Thursday, December 19, 2013

the BIG two

Well friends, tomorrow marks my two year blog anniversary. In case you are wondering why I am posting today, it's because I have prior obligations tomorrow. Plus, I tend to start celebrating any event a day early. Except for my birthday, that's kind of a month long deal. 

Get ready, this is going to be a long-doozy one. One I hope you enjoy reading and gain something from. One with a HUGE surprise at the end. I kinda poured my heart into it.


Lauren Conrad for Kohl's Sequin Top (options here and here) // Nordstrom Faux Leather Skirt c/o (options here and here) // Daily Look Reed Heels // Ily Couture Necklace // Sally Hansen White Out Polish with Sparkle Polish at Tips from Ulta

(Photographs by Melanie Wright Photography)

Where do I even begin with what this year has gifted me when it comes to my blog? Never in a million bazillion years did I think I would stick with it this long. I had absolutely no idea the impact that it would make on my life, how I would transform as a person, the blessings it would bring or the sorrows it has sometimes caused. 

My first year of blogging I was still trying to figure it all out...trying to learn the ropes, meeting new friends, figuring out my site's purpose, commenting on other blogs for hours a day, getting my hands on as much blog information as I could, setting up social media accounts and the list goes on.

The second year things changed a quite a bit. I finally figured out who I was and what I wanted my blog to represent, learned that I could actually make a little money along the way, purchased a "big girl" camera, took my posts and photographs more seriously, worked harder than I have in my entire life, thought about quitting a hundred times, put myself "out there" more than I ever imagined I would, gained confidence in myself, realized that there are mean people out there that will do whatever they can to knock you down and came to terms that no matter how you try to explain it, people who do not blog will never understand the impact that it makes on a person's life.

And that's the next part of this post. The blogging community. I am not going to lie, tears are welling up in my eyes as I type. Dear Lord, this community is mind blowing. Up until two years ago, I had zero clue that it existed. The comradery that comes along with this world, well, there really isn't anything else like it. We all visit each others spaces day in and day out, supporting one another, lifting spirits, following lives, copying outfits, duplicating recipes, witnessing engagements/marriages, seeing friends get pregnant, watching those babies be born, comforting life's losses, applauding life transformations and also just simple daily updates. Just stop and think about. It is WILD.

There are hundreds of you that I have never met in real life, yet I feel like we are the best of friends. We text, talk on the phone, email, FaceTime, send each other gifts, mail Christmas cards and have inside jokes.

There are also a handful of you ladies, you know who you are, that have been here since the beginning and are still blogging your hearts out as well. Go us! We all know how many blogs come and go. To say we have all stuck with it for two years (some even longer) is something to be pretty proud of.

To all of those non-blogging buddies, thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading, emailing, leaving comments on social media and all the face-to-face kindness. 

I could have never done any of this without the support of my husband, my kids, parents, in-laws, family and friends. You guys mean more to me than anything in this world. I know you may think I am crazy for starting this blog and may or may not understand the ins and outs of it, but you have never stopped cheering me on. For that, I am humbled.

Out of everything that took place this year, two memories stand out in my mind. I don't want to bore you with a 12 month blog reel recap and I didn't have to think twice about these highlights; traveling to London as the Wallis Blogger Ambassador and blog friends that turned into real life. There are so many more blessings that came my way, but we would be here all day and I know you have better things to do and read.

However, I do want to share what I have learned through blogging; things that have guided me to become a more confident woman and taught some valuable life lessons. I wrote a few personal blogging tips earlier this year that think are super helpful for new and veteran bloggers, but at the end of the day, there is so much more to blogging than just growing your blog. Believe it or not, growing as a person is the biggest reward this little space has given me. 

1. People say they blog for themselves. Sorry to burst anyone's bubble, but this is so not the case. Maybe that was the intent at the beginning, but most bloggers blog for other people. That's why we do what we do, for people to read our stories and what we have to say. Yes, I blog for myself, but I equally do it for you too. Just as in life, don't always be selfish. It's not always about you. Live for yourself, do what makes you happy, but consider others and take care of those who are close to you.

2. You cannot and will not make everyone happy. Don't even try. People will become detached. You will lose touch with friends. They will "un" follow you in life. It doesn't mean you did anything wrong. It just means that you may not have the same interests anymore.

3. People come and go. The loyal ones that love you will stick around no matter what you do or say.

4. Don't let negativity stop you from your goals, aspirations and dreams. People can try and suck the life out of you, especially the ones that don't know you. Remember they are most likely miserable human beings just trying to make themselves feel better.

