The start of a new year is the moment when I reflect on the 12 months that have just passed (oh, so quickly!), and I like to identify the best things that happened to me over the past year. I believe firmly that my life is driven by each and every decision I make, every day. I rely on my intuition to make decisions and I try to analyse the outcome, be it positive or not. Understanding helps me hone my intuition skills, which helps me take better decisions. And so on.
Of course, I make mistakes, and of course, I take bad decisions sometimes. Some areas in my life have always given me a hard time (like budgeting, ahem!), but I try to keep working on them to get better. Because life is usually good at throwing curve balls, I never stop learning and can always count on being surprised.
In 2011, there were several things I’m especially thankful for:
- The inspiring people I’ve met online over the past year: I feel as though my circle of friends has grown exponentially;
- My friends, here in Quebec City and abroad, and my family, which is always behind every decision I make;
- E, who has been in my life for close to 10 years now. He’s the most patient, generous and supportive person I know. He’s the best person I could ever wish to have as a life partner, and I cherish every day I spend with him;
- The continued growth of my blog and the fact that my passion for maintaining it hasn’t faded one bit;
- The many places I was lucky enough to visit in 2011 (New York – twice, the Bahamas, Amsterdam, Toronto, Rhode Island, Cape Cod, Nantucket, Austin and J–A–P–A–N!). Every time I come back from a trip, I feel enriched;
- All of the great food I enjoyed over the year, the new dishes I felt inspired to try, and the new techniques I learned.
Professionally, I feel very lucky to be a freelancer. I’m so happy working from home, and this is also what allows me to play around with my schedule and cook or write blog posts during the day (not sure I would’ve kept up with the blog if I had to update it only on nights and weekends!). Last January, I wrote a six-page year plan detailing personal and professional objectives, and reading it again now I realize that I’ve accomplished many of these goals, but I also still have a lot to do. I will update this plan in the next few days – setting the bar higher every year is a great motivation to work hard!
Every year, I send a little thank-you present to my clients to show that I appreciate working with them. After all, they contribute to my happiness by allowing me to work from home. Last year, I offered a colorful box of macarons. This year, I kept with the sweet theme and sent caramels, biscotti and madeleines. I’ve had good feedback, so I think my goal of showing that I’m thankful and that I care has been reached.
Like I did last year, I thought I would share a few pictures of my thank-you craft project. Perhaps it’ll inspire you to hand-make some of your own gifts this year?
An Edible Thank You Gift
1. After baking the sweets I decided to include in my thank you gift, I designed and printed labels to identify each package.
2. Cutting each round label using scissors was a bit of a pain! But I was happy that the result still looked good.
3. Then, I designed a holiday card, composed a heartfelt thank you message, printed the cards and signed each by hand.
4. As a finishing touch, I also printed stickers, which I also had to cut out myself (did I mention it was a pain?)
5. Wrapping time! I made sure to wrap each sweet individually so they would keep better. I used clear bags (such as these).
6. I used a different ribbon for each sweet for a colorful touch.
7. All set and ready to wrap for shipment! My “corporate color” is fushia, so I chose fushia tissue paper to wrap the sweets, and I added a layer of bubble wrap to protect the package’s contents.
8. I used a silver ribbon to hold everything together and slid a bookmark-sized business card to make sure my clients knew right away who sent them the sweets :)
9. I wrapped the boxes in a cute polka dot wrapping paper, and printed custom-designed shipping labels on full-sheet sticker sheets (such as these). Because the sweets I chose to make weren’t fragile or too perishable, I was able to inexpensively ship the boxes via regular post.
10. A few days later, thankful emails started coming in, confirming that my sweet gifts hit the spot. Until next year!
Cheers to a healthy, happy, successful, delicious and fulfilling 2012!