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Trust 2017: My Vision, My Theme

Trust 2017

Trust | a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.

In numerology, 2016 represents a year of endings. 2017 adds up to a year of new beginnings. I know nothing about numerology, but I love this idea. It’s precisely where I’m at. 2016 closed a few chapters in my life and opened new doors. And in 2017, it’s time to step through those doors. Trust what’s on the other side. Trust the magic of new beginnings.

Truth is, thinking about 2017 makes me anxious. I have a lot of plans. Plans for change. And although change is good and oh so necessary for growth, it’s scary. This year will hold a lot of transition. And it feels so perfect, exactly what my soul needs right now. But it’s also hard. And it has me afraid at times.

And so, I choose TRUST.

A constant reminder to trust in myself, trust in my journey. To trust in my ability to do hard things. Trust if I put the energy into the universe, if I work my ass off and do everything I can, if I give my all, things will work out okay. And maybe they won’t happen exactly as I hope, and maybe they won’t happen easily, and maybe they won’t happen all in one year — but they will happen.

I’m doing something I never do. I’m putting my faith in the universe. I’m closing my eyes and saying a prayer to my soul. I’m trusting that what I have to give is enough.

I am enough. And so it goes…

I will trust.



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2016 Year in Review: Planning

(I chose this photo as representative of my year because, well, because I just love the damn picture. Ha! And also it reminds me of one of mine and Charlotte’s first adventures. We drove to Cathedral Gorge and stumbled upon a wildlife preserve I didn’t know existed. Charlotte had an amazing day sniffing everything in site and wandering through the cathedral’s caves. I had an amazing adventure. We took tons of photos and took our time. On the way home, we stopped in a sweet little town just to wander. And we stopped on the side of the road simply to take this picture. This year, I learned to slow down a bit. I learned to have patience with myself to get that perfect shot or breathe in that fresh air or simply just to stare. And I really appreciate that.)

OMG!! I’m finally to the planning phase! I spent a bunch of time today writing through prompts and thinking about the details I want for 2017. What am I craving? And how the heck am I going to make it all happen?

Let me tell you, I’ve got a tall order ahead of me. 2017 will be no easy feat. BUT…I can’t freaking wait. (I say that with total enthusiasm between breaths of excitement and also total exhaustion and slight overwhelm just thinking about it all.)

So today I did a lot of writing. About finances. About art. About personal wants and needs. And then I looked at five big categories to figure out what I want from each of them. Here they are:

