2017 Year In Review: The Year Of The Grind
Once again we've all managed to survive yet another year and whether we were ready or not, embark on a fresh journey in this current and New Year. Personally, I wasn't quite ready to let go of 2017, as it was truly a great year for me!! Although it was a highly grinding year with one project after another, and very little downtown in between...sooooo very much of what I set out to do for the 2017 year, I was able to manifest into reality. And, it all started with the power of making a list and writing it down!
At the start of last year, my focus was laser sharp and I knew precisely what I wanted and needed to accomplish in that year to prepare for the much larger dreams of 2018 and beyond. In January 2017, I was in early negotiations to once again take on my role as one of the film coordinators for Oprah Winfrey & Ava DuVernay's episodic TV drama - Queen Sugar. Emotionally and mentally, I was very conflicted on if I should return or not. I had just launched my design blog in late 2016, in the month of October, and was really just barely scratching the surface of making my presence known to the social media world.
I realized very quickly and almost immediately after I launched Allured By Design, that social media promotion is one of the most marketable and crucial tools to the success or demise of your brand. Content is both KING and KEY! If there was no content to share or promote on a consistent basis, how would I grow my audience? The larger your audience, the more opportunities come your way, or the more leverage you have to create opportunities for yourself and others.
I knew that heading back to Queen Sugar would take me away from design blogging for a good six months of the year, with no new and fresh content to share during that time. It was a very HARD decision to make!! But ultimately, I knew heading back to Queen Sugar would also financially prepare and place me in a position where I could finally take the scary leap of faith to no longer coordinate films for hire, and instead focus solely on my own creative talents and crafts, including all things Interior Design & Home Decor.
So as difficult of a decision it was for me to make...follow my heart and greatest passions vs. following what made the most financially logical sense, I chose the latter and have absolutely no regrets about it. It was one of the best decisions I could've made because it was a financially wise decision to make. With my commitment now being solid, I then made my list of all that I set out to do in 2017...
Aid the production team and complete all coordinating logistics for Season 2 of Queen Sugar
Simultaneously, prep and design all Interior looks in #HousePiazza for upcoming content reveal for Fall 2017
Work with as many local or independent artists as possible to feature their work in upcoming Allured By Design room reveals
Secure my first sponsored partnership with a local retail brand
Book my preferred and desired Photographer and Make-Up Artist for all 2017 Photo Shoots
Shoot and Executive Produce my very first Home Tour Design Video
Hire one of my close & dear filmmaking colleagues to Produce the video alongside of me
Hire and Book my preferred and desired local production company to shoot and edit the footage
Prep, design, stage and photo shoot early 2018 Spring Refresh content
Grow and increase my social media following
Update my website with a new home page design and an email subscription
Chalk up the deuces to 2017 being my final year of film coordinating the moment I wrap work on Season 2 of Queen Sugar
From there, follow your heart and follow your passions even if you must do it scared
Many of the goals I set out to accomplish for the 2017 year, I wrote not only in my personal journal but also publicly on my blog. My very first blogpost for 2017 actually addressed to my followers and social media family exactly where I was mentally at the start of that year. It also addressed what my audience could expect from me in that year, which was ironically just goals at the time. To revisit that post, click here.
Nothing had even been remotely secured. Anything could've happened to where all that I set out to do and shared that I would do, could ultimately NOT happen for whatever reason.
But my faith was strong. My ambition and determination was even stronger, all amidst of my nerves and fears that always tried to stifle me from being productive. I swear fear is of the devil and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Yet, I also realize as stifling as fear can be, it's truly one of my greatest motivation tools. It's almost insane how anything that I'm afraid of, I usually still go after and somehow manage to do extremely well at what I was afraid to accomplish in the first place.
Not only did I conquer my 2017 goals, but I can't stress to you enough...how even I was amazed with the power of manifestation by simply writing down what I wanted and set out to do. Now don't get me wrong, I don't see my list as being super extraordinary. They were all very reachable and attainable goals. Yet, again...anything could've happened to prevent my list from manifesting from words on paper to real live, produced action.
Now at the start of the 2018 year, my hateful frenemy FEAR is alive and present!!! Notice I said frenemy because as I mentioned, she both stifles and motivates me all at the same time. I am finally at a place in my life and career where this year, I begin working for myself under my own brand, on my own terms. Scared to death is an understatement. 😩 Yet, it's something I know I must conquer and succeed in doing so, in spite of that BITCH, FEAR!!! I think what's most ironic about my feelings of fear is the fact that this very moment is what I've been working to obtain for YEARS! Now that it's here, my nerves are all over the place. Crazy right? I've long wanted to be my own boss and just simply have the freedom to share all of my creative passions with the world.
