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  • Writer's pictureDianuh Aerin

2023 Yearly Recap

Welcome to my year in review!

This is where I like to go over my year month-by-month and reflect on what I've learned. I love doing this exercise because it gives me a chance to be thankful for what has happened as well as let go of what no longer serves me. Reflecting back on the time passed helps me to process and get closure before diving into the new year. Whether you've had a great year or a not so good one, I hope you take some time to reflect!

My word for this year was Abundance.

When I first came upon that word, I remember feeling a bit nervous. I was coming out of a very difficult last year and it was anything BUT abundant. I had a lot of resistance at first, but that word kept stirring in my heart so I decided to lean into it. Now that I'm reflecting back on the year, I'm recognizing so many moments of abundance in my life. First, the things that come to mind are the BIG things that happened this year. We bought our first rental property, I became a US citizen and got to travel to my home country after 25 years away. I had been working towards all of these goals for decades and it was incredible to see them all unfold this year! In addition to these big moments, I also began to see the abundance in my every day life that I didn't notice before. Things that we took for granted like health and fertility was taken away from us last year. While circumstances haven't changed, my outlook has completely shifted.

Instead of wishing for more, I began to see the abundance in what I have today.

It’s amazing what you will begin to notice when you shift your mindset from scarcity to abundance, from lack to gratitude. It has been a humbling year and I have grown so much as a person. Okay, now let’s dive in do a little recap, month by month:


We kicked off the year at one of our favorite places on earth, 30A! We had first visited this magical place 3 years ago and have dreamed of buying a property since. This time, we felt ready and started to look at properties. Out of the 8 options our realtor suggested, we fell in love with 2 and ultimately decided to put an offer on one. After a few back and forth, they accepted our offer!!! We officially begun have a short term rental property, which has been a long dream of ours and couldn’t be happier with the location of this home. I also went to Sundance Film Festival to do live art for Chase Sapphire, which was such a cool experience. We also took a quick road trip to Lexington, KY with friends and I fell in love with the charming, historic landscape.


We drove back down to 30A to sign all the paperwork and officially pick up the keys to our new beach house! There’s SO much we love about the house including it's layout, the cute neighborhood, and the fact that it’s so close to the beach! What we didn’t love was the decorations so we stayed for about 2 weeks to spruce and update. We added a fresh coat of paint, added in some new floors and switched out some light fixtures. It’s amazing what a big impact those small changes can have! I also went on my first business mastermind retreat and it was one of those experiences that I will never forget. With the help of 7 other brilliant ladies, I made some big changes to my business, which ended up yielding a big impact to the bottom line.


After the mastermind retreat, I dove right into work and made some changes. This meant closing down a new program I had started earlier this year. It’s a program that I’m still passionate about and would LOVE to execute, but the timing just wasn’t right. While it was a bummer, this gave me more time to focus on the needle-movers of my business. We updated our hiring and on boarding process and hired 3 new people. I also did my first live art event in Nashville at the iconic Noelle hotel for a baby clothing launch. It was so nice to have an event locally and it made me start thinking about what it would be like to start a Nashville chapter!


This month was extra notable because I got to travel to South Korea for the first time in 25 years. The last time I was there, I was 6 years old and it felt surreal to see my birthplace through the lens of an adult. My sister and I explored all throughout Seoul, ate the most delicious food and spent lots of quality time together. It was such a gift. On the last day of my trip, I ran into none other than Joanna Gaines! What are the chances of running into your hero halfway across the world?! It was truly the best week and I’m so glad I vlogged to capture the memories. The rest of the month was filled with celebrations for me & my son’s birthdays.


I received a letter that I have been waiting for for a very long time… I was called to take a US citizenship test, at last! I remember walking in and feeling so nervous, but the process was so smooth and easy. For the actual test, all they did was ask me 10 questions about US history and the government. If you get at least 6 questions right you pass, which I did! It was honestly so much easier than I thought and all I had to do was wait for my naturalization ceremony. After the test, Patrick and I went to a fancy brunch to celebrate. I also flew to California to do a few live art events and trained the new artists in our team.


