My Blog Story: Part 9

It’s that time again!  I’m about to hit another milestone on my blog, with my 9th blogoversary coming up the first of February. It has been such an amazing journey and I think I say that every single year.  I had absolutely NO idea that I would be blogging this long and that it would become my career and producer of income. God has truly blessed me beyond my wildest dreams with this gift, at my age in life and I am so so grateful, 9 years later to still be here.

I’m not sure what else I can add to last year’s 8 year blogging post, but I will try to do another recap of the year from my own blog perspective.  If you’ve missed my previous 8 part series of my blog story, it’s a pretty good read and you might want to start with Part 1.

Blogging has continued to change and evolve and I think that will always be the case.  One thing you can count on in blogging is change.  Change will happen every single year.  Some good and some bad.  I try to focus on the good changes and not so much on the bad.

There is still a lot of pressure to keep up out there.  I know everyone feels it to some degree and being a full-time blogger definitely has a layer of stress that can be real and tangible.  I try to not live with stress and my goal is to sort of hide myself away from the hustle and fast-pace of blogging and just do my own thing.  So far, that has worked for me.  If I try to keep up with what everyone else is doing out there in blogland, it just makes me feel like I’m not doing enough, changing enough, coming up with new ideas enough, or overall just not “being” enough.  And that’s not a great place to live. It definitely didn’t used to be that way in the “good ole’ days” of blogging.  Those days are long gone and I can’t complain, because it has changed my life.  But, with the good changes come some of the bad.

If I listened to all the experts, I would be writing e-books one after the other, or writing a real book, or coming up with real and tangible products to sell on my blog.  I’ve done none of those for the most part and at times, I feel like I’m missing out by not jumping on some of these bandwagons.  But, I just haven’t felt the need to branch out and do some of these extras, on top of keeping my blog going too.  I feel very blessed to be in a good position with blogging for so long, that I really don’t feel the need to hustle more and more.  Things are really great for now and why change a good thing, I say?  I may change my mind down the road, but for now, blogging is still my main area of focus and what still gets me up in the morning with a passion and enthusiasm to share.

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Social Media is Still a Hamster Wheel of Performance….and Instagram is the new Darling

Social media continues to be my nemesis.  I really don’t want to spend my life on social media and have to constantly keep up with the latest and greatest.  This past year, I saw a huge surge in Instagram (I’m SouthernRhoda over there) and that is now the darling Social Media tool that so many are using.  I’ve seen Instagram users soar with popularity from posting only beautiful pictures of their homes and keeping their feeds “pretty” all the time so that they will attract more followers.  There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but I’ve always been a bit of a rebel on following the crowds in blogging.

I don’t think I’ll ever have a huge Instagram following and that’s OK with me.  I do not want to constantly be on my phone to keep up over there or all over social media.  I enjoy the interaction of Instagram, but do not want it to take over my life and I can see some of that going on out there now. Besides, I want to share family and real time adventures on Instagram and don’t want to worry that my pictures and feed aren’t “pretty” enough. That’s the rebel in me.  If people do not want to see what I’m up to on a regular daily basis, then they will not be following me on Instagram.  I am not a curator of only pretty pictures.  I feel that daily life is special enough and do not strive to appear to be perfect or have a picture perfect life.  Life is messy and not always pretty at times. I prefer to see the pretty and the mundane as well.  Instagram doesn’t portray life in a real way much of the time and it can feel somewhat fake to me.

I’m still on Pinterest, but it too has not been a huge focus for me. Everyone got into pinning apps and have pinned themselves like crazy in the last few years.  I finally sort of threw in the towel on that one too. I still pin my content to Pinterest most of the time, but do not get on the treadmill of constant pinning and trying to figure out what is going to go viral.  I’m also over the heavily texted Pinterest collages that have been so in use the last few years.  It’s just not something that I focus on, probably to my detriment, but that is just the way it is.  I don’t want to be a slave to any social media, so that is not where I choose to focus my time.  One thing I’ve learned in blogging, you can run yourself crazy trying to figure out which “mole” to whack next….remember that game?  It’s a never ending feeling of chasing one’s tail and not how I want to live.

