Everything I Read in 2021, Ranked by Genre.

Everything I Read in 2021, Ranked by Genre

First of all, thank you for your patience with me and this post! My end of year content (namely this post and a few others that are in the works) is more in depth and tends to take a longer time to put together… I’d hoped to have this post done before LA but that did not happen with all the preparation for yesterday’s big launch. So here we are, with everything I read this year!

Last year, I read 80 books! This is the least I’ve read in a bit (last year it was 96, the year before it was 83). I don’t set reading goals but it makes sense that I read less than I did last year (still a lot). First of all, we were locked down for quite a bit of 2020 so I read much more than usual. Also, I listened to a lot more audio books in 2020 (walks were the key to my sanity). This year, I moved, started dating someone, and spent a lot more time with family so I had less time to read. I am not surprised. How many books did you read last year? And what was your favorite?

EVERYTHING I READ IN 2021

MY FAVORITE NON-FICTION FROM THIS YEAR

I didn’t rank these as I enjoyed them all SO MUCH.

MY FAVORITE THRILLERS + SUSPENSE FROM THIS YEAR

Despite reading fewer total books, I read more seven more thrillers in 2021 vs. 2020. Thrillers are my escape and I was tired this year… I just wanted my murders!

  1. THE PUSH, BY ASHLEY AUDRAIN
  2. JUST ONE LOOK, BY LINDSAY CAMERON
  3. GREENWICH PARK, BY KATHERINE FAULKNER
  4. GOODNIGHT BEAUTIFUL BY AIMEE MOLLOY
  5. LITTLE SECRETS, BY JENNIFER HILLIER
  6. WHITE SMOKE, BY TIFFANY D. JACKSON
  7. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, BY CAROLA LOVERING
  8. THE THERAPIST, BY B.A. PARIS
  9. THE STRANGER IN THE MIRROR, BY LIV CONSTANTINE
  10. FAKE, BY ERICA KATZ
  11. THE GOLDEN COUPLE, BY GREER HENDRICKS & SARAH PEKKANEN
  12. OUR AMERICAN FRIEND, BY ANNA PITONIAK
  13. ACE OF SPADES BY FARIDAH ÀBÍKÉ-ÍYÍMÍDÉ
  14. STATE OF TERROR, BY LOUISE PENNY AND HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
  15. IMPOSTER SYNDROME, BY KATHY WANG
  16. APPLES NEVER FALL, BY LIANE MORIARTY
  17. ONE BY ONE BY RUTH WARE
  18. THEY’LL NEVER CATCH US, BY JESSICA GOODMAN
  19. YOU’LL BE THE DEATH OF ME, BY KAREN M. MCMANUS
  20. THE GIRLS ARE ALL SO NICE HERE, BY LAURIE ELIZABETH FLYNN
  21. THE OTHER ME, BY SARAH ZACHRICH JENG
  22. THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING, BY NANCY TUCKER
  23. THE MAIDENS, BY ALEX MICHAELIDES
  24. HER THREE LIVES, BY CATE HOLAHAN
  25. THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME, BY LAURA DAVE
  26. THE GIRL IN THE MIRROR BY ROSE CARLYLE
  27. THE HERD, BY ANDREA BARTZ
  28. PRETTY LITTLE WIFE, BY DARBY KANE
  29. 56 DAYS, BY CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD

  30. FRIENDS LIKE THESE, BY KIMBERLY MCCREIGHT
  31. LOOKER, BY LAURA SIMS
  32. LAYLA, BY COLLEEN HOOVER
  33. THE END OF HER, BY SHARI LAPENA
  34. NOT A HAPPY FAMILY BY SHARI LAPENA
  35. ALL GIRLS, BY EMILY LAYDEN
  36. THE HUNTING WIVES, BY MAY COBB
  37. TOO LATE, BY C. HOOVER

MY FAVORITE LIGHT READS FROM THIS YEAR

  1. THE SOULMATE EQUATION, BY CHRISTINA LAUREN
  2. THE BLUE BISTRO, BY ELIN HILDERBRAND
  3. MALIBU RISING BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID
  4. IN A NEW YORK MINUTE, BY KATE SPENCER
  5. THE MAGIC OF FOUND OBJECTS, BY MADDIE DAWSON
  6. PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION, BY EMILY HENRY
  7. A SPECIAL PLACE FOR WOMEN, BY LAURA HANKIN
  8. THE SOUTHERN SIDE OF PARADISE, BY KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY
  9. GHOSTS, BY DOLLY ALDERTON
  10. IN POLITE COMPANY, BY GERVAIS HAGERTY

