First of all, thanks so much to everyone who entered the December giveaway! Based on a random drawing, this month’s winner is STACY YIM! Congratulations, Stacy! Please send me an e-mail with your mailing address, and I will have your bracelet in the mail by the end of next week. I’m so happy to be able to share my love for The Shine Project with all of my followers. Please be on the lookout for the January giveaway and don’t be shy about entering again!


I’m going to (try to) keep things short today, as Matt and I are getting ready to pack up all of our holiday things and head into Philadelphia to celebrate the new year with friends (yay!), but I did want to share with you one reflection about 2016. Inspired by several of my favorite bloggers, I started this year with a single word as my theme. Rather than setting specific New Year’s Resolutions (as I’ve mentioned before, I much prefer shorter-term goals), I wanted to be intentional about this word, keeping it in mind as I made decisions and planned my reactions to things. My 2016 word was:


At the beginning of 2016, I was heading into the second half of planning our June wedding. I was committed to being a calm bride and to staying above the drama that I knew too well could tarnish the whole process. I wanted to remain respectful of my family, to honor my impending marriage to Matt as the focus, and to keep myself as healthy as possible in mind, body, and spirit. Since I’m prone to anxiety and being a little reactive, I knew this would be a challenge, so I wanted to focus on being peacefulPEACE is such a nice word, isn’t it? Just saying it makes me happy.

Using PEACE as my mantra really did help me in the first half of this year. I planned our wedding with minimal drama and walked down the aisle feeling happy, confident, and not unusually stressed.

I never could have guessed, though, how important my focus on PEACE would become in the second half of 2016. As I’ve shared before, coming back from our honeymoon and settling back into life at my old office was a startling experience, and it made me realize just how unhappy, unfulfilled, and  — frankly — unhealthy my work was making me. I felt the opposite of peaceful. I knew something was terribly wrong, and that until I figured out how to make it right, I was being dishonest with myself.

Feeling ultimately peaceful on our honeymoon in Antigua. While it’s impossible to be on vacation forever, I knew I needed to figure out how to capture some of those feelings in my life back home in New York. 

Most of you know what happened next (if not, you can read about how I quit my job and started my freelance career here and here). It was only by finding the strength to do something that felt totally crazy and scary that I was able to find PEACE and begin to feel like myself again. For me, PEACE wasn’t always about being calm and relaxed — in the end, I had to throw my life into a bit of chaos before I could find it : )

If New Year’s Resolutions stress you out, I would totally encourage you to think instead about choosing a word that inspires you for 2017. I have two more days to choose mine, and I’ll let you know what it is on the blog next week! What’s your word for 2017? Let me know in the comments below!

Have a safe and happy New Year’s celebration! Thanks, as always, for your love and support in 2016. On to another fantastic year!