Best of 2015 Blog Post With Brand New Video!!

The BEST blog posts of 2015- French Country Cottage Home Decor, Faux finishes, painted furniture, event styling ideas & more

Am I late to the game? Maybe? Maybe not. Today I want to share more about me, the triumphs, and my journey over the past year. I want to delve into the things that plague my mind, the blessings, along with some of what really happened behind the scenes in a blog post and life.  However, I am a bit late with this post, but that’s because I was busy making an iMovie, my first video, and the first real one on my Youtube channel!  It took about 70 hours in 5 days to put together.

So…. Welcome, 2016 !!!

…and another year of “firsts”!!!

 Talk about jumping into the pool head first!

If  you want to skip past the written version of the stroll down memory lane, the video will be at the bottom of this post.  I won’t be offended if you do; unless you are my close friends and family.  I do hope you will hang out for a bit, though. I’m proud of all that I have accomplished in such a short time. This post is based on a calendar year, not the time frame of when I fully committed myself to this blog and learning everything about running a site.

I began 2015 with four main goals in mind.

 Little did I realize just how HUGE these goals were. Along the way, in my rocky journey, I picked up a few nuggets of wisdom from some worthy and amazing people that crossed my path. These people became my friends, part of a network, and ultimately “my peeps” in my tribe!  I invested in webinars and teaching programs while devoting countless hours of my free time to reading any article or series of How To posts and I’m going to tell you right now- it was not easy, but it was worth it. I would read, read, read until my head could not process any more information. Shut down would happen and I would hit the DVR play button to catch up on my shows. Gotta get my Originals, Outlander, and DOL- Days of Our Lives fix.

Inspiration came from unlikely sources, and a few of the most insightful tidbits came from my own trials and tribulations.. Your know…the kind of stuff that makes for great pinnable quotes on Pinterest Inspiration Boards? Are you feeling me?

Who isn’t a sucker for a great well-intentioned pinnable quote? I am, so I made a few quote graphics.

The BEST blog posts of 2015- French Country Cottage Home Decor, Faux finishes, painted furniture, event styling ideas & more. To see more click on

Looking through a full years worth of blog posts only scratches the surface. There is so much more that people- my readers, my supporters- do not see or even know. Most of my posts insinuate that everything was picture perfect and came together without any problems. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Behind the scenes of almost every blog post, there was a storm-a-brewing out on the horizon. I typically try to steer clear of talking about issues and problems because I don’t want to sound negative and I certainly don’t want pity…Thank you very much! I’d really rather be left alone to have a pity- party of one with a Red Solo Cup. Nevermind, ditch the tacky plastic cup. It would be pity-party with a nice cup of hot tea in a pretty little vintage teacup. What I’m saying here, is that it is important to me that I show the truest, most authentic version of myself here and some of the trials.The BEST of 2015 and the story behind the biggest disaster of the year! A giant flood and how it was overcome.. Featuring French Country home decor, furniture finishes, event styling & more.

There are “experts” that say don’t write too much.  People that read blogs don’t like this, or they don’t like that. They will leave. It’s all just a bit overwhelming. Today, I am ignoring the voices, the articles, the supposed expert advice, and I’m writing in depth. I will concern myself with the details of that “expert” opinion at a later date. I just want to be open and honest. In my heart, I feel like I need to share this. I see the comments from women. I know other women feel scared, and like they aren’t good enough, the timing isn’t right or that all bloggers live in an unattainable style of home or they believe that the homes we live in are not “real homes”.  Girls if you only knew what is really going on behind some of these blogs you would understand and not feel that way. I promise you!

Behind this blog, each photo, every project and job that I do is a real living, breathing, person. I am just like everyone else who is trekking along through the muck and mire learning as I go. I appreciate authenticity in others. Therefore, that is what I will strive to be here on Reinvented Collection. In saying all of that, authenticity was creeping into my vocabulary in 2015, and I’m adopting that creed in 2016.

The BEST blog posts of 2015- French Country Cottage Home Decor, Faux finishes, painted furniture, event styling ideas & more

To everyone that  has left comments, followed me, and subscribed by email, I cannot tell you how much it means to me when you all leave encouraging words and comments. In all honesty, thank you doesn’t cover the gratitude in my heart when I read your comments. I want you to know that I thoroughly enjoy hearing from everyone, and I love when you share your stories with me.

