HAPPY NEW YEAR! MY 2015 YEAR IN REVIEW.

Dayka Robinson 2016 New Year

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

2015 was probably my best year. (*except for 1984 when I got the Michael Jackson poster, doll and microphone for my 5th birthday but I digress*). 

Dayka Robinson, Jason, Kim,  Spelman Morehouse Homecomign 2015

DAyka Robinson, HGTV Spring House 2015 BTS

Dayka Robinson Atlanta Home Summer launch party 2015

Dayka Robinson, Spelhouse Homecoming 2015

Dayka Robinson styling, Columus Ohio, Big Lots, 2015

Dayka Iesia 36th birthday 2015

Dayka Robinson Designs 2015

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Dayka Robinson, magazine shoot, press, oct 2015

In January I proclaimed that my word for the year would be Intention but if I had to pick a theme, I'd say it was Expansion. My life really exploded last year. Personally & professionally, in ways I welcomed and ways that made me cringe, the entire year GREW me in the best ways possible. Many things (MANY things) didn't go according to plan and yet I feel really good about 2015 anyhow. And I can't articulate how good it feels to be able to say that. I've been in a sweet spot with my business for awhile and this was the year that saw me growing beyond my own comfort zones. Realizing that I want something beyond Interior Design and starting to allow myself to go after it. One of the biggest lessons I learned (and one I preach often) is--Pay Attention to How You Feel. I learned to really tune into how my body is feeling and let those feelings guide my next steps. If thinking about something gave me anxiety, headaches or made me feel uncomfortable, I tried my best to acknowledge te "elephant in the room" and steer clear....even when that meant I didn't know the next step. And I often didn't know the next step. But I started thinking a lot about things like ease and the path of least resistance and as much as possible, I tried to let that guide me when I didn't know what to do.  My 2015 was pressed down, shaken together and running over.  Here's a look back:

Dayka Robinson Stephanie Abrams Al Roker Wake Up With Al 2015

Dayka Robinson Designs Home Tour Southern Lady Southern Home magazine 2015-7

FIRST QUARTER:  In the most intimate & personal post I've ever penned I finally shared the story of my Vitiligo diagnosis with the world and received such kind & supportive feedback from everyone. So funny how I was so nervous about putting everything out there and now I'm like, "Oh, that? Oh yeah....". Growth is a beautiful thing.  Southern Home launched an incredible 8 page spread of my home and it was the first time I've really shared pics of where I lay my head in detail. You never really know if you're gonna love the articles when they come out but I've been really lucky--it was beautiful & working with everyone was a dream. I landed a coveted spot on Al Roker's national morning show, Wake Up With Al, with a live, in-studio interview with the man himself. Listen to me: Me. Live. Interviewed by Al Roker & Stephanie Abrams. National TV. Like, 3 days notice. Had me shaking a bit but I left the studio feeling like I knocked it out of the park. A major milestone checked off of my list. A cool, more personal feature on my journey went live on BlackEnterprise.com. Turned 36.

Dayka Robinson Designs Home  Black & White Office Makeover horizontal black trim

Dayka Robinson Designs Essence magazine-may-2015

SECOND QUARTER: Redesigned my home office & created a space I'm still obsessed with! Started renovating my 1985 bathroom. Ummm....an ESSENCE MAGAZINE feature--an unexpected dream come true! A beautiful & personal Atlanta Home feature. Changed the course of my life when I decided to turn down a work opportunity to travel to abroad on my own--wrote that I was going before I even purchased the ticket. Created & starred in videos for Astrobrights, Office Depot & Office Max.

Dayka Robinson, North River Lobster Company 2015 Dayka Robinson, New York Historical Society Museum 2015

Dayka Robinson Brookside Oak Sink Kohler Brass Butcher Block

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THIRD QUARTER: Got the New York blood running back through my veins when I spent all of July in NYC. Worked on the Traditional Home showhouse in the Hamptons with BPF (see more of that on Instagram). Got a crazy stupid tooth infection on 4th of July. Saw Rob Bell in person! Hired by my first NYC client. Worked my butt off renovation a local clients' ever-expanding bathroom project. Changed the course of my life when I went to Istanbul. Came back to tons of work. Finally got my hands on a copy of my Black Enterprise feature--2 full pages, all Dayka. Hired an intern & learned a lot about being a boss.