  1. Financial: So this is probably my biggest area of focus in the coming year. I hate to focus so highly on finances, but they’re going to be important. I have big changes ahead. And, let’s be honest, paying my mortgage and such…kinda important. In 2017 I want to build a fairly substantial savings. I want to feel secure. I want to feel abundant. I want to stop stressing about money. The reality is that I live just fine on my teacher’s pay. But the reality is also that I wouldn’t survive too long if that pay went away. Teachers don’t get paid a lot. This shows in my savings. It sucks. It needs to change. I need abundance. I don’t mean I need to become an overnight millionaire or anything. I just need to be more comfortable. Less penny pinching. On a different note, I want to take a yoga teacher training, and I want to save the money for that before I book a spot. I need to upgrade my computer (because this one is sort of dying, especially in the face of editing my gargantuan photo files). I need to pay off those damn student loans. (Seriously…it’s been over 10 years, and I owe…a couple hundred dollars less than when I started paying them!!! WTF, people??!!) I want to build an art business, one that fulfills me creatively and brings me some of that financial abundance. So, yes, I plan to step it up with my finances in 2017.
  2. Personal: I need to spend time in nature every week. I do this now. It makes me feel whole. I want to explore new places outdoors and take more adventures, always. This year I would like to build a meditation practice that is more regular than it is now. I would like to add just 5 minutes to every yoga practice. Simple. Small. And oh so worth it. I would love to build more rituals into my art practice. I just think it’s fun! I plan to organize my art room (yet again; this seems to happen every six months!) and with that reorganization, create a small altar space, something a little mystical for tarot cards and sage and candles and feathers and favorite stones. I want to spend time taking care of myself. Honestly, I’m pretty good about this now. And I think it feels so good when I look out for my well-being, so I’d like to do it even more. More scented candles. More bubble baths. More walks while listening to podcasts. More playing in my art journal for no reason in particular. I want to pick up my writing practice again — just something small, maybe 20 minutes a day. I want to sign up for the Oasis to do weekly check-ins and journaling. I love this kind of stuff. It feeds my soul.
  3. Learning: Oh, I pretty much love everything about learning new things. I crave words and textbooks and fiction books and memoirs. I used to read voraciously, and now, not so much. I would like to increase my reading in 2017, perhaps a nightly ritual of reading before bed. It settles my mind and takes me to other worlds, and I sort of love that. I started studying anatomy with a focus on my yoga practice in 2016, and I would like to continue that. I want to learn more art techniques and further develop my style. I have some art classes from 2016 that aren’t quite done, and I would like to finish those. And I want to play around with my own projects and ideas, a minimum of one new art piece a week. I started a marketing program in 2016 to learn about marketing an online business, and I would like to finish that this year. So many awesome things to learn! It’s hard to decide exactly where to begin. But I figure I’ll just start and scoot along all year. The time will pass regardless, so I might as well spend it doing things that inspire me.
  4. Wellness: This year I’m letting go of the need to become some sort of uber healthy vegetarian. I’m just going to eat what I want and try to make decent choices on occasion. My real focus, and where I excel, is my yoga practice. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect. I miss days in favor of sleep sometimes. It’s all good. Sometimes sleep is the priority. But I would like to continue my five day a week practice, and I want to work toward longer practices. Right now, I practice about 30 minutes a day. I’m crunched for time because I practice before work. But if I adjust a few things, I can start to increase that time and maybe get it closer to an hour. We’ll see. No promises, as I do love my morning schedule. It’s like a ritual. But I also love when I’m on break from work and get in those longer practices. They feel so gooood. I also want to continue my daily walks with Charlotte. We walk for about an hour. She sniffs everything in sight, and I listen to podcasts. It’s the perfect way to unwind after a long day at work.
  5. Relationships: I tend to kind of drop the ball in this area. I’m not the best friend in the world because…I’m sort of a hermit. I love being home, making art, watching TV, reading, studying, cuddling Charlotte, being all kinds of solitary. But I would like to make some small improvements here. There are a handful of people in my life I want to celebrate this year, send birthday cards and holiday cards and hand written notes. Just little things that say, “Hey, thanks for seeing my hermit ways and still wanting to be friends!” 😉 I want to make quality time with Jake a priority – weekend adventures, nightly walks, dinners together, a vacation. I also want to maintain that quality time with myself. Like I mentioned above, the self-care rituals are a lifesaver.

And there you have it. These are the things on my mind as I move forward in creating those 2017 goals. Everything feels good. I’m happy with where this is heading. And I really think 2017 is going to be a game changer.



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2016 Year in Review: Process (more!)

(This photo was taken at Gorges State Park in North Carolina. It was the beginning of my painting retreat weekend when I had a little time to hike and explore. The day I took this photo was quite stunning. Warm sun, clear skies, gorgeous colors. I chose this photo next in my review because it reminds me how much I loved fall this year. I discovered a love of the seasons changing, the cooler weather, the beautiful colors. I sought out pretty much any place with evidence of fall, which, being from Vegas, can be difficult to find. I think maybe it’s representative of my journey this year. I’ve been focusing on making lots of changes, getting myself ready, preparing for a new season in life. And it makes me smile.)

So I’ve been thinking about how I want to continue this review. I feel like there are SO many questions, and they’re not necessarily hitting the specific things I want to focus on. So I’m going to switch this up and do it my way.

Here’s how I want to do my reviews in the future. I want to spend some time writing about and celebrating what went right. I want to spend some time writing about what felt crappy and celebrating my strength. I’ll then create a list of goals for the year. And, of course, I’ll choose a theme word for the year and create a vision board that reminds me of my goals and theme.

At the end of each quarter, I would like to read through my End of Year Review, and I want to make a list. The list is a Continue, Stop, Start list. I’ll list the things I would like to continue doing (these things are going right, and I want to keep it up), the things I would like to stop doing (these things are not serving me, and I want to stop them), and the things I would like to start doing (these things would make the year even better).

