Happy 2018! Are you elated to be welcoming a new year, too?
I’d like to start 2018 off by sharing some thoughts with you about the last three months and share where the blog will – and won’t – be headed this year.
2017 and Changes
So much happened during the last quarter of 2017. And because of all the changes and chaos, the blog has taken a back seat, as you likely noticed. Experiencing a major disaster – a long, wide-reaching and devastating disaster – made me reevaluate my life, change my priorities and want different things for myself, my future and my blog.
And while I thought our October fires here in wine country had to be the worst, most chaotic and stressful thing I experienced in 2017, my husband left again December 5th for Southern California to join the fight against the largest wild land fire in California history. He was gone 16 nail biting days, thankfully returning in time for Christmas and to say goodbye to his youngest child, Tori, who moved out of state on the 26th. More change for our family!
Grateful and relieved are words that do not begin to describe how I feel about our house being spared in the fires and having my husband back home safely. When I first returned home after our 11-day evacuation, my gratitude was over-shadowed by survivor’s guilt. Over 50 people I know personally lost their homes and everything in it, including my own stepdaughter Kayla and her fiancé. It’s unreal our small neighborhood escaped, relatively unscathed. I can only imagine the range of emotions and level of stress those who lost everything in the fires are experiencing, especially those who lost loved ones.
Soon my gratitude returned as did a sense of community, connectedness, optimism and hope. I know I am not the only one experiencing deepened friendships, more clarity and purpose, and new sense of belonging.
I have come away from 2017 a better version of me and discovered I am a resilient and strong woman when I once thought myself fragile and unable to handle difficult situations. While I had noticed my inner strength over the last several weeks, surprising myself with my ability to generally remain calm and mostly positive throughout some hard days, I didn’t think anyone else had. So when I opened this gift from my friend Jennifer, I was so touched, I immediately burst into tears.
Jennifer surprised me with this leather and metal cuff bracelet she had made for me by Leslie, owner of Urban Refind in The Springs near Sonoma. The cuff reads, “Shubin Strong.”
Having this validated by someone I admire, then seeing it engraved in metal, solidified a belief I just recently started believing about myself. I wear it as a badge and as a reminder that I can handle more than I thought. Thank you so much, Jennifer and Leslie!
By now you might be wondering what will change on the blog. My answer is: I don’t know. Unlike previous Januarys, I am not making plans or goals for the blog but I do have some ideas.
Topics making an appearance here include health and wellness as it pertains to being in my 50s, as well as posts about food/cooking, reading for pleasure, home decorating and organization. I have retained and expanded my love for photography, nature, and travel so posts focused on those topics will continue.
Fashion is still of interest to me but not in the way I used to often blog about it. I am striving to own a smaller wardrobe and be much more selective about my purchases this year. I realized during the fires, while frantically stuffing suitcases and bags with piles and piles of clothing, that I own far too much.
From now on, I only want to own things I truly love and that suit my casual lifestyle. I want to make the most of my wardrobe and remember how much I enjoyed – and found useful – posts like this one and this one. Going forward, expect fashion posts to be geared more to making the most of a casual wardrobe without having to buy lots of new stuff.
As I mentioned earlier, Tori has moved away. She now lives in coastal Oregon. We plan to stay connected by blogging about our mutual interests in wellness, food, fitness and overall health. She is 23-years-old and I am 50 so naturally we have different needs and goals.
You may recall our series One Trend, Two Generations when we chose a style or item of clothing or accessory, then created our own looks geared to our generation. We will be continuing our series but with a health and wellness focus, tailored to our own generation. Stay tuned for our first posts coming later this month!
Also on the horizon
It’s a good thing I am Shubin Strong now because this year has got a lot going on!
Bill’s eldest daughter, Kayla, and her fiancé, Forest, are getting married this summer. And so is Bill’s son, Ryan, who is marrying his fiancee, Hayley (date still TBD).
We will be getting new fences that were destroyed by high winds during the fires and we will be taking on a new landscaping project in the front yard, replacing lots of plants and refreshing some landscaping materials.
Since Tori moved, we now have two guest rooms. I’ll be shopping for new bedding, lamps and decor and also turning some of my photos into wall art. We also need to paint both rooms. With not one but two guest rooms, we want to know who wants to come for a visit!
We are in the market for some barn doors to hang on the entryway to our home gym. We need to close that room (which was once our formal living room) off from the living room.
Speaking of living room, on Friday our brand new living room furniture arrives! We ordered an off-white sectional, coffee table, side table, rug and lamp. I can hardly wait to see how it all looks.
We are hoping to fit in that 50th birthday trip of mine to France we had to cancel in October. I still want to visit Provence and would love to see the lavender fields in bloom.
Bill will retire in the next one to three years. I am trying to convince him to retire sooner rather than later but trust he knows what’s best for him.
Thank you for reading.
I hope you and your loved ones have a lovely new year and that 2018 is good to us all!