Last night I had the pleasure of spending the evening at a party with some good friends that I didn’t share nearly enough time with in 2012. The night alone was enough to spark some resolutions about friendship (which you’ll read about in a minute) but when I was chatting with the host about the upcoming year, we ended up talking about the overall feeling that years seem to take on. We both agreed (and I’m curious if this has been your experience too) that 2012 was a year of growth and success for many people, but also a year of perspective. Which has left us asking “Where is this going?” or better yet, “Where can I take this?”

Last year I found myself gaining ground and finding focus professionally. Successes came a bit easier and more frequently, and it seems like many of my creative  and entrepreneurial friends felt this too. It was just the boost we all needed to be able to push ourselves into bigger and even more exciting things in the new year. I remember in the beginning of the year feeling like it would be the year of collaboration, and indeed, I think it was. If not in actuality, mentally, there was such a strong feeling of support in the creative community – the feeling of ‘were all in this together’ was very evident.

At times, it was a very emotionally draining year, on a personal level. I think that the combination of the elections and then current shootings really took it out of me the past few months. That said, I felt like my priorities were put more into place as I found myself making an effort to carve out time for friends and new adventures outside of the blog realm. Put all of those ups and downs together and I’ve found myself with a renewed need for creating and contributing to a strong community this year.

One of my girlfriends does this thing where she picks a word each year that channels her intentions for the year. I’ve never done this before, but I had one word come to me so quickly and obviously that I knew I had to pick it and follow it… That word is Create.

In 2013 I want to be a creator. Create new content. Create stronger friendships. Create new ideas and directions. Create the life I want to have in the next year. Five years. Ten. Create opportunities. Create a better business. Stop thinking about it. Stop putting it off. Stop waiting for it to be the right time. Just CREATE.

Keeping these intentions and focuses in mind, I’ve come up with ten resolutions – or as I like to call them, promises – for 2013. So here we go…

1. Last year I swore to myself  that I’d get out more in my city – making connections, attending events, broadening my circle of friends – but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about all of the amazing, creative people here who I love spending time with, and I want to expand that promise to include working with some of these people, but also playing with them more too. Time to throw some dinner parties, put on a few events, and create some cool collaborations with my Seattle peeps. Bringing all of my favorite people together this past summer for the coco+kelley anniversary dinner made me realize now powerful and wonderful it was to make these new connections amongst my friends, and I want to keep doing that for work and for fun!

2. A few months ago I realized that I’ve been lucky enough to start traveling internationally more again, and I want to keep that up. Two years ago I went to Italy with my family. In 2012 I hopped a plane to Iceland with some of my best girlfriends for a quick little getaway. This year? I’m thinking I might need to travel Paris for my birthday. Or anywhere, for that matter. I’m going to start saving my pennies for October.

3. And speaking of saving pennies… time to start doing that again. This was the first year in a very very long time where I felt like I was finally making money again, and it was wonderful to be able to indulge a bit in some new wardrobe pieces, decorating my apartment, and (quite honestly) investing a lot of it back into the blog. But I’ve also realized that in order to get where I want to, I need to reign in the frivolous spending a bit this year and make more focused financial goals and decisions. I know that in the long run it will grant me more freedoms if I do.

4. In 2012 I invested in my mental health as well as my physical, making time off a priority and starting workouts with a personal trainer. This year I want to create better diet habits. When I’m traveling, it’s always hard to turn down indulgent meals and one too many drinks, but it’s time I exercised a little self restraint. And when I’m home? Time to stay in and try new recipes! No more nights of sustaining myself on cheese and champagne. (Well… maybe every once in a while…)

5. Every year there are those resolutions that fail. This year for me it was to hire an assistant – there were a number of factors that contributed to this not happening, but I do hope that by spring I can hire some part-time help! I’m also including contributors and content into this promise. Time to shake things up and get fresh again! Excited about that one!

