This year has been an absolute whirlwind, and by whirlwind I mean that I've been running on nothing but fumes since last January. 2015 was most definitely the year of the hustle in my book, and I pretty much didn't sleep. I planned and experienced the most beautiful day of my life so far with my best friend, wrote 138 blog posts, designed 6 websites, created 76 prints, photographed 16 people, traveled 4,500+ miles from Atlanta to Maui to Vero Beach, and last but certainly not least, I quit my day job to pursue my creative businesses full time! There's a round up of my favorite moments, blog posts and projects that I was a part of in 2015 further down this page, but before we get to that, I have some more reflecting to do.
2015 was the year that I learned that you really can do whatever you want if you're dedicated to making it happen. It was the year that I had my highest of highs, and lowest of lows. I had little to no patience, didn't truly live in the moment aside from when we were on vacations and I had my sights set straight ahead. Though I'm thankful that I worked my ass off this year, I missed out on a lot.
I chose sitting at home to work most days and nights over nurturing relationships with anyone else aside from my husband, I got way too caught up in social media, my house was literally ALWAYS a wreck, and I can count the meals that I cooked in our kitchen on two hands. It's a year that I'm thankful that happened, but it's also a year that I'm ready to put behind me. It was full of just as many proud moments as there were disappointments, and it was a year full of more experiences that I learned from than I ever have before. So, without further ado, here's my round up of one of the most challenging, rewarding, difficult and beautiful years that I've experienced in my 22 years of life so far.
FAVORITE MOMENTS OF 2015
Getting MARRIED: A majority of the first half of the year was spent planning the best wedding I've ever personally been to, but hey, I might be a little biased. ;) We had an incredibly beautiful wedding, and promised each other to always pursue a marriage more beautiful than that one day. I'm a few months behind on sharing all of the details and photos from our wedding, but I promise it's coming sooner rather than later!
Honeymooning in Maui: My step-dad seriously outdid himself in planning our honeymoon. Taking a full week off, in Hawaii of all places, was exactly what we both needed. We laid around by the pool, ate the best breakfast I've ever had every single morning that we were there, swam with sea turtles, went on an insanely fun ATV adventure, took a helicopter and explored Maui from a totally different perspective, and spent days doing absolutely nothing but relaxing. It was definitely a once in a lifetime kind of trip, and I'm so thankful that I got to spend it with my sweet husband!
Family Vacations: We typically take one vacation with my family every year, but this year we took two! We went on our annual houseboat trip on Lake Cumberland, and also rented the most gorgeous house in Vero Beach, FL. When my family takes a vacation, it's always more about spending time doing absolutely nothing and relaxing rather than trying to cram a million different activities into one week. Trips like those are my absolute favorite!
The Maiedae Mixer: This was my second year in a row attending the Maiedae Mixer, and this past year was even better than the first! They shrunk the attendance list down from 100+ to around 30, and I am so happy that they did! It gave us the opportunity to have intentional conversations, and to truly connect with everyone there. Leaving that night after only a few hours, I gained a true soul sister and built awesome friendships with at least 4 other sweet creative ladies who totally understand why I do what I do. Not to mention I road tripped to Atlanta with my two of my great friends Jessica and Amanda! It was definitely a trip for the books!
Quitting My Day Job: Last, but most certainly not least, the day that I put in my notice at my day job to go full time with my blog and studio is definitely one of my favorite days pretty much ever. Being able to sit down with my step-dad and explain to him my entire business plan, along with how excited my boss was for me when I put in my notice, was just the icing on the cake! Full story is coming to the blog later this week because I've totally struggled to get ANY type of posts up the last few weeks, but for now, this post from back in my archives is as good as it gets!
BEST BLOG POSTS OF 2015
Not only was this one of my favorite blog posts that I wrote this year, but it was also one of my favorite lettering pieces that I did! Making the decision to move into a smaller space was a surprisingly easy one, and it ended up being one of the best decisions we've ever made. Little houses really do feel more like home!
Give me my favorite striped tee, a scarf as big as a blanket and booties that instantly make any outfit that they're paired with adorable, and you've got my go-to look this time of year!
Your self worth should not be determined by strangers on the internet, and that's exactly what this post about how to handle the like to minute ratio on Instagram goes into. It was one of my most shared, and one of the most powerful posts that I wrote this year!
Some of my favorite pieces that I've ever written have been personal essays like this one that goes into a whole lot of details about how my husband and I truly suck at mornings. It may not seem like much, but it's real life, people!
I was super blessed in the random acts of kindness department this year, and it inspired this blog post. These are literally 25 things that you can do right now to brighten someone else's day!
This is a post from all the way back in August, and I can still say to this day that this is my favorite dress and favorite pair of heels. I may or may not be searching for this dress in every other color as we speak thanks to Christmas gift cards! It's definitely one you don't want to miss out on!
It's definitely no secret that I'm a huge advocate of shopping small, and though this blog post took an entire week to put together, it was so worth it! It includes some of my very favorite small businesses, as well as some that I've been dying to support.
That one time I literally spilled chili all over our living room after a terrible day, and that sweet man of mine pictured above helped me embrace that life is just messy sometimes. I received so many emails on this post about how many of you related to it so it was a no brainer that I had to add this one to the list!
COOLEST PROJECTS OF 2015
Krispy Kreme Valentine's Day Campaign: When I received the email from Krispy Kreme saying that they found my Etsy shop and wanted to base their Valentine's Day campaign off of one of my prints, I may or may not have squealed! It was such an incredible experience to work with one of the first big brands of my design career, and such a huge compliment that they loved my work enough to stamp their name right there alongside mine!
Jenna Kutcher Course Website: I've been a huge fan of Jenna Kutcher since I got into the blogging game, and having the opportunity to design her new website was a dream! If you're wondering if she really is as positive and uplifting as she portrays herself to be on Instagram, she definitely is! Texting back and forth photos of us doing our work in yoga pants with a glass of wine at 10pm was pretty much the highlight of this project. :)
Photographing Bloggers: 2015 was the year that I really started to get a good grasp on who I am, and what I wanted my brand to say to the world. I always struggled to find a way to incorporate my passion for photography, blogging and design all under one name, and at some point I just stopped taking it so darn seriously! I started shooting for bloggers like The Kentucky Gent, Derby City Darling and Lou What Wear, and gained some awesome friends because of it!
Guest Blogging for Natural Life: This post was one of my very first style posts on the blog, so when Natural Life contacted me to ask permission to repost it as a guest post, I was thrilled! I love everything that their brand stands for, and the fact that they wanted to repost something that I wrote on their incredibly uplifting blog was so awesome!
Starting My Day in the Life Series: This series that kind of fizzled out after a few months because I got so busy with my day job, but I am so excited to bring it back full swing in 2016! Getting to interview other awesome bloggers, photographers, designers, makers, and creatives, and giving them another platform to share their story, was seriously so fun! Not to mention the awesome giveaways brought your way! I'm thinking about turning this series into a podcast soon to mix things up a bit ... What do you think? Do you prefer to read interviews, or listen to them?
Re-Opening My Design Studio: My journey in the creative world started over 3 years ago in our tiny first apartment when I decided to start designing prints to save money on home decor. Little did I know that I would totally fall in love with design, and it would lead to a business that would eventually allow me to quit my day job! I closed my design studio for a while so I could focus on my photography and blog, but bringing it back to life this year was one of the best decisions I ever could have made. The short break that I took was just what I needed to build up my creativity just a little bit more.
I'd love to know what y'all want to see more of/less of in this space as I start planning posts for 2016! Drop a comment below, or reach out to me on Twitter/Snapchat/Instagram/Facebook @chelceytate