Wrapping Up 2018 and Moving Forward Into 2019

I don’t know about you, but this year has been a doozy for me.

Every year end, I write a blog about what I’ve accomplished over the last year. And then, I NEVER POST IT.  I still have these posts in drafts, but have never pushed “send.” Seriously, I’ve done this for years now but I always hate the result: a post that sounds super-braggy and completely unreadable. This year, I’m forcing myself to write such a blog and actually post it.

Because I really need to hear it. In 2018, I have felt woefully underproductive and uninspired. When I started reviewing the year, it just didn’t match up with how I was feeling. So, here it goes.

After being voted a 2018 Design Hound Top 10 Design Influencer by Modenus, I was invited to be a part of the 2018 Modenus Blog Tour to covered the trends at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in Orlando.

see my Kitchen & Bath Trends blogpost here

My Expert Psychological Stager™ (EPS™) certification course was officially granted accreditation by the Real Estate Staging Association® at the first of the year, one of only four companies in the world to be able to claim that! In 2018, I had the pleasure of personally training and certifying 49 home stagers. Our next course offering is March 14-16, and you can find out more about it here.

I had the honor of being voted one of the Most Influential People in Real Estate Staging by RESA®.

I also received an Industry Leadership award by the International Association of Home Staging Professionals®.

I won a Houzz award for Customer Satisfaction, was in Amara’s top 3 for Best Color Blog, and made the Feedspot list of Top 50 Interior Design Blogs. I served as a State President for RESA®, was actively involved in the Greater Nashville RESA® chapter, and project-managed our Meaningful Makeovers charity project.

my Mountain Mural tutorial here

While I cut back on staging and design work this year, I still managed to complete a long-distance beach house renovation and worked on 5 kitchen renovations, 8 bathroom renovations, and a couple dozen other residential projects.

beach house renovation here

I haven’t included anything else going on in regard to personal or family commitments.  Reading back over this myself, it actually seems like I’ve done a lot this year.

So why do I feel like I was so unproductive and unaccomplished this year? I really don’t know the answer, friends. When I get tired and burned out, resting or even taking a nice long break doesn’t make me feel any better. I suppose I’m face to face with the reality that an empty nest is looming in my near future and my age is really starting to show me who’s boss. I know this is not unique, but I suppose I’m having a hard time dealing with some of that.

I think that social media and staying on top of the design industry is draining me – making me feel as though I could be doing more, different, better.

Running my own business, making all the decisions, and figuring out what to do and what not to do is mentally and physically exhausting. I find myself longing for the few years when my “work” consisted of taking care of my babies and home (that could be the menopause talking), and even being wistful for the comfort of routine in the 9 to 5 world I used to know (that could be my memory slipping). I really need to figure out how to get in a better headspace.

My hope and prayer is that 2019 will be a year of renewed INSPIRATION, in both my personal and professional life.

I have at least two and possibly three business-related goals that I hope to hit in 2019.

The first is an update of my favorite product offering, the Paint Color Toolkit. The new colors are the most relevant paint colors for the interior of any home, regardless of existing finishes and styles. The kit I have been offering for the past few years include Benjamin Moore colors but, by popular demand, the new kit is in Sherwin-Williams colors. The kit contains the colors I recommend for 99% of home staging jobs and 80% of interior design jobs, with explicit instructions on the back of each Small Wall board explaining when and where to use each paint color in the set – it’s a color system in a box, really. The new kits are currently in production – I’ll let you know when they are available.

previous edition of the Paint Color Toolkit

The second is a new professional online course offering. You can’t imagine how many requests I get for help with exterior paint colors. It truly is an intimidating undertaking to choose exterior colors, fraught with fear and trepidation for many a designer or homeowner. I mean, you don’t want to get a $10,000 paint job wrong! And I just can’t help everyone individually, so this is something I believe will be hugely beneficial to so many people.

This is a time-intensive undertaking, and it’s going to be a course that is unlike anything else out there. Since I am having to devote so much time and energy to this particular project, I’ve decided not to take any new clients until this puppy is completed and ready to launch.

The third goal – I’ll keep that one to myself for now. I don’t like to overcommit and underdeliver!

