Friday, January 5, 2018

305 A Warm Welcome to 2018!

Well hello everyone! It sure has been awhile! I hope that your 2018 is off to an amazing start and that you had a very warm and fulfilling holiday season. I have missed you all so very much!



My sweet boys returned to school this week and the house is so quiet now, maybe even too quiet. I am definitely ready for our "normal" routine to set back in but I am also really missing their sounds and spats and smiles and having them home with me during the day.

Although I haven't been online much, I have been writing this post in my head for days, weeks, even months. I honestly don't know where it will go, I just plan to let my feelings flow through my fingertips, so hang on for a little ride on my roller coaster of thoughts.

I didn't really plan to take such a long break. But it happened for a culmination of reasons; including some unexpected health concerns and out of town doctor visits with one of our boys, three months of lost planner work (and then re-creating all of that work in a few weeks time), and then the general craziness that comes with the holidays. I blinked and December was gone and so was 2017. Which I am more than OK with. I couldn't be more ready to start this new year with fresh perspective and motivation. 2017 wasn't my best or my favorite. Our son is OK, but watching him go through days of testing leading into the holidays weighed on me quite a bit and ultimately led me to crave a bit of an online break and some extra time with my family.


With that, I have been so grateful and overwhelmed by the number of you who have reached out to me personally through email, DM's and comments to check in on us. Living a life online can be such a tricky thing, it can get to me after awhile but I also miss you all whenever I step away to breathe. So thank you to each of you who have messaged me, your support and kindness have been so appreciated and have completely blown me away. I am still working my way through the notes and replying directly to everyone. ♥ 



So, with everything going on behind the scenes, this year I decided to pass on the gift guides and putting together a Christmas home tour. In fact, my Christmas decorating was almost identical to last year, which you can check out here. Keeping it simple and the same allowed for me to really soak in what Christmas is all about. December is also my busiest month in my Etsy shop, which can really clash with projecting and decorating and trying to do it all and be it all. So this year was the year of less stuff and less decorating and less sharing online. Taking some extra time off also allowed me to begin designing new items for my Etsy shop and consulting with some clients, both of which were very refreshing and so good for my soul.


I also did a little reflecting and really tried to figure out how to re-light that fire and get my blogging mojo back. Blogging was once my personal therapy and now there are moments that I think it will be what actually puts me into therapy. Ha! OK, so that is a bit dramatic, but I did have some mixed feelings about it all this past year. Blogging has evolved and changed in some really great and amazing ways, but also in ways that I haven't been able to quickly and openly adjust to. I am sure many of you could guess that my long-time loves of cleaning, planning, and organizing are my personal ways of working through deeper rooted messy life issues. And when I found blogs and started writing, it was a whole new world for me. And really, I was the happiest I had been in years. Not only was it friendly and imperfect and raw and real, there was this amazing community that was all about conversation and relationship building and I connected with folks that were just like me. And I felt like I was using my passion for good and readers were feeling excited and inspired and motivated. That was everything. I felt like I was making new friends with similar passions and relating with folks all over the world. It was normal for posts to have 100+ comments, multiple times per week and I loved the feeling of hitting the publish button.

But with the evolution of blogging and social media came growth, sponsorships, a bazillion new blogs, Pinterest and Instagram and swiping and the need to be on every platform. Suddenly it felt like our stories were lost and everything was shifting to pretty editorial pictures and pageviews and highlight reels. Comments turned into Pins and Likes and Hearts and conversation shifted and in some ways dissipated completely. The lines of real life and online life were suddenly blurred. I lost that personal connection with many of my longtime readers and at the same time felt the pressure to push frequent content and keep up. Checking blogs, Instagram and Pinterest only left me feeling visually and mentally overstimulated and inadequate. I rushed rooms and projects to provide consistent and frequent content but didn't always love the outcome of those updates and had to live with those repercussions. I am not a designer or decorator and just like working on our home as a hobby so I make mistakes and have to try things and play with things before getting them just right. That is just my process, but being in a pool of really amazing and talented peers that seem to have a knack for getting it right all of the time, has made me feel a little inferior even. So true what they say about comparison being the thief of joy, right?


Instead of being my own worst critic, I really want to be better about sharing more of those thoughts and the process of getting something from point A to B, what we tried that didn't work and what it took to get it to a point of working. I think that can be glossed over too often online for fear of looking unprofessional or unqualified (I know I am guilty of this too), and I want to share more of those mistakes and lessons learned. If anything, I am reminding myself that my mistakes can prevent others from doing the same thing!

At the same time, as much as I truly enjoy being creative and working on our home, that creativity doesn't come in constant waves. It ebbs and flows and some days I am totally inspired and having lightbulb moments and other days I sit with my head in my hands hitting roadblocks and walls. Sometimes I just want to take a break from DIY'ing and working on our home and constantly changing things, and sometimes I want to attack all of our spaces with gusto and vigor. That's my reality. But that can also cause some challenges for me as a blogger trying to create consistent content.

So before this post turns into any more of a sulk snowball, I am going to acknowledge that these feelings have been weighing heavy on my heart for too long now and that I have to find a way off of the emotional hamster wheel. Here are a few of my thoughts going into 2018, and a few questions for you all as well:

  • Conversation and Connecting: Conversation is what I seem to miss the most when I think back to the way things used to be. Most of the time I feel like I am talking to myself and that can be discouraging when I spend hours/days on a single post. How can I connect with you all more? I often throw a question or two at the end of my posts to try and keep the conversation going, but maybe they don't feel authentic (even though they are!). Do you have interest in chatting with bloggers or do you like to read and move on? What types of posts compel you to comment? Do you have any interest in some sort of live online Q&A or Twitter Chat? Do you prefer to communicate and comment more on other social channels vs. directly on a blog post?


  • Content: I organize and we DIY but what type of posts and content would you like in-between? I am generally not a fluffy content creator, I like to create meaty content inspired by real-life happenings and thoughts. Bryan works full time (and coaches and has a small side business) which means that he isn't able to project around the clock with me like some other DIY duos. It's just a personal choice not to put all of our eggs into a single basket. That said, our favorite way to spend time together is tackling home projects (sipping margaritas on a tropical beach is a close second), but we do have some schedule limitations (and sleep) to consider. I also run an online shop and work with friends, family, and clients, so, there are times when I just don't have new home content to share. What types of in-between posts do you enjoy reading


  • Organization: What are your biggest dilemmas and problem areas? I could seriously talk organizing all day every day. What is on your list to tackle this year?


  • Home Updates: I have found that I like slow. I didn't make a lot of changes last year and living with things really allowed me to have some clarity. No office update? That's because it is pretty much exactly the same as the last time I talked about it. The boy's den? Basic, undesigned, but usable and also unchanged. The laundry room? Loving everything about it but putting the finishing touches around the beautiful floral wallpaper has been an utter nightmare and I am completely stuck. The thing is, I finally had an a-ha moment in terms of what I want to do with my office after using it for almost two years now. I am so glad I didn't spend much time or money on it initially and that I waited and used it and really narrowed down what I want and need this time around. Making over room after room just isn't for me. So if you are looking for that and quick room reveals, I am sorry. It causes me too much stress, money, and even embarrassment. I do want to keep sharing our updates big and small, and really want to resolve to be better about finishing what I start this next year (including finally updating our home tour page). I am really enjoying the process of building our home and spaces over time, one small change at a time!


  • Cleaning: I am planning to revisit the survey from last spring and touch on a few more of the hot topics that were discussed then. And I really want to try to offer easy and quick tips that don't overwhelm or discourage. Cleaning, in general, is dreadful to most, but is there one thing in particular that you just want more help with? Or a cleaning conundrum that you just can't figure out?


  • Challenges: Sometimes a good challenge really lights a necessary fire. I want to do a large decluttering/simplifying challenge this year that focusses solely on living with less and create tools to help you all feel excited to declutter your dwelling, and just as importantly, talk about where those things should go when they leave your home. This is the biggest and most important step in any organizing project, and really deserves a lot of focus and discussion. Are there any other topics that would help give you a push to accomplish something? Maybe try a new power tool? Or a new technique?

  • Celebrating this Community: I am so proud of what I see others accomplishing and tackling, and sincerely appreciate the spaces that you all share with me via email and on Instagram. Truly. This year I hope to build new relationships and uplift and celebrate all of the good happening in all of our homes and lives. We all have so much to learn from one another and you readers and fellow bloggers have taught me so many life-altering things! It would be great to highlight those spaces, projects, and tips more frequently.


  • Splitting Time: My business has a lot of moving parts and opportunities which is one of the things I love most about it! I really appreciate the diversity and that I always have things to keep me busy, but it can be a challenge at times to juggle it all and do all the different things well. If I am all in and blogging a few days per week, then I can't give my all to my shop or to helping others. Working on my shop is a really nice creative break from social media while providing me with a good portion of my income, and quite frankly, there is nothing I enjoy more than helping others organize their homes. So just know that if I am quiet for bits of time here and there, that is because I am focussing on the other arms of my business during my set business hours. Sometimes those things pull me unexpectedly in different directions, but I will always come back to this hub that I call home.


  • It's Time to Take a Risk: These past few years my insecurities and fears have gotten the best of me, and I have been too scared to do anything risky or exciting. It is actually a little sad and frustrating to reflect back on all of the things I didn't do out of self-doubt. This year I want to push through that and do something out of my comfort zone. Even if it is just one freaking thing.


And some final housekeeping notes:


The only change that I did make to last year's Christmas decorating is I decided to try my hand at tree flocking and I was so pleased the outcome. I was able to use one of our artificial trees and give it a fresh new look without having to purchase a new expensive flocked tree. The flock made the tree appear a little fuller and much more magical. Even though Christmas is over, would you be interested in a quick post about the process?



I know many of you have been waiting and checking in for my 2018 Planner release and it hit my shop mid-December. There are three sizes and three different dated layouts for each size available, making it a little challenging to select a favorite to use this year! As with previous years, they are designed to be printed at home or through a local printing company. My office printer is on the fritz so I ordered my bound pages from Best Value Copy and the price and quality were really great (but their shipping rates, ouch!). I will be photographing it all soon so I can get my FAQ page updated with all of my favorite ways to use the color filled pages along with my current favorite planning tools.



A few years ago I shared our Christmas storage solutions and they are still working like a dream today. You can find all of those details in this post here.

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And one more from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU to all of you who have stuck with me through it all. I know that there is so much good here in this community and I can't wait to hear your plans and goals for this year and what you would like to see more of here. We already have a few exciting projects at the top of our list just as soon as I pack up the last of the Christmas decor this weekend. Cheers to 2018!

305 comments:

  1. So very happy to see a post from you!! I've probably only commented a couple times, but have been following along since 2013. Yours was one of the first organizing blogs I found - which is actually the first type of blog that I ever read! I love the refreshing "real ness" of your post and blog at large. Happy New Year - I hope it treats you well.

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    1. Thank you, Sarah! Happy New Year to you as well! ♥

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  2. Hi Jen! Wow such a heartfelt post that I just had to pop over for a comment. I am so glad to hear that your son is OK and that you are too. Our babies really hold a big part of our hearts and I think it's important that other parts of our lives move around when unexpected things happen.
    I just adore your blog and have read for years. I do often read in a reader though and admittedly don't pop over to blogs to leave a comment often as i should. I just find a reader more simple for my current season. I do find that I will comment on peoples social media platforms more. Say sharing a photo and a caption of a latest blog post - im more likely to ask a question or say something there. These are my preferences of course - I also live in australia - so I am often seeing any content (social or blogs) 10-15 hours later - so live engagement is something i seem to miss out on a little. :)
    I really use your blog as resource, by that I mean that whilst i adore all your room reveals and new content of course (thanks for your hard work) I tend to pop on over when I want to look for a closet organisation idea, or how to clean something or the colours you used in a room. Perhaps some of your "filler" type posts could be round ups of some of your content? I think in the age of social media etc where we have constant new information being given to us we forget where we saw something or even that a blogger had a great christmas organisation tip last year.

    I 100% support and encourage your ideas to show a bit more of the process and the real side. I totally agree that we need to live with things to see how they work for our families (we don't have our blog readers living with us after all) But most importantly do what works for you an your family and your current season and do what makes your heart soar and feel excited.

    Happy 2018 Jen
    :)

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    1. Thank you, Meeka! I often forget that folks read on readers, and that to comment you have to actually click over. That is good info for me to remember and consider so thank you for pointing that out.

      I also like knowing that you utilize this place as a hub of info! I hope to continue posting with that in mind, but also telling our story at the same time. And I also like the idea of doing some follow-up posts to previous projects and systems. I have that on my list for this year also.

      Happy 2018 to you and yours!

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  3. Glad all is ok! I’ve been wondering “where you are!” :) love your blog! It’s one of the first I’ve followed! Do whatever is right for you for your posts! (I do love the organization posts the best!!) Vicky S.

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  4. Jennifer!

    Your blog always brings a smile to my face. I have Gloster away and back again a few times due to my own busy schedule but I always ground myself back here.

    I like the non perfect of everything. No one is constantly magazine ready and I love when ppl seem normal because I feel it allowed a better connection!!

    I love seeing your renovation posts and large scale did but I also have a place in my heart for smaller projects or tips and tricks. Whatever you want to do is the perfect thing to do!!

    Lots of love
    Genevieve

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    1. Lots of love back to ya, Genevieve! Cheers!

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  5. Sending you lots of light and love! Thank you so much for sharing your journey, bumps and all. We ALL have been there, done that! So hard to see when you're in it, but there really is a plan... It usually fleshes out. And you're stronger for it.

    You're greatest strength (that keeps you my favorite blogger) is your authenticity. So stay true to yourself, and your best work will follow. And family first...life is too short.

    My brother in law just passed away a few weeks ago at age 51 from a 10 year cancer fight. His mantra until his last breath was "This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad!" We said it during the darkest times, and the happiest times. It kept us going.

    So when things get tough, celebrate your life, believe and trust your gut, bless the moment and whisper "This is the day..."

    We're here for ya, girl!

    Connie
    St. Louis, MO

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    1. I am so incredibly sorry to hear about your brother-in-law. ♥ I will keep you in my prayers. And thank you so much for being here, and for the sentiments.

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  6. Welcome back! I was hoping you’d be back soon. I’m not a blogger, but I’ve been reading them more and more over the last year, and I understand the changes you are talking about. I do love that when I go to your blog, I know I’ll see something with substance. ��. I don’t have any suggestions, but I can’t wait to see what you share.

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  7. I love all your posts even if they are few and far between. Keep up the good work with home, family, and your work! You are amazing!

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  8. I literally could have written this same post! I'm still blogging but I too miss the connection and community. It's not the same when it feels like you are talking to yourself. I also especially get the fear part...ugh. So hard getting past it. Maybe we should hold each other accountable :)
    Laura

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    1. It's so great to hear from you Laura!! I am sure some of our "fear" comes in given our natural desire to organize and get things just right. Cheers to letting go more in 2018! Miss you!

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  9. I love your honesty in this post. You're right, there is too much emphasis placed on sharing highlight reels and instant results on social media. I find it refreshing when things are stripped back a little and we get to see both the great outcomes and the mistakes made with projects; after all, that's what happens in my life!

    Share whatever YOU feel comfortable sharing. I'm a long time reader and I'll still be sticking around. I love your content and I'm inspired by both the big and small things you share. I'd definitely be keen to hear/see how you went about the DIY tree flocking - I've been keen to try this for a while, but not sure how best to go about it!

    Rochelle

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  10. Hi Jen:
    My name is Alison, and I’ve been following you and meaning to comment for years now. First of all, I’m so glad your son is OK.

    Second, you sound like you could use a compliment right about now, so here’s a story from way back: My son is an only child, and also happens to be autistic. I share this to illustrate that I don’t have a comparison of what a “neurotypical” kid his age “should” be able to do in terms of chores. Many years ago, you posted about how much easier it was to get your two youngest to put away their laundry when they used bins and drawers rather than hangers. At the time, my son was slightly older than your boys, and getting him to hang anything up was an epic battle. After I read that post, I switched out his entire closet to bins, and he put away his next load of laundry all by himself. I told him I’d read about that on your blog and he asked me to thank you for helping make putting his clothes away so much easier. That was probably almost ten years ago, but better late than never. Just goes to show you that some of your posts have an effect far beyond what you ever intended.

    Third, posts like THIS are great in-between project posts. I love the eye candy of a good organizing project, but I also love to hear about how your systems really function in day-to-day life—for everyone in your family. As an example, I have reorganized our pantry about a million times—with labels, without labels, different bins and containers, etc.—and I can’t get my husband and son to buy into a system for love or money. So I very much appreciate hearing about how you know when things aren’t working, or when a system falls apart due to “life happening,” and what you do then.

