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2014: The Worst Year Ever

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hey there! I'm monica 

I pride myself on making amazing style and design accessible for everyone, regardless of location, budget, or ability! My design philosophy is rooted in authenticity + attainability - If I can do it, you can too! My work has been featured in countless publications, but I take the most pride in homeowners that have been personally inspired by my DIY ideas and have tried something in their own homes!

learn more about ME + MY BIZ

Worst Year Ever

photo via

I’ve been enjoying seeing everyone’s posts recapping 2014 – projects, accomplishments, new business endeavors etc… I got to thinking what I’d write about for my 2014 year in review post and the more I thought about it, the more I began to realize that 2014 really sucked…Like the leading contender for worst year ever.  I know, I was a tad surprised too.  The more I thought about it the worse the year seemed.  Here’s the weird part- it was bad- really bad- but there was a lot of good, and that kind of made me forget some of the bad.  I’m also not one to hold onto emotions for a long time, so once something is over, it’s over, so I think that’s why I didn’t realize I was in the midst of my worst.year.ever while I was going through it, and why I was surprised as I looked back.

2015 New Year WM

One goal for 2015 is to make EC2 slightly more personal from time to time- it’s the stuff you guys eat up on IG and Facebook… the real life stuff. So, here goes… let’s talk about Monica’s crappy 2014.

This past year someone very close to me hit an insanely hard patch in life.  I shared about it a bit in this post in February   I knew it wasn’t going to be a fun journey for them and it was going to be hard all around.  What I didn’t know, is that watching someone you love literally go through hell is insanely harder for me than going through it myself.  I wished about 1.5 million times to change places.

Since that wasn’t an option I helped in every way I could think of.  Since it’s not my story to tell, I will keep the details brief, but I have learned more about addiction and drugs, recovery and relapse, failure and success this year than I ever thought possible.  I walked alongside this person one day at a time, having to learn along the way that I can’t make someone do something (as hard as I might have tried) and that I can’t actually save someone (I did give it a mighty fine attempt). I attended easily 100+ NA meetings, read more 12  step recovery books than I knew existed, and immersed myself in a life of addiction recovery.  Everything in life became secondary to supporting my family member’s needs, this blog, my house, and sometimes even Eric and my kids.  We knew this was necessary and I am so thankful for a husband that was 100% supportive.

Just For Today

 January to August is almost a blur to me, but I do know this… Not being an addict myself, I still learned so much about myself and my character flaws and need for growth by attending NA meetings. I learned humility “what if someone sees me at an NA meeting… will they think I use”  it took me about 2 meetings to get over that one.  So many of the people at these meetings were incredible- I couldn’t care less if someone thought I belonged there.  I was so inspired and amazed by so many strangers I met, as they shared their stories & struggles, and were willing to share completely without pretense and fear of being judged.  It impacted me in huge ways and made me wish church was a lot more like an NA meeting.  A judgement-free zone with people loving people- even complete strangers- and a place that doesn’t try to pretty up the mess that really is in our lives, to look good on the outside.  I left many meetings feeling emotionally drained, but it was also amazingly refreshing and real.

But lest you think it was all inspiration, rainbows, and unicorns, there were moments last summer that I literally thought my heart was being ripped out and I didn’t know if I’d ever bounce back if this person lost their battle with addiction.  Addiction sucks.  I actually had a deep, growing hatred for it and for drugs.  Just typing that actually gets me a tad fired up.  There were sleepless nights spent waiting for a call, there were times I was a total psycho running up to strangers and dealers demanding to be given information about my loved one, I was a force to be reckoned with, and sometimes that girl was a nutcase.

I’m so thankful and proud to say that entering 2015 they’re fighting and recovering and we’ll soon be celebrating a 6 month anniversary.  I know it’s a life-long battle, but for now, I’m thankful for the season we’re currently in, and I’m encouraged that 2015 is starting off in a much better place.

new_25

So that was Reason #1 that 2014 get’s the worst year ever award, and as you can image it’s a big one and impacted many other areas.

2014 is also the year our successful, growing DIY tv show “Knock It Off!” came to an end because of a network change.  Being new to TV, we learned that it’s very strange that a successful show just has to end, but the LWN was closing its doors and with that our show.  Honestly, we were bummed, but not devastated, because we were so confident and being encouraged that we’d end up at another network and keep doing our thing!  But, let’s be honest- not getting a 3rd season of your TV show, gets a check in the not awesome column of 2014.

