Welcome to the New Year!

This past year was full of a lot of ups and downs. I hit a lot of my resolutions and goals for the year: I ran a marathon, I finished the re-landscaping of my back garden, I repainted my dinning room (leaving only the hallway, entry, and living room to be completed this year), I launched a bookclub, and I completed my 50 book challenged (I'll post a followup with a list of everything I read in 2018).  But with all the accomplishments, I also had a lot of challenges to face, including getting laid off from my full-time job unexpectedly and a major family health crisis (don't worry, everyone pull through and we were able to enjoy at least one more holiday season with all my grandparents).

While I might feel this way at the start of every year, I'm especially feeling optimistic about 2019. I have a few new projects I'm taking on this year that I am particularly excited for, some new equipment to help create even better content, and a few personal goals I'm working on. This will be my year of ambition. Perhaps it's because I'm mentally ready to make the leap into actively building the career I've dreamt of, or maybe it's because I have such a loving support system with my family, friends, and my always supportive boyfriend, but I'm feeling a lot more confident in myself in 2019 than I have in awhile.

italian baking cookbook

italian baking cookbook

What's New For 2019?

Since upgrading my camera and making the switch back to working from home, I've suddenly had the freedom to take on some bigger video and cooking projects. This year I'm launching my Gretchen Learns (to Bake) Italian project. Similar to Julie & Julia, I'm spending my 2019 baking my way through Melissa Forti's The Italian Baker. That is 100 beautiful recipes to learn this year (about 2 new recipes a week). I'll be filming around half of them in a YouTube series. Unlike many of my other baking videos where I'm using recipes I've written or know well, these you might see me learn, struggle or even total fail at baking something. It's going to be a tasty learning experience.

I'm also starting weekly vlogs. These will be either a "day in the life" or sometimes times a few days from the week. My goal is to push myself a bit out of my comfort zone and learn to be comfortable being "just me" on camera (or in photos, or in real life to be honest). When I look at photos of me that I don't like and compare them to photos of other people who I think look gorgeous in pictures (regardless of body type, fashion style, etc), the difference I see between the photos is comfort. I can see my discomfort in my own skin in my photos, while everyone else looks happy and confident in themselves (course, some of these people might just be better at masking their own insecurities from the camera than me, but I like to imagine they feel as beautiful and happy as I think they look). While forcing myself to vlog might seem like an odd way to train myself to be less stiff and comparing yourself to others in photos is never recommended, I'm looking at it as a way to face fears and an opportunity to practice bringing more love and kindness to my inner dialogue.


I've set a personal resolution to drink more water (I've been at it for a couple of weeks and so far, doing much better at this than I have in the past) and am tracking if/how that changes how I feel on a day bases or how my body/mind functions. Going along with my journey to stay hydrated, I'm also journaling my skin journey. I'm not much of a beauty blogger and I'm not super knowledgable about all the different makeups and skin care products out there (I learned most of my current makeup techniques from a very nice Sephora employee who I cornered once and asked to help me make wings on my eyes), but my skin itself has gone through significant change these past few years. I went from having no sensitivities and being able to could go without washing my face with little consequence, to having extremely sensitive skin that I'm still learning to care for. While I'll likely do updates on this from time-to-time on my blog, my weekly vlogs will probably feature me talking very frankly about what products I'm trying and how my skin reacts. There will be a lot more footage of me without makeup on in 2019 (yikes!).

Some of my other resolutions include: applying for fellowships for the book I'm working on, adopting a dog (my cat and I have slightly differing views on this one, and it could be something that has to wait depending on my housing situation anyway) and running in at least 4 races (one for every season). This might also be the year I tackle learning to bake a perfect croissant. Like I said, 2019 will be an ambitious year for me.

Here's looking forward to making this year the best I can.

Have any 2019 resolutions of your own? Leave them in the comment section below! I love hearing what goals other people are working on.