Here we are. The beginning of a new year. Welcome back! I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful holiday, or at the very least a much needed break. I sure did, it was so so wonderful having so much time to spend at home with Jeff and Arlo, I savored every moment.
This post has become a Studio DIY tradition, I recap the past year and talk about what to expect for the next. Except, this one is a bit different. I took a look back at the last few recaps and every one of them had such a tone of heartache, struggle and sadness. There was the year my lung collapsed. The year I had a miscarriage. And the year I had another miscarriage.
But this year, well… last year now. It was a really good one for me. And, clearly, I haven’t gotten to say that very often over the last half-decade. My business thrived, we bought a house and I became a mom. That last one, that’s the real kicker.
What was hard about this year is that it was just so completely horrible for our country, and for the world. It felt like a huge dark cloud of sadness and horror set in. And then there was one bad event, decision, shooting, natural disaster, bill and tweet after another.
It’s really weird when you’re having a wonderful year, but the country around you is seemingly crumbling. But for this post, I’m going to choose to focus on the year I had personally, as I usually do.
First, let’s start with a little recap of the happenings at Studio DIY this year. We launched a balloon shop and immediately sold out of so many. We grew the Can’t Clutch This family by SOOOOOO many of you and sold out of so many clutches!! We spent a crazy amazing week in Palm Springs with the best team ever. We had another insane Halloween season where hundreds of you re-created our costumes. And we inspired dozens of you to re-create our Christmas village with your families!!
Wow. What a freaking year!!!!
And personally, it was just the best of the best. We announced to you guys that we were adopting a few weeks after I wrote last year’s recap and just two month’s later, we brought home our son. I feel like I keep talking about it and repeating it, but I could say it every minute of every day and it would STILL not equal how grateful I am for the experience, for his birth mom, for her selfless decision and for him. The only thing I’ve ever really, truly wanted is to be a mom. And it’s exceeded every expectation I’ve had. I think it’s really easy for parents to complain because parenting is really freaking hard, but honestly the hard parts don’t even put a tiny tiny PIN PRICK in how wonderful it is getting to watch a little baby learn and grow. It’s so magical. I’ve never experienced so much love and awe as we’ve experienced this year.
And then, two short months later, we went and bought a house! Another huge goal of ours. Adopting Arlo really kicked our butts into gear because it was very important to both of us that he grew up with a backyard to run around in. And while ours right now looks like a desert wasteland with a giant 12 person hot tub hole in the ground, it’s gonna be GREAT when it’s done! Haha! We still sit down every night and say “Can you believe we own this house?” Another serious “pinch me” moment of 2017.
Of course, doing all that and running a business didn’t come without it’s challenges. Up until this moment, we have not had any regular childcare and we don’t have any family nearby that is able to help regularly with childcare either. And our plan of “we’ll just bring our baby to the studio” went out the window when we were blessed with a child who doesn’t like to sit for more than .5 seconds. Haha! (I actually really love that about him, despite it’s challenges!) That’s meant a lot of juggling, frustration and sacrifices. Jeff spent the better part of the year caring for Arlo, while I juggled his job and mine at the studio. And Samantha picked up basically everything in between. So if you guys want to give her an extra 45 rounds of applause for keeping this ship afloat as we made a few too many personal life changes, she deserves that… and then some!!!
Oh, and our house still looks like we just moved in, for the most part.
But what those struggles have taught me a lot about is prioritizing. I used to beat myself up if I didn’t have a new post or DIY, and this year… sometimes we just didn’t have a post and that’s ok. Nobody died, you guys are all still here. It’s not that big of a deal and I’ve learned that.
These changes have also taught me a lot about what I really care about. And it’s made me think a lot more about the content I produce here and which of it really matters to me. Because I’m not going to lie, I had in some ways fallen out of love with DIY. And I also started to feel somewhat of a disconnect between some of the content I made and my life, and where I’m at in it. It’s really hard when your passion becomes your job sometimes. But having Arlo and having a house has really renewed my love for DIY and my desire to close the gap on that disconnect.