6. This one is going to be hard to put into words because I could really dedicate a whole post to it, but let’s give it a try. One quality that I’ve begun to value more and more in my relationships is the ability to take (and make) an invested interest in others. The friendships I cherish the most in my life are the ones where the person is thoughtful, a good listener, the type who follows up when they know you had a big meeting or an important decision to make. They are giving of themselves, and they don’t ask for much in return. They’re the first to congratulate you, to have your back, to sing your praises to others, and lend thoughtful honest advice. These are the type of people I want more of in my life, and the type of person I want to be more for others. So I suppose another part of this resolution is to start cutting out the ones whose ‘friendships’ aren’t exactly living in that genuine space.

7. Can I make finding a decent man to date a resolution? If so, we’ll put that one under lucky #7.

8. I realize that many of my goals are more business-related, but there is one last one that I really want to make sure I write down this year and that’s to consistently bring more original content to the blog. The key word there being consistent! I’ve realized that what really gets me out of bed these days is styling shoots and putting together new editorial ideas. I love being in the Creative Director type of role more than anything! It’s a challenge because creating content comes at a price, but it’s an investment that I really want to make. Oh, and we’ll add more original writing to that one too!

9. I think that at least one resolution should always be something that scares you a bit, or something you know you won’t do anything about unless you make it a promise. This is mine – to give back to my community in a positive, productive way. This is another one I could do an entire post on (and have dedicated some time to in the past), but when you’re writing every day about materialistic (albeit beautiful) things, life can lose a bit of perspective. I want to find ways to take myself out of that and do something more selfless or meaningful when I can, however I can.

10. This last promise is a continuation of a topic I wrote about a while back , and I think it will always be a resolution for me from now on, and that’s to continue educating myself on new things. A bit general, I know, but I don’t want it to just be one thing. I’m going to make a quarterly goal to take some kind of class (first up, photography!) and make a weekly goal to set aside time to read up on topics that I really want to have a deeper knowledge of – everything from politics and social media to wine and music.

Do any of these ring true for you too? I’m always curious to know if there is a common thread in resolutions, especially since I feel like this year I’ve handed myself a lot more of the ones that aren’t just things you can cross off a list, but new habits to be made and a better person to become.

*first image la perla // quote by rainer maria rilke // background via confetti system //

30 responses on “NEW YEAR’S WORDS + WISHES

  1. Katie

    Create was my word last year, great choice! I chose build for this year. Build on what I created from last year. I absolutely love your #6- it’s on my list too. I find the older I get the harder it is to find good, genuine friends.

    Cheers to 2013!

    1. Cassandra LaValle Post author

      funny enough… if i look back on 2012 i’d say my word might have been build… building a platform for which to launch new ideas and creations. interesting how it works both ways, huh!? cheers right back at you!!

  2. jessica

    Great post!!! I can definitely relate to many of those resolutions. I like the word choices for the years. It’s a good thing to go back to when you feel like you may be straying from what you want to be doing.

  3. Shelley@RefreshInteriors

    Picking a word for the year is SUCH a great idea, I was thinking similar thoughts like you for the year…new promises to myself. My word also came instantaneously to me…perspective. This was definitely an inspiring post Cassandra…I hope we meet one day, you’re a lovely human being if I may say so and I will be sure to stop by here more often!

  4. BrookeJ

    Love number 10–I want to learn new things (and I love the idea of doing something quarterly as oppossed to monthly)! Great post.

  5. Donna

    Fabulous blog – and I really love that word code for the year too!! My word would be ‘inspire’ – within me, around me and globally.