As for other more personal goals, my main focus now is on deepening my faith and fostering deeper relationships with others – my hope is that both will carry me through this changing season of my life. I also am trying to invest more time and effort into taking care of both my physical and emotional health, because no one else is going to do that for me!

I really didn’t mean to turn this blogpost into a therapy session for myself, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels like I do, right??? I’d love to hear what you think. I am open to feedback, ideas, and certainly inspiration.

I want you to know that I am so grateful that you take the time to show up here on a regular basis. I wish I could invite you over to sit with me in my living room and share a cup of coffee and maybe some almond toffee. May you be abundantly blessed in 2019!


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60 thoughts on “Wrapping Up 2018 and Moving Forward Into 2019

  1. Jane Rickhoff says:

    Dearest Kristie, I feel your pain. I don’t even need to know the details. My best advice to take back some control in a time of seemingly uncontrollable changes-read “Delay Don’t Deny” by Gin Stephens. It will help you with everything! It may sound crazy at first, but trust me, you will reap unexpected rewards!
    In the meantime, I pray that God will lift you in self compassion, and renew you in all ways! You are so very talented and spread your knowledge with a generous spirit! Happy 2019! 😘

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Thank you for the book recommendation! I will definitely order that today – it’s not one I’ve heard about. I truly appreciate your prayer and your kind words, Jane! Blessings in the new year to you, dear.

  2. Susan Erwin says:

    As a business owner and designer, I can so relate to everything you’ve just shared! It’s exhausting making all the decisions, trying to keep up with social media, working with all the clients that need me😊, and in my case, keeping up a retail showroom! And I don’t have the luxury of cutting back on my design clients, they just walk right in the door, as long as my “open” sign is still on. But I can honestly say that I am still excited to go to work every day, and I absolutely love helping people make important lighting decisions about their home (I’m a lighting designer), especially when they tell me how much help I was to them during the process. You’re one of the few designers I follow, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your blog for the last few years! I believe 2019 is going to be amazing for us all and I pray that you are encouraged by your honest look back at your accomplishments! God bless!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Thank you so much, Susan. I’ve been thinking about what it is that makes me excited and most satisfied, and it’s definitely the relationships with clients – solving the dilemmas, coming up with new solutions, and seeing the project come together to completion. I suppose it’s the business/social media part that feels like a weight – the tasks that are never finished or complete. Delegating and letting go of some control to others is hard for me, and is probably what I need to work on the most in the coming year! Thank you for sharing your common struggle – I’d love to visit your lovely shop when I’m next in your area!!!

  3. Lynne Mosman says:

    This was by far the best “new year” blog I’ve read. Congratulations on your 2018 accomplishments and best wishes as you tackle your 2019 goals. In my opinion, you may just be in the best “headspace” you’ve ever been. Honest. True. Real. Intentional. Wish I could come over for that coffee and hear more.

  4. Maggie S says:

    Kristie, I’m glad you posted your end of year wrap-up….but I’m sorry you are struggling. I think generally this is a harder time for woman. Looking from the outside I think that you are in the middle of changing your business model and are stuck with one foot in each camp (and you are experiencing the same feelings with you personal life). Your original business model was one-on-one staging /decorating and then training. Now with the Paint Color Toolkit and the professional online course you are setting up a different kind of business, a more ‘open to the public internet business’. But you are still doing one-on-one staging and design. Another blog I follow (Miss Mustard Seed) took a week to go off by herself and think about where/ what she wanted to focus on in her business. Something like that might be helpful for you. I would also recommend scheduling some ‘self-care’ time each week /month. As for the personal feelings, I think it is a form of mourning the loss of your old life. I had a very hard time when my kids left home. My oldest had graduated from collage but was living in the same city (and came over every week) and when my youngest graduated from collage he moved away and then my oldest moved away a few months later. So in a few months I went from still being a ‘part-time mom’ to having everyone living very far away. I had to accept that I was no-longer a ‘hands-on mom’ and that was very hard. Be kind to yourself and seek support… there are brighter days ahead.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience and insight, Maggie. When it gets right down to it, I suppose I’m fearful that the best of this life is in the rear-view mirror. I don’t want to believe that, but that’s where my head is sitting right now. Thank you for the encouragement that brighter days are ahead – I need to put my trust in that! xoxo

  5. Regina S. says:

    Great to be aware of the struggles, because most women feel the same way (at least from a certain age and on). I’m actually hoping to take your 3 day course in 2019. That’s one of my goals for this year. So, here’s to all of us reaching our goals.

