The Determined Dreamer’s Best of 2017 Review and Link Party

One of my favorite things to do at the beginning of each year is recap. I used to recap in my journal because my journal used to be my place of refuge (aka: my best friend) until I realized that I prefer typing to handwriting and I love sharing my story and my passions with others.

It can be scary to be transparent, but it’s good for me to step out of my comfort zone. So this year I’ll be sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly with all of you. I’ll be kicking off this recap by really stepping out of my comfort zone with a recap video of the past year.

A video!? Say whaaaat?

It’s definitely a FIRST for my blog, as I’m really not the video taking type. To be fair, I must admit that this is more of a slideshow, not an actual video of me speaking or anything like that. Sorry to let ya down. But…I do hope you’ll still enjoy it.

I may have slipped in a few videos from the end of 2016 since I didn’t have a whole lot of footage/pictures to include. Boy, do I need to start taking more pictures (and videos!)

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s skip straight to recapping my most popular blog posts, blog stats, ways I earned, and goals for the upcoming year! I’ll also let you in on some of the biggest struggles I had in the past year because life isn’t always fine and dandy’ as bloggers often portray.

MY NICHE STORY + POPULAR BLOG POSTS

As most bloggers will attest to, we really have no clue which blog posts are going to get the most traffic. Sometimes I have a slight idea about which ones will do the best, but mostly I just write about what I’m passionate about and about what I think will help others. I try not to worry about what’s going to drive the most traffic.

When I first started blogging, I became sidetracked by all of the bloggers saying that it’s detrimental to your blogging career to stick to one niche. After reading dozens of those posts, I became worried about the success of my blog since I had various niches. My posts ranged from introversion to what I ate for dinner the night before.

That’s why for a short while I ended up zoning in on just two topics (introversion and being an INFJ). This worked well for awhile and did seem to drive more traffic, but I eventually came to the conclusion, once and for all, that I’m going to write about whatever the flying hoot I want!

I do love writing about introversion and being an INFJ, but I also love writing about self-care, wellness, travel, and about my life in general. So while my INFJ and introvert posts do get the most traffic, by far, I’m not going to deny myself the opportunity to write about other topics that I’m passionate about!

Here are the posts that got the most traffic in 2017:

Why the INFJ is Attracted to Narcissists

How to Set Boundaries as a “Highly Sensitive Person”

20 Things You’ve Experienced If You’re an INFJ

8 Ways Creative Introverts Can Earn Money From Home

THE DETERMINED DREAMER BY THE NUMBERS

The numbers shouldn’t matter, right? That’s what we’re always told- that we shouldn’t care about how many followers we have or how many people like our posts.

See, the funny thing is that as someone who is trying to earn money from my blog and social sites, the numbers do matter. And to be honest, I think that’s okay, as long as I don’t tie the numbers to my self-esteem.

Every job involves statistics. Every job involves some sort of tracking of progress. Mine just turns out to be in the form of social media followers and audience traffic.

I try not to compare my numbers to other bloggers because I’m only a beginning blogger and also because the comparison game can be extra dangerous if you even dip your toe into it. But I am proud of myself for how far I’ve come in the 6 months since I started my blog.

Here are a few of my stats:

Instagram: Went from 0 followers (July 2017) to 1,500 followers (December 2017)

Twitter: Went from 0 followers (October 2017) to 1,000 followers (December 2017)

Pinterest: Went from 2,000 followers (October 2017) to 2,500 followers (December 2017)

Blog audience: Went from 308 page views per month (July 2017) to 30,000 page views per month (December 2018)

Oh, and feel free to follow my social sites! I’d love to connect with you on my sites!

WAYS I EARNED MONEY IN 2017

These are in order from most to least amount of money I earned from each program, but I did earn money from each and every one of these listed. These are great sites to earn from if you’re a blogger, so I’d definitely check them out if you are. You can learn all about the ways I’ve earned in more detail on one of my latest blog posts 8 No BS Ways to Start Earning Money From Your Blog.

IZEA

Tomoson

Blogmutt

Fresh Press Media

Google Adsense

Shareasale

STAYING ENTERTAINED IN 2017

This may sound crazy but I’ve never been bored in my life. There are way too many things to think about and do in life to ever be bored. My thoughts alone could keep me entertained for a lifetime, but add on all of the entertainment and other exciting things that life has to offer and I’m quite perplexed by the fact that people ever get bored. It’s one of the great mysteries of life. How does someone get bored in a world that has so much to offer?

2017 was an especially great year in the entertainment area. Here’s a few of my favorites.

