I’m not usually one for year end recaps, but I’m also a big believer that we don’t know where we’re going unless we take stock of where we’ve been.
landing in savannah at night on a lit runway


The year began in Savannah, GA with two friends, Bruce & Adam, who invited me on a New Years airplane adventure. It was my first trip to the city and I fell in love with the architecture, gardens and the history. We walked everywhere so we became familiar with the Historic District and really got a feel of the city we wouldn’t have had we stayed within the confines of a car. alex raskin antiques savannah exterior My favorite experience in Savannah was a local antique store, Alex Raskin Antiques - the shop is housed in a four-story mansion and incredible antiques fill each floor. I had to be wary of my dust allergy (and not touch anything), but the risk was worth the reward.


February 1, I began working for myself and started my own business (or dusted off what I’d left behind when I took a job working for a now defunct publishing agency). Was it scary? You bet it was. But after working for others for many years, I have a firm grasp of what I need to do to run my own business building websites. Also, working for someone else doesn’t allow for the creative freedom I desire. I'm happier professionally than I've been in a very long time.

birthday lootMarch

March is my birthday month. I had a fun gathering – I call it “The Ides of Beth" –  on my birthday at a local beer garden. It always makes me happy to look around to see a table full of people from different areas of my life all co-mingling. From these yearly events, my friends have met new friends through me and have become friends. Every year I look around and realize I have really great taste in people. I never request gifts, but Lisa Battles ignored me and brought me fun socks: one pair says "my favorite salad is wine."

Mid-month was time for another airplane adventure with Bruce & Adam; this time brought a weekend trip to Chattanooga, a city I hadn’t visited I think since childhood. We didn't See Rock City, but the weather was nice which allowed for a lot of walking. I'm not sure I'd ever been to downtown Chattanooga before and was really impressed with the river area and its panoramic views.


In May, I participated in my first ever Tour De Nash, riding 27.53 miles through the city on my bike with hundreds of othermy tour de nash 2018 stats Nashvillians, including some local developers I'd only previously known through the local Nashville developer slack channel. By the time the event arrived, I had only been on a bike four times during the year; not a lot of training. There were legs of the event when I thought "I could just turn here, go home and no one would know." Unfortunately I'm cursed with a "I have to see this through" mentality which made me finish what I started. I'm glad I did. It was very difficult at times, but I persevered.

germantown garden guzzle crowd


In June, I co-planned my favorite neighborhood event, the Germantown & Salemtown Garden Guzzle and Sip N' Stroll, with Salemtown's Lindsay Cox. The event was in danger of not happening, but I convinced the Historic Germantown Neighborhood board to fund it and it was saved. For the first time ever, we combined the neighborhood events and had a fantastic turnout for our boozy garden tour. Hard to believe the event was in danger of not happening and I'm glad to have done my part to help keep it going.


July was hot and I was glad to spend it inside working on the design of a mobile app for a local healthcare software company. I'd never designed an app before and it was a fun exercise while giving me new challenges to overcome. I also did more and more biking through the city.

A fun civic opportunity presented itself this year when I offered to volunteer with Live Here Vote Here to help register Nashvillians to vote. I made good on my offer at the July Creative Mornings event where we signed up about a dozen citizens to vote locally.volunteering with live here vote here


August brought vacation time and I spent a week at the beach with my Mom in Perdido Key, Florida for the second year in a row in a beachside condo, on the 13th floor. We cooked, napped, put our toes in the sand and completed our yearly beach puzzle. And because I work for myself, I woke up at 6:30 am each day to tend to business. It's a sign I'm doing the right thing with my life that I was more than happy to do the work when I'm supposed to be relaxing.

Another notable event: I bought a road bike from a friend in August. This was a game changer. I'd previously been riding a hybrid bike, which is noticeably heavier. Switching to a road bike lightened my load and allowed me to bike further faster.

