MY 2015 IN REVIEW....AS TOLD BY MY 2016 SELF.

I decided to give myself a break this year and take some time with creating my goals. 
I sat down at some of my favorite spots--even cleaned my office and cleared off my ENTIRE desk (such a feat, if you know me)--but nothing was really taking ahold. The process was feeling forced with all of the   "New Year, New Me" pressure going around, so I decided to dial it back and just let things unfold organically. To remember that going into the new year without a clear set of goals doesn't mean that I don't know what I want for my life and that it's okay if my goals don't come to me in the timeframe that I think they should. Matter of fact, I've been hearing this same thing from a lot of people in my circle. I knew what I wanted generally speaking, but could only put my finger on one or two specifics that weren't even values based. 

But then I went to an incredible all day seminar this past weekend and through that, the loose ideas that had been floating around in my mind over the last few weeks crystalized into something more tangible. Something that's been right in front of me all along. 
2015 is my year of Intention. 
Making sure that every move I make is in alignment with who I say I am.
Nothing more, nothing less.
And hearing this word probably isn't a surprise to you if you've been reading this blog as of late--my focus on intention is an expansion that has been taking place for a few years (3, to be exact), though it didn't really start making its way to this platform until the beginning of last year. And why am I so focused?? Because I believe that we, either intentionally or unintentionally, create lives that reflect what we believe about ourselves. So essentially, if you (1) get clear about what you want (2) and let go of being attached to how it comes, you will see all of the good you want and exactly what you believe. Not always what you ask for mind you, but always what you believe.  
So instead of laying out the specifics of this year's agenda, I'm approaching this thing from a different perspective and thinking about what I will say about 2015 when January of 2016 rolls around. So here's Dayka in 2015, as reported by my 2016 self. 

2015 did NOT disappoint. In addition to intentional, joy & peace were two words that defined my year--words that speak to the greatest sense of happiness and tranquility I found by being in alignment with what I felt led to be doing. I had an adventurous year because I changed my perspective & didn't limit the adventures moments to the times when I was traveling--I found great adventure at home and finally, truly, spent more time discovering this fantastic city that has been so good to me. 2015 was my year for lots of dating. And I'm not just talking about fantastic people taking me out on fantastic dates--which they did--but I dated myself a lot, too. All of those great date ideas I'd been saving up for the "right time/right person"? I did them all last year. I was the one I was waiting for!

I took care of myself like a MF. I mean, really. Recommitted to the discipline of eating in a way that optimizes my body & makes me feel (and look) good. Was hyper-viligent about monitoring my stress level, which is imperative to my auto-immune disease, and set firmer boundaries regarding things that didn't fall in line with keeping me physically balanced. All of the things I'd been wanting to write about for the last few years, I finally did. I stopped worrying about whether they were "on topic" or "strayed from the brand", and instead, I just wrote what was on my heart and let my words set out to do what they intended (I AM my brand, after all!). And because of this, lots of new, paid, writing opportunities opened up...something that I didn't even realize I wanted until 2 years ago.
That paper line that I'd planned on launching in 2014?? It finally went to print this year and it found audience of people who really supported & embraced the message. Knowing that it's out there is such a joy (there's that word again), because it's a huge part of who I am and what I believe in. My first NYC jobs--plural--happened this year. I could never have imagined the how, who, or what but happen they did and consequently, I can say that 2015 saw DRD expanding to NYC! Lots of mini-vacations in 2015, too--some with my super tight girls, some by myself, some 2 hours away and at least 1 international escapade. My passport hadn't seen some stamps in a few years and 2015 was the year that thang got dusted off. 

And that's it (for now).
The basics?
I will be healthy. I will be adventurous. I will be full of joy. I will live with integrity. And I will love. 
Not "I want to", but "I will".

