It wasn't ALL a Dumpster Fire

Jan 24, 2021
Download Past Year Review Sheet

Well, 2020 was a wild ride!! Anyone else feel like it was the worst emotional roller coaster they've ever been on? Like, please stop the ride!! I'd like to get off now!!

And here we are in 2021. A fresh start!! Ha!! As if it was that easy and someone had a reset button. I think it's probably safe to say that 2020 brought changes and challenges that nobody ever expected they'd be faced with in life. What do you do with a year like that!? And where do you go from a year like that!?

Alyssa Bird sitting on an old tire in the desert in Arizona

In December of 2019, I wrote a blog post about my thoughts and reflections from that year and my hopes and concerns about the new year ahead. I had HUGE plans for 2020. I mean it was TWENTY frickin TWENTY!! Entering a new decade!! How cool is that!? 2020 was the first year since, I don't remember when, that I actually took the time in January to schedule and plan out almost my entire year. In the past, it was hard for me to even think a week in advance, so I decided this year would be different. I was ON IT!! There were SO MANY HUGE GOALS that I was going to attack like a fierce jungle cat hunting its prey. This was MY YEAR!! And I was SO READY for it!! Things started REALLY GREAT!! I was making lists and making progress...

Alyssa Bird filling out her Goals Journal for 2020

Then... As we all know... Someone set fire to the (metaphorical) dumpster, and everything went into chaos and confusion. All the HUGE goals got flushed down the toilet and each day was like, "Is this really happening, or am I in a REALLY weird dream!? PLEASE say it's a dream and I can go back to the awesomeness that this year was supposed to be!!" Sadly, it wasn't a dream and we all had to find a way to navigate this "new normal." I felt like I pivoted my life and business SO MANY times and so frequently that I got dizzy. There was no time to rest or really process what was happening. It was like the rug I was standing on got pulled from underneath me and under that rug happened to be a body of water that I immediately plunged into like the dunk tank game at a carnival. Except there was no bottom to stand on so I had to keep moving to keep my head above water... Like I said before... Weird dream... Oh wait, I said it wasn't a dream... Anyone else feel that way?

Alyssa Bird sirring at her work table with a worried look on her face

It was a rough one... My heart goes out to all of you. My guess is that if you're reading this, chances are you had a rough year too. We all experienced challenges, struggles, and plans getting completely derailed. Maybe more or less than some, but not fair to compare. Any hard time sucks and I wish we didn't have to experience hard things, but that's not how life works. Hard things have the ability to show us so much about ourselves and what we're capable of. Looking back, it might feel like 2020 was all a total mess and everything was the worst, but if you look closer and truly reflect, you might be surprised by how you've grown, what you've learned, and what blessings got you through. Because we made it through. Yes, YOU did it!! I mean it's not like things are all better and back to REAL normal, not this crummy "new normal", but we're doing it... We found out how resourceful and creative we can be when truly put under pressure. You ARE resilient!! There's a word that has a new meaning for me. I never thought too much of it before, but I definitely feel like my resilience was tested last year and I have a newfound respect and love for the word... Maybe that will be my word of the year... I never picked one this year. Last year it was "clarity" and I didn't feel like I found much of that. I feel like there was more confusion than clarity, but I'll keep my hope up that I'll eventually find some... And when the journey for that still feels hard, I'll remind myself that I'm "resilient" and keep going. I hope you'll remind yourself of that too because we might need more of it to continue through this new year too.

Alyssa Bird standing on an old tire in the desert in Arizona

Now as we're reflecting, I'd like to share with you some of my favorite moments, memories, and lessons learned that got me through this year. These are the highlights that I will choose to always let shine brighter than the dark patches. That's why I think this reflection time is so important. This wasn't easy to put together. It took time and effort. I'm not much of a writer (as you can probably see from how incredibly skimpy the Regenerous Designs blog is), but I found this helpful for me and I was hoping some of you might find it helpful too.