For one, it’s made me realize the kinds of DIYs I want to share here. Ones that mean something, ones that last, ones that my family can share in or build traditions on. So I’m not going to lie, in 2018 you’re going to be seeing less DIYs. Because I’m no longer going to do DIYs just to do them. DIYs take a lot of time and unless I’m really passionate about the project, that time is not worth the time away from my family. That said, the ones you will see will be filled with so much more love, authenticity and me.
You’ll also (finally!) be seeing a lot of home updates and some more personal and family posts. From what I can tell, those of you who read the blog (versus just follow on Instagram) seem to prefer those posts anyway! So I hope that excites you as much as it does me!!
We also have some INSANELY exciting shop expansions happening this year. In addition to the clutches that you’re going to just DIEEEE over, we’re expanding our accessory offering (Hint: Some of your requests have been heard!) and we have our sites set on some awesome summer AND Christmas (!!!!) products, too!!
We’ll be doing our yearly survey next week to really get your opinions on the future content and products here, and I still have a lot of more detailed figuring out to do, but I’m excited to start closing that gap and bringing more passionate, useful and relatable content to you guys. I hope you’ll come back and weigh in on all that on the survey!!
And last, now that I’ve written a novel, let’s review my progress on last year’s goals.
After three years of “Grow our family” being #1… IT HAPPENED!!! We also accomplished #2, buying a house! I danced a lot with Arlo… best kind of dancing EVER! I didn’t read a single book (again, ugh!).
We did bring more conversation to the blog, which I LOVED! This post about baby names, this post about grandparent names and this post about what you could have been named were three of my all time favorite posts to write and read. More of that in 2018 for SURE!
I didn’t really nail the whole “mono-tasking” thing but I’m hoping with an assistant and nanny to help, I’ll be able to be more focused all around this year.
I did document the good stuff with my 1 second every day app! (Even if I had to play a lot of catch up on Dec 31st, haha!) I got really good at saying no, which I’m very proud of. And I did two creative projects for myself, our stockings and Arlo’s latch hook.
Last, I still don’t feel money confident. At all. So you’ll see that again below! Here’s my goals for 2018:
1. Ask for Help: We spent the last half of 2017 basically drowning so we’re in the process of bringing on a nanny and an assistant. I’m SO excited to get the help we need.
2. Choose Convenience Without Guilt: I’ve started to realize that I’m at the point in life where with some things, time is money, and I need to accept the fact that it’s worth it to spend the extra dollar if it means a little peace of mind for me. That means ordering pre-made meals instead of cooking dinner every night and paying a little more for a studio that will cut down my commute by SO much.
3. Feel More Money Confident: Since spending more money makes me feel less confident, I really want to focus on taking hold of our finances this year. For real! I’ve said it before but it needs to happen. There’s so much more at stake now with a family and home.
4. Take Ownership: I want to further define my, and everyone’s, role at Studio DIY so we can all really take ownership over our work and take it to the next level.
5. Eat Better: With a baby to feed now, I’ve realized how bad we eat when I’m constantly like “oh no, Arlo can’t eat that..” If he can’t eat it, we shouldn’t be eating it either. This is a huge priority for us. In addition to ordering healthy, pre-made meals, if anyone has recommendations for healthy but easy recipes or cookbooks, please leave them below!
6. Wake Up Before Arlo: I’m in a bad habit of letting Arlo wake me up in the morning and then I automatically start the morning behind. I want to start waking up before him so I can get ready and then really focus on him once he’s awake!
7. Take a Vacation: Our last *real* one was our honeymoon in 2015! We’re planning a trip to Mexico with our best friends, or I should say… we’re supposed to be planning a trip. 😉 We’re looking for something very relaxing, and would also love to do some shopping for the house, so if you know any great spots, please let us know!
8. Make A Scrapbook for Arlo: I haven’t opened Arlo’s baby book once. Didn’t write a single thing down in there. But I think I realized that a journal or baby book isn’t for me. I much prefer something scrapbook style, that I can create from scratch and not feel bad about missing a milestone or not filling something in, just remember the stuff I want to. I hope to do one every year for his birthday, but I know that’s ambitious. So I at least hope to do the first year, and we’ll see where life takes us after that!
