See Ya Later 2014 and Hello 2015

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I spent some time thinking about how I was going to start this post and what my main message was going to be, but forget it. SEE YA LATER 2014!!! Glad to see you go!

That’s my main message, see ya later 2014. Man, 2014 kicked our ass. And it was a hard kicking too. I’m sharing this story because I hope, in some way or another, it helps someone or just gives you hope that things will work out. Here’s the thing: I have no regrets. I’d do it the same way, but instead of getting down in the dumps at certain times, I’d tell myself to pony through it.

I’m generally not a down in the dumps type person too, but this year just kept hitting, and hitting and hitting, and at one point I told the universe, just gimme what you got. Everything that we knew and was part of our identity changed this year. I’m pretty into astrology, not because I think I’ll know my future, but because I think there are things the universe can teach you about energy and trends. I’m a scorpio and for the past few years Saturn has been in my sign (it just left, LATER Saturn!). Saturn is a teacher and I felt this very strong in 2014.

Everything that I know was challenged in 2014. Moving from the area in Manhattan close to the Empire State building to the country was a big deal. I am the person walking down the street looking at my phone and we moved to a place where people don’t use area codes when they give you a phone number. I think that put it in perspective.

I had to relearn how to do everything. I seriously didn’t think I was THAT much of a city slicker, but apparently I am. I’m a super city slicker and feel most confident on cement. This country business was totally new. Finding a new vet for Nero proved to be a challenge, to finding people to work on our house that would actually call you back or show up when they said they would. I had horrible allergies over the summer and I went to an allergist that told me it was indigestion (which I’ve never had an issue with) and I kinda wanted to punch him. I finally found a good allergist and guess what I’m allergic to? Grass. Yupp. Grass, it’s this thing that grows everywhere up here. And my body was on ultra alert cause grass was new. There is no grass on 31st and 5th Avenue, only cement. The summer was no better than last winter with the freezing temps and snow, mother nature was hazing us city slickers. We had leaks in the house, ice dams that broke several of our yankee gutters. You name it, it happened. I won’t even begin to talk about the serious bat infestation over the summer. Yupp 200 bats.

I also changed careers, and left everything that I knew, including my knowledge base and reputation, and followed my heart. This was not an overnight decision, but something that’s been in the cooker for a while. Will and I have talked about working together, as a photography team for a long time, and I finally took the leap and quit my full time career. Here’s my advice, if you’ve made a big life change in the past 6 months, don’t do this. It was extra stressful. So if you’ve had a baby, or moved, or anything big. Chill out and wait. In retrospect I’m glad I did it when I did because I wouldn’t been able to work on some of the opportunities that came up. I simply wouldn’t have had time to work on them. No regrets. I jumped in the cold water and now I had to swim.

When we were having these issues, with our career, the house and little things that kept popping up, I thought back to the time in our lives when we started this blog. Another difficult time, about 5 years ago. We had just moved into our loft on 31st Street and 5th Avenue. It was an empty white box, with no kitchen and a bathroom so horrible, I had been in dive bars with cleaner bathrooms. On our third day, Will got a call from a fellow photographer saying that the agency that represented them was going out of business. Seeing that Will was shooting mostly advertising this was a huge blow to our income. (Most advertising jobs were awarded through an agent back then.) We just made this expensive move into a big loft because Will’s career was growing and he needed a studio space. What a mess and how stressful. That’s when we decided to start a blog and invested a decent amount of money into our loft so we could live the life we really wanted and not just talk about it. It was high risk and high reward. In the end, it paid off. I won’t go over the exact details but it led us to a place where we were happy, creative and accomplished. And it built my confidence to explore different areas of interest that were more creative and outside of my professional comfort zone, like photography, writing and content strategy. Fast forward to today, five years later.

The point I’m making is that when the going gets tough, the Brinson’s get smart. It can take many months, even years, to see the rewards from the plans you make during those tough times, but we stuck with ours and they paid off. Today, I’m proud to say that William and I work together, as a team. Both photographing. Seriously, no matter how much money is in our bank account, when someone asks me what I do for a living and I tell them that my husband and I work together as a photography team and we also have a blog. I am really proud. I don’t have the stress of corporate mind games and not having enough time in the day to get everything done, I control my own future.

So let’s get to the good that 2014 brought, cause it wasn’t all bad. First, regardless of the bats, leaks, rodents, lead paint, peeling wall paper, 60s kitchen, and mold in the basement, we love this house. It’s our beautiful mess. We love it and cannot wait to see it brought back to it’s glory. Second, I can’t say it enough, I’m also grateful for my new career. I really enjoy working with Will. We each have a different way that we solve problems and go about creative ideas, but in the end circle back to a single point of view. I love working for home and am learning to cope with cabin fever this winter. It’s the best problem I’ve ever had!

In 2014 we added a new family member to our home, Sugar. She’s a rescued pit bull mix. Nero needed a buddy, and Sugar has turned into his full on girlfriend/lover. This move was hard on Nero too. You have to realize this is a dog who doesn’t pee on grass, cement only. After we moved, he went to the bathroom on our driveway the first few months. Nero is still completely disgusted when he has to walk in wet grass, which is why he’s a momma’s boy.

In 2014 we were able to travel, to Spain, Savannah, Maryland, Canada, etc. We normally don’t travel that much and take one big trip here and there. I love to travel so 2014 was a great year for travel I think this trend will continue with a trip in February to Germany for #BlogTour and the #Ambiente15 Show. I get to go to a design show in Germany!

Our blog got a major makeover in 2014 by the wonderful team at Say Media. I didn’t write a lot about this when the new site went live, but if it hadn’t been for Say Media’s Tempest we might not be blogging. (Tempest is a CMS that is completely managed, and we love it!) After having the blog for a 4 years and us both being at a turning point in our careers and lifestyle in general, we had to ask ourselves what we wanted to do with the blog and how much time and money we wanted to spend on it. What I did know: we hated wasting time on technical issues and back end programming. If you blog or have a website you know how much of a time suck this can be. We were also spending an incredible amount of money producing the blog, and going in the red over it. I don’t mind sharing this, as there is a point where a passion project is over budget, and the time was ripe with our blog. We decided to add advertising and opened the doors to working with sponsors. I know this can be frowned up on in the blogging world, but honestly, those people have to move on. Every other publisher has financial support of some kind. I’ve actually enjoyed working on sponsored content more than I’d imagine. It makes me think about why something is important enough to share, and I really enjoy learning about new services or trying new products then share my real life point of view. We never do anything that feels ‘wrong’, or that we wouldn’t be behind in real life. We have some exciting projects coming up in 2015 that I’m beside myself to share. I’m going to make it a point to include more thought leadership, more about photography and the creative process. These are topics that are so near and dear to us, I’m not sure why we don’t talk about them more. So we will. 🙂

A main focus for us in 2015 is another personal project(s) and some longer term projects on the blog. I’m nervous and excited to share these because we normally wouldn’t, but have decided that change is good and 2015 is the perfect year to start sharing more of who we are.

I’m excited about 2015, and feel the weight of 2014 lifted. Last year was a learning year for me. I learned who I can depend on, how to reach deep in my soul for answers and how to be strong. I think I’ll put that learning to good use in 2015.

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