Elegant Excellence Goals Journal with a yummy coffee and donut from Onyx Coffee Lab
Alyssa Bird and her husband Nick Bahash enjoying art

In January last year, to help me find some clarity and a good start to the year, I did the "Elegant Excellence Goals Journal" by Hilary Rushford. It was helpful and a lot of work, but there were a couple things that really stood out and I went back to again this year... One was what she called the "2019 Snapshot." It wasn't until after doing this exercise that I realized how much I truly accomplished in 2019 and what my stress/emotions/work load really looked like. I saw a terrible pattern (that I'm sure I probably was doing for years before too) and that was one thing I really wanted to change in 2020. Realizing that was why I tried so hard to plan ahead so I wouldn't find myself stressed, panicked, and struggling to work super hard to get things done in the short timeframe I realized I needed to. I wanted to break that cycle.

I didn't end up getting the Goals Journal again this year because I didn't feel like I needed to do ALL of the exercises again, so I just made my own "2020 Snapshot" worksheet to fill out, but called it the "Past Year Review." If you're interested in trying it, I attached it to this blog for you as a FREE DOWNLOAD!! I found it really helped to go through my past year's calendar, social media, and even photos on my phone when filling it out. Take the time to really reflect how you felt each month and give yourself credit and grace for what you've been through. I found it helpful to look for any patterns and things I wanted to try to change and improve for the new year. 2020 was obviously a weird year so it might be a hard one to start this with, but it's definitely worth trying out. I never used to do much reflecting at the end of a year, but now that I have, I can see how powerful it can be to help make positive changes. I wish I started this many years ago. It probably would've helped me to avoid making the same mistakes and sticking with bad habits for too long. So check it out and I'd LOVE to hear what you think of it!! I'll have more downloads and helpful resources in other blog posts coming soon too so keep a lookout.

>> Click the button at the TOP of this blog to Download the Past Year Review Worksheet <<

My favorite moments, memories, and lessons learned in 2020

Trip to Arizona at the beginning of the year to visit family, friends, and branch out the business.

Alyssa Bird and her husband Nick Bahash at the Waste Management Phonix Open Golf Tournament
The Waste Management Phoenix Open (where my husband, Nick, and I 1st met 7 years ago)
Alyssa Bird and Christina Deloma at the Waste Management Phonix Open Golf Tournament
also with my good friend, Christina Deloma (who was the one that instigated the love connection 7 years ago)
group of students at a DIY Art workshop at Stencil: A DIY Craft Studio holding textile and wood cactus art
1st DIY Wall Art Workshop in Arizona hosted by the very cool Stencil: A DIY Craft Studio. This was SO FUN!!
4 girls wearing Regenerous Designs accessories smiling at the camera or a selfie
Planned a fun mini photoshoot with some of my AZ friends, Erin Manahan, Steph Tufenkjian, and Christina Deloma
Alyssa Bird in front of the Scottdale Museum of Contemporary Arts

Did a brave thing, out of my comfort zone, and walked into the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts gift shop (my all-time favorite gift shop in AZ) to show them my work and see if they'd be interested in carrying it in their shop. I was SO nervous, but it went really well and they decided it would be perfect for the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts, in the building next door. They started carrying some special custom pieces I made just for their shop in March 2020.

Beautiful custom collection of one of a kind textile and wood fashion accessories available at Scottdale Museum of Contemporary Arts
These are the pieces I made for their collection. You can still shop the remaining pieces in person at the museum gift shop or on the SMoCa website.

Back to Arkansas...

Group of students at a DIY Art workshop at the Regenerous Designs studio
The only in-person DIY workshop my studio saw this whole year. SO THANKFUL we were able to at least squeeze one in!!
Alyssa Bird and a group of students on the computer doing a DIY Art workshop through zoom. Holding their textile and wood art they made
Then we went on to try a Virtual Workshop, which was also fun because people from all over the country could join!!
Alyssa Bird teaching a virtual DIY textile and wood wall art class on the computer
From there I created the DIY Kits where you get all the pieces to follow along with a video and create your art whenever the time is right for you. If you want to make some textile/wood wall art, check out and order your favorite design option here!!

