I Made a Vision Board for 2021: Part Two

As promised, here is part two of making vision boards for 2021. If you haven’t read part one already, go ahead and check it out now!

I Made a Vision Board for 2021 and Here’s How it Went: Part One

What is included in a vision board?

It can be anything you want. There are a few different ways to go about building a vision board, so truly there is no wrong answer. I made two – one for general ideation and one for specific goals. For the second board, focused around goals, I kept it simple. I added twelve goals to achieve throughout the year as well as imagery to help manifest that.

How does it work?

Vision boards serve as a physical reminder for what you’re wanting to achieve. Seeing it everyday will help keep your goals or ideas at the forefront of your mind as you progress through the weeks and months. It can help to motivate you in a passive way. Rather than an obnoxious alarm on your phone or a calendar reminder, you can be met with a peaceful, self-created image that hangs on your wall as a friendly notice.

Here’s my vision board, broken into two segments: imagery and goals.

Left – Imagery 

Since this board is dedicated to goals, I didn’t want to overcomplicate or clutter it. I cut images from magazines that showcased what I wanted to emulate to help achieve these goals – a watch for time, candles and coffee for relaxation and focus, the galaxy as a corny way to ‘reach for the stars’, an upside down drop to symbolize change and a quote. More than anything I wanted the imagery to exude calmness and growth.

Right – Goals

Writing out goals was the hardest part of this board. Even though I am someone who is hyper-aware and anxious constantly, I am not someone that has a life plan. I tried to focus on things that were not so far out of reach, but could be tangible with a little hard work. I used the categories of play, health, work and joy to establish my goals; these are based off of the teachings in Designing Your Life. By grouping these items you’re more easily able to see areas in your life that may need extra attention. 

What is Home?

I’ve never really stayed in one house for a long time. It partially comes with the territory of coming from a divorced family, not only the loads of back and forth between Mom’s and Dad’s, but also when one parent moves, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the other parent won’t move in the same time frame. By that I mean, separately parents may not move a lot, but when you combine it for the kids… it stacks up.

Looking to my mom, who coincidentally has moved a lot, with her I grew up in seven different houses, and with my dad I grew up in three different houses. Then when they were married, there is one house in my active memory. So we’re looking at eleven different houses I lived in from the time I was born until I graduated college. Speaking of college, you could even increase the places I’ve lived since I lived in the dorms throughout that time, and then my senior year a friend and I got an apartment off campus. I also did a semester in France which was a whole other type of living situation!

After reflecting on my adolescence, and now looking towards my adulthood – almost the minute I graduated college, I shipped up to NYC for an internship that turned permanent. Upon first moving to the city, I lived in a small sublet in Harlem and my room was literally the size of a twin size mattress. Two months later, my sublet was up and I moved to Chinatown for a little over a year and that was an experience! After that downtown escapade, I booked it back uptown to Spanish Harlem for a little over a year.

All sounds complicated and all over the place, right? Am I done yet? Am I getting to the whole purpose of this overshare yet?

Thanks to Miss Rona, things only get more complicated.

My lease was up in Spanish Harlem July 31st and the friend I planned to live with, Zoe, couldn’t move until October. So we were faced with two options:

  1. We find a place for August 1st and sublet until Zoe can move in.
  2. I go home – I’m working from home anyway, so why not spend some time at home, save some money, and move back to the city in the fall?

Two was the obvious option, but the not so obvious is the thing I had to ask myself – “Where is home?”

My nomadic mom is currently posted up in Pittsburgh, which isn’t too far from my uncle and papa along with many other family members. My dad is where he’s always been, in Kentucky, along with many family members. But then I have my nana and aunt and nearly all of my friends who are tucked away in Indiana.

So, again, where is home? Where do I go?

I essentially did what I always do, and that was split up my time and touch ground everywhere. Which definitely isn’t COVID Kosher, but I was essentially homeless, so sue me.

I did some time with all of my family and some friends – sprinkling my sass and two-cents along the way, lending an ear to those who needed it, and offering support when the situation called for it. It was nice to be “home” for a little while. But honestly, I couldn’t help but be hyper-focused on the term, “home“… what is it? Where is it? Do I have one, do I have many, or do I not have one at all?

My mom always says, “Home is where your mom is.”

But I don’t think home is that simple, or maybe it is.

I think home is a feeling. It’s something that comes natural, but it’s also something that can be manifested. For instance, both my grandparents houses always feel like home, the Catholic church I grew up in feels like home… but everywhere I’ve ever had my own room I’ve seamlessly created a notable “cozy-homey vibe” that gets riddled with compliments on how comfy it is.

It’s as if I’ve always understood that with a few adjustments, you can make anywhere feel like home. I have some things I always do, nearly as a reflex, whenever I settle in somewhere in order to make that place more comfortable – to make it mine.

1. Your bed is a sanctuary, treat it as such.

Make sure you have a bedspread that you like to look at, and honestly – the more pillows the better. Even if you only use one pillow to sleep – during the day have your bed coated in pillows. Those decorative sacks of fluff and feathers are so inviting, there’s no such thing as too much, I promise.