I feel like making the End of Year Review a little smaller makes it more manageable (and more fun), and doing quarterly reviews with Continue, Stop, Start lists will be incredibly useful in keeping on track.

Yup. That feels right.

So. Since I started this review with the list of questions, I’m not going to do separate “good” and “bad” writings. I’m going to do one free write, just in case the review questions didn’t hit everything that’s on my mind about the year. And then I’ll continue with the goal setting and so on.

I’m sharing this in case it’s helpful to you in creating your own year-end review. And also so I don’t forget this plan!

Anywho. I’m doing the free write below. Feel free to read along. 🙂

2016 Free Writing

Last year I had a goal to focus on vitality and health. I did 50% great with this. I wanted to continue my yoga practice and grow with that practice. And I’m happy to report I feel SO good about my practice this year. I’m focusing not only on strength, but also on flexibility and meditation and general wellness. I’ve stopped worrying about those little physical imperfections I perceive about myself, and I’ve simply focused on how I feel. Do I feel good? Awesome. I no longer stare at my butt in the mirror, checking for cellulite when I get out of the shower. (I’m just being honest here because, yes, I used to do this a lot. And just a note — yes, I have cellulite. I’ve had it since puberty; it’s genetic; and I’m never getting rid of it. So there.) I’ve worked to stop being concerned about how my eyes are starting to show my age. I’ve stopped worrying about these little, stupid things. Instead, it’s about being able to do the things that bring me joy. It’s about being healthy enough to climb a mountain and keep up with Charlotte. BUT…even though I’ve been 50% great, I haven’t made so much progress with regards to food. At the beginning of the year I tried going vegetarian again (something I did several years ago for quite a while and found fairly easy). Let’s just say, it didn’t work so well this time. I fell off the wagon about a month in. Maybe two. I’ve been thinking about this food stuff since I’ve noticed so many fairly young people dying lately. (Okay, so they’re celebrities, I don’t know them, and most of them had drug problems, but still.) I’m thinking about my own mortality. And How I sort of want to live forever. And thus, I need to get a bit healthier. My eating habits are about 50/50. 50% healthy and 50% less so. I need to take care of my body better by feeding it more real food. I’m not sure there will be any goals about this in 2017, just a general awareness that will hopefully lead to some better choices.

I spend too much time on social media. Facebook is a useless time suck these days in which I pretty much just read political articles and find myself getting mad. I’ve cut back tremendously on my Facebook time lately, and it feels good. I need to cut back more (and not slip back into bad habits when I have free time). I love Instagram, but I also find myself wasting time on there. I click that camera icon far too often, just to check if anything new has happened (a post, a like, a comment). It’s pretty silly. I want to spend less time on social media in 2017 and find a way to use it productively. I actually do like to keep up with friends via FB and IG; I just need to be more regimented with myself in their use.

I want to focus on kindness in the coming year. Kindness to others. Kindness to myself. Patience is another of those words that feels really right these days. I want to continue self-care rituals. And rituals in general. I would love to bring some rituals into my art making. I want to burn sage and buy tarot card decks and create a little altar in my art room.

Speaking of my art room, it is in need of some organizing. I need to get that together so there is space for an altar. I’m fairly sure I need to reorganize the art room every six months. But, man, it always needs it. There is always a better way to store art supplies!

I want to invest in myself and my art business and build something sustainable. There is so much more to say about the art business, but I will save that for another post.

Okay. So this is where I’m leaving this free write. I could go further, but I feel like I’m a little aimless at the moment. After all of today’s writing, my brain is a little fried. I think I’ll read some and then call it a night. Thanks for joining me on this crazy adventure!



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2016 Year in Review: Process (continued)

(This photo was taken at Lower Calf Creek Falls in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument area. I chose this picture as representative of my year because it reminds me of adventure, particularly taking adventures with my little Charlotte, visiting places around Las Vegas I’ve never been. It reminds me of how much she’s brought to my life. It reminds me of following my bliss and doing what feels right. That weekend, we drove up to Escalante and stayed during one of the Jewish holidays. I was surprised it was such a tiny town, of only 800 permanent residents. We stayed in a tiny cabin and went on some beautiful hikes. The area is pretty spectacular, and I couldn’t even get close to seeing all I wanted to see. We crossed bear tracks on the way back from this waterfall. Pretty awesome.)

