Highlights of 2016 and Upcoming Plans for 2017
I should really be calling this post the Nightmare of 2016!!. But instead I’m going to call it the Highlights of 2016. I do want to share with you the REAL reason (nightmare) behind all the major changes that took place and also share what are my upcoming plans for 2017.
So much has happened here; isn’t it? with me personally and with my business. So, I thought it was simply fair to write a post and share with you the roller coaster this year has taken me and how it has resulted in some real important and life changing decisions.
First….. This year has finally come to an end!! I hope you had a good Christmas and Holiday season. If you missed the little Christmas card I made especially for you – here it is again.. Happy Holidays Guys!!
You know how you think you are already buried under so much and you just can’t take anymore?
Well in general that’s how my life is ALWAYS!! I’m at the bottom of it all. Juggling everything because I think I can do it all. Pushing a little harder and challenging my abilities a little more everyday. I want to be that amazing mom, that perfect wife, that awesome blogger, that busy cake decorator… you know…?
And just when you think you cannot take anymore – hell breaks loose on you…all that struggle and all that nightmare…. then months later you wonder .. did I really go thru all that?
Yep!! it felt like hell broke over…
Well, you know I normally never discuss or complain about my personal life. I’m a bit more reserved. I like to share the more positive stories not just to keep up appearances but you know It’s just not always easy talking about personal stuff.
But today I want to share with you the main reason why this year has been a nightmare. Just when you think you’ve had your share of so much….. life throws in some more…. that much…..
On the 26th of December 2015 my husband fell sick. A severe herniated disc that kept him flat on this belly for seven full months. He could not move a muscle! Nothing!!! We did everything we could but the doctors said it needs time. It really took seven full months until he started to stand and walk again! This resulted in him loosing his job which made things worst!
He’s much better now but we still walk on egg shells hoping it’s over and there wont’ be a relapse.
You can only imagine what that did to us? I had to manage everything!! Everything!
So while I already did housework, errands, shopping, kids to and back from school, meals, cake orders!! Now I had one more persons job!! Oh I can almost cry just thinking of the first month..
Some of you know that my Rhea is already a child with special needs, so this suddenly meant having two people with special needs to take care of now – the beginning was a nightmare. Ziv could not move a muscle so he needed help with every little thing. The kids being small did not know how to react and Rhea insisted on being difficult.
Taking A step back.
Of course this meant I had to take a step back from things I like –
- I gave up some cake orders that I could.
- No time to clean meaning instead of cleaning the house everyday I’d have to do it once in two days!! I think I hated that so much.
- Writing and making tutorials for my blog was completely impossible for the first three months.
- Playing with the kids was almost not possible and they could not take it. They love family time. Ziv was in too much pain to entertain them as well.
- Social media sharing and participation was down to zero. It would be days before I could post or reply to messages on Facebook. In fact
- I had to discontinue anyone messaging me. Later my niece took over the page and helped me out a bit.
- I could no longer do weekly shares and spotlights that was the heart of my page and Instagram.
- My communication and connections on my page and other social media is what people loved about my page. Nothing!!
- I could feel the ground pull away from me and I hated it!!
My Cake Decorating
Of course I had already accepted cake orders much ahead of time like my wedding cakes so I had to complete them. I did an amazing job with the cakes too! But what I could not really enjoy them. You know having to cope with so much had taken my mind into survival mode so cake decorating has become just a job!!. Often I had to stay up after a long tiring day and complete a three tier wedding cake.
These are just a few of the cakes I made this year. I think I made a total of 18 weeding cakes and 15 other cakes orders.
Sharing is what my blog was all about so if you know me. I still did do a few cake decorating stuff for my cake blog and food recipes on my food blog.
These are just a few cake tutorials I accomplished to make for the blog this year. I really wished I could do more.
These are a few good food recipes from this year on my blog
Merging the two blogs
While so much was happening? Guess what else happened?
My cake blog was hacked! Yup!! And I needed 480 dollars to fix it!! I could not ask Ziv for money of course so I asked my blog visitors and Facebook Fans; if they’d like to help by donating!! I had two people who donated a total of 21 dollars. I was devastated!!!
Finally I managed to get the money and we fixed the blog. But this time I realized the need to start advertising on my blog and I needed an Online Shop. Some people complained that now they had to pay for my calculated recipes and that the blog had ads in between my paragraphs but I figured people will get use to it.
Having and maintaining two blogs was getting expensive and also very difficult to manage. The food blog A Homemade Chef had lots of dessert recipes which were often requested by the cake blog visitors. They’d end up searching it on the wrong blog and I’d have to then go giving away the right links. Often time would be at a disadvantage and I’d end up replying too late.