  11. ANNA K AWAY, BY JENNY LEE
  12. DELICIOUS, BY RUTH REICHL
  13. WHILE WE WERE DATING, BY JASMINE GUILLORY
  14. REMINDERS OF HIM, BY COLLEEN HOOVER
  15. RED, WHITE, AND ROYAL BLUE BY CASEY MCQUISTON
  16. THE VIEW WAS EXHAUSTING BY MIKAELLA CLEMENTS AND ONJULI DATTA

  17. ANNE OF MANHATTAN, BY BRINA STARLER

MY FAVORITE MORE SERIOUS FICTION

  1. THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY, BY MATT HAIG
  2. THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, BY COLSON WHITEHEAD
  3. PACHINKO, BY MIN JIN LEE
  4. INFINITE COUNTRY BY PATRICIA ENGEL
  5. DETRANSITION, BABY BY TORREY PETERS
  6. THE ART FORGER, BY B.A. SHAPIRO
  7. WISH YOU WERE HERE, BY JODI PICOULT

  8. THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE BY V.E. SCHWAB
  9. THE PAPER PALACE, BY MIRANDA COWLEY HELLER
  10. THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN CUBA, BY CHANEL CLEETON

  11. THE SHOW GIRL BY NICOLA HARRISON
  12. YOLK, BY MARY H.K. CHOI
  13. THE LOST APOTHECARY, BY SARAH PENNER
  14. IF I HAD YOUR FACE, BY FRANCES CHA
  15. THE MOTHERS, BY BRIT BENNETT
  16. THE FINAL REVIVAL OF OPAL & NEV, BY DAWNIE WALTON
  17. EVERYTHING AFTER, BY JILL SANTOPOLO
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photo of me by Allie Provost.

My Chappywrap Collection is Here!

My Chappywrap Collection

I am so excited: today is the day, my collection with Chappywrap is finally here! I say “finally” as I looked back on old emails and we started working on this in August of 2020. And I am SO happy with the final product – they make me happy. I wanted it to be joy-inducing, bold, and bright… but classic enough to stand the test of time and not be too niche or crazy. This collection was designed with one thought in mind: sparking joy via bold, happy colors, and summer memories. I drew inspiration from my favorite places (particularly my childhood home of Dennis, Massachusetts  on Cape Cod). 

When we started working on the collaboration, the pandemic was in full swing. I think we were starting to go back to restaurants (outdoors) but I was pretty anxious and felt sad a lot. I was craving happy things and the nostalgia of home. Nothing is better than curling up with my Chappy and a good book at the end of the day, and I was delighted to have the opportunity to put my personal stamp on a collection of blankets with bold stripes, fun colors, and (slightly unexpected!) contrasting bindings.

These blankets will be just as at home on your couch curling up with a book or your latest Netflix binge as they will be picnicking at the park, or lounging on the beach.

Grace Atwood x Chappywrap Collection

The Howes Street

Nothing is more classic than blue and white stripes, and we added a fiesty pop of red! This blanket is named after my favorite beach on the Cape, Howes Street Beach. It’s the residents’ beach right next to Corporation Beach (in Dennis, my hometown) and is still one of my favorite beaches in the world. The house I grew up in was about a mile away so from this beach and I have so many happy memories from my childhood and teenage years… from building sand castles and playing in the waves to bonfires and parties once I got a little bit older.

Color can be so powerful. During quarantine I read Joyful, by Ingrid Fetell Lee. (I talk about this book constantly, some of you are probably tired of me! I wrote a review of the book here, if you’re interested in learning more).

The book is about the power of ordinary things to create extraordinary happiness. There’s a whole chapter about the power of color and the science behind how and why bright colors can bring us joy and I found myself nodding my head in agreement as I read (all the while thinking about this collection!). A pop of color, an unexpected contrasting binding… a bright stripe, a splash of orange in an otherwise neutral home… these things give us more energy, revitalize us, and give us a feeling of delight. Don’t be afraid of color – embrace it!!!