    Finally, please know that even when you aren’t posting, I visit regularly for inspiration and the calming effect of your cheerful organizing tips. When my son was first diagnosed, I spent many hours reading about your home to keep anxiety at bay.

    Thank you, and may your 2018 be more peaceful than your 2017.

    Wishing you all the best,
    Alison Auerbach
    Decatur, GA

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    1. I absolutely LOVE your story Alison! I can't thank you enough for taking time to share that with me tonight. It means the world to me. That is what this is all about, and I hope to bring more of that type of content going forward. ♥

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  11. Hi Jen,
    Glad to hear all is well. I would really be interested in how you made the jump to self-employed and some of the software or systems you put into place to keep things running. I am on the verge of making the jump but as a single parent I have some reservations so I may moonlight for a while.

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    1. Hi Chanel! That is a really great question! I am not sure that I can give you one clear answer because it was extremely gradual! I left the insurance industry to stay home with my kids and was able to supplement some of that income by watching additional kids. Then I started blogging for fun and as that income began coming in, I stopped filling daycare positions as kids left. It wasn't a jump, but a very slow evolution. So I guess I would say, if you can start to bring in some income on the side before completely transitioning, then maybe you will feel more secure and confident in the decision. I know I worked some ridiculous hours for awhile watching kids by day and blogging by night until things worked out. Everything was very much trial in error and a lot of research in terms of what I needed to do for this specific type of business.

      I wish you all of the best! I love to hear when others are taking risks and following their dreams, and I hope that everything works out for you. ♥

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  12. Jen, I am so happy to see your post. I have your blog as one of my bookmarks on my computer, so I check it almost daily to see if you have posted. I am a home of two boys, so I really appreciate the posts about your updates to their their rooms or even the paperwork that comes from being a mom. Continue to find what brings you joy and the rest will follow. Life is too short to be anything but yourself.

    My favorite posts over the years have been the simple one where you organize a drawer or under a cabinet. I also love to feel connected to you and your family. Thank you!

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    1. My favorite posts are also those smaller tasks like drawers, cabinets and closets! Give me all of the spaces to organize! More kid bedroom updates coming your way soon as well! They are a big area of focus for us as we kick off the new year.

      Thank you and happy 2018 Katherine!

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  13. So happy to see you back but I'm sorry it was such a rough end to 2017. I know how that is, and I hope 2018 starts so much better! I found your blog about 4 years ago when I stumbled across your post on Lego storage, and have been a faithful reader ever since. Although I love Pinterest, I tend to gravitate to blogs and love being able to comment. I am always inspired by your posts, and that always includes when you show us the bad along with the good :-) I love a variety of projects from small to large, so never worry about having to only show us the big things. We are moving in the next month and I know I will have some challenges in the new house as the storage is very different from what we have now. The first areas we have to add some storage/organization to are our garage and laundry room (we won't have a closet in there this time), so I would love to see anything to do with garage setup or small laundry spaces. And to answer your question about the flocked tree - yes! Would love to see how you did that. I also enjoy seeing your sources for where you find the awesome items in your home. And how you change them up. So really, lots of things I would love to see even in the in-between smaller posts. Just can't wait to see whatever you have to share! Happy 2018!

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    1. Thank you for the ideas and suggestions and best of luck with your upcoming move!

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  14. I've just started following your blog. I need help with suggestions of how to store arts and crafts. As well as ways to organize current projects so I can keep all the supplies in one place easy to pull out and work on while I watch tv and then put away. My apartment is taken over by my craft projects. Also what are small steps I can do each day to keep my apartment clean and organized.

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  15. I love your blog, and always search through your past posts before taking on any big DIY project. I just love how colorful and beautifully organized your projects are!

    My favorite posts are about cleaning, small organization projects (drawers and cabinets), and any posts about products you love. However, my biggest hope is to see what you ended up choosing for your kitchen backsplash. I did a big remodel in my kitchen about a year ago, but still haven't been able to decide on a backsplash! It's so hard to pick.

    Thank you for all that you do. It's really inspiring!

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    1. Those are my favorite posts too, so I definitely hope to be able to create more of that type of content this year. Even if that means I have to start begging neighbors and strangers to let me take over their cabinets and drawers. ;)

      And yes, I owe you a backsplash update! We finally installed ours and it's so fun and beautiful.

      xoxo!

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  16. I love your blog! And I love love LOVE a great before and after. I also enjoy hearing about what continues to work, and what does not (or needs tweaking). Real life stories are great. I am a bit sad sometimes to see blogs use such great photos--as in the "past", some bloggers would ask readers for photos of their own projects or homes, but now they do not, or those photos need to be a certain quality, not just a point and shoot type photo. This is too bad, because I would love to see how other readers (who assumedly enjoy organizing, etc) would tackle a problem similar to what you're showing on your blog. Along a similar vein, wouldn't it be AWESOME if we could post our own photos in the comments? Anyway, I'll continue reading, especially as the mom of three boys who are a bit younger than yours. Any lego suggestions are always welcome ;)

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    1. Oh my goodness, yes! Photos in the comments could be a really fun thing! Let me think how we could make something like that happen or find a fun way to post and share in a common location (like a hashtag?). I would love to continue to see the work you all are doing and celebrate with you!

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  17. Hi Jen,

    I’ve been reading your blog for years and absolutely love it. Every time you post it’s like a special treat because your content is so different to the other blogs that I follow. I feel like everyone else has fallen into the affiliate/sponsorship trap and all blogs have become “lifestyle” blogs but every day they are more about fashion and clothing from Nordstrom and less about design and DIY. So, no need to post all the time, just keep giving us great content and inspiring us.

    I never comment on blogs because I’m under the impression that bloggers get so many comments mine wont be read or respnded to. So just observing that you are responding motivates me to participate. Q&As - love love them, yes, go for it.

    In terms of filler content - i really like when you recommend products, great items you’ve found that make your life easier or inspire you because of their look or design. Any tip that would make a busy working mom’s life easier.

    In terms of organizing challenges, keeping up with the kids stuff - paperwork, toy organization, lunches, i am very organized and i struggle with my 5 year old and one year old because they bring so much “stuff” into your life!!! Legos! What do i do with legos? I haven’t found a good solution.

    Finally, updates on past projects. How are your solutions keeping up? What has worked, what hasn’t? And keep it real! Even if you think you failed or things didn’t come out as planned, we like your honesty, and we learn with you and omg you inspire!

    Loved your post. Thank you!

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  18. I've been a follower of you for a long time and I love all of your posts. Glad you are back and totally understand everything you expressed in this post. Sometimes, all this social media stuff is just too much. For all of us. Keep doing what you do and know you are loved and appreciated. You have helped so many of us get our acts together! xo

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  19. Hi Jen, thanks for sharing your thoughts so honestly in this post, and also for taking a break! You needed it and it's helpful to share real life, even when that means taking a break from the posting you so generously do.
    As for the "good old days" of blogging, I miss them so much, also, but things have moved on, it seems, and so have I. I'm working full-time again now and don't have time to sit around reading blogs like I used to, so am more sporadic in my visiting your blog these days. Instagram is a good way to feel like I'm "keeping in touch" but it's not a platform for sharing details. Your posts have always seemed very detailed, I wonder if that's a way you can cut down timewise in posting? But then there's your great photography and links and all, it all takes time, doesn't it? I guess you have some decisions coming up about your direction and how you can best continue to keep income coming and have personal satisfaction in your blog. I wish you the very best and thank you so much for all the posts you've written so far! You've been an inspiration to me over and over!

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts Fiona. I definitely put a lot of time and work into each and every post from the photography to the links and the story. I would love to find a balance of quicker posts and small Instagram updates as well. Pictures can speak a thousand words, so there is definitely a way to try and bridge all of that together.

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  20. It's so wonderful to see a post from you in my feed!! That isn't meant to guilt - I mean that genuinely! It sounds like you had a bumpy third quarter -- glad the kiddo is okay and that you are looking forward to a fresh start in 2018. I love that you don't post a bunch of filler, and I'm guilty of not commenting even when I thought a post was great. That being said, I know a lot of bloggers have moved to instagram and that's how they connect with readers. That's an entirely different beast though, and you already have a lot going on. You've always been an honest, trustworthy voice--thank you for that. I don't have any sage advice or wisdom, except to say good on you for taking a well needed break. I'll look forward to reading whatever you post, as frequently as you do/or don't have a chance to put it up. Re: taking risks -- GO FOR IT. It's the internet and you will always make someone unhappy, but the flip side is that you can do whatever the heck you want and there will be people cheering you on. I'm one of them! PS I'd love the flocked tree post. Happy new year!

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    1. Love all of this, thank you Linds! Happy new year to you as well! And yes, sometimes I wonder if Instagram is replacing blogs. Something to ponder for sure!

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  21. Jen, I’m so thankful for your honesty in this post. I sent you an email just yesterday, and I secretly fear you are going to completely throw in the towel on blogging. When John and Sherry (from Young House Love) did that a few years ogo, I was so sad. I have been thrilled with their new revamp with the podcast and new modified blogging schedule. I love that you are authentic, and I appreciate that you like the slow evolve of your home. For most of us, that is our reality as well as time and budget don’t allow for major overhauls very often. I hope that your blogging slump and your break help to rejuvenate you. Your blog is one of my very favorites, and I have read for YEARS. I’m not a very good commenter (never have been, even the in the heyday of early blogging), and I generally read all blogs through Bloglovin', but I truly appreciate you generating content week after week for me to get inspiration and even entertainment.
    As far as content goes for the in-between posts, I would love to hear any updates about past projects and/or organization that you have tackled and how you’ve tweaked them over time. My mind goes back to the hall closet in which you added Ikea drawers, the custom closet that you created in your son’s room, your garage overhaul, etc. Would love to know how those have held up over time and what you have had to change to make them more effective.
    A few other ideas: would love to know more about your photography. I dabble in photography myself, and I would love to know more about your favorite gear, how you edit, your workflow, etc. I can’t remember if you’ve ever shared how you organize your digital photos on your computer, how you choose what to print/display around your home, etc. That would be a great organization topic.
    I always enjoy reading about bloggers families…it makes the blogging experience more personal for sure. For instance, Cassie blogged about their massive Spring break trip this year, and it was fun to see the activities they did as well as see photos of her family.
    Truly, I’m so thankful for your blog. Your photos are so beautiful, your posts are so very thorough and well thought out, and so much of your content is applicable and inspiring. I hate that you have self-doubt…you seem like a blogging Giant to me! Here’s hoping 2018 is full of more joy for you and your family, and that your son’s medical issues are fully resolved!

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  22. It is so lovely to hear from you again I have missed your posts. I read them all but hardly ever comment because in my head you are a celebrity and I'm shy, sorry, I will make more of an effort. I do however find I comment more on IG than on blog posts, it's easier. I like it better when I get to see projects as they progress rather than than the big reveal that is so popular now. This year I would like to start blogging even though I know absolutely nothing about how to do it. I would also really like to decanter my space and learn more about how to clean properly. I never really learnt much from my mum and I'm not sure I do it right? I long for a fresh clean smell in my home but I dont want to use chemical cleaners. Any help you could share in a future post would be great. Also have to say I love your colour pallet throughout your home it speaks to my heart. I would love to hear more about your thought process as you tackle projects too. Arch so much to say please keep writing I love your blog 😍

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    1. Linda! You are so sweet. I have never considered myself a celebrity or famous (I am super introverted and shy as well and just like to blog) so please, let's chat! Love all of your suggestions and ideas. For now, I suggest looking into a few essential oils. They are great for cleaning and smell amazing (and are safe!). A simple mixture of some water, vinegar and oil will tackle almost any cleaning and is a great multi-surface option. Happy new year!

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  23. Happy New Year! It is great to hear from you. :) I have missed your posts, but completely understand the absence. I just want to say that I continually come back to your blog to reread past projects for tutorials or inspiration. I also love your cleaning recipes. Your work is some of my favorite! I just used the Excel design planning instructions to plan out a closet we are building and am so happy with the result, thank you! Your use of this common software is so creative.

    Please don't feel compelled to produce a polished "completed result" every week for us readers. (It actually stresses me out when bloggers do that because I feel so behind in my own weekly accomplishments!) All of your posts are inspiring to read - cleaning, progress projects, organizing ideas, design inspiration, planning phases, business ventures you're working on, client design, what's on your mind, favorite resources, etc. Small updates are enjoyed just as much as big projects. If you're comfortable sharing, I would love to read tutorials on how you design printables (ie what programs you prefer, fonts, any shortcuts/tips). Thank you for all of your work; I love your writing and your blog!

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    1. Happy New Year Julia! It's great to hear you have found some posts useful and that you were able to use Excel to plan a closet! I am about to do the same again! :D

      Thank you for your comment and support. I sincerely appreciate it!

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  24. Its true the blogging world has changed a lot, I usually comment more on instagram nowadays but had to say here that you were one of the first blogs I started following and I have loved reading. My favorite thing has been watching your style evolve. I love looking back at the first photos of your home to what they are now. So amazing the learning that took place, and I feel like it resonates so well with readers who want to do similar things in their homes but arent a professioal designer husband and wife pair that just do renovations for a living. That can be hard to try and replicate with limited hours for such things, and your blog gets that.
    You have a talent for making things so neat, beautifully rich in color and with such taste while shopping stores like Target and Ikea. I love the relatability, and the beautiful execution of projects. The room makeovers are my favorite but I also very much appreciate the dose of reality of a busy family life and the real time it takes to do these projects and the admittance that sometimes it takes a few trys to get it right.

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  25. Gosh, it is so great to have you back! I never commented because I didn't want to bug you. Like a commenter above, I kind of view you as a celebrity. You've seriously changed my life. Your blog inspired me to realise that I can create a gorgeous home, too. And the organisation 'bug' has infiltrated into my professional life, too. Thank you so much for all that you've shared. You make a wonderful difference, even all the way down here in New Zealand x

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    1. Love hearing this and feel free to comment or ask questions anytime. ♥

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  26. I'm not sure I've ever commented, eeek. But I've been reading your blog for years. Love, love, love your organization posts, I've gotten so much inspiration from you, I really liked when you started to branch from your own home to friends homes as well, each house presents new challenges and each family has different needs (we're at the "how do we hide all these toys stage"). Anyway, overall, love the content, all I would say is don't be afraid to go against the grain, write what you want, don't worry about being perfect, show a messy house, or don't, I think there's so much pressure to make a blog this perfect thing, perfect pictures, perfect choices, that are sometimes unrealistic for day to day living but look good on a screen. Life isn't perfect, the beauty is in the mess. Personally if I want perfect I'll get a magazine, what I want is real life. Just be you, we've liked it so far ;)

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  27. I completely agree with all the points you made about the changes in the blogging world. I've had my blog for years now, but it's just a craft hobby blog, not a money-maker - I work full-time and just blog for the fun of it, really. I still notice and miss the drop in comments and interaction, though. I find it a real shame that people prefer the instant gratification of instagram images, to reading the stories in blogs.

    I still follow and read your blog and I think it's a beautiful space, full of colour and inspiration. I would say that you should post whatever you feel like posting, at the pace that feels right. I'm interested in the slow processes you follow, the ideas and changes along the way. No need to rush things to have a post, and then be unhappy with what you now have to live with. Doing what you do, when you do it, at your natural pace is great with me!

    Organisation and decluttering posts are always inspiring to read! I think posting about your passions is the best option!

