My 2015 Intentions


Happy New Year, friends! I don’t know what it is about 2015, but I’m feeling like it’s going to be a good one — a total dazzler. It just feels different for some reason. Does anyone else feel the same way? I know everyone’s experience is different, but I know so many people who have felt like they have had an uphill battle for the past few years and I am definitely one of them. I believe in trying to stay positive and moving forward, but sometimes, despite your best effort and good intentions, you just get emotionally jumped in the alley of life. Over and over again — with sucker punches from all kinds of unexpected directions. No inspo quote in the world can save you when this happens — you just have to get through it.

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot is that somewhere along the line I stopped doing quite a few things that actually make me very happy, so this is what’s at the core of my intentions for 2015. I’ve had a quartet of emotionally and physically grueling years and I am really looking forward to feeling lighter while I shuffle priorities and open new chapters. Then you just have to see how it all shakes out, I guess. I’d love to hear what you’re all working on!


Make more time to do things that make me happy. It really helps to give me the headspace to do everything else… and to feel present, alive, content and connected to other people.

Start the adoption process. There is a lot more to say about this and, after starting about 1,000 posts to talk about this very personal subject over the years, I’m pretty close to actually talking about it. Needless to say, this topic is thick with all kinds of emotions and a big part of it has been mourning the loss of the dreams we had of how we’d grow our family. It’s so loaded in so many ways and our hearts have really been through the wringer — repeatedly. I do think I’ve learned a lot that could help other people and, more selfishly, it might be nice to not feel so alienated. It’s been brutal. I am really excited (and nervous) about the next steps — maybe some of you out there will have some words of wisdom.

Spend more time on personal care. I’m just talking about simple things like making sure to use my humidifier every night because it’s good for my skin and sinuses and I get a more restful sleep. Spend more time getting ready and really do my hair, do more face masks, paint my nails, get massages more often, stretch, etc…

Get to know my camera. I invested in a good camera a while back and I still haven’t taken the time to get to really read the manual and play with it. I’m very eager to get to know my new buddy, wander, snap and share. I have fun plans.

Update my Photoshop and learn how to do more. I would love to go to NY and have my friend Anna teach more Photoshop skillz, but until then I need to just watch a bunch of videos. Plus, I’d still like to get a Wacom tablet to play with.

Go for bike rides. Lots of them. Drive out to the coast and pretty country roads to get a chance to ride outside of the city. I have a beautiful bike and need to show her a good time.

Plan vacations. Like, actual days totally off. In a row. In advance. Sounds crazy, I know.

Decorate and renovate. Get a plan together and prioritize endless house projects and keep adding to that monster summer yard sale pile as we go. I AM SO EXCITED TO GET THE HOUSE PUT TOGETHER! I love this process — even though it has to be slower than we’d like.

Accept what I am not. So many things, but here are a few examples: 1. I’m not a selfie-posting person. I like seeing all the lovely faces from time to time, but I find it odd when people fill 90% of their feed with selfies and photos taken of them by other people. At times I’ve felt like I should change this about myself, but it would feel way too awkward. I do like sharing what I’m doing, my city and my home though! 2. I’m not a person who is immediately flattered when approached by large corporations — another thing that I’ve mulled over and over. There will always be some exceptions, but I’m most jazzed when I get to work with indie makers, shops and businesses. 3. I’m not a fan of things getting too bland or aspirational. I get overwhelmed when people mimic each other and things all start to look the same. I like too many styles and colors. 4. I’m not someone who can say “Yes” to everything and I feel a lot of guilt about that. I need to get over it.

Talk about more personal stuff. On my blog and in general — just integrate a deeper personal perspective when I feel like it. I really don’t want to take a sudden swerve into TMI — just a bit more of my personal life, experiences and thoughts about it all. I keep meeting people who don’t want to ruffle any feathers by addressing what’s in front of them and I find that counterproductive when the silence goes beyond just being tactful and courteous. That’s how things get boring, people glaze over and things like “Normcore” happen. Blech.

Remember that I am loved. Even if I’m down on myself or others are.


Family time. Spend more time hanging out without distractions.

Hang out with friends. Host and attend gatherings. Reach out more. Travel to see buddies. I used to be more extroverted, but hard personal stuff, being hurt and overcommitting myself has made me go from ENFP to INFP over the years. I’d like to be more social again.