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I’m extremely happy with where I’ve landed in blogging.  I couldn’t ask for more and I’m still so very grateful that this is my business.  I still rely on this blog for my income and every year, I wonder how long it can be sustained and if it can keep going.  I wonder what changes will come about that might make blogging not work for me anymore.  So far, so good, so I will continue to blog and do business the way I have been, since it has been working for me for the last 5 years (making a full-time income from blogging).  It’s been 5 years since I lived in Birmingham and then moved back home to Atlanta.  And what a wonderful 5 years it has been!  It really has flown by, with getting my house, doing all the renovations and now I’ve been in my house for over 3 years.

I’ve written about how I make my income in some of the previous My Blog Story posts, so you can go back and read those in detail if you’re interested, but the main 5 ways I earn income is still:

  • Advertising Networks
  • Sponsored Posts and working with brands
  • Writing for outside sources
  • Affiliate Sales
  • Selling Products (beadboard wallpaper is the only thing I sell)

 

I’m very fortunate that brands and sponsors reach out to me.  I know that being a veteran blogger has its perks and that is one of them. I don’t have to be out running after sponsors to work with me. They just seem to find me and email me for opportunities and I never know what’s coming next. That is sort of thrilling actually, to not know what each year will hold, but to wait in anticipation of which door will open next.  I’m so grateful for the opportunities I do get and the brands that I have the pleasure of working with.  95% of the opportunities that come my way have come without me reaching out at all and that puts me in a really great position in blogging.blogging-428955_640

I’m at a point in blogging now, that I can pick and choose those brands that I want to work with and share on my blog and I’m so grateful for that.  I don’t have to chase every dollar that comes along and I can turn down the ones that are not a good fit for me (and for YOU, my dear readers!).  I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being gracious and understanding that side of blogging.  Blogging has evolved into a business for so many of us and working with sponsors is a huge part of that.  I still only take on things that I feel would be interesting and beneficial to me and to my readers.  You all have been so welcoming with the changes I’ve made on my blog these last 5 years, evolving into a lifestyle blog with more travel and fashion being added along the way.  Those topics are something I’m very much interested in and I’m glad I get to share them on my blog.  And all of you (for the most part) have embraced the new topics as well.  It’s fun to mix things up and unless I take on another fixer-upper house sometime, I don’t have a lot of house projects left at this house.  For now, I’ll be working with some friends on helping them with updates on their house and will be blogging that this year.

Blogs are an extension of real life people and I appreciate that you all get that.  I can’t keep doing the same things over and over.  Life changes and evolves and so will my blog. I appreciate you all staying with me and continuing to come and read my blog.  My success has a lot to do with all of you too, so thank you all from the bottom of my heart.  I truly do appreciate you all so much more than I can even express!

This last year has been a great one for me.  I’m still with AdThrive as my ad manager and main ad network and they continue to grow and evolve too, helping bloggers make the most of our ad revenue.  I’m so grateful to have them to handle all the behind the scenes ads that are on my blog.  It’s been a pleasure to work with them the last couple of years and I’m happy for their growth in the blog industry.  I made a move from BlogHer this year (after being with them since 2008) and now AdThrive is my main ad network and I think it’s been a good business move.  Running a blog is a business decision too and I’m happy to have good people around that I can count on to help me.  Ad networks have changed over the years as well and now sidebar ads do not pay as much as they did in the early years of blogging.  The pie pieces have sort of moved around on how money is earned and from which source, but it is still working well. If I had to manage my own ads, I’d be in big trouble, so I leave that to the experts.

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Some personal highlights for me this year, my guest bath finally got featured in Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen and Bath ideas and that was another big thrill for me.  Being featured in a magazine never gets old.

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In April, I had the chance to fly to Austin, TX and tour the HGTV Smart home out there.  I’ve had the pleasure of seeing several HGTV homes in person since I’ve been blogging and that never gets old either.  Getting invited by brands to participate in these fun events has been one of the most wonderful perks of blogging.

