2015: The Year of Doing My Thing

Happy New Year friends!

First things first, today is the start of the Lilly After Party Sale! Click here to shop ah-mazing deals!

Wow, I took quite the break from blogging these last few weeks. School has been so demanding this year, that I needed this break more than ever before. Little did I know that would mean a break from, well, everything, including the blog.

I also will admit, I've been hesitant to sit down and write this post. I knew that my next few posts would reflect on the past year and also look forward to the new year ahead. That task has been more daunting than in years past. As I've mentioned before, 2014 has been a tough year. It has been the hardest year of both my and Bryce's lives. As I've stated previously, I don't feel at liberty to share the details of our challenges from the past year, but I will share that what has made this situation unique is that most of the challenges we have faced have been largely out of our own control. Our relationship (and sanity at times, ha) was put through the ultimate test, yet it was not due to something either of us did to the other. Rather, it was a series of outside struggles and stress that put a huge strain on our relationship.

I've done a lot of thinking about the past year. There are so many sayings about the tough times in life--"What does not kill you makes you stronger," "Everything happens for a reason," "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain," "Yada, yada, yada!" I don't mean to sound cynical (and maybe I am), but while I think these words have meaning, I also think sometimes bad things just happen. I don't think there is some divine ultimate reason for everything. I wouldn't even say that I am necessarily stronger than I was a year ago; in fact, in some ways I am probably weaker. I would say the "positive" from the past year has been assurance. I now can say with complete assurance that I am strong, that my relationship with Bryce is strong, that my relationships with friends and family are strong. Does that make me better though? I'm not so sure.

All that being said, my motto for 2015 is "Do your thing." So much of my past year was spent trying to ameliorate and control the situation I was in...a situation that was largely out of my control. Throughout much of the year, I felt like I had lost a sense of myself. I developed anxiety. I was unhappy and I was a glimmer of the person I believe myself to be. The last few months have been much better, and moving forward, I am vowing to simply do my thing. To be myself, and focus on what is best for me...in some ways, regardless of others. That may be selfish, but after the past year, I think I need some time to be selfish. To expand on my motto a bit:

And now to not sound totally cynical, and self absorbed, I'll do some reflecting on last year's resolutions and share my other goals for the year ahead. To read in detail my goals and resolutions for last year, click here.

In short, below you will find my goals for 2014 and a brief reflection:

All in all, I would say that this goal was largely successful. 2014 was a bit of a rebirth of my blog. I recreated myself as "Alexandra Bee Blog" and got a pretty new design courtesy of Laura Wyatt Designs. I also largely maintained my goal of posting 10x per month. I missed the mark in both September and December, posting only 8 times those months, however, life was busy and I posted more than 10 several months so I think it all comes out in the wash.

This goal was largely about focusing on my relationship with Bryce and the new step we took by choosing to move in together at the beginning of last year. Because of the year we faced, I can honestly say that the exact particulars of this goal were not my focus. Much of our focus in our relationship over the last year, was really, for lack of a better word, survival. We had to fight to stand by each other's side for most of the year. It was tough, but ultimately, we prevailed and our relationship is now stronger than ever. And honestly, I'd say that has been the ultimate success. 

Well, you can probably infer from my reflections at the beginning of this post, that I didn't totally succeed in this goal. I set out with high hopes for 2014 and the first short six days were great. I was proclaiming the benefits and power of positive thinking and confident moving into the year ahead. Then on January 6, that all changed. I've learned a lot though and feel confident I can find more success with this goal in the coming year.

I would say that goal was hugely successful. I consider myself somewhat of a reformed picky eater and will eat most anything these days. I'm still not the biggest fan of fruit, though, haha!

And now for 2015. I was tempted to make no goals and just say that my resolution for the year ahead to make it a better year than last, but that's just not in my nature.

If the past year has taught me anything, it's how important a support network can be. I am so lucky
to have the unwavering love, friendship, and support of Bryce, my family, and some seriously amazing friends. There is no way in hell I would have gotten through the past year without my support network, so my goal moving forward is to really focus on continuing to cultivate positive relationships and to pay it forward. I want to make sure the people that have helped me so much know just how much their appreciated and loved by me.

I am so proud of how far this blog has come, but over the last year, I have really struggled to find the time to read, comment, and connect with other bloggers. I have tried hard to do a better job of emailing readers in response to comments and questions, but I can most certainly do better in the new year. Additionally, I am constantly inspired by others and miss reading blogs regularly. That being said, I am hoping to be able to carve out some additional time each week to connect with all of you beyond my posts. 

Womp, womp, womp...this is the boring goal, but it's a necessary one. In the last year, as I've become less and less picky, Bryce and I have really become foodies. Richmond's food scene has also been booming and we've had an influx of amazing new restaurants at our fingertips. All that being said, we've probably been doing a little to much eating, drinking, and being merry, haha! I am hoping that the new year will bring better meal planning and more healthy eating.

Another boring, but necessary one here. This year, I really want to work hard to spend less and save more. I am very fortunate to have little educational debt which my parents are helping with and no credit card debt. I also am proud to say that I already put away for retirement each month. That being said, there is plenty of room for improvement in terms of saving. I had the habit for a while of putting a huge chunk of my paycheck into savings at the beginning of each month, however, I got out of the habit over the last few months. I plan to make it a habit again and focus less on material, more on meaningful.

So there you have it! My goals for 2015..the year of doing my thing! New year, I'm ready for ya!

How was your past year?

How do you cope when the times get tough?

What goals or resolutions do you have for 2015?

Have a great day!

And just because I am saving, not spending, doesn't mean you have to! Shop some of my Lilly favorites that may be included in the sale below. I will also tune back in after school this evening with more!