This picture makes me feel like The Birthday Fairy.
I’m always the last one to come in with a year-end recap, but I am weirdly superstitious about talking about the year before it’s 100% over. So, here I am! Time to reflect on the year, share what your (seemingly) favorite posts were and talk about what I’ve got cookin’ for 2015!
Most Popular Posts of 2014!
(Says Instagram, Pinterest + Google Analytics, unscientifically combined to make this list, in no particular order!)
DIY Fruit Slice Umbrellas / DIY Emoji Balloons
DIY Strawberry Costume / Pre-gaming With Pastries
DIY Clock Balloons / Popsicle Cakes
DIY Donut Hat / DIY Taco Piñata
DIY Conversation Heart Balloons / Striped Donuts
Did you have any favorites? I’d say the emoji balloons and taco piñata were two of my tops!
Click through for my long-winded thoughts on 2014 and goals for 2015.
And Just a Few More Things
At the end of 2013, I shared my long and intense health saga but I was lucky that 2014 wasn’t as turbulent medically. Unfortunately for me, doctors, MRIs and the like will always be a part of my “normal” but I’m thankful that was the bulk of it for the year. So instead, I thought I’d share a very real glimpse into my 2014. As I mentioned last year, I strive to keep things positive and happy in this space. But after many articles this year about blogger burnout, I thought it time to add my two cents and share both the big ups and crazy downs of my year, along with some outtakes to embarrass myself because… why not.
Shoot Day vs. Real Day. How’s that for reality!?
I had a lot thrown at me in 2014 that I wasn’t prepared for. I had a wedding to plan and a business that was growing quicker than I could keep up. Perhaps the most “first world” problem I could complain about, but the stress of everything relating to our wedding this year really destroyed 2014 for me. While I am so in awe of and so grateful for our wedding day (it was truly amazing and everything I once “dreamed” of), I would give anything to get 2014 back, without the stress, arguments, decisions and money spent on that one single day. (By the way, I’ll be sharing the full post-wedding recap tomorrow!)
I caught myself a good one, folks.
By the time our wedding day hit, I was in awe and so thankful that Jeff was still standing by my side, cheering me on, ’cause I sure didn’t spend many days with my focus on him.
Running a business is no joke. And a blog is no different and it isn’t a “get rich quick” scheme either. There isn’t much “passive income” when it comes to DIY blogging which means I work my butt off for each and every dollar I earn and post I put up. I’m a perfectionist, and only want to give you guys the best, so I put everything I have into this little corner of the internet. Working 7am – midnight every day is not an exaggeration, it was my 2014 reality and I definitely felt burnt out more than once.
2014 was an investment year for the business, as all businesses have. One where I had to put a good chunk of my time and money into it, and keep very little of both in return. Amidst the wedding insanity this year, I blew right past my 3rd blogging birthday on November 7th and when I see how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown thanks to that hard work, it makes it all largely worth it. So despite the negatives of this year, there have been some HUGE positives too.
The wind is my enemy.
In 2014, I signed a lease for my very first studio space in downtown LA. That was a crazy exciting, and ultra terrifying, moment, but making it over (And having it featured on Glitter Guide!) sure was
stressful fun! Having a space has allowed me to produce content I never would have been able to produce without a space to do so in. I hope in 2015 to use it even more effectively than I have in 2014 for shoots, workshops and as an actual “office” too (no more lazy couch-working for me!).
In 2014, I hired my first employees. This has been an incredible learning curve, but I was lucky to find some great ladies right off the bat. I am an ultra-control freak, and an unorganized one at that, so learning to delegate tasks and let others help with Studio DIY has been a bumpy road, but one that has let me see that light that could (can!) be as I continue to figure the title of “boss” out. I’m excited to grow my team in 2015, too.
In 2014, I worked with some major dream brands. I was on a call the other day and was asked “What are your dream brands to work with?” And, honestly, I was humbled to say I had already worked with so many of them! My partnership with Balloon Time has been so fruitful, and I couldn’t think of a brand more fitting for what I do. I’ve been able to work with Target on several posts which, if you knew how much time I spent in Target, you’d know how awesome that is for me. I partnered with my favorite show, The Today Show, and worked with so many of my favorite brands, Kate Spade Saturday and ban.do included. So. Awesome. In addition to traditional blog posts, I got to design a window display, curate an Etsy pop-up at West Elm, throw a taco party, co-host The Brand Market Workshop LA, experiment with video for the first time, takeover Lowe’s Instagram and organize a colorful scavenger hunt at The Saguaro.
