Photo of me by Rebecca Tyler Photography
2021 was a challenging year and a year of growth. I hired my first teammate! Alyssa answered a request on Instagram when I surrendered to needing help in early 2021. She was one of the best decisions and has been such an asset to my business. I am excited to have her on board again for 2022.
I welcomed Henri as a puppy in early 2021 and he has been a joy to have around. He is still in the energetic puppy stage and I am constantly trying to balance his playtime with my work time. We finally got into a rhythm to get some energy out at the park and the weather turned bitter cold in Chicago. I am trying to find an energy outlet for him as I transition back to work. It is a bit like having a toddler at your feet while trying to work from home.
One of my biggest struggles this past year was finding a balance between the blog and Print Shop. I really want them both to grow and be successful and as one person running two businesses, it wasn’t easy. The Print Shop carries a majority of my income, but I was able to see growth in the blog and add on some partnerships this past year. After a full day of answering emails and filling orders, I would head to the computer to write a blog post or draft a newsletter email. I love what I do so much. I hope in 2022 I can find a better balance between the two.
I put my sleep and health as a priority for 2021. I made some strides in both. I have a routine workout schedule and finally made it back to the dance studio in July. Once Delta hit, I was back dancing in my bedroom via Zoom and it doesn’t feel the same. There are days and even weeks I didn’t take the time to show up. Moving my body and getting my heart rate up daily, helps me sleep better at night and I am working on making it part of my 2022 routine again.
Another struggle is managing my inbox. DMs from Instagram can be a lot on top of emails. I failed to reply back to so many people this year. I have found that replying to DMs on the computer is way easier with sharing links and typing and has saved me a lot of time. Designated social media time and office hours are something I need to work on for a more balanced life.
There were some highlights of 2021 that were so special.
I started traveling again. In July, I was in Itay and it was such a dreamy trip. The world just opened up and it was relatively quiet for a Summer in Italy. I was in Positano and Capri which I was able to share one of my favorite places with my fiance. We ate amazing food, visited beach clubs, and I was able to be creative and shoot travel photography for the first time in a long time. My creativity started flowing again.
I returned to Paris finally after over two years. It was bittersweet. Some of the corner bookshops and small independent stores closed and new shops or restaurants took their spaces. The magic of the city was still there and it was incredible to share my favorite city with 23 other girls for the Atlas Adventures trip. This is also where I got engaged and this trip will always remain one of my favorites. We also had incredible weather for two straight weeks.
I got engaged. We are still in the very beginning stages of wedding planning. I always wanted something small but now with the pandemic and getting married later in life there are some things that are more important than others. I am pretty set on the date due to sentimental reasons. We are narrowing down the location slowly and hopefully will have something by the end of the month.
One of my favorite parts of 2021 was seeing my family again and hugging each and every one of them. I snuggled my niece and nephew while watching movies and baked Auntie cookies, they are 5 and 8 and such fun ages. My family and I were able to share meals together, holidays, and make new memories.
At the end of 2021, I spent the last two weeks laying low. I napped a lot, played cards, took long walks, read a book, cooked/baked, and played with Henri. Taking time off away from social media, work, and emails was so necessary. I don’t have a designated day off because I am a workaholic. One of my big goals for 2022 is to have a designated day off! This will be something that I work towards and scheduling it for the week.
I am excited to see what 2022 brings. I am slowly easing into the year. I cleaned up and organized my workspace over the weekend. I wrote my goals down on paper for the year and I look forward to working hard to make them a reality. I have some travel plans including a trip to Paris in the Spring for another Atlas Adventures girls trip along with a family trip in the summer.
I turn 40 this year, and I am getting married. It is going to be a BIG year.
I am very grateful for the community I have built over the last 5 1/2 years of blogging and I can’t wait to see how the blog transitions in the next year. I hope I can encourage more people to travel solo for the first time, book a trip to Paris, explore something or somewhere out of their comfort zone, or start new again. I look forward to growing along with you in this next year. ❤️