2016 Year In Review

We all know 2016 was not the best year on record. Between Trump, Bowie, and Brexit, it hasn’t left me inspired. However, I still want to celebrate my personal accomplishments over the last 12 months and look ahead to 2017.

2016 in a Nutshell

  • Bought a new house!
  • Saw two of my amazing friends marry in Colorado Springs.
  • Visited over 14 different cities and two different countries.
  • Went back to New York and hung out with some amazing old friends.
  • Spent three weeks in Europe for a work exchange program. 
  • Took over 10,000 photos.
  • Had 6 photo shoots. 
  • Almost done paying off my student debt! 
  • I became an aunt and have a nephew on the way!
  • Took a Gehrken family vacation for the first time in years.
  • Became a docent at Fontenelle Forest’s Raptor Refuge.
  • Championed a $25K grant for FF Raptor Refuge through Yahoo.
  • Joined the planning board for both Meet the Pros and the YP Summit. 
  • Hosted my first family Christmas.
  • Visited a Cat Cafe in NYC.
  • Threw a killer halloween party.
  • Climbed a mountain in Howth Ireland. 
  • Went back to London (eight years later).
  • Took control of my diet so I don’t feel sick all the time.
  • Drank gin and tonic out of a can. 
  • Attended three professional conferences.
  • Celebrated my 13th year with Ryan (and first wedding anniversary).
  • Started a business plan for my side-hustle – Felius. 

2017 ‘Level 10 Life’ Goals

In 2016, I read ‘The Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod. In his book, Hal outlines small changes that can have a large impact on your life, including ways to assess and track your happiness in 10 key areas (called ‘Level 10 Life’). 


“If we’re measuring our levels of success/satisfaction in any area of our lives, we all want to be living our best lives at a ‘Level 10’ in each area. Creating your ‘Level 10 Life’ begins with creating an honest assessment of where you are.”

I decided to do this for 2017. Below are my ‘Level 10 Life’ goals. Excited to have an awesome plan in place for 2017!



  • Keep in touch! (Email, Phone, Text, Facebook)
  • Make plans with friends at least twice a month
  • Spend more time with Adelaide
  • Be as supportive as I can to my friends in need
  • Rekindle relationships with old friends/co-workers
  • Call my mom & dad once a week
  • Visit my mom at least twice


  • Be more conscious of how others perceive me
  • Read at least one new book every month
  • Listen to podcasts while I’m driving
  • Keep up with my Miracle Morning practice
  • Set personal goals at the beginning of every month & review them daily
  • Stop procrastinating
  • Commit to each project and finish it before starting a new one


  • Start and maintain a daily meditation practice
  • Maintain my daily bullet journal
  • Assess my state of mind nightly and re-align with my goals


  • Save 6 months of living expenses in an emergency fund
  • Create a budget and stick to it
  • Review all online subscriptions and opt out of non-necessary ones
  • Pay off my credit card debt
  • Pay off my student debt
  • Limit online spending to $100 per month
  • Pay off house in 8 years
  • Have $100,000 in savings in 10 years


  • Spend an hour every day on Felius
  • Complete Felius business plan
  • Find my dream role at Yahoo and go after it
  • Sell 10 prints on my Etsy store


  • Do something fun together once per week (re-instate our adventure calendar)
  • Vacation just the 2 of us once per year
  • Dream trip to Australia
  • Say ‘I love you’ every day
  • ‘Unplug’ together 1 hour every day (no phones, TV, or laptops)
  • Cook together once per week
  • Plan and celebrate our two year wedding anniversary – long weekend somewhere


  • Learn calligraphy & hand-lettering
  • Learn how to better identify birds
  • Keep expanding my photography skills
  • Take a photo every day


  • Volunteer twice a month at the Raptor Refuge
  • Volunteer three times at the food bank
  • Buy Christmas presents for a family in need
  • Help a friend in need, no questions asked
  • Finish Meet the Pros planning
  • Finish YP Summit Planning


  • Finish decorating our home, room-by-room
  • Create mudroom closet
  • Re-decorate my home office
  • Plant an herb garden
  • Develop and stick to a cleaning schedule
  • Landscape and take care of our outdoor plants
  • Maintain bird feeders
  • Re-vamp my wardrobe (capsule wardrobe?)


