It’s December 31, Year End 2016 at Thyme for Cocktails. Here’s a mash-up of the highs and lows of the year, professional and personal, because it’s tough to separate the two.
This post has been composing itself in my mind for weeks, months really. The tone of those hypothetical drafts swing from one extreme to the other depending on my mood. And my moods vary drastically anymore! In fact, I just deleted most of this post so I can start over!
Here’s what we experienced in 2016 at Thyme for Cocktails!
January was a busy month full of packing for our upcoming move, Paul was searching for work and this gal was prepping for her first live TV appearance. I published my 5 Ingredient Orange Glazed Chicken Wings which was viewed almost 5,000 times and shared 1800 times. And Nick was started his first job! Oh, he’s 19 now and says I can finally use his real name here. lol
We celebrated Thyme for Cocktails 2nd year and magically one TV appearance in January led to 3 more over the next few months! The experience was terrifying, exhilarating, and somewhat lost under my feelings of insecurity. I was struggling to find my identity in a sea of bloggers, and everyone else seemed to have their stuff together!
But I was working with great companies and you guys gave me hope by viewing recipes like my Lemon Blueberry Muffins over 3,000 times in March 2016.
After months of searching for a job, Paul took the plunge and started his own contracting business at the end of March. A2D, the name is inspired by his attention to detail, was a risky move though. We were in the middle of a months-long court battle over his child support obligation and living from job to job.
Entrepreneurship isn’t for the light of heart so we tightened our belts, ate Steak Fajita Grilled Cheese and hoped for the best.
May had it’s own brand of crazy going on though. Sponsored work for the blog was steady and I had just signed on as a brand ambassador for Cost Plus World Market. They are one of my bucket list brands and I was over the moon creating these 3 Quick Pickling Recipes for the Discover blog!
Nick was graduating soon and my whole sense of motherhood slowly crumbled. Blogging about the kiddo became an emotional minefield. His chosen path was always enlisting in the Army, but it wasn’t until then that he decided to take the plunge into active duty. He signed his papers and we hoped for a fall ship date.
On top of it we were still dealing with a judge who put constant pressure on my husband to get a steady paying position. We’d been making Paul’s support payments within the legal timeframe for months, but the court kept pushing him to have an income stream they could automatically tap into. To keep the peace Paul started an hourly warehouse job, in addition to his contracting gigs, which satisfied the court. I guess not everyone understands the 1099 life!
I was a basket case for weeks, but despite the drama I was still cranking out content for you folks like my most popular post ever. This Dark Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal Smoothie from June has been viewed 20,947 to date! This is where I give a HUGE shout out to Collective Bias and the Social Fabric community. It would take me days to tell you folks how much opportunity I’ve experienced working with them!
We rolled into July and felt a little more stable. Nick was scheduled to ship out in August which gave us a few months to hang out before he left. Paul juggled his 4am-1pm schedule at the warehouse with A2D jobs. And I was stoked to host my first demo for World Market in our very own Chandler, AZ store. We promoted 4th of July mocktail ideas on Saturday July 2nd from 2-4pm.
I remember exactly because it was the last normal thing I remember doing in 2016.
48 hours later this was our reality. Paul and I were driving to a family BBQ on the 4th of July when a car ran a red light and made an illegal lefthand turn directly in our path. There was no way to avoid the impact or salvage the truck.
You can read more about our experience in my post Road to Recovery.
July was rough. I couldn’t lift my arms for more than a month. Didn’t sleep much because it was impossible to lie down. Friends and family pitched in to help with blog projects. Couldn’t laugh, cry, sneeze or cough for weeks and weeks without intense pain in my chest.
Paul was forced to suspend A2D since his Blazer was totaled in the accident. He replaced her with a new pickup, but between twice-weekly treatment and taking care of me there weren’t enough hours in the day.
So yeah, July was rough.
On a funner note I created my first GIF in July! It was a for these Fish Taco Mason Jar Salads and a real buck-up buttercup moment. People were helping us left and right since the accident, I needed to help myself too.
Business picked up in August and you folks showed the love with 12,00 views of my Chipotle Corn Chowder and 2,700 social shares!
Nick left for basic training on August 22nd and my heart cracked a little. We crammed a lot into those last few weeks together. Paul and I weren’t really sure what to do with each other once he left. Or the silence.
In a nut shell September was work, work, work and treatment. I started blogging about our empty nest and waited for Nick to call. It’s much easier being an Army mama when you’ve been though basic training yourself. I know they are smoking his ass, but I also know in his head he’s screaming, ‘my MAMA yells louder than that’
Also in September, SoFabFood published my 10th post with them, a Raspberry Gimlet inspired by Mad Men’s own Betty Draper.
We had so many reasons to celebrate in October! It was my 42nd birthday, the kid was rocking basic training and I was slowly healing.
We also enjoyed more financial success than in months. Which basically means there was enough money to pay all the bills without juggling things! And we won enough at the casino to pay for my birthday weekend. lol
This crazy hair color and my new undercut also made an appearance in October, right before my birthday celebration. You are going to see more than food on the blog in 2017, including my personal style journey.
As you can image we rolled into November feeling pretty good. We were slowly getting on our feet, our treatment was done after 16 long weeks, and we looked forward to the holidays.
But 2016 had other plans. Paul’s son moved out of state mid-month unexpectedly to live with family. It was an emotional choice, but the best one for his future.
Then 3 days before Thanksgiving our landlord dropped the biggest bomb of all, he was selling the house in February when our lease ended. On top of that Nick’s holiday leave was canceled last minute. It was one blow after another, and we reeled from it all.
Blogging was more than I could manage on top of outside work, so all my energy went into upcoming posts for SoFabFood and World Market.
Which brings us to the end of 2016. We have spent the last month soul searching what we want for our future. It’s time to cut our losses and start over. Starting January 1 we start downsizing, looking for a 1 bedroom apartment or even a weekly rental.
For every detail I have shared about our year, there are a thousand more still unspoken. Outside stressors have taken a toll on our family, but no more. We will no longer be reactionary, instead making a bold decision to start from scratch on our terms.
We sincerely hope you continue to support our journey by following along. Many holiday blessings from the Cargill Bustos family.
Loriann & Paul