As we get closer to the end of 2013 and the beginning of a new year, I can’t help but reminisce. What year it’s been! So much has happened to me, so many things that have been life-changing and have set me on a path that I never could have imagined at the beginning of this year. I decided to just take some time out on the blog to give God thanks for my “best of 2013.” In no particular order, here are my 13 favorite moments of the year…
1 // New York, New York (source)
I made the move from Washington, D.C. to Brooklyn, N.Y. in February. It was a difficult decision to make, because I’d be leaving my life in D.C. right when everything had fallen into place. But I’m glad I decided to move. It was a no-brainer, really. I wanted some more exposure and more inspiration for the ideas that had started forming in my head about starting my own business, and I knew I was only going to get that in NYC. Plus, Quentin had just moved there from California, and we finally had the opportunity (in almost four years of dating) to actually live in the same city. So I took a chance and moved! It’s taken some getting used to, but I love New York, and I’m so glad I live here.
2 // Going from blog to business
I officially registered The Feisty House as a sole proprietorship in the state of New York this year. For almost five years, this blog has kinda teetered in between hobby and something more, and turning the blog into a business was my way of committing to the development of that “something more.” The Feisty House has so much potential, and it has grown so much over the past year. I can’t wait to see where things go in 2014.
3 // I Put Down the Fork
I don’t know exactly how it happened, but after I moved to NYC, I started putting on weight. Nothing out of control, but enough that it was noticeable (to me). I started feeling heavier, and I was more sluggish and less focused. I was always tired, even when I wasn’t necessarily doing anything. I started losing definition in my arms and abs. Then while in Florida for Thanksgiving, I weighed myself at Publix, and I was a whopping 125 lbs. Now, that might now sound like a lot to ya’ll, but I’ve never been above 115 for any extended period of time. I started paying more attention to my eating habits and noticed a few bad habits: (1) I was eating really large portions; (2) I was eating in between meals; and (3) I was eating huge dinners later in the evening, usually between 9:00 PM and 10:00 PM. No bueno. So I’ve really changed up my eating habits. I eat about half of what I was eating before, and I feel a lot better–I’m not nearly as sluggish. I’ve also stopped eating past 8:00 PM, and if I do want a snack in between meals, it’s some dried fruit or popcorn. I got some new exercise stuff in the mail yesterday, and I’m so ready to hit the gym and start toning up and getting stronger. This is the only body I’ll have, so it’s about time I started treating it right!
4 // I said, “yes!”
I got engaged. In Jamaica. Definitely one of the highlights of my year. It was such a great experience and a day I’ll never forget. I think I’m just now starting to realize the implications of an engagement. One day, Quentin and I will have our wedding. And then we’ll live together. In the same house. And we’ll raise children! It’s all so new and exciting and scary all at the same time. We feel ready, and we’re definitely more excited than scared, so that’s good!
5 // Prayers and a Promotion
When I moved to New York, I was almost certain that I would come up with a way to quit my full-time job by the end of 2013. That was my hard and fast goal. My plan was to work part-time in health policy as a consultant and spend the rest of my time developing my business ideas. But then I got engaged, and Quentin and I were faced with paying for a wedding on our own. So I prayed. Towards the end of the summer, not too long after I got engaged, a position opened up at my organization. It was the perfect opportunity to stay employed somewhere I liked and potentially make a little more money, which would definitely help with the wedding. But I was so dead-set on working for myself that I put off applying for the job. Finally, after some really great counsel from my family, I decided to apply for the job. Then I prayed some more.
One night a few weeks after I’d applied for the position, I decided I was tired of waiting. I told the Lord that night that I was going to tell my boss that I was withdrawing my application and would be leaving the organization at the end of the year. And then the next morning, my boss called me into his office and told me that he’d like to offer me the job. Insane. At that point, I knew the promotion was something God wanted for me. His timing is not always our timing. So while I’d much rather be self-employed in 2014, I’m working full-time, saving money, working really hard on my projects behind the scenes, and praying for direction.
6 // “Dearest Krystal,”
My grandma gave me a photograph of myself at about a year-and-a-half, and on the back was a letter from my dad, who was living in New York at the time (my mother and I were in Florida while he worked on our new apartment). My father was only 24 (my mom was 21!) when he wrote me that letter, and I’m just amazed that he was already so mature, so loving, and so protective. Getting that picture, in the same year that I got engaged and really started to explore marriage and parenthood, has made me see my parents in a different way. I think I finally understand how seriously they took their role as parents and spouses, even at such an early age. They spent their early twenties raising me so that I could spend my early twenties finding myself. What an amazing gift!