My Chappywrap Collection is Here!

The Cabana

I had to include a forest green stripe here as it’s my favorite color. This almost feels a little bit more Beverly Hills Hotel (another favorite place!) but the royal blue binding is a nod to my New England roots. The Chappy team describes it as a “Cape-to-Côte d’Azur cosmopolitan vibe,” which I just love. When we did our influencer gifting, we let each person choose their favorite blanket and this one was far and away the most popular!

forest green Chappywrap x Grace Atwood forest green Chappywrap x Grace Atwood

red and white Chappywrap

Thxe Hot Dog

This blanket is in my opinion, the most playful of the bunch. The combo of bright red and pale yellow is such a good one. It is inspired by backyard grilling and picnics, and it’s just pure FUN. The colors make me think of a hot dog and mustard, the perfect summer treat. 

creamsicle blanket

The Creamsicle

Growing up on Cape Cod, the unofficial drink of summer was the orange freeze! (Ideally from Captain Frosty’s in Dennis, about a mile down the road from where I grew up).  The creamsicle blanket is inspired by my favorite creamy drink… I still have one every time I go back. I will tell you, when we put together the initial blanket concepts I was sure that The Cabana would be my favorite – and I do absolutely love it… but this one ended up being my number one favorite. It’s just so, so happy!

orange and white Chappywrap orange and white Chappywrap

photography by Laura Saur.

Malachite Mania!

Malachite Mania Malachite Mania items

Oh, this collage makes me HAPPY. I really, really love malachite. Green is my favorite color and even as a kid (I had quite the rock collection when I was younger), I’ve always loved malachite. For my 40th birthday, I bought myself a malachite lollipop ring from Retrouvai, my favorite, but I actually don’t own very much malachite. I have a little slab of it on my coffee table (a gift from my sister), I bought this malachite print robe (runs TTS, highly recommend – it’s even more beautiful person) and kind of want to be extra with a whole malachite dining set? That’s for a someday list, right now we eat at my kitchen island as I don’t have room for a dining table in my apartment. But IF I had a dining table, I would absolutely be springing for the plates, tray, etc. Chic!

collage details (also linked in the widget below): one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight // nine // ten // eleven // twelve // thirteen // fourteen // fifteen // sixteen // seventeen // eighteen // nineteen // twenty

Malachite Mania!

I thought it would be fun to do a bit of research on my favorite mineral. Malachite is considered a healing stone. Its meaning is transformation and positive change (I can get behind that, think we all need a little positive change after the past couple years, no?). The Egyptians would grind it down into a fine powder to use as eye shadow. In the middle ages, healers would use it to soothe stomach ailments and to protect against curses and negative energies. A 17th-century Spanish superstition held that having a child wear a lozenge of malachite would help them sleep, and keep evil spirits at bay. Whether or not you believe in any of that or the power of stones and crystals, it’s really just a very beautiful stone.

Some personal favorites from the roundup: A malachite print yoga mat? COOL! This malachite + crystal necklace is so luxe (but extremely expensive). I really love this candle, and when it’s gone you could use the jar to store q-tips or cotton balls in the bathroom. These earrings make such a statement… you could literally wear any plain old outfit and look so elegant wearing them. Lastly, this tray. Just too good.

Disclosure: If you buy something through my links, I may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. I only feature things I truly love here. Thanks for your support.

Weekend Reading, 1.8.22.

Weekend Reading, 1.8.22

The first links round up of 2022! I’ve missed doing these the past couple weeks, and I feel like this week’s round up is extra good as most sights are back from a week off and on their A-Game! I know a lot of us took last week off… I was dreading getting back to work but then I surprised myself and wound up feeling really really motivated and excited to get back into a groove. My creative juices were back in order and flowing again, and that felt really good – the break was definitely restorative in that way.

This weekend I am in LA, visiting my boyfriend. Just a quick trip but we have a lot of quality time planned – fun outdoorsy things… walks on the beach, hikes, and maybe doing a little architecture tour. I’ll keep you posted. Whatever you’re up to, I hope it’s great. PS – I wanted to also offer up a heartfelt THANK YOU for your comments on yesterday’s post. This community is just the greatest, I am so beyond grateful for you!