Once you like your bed – make it every single day. There was a time not too long ago where I didn’t make my bed everyday; I found I didn’t have time, what’s it matter, etc… I was full of excuses. But what was funny were the days that I didn’t make my bed in the mornings, I would almost instantly make it the minute I got home – because there’s nothing better than slipping into a freshly made bed.

Just respect yourself enough to make your bed in the mornings – respect the evening version of you who just spent a hard day at work and deserves a freshly made bed.


2. You look at each wall more than you think, hang things that bring you joy and peace.

Think of every wall in your space as a mood board.

Fill each wall with pieces of art, photos, or shelves of knickknacks that evoke positive emotions. This is where you can put plants, real or fake, to encourage growth in your space and to feel grounded and connected with the earth. Fill your walls with whatever brings you peace and happiness.


3. If it smells great, you’ll feel great.

I adore candles. I love them not only for the smell, but I enjoy even the simple flame. The sense of warmth I feel when I see the lit candle and then the scents that beginning coating the room, it brings so much instant peace. I love fall scents the most, like vanilla and hazelnut, but sometimes these scents don’t translate well in the summer. I found that my safe-ground is finding earthy candles that smell of amber and oud.

Go find your scent – be it floral, fruity, earthy, or fresh… find it and do what you gotta do to maintain that smell in your room. Be it candles, incense, oil diffusers, or wax warmers – just give your room a scent that you associate with comfort.

. . .

I’ll be honest, sometimes doing all of the above isn’t enough. You can go the whole nine yards on your space and still feel like a fish in the wrong bowl. Like you’re a pretty fish in a decked out aquarium, but you kind of miss your old bowl for some reason.

AKA -> homesickness.

All I’ve gotta say to that is to think long and hard on what you’re homesick for, what’s missing. Would you be happier back where you were? Or do you find you’re actually missing specific moments and feelings expressed in the old space?

I find that most of the time, my homesickness is for a time and not a place.

Once I realized this, it clicked that going home won’t fix anything, it won’t fix my homesickness. The only type of “going back” that will erase my homesickness is “going back in time” but that’s not possible, obviously. This type of homesickness can really only be healed by some intense self-reflection, maybe even some therapy, in order to dig up what the real root of the problem is and to truly understand what you’re missing. In realizing this, in understanding what it is exactly that you’re homesick for, you can then move forward and adjust what you must in order to find that mental balance and manifest your “home vibe”.

Ultimately, it’s important to understand that you are deserving of feeling at home wherever you’re living.

Small Business Significance: Jennifer Knef of KnefTee

Meet Jennifer Knef and her husband, Sam:

Jennifer has been my best friend for nearly 15 years. They currently reside in Michigan where Sam works as a news reporter. Jennifer has a degree in teaching, works in dental assisting, teaches ESL (English as a Second Language), is a Poshmark ambassador, and now has her very own Etsy shop alongside her husband! To say she inspires me daily is an understatement. This woman is a powerhouse and I’m so grateful she sat down with me to talk about the importance of running a small business.

    L: So tell me about KnefTee. Who are you?

    J: KnefTee is an Etsy shop where my husband and I create our own fun-loving, colorful graphic tees.

    L: When did you all get started?

    J: YouTube actually inspired me to get the ball rolling. The creators I was watching at the time were talking a lot about entrepreneurship and being creative. I’ve always been a creative soul; I love to draw and design. So it got me thinking, “what could I do at home to where I don’t need a lot of up-front capital?” I had the idea back in April during the stay-at-home-order. We launched our Etsy shop in May.

    L: Awesome! I know the stay-at-home order gave a lot of people time in their homes to spark creativity. So KnefTee was your idea to get started?

    J: Yes. Sam was a little more hesitant because he was under the impression that we’d have to buy inventory and have lots of money upfront. I can’t blame him because that’s what a lot of people think! Luckily, I had done my research beforehand and found ways we could do a partnership with a manufacturer. We create the designs and they put it on the physical product. That way, we didn’t have to bring money to the table at the start. It’s a very beginner-friendly system!

    L: Absolutely — I can see how it’d be intimidating not knowing about the partnership when you’re just starting. So, you and Sam draw all your designs by hand, correct?

    J: Right. We both draw them by hand on our sketch app on our iPad.

    L: That’s so cool! Was there any sort of learning curve when drawing that way compared to drawing on a piece of paper?

    J: For sure. You need to make sure you have a quality stylus, too, to ensure you don’t have an issue with your artwork not looking how you picture it. I would definitely say having a well-made stylus is essential to what we do.

    L: That’s a great tip for anyone starting in digital artwork. Speaking of, what gives you the inspiration behind your designs? Do you make an effort to follow current trends?

    J: I focus most of my efforts on creating what I could see myself wearing or something unique that you can’t find anywhere else. I know graphic tees are everywhere, so Sam and I use our combined efforts to create designs you wouldn’t normally see walking into the mall, for example.