Group of ladies kickin butt and showing off their Regenerous Designs face masks they made
As you know 2020 became the year of the Face Mask. I referred to the beginning of this change as The Mask Madness. This really took off in April and that became the busiest most stressful time of the year. I definitely learned A LOT from this experience about working/managing a team and how to do a large quantity production run. There wasn't much time to prepare. It was more of a, dive in head 1st and swim for your life, kind of situation. Once I decided to make masks (on a Friday), I did research, pulled fabrics that I thought would work, tested several design samples, made prototypes, took photos, got everything on the website, and hired people (by Monday). Adding a new item to the collection usually takes SO MUCH longer than that, but we didn't have the luxury of time.
Up to that point I only ever had small quantity orders for products so this was a HUGE learning experience that happened REALLY fast. I truly appreciated everyone's support as we navigated through this new phase and your patience as we worked hard to rush so fast getting everything made and delivered.
I'm SO Thankful for this QuaranTEAM, these ladies helped make it possible. They totally kick butt, were a blessing, such great workers, and a pleasure to be around in such a stressful time. I will never forget this crazy little adventure we shared.
The Regenerous Designs QuaranTEAM  posing for a group photo
Thank you SO MUCH Sara Bruns, Olivia Conarroe, Andreina Narvaez Barrett, Mikayla Archer, and Micki Sly (not in the photo) for all your help!!
Group of people showing their Regenerous Designs face masks
And of course, THANK YOU to all of YOU!! I am forever grateful for your support. The masks orders are truly what kept my business afloat this year. If it wasn't for you, I would've had to quit a long time ago. You truly saved my business and got me through the year. I appreciate every single one of you SO VERY MUCH!!

This year I had 2 amazing interns from the University of Arkansas. They were an added blessing and truly gave me a reason to get out of bed and make the most of each day we worked together. With this year being like it was, there were definitely days that I wanted to hide and not do anything, but I wanted them to have a good experience so they gave me the motivation to get things done. I'm SO incredibly thankful for their help and hard work this year!! I know they will both go off and achieve great things.
Regenerous Designs 2020 interns from the University of Arkansas
Thank you SO MUCH Allie Dorband (left, Summer Semester) and Cassidy Dutton (right, Fall Semester)!! Wishing you all the best in your future adventures.

Alyssa Bird talking about the Factory45 sustainable fashion program
This year I was also honored with the opportunity to be a mentor for new students going through the Factory45 sustainable fashion program. This is a series of online courses that help sustainable fashion brands grow their businesses. I went through this program in 2016 and loved it!! I learned so much and made a lot of great connections. So I was thrilled to be asked to come back and help. It was such a joy to be able to connect with and help the next group of students. I can't wait to see where they go from here!!
If you're interested in starting or growing your own sustainable fashion brand, check out Factory45!! I definitely recommend it!!
The book, Project 333, opened to the page featuring RegenerousDesigns

Because of my connections with that program, my business was also mentioned in this book (on page 28) about sustainable fashion. This was such an honor and a very cool surprise!!

Check out Project 333 if you're interested in minimalist style and simplifying your life. It has lots of great tips!!

Alyssa Bird creatng and showing the Positive Perspective art jewelry collection she made for the Art Collective Gallery
Regenerous Designs, Positive Perspective art jewelry collection for the Art Collective Gallery. 2 earrings and a necklace
When the quarantine 1st started and everything was so uncertain, I was feeling overwhelmed so I decided I needed some art therapy. Creating wearable art with a story brought me joy and encouragement to keep going through that challenging time. As I personally grew through the year, I brought that to my work and fused it into the finished pieces. My hope is that the feelings of love and encouragement will flow to each person these pieces end up with and you’ll feel that every time you wear them. Sometimes all you need is to put on a fun piece of clothing, accessory, or just some bright lipstick to give you the boost you need to take on the day. I called this the "Positive Perspective" collection. Each piece is one-of-a-kind with it's own name and story. It's currently on display for purchase at The Art Collective Gallery in Rogers, AR. If you're interested, reach out for an appointment to visit the gallery.

Regenerous Designs beautiful fluffy scrunchies
Regenerous Designs scrunchies in a girl's hair and on her wrist

I was also grateful to be asked to collaborate on some special items for Beautiful Lives Boutique's Noel Holiday Market. If you're not familiar with BLB, they're a non-profit thrift boutique where each purchase helps to bring beauty and hope to the lives of women and children in crisis in our own community and around the world. I absolutely LOVE their mission and try to support them whenever I can, so I was thrilled to be a part of this holiday shop!!