Weekend Reading, 1.8.22

This is older, but it was shared in the Facebook group and I love it: a really good list of things to do/get caught up on.

Two things I ordered on the beauty front this week: this mascara (highly recommended both TIBAL and Helena, and this depuffing mask (recommended by Jen at The Fashion Magpie).

Loved reading this profile on Shonda Rhimes.

Take your own advice.

This pretty little green mini dress is on its way to me. One of my favorite brands + my favorite color + a favorite silhouette = a no brainer.

I loved this essay from Jen about balancing friendships.

I am starting to think about outfits for Harbour Island (not til May but who is counting) and how gorgeous is this coverup!? I’d wear it as a dress.

Two great lists from Vulture: the most anticipated books of 2022, and everything to look forward to (TV shows, movies, art, books, etc) over the next two weeks.

If you’ve been thinking it’s time to pick up a new hobby, here are 99 hobbies to try on in 2022!

Some of the best affordable restaurants in LA.

Such a good stripe sweater – planning on ordering this one!

I really related to this post from Jess about being addicted to Instagram.

How dreamy is this Spanish-style Beverly Hills home?

I am very very into the look of this elegant, minimal candle holder.

The skincare trends to know in 2022.

I bought this inexpensive feather robe and can’t wait to lounge around in it and feel like Evelyn Hugo.

25 famous women who are dealing with anxiety.

The best bath products!

This little floral dress 100% looks designer but at a great price.

I’d wear it with my green Loeffler boots.

I loved seeing Helena’s readers’ favorite recommendations from her.

The prettiest little sweater. I LOVE the rhinestone buttons. Size down!

The best books of this month.

Meet your new favorite comfort TV shows.

I might be crazy but I really, really love these green pom pom slippers from Tory Burch. They’re so fun?

16 happy buys for your table (Bradley has such good taste).

I am absolutely making this feel better chicken soup.

To quench your wanderlust: how amazing do these stargazing experiences look!?

This dress is such a splurge but I can’t get over that print!!!

Liz had a very yummy salad recipe on her blog. Must make this!

I packed this “coatigan” for LA and really like it – it’s super cute and a great price.

I’m looking forward to this Instagram update.

How to live in less fear.

I really love the look of these jeans: no rips or tears, just a classic wash in an updated silhouette.

What a fun apartment refresh!!

Disclosure: If you buy something through my links, I may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. I only feature things I truly love here. Thanks for your support.

photography by Laura Saur.

2021 in Review.

2021 in Review The Stripe

2021 in Review

2021 felt more hopeful.

I know everyone has been trashing 2021 but for me, 2020 was much worse. 2021 was frustrating at times, but still an improvement. I mean, anything would be an improvement vs. being locked down alone in Brooklyn. 2020 was flat out awful, which made me more appreciative of 2021’s bright moments. On a personal level, this year was actually pretty great. Better than great. I fell in love.. I moved to a city I’d always dreamed about living in. And I got/get to see my parents multiple times a week after being unable to see them for a year. I stayed mostly healthy (besides that month long cold from hell) and I felt extreeeemely lucky.

It was a sad year too. I had a lot of conflicted feelings over leaving New York (my home for 15 years). I missed my friends and my old home. And I lost touch with a few people who were once really important to me. And (especially over the last month or so) there was just so much uncertainty.

Professionally, it was only medium. Not bad or devastating, but not GREAT. Instagram grew a little, my email newsletter and Facebook group grew a lot, my blog traffic was down. I got feedback that my content was boring, and I get it because at times I just felt really unmotivated and exhausted. I wrote about a lack of stamina, and at times it felt like I was just getting by. Not being creative, not being strategic, just getting things done and then wanting a nap. The past couple years have been HARD. There are years of growth and years that lag, and this year lagged a little bit. It’s the first time that’s ever happened, and I absolutely don’t see it as a permanent thing.

If anything, it motivates me and next year things will grow again.

There are a few things at play. First of all, pandemic fatigue is real. Coming off of such a hard year, I just didn’t (and still don’t have) the energy to work 24/7. Also, a constant layer of stress about messing up, saying the wrong thing, or accidentally offending someone was added… and when you are anxious and nervous, it can be hard to be yourself.