9. Disney!!: We got Disney ANNUAL PASSPORTS for Christmas and I could not be more excited to be a Disneyland regular. I still haven’t wrapped my head around the fact that we’ll get to go as MANY times as we want this year. Now we just gotta make it happen!
10. Start the adoption process… again!: Yep, it’s happening. =)
And with that, let 2018 officially begin! 2017 was pretty freaking awesome and with Arlo, this house and so many exciting Studio DIY product launches on the horizon, I cannot wait to see what this year brings! I’d love to hear some of your goals for 2018 below!
All the best for 2018 K, J & A <3
Glad your family had such an excellent year, it’s been great following along here and on Instagram! Would you mind sharing the name of the one second every day app? Thank you! Cheers to 2018.
Thank you!! It’s called “1 Second Everyday: Video Diary” in the App Store and I think it’s like $2.99 or something. Totally worth it! Also, if you miss a day you can go back and add photos or videos to it later which is great if you’re like me and forget to do it! 🙂
Julie Blanner says
I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings you and your family!
Allie Ellenbogen says
I truly loved reading this post and all your previous year’s recaps too. It’s a reminder to anyone who’s going through something tough that things always get better, just maybe not as soon as you planned. Thanks for sharing so honestly – cheers to another great year!
Thank you Allie!! Cheers to that!!
The Romance Librarian says
If you want to squeeze b reading a book, you might try audiobooks! It’s great to be able to read while doing stuff like chores, crafting or driving
And for taking control of your money, I highly recommend YNAB.
I’m so excited what this year will bring for you, and for us as well!
My favorite year end post yet! So excited to see what’s to come for your family and Studio DIY.
This year I will graduate college so my biggest goal is to find a job that feels right and also take control of my money by starting to pay off a mountain of student loans!
Such an exciting year!! Wishing you all the best on your job search!!
Noella Newman says
Hi Kelly, this is Noell. I want to thank you for my clutch all the girls at school loved it. I also want you to know Arlo is so cute and so are you. I love your blog and always bother Grandma for her phone so I can see your latest pictures and posts. Thanks again love you Noella
Hi Noella!! So glad you loved the clutch!! You are the best!!
Amanda J. says
I always love your year in review and your honesty! As always, I look forward to continuing to follow you, your blog, and your sweet family. Also, in reading this, I realized you are where I found out about the 1 Second Everyday app! I didn’t start until January 7 last year, and I’ve told myself I can’t watch it all until it has been a year. I’m soooooo excited, as it has been a fun project over the past year. So, thank you for sharing that (and sharing so many other things that have been incorporated into my life–confetti DIY earrings, the calendar, the Cosmic Brownie costume… and so much more).
Ah yay!!! I just watched mine and it was sooo fun to watch!! Happy New Year, Amanda!
Although I’m a qualified chef, I totally understand the struggle of not wanting to spend hours every day cooking and preparing meals. I was given Jamie Oliver’s new cook book “5 Ingredients” for Christmas and it’s already my favourite cook book. Most recipes take less than 20 minutes and only have five seemingly simple ingredients in them, which also means less time shopping! Would definitely recommend
Ooooh I’ll definitely check that out!! 5 ingredients sounds about my speed! Thank you!
Great post and I look forward to reading the variety of content being offered this year!
Norma Rivera says
I really loved your post, I’m so excited to see all the wonderful things this 2018 has for you guys!!
Wow, I didn’t think it was possible but I fell even more in love with StudioDIY than before! What I really loved about this year is how REAL you got. You and Jeff and team are the most authentic, down-to-earth people ever and I look forward to new posts and Insta stories and it’s been so fun to watch your family grow in the best ways. I am excited to see how you evolve StudioDIY, and I have to say I’m with you 100 on the DIY comment!!
Thanks for sharing everything, and truly ALL THE BEST IN 2018!
Thank you so much, Catherine! That means so much to me and to us! Wishing you the best in 2018 too!
