As I celebrated a decade of blogging, I had a moment of reflection and it hit me….dude I’m old! Ha! I remember thinking in my younger years how working the same job for ten years would be pure torture. How only old people work the same job for that long. But I can honestly say that this is the BEST job ever and I never get sick of it. It’s constantly changing and every day I get to try something new and challenging. And I’ve had SO many highlights in the last ten years that I can’t possibly pick only ten….but I’m gonna try!
In the last ten years, I have done hundreds of projects and written so many things from the heart and honestly some of these posts are so pivotal for me that I can’t explain how priceless their impact has on my life. The simple fact is….there has been a lot of things I have gotten from blogging….friendships, personal growth, even a different relationship with Jeremy….but there have been some overall big moments that kept me going and were big professional milestones and I wanted to share those as well as a time line of our last ten years in blog world! In no particular order, here are some of the most pivotal moments we had blogging….
When I started in 2008, there was not a person on earth that could have said “This will be your job and you will be a public speaker and be in a commercial for a car brand and featured in a magazine and tv and in a book and win an award for blogging.” I would have laughed so hard that I would have soiled myself (and that was before babies so you know that is really loss of control!). I just wouldn’t have believed it. I still kinda don’t. The dream wasn’t to be successful at blogging. Or to get sponsors or to be featured or celebrated or all of those really really cool things. I dreamt about being a maker. I dreamt about having a family. And I dreamt about making my house more beautiful. All that to say….this was all unintentional (well the babies weren’t…but the blog stuff was!). The accolades and the awards and the features…it wasn’t something I aimed at….but somehow BECAUSE OF YOU it happened. So thank you for that. And please understand that these highlights are super awesome yet I am still slightly uncomfortable talking about them because it feels very self promotional and I’m simply not good at that.
So let me walk you through the last ten years of personal and professional highlights….
- Bower Power was born – I told you guys about this in my last blogiversary post and how it came to be and what my first blog post included. Click here to read all about it.
- Met the Petersiks – Through blogging, we got to meet Sherry & John and quickly we clicked. We have so many things in common and are also so very different and the simple fact is…they were the first ‘bloggers’ we had ever met in real life. Because of our friendship, we learned a lot of things together – like how to make money and how to do this full time – she introduced me to Instagram and I introduced her to Pinterest. And yes, it was an amazing honor to be featured in their New York Times Best selling book – Young House Love (such a good book and if you don’t have it, you should)….but that professional highlight dims in comparison to having their friendship. I know I really lucked out that the first bloggers we met became some of our best friends!
- Katie blogs full time – When I started the blog, I had a regular 9-5 job in the insurance industry. I loved my coworkers and boss and that job taught me sooo much. When I was working that job, I never took on a sponsor. So when I decided to stay home with the soon-to-arrive baby and work full time on the blog, I decided to go ahead and plunge into the world of sponsorship and it was scary. Needless to say – I was terrible at that business part of the blog. I remember the day that I got a $200 check for a month of ads and thought “HOLY CRAP LOOK HOW SUCCESSFUL I AM!” The money part aside…this milestone also big for me because it was a confirmation that I really REALLY loved my blog topics. I remember that there were a lot of voices that said I would not continue to blog about DIY or home stuff when I had the baby and I feel very proud of myself that I continued on with the content the way it had been in the past and that I was able to incorporate posts about my little guy in there too!
- Will was born – William represents a big shift in our life – from DINKS (double income no kids) to first time parents. The funny thing is – I blogged about baby things before Will was even born. I have old posts with friends kids, family and baby clothing because I always wanted to be a mom. This just was a way that I didn’t look full-on crazy. Ok Ok…I know I still look that way but whatever.
- My First Room Reveal – With William came the first big room reveal – his nursery. I had blogged about other rooms in our house but this was the first of the true ‘makeover’ posts with before and after photos and “reveal” in the title. This room also was a space that gained me some big recognition. I had Jeremy tear apart pallets and create an accent wall in there with the wood….this was at the birth of ‘pallet crafting’ and before Pinterest made pallet walls a common place feature. I had never seen it done and to this day when people ask me my claim to fame – I say “It was Will’s pallet wall“.
- Appeared on Nate Berkus – Speaking of the pallet wall, it got the attention of a producer on The Nate Berkus Show and they were so kind to ask me to participate in a segment of their show called House Proud. I got to fly to New York with Jeremy and Will and we explored the city that never sleeps and be on TV! It was a big moment for me! Mostly because I am such a Nate Berkus fan! I only wish I had recorded the episode 🙁 (seriously if anyone has old recordings of that show, I would love to have a copy of our segment!)
- Bought our 2nd House – We actually bought our second house in such a flurry that some people were very confused what happened! We found our foreclosure and jumped at the chance to move further out in the country and we have literally never looked back! Since our first house was fairly complete as far as renovations go….this opened a lot of opportunities for new room makeovers (we haven’t even tackled them all yet!).
- The Pinterest Challenge is born – one of my favorite ideas ever was to have a little diy challenge among friends that was very noncompetitive and basically just using inspiration and peer pressure to get things done! I approached Sherry with this idea as a cohost and together we had some of the biggest names in blogging participate in this “Do Your Own Spin” on a project (yup…even Emily Henderson did it with us!!!)
