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February is the new January

2017 Goals using Lara Casey’s Powersheets. Monthly goals plans that make achieving dreams possible.

2017 goals2017 got off to a rocky start. Why? I can’t really say. I felt unmotivated, unsettled, and just could. not. get. it. together. We were waiting on orders, and it felt like we were treading water until we knew what the next few years were going to look like for us. We had a good idea that we were going to be moving internationally, but we also knew that we could just as easily end up in DC or Alabama. It’s always a gamble. February rolled around and things started to click into place. If you get my Friday Happy Mail (and I hope that you do) then you know that we are headed to Stuttgart, Germany in June. Once that became official we started to make some plans and then I felt a million times better about life. I’m not a huge planner, but not knowing where we were going to live made some decisions that needed to be made that much harder.

We are so excited about our move, and now that we have orders in hand, everything is moving quickly. There are a lot of moving pieces with a move like this. We finished our overseas screening yesterday and are now just waiting for the official travel orders to come so we can book the movers and plane tickets. I know that June seems a ways away, but in reality, it will be here before we know it.

I’ve loved our time here on Cape Cod, but I’m ready to go. It happens when you move somewhere and come with an expiration date. You know that your time is temporary and you are always looking ahead to the next thing.

People ask me all the time if I am tired of moving and ready to settle down. I’m absolutely not. I love moving around. The thing that scares me more than anything is having to think about where were are going to end up for good. It’s paralyzing if I am being honest. The idea of buying a house and staying put is a crazy idea for us. It is easier for me to tell you where I wouldn’t want to end up rather than where we would.

For now, this works for us. If the kids they were done moving around, we would stop and settle down. But they haven’t. In fact, they get as antsy to move on as we do. This transient life is the only one they know. It works for us. For now.

2017 goals

I was so proud of myself for doing a goal setting post every month for all of 2016. It really did help me achieve my goals and I did so many things that I would not have otherwise. Putting things down on paper and making some action steps makes reaching goals doable.

Professionally, 2016 was a great year. I focused more on the photography side of my business. I had a great summer shooting families on the Cape and then I took on an amazing group of editing clients. It was nice to spend more time shooting. It really makes me so happy. (I can’t wait to get to Europe for a lot of reasons, but the photography part is pretty high on the list.) I will continue to edit when we move, but most likely will not take on any families. I think that the next phase of BHP will be education. I plan on doing some in-person workshops when I get to Germany (teaching travel photography for families) and perhaps moving to online later in the year. I loved being a teacher and was able to continue to teach through Baked Bree, but in a different arena. My goal was always to get people to learn to cook by lightening up in the kitchen and having fun with it. I feel like I can do the same thing with photography. So, yeah, 2016 was a pretty good year overall.

2017 goals


(A lot worked for me in 2016, this is an abridged version of this list.)

Editing – Adding this service has been such a blessing. It never occurred to me that I could do this as my job. I’ve been editing for myself for 10 years, it never dawned on me that I could do it for other photographers until I met Marissa and she changed my life. I love editing, but something that I also love about it is the potential it has to change other people’s businesses. When I edit for them, I get to take a task that takes a huge chunk of time off of their plate so they can use that time to grow their business or get back the balance missing in their lives. It’s a win-win.

Moving on base – I didn’t really want to do it. Moving within a move is a huge pain in the behind, but it was the right move. The kids love their new schools and quality of life is improved.

Having a dedicated office space – When we moved in the spring, I took over one of the bedrooms and made it a dedicated office space. It has its own DOOR! In our last house, my space was in the middle of the living space so I had zero privacy and a million distractions. Not to mention I looked at it every time I moved in the house, which made me feel like I had to be working all the time. I went to IKEA, Wes and Will put it together in an evening and it is so nice to go in there to work and be able to shut the door and not see it when I’m done for the day.