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In May, my daddy got a new tiller from Troybilt and that was a happy day!  I was thrilled to be able to do this for him from my blog and getting to share with my family is priceless.  That you all continue to be interested in my family year after year is one of those things that I didn’t see coming, but it sure makes me happy and proud.

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Also, in May, I finished up a really fun project in my backyard, the patio and that was a very rewarding project to complete.

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May brought about another brand trip, this time to Mobile, AL with a group of other fun bloggers to see the Southern Romance house with Phantom Screens.  We are all going back in February to see the finished house and I cannot wait!

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In June, I headed to St. Augustine, FL for the first time for a media trip and had a great time taking in that historical city.

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In July, we had the 4th Haven Conference at the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead and it may have been the best one ever. We are hard at work on #5 for this coming August and are excited once again.

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In August, I participated in one of the most rewarding brand events ever, GMC’s Hidden Treasure adventure, where myself and several other bloggers drove GMC vehicles down the Longest Yardsale route and then decorated a Habitat House here in Atlanta at the end.  That was such a blast!

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In September, I opened my house for the 2nd time for an Open House for my readers and friends.  Over 50 of you came out for that and it was a really fun and special time to meet many of you and for you to meet my family.

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In October, I participated in a brand competition with Troybilt, where another blogger and I competed for a prize and showed off our pressure washing skills.  That was very fun and I won the $1000 gift card from Lowes and finally upgraded my washer and dryer from the Craigslist pair I bought when I moved in.  Fun times!

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November brought the annual Gingerbread House competition at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC and I was invited for the 2nd year to be a judge.  This year has been so wonderful and I am grateful for everything that I get to do!

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I shared fashion with Lauren and also announced our big news, another new baby will arrive the end of April and it’s a girl!  We are thrilled as you can imagine.  We have more blessings to look forward to.

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In December, I shared a friend’s house here in Marietta that I’ll be helping with ideas on updating their 1950’s brick ranch house that’s never been touched. I’ll be sharing all of those changes this year, as they move through their house with updates.  Those are the sorts of projects I hope to be involved with more in the coming years.  I dearly love to watch a house change and evolve into something better.  Maybe one day I’ll do another fixer-upper myself, who knows!

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December is a huge month in blogland I was privileged to work with a great company, Tree Classics, as a Brand Ambassador.  I never know what’s coming next from year to year and working with wonderful companies such as this has been a huge highlight for me.

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December wrapped up with another big brand partnership, with Carnival Cruise Lines and I’m so thrilled and happy to be working with this company into 2016.

Writing this blog has brought about so many exciting things in my life that I could have never imagined would happen.  I don’t take it for granted at all, but I’m still so grateful that God chose to bring me through a really rough trial in life to a most contented and happy place.  He has been so gracious to me over the last 5 years and I give Him 100% of the glory.

Thank you all again for continuing to support my blog, through all the changes and evolutions.  I don’t take that for granted either and I know that where I’ve been placed is very special indeed.  I continue to tell people that I have a dream job and I truly do think that every single day that I get to do this thing.  It’s a huge blessing and one that I hope continues for many years.  I have no plans to stop, so we will see what this year of 2016 holds for me.  I’ll continue to blog and share my life as I have always done and wait expectantly for what this year will bring.  It’s exciting and a little mysterious and makes life so much fun!

Here’s to a fun, adventurous, and exciting 2016!

P.S.  So glad you hung in there with me to the bottom of this post….I officially have a new boyfriend! 🙂


- Rhoda

Comments

  1. Good for you!!!! Thank you for being “real” , sharing your wonderful family. You are a blessing to all of us out here that can relate to the ups and downs in life. Thank you!!

  2. Boyfriend?!?! So exciting! Hopefully you’ll be sharing a bit about this with your readers. Looking forward to this story!

  3. Julie Veldman says:

    So happy for you Rhoda, and I love reading your blog! You have such a natural way of “telling” us about your life, making your readers feel like we too, are an extension of your family. I also love that you give God the glory for the great things He has done in your life and blog!! The ending of My Blog Story was the cherry on the topping!!! So, so , soo happy for you!! I follow you on Facebook so I saw the beautiful roses and the handsome man on New Years Eve!!

