It’s a new year, can you believe it? Well before we leave 2017 in the dust I wanted to recap some of the major moments and things that went down.
Looking back on year can be kind of overwhelming, I’m always pretty grateful for instagram and this blog because it has helped me catalog some of the highlights without even knowing it. If you missed any milestone, you can find them recapped for you here along with the highs and lows – so let’s dive in.
So here it is, my year in a nutshell, to start lets talk about what went well.
SO probably the biggest thing that happened in 2017 is Paris and I got engaged, yay! I still owe you guys a little more info about it, but for the most part we’re going to keep it kind of private. I share so much of my life and in turn his life too, it’s not really something he signed up for – he’s just been supportive and helpful along the way, but when I have a chance to keep things just between us I like to take it for his and my sake too.
A Family Business
I felt like this was a really great year for me family wise. My mom recently started working for the airline (well in 2016) but this year she made my brother her flight companion so he was able to fly for free all through 2017. After I lost my ColorMeEmployee (more on that below) my family really stepped up helping me when they could. My younger brother owns his own business and has a lot more free time than the average 20 something year old, so on multiple occasions (maybe 4?) he came out to NYC to help me with work. Paris’s work schedule was bananas this year (more on that below) so there were times when I found myself so overwhelmed and behind, in those cases my brother or mom would come out for a few days and help me. They would do everything from unboxing to filming stop motion videos, and helped me through some tough times. My mom also saw I was overwhelmed managing some of then back end business of Color Me Courtney (like finances) so she helped me out a bit there and really kept me organized. When things get crazy with me work wise, I always drop the ball on the dollar signs, which is not what I should do – my mom stepped in to look back at all the companies who stiffed me on work and was able to find about 75 thousand dollars in outstanding payables for work I had already completed. She tracked down those business and made them pay me what was due, without her I think I never would have seen that money.
Things got really fun when my mother, brother and I went on a family trip. No significant others, just the three of us on a Disney cruise for days!!!! It was really fun and I felt like a kid again. I think my brother hated me by the end of it, but it was fun to have those memories together. My relationship with my dad also improved, him and Paris became closer than ever and that was really important to me. My dad is kind of intimidating, would always squeeze the hands on my guy friends to kind of show them who’s boss growing up, but Paris never really stepped down. This year when we would go to dinner when he was in town, Paris and him would talk about business, sports and other guy things but on a almost friendship level. My dad and I got to spend some personal time together in London which was amazing for me because I don’t see him as much as I would like (if you think I’m a workaholic you should meet my dad, he works harder than me and rarely sleeps … wonder where I get it). Finally,my mom, dad, brother, Paris, grandma, waffles and my brothers girlfriend all got to spend time together in a cabin in Colorado for Christmas, which was like a cherry on top for me on 2017.
Stop Motion Magic
At the end of 2015, I created a magic stop motion video with the help of my high school friend turned videographer Rique. You guys loved it, so throughout 2016 we made it a part of my business, creating videos whenever a client wanted them or we had time to do so. At the end of 2016, Rique moved away from New York and I wasn’t sure I would be able to film them without her behind the camera, especially with the his and hers ones starring Paris – but we figured it out. My friends and family stepped up and helped film them, but most importantly PARIS came through and really commited himself to these projects. What you may not know is that although these videos rely on major planning (done by me) intense choreography (also me) and actual performance while shooting (me again), so much of them also rely on the person behind the camera and their ability to line things up and capture every movement. I’ve never had to do this, but I can’t imagine it’s easy and my brother, friend Kristin, mom and Paris all stepped up to the plate on this in 2017. I’m not sure I would have been able to do the same. About half way through the year I decided I wanted to publish one video weekly (I know crazy right) so that meant once a week we were filming these videos and often turning them around in 24 hours or less. They became a even bigger part of my business that I’m really proud of, but I wouldn’t have been able to execute them without the help of Rique, My brother, My mom, Lex (Lexicon of Style), Kristin and especially Paris. They all helped on at least one occasion and really allowed me to bring these magic videos to life.