I mentioned in a post back in September, which was my return month to blogging and producing content after my Queen Sugar hiatus...that although I was leaving and ending my career as a film coordinator, I wasn't leaving the Film Industry behind altogether. Feel free to re-visit that post by clicking here. I share this to say, that in addition to my design goals, 2018 definitely involves some really big and grand film industry related dreams I have yet to conquer. One of the main things I always despised about my years of film coordinating is the time it robbed me of not being able to focus on pushing my own film projects.
Well, 2018 is no better time than EVER before to "reclaim my time" as U.S. Representative aka Auntie Maxine Waters has famously taught us all to do. So as I set out to carefully and solely focus on continuing to grow my Allured By Design brand and audience, garner clientele, meet the needs of and satisfy clients, produce amazing visual content and amazing design work, manifest opportunities to work and partner w/ more local brands, as well as large mass brands...I'm also setting out to bring my film goals closer to reality than ever before.
Two of my biggest professional dreams are to create and produce both beautiful Interior Design work, as well as amazing Film and Television work. My struggle for the longest has been how to bridge and merge those two worlds together, or feeling like I had to choose one over the other.
The very first thing I wrote down in my personal journal for the 2018 year, was...I'm no longer choosing! I can have both..a successful film career, as well as a successful design career. And, I WILL have both, one way or another!! Both 2016 and 2017 was proof enough that not only are both attainable, but I can very well merge two of my greatest passions. Hence the reason for the launch of my design blog. A platform designed by me to create, write, produce and share my own visual design content. In doing so, I automatically blend and merge both of those worlds. And, I will continue to do so.
But before we officially move full steam ahead of all things 2018, which I believe for me, will be dubbed the year of discovery and exploration...let's revisit some of the amazing design projects and reveals of the 2017 year.
HOME OFFICE INSPIRATION:
At the start of the 2017 year, I revealed wider and even better shots of my Home Office, which was a popular request from many of my followers. I obliged, delivered and shared better images of my home work space, where a lot of the magic and my creative ideas are born. The full reveal and blogpost can be found by clicking here.
PIER 1 FEATURE:
At the very end of 2016, I was contacted by Pier 1 for their permission to utilize one of my photos in their upcoming 2017 February mailer for all of their reward members. Naturally, I was ecstatic and couldn't wait to see how my photo would be incorporated.
February 2017, would be their official Pier1Love month. The month the mass retailer would reciprocate love to their customers, designers, decorators, stylists and design bloggers who all patronize their business and share on our social media feeds with the use of their popular hashtag, #pier1love, how we style their products in our own homes or design projects. If one of the lucky folks to be selected, your photo, and social media name/handle would all be featured on the cover of their mailer.
This feature alone was setting up 2017 to be a darn good year. 😉 The full blogpost can be found by clicking here.
GUEST BEDROOM REVEAL:
I was so excited about this reveal, I couldn't contain myself. Then the excitement turned to nervousness wondering if my audience would really appreciate the very colorful approach I took to designing and styling this particular room.
Well, the nervousness went away immediately after the reveal. If folks (including myself) weren't a believer in my talent and vision before...the way I designed this space definitely helped to put all doubt to rest. This reveal was an immediate hit with messages and inquiries in my inbox shooting through the roof!!
In addition, with the reveal of the guest room...I was able to check off from my 2017 goal list working with an independent artist. I hired Jennifer Flannigan to commission one of the most stunning colorful, framed canvas pieces for the space. The full reveal and blogpost can be found by clicking here.
MASTER BEDROOM REVEAL:
By far, this was my most favorite reveal of 2017. After such an amazing and positive response to my guest bedroom reveal, I was even more ecstatic to share the design of my master bedroom. However, I did have to warn my social media family in advance that while my guest room was all about vivid, luscious color...the master would be worlds apart with a very different look and design.
With my master bedroom, I remained loyal to my tried and true design aesthetic by styling the room with gorgeous neutrals and lots of gold. I also offered design inspiration to anyone that was considering, yet afraid to design and style with darker hues. In addition, I blended my two signature design styles...modern elegance with my obsessive love for all things rustic glam. Once more, my audience responded extremely well to the reveal. Full reveal and blogpost can be found by clicking here.
CHRISTMAS HOME TOUR:
With one photo shoot after another, one project after another and one reveal after another...my energy was damn near depleted by year's end and pure exhaustion had set in. I was indeed The Grinch That Stole Christmas! But much to even my own surprise, I mustered up the last of my energy reserve and created one of my most beautiful holiday themes yet.
My Glittery, Shimmery, Shiny Christmas tour embodied not only the beauty and awe of the holidays, but also the magic of it and the comfy, cozy feeling we all love to feel at christmastime. The full reveal and blogpost can be found by clicking here.