We can also add to that list a rich personal life that is mostly offline (two of the biggest parts of my life are my boyfriend and my niece). So it was a little weird as offline, life felt good, but online I guess I was yes: a little boring. I do think that sometimes influencer content is more interesting when it’s coming from a place of struggle. Kind of awful but true: some of my best content has come right after breakups… or during the pandemic. A lot of people found me during lockdown, when I was really struggling – and talking about that.

I wasn’t struggling this year – I was happy but exhausted. I’m feeling a lot less tired… energized, actually – after a break.

It was like I took a week off and the creative juices just went into overdrive. I am particularly excited about this month’s content but also the year ahead. This year, a goal of mine is to keep this blog and my social channels interesting and fun for you, while maintaining my happiness and a level of privacy. The “when will you reveal your boyfriend” questions can be a lot. I totally understand the curiosity. That being said, he is not a new handbag to reveal; he is a human being who, while incredibly supportive of my work, doesn’t want me to post photos of him. Maybe that will change, maybe it won’t… I want to be respectful of his wishes.

Anyway! I am going to talk about personal and business goals in an upcoming post (next week, I think!) but this post is an annual report of sorts: your favorite posts, your favorite products, what platforms and projects were most lucrative for my business, ETC. I do this every year. It’s a good exercise for me to dig into the numbers and think critically. It helps me to set goals and think about future partnerships, plus areas of my business I want to expand, work harder at, or stop doing.

I share it with you as I like being transparent (and because I think it’s interesting!!!).

Everything I do here is done for a reason. It’s not always a financial reason (building this community and supporting small businesses will always come first) but I’m not running a non-profit. This is a business, and (well, most of the time at least), I try to be as strategic as possible.

Lastly: THANK YOU. For your encouragement, for reading and commenting here, following along on Instagram, liking and commenting on my posts and shopping via my links, listening to the podcast, subscribing to the newsletter, and of course – hanging out in the Facebook Group (my FAV!). YOU have been one of the brightest spots in a year that felt so uncertain and , and I am so incredibly grateful for that. A special thank you to those who still comment on the blog. As you will see below they were down quite a bit from last year (the industry is changing and most people prefer to DM). I cherish every blog comment!

Making New Friends as an Adult.

2021 IN REVIEW

2021 BY THE NUMBERS:

  • 315 posts published (vs 364 last year)
  • 4,495 blog comments (-50% vs. last year)
  • Blog traffic was down 6%

This was the first year where my blog traffic was down vs. the prior year. 6% is not the end of the world but it’s still a little sad. I feel like a bit of a failure looking at these numbers (especially blog comments – heartbreaking!!!) but this is also a factor of where the industry is right now. If there were a way to capture DM engagement, I’m sure that would be much higher than last year. People are spending more and more (too much if you ask me) time on Instagram. Even when I link a blog post in my stories, I’ll get a DM as opposed to a comment on the blog.

I know it sounds silly but blog comments are just so much more meaningful and easier to manage – I can reply easily from the computer, and a discussion can ensue. Nothing makes me happier than when I see a lively discussion in the comments of a blog post.

The decline in traffic was caused by a few things.

The main (and sad!) reason is that I didn’t focus on it quite as much as I have in the past. 315 posts in a year isn’t exactly slacking, but I focused a lot more on Instagram as that is where most of my partnerships (and frankly readers) were. Also, I was quite spread thin: a huge move, a long distance relationship, living close to family (and wanting to stop working many days at 5pm to go be with them), plus just having a lot of work to do between my newsletter, instagram, the podcast, etc. I don’t like that my traffic was down, but this was a big year in terms of life changes, so it does make sense. We will turn it around next year – I have faith!

HOW YOU FOUND ME:

  1. Organic Search
  2. Direct (direct traffic is when someone types in your website name)
  3. Instagram
  4. Pinterest
  5. Facebook
  6. Mackenzie Horan (thanks, friend!)
  7. Go Fug Yourself (thanks ladies!)
  8. Bloglovin
  9. Feedly
  10. Twitter

beauty products on shelf - 2021 in Review

MOST POPULAR POSTS OF 2021

#10 Making New Friends as An Adult

This is always such a popular question, be it on the podcast or in the Facebook group, etc. Making friends as an adult can be really, really hard – especially in a new city. I got some experience with that this year, so I wrote a post about it.