All intentionally, of course.
And so it is. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR: HIGHLIGHTS & LESSONS FROM 2014

I really love a good year in review post. 
Yes, part of the purpose is to document my work and progression as a business owner but honestly, 75% of my purpose in writing them is really for my own benefit--so that I can look back on this time in the years to come and remember all that was happening in my life & follow the journey on how I became who I am and how my business became what it is. If I don't document my life in increments, it's so easy to forget about the allllllll of little things I did once too much time has passed by, so these posts serve as snapshots of my year. And they act as a reminder that sustainable change doesn't take place in one giant leap but in the all of little "ah-ha's" that unfold over a thousand little steps. The things that don't seem like they're changing you in the moment but years later, you can see so clearly how all of those little shifts became a 180 degree arc. 
So 2014.
It was a really, really good year for me, both personally and professionally. 
When trying to think of a word that could encapsulate the year, the first one that popped into my head was "expansion". I would've preferred something sexier...but they say the first thought is probably the truest one, so that's what I'm going with. And I guess expansion really does fit the bill because in all ways, my life became more last year. 
A brief run-down of my year:
-celebrated my 35th birthday with the most perfect dinner party

-started working with Flynnside Out Productions as a Project Designer

-Spent the entirety of my summer working on HGTV.com's Holiday House 2014
-FINALLY reupholstered my dining chairs

-Styled a kick-ass faux dinner party

Tomas Espinosa

-Featured presenter at the 2014 Haven Conference

-Spent some long overdue & much needed time with my best friends in California. 
-Took the most perfect vacation in NYC after the RMDH project.

-Went to a broadway show with my best friend which may not sound like a big thing...but it was
-Recognized on HGTV.com's Front Door as one of Atlanta's best Interior Designers
-Became a (god) mom when my BFF from Spelman had a (very cute) baby boy!

-Redesigned a beautiful dining room for wonderful, color-loving clients who let me paint their trim & moulding robins egg blue!

-Got braces!!
-Finally wallpapered my laundry room. It's bold & I love it.

-Tried my hand at dating online & IRL. It's an interesting world out here for sure. Still trying. 

-Presented a "hail mary" pattern palette for a client's bedroom--she loved it and had me design her living room, too.

-Ended a business partnership. 
-Featured in a fantastic article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution
-Finally spent some time working on my own home & striped my entryway...in my favorite color combo, of course ;-)

-Faced a major health scare (All clear, thank God! See Instagram for details)
-Designed/Produced my first ever video project for FSO.
-Met & had a chance to work with some fantastic people

-Hosted a very fun Paleo Thanksgiving party
-Celebrated 4 years in business (here & here)
-An INCREDIBLE 8 page spread featuring my home & design philosophy in a national mag

I keep looking over this list thinking about more things I could add, but even with the small snapshot I've shared...this was indicative. 2014 was a good year.

Here's what I learned:

-Less How?? and more DO. Things have a way of lining up looooong before I can ever see that they are.
-Permission is not required. Period.
-My intuition will always be the truth, whether I receive it in the moment or not (& it will find me). It's like a radio tuned a static-y station on a low volume in my downstairs bathroom with the door closed (I like to think I have supersonic hearing). It's not "in your face", but it's a low hum that only I can hear, and intentionally choosing to ignore it will not make it stop humming. Point taken.
-Your tribe is out there--find the people who want to be on your team and roll with you & whatever it is you represent. I went out a few times with someone who liked to refer to my personality as "extra". Is it true? I guess that would depend on what your definition is. But my point is this--when he said it, it wasn't intended as a compliment. Whet??? And you call yourself trying to date me?? Umm...no, thank you! Girl, bye.
-Just say yes. A life of "expansion" requires facing my fears constantly & saying yes to things before I can get the details worked out in my mind. What's makes me expand is to acknowledge what I'm afraid of, then move towards that because occasionally my mental supersonic hearing is off and what sounds like an African lion is actually just a tabby cat.  *sigh*
-Come hell or high water, don't be without health insurance. Nothing is more important than my health & health insurance is NEVER more expensive than 8 weeks of lab tests, doctor visits & biopsies.
And most importantly,
-I am the author & architect therefore, it will be whatever I say it will be (now THAT'S powerful).

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday & a great New Year!!

WHERE I'VE BEEN, WHAT I'M DOING...OH, AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Happy New Year!!!!

