2012 has been a crazy blur of changes, travels, moves, decisions, confusion, and happiness. Between love, business, heartbreak, and awesome friends … a lot has happened in a year!

My blog is one year old this week (woo hoo!), so this post seems appropriately timed for some reminiscence with the upcoming New Year. Below are 12 things I love from 2012, and I hope you’ll love them, too. This list includes bloggers, communities, travel tips, health and fitness, business skills, and miscellaneous tidbits. I hope you like, and if you do, please share with your amigos and/or subscribe to receive updates in your inbox via the box to the right! Enjoy!

Sean Ogle’s newsletter

2012 was the first year that I ever began subscribing to blogs. Initially, I followed about 20 bloggers because I was learning how to utilize email marketing myself, and I wanted to learn from some of the best! Well, I quickly learned what practices I liked and which ones I certainly did not like just by following so many blogs at one time. Sean Ogle’s newsletter is one of my favorites because he not only remains consistent with his campaigns, but every single time he shows up in my inbox on Sunday afternoon, I learn about something cool from the web that I’d never heard of before.  Whether it be a new blog, a new useful online tool, a new book, or a new techie gadget, he always finds the most unique bits to share. You can sign up for his newsletter on his site at Location 180 – you won’t regret it or ever be annoyed when you see his name pop up in your inbox!

Project Eve and Guest posting

Project Eve has been such a blessing to work with, and I love everything they stand for. I’ve written about them repeatedly on this site because I think that every woman interested in business should join this amazing community of women online. I began writing for Project Eve a few months ago, and it has opened several doors for me in a short amount of time – one of which is guest posting. I always knew that seeking out opportunities to guest post on other’s sites was important for growing your own readership, but through Project Eve, I found some wonderful female bloggers whom I love to work with. Through these women, I’ve come across other blogs and websites which have made guest posting hugely beneficial while I build the Split Aces Media brand.

Airline miles and credit cards

This. Rocks. Chris Guillebeau is a genius, and he teaches how to “travel hack” so that you can have free and/or discounted flights through the use of credit cards. In 2012, I was able to take at least one round-trip flight every single month, and the only money I spent out of pocket was the processing fees for booking online (at most, $30 per flight). I utilized points from American Airlines, US Airways, Spirit Airlines, British Airways, United, and Chase. Check out Guillebeau’s travel articles to see which credit cards are the best for rewards, and you’ll definitely be pleased to have those miles to use at your disposal!

Minimalism (kind of)

I spent a lot of time bouncing around from place to place this year, and I learned very quickly how to live out of a backpack with few belongings. All I really needed was a few changes of clothes, my laptop, a camera, a toothbrush and deodorant to make it make it happen. While owning very little and living out of a backpack was fun and simple for the year, it was exhausting, and I’m ready to have a few belongings again when I find my apartment in New York. I enjoyed it while it lasted, and I’d love to do it again someday, but for now, I want to pick a place to get to know in-depth (ie for more than two months at a time). Not to say I don’t want to travel, of course. I just want to tone it down a bit! If you DO decide that you want to do the minimalism thing for a while, or even make it part of your permanent lifestyle, check out this post on Zen Habits – it has lots of great resources for you!

Paleo and lifting heavy weights

I knew that changing my diet was going to be a good decision for me (after all, I lost 11 pounds in month numero uno after I began experimenting with the paleo principles). I think it is a lifestyle that makes sense. It made me feel more energized, I liked to play with the puzzle pieces of recipes to make every meal a “paleo-friendly” one (without getting bored), and I liked losing those unnecessary college pounds! Along with the diet change, I also started lifting heavy weights and I gave up on the idea of running a marathon. Why? Because I hate running! I made it goal to get to 10 wide-grip pull-ups by the end of the year, and unfortunately I don’t think I’m going to hit it. I’m currently at 8, and I’m still working my way to get there. Better late than never, so I’ll keep you posted on my progress. (PS my first pull up was the hardest, but thankfully I had Vic Magary to give me tips and tricks along the way).

Freelancing

Freelancing is glorious. It’s a great way to either bring in side money while working a full-time job, or even to make a full-time income if you choose to go that route! I started freelancing with one client when I had a job in DC, and then I turned it into a full-time gig as I found more. It’s completely doable, and it’s a lot of fun when you find the right people to work with. I have been so fortunate to come across some incredible brands, and I believe in everything that they are doing. That’s the other fun part about freelancing – you pick who you want to work with. If someone wants your help, but you don’t agree with his or her product or service, you can say no! You can always say no, and you can always say hell yes. Either way, the choice is yours, and it’s so much fun. Click here to see who I’ve been rolling with, and if you’d like my help in getting started as a freelancer, feel free to send me an email and I’m happy to chat!

