06 January 2017

2016 Reflections: Personal + Blog

It's already 2017 and naturally I have spent some of my Christmas break thinking about the past year and all that has happened. I feel like this year definitely had many ups and downs for me so I wanted to take the chance to reflect with you all, in lieu of my normal Coffee Break post. Please grab a tea or coffee, maybe even a snack - because this one is a long one!

Personal Life Reflections

Looking back on the year, I definitely kept myself very busy and accomplished a lot of things on my bucket list. I managed to start makeup freelancing in February, including making my own Facebook page and business cards. Over the course of the year, I was able to make some big strides in this area including starting and completing a certificate in makeup artistry which was a 4 month course from May-August, where I dedicated a full Saturday every week to theory and practical applications (read more about my experience of the course here). I also did MUA work for 3 weddings and 2 formals, which may not sound like much but definitely boosted my confidence immensely and more importantly, I enjoyed it so much.

I also got my Australian Citizenship in July which was a huge accomplishment for me!!! It really made me happy to finally have the official documents to say that I am an Australian now and it really made my husband happy too who is a brissy local. Unfortunately for over half of the year I had been acting in a manager role at my workplace and when I applied for the job officially in August, I was unsuccessful and given little to no feedback. This definitely threw me for a loop and I took a major hit in the confidence department which seemed to spill across other areas of my life as well. It's not a good feeling to question yourself and your worth so I definitely did some soul searching throughout August and September.

Luckily, moving towards the end of the year I felt more motivated after a visit from my Mom and Dad in early October for 6 weeks, including a trip to New Zealand to enjoy family time. I have been thinking about some career progression moves and going back to study which I will chat more about as part of my 2017 Resolutions Post! In October, I enjoyed my 1 year wedding anniversary with my hubby and now feel like I have slid into the stereotype of old married couple and I don't really mind.

In November we also adopted a beautiful cat, Kiki from our local animal shelter. We absolutely love her to bits but unfortunately she has been sick since we got her, and developed an infection which caused her to become averse to food, leading to a liver infection. As we speak she is still at a specialist vet clinic and has been there for a week. Before that we had been to the vet about 10 times so our stress levels had become very high and it definitely took it's toll on us as pet owners with our first fur baby. Cross your fingers that Kiki makes a speedy recovery and gets back to us soon.

Finally, December was a whirlwind and I participated in 2 secret santa exchanges including a Bloggers United AU Kris Kringle and an Obsession Secret Santa with a group of local bloggers/vloggers. I really enjoyed participating in both!. Michael had his birthday on December 4th, which we celebrated and enjoyed with a bunch of his friends. We had a pretty quiet Christmas with his family and soaked up the sun for NYE in Byron Bay where I enjoyed Falls Festival. Unfortunately, I had to leave early due to being too hot/feeling faint. 40 degree weather and Canadians do not mix! Now I am glad to be home and thinking about the year ahead and what I want to achieve.

Blog Reflections

In terms of my blog, I managed to successfully have a new post up each week for pretty much the entire year. I committed to posting a monthly favourites for each month as well as a monthly empties post for each month which I did!!! I also started a coffee break series where I shared more about my personal life with you each month and you guys seemed to like reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.  I was very pleased to keep up with each of these series and worked super hard to always have them up for you all. My empties posts seemed to be the most popular so I will be continuing them this year for sure! I also feel like my photography has improved quite a bit and I have even bought a new DSLR camera and hope to produce even better quality images in the new year as well as maybe filming (stay tuned).

In terms of achievements, I was lucky enough to attend a Malouf Pharmacies Australian Brand Showcase (blog post here), Bloggers United AU Brisbane Event (blog post here), Bloggers United AU x Lush Event (blog post here),  NYX Event in Sydney, Benefit Brow Masterclass Event, and a recent Launch for a new Priceline in James Street. This was the first year I really felt like I was a core part of the Brisbane blogging community and it has been amazing to connect with so many new brands as well as fellow bloggers.

I was also lucky enough to reach 6k followers on my instagram account and have finally started to see a more steady increase in followers following the instagram algorithm change. I am just happy to have good engagement with the people that follow me on that platform and I will try to increase my content, both the amount and quality in the next year.

Finally, I also began and completed a Project Pan, which I have been meaning to do for ages. I think it went really well! If you'd like to read more click here for my Project Pan Post and here for the 7 Month Update.

A photo posted by Sarah | Bows & Pleats (@bowsandpleats) on

Overall, I have to say it was a great year and I often frown when I hear news reporters state they can't wait to see the back of 2016, since I think no matter how good or bad a year is, it makes you who you are now and helps to develop strength and character. I never really like to think of a year as good or bad but that every year has good bits and not so good bits that shape us into who we are for the next year.

What are your reflections for 2016? What was the most memorable thing for you? 
Stay tuned as I have a post coming up regarding goals for 2017 as well as my Beauty Favourites for 2016!

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