February is the new January.


february is the new january

That’s what I’m telling myself anyway.

I had a really, really, wonderful 2014. I did so many of the things that I wanted to do. We moved to a place that we absolutely love, my family is flourishing, and I got to cross off quite a few of my life-list items.

The end of the 2014 proved to be one of physical challenges for me. I had an unexpected hysterectomy. (I’m totally fine. I knew it was coming, I just wasn’t it expecting it so soon.) I had a lot of things planned and then found myself having to take it easy for 8 weeks. It ended up being exactly what I needed. I haven’t had to sit still for that long. Ever. And it gave me time to really think about what I want. Where I want to go and what is important to me.

(As soon as I was cleared to move around again, I went skiing and sprained my ankle. I’m a mess.)

Every year I buy new planners and Lara Casey’s PowerSheets with all of the intentions to plan out my year, get organized, and I tell myself that this will be the year that I make all. of. the. things. happen. And the planners sit on my desk empty. The sheets not filled out. And doing the same things over and over again.

Well, guess what? Not this year!

During the month of January I took the time to reflect on the year before and look ahead. I did the Power Sheets and let me just say – I really have been missing out all of those years. One of the most powerful exercises was looking back on what has been working and what hasn’t been working, and then setting goals to move forward. 

snow day

what has been working

  • Moving. Leaving DC was the right call. We felt so much pressure, and it never felt like it would be our home. Our plan was to settle there. But after 6 months, we all knew (kids included) that it wasn’t a good place for us longterm. We love the Cape and are creating a life here that feels settled and aligns with our values.
  • I wrote an e-book that has been on my to-do list for 3 years. A gentle push from a friend made me actually do it. It was a lot of work, and I’m really proud of how it turned out.
  • Not saying yes to everything. I said “no” a lot this year. Saying no let me say yes to the things that I was truly interested in doing.
  • Healing relationships and letting go of relationships. This year was big in terms of healing old wounds and moving forward. Sometimes moving forward means letting go of your own expectations and moving on from relationships that don’t work for you. 
  • Asking for help when I needed it. Asking for help doesn’t come naturally to me. People want to help you. I never gave them the opportunity because I didn’t want to burden anyone, or make it seem like I couldn’t handle everything on my own. That’s crazy. No one can get through life without some help.
  • Finishing nutrition school. I am a starter and not necessarily a finisher. Doing what I set out to do, and actually seeing it through was not only a professional accomplishment, but a personal one as well.
  • I wrote and launched the course that has been in my head for years. I did a beta launch of Lighten Up! and will be running the new and improved version three more times this year.
  • Staying true to the 5 of us. Our family of 5 is our number one and only priority. We made some big decisions this year and seeing the big picture as a family helps us stay focused and living our core values.
  • Happy and healthy kids. We are so grateful that our kids are doing so well. They love their new home. They spend most of their time outside playing, doing sports, and are really happy at their new schools.
  • Working with brands that I admire and respect. Having partnerships with brands allows me to run and grow this site. I’m proud of the work that we do together and I am thrilled to have long lasting relationships with them.
  • Reading and learning as much as I can. One thing that I have noticed during my down time was that I am happiest when I am learning. I have rekindled my love affair with books, and not just fluffy beach reads either. Real, beautiful. life-changing books.
  • Slowing down. Some of the slowing down was not my choice, but it really was an unexpected gift. We didn’t take on as many things, travel as much, or feel the need to be busy all the time. We had a lot of down time this year and it was amazing.

long term planning

what hasnt been working

  • My uterus. And my ankle. Physical limitations are not fun. But they make me appreciate my body all the more. And have encouraged me to take better care of it. I’m turning 40 in 13 months, and I want to be the healthiest I have ever been starting this new decade.
  • All of the social media. I understand that I need to be on all of the places for this blog, but I feel like I don’t do any of them well. This year my focus will be Pinterest and Instagram. Pinterest for the blog, and Instagram for my life.
  • Having two websites. It seemed like a logical thing to do. But it doesn’t feel right to be at two different places and managing both is really hard.
  • Writing a book over the summer. I will not take on a huge project when my kids are home ever again. Despite having the best babysitter in the world this summer, I felt like my kids missed out. I was resentful of the fun things they were doing when I was home writing.
  • Not having a plan or clear vision. I am not naturally a planner, but have come to realize that if I want to succeed and reach my goals and do the things that really matter to me, I need to have a plan and a vision to make it happen. I felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants all year long.
  • Not taking enough care of my body and mind. Before my surgery, I couldn’t really do the things that I wanted because my body was not cooperating. Instead of taking care of myself and nurturing my body, I felt like it was letting me down. I didn’t take very good care of myself and it contributed to the funk I found myself in at the end of the year. I also stopped reading. Reading has always been a huge part of my life and I stopped. My brain suffered.
  • Working harder, not smarter. There are a lot of things that I could have taken off of my plate to make my life and business run smoother. I could have delegated or eliminated.