  6. Traci says:

    Kristie, I have followed your blog for several years and today’s blog post does not disappoint. Your transparency is a gift. I have no advice, but I will pray for you and your business that has been a design breathe of fresh air and an educator. Last month, I used your site to help a friend find a beautiful paint color for her living and dining room. She loves it! Thank you for your efforts. They are not in vain. Please take care of yourself.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Thank you so much for that encouragement, Traci! One of the difficulties of blogging for me is not knowing if what I am putting out there is helpful. I know it’s heard or read, but the proportion of feedback compared to actual readers is staggeringly tiny. It can make you feel like you are calling down an empty well sometimes. I’m so glad you found some inspiration for paint colors for your client and amy thankful you shared that with me today! Blessings to you in the new year, Traci.

      • Kate says:

        Every time your posts pop up on my Feedly I read it. Every singe one. I appreciate your knowledge, insight, and lovely writing style. And your design help is unquestionably useful! So thank you from a fan 🙂

  7. Gina says:

    I agree with Lynne. You may now be in the best “headspace”. It’s the non-competitive, honest, and vulnerable one. It’s digging deep and admitting what you’re feeling and giving yourself permission to feel it without hearing any judgment from others. As of July, my three children have gone through college and are now all living on their own. You can imagine what their apartments/homes look like! Haha! We can’t help ourselves. Rocked out like your daughter’s dorm room! From my experience, the feelings of uncertainty and our inability to know just what our momma roles will soon be, had my head reeling more than once. I’d cry for no reason, feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and often sad. I found that having honest and heartfelt talks with the kids, explaining that I was entering a new phase of life, just like they were, I needed help and reassurance from them that I’d be okay. I learned to shift my focus onto their excitement, not my “loss”. I knew my business would grow, I’d have time to travel and spend time with friends and family, I would ride more and compete in horse shows, etc., etc. My children were then happy for me and very encouraging. You will be alright, Kristie. I promise.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      I have no doubt that your kids’ places look fantastic! What great advice you share. I am always so reticent to let my daughters know or see when I am struggling emotionally. I am so proud of them and never want them to feel guilty for growing up and taking necessary steps towards independence. Being sad and mopey is such a turn-off in relationships, even with your children, so I tend to hide it as much as I’m able. Your suggestion of more honest and heartfelt talks is definitely food for thought. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience and encourage with me, it means a lot!

      • Gina says:

        Sure! I see you’ve gotten a lot of encouragement. We’re all in this together, right? I sure didn’t mean to come off like I was a, “please don’t leave me”’ kind of mom. Good Lord, no! Haha. Just a mom going through a transition sharing my feelings and simply needing an extra hug. The world is their oyster! It is pure joy to see them blossom into adulthood. There are often a few “questionable” choices they make along the way, but you’ve laid a good foundation for them, I’m sure.

        • Kristie Barnett says:

          Oh, I didn’t get the impression at all that you were a “please don’t leave me” kind of mom! I like your perspective that it’s ok to share our struggles with them in the same way that they share theirs with us. I needed to hear that! 🙂

  8. Michelle Walker says:

    Well as one of your tiny paint consultation projects this year, I can say I’m deeply grateful. Your time and expertise was invaluable to me as we moved across the country (for the 9th time). Working with you is like working with an old friend, but one that has way better design skills!! Continue to find the projects that bring you joy, and spend time with the people that make you laugh & encourage you. Having a couple of good friends praying for me has helped me. It’s OK to reach out & ask for help, support, & guidance. And then as my friend says chin up, buttercup. You got this. :o)

