Hoooooo boy, am I ever ready to say bye to 2019. Like, byeeeeeeeee Felicia.
Regular readers know that 2019 was a hell of a doozy of a year. We lived for six months without a bathroom, taking showers at the gym across the street and bathing our kids in the bathroom sink. We lived for nine months in a construction zone. Our upstairs neighbours jackhammered a hole in our goddamn ceiling.
I freelanced through my "maternity leave" with a fussy baby who was a nightmare to breastfeed and who undid any and all attempts at sleep training to the point that I threw in the towel and just operated on fumes. In general, I worked way too much and slept way too little.
Our big boy was sick CONSTANTLY for a while and went through a whiny phase that tested my patience to the absolute limit and taught me that I'm a much, much shoutier parent than I expected to be. I've been on the literal brink of falling apart more than a few times.
There's plenty that I haven't shared publicly, too. Like how tough this year has been on my marriage. In over 16 years together there have been five occasions where I thought, fuck this, I don't care about my stuff, I'm packing a bag and I am outta here. Two of those occasions have been in the last year.
Honestly, no one thing that happened in 2019 was that terrible, it was just that cumulatively it was a crazy trying year and we were just like, enough already. ENOUGH.
But! This is the last day. The end of 2019, and tomorrow is a new year. A new decade, even.
I've done a lot of reflecting lately, and one thing I realized is that for a lot of the last decade my identity, my free time, and even my goals have been wrapped up in being Paul's wife. When you're married to a goal-oriented high-performance athlete, it's easy to let your own stuff fade into the background as supporting them becomes a full-time job.
I can't tell you how many cities we've traveled to for marathons where I've worked with him to painstakingly map out my support route, gone out the day before to test the transit system and find my meeting spots. And then, on race day, been up early, stomach in knots, literally running from point to point so I can shove a bottle of electrolytes and a gel into his sweaty hand and then turn and run as fast as I can to the next spot, frantic that I might miss him.
All the extra shifts I've taken with the kids while he's gone out on 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 hour training sessions. All the vacations we've tailored to his training and racing schedule.
Don't get me wrong, I love that he's passionate about this stuff, and honestly, all that training he does keeps him the hell out of my hair - all that energy has to go somewhere, trust me, it's better this way.
But part way through 2019 I was like, wait a minute, where's my water bottle guy? I've also got a thing that I do that I'm passionate AF about. That I stay up late working on, that I think about all the time. And that's slowly but surely turning into a profitable little business.
So I made a decision: 2020 is the YEAR OF KATIE.
Eff yes! Shit is about to get real. This is when I start prioritizing myself, and the things that fill me up.
I've got TWO conferences on my agenda in 2020 which means I'll be flying over to the US By. My. Self. and congregating with my people to geek out on stuff like SEO and social media strategy, and I am freaking stoked about it.
I've got some courses and me time blocked into my calendar, which I hope will help me do a better job of prioritizing work-life balance than I did in 2019. And on that note, a bit of news: Just before Christmas I signed a contract for a full-time role with one of the companies I've been freelancing with.
I love freelancing and the flexibility that it affords me, and it has gone really well for me. But, I took a good look at my life and realized that for a number of reasons, stability is what I need right now. I have two small kids and a crazy hectic life, and I do not need to be worrying about where my next paycheque is going to come from.
In a crazy turn of events, I had another, potentially more exciting opportunity come my way at the exact same time as I was offered this contract, but once my head finished exploding I chose to sign with the agency that I already have a relationship with. I've known the guy who I will be reporting to directly for a long time and I know I like and can trust him.
Since I've already been freelancing there and they know me, they've waived the usual probation period, which means this role will be stable from the get go. And, I had them write a clear development plan for my role into the contract since the other role was slightly more senior to begin with.
The experience taught me how to really negotiate for myself, and what I'm worth. It also taught me to step back and look at the big picture, not to be romanced by what on paper looks like a more glamorous opportunity, but what's going to be the best for my life right now.
So, I'm excited for 2020. The year of Katie is going to be badass and I'm stoked to see how it's going to unfold.
I must say though, there were *some* good parts of 2019! This little old blog, which is like The Little Engine That Could, just kept chugging along.
