A look back at 2018

End of Year Reflection Questions


2018 was a big year, both professionally and personally. There is so much to say about it that I could never sum it up in one post. I wanted to share a few highlights here, though, and also encourage you to reflect on the year, perhaps writing down some of the major things so you can remember.

The greatest change this year was the addition of Emily to my family. If you remember we did not know if she was a girl or a boy so we didn’t find out until the moment she was born. It was the greatest surprise in the world and I’m so glad we waited to find out until she was born.

I have had scheduled c-sections with all 3 of my kids so there isn’t any surprise there, so waiting to find out if it’s a boy or girl adds so much to the event of having a baby!

You can read more about her birth here.

David (now 5) and Luke (nearly 4) have been so much fun this year. There are certainly challenges that come with these little years but I’m so enjoying watching them grow up. They are both in preschool and doing really well. They play together all the time but I’m beginning to see more of their individual personalities as they grow and it’s fun to see how different they are. I’m curious about how their relationship with change and develop as they age.

David learned how to ride a bike, and Luke is currently learning how to as well. They probably rode over 25 miles on their scooters this year, those were certainly well-loved toys for them. We traveled back and forth to visit my parents a few times, visited my sister and her husband in Virigina, and flew to Wisconsin in the summer for my brother’s wedding. We saw Justin’s parents throughout the year and enjoyed having my sister-in-law, her husband, and my nephew down to swim at the end of summer!

They say the days are long but the years are short and that has never been more true. We packed so much into this year and while it was perhaps the most exhausting year of my life, it was the happiest most joyful year as well.

Professionally, I hit a few goals I had set for myself which is deeply rewarding. I’ve worked with brands that I love and am so proud to have partnerships with. I’ve spent more time thinking through the future of my business and what other verticals make sense for what I do. It’s been truly a gratifying year but has certainly come with some challenges as well.

The year started out with unexpected personnel changes but that led to a wonderful development of Justin coming into my business on a deeper level. He is still running his business but simply took on some of the tasks that I’m not very good at to take some work of my plate and “own” that side of the business. It’s been great to have him more involved. You can read a bit more about how working with him has been in this post.

I had to learn a lot about what I can outsource, and what I want to still do myself. I learned a lot about the balance of partnerships and taking on too much at one time. I learned that despite thinking I had set myself up for a decent maternity leave, I didn’t take as long of a break as I should have. I could write a novel about the pressures, obligations, and perhaps self-imposed requirements of owning a business –specifically a business that is centrally focused around oneself! Don’t get me wrong, it’s the dream job. The DREAM, I tell you. But it does come with some challenges, and I’m always trying to sort through those.

Motherhood and work are always at odds, it seems. I sometimes feel that I have a split personality! There is work-Kate and mom-Kate. She trades off stressors daily! mom-Kate is nicer to everyone (Justin will tell you that is true!), and work-Kate has spent most of the second half of the year (NOT ironically coinciding with the birth of my third child) feeling like I wasn’t giving my work my best. A lot of times I felt like I was running on fumes.

I hired two new team members in August which were wonderful additions. Taylor does the vast majority of the graphics for the site and for Instagram Stories, and I brought Allison in as my Creative Associate. She’s become my right-hand woman for big projects and small mundane details from the day.

I worked with Joe Shelley of Shelley Video, and Carly of Carly Rae Film for different video projects. I continued to work with Jordan Maunder and also worked with Rachel Hennessy at the end of the year as well.

There is no shortage of creative talent around me and I’m aware of what a gift that is. If I had 100 more hours in the week, 99 of those hours would be spent on work and I’d use 1 to take a cooking class 😉 !

This past year, like I said, was incredibly full but it was a great year that I’ll look back on fondly.

I can’t wrap this post without saying thanks to you! It would be extremely lonely and unfulfilling if I didn’t have the pleasure of interacting with you as a reader through the site and social media. It’s been challenging to be as present as I want to be in comments and direct messages on Instagram, so I just want to say a quick thanks for commenting, messaging, and contributing with your thoughts and feedback. I’m grateful to have such wonderful readers and I hope you know that I’m always thinking about content that would be helpful, interesting, entertaining, or thought-provoking to read. There are so many blogs, so many instagram accounts, and so many other things demanding our attention each day. I’m so glad you take the time to read and follow along, it means the world to me.