5. If you are not happy, forcing a situation or your heart's not in it, take break or re-route yourself. But always, always, always make sure it's for the right reasons.

6. Compare yourself to others. It's totally okay. We all do it. It's human nature. Just don't let it consume you. Use those "people" as inspiration, goal setting and to push you forward. Remember there will always be people in front of you and several trying to catch up to where you are at.

7. We all make mistakes. We are human. Learn from it, steer away from doing it again and move on.

8. Be genuine. People can smell a fake from a mile a way. At least I can.

9.  It takes money to make money. Yes, that may sound harsh, but just like anything in life, if you want to grow your blog/business and make a little dough on the side, you will have to invest. Just plan and spend wisely. 

10. Unnecessary drama is gross. Keep it classy and your nose clean. Believe me. I have been there, done that and have a few t-shirts from my past. 

And one to grow on....do what you love, love what you do. Go for it!! Believe in yourself. Life is too short. People may whisper, roll their eyes and think you are crazy. Hey, you probably will bite the biff a time or two, but to me, a few bruises are better than never stumbling at all.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything. I would not be here if it weren't for you and that's the truth. You guys are the reason I am here and coming back five days a week. Cheers to 2014 and all it has to offer.

Now for the surprise! I have teamed up with 12 of my favorite shops that have supported me since I started my blogging ventures for one ginormous giveaway. The prize package is worth over $350 and every single thing up for grabs is AMAZING!! Be sure to check out their sites because I swear each one of them have the cutest, most adorable and unique products around. Perfect for last minute holiday gifts or any other special occasion.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
Shanna

77 comments:

Ashley said...

Wow these pictures are absolutely gorgeous Shanna, loving those heels!! I loved reading this post and can totally relate to you in all of it!! Love your blog and definitely keep it up girlie!! Happy Bloggy Birthday!!!

Xox,
Sincerely Miss Ash

Carelia Moran said...

Wonderful and inspiring post Shanna! You deserve all the success and happiness with your blog. Thanks so much for your tips…you are so right about every single one.
Happy Blog Anniversaire!!
xo
Carelia

MySmallWardrobe.com

prettyanddelectable.com said...

Congrats, Shanna! Your festive outfit and that huge balloon are perfect for celebrating. It's been really fun to see your blog grow and evolve. Wishing you continued growth and success!

Alice Warren said...

First of..congrats on this milestone!!! I have enjoyed your blog and can't wait to see what's to come in the future.

Second, these photos are so fun and gorgeous!! I always look forward to reading your posts since you share a little about yourself and it's not all about clothes. It has been a pleasure meeting and getting to know you through your blog.

Alice
www.happinessatmidlife.com

jenn~the stylish housewife said...

CONGRATS girl! Happy 2 years!!! Wishing you many many more successes...keep on keepin' on!

XOXO, Jenn
The Stylish Housewife

Rachelle (http://pinksole.com/) said...

Amazing post Shanna, happy 2 year anniversary and you're awesome.

xo
http://pinksole.com

Susan Jeffries said...

I really enjoyed this post Shanna! I started following you because I loved your style, but I stay because I love your heart. I hope you blog forever, because I would miss you if you stopped:) I cant enter the give away because I dont do facebook, but what a fun way to celebrate your anniversary! I cant wait to see what year three holds! Susan

Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} said...

CONGRATULATIONS FRIEND! Beautifully written and obviously straight from the heart. And your pictures are STUNNING!
You work so hard on this blog and it is so obvious to all who read it! Can't wait to see what the next year holds, and I hope I'm one of those bloggy friends that gets to meet you in real life one day!
xoxo,
Sheaffer :)

Nina Piccini said...

Congrats Lady!!! I sure am happy I stumbled upon your amazing blog. You continue to be inspirational, gorgeous, funny and I adore reading little tid bids of your life with your lovely little family!!

and let's talk about how GORGE you look in these photos, the outfit BOMB, that LIPSTICK?? classic, bold, and lovely.

xo, Nina
afterthe40barfinish

Kimberly said...

First of all, these pictures are so cute & I love the one of you throwing the confetti! Second, I am so blessed that we had the chance to "meet" and connect this year through our blogs - you are the real deal, lady, and I'm grateful to have a blogging friend like you who is supportive and truly gets it. Last, I couldn't agree more with your tips & advice - spot on! Can't wait to see where the next year takes you & your site...congrats & happy anniversary!! xoxo

www.pennypincherfashion.com

Courtney said...

