2018 Thoughts and Reflections – Goals for the New Year - Elegantly Dressed and Stylish
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2018 Thoughts and Reflections – Goals for the New Year

This post is just a bit later than I intended, but its only the 4th of January and why not take a look back at 2018 and think about what goals I have for the upcoming year. The first week of the New Year brings promise and hope for better things in the upcoming year. A kind of Renaissance, or rebirth.  I don’t really make “resolutions” but rather reflect on the past year and see what I might want to change or reflect on the past year and what went well.

First thing.. I don’t want to take my Christmas Tree down! Boo-hoo! I love having it in the Great Room with the fireplace going and being able to enjoy it in the morning, working on my blog. I am usually in this furry,  creamy white glam robe, mom bought me for Christmas and my boy, Gibson is so funny, as he lays between my chest and the laptop! But, back to the tree- can’t I just say, it is now a part of our new decor?

I finally was able to see my PT for dry needling, which I desperately needed after our trip and hours of sitting in the car. I also think I walked up and down the stairs 30 times getting packed to go home. So now my PT appt goes something like this-

Todd- Hi Jess, how are you? What is bothering you today?

Me: Um. Everything. Everything hurts.

Todd- Well, we will see what we can do… ( an hour of dry needling insues.. )


2018 was a pretty good year. Here are some of the memories from the past year that I was proud of.  It has been 10 years since I was diagnosed with Elhers Danlos Syndrome, and I reflect on what poor shape I was in, only able to move from the couch to take the dogs out to do their business. I had PT several times a week, and spent a lot time in bed. So, after this amount of time, I am amazed at what I am now able to do.  I still do have bad days and difficult days that are a challenge with my health, with high pain, but I never thought I could do some of the things I did this year.

2018 was a year with wonderful blog collaborations with companies such as Soft Surroundings, Chicos, designer Joseiph Ribcoff and Jambu, Karina Dresses, Saranghae, among others.  I have worked with Jambu for 3+ years, and recently, a Brand Ambassador. I also love collaborating with smaller family owned companies that fit my aesthetic and I have been very fortunately collaborating with different companies.

Blog Trip

It was so exciting for me to be asked on a blogger trip to go with 4 other bloggers to NYC, stay at the Viceroy, and have time sponsored by Jambu Footwear. I walked throughout the day and had to rest later in the day, mostly keeping up with our Jambu crew. It was an amazing trip getting to visit The Good Housekeeping Institute, bond with the group, and have a professional photographer take pictures.  It was a memorable trip!

Fierce 50 Campaign

In Feb, I joined the Fierce 50  group on Facebook. This is a group that values midlife women, and share in their triumphs and purpose. It believes that Midlife women are thriving and ready for the new phase in life! I am happy to be a part of this special group that celebrates women.

Being Proactive with Your Health

I have always been this way, and feel it is of utmost importance to take control and be proactive with your health. I wrote about this topic on the blog, HERE. This was a year I had made some strides, and was able to get off of 3 medications! I have more of a core base now of medications I need to take for my condition, but made the choice to go off certain ones, as they were not benefiting me.

Rock Concert

If I ever thought I would be able to go to a rock concert and dance, it would have been in a fantasy world I created.   However, that is what happened in June, when hubby and I went to see Def Leppard and Journey. I had a night of my life, singing and dancing to the music. ( I paid for it for the next few days) Such a memorable time, when 10 years ago, my ankles were so stiff I had a hard time getting out of bed.

Media Event at the Vue

Had a good time at a media event for a summer fashion show at Charlotte’s The Vue. 

Celebrating the 50th

I think I crumbled a bit more when I turned 40. Turning 5-0, I was a bit more secure in myself and haven’t felt much different as the years go by. I think confidence increases as you age, as I have learned alot about myself. It was an amazing Birthday!

Invited to a Beauty day at Soft Surroundings and also at Idolize Brow. 

