It's My Birthday!

photo by Sleepy Fox Photography

Today I am 24 years old. I had planned on compiling a list of things rising to the top of my birthday wishlist but as it turns out, that's not the way I wish to start this year. Instead I'd like to take advantage of that special wisdom that comes along with aging and reflect on what has turned out to be the best year of my life thus far.

engaged // Twenty-three will always be the age that I got engaged to the most incredible man I've ever known. Mr. Jackson and I have been together for (almost) seven years, three continents, two states, five apartments and one perfect little girl. We had always talked about getting married but as a young couple it seemed a little far-off. As we got pregnant with Lorelai, graduated college, searched for careers and relocated our lives to Alabama it felt like one life-changing experience at a time was all we could handle. Getting engaged was pushed down on the list of priorities. What is one more year of dating when you're already sure you'll be in each others lives forever anyway? On a crisp Fall Sunday the sweetest man got down on one knee and asked me to be his best friend for the rest of our lives. I can't tell you what a difference it makes to call him my fiance and I am counting down the days until I am Mrs. Jackson.

p.s. Are you interested in hearing the whole sweet engagement story? I could possibly be persuaded to share in a future blog post.

soul-mates // I was never a girl who had a huge group of friends. I wasn't particularly popular in high school and as an adult I have often sought refuge in my own company, finding it easier and more fulfilling that taking part in the search for close girlfriends. This year, however, I connected with my friend soul-mates and I am so grateful to those wonderful ladies for showing me belonging and for being my biggest supporters. I feel so lucky to have Aissa & Ginny in my world! As we move forward with an exciting project (more on that soon) I am realizing that a close-knit group of friends is one of the things in life you just can't go without.

parenting // Lately I've been feeling like I'm finally finding my stride with Lorelai. Who knows what's in the cards for our future but for now I am relishing in Lorelai's only-child status and we are having a blast discovering the world around her. I have been blessed with the most amazing, understanding, compassionate, enigmatic, curious & easy three year old on the planet. She truly is my best friend and as I continue to learn about her and about myself as a parent I'm confident enough to say that I am becoming the mother I always dreamed of being. I don't always turn this platform into a space for sharing mommy stories and woes but rest assured that I am very aware that Lorelai Cody is the most incredible thing in my life. She is my proudest achievement and my favorite challenge.

growth // At the beginning of 23 I resolved to say yes to every opportunity that came my way and I set my sights on turning Chelsea & The City into something I could really take pride in. I vowed to work on new projects and increase this outlet's quality and in turn was able to collaborate with a few of my favorite companies. I am so lucky to be right in the middle of the most exciting creative journey of my life and even though I'm not sure which direction Chelsea & The City will take as I enter another year, I am excited to expand (the studio opening is getting closer and closer!) and shift gears.

Apart from all of the amazing things that have happened to me, equally great things are happening within me. I am in such a happy and fulfilled place right now and twenty-three could not have been any better. I am enjoying a relaxed birthday today (after a week battling a nasty cold) filled to the brim with friends (Ginny, Aissa and I are meeting for lunch) and family and if I'm feeling up to it, ice skating in the park is on the evening agenda. Thank you so much for continuing to follow me on this adventure of life. This corner of the internet has been such a safe-haven and I can't imagine celebrating without you!