How has it been 2 years?!! Congrats Shanna! I'm so happy for you! I just love that through all the growth and changes, you and your blog have always been genuine;) Love sipping my coffee, looking at the pretty pictures, and hearing what you have to say! You go girl, well deserved success:)

Rebecca Lately said...

Shanna, congratulations on your blogiversary!! I am so glad that I found your blog :) You are amazing, and I love reading your posts every day (even if I don't comment! I'm so bad about that!) Here's to another awesome year!!! :-D

Heidi said...

Happy Blogiversary! You have a great outlook and I think that makes all the difference when it comes to blogging.

http://jax-and-jewels.blogspot.com

Ashleigh said...

Congrats! You would never know this blog is only two years old. You definitely have such a professional image and it seems like it's been around forever! My DSLR was probably the best thing that I've done for myself because of blogging. My photos have never looked so good and I feel like a pro!
-Ash
www.thestylizedwannabe.com

Tracy Walpole said...

You are so amazing Shanna! So proud of all you've done with your blog. I'm a dedicated reader and I have no clue what it takes to be a full time blogger... but boy do I sure appreciate all you do! I can't start my day without you and I'm sure I'm not the only one!

Merry Christmas Shanna and hope 2014 is just as amazing to you and your family. <3

Hugs & Kisses from a longtime (before blogs) fan!
Tracy
xoxox

Noel Marie said...

Congratulations!! I love this post and I love this site...and today, I am loving those pictures! How perfect are those pictures!! I have so say it's inspiring to see how far you've come...I'm in my second year of blogging, just rebranded, and am feeling a little...overwhelmed, like I'll never get to where you are. But you've given me something to aspire too so I thank you! Question, do you take your own photos or do you hire someone to do it for you? Congrats again!

Brianna said...

Congratulations on two years! I'm a newish follower, but I just love your blog! I love that this post was straight from the heart and truly honest. The blogging community really is GREAT!

Kayla MKOY said...

So darn happy for you!!!! You're SUCH an inspiration, Shanna. Love your blog and love where its taking you! :)

Melissa said...

Wow Shanna, Congratulations! Only two years of blogging and you're doing so well. What an inspiration you are. :) Keep moving girl!

Melissa
thebeesknees-mel.com

Sarah said...

Where to start?!

1. LOVE that outfit and these photos, possibly my favorite yet!!
2. CONGRATS
3. Love all that you've written and you. You are such an inspiration and such a great blogging buddy. Keep up the AWESOME work!!

Always Maylee said...

Ahh happy 2 years! First, let me just say how gorgeous you look in these photos. Love the balloon and the outfit. Love YOU. I love everything you wrote and totally agree with all the things you pointed out. And of course I am so glad we got to "meet" through blogging. I have loved seeing you grow through this blog and I look forward to your next adventure!

xo, Yi-chia
Always Maylee

The Pink Growl said...

Happy Blogiversary girl! You are one of my very favorite people in this blogging world and I am so proud of where your blog has led you. I love ya!

Venus Trapped In Mars said...

This is the most beautiful post I have ever seen/read. From the stunning pictures to the beautiful words and blogging tips... I love everything about this post. Congratulations, can't wait to see what this next year hold for you!!

All That Glitters said...

HAPPY BLOGGIVERSARY! You're an inspiration! Hope I'm still here going strong in 2 years:)

jackie jade said...

happy blog birthday! it's seriously amazing how much we can learn from blogging. my only regret is that I didn't start a blog sooner!
-- jackie @ jade and oak

TaraMixandMatch said...

You know I love you Shanna! These pictures are absolutely stunning, and I love all of your advice. Cheers to another fun year!!

TheTinyHeart said...

Happy blogiversary, Shanna! I absolutely love the photos with the confetti...you look like you had so much fun with that shoot! I am really glad I "met" you through blogging and I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for you!

-Sharon
The Tiny Heart
December Group Giveaway!

Alyssa said...

Congrats, Shanna...I love visiting your space, and I look forward to seeing all that this new year brings you!

Alisha @ The Alisha Nicole said...

Congrats on two years Shanna!!! As a newbie that feels like soo long in blog years! I look forward to reading for many more years to come!

Kelly said...

Congratulations and happy bloggy birthday!

xx
Kelly
Sparkles and Shoes

Susan Liberatore said...

Congrats Shana! Loved this post and the photos are just awesome.xox

Rachel said...

Happy 2 years lady! So glad we've become blogging buds!

Rebecca said...