Travel more. Most of us can’t afford to travel as often or as far as we’d like, but even little day trips do so much for my disposition. I really do want to get to Brittany, Vienna, Antwerp, Malta, the English countryside and Ireland though. And MN, NY and VT.

Walk walk walk. It’s my favorite form of exercise and I need to make time to do it daily for long stretches. Headphones and a pretty, long route to a good cup of coffee or a record store is all I need.

Go antiquing and thrifting. I do a bit of this regularly, but not an adventurous all-day affair like I used to. My husband is not a fan of this activity and I really miss it. I can sweet talk a pal or go on my own.

Watch more British TV. Brit crime and period dramas fill me with glee. Give me a nana solving crimes on a bicycle or a Maggie Smith anything and I’m a happy girl.

Go out to the movies more. Instead of watching from a sofa. I love going to see old films.

Cook and bake. I find cooking and baking really relaxing and fun. Life gets so busy, you work too much and then putting something together by some kind of reasonable hour has become more of a chore than a joy. I need to make more time a few times a week at least. It helps manage nutrition and portion size too, of course. Must do.


PHOTOS: 1. Solita Solano and Djuna Barnes in Paris (Maurice Brange, Au Café, 1922) 2. Paris in 1927 by André Kertész.

26 Responses to “My 2015 Intentions”
  1. Great post- Happy New Year! Wishing all the best with the adoption process. If you do want to visit the English countryside, my family have an apartment in a converted stately home in the Cotswolds which you could stay in- it’s properly in the middle of nowhere, just gorgeous little English villages, rivers and fields. (you can see some pics of it here ) xxx

  2. Laura says:

    Hey there! Thanks for this post. I’ve followed for a long time and love the blog but always felt like I didn’t know the gal behind the curtain, so it’s nice to start getting to know you! This is actually something I am working on in my own life too- letting people in, sharing more – and it’s uncomfortable sometimes but in the end a positive thing :)
    Thanks again, and Happy New Year!

  3. janeray1940 says:

    I love your intentions and recognize myself in so many of them! Humidifier? Yep. Awkward about selfies? Yep. Go out to the movies more? Yep… What I love about your list is that these are all perfectly do-able things to work on. Happy new year!

  4. June says:

    I loved this post, here’s to staying on track and taking the reigns in the new year! Prioritizing self makes for happier people which in turn creates happier communities…an undeniably a noble endeavor!

  5. Marlena says:

    I hear you, and I am sorry that adding to your family has been so hard. Our own family struggled to expand. We are very lucky to have a daughter, and fought for more than two years to have another child, doing everything medically possibly, and it just isn’t going to happen. Being told I was infertile at 32 was/is mind-boggling, even years after. It took us a long time to mourn that, and now, years later, we are very happy. Really, truly happy as three. I still get teary thinking about the desire for another, and eliminating the word “only” from my vernacular, and it is a slow process.

    I wrote about this on my long-ignored blog:

    We dance with joy for our girl, and I also know the pain and extreme frustration of wanting more. Just know that your family is amazing, no matter how many people are in it, and how it comes to be.

  6. Lauren says:

    Thanks for sharing your intentions for the coming year! I have the same good feeling about 2015. I think it is going to be a really good year. I do hope you will continue to share a little more about yourself here on your blog. :)
    I’m an INFP too!

  7. also jen says:

    Aw, this is such a good list! I like that the focus is on being happy and connecting to people in a real way. I’m going to send you so many good adoption vibes!! I have been through my own heartbreak and loss in the family-growing arena.

    Also, my BFF in high school is an INFP (we’re still super close). Good people!

  8. Gabi says:

    I really appreciated this post, especially what you said about family, sorrow, and adoption. My husband and I have experienced a similar uphill battle the last three years, and I’ve also started many times to write about it but been too overwhelmed to follow through. It saddens me that you know this kind of grief, which you explained so well:

    “Needless to say, this topic is thick with all kinds of emotions and a big part of it has been mourning the loss of the dreams we had of how we’d grow our family. It’s so loaded in so many ways and our hearts have really been through the wringer — repeatedly.”

    It is, as you said, incredibly brutal and isolating, so I’m very grateful that you shared. Of course no one would ever wish this on others, but still it’s good to know you’re not alone.