    Thanks for your great blog, Maria (Dinki Dots)

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  28. Hi Jen, thanks for this open and honest post. It is so refreshing! Don't ever feel forced to post anything unless you feel comfortable with it. I personally have zero expectations regarding the frequency of new content and think some blogs overdo it and lose authenticity in the process. Would also love to just read about some tiny tipps or improvements, or also some messy posts or failed projects so we all feel more human and connected. You are doing great, have a wonderful 2018 & greetings from Germany! Maren

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  29. Glad to have you back!!! I’ll keep it short since my first comment I sign out before hitting publish of course. Love your blog, I found it at a point in my life that really needed something and you filled that void. You made me realize what was missing in my home and life. Thank you. I find my self going back and using your blog as s reference for a lot of my projects and ideas, with that said. I like your blog the way you had it. Nothing quick over night tada here is my finish projects. I think what I find so relatable is that you also make mistakes and help me avoid them, you also go “well that didn’t work out so well” or the total opposite like yea great it worked!! We all understand you needed to step back a little we all do at one point or another, but we never forgot you. Ok so I like seeing the process more than here it is guys the finished product in overnight time. I like your thinking process and how you go about things. That’s what’s made me come back. Life is messy and I think things should be kept real, yea other blogs are picture perfect but that’s something that is getting blurred like you said and it’s unattainable especially when kids are involved. Instagram I think should be used as maybe like promoting what’s on your blog and answering quick questions not too much into detail. And the help I need right now is going from an actual home (house) into an apartment now and it just doesn’t feel like home yet and it’s hard. Thank you again for all that you do!,,

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  30. Hey Jen,

    It's really good to see a post from you, so welcome back! I'm glad your son is ok - I'm a mum of three myself and know just how awful it is when one of them has health issues as you feel so helpless for them.
    Your heartfelt post struck a chord with me, so while I don't normally comment on your posts wanted to on this one. I started my baking blog six years ago as a way of trying to do something to avoid a repeat of post natal depression. I felt like it gave me an escape - doing something creative, that I loved, and so different from my day job. I really loved trying recipes, taking the photos and writing up a post. And I included the times when something went wrong, and what I thought about why that had happened. I felt that it might help someone if the same thing happened to them. It was pretty easy though to start slipping down the rabbit hole of watching my page views, comments, likes etc. While it was exciting, it made me realise quite quickly that it was starting to dictate what I wrote and how often. I started to get some interest from companies who wanted to send me stuff to review. Seeing some of my blogger friends being sent amazing things like stand mixers for free was enticing, but then everything became 'great', 'amazing' and 'must have', so much so that You doubt what the blogger really thinks. I accepted a book for review once, I then realised that I didn't want to get caught up in that world. So I took a conscious decision that I would not do advertising or accept anything for free. Probably a bit stupid in most bloggers eyes, but that's what felt right for me. Because I really wanted to retain total control over what I did, and when, and what I said about it, no matter if that kept my blog small. Now, I could see other blogs evolving into businesses - and that's great for the blogger if that's what they want - but pretty much everything has become so commercialised these days that I have to say it turns me off. There are blogs where each post is simply a list of products and where you can get them, dressed up as lifestyle posts. I start to feel like I don't trust the blogger to give an honest view. And the amount of advertising that crops up on sites really gets me. I read one blog the other day where the content is ok although some stuff was clearly copied from elsewhere but there was also a page where the blogger details her packages for 'working with' her and $1500 will get you a sidebar, a Facebook mention and an instagram post. Combined with a post on her blog about growing your email list so you can monetise that, I started to feel like I was just some sort of commodity that she was buying with content and selling to the highest bidder. I get that that's just the way blogging has gone, but no need to be so obvious about it. So with that little rant over 😂, let me just say that I have never felt that way about your blog.
    Your posts are always well considered, interesting and really helpful. I get that advertising is necessary these days, but you manage to strike a balance, which for me is key, and I feel like your posts are so detailed that we're really getting your honest thoughts about things. Your organisation posts I've always found really helpful, and I love that you reflect family life - I know from my own experience that I might want to store and organise my youngest's vast Lego collection one way, but if he doesn't buy into it then it's me that's going to be maintaining it. Not really the point I wanted to get across to him!
    Look, I'm not sure how helpful that is, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that I value your writing and appreciate the work you put into your blog. Whatever you decide on the direction you want to take, I'll still look forward to your posts. Thank you so much for what you share, and sorry for my long comment, but your post helped my crystallise a few of my own thoughts! Best wishes xx

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    1. This comment was very helpful, thank you so much Susie! I appreciate you sharing your personal experience as both a blogger and a reader. So much head nodding to what you were saying.

      Sponsorships and advertisements is a whole can of worms I don't want to dive too much into, because I can see it from both sides. Do I think it gets taken too far sometimes? Absolutely! So many forced posts that just don't feel authentic and make me feel similar to you, questioning the writer's authenticity. On the flip side, in some fields of blogging (DIY being one), projects and content creating can be really expensive! There has to be some benefit for both the blogger and the reader and with that sponsorships and advertisements and affiliate links are necessary. There have been times when we have invested much more money into a project than we would ever make back from the content we put out, so there definitely has to be a balance. At the end of the day, we still do those projects for us and they are driven by our needs vs. what a sponsor tells us to do, and we make the choice to invest that money into our home, but to take the extra steps to document and share those projects also needs to be worthwhile from a business sense (think time, photography equipment, tools, resources, etc...). Oy.

      Ok, already said more than I planned ;), and I don't even do much in terms of sponsored content. All that said I am so happy to hear that you know we do our best to stay as authentic as possible in our sharing here. Thanks again for your perspective.

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  31. Lovely to see you back! I really enjoy your honesty and friendly approach - totally agree about missing the connection on blogs so I would love to chat more!

    I have no clue about diy so I love your step by step guides (especially when you include basic detailsabout how to use tools), I always need help with cleaning inspiration and really enjoy the organisation tips too. I do love seeing room reveals but I would never expect you to do that regularly as this is your real home! And I love that you're real and honest about that.

    So pleased you're son is ok, and I hope you're feeling a bit better about the blog. I can only imagine how overwhelming it is at times.

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  32. I've missed you soooooooo much! Welcome back. Your blog has always made my day and like Miss M you are a celebrity to me too. As for in between posts how about interviews with others on how they organise their homes or schedules. You might even have done that and it's stuck. Take care you gorgeously lovely person.

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  33. Your blog has been my favourite for as long as I can remember. It always makes me so happy when I see a post pop up, I love getting lost for a few minutes in your writing. I love the positive upbeat and honest way that you write and the bright colourful images filled with light and warmth.

    I love big reveals but I love the little things more, a small furniture swap or new cushions or changing the paint when the first try turned out wrong - thats how my home elvolves too and it really takes off the pressure to get everything right first time or to have the money to do everything in one burst. It feels possible instead of aspirational and out of reach.

    I love the small organising posts - just a drawer or box. They inspire me to go and organise one small thing in my home which always gives me a sense of achievement and positively impacts how I use my home (I also love that you post about things getting un-organised again and giving it a second try #reallife!).

    Organising and decluttering makes me feel grounded and in control of my home - and although sometimes I wish my physical environment didn't affect me so much, I know that its just who I am - and having your blog to refer to for support and encouragement makes me feel normal, like being this way is ok and something that can be a service to other people and a way to be creative and mindful about having less.

    I dont know what makes a blog viable, but for me, as a reader who genuinely enjoys your content, a post once a fortnight or once a month will always be enough, because each post sparks an excitement for my home that lasts for much longer than it takes to read it.

    Your post about non-toxic cleaning made me feel able to completely change my products and habits and now I'm saving money and finding or easier to keep my home clean and safe. Were planning a bathroom reno and I keep coming back to all your bathroom posts for inspiration. My daily relationship with my kids is smoother because you showed me how toys can be organised in a way that makes it easier for kids to clean up after themselves. Your posts aren't just disposable content for me, they make a tangable and positive impact on my daily life - and honestly I don't think I can say that about any other blog.

    Honestly I'd be happy to read any post you feel like writing because I always come away inspired and feeling connected to words that feel like they are coming from a supportive friend.

    With so much love and thanks for sharing this part of your life and talents with the world, Amy xXx

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    1. Hi Amy,

      First, your comment made me tear up. Thank you for sharing how this blog has impacted you personally. This was such a beautiful testimonial and made me SO excited to continue sharing.

      Also, I do pull things out and reorganize drawers and closets I have already shared, it's nice to know that seeing that again would be OK at times.

      Thank you again and Happy 2018!

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  34. Dear Jennifer! I find it difficult to write comments because I do not speak English. I'm afraid I can not always express myself clearly and politely. But after reading today's post, I just can not help it. I love your blog !!! I am delighted with your projects !!! I really missed you and very glad that you are here again! I want details about the tree! And I want even more posts from you!Thank you for your work!

    Health and happiness to your wonderful family!

    Anna.

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  35. So nice to see you on my feed! I love your blog and have missed reading as often! I use a reader, so commenting isn’t the easiest/most convenient- I would imagine Instagram may be putting a bit more on your plate, but I will say that it is often so much easier to connect on there! I have been a long time reader and one of the things I really appreciate about you is your sense of style, budget friendly ideas and how down to earth you are. As for “in between” content, I’d love to see more life- style posts- a look into your everyday! The less polished and picture perfect the better! :) maybe what your daily routine looks like, cleaning/ meals, etc, outfits. Also, I personally love seeing “in progress” shots of projects- seeing a space develop over the course of time, makes me feel invested as a reader and more committed to cheering you on for the final outcome! Thanks for putting yourself out there and sharing- your hard work inspires so many! Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family (also, can’t believe how TALL your oldest is now!) :)

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    1. Instagram seems to be where a lot of people are connecting and it is a definite goal of mine to be more present there (when I can). Thanks for the ideas and feedback! And sigh, my oldest is now the tallest person in our family and still growing! I can't wrap my brain around it most days, it goes so fast!

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  36. I have truly missed your blog emails! You make me feel like I can accomplish anything in my house (which my husband probably has mixed feelings about haha) but I love the organization stuff. I really love when you just use things around the house or you can buy bc my husband is t handy enough to build a shelf hahaha
    Thank You! Have a Wonderful and Happy New Year!

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  37. I think some many people miss blogs. IG has just become too fast, too styled and hasthag-overloaded.
    Still like your blog :-)

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  38. Thanks for your candor! While pretty pictures are very nice, in this era it's very easy to feel like I'm the only person who doesn't have a picture-perfect life.

    Organizing projects on my list: walk-in clothes closet, pantry, and garage storage (no room for a snowblower! Do we eventually build a shed? Or ultimately a third garage?)

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Oh my goodness, why do snowblowers have to take up so much space?! Ugh!

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  39. I never comment, but I just wanted to pop in and say that I really missed your blog and your voice! I really hope you come back to blogging, even if it's on your own schedule/terms.

    As a long-time blog reader, I'm also sick of reading about perfection, and would LOVE more real life projects. My husband and I both work full-time and have a toddler with special health needs. While we love DIYing and working on our home, sometimes it's just really frustrating to see people on blogs churning out seemingly perfect and effortless content with 2 adults devoted to DIY full-time...while the trim in my dining room has been half painted for months now. I know there's a lot of pressure to be perfect in blogging, but I (and I suspect maybe a lot of other people??) are craving more realness, including candid looks at what DOESN'T work for other people, and real-life challenges people face. I feel like you got really frustrated with certain projects you did in your house, and maybe you don't want to blog about it, but I'd actually love to hear about other people's challenges as well to make me feel more normal :-)

    This was kind of stream of consciousness, but welcome back :-)

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    1. Yes, yes and yes. And I hope to share more about those frustrations and how we are managing through those (and some we are still trying to figure out!). Thanks Julie! And I still have some trim waiting on paint too. ;)

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  40. Hi Jen! I have never commented before but I have read your blog for along time. It is always such an inspiration for me. I love to see the progress of your projects. Seeing things from start to finish, including mistakes, is helpful since that is real life and how we all live. Please don't feel the need to create content if it is just for the blog. I love the real life stuff and we don't all redecorate our rooms every year. I would love to see posts of why you didn't touch a room this year. What decisions worked and what didn't? I would also like to see how you keep up an area that you organized. I can do the initial organization but it never seems to stick. Thank you for all that you do!

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  41. So good to read a post from you! I so appreciate your honest post! I think most of us feel the same way you do! It’s refreshing to hear bloggers be honest about the good the bad and the ugly. Feels much more relatable. Thanks Jen!

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  42. Hi Jen, I am a longtime reader/follower and I seem to recall a similar post from you last year around this time. At the time, I commented with something along the lines of take as much time as you need...your true followers will be here when you decide to blog again. I'm going to dig a little deeper this time and say that, as a mom and wife and an employee outside the home, I've had to really pick and choose who I follow and which blogs I read. There are enough external pressures urging me to do better, look better, be better, etc. that - for my own sanity- I can no longer spend my time reading things that only make me feel bad about myself. When I first started reading your blog, I liked the easy, practical tips you gave to help me organize my home and my life. I feel like you got away from that and started doing full room renovations in one week or less on the regular and I could neither relate nor keep up with that. I don't say that to be mean or critical, what I mean to convey is you need to do YOU. Write about what makes you excited and what you feel comfortable sharing. It doesn't have to be every day. It doesn't have to be 500 words with 20 accompanying pictures. Simple, to the point, succinct and real is what I, personally, am looking for. To answer some of your questions: I have always been impressed with your no-fear approach to power tools and would love some tips on how to use them more so I can help my hubby with projects. Simple organization and cleaning routines are always in hot demand in my world. Thank you for your honesty.

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    1. Thank you for your honesty as well! I sincerely appreciate your perspective. ♥

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  43. Happy New Year, Jennifer! Welcome back! I missed your sunny, inspiring posts so much!

    I think it was incredibly brave of you to take a break from your marathon blogging work and put yourself and your family life first. I hope you "got yourself back" during your break and learned your world won't collapse if you permit yourself to rest and recover from time to time. That is an important part of the creative cycle! And your kids are only kids once! Enjoy!

    I was amazed to hear that you struggle sometimes to come up with inspiration. Literally everything on your blog is so stunning and amazing and motivating! Its seems to flow out so effortlessly. Your blog is my bright, happy place. I so appreciate the opportunity to spend time there!

    What I love best about your posts and about "old-style" blogging in general is that they get real about the process, the costs, the problems and the details in a way magazines never did. They give me insight and education and inspire me to believe I can make sometimes amazing too. They keep me from getting demoralized when things fall apart instead of coming together. Pretty instagram and pinterest pictures are lovely to look at but I think: how? where did they buy that? what did it cost? was it hard to do? why doesn't my room look like that? what did I miss? I am addicted to hearing about the story behind the pictures.

    If you are tired of tweaking your home for the moment, perhaps in 2018 you can get some nearby clients and work on other people's decorating and organizing issues and document that work? That would give you a social outlet, and you are so kind you might feel invigorated by the opportunity to help others and transform their homes, too. And it would allow us to understand your process more. So much of your talent seems intuitive. I am always going: HOW did she think of that? that looks amazing! that would never have occurred to me!

    Social media is exhausting these days both for the producer and the consumer. Everything is changing so fast it is hard to keep up. But hang in there, I believe there will be a shakeout and things will settle down. Look at podcasts! They almost died out and now they are a "thing" again. I bet true blogging endures and finds a place in the ecosystem. It is just too valuable.

    In any event, just want you to know that you have vastly improved my closets, my kitchen, and my life! I even built a fireplace wall in my apartment all because of you! Thanks for being such an inspiration. Hope you have a lovely 2018. Hugs, Cara . xoxox

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    1. Love everything about this comment, Cara! Thank you! ♥

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  44. "Not a designer or decorator" ... your work is magazine worthy. Every. Single. Time. Never question that!! I want to read about anything you want to write about ... remember when you posted about cleaning your fridge handles? I want to read about that. :) So very very happy to hear that all is well with your family. <3

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  45. Glad u r back and missed you. Thanks for being honest and sharing. We all experience times of being overwhelmed, not being motivated, feeling guilty about not prioritizing properly, etc. but be secure in the fact that you wil figure it out and in the moments/days/weeks you don’t, time will pass and you eventually will. It’s just a matter of how long you allow yourself to take and being ok/rooted in your values and what is important to you and your true priority of those values. When you can keep yourself happy/not stressed/operating at your best - everything else falls in place. Figure out what those things r and do them often and always come back to those when things get off track. Although we all like looking at the beautiful photos, I definitely appreciate a look into the REAL complexities/sometimes ulgly underbelly Andy thought process - so keep those coming. As long as you share how you were able to move forward/change or why u decided to scrap the project, it will not be unprofessional. I’m always interested in learning about problem solving in all aspects of life and that’s what’s those types of posts do for me. Now if I could just recall that knowledge at the moment I’m in a similar situation - ha! Or recognize the similarities of two situation in the moment -that is the challenge for me. Anyay - glad to have you back. Although I really liked/enjoyed this post, there were too many calls to action for me as I don’t have the time to respond to them all, so please ask again in a future post. I typically respond to a simple call to action on a topic that resonates with me or when someone has shared something really personal. Happy new year!

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  46. thank you for the update! I have missed your blog, especially, the organization posts! I am glad that your boys are okay. Please take time for yourself and to figure out your next step. We will all be here whenever you are ready.