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww HAPPY HAPPY BLOG ANNIVERSARY SHANNA.....it may be a treat to you but knowing you via blogging has really been a treat to me....you have been an absolute inspiration to me whether you know it or not...hahah!!! And looking forward to your great spirit (blogging and out) in 2014....HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

Rebecca
www.redtagchiclosangeles.com

Kristin said...

Happy two year blog anniversary sweet girl!! Although we haven't met IRL yet, you are a true friend and one of the first people I really got to know in the blog world. I feel the same way about blogging, definitely not something I thought I'd stick with and had no idea I'd meet such wonderful people like you! You have accomplished so much in such a short time and I'm so excited to see what's in store for you this next year.. thank you for inspiring all of us! I love you! xo

Katie said...

Completely agree with all your rules of thumbs! I'm so glad I've gotten to "know you" over the past year!! CONGRATS!


XOXOXO

Katie
www.mykeepcalmandcarryon.com

Victoria Mason said...

This post made me so excited! Your excitement is contagious, as always! It's why we all love your blog. Or one of the reasons!!

The photos are so fantastic and you look gorgeous!! I am going to have to copy that manicure for NYE! Beautiful!

Merry Christmas!!

Head to Toe Chic said...

Congrats on two years of blogging!!!! So exciting. I love that we've known each other from the very beginning and I've been able to watch your blog grow :)

xo,
Angela

Girls Love Fried Pickles said...

I love you! Forever!

Michael said...

Congrats on your two years!! Thank YOU for blogging. I've enjoyed following along with you and admiring all of your gorgeous outfits!

Lauren {Fizz and Frosting} said...

Happy two years, Shanna! I have to tell you that although I follow way too many blogs yours is one of my daily "can't miss it" ones. I love how real you are and of course how FABULOUS all of your outfits are. You're a real inspiration to me! Wishing you all the best in year three!!

Sybil@PeaceitallTogether said...

You already know how much I love you! Without you I wouldn't be nearly as stylish and I would still be stuck thinking I am too old to be. You are an inspiration to me in so many ways. Still can't remember how I found your blog, but I am so glad I did!! Congrats on two years of blogging...don't ever stop ;)

Helene in Between said...

You are a blogger I look up to. I feel like you are real, up front but also know where to draw the line. I respect that. I love all of your posts and will continue to read and follow as long as you blog. Happy anniversary! You are spot on with those tips.

Elizabeth Nygard said...

Such beautiful pictures - you look fabulous! And Happy Anniversary!

Elizabeth
elizabethnygard.com

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

Happy blogiversary! Looking forward to reading more blogs from you: always stylish and genuine. You can't go wrong with that.

These photos are gorgeous and FUN, but it's your list at the end that really knocks it out of the park.

xoxo

Lindsay said...

Happy 2 year blogiversary!!! xoxo

Stesha Jordan said...

yayyyy 2 years down!!! I am seriously so obsessed with this post, you are amazing! I am so honored to know you & be able to have gone along this crazy journey with you!!! keep up the great work my beautiful friend!

xxS

Holly said...

Happy early blogiversary, doll face! You are such an inspiration of what it means to chase your dream. Thank you for what you do :) congratulations!

Tiffany @ Polka Dotted Cats said...

Happy Blog-o-versary, Shanna Boo! I am so happy for you and all of your successes. Thank you for being such a style icon and for keepin' it real :) LOVE YOU!! xoxo

Lisa said...

Congratulations! Great advice - blogging is a lot of work and does take $ to grow. Wishing you continued success in 2014!

Lisa @ Daily Style Finds

Abby said...

Congratulations! What a great accomplishment! And thanks for the blogging advice... as a newbie I really appreciate it. :)

xo Always, Abby

Ashley said...

You are awesome, Shanna and this photoshoot is beyond amazing. I agree with all your pieces of advice....especially the "you can't please everyone" one...it's kinda frustrating, but very true!

Rachel Lynne said...

Congrats Shanna! Love your blog and can't wait to continue reading it :) You deserve all the success you've had!!!!!

V @ X-tremely V said...

Congrats & Happy 2nd Blogiversary!

Allison said...

I love these tips and you! Happy 2 years to you!! So thankful to have found you and your blog. :)

Judith Miranda said...

Bonito look!!
Saludos
http://judithbysucre.blogspot.com.es

Jeans and a Teacup said...