    L: And I think that’s great! It leads me to my follow-up question: how do you feel KnefTee separates itself from other graphic t-shirt brands?

    J: Our tees aren’t manufactured in the masses. When it comes from KnefTee it’s going to be an original design, to where when you buy from a big box store, you know there will be lots of other people with the same shirt. That’s one thing I love about small business, you will more than likely be one of the only people around wearing that tee in your city.

    L: We love a unique sister! Okay here’s a tough one: what’s your favorite design that you’ve created so far, and what’s your favorite design that Sam has created so far?

    J: Oh gosh that is tough! I can definitely say that Sam’s “Updog” shirt is my favorite that he’s created because it’s a good icebreaker into getting people talking about KnefTee. Plus, it’s hilarious! Wearing something that can make someone laugh is extremely important.

    J: As far as my designs go, my “Be Kind” shirt is definitely my most popular seller, and I can see why. It spreads a positive message which I feel is what people want to wear and want to see other people wearing.

    J: Other than that, I’d probably say the teacher shirts that I design. I remember back when I was teaching, I loved wearing the colorful tees! The “Get Your Cray-On” is specifically my favorite.

    L: Those are adorable. I have both the “Be Kind” and “Updog” shirts and I get compliments every time I wear them! Moving forward, would you ever want to move the business to full-time — opening a physical storefront or boutique?

    J: NO. Definitely not, but I have a good reason why! Sam and I love the freedom of being able to dive into other passions on top of KnefTee. I’d never want a brick-and-mortar store because I feel like online is the way the world is working nowadays. Online shopping is the way to go. This way, I can do something that I love but still have free time to do other things that I’m passionate about. If I spent all my time on the shop, I’d miss out on other hobbies. Our current arrangement is perfect for me, especially since we partner with a manufacturer. It’s not that I don’t love doing it, but I have other passions, you know?

    L: That’s really respectable. I love that you have set boundaries and know when it’s time to stop for the week. I believe very strongly in setting aside time to work on things you love. Can you see KnefTee ever branching out to making things besides tees? I know “tee” is literally in the name of your business.

    J: Actually, I’ve been taking courses for the past three months on how to better your brand taught by a professional Etsy seller. She talks about how you need to be able to excel in one specific category rather than having a little bit of everything. Think about when you go to a restaurant: if you have a menu with burgers, fish, pizza, tacos, etc. it can be a little overwhelming, right? That’s not what I want for my business. I don’t want to oversaturate my customers and I don’t want to spread myself too thin.

    J: If we ever did, however, they would be what my teacher calls “sister products”. A sister product is an item that goes along with a shirt. You wouldn’t want to sell a shirt and then all of a sudden you’re selling something like candles — it’s too random. But maybe we could sell baseball caps with our logo, hoodies, long sleeves, or crew necks. I do want to say, though, if you do that at your shop and it works for you, that’s great! I’m going for more of a boutique feel; that’s the kind of buyer experience I want online.

    L: Yes for sure! You are absolutely entitled to that. It’s your business, so you have the freedom to sell whatever you want. Switching gears a little, how has the dreaded coronavirus impacted KnefTee?

    J: Both negatively and positively. One positive has come from being home all the time. We were able to create designs and have them in our arsenal before we launched so we’d have a good variety when we opened the shop. Negatively, from June to July, our manufacturer was very backed up on our orders. Our processing time for shirts was up to 12 weeks! We probably got three orders that entire time which makes sense, who wants to wait that long for a t-shirt? Not me. That has been one downside to the partnership because Sam and I don’t have the manufacturing tools to physically make the shirts.

    J: It’s not the manufacturer’s fault, though! I don’t blame them for having to reduce their employees. We are going through a world-wide pandemic, after all. People weren’t wanting to spend money on t-shirts, myself included! There were more important things to buy during that time. Luckily, sales have gotten better since then! People are buying more and our processing time is anywhere from 5-10 days, not three months like it was earlier this year.

    L: Thank goodness! I know that was a very stressful time for many small business owners. Where can people find you online to see more?

    J: It’s super easy, we’re KnefTee everywhere! Instagram, Facebook, and Etsy. I love it because it’s my last name along with a play off the word “nifty”. Nifty / KnefTee, get it?

    *mind blown*

    J: Yeah! Originally we were going to call the shop “Nifty Tee”, but Sam had the genius idea, “what if we just called it ‘Knef Tee’?”

    L: I’m shocked and ashamed I didn’t piece that together earlier! That’s amazing. Before we wrap things up, is there anything else you want to share about KnefTee?

    J: I’d like everyone to keep in mind that with small businesses, there’s an actual person behind every design that we make. Sam and I care so much about our customers and truly enjoy putting in the effort to make our designs the best they can be. I’m sitting in my home putting these together — the artwork behind it is inspired by us thinking “what do people want to wear? What could we design that will make somebody smile?” Yes, we do partner with a manufacturer who physically makes and ships our tees, but each design that goes onto them is unique and created from my husband and me. The designs are made from the heart.