Best book: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Best shows: The Good Place, Atypical, The Path, Anne With an E, Stranger Things, Marvel’s Runaways, Riverdale, and The Handmaids Tale (these are just my favorite shows that I watched in 2017- my all-time favorite show will ALWAYS be Parenthood)

Best movies: Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor Ragnarok, and Beauty and the Beast

LIFE GOALS MET IN 2017

  • I got married to the perfect man for me.

 

 

  • I killed my first spider. Literally, my first (lol). This may not sound like an accomplishment but I’m DEATHLY afraid of spiders.

 

  • I helped raise $100 for Operation Underground Railroad (but am hoping to raise more next year!)
  • We did a bit of traveling…not as much (or as foreign) as I’d like, but we did get to travel to California, Arizona, Oregon, and Colorado to visit family, which was very fun!

I recently set 24 goals to accomplish before I’m 25, so my next recap should be a little more exciting…I mean besides getting married this year…that was PRETTY EXCITING haha.

THE TRICKY BITS OF 2017

  • This sounds like such a “first world problem” but the first apartment Connor and I lived in was INFESTED with spiders. We loved everything else about the apartment except the fact that we’d see around 10-15 spiders per day. HUGE spiders. We had 6 spider traps set up and the spiders were laying all over each other in the traps. The traps were completely filled to the brim within just a few weeks. Uh, YUCK!

I understand that there’s going to be spiders in every place we live but this was just an abnormal amount and I’ve always been deathly afraid of them so it wasn’t something I was okay with!

  • I haven’t been married for even a year yet, so I guess I can’t attest to this being true or not, but I can see why people say the first year of marriage is the hardest. It’s been wonderful too, don’t get me wrong, but it’s definitely a HUGE change.

Meshing two lives and two different people together can be a difficult adjustment at first. I think the first couple of months may have been the most difficult. The more we understand each other and grow that stronger and deeper love, the easier it’s gotten.

But I think that people who don’t think marriage is difficult at first are probably not being very honest with each other. One of them is probably being a pushover and being controlled by the other if they’re not having any initial adjustment issues. I’m so glad that Connor and I feel comfortable enough to speak our minds, even if it causes some little tiffs from time to time. I think learning how to get through the hard times helps make our relationship stronger!

GOALS FOR 2018

As much as I love New Years Resolutions and do actually think they can be achieved (I mean really, any goal should be achievable if you set your mind to it!), I’ve decided to forgo setting New Years Resolutions and stick to my 24 before 25 goals.

I just don’t want to set too many sets of goals because that would make things confusing. Also, my birthday is in December so I feel like that’s close enough to the new year that they’re practically New Years Resolutions as well.

You can see the full list of my 24 before 25 goals over here, but I’ll just go over a few of them on this post as well.

  • Start selling something on my blog (turn it into more of a business, but keep the blog the main focus)
  • Spread awareness of the importance of adoption and helping victims of sex-trafficking on my blog
  • Travel to Europe
  • Organize my office room
  • Do the Whole30 program for the full 30 days

TIME FOR A LINK PARTY!

Another thing I want to do more of this year is support other bloggers. Bloggers are such hard workers and they often don’t get the due credit they deserve. This year I’ve already made an effort to start a group Twitter chat for bloggers but I want to also host a few different link parties and be more active on my Blooming Bloggers Facebook group.

For this link party, I’m going to be accepting 15 bloggers links to post down below. If you’d like to be promoted on this post and join the link party, go ahead and comment below and write something about yourself and your blog!

AMAZING BLOGS WORTH CHECKING OUT

1. Sparkle and Style: Hi I’m Jenny and I’m a fashion, beauty, and lifestyle blogger! I love everything fashion and beauty related! I’m at https://sparkleandstyleblogger.wordpress.com! ☺

2. Dressesndreams: Hi I’m Juhita. I write about a minimalist, ethical and sustainable approach to fashion. My blog is at dressesndreams.blogspot.com

3. AlwaysE: I am a freelance lifestyles blogger. I enjoy encouraging our women and youth on a day on day basis. I blog about anything that comes to mind. I’m a free spirit and I love supporting other bloggers like ME! Come get to know me over at https://t.co/eeqHnLoWOL. Hope to see you there. Thank you!