Today I continue with: Process. Before planning for 2017, I’m processing what happened in 2016. I started with processing the good things, and now I’m looking at some of the not so good and places I got stuck. Here goes…

Process (part 2)

  1. What was time wasted this year? I hate to think of anything as time wasted. In general, I would say I didn’t waste any time this year. I did what was right at the time, and even though I might make different choices if in the same situation today, those were the right choices then. I suppose if anything was wasted, it was probably time spent worrying. And perhaps time spent not working toward my goals when I could have been. I always want to focus on doing the things that bring me joy. I always want to focus on positive movement in the direction I choose. If I’m not doing that, I want to notice and correct course.
  2. What was money wasted this year? I don’t have any big money regrets from the year. I did spend some money on a business training that I didn’t complete. I wouldn’t call it a waste though, as I plan to complete the training in 2017.
  3. What was the biggest challenge you faced this year? I’ve really struggled with believing in myself. I have a dream that I want to turn into reality, and believing it’s possible has been incredibly difficult. I have moments of incredible clarity, but those moments so often fade in favor of worry and stress.
  4. If anything, what would you change about how you handled that challenge? It’s an ongoing challenge, so I have many opportunities to change how I handle it. I’m still working on that dream, still working to believe in my ability to make it happen. What would I change? I would stop worrying…or at least try. I would live more in the present and think about what I can do today to work toward my big goal/dream rather than being concerned about whether or not it happens in the way I hope at some indeterminate time in the future. I would take baby steps each day. I would plan for each week and follow those plans more closely, without allowing myself to get overwhelmed by the big picture. I would meditate more often to work on staying present.
  5. Are you ending the year with any unfinished business? I don’t believe that I am.
  6. Are there any outstanding goals you would like to let go of? I’ve been thinking about this one. Last year I had a goal to complete yoga teacher training. My reasons for the goal were two-part: first, I wanted to deepen my practice, and second, I would love to teach yoga at my art retreats (a big future goal), and I think teacher training would help me do that. I didn’t complete the training last year for a number of reasons, and I find myself going back and forth about whether or not I want to pursue the goal in 2017. In some ways, I think it would be a great way to supplement my income and also bring interest to any future art retreats. In other ways, I think maybe I’m not totally sure about what I want to do with the training and it’s not a good financial choice this year. I’m honestly not sure. I’m not ready to let it go, but I’m not 100% committed either. I think perhaps I’ll hold onto the goal but not too tightly — if I do it, I do it, and if not, that’s okay too. Time will tell.
  7. What was your worst setback in 2016? I don’t feel like I had any big setbacks in 2016. I did have some struggles, but those didn’t set me back. I wanted to be further ahead in selling my art, and I dropped the ball a little on that (mostly due to overwhelm and a lack of confidence), but I haven’t given up. I’m still working on it, one little baby step at a time. And so my progress this year may have been slower than I’d hoped, but that’s okay. I’m still making progress. Also, I need to remind myself that at the beginning of the year, I somehow knew I was asking too much of myself to focus on business. That was part of the theme Create. I wanted to focus on creating art, rather than focus on the business aspect. I only added the business aspect as the year moved forward and I realized it would be difficult to accomplish some long term goals without considering business at all. So, really, I’ve been successful in what I originally set out to do, although it looks slightly different. So, no, I didn’t have any big setbacks.
  8. Which bad habits or unhealthy patterns did you engage in that you’d like to give up once and for all? Worry. Stress about the future. Doing nothing in the face of overwhelm. Negative thinking and negative self-talk. (This is my shortest answer, and let’s be honest, the most difficult thing to do! Reminder: progress, not perfection.)
  9. What or whom held you back this year? Did anything make you shrink into yourself or feel defensive about your dreams? Only my own ego. I’ve spent unnecessary time worrying and stressing about what will happen if an art career doesn’t work out. (Answer: nothing; you’ll just move on to the next thing…and yet, worrying about this topic takes up a whole. lot. of. time. Silly, Heather, silly.) I’ve also spent too much time feeling paralyzed by overwhelm, wondering how I’m going to make it all happen. (Answer: take it one day at a time, one step at a time, and stop being so consumed by the big picture!)
  10. How did you hold yourself back this year? Which beliefs | ideas | excuses stopped you from pushing forward? Here’s a belief that has really held me back: I don’t believe I’m ever going to make much more money than I do now. And to top it off, I don’t believe that I’m capable of making even close to what I make now if I own my own business. And yet, that’s the dream. If I don’t find a way to believe in myself and my ability to make a good living, I’m never going to make it. Simple as that. This mindset needs to change in 2017. Drastically.
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2016 Year in Review: Process