    My husband and I are in the beginning stages of adoption, and though it’s complicated and easy to get discouraged given all the other disappointments we’ve faced, we feel immense joy and hope being able to to pursue this. I absolutely wish that for you as well.

    I hope all this doesn’t sound trite or preachy. My point is really just that I loved reading your more personal thoughts and it has refreshed my own excitement about taking the next steps. Thank you!

  9. Kayt says:

    What a lovely set of intentions. Thank you so much for sharing in such a heartfelt way.

    I’m writing my own today now that my fambam have all gone back to their respective daytime activities. I think and write better when peace descends on the house for a few hours a day. Your words have helped get the creaky works turning in my head. So thank you & I wish you all the best for every single one of your goals.

    On another note, I had to teach myself Photoshop as well having come from a film background. Newspace Center for Photography has a great introductory class that helped me get the basics and Creative Live (online) tends to have super helpful web classes that have helped with a million other tricks. I’ll check out as well since you can never know enough when it comes to that program!

    Looking forward to a fresh new year!

    take care

  10. Anna @ D16 says:

    Jen, I love you. I am so happy that I know you, and that you’re a part of my life. You are super awesome exactly the way that you are (and that includes the part of you that wants to be even better), and you absolutely should accept what you are not.

    You are always, always, always welcome to come to me for more Photoshop classes, but only if we can also watch Lifetime movies and drink fancy coffees and cocktails and take pictures of the mansions we’re going to live in when we’re old ladies.

    Here’s to 2015, my friend. xoxoxox

  11. miss alix says:

    <3<3<3 Such wonderful goals and aspirations for the new year. I am with you that I need to do more little things to make me happy along with self care. I hope 2015 is filled with joyfulness and wonder for you.

  12. Amy says:

    Wish I had some good adoption advice, but hoping one thing I learned that at least I found comforting.

    When I finally met our boy, the first thing that went through my mind was that he was the one that was meant to be ours. No matter what path it was that we had to take to find him. Hope you feel something similar – and soon!

  13. Alisha says:

    Wow, this list speaks to me! In particular, doing more of what makes me happy & making time for myself. Congratulations on beginning the adoption process! I have many friends who have chosen this path & they have had amazing experiences. Here’s to a 2015 filled with love, adventure and accomplishment!

  14. maggie says:

    These are all some wonderful intentions. I cannot speak on the adoption process, but I wish you the best of luck and hope you are able to grow your family in a way that works for you. I know people who have gone through this and their lives have lit up in the most wonderful ways because of it.

    I am also looking forward to your more personal posts! That is something I would like to do with my blog as well.

    Happy 2015, Jen!

  15. Alyson Clair says:

    Hello lovely! You are cordially invited to go on my swimming adventures this summer, and thrifting / antiquing any time. I know some good spots out in Yamhill County.

  16. Tammy says:

    love when you share! when I read your intentions, I remember where I was last June when I designed my 40 goals for the year before I turn 40…and having them written down and “out there” has helped me and is changing my life as I head towards turning 40! and now I have a new one to my list… i intend to check in more often with you this year…and hearing about the amazing plans for adoption! so excited for you guys! miss you pal. tam

  17. Megan says:

    It’s really nice to read through these intentions and it’s so brave of you to post them! So excited for you to start the adoption process, that is such amazing news. Looking forward to catching up more this week! xoxo

  18. Sune Moolman says:

    Firstly, I am totally in love with your bicycle. Gotta get met some of that! :)
    Would love to hear more about the adoption process, there aren’t a lot of “real” resources available.

  19. Anna says:

    Thanks for writing so openly & honestly, Jen. I will support any of these intentions anyway I can (ahem, thrifting/antiquing partner :-) ) and wish you & your family all the best in 2015!!! Hope to see you soon xoxo

  20. Sabrina says:

    Wow, Jen! Thank you so much for sharing all of this! I’m a long-time reader of your blog and it’s one of my favourites, for sure. I totally relate to a lot of things in this post, especially feeling weird about selfies and taking more initiative to be social and connect with others. I look up to all that you’ve been able to do with this website, it’s so beautiful and is something I look forward to reading. It’s always important to set goals and work towards achieving them but it’s just as important to forgive ourselves if we don’t fully achieve them, go easy on yourself! I can’t wait to read more, best wishes for 2015!!