Happy New Year, friends! How was your first day back in the office? (Caffeine-fueled on this end, to say the least…)
In keeping up with tradition, today I’m sharing Volume Two of “The Vault,” the year’s most popular content from corals + cognacs.
If you’ve been a c+c reader for a while now, today’s post will take you back — in a great way… After all, we’ve been through a lot together this year. If not or you’re newer ’round here, don’t worry; this will be a really great way for us to get acquainted.
I’ve done this in the past and it’s always one of my favorite posts — as well as a great way to kick off the year. (Before we move on, here’s what you loved from 2014; it’s definitely worth a bookmark!)
Crazy to think that 2015 has come and gone, but what a year it was…
From quitting my job to starting a new career and moving halfway across the country, I think I’ve learned more about myself in the roller-coaster of the last 365 days than ever before.
Of course, beyond life’s milestones were lots of memorable mini-moments… Meeting lots of amazing new people; having one seriously memorable summer in Chicago; finding a fulfilling hobby that eventually became my career — the list goes on.
All-in-all, 2015 was a rather life-altering milestone for many of us, myself included — and that’s what the year’s most popular content seemed to focus on.
So, without further adieu…
Here are the most popular blog posts from 2015:
/// LIFE & NEW YORK CITY
On the life front, whoa. I almost can’t believe everything that’s happened in the last year. And if we’re being honest, it kinda felt like an avalanche… A great one, no less, and ain’t that the way it goes.
In July 2015, I packed up and moved back to Chicago to follow my passion and embark on a brand new career path (which we’ll get to).
Despite only having lived in New York for two-and-a-half years, I actually felt ready for the transition. When you find a calling that’s fulfilling to your soul (pun not intended), you just follow it. You chase it. And if you’re lucky, it’ll teach you that “home” isn’t really a geographical concept.
/// BLOGGING & PRODUCTIVITY
Some of the most seen and shared blog posts of the year are thoughts on How to be a Better Blogger — which each summarize my advice and experience on how to turn your blog in a business.
I’ll definitely be continuing this series next year, so tell me: What type of experience, blog- and business-oriented topics should I continue to write about in 2016?
/// FITNESS & CH-CH-CHANGES
Most noteworthy of all, of course, have been my posts about the massive shift in my career… And, well, life.
About a year ago exactly, I began a very green, new-to-me journey in the fitness industry to become a SoulCycle Instructor. Four months prior to that, I’d quit my job as a digital marketing professional, despite having built my career up for seven years behind a desk. Scared as hell? Yep.
Worth it? Yep. Yep, yep, yep.
The most popular post on my site — of this year and of all time — probably won’t surprise you. It’s the one about how I got into SoulCycle’s Instructor training program. It was a journey, to say the least, and the day this story it was published, it actually crashed my site!
After I’d gone through training, successfully became a SoulCycle Instructor and started to learn the ways of the fitness industry, I shared some feelings on how becoming a fitness instructor has changed my life.
My priorities started to shift elsewhere in my life, too. For example, I was surprised to find that I’d stopped caring so much about things like Fashion Week.
Of course, this lifestyle shift has meant a massive shift in my wardrobe, too; so the post about where I shop for workout clothes was wildly popular, to.
What were some of your favorite posts of 2015 (on your blog, if you have one)? I’d love to read them, so comment below or tweet them and share.
2016: What lies ahead
Now, you know I’m always about transparency here, so here’s what’s in store around the site over the next year:
I’m redesigning the site. I love the blog as-is, but I ultimately want it to be more functional, interactive and easy for you to search and find the content that you’re looking for. I’m in the process of working with a designer now, so you won’t see the site updates until summer 2016. (It’s a long process!) I won’t reveal too much of this, but if you have suggestions for changes, feel free to comment below.
I’m creating more personal career-, lifestyle- and fitness-focused content. I love doing outfit posts and creating style-centric content — and I will absolutely continue to do so — but I’ve found that you guys really like it when I post about other things (as is evidenced in today’s recap post).
From how to turn your blog into a business or what you can do to take your Instagram to the next level… These take a lot more time to produce, though, so while I may fewer times per week, it’ll be shit that’s worth the wait, so-to-speak. Wink.
I’m developing more consistency. I’ll fully admit it, I am the QUEEN of saying I’m going to post something and then I never seem to get around it. So awful! (Remember how I said I was going to post about my weight loss journey? Yeah, still working on that.) This isn’t because I don’t want to or because I get lazy, it’s just that I honestly let “perfect” becoming the enemy of “done” or “good enough.” I waste so much productivity doing this and I’m resolving not to this year.
I’m (likely) re-branding. Oh, boy. This one really scares me, but I think it’s time. And I felt the need to tell you this up-front because I, too, have gotten very attached to ‘corals + cognacs’ as a brand.
When I first started the site, it was a hobby and I never actually thought it’d grow into what it’s become. For the four (nearly five) years that I’ve been blogging, “Corals” has evolved well beyond the fashion blog realm, so I think it’s time to dissolve the brand name into something bigger, better and more representative of the things that I want to write about and sign my name on. (Don’t worry, while the name may change, the site’s DNA won’t/nothing else will.)
Last but not least…
I will shift the conversation. My conversation, at least. And make a better effort at avoiding the noise.
Is it just me, or is almost all of the “content” around the blogosphere (and on Instagram) that we see now sponsored and paid for? And, um, not disclosed?
That’s not to say I don’t take on sponsorships — I absolutely do. And I’ll continue to do so — when it makes sense. A girl’s got to pay her rent and after all, and growing your paid partnerships is a part of the evolution process when you’re a digital content producer. But honestly, I am so damn sick of scrolling through my social media feeds only to see post after post of something that is so irrelevant, sponsored and not disclosed as such.
But rather than focusing on what everyone else is doing, I’m staying focused. Keeping my priorities on authenticity and honesty. Yes, of course I’m still going to take on brand partners, make money off my blog and create sponsored content, but only when it’s relevant, organic and makes sense. At the end of the day, this is a job — but I’m going to make sure I’m being as authentic, forthright and genuine as possible about it… And that’s always been a promise.
(Not sure if you’ve noticed the shift in our digital realm, too, but to my fellow content producers: I hope it’s inspired you to step into the same shoes and take control of the conversation. Create because you want to, not just because you’re getting paid to!)
That’s it for today — I’d love to know your thoughts on the content pieces above, as well as the changes I’m taking into account for 2016. Don’t forget to read the most popular posts of 2014!
Thank you, as always, for spending a part of your day with me here on corals + cognacs. I’m so proud of the friendship we’ve built and I can’t wait to see how the community continues to grow in 2016.
Let’s make it a big year — for all of us!
Lots of love,