June 2023 marked 2 years of trying to conceive. After 3 chemical pregnancies and over a year of infertility, we decided to get some help. We did our first round of IUI, which is an intrauterine insemination. It was completely painless and an easy procedure overall, but I did experience some side effects the day after the trigger shot. We drove down to 30A to rest and relax at the beach, which was so good for my mental health. Those 2 weeks of waiting is always hard, but it felt extra grueling after IUI. Unfortunately the first round didn't work so we did a second round the next cycle.


I had my US citizen oath ceremony, which was such a cool experience! I sat in the county clerk courthouse with about 50 other people from all over the world. Though each of us have different skin tones and stories of how we got there, there was a sense of unity and camaraderie. While we look different on the outside, we all understood the immigrant hardships, the language barriers and efforts it took to get to where we are at.  One by one, the judge called us to state our birth name and country of origin. When the last name was called, we all stood and took our oath together. It was an experience I will never forget! My family and friends threw me the sweetest citizenship party to celebrate afterwards.


The second IUI didn’t work so we decided to do another round. Spoiler alert* all 3 rounds didn’t work. Obviously, this was not the result we were hoping for and it was definitely a huge bummer. However, I have no regrets trying and am so thankful for the opportunity to process so much throughout the 3 rounds. While I would never wish this on anyone, infertility has truly taught me so much. It has taught me how to give up control, to surrender, to get up and try again. It has also given a greater sense of empathy, which I wouldn’t trade back. It has changed me as a person and for that, I am thankful.


September was a very busy month with 3 back to back trips. I flew into Bozeman, Montana to do live art for a wedding in Big Sky, which was beautiful. After the wedding, I visited Yellowstone National Park for the first time! After, I flew to CA for more work events. It was really fun to do live art for 3 dream brands: Proudly, Babylist and Anthropologie! I got to paint Gabrielle Union, Dwyane Wade and Tia Mowry, who was one of my first live art clients (fun fact!) For the Anthropologie event, I ran the collaging station and got to cut and glue beautiful clipart all day. It was a blast! We ended the month with a trip to 30A with my family. My parents, sister and brother in law joined us and it was so fun to spend quality time with everyone.


October is one of my favorite months. We participated in all the Fall activities like going to pumpkin patches, drinking hot apple cider, and baked all the Fall themed desserts. A big highlight from this month was going to Charleston, SC for the first time. I went with the ladies in my mastermind and it was such a special time. We explored downtown together, had late night chats in the hot tub and strategized over our respective businesses together. My favorite part of it all were our hot seats, where one person can ask questions and everyone pours into them. It is magic when minds come together, hence the name, mastermind. On a personal note, this month was an incredibly healing month where I was able to fully grieve over my infertility journey. While grieving is hard, it is necessary to heal.


For the first time in 6 years, I decided not to launch Holiday Portrait Cards. Making this decision gave me more space in my schedule to do other things like taking on commissioned work so that’s exactly what I did! I did a handful of custom paintings and it brought me so much joy to do them again. To my surprise, I also made more profit on these custom projects than I did on holiday cards last year. It definitely made me want to reevaluate my offerings and work smarter, not harder. We celebrated Thanksgiving early with our families, then drove down to 30A to spend the actual week of Thanksgiving at the beach with friends.


Lets just say my extrovert tank was overflowing because December was filled with festivities! This has been such a sweet month spending quality time with friends and family. Relationships have been the biggest blessing this year and I am truly grateful for the incredible community I have around me. For travel, I made a quick trip to CA for a work event (a fun masquerade!) and to host a holiday dinner with my team. It was so nice to connect with my team and spend quality time with my sister as well. We also returned to 30A with some friends and enjoyed all the holiday festivities down there, like Everett meeting Santa for the first time! We got home in time for Christmas, which was a sweet day filled with gifts, delicious food and family.

And that wraps up my year! 2023 was a great year for me personally and professionally. It truly was an abundant year and I am so thankful for these past 12 months.

If you made it this far, I hope you enjoyed these monthly breakdowns! It’s so easy to let another year pass by and forget all the big and small things that happened. My hope is that this blogpost inspires you to reflect on your year as well.

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