Sitting on the beach over break gave me some uninterrupted time to reflect on the past year as well as look forward. I had a lot of time to myself (watching Zack surf, aka the surf-wife-life) so I jotted these thoughts in a notebook and decided I would share some of them here. Something about putting it out there feels like it holds me more accountable...so here goes!
2017 was an interesting year that both started and ended in Hawaii, ironically. It was the year of change for us...big change. Professionally speaking, Zack left his job in tech at the beginning of 2017 and stared a search fund (which in the most basic sense means he’s looking for a business to buy) and spent this year tirelessly working on his search. After a lot of back and forth in the fall, we decided that moving to LA was a good career move for both of us. We had always known we wanted to end up in Southern California and the timing felt right - so we went ahead and took the plunge! It all happened very quickly once we committed and in what seemed like a matter of weeks we packed up and were on the road. It was a really stressful experience, especially since we did it right before the holidays, but we are finally settling in... slowly but surely. It's still so weird to say, "We live in LA!"
I had a strong year with my photography business and finally reached an important financial milestone that felt really celebratory. It was my third year of working for myself and I hit a few important goals that I didn't think I would achieve so early on. I feel most proud of my work with Adobe, a job I couldn’t really talk about for ages but was so excited to see finally come together. My images are now featured throughout the newest version of Lightroom (see them in the menus, tutorials, and sliders) and as a photographer, this is about as validating as it gets. I’m also really proud to be a WOMAN-owned business these days, succeeding in a profession that almost everyone assumes can only be a hobby. It hasn’t been easy and it’s taken a massive amount of hustling but I've stuck to a simple formula that has worked very well: I always go with my gut, I know what I'm worth and why, I say no to things that don't propel me forward, and I work very hard for my clients to make sure I both meet and exceed their expectations. I never deviate from these principals and this has served me well. The only odd part about reaching your goals is feeling a little befuddled about where to go next and for the first time in a while, I was feeling a little lost. That said, I'm embracing new experiences and really looking forward to exploring an entirely new market in LA. While I will always have a special place in my heart for San Francisco, after 10 years there, I was really ready for a change.
The absolute highlight of 2017 was the traveling that Zack and I were able to do. Kauai, London, Big Sur, Tahoe, Santa Barbara, Yosemite, Tulum, Oahu, and many trips to New York, Laguna Beach, and LA. I feel so lucky that we travel so much and I owe most of it to Zack’s planning skills. I’m always the most inspired and at ease when we are adventuring and this year gave me plenty of that. Our little secret to being able to travel so much is that we are not that fancy when we travel. We always use miles, we fly coach, we stay in AirBnbs instead of hotels (most of the time), and we don't go crazy with expensive dining. Zack's motto is great and that is: "Spend it where it counts"! Traveling is hands-down my biggest source of inspiration - it's what keeps me moving forward and fuels my creative energy. For that reason, I am beyond grateful for the adventures we had in 2017.
This year was not without challenges. We had to cancel our intricately planned wedding in Mexico (for logistical reasons) and start from square one; we found that working from home together was pretty distracting and therefore very challenging; and lastly our move to LA was one of the all-time most stressful experiences for me. I realize that in the grand scheme of things these all fall under “first world problems” so in that sense I feel very grateful. I am MOST grateful for the health and well-being of my family and my friends and I really do thank god every day for that piece... because at the end of the day, it’s all I truly care about.
Looking forward to 2018 I have some clear goals:
- Establish myself professionally in a new city.
This one could either be really fun or challenging. I spent nearly 10 years in San Francisco and knew it like the back of my hand. I had a ton of connections, a ton of clients, and all my work came to me without having to seek it out. LA feels like an ocean of uncertainty but I’m feeling positive and ready to rise to the occasion. This challenge is exciting for me because I feel like the things that are slightly scary always have the biggest rewards. I also have a fun little side project I’ve been working on for a while so I’d love to see that finally come to fruition.
- Enjoy every moment of our wedding in a few months, as well as our honeymoon!
We've been together for 6 years and engaged for a year and a half so we are both really excited to finally get married! Our wedding is only a few months away and it feels so soon I can't believe it! Everyone tells you that your wedding flashes by before your eyes so maybe I won’t drink? I don’t know! I want to remember every moment. Any suggestions? We are planning a big trip for our honeymoon that I'm really excited about as well so there are a lot of big things to look forward to in that department.
- Get my body in peak physical condition before starting a family.
This one is really important to me. I’ve really cut way back on drinking in general and I’ve been experimenting with the idea of becoming fully vegan (it's HARD!). Thankfully, there’s really no better place to do this than LA and I’m excited to try a new variety of workouts here as well. I care deeply about having a healthy environment within my body because god-willing it won’t just be me I have to worry about in the near future ;)
- Travel to a place that scares me a little.
I recently read an article about Uzbekistan and it thoroughly peaked my interests because of how beautiful it looked. Naturally, I think anything with a “stan” in the name is a little unnerving to an American but from what I have heard, it’s not as dangerous as one might assume. I find that it's easy to become used to the comforts of home and it's important to get outside of that and experience the rest of the world. I want to go somewhere that feels VERY culturally different than my own this year. I’d also love to go back to the northern part of Norway in the winter to see the northern lights. This being scary because of how COLD Northern Norway is in the winter - we're talking the freeze-your-fingers-off type!
- Share my story through more videos.
I really enjoy watching YouTube videos, they make me laugh, cry, inspire me, they are all SO different, and overall they usually bring way more to the table than Instagram (in terms of social media platforms). Creating video is a lot of work but I’m a very nostalgic person and not only do I love sharing but I love having things to look back at myself.
- Make our new house feel like a home.
We lived in our San Francisco apartment together for almost 5 years. Our place together had a lot of character, memories, and soul. Our new house is very “new” and a big upgrade for us but it also feels a bit overwhelming! We now have lots of outdoor space and a dining room (two things we were really lacking before) so we need a fair amount of new furniture. I went on somewhat of a “sell it all” frenzy when we left San Francisco so our new house is feeling a little empty at the moment. I'm a little overwhelmed by the amount of time it might take to feel settled. Thankfully, my imagination is running wild and I can’t wait to try some totally new design ideas. I’ll share more of our home progress on here because it’s fun!
- Spend more time volunteering.
Los Angeles has one of the most staggering homeless populations in the country and many of them are youth. I find this deeply troubling and am eager to find ways to help in my new community. It’s easy to get caught up in day to day shit when you’re actuality quite “privileged” but it’s so important to remember that we are all, at the end of the day, humans that need to help one another.
I don’t know what 2018 has in store but I do know one thing and that is: while I can’t control what happens, I can control my feelings. This year I’m aiming for hope, positivity, and happiness :) Happy New Year, I hope it’s a great one!