2023 — A Look Back Before We Move Forward (Projects Completed, Accomplishments, Priorities, & More)

Before we totally launch into the new, I wanted to pause and remember 2023. It was a good year, a slower year, and a more intentional year. And when I think back to this time last year, my head is in a totally different, way less frantic and desperate state. I took a lot of things off my plate, accomplished some goals, and was really diligent in some of the areas I prioritized.

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Major Projects of 2023

Most of the major projects of 2023 primarily consisted of wrapping up earlier initiated efforts and were marked “complete” in the first part of the year. Reaching resolution and harmony with each of these brought a snowball effect of peace, with less of my mind and brainpower having to be allocated toward progress, timelines, budgets, and punch-lists. Here’s what we wrapped up in 2023…

Breakfast Nook MakeUnder

See Full Before & After HERE.

Traditional Modern Breakfast Nook Makeover Makeover

SourcesWood Bead Chandelier | Dining Table (48′ Diameter) | Dining Chairs (pebble) | Sideboard | Primrose Mirror (gold; 5′) | Round Jute Rug (7 x 7′) | Large Black Bowl | Terracotta Beaded Garland | Salt & Pepper Shaker Set | White Stoneware Vase | Faux Magnolia Branches | Candle Holders (similar)

Eliza’s Big Girl Bedroom Transition

See Full Before & After HERE.

Ideas for Decorating a Little Girls Bedroom

SourcesWoven Pendant Light | Bed  (full, vertical tufted, tall, white chunky boucle fabric) | Mattress | White Linen Quilt | Purple Linen Duvet Cover & Shams | Sheets | Cream Throw | Plum Linen Throw Pillow Covers (24″) | Cream Knotted Pillow | Stuffed Lion | Area Rug | Rattan Storage Trunk | Woven Hampers | Nightstands | Lamps | Crown Catch All Dish | Rainbow Snow Globe | Piggy Bank | Cloudscape Art  (print size is 30 x 24″) | Castle Art  (print size is 11 x 14″) | Jacaranda Art (print size is 10 x 8″) | Curtain Rod | Curtain Rings

Kitchen Makeover (Part II)

See Full Before & After HERE.

Light Warm Gray Kitchen Cabinet Makeover in Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams

SourcesWoven Leather Backless Counter Stool | Rattan Bowl | Runner (2.5’x10′) | Backsplash Tile | Drawer Pulls (champagne bronze 6 5/16″) | Drawer Pulls (champagne bronze 5 1/16′) | Cabinet Knobs (champagne bronze 1 5/16″) | Dutch Oven (7.25 qt) | Dutch Oven Gold Knob (large) | Textured Spoon Rest | Utensil Crock | White Cheese Board | Olive Wood Cheese Board | Olive Oil Bottle | Olive Wood Salt Keeper |  Counter-Depth Refrigerator | Range Hood Insert 

Pool Install Back Yard Overhaul

See Full Before & After HERE

Pool Day Essentials and Favorites

SourcesChaise Lounges (set of 2) | Umbrella (black pole/canvas sand w/black trim) |  Umbrella Stand & Weight | Outdoor Side Table | Stone Planter (XL) | Striped Pillow Covers (24 x 24, set of 2) | Pillow Inserts (26 x 26, set of 2) 

Exterior Paint Change-Up

See Full Before & After HERE.

Home Maintenance Checklist & Things to Do Regularly

Trips of 2023

While we were focusing on simplifying our home and schedule and realigning some priorities, we actually did a little more traveling than we typically do. We didn’t take any major, elaborate, or long trips in 2023, but we did make more road trips, family trips, and weekend trips than we have in the past.

Nashville, TN

My mom and I visited Music City early in the year for a mother/daughter drivable getaway.

See more of our trip and full recap HERE.

Rosemary Beach, FL

We visited our favorite, relaxing vacay spot before peak season.

Roanoke, VA

My mom, Eliza, and I visited our old stomping grounds and reconnected with friends over the summer.

Tampa, FL

We also spent time around the Tampa Bay area, where several of Dave’s siblings live.