At the end of each year, I carve out some time to sit down and reflect on the previous year. I usually do this with a big group of women, working through a set of questions, writing it all by hand, reflecting and thinking about what went well and what went, well, shitty. Ha.

This year, I’ve taken a bit of a different approach. The idea is still the same, minus the big group of women. Plus, I’m posting my entire year in review on my blog. I think this will be an awesome way to keep a record for years to come. Yes, it’s kind of vulnerable doing it this way. It scares me a bit to answer these questions while being totally open (and potentially allowing the whole world to see). But I’m committed to giving it a try.

To do this, I’m working through a planning workbook by Lisa Jacobs. It’s called Your Best Year 2017. So far, I’m totally digging it. (Lisa also includes much of the review part of the workbook on her blog as a seven day series to encourage you to do the same. If you’re interested, I totally recommend you visit Lisa’s blog!)

Without further ado, let’s get this thing moving! (oh, and please note…these can get long. I’ll try to break them up into digestible chunks. But consider yourself warned. 😉 )

(With each of these posts, I plan to include a photo that I feel is representative of my year and share a little about why. I chose this picture for several reasons. First, it’s Charlotte, and that little girl sort of changed my year…and my whole life. She brings me so much joy. But also it’s a photo taken on an adventure (very indicative of the year), in the desert. This particular spot is at the Wave, a bucket list hike I’ve tried to get permits for, for FIVE years. I finally got them this year! Bucket list item…checked. The desert is harsh, seriously harsh, yet if you look, you can find some of the most beautiful places in the world. And that’s a bit what my year felt like…harsh but beautiful.)

The first section is: Process. Before planning for the coming year, I like to process what happened in the previous year. It’s a good way to keep myself from aimlessly repeating the same goals…year…after year…after year. So here goes…

Process (part 1)