  4. Congrats on your boyfriend!! Very happy for you! Loved reading this post. Your blog is my favorite for several reasons. I appreciate your honesty. I enjoy the things you post. I appreciate your humility. I am glad that you post on a regular basis. One blog that used to be a favorite is more and more about pushing products, and she seldom posts anymore. I cannot help but feel the shift that has happened with that particular blog. I respect the regularity with which you post. Now don’t let boyfriend interfere with that! Another reason I love your blog is just your success story. We all have crises and hurts in our lives, and you have weathered yours and landed on your feet and that is so heartwarming. Oh, and as for Instagram, I am growing bored of the perfect pictures I see. Something about it can seem fake. I find myself quickly scrolling through a lot of it. Happy Blogoversary!

  5. Rhoda, don’t you dare change a bit! You were one of the first blogs I found after my daughter showed me what a blog was. I love your style, I just adore you share your beautiful family, and being a women older than you, I appreciate not having ideas just from women so much younger than me. You are real and you have no need to “out do” anyone…that is so refreshing! Congratulations on 9 years of great blogging!!

  6. Keep it up, Rhoda! You are a one woman force to be reckoned with. I have always loved your blog, love your sweet nature and the way your family is so included in everyday life. I still love blogging the best too. 🙂

  7. Rhoda, your blog is my favorite, hands down! I look forward to seeing updates on your friend’s house in 2016. A new man in your life will make this new year very exciting! Happy 9th blogiversary!

  8. So happy for you, Rhoda! I pray God’s blessings in your life. You are such a blessing to so many! BTW, I have been following your blog since I got to meet you at Le Madelaine when you first moved back to Atlanta. Remember when? ? I’m still hoping that our paths cross someday when we are out and about. ?

    • Hi, Dorinda, I do remember the Le Madeleine lunch right after I moved back. That was fun and a blur now, since I can hardly remember who all was there. Hopefully we will meet again!

  9. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and can identify with many of your trials, challenges, and adventures. I too divorced, had to go back to school for 7 years(with big loans), work very hard, and reinvent myself. It all works out and it has been so fun to read your story and see your success and send you a mental “atta girl”. Many congrats on your beau….may you have many happy times and years together! Have a blessed 2016!

  10. Yahoo! A new boyfriend! I have been with since day one. I am Nancy of Ohio who is now in Arizona. I may not always comment but here on your blog. But I do follow you on Instagram. You keep on being that rebel… That is what we love about you! Nancy from Arizona

  11. Lorraine Watkins says:

    Rhoda your blog is a blessing. I enjoy your seeing your emails every morning. If I could make a suggestion it would be to take me along on some of your adventures! Best wishes! “Love is lovelier the second time around!”

  12. SoCalLynn says:

    I have been reading your blog for probably 6 or 7 years. You are always so gracious in thanking God for the blessings, it’s inspiring. I especially love the segments you write about your mom and dad, they are so sweet. And I am really loving your fashion over 50 posts, cause I need some help in that area! Blessings on your new relationship!

  13. Carol-Anne says:

    I have been a reader for about 7 years & really like the direction your blog is taking. I’m enjoying the fashion posts a lot!

  14. I have been one of your followers since I started blogging back in 2009.
    Wishing you much happiness and contentment with your new man.

  15. Congratulations on 9 years of blogging! I just love reading your blog, it’s one of my favorite. Not sure how I found you about 4 years ago, but so glad I did!

    Love your style and love how you include your precious (growing) family!

    Wishing you nothing but the best in 2016!!

    Ginny

  16. I’m so happy for you,Rhoda. You seem to be so happy in your life. Your blog was the first one I came across and the rest is history. Thanks for all you do for your readers.

  17. Ditto. I might just post the first part of this on my blog. My thoughts exactly! Another year from now and IG will be like pinterest is. Facebook became Twitter. It all changes. Congrats on 9 years!

