Best of 2016 & Plans for 2017

I realize I'm a little behind on reflecting on the past year. I've been full speed ahead with my plans for my blog and business in 2017, but I thought it would be remiss of me not to take a moment to highlight some of my favorite posts and projects from the last year. I tried narrowing it down to just 5 and even 10, but that was too hard. So I'm sharing my top 11 favorite posts, divided by the categories of Home Design, DIY & Personal/Family. 

Home Design

5 Thrift Store Shopping Tips for Furniture & Home Decor : My main hobby in life is thrifting for awesome vintage and second hand pieces for our home. This year, I started using more vintage in client projects and even tried my hand as a flea market vendor! In this post, I share my best tips for finding steals and deals.

New Master Bedroom Design | ORC Week Two : Our master bedroom has been a work in progress for nearly full calendar year now. On a whim, I decided to join in the One Room Challenge which I unfortunately did not finish and then a few weeks later, we made the decision to fast-track my transition to working for myself full-time. Life happened in the middle of all of that and the project is still not done. I am still really excited about the design I created, and I'm looking forward to finishing up this room in the next month or two! 

How to Design a Room Plan Around Colorful Abstract Art : I partnered with Jennifer Atkinson Fine Art on this post, designing 3 sample rooms around her beautiful paintings and sharing my tips for creating your own room design around artwork that you love. I had so much fun getting to know Jenn and creating this post! I hope to write more how-to decorating posts like this in the future. 

Sterling Project | Home Office & Foyer : It was hard to pick a favorite out of the Sterling Project reveals, but to me, the beautiful natural light in the office makes that makeover shine! I've been working on a lot of client projects lately, and I'm excited to expand my portfolio with more "after" photos in 2017!

DIY

DIY Leather Tassel Keychain Tutorial :  I used discontinued leather samples to make these cute tassel keychains as a "Galentine's Day" gift for my friends. Almost a year later, mine is still holding up perfectly! I love how it adds some style to my everyday bag. And yes, this post just made me realize I've been carrying the same bag everyday for a year. That has to be some kind of record!

DIY Ranunculus & Fern Spring Wreaths : I remember the day I bought the supplies to make these wreaths. It was one of those warm, rainy days of early spring when the sun was shining through the clouds and the birds were chirping. I can't wait to get them back out in a few months when spring is here again!

Easy DIY Hand Lettered Gift Wrap : I barely wanted to call this a tutorial because it was such a simple idea! Buy plain brown craft paper, wrap your gift and then decorate it with pretty handwritten words or patterns. This became my go-to gift wrapping technique last year. I did variations for birthdays, bridal showers and weddings!

Personal/Family

Quartercentury : In 2015, I started a tradition of "interviewing" myself on my birthday, here on the blog. Just a few questions about life, business and the changes that happen from year to year! It's so fun to go back and read later. I'm looking forward to turning twenty-six this year!

So I Quit My Day Job : This past year was huge for me and my business. In April, I made the decision to leave my full-time job in order to focus on pursuing my small interior design business full time. It was the best decision I ever made, but for some reason, I was a little scared to share it with all of you. I wrote this post in August and since then, my business has grown by leaps and bounds! I'm still at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, but I'm excited for the big progress I've made this past year and thankful for all of your support and encouragement!

Coffee Date No. 1 : Sometimes I have a few things I'd like to share that aren't necessarily enough to write a whole post about. So I started a new series called "Coffee Date" where I talk about things happening in my life, big and small, the type of stuff we'd discuss over a cup of coffee if we got to hang out in person. This is something I'd like to do more in 2017! 

Three Years : Anthony and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary in October and I shared photos from our annual session with Savannah Smith Photography. I love these photos so much, and they are even more meaningful thinking about everything we've gone through in our third year of marriage. You go through stages in life, sometimes things flow easily and sometimes it's an uphill climb. This past year was definitely an uphill climb year, but we emerged on the other side even closer and stronger than ever. 

Thoughts on 2017

This past year, I've been really focused on building my business from the ground up, experimenting with new ideas, surrounding myself with a strong group of positive, creative entrepreneurs and pushing through any challenges that came my way with patience and grace. Blogging definitely took a back seat, although looking back I did manage to post at least once or twice each month. In 2017, I want to work smarter and not harder so that I can continue to share my work and life through this blog while also prioritizing the growth of my interior design business. That means accepting what I am not -- a professional home blogger that hustles for big brand sponsorships, decorates for holidays/seasons months in advance, completes full room makeovers in the span of a month, has affiliate links for anything and everything and posts 5 days a week. And embracing what I am -- an interior designer with a blog that supports her business and serves as a creative outlet, an imperfect sometimes unorganized homemaker that shares life in real time, a young homeowner on a budget trying to DIY her way through home improvement projects while her husband is at work and sometimes gets stuck/way in over her head, and a 25 year old trying to be intentional about building a life, home, business and family that prioritizes purpose, happiness and wellbeing. So really, nothing big about the blog is changing, it's more that my mindset around it that is. Here's some of what you can expect from the blog in 2017:

  • More interior design client projects, A LOT MORE! Plus, I've prioritized improving my photography by investing in a quality camera and outsourcing my photo editing to make my blog and portfolio photos shine! 
  • Authentic collaborations with small business owners, creatives & makers that I've connected with here in York and online through blogging and social media. 
  • Finishing the home projects I've started before moving onto something else. That includes finishing the Master Bedroom and Hallway and finally hanging curtains in the living room. From there, we will take on new home improvement projects as time and budget allow, but I'm not going to beat myself up over not sticking to a strict (read: unrealistic) timeline. 
  • A real home tour. It's been almost 2 years since the "before" tour. I think it's time I update you all on the progress we've made! There will always be a million projects on our to-do list, but I'm loving the way our home has come together. It feels cozy, lived-in and like us. 
  • More budget decorating tips & tricks that you can implement in your own home! I'll share more of what works for me, how-to's and my favorite resources. Whether you hire me for your next project or not, I want to be a helpful resource for decorating your home!
  • AN ONLINE VINTAGE SHOP! You may know that I started collecting and selling vintage home goods this summer. While I really enjoyed being a vendor at flea markets this year, I'm looking for a better way to provide unique, stylish home decor year round and to shoppers nationwide. You'll be able to browse my latest finds and snag some for your own home, and my clients will have an even easier way to purchase one-of-a-kind items to complete their room transformations. My shop page is already live (and has my newest wifi art print is available for purchase!) but I plan to start uploading my inventory this month. I'll do some type of fun launch once I've got things running smoothly, so stay tuned for that!

What was your favorite post from SSDC in 2016? What do you think of my plans for 2017?

Three Years

All photos in this post were taken by Savannah Smith Photography. If you're local to York-Lancaster-Philadelphia and looking for a family photographer, be sure to read to the end of this post for an exclusive discount on a photography session with Savannah!

Three Years | Fall Couple Anniversary Photos by Savannah Smith Photography

Today marks three years since I became Mrs. Storck. It's a little hard to believe, because honestly, it feels like longer than that! So, so much has changed in our lives since our wedding in 2013. We changed jobs, Anthony once and me three times. We bought our first house. We went on our first "big" trip together, saving up so we could fly to California to see our friend,  Ella graduate film school. We adopted our sweet baby, Chloe. Anthony went back to school. I left the security of a "day job" to pursue my dreams of running my own business. We have overcome and we continue to face challenges big and small. Man, we've lived a lot of life in these past 3 years. 

Three Years | Fall Couple Anniversary Photos by Savannah Smith Photography
Three Years | Fall Couple Anniversary Photos by Savannah Smith Photography
SSP_StorckAnniversary3 (54 of 108).jpg

There are many times in the past 3 years where we've felt like it's "us against the world", and you know, in certain areas we are feeling that way right now. There will always be struggles and difficulty in life, whether it's family, finances, work, friendships, or anything else. I feel so lucky to have a partner in life that builds me up and gives me strength to face whatever comes our way and I try my best to do the same for him.  Whenever something unexpected happens, or an obstacle crops up in our path, I always say, "Don't worry, Anthony. This is a character building experience"! Part of being a young adult is learning things the hard way. It reminds me of a verse from my favorite hymn growing up in the Methodist church, How Firm A Foundation.

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,

My grace, all sufficient, will be thy supply.

The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design

Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine. 

Three Years | Fall Couple Anniversary Photos by Savannah Smith Photography
Three Years | Fall Couple Anniversary Photos by Savannah Smith Photography
Three Years | Fall Couple Anniversary Photos by Savannah Smith Photography
Three Years | Fall Couple Anniversary Photos by Savannah Smith Photography
Three Years | Fall Couple Anniversary Photos by Savannah Smith Photography
Three Years | Fall Couple Anniversary Photos by Savannah Smith Photography

For our photos this year, we met Savannah at Indian Steps Museum, a beautiful historic property on the banks of the Susquehanna River. Anthony was originally a history major and has a big interest in Native American history. Indian Steps was my first ever field trip back in my Preschool days. We've been to the museum together a few times now and we love it. Plus, the grounds are absolutely beautiful!

Three Years | Fall Couple Anniversary Photos by Savannah Smith Photography
Three Years | Fall Couple Anniversary Photos by Savannah Smith Photography

Bouquet by Rosemary & Rust in Shrewsbury, PA

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that Savannah is our go-to family photographer. We've prioritized having professional photography done every year since we got married, and not just because we want a pretty photo to send out at Christmas time. Anthony and I both love looking through old family photo albums because we are nostalgia-lovers at heart. I love the idea that we are capturing images with Savannah that we will be able to share with our children and grandchildren someday. 

Learn more about Savannah's portraiture collections here

If you're interested in booking a session with SSP, we have a special offer for you: Book a Petite or Complete Session with Savannah by the end of October and you will receive $30 off the package price. To claim your discount, just email SavannahSmithPhotography@gmail.com with the subject line "Stevie".

The details: This offer is valid on both Petite and Complete session collections. Session must be scheduled (retainer paid and contract signed) before 10/31/16 to receive the offer. Sessions must take place before 03/31/17. Offer is not valid on wedding or event coverage. Sessions are for children of all ages, families of all sizes, couples of all ages and more. There is no restriction on session location to receive the offer but all normal travel fees still apply.