2014: What a year!

Dec 31, 2014

2014.  Holy crap, kids!  This was the Year of the McKinleys.
Or at least it was for us.  Because we are the McKinleys.  But whatevs.

The year held so many more ups than downs.  In fact, it felt like all “ups” to us.  Both professionally and personally, we really came into our own this year.  The thing with professional vs. personal is that our businesses are actually both an extension of ourselves.  Photography and the things we make cannot be separated from who we are.  So when our businesses grow, so do our persons.

Meet Me in the Alley
By far, this was one of the biggest things that happened to us in 2014.  I’d say Bennett…but really, all three of us were heavily involved in this photography project.  We never expected one handsome photo of Mr. Glenn Elliot becoming what it did.  Bennett got HIS OWN gallery show and about 10,000 interviews in all different forms of media: print, online and tv.  It was awesome.

Our community has shown nothing but support for Bennett.  He was selected as a presenter for the first ever Show of Hands here in Wheeling, alongside a bunch of other awesome entrepreneurs in our city.  

He even got to participate as one of the “local celebrities” as part of Dancing With the Ohio Valley Stars.  We were incredibly proud of Bennett, being able to get up on stage and dance in front of so many people.  (And for a great cause too!)  Meet Me in the Alley is still plugging along…although the colder/busier last few months have slowed it down just a bit.  I’m sure once the weather picks up, so will the photos.  I’m hoping Bennett gets to hit his goal of 1,000 alley participants.

I Quit My Day Job
This really should just be titled “Handmade Escapade grew” but really….let’s celebrate the biggest goal I’ve had set for myself.  For so many stinking years, I’ve been dreaming, hoping, wishing, crying about and steadily pursuing the ability to be my own boss.  To call the shots.  To have failures and successes completely be dependent upon me, me, me.  And I did it!  August 1 was my last day as a full-time employee at McKinley & Associates.

It was TERRIFYING.  And AMAZING.  And all of the things in between.

H.E. was also able to land me some amazing wholesale partnerships with giants like Bourbon & Boots and Country Outfitters.  Awesomesauce.

We Celebrated Awesome Milestones
Louis started school-school for the first time.  No parents in attendance with him.  Just the big kid he is, going to school.  And loving every single second of it.    He also turned F-O-U-R and had a rockin’ pirate birthday party.

Bennett and I celebrated our FIVE year anniversary in June.  We even busted out my wedding down and took some anniversary pictures in the same spot that we said our vows.  Because we are mushy, lovey people and aren’t afraid to show it.

I Made A Lot of Things
I feel like this deserves a post of it’s own.  So tomorrow, as part of “My Favs on Thursdays”, I’m going to share some/most of the ridiculous amounts of things I made this year.  Believe me.  It was a TONNNNN.  I was busy this year. 

We Enjoyed the Hell out of our City
No really, we did.  Wheeling showed us one million reasons to love it.  We are never leaving.

  • We went to the Children’s Museum of the Ohio Valley for a birthday party or two.  
  • We decorated the some buildings downtown, as part of the All You Need is Love preservation initiative with OVYP.  
  • We took a our cameras out and took pictures, as a family, of the beautiful buildings that make up our downtown.  
  • We ate some famous DiCarlos pizza, hung out by the waterfront, took pictures in front of the Suspension Bridge and shopped at all of the locally owned businesses…just for fun.  
  • We went to a carnival at a local elementary school and played games with Louis.
  • We watched as some new friends of ours opened up the Vagabond Kitchen (and displayed Bennett’s MMitA images as well!)

  • We jammed to local bands during First Fridays.
  • We spent the entire weekend eating chilli and food at Vagabond Kitchens opening.
  • We brought some friends with us and went to a Wing & Beer Festival.  And it was amazing.
  • We went to the Wheeling Arts Festival, where Louis turned into a Ninja Turtle and we saw a giant blue inflatable statue in the middle of one of the main streets.  So fun.
  • We went to our third Good Zoo Brew and loved every single second of it.
  • We hung out with dinosaurs at the Good Zoo.  This time without beer and with Louis in tow.

  • We went to another local carnival.  And I realized how nice it is now that I’m not a teenaged girl full of peer pressures and silly worries that comes with it.
  • We went to the yearly Italian Heritage Festival.  Even if it isn’t as much about the Italian heritage and more about eating greasy food and being swarmed by crowds of people.
  • We went to a free concert at the future home of the Children’s Mus
    eum.  Mista Cookie Jar brought down the house!
  • We got to see Bennett’s work hanging up in another gallery, alongside two talented local female artists.
  • We got to see some fire breathers while jamming to some music at Party at the Patio.
  • We watched a bunch of grown-ass adults play kickball and have the time of their lives.  Bennett was much cooler than me and he played.

  • We dressed Louis up as Fig the Fox and went to Boo at the Zoo, along with a couple of other family friends.  It was a blast.
  • We had a parent’s night out and went to the Beertastic Brew Bash, to support the CMOV and local brew clubs.
  • We had a “Momma and Louis” date and went to a new local pottery shop to paint our own Gingerbread Man plate together.
  • We went to another Show of Hands and enjoyed watching this round of presenters, dreamers, movers and shakers make Wheeling a little better.
  • We went Christmas tree hunting (okay, so not in Wheeling but really just a town over).
  • We watched the Festival of Lights parade, saw the Festival of Lights and got to sign the Capital Tree truck.

Whew.  That took forever to write.  Wheeling rocks my socks and I can’t wait for this year’s round of fun!!

Like I said, 2014 was remarkable.  (I didn’t even cover the traveling we did. Because honesty my fingers are tired.)  And if you made it this far, your eyes are probably tired from reading my wordier than wordy ways of blogging.

I’ll end with this.  A friend of mine asked today and I thought I’d answer her on here.
In three words, tell me your goals for 2015.  Mine?

Kick Some Ass.


What is yours?

Disclosure: As always, you’ll find some affiliate links scattered within my post, which means I receive a small amount of compensation if you end up purchasing something I’ve recommended.  Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.  Purchasing from my links does not alter the pricing in any way for you, it simply helps feed my sewing, creating and blogging habits.  Thank you for your support!


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Welcome to Wild+Wanderful!  I’m Katy.
Momma. Wife. West Virginian.
Dreamer. Coffee Consumer.
Craft Beer Enthusiast.
Purple Obsessor. Lover of Handmade.



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