Whew!! What a year?! After taking some time away from blogging I decided to kick off 2019 with a review of 2018. The past year felt like it was at least a decade long and looking back I sometimes can’t fathom how everything got crammed into 12 short months.
This is my first time doing an annual review and I hope it’s a tradition I can maintain going forward. As someone who tends to have tunnel vision and always be looking to what lies ahead, it’s really important to take time to sink into some of what unfolded for me last year.
Anyone else tend to berate themselves for not doing or being enough? This is my attempt at counteracting that by celebrating my wins, while also recognizing the wisdom that the challenges provided.
Consider yourself warned that this is a loooonnnggg blog post and one that I mostly wrote for myself to document and remember the year by <3
January, February, March
Themes: surrender, grief, reflection, self-forgiveness, hope
The first quarter of 2018 had me swimming in grief and experiencing an existential crisis.
After a busy market season at the end of 2017, I didn’t fully come to terms with my grandma’s passing at the end of November until the new year provided the space to do so. In mid-January I also learned of the passing of my healer, Charlotte, who I had worked with for years. She had been on sick leave but I always maintained blind faith that she would return to her practice. She was someone who walked with me during my darkest times as I tried to claw my way out of consuming depths of PTSD and was instrumental in helping me get some semblance of normalcy back into my life.
The beginning of the calendar year is always slower for me, I look forward to a slower pace and the space it provides to reflect. Despite my emotional state (or maybe because of it), I created a Lunar Love Ritual Guide that spanned the eclipse window from January through June. I had intentions of creating a second one for the second eclipse season but it never happened.
I also revamped the astro calendar which is a freebie I offer annually to my those who receive my Lunar Love letters. The calendar coincides with the astrological and seasonal new year in March. Spring heralds new beginnings and a burst of fresh energy to get projects off the ground. I managed to create some beautiful pieces using a number of incredible crystals from my gem gals Mel of Got Stoned Jewelry, Jenny of Story Stones, and Line of Coya Gems.
I worked with some phenomenal people both personally and professionally:
I dove deeper into understanding astrology. Through intensive work with Susan Grace she helped me to further understand my natal chart, tendencies, and how to harness the aspects that would serve me well.
Jessica Uys taught me how to understand and harness the Enneagram, specifically how it showed up for me in my business (I’m a 2W1 for anyone wondering). It was really uncomfortable for me to explore the shadow aspects of my Ennea. Jessica was an amazing guide and teacher.
I focused on marketing with Erik of Basic Bananas, attending multiple Blast Off Workshops and completing their Marketing Smarts program.
In February, my oldest son was very ill. He experienced a febrile seizure in which we had to call the paramedics. Having to navigate the medical system with my own medical trauma was so fucking hard. My son’s mental health was low as it took weeks for his physical body to recover from a double strep infection. I longed for the gentle guidance and reassurance of Charlotte. I was consumed with feelings of sadness, loneliness, and shame, shame for not doing more sooner for my kid. By the time school wrapped up for the summer he had missed over six weeks over the entire school year.
When we find ourselves swimming in the depths of loss and grief, it can take everything we have to survive. I felt lost in my personal life and directionless in my business. I know no timeline can be put on processing our grief and that it simply takes an indeterminable amount of time that is different for each of us.
I am sitting in a better space today but still desperately missing both my grandma and Charlotte. These incredible women are the reason I chose LEGACY as my guiding word for 2019. To pay respects to their legacy and for the paths they forged ahead of me, so that I might make them proud when carving my own way through life as I build my own legacy.
April, May, June
Themes: community, visibility, family, celebration
The second quarter was quite productive and busy! The eight month Red Tent women’s group program I facilitated came to a close. With the challenges I faced in February with my son’s health I decided to not offer any programs or workshops for the rest of the year. I also took a step back from all group ritual and ceremony in my personal life.
I moved my online boutique off of Etsy onto my website. It felt good to bring all my products home to my own space. I had kept my Etsy shop open but as of the end of 2018 I have decided to keep it closed and solely focus on the online shop here.
In April I launched the fine silver element collection of necklaces expanding the element line of products. This added an additional four products to what started with the four element candles. The entire element collection now had eight different items.
Most of April was consumed with planning and organizing the annual May Magick community project. Recognizing the skills and dedication it takes to reach out, gather the contributions of 30 women, and place them in an email sequence is something I am patting myself on the back for! Countless hours go into creating this free project that is accompanied by a free E-book once we wrap up. It is all something I do solely on my own without any outside help or tech support; just hours of trial, error, and figuring shit out. It was easier this year as I had offered the project in 2017. I got to witness my own growth and the development of my skills from the previous year.
In May I did multiple markets and found myself exhausted by the time June rolled around. I couldn’t wait for school to wrap up and enjoy the summer with the kids. Little did I know that rather than taking things easy over the summer, I would be birthing a huge creative collaboration.
June was all about family and celebrating as my brother married his beautiful wife. The celebrations took place at my parents acreage. What a party!!! My sister-in-law is Ukrainian and it was a full on Ukrainian celebration of love and family <3
July, August, September
Themes: collaboration, dedication, trust, structure, health
Most of the summer was dedicated to planning and executing my first ever creative collaboration. This involved reaching out to people whom I hoped would agree to join me. After deciding to take a break from offering workshops and events, I had space to connect with and build community in a new way.
I longed to explore my own creativity while melding it with other’s vision and talents. Not only did the project require a lot of planning, outreach, and clear communication among the nine women who joined me, I also had to have the actual products ready for this shoot.
