Hey y’all-hope you had a great weekend! Today is a very special day for me, because Palmettos & Pineapples turns one today! Exactly one year ago, I hit publish on my very first blog post. It’s crazy to think that I’ve been blogging on Palmettos & Pineapples for a full year now. So in honor of this special occasion, today I’m sharing some reflections on one year of blogging!
Shout to Emily at Reveling Spaces for capturing all the images in the this post. I had a good time being extra and walking around downtown Durham with balloons a couple weeks ago to document this celebration! For details on my outfit, check out this post. You can also view details via LIKEtoKNOW.it here.
Hard work that has succeeded my expectations.
So blogging has been a lot of hard work and I’ve invested a lot of time in creating quality content in this little corner of the Internet, It has been so worth it though, because the past year of blogging has exceeded my expectations! I originally started Palmettos & Pineapples as a creative outlet to share my thoughts and my outfits. However, it quickly became so much more! When I’m passionate about something, I throw myself into it wholeheartedly. And blogging is no exception!
When I published my first post, I had a basic free WordPress blog theme. Within the first six weeks of blogging I made some major upgrades to my website. Then this past September I made yet another update when I purchased my current theme, which I’m extremely happy with. Later this week I will share another post where I give more details about the evolution of my website and why I made these various upgrades.
Soon after I started blogging, I also realized that blogging could be more than just a creative outlet, that it could become a side hustle. I was totally clueless about this when I had my very first blog circa 2012. In the interest of full transparency, Palmettos & Pineapples is a LONG way away from bringing in any substantial side income. However, I am encouraged by the positive steps towards this goal that I made during my first year of blogging. It’s definitely a marathon, not a sprint. I’ve also learned that I can’t compare my blogging journey to someone else’s. Finally, I’ve discovered that I can’t become too focused on making money via blogging. Otherwise, it puts too much pressure and takes the joy out of creating content. I’ve realized that I must never lose sight of why I started Palmettos & Pineapples in the first place, to be a creative outlet.
Amazing connections with some amazing women.
When I think back on the past year, the connections I’ve made with other bloggers immediately come to mind. Through blogging, I’ve been able to meet some amazing women I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Most of these meetings have been virtual, but I have had the chance to meet some other local bloggers at a few events I’ve attended over the past year. (See my posts on the Purcado event, Capture the Moment event, and Kendra Scott event). Furthermore, I hope to meet some of my virtual blogger besties in person someday. Because I’m pretty sure we’d be fast friends if we did! If I mentioned every single blogger who has encouraged me or had a positive impact on me during the past year, this post would be way too long. However, I do want to give a shoutout to a few right here:
Emily Smith from Emily Smith Blog. I love our frequent chats about the joys and challenges of blogging, and our mutual love of cats. We just seem to “get” each other! She also owns and adorable party decor business on Etsy.
Annaliese from Southern Belle in Training. I’m pretty sure we’d be instant besties if we lived in the same city. I’m so thankful to have found another blogger who shares my faith in Christ and my preppy style. Annaliese is several years ahead of me in her blogging journey, and is always so sweet to offer advice.
Angela from The Thrifty Pineapple. Angela is another more seasoned blogger with a similar style and values. She was instrumental in helping me achieve my goal of getting into rewardStyle, and is always so sweet and helpful when I ask her questions about blogging.
Chance to work with two photographer friends.
Another highlight from my first year of blogging has been the opportunity to work with two friends who are also photographers- Amelia Cassar (Amelia Cassar Photography) and Emily Gardiner (Reveling Spaces Photography). One of the most worthwhile investments I have made in Palmettos & Pineapples is to periodically get professional photos taken. I love that I am able to support the photography businesses of two friends while acquiring some high quality images for my blog. Plus, having a personal connection with your photographer makes shoots more fun! I would hire them for all my blog photos if I could!
Emily started her photography business several months after I started my blog, and it’s been cool to watch her growth as a creative as well. I can’t get over how great she did with this most recent shoot celebrating my blog birthday!
Support from friends.
The first year of Palmettos & Pineapples wouldn’t have been the same without constant support from friends and family. Words can’t express how thankful I am for personal friends and acquaintances who have read my blog, followed my blog on Instagram and Facebook, and offered words of encouragement about my blog! A special shoutout goes to my bestie, who has read every single post from Day One. She will frequently text me to let me know how much she enjoyed my latest blog post. A special thanks also goes to all of my friends who have willingly snapped blog photos for me when we’ve been out and about. Seriously, words can’t express my gratitude for all y’all!
Two notable highlights from the past year were getting accepted into rewardStyle, and having the opportunity to collaborate with Ann Taylor. rewardStyle is the premier affiliate network for fashion bloggers, so I thrilled to achieve this milestone within the first year of blogging. And I’m thankful that a large company like Ann Taylor was willing to work with a microinfluencer like me. I loved picking out and styling some gorgeous clothes as part of this collaboration.
Most importantly though, I’m thankful for the opportunity I’ve had over the past year to use Palmettos & Pineapples as a platform to share my faith in Jesus and to offer advice and encouragement. As much as I love sharing styling tips and outfit inspiration, it’s even more rewarding for me to be able to share some trials I’ve endured in hopes that I might be able to encourage someone going through something similar. Also, I’m humbled that God has given me the opportunity to be the big sister I never had by sharing things on the blog that I wish I had known in college and in my early young adult years.
Some of my favorite posts I have written in the past year where I’ve gotten vulnerable and shared some life advice are:
Let’s Get Real (Story of my struggle with an eating disorder)
Advice for College Graduates
Eight Things College Freshmen Should Know
Mammogram at 33
Nine Ways to Make the Most of Valentine’s Day When Single
Making Friends as a Young Adult
Favorite Fashion Blog Posts
Of course, I still love creating outfit inspiration posts for y’all. My favorite fashion posts from the past year have been outfits I’ve had either Emily or Amelia shoot. When I invest in professional photos for the blog, it naturally tends to be for an outfit I especially love. Also, I like how a lot of these outfit shoots incorporate some of my favorite local spots in the Durham/Chapel Hill area:
If the (Lauren James) Dress Fits (This was the first professional shoot I did for the blog, so it will always be special.)
You’re My (Lilly Pulitzer Home) Slice (One of my fave Lilly prints and a delicious ice cream spot in downtown Durham)
Lauren James Emmie Tank: Your Closet’s Main Squeeze
Giddy for Gingham (Shot at Maple View Farms, another amazing local ice cream spot)
Must-Have Leopard Print Sweater
Holiday Style Essential: Plaid Flannel Skirt (Pictures taken at a boutique hotel with gorgeous Christmas decorations)
Here’s to Year Two
Overall, it’s been an amazing first year of blogging at Palmettos & Pineapples, and I’m so excited to see what the Lord has in store for year two! At the beginning of 2019, I shifted my mindset with blogging a little bit. While I still desire to grow my blog and turn it into a side hustle, I feel like I have more balance. I’ve taken some of the pressure off myself and am giving myself grace if I don’t post on Instagram on certain days, or if I don’t get a blog post up as soon as I had hoped. It’s been so freeing! At the end of the day, I have to constantly remind myself that my identity is in Christ, not my blog.
Later this week I am publishing a follow-up post where I will take some lessons I’ve learned in the first year of blogging and share advice for anyone who is thinking of starting a blog or is brand new to blogging.
Once again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all your encouragement and support over the past year! If there’s a particular post from the past year that you have particularly enjoyed, or if there’s any posts you’d like me to write in the future, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you!