-ass. That’s all there is to say!

It’s my birthday!!! (+50 facts about ME.) I turned the big 3-0 this year and also shared some little nuggets about myself for y’all to enjoy.

I stopped paying women compliments on their appearance and here’s what happened. This was my most read post of 2015!

November Stitch Fix Stepping out of my comfort zone and taking a whole LOT of selfies in front of a full-length mirror…what can I say, I love Stitch Fix!

Delightful New Orleans Wedding Our dear friends Carrie and Ganer tied the knot and we had a blast celebrating their love.

And a few awesome guest posts: 

DIY: Peppermint Christmas Wreath Katie Nedvidek showed us how to make an adorable holiday wreath on a budget.

In Defense of “Go Set a Watchman” Katie Berger shared her thoughts on Harper Lee’s new book.

I talked to a woman for 4 hours on the train. Rachel Wigginton told a super touching story about an encounter with a stranger.

mid-week round-up #44 Adam Swanson took the reins for a link lovin’ Wednesday feature.

Cooking up a taste of home. Sheryl, Ashley, Katie, and Carrie tell us the foods they prepare for a little taste of home.

Happy New Year, my loves! I hope you find lots of delight in 2016!!! ❤