Reflecting on 2016

Around this time last year, I was honestly unsure of what the future would bring me. I had a loose plan of what I wanted and what my goals were, along with high hopes of course, but overall, I was still trying to get to know myself after reeling from a significant life shift.

I realize that I never actually wrote about 2015 last year, but I think it was because I wasn’t exactly ready to speak so openly about everything that happened. It took me going through 2016 on my own for me to get to the point of writing about 2015, but that’s to come in another post.

I want to reflect on all of the good that happened in my life in 2016.


Personally and Emotionally: In 2016, I’ve learned to trust my intuition/gut and in all aspects of my life, which lead me to having a greater peace of mind about all decisions I’ve made so far. I started to see that there are many aspects in my life I can control, but there are also aspects that I can’t and should let go of and let my path/life run the course I’m supposed to be on. I learned that as much as I wish I had my life completely together right now, it’s important for me to enjoy the journey and to take my time going through life’s learning lessons.

In 2016, I’ve learned to walk away when something isn’t a fit (and that it’s okay to do that) and to periodically check in with myself to measure how I’m feeling, if I’m happy and I’m I’m liking the path I’m on.

Overall, I learned that I am my happiest when I am working on personal projects and creative work, and that it’s important for me to be happy, or else I won’t be able to give my all to any tasks without a full heart. It wasn’t until the end of 2016 that I learned that I have to put myself first, which was something I hadn’t been doing the last two years.

A word that represents my personal and emotional health in 2016 is growth.


Career: 2016 was an awesome year for me and I am really looking forward to seeing what’s to come in 2017. One of the biggest things to happen was entering the food styling industry by getting a job as a food stylist assistant at a creative studios company here in Des Moines. I knew this was an entry level job when I applied and I knew it was going to get me to where I want to be down the road if I paired the new skills I learned with my other skills in photography, social media and blogging (a total stepping-stone type of job.) I have so much fun when I go to work every day and it was the perfect fit for me. Being chosen for this job helped me see that things have a way of falling in line when they’re supposed to.

A word that represents my career in 2016 is trust.

The Everygirl Home Tour Kristen

Freelancing and Photography: I look back at all of the wonderful photography experiences I’ve had this year and still pinch myself. I’m thankful to have met such wonderful, kind, and understanding clients, and have had the pleasure of photographing some beautiful people, spaces and places.

Highlight Reel:

Interior Photography for One Kings Lane, The Everygirl, Apartment Therapy, Design Sponge, The Brunette One, Jillian Lare, interior design studio photography for R. Cartwright Design,

Other Photography: Photographing two weddings (and second shooting two), a maternity and newborn session and a couple styled shoots, The Brunette One’s Old Navy ’50 Styles in 50 States’ Campaign, a rehearsal dinner themed styled shoot for Me and Billy, food/prop styling and photography for my Thanksgiving article for The Everygirl, stock photography for Saucey, Wanderlust and Dr. Frank Lippman, blog photography for Nymph in the Woods and a small insta-guide of Des Moines for Domino “Locally Inspired: Des Moines”

I also had a chance to speak at Go Blog Social, which was a great experience.

A word that represents my freelancing and photography opportunities in 2016 is appreciative.


Travel: I visited my family in Quebec, Canada in May (unfortunately I got very sick during the trip but was happy I got to see my grandmother one last time before she passed.) I had the unbelievable opportunity to go on a press tour to Sansepolcro, Tuscany, Italy with the Nestle owned fresh pasta brand Buitoni. I know many of you are dying to see imagery from Italy- don’t worry, it’s coming up in 2017!

A word that represents my travel opportunities in 2016 is thankful.


Monroe Family Flip: As some of you may know, I flipped my father’s home after he passed away in the summer of 2014. In 2016, I closed a major chapter in my life by officially selling the home in March. A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders because it allowed me to finally close my father’s estate. I had finally felt closure and felt like I was allowed to move on with my life. Monroe Family Flip also signified how much closer I got to my brother and mother, and I’m thankful that (even though it was a sad, depressing time for us after he passed,) this event was able to bring us closer together than ever.

In 2015, the home was featured on Domino and I partnered with Minted for a sponsored blog post and giveaway. In 2016, the home was featured in an article for The Everygirl.

Words that represent Monroe Family Flip in 2016 is accomplished and closure.

I have a lot of fresh, new content scheduled for 2017 for this blog and I can’t wait to share the new posts with you guys. Whether you read my blog, follow me on social media, or we know each other personally, thank you for staying with me through 2016- I truly appreciate it more than words can say.

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