This year was one of the hardest and most rewarding years that I have had in a long time. Long hours. Hard work. Tears. Fitful sleep. Repeat. It was a year of dedicated focus on building a foundation and to many firsts to even count.

Now I want to delve into 2015-

Real quickly- here were my little, not so small, goals-
1. Learn how to use manual settings on my camera.
2. Find my tribe. People who are like-minded and smarter than me.
3. Learn about SEO and a few other technical things that are necessary to blogging.
4. Develop Celiac recipes.

How difficult can all of this be? Ha. I soon found out.

I thought I would have all these goals met within a few months time, and it would be smooth sailing from there. I would be free to do what I do- faux finishes, paint, style and decorate. It all looks great on paper, right? Suffice it to say, I did accomplish my goals, but they did not happen quickly or without challenges.

When it came to the camera situation- 2015 was a year of gaining a fundamental understanding of basic camera operation within manual settings and familiarizing myself with terms like ISO and f-stop. I wanted to stop having flip-outs, cussing at my camera, Alaska, windows, and anything else that I perceived to be the reason why my photos were terrible. After investing in an online course that confused me even more than I already was, I remembered that I have friends that are professional photographers. Why hadn’t I thought of that in the first place?

This post is one of my first photo projects.

If you want to check out details on this paint finish and see more photos head on over to My Gustavian Style.

The BEST blog posts of 2015- French Country Cottage Home Decor, Faux finishes, painted furniture, event styling ideas & more

My friend Jim Shepley, Shepley Imaging Solutions pro-photographer, in Myrtle Beach, has been my teacher. I am hoping to head back east and spend some time with all of my friends in South Carolina as well as attend a big home design market show that is in that neck of the woods. 2016 will include a more intense development and understanding of what I learned in 2015. I’m still working out the details on that. Photography is not something a person learns how to do in a few weeks or months. Learning will never end in that trade.

My very first large photography project was the French Country Farmhouse Table. I spent several days snapping over 1500 photos. Then another month sorting through the garbage photos to find a few for the blog post. The struggle was real! Between the photography and writing, that post was a couple of months in the works. But problems began when disaster struck! This was a real life problem!

The BEST of 2015 and the story behind the biggest disaster of the year! A giant flood and how it was overcome.

In the first few months of 2015, my downstairs flooded. Flooring ripped out down to sub-floors, heat machines running in the house and underneath for a few weeks, vapor layers pulled back to dry beneath the house, the supports, and beams… it was all just too much! Doubt started to creep in, and I began to think that this is the universe sending me a sign that this isn’t the right time. Maybe I needed to focus on learning instead of blogging about what I was creating. BUT… I am a creator and I need a place to showcase my work and what I do. This is the digital age and not the old days where hoofing it around town with a little flyer that has three photos and some words saying, “Hire Me to do you faux finishing and style your events”  was going to work. Plus, I live in Anchorage, Alaska. This is a whole other world up here. It’s Alaska We Do Things Differently is just one of the many slogans that are true.  The rest are rated R. Funny. But still R rated and inappropriate to repeat on this blog.  Any way, this photo project of one of my styled spaces and finishes was all done in a room without any flooring. I painted the sub-floors, did a quick Diy Wall Treatment to give the space a sense of flow and set up to shoot on wacky weather days where the lighting changed every 15 seconds.

There was a silver lining after all….

Through all the chaos and mess and the struggles to photograph the table, that post ended up being my most viewed post of 2015, and several bloggers featured it.

It turns out that the only sign I needed was the one that says, “Shit Happens! Deal With It! ”

The BEST blog posts of 2015- French Country Cottage Home Decor, Faux finishes, painted furniture, event styling ideas & more. Click on and see more

One paragraph and those two measly photos in the graphic doesn’t fully encompass the full scale of the damage or what the real life situation entailed. But I wanted to share this because I know others have faced similar situations and are currently dealing with life too. You aren’t alone. I only hope that it’s not your toilet flooding a room. Mine was just a broken pipe from the water heater. No matter the circumstances, things can always be a lot worse. People in hell want ice water, and thankfully we have access to both even when we think we are in hell.
The BEST blog posts of 2015- French Country Cottage Home Decor, Faux finishes, painted furniture, event styling ideas & more. To see more click on

When it came to the quest of finding my tribe of people, that was a unique challenge. I wanted specific types of people in my tribe. You know, the kind of people that you instantly click with, the ones that are down to earth, intelligent, funny, approachable, and are smarter than you are?