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  47. Thank you for this post! I am just fine with random, every once in a while posts and I appreciate the time and quality you put into them. I don't like when others feel the need to post daily or blog just to blog or even just to say they'll be back tomorrow! I use Bloglovin to know when you post. I'd love more real life as your home and life seem pretty perfect. :) I'd also just loving learning more about you and your life as a boy mom (I am also) and how you juggle and handle daily living- as much as you feel comfortable. Thanks for being honest- that's refreshing. Wishing you a wonderful 2018!

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  48. As a long time blogger, I could not love this post more. Thank you for genuinely sharing what I think so many of us are feeling, and putting words to those emotions we've been struggling with this past year. This wonderful world of blogging that we are so blessed to make a living in, has changed. A lot. And I feel like on many of us, it's wearing us down, but we try to just keep swimming in the ever changing, though seemingly now much shallower, and less connected, tide. Wishing you a year where you find that joy we all once knew in this crazy profession of ours. Your work has always been so valuable, to so many. As they say, you do you, because what YOU do is pretty fantastic. :)

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  49. Thank you for your message! I think you know exactly what you need to do - just go back to doing you! That is what attracted your followers to you and I think that is where your heart is :) I admit that I haven't followed as closely the past few years and I think it is because you got away from who you were. I enjoyed reading your posts about different projects you did, how they worked and didn't work, the honesty of it all. You were the one that introduced me to the Silhouette (which I adore) and I always liked seeing how you put it to use. I look forward to you getting back to your original roots!

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  50. Hi Jen! I have a feeling I am about to write a novel of a comment. I am so excited to see your blog back on line, and truly had no idea you felt the lack of connection with your readers. As a reader of many blogs, I always assumed the bloggers had tons of people interacting, and what use was my extra comment?

    As to answer some of your questions:
    In between posts: I always enjoy monthly or Friday favorites; whether these are links to other posts you've seen online, products you're using, or things going on in your personal life

    largest organization struggles: bed side table; winter accessory storage (so many bulky scarves and hats!)

    Love the idea for a decluttering/simplifying challenge! It feels so good to get rid of things (or more accurately, donate and upcycle)

    And most of all thank you for the great content you always provide!

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    1. Thank you for the input! And P.S. Your comment is always welcomed and appreciated here! ♥

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  51. I love your blog because it isn't like other blogs. It's a blog by a REAL person living a REAL life, and that resonates with me a lot. Your post about how the One Room Challenge didn't work out for you is one of my favorites!!
    Personally, I think you should post when you are moved to post, and not just to have content. If it's been a while, and you really have no updates, a monthly "what's on my mind" post would be great. Just a brain dump, links to cool stuff you've seen/done, things like that.
    I read through a feed reader, that's why I don't comment much. BUT, if commenting more and being more engaged is my part in this bargain, then I will do a better job.
    Also, would you accept more "What Would Jen Do?" submissions? I am killing myself trying to figure out a few areas of my house, and would really like your input.
    Another thought: would your clients allow you to post their homes on the blog? Seeing how other real people live is always inspiring.
    Take care!!

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    1. Thank you Stacey! And yes! I really want to get the What Would Jen Do posts up and running this year! I think they would be a really fun series! Stay tuned, I would love to help!

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  52. I applaud your honesty! There’s too much polish and perceived perfection in blogging and social media, so please stay true to your voice. Sometimes the mistakes and changes are the most interesting part, especially since I’m also not a professional designer and have to give myself permission to redo things! Keep on keeping on!

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  53. Nice to see you back Jen! I was worried about you. I am probably one of your older readers but when I found your blog I was like wow there is someone out there who is as crazy about organizing as I am! I probably look in your archives more than any other blog I follow. I am a GiGI now and can tell you life happens fast so go at your own pace and enjoy those boys. We will all still be here! Recently I snapped a pic with my iphone and posted it on insta and friends commented they thought it was a Pottery Barn ad. I had to laugh and it made me realize all the pics you see online aren't necessarily real life..it was just a lucky shot. I prefer real life! I have been thinking about buying a flocked tree so I would love a post about that. Best of luck for continued success!

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  54. Yes please share how you flocked your tree! I read every word of this post and I appreciate you sharing your real feelings about life blogging, I enjoy reading so many blogs but yesterday I started unsubscribing myself from so many that I really used to enjoy but now feel like I am stuck in one big high pressure buying ad. So many of the blogs, have become nothing but pushers of products and are no longer genuine to me as a reader. I do like the occasional product info but I get so turned off and shut down with the constant over load of sponsored posts. I feel like the lines have blurred something pure and organic has been lost, and I want to follow only bloggers that I feel are speaking from a real place inside of them. Not trying to get page views or count traffic. I have left some blogs because after reading I actually felt bad about myself,my home, and my life..the perfect homes, clothes, kids, and even pets drove me to say enough..I want to read a blog and be inspired not like I am not able to keep up. I enjoy your blog because I feel you really are passionate about what your sharing with your readers and I wish you a wonderful 2018 in blogging.

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  55. Jen! It's so great to hear from you again! Your blog was the very first one I ever bookmarked years ago. It was my introduction to "blogging" in general. I have held your site up as the blueprint for what a blog should be whenever I would visit a new site.

    But as the years (truly YEARS -- almost since day one of your blog's existence) have gone by, I've noticed a gradual shift in this type of media. Just as people don't have time to read many books or magazines, we also don't have time to read actual blogs let alone post comments. It doesn't have anything to do with the quality of your content, it is simply the stage and phase of life (including yours apparently). I too work from home and have two kids aged 15 and 12. But I don't stay home for long. Between all of their activities, my hubby, family (aging parents), volunteering, etc., it seems that the most I can manage is to scan or swipe through content. I'm a freelance writer for trade magazines and I can barely read the magazines I subscribe to each month. They mostly get a scan. I even avoid Pinterest because I hate "maintaining" my boards or searching through my pins for something in particular. Instead, I go on Instagram and find something new.

    That being said, I think you need to be brave and take a look (or leap?) into other social media. Private Facebook Groups would be a great way to stay in contact with your readers. Check out nestingwithgrace.com. It's mostly a decor blog, but she set up a private Facebook page for her email subscribers. She also posts on Instagram every day. And it doesn't take away from her blog at all!

    Finally, I suspect that you might be afraid to lose your hold on your niche -- organizing -- if you alter your content. Don't! But I think you might have less worry if you updated the blog. Right now, it is very hard to navigate and find content. As an OG reader (sorry, couldn't resist), I know what "meaty" content exists on your site but a new reader doesn't. New or old, the good stuff is hidden and hard to find. You can be a resource for all things organizing if the content "came to the reader" instead of us "going to it". So don't be afraid to repost some goodies. I won't mind!

    One last thing (sorry for droning on). You are wonderful! Don't ever forget that. Feel free to share your talents and gifts. I follow many bloggers who live in multi-million dollar houses and have seemingly endless resources to create fresh content (HomeGoods must be making a killing these days). My life is very different from theirs. But I stay engaged because of each blogger's unique voice and personality. Let yours shine through!

    Happy New Year!

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  56. Your blog was the first organizing blog I had found that was realistic to me. So many blogs I looked at had huge homes and I just didn't have the space to orga size like they did. We used to live in a ranch with a very similar layout to yours and your organizing tips helped me in so many ways. (We now live in a tri level which is so different than a ranch and it has been difficult for me to figure out how to organize it without breaking the bank!) I use your blog as a resource if I am trying to find a solution for a problem area and in general as inspiration to get my organizing and cleaning act together. I love seeing progress posts and posts that show pics of what is not working and what you don't like. There are so many things in my house, especially since having recently moved, that are not the way I like them and seeing someone else's problem areas in their home is helpful. Sometimes that even gives me good ideas. Thank you for all the great posts. I am glad you took the breaks you needed for your family. They should always come first. Thanks, Jen!

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  57. The health and welfare of you and your family are THE most important thing!!! So you do what you need to do!!!
    I’ve missed your posts but understand why so you take all the time you need.
    Yes to tree flocking??? (I have no idea . . .)
    Lastly thank you for being real, and yourself, it’s all perfect just the way it is. Big hugs xxx

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  58. Good morning!
    I don’t usually respond to blogs as I feel they are too busy to care what I have to say, but you seem genuinely interested so here goes (and just remember you asked for it haha):

    I am old and old-school. I like the way blogs “used to be.” You are right in that it felt more personal. Now it seems to be about making as much money as possible. I know making money is important (from someone who seems destined to always be in debt), but it’s not why you started your blog and shouldn’t become the main focus. The feeling of the blog changes when money is the focus. I’ve seen it in many blogs and some were so money focused that I unsubscribed. I’ve stayed with you because I enjoy your blog and your human-ness. Please just stay you. And you are enough just as you are. As Dr. Suess said, “There’s no-one more youer than you.”

    Social Media: I very rarely visit social media for many reasons but one being the craziness that people seem to slip into when there. Over-sharing, cyber bullying, public shaming- and these are the adults! Is it any wonder that children follow suit? I wouldn’t give a hoot if Facebook shut down forever. I once enjoyed Pinterest because it was like window shopping, but now it has become another big commercial push. Linked-In was a place professionals could go to network and is now another commercial site. So, when a blogger says, “meet me on FB for a Q&A” I ignore it. And if that is the only place they will interact? Unsubscribe. One of my favorite bloggers has always been fantastic about answering any comment (I usually reply to the email). I enjoy his blog and his responsiveness has impressed me. But he is now moving more towards FB. I’m sure he sees it as increasing his “numbers”; I see it as killing his blog. I don’t want to be a number.

    Content: Being a borderline hoarder, I love your organizing posts. I love the posts that show the systems you use, the equipment and storage bins, and your projects. Your posts have helped to inspire me to downsize and organize. Now, every time I move an item out of my house, I get a hit of dopamine haha It’s slow-going as I can’t just throw things away and some things have to have a special home (someone that will love them as I have.) I’ve recycled some through Freecycle, donated some, sold some, and given some things to friends (if they’ve admired it or said they would like it.)
    I think if you write about what interests you, the blog will resonate with us, your fans.And it doesn’t have to be all organizing. Do you have favorite books, movies, etc and why. What motivates you? Perhaps it could motivate others. Cleaning supplies- what’s your favs and why; do you use home made or store bought and why; have you found any hacks with the supplies that you use? Perhaps how you put colors together, where do you get your inspiration? And there is no shame in getting it all done and not being satisfied with it. I did that with my bedroom. But I sat in there and had “quiet” time to figure out what was throwing it off balance. I repainted, rearranged furniture, removed some items, and wham! I have my oasis of calm that I love. It wasn’t a failure, it was an evolution. (It’s been two years and I still love it just the way it is.)
    The challenges are always good to motivate me to declutter more, so I’m up for that.

    So I hope this helps. Mostly I want you to know you don’t have to live up to anyone else’s expectation. It’s you the fans love. Stop comparing and be happy with you. It will make your life easier. I can’t wait to read your next blog!

    Respectfully,
    d

    PS I’d really like it if I could hit reply and actually reply without having to come on-line. UGH!

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    1. This was so enlightening and I loved reading through your thoughts and feedback. Thank you for taking the time to share. I have really enjoyed everyones perspective to online life and blogs and content.

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  59. Hi Jen! I don't remember when I started reading your blog but I remember your boys were much smaller then. I always remember it and search for projects often when I'm trying to get something in my house under control (which is constant since we moved into a house half the size of our previous one).

    If I remember correctly, your other job is helping people organize in their homes. Wonder if you could use some of those projects for your blogs (anonymity for clients of course). It could show completely different examples of solutions for your readers that you may not have had in your own home.

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  60. I have to agree with an earlier comment that I no longer have the time to sit down and read all the blogs like I used to. When I started reading blogs, about 5 years ago, I ate up everything I read. From organization to daily life, to fashion. I made so many changes in my life (all good) after reading your posts and others. But now, I don't have the same time to read through long posts, but still want to see what bloggers are saying. I can only imagine the time it takes to create a blog post, but sometimes my favorite posts are just general day in the life posts mixed in with projects. I am from Minnesota and have 3 boys as well, and your blog is the only blog I follow from someone near my home. This is just one person's opinion, but I wanted to make sure to reach out since you are looking for feedback. Whatever you decide to do, I am sure will be great.

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  61. I have really enjoyed your blog. I am probably older than most of your readers but good organization is always such a relief. When things are disorganized and messy, then that is how I feel. Organize that mess and get rid of a few bags of things I don't need, that makes me feel refreshed and wonderful. Its a great psychological boost! Life is kind of the same way, so as you re-examine what things are fun or meaningful to you, just recognize its a process. The events of life seem to have a way of derailing us periodically, so don't beat yourself up about that. Happens to everyone. You do a great job and provide much useful information for those of us who aren't naturally organized people!

    Personally, I struggle with organization because, although my house is not really small, it has few closets or natural storage areas. I think I have finally accepted I have to pare us down to just what we really need and use in order to make this work. And I absolutely must be creative in how I store things (baskets, etc). I would love to hear about organizing my bedroom walk in closet as that is my next challenge. How do you go about planning a closet organization like that? What are medium priced sources for shelving and cabinets? What do I need to think about for measurements? That is something I would love to see a post about. Keep up your fine blog!

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    1. Hi Linda! Thank you for the comment! And I agree, there were areas of my life last year that were not organized and boy did that effect me on a personal level. It was definite reinforcement that I thrive when I can get things in order.

      And YES to a walk-in closet series! We have been dreaming of doing something with ours for years now and I really hope this is the year we take that on!

      xoxo!

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  62. You got this! Stick to your passions, keep doing things that make you curious and want to experiment and grow more, and remember that you own this media- it doesn't own you.

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    1. Gosh! Love that quote so much! Thank you Devon!!

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  63. Jen! So great to see you back! I know it sounds silly but I have been worrying about you a bit!! I'm so glad to hear that your son is ok, nothing like a health scare to jolt you into making some life changes!

    As others have said, I could have written this post myself. I can't imagine how you kept projecting and being a Mum and running your Etsy shop and posting as consistently as you did for as long as you did! It must have cost you dearly in terms of time, money and sleep!

    I love all your posts (you have been my favourite blogger for about 7/8 years now and I check your page daily to see if there is anything new. When I see you have posted, I get really excited to read it and I 'save' it for a moment I know I can sit quietly with a cup of tea and my laptop and enjoy!) My favourite posts are the small organising projects, the more chatty ones where you share tips and how-to's (for example your post on ways to use pouches was one of my all time faves!) and I also love to see how you organise your bag/car/suitcase/life etc.

    In terms of what I would like to read more of...I loved your recent 'three things' posts or any post where you are just chatting about things you like or have been finding useful lately. Courteney over at a Thoughtful Place (whose blog I found because of you!) posts a Monday morning wrap up and it is absolutely my favourite post of hers that I love to read so it would be really great to see chatty posts like that from you (I know, you may not want to share the more personal stuff but even just an idea of how you keep on top of it all as such a busy mum/wife/blogger/organiser would be amazing) and anything that shows bits of your home in their every day state (i.e. That you haven't had to spend hours cleaning and organising for the camera) would be great too. Just little updates that are easy for you to write/photograph would be brilliant.

    I would also love it if your posts were 'auto-shared' on Facebook or other social media where I can see it instantly as the subscriber emails can sometimes take a day or so to come through. And any instagram updates with little shares about your every day life (they don't have to be amazing pics, it's the words I'm more interested in!) would be great too.

    Thanks so much for all your hard work over the years, you have inspired so much and motivated me in a million different ways with all your post. I can't wait to see what you get up to in 2018! ��

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    1. Thank you Sue! It's so great to hear from you and I really appreciate you chiming in! I recognize your name from comments over the years and I am so grateful to have you as a long time reader. Wonderful feedback and yes to more Just Three Things posts! I love writing those!

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  64. Hi Jen! Thank you for your update and sharing your heart! I am a long time reader and have enjoyed your blog so much through the years. What I love about coming here is watching what direction you go with different projects and ideas. Basically, I really like your point of view, your style, your voice. If I could say something in the kindest of ways, it would be to not listen to what we want from you, but just "keep being you" :). This is your space on the internet and we like seeing what you do with it!!

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  65. I receive your blog by email and read every word, but I rarely take time to comment, which I realize is really poor manners. (However, your blog requires that I sign in with something-none of which I subscribe to except Google, so I have to go and look up my password which is time consuming. With other blogs, I can just enter my name and email and make a comment.) When I first found your blog years ago, I went back and read EVERY SINGLE POST and loved them all. Without knowing how the financial end works, I would just suggest that you post when you can - I'm happy to read anything you come up with, whether small drawer organizations or large room reveals. I totally get not redoing room after room just for the blog...way too much effort and expense. Again, not understanding the finances of blogs, I'd rather receive one post a week, or even every other week, knowing that it's not a burden to you. Frankly, I'd rather not read "filler" posts - I'm not fond of the "Hi, just stopping by to say hi 'cause I haven't posted in awhile" type posts - I'd rather the blogger just wait until they have some actual content. As far as topics, I love everything you post! Blessings.