  1. What was time very well spent this year? I spent a lot of time making art – painting, collaging, learning new techniques. I loved every moment of it. It’s taken me a lot to get to this point, but I finally feel like I’m developing my own style. I say that in a very “tentative” way because I feel like I have so far to go and so much still to learn. But it feels really, really good to have focused on creativity this year and actually spent time being creative. I also spent time building a relationship that means a ton to me, and I’m proud of myself for being honest about what I want and taking the chances to get it. (So far so good. Fingers crossed for 2017!) I spent a lot of time outside, especially after I got Charlotte (my little brittany dog). I hiked and explored outside of Las Vegas in places I hadn’t yet visited. I loved every minute of it. Having Charlotte as my adventure companion and spending time with her was some of my best time spent. In addition, I continued to hike alone quite a lot. I enjoy hiking with others, but I learned to embrace that part of me that wants to go at my own pace, take pictures, and savor the moment. I embraced that part of me that enjoys being alone. I continued to grow in my yoga practice. I practiced about five times a week all year (with a few exceptions for being sick and traveling, etc.). But my yoga practice grew. It moved from a practice based on learning postures to a practice based on showing up and listening to my body, and it felt (and still feels) really, really good. I chose to go home on time this school year, pretty much every day. I chose to honor my need to follow my other passions and put my other priorities ahead of the priorities of my job. And you know what? My teaching hasn’t changed. I haven’t sacrificed productivity at work. Actually, I’ve just learned to be more productive in a shorter time period. It has been well worth it — and time well spent, not at work. Coming home to work on art, walk Charlotte, and sometimes spend time hiking (when the sun stayed out later) was the best choice I could have made. It makes my days feel longer, and I appreciate myself for sticking to my decision. I took several photo walks – not for any reason in particular, just for fun. I took cheer pictures for my niece, which I really enjoyed. I watched the Life Cube burn downtown and offered my own hopes and dreams to the universe. I traveled. I visited some places I’d seen before and many places I’d never been. Here’s a list (at least as far as memory allows): Bowl of Fire at Lake Mead (well, at least I attempted to find it, and instead discovered some pretty cool washes in the area), Red Rock Canyon (lots of different spots, but Pine Creek in particular), Death Valley (I saw the super bloom!), Boston and Salem in Massachusetts, Sao Miguel in the Azores (an island chain in Portugal), Barcelona and Santa Pau in Spain, New Orleans, Memphis, random spots in Arkansas and Mississippi, Navajo Lake, Escalante, Cathedral Gorge, Gorges State Park in North Carolina (and also Asheville), The Wave in Arizona (we stayed in Kanab, Utah), Colorado River, Wetlands Nature Preserve (one of my favorite local spots this year!), a few spots in the Mt. Charleston area, Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge (must go back and explore more!), Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona Hot Springs, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Rogers Spring, and Valley of Fire.
  2. What was money very well spent this year? All the money I spent on art supplies was exceptionally well spent. Money spent on art classes was well spent also. I haven’t finished every class yet, but I have finished a lot, and the classes taught me so much and have helped me to develop my own style. I was afraid taking classes from others might do the opposite, stop me from being able to develop my own style because I was following theirs, but that hasn’t been the case at all. Instead, I’ve learned new techniques that I can now incorporate into my style. Choosing to attend the art retreat in North Carolina was a big expense, and I worried about it, but I’m so glad I did it. It was a beautiful experience. I learned that I love to travel with a purpose, and I really enjoy painting with other artists. I was inspired by everyone’s art and tried some new techniques. That trip (and the work that developed from it) inspired a series I hope to paint in 2017. It was well worth the expense! All of my travel expenses were well worth it. And the money for Charlotte…her adoption fees and vet visits have all been well worth the expense. She’s my little heart and soul. I love her.
  3. What are your favorite memories of 2016? 2016 was a difficult year. There are some memories that are so happy and also some memories that are so sad. There was total joy and complete confusion. It was a year of opposites, a year of extremes. For this question though, I’ll focus on the good. I loved visiting Salem, Massachusetts, especially the Salem Witch Trials tour. I loved the time I spent creating in my little art room, sitting at my art table, the TV playing in the background. I loved getting to know Charlotte, hiking with her and taking her on walks. I loved watching her explore, everything so new and exciting. I loved snuggling with her and waking up with her nearby. I loved driving through Mississippi and Louisiana to get to New Orleans and spending that weekend with Jake. I loved all my weekends in Memphis, actually. The first time I arrived there and walked into the apartment – the greeting Juni gave me. I was worried she would forget me, but instead she was so excited to see me. I loved getting back from Memphis over Thanksgiving, going to pick up Charlotte. She was so excited, she jumped right over the coffee table at Sam and Daniel’s house when she saw me. I love her little noises that sound like talking, like she’s trying to tell me about her day. I love that Christy was so understanding with me on our summer trip to Portugal and Spain. The wildflowers in the Azores were magical. Dancing in a field of hydrangeas, singing Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling. Headstanding on the people mover in the Barcelona airport. Hiking the wave with Jake, Juniper, and Charlotte (except that small incident in which we nearly lost Charlotte!). Watching the Life Cube burn — after painting on it and adding my own wishes to the pile. Seeing the super bloom in Death Valley. Participating in Creative Jam — heading to Valley of Fire at the butt crack of dawn to get the photos, not being able to do what I intended, and having a blast anyhow. When Jake gave me a birthday gift and remembered my birthday even though we had just met days after my birthday. That first conversation on the phone with Jake. I felt so optimistic because we had a great conversation, and that’s so rare these days. Staying in the little cabin in Escalante with Charlotte and hiking to Lower Calf Creek Falls. The art retreat in Asheville. Hiking in Asheville. There are so many good memories. Too many to list, actually. That’s a good feeling. In a year that had it’s share of rough patches, that’s a really good feeling.