    Great reading your blog, I look forward to it each time I see the post xx

  6. caroline lee

    i really love this, cassandra — especially your focus on the joy that comes when we create. i’ve been noticing so many people lately, who are focusing on their ‘pursuit of happiness’, and yet they don’t REALLY know what happiness will look like when they find it, or when it is ok to stop. in reality, i’m realizing that happiness isn’t a destination, but instead, it’s a journey and an experience — and i see happiness in people most often when they are creating. anyway, i just love this.

    meeting + working with you in 2012 was such a joy, and we just love you and who you are. it’s worth mentioning, too, that whenever/wherever your name comes up, others only have nice things to say about you. that is somewhat rare these days, i think.. so know that you are loved and appreciated far + wide for being someone that values others, values their happiness + creativity, + is a genuine friend. much respect, lovely! xo

    1. Cassandra LaValle Post author

      sweet caroline, you made me tear up!! thank you thank you for your kind words, and also for contributing to one of my very favorite memories of this year. if it weren’t for you and jayden, i wouldn’t have such lovely images to cheer me up on bad days and conjure up such feelings of gratitude. i feel blessed to have met you both and spend a bit of time with you this year! i hope it won’t be the last. xo


    I couldn’t believe when I read this because I have personally chosen a word instead of a resolution for a few years now, and hadn’t heard of anyone else who did that!! Sometimes I don’t even happen upon my word until mid-year, but each word is truly a great summation of each year. Two years ago I chose balance, and last year it was consistency. I hadn’t thought about this year’s word, so I’m happy I read your post today so I can start figuring that out. Happy 2013!
    xx Liz

  8. MDZags

    While I rarely post comments on blogs this very open, honest and reflective piece has me tapping on the keys. My list of resolutions, goals and inspirations is very similar. Well, maybe not the assistant but there is always 2014. 🙂 Because my list is expansive, detailed and required a significant amount of soul searching I decided to start a journal to capture 2013 and how I tackle all of these goals. After all, I’m a human. These will evolve as I embrace life, new goals emerge and some prove to be more daunting than my plate can handle.

    I have divided the journal into different sections with “Prompts” The resolutions. My personal mission statement (A work in progress), “That Girl” The woman I want to be, the men of 2013 (This year I may only date new men. No old acquaintances. No flames that have fizzled. Nada. NEW NEW NEW.) a reading list, drink of the month (Move past the vodka soda) and a to-do list (as goals, adventures, projects emerge.) That is just to name a few.

    Also, on the last page I wrote a letter to myself. About who I am today, why I have set these goals and the vision I have for myself.

    Thank you for having this blog. Its a very brave and public journal as you evolve this year.

    Best of luck creating. I will enjoy watching.


    1. Cassandra LaValle Post author

      Oh, how I love this idea. Please keep me posted on how it goes!! So thoughtful and organized. And, wow do I hear you on the dating new men. Perhaps I should add a section to resolution #7… hugs and happy wishes for the new year! Thank you so much for sharing your resolutions and your little journal concept with us! It’s fantastic. xo

  9. Shamila

    Cassandra – these are very well crafted intentions. Mine are uncannily similar, thus I truly enjoyed reading your articulated plans for 2013. I look forward to seeing you and possibly working together on something fun and sparkly! Here is to another splendid year of success, better business practices, and creativity while spending time with those lovelies who better us and make our worlds genuinely wonderful!

      1. Shamila

        Cassandra, I am seeing this response right now, 17 days later! Oh, yikes! It is an important priority on my list as well. While the year is young and fresh, let’s meet to talk soon, so on board! xoxS

  10. Lisa

    Great post. My word would be a year of GOODNESS. A quality I love in other people and strive for in myself and my children but want this to be the theme of the year. Here is to 2013!

  11. Linda - New England Fine Living

    Wonderful post! I completely understand what you mentioned about last year. Things really started coming my way, but I personally had too many of my own things going on to open my arms to all of the opportunities. I moved our of my comfort zone (lived in the same area for 47 years), bought a new house with my guy, and we blended our families. It has been a wonderful challenge, but this year is my year! We have set down new roots, all of the first time “new” traditions of holiday changes are over, and I know how to find the local shopping areas! I have been rebranding my business and very excited about 2013.


  12. Tobi

    My word is Inspired as in Inspired Design, Inspired Business, Inspired Life! And I even wrote a blog post about it today, too. Great minds think alike.