Trip to SF, Sonoma and Napa

Even though trips take me a week or more to recuperate, it is something I enjoy doing. The travel day, not so much, as it is very hard on my muscles, but the exploring and learning about a new place. We had a blast in Wine Country and San Fran. Read Here. and HERE

Some Goals for the New Year- 2019


Because it is important for my health, and I need to strengthen my body and  muscles to lessen the trigger points and pain I have, I hope to increase the workout schedule. I lift weights at home, but also need more cardio workouts and I am researching treadmills for the house. I like to walk, but not when the weather is freezing! I also hope to check out more workout videos on Amazon Prime. Variety is the spice of life!…

I am hoping to get off one more medication this year, and try melotonin for sleep. Sleep is so important! Getting off meds is quite difficult, it seems the drug companies don’t think of that part when they are making the meds.

I also hope to work on my anxiety and figure out ways to relax more.


Several times a year, my hubby and I like to travel. We may go with the family to Martha’s Vineyard this year. I would love it, as this is a place I have wanted to visit. Not to mention, I have never been to Boston! We also hope to go on a short trip to Nashville, doesn’t that sound fun?


I would love to work on cleaning up my Collaborations page, as it needs organization. I may also sign up for Like to Know it. I have friends that use the platform and do well. So, it is on my to do list.

I continue to work on SEO and getting better at it. I also would love to increase my audience. Social media, there is a love – hate relationship there, and I need to figure out increasing Instagram followers. It has been a bane of mine for a year!

On the photography front, I enjoy processing photos and would love to experiment with different filters this year.  I enjoy working on processing photos, and want to get more creative. ( for Lightroom/Photoshop)

I would love to meet other bloggers near me, and have a lunch out and chit chat!  I am also attending Influencers of Midlife Conference in Atlanta hosted by Robin and Nina, and look forward to that. If only I could feel a bit better! I hope to learn some valuable blogging tools while I am there.

I am hoping to also collaborate with other bloggers this year- giving you various ideas on how to style an item.

Pinerest is something I want to get more into. I have been getting more “action” on Pinterest and want to learn how to drive more traffic to my blog via this medium.

I want to post a survey on the blog, asking my readers what topics they would be interested in reading. Hoping to do that soon.

I want to thank my readers for being a great support to me and my blog, Elegantly Dressed and Stylish. I hope you continue to read this next year, when I hope to bring you more midlife and fashion content.


I hope to enjoy more outings this winter, as winter is a time it is easy to get the “winter blues” or fall into a funk. My hubby and I love musicals and shows, and there are great venues here in Charlotte to see cultural events.

Have a wonderful weekend best to you in 2019!

Jess xx

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  • Emma Peach
    Posted at 03:58h, 07 January Reply

    You’ve done some fun things over the last year! I’m with you on the SEO and social media, particularly Instagram. I seem to have hit a brick wall with it. We took our Christmas decorations down yesterday and now the house looks very boring. I’m thinking of getting more plants to compensate. Wishing you a very happy, healthy and successful 2019!

    Emma xxx

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 10:51h, 07 January Reply

      Thanks Emaa, yeah it was a good year! Oh, I know. I am hoping some of the conference speakers will help me get a better idea of how to work IG.I like the plant idea! But yes, it is hard to take down some of those things! You too, have a Blessed 2019! xx

  • thisblondesshoppingbag
    Posted at 08:27h, 06 January Reply

    2018 was a good year for you and the goals you have for 2019 sound even better! I am so glad you were able to enjoy the Def Leppard and Journey concert – we loved it too an dit took me back! I’m sure 10 years ago you would never have thought you’d feel better turning 50 then you did turning 40, isn’t that crazy? But I do think confidence and wisdom play such an important role. Your upcoming trips sound like fun. I have never been to Boston or Martha’s Vineyard either and I’d love to go. I think with your musical background you would LOVE Nashville! I wanted to go to the conference Nina and Robin are hosting but it’s my son’s 21st birthday that weekend. I hope they do it again next year because I want to go!
    I am so happy to have gotten to know you better Jess, you are a great friend!