Perhaps the coolest part of 2014 came thanks in large part to Instagram. This year I created the #troopstudiodiy hasthag so I could see all of the Studio DIY projects you guys have made yourself and that has FLOORED ME! So fun to see your takes on the projects I share here. On top of that, #studiodiyincostume was probably the highlight of my year. Hundreds (!) of you used my tutorials for your Halloween costumes and it was the coolest thing EVER to see! I have really enjoyed utilizing Instagram this year, in addition to the blog, to chat with you guys, share extra doses of inspiration, and build a true community around the mottos that Studio DIY lives by. Have to give one more THANK YOU to each and every one of you who’s been a part of my 2014 here.
Note to self: When running your hand along a wall trying to look cute, do not scrape your nail against it or your face will look like this instead.
So What’s 2015 Going to Look Like?
Like most years, I have big plans for 2015. I can’t tell you exactly what to expect because, well, I’m not in the place yet to be that organized. 😉 BUT! I can tell you a few overarching resolutions I’m making, both for the blog and for myself.
1. Diversifying Content: Over the past few years, I’ve come to realize what I really love about Studio DIY is the “brand” and “feeling” I’ve built behind it. Colorful, playful, light-hearted, sugar-y, fun. I’m hoping to continue diversifying the content you see here, and exploring what the Studio DIY style means for other areas of life, like fashion, beauty, food, travel and more. I’ve really enjoyed exploring these areas a bit in 2014 and hope you guys are game to continue the exploration this year! (A reader survey will be coming next week, where you can tell me what you really think.)
2. Refining the Brand: While I pride myself on developing a strong brand for the blog, I still feel there are loose ends that could be tied up, and plan to do so through some slight site modifications and creating a real, true “mission statement” for the brand.
3. More than a “blog”: There’s been a lot of talk about how long blogs will really “last” in the ever-changing online landscape. I sure hope they last for a long time, but I also have way bigger visions than just a blog for the Studio DIY brand. I hope to start researching and implementing branches of the brand, outside of the blog, this year as well.
3. Remembering to Let It Go (I just used that term so you could all sing the song): I spent a lot of time caught up in stolen photos, copy-cats and missed opportunities this year and have decided to move past that in 2015 (as inspired by some of Sophia’s words in #GIRLBOSS), in an effort to focus largely on the positive.
4. Workshops!: I didn’t use the studio to it’s full potential last year and I really hope to do so this year by hosting a bunch of awesome workshops! So those of you local to SoCal, stay tuned!
5. Efficiency + Growth: It is a huge goal of mine to grow the Studio DIY team this year. To focus on my strengths, and bring in other people to help with my weaknesses so I can bring better content, and do so more efficiently, and so I can spend some time focused on my personal life, too. Please know, it is very important to me at this moment that the blog remain in my voice. I am excited to continue working with awesome people who can help make that little voice of mine even more colorful, powerful and awesome! (Did I just call myself awesome? Hopefully you know what I meant.)
6. Take Better Care of Myself: This is 100% personal, but I hope to take better care of myself in 2015. In 2014, I started wearing makeup (and lipstick!) and real clothes (mhm, no more leggings + sweats every day!) more often and it’s funny how those little things made me feel a lot better about myself and more confident. I’m hoping to take that a step further this year and focus on taking better care of my skin, my teeth (The root canal I’m getting on Thursday should convince me of that one…) and my body in general.
7. Give Back: I grew up in a house where giving back was very important, and I feel like I’ve lost touch with that in recent years. Both personally and professionally, I’m hoping to seek out ways to give back this year.
8. Listen: I did the 2013 reader survey and got some GREAT feedback from you guys… and then I completely dropped the ball on implementing most of it. Fail. After the 2014 survey, which will be a bit more in-depth, I really hope to LISTEN and implement some of your suggestions. Case in point: the most popular question from last year’s survey was: What is your background/how did you get to where you are today? I’ve literally had that post drafted for 9 months. Don’t worry, in 2015 I’m ON IT! I also generally need to work on my listening skills, personally. I’ve inherited a trait of my dad’s that my mom (affectionately) calls “selective hearing” and I know it drives Jeff bananas. Time to listen up!