Dayka Robinson, Colgate Palmolive, Family Dolla Fabulous Atlanta 2015 Dayka Robinson, Jenni Evora Family Dollar Fabulous Atlanta 2015

Dayka Robinson, Amtrak California Zephyr trip 2015

FOURTH QUARTER: Wrapped up client projects. Hired by Colgate Palmolive as Brand Ambassador for a very cool Family Dollar Fabulous event (Atlanta). Flew to Ohio to style TV commercials for Big Lots holiday spots. Was contacted about a super cool project shooting at my house with a major national magazine (goes live in 2016!). Decided to see America by Amtrak and booked myself on an extended vacation--one that was much more transformative than expected. Diligently working on a new website launch to expand my brand & diversify. TOOK THE TIME OFF THAT I EARNED!

So 2015 was full. And juicy. It gave me the courage to dream bigger & take more risks, which is the only way to create the life I most want. So that's what I'm gonna do. Step by step, bit by bit.

22 DAYS.

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22.

Alone that number doesn't mean much but in context, it represents a huge milestone in my life, because it's the amount of vacation days I took this year. 

Yup. Twenty. Two. Days. Of. Vacation. (shut up!!!!)

And I'm talking for real vacation, not that stay at home thing. That's basically a whole month of vacation, doing, living & moving as I want to. And it may not seem like a big deal to you but here's what it means to me: that the girl who graduated college not knowing what she wanted to do, bounced around from job to job, decided to follow a curiosity for which there really wasn't a path, built her own business while often feeling around in the dark, hit some personal speed bumps, and questioned whether she was doing the right thing but kept showing up--on her own terms--anyhow, can create a life where she gets 22 days of vacation in one year, then I'm pretty sure that you can do it too. I promise we're not that different.

So in the spirit of honesty, I looked back at my 2015 post written as my 2016 self and you'll see that I specifically said I was doing more traveling AND going on more vacations this year so it's not like I didn't claim it. But even then, I didn't really believe that it was possible likethis, for me. Sure everyone talks about taking "real vacations" and where they would go if they could but the reality is, we Americans tend to use our vacation days for things like handling important personal business, sick days or intermittent 3-day weekends. Not for taking care of self. As the year started progressing and Istanbul became a possibility, I said over & over that I wanted to spend more time traveling and once I did, it seemed like everywhere I looked I was being shown how possible it was. I started receiving newsletters with flight deals and following sites like Travel Noire that ramped up my desire. You've already read the story but my ticket to Istanbul? I found that deal in the wee hours of the morning after checking one of those sites on a whim. Next thing you know, I was across the world having the time of my life for a fraction of what it could've cost me with a group. BAM.

But let me not make this post about the deals.What I want to share (and celebrate) is this milestone of mine in the context of what it means to be an entrepreneur, self-employed, and to have the luxury of almost one month of vacation. There were times in these past 5 years when I didn't know how I would make it financially. When I wasn't sure what I was doing in my business. When my house seemed more like an albatross around my neck than my perfect refuge from the world. When I was all panicky like, "OMG, am I ever gonna go on vacation again??". And then all of the sudden I look up and here's 2015, dangling weeks of vacation in my face like "Heyyyyy girl, c'mon...". And you know what? These vacation days were actually work days for me (stay with me here). Not in the rolling-my-eyes-cause-I-don't-wanna-do-this kinda work but the who-I-am-and-what-I-do-are-so-in-alignment-that-work-is-my-life way. Traveling has given me content (substance). It's allowed me to not only connect with fellow travelers & people I met along my journey, but to connect with my tribe (that's YOU) in a deeper way. To expand my life and encourage you to expand yours, too. And that's really the work I want to be doing.

Pardon my brag moment but I'm pretty damn proud of this!! It's a reminder that when all of the ups & downs are weighed, I've had a better life taking a chance on me than I ever had as a 9-5 employee. There are new dreams on the horizon now + new fires burning and it helps to be reminded that I've already done so much more on my own than I ever did chained to a standard office job. And you know what else? The things I most desire are truly desiring me--just not in the way or time that I think they should. I wrote that post in January and effectively forgot about it after the first quarter. But that international vacation & those passport stamps I mentioned?They were hunting me down even in my "forgetfulness". 

So I think I've got the hang of this thing now.

Next year I'm claiming more than double which may sound crazy to you but....watch it happen.

22 days in 2015.I'm geeked.