Office hours – I significantly cut down on my working hours this year. I really feel like the older my kids are, the more they need us around. When they were little, they were physically demanding (and didn’t care who the caregiver was – if it was us or a babysitter) and while they are more mentally demanding these days, we need to be present all the time. For years and years, Wes has been incredibly supportive and encouraging. He always wanted me to follow my dreams and gave me the freedom to do whatever I needed to do to make them come to fruition. He has always stepped up when I asked him to (and plenty of times when I didn’t) and now it’s my turn to do that for him. To make life work better for all of us, I stopped working on weekends and I keep strict office hours. Monday through Friday, from 9 to 4. When the kids get home from school, I close the door and work is done for the day. Very, very, occasionally, I will need to finish something after they go to bed, but for the most part, this is working out like a dream.

Dates with Wes – The kids are old enough to watch themselves for a few hours so Wes and I have gone on more dates this year than probably all the times combined since we’ve been married. It’s been nice to go out and have an uninterrupted conversation and see not-appropriate-for-the-kids movies. When he stands duty, we normally go out for breakfast or lunch. We have a lot of fun together. I think that it putting this kind of effort into your marriage pays dividends. It isn’t that far off when the kids are off doing their own thing and we are on our own again. I don’t want to get there and have no idea what to do with each other.

Turning 40 – I turned 40 this year and something just clicked. Things that used to bother me don’t. My give a shit sensor is way lower. I’ve learned to invest in people that invest in me. My 30s were good to me, but I think that this new decade is going to be epic.

2017 goals


Not leaving the house enough – Loneliness from working from home is a real thing. (This is so scarily accurate.) I didn’t make it enough of a priority to get out more and meet people. It was so much easier to make friends when my babies were little. You met moms at the playground or at preschool drop off. Not the case anymore. And living in a small town also makes it harder to break into friend groups that are well-established. Making friends at 40 is hard.

Not saving enough – We don’t have a lot of debt, but I’d like to have none. I didn’t buckle down as much as I would have liked and spent money on things that we didn’t need. A lot of time my spending is because of boredom. Now that we are moving to Europe, I want our money to go towards experiences and not things.

Being consistent in parenting – There were times this year when we were on it, and others when it felt like we were just getting by. My kids deserve parents that are all over it all the time. I expect them to do a lot on their own, but it is still my responsibility to make sure that things don’t slip through the cracks. I felt like a lot of things snuck up on me this year instead of being prepared for them.

Getting sucked into negative energy – Let’s be honest, 2016 was a tough year for positivity. I should have just bowed out of social media during the election season. I’m not one to voice my opinion on the Internet, but that’s not the case for everyone. Just being around it was an energy suck. That’s not to say that I don’t care. I do. A lot actually. But I’m not going to change someone’s opinion on Facebook.

2017 goals

GOALS FOR 2017 //

Visit 8 new countries – Travel is our #1 priority for this year. We want to use every opportunity to see Europe while we are living there.

Cut back on things – I will donate what we don’t need or use and I will stop adding new things. Getting ready for a move is prime purging season. I’ve been going room by room and it feels so good.

Be debt free – I will try my hardest to leave for Germany with no debt. We don’t have a lot of debt, but I would like to go without owing anything to anyone. I want to travel as much as possible and this goal will make that happen easier. I just need to buckle down and do it.

Yearbooks for 2004-2017 – I want to have a hardcover book of the photo highlights for each year. I already made a 2016 book and I love it so much. I used Artifact Uprising and love how it turned out.

BHP Education – I want to do an in-person workshop and create an online version as well.

One family movie per month – I took a lot of footage last year and wasn’t great about it editing it. I love family films so much, this needs to happen. (This one was my absolute favorite.)

Learn some basic German – Wes and the kids are already on this. Even though we have to live on base, we are going to try to live a European lifestyle as much as we can. Knowing some German is helpful. Duolingo is a free app that they all have been using every day.

Rock Your Happy Challenge – Kristen and I started this challenge and it is so good for us. We love creating it and watching others do it with us. I want to finish all 365 days strong. You can join us at any time. It’s fun and FREE.