All of the hard work I've been doing over the past 18 months finally started paying off, and I had record-breaking month after record-breaking month, right up through November. In September I cracked 100,000 page-views for the first time (FINALLY!) with steep increases to over 125K in October and 135K in November.
December is always my slowest month of the year (people aren't so excited about nutrition blogs in December, it would seem) but I'm still at about 110K at the time of writing. I'm REALLY hoping to crack 200K in the coming months, which is a real possibility with the increase in search volume for healthy recipes in January. Can she? Can she?
Let me take a moment, dear reader, to sincerely from the bottom of my heart thank you for being here. It's regular readers like you who come back week after week, who leave comments on my recipes, send me emails, and DM me on social media, that make this all worth while.
Thank you for pinning my recipes, sharing my posts, and telling your friends where they can find that delicious recipe. Thank you for sticking with me through this incredibly tough year, and I hope we can all find some joy in 2020.
Let's take a look at the top 10 posts of 2019, according to Google Analytics:
Best of 2019
1. Mung Bean and Coconut Curry
It should surprise no one that Mung Bean and Coconut Curry is the top recipe of 2019. This recipe actually accounts for about 30% of my traffic, which is both impressive and worrisome.
In Google search I'm ranking in position zero (that's right up at the top of the page) for "mung bean curry" and "mung bean recipes" and a few other things. I tip-toe around this page as carefully as I can as to not wake the sleeping giant and disturb the balance. If Google were to decide to shake things up and put someone else in that top place, it would be a painful fall from grace for me.
This recipe alone had nearly 200,000 visits in 2019, so if you haven't tried it yet, what are you waiting for?!
2. Black Bean and Quinoa Freezer Burritos
This recipe for Black Bean and Quinoa Freezer Burritos is another long-time fan favourite. It's not ranking quite as well as I'd like it to be, but now that I know much more about SEO, I'm going to be giving it some love in 2020 and hoping it gets a boost.
3. Chia Fresca
Weird, but true, this super simple and super hydrating recipe for Chia Fresca clocks in at the third most popular recipe of 2019.
4. Indonesian Black Rice Pudding
I gave this already popular recipe a makeover early in 2019, and it just took off! If you haven't tried making Indonesian Black Rice Pudding, I urge you to do so. It's a delicious breakfast, snack, or dessert.
5. Curried Cauliflower Chickpea Wraps
These simple, spicy, Curried Cauliflower Chickpea Wraps still hold the record as the recipe that got the most views on a single day, and that was back in 2015. Hoping we'll break that record in 2020!
6. Vegetarian Freezer Meals for New Moms
This recipe collection of Vegetarian Freezer Meals has been doing great all year. I'm planning to give it a makeover early in 2020, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
7. Turmeric Latte Mix
Such a simple recipe but so easy and so delicious, you'll never have to shell out for over-priced coffee shop turmeric lattes again! Just whip up a batch of this Turmeric Latte Mix, and you're good to go.
8. Is Popcorn Healthy?
This little old post just keeps on chugging! The people want to know, Is Popcorn Healthy?!
9. Amazing Vegan Gravy
Mmmmhmm. This stuff is legit. If you haven't tried Amazing Vegan Gravy yet, you're going to want to bookmark it for the summer when I share my vegetarian poutine recipe!
10. Homemade Pumpkin Purée
My how-to post on how to make your own Homemade Pumpkin Purée made it to page one on Google riiiiiiiight at the end of November. I'm confident she's going to crush it in 2020!
My favourite recipes of 2019
Just because these recipes didn't make it into the top 10 doesn't mean they don't deserve a little love. Here's a selection of my favourite recipes of 2019:
1. Mango Matcha Green Tea Smoothie
This Mango Matcha Green Tea Smoothie is *almost* too pretty to drink. Almost.
2. Tempeh Tacos
I love a good taco night, and these Tempeh Tacos are my current go-to recipe.
3. Chipotle Black Bean Burgers
4. Creamy One-Pot Pasta with Peas
This recipe for Creamy One-Pot Pasta with Peas has six ingredients and takes about 15 minutes to make. Anything you can pull off in the same time as an episode of Daniel Tiger is a total win for me.
5. Red Lentil Stew
I don't think I ever had so many comments on a new recipe so fast as when I posted this Red Lentil Stew. It's loaded with veggies and plant-based protein, and my kids (and many of your kids) absolutely love it.