Knock It Off

We got right to work on planning our new TV show and a few months into planning, Jess made the hard decision that she wanted to go back to being a stay at home mom with her kids- she wasn’t going to be a part of the new show.  Not throwing her under the bus here at all, but finding out your dream job (doing what you love, with your BFF) was coming to an end sucked.  I can’t say “I’m bummed I’m starting a new TV show”, but doing it solo without my bestie will definitely be a major adjustment.  We literally would spend 40+ hours a week together most weeks, so just going to “normal friend” mode is weird too.  So there’s that.

Reason #3 is more family related stuff.  My incredible, awesome dad got laid off from his job- the very job that moved us to PA when I was a teenager 17 years ago.  It meant that he and I were able to work on some awesome projects together (like making over the thrift store and boutique for Worthwhile Wear) but it’s also super crappy to have your dad unemployed.  If you know anyone looking for a national director of Nuclear Pharmaceuticals- let me know- ha!  (Yeah, he’s kind of specialized)

Reasons #4

Ellen.

yeah, that Ellen… DeGeneres

That deserves an post of it’s own, so I’m gonna leave you hanging on that one.  But lest you think I’m a hater, I stinkin love that Lady.  You’ll just have to wait and see.  Maybe tomorrow.

1ellen-degeneres-ed-lifestyle-brand

Reasons 5-infinity are smaller, but there are tons of them that would be boring to read and make this post 10x longer than it already is.  Things like a huge basement renovation gone wrong, prepping an entire kitchen (building walls, running water and electric etc) to then have the partnering company just drop the ball and never followthrough… i.e.- no kitchen after all the prep work…

Lots of crapola like that.

But…

even with all of these reasons 2014 was my worst ever- it still wasn’t that bad.  We had some amazing times, went some incredible places, and overall we live an incredibly fortunate life.  I am thankful for my healthy kids and husband, our home, my extended family, and an insanely kind circle of friends that did things like clean my house while I was at NA meetings, or surprise me with a milkshake at just the right time.

2014 Sucked big time, but I learned and grew more than any other year of my adult life.  Don’t get any ideas 2015, I have no desire to grow a whole lot more this year, I’m ready for an easy peasy, awesome year, but I now know what I’m capable of getting through and what an awesome circle of people I have around me to journey through the fun and not-so-fun parts of this life.

Thanks for letting me share my worst year ever recap with ya!

-Mon

PS I’ll fill ya in on the Ellen thing this week for sure.

The comments +

  1. Kim T says:

    I love the “I have no desire to grow a whole lot more this year” … AMEN SISTA!! What’s amazing you went thru all of that and still had an active amazing blog! Thanks for sharing and keeping it real. Happy 2015 … it’ll be a great year!

  2. Jenn says:

    Oh boy, can I relate. In actuality 1997 was my worst year ever as I suffered back to back losses of my grandfather, a friend, cousin and my 50 year old father but 2014 couldn’t end fast enough. I am grateful that the year was not dominated by loss but It was terrible nonetheless.

    Inspired by the likes of you & Jess, Shanty2Chic and Six Sisters Stuff, one of my sisters and I had started to repurpose and refinish furniture. We rented space in a great shop and hoped to develop a blog. Unfortunately we live an 1.5 hours apart which made projects difficult while maintaining out own family lives. This by far was not the worst thing in the world but a great disappointment.

    There were health scares early on in the year that rocked me to my core. All turned out fine but 4 months of doctors appointments and test after test made for stresses beyond belief.

    There was a bit of a reprieve over the summer bit something was a bit off.

    The fall brought a huge dose of reality. I had to face the fact that I had let life get a bit too comfortable, perhaps began to take things for granted. My faith and trust were tested. My limits were pushed further than I thought possible. I learned who my true friends were and who crossed boundaries not meant to be crossed.

    As the year neared to an end I decided to hold on to what is important, look forward to the future, be present, make an effort and forgive.

    Good riddance 2014!