  18. Congratulations on 9 years of blogging! I think I’ve been following you for 7 of those years. So excited you have a new boyfriend…..cannot wait to hear more about him. Keep doing what you’re doing with the blog…..it’s great!

  19. Rhoda, I just want to say Thank You for your blog. I look forward to seeing what you are up to. I appreciate that you share things with us readers in a way that isn’t overly boastful. I have read lots of blogs and unfortunately some are just bragging posts and posts about how much more attractive the blogger is than the readers. Thank you for keeping it real and your warmth is what keeps us longtime readers coming back. I cannot wait to hear about your journey in 2016!!

  20. Diane Dahl says:

    Congratulations! I found your blog by accident almost four years ago. I didn’t even know blogs existed before that. Keep up the good work. I’m looking forward to the ranch house redo!

  21. Hahaha, love how you snuck that relationship update in at the very end! Congrats, Rhoda, and all the best for 2016.

  22. Congratulations Rhoda on your success as a veteran blogger of 9 years! I enjoy your daily posts and sharing glimpses of your life and family. You are definitely my favorite blogger and I wish you continued success and happiness. God has blessed you and enabled you to share that with us.

  23. Rhonda, I love your blog! Of all the blogs I read, yours is the best. Your honesty about your life is refreshing. Thank you for being “real” in a world that isn’t alwYs that way.
    May God continue to bless your life

  24. Love that you spilled the beans about BF at the bottom of the post!! Welcome home!
    xo Heidi

  25. What a wonderful year! I’m happy for you and it makes me happy to follow your blog. Live is good and getting better.

  26. Nancy Cox says:

    Love your blog I have been following for several years. Love your fashion posts too. So excited about your new guy.

  27. Congrats on 9 years of blogging! I think I found you right at the beginning and have enjoyed reading along, all these years. Maybe it is my age showing, but I could not be less interested in constantly checking ‘social media sources’ all day long. And am mystified by the popularity of them…I guess I prefer to live MY life all day, instead of someone else’s. Sooo, some of the blogger’s changes have left me behind! 🙂 But that is the great thing about choices, we can pick what we like to do…and I will continue pick your blog to read! Looking forward to seeing some DATE NIGHT fashions more regularly now! 😉

  28. Barbara Hunnicutt Moore says:

    You truly deserve each and every one of your blessings. Thanks for all you share – you’re such an inspirations to so many. And you saved the very best for last!!! He’s one lucky man. Love you!

  29. Congratulations!!! I always enjoy your blog, the fashion posts, the decorating, your adorable family, your travels, all of it. Looking forward to what 2016 brings.

  30. Rhoda
    I hope you blog for a long, long time. Sometime during each day I pop over and see what you are up to. You’re a little treat I save for myself. So happy you have someone special in your life.

    You are a talented, hard worker and have survived and thrived through some tough times, and you’ve come out okay. Necessity is the mother of invention, and your life experiences have made you creative and kind and smarter than the average bear! Keep it up! Eva

  31. BEST EVER QUOTE: “I feel that daily life is special enough and do not strive to appear to be perfect or have a picture perfect life. Life is messy and not always pretty at times. I prefer to see the pretty and the mundane as well.”

    Grace and peace to you. Thrilled that you are so happy and fulfilled.

  32. Thank you for being gracious, authentic and someone who encourages others .
    Congratulations on 9 years of blogging and the new special person in your life .
    Here’s to a happy and blessed 2016!

  33. Congratulations on 9 years of blogging. Your blog is one of my absolute favorites. I love your authenticity, your gracious and kind spirit and your design talent. I also love how you share your life and family with all of your readers. Looking forward to seeing photos of the new baby when she arrives. Your blog is real and you are inspiring! I also love your quote about seeing life as real the pretty and the mundane and that real life gets messy sometimes. Wishing you continued blessings for 2016

  34. Carla Hanson says:

    Love to read your blog and I enjoy seeing your posts. Congrats on your new “boyfriend”. Your blog is a reflection of “real life” and all that goes with it.
    Happy 9th year of blogging!!

