Let’s Do This, 2016

Sugar-and-Cloth_HustleI’m going to be really blunt with you about 2015, specifically the last half of it: I didn’t do a great job at some of my goals. But, the new year has brought a fresh perspective, and I’ve got a lot of clarity around my approach for 2016 and how to get ahead.

Jungle-Woman_Sugar-and-ClothThey say an important part of moving forward is to look back with clarity. So let’s start there.


2015 was by far the busiest year I’ve had. Ever.

I launched Wandeleur, was pregnant through the first half of the year, went on a baby moonGracie Kay was born,  enjoyed a maternity leave that went by way too fast, and experienced the craziness of working full time while being a mother and trying to run two blogs on the side. I was busy, y’all.

I’m a huge proponent of going after your dreams no matter what it takes, but I received a healthy, heavy dose of reality when Gracie was born. I thought that maternity leave would be easy. I thought it’d be filled with a sleeping baby, lots of time to relax, and lots of blogging. It couldn’t have been more opposite.

I’m a focused woman who takes pride in being driven, but there’s nothing that I will prioritize over my family. And so I didn’t. Even though Wandeleur and this blog are priorities of mine, there was no way I could choose them over being with my baby during her first few months of life. I spent my days rocking, soothing, singing, cuddling, baby talking, walking and being with Gracie. I felt very much turned off in almost every aspect of my digital world, with the exception of the occasional post that I’d write in the wee hours of the morning after Grace fell asleep.

For that reason, as I look back, I can confidently say that I accomplished something that most people struggle with. I was fully present.

I am proud of myself for this. Though I didn’t blog as much as I wanted or grow digitally as much as I’d hoped, none of that mattered. My priorities were elsewhere, and that was okay. More than okay — it was necessary.



Oh hey, 2016! Gracie is 6 months old, I feel more adjusted to working, and my blogs are still a priority of mine. How do I make it all work? How do I have a family but still go after my dreams? How do I find more balance?

At the risk of sounding naive, I do believe that you can have it all. You just have to figure out how.

I’ve had a lot of time over the past few weeks to reflect on what’s next. I’ve faced some tough realities, have made a “priority” list and checked it twice. Here’s how I will accomplishing being a good mom, wife and friend, all while still going after my dreams and working. Hold me accountable, okay?


#1: I will work smarter, not harder. 

The biggest thing that I can do to help progress my goals is to make sure I’m organized, proactive and finding efficiencies where possible. I will spend one hour of every Sunday making a list of goals for the week, and a plan of action to get them done. I’m perpetually behind on email, so I will schedule a half hour every day to proactively get ahead after Gracie goes to bed. I will turn off the television, which is such a time suck and will give back hours to my days. I will produce content that is utilizing my partnerships and relationships better, so that digital growth is consistently happening without needing to spend more time on posts.

#2: I will be more focused. 

Both Wandeleur and Isn’t That Charming will become more focused this year. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t for both sites, and focusing them will help to produce content that resonates better with their respective audiences, and thus will help them to grow. How will the content change? You’ll just have to keep reading to find out!

#3: I will be fully present. 

This is something that I feel I did pretty well last year, but I need to remember to keep a priority.

When I’m working, I’ll work my ass off. I’ll find efficiencies where I can, practice smart and informed decision making, and be accountable.

But this also means that when I leave work, I need to actually leave work so that when I’m with family or friends, I’m fully present as well. I won’t be checking email, text or social media every 5 minutes. I’ll put away my phone when I’m having a conversation. I’ll stop scrolling and look people the eyes. I’ll enjoy wine with girlfriends. I’ll play Peek-A-Boo with Gracie.

Do me a favor and go check out my Instagram. There’s a handful of posts from the holiday season, yes, but not a lot. That’s because I really tried to turn off over the holidays and only posted when I had down time. This goes against everything they tell you about blogging, but if being successful means needing to be obsessive about social, then I’m sorry but something is wrong with the world.

Let me know if I’m guessing wrong, but I don’t think any of you really care what I ate for breakfast. I mean, sure, I’ll post when I can and have something worth posting, but if it means ignoring my husband over our morning coffee chats, then it’s just not going to happen. That photo can wait until lunch. And I’d hope you all will keep following despite me not posting every meal, happy moment or aesthetically pleasing snapshot of my life. (Please do!)


#4: I will take time for myself. 

I was asked to participate in a feature that’s going live soon, and one of the questions was what I like to do when I have time for myself. When I thought about that, I couldn’t find an answer, because most of my “me time” is spent trying to catch up on blogging. How sad is that?

