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    A Year Ahead – My Plans For 2019 And This Site

    Every December, I start to reflect on my time spent online as a creator. Did I do all the things I loved to do? Was I happy with what I put out into the universe? Did anything feel forced? Was it worth it – all the blood, sweat, and tears? Is there anything I’d like to change moving forward? Yes – I really do sit down and analyze my feelings about how it all went down. I think that’s important to do. I never want to be someone who just goes through the motions. Once it starts to feel like WORK, then things need to change. That is a fact. And if I am being honest with you, I spent some time doing a bit of work in 2018.

    I used to love to travel. I still do – but for personal reasons. I love to travel with my family. I love to visit places I’ve never seen before and knock them right off my list. I love to eat their cuisine, envelope myself into a new culture and fall in love with its people. Travel is SUCH a part of me. I will always hit the road whenever given the chance – but some gigs pulled me away from my family for longer than I liked. And if I had a chance to go back and do it all over again, maybe I would have turned down some of those opportunities.

    This month,  I reassessed and thought about if I could have spent my time better?  The answer was clear. Time is always best spent with my family. With that in mind, I decided that I needed to change a few things on the blog. Make a few firm decisions that might hurt a bit in the short run, but be beneficial in the end.

    A Year Ahead – My Plans For 2019 And This Site

    But how will this feel different to you? I’m not sure you will be able to notice. How will you be able to tell whether or not I turn down a gig? Doubt you’d be able to tell? I mean… you absolutely will NOT notice. But what you will see is an uptick in two different types of content that I plan on focusing on a bit more. That much you will be able to see.

    In 2019, I plan on having two main pillars of content with a third in place for added value. These pillars already exist on my site and are heavily populated with content. They will just become my MAIN FOCUS moving forward.

    First Core Pillar Of Content – Fashion

    In 2007, I started Lady and the Blog as a way to show other moms out there how to dress up for less even with a newborn baby. Even with 20 minutes in the morning. Even with just $50 to work with! That was literally my M.O. because that’s who I was in 2007 and even though I make more money today and I have a lot more time now that all three of my kids are out of diapers, I am STILL THIS GIRL. I am a woman who cannot buy something for full price. There is something about a good bargain that just turns me on! You know what I am saying, ladies. I come home manic when I hit it big at the store and this site was literally created to chronicle those amazing scores for my online friends.

    Throughout the years, I’ve slowed down on this type of content because I didn’t have a lot of brands that wanted to work with me in a sponsored capacity. I’m just being honest with you here. But I’ve decided that – in 2019 – I am going to bring this back and I am going to bring it back hard because it is something that I absolutely LOVE TO DO. I have such a passion for affordable fashion and I want to share it with my audience regardless if it is a gig or not. It TRULY is why this entire blog was created.

    Handling Self Doubt

    I spoke a bit about this on a Facebook Live today and I want to write it here just in case you missed it. Deciding to add back fashion at this level was something that I had to pray on. When I started in 2007, there was NO Instagram and there were NO Instagram models. There were just a handful of mom bloggers all doing their thing. So, I was always so excited about posting my Old Navy fashion haul because it was fun and it was mine and everything always worked out. But we all know how it is today. Today, there are 500,000 hot, young, thangs on IG and they are all 115 pounds with bleach blonde hair – all romping around in bikinis. I mean, God bless them! I love carbs too much. But you know what I am saying? How can I compete with the 24-year-old bombshell from Texas in the fashion department? I cannot. That is the answer. Self-doubt is a real beast but I was not going to let it stop me.

    Instead, I decided to focus on the 40+-year-old woman who needed some help. The woman who likes to be covered up and who isn’t looking to buy a Chanel purse, but instead, is looking for a really great option that’s $19.99. I decided to speak to the 40+-year-old woman who doesn’t know how to layer a sweater but wants to learn and also wants to hear when it’s on sale for $14.99. That’s who I am talking to! I cannot compete with these other girls. So, I’m not going to try. I wish them all well. I will like every single one of their pictures and then I am just going to do my own thing. And if I am only speaking to .00004% of the population on Instagram, then so be it. But that’s who I am going to focus on. This is also the case for my blog. I cannot be who I am not. This is how I dress. This is what I like to wear. I don’t show a lot of skin. I like to layer. I have a boho / city vibe and I am here for you if you will have me. If you don’t like that style, then I am not for you. It doesn’t make me wrong, it just makes us not a match.