  4. What did you accomplish or complete this year? I developed a habit of making art on a regular basis. Initially, I planned to make art every day, but I quickly realized that wasn’t realistic with my schedule, and my mind wasn’t in it every day. But I made a habit of making art about three times a week, and that was perfect. It’s a part of my schedule now, always. And I love that. I’ve started to develop a true style. I’m almost ready to open my Etsy shop. My yoga practice grew, as I’d hoped. I stopped focusing on specific poses and arm balances and started focusing on my body and what it needed at any given moment. I opened a new savings account, completely separate from my other accounts, and I’m so glad I did that. It’s become even more of a lifeline than I thought it would be. I chose my time wisely and left work on time nearly every day (as the 2016-2017 school year started).
  5. Did you make any progress on long-term goals? See number 4. Most of those are related to long-term goals I’ve been working on. My biggest goal is in building my art business. It’s been slow. But I’ve made progress, and I’m happy with where I’m at. I may have wanted to move too fast last year. I thought I could skip some important steps. But I ended up doing things right (like working to develop a style), and I believe I’m on the right path.
  6. What felt successful this year, as a whole? My theme for 2016 was Create. That theme was centered on exactly what it sounds like – creating art. I did that. I feel very successful in cultivating an art habit, and I feel good about the body of work I created this year. I also worked to create joy in various parts of my life. I focused on building a relationship with a man that I care deeply about. I hiked and got outside more than I have in a long time. I adopted Charlotte and she created so much joy in my life.
  7. Did you overcome any obstacles or mental blocks this year? I’ve been working to feel comfortable calling myself an artist. I’ve been successful in some ways, and I’ve found it difficult in others. I definitely have a mental block surrounding my ability to one day support myself as an artist. Some moments, I feel so incredibly confident. Others, I feel overwhelmed and exhausted. I’m still working though. I’m still pushing forward. And I think this is a good sign of overcoming fear…or likely, feeling the fear and moving forward anyway. And I think that’s an accomplishment.
  8. What did you learn about yourself after all that happened in 2016? I’m resilient. I’m strong-willed. I know what I want. And although I am afraid to go after it, that won’t stop me. I have a lot of clarity about where I want to be and what I need to do to get there. I have a lot of confidence in my ability. I have a lot of love in my heart, and I’m not afraid to show it. I can be a bit quick to anger at times, a bit quick to push people out. I would like to work on that. I could use a little practice being patient and staying in the present moment. I worry too much sometimes. I need to meditate more. My yoga practice is a lifeline. My art practice is a lifeline. In the end, I’m quite content with my life. I need to remember that.
  9. Who nurtured or supported you most this year? Charlotte. It sounds funny, but honestly my little dog has been a lifeline this year. She’s just what I needed. She snuggles and loves beyond compare. I can talk to her. I get outside and exercise more because of her. I explore more because of her. She’s a little brittany with a big heart, and she makes me complete, and I love that. In the people world, Christy has also been amazing. She supported me through some hard times this year and was incredibly understanding in ways I think would have been hard for me. She’s been a true friend. I love her for that. Jake has been really supportive of my plans (even when I’ve nearly had breakdowns, assuming he wouldn’t be supportive). It’s been really beautiful having him by my side this year. He was also particularly supportive after the election. I had so many emotions running through my mind, and he never judged them. Rather, he simply told me to let it all out. So many friends have been supportive of my artwork. Sam has been amazing, always listening to my plans and ideas and never once suggesting it would be impossible or hard. Eliza has written me emails telling me I need to start selling my art. Several people have encouraged me. All in all, I have a lot of really wonderful people surrounding me.
  10. Who did you enjoy nurturing and supporting? Charlotte. In the way that she loves and supports me, I love and support her right back. Obviously, her needs are hugely different from mine. But I just love being her mama. She brings me joy, and I can only hope I bring lots of joy to her little life. I may have rescued her, but I’m pretty sure she rescued me even more. I also really loved supporting Jake this year. It’s a beautiful thing to be there for another person, and I really did work to be there for him. I’ve fallen short at times. But I do hope my support has been meaningful and helpful. I enjoy supporting my friend, Jen, an artist friend of mine. I have no idea at this point how long we’ve known each other, and honestly, I’m not even sure how we met, but we’ve been great friends, and I love having her in my life. She is supportive of my dreams, and I do my best to be totally supportive in all of hers.

