looking back before i look forward

Around this time every year, before I start planning and goaling up 2016, I find it really helpful to reflect on the last year.  I look at the accomplishments.  The people, places, and projects that made the year anything but ordinary. I try to learn from the mistakes and struggles so I can be stronger and better the next time around the sun.

Looking back on 2015, the best moments were ones where I felt in Awe.  Like being in the presence of beautiful architecture.  A pop of dramatic color.  Being inspired by plants, animals, and nature.  Going above and beyond what I thought was possible of myself.  All of these moments are what pushes me to my full potential.

2015bestnine - nataliyaborener instagram

Last year, my mantra for the year was to simplify.  Did I succeed? In some ways, I can definitely say I did.  But I have a long way to go.  I’m a complex person, so simplifying doesn’t come as an easy task. I’ve realized this goal is a lifelong one – cherishing what you have, refining what you want, and focusing on what you need.

My biggest career accomplishment was completing my NCIDQ certification.  After a conquering one final 4 month study binge and 8 hours of testing, I now can be a registered or licensed Interior Designer.  It was something I put on my career bucket list nearly 10 years ago, and it feels so good to cross it off.

Despite all of the awesomeness, 2015 wasn’t my favorite year.  I’m extremely blessed in so many aspects of this life, so it’s no big deal, just there were a lot of personal trials I’ve had to face. Relearning who you are and what you want is not easy.  Especially when you are so sure of yourself practically your whole child and adult life.  It’s like you wake up one day and everything is no longer black or white.  There’s a whole lot of grey.  Way over 50 shades.  More like 500.  (Any designer will agree!) And it’s hard to navigate your way. But the best advice I can give anybody is to stay true to yourself.  The rest will work itself out.

How was your 2015?  Great or just meh?  What was your self-discovery or favorite moment of the year?







2013 report card

Happy New Year!  I hope your holidays were filled with joy, delicious treats, and treasured family & friends!  🙂

Every January to me is new beginning – a time to reflect and plan.   I first like to look back on the previous year’s accomplishments and shortcomings before making my goals for the next year.   So remember that little goal list I posted last year around this time?  Well time to pull it out of the wood works and see how I actually did…


Listen To Myself For Once    PASS

I left a job I was not happy at, and that alone would tell me I succeeded in this aspiration.  I also took a job that is more entrepreneurial and out of the box, which by the way, I’m LOVING.   I’ve realized over the last year that deep down only I know whats best for me, no one else.  And that voice is one I have to listen to.  It’s kinda funny how you can know something your whole life and still have to relearn to apply it.

what's good for your soul


Be More Spiritual   FAIL

I could be doing a lot better at this one.  I think I’ve improved  my stress level but there’s still a lot of progress to be made in terms of how I spend my time.


Own my Own Piece of Earth     PASS

We did buy a home earlier this year, and it is everything I thought it could be and a whole lot more… of unexpected pop up work.  But that’s fine.  We locked in a great interest rate and we absolutely love our new neighborhood.  We are on the way to making our home uniquely ours.  It feels good only throwing 75% of our payment away instead of the full 100%.  🙂



Go to Europe    FAIL

Geesh,  let’s put this one on 2014’s list yet again.   We need to just up and do it!!  I’m not getting any younger here.


Run a 5K    FAIL

This really is not that hard of a goal…and yet I still haven’t accomplished it.  Crazy.  Well this will have to change!  Who else is with me on the Couch to 5k program?!


Live a Healthier Lifestyle    BEYOND FAIL

I would love to say I totally nailed this one….but not so much.  I still eat way too many cheeseburgers, slices of pizza, and sit around much more than I should.  And I’ve gained like 5lbs…. so yes, massive fail.  But I kind of am forced to change my ways this year (I’ll get into that more in my next post: 2014 goals and resolutions).



Develop & Maximize my Unique Talents    BARELY PASS

The fact that I have picked up a paint brush again, started journal-ing and writing, and also reading whole books (other than House Beautiful mag) has told me that I am going in the right direction.  Now it’s taking the knowledge I’ve acquired, the countless hours thinking and planning, and turning it into a reality!


So I’m 3 for 7.  Not bad.  How did you guys do last year?  What are you putting at the top of your list for 2014?

28 things I learned in 28 years

Saturday was my birthday.  I had a nice relaxing weekend thanks for asking, haha.   I’m 28.  Wooohooo.  Not so much.  I’m not exactly thrilled about getting closer to 30.

Why? Because practically my whole life I’ve thought 30 was “old”.  The pressure to have kids and be established in my career always sits in the back of my mind lately, and it seems like it grows the closer the big 3-0 approaches.  I decided to look at it another way though:  I wanted to see if I could take what I’ve learned in the last 28 years and put it into words and ideas.   And actually, doing this has helped me to realize what my priorities should be in life.  I hope it can help you too.   I really want to work on getting better at all of these this next year.  Prepare for some pretty deep stuff 🙂

1.You are stronger than you think.

2.Take time to get to know (& love) yourself.  There’s only one of you.  You are unique.  Love your best qualities and accept your worst.

3. Be spontaneous….

4. ….But don’t do something you will regret tomorrow.

5. Take way too many pictures.  It’s the best way to hold onto memories.

6. People can be mean. Others just suck. Love them anyway.

7.  Remember your roots.  Don’t forget where you came from, and those that have helped you along the way.

8.  Take your time and give it to others.  It is the best gift you can give.

9. Happiness is earned.

10. Put your heart into everything you do.

11. Keep it simple.  Often times we tend to overcomplicated things, which leads to worry and stress.  Don’t make mountains out of mole hills.

12. You have only a few true friends in life.  Embrace your special friendships.

13. Chocolate and shopping are valid forms of therapy.

14. Listen to your gut.  Deep down, we all know what’s best for us.

15. Life is way too short to settle.   Don’t waste your time on relationships/jobs/ friends that you know aren’t right for you.

16. Take breaks – and plenty of vacations.  Travel. See the world.

17. Never go to bed mad.

18.  Take opportunities as they come.  They, just as all things, will eventually slip away.

19.  Don’t force life.  Be patient and understanding.

20.  Worrying will literally get you nowhere.

21. Cherish the time you have with your parents – even though they may annoy the shit out of you.

22. The best things in life are free.

23.  Be silly and fun.

24. Find joy in the simple things in life – a good laugh, the puffy clouds in the sky, the crisp morning air.

25.  If you’re reading this right now on your laptop with Starbucks in one hand and iPhone in the other, you are luckier than a huge chunk of the world’s population. Thank God for your blessings.

26. Be honest and credible.  Always keep promises.  If you say you’re going to do something, do it.

27.  Dreams really do come true.

28.  Always have hope for tomorrow. Never give up!


Photo sources:  5 | 8 | 12 | 13 | 16 | 24