New Year = Fresh Start
It might be a total cliche but honestly I’m totally fine with that. I love the refresh of a new year and all of the ideas and plans I have for the year ahead. I enjoy any excuse to reevaluate the previous year in order to set even bigger goals for the year to come. However, this year is a little different because it’s the start of a new decade and I’d be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to look back on the past decade as a whole. It’s absolutely wild to take a look back at the last ten years and see how far we’ve come. Ten years ago I would never have guessed that I would be where I am now, but I also couldn’t have planned it better myself.
Scroll to the bottom to see this month’s free background download and be sure to sign up to our email list to receive yours!
2010-2020 : A look at this past decade
2010 – Freshman in College
To put it mildly, I was a freshman that had no idea what they were going to do with their life. I was in a major I wasn’t crazy about, in a relationship that was not handling long distance very well, I was having trouble making friends in college, and I was having major withdraws living away for the first time from my family and the small town I grew up in. It was certainly a low point for me.
2011 – Joined a Sorority
I honestly had never pictured myself as the sorority girl type, but like I said up above, I was struggling to make friends in college and was utterly miserable because of that. I decided to rush my sophomore year of college, still unsure if I would actually join any of the Greek organizations, and I ended up finding the most amazing group of women to surround myself with. It made all the difference in my college experience and I’m forever grateful that I took a chance on something outside my comfort zone.
2012 – Finding my dream major
Junior year of college I finally settled into a major that I LOVED. Yep, it took me that long. The College of Design at NCSU requires a several month interview process and portfolio evaluation so I had focused most of my sophomore year working to get accepted into the Art and Design major and it wasn’t until junior year that I could actually start. I was in Art and Design, concentration in Animation and New Media (lots of film and graphics work) and I absolutely adored it. That same year I ended that long distance relationship that was far from healthy, and I was living in my sorority house with some of my best friends.
This was also the summer that I adopted Radley and because of that 2012 will forever be one of the best years of my life.
2013 – Studied Abroad in Prague
While the rest of my age group was graduating from college, I still had another year to go since I had changed my major. To knock out a studio course I decided to study abroad in Prague and take watercolor. Sound like a total dream? Trust me, it was. I met one of my best friends the second day I was there and we’ve been inseparable ever since. Spending the summer traveling to different countries and literally living in Prague with one of your best friends is an experience I wish everyone could have. It was life changing.
2014 – Graduation and Meeting Mike
By summer of 2014 I had finally graduated from college and though my college roommate and I had dreamed of moving to Philadelphia and being the Broad City of Philly, that plan ultimately fell through and I stayed in Raleigh for the summer to figure out what I wanted to do.
Just a few weeks after graduation I met Mike. Well, we had met before only briefly but this time everything lined up perfectly. We both were single and very much interested in one another and “the rest is history” as they say.
2015 – Working and Trying to Find Direction
To be totally honest I don’t remember exactly when I started up my blog again, this time under a new name, Sweet Horizon. But I do know that by 2015 I was actively working on it and keeping a posting schedule. I was in my 3rd year of working at an Anthropologie store and was slowly making my way up the ranks. I’ll definitely say that this was the most stylish time in my life because we had to dress nicely for work everyday and being surrounded by Anthro goodies all day certainly didn’t hurt! I was also applying to design jobs but not really finding anything I was super interested in. Any spare time I had was devoted to Radley and Mike. I was juggling a lot and trying to make it all work.
We went to Scotland this year and I think both of our parents thought we would get engaged on this trip haha! Sorry parents! That was still four more years away! But this trip was the first time Mike had been out of the country and I loved being able to have these adventures with him and show him my family’s connections to Scotland.
2016 – My Year of Teaching and Moving in Together
I decided at some point that Anthro wasn’t going to be my forever career choice and that I was greatly missing my design work. However, I just wasn’t getting the jobs I wanted. So my next plan was to pursue becoming an art teacher since I come from such a long line of teachers. I truly lucked out and got a job as a TA and a secondary Art Teacher at an incredible elementary school that was just opening. It was a whirlwind year for learning about how to organize and operate a classroom as well as learn about the different ages of kids and what they can do. I only taught for one year, since lateral entry did not make me competitive enough against the number of art teachers with actual teaching degrees already. I decided that summer to work from home for my brother’s company and just see where that led me.
Mike and I also decided to live together after two years of dating, so this summer a lot of big life changes happened all at once. Isn’t that just life for ya?
2017 – Working from Home
The first year working from home was ROUGH. I thought I would love it, and some parts I did. I loved making my own schedule, being home with Radley, and working in my PJ’s all day. But I also wasn’t making much money and holy moly it was so incredibly stressful trying to stay on top of everything. I tend to get overwhelmed by things anyway and I really, really struggled to find my footing this first year. I was working for my brother AND trying to start Sweet Horizon Studio and my perfectionist ways just couldn’t cope with the growing pains and stresses of figuring it all out. Truly, it’s a miracle after that first year that I’m still working from home.
We also went to Prague this year and I got to show Mike all of my favorite places around the city and experience it all anew, this time creating memories special to the two of us. There’s something about that city that is absolutely magical.
2018 – Settling into a Routine and Getting Engaged
After my rocky start I knew I had to set a routine for myself because the workaholic lifestyle I had was not healthy for me or for my relationship with Mike. I started only working when he was also at work and making sure to get out of the house, especially on weekends. I’m a total homebody, but I also learned very quickly that everyone needs a change of scenery from time to to time in order to stay sane.
At end of August we decided we needed another big trip so we took a roadtrip all through New England. We drove aver 1,600 miles in 9 days and saw as much as we could while we were there. I filmed a lot of our trip because I love watching travel films and you can watch our trip video here. I had no idea Mike would be proposing on this trip and he held out till one of our last stops of the week, Acadia National Park. Even though the camera he set up to film the proposal actually tipped back and didn’t catch any of it, that moment will forever be the most beautiful and special moment to us both.
2019 – Solely Working On Sweet Horizon and Marriage
Last year was a total whirlwind. This was the year that I solely worked on Sweet Horizon Studio, which is terrifying to solely rely on yourself to bring in income, and we were busy all year planning our wedding. Looking back on 2019 I have a mix of feelings, because some moments were very, very hard, but overall it was just a joyful and exciting year. I’m so proud of this business and the growth it saw throughout 2019 and I’m beyond thrilled to finally be Mrs. Miller. We approached our work as more of a husband and wife team and I couldn’t be more proud of all we’ve accomplished so far.
2020 – Planning and Taking Strides Forward
With the wedding behind us, we are currently in the planning stage, in life and in business. We have so many ideas for this little business and can’t wait to get so many of them up and running this year. We’ve been hard at work on some themes but we aren’t launching them until they are perfect. And we are becoming aware of our strengths and weaknesses and are trying to use both to our advance to make this little business the best it can be.
Who knows what the next ten years has in store for us but I absolutely can’t WAIT to find out!
I hope you enjoy the free background this month! I wanted some color for this January background and went for more of an abstract, free movement look to embody how ready I am to embrace the chaos of 2020! For the free background there are versions for your computer, tablet and phone wallpapers. Just scroll back to the top and sign up to our newsletter receive your free download!
Already a member? Login in to the resource library with the password from your email.