[bctt tweet=”Find your tribe and you will thrive! “]

When Jennifer Allwood from the Magic Brush Inc. first opened up her Mentorship for Creative Entrepreneurs course, I jumped in. That course was what I needed to get me out of the funk of the flood and back on track. A group of 100 women, all in one place who were dealing with the same issues that I was, women who had graduated onto the next phase, and women in between phases. It was awesome! We were all there with common goals, hopes, and dreams,  dealing with some of the same issues, and problems that we as women entrepreneurs, small business owners, and creatives face. Jennifer instilled so much wisdom in a down to earth way that made me laugh at how silly some of my fears were. If I had not joined her mentorship group, I might not have been able to accomplish goal #2 or #3. In many regards, it was Jennifer that set the course to finding my tribe of people. All it really takes to make a difference  is one person.

The BEST blog posts of 2015- French Country Cottage Home Decor, Faux finishes, painted furniture, event styling ideas & more

The next goal was to learn the technical aspects of blogging. Things like SEO, Alt Text, Embedding, Plug-in and Optimize. I now have a basic working knowledge of these terms. Without Jennifer, I would not have discovered my friend Feuza Reis, who is an SEO expert, pro- photographer, and teacher. Her blog is Get Found With Fuse.

I discovered Feuza in the last days of August; then I was out of state working on styling the French Country BabyShower part 2 event. By the time I came home, I didn’t start focusing on SEO until almost Oct 1. None of it began to make a hill of beans of sense to me until just before Thanksgiving. I barely met that goal for 2015. I still have quite a bit to learn in that field so it will continue to be a part of my goals for 2015.

Then I met my buddy Erica H. Vincent, business coach, and consultant. If you are a solo, mom, homepreneur of any type or stuck in a “cubicle jail cell in need of cubicle jail cell escape plan” Erica is the lady to see about a horse. Her blog is Erica H. Vincent. 

I am fixing to start in on a brand new teaching e-course with her. Of course, I’m late to the game with that too. Right now I’m wearing about 25, 30, 50 different hats each week. I just might do a fun blog post about me and all my hats to show you a little more of that authenticity that I was talking about earlier.

Now you know who a few people in my tribe are. If you are looking for good hearted women, Jennifer, Feuza and Erica are an excellent place to start. You will find your tribe in 2016 if you start with these ladies. Birds of a feather really do flock together. That should have been one of my pinnable graphics. I’ll add that to the long “To Do” list.

This was another popular post. I linked to Part 1 already but you don’t want to miss part 3 of the

French Country Cottage Baby Shower Part 3. 

Elegant French Country Cottage style baby shower that is perfectly styled to suit a variety of events including bridal shower parties, luncheons, and Mothers Day celebrations.

I am amazed at the amount of information I have learned in the 12-month span of time. Sometimes I sit here and just say WOW! The more I learn I realize how much I don’t know. With that being said- I have determined that the quest for knowledge is a journey that will never be complete.<—- Should have made another Pin quote, huh!

Celiac recipes- Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. To sum it up, if I eat wheat, rye, barley, and a few other lesser known grains I am laid out sick as  !&?@#!#%&! It’s like having the stomach flu and food poisoning at the same time. Being “glutened” is Real. Life. Fear! Eating is sheer agonizing torture! I can’t think, focus, work, move. Gluten is in e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g! I was really sick of eating the same five safe dishes for the past few years so I set out to tackle building up my recipe collection again.  I did manage to develop about ten new recipes that were quite good, and I will soon be sharing some of those here on the blog.

The best Celiac friendly and Gluten Free recipe of 2015 was this Low Country Boil Recipe.

The best blog posts of 2015- French Country Cottage Home Decor, Faux finishes, painted furniture, event styling ideas & more
So here’s the deal, this post went from insanely long to just really long. This IS the condensed version of what I wanted to share.  The rest is saved for the book. 

As for goals in 2016, right now, I can tell you that everything from 2015 will carry into the new year, and I will be focusing on some smaller more manageable goals.  In 2016 you can expect to see wall faux finishes, painted projects,  videos, outdoor styling, some event styling. I do have a few large projects involving the kitchen and a bathroom on the calendar. I have had a few requests to show people how to decorate with items that they already have in their collections so I’m going to work in a few of those posts as well.  I am interested in hearing about the types of posts you would like to see too. Leave me a comment and let me know the things you want to see or you can email me.

