A Very Honest Year In Review!

Hey All!

So I decided to do a verrrrry verrrrry honest and long year in review this year. It’s not going to be very brite & bubbly I warn you, because I just want to just be honest. I apologize in advance for how long this post is. This is a lot I’ve been keeping inside for a long time and I’m just setting it free today. I interrupt our normal positivity for some realness and not so happy topics for this one post. I actually used to year in reviews every year, but I skipped last year because honestly, I was completely devastated at the beginning of 2017 and was scared for the future. I didn’t think it would be good to write anything since I didn’t think I would have anything good to say. If 2017 taught me anything it’s to not be silent and to stop being afraid to speak out. That was one of the most challenging things for me in 2017. I felt like no one wanted to get political and I felt like lots of people on social media wouldn’t do it unless it would get them more likes. I sometimes felt like I was the only one who said anything on topics ranging from Puerto Rico to Net Neutrality. Everyone not speaking out about Net Neutrality was the one that blew my mind the most, because it affects everyone who makes a living with social media including those who just use instagram to create content and bloggers. I barely saw anyone talk about it and it’s sad, because I truly believe influencers have a huge voice that can spark change. Saying nothing when you have a huge platform and pretending like life is all sunshine and rainbows when the country around you is falling apart is just cray cray to me. Essentially, for me, 2017 was for the most part a dumpster fire I am thrilled is finally over!

So with that said, let’s start with the bad stuff of 2017. I still didn’t have a baby, even though we tried everything we could afford to do like crazy. I don’t know if you know, but IVF and fertility treatments can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000. I don’t have that kind of money and it was really rough to see people who have been doing what I do half the amount of time have that kind of money and then some. It was pretty depressing especially when you see people adopting left and right because they can afford to.

I didn’t grow my business as I wanted to and actually had to downsize. I had a team of 3 full time contributors, a Video Editor and a VA and now I only have a VA because I couldn’t afford to keep everyone on. It was super depressing and it added more stress on me because I had more content to create on my own. Yes it was a rough year business wise for us. We lost our largest client that we’ve worked with for over 5 years because they decided to start working with a PR agency instead of working directly with bloggers and that PR agency felt the need to get rid of everyone who had been loyal to this brand for years. It’s horrible because essentially the PR Reps ended up hiring their friends, who aren’t even good fits for the brand and who have no traffic to their site. One was even paid thousands per blog post when she only had her site for like 2 months.  It makes absolutely no sense why anyone would think someone who started a blog for the heck of it 2 months ago should be paid thousands for a blog campaign simply because they have a lot of instagram followers. End rant.

I’m going to be very real here. People often ask me why is it that I’ve been doing this for over 10 years and still don’t have a team of 5 and a studio space and full time photographer. The answer is I have student loan debt and I don’t come from money! I went to NYU, UCLA, and AFI with student loans and have over $200,000 in student loan debt! The folks who you see who can hire a team, have a studio space, and full time photographer don’t have that debt. Their parents paid for their college tuition and they have money to just keep it real. They came into blogging with money and could afford to just do whatever they wanted to do and put the money in. I even did some research on some bloggers who have made it in half the time as me and one even paid thousands to an advertising agency to help them get their name out there and to grow their instagram and get themselves promoted every where. If you have thousands to spend monthly to grow your blog and brand you can do it quickly. Those are the people that will also lie and say I worked so hard to get where I am, but in all honesty that had a bank account and team to help them do it. I’m proud to say I’ve gotten to where I am today by killing myself and hustling. I had amazing contributors along the way and some photographers, but that’s about it. I’ve done it all myself and continue to do so. I’ve also tried to stay true to who were are and to always try to be original. So if you’re thinking of starting a blog these days, that’s what you have to compete with.

Originality was another thing I struggled with in 2017. I was constantly panicked that I had to post everything asap and before everyone else to make sure no one accused me of copying someone else. It was beyond stressful and it’s honestly why you saw holiday posts go up earlier and earlier. It’s made us work over time and it all has to do with the blogging world being oversaturated with everyone deciding they wanted to be colorful and brite and bubbly. It made blogging brutal and honestly not as fun as it used to be. Thankfully by the end of the year I decided to say screw it and I’m over the worrying and decided to do what ever the heck I wanted! I from now on don’t care what anyone says. I’m doing what ever I want and if someone else does the same thing at the same time, so be it. Great minds think alike.

