Looking Back on 2020

January 10, 2021

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No Rain. No Flowers.

What a wild ride 2020 was. If someone had told me on Dec 31st, 2019, while I was ringing in the new year with one of my sweet couples, that the first year of this new decade would turn out to be a complete dumpster fire- I probably would have spit my champagne out laughing. So many hard things happened this year and, to be honest, I almost didn’t write this blog post… I just wanted to throw 2020 away and never talk about it again.

But over the past month, as I’ve reflected and talked with my family and friends, I realized that although a lot of sucky things happened in 2020, there were a lot of good things too. Even though at the time I couldn’t see it. I’m going to be pretty honest in this recap and share some of the hard stuff that happened this year along with the good stuff because, to be honest, the hard stuff is what has helped me grow the most this year.

Also- I know I haven’t really blogged a lot of personal stuff on here in a while, but it’s something I want to do more of in 2021. I recapped 2018 on my blog and I loved being able to go back and see everything wrapped up in one place!

My Year in Highlights…

01. Travel. I didn’t go to half the places I wanted to this year. In fact, I think I did more canceling of trips than actually traveling. I canceled trips to NYC, Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, and Arizona. It was such a bummer because I have loved going on adventures over the last few years. But even though I never set foot on a plane this year, I still managed some road trips to Tennesse, Kentucky, Savannah GA, and Charleston SC!

02. Shoots with Janna. Both of the trips I made to Nashville this year were for shoots with Janna Brown! Janna and I met last year in England on the Voyager et Inspirer Retreat with Julie Paisley- Me, Annie, and Janna were all suitemates in the Cotswolds and hit it off during our time together there!

I’m so glad I got to see her again and photograph her beautiful creations! She is so talented, kind, and sweet! Plus she never ceases to amaze me with her creativity! If you’re a photographer- You will not regret going to one of her shoots! And even if you aren’t a photographer or in the wedding industry- her work is inspiring and always pushes me to be more creative and think outside the box!

03. Friendship. I’m especially grateful for all of my friends this year. There are too many to name here- Some of them are old friends, some of them are new. But I’m so grateful for all the people God has brought into my life over the past few years and that I was able to see so many of them even with everything going on in the world. They checked on me when they knew I was struggling, encouraged me, celebrated my wins with me, and were just so supportive of me this year. You know who you are and I can’t put into words how glad I am to have had you in my life this year.

04. Chloe. This summer, Chloe (the kitten I adopted in 2018) was unexpectedly diagnosed with congestive heart failure. I had to say goodbye to her on June 9th.

Devastated doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. I adopted Chloe and Coco at the same time (they’re from the same litter), but Chloe and I bonded faster and much more than Coco and I have. She was my buddy and followed me all over the house, slept in between my legs at night, stole my heating pad more times than I can count, played with my expensive ribbon when I was trying to do flat lays and was all-around one of my best friends. I miss her so much and there will always be a Chloe-sized hole in my heart.

05. Mentoring with Kelli. One of the BEST things I did this year was reaching out to my friend Kelli about one on one mentoring! I never want to stop learning and every year I try to prioritize my own education in business and photography. At the end of 2019, I thought it would be good to work one on one with someone to answer my questions and help me grow my business. While I didn’t see a lot of growth from the changes I did make last year (Thank you covid.), I’m all prepared for this year! Also, it was so nice just having someone to text when I got worried and have them ease my fears!

I also got to go up to Lexington, KY for our one on one session, before she welcomed her sweet little girl Emery in November! It was so fun to spend that time together and was definitely one of the most fun things I did in 2020! I love you, Kelli!

06. New Brand. A few months ago I started the process of completely rebranding my business. Up until this point, I’ve designed my own website, bought my logo off Etsy, and just pieced my colors/fonts/etc. together. But after doing so much work with Kelli and changing my mindset (I’ll talk more about this later) I have a much clearer picture of who I am, where I want my business to go, and who I want to serve.