Oh wow! That was a total brain dump. If you’re still with me, well, I’m seriously impressed with your stamina! Haha. But honestly, this review is mostly for me, so I understand if you skipped right here to the end. And if it inspired you in any way to perhaps do your own review, that’s awesome too.

Thanks for following my journey.



Posted in Creative Business, Year in Review Also tagged , |

Creative Business | Business, Dreams, and Sharing

The last several months I’ve been thinking about business. I’ve been thinking about my creative business and what I want to turn it into. I’ve been thinking about how. How can I create a business that is profitable, supports me, and also supports the lifestyle I want? And by lifestyle, I’m not simply talking about finances. I’m talking about freedom and creativity and time outdoors. I’m talking about supporting those non-monetary things that matter to me. I need a good balance of finances and lifestyle. And I really believe I can do that by building a creative business of my own.

Granted, I have no experience as an entrepreneur, and I don’t come from a family of entrepreneurs. So this is all new, and honestly, it’s hard for me to believe in myself.

But even though I’m scared, I’m determined. I’m focused. And I’m also really excited!

I’ve decided that this space will be the perfect place to share my business journey. It’s so easy to keep it all to myself and hide my missteps and worries (and also my celebrations), but I think there’s something useful in sharing. Like, maybe it will help someone else that is looking to build a business. Or maybe it will help me deal with the ups and downs of starting a business. Maybe it will help me connect with others doing similar things. I’m not sure. But I do think it will be helpful.

So…I’m going to be pretty transparent in this space. And I’m going to be pretty vulnerable.

I used to write on my blog nearly every day. That was a different blog at a different time in my life, but I wrote all the time because I needed an outlet about the things I was going through (lots of fun things actually – it was a big time of exploration and discovering my passions). But then I got so bogged down in the “rules” of blogging. You had to have pretty pictures. And you had to write in a certain way. And you had to always think about your audience. So I stopped writing.

But now I find myself craving an outlet, and I’ve decided…screw the rules. Who cares if I don’t have the perfect picture to accompany my post? Who cares if I don’t make the most interesting tagline or title? Who. Freaking. Cares.

And so, I’m just going to get on here and write. I’m going to write about art, and I’m going to write about business, and I’m going to write about what’s going right and what’s not going so right. I’m just gonna write. And share. And get my thoughts out.

So how about some sharing?

In the past weeks I’ve come up with some goals. Some finance goals and some productivity goals. Here’s what I’ve got.

First, I realized I need to make more money than I currently make in order to live as I do now. When planning for a business that will sustain your lifestyle, things like retirement savings, health insurance, and business expenses need to be accounted for. I sat down and crunched the numbers. I need to make approximately $84,000 a year to have a comparable lifestyle to my present situation. I’m a high school teacher. I don’t make $84,000 a year as it is. But that’s what I’ll need to make up for missing benefits, taxes, etc.

At first that number scared me. I’ve never made $84,000 a year! But then I let it sit for a bit, and I’ve decided, OK. So that’s the number. Game on.

Next, I looked at income streams. I will need more than one income stream to be successful. For 2017, I’m focusing on three basic income streams (I am, of course, open to others, but I feel keeping my focus simple as I move forward will be useful). The first income stream is selling original paintings and prints. The second income stream is creating and selling an online art course. And the third income stream is hosting in-person art retreats. I plan to focus on one thing at a time and have designated months for focusing on different things. This way, hopefully, I won’t feel too overwhelmed.

So there you have it! That’s what I’m working on.

To keep myself motivated and moving forward, I will continue to share. I find writing out my thoughts to be helpful in keeping me moving. So although I won’t be talking about these posts on social media, they’ll still be here. I don’t care if no one reads them honestly. It’s simply a way to keep myself accountable and maybe connect with some like-minded people. If you’re reading this, thanks for being interested. Maybe we can chat some day!


Posted in Creative Business Also tagged , , |