My magical two-week break has come to an end, and I'm delighted to report that it was filled with togetherness, laughter, crafting and creating, rest, and ample movie watching (have you seen the new Annie?). I sunk into my home and blissfully forgot what day it was or what had to be done by when, and I enjoyed my husband and my children and my extended family and good friends. This was just the kind of recharge that I needed after a busy, awesome year on Pars Caeli and elsewhere.
I opened up this space to give myself the freedom to create and the accountability to make projects, big and small, happen and offer others help as much as I could along the way. 2015 marks the third birthday of Pars Caeli, and we hit a few significant growth marks this year:
Attended and assisted with a major blog conference: 2014 took me and three of my pals to Salt Lake City, Utah, and to a design conference known as Alt Summit. My role was as an Alt Rep, and I was able to connect with numerous, wonderful creative people and speakers. One of my goals in going to Alt was to begin to monetize Pars Caeli. I have a wonderful full-time job, and I want this space to support that and my family. So ...
Connected with brands and networks that I admire and wanted to partner alongside: I joined Pollinate Media, which enabled me to get my creative juices flowing for specific brands like: Office Depot, Wet Ones and Elmer's Glue, Wet-Nap, and All You magazine. I became a Wayfair Homemaker, and I've guest posted for them as well as hosted a Housewarming Party here. I've worked with the wonderful folks at Minted to show Valentines, business cards, and Christmas greetings that are great art pieces.
(Thanks for bearing with me on this list... it's going to get exciting soon!)
Collaborated with makers I admire and respect: like my ladies of the Endless Summer Projects series and the party for Ali and the NYE Bash. Sheri, Joy, and I cooked up a six-part series for kids in the kitchen entitled Mini Cooks. Created for the Cricut Design Space Star challenge and collaborated with a new and awesome group of artists over a serious of four challenges.
Contributed to sites that have inspired me: I'm so grateful to Jen and Steph for letting me join their teams. With Jen, I've focused on that you can do to create special moments with your children. And our homemade daffodil wreath was one of her top posts from 2014! It warms my heart.
With Steph over on Modern Parents, Messy Kids, I've created a collection of printables for boredom busting, summer reading, organization, and more! I've grown while putting my graphic design muscles out there to help parents and kids alike.
And the biggest one for me:
I started my own business. It's been a super secret goal of mine for a very long time. The title entrepreneur is exhilarating, and I'm owning it! Pars Caeli, LLC, opened officially at the end of October with a giant employee roll of one. I kind of still can't believe it, but I'm so grateful, a wonderful blessing of 2014 for me.
All of these check marks have been very good for me as a mother, wife, professional, and human. In 2014, I was able to shush my inner critic, that mean girl who has often kept me from jumping on the trampoline of possibility. I crafted a lot of ideas and put my tenacity to the test. I showed my children that they can be recognized for their creations, their thoughts, and, moreover, they can lead and they can influence. We have conversations now that start something like, "When I grow up, I'm going to start a business that ..." I'm not signing any of them up for business school yet, but I love that their minds are moving in new directions.
Unlike some of my favorite people on the interwebs (whose angst I understand and whose energy will be missed), I'm not tired of social media or of blogs. Indeed, I've grown deeper in love. Friends, we have so much potential for collaboration and sincere learning through these communication tools, and I am here, and invested.
And I thank you for joining in the party.
So, what's up, what's up for 2015?
It's boiling down to my one little word for the year: GOODNESS. I'm working this year first to foster my own goodness. To take care of myself with sleep and nutrition. To see, like really see, the avenues where I can assist others in powerful ways. To find new possibilities for this mouthpiece, Pars Caeli, to echo the goodness all around us. And to remind you and re-remind me when we go wayward that we are richly blessed. I even want to find NEW ways to help you have watershed moments of goodness - through shared story and new knowledge - and times when you see in new ways the incredible power you have to make goodness happen wherever you are.
And what does that mean in a business sense?
1. REIMAGINE THE LOOK OF THIS SPACE: I've made updates to Pars Caeli through the years, but I'd like to pare down to the essentials and bring forth what you really want to see. Simplify and clarify, which means some behind-the-scenes work on my part to get this blog design to the sweet spot of beauty and ease of use.
2. ASK YOU MORE: I'm hiding my eyes on this one, but I've never done a reader survey! I know. I know. I want to know what you think. What keeps you coming back? What should we multiply in 2015 and leave behind for 2014? Keep your eyes open for the happiest, simplest survey you ever did see.
3. COLLABORATE: Blogging would mean so much less to me if I had to do it all alone. I love working with other artists and makers to brainstorm and to learn the process. I want 2015 to include more and on new topics. I want to continue to embrace the right brand partners to bring you bigger and better projects - and even a few giveaways, because, you know you deserve it.
4. CONNECT: Keep it real with you. I tried five posts a week, and I've gone down to one. Three a week is just right for my full-time work and parenting schedule. I want Pars Caeli to add to my life and not detract so let's agree to be all-in three times a week (or for an hour on Saturday or Sunday like so many of you fabulous people do!). I also want to continue to share my life and reflections in ways that are fair to the privacy of my loved ones and to be open and honest with all of you. It's getting trickier as my children get older, but we can do it. Pinky promise.
5.PRODUCE: I have an AMAZING something happening with the good people at The Land of Nod that will be coming your way in the spring. And it's a real live product. EEK! And I have a few other products in the works that I can't wait to share with you. In 2015, I want to add a SHOP menu to Pars Caeli. This is another super secret dream of mine that I've had since I was a preschooler pretending with my stuffed animals (what, you didn't do that?), and this is the year we put it to use.
I'm holding it at five because I get overwhelmed easily. :)
Have you set goals for this year? I'll admit that this is my first time sharing big goals, and it's more than a little scary. I mean, what if they don't really happen? Or if I fail? I'm going to hold on tight, and try to be good to myself if one of these goals leads me in a direction that does not make sense for the rest of my life - family, health, work. And, you know, let's all hug and forgive if we bump and fall along the way.
Writing down big girl goals did not come so easily to me so I thank these brilliants who helped me in formal and informal ways in the prioritization process.
Inspired by: Kelly of Studio DIY, Amy of Mom Advice and her M Challenge, Brittany's list on The House that Lars Built, Melanie Biehle's word, Kate's tactical list of four, Amy's insight at the beginning of 2015 on This Heart of Mine.
P.S. In case you're still up for more, here are our top 4 posts of 2014: