2021 Lessons, Accomplishments, and Gratitude

As we get ready to start 2022 I have reflected back on all of the lessons, accomplishments and also things I’m incredibly grateful for in 2021.

I know that times have been challenging collectively. 2020 was incredibly hard for me, much harder than 2021 thankfully. While we are still struggling with the pandemic, working from home, mask mandates and travel restrictions, 2021 was an incredible year of growth and expansion.

  1. We got engaged! I know this isn’t an “accomplishment” because marriage is not something that should be viewed as a checkbox, but it’s something that John and I have discussed for a while and the time felt right. It was definitely my highlight of 2021! While the idea of us getting married (hey we’ve been together 8 years!) wasn’t surprising, in the exact moment it was! I love him very much and am happy for our wedding in June 2022.
  2. My biggest accomplishment is creating my morning meditation, journal, and walking routine that I still practice 365 days later. I can not stress this enough – if you don’t meditate or journal / reflect on your life daily- you should start! I never had time to do this before because I was always rushing off to take public transit to work and never gave myself the space, before or after work, to make this habit. I plan on keeping up this habit because I’ve noticed a big difference in my mental health and mood throughout the day. Something I want to focus on in 2022 is to incorporate this habit, even if it’s short and brief, when I am traveling.
  3. In addition to meditating regularly, I took several mindset + manifestation courses that have really helped change how I think, how I react, and what I focus on. This was incredibly eye opening for me and a powerful way to take control over my mind. I felt so burnt out and stressed from the drama of 2020 (traveling internationally during the beginning of the pandemic, the beginning of the pandemic in general, losing my job, moving across country, gaining weight, etc) that I really came into my own this past year. I know that no matter whatever happens to me I will always be ok. I am going to continue this practice through various workshops, podcasts, books, and rituals.
  4. I launched my t-shirt shop! Something I have wanted to do for years finally happened this last January. It’s so much scarier in your mind when you overthink but if you just take the plunge it’s sort of a relief to see what happens next. I am happy with my sales but of course would love to increase them this next year. My goal in 2022 is to focus on designing more products and growing my audience.
  5. I also put up my art and photography prints on Society6 and have sold quite a few things this year! While I dedicated more of my time to meditation, mindset, and my tshirts, I feel that I was less creative with painting and photography this year. I would love to have a dedicated painting/photography day each week or several times a month in 2022. I am planning on reading The Artist’s Way in January and spark my creative artist.
  6. I was published in a travel magazine this past spring! Several photos from our trip to Big Bend were featured in Southern Styles magazine, due to an old college friend reaching out to me based on what she saw on my instagram. I would love to be published in additional resources or sell more photos online in 2022.
  7. I learned to embrace walking. For the last 20 years I really and truly believed that in order for me to maintain my weight and stay trim was to be a runner. I ran so many miles last year, more than ever in my life (even when I trained for half marathons) and I was the biggest I’ve ever been. It didn’t help I was so stressed from everything going on in 2020 that adding running on top of that, no wonder my body felt incredibly stressed out and my hormones were off. If you are always stressed you can never lose weight. Instead of thinking about how many miles I ran, I switched to caring about always walking a minimum of 10K steps a day (on top of doing yoga and low intensity pilates). I feel a difference and plan on taking this through into 2022.
  8. I started learning more about my finances, saving, investing and what my best interests are for my financial plans (wedding, honeymoon and beyond!). While this is something I am going to majorly focus on in 2022, you have to start somewhere! I am in a much better place than I was 6 months ago and happy to be making progress.
  9. I am learning graphic design! It’s something I’ve always wanted to know more about and this past fall semester I took the pre-req class at UT and am registering for the certificate program this spring. I know this is an area of BIG focus in 2022. I want to create digital art and also scoop up some freelance design work.
  10. I learned to speak up, trust my intuition, and stay strong in my boundaries. I had to let some friends go that weren’t vibing with my new path of life. And that’s ok! Maybe we will cross paths again someday or maybe not, but for now I am focusing on what feels good for myself and mental health.
  11. I realized that how people react, what they say or do has nothing to do with me and is a reflection of the person. It’s incredibly refreshing to not take things personally. Also, when someone is judgemental about something or someone it says more about them than whatever they are judging. We all have shadow sides that need love and incorporation so lean into why you are feeling the way you are and what the lesson is.
  12. You can have a wedding and not break the bank! It’s possible. More on this later in 2022.

Thank you 2021 for an expansive year of life changing events and deeper self awareness. In 2022, I choose to be more present and in the moment, focusing on what feels good for my body, leaning into financial planning, learning design skills and creating more art, having the best wedding we can in the current circumstances, and feeling free and authentic to my true self.

Have a happy new year!

My Favorite Personal Development Books

I started off 2021 with extreme focus and dedication towards creating a lasting morning routine and healthy habits. After years of feeling burnt out with my intense jobs and lively social life in San Francisco, on top of COVID and moving across country, I was looking for more self care and me time to actually think about what I was feeling and reflect. I know that I probably sound like a huge square right now, but January is my favorite month of the year because I love the motivation behind resolutions and goals. Something about this Capricorn energy really super motivates me to try new things and be the best me. And I’m so excited it’s here again for 2022!