#9 Melissa Wood Health Review

This was SUCH a popular one and I’m glad as Melissa really got me through quarantine. 20 minutes a day was manageable, something I could stick to. While I am not currently doing her workouts any more I know at some point I will go back to them. Quick, effective, and not too hard.

#8 Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse Recipe

An older post, but a good one – such a simple way to add body and shine (while also getting your scalp super clean).

#7 The Correct Order to Apply Your Skincare Products

This comes up in nearly every Q&A. I wrote it a few years ago but keep updating it as I swap out favorite products.

#6 Goals for 2021

We love some goal setting! 2022’s goals will be on the blog next week or the week after.

#5 A Lack of Stamina

I was so nervous to press publish on this piece as it was raw and honest and I was worried about how people would respond/if they’d find me whiny and bratty. But it resonated with so many of you and I’m really grateful. On bad days I will re-read this (and the comments section!).

#4 Ice Roller Benefits

This post is a perma fav (and I sell at least a couple ice rollers every day!). It’s just such a great product. Crazy affordable, but also makes a difference.

#3 How to Deep Clean Your Scalp At Home

You guys are really into scalp health! Ha. This is a great post, written a few years ago. It always trends especially at the end of summer when we’re all having to deal with dry shampoo build up + sunscreen, salt, etc!

#2 Grande Lash Review

This was a very popular post (and product) – my lash serum. I started using it this summer and have had amazing results. I can’t get over how much longer and thicker my lashes look. Some days I even forget to put on mascara!

#1 Buying Your First Chanel Bag

This is also an older post but gets great SEO. There are posts that I write for SEO reasons, but this actually wasn’t one of them… I wrote it more as an answer to questions I’d been getting. It just got picked up by google and has been a top post for a couple years now.

TOP PRODUCTS TOP PRODUCTS OF 2021 The Stripe

TOP PRODUCTS OF 2021 IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

Something that cracked me up a little bit is how similar this list is to last year’s list. 8 of the items are exact and then we have a different pair of faux leather leggings and a different pair of jeans (same brand, AGOLDE). Made me laugh – at least I am consistent: I tend to fall in love with products and talk about them over and over and over again!

1. Zella Shawl Cardigan

This is the coziest – I talked about it over the winter and then again during the Nordstrom sale. It is truly so cozy. I recommend sizing down, I have the medium and am tempted to give it away to a friend and buy a small as it’s just a little bit frumpy and big.

2. AGOLDE Jeans

My favorite jeans, period. Most of my jeans are from AGOLDE… I find them to be true to size, fit my body really well, and to be on trend without making me feel like I’m doing some sort of nineties cosplay.

3. Photophore

It makes me happy to see this rank as it’s a really cool small Etsy business. I love this thing. It’s a great gift and when you put it over a candle it emits such a cozy warm glow.

4. Vince Sneakers

These were a best-seller last year and again this year. I love these sneakers and have gotten my mom and my sister obsessed as well. I have (from over the years) four pairs – the tan, grey, navy, and white. They are so comfortable but I love that they have a little lift in them.

5.  Amazon Sandals

These are so cute… and so inexpensive. And one thing I realized this year is that during the rainier season it’s good to have an inexpensive pair of non-leather sandals to run around in.

6. Letterpress Stationery

I owe this find to Jen at The Fashion Magpie (a fav read of mine) as she led me to these and they are so great. The quality is very good and it’s reasonably priced for letterpress.

7. Ice Roller

Another repeat offender, this is a perennial favorite and as I mentioned above, one of the best inexpensive things you can do for your skin. It’s wild how effective it is!

8. Necessaire Body Cream

Also a repeat from last year. My favorite body lotion. I wrote a longer review of it.

9. Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream

The best face cream ever. A big splurge but my holy grail, most favorite skincare product of all time.

10. Biossance Lactic Acid Serum

Also a repeat offender. Another holy grail beauty fav. In fact, I use this a few times a week to keep my skin smooth and bright!