I can't believe it's been 3 months since my words have touched this blog! I never intended to be away for this long but life got in the way around Thanksgiving of last year and rolled right on through February, which then kicked off a super crazy month of work, a bad gastrointestinal illness AND a milestone birthday. Are you tired yet?? Needless to say, I figured I better get something together before you all think I deserted you! 
I typically love the beginning of the year for what it represents--a fresh start & a time to set challenging goals and plans for the upcoming year...lots of thinking about what I'd like to see happen in my personal life and business during the year and figuring out what it will take to make those goals happen. Everything has been so back to back for me over the past few months that I JUST clarified my goals last week! I really wanted to do a post like the one I did last year--and maybe I still will--but for now, just sharing them with you will be an accomplishment. I figure they're better late than never!
So on to the news. Last year.
Right before Thanksgiving we found out that my 91 year old grandmother, the one I talked about here, had lymphoma or cancer of the lymph nodes. She found a lump during the summer but has always been in really good health (I mean, she was substitute teaching up until about 2 years ago), so she didn't really see a pressing issue. She spent her summer going to the centennial anniversary of her beloved sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, and then spent October visiting friends in California and attending her high school class reunion with her lifelong best friend. When I tell you granny had some spunk, know that I tell you no lie! After visiting the doctor while in California her diagnosis came back end of October and though we didn't know exactly how much time she had, we knew that it was serious. My sister and I immediately rearranged our Thanksgiving plans and flew to Seattle to be with my mom & grandma for the holiday. My grandma was still very chatty and VERY much her normal self (runnin' things AND people), minus her ability to get around on her own, but it was clear she was in pain. She was put in hospice (home care) shortly after we arrived and my mom asked me to extend my visit to help her care for my granny. My 8 day visit (with 4 days of clothes!) turned into a 6 week experience that I'll never forget. 
To be honest, my grandmother and I were never really close. There was always a love there, but she and my sister were the ones with the extra special relationship. I never planned, nor wanted, really, to be a caretaker in her final days, but that's just what ended up happening and it was probably one of the best experiences of my life. My grandma passed away right before Christmas and she was pretty much coherent until 1 or 2 days before she passed. I'm thankful that I'm self-employed and had the ability to take off to be with my mom & grandma during those 7 weeks. I was able to make my grandma's food, give her her medicine, prepare her water bottles (everything to her exact specifications!), and talk with her about her life during our weeks together. In the end, we were able to share a love that we never really could during the course of her life and it was...dare I say, kind of magical. I was also able to spend a ton of time with my mom, which I never would've had otherwise, and it reminded me why I like her so much! Even in the midst of the chaos, I'd definitely say that I had a good visit.
So I stayed with my mom until after Christmas, at which time she flew back to Atlanta with me for a week and then back home to prep for my grandmother's memorial service at which we were hosting a lot of people from as far as New Jersey and Florida. Though it wasn't the opportune occasion, it was SO good to see all of the people my family has loved and known for years come to Seattle to celebrate my grandma's life. In the end she was very comfortable and ready. She told me one day, "I'd like to live to 100 but if I don't that's okay...I can't really complain about getting cancer at 91." I loved her perspective.  So the end of January meant another trip out to Seattle which meant that December and January flew by in a whirlwind...not much time for anything other than family obligations. 
And that brings us to February. In the midst of catching up on all of my unattended business from November, December & January, I'm working with 3 new clients, 1 renovation project, my own laundry room makeover and am also working with FlynnsideOut Productions as a Project Designer which consists of lots of design work, prop styling, and getting to work with great brands like Target, HGTV Home, AutoTrader and more. To say my cup is running over is an understatement! When I was writing out my goals I took stock of all that's swirling around me I realize that everything I've said I wanted over the past few years has been spoken into existence.  It's exciting to know that there's so much more to do and much higher goals to set...believe me, I'm setting them. I've also been really reflective about the power of speaking words of positivity and encouragement into your OWN life...things might not always happen when you want them to, but they WILL happen. I'm living proof. I should tell you, things are going well for Dayka Robinson and Dayka Robinson Designs.

Oh! And I celebrated my 35th birthday on February 25th (but I don't look a day over 25, trust me!).  For the first time in a decade I threw a great dinner party with 18 of my closest friends and had thee best birthday.
Everything I ever wanted. 
(see proof below)

So things are good.
And while I've been super busy with family obligations & work there's been lots of cause for celebration on the business front, too.
More on that to come!