I started this year off with something that people had suggested to me many times over the years and I also found excuses to not do it – meditation. Every morning I jumped out of bed, lit candles and incense, meditated for anywhere between 5-15 minutes and then journaled for about 5 minutes. I reflected on things like how I wanted my day to go, short term or long term goals, or big creative ideas that I had. They say it takes 28 days to form a habit and I’m proud to say nearly one year later and I still do this *almost* every day. (Hey I’m not perfect and I don’t always do this when I’m traveling – though that is something I want to focus on next year) I’ve since followed my morning ritual with my morning walk and I am so much happier as a person. It’s probably also worth mentioning that my company is California based and 2 hours behind me, so I am lucky to be able to have a little more time to myself in the morning that I never had before.

Living in SF I would sleep in as late as possible, get ready and head out quickly to catch the bus downtown, rushing to make it in on time. I always felt very rushed in the morning and that did not bode well for my aura over the day. By focusing time purely to yourself, to your thoughts, to setting your mood for the day FIRST thing in the morning – you are in the act of setting yourself up for success.

I’ve read many books this year that have helped me with this journey of habits, thought patterns, mindset – and I wanted to share for those interested in self discovery this January 2022.

In random order, here are the books that helped me this past year:

Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself – I LOVED this book, it’s been my favorite of the bunch. I highly recommend to anyone who wants more insight into our consciousness and what makes you, YOU.

How To Do The Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal From Your Past, and Create Your Self – I love the Holistic Psychologist on Instagram and read her book as soon as it was released. It’s a very easily digestible way to recognize your own traumas and work through them in order to not fall into repeated patterns.

The Mountain is You: Transforming Self Sabotage Into Self Mastery – This was also a great read about conscious vs subconscious self sabotage patterning, a bit high level, but still good place to start.

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself – This was my first time reading Dr Joe Dispenza and I can’t wait to dive into his other books. Similar but more thorough look at taking control of your thoughts.

Girl On Fire – This is more girl-boss business oriented, but a lot of confidence and motivation around listening to yourself, letting yourself be seen and heard, and being your own authentic boss in business.

Discover Your Dharma – I listen to Sahara Rose’s podcast Higher Self and naturally read her book when it dropped. I’m captivated by her and could listen to her talk about your life’s purpose for hours. The book comes with journal prompts and workbooks to help you discover what it truly is that inspires you.

Dear Universe – This is a book I use almost every morning, it’s short meditations based on how you are feeling or how you want to feel (abundant, energized, playful, etc). After I mediate I pick a word that speaks to me and read the mini meditation outloud.

Creative Visualization – This is an old classic around visualization and manifestation. While the concept is not new to me this is a great book to get your feet wet on the concept of the law of attraction.

A Manual For Manifesting Your Dream Life – I came across this mini book on TikTok and really enjoyed it. It’s a super quick motivating read that’s perfect for a flight or rainy day, to remind yourself just how awesome you are.

Raise Your Vibration – This is a 111 step by step daily spiritual practice on things you can do to raise your energy. While at times it felt a little tooo spiritual for me (hey I’m spiritual! Just not, IN YOUR FACE about it) I did enjoy the daily practice.

Witch: Unleashed. Untamed. Unapologetic – This is about the witch wound and how women have had generations of trauma from being held back by the patriarchy and I loved this.

The Burnout Manifesto – I took a manifestation and mindset workshop where I crossed paths with Eve the author and read this early on in the year. It’s about being a high achiever in life and realizing you are more than what you feel you are supposed to achieve, which I really resonate with.

Next books on my list for 2022:

The Artist’s Way

Becoming Supernatural: How Common People Are Doing The Uncommon

Outwitting the Devil

Atomic Habits

The Body Keeps the Score

Your Brain is Always Listening

I hope one of these books speaks to you as it did to me! Stay tuned as I mention more goals and things I’m focusing on this new year.

Alamo Squarin’ Around


Y’all – I did it! I bought a DSLR. If you read my last post you know that getting a professional camera was a goal of mine that I was adamant about tackling this year. I have been feeling SO MOTIVATED so far this year, I just went ahead and bit the bullet and got a Canon Rebel T6 and I feel so happy about it! At the end of the day, I could keep researching, constantly changing my mind on what the “most perfect camera option would be” or I could just shut up about it and get one that felt right and explore. NO REGRETS! And now I can check off one of my goals 🙂

John and I took it out for our first spin and captured these shots of our beautiful foggy neighborhood…


One of my favorite things about living in SF are the gorgeous Victorians around every corner. These buildings are over 100+ years old, are painted all sorts of vibrant colors, and are a window to the past when times were very different. While John and I walk around the neighborhoods we play a game called “WHICH ONE?” – and ask the other what their favorite Victorian is on the street that we currently find ourselves on and which one we would pick to live in (get it?!). I never take for granted that Alamo Square park, one of the most photographed parks in the country, is outside my doorstep. I know how very lucky I am to have a rent controlled apartment here in this massively expensive city. It was fun to act as tourists for the afternoon, capturing majestic shots just like this one….


