When I started this blog in mid 2014, I had no idea what wonderful and exciting opportunities I’d be experiencing the following year. I’ll admit that my travel adventures and blog writing were the highlights of a year that proved to be challenging. In August 2015 I found out that I was going to be laid off from my job of 18 years. If that wasn’t shocker enough, I also found out that I was expecting a baby. The thought of 4 kids and no full-time employment was enough to send me in to a tailspin. I was forced to take an even harder look at our budget and cut even more corners, if that was even possible. Turns out, it was possible, with a little extra penny-pinching and sacrifice. It’s never easy but it’s been…interesting, to say the least!
Here is a look back at 2015 (and here’s 2014 – A Look Back at the Year that Was, if you’d like to read back and see what the blog was up to earlier).
My family and I were able to make a spur-of-the-moment one-day Disneyland visit in January 2015. My little one was tall enough to ride some new favorites, including Radiator Springs Racers and Space Mountain, making it a memorable visit. We captured this great family photo with Minnie, too.
In mid-February I hosted a #DisneySide @HomeCelebration multi-generational party. It was a wonderful “just because” event and I was able to gather up some fantastic giveaways from fellow Etsy vendors. These vendors were generous enough to offer prizes to my party guests as well as giveaways to my readers on the blog as well.
I decided in early spring to become a Jamberry Independent Consultant and have thoroughly enjoyed the connections and friendships I’ve created through offering these wonderful products. And my nails have never looked so good! I also love being able to offer Jamberry giveaways here on my blog.
I also started posting occasionally with Magical DIStractions, yet another great way for me to connect with Disney fans from around the world! See my Magical DIStractions posts, like Radiator Springs Racers – Why a Trip to Cars Land is a Must! and 6 Holiday Things to Do at the Disneyland Resort without a Park Ticket.
April came in with some incredible new opportunities. I applied to be a writer on the website TravelingMom. Originally I started off as SoCal TravelingMom but have now taken on the title of Day Trips TravelingMom, which is more appropriately fit to my usual travel itinerary. I’ve been able to share my Disney love on TravelingMom as well as other “day trip” worthy locations. Check out 11 Tips for Navigating Holiday Crowds at Disneyland, How to See Everything at the San Diego Zoo in a Single Day and Wonderment Abounds at Medieval Times in Buena Park, CA.
I also received a big surprise that month when the TravelingMoms asked if I’d like to join in their annual retreat at…Walt Disney World! Within three weeks, I was off to Orlando (with my brother, mom and 3-yr old son) for the very first time. BIG bucket list item checked off for us!! It was a truly magical experience that I’m looking forward to doing again soon! I wrote about my first visit on the post 11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences at Walt Disney World and Walt Disney World Magical Express Bus – What I Loved (and my $80 Mistake).
In between I wrote lots of posts! Some had helpful Disney tips like Disneyland Hotel Swimming Pools, 9 Things Disneyland Fans Need to Know Before Visiting Walt Disney World, How to Eat at Disneyland without Advanced Dining Reservations, Disneyland for Free?! and How to Eat Healthfully At Disneyland (and Still Treat Yourself). I also started a popular new “Guide” feature that’s appropriate for each Disney fan, from Princesses to Adventurers.
I also had plenty of budgeting posts like Create Budget-Friendly “Summer Camps” for Your Kids….At Home! and 8 things to Consider When Making MORE Cuts to Your Budget (a topic we were very familiar with this year!)
And some handy “our life” posts like Why Our Kids Do Housework-Tips for Getting Kids to Pitch In and Make Extra Money (in Little Ways that Really Add Up!)
In June, I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road Conference in Portland, Oregon! It was my first time to the Pacific-Northwest and my husband and I made it an early 5th wedding anniversary gift and took the trip together. We visited Seattle, friends in Gig Harbor and toured Portland by foot. It was a great conference and I made so many wonderful connections. Here’s to hoping Disney On-the-Road is even closer to me in 2016!
In mid-June I celebrated my first blog anniversary. What a year it was, I’ve covered quite a bit in one year!
In September, I connected with Collective Bias and started writing posts for them that include free printables, recipes and occasional giveaways. It’s been a great opportinuty for this new stay-at-home-mom and I hope you’re enjoying these posts that introduce you to new products.
I’ve continued to write for the Blogorail in 2015, including these popular posts about 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day, 6 DisneyBounding “Rules” and Crowded Disneyland Day – Top Tips on What to Do. I really appreciate the comraderie of these fellow Disney-lovers.
In early September I applied for the Disney Parks Moms Panel again. I was a finalist in 2014 and received a “FastPass” to Round 2 this year, but it was not meant to be. The panel seemed to be moving in a different direction and none of the Disneyland FastPassers were pushed past round 2. There’s always next year!
I had the amazing treat of being invited to the HP Print & Pamper Retreat in early October. One of the best parts is that it took place just 30 minutes from my home so it was truly a weekend getaway for me! I was able to relax, learn and connect with other like-minded bloggers, which made it a totally unique experience for me. We toured the HP facilities, had a fun crafting evening and topped off the weekend with a trip to my favorite place, Disneyland! I was able to see the Paint the Night parade for the first time, which was perfect. It also allowed me to see the Disneyland 60th celebration decor in person, something I didn’t think I’d get a chance to see!
As I move into 2016, I’m excited for the direction that this blog is moving and am thankful to all of my readers, especially when you take the time to comment and share with me about each post. That’s helps me to know that there are people out there who appreciate and enjoy my writing and hopefully in some small way I’ve been able to help you out this year. Whether it be sharing my Disney tips, offering budgeting help when finances are tight or introducing you to a new product, I hope you are enjoying what I share. Please continue to comment and share my posts via social media if you can, it helps me (as a small business owner) to grow and succeed.
Blessings to you all in the new year! Cheers for what’s to come in 2016.