11. Molded Matter Body Cream

The sexiest, smoky body cream, from an amazing small business. They make it in very limited quantities so it sells out fast but I always try to post to Instagram when I see it restocked.

12. Amazon White Lace Blouse

This was such a fun find and so popular. I love this blouse, it could pass for Zimmermann or something fancy.

13. Commando Faux Leather Leggings

I had always been a Spanx leggings girl (and I still love my Spanx) but these look like REAL leather. I love them.

14. Password book

This was in one of my gift guides and was wildly popular. So many of you bought it for your parents… ha ha!

15. Amazon Fleece

Also a repeat offender! This is just the best little pullover. The gold snaps, the slimmer fit, the longer length… it’s so PERFECT. Definitely an important part of my quarantine uniform.

16. Travel Jewelry Case

This little box is the greatest – it looks so much more expensive than it is, and I love that it comes in emerald green (amongst other colors!!!).

17. Hanging Travel Bag

My favorite. Honestly, this makes travel so much nicer, just having all my toiletries in one orderly place. I keep it packed at all times so that it’s ready to go when I have a trip.

18. Amazon Slouchy Socks

Also a fav from last year, and a best buy from quarantine for sure. These are the greatest. So cozy. I’m pretty much always wearing them!

19. Gold Birkenstocks

It is positively wild how much love this community has for the gold birks. And I can’t fault you for that. They were out of stock forever and then they came back and I posted them and you all broke the Internet.

20. Maison Louis Marie Candle

Favorite favorite candle. I always stock up during Sephora’s sale. This also made the list last year.

REVENUE

Last year, I added a revenue section to the post this year for the first time ever as I think there are a lot of questions about how bloggers make money. While I am not comfortable sharing dollar amounts,  percentages are interesting!

2021 REVENUE

See that big yellow wedge? Yup. That’s Instagram.

That (and other things, I do love it at it’s purest form, I just hate the algorithm and the way the platform penalizes larger accounts (especially if, god forbid, you want to take a few days off!) is why I won’t be leaving Instagram anytime soon. Instagram ads were the biggest source of revenue this year. This is a bit disheartening at times as I prefer doing larger (long term) partnerships across all of my channels. (An example of that would be yesterday’s Briogeo post where we did a blog post, instagram reel, and stories).

I can be more thoughtful about it, I can put SEO behind it, and selfishly I charge more for it which means that I can run fewer ads (A sponsored blog post costs about 3x what a set of sponsored Instagram stories cost). This is just where the industry is right now, and I’ve had to adapt.

Affiliate revenue was second (this includes swipe ups, but there’s no accurate way to break out what’s from Instagram and what’s from the blog, newsletter, etc).

A lot is from swipe ups, making Instagram even more important (financially speaking, that is!). Sponsored blog posts were second, and the podcast + banner ads on my site were little baby pieces of the pie.

In 2022, I want my newsletter to become a piece of the pie (ideally meaning fewer ads on Instagram). Even if it’s only a tiny piece. I really like the idea of selling ads in my newsletter or doing dedicated newsletters. We will see. I like how pure my newsletter is but it would be fun to test some partnerships there and see how they perform.

affiliate revenue 2021

My affiliate revenue was down (as a percentage) from last year.

Last year, it was nearly half my income (48%), this year it was only 36%. The main reason for that is that in 2020, I did two Amazon drop collections whereas in 2021 I only did the one staples collection. The way that the Amazon drop partnerships are structured is that you receive a flat licensing fee + bonuses depending on sales, but the main revenue driver is with commissions. Since I did not do any big drops this year, my affiliate revenue definitely suffered. That is okay though!

The biggest chunk is “other.” That makes me really happy as it’s all those smaller brands I link to but were under 2%: Chappywrap and Etsy, Hill House and Farm Rio, ETC.

Also! If you’re not familiar with the term “affiliate revenue,” that’s the links on my blog. Most (not all!) of the links on my blog are affiliate links, so if you make a purchase from something I share here I will often earn a percentage of sales. Think of it like a finders fee. It isn’t much (usually around 5-10%), but it adds up and is a very significant to my business!

That about sums this year’s review up! I’d love for you to share what you’d like to see more of in 2021, if you have any content requests!

PS – Previous years in review: 2020 – 2019 – 2018 – 2017 – 2016