I've always liked the end of chapters. As you turn the page to the next chapter there's so much possibility. One's story can go so many directions. That's why I love compiling my top ten posts of the year. They show me where my story went; they give me the opportunity to see whether the plans I had at the start of the year came true.
2014 was the year I launched a business idea I'd had for awhile, Family Dinners at The Station. While I'm glad I took the risk, I realized the concept was flawed. Pricing a dinner just to cover ingredient costs, not labor or profit, yielded a ticket price seen as too expensive by many, especially for a family dinner.
A write up of the dinner in a local magazine confirmed my idea wouldn't work in SF as envisioned. Even though the dinner was advertised as a family dinner where kids were welcome, not all of the diners appreciated that fact. The journalist was writing up my dinner as part of a review of food service in the sharing economy. Like most journalists, she didn't make her presence known.
Would I have changed the experience? Probably. I would have cancelled the dinner. A soft opening. A test run to work out any kinks is no place for an unknown journalist. So I'm glad she kept her purpose secret. Her write up talked about our decor and the type of Gates' toys. She made me realize that who the service attracted was not the same person I wanted at my table. I also realized that many did not have a realistic idea of how much organic ingredients cost.
Earlier in the year, I'd been afraid to take this concept out for a test drive. So completely had I tied my identity to cooking Thai cuisine that I'd been unable to branch out. To take a risk and to soar. Having a passion project fall flat is humbling. For me, though, it wasn't defeating (as I had assumed it would be). It was a relief, knowing that I had one less venture to focus on and try to set in motion.
That said, The Road to The Good Life flourished. Recipes, seasonal ingredients, and DIY projects were all popular. But, the most popular content related to my story.
Top Ten Posts of 2014
Here are my top ten posts from 2014 by popularity:
- Owning Disarmingly Genuine (Women 2.0 Conference Recap)
- Networking 101: Going Beyond First Impressions when Meeting Bloggers
- Mindful Consumption: Wearing only 6 Pieces of Clothing
- Bold. Brilliant. Beautiful. You.
- Finding Inspiration for Unique Content
- Owning One's Story (Takeaways from Alt Summer 2014)
- Dining Out in The Financial District: Palio d' Asti
- Around the Home: Decorating for the Holidays with Balsam Hill Greenery
- Clothing as Armor or a Signature: Your Choice
- Make: Roaring Twenties Birthday Party
Do you look back on previous years and compare milestones in your journey? I do. Whereas 2014 was about coming into my own, the top ten posts from 2013 are more self reflective and about discovery (one's voice, branding that showcases one's personality, and so on) and taking risks. The 2013 theme makes sense when you see that the top ten posts from 2012 were all over the place as I bounced from one meme to another. Having just become a parent it was clear I struggled, unsure what I had to say as a new mom, and focusing instead on driving traffic versus quality content with depth, hoping something would stick and I'd discover my new voice.
Curious what 2015 will bring for The Road to The Good Life? Check back here next week for my 2015 Year Goals.
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.