Looking back, 2017 was indeed the Year of the Grind, as it was a super busy year for me. Not that previous years have been any far less grinding. But for some odd reason, 2017 just felt so much more busy, like a never-ending train ride with no intent of stopping or resting. I was literally working twelve to fourteen hour days on Queen Sugar for six months straight meeting the demands of my position, remaining humble, smiling along the way, and keeping my eyes on the prize ahead. But I must say the biggest perk of the first six months of my life and time dedicated to Season 2 of Queen Sugar was definitely working with one of the best cast in Hollywood today. To view my farewell blogpost on my final season of work on Queen Sugar, click here.
Immediately after those six months came to an end, I shifted to similar hours on all of my design projects for the last four months of the 2017 year. Honestly, I'm not even sure how I managed, or how I did it. But what I do know is, it's just the nature of women to get shit DONE!! In spite of our fears, worries, reservations, and even our complaints along the way...when it's time to handle business, especially business that's pertinent to our future and crucial to our success, we simply get the job (s) DONE, period!
But by the time the end of the year rolled around, I was so ready to receive and welcome the holiday slumber that I knew would set in. Not only was I ready for it, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. So much to the point that I truly wasn't ready to let it go, which was quite ironic considering my grinch like attitude at the start of the holiday season. However, I knew the moment I let it go, it would be time for me to face and confront the very scary unknowns of the new year ushering in.
I mentioned above that I believe 2018 will be the year of discovery and exploration for me. This year, I'll discover and explore a multitude of things about myself as a new business owner, all of the do's and don'ts regarding my design brand, what will and won't work, what I will and won't tolerate, what I will and won't compromise or bend on, what projects will be the most fun to design, what projects will present the most challenges, and I'm sure a host of other things as well.
I will certainly miss all of the great and amazing things that came out of the 2017 year, as it was truly one of my most highly productive years of the very many I've had. I don't have a long list of things to accomplish in the 2018 year, as I'm attempting to keep it short, to the point and simple. Why? Because my short and simple list is honestly big enough in its own right. Remember I did say earlier, my goals are lofty and grand. It's just the way I'm wired. I can't help it. I'm a Sagittarius and everything we do and dream is BIG & ALWAYS EXTRA! 😉😜
Our ruling planet is Jupiter after all, which means and represents all things big and expanding.
As I was saying, while I may not have a super long list of things to conquer and accomplish this year, I'm very curious to see just what God has in store for me in 2018. What successes, gains and wins will come about? What failures, lessons and losses may even come about? And, what personal discovery and growth are sure to happen?
But, because I am still nervous about this year, and highly fearful of the unknown...I won't share too much that's on my list of what you all can expect from me. Let's just all allow the element of surprise to be the alluring factor in what to stay tuned for. See what I did there? Alluring as in Allured By Design. I'm a clever cookie! Or, maybe just corny, lol. But I will share this...
By or before the end of the 1st Quarter of this year, I will make my public announcement via my blog and on my social media pages, that I'll be accepting clients in New Orleans as well as several other parishes of the Greater Metropolitan New Orleans area, which will also include my own parish, St. Tammany.
All interested and potential clients will be able to book and pay for their consultation services directly through my site.
As of this very moment, you can now view my entire portfolio of all design looks and reveals from #HousePiazza in my Design Gallery.
In Desktop View - Once you move your cursor to the page titled DESIGN GALLERY, sub-pages will automatically appear below. Simply click on each sub-page you wish to view.
In Mobile View - Click on the + icon next to Design Gallery and all sub-pages will then appear. From there, click on each sub-page you wish view.
My gallery includes both previously released photos, as well as some new and never seen before images.
For your viewing pleasure, all sub-pages have been coordinated and arranged by color.
My Spring refresh content will debut on my blog as early as late February or early March.
My Home Tour Video will make its debut sometime in early Spring.
I'm actually very excited to soon debut my first Executive Produced, Home Tour Design Video to you all. Told ya'll, one way or another I'd merge my two greatest passions of film and design together. This video, I imagine will be just a snippet of how I'll continue to merge both of those worlds together through the art of storytelling, filmmaking, and all things design. I actually produced my "Welcome To Allured By Design" video as well, which can be found on my home page. So it's definitely not my first time sitting in the Producer's chair altogether. Also, if we want to count my non-design, independent film projects I've produced as well. But, you get the point...ya girl has been on her hustle and grind of pursuing my passions. However, this year and beyond, I'll finally be doing it full-time. 😉
But the reason I said first initially, was because I've never produced a Home Tour video. So essentially, this is my first go at executive producing that particular type of content and deciphering not only the design and creative look...but also the narrative and visually how everything would flow on camera from a filmmaking standpoint. So I'm definitely looking forward to sharing that labor of love with you all very soon.
And, finally...wishing each and every one of you an amazing journey for the 2018 year. Let's all explore, discover and blow fear and worry out of the park. Most importantly, let's be surprised with all of the amazing things God has in store for us this year and beyond.
But let's always be thankful for the lessons, blessings and accomplishments be it big or small we all received in the previous year. For me personally, I'll always look back at 2017 with a grateful and joyous smile.