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2021 in Retrospect: Highs, Lows, + What’s Next

Looking back at 2021 in retrospect helps me see that what felt like a year of standing still was actually filled with slow and steady progress toward some interesting things. Check out our family’s highs, lows, and what’s coming next in 2022.

couple in front of a christmas tree

I’m usually ready to greet a new year with enthusiasm and open arms, but for some reason, the beginning of 2022 just feels like any other season of the year. I was feeling apathetic in a way that I haven’t before, and I got to thinking that it might be because 2021 felt simultaneously like a blur and like time was standing still.

I wasn’t really sure what I had accomplished last year, where I put my energy, or how I felt about it at all.

So I started jotting down some notes to get my head around it all, and try to understand why I was feeling ambivalent about the new year. Those notes turned into this blog post.

And they also helped me see 2021 a lot more clearly, and embrace a new year.

masked couple

Mental Health

This post from the Lazy Genius was where I started taking stock of 2021, and the question that really got me was: What made me feel like myself?

And the truth is that I feel more like myself now than I ever have before. I gave myself the time and space to dive into my mental health, and I’m learning so much about who I am and how I relate to the world.

If you’re curious, I discovered that I am HSP (along with Maggie) and also dove into being an Enneagram 9. Both of those things have brought such relief, clarity, and joy around things that I have felt and experienced my whole life. I have such self awareness now when challenging situations arise, and I am starting to understand so much more about myself.

It feels so. good.

woman holding 40 balloons on a beach

The self awareness and understanding has led to so much more self love and acceptance, and love and acceptance for the people around me as I see them and their actions more clearly too. It feels really good to move through the world this way.

Work

Our professional lives this year felt very status quo, for which I’m always thankful. Every year that passes that we are able to continue our businesses, work at home, and support our family makes me increasingly grateful.

If I’m being honest, it always takes intention and presence of mind for me to be grateful for the status quo. Ryan and I decided years ago, very consciously, that Lovely Indeed is something that we wanted to remain mid-size and not turn it into a huge mega blog/business. And while it’s what we want, it’s also humbling.

To see many of my contemporaries climb higher and higher, reach larger numbers, and make huge business deals makes me so happy for them and also forces me to remember our conscious decision. Ego gets in the way of everything huh?

But I will always stand by our decision. It means that we can support our family, be present with our children as they grow in a consistent and healthy way, and also not have schedules that are so wild or overloaded that we start to resent our work.

Looking back at my work this year, there were so many wonderful brand parternships that I loved working on. But there’s not one majorly fancy thing or huge project that I can point to and say look what I did! It’s a decision we make over and over again to stay in that space.

Travel

I got on a plane this year! Ryan and I took a much needed trip to Kauai, without the kids, for our 10th anniversary. In retrospect, it can’t believe it happened. Family and friends graciously and lovingly cared for our kids for 4 nights (the longest we’ve ever been away by double!) so that we could celebrate.

I had totally forgotten what it was like to travel without kids. While it’s one of my favorite things to do to take family adventures, this trip was incredibly special, connective, freeing, and rejuvenating. I’ll remember it forever.

Aside from that, we traveled plenty in our beloved state of California. You know we’re major road trip fans, and we did plenty of road tripping. Morro Bay for my 40th (I turned 40!), Santa Barbara, San Diego and La Jolla, Pinecrest, LA, and Disneyland. We ended up getting Disneyland Magic Key passes and it feels really good to have the prospect of more Disney trips this year.

couple on hawaiian beach

We did end up cancelling a trip to Mexico that we were supposed to take during the first week of 2022. With pandemic numbers rising, and a desire just to remain cozy at home, it felt right to cancel. I’m so glad we did — we had a really lovely holiday break with both kids off of school for three weeks.

children digging in beach sand

Community

You know we have a huge heart for our community, and this year we did a massive amount of work on our current community project: creating a children’s museum here in Modesto. The Modesto Children’s Museum is going to be a state of the art place for the Central Valley’s children to learn, play, and adventure.

I’ve never worked on something of this scope before and to be honest, the workload is staggering. Ryan and I are part of the founding board of directors and it’s literally the definition of a working board. It’s all hands on deck, and we have some incredible community members working alongside us.

Sometimes I stop and look around and think how did we get here?! It feels like very deep, uncharted water. We have learned so much by trial and error, and it is testing us daily when it comes to being a good team member, collaborating, pacing ourselves, giving our best, and so much more. But it’s a passion project for sure and something that will leave a lasting legacy in our community.

Pretty soon I can share some majorly great news about the museum, so keep an eye out.

modesto children's museum

Family

The most important part of it all: my three favorite people. Every single day, I am so thankful for our tight-knit little crew and all of our extended family and friends. I don’t think we would have made it through the last two years relatively unscathed if we didn’t have each other.