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    1. Thank you! And thanks for letting me know about the trouble logging in to comment, I had no idea until today how cumbersome it was based on my settings. I updated that now so hopefully that will help.

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  66. I have a very small space (440 sq ft) with only one closet that is very difficult to get into and see what is in there. Maybe readers could send you pictures and you could give us some ideas?

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    1. Would definitely love to get that series off of the ground! I will keep you posted!

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  67. Happy New Year Jennifer! I have been a long time reader and you're right - the blog game has changed for sure. I don't blog personally - in part because I know I just can't balance it with life very well - but I have a close friend who is a blogger and runs her own design company. There seems to be such a push for those editorial style photos and the picture perfect-ness fueled by Pinterest. I was reading and using your tips & your planner long before Pinterest. I see free printables that look almost identical to your work & that too must be frustrating!

    I for one want off the hamster wheel and I'm not technically the one on it! But I have had to step away from a lot of it because my personal challenge is comparison and it makes me feel like an inadequate homeowner/mother/wife when I don't keep a Pinterest worthy home. And then I realize, thats not real life! Maybe for a few it is, but most of us strategically arrange the angle on the camera to crop out the reality in favor of a carefully curated feed. :-/ I am moving towards reality in the highlight reel. I want to show my friends that my home is not perfect. It's a work in progress and a place of love and happiness, even if it's messy or too cluttered. Cleaning and organizing and making things look pretty is totally my therapy, but having less stuff and being able to focus on my people is better. I don't say this to discourage - just sharing that with your evolution, a reader like me has also been evolving. I want great resources for when I tackle a project. I like the suggestion to do round ups of past posts. I also think balance is important. I know it's not what everyone else does, but I am craving REALITY. Not the Pinterest worthy editorials that make me view my own life and home and less than. I guess those posts are less inspiring than they used to be because they don't seem real and aren't attainable in many ways. Does that make sense?

    Anyhow, I love your blog and have enjoyed so many of your ideas. I will continue to read. I'd love to learn about juggling your three boys (I have three boys myself now and one we also named Peyton), how their growing up has evolved the family home etc. I know there have been posts about that but I like seeing what's possibly in the future for me. :)

    Thanks for your honest post. It is refreshing. It makes me want to read and check in more! :)

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    1. Yes to all of this. I often feel like I am most my own worst enemy and contribute to what makes me feel bad by also posting only the pretty stuff. I will admit, it is hard to put up those real life/messier moments on a blog because it lives on the internet forever (and sometimes the internet isn't a nice place). So it can be tricky finding that right balance of real and inspirational and knowing that I am inviting people into our home online, especially when I generally tidy up before I have guests over. ;) But I definitely hear you that real is what we all need and I want to share more of that, because we aren't always picture ready over here, that is for sure!

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  68. What originally got me hooked on your blog were the simple "hey I redid the drawer of my bedside table" or "hey I use cereal boxes as drawer dividers" type of smaller tips that I can get excited about and do right now. I wonder if some of your clients would let you snap pictures for the blog? It would allow you to show more different organizing tips.

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    1. Working through the process of sharing client work. It can be a little trickier but I definitely would like to do and share more. And cheers to the quick and easy organizing tips, I still love myself a good cereal box divider!

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  69. This kind of post is exactly what I love about blogging, and like you I have very much seen and struggled with the machine that blogging has become in the past few years. I started writing my blog as a means to keep friends and family updated on our life overseas, and for me to process everything. I loved reading others blogs because they weren't polished and perfect. It was like the world discovered this new way to connect with each other and just share, then companies got in the mix and started using it as a means to advertise their products. This led to more polish and a sense of needing to "get it all right" in the public eye, and I think it's contributed to this cycle that we've all gotten into of trying to be more and do more, but at the heart knowing that in the end it's not humanly possible. I myself got away from blogging because I felt like I needed to follow a standard format, have the right pictures, etc if I wanted people to read it. Rather than just writing for the enjoyment of writing, for the whole reason that I started, I was focusing on the wrong things. I feel like we're going to start seeing a shift back to the heart of blogging because there's an overall shift of needing something real to connect to again, so I want to commend you for taking the time you needed to care for yourself and your family, and to step back and figure out why you really want to be doing this. I would love to get to know you better outside of the DIY and organizing projects. What frustrates you? What's hard? Share the personal stuff. Be real. :)

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    1. I definitely hope that there is a bit of a shift back. I know it won't happen overnight, but I agree it would be great to see more conversation and real life. Thanks for the comment.

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  70. Jennifer I have been following your blog for years and love it. I want you to give yourself grace to only post once a week or once a month. We love hearing from you but also live busy full lives and it is hard for us to keep up with posts just as much as it is for you to post them. Thank you for being a blessing to so many.

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  71. Hi Jen - Your post is exactly why I love your blog. Just as you described, as blogs became more articifical and more driven to please the light-year speed changes happening in social media, I lost interest... It made me feel inadequate about my own life at first, and then suspicious of all of the happy, upbeat, beautiful images and blurbs as it became obvious it was all to drive page views and make money. With the exception of checking into your blog occasionally (because you are authentic and honest), I took a long break from looking at blogs - just about a year. I looked yours up today for the first time in forever and was thrilled - for both you and your readers - to see this post. THIS is why I love your approach to life, decorating, organizing... Keep staying true to yourself and the audience will remain in the long run, I'm sure. Happy New Year!

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    1. Thank you! I completely understand the need to take a break from social media perfection and feeling the need to purchase it all and be it all. And I truly appreciate you sticking with me here. ♥

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  72. I really love your blog! I like your small challenge organizing posts. You put way more effort into organizing a drawer and making it pretty than I probably ever will, but I LOVE seeing what you do. And what you make with cardboard and pretty papers.

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    1. Ha! That's probably true! So much joy in one little drawer! ;)

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  73. I have always enjoyed your blog and have read it for a number of years but I have never commented since I get it emailed to me and I hardly ever click over. But I have never judged you for the amount of content you post. But I’m not on IG or any other social media and so maybe I don’t feel the same pressure. I definitely agree that family comes first and peace of mind. I greatly enjoy all the organizing posts, big or small.

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  74. I've read your blog for years and always admired your sense of style and loved your organizational tips! Your post really resonated with me. I find that the bloggers I've enjoyed following over the years and still follow are the ones that have that authentic element to their content. I read another blogger's personal description a while ago and she called herself an "old fashioned blogger", which I loved. Maybe old fashion will make a comeback ;)

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  75. I'm so glad you're back! I've missed your blog! I've missed your authentic voice! I really love reading about your whole process, and I would love to see something slow! It makes it feel more doable to me, and less aspirational. My husband and I have deemed 2018 the year of getting organized. We're going to go room by room and organize everything, and you can bet I'll be referring to your blog for some ways to do that. I'd love to follow along as you work on projects, and even better if they're more of a process so that I don't feel overwhelmed!

    As far as connecting, I do usually read posts on an RSS feed (theoldreader.com), so I'm less likely to come here and comment. I do follow a lot of bloggers on Instagram, and I love connecting on Instagram posts or on Instagram Stories. I think it's easier to stay connected that way instead of returning to an individual webpage. Now that there are links and everything on Stories, I find myself there the most, and it's so easy to send a comment as I'm watching. We do need more old-fashioned blogging, and the connection!

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    1. Thank you so much Megan and best of luck to you and your husband as you tackle one room at a time! You can do it!! ♥

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  76. Welcome back! I love your blog! It’s my favorite! Your blog was the very first blog I ever read and the first post I ever read was when you showed how you organize your kitchen cupboards/drawers/pantry. It was so inspiring and seriously kick started my organizational journey of simplifying and organizing my entire home! Love everything you post big and small and often refer back to your posts.

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  77. Jen, you're the best. Seriously. You were my inspiration to blog and still are! Your authenticity, your realism, your projects, your perspective, your photography...so many things to love about you! I agree that blogs turned to business is tricky...I feel overwhelmed with learning when best to post, how many ads to put out, when I should Instagram, etc...I'd prefer to design rather than do all of that but the game has changed! Some good things to it (larger audience reach for one) but some bad as well...just know that your fan base is loyal and will stick with you no matter what changes you do! xo

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  78. Hi Jen! I'm glad you're back and glad your son is ok! A few random thoughts for you:

    I think many of us prefer the bloggers that don't show everything perfectly staged, photographed in the perfect light, the big reveal, etc. I think most of us started following you for all of the smart and creative storage ideas, product links, etc. that you offered. I MUCH prefer those real-life helpful things over the major home improvement projects.

    I also love it when you organize other people's spaces.

    Personally, as a travel ball mom with two boys, I'd love to see more of how you handle being on the go with your boys all the time. I bet your field bag/ cart is epic!

    I think many of your posts could be a lot shorter which might help you a bit with juggling it all? A little less detail sometimes might also open up more convos in the comments as people ask questions.

    I also highly recommend upping your Instagram game for more interaction. But please don't start using like to know it. Ugh.

    I also think it would be good sometimes to share outside content that inspires you. I think Emily Clark does a great job with that (as well as short posts).

    Those are totally random thoughts but hopefully they will help as you navigate your way forward.

    Cheers!

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    1. A lot of great thoughts, thank you so much Shannon! And yes, Emily does a great job of mixing thoughts and real life with her beautiful decorating. Love her too!

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  79. Sounds like the step away gave you a lot of clarity. I miss the good ol' blogging days. I would give Facebook up in a heartbeat to have what we used to have years ago. I used to blog all the time and then when social media started to take over and comments and readers dropped I didn't have the motivation to keep going as often. With so much out there it's hard for anybody to keep up with everything.

    Now I've decided to give it a go again without needing all the comments and such. because frankly I love looking back and reading the memories and what we've accomplished and that's motivating enough for me. I know people read and don't comment but I wish they knew how far a positive comment goes for a blogger. :-) Your site has always been inspiring to me and I'm going to try to stop by more often and comment. :-)

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    1. I like your perspective! I reference my old posts all of the time and have said to my husband that if anything, I am always glad to have all of our house journey and paint colors and tutorials documented! Best wishes to you as you continue your blogging adventure. ♥

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  80. What a post! I am so glad that you're back, but a little sad to see that blogging is not making you happy as it once did. This seems to be something that is happening to many bloggers I follow who value authenticity and connecting with people more than stats (values I'm 100% sharing too). It's not very surprising, since, as you said, there is so much pressure to do more, bigger, more often...leaving little room for fun and joy. That said, I prefer, by far, authentic blogs like yours to the bigger ones posting five days a week, but that kinda feel empty. Actually, I unfollowed most of those blogs last year, but I never even considered unfollowing your blog, no matter what your posting frequency was or will be. You do fantastic work and I always feel motivated and inspired after reading your posts, never overwhelm or insufficient.

    Now, for the questions:

    - Connecting : I mostly read blog posts on my cell phone with a reader, so I have to admit I don't comment as much as I could. I really do connect much easily on Instagram though, since the app is much more well designed for that than my reader.

    - Content : I am totally happy with smaller scale projects (a drawer, a new battery storage trick, a way to hide cords, etc. ), it really doesn't have to be a huge project to be inspiring. Real life talk post like today are nice too (and a great way to connect). I like reading about your design process too, even if you have no "before and after" to show.

    - Organizing : Maybe readers could send pictures of problematic areas that could be used as examples? You only have so many clutter to organize in your own home, maybe it could be inspiring for you too?

    - Celebrating this community : I really like the idea of having some sort of dedicated space to highlight readers projects/ideas. I have no idea what this could look like, but it would definitely be a great way to make us feel even more like we're part of a community.

    Again, thank you so much for your hard work. You are more than enough : you’re excellent at what you do and I really hope that 2018 will be the year that you’ll be happy again to do what you do so well. As for us readers, I guess it’s time we take more time connecting with bloggers. ;)

    Cheers to a very happy, fulfilling and pressure-free 2018!

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    1. Geneviève, I appreciate your response and your suggestions and nodded my head all the way through! Thank you so much!!

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  81. I love reading your blog. I have gotten so many wonderful ideas from you over the years. I loved your homemade cleaners post along with so many others. This year I have a focus on teaching my children how to care for a home and other responsibilities they need to know. My oldest is leaving home in just a couple of years and I want her to leave knowing how to take care of herself. She needs to know how to budget, clean ect. I know your oldest is about the same age, it would be fun to see some posts about how you are getting him, and your children ready to leave the nest. I want my daughter to feel prepared and confidant in her abilities not fearful and intimidated. That is a big focus for me this year. Also for in between posts I always love a recommendation for a great book to read, a great recipe, a product that is recommended, a fun place to take a family on vacation. As much as I love your room reveals, small practical ideas are always really appreciated. I don't have time to do huge projects either all the time. I hope this comment is helpful in some way. Thank you for the thoughtfulness and time you have put into your blog. I really have learned so many useful and fun ideas from it.

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    1. So helpful Jeana! And as much as I want to cry thinking of my oldest leaving soon, I couldn't agree more that it is important to give them the tools to hit the ground running. Love the idea of adding some of that type of content here. Thank you for the suggestion!

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  82. Hi Jen! I usually don't comment as much as I would like to because I'm usually reading on my phone! :/ Just wanted to tell you I've followed your blog for probably 6 years now. Yours was one of my first when I discovered the awesome world of blogging! I always thought how neat and generous it was for you all to share your ideas, tips, and advice on how-tos.

    I am so sorry about the rough couple months you've had, and sounds like a step away was a great thing for you. I can also only imagine how much the blogging world has become with such an increase of social media. : /

    I love getting your posts in my email, but I also love to see your squares pop up in my Instagram! Maybe you could post a little more on there? I feel like that's a very quick way to show what you're up to, and I also respond a lot more on IG because it's easier.

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know that you're STILL one of my favorites out there!

    Oh, and as for some content! Maybe this would be too personal? I have four kids 10 and under, and I've LOVED reading how you incorporate your organization with having your three boys. Like your summertime routine posts, and your kid closet posts, I love it! :) It has helped me so much.

    Thank you for all that you do, and I love your blog!! You are wonderful!! I hope this year has proven a great start for you already!!

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    1. Posting more on Instagram is one of my top goals this year! Hope to see and chat with you there! :) Thank you so much Julia! And I would love to talk more about organizing with kids, so stay tuned for more of that this year.

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  83. I have been following you for years. I always look forward to your posts and content. What I appreciate most is your truth. I can’t even imagine the stress of having to feel like you have to keep up. I would much rather wait one month for your content than to read content from a blogger that is just pushing it out. And just so you know, anything you’ve put out has never seemed rushed or unfinished so give yourself a break in knowing your content has always been drool worthy! I understand you saying you feel at times like you’re not good enough but if you feel that way, it gives me hope for myself. I always look forward to your content so just keep swimming ��

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  84. I am so glad to know that you are okay! Take care of you and your family first, for they are the most important! In the end, it is all that matters, and all that we can take us with us after this life. If you get around to blogging, great. If you don't, Great! We love you anyway! xoxo take care!

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  85. So glad that things are ok with your son. 2017 was kind of a stinker for us, too; nothing tragic but I’m ready to move on! I’ve missed reading your blog. I feel like I savor each post as your voice just strikes a chord with me. I do read blogs via Feedly, so I don’t take time to comment as much as I probably should. I will do better if you don’t give up on blogging!

    I would love to see a post on flocking your tree. I think sometimes it’s easier to read things like this after the holiday, when there’s time to reflect and consider vs in November when I then feel pressured to get it done if I’m going to do it at all.

    As for other content, I think sharing really little moments can be both helpful and very inspiring. Remind us that your organized home needs reorganizing at times. Tell us when you’ve cleaned out a drawer, and encourage us to do the same.

    I so want you to make money and be fulfilled but could definitely feel that you were trying very hard to be the uber-blogger over the past year or so. Don’t worry about that. Without worrying about the results, can you just get back to the headspace where you were in the early years and just find your passion for organizing and helping others? I think the results will come. And those who have loved you for years will always be here!

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  86. Hi Jen,
    I try to answer all your questions 😉
    Conversation:
    I think this has become unfortunately normal for blogs that hardly no one is writing comments. I think it has to do with reading habits. I am always reading blogs via the Bloglovin App on my phone because it‘s only a little time frame during the day that I have actual time to read blogs. But I don’t like writing comments via my phone, it‘s just so much work.
    I think a good way to have an actual connection with your readers would be through Instagram stories. I was very shy at first but then I was just myself and I realized people actually liked seeing someone who showed a bit of her real life and talked like a friend to a friend.
    I think people would love to hear you talk!!!
    And you could also do some live sessions but for the feeling videos are also great.