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Rebecca says · 12.31.18

I love that photo of you having your makeup done at the hospital! What a cute gown. Delightful write up, too. Thanks for a great year!

Kate says · 12.31.18

Hi Rebecca! That wasn’t at the hospital, that was in a studio with makeup artist Andreea Ali. Thanks! 🙂

Laurene says · 12.31.18

I love Andreea!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says · 12.31.18

Your year has been so full and love! Loved the recap – may 2019 bring you and your family more joy! 🙂

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

Heather says · 12.31.18

I’ve been a follower since like the beginning beginning and I continue to appreciate and look forward to your posts! Aside from content, I appreciate how much thought you put into your brand relationships and sponsored content. I’ve given up on blogs that I’ve enjoyed when it starts to take more clicks to close pop up ads than it does to scroll the post. Thanks for not prioritizing ad revenue over reader experience!

Sindy Pena says · 12.31.18

I love that Kate’s blog isn’t covered with ads and pop ups constantly asking me for my email!

Charlotte says · 12.31.18

I so enjoy your blog and seeing those beautiful babies grow 🙂 Happy New Year! Wishing you a wonderful 2019!

Michelle Weidner says · 12.31.18

Just a quick note to you regarding your above article. Congratulations on your successful year, I am happy for you and your family! Like you I had three C-sections and always kept the sex unknown as well, due to some surprisee factor. I have just a few comments, and please note, this is just a word/thought for you to consider in the future. First, please know that while you work, you are your own boss; so if your kids are sick, or have an event that you need/want to attend, you can as you are self employed and without any ramifications from your boss or manager. I am not trying to say you have it easier, but many, many other woman don’t have that, and it can be very challenging. Each of our lives contain different aspect that the others are not aware. Please just keep that in mind. Also I understand that your business is a business; and you need to make money. But in the future you may want to consider what and who you represent regarding products. In the past, I have relied upon your opinions regarding hair care products, and I would go out and purchase., such as the Aquage Uplifting foam (Thank you very much). You still Utilize the product and it is a great product. Within the last year, I have noticed you talking about a products and while I understand that not all products work for everyone, I would NEVER see you talk about that product again or never see you utilize the product again. It is just a bit disconcerting to me. I see something come up on your channel and if it is a sponsored video; I don’t watch as I don’t know whether you truly love it or are just hawking another product.
I am sorry if you find my response harsh, I just wanted to make you aware.

Mary says · 01.02.19

I’ve been following you since before you had little ones. I love your insta storys! Watch for them every day. Your a great Mom and have lovely children. Stay strong!

Devin says · 01.02.19

I couldnt agree with Michelle more. I’ve been a follower for a long time and have valued your recommendations for beauty and hair products. Over the last year or so, I feel like you’re really missing the mark for “on brand” product recommendations. I understand that you need to make money but recommending random products that you talk about once and then never recommend again makes you seem less credible. I missed your insta request for content, but I feel like you’re missing out a lot of opportunity for content and for your readers to connect with you by not sharing more about the changes in your body you’ve experienced after three back to back pregnancies. Being more real about clothing sizing and selection of flattering clothes, exploring healthy recipes or healthy diet substitutes, explaining more about how you fit more fitness into your busy mom routine. All those things I would definitely be interested in that type of content.

Tamara says · 01.02.19

I hope instead of taking these comments as a negative I hope you truly listen. These two ladies are 100% on target.

Shelley says · 01.02.19

I’d have to agree with this as well. I’ve even commented on it before, and it’s enough to make me want to stop reading, but I keep coming back hoping that there’s been a change. This is the first blog I started following years ago and I LOVED it, but it’s not the same anymore with all the sponsored posts. The sponsored posts don’t sound authentic (almost like Kate doesn’t write them herself), and the non-sponsored posts are so much shorter. These “bloggers” are now called influencers for a reason…they’re trying to influence us to buy products. It’s not just this blog either; it’s the majority of blogs that I’ve been following for years, all turning into just a bunch of ads. I get that they have to make money, but it’s a turn off for those of us who started following for genuine reasons in the past. It’s so disappointing.

Annie says · 01.02.19

These ladies are spot-on! Kate, we hope you are listening! While this may have been a banner year for Kate’s finances, the blog and Instagram have taken major turns for the worse. I would love to see clothing that fits rather than squeezed into…flattering rather than trying to be what you aren’t. I’d love to see healthy food choices, and I think since we’ve seen every hair/makeup tutorial on Kate, it would be fun to maybe see some makeovers of friends and family! All said here is in your best interest!!!