  9. Norma Fournier says:

    Transitions are damn hard! The ‘color enthusiast’ part of me (I’m an internal family systems therapist) loves your blog on all things decor! I’ve been a fan for many years. The therapist part of me loves your open and honest post that makes you accessible and human….just like the rest of us. I have grown children in their 30s and now I’m a hands on gramma! Enjoy the years where you can spend loving time with your’selves’! I have a daughter who stayed close by so I’m lucky there. But my son moved 2+ hours away to Chicago. I never even dreamed he’d ever move back to our small city. But 10 years later, he did! With his wife and baby (now they have two)! So you never know what lies around the corner. The phone can always ring!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Very interesting that you should mention internal family systems – just had a conversation last week with a friend who encouraged me to find an internal family systems therapist. Thanks for sharing your story – it makes me hopeful for grandchildren, for sure! I do miss babies . . .

  10. Sheri Bruneau says:

    Kristie, I think I know exactly how you feel. My kids are ‘one foot out the door’ as both have now graduated from post-secondary schooling. Running a business, trying to keep up with all the changes…it has me feeling overwhelmed at times. I applaud you for taking time away from clients to work on your project. That is something I will remember for me in the upcoming months!

    I truly enjoy reading your blog, was so happy to meet you in person last year at KBIS, and wish you all the success for 2019!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Thank you, Sheri – I know you truly know how challenging it is. I love the sharing that we are both a part of in social media groups, but there are definitely downsides. Comparison is the thief of joy, right? I hope we get to spend more time together in the future – I’d love to get to know you better! xo

  11. Dana Tucker says:

    Kristie, I’m so happy for all your accomplishments and thrilled that you are offering a new paint kit. I use your old one several times a week and have been wanting expanded colors. If you ever want to meet for lunch or coffee, I’m a good listener and encourager. Big hugs!!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      I’m glad the Paint Color Toolkit is helpful to your business! I wanted to let you know that the podcast you shared with me when I last saw you has been an encouragement to me. That knowledge fosters hope on things beyond what we can currently see, doesn’t it? Thank you!

  12. Emily says:

    All I can say is thank you for being honest. So many women go through this or some version of it: I have been surprised how common it is, even when everything seems to be perfect and happy on the outside. Good for you for being an example to others by sharing your story. You have great intuition and that will help you with your next step. In the meantime, rest assured that *you* are enough and be proud of your 2018 accomplishments. I always enjoy your posts.

  13. Gloria Staats says:

    Kristie, you have no idea of how proud I am to have met, trained and spent time with you! You are a true source of inspiration to me, not just professionally but personally. Having been around you,I can tell how caring and authentic you are, and that is what truly matters to me. I too, want to put my family and my personal growth first.
    Being an empty nester, when you have devoted your life to nurturing your family, is incredibly hard (no matter how many people go through it). I appreciate you opening your heart to us, it was brave and generous!
    Looking at your all well deserved 2018 accomplishments, I can see that they not only show what you have “done” in 2018, but how you have lived up until now. Congratulations my friend, you are pretty amazing and I am sure will continue to achieve amazing things!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      You are just the sweetest, Gloria. Thank you so much for sharing this encouragement with me! I think you are an amazing woman, and I’m so honored that you chose to train with me. It was so great spending time with you earlier in the year when you came to Nashville, and I wish the best for you in the coming year! xoxo

  14. Lisa W says:

    This post was so open and transparent – I loved it. It’s easy to look at someone with your success and think you must have it all – that you’re probably crazy busy but that other than that life must be sweet. It’s a reminder to all of us that those around us often have the same struggles we do!

    As the mom of two adults I can say I remember those transitions well, and they are very hard. I firmly believe that parenting young adults is the very hardest phase of parenting (I know you’re not there yet!). But once those years pass, the reward on the other side is incredible. My experience is that having mature, adult children is the most treasured and rewarding phase of parenting. Seeing them blossom, and forming a relationship with them where they can now appreciate and relate to you in a new and adult way is just incredible. So yes, the late teen to young adult part is SO hard, and you will mourn their pulling away from you. And I know you don’t want to hurry things along lol! But I promise that on the other side of the hard years to come is a rich, incredible relationship that you will appreciate and treasure like no other.