    Thanks for inspiring me so often, Cassandra. Looking forward to spending more time with you in 2013.

    xoxo, Tobi

  13. Patti

    I love the word for the year. I started a 365 project yesterday. 365 things to think, believe and do. The first day was to choose a word. The word I chose was “flow”. I want my 2013 to flow. smooth sailing and lots of creating. much love, Patti

    1. maureen stevens

      Amazing resolutions Cassandra! I for one have been inspired by you and what you have brought us in 2012. I can’t wait what you have in store for us in 2013. Cheers to FOCUS + CREATIVITY, saving pennies and your birthday in Paris!

  14. Katie

    Happy New Year Cassandra! I may just have to print out your resolutions for myself (with a couple tweaks here and there). I couldn’t agree more about your #6. My hubby and I were just talking about this last night. So true!

    Thanks for all the fantastic contacts you have so graciously given me this year!

    Cheers to 2013! I’m looking forward to seeing what you “create”!!

    xo, Katie

  15. tiffany

    As I was reading your word for this year {create… it’s the word I chose this year as well!} and resolutions, I seriously felt like I was reading my resolutions for this year lol! I love your blog and look forward to seeing what you will create in 2013. Cheers to an amazing year!

  16. Julie

    This was perfectly written. I love the idea of choosing a word for the year, just love it! All the best to you in 2013… it’s going to be a goodie I think!


  17. cecilia

    I love your heartfelt posts. You can really feel your honesty and thoughtfulness. I agree, 2012 was a breakthrough year for me professionally and creatively, and hopefully will only get better. Your #6 cutting out “friendships” that don’t fit in that genuine space that you classify the other cherished friendships/relationships you have – and investing time in those that you truly care about. This I did a few years ago. When you accomplish #6 and continue to focus on you and what makes you happy, I promise you that #7 will come. When you least expect it to, and when you’re not looking for that person. Trust me on that one. You are inspiring to me! I can’t wait to see the original content you continue to bring on!

  18. Yvette

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now and I have to say it just keeps getting better and better. I love your thoughts on the new year and I love the word Create. I so relate to this. I live so much in my head… this year I had resolved to Do more. Just DO. Not just think about working out more but Doing it. Not think about getting out more and dating just Doing. I suppose Do or Doing is my word. 😉
    Thanks for sharing.
    Keep up the good work and here’s to a productive, happy, stylish and FUN 2013!

  19. Helen

    Hey Cassandra, I’m a very new follower of you blog having stumbled across it around the new year and instantly fell in love! Love the aesthetic and columns you and the contributors create and also loving the Internet for continuously stumbling across awesome sites!
    Just wanted to wish you good luck with your goals, I myself am also trying to continuously learn more and more – the hard thing is that there’s just so much out there that I’m interested in and can learn, so this year it’s all about becoming a better geek and by the end of the year I should have built my own app!
    I have various other goals that I also blogged about – it’s about the accountability of it isn’t it? – but I won’t bore you with such details, apart from the shared resolutions with creating more regular and new columns and just being more successful and awesome in all major facets in life. So good luck and looking forward to reading more posts this year from coco+kelley! x Helen

  20. emily

    Just reading this (apparently “stop procrastinating” was not on my list of resolutions this year…) and wanted to say bravo for making your list official and intentional and thoughtful. Also…from a purely personal perspective, I loved working with you this year on one of our most fun collaborations to date. You are truly a Leading Lady. Thanks for pushing us to create something wonderful and for being part of our year at Elva…cheers to a happy, healthy, and CREATIVE 2013, gal!


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Cassandra LaValle

Cassandra LaValle is the founder and editor-in-chief of coco+kelley where she explores trends in fashion, decor and entertaining, highlighting pieces that exude classic design and glamour. As a designer, she consults clients across the globe on styling their homes and private events from her offices in Seattle.

tags:   /   comments: 30