This year, I will change that. I will get back into yoga and will go to classes on the weekends. I’ll meditate in the mornings when the house is quiet. I love to read, and so before bed, I’ll dive into a book before I go to sleep. I’ll get my nails done every so often, because why not!?

#5: I will say no. 

This is going to be really hard for me, because I love new experiences, places and people. But in order to be fully present, work and also keep blogging, I’ve got to draw the line somewhere. Saying yes to things is a great and wonderful thing, but not if it’s going to cause me stress and get in the way of all my top priorities.

It saddens me to say this, but this year I won’t be going to many networking events. All of my nights will be devoted to Gracie, my relationships, being proactive on getting ahead, and moments of relaxing.

With the exception of Wandeleur, I won’t be taking on freelance writing opportunities or projects. I realize that by doing too much, I haven’t done things well. So it’s time to focus all my efforts where they’re most important to me, and that means saying no to things that aren’t laddering up to bigger goals.

Last, I will simplify my schedule. Over weekends, I’ll stop running a billion errands and just enjoy time with our family and friends. I’ll work hard and will make time for my dreams, but I’ll also enjoy the act of just beingLive-Free_Sugar-and-Cloth

Overall, I want to find more balance in 2016. I really think that if I do a good job applying all the things I listed above, I’ll be able to accomplish all that I want while also being fully present. Let’s hope it plays out that way!

Now, I’m curious, what are your goals? How do you find balance while doing a lot of things? I’d love to read your suggestions and tips!

Here’s to a great year ahead, filled with all that you hope 2016 should be. xx

All photos via Sugar and Cloth


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7 thoughts on “Let’s Do This, 2016

  1. Erin M Bassett

    I could not have said this any better myself! These goals are so aligned with what I am trying to do in 2016. I’ve got about 10 weeks left before things change wildly :] But even the next 5 weeks are crazier than I am used to! I am traveling to Salt Lake City and Scottsdale at the end of the month. We’ve got brunch plans with friends we haven’t seen in too long and other parties every weekend. Windy City Bloggers is stirring up a lot of new content & a big event early February. But my 2016 DO List (on ColorMeStyled.com Thursday) is centered around bringing CALM into our lives. Eating dinner at the table, no TV, no phones. Practicing Yoga Tu-Fr. I’m trying “time blocking” since I often do things all day but the higher priority stuff doesn’t get done. Tidying up before going to bed. Reading before bed. Danny is going to read more too so we both get that quiet time together and it really has been good the last few days! I absolutely loved what you said about being present. I’m thinking about getting rid of my personal Instagram (gasp!) There was a study done about people’s memories of things when there is a video or a photograph of the event – people don’t necessarily remember being there themselves – they remember what they say in the picture. And with all the pictures and content flying around these days what are we really remembering? How are we really spending our time together if it is all about styling the perfect shot for social media? [and I know the irony of you and I meeting a few weeks ago just so I could take pictures but that was for “work” so I’m letting it slide]. Anyways, I’m excited to see where you, ITC and Wandeleur go in 2016!!

  2. Maya

    I am so excited to kick ass and take names with you in 2016! Here’s to the best year yet – in all the many facets of your life 🙂 xx

  3. Kelly in the City

    Emily, I LOVED this. So much of it resonated with me–I struggle with so much of what you mentioned.

    And I’m with you on the networking events. I’m simply not going anymore. My time with family and friends is far more important, and in the end, it makes me happier! 🙂

    Also, what did you have for breakfast this morning? You didn’t Instagram about it, and IT’S BEEN DRIVING ME NUTS ALL DAY.

    Hehehe. Heart you so much. Again, LOVED this post. 🙂

    Kelly | Kelly in the City

  4. Susan

    You are wise beyond your years! Speaking as someone who’s always been a working mother, now with adult children. you CAN have it all. It’s an ebb and flow between career, spouse, kids, and self, and spirit. The most important part is being present in whatever you’re doing in the moment. That’s really the key to achieving happiness and peace. There will be stumbles along the way, so remember to be kind to yourself during the process. Go for it!

  5. Nicole

    I am SO with you Emily. I can’t imagine how a baby and becoming a mama has changed your perspective! There is no better gift than the present. Once you’ve blogged for awhile it’s like “I can’t be 100% connected to social media, take photos of everything, network, curate the perfect outfit, style every. single. thing., be a great wife, friend, keep a clean home, save for a house, stay in the know, edit photos, etc.” It’s exhausting! And then you miss out on those tiny little details that make life so fabulous.

    Switching gears for a second – I really enjoyed that sassy-ness of yours in point #3! I think as a Bonus Goal – “Sassy Emily” should attempt to come out a little more in 2016 😉


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