Fairhope & Orange Beach, AL

Over Fall Break, we went south again to Lower Alabama and stayed with my Aunt Susan in Fairhope, before continuing on down to Orange Beach to visit my brother’s family.

Huntsville, AL

Dave and I took an impromptu overnight trip to Huntsville to mark seeing The Wallflowers off my bucket list.

trips of 2023

San Antonio, TX

And we were able to get some Texas family time in, just before Christmas.

This year…

  • My mom and I are slated to return to our favorite — Charleston, SC next month since it’s been a few years since we’ve visited (a Christmas gift from me)
  • Dave is scheduled to take an amp-building class in Michigan (his main Christmas present)
  • We are booked for our annul Rosemary Beach vacay in late spring
  • Dave and I are planning our first European vacation to Italy in the fall!

Concerts We Took In

We used to go to shows all the time but that has steadily declined over the years. This year, we started watching the event calendars and reclaimed a little of our former favorite pastime. Here are a few artists we saw in 2023…

  • Grand Ole Opry Show (Dierks Bentley, Jamey Johnson, Jordan Davis, Mark Wills, Ashley McBryde, Maddie & Tae, Jason Crabb)
  • Taylor Swift
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Whiskey Myers (& Eric Church)
  • Tonic, Fastball, Gin Blossoms
  • The Wallflowers

Spiritual, Emotional And Mental Growth

There was a lot of intentionality, healing, (re)prioritizing, and internal work this past year. I’m definitely a work in progress (and always will be), but some of the shifts and commitments I made this year made a big difference. Here’s some of the highlights…

  • Read the Bible from front to back (I can’t recommend using The Bible Recap program and reading plan enough — visit their website for first steps).
  • Joined a small group for the first time, after talking about it for more than 10 years.
  • Read almost 200 books. (See what I read HERE, along with my favorite 15 fiction and 3 non-fiction reads.)
  • Committed to, prioritized, and maintained efforts of simplifying and minimizing in our home, meals, schedule, etc. (THIS post identifies the 10 habits I’ve identified and had to change in our home. THIS post includes tips on groceries and meal planning. THIS post addresses how I minimized in preparing for a vacation.)
  • Started taking regular baths for relaxation.
  • Prioritized family adventures.
  • Decreased material spending.
  • Gifted more experiences.
  • Decreased Starbucks and fast food runs.

So… what’s in store this year? Honestly, more of the same, with some modifications. Last year, I started the year almost feeling paralyzed and I’ve started to come out of that, ready to share more and feeling more content. I want to continue down our path of simplification and being intentional, but I think I can ease up a little. I want to deepen my relationships, focus on my health and anxiety, and look for more ways to serve and make an impact outside of our home.

I’ll be sharing a project and priority list within the next week so keep an eye out for that! And to you — here, reading — thank you for starting another new year with me. Thank you for journeying with me, together, as we pivot and adapt through our shifting priorities and life. Cheers to 2023 and here’s to 2024.

Check out a quick video recap of 2023 in this Instagram reel…

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  1. 1.11.24
    Claudia Krisjanis said:

    hi kelly,
    can you recommend a place you liked to stay at in charleston and rosemary beach? i wouldn’t hold you to anything i just don’t know where to stay! thanks so much

    • 1.11.24

      Thank you for taking the time to visit, Claudia! In Charleston, we try to stay in the heart of the historic downtown district so that we can walk everywhere we want to go. In the past, we’ve stayed at the Mills House and the Francis Marion on King Street. We will be trying a new place on our next trip. As for Rosemary Beach, I recommend that you book through 360 Blue. There are lots of different options, depending on the exact location and size of property that you want.

  2. 1.12.24
    Kari said:

    I have read your blog for years; but I have loved your content this year. Simplification, intention – I’m here for the journey with you! Thank you!

    • 1.14.24

      Thank you, Kari, for taking the time to visit and for your kind note. I am so happy to know that you have enjoyed the direction my content has taken in the past year. Please stay tuned for more! xoxo