  35. What a handsome couple you 2 make! So excited for you!

  36. Thanks for another great post, Rhoda! When you inspired me to begin BPM just about a month after you began, I had no idea what a blog was about. Through the years, the Porch has evolved. Being the age I was when I began, I have kept the blog lifestyle and not a business. I feel like I speak to other senior folks out there. It is my belief a blog can be a success without being a business and that works for me. I am in total agreement with your idea of social media. I have an Instagram account and have used it only a few times. I tend to post notices at Pinterest and my BPM Facebook page when I publish. With those accounts and my personal FB page for family and friends that is enough to keep up with.:-)
    You already know how proud I am of you and how you moved forward in life and blogging. I knew you when. I hope you can keep Southern Hospitality going and evolving. I know it is a lot of work. You’ve done an amazing job!!
    Congratulations on 9 years!

    • Thank you so much, Pat! You and I go back WAY longer than blogging and I’ve always admired your spirit as well. You do a wonderful job on your blog and I’m happy to still be here with you and everyone else.

  37. Barbara (WA) says:

    I’ve long enjoyed your blog for being real and not following the trends, thank you. I especially enjoy Fashion Over 50, updates you make to your home and posts about your parents. And now a boyfriend!!!

  38. Congratulations on 9 years of blogging and your new boyfriend. You so deserve it. You are the real deal, I enjoy your reading your blog so much. You rock Rhoda!

  39. What a wonderful post Rhoda! I stumbled upon your blog about 6 years ago and have been following ever since! I love your blogging philosophy as it makes me feel good about my decision to focus only on one or two social media channels with my own blog! Really hoping our Canadian dollar gains some strength as I have been planning to attend Haven for the first time, but exchange rates around 40% I might have to reconsider 🙁
    Keep doing as your doing and looking forward to following along in 2016!

  40. I have always enjoyed your blog. You keep things “real” and I like that. Easy to follow and always have interesting things to talk about. Keep doing what you are doing….and congratulations your your boyfriend!!! You go girl!!

  41. So many others have echoed my thoughts. Yours was one of the first blogs I ever started reading several years ago, and it’s now the first one I read every day. If it’s a busy day and I don’t have time for much “interneting”, I always make time to check out your posts. You’ve done an excellent job, and you’ve stuck to what works for you and I applaud you for that. I’ve never signed up for Instagram; between the few blogs I read and Pinterest I figure that’s enough. I understand full well making money from a blog and think it wonderful that you can, but over the last year or so, I’ve simply stopped reading some of my favorite blogs due to the constant ads and pop-ups at the bottom of every picture they post. My patience with them wore thin, and it became more of a hassle to try and read them than simply sit back and enjoy their posts. You’ve stayed true to your style, and your blog remains a joy to read. I feel like I’m visiting with an old friend every time I read it. I wish you continued success and much happiness, both professionally and personally!

    • Nanci, I will never do the ads over pictures thing. It drives me crazy on blogs and I know it drives readers crazy. Won’t do it!

  42. Keep being led by God and doing your own thing. We love your blog. Chasing the other is only greed and insecurity. Who wants to live your life looking at a screen and chasing an illusion of happiness? Continue to live your joyful, interesting life and know that’s why we love you. Continue to trust God and He will give you increase, peace and joy.

  43. Rhoda – congratulations on your 9 years blogging! I so enjoy your blog and truly love seeing you and your family doing everyday life. Your sweet testimony of God’s goodness is a blessing! Best to you in 2016 and much happiness for you and the new beau!

  44. Rhoda, you have always been an original and that’s what makes your blog so special and loved. I think it’s great that you don’t jump on trends that don’t fit your blog and yet find success regardless, and it speaks to your well-developed community and audience who loves you for you. Thanks for being a leader in the industry and I know you will continue to have phenomenal success doing things your way!!!

  45. Rhoda,
    You are still my favorite blog!! I am glad you don’t feel the need to get into all the trends other bloggers are following. The others have become so commercial and I am sick of the emphasis on Instagram. Who has time for all of that! And I refuse to ever get started on Snapchat!
    Thank you for being such a great encouragement and inspiration to me.
    Please keep up the great work!