    Content:
    I LOVE your blog!! I think I read every single post from the pastime and I don’t think that you have to put yourself under so much pressure. We all love to read what you offer but I understand that you don’t know where this whole thing is headed, right?
    Maybe you could show more projects you are doing for clients or I would also be interested in learning about your life with the boys since I have two boys myself and am pregnant with a third child. How are you handling the education? I think it must not be all about diy.

    Organization:
    I‘m dreading our cellar!! It‘s full of stuff and I haven’t been in there for two years, upsi! Maybe others also have some dreadful corners? And we don’t have so much space so I’d really like to see solutions for smaller rooms.

    Home Updates:
    You are a real good photographer so I think it would be nice if you just took some pics from time to time from different areas of your house to show how you decorate it throughout the year. For example your terrace or what is standing in your kitchen? My kitchen is far too full of things and I love to see how people organize it and make it even look beautiful!

    Cleaning:
    I think you wrote everything about cleaning! I‘m still scrolling through all of your old posts once spring comes around:-)

    Challenges:
    I think challenges are great. Very motivating! And I like the thought about posting your tools!! You have so much expertise, that could be an extra category on your blog!

    So sorry for this novel but since I have read your blog for such a long time and have felt the same things about blogging (even if my sewing blog lies in a totally different area) and the pressure of always creating great new content which let me miss my real life, I just felt I had to write you some lines.
    I will always enjoy reading from you no matter what. I like you as a person (haha, or at least the person I think you are;-) and I always admired how you put everything together for your family. You wanted to do something nice for them, make them happier which is so great!
    Try to enjoy and live a little, I think real life is far more important than the social media world. But I would enjoy a little insight into your world via Insta Stories so you might consider it:-)
    I‘m giving you an enormous hug over the ocean and hope you‘ll feeling a little better!
    Hugs and kisses,
    Kirsten from Germany

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    1. Love all of your feedback and ideas and sincerely appreciate you taking the time to share. I know Instastories and videos are huge right now, maybe being camera shy is one of the fears I have to get over this year! ;)

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  87. I'm so sorry to hear of your son's health scare and glad everything is ok. It certainly gives a new perspective on life, doesn't it? I would love to see the flocking post! While I always check your page for a new post- I love the idea that it's not there because you are making your family, and sanity, a priority! I love all your posts- décor and organization.

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  88. I totally understand what you mean about how blogging has changed. I love seeing your room updates and organization ideas, and I don't care how infrequently they come!

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  89. I am so sorry to hear that you had such a challenging year, but I know 2018 will be fabulous!!!! I *LOVE* your organizing posts!!! They help give me fresh ideas and I love the way that you are continually "repurposing" every day items! I can't wait to see what this year brings!!!!

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  90. I think a lot of people, myself included, tend to converse more on instagram these days. It’s hard to comment and follow blogs, and Instagram is quick and easy. I’m having my first baby in a few months and feeling very overwhelmed with the amount of purging, cleaning, and organizing I have to do before she arrives. I also need to set up her nursery area and figure out how to store everything and what to keep accessible. I don’t know if that’s something you’d like to blog about, but I’d love advice!

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  91. Hello, Jen. I'm glad you took the time needed for your family and you! I would love your DIY flocked tree posting. We buy a flocked tree yearly, but I'd love to learn how to save a little money and do it myself. Best regards for a wonderful 2018!

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  92. I’ve read your blog for a long time...since my oldest was a baby, so 7ish years? I was drawn to blogs originally because they felt so real and authentic and relatable. Now, I only read a handful because everything is styled to such a point that blogs have lost that relatability factor for me. I don’t mind sponsored posts. And I don’t mind a really fabulous room reveal. But I miss the in-between everyday stuff so much. I miss a drawer of actual real supplies, rather than a drawer of new pencils and pens in a brand-specific color palette. I expect to see that stuff in a magazine. And I don’t mind it there; in a magazine, I know it’s professionally styled. I can see it as inspiration, but I don’t feel inadequate when I see it. But when I see a blogger’s pantry full of matching teal containers and teal utensils and teal food and a teal apron with a teal rug, I feel like my real food is now not cool enough. Bloggers are real people. And if their real pantries have a color scheme, then mine should too, right?! I miss the days when people organized their real food. Or their kids actual art supplies. Social media has become the same way for me...and I’m so close to pulling the plug on it all. I wish bloggers didn’t feel the need to style everything just to be relevant. But I get why you do; I briefly blogged and quit because I felt like my “real life” didn’t offer anything of value, even though, “real life” is what actually draws me to blogs. Anyway, I guess I’m trying to say that your post resonates with me on so many levels. And I’ve read it echoed on a few other blogs too lately. I hope somehow you can all stick around long enough to sway the tide back to a more authentic place.

    I’m sorry that this is so wordy! I can’t figure out how to be succinct.

    Wishing you all the best in 2018.

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  93. Joy to see your post in my inbox!
    Happy New Year! Glad your son is better, that must have been difficult.
    I only read 3 blogs on the regular, yours being one of them. I am not into FB. I do like Instagram because it gives a glimpse, can generate interest, provides a link directly to post content and easy to leave a sentence or two of feedback. Blogging analytics would tell you trends concerning how many paragraphs readers enjoy before leaving, etc, but not being a blogger I don't know too much about that.
    I appreciate your honesty and that you admit your life includes a budget and time constraints, as well as tweaking areas that aren't working and behind the scenes (relatable to readers). I enjoy your sharing products but I'd love to see comparative items that are budget friendly (maybe a Target alternative to Container Store?). I enjoy your mini tutorials as well. I'm thinking you have/had a dog but I don't remember seeing dog bed or dog storage...I'd love to see pet organization. I have a very small home so post utilizing every square inch fascinates me. Reader organization questions are so helpful, too. Thanks for no fluff content...since you asked for filler ideas, I enjoy quick healthy meals and meal planning tips, tips you learned while organizing clients, photography, even places of interest in your hometown. This year our big project is adding a subfloor to our attic for storage.
    I love your blog and don't feel it needs fixing...I did like another reader's comment about making it easier to find older content. You have made yourself a "knowledge source" and can really run with that. I have done probably 20+ Jen inspired projects over the years, it would be fun seeing a look what I made page from your readers.
    Thanks from Atlanta!

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  94. Jen! So very happy to see a new post from you! I 'm not sure I have ever commented here but I've been silently following along since 2012 when I discovered your blog through Pinterest. I'm more of a read and move on kinda follower. Your blog was the very first one I started reading and Ive been hooked ever since!What drew me to your blog was your organizing posts! While I love decorating and looking at beautiful homes, realistically, a limited budget,two young kids, fulltime job and just busy life (which Im sure ALL Moms can relate to) organizing and keeping all the things in our home under control is really what I love seeing the most! Your organizing posts are so detailed, thorough, attainable and motivating! So heres to celebrating this great community you'v built! I can only imagine how much work and time it takes to create these post so THANK YOU! Would love to see the flocked tree tutorial too :)

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  95. I have been following you for years now, and I have missed it since you have been posting less. I'm happy to see shorter posts too if it means you are posting more frequently. Your makeovers of areas in your home are fabulous, but I also love reading tips and ideas on anything that makes life easier. Tips on products you love, timesaving tips, cleaning tips. I'm sure you've got heaps of them to share! It would be good if there was an area everyone could share tips and questions - not sure what format that would work in though!

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  96. Happy new year.
    The thing I’m geting from all the comments before me is even when we don’t comment we are here. And we love what you do.
    I love seeing your interesting uses for things that are easy to get especially things that can be found internationally (I’m in Australia so I don’t have a Joann’s or the same target stores) but I can often find things similar locally.
    I was also thinking you could do a few QAndA posts. Maybe ask us to send photos of problem areas that you could make suggestions on. Or us as a community could make suggestions about.
    Whatever you decide I look forward to hearing from you and until then I’m off to do some organizing in my sewing space. It turned into a catch all bomb site over the festive season.
    Sending you bliss and blessings.

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  97. Hi Jen,

    Would you consider using Instagram more? I really like connecting through that platform.. and appreciate a heads up through Instagram for new blog posts. ;)
    Quite a few home bloggers will post stories of just random stuff going on through their days. I really enjoy watching those, I feel as though I get to know those people better. I'd love for you to maybe do more of that.

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  98. I have been a reader of your blog for at least a couple years now. I always read in a reader and don't really make many comments so I guess that makes me more of a lurker, lol. I was touched by your openness and sharing in this post though, and felt compelled to comment.

    I love your blog. I love the projects you put together, I love the look of what you do, I love your style. I also love your sweetness. I think that sincerity comes though. So many bloggers just throw things up to maintain "blog content" and a person can kind of tell. I don't like feeling like I'm just a "stat," and I certainly don't feel like I am when I read your posts.

    I totally get the life happening thing. I'm glad your boy is okay! I don't expect you to be on a blogging schedule or anything like that. Since I use a reader, I catch all the posts, no matter when they come in. I get caught up in life things too, and often can't catch posts in the moment - sometimes it takes me a week or 2 to get caught up. So, reading blog posts to me is more like a time capsule kind of thing. A blog should revolve around a life, so to speak, and our lives should not revolve around our blogs. It matters not to me when you post, I will still read it. :)

    I enjoy seeing your process when you're putting things together. I like seeing pictures of that, and of the finished product. It's makes my brain sigh to see the beautiful way you've put things together. As a renter, I can't implement most of the things you do around your own home, but the organizing things I can try. But there is a feeling of peace and joy in being "in" a beautiful home with a sweet, lovely hostess, and that's how I feel when I visit your blog. So, thank you for that.

    Post about the things you love, when you can, and I will be here, because I like you and what you do. I don't expect you to make your blog revolve around my interests - I have my own blog for that. I'm here for you. As the saying goes, build it and they will come. :) So, blog as you like, sweetie. Don't feel like you have to please anyone else - just be you and do what's best for you - the ones who enjoy what you do won't go anywhere. :) <3

    Happy New Year!

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  99. Hi Jen. I have been reading your blog for several years now and since have started reading others. I'm not much or a commenter and maybe because I was under the impression bloggers don't respond to them? I realize your job is one that needs feedback and in 2018, I'll do more to "engage" as I really do love your blog as well as a few others. I would love for you to "challenge" us this year and then maybe do a post where we could share how we accomplished that challenge? I find that sometimes your organization is very intimidating (mostly I'm jealous... And please take that as a compliment) and I would love to see how the non blogger or beginner label maker is doing. I hope 2018 is a refresh for you and for you to know that it's okay to stop if it no brings you joy. But please know that your blog brings many joy and it seems as readers, we need to do a better job expressing that. I think many of us take for granted blogs and don't realize how not actively participating impacts. Thanks for always sharing and providing me with a goal of what I want my home to be.

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  100. You are one of my favorite bloggers. I love to see how you organize a space. You make organizing look beautiful. I would love to see you give tips on organizing. You are an awesome blogger.

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  101. I love your blog and have for many years now. This is the kind of post that appeals--it's real, genuine-hearted, and a wonderful antidote to all the "look at my perfect life" that we see out there. You have always come across as an innovative and creative woman. Know that you have loyal readers!

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  102. Hi Jen,

    as a blogger, I also feel like I have to apologize to my readers when I simply don't have the time to publish a post. But as a reader, I feel like I'm getting so much valuable information from your posts. As a reader, I'm incredibly happy to follow a blog with such an amazing content. Yes, beginners probably should publish often, but I think you can allow yourself to publish whenever you feel like it.

    I love your blog, I can't say that enough. And I know how "I don't have any project going on" feels like. Must be easy for food bloggers to just cook something up, right? :) However, I remember when you posted about planning a project in Microsoft Excel. I think it could be such a wonderful way to show your organizing ideas, even without the photographs of finished project. At the moment, I'm trying to plan my new kitchen, and can't decide how to organize floor and wall cabinets. To see a drawing of your suggestion for wall cabinets organization would be awesome. And basically, for every closet and pantry design, there are dozens of things that could have been done differently. Not to mention, if today you think you could've made something better, why not publishing a follow up post with the things you would do differently?

    The thing is, our most popular posts are the one showing projects with mistakes, not the perfect ones. Because it's easier for readers to relate. And I really believe it's important to share the mistakes to prevent others from doing the same thing.

    Also, love the round-ups idea (maybe monthly?) I read in one comment - it's a great way to promote old content someone maybe missed.

    I don't know, hope I helped. You're doing such an amazing job both here and on Etsy, I feel silly to writing suggestions.

    All bests to you and your family!

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  103. Yours was the first blog I "found". Your kids were tiny, your house was being decorated on a shoe-string. You made me smile! I don't do facebook, I do have a pinterest page or two of my own (but actually rarely look now as I don't like their newer style). Too much social media takes the joy out of life for folk. I'm glad you've got your mojo back, and I wish you a good 2018

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  104. Hi Jen-
    I'm so glad you're okay! Just a couple days ago I was looking at time between posts and wondering if something was wrong with you or your family's health. Relieved all is well!

    There are several home blogs that I love, but what makes yours my absolute favorite is the joy in your home. Each room tells a story, every space is clearly designed for all of you to use and enjoy, not as some museum meant to be viewed but not touched. Also, the bright, cheerful colors are an oasis of happy in a blog desert of shabby chic off-white :-)

    I love using your home tour as a jumping off point when I'm stuck with a room- painting the inside of our hutch white, organizing with colorful boxes, etc. No shame in being stuck- we all get stuck, too! In between I'd love to see how you get yourself out of a rut- where you look for inspiration, your thought process as you assemble a space, and even mistakes & regrets!

    Thanks again for all the inspiration, joy, and streamlining you've brought to our home!!!

    -Lindsey

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  105. I read your posts many times and often it helps me to be more organized or it gives me a moment to think about what I can do better. When there is nothing for you to blog I always love it to take a look in your room, how you decorated for spring , eastern or the other seasons, thats enough, it must not always be the next perfect solution for something. The little things are always good enough.
    Many greetings from germany and keep on what you do, you do it with so much passion
    Kathrin

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  106. I love what you do and how you do it. I unsubscribe to a lot of blogs but never yours. Whatever you have to say is fresh and helpful. I didn’t realize until now that when I read your post as an email, which I usually do and really appreciate being able to, there isn’t the option to comment or read comments. I have to go to the web version to do that.

    I read and enjoy In My Own Style, but she is constantly on the move plus she bought a new house so has lots to do and share. You are in a different place in life and I like the sense of peace. You don’t always have to be dissatisfied, which of course is a good (?) way to come up with projects. Peace is good.

    Here’s my current cleaning problem: even though my shower tile is less than a year old and *supposedly* is sealed, a sugar scrub I have which is oil based dripped a little and now I have stained grout. Still trying to figure out how to get that out.

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  107. As a healthy living blogger, I totally share your sentiments about the way blogging has changed. I wrote a similar post about vulnerability this week and how I have turned inward over the years. But we make the future, and if we all trend towards the "olden days" we can make our space online more of what we want it to be. <3

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  108. Hey Jen!!! First of all I LOVE your blog!!! It is the best thing that has ever happened to me!! I have a silhouette Cameo and seeing your blog has taught me great things to make (label) with the Cameo so thank you for that!!! As I read this I was thinking about how you have an instagram account but you never post anything really. Could you maybe start posting more and start doing instastories? I know I love watching bloggers do a story or I love watching their youtube channels. Just food for thought. But keep up the Great work!! xox

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  109. I love and appreciate your blog! Organizing makes me so happy. My favorite posts are the simple ones, where you organize something small. I can't tell you how many times I've read one of your posts like that and gotten inspired to get up that second and organize. One idea I had to interact more is maybe some "live" videos - whether that's FB, Instagram, Youtube, etc. You could do like a Q&A session or even a little live organization.
    Thanks for all you've done all these years! I think there are many more organized homes because of it!

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  110. Welcome back! I can't imagine trying to fit everything in to your schedule at once with 3 kids on top of it. BUT, I agree with many of the other posts above. One thing I appreciate is when something might not turn out 100% and you share how and why. Let's face it, I'm not sure I get anything I DIY or organize right the first time around. Sometimes it is really nice to be able to relate and not feel like I'm the only one that couldn't make it work. I love REAL. I will never forget the interivew with your son several years ago about the "Monica closet". I almost gave up right then and there. Who could possibly acheive that? Not this gal. I know you can and that is when I realized, Ineed your blog! :-) I am so glad you wrote this post. I have missed you and have wondered where you went. You kind of just dropped off. I only say that because I kept looking for a post from you with no luck and no idea why. So, thank you for being so real and letting us know why we haven' seen you for awhile. I for one will wait patiently and read whenever you are able to post. I don't do Instagram or Tweet. Blogs are about it so I hope to see you soon!