what 2015 looks like

  • Baked Bree and Bree Hester are merging. I have tried to keep my two businesses (coaching and blogging) separate, but they are not separate at all. My life is about all of these things and they are all important to me. Baked Bree will include more lifestyle posts and include new topics like home, family, body appreciation, and healthy living. My brand (I really hate that term) is evolving and I hope that you will continue on this journey with me. The website is getting a makeover and should be complete in June/July. I’m so excited I can’t even handle it.
  • I’m going to open up some spots for portrait photography sessions. I closed my photography business in 2009 and really do miss photographing families. I will be holding some shoot days here in the Cape and will be open for some travel sessions as well. More on this to come. (And if you are interested now, shoot me an email.) I’m happiest when I am creating. Pushing myself, shooting regularly, and stepping out of my comfort zone only makes me a better photographer. I’m actually headed to a photography workshop this week to
  • My online course Lighten Up! will be run three times this year. I have been updating some of the content and making it easier to use for students. It will run March 2nd – April 10th, June 8th – July 17th, and September 14th – October 23nd) The course is 6 weeks long and you can find out more here. I hope that you will join me.
  • I will be sharing my monthly goals here to hold myself accountable. I followed a few blogs this year and that did this and I was always motivated by their transparency and ability to get things done.

chocolate chip cookies

I want to thank you as I approach my 5th year here at Baked Bree. I love this space more than you could ever imagine. I appreciate every comment, share, email, and message. I had no idea how different my life would become when I hit publish on my first post. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for being here with me and with your continued support, I am beyond excited about what the next phase will be.

How do you evaluate your year and make your goals happen?


Oh hey there!

Well, hello there! I’m Bree Hester, the Boston-based blogger and food photographer here at Baked Bree. Here you can get lots of weeknight meal inspiration, eat more plant-based meals, and still indulge in a decadent sweet treat. Baked Bree is a place where you will find great recipes and inspiration for your next family adventure.

raspberry orange pistachio ricotta cake slices on a wire rack

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White Chocolate Banana Bread

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Lauren

    I loved reading this. I’m so proud of everything you’re doing and I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings. I have a feeling that it’s going to be a really, really amazing year.

  2. Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog

    Wow, what a year you had and an amazing one to come! I do plan and and love setting goals and then see them come to light. This past December I really worked on setting goals and am loving using it as a road map. Can’t wait to see what all comes in 2015 🙂

  3. Samantha

    Bree, I loved this! I have been reading your blog since at least 2011 and I have loved watching it grow over the years. Your personality and gorgeous photography really drew me in and kept me coming back! So excited to see you are merging your sites – I think it’s a great move and I’m excited to see what’s coming next!!!!

    1. bakedbree

      Thank you so much Samantha! I really appreciate that.

  4. Brittany

    Beautifully said! I admire your honest reflection on what works, doesn’t, and what is best for the people who matter most in your life. I have greatly enjoyed bringing your recipes into my home over the last couple of years and I’m only anticipating great things from your ‘lighten up’ initiative. Hopefully I can join you in one of your sessions this year! Wishing you a very full year!

    1. bakedbree

      Thank you so much Brittany, I appreciate the <3 and support.

  5. Skip M

    Glad you are feeling better! Just reviewed the courses at Bauman College and you should be proud of yourself for completing all those classes!!

    From someone who lives about 1 hour away, spring is finally here!!

    Enjoying your website and personal stories.

    1. bakedbree

      Thank you Skip! It was a LOT of work, but I loved it. And yes, it looks like we might see spring after all.

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