Yay! Congrats Shanna! You deserve all the amazing success you've had with your blog! I'm glad I get to be apart of your blog community!
~Jessica
Jeans and a Teacup

Kathrin@shopschoolsleep said...

other than Happy Bloggy Birthday and congrats to 2 years and love the outfit...i don't know what to say...I am sad that I don't interact with you as much (or the bog community in general) but so very happy for you and thankful for the inspiration you give thru clothing and just keepin it real...maybe 2014 is the year I come back hahaha....love ya bloggy big sis :)

Nikki said...

Happy Blogiversary!! This was a fabulous, inspiring post!! I'm so glad I found your blog this year. You have done an amazing job and I can't wait for more! Congrats!

Nikki
thefashionablewife.com

Erin @ Living In Yellow said...

Happy Happy 2 year anniversary--it has been such a fun journey watching you and your blog take off! I can see your confidence come out more and more. You are such an inspiration to so many of us and we couldn't be more thankful for you! I'm off to have a glass of wine in your honor, cheers my friend! xo

Brianne Bracco said...

I adore this photos and how gorgy you look in them!!! Happy happy two year blogiversary girly! If anyone deserves to celebrate it's you. One the best bloggy gal pals I have met ;)

Andrea Darst said...

Congrats on 2 years! You look stunning! Honestly, it's blogs like yours and Laura's (Walking in Memphis in High Heels) that make me want to start my own blog...you ladies inspire me daily!

Rebecca @ Mommy in Heels said...

Woo hoooooo! Congrats to you, Shanna! So excited for you and can't wait to keep reading you daily! You've got a lot to be proud of :)

Kacie Ellis said...

Happy Blogiversary! You look stunning! And thanks for the tips! They're great!

http://kacieskloset.blogspot.com/

Kate at Green Fashionista said...

CONGRATS hun! :)

Still loving that skirt, gorgeous!

Style-Delights said...

Wow Shanna! I am tearing up a little as I read and think about the blogging community:) I remember connecting with you so long ago, both of us new at this thing! I surely feel like I know you even though we have never met! Your amazing personality, beauty, fashion sense and loving nature shines through your blog! Congrats for the big 2!! You will keep rocking that much is I know for sure:) have a great day girlfriend!!

Ashley Barnhill said...

Happy TWO year blogiversary!! Such an incredible accomplishment! So glad you started blogging! :)

Samantha Curtis said...

You're amazing; this post totally hit home and I just adore you (which you already knew).. thanks lady!

Happy blogiversary... keep doing what you love.. you're amazing! xo

Niki {Glossy Blonde} said...

I am a weepy mess after reading this! You deserve nothing but the best, Shanna! I'm so thankful for having found your blog and for our growing friendship in the blogging community. You are one of the few blogs that I MAKE time to read when I can, and I will always keep coming back! Cheers to 2 years!

Gwen said...

Congratulations! I'm so glad to have gotten to "know" you through your blog and I look forward to what's next.

Cece said...

These pics are gorgeous!! Congrats on running a super successful blog and remaining grounded and happy (mostly we all know there are ups and downs) while doing it!!!

FitTravelerAJ said...

Happy Blogiversary!! I am SOOO in love with these pictures AND your outfit! And we are twins right now because my toes are painted the same as your nails! The white and gold is so festive! Great tips on blogging and SO glad you've shared your life with us :-)

-AJ
FitTravelerAJ.com

Jessica S said...

Pretty kitty! Congrats on two wonderful years. I couldn't have ever imagined the connection that we would have made throughout this crazy blogging journey - can we just agree that we are destined to be besties in real life!? You are such an inspiration to me, and I am always cheering you on from over here in Nashvegas! Let me know when you are planning your visit ;)

xx
Here&Now

Jessica S said...

Oh & how did I forget!? I love how fun this shoot is! Totally YOU & I ADORE all the little details, shows how much you really put into this wonderful corner of the Internet.

xx
Here&Now

Dee Kay said...

A big big big heartfelt congratulations! I love when you do posts like these, I can tell you are a very humble, caring, hard working & smart woman and you deserve all of this and much more. To 2014 may it bring even more happiness and success your way. I love this shoot you look magnificent!
Dee
Ms Dee Kay

Whitney James said...

Congrats to you and I wish you a successful 2014. So glad I found your blog this year! Happy holidays...XO!

~Whitney
www.whitneynicjames.com

Laura B @ Walking in Memphis in High Heels said...

I think I completely forgot to tell you but happy blogiversary!!! So happy we have become friends through blogging and I'm looking forward to 2014!

Janna Renee said...

Happy Bloggiversary!! I'm so happy that we have been blog friends for most of the time you have been blogging! Great advice too ;)

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