Wow. 2016 has been an interesting year for me both personally and professionally. I spent most of it in Beaumont, a small town in southeast Texas near the Louisiana border. It provided me with a bit of culture shock to say the least. I’ve lived mainly in Austin and Dallas where people are very health conscious, animal friendly and open minded, so being thrown into a southern town where most people are behind in these areas was quite an adjustment.
But I survived! …and in the process, learned a lot about myself and others.
I made my first recipe video back in March!
I can’t wait to make more videos for the blog! It’s a really fun process and seeing the finished product is super rewarding.
I wrote my first recipe e-book, or any e-book for that matter! I wanted to create something meaningful and effective for my new email subscribers, so I wrote 10 Naturally Low Fat, High Fiber Recipes to Recharge Your Health! It’s simple and straightforward, but I’m happy with it because the recipes and photographs came out great and everybody needs to nourish their bodies with plant based food that is naturally low fat and high in fiber, right?
I’m looking forward to creating more recipe books. It’s a lot of work, but it’s definitely a labor of love.
The sister blog that I contribute to, Girls on Food, gave me my own column this past year called Jillian’s Vegan Bites. I was pretty excited about that!
I haven’t been able to spend as much time as I want to creating and photographing recipes because my houses in Beaumont weren’t conducive to good lighting and photography sets, but I’m hoping that will change in 2017.
I also hope that I will be able to write travel posts outside of Texas. This past year I got to travel to lots of new places in my home state, which I enjoyed immensely, but I want 2017 to take me out of the lone star state!
I learned the majority of my Health & Beauty posts have a number in the title ? Not intentional, but I guess there’s a connection! I especially enjoyed these two H&B posts from 2016:
Finally, I want to work on building my email list, collaborating with other like minded bloggers/companies and maybe change up the website a little bit.
One thing that will stay the same is my dedication to writing stories that are important to me. Sometimes when I write a blog post about a certain topic, I wonder if anyone else will be interested in reading it – like my story The Quiet Consequences of Elephant Poaching. Most of my posts are pretty lighthearted, but this one was serious. However, it took a lot of care and learning on my part and it’s something that I’m passionate about, so I wrote it anyway ?
Here’s a few more of my favorite blog posts from this past year:
I only remember encountering one other vegan the entire 14 months I lived in Beaumont. I met a few vegetarians, and they were pretty rare too. There’s some open minded people there, mostly the younger generations, but usually when people found out I was vegan they would make insulting jokes or call me weird. When strangers do things like that I just tell them that I love being vegan and I leave it at that. Deep down of course it bothers me, but I’ve learned that it’s not worth it to get upset over a stranger’s ignorance.
In many ways I’ve become much more patient and forgive much easier, especially when I’m dealing with an uncontrollable puppy or someone that I love. But in other ways I’m still very impatient, so that’s something I need to work on. I’m also glad that I’m the kind of person that takes negative situations and turns it into something positive, instead of letting it slow me down. And apparently, most people I meet look at me and think I’m still college aged, so I guess I’ll take that as a compliment ?
My favorite memories are fostering Parker (pictured below), falling in love with someone that loves pit bulls as much as I do (!), graduating from an online summer workshop with the Jane Goodall Institute, working really hard on my blog & other writing projects and exploring new places.
The day after Thanksgiving I left Beaumont and came down to the Rio Grande Valley with a good friend. The valley, as locals call it, is in the southernmost tip of Texas and it’s basically Mexico ??
My friend convinced me to apply to the university down here, since I never finished school and have been wanting to go back. I got accepted and the first class I signed up for was a screenwriting workshop with a professor that wrote for the original Star Trek series. Should be interesting!
I want to eat healthier. Seriously. Being a gluten free vegan that doesn’t eat fast food is a good start, but I feel like my body needs more. I was inspired to write my recipe e-book after I did a 7 day detox of eliminating fat completely from my diet, eating fully raw until 4 pm each day and loading up on high fiber foods. I felt such a positive change in my body and I it want to become a permanent part of my lifestyle.
I’ve decided to hunker down and focus on my writing projects, and tomorrow I drive to Austin to spend two weeks holed up in a big house to write. I can’t wait! I’ve always been a writer, ever since I was about seven years old, and it’s time for me to do something serious with it. I guess that’s the thing about getting older. I’ll be thirty next year and I don’t want to waste anymore time being timid and apprehensive when it comes to chasing my dreams. I’ve got stories to write and animals to save and vegan food to eat!
Of course, I will devote lots of time in 2017 to nurturing and growing Compassionate Women. Working on this blog is very therapeutic for me and it allows me to share my passions with people all over the world. And I hope, maybe some people stumble on it unexpectedly and it strikes a chord with them, vegan or not.
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my blog or send me an email or comment on a post. I look forward to creating more recipes for you, telling the stories of more amazing animals, trying out more health & beauty products and photographing more beautiful places.
See you in 2017! ?