  • Do yoga 3x per week
  • Rejoin a gym and do cardio 3x per week
  • Cut back on alcohol
  • Reinstitute my fitness tracker
  • Keep a food journal
  • Cut out more acidic foods

Palm Springs

My husband and I just returned from Palm Springs and had the honor of witnessing my cousin marry her best friend. Below are some of my favorite shots of the trip. I apologize in advance for the overabundance of animal photos. Namely birds. You know how I roll.

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Fontenelle Forest

My husband and I spent the morning hiking around Fontenelle Forest. We ran into some deer and toured my friends at the Raptor Woodland Refuge! The forest was full of life this morning, but we were still able to hike along the river in solitude.










Welcome to the World Baby Adelaide

This month we had the pleasure of welcoming my lovely niece Adelaide into the world. After a short stint in the NICU, she was released and ready to be snuggled! Though I normally shoot newborns within the first 10 days of life, this little nugget is now almost three weeks old and about the cutest thing I have ever seen!

My life so far

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

-Ernest Hemingway

This year has brought with it a sense of change. My life in 2015 was a whirlwind of joy, challenges, and small wins. However, I want 2016 to be the year I really take control and pursue what makes me happy. I often find myself tired or anxious, and I want to break that cycle as I head into (what I hope to be) the best year of my life. Below is a list of my 2015 accomplishments and 2016 aspirations.

2015 in a Nutshell

  • Got married to my best friend.
  • Traveled to Italy and fed pigedons in St. Marks Square.
  • Held my first photography exhibit at a local show.
  • Built a brand new photography website.
  • Revamped my Etsy store and started selling prints again.
  • Got IAB certified in digital data solutions.
  • Had eight photography sessions (slow year).
  • Sold our house.
  • Joined Women in Tech of the Heartland and rebuilt their website.
  • Buried a childhood friend.
  • Hosted a disastrous Halloween bonfire.
  • Attended three professional conferences.
  • Volunteered at the Open Door Mission.
  • Witnessed one of my best friend’s marry the love of her life.
  • I turned 30.
  • Met Marissa Mayer for the second time.
  • Was reunited with old friends.
  • Completely paid off my car.
  • Dealt with the insane switch from Flash to HTML5 at work.
  • Was gifted a scary (and amazing) cat mask.
  • Changed my last name (almost completely).
  • Sprained my foot in Naples attempting to carry too much luggage.
  • Celebrated Nana’s 90th birthday.
  • Took about 10,000 baths.
  • Celebrated Yahoo’s 20th anniversary with a horrible cameo on the news…
  • Chopped off my hair.
  • Visited over 20 different cities and three different countries.
  • Took over 5,000 photos.
  • Drank at least 20 bottles of wine.

2016 Aspirations 

  • Buy a new house and host amazing dinner parties for family and friends.
  • Have my own photography exhibit.
  • Take more photos and hone my craft.
  • Cook more meals with my husband.
  • Stop watching so much TV and break my phone addiction.
  • Participate in at least two major art shows.
  • Volunteer with a non-profit animal organization.
  • Quit putting things off.
  • Join a planning board for an annual Omaha event.
  • Actually develop a fitness routine and track my progress.
  • Drink less alcohol and more water.
  • Hang out with my friends more.
  • Learn to control my anxiety.
  • Get out of the house on the weekends!
  • Complete a home improvement project that makes me happy (when we get a new home).
  • Pay off my remaining student debt.
  • Book at least 20 photoshoots.
  • Continue to travel, even though we are on a budget.
  • Read and write more.

I will continue to update my blog with my accomplishments, wins, and setbacks during 2016!

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