  46. Rhoda,
    You are the best at what you do. I like that you stay true to your heart and soul. Love your blog, your insights, your gumption, and your faith that all will turn out for the best. 2016 will be another awesome year for you. Thank you for everything.
    Sally

  47. Rhoda,
    It seems like I discovered your blog about two years ago. It appeals to me for so many reasons. Many of the blogs that I read are written by young moms with young children. I do enjoy them but it is so easy to relate to yours. I am 65, retired in July after 38 years in the classroom and have been a widow for 16 years. Your topics are interesting and varied. I enjoy your fashion posts, even though I am not tall and slim and can’t wear boots! The most precious posts are the ones about your wonderful parents. Thank you also for not turning your blog into one big advertisement. You have remained true to your beliefs and produce a much more appealing product because of that. Congratulations on nine years in blog land! To. Paraphrase a song from Wicked, we’ve been changed for the better because we know you! Best wishes for continued success.

  48. I’m so glad you haven’t turned your blog into one of those that sell, sell, sell—-themselves, their products and on and on. I love your blog just the way it is. I’m glad you have an income, and sponsors, but love that you don’t have to close an ad at every picture! Thank you!

  49. I enjoyed reading your update today & I enjoy your blog everyday. It has been so fascinating to follow the changes you have made to your house & I think the biggest one was your new front windows. You should be so proud of yourself in the things you have accomplished through blogging. You are wonderful Rhoda & I’m so happy that you have a new boyfriend. You deserve the best! I’ll keep reading your blog just like I always do.

  50. Thanks for a great blog! Yours is the first I read every weekday morning. I read others, but I have noticed that the blog writers that choose to write books tend to push their blog to a minor position, except to complain about how difficult it is to write a book. The blog is the important thing. to have readers that visit every day, that get to know your family, your friends, your home, and your life. This is what makes a successful column or blog. I appreciate your skills, talents and warmth, AND your ability to teach your readers so gently.

  51. Almost 2 years ago I saw a mention of your blog in a magazine. Can’t remember which one. I wasn’t familiar with blogs then. But once I read yours then another would pop up and so it began. One begat another and so is on. I love yours. I got a little aggravated when everyone started the Instagram thing. So I basically stick to blogs. Thanks.

  52. Charlotte says:

    I have followed your blog for 7 years. I rarely comment but I read your blog every day. It’s very refreshing to know you don’t follow the “golden” rules of blogging. I had worked toward launching my blog for several months and I gave up. I read so much about the importance of being on social media all the time I decided I didn’t have the ability to keep up. Much continued success with your blog and I’m so happy you have a new special friend in your life.

  53. Happy Ninth Anniversary! I enjoy your blog so much. You are definitely an inspiration for us bloggers!

  54. Good looking guy – congrats! I am thankful for the glimpses into your life from your blog and look forward to reading along through year 10. I’m especially excited to hear about your cruise experiences! Thank you for the daily moments when I feel like I’m visiting with an old friend.

  55. Wishing you the world of happiness with this new beau! I saw the “Welcome Home” flowers he sent you on FB. Congrats on your 9th anniversary and just keep on doing what you do because you do it so well!

  56. As a seasoned blogger myself with 8 years under my belt, this truly resonated with me. I have been so frustrated lately with social media and how much work it takes to keep up. Loving your attitude!

  57. Your new boyfriend is very handsome. Congratulations on another great year of blogging!

  58. Congratulations Rhoda! You are such an inspiration to me. I love your blog because you are “real” with your readers. Like you said, life is not all pretty. There have been so many blogs I have had to quit reading because they all seem to be bragging on their perfect lives. Some of the younger bloggers are really guilty of this and I can just imagine how it is making so many women feel inadequate and discouraged with their own lives. You are really a breath of fresh air out there in blogland!
    Keep up the great work, Rhoda!!

    • Thank you so much, Anna! I appreciate all the words of encouragement and I will continue blogging as I have always done.