It was also super rough to see former contributors who blatantly copy other people and me succeed off of being someone who essentially stole someone else’s brand and identity. It was rough to see them succeed simply because they have a lot of instagram followers. I felt like I was taking crazy pills, like if I’m the only one who noticed this. Apparently you can lie, cheat, steal, and do what ever the heck you want and get away with it if you have a ton of instagram followers. People will apparently praise you for it and give you $5000 a photo. I later found out this same person who’s done all this even had police reports taking out on them for stalking other bloggers and trying to steal their identity. It’s crazy and I felt really dumb for ever having supported this person!!! It’s something I had to come to grips with and tore me up in 2017 because essentially no one said anything because it wouldn’t be “on brand” to say anything and allowed this person to succeed and get away with it all and they still do. They still stalk and copy people including me. I’ve really had to fight hard to get over this and have to admit I was wrong to say nothing too and only talk about it in private with people. I’ve always struggled as to whether I should air this dirty laundry since I try to keep this space a constant source if positivity, but I felt like I’m tired of just not saying anything about it and that’s not reality. Not saying anything has essentially let this person get away with it.

Next, I didn’t get healthy and lose weight like I wanted. I actually gained weight from stress eating, not going to the gym, and spent more time in the doctors than any other year and it had to do with all the stress of blogging and social media. The stress of losing the clients and my team and then some. I was in and out of the doctors thinking I was having heart attacks from the stress and the stress honestly prevented me from getting pregnant. And that stress was on top of the stress of everything going in this country.

Lastly we found out our dog Mister Pink Had Prostate Cancer! This dog is like my baby, so I was a hot mess after learning this. It was like one blow after the other in 2017!

Thank you for letting me vent all that badness out and it feels good to just type it all and put it out there!

Now on for the good stuff that happened in 2017!

By the end of the year we found Mister Pink a bunch of treatments that have apparently turned everything around and he’s going to be around for many years to come. It included a controversial treatment called VET CBD! It’s essentially weed turned into an oil form and with out the part of weed that gets you high. I am now a believer in it and my Vet is too. I’m recommending it to anyone who has a dog that may be sick in any way. Talk to your Vet about it before you give it to your dog of course, but it’s cured cancers, helps with arthritis and a slew of other ailments in dogs. It’s been a miracle for us and you can’t even tell anything is wrong with our dog now except for the fact that he wears diapers. Besides that, he’s bouncing, healthy and thinks he’s a puppy again! It’s been a big stress relief!

Yes we lost our biggest client and some of our team, but we found other new amazing clients and found more amazing clients to work with to make up some of that income. We rebounded thankfully by the end of the year and we also launched our own shop and designed our own line of pins which helped make up the lost income. We still worked with our contributors, but on a freelance basis and some were even kind enough to contribute for free to help me out! I’m eternally grateful to everyone who helped us stay afloat this year content wise!

We became ambassadors for amazing brands like CVS, Pillsbury, Kroger, Wilton and Netflix to name a few. Netflix was huge for me because it’s a brand I’ve loved since they first launched and it was a dream come true to finally be able to be connected with them and be a member of their Stream Team.

We got to go to amazing events this year like the Stranger Things Binge Racers event with Netflix, which is something we still talk about daily because we had such an amazing time. It’s probably the best event I’ve ever went to in my entire 10 years of blogging. It’s tied with the Star Wars the Force Awakens premiere.

I made some great friends this year and grew my bubbly squad! It’s something I’ve been trying to do since I moved to LA and has been on my list of things to do. I finally found a tribe of girls who I connected with on social media that I think are awesome.

I traveled more in 2017 and lived out many geeky and color filled dreams like going to the Color Factory in San Fran and to D23 and Comic Con. We fulfilled a childhood dream at D23 by jumping into the Scrooge McDuck money bin!

