A recap of the year is one of my favorite posts to write and put together! It’s always so fun to look back, see all the good that’s happened, how I grew, lessons learned, understanding how to deal with unmet expectations and to get excited for the new year and all the possibilities it can lead to. Does anyone else love even numbers?! Not that 2021 won’t be a great year but 2022 sounds so much better to me!
2020 started off pretty yuck for me. I was on a short term teaching contract at a local high school and truly hated it. I don’t even like to use that word! But I tried teaching an older grade thinking it might make me happier than teaching middle school and it was the most dreadful morning commute knowing I’d have to go and teach. No matter how hard I tried to make the best of the situation, it just was not working.
In early January, I was called into the principals office (uh oh, ha!) and was told that my last day teaching would be January 17th. Since my contract was short term, I knew I could be “terminated” at any time and my job was not guaranteed. When he told me my last day, I felt nothing but relief and was literally so happy. Naturally I am more of a risk taker and not having a job didn’t concern me as I saved a bunch knowing the future was very unknown.
So basically 2019-early 2020 were not my favorite and I had been looking for a full-time job for over a year. It came with lots of self doubt, sadness and feeling constantly defeated. Then the pandemic came and it pretty much threw off any plans I had. God kept reminding me that even with so much uncertainty, there were still possibilities!
2020 actually turned out to be better for me than 2019 and for that I will be forever grateful. I’ve seen it from both sides, for some 2020 was truly a heartbreaking and tough year and for others, it brought some of the most joyous and happiest moments. Just know, if 2020 was tough, I have been praying for you and there are better things to come!
It’s weird to type out “pre-Covid” and pretty much “post-Covid”. January to March were pretty normal. I went to Florida State University for college and have always wanted to take a trip back. During my Christmas Break, my sister, friend Makayla and I drove 5 hours to Tallahassee to go and explore my old stomping grounds! It was a fun, quick trip and we got to enjoy some cold weather! That’s the infamous Westcott Fountain in the photo above!
In December, I wrote an article for Space Coast Living magazine all about embracing the holiday season. I was super proud of this accomplishment and it was my second article to write for them. It just felt so professional! It’s under my January column because I think I didn’t pick up a copy of the magazine until the next month!
There’s not many photos of what I did BTS in February but so much of my time was spent job hunting, writing resumes, reading books and going on interviews. My plate was pretty full and I was determined to find a job in Palm Beach. I interviewed for a bunch of companies down South and waited a bunch and practiced lots of patience. If only I knew what was about to hit in March.
I also spent time creating a website/photography portfolio and launched The Sunshine Studio to offer social media management and photography to clients and small businesses. Turns out my instincts were right and landed my first client shooting branded product photography for her.
Something really fun that happened was that I got to do an Instagram takeover for my local LOFT store! They released a bunch of Spring styles and had me come in, style a few looks and shoot them for their Instagram. Tonya is awesome and she helped shoot some of the photos on my phone! We had lots of fun and I think I was there for over 5 hours!
To be completely transparent, I was not paid a dime. This is a hard reality for me to swallow in the “influencer” industry. Sometimes to grow, it means doing things for free and other times, I feel like the work that goes into a job or opportunity, bloggers/influencers are not completely valued. Imagine going to work and bring asked to do a 5 hour project then they give you a free product or a discount to buy one of their products! The ROI is not always worth the work/time.
Of course, I’m super grateful and it does help build my “blogger resume” and I said yes because I LOVE LOFT and used to work there. It’s also a great lesson and helps me ask hard questions like, “Is this opportunity worth the work? Are both brands getting something out of this? How does this bring value to my readers?”. This is a good example of the glamour behind Instagram! Maybe I need to be a trailblazer and change this with my own brand!
Oh March…we had no idea what was coming! During the beginning of the month, I met up with Emily and Hailey, a few Florida blogger friends to shoot some photos for Space Coast Living Magazine. We had a blast at The Colony Palm Beach on a rare cold morning taking photos in our swimsuits. 🤣
Just a few short weeks later, life kind of turned upside down. Pretty much everything was a blur and I don’t remember much from here to June ha! What I do remember was feeling happy that I got to travel to Palm Beach and took those photos just in the nick of time!