So I decided it was time to invest and pay someone to help me create a beautiful website and brand. One that reflected all the work I had done over the past year. It’s almost done and I am so excited to share it with you all in a few weeks!

07. Turning 23. I’m creeping closer and closer to my mid-twenties! 23 looks so different from what I thought it would. I think a lot of fellow twenty-somethings can relate to not being exactly where they thought they’d be. I remember being 6 or 7 and thinking that 23 was so grownup and that by the time I was 23 I’d have my whole life figured out. I’d have a husband, my own house, maybe a kid, and I would just be the epitome of an adult.

Just had a good laugh reading that back! Wow. Nope, I have none of those things! And I don’t really have a desire right now for those things. I look at myself and go “Um, I am nowhere near ready to be a wife, mom, or anything along those lines. No thank you!!”

I’m really enjoying this season of life and I’m so excited to see what the next few years hold for me!

08. Elaine. In the beginning of December, my friend tragically died in a car accident. She was only 19 years old and had become a little sister to me in the past few years. This whole year has been filled with grief, but this was definitely one of the saddest and hardest losses I experienced this year. It still doesn’t feel real. If I had known the last time I saw her that it’d be the last time; I would have hugged her harder, held on longer, and made sure she knew how much I loved her.

I wish everyone had had the opportunity to know Elaine the way I knew her. She was like walking sunshine- it was impossible to be unhappy with her around, she always trying to be the kindest person in the room, and she always tried to make the best out of whatever life threw at her. I will miss her so much.

09. Started Therapy. Here’s where we’re gonna get real personal. I’ve struggled with anxiety since I was little and depression on and off for the last 10 years. I’ve always been able to cope fairly well (well, what I thought was fairly well), but I started struggling again in the last few months of 2019. So I decided it was time to get help and talk with someone. This was/is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done and to be honest, I was slightly embarrassed at first. There’s so much unnecessary stigma around mental health and deciding to go to therapy felt like I had failed somehow.

But therapy and mentoring with Kelli were actually the two greatest things I did for myself this year. Those two things were the catalyst for personal growth and really challenged me to completely change my mindset. I dug deep to the root of some of my problems (people-pleasing, lack of boundaries, leaving the IFB, and emotional abuse from past relationships), worked hard, and now feel like a completely different person than I was at the beginning of 2020.

I am a naturally anxious person. I’m a type 6 on the enneagram and anxiety/a desire for security is a huge part of who 6s are. There are definite positives to being anxious (I’m always super prepared for weddings/portraits/anything work-related), but I’m usually waiting for something terrible to happen. And that has made me develop a very negative outlook on life… and I realized it was causing me to self-sabotage.

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 1:23

Mindset is everything and as I’ve done more research and listened to people talk about it- I’ve realized how vital it is. I’ve tried to move from the mindset of: “Why is this happening to me” to “What can I learn from this situation.”

I’m definitely not an expert in this, but one thing I’ve learned in the last month is that successful people expect to succeed. If you go into 2021 believing that you’re going to have a great year- you’ll probably have a great year. Just like if you go into 2021 believing that it’s just going to suck just like 2020 did, it’ll probably suck just like 2020 did. Also, sometimes success doesn’t mean you win, sometimes it just means that you learn something! And that is SO valuable!!

2020 by the Numbers…

  • 28,520; the minutes of music I listened to on Spotify.
  • 5; the number of states I visited.
  • 90; the number of times I posted on Instagram.
  • 4; how many seasons of Mr. Selfridge I watched.
  • 2 to 1; the ratio of indoor cats to people in our house during lockdown.


I’m so excited to head into this new year and see what it has in store for me! I can’t wait to read this over again next January and see how far I’ve come! What’s something you’re proud of from 2020?



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I'm Jacqueline

I'm Jessica and I'm so happy you're here. This blog a journal about our lives, travels, fashion, and style. Stay a while and say hello!

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