7 // A Makeover
I’ve invested a lot more time and money into The Feisty House, including a switch from the Blogger platform to a self-hosted WordPress site, along with a complete makeover of the blog. I still have a few more updates that I’m hoping to get done by January 1st. When the site went live with its new design, I was just so proud. I felt like I was taking my blog to the next level. The response has been really positive, and I’m glad I took the plunge. There were definitely a few hiccups along the way (i.e. messed up permalinks!), but I’m so glad I made the switch. I should have done it sooner!
8 // A Major Upgrade
Okay, so maybe upgrading your phone didn’t upgrade your life, but it upgraded mine. I had an 8GB iPhone 4. Like, one of the first iPhones ever. It was so outdated, and I didn’t have enough space to download any useful apps. I couldn’t even get iOS updates because there was never any space on my phone! It was awful. So I bought a 32GB 5s when it came out and yes, that is one of my favorite moments of 2013. Because I had a phone that actually worked the way it was supposed to. And my battery wasn’t dying in the middle of the day. And I could download Google Maps (finally!) and not get lost every time I got off the Subway. And I could take a decent photograph. I desperately needed that upgrade.
9 // Baublebar
When I pitched the idea for the “Wear Your Hair in Style” event to Baublebar, I did not think they were going to get behind it. But they did, and I hosted my first NYC-based event this summer. I only had a few weeks to put the event together (and I was in Jamaica for one of those weeks!), but everything worked out in the end. SheaMoisture was a sponsor, and I was so happy to see you all, my blog readers, out supporting the blog and having a good time while doing it. I just really wanted everyone to have fun, and you all did. I appreciate each and every one of you who came out, and I especially want to thank Cynthia of Simply Cyn for co-hosting with me! She is such an excellent human being =)
10 // Debt Free
I paid down all my credit card debt again this year, and that’s always a wonderful feeling. My credit score went up too (I broke 700!) In college, I was TERRIBLE with money. I didn’t get a handle on things until 2011-2012, when I put myself on a strict budget that I keep to this day. I budget EVERYTHING. I know exactly where my money is going on a biweekly basis, and I don’t spend more than I’m allowed to in a certain category.
11 // Feisty Society Clothing Company
Graphic t-shirt design is in my blood. My father owned his own t-shirt design company for most of my childhood. I love wearing graphic tees and sweatshirts and street wear, but there aren’t any clothing companies that are creating reasonably-priced tees for professional women. So I launched Feisty Society Clothing Company this year with one item–a sweatshirt that really pays homage to all my blog readers. Over the past year, you all have really made me feel like The Feisty House is a dope blog, so I created the My Blog is Dope sweatshirt. I’m planning on doing a small collection next year, and I could not be more excited. Feisty Society is where my passions for art and design and fashion converge, and I hope people enjoy the collection when it’s released in 2014!
12 // Lucky FABB
When I went to Lucky FABB this Fall, I was nervous as all hell. Introducing myself to people and talking about myself as a “brand” just doesn’t come natural to me, and those were all things I’d have to do at this conference for bloggers (obvi). To add insult to injury, I was wearing my very own design. If someone didn’t like my outfit, they essentially didn’t like something I’d created, and that was nerve wrecking too. Amazingly enough, after receiving so many compliments on my sweatshirt, I gained so much more confidence in myself, not only as a new designer, but as a blogger. By Day 2, I was introducing myself to everyone, handing out cards, talking to brands about collaborations and meeting new people (hey Dhruvi!) I was finally comfortable introducing myself as a lifestyle blogger and not a public health professional with a blog. Lucky FABB was definitely a turning point for me in my brand development. Ladies, confidence is key!
13 // A Family Affair
I’ve been investing a lot of time and energy into not only my business, but also my brother’s. He’s launching a Christian clothing company (I told you…this stuff is in our blood!) We talk about marketing strategy, distribution, social media. I like that I can help him think through his brand and concept. And I’m planning to invest financially so he can have some samples to test this summer. I have this dream that one day my brothers and I end up sharing a well-designed workspace somewhere downtown that includes a showroom. And an office dog.
2013 was filled with so many amazing moments.
2014 will bring even greater blessings.
But I can already tell that 2013 and 2014 will be very different. If the theme of 2013 was “hope and change,” then the theme of 2014 is going to be “work and focus.” It’s time for me to move from being inspired and having all these ideas to actually being focused and doing the work that will be necessary to turn these ideas into something tangible. I don’t think 2014 will be easy, but I do think it can be my most meaningful and rewarding year if I can do my part and put in the work. God has already blessed me with solid ideas and lots of inspiration. But can I keep it up in 2014? Can I work full-time, plan a wedding and still have enough energy to get these new projects off the ground? I honestly don’t know. I’m nervous about committing to these ideas. I don’t know if I can do this.
I’m hoping we can keep each other motivated in the year to come. Together, we can make 2014 our best year yet. Please let me know what your plans and goals are for 2014, and I will pray that you reach your goals. Please pray for me too, ya’ll. I have a feeling I’m going to need it!