    I also want to say, as one of the clients who was lucky enough to get some of your time this year for an exterior consult, that for someone with so much on her mind, you are amazingly present when you help us. Your advice and counsel were invaluable, and you never make me feel as though your thoughts are anywhere except on the phone with me. My exterior continues to be a source of deep satisfaction and pleasure, and I think of you every time I pull in the driveway. I’m not sure you can fully know how much peace your work brings to people. Rest assured that what you do matters in a very real and human way. Thank you for all you give to us.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      You are so kind and thoughtful to write to me! You give me hope for this next phase of my family’s life. One of my daughters started college this year, but I still have a few more years with my second at home. I am so mindful of the limited time that I think it makes it even worse than if I was less aware of it . . . Thank you for how you described our consultations. When I am working with clients, I really want to be completely engaged in finding the best solutions for them. It’s a time when I am able to get out of my own head, really. Maybe because it’s easier to solve design and color problems than personal problems. Anyway, thank you again and I truly appreciate your encouraging words, Lisa!

  15. Cynthia Riegle says:

    Kristie- girl you are being WAY-too hard on yourself- yep this is a new season for most of us. You have touched so many people and helped us grow. Thank you for your knowledge and inspiration. Put some of this on God’s shoulders and rest a bit. Much love and support – Cynthia

  16. Kira says:

    I recognize that you, or others reading, may not be open to this. So please forgive me if this unwelcome or inappropriate.

    As I was reading this post, a number of things you’ve stated really jumped out at me. I’m not sure if you’ve explored this option, but Traditional Chinese Medicine (ie Acupuncture and it’s herbals) has a term and treatment for something called Kidney Yin Deficiency. From what I understand it’s ridiculously common in women going through menopause. However you can get it in other ways too. For me, a blow to a kidney caused it when I was 13. While it does really sound like you’re in a deeply transition phase personally and professionally. The Kidney Yin depletion kinda makes it difficult to transition or grow in the way you need because the fuel in your tank is either subparr or not there. I think a lot of people just chaulk the experience up to normal aging. Or something that happens to you when you get to be a certain age. While the aging transition of re-envisioning your direction is normal. Not having the resources to fuel it properly is the problem (ie “resting but not feeling better” is a very very obvious symptom of Yin deficiency along with a few other things you mentioned).

    I thought I’d mention it, since I’ve found a lot of people aren’t aware of this as a option. I wasn’t at least. I lived in this headspace for 20 years before I knew what was going on, without even remotely going through menopause. And man, it’s rough!

    Prayers to you on your journey.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with me! It’s not something that I’ve heard of before, and I will be sure to look into it. I have been so disappointed with how little information my personal doctors have provided when I’ve expressed the physical and emotional difficulties I’ve had in the last three years since menopause. Very frustrating. I appreciate your advice and prayers – may you be blessed in the new year!

  17. Mayda Medwig says:

    Dear Kristie,
    If I can offer a hint of help think of two words Sepia or Ignatia. Then go on to a blog by Joette Calabrese or Google her name with the word Sepia. These two are homeopathic remedies and these two have great success stories of women who have had same situations as yours and have helped them tremendously. Homeopathy has no side effects, no covering up symptoms, just intelligent and eloquent medicine as Joette says. Don’t take my word for it… check her out and learn about them. You can thank me afterwards. I wish you the best.

  18. Lindy Crain says:

    The empty nest stage is very scary and can be depressing as I went through this. But know on the other side they come back and it is better than before. They still need you and they will look up to you for taking care of yourself and being successful in business. I didn’t work all those years but now that I have gone back and been successful they are really proud!