Angie says · 01.02.19

Hello, Kate!
I’m new to reading you blog, but I’m hooked! Thank you for always having interesting and uplifting informative for your followers.

I have wanted to start a blog for the past 10 years but just never took the leap! I finally did this week a lot due to reading yours!
If you have ANY suggestions on how to build my blog and incorporate ways to eventually make a living doing it, please send them my way. My blog site is emptynestandbeyond.home.wordpress.com
I have enjoyed starting my blog and have only made 2 entries, but I loved writing! It was relaxing and uplifting for me.

Sorry to ramble, I’m just thankful I took the leap!

Angie H

Melissa says · 01.02.19

100% agree.
I really don’t like that I can’t take your clothing recommendations and skincare as honest because you are continuously dishonest about sizes, opinions on skincare vs. #ads. You claim to use one line all month, but then in between we see you using 7 other skin care products.
Your blog used to be fun + informative, now it is just the same hair style tips, and ad after ad after ad.
With a few tweaks your blog could be as good as it once was!

Casey says · 01.02.19

Kate- as someone who has followed you for many years and have personally met you, I want you to know that what I’m about to say is not meant to offend you…

Your blog needs new, fresh content. For the past several months it seems like it mostly consists of sponsored posts (most don’t relate to beauty or lifestyle– may be items you won’t consistently use). I understand sponsorships help you to run your business and support your family… totally understand, but it may help to be creative when writing sponsored posts. Help readers understand how the product is personally useful in your life, how it relates to beauty, hair, or lifestyle products, and most importantly how your reader can benefit from using it. Also, the content seems very repetitive, you have hardily any hair tutorials anymore, and it’s mostly a family blog ( again, I understand your family is your life). This is not meant to offend you. Just observations. Best wishes to you in the year ahead!

Kelty says · 01.02.19

Hi! Just a quick note to say that I enjoy your blog, both the beauty and family stuff. We had our 4th baby a little bit before you had Emily. It’s been encouraging as you have shared certain baby challenges to say, “oh yeah, us too!”

Babies are such a joy and a tremendous blessing! But they are quite the challenge too. Thanks for being real and good-humored about both of those realities. 🙂

Cheers from a fellow Raleigh-ite.

Jules says · 01.04.19

Kate- thank you for sharing your life and your beautiful family with us. I enjoy your recommendations and I am slightly addicted to your Insta stories. Keep doing YOU!

Kate says · 01.05.19


Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats says · 01.04.19

I have loved keeping up with you both on the blog and Instagram this year, Kate! Yours is one of a small handful of blogs that I visit multiple times a week. Keep up the great work! 😀

Emily says · 01.07.19

I don’t often look at comments, so I was a bit shocked to see how negative (some) of the comments have been lately, although I do see where some readers are coming from. I admit that I don’t love all the sponsored posts, but I do find it pretty easy to ignore the posts I’m less interested in and just focus on the others.

HOWEVER, I do want to thank you for your tips and tutorials. This blog, more than any other, has made me feel much more confident in applying makeup and styling my hair. I’m a very low-maintenance kind of lady, and for the first time in my life, I actually get compliments on my hair — that’s 100% thanks to you.

In 2019 I would LOVE to see more makeup/hair tutorials on different models if that’s possible for you to do. It would be GREAT to see different types of hair, different complexions, etc, to see how the same techniques work on different women.

Makenzi says · 01.09.19

Hi Kate!
Just wanted to say that I’ve been following you since the very beginning and I love all of your content! Your Insta stories are my favorite to watch each day and I love how genuine you are. It bums me out to see negative comments because I’ve always felt like you have the best interest of your followers at heart (especially compared to many other influencers I follow).
It seems to me that if folks aren’t happy with your content, they might consider moving along to other blogs that better suit their current desires..perhaps that makes too much sense?
Thanks for what you share & please keep it coming! Happy New Year!

Claire says · 02.21.19

I agree with you Makenzie! I’ve followed this blog from its beginnings and I just love it. Kate, you are a beautiful person inside and out and I have a lot of respect for the way you present yourself and your family on here, it can’t be easy. Keep up the wonderful job!

Carrie says · 04.12.19

Does Allison have an IG still where she answers questions?

Kate says · 04.13.19

She is no longer with the company.