I’ve always been very reluctant to form blogger friendships, to be honest I just don’t trust most of them. I’ve watched girls that I’ve been friends with for years and had what I thought were “real offline relationships” straight up steal my content ideas, without consulting me on more than one occasion. I’ve listened to girls talk bad behind others back and had so many judge me for not fitting into the standard “fashion blogger” scene – I can’t tell you how many pretend to forget who I am even though I’ve met them 10-15 times. It’s fine, I’m not the average fashion blogger, I actually don’t even consider myself one anymore, I claim to be a colorful content creator, so judge me, I don’t care. Anyways, this year I let my guard down a bit and formed a few new friendships and took some of my older ones to the next level. Olivia of Olivia Jeanette used to say “We’re not blog friends, we’re real friends” and now I can say the same is true for so many of my “blog” friends. Specifically Lex of Lexicon of Style and I have really took our friendship to the next level because we started to create content together and that was SO FUN! We were able to collaborate on each others projects, share ideas and improve each others business. Most of my blog friends have their husbands or boyfriends working for them, so they’re less likely to want to get together and shoot – but since Lex and I pretty much ride solo we are able to meet up sometimes daily and shoot each other, and it’s really great!
It’s now gotten to a point that I really only have “blog” friends in NYC, so next year I’m going to focus on making more meaningful friendships outside of the bloggerpshere too. Making friends as an adult can be really tough, especially in a city like New York so far from where you grew up. In 2016 and 17 I really focused on cutting out some of the toxic people in my life or friendships I’ve outgrown, Paris made fun of me for being kind of ruthless about it and maybe I am, but I’m busy and I have spent all of my life putting my friends first, even when the relationship was really one sided. I’m not great at much, but I’m a really good friend. I’ll do anything for even some of my newest friendships, but usually get slighted in return – so I cut those people out (byeeee) it was tough, but was the right thing to do. Now I can say I have probably 5 really good, authentic friendships with people who would do anything for me, who I trust whole heartedly and who I wouldn’t trade for anything. Looking to form a few more of those connections in 2018.
My Best Friends Wedding
Speaking of friendships, my bestie Sheree got married. Sheree and I have been friends since high school, and had two major fallouts in our friendships which in hindsight were possibly due to the meddling of a now former friend of mine. Since then, we’ve been closer than ever. Sheree also lived in NYC for a few years but moved away last year (tear) which was really hard for me. Some of my favorite memories in NYC were surrounded around Sheree and I still miss her so much in the city because it’s not the same without her. Her and Paris are really good friends even without me, so thats kind of cool that we can all hang out as friends and its not like a third wheel thing. I can’t tell you how much I miss having her here, I would do anything to have her back in the city. Anyways, despite my selfishness surrounding her move, she relocated to be with the love of her life who she married this Spring. I’ve never been a maid of honor (legit my dream in life but ITS FINE) but I did get to plan so much of Sheree’s wedding and bachelorette nonsense so I was a happy camper. I got to plan her bachelorette party in the spring and help with a lot of wedding craziness on the big day. It was kind of weird for me, because it was with a group of girls who I went to high school with but don’t have a relationship now. Also 80% of the wedding party excluding me had been in a wedding together the year before so they were all so close and I was just like kind of left out like heyyyyyy. But it didn’t really matter, I was there for Sheree and really happy I could be a part of her big day.
As some of you know, my French bulldog Waffles was paralyzed in 2016 due to a genetic spine disease. He had to go through surgery and weekly therapy, lost the use of his legs and control of his bladder. It was really tough at the time, but my spring 2017 we hand things under control. Now we have a pretty good routine, and although he still can’t walk on 4 legs he gets around well on two and is both happy and healthy. I’m really thankful we’ve been able to make this work and love our unconventional family.
In 2017 my business boomed! Collabs, partnerships and earnings grew about 50% which is kind of crazy. I never expected to earn or do as much as I did this year. I’ve always been self managed, and pretty much a one man band at Color Me Courtney. Paris’ obviously helps a lot behind the camera and sometimes with creative ideas too, but I run the business mostly on my own. I expanded a lot f my business in early 2017 and took on employee to help, but when that didn’t work out I found myself with double the work load and half then hands. I’m lucky enough that I can turn down a lot of collaborations that don’t align with my brand, but even after turning down over 80% of the collaborations that came my way I found myself drowning. I was missing or cutting deadlines crazy close, pulling frequent all-nighters and never having a day off. I’m not complaining, I love working at Color Me Courtney and would do anything for my business but it took a lot out of me and I felt like I was always behind, always playing catch up and always apologizing for it. Overall, I just grew so much so fast and I wasn’t expecting it – its a good problem to have but left me a little overwhelmed. I’m hoping to have things a little more together in 2018 and will probably even take on less Color Me Courtney projects, because I have a few other things up my sleeve.
So yes, those were some of the things that really went my way in 2017, but success is kind of boring – so lets talk about the fails!