The entire Ether collection is centered around connection. This required formulating, testing, and producing another four products, which would complete the Element Collection and bring the total number of products created since 2017 to 12!
From product formulation to packaging to labels to presentation, it was a huge process and one that required a considerable investment of my time, resources, and money. The Ether collection included a candle, mist, botanical perfume, and fine silver pendant. Did I mention that it was also mercury retrograde over the summer and there were countless delays getting my raw materials here, oy!
I also revamped the labels on the original four element candles and removed the wax seals from the jar. It was a difficult decision but I have realized, when we want to streamline and grow, sometimes that requires sacrifices.
On the day of the shoot the weather wasn’t what we had hoped for, but thankfully the rain held off and it all worked out in the end. Travelling two hours to our shoot location, we had three models and multiple wardrobe changes. Somehow we managed to wrap our shoot in under three hours. An amazing feat for our first time all working together.
The shoot had me get uncomfortable and stretch into my word of SUPPORT for 2018. I still can’t believe people joined me and offered up their time, talents, and resources so generously. It was truly overwhelming for me to receive.
The kids and I managed to enjoy a few days at the neighborhood pool, swimming with friends and eating pool fries. I had some wonderful conversations poolside with friends about body image, especially regarding accepting and loving our bodies as they are. This prompted me to post a photo of myself in my bathing suit on instagram, it remains one of my most popular posts to date!
Shortly after the shoot, our family went camping and I laid in the camper for days unable to move. Once we got home, it was pretty much the same scene. The energy required in the creative process of bringing something forth into the world is grossly underestimated. Late August was cold and rainy so we didn’t get the family time up at the lake I had hoped. I did manage to forage some plants but it wasn’t how I had hoped or imagined it to be.
I cried as we drove away from the family cabin knowing it would be a good nine months before getting to soak in the magic of the summer season at my most treasured place on earth. I was heading into a busy fall season with my hormones a mess, feeling depleted and tired. My birthday came and went. My youngest chopped all his hair off. He started kindergarten and a new daycare, providing a whole new schedule and structure for our family.
What I learned during this time is that our lowest points can act as a catalyst for lasting change. I booked myself in with a naturopath and began making self-care a top priority. I started by getting adequate rest and eating enough protein and fat at regular intervals. I also saw my family doc and refilled my prescription for migraine medication. I leaned in and embraced the structure of two kids in school.
I started getting up early in the morning to enjoy the quiet solace, read, and tend to things that I needed for myself. I knew that prioritizing my overall health and cultivating a relationship with myself was the only way I could get through the year without crisis. I was learning and implementing, I could see progress.
October, November, December
Themes: travel, new experiences, manifestation, celebration
The last quarter was intense! In October, I traveled to Providence, RI to study botanical perfume in person with Charna Ethier of Providence Perfume Co.
This was something that was on my bucket list. It was my first solo trip ever! After studying botanical perfumery for over a year on my own, I longed to be in a classroom setting with countless aromatics at my finger tips. The trip was extremely affirming, I left with a deeper confidence in my abilities and clarity for the vision of my business. Charna is such an incredible woman, I am in awe of her talent, dedication, and work ethic!
The trip marked a radical choice in me choosing and investing in myself. Although botanical perfume hasn’t made up a huge portion of my current business, I consider it my greatest personal achievement of 2018. It is the true intimate and artistic expression of my soul. Perhaps my love of it is an example of how I can learn to love myself and that is such a powerful reminder and gift.
Shortly after my return, from Providence I hosted a launch party for the Ether Collection. I needed to celebrate the completion of the creative collab project. My community and family helped to bring it all together; a night to mingle, experience the Ether products in person, meet some of the collaborators, and view photos from the shoot. Again this took a considerable investment of time and money. It was the outward manifestation of my word SUPPORT.
November and December were full of opportunities to try new things and really put myself out there. I finished two photography courses and purchased a new camera. I was approached and completed a number of interviews, some of which have yet to be published :) I did six days of markets in less than three weeks, including Sundog, The Witchery Market, and Thursday Night Art Market. The self-care habits I implemented in early fall really served me well through December.
Sundog was my first BIG market, spanning three days with an elaborate booth display. I was lucky to have friends come and help me each day so that I didn’t have to be solo. I was really proud of my display and I got to see so many familiar faces. It was an exceptionally well organized show.
Traveling to Edmonton for the Witchery Market really opened my eyes and allowed me to be somewhere new without the weight of feeling like I needed to deliver what was expected of me. My sister came with me and the fellow vendors were incredible. I got to meet people who I had been instapals with for years! It was a really special market for me, it provided an opportunity to make many new friends with fellow vendors. I left with a deep desire to return, a new outlook on marketing my products, opportunities for future collaboration, and ideas on how to make my market display more appealing.
I wrapped up the year with the Thursday Night Art Market. I was a wonderful way to close out the year. Once again I got to connect with my loyal peeps face to face, chat with fellow entrepreneurs, and take in the lovely atmosphere. I always find myself so relaxed when I finally reach the last market of the year. I have no expectations which allows me to simply be present and enjoy my surroundings.
The kids wrapped up school for the break and we spent the last part of the year doing last minute shopping. I was totally unprepared for Christmas so it was a bit hectic leading up to it. My husband worked both Christmas and New Year’s. The kids and I spent most of the holidays lounging in our PJs, watching movies, and playing board games. It was the perfect way to end the year <3