Reflecting on 2014

Christmas is officially over, which means 2014 is coming to a close. After a week of family, drinking, eating, and sight seeing, it’s finally time to pack it in and get back to normal. I’ve been thinking a lot about what happened this year and the overall sense I get was that it was a year of transition. We made a big move, Jeremy finished school, and I started a new job. Here’s a visual representation of each month:


Winter: The Move back to San Francisco

This time last year we were miserable in the polar vortex and dreaming of warmer days back in San Francisco. We knew it was only a matter of a few months before we’d be back home. In January, we anxiously started looking for apartments only to realize that getting back to my beloved city was going to be one of the hardest things we’ve ever done.

Not only did the prices triple while we were gone, but most landlords refused to work with us because we would be moving in sight-unseen and we were also bringing with us a dog.

San Francisco is notorious for not having dog friendly apartments. We did finally find what seemed to be a perfect place for us. We took a risk and paid a large deposit to hold the house for a month ad a half and held our breath.


February and March was full of packing, planning for the move, and Jeremy teaching me how to drive in the middle of winter in Chicago. It was hard. Really really hard. But I did it! I got my permit so that I could help drive across the country for the move.

In the last remaining weeks, we enjoyed as much of  Chicago and the snow as we could, which was difficult due to the crazy polar vortex that dropped temperatures down to negative 12 (feels like -37). Needless to say, I worked from home a lot.

As we said goodbye to all of our favorite places we realized that leaving would be bitter sweet. It had been nearly two years of homesickness, but we also had so many great memories and loved being close to Jeremy’s brother, but we couldnt wait to get out of the snow and pick up where we left off in San Francisco.

A new Chapter

When we finally arrived, we were so relieved to find that the house was real and it was more than we could have imagined. After months of waiting and worrying, we stepped in the door of our new home and fell in love. It was perfect. We loved the space, we loved that we live next to a huge hilly reservoir where zero could run and play, and we loved how we’re within walking distance of the ocean and the park.

We immediately had a big housewarming party, the largest party we’ve had to date, and got a chance to see all our old friends. My family also came to visit soon after, but the reunion was short lived.

Jeremy had to finish his degree in Los Angeles and wouldn’t be back for two months. He left three days after we had moved in and didn’t come back until mid May. This was the longest we’ve ever been apart.


Spring: On my own

Being away from Jeremy for over two months was the longest we’ve ever been apart. We both hated it but it gave us a chance to really miss each other too. While Jeremy was finishing school, I worked and was a single mommy to Zero. It was really tough leaving zero alone for 10 hours a day, to come home to a hyper active dog, but eventually we got a routine down.On weekends we went exploring the surrounding parks to burn off some of that energy.

As much as I missed Jeremy, I also enjoyed my time by myself to reflect on the future and where I want to move forward in my career.


Summer: Decorating and Adventures

In may, Jeremy finished his required classes for his masters and came back home. We spent many weekends exploring the sunset, hiking, and finding “our spots”. We also had a home to decorate, so we spent a lot of time filling this big space with new artwork, doing some DIY Ikea furniture hacks, and making things feel homey. Jeremy’s business slowly gained momentum, taking on more gigs over the summer.

Fall: Work work work

Jeremy and I both worked our butts off over fall. I quit my salaried job and moved on to the difficult tango of contracting full time and freelance on the side. We spent halloween with my parents out in a cabin in gold country and we spent thanksgiving on a beautiful hike in Mount Tam.



Winter: #Hellastorm and family for christmas

Starting around Halloween, the flood gates opened up and we have gotten quite a few downpours in much needed areas of California. We spent most of december preparing the house for the holidays since this would be the first year that my house was home base. CRAZY. I feel like such an adult. My brother and his girlfriend and my parents all came to visit us for Christmas. Jeremy’s brother and his wife also came out, so we have been booked solid on the family front and work continues to pick up for me.



Well that was last year. Looking back I realize that we accomplished so much despite the financial rockiness of making a big move and finding new jobs. I feel good about it and I am really excited for 2015.

My goals for 2014:

  • Re-establish my network in San Francisco: This means participating in AIGA events, getting coffee with my colleagues and catching up. 
  • Work towards a full-time freelance career: Gain more clients, raise my rates to what they should be.
  • Get a small office space for myself:
  • Re work some of my “half-finished” projects: Beef up my portfolio with UI/UX projects Including Cal’s Corgis and Moolah app.
  • Continue to Exercise and lose 10 more pounds.
  • Write better content for Creatively Driven.

It looks like I accomplished some of them.  I never finished the moolah app and cals corgis because I ended up having plenty of paid UI/UX work to put in my portfolio. I also was so worried about making rent this year that I didn’t bother to exercise. Finally, I don’t feel like I wrote the kind of posts I wanted to for Creatively Driven this year. A lot of them felt like inspirational posts, but not many were informational. It’s something I plan to work on in 2015.

Some things I’m proud of:

  • We decorated our home, keeping a theme going in each room. Jeremy refinished some ikea furniture to add color to our overly-brown living room. My ocean inspired office became my perfect retreat and work in progress project.
  • I experimented more with mixed media this year.
  • I went to more design events like typo, creative mornings, and an agile workshop.
  • I made the transition from marketing to UX design which eventually lead me to my current job at Baby Center as a Senior UI/UX designer.
  • I defined my core values, which helped me quit a job that wasn’t following my values.
  • I took on more clients with huge website projects and developed a good relationship with another developer who has referred me more than once.
  • I launched the new creatively driven, that is now mobile friendly.
  • I created an entire brand identity for culinary experts Mary and Sara
  • Creatively Driven has grown both in page views, visitors, and subscribers (yay!)

Some goals for 2015

  • Fix Jeremy’s website
  • Start saving for a 2016 wedding
  • Build an even larger client list so that I can freelance full time
  • Scale back on our lifestyle and live a little more minimally, consuming less material items and enjoying moments more.
  • Build my blog styling website
  • Define my life values and live my life by them
  • Travel to Vancouver and Chicago

Well there you have it. That is the loose roadmap for 2015. We hope you have a happy new year and that your 2015 is full of accomplished goals, laughter and love.

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