- Won Apartment Therapy Homies – I’m still in shock that I won a Homie. Yup. Even six years later it still seems like maybe they got it all wrong. Shock aside – I am still super honored because it was really my readers….my dedicated friends online that made this happen. I came in first for Best Home Design Blog and second for Best DIY blog. That is just CRAY!
- Weston was born – Weston represented a big shift in my blog that I was able to get really personal with my readers. Many of you know that the goal was to give Will a sibling right away….and it took a little more time than expected to get Weston. During that waiting time I felt so much love from you all and you all were such a huge encouragement to me. I will always remember how REAL you are even though we never have met.
- Jeremy gets laid off and finds another job – Another personal moment for us was when Jeremy lost his job and we realized what a scary situation that is. You all were so kind! This was also a blog accomplishment because it was during this time that Jeremy started taking more interest in how the blog was monetized. Before he was laid off, the blog just needed to pay for itself (operating costs and materials, etc.) but when he had no more regular business hours, he was able to start looking at how to help me with the business side of things.
- First Magazine Feature – It’s funny but I have very very few magazine features compared to other blogs my size….so that meant that when I finally did get featured, it was a big deal. I mean….even my grandmother posed with the article. Thank you Good Housekeeping!
- Bought Monroe House – The Monroe House purchase was a tricky highlight. As wonderful and exciting as it was…it was also my lowest point in blogging. I had shared too much and too little simultaneously and been insensitive. As a result, this really important and exciting news was tarnished and I was attacked for it. This simple post changed the way I saw blogging and I changed a lot of my policies when it came to comments, drama and overall privacy. It also challenged me to take charge of my own blog and to be a little more conservative when it comes to sharing.
- LJ was born – In the same way that Weston allowed me to feel included in a group of women waiting on their babies….LJ allowed me to feel included in a group of women overwhelmed with little ones. We thought that it would take us a long time to get pregnant again so we started right away with #3 and surprise surprise….it didn’t take that long. It only took 15 months to welcome LJ after Weston and we were thrilled with our little ginger boy! The fact is – my audience is mainly female and you all have been so crazy kind no matter what our situation!
- Jeremy works from home – Shortly after LJ was born, Jeremy decided to work from home. Before he had a very long commute and this decision did represent a pay cut on the front end but allowed him to do more for the blog both on the business side and on the DIY side. He still works other jobs because he is passionate about business consulting and sales….but the hours are super flexible and he handles 100% of of the blog business….which is a really good thing since I am literally the worst at it. WHELP.
- Max was born – Max came into our life as a complete and utter surprise. We were gearing up to make major changes to the Monroe house and we felt like God was pushing a pause button on our year by getting pregnant. We had just filmed a big makeover series with our bathroom and when I found out Max was half-cooked I was in complete shock. He was such a sweet baby though and I can’t imagine our life without little Maxi Knight!
- Speaker for Rust-Oleum at Haven – One of the biggest honors of my blog life was being asked in 2016 to be a mentor to fellow bloggers, to design a booth and to teach a class for Rust-Oleum at the bloggers conference called Haven. It was such an honor because I was recognized by other people in my industry as someone that could have experience and knowledge to help and encourage others and by one of my favorite brands to create a representation of their products and to teach others on how to use them! It was a huge pat on the back and I am so so grateful to be invited back to do a class by Rust-Oleum again and to be a mentor again this year. Come read about that here.
- Film Camry Commercial – Raise your hand if you ever thought about being in a commercial. Not me. My hand is firmly in my pockets (not really – it’s on the keyboard but you get the point.). I never dreamt in a million years that we would get to be in a commercial and then on top of that….it actually won awards y’all. There are awards for commercials and ours got one! ha! So crazy!
- Bear becomes a Bower – I would be wrong to leave my sweet Boo-boo Bear out of the highlight list. He is such a little ball of energy but he really loves us and we love him so much too. Becoming a dog-mom was a personal highlight for me…and he still to this day stays right by my side 🙂
- Speaker for Ryobi at Haven – Last year I had the huge honor of teaching a tool class on behalf of Ryobi. It wasn’t Jeremy…it was ME! I got to pair up with Jen and talk to my fellow Haven bloggers about a few really cool tools and that was such a benchmark for me. I have always loved tools but teaching others (especially my fellow ladies!) about them is truly a dream come true for me.
- Ella was born – When Ella came into our lives, we definitely experienced a bit of a shift. In my mind, I am still a boy mom (I just happened to have a girl) but I am learning slowly to embrace all things girly and being able to experience her is teaching me so much about parenthood! I am loving it! The other part of her arrival is that for the first time, I forced myself to take a break and slow down the blog. I was very depressed and physically the recovery was much harder after baby number five and allowing myself to heal was something I needed. Learning to be your own boss is hard. Learning to be your own advocate is harder.
- Sold our first house – At the end of last year we sold our first house and it was a very full circle moment for me. We were able to celebrate our ten anniversary in our first house – and it was just as empty as it was on our wedding night! The house was the first reason why I started the blog….but I realized that the passion for blogging, DIYing and homes was still there and there was so much more to the blog than that particular white house with black shutters.
The blog has and always will be about our life – all of the greatest moments and the low points – the adventures and the trials – the accomplishments and the highlights – the everything and the nothing. Thank you for following along these past ten years. Your support and your words of encouragement have made this the best decade of my life and I can not tell you how much I love you for it.