DANCE FLOOR QUEEN up here in Club Alamo Square Park…


Mr. Environmentalist & NASA research extraordinaire!


I LOVE these two houses, they are my favorite alongside the square because of the pink and purple pastel realness. SWOON!


On lazy Sunday afternoons when the weather is nice, we like to get sandwiches from our favorite cafe a few blocks away and post up in the park for a bit, enjoying the atmosphere and either making some art or reading. I would LOVE to get a cat harness for our beloved #beatrixvonwhiskerton so we could bring her to the park someday, but she’s SUCH a scaredy cat that we worry it won’t go over well….TBD y’all. ❤


This is the famous Westerfield house. It has it’s own Wikipedia page and they are making a documentary about it. It’s across the street from our house and I STILL need to take a tour.

I have this super cheesy ghost radar app that my sisters and I used that time we ghost hunted in Charleston. While it constantly went off in SC, it didn’t really do anything in my house or street. I was kinda sad that I don’t seem to have any ghosts lurkin’ around that my app picked up (that John could have PROOF of), but perhaps it’s best to have good rest and be thankful that I don’t need an exorcist just yet. <tee hee>


I hope you enjoyed this window into my neighborhood! More pics and adventures coming your way soon.


New Year New Me


Welcome to 2018!

I really, REALLY LOVE January y’all. I know, most people think that the month of January equates to Monday within a week because of how slow it usually is. But I disagree. I actually like Mondays (what??) and I freakin’ LOVE January.

I LOVE the energy of the new year. The energy that makes you think about change, goals, what you want to achieve in this lifetime and how you want to be a better person. Personally, I prefer to always think about these things and not just in January, but there is something about the energy of the start of the year that gets me excited. While I hate the idea of creating rigid goals, the ones that set you up for failure, I am very much a fan of progressive goals. These are the longer term goals that aren’t as black and white, but more about making progress (as small as it may be) towards something of value.

For me, the big thing that I am focusing on is how I speak to myself internally. Being an idealist, it’s hard to not get wrapped up in the IDEA of things being perfect. And when they aren’t (because let’s face it, they NEVER are!) I get really down on myself and then I have negative self talk. I am working on letting go of my perfectionism because it isn’t real, but I am a human and I AM REAL, and coming to terms with the fact that I am perfect JUST AS I AM in this moment in time is AMAZING! It will always be a struggle and not just something you can “cross off” a resolution checklist, but being aware step #1.

And now, I present some goals (small and large) that I would like to focus on this year:

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  • Gratitude Journal. I bought the 5 minute journal to help with my thought process, focusing on gratitude and happy things that happened throughout my days rather than thinking of what wasn’t perfect. I have written in the journal every morning and night this week so far, and I LOVE it so much! I wish I started doing this earlier! Many CEOs and Entrepreneurs swear by this journal, as it keeps them motivated and also grounded. SOLD.
  • More me time, less social obligations. This one has been an issue for me for a while now. I tend to be a people-pleaser in the way of giving my time. I want to be a supportive friend, coworker, sister, daughter, etc. and I feel bad for saying no to things if it hurts someones feelings. I tend to carry other’s feelings as my responsibility on my back. And while it’s taken me a long time to come to terms with my patterns and why I do this to myself, one thing I do know is that I need to learn to say no more. 2017 was a lot about everyone else. Work trips. Anniversaries, birthday celebrations. Family things. While most of it was fun, a lot of it was not about me. And I constantly felt burnt out and stretched thin. I barely had time to myself to think, create my own traditions, patterns, habits before sprinting off to the next thing. Being supportive doesn’t mean you have to show up to everything. And how can you be supportive if you aren’t supporting yourself first? I vow to follow my inner voice a bit more and do what feels right for me.
  • Pick up a new hobby. I’ve been saying for YEARS that I want a professional camera. I’ve looked into getting a DSLR over the last year and just decided that I wanted to go mirrorless. 2018 is the year I make my camera love a reality. I already signed up for a Udemy photography class (which you can take without a special camera, even if you just use your iPhone!) and I can’t wait to see what happens.
  • Travel, for ME. I traveled A LOT last year. I went to 7 states and Canada in a year! Like I mentioned above, those trips coincided with work events or family things. I didn’t plan ONE of those out of state trips for myself or John. He tagged along with me to NYC, which was for work, so it wasn’t technically the same. I am planning a vacation this year that has nothing to do with work, family, or friends. I already have some travel planned in early 2018 as a result of a friends wedding (Cabo for the bachelorette party) and my dads 70th (we will celebrate in Nashville) but this is the year that John and I make it to Scandinavia!
  • Write to please the soul. Not only am I journaling more regularly, I plan on being more active with my blog as it helps motivate me with my other goals. AND YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO READ MORE! ❤
  • Attempt more art. This is a no brainer. Watercolor time, here I come!

2018 is already off to a great start and I am feeling more in tune with my inner voice. I can’t wait to share my progress. What are some of your goals?