  3. Sunday Burquest says:

    WOW, thank you for sharing! Your title caught me right away. I had a crappy year too and it was so nice too see I wasn’t alone. Like you, I had a family member who was dealing with a heroin addiction. I tried to be as supportive as possible to my brothers wife, as she was trying to manage with 2 babies and an addict for a husband. The good news is he did enter treatment and will be there for a year – WHEW – he’s safe. On top of that in mid January my mom had a bone marrow transplant which has basically taken over my year. My sister was put on bedrest and I’ve beem trying to help her too (probably the most fun thing to deal with it during all the mess). Last, I’m in my second year of recovery from breast cancer and I’m still not myself. Thank you for keeping it real and sharing your heart. I’m going to head over to FB and do the same. I do plan to have a better year next year and I believe you will too!

  4. Celeste says:

    Cheers to a better 2015!! I am really sorry that the show was canceled. It was one of my favorites, especially since I can get the channel without having cable. You ladies rocked those makeovers. One of my favorite projects that I think I can really pull off, is when you sewed the four rugs together. Please keep us posted on your projects on your blog, I really like following you.

  5. Shay says:

    15 months ago my husband dropped dead in front of me at the age of 51. He was in great shape, exercised, ate well, etc.. Then in January of this year my daughter’s husband of less than 2 years inexplicably killed himself in front of her. A few months ago I had to have the female of my mated golden retreivers put to sleep because of cancer and then I lost my last living and favorite aunt. So I am happy to kick this year to the curb. HOWVER, like you I have had some blessings as well, people that stepped up to help me when I needed it, who invited me out when I really wanted to stay home, cut down trees I couldn’t handle and just stood by me as I grieved. Every year is NOT going to be great and we shouldn’t gloss over the rough times, but I guess like childbirth, we mostly tend to forget the pain and remember the good stuff. Here’s to a better 2015.

  6. nicole says:

    Hi! Sorry you had a crappy, this year will be a better. One piece of advice, share more and we can help! Hugs even though I dont know you, but I’m a fan and if you need to chat you have my email. Oh! And that show…hola. Lol hope you chuckled a little

    Nicole

  7. Liz R. says:

    Thanks for sharing your “real”. 🙂

  8. Tamicka says:

    While I watched HGTV tonight I read this post. To my surprise, and I am NOT pulling your leg…I looked at the tv just as a commercial for Ellen’s new design challenge show was advertised. Total coincidence?! My interest in knowing the juicy details has totally peaked! I raise my cup of flat pepsi to you and think, “here is a toast to a drama-free, less chaotic year”!

  9. Belinda says:

    If someone got sober in 2014, it was the best year ever. I am not a drinker, but I have many friends who are in recovery. As difficult and painful as it was to watch them struggle, they are alive and in a much better place. And, really, their path to sobriety has made me a better person. You are incredible because you didn’t walk away like so many people do!

    Ellen’s show looks lame and I’m bored with HGTV. I get better ideas from you!!

  10. Ann V. says:

    Thanks for this! Hardest year yet for me, and yet the lessons I’ve learned are invaluable. Will take the good with the bad, keep learning,growing and moving forward! Love your honesty and this blog!!

  11. Debbie says:

    Sorry to hear many people had a bad 2014! Let’s all raise a cup of coffee for the best 2015. That is sad Jess won’t be going forward, you are a great team. Best wishes for her to enjoy being a mom. Thanks for you’re honesty

  12. Deb says:

    Monica, my heart totally goes out to you – and to the others who have shared pain here. Sometimes as I attempt to say my usual prayers at the end of the day, instead I search my mind for anything I can thank my creator for. Like having driven home safely, and my good house, which is warm and safe, and food for supper, and finishing a load of wash. You are a special person, and I’m thankful for “knowing” you. Lately, I’ve thought a lot about some lines from the movie, The Help: You is smart. You is kind. You is important. Monica, you is. I hope to hear happier news from you in this new year, but also hope you’ll continue to share whatever comes your way. Thank you for all you do.

  13. Joy says:

    I’m so sad to hear about the LWN and the discontinuation of Knock It Off. I can’t tell you how much finding your show meant to me. It was so comforting and exciting to see you guys tackle crazy-hard remodeling/reno projects with the tiny budgets that most NORMAL people have ($25k for remodeling? Uh, no.) You made me realize that with a some creativity and what little cash monies I have, I can still make my home look beautiful. I will follow East Coast Creative forevs. Keep us posted on the new show. May 2015 bring the blessings and answered prayers you deserve!