9. Family + Friends: Now that we don’t have the excuse of bridal showers and wedding festivities, I want to make it a point to make sure I still see my (faraway) family and friends. We’re hoping to start doing destination meet-ups with Lauren + her now-husband Mike instead of constantly going coast to coast to see each other which I’m pretty excited about! I think Austin is topping our list for trip #1 right now…
10. Re-learn an instrument!?: This is a lofty one that likely won’t happen but I’m putting it here anyway. (How’s that for setting myself up for failure!?) All of my brothers play instruments and we all (try) to sing along. Any trip we go on or gathering we find ourselves at means there is at least one guitar in tow. My fondest family memories involve listening to their late-night music sessions. As Jeff and I think about starting a family, I’m more aware of the fact that, outside of my sweet dancing skills to T-swift, there’s a huge absence of (homemade?) music in our lives. I played piano (and flute! ha!) for a good portion of my childhood, and will forever regret stopping (who’s with me!?) but I would love to learn, or re-learn, an instrument before too long so our kids can grow up around music, too. Alternatively, I’d like to take up dance classes again, so at the very least I can minimize the emotional scarring of our children. 😉
Lucky for me, I was probably not the weirdest thing those folks saw in Hollywood that day… 😉
2015, only 6 days in, is a scary and exciting year for me. Right now, both professionally and personally, 2015 has a lot of uncertainties. This is the year Jeff and I hope to explore owning a home and starting a family, two things that are largely out of our control. With Studio DIY, there are a lot of big projects I want to take on that I hope will grow the brand into what I see it being in the long run. In case you didn’t know, a control freak mixed with lots of big uncertainties is a recipe for insanity, but I am really excited to see what this potentially life-changing year could bring and I’m ready to face it HEAD ON! Let’s do this 2015. You ain’t got nothing on me.
If you made it this far, I owe you a donut. What are your goals, hopes or dreams for 2015!?
Loved reading through your goals for 2015, Kel. And seeing those behind the scenes photos. 3, 5, and 6 are on my list of goals for the year as well. Hope it’s a good one for all of us!
Thanks, B! We’re gonna NAIL 3, 5 and 6! Time to conquer the world. 😉
Hilarious + so real! Glad to know I’m not the only control freak out there 😉 Happy 2015! You will rock!! XO
Us control freaks have to stick together! 😉
Rachel | The Crafted Life says
You are amazing lady! Wishing you the best with you goals for the year– can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Thanks Rachel!! Same to you!!
You are my fave blog! Excited for all that 2015 will bring 🙂
Ah! Thank you Bridgette! 2015 is gonna be awesome!
So happy for you and the amazing success in 2014! Can’t wait what 2015 does for you. xo
Thanks lady! Let’s rock 2015!
I discovered you in 2014 and love everything you do! Thank you for sharing so much pretty on the blog each day, and yourself. I look forward to what you come up with in 2015. (And tomorrow’s wedding post, yayyyy.)
And I hope you do more workshops, Im not local but plan on being in LA this summer. So please announce them with a few weeks time. In case i want to anchor one of those trips around you!
Hey Anna! I definitely hope to announce workshops a month or so in advance and hope to have a few fun ones this summer!! Would be so fun to have you attend!
Kristina B says
HONEY. Oh. MY. GAWD. I read the link to last years’ review and all your medical stuff and HOLY CRAP! I had no idea! Like, why would I but still you know what I mean. What a trooper!!
I published an ebook a year or 2 ago and got so many wonderful comments and reviews…and then the mean stuff started coming and I had to stop. I’m still so tempted because I love the sweet ones but oh mah LAWD the bad ones are not worth it. You keep your chin up because you are FABULOUS.
Thanks Kristina! You’re totally right, we’re better off not giving those jerks the attention they don’t deserve!
Pat Newman says
I think for 2015 I am going to try to be as positive and willing to face whatever challenges as you are.
I always love reading your posts, even the long ones! Thank you for opening up and inspiring my blogging journey! I cannot wait to see what you bring in 2015! Good luck! xx
great post my dear. I like #9 🙂
Love everything about you + your brand!
I’m not local to LA, but I love the idea of you doing more workshops… Here is an idea: A Studio DIY weekend retreat!
Maybe some workshops, trips to your favorite sugary establishments or shopping spots – Jeff could teach some photography tips and tricks? Team up with other like-minded bloggers so each of you hosts different sessions? People could find their own lodging and/or there could be a block of rooms at a nearby hotel? Just an idea… I’d be the first to sign up! Thanks for all the hard work you put in – even in a WEDDING year! Sheesh! Your regular posts are certainly a highlight for me each and every day.
