Reflecting Back on 2020: Year in Review

Reflecting Back on 2020: Year in Review

Wow, what a year it's been!  Who would have thought that going into a new decade would turn the world upside down!  A deadly virus, no toilet paper, and cleaning wipes, being in quarantine, digital learning, protesting, riots, job losses, and election year!  

Boy, did we get hit with a lot of things in just one year!  If you survived 2020, give yourself a pat on the back because you endured a lot and made it through.

Here I am starting 2020 off in Orlando, Florida, taking my usual trip with my family, and then off to another expedition to Myrtle Beach working with Dollywood Entertainment, and was scheduled for another adventure working with Memphis tourism.  But the Memphis trip fell through due to the shutdowns because of COVID-19.

With so many unpredictable changes happening, I had to pivot my blog business back to what I use to do when I was still working my 9 to 5 job.  

Instead, I focused more on what my blog was about in the first place, and that's product reviews.  So, I featured more products this year since my email box became filled with product review requests, especially from top brands.

I Needed to Make Personal Changes in my Life

2020 for me was a year of reflecting on what's important, and it was standing right in front of me, LIFE!  

Sometimes I get so caught up with always being on the go, doing for others, forgetting to slow it down to take care of myself.  2020 forced me to settle and enjoy what I have been neglecting, for instance, my house.  I bought my home four years ago, and instead of appreciating my sanctuary, I kept packing my bags and running from it.  

With mandatory shutdowns, it gave me time to gather my thoughts and relish how much work it went into buying my home, yet here I was, always trying to escape from it. 

But, I fell in love with my house all over again.

Also, I took the time to take care of my health.  I've been overlooking it for far too long that I started noticing weight gain, stress, hair loss, and always tired. 

First, I took breaks from social media so I wouldn't stress myself out with all the political stuff and people giving out their unsolicited opinions. People were making folks feel like you must believe in what they say, or it's no way. I wasn't trying to fall into the never-ending rabbit hole of drama on the internet.

As I mentioned, my health is a big priority, and after years of not going, I went to the doctor for a full exam.  Well, I had to in order to get my four wisdom teeth removed since the dentist discovered my blood pressure is elevated and can't put me under without a doctor's clearance.

The doctor's exam revealed that I was overweight with high blood pressure, being diagnosed with essential hypertension.  So now I'm considered someone with a pre-existing condition.  My heart dropped hearing this news.  And what was worst, Mr. M couldn't be there with me when I received this information due to restrictions with COVID, so he had to sit in the parking lot until I return to our car.

Having high blood pressure is like a silent killer; you don't know you have this problem until you get checked or too late and pass away. This is how my step-father's health deteriorated; he had high blood pressure and didn't even know until it affected his kidneys, leading to his death.

On the bright side, my high blood pressure was caught in time, and all I need to do is eat better, exercise, and lose weight, which will lower it.  Since my diagnosis back in September, I have already started losing weight, feeling a lot better and more energized.

It's vital to know your blood pressure readings, and you can do so just by getting a blood pressure monitor for home.

Another thing that was good in my personal life is us getting our two precious guinea pigs.  They have brought so much joy to our household.  These two little cuddlers, Paulanka and Lumi, helped take away all the aggravating noises happening around us and focus on what matters most, and again that's LIFE!

Let's Chat about my Blog Business...

For those who have been following me for a while, you know I had issues with my old graphic designer's back-end work, causing my blog to lose a lot of traffic and money.

I'm happy to report that not only did my traffic rebound but so did my income too!  I'm back to my pre- 2015-2016 days!  With all the clean up I had to do back in 2018 and 2019, I'm happy to return to normal.  And it couldn't have come at the right time too, or I would've had to return to a 9-5 job this year.  Yes, I'm serious; my income took a very hard hit!

With the unknowns of what this year was going to be for brands, they focused more of their marketing dollars online since people spent more time at home on the internet.  This worked in my favor since brands reached out to me, willing to pay my fee.  I had the most sponsored post ever this year, and I can see that leading into 2021 as well.

My favorite brands I worked with were Hershey's candies, Michelin tires, DICK's Sporting Goods, Chevrolet, and Dollywood Entertainment.  I hope to work with them again next year.

What got me out of my comfort zone this year was photographing food.  I worked on two brand campaigns that involved food, and boy, was that a lot of work!   Prepping, cooking, and styling the food...but I will say that it was good to step into unfamiliar territory.  I'll continue in 2021.

Also, I did more videos this year as well!  I'm starting to get more comfortable and better at it.  I'll continue doing those in 2021 as well.

Oh, and I can't forget about these exciting accomplishments I had this year...I was on The Drew Barrymore Show, and Lending Tree featured me on their new website.  Make sure to check out those features.

One of my followers recently told me how other influencers are always posting giveaways, and I seem so chill and authentic with cool stuff happening to me; what is it am I doing differently?

Here's what is different about me, I don't follow others and only do things that bring me joy.  I'm true to myself, not flashy, or living a fake lifestyle for likes and attention.  You see me living my authentic life and sharing the love of different products and experiences with the world with a glimpse of my personal life.  Brands reach out to me because they like what they see, and I stand out from the sea of influencers trying to be like each other.

Remember, I am an OG in this field of work (blogging since 2008), and if you have a passion for what you do, your dedication shines through and will get you noticed.

Best Car of 2020 is.....

There were a lot of exciting vehicles I got to get behind the wheel of.  But one stood out from the rest because it was my first time experiencing driving an all-electric car, and that was the 2020 Chevy Bolt!  I feel future vehicles will be all-electric.  If electric cars had a better charging range, I would consider having one for myself.  As you know, I like to go on road trips, and I need a reliable vehicle that doesn't require charging up frequently or at least have a fast charge within minutes.  However, the Chevy Bolt is a great car to drive around town in. 

Looking into the Future

The way 2020 was, it's hard to make a resolution and what the word of the year might be.  However, one thing for sure is continuing on my health journey.  

Know this, because of this virus, the world will not be the same again.  Don't down yourself if you can't accomplish what you want in 2021.  Just go with the flow, and take it day by day.  That's pretty much how I live my life anyway.  Tomorrow isn't promised, so I live for the moment.  

However, I still try to do for my future, for example, me getting myself healthy.  Also, saving money for the future, too (already started on that one as well).

We're not going on our annual end/beginning of the year trip due to the virus.  I'm using our travel funds on home repairs around the house instead, and saving the rest.  But we will squeeze in a trip here and there eventually.

And guess what!  2021 is my fifth home anniversary!  I can't believe I purchased my first home almost five years ago!  I don't think I'm going to do anything special but share about the things I've learned so far as a homeowner as a blog post, so be on the lookout for that next year.

Thank you, everyone, for continuing to support me and following along my blogging journey.  Because you are the reason for my success!

Cheers to the year 2021!

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  1. It was nice reading your 2020 year in review. I’m going to work on decluttering my house, continue on my health journey, and I’m in the beginning stages of being a blogger. Happy New Year, Lou! 🎊

  2. I'm so glad you're taking care of your health. I know how it feels to let it go and I need to get mine checked real soon. You look great and I can see the changes!

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