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You guys, this will be the week you’ll probably see all your Insta-buddies’ #2017bestnine posts, if you haven’t been seeing them already. We are only six days away from the new year (!!!), and everyone wants to know: what were my most-liked nine posts on Instagram this year? // That sounds harmless enough – another one of these silly little virtual ‘games’ + everybody’sdoing it, so I do too.

I head over to, insert my IG handle, wait for it to generate…and wait…and wait… and wah lah: the site shows me a collage of my nine most-liked Instagram posts from 2017. Here they are:


Are you sensing a theme here? Seven of the nine images were associated with The Happy Planner®. One of me working the CREATIVATION trade show this year in my leopard dress was one, and I guess I understand that since it was an ‘expression of gratitude’ type of post. Another was the image I posted on my last official day with me & my BIG ideas, expressing gratitude with a slideshow of all the fun projects and moments the job brought to my life. The rest were brightened up designed pages of my planner or aspect of my planning (workspace, finished album, etc.)…

Two of the nine were styled shots from a mini birthday photoshoot I self-hosted at home, that included confetti I added in with photoshop. Okay. I guess I get it. Harmless fun. Best Nine. Here they are. Thanks, internet? Moving on.

Except, let’s backtrack a bit….cuz here is what happened to me and what seems to be happening with everybody…

After taking a gander at my #2017bestnine, I started saying to myself and often read others type in a caption in response to their best nine: “Oh, I guess you liked…A B C….so I guess more A B C in the next year…” I realized that something as simple as this hashtag is not just taking us on a trip down memory lane or popping things up for nostalgic purposes. Rather, it’s placing value on past content, playing into our psyche, and actually shaping how we are gearing ourselves up to be portrayed in the new year.

I assessed my generated best nine by saying ‘THEY’ liked [blank]…so I should post more [blank] for ‘THEM’… Who are these ‘THEY’ and ‘THEM’? …because truthfully + honestly, YES: I LOVE my staged efforts and mini photoshoots; I LOVE my brightened up planner pages and my planner strips; I enjoy reposting colorfully designed quotes that apply to my life + coordinate my feed…HOWEVER what I love about my life + what sharing photos with an audience does to my soul HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH what other people want or expect from me.

This is the topic of the latest episode of Crafty Ass Female, the new podcast I cohost. Kristin and I discuss this Instagram phenomenon referred to as ‘best nine’ + offer an alternative way to think about it. Also on our minds going into the new year is the toxicity of posturing, and call our listeners to increase their awareness about the weirdness that is wrapped up in using social media. The core message of this episode is this: YOUR VALUE IS INHERENT + not determined by the number of ‘likes’ or what a website or app calculates is important content.

With that being said, we even pose our first Crafty Ass Female challenge: #mytrue2017bestnine challenge!


HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Search what your #2017bestnine are, and assess the images that appear. What did followers and viewers find most appealing from your feed? Then reflect on what moments posted to your feed you would consider your TRUE best nine of 2017. Make a collage of THAT & tag it #mytrue2017bestnine + #craftyassfemale!

Below you can see my own assessment of what my TRUE 2017 best nine posts to Instagram are:


You know what the theme is NOW? …spontaneous, unexpected little life-surprises that I couldn’t have staged if I tried. THESE are the type of captured moments that are THE BEST (to me). THAT is what I want more of in 2018: images (even BAD ONES, heaven forbid!) that capture a good memory. Not just good images that play to trends + a pretty feed + ‘branding’ myself.

The ones I chose above are as follows:

1) the first picture taken of me with my baby cousin Raelyn the day she was born. It’s grainy and doodled on, but we didn’t expect her to come that day. …and what I know now of how much joy she’s brought to our life since that cold January day, looking at this picture tears me up a bit. That was the start of it…this memory right there. THE BEST.

2) the surveillance camera image my mom sent me of Alejandro and her two cats on a cold February morning outside in the enclosure she built them with her own two hands. this friggin’ photo cracks me up because I know the personalities of these three, and I can tell what each one is thinking, and their glowing eyes…too funny! I opened it in the text my mom sent me + I didn’t see it coming. THE BEST.

3) me in my happy place: the dance studio – with a couple of the ladies from my class, sitting on the floor during a break, enjoying this dance hobby together on Wednesday night. // being with kind, happy people, participating in the same activity, learning + laughing as a group – it’s what life is about. THE BEST.

4) count it all joy. a gold foil sticker. placed on a photo I printed from home…of me doing a thing I was so honored and grateful to be able to do: talk to an audience of crafty ass females like me who love planning like me and inspired them to own the shit out of their creative badass selves. UMMMMM….HULLO. So many happy things that define who I am rolled into one image. please & thank you. THE BEST.

5) double scoop of my favorite ice cream flavor on a hot spring day, held up in front of a beautiful, unexpected mural – in a new neighborhood I had never visited before. I treated myself to this afternoon snack, on a Saturday after a long, tough, emotional week. This image captures self-care, self-soothing, and the beautiful surprises around us if we just look for them. THE BEST.

6) okay, okay. I included my ‘ode to The Happy Planner®’ slideshow – the only image I pulled from my original best nine – because of it’s hopeful, ‘fresh start’ vibe, and it reminds me of my sister taking this photo. Also, all the happy memories + projects I included in that post. THE BEST.

7) those dancing moon shadows during the solar eclipse. I was working from home that day, and knew like everybody else (DUH!) that the eclipse was going to happen, and all the ways you could prepare to make the most of it (DUH), but none of the news I watched ever let me in on the fact that the shadow of the eclipse would come through the tree leaves and project these little crescents all over the place! I was so tickled by this unexpected miracle of nature. THE BEST.

8) that bike shot. it was taken on a Tuesday evening ride, right at the end of summer, that I spontaneously decided to go on. I ended up exploring a part of my neighborhood I never knew existed and coming across this tarnished, textured white brick wall. it was a local adventure I didn’t expect to embark on, but was so glad I did. THE BEST.

9) finally, I chose the blurry bokeh image of my new christmas tree. I love it because it perfectly captures the colors from this year’s christmas season. it perfectly captures how this december felt for me: blurry, yet hopeful. …and it was one of those photos my phone captured on its own while I was holding it and doing other things. The image was originally tilted and taken from afar, but I got this image from rotating and cropping, and the end result looks like exactly what this whole post is talking about: sparkly, magical everyday moments, feelings captured that no number of likes or comments could everput value on. THE BEST.