I can’t believe that 2017 is upon us. It’s true what they say – the older you get, the faster the year’s go by, and for a year that seemed to fly by, 2016 sure packed a lot into it.
I found 2016 to be my year of ideas, or revelations, if you will. I didn’t have any goals set for 2016 and right at the beginning of the year I turned 33. You’d think I would see this coming each year, right? Of course I did, but it still left me feeling a little lost. I didn’t know what do with 33. I wasn’t in my early 30s and I wasn’t in my mid 30s. And although it was a slow go, I found myself finally accepting 33 as the year went on.
My fear of missing out (FOMO! See, I’m still hip!) began to fade, almost completely, and I started doing things because I wanted to do them, not because others expected me to. Friday night in with a glass of wine, a book, and my sweatpants? Yes please!
I saw my online shoppin’ increase (damn you, Amazon), my take-out eatin’ decrease, checked a few new travel destinations off my list (helloooooooo Harry Potter world at Universal Studios!!), started updating the furniture in my house, and most importantly, I stopped dreaming about a life being happy with my career and I started to try and make it happen. Which leads me to….
Wowsa. What. A. Year. Let’s take a quick look back at everything I accomplished in 2016 with Creative Life Explored…
I decided that this little labor of love is where my heart wants to be. It’s true. After over over a year of denying how much love I had for this food blog and how much happiness it brought me I made a commitment. I put myself on track to start creating food consistently and sharing it, and though it’s been a struggle at times since I do work full-time at that bill payin’ job so I’ve sometimes missed the mark (*cough*last week*cough*), but for the most part I’ve created a pattern of bringing you guys new content on a regular basis. And I love it. I love every single moment I get to work on Creative Life Explored and I can’t wait to make it so much more.
I have a logo! Holy buckets. My badass graphic designer friend who is super duper busy, incredibly stylish, in-demand, and makes having 4 kiddos look absolutely effortless took the time to work with little ol’ me and design me a logo.
I figured out how to use my fancy schmancy camera. Smell ya later iPhone! Although I’ve heard great things about the iPhone 7 camera… Anywho. This girl has moved on up in the photography world. I mean, Food & Wine magazine photographer I am not, and I still have LOTS to learn, but when I look back at some of my first photographs on my iPhone 5 and compare them to my DSLR camera today it’s crazy to see the difference. Let’s take a quick walk down memory lane for a good laugh:
I found my niche. I spent the better part of 2016 just knowing that I wanted to cook and share that with the world, and having no real niche. Not that one needs a niche, per say, but this food blogin’ business is a saturated market and I was looking for my Oprah ‘A-ha!’ moment, and when it happened I took off running and haven’t looked back.
So what does 2017 have in store? I have some big dreams for this little labor of love of mine and I’m ready to hit the ground running to make 2017 even more amazing!
Connect with other bloggers. I can’t tell you why, but I am so nervous about this! Ugh! I’m not a shy person, but for some reason I have this feeling that I will be bothering other bloggers if I contact them, which is about the silliest thing I could think, so in 2017 I am going to get rid of that ridiculous assumption and try and meet some of the great men and women that I look up to in this world so I can continue to learn and grow!
Write an e-book for subscribers. Argh, this one is killing me. I meant to have this done in November/December of 2016. Then daylight savings time hit (hello no daylight after 4pm!), then the holidays, and UGH I have the book written but need to do all of the recipe testing and photography. All of these are excuses, I know, but I must get it done. And I will! And it will be awesome so subscribe if you haven’t already!
Attend a food blogger conference. Have I told you about my food blogger conference mistake last year? Long story short I signed up for an early bird pass to BlogHer Food. Except I didn’t sign up for a early bird pass to BlogHer Food. I signed up for an early bird pass for BlogHer. Minus the ‘Food’. And while I’m sure that the regular BlogHer conference is amazing, I’m this new food blogger who needs to be interacting with other food bloggers and learning. I’m not #girlboss status. Yet. Thankfully I was able to sell the pass to a nice woman named Amy from Chicago who wanted to go so Amy saved some cash moneyz at my early bird price and I saved some cash moneyz by not paying two months mortgage for Los Angeles hotel room that I didn’t need. Everybody won. But 2017 is my year. I have one conference on the radar that I’m attending. I mean, I already booked the hotel and flights. It’s international so I’m going to make it into a whole vacation and it’s going to be amazing and I promise I will fill you in in the future!
Join the 2017 Jennie-O Turkey Blogger Program. Okay well this isn’t really a goal because IT’S HAPPENING! Yep, I was asked to join the Jennie-O Turkey Blogger program for 2017 and I couldn’t be more excited! Jennie-O is a product that I actively use and love, and I can’t wait to represent them. Maybe I should amend my goal to ‘hit a home run with the 2017 Jennie-O Turkey Blogger Program’…
Improve my photography. Yes it’s true I’ve passed my sad looking spiralized meal days as documented above, but I have a long ways to go. So it’s practice, practice, practice in 2017, along with a few investments in more camera equipment.
Create better content. When I decided to get serious with Creative Life Explored in the spring of 2016 I felt like I needed to put out post after post. And I was typing, but I wasn’t truly talking. I didn’t even sound like the Heather you would meet in real life and I wasn’t sure that I would want to meet the boring Heather that was typing these posts. I learned to slow down. To create. To put in some headphones and let the words flow. And if they didn’t flow? Then I would come back to them later. And while I’ve certainly seen a difference in my writing style I really believe I can dig in further to bring you better recipes and really share my story and connect with you all.
Whether it’s personally or professionally, I have no doubt that my goals will shift, change and grow during 2017. After all, that’s part of the process. As we continue to grow and discover we find ourselves changing, and change is good. I’m excited for what 2017 has in store. I tend to be a person that wakes up every day believing that it’s a fresh start, but the beginning of new year is magical.
THANK YOU for joining me on this journey. 2016 has been a defining year and I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store!
I’d love to know what some of your goals are the new year, so let me know in the comments!
You can find me not only here on the blog, but also on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and be sure to subscribe to the blog to stay up-to-date on the latest recipes and that subscriber only e-book I promise is coming soon!