Fundraisers

I’m very impressed and inspired by some of my peers who have done big efforts to raise money for important causes. The Internet makes it so simple to do feel-good projects, yet it is still certainly not “easy” to raise these kinds of dollars. For example, Matt Madeiro from Make Every Day Count is turning 25 on December 25, so he decided to raise $25,000 so that a group of kids in Nepal can have a school bus (these kiddos currently walk for six hours PER DAY just to get to school). Liz Theresa thought about doing a food drive, but it turns out that because most people choose to donate food items, the other important necessities get pushed to the side and forgotten. Liz started Clean for a Cause to collect household necessities for families in need. Joel Runyon started a fundraising page for Pencils of Promise – an organization on a mission to build schools. All of these folks are in their 20s, ladies and gents! They are raising thousands of dollars for others. It’s generous, it’s important, and it’s awesome.

Marie Forleo’s Q&A Tuesday

This woman is smart, classy, and business savvy. I love her Q&A Tuesday videos on YouTube because she answers real questions submitted by readers (with a little bit of sass). She covers everything from “how to raise your rates,” to “how to handle a catty coworker,” to “how to get more traffic on your blog.” Everything she publishes is useful and relevant to marketing for biz, and I even have it on my bucket list to be interviewed by her on the Marie TV channel someday!

Matt Chevy’s blog

Matt Cheuvront wrote an article that pushed me over the edge to begin freelancing and leave my 9-5 to travel and work, and I’ve been thankful for him ever since! Since reading this post on his wonderful blog, Life Without Pants, I’ve kept in touch with him and even recently hired his company to build a website for a client of mine. He’s hardworking, funny, insightful, and honest – you’ll love his blog and definitely find inspiration in each and every article!

Personalized emails with subscribers

As soon as I began collecting email addresses for my blog, my only subscribers were my biggest fans (aka my family and my sister from another mister, Kristina Viniar). When I saw the first person I didn’t recognize as a subscriber, I was so giddy that I emailed her immediately to say thank you and to tell her how excited I was that she subscribed. Ever since then, I’ve tried to individually connect with each and every one, be it through Twitter, Facebook, email, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or whatever other medium available. I want to know what people want help with, and I want to do my best to help them through my site! If their needs aren’t a good fit for what I’m comfortable helping with, I try to send them to someone who can. Either way, I’m so grateful for people who let me into their inbox, and I want to do my best to provide as much useful and relevant content as possible!

Travelers Insurance

You can’t have the good without the bad, right? Well, on my first day in Ecuador (and my first day as a traveling consultant), my beautiful Canon 30D camera was stolen out of my backpack! Thankfully, two days prior, I had purchased travelers insurance from World Nomads for only $183, and they covered the entire cost of my stolen camera. When you’re traveling, spring for the traveler’s insurance! It’s well worth it for piece of mind.

My parental units

Last but not least, I must include my parents. At first, I don’t think that they were completely stoked about the idea of me quitting my job, moving to Ecuador, not having a plan, not having any savings, etc. What parent would be? But either way, they have been wonderful in supporting me as I find my way, and I appreciate them for every single moment! Thanks Ma & Pa!

I hope you find some of these 12 things useful and relevant to your life or business, and thank you as always for sticking with me on this blog! I can’t wait to see what I can learn and tell you about in 2013!

15 Thoughts on “12 things I love from 2012

  1. 14. meeting drew (virtually)

  2. Congrats on one year of blogging! Looking forward to you getting those 10 pull ups and all of your future accomplishments.

    • jspielvogel on December 12, 2012 at 4:58 PM said:

      Vic – I haven’t had a squat rack or a pull up bar in the past 3 weeks and I’m going nutso. Hopefully it hasn’t thrown me too far off the path!

  3. Russian on December 12, 2012 at 4:34 PM said:

    I’m so proud of you and so happy for you sis! You’re amazing and i can’t wait to watch your business explode and take over the world! :-)

  4. Chad Wittrock on December 12, 2012 at 5:01 PM said:

    Awesome!

  5. Go Jessie!

  6. I’ll add that my #1 favorite minimalism website is TheMinimalists.com. I’m actually meeting the 2 kids behind the website tonight in Chicago!! Big meetup event with probably at least 50 kids or more.

  7. Love this post, Jessie – what an inspirational 2012 you’ve had!

    Now I’ve found my feet with a paid 9-5er, it’s actually (ironically) helped me focus my mind even more on freelancing and setting out on my own path. But starting it off from a base of financial security is a nice way to do it!

    Thanks for all the value (and the fun) you provide – it’s been an honour to “meet” you this year.

    • jspielvogel on December 19, 2012 at 12:13 PM said:

      Hi Oli! Congrats on the new gig – so happy you’re enjoying it! It’s been wonderful to “meet” you, as well. Hopefully one day we can for real! Happy holidays :)

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