4. Oliviagrams: I’m Olivia and my blog is called Oliviagrams, where I basically talk a out lifestyle things, things that move me as well as things that I think other people would enjoy. it’s over at oliviagrams.wordpress.com

5. The Thrifting Ginger: The Thrifting Ginger: Hey friends! I’m Raylynn and I have a fun blog called “The Thrifting Ginger.” I share sassy reviews of books that I’ve found in my Thrifting adventures. The link to my blog is: https://thethriftingginger.blogspot.com/?m=1

6. If I Knew Not Midnight: Hi! My name is Jessica and I blog about mental health – sharing my own struggles and triumphs and encouraging those who are fighting and surviving as well. My blog is at IfIKnewNotMidnight.wordpress.com.

7. Cup of Catherine: I blog at http://www.cupofcatherine.com, mostly about wellness, mental health, motherhood and food 🙂

8. Sincerely Alice: Hi I’m Alice! I’m a New York girl living in Tokyo, Japan! My blog is sincerelyaliceblog.com. I blog about travel, lifestyle topics and language learning!

9. Weesi’s World: Hi, I’m Denise! I am writer and blogger from Ireland. My blog is Weesi’s World, the title inspired by my childhood nickname. I don’t have a particular niche but I guess Lifestyle would be the closest. I generally write about what’s important and interesting to me. Books, music, blogging/social media tips and personal pieces are all topics I have recently covered. Link to blog: https://weesisworldblog.wordpress.com

10. Kellie Marie: Hi, I’m Kellie and I’m from Illinois! I’m a little bit of everything: fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and more! I really like to infuse female empowerment and self-love into my blog because those are things that I’m passionate about and that I find important. You can find my blog here: kelliemariee.com 🙂

11. Healthy & Psyched: This blog is run by Rachel Evans, a final year psychology PhD student, health blogger and foodie. On the blog you will find healthy plant-based recipes (including waffles and brownies!), lifestyle tips and wellbeing advice. Rachel takes an evidence based approach to provide credible information to boost your health and wellness. http://healthyandpsyched.com/

12. Gin & Lemonade: Hi I’m Lorna, an American living in Scotland blogging about life, parenting, disability, and books. Powered by caffeine and sarcasm. I’m at https://ginlemonade.com/

13. Kayla B. Collection: Hi, I’m Kayla! I recently just started my blog in the beginning of December. I share home decor ideas & inspiration, home improvement tutorials, DIY projects, and much more!
My blog is http://kaylabcollection.com/

14. Totally Camille: Totally Camille is basically a mixture of beauty, lifestyle, and your occasional fashion post. Makeup is my first love, I enjoy trying new products and putting them to the test for my readers, write round-up posts of my favourites of the season. I am also a mom to a sweet two-year-old boy, and share my experiences as a first time mom.
http://www.totallycamille.com/

15. Happily Globalized: I’m Anastasia and my blog is called Happily Globalized http://www.happilyglobalized.com/. I write about yoga, self-development and world discoveries. In other words, I share what helps me lead a balanced and healthy life while running a business and moving countries.

16. A Lively Mind: Hi, I’m Polly and I’m a Brit living in Atlanta, GA. I blog about fashion, motherhood and the ups and downs of being an expat!
https://www.alivelymind.com

17. The Runaway Bride: Hey, I’m Kaylene and I blog at TheRunawayBride.net about travel and newlywed life! I’m from the US, married to a Hungarian and we live in Switzerland.

18. Soulful Words: Hey I’m Alma. I used to only posts poetry on my blog but this year I wanted to do something different and all about various topics. The purpose is to create a platform to discuss all sorts of topics and have an impact on my subscribers life. I hope to expand my subscribers list by the end of this year. I’m very hopeful and I’m ready to learn 🙂
https://almalidia.wixsite.com/soulfulwords

Author: Coral Allen

Just a passionate introvert with the desire to help you create a life you love and learn to love yourself for who you are.

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  • Hi I’m Juhita. I write about a minimalist, ethical and sustainable approach to fashion. Would love to be featured in your link party. My blog is at dressesndreams.blogspot.com

  • Hello 🙂
    I’m Olivia and my blog is called oliviagrams where I basically talk a out lifestyle things, things that move me as well as things that I think other people would enjoy. it’s over at oliviagrams.wordpress.com

  • Hi! My name is Jessica and I blog about mental health – sharing my own struggles and triumphs and encouraging those who are fighting and surviving as well. My blog is at IfIKnewNotMidnight.wordpress.com.

  • Hi I’m Alice! I’m a New York girl living in Tokyo, Japan! My blog is sincerelyaliceblog.com. I blog about travel, lifestyle topics and language learning!

