I usually begin the new year with a post filled with links to last years recipes that were hits with my awesome readers and a few of my personal favorites. This year, I’m doing things a little bit different.
2014 was a bittersweet year for me personally so it’s hard for me to look back with feelings of happiness. So instead, I’m going to look ahead to 2015 and lay out my plans for my blog, my family and my life! A positive look at a clean slate of a year… 365 new changes to make better decisions, experience happier days and choose to have a more positive experience in life. Don’t worry though, I’ll be posting the best of 2014 in another post later this week.
I really like this philosophy… 365 days in a year and 365 chances to wake up and choose to make a better life. But doing that isn’t easy… I need goals and a plan and inspiration! And in order to do all that, I needed to sit down, really think about what I want in 2015 and make a list. As I was doing that, I started to clean up my desk and realized all the things I had around me really help to inspire my work.
So here’s a peek into my desk. Right now I’m working in my bedroom on a small IKEA computer desk. It has two shelves above the desk (but I won’t be showing you that disaster!) but overall it’s a pretty small work space so I have to do my best do keep it cleaned off so I have room to work.
On my desk I have a few things to help keep me organized. Of course a Starbucks mug for my pens and a little organizer for note pads, usb & memory cards, binder clips and push pins. Behind the picture, is a glass jar that’s filled with change and money. I have that jar there for easy access to tossing lose change and small bills into. Before I know it, I’ve got enough money for a weeks worth of coffee or even a dinner date with my husband! We call it our “funny money”!
In front of the jar is one of my favorite pieces of art by my friend Jessie of CakeSpy. I keep this one my desk because it’s super darn cute and because it reminds me of why I started blogging! Jessie’s blog inspired me to start my own and looking at her art work keeps me motivated! Two cupcakes in love under the Space Needle!
I always have my custom May Designs note books at my disposal to take notes. I probably have 2-3 of these going at a time with recipes, lists and plans jotted down in them. I love them because I can change the designs, colors and text on the front and they’re a perfect size to fit in my purse. I have colorful pens and note pads to jot notes down with too. It makes things more fun when I have pretty things to work with.
As you can see, I’ve got a pretty good list going so far. Since I took that picture 4-5 more things were added to the list! Lists = Goals = Motivation = Getting things Done!
One of the essentials on my desk that my external hard drive. It’s that silver box up in the left corner of the picture above. This little contraptions is my life saver. I’ve got it set up to sync everything from my important folders on my computer to the external drive and then to the cloud. This is the first of four computers I’ve had over the last 10 years that I finally decided to back up. The three previous computers have pictures and files on them lost forever, but not this computer! External hard drive + cloud storage = Double Back Up! I’m not losing anything on this computer!
Here’s a closer look at my bulletin board. I try not to keep it cluttered because my desk is so small. So, I’ve got a few areas on my board that I use to help keep me organized and motivated.
The left side of the board is usually covered when I have my laptop open, so I keep a picture of my oldest daughter Emily and a picture of my new son and husband. They remind me of where I started as an adult and how far I’ve come today. I’ve also got a list going of tattoos I want and movies I missed in 2014 to watch.
The right side of the board has all my blog related & motivation stuff. Things I can glance at and see every time I sit down to work. Up top are notes I keep on ideas for posts, recipes I want to make in the coming year and a breakdown of my social media stats from Jan. 1, 2015. I’ve got my best friends phone numbers, an inspirational quote and a gold sequin “B is for Betsy” from my friend Rachel who is a lifestyle blogger! Also, I have one of the firsts checks I got for being paid to create recipes and a sweet thank you note from Jenny Kelly of jennycookies. (She inspires me!) All these things remind me to work hard for what I want in 2015 and motivate me to get there!
So, what exactly are my goals for 2015? I’ve got two lists going, a short term-do right now list and a long term-work on over the year list.
First, the short term goals (some of which I’ve already completed!):
- Get rid of the landing page on my blog. One of the comments made in my reader survey was that my landing page wasn’t really necessary and made it hard to get to my blog posts. I agreed and got rid of it.
- Revamp the JavaCupcake logo & colors. Another comment on the reader survey was that the colors on my blog were just a little too bright. Although I happen to love bright colors, I happen to agree with this one a little. So, I updated my background to grey and got right of the bright teal chevron. It’s still my style, just a little more muted. I also updated my logo. I wanted a logo that was a bit fancier but that included a graphic. I found this fun font and added the piping bag for some flair. I really like it for 2015!
- Update my newsletter, media kit, social media with new fonts and logos. With a new logo and colors means updating everything in my social media presence as well as my media kit. My statistics are always changing and updating keeps things fresh and current.
- Comment more on other food, military and DIY blogs. I find myself oohing and awwwwing over my blogging friends new recipes and ideas, but often don’t comment and tell them how impressed I am or if I tried their idea/recipe. This year I plan to comment more on blogs I like and recipes I try. One of the reasons I blog is the community it builds. I need to do more on my part!
- Organize my desk. For this blog post, I cleaned off my desk… but not completely. I really need to organize the top half where the shelves are too. It’s not pretty up there.
Now, here are my long term goals to meet throughout 2015:
- Move to Hawaii! Yup, that’s right… my family is moving to Oahu in August 2015! Yes, that means we have to leave Europe after 4 1/2 years of living here, but I am so looking forward to the sunshine and new adventure. My best friend, Chrissy, also moved there so I’m really looking forward to being close to her again. We’ve already started getting the house ready to move by purging things we don’t need. It’s really cathartic actually to get rid of the clutter!
- Get Healthy. This is a pretty broad statement for me and I mean it in many different ways. I want to eat healthier, work on my mental health, exercise and support my family in those same ways. I’m not a dieter… so that’ll never be a goal for me… but I do want a generally healthier lifestyle… so that will be a goal of mine this year.
- Grow & Strengthen Brand Partnerships. 2014 was a great year for me and brands. I connected with several great companies who produce quality products and created some great recipes with them. My goal is to continue to partner with these companies, strengthen our relationships and hopefully grown one into a long term ambassadorship.
- Make New Brand Connections. Now that I have a little experience partnering with brands, I want to do more! I hope that my move to Hawaii will allow me to connect with more stateside brands. Me being in Germany was a deterrent for many brands because I was technically “overseas”.
- Grow My Readership. My blog has grown over 2400% since I started recording my stats in 2010. That’s a huge deal! But, last year I only grew about 8%. In 2015, I want to grow at least 20%. This growth will in turn bring in more revenue and allow me to upgrade my equipment, blog, and life. More money is always a good thing!
- Write a Cookbook. I’ve been thinking and dreaming about his for a long time. I don’t know if I’ll be able to write a book in 2015 since I’ve got a big move planned in the middle of it, but I want to at least make connections in the publishing world and get the ball rolling. I have some ideas of what I’d like my cookbook to be about… but I really need to take the time to research the industry and make those connections. How awesome would a JavaCupcake cookbook be though!? My high school English teacher would be so proud!
So, I think I’ve got my work cut out for me this year. I’ve tried to keep my goals realistic and reasonable since I’ve got a lot going on in my personal life. If I meet and exceed these goals… well, then I’ll make new ones!
365 new days… 365 chances at a better life.
Let me leave you with this question…