  19. Maria says:

    Hi Kristie,

    Thank you for sharing your heart in this post. It takes courage to be vulnerable. But it also gives permission to others that feel or struggle the same to realize that they are not alone.
    I am also considered very successful in my interior design business and often I can’t understand where the day goes and how much really I have accomplished day by day. I tend to look around in social media and feel so intimidated by all these peeps that seem that they have figured it all out to perfection.
    I have a natural thirst for learning and I feel I am constantly in a learning place to absorb this and that, that will make me better and better. And here it comes, it never ends, and it is always something new that I need to get and go to, prior to become more!
    I guess it is the nature of our society? The technology ghost that creeps through everywhere we go? Have you seen lately in restaurants people holding their phones and 90% of people are texting or reading on their phone? (The rest are watching the big screen TV!)
    I think we need to bring more awareness as you well said in our inner world and make peace with ourselves. In my New Year resolution, and my only one is more self-love and self -care, as it is the foundation for all other success.
    So give yourself a hug and look yourself at the mirror and say: “WELL DONE!”
    Congratulations on your success and Happy New Year!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      You are very right about the technology – the constant barrage of and access to information is overwhelming. While we feel as though we never know enough, we often know too much! While I want to have relationships with other professionals and appreciate the sharing that now happens in the industry, there is only so much any one person or business can know or do, or even should know or do. Because my business strategies are more national than local now, it’s impossible to “turn off” social media – my livelihood is dependent on posting, promoting, and interacting there. As to the other thing you mentioned, it is a pet peeve of mine to spend time in the company of friends and family who are constantly texting other people or scrolling FB while we should be talking and connecting with one another. I am guilty of it, as well, and I’m trying to be more mindful to NOT do that. It makes us all feel unimportant, really. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and encouragement with me, Maria. Here’s hoping that we will both achieve more intrinsic success in 2019!

  20. patti mccaleb says:

    Although I can’t say I understand your empty nest feelings (my own child went through such a difficult teenage period that time and distance after high school was a solution, not a loss), I do know what it is like to wish for those early days of home and hearth and keeping tabs on a little person in the household as my own experience of early days was incredibly positive.

    I do think you are on the right track, you have identified the issues and are making steps to reconfigure what it is you want and need in your personal and professional life. My suggestion? Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Secondly, PRIORITIZE. Know that although you can accomplish everything, make sure that at the end of the day, you accomplished what made you the happiest. Even if all you did was put your feet up and read a good book! Don’t feel pressured, either from within or from the outside. Consider this: In five years, will what you did today make a difference? If so, then go for it! If not, give yourself permission to just say no. And remember, you are not alone and every changing chapter of your life leads to a new chapter full of new experiences and new beginnings!

  21. Jennifer Entingh says:

    Your transparency is one of your many admirable qualities. Struggling to stay inspired is something successful women rarely have the courage to talk about. It’s so refreshing to see you break that norm. I’ll pray that you find more inspiration in 2019. In the meantime, know that your talent, transparency and character are an inspiration to all of your students (including me) and your readers. May 2019 be your best year yet!

  22. Amy Dennison says:

    I appreciate your honesty and willingness to be vulnerable. I imagine you speak for many, many women out there, and I’m sure you’ve helped them just by telling your story. You have such integrity and you set a great example for me! I love your goals for 2019… and I’ll be there first to sign up for that exterior paint online class and new paint color toolbox! Many, many happy wishes for a re-energized 2019…I know you’ll do incredible things!

  23. Sheila Zeller says:

    Happy New Year Kristie! I love your honesty 🙂 2019 has started out from a reflective place and is moving forward with intention and purpose in making course corrections to lead to a simpler, healthier life. I’m calling this my lifestyle resolution rather than my New Year’s resolution, so we’ll see where it all goes 🙂 Here’s to you and an energizing, soul forward 2019!!

  24. Kristin Campbell says:

    I loved this post! Thank you for your honesty. I feel the same. I always feel like I could/should be doing more. I think as business owners (and probably women), we tend to be extra hard and demanding on ourselves. Wishing you all the best in 2019!

  25. Sarah Hepburn says:

    Kristie – I identify with your thoughts greatly. I, too, am finding things draining trying to keep on top of everything. It’s given me pause to step back and evaluate how I am working. Thank you for your honesty in sharing where your headspace is at – it’s helpful to know other’s feel the same way too!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      I’ve thought a lot about this since I wrote this post last week, Sarah. For me, I think I need to focus on what my personal priorities are (or should be). A part of truly focusing on those involves not paying attention to all the other noise. I’m going to build in more structure and routine to my days, even in regard to my downtime!

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