Color Me Loft
The year started when Paris and I moved into a Loft which I was really excited and optimistic about – but we’ve been less than successful getting it organized and livable. We kind of underestimated the work it would take to create a work / living space that worked for us as a couple and my business. After about a year of trial and error, I am not looking into renting a separate studio space because I’ve kind of out grown our live in home studio. We’re still working out the kinks in our place, but once we do I promise we’ll do a major home tour for you, it’s been on the list.
Color Me Employee
I also started the year by hiring my high school best friend as my employee, I really needed someone I could spend time with, trust and create content with. For the most part, it went really well. Actually thinking back to it, having her here and working with me was probably some of the highlights of my blog career – it was cool to have created something that grew to a size big enough that I could hire the people closest to me to share it with. She was the perfect fit for what I needed, fun to be around and a hard worker. Sadly a few months in she decided to return to her old job of being Minnie Mouse on a cruise ship. I probably should have known she was going to do this even though she had said she was done with that chapter, but I think I wanted to believe she would stay. This was tough because I felt like we had finally gotten to a good place and was relying on her for a lot. When she left, I got kind of jaded. I interviewed a few people but was only willing to hire someone who would commit to staying on for a year because I didn’t want to go through that again. Also my expectations we’re too high, because I couldn’t meet anyone who would fill the shoes of my best friend. It messed me up for a while, and has still kind of prevented me from hiring anyone else because now I have major trust issues about it – In a perfect world, I would hire Paris’s sister who’s a PR wizard in LA and one of my favorite people – but I really need someone here in NYC. I’ve made other arrangements for 2018 instead of hiring someone under me I’lll be exploring a different route and can’t wait to tell you all about it.
Work Life Balance, or lack there of
I worked a lot in 2017 and so did P. He’s one of two on a PR team at his company, and the other member was out most of the year on pregency and maternity leave. On average, the was gone one weekend a month (sometimes more) on work trips. Most days he worked from 8-930 shooting me, 10-7 (it was usually more like 9) at his job and often came home again working late until the night. Where I pulled about 3 all nighters a week, he pulled about 1 as well. We would shoot all weekend (both Saturday and Sunday) and then usually spend the evenings on our laptops working more. Looking back I’m not sure how he did it, because he never had a day off. I mean I didn’t either, but once again Color Me Courtney is a choice I made that I am super tied to, he didn’t ask for this he just fell in love with me and the blog comes along with it. Luckily he’s the most supportive person ever and never complains, but the amount of work we did definitely put a strain on our relationship. We had less date nights, less time together and almost no “work free” days. All of our vacations were blog related and it was hard for us to find time just the two of us. Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt us as a couple. We fought less this year, and didn’t really take the stress out on each other – which I think are all signs of our relationship maturing. We fought the most when Paris would force me to come to bed after being awake for 50 hours straight, when I wanted to keep working – I actually can’t think of many fights that didn’t start out that way, so he was really just trying to take care of me. Truthfully, we were both overworked and overwhelmed and some how came out the other end of it okay. I’m making some major changes in the coming year so we can hopefully get back on track with a better work / life balance and be able to spend more time together that doesn’t include him being behind the camera.
In 2017 I really worked to expand my content creation, moving into youtube, weekly stop motion videos and more. Most days I created 3-4 unique pieces of content for instagram alone, not to mention weekly instagram lives and unique story content. I became focused on showing you guys a lot of what goes on behind the scenes even when its not so cute all in an effort to keep it real. As I mentioned before, I’m only one person so my daily blog posts on colormecourtney.com became 1-2 weekly posts, and the unique content I used to create for twitter, facebook and Pinterest ceased to exist. Most bloggers I know don’t actually blog, they have people working for them that write their blog content – so me as a one man band had no chance of getting it all done. I don’t think you can do it all, so I focused on those other channels and thats okay, but I do have a lot to say outside of instagram so I want to get back into daily post on the blog where I write more.
2017, like 2016 was one of those years where I think a lot of people were kind of over it. It just feels like its been one bad thing after another from hurricanes to shootings and other crazy things in-between. I feel like I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even want to read/listen to the news daily because there’s always something new and dark going on. If you felt like this, I want you to know you’re not alone – and despite the positivity I like to push here at Color Me Courtney, I have down days too. All we can do is keep going, find happiness in the things we do control and surround ourselves with sources of hope and positivity. I hope Color Me Courtney was one of those light sources for you last year and can continue to be in 2018 no matter how dark things get. You always have an internet friend in me, and I’m just one click a way.
Thanks again for following along and for all the magic you bring to me on a daily basis. I’m forever grateful.
Tune in tomorrow as I share my favorite projects of the year and write my brand burn book (ooooohhh juicy) including sharing the best and worst brands I worked with this year. It will be spicy, you won’t want to miss it! 😉
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