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  111. I am so glad you wrote. I honestly check your blog daily and was really worried something had happened. I am glad your son is feeling better and you had a wonderful holiday. Happy New Year.

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  112. Girlfriend, the last think you need to do is apologize for taking time to take care of family OR to just breathe a little. All of us here on the interwebs are thrilled with the content you put out, however often you are able to publish it. :) Here's a challenge for you in 2018. I have been trying to solve this organizing dilemma for years. I have so many larger utensils (spatulas, whisks, spoons, bottle opener, can opener, measuring cups, strainer, etc) that I use one of the larger/deep drawers in my kitchen to store them. Believe it or not, I have reduced them to just the ones we use regularly and we still fill the drawer; i think due to the sheer size of the items. The drawer looks like a cluster when you open it. No organization at all. I have thought about drawer inserts but I would need them to stack on top of each other and I cannot find any that do that well. Any ideas? I don't have a larger shallow drawer available so I have to make this one work. I'd love to see what your creative brain has to offer. I could email you pictures, if it helps. Happy new year and I cannot wait to see what this year brings to you.

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  113. I love when you write these types of posts. It makes me feel better that I'm not the only one getting overwhelmed. I never knew bloggers really read the comments on their posts. Sometimes there are so many that it seems like it would take up your entire day to read and respond to them so its good to know you like the interaction! I do read all your posts except the ones you would have someone else do with projects. Then only sometimes did I read those.

    I would love to know the actual time it takes you do each of your large and small projects. I am not crafty so often times I get overwhelmed at the amount of skill and time that projects require. Although I do get good ideas from you even if I can't do them exactly. For example I have a large closet with a shelf. I cleared it off to make an area for my jewelry like you have and used the rod beneath it that holds my shirts. I painted all the rods silver and then left the area below my jewelry shelf open to put all my bracelets on it on the rod. So I didn't actually make anything but it sure does look nice just putting a pretty coat of paint on the walls and some silver on my rods! You inspired me!

    I would love to see how you clean the brown burnt spots off of black grates on a stove. Im very crunchy/organic and don't use chemicals so how can I safely get this stuff off??? By the way I love how I have noticed a shift over the years in you going chemical free and it looks like you are maybe a little more organic.

    I have no idea what tree flocking is but I wouldn't mind a post on it! What I would love to see most is a post on how your typical day flows. I am not super organized yet I die inside when my house is in chaos. I get easily distracted by social media, phone calls, laundry, kids and work emails ( I work from home too). I would love to know if you break your day into time slots to do specific things, do you only look at social media for a specific amount of time?? I have such a love/hate relationship with social media and feel such a relief when my phone breaks for a week.
    Thank you for your honest posts. You are the one blog I have always read since I think 2012 and the one one blog I actually subscribe to and have canceled for emails. So keep up the great work. I appreciate your posts whenever you can fit them into your schedule!

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  114. I echo a lot of the comments here. I read every post you put out, but I rarely comment for the same reasons. I'm sorry. Your hard should be acknowledged.

    This is truly one of my favorite blogs. I read a couple handful of blogs regularly. This is one of the most useful and authentic blogs out there. There are so many that I subscribe to and that I've just visited on occasion that do sponsored content. While I do not begrudge that at all (we all have to get paid from our jobs to pay the bills, and blogging is a job after all), it's not realistic because readers don't receive those free products, free paint, free furniture, free rugs, free kitchen cabinets, etc. It's fun to read because I view it as a kind of a magazine article, just fluff to enjoy and move on from, good for design inspiration only. I view Instagram as the same way, just a magazine with pretty pictures, not really useful except for design inspiration. I have absolutely no problem with you being who you are and I love this blog for it. I swear, after having read a post you put out, I always sit back and think how that relates to my life and my home. Sometimes I don't need to declutter a certain area that you just highlighted, but reading your post makes me think about something else in my home. The point is it's REAL and USEFUL! Not fluff. I know you've had sponsored posts before, but they were useable, like the shelf liners and fridge liners come to mind. I like that you take your time, because I think real people do.

    I'm glad your son is ok, by the way. I'm sure that took a LOT of shine off the holiday season for you. And, yes, please do a post about flocking a tree. :)

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  115. Hi Jen, Welcome back I'm so glad your son is ok. I've been reading your blog for several years now. I have read every one of your posts and my house certainly wouldn't be half as organized if I hadn't come across your blog. As well as your organizing and decorating post I loved your gym area post and your wardrobe posts. Love your style and would love a post on how you put your outfits together. Best wishes for 2018. Amanda

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  116. I know bloggers appreciate it a lot when they get feedback, and unfortunately I haven't been the best at commenting on your posts - I do apologise, because I really do love your posts. Please allow me to attempt to make up for it now :-)

    I was wondering why my BlogLovin seemed a bit weird for a while, but when I readthis post I realized it was because I hadn't read any of your posts for while. That made me realize how much I appreciate them.

    I am a 30 year old engineer working as a project manager, married to another engineer working as a project manager, and we live in an apartment but at the moment we are looking at purchasing our first house. We were both born and raised mainly in Denmark, which is where we live, but we consider ourselfs more Western than Danish really.

    Others blogs I follow include inspirational blogs about outfits, interior design and food. I follow blogs for the inspiration - I try not to become an overachiever within every area (because let's face it, nobody can do thwt in the long run), so I constantly seek inspiration to finding ways to keep myself (and my husband) balanced - within ourselfs, among each other and other people and the world alltogether.

    That's a bit about me - now as to why I love your blog :-)

    I love that your blog is about making things work in ways thqt are realistic. First and foremost, you inspire me to make our home a convenient home first and foremost, and secondly a home that looks nice and is calming to live in.
    I love that now my husband asks me questions like "That drawer containing all of the towels and washcloths for the kitchen - could you organise that?" Ans then I can turn to your blog to gether inspiration, go through the process of designing something functional and pretty and carry it out. It seams meaningful and is a fun proces.

    So - that's what I really enjoy about your blog - and even reviews of products or other peoples solutions can be inspirational - I get that you can't keep redoing your own home just to gather content for the blog ;-)

    As for keeping the conversation going - I don't know if you're doing this already, butIwill check as soon as I'm done writing this, but I find that I feel more motivated to converse with bloggers who have an Instagram account as well, especially if they make stories. Then everything is a bit more unofficial and quicker - just a suggestion :-)

    Anyway, I hope that you can find the motivation to keep going. I promise that I for one will be better at commenting on the posts so you know what works and what doesn't.
    I - and lots of other people I'm sure - really do appreciate all of the effort that you put into your blog!

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  117. I'm so glad to see a new post from you!!! I check about every couple of weeks hoping to see a new post :) and also check older projects pretty often just for inspiration. In fact, today I was looking for details on one of your closet organization projects :) please keep doing these posts as they are so good!! You are as human as your readers and this post confirms it. Even though I love looking at editorial type pictures, they seem unachievable for regular people like a lot of us, so real life content is what I really would like to see.

    Thanks for the update on how everything is going and hope your son is over the health concerns!

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  118. I think it would be fun if you did one good project post a month and offered for readers to share their takes on the same project. Then maybe later in the month do a follow-up post showing how real people used the same ideas in their spaces. I always like to see how different people interpret/apply the same ideas. It would be a good way to interact with your readers more.

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  119. A couple thoughts:
    I’d love to learn more about cleaning my bathroom and shower/grout in particular! We installed a bathroom we love two years ago, and now I’m struggling to keep it looking nice.

    I so appreciate I’ll I've learned from you about keeping kids school work/supplies organized! It’s been put to good use this year as my younger two are now in school.

    As for connection, I’ve been finding myself connecting most with my favorite bloggers who are posting quick doable tips and inspiration on Instagram. Even a series on the same topic can be so fun, like @higlowhey does. I find myself commenting more there also because it’s easier. Somehow, as dumb as it sounds, I always have trouble commenting on blogs from my phone (where I do most of my reading these days).

    Wishing your family the best and relief from the health concerns!

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  120. Hi Jen,

    So glad to see you're all fine now! I was getting a little worried you disappeared.

    First of all I have to say I have been reading your blog for years, and it was the first (and is still hands down the best!) organization blog I found. I read all your posts except for something maybe really specific like how to use that vinyl cutting thingie or very in-depth DIY that requires two people and many days - though I absolutely love the photos of the process. I really appreciate that you don't do a lot of sponsored content, too - it's fine from time to time, but a lot of the blogs I enjoyed turned to doing sponsored posts practically every other time, and while I get why this happens, it's kind of annoying to read commercials, even if they're dressed up really well. And I'm not from the US so I can't benefit from sales, etc that those posts often offer, so it's doubly annoying. I like that the majority of things you post are about what worked for you before it was offered for free, and that you describe real-life solutions.

    As for your questions:

    - conversations and connecting. I think I commented maybe once or twice over the years. I find that questions are often kind of redundant... like, you post a complex and amazingly executed project and then at the end you ask what we like to do about this problem? It seems like you wouldn't really care since you have just solved yours, if you know what I mean?

    - content. I enjoy most of your posts. My favourite ones are organization and small solutions (like lining drawers), and various planning ideas. My flat is very well organized, decluttered and simple so there's only little I can actually implement (though I think I learned the basics from you!) but I just love seeing pictures of nicely done up things. I know this is a bit late for you with your young men, but I would be really interested in how you'd organize with a baby/young child (actually two... big surprise in a few months for me in my studio flat hahasob). For interim posts I would quite like to see you show off your favourite blogs/posts and maybe do little updates on your previous projects - not something big, but do a few words on what worked well and what had to be slightly changed once it was being used. This would also drive traffic to your previous projects.

    - organization. Anything and all I love! I'm deathly allergic to basically all animals, but I would gladly look at a post about how your organize your cat's food.

    - cleaning. I think it's quite useful, but there are so many blogs who do this kind of content and it's not the defining characteristic of your blog. I'm biased though, because we don't have the cleaning products you guys do, so I find these posts less interesting. And I think cleaning here in Europe is slightly different than over there in general since we don't have such huge houses!

    - challenges. I saw someone upthread say you could pose a problem and offer people to send you photos of their solutions, or ask readers on what they're stuck and then feature the question and ask for help...



    Maybe an idea to help you deal with anxiety over producing new content could be to set a date for new posts and make it once a month - so every 5th of the month you put something out, and then if you have something to say in the interim, that's great for us, and if not, we know there's something nice waiting for us on the 5th.

    But to be honest, I think your blog is pretty perfect the way it is. I like that your updates are meaty and not just fluff, and it's fine that they're not so often. I like that your blog is kind of old school. And I like all the gorgeous well lit pictures!

    Hope 2018 is really good to you and yours!
    Anya

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  121. Jen - I have been following your blog for several years and I have never stopped to say 'thank you!' Thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing your passion and talent. Thank you for your honest post about taking a break and how important it was for you, I think anyone who has kids at home and works totally understands the need for some offline time. I just want to tell you how much you inspire me and uplift me with your ideas and posts. Keep up the great work, sending online hugs from Iowa :-)
    xoxoxo Molly

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  122. YOU ARE BACK!!!2018 feels great already!
    Dear Jen, one thing is definite - you have a tremendous writing gift!I read each and every letter that you write because it is interesting, inspiring and I REALLY don`t want to miss a thing that you mention. The other thing is that you are already a brand and name in the blogging industry and the bloggers and readers respect you so dearly. Glad to have you back!
    What I would like the most from you would be more videos, insta stories and things alike. I would also like to hear more about upbringing your boys, teaching them manners and values, responsibility and respect. I would also like to read about a typical day of yours,your healthy habits and workout routines, more of your cleaning organization on daily basis (do you vacuum every day? etc. ).
    God bless You and Your family and may 2018 be great for all of You.
    Anastazija

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  123. Jen-I have never commented, but I have read your blog for years. I have been worried about you and was just hoping you were taking some needed downtime. Glad to hear that your son is doing okay...as you know, your mom job is much more important than any other job:) That being said, I always look forward to your posts-any kind! My favorites are ones more focused on your family and how you make your house work for your family. I don't follow instagram or facebook...I like the lengthier format and personal stories of blogs-especially the failures, mistakes, and happy accidents:) The other social media platforms just end up being time wasters for me! I will look forward to whatever you choose to post! Happy 2018 from an Ohio reader:) Kerry

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  124. I want to thank you for sharing your insecurities. I have been reading your blog for a number of years. I want to thank you for not completely going the way of clothes. Other blogs I started reading at the same time have change from decorating and DYI to clothes mainly. I miss the good old decorating, organizing, DIY blogs. My biggest struggle is with the paper organizing. How to go paperless. what to keep in a file, how to keep stuff online. I don't want one big blog post but step by step of way to organize that stuff. Can't wait to see what the future holds for you and your blog.

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  125. So happy to hear from you and know that everybody is OK. I never comment but i LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog and have been following you for a long time. I guess now you know the answer to the blog posts that people respond too... the open, honest and heart felt kind. You are amazing and have provided me with tons of inspiration so just know that, even if we don't take the time to say Thank You as much as we should, you are loved and admired by many.
    My 2 cents: if you don't feel like posting or are struggling to come up with "good" content then don't do it. I like to read blogs as my me time and now most of the blogs I used to enjoy aren't interesting anymore. I open them and after a couple of lines I can tell they are just fluff or forced sponsor posts. I completely understand that bloggers can't work for free but most of them feel fake now. Happy New Year!

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  126. Jen, I agree with so many here. I am also glad that you have not jumped on the clothing band wagon. I also must commend you on your photography. I think yours is the best! You have a real knack for that. I agree with Sandra above, post when you have something you want to post about. Thank you for what you do. I always enjoy your blog and I'm glad your son is ok.

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  127. Jen, I have to say I feel so bad. I rely on your planner so much I was getting frustrated that it wasn't out yet (or so I thought). I was refreshing your page every day just waiting for the post on it that you usually do. It was so bad that I have seriously considered giving up printing my own planner. I went through this thought process the last two Decembers. Yet, I kept going back to my little daydream of the first time I read your blog and how much I loved it and absolutely adored your planner. I've shopped around and there is really no other (planner) as well thought out as yours. Your blog posts have inspired a couple of kitchen organization changes and hopefully more to come. And yet through all of that how sad is it that I should be frustrated? I mean really, you don't owe us anything. We're just people (for the most part) that you've never met & probably never will. Your family, the people in your real life are more important even than work and certainly more important than internet based ‘sharing’. I truly applaud you and your efforts to ‘family first’ and your willingness to share with such candor. I feel guilty that I let my material ‘need’ frustrate me to such an extent especially while you had such good reasons.
    All of that to say, keep doing what you are doing. I’m here because I love the esthetic and tone of your blog. I love that you aren’t sidetracked by debates or contentious topics but a refreshing positive and healthy spot to take a break. I agree with those that have said that the bigger projects aren’t always what I want. In fact, it’s the day to day that I find more valuable. Keep it real!

    I’m not on Instagram at all and frankly because I'm prioritizing other things I prefer not to feel compelled to be. Like everything else that ebbs and flows with the tide of popularity, it clutters my consumption of blogs and websites. I’m pretty simplistic but with a colorful edge and that is how I use the internet as well. I prefer content to come from blog posts, not FB or Insta or whatever the next craze is. I am subscribed by email but also use Feedly as my back up. Without a post on the blog to explain or announce something I’m lost for a while.
    I’ll try to comment more often but I guess I thought it would be too brief to be meaningful. I think I feel the need to make a contribution even in the comments, go figure. Generally I prefer to read and move on. That’s because my time to read is so precious, my ‘me’ time. I don’t comment more in other formats & honestly wouldn’t but will try to reply to your blog posts more often. The Live formats never seem to coincide with my schedule so they don’t offer value to me.
    For content, no fluff for me, shorter posts in between as time allows is just fine for me with or without photos depending on topic. DIY I adore and is probably what inspires me the most. But, it’s the smaller projects like the cereal box organizers and sweater box covered in fabric that I am more likely to do.
    Organization is always a welcome topic…ALWAYS! The garage was a big project for me but with little budget all I added were painted peg boards and just sorted, discarded and reoriented the rest.
    Cleaning is always a great topic especially effective natural solutions. I struggle to keep windows clean anywhere the house the car…so much haze!
    In any case, stressing about your blog is the last thing you need while dealing with real life. 2017 was insane for us too. My checkups have always been normal but somehow I have been hospitalized twice this year alone!
    I say do what you need to but if you can for the neurotic like myself maybe a quickie post to say ‘hey life is preventing xyz from happening, be back when I can’? Just a few disorganized and opinionated thoughts for what little they are worth.

