Brandon lost his job while I was out of town for Alt Summit last year. We were nervous and worried, and it threw our family dynamic out of whack. After several months, we decided that Brandon would become a stay-at-home dad, and I would try to support the family through my blog and other writing opportunities.
Throwing myself into the blog, full-force, brought about amazing things, but it was scary too. I was the sole breadwinner — realizing a dream of mine to support the family — but I had plenty of fears and doubts. I questioned my past academic failures and non-traditional career path. I was afraid, but I forged ahead. Now, as I look back on the year, all seems right and we’re in a good place.
I worked hard on the business aspect of my life, but I also actively sought opportunities to cross off a few of my Lovely Life List items. I put aside my fear of water and took the Chicago architecture tour by boat. I’ve never considered myself to be athletic, but I did the Color Run 5K. I helped break a world record on roller skates with some of my roller derby ladies. I learned that maybe I don’t have such a black thumb after all. I gave a keynote speech (and visited Canada). I met and interviewed Martha Stewart.
Next up on the list to cross off? Sequins. Watch out, 2013.
This past year, I also experimented with something new for the blog: working with a contributor. I had watched as other blogs have grown (sometimes rapidly) by adding more content and expanding from just the original author’s voice, and I thought it would be a good model to follow. I had been wanting to bring more craft content to the blog (like my handpainted clothespin dolls or my colorblock Christmas trees), and I felt like it was a good time to bring on a contributor to share more of these types of posts.
Andrea Howe was a fantastic addition, bringing us posts like this neon table setting and tutorials like how to make a statement necklace (which has been pinned over 27,000 times to date!). I love Andrea and was grateful to have such a wonderful experience with a contributor, but ultimately I decided that I felt best keeping this space 100% my own. I may be missing out on potential growth by not being able to produce more than one post per day right now, but it feels like the right decision.
And of course, throughout all of the professional and personal highs and lows, I decorated my house and doted on my kids. As Eleanor and August continue to grow into their own little persons, I feel myself becoming more protective of their individuality. Their stories are theirs to share one day, when and if they choose to do so. They aren’t gone from my blog and I’m sure I’ll always share my life with them here to some extent, but I want to respect their privacy too.
I’m still working on my house to-do list, but I’ve already changed out my coffee table, painted my vintage nesting tables, made progress on the bathroom, and switched up the dining room. My home office was featured in a magazine, and my home was photographed for a Christmas magazine issue to come out next year. I also went to New York and did three apartment makeovers in three days, which was amazing and exhausting.
I think that last phrase sums up all of 2012 for me quite nicely. Amazing and exhausting. Here’s to what’s next.