Before we get to the video, I almost forgot about this sweet little blog post about the Romantic Cottage Bookshelf post. This one was a personal favorite! Now that the holidays have passed I can finish telling the end of the story about where it ended up. It’s a sweet mother and daughter saga.

The BEST blog posts of 2015- French Country Cottage Home Decor, Faux finishes, painted furniture, event styling ideas & more You can see more of this post at

In my quest to get a start on videos, I put together this iMovie that is a recap of 2015. I’m pretty proud of this work of art! When I finished it and actually got the thing loaded on Youtube I quite literally jumped up and down and squealed in my excitement.  This is why I was late to the game with the Best of 2015 Blog post. I didn’t miss the game, though.  I was working on a new beginning and jumpstarting in on the “firsts”.

I would love it if you gave me a thumbs up on Youtube.  Evidently thumbs up are important over there. I’m still figuring all of this out.


I’m linking with a few of my favorite bloggy friends. Please enjoy their link parties by clicking on the links below.

The Charm of Home | French Country Cottage |The Happy Housie | Katherines Corner | From My Front Porch To Yours


Your comments are awesome! We do read them and look forward to replying to you.

15 Comments on "Best of 2015 Blog Post With Brand New Video!!"

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Yay!!! What a fabulous job you did with your video. As someone who just discovered you last week, I’m glad to see how many style areas we share. Brenda


Hello Olivia, it is nice to meet you via the Thursday Blog Hop. Your website is lovely and I look forward to seeing your projects!


Thank you, Michele. I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone too. Thank you for stopping by.


Welcome. I need to learn SEO too but trying to take it one step at a time. 🙂 I love French Country style and would love to decorate my entire house in it.

Hi Carolyn, Yes, SEO can be a bugger in the beginning, but it does begin to make sense and then it just clicks. It just takes a little bit of time. If you can, check out Feuza Reis on Periscope. She breaks it down into simple, easy to understand, language.She is really good about answering questions too. I say go for it and decorate the whole house in French Country. That is something I have been working on now for a solid eight years. The process is a bit slow since French style furniture is scarce up here in Alaska.… Read more »

You had some beautiful posts! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!


Thank you so much Sherry! I appreciate you so much. You do put a lot of work into hosting Home Sweet Home. It’s one of my favorite link parties to visit even when I don’t have anything new. My posts are a bit detailed and lengthy. It’s demanding to produce content like that every week or else I would be linking up every single week.

I hope you have a wonderful New Year.


Cheryl Licht

Hi Olivia, I jumped on over here after you left such a sweet comment on my tufted ottoman post. Your blog is BEAUTIFUL! The French Country is my language. But what’s even more surprising, is the Alaska part. I thought I was the only Alaskan trying to do French country in this land of carharts and rifles. Ha! (I live in Palmer. –Crazy small world!) I will be checking back in, and hopefully I’ll have a tufted ottoman tutorial up in the next month or two (fingers crossed).

Hi Cheryl, I am so happy you left a comment. We do live in the land of Carharts and camouflage. LOL. There definitely is not enough French Country up here. It’s nearly impossible to much of anything down to Ironstone. I subscribed to your blog. If I had realized you were here in the same vicinity I would have subscribed when I commented on the ottoman. That piece of furniture is a refreshing change from what is normally seen around these parts. Do you have a booth out there in one of the shops? It has been a few years… Read more »
Ashley Cason

I love the look back! I have a lot of goals set for 2016, some similar to you. I hope my end of year wrap up will be a good one! You also have great taste and style, I will be reading your blog now!


Hi Ashley,
I’m so glad you came by. It is quite the compliment that a licensed designer likes my taste and sense of style. I was in college at AAU for architecture and design, but the tuition expense factored into my decision to focus on styling and decor, along with faux finishing. I really miss learning in a structured environment. I’m going to head over to your blog now.

Happy New Year!



I love your beautiful and timeless French Country style. I love the bright whites complimented by the bold hues. I found you on Treasure Hunt Thursday 🙂



Hi Vanessa,
Thank you for letting me know where you came from. I always find that information useful and helpful. I am fond of neutrals with pops of color and white is my favorite non-color that is a color. I don’t care what is said about it. LOL. It’s a color in my book.

Happy New Year!

Katherines Corner

Olivia, this is a wonderful look back. Looking forward to all of the wonderful things you will share this year too.Thank you for sharing with us. I will be sending a private email to you shortly ( wink) xo


Hi Katherine,
Thank you so much. I will check my email shortly. 🙂

Happy New Year,