It’s been a quiet few days at the house since I returned from a week in Colorado. The quietness is perfectly okay with our household — even Ollie the Dog has been extra tired after his stay with our favorite Rover dog sitter.
We celebrated New Year’s Eve at a family friend’s barnhouse, which was beautifully lit up and warm with plenty of space and furniture for everyone to sit back, relax, and enjoy ringing in 2018. Jake and I lost spectacularly at beer pong (I take full responsibility, I was absolutely no help). We chatted with friends of all ages while eating delicious homemade soups. We counted down to midnight and I gave my love a kiss in celebration. Not much more you can ask for, really.
Since we didn’t have to worry about cleaning or laundry after taking care of chores the day before, yesterday was a day of relaxation and football, as well as for me, getting right back into the swing of things on the blog. Because goodness, the holidays had me away for a little while! Well, and some other behind-the-scenes work I spill the beans on later in this post.
I’ve been thinking a lot about 2017 and how big of an improvement it was in comparison to 2016. As a whole, it felt more purposeful with momentum and genuine happiness. Like any other year, there were some bumps in the road (like my 2011 Subaru Forester engine crapping out), but things are, to put it simply, feelin’ good overall.
Highlights from 2017
Jake got back into his golf career with managing a golf course, teaching lessons, and coordinating tournaments. He has, in his words, “gotten his swing back.” He’s already looking into 2018 tournaments to compete in and we’re thrilled for all the opportunities this past year has opened up for his future doing what he loves. It’s incredible how circumstances can make such an impact in life — once he was reintroduced to his passion at the beginning of 2017, his outlook on life changed with radiance of positivity and purpose. In turn, our relationship is better than ever and I wholeheartedly believe it stems from his inner happiness of reintegrating career with passion.
We moved out of our little apartment and, after several months staying with the brothers in a duplex, moved into a spacious, amazing house here in Sacramento. We continue to live with Jake’s brothers (who have truly become like my own brothers — teasing, farts, and all that comes with it). Ollie has his big backyard, and we actually grew tired of avocados this autumn after our tree produced more than we, our coworkers, and friends could eat. While we don’t expect Sacramento to be our long-term home as we settle into the phase of adulthood, this has been the homiest the city has felt since moving here at the beginning of 2016. We still marvel at how lucky we were to get this house, and splitting the rent with the boys has helped me retake full control of my finances.
I changed my own career within the marketing industry. I switched from a public relations agency to in-house communications, and while there were multiple factors to my decision, at the end of the day it was because I recognized the importance and impact of work/life balance. Now I have more opportunity to focus on my creative outlets. I have afternoons to explore healthy cooking options, work on my blog, go to yoga classes, and enjoy quality time with my boyfriend and dog. The last six months have practically passed in a blur — and very little of which involved work stress. It’s a breath of fresh air, and one of the best (if difficult) decisions I made for my own well being in 2017.
I learned that it is truly possible to commit to a healthy eating lifestyle — and wow the results are mind blowing. Okay, so I admit I learned how to in 2017, though my focus for 2018 is to maintain that healthy lifestyle. I’m all-or-nothing person, and this upcoming year is all about establishing balance. During the two separate months I committed to clean eating, I was astonished at the results. My skin cleared up and for the first time since I was a kid, I felt comfortable not wearing makeup. My bloating and cramp stomach issues that have cursed me for a decade went away, and I felt more energetic and motivated to exercise. I lost 20 pounds by cutting out specific foods. Maybe the holidays have brought that weight back — but now I know exactly what has to happen and how I need to readjust my mentality to get back into a healthy state of being.
It was a year filled with traveling and adventures with family and friends. There were a lot of weekend excursions, kick starting with a weekend in San Francisco to ring in the New Year, and then flying to Orlando, Florida for work for the first time. Asheville, North Carolina for my cousin’s bachelorette weekend, and soon after, my cousin’s wedding in the Colorado mountains where I proudly stood by her side as Maid of Honor. Going to wine country and Lake Tahoe with college friends, cheering on football teams with family, and laughing with loved ones on the Southern California beach at sunset. Visiting my sister and seeing Chicago for the first time. I mean, my goodness! What a year of abundance in experiences and memories, and I love that we took the time to savor the moments, live in the present.
I’m still in awe of how wonderful this holiday season was, so full of nostalgia. I always love the holidays, but this year was extra special… I think because Jake and I were together through all it and spent our very first Christmas together (despite it being the fourth Christmas in our relationship). We spent Thanksgiving with his family and then Christmas with mine, with all the usual traditions feeling that much more special getting to share with the one you love. The holidays were cherished family time, where we detached from much of the rest of the world as we spent quality time together. My younger sister and boyfriend finally got to really know one another, and I actually started tearing up at one moment when they were exchanging one their silly inside jokes.
I started to take myself more seriously. I put action into words and began making real effort to improve my skills. I encouraged my own personal development and expanded my mind with inspiring reads, new connections, and independent thinking. I joined a team of boss babes, Sweet Success Society, and we launched a membership program, The Society. I’m learning about collaboration outside of the standard work environment, and I’m learning about how I can better utilize time management and improve my productivity. I’m tired of simply being busy — and it took some time to really realize that this year, and even more time to address it. I stepped out of my comfort zone, and I’m preparing to do it a whole lot more this upcoming year.
I like to look back on this past year and summarize is as one of overall growth and tapping into my potential.
What’s In Store for 2018
However, that’s all it really feels like I did — just tapped into my potential. There’s so much more opportunity, and now that I’ve had a taste of it, it’s like I can’t stop. Yes, some days (and weeks) I’m more motivated than others. But overall, I feel like I’ve hiked up the easy part of a hill and now it’s getting steeper, but the top feels — for the first time — tangible. Achievable to actually make it, once I commit to pushing through the difficult part of the climb. The part I like to call, figuring out what the hell you’re doing.
I haven’t been as active on the blog in December as I originally anticipated, but I am glad to report that there’s been a lot going on in the background. The new year has given me that extra push I needed following the slumber of the holidays, and I’m really excited to share all that’s new.
For one — I’m putting together a business plan. There, I shared my secret! Really had to twist my arm, didn’t you? It’s not just a few answers to a worksheet I found via Pinterest — well, it’s like that, but on steroids. Because you see, the best way I can describe my predicament is that I have all these puzzle pieces in a messy heap. They’re there, but I still to take the time to sort through them, acknowledge and figure out each of them, in order to then put the full puzzle together. I’ve been going on the fast track for a while, I admit it — and this past month I’ve finally told myself, “Nope, that’s not how I’m going to live up to my success goal.” It’s time to take a few steps back and really dig deep before continuing on this path.
So that’s exactly what I’ve been doing: digging deep. Not just creating actionable tasks, but putting purpose behind each one and how they attribute to each quarterly goal, which then contributes to the bigger annual goal. Figuring out what I truly want out of blogging and what I expect of myself.
First action of 2018: Email List
First and foremost — I’ve finally created an email list and I invite you to join! You’ll receive updates whenever there’s a new resource, get inside scoops on valuable content, and be the first to hear updates on the latest happenings on the blog.