2018 Germantown dragon boat team


I participated for the second year in the Annual Dragon Boat races on the Cumberland River which benefits the Cumberland River Compact. in September. Our team, the Germantown Guzzlers, lost – because of course we did – but we had fun. One thing I learned is never to schedule the practice the day before the race; the body feels like a car wreck happened.


In October I began a really fun bespoke website development project that will launch in the first quarter of 2019. I got to collaborate with one of my favorite designers in Nashville and that's always a treat.

In late October I was asked to collaborate on a prototype web project for a global banking institution. I was flattered to be asked and honestly wasn't sure what I was getting into when I said "yes." It turned out I ended up in a 14 hour coding marathon (until 3 am) where I worked with a UX guy in NYC and his team as well as a lead developer in Colorado. I jumped in with both feet and learned on the fly about Node.js and a few other coding tools I'd previously not worked with. It was daunting at times, but I look back at it as fun now that I've caught up on my sleep.


I gave blood for the first time to mark the 9/11 anniversary. I didn't pass out, but came close. I learned my blood type as they send you a card letting you know your type and where your blood was sent. My donation went to a patient at St Thomas West here in Nashville.

Also in November, I spoke at the inaugural Nashville Design Week about Imposter Syndrome and co-presented with Jess Nelson of Ladies Get Paid Nashville about how to get paid what we're worth. I've given the talk two times prior and had always had the luxury of a screen for slides in the past. Not this time - so I made puppets. They were a hit.


December was the usual end of year stuff - holiday parties and year end wrap up. I developed an eye-twitch from staring at a spreadsheet for three days straight to gather documents for health insurance. I don't recommend the last minute panic of organizing accounting information. But now I'm ready for April. The only way out is through.

Early December I attended WordcampUS, for the second time in Nashville. I wrote a recap of the experience here.

Other accomplishments

I wrote and published a lot this year, more than I've ever written in my life. The lesson here is that I do a fairly good job (I'm told this by professional writer friends) and it helps me to organize my thoughts. I've said many times that good web development is dependent on good communication. Writing about the web and other topics help me to work through problems, educate my clients and gather a firmer grasp on what I'm trying to learn or teach. I started a company newsletter this year as well, and while I have to make the time to send it out each month, I find it to be a worthy exercise to keep me on track with publishing blogs on my website. If interested, you can sign up here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

I rode 430(tracked) miles on my bike this year. I set more monthly goals - some I met, others I didn't. All in all, I had fun.


We said goodbye to one of my favorite people in Nashville in February; M.K Key, who courageously fought breast cancer for 16 years. She was as comfortable in a corporate setting as she was on her farm with her horses. M.K. inspired me to continue a path of lifelong learning. I remember her telling me years ago she wanted to be remembered as a Renaissance woman. That's most definitely how I'll remember her. I refer to several women in town as my "Nashville" mothers and M.K. was the first of that bunch. I miss her a lot.

Early July brought news that a favorite neighbor, Michael Emrick, passed away while on a trip to Spain. Michael was a force when it came to historical preservation in Nashville as well as the state of Tennessee. The impact of his work can be seen throughout the Germantown Neighborhood in Nashville, as well as our state Capitol building. Michael was my go-to for any history question for our neighborhood. A special point of pride is the last time I spoke with him, was at the Garden Guzzle event I mentioned earlier, where he told me it was one of the best ever. Those who knew him will tell you he didn't hand out forced compliments; he meant them sincerely when he gave them.

In November, my best friend's grandfather, Casey Anderson, passed at age 92. I laughingly joked with him that he was my 3rd grandfather and I'll miss his wit and feisty nature.


In setting goals for 2018, I wanted to find a new job by March. I did it by working for myself. I ended 2018 five pounds lighter than I began it. I'm a better writer than I was a year ago as well as a better business woman. I've struggled with anxiety for years and finally feel like I'm about to cope with uncertainty better than ever due to embracing change rather than fearing it. All of these wins have taken a great deal of work; there's no substitute for putting the time in to move forward, even incrementally.

All in all, it was a really good year. I'm grateful for the experiences and the lessons. I'm looking forward to taking what I learned in '18, and applying it going forward.