    41 and still doing the gram…  2019 it’s on.

    Second Core Pillar Of Content – Food And Entertaining

    I’m also a girl who loves to eat. This was NOT something that I have focused on in the past, but in 2018 I decided to amp up my food section because this is also a subject that is near and dear to my heart. IListen, ‘ve posted recipes on my site since the beginning of time, but this year I actually made a real effort to get a wide variety of recipes live for my readers. And I have to be honest with you – the numbers do not lie. You guys LIKE recipes!! I am a stats kind of girl and I would be a fool to slow down now.

    What does this mean for 2019? Hopefully, I will continue to create a fuller database of rich recipes for you to enjoy, build out longer-term partnerships with the food companies I already work with and MESH my fashion and food pillars together. This is the ultimate goal. 

    Hostess themed contest – all in one. What to wear and what to serve – all in one post. That is the END RESULT I am hoping for by summer. But give me some time. I need to get my thoughts in order.  🙂

    Get Ready For The Holidays - Free Printable Of The Holiday Organization Planner

    Added Value Pillar – Free Printables And Downloads

    I sat down in September and thought about what I use the Internet for when I go online. No, really. I asked myself the tough questions. How do you use Google? What are you searching for? And the answer was “free printables for myself and the kids”.  Plain and simple. A new movie is coming out? Great! A few clicks later and I have some coloring sheets for Caleb. Am I overwhelmed with my bills? No problem. Off to Pinterest to find something free to download to help. There is an OCEAN of free content available online and I wanted to become a resource for women as well.

    So, I did.

    Slowly but surely, I started to offer free printables as often as I could and now I am in a really great groove! In 2019, my hope is that I will have at least two freebies a week for my readers and newsletter subscribers. These printables aren’t niche-specific. I make them up as I go. For example, today I created a dog walking training sheet. That should go live in a few days. Why did I make it? Because my family LITERALLY NEEDS IT. 🙂 Same with the holiday planner that just posted today. I NEEDED THAT – so I created it for my readers.

    What Else Can We Expect?

    I will still sprinkle in contests, personal updates, travel, tech picks, and movie reviews every now and then. My site is a lifestyle site. I am not going to shy away from the things I like to write about. If I like it, then I put it on the blog! But a pillar is a pillar. That just means the VAST majority of my content will fall into those categories. So, you can just expect a tad bit more revolving around the above three topics.

    Again, it’s not that far off from what I’ve been doing all along.

    As far as taking gigs that pull me away from my family for an extended period of time – they will have to be assessed on a molecular level. At 41, it just really has to be worth it. If I can take one of them along, then I am all game. But if it’s just me on the road going solo, I just don’t know anymore? I really don’t. We will have to see as each opportunity comes my way. Maybe none will! Things change every single day in this industry.

    In my heart of hearts, I would love to continue to work with all the wonderful brands that I’ve gotten to know this year. I was truly blessed to meet some amazing new people – whether they were directly on the brand team or part of the larger blogger group that was invited to be part of the ambassadorship. This was one of my biggest joys. Meeting such great people! I hope to continue to stay in their graces. Working with these incredible companies allows me to do what I love and fills me up whole.

    Thank You From The Bottom Of My Heart

    I’m excited about these changes. I hope you are too.  Like I said, it is going to take me some time to get the site to where I really want it to be – but I will get there. One blog post at a time. Do you reasess your work goals at the end of each year? What do you hope you will accomplish in 2019?

    XOXO,
    Vera

    Tags : personal
    Vera
    Vera Sweeney, mom, blogger, social media influencer and New York resident, is the founder of LadyAndTheBlog.com. She is considered one of the top female digital influencers in today’s social media space. Her lifestyle and parenting brand helps busy women stay on top of the latest trends in fashion, food, family and travel.

    1 Comment

    1. So proud of you for not only being honest with yourself, but having the courage to share it with all of us. I fully support you!

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