  14. Kathy Worth says:

    I am bummed. I just found you today on Pinterest, then I had the pleasure of being introduced to your blog. Through a link I started watching episodes. (I am sick today.). I was so happy to find you. I wrote a comment telling you I was now in love with you :). (My husband understands such things!). He will be too once he sees everything.
    Then I read your blog,. That it is your worst year ever. I am so sorry. I had a year like that 3 years ago. My uncle died on Dec. 23. His funeral was the 28th. My Dad died after a long battle with MS on the 28th. A few months later I had to have brain surgery. So I understand bad years. I also completely understand your need to help your family member with their addiction. My cousin, my Godchild is an alcoholic but this year he took a bad turn to harder things like heroin. Sadly, his parents, his brother, his girlfriend have tried. So I will pray for your family member that they continue on this difficult path to recovery. I will pray that 2015 blows away all the bad of 2014. (I am disappointed you were cancelled when I just found you) but I will keep reading and find out where you are next. Best of luck! Many prayers! Thanks for the 5 million great ideas today alone! Best blog and show ever!

  15. Monica,
    Thank you for sharing!! I am so bummed about your show, and I can definitely see where having Jess decide to be a SAHM would be bittersweet 🙂 I loved every makeover you guys did, and still go back and share your shows (I watch online). Please keep us updated on what’s going on with your new show. I hope 2015 is an amazing year for you!!

  16. Jessica Martinez says:

    You never shared about Ellen….do tell!!!

  17. Tiffany says:

    Ugh, agreed. 2014 was a tough one, I drained my “bucket”. (How full is your bucket reference there). Additionally, I’ve suffered from family members with addiction as well, it can be so draining. Let’s raise an internet glass with Cheers for a new day, a new year to start anew! We are somewhat close, I met Jess on 309 before at JoAnns Fabric, hopefully we get a chance to meet this year.

    • Monica says:

      I didn’t realize you were local when I read your other comment! It’s great to have local readers! You’ll have to check out The Craftery sometime soon!

  18. Mindy says:

    I’m sorry to hear about all the bad things this year. The addiction stuff sounds terrible. I don’t have experience with that personally but from what I hear it is absolutely terrible.

    I was wondering about Jess, since I saw that post about it before it was taken down. We’ll miss her but everyone needs to do what is best for them. And sorry to hear about the TV show. i absolutely loved it. Loved it. Like, I finished every episode with an inspired and awed feeling that rightfully belongs to spiritual experiences. 🙂 Good luck on it getting picked up by another network.

    And sorry about the minor nasty things that happened. My dad was out of a job for a long time too, and as a recent college grad I haven’t found a job either, and it’s the worst. Good luck.

    Looking forward to a better 2015!

  19. Cheryl Porter says:

    Just like everyone else, I’m sad to hear about the show. I didn’t get to watch your show all the time, so on those days that I found you while clicking through channels, it was always a happy little moment and made me smile. I bet lots of people have told you “everything happens for a reason”. Don’t you just hate hearing that? But it’s true. You have no idea what great things are waiting for you just around the corner. Stepping back and letting your mind and soul take a break can be such a gift. It lets you slow down enough to think of great new ideas, learn new things, and most of all, get a different perspective on life. What we want today could be completely different than what we want three months down the line. Give yourself some “you” time, and relax…slow down long enough for the next great opportunity to find you.

    TV…she’s a fickle business, right? It’s not you, it’s them !

  20. Marcia Kopp says:

    as for me, it was terrible cuz I lost you and Jess. Are you still planning a comeback to t v ?? I relate w/you regarding your family member who is clean 6 months now.I am still going down that road w/an immediate family member who I love very much..I almost lost him 6 different times during 2014. It took every bit of that misery and calls to 911.for me to see I wasn’t actually helping by giving him a place to live. But some things you hafta learn the hard way.
    So I am looking at what you are doing now and hoping you can inspire me and give me some incentive to get back into MY life , while he is away learning new ways to live.My biggest wish for my home is how to cheaply redo my kitchen , which is tiny and in a mobile home.Iam young at heart,but can count 68 years of birthdays….yikes!!!!!!!!! so this is tricky..if I am to do this by myself. Also I am on a fixed income….social security.. But I am doing o k and I make do w/what I have.
    Please come back on t v !!! You And Your show are so helpful,and inspirational, people like me need you. I am a little electronically challenged. Computers mess w/my mind!! L O L I’ll keep trying to find your blog And hope to see you on t v again soon. Please keep me informed!! God Bless And onward we go!!!!!!! Marcia Kopp

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