I am OBSESSED with your family, Kel! Your blog, social media – total inspiration and I aspire to have just a pinch of your success with my own business. Keep it all coming – the honesty, the laughs, the tears, the heartaches – and know I am here rooting for you. <3 you guys!
Thank you Kim!!
I only recently found you on ig and I LOVE your content! Im starting out on a low note and I am hoping to focus on self-care in 2018. As a mother I put myself last and I’m really feeling the effects now. Im hoping to get myself to a place mentally where I can refocus my brand and get back to enjoying my work. Work out, cut night eating, and make time for meditation and therapy. Thank you for sharing! Xo
Oh I totally relate to that, girl! It’s so hard to put yourself first when there’s so many people and things that need your attention, but it’s so important! Hope we can both practice better self care this year!
Thank you for sharing your life with us! I love that your goals cover so many aspects of life. I tried to do the same this year, with launching a company most of them are centered around that though.
My number one personal goal is to “get healthy”; lose weight, eat better, go to yoga 3 times a week, mediate everyday.
Thank you for sharing your lovely colourful life with us all. My son is 13 months and your love and positivity remind me to cherish every little bit of Emerson’s love and his beautiful life…even the teething! We are so very lucky to be mums of healthy boys.
Every fortnight I make a big healthy Dahl with grated carrot and zucchini and a mild veggie curry. Both are super healthy and freeze really well and all three of us love it, a huge time saver and so easy to reheat after work. Plus they are so easy to cook!
So so lucky!! I have never heard of Dahl before, but it sounds delicious!! So smart to freeze it, my mom does that with soup a lot and it’s so helpful for her during the week!
Lauren D says
Hi Kelly! So happy to hear how awesome 2017 was for you and your family! 🙂 One of my goals for 2018 is to cook more for myself (so hard to get motivated to cook when it’s just you! #singlegirlproblems) My mom recommended the Hungry Girl cookbooks and I love them! I follow them on Facebook too, and they post great ideas like lasagna stuffed bell peppers – yum! Can’t wait to see what amazing things you do in 2018! 🙂
Oooh definitely going to check the Hungry Girl out!! Thank you!
I love that you are sharing that you had a really great year personally while everything seemed to be going so poorly generally. We actually had really similar years since I had a baby and we bought a house as well. Sometimes it makes me feel guilty to say I had a really good year but we really did have an amazing year. I am so glad you did too and I love following along with your life.
I totally relate!! But CONGRATS on the baby and house! So exciting!!!
Marie Douglas says
This was such a great read! 2017 was definitely filled with lessons to prep us for the best year, 2018. I love tip #1, we should never be afraid to ask for help!
What an amazing recap of an incredible personal year, it is so lovely to hear all about the different ways that you and your family are thriving. Life is all about balance and I feel going into this year you have a really good grasp on how you are going to balance everything! I love that you are going to be doing more homey posts and can’t wait for the year ahead on here! My main goal is to start each day a bit earlier to for more in, yay for 7:30 alarms!
Holly from The Art of Being Holly xo
First, congratulations on being a new mom. It’s one of the greatest of feelings…finally having your own little one to care for. No more loneliness especially if you are working from home.
Secondly, if I were the one, I wouldn’t worry too much about what is happening around me. As long as you have a good thought about the country ans wish fervently for its continous advancwment. What I do is just concentrate on my day and try to tick off as much work as I can in the day.
After that, I can worry about things around me.I even doubt the latter since you now have a baby to tend.
Taylor Murphy says
I’m a huge fan of you and Studio DIY, and I love your new year’s resolution list! I highly recommend ‘Read It Before You Eat It’ which isn’t really a cookbook, but it does teach you how to grocery shop in a healthier/more effective way!
Here’s the link for the book: https://www.amazon.com/Read-Before-You-Eat-Healthiest/dp/0452296439
Good luck to you and congratulations on growing your family!!
Thanks for sharing valuable information. I like your articles, such a amazing idea.
I love all the goals you hit this year. You deserve a good year. I hope 2018 brings you even more accomplishments and happiness!