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 10:55h, 06 January Reply

      Thanks so much Kellyann. It was a memorable year. I hope to make some strides this year. Ill be posting about the Influencer Midlife conference on the blog afterward. Im excited. I also have really enjoyed getting to know you too, my friend!, you too! xo

  • Elle
    Posted at 15:42h, 05 January Reply

    This is such a wonderful and personal blog post. I really enjoyed all of the details that you provided and think you had a very productive year. Yes I do see that you are making great progress with your blog and becoming an influencer. Yay you!
    I’m so glad that you’re able to do more physically. I have a lot of back pain and it makes even short travel difficult. So my goal this year is to try and be able to travel more than two hours in the car , acupuncture helps a bit though. Plus, traveling with recycled air is not recommended by my doctors as I am immune suppressed.
    But living in New York City I can walk 10 blocks and feel like I am oceans away.
    these pictures are all so beautiful, and I am especially taken with the shot of you in the subway. What a beautiful pink jacket.
    Have a wonderful and productive year with as little pain as possible!


    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 10:48h, 06 January Reply

      Thank you so much Elle, I am so glad that you enjoy my blog and our friendship, as we have known each other now for almost 5 yrs blogging! Your comments mean alot, and I wish you the best with your health in 2019. I am glad that accupuncture helps you and I think you have some wonderful goals. It is great that you are in a big city that offers you so much to do and see outside your door, I am sure that helps. I am sorry about your back pain, I know that as well, and travel is a challenge. You can only do your best. Hubby wants to print the subway picture out and hang it. Take care my friend and same to you!
      jess xo

  • Kimberly Malkiewicz
    Posted at 15:25h, 04 January Reply

    You have certainly accomplished a lot, Jess. I can only imagine how satisfied and happy that you have come such a long way with your health. I really like the photo of you in the subway station. Finding a peach moto jacket is pretty amazing!

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 16:35h, 04 January Reply

      Thanks so much Kim. I have worked hard on my health, but getting off meds is difficult, as there are not often lower doses to do so and then side effect…etc. Thank you about the photo, that was taken with Jambu with a pro photographer, it was so fun, and that is a favorite moto of mine! 🙂 xx

  • Cheryl Tucker
    Posted at 14:42h, 04 January Reply

    You did 2018 up right Jess! I can’t wait to see what all you bring to your blog in 2019! I always enjoys your fashion, trip stories and of course puppy stories!

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 16:31h, 04 January Reply

      Thank you Cheryl! I hope to continue to have fun with fashion and look forward to traveling this year! yeah.. Glad you enjoy ! Have a wonderful weekend. jess xx

  • Neti
    Posted at 13:19h, 04 January Reply

    You had a great 2018 and looks like you are willing to enjoy more of 2019. That’s what life is all about! I vote to keep the Christmas tree up and decorate it with some Valentine’s colors.

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 13:23h, 04 January Reply

      Now, that’s a cool idea! We will be the quirky people in the neighborhood.💕 Then again it’s just us and friends who would see it. Thank you Neti for stopping by, I appreciate it!! Happy New year 🥂xx

  • Jess Jannenga
    Posted at 10:19h, 04 January Reply

    It is the same in the States Nancy! I know, perhaps I am overzealous, but I hope to achieve some of them. 🙂 thanks for stopping! xx

  • Jodie
    Posted at 09:47h, 04 January Reply

    It’s SO impressive how you have gotten healthy Jess…enough to travel and go so many places. You should be SO proud of that. Some people just give up, yet you’ve persevered!!

  • Kathy Lyff
    Posted at 06:53h, 04 January Reply

    Happy new year Jess and best wishes for a successful 2019. That’s a good long list of ideas! On a slightly cynical note, I think drug companies DO think of the difficulties in stopping medication. It’s in their interests to keep medication going. So every best wish for your resolve to reduce further. I love reading your blog and admiring your style. Please keep going 😊

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 09:54h, 04 January Reply

      Happy New Year Kathy! I know, maybe I was too eager for those goals. If I can accomplish some I will be happy.You are so true about the drug companies,I don’t think of that as cynical, but a reality! They don’t make dosages low enough to titrate off, and then it can be difficult. I so appreciate that you enjoy the blog and style.I do have fun with it. Best wishes to you as well Kathy! xx

  • Nancy
    Posted at 02:13h, 04 January Reply

    Drug companies only care about money, at least here in the Netherlands. You have a huge set of goals here! It s good to have them isn t it, to improve ourselves on every level!

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