In early 2021, it was like coming up for air when my parents were able to get vaccinated. I waited in line for them at 5:30 in the morning for 2 hours so that they could get one of the early vaccines, before they were so plentiful like they are now. In spring, Ryan and I got the jab, and now our kids have it too.

I am so grateful for science and for the God who gives us brilliant scientists and valuable medicine.

vaccinated couple

The kids were able to go back to school in person full-time, which was both wonderful and a challenge. There were some weeks early on in the school year where we were dealing with some pretty sad mental health issues. I’ll keep those mostly private, but I’m happy to say that thanks to our school district’s mental health resources, we saw huge improvement.

We also did (and still do) lots of talking with our kids about navigating or sitting with feelings, and the tools that we can use to do that. That’s something that I never could have imagined my parents doing with me but hopefully if we start normalizing making mental health a priority for them now, they can carry that with them forever.

Happy to report that Ryan is still the most patient and loving husband ever, guiding our family through a front yard renovation, planning a 40th birthday for me, celebrating 10 years of marriage, and coaching the baseball team. He is so good at helping us see the forest for the trees in the moments where we get overwhelmed. I feel like I gained a deeper understanding of him this year, and that’s pretty cool.

father and son at baseball game

We deepened some friendships in 2021, which sustained us, and saw other friendships morph into something that we didn’t recognize. Which is hard. It can be really challenging, especially right now, to navigate friendships as an adult. We’re always learning lessons about what it is to be a good friend.

We were so lucky to have some of our favorite out-of-town friends come to visit throughout the year, and it filled our cups to be with some of our oldest and dearest people. We also witnessed our kids develop a beautiful, tight relationship with their cousins and some of their best friends. It’s incredibly heartwarming.

children holding hands at a lake

What’s Next in 2022

One thing I’m sure about is that for 2022, I don’t want any specific resolutions. I want vibes, directions, intentions, all that very woo-woo stuff. 😉

I do have some goals that I’d like to accomplish but I usually keep those personal. However, there’s one very big professional project that I think is on the horizon, that I’d love to be able to say next year that I accomplished. So fingers crossed for that.

I’m really enjoying focusing on the technical end of Lovely Indeed – learning about SEO, cleaning up old blog posts, and trying new strategies to help spread our content. I expect lots more of that in 2022.

couple hugging at a pumpkin patch

And finally, three things that you can expect to see from me this year:

Staying True to Myself. In a sea of neutral-colored Instagram squares of perfectly adorable women wearing wide-brimmed hats, you’ll see me with our usual splashes of color and everyday moments. Sometimes I’m so tempted to buy into trends, but the bottom line is that it feels the best to stay true to who I am. So you’ll see real, unposed moments from our family, you’ll see the things I truly love and use, and you’ll see the things that make me happy. Hope that makes you happy, too.

Finding the Fun and Value in Social Media. Honestly, social media has felt like a slog lately. I think that’s true for everyone. But I am feeling a pull to find the fun in it again, and the inspiration to add as much value for you to my feeds as possible. I’m brainstorming a few ways to do that.

Life-Led Content. Finally, you’ll see content that is a natural extension of our daily family life. You’ll see me sharing the DIYs we make authentically, not just to have something to share. I’ll be sharing home or personal style items that we actually own (not just buy and return — it still boggles my mind that home and fashion bloggers do that!). I’m excited to open up our lives a little more and share more of our everyday in a way that feels right.

2021 was a confusing year for sure. It was fast and slow, and kind of indefinable. But I think that slipping into 2022 with clear eyes and positive intentions is a good place to start.

Sending you hugs for a beautiful new year. xoxo

family in venice

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3 thoughts on “2021 in Retrospect: Highs, Lows, + What’s Next

  1. I’m a local follower of yours – born and raised in Modesto. Love this post and love that you’re planning to share more life-led content. On several occasions I’ve reached out to you asking where some of the items I see in your stories or posts were purchased and how you use them, like the nuggets and the walkie talkies. I purchased the Star Wars walkie talkies when you sent me a link and they have been a hit! Thank you for the recommendation. Can’t wait to see more of the home or personal style items that you own and how they’re incorporated in your life. All the best vibes for 2022!

  2. You are lovely. Thanks for spreading joy in hard times and finding good in hard to find places. It’s inspiring, and I feel lucky to become your friend. Cheers to a joyful, peaceful and meaningful 2022! Sending loving woo-woo vibes your way 😁

  3. Oh Chelsea, I adore this blog post so much 😍😭 it made me cry tears of joy for you & your sweet family, as well as for myself, as I resonated so much with so much of what you shared. It’s been a weird season of life! But what a gift it is to get an opportunity to know ourselves better & make decisions that honor our values. Grateful for your presence online & in our local community ❤️❤️

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