Oh April! I turned 30 in April and wanted to have a Covid-30 Birthday party to make light of the situation. Everything in Florida was officially closed and we were spending all of our time at home, so I thought…why not?!
One really great thing that happened was that I landed a new job working in e-commerce for Island Jay. After so much unknown the beginning of the year and job searching, I finally felt at peace with my next step and loved the company. With everyone at home, online ordering was insane. The company was experiencing crazy growth and it kept me busy the entire summer learning all the ins and outs.
Look, I skipped May ha! Really, I don’t remember what happened between those few months. Looking in my phone, there is nothing noteworthy to share about! My article and the Space Coast Living magazine photos came out in the June issue which was exciting! This is also the month I started planning and preparing to sell my handmade scrunchies. I made the blue striped I’m wearing in the photo above and tested it out for the month to make sure the quality was up to my standards!
July was a really exciting month! I launched Sunshine Style Co. and mailed out my first scrunchie orders! Work was super buy all summer long and I felt like I was working non-stop in a good way. It kept me occupied and I also started to help manage the Island Jay Facebook and Instagram pages. Everything that was happening was super exciting and I felt nothing but overwhelming gratitude and happiness. For so long, I’ve prayed and prayed to work in e-commerce and start my own business and it was happening right before my eyes!
My sister got engaged in August and found her wedding dress just weeks after! This photo was taken after she said, “Yes to the dress!”. We all wore matching shirts from ETSY. Hers says Bride and ours say, Brides Babes.
Like, I mentioned, things I have prayed for for so long were all happening so fast. Shore Bags, a sustainable coastal brand, had reached out to me to shoot and style some of their bags back when I was teaching and I didn’t have the time. During quarantine I reached back out and was able to create a bunch of content for them! The screenshot above was their main header image of me holding one of their bags!
Again, not much happened in September. Work was not as insane as summer, places were opening back up and I started making handmade scrunchies and matching face mask sets! One of my friends on Insta made the suggestion to create matching masks and it was a great idea. They were instantly a hit!
I spent time figuring out ways to grow my new business and was just excited and happy to be able to create fun accessories. My family and I also started watching Outlander and we became obsessed! Anyone else love Claire and Jamie?
After spending so much time at home I was so ready to get out and explore. my friend Ashley and I planned a quick trip down to Palm Beach for the weekend! We stayed in Lake Worth at an Air Bnb, went to the beach and rode bikes! I wrote a helpful guide on what to do in Palm Beach in less than 24 hours that also recaps our trip and gives some fun activities and places to eat at for a day trip.
I guess you could say my family and I had the travel bug. We decided to rent a cabin in North Georgia and celebrate Thanksgiving together! There ended up being 11 of us and we had the best time hiking, playing games, sitting by the fire in the cabin and exploring the 20 acre property we stayed on. The trip was so much fun, I was genuinely super sad to leave and wanted to stay longer!
Bealls Florida reached out to me for a fall campaign and I got to shop some of their fall decor and clothes in store and style it for Instagram! This was a really awesome opportunity that I was so grateful for and got excited every time I truly felt like this blogging thing and all the work is actually paying off!
Didn’t December just end?! Recapping January felt like it was soooo long ago and also like it just happened. December felt normal for the most part. The scrunchie business was going really great in Dec (Hey Christmas orders) and it got me excited for what’s to come with my small business for 2021.
We had a drive by shower for my sister and had a blast! It was so much more fun than we expected. My friend Alyssa and I are her maid of honors and borrowed this photo backdrop from a friend who has tons of wedding props and decor!
My family and I ended the month with a small Christmas at home!
What I’m most grateful for are all the slow moments of 2020, like sitting by my pool eating dinner after a patio work out, sewing and crafting and hanging with my family and playing so many card games. Being able to start 2 new business was also a huge surprise and something I am thankful and excited for every day!
Lots of Sunshine,