January was a tough month. I am so grateful that it is over and that we can put it behind us. The shutdown took a toll on us and was so stressful. It really made me evaluate some things and it also really made me homesick for the Coast Guard community.
We got our official orders (finally!) and are starting the out-processing process. There were a lot of moving pieces getting us here, and I am guessing there will be a lot getting us out of here as well.
We are really excited about what is next for us. We loved living in New England and really looking forward to going back. Wes was in Boston this weekend and checked out where we are (probably) going to live and I think that it is going to be a good fit for us.
In last month’s post, I talked about recommitting to this space (it has made me so happy) and working towards some financial goals. Then the shutdown happened and it kind of freaked me out a little. We had enough money, but it was the uncertainty that freaked me out. I also think that discussions about Wes’s future in the Coast Guard and the prospect of retiring in the next few years didn’t help my anxiety.
I used to to make a significant portion of our family’s income. When we moved here I lost a large chunk of it, and while I knew it was coming, it did change our financial picture. My money was always the fun money. What paid for trips and lessons and the extra stuff. I miss having it. I’ve had to be more mindful of where we spend our money, which ended up being a benefit, I was mindlessly spending money. Typically out of boredom. Those late night Amazon binges add up.
I miss working. More than I ever thought possible. I’ve gone back and forth all year about what I want to do next. I’ve considered teaching again (did you know I was a middle school teacher?). I’ve considered getting a Masters. I’ve toyed with starting an online photography school. I can’t seem to pull the trigger on any of those and I think that is telling me that I don’t really want to do them.
February 2019 Goals // Move prep, asking for what you want, and cleaning out my kitchen. Checking in on January and setting goals for February 2019.
I like taking pictures and making films. That’s what I want to do. I think it is as simple as that.
A few years ago, I pulled all of my ads on this site. I did it for a lot of reasons, and while it was nice to make money in my sleep, at the time I could make up the difference in other ways. When those opportunities weren’t available anymore because of where I lived, I realized that I needed to make some changes.
I re-joined an ad network this month, so you will begin to see ads being fed in the very near future. For a long time, I felt bad about running ads. I didn’t want the user experience to suffer and I didn’t want to feel constrained by them. But now, 5 years later, you can’t even read an online newspaper article without either paying for it or being shown ads. It’s just how the world works. You are so used to seeing ads, why not make some money for my work and efforts?
Running and maintaining this space is expensive. I think that a lot of people would be surprised to know that running a site costs a lot of money, the Internet is not free. I pay well over a thousand dollars a year just in hosting fees. The tools that I use to promote my content all include monthly fees, and we haven’t even discussed the cost of ingredients, styling props, or photography equipment. I could also forgo these services, but then no one would see my posts. It’s a Catch-22.
Let’s not forget about my time. Time is probably the most valuable thing that I have. I work really hard to create timely and thoughtful content and I love doing it. But the time that I spend here is time that I don’t spend with my family. I am no longer going to apologize or be weird about wanting to be compensated for my time and energy. (And let me tell you, I’ve been super weird about valuing what I do and asking for money for it. It’s been a lifelong issue of mine. That and my lack-of-confidence issue. My two biggest personal challenges.)
All that to say, if I am going all in on being a content creator, I’m gonna go all in.
This is where my focus will be. If I want to make a full-time income, I need to put in full-time hours.
The very smart and wise Sarah Von Bargen said that you have to ask for what you want. You need to articulate it and put it out into the world. You need to tell people why you want it. It’s vulnerable and scary, but you gotta do it.
Here are some things that I want.
Work with travel brands and tourism boards //
I want to work with travel brands and tourism brands to get out the word about how incredible family travel can be. The comment I get the most about my travel stories is “I could never afford to travel” or “is it kid-friendly?”. I want to show you that family travel is obtainable and that your kids will enjoy themselves and you will have a family memory that will last a lifetime.
I also want to showcase and highlight smaller places that you might not have heard of. We visited Venice and it was great, but a beach town 30 minutes down the road in Bibione was a place we would go back to time and time again. Let’s discover some of those gems together.
I also really love staying in smaller, family-owned or independent hotels. We have met some incredible people that are providing excellent service and experiences, I want to stay in more accommodations like those and showcase their businesses.
My a lifelong goal of mine is to visit all 50 states. I’d love to partner with some less traveled or under-appreciated states and see what they have to offer.
Dream vacations – Costa Rica, Hawaii, Lake Louise, Acadia National Park, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, Belize, Curacao, Japan, Thailand, New Zealand, Yosemite, the Dakotas.
Create content for brands and makers //
I absolutely love creating images and films for brands and makers. If you are a business owner or blogger of any kind, you need images for your website, social media accounts, product listings, and so many other things. Video is here to stay and I’d like to create reels, tutorials, and brand stories for businesses.
A brand’s visual voice is what gets people to their shop or brand, and I want to help create those images for people. Selfishly, I’ve loved watching these businesses grow. Their success is my success.
This work has been so gratifying for me, I’ve loved seeing my work being used on profiles that are building their businesses and growing using visual imagery.
If this is something you need or are interested in, reach out. I’d love to start a conversation with you.
February 2019 Goals //
– Clean out the kitchen and donate anything we don’t need or use. I’ve been doing Joy the Baker’s Well-Kept Kitchen Challenge and it’s helpful. I’m a few days behind, but I’ll finish it. Cleaning under the sink really was the catalyst to want to get it all cleaned out.
– During the process of working with an ad network, I discovered that the platform that Baked Bree is currently built on isn’t compatible with a lot of things. I need to move again, and while it is a pain, I know that it is the right thing to do. So Baked Bree will be changing again soon. Pray for me. These things never go without a hitch.
– Make some plans for spring break. I don’t think that we are going to go on a big trip, but we will go somewhere for our last hoorah.
– Organize all of the kid’s school and the moving paperwork. It takes a lot of paper to register kids for school.
– Do our taxes. Not fun, but necessary.