  • Hi, I’m Denise! I am writer and blogger from Ireland. My blog is Weesi’s World, the title inspired by my childhood nickname. I don’t have a particular niche but I guess Lifestyle would be the closest. I generally write about what’s important and interesting to me. Books, music, blogging/social media tips and personal pieces are all topics I have recently covered. Link to blog: https://weesisworldblog.wordpress.com

  • Hi, I’m Kellie and I’m from Illinois! I’m a little bit of everything: fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and more! I really like to infuse female empowerment and self-love into my blog because those are things that I’m passionate about and that I find important. You can find my blog here: kelliemariee.com 🙂

  • Healthy & Psyched is run by Rachel Evans, a final year psychology PhD student, healh blogger and foodie. On the blog you will find healthy plant-based recipes (including waffles and brownies!), lifestyle tips and wellbeing advice. Rachel takes an evidence based approach to provide credible information to boost your health and wellness. http://healthyandpsyched.com/

  • Hi lovely! I really appreciate your blogpost, I enjoyed reading the whole thing! You have a way to write that’s really reader friendly. I’ll go follow you on some social medias when I’m done with this comment!
    Totally Camille is basically a mixture of beauty, lifestyle, and your occasional fashion post. Makeup is my first love, I enjoy trying new products and putting them to the test for my readers, write round-up posts of my favourites of the season. I am also a mom to a sweet two-year-old boy, and share my experiences as a first time mom.
    http://www.totallycamille.com/
    Thank you for sharing. xxx

    • Thank you so much Camille! I’m glad you enjoyed my post! I really like your blog as well and am excited that I get to read it from now on. Thanks for joining the link party! I just added your blog to the post 🙂

  • Hi, I’m Kayla! I recently just started my blog in the beginning of December. I share home decor ideas & inspiration, home improvement tutorials, DIY projects, and much more!
    My blog is http://kaylabcollection.com/

    **Loved this post! Totally related to you on the spider thing! and holy cow about your first apartment with all the spiders! ahh! id be sleeping with one eye open all the time! crazy! – Also, checked out and loved your "8 No BS Ways to Start Earning Money From Your Blog" – I will be signing up for some of those! Thanks for sharing! xO, Kayla

    • Thanks for reading this post! I really appreciate it. I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s deathly afraid of spiders. I was scared to go to sleep most nights because there was often a spider right by my head or on the wall right next to our bed when I woke up. It was terrifying! Thanks for joining the link party. I loved checking out your blog and can’t wait to check back in to read more. Thanks!

    • Thank you so much for joining the link party! I really like your blog and can’t wait to read your experiences about being a mom and about being an expat. Those stories always interest me! Oh, and good luck with your travels as well 🙂

    • Yay, perfect! I can’t wait to read your blog. I LOVE reading about other people’s newlywed life experiences since I’m also a newlywed. Also, Switzerland is my absolute favorite country in the world. I went to the Swiss Alps last year for Study Abroad and even though we went to 7 different countries in Europe, Switzerland was by far my favorite. So lucky lucky you! Thanks for joining the link party! 🙂

  • Hey I’m Alma. I used to only posts poetry on my blog but this year I wanted to do something different and all about various topics. The purpose is to create a platform to discuss all sorts of topics and have an impact on my subscribers life. I hope to expand my subscribers list by the end of this year. I’m very hopeful and I’m ready to learn 🙂
    https://almalidia.wixsite.com/soulfulwords

  • I loved seeing your video, hearing a little bit about your first year of marriage. Yes, it is worth it to work out those little differences. Getting to year 44 has been quite an adventure with lots of stories and a blog is a great way to remember them all.

    Keep up the good work and if you ever come to Oregon, please let us know! Your G. Sandi

    • Thank you so much Grandma Sandi! I always really appreciate your support. We will definitely let you know if we come to Oregon! We came for a couple of days to help Connor’s parents move their stuff out of their home (they thought they were going to serve their mission somewhere far away but ended up being called to the Portland temple visitors center), so we didn’t have any time to see you this last time but we will definitely see you every other time we come to visit. Love you guys!

  • That was a very lovely video and your wedding photo is so beautiful. That 2017 review post was great and you did a really good job at growing your readership and developing your blog! Congrats!! I’m sure there are many happy things coming your way in 2018!!

  • I love the review of 2017. I do believe it is very important for the blogger to write about whatever they want. This makes your relationship with the reader so much more genuine. Wishing you all the best in 2018!

    • Thank you! And I agree, I do feel a lot more authentic now that I’ve decided to write about what I’m passionate about instead of what I think will get the most views. Although, I was passionate about the topics I was writing about before. I just felt constrained, like I couldn’t branch out. Thank you for stopping by my blog and I hope you have a great year as well!