Shoot film – I started out as a film shooter and want to go back to my roots. I took film classes in college and miss it very much. I’m taking a class and cleaning off my old 35mm. Film is so beautiful and I want to capture our time in Europe in a new way.

Hand lettering and calligraphy – Ava and I took a calligraphy class and fell in love. I’ve since taken a few more classes with Liz and it brings me so much happiness. It is relaxing and therapeutic for me. I want to build a daily practice.

2017 goals


– 2015 Yearbook – Pull images and send off to be printed

– Clean out bathrooms and hall closet

– Shoot one roll film and send to lab

– One family movie

– Book move and plane tickets to Germany

2017 goals

We are already into the second week of the month. February is a travel month for us. We are all over the place. Until we move, we have a big trip each month. June seems far off, but it will be here before we know it. We have a lot to do to get ready for a move of this proportion. I’m starting to get very excited about this next phase of life. Obviously, the travel and moving to a new country, but also what it means for me. My business will have to change to fit in with our lifestyle and while it is scary to do something different, it is also really exciting.

2017 goals

What are your goals for 2017? How do you plan your year? What’s working or not working for you? I’d love to know in the comments.




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  1. Gigi

    February 6th, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    This is wonderful, thank you for inspiring me! So much I can relate too!

  2. bakedbree

    February 6th, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    You’re welcome! Putting your goals out to the public helps light a fire, that’s for sure!

  3. Alison

    February 7th, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    You don’t know me, but I am participating in the “Rock Your Happy” challenges each month and I’ve been living in Germany for two and a half years. If you ever need anything (help figuring things out, an American contact, someone who understands the difficulties of moving overseas), please feel free to contact me! I’ve also traveled a lot (and uploaded about two-thirds of those travels to my blog), so feel free to take a look if you have trouble deciding where to go! Good luck!

  4. bakedbree

    February 12th, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Thank you so much, I will take you up on that. I’m off to check out your blog. 🙂

  5. Trude

    February 7th, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Stuttgart! Everything I’ve seen from there looks so beautiful. So excited for you guys! If you need a lab recommendation, The Darkroom is a great one where you can mail your roll(s) in for a great price (although might be tough to do once you move out of the country!). We went debt-free in December, and that was a big milestone for us. This year’s goal is to have 6 month’s worth of expenses saved by the end of the year. We want to be homeowners, but this is something that will help us sleep at night so we’re doing it first. We’re also both big homebodies, so the goal of being more social is a big one too. 🙂

  6. bakedbree

    February 12th, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    We get an APO, so we can still have things sent to and from America. Congratulations on being debt-free! That’s a big deal!

  7. Anika

    February 13th, 2017 at 2:31 am

    I love your goals 🙂

    We should meet up once you get here, we’re in Ramstein 😉

  8. Renee {My Family's Heart}

    February 15th, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Hi! I’m just catching up on my reading and when I read that you are headed to Stuttgart I got so excited for the community there. We just left about 6 months ago and it truly is a fabulous place to live and work. My husband and I both commented to each other after returning from a trip to the States that being in Stuttgart felt like going home. You’ll love it. Promise. In terms of photography, the opportunities are limitless, there is so much beauty in that part of Europe. There is a group that was started by a professional family photographer there that you can find on Facebook called Stuttgart Ladies with Lenses. The goal of this now friend of mine was to teach in small groups with the goal of getting women to use their cameras with confidence in manual mode. It sounds like it would align so well with your goals. Many of the American photographers who have permission from the base CO to have a home based business are part of the group as well as amateurs and hobbyists. It’s a great place to get your foot in the door. Best wishes for a smooth move and enjoy all the butterbrezln and zwetschgenkuchen you can while there!

  9. bakedbree

    February 24th, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    I am so glad that you loved your time there. We are really excited about it. And thank you for pointing me in the direction of that FB group.

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