Custom one of a kind Regenerous Designs art jewelry featured at Crystal Bridges Art Museum gift shop
Photo by Ironside Photography / Stephen Ironside
Custom one of a kind Regenerous Designs art jewelry featured at Crystal Bridges Art Museum gift shop
I'm still so incredibly thankful to have my products available in the Crystal Bridges Museum Gift Shop. This past June I got the amazing surprise that they featured some of my work in their Blog. I appreciate their support for artist in the local community so very much. Follow this link if you'd like to check out their blog post and see what other gorgeous products they offer in store.

Alyssa Bird standing in front of her wearable upcycled art at the Walton Arts Center during the showing of Once on this Island
In February I was honored to be one of 6 selected to have my work on display at the Walton Arts Center during the running of the musical, Once on This Island.
Alyssa Bird in her booth at the NWA Girl Gang holiday craft market for small business creatives
The one and ONLY in-person craft show I did ALL year, the NWA Girl Gang Holiday Market. This was such a treat to be with some of my creative community again. I truly missed seeing and connecting with everyone. The NWA Girl Gang has also created a VIRTUAL Market so if you'd like to check out and support the amazing makers, CLICK HERE!! Shopping small makes a BIG impact!!
Regenerous Designs Big Braided Headbands at the Cocoon Yoga Studio
Headbands, scrunchies, and face masks are also now available at the very cool and beautiful aerial yoga studio, Cocoon Yoga Lab in Bentonville, AR.
Regenerous Designs Big Braided Headbands on several beautiful models
Here's a story, of some lovely ladies. Who each had their own headband style. One wore the braid in front, and one with an up-do, another wore it with curls. And that's the way they became The Headband Bunch. The Headband Bunch!! Haha I couldn't help myself. This photo layout just made me start singing the Brady Bunch theme song and I had to go with it. I have so much love for these wonderful ladies and am so glad we were able to at least have a couple very mini photoshoots last year. They're lovely faces bring my designs to life!! Thank you so much Andrea Lenzy, Brie Madden, Ro Bailey, Paola Cortez, Ashley Cardiel, Erin Irizarry, and Olivia Conarroe!!
Special Regenerous Designs custom one-of-a-kind Art Face Masks
The last creative project of the year was one-of-a-kind Art Masks. I received a special request for one and it was so fun to make that I got carried away and made A LOT. I still plan on making more, but haven't had time to get back at it yet. If you're interested in one, please send me a message at

2020 also brought some relationships closer and helped us connect even when far apart.

Alyssa Bird and her husband Nick Bahash
I'm so thankful to say that my relationship with my husband, Nick Bahash, grew stronger. We deepened our communication, love, and trust towards each other. We also learned a lot about alopecia this year because one incredibly stressful experience brought it on his system and he lost all the hair on his body. We're thankful that it's not life threatening, it's just a weird thing and nobody knows if it'll grow back. It definitely woke us up to how dangerous stress can be and we've made some healthy changes in our lives.

LOVE my family and friends so much!!

Alyssa Bird with her mom, friend, and family
Alyssa Bird with her friends at the Momentary Art Museum roof top bar in Bentonville, AR

With all that gratitude and happy memories shared, I have to be honest, this post started when I was feeling pretty low. I've been mentally struggling since year's end. That's why I've kinda taken a break from social media. I just haven't know what to share or how to tell you what I'm going through... If you follow me there you probably saw my post about moving everything from the office space back into the house. This was the biggest shift that last year brought. I still haven't fully wrapped my head around what this means for Regenerous. I was sharing the office building with my husband and his business, @theputtskee. Sadly, his business ended at the end of the year and I honestly can’t afford a space on my own. So back into the house it all went. It’s a tight squeeze and new adjustment. We haven't fully organized or got things set up yet. It's all just crammed in and I feel like I don't know where anything is, which is stressing me out. But more than that is the feeling of, "I don't know what I'm supposed to do now." that's really been weighing on me. It's been hard for me to find the motivation to organize because I don't know what I'm doing it for... What will I do when it's all done? What do I work on then? More true honesty is that I feel like I've lost my purpose. As I type that it sounds so dramatic, but it's the truth. I just feel like I have NO idea what I'm supposed to do with this business and if I'm even meant to keep putting effort into something that isn't really going anywhere. I just feel like I have no idea what I'm doing with anything.