One goal for 2017 was to get our content more attention and shared by publications that we love. We achieved that goal by having our content featured on Buzzfeed, Apartment Therapy, Refinery 29, and Mash Pics to name a few. One of our costumes even was on news segments across the country thanks to Amazon, since it was made with an Amazon box.

By the end of 2017, I think I turned all the bad that happened around by just focusing on the positive and learning to be grateful for all the good I have in my life, the amazing community I have built, and all the success I’ve had with my business. It’s amazing how much we forget to just be grateful for what we have. I honestly blame social media for that one. We live in a time where everyone over shares everything and it makes everyone seem like they are living the best life ever, regardless of what’s really going on behind the scenes. I really had to stop taking for granted the success I do have and to stop comparing myself to other peoples success. I know a lot of people who started out around the same time as me 10 years ago who are either no longer around or not doing well. I’m thankful I’m still doing well and I’ve managed to grow my brand and transition with the social media times and have had my readers and followers stick with me for all these years and believe in me when I sometimes didn’t believe in myself. It’s made going into 2018 with a renewed love for Blogging, DIY and my desire to continue to grow my business.

2018 I’ve deemed the year of gratitude and growth. There are going to be some big changes coming in 2018 and a new set of goals I want to achieve.

First is… I’m making it a big goal to grow my business and branch out into areas I’ve not been comfortable in. I’m focusing on bringing new products to the shop, building new clients, and thinking outside the box for ways to bring you unique content. You’re going to see a heck of a lot more fun DIY’s that are still going to be rainbow filled and branch out more into home decor and fashion. Two topics I’ve neglected over the years but love. You’re going to see more video tutorials, a pod cast, more focus on Instagram Stories with weekly Instagram Lives and more expanding our family themed content. Get ready! A lot of fun things planned for this year.

I am also making it a goal to hire on a management team, a social media manger, a photographer and assistant this year. I’m also going to get back my team of contributors. This is the year I’m going to finally get the help I want and need. It’s one goal I say I’m going to do every year and I’m making it a point to do everything I can to achieve it this year. I know doing this will help me grow my brand and my business.

I’m going to try to find a space to work from outside of home. It doesn’t have to be my personal studio, but some place we can do shoots in every week. The hunt is on!

I’m also going to be a lot more personal on the blog and on social media, so all my new followers can get to know me better and so you all can really get to know us on a more personal level. I’m going to be sharing our journey to baby and the craziness that we’ve experienced!

Last but not least, Our biggest goal of 2018 is to expand and grow our family with a new baby and hopefully getting a new home by the end of the year that is ours. We want to have some place we can grow our family and not have to worry about our rent skyrocketing. We want a place to call our own.

Thank you for making it through this super long post! You deserve all the rainbows and confetti!

That’s what you can expect for 2018! I hope you’ll join me on this year of gratitude and growth!

Thank you again for allowing me to vent here today and thank you for your endless support over the years! Your support helps me get through the rough times and it means the world to me!

I hope the work that we do helps you get through the rough times too! Know we’re here for you just as much as you’re here for us!

Here’s to a rocking 2018 Bubbly Squad! Tomorrow I’ll be sharing a survey to see what you’d like to see product wise on the shop and on the blog and on our social channels. I won’t make it long promise!



  • " target="_blank">Jaime

    Congrats on being real and staying true to your values. It is hard in this competitive world with people buying everything. And infertility is a sad thing. So sorry you’re struggling through that, but I know from experience that makes the babies even more dear to your heart when they come! Rainbow on!

  • thetotetrove.blogspot.com" target="_blank">The Tote Trove

    Hi, Vanessa. I found your blog through Pinterest earlier this year and have enjoyed all of your colorful, whimsical, and amazingly photographed posts. So, I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through some stuff. It takes guts to do your own thing, and it’s heartbreaking when people stomp all over it. As you say, it’s also easy to get caught up in the image game that comes with social networking — which is why it’s refreshing when someone like you breaks that fourth wall to keep things real and connect. I think it’s very cool that you’re committed to this in 2018. I look forward to reading all about it!