As the month kicks into high gear, Iâ€™m trying to set good habits and stick to routines while knocking out as much work before 2018 hits. Like a lot of you, this year has felt very off-kilter for me, mostly because of the state of the world and politics (honestly, this post pretty much summed up everything Iâ€™d been feeling during most of 2017) while my creativity, self-care and any sense of balance got thrown onto the back burner.
Finally, Iâ€™ve gotten some basics under control. Little things. Settling into being vegan. Committing to a new skincare routine. Researching new systems for Branch. Making sure to drink more water. What Iâ€™ve realized is that tiny shifts can start to add up and Iâ€™m feeling happier (and much less frazzled) because of them.
The last few months have looked like this:
â€¢Â SAYING YES BUT ALSO SAYING NO: I freaked out a bit when a 3 week trip Iâ€™d committed to ages ago finally crept up. I was nowhere close to caught up with work but I packed my bags and got on the plane for 2 weeks in Italy and a week in Morocco. Did I have waves of panic when I realized how behind I was? Totally. But I still lived it up! Walking miles every way while bundled up in my favorite leather jacket and taking hundreds of photos? PURE HEAVEN.
I am really excited about some big changes in 2018. And to make room to facilitate those big changes Iâ€™m saying no to some things, even when it makes my stomach drop and Iâ€™m afraid of the outcome.
â€¢Â NEW YEAR, NEW LOOK: The thing Iâ€™m most excited about is the new Branch website, photos, media kit, client guides, processes, EVERYTHING. Itâ€™s been such a long time coming. This has been taking up most of my bandwidth when Iâ€™m not working on client projects or traveling which is why Iâ€™ve been quieter over here but finally, finally, things are coming together.
When I launched Branch over 4 years ago, getting a site live was a necessity and perfection was not. The studio grew fast, I moved into an office space and though I was never happy with the way the site looked, focusing on client work was my priority. Finally, I knew it was time to show my own brand some love. I did a shoot in Washington, D.C. over the summer, handed off our new site for development and on nights and weekends, Iâ€™ve been working on all the other bits and pieces. When we go live in January, Iâ€™ll do a post here about what I learned during the process.
â€¢Â PARTING WITH TIKI: Did you see my post about Tiki, our newest rescue squirrel? That was a hard one to write and I still miss her all the time. Itâ€™s been a big adjustment to not have her running around the house but she seems really, really happy with her new family. Awww.
â€¢Â THE BIG RENOVATION: I feel like my entire life is a renovation right now! LOL! When we moved into our house 8 years ago, we didnâ€™t have a budget for changes beyond the basics like paint so there was a lot that still needed some TLC. While I was away in Italy, my brother and Joey teamed up to begin remodeling our kitchen.
Goodbye 80s-era baby blue countertops, stained floral linoleum and non-functional trash compactor! Hello, floor-to-ceiling white subway tile, big gold faucet, new dishwasher, herringbone-tiled countertops, marbled flooring and non-broken cupboards! Itâ€™s so amazing to finally have a fully functional kitchen! Iâ€™ll take photos soonâ€¦.but right now there are still tools, grout and boxes of tile everywhere. Haha.
â€¢Â SETTING GOALS: Is anyone else as excited for 2018 as I am? I know that the new year, new start mentality is such a clichÃ© but I canâ€™t help it! The winding down of a year, spending holidays with family, wrapping up loose ends and setting fresh goals feels so good.
This year I fell short in a lot of ways but in others, threw out the pressure of expectations and just lived life. And thatâ€™s the truth â€” life isnâ€™t a perfectly curated Instagram feed. Itâ€™s messy, unexpected, sometimes boring and up and down and everything in-between. Thereâ€™s so much beauty in that.
Hereâ€™s to a wonderful December andÂ I hope yours is off to a good start! â€”Shauna
â€¢Â Alex Franzen has such a magical way with words. One of my favorite posts sheâ€™s ever written is The Internet Pledge.
â€¢Â In the 13 years since The New York Times Modern Love column began, over 80,000 submissions have rolled in. For a good laugh: My ex-boyfriend hangs from hooks!
â€¢Â How do you feel about trading your services?
â€¢Â Productivity is really about what you donâ€™t do. Iâ€™m still learning this mindset (and failing all the time!)
â€¢Â Wait, what?! Some people listen to podcasts at 3 times the regular speed.
â€¢ Getting â€˜motivatedâ€™ does not equal doing the work.
â€¢ If you prefer that matchmaking apps help you find your next professional connection instead a one-night-stand, Bizz (by the founders of Bumble) is for you!
â€¢Â Um, these pies are too beautiful to eat.
â€¢Â The 8 types of friends you need to be happy in life.
â€¢Â If youâ€™ve heard about the fight for Net Neutrality but arenâ€™t sure what itâ€™s all about, The New York Times explains.
â€¢Â I love the AfroArt photo series!
â€¢Â The best books of 2017.
â€¢Â What would it feel like to delete all your social media apps and give yourself permission to live without their constant pull?