Alyssa Bird wearing Regenerous Designs accessories sitting on a table with boxes of fabric and holding a disco ball

Looking back at my 2019 end of year post made me realize I had a lot of the same feelings back then too, but then I made a plan for the new year. 2020 was kinda supposed to be my last chance to make big changes and momentum for the business. I told myself it was my last try and if I couldn't do it, this would probably be the end, but then everything got off track. Is it fair to say that was my last try when all my plans got destroyed by things totally out of my control or was that the HUGE sign I needed to finally convince me to throw in the towel? I've been praying a lot about it lately, but, as I write this, I still feel like I don't have any answers. I'm trying to trust in God's plan for my life and be open to whatever path I'm meant to take. It has all just made my heart so heavy. Change is so hard especially huge changes and this is a HUGE decision so I'm not taking it lightly.

I don't know what to focus on or how to even find what I should focus on right now. I'm trying not to be sulky and dramatic about it, I'm trying to be realistic with myself. I just don't know what to do when it feels like I'm stuck in a row boat without the paddle, drifting along not knowing what direction to go or how to move. I guess I'm partly afraid to make the wrong decisions because I've already put so much time into this and tried lots of things that haven't worked so well. I don't want to waste anymore time. It's overwhelming, but I always find a way so I know I'll figure it out... Just another part of the journey and I wanted to share that with you since most of the time you don't truly get to see what goes on behind the scenes of the business.

Boxes of fabric and a disco ball. New Year. New Move

As they say, "Hindsight is 20/20" and as I wrap up this incredibly long post, I realized that 2020 was so much better than I gave it credit for. This year was definitely filled with A LOT of negativity if you keep up with the mass media, and have a tender heart, it can quickly crush your spirit and drain all hope. I guess I've been allowing myself to give into the chatter. It's just SO easy to focus on the hard dark places because once we start going down that rabbit hole, sliding further and further is easier than climbing back out. It doesn't have to be that way though!! Why would you want to give more credit and attention to the bad stuff than it already took from you?

Alyssa Bird wearing Regenerous Designs accessories at Crystal Bridges Art Museum in Bentonville, AR

This started as a sad recap of what I thought was a crummy year, but after doing all this work I realized it wasn't actually as much of a dumpster fire as I thought. Maybe more on a global scale, but not as much personally. It was definitely hard, there was A LOT of internal struggling, but there was still SO MUCH good and SO MANY blessings that came from it too. Sometimes we need to go through the hard stuff to truly appreciate the good stuff when we have it. So maybe reflecting is something we all should take time to do. Was your 2020 truly the worst or are you just thinking it was because that's the main narrative going around? It's easy to fall for that trap and want to be part of the mass group story. It happens to us all, but that's why we need these reminders. I think writing this was a HUGE reminder for myself. So I encourage you to see the truth for yourself. Don't take someone else's word for it and for goodness sakes, DON'T let someone else write your narrative. YOU control your narrative and how you perceive your life!! Perception is reality. Are you perceiving all the positive or negative? When you look back, what do you want it to say? This doesn't mean ignoring the negative or hiding from it. That would mean you're living in total denial and a recipe for a complete meltdown after it builds up too much to handle. This is about sitting with it when it comes, processing it, and making the decision to learn from it, let it go, and not let it have power over you. Sometimes the best change we can make is a change of perspective. I still have no idea what direction I'll be heading or what plans to make yet this year, but I trust God and know that if I keep focus on him, I'll be heading somewhere good. So I'm ending this as a thank you to 2020 for all I've learned, how it helped me grow, and looking forward to the challenges this new year will bring. I know it won't be easy, but I know that I'm resilient so I will continue to carry on... And so will you!! Here's to not letting the crap hold us back!! YOU GOT THIS!!

If you read through all this, you're amazing!! Thank you for your time and letting me share a piece of myself with you. I truly appreciate it. I'd love to hear your thoughts and be able to cheer for you too. Did anything in particular resonate with you? What was one main thing you learned from your journey the past year? What was one accomplishment you're most proud of? What is something you didn't like from the past year that you will change this year to make it better? What is one big goal you're going to achieve in the new year? Please leave me a comment below and/or message me on Instagram @regenerousdesigns. We're in this together.

With so much love and gratitude,

Alyssa Bird