10 Reflections at the End of the Year ~ 1 Year Ago

Another day of reflecting on the past year. I was going to write a completely new post about 2017, but I decided to first look back to what I was thinking a year ago, at the end of 2016 and looking forward to 2017. Reflections are good for the soul; either I read that somewhere or just made it up. But whatever the case, it’s true. 2017 isn’t quite over yet and I need to devote some time to ponder what worked and what didn’t, what was good and what was really good. I thought you might like to share with me 10 reflections at the end of the year ~ 1 year ago.

I love the week between Christmas and New Years. The hustle and busyness are over, a big sigh of relief that presents arrived on time and were wrapped and placed under the tree or made it to their destinations.  For Sweet Shark and me, it’s a quick trip to New Orleans, which I’ve written about here and here. Then we have a couple of days to relax before the first official day of the new year. We’ll start taking down the Christmas decorations (at least a 3~day job), packing them neatly away in their boxes (bye~bye Santas and elves and snowmen, sleep tight). Then the Christmas tree, which I hate to admit has been a little crispy the past week, will get hauled to the front yard for pick~up.

Why is it that decorating is so much fun and un~decorating is such a chore? It’s like packing for a trip is fun and unpacking when you’re back home is kind of tedious. Although I am so looking forward to the new year and optimistic about the future, I’ve been doing some reflection the past week: looking at goals met, new skills learned, new friends made, and what I want to accomplish in 2017. When I think about the items on my 2016 list that I accomplished and the ones I didn’t, I feel that it’s not too bad, maybe 70~30. So while this year is in the rearview mirror, here are my 10 Reflections on the end of 2016.

10 Reflections at the End of the Year ~ 1 Year Ago

2016 was my first full year blogging at Bluesky Kitchen. So what goals for 2016 did I reach and what good things happened?

  1. This time last year, I set a page view goal for 2017.. For the uninitiated, without getting too technical, page views on the number of times someone opened and looked at your blog. I didn’t know if it was realistic, way out of bounds or too low. Well, it must have been too low because I met that goal in August. I patted myself on the back and wondered where I would be at the end of the year. With one more day, I’ve already doubled my goal for the entire year. Some applause is now O.K. December has actually been my best month ever. Thanks to all my readers. Love you.
  2. Attend Haven again. Haven as a maven, rather than a newbie, still had the anticipation as my first year in 2015. But this time I knew the lay of the land, could see old friends, make new ones. My feet were more grounded and I knew more of what I didn’t know and what I needed to learn. I had some new goals: connect with some brands to develop a relationship and learn more about photography, video, Instagram and Pinterest.
  3.  Learn How to Use Instagram ~ I now have a love affair with Instagram. After spending the first 5 months using it totally incorrectly, it was all out of whack.  With the help of another blogger, I got my account straight in May and started using hashtags and captions correctly. Learning the nuances of Instagram is an ongoing process, but I’m making great connections and learning how to engage other folks. And I love the beautiful photography, both food and home decor that is shared. I’ll hope that you’ll join me on Instagram @blueskykitchen.
  4. Switch and Grow E~mail Marketing ~ I’ve been a big fan of e-mail marketing for my cooking classes since 2007, using Constant Contact. It was hard to do, but I switched to Mail Chimp in September, 2015. So there was another goal: to really jump up my engagement and subscribers using Mail Chimp; another learning curve but it’s paying off with a steady rise in subscribers.
  5. Learn How to Take a Proper Picture ~ I bought my first DSLR camera in February and I’ve loved learning how to use it. The improvement in my photography is a steady process that has been fun and rewarding. This December, I just decided to take the leap and start using manual mode (from AV mode). What was I so afraid of? Within a few days, I felt comfortable with it. No looking back now.
  6. Learn How to Use Pinterest ~ like Instagram, Pinterest has its own set of methods to its madness. It’s my other favorite social media format and I have learned so much from it. I love sharing not only my own posts, but those of others. You can check out my boards here.
  7. Work with a Brand ~ one of the brands that I connected with at Haven asked me to review and use their products. Since it was one I was dying to try, it was easy to say yes. They want to continue the relationship which is exciting.
  8. Improve my Writing ~ writing has always been a passion and I’ve learned the positive results of editing and more editing. It’s a joy to connect with readers through the written word and although images are so important, the story is in the words.
  9. Work with Other Bloggers ~ I had the fun and privilege to work with many bloggers on 6 blog hops and it was a wonderful experience. It takes work, but meeting and reading other bloggers is a delight. What amazing talent is out there in blog land.
  10. Host a Link Party ~ Holly, Diane (our Southern Haven Tribe) continued the party we started in 2015, although we lost half our tribe. I love these girls and met some fabulous bloggers through hosting (met a few at Haven!)

Fast forward to December, 2017. Wasn’t that fun! Reflecting on the old year is like looking back to your younger self and telling that younger self what you’ve learned. Now I can give 2018 my undivided attention and focus on what actually happened that I will build on for the future.

How do you end the year? Do you take time for reflection, appraisal of what went on in the past year? How do you judge whether the year was successful or fulfilling? I’m sure you have goals, plans and wishes for the new year and I hope that you’ll share.

I hope you had a good year, a great year and that 2018 is even better. Until then have an amazing, joyful, and safe New Year.

5 Champagne Drinks for New Year's Eve that will help you toast in the new year with festive sparkles and shining bubbles.


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  1. I am one of your new subscribers and really enjoy your blog, admittedly I love to cook. About three years ago I was being encouraged to journal and while its not my thing (yet) I did start keeping lists of new recipes I tried throughout the year and books I’ve read. I enjoy reviewing the lists at the end of the year and remembering the occasions that went with the recipes. Looking forward to 2018! Whew your list of social media conquests is impressive.

    1. RS, thank you so much for subscribing. You don’t know how much I appreciate it. Keeping lists of new recipes you’ve tried is a great idea. Sweet Shark does that for new cocktails. When he cooks the main dish (on Saturday nights), we critique it and make notes (did we like it, what would we change, etc.). Have fun cooking in 2018 and I will share more recipes and more cooking videos.

  2. Carol,
    Your year was a success, and something tells me 2017 is going to be an even bigger success. Good for you switching to manual mode. I am still shooting in P mode which has most things automated. One day I will take the leap to manual.


    1. Judith, thanks so much for the vote of confidence and voice of encouragement. We all need that from our peers. On the switch to manual, I just didn’t think about it, just did it. Takes more thinking, but I’m getting the hang of it and you will too. Everything is a learning process. Happy New Year to you and a great 2017.

    1. Stacey, you are the sweetest! One year ago you got the Texas blogger group going and it’s been the best. Great times ahead for everyone. Hugs.

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