My web developers suggested that I merge the two blogs. The Cake Blog – Veena’s Art of Cakes and the Food Blog – A Homemade Chef. Of course I could not add the food recipes under the name Veena’s Art of Cakes so I chose to create my name brand – Veena Azmanov
That’s how Veena Azmanov – the name brand and the blog came into being. It was not an easy decision because Veena’s Art of Cakes was a really popular brand and blog but it was a risk I was ready to take.
So now you know what happened and I hope those of you that were very upset with the whole name change and blog mergers will be more understanding now.
The positive side of things.
Tough times are when you get to know those who are your true friends and those who really care about you.
I did get close to a few friends that really helped me keep my sanity. And I also got to know those who were friends in need and only cared about what I could do for them like share their stuff on my page with million fans. I will always treasure these friends who messaged to check on me when they saw I disappeared.
My online shop Calculated Recipes was really appreciated by many who trust my recipes and in just the first three months I managed to sell recipes worth 500 dollars and pay off the loan I took to fix my blog. I felt really lucky to have such amazing, loyal and supportive blog visitors. So thank you so much.
My Aadi really grew up so much this year. He really helped as much as he could. In fact for his birthday in May he said. Mama I do not want you to celebrate my birthday with my friends this year. I think you are already so busy and it’s going to be expensive – It really touched my heart.
Rhea is small and being a child with special needs she can be a little difficult to mange. She does not understand everything and Aadi really helped with her. He did her homework with her. He’d give up the TV so she could watch her program and stay busy. He did all his homework alone instead of me having to monitor.
Moving on with 2017
This year has made me rethink a few things. So I have decided I will be doing things differently than before. I want to concentrate on my blog and spend a little more family time this year. Nothing is more important then the family – is there?
I do love my blog it is the main source of connections and income for me. So I want to make sure it gets the attention it deserves. My blog earns from my Calculated Recipes, online tutorials, from advertising, affiliate marketing and commissions.
You can learn more about how to make and monetize a bog on my previous post when I shared the details of how to start your own blog, how to monetize it as well as how to start a cake business from home.
So here are a few decisions I made for the next year.
- I think I will be taking less cake orders and giving my kids a little more of ME.
- Take mostly Wedding Cake and Sugar Flower orders – that is what makes me more happy when cake decorating.
- Add a little more blog time to my schedule. Earlier I’d do it when I had the time. Some tutorials are still in the folder due to lack of time.
- Share more recipes and cake decorating tutorials on this blog.
- Add more video tutorials on my you tube channel. Hope you will watch these and subscribe too.
- I plan to add more videos to my online Shop which I know some of you are always happy to support me. I am so grateful to those of you that have been with me from the beginning.
- Add a few more videos to the Free Members section on this blog.
- Spend a little more time getting to know my Facebook fans again. I want to get back to chatting and having spot lights on my page again. I use to enjoy meeting people from all part of the world.
Finally let’s not forget – despite all that happened we still had some amazing blogging-
The highlights of 2016
Some collaboration Cakes from this year
I usually take part in many many collaborations during the year, but this year? only three!!
Here are the Top Ten Cake Post of this year.
- Cake Pricing – How to charge for your cakes
- The Best Homemade Fondant /Sugar-paste recipe
- Homemade Edible Sugar Lace Recipe
- Classic Blueberry Cheesecake Recipe with Blueberry Compote
- Ganache Recipe – Milk, White and Dark Chocolate
- How to make a Mirror Glaze Cake
- and How to start a Cake Business from home.
- An old but gold Tip Thursday How to transport Cupcakes – the economic way.
- 20 Tips to Perfect Macarons
- Secrets to Delicious Homemade Pizza.
Here are my Top Ten most popular Cake Tutorials from this year
- Sharp Edges on Buttercream Cakes
- How to make a gumpaste Stiletto Shoe which I made for Marvelous Molds
- Sharp Edges on Ganache Cakes
- How to make a Fondant Cheese and Mice Cake
- and How to make a Doughnut Cake
- of course How to make an Ice Cream Sundae Cake
- do you remember the tutorial How to make a Minion Cake
- How to make a Gumpaste Peony
- and of course the simple Hand Painted Sugar Butterflies which I made for Satin Ice.
- Cake Decorating Timeline – when should I decorate my cakes.
Here are the Top Ten Most Popular Recipes from this year
- Soft Burger Buns
- How to make a vegetarian mirror glaze cake
- Herb Crusted Roast Leg of Lamb
- Velvet American Buttercream recipe
- Homemade Condensed Milk in 5 minutes
- Super Moist Dark Chocolate Brownies
- Meat Stuffed Mushrooms with mince Turkey and cheese
- Easy Cream of Mushroom Soup
- Quick Homemade Shawarma Recipe –
- Indian Chapati or Whole wheat Tortilla
I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for your support and loyalty to my blog and my Facebook page. I’m always looking forward to comments from those of you that regularly comment both here and on my Facebook Page. I do hope you will continue to stand by me in the future too.
Lastly I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year 2017 –