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  128. Hi! it's good to hear from you! I hope your son is back to full health.
    I too, have noticed that blogging has changed drastically in the last few years. Almost like all the people that made blogging a thing are being left in the dust and pushed aside celebrity bloggers, and I don't like it. I don't have a blog but many of the blogs I first read are no longer in existance and that makes me sad for those blogging "pioneers".
    I would say I'd rather read heartfelt posts, rather than just pushing out posts for the sake of having something to post.
    I wish you well as you figure out where to take the blog! Your's is one of the first blogs I read and still do.

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  129. Oops, it wouldn’t let me post a longer comment!
    You know it’s ironic really because I have always wanted to blog. But, I haven’t in large part because we prefer our ‘privacy’ (for lack of a better word), a near impossibility apparently to be considered as ‘genuine’. I have always wanted a place to share the little tips and tricks that get me through my day…things I always want to share with my friends but lack the platform to do so. Another reason I haven’t is because I worry about the very things you are trying to juggle. Real life trumps social media life every time. In a perfect world I would love to contribute articles & photos from time to time but no one has taken me up on it as yet. ;)
    It seems to me that pictures in comments would clutter up and make it a struggle to scroll through. What if you suggested a topic and we emailed you a tip or pic that you could sort through and compile for a future post? Like a best of type thing so you can still control the look and feel of what’s on your site. Maybe over time you’d find some contributors you’d trust if you wanted to go that route.
    Also, is it just me or is reworking the planner at the end of the year always a crunch? Maybe aim to release it before Christmas break or even before Thanksgiving if that helps reduce the stress of the end of year chaos. I prefer to redo my planner during that time off anyway! ;) Thanks for listening!

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  130. Ditto to "Carol M" Concise. On point!

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  131. So happy to see your post!! I was really worried about you and kept starting an email to check in but didn’t want to intrude if there was something going on! So happy you’re back and your family is ok... I have been following this blog forever!! I feel like I know your home!
    You can’t imagine how much your blog inspires me. Staying organized is really important to me but also a real struggle and your blog is what keeps me going. I’ve probably seen every blog out there and this is the only one that is realistic and (usually) doable but also PERFECT! I don’t like blogs that say just get it done. Once you’re organizing it should be done well and look pretty too- exactly how you do it.
    I love your bigger projects but it’s your “small” ideas that you probably don’t even realize are genius that I love to read.
    I never start a project without checking iheart first.
    I’m sorry I don’t comment as often as I mean to... maybe on instagram where comments can be quick and things can be liked id communicate more? But that’s not real communication... I just love the vote feature on instagram- maybe there’s a way to add that to a blog? It’s such a fun way to get real feedback- like if we like a system or should you buy that etc id love that!
    I would love to see those small quick tips and your methods for daily tasks. Also as your boys grow I’m sure different systems are changing and that’s the biggest challenge for me- the constant relooking at things/systems/closets as my kids grow, technology changes etc.
    Can’t wait to hear more from you in 2018!

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  132. Oh wow! I hope for a peaceful start to 2018. I am similar to most of the other readers. I love reading your blog but rarely comment because I read it on my phone, and the interface isn't as easy. You create such beautiful spaces! I think you should go with your gut and move at your own pace, and definitely don't redesign just to create content.

    I have no idea about the time commitment this idea would take -- but you could have readers write in with different problems. Or you could design a poll that readers could vote on to determine what organization fix they would like to read about.

    I think a lot of us in the 40 hour a week jobs get to take sick days with no concern about losing our salaries. I agree wholeheartedly with not having all your eggs in one basket!

    Whatever you decide, I'll keep reading whether you're posting once a day, once a week, or once a month.

    Here's to a healthy, happy 2018 for your entire family.

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  133. First of all: I have missed you! But am so glad your son is OK and that you listened to what your heart needed most! People don't do that enough! Also I want to apologize for not always commenting...because I know how much work you do putting your posts out...so please forgive those of us who are more quiet. I am one who comments more on the instagram posts and i'm not sure if its a time thing or what...but I'll be more intentional with that because connection is important! As far as posts from your questions: I LOVED your smaller organizing ones....the ones that were practical for my own lifestyle (cleaning caddies, drawers, bathroom stuff, closets, pantries, YOUR FRIDGE, holidays, etc) ...I always implemented them right away and found them super BEAUTIFUL and helpful with my own little munchkins. Life stuff. The ways you meal planned or prepped ...it is what got me coming back more and more. Of course your home is gorgeous and I always love those posts as well (hello dream you are soo talented...give yourself more credit girl!!) .... but the little ones were my favorite. Anyway, i look forward to following you more in 2018 and pray your boys stay healthy and strong and you find your steady heart beat again ...because you are sharing your gifts with us out here and we appreciate it...but always want you to stay true to your own heart and family needs first and foremost with ZERO guilt!

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  134. Have missed you! Your blog is awesome and worth waiting for. Glad your son is ok.

    Would LOVE to learn how to flock a tree!!!

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  135. Jen! I missed you! Thank you for your authenticity. Truely, you are a diamond in the "blog" rough. I have always appreciated the real life-ness about your blog, including this post!! Life happens, girl! It is okay to step away for a while. I'm just happy to hear your little guy is ok.

    You know what I would just love?! A Facebook Live session....someplace where we could ask you about an organizing dilemma and you could answer...like a live version of "what would Jen do?" So much fun!! You could connect on a whole new level with us. I would SO participate!!

    Keep up your fabulous-ness.
    Know you are a-mazing!
    Be brave and bold in 2018.
    You got this! It's the year of Jen!!

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  136. Hi Jen!

    Happy New Year! - Happy to see you back and that your son is on the mend.

    I don't know if I've ever commented on your blog before - I feel so
    privileged to be invited into your home regularly that I don't want to overstay my welcome by pestering you with my comments. I often feel that my opinion is irrelevant since I don't live in the space and the thought-process that went to arriving at a particular design decision cannot always be communicated in a blog post. But I'm commenting now!

    So this is what I'd like you to change. . . NOTHING! I keep coming back to this blog because you are AUTHENTIC. You don't make me feel like I am a failure because you can knock out a kitchen renovation in a month or two (while its taken me 3+ months to construct a #$%^&* wardrobe)! You don't make me feel like a failure because I don't upload my achievements (or anything really) to social media. You are human, you are real, and in a time when the world and consumerism feeds on public anxieties it is more important than ever to be yourself. I like that you keep your private life private - the Internet does not own you.

    Keep doing what you do. If you are looking for more content/regular posts perhaps consider screening Reader Submissions - edited posts that readers who embark on too infrequent a project to have their own blog but nevertheless wish to share? Personally, I'd like to see more structured organisation plans i.e. on this day do this, on that day do that, etc. Perhaps reader Q&As? I'm rambling now. . .

    I don't know that I will comment often but know that more like me are out there - whom respect you and are grateful for what you do share. So thank you, keep at it, and all the best for 2018!

    x Stace

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  137. HI Jennifer
    I’m delighted to hear your son is better and I wish you and all your family a very happy, healthy 2018! Speaking from past experience it can be heart renching to say the least when one of our children or a family member are sick it sure helps us to see the wood from the trees and is a stark reminder of what is important in life which I’m assuming has inspired your authentic, heart felt post. I have been reading your blog for many years now and just adore the finished pictures, I love your brightly decorated, organised rooms and spaces. They are so inspiring and give me such a positive feeling and help motivate me to try and replicate your ideas in my home, half the time I don’t get there but to me that’s irrelevant as the time spent reading and dreaming is some online time well spent. I must confess I don’t think I have ever left a comment which on reflection is quiet rude but to be honest I’m quite a private person and rarely ‘comment’ on any social media platforms. I think you need to believe more in yourself and I’m assuming you can see how many of us have checked in on your blog and just take that we are liking it regardless if we are not leaving comments etc. Regarding content I’m probably not your average ‘client’ as I only follow a couple of blogs and have no idea about the business side of blogging, advertising, sponsorship but as a reader I check in once a week and am always happy just to go at your pace, I never come away and think, gee you think she would have a more complete project, for me too much content on a regular basis would feel like information overload but that’s my personal opinion. Good luck with it all!!! Elizabeth - Ireland.

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  138. Love your blog!!!! Thanks for being real! Do what you do because you like it, not because you feel obligated or pressure from the online world! I like seeing what you do around your house, hearing your stories and I appreciate your willingness to literally share your home with the world. It gives the rest of us a chance to see how other people style and organize and helps us with our projects. Have a wonderful 2018!
    ---Holly from Texas

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  139. Welcome back! Thank you for sharing your reasons for stepping away for a bit (glad your son is OK!) and getting real about the pressures of online content manufacturing and feelings of insecurity and not doing enough. While I'm not a blogger, I think that lots of people can feel that social media pressure to share pictures, updates, and feel good "content" that is just unrealistic.

    I hadn't thought about your need for connection from your readers, and while I've been coming here to see what's going on in your world for a few years now, I've not taken the time to comment and "give back" as often as your posts have made an impact on my life. For that, I'm sorry, and now that I'm aware, I plan to be a part of the conversation.

    I love to see "in process" posts during a project, and would love to see how a system or project has evolved over the years! As for something I'd like help with, I have always struggled with paper management and sticking with a system for the mail, bills, and kids' school paperwork. I think for me, it's more of a time management issue, because I tend to put off dealing with it for too long, then it becomes a monster!

    Again, I'm so glad you're back, and I hope 2018 brings us all joy and peace!

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  140. You are amazing. I love your story, thank you for being brave and sharing and inspiring. Never feel indadequate with content presented, just do what's best for you and your family. That's what we're all doing. Looking at things and re-balancing every day! Family first. I'm so glad you've had such a great comment response. It's actually quite refreshing to know there are PEOPLE and friends reading with thoughts, feelings, and similarities from all over the place that can be expressed somewhere! By more than a like. So refreshing. Thanks for everything, Jen.

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  141. Love your blog and I am a long time reader! I'm glad everything is OK with your son and I did miss your blog while you were gone! As for content that I'd like to see, I do like the organization because that is what attracted me to your blog in the first place. The places in my own home that I'd like to tackle is our mudroom/laundry room, our master bedroom closet and my 9 year old daughter's closet - it has slanted ceilings so it is a huge challenge! I do like the decorating but I think all the bloggers that I follow (which many are your blogger friends) all have the exact same style and that is not my style at all which is fine because I've learned how to adapt what I like to use in my own home.

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  142. Milá Jen, velmi jsem si oblíbila váš blog. Spolu s vámi jsem přestavěla kuchyň a každý den u vás najdu inspiraci k další práci na domě. Prosím nepochybujte o své práci je úžasná a inspirativní.
    Přeji vám úspěšný rok 2018. Marcela z Evropy

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  143. Great to have you back! You were one of the first blogs I followed and have loved it ever since. I can easily relate to feelings of inferiority when looking at other blogs or rooms. I too, am a slow creator, but have come to realize that's when I am most authentic and happiest with the results. This year, I need some serious help in the mudroom organization - it becomes a huge catch-all for our family. And as one who is also trying to purge and live with less, I'd love to hear more about your plans for simplifying in the new year.

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  144. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this post. I have followed you on and off for a few years now and find myself coming back to your site first when I'm looking for organizing or decorating ideas. You are so talented:)

    This post hits home for me, I have started a blog and side business but I find myself stuttering...I start and stop. I feel so creative and then I don't. I feel excited and motivated, and then I don't. And I struggle with the digital world - as much I enjoy it I realize that sometimes it gets the best of me and my 'real' world suffers. Finding that balance is hard sometimes. Thank you for reminding me that you (and probably MOST bloggers) struggle with the same challenges and that it's okay. I am reminded to enjoy the journey.

    Best wishes for a peaceful, joyful, creative, and healthy new year:) xo

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  145. Jen,

    Welcome Back! Happy to hear that your son is now well. I am another long time reader, but guilty of not commenting, well because, I thought you would be too busy to read it.

    I have always always enjoyed your organizing posts and the different products and methods you have used to achieve a beautiful and organized space. I also appreciate when you share the spaces that didn't work for your family, the reason it didn't work and how you revised it to suit your needs. I would be interested in how you not only organize your spaces but areas of your life and how you encourage your family to participate in organization. My best organizing projects have not always been the most successful because of a lack of participation.

    While I like a good home remodel post, I don't really enjoy the One Room Challenges because they feel too "commercial and manufactured". Trying to remodel a room in that short period of time and working with sponsors just resonates as not being true to oneself (just my opinion and not a criticism). That being said, I think your rooms are beautiful and swoonworthy!

    I would love to see content on the rooms/projects that you are working on for clients. Maybe once a month you could choose a submission from a reader that includes a picture of their problem space, their goal and budget for the space and make recommendations on how to organize and achieve the goal (I am raising my hand to be first for this with my basement, however I would be mortified to have the picture posted. LOL)

    In the end, if you post content that interests you and makes you happy, it will resonate with your readers. We can feel your enthusiasm in the post. Be true to yourself. I choose to read blogs that feel real, have relevant content and are useful to me now. I have unsubscribed from others that have lost that feeling for me.

    Cheers to a fulfilling 2018!

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  146. Hi Jen! I have been following your blog since I was in college back in 2011. I read your posts religiously at my boring campus job and you have inspired me in so many ways! You helped spark a huge love for organizing in me, that I didn't even know I had! I have now shifted towards a more minimal lifestyle, with everything of course organized! I've never been a big blog commenter, I'm not sure why but I do message with Instagram a lot more. I know adding another media platform like posting to stories is way more work for you but it also feels a lot more personal for me and can be a lot of fun! Like I know in the minute what your thought process is and I am much more willing to respond and ask questions. For example if youre in Target and you see something you love, I love to know about those things! Just an idea. �� Young House Love I noticed has really ramped up their IG stories and I've enjoyed it!

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  147. Thank you for your honest post!! I love your decorating style so any photo/tip from you is so welcome. I would love tips on moving, organizing and decorating temporary spaces like rentals. As far as blogging vs. social media, it’s true. I rarely check blogs but do check Instagram daily. Maybe just a quick post sharing that you have a new blog post up would help remind others to check it out. Thanks again for what you do!!

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  148. Hi Jen! So happy to see you back and that things are settling down for you. I love seeing any blog post you put up, and am perfectly happy to wait longer times in between posts if that's what's best for you and your family. I particularly love your eye for organization and have incorporated many of your tips into my arsenal of ideas. I am a professional organizer by trade and your spaces are always so functional, real, and pretty! This whole online media thing seems to be making it all up as time passes, and I think its perfectly wonderful to do what works best for you, on your timeline, and what you want to work on. I think you've done some challenging reader spaces and that may be a good filler when you are not eager to work on your own space. I so appreciate all the time, energy and love that you put into each post and the real genuine-ness that you exhibit. Blessings to you and know that your fans will stick with you whatever you decide!

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  149. Jen, i stumbled onto your iHeart Organizing site by happenstance. I'm a ADD procrastinator who loves all the "stuff" that goes with organizing, but struggles with implementation and clutter. Could not be more thrilled to start this year putting my home together using your "a little bit at a time" theory. Also the analogy of weight loss is perfection.
    I do have a question about Declutter/Organize. When does Decluttering an are for the first month, bleed into Organizing that same area later in the year? Does labeling and using storage bins wait wait until later in the year? Thanks for all you do.

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  150. It's nice to see you back Jen! I hear you on so much of this. Even after blogging just to document my own stories and not for money, I've grown overwhelmed and hardly do it. I have a few thoughts on things that could make connecting a little easier and I'm sorry if one of them in particular sounds harsh. But the number on on my list is word count. I appreciate almost everything you had to say here and I say almost only because I stopped reading at "Challenges". Maybe narrowing in on shorter posts will create a bigger feeling of engagement with your audience. My second note, is there a way to move this comment box up ABOVE the comments? I had to do a whole lot of scrolling to get here and it would be easier if this box was up higher and set up more like name, email, url like some other platforms. That's all I got! I've always enjoyed reading your posts (or skimming, sorry!!), and glad to hear your family is well!

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IHeart you taking a moment to comment! Although I absolutely appreciate, consider and read each and every comment, I will remove any comment that I believe to be inappropriate, malicious or spam like. This blog is my happy place, let's keep the drama at bay!

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Thanks again my lovely friends! XO!