    • Anna, I agree. Sometimes I imagine these bloggers tap-dancing in their sleep trying to keep up and I wonder how their children will turn out. It’s kinda painful. Rhoda, I love your blog and your family. It’s fun and inspirational for me, and I hope you make a great living! Congratulations on the BF (he’s a lucky guy!) and tell your Mama and Daddy we all said” how you doing?”

  59. Y’all are just the best! Thank you so much for your sweet words on the comments to this post. These personal posts like this bring out the encouragement and you all are wonderful to tell me to keep on doing what I’m doing. I can’t change now, so I have to just keep sharing as I’ve always done and will continue to do so. It’s going to be such a fun year, I know!

  60. VintageBeachgirl says:

    I’m so happy for you Rhoda, reading your recap made me smile at what a fabulous year you’ve had!!
    As I was reading your words brought to mind that your blog has many layers, your renovation and design skills, your fashion sense, your generous involvement with charitable projects, your brand participation and of course your lovely family…….it’s like a layer cake. To now have someone to share that happiness with is the icing on that beautiful cake!!
    You keep up the great work Rhoda, I will continue to support all your endeavors!!

  61. Hi Rhoda,

    I have been reading your blog since the past 7 years and you are an inspiration for many of us and I only wish good things for your future.
    Stay just as you are (positive and real)

    Regards,
    Ruchi

  62. Hi Rhoda,
    Discovered your blog this summer when I was searching for fashion blogs for women over 50.
    Your blog is filled with the inspiration I need. Our life experiences are very similar and really enjoyed reading how your blog started and grew. Would love the opportunity to speak with you someday. Having been laid off three times in the past 7 years, I have considered the possibility of turning to blogging for my income.

    Thanks for your inspiration and savvy fashion advice.

    • HI, Gail, thanks so much, glad you found me. It has been such a fun journey for me and I know that I’ve been blessed to be placed here at this time of my life.

  63. As a single woman in my 40’s with no children, yours is the only blog I relate to on a personal level. I do enjoy a lot lof other blogs but so many of them are stay at home moms with lives that I just do not speak to me. (please know I’m not criticizing stay at home mom bloggers!) Your story has been such an encouragement to me in my own life as I have gone through similar situations at the same time you have. Divorce, had to move in with family and start completly over in my late 30’s. Purchased my house that was also a fixer upper the same time you did. Through all of this I’ve seen in your life and my own that God is SO faithful and if you are willing to put your hand to something and work hard at it He will bless you far beyond what we can imagine.

    I love keeping up with your parents and I also appreciate the fact that you DON’T constantly flood my social media with the same pics of your house over and over. I have stopped following some bloggers on instagram because of that very reason. I’m not going to forget your blog if you don’t post 5 pics of your kitchen everyday. Just because everyone else is doing something doesn’t make it better. Your blog stands out because it’s not like the others. God bless you and keep up the good work.

    • Hi Co, thank you for sharing that with me! I love your perspective and it makes me know that I need to continue doing my blog the way I have been doing it. I’m so glad that you understand and have conquered your own trials.

  64. susan B. Jones says:

    My goodness, I didn’t realize I had been following you for 5 years!! I believe I started just as you were moving from Birmingham back to Marietta. I love your blog and look forward to the next 5 years!

  65. Congrats on 9 years of the most wonderful, life changing blog ever! God works in all ways and had it not been for your blog and me reading it back to your Bama days and then you moving to Atlanta and inviting your readers to a paint party…you and I would have never met even though we both grew up in Marietta so close to each other! It has been such a blessing getting to know you and so proud of the times we’ve shared and love traveling with you! So happy you have a wonderful Christian guy in your life! You deserve the best always and have not only been real in sharing your life but your faith as well! Keep up the good work!! We all anxiously wait for each post and your next house project!

  66. Love your blog! I have followed you forever and will continue! You were my first blog!

  67. Thank you for sharing so openly like a real friend! I’ve been reading for 5 years. So much joy and triumph…and a new boyfriend! You deserve all the good you get.

  68. I enjoyed the “blog story” and sharing. I am fairly new to blogging and it was very informative. Happy Holidays to you and yours.
    Mimi
    PS- Love the dress!

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