Lori, that would be so fun! Like Studio DIY summer camp! We’ll have to see what the future brings!! =)
Kim - The TomKat Studio says
Happy New Year, my friend! I absolutely love seeing what comes next from you! It always brings a smile to my face. Cheers to an amazing 2015! Hope to see you again soon! xoxo Kim
Same to you, Kim! Hope to see you soon!! <3
What a GREAT recap and love how you have yourself reachable goals so you stick to it! We always need creative, passionate people for our Confetti Fiundation team and have some awesome board member opportunities coming up if you really want to reach that goal of “giving back” 🙂 We throw birthday parties for hospitalized kids, you would have so much heart for us! Happy 2015!
Thanks, Stephanie! I will definitely be in touch this year to chat!!
Marifer de la Borbolla says
You have been awesome in 2014, so I’m sure 2015 will be more awesome! Thank you for sharing this! I completely understand you in no.3. I’m the type of girl that spends more time complaining about my competition than using that time in a more productive way, and I’m sick of it, because it’s emotionally exhaustive. But a girl like you shouldn’t worry about that!! you’re awesome and everyone know what Studio DIY is and the major brand-blog it has become! you surely are an example Kelly!
It’s always a pleasure reading your posts, Kelly! While I haven’t tried any of the projects yet (they looked daunting even though you made them seem simple.. haha), I’ve been inspired to be creative at home, painting my furniture, decor etc! Take good care of your health, and looking forward to more awesome projects from you! (I’ve just recently moved back to Asia from SF, and already missing the wide range of craft materials from US. :(( )
Hi Grace! I love that the blog has inspired you to be creative in your own way! That makes everything I do totally worth it!
That was quite a post and I did hang in there for all of it. If you don’t dream and want things for your life you wouldn’t go anywhere. That’s one of things being young is all about, reaching for and working toward them. Good for you. How exciting having employees and your own real studio. Lots of hard work and determination, you get a big gold star for your gigantic efforts plus planning/carrying out a wedding.
I can remember when our youngest daughter was knee deep in planning hers, not her best moments, but 20 yrs. and 2 beautiful wonderful smart daughters later, she’ s happy. They used to live in San Diego, miss some things about it.
My goal for this year is getting a storage garage so I can put so much of what I don’t have room for in this small house in it. The amount of stuff is making me crazy. Need room to put it so I can go to storage to get what I need when I need it, so hopefully no more clutter everywhere when I’m knee deep in projects.
Get our big shed cleaned out so hubs can work in there making things in winter. No garage and no basement so desperately need someplace hubs can work in winter without freezing his patooties off. Gets pretty cold here in western CO. few miles west of Grand Junction out in country.
Wishing you the best of luck and success in 2015 and much happiness in your new marriage. Happy New Year
That is a great goal… and something we’ve talked about too! It’s so hard to control clutter in a small space!! Wishing you all the best in 2015!!
Thanks for a great 2014! I came across your blog just this year and love reading it daily and trying out some of the crafts. You have inspired me to get more creative. I too would love to join you for workshops and am excited to see what you have planned. Cheers to 2015!
Yay! Hope to see you at a workshop in 2015, Nicole!!
Monique | WritingMonique says
You are incredible! I loved all your blogposts in 2014 and I can’t wait to see all the blogposts of 2015!
Such a blast working with you! Love this post! <3
Mary Costa Photography says
Kelly, you are such an inspiration! I’m so happy to know you!! Especially loved the part about staying positive – a great reminder! Let’s kill it in 2015!
Haeley @ Design Improvised says
What a year Kelly! It has been so fun and inspiring to watch your blog take off these last couple years. You remain one of my favorite makers – your ideas are some of the best, and I always look forward to seeing what you come up with next. Those NYE balloons were so awesome by the way. I know 2015 will be one heck of a year for you!
Great post Kelly – you are such an inspiration. Whenever people ask what my favourite blog is, I always point them here as you have this amazing skill for sharing yourself amongst all the wonderful colour and sugary fun. I for one can’t wait for the reader’s survey (I kind of love them) and I’m grateful you give us the readers a chance to chip in a little.
I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings for you (and Jeff), or more likely, what you bring to 2015. No where’s my donut?!
Nicki Nectarine says
You’re an inspiration, Kelly! Thanks for creating such a fun and unique experience for the blog world! xo
Outstanding! You are an inspiration, indeed!
Maria Avellaneda says
LOVED your 2014 recap and reading your goals for 2015! I can only imagine how stressful planning a wedding is on top of owning your own business. But you did it amazingly – you are SUPER WOMAN!! Can’t wait to see all you and Jeff do in 2015!! 🙂